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Zero Net Energy - July 18, 2019

by gmoke Wed Jul 24th, 2019 at 02:13:33 AM EST

Zero-energy demonstration project in Beijing made from pre-fab timber components

Energy blockchain for 55,000 rooftops in Japan planned, 100 rooftops now
Power Ledger - Australian company behind the project

Singapore’s first net zero energy building - 6 story building at the National University of Singapore School of Design and Environment

"S2A Modular in Southern California is building a factory to manufacture modular net-zero-energy private homes, condominiums, apartment complexes, and commercial buildings."

Renovated office building in Amsterdam is net positive energy with BREEAM outstanding rating

Net zero energy church in Iowa

In the EU all new buildings will be nearly zero-energy by the end of 2020 and all new public buildings have been nearly zero-energy since 2018.

Eco-Capsule - self-sustainable micro-home
in Times Square NYC

Net positive house in Lincoln, MA produces 67% more energy than it consumes with -6.3kBtu/sf/yr

Carbon Drawdown Now: Turning Buildings into Carbon Sinks

Zero carbon retrofit for Paris 2024 Olympics

Norwich, UK’s 100 unit Passivhaus council house development

Comments >> (4 comments)

How Do You Pay for the Green New Deal: Cost of Fuel

by gmoke Thu Jul 4th, 2019 at 08:31:36 PM EST

I did some back of the envelope estimates of the cost of the fossil fuels we use in a year.  
The source of these figures is the USA DOE Energy Information Agency https:/www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php

But any mistakes in arithmetic are my own.


7.5 billion barrels of petroleum products consumed in USA in 2018
average price $69.78 per barrel
Cost of petroleum products:  $523,350,000,000

In 2017, the United States consumed about 27.11 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas
average of $4.08 per thousand cubic feet
Cost of natural gas:  $110,608,800,000

EIA expects total U.S. coal consumption in 2018 to fall to 691 million short tons (MMst)
$39.09 per short ton (2017 price)
Cost of coal:  $27,011,190,000

Total:  $660,969,990,000

We spend nearly $661 billion per year or something like that on fuel alone every year.
And these are only ballpark numbers, probably on the low side.

With the 2018 USA GDP at $20.50 trillion, the cost of fuel is approximately 3.22% of annual GDP


Another "cost" of fuel is covered in the International Monetary Fund's recent report on fossil fuel subsidies, covering 191 countries:
www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2019/05/02/Global-Fossil-Fuel-Subsidies-Remain-Large-A n-Update-Based-on-Country-Level-Estimates-46509

They look at the difference between the market price and "how much consumers would pay if prices fully reflected supply costs plus the taxes needed to reflect environmental costs and revenue requirements."

Global fuel subsidies were $4.7 trillion (6.3% of global GDP) in 2015 and were projected to be $5.2 trillion (6.5% of GDP) in 2017
China subsidizes the most with $1.4 trillion per year
$649 billion in 2015 for the USA, 3.6% of GDP
Russia at $551 billion
EU at $289 billion
India at $209 billion

"Efficient fossil fuel pricing in 2015 would have lowered global carbon emissions by 28% and fossil fuel air pollution deaths by 46%, and increased government revenue by 3.8 % of GDP."

Subsidies consist of underpricing for local air pollution, the largest source (48% in 2015),
global warming at 24%
broader environmental costs of road fuels at 15%
undercharging for general consumption taxes 7%
supply costs 7%

Coal and petroleum get 85% of the global subsidies monies.
Coal receives 44% of subsidy monies
petroleum 41%
natural gas 10%
electricity 4%

"If fuel prices had been set at fully efficient levels in 2015, estimated global CO2 emissions would have been 28% lower, fossil fuel air pollution deaths 46% lower, tax revenues higher by 3.8% of global GDP, and net economic benefits (environmental benefits less economic costs) would have amounted to 1.7% of global GDP."


The USA spends about $661 billion per year on the cost of fuel
and another $649 billion on subsidies for that fuel
That's about $1.2 trillion per year for the full cost accounting of fossil fuels and such fossil foolishness.
That's about 7% of USA GDP

The energy transition, Energiewende, of Germany is estimated to cost 0.5 - 1.2% of GDP per year
Source:  https:

How do you pay for the Green New Deal?  You do away with the cost of fuel (and all the subsidies that go along with it).

Comments >> (39 comments)

Grid-scale Battery: The Tesla System in Australia

by gmoke Tue Jun 18th, 2019 at 07:09:09 PM EST

Remember when Elon Musk offered to build a grid-scale battery for Southern Australia in "100 days or it's free"?  He made good on his bet, installing it on time for the cost of $66 million in December of 2017.  

According to a report on its first year of operation, the Hornsdale Power Reserve (HPR), owned and operated by Neon,  the world's largest lithium-ion battery energy storage system, with a discharge capacity of 100 MW and energy storage capacity of 129 MWh, located near Jamestown, South Australia, sharing the same 275 kV network connection point as the 300 MW Hornsdale wind farm, saved $40 million in its first year.

HPR is three times larger than any other lithium ion battery.  It provides high-quality, rapid and precise Regulation of Frequency Control Ancillary Services [FCAS] with Fast Frequency Response [FFR], faster than existing large steam turbines which take minutes to ramp up.

"It can rapidly discharge and charge over fractions of a second to support the safe and stable operation of the grid when it's under threat, or when something unexpected happens elsewhere, not just in the State but in the National Electricity Market."

"HPR's FFR capability was proven in a major system security event on 25 August 2018 (detailed in case study) where HPR operated as required, accurately dispatching energy to support the network through both high and low frequency periods."

The HBR project began after a state-wide blackout in 2016 when the South Australian government solicited bids.  Tesla was chosen out of 90 other competing companies.

Tesla explained the system's capabilities, saying, "It will help solve power outages, reduce intermittencies and manage summertime peak load to support the reliability of South Australia's electrical infrastructure, providing enough power for more than 30,000 homes--approximately equal to the amount of homes that lost power during the blackout period last year."

Tesla also says it will recycle the batteries after their 15 year lifetime, planning to  recover up to 60% of the materials.

South Australia has gone from less than 1% renewables in the early 2000s to 48.9% in 2016/17 and is expected to rise to 73% by 2020/21, perhaps the fastest renewable growth rate in the world.  Australia's electricity sector alone is on track to deliver the country's  entire Paris emissions reduction targets by 2025 instead of 2030, five years early.  

"Remarkably, the net cost is zero because expensive fossil fuels are being replaced by cheaper renewables."

Sources:  https:/www.sciencealert.com/remember-the-giant-tesla-battery-in-australia-it-just-marked-its-first- year




https:/www.ign.com/articles/2019/01/01/a-giant-tesla-battery-in-australia-has-saved-40-million-in-i ts-first-year-2

Comments >> (7 comments)

Daily Reminder Calendar for the Next Decade of Climate Change

by gmoke Mon Jun 3rd, 2019 at 02:18:15 AM EST

Scientists tell us that
we have about a decade to do something
to reduce climate calamity.
Let's schedule out the next 10 years
3,650 days
for climate action
month by month
week by week
day by day
to do what is
ecologically necessary
to restore the atmosphere to
270 ppm CO2

This is a reworking of the end of My Approach to Climate Change (http://solarray.blogspot.com/2018/12/my-approach-to-climate-change.html) which I was reminded of by reading a paper on "German Energiewende:  Power System" I received at the NE - Germany Energy Transition Forum (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-england-germany-energy-transition-forum-tickets-59674085797), at Harvard Law school on May 16, 2019.  In it I saw goal figures for greenhouse gas reductions (ghgs) and renewable power increases for both Germany and the EU.

My daily reminder climate catastrophe calendar would have these kinds of things on each page:

Climate goals for the EU:
80-95% reduction greenhouse gases (ghg) by 2050
(compared to 1990 levels, the agreed upon standard it seems)
32% renewables by 2030
32.5% increase in efficiency by 2030

Climate goals for Germany:
55% reduction in ghgs by 2030
80-95% by 2050
30.8% reductions from 1990 levels of ghgs now
65% renewable electricity by 2030
80% by 2050
37.8% renewable electricity now, already above the 2020 goal of 35%
(Renewables are the dominant source of electricity in Germany for the second year in a row and renewables have tripled since 2000)
40-45% renewables by 2025
nuclear phase out by 2022
coal phase out by 2038

I know another date to add to the calendar could be Costa Rica's goal of being carbon neutral by 2021.

I wonder whether people would actually buy a Climate Change Daily Reminder Calendar.  I'm guessing the German Network Development Plan 2019-2030 which outlines the planned grid development to accomodate 65% renewables by 2030 has something like it though.  

May somebody somewhere be working on a 100% by 2030 calendar for their country and the world -- just as a thought experiment.  Perhaps those who are interested can work on it every Friday while the schoolchildren are striking for climate.

Comments >> (2 comments)

City Agriculture - May 17, 2019

by gmoke Fri May 17th, 2019 at 07:25:01 PM EST

Singapore Airlines reinventing airplane food with produce from a vertical farm

Agritech innovations

Fraunhofer Reports Combining Farming With Solar 186% More Efficient In Summer Of 2018
https:/www.ise.fraunhofer.de/en/press-media/press-releases/2019/agrophotovoltaics-hight-harvesting- yield-in-hot-summer-of-2018.html
cleantechnica.com/2019/04/12/fraunhofer-reports-combining-farming-with-solar-186-more-effici ent-in-summer-of-2018
Editorial Comment:  The Japanese have been combining agriculture with solar electricity for a decade or two now.

The Circular Garden - a temporary pavilion made from mushrooms for Milan Design Week
University of Toronto Scarborough & Centennial College developing Canada's first net zero vertical farm
https:/utsc.utoronto.ca/news-events/our-community/u-t-scarborough-centennial-college-partnering-dev elop-canadas-first-net-zero-vertical
Editorial Comment:  Good to see more people thinking about net zero in relation to vertical farming but Treehugger is correct to criticize the idea for using arable land instead of, say, brownfields

Online urban agriculture class from UMass begins May 20, 2019

5000 square foot garden and apiary as Staten Island apartment house amenities

"Following in the footsteps of Toronto, San Francisco, Denver, and Portland, Oregon, all new residential and commercial buildings in the city [NYC] must top roofs with either plants, solar panels, mini wind turbines--or a combination of all three."
Editorial Comment:  The same act's "Dirty Building Bill" aims to slash the carbon emissions of all buildings over 25,000 square feet by 80% by 2050 through energy-saving solutions and retrofits such as installing better insulation.

NYC's eco-park PIer 35

Algae "biocurtains" from Photo.Synth.Etica absorb carbon from urban air

Engineers create plants that glow:  Illumination from nanobionic plants might one day replace some electrical lighting

Growing food in the Arctic - polar permaculture
www.bbc.com/news/av/science-environment-48257139/meet-the-arctic-farmer-hoping-to-make-his-t own-more-sustainable

A few years worth of City Agriculture links are archived at http://cityag.blogspot.com

From School Strike to Teach-in to Global Hackathon for Climate Friday After Friday

by gmoke Wed Apr 3rd, 2019 at 05:33:00 PM EST

Friday School Strike for Climate to Friday Teach-ins on Climate to Friday Global Hackathons on Climate that is the progression I'd like to see and so I am passing on the idea.  

It came to me when I found that Harvard Divest was going to "Flood Harvard" Yard on Friday, April 26 (https:/www.facebook.com/events/347126895944173).  I suggested to them on their Facebook event page that perhaps part of their activities could include a kindergarten to graduate school teach-in on climate to coincide with the Friday school strikes for climate which are happening around the world every Friday.

Later, listening to the MSNBC town hall with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Friday night, I thought that perhaps this idea could be extended from a teach-in to a hackathon using the Internet to connect globally.  Seems like it would be a natural for an organization like MIT's Climate Collaborative (https://www.climatecolab.org).  Already there are tools like the C-ROADS climate simulation (https:www.climateinteractive.org/tools/c-roads)  and the Energy Policy simulator (https:/energypolicy.solutions) available for free online.  Precursors like Buckminster Fuller's World Game (https:www.bfi.org/about-fuller/big-ideas/world-game) ["Make the world work, for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone"]  and John Hunter's World Peace Game (https:worldpeacegame.org) [World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements] could be part of the foundation.

Just a thought.

PS:  Another ongoing climate action could use the next farmers' market season as an opportunity to make practical environmental change from the grassroots on up:  https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/5/24/1766926-Mister-Franklin-s-Folks-How-to-Change-USA-Energy -Policy-in-One-Growing-Season

Healing Earth (Through the Waters)

by gmoke Tue Mar 19th, 2019 at 03:29:24 AM EST

John Todd, author of Healing Earth:  An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship (Berkeley, CA:  North Atlantic Books, 2019  ISBN 9781623172985) (https:/www.northatlanticbooks.com/shop/healing-earth), has spent his professional life building living technologies, eco-machines and eco-restorers, biological systems which "contain representative species from all the kingdoms of life ranging from bacteria and viruses at the lower end of the size scale to fungi, animals, and woody plants at the macro scale.  Working together as a biological team, these assemblages of organisms help us transform polluted water into clean water.  In return, we provide them with extra air and water circulation as well as appropriate substrates to live on or in." He works on the basis of "that which has been damaged can be healed" and "do good things in bad places," showing that the field of applied ecology is practical and can solve problems, exploring the myriad ways that informed stewardship can help heal and transform the Earth.

He started with a greenhouse full of transparent water tanks for the treatment of septage in Harwich, MA in the 1980s and, "more by accident than design," included representative species of all the kingdoms of life in the system. Over years of experimentation, he learned "that a diversity of organisms from a variety of parent ecosystems could produce systems with a meta-intelligence that had a highly specific ability to self-organize, self-design, and self-replicate.  They were capable, in fact, of surviving through long periods of times, possibly centuries, with minimal human support."

His installations are ecologically engineered, "they are designed with the attributes of natural ecosystems like marshes, ponds, and streams," borrowing their designs, life forms, and progressions from natural ecosystems.  For John Todd "natural history is not an old-fashioned form of knowing;  it comprises the narratives of living entities that provide the alphabet of the design vocabulary."

In this book, he provides a pattern language, the human grammar for that design vocabulary, a baker's dozen of design principles for constructing living technologies and eco-machines based upon his decades of experience with projects that treat sewage, septage, petroleum wastes and other toxics, producing improved water quality at both household and community scales.

Todd considers such individual projects as First Order Ecological Design, techniques and technologies applied to the landscape.  Second Order Design is the linking together of processes and practices into new associations and entities, industrial ecologies and agricultural eco-parks for example.  Third Order Ecological Design addresses larger economic and social structures and their evolution over time.  He writes, "It is my belief that durable and sustainable economies, in an age of resource limits and information richness, can replace the extractive and environmentally destructive technologies and infrastructures of today."  For an example of a Third Order Ecological Design see John Todd's ecological plan for Appalachia, the winner of the first Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award at https:/www.bfi.org/ideaindex/projects/2008/challenge-appalachia

In Healing Earth, John Todd has given us practical, working examples of how to think like nature itself, in ever expanding systems which repair the damage we homo sap sap (the sap) have already done.  We must learn to live in our ecological niche or risk extinction.  John Todd's report of his lifetime of observation and experimentation teaches us not only how to live within that niche but expand it.

Projects from Todd Ecological

Providence, RI living machine treating sewage and septage with ecological systems design and without chemicals (1990)

Canal Restorer to River Restorer (2013)

Gaian Design of Ecological Alchemy:  notes from A Safe, Sustainable World (2005)

Comments >> (2 comments)

Green New Deal, Extinction Rebellion Demands, & My Approach to Climate Change

by gmoke Wed Nov 28th, 2018 at 03:15:34 AM EST

Here are Representative Ocasio-Cortez' proposed goals for a Select Committee on a Green New Deal (https:/ocasio2018.com/green-new-deal) as part of the resuscitated House Committee on Climate Change:

"The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed in order to achieve the following goals, in each case in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:
100% of national power generation from renewable sources;
building a national, energy-efficient, "smart" grid;
upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;
decarbonizing the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries;
decarbonizing, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure;
funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases;
making `green' technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely carbon neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal."

Here are UK's Extinction Rebellion's demands (https:rebellion.earth/demands):

"That the Government must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do.

"Good intentions and guidelines won't save the ice caps. The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet's worth of resources per year.

"By necessity these demands require initiatives and mobilisation of similar size and scope to those enacted in times of war. We do not however, trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve this and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens' Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose."

My approach to climate change is
100% renewables ASAP
zero emissions economy ASAP
carbon drawdown ASAP
geotherapy (not geoengineering) ASAP

Resources: http://drawdown.org
s:/www.crcpress.com/Geotherapy-Innovative-Methods-of-Soil-Fertility-Restoration-Carbon-Sequestratio n/Goreau-Larson-Campe/p/book/9781466595392

At least as a thought experiment.

I also believe a solar civil defense is necessary NOW and could be a way to do a solar walk away or electrical utility boycott as an example of solar swadeshi, local production, and a Gandhian, non-violent economic system.

PS:  The Sunrise Movement (https:www.sunrisemovement.org) will be lobbying in Washington, DC on December 10 to demand Congress make a real plan to address climate change.
You can join this action by filling out the form at 
http://bit.ly/dcregform or 

They will also be having a Facebook event on December 9 to Tell Democrats: We Need a Green New Deal

Comments >> (3 comments)

Every Man Dies Alone

by gmoke Tue Oct 30th, 2018 at 06:16:02 PM EST

Based upon the Gestapo files of an actual case, Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada (Brooklyn, NY:  Melville House, 2009 ISBN 978-1-933633-63-3) is about a middle-aged, working class couple who resist the Nazis in 1940 Berlin.  Otto and Anna Quangel drop postcards and leaflets in mailboxes and in public places protesting Hitler's government and the war.  They know what they are doing can and probably will result in their capture, torture, and death by the Gestapo.  They also know what they are doing is a very small disturbance in the larger world;  but they must do something.  After the death of their only son in the war, they have nothing to lose.

The daily atmosphere of Nazi rule is described so you feel the constriction of the limited choices, always on the edge of violence, every person had to make, every moment of every day.  Everyone is alone in a world where everyone is an informant.

Fallada stayed in Germany throughout the war though he was blacklisted by the Nazis and institutionalized for a time.  He reportedly felt he was something of a collaborator. Every Man Dies Alone was Fallada's last book.  He died before it was published.  The book was not translated into English and released until 2009, becoming a surprise success. With the wave of authoritarian nationalism and tactical cruelty by despots washing around the world right now, it is a difficult book to read though, perhaps, a necessary one.

We are, it seems, always a few years away from extermination camps in any society and I think I could make a reasonable case that, all my life, there was and is almost always attempted genocide happening somewhere in the world.

Read more... (2 comments, 1375 words in story)

Infotech Events Around Cambridge, MA - September 10 - 25

by gmoke Mon Sep 10th, 2018 at 02:18:04 AM EST

I publish a free weekly listing of Energy (and Other) Events around Cambridge, MA as a webpage (http://hubevents.blogspot.com) and listserv (email gmoke@world.std.com if you are interested).

(and Other) events are anything that piques my interest.  Sometimes trends are clearly visible, as in this list of infotech, roughly speaking, events from September 10 to 25.  Cybersecurity, social media, AI, VR/AR, robotics, big data, and such are busting out all over.

If you're interested in the wider project that Energy (and Other) Events could become, please read

What I Do and Why I Do It:  The Story of Energy (and Other) Events



Streaming Analytics for the Smart Grid
Monday, September 10
4:00pm to 5:00pm
MIT, Building 32-155, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge
Le Xie, Texas A&M University
How to conduct real-time analytics of streaming measurement data in the power grid? This talk offers a dynamic systems approach to utilizing data of different time scale for improved monitoring of the grid cyber and physical security. The first example of the talk presents how to leverage synchrophasor data dimensionality reduction and Robust Principal Component Analysis for early anomaly detection, visualization, and localization. The second example presents an online framework to detect cyber-attacks on automatic generation control (AGC). A cyber-attack detection algorithm is designed based on the approach of Dynamic Watermarking. The detection algorithm provides a theoretical guarantee of detection of cyber-attacks launched by sophisticated attackers possessing extensive knowledge of the physical and statistical models of targeted power systems. The underlying theme of the work suggests the importance of integrating data with dynamic context-aware models in the smart grid.
Dr. Le Xie is a Professor and Eugene Webb Faculty Fellow in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Texas A&M University. He received B.E. in Electrical Engineering from Tsinghua University, S.M. in Engineering Sciences from Harvard, and Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2009. His industry experience includes ISO-New England and Edison Mission Energy Marketing and Trading. His research interest includes modeling and control in data-rich large-scale systems, grid integration of clean energy resources, and electricity markets.
Dr. Xie received the U.S. National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and DOE Oak Ridge Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. He was awarded the 2017 IEEE PES Outstanding Young Engineer Award. He was the recipient of Texas A&M Dean of Engineering Excellence Award, ECE Outstanding Professor Award, and TEES Select Young Fellow. He is an Editor of IEEE Transactions on Smart Grid, and the founding chair of IEEE PES Subcommittee on Big Data & Analytics for Grid Operations. He and his students received the Best Paper awards at North American Power Symposium and IEEE SmartGridComm. He recently chaired the 2018 NSF Workshop on Real-time Learning and Decision Making in Dynamical Systems.

Boston FinTech Week: The Future of AI
Monday, September 10
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
Kensho Technologies, 44 Brattle Street , Cambridge
RSVP at https:/www.eventbrite.com/e/boston-fintech-week-the-future-of-ai-tickets-49343383388

A Boston FinTech Week Event: The future of AI and how it is transforming the business world.

A world-class panel of experts will discuss and debate the latest AI technology, its benefits (scalability, insights, cost reduction), legality and risks (lack of transparency, model bias, job displacement).

Panelist include members from the Berkman Klein Center (a collaboration of Harvard, MIT and other universities to study the impact of AI) and senior executives from a global financial firm, a biomedical research institute and the U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau.

The event will be hosted at Kensho, recently acquired by S&P Global in the largest AI FinTech transaction in history. Please join us at Kensho's new offices in Harvard Square for an exciting event.


Through the Looking Glass: Cybersecurity in an Era of Rapid FinTech Innovation
Monday, September 10
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Ernst & Young, 200 Clarendon Street, Boston
RSVP at https:

In an evolving age in which FinTech startups are innovating niche functions of the financial services business and technological environment, both large institutions and startups need to consider how the roles of FinTech firms are affecting the management of Cybersecurity across the organizational landscape. Join us for all the excitement of Boston FinTech Week at EY with our panel of institutional veterans, FinTech startups, and industry experts as we explore the evolution of Cyber in the emerging FinTech ecosystem. Covering topics from integration of emerging technologies and exposing the resulting risks in the IT environment to increasing awareness over privacy and the role of Cyber risk reporting. This panel will offer insight into approaching the evolving Cyber landscape.
Moderator: Dan New, EY New England Financial Services Growth Markets and FinTech Leader
Panelists: - Sundeep Nehra, EY - Jothy Rosenberg, Dover Microsystems - Patrick Callaghan, JP Morgan Chase


Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
Tuesday, September 11
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Harvard, Taubman 5th floor, Allison Dining Room, 15 Eliot Street, Cambridge

Siva Vaidhyanathan


Deconstructing Internet Censorship and its Consequences
Tuesday, September 11
3:00 PM
Tufts, Halligan 102, 161 College Avenue, Medford

Speaker: Ihsan Ayyub Qazi, Lahore University of Management Sciences
Internet censorship is on the rise, with over 70 countries restricting Internet access to their citizens. Some recent examples include the censorship of YouTube in Pakistan, blocking of Twitter in Turkey, and the filtering of Google in China. Internet censorship has a substantial impact on different stakeholders in the Internet ecosystem (e.g., users, content providers, and advertisers). In this talk, I will discuss two projects that my research group has recently worked on related to Internet censorship.
In the first half of my talk, I will describe C-Saw, a system that provides incentives to users for measuring Internet censorship. C-Saw offers data-driven circumvention as an incentive in exchange for measurements. As more users crowdsource, the censorship data gets richer. This helps in adapting the circumvention approach based on the deployed censorship mechanism for improving page load times. (This work appeared in ACM SIGCOMM 2018.)  In the second half of my talk, I'll discuss the impact of Internet censorship on the online advertising ecosystem. To this end, I will describe Advention, a system that services relevant ads while allowing users to receive the benefits of circumvention/anonymity tools (e.g., Tor). Our results show that ADVENTION not only offers high ad relevance compared to other popular circumvention tools, it also offers smaller page load times. (This work appeared in ACM HotNets 2017.)

Ihsan Ayyub Qazi is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Pakistan. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA in 2010 and the BSc. (Hons) degree from LUMS with a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics in 2005. He was a Visiting Research Scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, USA in 2017. Previously, he has also held positions at the Center for Advanced Internet Architectures, Australia and BBN Technologies, USA. His research interests are in computer networks and distributed systems and span cloud computing and datacenters, mobile/wireless networks, ICT for developing regions, and Internet censorship. He has published papers in premier networking conferences, such as ACM SIGCOMM, and journals including IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking. My work was selected as a best ACM SIGCOMM CCR paper in 2018. He is a recipient of the Google Faculty Research Award and the Andrew Mellon Fellowship. More information can be found at http://web.lums.edu.pk/~ihsan/.


Is Cyber Resilience Possible?
Tuesday, September 11
4:30pm to 6:00pm
Northeastern, Renaissance Park, 909, 1135 Tremont Street, Boston

Please join us for a presentation by John Manferdelli, Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute at Northeastern University, for the first Fall semester event in the Contemporary Issues in Security and Resilience Studies speaker series.

More information at https:/cssh.northeastern.edu/internationalcenter/event/is-cyber-resilience-possible


Is Cyber Resilience Possible?
Tuesday, September 11
4:30pm to 6:00pm
Northeastern, Renaissance Park, 909, 1135 Tremont Street, Boston

Please join us for a presentation by John Manferdelli, Professor of the Practice and Executive Director of the Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute at Northeastern University, for the first Fall semester event in the Contemporary Issues in Security and Resilience Studies speaker series.

More information at https:/cssh.northeastern.edu/internationalcenter/event/is-cyber-resilience-possible


The Person You Mean to Be:  How Good People Fight Bias
Tuesday, September 11
7:00 PM
Harvard Book Store, 1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge

Harvard Book Store welcomes award-winning social psychologist DOLLY CHUGH for a discussion of her latest book, The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias. This event is cosponsored by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics.

About The Person You Mean to Be
Many of us believe in equality, diversity, and inclusion. But how do we stand up for those values in our turbulent world? The Person You Mean to Be is the smart, "semi-bold" person's guide to fighting for what you believe in.

Dolly reveals the surprising causes of inequality, grounded in the "psychology of good people". Using her research findings in unconscious bias as well as work across psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and other disciplines, she offers practical tools to respectfully and effectively talk politics with family, to be a better colleague to people who don't look like you, and to avoid being a well-intentioned barrier to equality. Being the person we mean to be starts with a look at ourselves.

She argues that the only way to be on the right side of history is to be a good-ish--rather than good--person. Good-ish people are always growing. Second, she helps you find your "ordinary privilege"--the part of your everyday identity you take for granted, such as race for a white person, sexual orientation for a straight person, gender for a man, or education for a college graduate. This part of your identity may bring blind spots, but it is your best tool for influencing change. Third, Dolly introduces the psychological reasons that make it hard for us to see the bias in and around us. She leads you from willful ignorance to willful awareness. Finally, she guides you on how, when, and whom, to engage (and not engage) in your workplaces, homes, and communities. Her science-based approach is a method any of us can put to use in all parts of our life.

Whether you are a long-time activist or new to the fight, you can start from where you are. Through the compelling stories Dolly shares and the surprising science she reports, Dolly guides each of us closer to being the person we mean to be.


Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy
Tuesday, September 11
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM EDT
Harvard Coop, 1400 Mass Avenue, Cambridge
RSVP at https:/www.eventbrite.com/e/siva-vaidhyanathan-will-discuss-antisocial-media-how-facebook-disconnec ts-us-and-undermines-tickets-48671181815

Antisocial Media explains how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site hacked together by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging. It discusses how "social media" has fostered the deterioration of democratic culture around the world, from facilitating Russian meddling in support of Trump's election to the exploitation of the platform by murderous authoritarians in Burma and the Philippines.

Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and the Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. He produces a local public-affairs television program and several podcasts, and he directs the publication of Virginia Quarterly Review. A former professional journalist, he has published five previous books on technology, law, and society, includingThe Googlization of Everything. He has also contributed to publications such as The Nation, Slate, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, BookForum, The New York Times Book Review, and The Baffler.


How to Stay Safe & Secure Online
Wednesday, September 12
11:00am - 12:30pm
BC, Digital Studio (Rm. 205), Thomas P. O'Neill, Jr. Library, 140 Commonwealth Avenue, Chestnut Hill
RSVP at http://libcal.bc.edu/event/4540656

Feeling freaked out by all the cyber breaches lately? Want to plan an activist movement but want to stay safe? Or do you simply want to use online dating services without getting stalked? Join us in this workshop to learn about digital privacy. We'll go over how to use tools to protect yourself online, as well as what to do if you've been hacked, harassed, or otherwise victimized on ye olde World Wide Web.


What is the State of the Cybersecurity Ecosystem in Boston?
Wednesday, September 12
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM EDT
Akamai's HQ, 150 Broadway Street, Cambridge
RSVP at https:
www.eventbrite.com/e/what-is-the-state-of-the-cybersecurity-ecosystem-in-boston-tickets-4869 2153542

Cybersecurity has experienced tremendous industry growth and shows no sign of stopping, with increasing concerns about user data security, IoT vulnerabilities, and more. A record $7.66 billion in funding was raised by cybersecurity startups in 2017, many of them in Boston.

But rapid growth doesn't come without growing pains like talent shortages, tough competition for M&A, and customers experiencing sales pitch overload. Join us for a panel discussion about the state of the cybersecurity ecosystem in Boston: challenges startups are facing, opportunities investors are still looking to fund, available resources and still-needed programs.
This event is part of the Tech & Industry Trends track at Startup Boston 2018.

Our Speakers:
Rick Grinnell, Founder & Managing Partner at Glasswing Ventures
As a venture capitalist and seasoned operator, Rick has invested in some of the most dynamic companies in security, enterprise infrastructure, and storage. During his 18 years of venture capital experience, which includes co-founding and serving as Managing Director of Fairhaven Capital, he has led investments and served on the board of directors for companies including EqualLogic (acquired by Dell), Prelert (acquired by Elastic), Pwnie Express, Resilient Systems (acquired by IBM), Trackvia, VeloBit (acquired by Western Digital) and most recently Allure Security, and Terbium Labs.
Greg Dracon, Partner at .406 Ventures
Greg joined .406 in 2007 and is involved in all aspects of the investing and portfolio management process. His portfolio includes Edgewise Networks, Pwnie Express, Greathorn, and Threat Stack among other cybersecurity investments. He also serves as a board member for many of these companies, and is the Board Director for Greathorn and Terbium Labs.
Gwen Betts, Director of UX at Rapid7
Gwen is a startup veteran within Boston's cybersecurity industry. She joined Komand as their founding designer and became their Director of Customer Experience, and now leads UX at Rapid7. Gwen's an active contributor in this space, presenting at local meetups and at the O'Reilly Security Conference.

Our Moderator:
Clement Cazalot, Managing Director at Techstars Boston
Clement is an entrepreneur, angel investor, and startup advisor. Clement Cazalot is currently Managing Director of Techstars Boston, leading the expansion of one of the most prestigious, impactful and founder-friendly startup accelerator and early stage investor in the world.
Previously he served as VP Technology at Intralinks (NYSE: IL), until its acquisition by Synchronoss (NASDAQ: SNCR). There he created from the ground up both R&D and Product Design business units, to re-build the company infrastructure and next generation products. Intralinks provides secure software to all the banks in the world. The company is part of the top 10 largest SaaS companies in the document management space.

This is a Startup Boston event.
Startup Boston is a free, five-day series of events celebrating, educating, and connecting entrepreneurs in Boston. Taking place from September 10-14th, 2018, Startup Boston brings entrepreneurs, company leaders, innovators, and industry experts together to foster collaboration and fuel growth in Boston's startup ecosystem.
Thank you to our event partners.


CSAIL Hot Topics in Computing - Muddied Waters: Online Disinformation During Crisis
Wednesday, September 12
4:30pm to 5:30pm
MIT Stata Center, 32-123/Kirsch Auditorium, MIT Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge

Recent public attention and debate around "fake news" has highlighted the growing challenge of determining information veracity online. This is a complex and dynamic problem at the intersection of technology, human cognition, and human behavior--i.e. our strategies and heuristics for making sense of information may make us vulnerable, especially within online spaces, to absorbing and passing along misinformation. Increasingly, it appears that certain actors are exploiting these vulnerabilities, spreading intentional misinformation--or disinformation--for various purposes, including geopolitical goals. This talk explores some of the motivations and tactics of disinformation, explaining how geopolitical actors use social media and the surrounding information ecosystem to sow doubt and division.

Kate Starbird is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) at the University of Washington (UW). Kate's research is situated within human-computer interaction (HCI) and the emerging field of crisis informatics--the study of the how information-communication technologies (ICTs) are used during crisis events. One aspect of her research focuses on how online rumors spread--and how online rumors are corrected--during natural disasters and man-made crisis events. More recently, she has begun to focus on the propagation of disinformation and political propaganda through online spaces. Kate earned her PhD from the University of Colorado at Boulder in Technology, Media and Society and holds a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University.


MIT Social Media and Democracy Colloquium
Wednesday, September 12
4:30 PM - 6:30 PM EDT
MIT, Building 10-250, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
RSVP at https:

Democracies around the world face a set of unique and proliferating challenges in the twenty-first century, particularly stemming from the increasing power and presence of digital platforms like social media and related technologies. Such digital platforms are the spaces and places that increasingly provide the dominant means of encountering and exchanging ideas, finding news and information, and for creating social and political communities. Although these platforms can promise to serve a public function, they are nonetheless dominantly owned and operated by the private sphere, leading to a number of legal, ethical, and broadly techno-social problems as evidenced by recent revelations of the relationship between Facebook and the 2016 American Presidential Elections.

Digital platforms are thus not easily classifiable under familiar categories: are they similar to traditional media (press and TV)? Are they considered a utility company (ISPs), providing essential services for internet users? What promising potentials and subsequent futures might certain iterations of social media platforms offer towards creating and maintaining the public and political spheres that are central to the evolution of twenty-first century democracies? How might these platforms be harnessed generatively, as well critiqued?
MIT's doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society (HASTS) invites the MIT and broader Boston/Cambridge community to join our first colloquium of the year, focused on the social, political, and technological entanglements of social media and democracy, broadly defined. This event features four leading scholars and thinkers specialized in researching and analyzing the infusion of social media platforms in our everyday social and political lives, including an audience Q&A session. Following a dinner break and time for socialization, the speakers will return for a smaller seminar session offered to graduate students for a more intimate and roundtable-style discussion.

This colloquium is the inaugural event for MIT's new 'Computational Cultures Initaitve' sponsored by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. Find more information on the Initiative here: https:computationalcultures.mit.edu (website opening ~September 1st)
*Pizza will be served for all attendees following the lecture, outside the hall.

Siva Vaidhyanathan, University of Virginia
Author of Anti-Social Media: How Facebook Disconnects As and Undermines Democracy; and, The Googlization of Everything. Siva has argued that academics from many fields associated with what he calls "Critical Information Studies" (which in part synthesizes key aspects of both cultural studies and political economy) should be engaged in interrogating the "structures, functions, habits, norms, and practices" of particular aspects of information culture and in analyzing how these issues go beyond simple arguments about digital "rights" to include consideration of more subtle impacts of cost and access that have the potential for chilling effects on a "semiotic democracy" that is situated in global flows of information.
Daniel Weitzner, MIT
A leader in the development of Internet public policy from its inception, Prof. Weitzner is making fundamental contributions to the successful fight for strong online free expression protection in the United States Supreme Court, crafting laws that provide protection against government surveillance of email and web browsing data. His work on US legislation limiting the liability of Internet Service Providers laid the foundations for social media services and supporting the global free flow of information online.
David Edelman, MIT
Formerly Special Assistant to the President for Economic and Technology Policy at the National Economic Council (NEC), Prof. Edelman led the Obama White House team focusing on the digital economy - including broadband, spectrum telecommunications, and technology trade - as well as consumer cybersecurity, domestic and international data privacy, high-tech patent and copyright issues, and antitrust/competition.
Joan Donovan, Data & Society
At Data and Society, Joan is the research lead on media manipulation and platform accountability projects. For several years, she has conducted action research with different networked social movements in order to map and improve the communication infrastructures built by protesters. In her role as a participant, she identifies information bottlenecks, decodes algorithmic behavior, and connects organizations with other like-minded networks.


Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard: Restoring Civility in Public Life
Wednesday, September 12
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM EDT
CIC Boston, 50 Milk Street, Boston
RSVP at https:/www.eventbrite.com/e/lea-berman-and-jeremy-bernard-restoring-civility-in-public-life-tickets -47215332330

Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard each served as White House social secretary for different administrations. Bernard worked for President Obama; Berman for President George W. Bush. They've collaborated on a new book that uses their White House experiences to draw out lessons in how to handle crises, defuse awkward moments and manage expectations. It's called Treating People Well: The Extraordinary Power Of Civility At Work And In Life.

The authors make a case for the importance of a return to treating people well in American political life, maintaining that democracy cannot be sustained without public civility.


How Artificial Intelligence Startups Are Helping Early Adopters Win
Thursday, September 13
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM EDT
CIC Boston, 50 Milk Street, 20th Floor - Lighthouse West, Boston
RSVP at https:
www.eventbrite.com/e/machine-learning-superpowers-how-artificial-intelligence-startups-are-h elping-early-adopters-win-tickets-48692599877

Machine learning is transforming information work in almost every industry, with startups creating software that automates common tasks at a level of efficiency, accuracy, and insight that is literally superhuman.
We've brought together the leaders from several such startups, across a variety of industries, to each share insights from building a machine-learning powered product that is giving their customers superpowers. Each speaker will give a 5 minute lightning talk presentation, followed by 5 minutes of Q&A.

This kind of "narrow" AI is increasingly acheivable, and represents a classicly successful startup opportunity: being able to combine cutting-edge technology with expertise from a background in a particular industry. We hope this set of lightning talks will provide a jumpstart for founders & technologists that might see applications for machine learning in their own areas of interest, and a hot lead on a competitive advantage for company leaders in industries these startups are serving. Join us!
This event is part of the Tech & Industry Trends track at Startup Boston 2018.
Our Speakers:
Rich Palmer - Cofounder & CTO at Gravyty
Jacki Leahy - Director of Business Development at LinkSquares
Tomas Ratia - Cofounder & CEO at Frase


Social Media Innovators: Shaping Voter Engagement to Online Civil Discourse
WHEN  Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018, 4:15 - 5:30 p.m.
WHERE  Harvard, Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Floor 2, Suite 200N, Cambridge
ORGANIZATION/SPONSOR    The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
SPEAKER(S)  Deepti Doshi, Community Partnerships Director, Facebook; Victoria McCullough, Social Impact and Public Policy, Tumblr; and Sofia Gross, Political & Non-Profit Partnerships, Public Policy, Snap Inc
COST  Free
CONTACT INFO    info@ash.harvard.edu
DETAILS  Join Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellows Deepti Doshi, Community Partnerships Director, Facebook; Victoria McCullough, Social Impact and Public Policy, Tumblr; and Sofia Gross, Political & Non-Profit Partnerships, Public Policy, Snap Inc; for a discussion about the role of social media in voter engagement and civic discourse, including what social media organizations have been doing to make civic engagement easier and more enjoyable. Teresa Acuña, Associate Director of the Ash Center's Democratic Governance program, will moderate.
Refreshments will be provided.
LINK  https:
ash.harvard.edu/event/social-media-innovators-shaping-voter-engagement-online-civil-di scourse


A book talk on Entrepreneurial Negotiation
WHEN  Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018, 5:30 - 7 p.m.
WHERE  Harvard, WCC 2012, 1585 Mass. Avenue, Cambridge
GAZETTE CLASSIFICATION    Business, Education, Law
ORGANIZATION/SPONSOR    The Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School
SPEAKER(S)  Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning, MIT and Samuel Dinnar, Mediator and Consultant
WRITTEN BY  Samuel Dinnar and Lawrence Susskind
CONTACT INFO    dlong@law.harvard.edu
DETAILS  Join us for a book talk on "Entrepreneurial Negotiation" by MIT Professor Lawrence Susskind, and Samuel Dinnar, mediator and negotiation consultant. The authors build on decades of research and practice accumulated in the real world and with the Program on Negotiation, to help entrepreneurs and those who deal with them create more value.

Vision, AI and the human body
Thursday, September 13
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Draper, 1 Hampshire Street, Cambridge
RSVP at https:

Let's get together, eat pizza and learn about vision, AI and the human body.

The meeting location at Draper, near Kendall Square. The entrance is on Broadway, between Hampshire Street and Galileo Way. (NOT THE MAIN ENTRANCE!). Agenda:

6:00 - 6:30: Networking & Pizza.
6:30 - 7:25: Speakers:
(1) Gian Carlo (Draper): Talk about his work Endoscopic Computer Vision.
(2) David Vader(Nine Point Medical) : Talk about work with ICT.
(3) TBD
7:25 - 7:35: 1 min pitches from audience. Need help? Looking for a job? Let us know. 7:35 on: More networking.


One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy
Thursday September 13
6:30 pm
Brookline Library, 361 Washington Street, Brookline Village

Carol Anderson
In her New York Times bestseller White Rage, Carol Anderson laid bare an insidious history of policies that have systematically impeded black progress in America, from 1865 to our combustible present. With One Person, No Vote, she chronicles a related history: the rollbacks to African American participation in the vote since the 2013 Supreme Court decision that eviscerated the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Known as the Shelby ruling, this decision effectively allowed districts with a demonstrated history of racial discrimination to change voting requirements without approval from the Department of Justice.

Focusing on the aftermath of Shelby, Anderson follows the astonishing story of government-dictated racial discrimination unfolding before our very eyes as more and more states adopt voter suppression laws. In gripping, enlightening detail she explains how voter suppression works, from photo ID requirements to gerrymandering to poll closures. And with vivid characters, she explores the resistance: the organizing, activism, and court battles to restore the basic right to vote to all Americans as the nation gears up for the 2018 midterm elections.


Mobilizing Democracy: Creating Change through Digital Engagement
WHEN  Friday, Sep. 14, 2018, 12 - 1 p.m.
WHERE  Harvard, Ash Center Foyer, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Floor 2, Suite 200N, Cambridge
ORGANIZATION/SPONSOR    The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
SPEAKER(S)  Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellows Zach Graves, Head of Policy, Lincoln Network; Devin Murphy, Digital Strategist, Priorities USA and Founder, DTM Strategies; and Jess Morales Rocketto, Political Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance
COST  Free
CONTACT INFO    info@ash.harvard.edu
DETAILS  Join Ash Center Technology and Democracy Fellows Zach Graves, Head of Policy, Lincoln Network; Devin Murphy, Digital Strategist, Priorities USA and Founder, DTM Strategies; and Jess Morales Rocketto, Political Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance; for an Ash Center Community Speaker Series event about mobilizing change and using technology to better serve constituents. Teresa Acuña, Associate Director of the Ash Center's Democratic Governance program, will moderate.
Lunch will be served.
LINK  https:/ash.harvard.edu/event/mobilizing-democracy-creating-change-through-digital-engagement


Living in the Future: Brains!
Friday, September 14
6:00pm to 8:30pm (Doors open at 5:45 pm; presentations begin at 6:15 pm)
MIT Museum, 265 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge
RSVP at https:
Cost:  $12 in advance, limited tickets may be available at the door for $15 (Includes pizza, soda, popcorn)

Where science fiction meets science reality

Can we bring back the dead? Control machines with our minds? Create human-like robots? Find out how today's neuroscience advances reflect what we've seen on-screen. Sit back, grab some pizza and popcorn, watch a short a clip from a science fiction movie, then hear from brainy scientists and inventors about how close Hollywood's hopes are to reality!

Andrei Barbu, Research Scientist, Center for Brains, Minds & Machines, MIT
Andres Salazar Gomez, Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT Open Learning
Michael Halassa, Assistant Professor, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT
Nataliya Kosmyna, Postdoctoral Fellow, Fluid Interfaces Lab, MIT
Hossein Rahnama, Visiting Assistant Professor, MIT

This event is presented in conjunction with The Beautiful Brain: The Drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal.


Reinforcement Learning Systems at DeepMind
Tuesday, September 18
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Refreshments: 3:45 PM
MIT, Building 32-D463, 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge

Speaker: David Budden , DeepMinds
Abstract: The many recent successes of deep reinforcement learning have resulted from innovation not just in algorithm design, but the co-development of systems capable of scaling to thousands of machines and leveraging specialized hardware.

In this seminar I will cover three topics:
A brief introduction to off-policy reinforcement learning and policy gradient methods
Recent algorithmic improvements underlying the D4PG agent for continuous control and robotics, e.g. distributional RL and prioritized experience replay
Architectures and open research questions in distributing agents across many machines

Constant iteration between algorithm design and systems engineering is a hallmark of the Research Engineering role at DeepMind, and through this seminar I also hope to give a flavor of what this entails day-to-day.

Bio: David Budden is a Research Engineering Team Lead and Tech Lead for DeepMind's Machine Learning team. Before joining DeepMind, he worked as a postdoc in CSAIL with Prof Nir Shavit.

David's research interests include generative models, few-shot imitation and self-supervised learning. His main passion however is the intersection of machine learning research and systems engineering. David prepared and teaches DeepMind's internal training courses on distributed machine learning, and helped develop many of their engineering systems (e.g. Control Suite, ApeX) and state-of-the-art reinforcement learning agents (e.g. D4PG, DQfD).

Contact: Joanne Talbot Hanley, 617-253-6054, joanne@csail.mit.edu


Get Involved: Enter the Digital Universe of Your Tween/Teen
Thursday, September 20
12:00pm to 1:30pm
MIT, Building 76-156, 500 Main Street, Cambridge

Presenter: Jill Walsh, Ph.D., M.P.A.; Researcher and Lecturer, Boston University
It's no secret that digital technology and social media have an impact on our tweens and teens. But in what ways and to what effects? Why are they always on their phones? And what exactly is going on with Fortnite?

This seminar will outline the landscape of tween and teen digital media use, and provide insights for parents trying to navigate this world with them. Parents will leave understanding what draws their children to the digital space, and how to engage in productive conversations about technology consumption.


Making Robots Behave:  Doing for our robots what nature did for us
Monday, September 20
6:30 - 8pm
Aeronaut, 14 Tyler Street, Somerville

Dr Leslie Kaelbling

More information at http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/science-by-the-pint/


The Science and the Engineering of Intelligence with Tomaso Poggio
Thursday, September 20
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
MIT, Building 32-G449 (Kiva - Stata Center), 32 Vassar Street, Cambridge

Deep learning and reinforcement learning are discoveries in neuroscience which contributed to recent successes in AI: AlphaGo and Mobileye.

To create artifacts as intelligent as we are, we need additional breakthroughs. Beginning with discussion of what they may be and where they may come from. I will argue that at the level of the hardware, biophysical properties of dendritic trees suggest more powerful nonlinearities than today's Rectified Linear Units (RELUs). At the level of the computation, basic aspects of visual intelligence require architectures beyond supervised and unsupervised learning. In the second half of the talk, I will sketch recent theoretical results, based on classical machine learning, to explain why deep networks work as well as they do.

Tomaso Poggio is one of the founders of computational neuroscience. He pioneered models of the fly's visual system and of human stereovision, introduced regularization theory to computational vision, made key contributions to the biophysics of computation and to learning theory, developed an influential model of recognition in the visual cortex and more recently a theory of invariant representations in sensory cortex.

He is the Eugene McDermott Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and at the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). He is a founding member of the McGovern Institute, and is the director of the Center for Brains, Minds, and Machines (CBMM), a multi-institutional collaboration headquartered at the McGovern Institute. He joined the MIT faculty in 1981, after ten years at the Max Planck Institute for Biology and Cybernetics in Tubingen, Germany. He received a Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of Genoa. Poggio is a Foreign Member of the Italian Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He was awarded the 2014 Swartz Prize for Theoretical and Computational Neuroscience.

The research in the Poggio Lab is guided by the belief that learning is at the core of the problem of intelligence, both biological and artificial. Learning is thus the gateway to understanding how the human brain works and for making intelligent machines. Thus, Poggio Lab studies the problem of learning within a multidisciplinary approach.

Current research in the Poggio Lab is relevant not only for understanding higher brain function, but also for the mathematical and computer applications of statistical learning. Three basic directions of research in his group are: mathematics of statistical learning theory, engineering applications (in computer vision, computer graphics, bioinformatics and intelligent search engines) and neuroscience of visual learning. (1) In the theory domain, he has focused on the foundations of learning theory and on a formal characterization of necessary and sufficient conditions for predictivity of learning. (2) The engineering applications include bioinformatics projects, computer vision for scene recognition and trainable, man-machines interfaces. (3) In the computational neuroscience area, his research is centered on object recognition and, in particular, on a quantitative theory of the ventral stream in the visual cortex underlying object recognition and object categorization. The theory and its computer implementation has become a tool for analyzing, interpreting and planning experiments in extensive collaborations with experimental neuro-scientists. This should lead to a better and more coherent understanding of the neural mechanisms of visual recognition and of the normal and abnormal functions of the cortex.

This talk will be webcast on the MIT CSAIL Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYs2iUgksAhgoidZwEAimmg/live beginning at 7pm.


Molecular Robotics, 9th Annual Wyss International Symposium
WHEN  Friday, Sep. 21, 2018, 8:15 a.m. - 5:15 p.m.
WHERE  Joseph B. Martin Conference Center, 77 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston
GAZETTE CLASSIFICATION    Conferences, Health Sciences, Science, Special Events
David Baker
George Church
Itai Cohen
Hendrik Dietz
Don Ingber
Yamuna Krishnan
Lulu Qian
Khalid Salaita
Rebecca Schulman
William Shih
Justin Werfel
Wesley Wong
Hao Yan
Peng Yin
David Zhang
COST  Free
TICKET WEB LINK  http://events.wyss.harvard.edu
CONTACT INFO    events@wyss.harvard.edu
The 9th International Wyss Symposium will focus on new advances in the emerging field of Molecular Robotics, with the goal of sharing recent progress at the intersection of DNA nanotechnology, synthetic biology, robotics, and computer science, that could lead to programmable molecular machines as novel solutions for research and medicine.


Network Science - A Network of Sciences
Friday, September 21
3:00pm-4:00pm - Refreshments at 2:45pm
BU, 8 St. Mary's Street, PHO 211, Boston

Ariel Orda, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology
Network Science is a newly emerging discipline with applications in a variety of domains, such as Communication Networks, Power Grid Networks, Transportation Networks, Social Networks and Biological Networks. Focusing on communication networks, we shall discuss what network science should be and what it should consist of. The talk will also feature some historical anecdotes, tracing back to ancient times.

Ariel Orda is the Herman & Gertrude Gross Professor at the Technion. He received his BSc (summa cum laude), MSc and PhD at the Technion. He is an IEEE Fellow. During 1.1.2014-12.31.2017, he served as the Dean of the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion. His research interests include network routing, the application of game theory to networking, survivability, QoS provisioning and wireless networks. He received several awards for research, teaching, and service.


Not-so-big Data and Ebola Virus Disease
Monday, September 24
12:15PM TO 2:00PM
Harvard, CGIS South S050, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge
RSVP at https:

Eugene T. Richardson, Harvard, HMS

The STS Circle at Harvard is a group of doctoral students and recent PhDs who are interested in creating a space for interdisciplinary conversations about contemporary issues in science and technology that are relevant to people in fields such as anthropology, history of science, sociology, STS, law, government, public policy, and the natural sciences. We want to engage not only those who are working on intersections of science, politics, and public policy, but also those in the natural sciences, engineering, and architecture who have serious interest in exploring these areas together with social scientists and humanists.

There has been growing interest among graduate students and postdocs at Harvard in more systematic discussions related to STS. More and more dissertation writers and recent graduates find themselves working on exciting topics that intersect with STS at the edges of their respective home disciplines, and they are asking questions that often require new analytic tools that the conventional disciplines don't necessarily offer. They would also like wider exposure to emerging STS scholarship that is not well-represented or organized at most universities, including Harvard. Our aim is to try to serve those interests through a series of activities throughout the academic year.

Sandwich lunches are provided. Please RSVP to via the online form by Wednesday at 5PM the week before.

The Harvard STS Circle is co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


STS Circle at Harvard


Starr Forum: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies
Tuesday, September 25
4:30pm to 6:00pm
MIT, Building 10-250, 222 Memorial Drive, Cambridge

A book talk with Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA
Michael Hayden is a retired United States Air Force four-star general and former director of the National Security Agency, principal deputy director of National Intelligence, and director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Hayden currently co-chairs the Bipartisan Policy Center's Electric Grid Cyber Security Initiative.

Joining the conversation is Joel Brenner, former head of counterintelligence under the director of National Intelligence.

Brenner is former head of counterintelligence under the director of National Intelligence and was senior counsel at the National Security Agency. He is a research affiliate at the MIT Center for International Studies.

Comments >> (3 comments)

First Wind, Solar, Battery Utility Scale Energy Installation: Kennedy Energy Park

by gmoke Tue Sep 4th, 2018 at 01:45:59 AM EST

"Kennedy Energy Park is a world-first wind, solar and energy storage facility located in Flinders Shire in central north Queensland [Australia]. The project is owned by Windlab and Eurus. Construction has commenced and it will be generating by late 2018."

43 MW wind from 12 Vestas wind machines (67 meter/ 220 foot blade length)
15MW solar
2 MW/4 MWH battery

Kennedy Energy Park will generate around 210,000 megawatt hours of electricity a year, enough to power  more than 35,000 average Australian homes.


Comments >> (3 comments)

Notes on The Language of the Third Reich

by gmoke Tue Aug 7th, 2018 at 06:56:25 PM EST

I first learned of Victor Klemperer's The Language of the Third Reich in a column Mike Godwin of Godwin's Law ("As an online discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches one") wrote in June 2018 in the LA Times (http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-godwin-godwins-law-20180624-story.html).

Godwin quoted Klemperer on how, at the beginning of the Nazi regime, he "was still so used to living in a state governed by the rule of law" that he couldn't imagine the horrors yet to come. "Regardless of how much worse it was going to get," he added, "everything which was later to emerge in terms of National Socialist attitudes, actions and language was already apparent in embryonic form in these first months."  Klemperer was, by training, a philologist, the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is a combination of literary criticism, history, and linguistics, and kept a diary throughout the Third Reich which I've always meant to read.

This is a good introduction to Klemperer and seems to be very apt in these days when the public discourse is full of misinformation, propaganda, and outright downright lies. Klemperer classified the language of the Third Reich as LTI [Lingua Tertii Imperii].  Very interesting book which I'm still digesting.  Thanks Mike Godwin.

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The Presidential Con Game and the All-American Bust-Out

by gmoke Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 01:48:58 AM EST

According to The Confidence Game:  Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova (NY:  Viking, 2016  ISBN 978-0-525-42741-4), there's a structure to the con:
The put-up picks out the mark
The play establish a bond
The rope lays out the pitch
The tale proffers the benefit
The convincer is where the conman lets us win
The breakdown is where we start to lose
The send is where the victim is recommitted
The touch is where the mark is completely fleeced.
The blow-off gets rid of the mark ASAP
The fix prevents marks from making official complaints
At this point, I think we're up to the touch in Trmp's confidence game and it seems to me he's going for a full bust-out:
"The bust-out is what happens when the mob moves in to take control of a business that's heavily indebted to a loan shark. As [William] Black [University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of economics and law] tells it, why the heck a mobster would ever want to take over a bar or liquor store in this way is incomprehensible to a classical economist. Why take over the business when you're already getting every cent of profit and more in your weekly vig?

"Except that in the real world, things don't work that way, explains Black, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The reason to take over the business is to loot it 1,000 ways to Sunday, from buying vast amounts of liquor on credit to, ultimately, torching the place for the insurance money. Prosecutors and mobsters know this. Economists who think the mob operates like a bank that happens to charge high interest rates miss it."
Source:  https://www.cnbc.com/id/36002370

MIT Solve Coastal Communities Challenge

by gmoke Fri Jun 8th, 2018 at 02:52:48 AM EST

How can coastal communities mitigate and adapt to climate change while developing and prospering?
Challenge deadline July 1, 2018

Challenge Overview
Over 30% of humanity lives near coasts, ranging from massive cities to key ports and naval bases to small islands. The effects of climate change - including sea level rise, stronger storms, ocean warming and acidification - are causing increasing negative impacts on these communities' lives and livelihoods. For the 600 million people supported by the fishing industry, a majority of them women, overfishing, pollution, and acidification threaten their livelihoods and the fragile ecosystems on which they depend. In cities and elsewhere, some communities already face regular flooding due to higher tides, some will see more frequent natural disasters, and others will see tourist-attracting coral reefs or surfing fade.

Further, as 60% of global GDP and 90% of global trade moves through coasts, increased flooding or damage to port infrastructure poses risks for communities and businesses alike, whether or not they are near the ocean. In addition, coastal and ocean ecosystems absorb 25% of our excess CO2, but are often degraded through coastal development, making climate change harder to mitigate.

While facing numerous impacts, coastal communities from Puerto Rico to Dhaka also have the potential to demonstrate resilient and sustainable ways of living near and with the ocean. Doing so will require people to have access to new technological solutions--along with new ways to envision and enact hard decisions about economies, society, and infrastructure. The Solve community aims to find innovative solutions to support and enhance coastal communities, while mitigating and adapting to climate change. To do so, Solve welcomes solutions from innovators around the world that:

Increase the viability and scale of sustainable economic activity from oceans, ranging from fishing to energy production to tourism
Provide cost-effective infrastructure approaches to improve resilience in the face of increased storm-, sea-, and tidewater
Rebuild or replicate mangroves, corals, and other ecosystems to restore historic functions, including storm surge absorption, carbon uptake, and stable fisheries
Enable coastal communities, governments, and corporations to use data to understand and make complex decisions around sustainable and resilient development

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The Global Plutocracy Story

by gmoke Sun May 20th, 2018 at 02:09:18 AM EST

With the news of Saudi and UAE meetings with the Trmp campaign, Jeet Heer, staff writer at the New Republic, points out that the "so called Russia story is a global plutocracy story" and I believe he is correct.  In fact, the global plutocracy story is the key to many stories:

The global plutocracy story is also the story of fossil foolish companies burning everything they can now & soaking the public for "stranded assets" when climate change becomes undeniable.

The global plutocracy story is also the real estate story with kakistocratic kleptocrats buying multiple high-end properties in London, NYC, and other cities around the world as part of a money laundering operation and hollowing out once living neighborhoods on the side.

The global plutocracy story is also the story of media and audience commercialization with growing 24/7/365 surveillance capability now technologically available to governments, corporations, groups, & individuals.

The global plutocracy story is also .... ad almost infinitum.

Zero Net Energy - May 14, 2018

by gmoke Tue May 15th, 2018 at 02:51:43 AM EST

Design for World's First Energy Positive Hotel in the Arctic Circle
inhabitat.com/snohetta-unveils-designs-for-worlds-first-energy-positive-hotel-in-the-arctic- circle
Editorial Comment:  Snøhetta is doing more and more and more of these ground-breaking projects.  Good for them.

Net Zero Energy retrofit for Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose, CA
https:/cleantechnica.com/2018/03/07/mynt-systems-inc-cost-effective-net-zero-carbon-retrofit%E2%80% A8

Disappear Retreat:  zero energy, zero waste, zero water microhouse

Charenton-Bercy net zero skyscraper by Skidmore Owings and Merrill in Paris
https:/www.dezeen.com/2018/03/14/paris-garden-skyscraper-charenton-bercy-som-most-sustainable-build ings-europe
https:/inhabitat.com/soms-net-zero-paris-skyscraper-will-be-one-of-the-most-sustainable-buildings-i n-europe

Architecture at zero competition

Oslo Airport smart city will be the world's first energy-positive airport city with the capacity to sell surplus energy to surrounding buildings and communities

CORE 9 carbon positive house

Canada's first net positive carbon multi-tenant building
www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/heres-first-office-building-certified-under-canadas-ze ro-carbon-building-standard.html

USA's first passive house plus, retrofit of a brownstone built in 1900's

Self-sustaining modular floating city design

Tidal powered net positive energy hotel for Hainan

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The Best Speech by a Politician on the Future of the Grid I've Ever Read

by gmoke Tue Feb 13th, 2018 at 01:37:42 AM EST

Jeremy Corbyn really understands what the future of the grid needs to be in an age of anthropogenic climate change.

A green energy system will look radically different to the one we have today. The past is a centralised system with a few large plants. The future is decentralised, flexible and diverse with new sources of energy large and small, from tidal to solar.

Smart technologies will optimise usage so that instead of keeping gas plants running just in case there is a lull in renewable generation the system fulfils needs by identifying the greenest, most local energy source.

There will be much more use of local, micro grids and of batteries to store and balance fluctuating renewable energy.

We will still need a grid to match energy supply with demand and import and export renewable energy abroad because the wind won't always blow where energy is needed.

But it will be a smart grid, radically transformed.

Source:  https:/labourlist.org/2018/02/a-catapult-into-21st-century-public-ownership-corbyn-speech-on-new-ec onomics

What he is suggesting is not only practical now but also more reliable and more affordable than our present grid, according to the studies I've seen.

Zero Net Energy - January, 2018

by gmoke Tue Jan 23rd, 2018 at 06:13:17 PM EST

Clovis, CA net zero energy development
https:/www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/net-zero-energy-community-coming-to-californias-central -valley

The Zero House - Zero net energy, Zero carbon footprint, Zero toxins, Zero construction waste
www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-architecture/zero-house-big-nothing - slide show

Transforming the Real Estate Market: Scaling Net-Zero Energy Homes at No Additional Up-front Cost
https:/rmi.org/news/transforming-real-estate-market-scaling-net-zero-energy-homes-no-additional-fro nt-cost

REACT home produces its own energy and food

Net zero residence built out of recycled materials

Innenco says they can reduce existing buildings' energy use by 58-90% using the buildings' own thermal mass, heat pumps, and chillers

Oxford, UK plans zero emissions zone for vehicles
https:/www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/11/oxford-aims-to-cut-air-pollution-car-ban-zero-emissi ons-zone

Passivhaus for 6,500 people
from the Eco Architect blog about all things Passivhaus http://theecoarchitect.com/#blog-home

Reversible tent design for homeless

Net zero building over-view 2018
https:/cleantechnica.com/2018/01/11/zero-hero-zero-net-energy-buildings-reach-new-communities-promi sing-savings-renewable-energy

More Than Housing in Zurich, Switzerland, with 13 buildings, nearly 400 housing units, 35 retail units and large shared community spaces built to 2000 Watt per person standard where 1,200 residents and 150 employees live and work
https:/www.world-habitat.org/world-habitat-awards/winners-and-finalists/more-than-housing#award-co ntent

Maersk Tower in Copenhagen with "Denmark's most energy-efficient laboratories"
Editorial Comment:  Living in Cambridge, MA, the energy-efficiency of laboratories is of increasing importance as we work towards becoming a zero emissions city

Checking in with the World's Winds

by gmoke Thu Jan 4th, 2018 at 04:16:46 AM EST

I like to see the maps of the Arctic Jet Stream every day or so (http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_norhem_00.gif).
They look like dragons and other creatures
chasing each other around the North Pole.

Then I look at the Global Map of Wind, Weather, and Ocean conditions (https:/earth.nullschool.net)
which animates the winds and ocean currents in what seems like real-time
in full color
coded according to the speed.
I look for where the rare red winds are.

Usually, last, I pull up the World Cloud Cover map (http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/data/comp/wv/LATEST_WV.gif)
to see how it relates to the other two images
and make sure the equatorial rainforests are
still making rain.

Sometimes, late at night
I look at the Northern Lights
from the Churchill, Manitoba Northern Studies Centre live camera (https:
Even when the Northern Lights aren't shining,
I'll often just
listen to the sounds
of that distant wind.

It reminds me where I live.

Comments >> (6 comments)

Preparation for Katowice Climate Talks

by gmoke Tue Nov 21st, 2017 at 06:29:54 PM EST

I've been reading a little about Poland while thinking about the results of the climate discussions from Bonn and the talks next year in Katowice.

One of my thoughts is that it might be good for the climate change community to devote some time over the next year to visualizing a zero carbon transition for Poland's coal economy that the Polish people and perhaps even the Polish government can recognize as a significant step forward without sacrificing their jobs or security.  This would go a long way towards heading off any difficulties from climate deniers and those of the authoritarian nationalist persuasion who'd like to make trouble.

I've contacted Mark Z Jacobson of Stanford University who has produced 100% renewable roadmaps for over 100 countries and all 50 states of the USA.  He would be a primary resource for such an enterprise and now I've done my best to make sure he considers the possibility.

Comments >> (4 comments)
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