What I, an European, know each US state for

Inspired by @ralphspina‘s and @ruinsrebuilt‘s very humorous posts.

(Oh god Americans, im so sorry)


Alaska: Orcas, beautiful nature (basically Norway)

Arizona: one big desert (also an iced tea??)

Arkansas: mentioned in one of edward sharpe and the magnetic zero’s songs

California: Basically pop culture; Malibu, Beverly hills, Disneyland etc.

Colorado: Sayy Colorado! IM A GIRAFFE

Connecticut: hard to pronounce

Delaware: ????

Florida: Miami

Georgia: Oh this is easy, it’s a country in Europe.

Hawaii: Surfing, Lilo and Stitch


Illinois: what even..

Indiana: *starts screaming the Indiana Jones theme*


Kentucky: fried chicken

Louisiana: Cajuns (!!!) and an art museum 

Maine: ehmm

Maryland: Monroe??

Massachusetts: oh, Boston!!

Michigan: almost in canada

Minnesota: the home of that blue bird from Rio

Mississippi: thats a river…

Missouri: ?!?!

Montana: that disney singer’s last name

Nebraska: Omaha?

Nevada: Las Vegas

New Hampshire: ??

New Jersey: Kingston, and my grandcousin lives there.

New Mexico:

New York: NYC, nothing else.

North Carolina: Nu uh.

North Dakota: I got nothing.

Ohio: OH OHIO!! i basically know everything about Ohio, bc i made a presentation about the state in English class (don’t ask why)


Oregon: you can’t buy liquor in Oregon

Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia

Rhode Island: Is, in fact, not an island.

South Carolina: same as north carolina

South Dakota: same as north

Tennessee: Banjos!!

Texas: Cowboys n’ gunslingers (also a lot of spareribs, i speak with experience)

Utah: Somewhere in the middle of USA

Vermont: Maple trees. Also where i will be an exchange student after summer.

Virginia: The other place the Navy SEALs train other than California

Washington: Wait, this isnt the capital? OHHHH,,, TWILIGHT.


Wisconsin: My friend is taking an excange year there. 

Wyoming: Somewhere with mountains


and you drive me wild

(Read the previous chapters here!)

PART FIVE: The Revolutionary Set

Later that Saturday afternoon Alexander was hunched over his laptop, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and a google search open, each of them tried and tried again in their search for John Laurens.

Lafayette stood behind Alex, face scrunched in thought. “Mon ami,” he said after Alex let out his third groan of frustration in the span on a minute. “Why not try looking for ‘Martha Laurens,’ hmm?”

“I’ll give it a shot,” Alexander said, feverishly typing her name into the search bar on Facebook. He nearly shrieked in excitement when a profile with her smiling face as the profile picture came up. “It’s her! It’s her!” he exclaimed as if Laf wasn’t right there with him, looking at the same exact thing.

Lafayette only chuckled as Alex clicked on her page. They couldn’t see much, but they could flip through her profile pictures. The first one was of Martha by herself, then one of her and her younger sister when they were about elementary school and preschool aged. The third one was Martha and another girl who appeared to be her age in school uniforms.

“Wait,” Laf said, laying his hand on top of Alex’s to stop him from clicking to the next picture. “That is our Eliza!”

Alex, who hadn’t paid the other girl much attention seeing as he was hoping John would appear in one of these profile pictures, did a doubletake. “Holy shit,” he said.

“Merde, it was in front of us all along,” Lafayette mumbled. “Of course they go to the same school!”

“That fancy private one across the river?” Alex asked, staring at the photo of the two smiling girls.

Eliza and her siblings had long been friends of the Washingtons, as Philip Schuyler had served a term in the senate alongside him. Washington had considered sending his sons to that school–– they certainly had the money–– but had decided to send them to the public school, feeling that it was more in line with his constituents.

Lafayette pulled out his phone and sent a message to the group chat.

Large Baguette: OKAY MES AMIS

Pegboard: why u askin

Hunkules Mulletman: babe wtf r u doing

Sweet Lizard: oh john is a cutie!!

Adriatic Sea: ooohhh is this the boy you and Alex were stalking??

Alabama Hammerman: IT’S NOT STALKING

Angel Face: wtf u doing stalking my boy??????

Large Baguette: YOUR BOY???

Pegboard: lmao they’re so not dating calm the hell down Laffy Taffy
Pegboard: Laurens is as gay as a pride flag

Angel Face: he’s still my boy and I am in charge of protecting him from weirdos like u

Large Baguette: i am fatally wounded goodbye mes amis

Sweet Lizard: Angie stop! :(((

Large Baguette: at least Eliza will attend my funeral <333

Pegboard: can we get back to the fact that u and ham have been stalking a man???
Pegboard: bc that is weird af
Pegboard: and i’m offended u didn’t ask for my help

Alabama Hammerman: he’s in those car commercials
Alabama Hammerman: on fox news
Alabama Hammerman: he’s really cute and I wanted to meet him???
Alabama Hammerman: also he wasn’t in this week’s commercial
Alabama Hammerman: and i got kinda worried

Large Baguette: he means he got, how u say, hella gay

Alabama Hammerman: I AM BI THANK U V MUCH

Hunkules Mulletman: hi bi i’m dad

Large Baguette: BABE
Large Baguette: I LOVE U SO MUCH

Adriatic Sea: why am i dating you two

Alabama Hammerman: so can i meet him or??????

Angel Face: hmmmmmm

Sweet Lizard: of course you can!

Angel Face: Liza stop ruining my evil plans come on grl

Sweet Lizard: ;)))


Large Baguette: HOW YOU SAY, YES

Angel Face: but fine
Angel Face: but u know who u gotta invite for me, right?

Alabama Hammerman: ANGIE
Alabama Hammerman: WHY

Angel Face: he’s hot af okay just come on
Angel Face: i’m helping u out, aren’t i?

Alabama Hammerman: fine
Alabama Hammerman: but i’m not pleased

Angel Face: never said u had to be ;)))

Sweet Lizard: So it’s settled! Game night, our place, next Friday at 7:00 :)

Large Baguette: i am, how u say, HYPED


Anyone who has used the power of his office as United States Attorney to intimidate and chill the free exercise of the ballot by citizens should not be elevated to our courts. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters. For this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship. The irony of Mr. Sessions’ nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband’s dream.
An unpopular opinion: grad school

There’s been so much talk of “cultural elites” or “coastal elites” lately. My impression is that a significant cultural status marker–at least in NYC–is the possession of a graduate degree. *Particularly* one in a non-technical field that doesn’t strictly require advanced education to participate or advance. (For example, you need a JD to practice law. You do not need an MFA to work as a furniture designer, so to have one anyway is prestigious.)

This gets me into trouble if I bring it up in social settings. People say, “Oh, I just wanted to achieve a personal goal.” Which is true and admirable, of course. But if I talk, even abstractly, about degrees as cultural markers, of this being part of a broader phenomenon, people get upset.

I sat at a casual gathering recently and toted up the degrees. Penn, MIT, Cornell, Brown + NYU, Brown + NYU…Thinking on it now, most of my friends locally have degrees from Ivy Leagues or elite liberal-arts schools (and I do not), so it becomes even stranger that they would deny it or be unaware of it. I guess it is harder to observe the phenomenon from the inside? Or maybe I’m being uncouth, talking religion at the dinner table.

I have started to wonder if I’m being left behind culturally. Right now, I’m often the youngest in the room in professional settings, and I’ve achieved a higher job title than my peers. However, I’m also the token geographic (Alabama-born) and educational (art school) minority, and at some point, I’ll stop being “cute” and “scrappy” and just be a country imposter without a useful alumni network. It is scary to me.

And also, the thought of going to grad school–without family or spousal financial support–is scary. It would mean working part-time hours (or not at all), taking on a lot of debt, forestalling any sort of family-building decisions, and likely not earning a higher salary afterwards (because of my field). Of course, I would learn things, but the main appeal would be cultural prestige and a lifelong alumni network. I can’t make it make sense and yet it seems like a thing I absolutely need to do.

walks-in-ink  asked:

First off, I love this blog, so damn much. ^ ^ It's both eye-opening and educating, especially for someone like me who adores animals and will be taking a animal care class at a local college next year. Secondly, can you recommend any zoos, sanctuaries, etc., in both Alabama and Florida that have good animal welfare and in general, not shady at all? I'm going on vacation to Florida with my family in August (we're also going to Alabama too), and I want to visit places I know are okay.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom is pretty solid as far as zoos go - and it’s the only one I’ve visited.

It’s hard for me to give you the recommendations you’re looking for since Florida has the highest concentration of zoological facilities in the country - so there’s a lot to choose from. Big Cat Rescue is probably the most visibile sanctuary for cats, but it definitely has a reading on the shady-meter. There’s some ranches with retired circus elephants you can check out if that’s your political cup of tea, although they’re not technically sanctuaries because the animals are still trained and do public interactions.

"The irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given a life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished twenty years ago with clubs and cattle prods. ... I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made toward fulfilling my husband's dream."

— Coretta Scott King (MLK’s wife) nailed what’s wrong with Jeff Sessions… in 1986

follow @the-movemnt

new job / ooc

So I started my career today, or at least what I hope will become my career. Back in the late 90′s I started making websites for Myspace and just for my friends. Mostly revolving around Anime (Gundum Wing was the shit). I decided I wanted to do that for a career, but I had also just moved from Alabama to Connecticut and I wasn’t happy about this.

See, I grew up in CT, and didn’t really have a whole lot of friends growing up. I was the weird kid into Sci-fi like Star Trek and Disney. I didn’t care much about shopping or designer brands and I didn’t squeal over the latest heart throb (OMG Jonathan Taylor Thomas was such a babe, like totally). While I was never afraid to go up to someone and say, “hey can I sit here,” I was never really welcomed, the strange kid never is.

But then in 1997 I moved from CT, to AL, to a military town, and I found my group. I found people who were into Star Trek, and sci-fi and making stupid movies with a video camera and watching movies like The Princess Bride. Suddenly I went from having one close friend to having several, and I loved them. 

Then I moved from AL, back to CT, after graduation and suddenly I was alone again. I started going to school but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Sure maybe web design but I was bad at programming. My mother suggested computers so I went to trade school for computers. I got a job, but I wasn’t happy, I wanted to do art. I did get a job in Nashville, TN and it was great, like high school I had a lot of friends. I was going out at night having fun, exploring different things and it was wonderful, but I missed my family and the schools I was going to I didn’t like.

I moved back to CT, and started working toward an associate in graphic design while working contract jobs. I graduated but still no jobs out there to hire me, I didn’t have a portfolio of work that would get me hired. I started working for AT&T which was AWFUL, and used them to pay for my BA in graphic design.

But then something happened. While hating AT&T and all the shit they put me through (that’s for another post) I realized I really liked marketing. What’s cooler than getting someone to buy something they don’t need, but convincing them they have to have it, and they have to have it now. I mean seriously, someone made the candle snuffer, why do we need that!? 

So I graduated, just recently (I did fail a few classes, because of stupidity, sickness and just plain uninterest) and started looking for jobs. I’ve been applying everywhere in the country, and I went on two interviews. One, I never heard back from them, the other hired me last week and I started today.

I started working at a MARKETING FIRM!

Today was the first day and really I think it’s going to be great. Yeah, there are deadlines and we have to get them done fast, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. 

The part that really got me, was I walked in, they told me what to do, and I UNDERSTOOD what they were talking about. I knew it. I could walk in, and do the work without worrying about if I’d be good enough. I know I will be. 

That to me is such a foreign concept. 

I just am really happy and I really want to do a good job, and I really want to like this place and have them like me. I want to be here in a year, and maybe two. I want to save money and buy a baby ( yeah I have to buy one because I don’t have an SO). I hope that these things happen, I really want them to. 

I just want to be happy. 

blazer-the-delphox  asked:

Mae the Chimchar and Pingu the Piplup! Make way for Team Alabama! Also, headcanon where Mae introduces herself by her full name, Mae Tanya Ash, and now Pingu feels like he has to call her that. She even tries to sign her name like that! (To think that this all started because my mom was listening to "Sweet Home Alabama" earlier today!) All this talk about Alabama made my mind wander, and now I want to make Team Kentucky a thing, for whatever reason!

Yay! And omg, so cute and random, inspiration is weird that way
….does Mae introduce herself that way to all pokemon though, that sounds adorable lol

The Mercury-Redstone Launch Vehicle would be America’s first step in achieving space-faring status. Like other early rockets, the Mercury-Redstone was derived from a ballistic missile design, the PGM-11 Redstone. 

The PGM-11 Redstone became America’s first nuclear armed Short Range Ballistic Missile for defense in West Germany and Europe during the Cold War, from 1958 to 1964. Under Chief Designer Wernher von Braun, the Restone Missile (a descendant of the V-2) was also developed at Huntsville, Alabama at the Redstone Arsenal under the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), for which the missile was named. It first launched successfully in 1953. 

Variants of the Redstone Missile include Jupiter-A, Jupiter-C, and Juno-1. Juno-I would be the launch vehicle for the United State’s first satellite - Explorer I, in January 1958 in response to the USSR’s launch of Sputnik, three months earlier. 

The Redstone platform would be used as the initial launch vehicle for the American space program’s Project Mercury. The Jupiter-C, with it’s elongated fuselage, carried enough fuel to bring the capsule to the edge of space, burning liquid oxygen and ethyl alcohol for 143 seconds through a Rocketdyne A-7 engine. The first flights of Project Mercury carried empty capsules, followed by Ham the Chimpanzee, and subsequently the first American in space, Alan Shepard aboard Freedom 7, in May 1961.

Shepard would be followed by Gus Grissom two months later, aboard Liberty Bell 7.

The Mercury-Redstone would no longer be used to launch Astronauts following Grissom’s flight. But the design of the Redstone would prove enduring. The Saturn I rocket, initially developed by the ABMA and used for NASA’s Apollo program, used a cluster of Redstone tanks making up the first stage of the the I and IB of the Saturn family of rockets.

The Redstone, as a missile, would serve the Army until 1964, when it was replaced by the MGM-31 Pershing missile. However, surplus rockets would continue to be used, including to launch Australia’s first satellite, WRESAT, in November 1967. 

Watch Jessica Williams expose how absurd fetal lawyers are 

Thursday night, The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams interviewed “fetal attorney” Julian McPhillips, whose job is to represent fetuses in court.

Yes. In the wonderful world where fetuses are persons, they can also, thanks to an Alabama parental consent law called HB 494, acquire legal assistance to prevent their termination.

anonymous asked:

51 please it sounds so cute :))

51) things you said as we danced in our socks


in alabama, at least, it is not country twang that spilled from the roadside jukebox, which they’d both agreed was sort of desperately comic when what they’d meant was sad. the clown-like thing, paint escaping down the sides and nudged against the side of a highway gas station to flicker to life of its own accord.

“who’s dancing at a gas station, anyway?” she asks.  

“people who need to, i guess.” he shades his eyes with a palm and she doesn’t seek out his smile, just nods. yes. 

some still, silent part of her has always understood road logic better than she lets on.

Keep reading

hey friends! lets talk about what is happening in my state Indiana

Our great governor (sarcasm) Mike Pence has passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which is BAD

let me tell you why it is bad

Religious Freedom Restoration Act is targeted towards the LGBT+ community to where any business can turn away any customer if they feel that if it goes against their religion 

now i’m not stupid but that is black and white discrimination 

and don’t sit there and try to say “if i owned a business i would want to control who my customers are too” that’s not how public businesses work, this is not how life works, you cannot just discriminate a customer solely on their sexuality 

From the IndyStar here’s a very interesting quote “Sure, it is cleverly labeled with a market-tested name (the Religious Freedom bill), but please don’t be fooled: This is nothing more than a government endorsement of discrimination. Yes, in this land of liberty, our state’s government is prepared to push into law a measure allowing one group of people to tell others that they are not equal and not welcome at their businesses.”

Remember the laws against POC? 

homophobia is becoming blind sided just like racism was back then and even with companies such as Chick-Fil-A, Cracker Barrel, Urban Outfitters, and Boy Scouts of America publicly admitting not supporting gay rights 

now if a company were to say today that they didn’t support racial rights everyone would go what the fuck?

i’m a firm believer that you have as much choice of your sexuality as you do of your skin color; not a damn choice

this is not only a problem in my state Indiana but also Alabama, Arizone, Connecticut, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missoui, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virgina. i know me writing a long ranting post isn’t going to help anything but i want to spread awareness about this on going issue of LGBT community being discriminated time after time and the government isn’t doing anything about it 

having gay marriage is cool, but when you don’t have gay rights what is the point?
Alabama's 'Worst Drought In Memory' Is About To Get Even Worse
With 98 percent of the state affected, Alabama's abysmal water management planning is under intense scrutiny.

When we think “drought,” we think California, or just a couple of years ago, Texas, or the American Southwest generally. We don’t think, “Alabama.” Until this story popped up on my screen, I wasn’t aware of a drought in Alabama.

Excerpt from the Huffington Post story:

Alabama is in the midst of the worst drought in at least a decade, though anecdotally, many say it’s the most severe in modern memory. More than 98 percent of the state is now suffering drought conditions, with parts of the northeast and east-central Alabama enduring “exceptional drought” ― the worst possible kind. Rivers and streams have run dry, wildlife have perished, and raging wildfires have consumed more than 12,000 acres of land statewide.

Forecasters said this week that the drought is showing no signs of abating. Alabama will likely experience not a wet, but a drier than usual winter this year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The agency said the drought is expected to persist through Jan. 31, bringing worsening conditions to areas already in the grips of a crisis. It’s anticipated that drought will consume the entire state by year’s end.

With climate change promising to bring more frequent and intense droughts and wildfires in the coming decades, local activists and water management experts say the ongoing drought is a foreshadowing of “scary” things to come.

The current emergency has also cast a harsh spotlight on the state’s abject failure to prepare for times of drought crisis, they say.

Alabama has been dubbed “America’s Amazon.” It has the most navigable water channels in the country and boasts the most freshwater biodiversity. So dead and dying rivers and streams can spell disaster for ecosystems, as well as local communities living near water bodies and industries relying on these water channels for survival.

Drought also severely threatens the health of wildlife populations, including threatened species. Other than being one of America’s most biodiverse states, Alabama is also home to the third-largest number of endangered species in the country, including aquatic creatures like fish, freshwater mussels and crayfish.

The climate and the current weather pattern is creating the drought. But the state’s government isn’t helping the situation:

Sample Return Robot Challenge

It’s been a long, technical journey for the seven teams competing this week in Level 2 of our Sample Return Robot Challenge. Over the past five years, more than 50 teams have attempted the $1.5 million competition, which is looking to develop autonomous capabilities in robotics. Basically, we want robots that can think and act on their own, so they can travel to far off places – like Mars – and we can rely on them to work on their own when a time delay or unknown conditions could be factors.

This challenge has two levels, both requiring robots to navigate without human control and Earth-based tools (like GPS or magnetic compassing). The robot has to find samples, pick them up and deliver them to home base. Each of the final seven teams succeeded at Level 1, where they had to find one sample, during previous competition years. Now, they have a shot at the much more difficult Level 2, where they have a two-hour window to locate up to 10 samples of varying point values, but they don’t know where to look or what exactly they’re looking for.

Get to know the final seven, and be sure to cheer them on as we live-stream the competition all day Sept. 4 and 5.

West Virginia University Mountaineers
Hailing from: Morgantown, West Virginia
# of Team Members:  12

Behind the Name: In West Virginia, we call ourselves mountaineers. We like to explore unknown places and be inspired by nature.

Motivation: To challenge ourselves. Through this venture, we are also hoping to create research and career opportunities for everyone on the team.

Strategy: Keeping things simple. Through participating in SRR challenge during the last three years, we have gone a long way in streamlining our system.

Obstacles: One of the biggest challenges was finding and nurturing the talent of individual team members and coordinating the team in making real progress on time.

Prize Plans: We donated 50 percent of our 2015 Level 2 prize money to create an undergraduate “Robotics Achievement Fellowship” at WVU. The rest of the funding was allocated to support team member professional development, such as traveling to conferences. A similar model will be used if we win in 2016.

Extra Credit:  We did an Easter egg hunt with our robot, Cataglyphis (named after a desert ant with extraordinary navigation capabilities), last year.

Hailing from: Los Angeles, California
# of Team Members: Jascha Little

Behind the Name: It’s short, simple, and what the robot spends a lot of its time doing.

Team History: We work together, and we all thought the challenge sounded like an excellent way to solve the problem of what to do with all our free time.

Motivation: We are all engineers and software developers that already work on robotics projects. Reading too much sci-fi when we were kids probably got us to this point.

Strategy: We are trying to solve the search-and-return problem primarily with computer vision. This is mostly to reduce cost. Our budget can’t handle high quality IMUs or LIDAR.

Prize Plans: Probably build more robots.

Extra Credit: Favorite pop culture robot is Bender (Futurama). Alcoholic robots are the best.

Alabama Astrobotics (The University of Alabama)
Hailing from: Tuscaloosa, Alabama
# of Team Members: 33

Behind the Name: “Alabama Astrobotics” was chosen to reflect our school affiliation and our mission to design robotics for various space applications.

Team History: Alabama Astrobotics has been involved with other NASA robotics competitions in the past.  So, the team is accustomed to the competition environment.  

Motivation: We are pleased to have advanced to Level 2 in our first year in the competition (the first team to do so), but we are also not satisfied with just advancing.  Our goal is to try to solve Level 2.

Strategy: Our strategy is similar to that used in Level 1.  Our Level 1 approach was chosen so that it would translate to Level 2 as well, thus requiring fewer customizations from Level 1 to Level 2.

Obstacles: As a university team, the biggest challenge was not having all our team members available to work on the robot during the time since Level 1 completed in June. Most of my team members have either graduated or have summer internships, which took them away from campus after Level 1.  Thus, we didn’t have the manpower to address the additional Level 2 technical challenges.

Prize Plans: Any prize money would be donated to the University of Alabama College of Engineering.

Extra Credit: Alabama Astrobotics also competes in the annual NASA Robotic Mining Competition held at the Kennedy Space Center each May.  We have been fortunate enough to win that competition three times in its seven year history, and we are the only team to win it more than once.

Hailing From: Santa Clara, California
# of Team Members: 4

Behind the Name: Several reasons: Team leader is Greg Maxwell, and his school nick name was Max. Our robot’s name is Max, which is one of the most common name for a dog, and it is a retriever. Our efforts on this has been too the max…. i.e. MAXed-Out. Our technology requirements have been pushed to their limits - Maxed-Out.

Team History: Greg Maxwell started a Meet-up “Silicon-Valley Robot Operating System” SV-ROS that was to help teach hobbyists how to use ROS on their robots. We needed a project to help implement and make real what we were teaching. This is the third contest we have participated in.

Motivation: There is still such a long way to go to make robots practical. Every little bit we can contribute makes them a little bit better and smarter.
Level 1 was a test, as a minimum viable product to prove the tech worked. For Level 2, we had to test and add obstacle avoidance to be able to cover the larger area with trees and slopes, plus add internal guidance to allow for Max to be out of the home base camera tracking system.

Obstacles: Lack of a cost effective robot platform that met all the requirements; we had to build our own. Also time and money. The two months (between Level 1 and 2) went really fast, and we had to abandon lots of cool ideas and focus on the basics.

Prize Plans: Not sure, but pay off the credit cards comes to mind. We might open-source the platform since it works pretty well. Or we will see if it works as expected. We may also take a break / vacation away from robots for a while.

Extra Credit: My nephew, Max Hieges, did our logo, based on the 1960-era Rat Fink sticker.

Mind & Iron
Hailing From: Seattle, Washington
# of Team Members: 5

Behind the Name: It was the original title for Isaac Asimov’s “I Robot,” and we thought it was a good combination of what a robot actually is – mechanical and brains.

Team History: Three of us were WPI undergrads and met at school; two of us did our master’s degrees at the University of Washington, where we met another member, and then another of us brought on a family member.

Motivation: We saw that there was an opportunity to compete in a challenge that seemed like there was a reasonable solution that we could tackle with a limited budget. We saw three years of competition and thought that we had some better ideas and a pretty good shot at it.
The samples and the terrain are much more complex in Level 2, and we have to be more careful about our navigation. We are using the same tools, just expanding their capability and scope.

Obstacles: The team being spread over three different time zones has been the biggest challenge. We are all doing this in our free time after work. The internet has been really handy to get things done.

Prize Plans: Probably invest in more robot stuff! And look for other cool projects we can work on, whether it’s another NASA challenge or other projects.

Extra Credit: We are hoping to collaborate with NASA on the professional side with surgical robots to exoskeletons. Challenge-related, our robot is mostly made of plywood – it is a composite fiber material that works well for fast development using cheap materials.

Hailing From: South Hadley, Massachusetts
# of Team Members: 4

Team History: We are a family. Our kids are both robot builders who work for Boston Dynamics, and they have a lot of robot expertise. Both of our kids are robotics engineers, and my wife is intrinsically brilliant, so the combination of that makes for a good team.

Motivation: Because it’s a really hard challenge. It’s one thing to drive a robot with a remote control; it’s another to do the whole thing autonomously. If you make a single change in a robot, it could throw everything off. You have to think through every step for the robot. On a basic level, to learn more about robotics and to win the prize.
Very similar to Level 1. We approached Level 1 knowing Level 2 was there, so our strategy was no different.

Obstacles: It is very difficult to do object recognition under unpredictable conditions – sun, clouds, weather, sample location. The biggest challenge was trying to recognize known and unknown objects under such a wide variety of environmental possibilities. And the terrain is very different – you don’t know what you’re going to find out there.

Prize Plans: We haven’t really thought about it, but we will give some away, and we’ll invest the rest in our robotics company.

Extra Credit: The first robot we had was called Robo-Dad. Dan was training to be an astronaut in the 1990s, so we built a toy remote-controlled truck that Dan - in Texas - could control via the internet in the house. Robo-Dad had a camera that Dan could see the house with. It had two-way communication; it was a little before it’s time – the internet was very slow.

Team AL
Hailing From: Ontario, Canada
# of Team Members: 1

Team History: I was looking for competitions that were open, and my dad had followed the Centennial Challenges for a while, so he alerted me to this one. I was already doing rover projects, and it was appropriate and awesome and interesting. I felt like I could do it as a team of one.

Motivation: Difficult challenges. I’m definitely inspired seeing really cool robots that other people are building. New emerging tech really motives me to create new things.

Strategy: I showed up with another robot to Level 2. I built three, but ran with only two. It did make it more complicated, but the strategy was to send them to different areas and have them be able to communicate with each other. Everything physically was the same from Level 1.  The idea is that they would all go out with different missions and I would maximize field coverage.

Obstacles: Time. More time would always be nice. Being able to make something like this happen under a timeline is really difficult. I feel like I accomplished a lot for a year. Also, manpower – being a team of 1, I have to do all of the paperwork and other related stuff, but also carry the hardware and do the programming. You have to multitask a lot.

Prize Plans: I’d like to start a robotics company, and be able to expand some of the things I’ve been working on associated with technology and maker education.

Extra Credit: My story is not linear. A lot of people are surprised to hear that my background is in molecular biology and  research. I once lived in a tent in Madagascar for a few months to do a biodiversity study, and I have multiple publications from that side of my life. I am in a whole different place now.

The competition is one of many run by our Centennial Challenges program, which looks to the public – citizen inventors, academics, makers, artists, YOU – to help us advance technology and bring a different perspective to obstacles that gets us outside of our traditional solving community. See what else we’re working on here.

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anonymous asked:

I'm trans and I'm happy for Alabama. I know a lot of gay people who are celebrating right now, who fight for trans rights. Don't you dare paint everyone in the gay community with the same brush. Have some fucking faith.

One) I am ALSO trans and I am ALSO happy for Alabama queers. Really, truly.

B. I dare many things. 

III - I don’t feel like such faith has been earned. Cis gays and cis queers have thrown trans people, specifically trans women, under the bus every chance they could. They climbed their way to cis-het respectability by climbing on the piled bodies of trans women. 

4) When I start hearing rich, white, cis gays start agitating for addressing things like the critical homelessness problem, employment/home/medical discrimination against trans people, racism in LGBTQIA community, AND THE ROUTINE, CONSTANT AND UNSOLVED MURDER OF TRANS WOMEN OF COLOR IN THIS COUNTRY, maybe I’ll have a little fucking faith. 

But I’m not holding my breath

Why the University of Alabama May Have Lost Millions Over Gay Rights

The University of Alabama could have gotten up to $18 million from two generous alumni, but because of the state’s increasingly outdated stance on gay marriage, the former students will be putting their money elsewhere.

Elliot Mitchell and Clark West share fond memories of meeting in college, and because of their positive experiences at Alabama, they planned on leaving their entire estate, which is worth up to $18 million, to the school. They’ve even donated $1 million before, according to, including $400,000 in donations to Alabama’s liberal arts college and its business college. They’ve also been Alabama football season ticket holders.

But because the southern state hasn’t been generous to the gay rights movement, the Florida residents just don’t want to support a state institution in Alabama.

Read more.

Over the weekend, our country lost a figure of the Civil Rights Movement.

Ozell Sutton was one of the first African American men to serve in the United States Marine Corps. For his service, he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. In 1957, he took part in the integration of Little Rock Central High School, where 9 black students were prevented from entering the school by angry mobs and even the Arkansas State Governor. Most notably, Sutton marched along side Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 - a march which would become the historic March on Washington. He also marched in Selma, Alabama in 1965 and bared witness to the assassination of Dr. King in 1968. He retired from public life in 2003 and passed away peacefully on Sunday at the age of 90. He was a father and a husband, and was described by family as a “rare pearl.”

Please take a moment to remember Mr. Ozell Sutton, and thank him for his service to our country, both militarily, and as an activist. He will be missed, but history will not forget his name.