Now is your chance to learn about the breadth of resources available in the engineering library, from the online databases and books to technical reports and standards. Get a tour of the space and learn about the over 230 tools now available for checkout including new 3D scanners, EEG, oscilloscope, and VR headsets, just to name a few items.
Registration is limited, so register now! Get this fall started off right by meeting Kari and learning about all we have to offer!
The time when thoughts often turn to picnics and barbecues!
Yup, it is that time of year – the time for summer cookouts and get-togethers. And, hopefully, no food-borne illnesses!
Did you know the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 48 million people get sick from a foodborne illness, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,0o0 die, each year (emphasis mine).
There are things that can be done to keep you, your friends, and family from becoming one of those statistics. We have the resources to help you stay safe, although according to Jeff Potter, author of Cooking for Geeks: Real Science, Great Hacks, and Good Food, there is “no such thing as 100% safe.”
Planning to marinate meat to grill? Potter warns: “… recipes that say that say to marinate at room temperature: don’t! Let it marinate in the fridge.” That is because of the “danger zone rule.” Bacteria which is related to foodborne illnesses begin to multiply above 40°F/4.4°C. The standard safety rule provided by the FDA says that food should not be held between the temperatures or 40°F/4.4°C and 140°F/60°C for more than 2 hours. Bacillus Cereus has the highest survival temperature, at 131°F/55°C. (Potter notes: “Who said scientists don’t have a sense of humor? Try saying B. Cereus out loud.”)
Here’s a Fun Fact: “hamburger” can have beef fat added to it; “ground beef” can’t!
Salmonella is one of the most well-known foodborne illnesses. But, the primary source of salmonella isn’t chicken or meat, but vegetables and fruits. So, be sure to wash those fruits and veggies!! A single bacterium of salmonella probably won’t cause a problem, but a few dozen cells will dramatically increase the chances of illness. Norovirus (from the family of caliciviruses) also receives a good deal of attention. The norovirus is contracted when a sick person prepares food for others. For more information and a list of pathogens and the foods which may be carriers head over to Wiley Online. (You’ll need to sign on with your Hawk ID and password).
Note: “… Salmonella is killed at 136°F only when held for a sufficient length of time…” Seeing your thermometer register a hotter temperature does not guarantee the food will be free of salmonella. For more information check out the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Bad Bug Book.
Did you know that serving spoons are supposed to stay in the food? This insures they stay above the 140°F temperature. “Otherwise, that mashed potato clinging to the serving spoon at room temperature will be a potential hangout spot for bacteria.”
When cooking meat, be aware that a change in the color is really not an accurate indicator of how done the meat is. “Myoglobin, oxymyoglobin, and metmyoglobin can begin to turn grey starting around 140°F/60°C, and they can also remain pink at 160°F/71°C if the pH is at or about 6.0.” It is important to use a thermometer when cooking ground meats and poultry!
Potato salad is notorious for spreading foodborne illnesses, but contrary to to what you might think, mayonnaise that isn’t the culprit! In fact, you could leave commercial mayonnaise out at room temperature and not worry about it making you ill. However, potato salad is often prepared and served at room temperature and it is often outside at a picnic or gathering at which there is no refrigerator. So, what does make potato salad so notorious? It takes 2-4 hours for staph or other pathogens to “get accustomed to their surroundings and really get ready to ramp up binary fission.” (Potato salad, food poisoning and contortionists). If the potato salad has been sitting for several hours at the right temperature, “trouble will ensue.”
If you are worried about bacteria multiplying and spreading in your food, remember this trick: FAT TOM.
F=Food: bacteria need proteins and carbohydrates to multiply, so obviously, no food, no bacterial multiplication!
A=Acidity: bacteria need certain pH ranges. Too acidic and proteins in the bacteria denature.
T=Temperature: Too cold – the bacteria sleep; too hot and they die.
T=Time: There needs to be enough time for the bacteria to multiply to a point where there enough to make a person ill.
O=Oxygen: Bacteria needs sufficient oxygen to multiply. (Note: Vacuum-packed bags ore not necessarily devoid of oxygen).
M=Moisture: Bacteria need water to reproduce. Bacteria need a water activity value of 0.85 or higher in order to multiply. (The water activity scae is used to measure the freely available water in a material – from 0 to 1).
Wondering how to accurately measure temperature? Head to our Tool Library webpage and explore the measuring devices that are available for you to check out! We have 2 thermal cameras, an infrared thermometer, environmental meter and more! Use our tools to help keep your food at safe temperatures!
Now that you are sure that your meats and potato salads will be safe for your outdoor party, you can think about what cold beverage you’d like to serve! How about making your own root beer? Homemade Root Beer, Soda, & Pop will explain the history and discuss the equipment needed to make them! It even includes recipes for ginger beer and cream soda!
Enjoy the summer grilling and picnic season! And, be safe!!
Things that go bump in the night, things that cannot be explained, creatures that seem to only exist in popular culture, and other unusual occurrences are all examples of the paranormal. Paranormal events are phenomena described in popular culture, folklore, and other non-scientific bodies of knowledge, whose existence within these contexts is described to lie beyond normal experience or scientific explanation.
We have a new exhibit, “The Paranormal,” where we explore the events and creatures which are inexplicable and unproven by science.
The most notable paranormal beliefs include those that pertain to ghosts, extraterrestrial life, unidentified flying objects, psychic abilities or extrasensory perception, and cryptids. Cryptid are any animal whose existence is not confirmed by science. The study of them is known as cryptozoology! Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Chupacabra, dragons, unicorns, and werewolves are among the most popular cryptids.
Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, PA is “the world’s first true penitentiary, a prison designed to inspire penitence, or true regret, in the hearts of prisoners.”1 In 1829, the prison received “Charles Williams, Prisoner Number One. Burglar.”2 The prison’s history is “full of suicide, madness, disease, murder, and torture” which makes it one of the most haunted places in America.3 The prison is now open for tours and even has “Terror Behind the Walls” – a haunted house attraction.
Patent # 9,517,421 is a “device for fanciful detection of ghosts” which is “A novelty toy, apparel, or jewelry, device for fanciful detection of ghosts, or other paranormal phenomena, through exploitation of Hall Effect, or of thermochromic material.”4 That might be useful on the next trip to Eastern State Penitentiary when Ghost Hunting!
Believing in the paranormal goes back to Early Christianity. The Church sought “to suppress belief in the old gods and goddesses” so when misfortunes happened it became the work of the devil and demons. By the 15th Century, this belief extended to “individuals in [the community] who were collaborating with Satan to induce misfortune: “witches”5When inexplicable events occurred, it became common to hunt “witches,” which, between 1450-1750, lead to the deaths of 40,000 to 60,000 “witches,” who were burned at the stake. 6 One popular image of a witch is cackling over a bubbling cauldron. If the Witch’s Brew produces CO2 that she wants to collect, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ 2014 Handbook on Refrigeration explains the typical way to collect CO2. 7
Arguably the most famous cryptid is Bigfoot. One of the earliest discoveries of Bigfoot was in 1811 when David Thompson was crossing the Rocky Mountains in Alberta. In his journal he wrote:
I saw the track of a large Animal – has 4 large Toes abt 3 or 4 In long & a small nail at the end of each. The Bal of his foot sank abt 3 In deeper than his Toes – the hinder part of his foot did not mark well. The whole is about 14 In long by 8 In wide & very much resembles a large Bear’s Track. It was in the Rivulet in about 6 In snow.8
Since then there have been thousands of sightings but no real non-blurry pictures of Bigfoot. Mostly from “camera-shake” as people ran away in fear. Thankfully the book, Motion Deblurring: Algorithms and Systems edited by A.N. Rajagopalan and Rama Chellappa is “A comprehensive guide to restoring images degraded by motion blur. A wide range of methods drawn from basic theory and cutting-edge research.”9 But, it always helps to have a good camera to start with and the Hero5 GoPro records 4k Video for your next Cryptozoology Expedition. The Engineering Library has 3 in the Tool Library.
The paranormal can be found all around – from ghosts of trapped souls in a prison to witches working with the devil to people finding cryptids in their backyards.
While you’re in the Library checking out the exhibit, be sure to stop by the Creative Space and see our Pepper’s Ghost! Get ready for Halloween – come explore the world of the paranormal with us!
Valentine’s Day is already upon us! Have you planned ahead? Do you know what you are going to do? How about creating something that is uniquely yours?
Your Valentine doesn’t have to be a significant other – could be a roommate, parent, child, project partner…. No matter who you choose to be your Valentine – we’ve got the perfect DIY project you can tailor specifically to your special Valentine!
To add to the mood lighting – how about making light dance to music? It is possible! Electronics Projects for Dummies will walk you through making it happen! With complete schematics, parts list, photos, and step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to create a personalized light board which will have the lights dancing to whatever type of music the mood requires! Brilliant LED Projects has complete instructions for a color-changing disco light, too!
Is your Valentine the outdoorsy type? A backpack illuminator or a bike flasher might be exactly what they want! Brilliant LED Projects explains how. The project specifications for the backpack illuminator indicate the display comprises 16 tricolor LEDs configured in a 4×4 matrix. Each LED can be controlled independently, colorful flashing images and simple animations can be created, and the supply voltage is 4.5 volts. Parts list, schematics, clear photos, and step-by-step instructions will help light up your Valentine’s backpack – and maybe their heart!
Brilliant LED Projects will also walk you through creating your own LED bike flasher. It explains how to create a “Front LED Flasher,” and a “Rear Red Flasher.” A Valentine’s gift of a bike flasher tells your special someone you want to help keep them safe!
Is your special someone an animal lover?
If you have an aquarium, how about a Raspberry Pi-powered thermometer which will text your cell phone if the aquarium water overheats or becomes too cool! Make: Raspberry Pi and AVR Projects takes you all the way through the project – color photos, parts lists, step-by-step instructions! Want to experiment with a Raspberry Pi before you tackle your project? We have one in our Tool Library! Come in, check it out, and discover all the amazing things you can do!
Love dolphins, but don’t have room in that aquarium? Electronics for Dummies will teach you how to create a wall display of five dolphins, outlined in LEDs, which light up – one after another – making them appear to dance across the wall!.
Does your Valentine like bling? Make: Wearable Electronics will show you, in detail, how to create wearable tech! Haven’t played with material and circuits before? Don’t worry – we have a Lilypad in our Tool Library! The Lilypad has everything you need to explore adding bling to clothing! It includes the LED lights, conductive fabrics, battery, needles….check it out and get creative! (You can even make the LED flash like a heart beat!)
There is a complete list of supplies needed to create any of the crafts in the book. Most of them are easily accessible or found around the house. Supplies include (but are not limited to) a needle-nose plier, sandpaper, tape measure, ruler, tape and binder clips. Each of the crafts has step-by-step instructions and are illustrated in full-color.
For the holidays you can have a Wookiee pumpkin for Halloween, a Mistle-TIE Fighter, or a Hanukkah Droidel. Nature & Science includes a Dagobah carnivorous plant habitat, a Wookiee bird house and an AT-AT herb garden.
Whether you choose to celebrate by making your own Daisy Ridley’s blaster (or a lightsaber!), or looking at the intersection of games and film, enjoy and May the 4th be with you!!
Papazian, Gretchen, Sommers, Joseph Michael, editors of compilation. 2013. Game on, Hollywood : essays on the intersection of video games and cinema. Jefferson, North Carolina. Engineering Library, PN1995.9 .V46 G37 2013
For more than two centuries, trains have traversed the American landscape altering how and where people live and work. This is why, in 2008, Amtrak created National Train Day to be celebrated on the Saturday closet to May 10th, the anniversary of the pounding of the Golden Spike in Promontory, Utah which marked the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad.
The first locomotive was built in 1804 by a Cornish inventor named Richard Trevithick. It was powered by steam. A steam locomotive burns fuel, usually coal. The heat then passes though tubes inside a large water-filled boiler creating steam. The steam then passes through high-pressure tubes to cylinders which engage piston rods connected to the locomotive’s wheels, thus driving the train.1
The steam engine remained popular until the early 1900s when diesel and electric began replacing it. A German mechanical engineer, Rudolf Diesel, invented the diesel-powered locomotive. A diesel engine operates when a cylinder piston squeezes and heats air trapped inside; at the top of the stroke, the system injects oil; the air and oil mixture burns and drives the piston down which turns a crankshaft connected to a generator making eletricity for storage in large batteries. The wheels are powered by motors that draw from the batteries. 2
On January 17, 1871, Andrew Smith Hallidie, an American engineer and inventor, was granted a patent for an “improvement in endless wire ropeways” which became the basis for the first cable car system.3 Soon, however, electricity changed city transportation. In 1897, Boston opened an electric subway system. New York City soon followed in 1904. The all-electric locomotive requires either an overhead pickup or a third-rail carrying a high-voltage of electricity to power the engine. Electric trains are easier and cheaper to maintain and last longer than diesels.4
Now coming down the track are hybrid trains which use a battery to store energy temporarily for when the train is idling or stationary; “bullet trains” which run on steel rails at accelerated speeds; magnetic levitation trains which hover above rails suspended by powerful magnets; and the futuristic Hyperloop, Elon Musk’s vision for transporting people in high speed capsules through a series of tubes.
The world’s fastest passenger train, the Maglev, owned by the Central Japan Railway Company, made history last month by hitting a top speed of 366 mph surpassing its previous record of 361 mph set in 2003.
The Federal Railroad Administration was created by the Department of Transportation Act of 1966. The U.S. agency regulates the manufacturing and safety of the train transportation industry. A few of the more widely known train manufacturers are National Railway Equipment Company (NREX) headquarted in Mt. Vernon, IL. This company is known for its N-ViroMotive engine which is used for light duty road switching in yards and urban areas where noise and exhaust emissions are to be reduced. GE Transportation Systems (GETS), a division of General Electric, is headquartered in Chicago while its main manufacturing plant is located in Erie, Pennsylvania. This company is the largest producer of diesel-electric locomotives. Its Dash9 series has an electronic fuel injector and a 4-stroke diesel engine.
Gomaco Trolley Company, located in Ida Grove, Iowa, manufactures trolley cars which look vintage but have state-of-the-art technology. Streetcars or cable cars are used in cities such as Portland, San Diego, San Francisco. Rapid transit commuter trains, known as the metro or subway, are a primary means of transportation in Atlanta, Washington D.C., and New York. U.S. Manufacture of Rail Vehicles for Intercity Passenger Rail and Urban Transit documents several companies which manufacture parts for high-speed, rapid transportation.
Vartabedian, Ralph. “Work starting on the bullet train; Construction begins Tuesday in Fresno on the first 29-mile segment of the $68-billion fast train..” Los Angeles Times. (January 5, 2015 Monday ): 1252 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2015/05/07.
According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, summer officially begins at 12:38 p.m. EDT on June 21, 2015. But, even though it isn’t officially summer, the UI Summer Sessions begin the week of May 18. Which mean that FINALS for the spring semester are May 11th through 15th.
In order to help you find that extra study time, we have scheduled extended hours during finals week.
Sunday, May 10th: 2 p.m. to midnight
Monday, May 11th through Thursday, May 14: 8:30 a.m. to midnight
Friday, May 15th: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, May 16th and 17th: CLOSED (congratulations – you made it through the semester!)
We have not only scheduled extended hours during finals week, we will also be providing free coffee and lemonade! Cups are provided – but be “green” and bring your own!
“Eeyore was saying to himself, “This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it.” — Winnie the Pooh.
A long time ago, in a far away place, before apps and texts and even typewriters, pencils were used to convey the written word. As you purchase a new box of Ticonderogas to mark your bubble answer sheet, consider the invention of the pencil.
Pencils are made with graphite. Therefore, graphite mining had to exist before the pencil was created. The first graphite was mined at Seathwaite Fell in Cumbria, England in 1564. Since graphite has similar properties to lead, it was first called, “plumbago,” derived from the Latin word for lead ore. The first pencils were produced by sawing the graphite into sheets, shaping the graphite sheets into square rods, and inserting the graphite rods into a wood casement. However, the first pencils were fragile because the graphite broke easily.
To prevent the graphite from breaking, French chemist, Nicolas-Jacques Conté, discovered the process of mixing the graphite with clay. The soft material was pressed into sticks and kiln-fired. At which point, the dry graphite & clay rod was inserted into a wooden case. By varying the ratio of graphite to clay, Conté discovered that he could manufacture a pencil for a specific hardness to differentiate the marks on paper. For example, No.2 pencils are popular because of its midrange hardness which leaves dark marks without smudging. No.1 is the softest graphite and leaves a darker, smudgier mark , and No.3 pencils leave a fainter mark. Conté’s 1795 patent is the basic process for manufacturing pencils today.
To learn more about the manufacturing of pencils, watch this video from the Science Channel, How It’s Made : Pencils.
Try answering these questions:
A. What chemical is graphite composed of?
B. What television personality regularly played with specially made pencils with erasers at both ends?
C. Which inventor had his pencils specially designed to be three inches long with abnormally soft graphite?
D. Who received the first patent for attaching an eraser to the end of a pencil?
E. The majority of pencils manufactured in the United States are what color?
F. How long is the Guinness Book of Work Records largest pencil?
Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, and the world’s richest man, is known for changing how the world operates and functions. The mission of his non-profit, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is to give all people the chance to live a healthy and productive life. To this end, during the mid-1990s, Bill Gates gave computers to libraries and schools, which made sense for the world’s largest software owner. But how did Bill Gates becomes interested in poop? Yes…human excrement. His philanthropic organization granted money to Janicki Bioenergy to build the OmniProcessor, a machine which transforms fecal sludge and solid waste into water and electricity. In places without treatment plants or clean water, the technology could be a low-cost solution to quench the world’s thirst.
We gather and celebrate Pi Day (Eve) on Friday, March 13 at 10:30 AM-12:30 PM in front of the Lichtenberger Engineering Library in the Student Commons. There will be free apple pie bites, lemonade, and coffee as well as trivia competitions!
Pi, Greek letter, is defined as a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter – which is approximately 3.141592653. The first Pi Day was “invented” in 1988 by Larry Shaw, who worked in the electronics group at San Francisco Exploratorium. In 2009, the House of Representatives designated March 14 as National Pi Day. This year, we are excited to observe the special Pi Day on 3/14/15 at 9:26:53 AM and PM, with the sequential time representing the first ten digits of pi!
To celebrate this special Pi Day, check out the Pi Day exhibit and join us on March 13!
How American celebrate Pi Day. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/14/tech/innovation/pi-day-math-celebrations/