Answer by Scott Aaronson, Theoretical computer scientist at MIT, soon to be at UT Austin, on Quora.There are things like Deflategate or manspreading or the dresses worn at the Oscars, which many people talk about but few should.And then there are things like World War II, global warming, black holes, or machine learning, which many people talk about and probably many should.Indeed, I started out in AI and machine learning, as an undergrad at Cornell with Bart Selman and then as a grad student at Berkeley with Mike Jordan, before shifting into quantum computing, where I felt like my comparative advantage was greater.On the other hand, at least according to the ML researchers I know, the recent progress has not involved any major new conceptual breakthroughs: it s been more about further refinement of algorithms that already existed in the 70s and 80s, and of course, implementing those algorithms on orders-of-magnitude faster computers and training them with orders-of-magnitude more data.In the end, I suppose it s less interesting to me to look at the sheer amount of machine learning hype than at its content.
Fast forward to today and Hnetinka has teamed up with JustVacay founder Wilson Lee to launch Darkstore, a delivery fulfillment platform for e-commerce brands that is already powering same-day delivery for mattress startup Tuft & Needle.Darkstore works by exploiting excess capacity in storage facilities, malls and bodegas and enables them to be fulfillment centers with just a smartphone, Hnetinka told me.Uber is the largest transportation company that doesn t own a car Airbnb is the largest hospitality business that doesn t own a hotel, Hnetinka said.For deliveries, Darkstore partners with Berkeley, Calif.-based Axle Hire, which charges $5 per delivery for small items and $10 per delivery for something like a mattress.The dark store concept has not yet been brought to the U.S., Hnetinka said, and Darkstore wants to democratize it.Our box is really convenient, but it s still a size that most last mile delivery companies can t deliver economically.
NASATrying to send something to space by attaching it to a balloon and letting go sounds like a plan concocted by a six-year-old.In fact, we re pretty sure a lot of you tried it back in the day, only to witness your probe snag on a tree branch fifteen feet up.Along for the ride is the Compton Spectrometer and Imager COSI , a gamma-ray telescope developed by scientists at UC Berkeley.There are work-arounds, like launching from Antarctica during its summer when the sunlight is constant, but infrastructure issues alone mean that the southernmost continent is never going to be the ideal place to set up shop.Balloons are cheap.Plus, launching a balloon requires a lot less red tape than firing a rocket, shaving years off the prep time required for each mission.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Barack Obama on Thursday awarded four Bay Area researchers -- two from UC Berkeley and two from Stanford -- with the nation's top honors for science and technology.His team developed the FinFET, a type of transistor used in modern computer processors.Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press Nine researchers were awarded the National Medal of Science, including:Paul Alivisatos, a UC Berkeley chemist and past director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who is known for his research on the production of nanocrystals and their use in solar energy applications.Stanley Falkow, a Stanford microbiologist who conducted pioneering research on the role of microbes in the spread of antibiotic resistance and disease.He announced a new advisory board to solicit suggestions from youngsters on how the government can support budding scientists and innovators.The Associated Press contributed to this report.Follow Katy Murphy at Twitter.com/katymurphy.
This 'Robo-bee' can land on ceilings, perch on precarious objects and help out in search and rescue missions.The tiny robot, developed by team at Harvard University, is "inspired by the biology of a bee and the insect's hive behaviour"."We aim to push advances in miniature robotics and the design of compact high-energy power sources, spur innovations in ultra-low-power computing and electronic smart sensors and refine coordination algorithms to manage independent machines," the team wrote on the project's website.Similar robots have been created elsewhere – most notably the robot cockroaches developed at the University of California at Berkeley – but the Harvard team said that by modelling a robot's "physical and behavioural robustness" on insects, they could carry out complex tasks "faster, more reliably and more efficiently".Bee colonies are also intelligent, something the team hopes to replicate, and have a complex nervous system that can "deftly sense and adapt to changing environments".The robot perches on ceilings and walls using "electrostatic adhesion" – the same kind of energy that makes a "static sock stick to a pants leg or a balloon to the wall".
But the US s system has been hobbled, predictably, by lack of funding.In theory, the ShakeAlert system works like this: Once an earthquake hits, seismometers scattered across the west coast send data to centers, which then spit out an alert with the quake s magnitude and the amount of time you have before the ground starts shaking under your feet.That includes three to four seconds for the seismometers sprinkled across California to detect the quake, one second to send the data to processing centers in Berkeley, Pasadena, and Menlo Park, and a few tenths of a second for algorithms to analyze the data, arrive at a guess for magnitude and location, and send out an alert.They repurposed existing networks of seismic instruments and got them up to speed: telling their data loggers to send packets of data every second instead of every five.So to back up their estimate, the algorithms combine results from multiple stations.Eventually, Early Warning Labs software could connect to things like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, says the company s founder Josh Bashioum.
Or would that, as some others argue, just unnecessarily scare customers away from a product whose possible threat to public health is not certain?Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., a researcher and the director of the Center for Family and Community Health in the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, believes that such labels are needed.Observations that overall increases in brain cancer were not seen after the introduction of cellphones merely serve to illustrate that there can be a considerable lag between exposure to a carcinogen and the cancer s diagnosis.For carcinogenic chemicals and other environmental causes of cancer, we can generally show that these cause mutations in DNA or changes in other molecules, sufficient to explain the resulting cancers.A widely criticized secondary analysis showed that among the 10% of subjects who recalled the highest usage, incidence of glioma the most common of serious brain tumors was increased by 40%—of marginal significance due to the small number of tumors in the secondary analysis.Many experts have expressed opinions disagreeing with this classification because of the lack of good evidence supporting it.
Jen O'Neal is the Founder and CEO of Tripping.com.Since then she's raised over $21M in funding from investors in Silicon Valley, New York, Europe and Asia.After the company's Series B financing, the Wall Street Journal reported Tripping.com's pre-money valuation to be $100 Million.She was employee 5 at StubHub, an online marketplace acquired by eBay for $307M in 2007, where she was responsible for the development of its brand and Marketing group.In addition to managing a team of marketers across Europe, Jen also managed the marketing elements of deals with partners including Manchester United, Chelsea, FC Bayern Munich, Madonna and more.You can follow her on Twitter: @jenonealShe will be live on July 21 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which she will answer as many questions as possible.
Fitbit will happily advertise the accuracy of its PurePulse heart rate technology in both the Charge HR and Surge, but are the readings accurate?Participants were assigned to perform several indoor and outdoor tasks, including self-paced jogging, jump roping, treadmill running, stair climbing, and plyometrics, all of which were either followed or preceded by rests and all of which were performed for five minutes.Unfortunately for Fitbit, results showed that the Charge HR recorded a heart rate that differed from the ECG s data by 15.5 beats per minute bpm .However, the difference increased to 12.5 bpm when a participant s heart rate reached 124 bpm, a heart rate associated with low intensity activities.As such, one can t help but think this nugget of information slightly skews the results.Even so, a 2014 article in the Berkeley Science Review and a February 2016 informal investigation by Indiana news station WTHR also arrived to similar inconsistent results with Fitbit s trackers, with inconsistencies only increasing as the exercise grew in intensity.
This story is adapted from Steve Blank s commencement speech to the NYU Tandon School of Engineering earlier this week.And there are more to come: your first job, getting married, buying a house, having a child, becoming a manager, starting a company, retirement – and eventually commencement speaker.In 33% of the commencement speeches this year, 2.8 million graduates are going to hear advice about follow your own path.Soon I began to pester the head of the department about this new idea I had … that startups are not smaller versions of large companies.Actually they re entirely different.Established businesses execute business models, while startups search for them.Yet everyone – investors, entrepreneurs, academics — expected new startups to follow the same practices that worked for large companies: Write a business plan, forecast five-year sales projections, and build the product without ever talking to customers.I was a lone voice inside one of the country s leading business schools challenging the conventional wisdom of the last 40 years, proposing that everything we were teaching about starting companies was wrong.I can t tell you the number of very smart professors and venture capitalists who laughed in my face.Because I knew the clock was running and I was determined to make every day count.I saw something that they didn t and to their credit, Berkeley s Business School and then Stanford s Engineering School let me write and teach a new course based on my ideas.Five years later, the U.S. National Science Foundation adopted this class, now called the Innovation Corps, as the basis of commercializing science in the Unites States.Innovation comes from those who see things that others don t. It comes from people who not only question the status quo but keep persisting in the face of all the naysayers.Because your time here is limited.And VCs expect entrepreneurs to talk about not just their technology but their customer development findings.It was amazing to see the movement I started grow and thrive.Just recently, serendipity sent me down a new road that connected dots from 40 years ago to today.When I was 18, I served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.After hanging up my uniform I had little interaction with the military until four decades later, when a group in the Department of Defense invited me to give a talk about Lean methods.
A new U.S. government study found a link between cell phones and malignant cancer in male rats, the Wall Street Journal reported.As IEEE Spectrum put the findings, they are weak but positive.The $25 million study by the National Toxicology Program NTP and overseen by the National Institutes of Health found low incidences of two types of tumors – one in the heart and one in the brain.The report will likely revive the decades-long debate over the health risks of exposure to cellphone radio frequencies.Ron Melnick, who ran the NTP project until 2009 and reviewed the study s results, told the Journal:The government s official position has long been that scientific evidence so far has not pointed to any health dangers with cell phone use.But the World Health Organization in 2011 classified cellphone radiation as a a possible carcinogen.However, as many pointed out then, coffee and some pickled vegetables also are considered possible carcinogens.And so the debate has been mostly quiet, with some cities such as Berkeley, passing ordinances to require merchants and cell phone manufacturers to post safety guidelines.The CTIA, which represents the cell phone industry, told NBC Bay Area that the overwhelming scientific evidence refutes Berkeley s ill-informed and misleading mandatory warnings about cellphones, according to the FCC and other experts.The same results were not seen in female rats.Some point out that the rats had experienced constant and high-level exposure to the radio frequency radiation and urge caution.Above: Person holding smartphone.AP Photo/Manish Swarup, File Tags: cell phone radiation, cellphone, fcc, Federal Communications Commission, National Institutes of Health, National Toxicology Program, radio frequency, World Health Organization
The researchers said the findings were significant enough that they felt the urgency to release the results before the entire study was complete.More than half of the 74-page document was scientific reviewers responses to the findings.In a statement, the CTIA said numerous international and U.S. organizations have determined that the already existing body of peer-reviewed and published studies shows that there are no established health effects from radio frequency signals used in cellphones.Given the lack of evidence for an increased incidence of brain tumors in the population in recent decades, I do not expect health agencies to react very strongly to these findings, said Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania.Devra Davis, founder of advocacy group Environmental Health Trust, disagreed.The results suggest that there may be no safe level of exposure to cell phone or wireless radiation, said Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California at Berkeley who has been an outspoken proponent of the idea that cellphones cause health effects.
Why women are banned from Mount Athos in Greece.The black film canon, Slate s picks for the 50 greatest movies by black directors.And this is also on topic: The beasts of Silicon Valley compares mythical creatures and a dog to the companies we know and love/hate.Photo: Director Ryan Coogler, of Richmond, is photographed during a media day for the film at the Claremont Hotel in Berkeley, Calif., on Friday, June 21, 2013.His movies Fruitvale Station and Creed both appear on Salon s black film canon.Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group
In the best-case scenario, policymakers would incorporate self-driving car technology into their plans, rather than competing with it for market share.Increased access to and from rail stationsMany people don t use public transit because there aren t any stations within walking distance of where they live, or where they need to go.But the Morgan Stanley report cites research from the University of California, Berkeley, saying that many of those trips — taken when public transit is prohibitively inconvenient — would have otherwise been made in privately owned cars.A taxi driver flies a Stop Uber flag at a protest in Lisbon, Portugal, on April 29, 2016.Yet this may not diminish the cumulative impact over time.This is particularly the case for drivers that bought into a regulated monopoly — such as that for taxicab medallions — with the expectation that the government would continue to enforce that monopoly, the report continues.
Google self-driving car safety-testing lead Stephanie Villegas with one her company's self-driving cars at Google's offices in Mountain View, Calif., April 14, 2016."I've been here since the Prius," said Villegas, referring to the series of vehicles Google has used for its cars, from the Toyota Prius to a Lexus SUV to the bubble-like prototypes currently under testing.Children running in the road after balls.Q What weather-related issues make driving difficult for the robotic cars?Contact Ethan Baron at 408-920-5011 and follow him at Twitter.com/ethanbaron.Stephanie VillegasAge: 29Birthplace: San FranciscoPosition/title: Structured testing leadEducation: UC Berkeley, bachelor of fine artsCity of residence: San FranciscoFive facts about Stephanie VillegasHours worked per week: 50-60Number of speeding tickets, lifetime: 0Favorite Google cafeteria dish: It was a cheese platter that existed at a cafe that is no longer open.
Image: Imke de Pater, Michael H. Wong, Robert J. SaultFor centuries, astronomers have been enchanted by the planet Jupiter, that roiling sea of clouds punctuated by a glowering red eye.Using the Very Large Array in New Mexico, a team led by the University of California, Berkeley, has produced a map of Jupiter s atmosphere down to 100 km 60 miles depth, revealing the gas giant s noxious, ammonia-rich clouds and atmospheric circulation patterns in unprecedented detail.But it s also a mere taste of what s to come later this summer, when NASA s Juno Mission begins probing into the entirely unexplored region at Jupiter s core.Alternating ammonia hotspots and deserts helps explain why, when NASA s Galileo probe made its suicide plunge into Jupiter s atmosphere in 1995, it recorded nitrogen levels much higher than planetary scientists expected.Whatever processes caused Jupiter to be enriched in heavier elements may have laid the groundwork for the formation of Earth, Venus, and Mars.But we can t be certain until we have a better idea of what s really cooking inside our friendly neighborhood gas giant s core.
Ron AmadeoPamela Samuelson is a longtime professor of IP and cyberlaw at the University of California-Berkeley, and she also chairs the board of the Authors Alliance.Her views do not necessarily represent those of Ars Technica, and they've been republished here with her permission.Oracle and Google have been fighting for six years about whether Google infringed copyright by its use of 37 of the 166 packages that constitute the Java API in the Android software platform for smart phones.Oracle claims to own intellectual property rights in the Java API because it bought the assets of the now-defunct Sun Microsystems, which first developed a set of Java technologies, including a complex API.The public has greatly benefited by the existence of this norm because anyone with a creative software idea can write programs that will run on existing platforms.And in addition to this op-ed from professor Pamela Samuelson pro-Google , you can find another from attorney Annette Hurst pro-Oracle on the site.
Reuters — A group of 25 scientists on Thursday proposed an ambitious project to create a synthetic human genome, or genetic blueprint, in an endeavor that is bound to raise concerns over the extent to which human life can or should be engineered.A synthetic human genome potentially could make it possible to create humans who lack biological parents – raising the specter, for instance, of made-to-order human beings with special genetic enhancements.The scientists said that was not their aim.They said potential applications from a synthetic human genome include: growing transplantable human organs; engineering immunity to viruses; engineering cancer resistance; and accelerating vaccine and drug development using human cells and organs.The project aims to build such a synthetic genome and test it in cells in the laboratory within 10 years.The project, which arose from an invitation-only meeting of scientists last month at Harvard University that some critics denounced as too secretive, was unveiled in the journal Science by the experts involved.They acknowledged that their undertaking is controversial and said they would seek public involvement and the consideration of ethical, legal and social implications.The scientists, most of whom work at U.S. academic and other institutions, proposed what they called the Human Genome Project–Write.They said they hoped to get $100 million in public and private funding to launch it this year and expect total costs of less than the $3 billion used for the original Human Genome Project that completely mapped human DNA for the first time in 2003.A synthetic genome would involve using chemicals to create the DNA present in human chromosomes.The new project will include whole-genome engineering of human cell lines and other organisms of agricultural and public health significance, or those needed to interpret human biological functions, the scientists, led by geneticist Jef Boeke of the New York University Langone Medical Center, wrote in the journal Science.They said genome synthesis is a logical extension of the genetic engineering tools that have been used safely by the biotech industry for about four decades.The group also includes experts from Harvard Medical School, the Massachusetts Institute ofTechnology, the U.S. government s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Yale University, the University of Edinburgh, Columbia University, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Washington, Autodesk Bio/Nano Research Group, Bioeconomy Capital and other institutions.Scientists not involved in the project cited potential benefits from the work, including learning the function of vast parts of the genome that remain mysterious and helping better understand how genes are regulated and why there is so much genetic variation among individuals and human populations.The project is not as controversial as some observers might be saying, added University College London professor of synthetic biology John Ward.There is no call to make an entire human being.Critics worry about the unknown effects on new generations and the temptation by future parents to genetically engineer embryos to enhance characteristics such as intelligence or athletic ability.
Using the Very Large Array in New Mexico, a team led by the University of California, Berkeley, has produced a map of Jupiter s atmosphere down to 100 km 60 miles depth, revealing the gas giant s noxious, ammonia-rich clouds and atmospheric circulation patterns in unprecedented detail.But it s also a mere taste of what s to come later this summer, when NASA s Juno Mission begins probing into the entirely unexplored region at Jupiter s core.But while previous studies have been limited to specific latitudes, a recent upgrade to the Very Large Array — one of the world s premier radio observatories — has now enabled scientists to build a global picture, albeit a limited one.Alternating ammonia hotspots and deserts helps explain why, when NASA s Galileo probe made its suicide plunge into Jupiter s atmosphere in 1995, it recorded nitrogen levels much higher than planetary scientists expected.Whatever processes caused Jupiter to be enriched in heavier elements may have laid the groundwork for the formation of Earth, Venus, and Mars.But we can t be certain until we have a better idea of what s really cooking inside our friendly neighbourhood gas giant s core.
In 1943, three psychology professors at the University of California at Berkeley were struggling to understand the most horrific European genocide in a generation.As the war raged overseas, Daniel Levinson, Nevitt Sanford, and Else Frenkel-Brunswik decided to use the greatest power at their disposal—scientific rationality—to stop fascism from ever rising again.He later founded the Wright Institute to reform higher education.If we could test soldiers for shell shock, why not test citizens for anti-Semitism and a tendency to follow dictators?Some of the answers they got seemed to reflect democratic values, such as when a business student told them that he wanted to hire a diverse workforce and work with people from all over the world.As a result of these findings, the F-scale in its final form was intended to measure ethnocentrism, superstition, aggression, cynicism, conservatism, and an inordinate interest in the private sex lives of others as the building blocks for a personality drawn to authoritarian leaders.