From GeekWire: Robotics pioneer Red Whittaker wants to put a robot on the moon, and land Amazon in his backyard


PITTSBURGH — Asked if he will eventually land a robot on the moon, William “Red” Whittaker doesn’t hold back. “Oh, hell yes,” says the Carnegie Mellon University roboticist, showing the enthusiasm and determination that have fueled his career, leading the development of robots that have changed the nature of what machines can accomplish. They haven’t landed one on the moon, yet, but Whittaker and his colleagues have sparked the rise of robots in Pittsburgh and beyond — in areas including nuclear cleanup, autonomous farming, robotic mining and self-driving cars. Their work in the Field Robotics Center at CMU’s Robotics Institute… Read More

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From GeekWire: Don’t grocery shop with Bill Gates: Software mogul appears on Ellen, badly flunks grocery price quiz


Bill Gates may be one of the richest men on the planet, but don’t hit the grocery aisles with the tech titan if you’re on the prowl for bargains. Gates appeared for the first time on the Ellen show on Wednesday, and some good-spirited wackiness occurred as the TV host asked the Microsoft co-founder to guess the prices of five items found in the supermarket. From the outset, Gates was at a disadvantage, admitting that it was “a long time ago” that he’d last stepped foot in a supermarket. “This will be interesting,” quipped Ellen, who informed the studio audience that… Read More

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From GeekWire: Twilio co-founder promises ice cream to students facing detention for attending walkouts


Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson has a message for students facing detentions for walking out of school to protest gun violence. He’ll buy you ice cream. In a post on Twitter Wednesday night, Lawson laid out the plan. Attention students of America. If you get detention because you walked out and joined the March – I will send you a gallon of ice cream for every day of detention. Because kids should have ice cream, not detention. Seriously, text me if you’re in this situation 727-866-4867 — Jeff Lawson (@jeffiel) February 21, 2018 The message came after the tragic school shooting… Read More

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From GeekWire: Twilio co-founder promises ice cream to students facing detention for attending walkouts


Twilio co-founder Jeff Lawson has a message for students facing detentions for walking out of school to protest gun violence. He’ll buy you ice cream. In a post on Twitter Wednesday night, Lawson laid out the plan. Attention students of America. If you get detention because you walked out and joined the March – I will send you a gallon of ice cream for every day of detention. Because kids should have ice cream, not detention. Seriously, text me if you’re in this situation 727-866-4867 — Jeff Lawson (@jeffiel) February 21, 2018 The message came after the tragic school shooting… Read More

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From GeekWire: GeekWire Podcast: MIT’s president on human intelligence and the quest for smarter machines


Can a better understanding of human intelligence make for smarter machines? We explored that topic this week with Rafael Reif, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, following the announcement of the MIT Intelligence Quest, an effort to “discover the foundations of human intelligence” to develop better technology, especially artificial intelligence. Reif has been MIT’s president since 2012. An electrical engineer by training, he has been outspoken in his defense of funding for basic scientific research. He was in Seattle this week to talk with alumni about MIT’s plans for the future of education, research, and innovation. We spoke about all of… Read More

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From GeekWire: NASA fires shuttle rocket engine to the max during test for Space Launch System

RS-25 rocket engine
Like a “Spinal Tap” guitarist, NASA turned the dial up to 11 today on a souped-up rocket engine from the bygone space shuttle program. The 260-second engine firing at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi represented the toughest test yet for hardware that’s destined to go on the Space Launch System, NASA’s heavy-lift rocket. NASA plans to use sets of Aerojet Rocketdyne RS-25 rocket engines left over from the shuttle program in the main propulsion systems on the first four SLS rockets, four at a time. Fourteen of the 16 hydrogen-fueled engines were previously installed on the shuttle orbiters, which were… Read More

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From GeekWire: Seattle region invites mobility companies to pilot shared employer shuttles for commuters


King County Metro — which covers Seattle, Bellevue, and surrounding communities — is launching a pilot program for commuter shuttles shared by employers. Mobility companies will be allowed to offer a micro-shuttle service for employees of two to five employers per route. Only employees of a designated consortium of employers will be allowed to use the shared shuttles. Each approved service will be permitted to operate for one year under the pilot. Mobility companies can submit proposals to participate in the pilot through April 3. Metro plans to reach agreements with companies around mid-April. Metro isn’t disclosing which companies have… Read More

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From GeekWire: 2Morrow launches pain management app, as tech industry addresses opioid crisis


In 2016, more than 16,000 people died from an opioid overdose related to a prescription drug. That’s more than 46 people every day. Much of the opioid crisis in America isn’t rooted in street drugs like heroin but in legal, prescription drugs. As the healthcare system scrambles to find new ways to treat patients without opioids, technology companies are stepping in with alternatives. Seattle startup 2Morrow Inc. on Wednesday announced the latest tech alternative for pain relief: An app that draws on behavioral psychology to help people manage chronic pain. The app uses the same scientific foundations as 2Morrow’s smoking cessation and weight… Read More

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From GeekWire: Startup Spotlight: PeopleMaven helps you create and share personal ‘who’s who’ lists


For all of the times a friend asks on social media, “Can someone suggest a person for (fill in the blank) job or task?” Lewis Lin has a solution. Last year, Lin launched PeopleMaven, a Seattle-based startup that allows users to create lists of people, linking to profiles and other mentions on sites including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. “It’s a curation tool, a collection tool, and it can mean different things for different people,â€� said Lin. “The biggest pain point that I’ve got is I’m running a business and trying to scale and we need help, and help can come… Read More

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From GeekWire: Amazon Studios to adapt Iain M. Banks’ space-opera Culture novel, a ‘huge personal favorite’ of Jeff Bezos


Iain M. Banks’ sweeping Culture science-fiction book series finally has a video home. Amazon Studios announced this morning it’s acquired the global television rights to the first novel, Consider Phlebas. Amazon said it will adapt the book for a television series on Prime Video. Dennis Kelly, who wrote the British TV series Utopia, will do the adaptation, and Plan B Entertainment, known for World War Z and 12 Years a Slave, will produce. Consider Phlebas was Banks’ first science-fiction novel and began the saga of the utopian interstellar society known as the Culture. In the books, the Culture ends up at… Read More

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