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2015 May

May 21, 2015

The next step: Outlook.com is migrating into Office 365

The new Outlook Web App

Outlook.com’s web app is due to get an update and integration into Office 365 soon.

(Original article from Tom Warren for TheVerge.com)
Microsoft is migrating its Outlook.com email service over to Office 365 soon, and with it will come a new interface and features. In a significant overhaul of Outlook.com, Microsoft is adding 13 new themes to its email service. While the look is familiar, it’s now more closely aligned to the look and feel of the upcoming desktop and Windows 10 versions of the Outlook app.

Most of the new features are centered around improving the overall email experience. Clutter is designed to sort messages you ignore into a separate folder to keep your inbox clean. Microsoft says Clutter will automatically learn which emails to filter out over time, and you can manually drag messages in and out of the Clutter folder to help train it. If email filtering isn’t your thing, you can turn Clutter off to keep a classic inbox.

Microsoft is also improving the search interface for Outlook.com. Search suggestions will automatically highlight the people you email regularly when you’re searching for content, and a Refiners feature lets you filter search results based on sender, folder, date, and attachments. There’s even a highlight in search results so you can clearly find what you’re looking for. Search was one of the weak points of Outlook.com, so it’s encouraging to see Microsoft address this.

For more of this article, click here.

May 13, 2015

How Inge Lehmann discovered the Earth’s solid core

IngeLehmannSeismicWaves

Image from Lehmann’s 1936 paper on the Earth’s layers using data from P-waves and S-waves

Vox.com released an article explaining the process behind Inge Lehmann’s discovery of the core of the Earth. In short, she connected seismographic data from an earthquake in New Zealand in 1929 by analyzing the shockwaves from that event. Based upon the behavior of P-waves (called primary, or compression waves) and S-waves (secondary, or shear waves) that travel through the solid and liquid materials, she was able to deduce the Earth consisted of a solid core, with a liquid outer core, an upper and lower mantle and crust — which is the current scientific consensus. This hypothesis was the foundation of a 1936 paper she authored and was later confirmed in 1970 due to more sensitive instrumentation. In 1971, Lehmann was awarded the highest award in geophysics, the William Bowie Medal.

As of this post, it would have been her 127th birthday today. She did live until she was 105.

Google created a Doodle specifically commemorating her work in this area as well.

May 12, 2015

Blue sunset over Mars as seen by the Curiosity rover

Martian Sunset as seen by the Curiosity Rover - May 2015
(Original article by NASA)
This was the first sunset observed in color by Curiosity.  The images come from the left-eye camera of the rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam). The color has been calibrated and white-balanced to remove camera artifacts. Mastcam sees color very similarly to what human eyes see, although it is actually a little less sensitive to blue than people are.

Dust in the Martian atmosphere has fine particles that permit blue light to penetrate the atmosphere more efficiently than longer-wavelength colors.  That causes the blue colors in the mixed light coming from the sun to stay closer to sun’s part of the sky, compared to the wider scattering of yellow and red colors. The effect is most pronounced near sunset, when light from the sun passes through a longer path in the atmosphere than it does at mid-day.

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates the rover’s Mastcam. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project’s Curiosity rover.

For more information about Curiosity, visit http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

May 11, 2015

Cuba has a lung cancer vaccine — and America wants it

Flag of Cuba

Cuban doctors have worked heavily in immuno-oncology efforts under the Castro regimes.

Cuba has for several years had a promising therapeutic vaccine against lung cancer. The 55-year trade embargo led by the US made sure that Cuba was mostly where it stayed. Until—maybe—now.

The Obama administration has, of course, been trying to normalize relations with the island nation. And last month, during New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s visit to Havana, Roswell Park Cancer Institute finalized an agreement with Cuba’s Center for Molecular Immunology to develop a lung cancer vaccine and begin clinical trials in the US. Essentially, US researchers will bring the Cimavax vaccine stateside and get on track for approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The chance to evaluate a vaccine like this is a very exciting prospect,” says Candace Johnson, CEO of Roswell Park. She’s excited, most likely, because research on the vaccine so far shows that it has low toxicity, and it’s relatively cheap to produce and store. The Center for Molecular Immunology will give Roswell Park all of the documentation (how it’s produced, toxicity data, results from past trials) for an FDA drug application; Johnson says she hopes to get approval for testing Cimavax within six to eight months, and to start clinical trials in a year.

To read the rest of this article, check out Wired.com

May 7, 2015

Freightliner Inspiration – the first autonomous driving semi-truck

Nevada Autonomous Vehicle License Plate

Nevada’s Autonomous Vehicle License Plate template. The first state to allow for autonomous vehicles to be tested and driven legally.

The Verge announced this week that the semi-truck company Freightliner has released a new model that can drive itself…most of the time. The Inspiration Truck could help saves lives, mitigate driver fatigue and stress, and reduced carbon dioxide emissions up to 5 percent. Upon its unveiling, it has been made street-legal and is registered in Nevada since autonomous vehicle testing has been allowed through the legislature there (and as of this post, subsequently in three other states — California, Florida, Michigan — and the District of Columbia).

Technically by law, this vehicle and the previously announced Google self-driving car fall under the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) automation scale at level 3 meaning that the vehicle is advanced enough to enable the driver to relinquish control to the vehicle in certain conditions. The driver can interrupt and regain control but the vehicle should allow a “comfortable transition time.”

The technology for this automation is called Highway Pilot and was designed by Freightliner’s parent company, Daimler AG. It uses a combination of a stereo camera setup along the top of the windshield and a radar system that detects vehicles ahead and beside with automated cruise control.

For more information and pictures of the new rig, check out this article from The Verge.com

May 1, 2015

Tesla’s battery technology for your home…coming soon.

Physical specs of the new Tesla Powerwall announced April 30, 2015.

Physical specs of the new Tesla Powerwall announced April 30, 2015.

Last night, Elon Musk outlined his plan to bring a Tesla battery to homes and offices, generally as an adjunct to solar panels—green energy, on demand. Two models were unveiled: the Powerwall, a battery in 7 or 10 kilowatt-hour sizes and for bigger operations, a 100 kWh unit called the Powerpack. Both are designed to allow houses to pull power from the grid during off-peak hours. All this starting at $3,000.

As more electricity is generated from renewable but intermittent resources like solar and wind, demand for power storage will go up — batteries can store the surplus power and put it back into the grid when needed. The hope for Tesla will be to bring down costs for solar and wind with this innovation to below the price of natural gas for homes today. Tesla will also be working in conjunction with the solar panel company, SolarCity, run by Musk’s cousin for bundling purposes.

For more information, check out this article from Wired.com and this one from The Verge.

For Tesla’s press release of Powerwall with specifications, click here.

Wired also released a brief video explanation of the cost-benefit for this new system. Check out this link to view it.

CASIT Web Services completed projects Winter 2015

Here is the list of projects completed over Winter:

Sites moved to CAS design toolkit:

Other projects:

  • UO Spaces Drupal site launched. It is 2+ year joint project with InfoGraphics Lab that brought management of space on campus to a web based platform.
  • Created a MailChimp template for Judaic Studies based on the CAS Design toolkit. Also shared that template with Creative Writing Program and Department of Economics.
  • SSIL Computers Map launched. It display’s SSIL computer statuses on a map of McKenzie fourth floor. The computer status data comes from CASIT Forms (Drupal) and the map API is provided by InfoGraphics Lab.

You can see more information about those sites on our portfolio: http://casitwebservices.uoregon.edu/.

Big thank you to everyone in the web team.