Stafford County Economic Development, much like the rest of the country, has been figuring out creative ways to be useful in this new and uncertain time. Typically, the office would be filled with potential job applicants and remote workers making use of the Creative Incubator at Workspace 311. Early last week, however, the space closed to the public.
The workspace is outfitted with almost a dozen brand new desktops that were supposed to be put to use by the greater community of St. John. Looking at the workspace today, it may appear that no work is taking place in the empty computer bay. There is another type of work going on there. Folding.
The seemingly dormant workspace.
311 has transformed itself into the lastest space to help support the Folding at Home (FAH) organization as it fights world disease; more specifically COVID-19. The organization works with Stanford University to use something called 'distributed computing' to simulate proteins, and how they function in the body. Essentially, instead of having one computer the size of a building to work through calculations, a million computers already in people's homes take on the workload. This work load is distributed into smaller work units, almost like homework assignments, to each computer. After that work is completed, the computer waits in line for more work and the cycle continues.
Since the Coronavirus outbreak began, FAH has seen a massive 1300% increase in the amount of people signing up to help with the effort. Last week, the collective computer, composed of all these home computers, topped what is called the exaFLOP barrier. This means that they are capable of 1,500,000,000,000,000,000 operations per second, making it over 100x faster than all other supercomputers in existence combined. Stafford Co. Eco Devo.’s personal fleet of computers has worked round the clock to help with this effort, scoring over 200,000 points from delivering work units. While their offices remain closed, this number will only get larger as time goes on.
Taken after less than a week of work, this shows the work load the 311 office has accomplished.
If you are personally interested in joining this effort to help combat COVID-19, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto Foldingathome.org.
A new mural will be painted on the south facing wall on the northwest corner of 2nd and Main in St. John. The project is sponsored by the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission and The Church of Jesus Christ in St. John. A steering committee consisting of David Robinson, Pam Turner, Amber Turner, Carol Long, Brian Brown, Damian Rios, Mackenzie Hacker, Destiny Talbot, and Nevaeh Haney, and Carolyn Dunn has guided the project by choosing a professional muralist, refining the design, and prepped the wall for painting. Inga Ojala will be starting the mural next week (March 23, 2020), presumably, if the weather allows. The mural will depict the founding of the town of St. John, as the settlers arrived from the north of what is now St. John and saw it as a Utopian place to begin their community. The mural will use the depiction of light as a way to illustrate the Utopian vision the group had, and will include many details correct to the history and natural environment of the period. Landscaping of the east half of the lot will follow the mural completion.
Stafford County Economic Development would like your help in welcome two new AmeriCorps VISTAs to Stafford County! Meet these young individuals below:
Hannah Ward was born in Salina, Kansas and is currently attending Pima Community College in Tucson, Arizona. She moved to Arizona as a young child and lived there until she was 19. Hannah now lives in St. John, Kansas where she works in the Economic Development department as an AmeriCorps VISTA. She will work with communities in Stafford County to increase economic growth capacity as well as combat community decline.
Devon Wilson is a native of Kansas where he was born in Atchison. He then lived in Poughkeepsie, NY for the last 5 years and attended Vassar College where he majored in Physics. He discovered this AmeriCorps opportunity while biking across the United States last summer raising money and awareness for affordable housing. Cycling, camping, and guitar are what he enjoys in his spare time. He hopes to make a positive impact in Stafford County, and Gray Photo Studio. His AmeriCorps service will focus on programming development for the Gray Photo Studio.
Stafford County Economic Development
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