Category Archives: Engineering

Aliana Ho: We Thrive

Photo: Aliana Ho, Copyright 2021

 

Photography and Text by Aliana Ho, Copyright 2021

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We Thrive

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In all honesty, I had a hard time deciding what to do for this shoot. Choosing a good friend of mine to be my model and subject took little thought, but the matters of where, how, and when proved to be much more challenging than I anticipated.

We first met up on Saturday evening, but just as he had meticulously completed his look, one foot out the door, a small family emergency arose. We rescheduled for Wednesday night, and during this second attempt, we had spent about an hour and half working on our set and shooting when my camera battery died. Knowing I was running out of time, my panic began to rise.

Luckily, the next day, we were able to pick up a battery, get lunch together, and decide on a location. As we arrived at the Ardmore Ave Septa Station, our chosen set, we were met by an elderly gentleman who asked us to call an ambulance for him, as he needed a ride to the hospital. We then waited for said ambulance, said goodbye, and only then were we able to complete our shoot. And of course, this all occurred within two and a half hours.

We decided upon the Ardmore Ave Septa Station predominantly for the lighting, as it was the afternoon and the sun had already begun to drop in the sky. I hadn’t yet been to the station since they had completed construction, so I was curious to see what it looked like as well. Looking back, the fluid relationship of a train station was a fitting set for the chaos of this shoot.

When I recount these experiences, I can’t help but chuckle at the ridiculousness of it all. How could it be that every time we tried to complete this project, something would disrupt our plans?

But of course, that’s what we’ve come to practice. Our safety plan: adapt and survive.

During the past year, everyone has had to learn how to adapt. Adapt our health practices, adapt our social lives, adapt our emotions and feelings, adapt to survive. This piece came together under suboptimal conditions and in such a short time, but it felt easy after all the bumps we hit. Like this shoot, this year has forced us to face obstacle after obstacle, and still maintain a forward motion. So we adapt, we survive, and we thrive.

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About The Author: Aliana Ho is a student enrolled at Haverford College, Haverford, Pa. Class of 2022.

Also posted in Architecture, Art, Blog, Cameras, Documentary, Environment, Film, Haverford College, Photography, Student Life, Women

The Future Of Education: How New Technologies Will Affect The Way We Learn

Professor Tony Ward Lecturing at Haverford College

 

Text by Artur Meyster, Copyright 2021

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The Future Of Education: How New Technologies Will Affect The Way We Learn

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During the coronavirus lockdown, organizations face a challenging situation. Since they needed to close their offices, most couldn’t operate. However, several leaned on tech professionals and new technologies to survive. Because remote work became the new normal, the way we live, work, and learn has changed. Tech tools like smartphones and laptops are now a must-have, and the need for technical skills has increased.

Day after day, more companies are investing in emerging tech inventions not only to improve their processes but to offer better products and services. In the education sector, e-learning is leaving traditional education behind. However, many other new technologies are reinventing teaching and learning. If you want to know how the future of education will look like, you should read this article. It will provide you with a better idea of how new technologies will affect the education sector. 

Video-based Learning

In the digital era, video-assisted teaching is playing an essential role in making students feel engaged. Several companies have implemented it to enhance their courses and provide even better services. Video-based learning enables companies to analyze offered curricula and set new strategies to improve their teaching methods. 

Video-based learning makes the learning process much more enjoyable. Everyone can have fun while playing and learning. For example, Youtube Kids is a top-rated app that almost every kid loves. Since young children can watch visually appealing videos, learn new songs, and play, learning while playing will no longer be challenging.

Other companies like Udacity offer excellent video-assisted coding courses for those who seek to break into the tech world. Its courses are very engaging and enable students to repeat every lesson as many times as they want. If a particular lesson becomes a challenge, you can watch it several times until you feel you’re able to move on. 

Video-based learning will shape the future of education because it helps companies provide more personalized services. Students can learn faster and provide even better results. Video-assisted programs also give individuals schedule flexibility. For that reason, no matter how busy your schedule is, you’ll always have time to learn. After all, who hasn’t learned how to repair something by watching a five-minute Youtube video? 

Online Classrooms

Cloud computing is taking online education to a whole new level. Years ago, if you weren’t able to attend a class, you probably needed to ask your classmates what the teacher said and taught. However, with online classrooms, education is becoming more accessible. Online classrooms enhance the interaction between students and teachers. By simplifying teaching and learning, you can set up classes in only minutes. Furthermore, communication isn’t a barrier, and you can send updates to parents or any individual in real-time.

Online classrooms also make providing feedback much more comfortable. Teachers can store frequently used comments, and, as a result, providing fast and personalized responses isn’t a struggle. Online classrooms provide organizations with data security. Hence, no matter what they need to keep protected, they can stay calm and focus on the important thing—reinventing the market. 

The increasing demand for online platforms like Google Classrooms has encouraged organizations to hunt for tech professionals with software engineering and cloud computing skills. Therefore, if you’re looking to attract employers’ attention, you should consider becoming a software engineer. According to Bootcamp Rankings, there are over 19,200 open job listings and 1,000 hiring companies.

Artificial Intelligence: the Key to Personalized Education

These days, artificial intelligence is transforming everything, from mobile applications to manufacturing procedures and learning. Personalized education is key to increase students’ engagement. Hence, many companies have invested vast amounts of money in AI and machine learning to offer more customized services. 

Personalized education wouldn’t be possible without the help of data scientists. Consequently, companies are offering exceptional salaries and perks to skilled candidates. After all, they can analyze and interpret gathered information to meet students’ needs.

AI chatbots are also playing an important role in education. By automating administrative tasks like grading, the job of teachers is now more comfortable. AI chatbots can also track student performance. Consequently, teachers and companies can adjust the curriculum provided to meet the requirements of any student.

Conclusion

Generally speaking, the need for digital tools will grow in the next decade. In that case, if you seek to stay relevant, you should get familiar with new tech inventions. Also, more companies will invest in tech to improve in-class and out-of-class experiences. As a result, education will become much more engaging and comfortable. Traditional education will probably become obsolete in the following years. Nevertheless, there’s still a long way to go before that happens.

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About The Author: Artur Meyster is the founder of Career Karma.  To access additional articles by this author, click herehttps://tonywardstudio.com/blog/career-karma/

 

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Friends of TWS, Haverford College, History, Media, Men, News, Popular Culture, Science, Student Life

Bob Shell: Cosmic Dance

Bob Shell: Cosmic Dance

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2021

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Cosmic Dance

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The great writer John Steinbeck wrote, “To my certain knowledge, many people conceal experiences for fear of ridicule. How many people have heard or felt something that so outraged their sense of what should be that the whole thing was brushed quickly away, like dirt under a rug?” Steinbeck intuitively knew that the universe is far stranger than the average person realizes, as did Charles Fort before him, and that many strange events happen in this world of ours. They shouldn’t frighten informed people the way they would have in the past. 

That fine Welsh writer Arthur Machen had an otherworldly experience that profoundly changed him, and incorporated that magic in his works, particularly in his last novel ‘The Green Round.’ 

But still, the average person today lives mentally in a Newtonian universe, while the reality is that the universe is strongly non-Newtonian. Our whole society is structured on an antiquated, Newtonian notion of how things work. Our sciences, aside from physics, operate on strongly Newtonian ideas, particularly medicine and biology. This is not just wrong, it is profoundly dangerous. 

A person today may realize that solid matter is an illusion, hiding the quantum dance of uncertainty, at an intellectual level, but in day to day life treats ‘solid’ matter as something to knock up against. The eastern mystics long ago realized the truth, that what we perceive with our multiple senses is an illusion – Maya – not reality, and worked on ways to pierce the veil and perceive the cosmic dance as it really is. 

Western science denied this truth until Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger, Planck and others saw glimpses of the other, hidden reality, and laid the foundations of quantum mechanics, how the Universe really works. It is no accident that many of them looked to eastern mysticism for answers. 

The door into this strange, wonderful, and sometimes frightening, reality was first opened for me by my old friend Robert Anton Wilson, in my opinion one of the most profound thinkers of the 20th Century. RAW, as I call him in shorthand, understood quantum reality in an intuitive, magical way, and incorporated that understanding in his writings. In a virtual way, he took my hand and led me through that door, approaching and reaching that brave new world through humor. As he said, “The music of the spheres contains a loony laugh.” 

My little book COSMIC DANCE is, in many ways, a tribute to RAW, and my attempt to carry forward his work that was cut short by his untimely death. 

I’ve done my best to live in the real world, the magical world of quantum physics, which seems so counterintuitive and illogical to our normal ways of thinking. But this is how things really work. Much of our advanced technology only works because quantum physics is the way the Universe works behind the veil. The quantum computers now being developed will change science in radical ways. 

I firmly believe that human progress will depend on each of us coming to grips with quantum reality and changing our thought processes to admit the Magic of quantum reality. It’s fast approaching, whether we’re ready or not. Elon Musk and other advanced thinkers are warning us of the dire consequences of not being on board the quantum train.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonyward.com/bob-shell-in-praise-of-reality/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Blog, commentary, Friends of TWS, History, Popular Culture, Science, Travel

Bob Shell: Culture War?

Drag Queen, Amsterdam. Photo: Tony Ward. Copyright 2020

 

Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020
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Culture War?
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“A culture war is something only the other side fights. The side you are on is only talking sense.” — Robert Shrimsley

Are we really in the middle of a culture war in the USA, and much of the rest of the world, right now? The mass media certainly want us to think so.

In an open letter to Harper’s magazine, 153 prominent writers, academics, and artists spoke out against the rise of “a culture marked by intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty.” Among the signatories were Salman Rushdie, Gloria Steinem, Malcolm Gladwell, Margaret Atwood, J. K. Rowling, Wynton Marsalis, and numerous other people known for rationality. The letter decried “a stifling atmosphere of enforced conformity that metes out harsh punishment to anyone guilty of perceived transgressions, particularly on the topics of race, identity politics, privilege, and gender.”

On CNN.com, commentator Jeff Yang said that the letter’s signers no doubt thought they were “taking a courageous moral stand, but attacking political correctness by people with “enormous public platforms” feels like an affirmation of elitism and privilege.”.

Billy Bragg, a writer forThe Guardian newspaper, called the letter “a howl of anguish from a group that has suddenly found its views no longer treated with reverence.” He said these “long-standing cultural arbiters are not happy to be challenged…on social media by a new generation of activists demanding accountability. The letter was their demand for a safe space.” Hogwash! Anyone who has lived through more than a few years on Earth knows well that there is no such thing as a “safe space.”

According to The Wall Street Journal, the letter accurately depicts “the ferocious campaign of coerced conformity sweeping America’s liberal institutions. And the extreme overreaction just shows why the letter was necessary.”

Yes, the letter’s signers are protected by fame and institutional power, said Phoebe Maltz Bovy, one of the signers, in The Washington Post. But their protected status enables them to speak out about the dangers of cancel culture, which is dangerous for less established writers, thinkers, and performers who are one misstep away from the loss of their livelihood. “The letter is an attempt by the powerful to look out for the powerless.”

Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about this. What are they gonna do, throw me in prison?!

J. K. Rowling has been vilified for her stand on sex as binary. She’s right, of course, in the context of which she speaks.

We must distinguish between biological sex and personal sexual identity. As Rowling points out, biological sex is determined genetically. If you have two X chromosomes, you’re biologically female. If you have one X and one Y, then you’re biologically male. Nothing can change that, at least at our current level of genetic engineering technology. To transgenders and others I say, get over it! Nature made you male or female, just as nature determined your skin and eye color. Arguing otherwise is ignorant and stupid.

But, and it’s a big, bad ‘but’, genetic sex does not determine personal sexual identity, which is very complex, with very few of us being 100% male or female inside our minds. I have no problem with anyone who feels they were assigned the wrong biological sex. I recognize the female in me as well as the predominate male. If I chose to transition to female in my manner, dress, or body, that’s my right and no one has any right to tell me otherwise.

I learned a couple of years ago that one of my oldest friends has transitioned to female. I even have before and after photos. I was surprised, yes, but not offended. But my friend will always be biologically male, barring some breakthrough in genetics.

I applaud J. K. Rowling for sticking to her guns. She has every right to her opinions. She feels strongly enough about the issue that she returned the award she received last year from the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization when Kerry Kennedy the group’s president, criticized her opinions on transgender people, saying her opinion that sex is biologically determined “diminished the identity of trans and nonbinary people.”

Bullshit! As Rowling said, no award is worth giving up “the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.”

Indeed, the criticism of Rowling smacks of the very intolerance her critics accuse her of.

I’m a biologist by training. My thoughts on sex may not currently be politically correct, but they are scientifically/biologically correct, and I think that’s more important.

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read Bob Shell’s, first essay on civil war, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/civil-war-2/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Affiliates, Blog, commentary, Current Events, Environment, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Health Care, History, lifestyle, News, Politics, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science

Bob Shell: Learning to See and Equipment Meditations

Portrait of Kimberly Kane. Photo: Tony Ward, Copyright 2020

 
Text by Bob Shell, Copyright 2020
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Learning to See and Equipment Meditations 
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Many people, when they get into photography, become “equipment freaks,”. buying lens after lens in a quest for better photographs. I know, I was one myself. Those people keep the camera companies in business. I didn’t understand that better photography comes from training the eye and mind, not from accumulating more equipment. Yes, you do need some good equipment to make the best photographs, but adding lens after lens won’t make you see better. After going lens crazy early in my career I reached a point of saturation. Then I began to pare down my equipment to just what I needed. For most of my travel I carried a simple outfit of a 24mm lens, a 28-80 zoom, and a 100-300 zoom. Depending on where I was going I might add a 20mm, 100mm macro or a 400mm and 2X tele converter. I found I could handle almost any contingency with that simple outfit. I rarely used the 24mm or the long end of the 100-300 zoom range. My kit fit handily in a medium sized camera bag with room left for a flash unit and a bunch of film. After digital my kit didn’t change much, just a bunch of storage cards instead of film.

One time when I was going to Las Vegas for a week I challenged myself and took only a little Leica point and shoot with a 28mm lens. I came back with a bunch of great shots, and only wished for my regular kit a couple of times. When you only have a lens with one focal length you learn to zoom with your feet. I wrote an article in Shutterbug about that experiment and illustrated it with some of the photos from the trip. The only time the 28mm was a problem was in closeup photos of people, but just stepping back took care of the distortion.

In my studio I found that I could do just about anything with a 28-80 zoom, and rarely attached anything else to my camera. For my outdoor nudes the 28-80 f/2.8-4.0 and 70-200 f/2.8 could handle all my needs. The 24 was in my bag, but rarely came out. I had a 20, but used it so seldom that I sold it. I kept a 16mm Russian fisheye around for those rare times that it made sense.

Try an experiment. Spend a week photographing with only one lens. Instead of changing lenses, change your point of view. Zoom with your feet. Force yourself to think in terms of that one focal length

Many of the world’s great photographers worked with the Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras, with their fixed 80mm lenses on 6 X 6 format. Those photographers learned to see in terms of that one lens, and produced some spectacular images.

In the 70s I tried that for a while. I bought a used Rolleicord, the cheaper model of Rollei TLR and worked with it all one summer. I had a lot of fun with that camera, and got some photos I like very much. That camera taught me the benefit of carrying a tripod for the sharpest possible images of non moving subjects, a lesson I’ve never forgotten. When a tripod was just too cumbersome to tote, I’d carry my lightweight Gitzo carbon fiber monopod, which doubled as a walking stick. A monopod is also great for getting shots from high angles by holding it up overhead and using a remote release or self timer to fire the camera.

My favorite tripod/monopod head is the Acratech ball head. Compact, light, and very sturdy. I’ve tried many other ball heads over the years when reviewing them for articles, but always found myself going back to the Acratech for my personal work. I used the version with the Arca-style quick release, which lets me put a camera and lens on and off very quickly and easily. The only time I used a different head is when shooting with a view camera, either my 4 X 5 Toyo monorail or my old Eastman 2D 8 X 10 field camera. For those heavier cameras I have a big ball head made by Schoon in Holland. Obviously, I really prefer ball heads. When using the big, heavy 8 X 10 I use a heavy duty wood tripod. Mine is the Brom Master, made in Germany. It will support damn near anything. But the times I’ve used my view cameras after I started working with digital can be counted on the fingers of one hand. I wouldn’t want to be a view camera salesman today. I even thought of selling my Toyo outfit until I saw the low prices they were going for, and decided just to keep it. Maybe one day the prices for digital backs for them will drop down to my level. There are many things you can only do with a view camera with full swings, tilts, and shifts. Tilt-shift lenses can come close, and are sufficient for many applications. Zorkendorfer in Germany makes adapters to allow tilt and shift on most digital SLR cameras using medium format or enlarger lenses (www.zoerk.com).

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About The Author: Bob Shell is a professional photographer, author and former editor in chief of Shutterbug Magazine. He is currently serving a 35 year sentence for involuntary manslaughter for the death of Marion Franklin, one of his former models.  He is serving the 13th year of his sentence at Pocahontas State Correctional Facility, Virginia. To read more letters from prison by Bob Shell, click here: https://tonywardstudio.com/blog/civil-war/

Editor’s Note: If you like Bob Shell’s blog posts, you’re sure to like his new book, COSMIC DANCE by Bob Shell (ISBN: 9781799224747, $ 12.95 book, $ 5.99 eBook) available now on Amazon.com . The book, his 26th, is a collection of essays written over the last twelve years in prison, none published anywhere before. It is subtitled, “A biologist’s reflections on space, time, reality, evolution, and the nature of consciousness,” which describes it pretty well. You can read a sample section and reviews on Amazon.com.

Also posted in Accessories, Affiliates, Art, Blog, Cameras, Erotica, Fashion, Film, Friends of TWS, Glamour, Models, News, Photography, Popular Culture, Portraiture, Science, Women