Welcome back to Monday, when it’s finally starting to feel a bit like spring around here (in that it’s only unseasonably cold, not record cold). I’ve got tons of tech news for you today, an awful lot of people with new jobs, so let’s get to work!
* Kettering University has appointed James Zhang as the university’s new senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. Zhang will replace Robert Simpson, who announced his retirement last year. Zhang has been dean of The Kimmel School at Western Carolina University since 2012 and has been an Electrical Engineering faculty member at the university since 2003. He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Hunan University, a master’s degree from Indiana University in telecommunications and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Purdue University, both in electrical engineering. He has authored or co-authored more than 50 publications and holds seven U.S. and international patents. Zhang was selected from among three finalists after an extensive national search process that included input from a broad cross section of the Kettering University community including faculty, staff, and students. Zhang will start at Kettering on June 1. Simpson will stay on through the end of June to assist in the transition process. Simpson has served as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Kettering since September 2010. He also previously served in that same role at Kettering on an interim basis in 2006 -07. More at http://www.kettering.edu.
* The Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council, an advanced energy business association, has named Nicole Forward to the position of director of partnerships and corporate relations for both Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation. Forward’s work will focus on growing Michigan EIBC’s business membership, securing sponsorships for events, and researching and writing grants for the Michigan EIBC and the Institute for Energy Innovation. Forward has more than eight years of experience working in non-profit development in Grand Rapids and California. Previously, she was membership and annual fund manager at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the oldest and second largest museum in Michigan. Before moving back to her home state, she served as associate director of development at the California Science Center in Los Angeles, the largest hands-on science center on the west coast. She has also worked in development at the Los Angeles Zoo. Forward graduated from Michigan State University with a B.A. in political science with an emphasis in public administration. The Michigan EIBC is a trade association that represents companies in Michigan’s growing advanced energy sector, including advanced materials, batteries and energy storage, biomass, energy efficiency, lighting, smart grid, solar, transportation and wind, and includes companies engaged in energy innovation, production, manufacturing, entrepreneurship and research and development. More at http://www.mieibc.org.
* Current Motor, an Ann Arbor-based developer of electric motorcycles, announced that Bob Mossing has joined the company as vice president of fleet sales. Mossing was previously business and fleet manager for Washtenaw County, where he managed a $50 million budget as well as the fleets of the county and the sheriff’s deaprtment. Prior to working at the county, Mossing had extensive fleet experience at Safelite, where he managed a fleet of 3,500 units across retail, distribution, and sales lines for more than 2.5 million retail customers. Under his leadership, Safelite educed its fuel usage by 6 percent. Mossing has an MBA in management from Cleary University, and a Green Belt Certification – Lean Six Sigma, Engineering from Purdue University. He earned a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Ohio Dominican University. Recently, Mossing was elected vice chairman of the Midwest chapter of the National Association of Fleet Administrators. Current Motor’s “Super Scooters” have low maintenance requirements (no belts, chains or gears) and low operating costs (less than 2 cents per mile and near zero when solar charged). They have top speeds of 65 mph, and can travel 50 miles per charge. Current Motor Super Scooters are branded with the fleet organization’s logo and messaging, and can be customized with a variety of delivery, carrying and security options. Telematics are included in the mini-fleet offering, including on-board 3G communications, GPS, and the mini-fleet dashboards and reports can be customized to track fleet performance data and emissions reductions. A variety of solar charging options are available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. More at http://www.currentmotor.com.
* This year’s Money Smart Week Scavenger Hunt begins Wednesday, March 12. There’s also a smartphone app. The contest offers a prize of a $500 Apple gift card, a $250 Visa prepaid cards and other $100 gift cards. The Money Smart Hunt is a free nationwide photo scavenger hunt promoting financial education. Players will be asked to photograph themselves accomplishing a provided list of tasks such as “check out a money related book at your local library,” “high-five your banker,” or “attend a Money Smart Week event.” Each completed task and photo is awarded points. Money Smart Hunt is presented by The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. For more information and official rules visit http://www.moneysmartweek.org/hunt. Meanwhile, Scavenger Hunt with Friends is a photo-based scavenger hunt mobile application for Android and iPhone users. For ‘how to’ information and mobile application terms visit http://scavengerhuntwithfriends.com.
* The Engineering Society of Detroit and its 99 technical affiliate societies bestowed their highest honor, the 2014 Gold Award, to Kush Shah, manager of global electrification quality at General Motors. Shah received his award last week during the annual Gold Award Banquet. He was joined by 30 other awardees honored for their accomplishments and contributions to the fields of engineering, science and technology. Shah is recognized globally for his contributions to the field of quality. In his current role at General Motors, he is responsible for hybrid and electric propulsion system quality from concept to field performance, and has held leadership positions in manufacturing, research and design and quality. For his accomplishments, he has been honored with the GM Chairman’s Honor Award, the People Make Quality Happen Award, and as a GM Professional Fellow. Shah graduated from Maharaja Savajirao University in India with a degree in mechanical engineering and completed his graduated work at the University of Michigan. This year’s Outstanding Future City Teacher of the Year Award was given to Jon Pfund of St. John Lutheran School, whose work and dedication helped his team win the national Future City Competition for the first time. He will share the honor with the Future City team mentor, Linda Gerhardt, senior manufacturing engineer at GM, who will receive the Outstanding Future City Mentor of the Year Award. Other awardees include individuals representing a variety of industries, including engineering, scientific research, manufacturers, energy, and more. More at http://www.esd.org.
* Robert Hubbard, a retired Michigan State University professor who developed a safety device that is credited with saving the lives of countless racecar drivers, in being inducted into the Sports Car Club of America Hall of Fame. Hubbard and Jim Downing, a driver himself and Hubbard’s brother-in-law, developed what’s known as the Head and Neck Support device, or HANS, in the mid-1980s, following the death of a racer friend who died as a result of a skull fracture. Hubbard and Downing recognized that racers were being killed because their torsos were restrained but their heads were not. Although unknown at the time, this has been the mechanism of basilar skull fractures, the most common cause of racers’ deaths. With a research background in skull bone strength, head injury and crash dummy development, Hubbard conceived of the HANS device, which restrains the helmet and head relative to the shoulders and effectively reduces the head motions and neck tensions that injure racers. Since 1990, more than 200,000 HANS devices have been put into use by drivers. More at http://www.scca.com.
And now the world’s tech news, brought to you through CBS News, CNet’s News.com and elsewhere…
* Following denials from Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto that he’s the founder of the digital currency Bitcoin — as claimed in Newsweek’s latest cover article — the writer of the piece is saying she stands by the story. Leah McGrath Goodman, who wrote the Newsweek article, said on “CBS This Morning” that Satoshi Nakamoto “definitely acknowledged Bitcoin, and I think at this point now, he’s saying he was confused by the conversation.” (And does anybody else think that Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto sounds like the name of a billionaire Bond villain?)
* Imagine having your phone’s battery die on a trip abroad and upon returning home, realizing that a fitness app was still tracking the number of steps you took for days. Arman Amin, a student at Ryerson University in Toronto, was shocked when he found out that a fitness app kept track of how many steps he took — even after his iPhone 5S had displayed a flashing battery icon and died.
* Samsung on Friday unveiled a new free music service for its phones that it touts as a significant improvement from the apps already on the market. The South Korean gadget maker’s Milk Music service, which launched in the U.S. on Friday, includes over 200 stations and 13 million songs. It’s designed to be extremely fast, easy to use and highly customizable.
* As a huge fan of Carl Sagan and the original Cosmos, I have to tell you, I cannot wait for the new Cosmos series with a personal hero of mine, Neil DeGrasse Tyson.
* High schools parents and students are being warned about the dangers of using a social media app called “Yik Yak.” The app, which can best be described as a cross between Twitter and Snapchat, allows students to post anonymous comments to other users within a 5-to-10-mile radius. Introduced a few months ago as the “anonymous social wall for anything and everything,” it has quickly gone the way of Ask.fm and Kik — becoming used by teenagers to cyberbully their peers.
* NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured a never-before-seen view of an asteroid breaking apart. “This is a rock, and seeing it fall apart before our eyes is pretty amazing,” David Jewitt of the University of California at Los Angeles, who led the astronomical forensics investigation, said in a press release.
* Forget about frictionless sharing. People are turning to anonymous messaging apps to speak freely. CBS News takes a look at a few of the more popular mobile apps for secret sharing.
* AT&T is cutting the price of its 2GB Mobile Share Value Plan. The company announced Saturday that customers with one smartphone can sign on to the 2GB plan for $65 a month, and customers with two smartphones can sign on for $90 a month. In both cases, that’s a $15 drop from current Mobile Share Value Plan charges, the company said. Customers can bring their own phone, buy one at full retail, or finance one through AT&T Next.
* Also, T-Mobile is offering its customers a free data upgrade. The company announced Friday that it is doubling the amount of data customers can use per month on its standard 4G LTE service plan for no additional cost. So instead of getting 500MB of data per month at the full 4G LTE speed for $50 a month, users will now get 1GB of data. (All Simple Choice plans also come with unlimited talk and text messaging.)
* Google plans on releasing an Android software developer kit for wearables within two weeks. That was the biggest announcement from Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of Android and Chrome during an on-stage interview with John Battelle Sunday at South by Southwest. But during the hour-long talk, Pichai also discussed a wide range of issues related to how Google imagines its two operating systems being rolled out around the world, and how people will use and implement them.
* Whenever men and women are in conflict, the dialogue appears to have been written in English by three drunks of varying nationalities, none of whom speaks the others’ languages. The conclusion reached by many over the tortured course of history is that the two sexes have fundamentally different makeups. This includes their brains. A neuroscientist has stepped forward to remind everyone that men and women have the same brains. They just use them differently on occasion.
* In the midst of the youthful fireside embrace of the future that is South by Southwest, it’s refreshing that someone is thinking of the real future. This is a future where books, shoes, and vacuum cleaners will be flying toward your house, courtesy of Amazon drones. It’s also a future in which a machine might tell you that you’ve been a bad boy and punish you on the spot. An invention exhibited by a design and development company called Chaotic Moon (Motto 1: We Are Smarter Than You) offered an example of a potential weapon for good (or not so good). You might think it a loving weapon, as it’s called CUPID. In which case, you might think love is a drone that can zap someone with 80,000 volts from a flying stun gun.
* A Massachusetts man observes a police officer behaving badly — swearing and yelling into his cell phone while on the street. The man starts recording the cop — who proceeds to arrest him. His phone is taken from him, and now, huge surprise, the recording has now mysteriously disappeared.
* National security reporters are a new kind of political refugee, but for the first time they’ve had an extremely powerful opponent without an effective public relations strategy. Those were two of the main points delivered by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a teleconference interview at South by Southwest Saturday.