Friday, December 18, 2015

It's In a Book: A Look at Valencia College East Campus Library

You can always find a friendly Librarian at the reference desk
to help you with any questions you might have.
Adjunct Librarian Ven Basco fielded my questions.
Most college students can only be found in the library when finals week rolls around, if that. However, Valencia College East Campus library has many untapped resources and I got the scoop on them from Adjunct Librarian Ven Basco.

Just one row of several shelves that are home to the law books. 
Mr. Basco said that one of the resources that students might not be familiar with are the materials on reserve. Often times teachers will put the textbooks and other materials for their classes on reserve so that students can use them. If you want to check out items on reserve you will need your course number. You will also need your student ID to check out anything. There is a limit of 25 items that can be checked out at one time and a limit of two renewals as well.

Mr. Basco discussed that while many libraries have downsized their print catalog, Valencia has kept theirs intact. For example, the library has a section for the Paralegal program that is all law related books. Another unique section of the library is the section that has plays.

As well as still having print copes of several different newspapers in addition to popular magazines.
Some current periodicals in the library collection.

With that being said, that doesn't mean that Valencia hasn't also integrated technology into the library. There are a wide variety of tablets for students to check out including:
                - 85 iPads
                 - 7 Kindle Fires
                 - 4 Samsung Galaxys
                 - 2 Nooks
The library also has over 180 databases as well that can be accessed online, so there is no shortage of information to access. Whether students choose to do so online or in person.

The library weeds out books that are either old or not frequently used so the collection stays relatively close to the same size. On the library website students can check out what has been added to the catalog that month.

The library has computers for student use, with two being equipped for use by students with disabilities. Though it should be noted that they shut down 15 minutes before the library closes.

Water bottle filling station
and water fountain
During a long day or night of studying students might get hungry and thirsty. No food or drink is allowed near the computers but anywhere else you can have a quite snack (non-crunchy) and covered drink. There is also a water bottle filling station in addition to the old run-of-the-mill water fountain.

Mr. Basco offered advice about finals saying that in addition to the  library, students should also utilize the writing and tutoring centers. He also said that libraries are great because sometimes it can be hard to find credible sources online. In the library you know you are getting credible sources because you have the primary source right in front of you.

During finals week the library expands its hours and Monday through Thursday is open till 12:00am and you can get assistance from a librarian till 9:00pm, but if you still need help there is a chat and email feature on the website that you can use at any time. The cool thing about the chat is that librarians from across the state use it. This means that no matter what time of day it is you can get information from a librarian.

Haunted Physics lab

Anthony Pena

Valencia East Campus Haunted Physics lab

                                        Physics Professor Angela Cortez fixing up one of the labs

Halloween is that one time of year where we can experience many spooky things like haunted houses, horror movies, and scary stories from friends. Well, how about a combination of a haunted house and an interactive lab into one?  That's what physics professor Angela Cortes and her assistants Diane Saintvistal and Eddiel Suaret came up with.

 The first lab that many many people did was the Resonance bowl. You first need to get your hands wet, and you rub your hands against the railings of the bowl. This causes the bowl to make a vibration which makes the water splash out. However, many people had a hard time figuring out how to do. All you had to do was press down hard on the railings.
                           This is supposed to cause a vibration when you rub on the railings of the bowl

                                                                    Neat Plasma Balls.     

 One of the labs I liked was the fish swimming in fire. It was basically an optical illusion that made it look like the fish was swimming under a candle. The way this one worked was that it involved a mirror that reflected on a candle which gave it an illusion pictured here.
This is an illusion that makes it look like the fish is swimming under fire.

 Another I looked at was the infinity mirror. it uses a two-way mirror and the lights give the illusion that the mirrors are going on. (

                                                               The lights keep going.

Angela Corte's lab assistants Diane Saintvistal and Eddiel Suaret were assigned the Haunted Lab as part of their science classes. "It was an assistantship that got offered to us, and we got to choose from different options," said Saintvistal. "I chose the haunted lab because I felt it would be more interactive and fun to do," stated Saintvistal.

 The assistants described that some of these effects used in the lab can be applied to attractions seen in theme parks like smoke and mirror effects. "They have them in like Disney rides like the ghost in The Haunted Mansion," said Saintvistal. "And also Halloween Horror nights in Universal with the laser lights during events to attract people and scare them."

As overwhelming as some of these experiments sound, some of these can be used can be used to make a  haunted house. Saintvistal says, " with this cup (holding up parts of the cup and string lab) you could make different sounds and some of the sounds sound creepy." This is supposed to make a ghost like sound. "The electricity I’m sure might scare somebody with the electric current." Suaret said.

Remember back in high school when you had to take a physics class? Remember having to do a lot of math in that class? The haunted physics lab is more about theory and having fun than that. "It’s more about theory, but physics in general does involve a lot of math, but preparing the event didn’t." said Saintvistal. "It’s about making physics fun for little kids. They don’t want to come here and be bogged down with math," said Suaret

When asked about what were the lab assistant's favorite lab Suaret stated, "The infinity mirror, that was pretty cool." Saintvistal has said she liked the fish swimming in fire. 

When asked about the plasma ball and how it made the lightbulb turn on Saintvistal stated ,"I think it creates an electric wave." Suaret added, "It’s the electricity, it’s already charged."

Sadly, one experiment could not make it to the haunted physics lab. "The Newtonian fluid. You were supposed to run across it but if you stand still you would sink." Suaret explained. Saintvistal added in "We would use it with cornstarch and water."

The final question that was asked was about what was the most popular lab. Both lab assistants said it was the plasma balls . As Suaret stated, "The plasma ball because it looks cool."

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Choreographers' Showcase At Valencia.

Milin Huang

The Choreographers' Showcase At Valencia.

Valencia College’s dance department presented a Choreographers’ Showcase in in it’s 17th year of performances. It was held on Friday, Nov. 20th and Saturday, Nov. 21st in Valencias East Campus Performing Arts Center. The performance was started at 8:00PM on both nights. 

photo from dance department 
 Designed to showcase student choreography, the Choreographers’ Showcase provides students with a creative outlet to show their work.  In addition, dancers from Daytona State College were welcomed to perform alongside Valencia College’s dancers.

As the night curtain fell over the sunlit sky, one after another the members of the audience, who were mostly Valencia students and their family members, entered the theater in anticipation of the ballet recital. The chattering buzzed with excitement, and as the lights dimmed to signal the start of the show, the audience sat in silence gazing at the stage.  In the darkness, the dancers appeared in file, and with the sudden flick of a light switch and the down bow of a cello, their dance began rippling from the stage.

The dancers combined graceful motions like birds opening their wings, and willow trees undulating in the breeze. Using their powerful limbs, the dancers sprung up into the air like fireworks bursting into the audience. The audience was hypnotized by their movements.

To conclude the first part, the dancers performed a piece entitled “The Riches” which employed money as a theme.  The music was infectious and the audience was fully engaged in the music, laughing, and enjoying the contrasting combination of traditional ballet and modern styles. After intermission, the dancers came back on stage to perform the opening act of the second part, entitled “Sweet Jealousy”.  Within the first two minutes, the music was suddenly cut off to audience’s surprise.  But, the professionalism of the dancers — who continued unfazed despite the technical difficulties and resetting when the lights were dimmed — and the understanding of the audience — who after the third reset and attempt by the dancers, delivered a well deserved applause when the music did not fail — left within everyone at the theater a sensation of camaraderie and awe.

For the final act, a large group of dancers came together to perform a piece with tribal undertones called “A Ritual Dynamic”. This piece was long enough to end the entire show, heating the air between the audience and dancers that wonderful night. “It was a really impressive show. Coming from my old high school ballet show, it was nice to see how much more disciplined the college level students are,” said one of audience members.

Lake Nona: A developing city, a new community

Milin Huang

As the sun sheds its setting rays, the sunlight fades away over the newly built community of Lake Nona, FL, glimmering brightly.

Lake Nona Veteran's Association Medical Center
A modest house in the Lake Nona neighborhoods.
Lake Nona is designed and developed by Lake Nona Property Holdings, which is owned by Tavistock Group, a private equity company headquartered in the Bahamas. Also nicknamed “Medical City”, new, essentially community buildings have begun to spring up around the area, including schools, apartments, parks, and even a Veteran’s Association Medical Center and a Children’s Hospital.

There are many large houses in the area ranging from $200,000 to over $1 million, and compared to other nearby neighborhoods, houses are generally situated much closer together, with smaller private yards, and larger public community spaces.  People who prefer living in apartments, also have the choice of selecting to live in premium luxury apartments.

UCF has a Health Sciences Campus located within Lake Nona.
The area is host to several schools catering to all age groups, including, the Primrose School for the youngest of young, a Middle School and High School, the UCF College of Medicine and Health Sciences Campus, and a Valencia campus, among others. 

Lake Nona also contains Mud Lake, Red Lake, and Buck Lake.
The Lake Nona community and country club are surrounded by lakes, such as the lake giving the community its namesake, Lake Nona, and some other nearby lakes such as Mud Lake, Red Lake, and Buck Lake.  Lake Nona even includes a dock where residents can launch their boats into the lake to enjoy a day on the water.

Lake Nona has convenient access to Orlando's major roads.
Located at the south-eastern corner of Orlando, Lake Nona is conveniently accessible via the Central Florida GreeneWay (State Road 417), which provides quick access to other major arteries around Florida, such as the North-South Ronald Reagan Turnpike, and the East-West Martin Andersen Beachline Expressway (State Road 528).  

Lake Nona uses modern technology to ensure that cellular service is available everywhere. Some people have even reported seeing better signal indoors than outdoors. People around the city and especially inside the medical centers rely on a highly available cellular network in order to communicate throughout the buildings seamlessly.  In a city labeled “medical city”, the availability of the cellular network is crucial to provide the best service.

As a proxy city of Orlando, people might say that Lake Nona’s ideal city plans remind them of Sir Ebenezer Howard’s “Garden City Movement”.  The Garden City Movement was devised by Howard to address the problems of the rapidly industrializing London.  City dwellers living in the city center were generally deprived of the natural world, living in dark, cramped, and filthy conditions.  A need was growing to reform this system and thus he proposed to build smaller “cities” around the perimeter of the downtown.  As these cities would be further away, residents would be able to benefit from living closer to nature in a small community, a size of which he recommended no more than 32,000 residents.  

Map of Lake Nona and the nearby surrounding areas.
Thus, Lake Nona, too, follows these principals.  The transportation network allows residents to access the Orlando city center fairly conveniently, not to mention, very convenient access to the airport.  The city is a fully enclosed community containing all the necessary essentials for community functions, and at the outskirts of Orlando’s perimetry, is surrounded by large open green spaces.

Cow grazes a field nearby housing developments in Lake Nona.
In addition to the elements that point to Howard’s Garden City, Lake Nona is also special because it is a health city.  Residents are encouraged to follow a healthy lifestyle and as such, the city has been planning to allow residents easy access to large sidewalks and many parks.  Residents are frequently seen moving around town in bicycles, running, and walking with their families.  The city is planning to build 44 miles of both paved and unpaved trail ways in order to encourage residents to go outside.

Along with the city development and a growing population around Orlando, there are many surrounding communities such as Winter Park, Winter Garden, Avalon Park, Hunter’s Creek, Moss Park, etc… 

Crepuscular rays shine down upon Lake Nona fields and lakes.

The sun has gone, and you are driving back home, and through the window, the splendor of Lake Nona and its incredible light filled, majestic buildings fill you with a sensation of wonder and excitement for the future of this community.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pawn Sacrifice

Luciano Coelho
Opinion Piece
Oct 10 2015

How interesting does it sound to hear someone make a connection between the game of chess and the Cold War? Pawn Sacrifice is based on a true story. Its main character, Robert James Fischer aka “Bobby Fischer”, is based off of an American World Chess Champion of the same name.
Tobey Maguire’s portrayal of Bobby was very appropriate. He showed us that while Bobby may have been paranoid at times and angry at other times, when there was peace and quiet Bobby was a masterful chess player that simply could not be beat. His angry outbursts were believable and marked the peak of Maguire’s acting in this movie. That’s not to say that he was not believable when he played calm Bobby. Looking back at it, I cannot think of a better actor to play Bobby in this movie. Maguire looked the part and acted the part, even in the scene when he was on the phone talking with his sister and having a nervous breakdown and communicating his paranoia to her.

Behind the scenes shot of Bobby crying to his older sister over the phone.  
All of Pawn Sacrifice had a somewhat subtle Cold War mood, and this mood was captured perfectly by the constant use of blues and grays that were so present in the movie’s environments. Some of the scenes take place in Iceland, during what looks like   the late hours of the day. Iceland’s lack of trees and vast landscapes capture the bleakness and cold that many felt during the Cold War. The two rooms where Bobby broke Spassky in order to become world champion were also filled with the colors blue and grey.

To the right, one of the main characters approaches Bobby
 saying that
  he wishes to help Bobby with his problems
 concerning the Russians and beating them.
Not all of Pawn Sacrifice is blues and grays, though. Minus a sunny beach scene where he wakes up and sees the current world champion, Spassky - then proceeds to yell at him “I’m coming for you!” - much of the movie is shown in warms sepia tones. These warm sepia tones make the movie feel intimate, though not intimate in a romantic way. In fact, it is far from it. These warm sepia tones make the viewer feel a warm connection to Bobby’s human side, which mostly consists of concerned, angry outbursts and paranoia. These sepia tones bring us closer to his mad genius self. Though these tones make us feel a connection to Bobby’s inner self, it must be noted that Bobby has no romantic interest throughout the movie. The focus is on his moods and paranoia, all of which stem from his brilliant and masterful involvement with the game of chess.

Here we see Bobby’s hands opening his telephone
 to see if the Soviets bugged it.
There are a few seconds of romantic intimacy in the movie. At one point Bobby is very angry at the way Russian chess players are treated, and while shouting and yelling outside the motel he is staying in, he meets a girl. We very briefly see her a few times in the movie. He agrees to give her his virginity and the movie immediately goes back to chess and Bobby’s personality problems, which again all seem to stem from his involvement with the game of chess. This very brief romantic involvement, if you can even call it that, serves to remind the reader that chess is Bobby’s life, and everything else is merely a distraction or some sort of problem.

The strange thing about the movie is that Bobby’s human side doesn’t seem very human at all. Because the only sign of humanity we see from him is paranoia and concern about how the Russians treat the game of chess and their native players.

Bobby playing chess against several players at once.
The movie mentioned the Cold War as a war of perception, and Bobby went as far as to say that the Russians were more or less cheating in order to keep up the appearance that they were superior and smarter, because their chess players were the best in the world.

At the end of the film, the audience is shown real images and clips of Robert James Fischer along with written text explaining the aftermath of his life after the match with Spassky. It is a very sad ordeal. We learn that Bobby turned down millions of dollars in endorsements and was arrested for vagrancy before being granted asylum in Iceland, a few years before his death.

            All in all Pawn Sacrifice is a decent watch. Maguire was on point playing Bobby Fischer and so were the other two actors who played the men that helped him, one who was a priest and one who handled his publicity and finances. The movie gave us a close view of the type of person that Bobby was. The landscapes and colors captured the mood of the movie, and one could not walk away without feeling some compassion for Fischer. If you enjoy the typical “mad genius” story, this movie is for you.