Magnitude and Direction, Issue #32 | 3 May 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

 This list of California vanity license plate applications is an example of what you can - and can't - get away with at the California DMV.

⏱ From Laura Olin's newsletter, Grace Hopper explains a nanosecond.

 With Opendesk, all you need to furnish your home or office is a big enough router and lots of plywood.

Software and Programming

Have They Faked Me is a website that let's you upload a picture of yourself and check to see if an AI has ever independently dreamed up your face in one of those generic people renders that I share here basically every other issue. I'm happy to report no GANs have generated my face yet - I guess I'm more unique than I thought.

 The price of buying certain domain names can be pretty pricey these days, but that's no reason to hold someone up at gunpoint to rob them of their URL. (And if that summary isn't enough the original title of this news story is fantastic.)

 Did you know you can incorporate emojis into URLs? I wasn't really sure what kind of real utility that would provide, but then I saw the video player example and I was sold (plus you can do cool design-y stuff with your website URL)

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🤳🏼 There are genes that determine how beautiful you are, but don't try to dial them all up to 110%, because there might be unintended consequences, as I'll explore more in tomorrow's edition of Moment of Inertia.

🔊🏼 A recent study around color-sound associations shows that we all might have a little synesthesia in us.

 Cats have been scientifically proven to be jerks.

 These images of the world's cities at night without any human light pollution are beautiful and eerie at the same time.

 A new 3D printer being developed by researchers lets you print your food AND microwave it, all in the same device. (Okay technically it's not microwaving, it's more like putting it in an Easy-Bake oven, but you get the gist.)

Mapping, History, and Data Science

 The List of Physical Visualizations is a great historical record of all the different ways humans have rendered data in the physical space.

 It doesn't take much of a delay for the much-maligned occurrence of bus bunching to occur, as this little webapp shows. (Sorry, it doesn't work on mobile.)

 The CIA flew dozens of spy missions with the U2 plane in the 1950s and 1960s and, while the primary purpose was to determine the military capacity of the Soviet Union and its client states, a side-effect was the high-resolution capture of large swaths of non-military geography. Now declassified, these images are providing researchers with never-before-seen views of historical sites now lost to history.

 Because I know so many of you like fonts (the different ones I post for each header definitely seem to be a crowd-pleaser!), I imagine this article about Helvetica's update for the 21st century will get a bunch of clicks.

Events and Opportunities

There's only one event that really matters in the coming two weeks...

  • Monday, 5/6 CCNY's Zahn Innovation Center holds their annual demo day, the culmination of their semester-long student venture competition. Stop by during the tabling sessions in the afternoon and meet all the amazing startups, all founded and run by City College students!

  • Wednesday, 5/8 The Transit Techies meet up once again at Sidewalk Labs in the Hudson Yards for their eighth event.

  • Thursday, 5/9 The NYC Nanotech meetup is holding their next happy hour social at the Standard Biergarten.

  • Tuesday, 5/14 The next Hardware Startup meetup gathers together at Sidewalk Labs, a new locale for them but familiar territory for any of you who have been to the Transit Techies meetups.

  • Tuesday, 5/14 Cornell Med's 10-week biomedical business plan competition culminates with teams pitching a panel of investors for $100,000 in funding and prizes.

  • Wednesday, 5/15 The Life Sciences NYC meetup hosts the Mount Sinai Center for Computational and Systems Pathology for a presentation on emerging digital techniques in the field of pathology.

  • Thursday, 5/16 The RobotLab meetup holds their next event at the heart of Silicon Alley with a discussion about the future of human-robot interactions.

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

  • Saturday, 5/18 The Futureworks Makerspace - the cornerstone of NYC's advanced manufacturing infrastructre - holds its grand opening. If you've been looking for a reason to go down to the Brooklyn Army Terminal, this is it.

  • Monday, 5/20 The New York Entrepreneurs, Startup & Business Coalition meetup group has one of their biggest networking happy hours yet, with the goal of bringing together people from a wide range of disciplines to meet potential co-founders, business partners, team members, and more.

  • Wednesday, 5/29 SciArt convenes at Peculier Pub once again for their May mixer.

  • Thursday, 5/30 JLABS @ NYC hosts their next Innovator and Entrepreneurs mixer, which is quickly becoming a mainstay of the NYC biotech scene.

  • Tuesday, 6/11 The Mid Atlantic Bio Angels have their next 1st Pitch competition. Always a great opportunity to connect with local up-and-coming biotech startups as well as the wider life science community in NYC.

  • Thursday & Friday, 6/20-21 The Biodesign Challenge Summit 2019 on June 20th and 21st at Parsons School of Design and the Museum of Modern Art brings together 36 teams from 9 countries to present their visions for the future of biotechnology. Use code SUMMITVIP115 for a free pass.

Map of the Month

 Follow the growth of NYC's street grid with Here Grows New York City.

Odds & Ends

 Occam's Razor, plus this GIF showing how a helio-centric solar system's orbital dynamics would compare with a geo-centric solar system, makes it pretty clear that one scenario is way more likely than the other.