Category Archives: Technology & Innovation

For all my techie friends — in the Einstein Alley groups, NJEN, the Keller Center, and the E-Quad — event notices, items from U.S. 1 Newspaper and the NYT

Just tell it so they get it: gerrymandering


As Sam Wang talked this morning on how to countermand the evils of gerrymandering —  legislative districts structured to favor one party — I kept thinking “he’s the perfect person for this.” Wang spoke this morning at the Princeton Regional Chamber breakfast. 

The battle to redistrict Congress will be fought in the courts, probably leading to the Supreme Court, which has turned down several cases for lack of a manageable standard.  As Wang said, lawyers don’t go to law school because they like math. (Nodded agreement from the 80+ attendees, with more than the usual number of lawyers.) Lawyers might be good in math but it’s probably not their forte.

So if you want to use algorithms to uproot gerrymandering, you’d better figure out how to make that math accessible to the lawyers’ brains, especially the SCOTUS brains.

If any one can do that, Wang can. He is an eminent neuroscientist with an unusual facility to state complicated concepts in simple ways, as in his first book “Welcome to Your Brain.”

Though Wang is still doing neuroscience he is also consulting on political statistics via the Princeton Election Consortium. During the question page he talked about testifying in various court cases and presented various “manageable standards.”

His webpage even has an option to do the math yourself – pick a data set and work out whether those districts are configured fairly.

On that page, Wang says he wants to do more than use math and polls to explain politics. He wants to stimulate people to act. Not just Democrats, but “all Americans who want to save institutions – whether they are liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican.” He recommends that we all

  • joining our U.S. Representative’s party (even though that may be hard to do)
  • work to keep the media ‘on task’

Are you looking for ways to make change? Read his  action items for democracy’s survival here.

Says Wang: “Voters should choose their representatives, not the other way round.”


Share your medical news – and learn

A friend wrote to me, jubilant, because her husband – diagnosed with a prostate problem — had researched and found a state of the art therapy “green light laser prostate therapy.” it worked wonderfully, she says. Apparently it is not available here in Princeton.

I urged her to try to share this news with others through a social media strategy, participatory medicine. Read about it here on medium. If you can’t get into the medium site, try this one. 

For the experts — what participatory medicine platform would be best for prostate therapy recommendations?

Not Powerpoint, Not Beers after Work


Driving without a GPS is like speaking without ———- (fill in the blank). So says Eileen Sinett, speech coach. Details in her column here.  Sinett offers presentation training. 

To have an effective team, it’s more important for everyone to feel comfortable in raising difficult issues than for team members to take satisfaction in their work. So says Rita McGrath, who offers a workshop on effective ways to build teams on Tuesday, January 31. 

Accelerating Team Effectiveness: McGrath


Reduce friction to accelerate the progress of your team, says Rita McGrath, known for her savvy in connecting research to business problems.Her Valize team presents a morning workshop on Tuesday, January 31, in Lawrence.

Says McGrath: Most team effectiveness assessments focus on the level of satisfaction of team members. However, research has shown that there is not a strong correlation between satisfaction and team performance. During this 2-hour workshop, we will focus on five important elements that have great impact on the effectiveness of team performance. 

 Bring your team, she says, and you’ll leave with ‘actionable results.’

Find out the five elements and more about this workshop. 

Princeton’s Got Innovation


Thirty thousand grand will be on the line on Wednesday, February 15, at the Innovation Forum organized by Princeton University’s Keller Center. Participants present their research in a three-minute “elevator pitch” to the audience and a panel of judges. Simon Cowell’s got nothing on this show!

Register to come and watch the excitement.  You get to see inside the Andlinger Center and there’s networking and refreshments afterward.


September 15: arts and tech

On September 15 Princeton University invites everyone to a Nassau Street Sampler at the Princeton University Art Museum, free. See, taste, hear music.

Also on September 15 Tiger Labs hosts Mung Chiang at a $10 (cheap) networking and “fireside chat” session. It’s 6:30 pm to about 9.


Pokemon? Yes!

Find ‘Electabuzz’ at the corner of Nassau & Vandeventer!

It all started with a video from the United Methodist Church alerting me to the possibility that my faith community, Princeton United Methodist Church (PUMC), might be a Poke’stop in the new Poke’mon game.

What is this new mobile phone game? I quote my granddaughter in an article she wrote this summer: … gamers young and old have been glued to their phones, perpetually catching all of the Pokémon from the original game released in 1996. In this version, the user must download the application, developed by Nintendo in collaboration with Niantic, on their mobile device, and an augmented reality begins.

Sure enough, PUMC is a Poke’stop where gamers fuel up on the Poke’ balls used to trap characters. Two other Poke’stops are nearby. So, egged on by millennials — staffers and church members — we set up a lemonade and cookie stand in front of the church and

2016 august pokemon table
Lemonade and Poke’mon Balls at Princeton United Methodist Church

spread “lure” a virtual enticement that attracts Poke’mon characters and, therefore, Poke’mon players. The combo of the lemonade and the “lure” attracted at least 100 people in one hour. — some for the game, some for the refreshments, many just curious to see our beautiful stained glass windows or even just recharge their phones.

Now I am hooked on the game. Part of its appeal is, frankly, to combat ageism prejudice. “YOU, playing THAT!” is what I often hear. The game is invaluable as a conversation topic with grandchildren. But mostly it’s fun to acquire cute animal characters. On that first Sunday morning, my first catch was Electabuzz, and  my current count is 26 characters. Does anyone know where I can find a Wigglytuff?





Startups in the Nation’s Service

demo day

A quick way to cure a hangover, a new medical imaging technique, an innovation in American Sign Language, a hackathon tool kit, a robot sous chef, and a fashion discovery engine  — some of the best and brightest Princeton undergraduates are launching exciting startups. List here.

They’ve been working all summer in the Keller Lab, and their Demo Day in Princeton is Tuesday, August 9, 2:30 p.m. at the Friend Center. You need to register!

I can’t attend. If anyone who reads this can go, and wants to write it up for this blog, I’d welcome that. If you don’t have my email, put in the comments that you’d be willing to be a guest blogger.



Join the Maker Movement

Today is Maker’s Day in Trenton. A couple of weeks ago my daughter hosted Maker’s Day at Health and Human Services in Washington. “Innovation is a force for good” and “Creative thinking is a muscle we must exercise” are some of my favorite quotes.

The future of our society may be in creating change at scale across government and industry.

In Trenton, the future starts at Roebline Wire Works, noon to four.

Try, make, solve — #inventhealth

invent health
#bornjustright: making her own prosthesis with Project Unicorn

Making your own prosthetic hand? Sounds impossible, but kids are doing it with 3-D printers. I read about this on the program at the Maker Fair this week in DC, sponsored by the MedS

invent health srf
Susannah Fox, CTO of HHS, at the Maker Faire 6/23/16 

tar Institute for Innovation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, part of the National Week of Making.

Click here for a Storify account of Invent Health examples. Take a look at the program  Where does YOUR idea, your company fit in?

This exciting opportunities reminded me of the 3-D printer manufacture, John Springrose,  who spoke at a Princeton Chamber breakfast last year

“Prototype your imagination,” Springrose challenged. “If you think about it, you can do it.”