Author Archives: Alexander Szewczak

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot.

The basic idea behind this robot is straightforward. It’s a tube of soft material folded inside itself, like an inside-out sock, that grows in one direction when the material at the front of the tube everts, as the tube becomes … Continue reading

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2017.06.25

World’s first cable-free elevator travels horizontally and vertically, driven by maglev technology.  Link here.  

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Boston Leads the List of Top 25 U.S. Cities for NIH Funding

Not surprisingly, the biotech hubs cluster at the top.  Boston leads at $1.9B, New York $1.4B, Seattle, Philadelphia and Baltimore all coming in around $900M each. Somewhat surprising is how high Boston ranks relative to San Francisco ($680M). Consolidating San Francisco, Stanford, … Continue reading

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A Single Autonomous Car Has a Huge Impact on Alleviating Traffic

Just one autonomous car out of 20 vehicles can significantly alleviate traffic congestion, according to research from the University of Illinois.  The culprit behind many traffic jams is the variability in speed of human drivers — waves of excessive braking and … Continue reading

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2017.05.18

Handpainted scenes from the original Star Wars trilogy, with a link to a cool documentary on 1980’s special effects from Industrial Light and Magic. Interesting recent gallery exhibit and some interviews with Tara Donovan.  See also this, and for a comprehensive look at her work, just … Continue reading

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2017.05.08

Why Do Gas Station Prices Constantly Change? Blame the Algorithm.  Retailers are using artificial-intelligence software to set optimal prices on thousands of items a day, sometimes as often as every hour. Watch This Robot 3D Print a Building Out of Spray Foam.   … Continue reading

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Time Lapse Engine Rebuild of a Ford Flathead V8

Courtesy of the folks at Hagerty.

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Vantablack, the Darkest Substance Ever Made

The photo above shows two identical sculptures, one of which is painted with Vantablack, a carbon-fiber coating from surrey nanosystems. It is the darkest substance known to man, absorbing more than 99.96% of incident light; so dark that details disappear and … Continue reading

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States with the most NIH funding

Updated for fiscal year 2016: California dominates in overall funding (above), but Massachusetts, DC, and Maryland stand out in NIH funding per capita (next chart).   Below, you can see more clearly how Massachusetts has the highest per capita and second … Continue reading

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What’s Stored in DNA? An Old French Movie and a $50 Amazon Gift Card

So many people are now tapping into the internet and social media that the torrent of data they’re creating is outstripping the storage capacity of traditional devices such as hard drives, optical discs, and magnetic tape. New research advances hope … Continue reading

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