Love to the Lone Star State

Our collective hearts are with those suffering in Texas. We wish you a quick return to normalcy and safety.

Tuesday, Feb 23, TTI/Vanguard will be visiting Dresden, where Chrisoph Kögler of T-Systems Multimedia Solutions will serve as host for an IoT-focused event that will be part Germany startup forum, part TTI/V field trip, reminiscent of the before times. We’ll kick off with a bespoke virtual tour of the GlobalFoundries fab before spending time with a collection of firms that share an affiliation with the Smart Systems Hub Germany center of excellence. These startups span IoT sensor modules, associated machine learning, and municipal/industrial implementation support, as well as a blockchain transaction firm and one that democratizes the training of industrial robotics. Register here, and join us next week.

All of this is just a prelude to “The Power of Networks,” a series-of-Tuesdays conference (March 2, 9, 16, and 23) featuring networks of all sorts: physical mapping, social/informational, telecom, and security. Register here.

It has been a decade since TTI/Vanguard’s Serious Fun conference (Chicago, May 2011), but large firms that recognize the benefits of collaborative team-based competition are turning to tournaments put on by the Corporate Esports Association to hone the serious skills of communication and strategic coordination in a fun context.

Inequality of opportunity and access has been thrust to the fore this past year. The new book by Michael Crow and William Dabars, “The Fifth Wave: The Evolution of American Higher Education,” proposes a multifold expansion of admissions to top-ranked undergraduate programs as a partial remedy. (Erin Dolan, Austin, Feb 2016)

Graphene holds promise as a substrate for ultrafast, ultrasensitive sensing of biomarkers. Coat graphene with antibodies relevant to a virus—or to proteins associated with a disease or condition of interest—and electrical signals will transmit through the graphene if binding occurs. Possible targets include SARS-CoV-2 RNA and cancer-related proteins. (Melissa Lechner, San Diego, Feb 2015)

Longtime TTI/V community member Miles Elsden recently published an opinion piece on the UK’s proposed agency to resemble DARPA in the US. We wish anyone with such an ambitious goal well.

Also, in the UK, would you be comfortable with the government creating and maintaining a digital identity for you? How about if it could be used to verify your driving licence, birth certificate, or even COVID vaccination status. The UK government has proposed just that and is soliciting citizens’ feedback here. (Aditi Kumar, Seattle, Mar 2020)

The mesosphere is a region of the atmosphere that is frustratingly difficult for scientists to access: too thin to support airplane or balloon flight, yet thick enough to burn up an orbiter. University of Pennsylvania researchers have achieved an early success in photophoresis—light-induced flow—that could eventually be used to float sensors in this layer that has earned the moniker ignorosphere. (Anne Miglarese, Vienna, Jul 2013)

Join us in extending our heartfelt congratulations to TTI/V member organizations JPL and NASA responsible for Perseverance, which landed on Mars without a glitch during a busy week for the red planet, when the United Arab Emirates' Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecrafts also arrived in orbit. Now that the technology has proven itself, let the science begin! (Erika DeBenedictis, Vienna, Jul 2013; Daniel Clancy, Phoenix, Dec 2003)

This week, back here on Earth, or at least in the central swath of North America, many were freezing and reached for puffer jackets (and puffer hoods and puffer mittens). Since extreme cold is commonplace for small birds in high-elevation environments, they have cornered the market on extreme downiness. Underscoring the importance of museum collections, researchers at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History contemplate that longitudinal changes in down could serve as a local marker of global warming.

Then, of course, let's please keep the lights on, the heater functioning, and the water flowing when extreme cold descends. Clearly, the Texas Interconnect—and its operator, ERCOT—struggled this week. There are plenty of lessons to be learned-and btw, renewables were only a minor factor. . (David Timmons, virtual conference, Sep 2020).

Touchdown confirmed.--Allen Chen, Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) Lead for the Mars 2020 project, Jet Propulsion Laboratory