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Review: Beam Toothbrush

A Bluetooth connection lets you use an app to monitor your dental hygiene

3 min read
Review: Beam Toothbrush
Photo: Randi Silberman Klett


Photo: Randi Silberman Klett
DIGITAL DENTAL: The Beam Brush responds to 
the mouth and wirelessly sends a record of your oral hygiene habits to your smartphone.

Brushing your teeth is one of the few experiences that hasn’t varied much over the decades, with the last radical innovation being the invention of the electric toothbrush in the 1950s. So I was thrilled when the Bluetooth-enabled Beam Brush (US $50) arrived, ready for review and promising a breath of fresh air in this most mundane of activities. 

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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