Comic-Con’s community mural at December Nights!

Creativity is always welcome at December Nights in Balboa Park! I could clearly see this, as I periodically checked out some tables hosted by San Diego’s very cool Comic-Con Museum.

Everybody and anybody was invited to grab some paint and help color in a community mural. Actually, there appeared to be multiple murals, as you can see in my photographs.

I walked around the big December Nights event both Friday and today, and watched as the murals took form.

Check it out!

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I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Cool photographs for Star Trek Day!

Today, September 8, is Star Trek Day!

September 8, 1966 was the day when the very first Star Trek episode of the Original Series aired, titled The Man Trap. Remember the shape-shifting creature that sucked the salt out of Enterprise crewmembers?

For over fifty years, the popularity of the ever-growing science fiction franchise has persisted, providing the world with numerous movies, television series, novels, comics, video games, and even a few futuristic technological ideas that have (more or less) been realized!

In the past I’ve photographed all sorts of Star Trek related stuff: from Comic-Con cosplay and extraordinary Paramount exhibits, to artwork at IDW’s San Diego Comic Art Gallery, to the old Captain Kirk’s Coffee in South Park (a block from where Whoopie Goldberg–who played Guinan–once worked), to an amazing Gene Roddenberry exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum . . .

To celebrate Star Trek Day, please enjoy a few of these photographs!

If you’d like to see even more photos on my blog that concern Star Trek, plus written descriptions, click this tag and scroll down. You’ll notice lots of other fun stuff mixed in, too!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Hemingway in Comics previewed at Comic-Con Museum!

There’s a modest exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum that previews a much larger exhibition that is coming later this year. Those visiting the museum to see Spider-Man during Comic-Con should head down to the lower level and check out Hemingway in Comics!

I love reading literature, and Hemingway is one of my favorite authors, so I was pleasantly surprised when my curious eyes spied this comic art today.

The styles that are represented are quite varied, and the fictional stories involving the celebrated American author can seem fantastic and implausible, but that is art! And it’s all very cool!

I really look forward to seeing the full exhibition when it opens at the Comic-Con Museum this coming September.

Read the sign below to learn more….

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A cool STEAM event at Comic-Con Museum!

This week a very cool educational event is being held at the Comic-Con Museum that should interest Comic-Con attendees and residents of San Diego alike.

Today through Sunday–throughout Comic-Con week–a group of Advancement of Science (AAAS) IF/THEN Ambassadors are at the museum encouraging STEAM learning! Particularly for young women!

The event features computer scientists and environmentalists and paleontologists and astrophysicists . . . even an astronaut! Visitors both young and old (like me) can create, experiment, play games, and talk to professional woman who are leaders in their fields.

I walked around the museum’s COX Innovation Lab looking at table displays, impressed by all that I saw. I even got to watch how to make a quasi-comet!

One cool display was about how life might have evolved on the fictional planets of Star Wars. Comparisons are made between often bizarre creatures and the organisms in our own Earth’s fossil record.

Inspirational talks are held down in the museum’s auditorium, but I arrived a little too early, so I missed that. But they will be held all week.

To learn more about this awesome event, click here!

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

World premiere Spider-Man exhibit opens!

The world premiere of Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing opened yesterday at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego!

The extraordinary exhibition, which occupies nearly all of the Comic-Con Museum’s large first floor, celebrates the history of Spider-Man.

Visitors can see dozens of pieces of original art used in the creation of the comic books, and important props from many of Spider-Man’s immensely popular movies. The superhero’s appearance on television and in video games is also documented.

I spent a full hour today just reading the many displays and viewing incredible, historic artwork.

Originally drawn from the imaginations of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Spider-Man has evolved over time, as new writers and artists have built on Spidey’s complex story. Societal norms and comic book sensibilities have shifted over the decades, but one thing has been fairly consistent. Spider-Man represents a youthful, optimistic “everyman” hero, who copes with life’s ordinary problems while battling fantastic villains.

A good crowd had already arrived as the museum opened at ten o’clock this morning, and I saw numerous families and excited kids–many wearing Spider-Man shirts and costumes. There are many opportunities to take selfies, and the atmosphere created inside the dynamic exhibition is truly exciting.

Walking through, I felt my old passion for Spider-Man flaring again. The exhibition makes it obvious why the wall-crawler remains one of the all-time favorite pop culture icons!

During Comic-Con, a shuttle bus will run between the San Diego Convention Center and the Comic-Con Museum. I encourage Comic-Con attendees to come up to Balboa Park and check out the exhibition. It’s well worth the time and effort!

Spider-Man: Beyond Amazing will continue at the Comic-Con Museum through the end of 2022.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Star Trek’s tricorder inspires new medical technology!

An extraordinary panel was held this afternoon at the Comic-Con Museum in San Diego.

The Science and Science Fiction of Star Trek’s Tricorder brought together four panelists who are helping to lead our way into the future. It will be a future of almost unlimited possibility, replete with groundbreaking technologies what were barely imagined when the original television series was created.

Dr. Erik Viirre, who acted as moderator, is Professor of Neurosciences at UC San Diego; Dr. Paul E. Jacobs is Chairman and CEO of XCOM Labs, and former executive chairman of Qualcomm; Dr. Yvonne Cagle is a physician, professor, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel, and former NASA astronaut; Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, the CEO of Roddenberry Entertainment and head of the Roddenberry Foundation, is the son of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and Majel Barrett. He is also an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, Star Trek: Lower Decks, Star Trek: Prodigy and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.

The first thing the audience learned is that all four panelists are fans of Star Trek! (Did you know that the former head of Qualcomm, many moons ago, was founding member of Star Fleet Club La Jolla?)

The next thing we learned was that Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, engineers, inventors and visionaries. Many technological advances we know today were first conceived by Gene Roddenberry and the experts he turned to for advice when writing the show. He wanted Star Trek to be believable and largely based on science.

We were reminded how Star Trek’s communicator became the actual flip phone, and how today’s smartphones have essentially become Star Trek’s tricorder. Think about it!

The various multi-function tricorders carried by Spock, McCoy, and other Star Trek characters could provide a user with all sorts of useful information. A tricorder could be used to ascertain location and weather, or analyze the physical environment or obtain cultural information. A tricorder could be used as a universal translator. It could even be used to assess one’s medical condition.

In many ways, your smartphone does all of those things today!

We then learned our own future contains even greater possibilities.

The panelists explained how a smartphone, or handheld mobile device, used by an ordinary person, could become a practical health tool. For example, such a medical “tricorder” could analyze the sound of irregular breathing or a cough and determine a likely medical condition or disease. And such a device, by detecting signals or other data from the user’s body, could provide a warning that a stroke or heart attack is imminent.

Projects like that are underway today!

Five years ago, The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE was a $10 million global competition to incentivize the development of innovative technologies capable of accurately diagnosing a set of 13 medical conditions independent of a healthcare professional or facility, ability to continuously measure 5 vital signs, and have a positive consumer experience. Read more about it here.

The co-winning Canadian team, CloudDX, propelled by their Tricorder XPRIZE participation, has gone on to commercialize remote, connected patient monitoring hardware and software that anyone can easily use at home!

And that’s just the beginning.

On the International Space Station today, 250 miles above Earth, astronauts wear a Smart Shirt that senses body temperature, heart rate, blood oxygen, EKG, and even the activity of heart valves!

Can you imagine a virtual reality doctor’s visit in your future? (Oh, wait. Star Trek envisioned this already. USS Voyager’s Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor.) Advances in artificial intelligence and tele-medicine have just barely begun.

(And yes, virtual reality was envisioned many decades ago. It was the basis for many tangled plots on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The holodeck!)

Those who sat listening to this extraordinary Comic-Con Museum panel learned all of this, and more. We saw that, in the hands of thoughtful people who desire positive, healthy outcomes, our technological future can be very bright, indeed.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fusion and the futuristic science of Star Trek!

A fascinating panel convened yesterday at San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. The Science of Star Trek – Travel at Warp Speed featured a Star Trek editor, a Star Trek writer, and three scientists from General Atomics, which is headquartered here in San Diego.

The event coincided with the Comic-Con Museum’s current exhibition honoring Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

Five panelists focused primarily on the technology of nuclear fusion, which has been pioneered at General Atomics for many decades. Fusion powers the fictional impulse engines of Star Trek’s starships.

It was fun to learn that Star Trek was a major inspiration of David Humphreys, a nuclear fusion scientist who has worked at General Atomics for 40 years! (Incidentally, his favorite captain is Kirk.)

All sorts of different Star Trek technology, like the matter/anti-matter warp drive, tricorders and communicators, were touched upon. The panelists loved that much of Star Trek’s speculative tech has been based on real physics and scientific possibility. Remember how Kirk would sit in the captain’s chair and sign off on a device that looked like a tablet? Some of that once-fictional tech exists today!

Other not-so-realistic Star Trek technology would be used merely as a plot device. The transporters allowed a story (and Dr. McCoy’s scrambled molecules) to quickly transition from scene to scene. Human scale teleportation remains a somewhat unlikely dream. (But who knows?)

The most exciting part of the discussion concerned the imminent emergence of sustained nuclear fusion as a potentially limitless source of cheap, clean energy. Unlike nuclear fission, with its dangerous radioactive waste and chain reaction, the technology that produces fusion is inherently safe. And its “fuel” is hydrogen, which is practically limitless. The trick is energizing and concentrating hydrogen atoms so that they fuse and become helium, as they do inside the very, very hot sun. No easy task!

Fusion has made such tremendous advances that the world now stands at the brink of major breakthroughs, due primarily to the ITER project–one of the largest scientific programs in human history–where 35 nations from around the world hope to perfect and share practical working technology. General Atomics produced the super powerful magnets utilized by ITER.

Another thing the panelists addressed is how young people today can take part in this exciting future. Diverse, good-paying jobs connected to fusion technology are going to be plentiful. General Atomics is looking for interns! Can you imagine a more interesting place to work and learn?

It was great to see how San Diego’s own General Atomics is helping to lead the way to a world that will be completely transformed in a positive way by nuclear fusion. And it was inspiring to see scientists from General Atomics out in the community. They also participated in the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party, which I blogged about last weekend.

When I was in middle school, many moons ago, we went on a field trip to General Atomics. I remember how the scientists briefly fired their fusion reactor under a huge protective pool of water. Now, almost half a century later, we are at the cusp of something so huge, the world might be transformed beyond anything that even the creators of Star Trek envisioned!

Oh–the next photo, taken on the main floor of the Comic-Con Museum, is of Star Trek cosplayers belonging to the Science Fiction Coalition. Live long and prosper!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Create a superhero and win 4 Comic-Con passes!

With less than a week to go, Comic-Con International logos have appeared all over the San Diego Convention Center!

Do you know any kids who’d like to win 4 valuable passes to San Diego Comic-Con this year? Listen up!

I just learned there’s a contest underway that ends tomorrow, put on by the Comic-Con Museum and Feeding San Diego. It’s called the Hunger Action Hero Art Contest.

Students from K to 12 are invited to create a hunger fighting superhero! Artwork and a brief superhero origin story are required to enter the contest, but kids must do so by April 22, 2022–that’s tomorrow! Fortunately, submissions can be made easily online.

Various prizes will be awarded for the top ten entries, in addition to 4 Comic-Con passes for the contest winner. To learn more, click here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Comic books and graphic novels in education.

Comic books and graphic novels can be used in schools to stir excitement for reading, and to explore and teach a variety of subjects.

Today a panel of educators shared their thoughts about Words and Pictures Together. The hour-long panel was part of a Will Eisner Week event at the San Diego Comic-Con Museum.

Will Eisner was a pioneering cartoonist and writer whose work both inspired and influenced almost every comic artist that followed him. He practically invented the graphic novel. His amazing artwork is legendary. His stories are often complex, surprising, challenging and philosophical. Not unlike great literature.

The panelists at the Comic-Con Museum yesterday discussed how they have used Eisner’s work and other comics in the classroom.

As I sat in the audience listening, I learned there are many benefits to using certain comic books or graphic novels as educational tools.

Perhaps most importantly, they are accessible to young people. Particularly kids who struggle with reading. Those who resist reading or have limited language skills will often turn the pages of a comic, greedily devouring both words and pictures. After all, most comic books and graphic novels are written to engage and excite.

Another benefit can be the development of critical thinking. There are plots to analyze and characters to understand. Allusions and themes can provide subject matter for discussion. Stories that involve historical events or contemporary issues can open a young mind to interesting ideas and questions.

And there is the graphic art itself. Why did the artist make certain choices? The page layout, typography, style, visual point of view . . .

What I found most inspiring was that students can be encouraged to make their own comic art. To tell their own stories. Express their own thoughts and feelings. When you’re a young person, secretly unsure of many things and trying to figure out life, personal expression can help you grow.

By producing their own comic or graphic novel, students also learn how to plan a creative project and execute it. And they write!

What’s more, the opportunity to show their finished art provides a sense of accomplishment!

The panelists mentioned a few works and web pages that you can use or peruse:

The beloved Owly book series for the very young.

Necessary Trouble Archives.

“testing wally wood’s 22 panels to see if they always work”

Years ago I described how high school students in San Diego were creating their own graphic novel. Their amazing Jasper and the Spirit Skies was launched last year at Comic-Con@Home! You can revisit that past blog post here.

There’s another reason why I found this panel of educators so interesting. Classrooms around the world are reading my short story One Thousand Likes. This small work of fiction (no pictures!) concerns the use of social media and human isolation. Read the story here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera (and write)! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Comic-Con Museum’s Star Trek exhibit expands!

The amazing Star Trek exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park has expanded!

The special exhibit, titled Gene Roddenberry: Sci-Fi Visionary, includes original costumes, props, historical documents and artifacts related to the creation of Star Trek. The life, writings and visionary efforts of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry are highlighted.

I blogged about the exhibit the weekend it opened here.

Well, check out what I saw today!

New additions include costumes worn by actress Majel Barrett, primarily from her role as Lwaxana Troi in Star Trek: The Next Generation. Majel Barret was Gene’s wife. You might recall she also played nurse Christine Chapel in Star Trek: The Original Series. Majel Barrett-Roddenberry was often called the First Lady of Star Trek.

In addition, amazing works of Star Trek art now decorate one museum wall! These large, inventive LEGO brick character portraits and scene recreations, assembled by a master builder, will blow your mind!

I visited the Comic-Con Museum today to listen to an interesting Will Eisner Week panel concerning the use of comic books and graphic novels in education. I’ll blog about that shortly!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!