A research team partnered with USC received a $10-million grant from the National Science Foundation last week to build “socially assistive” robots that will aid developmental goals for preschool-age children, according to a statement released by the Viterbi School of Engineering.The grant from the NSF Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering was one of four new Expeditions in Computing awards.The research team, led by investigator from Yale University, will attempt to develop robots to supplement the work of caregivers and teachers. The robots will be developed to establish long-term relationships with children to help them with developmental goals, such as reading and surmounting disabilities. The researchers plan to achieve their goal by modeling social interaction and creating new algorithms to give the robots a wide behavioral range.Maja Mataric, a professor of computer science, neuroscience, and pediatrics, and vice dean for research at Viterbi, will serve as a co-principal investigator.“I am thrilled to have the importance and promise of this work recognized by the Expedition Award,” Mataric said in the statement. “The term ‘socially assitive robots’ was defined in our Interaction Lab at USC in 2004.”The research team is made up of 17 principal investigators from USC, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford. The investigators’ areas of expertise include computer science, robotics, educational theory and developmental psychology.
Pittsburgh Pirates’ Russell Martin (55) hits a three-run home run off Milwaukee Brewers relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton during the eighth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)ITTSBURGH (AP) – Russell Martin swatted at Jonathan Broxton’s 96 mph fastball and watched as Carlos Gomez gave chase. When the ball cleared the fence just out of Gomez’s reach, the Pittsburgh Pirates catcher thumped his chest as he rounded first base after providing the latest lightning bolt in a season full of them for one of baseball’s most resilient teams.“It’s hard to be happier than that,” Martin said.Buried in May, the Pirates are streaking toward October.Martin’s three-run blast off the Broxton with one out in the eighth inning ignited the Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night and gave Pittsburgh a 4½-game lead in the race for the second National League wild card spot with just nine days left in the regular season.It’s a spot that seemed impossible in the spring. At one point Pittsburgh trailed Milwaukee by 9½ games. Now the Pirates have all the momentum. Pittsburgh has won a season-high five straight and 12 of its last 14.Mark Melancon worked a perfect ninth for his 31st save. John Holdzkom (1-0) earned the win in relief for his first major league victory.Pittsburgh spent seven innings getting overpowered by Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo, who struck out 11 before finally exiting after 112 pitches. Broxton (4-3), acquired on Aug. 31 to bolster a bullpen in anticipation of a playoff push, quickly gave it all away.Starling Marte led off the Pittsburgh eighth with an infield single. Neil Walker singled with one out to set the stage for Martin, who had two ugly check swings before taking a 1-1 pitch and sending it into the second row of seats in right-center field for his 11th homer of the year and by far his most important.“I was trying to go down-and-away,” Broxton said. “I don’t know where it was. I don’t watch the videos.”Probably a good idea after the Brewers – who led the NL Central for 149 days this year – watched their playoff hopes take another devastating blow. Rickie Weeks hit his seventh homer of the season off Pirates starter Jeff Locke and Jonathan Lucroy added an RBI-single, but Milwaukee lost its third straight.The Brewers let a 2-0 lead get away late on Thursday night against St. Louis and fell in extra innings. They arrived in Pittsburgh at 4 a.m. on Friday morning hoping to revive their season against a team they have dominated for years, including an 11-5 mark this season. Now they likely need to sweep the final two games of the series to have any reasonable chance of catching Pittsburgh.“When you go to late innings, we’re used to putting games away,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “We’ve been really good all year in finishing out games, and we’re not doing it right now.”Gallardo did his part. He escaped early trouble and then settled down, retiring nine of the final 10 batters he faced before giving way to Broxton after 112 leave-it-all-out-there pitches.The Pirates stranded six runners in the first four innings against Gallardo with nothing to show for it. Still, they remained upbeat after Gallardo tired.“We’re a team that has a pretty good offense. When you have somebody that neutralizes you, it’s frustrating,” Martin said. “But we believe in each other and we believe when we get to the bullpen we can make things happen.”Ike Davis added an RBI single later in the inning off Jeremy Jeffress to give Melancon a little extra cushion he wouldn’t need.TRAINER’S ROOMBrewers: Milwaukee 1B Mark Reynolds was back in the lineup on Friday, going 0 for 3 less than 24 hours after a rare mental mistake opened the door to a late St. Louis rally.“This guy, instinctually, is unbelievable,” Roenicke said. “That’s why when you see those things happen, it’s surprising. And, you know, why couldn’t you do it in a game that didn’t matter? Or a month ago, when maybe we were winning 6-0 in a game and you make a mistake? It’s just when he made it that was so tough.”Pirates: RHP Charlie Morton’s return from the disabled list may be short-lived. Pittsburgh pulled Morton from his next scheduled start on Sunday after he felt discomfort in his groin and midsection late in his five innings of work in a victory over Boston on Tuesday. The pain intensified during a bullpen session on Thursday. Vance Worley will take Morton’s spot in the rotation when the Pirates wrap up the series with Milwaukee.UP NEXTBrewers: Matt Garza (8-8, 3.74 ERA) will make his third start against the Pirates this season. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 6.55 ERA versus Pittsburgh. He is coming off six solid innings in a victory over Cincinnati last Sunday.Pirates: Edinson Volquez (12-7, 3.27 ERA) will search for his fifth straight victory when he faces the Brewers on Saturday. The 30-year-old is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts against Milwaukee this season.
LINCROFT – Monmouth County residents looking to ready themselves for jobs in new or growing fields have four new options this fall at Brookdale Community College.New for the 2013-2014 academic year is a national security studies track, a communication disorders option, a criminal justice certificate and a social media certificate that can be earned entirely online.The social media certificate teaches the skills needed to build or expand a business through social media. Three new classes developed for the program teach how to identify an audience, develop a compelling message, manage a brand, measure effectiveness and avoid common social network pitfalls. The courses are Introduction to Social Media, Writing in the Digital Age and Social Media Marketing.The national security studies track is part of the Criminal Justice Associate of Science program. Courses prepare students to transfer to the National Security Studies bachelor’s program at New Jersey City University.The communication disorders option is a pre-professional program that provides academic groundwork for students considering a career in speech and language. Students earn an associate of arts degree and transfer to another institution for further study. Courses include Voice and Diction, Introduction to Communication Disorders and American Sign Language.The criminal justice certificate is a 36-credit certificate designed for those seeking a career in law enforcement or looking to enhance their current career with academic credentials. Classes provide an overview of the criminal justice system and teach skills in emergency response and physical fitness. Students can apply the credits toward an associate degree in criminal justice.“It is essential for Brookdale to adapt to the national and global markets and provide a curriculum that will meet the needs of the economy and provide our students with the necessary skills and framework to achieve,” said Dianna Phillips, executive vice president of educational services.In addition to the new courses developed for these programs, other new courses this fall include Magazine Writing, Introduction to the Music Business, Automotive Electricity II and Air Conditioning, Project Management, Human Biology, Elementary Portuguese, Independent Chemistry Research and ESL Writing through Research I and II.
On Sunday, Jan. 30 at 9:30 p.m. Golden RCMP received a missing persons report about two overdue skiers.The two males from Vancouver Island had been skiing at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort the day prior to the report. RCMP were notified by a friend of the party that the two individuals were unaccounted for. Golden RCMP notified Golden Search and Rescue and Kicking Horse Mountain Resort of the missing persons. Kicking Horse Mountain Resort conducted an inbounds perimeter search for the missing party. No missing persons were found within the ski area boundary. In addition, a full air search began with Golden Search and Rescue at first light on Monday, Jan. 31. At approximately 8:37 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 31 the first individual was spotted by the Golden Search and Rescue approximately six kilometres outside and beyond the Kicking Horse Mountain Resort controlled recreational area. A long line rescue was used as the individual was in a heavily forested area. At 9:30 a.m. the first individual was rescued and transferred to Golden and District Hospital. At 10:16 a.m. the second individual was found outside Kicking Horse Mountain Resorts controlled recreational area in approximately the same region. The individual was transferred by helicopter to hospital. Both males are presently being treated for non-life threatening injuries. The Golden RCMP is currently investigating the incident.
LANDOVER, Md. — Their white jerseys muddied amid Sunday’s steady rain, the 49ers celebrated their 9-0 win over Washington by doing head-first slides all over FedEx Field, with Nick Bosa leading the way after his game-ending sack.“I looked back and saw the guys sliding. It was a pretty good ending,” Bosa said.Coach Kyle Shanahan enjoyed it, too, and even considered joining the slip-and-slide celebration after the 49ers’ first shutout since the 2016 season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. …
Evolutionists frequently point to the emergence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics as an example of Darwinian evolution occurring right under our noses. Bruce R. Levin of Emory University, writing in the Sept. 10 issue of Science,1 is not so sure about that. He points out that cells might just have a built-in mechanism to shut down growth and reproduction in times of stress (the SOS response), to minimize the damage from toxins in the environment. He points to two studies in the same issue that indicate how noninherited resistance to antibiotics can be generated without reference to Darwinian natural selection. What’s more interesting in his report is his rebuke against fellow Darwinists who leap to unsubstantiated tales of evolution to explain how these mechanisms come about. His final paragraph states:It is easy to concoct just-so stories to explain the evolution of a mechanism that, like the SOS response, produces quiescent cells that are refractory to lethal agents. Yet it seems unlikely that ampicillin was the original selective force responsible for the evolution of the induction mechanism observed by Miller and colleagues. A bigger challenge to those in the evolution business is to account for the generation of lower fitness cell types when they do not provide an advantage to the collective, like the persisters of Balaban et al. in the absence of antibiotics. Then again, just like people, bacteria do some seemingly perverse things that are not easy to account for by simple stories of adaptive evolution. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)1Bruce R. Levin, “Microbiology: Noninherited Resistance to Antibiotics,” Science, Vol 305, Issue 5690, 1578-1579, 10 September 2004, [DOI: 10.1126/science.1103077].Thank you, Dr. Levin, for your well-aimed rebuke to the Darwin Party. So you see, it is not only creationists who accuse the Darwinists of laziness in concocting just-so stories whenever a phenomenon presents itself. One might almost think Levin is a secret reader of Creation-Evolution Headlines. We agree; if you want just-so stories, read Kipling, not Science. It might be noted that perversity is in the eye of the beholder. Levin says that “bacteria do some seemingly perverse things that are not easy to account for by simple stories of adaptive evolution.” To the bacteria, it might be that the Darwinians are the perverse ones. They might be complaining, “these lazy storytellers dishonor us by claiming to be our descendants.” (Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Snapr is a mobile application for sharing geo-tagged images. Its goal is to create a “live map of the world’s photos.” It also has an API that enables developers to add location information and Instagram-like social photo feeds to your own mobile photo apps. You can also use Snapr’s API to give users the ability to send photos to multiple services from one application. Related Posts Growing Phone Scams: 5 Tips To Avoid Why You Love Online Quizzes The API is core to Snapr’s strategy. Snapr is more focused being the ecosystem than competing directly with services like Instagram. According to the company’s blog post about the API: “In fact we love our API so much that it has more functionality than our currently available app and website!” Tags:#APIs#hack klint finley 7 Types of Video that will Make a Massive Impac… How to Write a Welcome Email to New Employees?
A home energy rating is supposed to tell you how energy-efficient your home is. A certified home energy rater goes to the home and collects all the data relevant to energy consumption in the home (well, all the data included in the rating anyway, which is almost everything). Then he or she enters the data into energy modeling software and get the results: consumption for heating, cooling, water heating, lights, and appliances, plus this thing called a HERS Index. But what if the results were off by 50%, 100%, or even more?That’s exactly what a new study in California has found. In the same project I wrote about earlier this year (Stockton Project Demonstrates Huge Home Energy Savings), researchers John Proctor, Rick Chitwood, and Bruce Wilcox hired 6 California HERS raters to rate the four homes in the study. Here’s a quick description of the homes: Why so much variation?Strangely, the smallest, simplest house had the most HERS Index variation among the six raters. The home the researchers called the Grange, shown in the photo at the beginning of this article, has only 852 square feet of conditioned floor area. It also has the simplest type of foundation to enter (slab on grade) and none of the complicating factors like attic kneewalls, vaulted ceilings, or sealed attics that can make some houses difficult to rate. It’s just a simple, little box.Despite the simplicity, however, the HERS Index for this home ranged from a low of 182 to a high of 269, a difference of 48%. One of the problems seems to have been the raters’ inability to agree on the efficiency of the air conditioner. The six raters used SEER ratings of 8, 10, 11, and 12, a difference of 50%.Another problem with accuracy was attic insulation. The researchers reported that the Mayfair, the second smallest and oldest of the homes, had an average of about one inch of insulation on top of the ceiling, as shown in the photo below. That would result in an R-value of about 3 or 4, yet three of the HERS raters entered that ceiling as being insulated to R-11. In the Fidelia home, the ceiling insulation entries varied from R-19 to R-49. Mayfair 19531104 sf Are HERS ratings worthless?It’s certainly tempting to think that HERS ratings are a waste of money when you see how imprecise and inaccurate these ratings are. After all, if the six raters here can differ so much from one another and from the measured results, that doesn’t engender a lot of confidence in the process.Even though California’s rating process is separate from RESNET’s, it’s structured similarly, so two factors are probably most responsible for the discrepancies the researchers found in this study. One is that a HERS rating is an asset label. It’s not meant to align perfectly with actual energy use because it’s designed as a way to help you compare one house to another without the differences that arise from the way people live in their homes.The other factor is quality assurance (QA). I wrote about this recently because RESNET is going through the process of trying to get greater consistency in HERS ratings (and unfortunately trying to go down the wrong road).My company, Energy Vanguard, is a HERS provider, and I think we do a pretty good job with QA. We train our raters well and don’t just automatically approve every file sent our way. Sometimes a rater will have to make corrections to a file three or four times before we approve it, and probably about half of the files we get need at least one correction.But I think we go further than many. RESNET requires providers to check only 10% of all files, meaning 90% can get approved without anyone looking at them. And, as I wrote in my article about RESNET’s improvement efforts, RESNET has done little to no technical oversight of providers, so it’s not hard for bad ratings to get all the way through the process. I’m sure it’s not much different in California, and that’s why Proctor, Chitwood, and Wilcox found the results described here.I think that home energy ratings are a useful tool. They’re not as good as they can be, however, and I think studies like this one can help expose the problems. Only then can we fix them. House Year Built Size Accuracy versus precisionIn their initial report on the HERS ratings, the researchers did not include a comparison of the raters’ results to the measured results from the study. This is a three-year project in which the researchers started off with a baseline analysis of the homes, including these HERS ratings, and the proceeding through various improvements. Before making any improvements, however, they simulated occupancy of the homes and measured the energy consumption.Image #5 below is a graph that shows the spread in the estimated cooling energy use for the four homes as calculated by the energy modeling of the six raters and the monitored energy use with simulated occupancy. As you can see, the raters’ numbers were significantly higher than the monitored results in nearly every case.One interesting thing to notice here is that for the Mayfair, the raters had pretty good agreement. As shown in Image #2 below (Table 1), their results differed from one another by a maximum of 24%. The mean of their six results is 2,903 kWh. The measured result for cooling energy use is 731 kWh. I could tell you how many standard deviations of the mean separate the results (22), but the bull’s eye graphic below shows what it means to be precise but not accurate. For that illustration to be numerically correct, though, the cluster of shots would have to be much farther from the bull’s eye. California HERS ratingsHERS ratings in California are not in the purview of RESNET, the nonprofit organization that oversees HERS ratings in most of the country. The state oversees the work of HERS raters there. The California guidelines are similar to RESNET’s, with the same basic structure and quality assurance requirements. The California Energy Commission has a web page on their HERS program, with links to their regulations, technical manual, and more. Caleb 20052076 sf Fidelia 19901690 sf Grange 1948 852 sf The envelope, pleaseThe study, titled Round Robin HERS Ratings of Four California Homes: A Central Valley Research Homes Project, was published in May 2014 and shows the data from the raters they hired to rate each home. And who did those ratings? Before they did any work on the homes, the researchers hired 6 raters: 5 certified HERS raters using the California HERS protocols and one independent rater. All used the energy modeling software Energy Pro version 18.104.22.168.The summary table of the main results (Table 1) is shown as Image #2, below.The second and third columns, labeled HERS Rating, show the range of HERS Index values calculated by the six raters and the percent difference between the highest and lowest. Only one of the homes (Mayfair) comes close to having an acceptable variation among raters. Even that 12%, however, is four times as much as RESNET allows in the field QA process for raters. The heating and cooling consumption are also shown, and the spread is even worse.Image #3 (below) is a graph that shows each rater’s HERS Indices for the four houses. The vertical scale is the Index and the horizontal scale shows the raters by ID numbers. The Grange and Mayfair homes, being the two oldest, have the highest HERS Indices for all six raters with the Grange being the highest of all four homes for five of the six raters. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.
Seeking the ideal materialToday’s commercial solar cells are made from one of three materials: silicon, cadmium telluride (CdTe), or copper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS). Each has strengths and weaknesses.Silicon solar cells are highly efficient, converting up to 25% of the sunlight that falls on them into electricity. Silicon also is very durable. However, it is very expensive to process silicon into wafers. And these wafers have to be very thick (about 0.3 millimeters, which is thick for solar cells) to absorb all of the sunlight that falls on them, which further increases costs.Silicon solar cells – often referred to as first-generation solar cells – are used in the panels that have become familiar sights on rooftops. Our center is studying another type called thin film solar cells, which are the next generation of solar technology. As their name suggests, thin film solar cells are made by putting a thin layer of solar absorbent material over a substrate, such as glass or plastic, which typically can be flexible.A CZTS solar cell on a flexible glass substrate made by Corning. (Photo: Tara Dhakal)These solar cells use less material, so they are less expensive than crystalline solar cells made from silicon. It is not possible to coat crystalline silicon on a flexible substrate, so we need a different material to use as a solar absorber.Although thin film solar technology is improving rapidly, some of the materials in today’s thin film solar cells are scarce or hazardous. For example, the cadmium in CdTe is highly toxic to all living things and is known to cause cancer in humans. CdTe can separate into cadmium and tellurium at high temperatures (for example, in a laboratory or house fire), posing a serious inhalation risk.We are working with pyrite and CZTS because they are nontoxic and very inexpensive. CZTS costs about 0.005 cents per watt, and pyrite costs a mere 0.000002 cents per watt. They also are among the most abundant materials in the Earth’s crust, and absorb the visible spectrum of sunlight efficiently. These films can be as thin as 1/1000 of a millimeter. Global demand for energy is increasing by the hour as developing countries move toward industrialization. Experts estimate that by the year 2050, worldwide demand for electricity may reach 30 terawatts (TW). For perspective, one terawatt is roughly equal to the power of 1.3 billion horses.Energy from the sun is limitless – the sun provides us 120,000 TW of power at any given instant – and it is free. But today solar energy provides only about 1% of the world’s electricity. The critical challenge is making it less expensive to convert photo-energy into usable electrical energy.To do that, we need to find materials that absorb sunlight and convert it into electricity efficiently. In addition, we want these materials to be abundant, environmentally benign, and cost-effective to fabricate into solar devices.Researchers from around the world are working to develop solar cell technologies that are efficient and affordable. The goal is to bring the installation cost of solar electricity below US$1 per watt, compared to about $3 per watt today. RELATED ARTICLES Cost of Solar Electricity Hits a New LowPV Systems Have Gotten Dirt Cheap Green Building in the Cheap Energy EraSolar Potential Is Far Greater Than Earlier EstimatesThe Big Allure of Cheap PVSolar Now or Later?U.S. Wind Energy Prices Hit an All-Time LowThe End of Peak Oil? So far, cells are inefficientWe need to crystallize these materials before we can fabricate them into solar cells. This is done by heating them. CZTS crystallizes at temperatures under 600 degrees Celsius, compared to 1,200 degrees Celsius or higher for silicon, which makes it less expensive to process. It performs much like high-efficiency copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells, which are commercially available now, but replaces the indium and gallium in these cells with cheaper and more abundant zinc and tin.So far, however, CZTS solar cells are relatively inefficient: they convert less than 13 percent of the sunlight that falls upon them to electricity, compared to 20% for more expensive CIGS solar cells.We know that CZTS solar cells have a potential to be 30% efficient. The main challenges are 1) synthesizing high-quality CZTS thin film without any traces of impurities, and 2) finding a suitable material for the “buffer” layer underneath it, which helps to collect the electric charges that sunlight creates in the absorber layer. Our lab has produced a CZTS thin film with seven percent efficiency; we hope to approach 15% efficiency soon by synthesizing high-quality CZTS layers and finding suitable buffer layers.CZTS solar cell structure (Drawing: Tara Dhakal) Pyrite has a stability problemPyrite is another potential absorber that can be synthesized at very low temperatures. Our lab has synthesized pyrite thin films, and now we are working to layer those films into solar cells. This process is challenging because pyrite breaks down easily when it is exposed to heat and moisture. We are researching ways to make it more stable without affecting its solar absorbency and mechanical properties. If we can solve this problem, “fool’s gold” could turn into a smart photovoltaic device.In a recent study, researchers at Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley estimated that solar power could provide up to 45% of U.S. electricity by 2050. To meet that target, we need to keep driving down the cost of solar power and find ways to make solar cells more sustainably. We believe that abundant, nontoxic materials are key to realizing the potential of solar power. At Binghamton University’s Center for Autonomous Solar Power (CASP), we are investigating ways to make thin film solar cells using materials that are abundant in nature and nontoxic. We want to develop solar cells that are reliable, highly efficient at converting sunlight to electricity and inexpensive to manufacture. We have identified two materials that have great potential as solar absorbers: pyrite, better known as fool’s gold because of its metallic luster; and copper-zinc-tin-sulfide (CZTS). Tara P. Dhakal is an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Binghamton University, State University of New York. This post was originally published at The Conversation.
In a series of tweets on Saturday Union Minister Jayant Sinha said that he was “honouring the due process of law” after a row erupted over him felicitating eight men who were earlier convicted for mob lynching.The eight men were held guilty of killing a meat trader Alimuddin Ansari in the name of cow vigilantism in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand on June 30 last year.Later, eight people, including a local BJP leader Nityanand Mahto, were arrested and convicted by a trial court in March this year. However, the life sentences of those held guilty were suspended by the Jharkhand high court last week.On Tuesday, when those men came out of Hazaribagh jail on bail, they met Mr. Sinha at his residence where he garlanded them. Mr. Sinha represents Hazaribagh constituency in Parliament.Later, a row erupted over Mr Sinha felicitating those eight men convicted for lynching a meat trader. “This is despicable,” tweeted leader of Opposition in Jharkhand assembly and JMM leader Hemant Soren.Mr. Sinha on Saturday posted a series of tweets saying “though he condemned violence and rejected vigilantism he had misgivings about the trial of the men convicted by a fast-track court.”“I unequivocally condemn all acts of violence and reject any type of vigilantism. The rule of law is supreme in our constitutional democracy. Any unlawful acts, particularly those that violate the rights of any citizen, should be punished with the full force of the law”, said Mr. Sinha.He tweeted, “I have repeatedly expressed my misgivings about the Fast-Track Court judgment sentencing each accused to life imprisonment. I am pleased that the Hon’ble High Court will hear the matter as a statutory court of appeal to test the correctness of the Fast-Track Court order.”He added, “I have full faith in our judicial system and the rule of law. Unfortunately, irresponsible statements are being made about my actions when all that I am doing is honoring the due process of law. Those that are innocent will be spared and the guilty will be appropriately punished.”The BJP government in Jharkhand had ordered the police to quickly probe the case and sent it to a fast-track court. The court verdict came nine months after the incident.