Steem's Premier STEM digest: March 13, 2021

in hive-109160 •  2 months ago  (edited)

A TED talk on "deep tech": what is it and how does it transform the impossible into the possible?; A look back at the Agile Manifesto on its 20 year anniversary of publication; Dr. Fauci expresses concerns about a possible mental health pandemic; Quantum mechanics blurs the line between cause and effect ; and IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos


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  1. What is deep tech? A look at how it could shape the future | Antoine Gourévitch - This talk was given in October, 2020 and posted in the TED RSS feed on March 10. In the talk, Antoine Gourévitch discusses the topic of "Deep Tech". Gourévitch describes deep tech as a research and engineering ecosystem that operates as a blend of fields and focuses on fundamental issues that are so complex that they require expertise in many fields like, "synthetic biology, quantum programming, artificial intelligence and many others". With this approach, Gourévitch argues that researchers are transforming the impossible into the possible. He also describes rules for managing risks in deep tech. These include:
    (i) Be problem focused, not technology focused;
    (ii) Focus on combining, interesecting, and converging among cross-disciplinary team members;
    (iii) Adopt a design approach that is driven by deep tech; and
    (iv) adopt a design to cost approach.

  2. The Agile Manifesto 20 years on: agility in software delivery is still a work in progress - ZDNet looks at the state of agile programming on the 20th anniversary of the Agile Manifesto Kief Morris, principal cloud technologist at ThoughtWorks argues that most enterprises are supportive of agile ideas, but that these ideas sometimes take a back seat to other priorities. This thought is extended by Bob Ritchie, VP of Software at SAIC, who argues that agile should start a as a philosophy, not as a particular solution to a problem. Instead, he suggests that solutions should emerge by practicing the philosophy. Another perspective comes from Brian Dawson, DevOps evangelist from CloudBees. Dawson argues that the corporate world is not even close to the ideas of the Agile Manifesto. He agrees that the vision is closer than ever, but compares the ponderous slowness of transformation to the act of turning a tanker. In short, he says that progress is, "slow and incremental". The trio also report that some organizations have adopted a maladjusted practice of weaponizing metrics, and most efforts miss the ability to measure value and outcomes instead of tasks and effort. This is amplified by Morris, who notes that, the Agile Manifesto's suggestion to value "individuals and interactions over processes and tools" is hard to live up to. Capgemini DevOps architect, Venky Chennapragada also suggests that most agile efforts still miss the upfront effort of "value stream mapping". The article closes with this excerpt from the Agile Manifesto:
    "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

    Through this work we have come to value:

    • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
    • Working software over comprehensive documentation
    • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
    • Responding to change over following a plan

  3. Fauci Worries About Possible Post-COVID 'Mental Health Pandemic' - Some lockdown skeptics might say that he's "a day late and a dollar short", here. Anthony Fauci, MD tells CBS' Norah McDonald that he's worried about a mental health pandemic to follow the viral pandemic that we've been living through. Fauci adds that in addition to an increase in mental health problems, we may also see an increase in other medical issues because people have delayed routine medical treatments. Fauci is quoted as saying,
    "I hope we don't see an increase in some preventable situations that would not have happened if people had the normal access to medical care, which clearly was interrupted by the shutdown associated with COVID-19."
    The article also cites an American Psychological Associatoin (APA) Survey, saying:
    The prolonged stress experienced by adults, especially the high levels of stress reported by Americans directly linked to the pandemic, is seriously affecting mental and physical health, including changes to weight, sleep and alcohol use.

    Update: You can watch his answer on Twitter:


  4. Quantum Mischief Rewrites the Laws of Cause and Effect - According to this article, quantum physicists have been intrigued during the last decade, by the realization that the phrases "A causes B" and "B causes A" can be true simultaneously. Like many of the confusing aspects of quantum mechanics, this possibility - a quantum switch - is a consequence of the widely discussed phenomenon of quantum superposition, where a particle exists in an infinite number of simultaneous states. Časlav Brukner, from the University of Vienna, admits that the possibility seems bizarre, but the University of Bristol's Giulia Rubino notes that the phenomenon might even be useful in every day life. Rubino led the team who observed this quantum switch experimentally for the first time in 2017. Recent advances in understanding have been coming more quickly, with much of the credit given to a paper by Lucien Hardy, who was able to mathematically reconstruct all of quantum physics based on just five axioms. In the following decades, Hardy's work has been directed towards reconciling quantum mechanics and general relativity. This effort led to Hardy's 2005 paper introducing the "causuloid" framework. Hardy's goal has been to reconstruct general relativity in the causuloid framework, but in the meantime other researchers observed that it led to the quantum switch phenomonon and sparked numerous offshoots to investigate the concept.

  5. Video Friday: A Walking, Wheeling Quadruped - Here are some videos from the IEEE Spectrum's weekly selection of awesome robot videos:
    A new quadruped from tencent
    A robotic prank to mask shame one's coworkers
    A soft robot from Georgia Tech that uses a liquid metal actuator and compliant metals. The robot is inspired by the motion of Xenia Coral and it's described in this paper.
    DeepRobotics Jueying Mini Lite looks like Spot, but the robots were actually inspired by Bruce Lee's Kung Fu attire. In this video, the robot demonstrates motions like walking, trotting, and backflips. It also shows off its speech recognition and control, active braking, human following, and other capabilities.

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Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses in times when we are faced with uncertainty, or the unknown, or situations of change or crisis. So it is normal and understandable for people to experience these feelings in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adding to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 is the impact of major changes in our daily lives caused by efforts to contain and slow the spread of the virus. Faced with the new and challenging realities of physical distancing, working from home, temporary unemployment, educating children at home, and a lack of physical contact with loved ones and friends, it is important that we take care of both our physical health and mental.
OPS / OMS, together with its partners, is providing guidance and assistance to the Region of the Americas during the COVID-19 pandemic, to help support the mental and general well-being of all people, especially those who may need additional support. during these difficult times

That's an interesting excerpt, but where does it come from? Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall seeing it in the articles that I linked to in this post.