Port of Seattle pushes for sustainable aviation fuels, but it’s not easy being green

Port of Seattle pushes for sustainable aviation fuels, but it’s not easy being green

6:53pm, 6th March, 2019
Swissport fuel manager Jarid Svraka fuels an Alaska Airlines flight powered with a 20 percent blend of biofuel made from wood waste at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in 2016. (Alaska Airlines Photo) For years, the Port of Seattle has been talking about weaning Seattle-Tacoma International Airport off fossil fuels, but now it’s getting serious about taking action. “At a certain point in time, you just have to say, ‘Well, let’s make a run for it,’ ” Port Commissioner Fred Felleman told GeekWire. “It can’t be just an intellectual pursuit.” But it’s not totally up to the port: A new network of interlocking infrastructures will have to be created, connecting farmers with refiners, distributors and users. That’s the motivation behind this week’s , set to take place on Thursday and Friday at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center in Seattle. The event, hosted by Earth Day Northwest 2020, is meant to bring together stakeholders who can get Sea-Tac closer to its goal of having at least 10 percent of its fuel come from sustainable sources by 2028. One way to get to the goal is to have every plane that takes off from Sea-Tac fueled with a 90-10 “drop-in” blend of conventional fuel and biofuel. There’s lots of good news about sustainable jet fuel: Companies such as and have experimented with blends that draw upon sources ranging from to to to . Airports in and have recruited partners to provide a foothold for biofuels. Studies suggest that, taken to the max, such fuels could by as much as 80 percent. Felleman said leading the transition to sustainable fuels is one of the best things Sea-Tac can do to address the climate change challenge. “We are committed to this, not only to address the looming climate crisis but also to help the communities around the airport,” he said. All of the industries that have to be involved in building a sustainable-fuel infrastructure are represented in Washington state, from feedstock farmers to the folks building the airplanes. “It it can happen anywhere, it should be possible to make it happen here,” Felleman said. So why hasn’t it? “It’s always cart and horse,” Felleman said. “We can’t guarantee use if we can’t guarantee price, and we can’t guarantee price unless somebody produces it.” The Pacific Northwest led the way in talking about aviation biofuels as far back as 2011, thanks to an effort known as . But states such as California and Oregon have made more headway, due in part to legislation that created carbon credit markets for fuel producers. The credit system creates financial incentives for low-carbon fuels, and disincentives for fuels that don’t meet a low-carbon standard. Similar legislation is under consideration in the Washington Legislature as , but it’s not clear whether it’ll become law during the current session. King County, the Port of Seattle and most environmental groups strongly , while groups such as the , the are strongly opposed. H.B. 1110 is intended to bridge the price gap between petroleum-based and alternative aviation fuels — a gap that’s already shrinking as market forces and concerns about carbon emissions take hold. “The price has come down on sustainable fuels dramatically,” said , who led the charge as secretary of the Navy in the Obama administration. Mabus’ efforts were motivated by the Pentagon’s long-term concern about the effects of climate change. “Energy was a vulnerability for the military and the Navy,” he recalled. During Mabus’ tenure, the Navy took a number of steps to advance the biofuel cause, including and a to boost the production of price-competitive, military-grade biofuel. The Navy even celebrated Earth Day in 2010 by flying a — an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet powered by a 50-50 biofuel blend. Now Mabus heads an advisory firm that helps organizations deal with change by building their resilience and sustainability, and it’s in that capacity that he’ll be addressing the Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit on Thursday morning. “I do think that sustainable fuel, particularly in the aviation industry, is the future,” Mabus said. “And I think that the leadership that Washington state and the airport are showing is going to be crucial, not just for Washington, but for the country.” Mabus isn’t the only one who feels that way: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who , will make an appearance at a summit reception Thursday night. Inslee touted the transition to alternative military fuels , when he was in Congress — and he’s sure to work the issue into his climate-oriented pitch for the presidency. There’s a $200 registration fee for the Washington Sustainable Aviation Fuels Summit. Check out the for further information about speakers, agenda and the .
Kymeta and Airbus go on the road in Peru to demonstrate ‘SmartBus’ satellite links

Kymeta and Airbus go on the road in Peru to demonstrate ‘SmartBus’ satellite links

2:14pm, 6th March, 2019
Kymeta installed flat-panel antennas shaped like white stop signs on top of TEPSA interprovincial buses in Peru. (Kymeta Photo) Kymeta Corp., the Redmond, Wash.-based company backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other investors, has demonstrated the performance of its flat-panel satellite antennas in an unlikely setting: on top of buses traveling throughout Peru. With the aid of partners including Intelsat, Cubic Telecom and Cradlepoint, Kymeta worked with Airbus to create a pilot project called SmartBus. The project involved outfitting interprovincial buses operated by TEPSA — the Peruvian analog to Greyhound Lines — with Kymeta’s satellite terminals. SmartBus is designed to gather up-to-the-minute data on road safety and other indicators to improve Peru’s transportation system while connecting people in remote areas of the country. The system leverages satellite bandwidth capacity from Intelsat, cellular coverage from Cubic Telecom and a software-defined WAN solution from Cradlepoint to establish real-time data connections along a 460-mile bus route through Peru. The World Bank and Peru’s Ministry of Transport and Communications lended crucial support to SmartBus. “This project is making a tangible contribution to development by connecting people in an extremely difficult geographical region of Peru,” Alberto Rodríguez, director of the World Bank for Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, said in a news release. “The critical insights we unearth from this trial will be used by research centers, universities and leading technology companies, helping them to identify problems and possible solutions relating to road safety, meteorology and transport logistics.” Kymeta said the SmartBus pilot project could open the way to a variety of industry applications for its mobile connectivity platform, including commercial agriculture, fleet management, public transportation and emergency response. “We are an end-to-end services provider with reliable mobile connectivity that also captures mission-critical data for a variety of industries,” said Benjamin Posthuma, Kymeta’s connectivity solutions manager. “With Kymeta, users no longer need to choose between satellite and cellular – they are just connected.” Kymeta also announced the release of a white paper titled The white paper highlights two field trials demonstrating how satellite-cellular hybrid networks can add resiliency to communication systems for first responders in the face of infrastructure failures and network congestion.
Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures supports KoBold’s cobalt quest

Bill Gates-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures supports KoBold’s cobalt quest

9:45pm, 5th March, 2019
Cobalt extracted from ore is used in the lithium-ion batteries that power devices ranging from smartphones and laptops to electric vehicles. (National Institutes of Health Photo) quest to find new sources of cobalt, a key ingredient in lithium-ion batteries, has received high-profile backing from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, the $1 billion innovation fund spearheaded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Andreessen Horowitz also joined in the Bay Area startup’s funding round, which was disclosed today. The amount of funding, however, went undisclosed. was created by Gates and a bevy of other billionaires — including Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomberg and Jack Ma — to make long-term investments in cutting-edge energy technologies. KoBold Metals uses artificial intelligence and “machine prospecting” techniques to search for likely locations of cobalt ore. “KoBold’s Machine Prospector technology combines never-before-used datasets with conventional geochemical, geophysical, and geological data in statistical association models to identify prospects,” CEO Kurt Zenz House says on the company’s website. Cobalt is found in the batteries that power devices ranging from Today, more than two-thirds of the world’s cobalt supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which has a poor track record on human rights and child labor. That’s led some to call cobalt the Finding ethical sources of cobalt is one of the reasons why KoBold was founded last year. But there’s more than ethics to the venture’s business model: Connie Chan, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, said she was excited about the prospect of using software to master the traditionally hardware-centric mining industry. “Such sophisticated software-defined prospecting techniques can be applied to the entire universe of mineral exploration… and beyond,” House that KoBold has already acquired several properties in North America that it hopes to explore for cobalt, and plans to have about a dozen such prospects by the end of the year. The cobalt market has gone through a roller-coaster ride over the past few years. Shortages led to escalating prices, which led to increased production and a price drop. House acknowledges that the near-term economics point to oversupply, but says that the mushrooming market for electric vehicles should cause demand to outstrip supply by 2022 or so. “KoBold Metals is doing the science, developing the technology, and making the investments to ensure a robust and ethical cobalt supply for the electric vehicle revolution,” he says. That fits in with the long-term philosophy behind Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ portfolio. The first two ventures, focusing on power storage, were . Seven more companies . In addition to KoBold, these four ventures have been added to the list since then: Investing in and developing electricity-generating projects that take advantage of innovations in low-temperature geothermal technology. Developing an electro-thermal system for grid-scale energy storage. Offering sustainable alternative proteins and ingredient solutions for food producers. Developing new ways to grow edible proteins through fermentation.
Now boarding: Everett’s Paine Field and Alaska Air celebrate first passenger flights

Now boarding: Everett’s Paine Field and Alaska Air celebrate first passenger flights

7:27pm, 4th March, 2019
Fire trucks shoot out sprays of water to form a celebratory arch for the first Alaska Airlines jet to take off on a scheduled passenger flight from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) EVERETT, Wash. — Today marks a “first” for the new at Everett’s Paine Field, thanks to Alaska Airlines’ kickoff of daily service. But it’s a “second” for Thomas Paine, the grandnephew of the airport’s namesake. Paine and another grandnephew, Nicholas Moe, were here in 1955 when the airport dedicated a bust of their granduncle, airmail pilot , who grew up in Everett. , but to mark today’s terminal opening, dignitaries dedicated a bronze statue of the elder Paine, standing right on the curb where passengers walked in to catch their flights. Thomas Paine and Moe pulled the veil off the statue, rekindling 64-year-old memories in the process. “Things have changed a lot since then,” Paine said. When it’s fully up and running, the 30,000-square-foot terminal will offer 24 daily nonstop flights to eight destinations in the western U.S., providing a quicker alternative to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for northern Puget Sound communities. Alaska kicked things off today with three departures, starting with a 10 a.m. VIP-laden flight to Portland and following up with flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix. The number of departures will eventually rise to 18 a day, with Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose added to the mix. At the end of the month, United Airlines will kick things up a notch with six daily departures to Denver and San Francisco. Both airlines will be using 76-passenger, single-aisle Embraer 175 jets. cost as little as $44, and daily on-site parking ranges from $20 for economy-class to $40 for valet service. Here we go!! Boarding for flight to begins now. (Agent just offered to check carry-ons to "final destination"… but what if I'm coming right back to ??
Tesla starts selling $35,000 Model 3 electric cars and shifts to online-only sales

Tesla starts selling $35,000 Model 3 electric cars and shifts to online-only sales

9:07pm, 28th February, 2019
Tesla has started offering the long-promised $35,000 standard version of its Model 3 electric car. (Tesla Photo) Tesla is finally following through on its pledge to sell its Model 3 electric cars at the standard price of $35,000, but says it’s shutting down on-the-spot showroom sales to remain “financially sustainable” at the lower price point. Going forward, worldwide sales will shift to online only, the company says. Many of Tesla’s stores will be shut down over the next few months, . A small number of stores in high-traffic locations will remain open as galleries, showcases and information centers, but would-be buyers will have to go online to close the deal. Tesla touted the ease of online sales: “You can now buy a Tesla in North America via your phone in about 1 minute, and that capability will soon be extended worldwide. We are also making it much easier to try out and return a Tesla, so that a test drive prior to purchase isn’t needed. You can now return a car within 7 days or 1,000 miles for a full refund. Quite literally, you could buy a Tesla, drive several hundred miles for a weekend road trip with friends and then return it for free.” In a conference call with reporters, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said reducing overhead would boost the company’s long-term financial stability. “Ultimately this will be a very strong competitive strength for Tesla,” he said. The announcement came after Musk built up the mystery surrounding today’s 2 p.m. PT announcement. Some speculated that Tesla would lift the curtain on its Model Y crossover SUV, or provide a surprise sneak peek at the all-electric pickup truck that Musk said would be “something quite unique.” Instead, the announcement made good on Musk’s years-old promise that the Model 3 would be offered at the “affordable” base price of $35,000. Up to this point, Tesla had been selling only versions with longer range, steeper price tags and bigger profit margins. The standard Model 3 will have 220 miles of range, a top speed of 130 mph and the ability to go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. There’ll also be a Model 3 Standard Range Plus that offers a 240-mile range, 140 mph top speed and zero-to-60 mph acceleration in 5.3 seconds, with a price tag of $37,000 before incentives. Tesla said the shift to online-only sales, plus “other ongoing cost efficiencies,” will open the way for reducing vehicle prices by an average of about 6 percent, “allowing us to achieve the $35,000 Model 3 price point earlier than we expected.” Hitting the $35,000 price point should boost Tesla’s sales, but the move could also raise questions about the company’s profit margin. Musk acknowledged that Tesla is likely to report a loss for the first quarter of 2019, after turning a profit in the and of 2018. “Given that there is a lot happening in Q1, and we are taking a lot of one-time charges — there are a lot of challenges getting cars to China and Europe — we do not expect to be profitable.” Musk said. “We do think that profitability in Q2 is likely.” Tesla has also had to deal with a controversy sparked by Musk’s tweets about Model 3 production rates, which . Due to this week’s rush of developments, — including an after-hours dip that came in the wake of today’s announcement.
Microsoft’s quantum computing network takes one giant leap at Startup Summit

Microsoft’s quantum computing network takes one giant leap at Startup Summit

7:34pm, 28th February, 2019
Microsoft is focusing on the development of quantum computers that take advantage of cryogenically cooled nanowires. (Microsoft Photo) REDMOND, Wash. — Quantum computing may still be in its infancy — but the is all grown up, fostered by in-house developers, research affiliates and future stars of the startup world. The network , during a Startup Summit that laid out the company’s vision for quantum computing and introduced network partners to Microsoft’s tools of the quantum trade. Quantum computing stands in contrast to the classical computer technologies that have held sway for more than a half-century. Classical computing is based on the ones and zeroes of bit-based processing, while quantum computing takes advantage of the weird effects of quantum physics. Quantum bits, or qubits, needn’t represent a one or a zero, but can represent multiple states during computation. The quantum approach should be able to solve computational problems that can’t easily be solved using classical computers, such as modeling molecular interactions or optimizing large-scale systems. That could open the way to world-changing applications, said Todd Holmdahl, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Azure Hardware Systems Group. “We’re looking at problems like climate change,” Holmdahl said. “We’re looking at solving big food production problems. We think we have opportunities to solve problems around materials science, personal health care, machine learning. All of these things are possible and obtainable with a quantum computer. We have been talking around here that we’re at the advent of the quantum economy.” Todd Holmdahl, Microsoft corporate vice president for the Azure Hardware Systems Group, speaks during a Startup Summit kicking off the Microsoft Quantum Network. (Microsoft Photo) Representatives from 16 startups were invited to this week’s Startup Summit, which features talks from Holmdahl and other leaders of Microsoft’s quantum team as well as demos and workshops focusing on Microsoft’s programming tools. (The closest startup to Seattle is , based in Vancouver, B.C.) Over the past year and a half, Microsoft has called Q# (“Q-sharp”) as part of its , and has worked with researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and academic institutions around the world to lay the technical groundwork for the field. A big part of that groundwork is the development of , based on a topological architecture that builds error-correcting mechanisms right into the cryogenically cooled, nanowire-based hardware. Cutting down on the error-producing noise in quantum systems will be key to producing a workable computer. “We believe that our qubit equals about 1,000 of our competition’s qubits,” Holmdahl said. There’s lots of competition in the quantum computing field nowadays: , and are all working on similar technologies for a universal quantum computer, while Canada’s is taking advantage of a more limited type of computing technology known as quantum annealing. This week, that it said would reduce quantum noise and more than double the qubit count of its existing platform, from 2,000 linked qubits to 5,000. But the power of quantum computing shouldn’t be measured merely by counting qubits. The efficiency of computation and the ability to reduce errors can make a big difference, said Microsoft principal researcher Matthias Troyer. For example, a standard approach to simulating the molecular mechanism behind nitrogen fixation for crops could require 30,000 years of processing time, he said. But if the task is structured to enable parallel processing and enhanced error correction, the required runtime can be shrunk to less than two days. “Quantum software engineering is really as important as the hardware engineering,” Troyer said. Julie Love, director of Microsoft Quantum Business Development, talks about the promise of quantum computing at a Startup Summit on the Microsoft campus. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) Julie Love, director of Microsoft Quantum Business Development, said that Microsoft will start out offering quantum computing through Miicrosoft’s Azure cloud-based services. Not all computational problems are amenable to the quantum approach: It’s much more likely that an application will switch between classical and quantum processing — and therefore, between classical tools such as the C# programming language and quantum tools such as Q#. “When you work in chemistry and materials, all of these problems, you hit this ‘known to be unsolvable’ problem,” Love said. “Quantum provides the possibility of a breakthrough.” Love shies away from giving a firm timetable for the emergence of specific applications — but last year, Holmdahl predicted that commercial quantum computers would exist (Check back in 2023 to see how the prediction panned out.) The first applications could well focus on simulating molecular chemistry, with the aim of prototyping better pharmaceuticals, more efficient fertilizers, better batteries, more environmentally friendly chemicals for the oil and gas industry, and a new class of high-temperature superconductors. It might even be possible to address the climate change challenge by custom-designing materials that pull excess carbon dioxide out of the air. Love said quantum computers would also be well-suited for addressing optimization problems, like figuring out how to make traffic flow better through Seattle’s urban core; and for reducing the training time required for AI modeling. “That list is going to continue to evolve,” she said. Whenever the subject quantum computing comes up, cryptography has to be mentioned as well. It’s theoretically possible for a quantum computer to break the codes that currently protect all sorts of secure transactions, ranging from email encryption to banking protocols. Love said those code-breaking applications are farther out than other likely applications, due to the huge amount of computation resources that would be required even for a quantum computer. Nevertheless, it’s not too early to be concerned. “We have a pretty significant research thrust in what’s called post-quantum crypto,” she said. Next-generation data security is one of the hot topics addressed that was approved by Congress and the White House last December. Love said Microsoft’s have already gone through an initial round of vetting by the . “We’ve been working at this in a really open way,” she said. Like every technology, quantum computing is sure to have a dark side as well as a bright side. But it’s reassuring to know that developers are thinking ahead about both sides.
Boeing unveils a new breed of ‘wingman’ drones that fly with piloted military jets

Boeing unveils a new breed of ‘wingman’ drones that fly with piloted military jets

7:36pm, 26th February, 2019
An artist’s concepton shows drones in the Boeing Airpower Teaming System flying alongside an F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jet. (Boeing Illustration) Boeing is unveiling a new type of uncrewed aircraft that’s designed to fly military missions alongside piloted airplanes, known as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. The air platform is being developed for global defense customers by Boeing Austraila, and as such, represents Boeing’s biggest investment in an unmanned aircraft program outside the United States. Australian Defense Minister Christopher Pyne took the wraps off a full-scale mockup of the plane today at the at Avalon Airport in Geelong. Australia’s government is teaming up with Boeing to produce a concept demonstrator called the “Loyal Wingman,” which should blaze the trail for production of the Boeing Airpower Teaming System. “The Boeing Airpower Teaming System will provide a disruptive advantage for allied forces’ manned / unmanned missions,” Kristin Robertson, vice president and general manager of Boeing Autonomous Systems, . “With its ability to reconfigure quickly and perform different types of missions in tandem with other aircraft, our newest addition to Boeing’s portfolio will truly be a force multiplier as it protects and projects air power.” Revealed! Our new smart, reconfigurable unmanned system teams with other aircraft to protect & project air power. The Boeing Airpower Teaming System – Australian investment & innovation at work! More: — Boeing Australia (@BoeingAustralia) Boeing says the 38-foot-long craft will provide fighter-like performance, with the range to fly 2,000 nautical miles (2,300 statute miles). The aircraft will be equipped with sensor packages to support intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions as well as electronic warfare. And it will be able to use artificial intelligence to fly independently, or in support of piloted aircraft while maintaining safe distance between other aircraft. Australia’s ABC as saying the aircraft could eventually be used to deliver bombs. Similar “loyal wingman” drone concepts are under development at and . Marc Allen, president of Boeing International, said the Boeing Airpower Teaming System is “a historic endeavor” for the company, due to the nature of the international partnership. “Not only is it developed outside the United States, it is also designed so that our global customers can integrate local content to meet their country-specific requirements,” he said. First flight of the demonstrator is planned for 2020.
Tesla’s fortunes spin after SEC accuses CEO Elon Musk of violating a tweet deal

Tesla’s fortunes spin after SEC accuses CEO Elon Musk of violating a tweet deal

3:28pm, 26th February, 2019
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter habit has sparked gyrations in the stock market. (Tesla via YouTube) Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in trouble again with the Securities and Exchange Commission, this time over a 13-word tweet. The SEC filed a motion in federal court on Monday, claiming that a tweet that Musk sent out last week violated the terms of an brought last September. After the motion came to light, lost as much as 5 percent of their $298.77 market-close value in after-hours trading. The price crept back to somewhere around its previous level overnight, however, as traders digested the news. It’s the latest in a series of ups and downs (or, more accurately, “downs and ups”) caused by Musk’s Twitter habit. Read the PDF: Under the terms of last year’s agreement, Musk was supposed to have all of his Twitter comments pre-approved by Tesla’s designated representative if they touched upon “information material to the company or its shareholders.” That provision was meant to head off tweets like the one that Musk sent out last August, claiming that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private even though that wasn’t actually the case. That claim and its aftermath sparked wild gyrations in the market, leading the SEC to open its fraud investigation. The agreement also required Musk to step down from his post as Tesla’s chairman and pay a $20 million fine. Tesla was also fined $20 million, and was forced to appoint two new independent directors to its board. The seeming resolution of the SEC case, plus Tesla’s , sent Tesla’s share price as high as $376. But Musk touched off a new round of regulatory trouble on Feb. 19 when he talked about the production outlook for this year: Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) That claim was amended a little more than four hours later: Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) The SEC seized on the initial tweet, and within days investigators were asking Tesla whether the tweet had been pre-approved. In court filings (which Tesla had sought to make confidential), Bradley Bondi, a lawyer for Tesla, acknowledged that the first tweet had not been specifically pre-approved. Instead, it “was intended to recapitulate the information set forth” in forward-looking statements that were made by Tesla and Musk in January, in connection with year-end results. “Mr. Musk believed that the substance had already been appropriately vetted, pre-approved, and publicly disseminated,” Bondi wrote. The substance wasn’t quite the same, though. Back in January, Tesla said it was aiming to hit a , or an annualized rate of roughly 500,000 a year, assuming that no snags arose in its plans for expansion in China. That’s not exactly what Musk said in the first tweet. Bondi said Tesla’s designated tweet-checkers realized that, and so they hammered out the wording of the second tweet as a clarification. Read the PDF: For what it’s worth, on the day after the tweet, Tesla’s general counsel, Dan Butswinkas, after spending only two months on the job. Jonathan Chang, vice president of Tesla’s legal department, took over Butswinkas’ position. The SEC said the fact that Musk didn’t get pre-approval of the wording for the “evidently inaccurate” first tweet was a violation of the agreement. As a result, the SEC is calling on Musk to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of the court’s judgment from last September. “A violation need not be willful in order to find contempt,” the SEC wrote in its motion to U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, where the original judgment was filed. The SEC also cited last December as evidence that he wasn’t taking the agreement’s requirements seriously. Back then, Musk acknowledged that none of his tweets had been “censored” since the settlement. “I guess we might make some mistakes,” he told CBS’ Lesley Stahl. “Who knows? … Nobody’s perfect.” Musk went on to say that “I do not respect the SEC … I do not respect them” — but would abide by the settlement “because I respect the justice system.” Now it’s up to the justice system to decide whether to take Musk to task over an ill-turned tweet. U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan gave Musk a March 11 deadline to explain why he shouldn’t be held in contempt. If Nathan rules that the violation is serious enough, Musk could face further limitations on his activity at Tesla … or on Twitter. In a follow-up Twitter exchange, Musk signaled that he intends to stick to his guns: SEC forgot to read Tesla earnings transcript, which clearly states 350k to 500k. How embarrassing …
Seattle Opera goes beyond Apple to get to the core of Steve Jobs’ complex character

Seattle Opera goes beyond Apple to get to the core of Steve Jobs’ complex character

2:26pm, 26th February, 2019
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (played by John Moore) raises a smartphone in a scene from “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs.” (Seattle Opera Photo / Philip Newton) You shouldn’t expect to glean startup tips from “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” the one-act opera playing at the Seattle Opera. And don’t expect to hear the brand names “Apple” or “iPhone” or “Microsoft” sung. But you can expect to see and hear the tangled story of Apple’s enigmatic co-founder told on a literally operatic scale. There’s also a message for techies that can be boiled down to the first words flashing on the supertitle screen, even before the first note sounds: “Look up. Look around. Be here now. And turn off your devices.” Devices like Apple’s iPhone figure heavily in the staging of “(R)evolution”: Even the set elements that swirl around the stage and serve to project backdrops are proportioned like giant iPhones. The first big aria in the work, with music by Mason Bates and libretto by Mark Campbell, celebrates the iPhone’s introduction in 2007: “Only one device / Does it all / In one hand / All you need.” But devices are never all you need, even for an introspective, obsessive genius like Jobs. Rather than focusing on the gadgetry, the core of “(R)evolution” focuses on the connection that he failed to keep up with an early lover, and the connection he was able to maintain with a later lover. It helps to know the basic outlines of Jobs’ life, which was cut short in 2011 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. To know, for example, that he had difficulties acknowledging a child by one woman — but had three other children with another woman who became his wife. Or that he was ousted from Apple for a time, but returned to Apple’s CEO post after “going back to the garage” and creating a different company called NeXT. It also helps to know postmodern classical music: Bates’ score blends lush symphonic melodies and guitar tunes with the clicks of electronica and the tinkle of Buddhist prayer bells. If you’re comfortable with Philip Glass’ opera about Mahatma Gandhi, or John Adams’ you’ll be in familiar musical territory. If you’re not, you could be in for a challenging hour and a half. In the opera, Jobs’ character (played by John Moore) is guided through the scrambled scenes of his life by the shade of his Zen teacher, a Buddhist monk named Kōbun. “What are you doing here? You died five years ago,” Jobs says when Kōbun (played by Adam Lau) walks on stage. “I’m your spiritual mentor. I’m always around,” the monk replies. Kōbun takes Jobs through a timeline that zips back and forth through his childhood in the ’60s, the origins of Apple (and Jobs’ first child, Lisa) in the ’70s, Jobs’ rise and fall and rise at Apple in the ’80s and ’90s, and his 21st-century apotheosis and death. The twists and turns trace Jobs’ arc as detailed in Walter Isaacson’s definitive biography, right down to the acid trip that he took in a field just outside Sunnyvale with Lisa’s mother, Chrisann Brennan (played in the opera by Madison Leonard). “All of a sudden the wheat field was playing Bach,” Jobs told Isaacson. “It was the most wonderful feeling I had in my life up to that point.” Bates picks up on that epiphany in the “(R)evolution” score, and the scenery goes psychedelic. For what it’s worth, Campbell’s libretto includes the disclaimer that his work doesn’t purport to depict actual events or statements, and that the story has not been authorized or endorsed by Apple, Jobs’ family or by anyone depicted in the opera. (I can hardly wait to see what composers and librettists do with the operatic arc of Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ life.) “(R)evolution” isn’t exactly structured like an arc. Instead, it’s a circle, like the Ensō ring that plays such a significant role in Zen iconography. Even the smartphones in the opera are branded with the Zen circle rather than the trademarked Apple logo. It’s up to the character of Jobs’ widow, Lauren Powell Jobs (played by Emily Fons), to help close the circle by imagining what “Version 2.0 of Steve” might say to the masses peering at the iPhones that are so much a part of his legacy. “Look up, look out, look around. Be here now,” Lauren sings. “And then he’d say, ‘Please buy them, but don’t spend your life on them.’ “
Tesla’s shares plummet after SEC accuses CEO Elon Musk of violating a tweet deal

Tesla’s shares plummet after SEC accuses CEO Elon Musk of violating a tweet deal

8:53pm, 25th February, 2019
Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter habit has sparked gyrations in the stock market. (Tesla via YouTube) Tesla CEO Elon Musk is in trouble again with the Securities and Exchange Commission, this time over a 13-word tweet. The SEC filed a motion in federal court today, claiming that a tweet that Musk sent out last week violated the terms of an agreement aimed at settling a securities fraud case brought last September. After today’s motion came to light, Tesla’s share price dropped by more than 4 percent in after-hours trading, from $298.77 at the close to around $288 a couple of hours later. It’s the latest in a series of ups and downs caused by Musk’s Twitter habit. Read the PDF: Under the terms of last year’s agreement, Musk was supposed to have all of his Twitter comments pre-approved by Tesla’s designated representative if they touched upon “information material to the company or its shareholders.” That provision was meant to head off tweets like the one that Musk sent out last August, claiming that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private even though that wasn’t actually the case. That claim and its aftermath sparked wild gyrations in the market, leading the SEC to open its fraud investigation. The agreement also required Musk to step down from his post as Tesla’s chairman and pay a $20 million fine. Tesla was also fined $20 million, and was forced to appoint two new independent directors to its board. The seeming resolution of the SEC case, plus Tesla’s profit-generating increase in production for its Model 3 electric car, sent Tesla’s share price as high as $376. But Musk touched off a new round of regulatory trouble on Feb. 19 when he talked about the production outlook for this year: Tesla made 0 cars in 2011, but will make around 500k in 2019 — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) That claim was amended a little more than four hours later: Meant to say annualized production rate at end of 2019 probably around 500k, ie 10k cars/week. Deliveries for year still estimated to be about 400k. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) The SEC seized on the initial tweet, and within days investigators were asking Tesla whether the tweet had been pre-approved. In court filings (which Tesla had sought to make confidential), Bradley Bondi, a lawyer for Tesla, acknowledged that the first tweet had not been specifically pre-approved. Instead, it “was intended to recapitulate the information set forth” in forward-looking statements that were made by Tesla and Musk in January, in connection with year-end results. “Mr. Musk believed that the substance had already been appropriately vetted, pre-approved, and publicly disseminated,” Bondi wrote. The substance wasn’t quite the same, though. Back in January, Tesla said it was aiming to hit a goal of turning out about 10,000 cars a week sometime between the end of 2019 and the middle of 2020. That’s not exactly what Musk said in the first tweet. Tesla’s designated tweet-checkers realized that, and so they hammered out the wording of the second tweet as a clarification, Bondi said. Read the PDF: For what it’s worth, on the day after the tweet, Tesla’s general counsel, Dan Butswinkas, announced that he was leaving the company after spending only two months on the job. Jonathan Chang, vice president of Tesla’s legal department, took over Butswinkas’ position. The SEC said the fact that Musk didn’t get pre-approval of the wording for the “evidently inaccurate” first tweet was a violation of the agreement. As a result, the SEC is calling on Musk to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of the court’s judgment from last September. “A violation need not be willful in order to find contempt,” the SEC wrote in its motion to U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, where the original judgment was filed. The SEC also cited an interview with Musk that aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” TV show last December as evidence that he wasn’t taking the agreement’s requirements seriously. Back then, Musk acknowledged that none of his tweets had been “censored” since the settlement. “I guess we might make some mistakes,” he told CBS’ Lesley Stahl. “Who knows? … Nobody’s perfect.” Musk went on to say that “I do not respect the SEC … I do not respect them” — but would comply with the agreement “because I respect the justice system.” Now it’s up to the justice system to decide whether to take Musk to task over an ill-turned tweet. If the judge in the case thinks the violation is serious enough, Musk could face further limitations on his role at Tesla.
Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

Lost in 1943, the USS Strong is found again by Paul Allen’s Petrel research vessel

5:17pm, 25th February, 2019
The R/V Petrel team monitors the USS Strong survey operation on the floor of the Kula Gulf in the Solomon Sea. (Photo courtesy of Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Inc.) The USS Strong put in less than a year of service at sea, but the destroyer and its crew nevertheless earned a place of honor in the U.S. Navy’s history of World War II. Now the Strong’s legacy is once again in the spotlight, thanks to the shipwreck’s discovery by the research vessel Petrel. The R/V Petrel’s expedition team, supported by the late Seattle billionaire philanthropist Paul Allen’s Vulcan Inc., found the wreckage on Feb. 6, lying 1,000 feet deep on the floor of the Kula Gulf, north of New Georgia in the Solomon Sea. The latest find adds to the Petrel’s long list of World War II shipwreck discoveries, including the USS Indianapolis, the USS Lexington, the USS Juneau, the USS Helena and the USS Hornet. “With each ship we are find and survey, it is the human stories that make each one personal,” Robert Kraft, expedition lead and director of subsea operations for the Petrel. “We need to remember and honor our history and its heroes, living and dead. We need to bring their spirit to life and be grateful every day for the sacrifices made by so many on our behalf.” The Strong put out to sea for the first time in 1942, and during the first half of 1943, it conducted anti-submarine patrols and supported naval mining operations around the Solomon Islands, New Hebrides and Guadalcanal in the Pacific. Its final battle came on July 5, 1943, when the Strong was sent to shell Japanese shore installations to provide cover for the landing of American forces at Rice Anchorage on the coast of New Georgia. During the engagement, the destroyer was struck on the port side by a Japanese torpedo fired at long range. One of the Strong’s crew members, Donald Regan, recalled that the force of the strike “knocked me off my feet.” In the minutes that followed the blast, most of the Strong’s crew scrambled over nets to a neighboring destroyer, the USS Chevalier, while the USS O’Bannon provided cover. But the rescue operation had to be suspended due to heavy enemy fire. Forty-six of the 280 crew members were lost, and some of the survivors were marooned for days. One of the most harrowing tales focuses on Lt. Hugh Miller, who spent 39 days stranded on Arundel Island. While marooned, Miller attacked three Japanese machine-gun emplacements and one enemy patrol. His exploits earned him the Navy Cross and the central role in a book titled “The Castaway’s War.” “While the loss of Strong and 46 of her sailors was tragic, it’s also an inspirational moment in the history of our Navy,” retired Rear Adm. Samuel Cox, director of Naval History and Heritage Command, said in a statement. “If you need examples of sailor integrity, accountability, initiative and toughness when great-power competition heats up, you can’t go wrong reading the “
Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

3:52am, 25th February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” Update, Feb. 24, 3 p.m. PT: In a new on Sunday, Atlas confirmed that the three people aboard the flight did not survive. Atlas set up Family Assistance Center to support the families affected. Boeing updated its statement . The Daily Mail one of the pilots as Sean Archuleta. Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the crew of Atlas Air 3591. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the crew, and stand ready to support Atlas Air. FULL STATEMENT: — Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; 3 people onboard killed

6:35pm, 24th February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” Update, Feb. 24, 3 p.m. PT: In a new on Sunday, Atlas confirmed that the three people aboard the flight did not survive. Atlas set up Family Assistance Center to support the families affected. Boeing updated its statement . The Daily Mail one of the pilots as Sean Archuleta. Boeing is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the crew of Atlas Air 3591. We extend our heartfelt sympathies to the families and loved ones of the crew, and stand ready to support Atlas Air. FULL STATEMENT: — Boeing Airplanes (@BoeingAirplanes) The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; three feared dead

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas; three feared dead

9:58pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash. Update for 6:35 p.m. PT Feb. 23: Daniel Wells, Atlas Air captain and president of the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, released the following statement on the crash: “Our union stands together as a family and in support of our members’ families. Our focus is on our friends and colleagues who were on that plane, and we are doing everything we can to support their families. “Teamsters Local 1224 representatives are already on the ground supporting this investigation. We also thank the first responders who rushed to the scene to help.” The union said members of Teamsters Local 1224 were on the flight.
Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard; remains found amid wreckage

Atlas Air 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard; remains found amid wreckage

7:54pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . “Human remains have been found on scene,” . “At this time, there are no signs of survivors.” The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, . It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. Local TV stations aired video showing a long trail of debris in the bay’s shallow waters. “Who knows what’s under the water that we can’t see, but it looks like total devastation from the aircraft part,” . “Knowing what I saw, I don’t believe anybody could survive it.” Names of the crew were not released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air Worldwide, which operated the plane on Amazon’s behalf, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. “We can confirm there were three people on board the aircraft,” “Those people and their family members are our top priority at this time.” Dave Clark, Amazon’s senior vice president of worldwide operations, expressed sympathy and concern. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said in a written statement sent to GeekWire. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Atlas Air and another leasing company, Air Transport Services Group, or ATSG, each operate 20 Boeing 767-300 jets to serve Amazon’s delivery network. The service was launched in 2016, and now flies in and out of more than 20 airports. Today’s incident was the first fatal air accident connected with the Amazon transport operation. Last December, Amazon said it would work with ATSG to over the next couple of years. Atlas Air Flight 3591 made use of a 767 jet that was converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo, and entered service with Atlas in April 2017, . The plane was registered with the tail number N1217A. Like all the tail numbers associated with planes servicing the Amazon network, . Pilots working for Atlas Air and ABX Air, a subsidiary of ATSG, have relating to the Amazon delivery operation. But it’s way too early to say whether such issues played a role in today’s crash, or to speculate about the cause of the crash.
Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard

Atlas 767 cargo jet, part of Amazon fleet, crashes in Texas with 3 people aboard

6:52pm, 23rd February, 2019
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 cargo jet flies over Seattle in 2016. (Red Box Pictures Photo / Scott Eklund) An Atlas Air Boeing 767 cargo jet crashed today into Trinity Bay on the Texas Gulf Coast with three people on board, . The plane is part of the Amazon Air package delivery fleet, according to aviation records. It was heading from Miami to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport when radar and radio contact was lost shortly before 12:45 p.m. CT (10:45 a.m. PT), about 30 miles southeast of Houston, the FAA said. There was no immediate word about the fate of the crew, and no names were released. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to the accident site. The NTSB will be in charge of the investigation. New York-based Atlas Air, which leases the planes for Amazon’s use, said it is cooperating fully with the FAA and the NTSB. Amazon expressed its concern and sympathy in a statement from Dave Clark, the company’s senior vice president of worldwide operations. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the flight crew, their families and friends along with the entire team at Atlas Air during this terrible tragedy,” Clark said. “We appreciate the first responders who worked urgently to provide support.” Boeing said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the Atlas Air 767 freighter that crashed near Anahuac, TX, earlier today.” “We are concerned about the safety of the three people reported to be on board,” . “Boeing is prepared to provide technical assistance to the NTSB as it investigates the accident.” Check back for updates in this developing story.
How the Internet of Things could bring hackers into your kitchen (or bedroom)

How the Internet of Things could bring hackers into your kitchen (or bedroom)

9:39am, 19th February, 2019
(Pixabay Photo) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tens of billions of devices, ranging from coffee makers to cars to spacecraft, could someday be connected to global networks thanks to what’s known as the Internet of Things, or IoT, and cybersecurity experts say that could open up a whole new universe for hackers and eavesdroppers. Consider the humble coffee maker, for example: University of North Carolina techno-sociologist suggested that if Chinese authorities wanted to, say, root out Muslim activists in the country’s far western Xinjiang region, they could watch for the telltale sign of coffee or tea being brewed before morning prayers. “Your coffee maker has an IP [address], and it might be at risk of identifying these people, because if I wanted one piece of data from the region, that would be my thing. … It’s a very synchronized hour, that’s the whole point of it,” Tufekci said here last weekend during the annual meeting of the . “Holy crap, we were just talking about coffee making, right? And now we’re talking about taking people to send to internment camps,” she said. “These lines are not as far apart from one another as one would think.” The Internet of Things makes it possible to take action at a distance: It’s great to be able to turn on a coffee maker from your bedroom, using a smartphone app. Or turn off the bedroom lights using an Amazon Echo. That’s why analysts expect . All those devices make the IoT a juicier target for computer attacks like the one that . “We basically forgot to build security into the Internet of Things,” said , a computer science and engineering professor at the University of Michigan. Fu and his colleagues already have demonstrated how hackers could use sound waves to … use ringtones to turn on stove burners … or . To address such threats, he co-founded a . It’s even possible to , using a phenomenon known as intermodulation distortion. “You hear about the kid with the braces who can pick up AM radio stations?” Fu said. “This is the same concept, except we’re inducing it on things that didn’t want to hear us.” Fu’s lab has even come up with an acoustic technique that turns a hard drive into a weird kind of eavesdropping microphone. “What we do is we pull off those errors from the hard drive, upload it to Shazam, and it tells us what music we’re playing in the room, which is kind of a fun parlor trick,” Fu said, The Internet of Things could turn such parlor tricks into a serious matter. Previously: “Computers have always been vulnerable to these kinds of physical problems since the dawn of computing,” Fu said. “The big thing that’s changing is the degree of connectedness and dependence. … We’re actually automating things with smart thermostats and smart locks to automatically open or close, or turn on heat and things of that nature. We are removing the human from the loop before solving a lot of the security challenges.” Tufekci said there needs to be a high-level discussion about the “security of things,” ranging from baby monitors to voice-controlled devices. “I just find it weirdly appalling that we do not have ‘off’ switches for microphones that are physical,” she said. “I just don’t trust any software to be foolproof. … We need to go back to some quite physical solutions.” Fu said security-conscious consumers — and device manufacturers — might have to be more discriminating about things of the internet. “Maybe it’s just not a good idea to put a computer in everything unless there’s a good reason,” he said.
How earthquake patterns could let us know when the ‘Really Big One’ is coming

How earthquake patterns could let us know when the ‘Really Big One’ is coming

2:05pm, 16th February, 2019
A map of coastal Washington state and British Columbia shows the sweep of an episodic tremor and slow slip event, or ETS, from February to April 2017. The colors denote the time of the event as shown on the color-coded time bar at the bottom. The gray circles on the color bar indicate the number of tremor events per day. (UNAVCO Graphic / Kathleen Hodgkinson) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Is it the tick of Earth’s heartbeat, or a ticking time bomb? Either way, a 14-month pattern in seismic activity could serve as the start of a super-early warning system for the “Really Big One,” the massive earthquake that’s expected to hit the Pacific Northwest sometime in the next few centuries. The seismic ticks are known as episodic tremor and slow slip (“ETS”) events, and . They’re linked to the titanic clash between the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate and the North American plate, in a region known as the Cascadia subduction zone. The two plates grind into each other at a rate of an inch or two per year, about 25 miles below the surface. Usually, it’s a slow grind, but every so often, there’s a sharp spike in the rate of movement. Along the Washington state coast, the spike comes roughly every 14 months. (The most recent spike .) In California, the cycle takes 10 months. In Oregon, it’s more like 24 months. Based on historical and geological records, seismologists have determined that the Cascadia fault can produce catastrophic earthquakes, on the order of magnitude 9.0 or more. In 2015, worries about the potential effects of a big Cascadia quake led to an about the . , a geophysicist at Oregon State University, isn’t saying the Really Big One is coming anytime soon. But during a presentation at this week’s annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, she said a steadily expanding network of seismometers and strainmeter could give us advance notice. The seismic detection network in the Pacific Northwest and California allows seismologists to map the pulls exerted by ETS events in three dimensions, day by day. “When there’s a little pull, it increases the risk, the stress increases, and the probability for a great earthquake increases,” Trehu said. “But it increases from one very small number to what’s still a very small number.” Trehu said the key thing to watch for is a quickening in the pattern of episodic tremors. “Potentially changes in the pattern, changes in that periodicity, could be indicative of something interesting,” she said. “But those are going to take longer monitoring times.” Efforts are already underway to extend the seismic monitoring network offshore through the , a project backed by EarthScope and the National Science Foundation with participation by the and the .
At his first meetup, White House science adviser tells scientists: ‘I am one of you’

At his first meetup, White House science adviser tells scientists: ‘I am one of you’

1:43am, 16th February, 2019
White House science adviser Kelvin Droegemeier addresses the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., with a video image of him looming in the background. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle) WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s newly minted science adviser reached out to his peers today at one of the country’s biggest scientific meetings and called for the establishment of a “second bold era” of basic research. “I hope that you never forget that I am one of you,” Kelvin Droegemeier, who was, told hundreds of attendees here at the annual meeting of the . The University of Oklahoma meteorologist is coming into a job that was vacant for two years, in an administration that hasn’t exactly been viewed as science-friendly. The White House’s environmental policies are a particular sore point, in light of Trump’s and . But Droegemeier’s selection has gotten generally good reviews from the science community. AAAS CEO Rush Holt, a Ph.D. physicist and former congressman, took note of Droegemeier’s reputation as a “solid scientist” in his introduction. “Everyone who works with him finds him to have a very accessible manner,” Holt said. “We scientists hope and trust that this will turn into accessible policy.” In his talk, Droegemeier invoked the legacy of science adviser , who set the stage for America’s postwar science boom in 1945 with a report he wrote for President Franklin D. Roosevelt, titled Droegemeier said modern-day America remains the world’s leader in science and technology, but warned that other countries were “nipping at our heels.” “In many respects, we’re kind of thinking in the same ways that we have since World War II … and I would call that period from the Bush treatise in World War II up to the present that first great bold era of science and technology in that endless frontier,” Droegemeier said. “The past 75 years have been extraordinary, and I think we’re about to turn a page into a new frontier.” He said the second bold era would take advantage of the full sweep of America’s research assets, underpinned by American values and based on three pillars: Understanding America’s research and development ecosystem in a new context: Droegemeier called for a quadrennial assessment that takes stock of the entire R&D enterprise, including research conducted by the government, the private sector, academia and non-profit organizations. He pointed to the example of artificial intelligence research: What’s the future demand for AI, and what assets can be deployed to supercharge progress in that field? “The answer is that we don’t really have a clue,” he said. “Getting a handle on this as a portfolio is a real challenge, but in my view, if we’re able to do that, it will really help us think about how to strategically invest and move forward.” Leveraging the collective strength of R&D sectors through innovative partnerships: Droegemeier talked about rekindling the spirit of “those famous blue-sky research labs of the past,” such as . He suggested creating a network of “Alpha Institutes” to pursue “absolutely transformational ideas on some of the biggest challenges that face humanity today, like space exploration, climate change, eradicating disease and making it possible for people to live longer and healthier lives.” These institutes would be located at colleges and universities, and would be funded primarily by industries and non-profits. Ensure that America’s research environments are safe, secure and welcoming: Droegemeier said he would work with the scientific community to tackle the issue of . He said another one of his top priorities would be to make sure that “our resources do not fall into the hands of those attempting to do us harm, or those who would seek to reap the benefits of our hard work without doing hard work themselves.” And he called for “reducing the unnecessary administrative burdens that divert researchers’ time and attention away from innovating and discovery.” He estimated that such burdens cost a few billion dollars a year. After the talk, Droegemeier got a tentative vote of support from Harvard physicist John Holdren, who served as President Barack Obama’s science adviser. “I think Kelvin’s going to do a great job,” Holdren told GeekWire. He added that Droegemeier is likely to face extra challenges because he’s joining the White House team halfway through Trump’s term of office. Holdren hoped that the White House would follow up by making long-overdue appointments to the . AAAS’ Holt said Droegemeier’s speech was “a good talk,” but held off on discussing specific suggestions, such as the Alpha Institute concept. “At the moment, it’s just talk,” Holt told GeekWire.
Boeing-Safran joint venture for auxiliary power units has a name: Initium Aerospace

Boeing-Safran joint venture for auxiliary power units has a name: Initium Aerospace

12:24pm, 13th February, 2019
The tail section of a FedEx 777 Freighter ecoDemonstrator flight-test airplane has been opened to reveal its auxiliary power unit, which contains a 3-D-printed titanium part. (Boeing Photo / Paul McElroy) The 50-50 to build auxiliary power units for airplanes now has a name: Initium Aerospace. Auxiliary power units, or APUs, are onboard engines that are used primarily to start an aircraft’s main engines. They also power aircraft systems on the ground when the main engines aren’t running, and can boost onboard power during flight if necessary. Boeing’s APUs are currently built by Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney, but Safran — which is headquartered in France — is raising its profile in the market. Initium’s rise is also part of Boeing’s drive to have a more vertically integrated supply chain, and boost its services business. “Initium” ccmes from the Latin word for “beginning” or “start,” which refers to an APU’s function as well as the thrust of the Boeing-Safran initiative. “This is an exciting milestone as we bring together the best of both companies to design and build an advanced APU that will create more lifecycle value for our customers,” Stan Deal, president and CEO of Boeing Global Services, . “This is further proof that Boeing is making strategic investments that strengthen our vertical capabilities and continue to expand our services portfolio.” The creation of Initium Aerospace follows . “I would like to congratulate everybody at Boeing and Safran who contributed to the creation of this new joint venture,” Safran CEO Philippe Petitcolin said. “Initium Aerospace is swiftly capitalizing on the vast expertise of both partners to provide state-of-the-art APUs and innovative solutions to customers. … We look forward to presenting the first demonstrator engine to the market.” The initial team consists of employees from the two parent companies, led by CEO Etienne Boisseau. Initial design and engineering work is being done in San Diego. Safran currently supplies a wide range of components to Boeing. It’s a partner with GE in the CFM International joint venture that produces LEAP-1B engines for the 737 MAX. Boeing and Safran also are partners in MATIS, a joint venture in Morocco that produces wiring products for several airframe and engine companies.