A Brighton company that says it was inspired by an African desert beetle says it's come up with a substance that can make materials, such as the surface of soccer balls, repel water, dirt, mud and ice, the Boston Business Journal reports.
The NBD in NBD Nanotechnologies stands for for "Namib Beetle Design:"
[O]ur company was inspired by the Namib Desert Beetle, an insect that is able to harvest fog in the desert by alternating hydrophobic and hydrophilic regimes on its back. This beetle has evolved to drink 12% of its weight in water via mastering surface wettability to thrive in the desert.
Xconomy reports Boston (and New York) saw its weakest quarterly increase in tech jobs in five years in the last quarter of 2016.
MIT and a group called Conservation International yesterday announced a program to look at ways to use nature to help fight climate change:
The collaboration brings together MIT’s technical, scientific, and engineering expertise with Conservation International’s expansive environmental programs, to look for ways that forests, coastal ecosystems, and urban areas can be managed to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change.
The collaboration launches today with a one-day hackathon at MIT that invites participants to team up on ideation and early-state design of nature-based, technologically savvy solutions to climate challenges in developing world communities. The collaboration will involve MIT students in CI’s international fieldwork and will initially include four joint research projects in which scientists will focus directly on climate challenges already having an impact in places such as the Philippines and the Amazon Basin.
Boston Police Commissioner William Evans announced tonight that he has canceled plans to buy software that would let the department monitor social media for potential public-safety threats and ferret out Internet-based crimes because the offerings the department was considering are overkill and raised privacy issues. Read more.
Prevailing sentiment in progressive haunts is “2016, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.” Between a stressful election season, acts of terror, and the crisis in Syria, many of us will be glad to see the calendar page turn on Sunday night. Still, to every cloud there is a silver lining, and at least when it comes to tackling climate change in the US, Massachusetts was a bright spot amidst the clouds of 2016.
The Crimson reports hackers apparently connected to the Russian government put some malware in a hacked up copy of a Kennedy School paper on the problems with American elections, then sent it out to addresses at American think tanks and non-profit groups, in the hopes people would open up the alleged document and infect their computers.
Hizzona signed an agreement letting Verizon offer TV channels and the company says it begins cabling up homes in parts of West Roxbury, Roslindale and Dorchester tomorrow - with Dudley Square by the end of the year. The move means parts of Boston now have three main broadband/TV/phone providers: Verizon, Comcast and RCN; Verizon says it will roll out FiOS to the entire city within six years.
The city's Office of New Urban Mechanics, which tries to come up with all sorts of cool techie ways for the city to improve basic services (speaking of which, will City Hall get a Twitter-controlled Christmas tree this year?) has published a manifesto, or what they call a playbook on their efforts so far to build a sensor-meshed "Smart City" and where it wants to go from here (published on github, for the techies, no less.)
It starts with the candid observation that "So far, every 'Smart City' pilot project that we’ve undertaken here in Boston has ended with a glossy presentation, and a collective shrug." Read more.
The Herald reports on a City Council hearing on a Boston Police bid to buy software to monitor possible threats posted on social media.
BostInno reports on some noodling by local techpreneur Rob May and Boston City Council President Michelle Wu to set up a sort of West Coast District Hall - called something like, oh, Boston House - that would give Hub techies a place to gather on those West Coast business trips and maybe even convince a company leader or two that the grass really is greener here.
A Lowell man will spend 24 days in federal prison after acknowledging he logged into the network of the computer-services that fired him and deleted data on a key server - and then repeated the process when he was charged with a crime, only this time doing the same thing to clients of the company. Read more.
WBZ reports a Cambridge company plans to begin testing self-driving cars in the South Boston Waterfront by the end of the year. But a company honcho cautions not to expect widespread use of the vehicle in Boston, because, you know:
Boston’s a city with some challenging weather and some complex traffic patterns.
Boston has loaded the source code for boston.gov on github, which means code writers can now rummage around and submit improvements to make the site work better.
City Hall says this makes Boston the first "major" US city to turn its Web site into an open-source project. Officials emphasize the code - based on open-source Drupal software - contains no sensitive data.
Intriguingly, github stats show a code contribution from Marty Walsh. OK, granted, just for the "readme" file.
Somebody's launched a distributed denial of service attack on Dyn, Inc., which provides DNS (basically site lookups) for a number of large providers, such as Twitter. Basically, the effect is as if your phone burped and wouldn't let you access your contacts and you'd have to look up all the people you want to call by hand. Read more.
Even as we still try to tame our human drivers, Boston will begin planning for cars that drive themselves - in a year-long effort that will include figuring out how to test "autonomous" cars on our centuries-old roads. Read more.
MIT Technology Review reports Keolis workers will soon test Android-based "smart glasses" that will let them do real-time lookups of important data or consult with colleagues remotely.
The glasses will be tested in several locations, including the large repair facility in Somerville and a smaller yard in Readville. If successful, even train drivers could one day be given pairs - to let them make emergency repairs while still on the tracks.
Industries have a life cycle just like humans . Like a person’s childhood, teenage years, adulthood and golden years, industries have distinct life stages. A local example is the Nantucket whaling industry. Let’s review the lifecycle.
1659: Nantucket settled.
1752: Start up stage. Whaling voyages begin. The market for clean burning whale oil is small but growing. Industry profits are negative and large amounts of capital are required to build ships and train mariners.
1760-1789: Growth stage. In this stage capital requirements are still high, but sales grow rapidly and profits are positive.
Verizon and city officials said tonight that if they reach agreement on a cable contract, the company will roll out its FiOS service to four Boston neighborhoods using its traditional fiber-optic cables right to people's homes or buildings. Read more.
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