Thursday, October 28, 2010 Updates and Jobs for October 28, 2010 Updates and Jobs for October 28, 2010

October 28th, 2010

We sincerely want to thank everyone who made it out to our Pink Slip Party last Thursday night.  It was seriously great to see so many people get through what we heard (quite a few times) was just a ridiculous level of traffic from apparently anywhere and everywhere in the metro Detroit area to get there.  We got a lot of great feedback about the event from newcomers, and enjoyed seeing a ton of new connections get made.
We actually started started putting together a list of reasons why the event was a success…
Ways that you know that your networking event is successful and worthwhile for people:
1. A recruiter from Columbus, Ohio hears about the event, and drives hours in their car to be there. She then raves about how great the event is, and wants your help in starting the same thing down there.
2. Two guys in (separate, just to be clear) bathroom stalls are exchanging linkedin connection/profile information through the common wall, and business cards under it.
3. The event starts at 5pm. Multiple new recruiters show up, are skeptical about how good the event will be for them, and ask that you send people fitting [their needs here] their way. By 6pm, each of those new recruiters has approached you and ask you to “Make it stop” and ask “…are there REALLY *more* people coming?! We’ve already found more people than we need!”
4. Someone who’s out of work insists on buying you a drink to say “Thank you for this”.
5. More than 10 people ask why you don’t accept donations.
6. Random people that attended an insurance expo at the Rock Financial earlier in the day look in at your event and ask among themselves why nobody does this for their industry.
7. Multiple people from past events who have landed jobs through them show up with friends to introduce them to the group and help them out, too.
8. A new recruiter (their first time at one of our events, but an experienced recruiter) announces at the end of the night that not only has she found people to fill several hard to fill positions she has open, but also feels like she’s made a few friends, too.
We really can’t ask for anything more than that. It’s just…awesome. I know that word gets over-used…but, seriously: awesome.
Our next event will be on Thursday, November 18th.  It’s another one of our casual networking events in the back room of the BlackFinn in Royal Oak, and as usual, it starts at 5pm.  Details are available:
On our site:
On LinkedIn Events:
As always, we hope you can make it, and look forward to seeing you there!
Now to the reason why you really tolerate these weekly emails of ours…jobs.
Karen Lopez
IT Recruiter
Seeking an experienced IT recruiter to join our team. Our clients are Ford, Johnson Controls and Visteon in a tier one capacity. If you prefer to work in a fun and team oriented company, this is it. Recruiter can work in either our Bloomfield office or Dearborn office…
Andrea Crosby
Seeking IT Professionals with Cisco, Microsoft and EMC experience to join our rapidly growing team!
Check out the details, and apply here:
Laura Rosen, PHR
SQL Developer/DBA
Primary Function Incumbent will test, debug, and modify new and existing SQL databases from detailed specifications while conforming to existing guidelines. Major Duties and Responsibilities Develop and maintain SQL 2000/SQL 2005 relational databases with SQL Reporting…
Melissa Lecznar
Health care ICD 9 to ICD 10 project
If you have experience with this type of conversion.
Data Modeler
Bachelor’s Degree with a major in Computer Science, Business Data Processing, Computer Information Systems or related field is required. Minimum three – five (3-5) years data modeling experience. Minimum three – five (3-5) years Relational…
SAP Business Warehouse Security Administation
Security Analyst with responsibility for user provisioning and role creation and modification of SAP BW *Prefers 5 years experience in SAP BW Business Warehouse Security Administration with expertise in implementing structural authorizations in the BW environment *Access or…
Jeff Mackey
ITAM Asset Management Specialist
Role is responsible for enterprise-wide planning, tracking, controlling, analyzing and reporting of all hardware and software asset activities. This individual will report directly to the VP of Asset Management and will work closely with the…
Scott Malvich
Java Developer
Guardian Industries – Greater Detroit Area
Beverly Rose
Policy and Data Analyst
The Education Trust Michigan, a nonprofit education advocacy and research organization located in Southeastern Michigan, seeks a Policy and Data Analyst to support the work of its growing team. For additional information on The Education…
Stacey Lee Wilson
.Net Developer Opportunities – Troy, MI (Looking for US Citizens or Green card Holders) – Please NO outsourcing services or business…
I am searching for a qualified .Net Developer with PROFESSIONAL experience in XML, SQL Server, Visual Studio,, and C# to place within a prestigious client in the Troy, Michigan area. The .Net Developer who obtains this position will be responsible for: end to end…

Michael Beverly
Enterprise & Education Account Manager (IT Sales) - Greater Grand Rapids, MI Area
CrossTec Corporation – Greater Grand Rapids, Michigan Area

Cindy Rogers
Software Developer
Direct Hire Waterford, Michigan, USA Must be a US Citizen and be able to travel without restriction We are seeking two programmers to add to our growing team. Sharp individuals with good fundamental programming skills will be looked even if experience is only a couple of…
Doni Evans
Mid-Level Java Developers for Long-term contracts in Detroit area. Please NO 3rd party resumes, NO Corp-to-Corp options, NO…
Description: Currently looking for a Java, J2EE Developers with Agile Environment Experience. Need someone to design & code application components in an Agile environment utilizing a test driven development approach. Looking for very creative, elaborate and passionate…

Robert Goffeney
Director, Enterprise Support
Eastern Michigan University is looking for a Director, Enterprise Support to lead the Help Desk function. Go to, posting APIT1102, for details and to post your resume.
Latoya Person
Account Executive needed for Ann Arbor, MI territory. Send resumes to
Account Executive Sales Professional Ann Arbor Position Profile: Account Executive Sales Professionals are responsible for selling and introducing our entire product line up to their customers and prospects. We offer a competitive compensation plan including base salary,…

Brandy Tower
SYSTEMS QUALITY ASSURANCE ANALYST for a contract position in Ann Arbor. Please send resumes to…REF…
Responsibilities: Create comprehensive test plans for HealthMedia products Design and execute manual and automated test cases Conduct functional, system, regression and smoke tests in multiple environments Effectively utilize the proprietary automated…

2 Sr. Drupal Developers for contract to hire positions in Ann Arbor. Please send resumes to…Ref. #: TD01120
Project Details: * Our client Online Project currently includes the following: o The client content site is an online resource containing news, reviews and conversation about the latest smartphones and mobile technology. o The Upgrade Checker program supports multiple…

PHP Programmers for contract to hire positions in Ann Arbor. We have 20 open positions for Entry to Mid level. Please send…
Position Details and Skills Required Qualifications: 1 to 3+ years hands on development experience Skill Set Requirements: PHP 5.0 HTML / CSS / JAVASCRIPT / AJAX LINUX Technical Pluses for PHP Programmer: PHP (Procedural Programming) Database Developmen

Diane Mabry
CRM Business Functional Analyst contract Jackson MI
Description Member of the CRM 7.0 project team that requires experience in CRM 7.0; configuration, IMG, developing functional specifications, creating functional tests scripts and completing testing. Experience in HPQC preferred. Requirements Experience in HPQC…

AccuRev migration analyst: Contract opportunity in Dearborn MI!
Job Description: Position Description: AccuRev migration analyst: This project will migrate 1400+ PVCS projects to AccuRev. The migration analyst will be responsible for working with application teams to coordinate these migrations. Responsibilities include: -Follow…

Steve Gaura
Experienced Engineering Recruiter (Bingham Farms)
We are currently looking for an Experienced Engineering Recruiter to join our Award Winning Team in Bingham Farms. We have current clients that are sending us engineering requirements, however we do not have the recruiting bandwidth to focus on them, forcing us to leave money…

Mike Ardrey
Technical Lead
Please include the position in the subject of your email to **** Working Title: Technical Lead Position Classification: System Analyst II Summary of Position: The Technical Lead position is responsible for managing the…
As always, for further details, descriptions, and additionally posted jobs, hit our LinkedIn group:
Bob, Dave and Jeff
On the web:
On LinkedIn:
On Facebook:
On Twitter:

Tech Is in the Booth with This Year's Political Campaigns

    Tech Is in the Booth with This Year's Political Campaigns
  • Soldiers find an easier way to vote overseas. Election-philes get candidate news/views on the move. And could veteran House Rep. Barney Frank get unseated thanks to an IT innovation in fundraising?
  • Soldiers find an easier way to vote overseas. Election-philes get candidate news/views on the move. And could veteran House Rep. Barney Frank get unseated thanks to an IT innovation in fundraising?
    Given that U.S. President Barack Obama owes much of his 2008 victory to social media and other tech-friendly campaign initiatives, it's not surprising that IT innovation is playing a lead role in this year's hotly contested battles for local, state and federal elections.
    This campaign season is somewhat of a litmus test for mobile apps in particular, says Jim Eltringham of the Washington-based Advocacy Group, a firm that specializes in online and social-network tactics for campaigns and corporate public affairs. While the Carly Fiorina campaign has launched an aggressive text-messaging program, a volunteer mobile-based phone bank and a mobile app for student activists, Eltringham says many campaigns aren't yet convinced that mobile efforts are a wise investment. But mobile will be must-have for future campaigns once their effectiveness is proven during this campaign season.
    "The best innovations are the ones the public doesn't see—data management run through mobile apps to keep senior campaign staff updated in real time," Eltringham says. "New technology is used to do old tactics quicker. But keep in mind that online activity still means nothing without offline action." That said, here are several tech innovations that are making an impact for this year's elections:
    Democracy unleashed. Microsoft and Democracy Live are offering LiveBallot, which allows U.S. citizens overseas to register for an absentee ballot and securely access the ballot online from any global location, as opposed to needing to rely on the international mail system. Once voters receive their ballot electronically, they can print, sign and return them to their local election official in the same manner as a normal absentee ballot. After mailing their ballot, voters can track their LiveBallot online and monitor when it is received and processed by the county elections office.
    Elections officials are using LiveBallot to comply with the MOVE Act, a recently enacted federal law that requires states and territories to develop and implement measures that will make voting more accessible and reliable for citizens living or serving overseas. The law was written to make voting more convenient for soldiers, who often move frequently while stationed overseas.
    Election news junkies get fix. ElectionCaster is a mobile app from Handmark that delivers the latest in political and election news for free, available on Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and WebOS. It uses content from outlets such as top blogs, polling services, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and even localized political coverage from the user's city of choice. Also: CampaignTracker 2010 feeds to iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users thousands of cross-searchable news articles on political issues at all campaign levels. The product's one-time price is $4.99.

    Social-media ballot primer. Let's face it, considering a position on local proposals about schools, roads and other civic needs can sometimes be confusing—especially with sometimes dense wording of each ballot as presented in the booth. Well, if you're on Facebook, InstantIMPACT will make it easier for you. It's an app that allows citizens in any state to punch up all ballot initiatives that affect their voting district. Users can review the initiatives, check out where their Facebook friends stand and share their own views on the social network site. Citizens in California can even call up top contributors for and against each proposition, as well as which public-interest groups support and oppose each initiative.
    Fundraising on the move. Nadanu has launched Campaign Raiser for Facebook, iPhone and BlackBerry, enabling campaign organizers to collect contributions and interact with supporters throughout all platforms on one site. An upgraded version allows for customized content, such as candidate biographies and news/views on current events. The basic package starts at $20 a month; the customized version starts at $199 a month.
    And CharityCall has come up with mobileDonor, which also allows supporters to contribute any amount from their mobile phones. For gifts of $200 or more, the Web app requires additional steps to accommodate Federal Election Commission data-collection requirements. For campaigns, management/hosting fees apply.
    "Since a large portion of our campaign communication messages are now being received over Web-enabled smartphones, it only makes sense to enable financial supporters to respond immediately from their devices," says Brian Phillips, who is managing the campaign of Sean Bielat, a candidate for Congress who is running against U.S. House Representative Barney Frank, D-Mass.

Bacteria Grow Organic Local-Area Networks

    Bacteria Grow Organic Local-Area Networks
  • Researchers believe that recently discovered microbial "electrical hairs" work like nanoscale local-area networks, allowing bacteria to communicate shared threats, collective capabilities and other information that helps the colony distribute resources and survive.
  • Researchers believe that recently discovered microbial "electrical hairs" work like nanoscale local-area networks, allowing bacteria to communicate shared threats, collective capabilities and other information that helps the colony distribute resources and survive.The human body has long been known to perform internal communications among nerve cells with electro-chemical signals, but now bacteria have been shown to set up their own external communication links among widely separated cells using organic nanowires.
    Bacteria are independent cells that live together in colonies.
    "For a long time we knew that bacteria could move electrons through their cells, but what we know now is that they can build wires—the idea being that they grow these hairlike appendages out of their cell bodies," said Professor Moh El-Naggar at the University of Southern California (Los Angeles). "They build this wire out of their cell body all the way to the electrons they are breathing, which could be the electrode of a microbial fuel cell. You essentially use that wire to transport electrons just like you would use a breathing tube to breathe oxygen."
    Respiration is the hallmark of all living systems. Human respiration is usually thought of as acquiring oxygen and getting rid of carbon dioxide, but electronically breathing could be viewed as ridding us of excess electrons. Likewise, bacteria appear to use these until now mostly ignored nanowires to rid themselves of excess electrical charge. There is also evidence that the lines are used for communications among widely dispersed cells, such as in planar biofilms, which can benefit from providing conduits to shed the excess electrical charge produced by respiration.

    For years, scientists had noticed the hairlike connections, and noted that they seemed to sprout between cells in times of shortages, perhaps permitting the sharing of resources. Now researchers for the first time actually measured the resistance of the nanowires and found them to be semiconducting. The researchers speculate that in nature, these nanowires are used to normalize the metabolic status a biofilm, whereas they propose repurposing them to form self-repairing structures in organic circuitry like the microbial fuel cells under development at USC.
    In times of stress, here immobilized in a biofilm, bacteria grow nanowire-like appendages between cells.
    The researchers had become interested in measuring the resistance of nanowires when they noticed that electrical reduction of metals—rusting—appeared to be occurring around the nanowires, indicating that current was flowing. Since reduction requires the transfer of electrical charge to a metal, the researchers suspected that the nanowires were carrying an electrical current.
    To measure the conductivity of these nanowires, the researchers grew cultures of Shewanella oneidensis, which was discovered by Professor Kenneth Nealson at USC. By manipulating the environment of the culture, the researchers were able to induce them to grow interconnecting nanowires. Like human hairs, the nanowires growing out of bacteria consist mostly of protein, but when their resistance was measured, their conductivity was found to be semiconducting like microchips.
    Funding was provided by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, the Legler-Benbough Foundation, the J. Craig Venter Institute, the Canadian Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, and the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Surface Science Western.

Toughest Material Ever Is Stronger than Kevlar, Stainless Steel

    Toughest Material Ever Is Stronger than Kevlar, Stainless Steel
  • Stronger than stainless steel and even Kevlar, a new nanomaterial is lightweight and inexpensive. Possible applications range from reinforced steel to lightweight body armor and bulletproof glass.
  • Stronger than stainless steel and even Kevlar, a new nanomaterial is lightweight and inexpensive. Possible applications range from reinforced steel to lightweight body armor and bulletproof glass.A few months ago, we wrote about a high-tech exoskeleton that could be used by soldiers carrying heavy loads. Now, a new extremely strong, lightweight material could vastly improve that skeleton. A team of Israeli scientists has created a printable nanomaterial that boasts not only the toughest organic structure known to man, but also is lightweight and inexpensive to produce.
    Created by scientists at Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, the new material is made up of millions of microscopic nanospheres. The spheres are self-assembled from N-tert-butoxycarbonyl (Boc)-protected diphenylalanine molecules. In their unprotected form, these molecules form the plaquelike substance in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.
    The tiny nanospheres range in size from 80 nanometers to just 2 microns—that's 40 times smaller that the diameter of a human hair. When assembled, the spheres become tougher than any other organic substance, even bullet-proof Kevlar.
    The tiny nanospheres range from 80 nanometers to just 2 microns. Despite their size, when assembled, the spheres form the toughest organic structure known to man.
    "When we applied force to measure these particles, diamond probes were the only thing that actually made an indentation," said Itay Rousso from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. "It's quite astonishing that you can get such a strong material made of biological ingredients."
    The scientists suspect that the new material works in a similar way to Kevlar. They theorize that the strength comes from the molecules' planar form, as well as various electron interactions.
    "It's an open question, what gives rise to these extreme mechanical properties, but the spheres are very highly ordered," Rousso said.

    Possible applications for the material include lightweight, inexpensive body armor for military and police use. The scientists even theorize that printable body armor may be feasible some time in the future.
    "In principle it may be possible," said Ehud Gazit, a scientist at Tel Aviv University and a co-author of a new article in the journal Angewandte Chemie's international edition.
    "But we are thinking of more straightforward uses: to improve the mechanical properties of composite structures, such as ceramics and bulletproof glass," he added.
    "I think this is an amazing discovery," Kenneth Woycechowsky, a scientist at the University of Utah familiar with the research, told Discovery News. "The rigidity and stiffness of these spheres is unique, and surpasses any other known organic molecule, even Kevlar."
    "We have several patents and it is being licensed, so we hope to see it on the market soon," said Gazit. "But it always takes more time than one expects. Kevlar was invented in the 1960s, but only in the 1980s did it become incorporated into body armor."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hackers Use Open Source Too

Hackers Use Open Source Too

Hey hackers use open source tools too. Two well known (in their own neck of the woods anyway) jailbreaking tools are going open source.  GreenPoisOn [1] and Redsn0w will both be making their widely respected jailbreaking tools source code available to developers [2].  While to most of you reading this, having the source code to these two tools available doesn't do much for you right now, the affect this could have on the iPhone market is pretty big.
Once developers get their hands on these tools they can experiment, improve and evolve them to higher levels then ever before.  The result could be easier, faster and more efficient jailbreaking of phones. As it is GreenPois0n can already jailbreak an iPhone running 4.1 and Redsn0w can jailbreak both 4.1 and 4.2. If installation can be made easier ala', the Apple folks will be having fits for sure.  I guess one more reason for Apple to not like open source.
These two are not the only hacking tools to go open either. For many years hackers shared the source code to their hacks with other hackers.  It was a way of showing "your chops".  But with malware and black hat type of behavior becoming so profitable recently, many illegal hackers (as opposed to white hat hackers who generally don't participate in illegal activity) have taken to hoarding their source code and selling their illicit programs.
A great example of this is the infamous Zeus malware program which has plagued financial industry networks now for some time.  My friend Brian Krebs formerly of the Washington Post and now on his own at Krebs on Security wrote this great expose [3] on the Zeus author giving the source code to Zeus to another malware author to "support his clients". It is a fascinating look inside the big money malware for profit market.  Though not open source, go have a read for yourself.
Back to our main point though, why shouldn't hackers use open source too?  The very same principles that make open source successful for you and me applies to them as well.  In fact the hacking community generally is out front with this type of thing anyway.
As an iPhone user myself, I am actually looking forward to seeing what happens with these jailbreaking tools are released into the open source community.  Anything that gives us more choice and options is good by me

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ubuntu moves away from GNOME

Ubuntu moves away from GNOME

The big news at the Ubuntu Developer Summit? Moving to Unity as the default interface [1] for Ubuntu Desktop with Natty Narwhal (11.04), rather than GNOME Shell.
Mark Shuttleworth KeynoteEarlier this year, Canonical representatives had to deny that they were forking GNOME [2] with the work on the Unity interface. (Quick disclaimer, I'm a GNOME Member and help out with GNOME PR.) Unity is a Canonical-sponsored project that was initially delivered for the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. GNOME Shell is the interface being developed for GNOME 3.0, which was delayed to spring 2011.
Apparently, Canonical were being asked the wrong question. During the opening keynote, Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Canonical is committing to making Unity the default desktop experience "for users that have the appropriate software and hardware." Unity requires compositing to work properly, which means users need functioning 3D support to use the interface.
Unity will require quite a bit of work between now and April, 2011 to get Unity into shape as the default desktop. While the Ubuntu desktop 10.10 received glowing reviews, the netbook release much less so. Canonial partner and system integrator System 76 chose to stick with the 10.04 LTS release [3] on its netbook line, saying the interface was "slow and in many ways confusing to use."
What happens with GNOME at this point? Shuttleworth says that Unity is "a shell for GNOME, even if it isn't GNOME shell." He added that he thinks it's good to have "competition" between GNOME Shell and Unity, and referenced Monty Python's Life of Brian as an example of factionalism in a community. Shuttleworth says "we're all in this together," even if there's differences of opinion.
It will be interesting to see how the larger community reacts to this. I'll be covering this more extensively throughout the week, so stay tuned.

Motivational Monday

Thought for the Day
October 25, 2010
Your friends will be what you make them. If you are the kind of friend who freely gives of your time and always shows consideration for others, your friends will be generous and kind. If you are the kind of person who takes your friends for granted, neither giving nor expecting much in return, you will attract friends who exhibit the same qualities. In friendship, like attracts like. Assess your behavior occasionally to determine what kind of friend you are. Are you the kind of person you would like to have as a friend? Do you freely give more than you expect in return, or are you always asking and never giving? Do you take the time to stay in touch, to remember friends’ special occasions? When you become so consumed with your own interests that you forget about your friends, you are well on your way to becoming friendless. 

This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Visit us at

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Smart Electrofluidic Displays Best LCDs

    Smart Electrofluidic Displays Best LCDs
  • Organic materials were once touted as the next generation of displays—for instance, Apple is rumored to be introducing a new iPad sporting an OLED display later this year. Unfortunately, the billion-dollar cost of starting up new flat-panel manufacturing lines has display makers extending the lifetime of their existing LCD lines. Now researchers are touting a way to convert LCD manufacturing lines for next-generation electrofluidic displays that are brighter, faster and lower power than LCDs or OLEDs.Before the recession, liquid crystal displays (LCDs) were touted as a legacy technology that would slowly give way to organic light-emitting-diode displays (OLEDs). However, the consumer spending slowdown has instead led to LCD manufacturing overcapacity, prompting Sony and Toshiba to scrap plans for new OLED lines. To the rescue is a new electrofluidic display technology that offers displays that are brighter, faster and lower power than LCDs—and yet can be manufactured by retrofitting existing LCD manufacturing lines.
    The new electrofluidic display technology uses the same sort of inorganic manufacturing materials as LCDs, allowing their manufacturing lines to be converted over, rather than being made obsolete by organic LED displays. But the biggest advantage of electrofluidic displays is that they require zero power to maintain an image on the screen. Both LCD and OLED displays typically use either fluorescent or light-emitting-diode (LED) backlights for easy reading, but electrofluidic displays instead reflect ambient light.
    E-Ink already manufactures its zero-power electrophoretic display used by Amazon's Kindle, Sony's Reader, Barnes & Noble Nook and every other e-reader. Unfortunately, electrophoretic displays are only monochrome today, plus they are too slow to display video and other fast-changing content. Electrofluidic displays, on the other hand, are just as bright and low power as electrophoretic displays, but are as fast and colorful as LCDs.
    To unite the best of both worlds, University of Cincinnati Professor Jason Heikenfeld enlisted the support of DuPont and Sun Chemical to help develop its electrofluidic display, which the university has now licensed to startup Gamma Dynamics (Cincinnati). Created in the Novel Devices Laboratory at the University of Cincinnati, Gamma Dynamics is currently targeting the technology first for automated price tags on grocery store shelves and then for cell phones, e-books and touch-screen tablets.

    University of Cincinnati Professor Jason Heikenfeld, at left, and doctoral candidate Shu Yang demonstrate how much brighter their electrofluidic display (right) can be using incident light compared to a normal backlit LCD.

    Like an LCD, the interior layer of the electrofluidic display is liquid. However, unlike LCDs, the fluid is confined to pixel-sized reservoirs. When a voltage is applied to a pixel, the colored fluid is pumped into the pixel in front of a mirrored electrode, thus reflecting that color of light.
    To turn the pixel off, the colored fluid is pumped back into reservoir, thus turning it off. In either case, the pixel retains its state indefinitely when the power is turned off.
    Pigment fluid can be electrically attracted to the top cavity (making a color) or retreat to below the central mirror (making white), amplifying ambient light in an exceptionally bright display.
    According to the researchers, under normal ambient lighting conditions, electrofluidic displays are even brighter than LCDs and OLEDs, extending the battery of the devices using them compared with using backlights that run batteries down in a matter of hours.
    For mobile applications such as cell phones and touch-screen tablets, side-mounted LEDs can provide enough light to illuminate the electrofluidic display at night or in darkened rooms.

    A University of Cincinnati researcher holds prototypes of its electrofluidic display, which has been licensed to Gamma Dynamics (Cincinnati). 
  • Organic materials were once touted as the next generation of displays—for instance, Apple is rumored to be introducing a new iPad sporting an OLED display later this year. Unfortunately, the billion-dollar cost of starting up new flat-panel manufacturing lines has display makers extending the lifetime of their existing LCD lines. Now researchers are touting a way to convert LCD manufacturing lines for next-generation electrofluidic displays that are brighter, faster and lower power than LCDs or OLEDs.

Tech Improves Detection of Food-Borne Pathogens

    Tech Improves Detection of Food-Borne Pathogens
  • A combination of high-tech lasers and sophisticated computing is allowing machines to automatically detect bacteria in food samples. The system can even identify previously unknown pathogens.
  • A combination of high-tech lasers and sophisticated computing is allowing machines to automatically detect bacteria in food samples. The system can even identify previously unknown pathogens.Current approaches to food testing lack the technology and the efficiency to screen large samples for bacteria. Even with the FDA's many regulations, food-borne pathogens kill thousands of people in the United States each year—hundreds of thousands more are sickened.
    Salmonella bacteria are one of the more common causes of food-borne illness.
    Deadly bacteria like E. coli lurk unseen in everything from eggs to spinach to peanut butter. These bacteria can cause violent illnesses and even death. A new bacteria detection method from scientists at the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue University could improve the rapid detection of pathogens—thereby saving lives and improving our food supply.
    The scientists have developed an innovative, automated way to detect and classify the dangerous bacteria found in food. Their sophisticated statistical approach enables computers to improve their abilities to test samples. With complex new formulas, technological progress called "machine-learning" occurs: Computers can identify even unknown classes of food pathogens. The computers are also highly capable of detecting known pathogens, such as listeria, staphylococcus, salmonella, vibrio and E. coli.
    "The sheer number of existing bacterial pathogens and their high mutation rate make it extremely difficult to automate their detection," says M. Murat Dundar, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer science in the School of Science at IUPUI, and the leader of the research team. "There are thousands of different bacteria subtypes, and you can't collect enough subsets to add to a computer's memory so it can identify them when it sees them in the future. Unless we enable our equipment to modify detection and identification based on what it has already seen, we may miss discovering isolated or even major outbreaks."

    The team of researchers has created a prototype laser scanner. The light-scattering sensor is used by the formula-trained computers to detect and classify bacteria—even types not specifically programmed into the machines.
    "We are very excited because this new machine-learning approach is a major step toward a fully automated identification of known and emerging pathogens in real time, hopefully circumventing full-blown, food-borne illness outbreaks in the near future," Dundar explains. "Ultimately we would like to see this deployed to tens of centers as part of a national bio-warning system."
    "Our work is not based on any particular property of light scattering detection, and therefore it can potentially be applied to other label-free techniques for classification of pathogenic bacteria, such as various forms of vibrational spectroscopy," states Bartek Rajwa, Ph.D., the Purdue research leader.
    The researchers hope that their novel approach could be applied to the analysis of blood and other biological samples. Their research, which was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, appears in the October issue of the journal "Statistical Analysis and Data Mining." Other members of the team include Ferit Akova, a graduate student at the School of Science at IUPUI, and Purdue University researchers V. Jo Davisson, E. Daniel Hirleman, Arun K. Bhunia and J. Paul Robinson.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Marrying Wind Power with Electric Vehicles

    Marrying Wind Power with Electric Vehicles
  • A research project in Denmark is aiming to combine wind power and electric vehicles. The scientists are designing a system in which electric cars using smart meters will one day automatically start charging when there's an excess of wind-generated electricity.
  • A research project in Denmark is aiming to combine wind power and electric vehicles. The scientists are designing a system in which electric cars using smart meters will one day automatically start charging when there's an excess of wind-generated electricity.Talk about green nirvana. If a research project in Denmark goes as planned, electric cars using smart meters will one day automatically start charging when there's an excess of wind-generated electricity. It's a win-win all around.
    Such automated charging would overcome potential problems in regions of the world that expect to produce significant amounts of electricity from wind. In particular, intelligently marrying electric vehicle charging with spikes in wind generation could help stabilize a grid. It also eliminates the need to add large (and expensive) storage capacity to an existing grid infrastructure—something that many are exploring today.
    The project is called "Electric vehicles in a Distributed and Integrated market using Sustainable energy and Open Networks" (EDISON). The effort is being carried out by Denmark's largest energy company, DONG Energy, and the regional energy company of Oestkraft. Partners include the Danish Energy Association, Eurisco (a Danish research company), IBM, Siemens and the Technical University of Denmark.

    Windmills on the Denmark Island of Bornholm (source: IBM Research-Zurich).
    The initial goal of the EDISON project is to set up a testbed on the Denmark Island of Bornholm to study how energy systems function as the number of electric vehicles increases. Additionally, EDISON's aim is to offer a real-time dynamic response whenever wind production surges. This takes electric vehicle charging to a new level.
    The conventional thinking has always been that electric vehicles would charge at night. This has appeal, since electrical demand is lowest at night. By charging at night, when there is surplus generation capacity, utilities could avoid building additional power plants to meet the increased energy demands of electric vehicles.
    An extension of this idea has been to entice people to charge at night by offering time-of-day electrical rates that are significantly lower in non-peak times. For example, that is the goal of a new trial program being conducted by DTE Energy Co.'s Detroit Edison unit. In this effort to evaluate the effect of variable electricity rates for electric vehicles on its infrastructure, the utility is offering trial participants an on-peak charging rate of $0.18195 per kilowatt-hour, which applies from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday. The participants get a significantly lower off-peak rate of $0.07695 all other times.

    EDISON builds on the idea of charging when demand is low and there is surplus generation capacity. Specifically, it looks to use the storage capacity of electric vehicles as a type of buffer that helps smooth out bursts of wind power generation. This is something that is increasingly getting attention as more wind farms are deployed around the globe.
    "[Electric vehicles] have been around, but now market forces are aligning," said Clay Luthy, Global Distributed Energy Resource Leader in the IBM Global Energy and Utility Industry Group. "Most EVs will charge at night," he said, "so there's an opportunity for better integration."
    Specifically, unlike solar panels, wind systems produce electricity at night. In some locations, they actually produce more power at night than during the day.
    Focus on Denmark
    There are two drivers for the EDISON project. First, a sizable amount (about 20 percent) of Denmark's electricity is already produced by wind, and the amount is expected to grow significantly in the coming years.
    The second driver relates to electric vehicle adoption. Electric vehicle use in Denmark is expected to grow quickly due to strong European Union and other carbon emission mandates. In fact, upward of 10 percent of the country's vehicles are expected to be all-electric or hybrid-electric in the coming years.
    Prototype dashboard charging monitor for Project EDISON (source: IBM Research-Zurich).
    As part of the EDISON project, researchers will develop technologies (including smart meters and software) that synchronize the charging of the electric vehicles with the availability of wind in the grid.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Cell Phone Spectrometers Bring Tech to Classrooms

    Cell Phone Spectrometers Bring Tech to Classrooms
  • A scientist has developed a low-cost, cell-phone-based spectrometer—a basic device used in chemistry and other sciences. He hopes that the tool will bring critical thinking to classrooms and inspire other developers.
  • A scientist has developed a low-cost, cell-phone-based spectrometer—a basic device used in chemistry and other sciences. He hopes that the tool will bring critical thinking to classrooms and inspire other developers.Some high schools might soon need to rethink their policies against cell phone use in the classroom. A researcher at the University of Illinois has developed a low-cost, easy-to-use analytical chemistry instrument that uses students’ cell phones to bring technology to the classroom.
    The spectrometer is one of the most important basic chemistry instruments. The tool shines white light through a sample solution and allows scientists to determine chemical makeup depending on how much light is absorbed. The machine is used in most physical and biological sciences for identifying and quantifying substances.

    A standard spectrometer can cost several hundred dollars, while a high-end machine can cost thousands. Naturally, most high schools lack the budget to stock many of these machines. Even when the device is available, it fails to teach students the underlying properties of chemistry, since they’re likely to just use the machine and copy down numbers.

    Made of simple, low-cost components, the cell phone spectrometer costs under $3 (source: L. Brian Stauffer).
    A chemistry professor at the University of Illinois, Alexander Scheeline, has frequently dealt with these problems. “Science is basically about using your senses to see things,” he said in a statement. “It’s just that we’ve got so much technology that now it’s all hidden.”
    “The student gets the impression that a measurement is something that goes on inside a box and it’s completely inaccessible, not understandable—the purview of expert engineers,” he said. “That’s not what you want them to learn. In order to get across the idea, ‘I can do it, and I can see it, and I can understand it,’ they’ve go to build the instrument themselves.”

    Setting out to address these issues with spectrometers, Scheeline has designed a low-cost, simple, and open-interface machine. Although he realized that such a spectrometer might not be particularly sensitive or accurate, he saw these shortcomings as educational opportunities.
    “If you’re trying to teach someone an instrument’s limitations, it’s a lot easier to teach them when they’re blatant than when they’re subtle. Everything goes wrong out in the open,” he said.

    Scheeline’s spectrometer has remarkably simple and inexpensive components: just one light-emitting diode (LED) powered by a 3-volt battery—the type used to remotely unlock a car. Diffraction gratings and cuvettes, which hold sample solutions, cost just a few cents each and are readily available from scientific supply companies. Together, all of the parts cost less than three dollars. But Scheeline’s spectrometer still needed one crucial element: a photodetector, which could capture a spectrum for analysis.
    “All of a sudden, this light bulb went off in my head: a photodetector that everybody already has! Almost everybody has a cell phone, and almost all phones have a camera,” Scheeline said. “I realized, if you can get the picture into the computer, it’s only software that keeps you from building a cheap spectrophotometer.”

    Alexander Scheeline hopes his device will inspire other developers to bring low-cost technology to the classroom (source: L. Brian Stauffer).
    Scheeline wrote a computer program that analyzes spectra captured in JPEG photo files and posted it for free downloads online. He even uploaded instructions for how to build and use the cell phone spectrometer.
    Scheeline has successfully tested out his device in high school science programs in Atlanta and with students in Hanoi, Vietnam.
    “The potential is here to make analytical chemistry a subject for the masses rather than something that is only done by specialists,” Scheeline said. “There’s no doubt that getting the cost of equipment down to the point where more people can afford them in the education system is a boon for everybody.”

    Scheeline recently wrote about the potential of his device in the journal Applied Spectroscopy. He hopes that his device will inspire other scientists to develop low-cost, cell phone-based tools for classrooms.

Carbon Microchips Accelerate Beyond Silicon

    Carbon Microchips Accelerate Beyond Silicon
  • Pioneering engineering efforts at Georgia Tech are bringing carbon microchips closer to commercialization by fabricating pure carbon sheets—graphene—into the world's largest carbon-transistor array.
  • Pioneering engineering efforts at Georgia Tech are bringing carbon microchips closer to commercialization by fabricating pure carbon sheets—graphene—into the world's largest carbon-transistor array.Researchers around the world are inventing ways to harness carbon—an organic material—to build smaller, faster microchips that sidestep the looming problems with inorganic silicon, which is becoming increasingly difficult to fabricate at the atomic level. IBM, for instance, recently demonstrated how to fabricate field-effect transistors (FETs) by smoothing out carbon into atomically thin sheets, called graphene.
    Now the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) has advanced graphene one more step by inventing a "templated growth" technique for fabricating what they claim is the world's largest array of organic carbon-based graphene transistors.
     Georgia Tech's new "templated growth" technique forces graphene sheets (black hexagons) to crystallize on contoured edges on a silicon carbide substrate (source: Georgia Tech).
    Semiconductor researchers worldwide agree that pure carbon sheets of graphene are destined to enable the super-fast, ultra-high-density microchips of the future, but techniques for realizing that dream are all over the map. So far, the conventional chemical vapor deposition (CVD) techniques universally used to fabricate all silicon chips today—from Intel's iCore to USB flash drives—have not worked for graphene unless restricted to substandard wafers just of around an inch in area, compared with the 12-inch wafers used today for silicon chips.

    Georgia Tech's technique, on the other hand, could potentially be used on any-size wafer. The technique works by using a template to trace the contours of the desired circuitry on silicon carbide (SiC) wafers, then boiling off the silicon—allowing the resulting pure carbon to grow into transistor arrays along those templated contours. The resulting perfect arrays of graphene transistors side-steps the problems that prevented using conventional chemical-vapor deposition of graphene, followed by patterning it into circuits, as is done for silicon chips.

    After the graphene transistor channel is grown, conventional lithography can add a insulating dielectric and gate on top with the source and drain electrodes (gold) at each end of the channel (source: Georgia Tech). 
    The new "templated growth" technique, pioneered in the lab of Georgia Tech Professor Walter de Heer, has the potential to enable entire 12-inch wafers to be fabricated by growing billions of graphene transistors in one fell swoop. To demonstrate the technique, de Heer's lab recently showed an array of 10,000 graphene FETs crammed into an area of just 0.24 square centimeters—the densest graphene transistor array ever created.
    Funding for the project came from the National Science Foundation, the W.M. Keck Foundation, and the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration.

Motivational Monday

Thought for the Day
October 18, 2010
In today’s interdependent society, it is virtually impossible in any business, profession, or occupation for an individual to achieve great heights of success without the help of others. The best way to get friendly cooperation is to give it. When you make it a practice to encourage others and to help them advance in their careers whenever possible, most will reciprocate when you need their help. Give generously, and you will benefit in kind.
This positive message is brought to you by the Napoleon Hill Foundation. Visit us at We encourage you to forward this to friends and family. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Solar Wind Could Power Entire Globe

    Solar Wind Could Power Entire Globe
  • Scientists at Washington State University have designed a satellite that harnesses power from solar wind. A large enough satellite could generate 1 billion billion gigawatts—that's more than 100 billion times the power that humanity needs.
  • Scientists at Washington State University have designed a satellite that harnesses power from solar wind. A large enough satellite could generate 1 billion billion gigawatts—that's more than 100 billion times the power that humanity needs.Here at Smarter Technology, we've recently brought you the latest news in green power sources—everything from harnessing electricity from lightning to synthetic fuels to self-repairing solar cells. Now scientists from Washington State University could make all of these breakthroughs obsolete. A massive solar sail that harnesses the power in solar wind could produce a staggering amount of electricity—100 billion times more energy than humanity needs.

    Washington State University physicists Brooks Harrop and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, whose concept was recently published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, have suggested the use of a solar wind power satellite, which they have named the Dyson-Harrop satellite. In the satellite's design, a copper wire sent into space generates a magnetic field that can capture electrons from solar winds. The electrons are then channeled into a receiver, which produces a current. The wire and receiver could be housed within a circular solar sail.
    In theory, the Dyson-Harrop satellite could harvest colossal amounts of power. Even a relatively small model, New Scientist reports, with a 1-centimeter-wide, 300-meter-long copper wire, could create 1.7 megawatts of power—enough to power about 1,000 homes in the United States. A larger model, with a kilometer-long copper wire, could generate upward of a billion billion gigawatts. Such a massive satellite would require a 5,220-mile-wide sail, but its potential is huge: "… actually 100 billion times the power humanity currently requires," says Harrop.

    The energy ability of solar wind lies in its immense speed. Solar electrons—which don't act like wind on Earth—travel through the vacuum of space at several hundred kilometers per second. "It's quite amazing how much power it can actually produce," Schulze-Makuch, told Discovery News.
    While some of the harvested electricity would be used to generate the satellite's magnetic field, most of it would be used to power an infrared laser beam. This laser could transmit energy to stations in space, other satellites and bases on Earth.
    The major issue to consider is how the energy will be transported back to Earth. Since the satellite would be positioned millions of miles from our planet, even the most powerful laser would lose much of its original energy. John Mankins, president of consultancy firm Artemis Innovation, which specializes in space solar power, told New Scientist about these setbacks.
    "Two megawatts spread across areas that large are meaningless, less than moonlight," he said. The satellite "would require stupendously huge optics, such as a virtually perfect lens between maybe 10 to 100 kilometers across," he says. In order for an application to be practical, the Washington State University researchers say, more focused lasers would need to be invented.
    Despite these drawbacks, the use of a solar wind power satellite could be cheaper than other renewable energy options. According to the International Business Times, copper is easier to produce than photovoltaic materials, so this solution would be less expensive than installing an equivalent amount of solar cells into space.
    "This satellite is actually something that we can build, using modern technology and delivery methods," says Harrop.

State Governments Using Tech to Help Citizens Help Themselves

    State Governments Using Tech to Help Citizens Help Themselves
  • Three award-winning state IT projects are reducing the cost—and tedium—of public service by better enabling citizens to track down information about child support, pollution and even available college aid.
  • Three award-winning state IT projects are reducing the cost—and tedium—of public service by better enabling citizens to track down information about child support, pollution and even available college aid.By now, it's no surprise that government agencies are getting more innovative in providing services to citizens. After all, the most tech-savvy president now resides in the White House. And local and state governments are also demonstrating more than ever that they "get it" when it comes to tapping upon digital tools to get the job done.
    These days, however, tech solutions launched by state governments are often about enabling these citizens to better serve themselves. At least that's the impression conveyed by several states that recently won "Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Information Technology" awards from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers. Here are three citizen "self-service" project winners that are empowering taxpayers to better seek—and find—what they need:
    Arkansas's YOUniversal Financial Aid Management System: Millions of dollars in state scholarship and aid funds have remained unused because students, parents and high-school counselors have been unaware that the money was available, or the process to apply for the funds was too confusing and unclear. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education thus created the YOUniversal system to consolidate the application for 21 financial aid programs into one database. From the user's perspective, the Microsoft-based system guides inquiring students, parents and school staff through a series of questions—such as the student's age, GPA and household income level—to more easily connect them with the appropriate available assistance opportunity. The system is projected this year to offer more than 50,000 scholarships with a value of at least $150 million, up from an estimated $48 million in aid before the launch.
    Pennsylvania's child-support portal: In Pennsylvania, an estimated 10 percent of the population is involved with a child-support situation, whether they're parents, children or employers of parents. In the past, the only way for these participants to ask questions or update information was to either call or visit a local state office. This, along with individuals being unable to show up at hearings and other proceedings, led to unnecessary time burdens and logjams for case workers.
    That's when Pennsylvania decided to launch its Child Support Website. The portal integrates voice-recognition and Web self-service technologies to allow users to get answers to their own questions, freeing up case workers to focus on tracking down missing parents and monitoring cases. The system provides seven different user "viewpoints," including links for those paying and receiving support, and for employers who are required to deduct funds from paychecks to ensure support is paid. It provides "e-reminders" to participants so they can better track their court dates and payment schedules. It allows users to automatically update personal information, such as addresses and phone numbers, thereby significantly reducing case workers' workloads.
    Among the benefits in ROI, the state has saved about $15 million through the reduction of no-show appointments alone. And an extra $3.5 million in support is being collected every year thanks to the system's wage-attachment function.

    Minnesota's "What's in My Neighborhood" Website: Given concerns over emissions, water contamination and other environmental hazards, average citizens may sometimes wonder how safe their communities are. In seeking to provide greater transparency, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency expanded its "What's in My Neighborhood" portal, allowing residents to access information about air, water and waste permits impacting more than 150,000 facilities throughout the state. Using a map and text interfaces, they can keep up with inspections, enforcement activities and other developments that affect their community. The topic points covered by the site includes air emissions, wastewater discharges and solid/hazardous waste activity. As a result, members of the public have access to data on an estimated 30 times the number of facilities than they did before.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Web Browsers ??

Converting Waste Heat into Electricity

    Converting Waste Heat into Electricity
  • A new device that captures waste heat and converts it into electricity could increase the efficiency of solar panels, car engines and power plants—all while rendering CFCs and complicated turbines obsolete.
  • A new device that captures waste heat and converts it into electricity could increase the efficiency of solar panels, car engines and power plants—all while rendering CFCs and complicated turbines obsolete.A few weeks ago, I wrote about a new technique by which energy can be harvested from the air. Now scientists at the University of Arizona (UA) are looking to harness power from waste heat with a theoretical device that could reduce fossil fuel use, increase factory efficiencies and make chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) obsolete.
    Current methods of heat conversion, such as refrigeration and steam turbines, require complex mechanics and ozone-depleting chemicals. In the new theoretical model, called a molecular thermoelectric device, a rubberlike polymer is placed between two metals, which serve as electrodes. The material could prove to be an inexpensive and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional heat-conversion devices.
    The ringlike structure of the molecules causes electrons to interfere with one another and build up voltage (source: Justin Bergfield, University of Arizona).
    "Thermoelectricity makes it possible to cleanly convert heat directly into electrical energy in a device with no moving parts," says Justin Bergfield, a doctoral candidate in the UA College of Optical Sciences. "Our colleagues in the field tell us they are pretty confident that the devices we have designed on the computer can be built with the characteristics that we see in our simulations."
    The scientists' work relies on basic laws of quantum physics, particularly wave-particle duality. In this law, tiny particles, such as electrons, can exist as both particles and waves.
    "In a sense, an electron is like a red sports car," explains Bergfield. "The sports car is both a car and it's red, just as the electron is both a particle and a wave. The two are properties of the same thing. Electrons are just less obvious to us than sports cars."
    The team applied the laws of quantum physics to their work with polyphenyl ethers, molecules that spontaneously amass into polymers. Polyphenyl ether molecules have backbones of benzene rings, which form from carbon atoms. The unique chain-link structure of these molecules allows electrons to easily travel.
    "We had both worked with these molecules before and thought about using them for a thermoelectric device," Bergfield says, "but we hadn't really found anything special about them until Michelle Solis, an undergrad who worked on independent study in the lab, discovered that, low and behold, these things had a special feature. As you increase the number of benzene rings in each molecule, you increase the power generated."

    In the specially designed molecules, electron waves—passing through the benzene rings at different intervals—cancel each other out through a process known as quantum interference. Interrupting the electric flow by placing a temperature difference across the circuit leads to a build-up of voltage between the two electrodes.
    "We are the first to harness the wave nature of the electron and develop a concept to turn it into usable energy," states Charles Stafford, an associate professor of physics at UA.
    Charles Stafford (left) and Justin Bergfield demonstrate how electrons flow around a benzene ring (Daniel Stolte, University of Arizona). 
    The new device requires no moving parts and is self-contained, easy to maintain and inexpensive to manufacture compared with current technology.
    "You could just take a pair of metal electrodes and paint them with a single layer of these molecules," Bergfield explains. "That would give you a little sandwich that would act as your thermoelectric device. With a solid-state device, you don't need cooling agents, you don't need liquid nitrogen shipments, and you don't need to do a lot of maintenance.
    "The effects we see are not unique to the molecules we used in our simulation," Bergfield continues. "Any quantum-scale device where you have a cancellation of electric charge will do the trick, as long as there is a temperature difference. The greater the temperature difference, the more power you can generate."
    The scientists envision many possible applications for their device, from solar panels to car engines. "Solar panels get very hot and their efficiency goes down," Stafford states. "You could harvest some of that heat and use it to generate additional electricity while simultaneously cooling the panel and making its own photovoltaic process more efficient.
    "With a very efficient thermoelectric device based on our design, you could power about 200 100-watt light bulbs using the waste heat of an automobile," he says. "Put another way, one could increase the car's efficiency by well over 25 percent, which would be ideal for a hybrid since it already uses an electrical motor."
    The scientists' findings were published in the September issue of the journal ACS Nano. Funding was provided by the UA physics department.

New Technology Can Rewire a Damaged Brain

  • Researchers at two Midwestern universities are working to create an electronic device that is capable of rewiring the human brain. Such technology could dramatically improve the prognoses for people suffering from brain damage.
  • Researchers at two Midwestern universities are working to create an electronic device that is capable of rewiring the human brain. Such technology could dramatically improve the prognoses for people suffering from brain damage.A few weeks ago, Smarter Technology wrote about a virtual reality technology being used to treat post-traumatic stress syndrome in Iraqi War veterans. Veterans, who often suffer from physical in addition to psychological trauma, have inspired another technology that could help millions who have brain damage. A team of researchers is creating an electronic device that can rewire brain connectivity and help restore normal behavior and movement.
    The human brain can become damaged during a wide number of traumatic events. Brain injury can lead to a slew of symptoms, such as loss of coordination, balance, memory and mobility. Emotional side effects can include mood swings, anxiety, depression and aggression.
    An injured brain can cause side effects like loss of memory, paralysis and depression (source: NIH). 
    Even with improvements in helmets and armor, soldiers at war are at a high risk of contracting brain injuries. Coupled with the symptoms of post-traumatic-stress syndrome, brain injuries can be particularly devastating for veterans.
    During development, the brain naturally builds and solidifies communication pathways between neurons. Traumatic injury can cause these pathways to become damaged or destroyed. In the month following an injury, the brain redevelops, with certain parts of the brain undergoing widespread, but not always perfect, rewiring.

    Pedram Mohseni, a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Case Western Reserve University, and Randolph J. Nudo, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology at Kansas University Medical Center, are working to improve the redevelopment of the brain after injury. The team hopes that, in the weeks after trauma, repeated communications between distant neurons might help restore brain connectivity.

    "The month following injury is a window of opportunity," Mohseni says. "We believe we can do this with an injured brain, which is very malleable."
    The scientists have built a multichannel microelectronic device that can bypass the gaps left in the brain after injury. Currently called a "brain-machine-brain interface," the device has a microchip on a circuit board smaller than a quarter. The microchip is able to amplify brain signals produced by neurons. Using an algorithm, it can separate these signals from noise and other background disturbances. After identifying a signal, the microchip transmits it to a neuron somewhere else in the brain—thereby artificially connecting two neural regions.
    Connected to microelectrodes implanted in the brain, the device currently must be used outside the body. Eventually, however, the whole microchip system could be implanted. In a rat model, the tool has been successful in restoring brain connectivity. The researchers are now developing a prototype for human testing.
    The study, which began in 2007, received a $1.44 million grant in September from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. The scientists say the device could be available for patient use within the next 10 years.

The BDPA Insider – October 10, 2010

The BDPA Insider – October 10, 2010

The BDPA Insider – October 10, 2010

What better way to start the day than with your weekly message from BDPA!

In this issue:

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We've been providing job seeker services since 2001 and in light of the current economic climate, we think our services are even more important to help job seekers advance their careers.

We continue to look for new and innovative ways to help IT Job Seekers pursue exciting and challenging careers in technology. For example, we just created the IT Job Seeker Idea Exchange ( to give job seekers an online forum to share best practices and get discovered.

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Act now! Survey closes 10/24/2010. Survey results will be published on Blacks Gone Geek Blog ( on 11/6/2010.

By Vera Holman
In case you didn’t know, there are over 300 twitter clients. Some for the desktop; but most, service the mobile user. When our need to communicate 24/7 became paramount, the Internet came to the rescue with what we call, “Twitter” and the information junkies of the world rejoiced. Most of the clients provide timelines, direct messaging, replies, retweets, search, trends, favorite’s listing, embedded photos, character count, hyperlink shortening, geo location and draft messaging across platforms (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc.) and some just allow status updates…yep NO timeline! Since iPhone was the first, it appears iPhone has more offerings than the BlackBerry or Android Smartphone. I was really surprised when the original Twitter application released its latest version of the client and it looked like the “other guys”. I guess the other guys built a better mouse trap! So who has the best performance, price and “bells and whistles” that add value. I decided to load fourteen clients on my iPhone and conduct a post User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Hence, real-time testing on my personal phone; bear in mind several clients where patched during the 100-day testing period. Typing vertical and on other days typing horizontal … then there are days when I have no idea what the word was … a dysfunction of iPhone’s autocorrect … LOL!!!

Click here for the full article:

Soulclap to BDPA Chicago chapter member Bruce Montgomery for pointing us to Google Code-in.  Google created this contest, starting on November 22, 2010, to introduce pre-university students to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible.
Click here for the full article:

Author: Alan Norton

Career prospects have changed dramatically from previous generations. Alan Norton offers this wake-up call for IT pros who may still cling to certain expectations — like salary increases, job advancements, benefits, and a nice retirement package.
Click here for the full article:

Microsoft recently announced the availability of a request for proposals (RFP) for the Microsoft Elevate America community initiative. Microsoft will contribute $4 million in cash and up to $6 million in software, plus technology skills training curriculum, over the next two years to support nonprofit organizations providing IT skills training in their communities to help people improve their skills and find employment. 
Click here for the full article:

from Leadership Solutions by Deborah Chambers Chima
‘Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
Do you realize one of the best strategies to ensure you reach your career goals is to first collaborate with others to help them reach their goals ?  I know. It probably seems counter-intuitive to expect that in this age of fast pace, ever changing work dynamics,  you need to consider how you can help other people be successful.  Why? Because it is only when you reach out to help someone solve a challenge do they really began to understand all that you have to offer. The more others know about your skills due to a personal interaction, the more they will want to collaborate with you. However, let me be clear. The act of being collaborative must be sincere and authentic if you desire to achieve cooperation and reciprocation. Over the years as I have worked to hone my ability to be an effective leader,  I have discovered a profound truth. I have discovered that the benefits of being collaborative far outweigh the travails of going it alone, 99 percent of the time.

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It takes more than a resume and good cover letter to land a job these days. Employers are now looking beyond the resume and into other examples such as verifiable work experience, websites, blogs, contests won and even viral videos that separate a job seeker from the pack.

One of the biggest differentiator of job seekers is verifiable industry experience. For programmers involved in open source - a very hot job market at the moment - employers look for programmers who have submitted code, which not only proves technical experience but their ability to collaborate with other developers.

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by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
It's one of those sticky questions that divides career counselors. If you got 100 of them in a room, 50 would likely say yes, you should list a career objective on your resume; the other half would probably say no.

Those arguing against objectives say they are too limiting and usually poorly constructed. Those in favor say that employers want to be able to determine in just a few seconds what you want to do for the organization, and what you're good at. An objective can help meet that employer need. To some employers, the lack of an objective translates into a jobseeker who doesn't know what he or she wants. On the other hand, numerous employers say they rarely see a well-written objective.

Click here for the full article:

With so many people competing for so few jobs, savvy job seekers are looking for any way they can differentiate themselves from their competition and stand out to prospective employers in their job searches. This need to stand out has driven some job seekers to promote their experience in some wacky ways, jazz up their resumes or develop unique personal brands.

Click here for the full article:

Please accept our invitation to join us in the City of the Big Shoulders by registering for the 33rd Annual National BDPA Conference, August 3-6, 2011 at the Hilton Chicago.
Early bird registration for $350 now open!
Click here to register for the 2011 National BDPA Conference today!

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