Is Cultural Transmission Broken?


One of the most distinctive features of the human species is its practice of cultural transmission.

Our ability to retain, refine, and pass down cultural knowledge across generations has helped us survive in every habitat on the planet—and even in space. Three-hundred and fifty generations ago, we were making the switch from foraging to early agriculture.

Now, the sum of human cultural knowledge, passed from parent to child for thousands of years, is a Google search away.

Source: Is Cultural Transmission Broken?

Boeing says 737 deliveries are rebounding


Late deliveries of engines and fuselages by suppliers are mostly blamed for the delays.

Boeing says it has brought in some 600 employees from Everett and other Puget Sound factories to help Renton recover.

Boeing says it has also temporarily hired back some retired mechanics with special skills to help get the program back on track.

Source: Boeing says 737 deliveries are rebounding

Introducing the ‘Smart Mirror’


Lasers play roles in many manufacturing processes, from welding car parts to crafting engine components with 3D printers. To control these tasks, manufacturers must ensure that their lasers fire at the correct power.

But to date, there has been no way to precisely measure laser power during the manufacturing process in real time, while lasers are cutting or melting objects, for example. Without this information, some manufacturers may have to spend more time and money assessing whether their parts meet manufacturing specifications after production.

To address this need, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have been developing a laser power sensor that could be built into manufacturing devices for real-time measurements. They present the results from their latest prototype in an October 2018 issue of IEEE Sensors.

Source: Introducing the ‘Smart Mirror’

Fiber Optic Sensor Measures Tiny Magnetic Fields


Researchers have developed a light-based technique for measuring very weak magnetic fields, such as those produced when neurons fire in the brain. The inexpensive and compact sensors could offer an alternative to the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems currently used to map brain activity without the expensive cooling or electromagnetic shielding required by MRI machines.

“A portable, low-cost brain imaging system that can operate at room temperature in unshielded environments would allow real-time brain activity mapping after potential concussions on the sports field and in conflict zones where the effect of explosives on the brain can be catastrophic,” said researcher member Babak Amirsolaimani of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Source: Fiber Optic Sensor Measures Tiny Magnetic Fields

Researchers find your career can peak at any time


What they found is pretty extraordinary.

First, they confirmed the existence of a fabled “hot streak” in one’s career–a multiyear period when “winning begets more winnings” and a series of great projects are released in a finite period. Anywhere from a whopping 80% to 91% of people in the analyzed professions were likely to have at least one hot streak in their career, and a third of the time or less, some people had two hot streaks.

(More than two hot streaks was dubbed “rare.”) Hot streaks peaked at a bit over five years for artists and directors, and just under four years for scientists.

And within these hot streaks, researchers found that the two greatest achievements in someone’s professional life are likely to happen back-to-back.

Secondly, researchers confirmed that hot streaks are equally plausible to occur at any time during your working lifetime, a phenomenon they dubbed the “random impact rule.”

Source: Researchers find your career can peak at any time

A Harvard study finds a better way to design bike lanes


Many city leaders are looking for ways to combat climate change, such as reducing the number of cars on the road.

These goals should be factored into cycle track design. For example, highway engineers should ensure that cycle tracks are wide enough for bicyclists to travel with enough width to pass, including wide cargo bikes, bikes carrying children, or newer three-wheeled electric bikes used by seniors.

Climate change is increasing stress on street trees, but better street design can help trees flourish. Planting trees in continuous earth strips, instead of isolated wells in the sidewalk, would enable their roots to trade nutrients, improving the trees’ chances of reaching maturity and ability to cool the street.

Source: A Harvard study finds a better way to design bike lanes

Additive Manufacturing Can Reduce Part Counts Significantly | Design News


The addition of additive manufacturing into the production mix enables a step change in part count reduction while delivering multiple business benefits that are not often evident from the beginning.

However, maximizing the effect requires a change in the thought process for design and an understanding of additive manufacturing. Manufacturers are successfully working toward this goal—often with the assistance of 3D printing experts.

Source: Additive Manufacturing Can Reduce Part Counts Significantly | Design News

Industrial Robotics Are Expanding Across Multiple Sectors | Design News

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities have gradually made their way into industrial robotics technology, leading to the adoption of collaborative robots or co-bots in various application areas. Co-bots enable direct interaction with a human within a defined collaborative workspace.

Co-bots have opened up a huge number of possibilities for task automation. Yet these can go unfulfilled if the robotic system is not easy to program or is not affordable or flexible enough.

The flexibility of Universal Robots‘ (UR) system has led to UR robots being deployed in a wide range of application areas.

Source: Industrial Robotics Are Expanding Across Multiple Sectors | Design News

What Embedded Developers Need to Know About Open Source | Design News


Microsoft’s recent acquisition of GitHub, the largest repository of open-source software on the Internet, was only the latest in a trend that has been happening in open source software since about 2016.

Specifically, large companies and even governments have begun to embrace open source in their workflows.

But this new level of adoption also comes with hidden pitfalls. In its 2017 Open Source Support Report, Rogue Wave Software—a provider of software development tools and libraries as well as embedded components—found that in 98% of audits of its clients’ software, the source code contained open source code of which the company was not necessarily aware.

While this may not sound immediately problematic, it does carry a host of potential legal and security issues that could come back and haunt developers.

With embedded development finally embracing open source, engineers working on embedded applications and devices now have to be wary of these issues as well.

Source: What Embedded Developers Need to Know About Open Source | Design News

Military has microphones on back teeth for invisible, hands-free radio secure communications


Next time you pass someone on the street who appears to be talking to themselves, he literally may have voices inside his head … and be a highly trained warfighter on a dangerous mission.

The Pentagon has inked a roughly $10 million contract with a California company to provide secure communications gear that’s essentially invisible.

Source: Military has microphones on back teeth for invisible, hands-free radio secure communications