In case you missed it, we wrote about Vintage Steele in our Spring 2014 issue. Enjoy this slideshow of Bear Cieri’s photographs from the shop.
Nineteen-year-old Anna Goodling, from Washington, Vt., captured the beautiful lilac photograph that appears on our Spring cover. She attends college in western Michigan where she studies creative writing and dance, and when she’s home, helps run her family’s farm/inn, Vermont Grand View Farm.
VL: You’re probably the youngest photographer to have their work appear on our cover. How does that feel?
AG: It feels amazing! I am truly honored to have my work chosen for your cover, and still can’t quite believe it’s real. This is something of a dream come true, and is a huge encouragement to me in my photographic endeavors.
VL: What kind of camera did you use?
AG: I shoot with an old Canon Rebel. It’s a great camera, but sometimes frustratingly limiting in its capabilities. I have been wanting to upgrade to a newer model for a long time, and shall be able to do so now, thanks to Vermont Life’s recognition.
VL: It’s been a hard winter this year, and many people have told us the photograph gives them hope. What do you see when you look at it?
AG: To me, this photo speaks to the nature of spring in Vermont — hidden and seeming impossibly far off, but wonderfully matchless when it does arrive. The beauty of the lilac blooms isn’t harmed by the presence of the snow, it is enhanced by it. The long, hard winters in Vermont only make the coming of spring all the more lovely.
VL: Do you see yourself returning to Vermont full time after college? What do you see as the challenges for your generation to make a home in Vermont?
AG: I don’t know yet what life after college holds for me, but I would ultimately like to move back to Vermont to stay. It will always be home to me. I think a problem for young people looking to build their lives in Vermont is that it can be very isolated. Most of the state is rural countryside, which is absolutely beautiful, but makes finding jobs difficult. We need to be innovative and willing to work hard to establish a life that can support us here.
VL: You have a lot of animals on your family farm. Who is the biggest character?
AG: Definitely our two barn cats, Moses and Aaron. They are constantly getting into trouble, sneaking into the house, and doing any and everything to get our attention. Sometimes Aaron will even accompany my family on long walks in the woods that border our property. They do seem to spend more time sleeping than keeping up with their duties as barn cats, however.
University of Vermont associate professor Josh Bongard talks about what robot engineers can learn from nature, why he won a prestigious presidential award and if we should really worry about a robot uprising. (This is an extended version of the interview that appears on page 72 of the Spring 2014 edition of Vermont Life.)
VL: When did you first make the connection between technology and the natural world?
JB: Well, I played a lot of video games as a kid but I was also interested in building things and I loved the outdoors and animals. I was always fascinated by animals: how they move and how complex their bodies are, but incredibly efficient and fast. Machines, to this day, are still relatively clunky. Hollywood showed us all these fantastically amazing machines like big metal cats and humans but we didn’t actually have them and why not? That question motivated me. I was an undergraduate in computer science when I read a book that opened my eyes to borrowing ideas from nature and using them to build machines. I never looked back.
VL: Now you use computers to evolve robots based on the model of natural selection. Why is that a good way to develop robots? Continue Reading
JB: Humans have figured out how to build better cars, airplanes, the international space station, but autonomous robots are much more complicated than any of those machines for one reason: they need to move and live alongside us in the real world without a human leading them. These kinds of robots are different from industrial robots, which are designed to do the same thing over and over again in a controlled environment.