Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Twilight Zone Marathon!

"There is a fifth dimension beyond that
which is known to man.
It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity.
It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science
and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and
the summit of his knowledge.
This is the dimension of imagination.
It is an area which we call
the Twilight Zone." - Rod Serling

Exactly 50 years ago, with these words, the first episode of The Twilight Zone was airing on] American television, with its unmistakable tune. Television hasn't the been the same ever since.

The Twilight Zone is my favorite TV show of all time. I've been obsessed with it ever since I watched "The Eye of the Beholder" in my seventh grade Honors English class. I was so intrigued by that episode. After that I researched the show as much as I could. When I found out about the biannual marathons on the SyFy channel my life was complete. Since then, I religiously watch them with my little brother and sister while munching on ample amounts of tortilla chips and salsa.

So...If you're in the mood for some thought-provoking television, check out the annual New Year's Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy Channel. This year it begins Thursday, December 31st at 8:00 AM and concludes on Saturday, January 2nd at 6:00 AM. Here is the episode-by-episode schedule. Grab some snacks and enjoy!

♥ Efe ♥

Thursday, September 24, 2009

DNA Sewing Made Easy

One day in my Cellular Biology I class something funny happened.
As an avid sewer and lover of all things biology, I was quite tickled when
my professor said that we should think of think of RNA polymerase as a
sewing machine in today's lecture. When I got back to my dorm, I
googled "DNA sewing machine." To my delight [and surprise] I
stumbled upon an article that highlighted the creation of a DNA
sewing machine by Japanese scientists.
The goal of the device is to bond two DNA strands without breaking them. "Their micro-sized DNA sewing machine of Z-shaped microhooks controlled with an optical tweezer. The device can pick up a single DNA strand and manipulate it. In order to keep the long DNA chain from coiling around itself, the machine then winds up the thread around microbobbins also controlled by focused laser beams, by rotating one around the other so that the wound up DNA chain can then be moved to another location along with the microbobbins."

The DNA sewing machine greatly simplifies the diagnosis of genetic disorders, such as Down's syndrome. Bonding an individual DNA strand to another one similar to it is critical since similar genes become fluorescent in the process thus are easier to spot. The scientists can spot the problematic genes and the begin the complex process of fixing it.

I can barely fathom the concept of winding DNA around microbobbins as winding thread around macrobobbins [Insert raucous laughter here] is hard enough! Who would have guessed that my love of sewing would coincide with my love of biology?


Wednesday, September 9, 2009


"Yes, we play Quidditch. Yes, it involves broomsticks. Sure, it's pretty ridiculous. Sorry, we can't actually fly." -'Pitt Quidditch' Facebook Group

I love Harry Potter and from the first time I read the books in 4th grade I have dreamt of playing quidditch. My dream has come true. I play on my Pitt's quidditch club/team and its so much fun! Many colleges and universities across the country have
quidditch teams and even participate in tournaments. I'm currently working on t-shirt ideas for the team and we may even go to the World Cup. Here's a picture of us playing in our first game of the season:

Playing quidditch is awesome, not only for it's Harry Pottery goodness but for the amalgam of sports it sprouts from. Quidditch is dodgeball, soccer and rugby all mixed together in one magical potion(I just had to say it). It's a great workout and the different positions allow for endless fun and merriment. The rules are taken from the books— with adjustments made for the fact that we muggles can't fly.

If you ever have a chance, play some Quidditch!


Saturday, August 22, 2009

'Alice's Sewing Basket': A Threadless Tee

In case you haven't noticed I love sewing and all things DIY. Another thing I love, is unique t-shirts. I'm not a fan of slogan tees or t-shirts with brand names plastered across them. With that said, one can imagine that it's hard for me to find t-shirts that I like{which is why I make them}. The few times when I do buy a ready-made t-shirt it's usually from a company called Threadless.

Threadless is a community-based online apparel store run, since 2000, by skinnyCorp of Chicago, Illinois. Members of the Threadless community submit t-shirt designs online; the designs are then put to a public vote. A small percentage of submitted designs are selected for printing and sold through an online store. Creators of the winning designs receive a prize of cash and store credit. Here are some pictures of a t-shirt called Alice's Sewing Basket designed by Jillian Nickel {who also has an Etsy shop}:

I love the illustration style and the artful way in which the artist melds various sewing paraphernalia into the heads and bodies of animals. The color scheme complements the whimsical nature of the illustration and the subject matter. I love the bright pops of color. I happen to have just bought a pair of yellow canvas sneakers that match the yellow in the t-shirt design quite nicely. I'm definitely going to get this shirt before it sells out. You should stop by Threadless sometime— I promise it'll be worth your while!


Friday, August 21, 2009

President Barack Obama's Crafty Mom and Her Amazing Fabric Collection

We all know that President Barack Obama’s Mother, Ann Dunham, was a huge influence on the President, and that she exposed him to many cultures around the world. But did you know she was also an art collector? During the family’s time in Indonesia in the 1960’s, Ann Dunham collected amazing hand dyed batik textiles.

Batik is a traditional technique in which hot wax is used to create designs on fabric during the dye the process. Craftster has tons of
examples and discussions of batik and other dyeing techniques. Even more information can be found on the Fiber Arts Boards.If you are lucky enough to be in Washington DC this weekend, you can see Obama’s Mother’s collection at the Textile Museum until Aug 23.

I wish I could go to DC ans see the exhibit at the Textile Museum. I LOVE fabric so I'm definitely going to go there one day. As a crafty person, I love the fact that President Obama's Mom had an appreciation for the arts. Yet another reason to love President Obama and his family.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Da Vinci® Surgical System and My Shadowing Experiences

In my senior year of high school, I saw a hysterectomy performed by Dr. Michael Pitter Chief of Gynecological Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center with the Da Vinci® surgical system. That experience made me confident in my decision to become a Bioengineer and a Doctor. That experience made me. Here is a video of Dr. Pitter speaking while performing a laproscopic myoectomy using the Da Vinci® surgical system.

This summer I started shadowing doctors in preparation for Medical School. My Mom suggested that I contact Dr. Pitter. I wrote him a letter telling him about how my experience was an epiphanic and how I wrote my college essays on it. In the letter, I spoke about my college experience so far and included my resume, the Liberty Science Center article on the "Live From...Robotic Surgery" Program featuring me and a copy of the college essay I wrote about the experience.

His secretary called me today while I was shadowing a cardiologist. I'll start on Monday and I might get to see a surgery using the Da Vinci®! I'm sooo excited!


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mimicking Human Cartilage to Repair a Knee

A recent NY Times article highlights the creation of yet another innovation in bioengineeringthe biomimicry of human cartilage for use in knee repair: "ONE way for surgeons to repair injured knees is to take cartilage and bone from another part of the knee and transplant it in the damaged area.

Now companies are developing potentially simpler knee patches: small, off-the-shelf plugs engineered to mimic the composition of human bone and cartilage." Here is a picture of invention and one of its inventors, Lorna Gibson:

"These ready-made cylinders can be inserted in an arthroscopic procedure and are known as osteochondral scaffolds, because they support new bone and cartilage as it grows. Stem cells from the bone marrow that can form bone or cartilage impregnate the pores of the cylinder." Yay for Bioengineering and Medicine!


We Our All Our Own Devil

I was driving today and this awesomely chill song came on. It was 'Oscar Wilde' by up-and-coming Chicagoan indie rock band, Company of Thieves. Their first release, Ordinary Riches, will come out on February 24, 2009. It's melodic sound has been stuck in my head for a while. Maybe it'll have a similar effect on you...


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shepard Fairey to exhibit at Andy Warhol Museum

Shepard Fairey— Los Angeles graphic artist— is the creator of the iconic "HOPE" poster that became the unofficial emblem of President Obama's campaign has been exhibited at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and, beginning Oct. 18, The Andy Warhol Museum. Here's a video of Fairey talking about his artwork:

I love that Shepard Fairey's work isn't just art but it makes you think. His work centers around "questioning authority, promoting peace and encouraging people to think about how images affect them in public space." Alot of his work has a political agenda which lets him express himself, his views and inspire thought and introspection among his audience.

I'm so excited that he's gonna exhibit at the Warhol in Pittsburgh. It's one of my favorite museums and I'll definitely be there on October 18It's 3 days after my 19th birthday!


Friday, August 14, 2009

Student Reporter Damon Weaver Interviews President Barack Obama

I love the questions Damon is asking President Obama. He's right on the money and is a very good interviewer. President Obama is on the right trackAmerica's future is dependent on lasting and effective education reform.

As a kid who went to a 'not-so-great' high school I know that we have a major problem. It's an inconvenient truth that there are great disparities between quality of education in America and that should not be so. We need to encourage charter schools so that ALL parents have a reasonable choice in their children's education. Parents need to take responsibility for their children's educationThey can no longer sit back and assume that everything is taken care of. Too many children fall through the cracks. We need to fund our Gifted and Talented programs more while still paying attention to the special education programs. Preschool and kindergarten must be taken overhauled so that kids are prepared to read ad write when the grow older.We have enough money and resources to make lasting and effective education reform possiblethe question is: "Will we?"


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Me and My Afro

I cut my chemically-treated hair in December of 2008. Earlier that year, I got a bad chemical burn during one my routine so-called "relaxers". I was scared out my mind from but then I thought to myself: "Why am I doing this?" I have NEVER liked perms and I have ALWAYS admired natural hair. After a little thought, I transitioned to natural via kinky twists. I planned to keep them up in for a year and then do the 'big chop' but I got inpatient. I cut off my permed hair and was pleasantly surprised to see an awesome Afro.

I am soo much happier with natural hair and I am going to start locs...eventually. In terms of social life, I always get people that want to touch my hair— which I just laugh at. It's funny that they are curious about how it feels. I must admit my hair mesmerizes me. It's not often that many Black women get to see their hair in a natural state. I can't stop myself from playing with it constantly and I love it very much. I have gotten many compliments on my Afro and I love it. My hair is my crowning glory— No matter how corny that sounds.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mo Rocca + Ruffeo Hearts Little Snotty + Martha Stewart = DIY Awesomeness!

Mo Rocca [one of my favorite comedians] endeavors to sew a hoodie from scratch with the aid of Ruffeo Hearts Little Snotty [one of my favorite Etsy sellers] on his quest to discover the underground DIY revolution. After the adventure of a lifetime, Mo Rocca goes on the Martha Stewart Show to show off his handiwork.

I think it's awesome that this video shows the intersection of three different facets of the DIY movementthe "house wives", the hipster youth and the entrepreneurs. Although each group has different motivations as to "Why DIY?" they certainly are all undeserved demographics in mass consumerism culture. With that said, I think it's quite fitting that they've each found their niche, and each other, in the DIY world. This video is just a tantalizing sneak peak of what's yet to come.


Genome:The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley

Have you ever read Genome by Matt Ridley? If you haven't you should. Genome was written shortly after the completion of the Human Genome Project and it goes through each human chromosome— in order dictated by the human karyotype— personifying it, explaining its origins and the traits or diseases that might occur on the chromosome. Ridley has a gift for explaining complex scientific processes in a way that easy to understand especially if you have any background at all in genetics.
I first read it in my senior year of high school for my Honors Genetics class. Each Friday, we'd have a Socratic seminar discussing a chapter the book while snaking on the pretzels my school's chapter of FBLA sold. *daydreaming: "Ohhhhh...the good times"*. But, anyways, It's a really good fast-paced read and a must for anyone even vaguely interested in science or medicine.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Elizaveta's Archie Comic Book Necklace

This necklacehandcrafted by Etsy seller Elizaveta is made of sheets torn from Archie comic books. She folded each sheet into a mini envelope and linked them all onto gold chain necklaces in an explosion of colorful comic strip debauchery.

I love it and would definitely wear it...but I wouldn't pay $55 for it. However, I do have massive amounts of old comic books. Hmmmm...


'60 Minutes' Video: The Pentagon's Bionic Arm

"When Americans are wounded in Afghanistan or Iraq, no expense is spared to save their lives. But once they're home, if they have suffered an amputation of their arm, they usually end up wearing an artificial limb that hasn't changed much since World War II.

In all the wonders of modern medicine, building a robotic arm with a fully functioning hand has not been remotely possible. But as 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley reports, that is starting to change. One remarkable leap in technology is called the DEKA arm and it's just one of the breakthroughs in a $100 million Pentagon program called "Revolutionizing Prosthetics."

This is precisely the kind of stuff I want to get into when I'm done with my Bioengineering degree. In fact, for a Freshman Engineering Conference, I collaborated with a partner and wrote a professional grade paper on the military applications of tissue engineering. Maybe I'm closer to achieving my goals than I think.


Adidas Originals: House Party

This Adidas Originals commercial makes me think that if I buy a pair of Adidas I'll find an awesomely utopian, diverse and quite sparkly dance party filled with idealistic vegan alternative types. It's a nice thought but probably too good to be true... *runs off to buy a pair of high top Adidas*


Sequel to Freakonomics: Superfreakonomics

If you haven't read Freakonomics yet, you definitely should. In Freakonomics, University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt and New York Times journalist Stephen J. Dubner argue that economics is in fact the study of incentives and explore the hidden side of everythingconnecting the economic dots between things like sumo wrestler and teachers.

As if that wasn't enough, there's gonna be a sequel of sorts
Superfreakonomics. I loved the first book. Never before has economics been so interesting. I just can't wait until it comes out in the fall. I think I might pre-order it... The fact that the university I attend might have the authors come to give a lecture makes the upcoming book release infinitely more exciting.



I recently got in contact with one of my older half brothers who lives in Nigeria. I've never met him but maybe I will one day. He forwarded me this little note that I'd like to share with you:


I met this guy who has
a motto he lives by everyday. He said ' listen carefully and
live by these 4 rules: Drink, Steal, Swear, & Lie.'

I was shaking my head 'no', but he then told me to listen
while he explained his four rules. So here they are:

1.. 'Drink' from the 'everlasting cup' every day.

2.. 'Steal' a moment to help someone that
is in worse shape than you are.

3.. 'Swear' that you will be a better
person today than yesterday.

4.. And last, but not least, when you 'lie' down at night
thank God you live in a country where you have religious freedom.

I am not as good as I should be, I am not as good
as I could be. But THANK GOD
I am better than I used to be !


Monday, August 10, 2009

Top 6 Reasons To Nap It Up

Onyxanya is a Youtuber who has an awesome channel where she posts videos about her day-to-day life and her natural hair. Here's her introduction to the Top 6 Reasons To Nap It Up: "I, Dr. Yanni, have done extensive research in all things napptural. I have come up with a coveted list of 6 reasons to get nappy!"

She is too funny! And on top of that, I kinda want to ask for the recipe to her sister's cookies.


"Fly n Natural": Joëlle

This woman, Joelle, has been natural for 10 years and was recently featured on the "Fly n Natural" segment on Afroniquely You. Afroniquely You is a natural haircare blog that "help[s] naturals and aspiring naturals to embrace, love and accept all the beauty of what natural hair has to offer."

I just got into
Afroniquely You and it's a wealth of information on natural haircare is amazing. I'll definitely be following it for tips and tricks. I think Joelle's gorgeous *starry eyed and amazed* and I can't wait until my hair grows some more. That reminds me, I need to buy some shea butter...


Men Take on Female-Dominated Craft World

A recent article in the Denver Post highlights the rise in men taking up sewing and other crafty endeavors. As someone who loves sewing, crafting and all things DIY I can wholeheartedly say that guys crafting is a good thing. It takes a strong man to go against stereotypes that say: "Only women sew" or "Real men don't cook, clean, etc." Through crafting, these men gain independence from factories and mass produced goods AND have something to talk about with cute, crafty chicks. What's there to lose?


Geek Crafts: Domo-Kun Sewing Machine Cover

So...I'm seriously contemplating sewing this Domo-Kun sewing machine cover. I think would suit my sewing machine quite nicely. The site I found it on is called, Geek Crafts aptly named as all of the arts and crafts posted on the site are of the geeky persuasion.

As a nerd who crafts I think we need more websites like Geek Crafts. No longer does being a nerd mean you lack appreciation for the arts Viva la geek renaissance!


Star Trek: The Exhibition at the Franklin Institute

Star Trek: The Exhibition at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA "features the world's most comprehensive collections of authentic Star Trek objects and transports visitors into parallel universities of the future and past." There's even a chance to win a telescope signed by Leonard Nimoy himself. As a Trekie, I have no choice but to drag my family to Philly for a day. I'm sooo excited!


Doctor Journeys to Ghana for Triple Negative Breast Cancer Clues

Dr. Lisa Newman travels 16 hours from Michigan to Ghana in search of cancer clues. She collaborates with other doctors to find the origins of triple negative breast cancer. Women most affected by TNBC are younger, pre-menopausal and of African ancestry. Dr. Newman is conducting ground breaking research on the possible link between Ghanaian women and African-American women with TNBC. It's stories like this that make me excited to go to Medical School and become a doctor.


Shingai Shoniwa

I'm in love with Shingai Shoniwa, the British-born Zimbabwean vocalist and bassist of indie rock band, the Noisettes. I just started listening to their stuff and I love it— It's a unique blend of soulful pop and electro-dance music. I'm enamored with her powerful voice, eclectic style and awesome [natural] hair && She's gorgeous! She's most definitely a hair and fashion inspiration for me.


♥ My First Post ♥

Welcome to ♥ Soul of an ArtistMind of an Engineer ♥ ! I got the name for this blog from a friend who coined the phrase while describing mea person who adores both science and art.

Read along as I explore what I love— Reading, writing, world affairs, music, fashion, sewing, crafting, the DIY movement, natural hair and the arts.

I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I do writing it.