Magnitude and Direction, Issue #30 | 5 Apr 2019


Is it just me, or does it feel like there was a longer-than-normal interval between last edition and this one? I promise it's only been two weeks, like normal.

Anyway, today's font is Garamond.


Also, I'm launching a new portion of this newsletter tomorrow morning, which takes ones of the topics covered in the previous day's issue of M&D and expands on it, with a little bit more of my own voice and opinions. Think of it as an Op-Ed column for M&D. 

And, of course, another physics pun is involved, this one to reflect that point in time when you're still sitting in bed, grab your phone, open the article, and end up stuck in bed reading it. It's a moment when an object at rest (you) stays at rest... one could call it a Moment of Inertia. (So I did.)

The first Moment of Inertia comes out tomorrow morning, so stay tuned and I look forward to hearing back from you all about it.

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

 Olivier van Herpt's 3D printed ceramic vases are perfect for people like me who don't have the patience to work with clay by hand.

 How magnetic are your country's coins?

 This is how to make a pair of pliers from nothing but a piece of wood and a chisel blade.

 Typically, 3D printing only works when each layer of material has something to lay on top of, be it the previous layer of material or the build platform. When this doesn't happen - especially in the case of plastic extrusion, or FDM, printing - we consider the resulting structure a failure. As is often the case, though, one person's failure is another's inspiration. The result? Some beautiful sculptures and a deep dive into the future of additive manufacturing in the first ever edition of Moment of Inertia.

Software and Programming

ji32k7au4a83 looks like it would be a great password, but it turns out it's a pretty bad one because of what it translates to on a Mandarin keyboard.

 We may think we can act randomly but this game says otherwise.

 A lot can get done in a minute online.

 NVIDIA's GANs are at it again: taking MS Paint-level sketches and turning them into masterful photos.

 Clippy, of Microsoft Office fame, had been unemployed since 2001 when they were removed from the office suite. Last month, however, Clippy made a brief comeback on Microsoft's version of Slack as a reaction sticker option(actually a whole bunch of them), as well as part of the Microsoft Office developer github repository. While everyone's favorite anthropomorphic paperclip has since been re-retired by the Microsoft "brand police", there's still hope that someone forked that repo...

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🛸 Is Earth the sole domain of intelligent life in the galaxy? So far, the answer seems to be "Yes". New models of intra-galactic settlement that take into consideration the orbits of stars around our galaxy's core, however, indicate that we may not be along in the galaxy. In fact, our potential galactic neighbors may have actually passed through so quickly we never even noticed them. (Original paper here.)

 While the orbit of Venus is closer to Earth's orbit, Mercury is, in fact, our closest solar system neighbor.

 Scientists from the US and China were able to give mice the ability to "see" (really more like detect) infrared light, via intraocular nanoparticle injections.

 Do you like slime molds? Well, have I got an Instagram account for you.

 If you're looking to culture the perfect Emmental cheese, then you might want to consider buying a few records from A Tribe Called Quest. That being said, the potential mechanisms behind why are still very much unknown, as the original paper admits.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

🔊 Datavized and the Google News Initiative recently released TwoTone, a free web tool for data sonification, bringing a new dimension and sensory modality to the understanding of our data.

🥂 Researchers from the University of Rochester are training an AI to detect when we're TWI (tweeting while intoxicated). (Original paper here.)

 Graphs and charts are cool, but sometimes they can be lacking in a certain... dynamic element. For those cases, Google has come to the rescue with their Data GIF Maker, which can take a static data graphic and turn it into a lively, exciting animated GIF. The capabilities are still a little limited for now, but I'm excited to see where this goes.

Events and Opportunities

There's always that one day when everything ends up happening. This time it's April 10th...

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 4/10 GeoNYC holds their next meetup, featuring lightning talks and cool demos from the NYC geo-mapping community.

  • Wednesday, 4/10 Cornell Tech hosts a panel discussion on consumer Health Tech, featuring clinicians and technologists leading innovative consumer health tech companies.

  • Wednesday, 4/10 Interested in pursuing a career in healthcare consulting? Join the Tri-I consulting club for an evening of networking and discussions with members of the CBPartners consulting team.

  • Friday, 4/12 The NYC Startup Community meetup group is hosting a mixer for entrepreneurs and professionals working in technology and digital arts.

  • Monday, 4/15 The NY Hardware Startup meetup is back at Kickstarter HQ for their next gathering.

  • Wednesday, 4/17 The NYC Startup Community meetup group is hosting a panel discussion about what it's really like to work at a startup, featuring some of the earliest employees of local ventures.

  • Wednesday, 4/17 Astronomy on Tap celebrates 6 years in NYC at their Orbit-versary celebration at the Way Station in Brooklyn.

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

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 4/24 Scientists, artists, and everything in between gather together for the April SciArt Synapse mixer at the Peculier Pub.

  • 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

 French train company Ouigo ("wee-go", get it?) is here for your computer pinball fix.