Posts by Ron Recinto

  • Detroit files for bankruptcy protection

    Ron Recinto at Yahoo! News1 yr ago

    DETROIT -- Saying he "didn't want to go in this direction," Detroit Mayor Dave Bing announced the filing of Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection for the city, and that city leaders and residents "will have to make the best of it." Detroit is now the largest municipal bankruptcy case in U.S. history.

    "It's going to make the citizens better off," Bing said in a news conference "It's a new start for us."

    The 16-page filing outlined several factors contributing to the city's financial woes, including a long-dwindling tax base, population flight, financial mismanagement and overall decay of a city that once had more than 2 million residents and was the world's hub of auto manufacturing.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, the city is renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt. Chapter 9 bankruptcy would seek protection from creditors and unions.

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  • Researchers combat obesity with tech tools popular with teens

    Ron Recinto at The Lookout1 yr ago

    The best weapon in the battle against obesity may already be in the hands of children and teenagers.

    That’s the thinking behind the work of several researchers and technologists around the country who hope to turn cell phones into devices that can help young people make healthier food and lifestyle choices.

    A recent Pew Internet study found that 78 percent of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half of them – 47 percent -- own smartphones with computing capability.

    “It’s interesting because most often we think using technology is part of the problem,” said Dr. Susan Woolford of the Pediatric Comprehensive Weight Management Center at the University of Michigan, pointing to video games and other uses of technology that have made teens more sedentary. “We actually hope that using this new technology will help us.”

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  • Christmas trees, in good supply, defy record-breaking droughts

    Ron Recinto at The Lookout1 yr ago

    This year's severe drought in the U.S. may have wiped out corn and wheat crops, but people fond of live Christmas trees don't have to worry about the dry season's effects this holiday season or for years to come.

    "Farm trees harvested this year aren't impacted at all," said Rick Dungey, the National Christmas Tree Association's spokesman. "The trees have been in the ground for a number of years, and they have established a good root system and are less susceptible to weather changes."

    Data from the Palmer Drought Severity Index show 54.6 percent of the contiguous 48 states were in severe drought. According to a National Climatic Data Center report, it was the 10th-most severe drought since 1895.

    Dungey said since it takes conifers several years to grow to sizes customers want—between 5 feet to 9 feet—tree growers can manage crops over several seasons, accounting for damage done by the 2012 drought's scorching heat and dry conditions.

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  • MIT micro-bots could make a lot of macro-jobs much easier

    Ron Recinto at The Lookout1 yr ago

    Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing the world's smallest chain robot, less than the size of a dime, designed to link up to others like them and shape-shift into a range of micro-tools.

    Put together, four of these machines, with a specialized engine and covered with rings and fittings, look like a tiny, brass mechanical inchworm, but with more versatility and usefulness. "It's a step toward the goal of programmable matter," said Neil Gershenfeld, head of MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms where the micro-bots were created. "The goal is not to just to produce a shape. This is something that can change shape."

    Programmable matter is something that can change form based on external commands. Because of this micro-robot's size, a long string of them could be, in theory, programmed to turn into an infinite number of forms. For example, a chain of them could form a wrench. When that tool is no longer needed, the string of robots could be reprogrammed into a coffee cup.

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