Tagged: Chris Lisinski

Science Tuesday: Explore the Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson

By Chris Lisinski, Staff Writer
@chrislisinski

Neil deGrasse Tyson wants you to join him on an adventure through time and space. Strange as that may sound, you should accept.

He is not an astronaut himself, nor is he extending a creepy, Wonka-esque invitation; no, Tyson wants to show you all about the world around you in the form of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

You absolutely, positively should accept his invitation, because the show will instill you with the kind of wonder many of us have not felt since fifth-grade field trips to the planetarium.

Curiosity and intrigue are key characteristics of our status as human beings, and they have brought us every major accomplishment from irrigation to penicillin to leaving footprints on the moon.

It is through this desire to learn more that we expand and refine ourselves as a civilization.

At a time when science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs are so crucial (and perhaps even more available than other fields), “Cosmos” plays the important role of making us care about science in our everyday lives. It validates wondering about the universe as a valid use of free time, not just something for nerds with extra-thick glasses.

The show matters, and it is a bit surprising to see it air first on FOX’s main channel itself rather than exclusively on National Geographic. Hopefully, none of the scientific content will be watered down (and hopefully evolution will not be skipped over), but given the decline of the Discovery Channel, we must be extremely thankful.

Students may have missed the first two episodes while on vacation, but fret not! You can watch it online for free and legally! FOX has taken the extra step of making it available for the next month-and-a-half or so on the show’s website.

And it’s an absolutely beautiful show. The original with Carl Sagan will always hold a dear place in my heart, but “Cosmos” is one of the few pieces of media that may be better as an HD reboot full of zany CGI. You will feel that you are genuinely transported across the universe thanks to the amazing visual effects.

It may have some shortcomings, especially when it occasionally skips over the key details of scientific theories, but regardless, there is one conclusion: you should watch “Cosmos.”

Check out the trailer below:

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Science Tuesday: Bat Crazy for The Batarang

By Chris Lisinski, Staff Writer
@chrislisinski

Question: Who is the best superhero?

You’re wrong. It’s Batman.

I know, I’ve heard all the arguments about how he doesn’t have superpowers, but doesn’t that make him more interesting? Watching Superman punch baddies over and over again without any threat gets boring. Batman is vulnerable and from this world, and that makes him easy to connect with.

Speaking of his human side, he’s also a role model for those of us with comic book inclinations, and expert boomerang-maker Victor Poulin has taken one step closer to becoming Batman: he successfully created a Batarang that actually circles back around when you throw it.

Poulin has already made some pretty fascinating products, including a tomahawk-looking boomerang and one that is almost as tall as he is, but he unveiled his recent bat-related throwing device in this Jan. 24 video on his YouTube account:

In the video, Poulin is standing alone in a snowy field. I like to imagine that field as high in the Himalayas near the secret hideout of the League of Shadows (unfortunately, Liam Neeson is nowhere to be found).

The batarang in the video is quite large, measuring a full 25.25 inches from the left edge to the right edge. It is made of 10-ply Finnish birch, and Poulin put in the effort to paint it black like the eternal night in which Batman resides.

He demonstrates the batarang, then hurls it out into the wilderness. You’ll have to use your imagination and pretend that the batarang smacks Mr. Freeze in the head during its flight. 

It disappears for a bit, and then BANG! It’s right back in his hand, albeit not from the flight pattern he quite expected.

It’s quite a fascinating process all made possible by science. Most returning boomerangs fly in a circular process away and back to the thrower, and they are essentially wings with the same design properties as you would find on plane wings.

Two of the edges of the boomerang are rounded off and the other two are flat, which is known as an airfoil. The curvature of the wing causes the streamlines of the air to curve, and this lowers the pressure on the top of the wing.

If you remember anything from high school science — air flows from high pressure to low pressure (just as heat moves from high temperature to low temperature), so when the air flows from the high-pressure area below the wing to the low-pressure area above the wing, it causes lift and allows flight.

But why does the boomerang turn around and come back? It wouldn’t be so prudent a weapon if Batman had to restock every time he used a batarang, even if he is filthy rich.

When you throw a boomerang properly, the “top” wing, or top half, actually flies through the air at a higher rate of speed because it is spinning forward in addition to flying forward, according to a HowStuffWorks article on the subject. This creates a “constant force” on the top of the boomerang, and, long story short, when there is a constant force on top, it is actually felt 90 degrees to the side, which forces the boomerang to turn constantly.

In case you were wondering/looking for a birthday gift for me, Poulin sells a smaller 7-inch batarang on his website. It will only set you back about $55, which, let’s be honest, is the most worthwhile expenditure you will make in your entire college career.

Science Tuesday: 3D Printing for Chocolate Because, Chocolate, Right?

Chris Lisinski, Staff Writer
@chrislisinski

Soon your chocolate will be more scientific than you/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Dan4th Nicholas

Soon your chocolate will be more scientific than you/ PHOTO VIA Flickr user Dan4th Nicholas

When 3D printing technology first grabbed headlines, most consumers were wondering what the future held. Now, finally, the day of salvation is near: We will soon be able to print chocolate.

Legendary chocolatiers at The Hershey Company have teamed up with 3D Systems to develop the candy-printing system, according to a Thursday press release. The technology will be used to bring the confectionery business to a state reflecting our wildest sci-fi sweet-tooth dreams.

“Whether it’s creating a whole new form of candy or developing a new way to produce it, we embrace new technologies such as 3D printing as a way to keep moving our timeless confectionery treats into the future,” said Hershey Vice President William Papa in the release.

But despite all of the futuristic hubbub, 3D printing technology has actually existed since the 1980s — it has however only recently become accessible and commercially feasible.

The basic principle is that 3D printing is an “additive” process based on a digital model. Rather than use tools to chip away at a block of marble or to cut wood and glue it together, 3D printers creates its product by laying down layer after layer of material according to the computer design. The computer programming allows for significant customization.

3D Systems unveiled the ChefJet, what it calls “the world’s first and only professional-certified, kitchen-ready 3D food printer,” earlier this month in Las Vegas, the Huffington Post reported on Jan. 10. Now, Hershey’s candy printer falls under the same line of product design.

If we are lucky, when the candy bars of tomorrow arrive, five of them are wrapped with golden tickets so we can take a tour and learn how they are made (sans nightmare-inducing psychedelic trip on a boat, please).

We can only hope the next step is for Hershey to hire an eclectic, bipolar hermit with a penchant for purple top hats and glass elevators.

FreepOUT: Staff Introductions 2013-2014

By Michelle Jay, Multimedia Editor@michelllelynn
and Samantha Wong, Blog Editor @samzwong

Chris Lisinski. Editor in Chief/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Chris Lisinski
Position at the FreeP: Editor-in-Chief
Age:  20
Hometown: Bellport, New York
Why the FreeP?  I joined the FreeP because I wanted to get more involved on campus and develop my writing skills.

Most awkward/embarrassing story: Yesterday an English professor asked me what I remembered from reading “Gawain and the Green Knight” in an earlier class. Trying (poorly) to describe the Green Chapel deep in the woods, I said “something involving green.” Now I’m viewed as the dumbest kid in class.

Sofiya Mahdi. Managing Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Sofiya Mahdi
Position at the FreeP: Managing Editor
Age: 21
Hometown: London, United Kingdom
Why the FreeP? I joined the FreeP because I’m not a journalism major and I wanted to gain some writing experience in a different field.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: My most awkward first day of class was in kindergarten when I was on the playground and started crying because other kids were trying to hug me.

Margaret Waterman. Campus Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name:  Margaret Waterman
Position at the FreeP: Campus editor
Age: 20
Hometown: Concord, Mass.
Why the FreeP? I joined the FreeP because I worked in Boston the summer before transferring to BU and I wanted to get involved before I showed up on campus in September. I’m also a journalism major so I was excited to pursue it extracurricularly.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: As for a bad first day story, I don’t really have one. I’ve definitely done embarrassing things on the first day — without question — but I’ve probably blocked them out. On the first day of field hockey camp at UMass one year, I dropped a plate full of food in the middle of the dining hall during our first meal and the entire huge room, packed with girls, went totally silent. It was awkward.

Kyle Plants. City Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Kyle Plantz
Position at the FreeP: City editor
Age: 20
Hometown: Syracuse, New York
Why the FreeP?  I joined the FreeP because I wanted to get some experience in journalism before I decided on what my major was going to be. I didn’t know if I wanted to do news/editorial or broadcast, but my experience at the FreeP has made me want to pursue writing for a newspaper or online news outlet.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: My most awkward first day of school was when I was in 8th grade during lunch when some of my friends put applesauce on my chair and I went up to get a snack and didn’t check my chair when I went to sit down. Long story short, I had to walk around the rest of the day with a huge applesauce stain on my butt. Everyone loved me.

Sarah Kirkpatrick. Sports Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Sarah Kirkpatrick
Position at the FreeP: Sports editor
Age: 19
Hometown: Mukilteo, Washington
Why the FreeP?  I joined the FreeP to write about cross country and ended up doing a lot more than that.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: My most awkward first day of school was my senior year of high school. I had foot surgery two weeks prior to my first day and was on one of those knee scooter things, so all the teachers made a way bigger deal than they needed to about making sure I was comfortable. And all of my classmates wanted to ride the scooter around the classroom.

Brian Latimer. Opinion Editor/PHOTO via Michelle Jay

Name: Brian Latimer
Position at the FreeP: Opinion editor
Age: 20
Hometown: Montclair, New Jersey
Why the FreeP? Unknown
Most embarrassing/awkward story: For the past 5 or so years I have had a case of the hiccups. It’s not like I hiccup 24/7, but I get them every day. Today, in a class of 88 people, I hiccuped so loud in the front row the professor stopped speaking, stared at me and chuckled.

Sarah Fisher. Photo Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Sarah Fisher
Position at the FreeP: Photo editor
Hometown: West Chester, Pennsylvania
Why the FreeP? I joined the Photo section of the FreeP half by accident – I’ve always loved photography, but I never had a chance to shoot as a photojournalist. I shot for my high school newspaper, but I wasn’t wild about shooting school meetings and fundraisers. With FreeP, I’ve seen so much more of Boston than I would have otherwise, all while building my portfolio.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: This past Tuesday, I fell asleep in one of my classes. When I woke up, I started nodding enthusiastically to whatever my professor was saying, so he called on me in front of the entire 100+ people lecture hall. I just turned red and waited for someone else to answer.

Michelle Jay. Multimedia Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name:Michelle Jay
Position at the FreeP: Multimedia editor
Age: 21
Hometown: Westmont, Illinois
Why the FreeP? I joined the photo staff of the FreeP when I got to BU because I enjoy using photos to tell stories. I figured this was as good a place as any to do so. Somehow, I’m still here, just telling stories in a different way this semester.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: On my first day of 6th grade, there was a class on my schedule that wasn’t actually my class. There was a class in that room and I kept getting sent back there. But, it was an 8th grade Spanish class and I was supposed to be in study hall.

Christina Janansky. Features Editor/PHOTO VIA Michelle Jay

Name: Christina Janansky
Position at the FreeP: Features editor
Age: 21
Hometown: Egg Harbor Town, New Jersey
Why the FreeP? Since my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to pursue journalism, though I didn’t really know what kind. I joined the FreeP my sophomore year for this very reason – to figure out where I could best ‘fit’ within the journalism world. And I found it through doing the FreeP, which rules.
Most awkward/embarrassing story: My most awkward first day happened my freshman year of college. My roommate and I were walking to the FitRec so I could meet her parents before class. Her mom, the most welcoming lady ever, immediately greeted me with a huge hug. Her dad, on the other hand, continued his business call, paying no attention to us at all. After talking for a few minutes, my roommate and her mom decided to get in the car and head to the bookstore – but I still hadn’t met her dad. Given how friendly her and her mom were, I waited around for a couple minutes for him to get off the phone and, when he finally did, I began approaching him. When I was about one foot away, he put his arms out…so I thought, ‘oh, he wants a hug.’ So I wrapped my arms tightly around him for a good 10 seconds before I realized he wasn’t hugging me back… Turns out he had put his arms out in an attempt to get around me on the sidewalk/had absolutely no idea who I was.

FreepOUT: A visual review of the year

By Editors

As Spring semester 2013 comes to a close, we bring you our most impactful photos and stories. Thank you for your continuos support with The Daily Free Press. Our print issue will return in Fall 2013, stories and updates will be posted on our website periodically throughout the summer.

‘Snowbrawl’ draws hundreds, BUPD take student into custody

Students participate in ‘Snowbrawl Fight part two’ February 9 on the Esplanade after Winter Storm Nemo dumped two feet of snow February 8. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Students participate in ‘Snowbrawl Fight part two’ February 9 on the Esplanade after Winter Storm Nemo dumped two feet of snow February 8. PHOTO BY TAYLOR HARTZ/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Brownstone fire leaves $5 million in damages

A three-alarm fire destroys the fourth and fifth floor of a Back Bay brownstone February 20. PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

A three-alarm fire destroys the fourth and fifth floor of a Back Bay brownstone February 20. PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Total cost of BU set at over $57K for 2013-14 academic year

Boston University officials released the tuition increases for the 2013-2014 school year March 18. The graph shows the change in the total tuition and housing costs since 1995. GRAPHIC BY CHRIS LISINSKI/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University officials released the tuition increases for the 2013-2014 school year March 18. The graph shows the change in the total tuition and housing costs since 1995. GRAPHIC BY CHRIS LISINSKI/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Terriers fall to Northeastern in Beanpot first round

Senior captain Wade Megan hangs his head on the bench after Northeastern University scores its third goal in the first game of the Beanpot at TD Garden February 4. PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Senior captain Wade Megan hangs his head on the bench after Northeastern University scores its third goal in the first game of the Beanpot at TD Garden February 4. PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY/DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF