Magnitude and Direction, Issue #38 | 26 Jul 2019

Hardware, Prototyping, and Fabrication

Make functional, affordable hinges out of PVC pipe. (Definitely a technique mechanical engineering teams on a shoestring budget should have in their back pocket.)

➰➰Via The Prepared, a great twitter thread on why it's rarely ever worth it to build your own computing infrastructure (even when you get to scale).

The real reasons the US won't switch to the metric system.

Software and Programming

AI and Art History aren't two topics you'd necessarily expect to be associated, but this unlikely marriage is helping properly attribute artworkacross a range of genres.

Web Curios, where I originally came across this link, framed the website as a great resource for tricking people into thinking your waiting for an update to finish instead of just browsing on your phone. I'll let you all decide how you'd like to leverage the linked resources.

Lots of games from the past look like they were fun to play, but it can be hard to find a rulebook during archaeological digs. That problem is beginning to be addressed through machine learning, which is helping us understand how these ancient games were played.

Computers are now better at bluffing than we are. One does wonder, though, if human players behave differently when they're playing against a computer. It's one of many experiments we can't necessarily test perfectly, the focus of my Moment of Inertia musings this week.

Science, Engineering, and Biomedicine

🔜⛈ Via Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales, a method to forecast the weather using a cup of coffee. (Definitely something I'm going to try at home.)

🤮 When it comes to romantic relationships, we do indeed appear to have a "type", whether we want to or not.

I sh*t you not, here is an academic paper on the socio-psychology of BS artists. Lots of great science content in this edition.

Even the lowest-profile heart monitoring devices can be cumbersome to wear for long periods of time, limiting the clinical data that can be gathered. But what if all you had to do was get a tattoo? (Here's the original paper.)

‍ This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. Neil and Buzz, however, weren't on the moon for a very long time, compared with the overall mission duration. In fact, a whole lot of the mission was just boring status updates from the astronauts and mission control. You can relive it all, in real time, though, through this highly accurate mission simulator.

Mapping, History, and Data Science

The story of how a janitor at Frito-Lay came up with Flamin' Hot Cheetos. (And sorry, the popcorn emoji was the closest thing to a cheeto I could find.)

I've seen this article kicking around for a few weeks and decided to share it here as well, since it's just so interesting and deals with data that many of us wouldn't even consider analyzing: "Hedge Funds Are Tracking Private Jets to Find the Next Megadeal".

From the majors to the minors, pretty much all baseball stadiums have netting behind the plate to protect spectators from foul balls. But, given where foul balls actually land, is the current netting setup sufficient?

Events and Opportunities

Is it just me, or is there more activity this summer than in summers past? Also, I don't mention this enough, but if there are upcoming events that I don't have listed here, and/or events you'd like me to share, feel free to drop me a line andlet me know. I'll add it!

  • 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.

  • Wednesday, 7/31 The NY Hardware Startup meetup isn't holding any formal meetings for the summer, but that won't stop them from getting together for some drinks at Other Half Brewing Co. for a summer happy hour.

  • Wednesday, 7/31 The Digital Health CT accelerator will be coming to NYC to hear pitches from local digital health startups competing for one of 10 spots in Digital Health CT’s zero-equity accelerator. Whether you’re interested in meeting experts in the field, connecting with startups, or contributing your own knowledge to the startup community, you're welcome to attend and share some food and drinks with you along the way! If you're interested in attending, RSVP here. If you're interested in pitching email Ben Fischbein at If you think your startup could be a fit for the program, you can apply here.

  • Tuesday, 8/6 Taste of Science is back at Ryan's Daughter for their next drinks-and-lectures event, focusing on infectious diseases.

  • Wednesday, 8/7 Starting next month, BioLabs@NYU Langone hosts "Larger Than Life Science" a free monthly event series open to everyone interested in building a strong support network for New York’s life science and healthcare innovators. The inaugural event will provide an opportunity to learn about the co-working lab model, explore the microbiome, and taste clinical nutritional goodies.

  • Friday, 8/9 Uptown nanotech enthusiasts, this is your moment! Nanotech NYC's next Nanonite Social is being held at Harlem Tavern.

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

  • Tuesday, 8/13 Join the New York Biopharma networking group for their August meetup, back at Tir Na Nog in midtown.

  • 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

⚙🔄➡ You've heard of dial-up internet, but what about crank-up internet?