Hydroponic farm’s tomatoes found throughout New Mexico

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Steve and Kim Martin have been growing tomatoes and cucumbers for nearly 18 years using hydroponic techniques. They say the process requires attention to detail and constant upkeep, but the rewards include more flavor, a better appearance and a longer shelf life.

Steve was a fourth-generation dairy farmer in Madison County, New York, outside of Syracuse, for most of his life up until the 1990s, before turning to the type of farming he does today.

“I was running around in the barn with diapers,” Steve said. “Farming was ingrained in my blood, so I wanted to stay with farming and have a home-based business, which this creates for us.”

Today, the Martins raise English cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, 10 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and mint and watercress on their seven-and-a-half acre property in Los Luceros on the east bank of the Rio Grande.

Continue reading Hydroponic farm’s tomatoes found throughout New Mexico

Pueblo Accuses City of Trespassing

The federal government is suing the city of Española for trespassing on Santa Clara Pueblo land.

City water and sewer lines have allegedly occupied about four miles of Santa Clara land, even after the right-of-way contracts for the lines expired in 1994, and the city failed to renew them, according to a civil complaint filed on May 6 in U.S. District Court.

Continue reading Pueblo Accuses City of Trespassing

Dark Ages: Dealing with Depression as a Millennial

On a cold January night during my sophomore year at the University of Kansas, I’m lying awake in the pitch black of my bedroom at my father’s house in Lawrence. I should be asleep but I can’t stop worrying about school, money and family issues. After hours of thinking about how hopeless life seems, my legs tangled in my sheets and my mind as active as the moment I had lain down, a thought passes through me.

Do I have enough money in my bank account to buy a gun?”

Kayla DuBois made the above piece of art, called “Sorry I Spilled Your Coffee,” during her junior year of high school in 2009. There are about 200 different paintings underneath what you can see on the surface. While the original intent of the piece was different, DuBois says the process of making it was therapeutic for working through the events of an abusive relationship. The piece won a silver medal at the National Scholastic Arts Competition.

Focusing On Nothing: First Steps to Meditation

“Who were all these strange ghosts rooted to the silly little adventure of earth with me? And who was I?” — Ray Smith, The Dharma Bums

“I don’t consider myself religious but I see value in traditional forms of self-contemplation, and I feel calm and a sense of relief every time I meditate. I’ve also been sleeping better since I started. The three types of meditation—focused-attention, mindfulness, and compassion—require no workout equipment or clothing. Meditation requires practice, but it can have enormous benefits.”

Level Design: Technical Skill and Creativity in 3D Space

During my Multimedia Reporting class, I tried to explain the level design process by speaking to David Speyrer, a software developer at Valve; Aaron Garcha, a freelance level designer; and Peter Gelencser at CD Projekt RED.

Game environments are becoming larger and more detailed as graphics improve and product budgets reach record levels.  Level designers must maintain a consistent vision of the final product while creating new places for players to explore.

The Visual Communication of Concept Art

During my Multimedia Reporting class, I asked concept artists how they fit into the video game design process. I spoke with Eric Spray, Brennan Massicotte and David Velazquez.

“Concept artists have influence over many aspects of game design, in terms of visuals and gameplay. They communicate with almost every other member of the development team to help them visualize the product before it’s made.”

Sentiment, Embarrassment, and Learning: Wrangling with Games Criticism

I tried to combine explanatory and first person journalism techniques in a reporting project that turned into more of a personal essay. I spoke with games writers Alec Meer, John Walker and Stace Harman, and identified contemporary gaming publications which employ New Journalism techniques in writing about games.

Game critics aren’t trying to persuade you whether or not to buy a game. At least, not all of them are.