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Hohokum video game debuts with Ghostly International's soundtrack

Hohokum is game and music album wrapped up in one.

Excerpt:

"It's somewhere between drawing and flying a kite," artist Richard Hogg tells me.

It's hard to explain what  Hohokum  is, but Hogg's description might just be the most apt. Launching today for the PlayStation 4 and Vita,  Hohokum  is a weird and wonderful world developed by British studio Honeyslug with Hogg providing whimsical, colorful art....

The music also plays a surprisingly large part in the experience. Your actions help bring each level to life, filling them with color and movement. But they also add more layers to the sound, with the soundtrack growing in depth the more you explore. And the Ghostly-provided tunes — some of which were composed specifically for the game — are a perfect fit..."

More here.

Biking has $668M economic impact on state, MDOT study says

Biking is going the distance in Michigan, in terms of economic and health benefits, tourism, and other outcomes, according to a recent study.

Excerpt:

"Bicycle riding in Michigan has an estimated $668 million economic benefit annually for  the state, according to a study released Thursday from the Michigan Department of Transportation.

The benefit  comes from several factors, including sales of bikes and related equipment, money spent for tourism and reduced health care costs. The study also found that 39 percent of Michigan households reported using a bicycle for transportation last year...

The study also focused on how bikes are used in five Michigan communities...

In Ann Arbor, for example, people were more concerned about commuting and transportation..."

More here.

Ann Arbor a top college town for retirees

Interestingly, both retirees and professionals agree on what makes a city attractive to live in.

Excerpt:

"Intellectual engagement is one big draw...

The three-week Ann Arbor Summer Festival showcases more than 100 events, including dance, local bands, comedy and outdoor movies.

Ann Arbor is home to dozens of restaurants, from Caribbean to vegetarian to Tex-Mex. Transplanted New Yorkers will feel right at home sampling the bagels and pastrami at Zingerman’s Deli, an Ann Arbor institution since 1982."

More here.

U-M in top 10% of Forbes Top Colleges ranking

In this twist on typical college ranking methodologies, Forbes looks at what students take away from college vs. what it takes to get in.

Excerpt:

"The FORBES 7th annual Top Colleges ranking reveals higher education in flux, ongoing debate between the value of liberal arts vs. STEM degrees and a winning formula of high student satisfaction and graduation rates, alumni career success and low student debt...

What sets our calculation of 650 colleges and universities apart from other rankings is our firm belief in "output" over "input." We’re not all that interested in what gets a student  into  college. Our sights are set directly on ROI: What are students getting  out  of college."

More here

 

Was the Big House game a turning point for soccer in the U.S.?

The sports media was abuzz with the fact that the Real Madrid-Manchester United soccer game played at U-M Big House brought in 109,318 spectators. With tickets going for $100 and more, that's an economic event worth sitting upright for? But was it a one time fan event or a harbinger of things to come? Some believe it was more the former than the latter.

Excerpt:

"Among the major outlet process coverage of the match and the rest of European soccer’s American summer vacation, there have been think pieces of questioning the value of these European tours—whether they are a detriment to the growth of MLS, a ‘problem’ for American soccer as a whole, or merely a vapid commercial exercise. All of these things are potentially true, but they represent an ever-present insecurity that forms a divide within American soccer culture—that there is a right way to be an American soccer fan, that there is a right way to grow the sport in the United States, that these friendlies are fake."

Read the rest here.
 

Affordable housing and eco redevelopment in Ann Arbor

A pair of Ann Arbor affordable housing projects are under the microscope as WEMU looks at where green redevelopment and housing for lower income residents dovetail.

Excerpt:

"To 'better serve both its residents and our communities' public housing in Ann Arbor will become “greener,” healthier, more comfortable and more energy efficient, thanks to a project under way that includes significant involvement from the Ecology Center.

Jason Bing, healthy buildings director at the Ecology Center, is working with the Ann Arbor Housing Commission and Norstar Development on two new affordable housing projects that are intended to be models of green and healthy residential construction. When complete, the housing units should lower utility costs, as well as provide homes that are more comfortable and healthier for their residents."

Read/listen to the rest here.
 

U-M's struggle to adopt data-driven learning

Transitioning from traditional educational methods to our technology-aided, data-driven culture is a much more complicated and unwieldy than you might think.

Excerpt:

"But things were beginning to change. That same year, Michigan created a central data warehouse that has become a giant digital filing cabinet for all of the data collected by the university’s 19 schools and colleges. And soon universitywide management software vastly increased the amount of data flowing into that central warehouse.

More recently, Michigan has piped in data from its learning-management system that not only identify students and the courses they are taking, but also indicate how frequently they log in to the system, download digital course materials, and submit online assignments."

Read the rest here.

HomeGrown Festival kicks off September Bookfest

The HomeGrown Festival, which features, shockingly enough, local food, music, and drink, will be held at the Kerrytown Farmer's Market the night before the Kerrytown Bookfest - making the weekend a two-fer of community fun. There's a HomeBrew competitionso how bad could it be?

Visit the HomegRown Festival's site here. Check out their event brochure here. Info on Bookfest can be found here.
 

The secret to human-scaled cities? Smaller roads

This most excellent and passionate blog makes the case that the real secret to livable walkable communities is... smaller roads. We whole-heartedly agree. But good luck with that in Michigan.

Excerpt:

"We have to get out of the ugly habit of building such automobile-friendly environments. Once we make it automobile-friendly by adding wide roads and segregating automobile and pedestrian traffic, the automobile will take over. Remember, we fled from this. The result just happened to be worse, because we did not know any better. 

When we break the habit of building wide roads and segregating automobiles from pedestrians - even without having to ban them - we will begin building pleasant urban environments. "

Read the rest here.
 

Ann Arbor ranked as "Most Intelligent College Town" in U.S.A.

Oh, look! We're on another list. What a surprise. Well, since we're so darn smart does that mean we can  coast on those IQ points for a little while and devote a week or two to drinking beer?

Excerpt:

"Here we are, finally at number 1 on the list, with the most intelligent college town in the nation being Ann Arbor, Michigan, where nearly half of the residents of the entire city boast a graduate degree or better. An economy that is driven by the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, the city’s culture is immersed seamlessly into the intellectual climate of the famous academic institution. Indeed, many of the world’s greatest composers, poets, engineers, musicologists, and businessmen who teach at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor also find themselves regularly interacting within the town’s festivities, concert halls, public lectures, and forums, laying the foundation for an intellectual culture in one of the midwest’s most beloved cities. "

Read the rest here.
 

The Daily Show puts the Michigan Daily in the spotlight

What is the current state of journalism? Where does it go next? The Daily Show takes the Michigan Daily to task for its oh-so old timey ways in a segment called "Internet Killed the Newspaper Star."

Watch it below:

 

Local artist in the CriticCar spotlight

We've put our own spotlight on Cre Fuller and his fantastic Angry Tin Men in Concentrate in the past. Now, sporting a pair of award ribbons from Maker Faire, Detroit's CriticCar gets even more of his story.

Watch the video below.

 

Candidates for local political offices weigh in on the arts

The Arts Alliance conducted a survey of candidates running for office in Washtenaw County regarding their views of arts and culture. The results of their questionnaire have been gathered in this pdf document.

Interesting to see how many voice strong support for public art and its community importance but only hand-full seem to actively support public funding of the arts. You may conclude from that what you may.

Read the candidate answers here.
 

Ann Arbor startup lands on CNN's list of "game changing gadgets"

Ever want to be Jordi from Star Trek? Or Lobot from Star Wars? Have no idea what those references are? Don't worry, not being a geek doesn't mean you can't think these 3D goggl;es aren't cool.

Excerpt:

"From Michigan-based Avegant, the Glyph headset looks like a chunky set of headphones with a pop-down, "Star Trek"-style visor. (They promise a sleeker look for the final product).

It hooks up to a smartphone, TV, gaming device or laptop and uses a system of 2 million microscopic mirrors to beam the images directly into your retinas."

Read the rest here.
 

Bank of Ann Arbor takes on the big boys

While banks and bankers may not be the public's favorite folks in our age of controversial bail outs and investment instruments, The Bank of Ann Arbor is proving that a local institution can sometimes outperform a multi-national corporation.

Excerpt:

"In 2007, before the recession hit, the Bank of Ann Arbor was sixth in deposit market share with 8.04 percent in the city, with deposits of $329.8 million, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. KeyBank was No. 1 at 16.45 percent with deposits of $675.1 million.

As of June 30, 2013, the latest date for which data are available on the FDIC website, Chase was No. 1 at 17.3 percent with deposits of $901.6 million, while the Bank of Ann Arbor had climbed into second place at 12.38 percent and deposits of $646.2 million. "

Read the rest here.
 
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