Articles by

Fernando González

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    Magic Leap still hasn’t released a product. But the dream world it’s creating keeps getting richer and richer.Magic Leap founder and CEO Rony Abovitz spoke this week at the eMerge Americas conference on Miami Beach, joining Jean-Pierre Bardet, dean of University of Miami’s College of Engineering, on a panel moderated by Knight Foundation’s Miami program director, Matt Haggman.Virtual reality and augmented reality, he suggested, are just gateway technologies to the experience the secretive South Florida company is building.
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    Jan Mapou sounds almost giddy when discussing the Little Haiti Book Festival—and with good reason. The event, which started with a Knight Arts Challenge award, is now in its fifth year. It has grown steadily and is now a partnership between Sosyete Koukouy of Miami, the Society of the Fireflies, the Haitian cultural organization Mapou founded in 1985, and Miami Dade College’s Miami Book Fair.The festival is Saturday and Sunday, May 27-28, at the Little Haiti Cultural Complex.“The Miami Book Fair is now the best book fair in the nation, but [in 1984] it also started small, as Books by the Bay,” noted Mapou with a smile.
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    The Phillip and Patricia Frost Science Museum is a classroom like no other. Some of the lessons come wrapped as popcorn-worthy entertainment in exhibits, laser light shows and planetarium events; others are part of  educational programs for both students and teachers, such as the Upward Bound Math and Science Center, which focuses on science, technology and marine science.Leah Melber, Ph.D., the museum’s newly appointed Knight Vice President of Education, is the key person in the future development of the museum’s education programs. The position is funded by Knight Foundation.
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    The death of classical music is an evergreen story in music literature. Graying audiences and diminishing funding sources have been the subject of stories dating at least 90 years. As is often the case, technology has created new challenges, but also unexpected opportunities.The Detroit Symphony Orchestra has embraced them, and is now celebrating 1 million views of its “Live From Orchestra Hall” webcast, touted as the first from a major American orchestra, online, for free. The webcast is funded by Knight Foundation.
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    The Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, opening Monday in downtown Miami’s Museum Park, is serious fun.The stunning, 250,000-square-foot facility, divided into four interconnected buildings with nearly 360 degrees of spectacular views, includes an aquarium, a planetarium and a science museum comprised of a North Wing and a West Wing. But numbers can’t quite convey the experience of peering into the three-level aquarium, which includes a breathtaking underwater view through a 31-foot-wide oculus at the bottom; or walking around the interactive “Feathers to the Stars” exhibit, which tells the story of flight from feathered dinosaurs to space travel, or wandering into the “River of Grass,” an exhibit that captures the richness of the Everglades in real and virtual environments.Still, this is fun with a purpose.
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    For the past 30 years, seemingly every aspect of the music industry—from creation and presentation to the ways the product may be distributed, acquired and consumed—has been disrupted by technological developments. But for every benefit of the democratization of the creative and dissemination process there’s a real and practical challenge for the artist to get paid for his labor and make a living of it.