Archive for the ‘ engineering ’ Category

Happy Holidays!

News

Well well well. We meet again. My blog and I. Or rather, you (the reader) and I.

I am mostly alive and well. Break started last week, but it’s taken until now for me to recover. Even at this point I’m still amazingly exhausted but I am declaring myself fit so that I may return to being efficient.

I spent the last two weeks of the semester semi-ill from fatigue. 5 hours of sleep in 48 hours will do that to you. And that wasn’t from cramming. In fact, I did good. No cramming. A little for bio but not really. I am proud of myself.

My final grade was good but not quite what I’d hoped (not what I’d worked myself to pieces (literally) for). I am on the Dean’s list however. Next semester however, I will be victorious! 😀

The past 3 months have been more than intense. Pretty much on all fronts. I can’t think of an aspect of my life that has been low key. Granted that it’s been like this all year. This year has been rough.

“My roller coaster has the biggest ups and downs
But as long as it keeps going
it’s unbelievable.”

That said, I’m writing primarily to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

Let’s keep our minds focused on how we can be a positive force. Each of us is a force. It’s up to us how we use our influence.


Musings


I posted a status on Facebook the other day. It said “If you complain about the hand you’re dealt, you probably don’t deserve to play the game.”

After I re-read it a bit later, it struck me strangely and I wanted to clarify.

First, it was NOT a political statement. Second I stand by it but in the introspective context. Each of us has a situation or a set of circumstances in which we exist. Some of these circumstances are within our control and some are not. We must optimize those variables which we can control and accept those that are constants. This said, we must understand the limitations of our circumstances and learn to thrive within those limitations.

This statement or idea is NOT a talking point for one person to use in being insensitive or judgmental towards another. We should be sensitive to the limitations of another’s situation and work together to ensure that we all can progress and thrive.

We are each other’s biggest resource. The community is a colossal force. A force to be reckoned with. We must remember this and press together, guided by the light of justice, equality, respect and tender care.

As we weave our selves (not just our monetary resources) together, respecting the privacy and entity of the individual, maintaining the boundaries of justice and equality and smoothing over our interactions with understanding and felicity we can move as one to maximize our own control of our environments. We, as we band together can ensure the success and freedom of all.

Happy Holidays.

Makeda

Fabable Arduinos, Wireless LEDs and Other Cool Things


Yes, those are lights in the table – “Look Ma, no wires!” (Read about it and link to the article towards the end of this post.)

FAFSA must be trippin’ (as is said in the vernacular of the day). They raised my EFC. At this point I’m not sure why.

Our government must be “trippin'” as well. Word is, they’re aiming to create a new legislative body called a “Super Congress”. Click here to read about it. This body would have special powers to draft legislation. It’s supposed to be for situations like the one we’re in now with the debt ceiling debate (a political debate turned civil war(of sorts). Politicians refer to each-other as adversaries. I didn’t know we had all moved to England.) For some reason I didn’t hear anything about this provision in our Constitution.

I’m going to make a point to watch old (’80s or older) movies (in what little time I might happen to have to watch movies 🙂 ). I’ve seen two so far: The Princess Bride and Hairspray(the 1988 version).

I’m officially finished everything my school needs me to finish to allow for matriculation – and…I ordered my books today! (Super excited XD).

In other exciting news: Our first materials shipment (for the Fab Lab) came in!! I went over to MIT today to pick it up, and then spent some time in the lab testing and getting everything working. It’s so great to see how everything is coming together.
Roxbury/Dorchester/Grove Hall: the Fab Lab is moving in!
This is so great for me because it has been one of my dreams to have a Fab Lab in my neighborhood. It’s been a dream of mine for a few years. I can’t wait for our first program day!

Interesting things I found today:

A transparent film allows LEDs (and other electrical components) to be embedded in transparent materials (i.e. glass) without any apparent wiring. Check it out here.

Also, a project I am looking forwards to trying out: Fabbing Leah Buechley’s Lily Pad Sew-able Arduino design. Shelby Doyle (one of Neil’s graduate students) did it and here is her documentation. I’ll let you all know how mine turns out. This is a variation on Ed Baafi’s Fabduino project.

Here’s the Lily Pad:

Here’s the design:

Here’s my goal (from Shelby’s documentation):

Ambitionz
Day 28
72 Dayz to go

Collateral Damage?

I Would Love To Be Able To Title This “Untitled” But That Would Be Confusing So I Will Title It “Collateral Damage”

It’s interesting to watch this power struggle in Washington. The way they use something as critical as an impending default to push special interest and party agendas. Its even more interesting to note that the majority of America is being tossed aside as collateral damage in this war.

I am sticking to a new bedtime (my back to school and productivity schedule).

I am pleased to announce that I tested out of my English 100 class. I was selected for English 125 (Honors)! I’m looking forwards to it. It deals with the development of “The Western Man”. Philosophy. Interesting.

With this test completed, I now know all of my classes for this semester!

I will be taking:

  • Engineering Calculus (Calculus I)
  • Engineering Physics (Calculus based)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Microbiology
  • English I Honors

I’m still trying to get all of my books.

Ambitionz
Day 27
73 Dayz to go

The Atlantis (thousands of highly skilled US engineers) Gets The Pink Slip

Welcome home Atlantis – you are a national hero and treasure. In honor of this occasion, I have been commissioned with the task of informing you that – you have been laid off.
You didn’t see that coming, did you?

STS-135 Atlantis Landing (201107210007HQ)

If you’ve read my blog in the past, you know that I strongly question the wisdom of ending the space shuttle program. Unfortunately, I wasn’t consulted. 🙂

I did find this awesome, incredibly nostalgic video online however. I am really quite sad about this. I nearly cried (teared up slightly – no sobbing). At any rate – I think this is my dormant thirst for space travel coming out. Its afraid it will now go unsatisfied forever (and ever). Click here to see it

I would blog about how mechanical and computer-like the medical professionals I interacted with today were…
Ok, I will – briefly. I told the nurse that I had never had a particular procedure – and she continued to tell me I had. (No, she didn’t have any records to prove that – and I had really and truly never had that procedure). It was like trying to input data in a form where the option you need isn’t there. And then they made me take tests that, based on previous information, couldn’t possibly have been positive.

Big news: TIE Project Update! (imagine me squealing with excitement – while jumping up and down) (no – don’t, I just did and it was a little disturbing)…but at any rate: We’re really getting a summer lab! I can feel it getting closer! I sent in the order for our “Fab Lab Inventory” sourced materials which should start arriving next week. Setup on Monday, lesson plans coming soon. It’s all so exciting how it’s coming together!

Ambitionz
Day 23
77 Dayz to go

Of English, (not) Blogging and College Wishlists.

I need to set aside blogging time – time that I can use to write about interesting things (not random, mundane life notes).

I am almost “bursting with excitement” today because one of my friends is having a baby! (I mustn’t say anymore just yet…online baby window shopping lol 🙂 )

Other than that, I’m working on getting out of a English 020 night class. I was accepted late, talked to the admissions office then tried to take the school’s online English placement exam but couldn’t, emailed them, didn’t get a reply, called someone today only to find out that the exam went offline yesterday. I had tried to take it over a week ago. By default, I have to start in an English 020 (remedial) night class, and I’m no longer eligible to test into English 1 Honors (English 125). I explained my situation to the woman at the office. She was friendly and said that she’d ask if I could be considered for English 125. I also (hopefully) will be able to take the placement test before classes start.

I was able to confirm that my name is on the housing wait-list and that I have a physical next week.

I’m looking for scholarships. If you know of any – please pass the information on!

I got the names of my books today I’ve put/am putting together a wishlist of the things I need for school. Click here to view it.

I’ve also been working out a tad little bit. I think I’m getting stronger 🙂

Ambitionz
Day 16
74 Dayz to go

T-minus one (last time). A tribute to the NASA Space Shuttle Program

I still remember it as if it were yesterday. It was October 29, 1998. Senator and astronaut John Glenn and the crew of the Space Shuttle Discovery began their expedition. I remember the sound, the fire, the awe. I remember the inspiration. I was only 6 years old – but John Glenn was my hero. I stood in my grandfather’s living room with my mother and siblings, completely transfixed by what I saw on the screen, I knew what I wanted to be. I would be an astronaut.

The Space Shuttle Discovery being towed off the runway after it's final landing

Seeing the space shuttle launch had a lasting impact on me; an impact that continues to this day and far out lasted my notions of becoming an astronaut. It simulated and fertilized within me, as a small child, a true love for science and a desire to participate in this wonderful world of discovery. That experience of watching the shuttle launch helped deepen a child’s curiosity, into everlasting amazement at what science can do- and encouraged a strong desire to be part of the community that made the Discovery’s voyage possible.

Like it did for so many American kids, the space shuttle program, (along with events such as the Apollo mission to the moon and Charles Lindbergh trans-Atlantic flight,) gave me an enduring sense of patriotic pride, coupled with the responsibility of our leadership on a global level.

As a citizen of the world and member of the upcoming generation, the space shuttle program impressed me with a sense of my duty to receive the torch of scientific and technological advancement and to keep it alive as our mothers and fathers did before us. They used it to explore space. What will we do with it?

Now, a bit more than a decade later, I am an engineer (in training) and have found my passion in inspiring people to purse an understanding of our world (science) and the development and application of this understanding (technology).

Today, it is with mixed feelings that I bid farewell to the space shuttle program. I think of the twin tragedies which claimed the lives of 14 brave explorers and I am glad for the opportunity to seek new methods of space travel. I think of 132 successful missions and I wonder how we will replace such and integral part of our nation, science program and culture (not to mention job supplying workforce).

We all wonder what the future will hold for American maned space missions; as the question “what’s next” has yet to be answered. No, cargo missions are not what we’re talking about.

I hadn’t planned to watch the launch today. I was scheduled to pick up machines for the summer Fab Lab we’re installing. My little brother and I walked into the basement of MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms just as the live feed showed the Atlantis “blasting off”. We watched until it’s solid rocket boosters fell off and blew up into flaming balls of fire as they returned back to earth. They had done their job. NASA says the space shuttles have done theirs as well. Now it’s up to us to do ours.

I wish the Atlantis godspeed on its journey and return home; and yes, I will be visiting the Discovery at the Smithsonian.


TIE Project update

I spent most of today at CBA, installing software on the brand new lab computers that CBA is lending us. We’re scheduled to set up next week. We still have to pick up consumables and other supplies/lab equipment which hopefully will include a couple more computers. Here are some pictures:

Boxes and boxes!
20110709-020429.jpg

(Yep – that’s me!)

20110709-020500.jpg

My brother installing Windows OS

20110709-020516.jpg

Ambitionz
Day 10
80 Dayz to go

New Fab Lab comming online! (For the summer at least)(5 minute post)

I have 5 minutes to write this post, as I have homework to do 🙂 (4:59…).

Today’s big news:
In our meeting today with the program director at the Roxbury YMCA, we confirmed that we’ll be operating a Fab Lab out of their former computer lab over the summer! I/we are truly excited. We’re offering minimal hours at this point due to lack of human resources (HR at this point = me) but hope to expand, or at least get some other people/groups involved. We will have two of the four standard machines (thanks to the fabulous folk at MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms 🙂 ) and some of the standard materials. Machines are the vinyl cutter and the mini mill. We’re hoping to expand as the project is successful.

Click here for some pictures of things made in Fab Labs around the world

My timer is screaming at me – back to the books, then to sleep.

Ambitionz
Day 9
81 Dayz to go

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