Magnitude and Direction, Issue #35 | 14 Jun 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

 Remember way back in M&D #14 when I featured UPenn professor Aaswath Raman's TED talk about developing new materials technologies to emit heat from buildings into space? Well, some researchers at the University of Maryland developed a technique to produce wood with these heat-emitting properties, which could yield big efficiency gains in home heating.

 If you've ever wanted your own robotic quadruped pet, then check out the Stanford Doggo Project, an open-source, all-encompassing resource for you to make your own Boston Dynamics-style pet. You can be sure that I'm gonna make one of these.

 This portable workbench is great if you're like me and do a lot of workspace-intensive hardware projects, but also don't have lots of space that can be dedicated 24/7 to construction and hardware hacking.

 A love letter to plywood.

Software and Programming

Here's a bunch of cute CSS animation effects for you to use the next time you're making a website.

 From the practical to the nonsensical, here's a website where all you do is adjust a slider to determine how much Mark Zuckerberg is smiling.

 The MIT Tech Review said it best: "Has George Clooney peaked? This algorithm knows." And here's the original (open access!) paper if you want to learn more about the methodologies involved.

 Also from the Tech Review: Train an AI to fake UN speeches in less than two regular workdays worth of time. I'll say it again, the 2020 US presidential election is going to be FUN (but not a ha-ha kind of FUN, more like a we-can't-tell-what's-real kind of FUN). (Here's the original paper for this one as well.)

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

 Unfortunately this app that is designed solely to explain the mathematics of the 4th dimension in a digestible manner is only available for iPhones, but if you do happen to have one of those, I'd check it out.

 You've almost certainly heard about the "5G Wars" being waged between the US and China, mostly over hardware being developed by Huawei. What you may not have heard of is the risk 5G technology is posing to our weather forecasting. Or, if you were like me, you did see that headline pop up in news apps and social media shares, but didn't know what it was about. Well, now I've got the deets, and it turns out the electromagnetic frequencies being used for 5G communications are awfully close to frequencies that are naturally transmitted by water vapor and used in our modern meteorological models.

 We've gotten pretty good at finding planets, but one thing has become clear: there aren't many planets out there that are just a little bit bigger than Earth.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

 Missing numbers is a website dedicated to all the data that the government should collect and measure in the UK, but doesn't. I love this concept and would love to see a version made for the US (I'll even team up with someone to help make it).

➡ The Atlas of Urban Expansion is a register of 200 of the world's 4,231 cities with populations over 100,000, showing how much they've grown space- and population-wise over the past 30-40 years. Zooming in on New York first, I didn't see a whole lot of change since the early 1990s (which wasn't really a surprise) but then I jumped over to Shenzen and WOW has that place changed.

⚔ In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte marched the largest land army in history into Russia. What happened next was the first of many times Russia's winter beat back an invasion, resulting in the decimation of the French troops. 57 years later, retired French civil engineer Charles Joseph Minard summarized eye witness accounts and drew a map illustrating Napoleon’s 1812 campaign against Russia and the defeat of the Grand Army. That map is the basis for When Napoleon Ventured East, an interactive, 3D visualization of the campaign and one of the best military history visualizations I've ever seen.

Events and Opportunities

There's still a lot of events upcoming as the July 4th holiday begins to appear over the horizon...

  • 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.

  • Tuesday, 6/18 Join the Future of Care and Cornell Med's BioVenture eLab for a social hour with David Putrino, head of Mount Sinai's rehab innovation group and an all-around fun guy.

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 6/19 The first flurry of international life science events is over and everyone's back in NYC, so it's time for another edition of Derek Brand's long-running ECHO networking event. As always, it promises to be a great gathering of people from all over the NYC life science ecosystem.

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

  • Wednesday, 6/26 Run the gamut from fine art to deep science at SciArt's next social mixer at Peculier Pub.

  • Wednesday, 6/26 The 58th Hardware Startup meetup will be a little extra hardware, as they team up with NYC hardware incubator Futureworks to feature some of the program's hottest startups.

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

  • 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.

(Yeah, only one event on the docket past these next two weeks. We'll see if more turn up but you know how summer is. If you know of other upcoming events that I haven't included here, please definitely drop me a line.)

Map of the Month

➕➕➡ How many US counties does it take to get one NYC? Find out with this map.

Odds & Ends

 There's a good chance UI Goodies is going to get a mention in tomorrow's Moment of Inertia, but it's worth mentioning twice - it's a great resource and starting point for all things design.