Magnitude and Direction, Issue #34 | 31 May 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

 Via Low-Tech Magazine (via The Prepared): A comprehensive guide on how to build a low-tech, self-hosted, and solar-powered websiteI didn't even know Low-Tech Magazine was a thing until now and it looks like a wonderful repository of future hardware shares for M&D.

 Zipper Rescue's "Zipper Wizard" is a must-have for your pre-travel checklist when, inevitably, your suitcase zipper will get stuck, or broken, or worse. at some point. (Also, I'm sad there's no zipper emoji - the Unicode Consortium needs to get on this.)

 A few weeks ago, in the 2019 edition of Yale's DISTILLED magazine, I wrote an article about 3D printing guns and said, among other things, that we're not going to be able to use DMCA-style rules and safeguards to halt their proliferation. As this Wired article details, it looks like I was right about that, which makes my DISTILLED argument - that we should be focusing on the development of new digital manufacturing forensics - all the more important. The digitized articles aren't up on DISTILLED's website yet, but in the meantime, if you want to read my original article, check out my crosspost on Medium.

 You might want to avoid using the models of Master locks featured in this video; they all have some pretty gaping security issues that allows them to be improperly opened even faster than they're opened with their keys or combinations.

Software and Programming

🏻‍ Contrary to the Hollywood portrayals, computer hacking exploits human shortcoming more often than it does computer shortcoming (ref. the below comic). Turns out the same logic applies to the companies that help you get out of ransomware attacks (like 2017's WannaCry). How do they do it? Just pay the hackers - no technical wizardry here. This simple solution can have some pretty unsavory consequences, though.
Aaaand, we're back with another deepfake. This time it's an eerily realistic imitation of podcaster (and former Fear Factor host) Joe Rogan.

✂ If you enjoy making stamps out of your face in Instagram or Snapchat, but have been looking for something... more, then check out Weird Cuts, which is pretty much the same thing, but in 3D augmented reality.

🏽‍♀️🏾‍♀️🏿🏻 S.H.E. (the Search Human Equalizer) is a browser extension dedicated to helping un-bias search results away from their current male-leaning outcomes. I can't speak to what Google search results look like for my female colleagues, but boy oh boy the differences for me were pretty striking, and improved for the better with this extension.

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

⚠ Animal warning calls is something I'd wager we're all familiar with, but I never even thought to consider that some animals might give different kinds of warning calls based on the approaching thread. A recent study of Titi monkeys shows just that: by combining different calls in different patterns, the monkeys produce a probabilistic message regarding the danger.

🏽 The nose on Japan's new experimental bullet train might look comical, but it's there to reduce the serious aerodynamic issues that can arise when your train is going 1/3 the speed of sound (wouldn't that be a nice problem to have, America?).

 It looks like being a "dog person" isn't just a trait we acquire over time - in part, at least, it runs in our genes.

🤧 If you've ever felt like waking up sick felt different than getting hit with the same symptoms in the evening, you're not alone. Our immune systems are linked to our bodies' circadian rhythms and the implications for diseases can be pretty significant.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

 From M&D reader Jeremy, Fulton History is a repository of digitized newspapers from the US and Canada, dating back to the 1800s and comprising over 45 MILLION pages. I definitely wouldn't have had the patience to do that, but Tom Tryniski did.

🏽‍♀️ Apparently, the margin notes of an archibishop's register from the 14th century tell the tale of a nun who faked her own death and left a life-like dummy in her wake in order to get out of the convent she lived and worked in. And you though you hated your job.

⛰ Game of Thrones may be over, but people still have plenty to say about it. Among the critical analyses and season 8 re-write petitions, though, is this (in my opinion) much more interesting work by a pair of geologists from Austrailia who build a tetonic plate model of the World of Ice and Fire spanning 600 million years of continental drift. Suffice it to say, I love this.

🏽‍♀️ By and large, crime in cities around the world is on the decline. But if you use "police scanner" apps like Citizen or Nextdoor you're likely getting a very different, largely incorrect pictureIt's one of the many unforeseen consequences of having unfathomable amounts of information delivered to us constantly, and it's the topic of tomorrow's Moment of Inertia.

Events and Opportunities

Summer is unofficially here, but that doesn't mean anyone is slowing down.

  • Tuesday, 6/4 Prototyping firm Fictiv has released their 2019 State of Hardware report (which I contributed to!) and now they're doing a road show bringing together local hardware communities and talking about the results. This coming Tuesday, they'll be at Kickstarter HQ for a meetup and discussion.

  • Wednesday, 6/5 The Life Sciences NYC meetup group hosts Dr. Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Chair of the Mount Sinai Health System Department of Pathology, for a discussion on the emerging field of digital pathology.

  • Thursday, 6/6 Join the Nanotech NYC meetup at their new monthly Nanonite Social! Whether you are a student, scientist, engineer or just curious about what nanotechnology is and how it's used, you're more than welcome to join the group. Heck, even if you aren’t a nanotech enthusiast and want to just get to know new people, come on by, it's a friendly group!

  • Saturday, 6/8 The next Music Community Lab hackathon explores the relationships between movement and music. The hackathon is on 6/8, but be sure to apply by 5/22 - space is limited!

  • Monday, 6/10 Join the NYU Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management for a discussion on the future of micromobility (think bike- and scooter-sharing services) in New York City.

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 6/12 The NYC life science community will gather at the Alexandria Center for the Life Science Innovation Showcase, featuring 25 of the city's most promising up-and-coming biotech entrepreneurs.

  • Thursday, 6/13 Join JLABS and Ethicon for a discussion about the challenges, pathways, and pitfalls around bringing a medical device to market.

  • Friday, 6/14 NYDesigns is launching a new hardware startup accelerator program (which may be a first for the NYC area??) for fall 2019. Learn more about how to apply and what benefits there are at a lunchtime info session at NYDesigns.

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

  • Monday, 6/17 Join The City College of New York Master’s in Translational Medicine, in partnership with the AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassadors for a discussion around the way academic institutions can promote opportunities for students and faculty to invent and develop entrepreneurial endeavors as well as the ways invention itself can open doors for more people to become inventors.

  • Wednesday, 6/19 Astronomy on Tap's next event waxes historical with musings on the impact of science on events around the world andacross time.

  • Thursday, 6/20 JLABS celebrates 1 year in New York with a pitch competition some of the area's most promising local talent.

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 7/17 The Society for the Advancement of Social Studies has returned after a long hiatus (they were still involved in the Art History Happy Hours at the Brooklyn Museum, to be fair) and is back in a new home and with three great talks about Manhattan-themed history.

Map of the Month

 It only has the years 2011 to 2013, but this map of all the filming locations in NYC is pretty fun to explore. On my block during that period, one movie was filmed: New Year's Eve staring well..., a bunch of people.

Odds & Ends

 If you're a reader who frequently makes it to the end of M&D, then maybe you're also the kind of reader who would be interested in this digitized collection of the tape cassettes that were played in (all?) KMarts for background music between 1989 and 1992.