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Between Issues: Fat Bears, Autism Diagnosis App, Talking to Chickens, Science Podcasts, More

Welcome to our latest Between Issues email. I come across a lot of fun and interesting STEM/STEAM videos and articles between the time our bi-monthly print + online issues are published. Some are collected in the Tidbitz section near the back of our print issue. This every 2-3 week email collects all these stories, if you don’t have time or forget to visit our website. Hope you find these stories as interesting, fun, and educational as I have. Thank you for reading!

— Tim Slavin, Publisher and Founder


Modern cars have lots and lots of computers. Rolling down a window, for example, used to involve grabbing a handle on the car door then cranking it around over and over. Today you push a button.

Turns out, all these new computers not only collect data about how you use a car but they also can collect location data, where you go and when, the speed you drive, and other details. Worse, this data is sent to data brokers who can match it to your data from other sources to create a full profile of your personality, preferences, friends, and so on. Currently, what data is collected and how it is used is not well known or regulated. The Mozilla Foundation, creators of the Firefox browser, did a study recently about cars, computers, and data.

And, at the moment, there’s no way to opt out or turn off any data collection that happens. Buying an older car with no computers is the only way to avoid the problem.

Source: https://foundation.mozilla.org/en/privacynotincluded/articles/what-data-does-my-car-collect-about-me-and-where-does-it-go/


A French expedition in 2026 plans to fly an all electric and hydrogen fuel cell airship nonstop around the world. The goal is to demonstrate their technology but also raise awareness about climate change and viable solutions. It sounds interesting and fun. The flight will be 25,000 miles in about 20 to 30 days. If successful, it will be the first round the world trip without fossil fuels. The solar cells on top will generate excess electricity that will power electrolysis to create hydrogen in fuel cells. The video is en Francais with English subtitles. Construction begins in 2024.

Source: https://www.flyingmag.com/around-the-world-on-solar-lift/

Euro Airship Website: https://solarairshipone.com/?page_id=1383&lang=en

Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/UACsK67DZag?si=bOlPU9yydjbF62ty


On 8 December 1990 the Galileo probe whizzed past Earth on it’s way to being slingshotted to its destination, the planet Jupiter. The astronomer Carl Sagan and others had the brilliant idea to turn Galileo’s camera and instruments on the Earth as it passed by. We know life exists here on Earth. What would show up in Galileo’s camera and instruments? Could we use that data to find life on planets orbiting distant stars? The result was a photo of the Australian desert with no obvious life or signs of civilization. But the instruments did find chemical traces of vegetation that we use today to find planets around distant suns that might harbor life.

Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-023-03230-z

Galileo Project Website: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/galileo/


Dronamics is a Bulgarian company that currently holds the only European license to fly cargo long distances with drones. Earlier this year, they achieved their first flight milestone. Unlike efforts by Amazon and Google’s Alphabet, this company doesn’t focus on the complex possibly impossible task of dropping your Starbucks coffee at your front door. They’re focused instead on using existing airport infrastructure to deliver medicines, food, and other cargo to short hop distances, as well as remote areas around the world. And their pilot control center is really neat: a cargo van loaded with electronics and chairs for the drone pilots.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hZfGrLnSZdQ?si=CwuEa5UdbCZBG03Z

BBC Article: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-63595481


A Swedish company, Luvly Global, has created something called a flatpack car. The Luvly O car ships in pieces that are assembled by customers at or near their location. The car holds two adults and room in the trunk, or boot. It’s top speed is 55 miles per hour and the swappable battery runs 62 miles on a charge. It reminds lots of people of Ikea furniture but applied to cars. The company provides a range of these flatpack vehicles, mostly designed for business use in urban areas.

Source: https://www.luvly.se/

Luvly Global Website: https://luvlyglobal.com/


This week, NASA launched their six-year mission to visit an asteroid called Psyche. Scientists have no idea what the asteroid looks ilke. They think it is shaped like a potato. What interests them is that the asteroid is mostly made of metal. It may be the core of a long destroyed planet. Mars, Venus, Mercury, and Earth have metal cores and scientists are curious if we can learn anything about Earth’s core by studying Psyche.

The asteroid also is famous because it is believed that its metal would be worth more than all the economies on the earth combined, and then some. That’s if it could be mined and the materials returned to Earth.

Psyche was discovered in 1852 by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. Because it was the 16th asteroid to be discovered, it is sometimes referred to as 16 Psyche. It’s named for the goddess of the soul in ancient Greek mythology, often depicted as a butterfly-winged female figure. Psyche was one of nine asteroids discovered by de Gasparis.

NPR Source: https://www.npr.org/2023/10/11/1204867862/this-next-nasa-mission-to-an-asteroid-is-seriously-metal

NASA Psyche Mission: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/psyche/

NASA Psyche Participation: https://science.nasa.gov/mission/psyche/ways-to-participate/

Annibale de Gasparis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annibale_de_Gasparis


LOT-EK is an architectural firm from Naples, Italy that creates buildings from shipping containers and other industrial materials. Thomas Piper has created a documentary about their work and ideas. Some of their buildings are really interesting, especially when set in industrial neighborhoods.

Video: https://vimeo.com/864034429/92c6a9e1c2

Documentary Site: https://disc-bird-3klt.squarespace.com/#trailer

LOT-EK Website: https://lot-ek.com/


Tiny text boxes that refused to disappear onscreen, a Firefox browser problem first reported 21 years ago, was fixed by Yifan Zhu, a 23 year old student with some knowledge of programming but zero experience participating in open source projects. And definitely no experience working with the code base of a big project like the Firefox web browser. His code add a listener to check the status of tooltip messages to identify then close tooltips that had lost focus because a user had moved away from the screen that generated the tooltip message.

Source: https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2023/10/22-year-old-firefox-tooltip-bug-fixed-in-a-few-lines-offering-hope-to-us-all/


A clever video of two hands building engines, cars, motorcycles, power equipment, and all the other engineering that Honda has created in over 60 years.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/k0MCRNJLPBo?si=KMA95l260jPbU9pc


As of August 3rd, 2023, the Metropolitan Museum in New York City has released an app that lets you interact with art using Roblox. You can wear Van Gogh’s hat or Hatshepsut’s Egyptian headcloth. Download their app and then wander the museum to follow clues to fun things to download.

Source: https://www.metmuseum.org/perspectives/articles/2023/8/met-metaverse-replica

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