Dear Bryan Fox,
Elvis Cao, who’s speaking next week in Berkeley, isn’t the only one trying to turn carbon dioxide into energy. As reported in Science, researchers in Australia are working on a scheme to turn CO2 into coal—which seems self-defeating but in fact is a proxy for taking it out of the atmosphere and turning it into a solid that can be buried
A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that emergency braking systems will be effective in reducing pedestrian fatalities. It can’t happen fast enough—those fatalities have doubled in number in recent years. (Just another reason to take the steering wheels out of human hands.)
We’ll have three related talks next week in Berkeley: AV OSes (George Hotz), AV traffic patterns (Adam Millard-Ball), and a talk about using AVs to integrate public and private transportation (Peter Calthorpe).
The New York Times Magazine had an article recently on “The Secret History of Women in Coding,“ a mere eight years after Steven Cherry did a podcast about “How Some Math-Savvy Women Helped Win World War II and Became the First Computer Programmers”—which itself was occasioned by the release of a PBS documentary, “Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII.” The film is available on Amazon Video (free with Prime membership) and we highly recommend it
Are there “differences in innovation behavior between foreign versus U.S.-born entrepreneurs in high-tech industries”? A new NBER study found “uniformly higher rates of innovation in immigrant-owned firms for 15 of 16 different innovation measures; the only exception is for copyright/trademark.
HTC has unveiled a 5G hub “aimed at things like 4K video streaming, low-latency gaming, and acting as a 5G hotspot.” It will initially be compatible with Sprint’s 5G network, which not incidentally will be rolled out this summer in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, and Kansas City. (Sundeep Rangan and Marco Mezzavilla, Brooklyn regional meeting, Oct 2016; Robert Heath, David Reed, San Francisco, May 2016; Gordon Castle, Philadelphia, Jul 2015)
Gait recognition is going mobile. Yes, it is by definition, but the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency wants smartphones to recognize a user’s gait as a method of authentication instead of passwords or other biometric measures. Their solution should serve both both military and commercial use. (C. Karen Liu, Boston, Apr 2017; Ingo Deutschmann, Washington, D.C., Sep 2017; Marc Raibert, Brooklyn, Jul 2016; Michael Miller, Atlanta, Feb 2008)
Meanwhile, Google seems ready to leave passwords behind for any device running Android 7 or higher. CNET reports that as part of the Fast Identity Online Alliance “Android is now FIDO2-certified, meaning its devices can use fingerprints and security keys … instead of passwords.”
This week’s mashup of three things on the hype curve: quantum computers, new materials, and advanced batteries. According to Mercedes Benz, "We could simulate the actual behavior of a battery with a quantum computer, which is currently not possible with existing computer power.
What does a country need to maintain superiority in high-tech? Universal child care, apparently. “After STEM professionals become parents, 43% of women and 23% of men switch fields, transition to part-time work, or leave the workforce entirely.” (Lucy Sanders and Catherine Ashcraft, Washington, D.C., May 2012; Laurie Racine and Fred Graver, Rome, Jul 2008
In the Blockchain-Is-Everywhere (including our September meeting!) Department: “Researchers create new method to ensure integrity of clinical trials data with blockchain.” (John Henry Clippinger, Atlanta, Feb 2014)
When one of us had cataract surgery a few years ago, it was a game-changer. But what if we could see in the infrared? (Greg Dobler, Austin, Feb 2016; Dror Sharon, San Francisco, Dec 2014; Bill Parrish, San Francisco, Dec 2013)
Accepting a new normal is counterproductive when it comes to climate change, yet people reset their internal barometers of normalcy after just a couple of years of extreme weather events, as measured by the frequency of weather-related tweets. (Michael Mastrandrea and Noah Diffenbaugh, San Francisco, Dec 2014)
Corning researchers have demonstrated the potential to electrically nano-localize heat production in otherwise homogeneous silicate glass, defying Joule’s law of Ohmic heating. Hopefully we’ll figure this out—the stuff is all around us in tech, from our screens to optical fiber.
An international team led by Stanford has prototyped a computer-on-a-chip that uses resistive random access memory (RRAM) to consume one tenth the electricity of comparable electronic devices. Contributors to the effort include Subhasish Mitra (San Francisco, Dec 2015)
The newsletter will be in a Berkeley-induced IoT/Data euphoria next week and back in your inbox two weeks from today. If you’re not at the meeting, catch it on the livestream!
"You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul."
—George Bernard Shaw