Do smartphones make people more shallow?

I probably shouldn’t post this blog. I share some of the guilt. After all, I’m a producer of internet content.

During my walk through Balboa Park today, I felt creeping despair.

Balboa Park is an amazing, wonderful, special place. Lifted eyes see a world that is infinitely interesting and beautiful.

About one third of the people I observed had their eyes absolutely fixed to the tiny screens of their smartphones. They were too obsessed to notice the vast world around them. Nor other people around them.

Of these, many were grown adults searching for a virtual Pokemon, a game fit for the simple mind of a child. At least these people looked up from time to time.

Yes, I know some people were busy communicating with friends, or perhaps looking up information, or a map of the park.

I also know that our lives are complex and so is human psychology. Everyone is different. I, too, have my silly, simple pleasures. It’s hard to draw firm conclusions. Technology changes. The culture changes. People change. Fads come and go.

But it does appear that humans are powerfully drawn to stimuli on isolated screens.

And, of course, the wonderful thing about smartphones is they can make life so much easier. Eye-to-eye politeness is no longer required. The potential for vulnerability in spontaneously spoken words is thankfully avoided. Problem solving is automatic. Critical thinking is less and less necessary. Simple and self-comforting ideas flood social media. Self absorption is made as easy as pie. Narcissism is rewarded.

I often wonder, as virtual reality becomes increasingly prevalent, whether people will permanently insert their whole selves into shallow, shrinking virtual worlds. The Matrix, of our own calculated making.

If it feels good, why fight it?

San Diego students learn STEM through aviation!

Cool aircraft are displayed during an event at Gillespie Field by Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force.
Cool aircraft are displayed during an event at Gillespie Field by Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force.

Today I headed to Gillespie Field in El Cajon and checked out an Expo organized by Air Group One of the Commemorative Air Force. As I walked among all sorts of restored World War II aircraft and a wide variety of fascinating exhibits, I made a very cool discovery!

Students in San Diego are invited by Air Group One to participate in a special aviation-themed STEM educational program! The special program is designed for middle and high school aged youth. Ricardo Sevilla, the friendly A-STEM Educational Officer, walked over to introduce himself to me, and I learned a little bit about this truly amazing opportunity.

S.T.E.M subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) can be taught to students in San Diego classrooms or at Air Group One’s super cool Gillespie Field headquarters, where there are a variety of potential hands-on activities. Topics that are featured include how to become a pilot, how to operate a drone, how to build a rocket, and the aerodynamics and design concepts that enable an airplane to fly. Potential careers in aviation and the aerospace industry are also introduced. Sounds like lots of fun!

Are you a teacher in San Diego who’d like to learn more? Wouldn’t your students be thrilled to visit an actual airfield? Check out this page of the Air Group One website!

Banner promotes Air Group One's Aviation Educational Programs.
Banner promotes Air Group One’s Aviation Educational Programs.
Air Group One's historic 1943 SNJ-5 "Sassy" on the tarmac at Gillespie Field.
Air Group One’s historic 1943 SNJ-5 “Sassy” on the tarmac at Gillespie Field.
Flyer describes an exciting ASTEM educational program offered by Air Group One.
Flyer describes an exciting ASTEM educational program offered by Air Group One.
If you're interested, use the email shown in this photograph.
If you’re interested, use the email shown in this photograph.
Learning about aviation can help a student take flight and discover new horizons!
Learning about aviation can help a student take flight and discover new horizons!

I’ll be blogging about today’s fantastic event at Gillespie Field as soon as I get my photographs together!

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!

Science questions that curious kids can ask.

How was Earth made. How many skin cells do we have.
How was the Earth made? How many skin cells do we have?

Thousands of kids attended the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day event today at Petco Park. The annual festival of STEM learning features all sorts of fun activities and demonstrations presented by dozens of local schools, universities, businesses and organizations.

Kids wandering from booth to booth were encouraged to ask a variety of fascinating questions. Young minds learned about physics, medical research, information technology, space exploration, environmental science . . . The number of scientific subjects seemed unlimited.

Fun experiments were performed. Conclusions resulted. More questions arose.

That’s how science works!

As I wandered about the festival I discovered some questions that curious kids might ask…

Thousands of curious kids attend EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
Thousands of curious kids attended EXPO Day at Petco Park during the 2018 San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering.
To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.
To help support STEM learning in San Diego and the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering, read this banner.
How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development.
How is curiosity a driving force behind human progress and development?
What is in snot. How does mucus neutralize an invading virus.
What is in snot? How does mucus neutralize an invading virus?
How does a snake move.
How does a snake move?
Why is math important. Why are puzzles so much fun.
Why is math important? Why are puzzles so stimulating?
What are amino acids.
What are amino acids?
What is symmetry. Why is it found in plants and animals.
What is symmetry? Why is it found in plants and animals?
Can creative people and scientists be superheroes
Can creative people and scientists be real superheroes?
Can science be fun. Can you make a rap song about something scientific.
Can science be entertaining? Can you invent a rap song about something scientific?
What is a molecule.
What is a molecule? What is an atom? Is anything smaller than an atom?
What is oobleck. Where did the word come from. How do you make it.
What is oobleck? What Dr. Seuss book did the word come from?
How do you make a secret code. How do you decipher a code.
How do you make a secret code? How do you decipher a code?
Can little robots destroy cancer. Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases.
Can little robots destroy cancer? Why do earthquakes become so strong in some cases?
What is light.
What is light?
How does a flamingo become pink.
How does a flamingo become pink?
What is static electricity.
What is static electricity?
What are comets made of.
What are comets made of?
How was the first cell created. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.
How was the first cell created? How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
What is the extracellular matrix.
What is the extracellular matrix?
How does your heart work. How do you keep it healthy.
How does your heart work? How do you keep it healthy?
How do we stop pollution.
How do we stop pollution?
Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind.
Is fusion the energy for the future of mankind?
How can we remember many things like language. Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short.
How can we remember many things like language? Why are some people so tall when their parents are so short?
Why does a jellyfish glow.
Why does a jellyfish glow?
Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish.
Why is this silly guy acting like a jellyfish?
How does the Earth stay in orbit. How can people help the Earth stay healthy.
How does the Earth stay in orbit? How can people help the Earth stay healthy?
What is it like to be in space. How do you become an astronaut.
What does it feel like to be in outer space? How do you become an astronaut?

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!

SpaceX rocket rises above world’s oldest active ship!

A barely visible SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 rises above Star of India, the world's oldest active sailing ship!
A barely visible SpaceX rocket Falcon 9 rises above Star of India, the world’s oldest active sailing ship!

My plan this cold, partly cloudy morning was to head down to San Diego’s Embarcadero to hopefully photograph today’s SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.

I did manage to catch an image of the rocket’s flight, but it’s so tiny you can barely make it out! I suppose I should get a fancier, more powerful camera. Can you see the faint white streak in the above photo?

The Falcon 9 launch was from Vandenberg Air Force Base, northwest of Santa Barbara, about 280 miles from San Diego. To my naked eye, for a few seconds, I could see the minuscule rocket soar into the sky, through the rigging of the world’s oldest active sailing ship, Star of India!

Star of India, originally named Euterpe, is an iron-hulled merchant ship that was built in 1863. Driven by capricious winds, the tall ship circumnavigated the globe 21 times during her storied history.

Falcon 9 is a technologically impressive space launch vehicle. During today’s mission a reused Falcon 9 lifted Spain’s advanced radar satellite Paz into a Sun-synchronous orbit of Earth.

As the satellite effortlessly orbits our planet, it will track ships that ply the ocean–ships that trace their own proud history back to the Age of Sail, when brave vessels like Star of India pushed forward to new horizons.

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!

LimeBike smart bicycles arrive in San Diego!

Rows of bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have appeared in downtown San Diego.
Bright new LimeBike smart bicycles have suddenly appeared in downtown San Diego!

Look what I discovered as I walked down Cedar Street to the Little Italy trolley station this morning. A bunch of identical lime green bicycles were waiting in a row on the sidewalk!

Upon closer inspection, I saw these bikes can be rented simply by unlocking them with a smartphone. And riders pay only one dollar per half hour! Very affordable!

LimeBike has just announced the introduction of their smart pedal bikes into downtown San Diego. That must explain why I’ve never them before.

In the future, I’ve learned they intend to introduce a fleet of Lime-E electric assist bikes and Lime-S scooters. Sounds like a great idea to me!

The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! They cost is only one dollar per half hour!
The 1st ride of a LimeBike is free! Renting one of these smart bikes costs only $1 per half hour.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
Instructions on a LimeBike show how to scan the QR code to unlock the bicycle.
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk near some colorful public art at the Little Italy trolley station!
I found more LimeBikes parked on the sidewalk at the Little Italy trolley station!

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!

Computer Science and a boom box at UCSD!

Father of the Computer, Charles Babbage, 1791-1871.
Father of the Computer, Charles Babbage, 1791-1871.

There are two electrical boxes near the UCSD Gilman Transit Center that caught my eye last weekend. One features tributes to three early pioneers of computer science. The other is painted to appear like a gigantic boom box. Technology and music are central to the life of many students at UC San Diego.

I always love revisiting the campus of UC San Diego. It’s a very beautiful place, bustling with energy. The university is rated one of the finest in the world. When I see the inventors of tomorrow, walking with smiles in the La Jolla sunshine, I feel hopeful.

Enchantress of Numbers, Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852.
Enchantress of Numbers, Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852.
Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing, 1912-1954.
Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing, 1912-1954.
An electrical box painted like a huge boom box near UCSD's Gilman Transit Center.
An electrical box painted like a huge boom box near UCSD’s Gilman Transit Center.
Musical notes stream from an enormous boom box at UC San Diego!
Musical notes stream from an enormous boom box at UC San Diego!

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!

Photography of Gjon Mili exhibited in Balboa Park.

Motion Pictures, Photography by Gjon Mili, is a free to the public exhibition inside the San Diego Museum of Art's Gallery 15.
Motion Pictures, Photography by Gjon Mili, is a free to the public exhibition inside the San Diego Museum of Art’s Gallery 15.

There is currently a free exhibition of Gjon Mili photography at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. Gjon Mili was a photographer for Life magazine during the Golden Age of Photojournalism.

Born in Albania, Gjon Mili came to America to study electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he experimented with photography. As a photographer for Life, he captured a wide variety of action with his camera, including motion in sports and dance.

He was a pioneer in the use of stroboscopic light, stop-motion techniques, and other novel methods of photography. One famous innovation is his iconic light drawings. He also focused on jazz performance, and the work of contemporary artists, such as Picasso. In 1944 he filmed his first true motion picture, Jammin’ the Blues, after his passion for jazz was ignited by hosting a party that included Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Dizzy Gillespie.

This very cool (and free) exhibition can be found in Gallery 15, through a door beside Panama 66 at the San Diego Museum of Art’s outdoor May S. Marcy Sculpture Court.

Here are a few photos to provide a hint of what you’ll see…

Long Island University basketball team demonstrates best scoring plays. Gelatin silver print, 1940.
Long Island University basketball team demonstrates best scoring plays. Gelatin silver print, 1940.
Gjon Mili (1904-1984), an immigrant from Albania, was a photographer for Life magazine. He could capture on one negative more grace and beauty than Hollywood cameramen could get on many feet of motion-picture film.
Gjon Mili (1904-1984), an immigrant from Albania, was a photographer for Life magazine. He could capture on one negative more grace and beauty than Hollywood cameramen could get on many feet of motion-picture film.
Woman playing badminton. Gelatin silver print, 1945.
Woman playing badminton. Gelatin silver print, 1945.
Starting line for the sixty-yard hurdles of the Millrose Games. Gelatin silver print, 1948.
Starting line for the sixty-yard hurdles of the Millrose Games. Gelatin silver print, 1948.
Gjon Mili on the set of Jammin' the Blues. Photographic reproduction, 1944.
Gjon Mili on the set of Jammin’ the Blues. Photographic reproduction, 1944.

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!