This is a fantastic, tremendous, INCREDIBLE betting line

Donald Trump providing a fantastic Coronavirus briefing. Photo by Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

One of the fascinating things about watching the daily Coronavirus briefings from President Trump is anticipating certain words or phrases he says repeatedly. “Fantastic. Tremendous. We’re doing a great job.”

Unless you are wearing a Make America Great Again cap, you realize it’s all bluster and BS.

Now, I’ve discovered that I can actually wager on the number of times he repeats some of my favorite words or phrases. My friend Ed forwarded an email to me with betting odds on some of Trump’s favorite words and phrases he uses when he has no real information to relay. It made me laugh out loud.

Thanks, Ed, for brightening my day. Now, I’ll watch the briefings even closer to see how close Trump hits the betting line.

I’ll take the over on all of these.

Here’s the list of words and phrases and their odds from an outfit called SportsBettingDime.com. Enjoy:

PRESIDENT TRUMP DAILY PRESS BRIEFING OVER/UNDERS

Fantastic +Incredible + Amazing + Tremendous 24.5
Great 11.5
Big/Bigger/Biggest 10.5
More Tests than any other Country 9.5
Fantastic 8.5
Incredible 6.5
Amazing 5.5
Tremendous 5.5
Best 5.5
I/We’ve been treated unfairly 3.5
I/We inherited a broken system 3.5
Working Very Hard 2.5
We’re doing a great job 2.5
Not our fault 2.5

OSU’s New Product Development Center supports Oklahoma’s innovators with prototyping services

Editor’s Note: Along with colleague Debbie Cox from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology, I recently toured the fabrication lab at the Tulsa campus of Oklahoma State University’s New Product Development Center.  Here is my report:

By Jim Stafford

TULSA – Evan Pratt, a design engineer at the Oklahoma State University – Tulsa campus location of OSU’s New Product Development Center (NPDC), held a small plastic device in front of me for inspection and challenged me to guess its purpose.

I didn’t have a clue. New computer mouse? Fancy salt shaker? Home security device?

Wrong, wrong and wrong.

Pratt was actually showcasing a “bottle grabber” assembly used by a Tulsa area manufacturer to keep the bottle filling and shipping process flowing smoothly.

“What this does is it fits on a conveyer system that is in their bottling system that helps them move and transport bottles from one conveyer system to another,” Pratt said.

The bottle grabber assembly was designed and created at the NPDC lab on a 3D printer to replace an original design and mesh perfectly with the client’s manufacturing process.

“This piece recently became unsupported by the original manufacturer,” Pratt said. “So, under a pay-for-service contract, we reverse engineered this bottle grabber assembly and created a 3D-printed prototype for them to test.”

The New Product Development Center was founded by OSU in 2002 to provide Oklahoma inventors and entrepreneurs with market research, prototype development and grant writing assistance to advance their concepts, said Jessica Stewart, assistant director.

Along with the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST), i2E Inc., the Tom Love Innovation Hub at the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, the NPDC is a key element in the Oklahoma Innovation Model that supports Oklahoma’s innovation economy. Robert Taylor is NPDC executive director.

As Debbie Cox from OCAST looks on, Evan Pratt displays a tray of ‘bottle grabbers’ designed and produced by OSU’s New Product Development Center

The bottle grabber assembly was created as part of a $399,000 grant awarded in 2017 to NPDC by the federal Economic Development Administration through its “i6 Challenge” program. Launched in 2014 the ongoing i6 Challenge has awarded $42 million with $54 million in matching funds that are supporting 88 projects across 36 states, according to the EDA website.

“The EDA i6 grant is basically set up to assist small businesses, inventors, startups and some manufacturers with a working first prototype to be able to get them further along in their product development,” Stewart said.

On this mid-January day, Pratt and Stewart gave me and OCAST colleague Debbie Cox a tour of their fabrication shop that features 3D printing capabilities along with tools to engineer and create just about any prototype to the specifications sought by manufacturers or inventors.

The EDA grant led to a unique collaboration between the OSU organization and OU’s Tom Love Innovation Hub, which expanded the array of services offered Oklahoma innovators through the grant.

“The Tom Love Innovation Hub has been excellent in providing services to our inventor community to create prototypes that we don’t have the capacity to do here,” Stewart said.

Added Tom Wavering, executive director of OU’s Innovation Hub: “When jobs come in, and they come to us and need some help, we figure out if we can help them or OSU can help them and send them to the right spot. Jessica and Robert do the same.”

At its Tulsa location, the NPDC provides both a mechanical and electrical engineer who provide design expertise and prototyping services like that of the bottle grabber assembly.

“We are probably Tulsa’s best kept secret,” Stewart said of the NPDC. “We invite inventors, small businesses and manufacturers to call us to see if we can provide resources and move them forward.”

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

In search of elusive ‘Seniors Hour’ grocery shopping

Shoppers stand in line at 7 am this morning to check out at Crest in Edmond

The idea of a “seniors only” hour of grocery shopping lured me to Crest Foods in Edmond this morning.

Turns out the tip I received from my wife last night was a bit of fake news. Crest doesn’t filter shoppers by age at 7 am,  despite what she may have read on social media.

“We don’t limit shopping to seniors because we’re open 24 hours a day,” the Crest employee who scanned my groceries at the checkout counter told me. “We’ve discussed it, but it would be difficult to limit it to just seniors.”

Here’s what went down for me when I rolled into the Crest parking lot at 6:57 this morning.

First, I was surprised to see the parking lot was already loaded with cars in the predawn darkness. After finding a parking spot, I walked into the store, passing several shoppers who were decades younger than me on the way in.

Inside, it could have been prime grocery shopping hour – say, 4 p.m. on any given Sunday – because the store was swirling with shoppers. Carts were at a premium, but I snagged one as I walked in. Sorry, lady.

The large crowd made it difficult to maintain proper social distance. We also had to negotiate aisles that were full of cardboard boxes as Crest workers were working to restock shelves as the day began.

The bread aisle reminded me of Broadway Extension at 5 p.m. when lanes are packed and traffic inches along. The bread shelves were mostly bare.

Checkout lines were the longest I’ve seen at Crest, which normally moves people out at an efficient pace.

But there was a positive to this morning’s experience. Toilet paper! The store had a virtual wall of toilet paper available at 7 a.m. So we early birds got the TP worm on this morning.

By the way, Homeland Stores in the OKC area ARE providing a seniors-only shopping hour beginning at 7 am each day. Here is a story in today’s edition of The Oklahoman that talks about the senior hour at Homeland and other venues.

Stay safe out there!

Women in STEM conference highlights career possibilities for school aged participants

Northeastern State University education student Destiny May shows a pair of middle school girls how to program a table to remotely operate a robot at the Oklahoma Women in STEM conference.

Editor’s note: I was invited to attend the recent Oklahoma Women in STEM conference on the Broken Arrow campus of Northeastern State University by my friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST). This is my report from the engaging science, technology, engineering and math activities for young women I saw during the conference. Check out the terrific OCAST video shot at the conference. 

By Jim Stafford

BROKEN ARROW – A group of middle school and high school aged young women gathered at the base of a stairwell in a building on the Broken Arrow campus of Northeastern State University and collectively looked up.

Standing on a step about 10 feet above them, another young woman held out a trash bag connected by string to a Styrofoam cup that held a single egg.

It was a homemade parachute, constructed during an aerodynamics and engineering workshop as part of the recent Oklahoma Women in STEM conference at NSU.

The contraption dangled over the crowd for a moment as a voice counted down “3, 2, 1.” Then it dropped. The trash bag filled with air and turned into a parachute, floating to the ground.

The egg survived unbroken.

Xan Black, executive director of conference co-sponsor Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, led the aerodynamics workshop and counted down each parachute drop. It was an exercise designed to showcase the benefits of teamwork, persistence and perhaps even spark some future career interest in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — she said.

“My real hope is that they will all consider a career in aviation or aerospace,” Black said. “Oklahoma has such a rich tradition in those industries, and I want those girls to know you absolutely have a place in the aerospace industry.”

Co-sponsored by the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance and NSU, the conference drew about 150 middle school and high school girls from areas surrounding Tulsa, as well as teachers and industry mentors. It concluded with a luncheon where organizers honored about 30 women who work in STEM professions across Oklahoma.

Dr. Kayse Shrum, a physician and president of the Oklahoma State College of Osteopathic Medicine, as well as Oklahoma’s Secretary of Science and Innovation, served as keynote speaker.

She urged the young women in her audience to set goals and pursue their dreams.

“My message today was really about walking in your own shoes,” she said. “It’s really being your authentic self. If you set a goal for yourself, you can achieve it, even if everyone around you thinks that’s a ridiculous goal or that’s not achievable.”

As Shrum spoke, an accompanying slide showed how under-represented women are in STEM fields. According to the National Science Foundation, women comprise only 28 percent of the science and engineering workforce.

Shrum used her own example of pursuing a STEM career. She grew up in the community of Coweta, OK, and went to college as a softball player. A professor noticed her math and science abilities and encouraged her to pursue a medical career.

“I had no idea I was capable of becoming a physician until my professor empowered me by saying ‘I think you can,’” she said.

The Women in STEM conference at NSU’s Broken Arrow campus featured a demonstration of a working robotic arm.

Kinnee Tilly, vice president of Business Development for the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, also addressed the luncheon audience, emphasizing the importance of expanding the number of women involved in STEM careers in Oklahoma.

“The workforce pipeline is very important to the success of our state, and we need all of you to look at what your career opportunities are,” she said.

The conference also showcased robotics, computer programming, math skills and matched young women with career mentors.

“I hope the girls take away from this conference that within the realm of STEM, there are so many interesting fields and so many interesting problems and challenges, that they will think about that and say ‘I just might take that extra math class or join that robotics club,’” Black said. “And I hope these girls look around and see 150 other young girls here, all of whom are interested in STEM. That’s very important.”

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

Educational consortium designs intern program to help turn Tulsa into bioscience ‘hub’

Editor’s note:  My friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology invited me to this week’s Bioscience Networking Luncheon in Tulsa, where I heard an interesting presentation on internship opportunities in the Tulsa area.  This is what I wrote about the event.

Kathleen Curtis, Ph.D., addresses audience at OCAST-sponsored Bioscience Networking Luncheon at the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.

By Jim Stafford

TULSA – The eight member organizations of the Tulsa Area Bioscience Education and Research Consortium (TABERC) have aspirations to make Tulsa a “hub” of bioscience education and research, Kathleen Curtis, Ph.D., told a recent bioscience networking luncheon here.

Curtis was among speakers at the 2nd Annual Bioscience Networking Luncheon on the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences (OSU-CHS) campus. The event was presented by the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) for about 60 Tulsa area bioscience professionals.

Curtis is a professor of physiology and interim chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at OSU-CHS and chair of the Tulsa area research consortium.

TABERC has developed a vibrant internship program to help bioscience research flourish in Tulsa, Curtis said. Student interns gain hands-on skills by working on real world research projects in participating laboratories

“I was just sitting here counting on my fingers about the number of interns we have placed over the last 13 years,” Curtis said during her presentation. “I’m thinking it’s somewhere between 60 and 70 research interns in just 13 years that we’ve provided hands-on bench experience with bioscience research.”

Educational institutions that compose TABERC are Northeastern State University, OSU-Center for Health Sciences, Oral Roberts University, Rogers State University, Tulsa Community College, Tulsa Technology Center, the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa, and the University of Tulsa.

“All of these internships are completely funded by dues paid by our member organizations,” Curtis said.

Internships are also a key element of OCAST’s mission to grow and diversify Oklahoma’s economy through technology development. Its Intern Partnership Program is a cost-share initiative that places Oklahoma college students in laboratories and business across the state.

For instance, the Oklahoma Life Science Fund, an early stage venture capital fund that focuses on biotech opportunities, has been awarded three past grants to employ interns through the OCAST program.

Fund manager William Paiva, Ph.D., was in the audience as Curtis pitched the TABERC program. Internships provide students with experiences that they can’t gain on campus, he said.

“Our interns spent 50 percent of their time looking at new deals, new investment opportunities doing the due diligence, doing the valuations, structuring the deals, helping raise the co-investors into the deals,” Paiva said. “The other half of their time I would actually loan them out to the CEOs of our portfolio companies to work on specific projects for the companies.”

“It wasn’t stuff you learn in the classroom,” Paiva said. “It was real world experience.”

Paiva said he recently submitted an application for a fourth OCAST Intern Partnership grant.

Meanwhile, TABERC’s Curtis wrapped up her presentation with an appeal to the networking luncheon audience.

“If you know of opportunities to place students or money to fund students, please talk to us,” she said. “We’ll put it to good use to train students and advance the research that will help make Tulsa a hub for bioscience.”

Other speakers at the bioscience luncheon included Dr. Kayse Shrum, president of OSU Center for Health Sciences and Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Innovation; Carol Curtis, Ph.D., with i2E, Inc.; Bill Murphy with the Tulsa Regional Chamber; and Paul Gignac, Ph.D., associate professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology at OSU-CHS.

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).

Tulsa’s AAON makes it rain – and snow – in high tech Norman Asbjornson Innovation Center

 

Editor’s note: This report was written after I toured the AAON manufacturing campus in Tulsa at the invitation of my friends at the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST).

By Jim Stafford

TULSA – Mark Fly can make it rain at the massive Norman Asbjornson Innovation Center on the manufacturing campus of Tulsa’s AAON Inc. And snow.

Fly is executive director of AAON’s new R&D laboratory, a 134,000 square foot building that opened in 2019, and was a key designer of the facility. The Norman Asbjornson Innovation Center (NAIC) consists of 10 testing chambers, some of which can simulate heat, cold, rain, snow, wind and humid or arid conditions to test the durability of AAON’s industrial heating and air conditioning equipment in the most brutal of conditions.

“In our extreme environmental chamber, it can snow up to two inches an hour or rain eight inches an hour and do so with a simulated wind of 50 miles per hour,” Fly told me and colleagues from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) as he recently led us on a tour of the NAIC.

Mark Fly with AAON takes us through a tour of the company’s manufacturing and warehouse floor

“Our environmental chambers can be controlled to minus 20 degrees or up to 130 degrees, and humidity from 10 percent well into the 90 percent range,” Fly said. “We can simulate any outdoor environment in the world.”

AAON is a publicly traded (NASDAQ: AAON) manufacturer of commercial and industrial air conditioning and heating units. It employs approximately 1,900 people who work in 1.5 million square feet of manufacturing space at its Tulsa headquarters.

Named after company co-founder Norman Asbjornson, the NAIC provides AAON with testing capabilities that are unequaled in the industry, said Gary Fields, AAON’s president.

AAON employs 47 engineers among its 125-person R&D division affectionately known as “Area 51.”

“The innovation that we are noted for here at AAON is very much accentuated in this laboratory,” Fields said. “R&D has been the core value of AAON since the beginning.”

AAON was founded in 1988 when Asbjornson and partners purchased the heating and air conditioning division of the John Zink Company. Asbjornson is AAON’s CEO and chairman of the board.

Today, AAON employs 2,400 people across the company that also includes locations in Longview, Texas, and the Kansas City, Mo., area. Annual revenue is approximately $500 million from a diverse customer base.

“One of our premier customers that would be noteworthy would be the Jacob Javits Convention Center in Manhattan, N.Y.,” Fields said. “We shipped 26 units that were as much as 77 feet long; each unit took two truckloads to get to the facility.”

Nike Inc., on the west coast, is another premier AAON customer, Fields said.

OCAST has supported AAON’s R&D over the years with Oklahoma Applied Research Support (OARS) projects involving computer modeling on energy measurement and prediction, as well as controls, Fly said. The company also has been a participant in the OCAST Intern Partnerships program that places promising Oklahoma college students in real world work environments.

“Oklahoma has always been a very manufacturing-friendly state,” Fly said. “It is very supportive from both a tax and incentive standpoint, which includes programs like OCAST.”

Fly eventually led us into AAON’s sound test chamber that featured 12-inch thick concrete walls adorned with rectangular metal plates designed to echo sound.

“Customers want to know how much noise the equipment makes, because it may be going into a concert hall or a school,” Fly said as his voice reverberated back to us. “The sound is virtually the same everywhere in this room because of the echo.”

AAON performs acoustical, air flow and thermal testing simultaneously in the sound test chamber, Fields said.

“This capability exists nowhere else in the world,” he said.

Now that’s making it rain.

Jim Stafford writes about Oklahoma innovation and research and development topics on behalf of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science & Technology (OCAST).