2019 mentions

January


Zhu supports microwave-assisted magnetic recording
IEEE Spectrum

ECE’s Jian-Gang (Jimmy) Zhu recently commented for IEEE Spectrum on the future of magnetic storage. The leading manufacturers of hard drives, Seagate Technology and Western Digital, are split on how to solve the longstanding debate over how to squeeze more data into a given area. “In my opinion, (microwave-assisted magnetic recording is) a nonargument." Zhu, whose models and theoretical work laid the foundation for microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) development, feels MAMR is a step or two behind, simply because companies have spent more than $2 billion developing heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) over the years, by his estimate, whereas they’ve spent only $100 million so far on MAMR.


Azevedo warns Pittsburgh’s climate change goals require significant resources and policy commitment
WESA

EPP’s Inês Azevedo recently spoke with WESA about the City of Pittsburgh’s goals to combat climate change. By 2030, the City plans to cut carbon emissions city-wide by half, cut water consumption in city buildings by half, and power the city’s buildings with 100% renewable energy. The goals are ambitious, Azevedo notes, and would require “an enormous amount of resources and policies that are tailored to achieving those goals in the expected timeframe.”


Russell receives Pittsburgh Business Times’ 2018 Innovator Award
Pittsburgh Business Times

ChemE’s Alan Russell was awarded the 2018 Innovator Award by the Pittsburgh Business Times for his work with BioHybrid Solutions, a company he co-founded with Chemistry’s Krzysztof Matyjaszewski. While the company is still in its infancy, Russell expects to see significant growth in the near future. “Right now we have seven employees,” he said. “But I hope to make an announcement later this year that would make us ten-fold bigger. It would be a very significant deal in terms of annual revenue.”


Cranor says Facebook views user data as “a corporate asset”
CNET

CyLab/EPP’s Lorrie Cranor recently commented for CNET in the wake of troubling emails that have emerged regarding data privacy practices at Facebook. While public concern has repeatedly been raised after multiple data privacy incidents at the company over the last couple years, the emails appear to cast doubt on Facebook’s claims that it does not sell user data. “This email certainly doesn’t express any value of privacy or protecting users,” says Cranor. “This is expressing that data is a corporate asset, and that we don’t want to give it away.”


Whitefoot joins group of experts in refuting EPA proposal
Science Magazine

MechE/EPP’s Katie Whitefoot recently joined experts from 10 other leading universities and institutions in co-authoring a study challenging the EPA’s 2018 proposal to freeze fuel economy and emissions standards between 2020 and 2025. The authors contend that the decision, which contradicts a report made in 2016 and affirmed by the EPA in 2017, “has fundamental flaws and inconsistences, is at odds with basic economic theory and empirical studies, is misleading, and does not improve estimates of costs and benefits of fuel economy standards beyond those in the 2016 analysis.”


Samaras recommends adoption of electric vehicles in Washington Post opinion piece
The Washington Post

In a recent Washington Post opinion article, “How we can combat climate change,” CEEs Costa Samaras recommends that to implement “rapid and far-reaching” changes to our energy systems by 2030, as the IPCC implores, we must encourage the further adoption of electric vehicles. “Because we use little oil to make electricity, and the power grid is getting cleaner as natural gas and renewables replace coal,” he says, “electrifying as much of the transportation sector as possible could speed up an energy transition.”


Chase quoted in Reuters on Stanford BCI experiment
Reuters

BME’s Steve Chase was quoted in Reuters on a recent experiment performed by Stanford University. While previous experiments have had some success using brain sensors paired with customized computers to help paralyzed patients type up to eight words a minute, the article says, the current test focused on making it possible for these patients to use tablets and smartphones right out of the box without any special modifications. “What’s new here,” said Chase, who wasn’t involved in the experiment, “is the rather elegant demonstration that patients can control an unmodified computer tablet and interact with all the common software programs that these devices have: email, web browsers, chat programs, etc. This means that specialized software won’t have to be designed for users of these devices, which greatly expands the range of applications these patients would immediately have access to.”