AI, robotics, Boston Dynamics, innovative New Year celebration
The author writes, “Boston Dynamics released a video on Tuesday showing four of its robots dancing to the ‘60s hit ‘Do You Love Me?’ by The Contours, and it caught fire online. Two of the company’s humanoid Atlas models do the twist, the mashed potato and other classic dance moves, joined by Spot, a doglike robot, and Handle, a wheeled robot. ... ‘Our whole crew got together to celebrate the start of what we hope will be a happier year,’ the Waltham, Massachusetts, company says in the caption.” Photo credit: Web Summit / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Cohen Predicts People Trump Pardoned May Testify Against Him ; Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns ; and More Picks 12/31

Michael Cohen Predicts People Trump Pardoned May Testify Against Him (Russ)

The author writes, “President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen suggested Monday that recent recipients of presidential pardons may turn on Trump and be forced to testify against him due to their lack of Fifth Amendment protection.”

‘Toxic Individualism’: Pandemic Politics Driving Health Care Workers From Small Towns (Reader Jim)

The author writes, “Ten years ago, Dr. Kristina Darnauer and her husband, Jeff, moved to tiny Sterling, Kan., to raise their kids steeped in small-town values. ‘The values of hard work, the value of community, taking care of your neighbor, that’s what small towns shout from the rooftops, this is what we’re good at. We are salt of the earth people who care about each other,’ Darnauer says. ‘And here I am saying, then wear a mask because that protects your precious neighbor.’ But Darnauer’s medical advice and moral admonition were met with contempt from some of her friends, neighbors and patients. People who had routinely buttonholed her for quick medical advice at church and kids’ ballgames were suddenly treating her as the enemy and regarding her professional opinion as suspect and offensive.”

Nearly a Quarter of Boston Public High School Students Not Logging into Class Daily as Course Failure Rate Rises (Dana)

The author writes, “Nearly a quarter of Boston public high school students did not log into classes on any given day this fall as schools remain closed and course failure rates rise, according to school data … that paints a worrisome picture of academic disengagement. Among students in grades 6-12, failure rates for the first academic quarter … jumped to 18 percent in English, from 12.4 percent the previous year. Increases in failure rates in other subjects were similar. Black and Latino students experienced the biggest increases.”

Evanston Moves Forward With Housing Reparations Plan (Dana)

From the Chicago Tribune: “Evanston [IL] aldermen … reiterated their support for a city reparations program that would help Black residents with homeownership, mortgage assistance and home improvement funds. The discussion comes at the same time an online petition and public comment effort is asking aldermen to pay cash to Black victims of city discrimination, instead of distributing funds through the restorative housing program.”

Retaining Ownership Stake Key to Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s Plan for 235MW Wind Farm (Mili)

From Tribal Business News: “The tribe that gained attention for leading the fight to block the Dakota Access Pipeline is taking the reins of its clean energy future with the creation of a public power authority to develop a 235-megawatt wind farm. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s SAGE Development Authority, a federally chartered Section 17 corporation, will need to raise $325 million for the build-out of the Anpetu Wi wind farm, which it plans to construct on reservation lands in North Dakota.”

Rare Sight: Tiny Mysterious Clear Orbs Wash Up at Orange County Beaches (Reader Steve)

From the Orange County Register: “Tiny, clear orbs have been showing up on the shoreline along Orange County beaches, fascinating beachgoers who wondered what were the mysterious sea creatures that look like water droplets or glass marbles. The sea gooseberries, as they are called, are a member of the jelly family and a rare sight along the local coastline.”


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