Matt’s Favorites: Virtual Science Fair, ESD Job Fair, Bye-Bye XP, Bitcoin An Asset, And Much More

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Wikimedia Commons photo.

Wikimedia Commons photo.

Happy midweek to you! You’ve been busy, Michigan technology community. I have a ton of local stuff here before we get to the  national tech news from the Interwebtubes. So without further ado, let’s do!

* The Explore Lab Science Program within the Michigan Department of Community Health Bureau of Laboratories is hosting a free virtual science fair, open to all elementary, middle, and high school students throughout Michigan. Students across the state are asked to explore a science topic, record a video and submit it to the Explore Lab Science Program. Experiments, research studies, demonstrations, and models are all acceptable project formats. The deadline for submissions is May 9. Winners will be announced May 21 on the Explore Lab Science website. The science fair entries are broken down into three categories by grade level: K through 4th grade students are eligible for the Lab Kids category, 5th through 8th grade students are eligible for the Atomic Kids category, and 9th through 12th grade students are eligible for the Lab Teens category. Students may either submit an individual experiment or a group experiment with no more than four students. Medals and certificates will be awarded to the top three winners for each category. First prize winners will also receive a custom lab coat. The goal of the MDCH Explore Lab Science Program is to introduce children to lab science at an early age. By introducing students at an early age to laboratory science, the Program aims to pique the curiosity of Michigan youth into exploring science as field for later in life when deciding on a college major or career. It’s anticipated that all science fields will be stressed by workforce shortages and programs such as these are critical to preventing those shortages. To register online and for full details and rules about the MDCH Explore Lab Science Program’s 2014 virtual science fair, visit http://www.michigan.gov/explorelabscience.

* Ford Motor Co. has joined the growing list of hiring companies at The Engineering Society of Detroit Engineering and Technology Job Fair, coming up Monday, April 7 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. As of now, more than 35 companies will be on-hand to recruit for talented professionals in numerous fields. In addition to Ford, companies include: DASI Solutions, TTI Global, Unique Systems Design, Trillium Technical, DTE Energy, Denso International America, Consumers Energy, Link Engineering Co., Valeo, Magna Powertrain, and many others. ESD still has openings for companies looking to hire for full, part-time or co-op positions and in a variety of fields, including architecture, computer science, cyber security, biofuels, manufacturing, and other technical fields, including chemical, civil, design, energy, electrical, biomedical, environmental, aerospace, mechanical, and other engineering firelds. Detailed information about exhibiting, including cost and logistics can be found at http://www.esd.org. Cost to attend the job fair is free to ESD members; non-ESD members pay $15 if registered by March 28, 2014; $20 if registered after March 28. Registration includes a one-year membership to ESD. (Offer good for new first time members only.) For more information about the job fair or to exhibit, visit http://www.esd.org or call Della Cassia at (248) 353-0735, ext. 112 or dcassia@esd.org.

* Two Michigan State University College of Engineering students pursuing STEM-related degrees have won the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. John Suddard-Bangsund and David Zoltowski have been awarded the national scholarship that was established by Congress in 1986 to create highly qualified scientists, mathematicians, and engineers who are interested in research careers. Suddard-Bangsund is an Honors College junior majoring in materials science and engineering and interdisciplinary humanities. He is a research assistant in the Molecular Organic Excitonics Lab, developing new electron donor materials for organic photovoltaics. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in materials science and engineering, conducting research on solar energy materials and teaching at the university level. He is from Monticello, Minn. Zoltowski is an Honors College junior majoring in electrical engineering, who seeks to advance knowledge on the brain and autism. He is a research assistant, applying advanced signal processing tools to study the functional brain networks. He plans to pursue a doctoral degree in electrical engineering, conducting research combining electrical engineering and neuroscience to advance the knowledge of the brain. He is from West Lafayette, Ind. Both students are active at MSU, including serving as mentors at local elementary schools. Suddard-Bangsund is a member of Engineers Without Borders and has done volunteer work in El Salvador and Zoltowski is a captain of MSU’s swimming and diving team. Read more on their extracurricular activities at this link. http://honorscollege.msu.edu/news/two-michigan-state-university-students-win-prestigious-goldwater-scholarship They become the 35th and 36th Goldwater Scholars from Michigan State University since the scholarship program was established almost 30 years ago. More than 280 scholarships were awarded nationally this year. For more on the Goldwater Scholarship, visit https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/. The MSU College of Engineering has six academic departments and 170 faculty members serving 4,400 undergraduate and 900 graduate students through 10 undergraduate and nine graduate degree programs. For more, visit: http://www.egr.msu.edu.

* Southeast Michigan’s largest health care provider, Henry Ford Health System, is the newest member of the state’s largest health information exchange, Michigan Health Connect. The arrangement means Henry Ford’s physicians and other medical professionals can securely share patient records with other designated providers. The electronic system is especially helpful to ensure comprehensive care for patients being transferred to another facility, such as a rehabilitation center. Henry Ford Health System employs more than 23,000 individuals; patients make more than 3.5 million visits to Henry Ford providers annually. Health information exchange is being implemented across the country to ensure that physicians, hospitals and other medical professionals have the right patient information, at the right time in the right location — no matter where that patient seeks treatment. The secure electronic system provides better care for patients and cost-saving efficiencies for providers. Michigan Health Connect is the largest provider of health information exchange in Michigan, serving 102 hospitals, over 2,200 medical offices, more than 17,000 individual providers and diverse providers statewide including Federally Qualified Health Clinics, Community Mental Health and long-term care facilities. The nationally recognized, community-based nonprofit works to enhance patient care by improving access to timely, secure clinical information while streamlining administrative functions for providers. For more information see http://www.MichiganHealthConnect.org.

* How safe are you in the Internet of things? You can find out at the Michigan Cybersecurity Industry Summit on Tuesday, May 20 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest. Speakers include Chris Roberts at One World Labs, J. Wolfgang Goerlich of VioPoint Inc. and Greg Conti of the U.S. Army Cyber Research Center and the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. The event will also feature updates about cybersecurity activities in Michigan, demonstrations of the Michigan Cyber Range, a daylong Capture the Flag contest held on the Range, and a networking reception with appetizers and beverages. Registration is $75 per person. Register and read more at http://www.merit.edu/mcis2014.

* Ann Arbor-based research materials provider ProQuest says it has completed the digitization of the historical archives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, making one of the most famous chronicles of the civil rights movement accessible to millions of researchers and students. Nearly 2 million pages of internal memos, legal briefings and direct action summaries from the association’s national, legal and branch offices throughout the United States are now fully searchable and accessible through academic, research and public library websites as part of ProQuest History Vault, an initiative to digitize historically rich primary sources, opening their discovery to broader audiences. The NAACP Papers deliver a first-hand view into the association’s work on crucial issues: lynching, school desegregation, and discrimination in the military, the criminal justice system, employment, and housing, among others. National office documents provide insight into NAACP’s leaders and their relationships with the U.S. Congress, with presidents from Taft to Nixon, and with other civil rights organizations. They also include the full range of “direct action” tactics taken in the 1960s, revealing a first hand look at the important roles grassroots leaders and women played in the civil rights movement. Documents from local NAACP branches give additional depth and insight into personalities active at the neighborhood level and provide an intimate look at social conditions in communities from all regions of the U.S. With a timeline that spans 1909 to 1972, users can examine the realities of segregation in the early 20th century, chart victories such as the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, then explore the late 1960s and 1970s as the Black Power Movement, urban riots, and the Vietnam War provided challenges for the NAACP. Legal files in the collection chart the organization’s spectacular legal successes from the 1910s through the 1954 landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision and into the early 1970s. To learn more visit http://www.proquest.com.

* If you’d like your business idea to contend for funding at the Midwest’s largest university venture fair, the application deadline is April 1 for the 33rd Michigan Growth Capital Symposium. The event will be held June 17 and 18 at the Marriott Resort in Ypsilanti. Presenting company applications for businesses seeking seed, A and B rounds of funding are now being accepted online at http://www.MichiganGCS.com. More details can be found on the site’s “Presenting Company” page. Qestions? Contact Mary Nickson at mnickson@umich.edu or (734) 615-4424.

* Ann Arbor-based Plymouth Ventures says it has made the first investment from its Plymouth Ventures Fund III — in Cleveland, Ohio-based Certified Security Solutions Inc. CSS is an information security company with operations throughout North America. CSS provides identity and access management products and services to global enterprises throughout the world. Plymouth Ventures partner Kevin Terrasi will take a Board seat with the company and actively assist CSS in achieving further growth.

* Ann Arbor Spark and Nest GSV will conduct a connected vehicle hackathon all-nighter April 4 and 5. The team at Spark Central, 330 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, will join a team in California connected by a 24-hour live feed competing for fabulous prizes and exposure. More at http://www.annarborusa.org/events/spark-events/connected-vehicle-hackathon.

* The Macomb-OU INCubator is sponsoring another in its series of Capital Raise Meetups Tuesday, April 1 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at the Macomb-OU INCubator at Velocity Collaboration Center, 6633 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights. If you are a startup or early-stage growth-based business looking for funding, come meet and listen to capital expert, Mike Brennan. He will detail the various capital sources in Michigan, and talk about how to properly position your company to be qualified for private funding, including private equity, the angel network and venture capital, and/or public funding, including grants, pre-seed, micro-loans and venture match. Brennan will provide a group presentation, as well as individually help each present company to determine their needs. To register for this free event, contact Joan Carleton at macINC@oakland.edu or (586) 884-9324.

* Henry Ford Community College has embarked on an in-depth, scientific marketing research study. Feedback from community residents who do not attend HFCC will assist HFCC in developing marketing and re-branding efforts to help attract new students and community partners to the college. The goal of this research study is to develop a strong marketing presence to ensure the growth and financial health of the college. HFCC requests request input from community friends through a qualitative study at the link below. This survey will be available until April 7. HFCC would greatly appreciate your answers to this survey, which should take 15 minutes or less to complete. Please take the survey one time only. All responses are anonymous. The survey is at http://interactresearch.com/hfcc/external/.

* The Michigan Film Office announced today that two film projects – “Moontrap: Target Earth” and “Crash Course” — have been approved for incentives from the state. In “Moontrap: Target Earth,” a 14,000-year-old spacecraft is discovered at an excavation site. Created by a previously unknown human civilization, it becomes re-activated, taking the film’s heroes to the moon to encounter robotic intelligence standing guard over ancient secrets. The project will film on location in Troy, Detroit and the metro Detroit area and use post-production and special effects services in Michigan. The project was awarded an incentive of $192,347 on $607,721 of projected in-state expenditures and is expected to hire 57 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of 5 jobs. “Crash Course” is a documentary based on the book by Pulitzer Prize winner and longtime Wall Street Journal Detroit Bureau Chief Paul Ingrassia. The film will tell the remarkable story of the rise, and fall, and rise again of the United States automobile industry. The documentary will include interviews and other scenes filmed in Detroit, Auburn Hills, Highland Park, Dearborn and Flint. The project was awarded an incentive of $73,995 on $282,649 of projected in-state expenditures and is expected to hire 14 Michigan workers with a full time equivalent of two jobs. So far in the state’s 2014 fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, seven projects have been awarded a total of $41,247,171 on $154,778,078 of approved production expenditures for the year. These projects are expected to create 851 hires with a full time equivalent of 770 jobs. For more on the Michigan Film Office, visit: MichiganFilmOffice.org.

And now the national and global stuff, courtesy of our friends at CBS News, CNet’s News.com, and elsewhere…

* Time is running out: There’s only about two weeks left before Microsoft on April 8 officially ceases support for Windows XP, and security updates stop coming to plug the many holes identified on an almost continuous basis. The risks are real — it’s not just bluster from the software giant encouraging people to upgrade to a pricier operating system. Anti-virus software vendor Avast recently said in a blog post that “XP users are 6 times more likely to get attacked than Windows 7 users.” Also: “Internet Explorer on Windows XP poses an even larger threat.”

* Bitcoin and other virtual currencies will be treated like property and not currency for tax purposes, said the Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday. The new rules could potentially give investors a boost for tax purposes but the IRS is also imposing specific record-keeping and reporting standards to the virtual currencies. The announcement said the bitcoin would be treated much like stock or other intangible property and any gains on the investments would be treated like capital gains and be subject to potentially lower tax rates. If a taxpayer receives virtual currency as a payment for goods and services, they must, in computing gross income, include the fair market value of the virtual currency, measured in U.S. dollars, as of the date that the virtual currency was received, said the release.

* Here’s the CNet review of the new HTC One M8 superphone.

* A veteran Russian space station commander, a rookie cosmonaut and a NASA shuttle flier rocketed into space aboard a Russian Soyuz ferry craft Tuesday, kicking off a four-orbit rendezvous with the International Space Station to boost the lab’s crew back to six.

* The Galveston Bay oil spill is having an impact on the wildlife on the Bolivar Peninsula, even as no oil has been spotted on the beaches. A 2,000 acre bird conservation area that sits at the end of the peninsula just before the Galveston ferry says the oil has spill affecting birds — during the height of their migration season.

* It was put on auction as a camera that made it to the moon and back. And it had its price — nearly $760,000. The Hasselblad 500 sold over the weekend is described by Vienna auctioneers Galerie Westlicht as part of the equipment carried by the 1971 Apollo 15 mission, the fourth manned mission to land on the moon. Galerie Westlicht identifies the new owner as Japanese businessman Terukazu Fujisawa.

* A group of evolutionary biologists have figured how exactly which dance movement catch a woman’s eye, especially since “dancing ability, particularly that of men, may serve as a signal of male mate quality…and thus, affect women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness,” according to the study.

* A Seattle-area taxi drivers organization has sued an app-based ridesharing service, alleging that Uber violates multiple laws and regulations, thus harming taxi drivers and the public. The Seattle Times reports the lawsuit filed Monday by the Western Washington Taxicab Operators Association contends Uber is involved in “unlawful and deceptive business practices.” Court documents allege that unlike the taxi drivers, Uber’s drivers don’t comply with legal requirements set by Seattle, King County and Washington state for the personal transportation industry.

* Another web company has announced its plans to go public. Box Inc., a company that provides cloud storage and content management to business users, filed paperwork Monday for an initial public offering. The company, while promising, has yet to see a profitable year out of the last three. According to released financials, Box lost $168.6 million in its 2014 fiscal year on gross revenue of $124.2 million.

* Wearables just got a major upgrade in style, as an Italian eyewear company announced its partnership with Google on Monday. Luxottica Group, the makers of Ray-Ban and Oakley frames, will reportedly sell frames for the search giant’s Internet-connected eyewear. This new alliance follows Google’s announcement that fashion accessory maker Fossil Group is working on an Internet-connected wristwatch that runs Google’s Android software for mobile devices.

* Spotify is wooing U.S. college students with a $5-a-month premium music deal, half off the regular rate. It hopes to entice a generation of music lovers that is more likely to stream music than buy CDs to pay for better features and mobile access.

* A deadly mudslide in northern Washington may have been predicted, according to a new report. The Seattle Times says a scientist studied the hillside above Oso, Wash., 15 years ago and warned of “the potential for a large catastrophic failure.” Daniel J. Miller, a geomorphologist, and his wife, Lynne Rodgers Miller, filed the report with the Army Corps of Engineers, the paper reported.

* Facebook announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy the virtual-reality technology company Oculus VR, which makes the Oculus Rift headset (pictured), for around $2 billion in cash and stock. Oculus is at the forefront of the emerging VR industry, getting its start on Kickstarter, and has made an open-source sweetheart out of its Oculus Rift headset. The company just announced its final development kit for the Rift last week at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, ahead of its official release.

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