Notes & News: 46 heads to 1600

Don’t forget to join us as we (virtually) travel to Israel on January 26th. Register today!

All eyes were on Washington, DC this week as President Biden took the oath of office and officially became the United States of America’s 46th President. TTIV is proud of our many civil-servant, federal employee and government contractor members. We wish a smooth transition to all.

In one of new Administration's first moves, 46 elevated the role of science advisor to cabinet-level status and nominated Eric Lander, founding director of MIT and Harvard’s Broad Institute, to head the Office of Science and Technology Policy. (Cyrus Wadia, Detroit, May 2015)

Early in the pandemic, Google and Apple joined forces to create Bluetooth-enabled contact tracing. Now, other tech giants—Microsoft, Salesforce, and Oracle—are collaborating, along with the Mayo Clinic (field trip, Phoenix, Dec 2003), to develop digital vaccine passports.

Speaking of tech giants, have you seen the news from former TTIV Board member Eben Upton? The big announcement is a small (tiny even!) $4 microcontroller running off the company’s own chip.

All of the initial COVID-19 vaccines require cold storage (Mark Tibbitt, San Francisco, Dec 2016). Two U.S. hospitals are affixing thermosensors to each box of vials and securely tracking its temperature using blockchain with the assistance of Hedera Hashgraph (John Henry Clippinger, Washington, D.C., Sep 2019; Mike O’Neill, San Francisco, Feb 2017).

Computer simulations of airflow/fluid dynamics through a car in various configurations of open- and closed-windowness, all with the air conditioner turned on, have led to recommendations of seating and ventilation during car-based transport. For two people to be safest, the passenger should be in the right rear (of a right-side-of-the-road-driving sedan), and the front right and rear left windows should be open, creating a fresh air barrier between the occupants when the vehicle is in motion. (Scripps Institute of Oceanography, field trip, San Diego, Feb 2015; Stevens Institute of Technology, field trip, Jersey City, Sep 2009)

The glass-like skeletons of deep-sea Venus’ flower basket sponges are a marvel of strength and intricacy, with a truss-based architecture that resembles a 3-D spiral chess board. The researchers who have analyzed the structure are pursuing a patent on their own sponge-inspired lattice. (Julia Greer, San Francisco, Dec 2015)

Subhasish Mitra (San Francisco, Dec 2015) is honing in on the neural networking chip of his dreams with the ultradense 3-D integration of logic and memory. The Illusion chip system can be expanded by adding layers to the device.

Psychiatric disorders, such as depression or obsessive–compulsive disorder, can be thoroughly debilitating, and drugs are often too blunt an instrument to provide relief. But what about deep brain-stimulating electrodes? UC San Francisco researcher Katherine Scangos has conducted studies in which she activates specific electrodes in a personalized and highly targeted manner. (Rajesh Rao, San Francisco, Dec 2013; Kendall Lee, San Jose, Feb 2012)

For there is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it. --Amanda Gorman