Solar Generator – GoalZero’s Yeti 1250
GoalZero’s Yeti 1250 is one aptly named piece of gear… It’s a beast. At about 100 lbs it is a little heavy for a backpacking trip, but would work great for car camping, emergency situations, or base camp. In a pinch, the Yeti could run your refrigerator for a couple of days. It’s about the size of two microwaves, and has all the outlets you could desire. There’s even a display showing you the amount of energy being put out, and if you have the solar panels hooked up, the amount of energy coming in. You’ll be able to purchase the Yeti 1250 as a standalone unit, or as a kit that will include two solar panels and their stands. Stand alone or kit, it’ll come with a cart to help you transport the beast. MSRP: solo- $1499, kit $1999; Weight: 103 lbs.; Release: May 2012. goalzero.com
Chalk Bags – Krieg Climbing
I was walking the aisles when I saw this guy at a sewing machine putting stitches into a FedEx envelope. That man is Sam Krieg of Krieg Climbing, and he has found a way to make his passion his life. When his favorite chalk bag finally fell apart, and he discovered that he wouldn’t be able to replace it, he used his minimal, Home Ec 101 acquired sewing skills and his mother-in-law’s old sewing machine to refurbish his much beloved bag. Then, he made one for a friend, then another, and another, and eventually he built a company out of the most visually diverse chalk bags out there. You want to order a custom bag for a friend? Or repurpose that dying but sentimentally important t-shirt or back pack? Send it to Sam. MSRP: $20 for one of his many production designs, and about $30-$40 for custom jobs. KriegClimbing.com
Let’s not beat around the bush: Directing a movie with ten major characters sounds pretty tough. Directing a movie with ten major characters, a bunch of non-professional actors and three massive animatronic whales that can only be reached for repairs by diving into some pretty chilly water? Even tougher. Shooting in Alaska, where one of the only weather conditions that stays consistent from day to day is the freezing cold? Was Ken Kwapis nuts?!
When I asked Middlebury Union Middle School science teacher for a synopsis of his current guitar project, he gave me an in-depth look into an interesting eighth grade science lesson. Mr. Barnes explains, “The project was given as part of our study of electromagnetism in conjunction with the over-arching theme of the law of conservation of energy. More specifically, students need to utilize the concept of electromagnetic induction in order to convert the sound from the strings when they strum to an electric current, which is then sent into the amplifier where it’s converted back into sound (only louder, hence the amplifier of course). The key to converting the vibrations of the string into current is the pick-up. The pick-up is essentially a tiny generator, where kinetic energy (the string moving) is converted into electrical energy. A current is generated when a magnetic field is cut through by a coil of (usually) copper wire. In the pick-up, the magnet is placed inside a little bobbin that has enamel-coated copper wire wound around it. When the string is vibrated a couple of millimeters above the magnet, the magnetic field of the magnet wobbles (which, effectively, is the magnet moving in relation to the coil). This wobbling magnetic field “pushes” the electrons in the copper coil. These moving electrons are electrical current. That current flows out of the guitar through the jack, into the amplifier. That’s the project in a nutshell.” Some of the students started in on the project right away and completed it early. Shauna Ralston, an eighth grader, said her father had to travel to Essex Junction, Vermont to find magnet wire due to it being on backorder in the Middlebury area. Faith Isham was able to share some extra wire of Shaunas, and decided to get right to business as well, finishing with time to spare. Felicia Baslow, in addition to hearing the class lecture, watched a video on how to make the guitar and then completed her project. The kids seemed genuinely excited about the project. Keep up the good work!
KK: There is a broad range of emotional content in Big Miracle. For me, the best dramas are chock-full of humor. By the same token, the best comedies are grounded in dramatic reality. Tears and laughter are both welcome here. I feel you can’t have one without the other. Sometimes I designed a comedic moment in order to throw viewers off the scent, to mislead them, to prevent them from foreseeing the dramatic (or tragic) events to come.
While the book the film is based on—Tom Rose’s Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World’s Greatest Non-Event—and even the first draft of the film’s screenplay (originally titled Everybody Loves Whales) took a satirical approach to the media circus surrounding the rescue of the trapped whales, Kwapis’ choice to focus on the extraordinary nature of the rescue itself results in a film that is refreshingly non-cynical (“I felt there was nothing fresh about skewering the news media,” he says. “Billy Wilder did it decades ago with Ace in the Hole.”)