People Should Find A Safe Storm Shelter During Thunderstorm

Storm Shelters in OKC

Tuesday June 5, 2001 marked the start of an extremely fascinating time in the annals of my cherished Houston. Tropical storm Allison, that early summer daytime came to see. The thunderstorm went rapidly, although there was Tuesday. Friday, afterward arrived, and Allison returned. This time going slowly, this time in the north. The thunderstorm became still. Thousands of people driven from their houses. Only when they might be desired most, several leading hospitals shut. Dozens of important surface roads, and every important highway covered in water that was high.

Yet even prior to the rain stopped, service to others, and narratives of Christian compassion started to be composed. For a couples class, about 75 people had assembled at Lakewood Church among the greatest nondenominational churches in The United States. From time they got ready to depart the waters had climbed so high they were stranded. The facility of Lakewood stayed dry and high at the center of among the hardest hit parts of town. Refugees in the powerful thunderstorm started arriving at their doorstep. Without no advance preparation, and demand of official sanction, those 75 classmates started a calamity shelter that grew to hold over 3,000 customers. The greatest of over 30 refuges that could be established in the height of the thunderstorm.

Where help was doled out to those who’d suffered losses after Lakewood functioned as a Red Cross Service Center. When it became clear that FEMA aid, and Red Cross wouldn’t bring aid enough, Lakewood and Second Baptist joined -Houston to produce an adopt a family plan to greatly help get folks on their feet quicker. In the occasions that followed militaries of Christians arrived in both churches. From all over town, people of economical standing, race, and each and every denomination collected. Wet rotted carpeting were pulled up, sheet stone removed. Piles of clothes donated food and bed clothes were doled out. Elbow grease and cleaning equipment were used to start eliminating traces of the damage.

It would have been an excellent example of practical ministry in a period of disaster, in the event the story stopped here, but it continues. A great many other churches functioned as shelters as well as in the occasions that followed Red Cross Service Centers. Tons of new volunteers, a lot of them Christians put to work, and were put through accelerated training. That Saturday, I used to be trapped in my own, personal subdivision. Particular that my family was safe because I worked in Storm Shelters OKC that was near where I used to live. What they wouldn’t permit the storm to do, is take their demand to give their religion, or their self respect. I saw so a lot of people as they brought gifts of food, clothes and bedclothes, praising the Lord. I saw young kids coming making use of their parents to not give new, rarely used toys to kids who had none.

Leaning On God Through Hard Times

Unity Church of Christianity from a location across town impacted by the storm sent a sizable way to obtain bedding as well as other supplies. A tiny troupe of musicians and Christian clowns requested to be permitted to amuse the kids in the shelter where I served and arrived. We of course promptly taken their offer. The kids were collected by them in a sizable empty space of flooring. They sang, they told stories, balloon animals were made by them. The kids, frightened, at least briefly displaced laughed.

When not occupied elsewhere I did lots of listening. I listened to survivors that were disappointed, and frustrated relief workers. I listened to kids make an effort to take advantage of a scenario they could not comprehend. All these are only the stories I have heard or seen. I am aware that spiritual groups, Churches, and lots of other individual Christians functioned admirably. I do need to thank them for the attempts in disaster. I thank The Lord for supplying them to serve.

I didn’t write its individuals, or this which means you’d feel sorry for Houston. As this disaster unfolded yet what I saw encouraged my beliefs the Lord will provide through our brothers and sisters in religion for us. Regardless how awful your community hits, you the individual Christian can be a part of the remedy. Those blankets you can probably never use, and have stored away mean much to people who have none. You are able to help in the event that you can drive. You are able to help if you’re able to create a cot. It is possible to help in the event that you can scrub a wall. It is possible to help if all you are able to do is sit and listen. Large catastrophes like Allison get lots of focus. However a disaster can come in virtually any size. That is a serious disaster to your family that called it home in case a single household burns. It is going to be generations prior to the folks here forget Allison.

United States Oil and Gas Exploration Opportunities

Firms investing in this sector can research, develop and create, as well as appreciate the edges of a global gas and oil portfolio with no political and economical disadvantages. Allowing regime and the US financial conditions is rated amongst the world and the petroleum made in US is sold at costs that were international. The firms will likely gain as US also has a national market that is booming. Where 500 exploration wells are drilled most of the petroleum exploration in US continues to be concentrated around the Taranaki Basin. On the other hand, the US sedimentary basins still remain unexplored and many show existence of petroleum seeps and arrangements were also unveiled by the investigation data with high hydrocarbon potential. There have already been onshore gas discoveries before including Great south river basins, East Coast Basin and offshore Canterbury.

As interest in petroleum is expected to grow strongly during this interval but this doesn’t automatically dim the bright future expectations in this sector. The interest in petroleum is anticipated to reach 338 PJ per annum. The US government is eager to augment the gas and oil supply. As new discoveries in this sector are required to carry through the national demand at the same time as raise the amount of self reliance and minimize the cost on imports of petroleum the Gas and Oil exploration sector is thought to be among the dawn sectors. The US government has invented a distinctive approach to reach its petroleum and gas exploration targets. It’s developed a “Benefit For Attempt” model for Petroleum and Gas exploration tasks in US.

The “Benefit For Attempt” in today’s analytic thinking is defined as oil reserves found per kilometer drilled. It will help in deriving the estimate of reservations drilled for dollar and each kilometer spent for each investigation. The authorities of US has revealed considerable signs that it’ll bring positive effects of change which will favor investigation of new oil reserves since the price of investigation has adverse effects on investigation task. The Authorities of US has made the information accessible about the oil potential in its study report. Foil of advice in royalty and allocation regimes, and simplicity of processes have enhanced the attractiveness of Petroleum and Natural Gas Sector in the United States.

Petroleum was the third biggest export earner in 2008 for US and the chance to to keep up the growth of the sector is broadly accessible by manners of investigation endeavors that are new. The government is poised to keep the impetus in this sector. Now many firms are active with new exploration jobs in the Challenger Plateau of the United States, Northland East Slope Basin region, outer Taranaki Basin, and Bellona Trough region. The 89 Energy oil and gas sector guarantees foreign investors as government to high increase has declared a five year continuance of an exemption for offshore petroleum and gas exploration in its 2009 budget. The authorities provide nonresident rig operators with tax breaks.

Modern Robot Duct Cleaning Uses

AC systems, and heat, venting collect pollutants and contaminants like mold, debris, dust and bacteria that can have an adverse impact on indoor air quality. Most folks are at present aware that indoor air pollution could be a health concern and increased visibility has been thus gained by the area. Studies have also suggested cleaning their efficacy enhances and is contributory to a longer operating life, along with maintenance and energy cost savings. The cleaning of the parts of forced air systems of heat, venting and cooling system is what’s called duct cleaning. Robots are an advantageous tool raising the price and efficacy facets of the procedure. Therefore, using modern robot duct isn’t any longer a new practice.

A cleaner, healthier indoor environment is created by a clean air duct system which lowers energy prices and increases efficiency. As we spend more hours inside air duct cleaning has become an important variable in the cleaning sector. Indoor pollutant levels can increase. Health effects can show years or up immediately after repeated or long exposure. These effects range from some respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, and cancer that can be deadly or debilitating. Therefore, it’s wise to ensure indoor air quality isn’t endangered inside buildings. Dangerous pollutants that can found in inside can transcend outdoor air pollutants in accordance with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Duct cleaning from Air Duct Cleaning Edmond professionals removes microbial contaminants, that might not be visible to the naked eye together with both observable contaminants. Indoor air quality cans impact and present a health hazard. Air ducts can be host to a number of health hazard microbial agents. Legionnaires Disease is one malaise that’s got public notice as our modern surroundings supports the development of the bacteria that has the potential to cause outbreaks and causes the affliction. Typical disorder-causing surroundings contain wetness producing gear such as those in air conditioned buildings with cooling towers that are badly maintained. In summary, in building and designing systems to control our surroundings, we’ve created conditions that were perfect . Those systems must be correctly tracked and preserved. That’s the secret to controlling this disorder.

Robots allow for the occupation while saving workers from exposure to be done faster. Signs of the technological progress in the duct cleaning business is apparent in the variety of gear now available for example, array of robotic gear, to be used in air duct cleaning. Robots are priceless in hard to reach places. Robots used to see states inside the duct, now may be used for spraying, cleaning and sampling procedures. The remote controlled robotic gear can be fitted with practical and fastener characteristics to reach many different use functions.

Video recorders and a closed circuit television camera system can be attached to the robotic gear to view states and operations and for documentation purposes. Inside ducts are inspected by review apparatus in the robot. Robots traveling to particular sections of the system and can move around barriers. Some join functions that empower cleaning operation and instruction manual and fit into little ducts. An useful view range can be delivered by them with models delivering disinfection, cleaning, review, coating and sealing abilities economically.

The remote controlled robotic gear comes in various sizes and shapes for different uses. Of robotic video cameras the first use was in the 80s to record states inside the duct. Robotic cleaning systems have a lot more uses. These devices provide improved accessibility for better cleaning and reduce labor costs. Lately, functions have been expanded by areas for the use of small mobile robots in the service industries, including uses for review and duct cleaning.

More improvements are being considered to make a tool that was productive even more effective. If you determine to have your ventilation, heat and cooling system cleaned, it’s important to make sure all parts of the system clean and is qualified to achieve this. Failure to clean one part of a contaminated system can lead to re-contamination of the entire system.

When To Call A DWI Attorney

Charges or fees against a DWI offender need a legal Sugar Land criminal defense attorney that is qualified dismiss or so that you can reduce charges or the fees. So, undoubtedly a DWI attorney is needed by everyone. Even if it’s a first-time violation the penalties can be severe being represented by a DWI attorney that is qualified is vitally significant. If you’re facing following charges for DWI subsequently the punishments can contain felony charges and be severe. Locating an excellent attorney is thus a job you should approach when possible.

So you must bear in mind that you just should hire a DWI attorney who practices within the state where the violation occurred every state within America will make its laws and legislation regarding DWI violations. It is because they are going to have the knowledge and expertise of state law that is relevant to sufficiently defend you and will be knowledgeable about the processes and evaluations performed to establish your guilt.

As your attorney they are going to look to the evaluations that have been completed at the time of your arrest and the authorities evidence that is accompanying to assess whether or not these evaluations were accurately performed, carried out by competent staff and if the right processes where followed. It isn’t often that a police testimony is asserted against, although authorities testimony also can be challenged in court.

You should attempt to locate someone who specializes in these kind of cases when you start trying to find a DWI attorney. Whilst many attorneys may be willing to consider on your case, a lawyer who specializes in these cases is required by the skilled knowledge needed to interpret the scientific and medical evaluations ran when you had been detained. The first consultation is free and provides you with the chance to to inquire further about their experience in fees and these cases.

Many attorneys will work according into a fee that is hourly or on a set fee basis determined by the kind of case. You may find how they have been paid to satisfy your financial situation and you will have the capacity to negotiate the conditions of their fee. If you are unable to afford to hire an attorney that is private you then can request a court-appointed attorney paid for by the state. Before you hire a DWI attorney you should make sure when you might be expected to appear in court and you understand the precise charges imposed against you.

How Credit Card Works

The credit card is making your life more easy, supplying an amazing set of options. The credit card is a retail trade settlement; a credit system worked through the little plastic card which bears its name. Regulated by ISO 7810 defines credit cards the actual card itself consistently chooses the same structure, size and contour. A strip of a special stuff on the card (the substance resembles the floppy disk or a magnetic group) is saving all the necessary data. This magnetic strip enables the credit card’s validation. The layout has become an important variable; an enticing credit card layout is essential in ensuring advice and its dependability keeping properties.

A credit card is supplied to the user just after a bank approves an account, estimating a varied variety of variables to ascertain fiscal dependability. This bank is the credit supplier. When a purchase is being made by an individual, he must sign a receipt to verify the trade. There are the card details, and the amount of cash to be paid. You can find many shops that take electronic authority for the credit cards and use cloud tokenization for authorization. Nearly all verification are made using a digital verification system; it enables assessing the card is not invalid. If the customer has enough cash to insure the purchase he could be attempting to make staying on his credit limit any retailer may also check.

As the credit supplier, it is as much as the banks to keep the user informed of his statement. They typically send monthly statements detailing each trade procedures through the outstanding fees, the card and the sums owed. This enables the cardholder to ensure all the payments are right, and to discover mistakes or fraudulent action to dispute. Interest is typically charging and establishes a minimal repayment amount by the end of the following billing cycle.

The precise way the interest is charged is normally set within an initial understanding. On the rear of the credit card statement these elements are specified by the supplier. Generally, the credit card is an easy type of revolving credit from one month to another. It can also be a classy financial instrument, having many balance sections to afford a greater extent for credit management. Interest rates may also be not the same as one card to another. The credit card promotion services are using some appealing incentives find some new ones along the way and to keep their customers.

Why Get Help From A Property Management?

One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the revenue of your rental home would be to engage and contact property management in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. If you wish to know more and are considering the product please browse the remainder of the post. Leasing out your bit of real property may be real cash-cow as many landlords understand, but that cash flow usually includes a tremendous concern. Night phones from tenants that have the trouble of marketing the house if you own an emptiness just take out lots of the pleasure of earning money off of leases, overdue lease payments which you must chase down, as well as over-flowing lavatories. One solution while removing much of the anxiety, to have the earnings would be to engage a property management organization.

These businesses perform as the go between for the tenant as well as you. The tenant will not actually need to understand who you’re when you hire a property management company. The company manages the day to day while you still possess the ability to help make the final judgements in regards to the home relationships using the tenant. The company may manage the marketing for you personally, for those who are in possession of a unit that is vacant. Since the company is going to have more connections in a bigger market than you’ve got along with the industry than you are doing, you’ll discover your device gets stuffed a whole lot more quickly making use of their aid. In addition, the property management company may care for testing prospective tenants. With regards to the arrangement you’ve got, you might nevertheless not be unable to get the last say regarding if a tenant is qualified for the the system, but of locating a suitable tenant, the day-to-day difficulty is not any longer your problem. They’ll also manage the before-move-in the reviews as well as reviews required following a tenant moves away.

It is possible to step back watching the profits, after the the system is stuffed. Communicating will be handled by the company with all the tenant if you have an issue. You won’t be telephoned if this pipe explosions at the center of the night time. Your consultant is called by the tenant in the company, who then makes the preparations that are required to get the issue repaired with a care supplier. You get a phone call a day later or may not know there was an issue before you register using the business. The property management organization may also make your leasing obligations to to get. The company will do what’s required to accumulate if your tenant is making a payment. In certain arrangements, the organization is going to also take-over paying taxation, insurance, and the mortgage on the portion of property. You actually need to do-nothing but appreciate after after all the the invoices are paid, the revenue which is sent your way.

With all the advantages, you’re probably questioning exactly what to employing a property management organization, the downside should be. From hiring one the primary variable that stops some landlords is the price. All these providers will be paid for by you. The price must be weighed by you from the time frame you’ll save time that you may subsequently use to follow additional revenue-producing efforts or just take pleasure in the fruits of your expense work.

Benifits From An Orthodontic Care

Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry centered on the identification and treatment of dental and related facial problems. The outcomes of Norman Orthodontist OKC treatment could be dramatic — an advanced quality of life for a lot of individuals of ages and lovely grins, improved oral health health, aesthetics and increased cosmetic tranquility. Whether into a look dentistry attention is needed or not is an individual’s own choice. Situations are tolerated by most folks like totally various kinds of bite issues or over bites and don’t get treated. Nevertheless, a number people sense guaranteed with teeth that are correctly aligned, appealing and simpler. Dentistry attention may enhance construct and appearance power. It jointly might work with you consult with clearness or to gnaw on greater.

Orthodontic attention isn’t only decorative in character. It might also gain long term oral health health. Right, correctly aligned teeth is not more difficult to floss and clean. This may ease and decrease the risk of rot. It may also quit periodontists irritation that problems gums. Periodontists might finish in disease, that occurs once micro-organism bunch round your house where the teeth and the gums meet. Periodontists can be ended in by untreated periodontists. Such an unhealthiness result in enamel reduction and may ruin bone that surrounds the teeth. Less may be chewed by people who have stings that are harmful with efficacy. A few of us using a serious bite down side might have difficulties obtaining enough nutrients. Once the teeth aren’t aimed correctly, this somewhat might happen. Morsel issues that are repairing may allow it to be more easy to chew and digest meals.

One may also have language problems, when the top and lower front teeth do not arrange right. All these are fixed through therapy, occasionally combined with medical help. Eventually, remedy may ease to avoid early use of rear areas. Your teeth grow to an unlikely quantity of pressure, as you chew down. In case your top teeth do not match it’ll trigger your teeth that are back to degrade. The most frequently encountered type of therapy is the braces (or retainer) and head-gear. But, a lot people complain about suffering with this technique that, unfortunately, is also unavoidable. Sport braces damages, as well as additional individuals have problem in talking. Dental practitioners, though, state several days can be normally disappeared throughout by the hurting. Occasionally annoyance is caused by them. In the event that you’d like to to quit more unpleasant senses, fresh, soft and tedious food must be avoided by you. In addition, tend not to take your braces away unless the medical professional claims so.

It is advised which you just observe your medical professional often for medical examinations to prevent choice possible problems that may appear while getting therapy. You are going to be approved using a specific dental hygiene, if necessary. Dental specialist may look-out of managing and id malocclusion now. Orthodontia – the main specialization of medication – mainly targets repairing chin problems and teeth, your grin as well as thus your sting. Dentist, however, won’t only do chin remedies and crisis teeth. They also handle tender to severe dental circumstances which may grow to states that are risky. You actually have not got to quantify throughout a predicament your life all. See dental specialist San – Direction Posts, and you’ll notice only but of stunning your smile plenty will soon be.

Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is potential new location for School of Architecture and Planning

MIT has identified the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse as a potential new location for the School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P). The proposed move would let the Institute create a new hub for design research and education, allow the school to expand its full range of activities, and open new spaces for public use.

The building would need renovation, a process that would require approval from the City of Cambridge.

While MIT has previously considered other functions for the landmark building, using it as an interdisciplinary academic center — while expanding the capacities of SA+P’s highly rated programs — could bring about a wide array of benefits for students, faculty, and the larger community.

Hashim Sarkis, dean of the School of Architecture and Planning, emphasizes that students, staff, and faculty throughout the Institute would find an intellectual home in the proposed new building.

“It’s about really creating a design hub for MIT on the campus, bringing the expanding and increasingly important areas of design from across MIT — art, architecture, and urban planning — together in one place,” says Sarkis. “Moving does not address just the school’s aspirations, but MIT’s aspirations.”

MIT leaders have voiced their support for the plan, while also noting its benefits for the Institute as a whole.

SA+P already has a wonderful spirit and sense of identity; uniting so many elements of the School in a single building will amplify that strength and create a central resource for the whole MIT community,” says MIT President L. Rafael Reif. “In its outward effects, the project is also a perfect fit for the people of SA+P: Who better to revive a grand old building and reknit the streetscape along Mass. Ave. than those who love and understand buildings and cities the most?”

Robert B. Millard, chairman of the Corporation at MIT, also expressed his support for the project.

“I have a long history with and an admiration for the School of Architecture and Planning, and I am delighted that as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Department of Architecture, we plan for a future that strengthens both SA+P and MIT,” Millard says.

Among other things, a relocation to the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse could expand MIT’s classroom and design studio space, significantly increase its exhibition capacity for arts and design programming, provide new faculty offices, create a new center for the arts at MIT, and provide new areas for meetings and collaboration-based work. The building would also host public events and activities about cities, and include retail spaces.

“The renovation of the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse is intended to generate new opportunities for research, teaching, and innovation at the Institute,” says Provost Martin A. Schmidt. “I look forward to seeing faculty and students, across many disciplines, use the new space to push their fields into the future.” 

A featured part of the renovated building would be a new makerspace headed by Martin Culpepper, a professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and leader of the Instutute’s Precision Compliant Systems Laboratory. That space would provide expanded design and fabrication facilties for the MIT community, and let Institute researchers collaborate — physically or virtually — with the MIT Hong Kong Innovation Node, which opened in 2017.  

In recent years, SA+P has become increasingly involved in collaborations with other schools at MIT. These substantive new areas of collaboration range widely, including the increased incorporation of design principles in engineering — as well as the greater use of data in urban studies, and new connections between architecture, planning, climate science, and engineering. SA+P could host studio-based courses developed with other schools (including the School of Engineering and the MIT Sloan School of Management) in the renovated space. MIT also approved a new urban science major for undergraduates in 2018, and a design minor, approved in 2016, to fit any existing major.

A new building enhancing interdisciplinary interactions would be “transformational,” Sarkis says.

The possible move would also shift a major space for teaching and research over to the west side of Massachusetts Avenue for the first time, bringing the school into closer proximity with the residential population of the Institute campus.

“We [would be] creating a new gateway for MIT,” says Sarkis, noting that the building has a central location in the overall map of the campus.

The proposal to renovate the historic building includes retail space on the ground floor, and a theater. One of the proposed retail spaces would be a new outlet for the MIT Press, likely focusing on the topics of art, architecture, urbanism, and design.

The possible move would also take advantage of a distinctive situation in which there is room for academic expansion within the existing built environment at MIT.

Construction on the Metropolitan Storage Warehouse began in 1894, although some parts of the current structure date to 1911. The building was designed by the architectural firm Peabody and Stearns, and its brick tower and narrow windows have long drawn comparisons to a castle.

The structure, which MIT owns, is one of the oldest buildings in the campus area — MIT did not move to Cambridge until 1916 — and it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Cambridge must approve modifications to the structure due to its historic status. MIT has been in discussion with Cambridge officials about the project.

As one of MIT’s five schools, SA+P encompasses a variety of departments and programs, including the Department of Architecture, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the MIT Media Lab, the Center for Real Estate, the Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, and the MIT Norman B. Leventhal Center for Advanced Urbanism.

MIT Media Lab personnel would remain in their current locations. The Media Lab is housed in a two-building complex, and its newest building, on the corner of Ames Street and Amherst Street, just opened in 2010. The project could allow SA+P to create shared resources with the Media Lab, including gallery and performance spaces, and project rooms, while providing a new public portal to the Media Lab.

The proposed redevelopment of the structure would follow other MIT building projects that have been designed for interdisciplinary collaboration while containing flexible spaces. This includes the Stata Center, which houses an array of researchers in disciplines from computer science to linguistics, and the new MIT.nano building, slated for completion this year, which will host a wide range of nanotechnology research.

“Everybody’s looking at it as an opportunity,” Sarkis says. “We can think about how we can do things better together, how we can create new opportunities for teaching and research, and technology and resources and workspaces — together we can re-imagine everything. We’re really looking forward to that.”

Getting the world off dirty diesels

Most efforts to reduce the adverse air pollution and climate impacts of today’s vehicles focus on cars and light-duty trucks that are typically fueled by gasoline, with strategies that range from electrification and carpooling to autonomous vehicles.

“These strategies can be an important part of the overall solution,” says Daniel Cohn, research scientist at the MIT Energy Initiative. “But it’s also increasingly important to think about heavy- and medium-duty trucks. Finding a way to clean them up could actually bring a greater improvement in worldwide air quality during the next few decades.”

Powered largely by diesel engines, those trucks are now the largest producer of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions in the transportation sector, contributing to ground-level ozone, respiratory problems, and premature deaths in urban areas. Some estimates project that diesel fuel — used for both trucks and cars —will out-sell gasoline worldwide within the next decade, threatening to further increase already-severe urban air pollution as well as greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations. 

Today’s heavy-duty diesel engines provide fuel efficiency and high power, making them ideal for long-haul, high-mileage commercial vehicles. But finding another option is critical, says Cohn. “We need to replace diesel engines with other internal combustion engines that are much cleaner and produce less greenhouse gas.”

Using computer simulation analysis, Cohn and his colleague Leslie Bromberg, principal research engineer at the Plasma Science and Fusion Center and the Sloan Automotive Laboratory, have designed a replacement half-sized gasoline-alcohol engine that should be not only cleaner but also lower-cost and higher-performing — and could be introduced into the fleet of vehicles on the road soon.

Replacing the heavy-duty diesel

Within the United States, pressure on the trucking industry to deal with diesel emissions has been mounting. Indeed, expected regulations in California would require that NOx emissions from medium- and heavy-duty trucks be cut by about 90 percent relative to today’s cleanest diesels, which use complex and expensive exhaust treatment systems just to meet current regulations. In some parts of the world, such as India and China, those cleanup systems aren’t generally used. As a result, NOx emissions are about 10 times higher, and getting them down to the level of future California regulations would require a reduction of about 98 percent.

In the United States, some trucks have begun to meet the expected strict NOx limits using large spark-ignition (SI) engines fueled by natural gas. But large-scale adoption of those engines would be problematic. Storing and distributing a gaseous fuel raises vehicle cost and poses infrastructure challenges, and the use of natural gas can lead to a heightened climate impact because of the leakage of methane, a GHG with high global warming potential.

To avoid the challenges of dealing with natural gas, Cohn and Bromberg decided to pursue another approach: a heavy-duty SI engine fueled instead by gasoline. In general, gasoline SI engines produce low NOx emissions. Guided by their computer models, Cohn and Bromberg took a series of steps to increase the power and efficiency of that design without sacrificing its emissions benefits.

During normal gasoline SI engine operation, the process of translating the combustion of gases into torque (rotational force) at the wheels progresses smoothly — until there’s a need for high-torque operation, for example, to pull a heavy load at high speed or up a hill. Then, pressures and temperatures inside the cylinder can rise so much that the unburned combustion gases spontaneously ignite. The result is knock, which causes a metallic clanging noise and can damage the engine. The need to prevent knock has up to now limited improvements in efficiency and performance that would be needed for gasoline engines to compete with diesels.

Cohn and Bromberg dealt with that problem using alcohol. When the SI engine is working hard and knock would otherwise occur, a small amount of ethanol or methanol is injected into the hot combustion chamber, where it quickly vaporizes, cooling the fuel and air and making spontaneous combustion much less likely. In addition, because of alcohol’s chemical composition, its inherent knock resistance is higher than that of gasoline. The alcohol can be stored in a small, separate fuel tank — as exhaust-cleanup fluid is stored in a diesel engine vehicle. Alternatively, it could be provided by onboard separation of alcohol from gasoline in the regular fuel tank. (Almost all gasoline sold in the United States is now a mix of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent ethanol.)

With concern about knock removed, the researchers were able to take full advantage of two techniques used in today’s passenger cars. First, they used turbocharging, but at higher levels. Turbocharging involves compressing the incoming air so that more molecules of air and fuel fit inside the cylinder. The result is that a given power output can be achieved using a smaller total cylinder volume. And second, they used a high compression ratio, which is the ratio of the volume of the combustion chamber before compression to the volume after. At a higher compression ratio, the burning gases expand more in each cycle, so more energy is delivered for a given amount of fuel.

The researchers also made use of an important feature of the low-NOx heavy-duty SI engine fueled by natural gas: They assumed that the mixture of air and fuel inside their engine contained just enough air to burn up all the fuel — no more, no less. That stoichiometric operation permitted important changes not possible in the diesel, which must run with lots of extra air to control emissions. With stoichiometric operation, they could utilize a three-way catalyst to clean up the engine exhaust. A relatively inexpensive system, the three-way catalyst removes NOx, carbon monoxide, and unburned hydrocarbons from engine exhaust and is key to the low NOx achieved in today’s SI engines.

Then, given stoichiometric operation combined with a higher level of turbocharging and a high compression ratio, the researchers were able to shrink their whole engine. The SI engine doesn’t contain all the excess air that’s in a diesel, so the total volume of its cylinders can be smaller.

“Because of that difference, you can replace a diesel engine with an SI engine about half as big,” says Bromberg.

With that reduction in size comes an increase in fuel efficiency. In any engine, the process of pumping air into the cylinders and various sources of friction inevitably reduce fuel efficiency. Those pumping losses depend on engine size. Make an engine smaller, and there’s less friction and less wasted fuel.

Taken together, the low-cost three-way catalyst and smaller overall size help make the gasoline-alcohol engine less expensive than the cleanest diesel engine with a state-of-the-art exhaust-cleanup system. Indeed, according to the researchers’ estimates, the cost of the gasoline-alcohol engine plus its exhaust-treatment system would be roughly half that of the cleanest diesel engine.

Power, efficiency, and alcohol use

How does the half-sized gasoline-alcohol SI engine compare to today’s cleanest full-sized diesel on efficiency and power? To answer that question, the researchers used a series of sophisticated engine and vehicle simulations and chemical kinetic models developed by Bromberg.

For the comparison, they used an illustrative version of their engine based on a 6.7-liter engine that’s now manufactured and could — with relatively small alterations — be converted to the gasoline-alcohol configuration. Their analysis assumed that the compression ratio and engine torque were about the same in the 6.7 gasoline-alcohol SI engine as in a 12-liter diesel engine. But the SI engine can run far faster than the diesel can. (Combustion is faster with spark ignition than with the compression ignition used in diesel engines.) Because of the faster operation and the roughly equivalent torque, the small engine can produce almost 50 percent more power than the diesel can. And while the gasoline-alcohol engine is somewhat more efficient than the diesel at high torque and less efficient at low torque, in general the small SI engine is about as efficient as the diesel.

However, as more torque is required, knock becomes more likely, so more ethanol is needed. At the highest torque, about 80 percent of the total fuel must be ethanol to prevent knock. That estimate raises a concern: In the United States, ethanol is widely used in a low-concentration mixture with gasoline, but pure ethanol or a high-concentration ethanol-gasoline blend may not be available or may be too costly. So how much ethanol is likely to be required for a given trip? 

As an example, the researchers considered a trip taken by a long-haul, heavy-duty vehicle that requires high torque most of the time. Depending on the compression ratio, ethanol could make up 20 to 40 percent of its total fuel consumption. In contrast, a delivery truck might operate at low torque most of the time and do just fine with ethanol as 10 percent of its total fuel over a driving period. 

“Such levels of ethanol consumption are doable,” notes Cohn. “But the system would be more attractive to people if you had a case where you could use less ethanol.”

One way to reduce ethanol use would be to dilute the ethanol with water. Using the knock model, Cohn and Bromberg determined that knock resistance is actually higher when water makes up as much as a third of the secondary fuel. “And in some cases where you don’t need any ethanol for antifreeze, you might be able to run with water alone as the secondary fluid,” says Cohn.

Another approach to reducing alcohol use — called upspeeding — involves operating the engine at a higher speed. Running the engine faster and adjusting the gearing in the transmission to increase the ratio of engine rpm to wheel rpm make it possible to use less engine torque in the gasoline engine to achieve the same torque at the wheel as in the diesel. According to the researchers’ calculations, that reduction in engine torque could reduce ethanol use over a driving period to less than 10 percent of the total fuel consumed, an amount that could be supplied by onboard fuel separation. 

Reducing climate impacts

Cohn points out one more benefit of the gasoline-alcohol SI engine: a pathway to reducing GHG emissions.

“A somewhat under-recognized aspect in evaluating the environmental impacts of transportation vehicles is that GHG emissions from trucks worldwide will overtake GHG emissions from cars sometime between 2020 and 2030,” he notes.

The gasoline-alcohol SI engine can be operated in a flexible-fuel mode where it uses only pure alcohol if desired. Right now, looking at the life cycle of the fuels and assuming comparable engine efficiency, using ethanol produced from corn by state-of-the-art methods generates about 20 percent lower GHG emissions than using gasoline or diesel fuel. Even greater reductions in GHG emissions could come when ethanol and methanol fuels are produced from agricultural, forestry, and municipal waste or specialty biomass. 

“Reducing GHG emissions from trucks by finding an alternative source of power — for example, through electrification — could take a long time,” says Cohn. “But if you can operate your engine partially with ethanol or entirely with ethanol, that’s a good way to make a start right away.”

This research was supported by the Arthur Samberg Energy Innovation Fund of the MIT Energy Initiative.

This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of Energy Futures, the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative.

3Q: Ernest Moniz on the Vatican climate dialogue

On June 7-9, the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development hosted a dialogue, “The Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home.” The event, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business, convened leaders in the oil and gas, renewable energy, and global investment sectors. Former U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems emeritus, participated in the dialogue at the Vatican and had the opportunity to meet with Pope Francis. After the event, Moniz spoke with the MIT Energy Initiative — which he founded in 2006 as its inaugural director — on a few of the main themes and takeaways from the meeting.

Q: How would you describe the significance of this dialogue convened by Pope Francis — who has expressed strong support for the 2015 Paris Agreement — at the Vatican with leaders in the oil and gas industry and global finance?

A: In Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, “Laudato Si’, on care for our common home,” he emphasizes the moral and ethical dimensions of addressing the future of the planet and caring for the disadvantaged in the accompanying energy transition. In particular, he calls attention to the welfare of the poorest people who are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This dialogue was significant in bringing together the Vatican’s voice with the voices of those who are responsible for delivering energy services — which are critical to lifting up the world’s poor — and leaders in global finance, who provide long-term financing for the capital-intensive energy economy. Having a closed-door, frank discussion of how we’re going to accomplish all of those objectives together — environmental, economic, and social justice — helped establish a common framework and foster a spirit of convergence towards solutions.

Q: Did any of the themes that emerged from the dialogue seem to especially resonate with participants?

A: The group discussed many aspects of the energy transition and how to get from today’s energy system to the lower-carbon system of tomorrow, including clean energy technological innovation but also business model and policy evolution. One of the areas of focus was carbon pricing to create market incentives for the transition to a low-carbon system — examining the issues around policies and the progressive use of the associated revenues to serve those disadvantaged by climate change. There’s a lot that could be done in this area, and MIT researchers could contribute substantively in developing analytically grounded approaches to socially progressive solutions.

Q: What takeaways from the dialogue could be useful for the MIT community to consider as we continue to implement our Plan for Action on Climate Change?

A: The MIT community and the Institute’s climate action plan certainly recognize the vital role of innovation, of technologies, and of “walking the talk” by reducing the Institute’s carbon footprint. The dialogue at the Vatican brings to the fore the moral and ethical issues, including the importance of taking care of those most vulnerable to climate change. This question of how to address the social dimensions — including the regional community and family issues that come into play in the United States in an accelerated energy transition — deserves heightened focus at MIT.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg tells MIT grads “it’s about people”

When MIT Commencement speaker and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg asked the 999 undergraduates and 1,821 graduate students who were about to receive their degrees to raise their hands if they knew exactly what they wanted to do for a career, quite a few hands shot up.

“That’s impressive,” she said, speaking on a sunny Friday in Killian Court. “I did not.” In fact, as she recalled, she went through quite a few different kinds of jobs and was sure of just one thing: She didn’t want to go into business or technology.

“Things won’t always end up as you think,” she said. “But you will gain valuable lessons along life’s uncertain path.” She described one such lesson that she learned in her very first job after graduation, working in a leprosy treatment center in India.

Technically, the problem of leprosy had already been solved, she said. The disease can be easily diagnosed and is totally curable now, yet the age-old stigma attached to the disease remained, and many patients hid themselves from view rather than seeking care. The needed breakthrough came not just from medical technology, but from community leaders, she said.

“They wrote plays and songs in local languages and went around the community convincing those suffering to come forward without fear,” Sandberg said. “They understood that the most difficult problems and the greatest opportunities are not technical, they are human. In other words, it’s not just about technology, it’s about people.”

She noted that “today, anyone with an internet connection can inspire millions with a single sentence or a single image. That gives extraordinary power to those who use it to do good — to march for equality, reignite the movement against sexual harassment, rally around the things they care about and the people they need to be there for.” But, she said, “it also empowers those who seek to do harm.”

That leaves three options, she said: retreat in fear, barrel forward anyway, or take another choice. “I encourage you to choose the third option — to be clear-eyed optimists, to see that building technology that supports equality, democracy, truth, and kindness means looking around corners and throwing up every possible roadblock against hate, violence, and deception.”

Sandberg, whose company has increasingly faced criticism over the sharing of its users’ personal information, addressed that contentious issue head on. “At Facebook, we didn’t see all the risks coming, and we didn’t do enough to stop them,” she said. Recalling advice from a naval officer, that calm seas never make good sailors, she said: “When you own your mistakes, you can work harder to correct them — and even harder to prevent the next ones. That’s my job now.”

And it’s also the job of “all of us here,” she said. “It’s not enough to be technologists —we have to make sure that technology serves people.”

MIT President L. Rafael Reif, in his charge to the class of 2018, compared the students’ work at the Institute to the training of Olympic athletes — among whom, to the surprise of many, there have been almost as many MIT graduates as there have been Nobel laureates (36 Nobelists and 35 Olympians over the years).

Among the similarities, he said, are the need to be fearless in pursuing goals, and the experience of working with people from every corner of the world. And, he added, the fact that what they do will “raise the bar for everyone who comes after.”

Reif cited many specific initiatives by members of this student class, including the project to support each other by asking “tell me about your day,” efforts to help students who struggle to pay for food, and recommendations for ways to make the Institute more caring, welcoming, and inclusive.

He concluded by emphasizing a very important difference between MIT and the Olympics: “At MIT, in order for you to win, no one has to lose. No one even has to come in second!” That’s because, he said, “we are members of a single team — united with a single mission.”

In essence, that mission comes down to trying to “fix things that are broken … to hack the world, and at least to try to heal the world too.” He urged the graduates to “find your calling. Solve the unsolveable. Invent the future. Take the high road.”

Sarah Ann Goodman, president of the Graduate Student Council, told the graduates about her own research using electron microscopy, and how in that work it is essential to get multiple views of a sample from different angles. In the same way, she said, “when we tackle global challenges such as health care access, climate change, and human rights issues, I hope we ask ourselves — are all perspectives being considered? Whose voices are not being heard? … How do we create an inclusive environment that not only keeps everyone at the table, but elevates everyone at the table?”

Colin Webb, president of the graduating senior class, spoke of the great diversity of students that he had come to know in his time at MIT, and even offered brief comments in several different languages. “In order to change the world, we must first understand the world’s wide variety of people and backgrounds. Because people are the root of all the challenges we aim to solve, and we look to each other, other people, when we search for solutions.”

Webb added that “To me it’s quite clear that MIT is the place that makes the magic happen. It’s the place where I can graduate today and know that I’m going to make an impact tomorrow.”

As Sandberg concluded in her remarks to the MIT graduates of 2018, “I hope you will use your influence to make sure technology is a force for good in the world. Technology needs a human heartbeat; the things that bring us together and that bring us joy are the things that matter most.”

Sheryl Sandberg’s Commencement address

Below is the text of the Commencement address delivered by Facebook COO and best-selling author Sheryl Sandberg for the Institute’s 2018 Commencement, held June 8, 2018.

President, esteemed faculty, proud parents, devoted friends, squirming siblings — but especially Class of 2018: Congratulations — you made it! It wasn’t always easy. You plowed through four years of problem sets. You conquered the snow of 2015. You survived way too many Weekly Wednesdays at the Muddy Charles and learned this important life lesson: There’s no such thing as a free chicken wing.

Today you are graduates of one of the most revered technical institutions in the world. The Harvard people tried to get me to say “most revered institution within a 2-mile radius.” I said no, but you’re soon going to find out just how persistent alumni associations can be. Just ask the class of ’68. They’ve been to more fundraisers than you’ve eaten chicken wings.  

One thing I remember from graduation is that feeling of turning one corner — and not being able to see clearly around the next. For someone like me who, yes, very annoyingly, started studying for finals the first day of the semester, that was unsettling. Graduation was the first time in my life where the steps were not clearly laid out. I remember the feeling of excitement and possibility, mixed in with just a teeny amount of crushing uncertainty.

If you know exactly what you’re going to do for your career, raise your hand. There are always some. That is impressive. I did not. I didn’t know where I would fit in best or contribute most. These days, when I need advice, I turn to Mark Zuckerberg, but back then, he was in elementary school.

I was sure of only one thing: I didn’t want to go into business. And it never even occurred to me to go into technology. I guess that’s a warning for those of you who put your hands up. Certainty is one of the great privileges of youth.

Things won’t always end up as you think. But you will gain such valuable lessons along life’s uncertain path. And the lesson I want to share with you today is one I learned in my very first job out of college — working on a leprosy treatment program in India.

Since biblical times, leprosy patients were ostracized from their community to prevent the disease from spreading. By the time I graduated from college, the technical challenges had been solved. Doctors could easily diagnose leprosy — it shows up as skin patches on your chest — and medicine could easily treat the disease. But the stigma remained — so patients hid their disease instead of seeking care. I will never forget meeting patients for the first time and extending my arm, and watching them recoil because they were not used to even being touched.

The real breakthrough didn’t come from technicians or doctors, but from local community leaders. They knew that they had to erase the stigma before they could erase the disease — so they wrote plays and songs in local languages and went around the community encouraging people to come forward without fear. They understood that the most difficult problems and the greatest opportunities we have are not technical. They are human. In other words, it’s not just about technology. It’s about people.

This is a lesson you’ve learned here at MIT — and not just those of you graduating with technical degrees, but those who studied anything from urban planning to management, or Course 11 or Course 15 in MIT speak. You know that it’s people who build technology — and people who use it to make their lives better. To get educated. To get health care. To share an infinite number of cat videos that are all unique and totally adorable. Unless you’re a dog person.

Today, anyone with an internet connection can inspire millions with a single sentence or a single image. That gives extraordinary power to those who use it to do good — to march for equality; to reignite the movement against sexual harassment; to rally around the things they care about and the people they want to be there for.

But it also empowers those who would seek to do harm. When everyone has a voice, some raise their voices in hatred. When everyone can share, some share lies. And when everyone can organize, some organize against the things we value the most.

Journalist Anne O’Hare McCormick wrote about the impact of new technology. She said we had created the ultimate democracy, where anything said by anyone could be heard by everyone. But she worried. She worried whether it provoked partisanship or tolerance, whether it was time wasted or time well-spent. She wondered if it explained “all the furious fence-building, the fanned-up nationalisms, and the angers and neuroses of our time.” She wrote this in 1932 — about the radio. And by the way, she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.

The fact that the challenges we face are not new does not make them less pressing. Like the generations before us, we have to solve the problems that our technology brings. I believe there are three ways we can deal with these challenges. We can retreat in fear. We can barrel ahead with a single-minded belief in our technology. Or we can fight like hell to do all the good we can, knowing that what we build will be used by people — and people are capable of great beauty and great cruelty.

I encourage you today to choose the third option — to be clear-eyed optimists. To see that building technology that supports equality, democracy, truth, and kindness means looking around corners and throwing up every possible roadblock against hate and violence and deception. You might be thinking, given some of the issues Facebook has had, isn’t what I’m saying hitting pretty close to home? Yes. It is.

I am proud of what Facebook has done around the world — proud of the connections that have been created. Proud of how people use Facebook to organize for democracy, for the Women’s March, for Black Lives Matter. Proud of how people use Facebook to start and grow businesses and create jobs all around the world.

But at Facebook, we didn’t see all the risks coming. And we didn’t do enough to stop them. It’s painful when you miss something — when you make the mistake of believing so much in the good you are seeing that you don’t see the bad. It’s hard when you know you let people down. 

In the middle of one of my toughest moments, Michael Miller, the former superintendent of the Naval Academy, kindly reached out to remind me that smooth seas never make good sailors. He’s right. The times in my life when I have learned the most have definitely been the hardest. That’s when you will learn the most about yourself. You can almost feel yourself growing — you can feel the growing pains. When you own your mistakes, you can work harder to correct them — and even harder to prevent the next ones. That’s my job now. It won’t be easy, and it’s not going to be fast. But we will see it through.

Yet the larger challenge is one all of us here must face. The role of technology in our lives is growing — and that means our relationship with technology is changing. We have to change too. We have to recognize the full weight of our responsibilities. It’s not enough to be technologists — we have to make sure that technology serves people.

It’s not enough or even possible to be neutral — tools are shaped by the minds that make them and by the hands that use them. And it’s not enough to have a good idea — you have to know when to stop a bad one.

This is hard because technology changes faster than society. When I was in college, no one had a cell phone. Today there are more cell phones than people on Earth. We are in one of the most remarkable moments in human history — and you will not just live through it, you will shape it. 

Many of you will work on technologies that will change the world. You will connect the rest of the world, create new jobs and disrupt old ones, give machines new powers to think, and give us the means to communicate in ways we haven’t even thought of.

We are not passive observers of these changes. We can’t be. Trends do not just happen — they are the result of choices people make. We are not indifferent creators — we have a duty of care. And even when with the best of intentions you go astray — as many of us have — you have the responsibility to course correct. We are accountable — to the people who use what we build, to our colleagues, to ourselves, and to our values.

So if you’re thinking about joining a team, an NGO, a startup or a company — ask if they are doing good for the world. Research at that other school down the river shows that we become more creative when we ask “Could we?” And we become more ethical when we ask “Should we?” So ask both. Know that you have an obligation to never shy away from doing the right thing, because the fight to ensure that tech is used for good is never over.

To make sure that technology reflects and upholds the right values, we have to build with awareness. And the best way to be more aware is to have more people in the room with different voices and different views. There are still skeptics out there when it comes to the value of diversity. They dismiss it as something we do to feel better, not to be better. They’re wrong. We cannot build technology for equality and democracy unless we have and we harness diversity in its creation. More people with more diverse backgrounds are working in technology than ever before — and graduating in your class than ever before. But our industry is still lagging MIT.

Even the newest technology can contain the oldest prejudices. Our lack of diversity is at the root of some of the things we fail to see and prevent. It is up to all of us to fix that — people like me, and people like you; everyone graduating today and all the graduates to come.

So continue the example you have lived at MIT. Continue to engage with people outside your discipline, your gender, your race. Talk with people who grew up in different places, who believe different things, who live and worship differently than you do. Talk with them, listen to them, get their perspectives, as you have done here — and encourage them to work in and with technology too.

To all the current and future educators here today, let’s reform our educational system so we give everyone the opportunity to learn to code. This is a basic language now that needs to be taught in all of our schools so that more people have a choice. When some kids learn it and some kids don’t, that creates an unequal playing field long before people go into the workforce. And to all the future leaders in tech —that’s you — know that you have a chance to right wrongs, not reinforce them. Tech institutions can be some of the strongest voices for progress in the workplace — but we can always do better.

Encourage your employers and policymakers to ensure that everyone — and that includes contractors — earns a living wage. Fight for paid family leave — with equal time for all genders — because equality in the workplace will not happen until we have equality in the home and because no one should be forced to choose between the job they need and the family they love. Give people bereavement leave — because when tragedy strikes, we need to be there for each other.

And build workplaces where everyone — everyone — is treated with respect. We need to stop harassment and hold both perpetrators and enablers accountable. And we need to make a personal commitment to stop racism and sexism, including the expressions of bias that become commonplace and accepted instead of rejected and fought.

I want you to know that you can impact the workplace from the very day you enter it. A few months ago, surveyed people to understand how the #metoo movement was influencing work. After so many brave women spoke out, we found evidence of an unintended backlash: Almost half of male managers in the U.S. are now uncomfortable having a work meeting alone with a woman — and more uncomfortable having a work dinner with a female colleague. These are the informal moments where men have long gotten more mentoring than women, and now it looks like it could get worse. For the men here: Someone might pull you aside your first week at work and say “never be alone with a woman.” You know they’re wrong. You know how to work respectfully with all people. So give them advice instead. Tell them that they have the responsibility to make access equal — and if they don’t feel comfortable having dinner with women, they shouldn’t have dinner with men. Group lunches for everyone.

In one of my early jobs, I had a boss who treated me quite differently from my two male team members — and not in a good way. He spoke to them with kindness and respect but belittled me very publicly. I tried to talk to him, but it made it worse. My two male teammates — right out of school themselves — stepped up and it stopped. Even if you’re the most junior person in the room, you have power. Use it. And use it well.

Class of 2018, it is not the technology you build that will define you. It is the teams you build — and what people do with your technology. We have to get this right because we need technology to solve our greatest challenges. When I sat where you are sitting today, I never thought I would work in technology. But somewhere along that uncertain path I learned new lessons and became a technologist. And technologists have always been optimists. We’re optimists because we have to be. If you want to do something that’s never been done before, so many people will tell you it can’t be done. Graduates of this amazing university have helped sequence the human genome, paved the way for the treatment of AIDS — and made an MIT balloon appear in the middle of the Harvard-Yale game. 

We’re optimists because we run the numbers. Our world can feel polarized and dangerous — but in many critical ways, we are so much better off. A century ago, global life expectancy was 35 — for 2 billion people. Today it is 70 — for 7 billion.  When I graduated from college, one in three people lived in extreme poverty. Today it is one in 10. It’s still way too high, but we have made more progress in our lifetimes than in the rest of human history.

Our challenge now is to be clear-eyed optimists, or to paraphrase President Kennedy, optimists without illusions. To build technology that improves lives and gives voice to those who often have none while preventing misuse. To build teams that better reflect the world around us — with all its complexity and diversity. If we succeed — and we can and will succeed — we can build technology that better serves not just some of us, but all of us.

MIT graduate and former faculty member David Baltimore won a Nobel Prize for his work on the interaction between viruses and the genetic material of the cell. But before that, he helped bring biologists, lawyers, and physicians together to debate new gene-editing technology. They were worried that it had the potential to cause more harm than good. But they concluded that the opportunities for progress were too great — so they created ethical guidelines and continued the research. That decision led to some of the greatest advances in genetic science and medicine. It also set a standard that we as technologists can follow: Seek advice from people with different perspectives, look deeply at the risks as well as the benefits of new technology — and if those risks can be managed, keep going even in the face of uncertainty.

Class of 2018, you are now graduates of one of the most forward-thinking places on Earth. You will have tremendous opportunities and you will be highly sought after. You will use what you learned here to work on some of the most critical questions we face. I hope you use your influence to make sure technology is a force for good in the world. Technology needs a human heartbeat; the things that bring us together and the things that bring us joy are the things that matter the most.  

The future is now in your hands. Congratulations!

Solve sparks powerful impact on global challenges

More than 400 leaders convened on campus last month for Solve at MIT, Solve’s annual flagship meeting. Attendees traveled from 38 countries to meet and advise Solver teams and hear remarks from luminaries such as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, VEON Chairwoman Ursula Burns, cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and Alphabet technical advisor and board member Eric Schmidt.

Six Solver teams pitched their solutions on stage, including Jay Newton-Small, chief executive officer of MemoryWell; Elizabeth Frank, co-founder of MealFlour; Kristin Kagetsu, co-founder of Saathi; Paul Falzone, executive director of Peripheral Vision International; and Patrick Meier, executive director of WeRobotics.

In addition to featuring the 2017 Solver class, the conference highlighted the next round of Global Challenges. Solve seeks innovative solutions to four new 2018 Challenges: Work of the Future, Frontlines of Health, Coastal Communities, and Teachers and Educators.

Solve announced $650,000 in prize funding will be available to the 2018 Solver class. This pool includes funding from General Motors, the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, and a new $10,000 grant for each Solver provided by Solve.

Solve at MIT, which ran from May 16-18, included five thought-provoking plenary sessions, several workshops to advance Solver solutions, and networking opportunities to build partnerships within the Solve community.

In the opening plenary session, “The Heart of the Machine: Bringing Humanity Back into Technology,” panelists and speakers discussed the current state of technology, the rapid speed at which it advances, and how we can use it for good. Panelists Yo-Yo Ma and Eric Schmidt grappled with questions of how we combine technology and culture for social progress, and how we mend the way technology has divided us.

“During times of huge change, historically we’ve had the opportunity to redefine who we want to be, whether it’s during the Renaissance or during the Enlightenment,” Ma said. “I’d like to pose the question, who do we want to be [today]?”

Schmidt answered, “More tolerant, more diverse, more intelligent.” He argued these changes can be achieved through education, that we must teach people the importance of tolerance.

The second panel consisted of Ursula Burns, Mozilla Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, MIT Media Lab Ethics Initiative Director Tenzin Priyadarshi, and Tom Taylor, Amazon’s senior vice president of Alexa. They discussed technology from a different perspective — ethics and responsibility. They debated the industry’s responsibility to build products for good and stressed the importance of diversity in building new technologies. Baker argued the need to include the humanities in tech education “so the technologists themselves have a sense of humanity what it actually means to be human for the technology they build.”

In the “Healthy Planet, Healthy People” session, panelists and speakers discussed the interrelation of human and environmental health and debated ways to improve both. A youth environmental activist panel of Malual Bol Kiir, executive director of African Youth Action Network; Brianna Fruean, climate activist and founding member of 350 Samoa; and Amira Odeh, organizer of Caribbean Youth Environment Network, told personal stories of the impacts of climate change.

They spoke of the beloved walkway in Samoa that will soon be underwater; drought and rising temperatures in South Sudan that limit natural resources, and the destruction of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. Fruean issued a call to the world’s youth, saying: “You’re never too young to do something; you’re never too young to change the world.”

During the “Connecting through Tech” session, Roya Mahboob, chief executive officer of Digital Citizens Fund; Reshma Saujani, founder and chief executive officer of Girls Who Code; and Nancy Pfund, founder and managing partner of DBL Partners, discussed ways to engage and empower women in technology.

That included everything from the need to expose girls to technology at a young age, to creating safe single-sex spaces for girls to learn, to the role that men play in supporting women. “We need to be thoughtful about what we can do as individuals in supporting the ecosystem and committing ourselves to diversifying [the entrepreneurs] we see,” said Saujani.

In the “True Stories of Starting Up” session, insightful speakers such as Tongan Olympian Pita Taufatofua; Affectiva CEO Rana el Kaliouby; and Dean Kamen, president of DEKA Research and Development and founder of FIRST, talked about the realities of reaching both personal and professional goals.

During his conversation with Media Lab Assistant Professor Danielle Wood, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke about the importance of diversity and inclusiveness in decision-making and driving change. “Diversity is a source of strength, not of weakness,” he added. “Having someone alongside you with different perspectives helps you solve a problem.”

During the “Design for Mars, Solve for Earth” session, former astronaut Cady Coleman, Hewlett Packard Chief Engineer Chandrakant Patel, and Danielle Wood discussed how technology and tools designed for space can support life in extreme environments on earth.

The conversation went beyond technology. The panelists covered some other lessons learned in space: notably, how teamwork and a crystal clear mission drive impact. Working on a spaceship with a six-person crew is much like working on any team, Coleman explained. “The mission is more important than whether you like each other or whether you want to do that [task],” Coleman said. With that mindset, “We end up doing extraordinary things.”

The moral calculus of climate change

Ask students for a standout moment from 24.07 (The Ethics of Climate Change), and they invariably recall the game theory exercise, the Prisoner’s Dilemma, played for sweet stakes provided by Caspar Hare, professor of philosophy.

“During the game, one girl was trying to play cooperatively, but lost to a person who did the selfish thing — and then won,” recalls sophomore Claire McGinnity. “He ended up taking all the chocolate, and Caspar showed no mercy!”

The Prisoner’s Dilemma, a strategy scenario that pits cooperation against self-interest, is a perfect way to puzzle over the difficult dilemmas emerging in a rapidly warming world, suggests Hare.

“With climate change, it may be that some of us are individually better off, short term, driving SUVs, but if we all emit carbon like crazy, we’re all worse off than if none of us do,” says Hare. “Eventually, we might arrive at a point where everybody sees it’s in their best interest to cooperate and reduce emissions.”

Applying the moral philosopher’s toolkit to climate issues

The “Ethics of Climate Change” brings a moral philosopher’s toolkit to a set of monumental problems: What is the nature of the threat posed by climate change, and given the uncertainties, what should be done about it? Should individuals take action, or governments? Is the current generation responsible for acting on behalf of future citizens?

Kieran Setiya, professor of philosophy, sparked the creation of this course. “I had been interested in and disturbed by climate change for as long as I can remember,” he says. Then, after arriving at MIT in 2014, and engaging with the Fossil Free MIT group, Setiya decided to teach a class. “I thought this would be a useful way to generate sustained attention on the topic,” he says.

With department colleague Caspar Hare, Setiya set out to structure a class that would offer a rigorous foundation for deliberating on climate change questions. “Climate change is a paradigmatically moral issue, because what we’re doing potentially harms others we don’t know,” says Hare. “But the causal path to harm is complicated, and much of the public debate around climate change and potential remedies is coarse grained.”

“We want students to go from feeling distressed by climate change to a clearer understanding of the risks, probable outcomes, and different ways our decisions will affect them,” says Setiya.

The “mathy” moral case

The course includes readings from contemporary scholars as well as lectures and exercises designed to promote precise claims and arguments. For some students, the syllabus proved surprising.

“The class wasn’t in line with my initial expectations, but I’m happier the way it ended up,” says sophomore Serena Grown-Haeberli, who is majoring in mechanical engineering. “The emphasis is on the moral frameworks for decision making, applied to climate change, which gives you a way of looking at this big problem from different angles.”

“It was my first philosophy class, and I had an image of old Greek philosophers sitting around talking,” says McGinnity, who works as an operator for MIT’s Nuclear Research Laboratory and is contemplating a major in aeronautics and astronautics. “I didn’t know the field used logic and such mathy language, and it’s a lot more scientific than I imagined.”

For senior Saleem Aldajani, majoring in physics and biological and chemical engineering, the class and its demanding approach has changed how he views the world. “It’s almost like a pure ethics class, with an applied aspect, and it’s really given me a systematic way of asking the right questions — kind of like a moral guide toward my obligations and actions,” says Aldajani, who is from Saudi Arabia and hopes eventually to work on alternative energy technologies.

The class includes a series of challenging topics that, unlike problem sets, do not have quantifiable answers. “In some areas of philosophy, you can rapidly get into a space where there’s no consensus about how the territory should look,” says Hare. “For instance, no one has provided a perfect answer to how we should think about catastrophic risk.”

To be or not to be

Then there is the mind-bending nonidentity problem, which ponders whether actions committed in the present can harm individuals in the future who might not, as a result of these actions, ever exist. Can such actions be judged in a moral context? Discuss.

“If we have massive change in climate policies now, that might mean different people live in the future, and not those who would live if we continued with the same energy policies,” says McGinnity.

“Using that argument as a framework, the reason to prevent climate change can’t be because it might harm future individuals,” suggests Grown-Haeberli, “because they won’t be worse off for us not fixing the problem.”

“This may be about improving the kind of moral reasoning we use to do things that affect future generations,” says Aldajani, “When it comes to climate change, our response may be not about avoiding harm or making the world a better place, but about fulfilling a duty of justice by reducing emissions.”

It’s one of the class’s “trippy problems,” in the words of Grown-Haeberli, which sticks with students beyond the classroom. “This course makes you think consciously about complicated things that don’t have intuitive answers, and shows how to approach questions in a consistent, logical way, giving you good justifications for your actions,” says Grown-Haeberli.

“If you’re really interested in understanding why we should be doing things about climate change,” says Aldajani, “this class prepares you to talk about the issue coherently at conferences, or with specialists, and make an insightful conclusion.”

This, of course, is music to the ears of an instructor.

“Teaching MIT students is an investment in a bunch of brilliant young people who will make impacts in all kinds of ways,” says Setiya. “I hope that our students may have a broader impact on climate change, by thinking and coming to understand the issue, and then engaging others in rigorous conversation about it.”

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Writer: Leda Zimmerman

Hacking virtual reality

One of the newest makerspaces on MIT’s campus exists in virtual reality — where students are pioneering a medium so new that the terminology is still being defined.

In the hands-on humanities class CMS.339 (Virtual Reality and Immersive Media Production) students are grappling with multiple dimensions of making virtual reality (VR), among them: technical challenges, such as how to prevent the fatigue common to users of VR devices; philosophical questions, such as the difference between “presence” and “immersion”; and issues related to the art of storytelling, especially discovering the visual languages and narrative forms that VR enables.

“It takes eight minutes to learn how to make the 360-video camera work. The rest — figuring out the experience you want to make — is your mind,” says instructor Sandra Rodriguez, who first taught the semester-long class in 2017 in collaboration with William Uricchio, professor of comparative media studies. Their class, which made history as the first VR class ever to be offered at MIT, ran again this term.

Inventing a new language

Offered by the Comparative Media Studies/Writing program (CMS/W), the new VR class appeals to students interested in the nexus of technology, design, and storytelling. Production in the class relies on tech elements — including the Unity development platform — and the course focuses on the creative works that the technology supports.

“A medium is a way of expression. With this new medium, we’re inventing new language,” says Rodriguez, who is also a visiting scholar in the Open Documentary Lab within the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and creative director of the EyeSteelFilm Creative Reality Lab.

Cattalyya Nuengsigkapian, a junior majoring in computer science, says she enjoys the class because it delves more into design than most of her classes. “This is not only technical. It’s more like art,” she says. “That’s why I think I learn a lot.”

Entering the world of virtual reality

To enable students to gain a rich understanding both of the medium and its potential, Rodriguez begins with an introduction. “I want our students to understand the field and to be able to distinguish themselves.”

First, the terms. Today, “virtual reality” is generally held to mean a computer-generated experience that attempts to immerse the user in a simulated world. “Augmented reality” (AR) inserts computer-generated elements into the user’s view of the real world; you might, for example, be able to bounce a virtual ball while otherwise viewing the room in which you are actually standing. Another term, “360 video,” describes the experience of essentially being in the movie you are viewing — except that you are not an actor; while you can look at the scene from every angle, you can’t affect the scene.

A longstanding dream

Next, Rodriguez outlines the history of the field. Students learn that the earliest VR forays date back to the 1950s and ’60s. In 1962, for example, a “Sensorama” machine was created that gave users a way to see films enhanced with sounds, odors, and motion. “Human beings have long had this dream of being in the scene,” says Rodriguez. “We like to have our senses fooled and to feel like we are there. That’s not new.”

Rodriguez notes that one could easily teach a whole class on the history of VR, and another on the pure technical requirements of a 360 video or VR experience production. But as a documentary-maker herself — she worked on “Do Not Track,” an interactive web series that won a Peabody Award in 2015 — she chooses to focus the bulk of the CMS.339 class on helping MIT’s maker-oriented students produce their own virtual reality projects.

“For this medium to thrive, we need to ensure there is a healthy diversity in the stories that are created, produced, and distributed. To me, this means helping students become creators themselves,” Rodriguez says.

Students get to experiment with emergent VR gear including new Oculus Rift Touch Controllers, Samsung Gear 360 cameras and headsets, and Mixed Reality HP headsets. Rodriguez also introduces them to principles of design and storytelling.

“You need to understand the technical tools,” she says, “but this class is about creativity, overcoming challenges, and contributing to the culture of pioneers.”

To illustrate the process, the class features a rich array of guest speakers chosen from among the top contributors in the VR field. Highlights this year included talks by Arnaud Colinart, co-founder of AtlasV, which produced “Notes on Blindness,” a star attraction at the Sundance Film Festival in 2016; and Viktor Phoenix, head of audio for Los Angeles at Headspace Studio, which won a Primetime Emmy Award for the VR work “The People’s House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama.”

“In this class, we start on the creative side. People are gravitating toward the stories they want to tell,” says Emily Salvador ’16, a master’s student in media arts and sciences who serves as the teaching assistant for the class. “I’m trying to help them bring their stories to a technically implemented reality,” says Salvador, who previously designed immersive experiences as an intern for Walt Disney Imagineering and NBCUniversal Media.

Hands-on humanities

As the spring 2018 class began to focus on production, the 21 students split into seven teams to develop their own VR and AR projects, ranging from an interactive game in which users work to unlock their chakras to a 360 video centered on life after incarceration.

Nuengsigkapian’s group, for example, is creating a virtual reality tour of MIT. “We think it would be great if we could share our world here on campus, make it even more real than on the MIT website,” she says.

Libby Falck, a first-year graduate student in CMS/W, is part of a team that is producing a VR experience about the future of work. A native of Wisconsin, Falck says she has seen how the loss of industry impacts workers, and she is interested in exploring both the history of work and a vision for the future through VR. “We would like to exhibit our final VR work in libraries,” she says.

The art of the possible

The students’ goals are ambitious for a one-term class, but Rodriguez says exploring what’s possible is part of the creative process. “Feel free to fail. That’s the best way to learn,” she tells students. “It’s about iteration. You have an idea. You try it. You iterate.”

The success of MIT’s first virtual reality class suggests a promising future for MIT VR endeavors. One student sent his 360 video to the Vatican and now has a full-time job shooting 360 videos of Pope Francis. Another is working on VR projects for the New York Police Department.

Not every student in the class will make a career of virtual reality, of course, but for Rodriguez it is rewarding that the class is opening up the VR world to more makers. Because VR equipment is expensive, access to the field has often been limited. “My preoccupation,” says Rodriguez “is about facilitating access to creation.”

Equipment for CMS.339 was provided by Oculus through a partnership with Oculus NextGen, a program that selected 12 leading universities across the United States to jumpstart the next generation of VR and AR makers.

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial and Design Director: Emily Hiestand
Senior Writer: Kathryn O’Neill

Surgical technique improves sensation, control of prosthetic limb

Humans can accurately sense the position, speed, and torque of their limbs, even with their eyes shut. This sense, known as proprioception, allows humans to precisely control their body movements.

Despite significant improvements to prosthetic devices in recent years, researchers have been unable to provide this essential sensation to people with artificial limbs, limiting their ability to accurately control their movements.

Researchers at the Center for Extreme Bionics at the MIT Media Lab have invented a new neural interface and communication paradigm that is able to send movement commands from the central nervous system to a robotic prosthesis, and relay proprioceptive feedback describing movement of the joint back to the central nervous system in return.

This new paradigm, known as the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface, involves a novel surgical approach to limb amputation in which dynamic muscle relationships are preserved within the amputated limb. The AMI was validated in extensive preclinical experimentation at MIT prior to its first surgical implementation in a human patient at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital.

In a paper published today in Science Translational Medicine, the researchers describe the first human implementation of the agonist-antagonist myoneural interface (AMI), in a person with below-knee amputation.

The paper represents the first time information on joint position, speed, and torque has been fed from a prosthetic limb into the nervous system, according to senior author and project director Hugh Herr, a professor of media arts and sciences at the MIT Media Lab.

“Our goal is to close the loop between the peripheral nervous system’s muscles and nerves, and the bionic appendage,” says Herr.

To do this, the researchers used the same biological sensors that create the body’s natural proprioceptive sensations.

The AMI consists of two opposing muscle-tendons, known as an agonist and an antagonist, which are surgically connected in series so that when one muscle contracts and shortens — upon either volitional or electrical activation — the other stretches, and vice versa.

This coupled movement enables natural biological sensors within the muscle-tendon to transmit electrical signals to the central nervous system, communicating muscle length, speed, and force information, which is interpreted by the brain as natural joint proprioception. 

This is how muscle-tendon proprioception works naturally in human joints, Herr says.

“Because the muscles have a natural nerve supply, when this agonist-antagonist muscle movement occurs information is sent through the nerve to the brain, enabling the person to feel those muscles moving, both their position, speed, and load,” he says.

By connecting the AMI with electrodes, the researchers can detect electrical pulses from the muscle, or apply electricity to the muscle to cause it to contract.

“When a person is thinking about moving their phantom ankle, the AMI that maps to that bionic ankle is moving back and forth, sending signals through the nerves to the brain, enabling the person with an amputation to actually feel their bionic ankle moving throughout the whole angular range,” Herr says.

Decoding the electrical language of proprioception within nerves is extremely difficult, according to Tyler Clites, first author of the paper and graduate student lead on the project.

“Using this approach, rather than needing to speak that electrical language ourselves, we use these biological sensors to speak the language for us,” Clites says. “These sensors translate mechanical stretch into electrical signals that can be interpreted by the brain as sensations of position, speed, and force.”

The AMI was first implemented surgically in a human patient at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital, Boston, by Matthew Carty, one of the paper’s authors, a surgeon in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and an MIT research scientist.

In this operation, two AMIs were constructed in the residual limb at the time of primary below-knee amputation, with one AMI to control the prosthetic ankle joint, and the other to control the prosthetic subtalar joint.

“We knew that in order for us to validate the success of this new approach to amputation, we would need to couple the procedure with a novel prosthesis that could take advantage of the additional capabilities of this new type of residual limb,” Carty says. “Collaboration was critical, as the design of the procedure informed the design of the robotic limb, and vice versa.”

Toward this end, an advanced prosthetic limb was built at MIT and electrically linked to the patient’s peripheral nervous system using electrodes placed over each AMI muscle following the amputation surgery.

The researchers then compared the movement of the AMI patient with that of four people who had undergone a traditional below-knee amputation procedure, using the same advanced prosthetic limb.

They found that the AMI patient had more stable control over movement of the prosthetic device and was able to move more efficiently than those with the conventional amputation. They also found that the AMI patient quickly displayed natural, reflexive behaviors such as extending the toes toward the next step when walking down a set of stairs.

These behaviors are essential to natural human movement and were absent in all of the people who had undergone a traditional amputation.

What’s more, while the patients with conventional amputation reported feeling disconnected to the prosthesis, the AMI patient quickly described feeling that the bionic ankle and foot had become a part of their own body.

“This is pretty significant evidence that the brain and the spinal cord in this patient adopted the prosthetic leg as if it were their biological limb, enabling those biological pathways to become active once again,” Clites says. “We believe proprioception is fundamental to that adoption.”

It is difficult for an individual with a lower limb amputation to gain a sense of embodiment with their artificial limb, according to Daniel Ferris, the Robert W. Adenbaum Professor of Engineering Innovation at the University of Florida, who was not involved in the research.

“This is ground breaking. The increased sense of embodiment by the amputee subject is a powerful result of having better control of and feedback from the bionic limb,” Ferris says. “I expect that we will see individuals with traumatic amputations start to seek out this type of surgery and interface for their prostheses — it could provide a much greater quality of life for amputees.”

The researchers have since carried out the AMI procedure on nine other below-knee amputees and are planning to adapt the technique for those needing above-knee, below-elbow, and above-elbow amputations.

“Previously, humans have used technology in a tool-like fashion,” Herr says. “We are now starting to see a new era of human-device interaction, of full neurological embodiment, in which what we design becomes truly part of us, part of our identity.”

MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellows announced for 2018

Entering its sixth year, the MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellows program continues to invite a diverse array of professionals to learn from each other and from the Media Lab community. This year’s cohort includes doers and catalysts working on issues ranging from social justice and equity to education, environmental protection, human rights, creativity, and scientific discovery.

The program aims to expand the lab’s network of collaborators and help the lab broaden efforts to address some of the world’s most pressing issues. This cohort brings a well-founded perspective and knowledge in the space of open access: from information, to education, to resources. Each new fellow brings a great appreciation for collaboration, as well as an understanding that to achieve the greatest impact in their work, there needs to be an open conversation between a variety of fields — a hallmark of the Media Lab approach.

The new fellows have already begun working with both current and former Director’s Fellows and the Media Lab community. Upcoming events include a design and access workshop in Berlin; a fashion and sustainability mini-conference in Los Angeles and Boston; collaborative work with Media Lab students; and the design and deployment of an educational and training curriculum for new prosecutors in Philadelphia (in collaboration with a Media Lab member company).

Media Lab Director Joi Ito says, “Each cohort of Director’s Fellows is an opportunity to imbue diversity and unexpected points of view into the Media Lab, as many of the fellows approach issues from an orthogonal direction compared to students and faculty. I can’t wait to see what happens as this year’s cohort connects with the Media Lab.” “

The 2018 fellows are:

Jamira Burley, a youth and social justice advocate who has made it her mission to employ her personal experiences as the driving force to improve the lives of others. Currently, she serves as the Head of Youth Engagement and Skills for the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Ben Draper, the executive director of the Macomber Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, a self-directed learning community for children ages 5 to 18. The Macomber Center has no curriculum, requirements, or evaluations; its students are free to play and explore independently and collaboratively, with support from knowledgeable, helpful adults.

Ifeoma Fafunwa, the founder and creative director of iOpenEye Ltd, a Nigerian production company driving social change through performance art. She co-wrote and directed the popular stage play “HEAR WORD! Naija Women Talk True” — a collection of monologues based on true-life stories of Nigerian women.

Liz George, an “ancient photon wrangler” who has spent her entire adult life building instruments to study the universe. Since 2017, she has worked as a detector engineer at the European Southern Observatory near Munich, Germany, developing optical and infrared detector systems for the Extremely Large Telescope.

Allegra Libonati, a freelance theater and opera director who has spent the past nine years as resident director of the American Repertory Theater. Her new immersive “Peter Pan” retelling, which is set to tour China later this year, combines acrobatics, circus, puppetry, dance, martial arts and physical theatre.

Giorgia Lupi, the co-founder and creative director of Accurat, a data-driven design firm with offices in Milan and New York. In her practice, she challenges the impersonality that data communicates, designing engaging visual narratives that re-connect numbers to what they stand for: stories, people, ideas.

Margarita Mora, who runs the Conservation Stewards Program at Conservation International, which pioneered the conservation agreements model.Margarita has dedicated the past 15 years to making conservation a viable alternative for communities, working with 19 countries around the globe.

Amanda Nguyen, the CEO and founder of Rise. After surviving a sexual assault, she helped write the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act, which passed unanimously in the House and Senate, and was signed into law in 2016. She has also served at NASA, and was President Obama’s Deputy White House Liaison to the U.S. Department of State.

Julia Reda, a politician and an advocate for access to knowledge and culture through copyright reform. In 2014, she was elected to the European Parliament for the German Pirate Party, representing a young worldwide movement of people who believe in using technology for the empowerment of all.

Harper Reed, a hacker/engineer who builds paradigm-shifting tech and leads others to do the same. Harper loves using the vastness of the Internet to bring people together, whether as chief technology officer of Obama for America and, or as CEO of his company Modest, Inc.

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