Georgia Tech won't require students to wear masks on campus. Faculty aren't happy
- The faculty letter comes after Georgia Tech issued its "Tech Moving Forward" plans for reopening campus with in-class instruction in the fall.
- According to the plan, Georgia Tech students are "strongly encouraged" to wear a cloth face covering on campus but are not required to do so.
- The letter is part of a wider pushback from university faculties across the country who are wary of returning to college campuses in close proximity to thousands of young people as Covid-19 continues to spread.
- The faculty letter at Georgia Tech asks for several changes, including a mask-wearing requirement, large-scale testing, timely contact tracing and that remote classes be the default mode of instruction.
- A 21-year-old student Penn State -- which plans to allow students to return in the fall -- died of respiratory failure from coronavirus complications last month, the university said.
Researchers trained a quadruped robot to cross a balance beam
- A team of Italian robotics researchers is looking to change that.
- They’ve created a robotic controller that allows a quadruped robot to walk across a thin beam.
- The four-legged robot can balance on just two legs and walk heel-toe.
- In digital simulations, the controller allowed a 90-kilogram robot to cross a bridge only six centimeters wide.
- In a video, the Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT) researchers demonstrate how a robot equipped with the controller maintains balance on two feet even when it’s pushed around.
- The robot can even balance on two legs as it adjusts to different heights.
- The IIT team detailed their findings in a paper available on arXiv. In the US, Boston Dynamics’ Spot is arguably the most popular four-legged robot, but as researchers develop robotic controllers like IIT’s, we’ll likely see more quadruped applications.
Surgeon general didn't warn against large gatherings for 4th of July - Insider
- Jerome Adams, the United States surgeon general, refused to give a yes or no answer when asked if he would advise people to attend large gatherings over the 4th of July weekend.
- At the beginning of the segment, Melvin pointed out that President Donald Trump is hosting and appearing at two large events in honor of the 4th of July: a fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on Friday and a gathering at the National Mall where he will give a speech on Saturday.
- Melvin then interrupted Adams, urging him to directly answer whether or not he would advise someone to go to a large gathering or not.
- The surgeon general's refusal to advise people not to attend large gatherings is at odds with the CDC's current recommendation, which states that large, in-person events are high risk.
Facebook's AI model for understanding queries over tabular data
- TaBERT is the first model that has been pretrained to learn representations for both natural language sentences and tabular data.
- These sorts of representations are useful for natural language understanding tasks that involve joint reasoning over natural language sentences and tables.
- While these models are useful for tasks that require reasoning only for free-form natural language, they aren’t suitable for tasks like DB-based question answering, which requires reasoning over both free-form language and DB tables.
- In training TaBERT, we used “content snapshots,” wherein the model encodes only the sections of a table that are most relevant to a query.
- The final outputs from layers of such horizontal and vertical self-attentions are distributed representations of utterance tokens and columns in the table, which could be used in downstream semantic parsers to compute the database query.
Satellite Damage Assessment using Machine Learning
- If you’ve ever been through a natural disaster though, it’s just a pain from start to end.
- As a result of this problem, machine learning fits naturally here to automate the role of detecting damages caused by disasters.
- Machine Learning can also offer a solution for future disasters because a well built model can generalise, but also improve it’s recognition capability as the amount of data increases.
- The paper, Building Damage Detection in Satellite Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks takes this challenge to create a system that can (a) recognise damaged buildings but more importantly (b) generalise across different disasters.
- Once a neural network is trained, it’s relatively efficient to pick up and apply to a new data set which when applied to natural disasters, reduces time, energy and the effort required of crisis workers to generate disaster reports.
Mississippi coronavirus cluster tied to fraternity rush parties
- Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs announced 381 new cases and five additional deaths in a press conference on Thursday.
- Quite a few patients have been linked to fraternity rush parties, said Dobbs, also an associate professor at the University of Mississippi medical school in Oxford.
- Adherence to social distancing over the summer break has been "overwhelmingly disappointing" and has made him extremely concerned about what the fall may have in store.
- Large gatherings are a concern for many health experts nationwide as they anticipate another surge in cases.
- President Donald Trump is scheduled to hold a large campaign rally Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where coronavirus cases are rising.
- Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at George Washington University, told CNN's Erin Burnett that social distancing will be near impossible at the rally and county health officials should shut it down.
QuestDB nabs $2.3M seed to build open source time series database
- QuestDB, a member of the Y Combinator summer 2020 cohort, is building an open source time series database with speed top of mind.
- For now, being open source also helps them as a small team to have a community of contributors help build the database and add to its feature set.
- He says that working with YC has allowed them to talk to other companies in the ecosystem who have built similar open source-based startups and that’s been helpful, but it has also helped them learn to set and meet goals and have access to some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley, including Marc Andreessen, who delivered a talk to the cohort the same day we spoke.
- For the short term, the company wants to continue building its community, working on continuing to improve the open source product, while working on the managed cloud product.
The Conspiracy-Theorist-in-Chief clears the way for fringe candidates to become mainstream
- The latest example of the surreal twist that Trump has wrought on his party is the primary upset in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District where Lauren Boebert, a right-wing challenger who sympathized with the pro-Trump deep state conspiracy known as QAnon, unseated five-term Congressman Scott Tipton.
- All three candidates have either sympathized with or actively support QAnon, a theory that there is a high-level government official known as "Q" who leaves clues around the Internet about a "deep state" conspiracy.
- Over the past few years while exploring the backgrounds of potential and current members of Trump's team, CNN's KFile team uncovered connections to or affirmations of fringe conspiracy theories among more than a dozen Trump appointees, nominees or advisers.
- And Obama's words serve as a prescient warning to Biden and Trump's other opponents about the dangers of allowing Trump's conspiracy theories to fester, as his conspiracy-driven acolytes rise to higher and higher positions of power within his Republican Party.
Trump calls Black Lives Matter a 'symbol of hate'
- Navigating a precarious political moment, Trump continues seizing upon widening cultural divisions in a way he believes will appeal to voters concerned about safety and order -- despite polls showing wide disapproval of how he's handling race relations.
- Sixty-four percent of women said in a New York Times/Siena poll last week they disapproved of how Trump is handling race relations.
- On Wednesday, the President fumed at a plan announced recently by officials in New York City to paint the phrase "Black Lives Matter" in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
- Earlier this year, HUD Secretary Ben Carson proposed a change that would essentially eliminate AFFH, saying that mayors and local officials know their communities better than the federal government and are better positioned to make housing decisions.
Satellites reveal a 49 per cent increase in tree felling in Europe
- There has been a large increase in the number of trees felled and removed from European forests.
- Satellite images suggest that the forest area harvested each year between 2016 and 2018 was 49 per cent higher than the area harvested each year between 2011 and 2015.
- Grégory Duveiller at the European Commission Joint Research Centre in Italy and his colleagues analysed satellite data that measured the amount of forest cover and area of trees cut between 2004 and 2018 across 26 European Union countries.
- These countries have historically large forestry-related industries, and also have areas of forest used for fuel production that have reached harvest maturity, says Duveiller.
- If the harvesting continues at similar rates, the team suggests that in order to reach climate neutrality by 2050, additional emissions reductions in other areas would be needed to compensate for the carbon losses from forests.