Alison Acevedo

New York, NY, United States

About Alison

Bio

I am an engineering student at Cooper Union, focusing in mechanical and bioengineering. I find that all fields are similar in how we approach them and learn within them. Keep an open mind, balance learning and health, and favor fields within STEM.

An idea worth spreading

Balance work and health and play, but none of these things are mutually exclusive.

I'm passionate about

bioengineering (organisms are interactive machines and systems), piano, anything to do outdoors, chocolate

Comments & conversations

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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
Will mind-reading eventually become a reality and what are the implications for humanity?
What an interesting question! Once the mechanism by which memories are formed is completely understood, once the brain is completely mapped, it seems likely that this technology will be available for all sorts of applications - some more nefarious than others. When I read this question, I thought of those people who wrap their heads in tinfoil to protect themselves from governments or aliens using the technology you describe. It seems that if such a thing were developed, it would be more dangerous than helpful to the public. On the other hand, another beneficial application might be reading people's minds to determine the accurate account of a crime from a witness. This kind of technology would change how court proceeds.
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
Will making rockstars out of women in science get more girls interested in science/technology/engineering/math (i.e. STEM) fields?
Hi Hindi! It's really wonderful that you've posted this question. Women need advocates such as you to use their engineering skills and determine specifically how to get more women in STEM fields. I know from speaking with older generations in my family that what motivated them to go into science included not only positive female role models, but also positive male role models who were advocates for them. I think part of the approach to increasing the female population in STEM is not just to educate women and attract them to STEM but to create a male and female gender network that supports them from within a somewhat male dominated field. I like to think that when fathers have daughters they become advocates for them in the world. Check out this link on pubmed, the Dads and Daughters advocacy organization: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12025277 Although the idea here is not specific to STEM, it is an example of the benefits that come from positive male role models in addition to positive female role models.
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
Is the heart overlooked when it comes to intelligence?
Hi Hadar, great question! I was particularly interested in the library of medicine article you posted. It's easy to follow the thinking that the heart affects the brain as with the Broken-Heart syndrome. The "sympathetic limb of the autonomic nervous system leads to cardiac myofibrillar degeneration." It is more difficult to observe the intelligence of the heart and see how the heart primarily affects the brain. The article states, "Neurologists and neuropsychologists also increasingly appreciate the importance of vascular risk factors and cardiovascular diseases on cognitive function." From an engineering perspective on the brain, I want to see by what mechanisms the heart can affect the brain. How can the heart reach out? From the article, I think that damaged heart tissue or clogged arteries obstructing blood flow can affect the brain chemically by failing to keep it oxygenated. This is one way the heart 'reaches' out. What are other ways?
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
How can we better harness our human capabilities to develop medical technology?
Hi everyone! Thank you for all of your comments. As many of you stated, innovation is not something we are missing from the world. I wonder, what kind of organization can we apply to selecting what to develop? What kind of incubators are out there that propel human innovation and ingenuity in the medical field? There are plenty of app camps, plenty of start up incubators, but what is available to propel medical technology and innovation?
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
How can we better harness our human capabilities to develop medical technology?
George, I like your train of thought. It's great to ask the question what is the difference between man and machine in order to determine how we can make the machine better. It seems that there is an aspect to human judgement that extends past,"the ability to correlate input they receive from the human five sensory input system and formulate connections with diseases they have diagnosed in the past." What is this other component to human perception and how can we "bottle" it?
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
What good is being able to control our dreams?
Wow Jon, thank you so much for posting the video by Shilo Suleman. She was fascinating and so inspiring. She made me miss my imagination. I love to dream because it allows me to dip into ideas that are new and different from the things I read and think about all day long. The idea of being able to control my dreams, lucid dreaming, is both fascinating and terrifying. On one hand there is the possibility that I can do anything in my dreams, fly, breath under water, meet aliens, the possibilities are endless and fun to consider. On the other hand, what happens if I learn to control my dreams and then they lose their edge of fantasy? You also ask if there is some correlation between the ability to control our dreams and having more control of our brain during the awake phase. I don't know about that correlation but I think Kyung Lee's comment addresses the usefulness of lucid dreaming. I agree with Kyung that exploring how we dream will help us to understand the mind and how it functions. I really enjoyed your question, links and reading everyone's responses. Very fun topic!
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
Do we rely too heavily on technology for medical diagnosis?
I do not believe the medical profession has become too dependent on machines and technology when it comes to making medical decisions. Although I have no experience as a doctor or surgeon, I know that technology has only enhanced my engineering education and work outside of school. For this reason, I want to see technology as limitlessly useful in all fields. Although I believe Karl Meyer was making a different point, I agree that technology is an amplification and extension of ourselves. Further, it is also an excellent defense against malpractice lawsuits which plague today's doctors and surgeons, as mentioned by Lauren Bayer. If learning about the risks of relying to heavily on CDSS makes you nervous about your doctor or surgeon, it is important that you research your doctor or surgeon before trusting them. Speak with them, research their practice and investigate the hospital they may work in in order to learn about their experience and reliability, especially when using this technology.
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
How do we best balance collaboration and individual efforts to solve our grandest challenges?
Avi, thanks for your post! I want so badly to positivly contribute to this post however it's difficult to respond to your question. It is too lofty, too vague. Perhaps the question you should ask is how to generate smaller collaborative efforts, determine what problems are most significant and find out how to fund them. Total collaboration of the world's resources toward one goal is completely impractical but yes, teamwork in general is a good thing that advances every field. With total collaboration comes the requirement of some investment group selecting where to place their funds. This is limiting. What should we focus on first the cancer that affects the wife of investor A or the poverty that afflicts the rural town in a country that founded Investor Company B. Who chooses the problem to focus on first? Eric Berlow states, "The more you can zoom out and embrace complexity, the more you can zoom in on the simple details that matter most." Complexity makes collaboration essential to solving any issue and collaboration is the key to building any solution, but on a smaller scale. Look at my post for Jay's question [bit.ly/15d7gKF] ... collaboration between creative marketing teams and research groups results in educational and promoted videos.
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Alison Acevedo
Posted over 1 year ago
Why don't we treat science experiments like primetime TV?
Hi Jay - Thanks for your post! I agree with Hindi that video footage in combination with scientific articles would be most effective. However, the level of interest in something like the Hodgkin and Huxely experiment might never be high for the general public. This is because that level of detail regarding the functioning of a nerve does not have any use in their day to day lives or their field of work. That being said, I love the idea of launching a video campaign with general education in mind (Tedtalk is accomplishing this). This would not be useful to researchers as much as it would be useful to the general public, but it would amass interest, new students in the fields of STEM and, hopefully, funding. Imagine if something entertaining but educational went viral. In order for these educational videos to be monetized through web advertising they need to invite web traffic. This is most difficult for the "boring" subjects. How do we make videos go viral and invite this web traffic? It's all about proper marketing! Look at this tedtalk by Kevin Allocca, discussing the subject: http://tinyurl.com/a7fqnjn Kevin says that the videos need to be unexpected, have a tastemaker point of interest and have a large tech based community to spread them about. We can also pay people to make videos go viral: www.virool.com How do they do it? They target the audiences we want by looking at cookies on everyone's servers. They then place the video on the sites frequented by those people. Thus, the people who will most likely want to the video will have access to it and then spread it around. Virool explains how they work: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRag4eCkqU4