Daily Archives: October 7, 2019

Future ahoy: Are you ready to live in a floating city? – San Francisco Chronicle

Posted: October 7, 2019 at 7:52 pm

When the ice caps melt, covering the earth with water, and Kevin Costner sails the seas alone, wearing a set of fish gills and a hardened scowl, the rest of us will be happily content, living comfortably on fancy floating city-states. No fighting cigarette-crazed pirates on greasy Jet Skis, just lazing like frogs on teched-out lily pads.

Why, you ask? Its simple, really. Subsections of humanity will have made the migration from terra firma to the mighty oceans decades earlier. The transition will come partially as an urgent response to our worsening climate crisis and partially as an extreme outgrowth of free market economics.

Thats the theory of Patri Friedman, co-founder and board member of the Seasteading Institute in San Francisco, who happens to be the grandson of the highly influential Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. His ultimate goal is to facilitate a situation in which governments overtly compete for inhabitants on an open market.

To me, hell is one-world government, Friedman told me earlier this year. Even if (the law) had whatever the closest to what everyone in the world would together choose to me thats hell because its vulnerable.

The engine of Friedmans mission is seasteading (think homesteading), which involves creating city-scale offshore habitats for self-sustaining communities of intrepid humans. Securing your plot on one would be as simple as joining a new gym but, you know, as a full-time citizen.

Friedman, who consults on seasteading projects around the world, isnt the only one who sees this vision. Blue Frontiers, a company founded in 2017 by the former executive director of the Seasteading Institute, Joe Quirk, has been trying to jump-start a project to save French Polynesia from the rising Pacific.

Our ambition is to build the worlds first sustainable floating islands, said Marc Collins, managing director of Blue Frontiers and former minister of French Polynesia at a United Nations hearing in 2017. What our country needs and what a lot of the island-nations specifically in the Pacific need are mitigation strategies for sea level rise.

The fact that seasteading sounds like the utopian basis of pulp sci-fi hasnt stopped countries and groups around the world from expressing interest. Proposals have gained traction with varying degrees of failure so far in Thailand and elsewhere. Soon enough, believers say, the first permanent seastead will launch, the floodgates will open, and civilization may find itself hopping aboard a flotilla of giant Petri dishes.

As the oceans stretch and grow, seasteaders will already be in great shape. I do like to joke, Friedman wrote in an email, that the higher the seas, the better for seasteads!

Gregory Thomas is The Chronicle travel editor. Email: gthomas@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @GregRThomas

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Raising the Dead: Ketch Secor Talks Old Crow Medicine Show’s Live at The Ryman, Ken Burns’ ‘Country Music’ and Playing with Bob Weir – jambands.com

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This Friday, Oct. 4, Old Crow Medicine Show will release their new album, Live at The Ryman, which captures various cuts from the country-folk stalwarts many performances at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville over the past half-decade. Ever the torchbearers of down-home, old-timey, harmony-filled music, Old Crow have ridden the wave of the 21st-century folk-revival to awards and accolades over the years, but the groups founders havent forgotten the musical and geographical roots that spawned their success.

Old Crow co-founder Ketch Secor recently helped with the creation of Ken Burns newest documentary, Country Music, which chronicles the myriad storiesboth well-known and nearly forgottenthat have shaped the history of the genre for over a century. Here, Secor talks about keeping the memory of country, folk and bluegrass music alive through the documentary and in his own music and actions, plus his recent experience with playing alongside Grateful Dead guitarist Bob Weir at LOCKN Festival in Old Crows home state of Virginia (where they collaborated on Mexicali Blues, Cumberland Blues and Will the Circle Be Unbroken?) and why Old Crow Medicine Show might have a bit more jamband in them than they previously thought.

Letsstart with this years LOCKNFestival, specifically your set and the Bob Weir sit inhow did that cometogether?

Bobspeople reached out a few days ahead of our tour and let it be known that he wasinterested in sitting in with us, asking what we would play. So we sent himback a list of tunes, and he picked the ones that we played from that list.Then we warmed up in the trailer and we hit the stage together. There are justa few moments like that in the life of a musician, where it seems that somesort of spiritual butterfly will land on the headstock of your guitar and justflap its wings. It reminds you of where you came from, where the music camefrom, and lets you know youre not alone and that your dreams are coming true,all at the very moment of your singing.

Didyou grow up with the Dead? How would a younger version of Ketch have viewedthat experience, being onstage with Bob Weir?

Well,it would have been unfathomable to me as a younger personthat the person I waslooking at, with eyes strained through an LSD hit, was going to be, like, afriend on the stage, years later. I saw the Grateful Dead at Giants Stadium thesummer that Jerry died. It was mid-June, in the burning-hot Meadowlands of NewJersey. I think that, if I wasnt 16 in 1994, I probably would have been to alot more Dead showsbut I just got to go to the one. I loved the music, and Ivealways felt that our band was part of the same familywe were just a littlefurther down the line. Also, so much of our influence tended toward the earlierside of the Grateful Dead, so it sort of felt like, well, maybe its more of ahorseshoe shape?

Hadyou played with any of the members of the Dead before?

Well,we worked some shows with Phil [Lesh] this summer, but in the capacity ofWillie Nelson [on the Outlaw Music Festival Tour], so I dont think Phil knewus, but he did watch our sets most nightsjust awesome to have him there. Andthen there was some correspondence a long time ago with Billy Kreutzmann thatnothing ever came of.

Butthe thing is, when someone is your hero, they take on a life in your life thatis not their life, but something related to your own imagination anddreamscape. And then theres this positively charged sonic landscape in whichJerry lives forever, and Pigpen never died, and theyre taking their firstbanjo lessons, and theyre learning to sing folk songs in the early 1960s, allin the same breath as singing Cats Under The Stars, and death and beyond. Thatsthe kinship that I think the Grateful Dead embodies better than any other musicmaker. The immortality piece.

Andthe relationship of the music to a spiritual plane doesnt need to be aparticular spirit; you can put any deity you want in that picture. That partsnot very important to me. Chuck Berry did the same thinghe lives foreverbuthe didnt talk about living forever, and he didnt dance about livingforever. If he did, he did it in subtle ways. The Dead invited you into a worldthat very much was stated as a spiritual plane. The music undulates andmoves like the soul.

Doyou aim at something like that with your own music?

No,man, Im a revivalist. Im just trying to raise the deadIm not trying to coexistwith them.

Howdid you pick what songs you wanted to play with Bobby?

Well,I hope to check the list again sometime and get to pick again, because theresa lot on that list. Our band has always played Grateful Dead music; we grew upon Grateful Dead music. I polled the band, because were all such big fans, soit was so easy to get a list of twenty tunes together. Most of them we had notplayed before, but we had a few regular songs in our rotation, and certainly alot of common ground. Whats interesting, I think, for our collaboration isthat were really from the roots-music world, like the Dead, but were not atall from the jamband world, so our crossroads happens in a veryless-than-obvious place, in a really deep and soulful place. I think that, whenwe started singing together with Bobby, it instantly felt locked in.

Theresso many people [at festivals] you might want to meet, but these [onstage]encounters, I think, go so much deeper than someones email address. I mean,they certainly require that, and Bob gets to play with all kinds of peopleandyoud have to ask Bob what he feltbut, for us, the man has loomed so large inmythology, in our arts, and in our music, that I still see Steal Your Faceseverywhere. I can close my eyes and still see the Dancing Bears dancing to Cumberland Blues. So it was just a real homecoming to get to play with him.

Haveyou ever had that kind of experience with any other sit ins?

Youknow, it was like meeting Pete Seeger backstage. In the case of Pete Seeger,the part that was the most like making music with Bob Weir was sitting withPete while he talked. Story craft is just at the heart of Pete. He told thisreally long story that I just wanted to drink in. Weve had such a specialprivilege in our lives as musicians to be able to be there with a lot of peoplewho arent on this earth anymore. Plus making music with Cowboy Jack Clement,or Merle Haggard. These kinds of things are what the newspaper men of thefutureGod willing, if I live to be oldenoughwill be asking me. What was it like to play music with Bob Weir?What did Merle Haggard whisper into your ear?

Didhe whisper something into your ear?


Whatwas it?

Illtell you in 35 years. [Laughs.]

Beforethe festival, I was talking to the talent buyer for LOCKN for the LOCKN Times,and he was saying hed been trying to get Old Crow on the lineup for years, butthe timing never worked out. So Im curious what your thoughts of the festivalwere after your first time.

Ima Virginian, so Im always going to want to play in the Old Dominion. But, asfar as playing in Virginia goes, this was a really new experience, because Ivenever done a big festival here before, with music going on [that late]. What Imused to with playing in Virginia is more like a rock festival or a bluegrassfestival, or its a country thing or an Americana thing. But this was none ofthose, so it was exciting to be in the space of what felt like new, in thelandscape of what felt so old.

Youmentioned Old Crow not being too much in the jambands world, but Ive heardthat youre a pretty big Phish fan. Can you talk about that connection andappreciation?

Ihavent seen Phish quite a few years. I kind of stopped going in my earlytwentiesthats something I really did a lot of in high school, though. A lot ofI mean, there was a minute there when Id seen Phish as much as Id seenBob Dylan. But Joe Andrews and Corey Younts in our band are still very muchPhish concertgoers, along with all the variations of Phish. Theyre reallytuned in to whats happening right now. Im sort of tuned into Junta and Lawn Boy. But Im really tuned into them. [Laughs.]

Anyspecific highlights from your Phish-going days that pop out in your memory?

Oneof my favorites was going to a show in Amherst, Mass., and not having a ticketand figuring we were just going to go hang out in the parking lotbeing 16,having some mushrooms in my pocket and being so excited about just going tohang out in the parking lot. Stopping off on the turnpike on the way there, wego into the glass house [regional name for highway rest stops/service areas]and there was someone handing out Phish tickets to the show we were headed to.Those are the kind of miracles that occur in the lives in 16-year-olds on wildweekends in boarding school. [Laughs.]

Ithink, if we had our chops, Old Crow would be a jamband. But we were just neverthat virtuosic. We were a three-chord band that was really song-driven, and thebest that we could do was with soulnot really the way we played, but thepassion with which we played. But its all very self-taught and rudimentarychord structures. Our biggest influences are probably like the Memphis Jug Bandand Workingmans Dead. You can see, in the Dead, that theres thispathway into the wilderness, from the sound of the Warlocks, or the musicbefore that, the undergirding of the Dead.

OldCrow is really rooted in the folk revival, which I think is one of the mostsignificant times in American music, when the first waves reappeared of aprimal sound that had made American popular music so powerful. That wave was sostrong that there were echoes of it resounding even 30 or 40 years later in theShenandoah Valley, when Critter [Fuqua] and I, in the late 1980s, startedplaying folk music. It was that colossal. What really inspired us was to betrue to it. The ideology of the band was still in its infancy and richlyaffixed to this concept of, Gotta keep the old music strong, or else itll die. And, you know, thats the way a 20-year-old thinks. WhatI would tell that 20-year-old is just to rephrase it a little bityouve gottamake the old time music strong so that you can give it away, again and again,so that itll be worth giving away and wont make a memory, but rathersomething present and fun.

Doyou ever have that fear anymore?

No,I think its in great shape. I think probably more harmonicas, banjos andfiddles have been sold in the past 15 years than at any other time. So yeah, Ithink were doing great, in terms of the cultural preservation of the music ofthe state of Virginia and other places. But, as the band is growing into the21st year of its career, we have been able to change that loyalty considerablyand stretch out into lots of new directions.

HavingBob up there affirmed the feeling and emotion in the band that we couldactually play for a long time if we want. We could jam. And so, we startedplaying a couple of Phish tunes in our setmost of that is because we wereplaying in Vermont, and we always have the tendency to play [regionallyappropriate covers]. When we play in Detroit, we sing The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald; in Seattle, we might do Nirvanas [version of] Mollys Lips or something like that. So, going upto Burlington, were likely to play some Phish. And our audiences down Southarent as appreciative of us doing Phishand weve learned that the hard way. [Laughs.]With the blessing of Bobin all his Bob-nessI feel like we could probably goforth and sew a new roots-music/jam rowand grow some pretty unruly crops.

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FMA: The Top 10 Symbols and Logos, Explained | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

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Hiromu Arakawa's action fantasy seriesFullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhoodis a tale of adventure, the follies of mankind, ambition, conspiracy, and the innate goodness of humanity. Along the way, the main characters learn all kinds of lessons about themselves and each other, and the world of Amestris is richly fleshed out during the Elric brother's journey.

RELATED: FMA Brotherhood: Top 10 Friendships and Alliances

This series is also brimming with important symbology and real-life references to religion, mythology, alchemy, and more, and all this research has certainly paid off. Fullmetal Alchemist is a treat for anyone who enjoys these things, and there's plenty to learn. Find out what are the secrets of this show's arcane symbols and logos.

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Not a lot is explained about the national flag of Amestris, but some educated guesses can be made. It depicts a dragon on a green field, and most likely, the dragon represents the aggressive ways of this nation. Amestris is a military autocratic state, where the army and big government are intertwined. Often, white is a color representing purity, but it can also represent death, such as human bones. The "death" Horseman of the Apocalypse rides on a white horse, after all. And this dragon's tails forms a loop, possibly alluding to how important transmutation circles are inFullmetal Alchemist.

Only the homunculi bear this symbol, and it gives away their homunculus status. Greed's, as pictured, is on the back of his left hand, and Gluttony has one on his tongue and Wrath's is on his left eye. This creature, according to real-life symbology, represents immortality and eternity, since it is eating its own tail and thus creating an infinite loop. The homunculi are not truly immortal, but they can outlive humans, and they are tools of Father's ambition to become an immortal god for all time.

RELATED: Fullmetal Alchemist: 10 Facts You Didn't Know About Olivier Armstrong

Next up is the Flamel, the symbol that appears on the back of Edward Elric's distinctive red coat. Just what is it? This cross has a snake draped on it, along with detached wings and a crown, and it represents the real-life Nicholas Flamel's relationship to alchemy. This symbol also has a superficial resemblance to the Greek Rod of Asclepius, associated with medicine in ancient Greece. It's also somewhat similar to the Greek Caduceus, the symbol of the Greek god Hermes (who controls alchemy). Izumi Curtis, the Elric brothers' teacher, has this symbol tattooed on her breast.

Now for an active alchemy transmutation circle. Colonel Roy Mustang is an extraordinary alchemist, being able to snap his fingers to generate heat and flames in any shape or pattern. To do this, Roy has a unique transmutation circle on his glove that shows a triangle, a stylized flame, and a salamander. In medieval Europe, salamanders were associated with fire, and this motif appears often in fiction both old and new. Take Charmander in Pokemon, for example, a fire lizard. "Charred" and "salamander" gives us "Charmander."

The transmutation circles of several alchemists appear on this list, and now it is Solf J. Kimblee's turn. Kimblee has to clap his hands to use alchemy, and his circle is split in half on each palm. What do they mean? The sun symbol on his right hand represents gold, and the moon symbol on the left hand stands for silver. The triangles are important, too: the upwards triangle is symbolic of fire, and the downward-facing triangle represents water. Put together, they form a hexagram, and Kimblee's explosive alchemy is ready to rock!

RELATED: Fullmetal Alchemist: 10 Differences Between the Anime and the Manga

Alphonse Elric is very careful to protect this transmutation circle. In a moment of desperation, a young Edward used his own blood to write it, and this bound Al's soul to armor with advanced alchemy. This seal may represent the real-life philosophy that a human life is two distinct parts: the body, and the mind. Some argue that killing the body does not kill the mind, and to be sure, Alphonse is a fine metaphor for that. Hang in there, kid.

Edward comes face to face with Truth whenever he performs human alchemy: once as a child, and once to escape Gluttony's stomach realm. Each time, he finds himself in a white void that features this door. And that door is oozing with symbolic meaning. In particular, it refers to the mystical branch of Judaism known as the Kabbalah. The whole thing is based on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, and in Ed's case, the tree has a crown, or a "keter." This tree's roots represent the most mundane and earthly aspect of trying to reach godhood, and the top represents the divine. The circles also describe aspects of Ed's being and God, in Hebrew and in Latin, such as Filius ("son"), and El Pater ("God)".

RELATED: Fullmetal Alchemist: 10 Most Powerful Alchemy, Ranked

Shown is an experimental combination of alchemy and alkahestry, from the notes of Scar's deceased brother. Alkahestry, which originates from Xing, is based on pentagrams rather than hexagrams, and a star is often symbolic of the human body in real life. Take, for example, Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Scar's brother realized that neither alchemy nor alkahestry represented the sum of the world's power, and attempted to reconcile them. Scar's arm tattoos, which enable alchemy, also have alkahestry symbology in them.

The ancient Xerxes people of the great desert had some symbology to offer, too. Ed finds these ruins both in Xerxes itself and inside Gluttony's stomach, and he soon divines their meaning. According to him, the sun represents the human soul, while the moon stands for the mind. The stone itself, meanwhile, is the human body. What does this add up to? A human transmutation circle, and Ed is not happy to see that. Ed also notes that the lion is eating the sun, representing the attainment of the Philosopher's Stone and thus immortality.

The list concludes with another alchemist's own transmutation circle. In this case, Major Alex Armstrong has two copies of it, one on each armored gauntlet, and he strikes the gauntlets together to activate his own brand of alchemy. Inside a triangle is the word for "God," as seen on the Xerxes human transmutation circle. There appears to be German text circling the symbols, which is easier to see in the manga. The text changes at some point, but it's not clear if that's from an artistic oversight or if Armstrong really did change the writing.

NEXT: The 5 Best (& 5 worst) Fullmetal Alchemist Relationships

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NextX-Men: 10 Things Fans Should Know About Vulcan, The Third Summers Brother

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Free Report: Rise of the Warehouse Robots – Robotics Business Review

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Last year, the warehouse automation market grew by more than 13% globally, reaching sales in excess of $12.5 billion. Warehouses continue to experience increased investment, driven by increasing levels of automation within the warehouse, as well as the integration of supply chains.

Compounding this are continued labor shortages in the logistics industry, with continued demand for goods via online purchasing. Robots and other automation systems are helping to address these shortages and to meet these increased demands for goods that arrive faster than ever before.

In this free report by LogisticsIQ, in cooperation with RoboBusiness (and Robotics Business Review), we will detail many of the predictions and statistics driving the need for more autonomous mobile robots in the space. In addition, we will highlight the key players and outline some of the new technologies expected to grow the market.

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Free Report: Rise of the Warehouse Robots - Robotics Business Review

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‘Teaching at its best’: Vex Robotics wins at Teachers Inspire awards – Siliconrepublic.com

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The integration of Vex Robotics into the primary school curriculum, led by Dr Maeve Liston, won the Teaching Councils Collaboration Award, which recognises innovative, collaborative, change-making projects.

On Friday (4 October), the inaugural Teachers Inspire award ceremony was held in The Helix at Dublin City University.

There were four nominees shortlisted for the Teaching Councils Collaboration Award at Teachers Inspire. This award recognises innovative, collaborative and change-making projects in teaching that have the potential to be scaled nationally.

The four nominees were selected from a total of 50 projects showcased at last weeks FILTE event in NUI Galway.

These included an initiative to integrate Vex Robotics into the primary school curriculum; a peer collaboration project between primary and post-primary-level students in mathematics; a cross-curricular, collaborative approach to STEM teaching to encourage and increase participation from girls in DEIS schools; and a project called Virtual Reality Explorers, which helps children develop their reading, writing and oral language skills with the use of a VR headset.

The prize was awarded to the Vex Robotics programme. The project, led by Dr Maeve Liston of Mary Immaculate College with the help of mentors from Dell EMC in Limerick, supports teachers in introducing robotics across the primary school curriculum.

This is achieved through the delivery of summer courses and regular professional development sessions with teachers. The model of STEM educational outreach aims to build teachers content and pedagogy knowledge in STEM, influencing their confidence and ability to teach STEM skills.

Vex Robotics teaches school children over the age of eight the basics of STEM and how to apply these skills to the design, building and programming of robots. Teachers Inspire noted that the project also teaches the children valuable skills such as project management, presentation skills, teamwork and leadership.

Noelle Moran, chair of the Teaching Council, said: We are immensely impressed by the projects showcased at FILTE this year and choosing a shortlist for the Teachers Inspire awards was a difficult task.

Our finalists and other showcases showed teaching at its best: the willingness to go above and beyond the curriculum, selfless collaboration with others, change making for the greater good and the delivery of real and lasting initiatives for teachers and students.

I congratulate Dr Maeve Liston and her team on winning this award and look forward to seeing similar initiatives rolled out across Ireland.

Director of the Teaching Council, Toms Ruairc, added: STEM projects require a high level of creativity, collaboration and cross-functional learning.

The winning project exemplifies these benefits across a number of areas public and private sector, schools and third level, teachers across three counties and all integrating robotics into the primary curriculum, which is innovation and integration all in one!

The quality of all entries for the Teaching Councils Collaborative Award provides cause for great confidence in the teaching profession as it continually evolves to meet the needs of a modern and ever progressive society and economy.

Four teachers, one from each province in Ireland, also took home prizes for their contribution to Irish education and society. These were Seamas Cassidy, Nora Duffy, Sinead OMahony and Kelly Loughran.

President of DCU, Prof Brian MacCraith, said: The motivation behind Teachers Inspire was to create a platform that would highlight the work of our exceptional teachers, and give them the validation and recognition they deserve.

I am delighted to say that this idea has truly captured the publics imagination. We have received hundreds of nominations and heard incredible stories of teachers who have gone above and beyond for their students and their communities.

MacCraith added: The nominations highlighted teachers dealing with issues such as homelessness, mental health, immigration, unplanned pregnancies, gender identity support, community regeneration and climate change.

They were submitted by schoolchildren, parents and people whose schooldays are long behind them but who remember their teachers with great fondness and gratitude.

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Robotics education: Key trends that are helping shape the future – Study International News

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Robotics education is becoming increasingly commonplace in schools. This is largely due to the fact that students in K12 schools will graduate into a workforce thats rife with technology, in an era where robots will become widely used in our everyday lives.

Even if these kids choose a career other than coding or robotics, learning robotics teaches them many important skills such as analytical thinking, programming, teamwork, collaborative thinking, innovation and more. It can be easily incorporated into STEAM education, which is becoming more popular in schools worldwide.

According to Acer for Education, Educational robotics strengthen and support students skills developing their knowledgethrough the creation, design, assembly, and operation of robots.

Children and young students find it funny and engaging because they feel free to interact directly with both electrical and mechanical processes and procedures.

In fact, the programming can be too difficult and boring when learned through the traditional abstract method. On the contrary, by having to control a physical robot and seeing what goes wrong, students learn what robots can and cant do with an immediate experience and understanding.

As robotics education is still in the early stages, theres plenty of room for it to grow and reach more students all over the world.

Here are some common robotics trends EdTech experts observed in K12 education, according to Dennis Pierce, who writes for eSchoolnews.

Due to the nature of robotics, its not a cheap feature for schools to invest in. This is why public schools in many countries have been slower to adopt robotics education, but international and private schools lead the way.

Companies are making robotics education more accessible so that more schools can afford to offer it to students.

According to Pierce, Two key barriers to integrating robotics into the general curriculum are cost and teacher capacity. Robotics manufacturers are taking several steps to reduce these barriers wherever possible.

For example, Edison is offering supporting materials to teachers for free, which includes lesson plans and guides that help teachers conduct a robotics lesson effectively.

Theres also the CoderZ platform that gives students a cost-effective way to learn about coding and robotics without needing expensive equipment. Students use a game-like interface to program virtual robots as they aim to solve various challenges.

Robotics education is also being targeted more towards girls due to the fact that women are largely underrepresented in STEM.

Many companies are also paying close attention to how their robotic devices are perceived and are trying to develop gender-neutral solutions, wrote Pierce.

For instance, BirdBrains original Finch robot was designed to resemble a bird so that it would engage both boys and girls. WiredreportsthatWonder Workshop tested the design of its gender-neutral robots, Dash and Cue, on boys and girls to make sure the devices appealed equally to both genders.

Not too long ago, robotics education was targeted towards students in secondary school, but Pierce has observed a growing trend in younger students learning about robotics.

Early exposure to STEAM education is beneficial for students, and as they are naturally curious, they enjoy taking things apart and re-assembling them in engaging ways.

Thats why so many companies are coming up with products that target younger students so they can learn more about how robotics work.

According to Pierce, KinderLab RoboticsKIBOis a screen-free robotics kit that enables children ages 4-7 to design, create, decorate, and bring their own robot to life.

Edisonis a programmable robot designed to teach coding and computational thinking skills to kids as young as four as well. And EduscapesPhoton is a robot whose five visual apps allow even non-readers to start learning to code at age five.

Its interesting to observe just how far education has come with the introduction of technology like robotics. The future looks even more exciting with the growth of robotics education and other emerging education technologies.

4 UK-based EdTech start-ups that are transforming the way we learn

Robots to the rescue: How technology helps chronically ill students keep up in school

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Boston Next: Robotic Heroes Of Disaster Response – CBS Boston

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CHELMSFORD (CBS) They have been used at 9/11; the Fukushima nuclear disaster; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; and the Boston Marathon bombings.

The robotic heroes of disaster response.

Our robots are saving lives every day. No question about it, said Tom Frost, general manager of FLIR, a robotics company based in Chelmsford that has developed robots that give soldiers and law enforcement eyes, ears and hazardous material sensors where they cant go.

The companys first is called the PACKBOT one of FLIRs most popular. Its about the size of a small bike and is able to trek across pretty much any terrain, even up and down stairs. Its equipped with multiple cameras, a long arm with an advanced gripping mechanism, and can be fitted with sensors to detect hazardous materials. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster occurred, PACKBOT ventured into the site to measure radiation levels.

If the military sees a mortar round on the ground or a suspicious bag in a car, they can bring the PACKBOT in; extend the arm; pick it up; and disable it.

It has become invaluable in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where IEDs became a primary threat. In fact, in FLIRs lobby in Chelmsford, the company has enlarged a post card from a soldier reading, You have saved lives today.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, daily we would be running tens of missions taking out those threats, Frost said.

FLIR has also developed this smaller robot called the FirstLook. It can do much of what PACKBOT can and its size allows it to travel into tight spaces. A police officer or a soldier who needs to get a look on the other side of a barrier can actually throw FirstLook right over the top. It will land on the other side and can then right itself and start driving around.

We were sending the robots into caves and into bunkers searching for bad guys and for booby traps, Frost said. They were locating ammo stores of the Taliban.

And FLIR is already building the next generation of robots ones that can operate completely autonomously and in tandem with one another.

We can actually put robots inside a building, set those robots off so they navigate those buildings on their own; they create a map of that building, Frost said. Where the staircases are; if they came across any bad guys or bad materials that can all be marked on the map and sent back outside to the operator.

If you want to see the robots in person, there will be an opportunity at the Robot Block Party in the Seaport on Sunday October 20. For more information visit http://www.MassRobotics.org

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Box CEO Aaron Levie On AI, Robotics, The Future Of Work, Digital Transformation And #YangGang – Forbes

Posted: at 7:48 pm

What will work look like when everything is digitally transformed, artificial intelligence is optimally deployed and robots are embedded in every aspect of our economy? Thats hard to know, but one company thats focused on making work work better, and helping businesses digitally transform, is Box.

Box, which went public in 2015, still acts very much like a Silicon Valley startup. Except, of course, grown up, with partnerships with Google and IBM and just about any other important company you can think of.

Global communication network concept. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. 3D rendering.

And 95,000 customers, including 69% of the Fortune 500.

I had a chance to interview Box CEO Aaron Levie at BoxWorks, the companys annual conference where it unveils new products, new relationships and new ways of transforming the business of work.

This is a lightly-edited transcript of our discussion.

John Koetsier: You often talk about digital transformation. What percentage of the US economy do you think is digitally transformed?

Levie: I would say a very small percentage.

John Koetsier: Can you put a number to it?

Levie: No. False precision is a waste of time. I have no idea. I'm sorry to be lame. But I would say a very small percentage.

And I think that it's evidenced by the fact that the majority of our interactions with companies is still largely done in a fairly traditional manner. You know, I'm getting on the phone, I have a website that's not very interactive, things aren't personalized to me, I go into a store and it's still hard to navigate. And so I think we're probably still pretty early in this in this journey.

I mean, just the easiest example is trying to change an airplane flight.

How long would that take you ... would it take you two minutes? Or would it take you two hours? And given that the underlying operational work is only two minutes, until the user experience gets to two minutes, then we're not really digitally transformed, right?

So I think we're just very early in this journey right now.

John Koetsier: Same thing on the global economy, I'm assuming?

Levie: Yeah, it varies by country, right? Certainly, I think if you if you look at China, they're probably much further ahead in terms of consumer apps, in a lot of respects.

But now its still so very early, with a high degree of upcoming change.

If I think about the amount of investment and change that people are making to their business models and their cultures, I think we're in for a decade of transformation ahead.

John Koetsier: What changes when a company successfully becomes digital first?

Levie: The way I kind of think about it is how narrow of a gap is there between my time and energy, and my output.

Think about just how many hours in a day are you doing things that a computer could do more efficiently? Because the user experience of how you're interacting could just be way, way simpler, right? Like, how many hours a day do we have in wasted communication or searching for data? Were asking the system for answers ...

John Koetsier: Or doing something in five steps that should be one.

Levie: Exactly.

So imagine if you just got to the utopian state where the computer can do all the parts that it can do best, and the people do the parts that we do best ... and you've got a great kind of harmony. That's that's what I think a digitally transformed workplace looks like.

And with instant sharing and collaboration between teams and people to get access to data instantaneously. So I think we're seeing what that can look like.

I think small startups have an advantage because they can on day one adopt Slack and Box and Google and start working in as close to this modern way as possible. A Fortune 500 company, you know, might have two or three or five years of change. And some of that's going to be technological change.

But a lot of it is going to be cultural change.

For example, what happens in a world where I, as a user, have way more transparency around what my colleagues are working on? Does it change what the company prioritizes? Does it change the communication style of the organization? So theres a lot of cultural change on that front, and we always have to balance the technological change with the cultural change. And I think most companies are going through that.

John Koetsier: Let's talk about the future of work. The future of work stresses a lot of people out: automation, robotics, AI, potential job loss ... does it stress you out?

Levie: I think it stresses me out that it stresses other people out. So I think I'm probably more of an optimist on this by default.

I was talking recently to a CEO of a major logistics and servicing company. And his number one problem and this is a Fortune 500 company, not a small business his number one problem was finding truck drivers.

Like literally, they cannot hire enough.

So I think that we've sort of painted this very bleak picture of a world of AI and world of jobs being completely disrupted. It's just my optimistic view but actually, I think what's going to happen is that individual tasks will be automated, but full jobs, it'll take far, far longer.

And that will give us more time than we think for the economy to evolve through this.

There's no question, there are certain jobs where it's just going to be really tough sledding. 20 years ago that would have been the travel agent on a telephone bank. That specific job did not have a bright future. So you have to find an industry that's growing as opposed to one that's declining because of technological transformation.

I think that we're going to see more surprising upside on jobs because of automation and advancements in AI. In many aspects of work today, if you could make the job more efficient, you wouldn't necessarily hire fewer people, you would just have those people go and work on more important things.

I rarely run into a company that is getting optimal output from its employees. There's a lot of areas of our lives where we're actually artificially under-consuming something ... and we would actually consume that service more if it was delivered more efficiently to us.

I think healthcare is a perfect example.

Personally, I try to avoid the healthcare system at all costs. If healthcare was in a much easier, more efficient experience, then maybe that wouldn't be the case. Maybe we would actually like getting more involved in the healthcare system.

John Koetsier: 30 years ago, Harvard Business School professor Shoshana Zuboff said that everything can be automated, will be. Agree?

Levie: Well, if you don't add a time frame, then I would say it's more right than not. But again, the time frame is the important part.

Because what tends to happen is you take one thing, and you automate that, and a new set of things occur because of that automation, that now are not automated. And then I go to automate those things. And it's literally never-ending. And so any individual tasks that we see today that can be automated probably will be automated, but the tasks that get created from those tasks being automated, will not be automated yet.

And so we're always in this ever evolving sort of race for more and more efficiency. And that's just what capitalism does.

John Koetsier: What processes should never be automated?

Levie: Well, I'm a new father. And so I think I actually have an increasing appreciation for parts of the economy that frankly, we have under-invested in. Childcare is a great example. Think about how many millions of people could have childcare if you could deliver it for more people.

That's a job that's not gonna be automated, that's not going to be an app, it's not gonna be a robot that rolls around. That's people. That's empathy. And that's creativity.

So much of this sort of AI myopia, I think, comes from Silicon Valley. We're just like, well, why wouldn't somebody want to interact with a computer for that task, instead of working with a human? But, actually, people like to interact with people. I mean, we're sort of a social species!

So the idea that you're going to go to a restaurant and never see a waiter, because it's just so efficient to do it from an iPad well, maybe in some cases but it will probably be a hybrid model for almost forever. Because there's probably going to be plenty of people that want human interaction.

John Koetsier: As we do automate more and more and add AI and robotics, do we need to change our economic model in some way to account for that? For instance, universal basic income, taxing robots and so on?

Levie: Well, I don't think the robot taxing makes sense, because I think that it's better to let businesses decide which things they need to make more efficient and not have an artificial constraint on how you would run an efficient business.

That being said, I think that it's very, very possible that the economy and how the economy runs in 50 years looks very different than today.

I think that it absolutely is our responsibility to make sure that people are protected in those types of situations. I would just say, though, that it's so hard to anticipate that stage because we're not yet seeing it. We only have anecdotal examples. And it's great to get ahead of it. So we should have lots of policy ideas and re-education programs, but I'm a little bit skeptical of getting overly negative and and dystopian around this future when we're just in the early stages.

But what Im seeing and what everybody I talk to says is that were actually running into a shortage of talent in many areas of our businesses.

John Koetsier: One last thing. YangGang?

Levie: I watch him with complete curious interest. I listen ... a lot of his policies are very provocative and very interesting.

Personally, I would love a world where you could run experiments on a Warren country, a Yang country, a Cory Booker country ... and then we could just see like, which one would work best.

John Koetsier: A/B testing presidents?

Levie: If we could do multivariate testing for presidents that'd be really fantastic. Because I think there's plenty of good ideas there. I have no idea what the unintended consequences of some of these things are.

I think that having more more regulation is a good thing. So a lot of what Warren is pushing for, I think it makes a lot of sense. I think a lot of what Yang is pushing for around jobs and thinking about the future of income, no matter what happens to you ... it makes a lot of sense to go and try out and see what are the results of that.

John Koetsier: Thank you for your time.

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Box CEO Aaron Levie On AI, Robotics, The Future Of Work, Digital Transformation And #YangGang - Forbes

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New Vishay Intertechnology Position Sensor Offers Robust, High-Resolution Performance for Robotics and Other Precision Industrial and Military…

Posted: at 7:48 pm

60 mm Device Features > 13-Bit Accuracy, 19-Bit Resolution, and > 16-Bit Repeatability

MALVERN, Pa., Oct. 07, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. (VSH) today introduced a new high precision position sensor that offers more robust performance than existing absolute encoders and better resolution and accuracy than traditional Hall effect sensors for industrial robotics and other demanding applications. The new RAMK060 rotational absolute magnetic kit encoder uses advanced contactless technology to achieve > 13-bit accuracy, 19-bit resolution, and > 16-bit repeatability while maintaining robustness against external magnetic fields, moisture, airborne pollution, vibration, mechanical shock, and changes in temperature. The device features a useful electrical angle of 360 and works over a temperature range of -40 C to +85 C, with higher maximum temperatures available on request.

The rotor + stator kit design of the RAMK060, as well as its off-axis design (for hollow shaft mounting), slim ~6.5 mm profile, and light weight (< 55 g) make it ideal for applications where little space is available but an angular position needs to be detected with high accuracy. The RAMK060 has an outside diameter of 60 mm and inner diameter of 25 mm. Several multi-turn variants are available, including connection to a backup battery when system power is off. SPI, SSI, or Biss-C output signals are available.

Vishays patented design is particularly suited for applications calling for precise and repetitive motion such as arm joints for industrial robots and collaborative robots; steering wheels for automated guided vehicles; and machine tools used in printing, textile manufacturing, and milling.

The key advantages of the RAMK060 are:

This technology architecture provides the best performance with safety guarantees.

Samples and production quantities of the RAMK060 are available now, with a lead time of 16 weeks for larger orders. Customers may request samples by sending an email to mcbprecisionpot@vishay.com.

Vishay Intertechnology, Inc., a Fortune 1000 Company listed on the NYSE (VSH), is one of the world's largest manufacturers of discrete semiconductors (diodes, MOSFETs, and infrared optoelectronics) and passive electronic components (resistors, inductors, and capacitors). These components are used in virtually all types of electronic devices and equipment, in the industrial, computing, automotive, consumer, telecommunications, military, aerospace, power supplies, and medical markets. Vishays product innovations, successful acquisition strategy, and "one-stop shop" service have made it a global industry leader. Vishay can be found on the Internet at http://www.vishay.com.

Vishay on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/VishayIntertechnology Vishay Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/vishayindust

Share it on Twitter: http://twitter.com/intent/tweet?text=New @vishayindust position sensor offers robust, high-res performance for robotics and other precision industrial and military apps - http://bit.ly/356XpuL

Link to datasheet:http://www.vishay.com/ppg?32579 (RAMK060)

Link to product photo:https://www.flickr.com/photos/vishay/albums/72157711181091528

For more information please contact:Vishay IntertechnologyPeter Henrici, +1 408 567-8400peter.henrici@vishay.com orRedpinesBob Decker, +1 415 409-0233bob.decker@redpinesgroup.com

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New Vishay Intertechnology Position Sensor Offers Robust, High-Resolution Performance for Robotics and Other Precision Industrial and Military...

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Charts Look Positive for Robotics and AI Stocks – Investopedia

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Robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) are two topics that are on the minds of many investors due to the segment's projected ability to disrupt how business is conducted in the future. In this article, we'll take a look at three chart patterns from across the sector that suggest the bulls are stepping in and that prices are poised to break higher from here.

Exchange-traded products are the vehicle of choice for active traders looking to gauge the short-term direction of any given niche. When it comes to robotics and artificial intelligence, the most popular fund is the Global X Robotics and Artificial Intelligence Thematic ETF (BOTZ), which comprises 37 holdings spanning industrial robotics, automation, semiconductors, and autonomous vehicles.

Taking a look at the chart below, you can see that the price of the fund has trended toward the long-term support of its 200-day moving average. The price action over the past several months suggests that the sector is undergoing a period of consolidation, and the move above the support levels suggests that a major reversal is underway. Based on the pattern, active traders will most likely set their stop-loss orders below $19.38 in case of a sudden sell-off and in an attempt to maximize the risk-to-reward setup.

When it comes to machine learning, artificial intelligence, and related subsectors, the company that is nearly impossible to ignore is NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA). Taking a look at the chart below, you'll notice that the stock has been trading within a period of consolidation during 2019 and looks well positioned to start a long-term move higher. The recent bullish crossover between the 50-day and 200-day moving averages is known as the golden crossover and is commonly used by active traders to mark the start of major uptrends. From a risk-management perspective, stop-loss orders will most likely be placed below $161.49 in case of a shift in sentiment and to take advantage of the lucrative risk-to-reward setup.

Another top holding of the BOTZ ETF that could be worth a closer look is ABB Ltd. (ABB), which is currently trading at the mid-point of a well-defined range. As you can see from the chart below, the price has recently bounced off of a major level of resistance and has found support near the 200-day moving average. Recent strength has triggered a bullish crossover between the moving averages, which suggests that the bulls are in control of the momentum and that prices could be poised to move toward the September highs and eventually beyond.

Robotics and artificial intelligence are lucrative fields to be sure and therefore deserve a position in almost any portfolio. Based on the patterns discussed above, it appears as though now could be an ideal time to buy.

At the time of writing, Casey Murphy did not own a position in any of the assets mentioned.

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Charts Look Positive for Robotics and AI Stocks - Investopedia

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