March 10, 2014
The work of the IHMC Robotics team from Escambia County with the Atlas humanoid robot is featured in an episode of a new monthly CNN program, “The Art of Movement.”
To see the video, click here, or look at the bottom of this story.
The segment features interviews with IHMC scientists and extensive video shot both in the IHMC Robotics Lab in Pensacola and at the DARPA Robotics Challenge (DRC) trials at Homestead Miami Speedway in December 2013. IHMC’s own video team shot some of the footage used by CNN, especially from the DARPA trials. The episode focuses on IHMC’s work with the two-legged Atlas robot, built by Boston Dynamics and used in the DRC competition.
The teams participating in the DRC represent some of the most advanced robotics research and development organizations in the world. They are collaborating and innovating on a very short timeline to develop the hardware, software, sensors and human-machine control interfaces that will enable their robots to complete a series of challenge tasks selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency for their relevance to disaster response.
IHMC finished first in the initial stage of the DRC in June 2013, a computer simulation competition dubbed the Virtual Robotics Challenge. The robotics team followed that up with an overall second-place finish among 16 robotics development teams at the trials at Homestead Miami Speedway, featuring the actual robots. IHMC finished first among the seven teams using Atlas.
According to CNN’s website, “The Art of Movement is a new monthly show that highlights the most significant innovations in art, culture, science and technology that are helping shape our modern world. From the visually beautiful to the technically awe inspiring, from ocean tides to animal migration, from bionic limbs to ballet, The Art of Movement will showcase the latest cultural currents and scientific new waves redefining how we engage with the world.”
The Institute for Human & Machine Cognition (IHMC) is one of the nation’s premier research organizations with world-class scientists and engineers investigating a broad range of topics related to building technological systems aimed at amplifying and extending human cognitive, perceptual, and physical capacities. IHMC headquarters are in Pensacola with a branch research facility in Ocala.
March 9, 2014
This weekend’s featured recipe from Janet Tharpe is a Homemade Egg Roll. Have fun and fill them with any of a variety of fillings to satisfy everyone in your house.
To print today’s “Just a Pinch” recipe column, you can click the image below to load a printable pdf with a recipe card.
March 8, 2014
One of Northwest Florida’s most reliable and rewarding shrubs is the camellia. Providing dark green leaves throughout the year, gardeners are rewarded in late winter or early spring with a variety of beautifully colored and shaped flowers. Camellias tend to thrive in our acidic soil but they do require some routine maintenance.
Pick up the fallen flowers. A fungal disease known as petal blight will rapidly turn entire flowers brown. If a camellia has petal blight, remove and dispose of all blighted flowers both on the plant and on the ground. You may also consider discarding the old mulch around the shrub and apply a layer of fresh mulch. This practice sometimes helps prevent fungal spores from blowing back onto new flowers. One of the best ways to prevent this disease is to pick up and destroy fallen blooms. Flowers will continue to drop for several weeks, so it’s important to pick up blooms several times a week.
Scout for tea scale. One of the most common insect pests of camellia is a scale insect known as tea scale. Check the underside of leaves regularly for this annoying pest. These small, sessile, white, thin, sap-sucking insects can build up large numbers if you do not regularly inspect your plants and take corrective measures when scale is first found. Often your first clue will be spotty yellowing on the upper surface of the leaves. Horticultural oil can be used in the winter time if used before blooming or in spring after blooming. Do not apply horticultural oil when near-freezing temperatures may be expected. Always carefully read and follow pesticide label directions before use.
Expect some leaves to fall in the spring. Camellias are “evergreen” meaning that they have leaves on the shrub year round. However, as individual leaves age, they will fall from the shrub and are replaced with new leaves in the spring. It is not unusual for camellia to drop up to 30 percent of their leaves. As long as new leaves are developing, there is no need for concern.
Camellia can be pruned after they flower. The most important reason for pruning camellias is to improve the overall health of the plant. Many times, camellias that have not been pruned in a few years will develop dead or deteriorating twigs. Removing the dead and dying limbs will minimize the possibility of diseases such as “dieback” and will also allow the plant to re-concentrate its energies. In many instances, camellias that have been neglected for a number of years will become infested with scale insects. Pruning is an effective way to provide for better coverage of chemical sprays and increase air circulation.
Lichens are warning signs. Lichens are gray-green to green mossy growths on the stems of old, neglected camellias. The lichen is a combination of a fungus and an alga that grows symbiotically. They are not parasitic to the camellia. Affected plants usually need fertilizing, watering, and mulching for better growing conditions.
Fertilizer applications help to achieve maximum performance. Apply fertilizer in the spring after blooming but before new growth starts. With many fertilizers, small amounts at frequent intervals are better than heavy applications. Special camellia fertilizers are available at your local stores. One application in early spring after blooming should be followed by a second application in mid June to early July. Scatter the fertilizer evenly on top of the mulch and away from the main stem of the plant. Water the fertilizer into the soil. Do not fertilize after July, so the plants will have a longer time to harden off and avoid freeze damage.
by Santa Rosa Extension Service
March 7, 2014
Century Correctional’s Assistant Warden Hutchins and Officer Tony deGraaf read to a kindergarten class at Jay Elementary School as part of Read Across America Day. They read the popular Seuss book The Foot Book, gave each student a special treat and helped with a special assignment. They also expressed the importance of learning to read and of a good education.
Read Across America Day, the signature program of the National Education Association, focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships and reading resources. It’s held annual on or near Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
Pictured: Century Correctional Institution Officer Tony deGraaf and Assistant Warden Hutchins (in tie) read to a kindergarten class at Jay Elementary School. Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
March 6, 2014
Northview High School Cadet LCDR Kasie Braun, NJROTC Company Commander, was selected for the Area Eight ROTC “Joseph C. Gilliam Award”. Braun completed against cadets from 50 ROTC units in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to win this prestigious award, a first for Northview’s NJROTC unit. Pictured: LCDR Kasie Braun watches cadets during a Pass In Review recently at Northview High School. NorthEscambia.com file photo, click to enlarge.
March 6, 2014
The Molino Branch Library recently celebrated Dr. Seuss and Read Across America with stories, characters, popcorn a lots of reading fun. Several participants also took the “Reader’s Oath”, promising to read each day and each night (because it’s the key to “growing up right”). Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
March 3, 2014
The weekend weather was perfect for outdoor activities…including running catfish lines up the Escambia River with the Captain of the Boat “Rowdy” at helm near the Molino boat ramp. Photo by Crista Pope for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
March 2, 2014
Rachel Grammer of the Tate High School FFA was named the District 1 Miss FFA Sweetheart Saturday at Northview High School. First runner-up was Patra Miller from the Tate High FFA, and second runner-up was Victoria Kent of the Tate High FFA.
A dozen young ladies from the Tate, Northview, Ernest Ward and Bethlehem FFA chapters took part in the second annual pageant.
Pictured top: (L-R) Second Runner-up Victoria Kent, District 1 Miss FFA Sweetheart Rachel Grammer, First Runner-up Patra Miller, all of the Tate High School FFA Chapter. NorthEscambia.com photo, click to enlarge.
March 2, 2014
The Branden Penegar Memorial Car Show was held Saturday at the Gonzalez United Methodist Church on Pauline Street in Cantonment. Penegar, the “Gentle Giant” was a 2011 graduate of Tate High School, an assistant coach for the freshman Aggies’ football program and varsity tennis team, and a member of the Tate High School Student Hall of Fame. He passed away in March 2013 at the age of 20.
Penegar was a active member of the Gonzalez United Methodist Church and youth program.
Photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.
March 2, 2014
Several local girls took part in a Coastal Jumper Horse Show at the Escambia County Equestrian Center, with Trinity Farms bringing home more than 120 ribbons including grand champions.
Among the local competitors and winners were: Morgan Mickel, Lexy Small, Tessa Walsingham, Molly Arnold, Trinity Smith, Rebecca Fulton, Aubrey DePury, Lindsey Walden, Sarah Birdsong, Ruth Gatewood, and Brystal Rhodes.
Submitted photos for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.