“A 14-year-old Indian-origin boy has come up with a unique plan that could help the U.S. save nearly $400 million a year by merely changing the font used on official documents.
Suvir Mirchandani, a student in a Pittsburgh-area middle school, claimed that if the federal government used the Garamond font exclusively it could save about $136 million per year, nearly 30 per cent less than the estimated $467 dollars it spends annually on ink.
An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also implemented the change.
Mirchandani said the idea came to him when he was trying to think of ways to cut waste and save money as part of a science fair project at his school, CNN reported.
The youngster noticed that he was getting a lot more handouts than he did in elementary school and decided to figure out if he could minimize use of paper and ink.
While recycling paper was one way to save money and conserve resources, Mirchandani said little attention had been paid to the ink used on the papers.
“Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume,” he said, adding that he then decided to focus his project on finding ways to cut down the cost of ink.
As part of his experiment, he collected random samples of teachers’ handouts and focused on the most commonly used characters such as e, t, a, o and r.
He noted how often each character was used in different fonts like Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans and then measured how much ink was used for each letter, using an ink coverage software.
From his analysis, Mirchandani figured out that by using the Garamond font with its thinner strokes, his school district could reduce its ink consumption by 24 per cent and in turn save as much as $21,000 annually.
He repeated his tests on five sample pages from documents on the Government Printing Office website and got similar results that changing the font would save money.
Mirchandani’s findings have been published in the Journal for Emerging Investigators (JEI), a publication founded by a group of Harvard students in 2011 that provides a platform for the work of middle school and high school students.
One of the journal’s founders Sarah Fankhauser said that of the nearly 200 submissions they have received since 2011, Mirchandani’s project stood out.
“We were so impressed. We really could really see the real-world application in Suvir’s paper,” Fankhauser was quoted as saying…”
Forget Google Glass, Android Wear, Smartwatches or contact lenses that give you night vision. Instead let’s talk about the awesomeness that is this 17th century Chinese abacus ring. It’s wearable tech from the Qing Dynasty, perhaps the world’s oldest smart ring.
Measuring a mere 1.2 centimeter-long by 0.7 centimeter-wide, the miniature abacus is a fully functional counting tool, but it’s so tiny that using it requires an equally dainty tool, such as a pin, to manipulate the beads, which are each less than one millimeter long."However, this is no problem for this abacus’s primary user—the ancient Chinese lady, for she only needs to pick one from her many hairpins."
3D Printed Oreo Vending Machine Lets You “Eat a Tweet”
One of the more interesting promotional exhibits at this year’s SXSW was from Oreo and Twitter called the “Trending/Vending Lounge”. The lounge was made up of 3D printers that used trending topics on Twitter to create filling flavours for Oreo’s infamous cookie, making it possible to “eat a tweet”.
Heart surgery is an extremely difficult procedure. Even more so when the tiny anatomy of a small child is involved. When 14-month old Roland Lian Cung Bawi’s heart was failing him, his surgeon Erle Austin knew that he had to prepare meticulously for an intricate operation. Initially he consulted other surgeons, but this yielded conflicting advice. So Austin turned to 3D printing for help.
Using the facilities at the University of Louisville’s engineering school, Austin and his medical team produced a three dimensional model of little Ronald’s heart. Pediatric operations are difficult because the interior structures of a child’s organs are small and hard to see clearly. This model allowed the surgical team to come up with a precise plan to limit the amount of exploratory incisions, reduce operating time and prevent the need for follow-up operations.
Read more | Follow @policymic
dataSTICKIES are the next generation of data portability. They are graphene-based flash drives that replace USB pen drives and hard discs.
USB-based drives can be inconvenient to use as the positioning and insertion of the drive in the USB slot needs to be done precisely. When the slots are at the rear of a device, as is the case for many desktop computers, this task becomes even more troublesome.
dataSTICKIES solve this problem by carrying data like a stack of sticky-back notes. Each of the dataSTICKIES can be simply peeled from the stack and stuck anywhere on the optical data transfer surface (ODTS), which is a panel that can be attached to the front surface of devices like computer screens, televisions, music systems, and so on. The special conductive adhesive that sticks the dataSTICKIES to the ODTS is the medium that transfers the data. This special low-tack, pressure-sensitive adhesive is capable of being reused without leaving marks like a repositionable note. When the dataSTICKIES are being read by the device, their edges light up.
Broomberg and Chanarin say their work, on show at Johannesburg’s Goodman Gallery, examines “the radical notion that prejudice might be inherent in the medium of photography itself”. They argue that early colour film was predicated on white skin: in 1977, when Jean-Luc Godard was invited on an assignment to Mozambique, he refused to use Kodak film on the grounds that the stock was inherently “racist”.
The light range was so narrow, Broomberg said, that “if you exposed film for a white kid, the black kid sitting next to him would be rendered invisible except for the whites of his eyes and teeth”. It was only when Kodak’s two biggest clients – the confectionary and furniture industries – complained that dark chocolate and dark furniture were losing out that it came up with a solution.
Makes perfect sense to me. The human eye always adjusts to see people’s faces but the technology of photography developed around adjusting to white people only. You can probably dig deeper and look at the cultural institution that developed around photography for what came to be accepted as “what the camera likes” and the aesthetics of palettes and light conditions and such for more normalization of racist standards. Same can probably be said of a great deal of Eurocentric art, aesthetics, and technology in general.
So glad someone identified this tendency. When I did photography, I found my POC friends impossible to light with the reccomendations given by most photography blogs and such. I also found no techniques on how to photograph people with darker skin tones because even DSLRS require different types of exposures for darker skin.
Are these people serious
Yep cause it’s true
Film is an inherently racist medium, which seems unfortunately to bemost discussed by white authors (Richard Dyer, though, does have a lot of good information in White)
But when Spike Lee has to come up with his own methods of cinematography to film black people, something is definitely wrong
Or when I show up as a dark blob in photos with my white friends, or when I’m the only one who’s face isn’t picked up by any recognition technology, then I’d say film and photography are definitely racist media
idk how much we should be taking cues on racism from JLG tbh
Also the filters that get used for photo editing (digital and otherwise). Like, I think loads of pictures are specially developed with this blue tone that really lightens people up (while also making everything look washed out). And all the common tutorials (both on tumblr and elsewhere) to improve the lighting/image quality of screencaps for edits and gifs are totally useless for darker skin tones. I wish there were better fandom resources for this shit because it’s fucking frustrating.
reblogging to add:
“Montré Aza Missouri, an assistant professor in film at Howard University, recalls being told by one of her instructors in London that “if you found yourself in the ‘unfortunate situation’ of shooting on the ‘Dark Continent,’ and if you’re shooting dark-skinned people, then you should rub Vaseline on their skin in order to reflect light. It was never an issue of questioning the technology.” In her classes at Howard, Missouri says, “I talk to my students about the idea that the tools used to make film, the science of it, are not racially neutral.”
Missouri reminds her students that the sensors used in light meters have been calibrated for white skin; rather than resorting to the offensive Vaseline solution, they need to manage the built-in bias of their instruments, in this case opening their cameras’ apertures one or two stops to allow more light through the lens. Filmmakers working with celluloid also need to take into account that most American film stocks weren’t manufactured with a sensitive enough dynamic range to capture a variety of dark skin tones. Even the female models whose images are used as reference points for color balance and tonal density during film processing — commonly called “China Girls” — were, until the mid-1990s, historically white.
In the face of such technological chauvinism, filmmakers have been forced to come up with workarounds, including those lights thrown on Poitier and a variety of gels, scrims and filters. But today, such workarounds have been rendered virtually obsolete by the advent of digital cinematography, which allows filmmakers much more flexibility both in capturing images and manipulating them during post-production.”
and from the original article:
The artists feel certain that the ID-2 camera and its boost button were Polaroid’s answer to South Africa’s very specific need. “Black skin absorbs 42% more light. The button boosts the flash exactly 42%,” Broomberg explained. “It makes me believe it was designed for this purpose.”
In 1970 Caroline Hunter, a young chemist working for Polaroid in America, stumbled upon evidence that the company was effectively supporting apartheid. She and her partner Ken Williams formed the Polaroid Workers Revolutionary Movement and campaigned for a boycott. By 1977 Polaroid had withdrawn from South Africa, spurring an international divestment movement that was crucial to bringing down apartheid.
The title of the exhibition, To Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, refers to the coded phrase used by Kodak to describe a new film stock created in the early 1980s to address the inability of earlier films to accurately render dark skin.
The show also features norm reference cards that always used white women as a standard for measuring and calibrating skin tones when printing photographs. The series of “Kodak Shirleys” were named after the first model featured. Today such cards show multiple races.
Forever reblog with added commentary
Yes! It’s back! I was trying to find this post
Added information. I really really need a book on cinematography techniques for lighting darker skin tones
Surreal Photos of Singapore’s Solar-Powered Supertrees | via
As CNN reported on the supertrees, “It’s pretty innovative stuff. The structures mimic the ecological functions of real trees through their environmentally sustainable features. Some have photovoltaic cells on their canopies to harvest solar energy to light up at night, others are integrated with cooled conservatories and serve as air exhaust receptacles.”
Black History Month: Vivien Thomas (1910-1985)
Thomas dreamed of becoming a physician, and saved his money from carpentry for seven years to attend medical school. But he lost his savings in the Great Depression, and instead began working as a laboratory assistant at John Hopkins University to Alfred Blalock, whose name is well known as a pioneer in cardiac surgery.
When Dr. Helen Taussig approached Blalock about how they could solve a congenital heart defect causing blue baby syndrome among her young patients—a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF)—Blalock approached his technician Vivien Thomas with the problem. Thomas had the idea to connect the aorta to the pulmonary trunk, thus allowing blood to circulate through the pulmonary tract. Blalock asked Thomas—who was not allowed to perform surgery on white patients—to attempt to recreate the conditions of the defect on a dog and then rectify them. Thomas was only able to reproduce 2 of the 4 features of TOF, but the procedure was successful and harmless nonetheless. Thomas performed similar operations numerous times; Blalock only once. Blalock then executed the operations on the children from Taussig’s ward—with Thomas standing on a stool behind him, explaining the proper procedural methods along the way. The operations were largely successful and the “blue babies” were cured.
So what is the procedure called? The Blalock-Taussig Shunt. Thomas received no credit or mention in the development of this life-preserving method. News of the surgery spread far and wide, and confirmed Blalock’s success as a physician. Thomas still received no acknowledgement for his achievements, from the public, from Blalock, or from the university.
After Blalock’s death, Vivien Thomas stayed at John Hopkins mentoring and educating young black technicians. Though he had never received a medical degree, he was presented an honorary doctorate by the university in 1976 (but it was a doctorate of Law, presented so that his students may finally call him “doctor”). He died in 1985, just days before the publication of his autobiography.
So why is Black History Month important? Because names like Vivien Thomas need to be known, and the naming of procedure’s like the Blalock-Taussig shunt give a false impression of history. I don’t know about you, but I think Vivien Thomas shunt is a better name for the procedure.
Note: much of this I got from my class on embryology; further information was gleaned from the following sources:
If you thought that time travel was purely science fiction—think again. As science speaker Ronald Mallett explained in a recent interview, time travel has already been proven to be scientifically possible.
"Einstein’s theory says that time slows down the faster you travel," the Time Traveler author explains. "This has also been proven with clocks on passenger jets, the clocks actually slow down by a few seconds." Named as a role model for 2013, he first became interested in time travel after his father died when Mallett was only a young boy. Wanting to go back in time to spend more time with his father, he became inspired to build his own time machine. He began to read Einstein’s theories about time not being fixed, and The Time Machine by H. G. Wells, and both showed him that that his scientific pursuit wasn’t all that far-fetched.
While he says the "deep love of [his] father and [his] obsessive desire to see him again," was his primary motivation for learning theoretical physics, the more he studied the subject, the more he became passionate about it. Growing up, he says that he would read whatever books he could get his hands on.
While he admits he didn’t understand a lot of what he read at first, eventually he knew it would all make sense. Not able to afford college on his own, he joined the Air Force to get the GI Bill to pay for his school. Overcoming racial prejudice and poverty, he graduated from Penn State University with a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degree in physics.
He says he wrote his book, Time Traveler, so that everyone could learn about the possibilities of traversing through time. How does he explain the phenomenon to non-scientists? "We all travel through time, but we do it day-by-day," he says. "Time travel means getting to the future faster than anyone else. A time traveler might be able to travel ten years in ten minutes." While there is still much work to be done to create a device that makes time travel practically—not just theoretically—possible, Mallett is just as dedicated to his goal today as he was when he first started on his journey. His presentations and keynotes are widely attended and spark great debate about the possibilities that stem from his research. His speeches are equal parts scientific and inspirational, and no matter what you do in life, he advises his audiences to "follow your passion and enjoy your journey through time."
Recommendations: Robot love gone too far
What happens when we program a robot to emulate human emotions? Researchers at Toshiba’s Akimu Robotic Research Institute programmed Kenji, a 3rd generation humanoid to do this and called the experiment a success after the robot started to hug a certain stuffed toy and look for it when it wasn’t around. Unfortunately, Kenji started to show the same affection towards interns around it, and even refused to let one of them out of his sight one evening. The scientists concluded that Kenji’s love for the doll, or any human it encounters is not rational or genuine. They may have to deactivate him after a while.
To read more about this story click here.
Visit the Mind Museum and meet our informative robots. Buy your tickets at www.themindmuseum.org.
Women in Science Wednesday!
Biochemist and bacteriologist Ruby Hirose was among ten women recognized by the American Chemical Society for accomplishments in chemistry, and later made major contributions to the development of vaccines against infantile paralysis.
More, from Smithsonian Institution Archives: http://s.si.edu/18vQ33i
Blink and you’ve missed it. Researchers in the US have captured the world’s first X-ray images of lightning, by creating a special camera that can capture radiation at 10 million frames per second. They presented their new findings at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco and they say that this new view of lightning could help to solve some of the mysteries of this spectacular natural phenomenon.
The research was carried out at the International Center for Lightning Research and Testing, located in Florida. It is one of the few sites in world where lightning is initiated and studied under controlled conditions. By firing rockets with trailing wires into thunder clouds, scientists are able to generate electric fields that are large enough to trigger bolts of lightning, which then propagate back down towards the rocket launch tower.
Joseph Dwyer and colleagues at the Florida Institute of Technology became interested in the fact that lightning emits X-rays as it propagates through the air, a phenomenon that was only noted in the past decade. But given that X-ray sources in lightning travel through the Earth’s atmosphere at velocities approaching the speed of light, it is difficult to catch them on camera before they disappear. In addition, they cannot be imaged with standard mirrors and lenses because huge amounts of material are required to prevent X-rays and gamma rays from entering through the sides of a camera.
Dwyer’s team has created a customized camera that has 30 detectors made from a combination of sodium iodide and photomultiplier tubes, each measuring 3 × 3 inch. The device, which is approximately the size of a standard refrigerator, is also equipped with a 3 inch pinhole aperture, and can record X-rays at 10 million frames per second. “This is actually a very old technique for making images, like that seen in a camera obscura,” Dwyer says.
During July and August this year, Dwyer’s team studied four rocket-triggered lightning flashes at the Florida test site. Each flash lasted for approximately two seconds and the resulting sequences of images revealed that X-rays emerged primarily from the vicinity of the lightning tip as it propagated towards the Earth. As the lightning crashed into the control tower it also triggered large bursts of gamma radiation, which were also captured by the camera.
“For the first time we’re catching a glimpse of lightning in the X-ray emission,” says Dwyer. “We’re seeing lightning as Superman would see it with his X-ray vision”.
Credit: James Dacey/physicsworld.com