Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Mid Term Summary - Practical Training Vol. 3

After 3 months i could make a short summary on my experiences here. Today i participated in a meeting together with all grouper growers in Israel.

during 2008 and 2009 young groupers which developed in NCM has been part of some experiments in few different conditions of water qualities around Israel by private companies and by national institutes as NCM. My experiment was to check the ability to reduce the amount of sea water intake and the ability to recirculated the water in the system and by that have control about different nutrients (mostly different Nitrate compounds) which flow back to the sea.

The other experiments held by other companies tested the ability to grow the grouper in low salinity (5ppt compared to 40 ppt of sea water) some in recirculated systems and others in flow through systems.

During May the experiment had to stop due to a terrible unknown illness which caused more than 50% mortality in 3 weeks and continued to this day. The main catalyst was a pathogene called Mycobacterium, a type of fish Tuberculosis and dangerous also to humans. The mycobacterium doesnt have any known treatment and the only way to fight it is by providing the fish the best water quality conditions.

The illness is still officialy announced unknown since it has been detected through all different groupers and other fish departments. Another reason was that the mycobaterium causing a chronic harm and it is not accute as it is weaken the fish immune system and exposing it to other pathgenes.

The grouper growth is on the starting stages of studying and during next few years a lot more will be known about the white grouper behavior, limits and social paterns which will provide the ground for an environmental type of aquaculture which is also extreme financial worth and therefore worth to be held by all companies.

Score at Nordic Game!

Nordic Game is a two-day conference event focused on the game industry on the Nordic countries. Game Development Club Score, which is operating under TAMK, got sponsored tickets to the event from Neogames, the Finnish Center of Game Business, Research & Development. This year's event followed and almost coincided with Tampere Art Factory, so Score had their hands full of work. Fortunately, we got our business cards ready and organised our traveling schedule with TAMK's travel secretary Sirkku Teikari, big thanks to her. Nordic Game has now passed, and we would like to share some of our thoughts regarding the event and the trip in general.

One group of students traveled by plane (Niko Korhonen, Janne Jaakkola, Pasi Perkiö, Teemu Haila), while others decided to save money and the environment by using a ship (Juhani Hujala, Mikko Kähäri, Tuomas Järvensivu, Juho Hartikainen, Antti Salomaa). Even though the cruise path was consecutively longer and for example we journeyed the trip from Stockholm to Malmö in a bus for over 12 hours, this didn't demoralise any of us. The trip back to Stockholm went on smoothly as we got to ride the bus from Outokumpu Pelitalo, i.e. other game development students from Finland who conveniently stayed in the same hostel as we did.

Nordic Game in itself was really worth attending to. The speakers were cutting edge, so as listeners we just had to find our ways to topics that were most relevant to our interests, for there were a number of speakers and as such most of the seminars were being held simultaneously. Another key component of the event was networking among the game developers. Though we might have not gotten invitations to Norway this time, time will tell if the socializing sparks something concrete, either for the club or its members. At the very least, the coverage won't be hurting us the least bit.

The presentation from Unity 3D showed off their middleware game development platform and convinced many of us to lob it inside the School of Art and Media. The Degree Programme in Business Information Systems at Teiskontie Campus has already ordered 20 Unity licenses, so our wishes just might not be all that utopistic. Alex Evans, the developer of LittleBigPlanet shared some precious hints on how to structure a game development pipeline, and in turn, Bionic Commando Rearmed's development studio GRIN told their experiences with working on a remake from a classic game title. Besides these keynotes, the audience got to witness a vast number of different viewpoints concerning the future of game development, as well as other topics that were very relevant to us as students.

The overall supply that the conference offered got us thinking outside the box. All in all, we are very pleased that we got the chance to be part of an event like this, with little to no cost. During the journey, we also figured that in order to help the Nordic game community we must actively focus on enhancing the Finnish national game industry. It is somewhat ironic to go all the way to Malmö just to grasp this idea, but apparently this is turning into an annual trend, if we're to examine last year's trip to Nordic Game. Hopefully we can improve the matter until the next event!

Author: Juho Hartikainen, President of Score Game Development Club

The TAMK School of Art and Media students of the Score delegation. Juho Hartikainen on left side.
Photo: Teemu Haila

Friday, 22 May 2009

Greetings from Menomonie, Wisconsin!

As some of the readers of TAMK International Blog may have already heard, I'm currently visiting a TAMK partner University of Wisconsin-Stout. UW-Stout is an active, working life oriented university with 8500 students situated in town of Menomonie in Wisconsin, USA.

So far, I have met a number of UW-Stout faculty members who have been very interested in doing cooperative projects or developing online courses together with TAMK staff. UW-Stout also offers good exchange opportunities for highly motivated, self-guided TAMK students with good English language communication skills. Successful exchange studies in UW-Stout may require slightly more work than studies in TAMK, especially in the form of written reports in English but for those with the right motivation, it is an excellent opportunity to gain international experience.

UW-Stout Professors Bryan Beamer and Kari Dahl will be visiting TAMK during this and the next week with a group of 19 students. I hope many of you have the opportunity to meet them.
If you come up with ideas for cooperative projects or online courses where you could cooperate with UW-Stout staff, please let me know and I will find you the relevant contacts. I will also be posting updates of the projects on this blog.

Have a great beginning of summer!

Story and photos: Timo Nevalainen

More information on studies offered in UW-Stout

Friday, 15 May 2009

Welcome to Tampere Art Factory

Tampere Art Factory opened this morning and runs until tomorrow evening. Most exhibitions, films, performances, animations, videos, music videos etc. etc. are experienced at TAMK School of Art and Media Campus at Finlayson, the heart of Tampere.
Fine Art student's graduate show Discourse Disco is in two locations nearby, the Art Centre Mältinranta and the TR1 exhibition Centre.

The Silence is Golden Workshop you find at the top floor of our school. It is run by Bauhaus University Weimar. All visitors get their personal piece of art.
In the TAF lobby you can be a part of the Interactive VJ Workshop Nou & Herkauw, arranged by the Academy of Pop Culture, Holland (in the background). Here you can also enjoy videos, animations and music videos, and take a coffee break.

A group of international visitors at our rooftop garden. Our international week and TAF has international guests from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, UK, Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Lebanon, Hungary, Iceland, Malaysia and Italy.

Demola presents games and other interactive projects made by our students.

TAF is open 10-16 today, 10-18 tomorrow. TAF Clubs both evenings at Laterna.

Tampere Art Factory


Tuesday, 12 May 2009

School of Art and Media International Week Started

The International Week of TAMK School of Art and Media really started yesterday, most international guests have arrived. The workshops of the week are:
  • Responsive & Reactive Moving Image Workshop by Robert Brecevic, Performing Pictures of Interactive Institute (SE)
  • Interactive VJ Workshop Nou & Herkauw by Adri Schokker and Frauke Lehberger, Academy of Pop Culture (NL)
  • Editing Workshop by Elie Yazbeck, Institut d'études scéniques, audiovisuelles et cinématographiques (LB)
  • Animation Workshop by Algimantas Taujanskas, Vilnius College of Technologies and Design
  • "Silence is Golden" Photo Workshop, Alexander Lembke, Faculty of Media Bauhaus-Universität Weimar (DE)
Most workshops will present their results as a part of Tampere Art Factory programme May 15-16

On Wednesday there is additionally a series of presentations:
  • Heli Tuksam, Tartu Art College will have a presentation on Tartu Art College and the student projects
  • Aija Druvaskalne-Urdze, Liepaja University New Media Art Programme Presentation
  • EUROPRIX Multimedia Art, Rainer Steindler, International Center for New Media
  • Interactive Movies? Why and How? Chris Hales, SmartLab
  • Academy of Popculture, Adri Schokker
  • Bauhaus Universität Weimar, Aleksander Lembke
On Thursday there is the “Teaching and Learning with the Internet Generation – Methods and Solutions” seminar featuring:
  • Aija Druvaskalne-Urdze, Liepaja University New Media Art Programme
  • René Lansink, Utrecht School of the Arts (About the Crash Project )
  • Alex Reuneker and Patrick Deters Haagse Hogeschool, Academie voor ICT & Media, Communication & Multimedia Design
  • Albert van der Kooij, Hanzehogeschool Groningen, Academy of Popculture (About the Island Festival)
  • Chris Hales, SmartLab, University of East London
  • Wesa Aapro, TAMK (About Demola)
  • Leena Mäkelä, Head of TAMK Film and Television Programme
  • Juha Suonpää, Head of TAMK Fine Arts Programme
Photo: In the Performing Pictures workshop the students also use quite exotic tools, like the soldering iron. From left to right: Filipa Geraldes (Lissabon), Robert Brecevic (Stockholm), Stephanie Stijkel (Groningen, Holland), Tuija Lappalainen (Tampere) and Timo Bredenberg (Tampere).

Monday, 11 May 2009

Internship at the PRI in Australia

Before leaving it was a tough job to briefly explain the nature of my internship to those asking what I was going to do in Australia. Well, I'm going to work for the Permaculture Research Institute. Hmm. The blank look in many people's eyes implied a further explanation could be in place. Permaculture comes from words 'permanent agriculture' and it could be classified in many ways. Quoting the PRI website Permaculture "is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way". The concept was formulated by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren in the late 1970s and is now hitting the mainstream all over the world.

I came across the term for the first time when somewhere in Youtube I bumped into maybe the most famous five minutes of permaculture, "Greening the Desert" video clip, where a badly salted desert was brought back to life, growing fruit trees and even mushrooms only with the rainfall that landed on the area naturally. It was in the same time when we had an ongoing course at TAMK about water and environmental issues in developing countries. The video was almost too good to be true, and I decided if that's possible by using permaculture, I want to learn permaculture too!

PRI is an educational center and a demonstration site for sustainable ways to provide for our living. It's a farm like setup with teaching facilities, own solar power and drinking water systems, reed bed for gray water treatment, composting toilet, vegetable garden, cows, ducks, chicken and food forests all cycling together supporting the functions of each other as well as the needs of the staff and interns on site.

What I've learned here puts my environmental engineering degree into a whole new context. Hearing people talk about sustainable use of natural resources these days usually makes it sound like the glass will be half empty in any case, that the consumers now have less at their disposal. That doesn't sound too appealing to many people, and often I've heard someone say "we can't go backwards". However the truth is if we don't change directions now, we will soon end up where we're going. The evidence is out there, these days it's in the news every day. We don't need any more of it do we, it's time to move on and switch on the repair mode. And it is possible, to take a new approach, a new direction and overcome the challenges that careless exploitation of resources has caused. Australia is a good example of this, having suffered from drought for ten years now. The permaculture projects that I have visited or worked for are now moving towards repairing the dry and exhausted country, bringing flowing water back to the creeks, planting trees and building soil meanwhile the neighboring farmers continue spraying, plowing and grazing their land and getting less and less returns for more and more inputs every year.

In my opinion the difference and excellence of permaculture is that instead of going to a battle against the problem, whether it is the so called weeds, lack of water, erosion or running out of oil, we can start living the solution by designing our lives according to principles and patterns of nature. This way we can create the systems that provide for our needs (for example food production or drinking water) and in the same time contribute to the well-being of the system itself (building soil instead of eroding it, recharging creeks and aquifers) and thereby make them become better and more abundant for the next generation.

In more practical terms permaculture just arranges what was always there in a different way, so that it works to conserve energy (or water, or soil) or produces more than it consumes. The main framework for permaculture is operating within the three main ethics; care for the earth, care for the people, share fairly and return the surplus to the system.

To learn more, there's an interesting documentary "Farm for the future" by BBC was recently released and can be found online at

Mari, Environmental Engineering student at TAMK

picture by Tashi

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Game Project with Okayama University

TAMK and Okayama University students have a a joint game project. Our team went to Japan again in April, interactive media students from the TAMK School of Art and Media and students from the Degree Programme in Business Information Systems of TAMK Business School. Here's the diary:

We took off from Helsinki around half past five on a Sunday night, 5th of April. We first flew to Osaka and arrived there eight o'clock on Monday morning. From Osaka we took a Shinkansen to Okayama, and finally a cab from near the station to our accommodation. The place was a small hostel-like facility meant for visiting teachers at the Okayama University. We could use English there, as the receptionist spoke quite clearly considering we were in Japan.

After we all had settled in, we were told that there wouldn't be any presentations today. This came as a great relief, because most of us hadn't slept in over 30 hours. Our accommodation was really pleasing, and naturally everyone was ever so friendly. I tought this must've been the greatest culture shock to a grim and stiff Finn.

On Tuesday at one o'clock the university students came to pick us up and give us a tour around the Okayama castle and a nearby garden. At this point our communication wasn't really blazing, but we did manage to have a few conversations which lasted more than a minute or two. The weather in Japan was about the same as the Finnish weather during the highest temperatures of a typical summer. The pretty cherry blossoms were blooming and after the sightseeing we had free time, during which we all practiced a great load of cultural recognition each in our own way.

Wednesday was a game day and we started at ten o'clock in the morning (!). First we had a little tour around Okayama university, then lunch and then the presentations started. A Japanese professor had a presentation that really made our jaws drop. It was about teaching a task that requires great precision and coordination with robotics. To tell a long story short: First they see how a man who has practiced calligraphy 47 years does it, then they move to a novice. They followed, among other things, how the gaze moved as the person draw the lines, and how long did it take to draw each line. After this they attached the brush to a giant robotic arm which then guided the hand of the novice. The hand also reflected a red circle at the canvas to help anticipation. wat?

After the presentations of the Japanese professors and students it was our turn. The presentation went well, and after hearing a few comments it seemed that we were on the right tracks. After all the presenting we had a break and time to prepare for the party.

Soon after arriving at the university's canteen for the party, I noticed the mood was starting to be quite emancipated. We had all kinds of Japanese foods and drinks - including sushi of course. After the toast we gave the Japanese our gifts from finland and it was soon clear that the biggest bomb was definitely the Turkish Peppers. The peppers brought great pain and great fun at the same time for the Japanese. After a few beers and days together the Japanese turned out to be quite the conversationalists. Sorry to say the party ended our time together, which was too short as always. Luckily Heikki had the chance to visit a local ballroom dancing -student club and became the celebrated king for one night.

On Thursday we left to Nagoya and on Friday we visited Trident College of Information Technology, where they teach game design, programming, 3D, graphics and web-design. We presented our Imagine Cup entries and they presented theirs. The good people at the Trident seemed quite interested about a possible future collaboration.

Now playing Cherry Blossom Girl from Air as we soon arrive at Tokyo.

Story: Jani Palovuori

The delegation:
TAMK personnel
Perttu Heino, Ari Närhi
Project lead
Teemu Haila
Project group
Heikki Leppänen Jura Paatola Matti Särkikoski Tuomas Rinne Jani Palovuori Kaisa Kukkonen Nelli Telkkinen Jussi Salonen

Read the previous story about the project
(School of Art and Media blog)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

TAMK goes green

TAMK goes Green this spring! Are you?


We warmly welcomed hundreds of visitors to our Go Green event which was held on the 23rd of April at the Teiskontie campus. Our exhibition was filled with fifteen tables in which numerous sponsors came to talk to student, display their products and participate in our event.

The participating companies were; UPM, Pirkanmaan Porakaivo, Pirkanmaan Jätehuolto, Suntrica, Vegaaniliitto and Runsaudensarvi, DODO, the Green Party and the Ikimono Creative Agency. The areas of expertise were; organic goods, recycled fashion, solar energy and thermal heating and much more.

We had three lecture hours, the first was ‘Material and Energy saving through Engineering Mechanics’ presented by Gerd Mühlenbeck from Germany, Sanna Huikuri of DODO, Helsinki and a series of mini-lectures; ‘Aspects of Change’ focusing on and presented by, the Green Party, the Carrot Mob, Solar Technology and Ethical Business/Customer Decisions.

We had two documentaries shown; one being ‘Garbage: the Revolution Begins at Home’ and ‘Recipes for Disaster’. Both documentary screenings were accompanied by free popcorn and soda.

Our fair item was an organic cotton shopping bag which we sold for one euro at the event. TAMK was very satisfied with the success of this environmental fair and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

PIRAMK and TAMK: Successfull International Week

Pirkanmaa University of Applied Sciences (PIRAMK) and TAMK UAS, two universities merging at the beginning of 2010, took a new step in their cooperation at the end of April. They arranged a joint International Week for the non-teaching staff of their partner universities. The week carried the theme "My work in a multicultural working environment".

Part of the programme was the same for all the guests, and part of it was tailor-made for different groups of interest.

During the week there was also be an introduction to Finnish culture and society, as well as various free-time activities, such as Nordic walking, Finnish sauna and ice swimming.

The week was very successful, attracting 25 participants from 20 universities and 14 countries.

Photo: Getting familiar with healthy Nordic walking, followed by healthy Sauna and ice swimming was one of the highlights of the international week.
Photographer: Juhani Karjalainen

International Week webpages
Google Map of participating partners
Nordic walking