Daily Archives: January 23, 2015

Views from the Solar System (246)

Greenland’s Leidy Glacier

NASA – Located in the northwest corner of Greenland, Leidy Glacier is fed by ice from the Academy Glacier (upstream and inland). As Leidy approaches the sea, it is diverted around the tip of an island that separates the Olriks Fjord to the south and Academy Cove to the north. The resulting crisscross pattern is simply the result of ice flowing along the path of least resistance.

This view of the region pictured above was acquired August 7, 2012, by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) on NASA’s Terra satellite. In April 2012, the feature caught the attention of a NASA pilot, who snapped this picture from the cockpit of a high-flying ER-2 aircraft during a research flight over the Greenland ice cap.

More information.

Image Credit: NASA/Terra

Humanity has exceeded four of nine “planetary boundaries”

By Adam Hinterthuer – It should be a wake-up call to policymakers that “we’re running up to and beyond the biophysical boundaries that enable human civilization as we know it to exist,” says Steve Carpenter, director of the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Limnology.

For the last 11,700 years until roughly 100 years ago, Earth had been in a “remarkably stable state,” says Carpenter. During this time, known as the Holocene epoch, “everything important to civilization” has occurred.

From the development of agriculture, to the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, to the Industrial Revolution, the Holocene has been a good time for human endeavors.

But over the last century, some of the parameters that made the Holocene so hospitable have changed. more> http://tinyurl.com/oc7blyq

Why You Don’t Need To Spend A Dime On Training New Hires

By Avi Singer – Here are some hidden assets companies might not know they have.

Allow your area experts to develop training materials. These could include checklists, written guides, or even video demos that can be shared online. Then allow trainees to rate their trainers based on qualities like communication skills, knowledge, and friendliness.

The more opportunities employees have to communicate with one another and share knowledge, the more learning will take place. more> http://tinyurl.com/namqelz


Updates from GE

Someone’s Gotta Do It: This Collaborative Robot Does the Dull Jobs Few Humans Want
GE – The machines are still automating only a thin slice of the manufacturing process. “If we want to move on, we have to start asking different questions about automation,” says Jim Lawton, chief marketing officer of Rethink Robotics.

His Boston-based company developed a fix for the problem: Baxter, a collaborative robot, or Cobot, which works with people. “We need to free robots from their cages.”

Last summer, Greg Heinz, who leads GE Healthcare’s Automation Center of Excellence in Waukesha, Wis. organized a “Cobot Challenge” looking for applications that addressed what he calls the four Ds: dirty, difficult, dangerous, and dull tasks that could be done by robots like Baxter.

“Using Baxter to complement human labor with scalable automation relieves operators from stressful and monotonous duties and frees them up to do higher level tasks.” more> http://tinyurl.com/l2why7m

Money speaks louder than words, but that doesn’t make it ‘speech’

By Deborah Hellman – The Supreme Court treats restrictions on both giving and spending money on elections as restrictions on “speech” under the First Amendment.

Campaign-finance laws do not “prohibit” speech — using the word in its ordinary way. Rather, they restrict giving and spending money used on political speech.

The decision to treat campaign-finance laws as restrictions on speech was based on the argument that money facilitates speech. “[V]irtually every means of communicating ideas in today’s society requires the expenditure of money,” the court argued.

Though that may be somewhat less true today — given the Internet — it is still largely correct. more> http://tinyurl.com/kt27ycv