Welcome to the United Fonts of America

At least 222 typefaces are named after places in the U.S. — and there's still room for more.

Credit: The Statesider, reproduced with kind permission.
  • Here's one pandemic project we approve of: a map of the United Fonts of America.
  • The question was simple: How many fonts are named after places in the U.S.?
  • Finding them became an obsession for Andy Murdock. At 222, he stopped looking.
Keep reading Show less

Modular construction: Using Lego-like blocks to build structures of the future

Buildings don't have to be permanent — modular construction can make them modifiable and relocatable.

  • Modular construction involves building the components of a habitable structure in a factory, and then assembling those components on-site.
  • The history of modular construction stretches back centuries, and it became briefly popular in the U.S. after World War II, but it's never quite caught on.
  • Construction firms like iMod Structures, which constructs buildings that can be modified and relocated, may soon change that.
Keep reading Show less

This programmable fiber has memories and can sense temperature

Researchers were even able store and read a 767-kilobit full-color short movie file in the fabric.

Image: Anna Gitelson-Kahn. Photo by Roni Cnaani.

MIT researchers have created the first fiber with digital capabilities, able to sense, store, analyze, and infer activity after being sewn into a shirt.

Keep reading Show less

Why Swiss maps are full of hidden secrets

Cartography is serious business in Switzerland — but once in a while, the occasional map gag slips through.

Credit: Swisstopo
  • The Swiss are not known for their sense of humor, but perhaps we've not been looking hard enough.
  • Over the decades, Swiss cartographers have sprinkled plenty of "Easter eggs" across otherwise serious maps.
  • The oldest one, a naked lady, has been removed — but the marmot, the haunted monk, and others are still there.
Keep reading Show less

NASA's Perseverance rover has a 1997 computer chip brain. Here's why.

It may be old tech, but it's super-reliable.

Credit: NASA
  • A special super-tough version of an old chip made famous by Apple is running the show on NASA's Perseverance Mars rover.
  • The chip is slow by modern standards, but meets the reliability test.
  • The chip can be bombarded with radiation and still keeps on going.
  • Keep reading Show less