Curating the Internet: Science and technology digest for March 30, 2020

in STEMGeeks2 years ago (edited)

Researchers devise AI system to reduce congestion and fuel consumption; Educators and students face challenges in the world's largest-ever experiment in distance-learning; College senior discovers 1862 letter by President William Mckinley; Animations showing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic over time; and a Steem essay informs us that Wynn Resort is paying idled workers in order to retain their knowledge


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First posted on my Steem blog: StemGeeks, SteemIt, SteemPeak*, SteemSTEM.


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  1. How AI can reduce traffic congestion and fuel consumption - A team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) collected several datasets of actual traffic and stop-light observations and combined that information with fuel consumption estimates from the US Department of Energy (DOE). This information was passed through a series of neural networks for training and simulation. In the end, the resultant algorithms managed to save as much as 25% on fuel costs, with no overall reduction in mobility. Jevon's Paradox comes to mind, however. It occurs to me that people might respond to a system that prioritizes vehicles with high fuel consumption by increasing the use of those sorts of vehicles. -h/t Communications of the ACM: Artificial Intelligence

  2. The Biggest Distance-Learning Experiment In History: Week One - This article describes the challenges faced by students and teachers who have been thrust into the "biggest distance-learning experiment in history". For teachers, this includes the fact that they have been thrust into the need for radical transformation at impossibly short time frames, and also the need to find balance between "synchronous learning" - where students and teachers are online together, and "asynchronous learning" - where students are given assignments and work independently. For students, past studies have shown that students learn better in person than online, and that the difference is widest among children who are already facing economic challenges. To try to close the gap, some researchers are advocating a "high touch" hybrid approach between synchronous and asynchronous learning for younger learners, but this would require a great deal of support from parents and/or caregivers. -h/t Daniel Lemire

  3. Student finds letter written by former U.S. president at Ramsdell House - A college senior who was employed as an intern with the Z.D. Ramsdell Civil War Home Museum in Ceredo, West Virginia made the discovery of a lifetime when she uncovered a letter that is believed to have been written by William Mckinley in 1862, when he was a member of the 23rd Ohio Infantry to Ramsdell. At the time, Ramsdell House is believed to have been one of the last stops on the Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves make their way to Freedom in the North. Discovered by Morehead State Senior class member, Isabella Carpintero, the letter is being preserved at Ramsdell House, and a copy of it has been sent to the McKinley Presidential Museum and Library for documentation and authentication purposes. -h/t

  4. The Covid-19 pandemic in two animated charts - The post has animated charts showing the number of reported COVID-19 cases and the number of reported fatalities from the disease, each broken out by country over time. I don't see a way to embed them, so you'll have to click through to see them.

  5. Steem @doitvoluntarily: Wynn Resort Paying Employees To Retain Knowledge And Experience - In the face of coronavirus related shutdowns in its Las Vegas salons, poker clubs, and strip clubs, Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts says that the company's executives have given up a portion of their salaries, but that the firm will continue paying lower level employees. He says that he sees this as preferable to losing the knowledge that they could potentially take with them, and that, "I can't imagine going out (to) rehire and retrain 13,000 people. I'd rather keep the knowledge and experience that we have now in the service standards". Maddox also notes that the firm will reassess the situation in a couple of weeks. (A 10% beneficiary setting has been applied to this post for @doitvoluntarily.)

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