Category Archives: Features

Pyrotechnics Classes Available to All

By: Danielle Sheahan, Features Writer

Source: mst.edu

Have you ever wanted to light off commercial sized fireworks, or even make them yourself? If so, it is lucky that this is the only university in the United States to offer pyrotechnics classes which are specifically designed to set you up to get your Missouri Shooting License.

S&T has four pyrotechnic classes available to anyone, and they have zero pre-requisites. They are: Commercial Pyrotechnics Operations, Stage Pyrotechnics and Special Effects, Display Fireworks Manufacturing, and Computer Fired Pyrotechnic Show Design and Firing System Operation. I was fortunate enough to meet with Jerry Viall who is a PhD student in the Explosives Department and teaches two out of the four pyrotechnics classes.

The Commercial Pyrotechnics Operations course is awesome because it is tailored to teach students what they need to know to pass the state licensing exam. If you pass the Missouri State Pyrotechnic Operator Licensing exam you can shoot off public firework displays. How cool is that! Some requirements for the license include being 21 years of age, education in commercial pyrotechnics, the experience of helping shoot off three public firework displays, and passing the licensure examination. The class meets once at the experimental mine on a saturday, and three times a semester on weekends at the Bear Bottom Resort in Lake of the Ozarks. It is expected that by the end of the class you will have participated in four fireworks displays. This class provides both the education and the ability to participate in live firework displays, but not the being 21 part; for that you have to just be patient, eventually you will be of legal age to drink and shoot off fireworks, preferably not at the same time. Continue reading

Liquid Rocket Design

By: Danielle Sheahan, Features Writer

Source: brighthubengineering.com

Continuing with my finding your niche theme I have had going this semester, I have great news about there being a fantastic new design team on campus. This new team is called Liquid Rocket Design Team and they will be designing, building and shooting off a rocket that will have a liquid fuel and liquid oxidizer to produce the force needed to lift the rocket off the ground. They will even be participating in a competition put on by the Mars Society next May alongside other universities’ liquid rocket design teams.

Zach Martinez, an S&T Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering student, wanted to do something different than the solid fuel rocket design team out of curiosity and an interest in SpaceX. He assumed the best place to start was to do research with liquid rocket design. Last spring, he and a few others [Brennen Huseman, Seth Lanius, Austin Steimel, Catarina Davies, Matthew Fogel, Josh Lewis, and Andrew Smith] applied for an innovation grant which they ultimately won. Although as word got out around the faculty and staff during the summer there were some concerns about creating a liquid rocket without the proper materials, training and supervision. Continue reading

Float trip etiquette

By: Tyler Zaring, Sports Editor

Source: ozarkoutdoors.net

With the summer coming to a close and the float trip season all but over I have been able to make it to two different float trips with vastly different experiences. For many in mid-Missouri traveling to Leasburg and or Steelville is a summer tradition to join family and friends on a weekend camping and float trip.

While the two trips I took were with completely different groups of people and on two completely different rivers and events on the river. The Bull Float Trip put on by 93.7 The Bull is a large four day event with concerts at night and a float trip in rafts during the day on Saturday. This year marked the 15th time the float trip has happened and it is a big one. Continue reading

Campus climate survey results show dissatisfaction

By: Caroline Newman, Editor in Chief

In the fall of 2016, executives on the Missouri S&T campus sent a “campus climate survey” to students, faculty, and staff. This survey was designed to measure the perception of diversity and inclusivity on campus, as well as to serve as a general barometer of the experiences of minorities or other marginalized groups. The results, which were sent to the campus community in September of 2017 (and are available via http://diversity.mst.edu/climatesurvey/), measure the experiences of over 1,500 members of the S&T community.

Of those respondents, 937 are undergraduate students. 75 are graduate or post-doctoral students, 144 are faculty, and 364 respondents were non-faculty staff members. 712 respondents are women, 728 are men, and 58 identify as being on the transgender spectrum. An overwhelming number of respondents are White or Caucasian, with under 250 respondents identifying as Latinx, Asian, Black, African, Asian, or Multiracial. Continue reading

Cards Against Humanity scholarship applications open

By: Caroline Newman, Editor in Chief 

Cards Against Humanity, purveyors of the world’s most horrible card game, have announced that applications for their Science Ambassador Scholarship are now open! The Science Ambassador Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for women studying science, technology, engineering, or math. Any female high school senior or undergraduate college student can apply; all they have to do is create a three-minute video explaining a topic in STEM that they enjoy. Finalists will be notified in Spring 2018. Applications are reviewed by a committee of over 50 women who have advanced degrees in STEM fields, including Dr. Alice Marklein (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab), Sophie Shrand (Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago), and Lara Lacher (Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute). Continue reading

State of Missouri vs Jason Stockley

By: Danielle Sheahan, Features Writer

Protests have become a common occurrence in St. Louis and this past weekend was a prime example. It affected the whole city but it also accomplished the protesters’ goal of bringing national attention to the Jason Stockley case.

This weekend I was supposed to go to St. Louis get my car fixed and go to the U2 concert. Neither of those items were completed but I did get to go visit my uncle on Saturday afternoon, who is a firefighter at firehouse one on Jefferson. The muffler shop where I was going to get my car fixed was closed due to the possible violence that might accompany the protests, and U2 cancelled their show due to the lack of protection for the audience. I did get to see my uncle but he was on an emergency riot watch the whole time. I will not complain though; the firehouse always has the best food. When I went to see him, not only was there more than one shift of firefighters on duty, but also a group of National Guardsmen there. They were in complete uniform, guns in hand with an armored vehicle. Everyone was a lot more relaxed during the day. Most of the firefighters were sleeping after being up for most of Friday night including the chief who was taking a nap in his office. Thankfully during the time I was present there were not any calls, because during the day the protests were civil, but this does not reflect what happened once the sun had set. Continue reading

The Automation of Chess

By: Michael Pellham, Features Writer

Having a Terminator like being, a machine with no morals, no emotions, only cold calculations being trained in how to most effectively destroy you sounds like it should stay in the movies, however that is what Garry Kasparov, Grandmaster Chess Player must have felt as he sat across from the hunk of metal known as Deep Blue that beat him 3.5 – 2.5 in a six game chess match. The match was heavily promoted, and while there were some dispute over whether the conditions Kasparov played under were fair, this would be the turning point in the battle between man and machine in the chess world.


Deep Blue was created by IBM, and the version that faced Kasparov in 1997 had about one-tenth of the power found in an iPhone. Even being this technologically weak compared to today’s standards, Deep Blue was able to see about 7 moves ahead depending on the layout of the board, and contained a vast opening moves catalog to pull from. The algorithm used to determine the most effective move was dependent on a variety of factors including material; the value of pieces compared to the other side, position; how well your material is placed, king safety; since the loss of the king is the loss of the game, and tempo; the “speed” at which you can move your pieces. Also important to note is what Deep Blue and other computers lack. They do not fluster from an unexpected move, they do not experience exhaustion (professional chess games can last up to 6 hours or more), and they do not become nervous in a tournament setting. These factors can have huge impacts in a high stress chess game.
Continue reading

SUB and Leach Events

By: Michael Pellham, Features Writer 

Back to school means back to the grind of tests, homework and guzzling coffee to get it all done. Luckily the good people at SUB and Leach Theater have plenty of events lined up to help relax our minds from the stress of deadlines and due dates.

First off are the Friday movie nights hosted by SUB. These free films have often just been released to DVD, and some are even shown before they reach shelves in stores! SUB provides the movie theater staples such as popcorn, candy, and soda all free for students. The next movie SUB will present is the latest DC Superhero movie, Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, on September 8th at 8PM. Keep an eye out for posters around campus for the location. If you are unable to attend, no worries! As mentioned before SUB will be showing movies all semester such as Baywatch, It Comes at Night, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Visit the SUB page on Orgsync for the full calendar and schedule of movies. SUB does more than movies however, and will be announcing concerts, comedians, and other events as the semester continues. Continue reading

Katy Trail

By: Michael Pellham, Features Writer

A unique and historic trail runs right through the heart of Missouri. This 237 mile trail is tackled by hikers, cyclists, and even by horseback year round and is called the Katy Trail. In it’s previous life, the Katy Trail was known as the Missouri Kansas Texas Railroad, a railroad that ran throughout Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri from Sedalia to Machen’s. In its rebirth as a hiking trail it now sports the name Katy, a derivation of its full name. For many years the railroad ran, but for the route that runs from Sedalia to Machens the trains stopped running after a devastating flood in 1986 that permanently closed the lines down. Eventually the Missouri Department of Natural Resources acquired the land and turned the whole stretch of rail into a trail, becoming the longest “Rails-to-Trails” in the entire US.

The path follows the notion that railroad construction tries to have the flattest ground, and fewest curves possible, thus it follows the Missouri River for the portion of the trail from St. Charles to Boonville. This area is very flat, however an additional 33 miles of trail from Sedalia to Clinton was appended to the trail in 1991 that contains many steep hills. The trail itself is paved with crushed limestone, which is easier on the legs of runners than asphalt. If you decide to bike, this fine gravel will allow you to ride almost any bike, given that the tires are not excessively skinny like on high grade road bikes. The most suitable bike for the trail would be along the lines of a hybrid/ touring bike with tires rated for gravel or dirt. Continue reading

D&D

By: Michael Pellham, Features Writer

Dungeons and Dragons is more popular than ever before. It has stepped out of the mom’s-basement stereotype (I’m sure there are still plenty of sessions played there still), and is now being played at your nearest board game bar, or livestreamed for tens of thousands of people. Frequently it is even played in prison with inmates huddled around makeshift dice. All of them have the same purpose for playing; to go on an adventure, share fictional experiences with your friends around the table, and to escape into a world where you can be anything (as long as the DM says it’s okay).

The game that would eventually become the most widely known and biggest tabletop game was created by two dudes in Wisconsin named Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974. The foundation for the rules were older wargame rules, with the rest taking inspiration from a wide selection of fantasy literature, such as The Lord of the Rings, and much of it consisted of their own ideas and seeing what other tabletop games lacked. DnD has expanded and evolved since then, going through many iterations in the 40 years since its inception. The game is currently in its 5th edition, which is lauded as being the most accessible and fluid of the releases. The simplicity of 5th edition makes now the best time ever to dip into the world of D&D. Continue reading