May 8, 2014
In a piece for The New York Times, Edward Wong interviews Professor M. Taylor Fravel on the confrontation between Vietnam and China over petroleum-rich sections of the South China Sea. “The risk of escalation is real,” says Fravel. “Offshore oil and gas play an important role in Vietnam’s economy.”
The New York Times writes about the new MIT Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, calling MIT’s move “a particularly ambitious step.” President Reif says the College will “educate the bilinguals of the future,” people in fields like biology, chemistry, politics, history, and linguistics who are also skilled in the techniques of modern computing that can be applied to them.
As part of Wired’s 25 anniversary festival, Prof. Joi Ito, director of the Media Lab, leads a conversation with LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman about “blitzscaling,” which encourages new companies to prioritize speed over efficiency. Ito points out that blitzscaling technology “accelerates you in the direction you are already going,” making it hard to correct any issues that arise early on.
Prof. Simon Johnson reviews Adam Tooze’s new book, “Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World” for The Washington Post. Johnson writes that the book, “is an impressive narrative history, weaving together events from around the world with a light touch and a great deal of helpful explanation.”
In an article for The Wall Street Journal, Joseph Coughlin, director of the AgeLab, and research associate Lucas Yoquinto write that companies are increasingly designing aesthetically-pleasing and user-friendly technology for the elderly. “As the focus on older consumers’ preferences goes beyond the development of better products to the creation of new product categories, the experience of later life may improve substantially,” they explain.
CBS News reporter Kate Gibson writes that Atlas, the robot developed by MIT spinoff Boston Dynamics, can now tackle a parkour-style obstacle course. “The robot's control software uses its whole body -- legs, arms and torso -- to jump over a log and then leap up steps more than a foot high each, all without breaking pace,” Gibson explains.
A new video from MIT spinout Boston Dynamics shows their Atlas robot effortlessly jumping over logs and leaping onto ascending boxes, writes Andy McDonald for HuffPost. “From heavy lifting in factories or warehouses to search and rescue operations to missions on the battlefield, these robots can potentially do things that humans can’t or shouldn’t do,” writes McDonald.