June 8, 2017
Los Angeles Times reporter Karen Kaplan writes that NASA’s newest class of astronaut trainees includes Prof. Warren Hoburg and MIT alumni Raja Chari and Jasmin Moghbeli. “These would-be astronauts were chosen from among more than 18,300 applicants,” notes Kaplan. “That means their odds of being selected were less than 1 in 1,500.”
Tasker Smith, a technical instructor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, writes for Make Magazine about his work developing 3-D printed tools to create a custom leather press. “By marrying the versatility of digital design and fabrication with luxurious materials like leather,” writes Smith, “we can supercharge our process and generate customized artifacts worthy of handing down from generation to generation.”
Prof. Tod Machover speaks with WBUR’s Andrea Shea about his new opera, which uses technology and music to tell the story of composer Arnold Schoenberg. Machover notes that opera, “was always a kind of funky experimental form where it was the place to combine narrative and visuals and engineering stage sets and music that worked — as a listening experience.”
Writing for The Washington Post, Prof. Charles Stewart examines why ballots are still being counted in Florida and Georgia following the midterm elections and why the post-election night vote count favors Democrats. “Voters across the United States have demanded greater flexibility in how and when they cast their ballots,” explains Stewart. “This greater flexibility comes with a price: a delay in counting ballots.”
Washington Post reporter Andrew Van Dam spotlights graduate student Hyejun Kim’s work analyzing data on knitters who used a popular pattern-sharing website to better understand how people are inspired to transform a hobby into a job. Kim found that “offline encouragement and feedback helped most talented hobbyists recognize their ability and take the first steps toward monetizing it.”
MIT researchers have developed a new system to detect contaminated food by scanning a product’s RFID tags, reports Devin Coldewey for TechCrunch. The system can “tell the difference between pure and melamine-contaminated baby formula, and between various adulterations of pure ethyl alcohol,” Coldewey explains.