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Kevin Hart is less funny, more educational on Netflix special ‘Guide to Black History’

, USA TODAY Published 5:25 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2019 | Updated 5:32 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2019

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In a new Netflix special, “Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History,” available now, the actor and comedian is tackling a new role: Educator.

The one-hour special explores the lives of unsung black heroes through a series of reenactments. Viewers learn about such people as arctic explorer Matthew Henson, astronaut Mae Jemison and performer-turned-Allied-spy Josephine Baker.

Hart has faced recent controversy after he stepped down as this year’s Oscars host following uproar over past homophobic tweets and comments. Last fall, he faced backlash for throwing a “Cowboys and Indians” party for his son Kenzo’s first birthday.

In a bit of a twist for Hart’s brand, “Guide to Black History” is geared toward kids and families, with layers of Hart talking among a series of longer reenactments. It’s a refreshing way to teach kids, not only because there are jokes instead of a list of dry facts (plus actual production value), but because the subjects aren’t the usual suspects.

One of the first things Hart says in the special is “There’s so much more to black history than peanuts,” referring to George Washington Carver’s pioneering agricultural work that’s taught in elementary classrooms across American classrooms.

The jokes are of the PG-slapstick variety. Take for instance Hart’s quip that Bessie Coleman, the first African-American woman to hold a pilot license, got pulled over by cops asking where she got such a nice plane.

Underneath the comedy is the message that the accomplishments and cultural contributions of African-Americans are something to be proud of.

  • Robert Smalls escaped slavery to become a Civil War hero and five-term congressman in the House of Representatives.
  • Blues great Robert Johnson created music and a guitar style that influenced rock and roll as we know it. George Crum invented the potato chip.
  • Josephine Baker was an American performer who moved to France and became an Allied secret agent during World War II. She later became a prominent figure in the Civil Rights Movement and adopted 12 children from around the world.

As Hart tells his daughter (played by Saniyya Sidney):

“Black history is more than slavery and oppression. Goodness, you have the innovation, the brilliance, the creativity … these were the things that we use to challenge the oppression.”

View Full Article Here: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/allthemoms/2019/02/08/kevin-harts-guide-black-history-netflix-funny-educational/2807365002/

FOR MUSEUMS, AUGMENTED REALITY IS THE NEXT FRONTIER

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MAE JEMISON, THE first woman of color to go into space, stood in the center of the room and prepared to become digital. Around her, 106 cameras captured her image in 3-D, which would later render her as a life-sized hologram when viewed through a HoloLens headset.

Jemison was recording what would become the introduction for a new exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, which opens tomorrow as part of the Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day. In the exhibit, visitors will wear HoloLens headsets and watch Jemison materialize before their eyes, taking them on a tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise—and through space history. They’re invited to explore artifacts both physical (like the Enterprise) and digital (like a galaxy of AR stars) while Jemison introduces women throughout history who have made important contributions to space exploration.

Interactive museum exhibits like this are becoming more common as augmented reality tech becomes cheaper, lighter, and easier to create. A few years ago, the gear alone—a dozen HoloLens headsets, which visitors can wear as they file through the exhibit—would have been out of reach. Now, as the technology becomes easier to use and the experiences easier to create, museums are increasingly turning to them as a way to engage visitors—whether that’s fleshing out the skeletons on view at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, or taking a tour of Mars with astronaut Buzz Aldrin (as a hologram, naturally).

‘There’s a tremendous opportunity, especially around technology like augmented reality, to engage visitors.’

CHRIS BARR, DIRECTOR OF INNOVATION AT THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION

At the Intrepid, the holographic Jemison isn’t just the docent of the future. She’s also a part of the exhibit, a chance for visitors to come face-to-face with an important figure from space history. “I hope that me taking them on this tour, that it makes it a little bit more real,” she says.

State of the Art

Museums have long relied on technology to give context to their exhibits—whether through informational videos, audio guides, or smartphone apps. Augmented reality, in some ways, is just the next iteration of that. It gives curators a chance to layer more information on top of existing exhibits, and to get visitors more involved with what’s on view.

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“Cultural institutions are asking, ‘How do we ensure our relevancy in the future?’” says Chris Barr, the director of arts and technology innovation at the Knight Foundation, which gave over $1 million this year to support museums using new forms of technology. “We’re looking at tech as part of the toolset that they use to do that. There’s a tremendous opportunity, especially around technology like augmented reality, to engage visitors.”

Some museums have experimented with AR to bring damaged or broken artifacts back into their collections, or to remix the collections on view. This year, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art worked with the design agency frog to create an “augmented reality gallery” to showcase some of René Magritte’s works, currently on view. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History put on an exhibit, called Skin and Bones, which lets visitors animate the museum’s collection of skeletons with an AR app on their phones. Even the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has brought one of its exhibits to life, allowing visitors to learn more about the Lithuanian villagers featured in its Tower of Faces display with a companion AR tool.

“Museums are starting to get smarter and smarter about how do we personalize [the experience of visiting a museum], and how do we make those experiences just as magical as the art that you’re seeing,” says Barr.

The Intrepid’s exhibit takes it one step further, using HoloLens headsets to bring Jemison alongside visitors as she guides them through the space shuttle. “We want to make sure that while our artifacts create this exciting and tactile opportunity, we want to make sure we’re capturing our current generation in the language they’re speaking,” says Susan Marenoff-Zausner, President of the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Behind the Scenes

The Intrepid collaborated with Microsoft, which filmed Jemison at its Mixed Reality Capture Studio in San Francisco. The studio space holds a combination of RGB and infrared cameras that capture scenes in 360 degrees, then render a mesh map in 3-D. “The infrared camera see a very densely speckled version of what’s in that scene, which the computer vision algorithms eat for lunch,” says Steve Sullivan, who heads up Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studios program.

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When Microsoft first started licensing its mixed reality capture tech, it expected most of its business to come from celebrities, sports figures, and the entertainment sector in general. But Sullivan says educational and instructional institutions have become another fast-growing part of what the studio creates. “It’s way richer than video, but not radically more expensive,” he says.

Earlier this year, Microsoft worked with London’s Natural History Museum to create a “behind-the-scenes” museum tour. The experience involves a holographic David Attenborough, who shepherds visitors around the museum and shares stories about some of the artifacts on display—some of which are real, and some of which are digital renderings. Microsoft also worked with the Kyoto National Museum to create an immersive exhibit showcasing the art of Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple in Japan. Wearing a HoloLens headset, visitors could see 400-year-old artifacts fill the walls and ceiling of the museum, while a life-sized hologram of a Zen Buddhist monk toured them around.

“It’s getting museums to think outside of their physical confines,” says Sullivan. “They can have hosts and guides showing you more.”

Other tech companies have partnered with museums to bring their products into the gallery space. In 2017, shortly after introducing its AR platform Tango, Google teamed up with the Detroit Institute of Arts to show off what it could do. Museum visitors could borrow a Tango-enabled smartphone to discover hidden features, like an augmented reality skeleton inside the sarcophagi on view. The Perez Art Museum Miami leveraged Apple’s AR Kit to build augmented reality installations in surprising spaces, like the museum’s terrace. (Visitors could see the works through their own iPhones, or could borrow one from the museum.) Earlier this year, Intel worked with the Smithsonian to translate an exhibit in its Renwick Gallery to smartphones everywhere, using Snapchat’s augmented reality tech.

Of course, none of these exhibits rely on augmented reality alone. They still point visitors toward real-world objects and make use of the physical space in museums to create exhibitions. But museum curators hope they can engage visitors on a new level, and bring in new audiences altogether. For Jemison, who discovered her love of science on childhood visitors to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, using HoloLens headsets is just one more way for museums to “engage curiosity and foster it.” If that gets one more kid curious about science and space, then it’s all worth it.

 For Full Article Visit: https://www.wired.com/story/museums-augmented-reality-next-frontier/?CNDID=24696853&CNDID=24696853&bxid=MzE3MzcwNDQ2MDc0S0&hasha=fc07b76085ab0c1403fae93ca8f5af7d&hashb=d41df8db6b7e6a5b2bbb416d55d4ac882e16fa35&mbid=nl_021219_daily_special-edition-cover_list2_p5&source=DAILY_SPECIALEDITION_NEWSLETTER&utm_brand=wired&utm_mailing=Special%20Edition%20NL%20021219_Cover%20Drop_Subscriber%20list%20(1)%20remainder&utm_medium=email&utm_source=nl

Astronaut Mae Jemison Says Her Mission Didn’t End in Space

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Badass Women celebrates women who show up, speak up, and get things done.

By Shalayne Pulia 

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As a little girl growing up in the ’60s on the South Side of Chicago, back when NASA didn’t allow women — let alone women of color — to be astronauts, Mae Jemison set her sights on the stars. To get there she earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University (where she also took courses in African and African-American studies) and then received a degree in medicine from Cornell University. In 1992 she achieved her dream, becoming the first woman of color in the world to go to space.

But, Dr. Jemison says, her time back on earth has been the most rewarding. “It’s about what you do with your place at the table once you come back down,” she says. “For me, it’s making sure others are included.” Two years after her mission she launched an international science camp for kids called The Earth We Share. Now she leads 100 Year Starship, or 100YSS, a nonprofit organization that aspires to send humans beyond our solar system within the next 100 years.

RELATED: This Astronaut Keeps Breaking Boundaries for Women At NASA

Star Chasing: Dr. Jemison’s 100YSS program is designed to encourage scientists across disciplines to make advancements in areas like renewable energy and sustainability. “Even if it takes us 20 to 50 years to get to another star, we still have to figure out how to feed ourselves and maintain equipment. Suddenly issues of sustainability come to the forefront in a way they don’t if you just think about living on the moon,” she explains. “I’m not trying to build the Starship Enterprise. I’m asking, ‘How do we influence the world so that big, audacious projects can be done?’ ”

Breaking Barriers: “You have to believe in yourself,” Dr. Jemison says about facing challenges full-throttle. “I thought it was foolish when folks said that I couldn’t be an astronaut. But we put stumbling blocks in front of girls all the time. I rebelled against them, took a risk, and put myself out there.”

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COURTESY LEGO

Cosmic Goals: Dr. Jemison wants to change how we think about science “and remind people that we have a responsibility to one another and this planet.”

State of the Art: Before Dr. Jemison became an astronaut, she considered a career as a professional dancer. Ultimately, she chose to study medicine. She started as a medical officer for the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone and Liberia and practiced as a doctor in L.A. before going to work for NASA. Yet the arts never stopped playing an important role in her life. Phyllis Hyman, Stevie Wonder, and African drumming were her go-to soundtracks while she was in space. “People are readily identified as being left-brained or right-brained, but I want to be identified as using my entire brain.”

RELATED: This Badass Woman Is Using Microwaves to Fight Cyber Attacks

Culture Trek: The astronaut’s big Hollywood moment came in 1993 when she made a guest appearance as a lieutenant on Star Trek: The Next Generationone of her favorite sci-fi shows. “Star Trek is one of our best fantasies because it uses science in a way that examines social issues,” she says. Lego also created a figurine in Dr. Jemison’s honor. And now she serves as a scientific adviser on National Geographic’s documentary and science fiction series Mars. “Life is really full,” she says. “You can find lots of things to stay curious, excited, and accepting.”

Mars Season 2 premieres on Nov. 12 at 9 p.m. ET. 

For more stories like this, pick up the September issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download now.

Full Story: https://www.instyle.com/news/mae-jemison-nasa-astronaut-first-woman-color-space

This Former Astronaut Wants Your Help To Take A ‘Sky Selfie’ Of Earth

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In 1992, Mae Jemison went into orbit on the space shuttle Endeavour and became the first African-American woman to go to space.

Now, 25 years later, Jemison is launching a new initiative called Look Up. Over the course of 24 hours she wants people to upload photos of the night sky and record their reactions to what they see.

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson talks with Jemison (@maejemison) about her new app and what she learned from going to space.

Interview Highlights:

 

On she’s hoping people will do using the Skyfie app

“We’re asking them to share what happens when they look up at the sky, daytime or nighttime, for 24 hours around the globe. Just the simple act of connecting through looking up, going outside, looking up, will help us to understand maybe a little bit more about each other, to feel just a tiny bit more connected around this planet. Some people will look up at the sky and they will feel love, they’ll feel hope, some people may feel afraid, they may feel wonder, expansive. How they express that is what we want to capture, and we want to have it shared with people in real time.

A screenshot of the Skyfie app on a smartphone. (Courtesy of Skyfie)

                                           A screenshot of the Skyfie app on a smartphone. (Courtesy of Skyfie)

“So it’s not just, you’re going to take these photos and you’re going to put them up. We’re going to display them to the world in real time on a digital globe that people can spin and they can look at, they can expand, they can go to different folks around the world, so I can know in Houston, Texas, what someone is thinking in New Zealand.”

“Just the simple act of connecting through looking up … will help us to understand maybe a little bit more about each other, to feel just a tiny bit more connected around this planet.” -Mae Jemison

On getting a view of Earth from space that few people have

“I actually have a view of Earth that I think we all can have, and that view of Earth is what happened when I was a little kid when I used to look up, and imagine that some child on the other side of the Earth was looking at the same thing I was looking at, and I wondered what this was like, and so it felt really, really comfortable, it felt really good to me, to know that we were connected that way. We’re calling the app that we have, that’s completely free, we’re calling it a Skyfie app — it’s a sky selfie. And that’s sort of our connection between the sky, humanity and the universe, all in one.”

On her work with 100 Year Starship, and whether humans will need to leave Earth in the next century

“100 Year Starship is about making sure the capabilities for human interstellar flight exist within 100 years, and it’s really about radical innovation, pushing our knowledge, pushing the technologies and our capabilities in terms of energy, in terms of governance, in terms of human biology and health, and using something that’s really difficult like interstellar flight to do it. But here’s the thing: If we don’t figure out how to live on this planet, we can forget about anything else. And even if we’re able to get 500 people on Mars, what 500 people are we going to send? Who gets to decide? I would rather us understand and make sure that we’re keeping this planet well than counting on a plan B.

“Now what’s fascinating and what’s incredible about space exploration is it has really changed fundamentally how we see ourselves. We know so much more about our planet through being able to look back down at our planet from satellites. We know more about the Earth because we’ve been able to study Venus, we’ve been able to study Mars and understand how planets form and what could happen to them.

“Yet at the same time, the balance that we have is taking that knowledge that we live on a planet, we live on our own spaceship, and the only thing that’s happening is we have to figure out as a crew how to live together. That means that we don’t foul our planet through pollution. But we only do that if I understand that what I do changes what happens to other people, that we understand that we have to live on this planet and our behavior makes a difference.”

On always being the first African-American woman to go into space

“It was really interesting to me, because not only was I the first African-American woman, but I was the first woman of color in the entire world to go up into space. And as a little girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago, there is no way that I would have imagined that by the time I got old enough to go into space that I would be the first anything, because I would have thought that we would have had lots and lots of other people going up.

“But being that, being the first woman of color in the world to go into space, what I realized that my responsibility is including other people — both in, yes, being space explorers, whether it’s being the rocket scientists, the suit technicians or being crew members, to involve them in space exploration. Yet even as important is making sure that we understand that individuals on this planet have a right to be involved with space exploration, that they understand the impact of this technology and how profound it can be to help us build a better world.”

On whether she wants to return to space

“Well you know what? We’re in space right now. And if you look at the sky tapestry, which lets you rotate this Earth, we’ll see a starry background. … Would I love to go to Mars and set foot? Absolutely, in a heartbeat. But we’re in space now, so I’ll deal with that.”

This segment aired on October 18, 2018.

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