So here we are, back on a Monday, one of those federal holidays hardly one gets, and according to the weather folks we’re about to get one last middle finger from Old Man Winter. Well, I say, enjoy! Get out there and tromp around on snowshoes or cross-country skis or waste some valuable fossil fuel bombing around on a snowmobile! Okay, now I’m ducking the snowshoes and ski poles, you’ve had it with this winter, so I’d better get to my actual job, giving you the tech news…
* The MidMichigan Innovation Center will host a weekend Crowd Camp seminar on crowdfunding Friday, Feb. 28 through Sunday, March 2 at Grand Circus, 1570 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. Participants will learn crowdfunding basics and create their own campaign. Participants are welcome to bring a laptop or tablet, camera and video equipment to create multimedia components for their campaign. Participants are not required to have an existing startup or project to attend and can work with other teams.Learn more and register at http://www.mmic.us/events. Participants will have the opportunity to work with Brian Meece, founder and CEO of crowdfunding platform RocketHub, learn how crowdfunding can help launch a startup, build an engaging and effective campaign, collaborate with video and photo professionals to make a product or service look great, and present a campaign — and get inspired by what other campers create.
* The Nonprofit Management Center at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business has joined forces with Detroit Future City to improve transportation access for Detroit’s most vulnerable residents through the Social Impact Challenge. Hosted annually by the center, the challenge will be held Thursday, Feb. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ross School of Business Eighth Floor Colloquium at 701 Tappan Ave., Ann Arbor. The event is a multidisciplinary team-based student competition that addresses a pressing issue for an organization that delivers social impact. The event exemplifies the Ross mission to develop leaders to make a positive difference in the world. During the challenge, students from nine of the university’s top-ranked graduate schools and colleges will collaborate to develop solutions that increase connectivity for Detroiters in three high-vacancy neighborhoods. The center’s partners include Ross, the Ford School of Public Policy and the School of Social Work. Challenge finalists will present recommendations to a judging panel of experts and leaders, including Dan Kinkead, director of projects, Detroit Future City Implementation Office; Andy Didorosi, president and founder, Detroit Bus Co.l Rev. Joan Ross, executive director, Greater Woodward Community Development Corp.; and Larry Gant, professor, UM School of Social Work and School of Art & Design. After finalist teams present, former Detroit mayor Ken Cockrel Jr., executive director of the Detroit Future City Implementation Office, will give a keynote address. The event is free and open to the public. The winning proposal will be awarded a $2,500 prize and possibly be implemented. For more information: http://www.nonprofit.umich.edu
* AimWest, the association for tech professionals in the Grand Rapids area, will hold its next meeting, “How to Patent & Protect Your Ideas,” on Wednesday, Feb. 19. The event begins with networking at 5 p.m.; panelists take the stage at 6 p.m. The venue is the Eberhard Center at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus, 301 W. Fulton St., Grand Rapids. Free parking is available at the GVSU Peew Center Event Parking Lot, which you can enter on W. Fulton St. under the US-131 freeway bridge. Do you have an idea that you believe is worth protecting? Do you think you shouldn’t talk about it, for fear that someone will steal it? Have you ever written a non-disclosure document? What is intellectual property worth? Did you know that a trademark doesn’t have to be registered in the United States to be protected? There are a lot of rights due IP owners, but there is also a lot of research that goes into finding out if your idea has already been protected by someone else. Come to our February event to learn from the experts how to protect your intellectual property, idea, brand or product. The panel includes James Mitchell, a pharmaceutical and chemical patent litigation specialist, Dan Girdwood, a startup company attorney, and software and business methods patent expert Jim Shultz. AimWest president Douglas Kelly will moderate.
* The Macomb-OU INCubator Executive-in-Residence program invites clients of the incubator to collaborate with business specialists, in an effort to bring the utmost in success to the small businesses of the metro Detroit area. The next program, “1% Vision and 99% Alighment: Strategic Planning for Business Owners That Works,” will be presented by Kathryn Baker and Tim Kuppler of Advicoach of Michigan on Friday, Feb. 28 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Registration and networking begins at 8 a.m. Register at http://strategicplanningfeb28.eventbrite.com. The incubator is located at 6633 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights. To request additional information, please contact Kathryn Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org or (248) 613-1496. For more information on the Executives-in-Residence program at Mac-OU INC, please contact Joan Carleton at macINC@oakland.edu or (586) 884-9324.
And now, the national news…
* Hey, be careful with that Craigslist stuff. A Pennsylvania woman charged along with her newlywed husband in the murder of a man they met through Craigslist admitted to the slaying in a jailhouse interview with the Daily Item in Sunbury, Pa. Miranda Barbour, 19, said she wants to plead guilty to killing Troy LaFerrara in November. She also said in the interview that she has killed at least 22 other people from Alaska to North Carolina in the last six years as part of her involvement in a satanic cult.
* Hackers hit crowd-funding site Kickstarter and made off with user information, the site said Saturday. Though no credit card information was taken, the site said, attackers made off with usernames, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and encrypted passwords.
* NASA’s next robotic moon lander Morpheus successfully completed its fifth free-flight test last week. Video of the Morpheus test flight shows the SUV-sized prototype taking off vertically on Feb. 10 at NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Shuttle Landing Facility in Florida. The 74-second trial run took the Morpheus lander prototype 467 feet above the ground, soaring more than 160 feet higher than its last test, according to NASA. The experimental lander then flew forward 637 feet in 30 seconds before descending and landing on target.
* Speaking of space, a mystery rock which seemed to appear out of nowhere on Mars last month stirred up much speculation among alien enthusiasts, but it appears the mystery is solved. The answer is more simple than sci-fi. NASA said Friday that the mysterious rock, which resembled a jelly doughnut, is actually just a piece of a larger rock that the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove over in January, breaking it into pieces.
* You don’t need to worry about the latest set of robots taking over the world. But they might be building it. A team of Harvard University scientists recently introduced TERMES, a set of tiny bots that work together to build all sorts of structures. The team expects them to handle tasks that are dangerous for humans, such as underwater research stations or building in outer space, as well as routine assignments, like building sandbag levees in flood zones.
* Would you eat three-year-old pizza that hadn’t been frozen? The military is closing in on what they call They the holy grail of ready-to-eat meals for soldiers: a pizza that can stay on the shelf for up to three years and still remain good to eat. Soldiers have been asking for pizza since lightweight individual field rations – known as meals ready to eat, or MREs – replaced canned food in 1981 for soldiers in combat zones or areas where field kitchens cannot be set up. Researchers at a U.S. military lab in Massachusetts say they’re close to a recipe that doesn’t require any refrigeration or freezing.
* The U.S. speedskating team is desperately trying to make sense of its miserable performance during the first week of the Winter Olympics – and much of the speculation has turned to a new high-tech skinsuit. The secretive Under Armour suit was developed with help from aerospace and defense giant Lockheed Martin. The Americans unveiled the “Mach 39” just before arriving in Sochi, touting it as the “fastest speedskating suit in the world” and firmly convinced it would give them a big advantage over rival teams such as the Netherlands. Instead, the Dutch are dominating, the Americans look like they’re skating in quicksand, and everyone is wondering if the suit is actually a drag on performance.
* With the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first US appearance in full swing, Capitol Records has remastered the entire US catalog and released 12 individual albums and a deluxe box set. Here’s a review from CNet’s News.com.
* If you’d like to get depressed about the relative intelligence of your fellow Americans, don’t read that 25 percent of us think the sun revolves around the Earth. No, really.
* A traffic measurement company suggests that few people actually read the articles they share. If you spend much time online, you probably aren’t surprised.
* Just sharing this because I like it: Your 60 hour workweek is not a badge of honor. It is a sign of something broken in your organization.
* Internet trolls really are horrible people. The psychology paper from the University of Manitoba sought to directly investigate whether people who engage in trolling are characterized by personality traits that fall in the so-called Dark Tetrad: Machiavellianism (willingness to manipulate and deceive others), narcissism (egotism and self-obsession), psychopathy (the lack of remorse and empathy), and sadism (pleasure in the suffering of others). It is hard to underplay the results: The study found correlations, sometimes quite significant, between these traits and trolling behavior.
* Twitter photos and videos appear to be blocked in Venezuela as the government there attempts to reassert control amid widespread public protests. Three people were reportedly killed this week in massive student demonstrations in the capital Caracas, as protesters react to falling living standards. President Nicolas Maduro has called the protests a “neo-fascist” coup attempt, and sought the arrest of an opposition leader. The Venezuelan government has not commented on, or claimed credit for, the apparent Twitter block.
* And here’s a cool post about the post-economic-scarcity economy of Star Trek, and how we may be headed there. Maybe.