Chef of the Future

By:  Michael B. Miley

Editor-in-Chief

                                                        Chef of the Future

        There has been a lot of talk going around about the future of Lyndon State. Fears abound concerning classes being cut, graduation requirements not being met, and jobs being lost. Just last week, The Critic reported that President Bertolino himself has given the college a less than optimistic forecast, saying that layoffs and “administrative adjustments” are imminent as we head into the next academic year. Amid all these concerns, it is easy to feel that Lyndon State’s future may be in jeopardy. Fear not, dear reader, for I have seen Lyndon State’s future with my own eyes, and it is very bright.

Like so many nascent revolutionary movements, the one occurring here at LSC is hidden in plain sight among the colorful hallways of the Harvey Building. As I was leaving a class one day before Thanksgiving break, I happened upon a display of several plastic figurines atop a nondescript podium adorned with the simple label: “3-D Printing Demo.”

A 3-D printer, for those of you who are not initiated, is a device that uses plastic filament and a heated extruder to replicate objects created using CAD (computer-aided design) software. 3-D printing has far-reaching implications for the American economy, and Lyndon State is prepared to put its students on the cutting edge by being able to teach them both the technical and design skills necessary to operate this new technology.

After encountering the 3-D printing display, by luck, I came across Robby Gilbert, assistant professor of animation, and we struck up a conversation about the Visual Art department’s new resources, and their impact on the future of Lyndon State, the American economy, and the world. This is Mr. Gilbert’s first semester at Lyndon State, having come to the Northeast Kingdom from Seattle. Gilbert says one of the things that attracted him to Lyndon State was the blend of experiential learning and liberal arts education that characterizes many of the programs offered here, including Visual Arts. Gilbert describes the overarching vision of the Visual Arts department as being “rooted in traditional design, while also looking forward.” Perhaps no piece of technology embodies that vision more than the 3-D printer; in order to successfully use a 3-D printer, one must first learn the fundamentals of computer-aided design.

Indeed, proficiency with computers and knowledge of specific software programs are increasingly becoming required skills for all types of careers ranging from the executive in the corner office, to the worker on the shop floor. Modern manufacturers are heavily reliant on computerized numerical control (CNC) tools, which include 3-D printers, in their production processes. In fiscal year 2013, the Vermont Training Program—a subset of the Agency of Commerce & Community Development—spent $1,347, 518, or $349.36 per person, on training potential employees in the use of CNC machines. This shows that there is a clear need and desire by potential employers for new hires who have skills and experience operating these machines. Additionally, the growth of 3-D printers has lead to new jobs being created around their operations; Seth Talcott, who rendered the 3-D printed model of The Critic’s logotype being produced in the photos surrounding this article, told me that he does consulting with the Fairbanks Museum on the use of their 3-D printer. As the technology proliferates, these sorts of job opportunities will no doubt increase exponentially as well.

As of this week, China has eclipsed the United States as the world’s largest economy, mostly due to their large manufacturing sector, which produces most of the plastic widgets and gewgaws Americans and westerners are so fond of. But imagine, instead of shelling out five dollars at a Wal-Mart to purchase a new or replacement item, you simply “print” it from the comfort of your own home for a fraction of the cost. This is the promise of 3-D printing: liberation from the corporatist/consumerist (in a word, Keynesian) economic model that has plagued the United States since the Nixon era—at least. 3-D printing is striking a blow against the destructive influence of “globalization,” and offers a real opportunity for local people to take back control over their respective economies.

For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky

“The role of education is changing,” says Gilbert, “as an educator, animator, and a parent, what I’ve learned in the past five years is that students’ minds are different now. They think in ways that professors may not understand.” Gilbert believes that educational systems and educators must adapt to these changes to be successful going into the future. He cites the role that video games have played in fostering the shift in how students think. To Gilbert, someone “who remembers Pong,” a video game is “a form of interactive media where the most important aspect is decision making.” This reliance on decision-making, in Gilbert’s eyes, has created a generation of students who are especially creative and adept at problem solving.  Thus, “instead of top-down pedagogy, we have to re-think what we’re doing in the classroom.” To this end, Gilbert has acquired for the Visual Arts department another revolutionary piece of technology: the enigmatic device known as the Oculus Rift.

Created by a 22-year old, the Oculus is truly something that is difficult to describe in words. Suffice it to say, it is a profoundly immersive experience unlike anything else the author has encountered. One minute I was traversing the decks of the Millennium Falcon, but R2-D2 kept getting underfoot, so I switched to a more calming Tuscan villa, and I watched the sailboats glide across the Tyrrhenian Sea. Gilbert would like to see an interactive media program develop at Lyndon State because it builds upon the aforementioned changes in student thought processes: “creativity and problem solving skills can create new truths and new realities.”

One of those students is Nick Backus, who has created his own “Moculus” out of cardboard, magnifying glass lenses, and a tablet, which acts as the screen. What’s perhaps most incredible about the homemade headset is how slight the differences are between the Oculus—which was recently sold to Facebook for $2 billion—and Backus’ creation; I experienced vertigo while “riding” a rollercoaster with the homemade device.

The “Moculus” is but one representative of the enormous well of talent that exists among Lyndon State’s student body, and shows how innovation, ingenuity, and assimilation of new trends and technologies serve to facilitate educational, professional, and personal growth. These new developments also provide the opportunity for closer co-operation and collaboration between the various departments. “[The Oculus] is a great opportunity to bring together CIS, Visual Arts, Business—all different majors.”

The fascinating new technology that the Visual Arts department has acquired shows their commitment to the future of Lyndon State at a time when morale is rather low. Still, the challenge for them will be to take these germinating technologies and foster strong, serious programs that allow the technology, and the people who use them, to mature into strong, serious professions. While this challenge is real, I see no evidence to suggest that Professor Gilbert and his colleagues are not up to the task. Indeed, I see a bright future for the Visual Arts department, Lyndon State as an institution, and the student body as future leaders and innovators. The next generation of Lyndon State graduates will most certainly carry on the strong tradition of excellence set by our forbearers, they might just look a little different.

President Bertolino tries out The Oculus.
President Bertolino tries out The Oculus.

An update on the investigation into Ed Horan’s death.

News7 ran this graphic at the end of the Monday evening newscast  to honor their former colleague.
News7 ran this graphic at the end of the Monday evening newscast to honor their former colleague.

By: Tyler Simpson

Evidence suggests that it is a food allergy that caused Horan’s death.

According to a press release issue by Detective Sgt. Darren Annis of the Vermont State Police State. Horan was reported by family to have a severe specific food allergy and may have accidentally ingested an item of food causing a fatal allergic reaction.

According to the police report.  Police received a call at 11:20 PM  on Sunday of a man  who had collapsed from an allergic reaction in Lyndonville.

EMS arrived and tried to resuscitate Horan, however their attempts were unsuccessful, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

On Monday  Detective Sgt. Darren Annis told The Critic that there was evidence of drug and alcohol use. A  second call to the same detective revealed that evidence of drug and alcohol use was omitted from the police report given that an official cause of death has not been  determined.

The Medical Examiner is conducting an autopsy to determine an exact cause of death.

A toxicology  report must be completed in order to determine an official cause of death.

The results should be completed within six to eight weeks.  However, the result of the autopsy will not be available to the public but Detective Sgt. Darren Annis plans to issue a press release with the official cause of death.

Horan was in Lyndonville visiting friends at the time of the incident.

 

SGA Roundup

By: Joe Gluck

On Wednesday, the Student Government Association voted unanimously to approve representative Dan Weiner’s request for $2,850 for the Santa Fund. The Santa Fund is a charitable donation to H.O.P.E., providing monies towards underprivileged children in the area.

The SGA session began with a presentation from Sheilah Evans and Darlene Johnson of the Student Services office regarding the nature of their office and position. When they opened the floor for questions, several representatives had questions about the unavailability of class registration services shortly after midnight. Due to the VSC software, every night at midnight, the web portal reboots and locks out access for some time. Various ideas were floated, regarding a change in software policy, an altered timeframe, and other options.

The discussion then turned towards ideas on how to warn students that the financial clearance date is approaching. Reps suggested a text-message blast, large, highlighted text on the portal, and specifically timed emails. Johnson mentioned the Student Services suggestion box, and reminded the SGA of the ten dollar Hornet’s Nest gift card, which will be raffled off to a random student suggestion.

Erin Rosetti then took the podium, following up on the smoking survey from last session. It drew mixed reactions, with one representative calling for a “ban-hammer” to be brought down upon those who choose to enjoy tobacco products, while others advocated a more measured response.

Rosetti segued to a discussion of the possibility of ending the campus cable television. While representatives were open to the potential money savings, several sports fans advocated caution, fearing for the loss of the live broadcasts. Streaming options were discussed, and Rosetti made clear that she wishes to avoid Castleton’s controversial decision to drop their cable service without warning or discussion. The SPJ rep urged special caution, mentioning that News 7’s current software only supports ten viewers simultaneously streaming.

SGA Financial Controller Matt Green took the floor, and clarified the fundraising and accounting procedures for clubs. He introduced the cash boxes that will be available for clubs to check out to aid in their money management.

Having been added to the agenda at the beginning of the meeting, Ashley McGrath was elected as representative to the first-year class. The Critical Criminal Justice club, having revised their constitution from the last meeting, was also approved.

First Time Fornication

By: Alex Salot

Having to go through the process of building a comfort level with a new partner can be pretty… obnoxious. And for some, you can attest to the fact that the first time sleeping with someone can be a little awkward. Admit it, the first time you end up seeing someone naked sort of goes like, “Whoa… wait… wait, do you like this? You, uh, you like what you see?” Obviously, being said in your mind, of course. Not out loud—unless you’re one of those guys—well, then you should probably read my last article.

 

Becoming comfortable in front of someone new takes a while, too. Everyone knows that you slowly have to inch your way towards getting to know that person and the newly discovered treasures of their body. You can’t just full out release the beast and expect that person to know how to take it and, well, handle it.

The first time having sex with someone is sort of like a test run. “Is this the right spot?” And then each additional time, you add more techniques, satisfying your curiosity with this new partner.

 

A majority of the time, what happens is that most people get too caught up in wanting to please the other person that they tend to overthink the action. “Will they like this, should I put my leg here, is this working?”

 

But maybe over thinking something isn’t a bad move. After all, you don’t want to bump heads with them (literally) or change the rhythm all of a sudden and then what was the “motion of the ocean” has now turned into a rocky… shipwreck. But, sometimes, you do have to sacrifice and just go with an idea when it pops into your head. Picturing the different outcomes and saying, “Alright, yeah, I can go with this,” may seem awarding after all.

 

While overthinking in this certain type of situation can help out, it can also have some downfalls. When overthinking sex, it tends to lead to paranoia and judgment. Some first timers feel timid and start to second-guess themselves, as well as the possible strategies they could come up with—“Do you like it here? Do you like this speed?” Which can be understood, because if the first experience with someone isn’t that good… then, it might be your first and last time with that person.

Being in that mindset first starts off with many, many thoughts on their physical appearance. “Oh no, turn the lights off, don’t look at me, let me get under the blankets first.”

There have been situations where a male may be thinking too much about his appearance or “performance,” that they end up “relaxed” and can no longer continue… before the job is even done.

 

No One Expects the Dragon Age Inquisition!- A Video Game Review

By Seth Vandenburg

‘Tis the first week of December, and all through the dorms, students were stirring, as was the norm. Yet not all was exactly fine, for Seth wasn’t really having a good time. He had serious trouble trying to find a good game, up until he recalled one such masterpiece: “Dragon Age: Inquisition” was its name.

 

…No, the review’s not going to be all in rhyme. Thank god. Anyway, here’s a review of “Dragon Age: Inquisition.”

 

Recently released for the PC, Xbox 360, PS3, Xbox One, and PS4 on November 28th, “Dragon Age: Inquisition” is the third game in the Dragon Age RPG series by BioWare, whom you may recall as the studio behind “Jade Empire.” The story takes place two years after the events of “Dragon Age II,” where there’s a major mage-templar war going on and it seems like there’s a chance for peace at a conclave out near Haven, one of the locations visited in “Dragon Age: Origins”… only for the whole place to blow up. You then play as a character that you can customize who is the only survivor of said explosion with a mysterious mark on his/her hand and later wakes up in chains to find that there’s a hole in the sky called the Breach, and he/she is the only who can close it because of said mark, causing the events leading to the rebirth of the Inquisition, an organization whose mission is to restore order in the world.

 

“Inquisition” brings back much of the tactical strategy gameplay from “Origins” and attempts to combine it with the combos from “II” while placing said combination in ‘open-world’ maps. However, despite this being the kind of gameplay most people wanted when they were asked what they wanted for “Inquisition,” I must say that this kind of gameplay doesn’t work for open maps as the strategic tactical gameplay would sometimes have you go into ceiling-view with the push of a button to make decisions only to find there’s an enemy out of view and out of reach that can kill you easily and the combos are not done by pressing the button repeatedly as you’d expect, but by holding the button down. Aside from a confusing mix of controls, you can only hold onto a few select health potions at a time instead of as many as you want in the previous two games, which leads to more player deaths than really necessary even on easy mode of all difficulties. Plus, loot is harder to collect since, due to the maps being ‘open-world,’ loot is no longer identified by sparkles and instead has to be found through the use of a search function that works through a hot-cold system. Trust me; gameplay is a complete step down.

 

On the other hand, “Inquisition” excels at presentation. For all I’ve complained about the open-world, the environments are indeed great to look at, pretty much because the game was made with the same engine as “Skyrim.” The characters are also interesting; at first, you think you know everything you need to know about them from just a few conversations you have with them in the home base and in their own conversations with each other, but then you end up finding out something new every single time that gives them another layer of depth. Plus, they look almost as good as the world around them. I won’t spoil them all for you, but they more than make up for the gameplay’s flaws.

 

Unfocused gameplay aside, “Dragon Age: Inquisition” is a complete must-buy only for the presentation and the characters. Though if I were to recommend which system to get this practically $60 dollar game on, I’d suggest either on the Xbox One or the PS4 since despite the great presentation, it was obviously meant for this generation of gaming. The versions on the 360 and PS3 suffer from a few setbacks such as graphics taking time to catch up to their good quality, the sound muting at certain times, the text being difficult to read, and dialogue happening mid-gameplay that you have to pay attention to and know how to access in order to affect your companion’s approval.

 

Next gen is now getting all the good stuff…

Solar Panels for the Pool

By: Kevin Tufo

Lyndon State College is in the process of adding solar panels to heat up the pool.

The Indoor Recreation of Orleans County, once known as IROC, donated 72 solar panels to Lyndon State College about one year ago.

As of now, the plan is to put the panels on the ground near the soccer field and the swimming pool. About 60 panels will be able to fit at this surface. The other 12 still have an undetermined location.

Initially, the plan was to install them above the pool in the SHAPE facility. Two major issues occur with that plan because only about 60 panels would be able to be on the roof, and students wouldn’t be able to go up and learn about the solar panels while up there because of hazardous conditions.

Facilities manager Thomas Archer helped break down the estimated cost to run the pool. “It’s roughly $90,000 when you add up all the expenses,” said Archer. The solar panels would cost about $82,000 for installation. The panels would save around $11,400 in oil a year making the panels for themselves in just over 7 years.

The pool has been a part of the school for around 30 years. The dectrons, which are similar to dehumidifiers, haven’t been changed since the pool was first installed. To get 10 new dectrons, it would cost around $300,000, or $30,000 a year for 10 years.

With the school being a little over $3 million in debt, nothing is off the table, according to Dean of Administration Loren Loomis Hubbell. “The pool was never brought up,” said Hubbell. “The school plans on installing the panels sometime near this upcoming summer.” Once the panels become installed, it’s hard to see the pool becoming cut from the budget.

Head Lifeguard Laura Drake believes that the many people that aren’t students or faculty use the pool. “There’s a lot of support from the community to come use our pool,” said Drake. “Depending on the shift you’ll see up to twenty people using the pool.” It costs people who aren’t students or faculty $3 a visit or $25 for a 10-hole punch card.