Bio-Printing – An Amazing Breakthrough in Medicine and Technology

a computer rendering of a heart being printed

What is it?

A relatively new offshoot of 3D printing, Bio-Printing involves the use special printers, inks and paper to create living 3D replicas of human tissue. Where 3D printers print inanimate (and sometimes edible) objects using materials like plastic, metal, rubber granulated sugars, Bio-Printers use ‘Bio-Ink’ a  liquid mix made from living cells to create things like blood vessels, skin cells, noses ears, and hopefully in the near future, fully functioning livers, lungs and hearts.

The Printing Process

First an image of the tissue to be printed must be created. Using software similar to AutoCAD, a 3D blueprint of the tissue is made and fed into a printer. Ink containing biopolymer solutions are fed into a printer’s ink jet and the print job is started. Bio-Print jobs are created by continuously layering cells at varying temperatures on Bio-Paper (special paper created to keep printed cells alive).

Why is it important?

For people on the bottom of the transplant waiting list, Bio-Printing is the light at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel. Through Bio-Printing, Doctors would have an endless supply of organs to transplant without the worry of transmitting diseases, or transplanting incompatible organs. People born with missing or damaged organs or limbs could have a new one created based on Bio-Ink created from their cells. From a cosmetic point of view, with research, Bio-Printing would allow people to have their entire faces printed. Eliminating the possibility of botched surgeries and greatly reducing the risks of plastic surgery.

Ethical Issues

There are mixed opinions on the ethics of Bio-Printing. The “Complex Heterogeneous Tissue Constructs Containing Multiple Cell Types Prepared By Inkjet Printing Technology” study combined both human and animal cells to create living tissue. While the majority of the public was not (and still isn’t) aware of the human cross animal tissue, it started a heated ethical & moral debate. Some of the tissues used in Bio-Ink come from stem cells – making the use of the ink highly controversial. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of stem cells that originate from human embryos; however, this prohibition does not extend to all stem cells. A two year old born without a windpipe, had an artificial one created for her from stem cells taken from her bone marrow.

Bio-Printing has the potential to revolutionize the medical community. It can save lives that would have otherwise been forfeit, but it will eventually force people to deal with serious ethical issues. Bio-Printing has not yet reached the level of being able to create fully functioning organs, but the technology improves by leaps and bounds every day. Should a person accept a liver that will save their lives if it contains the cells of say, a pig? Should an infant be allowed to die because their only option is to be given a heart printed from embryotic stem cells? When we eventually perfect this potentially lifesaving technology, what will we do with it?


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Michelle Obama has caught the acting bug

Michelle Obama waving

For all you Michelle Obama fans out there, the First Lady will guest star as herself on the hit ABC show Nashville, on May 7.

Mrs. Obama is raking up quiet the resume, as this recent guest spot only adds to her growing list of credits. So far, she’s been on Sesame Street, iCarly, and recently The Biggest Loser to promote physical fitness and healthful eating for her “Let’s Move” Initiative.

But for those eager to catch her on television sooner, check her out on Thursday’s season finale of Parks and Recreation on NBC.

the logo for Citizenship Now!

Anyone have a question or questions on becoming a U.S. citizen? Well, you can get all your questions answered to these and other questions in just two weeks at the 12th annual Daily News/CUNY Citizenship NOW call-in. Since the call-in first opened, more than 123,000 questions from callers from New York City and around the country have been answered.

This year’s event begins on April 28, and runs till May 2. The line will remain open between 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. More than 400 attorneys, government accredited paralegal,s and trained community advocates will staff the call in. And don’t think that you must be able to speak English, as there will be separate phone lines for English, Spanish, and dozens of other langues

Besides the Daily News and the City University of New York, this year’s call-in sponsors include media sponsors WABC-TV and WXTV Univision 41, tech sponsors Cisco and Presidio, Gristedes, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), CUNY School of Law, International Rescue Committee (IRC), John Jay College of Criminal Justice, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), New Americans Campaign (NAC), the New York State Office for New Americans (ONA) and Stella and Charles Guttman Community College.

You’ll find the call-in phone numbers on April 28 in the Daily News and at

Hill Country Barbeque Market

a barbecue spread

Earlier this week I gave in to temptation and made a lunchtime pit stop to the recently opened Hill County Barbeque Market. Having already eaten at their sister store (Hill County Chicken), I expected to leave the establishment with two things, a lighter wallet and delicious albeit small food portions. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong about both.

the interior of Hill Country BBQ

Upon walking into the restaurant your senses are assaulted with the smell of various slow roasted meats a gorgeous wood décor, and (in my highly biased opinion), tolerable country music.

Out of all the places I’ve been, Hill County has one of the most interesting take-out ordering systems I’ve seen.

Starting at the ‘Barbecue & Sausage’ area, customers are given a meal ticket before they place their orders for meat (ranging anywhere from a cup of chopped brisket to whole pig). Then they move down the length of the counter buffet style, picking their sides, desserts and drinks as they go.

On a side note, I was very impressed with their sides section. Their collard greens are good (the chopped bacon is an added plus), and their corn pudding was great, but their potato salad was phenomenal. You have the option of adding salad toppings to your sides – the staff is very accommodating to unusual tastes.

Hill Country Live












Patrons will however benefit more from heading to this hotspot at night than they will for lunch. Hill County has a fully stocked (if expensive) bar and offers live music entertainment on a near nightly basis.

Hill County Barbeque Market is far from the cheapest place to eat in the area however, in my opinion, the atmosphere and the quality of the food served there more than makes up for it. This is a great addition to the variety of food available in the area and I look forward to eating here in the future.


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Game Review: Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare

the Garden Warfare video game

When PopCap games first announced a sequel to their hit tower defense game Plants vs. Zombies, people expected great things from the growing franchise. An off the wall first person shooter with over the top weapons and characters was the last thing anyone expected.

a video game

Classic Plants vs. Zombies (PvZ) was simple. Put down plants to defeat zombies and keep them from getting into your house to eat your brains. You were limited to 10 plants per round, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. You had to collect sunlight to use more plants, and last but not least, once you placed a plant, aside from the odd wiggle of an animation, your plants did not move. That all changed when Garden Warfare came.

From the moment you boot up the game, your screen is covered in zombies and plants fighting an endless war while dying and fighting in highly comical ways.

Plants Vs Zombies: Garden Warfare

Similarly to the original PvZ, the playable characters each have their pros and cons.



a video game SunflowerThe medics of the group, sunflowers are largely responsible for healing their injured teammates. They can deploy portable heal flowers, or dig in their roots to launch a surprisingly devastating ray of sunlight.






a video game cactusCacti are snipers plain and simple. They can deploy barriers, drones and land mines (Tall-nuts Battlements, Garlic Drones and Potato Mines). They can attack from a distance, secure and area, and given proper backup, can efficiently defend an objective. Unfortunately, Cacti are horrible at close range with horrible accuracy without scoping, and very low health.




a video game Pea ShooterPeashooters are the go to front line fighters of the game. They’re great for beginners to use and are highly versatile fighters. As their name suggests, they shoot peas, but their abilities include a grenade launcher (Chili Bean Bomb), a ‘Hyper’ ability which lets them run and jump faster and higher, and (similar to the sunflower) the ability to dig its roots into the ground and become a Gatling gun.




a video game creacher

Chompers define close combat. Similarly to classic PvZ, Chompers defeat zombies by eating them. While their attacks are a one hit kill, they still have to get close enough actually eat them. Chompers can burrow underground, deploy ‘Spikeweed’ (which ensnare zombies and hang them upside down) and shoot a low damage Goop that slows zombies down and makes it impossible for them to use their special abilities.





a video game scientist


Scientists are semi-automatic shotgun wielding terrors capable of teleporting, throwing sticky grenades and healing other zombies. This is a personal opinion, but they’re one of the most overpowered characters in the game.





a video game engineer

Engineers are the multi-taskers of the game. They can deploy drones, toss sonic grenades (which force Chompers out of the ground), build turrets, build teleporters and ride around on jackhammers. Not unbalanced at all, right?




Foot Soldier

a video game Foot Soldier

Foot soldiers rival the Peashooters in effectiveness and versatility. They can launch damaging stink grenades, launch an RPG, and launch themselves into the air using an attached jet pack.





a video game creatureThe All-Star zombie is a high powered, high health having football star – well an undead one anyway. Equipped with a Football Launcher, it can clear out entire areas rather easily.





Game Modes

Garden Ops

Garden Ops is the closest thing to classic PvZ in the game. Players form a team of up to 4 plants, to protect a garden of tiny little plants from invading zombies. You’re given the option to grow some assistance in the form of stationary potted plants with varying abilities.

Team Vanquish

Team Vanquish is Garden Warfare’s take on a classic Team Deathmatch mode. The goal is to kill players on the enemy team to win. You get a point for each kill – assuming someone on the opposing team doesn’t revive them first.

Gardens and Graveyards

Gardens and Graveyards is a Capture the Flag clone. Teams fight against each other to capture points starting at one side of the map moving from one side to the other. Whichever team captures the most points, wins.

Gnome Bomb

A recent addition to the game, Gnome Bomb is Call of Duty’s Demolition mode except much cuter. Each team has 3 locations they have to blow up using a garden gnome attached to a bomb. There is only one bomb on the map at a time and players can kill each other to get it and attempt to plant at specified locations.

Overall, I give this game a 9/10. Every so often the game freezes, and there are connectivity issues that need to be fixed. The characters are also highly unbalanced, leaning more towards the zombies, with high HP and power, versus the plants who have average HP and occasionally below average fire power.         Despite being an E10+ game (For everyone 10 Years and older), it’s fun for more than just little kids. Adults sick of blood gore and realistic firefights can enjoy this cartoonish, funny, and ridiculously cute, video game.


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