It’s spring, a time of year for new beginnings. But for new stuff to begin, old stuff has to end. And so it is for me, and for my time at WWJ Newsradio 950.
I’m announcing here that I’m leaving WWJ Newsradio 950 after more than 12 years running this technology newsletter. My last day will be Friday.
But you’ll still have me to kick around if you’re involved in the science and technology world in the Detroit area. I’m moving over to The Engineering Society of Detroit as its new director of communications and public relations. I’ve already started there part time, and I’ll take over full time as of April 14.
It’s been a great run for me here at WWJ, and I thank the staff and management here for their encouragement and support. You won’t find a better news staff anywhere on the planet!
And I’ll remain involved in some of WWJ’s tech activities — for example, you’ll still see me hosting WWJ’s terrific series of tech events at Lawrence Technological University, and you’ll see my byline on the occasional tech feature on CBS Detroit.com. WWJ will also continue to carry a healthy level of technology news coverage — some of which I hope to convince them to carry based on ESD activities!
The ESD is a fantastic organization, and the job was too good an opportunity to pass up. I’ll be helping drive ESD’s mission, to provide quality educational and enrichment programs and networking opportunities to Michigan’s engineering community and those in related technical fields. I’ll also be involved up to my eyeballs in the ESD Institute’s public policy analysis and proposals for education and economic development, and its efforts to boost STEM education and employment opportunties for students.
So we’ve still got a lot to do together, you and I, helping Michigan transform itself from the bicep of the car business to the brain of the global manufacturing technology industry. Let’s get to work.
And now the news!
* With the spotlight on manufacturing recently and a push to grow and train the workforce, this is an exciting and critical time for the industry to understand the latest technologies and work together to drive success and innovation. The Big M Event is positioned to highlight and educate on key manufacturing topics through exhibits, conference sessions featuring industry experts, company tours and demonstrations. Produced by SME, The Big M is slated for June 9 – 12 at Detroit’s Cobo Center. This event will bring together all things advanced manufacturing, covering innovation, digital factory, cybersecurity, new technology, talent, 3D printing, globalization, modeling, simulation and sustainability. This can’t be done solely through exhibits and panel discussions so The Big M will also feature conversations with industry experts on innovation, new strategies for advanced manufacturing and cybersecurity. Interactive displays and presentations guarantee that attendees will see, touch and experience what’s next for manufacturing. Innovation Factories will be featured in the exhibit space and are live manufacturing operations and presentations. From design to manufacturing to sustainability, exhibit attendees can see how key technologies work together to change the manufacturing landscape and increase manufacturing competitiveness. Also, manufacturing will be brought to life with tours of local manufacturing operations. Designed to showcase a variety of technologies and processes, these tours will allow participants to see how leading manufacturers are shaping the future first-hand. Tours will include GM’s Chevy Volt facility, Total Door Systems, Schuler, Pratt & Miller and Comau’s Robotics R&D Center. Tours are planned for Monday, June 9 and registration is required. To learn more about The Big M and see full conference and exhibit details or to register for any of the event offerings, visit http://www.BigMEvent.com.
* For the second consecutive year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recognized General Motors with a 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Sustained Excellence Award for continued leadership in protecting the environment through superior energy management. The U.S. EPA also recognized GM’s efforts to raise consumer awareness of climate change and presented the company with a 2014 Energy Star Partner of the Year Climate Communications Award. GM shares energy efficiency best practices within its own operations, as well as with suppliers, partners and customers by amplifying the important, positive effects that energy-efficient behaviors can have on the environment. GM is committed to reducing carbon intensity at its facilities 20 percent by 2020. Since 2010, the company has reduced energy intensity in the U.S. by 11 percent. More at http://www.gm.com or http://www.energystar.gov.
And now the national and global news, from our friends at CBS News, News.com and other sources…
* And now a page from the CBS “Sunday Morning” Almanac: April 6, 1965, 49 years ago Sunday . . . the day technology conquered the Atlantic. For that was the day the United States launched “Early Bird” — the first geosynchronous communications satellite, a satellite fixed over the same spot on Earth between America and Europe. A month after launch, Early Bird (a.k.a. Intelsat 1) showed what it could do in a special broadcast — relaying an image from North America to Europe.
* Bison were seen stampeding through Yellowstone National Park days before the March 30 earthquake, jumpstarting a theory that perhaps the animals had predicted it and were fleeing for their lives. The earthquake, which occurred at 6:34 a.m. local time, recorded a magnitude of 4.8 — relatively light by seismic standards, but still the strongest the park had seen in over 30 years. It was centered in the northwest corner of the park, according to the University of Utah. Yellowstone experiences an average of 1,600 smaller earthquakes each year. The park also sits atop a “supervolcano” — a chamber of molten magma deep beneath the surface that scientists believe has erupted three times in the last 2.1 million years.
* When a Norwegian man jumped out of a plane during a skydiving trip in 2012, he wasn’t expecting a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a meteorite up close — really close. Anders Helstrup narrowly avoided getting hit by the meteor, which zipped by just a few feet away. In the process, he became the first person ever to capture video footage of a meteorite traveling through the air after its flame has gone out.
* Engineers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University have developed an ultra thin and wireless adhesive biosensor that’s stuck to the skin like a temporary tattoo. The device has the ability to monitor a person’s heart rate and other vitals and transmit the data in real-time to a cell phone or computer.
* The European Space Agency said Friday it has successfully launched the first in a series of satellites that will form the nucleus of its new Copernicus monitoring system, which is aimed at providing better and quicker information about natural disasters and other catastrophes.
* Before the premiere of HBO’s new television series about life in California’s tech world, the network wanted to see if real people living and working in Silicon Valley would laugh along. They did. At a screening last week of “Silicon Valley,” a series that debuted Sunday, members of the tech community in and around San Francisco laughed at the comedy, which mercilessly pokes fun at all things having to do with the technology hub.
* The anti-tech industry sentiment appears to be taking a more personal turn, targeting the home of prominent tech figure Kevin Rose. The Digg founder and Google Ventures partner reported on Instagram on Sunday that protesters demonstrated outside his San Francisco home earlier in the day, carrying a large banner and distributing fliers that referred to Rose as a “parasite.”
* What great news! To reduce the health risk of eating barbecued food, drink beer.
* And why is the universe made almost exclusively of matter and not antimatter? Here’s a recap of what we know.
* Comcast loses an FCC case under which it tried to label an equipment rental charge a service fee.
* If you’ve ever wanted to know how NASA built its early software, now’s your chance. Could lead to more realistic space gaming, I suppose.
* And would living on Mars drive people crazy? NASA is trying to figure it out.