Recent Articles By John Martellaro [RSS]

TMO Background Mode Encore #4 Interview with Science Communicator Dr. Kiki Sanford

· · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Kiki Sanford

Dr. Kiki Sanford is a neurophysiologist, a popular science communicator and creator of This Week in Science (TWIS) podcast and radio show. This is her fourth appearance here. In this episode, we chat about some some very interesting recent topics on TWIS. 1) Researchers showed that mini human brains implanted into mouse brains survived and functionally integrated into the host tissue. 2) Magnetoreception in birds is possible thanks to a protein in their eyes. They may actually have a heads-up display in their eyes for the Earth’s magnetic field. 3) Amazon’s announcement of its Vesta family robot project. 4) A new, non-invasive patch is being developed to allow diabetics to monitor their gluscose levels. Kiki has a special way of inspiring us to learn about science, so don’t miss BGM’s most popular guest.

Facebook Wants to Build Hardware; What Could Go Wrong?

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Death Star schematic.

According to a Bloomberg Technology report, Facebook Inc. is building a team to design its own semiconductors. Just what this new hardware will be used for is not known for sure, but one surmise is for artificial intelligence applications on its servers. But the hardware could also extend to personal electronics. Like Han Solo, I have a bad feeling about this.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Astrophysicist Dr. Brian Keating

· · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Brian Keating on Background Mode.

Dr. Brian Keating is an astrophysicist at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. His specialty is cosmology, and he is the father of the original BICEP project (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) that sought to unravel one of the biggest mysteries surrounding the Big Bang. He is also the author of over 100 scientific publications. We chatted about his early years at age 12 in New York and the spark that ignited his interest in astrophysics. And then we got very geeky on cosmology. Brian recently published a terrific, courageous book about his team’s research, some life lessons, the challenges of scientific research, and he makes some valuable suggestions concerning changes to the Nobel Prize award process. After listening to our chat, you’ll want to read his excellent book.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Gravitational Wave Astrophysicist Dr. Chiara Mingarelli

· · Background Mode Podcast

Dr. Chiara Mingarelli

Dr. Chiara Mingarelli is an astrophysicist currently working at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics where she’s a Flatiron Fellow. Chiara received her Ph.D. from the University of Birmingham (UK) in 2014, and her specialty is the study of gravitational waves: ripples in spacetime born of a cataclysmic collision of distant, super-massive objects. She’s been a Marie Curie International Fellow at Cal Tech and has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy. We chatted about her early years, how she was inspired by the night skies of her hometown in Canada and her early years studying mathematics and physics. There were definitely some challenges in her early career, but her mathematician father nurtured her through. If you’re curious about gravitational waves and Pulsars, this is the show for you.

Endless Refinements and Updates to Autonomous Cars - How Will THAT Work?

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Autonomous car concept

The myriad of different traffic, road, lighting, and weather conditions  presented to autonomous cars will pose endless challenges to automotive software engineers. The complexities are beginning to temper initial optimism and portend a future of continuous updates, according to this Particle Debris linked article at Wired.

Here's How Daisy Ridley Trained for 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

· · Cool Stuff Found

When they do some of their own stunts, adventure film stars usually have to hit the gym, work out and then practice for weeks before filming even a short action sequence.  Daily Ridley, worked out five hours a day, five days a week for months prepping for the action scenes she did in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Here’s the video from Mashable.

TMO Background Mode Interview with Ruby Receptionists CTO Katharine Nester

· · Background Mode Podcast

Katharine Nester on Background Mode.

Katharine Nester is the CTO and Chief Product Officer for Ruby Receptionists, a virtual receptionist service. She owes early influence to her father, a computer engineer, and that led to her B.S. degree in computer science from the Univ. of Calif. at Berkeley. Her first job was as a Hewlett Packard software engineer. Katharine is an active member of Portland’s growing tech community where she advocates for more inclusive environments to support women and minorities in the field and is a benefactor of App Camp for Girls. We chatted about the founding of Ruby Receptionists, early technical decisions that were made and how it operates. Katharine tells a great story about her personal career arc as well as what it’s like to be the CTO of a company that supports 7,600 other companies.