Magnitude and Direction, Issue #12 | 27 Jul 2018


Looking for other cool newsletters to follow? Check out this article for a list of 30 others that touch upon a variety of topics.


Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🔥 Using a drone aimed with a flamethrower to remove debris from power lines is probably not a good idea.

🌐 Bring the disco ball into the 21st century with this orb made of LEDs.

👣 An internet-connected scale is the IoT project none of us were asking for.

🏞 Follow this guide by PocketUniverses to build your own forest within an infinity cube.

Longread! Printrbot, once a bastion of high-value, low-cost FDM 3D printing has ended operations due, in large part, to competition from still cheaper machines being manufactured overseas. Following Cubify and Makerbot, this is the latest example of the particular difficulty of sustaining and scaling revenues at a hardware company where there isn't really much in the way of consumables to sell to customers following the principle purchase, especially since competition in the plastics sector has driven down filament prices about as low as they can do for anyone to make any money. Unlike computers - otherwise a good model to compare the 3D printer market to - an old model Printrbot works just as well and gives comparable results to the latest version (I can personally attest to this), so people aren't compelled in order to get access to improved feature sets, which is the case with computers (there's other differences there regarding customer lifetime value as well, but I don't want to delve into that right now).


Software and Programming

🧠 Sometimes AI is just I.

🖼 NVIDIA's new photo-editing software can clean noisy, grainy images in a matter of minutes. Looking at how well it can remove text placed over images, this could obviate watermarking images.

🧟‍♀️ This VR horror game tracks your heart rate and, if it isn't beating fast enough, makes the game scarier. If this game doesn't come with a health warning, I'd be amazed.


Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🔮 In an article I wrote for Distilled Magazine at Yale a few months ago, I discussed the notion of virtually all of our jobs being taken away by Automation. While I focused on the technical feasibility of such a future, I also hinted at the potential socioeconomic implications. This article by the MIT Tech Review does a great job - much better than I ever could - of analyzing some of those most likely possible futures and how the current imbalance between capital and labor may be reversed in the coming decades.

👴 If Italians are anything to go by, so long as you can make it through you 90s, you'll probably have a decent chance of making it to you 110s, especially if you can get to 105.

💭 Talk about a hive mind! After analyzing millions of tweets, researchers have determined that our thinking varies over the course of the day.


Mapping and Data Science

📊 The DataViz Project has a great (and great-looking) guidebook for various data vizualizations.

🚇 A wild stat from an article via The Prepared: Chinese subways now carry more people than the entire US public transportation network (not just subways!) combined.

💊 The DEA slang term report, or: what not to call your drugs. 💉


Events and Opportunities

Not too much on the horizon for the next few weeks, but here's what is in store:

  • Tuesday, 7/31 Join several founders on the front line of the growing NYC health tech scene and learn what it takes to build a health tech startup.
  • Tuesday, 8/7 The New York Tech Meetup heads to the Museum of Natural History to showcase some of the most impressive solutions that came out of the Hack the Deep hackathon in February of this year.
  • Thursday, 8/9 The HITLAB welcomes Steve Barsh, Managing Partner at Dreamit Ventures, to discuss how to accelerate and de-risk your health startup.


Map of the Month

🌅 Manhattanhenge 2018 just wrapped up on the 12th. Don't let next year's take you by surprise. (Plus, find out when every other "henge" takes place).

Odds & Ends

👆 This is how to NOT design a good UI.