Magnitude and Direction, Issue #16 | 21 Sep 2018


You may have noticed this newsletter is not going out on a Friday... my bad, I got caught up with preparations for Maker Faire and forgot to send this out. I hope you still enjoy reading everything over the weekend and the next edition will be back out on Friday again.

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🏜🚊🏜 For this issue of Magnitude and Direction, I'm dedicating this section to a short documentary I watched a few months ago about a topic that I think represents the pinnacle of human ingenuity, drive, and hardware technologies: The Mauritania Railway cuts through the bleak landscape of the Sahara Desert, traversing 430 miles from Mauritania's interior to the coast in order to deliver iron ore to ships that will bring it around the world. Along the way, the juxtaposition of industry and desolation are nothing short of surreal and the lives it touches along its route lead one to understand why this National Geographic documentary short refers to it as "the backbone of the Sahara".

Software and Programming

🖌 This new design tool from MIT not only optimizes a model's crucial design parameters, but also generates a variety of structural designs that all equally meet those parameters - essentially taking the design out of product design.

⌨ You may not have known you needed a font made up of brand logos, but you do. It's also amazing to see that we've make an entire keyboard's-worth of logos.

👍👌😎👏✌ Also in the world of typeface adventurism, MIT mad an AI that takes everything you type and turns it into a representative sequence of emojis. I highly encourage you to get... creative with the phrases you type in for emoji-translation. (Those emojis say "this is a cool website", btw)

🚗 You've heard of cars that drive themselves, but what about cars that design themselves?

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🌊 Generally, fluid dynamics is not what most people would consider fun orentertaining. AeroDoodle *almost* changes that.

🤖 Want to lose your faith in humanity? It turns out people are even racist against different kinds of robots.

👄 Did you significant other suddenly start talking to you in another language? They might be lying.

🔮 A Timeline of the Far Future.

🤞 In a bad blow to my faith in humanity, a team of researchers in Europe have proven that people are just as likely to cheat even after they've just been reminded that it's immoral to do so.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

🔮 "If somebody describes to you the world of the mid-21st century and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably false. But then if somebody describes to you the world of the mid 21st-century and it doesn’t sound like science fiction – it is certainly false." The middle of the 21st century is closer than you think. The Author of _Sapiens_ provides an overview of what we might expect to see.

🎨 What were the hottest color palettes in 1920? 200BC?

🌉 The Tappan Zee bridge is a cornerstone of the New York State Thruway. It's also built at one of the widest points on the Hudson River, not typically good bridge-building practice. There are many theories, ranging from conspiracy to engineering constraints, that have been floated to explain why, but NPR's Planet Money finally gets to the bottom of it.

🚋 I don't know who made them, but these maps of all of the trolley lines still in operation in the US in 1957 and 1967 are remarkably comprehensive. It's also kind of surprising how many of the light rail routes are still in operation in one way or another.

🗺 The best maps of 2018 (so far).

⚾ Over 100 years ago, there was a baseball stadium in the middle of Washington Heights, Manhattan. If that wasn't cool enough, the Yankees played there back before they were called the Yankees. I did some investigating to find out if there were any traces of that past still visible in Washington Heights today.

Events and Opportunities

There's plenty of upcoming events for you to fall into:

  • Saturday & Sunday, 9/22 - 9/23 New York World Maker Faire returns to the New York Hall of Science. It is, without question, one of the single most exciting technology events in the NYC region and, if that wasn't enough, I'll be there with my 3D printing materials startup, Proto-Sauce!

  • Monday, 9/24 GRO-Biotech will be hosting Catherine Hofler, Director of Research at Emerald Therepeutics, for a discussion about the biotech ecosystem in NYC and how you can find out about job opportunities at local startups.

  • Monday, 9/24 BioLabs sponsor and NY law firm Nixon Peabody will walk through the earliest steps of a new life sciences startup including company formation and other initial legal considerations at BioLabs latest biotech startup event.

  • Tuesday, 9/25 New York's premier biotech entrepreneurship program, ELab NYC, will kickoff their call for applicants at Alexandria LaunchLabs, featuring networking with alumni of the program.

Some other upcoming events to keep on your radar...

  • Friday - Sunday, 10/12-14 Get your chance to explore some of New York's historical and architectural treasures that are typically closed to the public at Open House New York.

  • Saturday, 10/13 Music Community Lab (formerly known as Monthly Music Hackathons) will be having their next hackathon on the topic of music education.

  • Saturday, 10/13 Head down to the Brooklyn Navy Yard to celebrate New Lab's second birthday party at one of the biggest startup parties of the year.

  • Saturday, 10/13 If you're interested in using tech to solve some of the biggest problems facing NYC transit and urban planning, then the TransportationCamp NYC un-conference might be for you.

  • Monday, 10/15 Life science vendors from all over the Tri-State area will gather at the New York Genome Center for a first-of-its kind expo geared towards scientists looking for industry collaborations and networking opportunities.

  • Wednesday, 10/17 Ken Pilot, the former president of Gap, sits down with RobotLab for their next meetup to discuss the emergence of robotics in the retail ecosystem.

  • Wednesday, 10/17 The NYC Transit Techies will gather for their 4th time over at Sidewalk Labs in the Hudson Yards.

  • Thursday, 10/18 The next Mid-Atlantic BioAngels 1st Pitch competition will be held at Weill Cornell Medicine.

  • Saturday, 10/20 Interested in what the future of biomedical innovation holds? Want to meet the rest of the NYC biotechnology community? Then check out the 2018 Future of Care conference at the Rockefeller University.

  • Ongoing: Check out the Futureworks Ops21 courses being offered on the latest trends in advanced manufacturing.

Map of the Month

⚔ This map of the world's disputed territories will make you ask "why can't we all just get along"?

Odds & Ends

👩 Seriously Badass Women.