Magnitude and Direction, Issue #29 | 22 Mar 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🛠 The Right to Repair is a movement to remove proprietary locks placed on our devices through the design of those devices. Apple is historically a major offender when it comes to Right to Repair, but they're certainly not alone anymore (can you still remove the battery from your smartphone?). As a result of closed design practices, devices are more expensive to repair (because you have to send them off to the original manufacturer) and greater waste is generated (because people will just throw away a broken product they can't fix on their own instead of trying to get it repaired to extend its life). Currently, a bill is being considered in the New York State legislature (New York's Fair Repair Act S00710) that would ensure the state supports consumers' right to repairand service their devices on their own. This is something all consumers should support and if you are a resident of New York State I highly encourage you to support this bill by signing this online petition.

💠 If you're like me, you played with LEGO growing up. Also, if you're like me, you didn't know that there were two different LEGO design modalities: System Bricks (the regular blocky ones like the famous 2x4 piece) and Technic Bricks (the ones that are typically involved in complex, movable assemblies). It turns out these two design modalities are not compatible due to subtle changes in their designs. As a result, this remarkably fascinating 35-slide presentationexists to outline the design rules for LEGO pieces.

📯🎺🎻 3D printing doesn't just enable us to produce new objects, it's also allowing archaeologists to reproduce medieval instruments that had been previously lost to history.

Software and Programming

🔥🔥🔥 Tired of using the same old "Lorem Ipsum" for mockups and prototypes? Try inserting text from the Fyre Festival's original pitch deck instead.

🎙 It's been at least two or three issues of M&D since I've mentioned deepfakes so here's a mini-dump. Up first, we've got a deepfake that let's you imitate the 44th President of the United States.

📸🦈 Second, we've got a helpful article on how to spot fake images. (Hint: look for implausible sharks.)

🚙🧒🏿 It's no secret that computer vision technologies don't work so well with dark-skinned people. Most of the time, this can become a technological barrier to entry for people of color or a source of procedural frustration, but not a matter of life and death. In the case of self-driving cars however, the inability of computer vision technologies to appropriately handle data around people of color can become exactly that.

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

👉🏼📲 The life of a text message, in an amazing level of detail.

👶🏽👶🏽 Up until this article, I hadn't even known there was such a thing as semi-identical twins but, lo and behold, doctors in Australia have identified only the second pair known to history and the first identified during the pregnancy.

☄ It turns out that it might be harder to break up asteroids than we originally thought. Although, we might not want to try and do that anyway, considering the possible consequences.

🔊🎶👂 Listening to loud music may not actually permanently damage your hearing but it definitely does temporarily reduce your hearing capacity. New research from Sweden sheds some light on how exactly that happens.

🛩 This is what a sonic boom actually looks like (and it's not that egg-shaped cloud you always see in pictures on the internet).

Mapping, History, and Data Science

🔠 The Pudding probably gets more shares here than any other website (except maybe the MIT Tech Review), but their most recent interactive game and visualizations around all the ways we misspell celebrity names proves why I keep sharing their content.

🌊 It can be hard to truly appreciate the consequences of climate change, but this art exhibit in Scotland does a great job of conveying the reality of rising sea levels through a creative use of light.

💸 Economic inequality isn't just limited to neighborhoods. The restaurants, stores, and other places we visit in cities are all unequal in their own way. The Atlas of Inequality shows the income inequality of people who visit different places in the Boston metro area, using aggregated anonymous location data from digital devices to estimate people's incomes and where they spend their time.

⛵ Retracing Homer's Odyssey across the Aegean and beyond.

🚩 As social media becomes more integrated with geolocation data, the value of information we can get from geotagged posts is dropping quickly.

Events and Opportunities

Maybe, just maybe we're getting a brief respite from the deluge of events the past month or so?

  • Friday & Saturday, 3/22-23 The CUNY LifeSci meetup group is hosting a healthcare hackathon and pre-hackathon workshops and networking reception at LaGuardia College in Queens.

  • Monday, 3/25 The NYC Startup Community meetup group is teaming up with a bunch of other groups for a big networking party at the Elsie rooftop.

  • Tuesday, 3/26 Join Harlem Biospace for their next Riverside Chat event, featuring a discussion about surgical robotics.

  • Wednesday, 3/27 Health-Tech Connect NYC holds their second meetup, featuring some short presentations from members about topics of interest to them and open discussion about the latest industry news.

  • Thusday 3/28 JLABS @ NYC hosts members of the local biotech and startup communities at their March Innovators and Entrepreneurs mixer.

  • DUE 3/29 NYC's advanced manufacturing initiative Futureworks is offering a paid, 3-month long fellowship program for engineers and industrial designers looking to transition into full-time positions at one of New York's emerging manufacturing technology firms.

  • Tuesday, 4/2 Join the HITLAB and Ritu Agarwal at General Assembly for a discussion about the future of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in healthcare.

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

  • Friday, 4/5 CUNY hosts their 5th TEDx conference at John Jay College with the theme of "What Matters to You?".

  • Saturday, 4/6 It seems like startup/entrepreneurship meetup groups in NYC have been popping up like crazy and the NYC Entrepreneurs and Startup Connection meetup is another new one on the scene. They'll be having their first networking party in midtown at Highbar.

  • Monday, 4/8 It's New York versus the Netherlands at the 4th Annual Harlem2Haarlem pitchfest. Three startups from the city formerly known as New Amsterdam and three startups from the city still known as Amsterdam will  compete for prizes and international bragging rights.

  • Tuesday, 4/9 The NYC Professionals, Entrepreneurs, and Business Owners meetup group will gather at the WeWork on 5th Ave for coffee and conversation.

  • Wednesday, 4/10 Come see some of New York's most promising life science startups pitch their innovations at the 7th annual pitch day to wrap up this year's ELab NYC accelerator program.

  • Wednesday, 4/10 NY Designs is holding a Women in Tech happy hour featuring some of the awesome female engineers, makers, and entrepreneurs working in the NYC and NY Designs tech ecosystems. And yes, individuals who identify as female and men are welcome to attend as well.

  • Tuesday, 4/23 Mark your calendars now for the 4th Annual GRO Your Career life sciences conference at Columbia University (and yes, I am helping organize this event). A wide array of professionals from industries directly and indirectly related to the life sciences will be giving talks and participating in panel discussions, with lots of opportunities for networking.

  • May 3-5 MIT is holding their 2019 Grand Hack, one of the biggest medical hackathons in the world that has spawned several successful companies over its history. Applications to participate are due by April 17th!

Map of the Month

⏳🗺 Compare expectations versus reality with this interactive map showing the original plan for New York City's street grid overlaid with what actually happened.

Odds & Ends

🚇🕹 Want to waste a bunch of time and learn how difficult it can be to build a comprehensive, timely, and effective subway system? Then check out Mini Metro