(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘paper airplane

“There is an art to flying… the knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss”…


Some readers will recall that (R)D has kept an eye on the state of paper airplane engineering. Today, from Guinness laureate John Collins, a lesson in how to fold the world record paper airplane.

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Enthusiasts can join Collins in his Kickstarter campaign to use paper aviation as way to stoke interest in STEM subjects in schools, museums, and libraries around the country and the world– now in its final days.

* Douglas Adams, Life, the Universe and Everything


As we worry about wingspan, we might recall that it was on this date in 1938 that the New York City Board of Education voted to establish the Bronx High School of Science.  A report by the Board of Superintendents had recommended creating an institution to develop “a scientific way of thinking,” with courses to train prospective physicians, dentists, engineers and laboratory workers. Using entrance exams to screen for suitable ability, about 400 boys were admitted to the first cohort, which matriculated in September of that year in a repurposed building. The school has grown to a full enrollment of about 2,500, and is fully coed.

The school has graduated eight Nobel laureates, seven Pulitzer Prize winners, and six winners of the national Medal of Science; 29 of the 2000 members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences are alums.  But the graduate cohort is an eclectic bunch, accomplished in other ways as well:  e.g., the great Otto Penzler, editor/collector/archivist of espionage and thriller books; Millard “Mickey” Drexler, CEO, J.Crew; ex-CEO, Gap; Jon Favreau, actor/director of Elf, Iron Man I & II, Chef and others: Mark Boal, journalist, screenwriter and producer, winner of 2010 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay for The Hurt Locker; and Jonathan Kibera, Venture Hacker at AngelList.

The Gothic building at 84th St. and Creston Ave. that housed the school from its founding in 1938 until 1959



Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 23, 2015 at 1:01 am

“… like a dog’s walking on his hinder legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all”*…

Dr. James Porter of Swedish Hospital in Seattle did the video below– in which the da Vinci surgical robot (pictured above with someone who is not Dr. Porter) folds and flies a paper airplane– to demonstrate how delicately it can work.

Still, as one worries that yet another traditionally-human domain is being colonized by machines, one can console oneself that the da Vinci can’t even think about doing spitballs.

[TotH to Nerdist]

* Samuel Johnson, 1763


As we wonder wistfully if the robotic anesthesiologist looks like a vending machine, we might wish a incisive Happy Birthday to Harvey Cushing, “father of modern neurosurgery”; he was born on this date in 1869.  Cushing is rightly remembered for such advances as the use of x-rays and physiological saline as irrigation during surgery, the founding the clinical specialty of endocrinology (and the discovery of the pituitary as the master hormone gland), the anesthesia record, and the identification of the physiological consequences of increased intracranial pressure.  But he is probably most renown for developing microsurgery to treat aneurysms and for effectively founding the new discipline of neurosurgery.  (That said, there are those who believe that he should be best remembered for introducing blood pressure measurement to North America, and still others who believe that it should be for the Pulitzer Prize he won for his biography of Sir William Osler.)

Edmund Tarbell’s portrait of Cushing (source)


Up, Up, and Away…

Czech-born artist Klara Hobza has one foot firmly planted in the past; the other, equally firmly placed in the future.

Hobza has has just published The New Millennium Paper Airplane Book,

…a collection of some of the artist’s favorite paper airplanes and stories by their creators, gathered from The New Millennium Paper Airplane Contest exhibition, held at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York, in 2008. This project was itself an homage to the historic paper airplane contest that took place in 1967 at the same venue–which, in a note of minor irony, was built to display rockets for the 1964 World’s Fair. The competition was open to the public, and participants were invited to fly their planes in a number of judging categories including distance flown, duration aloft, beauty, spectacular failure and children’s designs.

source: Susan Coolen

Each page is designed to be torn out and folded into the flyer that it describes (and– for those, like your correspondent, needing a little extra help– a complete list of step-by-step folding instructions is included).

As we concentrate on the optimal point of release, we might look spare a commemorative second to look down, as it was on this date in 1776 that the first submarine attack occurred.  In anticipation of the Battle of Kips Bay, the Turtle— a hand-powered, egg-shaped submersible designed by David Bushnell– tried and failed to sink the British warship HMS Eagle, flagship of the blockaders in New York harbor; the explosives attached to the Eagle‘s hull weren’t sufficient to tank it.  Still, the mission was a success:  the mysterious blast in the night frightened the British, and they withdrew almost immediately.

source: Wikimedia

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