West TN STEM Hub
Evolved Sharks

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So, many in the scientific community believed that sharks have pretty much been an evolutionary static for millions of years, stalking our oceans practically unchanged by time. They seemed to be the pinnacle of apex predators, perfectly suited for their task at hand. But a new shark fossil was found in Arkansas earlier this week, that is looking to turn that theory on its head. This new find is already making waves in the paleontology community. Have a read for yourself. Here is the NPR link for the article for a layman’s terms story, If you prefer a more in depth read, here is the original link as published in the well-respected scientific journal Nature.

Joey Jeanes

GMO’s and You

I wanted to write to you guys today and get your opinions on something a little contraversial - GMO’s or Genetically Modified Organisms. 

First I suppose a definition is in order, as many people either don’t know or are confused about what a GMO actually is. According to Dictionary.com a GMO is simply a “genetically modified organism: an organism or microorganism whose genetic material has been altered by means of genetic engineering.” Now, to some that may seem like rocket science, and to some that may seem like a scary idea. The definition of “genetic engineering” is the key here, and is hotly debated. One side reserves the term for organisms whose genes have been altered by humans on the level of DNA, gene splicing and the such. Others are a little broader in the scope they assign to the term, allowing it to mean any organism that has been hybridized from its naturally found form. An example of this would be the domestic dog, or the cow. 

This division is part of the problem for labeling GMO products for human consumption - what gets labeled? For instance, many people do not know that today’s version of corn (a simple staple food for many) has been hybridized for centuries. Obviously we did not have gene splicing back them, so that leaves selective breeding, and hybridization. Many believe that corn started off looking nothing like today’s version - the yellow juicy kernels in a nice neat package wrapped up on a cob. instead it more closely resembled a grass, a stalk or blade with pods of dull colored seeds at the end like the picture below.

The corn we see today is found nowhere on the planet in nature, it is strictly farmed. A similar story is that of bananas. They started off at a fraction of the size they are today, and through selective breeding, the banana we have today emerged. It is said that the original banana, the ancestor to our modern one, is now extinct. 

This is all fine and great and many of you may be wondering what the big stink is today about GMO’s and their labeling. Well, if this is where GMO stopped, I suppose many would see there to be no reason to label them. However, some agricultural seed companies did not see fit to leave it at this selective breeding. Some companies have reworked the genetic material of a lot of today’s cash crops, to many different ends. Some varieties boast a greater harvest by yielding more fruit. Some offer a longer yield period. This means more money for the farmers, and thus more for the seed companies. Some take it a step further. Organic food is a huge hit in today’s world, and people are becoming more and more educated about where their food is coming from. This comes for good reason. Some farmers use chemicals to protect their crops from insects and other weeds that would smother them or lower their yield. Some of these chemicals are harmful or potentially harmful to us. Therein lies the dilemma. In the U.S., these products are not required to be labelled. To some, myself included, this is inappropriate at very least. Now, this ties into GMO in that some of these same companies are altering the genes so that some pesticides and other treatment chemicals are “baked in” to their DNA. The plants themselves start producing chemicals that are potentially harmful. 

I am not against GMO as a whole. I think it is amazing that we have the knowledge and skill to be able to alter things on such a basic level. The scientist in me wonders what level it could go to. But, as with all sicentific discoveries and practices, where does it stop? Where do we draw the line? And does the company producing these bear a responsibility to the consumer to inform us of what products that we consume are or are not GMO’s and if so what modifications were made? I think so. What are your thoughts? Should we even allow GMO’s? Should we allow but regulate? Or just label? Or do nothing at all and let the companies regulate the products themselves? Chime in on the comments below!

Joey Jeanes

Artificial Pancreas

Diabetes has become one of the fastest growing health issue around the world.  In the United States alone 25.8 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, which is 8.3% of the population.  

There are many functions of the pancreas, but the lack of insulin production is the main reason for developing diabetes. 

Biomedical Engineers have been so successful in developing many artificial organs, like the AbioCoe Artificial Heart, which was implanted in a man who suffered from heart failure.  Also, Bio-Artificial Liver, which was names the invention of the year in 2001, but there has been many failed attempts at developing an artificial pancreas.  There has been complication, but mainly rejection by the immune system. I would like to be able to help develop such a device that would impact many lives.

AbioCor Artificial Heart

AbioCor Artificial Heart

Bio-Artificial Liver

Sara Salama

Biomedical Engineering

International Biomedical Engineering Technologies

One of the companies that I would like to work for after graduation is the International Biomedical Engineering Technologies (IBE Tech).  It is a company founding in 1998, in Cairo, Egypt.  Growing up in Egypt, I understand the importance of a company that develops cutting edge technology in the region.  One of their main goals is to make high-tech medical equipment available, in the Middle East region and in similar less fortunate countries around the world, at low cost.

 

DIGISON-Q provides high range performance with powerful 4D imaging capabilities at an affordable price range.

The DIGISON-Q is the company’s newest product and one of it’s kind in the region.

Sara Salama
Biomedical Engineering
Invention

If I could make any inventions, I would make environment suits! For example:

A suit that could keep a human safe in the depths of the ocean while still maintaining all mobility. I found this really cool illustration on google images of what I might want it to look like

In real life, atmospheric dive suits look like this:

And this suit can only reach 700m below the surface.

The average ocean depth is 4264m. 

A suit with big wings and pressure control so that people could fly places.

This is a jet suit! Apparently it already exists but I’m not sure how well it works since it hasn’t been commercialized.

Looks like a low-budget 80s super hero costume! But pretty cool!

The closest commercialized thing we have are wingsuits:

These suits were modeled after flying squirrels and neither actually fly, but the wingsuit can glide up to 22 miles!

I think making an anti-gravity device would be cool, too! So we could fly around like Kat in Gravity Rush~

Unfortunately, there is nothing I know of that can affect gravity on earth in isolated locations. It would be pretty cool if there was, though! 

These things seem unrealistic, but when you think about how far technology has advanced, maybe these things aren’t as far off as you would think. It’s also fun to brainstorm designs like this because while the concept is unrealistic, you still have to think about real world physics that might make it so. 

A heavy, clunky dive suit is necessary to protect humans from pressure at deep sea levels.

When thinking about flight or gliding suits, you have to take into account TONS of physics principles like air resistance, force of gravity, strain on the human, etc.

Brainstorming and curiosity are key to progression, so no matter how crazy the idea, there is always something to work for!

Corinna Carter

How to Balance Engineering and Socializing

How I balance my hectic, crazy, and challenging engineering major coursework and socializing is by cloning myself. One would do the homework and one would hang out with my friends, and I, myself would rest for 16 hours.

And that guys is how I balance my social life and school life. (And Yes, I have the power to clone).

-Herve Aniglo

JUST KIDDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I separate my engineering life and social life by doing study groups with my friends from my classes. Also, I ask for help from them. That is a very good way to socialize in college. Me and my friends, we would go somewhere to eat and talk about class or any other subject. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with getting help.

See you next time

-Herve Aniglo

Cool Places to Hang Around at the University of Memphis

These are some cool places to hang around at the University of Memphis.

One of these places is the UC.

The University Center is basically just cool place to hang out, socialize, meet new people, eat, organize events, attend events, and things of that nature. 

These are places within the UC to hang out:

Those were near the entrance.

These pictures are from the Commuter Student Association, which is an organization celebrating and focusing on students who do not live on-campus. 

Its also a good place to hang out.

These pictures are from the Tech Hub, which is a big computer lab, where you can chill out, study individually or with a group, or just hang out.

Next is the Alumni Lounge, a place where students come and hang out. And for those of you who are anime watchers or video game players. This is the place for you! This is like the hangout spot for them. You will find students who are always seen playing card games, discussing or watching anime, or talking about video games.

 

This is from one of the restaurants in the UC, Tiger Dining.

And these are just around the UC.

These pictures are from Jones Hall. It includes the Tiger Den, which is a buffet restaurant and a very good place to eat, hang out, and socialize. And it also includes Chick-fil-A and subway.

Here are pictures from Dunn Hall. These are pictures from the lounge room, where you can eat and hang out or study. BTW, Dunn Hall is where the Department of Computer Science and the Math Department is stationed in. 

These pictures are from the FIT(FedEx Institute of Technology, where I used to work) also a good place to hang out and study.

These pictures are from the library (I know that sounds boring, but it is actually all right). A good place to chill out and have study groups. The library has numerous study rooms so you and your group or you yourself wants to study or review over material.

This is from South Hall, the boy’s dorm. Me and my friend played video games here once.

These pictures are from the Student Recreation and Fitness Center.

Yes, they have a spa and sauna.

So those are the cool places to hang around at the University of Memphis.


-Herve Aniglo

An Invention

If I could invent anything with my computer science degree, I would invent a way to turn teleport through email. That would be cool. First, you turn yourself into code AND pure energy and you travel through the Internet and networks and arrive at your destination. As long as you have your way back home, like near a computer, you are good. It would be a good way to meet your friend who is living in another city or country. However, this may have a few bugs and other trouble, but I don’t l know, I just thought of something random. That is part of becoming an engineer. BEING SPONTANEOUS AND RANDOM!!!!!!! If you are going to be a STEM major, prepare for this! You will have challenging projects to work on!

Enjoy these cool pics, so you can have an idea of what my invention is like in my mind.

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(I miss my childhood)

Have a good week!

-Herve Aniglo

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This is David Alleyne (aka Prodigy) from Marvel’s New X-Men. He was a former Mutant of the X-men but now he is just a super smart human with genius-level intellect working with the Young Avengers. I sort of look like him. He used to have the power to absorb knowledge and information from other people. Basically, if you knew more information than him, then he absorbs that knowledge. And that knowledge can be anything ranging from how to cook a certain meal to building a complex technology. Anything. Too bad he lost his powers, but he retains ALL the knowledge he has absorbed when he was a mutant. It would be so cool to have his power. The power of psychomimicry, which is what it is called.

-Herve Aniglo

Cool Places to Work For

These are some cool engineering companies to work for.

Google

Google is a really awesome company to work and it has insanely cool benefits:

  1. Never-ending free food: Employees at Google get free breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Also, there are coffee and juice bars around the campuses.
  2. You are surrounded with like-minded and creative people: There are diverse and well-rounded people at Google.
  3. Free Transportation (Only in San Francisco Bay Area): There is a shuttle bus that gives free rides to work and home to Google employees in the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, if you do not have a car, 
  4. You can take your pets to work: If you are an employee at Google, then yes you can bring your best animal buddy to work with you. 
  5. Massage Credits: Employees give each other free message credits for a job well done. The message credits can be used for a free one hour message on campus. 
  6. Maternity leave, Paternity leave, and Baby Bucks: It is normal for mothers to get six weeks off from work when they have a baby. At Google, it is normal for fathers to get 6 weeks off and mothers to get 18 weeks off. Employees receive bonuses while they are on leave. Google gives the employees “baby bonding bucks” after the baby is born, to help with diapers and other stuff for the baby. After the mom or dad return from their leave, Google has a free on-site daycare for the children. 
  7. Death Benefits: If a Googler(another name for a Google employee) passes away, then their spouse gets half of the salary for the next 10 years. Also, the children of the Googler gets paid 1000 per month until they turn 19 or 23 if they are in college.
  8. Free Fitness Classes and Free Gym: They also have free showers. So if you played a sport, or worked out, you can just refresh and re-energize yourself with a quick shower. You need a healthy mind to live well and live your best. There are yoga staff retreats and yoga classes.
  9. Google Gives Employees a free concierge service: If you work at Google, you get a free concierge to help you with your errands. The Google Corporate Concierge team can help the Googlers with any type of errand like organizing a party for example.This helps the workers save time. Also, if you work at Google, you can get oil changes, car washes, bike repairs, and haircuts. In the Mountain View headquarters of Google, you get laundry service.
  10. Free Health Services: On the Google Campus, you can find physical therapists, chiropractors, and message therapists for free. (AWESOME!!!!!!!!)

So as you can see, Google is a really great place to work for with great benefits. It is better to work for a company that cares about than not at all. Google really cares about its employees.

Apple

Gree

Amazon

To make this short, These are the companies I would love to work for but nothing beats Google. The companies have similar benefits to Google, but only slightly, not all the way.

Nothing Beats Google!

Google is awesome and is always there for us!!!!

So being a STEM major is a good thing, especially with the way the economy is now. and there lots and lots of cool companies to work for. 

Also, in case you have not noticed. Each first letter of the company that I posted spell out GAGA as in Lady Gaga.

Now what does this have to do with STEM? You guys heard of that song “Born This Way”? Its an amazing song telling listeners to accept themselves for the way they are and do not let anyone tell them differently. And Gaga is really creative and unique, so my point here is this: Be creative and unique in your field!!!!!!!!! Be Yourself!!!!!!!! Don’t let negative opinions or critique stop you from achieving your dream!!!!!!

Here is a bonus (I love this song and it has a positive message!!!!): 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BsLd4Y060Q

YOU’RE ON THE RIGHT TRACK, BABY!!!!!!! YOU WERE BORN THIS WAY!!!!!!!!!!

-Herve Aniglo

Hiatus


So here I am posting, after a short (relatively) length of time. I have been on a forced hiatus from blogging for a bit due to a train wreck of life events. But they are behind me now, and I am recovering and learning the lessons that these events had to teach. Normally I would not share this kind of information to the public, but I like you guys. And I thought maybe someone can be inspired by my experiences. Isn’t that, after all, the reason I blog to you guys?

So, to sum up, life has been hectic at best. The latest thing to happen was a death in the close family. I do not say that to garner pity. I say that because I am trucking on past it. I will be completely honest - I have thought about taking a break from college. Things have been so hectic that my grades started to fall, I was falling behind in both my schoolwork and obviously on here. But then it occurred to me - I am stronger than that. My reasons ran the gamut, from not thinking I could afford college for a while, to just being tired of the everyday grind. I am sure many of you can relate at some point in your school careers. 

But, in the end, I reached down, pulled myself up by my bootstraps and started the long journey to catching up. Now I won’t paint a rosy picture of the process. It has been a hard one, catching my grades up and getting my coursework back up to date. I am making headway and the end is in sight (for this semester). Next semester I will shake off the dust from this one, and start anew, with renewed vigor. This semester has not been a pretty one, but it has built character. 

And I think that is the lesson I have to pass on to you guys - keep on keeping on. No matter what gets thrown at you, each and every one of you is strong enough to overcome it and come out the other side. You might be a little bruised on the other side, but bruises fade and you are left with what you accomplished. I promise, in the end, that is worth it.

Joey Jeanes