Robot chicken butchers, brought to you by COVID-19
The trend toward robots and computers taking jobs people have held is getting a big push from COVID-19.A human face behind the counter is traditionally a welcome sight, but now people are warier of close contact with strangers. That opens the door to robots taking orders, flipping burgers, even delivering room service meals.“This was an issue for germaphobes, and now everybody is going to be a germaphobe. The future started in March,” said Johannes Moenius, a University of Redlands business professor.Adding some robots can help factories keep up production when they must limit the number of hu...
A coronavirus vaccine is on the horizon, thanks to a key discovery by these researchers
AUSTIN, Texas — When the latest coronavirus emerged, Jason McLellan and his team were ready to take action.McLellan, an associate professor of molecular biosciences at the University of Texas, has been studying respiratory diseases for years. In 2017, McLellan’s postdoctoral researcher Nianshuang Wang identified genetic mutations necessary to stabilize a key component of diseases like MERS, also a coronavirus.So when Chinese researchers shared the genetic sequence of the new coronavirus on Jan. 10, UT researchers were able to quickly map the virus and inject it with previously-discovered mutat...
Commentary: What artificial intelligence is telling us about US-China relations
Recent weeks were eventful in U.S.-China relations, to put it mildly. Spies were allegedly uncovered, consulates were closed after some resistance, TikTok and WeChat are being banned in the United States and China’s fighter jets flew over the Taiwan Strait when Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar made the highest-profile visit by a U.S. official to the island in over four decades. All of this on top of a pandemic and worsening trade ties. While some may debate whether this is the beginning of a new Cold War, it would be misguided to presume that such a war would necessarily remain co...
Tribune News Service
A COVID 'silver lining': You can start drug treatment over the phone — and more people are starting to
SEATTLE — Denny Bos’s ministry is the foothills of Mt. Baker, in east Whatcom County, Wash., a vast forest home to hundreds of people without addresses. Some live in ramshackle RVs, some in tents, some under tarps.People go there when they lose their jobs or homes, when their addictions get too serious, or to get away from society, Bos said.“They just disappear into the woods,” said Bos, who’s had to build trust to be accepted into the camps.When Bos, a former pastor who runs Seeds of Hope Ministries, finds someone who’s ready for drug treatment, it used to be hard to get them to go see a doct...
The Seattle Times
Tech Q&A: File problems may not stem from Windows 10
Q: When I bought a Windows 10 PC last year, I had all my Word files from Windows 7 transferred to the new computer. But I couldn’t open those files using Word on Windows 10, and Word was unable to convert the files to a format that it could read. As a result, I had to use a program called Cool File Viewer that allowed me to open all my old documents, copy them and paste them into new Word files.Then I downloaded the free trial version of Microsoft 365 (the online version of Microsoft Office) because I thought it was an update for Windows 10. I didn’t use it, but once I agreed to the free trial...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Balancing Act: Congrats on becoming a centibillionaire, Mark Zuckerberg! How about buying a computer for every American school kid who needs one?
Mark Zuckerberg became a centibillionaire last week, joining just two other people in the world worth more than $100 billion: Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.The pandemic hasn’t been bad for all businesses.“The founders of America’s largest technology companies have enjoyed a mind-boggling accumulation of wealth this year as the coronavirus pandemic drives more people online, despite the U.S. economy contracting at its fastest pace on record,” Bloomberg reports. “Zuckerberg has gained about $22 billion this year, while Bezos is up more than $75 billion.”How nice for them. I have an idea.Zuckerberg i...
The 'summer slide' was tough before COVID-19, but getting kids in back-to-school mode is extra tough this year. Here are some tips to get you started.
Usually around this time of year, the Homewood Science Center near Chicago is full of school and camp groups learning about roller coasters and building with Legos. This summer, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the south suburban center has been offering at-home science activities to keep kids engaged.The free kits include printed instructions (in English or Spanish) and some supplies to create things like an aluminum foil boat to hold pennies, a butterfly life cycle model and a bird feeder from household containers. Homewood Science Center Executive Director Edie Dobrez said more than 8,0...
Commentary: A new Works Progress Administration could create 'learning pods' for all schoolchildren
We are facing so many crises all at the same time. COVID-19 cases are again rising, a pandemic of racial oppression has spawned an uprising in U.S. cities as well as around the globe, and sky-high unemployment rates threaten the stability of American families. But our most immediate crisis is what to do with the kids this fall. Chicago Public Schools, like many other districts, is starting the year online entirely, perhaps offering a hybrid model in the next quarter. Can this really work — for children and for their parents?How is a parent to keep their own job with children at home rather tha...
Editorial: Another California heath official resigns amid COVID-19. Not a good sign for Gov. Newsom
One day, someone will calculate how many lives California Gov. Gavin Newsom could have saved by making wiser choices during the coronavirus pandemic. That terrible figure will likely stand as his political legacy.Until that day comes, we must grapple with another horrifying number: 10,365. This is how many Californians have died from COVID-19 so far. More will die in the days and weeks ahead. Strong and decisive leadership could save countless lives, but — like testing kits and contact tracing capability — it appears to be in short supply.Bizarrely, as the death toll climbs, Newsom keeps tryin...
The Sacramento Bee
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes' twice-delayed trial to start in March: judge
SAN JOSE, Calif. — After being delayed twice by the coronavirus pandemic, the criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes has been scheduled to start in March.Holmes, a Stanford University dropout who founded her now-defunct Palo Alto blood-testing startup in 2003, is charged with a dozen felony counts of fraud, and has denied federal government allegations that she and her co-accused, former company president Sunny Balwani, misled doctors and patients and bilked investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars.During a videoconference hearing Tuesday, Judge Edward Davila in U.S. Distr...
The Mercury News