Build Your Own 3D Printer

High-school science projects from Mississippi

I spent time recently in the science and engineering classes and labs at the Mississippi School of Mathematics and Sciences in Columbus, Mississippi, which I wrote abouthereandhere, and my husband Jim didhere. I watched students tuning up their robots, which they had programmed to fight like sumo wrestlers, conduct search-and-rescue operations, and lift small objects.  I listened to a lecture on wave theory from physics teacher Jed Leggett, himself a graduate of MSMS, who also helped students with the projects presented in the videos below.

Here are some short videos I took of the students in the electronics lab demonstrating their projects. Paul Rosenfeld of video team edited the videos. Five are from seniors, who are new MSMS graduates and will be heading off to college in the fall. One video is from a junior who will be returning to MSMS for his final year. Theyre all offered to give a sample of the kind of work the school is encouraging.

The first is from Donely Gunn, a senior from Columbus. He is one of two students whom Don Bratton, a biology and chemistry teacher at MSMS, took to theIntel International Science and Engineering Fair(ISEF) in Los Angeles CA. Don Bratton said via email about Donelys project, Wind Turbines for Developing Worlds, that Donely designed, developed, and tested a small vertical-axis wind turbine capable of charging small electronics. Part of the turbine (the turbine blade) was 3D printed and to increase the sustainability of his project. Donely then set out to build an affordable 3D printer that could be used in the developing world to print the part.

In this video, Donely describes that his first idea was to make a small wind turbine, a product that could power things like cellphones, and that he imagined would ultimately help the economies of third world countries. Then, he decided to better that idea by making an actual inexpensive 3D printer for third-world countries, which could use online designs and readily-available products, like plastic bottles, to mold other elements necessary to make their own products, including things like small wind turbines. There is more about Donelyhere:

Donely Gunn is headed to Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, to study engineering. He is the winner of a Gates Millennium Scholarship.

Next is the other student who went to ISEF, Austin Li, a senior from Greenville, Mississippi. He will attend UC Berkeley to study chemical engineering. For his ISEF project, emails Mr. Bratton, Austin was investigating how new processes affected various properties of cast iron. His project there was titled:  Novel Process for Observing Phase Transformations in and Strengthening Cast Iron via Controlled Cooling.

The project Austin demonstrates here  here is his Arduino LED Cube, which he built from available online supplies and designs and then programmed to appear to shoot fireworks.

Coby Anderson is the one junior in this group, from Hernando, Mississippi.  He will return to MSMS for his senior year next fall. Coby said that he likes building new things, which he usually does every few months. He engineered and built a mechanically-powered grandfather clock out of small plastic pieces. On the hour, a golf ball is released at the top of the clock; it slides down a track, tripping levers that strike chimes. This is his own design and assembly, not based on a kit.

Michael Murphy, a senior from Caledonia, Mississippi, is headed to Mississippi State in the fall to major in mechanical engineering. Michaels project was building a generator to power a bikes headlight. This is obviously a well-known device; what he was doing for the school project was building it himself.

Rhiannon Hancock is a senior from Scott, Mississippi, in the Delta. She will go to the University of Mississippi in the fall to study biology. Rhiannon made a surprise rumbling box. Shell present the box as a gift; the recipient will take the box and be surprised when it starts to vibrate. She said the lucky recipient will probably be her physics teacher.

Vikram Sachdeva is from Flowood, Mississippi. He is going to the University of Michigan to study electrical engineering. Vikram is making (from online designs and materials) an Ollie, an autonomous robotic blimp (a helium balloon) with little flappable wings attached to it. A microphone picks up a clapping sound, which will signal a mini micro controller to make the wings flap.

Now, an update on a few other graduating MSMS seniors. Last month I quoted essays from five seniors on what their school, and their background in Mississippi, meant to them. Many readers shared my opinion that this included some truly remarkable writing. For those who are interested, here is where those students are going:

Kimberly Sanford, As I grasp the battered storm door of my unleveled mobile home… is going to Harvard.

Rachel Jones, The wind of my parents perennial unemployment has blown away my umbrella… is going to Vassar.

Brendan Ryan, my favorite things about living at a residential high school four hours from my hometown is the car rides home… is going to Wenzao Ursuline University in Taiwan.

Sabrina Moore, MSMS is often referred to as the most diverse square mile in the state of Mississippi… is going to Mississippi State.

Joseph Messer, I think that home is also wherever I make it… is going toDeep Springs Collegein California.

Congratulations and thanks to them, and to the other members of the MSMS community who allowed us to learn about their lives, their ambitions, and their school.

Its an incredible story. But did it actually happen?

Anyone who pays for more than half of their stuff in self checkout is a total moron.

Beneath the bland veneerof supermarket automation lurks an ugly truth: Theres a lot of shoplifting going on in the self-scanning checkout lane. But dont call it shoplifting. The guys in loss prevention prefer external shrinkage.

Self-checkout theft has become so widespread that a whole lingo has sprung up to describe its tactics. Ringing up a T-bone ($13.99/lb) with a code for a cheap ($0.49/lb) variety of produce is the banana trick. If a can of Illy espresso leaves the conveyor belt without being scanned, thats called the pass around. The switcheroo is more labor-intensive: Peel the sticker off something inexpensive and place it over the bar code of something pricey. Just make sure both items are about the same weight, to avoid triggering that pesky unexpected item alert in the bagging area.

The debate over Amazons HQ2 obscures the companys rapid expansion of warehouses in low-income areas.

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.This community was still reeling from the recession in 2012 when it got a piece of what seemed like good news. Amazon, the global internet retailer, was opening a massive 950,000-square-foot distribution center, one of its first in California, and hiring more than 1,000 people here.This opportunity is a rare and wonderful thing, San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris told alocal newspaperat the time.

In the months and years that followed, Amazon dramatically expanded its footprint in and around San Bernardino, a city 60 miles east of Los Angeles. The company now employs more than 15,000 full-time workers in eight fulfillment centers(where goods are stored and then packed for shipment)and one sortation center (where packages are organized by delivery area) in the Inland Empire, the desert region bordering Los Angeles that encompasses Riverside and San Bernardino counties. This expansion provided a lifeline to the struggling region, creating jobs and contributing tax revenue to an area sorely in need of both. In San Bernardino, the unemployment rate that was as high as 15 percent in 2012 is now 5 percent.

The country is perfecting a vast network of digital espionage as a means of social controlwith implications for democracies worldwide.

Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness.
Your citizen score follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the governments official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.

When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crimeor simply jaywalkfacial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It wont be long before the police show up at your door.

Decades before he ran the Trump campaign, Paul Manaforts pursuit of foreign cash and shady deals laid the groundwork for the corruption of Washington.

The clinic permitted Paul Manafortone 10-minute call each day. And each day, he would use it to ring his wife from Arizona, his voice often soaked in tears. Apparently he sobs daily, his daughter Andrea, then 29, texted a friend. During the spring of 2015, Manaforts life had tipped into a deep trough. A few months earlier, he had intimated to his other daughter, Jessica, that suicide was a possibility. He would be gone forever, she texted Andrea.

His work, the source of the status he cherished, had taken a devastating turn. For nearly a decade, he had counted primarily on a single client, albeit an exceedingly lucrative one. Hed been the chief political strategist to the man who became the president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, with whom hed developed a highly personal relationship.

Whats the most efficient path to kitchen wisdom?

Its a shame that the standard way of learning how to cook is by following recipes. To be sure, they are a wonderfully effective way to approximate a dish as it appeared in a test kitchen, at a star chefs restaurant, or on TV. And they can be an excellent inspiration for even the least ambitious home cooks to liven up a weeknight dinner. But recipes, for all their precision and completeness, are poor teachers. They tell you what to do, but they rarely tell you why to do it.

This means that for most novice cooks, kitchen wisdoma unified understanding of how cooking works, as distinct from the notes grandma lovingly scrawled on index-card recipes passed down through the generationscomes piecemeal. Take, for instance, the basic skill of thickening a sauce. Maybe one recipe for marinara advises reserving some of the starchy pasta water, for adding later in case the sauce is looking a little thin. Another might recommend rescuing a too-watery sauce with some flour, and still another might suggest a handful of parmesan. Any one of these recipes offers a fix under specific conditions, but after cooking through enough of them, those isolated recommendations can congeal into a realization: There are many clever ways to thicken a sauce, and picking an appropriate one depends on whether theres some leeway for the flavor to change and how much time there is until dinner needs to be on the table.

A special Sunday event, a photographic essay celebrating a few of these magnificent raptors. Not Eagles (nor Patriots), these superb owls hail from all over the world.

A special Sunday event, a photographic essay celebrating a few of these magnificent raptors. Not Eagles (nor Patriots), these superb owls hail from Europe, Asia, North and South America, captured in photos over the past few years. If you have some time today before the big game (or are skipping the event entirely) I invite you to have a look.

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But theyre on the brink of a mental-health crisis.

One daylast summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phoneshes had an iPhone since she was 11sounding as if shed just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. We go to the mall, she said. Do your parents drop you off?, I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when Id enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. NoI go with my family, she replied. Well go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where were going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.

Those mall trips are infrequentabout once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. Its good blackmail, Athena said. (Because shes a minor, Im not using her real name.) She told me shed spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. Thats just the way her generation is, she said. We didnt have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.

The new Netflix sci-fi series can be intermittently thrilling, but its too superficial to realize its potential.

If there really are no new ideas, as Mark Twain once theorized, and the best we can hope for is a kind of kaleidoscope effect made out of the same old shapes, thenAltered Carbonat least renders the resulting impressions inviolent, trippy technicolor. Adapted from the 2002 novel of the same name by Richard K. Morgan, the new Netflix series is replete with ideas and images from sci-fi works past and present. Can you download a human soul? What are the consequences of immortality? If you give humans more power, what kind of excesses and atrocities will they be capable of?

Altered Carbondoesnt think about any of these things too hard, which is one of the reasons it never fully consolidates into a work that equals the masterpieces it refers to,Blade RunnerandThe Matrixamong them. Its punch is visual rather than emotional, with scene after scene of vibrant, catalytic fight sequences that spawn yet ever more excess. The show is often beautiful, in a grungy, cyberpunk, chemical-high kind of way, and sometimes electrifying. But its thrills are cheap, even ifAltered Carbonis reportedlyanything but.

How the United States lost the faith of its citizensand what it can do to win them back

Foryears,the residents ofOxford,Massachusetts,seethed with anger at the company that controlled the local water supply. The company, locals complained, charged inflated prices and provided terrible service. But unless the towns residents wanted to get by without running water, they had to pay up, again and again.

The people of Oxford resolved to buy the company out. At a town meeting in the local high-school auditorium, an overwhelming majority of residents voted to raise the millions of dollars that would be required for the purchase. It took years, but in May 2014, the deal was nearly done: One last vote stood between the small town and its long-awaited goal.

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Hes arguably the best quarterback of all time. Thats part of what makes him the absolute worst.

Perhaps the sight of Tom Bradys chin dimple doesnt blind you with seething rage. I guess you dont have eyeballs.

Or maybe youre not from Philadelphia. Eagles fans have recently been prevented from realizing a beloved postseason pastimethe citys so-called Crisco Copsgreased updowntown lamp posts to stop rowdy Philadelphians from scaling them. Perhaps now they
can instead relish another classic activity: the great tradition of loathing the New England Patriots, everyone who holds them dear, and everything they represent.

The Patriots.Ugh. Even their team name is a lie. First of all, a bald eagleso sleek! so majestic! so fierce!is infinitely cooler than some dude wearing a tricorne hat. And can someone tell Robert Kraft that giving muskets to a bunch of LARPers in the endzone isnt actually patriotic? Last time I checked, the cradle of liberty wasnt in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Ben Franklin may have believed the nations premier bird was the turkey, but he still picked Philadelphia over Boston for a reason. (The reason: Phillys better.)

Its an incredible story. But did it actually happen?

In Mexico, an indigenous culture both accepts and celebrates a non-binary gender.

What remains of a boys absentee father is a discarded paternity test and 100 texts archived in a Nokia phone.

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