The Cooper Union Will Restore Free Tuition, and Other News

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Despite setbacks, the Cooper Union is on track to restore tuition-free education by 2029.

The acclaimed New York design academy faced heated blowback after it started charging tuition back in 2012. The storied and once tuition-free art school is now on track to restore its original mission to make education as “free as air and water,” in the words of founder Peter Cooper, by 2029. Two years after formulating the plan, which called for raising a pot of $250 million, the pandemic initially raised concerns about whether it would meet that goal.

A 17-year-old high school student invents color-changing sutures to detect infection. 

Dasia Taylor, a 17-year-old student at Iowa City West High School, began working on a project to help fight off infections in low- and middle-income countries. On average, between two and four percent of surgical wounds in the U.S. develop an infection, compared to 11 percent in low- and middle-income countries. Taylor spent the past 18 months juicing nearly three dozen beets because the root vegetables provide an ideal dye for her invention: suture thread that changes color, from bright red to dark purple, when a surgical wound becomes infected. In January, Taylor was named one of 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the country’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. 

The Stad Ship Tunnel in Norway

Snøhetta’s concept for the world’s first ship tunnel gets approved to begin construction.

Boats navigating the portion of Norway’s western coast at the intersection of the Norwegian and North seas will soon have a quicker and less treacherous route. The 1.05-mile-long Stad Ship Tunnel, designed by Snøhetta, will cut the route by 35 miles and help ships avoid the “most exposed and dangerous area along the coast of Norway.” It’s slated to begin construction in 2022.  

MIT’s new “smart  clothes” will correct slouching by tracking the body’s movements.

Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab developed a new fabric that feels and looks like any other woven material that can sense pressure from the person wearing it. Sensors in this new material can be used to gather data about people’s posture and body movements. This is particularly useful in a variety of settings, including athletic training, monitoring the health and safety of elderly patients, and identifying if someone has fallen over.

An illustration for one of the segments in Judith F. Baca’s “The Great Wall of Los Angeles” mural

The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art acquires a monumental immigrant archive and mural.

The museum’s acquisition of Judith F. Baca’s archive includes the half-mile-long The Great Wall of Los Angeles mural, which depicts California’s immigrant and minority history. Completed by Baca and teenagers over summers between 1976 and 1983, the work showcases a range of scenes: the removal of Mexican American from Chavez Ravine, the internment of Japanese Americans, and the civil rights movement. More than 350 objects, conceptual drawings, and notes between the artist, scholars, and historians are among the treasure trove.  

President Biden has unveiled a sweeping $2.25 trillion infrastructure investment plan.

President Biden’s administration said the $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan will prove the most sweeping since investments in the 1960s space program. Paid for by tax hikes on businesses, the four-part, eight-year plan commits $620 billion for transportation, including a doubling in federal funding for public transit. It would incentivize $650 billion for initiatives for improving quality of life at home, like clean water and high-speed broadband. $580 billion is allocated to strengthening American manufacturing—$180 billion goes to what’s billed as the biggest non-defense research and development program on record—and $400 billion to address improved care for the elderly and people with disabilities.

“Murakami.Flower” (2021) by Takashi Murakami

Today’s attractive distractions:

Hyundai conceives an autonomous app-controlled taxi that drives sideways.

Salvator Mundi, the world’s most expensive artwork, enters the crypto realm.

The cash-strapped Takashi Murakami is auctioning smiley flowers as NFTs.

This TikTok teen might hate 432 Park more than anyone else on this earth.

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