Is this new material ‘kryptonite’ for bullets?

By Patty Ann Malley

Superman faces kryptonite
Superman faces kryptonite

Game-changing body armor?’s Chris Eger dubs the new composite metal foam (CMF), “… kryptonite for bullets.” Watch the following clip and decide for yourself!

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According to North Carolina State University’s Matt Shipman, “Composite metal foams (CMFs) are tough enough to turn an armor-piercing bullet into dust on impact. Given that these foams are also lighter than metal plating, the material has obvious implications for creating new types of body and vehicle armor.”

Mechanical and aerospace engineer Afsaneh Rabiei, also of NC State, has been working with her team on not only developing the composite metal foams, but exploring their myriad properties as well. The benefit as seen in the video seems to be the virtual annihilation of a 7.62 x 63 millimeter M2 armor-piercing bullet. Kryptonite? Maybe. Whatever it takes to keep our loved ones – soldiers, police – safe!

But Shipman goes on to explain that, “Last year, with support from the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, Rabiei showed that CMFs are very effective at shielding X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation. And earlier this year, Rabiei published work demonstrating that these metal foams handle fire and heat twice as well as the plain metals they are made of.”

The possibilities seem, at this point, to be out of this world … at least as we currently know it!

It’s the little things that matter

Times change, but little things will always mean a lot. Simple generosity, a heartfelt thank you, and teamwork always build to bigger and better things.

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Inspired by both school and church to understand the importance of expressing gratitude, grammar school buddies Aiden Best and Nathan Perry of Lee’s Summit, Missouri – undaunted by youth or a lack of funds – joined forces. They made and sold lemonade. The goal? Use the profits to say “thank you” to the Lee Summit Police Force. “If we didn’t have them (police), our world would be apoca-lipstick,” Aiden Best told WDAF-TV’s Molly Balkenbush. And he’s right!

Unwittingly, these young men took a page out of life coach and media celebrity Tony Robbin’s playbook: the secret to living is giving. Earlier this year, Robbins flew to the rescue with a $25,000 grant to forestall a soup kitchen shutdown in San Francisco’s rough-riding Tenderloin. “If everyone works together, you have what I call a virtuous circle,” Robbins told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Kevin Fagan.

True success means giving back in an effort to support those who are all too often underappreciated or just plain forgotten – the size of the gift, however, is not what matters. And these two young entrepreneurs, Aiden and Nathan, are on their way.

“We felt like the police have done so much for us and they have nothing in return, they just did it because it’s their job,” Nathan Perry added in the interview with Balkenbush.

And so lemonade profits – fattened by a simple “Thank Police” sign – translated into donuts and soda delivered to the Lee Summit Station. The remaining cash was used to supply the local firehouse with cinnamon rolls. (Yum!) For their efforts, the boys received the recompense of sowing good will, that and the exclusive opportunity to check out patrol cars up close and personal – a great time for any curious kid!

Sisters of the Fraternite of Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth
Sisters of the Fraternite of Notre Dame
Mary of Nazareth

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Tony Robbins, has continued to help where duty called. Thanks to the goodwill of this veritable stranger, the Sisters of the Fraternite of Notre Dame Mary of Nazareth, who were facing eviction when Robbins first showed up, now own a new soup kitchen! The 1,430 square foot space, right next door to San Francisco’s year old Navigation Center for the Homeless, will enable these women, who have labored some eight years already, to continue dedicating their lives to feeding the homeless off the profits of the fruit-topped French pastries they sell at nearby farmer’s markets.

But the $750K needed to purchase the kitchen was not the doing of Robbins alone. $400K of the endowment was raised by Robbin’s associates in keeping with his focus, just like Aiden and Nathan, of bringing folks together for the good. The Sisters will still need to find another residence, as the new kitchen does not allow for them to live on the premises. But with the help of friends, that issue will likely be resolved in short order. Just like the orders for the sisters’ French pastries will likely increase as more people of good will come forward with whatever contributions they can make, big or small.

Little things, do mean a lot. So despite the swath of crazy that might otherwise make us go mad, grace abounds all the more. Most often it works in silence, woefully underreported, but absolutely making a difference – even one glass of lemonade at a time.

Down syndrome model Katie Meade
Down syndrome model Katie Meade

New fearless face of beauty

In a bold and overdue move, the beauty industry has given way to a new first – the selection of a truly striking spokesmodel, 32-year-old Down Syndrome sufferer Katie Meade. This balance beam Special Olympics gold medalist may be disabled, but she is highly gifted as well. Ripe with conviction, the desire to succeed, simple wisdom, and the support of a loving family, Meade has achieved goals that former times and stereotypes would have denied her. Just goes to prove that often the worst handicap is our own inhibitions.

Not so for Meade! She also works as an office generalist and is a spokesperson for Best Buddies, an international non-profit dedicated to enriching the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Meade is a cutie, but it is her plucky attitude that hooked Beauty and Pinup’s CEO Kenny Kahn. Heading a company bent on bringing out the beauty of the individual, Kahn understood that their new hair care product, “Fearless,” would be best represented by Meade. An unabashed cosmetics devote, Meade is quoted in People magazine as saying, “People see me for who I am and they see me not as someone with a disability, but that I have ability. And I like to try new different things and I inspire women to do that. Beauty belongs to everybody.”

It certainly does – inside and out!

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