Magnitude and Direction, Issue #22 | 14 Dec 2018

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🤖 Too full to move, but not too full to keep eating? Consider using this robotic arm to help feed you.

🍰 When it came time for her wedding, the MIT Tech Review's Erin Winick decided she would 3D print all of the "accessories" (think bouquets and cake-toppers). All I can say is I hop she's like me and has more than half a dozen printers at home.

💃 Hey, men! Think women's claims about forcible touching are overblown? Well, Schweppes and ad firm Oglivy have some pretty compelling evidence to the contrary. The companies teamed up to build a smart dress that could detect when its wearer was being touched or grabbed and with what intensity. Everyone should watch the video put together to summarize the study, but let me just summarize by saying the results were horrible, albeit probably not a surprise to most women, unfortunately.

Software and Programming

🌐 Websites in 2018 be like...

💣 If that website gave you anxiety, then maybe you should drop a few font bombs on it.

🎨 Online color palette generators (like Coolors) are fun to use, but they don't really equip you with the breadth of visual elements you'll end up needing on your app or website. This article by RefactoringUI is a great breakdown of a more realistic strategy for defining your color palette.

👨‍💻 Hackertyper is the tool that will finally let you code the way they do in action movies.

📜 Washington DC (the city, not the Federal Government) has its entire legal code publicly available up on github - a major step forward in open governmentthat I hope other municipalities, states, and our nation at large follow upon.

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🌟 So far, all the stars in the observable universe have emitted about 4,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 photons (that's a 4 with 84 0's after it).

✏ Computers are getting better at transforming our 2D sketches into the 3D objects we envision.

🥀🤖 What happens when you put a plant on a robot? Well, for one thing, the plant can use its own biofeedback signals to drive the robot and steer it towards places with better lighting.

🤱🏾 I don't think I can say it better than the MIT Tech Review, so I'll just quote them: "The first baby has been born after a uterus transplant from a dead donor."

Mapping, History, and Data Science

📜 The Caselaw Access Project has digitized and annotated virtually every legal decision that's been made in the history of the United States (and 13 colonies), effectively creating an API for the law.

🍺 Beer has been served in cans for a little under a century. But, recently, you may have noticed an uptick in a particular kind of can, the 16oz. tallboy. The New York Times took a look at the rise of this unit of beer and how it's completely upending peoples' perception of canned brews.

🚀 It seems there was no shortage of times during the Cold War that we were on the brink of accidentally destroying the world. Here's another time I hadn't known about previously: an annual NATO military training exercise called Able Archer that the Soviet Union almost misinterpreted as a preemptive nuclear strike. As you might imagine, the consequences of that would've been... less than pleasant.

🗡 World War I can often seem like a far away event - far away in time and, especially for us here in the US, far away in space. A Street Near You maps data from 500,000 of the 40,000,000 total casualties from the war, bringing a sense of locality to an otherwise distant conflict.

📬 What can 30 years of Dear Abby letters tell us about anxiety in America?

🎙 The data is in, and song lyrics are getting more repetitive. The data visualizations in this article are beautiful AND interactive, so try to find out how your favorite artists compare against the average.

☃ Will there be a white Christmas in your town? This map from NOAA breaks down the odds.

Events and Opportunities

Not too many events coming up in the next few weeks, but be sure to put some upcoming late January events on your calendar.

  • Thursday, 12/18 The NYC Biotech ecosystem is quickly gaining ground on Boston and the Bay Area, but it still isn't easy. NYC is, was, andalways will be a tough place to start a company, but that's not all bad. Join Xconomy at the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences to learn what it takes to launch a startup in New York. Use code GRO for a $20 discount!

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

  • Thursday, 1/17 JLABS @ NYC is holding their next Innovators andEntrepreneurs mixer at their biotech incubator in SoHo.

  • Friday, 1/25 The new NYC Entrepreneurs meetup group is having a casual mixer at the Empire Hotel rooftop.

  • Thursday, 1/31 Johnson & Johnson hosts a Digital Beauty innovation summit at JLABS @ NYC, showcasing the latest developments at the crossroads of technology, science, and beauty.

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

Map of the Month

🚲 A day in the life of a CitiBike.

Odds & Ends

🗣 From Laura Olin (who puts out a lovely newsletter every Thursday), "British youths say 'dench' as slang to mean 'that's great' BECAUSE OF JUDI DENCH". It's not all bad news out there!