Nanshu Lu, engineer of ‘electronic tattoos,’ named to TR35

first_img Read Full Story For wiring up the human body with “electronic tattoos,” Nanshu Lu, a 2009 Ph.D. graduate of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), has been recognized by Technology Review magazine as among the world’s 35 top innovators under the age of 35.A panel of expert judges and the editorial staff of Technology Review, published by MIT, selected her for the TR35 from a pool of more than 300 nominees.Most celebrated for her work on the “electronic tattoo,” Lu is an expert at integrating tiny electronic parts into stretchable materials. Her creation is an extremely thin and flexible silicone device that adheres to skin and mimics its texture and elasticity. The device contains sensors that can monitor vital signs like pulse, temperature, vocal vibrations—and potentially also brain signals. The breakthrough that enabled this work was Lu’s use of silicon “islands” connected by a mesh of nanoscale metallic ribbons, rather than conventional wires, which would weaken under stress.Holding a bachelor’s degree in engineering mechanics from Tsinghua University in China, Lu completed her master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard, focusing on solid mechanics with advisers Zhigang Suo and Joost Vlassak. Their work explored various ways to create patterns of metallic thin films on elastic substrates that could stretch and buckle without breaking the circuitry.last_img read more

Refusing a ‘diminished self’

first_imgFour years ago this spring, Birtukan Midekssa was in solitary confinement in an Ethiopian prison. Her cell was 13 feet wide and 20 feet long and had no window. She was allowed only two visitors: her elderly mother and her 3-year-old daughter.Midekssa left Ethiopia in 2011, after two imprisonments that consumed 41 months of her life.  She stayed first in Washington, D.C., and then at Stanford University. Today — grateful, happy, and energized — she has an office (with a window) at the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, where she is a fellow this year. (A lawyer by training, Midekssa is also a Visiting Fellow with Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program; starting in the fall she’ll pursue a one-year mid-career master’s degree in public administration through the Mason Program at Harvard Kennedy School.)Most apt of all her local connections, perhaps, is her role as a Harvard Scholar at Risk. The program — based in New York, with dozens of affiliates at universities across the world — guarantees a year or more of refuge for scholars, writers, and scientists who in their native lands are under threat of death, imprisonment, or harassment.“I was in prison because I spoke,” said Midekssa.She was first sent to prison in 2005 — entering when her daughter Halley was 8 months old — and then again in 2008. Both times she was sentenced to life (the second time her original sentence was death). Both times Midekssa was pardoned because of pressure from international human rights groups. But she was ready to live her whole life in a cell. “I was being imprisoned for a right cause. What else could I do?” said Midekssa. “If you restrain your self-expression, you are left with what? Your diminished self.”Midekssa had entered Ethiopia’s political arena in 2002 after serving nearly six years on that nation’s federal criminal bench. “Most of my years were full of challenge,” she said of being a judge — a struggle to “keep my independence and professional standards.” While she was on the bench, Ethiopian officials routinely tried to influence her decisions, she said. But she refused to go along, despite pressure that sometimes ratcheted up to threats of death. Her most notorious act of defiant honesty was to free a former defense minister, Siye Abraha, who’d been accused of corruption on dubious grounds, charges that had already cost him years in prison. (Abraha himself was in the Mason Program at Harvard Kennedy School, from 2011 to 2012.)From girlhood, Midekssa had been enthralled by the idea that Ethiopia one day could be an open democracy, despite the fact that such a concept remained entirely theoretical during her early life. She was born in 1974, the last year of a dynasty of Ethiopian emperors that had started in the 13th century, and grew up in the capital city of Addis Ababa during a military dictatorship that lasted 17 years, ending when she was a senior in high school.Before the next dictatorship took hold, Ethiopia enjoyed a brief Golden Age of open political discussion, said Midekssa. “Naturally, I aspired to see a country in which individual liberty is protected — in which nobody is killed for their views.”Midekssa knew that such killing was possible. In the mid-1970s, university students and others had rallied behind the idea of a Marxist-Leninist utopia for Ethiopia — an opposition movement that led to the death and disappearance of thousands. Her uncle, a promising student headed for university studies, was one of them, and his disappearance hovered over young Midekssa’s household. Her uncle’s story was both a warning and an inspiration. Her mother often told Midekssa how unwise it was of her uncle to be in politics, she said — but “if I were his age I would have done the same thing.”Her childhood contained another influence that could be called political: her neighborhood. “The community life was very fervent,” said Midekssa. “I grew up in a big family of small families.” Mutual support, collective trust, and affection were the norms, she said, and the egalitarianism of her childhood “was an inspiration for a fair and democratic society.”Her mother was a housewife; her father a soldier. Both were illiterate, she said, but intensely interested in education, and proud of the acuity their daughter displayed in the classrooms of her youth.By age 25, Midekssa was a federal judge specializing in criminal law — just one young face in a wave of young judges who replaced those associated with the deposed military regime. “I was full of enthusiasm from what I learned in law school,” she said, “but the experience in court was entirely different.” It was her struggle with maintaining the rule of law while on the bench, and her close-up view of official corruption, Midekssa said, that finally propelled her into politics.During the 2005 national elections, her Coalition for Unity and Democracy party won every parliamentary seat in the capital, and scored other big wins over the ruling front of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. But within days of the results she was in jail, along with other party members and a raft of independent journalists — all charged with treason. The arrest set her on a path to becoming Ethiopia’s most famous opposition figure. In 2010 she became the first woman in Ethiopian history to chair a political party, Unity for Democracy and Justice.At Harvard, in her law school setting, Midekssa has studied how the judiciary in closed societies can remain independent. But at the Du Bois Institute her focus has been investigating how Ethiopia can achieve democracy. There is a strong appetite for democracy there already, she said, along with a tradition of Christian-Muslim religious tolerance that suggests to her that democracy would thrive.But along with bedrock values there are also bedrock problems. For one, Ethiopia’s new constitution, in 1995, redrew the nation of 85 million along ethnic lines, fragmenting the overarching national identity into 80 ethnic identities within nine member states. That left Ethiopia “hollowed out,” she said, “deprived of its national symbols and emblems.”Meanwhile, the federal government has ruled with a strong hand, sometimes by regional proxies. Midekssa called the arrangement “an unholy marriage between authoritarianism and ethno-nationalism.” Ethiopia’s aggressive central government and its weak regional states, she said, undermine “the virtues of federalism” and make the practice of democracy very unlikely. Leaders have also tightened their hold on the judiciary, the media, and the electoral process — a further “narrowing of the democratic sphere,” Midekssa said.So what is to be done? The first step is to “recast the past,” she said, to reclaim symbols and a national narrative that would make Ethiopia one again. Also, re-imagine the future, said Midekssa, by promoting the shared social values that, for instance, her own childhood represented.Then there are the practical steps, she said, including an official language, an independent supreme court, nationwide political parties to supplant those drawn along ethnic lines, and multicultural education to “help Ethiopians to imagine democratic Ethiopia, with all her mosaic.”last_img read more

Nassau Firefighter BBQ Cook-off Promotes Grilling Safety

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Nassau County firefighters faced off in the annual BBQ Cook-off on Friday.Nassau County firefighters traded entinguishing flames for firing up their barbeques during their annual BBQ grill-off, using the event as a chance to promote grilling safety.Firefighters gathered in the parking lot of Fairway Marketplace in Westbury to show off their BBQ skills for the 5th Annual Firefighter Cook-off, the first time it wasn’t held at the Nassau County Firefighters Museum and Education Center. Aside from winning over the judges, the chefs aimed to teach the public how to be safe as BBQ season gets underway on Long Island.“The one thing you should keep in mind before using any grill is to make sure it is maintained, cleaned and in good shape before you light it,” said John Murray, chief instructor  at the firefighter center.Firefighters from Bethpage, Rockville Centre and East Meadow faced off Friday, putting together mouth-watering dishes for a panel of judges, including Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Vincent Olivieri, Fairway’s café executive chef.The parking lot was filled with free food, drinks, and samples from 24 different vendors along with a DJ, as residents and shoppers cheered for their local firefighters.Each team was given a $100 shopping card to select their choice of meats, spices and other ingredients to try and win the judges over.The firefighters center in Garden City opened in 2006 to educate Long Islanders about fire safety and prevention as well as showcase their history. Fairway sponsored this and a number of other grill-offs all across the tri-state area.“We are constant supporters of theirs every year,” said Jacqueline Donovan, vice president of Fairway marketing, “We love to give back to the community, and we love to educate the public.”Winning 1st place was a tie between The Bethpage and Rockville Centre fire departments. They won a $500 gift card to Fairway and later all will be invited to attend a shopping night for the firefighters’ charity of choice.last_img read more

Road Stars defeat Lily Valley Sharks again!

first_img Share Sharing is caring! Share 11 Views   no discussions NewsSports Road Stars defeat Lily Valley Sharks again! by: – April 25, 2012center_img Tweet On Tuesday 24th, the Elvis Welding Services Road Stars defeated the Lily Valley Sharks by a final score of 81-74 pts, in game 3, of the best-of 3 semi-final playoffs. The teams came into this very important game, with the series ties at 1 game apiece, with the Sharks winning the 1st & the Road Stars, the 2nd. A victory for either team, would secure them a place in the finals. Both teams had their full squads available to them. The referees for the night were Mr. Allan Morris, Peggy & Mc’Dowe.There was a lot of hype and suspense before this game. The crowd support on hand was again excellent, and certainly showed the quality and excitement of this league. The 1st quarter opened with both teams starting on fire, scoring their 1st 6 possessions each, with the Sharks having their 1st 3 as 3 pointers. The Road Stars though, kept the lead in the closing minutes, as it had been close in the opening, with ties & lead changes. The quarter closed off with the score being 23-17 in favor of the Road Stars. The 2nd period was closer knit, with the Road Stars still controlling the game, but with the Sharks hot on their backs. Again with a lot of ties and lead changes. The Road Stars again pulled off a bit, at the ending of a quarter, but only slightly, and finishing up, with only a 3 point lead, 44-41.With the 3rd quarter opening, the game was still very much in the balance, with both teams playing their own style of basketball and doing whatever they could to control the game and get the victory. The Road Stars continued to be in control, but each time they made a run, the Sharks kept on fighting back & getting into the game. The hard work did pay off for the Road Stars as they finally got the break they were looking for and went on an 8-0 run, closing off the period leading by 13 pts, 65-52. The 4th quarter began, with a lot of noise coming from the Shark fans, urging their team to get back into the game. And this was exactly what they did, with the Sharks players stepping up their game and slowly creeping back into it. They had gotten to within 4 points after being down as much as 15, but crucial turnovers and poor shot taking, ended all hopes of the victory. The Road Stars closed off the game, winning by 7 and securing a place in the finals, against either the Fond Canie Rebels or the Upper Village Hoosiers, who squared off on Wednesday night.Top performers for Road Stars were; Julian Isles – 25 pts, 8 reb, Javeed Joseph – 17 pts, 3 reb, 3 asts, Simon “To-To” Joseph – 14 pts, 5 reb, 3 blks and Fitzgerald Daniel – 13 pts, 7 asts.Top performers for Sharks were; Ray Charles – 22 pts, 3 reb, Mathias “Bagalaw” Douglas – 18 pts, 5 reb, 3 asts, Craig St. Rose -12 pts, 4 reb, 6 asts and Lester Denis – 11 pts, 4 asts.Next game will be on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. – Fond Canie Rebels vs. Upper Village Hoosiers.By: Edgar George Sharelast_img read more