Friday, August 16, 2019

As those who remember our visit to the University of Texas’s Stampede (field trip, Austin, Feb 2016) can testify, the state of supercomputing is strong. The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration has contracted with Cray to build the world’s first exascale supercomputer (Satoshi Matsuoka, Tokyo, Jul 2012), with a budget of $600 million. 
www.cnet.com/news/cray-to-build-el-capitan-supercomputer-for-nuclear-security-apps/
 
Jack Dongarra will tell us about the future of supercomputing at December’s [next] (agenda) conference.
 
If you’ve ever lost your balance on the subway, you may have cursed the limitations of human anatomy. A human tail would be very useful, and so researchers at Keio University have come up with one.
www.fastcompany.com/90384973/robotic-tails-for-humans-are-here
 
If you have an Avaya telephone, someone might be listening—or even be able to take over the phone completely—according to a McAfee report on the vulnerabilities at DEF CON. (Vincent Weafer, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017) 
www.csoonline.com/article/3431144/popular-avaya-enterprise-voip-phones-are-vulnerable-to-hacking.html
 
A new app, Buycott, will scan your online shopping carts and alert you if your products are produced by, or contain components produced by, companies you want to boycott. 
www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2013/05/14/new-app-lets-you-boycott-koch-brothers-monsanto-and-more-by-scanning-your-shopping-cart/ 
 
According to a new poll, you would prefer to lose your job to a robot, but would rather see another human take the place of a co-worker. (Richard Freeman, Pittsburgh, Jun 2019)
www.newscientist.com/article/2212417-most-people-would-rather-lose-their-job-to-a-robot-than-another-human/
 
Social media—especially Twitter—has gotten even more efficient at spreading conspiracy theories. (Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Boston, Apr 2017)
www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2019/08/11/dangerous-cycle-that-keeps-conspiracy-theories-news-trumps-tweets 
 
Francesca Spidalieri (Washington, D.C., Sep 2016) noted for us the various ways U.S. states are developing their cybersecurity capabilities. Now some states are looking at AI. 
www.fortune.com/2019/08/13/state-task-forces-artificial-intelligence/ 
 
Finding a new type of neuron might seem as likely as suddenly discovering another Himalayan peak, but apparently it has happened. As James Gimzewski (Boston, Apr 2014) noted, there’s an awful lot we still don’t understand about the brain and intelligence.
www.wired.com/story/a-newfound-neuron-might-help-keep-the-brains-cells-in-sync 
 
The fallout from the Boeing 737 Max debacle has now spread to the 777. Specifically, the development and certification—and, ultimately, deliveries—of the extra-long-range 777X program. Those hoping for a 21-hour Sydney-London nonstop will have to wait at least another year. 
www.reuters.com/article/us-boeing-airplane/boeing-delays-delivery-of-ultra-long-range-version-of-777x-idUSKCN1V503W
 
Would human-robot interaction be improved if we wired up the human with sensors and the robot had access to all the data? 
www.techxplore.com/news/2019-08-human-physiological-responses-interactions-robots.html 
 
There are 43 x 10^18 configurations of a Rubik's Cube. Sounds ideal for data storage, doesn’t it? (Sri Kosuri, San Diego, Feb 2015; Garth Gibson, Washington, D.C., April 2013; Paul Borrill, San Francisco, Feb 2005)
www.phys.org/news/2019-08-squishy-rubik-cube-chemists-built.html
 
After a year of testing, two experimental treatments appear to significantly boost survival rates from Ebola. (Barbara Han, Austin, Feb 2016; Erica Ollmann Saphire, San Diego, Feb 2015)
www.wired.com/story/ebola-is-now-curable-heres-how-the-new-treatments-work 
 
Meanwhile, we still have to treat Ebola patients safely. San Francisco startup incubator Otherlab (Danielle Applestone, Detroit, May 2015; Saul Griffith, Seattle, Dec 2006) has developed a Care Cube—”a portable, disposable, and low-cost negative pressure unit that one person can inflate in just a few minutes.” 
 
Speaking of Saul Griffith, he will join us at our December meeting (agenda) to talk about desalinisation.

"Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is the result of good work habits."
Twyla Tharp

Author: Steven Cherry

Director of TTI/Vanguard, “a unique forum for senior-level executives that links strategic technology planning to business success. In private conferences that are part classroom, part think-tank, and part laboratory, its members—corporate and government leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, and academics—explore emerging and potentially disruptive technologies.”

Twenty years experience as a technology journalist and editor, at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). Founded the award-winning podcast series, Techwise Conversations covering tech news, tech careers and education, and the engineering lifestyle. Teaches an intensive writing class as an adjunct instructor at NYU. Previously taught essay writing and creative writing at The College of New Rochelle.