too hot to handle
Remember that time Mayor Curley asked MIT for flamethrowers to melt the snow?
The year 1948 was a bit of a doozy in terms of snowfall in the Commonwealth, with record-setting numbers logged after several storms. But after the city of Boston was pummeled with 89.2 inches, Mayor James Curley sent a letter to the president of MIT asking for help. Would the Institute please ready a flame-throwing apparatus to get rid of the stuff when it melted? Read More
Euro Innovation
The best way to have fun during the blizzard? Download video selfie app Dubsmash immediately
Whether you know it or not, a group of German entrepreneurs has created what might be the best app you will download on your phone this month. And, if you are looking for something to keep you entertained over the next 24 hours of nonstop snow, get Dubsmash immediately and have a grand old time. Read More
And snow it begins
Would you shovel for your neighbor? The 'Snow Crew' website is looking for volunteers
A shopper buys a shovel at Woodside ACE Hardware in Winthrop, Mass. (Photo: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
You never know when you'll need a little bit of neighborly assistance during an emergency like the approaching blizzard. Unfortunately, less than half of Americans actually know the people in their communities, a fact that becomes all the more acute when it comes to needing cups of sugar or dealing with snowstorm aftermath. But a volunteer-run website is linking strangers offline while helping them keep each other safe. Snow Crew was launched in 2009 by Joseph Porcelli, a friendly neighbor from Jamaica Plain. He started the site by taking requests for help shoveling sidewalks or cars, and then farming them out to neighborhood volunteers. Today the project has grown into a national website, and it's bracing for a flood of offers and requests for help after this forthcoming storm. Read More
Riding out the storm
Uber, Lyft prices could triple during snowstorm, but travel ban will keep them off the road
Photo via The Boston Globe-REUTERS/FILE
Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft said their prices could triple during the snowstorm that has begun on the East Coast -- that is, if they're even on the road. Uber said its service would be unavailable starting at midnight Tuesday until the Massachusetts travel ban is  lifted. After that, it said it would cap its surge pricing at 2.9 times the base fare for as long as the state of emergency was in effect. Read More
They've got your spot
Predictive parking startup Smarking heads west for Y Combinator program
Diego Torres-Palma and Wen Sang of Smarking. (Photo by Scott Kirsner / BetaBoston)
Wen Sang says he was astonished to learn how much fuel is burned — and traffic caused — by drivers in search of the perfect parking spot. At the same time, most parking garages have spaces sitting empty. What if you could share that information with drivers, perhaps even adjusting the price of vacant spaces so that they were more appealing? Sang says he came to the United States from China to earn a PhD, not start a company. But the possibility of solving that problem led him to launch Smarking last year, after earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering from MIT. Read More
We'll see you now
Fresh Tilled Soil's 'Enter' app aims to be the receptionist of the modern tech world
enter app
Picture it: You're dressed in your finest hand-tailored clothing, you make your way to a downtown skyscraper, feeling nervous as you prepare for an important job interview. But instead of being greeted in the lobby by a receptionist, an iPad mounted on the wall asks you to select your interviewer from a list of faces. The iPad then sends a text message to the recipient and asks you to take a seat in the lobby to wait. Read More
For women from women
All-star MIT women entrepreneurs pave the way for gender balance in tech
The evening's speakers, from left to right, Marina Hatsopoulos, Anantha Chandrakasan, Erika Ebbel Angle, and Cynthia Breazeal. Photo: John Gillooly, Professional Event Images, Inc.
On Thursday night MIT held its first Women in Innovation and Entrepreneurship networking reception in the sparse and modern Gagosian-like gallery space of the MIT Media Lab. The event was organized and hosted by two of MIT’s most prominent women in tech, Erika Ebbel Angle, founder and chairman of Science for Scientists, and Marina Hatsopoulos, founder and former chief executive of Z Corporation. These leading women entrepreneurs, along with keynote speaker Cynthia Breazeal, did not mince words as they took the podium. They were direct about their intention to improve the opportunities for women in tech. And they provided perspectives on running the million dollar companies they founded at MIT over the past few years. Read More
Innovation Economy
Reebok, others have technology to help prevent concussions, but few sports adopt it
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Ben Harvatine couldn’t point to a single time that his head slammed hard against the wrestling mat. He just felt progressively worse over the course of a practice at MIT. “I’d had concussions before, but this one felt really different,” Harvatine says. “I couldn’t talk right, and was having trouble walking. But like every athlete, you find ways to rationalize it — maybe you’re just dehydrated.” Read More