All posts by Jade Reese


16th annual Summit County Engineer’s Miniature Bridge Building Competition

 Tiny strips of wood, x-acto knives, glue-covered fingers and stressful problem solving all combined to create this year’s 16th annual Summit County Engineer’s Miniature Bridge Building Competition.

   Twenty-one schools in Summit county were able to enter the three-hour competition on Fri., Feb. 26 at the University of Akron. As long as the school could offer two or three students, they could participate. Some schools were even able to send more than one team.

    The participating high schools were Akron Early College, Coventry, Cuyahoga Falls, Firestone, Four Cities Educational Compact, Garfield, Green, Hudson, Manchester, Mogadore, Norton, Portage Lakes Career Center, Revere High School, Six District Engineering Academy, Springfield, STEM High School, Stow-Munroe Falls, St. Vincent St. Mary, Tallmadge, Twinsburg High School and Western Reserve Academy.

    I personally came with the Six District Engineering Academy, which is my career program. My teammates were Stow senior Stephen Morris and Cuyahoga Falls senior Alex Perdue. We competed alongside of some of our engineering classmates who were registered under their home schools.

    Engineering firms such as CT Consultants, Environmental Design Group, Euthenics, Osborn Engineering and many more posed as sponsors for the event. These companies are the creators for many of the bridges in northeast Ohio.

    The civil engineering companies also generously donated towards a scholarship for students who attend the competition. Participants then have to fill out a form and write an essay in order to be considered for the scholarship. Values change from year to year, and the amount has not been decided yet.

    Before considering any scholarship, we had to build our bridge. We were provided a limited amount of balsa wood which we had to use as the basis of our bridge. The flimsy material is challenging to construct with and is very easy to break. We used super glue in order to hold everything together.

    Our team laid out our design on a rectangular block of styrofoam, placed wax paper over the top and used the layers as a work space. We also used straight pins to keep the bridge trusses in place as they dried.

    Three hours passed fairly quickly, as each team ran into various problems or smoothly created their projects; a frequent but not devastating issue was the recurring situation of fingers being glued to the bridge.

    My team and I built our bridge with ease. Last year, as amateurs, we used too much glue and did not know how to properly construct anything in the time frame; we did not finish our design and the final product was messier than intended. This year, we finished with 15 minutes to spare, with every piece perfectly in place.

    Once each team finished and placed their masterpieces on one lengthy table, the judges checked each for specifications. They verified that each bridge was at least 14 inches long and had a minimum of 12 inches for the bottom trusses. Additionally, the structure could not have more than two strips of balsa wood laminated together.

    Judges also picked out the most aesthetically pleasing design for an award.

    One of the winners of the aesthetics made a miniature version of the Football Hall of Fame bridge in Canton.

    Although my team did not win any athsetic awards, we tried for the abilities portion.

   Each bridge had a hole drilled through the middle of the roadbed which then had a J-hook through the opening. A bucket with a 10 pound weight was then placed on the hook.

   One team member was then expected to lightly put cup-fulls of nuts and bolts in the bottom of the bucket to increasingly add more weight. Once the bridge busted, the team measured the bucket to see how much mass broke the bridge.

    After the structure failed, teams could visit a table of experienced civil engineers who could explain where and why the bridge failed.

    They told me and my teammates that our design was very strong and smart, but the distribution of the load on our bottom trusses was not strong enough. More triangles, the sturdiest shape in a structure, could have helped our design.

    The awarded points depended on the ratio between the mass of the bridge and the failure mass.

    My team’s structure weighed 23.6 grams and held 29.7 pounds. This ratio was not poor but definitely did not come close to the winning team.

    First timers, Hudson, won by a landslide with a very light bridge that held probably 4 times the amount ours did: their trusses were well constructed and were very strong.

    Each Hudson student won $100. Both Springfield teams won second which was given $70 and third place which received $50 each.

    Even though my team did not win any prizes, I still had a positive experience. I was able to compete alongside my friends and put all of my abilities to the test.

    Times like these are ones I will look back on when I am 30 and in a career practicing the same teamwork and problem solving skills needed in a simple, friendly competition as a student.


Discount app appeals to young and old crowd

    While playing different apps, searching through various websites and watching TV, people are bombarded with unnecessary advertisements and commercials. One recurring ad that seems directed towards the older generation is Groupon.

   When hearing “Groupon,” someone usually thinks of “coupon,” and this is exactly correct. Those little papers snipped out of newspapers and magazines that parents or grandparents hoard before they go to any store or restaurant are soon to be outdated.

     With this over-advertised Groupon, a new level of discounts is underway. The modernized coupons are not only geared towards adults, which is also taking the aspect of coupons to accelerated heights.

    Groupon is an app/website that almost stands as a middleman between a customer and the service or product on the other side. The site may promote restaurants and stores in one’s community or even advertise products from around the globe.

    Groupon has the ability to usher people to try out various places and products, and the enterprise earns a commission whenever they successfully refer a customer.

    This new type of app is able to provide consumers with discounts on nearly everything. Opportunities exist such as a percent off a meal at a restaurant or money off of jewelry, clothes, books, entertainment, beauty products, electronics and tickets.

    The variety of discounts available has appealed to many college students and teenagers that enjoy shopping online but do not like to spend much money.

    Groupon almost poses as the cheap Amazon, and by cheap, that means low prices.

    This new enterprise is fabulous for customers but is also beneficial for businesses. Even though the site sells items for discounted prices, the sales bring more attention to a company or product. People will be more willing to try a product for less expense; therefore, those people are more likely to return again for full price.

    Personally, I have purchased a few items off of Groupon, and my results were very positive.

    I bought a HP laptop for $149 that was originally priced over $300. The computer was refurbished, yet I may not have been able to find such a great deal else where. The laptop runs well and is in perfect condition.

    Next, I bought a teeth whitener kit. The kit with the bleaching solution and the little LED light has been a hot item in the past year or two. With an original price of $199, I snagged a kit for $9.99. I used this product once already, and the results were just as it promised for $190 cheaper than others but whiter teeth for.

    I have ordered a few other items from Groupon, and each one has been more than satisfactory. I intend on continuing my use of the app into college, so I do not have to spend too much money on anything.

    Offers expire frequently, so the app has an efficient way of making consumers act quickly with their purchases.

    The whole dynamic of the app is beneficial for each entity involved: old customers, young shoppers, business owners and the entire enterprise.

    Give Groupon a try the next time there is a craving for food, clothing or experiences. Well, just as long as there is NOT a wad of cash burning a hole in a pocket: the user would not need to spend all of that money.


Powerpuff Girls return in 2016

Sugar, spice and everything nice with a little dash of Chemical-X are not the only ingredients in the new series of “The PowerPuff Girls.”

A modern take on the old classic has many nostalgic fans excited while also intriguing young children of this era for a little taste of the childhood many students had.

While the same storyline, villains and graceful butt-kicking will be recovered in the new show, the original voice actresses and theme song have been altered.

The starting women, Cathy Cavadini as Blossom, Tara Strong as Bubbles and Elizabeth Daily as Buttercup, have all been replaced by other, youthful voices; however, Tom Kenny’s role as the mayor and narrator has remained intact.

According to the LA Times, “‘The Powerpuff Girls’ will feature the voice talents of Amanda Leighton as team leader Blossom, Kristen Li as the bright and friendly Bubbles and Natalie Palamides as the tough-as-nails Buttercup.

Fresh talent does not seem to pose as an issue for many people as the recent ladies are sure to sound close to not if exactly like the traditional, tiny but spunky voices of the three super girls.

On the other hand, the improved theme song and intro are very different from 1998.

The new song is a punk-pop mixture titled “Who’s Got The Power?” by Tacocat, according to Comics Alliance.

Also, the style of the cartoon will be altered from the original. More of a crisp, 3-D illusion and more vibrant colors will be present in the updated version. Cartoon Network will be matching the look of the girls to some of their current shows like Steven Universe, Teen Titans Go and Adventure Time.

All changes put aside, this take on the original PPG is sure to revive many memories of the past and easily make new ones for young children.

The revamped version of the old classic is proposed to air sometime in April. Surely, if the cartoon disappoints and there is still a craving for animated, crime-fighting super girls, then one can turn to Netflix to watch the original series.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Doppelgängers raise question in two worlds

Imagine coming across an individual who looks exactly like what appears in the mirror each morning. Confusion and anxiety could plague the mind.

Having a twin is a possibility some students experience, but the knowledge of this look-alike is usually present.

A biological twin at birth may not be the origin of this mysterious person: a doppelgänger may be the cause of the disbelief.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a doppelgänger is quite simply someone who looks like someone else.

Even though the word is used loosely to describe lookalikes, the paranormal terms has a much more mysterious and intriguing connotation. According to the Manchester Paranormal Investigations, the majority of the supposed doppelgängers are experienced when someone catches an image of themselves in their peripheral vision.

The concept of a doppelgänger can be traced “back thousands of years and was present in many cultures of the past, holding a prominent place in ancient legends, stories, artworks and in books by various authors,” according to Ancient Origins.

Doppelgänger is a German word that means “double goer.” This concept has been based on a more spiritual basis which developed into many myths and superstitions over time.

     According to Ancient Origins, “[Doppelgängers] were generally considered as omens of bad luck or even signs of impending death – a doppelgänger seen by a person’s relative or friend was said to signify that illness or danger would befall that person, while seeing one’s own doppelgänger was said to be an omen of death.”

Though the legend of the doppelgänger originated as an apparition, the meaning has reached past the paranormal realm and has become a word to refer to a unknown “twin” of any person.

According to The Telegraph, a Dublin City University student named Niamh Geaney and her two friends started a challenge for themselves on social media. They had the goal of finding their closest lookalike, or doppelgänger, over the internet.

Searching proved victorious for Geaney: she found her “twin” after only 16 days. The article titled “Could you track down your doppelgänger?” outlines her success in finding her living doppelgänger as well as other incidents of stranger twins meeting.

Such an experience seems so far-fetched; however, many conspiracy theorists believe in the double’s existence, not solely as a random occurrence or coincidence.

If these individuals actually exist, many scientists questions if these doubles would even be recognizable in public.      

The Telegraph also presented that “science suggest that should not exist. Mathematically speaking, the number of variables in any face is so large that it would be virtually impossible to meet someone who looks identical to you. In fact, nobody has even worked out how to measure the probability. Dr Garrett Hellenthal at the genetics institute of University College London doubts it could even be done.”

Not only do many scientist reject the ideas of conspiracy theorists with the proof of statistics, but the lack of belief in the spiritual realm also has scientists ignoring the myth meaning of the word.

Although the possibility for these situations only seems possible in ghost stories, maybe society should start to question those outrageous people who look exactly like deceased celebrities.

Google Tupac’s doppelgänger from the film “Straight Outta Compton” for starters.


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