Magnitude and Direction, Issue #37 | 12 Jul 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

🦅⚙ In a publication that comes as close as any I've seen to completely encompassing every field of study I'm interested in, engineers from Harvard, Disney, Columbia, and MIT (aka the Fantastic 4) have developed a generative design technique to create metallophones (metal bar-based instruments like glockenspiels and vibraphones) out of arbitrary shapes (in this case animals) that sound pretty much as good as a professionally made instrument. Read the brief and watch the video (DEFINITELY watch the video) here and, if you're interested, check out the original paper here.

⚡⚗ Electroplating may not seem like a DIY activity, but this Youtube video(via a new newsletter I'm subscribed to) details a pretty easy way to do you own electroplating at home, without the typical hazardous, caustic materials.

Ikea is going to start selling "Transformers" furniture, which can autonomously move around rooms and change shape from one piece of furniture into another. The idea is that these units would be optimal for infamously space-constrained urban micro-apartments.

Software and Programming

🏽 Watch an AI-generated face melt away to nothing as its AI's "neurons" are turned off, one-by-one. To me, at least, it looked eerily like the decomposition of a living human.

When you team up with Kim Kardashian to #breaktheinternet, what kind of computing infrastructure do you need to accomplish the task in name only? Here's the article covering the topic I'm sure almost no one was thinking about when PAPER magazine released that (in)famous cover. (P.S., there are some great "back-end" puns in here.)

Now you don't need to bribe your friends to come over and critique your power point presentation rehearsals, the software will take care of that itself.

Here's a very practical link: a website for finding and trying out variable fonts. (In fact, I used one of the fonts here for this edition's title.) (P.S. - the website tells you the licensing of each font right there, so you know which fonts are free and which are paid right off the bat.)

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

➕➖✖➗ A cheat sheet for the entirety of mathematics.

Maybe you've had a gut feeling about this already, but now science has confirmed it: you're more likely to give word-of-mouth recommendations to things you've gotten for free than those you had to pay for.

🦎🦖 Godzilla has returned to movie screens this summer, marking 65 years since his original movie debut. In that time, he's gone through a lot of changes, a rate of evolution 30x the normal rate, apparently.

If you ever had any doubt about the superiority of SI units and the metric system, check out these English/Imperial system conversion charts for length and weight (as featured in this Wikipedia article on English units). (Andin case you were wondering how many barleycorns there are in an inch, it's 3.)

Mapping, History, and Data Science

🏽‍♂️🏽‍♀️🏽 The Pessimists Archive has a pretty thorough collection of historical instances in which a new technology was panned for its presumed detriments to society. A few examples: the decline in love letters due to the telephone, complaints over loud gramophone (and later phonograph) playing, and the dangers of the bicycle. I suppose if there was one article in this edition of M&D that would be related to this weekend's Moment of Inertia, it'd probably be this one.

🤴 A few weeks ago, this section included a really neat interactive map of Napoleon's invasion of Russia in 1812. This week, I've got another cool interactive website covering a period of Russian history, this one from about 100 years later and detailing the fates of the members of the Romanov dynasty during and after the revolutions of 1917.

⚡ From The Prepared: The 66 countries where annual electricity consumption is less than one bitcoin transaction.

Events and Opportunities

It's getting hot out there, but that's not stopping NYC's startup, tech, life science, and hardware communities from getting together...

  • Tuesday, 7/16 The Secret Science Club takes a deep dive on ocean science with researcher Vicki Ferrini.

  • Wednesday, 7/17 Train and tech enthusiasts get together once again for the 9th Transit Techies meetup at Sidewalk Labs in the Hudson Yards. If you like data science, data visualization, cutting-edge technology, or have taken the subway in the last 5 years, you should check out this meetup.

  • Wednesday, 7/17 The Women in Bio metro New York chapter holds their summer 2019 networking event at the offices of Wiggin and Dana.

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 7/23 Bio-entrepreneurship networking mainstay ECHO is holding their next get-together. Location is still TBD, but RSVP now for updates.

  • Wednesday, 7/24 The NYC life science community gathers at the Riverpark beer garden at the Alexandria Center once again for the third annual Biotech Summer Mixer, co-hosted by BioIDEA, INet, and GRO-Biotech.

  • Thursday, 7/25 Following two straight days of life science mixers, the NYC tech and startup communities hold their own networking event with Silicon Alley at midtown gastropub 5th&Mad.

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

  • Tuesday, 7/30 If you couldn't make it to NYDesigns' hardware accelerator lunch and learn last month, don't worry, they're holding an after-work happy hour to meet other potential cohort members, mentors, NYDesigns staff, and learn about the accelerator program.

  • Friday, 8/23 Join the New York Academy of Sciences for a brainy comedy night where local scientists will attempt to confirm the hypothesis that science does indeed have a sense of humor.

  • Wednesday, 9/25 Coming off their 1st birthday party, the NYC JLABS crew is taking a short break for the summer but will be back in September for their next Innovators and Entrepreneurs mixer.

  • Tuesday, 10/15 October may feel far away, but I promise you it's not and you'll want to be sure to mark your calendars for GRO-Biotech's next big event the Careers & Connections mini-conference andnetworking event, held concurrently with emerging healthcare technologies conference SINAInnovations.

Map of the Month

Here's a map of all (all?) the satellites orbiting the Earth right now.

Odds & Ends

How much free time do you have left in your life?