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Jessica Bryce

Orlando Weekly

Recent Stories from Jessica Bryce

Image: Photo by Jen Cray, orlandoweekly.com

FDA announces crackdown on vaping industry

Orlando’s Matt Kleizo built a vape company because he wanted to help smokers quit. Fast Eddie’s Vape Shop, named after Kleizo’s 6-year-old son, is the center of what he says is a $10 million company. A former smoker, he says vaping was his key to quitting. But the vaping industry is at a crossroads as advocates and opponents weigh the risks. Cigarettes are the leading cause of preventable death in the United States; smoking kills almost half a million people every year. The dilemma facing vape advocates is this: how to get addicted smokers to switch to less harmful e-cigarettes, without tempting non-smokers into a nicotine habit. The 2017 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey found that Florida high-school students used e-cigarettes …

Image: Anti Face -This face is unrecognizable to several state-of-art face detection algorithms, cvdazzle.com

Hiding in Plain Sight from Surveillance Technology

Everywhere we go, we’re being scanned by cameras. You expect it in airports, banks and stores, but as we’ve learned recently, the city of Orlando is experimenting with real-time surveillance technology in public spaces. If this doesn’t sit right with you, there are ways to preserve your anonymity from the cameras, though you may draw extra attention from your fellow citizens on the street. For instance, artist Adam Harvey created a strategy for hiding in plain sight inspired by the dazzle camouflage employed in World War I. By covering warships with blocky stripes and patterns in high-contrast colors, Allied officers made it tough for the enemy to estimate their size, speed and direction of travel. It turns out this fool-the-eye …

Photo by Andy Cross, The Denver Post. Donald Trump supporter gets heated toward a member of the media.

The Press Is Not The Enemy Of The People

Florida’s tourism board paid Miami rapper Pitbull $1 million of taxpayer money to promote the state in a video called “Sexy Beaches.” After the Trump Foundation made a $25,000 donation to Pam Bondi’s re-election fund, Bondi decided Florida would not join a fraud suit against Trump University. Orlando is the first city in the country experimenting with real-time facial recognition, a form of public surveillance unprecedented in American law enforcement. What do these things have in common? Floridians wouldn’t know about any of them without journalists. Reporters across the state followed the paper trail and did the legwork to serve the public’s right to know. And yet, our current president demonizes the free press as “the enemy of the people.” …

Orlando Weekly Cover – hemp, orlandoweekly.com

The Federal Farm Bill could make hemp farming legal – but in the meantime, Big Pharma and the FDA have quietly moved in on CBD

While the state of Florida drags its feet through the process of implementing medical marijuana, some prospective patients are relying on CBD products as a fallback. CBD is the non-psychoactive medicinal compound derived from cannabis. It’s generally processed from hemp, not marijuana. And in what seems like great news for CBD, it’s likely the Federal Farm Bill making its way through Congress will legalize hemp farming. But not so fast: Big Pharma may have made an end run around this nascent industry. On June 25, the FDA approved GW Pharmaceuticals’ Epidiolex, a drug with CBD as its active ingredient, to treat epilepsy. But the FDA considers the sale of any food or cosmetic that contains the active ingredient of an …

Orlando Renews Facial “Rekognition” Pilot Program

Amazon Rekognition is a facial recognition system. And Orlando’s police department is one of two in the country helping Amazon beta-test their proprietary software for use in law enforcement.

Image: Jiha Moon’s exhibit, mennellomuseum.org

Jiha Moon’s exhibit “Double Welcome” at the Mennello Museum of American Art

Atlanta-based Korean artist Jiha Moon’s new show at the Mennello Museum explores the complexities of cultural exchange. “Double Welcome” mashes up traditional folk art forms and pop-culture iconography from the East and West, combining media as disparate as Korean Hanji fabric and neon acrylic paint. Sometimes one symbol works double duty – like the peach, the official fruit of Moon’s adopted home state of Georgia and a potent symbol of prosperity in Korea. “Double Welcome” was brought to the Mennello by museum director Shannon Fitzgerald as part of a strategy to make the museum more inclusive. Although the official name of the institution is the Mennello Museum of American Art, Fitzgerald wants everyone to know it’s not just about mom …

Image: Orlando Weekly cover art, orlandoweekly.com

State of Florida has slashed Arts funding by 90 percent

Arts funding from the state of Florida has gone down in the past four years. In 2015, the Legislature earmarked $43 million for cultural grants. Just three years later, in 2018, funding slid to $24 million. And that decrease by almost half is alarming – until you look at the 2019 budget. Then you see that slow downward drift plummet off a cliff. The most recent state budget is the highest in Florida’s history. It’s $88.7 billion (with a B). And for the arts and cultural grants program, our lawmakers have set aside: $2.6 million. Not $26 million, which would be a small increase over last year. No, the state has slashed funding by 90 percent. Another way of putting …

Image: Orlando Weekly Cover: Stranger Fringe, orlandoweekly.com

Orlando Fringe takes a deep dive into superheroes and sci-fi

Every May, the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival takes over Loch Haven Park. This year’s celebration of performance kicked off Wednesday and runs through May 28. More than 50,000 people will show up to to enjoy 130 shows, ranging from short plays to dance performances to musicals, magic, comedy, cabaret and some work that’s just impossible to label. As wide-ranging as Fringe is, the festival does have a common thread this year: as on the big and small screens, suddenly nerd culture is dominant. There are shows based on Star Wars, Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Stranger Things, Game of Thrones, the Walking Dead, and even the Muppets. The fandom focus can be attributed to a few different things: for one, Fringe …

Image: Zora Neale Hurston, wikipedia.org

Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston is finally being released

Almost a century after publishers rejected it, a book by Eatonville writer Zora Neale Hurston is finally being released. In 1931, six years before her acclaimed novel Their Eyes Were Watching God was published, Hurston made the rounds with a manuscript called Barracoon. It focused on her interview with one of the last known survivors of the Atlantic slave trade. Cudjo Lewis was born in the West African country of Benin. As a teenager, he was taken prisoner and held for weeks with other captives in a barracoon – a slave pen. Eventually he and more than 100 others were sold and put on a slave ship bound for Alabama. This was 1860. The international slave trade had been illegal …

Image: The Domes of the Yosemite, by Albert Bierstadt, morsemuseum.org

The Domes of the Yosemite, Morse Museum

Size doesn’t matter when it comes to art. Rembrandt’s 1630 self-portrait, just 5 by 6 inches, is no less a masterpiece than his 1642 “Night Watch” at 12 feet by 14 feet. However, there’s no denying the visceral thrill of a truly huge painting, that rush of a “life size” window into a different reality. If that appeals to you, you have until July 8 to get to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum and drink in “The Domes of the Yosemite” by Alfred Bierstadt. Bierstadt’s massive oil painting, 10 feet high and 15 feet long, might be the biggest thing to happen at Winter Park’s compact Morse Museum in years. It was painted in 1867 and in 1873, installed at …