Hoo boy, tons of event stuff for the weeks ahead in our Friday roundup. And then the wonderful national stuff. Read on!

* Boy, if you didn’t come to Thursday morning’s super-cool event on health care technology at Lawrence Technologial University, you really missed out. Five great panelists on all the high-tech opportunity for Michigan in the health care industry. After all, as Mark Bennett of MJBennett PLLC points out, the health care industry is in a state of chaos, chaos is a “cauldron of opportunity,” and that marketplace is likely to stay in a state of chaos for a while. Panelists also said recent changes in the health care system are forcing more transparency on providers’ quality, outcomes and costs — and that those changes are also forcing more responsibility for health care costs onto consumers. Panelist Stephanie Rosenbaum, CEO of TecEd Inc., gave a fascinating overview of how her usability consulting company watches people use health tech products and web sites, sees where they have problems, and makes recommendations based on that evidence. (Those who write healthcare website copy that only an actuary could understand, beware.) Subra Sripada, executive vice president and chief administrative and information officer at Beaumont Health System, provided a terrific overview of how all the changes in health care are affecting a huge health care group. Jim Giordano, CEO of CareTech, talked about how his company helps healthcare systems manage IT more efficiently and effectively. And Dennis Nash, CEO of DataSpeaks, talked about how his startup company is ushering in the era of customized, individualized medicine by reusing data from earlier clinical trials. Sripada said modern health care law and management should reduce duplicate care. Giordano pointed out that the federal government has spent $28 billion under health care reform getting hospitals to adopt electronic medical records — which also should reduce duplicate care. And, he said, the health care “cost curve” has been bent downward to 3.7 percent price increases in 2012. “That’s good news, on a projected 6.7 percent increase, to go to 3.7 percent is huge savings,” he said. Problems yet to be tackled, Giordano said — the fact that 1 percent of patients result in 27 percent of health care spending. But huge opportunities lie ahead in genomics, intrapreneurship in existing health care organizations, and preventive care.

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* Michigan State University is celebrating National Engineers Week Feb. 16-22 with hands-on activities at Lansing’s science center, robot junkyard wars and career expo. See the entire EWeek schedule at http://www.egr.msu.edu/careers/engineers-week-2014. Highlights from the week include Engineering Day from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16, at the Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing. Participants will have the chance to meet with MSU engineering clubs and participate in engineering-themed activities. More information is at http://www.impression5.org or by calling (517) 485-8116. On Monday, Feb. 17, there’s a Student Professional Awareness Conference at 7 p.m. at 1345 Engineering Building and a Dress for Success event at 8 p.m. at Wilson Hall C102. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, there’s a Graduate Panel from 6 to 8 p.m. at 1345 Engineering Building and a video game tournament at 8 p.m. at 2400 Engineering Building. On Wednesday, Feb. 19, it’s a resume and interview session from noon to 3 p.m. in the Engineering Building lobby and a speed networking event from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at 2400 Engineering Building. The big Evening with Industry Banquet is 6 to 8:30 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Women in Engineering Program, Diversity Programs Office and the Center for Spartan Engineering, and hosted by the Society of Women Engineers, the event will be held at the Spartan Club in Spartan Stadium. Registration is required. On Thursday, Feb. 20, it’s the 2014 Engineering Expo from 2 to 5 p.m. More than 1,000 engineering students will roam through the halls of the Engineering Building during the expo, an interactive, information sharing event and a chance for students to gain knowledge of companies, interact with alumni, network with professional engineers and get the “insider” information lacking in the regular career fair model. See the companies participating at this link. On Friday, it’s a Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Symposium Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Brody Complex, and Junkyard Wars from 4 to 8 p.m. at the IM West Tennis Courts.

* Mark the dates Oct. 21-22 if you’re into medical technology in Michigan. Oakland County’s Medical Main Street has set its third annual Inno-Vention conference for those dates. Oakland County officials say the event will feature an expansion of the overwhelmingly popular Demonstration Alley, with companies exhibiting the latest medical technology innovations. Also expanding will be one-on-one meetings, where attendees can schedule face-to-face meetings with purchasing agents from major health care providers. The event location is being finalized and will be released soon. Last year’s Inno-Vention attracted more than 600 health professionals, clinicians, investors and suppliers. A global audience of more than 95,000 people was reached through social media in the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada. Returning from last year will be a networking reception on Oct. 21, the popular Commercialization Competition, an Innovator of the Year Award and luncheon, and concurrent industry break-out sessions on Oct. 22. For more information on how to get involved, conference sponsorships and programming, visit MedicalMainStreet.org.

* Wayne State University and Blackstone LaunchPad will host Spotlight Detroit, an event celebrating entrepreneurship in Detroit, from 1 to 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 21 at the College of Engineering. The event will include a keynote address from WSU alumnus Steve Plochocki, and an exhibition of more than 15 local businesses, including Tech Town, Bamboo Detroit and many others. Attendees can take part in a scavenger hunt for prizes and enjoy a variety of refreshments. Plochocki serves as president, CEO and member of the board of directors for Quality Systems Inc., a developer and marketer of computer-based practice management, electronic health records and revenue cycle management applications, as well as connectivity products and services for medical and dental group practices and small hospitals. Spotlight Detroit is sponsored by Wayne State University’s Blackstone LaunchPad, College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts, School of Business Administration, College of Engineering, the Graduate School and the Office of Economic Development as well as the Coleman Foundation. The College of Engineering is located at 5050 Anthony Wayne Drive, Detroit. For more information, visit blackstonelaunchpad.wayne.edu. Funded by the
Blackstone Charitable Foundation, the Blackstone LaunchPad opened in September 2010 offering career guidance, resources and advice to entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors at Wayne State University.

* Henry Ford Community College is piloting Project Lead The Way in Dearborn Public Schools as a way to interest students in engineering careers. PLTW is a hands-on approach to science and engineering that engages students on multiple levels and exposes them to areas of study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that they may not typically pursue. HFCC’s current PLTW offerings at the three Dearborn public high schools include “Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)” and “Principles of Engineering (POD).” Students are dually enrolled in this program and have the opportunity to transfer their credits to HFCC upon graduation from high school. The current PLTW semester ends May 31. Studies show PLTW alumni are studying engineering and technology at five to 10 times the average rate of all students, and PLTW students have a higher retention rate in college engineering, science and related programs than other students in those areas. Also, about 97 percent of PLTW seniors intend to pursue a four-year degree or higher, vs. the national average of 67 percent. And about 80 percent of PLTW seniors say they will study engineering, technology or computer science in college vs. the national average of 32 percent. PLTW was developed in 1986 by a teacher named Richard Blaise, who developed a digital electronics class to introduce students to engineering. For the 2012-13 school year, more than 4,700 middle schools and high schools in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. offer PLTW programs.

* The folks at RIIS (Research Into Internet Systems) LLC say they found significant security issues with eHarmony and Match.com apps in their Valentine’s Day security audit. RIIS has put together an Android Mobile Security Index for Dating apps. The company analyzed mobile apps developed by five of the major dating websites. We looked at each of these apps and rated them using the industry standard OWASP Mobile Top Ten Risks which can be http://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Mobile_Security_Project. Christian Mingle’s app came out on top as it had no major security issues. This is because it is more of a mobile website than a classic Android app and has no user data is stored on the phone, everything is on the mobile website. We were able to penetrate the security on each of the other apps. Unfortunately the remaining apps will let you do anything you want once you pull back the covers. The two biggest findings were that eHarmony’s and Match.com app made no real attempt to hide its users’ login information and the username and password can be found in cleartext on the phone, eHarmony in the shared preferences file and Match.com in the SQLite database. Match.com also saves dating interactions, user profiles, favorites and so much more unencrypted locally on the phone where it can easily be recovered.The dating companies want to make things as easy as possible for their users by not asking them to login more than once. But if you don’t ask your users to login when they use your app then all the hacker has to do is backup the app data and then restore it on a different phone for complete access. On the positive side it is great to see that all of the classic Android apps are using some sort of obfuscation to hide information from anyone reverse engineering the code. This makes it harder to understand the decompiled code. Zoosk, Match.com and Plenty of Fish all encrypt the user’s password. However because it’s saved on the phone we don’t need to decrypt the password, we can just back it up and then transfer it to another phone to assume another user’s identity.

* Michigan Technological University is hosting its annual spring career fair Tuesday, Feb. 18 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Student Development Complex. Some 217 companies plan to attend. The most popular majors for recruiters — mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and civil engineering — are all populated with high-tech expertise among their grads. Computer-focused majors are also in high demand. More at http://www.mtu.edu.

* A one-day tech event for girls in grades 4 through 12, “Girls Are IT!”, will be held March 19 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s Fairlane Center North, 19000 Hubbard Drive, Dearborn. Invited participants from area school districts will enjoy a workshop-style event that will focus on careers in technology. This event is designed to provide an introduction to technology and demonstrate why a career in technology will be fun and inspiring to girls. More at http://www.girlsareit.com or email info@girlsareit.com. The event is sponsored by the Michigan Council of Women in Technology, the University of Detroit Mercy, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, and Lawrence Technological University.

* The Center for Automotive Research is sponsoring an auto tech event, “Advanced Information Technology Solutions: An Engine of Innovation,” on Tuesday, March 25 from 8 to 11:30 a.m. in the Judea Room at the Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile Road in Plymouth. Advanced software in the areas of systems engineering, manufacturing operations management, and supply chain management are an essential part of managing the increasingly complex automotive industry. Software is viewed as a way to intelligently leverage internal and external data sources, transform the brick-and-mortar workplace to the mobile environment, provide real-time collaboration around the world, and free the workforce from the tedious tasks that stifle innovation. Yet, several challenges exist that inhibit the ability to deliver on these goals, including the necessity for increased security and privacy of sensitive information as well as the need for training today’s workers to overcome knowledge gaps. This CAR Breakfast Briefing will unveil the results of a recent study by CAR recognizing the benefits and opportunities of existing and future software solutions. A panel of industry experts will offer insight on how they envision the evolution of advanced automotive software solutions. The fee is $95. More information at this link. 

* The YMCA and JCC of Greater Toledo have signed an agreement with Brighton-based Clean Green Energy LLC for renewable energy projects at YMCA facilities throughout Michigan and Ohio. CGE and YMCA have partnered to create total immersion learning environments with these renewable energy projects. Glen King, Chief Development Officer for YMCA, along with key volunteers, crafted the Net Zero Vision ten years ago. “When we’re done with our vision, we’ll have a 450 bed campus that uses less energy than is generated on-site,” said King. Under the agreement, the YMCA is negotiating power purchase agreements with CGE to buy energy generated by CGE Wind-e20 turbines, as well as solar, geothermal, biomass and Cree LED energy efficiency upgrades. YMCA Storer Camps in Jackson is slated to be the pilot PPA site. More at http://www.cleangreenenergyllc.com or http://www.ymcatoledo.org.

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And now, the nationals, from CBS News, Cnet and a whole lot of other places…

* Comcast (CMCSK) announced plans to buy Time Warner Cable (TWC) Thursday in a deal worth $45.2 billion. The deal requires regulatory approval and is expected to close later this year. One of the big questions is what the impact of the merger would be on customers. The answer is complicated, but the likely outcome is that the deal won’t be good for individuals.

* When a mom in Richland, outside Kalamazoo, wanted to throw her 10-year-old son Colin a birthday party, she was heartbroken when his response was there wasn’t a point because he had no friends. The poor kid said he had to eat his lunch alone in the school office because nobody would eat with him. Jennifer created a Facebook page so that friends and family could wish her son happy birthday. She never expected it to go viral, but it quickly spread garnering hundreds of thousands of likes within weeks. The page currently has 1.7 million likes and countless messages from strangers. (And as some one who was a wee bit different myself at that age and bullied a lot, I can relate. Many small towns are hellholes for anybody who’s odd. I don’t know the whole story, but so far it sounds like this school ought to be ashamed of itself.)

* When deciding which web sites and web services to patronize, you probably don’t consider their password security policies. But as a recent study shows, perhaps it’s something you should take into account. Recently, password manager vendor Dashlane studied what it considered to be the top 100 e-commerce websites, specifically looking to assess their security policies. The resulting report ranked the sites from best to worst, and called out especially bad performers. Amazon and Macy’s both scored low. 

* I’ve been saying for years that I’ll become a vegetarian when there’s a decent fake meat. Well, now, a company called Beyond Meat is creating meat substitutes of chicken and beef from carrot fiber, pea protein and soy meal. CBS News’ Dean Reynolds got a tour of the plant.

* You don’t have to be just male or female on Facebook anymore. The social media giant is adding a customizable option with about 50 different terms people can use to identify their gender as well as three preferred pronoun choices: him, her or them. Facebook said the changes, shared with The Associated Press before the launch on Thursday, initially cover the company’s 159 million monthly users in the U.S. and are aimed at giving people more choices in how they describe themselves, such as androgynous, bi-gender, intersex, gender fluid or transsexual.

* Scientists say they’ve taken a key step toward harnessing nuclear fusion as a new way to generate power, an idea that has been pursued for decades. They are still a long way from that goal. The amount of energy they got out of their experimental apparatus was minuscule compared to what they put into it. Still, the new work reached some significant milestones along the path to a cleaner and cheaper source of electricity, the researchers and experts said.

* The dating app Tinder is all the rage in the Olympic Village in Sochi. If they’re not actually using it to find dates, it’s at least become a running joke among the international contingent of snowboarders.  U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson, 23, tells US Weekly that “Tinder in the Olympic Village is next level. It’s all athletes! In the mountain village it’s all athletes. It’s hilarious. There are some cuties on there.”

* The DNA of a baby boy who was buried in Montana 12,600 years ago has been recovered, and it provides new indications of the ancient roots of today’s American Indians and other native peoples of the Americas. The DNA indicates the boy’s ancestors came from Asia, supporting the standard idea of ancient migration to the Americas by way of a land bridge that disappeared long ago. The boy’s genome also showed his people were direct ancestors of many of today’s native peoples in the Americas, researchers said.

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* China’s Jade Rabbit lunar rover may have life in it yet. Early on Thursday, the Jade Rabbit’s microblog posted “Hi, anyone there?” The message came amidst speculation that the rover was permanently out of commission. China’s state-run media aren’t giving us the actual story, of course, but according to Science Now, several overseas-based space-related websites have reported that the main issue is with a solar panel. When the panel failed to fold and close, the rover’s instrumentation was left exposed to extremely low temperatures. (And one more time, a plea — with the moon only three days away with friggin’ 1960s technology and relatively cheap to get to, why isn’t our satellite virtually crawling with rovers looking for resources?!)