Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Technically Done For Today

I may come back to post a few things this evening, after a change of clothing:

"MIT lab shows off smart threads that can send messages, change color" by Hiawatha Bray Globe Staff  June 19, 2017

Massachusetts lost its leadership in the textile trade a century ago. But a new research effort at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology could launch a comeback, by developing smart fabrics that can send messages, tune in audio signals, or change colors on command.

Fabric is the new software,” said Yoel Fink, an MIT professor of materials science and chief executive of Advanced Functional Fabrics of America. AFFOA is a public-private partnership founded last year, headquartered at MIT, and backed by more than $300 million from universities, corporations, and federal and state governments throughout the United States.

Ever notice you are what is your name? 

It's the Military-Industrial-Intelligence Complex that has a perver$e impact upon the actual economy and what is considered "growth" by the Ma$ters of the Univer$e.

“As a state that was fundamentally all about fibers and textiles for years and years, this was an opportunity for us to grab back some of our heritage,” said Governor Charlie Baker, who attended Monday’s grand opening of AFFOA and its Fabric Discovery Center, a laboratory for creating innovative fibers, fabrics, and clothing items. 


Similar centers are slated to open at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, as well as at other US locations.

Fink said that fabrics have differed little for thousands of years. But that’s about to change because of innovative fibers that work like computers, and manufacturing techniques that let cloth makers weave unique features into every yard of fabric.

For instance, guests at the event received a new kind of backpack made by the California company JanSport. At a glance, they were nothing unusual. But AFFOA scientists worked with JanSport and Inman Mills of South Carolina to weave a unique digital code into the fabric of the bags.

Maybe if the Tsarnaevs were wearing those they wouldn't have been framed.

The 300 bags at the MIT event looked identical, but in fact no two were alike. And a smartphone camera can see the difference.

Each guest got a bag which they then registered online, posting information about themselves. Everyone could scan one another’s bags with a smartphone app, and instantly learn about a bag’s owner: his or her name, occupation, and favorite song, for instance.

That's damn creepy.

The same technique could be used to embed information into any kind of clothing. For instance, a clothing maker could embed information about a stylish item, with information on how to buy one just like it.

Visitors also tried on baseball caps with earphones attached. Standing under a lamp, a wearer could hear voices and music, because optical fiber with silicon circuitry was woven into the top of the cap.

The circuitry, like that found in computer chips, processes pulses of light from the lamp and transforms them into audio signals — no radio or smartphone required.

Fink dubbed the technology “Fabric LiFi” and called it “the world’s first fabric-based communication system.”

Any check on the radiation emitted from the stuff, and it's not WiFi, is it?

He came up with the idea during his time as an infantryman in the Israeli army, when he realized it might be safer to communicate with other soldiers by zapping their uniforms with a narrow beam of light rather than broadcasting an easily intercepted radio message.

Are you kidding me? 

All roads lead to Israel (even those through Mexico)!!

But Fink also has civilian applications in mind. He thinks a Fabric LiFi cap would be an ideal way to provide directions to people in large stadiums or shopping malls.

More important, because the new fibers can process data like a computer, Fink said, engineers will be able to develop an endless array of ways to use it. In principle, the clothes on our backs could become our personal computers.

Scientists from the AFFOA-affiliated University of Central Florida offered another fabric innovation inspired by the military. In a demonstration that visitors were not allowed to film, a camouflage cloth changed its color on command. Each fiber contains a thin wire that acts as a heating element.

By altering the temperature of the cloth, the camouflage shifted from bright green to dull gray. When such uniforms are perfected, soldiers might be able to fade into the background just by flipping a switch. A similarly smart fabric could let fashion-conscious civilians change their look without changing their clothes.


Related: Cloak of Surveillance

While we are talking $et a$ides in the stage budget:

"Baker to unveil $500 million life sciences initiative" by Jim O’Sullivan and Robert Weisman Globe Staff  June 19, 2017

Governor Charlie Baker will ask lawmakers to approve a five-year, $500 million life sciences initiative that extends the state’s decade-long commitment to the biotech and medical technology industry, administration officials said Monday.

It's a tax loot giveaway to the pharmaceuticals in the midst of a budget crunch.

The proposal, which will be formally unveiled this week at a biotechnology convention in San Diego, includes up to $295 million in capital spending and up to $150 million in tax incentives for companies that create jobs. The Massachusetts Life Sciences Center will continue to manage the funding, administration officials said.

Baker said Monday he plans a more intensive focus on job training and career development, and less emphasis on “brick-and-mortar” spending, than existed in the first 10 years of the life sciences push, which launched in 2008 under then-Governor Deval Patrick.

“A lot of the money that went into the first set of investments associated with this really built a lot of capacity,” Baker told reporters Monday. “This is going to be a lot more about more targeted pursuit of enhancing the workforce here in Massachusetts.”

Any excuse to shovel money at them.

While many in industry and state government were expecting Baker to continue the funding to attract biotech and medtech companies, especially when such rival states as New York were stepping up recruitment, few expected his administration to continue Patrick’s level of funding. The state faces a significant budget gap.

He's from them, so..... no $urpri$e. 

I mean. the $500m would fill the hole but....

Over the past decade, Massachusetts has emerged as a global hub for life sciences research and development, home to nearly 1,000 companies and academic labs employing about 68,000 workers. But other states and countries, from New York to China, have been working to woo many of the same biotech and medical technology businesses that have gravitated here.

That's the 21$t-century global economy: you have to bribe them to come. It used to be they would locate someplace and raise the standards of living for the community in a compact partnership. Not anymore. All $elf-$erving.

Baker’s move comes less than three months after he signaled at a meeting of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council that he would continue support for the industry — in what business leaders are calling “Life Sciences Initiative 2.0” — once the current 10-year, $1 billion initiative launched under Patrick expires at the end of the next fiscal year.

“The life sciences industry is thrilled to see the level of commitment continue,” said Bob Coughlin, president of the industry trade group MassBio, which runs the state’s pavilion at the 2017 BIO International Convention. “It’s clear that the Baker-Polito administration understands this is something that creates jobs and is positive for tax revenue but also helps solve the medical needs of sick people.”

Right. Hopefully, their projections might be better now and if they truly cared about the sick they wouldn't be herding us into ACOs. 

Travis McCready, president of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which decides what projects and companies to support financially, said Baker’s plan demonstrates “how we can continue to lead” in the industry. “Folks may have had questions, but he’s shown nothing but support for the industry from the beginning,” McCready said.

In March, the governor told MassBio that the new plan will seek to create more internships and apprenticeship programs to get students ready to work in life sciences. He said it would also provide the financial “stitching” in forging research alliances between companies and scientists, while seeking to build collaboration between data crunchers and drug and device makers to hasten development of treatments.

Industry leaders have also pressed for greater state support for biomanufacturing, which could provide jobs for less educated employees, and for spreading the industry beyond its large clusters in Cambridge and Route 128 into other parts of the state.

Really? Doing what? Sweeping up?

As the industry expands beyond its hub in Cambridge, the state’s backing becomes even more important, said David Lucchino, chief executive of biotech startup Frequency Therapeutics in Woburn and vice chairman of MassBio.

They are in pain.

“This is a nod to the fact that Massachusetts is the center of the life sciences, and it’s not just contained in Kendall Square,” said Lucchino. “This impacts all the citizens of Massachusetts, starting with the patients and continuing with the graduates who are hired.”

This will be the first BIO convention Baker is attending. His absence at the BIO conventions in San Francisco last year and in Philadelphia in 2015 were noted by some in the state biotech community.

I remember last year, but I'm fuzzy about 2015

Hope he has a good time rubbing elbows with his cla$$.

Baker started out early in his governorship weighing a plan to merge the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center into an uber-economic development agency but backed off under pressure from industry leaders.

The four-day conference is expected to draw officials from more than 25 countries. According to his office, Baker will be there Tuesday through Thursday, during which he’ll visit a San Diego research site of the Boston-based Vertex Pharmaceuticals and meet with Cisco executives. On Wednesday, Baker will address the gathering and invite guests to next year’s conference — which will be held in Boston.

Just wondering what the CARBON FART PRINT on that.

“I’m mostly going to be what I would describe as talking to businesses and other organizations out there about the benefits of locating and operating here in the Commonwealth of Mass.,” Baker told reporters. “I don’t get out of town very often. BIO is a big opportunity for us to talk about the great stuff that’s going on here.”

The trip will take Baker to a state that frequently competes with Massachusetts for life sciences business. California is also a verdant political fund-raising venue, where Baker’s brand of middle-of-the-road Republicanism has flourished.

Asked Monday after his regular meeting with State House leaders whether he planned to raise campaign finance funds while in California, Baker said he did not. Later, aides said that Baker had misspoken and will, in fact, attend at least one fund-raiser.

Oh, so the country's most popular governor is a liar.

He's looking for $30m.

According to a copy of the invitation obtained by the Globe, Baker will headline a private dinner at the Los Angeles residence of Jeffrey D. Markley, CEO of the Markley Group, a Boston-based telecommunications and data center facility.

Patrick announced his 10-year, $1 billion life sciences initiative at an earlier BIO convention and attended most of the BIO conventions during his tenure. The initiative includes capital improvement grants, loans, and tax incentives to woo companies to locate or expand in Massachusetts.

Two of the largest grants under Patrick’s initiative went to the University of Massachusetts, including $95 million to build a life sciences laboratory building at UMass Amherst and $90 million to help bankroll a research building at UMass Medical School in Worcester.

Thankfully, none went to UMass-Boston.


Think of it as LabCentral in Ma$$achu$etts

Should (voluntarily) Green things up for you.

"Apple’s and other big-name technology companies’ stocks got back to their winning ways Monday and helped to again drive US indexes to record heights. Tech heavyweights, which had been among the stock market’s biggest stars until recently, led the way. After being up more than 20 percent for the year, tech stocks in the S&P 500 fell sharply two Fridays ago on worries that they had risen too much, too quickly. In a little more than a week, tech stocks lost about a fifth of their year-to-date gains. On Monday, Apple rose 2.9 percent for its second-best day of the year. Alphabet rose 1.7 percent. As a group, S&P 500 tech stocks rose 1.7 percent, the largest gain among the 11 sectors that make up the index. It was the latest example of investors ‘‘buying the dip.’’ Every time the market has shown any weakness in the last eight years, it’s proven to be a good move for investors to buy; stocks have ended up erasing any losses incurred and moved higher. Now, investors pounce when they see a dip, and analysts have noticed how ingrained the instinct has become. ‘‘It’s concerning, but I don’t see what breaks it at this point of time . . . ’’ said Nate Thooft, senior portfolio manager at Manulife Asset Management. The biggest gainer in the S&P 500 Monday was PerkinElmer, up 6.5 percent as it agreed to buy Euroimmun Medical Laboratory Diagnostics of Germany for $1.3 billion....."

RelatedPerkinElmer to buy German company for $1.3 billion

Also see:

Blue Apron aims to raise as much as $586.5m in IPO

Another pump and dump.

"Coca-Cola’s marketing efforts during the weekend’s heat wave in Pittsburgh backfired when the company mistakenly used a map of Philadelphia in a post on Twitter." 


Can't wait for fall:

"UPS is adding a new charge of under $1 for shipments to residential customers during peak delivery periods in November and December." 

That does it

Didn't want the CIA choosing my lunch anyway.

The Globe says: Thank you, Dorchester

Did you check your food first (need to eat it to the bottom of the bowl, readers)?

"Tech CEOs visit White House to talk modernizing government" by Toluse Olorunnipa and Jennifer Epstein Bloomberg News  June 20, 2017

WASHINGTON — None of the executives criticized President Trump in public sessions, and Trump projected a jovial mood, touting the gains in technology stocks since he took office.

FAANGs have been retracted, and the obsequiousness shown here is troubling.

He also offered a bit of solace for tech executives on concerns his immigration policies would deny the industry talent, saying he was working “very diligently” with Congress on immigration so “you can get the people you want.”

Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook, who has castigated Trump for his travel ban and the US withdrawal from the Paris climate treaty, responded with praise for Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is leading the administration’s technology sector outreach.

Haven't seen much of him lately.

“The US should have the most modern government in the world and today it doesn’t,” Cook said. “It’s great to see the effort that Jared is putting in, in working on things that will pay back in five and 10 and 20 years.”

The meeting Monday of the American Technology Council, which Trump commissioned in May and which is being shepherded by Kushner, kicks off a week of administration events themed on technology.

The agenda featured working sessions on issues including cybersecurity, big data, fraud detection, artificial intelligence, and cloud computing, according to a White House document outlining the program.

A who’s-who of technology names were in attendance, including Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella; Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos; Oracle Co-CEO Safra Catz; Alphabet Inc. Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; and International Business Machines Corp. CEO Ginni Rometty.

Is Trump ever going to have any labor organizations over?

Trump’s May 1 executive order creating the American Technology Council called for the group of federal officials to overhaul the use of technology across the government.

The federal government spends more than $80 billion annually on information technology, employing about 113,000 computer professionals, according to the White House.

But many of the information systems used by federal agencies are outdated and inefficient, according to two senior administration officials who briefed reporters about the meeting on condition of anonymity. 


And yet we are supposed to trust them to protect us from the terrorists?

All big on data collection and spying on the American people while the equipment is neglected?

Yeah, $ure. Nice excuse for the incompetent inefficiency masking wholesale looting from inside.

A recent decision by Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin to contract with a private company to manage the department’s electronic medical records is an example of the kind of changes the American Technology Council will pursue, the officials said.

Yeah, well..... let's hope the stuff ain't junk like most of it.

Much of the agenda for Monday’s meeting involved seeking ways for the Trump administration to adopt best practices from the private sector, including finding opportunities to recruit talented individuals to join the government.

The officials also planned to discuss the H-1B visa program, which the president has pledged to scale back despite the objections from Silicon Valley.....

He will get you the people you need.


Akamai CEO joins Trump advisory council

Where is the Globe criticism?

"Police in Rhode Island say a groom was arrested at his wedding reception for assaulting restaurant employees. Court records showed Frank Redding pleaded no contest Monday to charges of simple assault and vandalism. He initially faced an additional charge of disorderly conduct, but that was dismissed. Police say an argument with Redding’s family members escalated to include restaurant staff on Saturday in North Smithfield. Police say Redding was approached by a staff member because he’d been drinking alcohol that wasn’t sold by the facility. Police say Redding chased the staff member back into the restaurant while threatening to kill him. They say he also assaulted other employees. Under the plea agreement, Redding received a year of probation and a one-year suspended sentence, with six months to serve."

Did it ruin the day for the betrothed?

Are we not men?

"‘Human Project’ study will ask 10,000 to share life’s data" Associated Press  June 20, 2017

NEW YORK — Wanted: 10,000 New Yorkers interested in advancing science by sharing a trove of personal information, from cellphone locations and credit-card swipes to blood samples and life-changing events. For 20 years.

Thanks for helping the CIA build a profile on you.

Researchers are gearing up to start recruiting participants from across the city next year for a study so sweeping it’s called ‘‘The Human Project.’’ It aims to channel different data streams into a river of insight on health, aging, education, and many other aspects of human life.

‘‘That’s what we’re all about, putting the holistic picture together,’’ says project director Dr. Paul Glimcher, a New York University neural science, economics, and psychology professor.

The $15 million-a-year Human Project is breaking ground with the scope of individual data it plans to collect simultaneously, says Dr. Vasant Dhar, editor-in-chief of the journal Big Data, which published a 2015 paper about the project.

Participants will be invited to join. Researchers are tapping survey science to create a demographically representative group."