Driver uses clever signs to navigate through LA traffic

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driver holding signs outside car window in heavy traffic

Saying “please” can get you quite far, even when trying to switch lanes and navigate traffic. A driver in Los Angeles found a creative way to navigate through traffic— a clever sign that reads, “Please let me in.”

In video posted to Twitter Tuesday afternoon, the driver appears to try to merge into a far-left turning lane and cut in front of another driver all the while holding his genius sign.

To smooth things over even more —because situations like that can escalate, he stuck out another sign that said, “Thanks.”

The signs seemed to have worked in the driver’s favor as he inched more into his desired lane.

The approach was simple, yet effective. Plus, in heavily populated cities where traffic can be a nightmare, you rarely expect any sort of “driving etiquette.”

Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) Conference

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Great Minds in STEM Flyer with details for the event

Great Minds in STEM (GMiS) invites you to the 31st Annual Conference taking place September 25-29, 2019 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

The GMiS Conference is the nation’s most prestigious stage for building and reinforcing networks and honoring excellence. The place where top executives, innovative professionals, and the brightest STEM students convene.

GMiS draws thousands of diverse high caliber STEM students from a broad array of institutions, including top‐ranked U.S. News & World Report Institutions, Research I Institutions, and Minority‐Serving Institutions.

Network with over 3000 STEM executives, college students and recruiters from all major industries and sectors. Secure an internship, fellowship or full time career!

Click here for a full flyer view.

For more information,  visit  greatmindsinstem.org .

Yes, tech companies may listen when you talk to your virtual assistant. Here’s why that’s not likely to stop

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alexa machine sitting on a counter

Big tech companies don’t like to talk about it. And when users find out it’s happening, they’re often surprised — and disturbed. Yes, if you talk to a virtual assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa, a human may listen to a recording of your chatter.

Recent reports have highlighted what is actually a longstanding practice meant largely to improve the artificial intelligence that underpins the virtual assistant-powered gadgets and services that are popping up throughout people’s homes and lives.

The practice raises privacy concerns for smart-speaker users in particular, who might have known that Amazon, Google, and Apple create recordings each time you speak to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, respectively, but not that people might review them.

The companies have said only a small percentage of recordings are listened to by humans. Still, Google and Apple have temporarily halted human reviews of their recordings, while Amazon recently changed its settings to make it easier for people to avoid such review at all.

Last week, Facebook said it, too, had paused human review of some users’ audio clips, such as those sent as audio messages via the social network’s Messenger app. Facebook had been using humans to listen in, as part of an AI-transcription feature.

Lost in the shuffle of these revelations is whether people are truly needed to make these AI-dependent systems work, and how much companies should tell users about this process.

Continue on to CNN to read the complete article.

Associating colors with vowels? Almost all of us do!

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Does [a:] as in ‘baa’ sound more green or more red? And is [i:] as in ‘beet’ light or dark in colour? Even though we perceive speech and colour are perceived with different sensory organs, nearly everyone has an idea about what colours and vowels fit with each other. And a large number of us have a particular system for doing so. This is shown in research by linguists from Radboud University and the University of Edinburgh on similarities in the vowel-colour associations perceived by over 1,000 people.

For the writer Vladimir Nabokov, “aa” was the colour of polished ebony and “ee” was yellow. Nabokov had synaesthesia: his sensory perceptions mingled with one another. In his case, he saw colours when hearing certain vowels, but many forms of synaesthesia are possible. Only 1 in 25 people have synaesthesia, but this new research shows that certain intuitions about “sound colours” shared by many more people than this.

“Aa” is more red than green

In this study, over 1,000 people took part in an online test where they chose colours for 16 spoken vowels. A large majority felt that “aa” was more red than green, and “ee” more light than dark, whether they had synaesthesia or not. According to Mark Dingemanse, one of the researchers, “There seems to be a logic to how we link sound and colour, and the structure of language has an important role in this process.”

Vowel space

Sixteen vowels sounds like a lot, but it works like this. When you say “aa,” then move to “oo” as in boot and then to “ee” as in beet, Dingemanse explains, you have visited the three outer points of what linguists call the vowel space. The 16 spoken sounds in our study were evenly distributed over this space.

Vowel system dictates colour associations

Earlier studies have found that colour associations are linked to the pitch of the sounds: the higher the pitch, the lighter the colour. But the new study shows that colour associations are driven to a greater degree by the vowel system of a language. For example, many participants described sounds that were close to the Dutch vowel “ee” as light green, while nearby sounds resembling “ay” as in say were assigned a different colour. The associations are shaped according to how our language carves up the vowel space.

Dingemanse says, “If colour associations were purely dependent on acoustical factors, the colours would neatly run into one another like in a rainbow. Instead, we see that sounds are grouped according to the way that our language carves up the vowel space: a few blue spots and then suddenly a red one, with no transition of blue-purple-red. You could say that the vowels have to pass through the sorting machine that is our language before we can link colours to them, even in synaesthetes, for whom associations like these are involuntary.”

Synaesthesia

The researchers used a new method to dig deeper into the structure of the colour associations. For each participant, they compared the chosen vowel-colour associations with a random sample of 10,000 random associations. They used this to measure how systematic the chosen associations were.

“Synaesthetes’ associations were more systematic than those of non-synaesthetes,” says Christine Cuskley of Edinburgh University. “But some patterns occur everywhere: people seem to align the vowel space and colour space with each other and connect the dots from one space to the other.” For instance, colours chosen for “ee” and “ay” tend to be quite close to each other, while those for “aa” and “oo” are further apart. Automatic associations like those of synaesthetes therefore rely on some of the same principles that non-synaesthetes use to link vowels and colours.

The study took place as part of the so-called Great National Research Project (GNO), a collaborative venture of Radboud University, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and NTR Broadcasting.

Continue on to Science Daily to read the complete article.

Apply For The Reaching Out MBA (ROMBA) Fellowship Sponsored by ADP

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The Reaching Out LGBTQ MBA Fellowship (ROMBA) was created as a joint effort between top business school programs and Reaching Out to demonstrate that business schools are the top destination to develop the out LGBTQ and active ally business leaders of tomorrow.

​The LGBTQ MBA Fellowship recipients each receive a minimum of $10,000 scholarship per academic year or $20,000 total scholarship, and also receive access to exclusive mentorship and leadership development programming through Reaching Out. 55 members of The Class of 2019 will collectively receive over $1,300,000 for each year of their MBA experience!

Click here for full view of flyer

Learn more about the fellowship at reachingoutmba.org

The Most In-Demand Engineering Jobs

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When deciding on a career path, it is difficult to know whether that industry will continue growing, become over saturated, or even redundant. The trend is toward information technology and automation, which will remain the case for the foreseeable future. Traditional fields, such as civil and petroleum engineering, are still high in demand, but the fastest-growing fields are those in the IT sphere. Take a look at some of the engineering jobs that are most in-demand and show the greatest salary potential for 2019 and beyond.

1. Data Science & Machine Learning

Software engineering has seen continuous growth over the past few years, with no signs of it stopping. Data science is a branch of software engineering that involves creating meaningful information based on large amounts of data. These large datasets are known as big data and can come from a variety of sources, such as e-commerce, medical or financial sectors. This field uses both statistics and software engineering to gather, analyze and present the gathered data in such a way as to allow the end user to optimize their specific services. Machine learning is a subset of data science that is used to make predictions of what might happen in the future based on data of what happened in the past. Machine learning algorithms will make predictions, test whether these predictions were accurate, and then optimize the algorithm to improve the accuracy of the prediction going forward. The more varied the volume of data available the better the predictions. A bachelor’s degree is not always necessary to begin a career in data science as there are various short courses that cover the required topics. However, a strong background in both mathematics and coding is necessary.

2. Automation & Robotics Engineer

Robotic systems are already good at performing menial repetitive tasks that don’t require the dexterity and attention to detail provided by a human worker. However, with constant advances in computing, energy storage and materials, robots are beginning to move from single arm welding and assembly robots to complex humanoid robots. A striking example of this are the Boston Dynamics robots. A robotics engineer is involved in every aspect of the design, development, testing and implementation of robotic systems. Robotics engineers are typically either mechanical, electronics or mechatronic engineers. With the relentless march toward automation, the only jobs safe from automation are those within automation.

3. Petroleum Engineer

Petroleum engineers work on drilling methods, design of drilling equipment and implementing & monitoring the drilling plan for the extraction of crude oil. Petroleum engineering has been in demand for the past few years and is set to continue growing in demand over the coming decade. Despite the push for electrical vehicles and clean energy, oil is still highly in demand as it is used in many different industries. Many petroleum engineers are expected to retire in the coming years, creating more demand than supply, thus it is a perfect time to get into the field.

4. Civil Engineering

Civil engineers build the infrastructure on which the world runs. As such, civil engineering is likely to be in demand for the foreseeable future. There are various branches of civil engineering, which make it a great field to be in. The main civil engineering fields include structural engineering, environmental engineering, road/highway engineering and transportation engineering.

5. Electrical Engineering

Electrical engineering shows continued demand. It is a broad field that includes power engineering, instrumentation engineering and electronic engineering, to name a few. The broad range of possible career paths within electrical engineering means that they will always be demand.

6. Alternative Energy Engineer

There has been an international push toward clean and renewable energy. For example, the demand for solar energy technology has increased dramatically, resulting in ever decreasing panel costs. This is creating a feedback loop that is further pushing up demand. There is no doubt that alternative clean energy is the future. Despite coal fired power stations still making up the majority of global energy production, its growth has stagnated while alternative energy has grown. An energy engineer needs to start off with at least a bachelor’s degree in mechanical or electrical engineering. A master’s in energy engineering for the specific desired field can further improve job prospects.

7. Mining Engineer

Mining is the start of any products’ lifecycle, as this is the stage where the raw materials for everything manufactured get extracted from the ground. A mining engineer typically designs both open pit and underground mines and supervises the excavation and construction. They also design methods for processing and transporting the mined materials to various processing plants. While the consumption trend for iron will begin falling in the next few decades, demand for lithium, copper, nickel and various other metals required in electronics and batteries will continue growing.

8. Project Engineer

A project engineer is a critical field in every branch of engineering. Project engineering is not something specifically studied because any engineering degree can land you a project engineering post. Therefore, further study in project management is usually recommended to improve overall efficiency. A project engineer manages projects that are technical in nature that may include the design, procurement, manufacture and delivery of small simple components to complex chemical treatment plants. The role is multidisciplinary in nature that requires a fundamental technical understanding of every facet of the project.

Source: newengineer.com

Appliance Standards Create Jobs in Every U.S. State

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lightbulb hovering over a field of grass

National standards that require appliances and equipment to be more energy efficient do more than save energy and reduce utility bills. They also spur economic growth and create jobs—a lot of jobs. In fact, a report by The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reveals that they created or sustained nearly 300,000 jobs in 2016 and are projected to support 553,000 jobs in 2030. These jobs benefit every U.S. state.

Here’s how: When consumers and businesses take the money they have saved on energy and water bills and spend it in other sectors of the economy, it boosts growth and jobs in those other sectors. Because the energy sector is among the least job-intensive parts of the U.S. economy, this spending shift results in net employment gains.

These gains are sizable, because existing standards have been a huge success story. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates they will save 71 quadrillion Btus (quads) of energy by 2020 and double that by 2030, when they will cumulatively save more than $2 trillion in utility bills. Savings on water and wastewater bills will also accrue. National standards cover approximately 60 categories of products, ranging from appliances such as refrigerators and microwave ovens in homes to cooling/heating equipment and lighting in offices and other commercial buildings.

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy research quantifies the jobs that result from the standards’ net economic savings, which totaled $58 billion in 2016 and will reach $134 billion by 2030. The half million-plus jobs we expect in 2030 are almost as many as the roughly 650,000 in the entire U.S. mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector.

Standards for light bulbs contribute to this positive macroeconomic impact more than any other standard. The stronger light bulb standards slated to take effect in 2020 account for nearly one-fifth of the net economic benefits and jobs in 2030.

The number of jobs created or sustained by appliance and equipment standards is significant in every state. For example, in 2030 California’s net economic benefits will total nearly $20 billion, resulting in more than 80,000 jobs. Savings scale with population and commercial building energy use so, not surprisingly, the states will the biggest populations have the largest job growth. Yet not just the largest states benefit. In Kentucky, appliance standards will produce $1.4 billion in net economic benefits and create or support more than 5,500 jobs in 2030.

Appliance standards are an obvious boon to energy, water, and monetary savings, but they are also a major job creator. As technologies improve, there will be new opportunities to update standards, increasing both savings and jobs. Weakening or eliminating current standards will harm the economy and put jobs at risk.

Source: The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy

Cyber Security Awareness Training for all Ages in Delaware

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image of a breakout box on a table

Children and adults in Sussex County are now getting hands-on cyber security awareness training at the Selbyville library thanks to Cyber Streets and the library itself.

Cyber Streets is a nonprofit organization that was started in Dover back in 2017. Founder Rob Bentley began spreading the knowledge at the Selbyville Library on June 3rd and he now runs the program there every other Monday. The Sussex County Stem Alliance helped connect Bentley to volunteers and this week they’re using what is called the ‘break out box’ to learn how cyber security is used to break into something.

“They go around looking for clues,” Bentley explains. “They find those clues, put them together, and work together as teams to crack the code on the puzzle that actually unlocks the locks to get into the box.”

Thirteen-year-old Eleni Apostolidis of Millsboro has been homeschooled her entire life. She’s thankful for an after-school opportunity that is available to students like her. “It can teach us coding if we want to maybe look into the community a bit more to find tools to maybe create our own software in the future,” she shares.

Most of the students who’ve been attending in Selbyville are homeschooled students but Cyber Streets is open to anyone. Bentley says he teaches people from six to sixty-years-old. In fact, many parents join their kids in these lessons.

The program is completely free. To sign up in Selbyville, reach out to the library or Cyber Streets. Bentley says those interested in attending can simply show up to the next lesson on July 29.

Continue on to WBOC.com to read the complete article.

Cmd-It Announces 2019 Richard A. Tapia Award Winner Cristina Villalobos

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Cristina Villalobos poses in a gray blazer and red blouse

CMD-IT recently announced the recipient of The Richard A. Tapia Achievement Award for Scientific Scholarship, Civic Science and Diversifying Computing is Cristina Villalobos, the Myles and Sylvia Aaronson Professor in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Founding Director of the Center of Excellence in STEM Education.

The Richard A. Tapia Award is given annually to an individual who is a distinguished computational or computer scientist or computer engineer and who is making significant contributions to civic areas such as teaching, mentoring, advising, and building and serving communities. The individual is also one who demonstrates extraordinary leadership in increasing the participation of groups who are underrepresented in the sciences.

“Cristina Villalobos is a leading mathematician in the fields of optimization, optimal control and modelling,” said Valerie Taylor, CMD-IT CEO and President. “Throughout her career she has significantly impacted different applications areas through her research in optimization; impacting areas such as the treatment of eye disease and the design of antennas. In addition, Cristina has focused on strengthening STEM academic programs, providing resources for the academic and professional development of students and faculty, and increasing the number of underrepresented students attaining STEM degrees. She has been a leader in student mentoring, increasing the number of Hispanic students pursuing PhD’s in mathematics.”

The Richard A. Tapia award will be presented at the 2019 ACM Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference. Themed “Diversity: Building a Stronger Future,” the Tapia Conference will be held September 18-21, in San Diego, California. The Tapia Conference is the premier venue to bring together students, faculty, researchers and professionals from all backgrounds and ethnicities in computing to promote and celebrate diversity in computing. The Tapia Conference is sponsored by the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and presented by the Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT (CMD-IT).

The Tapia conference sponsors include Diamond Sponsor Qualcomm, Platinum Sponsors Caltech, Cornell Computing and Information Science, Georgia Tech, JP Morgan Chase & Co, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Rice University, Stanford University Computer Science, STARS Computing Corps, Two Sigma, University of California Berkeley, University of California San Diego Science and Engineering Department, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and University of Michigan. Gold Sponsors include Atlassian, Blendoor, Capital One, Cisco, CRA, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Google, Harvey Mudd College, Kennesaw State University, University of Maryland, College Park, University of North Carolina Charlotte and Virginia Tech. Gold Government Supporters include Argonne National Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory.

The early bird pricing for the Tapia Conference ends July 8th. For more information and to register for the Tapia Conference, visit tapiaconference.org.

About CMD-IT

The vision of CMD-IT is to contribute to the national need for an effective workforce in computing and IT through inclusive programs and initiatives focused on minorities and people with disabilities. CMD-IT’s vision is accomplished through its mission to ensure that underrepresented groups are fully engaged in computing and IT, and to promote innovation that enriches, enhances and enables underrepresented communities. For more information, please visit cmd-it.org.

Why Aren’t More Women in Computer Science?

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By Suzanne Weston

Until 1984, growth of women entering professions including physical sciences, law, medicine, and computer science was steady, but then something changed. After the introduction of personal computers, the percentage of women in computer science flattened and then plunged, even though the number of professional women kept rising.

Initially, personal computers were toys used for playing simple games, marketed directly to boys and men. While both genders are equally talented in logic and problem solving, boys were given computers more often than girls. And boys were more comfortable when teachers started using computers in the classroom.

Teachers have a significant influence on students’ decisions to study computer science. Students who receive positive reinforcement are three times more likely to go into computer science, and the window for making this impact occurs before age 14. Therefore, children need exposure to computers at a young age.

Is it realistic for both women and men to enter computer science and related fields?

Yes. Harvey Mudd College demonstrated that women are as capable as men in computer science (CS). They introduced CS courses with different names: “Introductory Java” became “Creative Problem-Solving in Science and Engineering Using Computational Approaches,” and changing the course name reduced intimidation due to lack of prior exposure. Classes were structured to become collaborative and team-oriented (which appealed to women who found the stereotypical loner geek programmer unappealing). The percentage of women in CS increased from 10 percent to 50 percent. The solution was to create an environment where women can flourish.

Why aren’t more women in computer science?

Women think differently than men. Because women want to avoid mistakes, they may become frustrated when their code does not work. Because men see learning programming as a trial-and-error process, they don’t see code not running as a reflection of their skills. Adding check-points to affirm success can build women’s confidence.

Since socialization and collaboration are important to women when selecting careers, they may feel isolation until more women enter the field. Women need role models. Programs like Girls Who Code address this gap. They encourage girls to take advanced placement (AP) classes in high school, which positions them to study technical disciplines in college. Seventy percent of students who took the AP exam say they want to work in computer science; this shows the importance of early exposure in framing career aspirations.

Attracting women to technology is the first step toward developing women in CS. The second step is building an inclusive culture that offers career advancement and encourages them to remain in CS. Women leave technology companies at twice the rate of men. Early intervention and education will begin to close the gap between women and men in CS. Female students who have visible, female role models in CS careers and receive encouragement from parents and teachers can increase the likelihood that they pursue additional CS courses and degrees (2017 Gallup poll). To thrive in business, women need a collaborative culture with role models.

WonderWorks Orlando Takes Magic Comedy Dinner Show to New Heights

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WonderWorks magician using flamethrower props on stage at dinner show

Those visiting Orlando who love magic will not want to miss The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show at WonderWorks. The indoor amusement park is taking the long-running magic comedy show to a whole new level, by using technology to create more interaction with the audience.

While previously only a small group of people would get the interactive experience, the new technology allows the whole audience become part of the show.  Plus, world-renowned magician Tony Brent will be thrilling crowds with more magic, and a straightjacket reenactment.

“Our fans loved the magic comedy show before, but now it’s going to be even more interactive and exciting,” explains Brian Wayne, general manager of WonderWorks Orlando. “This is a show that all ages can enjoy. It’s funny, it’s magical, and it’s an amazing experience for all who attend.”

The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show will be adding the new close up experience starting the last week of June 2019. The new elements will include mind-bending magic that the whole family will enjoy. The magic in the show will become more “magical” and make the show an even more amazing experience for all. Additional new elements for the dinner show include:

  • There will be three shows per day all month of July 2019, including at 4 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm.
  • Tony Brent will reenact the famous and legendary feat by the world’s most famous magician, Harry Houdini, dating back to the early 1900’s. He will present the “Straightjacket Escape,” giving the audience a full view of the escape.
  • Dinner show guests can enjoy a delicious meal of unlimited hand-tossed pizza that is made fresh in-house, as well as salad, dessert, and unlimited drinks, including beer and wine.

“This is going to be an exciting time to see the magic comedy dinner show,” added Wayne. “Combining great food with a world-class magic show is going to give people a one-of-a-kind experience. We look forward to seeing the smilesWonderWorks magician onstage with young boy from audience involved in his magic act and good vibes this show creates for all who attend.”

Tony Brent is the star and producer of The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, which is the longest running magic dinner show in the world. His show combines magic tricks, comedy, audience participation, and more. The show was named “One of America’s Ten Best Magic Shows” by the Travel Channel.

WonderWorks in Orlando is an adventure that tourists and locals both enjoy. The indoor amusement park is open 365 days per year from 9:00 a.m. until midnight. WonderWorks features a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag, 4D XD motion theater, magic comedy dinner show, and the Wonder Zones, which include interactive exhibits on natural disasters, space discovery, light and sound zone, imagination lab, far out art gallery, and a physical challenge zone. With over 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment,” the attraction combines education and entertainment with over 100 hands-on exhibits. To get more information or purchase tickets, visit the site at: wonderworksonline.com/orlando/.

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks the upside-down adventure is a science-focused indoor amusement park for the mind that holds something unique and interesting for visitors of all ages. Guests enter through an upside-down lobby with the ceiling at their feet and the ground above their head and must pass through an inversion tunnel to be turned right side up. There are three floors of nonstop “edu-tainment,” with over 100 hands-on and interactive exhibits that serve a STEM educational purpose to challenge the mind and spark the imagination. WonderWorks Orlando is also home to The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. WonderWorks has locations in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Myrtle Beach, Panama City Beach, and Syracuse. For more information, visit the site wonderworksonline.com/orlando/.