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+ - The Real-Life Dangers of Augmented Reality->

Tekla Perry writes: Today's augmented reality devices have yet to go through extensive tests of their impact on their wearers' health and safety. But by looking at existing research involving visual and motor impairments, two Kaiser Permanente researchers find they can draw conclusions about the promise and perils of augmented reality, and point to ways wearable developers can make these devices safer.
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+ - A Tool for Analyzing H-1B Visa Applications Reveals Tech Salary Secrets->

Tekla Perry writes: "The golden age of engineers is not over," says a French software engineer who developed a tool for mining U.S. Department of Labor visa application data, but, he says, salaries appear to be leveling off. Indeed, salary inflation for software engineers and other technical professionals at Google and Facebook has slowed dramatically, according to his database, and Airbnb and Dropbox pay is down a little, though Netflix pay is through the roof. The data also shows that some large companies appear to be playing games with titles to deflate salaries, and Microsoft is finally offering technology professionals comparable salaries to Apple and Google. There's a lot more to be discovered in this interactive database, and researchers are getting ready to mine it.
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+ - Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have been immortalized in wax. Who's next?->

Tekla Perry writes: Madame Tussauds is looking for its next tech icon. It has narrowed the voting down to ten. Should the winner be Woz or Musk? Larry Page without Sergey Brin? Mark Benioff or Frank Oppenheimer? George Lucas or Edwin Catmull? Or if you think it is time for a woman to join the tech twosome, your choices are Marissa Mayer, Sheryl Sandberg, or Jane Metcalf. The voting is open.
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+ - A Cheap, Ubiquitous Earthquake Warning System->

Tekla Perry writes: Earthquake alert systems that give a 10 or 20 second warning of an impending temblor, enabling automatic systems to shut down and people to take cover, are hugely expensive to build and operate. (One estimate is $38.3 milllion for equipment to span California, and another $16.1 million annually to operate.) But a Palo Alto entrepreneur thinks he's got a way to sense earthquakes and provide alerts far more cheaply and with much greater resolution. And he's got money from the National Science Foundation to begin the first test of his system--covering the Bay Area from Santa Cruz to Napa and the cities of Hollister, Coalinga, and Parkfield. He starts that test next month.
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+ - Robocar Technologies to Guard the Smart Home->

Tekla Perry writes: A string of home burglaries in Palo Alto inspired Alex Teichman, a computer vision expert working on autonomous vehicles at Stanford, to build a home security system that understands the difference between a bad guy--and your dog (even if the bad guy is crawling around and barking). He's since started a yet-unnamed company to develop the "eyes" of the Internet of Things, funding is in place, and he plans to start hiring next month.
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+ - Is Apple "Poaching" or Just "Hiring" For Its Rumored Electric Car Project?-> 1 1

Tekla Perry writes: The rumors about Apple’s move into the electric car business have been rapidly proliferating. While Apple has been able to keep many of the details of the project, whatever it is, under wraps, it has had less success keeping its hiring activities quiet. Battery company A123 filed a "poaching" lawsuit, Samsung execs told the Korea Times about the attractions Apple has to offer, and Tesla's Elon Musk basically figures that if he's going head to head for an engineer his personality will tip the balance. Engineers are flowing from other car companies to Apple as well. It's a good time to be a EV engineer in Silicon Valley.
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Comment: More Numbers to Consider (Score 1) 331 331

Got input from IBM, talked to Cringely, heard from lots of folks in the trenches--and came up with a few more numbers to consider, like 10,000 (Number IBM is now suggesting is accurate), 50,000 (number laid off second half of 2014 in India), 20,800 (26 percent of U.S. workforce, which some say is target) and others. See

+ - Massive Worldwide Layoff Underway At IBM->

Tekla Perry writes: Project Chrome, a massive layoff that IBM is pretending is not a massive layoff, is underway. At more than 100,000 people, it is projected to be the largest mass layoff by any U.S. corporation in at least 20 years. Alliance@IBM, the IBM employees’ union, says it has so far collected reports of 5000 jobs eliminated, but those are just numbers of those getting official layoff notices. According to anecdotal reports, IBM appears to be abusing the performance appraisal system to cut additional employees without officially laying them off. And all this comes at the same time that CEO Ginni Rometty gets a big raise. "Just call her Machete Rommety" says one employee.
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+ - Maser Man Charles Townes Dead At 99

Tekla Perry writes: How does a scientist live to 99? Keep working, keep doing new things, but don't even think about science one full day a week.

Maser and laser inventor Charles Townes died yesterday at age 99, after a nearly 80-year career. University of California at Berkeley professors reported that the Nobel Prize winner was still working in his office or laboratory daily as recently as last year.

I interviewed Townes in 1991 when he was 76, an age at which many would have at least contemplated retirement, but not only was he still as busy as ever, working six days a week and often into the evening, he had just moved into a new area of research—using infrared spatial interferometry for astronomy. “It is a tough thing to do, but I think quite important,” he told me at the time. “In the long run it could open up a very exciting field.” It did indeed, and he published papers on the subject, built a laser interferometer for the Mt. Wilson observatory, and advanced the field for decades. Here’s what else he told me about discovering the maser and laser and the importance of changing research topics before becoming stale.

+ - Former Microsoft Researchers Find New Homes at VMWare, Google, Apple, Amazon->

Tekla Perry writes: In September 2014, Microsoft suddenly shut down its Silicon Valley research lab, cutting loose 50-plus top researchers. Four months later, many are already settled into new homes. No surprise, a good-sized group went just across the street to Google. VMware, having picked up a Chief Research Officer from Microsoft earlier in the year, was also quick to gather up a critical mass. Microsoft's loss was also a gain for Amazon, Zynga, and others.
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+ - Does Tesla's fleet of X-men robots pass the diversity test?->

Tekla Perry writes: Tesla Motors named eight robots after X-Men characters, but only included one female character (that's 12.5 percent female, for those keeping diversity stats), and bypassed other more notable X-Men in favor of minor character Vulcan. Meanwhile, Tesla's and Lyft's recent remodels embrace Silicon Valley workplace trends (gotta have a plant wall or something strange hanging from the ceiling, along with a quirky photo display.) Will Lyft's secret room start a new trend?
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+ - Magic Leap Draws From the Bay Area to Assemble Its Brain Trust->

Tekla Perry writes: Stealthy "cinematic reality" company Magic Leap may be based in Florida--but it's doing a lot of hiring from the Bay Area, scooping up engineers from Pixar, Google, Apple, and Intel--along with a few WIllow Garage alums. And it's got openings for many many more. Are all these folks with long-term Silicon Valley roots really going to move to South Florida? Or is Magic Leap getting ready to open up a Silicon Valley research center to house the brain trust it is gathering? Here's what we know about Magic Leap and its technology, who's joining it, and what other kinds of engineers the company aims to hire.
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Simplicity does not precede complexity, but follows it.