NEWWorthy term: Cobot

In Computerworld recently, “The cobots are coming.  Is your IT team ready?”

What is a cobot?  It’s a collaborative robot.  According to robots.com, “The collaborative application of robotics enables humans and robots to safely and effectively work together in an uncaged environment, with no risk of injuries/damages.”

While the term collaborative robot has been around since at least the 1990’s, the shortened term cobot may have first appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2000.  But with robotics as an industry really starting to take off now, the term cobot feels NEWWorthy.

Using atmospheric gravity waves to monitor hurricanes

Science Daily reports on “How atmospheric waves radiate out of hurricanes…The waves, known as atmospheric gravity waves, are produced by strong thunderstorms near the eye and radiate outward in expanding spirals.”

Atmosphere gravity waves can sometimes be seen in satellite imagery, and are known to create interesting shapes in the clouds.

Researchers now hope to monitor hurricane and typhoon wind speed from long distance with barometers and anemometers.  It is possible that this could improve future forecasts.

The shell game?

Recently, President Trump suggested that his lawyers would provide a certificate stating that he has no business ties to Russia.  Now his lawyers have provided the letter, but one has to wonder if this is simply a shell [company] game.

As I understand it — NOTE: I am not an accountant, so I could be wrong — a person might not (or does not) include shell company income on their tax return.  The law firm also says “Trump’s last 10 years of tax returns do not reveal ‘any income of any type from Russian sources’ with some exceptions…”  What are the exceptions and how many are there?  Previous reports indicate that Trump did make income from the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant and $95 million from the sale of a home to a Russian billionaire.

You might ask, what shell companies are owned by President Trump?  Well, it’s not that easy to determine who owns a shell company or what shell companies they own.  But Huffington Post reported back in March 2017, “Two Trump [shell] Companies Discovered in Cyprus, Russian Off-Shore Banking Haven“.

Regarding the certificate or letter from Trump’s lawyers, it may be telling that the President’s lawyers “Morgan Lewis” claim on their own website that they were the “Russia Law Firm of the Year.”  Also, there was the Panama Papers report last year which discovered a $2 billion trail that “leads to Vladimir Putin.”  That had to do with shell companies too.

Who knows what, if any, shell game President Trump might be playing.  He and his administration seem to keep us all guessing as to what will happen next.  There are all kinds of shell games, like the one below.

MSSLB – High Performing Charter School suspensions

Many Suspended Students are Left Behind (MSSLB) from high performing charters schools, according to numerous newspaper articles.  Just search “‘high performing charter school’ suspensions” online, and you’ll see what I mean.  Here’s one such story from “The Atlantic”.  There is concern that at least some high performing charter schools are achieving better test scores because they have forced out lower achieving students through repeated suspensions.

In Florida, bill HB 5105 would spend $200 million to create “schools of hope” based on bringing into the state high performing charter school operators from across the country.  But do legislators understand how these schools go about becoming high performers?  If these schools are created here — or in your own state — what happens if students are forced out with repeated suspensions?  Do they go back to failing public schools that are operating with far less funds — for example, minus $200 million?

If charter schools are given this kind of public funding, then they must be required to display the same transparency and rules that public schools must follow.  Otherwise it is not a fair comparison and the term “high performing” just becomes another way of saying “unfair”.

A Gorsuch Plot

U.S. Supreme Court justices are usually on the court for a long time, especially as average lifespans have increased.  It is a top judge’s job to make difficult decisions based on the law of the land — the U.S. Constitution.

With the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court many, particularly Republicans in Congress and President Trump, seem to have already concluded that his decisions will follow a consistently conservative line — maybe even plotting higher on the graph than former or current Supreme Court justices (see Ideological Leanings… below).  But will a graph (plot) of his ideological leanings continue along a straight line or veer over time?

It is interesting to note that since 1950, even most conservative justices have had more liberalized leanings (downward trajectory on the chart at bottom) later in their appointments.  Why is that?  Oliver Roeder theorizes on fivethirtyeight.com, a site well known for opinion poll analysis.

NEWWorthy would like to introduce one more possible reason: empathy.  The Fivethirtyeight list touches on similar issues, but they don’t mention empathy explicitly.  Perhaps it is because not everyone agrees upon the place for empathy in making Supreme Court decisions.  According to various articles, like this one in the Huffington Post, President Obama appeared to believe that empathy had a place in the Supreme Court.

Will Justice Gorsuch’s leanings plot follow a similar curve to other conservative justices?  I guess we’re going to find out.

 

A hyperloop passenger cabin

Okay, cabin may be an exaggeration.  It’s really called a capsule or maybe a pod.  Since it will travel at over 700 mph, presumably it will have to be austere to avoid safety hazards.  Also, compared to subways, you have to wonder if people will be allowed to stand during 760 mph travel from point A to point B.

2017 One Way Rentals from Florida

Not all rental car companies are advertising their spring 2017 one-way rental out of Florida deals — or at least I couldn’t find them all — but you can still check to see the rates.  For example, go to Hertz.com and check out a reservation on a car from Tampa, FL (or some other airport in Florida) to Atlanta, GA (or some other airport up north of Florida).  Try a 4 or 5 day period starting in mid-April.  I found daily rates starting around $7.50 or so, though they still add on taxes and fees to bring it between $15-$20 per day.  I didn’t check local Hertz car rental locations.  If you can rent one way from those, you might be able to find a one-way in April without the airport fees.

Enterprise has posted one-way out of Florida rates for Spring 2017.

So has Avis.

And Alamo too.

If you go, have fun!

Alternative Facts

We don’t know yet if “alternative facts” will be considered a new term or an old term by the end of 2017, but the term has already made the Urban Dictionary.  For now, we’ll consider it NEWWorthy until it isn’t.

As far as NEWWorthy is concerned, the term is worthy in that it points out that alternative facts — lies or falsehoods — should be placed where they belong: in an alternative universe.

Extending the reach of dermatologists

AI and medical technology has been coming together for years now, but many more advances are still in the lab.  Now, new research shows that AI can recognize skin cancer with results comparable to dermatologists.  With mobile phones, this could help to extend the reach of dermatologists, hopefully making more people aware of potential skin cancers that need further attention from an expert.