Category Archives: News

Feminists Re-Program Barbie Book

Mashable reports: Only the Internet can save Barbie from misogyny. In the book I Can Be a Computer Engineer, Barbie wants to be, as the title states, a computer engineer — which is a great premise, in theory.
STEM Barbie dolls
In actuality (and in the book), Barbie needs the help of two men to code a computer program for her instead of doing it herself. Cue massive eye roll. Tumblr site Feminist Hacker Barbie is turning the groan-worthy story on its head by letting users submit their own, improved versions — complete with programmer lingo. Not only is Barbie doing her own coding, she’s taking everyone to school.

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Students Aim for 83 m.p.h. Bike

 arion1_imeche_render1-1024x565Can man and machine combine with engineering to produce the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle? The BBC visited the test lab in Liverpool, “where peak design meets peak fitness and where cycling dreams are distilled from sweat and tears.”

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Student Designs Fire Detector

firedetectorSouth Africa’s Medical Research Council reports about 1,300 deaths each year as a result of burn injuries. Fires break out daily in congested communities of shacks. On October 10, an estimated 2,000 people were left homeless when 500 shacks burned down in the Kya Sands township, Johannesburg, according to the Daily Vox news site.

University of Cape Town student Francois Petousis may have a solution: a cheap fire detector that could be mass produced. Called the  Lumkani, it activates devices in surrounding shacks within 20 seconds if a fire is not immediately brought under control.

Speaking to GroundUp, Petousis said the Lumkani was effective because it uses low frequency sound to wake people up from their sleep. “People are often not aware of the fire when it begins, and that is when the fire can be fought more easily.”

The Lumkani won the People’s Choice Award in the Global Social Venture competition at the University of California, Berkeley earlier this year. It is due to be piloted in Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape, shortly.

In Arizona, a Streamlined Internship Process

The University of Arizona, Pima Community College, and several high schools in the Tuscon region have created a one-page process and timeline instructions for businesses interested in hiring students for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)  internships. The initiative will make it easier for businesses to connect with future employees, and it offers students important, hands-on training — plus an incentive to stay in Tucson after they graduate, according to the UA website.

The initiative is aligned with Never Settle, UA’s strategic plan, which calls for the active engagement of the student body in career-minded activities, capacity building around STEM and improved engagement with business and community partners.

Chilean Students Claim Their Bike Design is Theft-proof

Yerka Project photoChilean engineering students have designed a prototype for “the first unstealable bicycle.” Their creation, the Yerka, uses its own parts to act as a lock, eliminating the need to buy a chain.

According to the Associated Press, the three creators – Cristobal Cabello, Andres Roi Eggers and Juan Jose Monsalve – came up with the idea during a college engineering course. The bike’s lower frame opens up into two arms that are then connected to the seat post and locked to a post, so thieves would have to destroy a Yerka to get it unlocked, the AP reports.

“That’s why our motto is ‘a bike that gets stolen is no longer a bike.’ What we have here is truly an unstealable bike,” Cabello told the AP. The students hope to raise capital to put their bikes into into production, with sales starting in mid-2015.