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.

AI, the law, and our future

Scientists and policymakers converged at MIT on Tuesday to discuss one of the hardest problems in artificial intelligence: How to govern it.

The first MIT AI Policy Congress featured seven panel discussions sprawling across a variety of AI applications, and 25 speakers — including two former White House chiefs of staff, former cabinet secretaries, homeland security and defense policy chiefs, industry and civil society leaders, and leading researchers.

Their shared focus: how to harness the opportunities that AI is creating — across areas including transportation and safety, medicine, labor, criminal justice, and national security — while vigorously confronting challenges, including the potential for social bias, the need for transparency, and misteps that could stall AI innovation while exacerbating social problems in the United States and around the world.

“When it comes to AI in areas of public trust, the era of moving fast and breaking everything is over,” said R. David Edelman, director of the Project on Technology, the Economy, and National Security (TENS) at the MIT Internet Policy Research Initiative (IPRI), and a former special assistant to the president for economic and technology policy in the Obama White House.

Added Edelman: “There is simply too much at stake for all of us not to have a say.”

Daniel Weitzner, founding director of IPRI and a principal research scientist at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), said a key objective of the dialogue was to help policy analysts feel confident about their ability to actively shape the effects of AI on society.

“I hope the policymakers come away with a clear sense that AI technology is not some immovable object, but rather that the right interaction between computer science, government, and society at large will help shape the development of new technology to address society’s needs,” Weitzner said at the close of the event.

The MIT AI Policy Congress was organized by IPRI, alongside a two-day meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Paris-based intergovernmental association, which is developing AI policy recommendations for 35 countries around the world. As part of the event, OECD experts took part in a half-day, hands-on training session in machine learning, as they trained and tested a neural network under the guidance of Hal Abelson, the  Class of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at MIT.

Tuesday’s forum also began with a primer on the state of the art in AI from Antonio Torralba, a professor in CSAIL and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS), and director of the MIT Quest for Intelligence. Noting that “there are so many things going on” in AI, Torralba quipped: “It’s very difficult to know what the future is, but it’s even harder to know what the present is.”

A new “commitment to address ethical issues”

Tuesday’s event, co-hosted by the IPRI and the MIT Quest for Intelligence, was held at a time when AI is receiving a significant amount of media attention — and an unprecedented level of financial investment and institutional support.

For its part, MIT announced in October 2018 that it was founding the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, supported by a $350 million gift from Stephen Schwarzman, which will serve as an interdisciplinary nexus of research and education in computer science, data science, AI, and related fields. The college will also address policy and ethical issues relating to computing.

“Here at MIT, we are at a unique moment with the impending launch of the new MIT Schwarzman College of Computing,” Weitzner noted. “The commitment to address policy and ethical issues in computing will result in new AI research, and curriculum to train students to develop new technology to meet society’s needs.”

Other institutions are making an expanded commitment to AI as well — including the OECD.

“Things are evolving quite quickly,” said Andrew Wyckoff, director for science, technology, and innovation at the OECD. “We need to begin to try to get ahead of that.”

Wyckoff added that AI was a “top three” policy priority for the OECD in 2019-2020, and said the organization was forming a “policy observatory” to produce realistic assessments of AI’s impact, including the issue of automation replacing jobs.

“There’s a lot of fear out there about [workers] being displaced,” said Wyckoff. “We need to look at this and see what is reality, versus what is fear.”

A fair amount of that idea stems more from fear than reality, said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, during a panel discussion on manufacturing and labor.

Compared to the range of skills needed in most jobs, “Today what machine learning can do is much more narrow,” Brynjolfsson said. “I think that’s going to be the status quo for a number of years.”

Brynjolfsson noted that his own research on the subject, evaluating the full range of specific tasks used in a wide variety of jobs, shows that automation tends to replace some but not all of those tasks.

“In not a single one of those occupations did machine learning run the table” of tasks, Brynjolfsson said. “You’re not just going to be able to plug in a machine very often.” However, he noted, the fact that computers can usurp certain tasks means that “reinvention and redesign” will be necessary for many jobs. Still, as Brynjolfsson emphasized, “That process is going to play out over years, if not decades.”

A varied policy landscape

One major idea underscored at the event is that AI policymaking could unfold quite differently from industry to industry. For autonomous vehicles — perhaps the most widely-touted application of AI — U.S. states have significant rulemaking power, and laws could vary greatly across state lines.

In a panel discussion on AI and transportation, Daniela Rus, the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the director of CSAIL, remarked that she sees transportation “as one of the main targets and one of the main points of adoption for AI technologies in the present and near future.”

Rus suggested that the use of  autonomous vehicles in some low-speed, less-complex environments might be possible within five years or so, but she also made clear that autonomous vehicles fare less well in more complicated, higher-speed situations, and struggle in bad weather.

Partly for those reasons, many autonomous vehicles figure to feature systems where drivers can take over the controls. But as Rus noted, that “depends on people’s ability to take over instantaneously,” while studies are currently showing that it takes drivers about nine seconds to assume control of their vehicles.

The transportation panel discussion also touched on the use of AI in nautical and aerial systems. In the latter case, “you can’t look into your AI co-pilot’s eyes and judge their confidence,” said John-Paul Clarke, the vice president of strategic technologies at United Technologies, regarding the complex dynamics of human-machine interfaces.

In other industries, fundamental AI challenges involve access to data, a point emphasized by both Torralba and Regina Barzilay, an MIT professor in both CSAIL and EECS. During a panel on health care, Barzilay presented on one aspect of her research, which uses machine learning to analyze mammogram results for better early detection of cancer. In Barzilay’s view, key technical challenges in her work that could be addressed by AI policy include access to more data and testing across populations — both of which can help refine automated detection tools.

The matter of how best to create access to patient data, however, led to some lively subsequent exchanges. Tom Price, former secretary of health and human services in the Trump administration, suggested that “de-identified data is absolutely the key” to further progress, while some MIT researchers in the sudience suggested that it is virtually impossible to create totally anonymous patient data.

Jason Furman, a professor of the practice of economic policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a former chair of the Council of Economic Advisors in the Obama White House, addressed the concern that insurers would deny coverage to people based on AI-generated predictions about which people would most likely develop diseases later in life. Furman suggested that the best solution for this lies outside the AI domain: preventing denial of care based on pre-existing conditions, an element of the Affordable Care Act.

But overall, Furman added, “the real problem with artificial intelligence is we don’t have enough of it.”

For his part, Weitzner suggested that, in lieu of perfectly anonymous medical data, “we should agree on what are the permissible uses and the impermissible uses” of data, since “the right way of enabling innovation and taking privacy seriously is taking accountability seriously.”

Public accountability

For that matter, the accountability of organizations constituted another touchstone of Tuesday’s discussions, especially in a panel on law enforcement and AI.

“Government entities need to be transparent about what they’re doing with respect to AI,” said Jim Baker, Harvard Law School lecturer and former general counsel of the FBI. “I think that’s obvious.”

Carol Rose, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Massachusetts chapter, warned against over-use of AI tools in law enforcement

“I think AI has tremendous promise, but it really depends if the data scientists and law enforcement work together,” Rose said, suggesting that a certain amount of “junk science” had already made its way into tools being marketed to law-enforcement officials. Rose also cited Joy Buolamwini of the MIT Media Lab as a leader in the evaluation of such AI tools; Buolamwini founded the Algorithmic Justice League, a group scrutinizing the use of facial recognition technologies.

“Sometimes I worry we have an AI hammer looking for a nail,” Rose said.

All told, as Edelman noted in closing remarks, the policy world consists of “very different bodies of law,” and policymakers will need to ask themselves to what extent general regulations are meaningful, or if AI policy issues are best addressed in more specific ways — whether in medicine, criminal justice, or transportation.  

“Our goal is to see the interconnection among these fields … but as we do, let’s also ask ourselves if ‘AI governance’ is the right frame at all — it might just be that in the near future, all governance deals with AI issues, one way or another,” Edelman said.

Weitzner concluded the conference with a call for governments to continue engagement with the computer science and artificial intelligence technical communities. “The technologies that are shaping the world’s future are being developed today. We have the opportunity to be sure that they serve society’s needs if we keep up this dialogue as way of informing technical design and cross-disciplinary research.”

MIT Press to co-publish new open-access Quantitative Science Studies journal

The International Society for Scientometrics and Informetrics (ISSI) has announced the launch of a new journal, Quantitative Science Studies (QSS). QSS is owned by ISSI, the primary scholarly and professional society for scientometrics and informetrics, and will be published jointly with the MIT Press in compliance with fair open access principles.

QSS will be a journal run for and by the scientometric community. The initial editorial board will be fully constituted by the former editorial board of the Journal of Informetrics (JOI), an Elsevier-owned journal. The transition of the editorial board from JOI to QSS was initiated by the unanimous resignation, on Jan. 10, of all members of the JOI editorial board. The editorial board members maintain that scholarly journals should be owned by the scholarly community rather than by commercial publishers; that journals should be open access; and that publishers should make citation data freely available. The members of the board had been unsatisifed with Elsevier for not meeting their expectations, and they therefore resigned their positions.

The content for QSS will be open access and therefore freely available for readers worldwide. Funding for establishing and marketing the new journal has been provided in part by the MIT Libraries. To ensure access for authors, the MIT Press will charge a comparatively low charge per article which will be fully covered by the Technische Informationsbibliothek (TIB) – Leibniz Information Centre for Science and Technology for the first three years of operation with support of the Communication, Information, Media Centre of the University of Konstanz. The funds from TIB will be managed by the Fair Open Access Alliance to ensure that the journal is operating under fair open access principles. The MIT Press is also a full participant in the I4OC initiative, which promotes unrestricted availability of scholarly citation data.

A recognized leader in open access book and journals publishing, the MIT Press has partnered with the MIT Libraries on several open access projects, including the Strong Ideas, a new hybrid open-access/print book series; and with the MIT Media Lab to launch the Knowledge Futures Group to support the development of new open access publishing platforms and tools.

“The MIT Press is very pleased to be the ISSI’s publishing partner for QSS,” says Nick Lindsay, director of journals and open access at the MIT Press. “Both organizations share many goals around extending the reach and availability of scholarship and QSS will undoubtedly quickly become a central node for scientometrics research.”

QSS is now open and accepting submissions. Please consult the journal’s website for more details.

Science as a social practice

Marion Boulicault hates making decisions. “I want to do everything,” she says, “and one of the effects of making a choice is that other choices are closed off.” Alternately drawn to work in environmental science, public policy, and philosophy, she has always felt compelled to bring her interests together.

So when she first began her doctorate in philosophy at MIT, Boulicault assumed that choosing such an abstract field meant letting go of the pragmatic, on-the-ground impact of a career in public service.

But after taking STS.260 (Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society), a class that analyzes science as a human activity, she found the two didn’t have to be mutually exclusive. She petitioned her department to allow her to take courses in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) for credit, and has been dismantling disciplinary boundaries ever since.

Working at the interface of philosophy and science

Through her HASTS interdisciplinary coursework, Boulicault first encountered a field that intrigued her: the feminist philosophy of science. She was struck that problems of gender in science go far beyond equal representation. “The notion of ‘bias’ can’t be understood only at an individual level — it’s also social, cultural, and structural. Although science is often idealized as value-free and purely ‘objective,’ it’s a practice done by people and institutions,” she says. “Science is inherently social.”

A seminal study in her field, and a favorite of Boulicault’s, is detailed in Emily Martin’s “The Egg and the Sperm.” The 1991 study deconstructs the language of scientific textbooks, arguing that descriptions of the egg and sperm fit a gendered, fairy-tale paradigm: The egg is characterized as a passive damsel in distress, waiting to be awakened, and the sperm are described as energetic and active, in unwavering pursuit of fertilization. This paradigm hindered scientific progress, Martin writes, because it delayed crucial research characterizing the egg’s active role recruiting the sperm and the dynamic relationship between the sex cells.

Boulicault’s research extends this idea to the most fundamental language of science: numbers, metrics, and measurements. She is currently analyzing the use of metrics in fertility research, particularly the differences between two common infertility tests: the ovarian reserve test, and standard semen analysis. Boulicault’s work asks if and how social ideas about gender play a role in fertility measurements, and what this might mean for scientific research into fertility.

“The metaphor of women’s ticking biological clocks, and the narrative of an ovarian reserve that is constantly being depleted … these are central frames for the way we measure and think about fertility,” Boulicault says. “I worry that these frames might be entangled with potentially problematic ideas and norms about the role of women in society, and that these frames might end up hindering our understanding of how fertility actually functions.”

She adds: “What I’m investigating is: If we ask different questions and approach fertility research with different frameworks and measurements, might we find new or surprising things about the phenomenon of human fertility?”

Creating her community

Originally from London, Boulicault still feels homesick at times. She didn’t expect moving to the U.S. to be the culture shock that it was; even the differences in the English language gave her pause. “The tone and the cadence and cultural structures [aren’t the same]. There are other differences that are hard to articulate. Feeling like you fit in happens in feeling-y ways,” she says.

One way in which Boulicault has found a home away from home is through co-op living. In shared houses that emphasize collective living and decision-making, residents build a strong sense of community through weekly dinners and group house project days, and by prioritizing open communication. Boulicault also feels at home in nature; she enjoys hiking in the nearby White Mountains and is an avid biker.

Boulicault’s commitment to public service throughout her time in the U.S. has also helped her build connections with the community. She spent summers volunteering at a malaria clinic and a public defender’s office, and worked for two years as a researcher at the Environmental Law Institute in Washington before coming to MIT.

Despite the time constraints of graduate school, she continues to channel her desire to work for the public good. Boulicault is a co-director of the Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) at MIT, which invites 20 undergraduates from underrepresented groups to spend a week on campus every summer. From planning seminars to booking travel, she has happily thrown herself into the work to make a difference in her own discipline.

Philosophy can be a tough sell for the PIKSI cohorts. Yet through her involvement with PIKSI, Boulicault hopes to show students that despite the subject’s seemingly esoteric nature, it offers practical tools for improving the world.

“I also think it’s really important for philosophy. If any of these students end up going into philosophy, it will be a great thing for our discipline. … Philosophy can be a better and more inclusive field than it currently is, and these students will help to create that if they end up pursuing PhDs and becoming professors.”

Bringing a humanities perspective to science

Boulicault has managed to merge her dual passions for conceptual thinking and public service as a founding member of the Harvard GenderSci Lab, which generates feminist critiques, methods, and concepts for scientific research on sex and gender.  

At times, operating within a truly interdisciplinary framework is difficult — the GenderSci Lab consists of biologists, psychologists, philosophers, and historians — but she has found others with similar interests and has created her own interdisciplinary space.

“The dream of interdisciplinarity is that, by bringing together multiple methods and perspectives, you can come to understand a given phenomenon — like gender in science — in new and transformative ways … but there are challenges. I sometimes worry that, by working in so many disciplines at once, I might not end up fitting into any. The philosophers think, ‘This isn’t real philosophy’; the historians think, ‘She’s in the philosophy department’; and the scientists think, ‘She only has an undergrad degree in the sciences,’” Boulicault laughs. “But I only worry about that in my dark moments!”

Boulicault says the philosophy section at MIT has been hugely supportive of her endeavors and has itself become more interdisciplinary in recent years. But she believes there are even more opportunities for synergy between the humanities and sciences at MIT. It’s also a timely perspective for MIT, given the launch of the MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, which aims to incorporate ethics into the advancement of computing and artificial intelligence.

“Science and technology have essential roles to play in societal development — and figure heavily into MIT’s global image — but I think that the broader MIT ethos could be informed by paying more attention to the scholars at MIT in HASTS and philosophy who are asking questions like: ‘What is technology? In what ways is it social and how might it be assuming or amplifying existing and possibly problematic social ideas?’” Boulicault says.

Introducing Scratch 3.0

The Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab has launched Scratch 3.0, a new version of the creative coding platform for kids. The latest updates include:
•    extensions for LEGO robotics, Makey Makey, micro:bit, Google Translate, and Amazon Text-to-Speech;
•    an ideas section with new video tutorials and inspiration for activities;
•    full coding curricula from Raspberry Pi Code Club, Google CS First, and the ScratchEd Creative Computing Curriculum Guide;
•    new characters, sounds, and backgrounds, and improved paint and sound editing tools; and
•    compatibility on all current browsers and a wide variety of touch devices like tablets, as well as an offline version.

Over the past decade, 35 million kids in over 150 countries around the world have used Scratch to create their own animations, games, and other interactive projects while learning the basics of coding. Scratch is used in schools, libraries, and homes across the globe, giving parents and educators the tools to build coding literacy while helping kids gain confidence with new technologies in a fun, creative environment.

“As kids create and share projects with Scratch, they learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for everyone in today’s society,” says Mitchel Resnick, the LEGO Papert Professor of Learning Research at the MIT Media Lab and director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group, where Scratch was created.

Scratch is founded on the constructionist learning theory developed by Seymour Papert, one of the Media Lab’s founding faculty members. Resnick, a protégé and longtime thought partner of Papert’s, brings those constructionist tenets into every aspect of the Lifelong Kindergarten group’s work. Resnick has distilled his vision of creative learning into his principles of Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play — a credo that also serves as a mission statement for Scratch.

The Scratch coding tools are integrated into a vibrant online community — a global online forum and playground where kids can collaborate on projects, offer comments and feedback, and find like-minded peers with whom to create and play. With 3.0, the Scratch team of developers, moderators, and designers has gone all in on the community’s capabilities and potential, drawing on experiences from Scratchers who have shared their personal stories of making friends, discovering passions, and finding a sense of belonging.

The new version optimizes the platform’s collaborative and interactive suite of tools; for example, new language translation blocks allow for greater cross-cultural connections.

“Scratch 3.0 expands how, what, and where kids can create with code,” says Resnick. “We can’t wait to see what kids create with Scratch 3.0.”

Concrete Slab Repair – DIY Vs Professionals

We often come across many sources of information which talk about DIY ways of keeping your home in good condition. They often refer to some projects which can be undertaken by the occupants without having to take professional help. But is this always the right way forward? There are reasons to believe that at times it does make sense to hire professionals for the job. Hence where does the truth actually lie? We will try and find out the difference between DIY OKC concrete slab repair works and hiring professionals to do the job. It will be, we hope, a good source of information for those who wish to have the right knowledge and insight.

DIY Projects Which You Can Handle

Even if you are a competent DIY person with the right kind of skill sets and knowledge, it is doubtful whether you will be able to handle all types of extreme erosion control Edmond OK jobs. You can at best handle small jobs like patio works and that too during the weekends. You must understand that even small concrete slab repair jobs do take their own time. Further, you can work only on slabs which are on the ground level and anything a bit high, you could face problems.

Better To Hire Professionals

When you decide to handle big sized projects like footings, foundations and slap repair beyond a certain height, you would always do better to hire concrete professionals. This is because they come with the right experience and they will be able to work longer hours and do work more efficiently and speedily. They also have the right tools and infrastructure to reach heights and work.

You Might Need Permits Under The Law

There are some big sized projects for which you might need special sanction from the local municipal authorities before you get started. Since you do not have such a license or permission, you will have no other option but to choose professionals to do the job for you.

Taking Care Of Technical And Other Aspects

There are quite a few technical and other aspects which are best handled by professionals rather than being done using some unknown DIY ways and means. For example when it comes to big projects, mixing large quantities of batter is in itself a challenging and difficult task. The ratio has to be perfect and there is no room for error. In such cases, it would always be better to go in for professionals because they certainly will be able to do a much better job of it.

 Taking Care Of The Safety Aspects

We also need to understand that complex concrete slab repair work involves some bit of risk and dangers. The workers who are actually into the job should be well equipped and it has been found over and over again that it always makes much better sense to hire professionals to do the job. It is near impossible for DIY professionals to ensure that they will be able to fully take care of the safety and other features at any given point of time.

The Final Word

When all the above facts are taken into account there are reasons to believe that it does make sense to hire these professionals rather than depending on DIY beyond a point.

 

 

Top 3 Drawbacks Of Undergoing Dialysis

A device or technique that has the ability to eliminate impurities from the blood is considered to be one of the life-saving wonders of contemporary medicine. One of these happens to be dialysis Quality which is meant to provide an artificial replacement for any kidney in case it ceases to function properly. In fact, patients whose kidneys are not functioning correctly either permanently or temporarily will need to undergo dialysis. However, in spite of being a useful treatment, dialysis can likewise lead to a number of issues in the long run. Here, we have talked about the top 3 drawbacks of undergoing dialysis.

  1. First Use Syndrome

In some cases, our body might not react properly while using a hemodiafiltration machine. Although rare, First Use Syndrome happens to be a condition that might arise because of implementing an artificial kidney. Amongst the different symptoms of this ailment, shortness of breath, chest as well as back discomfort, sneezing, wheezing, or even sudden demise deserve special mention. In case you too are combating these types of conditions following you first dialysis, you must not hesitate to inform the physician since First Use Syndrome might even result in death.

  1. Bleeding

As per Dr. David Fowler, the chief medical examiner of Maryland, over 24 dialysis sufferers met their death while bleeding profusely during the period between 2000 and 2007. Interestingly, almost all these demises occurred when the patients were in their houses alone and started bleeding. The reason this has been properly explained by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office in the state of Maryland. Patients that are suffering from kidney failure need their blood to be cleaned as many as 3 times every week in order to continue living. Nevertheless, this continual process of drawing and returning the blood to one’s body can make the patient extremely feeble and he often succumbs to death over time.

  1. Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis

MRI (also known as magnetic resonance imaging) happens to be a device for taking images similar to that of an x-ray. However, MRI is a better technique since it allows us to see things which cannot be seen by ordinary x-rays. On some occasions, an ordinary MRI is not sufficient to get the job done and we require a specialized process to see things which will allow us to detect any abnormality. A fluid referred to as a “contrast agent” will be injected into the bloodstream which will help to create contrast on the MRI image thus enabling us to detect certain abnormalities.

Once the job is accomplished, the contrast agent will be taken out of the body by means of the kidneys. However, the kidneys will not be removing this contrast agent quickly which might lead to the eventual poisoning of the human body.

Contrast agents make use of a rare metal known as Gadolinium. Recently, it has been discovered by the doctors that this metal comes with some painful side effects called Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis. The preliminary indications of this condition consist of muscle weakness, hypertension, as well as stiff and hardened epidermis. Moreover, the patients might also struggle with burning, itching, and extreme discomfort in the affected regions. Over time, they might even encounter stiffness in the joints that can impede their mobility completely. In some cases, they might even suffer death.

 

Anna Frebel is searching the stars for clues to the universe’s origins

In August 2002, Anna Frebel pressed pause on her undergraduate physics studies in Germany and spent her entire life savings on a plane ticket to take her halfway around the world, to a mountaintop observatory just outside Canberra, Australia.

She spent the next five months volunteering at the Australian National University Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, where astronomers had regular access to a set of world-class telescopes set atop Mount Stromlo.

On Jan. 18, 2003, brushfires that had been burning for weeks in the surrounding forest suddenly advanced toward Canberra, whipped up by a dry, scorching wind.

“The fire front just swept in, and it marched at about six to seven miles an hour, and it just rode right into the city. The observatory was the first to fall,” recalls Frebel, who watched the calamity from the opposite end of Canberra.

The fires obliterated the observatory’s historic telescopes, along with several administrative buildings and even some homes of researchers living on the mountainside.

“It was a pretty big shock,” Frebel says. “But tragedy also brings out community, and we were all helping each other, and it really bonded us together.”

As the campus set to work clearing the ash and rebuilding the facility, Frebel decided to extend her initially one-year visit to Australia — a decision that turned out to be career-making.

“I wasn’t going to be deterred by a burned-down observatory,” says Frebel, who was granted a tenure position this year in MIT’s Department of Physics.

Frebel’s star

Soon after the fires subsided, Frebel accepted an offer by the Australian National University to pursue a PhD in astronomy. She chose to focus her studies on a then-fledgling field: the search for the universe’s oldest stars.

It’s believed that, immediately after the Big Bang exploded the universe into existence, clouds of hydrogen, helium, and lithium coalesced to form the very first generation of stars. These incredibly massive stellar pioneers grew out of control and quickly burned out as supernovas.

To sustain their enormous luminosities, atoms of hydrogen and helium smashed together to create heavier elements in their cores, considered to be the universe’s first “metals” — a term in astronomy used to describe all elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium. These metals in turn forged the second generation of stars, which researchers believe formed just half a billion years after the Big Bang.

Since then, many stellar generations have populated the night sky, containing ever more abundant metals. Astronomers suspect, however, that those early, second-generation stars can still be found in some pockets of the universe, and possibly even in our own Milky Way.

Frebel set out to find these oldest stars, also known as “metal-poor” stars. One of her first discoveries was HE 1327-2326, which contained the smallest amount of iron ever known, estimated at about 1/400,000 that of the Earth’s sun. Given this extremely low “metallicity,” the star was likely a second-generation star, born very shortly after the Big Bang. Until 2014, Frebel’s star remained the record-holder for the most metal-poor star ever discovered.

The results were published in 2005 in Nature, with Frebel, then just two years into her PhD, as lead author.

A star turn

Frebel went on to work as a postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin, and later the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, where she continued to make remarkable insights into the early universe. Most notably, in 2007, she discovered HE 1523-0901, a red giant star in the Milky Way galaxy. Frebel estimated the star to be about 13.2 billion years old — among the oldest stars ever discovered and nearly as old as the universe itself.

In 2010, she unearthed a similarly primitive star in a nearby galaxy, that appeared to have the exact same metallic content as some of the old stars she had observed in the outskirts of our own Milky Way. This seemed to suggest, for the first time, that young galaxies like the Milky Way may “cannibalize” nearby, older galaxies, taking in their ancient stars as their own.

“A lot more detail has come to light in the last 10 years or so, and now we’re asking questions like, not just whether these objects are out there, but exactly where did they form, and how,” Frebel says. “So the puzzle is filling in.”

In 2012, she accepted an offer to join the physics faculty at MIT, where she continues to assemble the pieces to the early universe’s history. Much of her research is focused on analyzing stellar observations taken by the twin Magellan telescopes at the Las Campanas Observatory, in Chile. Frebel’s group makes the long trek to the observatory about three times per year to collect light from stars in the Milky Way and small satellite dwarf galaxies.

Once they arrive at the mountaintop observatory, the astronomers adapt to a night owl’s schedule, sleeping through the day and rising close to dinner time. Then, they grab a quick bite at the observatory’s lodge before heading up the mountainside to one of the two telescopes, where they remain into the early morning hours, collecting streams of photons from various stars of interest.

On nights when bad weather makes data collection impossible, Frebel reviews her data or she writes — about the solitary, sleep-deprived experience of observatory work; the broader search for the universe’s oldest stars; and most recently, about an overlooked scientific heroine in nuclear physics.

Engaging with the public

In addition to her academic work, Frebel makes a point of reaching out to a broader audience, to share her excitement in the cosmos. In one of many essays that she’s penned for such popular magazines as Scientific American, she describes the satisfied weariness following a long night’s work:

“Already I am imagining myself drawing the thick, sun-proof shades on my window and resting my head against my pillow. The morning twilight cloaks the stars overhead, but I know they are there — burning as they have for billions of years.”

In 2015, she published her first book, “Searching for the Oldest Stars: Ancient Relics from the Early Universe.” And just last year, she wrote and performed a 12-minute play about the life and accomplishments of Lise Meitner, an Austrian-Swedish physicist who was instrumental in discovering nuclear fission. Meitner, who worked for most of her career in Berlin, Germany, fled to Sweden during the Nazi occupation. There, she and her long-time collaborator Otto Hahn found evidence of nuclear fission. But it was Hahn who ultimately received the Nobel Prize for the discovery.

“Scientifically, [Meitner] is absolutely in line with Marie Curie, but she was never recognized appropriately for her work,” Frebel says. “She should be a household name, but she isn’t. So I find it very important to help rectify that.”

Frebel has given a handful of performances of the play, during which she appears in the first half, dressed in costume as Meitner. In the second half, she appears as herself, explaining to the audience how Meitner’s revelations influence astronomers’ work today.

Getting into character is nothing new for Frebel, who, as a high school student in Gottingen, Germany, took on multiple roles in the school plays. She also took part in what she calls the “subculture of figure-rollerskating” — a competitive sport that is analogous to figure-skating, only on roller skates. During that formative time, Frebel partly credits her mother for turning her focus to science and to the women who advanced their fields.

“When I was a teenager, my mom gave me a lot of biographies of women scientists and other notable women, and I still have a little book of Lise Meitner from when I was around 13,” Frebel says. “So I have been very familiar with her, and I do work basically on the topic that she was interested in. So I’m one of her scientific daughters.”

How Secure High Security Locks Are

There are many homes and even commercial establishments which spend thousands of dollars on high security locks. The common question that comes to the mind is whether it makes sense to invest this kind of money on these high security locks. Therefore it would be worthwhile to find answer to the question as to how secure high security locks are. The answer is both yes and no and it depends on the kind of security locks you are using and the places and things you are trying to protect with them. You have to understand that you will be spending big money and therefore you must be sure that you use it nicely. There is no point in investing this big money on your home when you know that you do not have the kind of valuables that it is made for. Therefore to begin with, you must be sure that you get the best value for money on these security locks and if the value is not forthcoming it is better to stay away from it.

Burglars Are Smart

 You should bear in mind that burglar know where the big money and other movable assets are. They are most likely to be in banks, financial institutions and commercial places. Hence, even if you have a home with the most sophisticated security systems in Indianapolis, it is quite unlikely that robbers would take the risk of a break in when they know that the returns are not commensurate with the risk that they are taking. Therefore as a home owner you must invest in these high security locks only if you feel that there is something big and substantial in your home. Otherwise the conventional locks, keys, monitoring and Indianapolis surveillance systems could be good enough for your home.

Look For Complete Solutions

 Even if it an office or a commercial premises, it does not make too much of sense to install high quality security locks unless it is backed up by a foolproof monitoring and surveillance system. You should not get into such investments without taking inputs from experts and professionals. Many smart security lock marketers and companies will try to sell you solutions which are not exactly complete and therefore you would end up paying big money for something that is not worth it from any point of view.

You Can Look At Low Cost Options

 If you have a reliable and smoothly working conventional locking and keying system, you perhaps can work on the same and make some changes and modifications. This would be a much better option rather than spending money on changing the entire locking system to the so called “high security locks”. Here are a few tips which perhaps you could try out as far as your doors are concerned.

  • You perhaps could add one-side deadbolts which can be operated only from the inside.
  • You could upgrade your locks to something more secure and tough. There are many such low cost options which you could try out.
  • You could look into the possibility of coming out with a comprehensive security solution such as sensors and security cameras.
  • Further you also could have pet dogs which are specially trained to look into the security aspects of your homes.

Sound and technology unlock innovation at MIT

Sound is a powerfully evocative medium, capable of conjuring authentic emotions and unlocking new experiences. This fall, several cross-disciplinary projects at MIT probed the technological and aesthetic limits of sound, resulting in new innovations and perspectives, from motion-sensing headphones that enable joggers to maintain a steady pace, virtual reality technology that enables blind people to experience comic book action, as well as projects that challenge our very relationship with technology.

Sound as political participation

“Sound is by nature a democratic medium,” says Ian Condry, an anthropologist and professor in MIT’s Department of Global Studies and Languages, adding that “sound lets us listen around the margins and to follow multiple voices coming from multiple directions.”

That concept informed this year’s Hacking Arts Hackathon Signature Hack, which Condry helped coordinate. The multi-channel audio installation sampled and abstracted audio excerpts from recent presidential inaugural addresses, then blended them with breathing sounds that the team recorded from a live audience. Building on this soundtrack, two team members acted as event DJs, instructing the audience to hum and breathe in unison, while their phones — controlled by an app created for the hackathon — played additional breathing and humming sounds.

“We wanted to play with multiple streams of speech and audio,” says Adam Haar Horowitz, a second-year master’s student at the MIT Media Lab, and member of the winning team. “Not just the words, which can be divisive, but the texture and pauses between the words.”

A guy walks into a library…

What happens when artificial intelligence decides what’s funny? Sound and democracy played prominently in “The Laughing Room,” an installation conceived by a team including author, illustrator, and MIT PhD candidate Jonny Sun and Stephanie Frampton, MIT associate professor of literature, as part of her project called ARTificial Intelligence, a collaboration between MIT Libraries and the Cambridge Public Library.

Funded in part by a Fay Chandler Faculty Creativity Seed Grant from the MIT Center for Art, Science and Technology (CAST), “The Laughing Room” invited public library visitors into a set that evoked a television sitcom living room, where they told stories or jokes that were analyzed by the room’s AI. If the algorithm determined a story was funny, it played a recorded laugh track. “The Laughing Room” — as well as the AI’s algorithmic calculations — were then broadcast on screens in “The Control Room,” a companion installation at MIT’s Hayden Library.

While fun for the public, the project also mined more serious issues. “There is a tension in society around technology,” says Sun, “between the things technology allows you to do, like having an algorithm tell you your joke is funny, and the price we pay for that technology, which is usually our privacy.”

Using sound to keep the pace

How can audio augmented reality enhance our quality of life? That challenge was explored by more than 70 students from multiple disciplines who competed in the Bose MIT Challenge in October. The competition, organized by Eran Egozy, professor of the practice in music technology and an MIT graduate who co-founded Harmonix, the company that developed iconic video games Guitar Hero and Rock Band, encourages students to invent real-life applications for Bose AR, a new audio augmented reality technology and platform.

This year’s winning entry adapted the Bose’s motion-sensing AR headphones to enable runners to stay on pace as they train. When the runner accelerates, the music is heard behind them. When their place slows, the music sounds as if it’s ahead of them.

“I’d joined hackathons at my home university,” said Dominic Co, a one-year exchange student in architecture from the University of Hong Kong and member of the three-person winning team. “But there’s such a strong culture of making things here at MIT. And so many opportunities to learn from other people.”

Creating a fuller picture with sound

Sound — and the technology that delivers it — has the capacity to enhance everyone’s quality of life, especially for the 8.4 million Americans without sight. That was the target audience of Project Daredevil, which won the MIT Creative Arts Competition last April.

Daniel Levine, a master’s candidate at the MIT Media Lab, teamed with Matthew Shifrin, a sophomore at the New England Conservatory of Music, to create a virtual-reality system for the blind. The system’s wearable vestibular-stimulating helmet enables the sightless to experience sensations like flying, falling, and acceleration as they listen to an accompanying soundtrack.

Shifrin approached Levine two years ago for help in developing an immersive 3-D experience around the Daredevil comic books — a series whose superhero, like Shifrin, is blind. As a child, Shifrin’s father read Daredevil to him aloud, carefully describing the action in every pane. Project Daredevil has advanced that childhood experience using technology.

“Because of Dan and his engineering expertise, this project has expanded far beyond our initial plan,” says Shifrin. “It’s not just a thing for blind people. Anyone who is into virtual reality and gaming can wear the device.”

A beautiful marriage of art and technology

Another cross-disciplinary partnership in sound and technology that resulted in elegant outcomes this fall is the ongoing partnership between CAST Visiting Artist Jacob Collier and MIT PhD candidate Ben Bloomberg.

Bloomberg, who completed his undergraduate and master’s studies at MIT, studied music and performance design with Tod Machover, the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and director of the Media Lab’s Opera of the Future group. Bloomberg discovered Collier’s music videos online about four years ago; he then wrote the artist to ask whether he needed any help in adapting his video performances to the stage. Fortunately, the answer was yes.

Working closely with Collier, Bloomberg developed a computerized audio/visual performance platform that enables the charismatic composer and performer to move seamlessly from instrument to instrument on stage and sing multiple parts simultaneously. The duo continues to develop and perfect the technology in performance. “It’s like a technological prosthesis,” says Bloomberg, who has worked with dozens of artists, including Bjork and Ariana Grande.

While technology has opened the door to richer sound explorations, Bloomberg firmly places it in an artistic realm. “None of this would make any sense were it not for Jacob’s amazing talent. He pushes me to develop new technologies, or to find new ways to apply existing technology. The goal here isn’t to integrate technology just because we can, but to support the music and further its meaning.”

Explorations in sound continue into 2019 with the innovative annual performance series MIT Sounding. Highlights of the 2018-2019 season include a collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project in honor of MIT Institute Professor John Harbison’s 80th birthday, the American premiere of the Spider’s Canvas, a virtual 3-D reconstruction of a spider’s web with each strand tuned to a different note, and residencies by two divergent musicians: the Haitian singer and rapper BIC and the innovative American pianist Joel Fan performing works by MIT composers.

How to Make Retirement Living Easier and Smoother

Retirement is a life changing period of one’s life. Some people take this new lifestyle very smoothly whereas some find it very difficult to adjust in it. They can also make this transition easier and smoother just by taking few careful steps. Some of these steps are briefly described in this write-up to help you in this regard.

Control your thoughts: Instead of taking your retirement as the end of your career you should take it as the start of a new lifestyle. You can talk about it with your partner as well as other retired people near you. Your retirement provides you new opportunities to share your experiences of life with other people either working as a volunteer or signing up with some inspirational classes.

Make a list of your requirements: There can be several things which you wanted to achieve in your life but could not spare time for them due to your busy work schedule. Now is the time you can fulfill your requirements as you have enough time for such things. So you should make a list of what you want to do to make yourself happier and satisfied.

Replace your social obligations: Most of the retired people miss their society they were used to attend during their working life. You can replace your social network by joining some fitness center, workshops, volunteering, classes or religious activities etc. Watching TV at home can also be a good way to spend your retired life but it can also make your life idle.

Keep yourself active: Instead of living an idle life the retired people should do some productive work to get a sense of pride for being helpful to someone near you and your social circle. Volunteering can be a good way to make your retired life active, smoother and easier as it can easily fill the emptiness created by your retirement living.

Design your daily schedule: You can make your retired life valuable by volunteering or joining some productive activity. Your active lifestyle will not only keep you bust but also happy as you are not killing your time idly. In the long run such decisions will keep you satisfied with your retired life.

Do what you could not do until your retirement: There can be many things which you wanted to do in your life but could not do due to our involvement in your work. It can be visiting your family and friends, remodeling your home, check your health through medical tests or see different parts of the country etc. Now is the time you can fulfill your ambitions without any stress and remain happy.

Keep yourself fit: Your health should be your first priority, especially after retirement. Retirement does not mean lie idly and eat whatever you want while watching TV. It will unbalance your digestive system and will affect your overall health. To remain healthy you should keep yourself busy mentally as well as physically.

Try to get a new job: If you are physically and mentally fit then you can try to get some part time or full time job, as per your condition. It will not only keep you busy but also improve your self confidence by providing you financial stability.

 

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