Magnitude and Direction, Issue #23 | 28 Dec 2018

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🥔 Didn't get what you want for Christmas? Consider getting this self-driving potato as a little gift to yourself.

⚡ 30 ways to die of electrocution from MakerBot co-founder and current owner of Bantam tools (he spoke at the 51st hardware meetup too!Bre Pettis.

🛫 Generative design software is making some strange-looking (but highly functional) airplane parts.

🕰 Another strange-looking, but highly functional part is the Equation of Time Cam for the Clock of the Long Now - a clock designed to run for 10,000 years without falling behind (the way most clocks would).

Software and Programming

🛑 You should probably try to avoid using any of these strings when you're programming.

🤞🙄 This website isn't sketchy at all...

👨‍💼 Need a bossy person in your life to help you get your sh*t together? Consider hiring your own personal taskmaster with Boss as a Service(BaaS???) (Please don't actually consider this.)

📱 Making a living off social media is not quite as effortless as those who do it make it seem to be.

🎦 A few editions back, I said it's likely that by the 2020 presidential election, we won't be able to perfectly confirm the validity of any video on the internet. NVIDIA's latest AI project - using a GAN to render completely synthetic, but realistic videos - makes that prediction seem much more likely. Don't remember what a GAN is, check back in issue #21 of M&D, where I featured a story about AI-generated faces.

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🥤 Industrial designer Lizzie Wright's biodegradable juice packets imagine a future where you can toss your Capri-Sun by the roadside without feeling any guilt at all.

🐠 Over the course of a 30-year experiment on evolutionary genetics using swordtail fish, something fascinating happened: a new, third sex chromosome developed.

💫 Quantum computing is a tough topic to wrap your head around, but Quantum Garden, a stunningly beautiful visualization of core quantum computing principles, at least lets you run your hand over them.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

🗺 In a previous issue of M&D, I shared an article that discussed the dangers of presuming all maps are truthful and unbiased. Cornell's collection of persuasive cartography shows that disingenuous maps aren't a new phenomenon, rather, they've been a part of society for a long time.

📜 Old Maps Online. The website name kind of speaks for itself.

👂 Generally speaking, the continental United States is wider than it is tall; that is, it takes longer to go from east to west than from north to south. Why, then, do so many of our regional language conventions (think "you guys" and "y'all") vary from north to south?

✡ Lots of religious holidays jump around the calendar because of syncing issues between traditional calendars and our modern, Gregorian calendar. This is certainly the case with Judaism (where their calendar even has a leap month!), so this nifty website shows if each Jewish holiday is happening late, early, or "on time" this year. For reference, Hanukkah, which started on December 2nd, came a little early this year.

🌐 How interconnected are we to other cities and counties in the US? The New York Times analyzed Facebook friends data to paint a picture of what places our relationships are tied to.

🎤 DataViz site Pudding is back at it with a comprehensive analysis of every boy band to make it on to the Billboard Hot 100 in the past 40-or-so years (yes, boy bands have been a thing for almost 4 decades now, at least!).

♻ The stat of the year? 90% of plastics didn't end up recycled.

📈 It wasn't all bad stats, though. Here's a bunch of charts presenting data that argues for 2018 actually being one of the best years for humanity so far.

Events and Opportunities

As you might expect, this is a slow time of the year for the kind of events you'll typically find in M&D, as such, here are...

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

🕰 As we move into 2019, take a look back at the Manhattan of 410 years ago with the Welikia Project.

Odds & Ends

🌟 Stellarium is a great resource for anyone who wants to look at the stars from the comfort of their own home.