5 Intriguing Things: Thursday, 1/2

By Alexis C. Madrigal

1. You must watch the demo of Structure, a 3D scanner for the iPad that looks amazing. It has begun shipping to its Kickstarter backers

"The magic of 3D depth sensing begins with the ability to capture accurate dimensions of objects and environments. And it doesn’t just capture one dimension; it captures everything in view, all at once. Structure allows you to capture dense geometry. This enables you to simulate real world physics."

 

Wikimedia Commons

2. Holmdel: The location in suburban New Jersey where cosmic background radiation, a predicted leftover of the Big Bang, was discovered

"In 1965 while using the [Holmdel] Horn Antenna, Penzias and Wilson stumbled on the microwave background radiation that permeates the universe. Cosmologists quickly realized that Penzias and Wilson had made the most important discovery in modern astronomy since Edwin Hubble demonstrated in the 1920s that the universe was expanding. This discovery provided the evidence that confirmed George Gamow's and Abbe Georges Lemaitre's 'Big Bang' theory of the creation of the universe and forever changed the science of cosmology--the study of the history of the universe--from a field for unlimited theoretical speculation into a subject disciplined by direct observation. In 1978 Penzias and Wilson received the Nobel Prize for Physics for their momentous discovery."

 

3. This might come in handy after the holiday party season.

"In early December, the Methuselah Foundation, announced a $1 million 'New Organ Liver Prize,' a five-year competition to produce an artificial liver.

But it might not take that long. Later in the month, Organovo of San Diego said it expects to produce one next year — with a 3-D printer.

It’s merely one area in which we’re likely to see major strides in regenerative medicine in 2014, with more than 5,000 clinical trials using stem cells set for this year, said Dr. James Canton, chief executive of the Institute for Global Futures and author of 'The Extreme Future.'"

 

4. The statistics of scotch

"The first time I had an Islay single malt, my mind was blown. In my first foray into the world of whiskies, I took the plunge into the smokiest, peatiest beast of them all — Laphroig. That same night, dreams of owning a smoker were replaced by the desire to roam the landscape of smoky single malts.

As an Islay fan, I wanted to investigate whether distilleries within a given region do in fact share taste characteristics. For this, I used a dataset profiling 86 distilleries based on 12 flavor categories."

 

5. Smart industry analysis explaining why fresh, organic food booms alongside the Western Bacon Six Dollar burger at Carl's Jr. Indulgence posturing.

"As to how this can possibly be the case, the answer is surprisingly simple: Rather than succeeding in spite of health and wellness trends, the indulgence trend is growing alongside them, benefiting from the same underlying demand factors while exploiting them in an entirely different way. The undercurrent of the move toward higher-quality dining experiences has been a growing need to maximise the value of every foodservice expenditure, whether at a bakery fast food outlet or a fine dining restaurant. For many, this has manifested as food that feels 'worthwhile,' incorporating the freshest ingredients sourced from sustainable sources. But for others, it has meant that splurging on something truly indulgent every once in a while is even more important, as long as the experience feels special enough to be satisfying. Further, while the better ingredients trend in burger fast food may lead to more fresh produce on menus and high-quality toppings on burgers, in bakery products fast food it means the use of whole milk, real butter, and none of the low-calorie substitutes that are traditionally used to improve nutrition labels."

 

Today's 1957 English Usage Tip Is:

ad captandum. (Rhet.): 'For catching [the common herd, vulgus].' Applied to unsound, specious arguments. An ad captandum presentation of facts

 

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This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/01/5-intriguing-things-thursday-1-2/282771/