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"That’s the conclusion of a recent study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which found that over the course of a 30-year career, mothers outperformed women without children at almost every stage of the game. In fact, mothers with at least two kids were the most productive of all.... They decided to analyze the amount of research published by more than 10,000 academic economists as a proxy for performance. A job in the ivory tower of academia requires higher education by definition, and their work is easily searched, recorded and ranked.
It's important to point out that the authors are examining a very narrow group of women with privileged circumstances. Parenthood was likely planned for many them, with benefits such as maternity leave and paid sick time. They can also better afford to pay for resources like reliable childcare that allow them to work longer. Low-income or low-skilled mothers often face a very different working environment."
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "A proposed talk by two Carnegie Mellon University researchers demonstrating how to de-anonymise Tor users on a budget of US$3,000 has been axed from the Black Hat USA 2014 conference in Las Vegas next month.
The talk, 'You don’t have to be the NSA to Break Tor: Deanonymizing Users on a Budget' by speakers, Alexander Volynkin and Michael McCord, from Carnegie Mellon University's Computer Emergency Response Team, had reportedly been highly anticipated by punters.
However, the talk was scrapped from the program because it had not been approved by the legal counsel with the university's Software Engineering Institute, according to a statement on the Black Hat website this week.
"Late last week, we were informed by the legal counsel for the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and Carnegie Mellon University that: 'Unfortunately, Mr. Volynkin will not be able to speak at the conference since the materials that he would be speaking about have not yet been approved by CMU/SEI for public release'," the statement said." Link to Original Source top
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "The unified Operating Systems Group (OSG), under Terry Myerson, is cutting a substantial number of testers, as well as the Xbox Entertainment Studios team, charged with creating original TV content for Xbox. I've heard rumors some in Windows marketing are being cut, too.
Here's the memo Myerson e-mailed to the OSG team on July 17 announcing the refocusing of the team:
"Re: Focusing our team Team,
As Satya shared last week, and we’ve been discussing for almost a year, we are making broad changes in how we engineer products. Thus, today we are restructuring some parts of our team in three areas: consolidating some of our geographically distributed teams, cancelling some projects to increase investment on higher priorities, and changing the ratio of people working across disciplines as part of our new engineering process. For individuals in Redmond whose jobs are impacted, a leader within their organization will have reached out by 11:30 AM PDT today; timing outside of Redmond will vary.
This change is so incredibly hard. People whose jobs are impacted by these changes are our colleagues and friends. The company is offering support, services and assistance during this transition in a number of ways. For those of you whose jobs are impacted by this, I want to thank you for your contribution to Microsoft and our customers, and wish you the best.
It will take time for all of us to adjust to today's announcement, but we can now move forward knowing that we have completed the OSG-wide restructuring in the US today; the process outside the US will be completed according to local law and practices.
Submarines, bats, and even humans can echolocate, but they need high-end acoustic gear, brainpower, or training in order to do it. Now electrical engineer Ivan Dokmani, of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), in Switzerland, could bring that capability to smartphones. He has used echolocation combined with a simple algorithm and off-the-shelf microphones to map part of a complex structure—the Lausanne Cathedral. Used in reverse, this kind of technology could one day help smartphones find their location inside buildings.
Echolocation at its most basic consists of sending a sound toward an item of interest and timing its return. If you know the medium, you also know how fast it will carry the sound. Solve a simple equation and you have the distance to the item.
But mapping even the simplest room, let alone a cathedral, is more complex. The first sound reflects from all the room’s surfaces, flooding the listener with signals from many directions. Even after passing the microphone the first time, those first sound waves can reflect on opposing walls and return to the microphone a second time, adding secondary reflections to the already confusing signal. “You need somehow a way to tell, ‘This group of echoes corresponds to one wall, and another group of echoes corresponds to another wall,’ ” Dokmani says.
Some solutions involve sending sound from multiple known locations at different times. Other solutions involve using multiple microphones. Dokmani, who says he has a taste for simplicity, once tried to calculate a hypothetical room’s geometry using just one sound source and one microphone [PDF]. This system worked on paper for some kinds of rooms in noiseless environments, but in the real world, noise is everywhere. “Maybe you’ll have some spurious spikes in your signal,” Dokmani says, “so you also need a way to discard these.”
Dokmani’s method, published online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses a mathematical tool called a Euclidean distance matrix, which helps sort the reflected sounds along a timeline. But he conceded a point to complexity and used multiple microphones—although only one sound source.
Electrical engineering researcher Flavio P. Ribeiro, of Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group, in Redmond, Wash., calls this application of Euclidean distance matrices “useful” but notes that Dokmani’s algorithm assumes tidier environments than exist in the real world, such as rooms with no furniture or other clutter that might complicate the sound signal. Such clutter creates “sound shadows” that would require more computing power to untangle.
Other algorithms, including one created by electrical engineer Sakari Tervo of Aalto University, in Finland, and a colleague, seek to reconstruct a room’s geometry even in the absence of some of the initial sound reflections, although these algorithms rely on multiple microphones. Dokmani’s latest system assumes he has captured all the first reflections before he can filter out the secondary reflections and noise.
Tervo also worries that Dokmani’s algorithm will not translate to more complex settings. In their paper, Dokmani and his colleagues note that their map of the cathedral is imperfect due to reflections from figurines, columns, and curved surfaces. They were unable to distinguish between some of the smaller walls and the secondary reflections from bigger walls, he says. They achieved much better accuracy when they mapped a simple classroom with a fifth wall made of stacked tables.
Even so, the experiments inspired Dokmani to explore hiring a developer who could help create smartphone applications using his algorithm. In a room with known dimensions, a pair of sound-emitting devices might be able to calculate their positions in the room, he suggests. The algorithm might also help improve teleconferencing sound quality. Electrical engineer Fabio Antonacci at Politecnico di Milano, in Italy, says he and others aim to improve teleconferencing too. They presented a paper last year in which they tried to identify sound sources at multiple locations in order to focus the listening devices on all of them at once, in much the same way that recent experimental cameras allow users to focus on light images at multiple depths.
Achieving those goals will take “smarter algorithms,” Dokmani says, but after this experiment, he is optimistic: “It is kind of surprising that you can do it with so little infrastructure.”
Automakers are in the uncomfortable position of building mostly at a loss a class of small electric cars that garner a lot of attention but few sales just to satisfy rules imposed by one state, California.
As a result, they've acquired the name "compliance cars."
They include electric versions of such familiar models as the Chevrolet Spark, Honda Fit and Toyota RAV4.
Most are being produced primarily or solely to meet California's mandate that large automakers sell a percentage of zero-emission cars in order to sell traditional cars in the state. Hybrids and natural gas cars aren't considered good enough, and hydrogen fuel-cell cars are still a ways off, so battery cars are the quickest way to comply.
Though automakers have held splashy unveilings of these electrics, they often are selling by the hundreds in an industry where tens of thousands determine profitability.
Limiting losses on the cars, not making a profit, has become the carmakers' initial goal. The state requires them not just to make but to sell the cars, and that has meant taking losses to bring down sale or lease prices on the relatively pricey cars to move them.
Last month, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne said his company would limit production of the electric Fiat 500e because it will lose $10,000 on each. "Doing that on a large scale would be masochism to the extreme," he said.
The Fiat 500e, at $32,500 before subsidies, is almost twice the price of the base model of a conventional base Fiat 500, but the company has discount-lease and other plans to add to government subsides and cut the final cost.
Like many of the other such cars, the 500e will be sold only in California when it rolls out this summer.
The California rules apply to automakers that sell at least 60,000 vehicles a year in the state, which means the Detroit makers, plus Toyota, Honda and Nissan.
Analisa Bevan, sustainable-technology chief for California's Air Resources Board, says 10 other states also will adopt California's zero-emission mandate.
Hybrids, CNG cars and clean-burning gas engines don't count. "They don't get us far enough" to meet air quality and climate-change goals like electrics, she says.
The compliance cars stand in contrast to the electric Nissan Leaf or Tesla Model S, which are being promoted nationwide with the goal of commercial success.
Some automakers are trying to straddle the line. Ford says, for instance, that its $39,200 Focus electric is being sold at select dealers in all states except Wyoming and West Virginia. Even at that, Ford sold 566 through April this year, compared with 84,455 conventional Focuses.
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "FTA: "The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, the first implanted device to treat adult patients with advanced retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The device, which includes a small video camera, transmitter mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, video processing unit (VPU) and an implanted retinal prosthesis (artificial retina), replaces the function of degenerated cells in the retina (a membrane inside the eye) and may improve a patient’s ability to perceive images and movement. The VPU transforms images from the video camera into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to the retinal prosthesis.
RP is a rare genetic eye condition that damages the light-sensitive cells that line the retina. In a healthy eye, these cells change light rays into electrical impulses and send them through the optic nerve to the area of the brain that assembles the impulses into an image. In people with RP, the light-sensitive cells slowly degenerate resulting in gradual loss of side vision and night vision, and later of central vision. The condition can lead to blindness.
“This new surgically implanted assistive device provides an option for patients who have lost their sight to RP – for whom there have been no FDA-approved treatments,” said Jeffrey Shuren, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. “The device may help adults with RP who have lost the ability to perceive shapes and movement to be more mobile and to perform day-to-day activities.”
The Argus II system is intended for use in adults, age 25 years or older, with severe to profound RP who have bare light perception (can perceive light, but not the direction from which it is coming) or no light perception in both eyes, evidence of intact inner layer retina function, and a previous history of the ability to see forms. Patients must also be willing and able to receive the recommended post-implant clinical follow-up, device fitting, and visual rehabilitation.
In addition to a small video camera and transmitter mounted on the glasses, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System has a portable video processing unit (VPU) and an array of electrodes that are implanted onto the patient’s retina. The VPU transforms images from the video camera into electronic data that is wirelessly transmitted to the electrodes. The electrodes transform the data into electrical impulses that stimulate the retina to produce images. While the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System will not restore vision to patients, it may allow them to detect light and dark in the environment, aiding them in identifying the location or movement of objects or people.
The FDA approved the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System as a humanitarian use device, an approval pathway limited to those devices that treat or diagnose fewer than 4,000 people in the United States each year. To obtain approval for humanitarian use, a company must demonstrate a reasonable assurance that the device is safe and that its probable benefit outweighs the risk of illness or injury. The company also must show that there is no comparable device available to treat or diagnose the disease or condition.
The FDA reviewed data that included a clinical study of 30 study participants with RP who received the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System. Investigators monitored participants for adverse events related to the device or to the implant surgery and regularly assessed their vision for at least two years after receiving the implant.
Results from the clinical study show that most participants were able to perform basic activities better with the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System than without it. Some of the activities tested included locating and touching a square on a white field; detecting the direction of a motion; recognizing large letters, words, or sentences; detecting street curbs; walking on a sidewalk without stepping off; and matching black, grey and white socks.
Following the implant surgery, 19 of the 30 study patients experienced no adverse events related to the device or the surgery. Eleven study subjects experienced a total of 23 serious adverse events, which included erosion of the conjunctiva (the clear covering of the eyeball), dehiscence (splitting open of a wound along the surgical suture), retinal detachment, inflammation, and hypotony (low intraocular pressure).
Three government organizations provided support for the development of the Argus II. The Department of Energy, National Eye Institute at the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation collaborated to provide grant funding totaling more than $100 million, support for material design and other basic research for the project.
Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. is based in Sylmar, Calif. "
jehan60188 (2535020) writes ""Recently, there has been a lot of attention on the awarding of patents for chemicals, genes and DNA that occur naturally. Chemicals that are not man-made should be considered "public domain" items that are unable to be patented.
These molecules can serve mankind in an uncountable number of ways, and are a major starting point for a lot of our pharmaceutical drugs. The purpose of this petition is not to outlaw the methods, tools or equipment of manufacture or replication. Nor is it to outlaw the patenting of specialized "recipes" that contain these chemicals. It is to remove patents on the molecules themselves.
By solidifying these natural chemicals as public domain items, it paves the way to lower costs of research, and the amount of time needed to bring a viable treatment to market."" Link to Original Source top
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "Abstract: One strategy to restore vision in retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration is cell replacement. Typically, patients lose vision when the outer retinal photoreceptor layer is lost, and so the therapeutic goal would be to restore vision at this stage of disease. It is not currently known if a degenerate retina lacking the outer nuclear layer of photoreceptor cells would allow the survival, maturation, and reconnection of replacement photoreceptors, as prior studies used hosts with a preexisting outer nuclear layer at the time of treatment. Here, using a murine model of severe human retinitis pigmentosa at a stage when no host rod cells remain, we show that transplanted rod precursors can reform an anatomically distinct and appropriately polarized outer nuclear layer. A trilaminar organization was returned to rd1 hosts that had only two retinal layers before treatment. The newly introduced precursors were able to resume their developmental program in the degenerate host niche to become mature rods with light-sensitive outer segments, reconnecting with host neurons downstream. Visual function, assayed in the same animals before and after transplantation, was restored in animals with zero rod function at baseline. These observations suggest that a cell therapy approach may reconstitute a light-sensitive cell layer de novo and hence repair a structurally damaged visual circuit. Rather than placing discrete photoreceptors among preexisting host outer retinal cells, total photoreceptor layer reconstruction may provide a clinically relevant model to investigate cell-based strategies for retinal repair." Link to Original Source top
Moby Dick project, brings white whale into 21st century
jehan60188 writes "FTA: "Writer Philip Hoare talks about his new project, the "Moby Dick Big Read." From now until late January, a chapter of Herman Melville's classic whale-hunting epic will be available for download each day. Each is read by the likes of Tilda Swinton, John Waters and Stephen Fry."
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "FTA: In this demonstration, we present a specialized version of HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging (use of multiple differently exposed input images for each extended-range output image [2, 1]), adapted for use in electric arc welding, which also shows promise as a general-purpose seeing aid. Tungsten Insert Gas (TIG) welding, in particular, presents an extremely high dynamic range scene (higher than most other welding processes). Since TIG welding requires keen eyesight and exact hand-to-eye coordination (i.e. more skill and more visual acuity than most other welding processes), being able to see in such extreme dynamic range is beneficial to welders and welding inspectors. Our “WeldCam HDRchitecture” (abbreviated “HDRchitecture”) system uses one or more cameras, and optional active illumination systems, that can be used by welding schools and professionals to inspect welding in real-time. We present HDRchitecture as either a fixed camera system (e.g. for use on a tripod), or as a stereo EyeTap cybernetic welding helmet that records and streams live video from a welding booth to students or observers, nearby or remote. By capturing over a dynamic range of more than a million to one, we can see details that cannot be seen by the human eye or any currently existing commercially available cameras. We also present a highly parallelizable and computationally efficient HDR reconstruction and tonemapping algorithm for extreme dynamic range scene. In comparison to most of the existing HDR work , our system can run in real-time, and requires no user intervention such as parameters fine tuning. It can also render images with a high image quality up to 1920x1080 resolution. HDRchitecture uses GPUs and multicore CPUs for real-time HDR processing. Our algorithm runs at an interactive frame rate (30 fps) and also enables stereoscopic vision. Additionally, a hardware implementation, which uses Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs), will be presented. The initial hardware configuration comprises an Atlys circuitboard manufactured by Digilent Inc., which is small enough to fit inside a large shirt pocket. The circuit board includes two HDMI camera inputs, one being used for the left eye, and the other for the right eye, as well as HDMI outputs fed back to the left and right eyes, after processing of the video signals. The circuit board facilitates processing by way of a Xilinx Spartan 6, model LX45 FPGA. One goal of the demonstration is to show the future development of high dynamic range eyeglasses as a seeing aid and how such technology can be used to enhance human vision in extreme dynamic range scene such as welding.
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "FTA: Developed in Finland in the 1990’s by John Deere subsidiary Timberjack, the vehicle was designed to tread lightly through the forest, in an effort to lower the environmental impact of the logging industry.
Sensors embedded in the legs allow it to react to the texture and slope of the ground by distributing the weight of the vehicle as it walks and stands on uneven surfaces. This allowed it to step over obstacles and travel over challenging terrain.
Only two were ever built, this particular one fitted with a harvesting head that could pick up and strip a felled tree in seconds.
A similar concept has surfaced in recent years in the defense sector, where small walking machines like the Boston Dynamics “BigDog” and LS3 “Robo-mule” have been proposed as stealthy off-road cargo carriers for use by military troops.
Although promising, the John Deere says the technology featured on the walking harvester was too far ahead of its time, keeping it from entering production. However, many of the lessons learned were applied to the company’s wheeled and tracked vehicles in an effort to lessen their burden on the terrain." Link to Original Source top
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "FTA: "The same attributes that have made diesel engines the power behind nearly all modes of surface transportation are now driving the future for the aviation industry and Cessna has reinforced its leadership role in aviation," Says Alex Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum.... The new 182 NXT turbo-charged piston engine is a diesel power plant with the ability to burn Jet A aviation fuel — the same middle distillate fuel used by turbine and jet aircraft. The fuel is similar to diesel, but unlike the fuel that goes into cars and trucks, Jet A is standardized around the world making certification of the engine and aircraft easier." Link to Original Source top
jehan60188 writes "MONTEREY, Calif.--Imagine an aerial dogfight of epic proportions: Fifty aircraft on a side, each prowling the sky for advantage over dozens of adversaries.
If Timothy Chung has his way, such a battle could take place over Southern California by 2015. But before you worry that war is coming to American soil, you should know that Chung's vision is really about a high-tech game of Capture the Flag played by as many as a hundred small, lightweight unmanned aerial vehicles playing their role in a grand challenge of an experiment.
Chung is an assistant professor in the Systems Engineering department at the Naval Postgraduate School here, and one of his long-term projects is figuring out ways to help the U.S. military maintain an advantage in a world where aerial drones have dropped so much in price and complexity that there is substantial concern our enemies could soon have the ability to use them as weapons against us in combat." Link to Original Source top
jehan60188 writes "Hey readers, I'm an engineering student that's NOT in a top-tier school. To keep myself competitive, I've joined (and am actively participating in) clubs, managed to maintain a 4.0 with 2 years left, and am now thinking about making a portfolio to demonstrate that I'm more than book-learned. The portfolio would document various projects, and demonstrate my knowledge, resourcefulness and my ability to communicate effectively. I would probably bring it up, or print out a few pages (since it'll probably be a blog) to show at interviews- I think giving a URL would not be useful since most people probably wouldn't go to it. Is this a good idea? Is this something engineers look for when interviewing candidates? Or would I be wasting my time?
jehan60188 writes "The Indian government is putting radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to an innovative new use, as driving tests at the Regional Transport Authority in Nagole will soon be judged by a computer-based RFID system. The technology will be introduced first at the four-wheeler test track, where sensors have already been placed underneath the track." Link to Original Source top
Ask Slashdot: mirrorless, interchangeable lens, di
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "Hey all, I was wondering if anyone here had any experience with MILC cameras? I want a camera that's better than my phone, but I don't have the technical knowledge to fully appreciate a DSLR. I think the MILC style will be a happy compromise, but I'm concerned that it might be all "marketing" and no "technology" I don't have a lot of demands, but I DO like taking macro shots of things from time to time. Also, my sister is going to china in a few months, so a telefoto lens would probably be good for sight seeing (since I could employ optical zoom instead of the imaginary "digital zoom")" Link to Original Source top
Chaos Communications Congress publishes its 28th c
"The 28th Annual Chaos Communications Congress just wrapped things up on December 31st and theyâ(TM)ve already published recordings of all the talks at the event. These talks were live-streamed, but if you didnâ(TM)t find time in your schedule to see all that you wanted, youâ(TM)ll be happy to find your way to the YouTube collection of the event.
The topics span a surprising range. We were surprised to see a panel discussion on depression and suicide among geeks (hosted by [Mitch Altman]) which joins another panel called Queer Geeks, to address some social issues rather than just hardcore security tech. But thereâ(TM)s plenty of that as well with topics on cryptography, security within web applications, and also a segment on electronic currencies like Bitcoins."
jehan60188 (2535020) writes "Hey gang, just wanted to get a discussion going on how to e-beg.
I'm a Mechanical Engineering student, and I need some supplies; my Electrical Engineer friends say it's really easy to get samples from companies. I've done a bit of searching, and found how-tos (and exhaustive lists of supplies) for electronic components, but nothing for the aspiring mechanical engineer!
Any tips on how to ask, or what to ask for?
My sample email:
I am , a student at University, and a participant in competitions.
I am investigating the use of as a linear actuator, and found your products to be well suited for my purposes.
I was wondering if there was any way I could obtain samples of ?
I plan on designing , and testing their strength-to-weight ratio, and need only . Any contribution you could make would be incredibly helpful in advancing my education as well as knowledge of as an actuator, and I would of course mention any contribution that you would be generous enough to share." top