FedEx CIO and TTI/V attendee Robert Carter has made Business Insider’s peer-sourced list of “venture capital's 25 rising stars in Silicon Valley.” Congratulations!
Every data breach is bad news, but when it’s a bank, the concerns magnify. Reports about the Capital One hack of 106 million accounts are confusing, but still worrying. The bank says “no credit card account numbers or log-in credentials were compromised and over 99% of Social Security numbers were not compromised,” but the alleged hacker “is accused of breaking into a Capital One server and gaining access to 140,000 U.S. Social Security numbers, 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers, and 80,000 bank account numbers.” [Quick numeracy note to the bank’s PR people: A number less than 1% of 106 million could still be more than a million people.]
Scientists have long run the warning bell and now financiers are taking note. Climate change is a serious economic threat (Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014). CNBC now has a reporter, Emma Newburger, covering a changing climate’s impact on finance and the New York Times dedicated a front page Business section story to the decimated economy in the flooded lower Mississippi Delta.
You can lash Tesla Powerpack batteries together to store energy and in fact an installation of them has saved a South Australia utility $40 million in its first year and stabilized its grid. But now Tesla is making a product designed for large-scale storage, the Megapack. (Paul Braun, San Francisco, Dec 2015; Danielle Fong, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Roland Pitts, Miami, Dec 2011)
A Colombian non-profit, Conceptos Plásticos, is working in Ivory Coast to build schools with bricks made of recycled plastic, The business model employs local women to collect discarded plastic. Conceptos Plásticos uses a process very different from Byfusion’s biobricks (Heidi Kujawa, San Francisco, Dec 2016). Byfusion, by the way, is moving its manufacturing to the U.S.
The 1995 proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem was 109 pages. Mathematicians thought any proof of the sensitivity conjecture would be similarly long. But an Emory University mathematician has done it in two pages.
The touchscreen was a revolution in computer interfaces. Now Google wants to eliminate the need to touch the screen. (Ivan Poupyrev, Miami, Dec 2011)
Speaking of gesture interfaces, could a single API streamline development for such diverse platforms as the Hololens, Magic Leap, and the Oculus Rift? We’ll soon see. OpenXR 1.0 was released today. (Nolan Bushnell, San Francisco, Dec 2016)
Everyone predicted that sickle cell would be one of the first genetic diseases treated with CRISPR. And now it’s happened, at a Nashville research institute. (Alicia Jackson, San Francisco, Dec 2015; George Church, Boston regional meeting, Jun 2015; Ryan Phelan, San Diego, Feb 2015)
The attraction of biotechnology is that nature’s way of doing something is often simpler (e.g., DNA encoding vs disk drives). But researchers at Imperial College London have gone one step further, building artificial cells that respond to their environment but are simpler than the many chemical steps required by natural cells. (Juan Enriquez, Washington, D.C., Dec 2005)
As crime falls, accounts of it on neighborhood social media sites, such as Next Door, rise. (Jeremy Heffner, Brooklyn, July 2016)
A British anaesthetist’s data-science methodology is being used to uncover fraud in hundreds of medical research and clinical-trial papers.
While STEM programs are growing everywhere else, budget cuts in Alaska are putting the engineering program “in jeopardy”—along with just about every other program—at the state’s only public university, and merit-based scholarships for many engineering students have already been canceled. (Erin Dolan, Austin, Feb 2016)
Although some economists (e.g. Andrew McAfee, Jersey City, Oct 2013) think “this time is different,” many (e.g. Ian Stewart, Brooklyn, July 2016) argue that even as technology, including AI, eliminate some jobs, new ones will be created. Case in point: Data labeling is becoming a big business.
"I try to design things that someone like myself would like to use which is that it just works, and you don't have to think about it at all."