Everyday Inventions Hidden In Plain Sight


To paraphrase Hip Hop Lyricist Emeritus Krs-One, “African-American History is the world’s history.”

Before I go any further, I must inform the readers, this is not a Black History Month article. This is a mini-history lesson. However, before I move on to the subject at hand, I will acknowledge that a certain segment of citizens in our country chafe at the mere mention of the phrase “Black History Month.” Here is an example of why African-American achievements are hallmarked in the month February:

On February 1, President Donald Trump held a press conference dubbed the “African-American History Month ‘listening session.’” In speaking about several American icons including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Harriet Tubman, (future face of the $20 bill), Trump made an overtly obtuse comment regarding Frederick Douglass. “Frederick Douglass is an example of someone who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice,” President Trump said.

Yes, Douglass, who courageously escaped from the hellish bowels of slavery, was a pre-eminent scholar, orator, abolitionist, and occasional counselor to Abraham Lincoln, while becoming one of the leading citizens in American history. However, Douglass has been dead for 122 years.

If one didn’t know better, one could reasonably infer, through President Trump’s statement that Douglass was still walking the Earth, “abolitioning.” Uninformed remarks such as these are one reason why there is a Black History Month.

However, this article is not about black history—it is about world history. This article will shed some light on this topic for our readers who have been inconceivably kept in the dark regarding the accomplishments of several “Hidden Figures”; African-American inventors whose brilliant inventions continue to leave a positive and lasting impact on human beings throughout the world.

Millions of people have heard of the term, “The Real McCoy,”—which means the genuine article. Many don’t know that, that phrase came into existence because of an object created by African-American inventor Elijah McCoy.

According to biography.com, McCoy (1843-1929) was the son of runaway slaves from Kentucky, who escaped to Canada, and later became a master mechanic by studying mechanical engineering in Scotland.

In the 1800s, railroads were the major means of transport—whether it was humans or products—across the U.S. The ride was rarely smooth because the engines in the locomotives would heat up rapidly, causing them to make frequent pit stops. While at rest, an engineer would squirt oil on the engine to help it cool off, so the train could continue its journey.

As you can imagine, the intermittent stops kept people and products from getting to their desired destination in a timely fashion, and to many—-time is money.

Understanding this, McCoy invented an automatic lubrication device that was patented in 1872 as an “Improvement in Lubricators for Steam Engines.”

“McCoy’s invention was a small thing,” wrote Aaron E. Klein in his book, The Hidden Contributors: Black Scientists and Inventors in America, “but it speeded up the railroads and faster railroad deliveries spurred the economic growth of a nation.”

After McCoy’s invention, numerous imitators arose with their own version of the lubricator; but none were comparable to the ingenious efficiency of the original. Thus, when people wanted to purchase an automated lubricator, they wanted nothing less than “The Real McCoy.” This term that is still prevalent in the American lexicon today.

McCoy also invented the folding ironing board and the lawn sprinkler.

In 1923, Garret A. Morgan invented something that most of us would agree we couldn’t live without. The three-way traffic light is the brainchild of this African-American inventor.

According to Patricia Carter Sluby, author of “The Inventive Spirit of African-Americans: Patented Ingenuity,” after witnessing a fatal accident between a horse drawn carriage and a car, Morgan visualized that it was a good idea to use illuminated colored lights visible during the day and at night, to control vehicular traffic at intersection…” Hence, the three-way traffic signal was born.

Although there is no way it can completely stop car accidents, there is also no way to count the innumerable lives that have been saved by Morgan’s bright invention.

African-American inventors have left a profound and indelible mark on the lives of billions of people across planet Earth. Unfortunately, there has been a long-standing systematic scheme to keep pertinent facts out of certain history books to purposely keep the masses in the dark.

It is now time to enter the light and become aware that “African-American History is your history.”


Movie Reviews: What to see




If you’re looking for something to fill your Saturday night with, catching a movie at your local movie theater could be a good idea. This last year has brought us some exciting, new movies to watch. Some of the recent releases are movies we have been waiting a long time to see. Whether you are into action, comedies, or thrillers there is definitely something for you to watch at the movie theaters.

Logan is among one of those movies, being one of the most recent releases on March 3, 2017. The action movie is about a man named Logan, also known as the Wolverine, who is hiding away from the world near the Mexican border. He works as a driver while he aiding Professor X whose mind keeps worsening with seizures. However, Logan’s plans to hide away from the world are quickly interrupted when a mysterious woman appears looking for him. She asks him to take a magnificent little girl to safety. It isn’t long after that when Logan has to face enemies and dark forces from his past.

Logan stars Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine and Patrick Stewart as Professor X. It has 7.8 out of 10 in ratings on rottentomatoes.com. According to top critic Katie Walsh from the Tribune News Service, the movie “Strips away the spandex, the posse and the chaos, distilling the story down to the essence of the man, Logan. What’s left is the agony and the ecstasy of mutanthood.”

Although the movie has received various positive reviews, top critic Rex Reed from the New York Observer says “ Another expensive throwaway aimed at milking money out of people who still read comic books. Color it stupid.”

Regardless of what you may hear, it might be worthy of catching this flick during your next trip to the movie theater. If action is not your cup of tea, there are always other options for you to chose from.

Another great option could be watching a horror movie like Get Out released on February 24th, 2017. The movie is about a guy named Chris who is dating a girl named Rose.

The couple has been dating for a decent amount of time and decided that it was time for Chris to meet Rose’s parents. When Chris arrives to their house for a weekend, he begins to notice weird behavior from her parents, Dean and Missy. At first he reads it as the parents getting used to the idea of their daughter being in an interracial relationship for the first time.

However, as the movie progresses Chris soon realizes that is not the case with Rose’s family at all. Starring Daniel Kaluuya as Chris Washington and Allison Williams as Rose Armitage, Get Out is surely full of surprises. With a rating of 8.2 out of 10 on rottentomatoes.com, Get Out might definitely be the next movie to watch on your list.

On the other hand, if horror and action does not interest you then you can always catch an interesting comedy. Fist Fight is about a high school teacher named Andy Campbell who is accused of getting another teacher fired. Campbell is then challenged to a fight after the school day ends. He then has to find a way to get out of the fight to avoid a serious beating.

Although it only has a rating of 3.9 out of 10 on rottentomatoes.com, it still has decent reviews from top critics. One of them being Glenn Kenny from RogerEbert.com says “A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the early 21st century.” Charlie Day playing as Andy Campbell and Ice Cube as Ron Strickland, Fist Fight will be sure to make you laugh.

Gardening Club Article





What is it about gardening that can cause feelings of great euphoria? Maybe it’s enveloping your hands in the rich, warm soil whilst preparing the ground for the seeds. Maybe it’s the moment when the budding flower that you grew by hand bursts into bloom, and all your hard work has finally payed off. Or maybe it’s just the overall pleasurableness of being out in a garden on a glorious day, soaking up the sun alongside of the sun thirsty seedlings.


Whatever the reason, you can now experience this green thumb bliss by joining Cumberland County College’s (CCC) brand new Gardening Club.


Now, you’re probably thinking “Gardening? Sounds intriguing but I have no experience whatsoever with this foreign hobby—I wouldn’t know the first place to start” (Got it right didn’t I? Yes, I know I must be psychic, I can read your deepest and darkest gardening questions). Don’t worry, no prior gardening knowledge is required. All you need to do is have an interest in gardening, plants, and the way that they work.


The clubs mission is to further educate students by exposure to agriculture and horticulture opportunities in the community, and at the college. It also hopes to foster greater interest in gardening not just as a hobby, but as a potential career choice as well.


This club is open to all students at CCC, not just Agriculture Majors. Club members can plant whatever type of plants they want. They already have a wide variety of ornamental, vegetable, house, and tropical plants growing in the greenhouse on campus—they even have a banana tree growing in there. Some of the members are into the art of Bonsai. This is the art of growing ornamental, artificially dwarfed trees and/or shrubs in a pot, to artificially prevent the plant from reaching its normal size.


Students are free—in fact they are encouraged— to explore unconventional growing techniques and environments for different types of plants. During club meetings members will learn about traditional composting, and vermicomposting, as well as aquaponics and sprinkler systems.


To get involved and stay connected on campus, the club is hoping to partner up with the maintenance crew on campus to assist with the annual spring planting.


When do they meet? An email is sent out to club members as to when they are meeting that week. Where do they meet? They meet in the Science Building’s computer lab. Most communication is posted on the Facebook group “CCC Gardening Club.” Where is the greenhouse? The greenhouse is located in the back left-hand section behind the Science Building.

If any of the above information has piqued the hidden gardener inside of you, or you have any further questions regarding the club, contact Club President Brian Magee at, bmagee@student.cccnj.edu or drop by the greenhouse located behind the Science building.


The club hopes to expand as much as possible, and encourages students from all majors to try gardening. See you in the greenhouse!


Ajit Pai: Friend Or Foe To Net Neutrality?


Net neutrality has been a highly debated topic since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) first introduced the neutrality rules back in 2015. The goal of the rules is to prevent Internet service providers from blocking, regulating, discriminating, or monitoring internet traffic—in short, it is to prevent any one person, or company from having complete control over the Internet, or to prevent a company from acting in a way that would place other companies at a disadvantage.

With the new Trump administration recently taking office, one of the concerns of Congress—and Democrats as a whole—is Trump’s pick of Ajit Pai for Chairman of the FCC. Pai, is said to have been a straight-A student in telecom law, and is a former Verizon lawyer.

Pai served as a minority Republican member for the past three years, before being elevated to the position of chairman by President Trump. He is said to be strong-minded on conservative interpretations of telecommunications law, and the limits of the FCC’s power. He stated that he is trying to clean the slate for a fresh new start, but many fear that that means he will advocate eliminating the rules entirely. Previous statements show that their speculations might be in vain. Pai was quoted saying, “Americans love the free and open Internet. We relish our freedom to speak, to post, to rally, to learn, to listen, to watch, and to connect online.”

So what does this mean? What is the future of net neutrality under the Trump administration? Since being in office for just a few weeks, he has already made efforts to alter what the former Obama administration had set in place. He started by withdrawing an effort to keep prison phone rates down—which isn’t a terrible idea, however, many argued that charging over a $1 per minute for phone time in prisons was a bit extreme. He nixed a proposal to break open the cable box market, as well as stopping nine companies from providing discounted high-speed Internet service to low income families. Pai released around a dozen actions of the previous administration.

The media has been a roller-coaster ride of opinions as to whether Pai will end up being a decant choice or an undesirable one. One day the sentiment is positive, and the next it’s negative. In a recent article written by Forbes, they stated, “. . . Other reporters suggest that, while he is not friendly to big government, he is a very pragmatic “lawyer of lawyers” who advocates free markets and competition.”

What can explain these bipolar views? Part of the problem is the complexity of the actual net neutrality rules. The 400-page Open Internet Order that was implemented in 2015 has two components. One is regarding net neutrality in its capacity of forbidding Internet and wireless providers from censoring content over competing networks. The other is to regulate the Internet as a public utility.

In the same article by Forbes, they said that, “Pai has shown a clear inclination against regulating broadband internet service as a utility, arguing potential government over-reach and over- regulation of internet and wireless providers like Comcast or AT&T. But that doesn’t mean that he is an enemy of a neutral internet.”

His statements have been used against him to conclude that he will abolish the net neutrality rules—even though the two are very different things.

To obtain a clear answer as to whether or not Pai will succeed in abolishing net neutrality, or bettering it, I fear at this moment is nigh on impossible. This early on, it is entirely true, that only time will tell.

Up In Smoke?

Up In Smoke?

by Jon Moschetti

staff writer

Joe parker


One of the great debates of the 21st century and even during the turn of the century was the dangers and benefits of Marijuana (more commonly known as weed). During the last couple of years, weed has been legalized for medical purposes in most of the country and is slowly starting to gain footing for full on legalization with 21 states legalizing it for medical purposes only and 8 states plus Washington D.C legalizing it for recreational use. By 2020 several more states are projected to legalize Marijuana for recreational use. According to Narconon.org, Marijuana was first used around 2737 B.C by the Chinese but didn’t start reaching Europe until around 500 A.D. Marijuana was first brought to North America by the Spanish around 1545 but didn’t become a major crop until about 1611 where it was grown alongside tobacco.

By 1890 Hemp had been replaced by cotton as the biggest cash crop for the US. Started in the 1930’s the Federal Bureau of Narcotics sought to portray Marijuana as a very addictive and dangerous drug that will ultimately lead to the use of much more powerful narcotics. By the 1950’s Marijuana had started being classified as a “Gateway drug” and still is by some. Even though marijuana has never been shown to cause symptoms of intense addiction. The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug and overall made it federally illegal. Today marijuana is still illegal federally but slowly gaining footing across the country and being legalized on a state level mostly for medical purposes.

Though marijuana is legal in a handful of states it is still a federal crime so federal laws still apply and dispensaries can be raided and grow operations can still be charged by a federal court. Medical marijuana is still not an FDA approved substance because the FDA requires large clinical trials to determine the benefits and risks associated with the plant. According to a 2014 report by Business Insider, Medical marijuana has been shown to help treat glaucoma and help people cope with diseases such as, cancer, anxiety, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, seizures, and Parkinson’s.

With all these health benefits and seemingly zero downsides it’s a miracle that substances like cigarettes and alcohol are still legal while marijuana which has never had a single death in history attributed to it and is seemingly harmless and non-addictive, is still illegal. I not only want marijuana legalized for the sake of recreation use and medical use but the financial gain attributed to the marijuana trade is insane. Colorado made nearly $1 billion dollars in 2015 attributed solely to legal marijuana sales. Those numbers are crazy for something that was illegal less than a year prior. If marijuana is legalized I think that the US debt could be paid within the next 10 years and we may even discover the cure for Cancer with it. We won’t know unless we try and from where I see it we can’t make any progress until marijuana is ultimately legalized.

Importance of Arts Education for Kids

kids art formatted



There has always been a discussion about the positive effects of arts on children. While many will argue that art is unimportant, which is made evident by the fact that when budget cuts are necessary, art programs are usually the first to go. With 80% of United States school districts experiencing some type of cuts, it seems that art programs are becoming somewhat of a dying art. Although they are being done away with, art programs are essential for the development of children.

It is a proven fact that there are physiological benefits to exposing children to art. The brain functions in the two hemispheres, being the left and the right. The left hemisphere takes control over logical thinking and analytical process. In school, these are usually the things that are focused on when it comes to your four major subjects being Math, English, Science, and History. Art stimulates the right hemisphere, which is responsible for creativity, emotional perception, and intuition. The school system usually neglects the training of these functions, but it is not clear as to why.

In order for the brain to work efficiently, both hemispheres have to work in unison. By stimulating the right side, art helps to strengthen the connection between the hemispheres. Children should be exposed to art as to train both hemispheres equally. This would allow both sides to develop together and work more in harmony, thus allowing the child to reach the mind’s full potential.

There are other benefits besides the main one listed above. To go along with the positive impacts on the function of the brain, the arts help children be more creative. They also help children observe and analyze the world around them. Arts allow children to view the world through multiple perspectives, as there is no wrong answer in art. Children build more confidence through the arts, as there is no wrong way to make art. Every child can be proud of their work no matter what.

Art is a doorway that leads to the opening of the mind. Children should be exposed to art at a young age and throughout the schooling process in an effort to maximize the minds of our youth. Whether the student continues practicing in the arts throughout life is up to them, but it is evident that they are beneficial to us all. The argument can be made that students who are uninterested shouldn’t be forced to practice arts. With that same logic, why are kids who are interested in the arts have to suffer? By cutting arts from the budget, the school system is prioritizing one group of kids over the others. Not only is this unethical, but it is affecting the children entirely by stripping them of necessary life skills.

Virtual Reality Fad or Future?

Virtual Reality Fad or Future?

by Steve Risley

staff writer

editor Joe Parker

For ages, many dreamed of the idea of virtual reality (VR). Television shows and movies have toyed with the concept for a while, only elevating the anticipation for virtual reality’s existence. In recent history, many companies have developed different goggles and gadgets to turn the concept into reality. Samsung, Google, Oculus, and Sony are some examples of companies who have rolled out virtual reality products and video games and it seems to just be the start. What exactly is VR? It is defined as a computer generated simulation of an environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way. VR can’t be achieved without the use of a special headset or some other special equipment.

This technology essentially allows you to be the star of a movie or the main character in a video game, all while you sit in the comfortable confines of your living room. There are headsets that work with your mobile phone (Samsung VR, Google Daydream View) and then those that are tethered (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR). Samsung and Google use lenses that break up the display from your mobile phone into two images, allowing your smartphone to turn into a VR device. The tethered devices are connected to your computer or in Sony’s case, your PlayStation. This allows for a much more sophisticated experience, as the headset focuses solely on the display and the PC or PlayStation handles the rest. While VR devices were a hot product around the time of the holidays, I’m not sure if it is a good thing to buy for children. If people are already skeptical about the effects of TV, video games, and cell phones have on our children, VR has the potential to be much worse.

Some parents use these items as parenting tools. For example, a toddler may be restless at a restaurant. Some parents will hand over their cell phones to try to keep the kid distracted or amused. This is the first generation of kids growing up with smart phones, so we aren’t completely aware of the adverse effects they have on the developing brain. However, it is obvious that a kid that grew up without smartphones and a kid that grew up with them will develop differently. Parents already allow children to sit in front of the television for hours on end. This keeps them distracted and therefore makes life easier for the parent. Studies prove that watching too much TV literally changes the structure of a child’s brain. It also causes them to be more antisocial and also have higher risks of obesity and mental health issues. I fear that some children will be allowed to sit on the couch playing with virtual reality for so long that it will become their reality.

A child whose brain is still developing may not be able to differentiate the real world from the virtual one. Due to this, they will grow up with an altered view of the real world that they may never recover from. For kids that never knew of life before VR, it may very well become life for them. I feel as if this could lead to a higher risk for diseases such as schizophrenia or multiple personalities disorder. They already have applications that can take you into the mind of people with different disorders so it is easier to understand them. This could make children more susceptible to developing these disorders. I don’t believe that we should be so accepting of virtual reality until we fully understand what effects it can have on a developing brain. The product is so new that long term studies still need to be conducted to either prove or disprove these theories, but it is surely something to think about.