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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Speaking with Estevan Lopez

In what could be our last and greatest interview, we speak with Estevan Lopez, Director of Interstate Stream Commission. He works with the State Engineer to monitor the flow of water within the state as well as between New Mexico's neighbors. Our Great Benefactor, Fabio Carrera accompanied us to an interview for the first time, and his verbal skills did not disappoint.

Hydrologic Monitoring and Water Quality control were among the topics of the day, and we students were almost as interested with he said as he was with us.
Very open to our help and ideas, we gained a great government sponsored sponsor. I can't wait to see what this new partnership produces in later years!

Part 1

Part 1 download!

Part 2

Part 2 download!

Part 3

Part 3 download!

Part 4

Part 4 download!

Part 5

Part 5 download!

Part 6

Part 6 download!

Part 7

Part 7 download!

Part 8

Part 8 download!

Part 9

Part 9 download!

Part 10

Part 10 download!

Interview with Living River

As the IQP draws to a close, it gets to the point where we admit that actual work needs to be done at some point. As a result of this interviews and meetings are in full force, and that means more listenables for you viewers at home.
The interviews in the las few days contain both the longest and the shortest recordings yet, and we're going to share them with you now in a Double Post Extravaganza!

Here's the shortest, with Dave the Representative from the Living River Association.

Part 1

Part 1 download!

Part 2

Part 2 download!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What, the Chopstix?

Indubitably sir, the place to get a great meal for about ten bucks in Santa Fe, Chopstix. A nice place to sit outside and appreciate the beautiful weather that seems to just ooze in New Mexico.
The resounding recommendation our little troupe of ducklings was for the Vegi Chow Mein, although I would like to state that every aspect of my meal was most appreciated.
For all you crazies who think that this little restaurant has a website, don't worry your little head, there is none.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Judging America's Youth: A Story of Getting Lost in America's Nuclear Factory

Please note this post will contain no personal photographs from my visit to Los Alamos National Labs, as out of concern for National Security I was not allowed to take photos with my camera while on site.
As part of the Santa Fe Bootstrap's Community Outreach, and my on the side Bromance with "Dr" John "Gordan Freeman" Gonzales, I spent April 2oth wandering the campus of Los Alamos National Labs, judging students entries in the SuperComputing Challenge. Getting to the actual judging was an undertaking unto itself. With Andrew "Dearth" Tremblay as my driver we departed the Santa Fe Complex at around 6 in the morning to ensure that we would make our required arrival time of 8 AM, a seemingly over kill amount of preparation, but this small amount of paranoia ensured that we avoided tardiness. On our drive up, we listened to many kicking tunes, including Weird Al's "White and Nerdy" and Electric Six's "Dance Commander". We first realized that we were having issues with our navigation, when we found ourselves not in a swarm of laboratories but a residential neighborhood. Reoriented and ready to roll we soon had managed to get ourselves to the entrance of LANL, sadly my ability to follow directions, especially in a confusing and new environment is not exactly my most robust characteristic.

Our first attempt at finding a place to park a car left us outside of the main entrance. Try number two truly got me excited about the morning seeing as we accidentally pulled into the parking lot that led to the part of the lab responsible for processing nuclear waste. While we were fortunate enough to not need to meet with any of the fine members of US Armed Forces.

It was unnerving to see upon our departure the sign that read "all parked cars will be searched", fortunately JP was awake enough to answer the phone and tell us where the library was.
Judging the presentations was new to me, as someone who had always been on the receiving end of these has always been stressful, making sure that students didn't feel intimidated was important to me. While the presentations I got to review weren't the most invigorating, the potential for recruiting students to WPI should not be ignored.

For me the most exciting part of the day was getting to tour the facility that housed The Road Runner the first petaflop supercomputer. Throughout the entire tour I had the opening sequence of Half Life running through my head. Once through the opening layers of security we we brought through aimless hall after hall until we came into the RAVE room, which allowed us to see proteins fold, explore the inside of a nuclear processing chamber, and visit the surface of Mars, all in 3-D. We then saw the prototype of the Road Runner Super Computer and where much of the non-classified data on site was stored.

A Meeting with the President

Few people in the history of this country have been as charismatic, open, and connected with the people that they lead, and we were given the good fortune to meet one of these great leaders. We're talking, of course, about the President of the La Cienega Acequia, Carl Dickens.
His interview, like that of J.J. Gonzales, only reinforced that WPI had much to offer the rural areas of Santa Fe.

Take a gander at the interview right here. You can download it, too.

Part 1

Part 1 download!

Part 2

Part 2 download!

Part 3

Part 3 download!

Part 4

Part 4 download!

Part 5

Part 5 download!

Part 6

Part 6 download!

Part 7

Part 7 download!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A True Dearth of Firewood

Finding firewood in Santa Fe is like trying to catch Sam doing work at the complex, Dave being tall, or Andrew acting human. It just ain't happening.

What should have been a simple trip down to the local super market ended up being a nearly 2 hour long scavenger hunt where the only thing to be hunted was a faggot, or a bundle of sticks and wood. No fewer than six different stores told us that the last bundle was sold earlier that day, but that wasn't even the most annoying issue. At Wal-Mart I asked an employee if they sold fire wood, his response was "fire wood? Like for what?"After I explained that fire wood was for burning, he then proceeded to tell me that fire wood was out of season. I was under the impression that trees grew all year round, but I guess this is a mistaken assumption.

Finally after all hope was lost, the air was rent with honk, and Bob Saget was cursed a plenty, we resigned to going to Smith's super market to pick up a Dura-Flame™ log. It was here that we discovered the holy grail of fire wood. Bundles upon bundles were stacked against the walls lining the inside of the store. $16 and four bundles later we were finally able to put to use our 72 hershey's chocolate bars. Smores were made aplenty, but there was always enough chocolate left for s'more.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Pranzo Dessert, Take 2

Just another day hard at work for us WPI students. Chris's parents graciously took us out to dinner on their brief stint in Santa Fe. For anyone reading this who may or may not be Chris's parents...thanks again.

At any rate, it is our charge to sample the culinary treats of Santa Fe, and in my opinion we have diligently risen to the challenge, with a little help from our friends.

I will give you that we are just uncultured college students, but I believe anyone will tell you that if there is one thing college students know how to do, it is eat. In this regard we are very well suited to the task.

We haven't eaten desert very many places, but of the places that we have, I enjoy Pranzo the most. It is the only place we have been that has not a micro-brewery, but a micro-creamery. They make their own ice cream and it is exceptional. Thus far, we have sampled the Cinnamon, the Black Raspberry, the Caramel Praline, and the Vanilla Bean. All of them were quite good, with Caramel Praline being my personal favorite.

More on this later. Hopefully...



There was a lot of controversy about this particular camping trip, but one thing that can't be argued is that it was cold. Fortunately we were in a beautiful area so that was designated for camping, so we were legally allowed to build a campfire and didn't have to break any laws for the night.

Our campground was located at Hyde State Park just 8 miles out of Santa Fe, via Hyde Park Road. The drive, while short, afforded a drastic change in scenery. Buildings turned into sprawling aspen trees and sounds of traffic gave way to the sounds of a babbling brook.

Overall it was a cold,yet pleasant experience. I very much look forward to doing it again sometime.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

And Just When You Thought It Couldn't Get Better

Turns out my technical philandering has paid off, we can now post music and sound on the blog! Resultantly, our once-dormant interviews are now available for your listening pleasure!
Here's Part 1 of the interview we had with Acequia Big-Wig JJ Gonzales on the history of the Acequias and New Mexico Water Rights. Take a listen here, or download it!

The rest of the interview is available on the blog post about the interview, here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Let's use our imaginations for a second and imagine if you were one of the first explorers of the new world, and say you came across the fabled City of Gold. You're standing in the middle of their equivalent of their town square, and gold surrounds you. The material that you were told from birth to be the rarest material in the world is the most common thing in sight. The thing that your civilization has stolen, lied, and killed for is paved into the roads. Here it is gold, not Gold. It's woven into the threads of rags, people are dusting it off of their feet so as to not track it into their homes. It is so commonly valueless to the inhabitants that they don't even need to offer it to you. You can just take it. It is their dirt.
Take a moment to dwell on this.
Now replace that gold with the concepts of creative potential, intellectual capability, and modern technological resources.

This is an accurate description of what we found at ARTS Lab

We went down to Albuquerque by train to pick up the car that was left by our Gracious Adviser that morning. We decided to spend the day in Albuquerque, starting with lunch at the Flying Star Cafe. During our meal of assorted cheeses (Grilled, Mac'n', and Cream), Simon suggested that we start by visiting ARTS Lab that happened to just be down the road.
The external portion of the building was rather unimpressive, it if felt like we were approaching the undecorated rear of a supermarket. Once inside, however.
Supercomputer Clusters! Green Screen Movie Sets! Fully Functional Miniature Planetariums!

And the people! Remember that metaphor that I mentioned at the beginning. They were beyond eager to help and give us full access to every part of their facilities. Though officially part of UNM, they had difficulty generating participation in the student body. "I think it's because it's so unapproachable," Said Joe Dean, "but really, we love it when people come in with suggestions or ideas." He then returned to work on a new Planetarium presentation on a Quadcore monolith with 16 GB of RAM, one of the slower computers in the Lab. We visited other parts of the lab, talked to really interesting people, sat under the planetarium dome, gawked at their (shockingly impressive but shamefully unused) Supercomputing Server Cluster and before we knew it the day had gone. We left that day full of new business cards and hope. This was certainly the most incredible potential contact for an IQP project center yet!

Our only regret about the entire experience is that we didn't bring a camera.
Oh well, guess we have to go back!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Getting the Power of the Point

Getting 20 members of the Santa Fe community to come to the Complex let us feel that we were reaching out for future students. Below we have the visuals of the power point, other fun attachments to follow.

Walkability Preliminary Concept Art by Sam

Hey Guys, you should all check out this preliminary concept art for the Interactive Community Platform.

Please leave your feedback so we can continue to improve this awesome new project.

Friday, April 10, 2009


I've been trying to find an effective segue to create some kind of coherent narrative of last night's celebration of Passover, and I really can't. It could be I'm just not that strong a writer, but I really don't know how to describe the feeling of family that I felt last night. For a group that has only started to truly know each other over the past three weeks I was just blown away by how close we have become in such a short time. The efforts of all those who helped bring together a fantastic dinner should be most definitely be mentioned, the chef for the evening was Robin Drogin, who was served quite capably by Sous Chefs Chris and Sam. Comprised of the traditional Passover fair, all 20 guests at our small apartment seemed to truly enjoy their meal.

Artificial General Intelligence

Artificial general intelligence is a minute field compared to many others, but it can also be described as a very important field.

In a nutshell, artificial general intelligence strays from the field of artificial intelligence in that people in the field believe that in order for something to be intelligent, it needs to have some specific set of values. Unfortunately not many people agree on what those values are.

One thing that was made very clear by Dr. Pei Wang is that though it is a small field there are many differing opinions. To be specific, Dr. Wang divides the fields of thought into 5 different categories;

  • People who believe that something intelligent must look and act like a human being

  • People who believe that something intelligent must act human

  • People who believe that something intelligent must be able to solve logical problems

  • People who believe that something intelligent must have cognitive faculties

  • People who believe that something intelligent must obey rational norms

Furthermore, even the people who do agree on the definition of intelligence have different ways of going about achieving their goals.
  • Connecting existing artificial intelligence techniques together

  • To combine modules based on other techniques into an overall architecture

  • To extend or augment a core technique into a single system

This may seem confusing, and that's because it is. Dr. Wang went on to give many examples of each of these, but I will just talk about Dr. Wang's research. His project is called NARS, or Non-Axiomatic Reasoning System. The basic premise is that it is a reasoning system with the capability to learn from mistakes.

Dr. Wang jokingly said that he is often proud of his system when it makes a mistake, because then it can learn from it. This is an interesting concept because, as was stated at the lecture, the system often resembles the learning of a toddler. For example, a toddler might make the incorrect assumption that, since an entire family wears glasses, and he does not, he is not a part of the family. There is logic behind this assumption, even though it is untrue.

One of the things that makes a system able to do this learning, is the implementation of defeasible rasoning. This is where one can say that if x is true, then it stands to reason that y would also be true. The difference between that and the deductive reasoning system that had been used in the past is that there is a chance that a computer's deductions are untrue. This makes many more things possible than were before, because a computer has the chance to amend its previous assumptions.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Pranzo Italian Grill and Restaurant

If you are looking for absolutely amazing Italian food within walking distance of the Complex the best place to go is Pranzo.
For about $15 per a person you can get a spectacular array of Italian food. For appetizers we tried the minestrone soup, and the fried calamari. Both were good, but the calamari was the better of the two as it came with two different sauces. a garlic butter sauce and a spicy sauce. Both complimented the appetizer spectacularly. For meals we ordered a wide variety of food including a tender juicy steak, raviolis, pasta with meatballs, and two different kinds of pizza. The best meal was by far the Pizza Funghi, everyone at the table thoroughly enjoyed it. The best part of the meal was dessert as Pranzo has their own Micro creamery, and makes spectacular ice cream.

No Dearth of Digging Ducklings

From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

Digging a mile worth of irrigation ditch is not what we usually do on a Saturday morning, but this Saturday was different.
From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

An Acequia, as I'm sure you all know by now, is an ancient irrigation method that dates back to the Spanish colonization of the southwest. They allowed the first towns and cities in New Mexico to be sustainable, and in many ways still shape the society today. Every year the ditches must be cleared, and everyone in the local rural community participates in one way or another. But enough of the history lesson, back to us. We rose from our respective beds at around 7:30, rubbed our eyes, dressed, rubbed our eyes again, and got into the car to drive the half hour to the La Cienega Acequia. The digging was already well underway, with about 30 to 40 locals already digging up and down the Acequia. It was a surprisingly brisk morning, almost in the 60s and yet still very dry. We were handed gloves and footed boots. We picked up our sharpened shovels and walked to the nearest undug section of the ditch. The dry earth was thick with the roots of grass, which other than the branches was the main thing being removed from the ditch-about three inches of soil needed to be dug out from the bottom. The walls of the ditch also needed to be made steeper, which in turn made it more difficult to climb out. The dry clay earth yielded effortlessly to the plunging blade of the shovel, resisting only slightly to being forced over and out the ditch.
From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

Then the water began. As the earth grew wet the once easy dirt septupled in weight, the ground gave under the back of the shovel eliminating all hope of leverage, and even the grassroots seemed deeper and hardier. The mud sucked at your boots, making it difficult to take even a single step, and the wet slope meant embarrassing moments of heaving a chunk of earth the size of a large sandwich but with the weight of half a bowling ball to the edge of the ditch, only to see it slide back down again instantly becoming one with the mud once more.
From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

The mud splashed and flecked on our clothes, not excessively, but noticeably. Mud caked on gloves from simply taking the larger chunks of dirt and heaving them out of the ditch by hand. It was a clean mud, a pure mud. Mud that felt good getting on yourself.
From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

The natives were quiet most of the time around us, but talked amongst themselves while digging, usually about digging. They talked about how some of the northern acequias had finer, drier soil and could shovel more easily, and some more mountainous acequias had pine trees running up and down their ditch, whose roots made the digging magnitudes more difficult.
There were mixed reactions to us, outsiders, helping them in this annual ritual. Some snorted at our efforts to clear the ditch, others simply looked past us, but a few were welcoming and empathetic towards our novice ability. In the end our action was treated with the gratitude of an unnecessary favor from a stranger. A "Gee, thanks..." feeling.
From More Santa Fe Bootstrap photos

Nevertheless, we managed to finish 45 minutes early, having dug all the way to the reservoir that fed the Acequia. There was no cheering or outward celebration, but more of just a nod, looking back at what we did, what we all helped do, and knowing it was finished. We all climbed in the back of several trucks and drove to the La Cienega Community Center, where a workers meal was prepared by the women. The potluck was delicious, added to by the fatigue of hours of digging. The Mayordomo made a short speech where thanked everyone for helping and complimented everyone on the state of the Acequia. He hoped to see them all next year with just as much effort. Then people finished eating and simply left. We followed suit. Grabbing our shoes, getting in the car, driving away, showering at home, and climbing back into bed. The act was wholesome and even a little therapeutic. We knew we had engaged in something difficult and necessary, and as we lay down we knew we had done well that day.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

First Friday Fractal by Sam

Last night we all decided to go to one of the most amazing shows ever, First Fractal Friday. According to their website "First Friday Fractals is the spectacular, award-winning fulldome planetarium show that takes viewers on a tour of the fractals in nature and zooms through infinitely complex mathematical fractals. Featuring original music, the show is both educational and highly entertaining, and suitable for audiences 3 and up." Located at The New Mexico Museum of Natural History planetarium, it is a simple train ride away. This show is a must see.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Meow Wolf: A Night Dread Naught.

You can tell that thought went into these lyrics. That the emotions behind them were burningly intense. Topics and stories that have complicated, hidden morals are the formula for most of their songs. With a lead female singer that might try too hard to be Janice Joplin.

Their stop-motion visuals added even more enjoyment to the songs. When they were on queue, that is. The crowd was responsive, and appreciative of the band, as was to be expected.

An overall together band that I will remember having the pleasure of listening to.

A band whose size rivals that of 70's supergroups. It is more an orchestra than a simple group of musicians. Cole Wilson, the lead guitarist and singer acts also as a conductor, often turning around and directing the rest of these college-student twenty-somethings.
17 Band Members were present, though their has them listed as 25 in total:
3 Guitars,
1 Violinist,
1 Violist,
1 Cellist,
2 Saxes,
3 Horns,
1 Flautist,
1 Clarinet,
1 Banjo,
1 Pianist,
1 Bassist (both upright and guitar)
And a drummer, of course.
All playing simultaneously, though usually to reduce complexity a few always hung back.

Aside from the excessive feedback in more places than were forgivable, heartfelt rhythm filled the space. The band taking up about as much room as the audience. The wall of sound that we anticipated was experienced, but not to the point where we were fully satisfied. Perhaps that was the idea.

An band that is not afraid to break boundaries and be ingenious once and awhile. A metal xylophone played with a violin bow! The sound is like that of a perfect harmonic octave.
The songs are mostly of sadness, but the band keeps it humorous.

I don't know, but unsigned bands just have this different energy about them. A hopeful determination, a happy acceptance of sadness. The fact that the genre that night was Folk makes it even more pronounced. Sound for sound's sake. And beautiful sound at that. I like that.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Horse Shoes In Santa Fe

On any typical night here in Santa Fe we are constantly looking for new and interesting activities to do around our apartment. Last nights adventures led us to Wal-Mart in search of some board games. After perusing the aisles for quite some time we were unable to find a cost savvy yet still fun game to play. Then as if it were some sort of miracle come to save us from boredom we found the greatest invention known to man. Giant pink plastic horseshoes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Geometry

Experiencing the works of Michael Leyton, is an example of reasonable intelligence and over developed ego. Presenting on the concept of symmetry in geometry and how art was a method of data storage. While the opening explanations of how complex symmetry was defined in geometric objects, the remainder of the presentation dealt way too much with the speakers ego to be truly appealing.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Manipulated Images at the Complex

Last night's presentation was a visual extravaganza with just about every technological visual representation imaginable. I'm not going to lie, I didn't understand a large portion of what was going on. I assume that it's because I'm uncultured. A lot of the videos I felt could have stood to be shorter.

TV On The Radio "Staring At The Sun" from benton-c bainbridge on Vimeo.

There were 5 artists showcased, 3 of them local artists. Susanna Carlisle, David Stout, and Cory Metcalf were among the local artists featured, and the other 2 artists, Matt Marello and Benton C. Bainbridge.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Acequia Interview and Site visit with J.J. Gonzales

This past Thursday, the 19th of March, JP Gonzales, Andrew Tremblay and I (Dave) visited the Gonzales family property for a tour and interviewed JP's father, J.J. Gonzales (pictured above with JP). He gave us an extensive general history and background of acequias, water rights as well as local La Cienega history of acequias.

Their family is preparing for an "acequia dig", which happens each year. Twigs and leaves are cleaned out of the waterway and a fresh trench is dug out in preparation for the rainy/harvest season. The leftovers from the winter need to be cleaned out of the acequia pictured above. The picture below shows the remnants of controlled fires clearing out the ditch.

The text of the interview is here, and the audio will be edited and posted soon. AND BY SOON WE MEAN RIGHT NOW


download Part 1


download Part 2


download Part 3


download Part 4


download Part 5


download Part 6


download Part 7


download Part 8


download Part 9

I pardon the length but the entire interview is about an hour long, so sit back and enjoy it while I try to make/locate an Mp3 widget with a playlist option.

Zia Diner by Sam

Zia Diner offers a wide selection of food encompassing both the native Santa Fe diet as well as a multitude of other ethnic foods. It is open 7AM-10PM daily. So far the group favorite is the breakfast burrito, Christmas style, which you can find on the online menu found here. We also seemed to enjoy the gingerbread and pumpkin spice milkshakes. Although it does cost five dollars it can be shared by multiple people.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Music at Meow/Wolf: A Night of Hip-Hop, Ambient Rock, and Shenanigans

To prove that the only thing to do at night in Santa Fe is not just hanging out in bars and eating at restaraunts, I decided to check out the music scene and see what all the young people are listening to these days.

Meow Wolf is a self-defined artist collective off of second street that deals in a lot of performance and location art, and their studio does not leave a lot not to the imagination.

Initials BR opened with a slurred but intricate rap sequence. The music streaming on his website was much clearer than how he sang at Meow Wolf, but it's more the music that you allow to wash over you in waves of syllables, which was certainly the experience tonight.

We Drew Lightning followed, but since they do not exist at all on the Internet they are not worth mentioning other than their presence.

Microfiche closed the evening with music that can only be experienced. So Here.

The night was cold, but the place was warm, the people fun, and the music great.

Ojo Caliente: A Dearth of Discomfort

For the first weekend of all of us here at the complex we decided to do the manliest thing we could think of.
You guessed it: Spa treatment.

Ojo Caliente Hot Springs lies a little more than an hour out of Santa Fe and has been regarded as a sacred healing place by many Native American tribes for hundreds, if not thousands of years. At some point after colonization the inhabitants evolved it into a very lovely spa. As you can see from the previous posts we concluded that all of the stress from meetings and Acequia tours and skiing and St. Patty's Day celebrations was really getting to us, so we decided to treat ourselves to a bit of mud.

After arriving, we paid an entrance fee equivalent to most theme parks, showered, and entered the main area. A quiet place with "Whispering Only" signs omnipresent, it first appeared to be an overdecorated private pool. We split off into groups and entered the different enclosed bathing pools, of which there were several. The one I entered first appeared very popular, including a description that bathing in this particular pool would help in digestive problems, improve your skin complexion, cure all ailments and boost your vitality and wisdom by one point each. I felt I couldn't pass the opportunity up.

Like most great things, the experience was vivid in the way that is not easy to describe. I initially approached the idea of Ojo Caliente with a reluctant distrust, but after losing track of the minutes spent submerged in mana-replenishing minerals I didn't want to get out.

The mud bath was out of order at the time, but the soda bath was working just fine. As were the arsenic baths and the natural water pools. Each provided a slightly different temperature to treat you in, varying from tepid to almost unbearably hot. Each pool also provided a slightly different flavor, though I could not conclude if that was solely the effect of the natural spring or the bathers therein.

The gang reconvened at the largest pool, which felt the coldest at the time, due of course to our somatosensory system and it's foolish, foolish thermoreceptors.

We also spent a good while in the hammocks strung around the place, sweated in the steam rooms and saunas, and the bravest of us actually drank from the hand pump in the middle of the spring, which had signs that stated the spring has been believed for hundreds of years to hold healing properties for those who drink it (but the establishment and administration is not responsible for any adverse health effects resulting from the imbibing of the spring). Sam, our food and restaurant critic, described the taste eloquently as "warm ass".

Overall, Ojo Caliente is a great place for people who think they have to pay for something to relax, as well as for people who think they don't.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Artistic Inspiration

With the mini-MQP being devoted to interactive "Web 2.0" art-work, the sight web-urbanist has a very interesting collection of 1.0 style artwork that could act as a starting point for the goal of interactive art work for the city of Santa Fe.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Ski Santa Fe

Ski Santa Fe
Renting Skis, poles, and boots: $22
Half Day Afternoon Lift Pass: $42
Lunch at Totemoff's Bar and Grill, 2 hot dogs, a 20 oz soda, one snickers, and a large hot chocolate, about $15, you should remember there is nothing preventing you from bringing your own food and drinks.
Spring Time skiing, according to overheard conversations is generally better in the morning as the sun hasn't had time to partially melt the snow.
While I am far from a professional skiers, before yesterday it had been roughly 6 years since I had last went skiing, I did manage to try three of the four difficulty levels available at Ski Santa Fe.

Green Circle Trails, for those unfamiliar with the standard rating of ski trails, are considered the first step up from practicing on the bunny hill. Along these routes you will generally see the most inexperienced skiers on the mountain and as such you should expect to have a rather slow trip down the mountain, for those who are out of practice taking a short run down a green trail may be a safe way to re-acclimate to the sport. Traveling down the Santa Fe Trail you are provided with ample opportunities to explore blue square and black diamond trails.

Blue Square trails are the next progression of ski trail difficulty, while the trails are generally smooth, they are steeper and still filled with a decent number of other skiers and as such your main challenge will be avoiding colliding with others. The Gay Way trail was decently paced and at least for a Thursday afternoon, relatively unoccupied. Like the Santa Fe Trail, Gay Way trail connects with both higher and lower difficulty level trails if you choose to diversify.

Black Diamond Trails are considered the hardest trails non professional skiers should attempt, at Ski Santa Fe the most defining trait of Black Diamond trails that was seen were moguls, and for any skier who has never had to use moguls before, it is apparent that they are in no way your friend.

La Cienega

Yesterday Dearth, Dave, and I (Dan) had our first field trip out into the wild. We spent a few hours in the town of La Cienega. a short drive south of Santa Fe proper. This is a far cry from the relative urbanity of Santa Fe. Much of La Cienega and its surrounding area is undisturbed wilderness.

The main attraction of La Cienega to non-residents is El Rancho de las Golondrinas, which is spanish for Ranch of the Swallows. This was once the last stop for traders en route to Santa Fe from Mexico D.F. (Mexico City for you gringos) along the route known as El Camino Real. Today, this area has been designated as a "living museum" and during tourist season it is open to the public, with tour guides dressing in clothes from the 1800s and baking their own tortillas.

It is not currently tourist season, and as such we shouldn't have been able to get a tour. Fortunately for us JP was able to give us the VIP Tour. The highlight of our trip was the acequia, which is on the register of historic places. If you have been following our project, you know that one of our Mini-IQPs is concerning the acequia system of New Mexico.

Also on the ranch were a few root cellars, two places of worship, one of which holds a statue of San Isidro Labrador. There was a working mill, an authentic adobe horno, and of course some sheep.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Complexity & Arts Meeting

This afternoon, Stephen presented some basic methods and background of complexity software. A freeware program that accomplishes this is NetLogo, which can be downloaded here. JP recommended that the Acequia mini-IQP group download this program and complete the tutorial, though it would probably be beneficial for all six of us. The complexity discussion will continue each Wednesday at 2:20 in the SF Complex Commons.

We then progressed into an Arts Meeting led by Orlando where Ahni from Spaces for Peace presented the objectives of Spaces for Peace. It is mainly a peace and arts literacy project that could possibly be integrated into the SF Complex Mission.

St. Patty's Day in Santa Fe

Being from the Boston area, there was concern that there would be a dearth of festivities for the St. Patrick's Day Holiday. Luckily for us, the kind people of the Santa Fe Complex were able to recommend The Cowgirl. The Cowgirl is a mix of Texas style BBQ with Santa Fe spice. The Buffalo burger is not spicy! There is a cover charge of $3.00, but there are ways around that. On Tuesday nights, the Cowgirl features techno, deals on food, and more. Although there was no green beer, it was still a very festive atmosphere.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The City of Santa Fe

To make the city of Santa Fe more accessible to the trends and goals of the municipal government, an annual report is released in an easy to read document "Santa Fe Trends". This article gives straight forward statistics on many of the major factors influencing the development potential of the city of Santa Fe. The document also out lines the city government's goal of creating an energy neutral sustainable city by 2030.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sand Glumac

There is already a precedent for an MQP taking place at the Santa Fe Complex
Jon Glumac (CS) has been working with Steve on "theatrical primitives" as part of the Ambient Computing effort.
Here he is, looking like a primitive sandman on a skype call with Steve and me.  
Couldn't get more theatrically primitive than this!
We should soon begin to see some online demos of Jon's work.  
He will finish his MQP, which is being conducted on the WPI campus, at the end of term D.

Monday, February 23, 2009

More Educational Viewing: Acequia Documentary (From JP)

UPDATE: This embedding works when I preview it, but doesn't seem to work when I publish the post. Here is the link to the page where you can view the video if the embedded version isn't working for you either.

UPDATE TWO: (This one's exciting though, I promise!) The embedding now works, but I left the link above just in case you guys still need it.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Santa Fe Complex Walkscore

Here is the walkscore of the Santa Fe Institute

Cultural Research

Roy Wroth, a member of the Santa Fe Complex, recommended using the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center's website, to get a better idea about some of the groups that we hope to work with in Santa Fe. Its an excellent way to get a better understanding of the traditions of the tribes and nations near where we will be looking.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Educational Viewing

The TV show 30 Days had a rather insightful episode about living on a reservation. It provides a valuable perspective about one of the tribal cultures near Santa Fe.