With the rise in wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers that rely on smart sensors, and the continued popularity of smartphones, smart devices are taking our country by storm. Wireless data for such devices is typically beamed through Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, yet, the new wireless communication technology of “visible light communication (VLC),” has emerged as a new option albeit with limitations due to the challenges it faces in practice, such as being easily blocked or not being able to sustain transmission when light is off. Through a new Dartmouth project called “DarkLight,” researchers have developed and demonstrated for the first-time, how visible light can be used to transmit data even when the light appears dark or off. DarkLight provides a new communication primitive similar to infrared communication, however, it exploits the LED lights already around us rather than needing additional infrared emitters.

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Unexpected disruptions, plans gone awry, added mess to a project or lesson — it all makes us uncomfortable. And that aversion to an unexpected hitch in the plan makes sense. “We don’t want to overcome unnecessary hurdles,” says Tim Harford is his TED talk about why those messy situations lead to the best results. He gives examples in disparate fields like music production, performances, classrooms, psychology and engineering where unexpected disruptions actually make people more creative.


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So you’re moving into your new apartment, and you’re trying to bring your sofa. The problem is, the hallway turns and you have to fit your sofa around a corner. If it’s a small sofa, that might not be a problem, but a really big sofa is sure to get stuck. If you’re a mathematician, you ask yourself: What’s the largest sofa you could possibly fit around the corner? It doesn’t have to be a rectangular sofa either, it can be any shape.


This is the essence of the moving sofa problem. Here are the specifics: the whole problem is in two dimensions, the corner is a 90-degree angle, and the width of the corridor is 1. What is the largest two-dimensional area that can fit around the corner?


The largest area that can fit around a corner is called—I kid you not—the sofa constant. Nobody knows for sure how big it is, but we have some pretty big sofas that do work, so we know it has to be at least as big as them. We also have some sofas that don’t work, so it has to be smaller than those. All together, we know the sofa constant has to be between 2.2195 and 2.8284.

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Do you want to simplify your life? Download this free poster. It provides 24 ways to “Keep it Simple”


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There was once only one “agogy” and now there are many. Most educators are intimately familiar with pedagogy – the art and science of educating and teaching children. Some are also familiar with andragogy – the art and science of educating and teaching adults. Recently a few more agogies have surfaced so I thought it was high time to explore some of these new and emerging ideas. We’ll start with the already familiar just to warm up.


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