Bruce Blog

World championship robotics competition: A bittersweet day for the D'Penguineers

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And so the celebrated D'Penguineers from Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta won the creativity award but lost its last two matches in the World Championship Robotics Competition last weekend in St. Louis, Missouri.The two heart-breaking  losses wrecked the team's chances for a championship. Here's the excellent summing up by the NoozHawk online newspaper produced by students from the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy public relations and events team. Nicholas Perez, an ace driver for the D'Penguineers, is shown partially with his coach Amir Abo-Shaeer in the second photo in the link below. 
http://www.noozhawk.com/article/dpenguineers_get_creativity_award_but_fall_in_robotics_world_championships

Perez commented,  "Even though we lost in the semi-finals due to field issues that were uncontrollable and unforeseen, we are still considered one of the most elite teams with one of the strongest robots in the world.  Our robot was the highest scoring robot out of 402 competing robots.  Basketball legend and the NBA's highest scoring player, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, came and watched our team compete and dominate on the field.  He said he was really impressed with our shooting."

Suggestion: go to the bottom of the link to get more information on the D'Penguineers and the  Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy.  It's widely known as one of the best high school engineering programs in the country. 
 

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Dick Meister: Only we can save the children

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

I remember checking into a small hotel in Coimbra, Portugal, with my wife Gerry in 1962, three very heavy suitcases in tow. Rushing out at the urgent clang of the desk clerk's bell came a uniformed bellhop. A midget, I supposed. But, no, it was a child, nine, maybe ten years old.

He smiled shyly and tugged at the suitcases, eager to lug them up the long, narrow staircases that led to our room. I wouldn't let go, but the clerk insisted. "It's his job," senhor."

It was indeed his job, one that paid poorly and kept him from school – but a job necessary for his family's survival. Read more »

Streaming live: The world championship robotics competition

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I have become a robotics junkie.  Full disclosure: I am a robotics junkie because my grandson, Nicholas Perez, a senior at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, is a world class driver on his world class high school robotics team.  His team has won all of its matches today by large margins in the two day  World Championship Robotics Competition in St. Louis, Missouri. Read more »

Jeffrey Sachs: A world adrift

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By Jeffrey D. Sachs


Jeffrey D. Sachs is Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is also Special Adviser to United Nations Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals

NEW YORK – The annual spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have provided a window onto two fundamental trends driving global politics and the world economy. Geopolitics is moving decisively away from a world dominated by Europe and the United States to one with many regional powers but no global leader. And a new era of economic instability is at hand, owing as much to physical limits to growth as to financial turmoil.

Europe’s economic crisis dominated this year’s IMF/World Bank meetings. The Fund is seeking to create an emergency rescue mechanism in case the weak European economies need another financial bailout, and has turned to major emerging economies – Brazil, China, India, the Gulf oil exporters, and others – to help provide the necessary resources. Their answer is clear: yes, but only in exchange for more power and votes at the IMF. As Europe wants an international financial backstop, it will have to agree.  

Of course, the emerging economies’ demand for more power is a well-known story. In 2010, when the IMF last increased its financial resources, the emerging economies agreed to the deal only if their voting share within the IMF was increased by around 6%, with Europe losing around 4%. Now emerging markets are demanding an even greater share of power. Read more »

Dick Meister: Fair Trade: Not With Columbia

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.net, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

By all accounts, Colombia is one of the world's worst abusers of workers and their unions. Yet President Obama has just signed a Free Trade Agreement with Columbian President Juan Manuel Santos.

The agreement, set to go into effect May 15, will align the United States with a nation in which working people have very few of the basic labor rights long granted U.S. workers. Read more »

Calvin Trillin: End of the line for Newt?

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End of the line for Newt?

Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire who has been the biggest backer to a group supporting Newt Gingrich, said this week that Mr. Gingrich had reached 'the end of the line' in his bid for the presidency." New York Times

So Newt's coming closer to facing defeat?

His main sugar daddy's no longer so sweet.

And Newt never was: why when he had the power

Of all that sugar, he still sounded sour.

Calvin Trillin.The Nation. 4/21/2012.

 

 

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Editorial: Free Muni tickets for kids makes sense

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San Francisco is a transit-first city that has spent millions of dollars over the years trying to convince people to ride Muni. And yet, one of the best and most effective ways to get people out of their cars is facing surprising opposition.

Sup. David Campos has been pushing for months to get Muni to allow young people to ride free. It makes immediate sense: The school district, perpetually short on funds, is cutting back bus service (which is preferable to cutting back classroom instruction). For low-income families, the disappearance of a yellow school bus, which offered transportation free of charge, is a financial obstacle — and the last thing anyone needs is another obstacle to keep kids out from coming to school.

Reduced-fare youth passes are already available — but they aren't easy to get. Parents need to show up in person, during the day, with a birth certificate, passport or other government ID; that's hard for a lot of working parents. The school district ought to be able to sell the passes, but right now nobody has the resources to make that happen. Read more »

Meister: The obvious solution to our social security problem

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Guaranteeing America's working people a decent retirement has become increasingly difficult with the decline of traditional pension plans and the glaring inadequacy of the 401 (k) savings accounts that have replaced them.

So what to do? The answer is obvious to the AFL-CIO, and should be to everyone else: Increase Social Security benefits. Read more »

Photo of lightning striking the Bay Bridge

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Audrey Cole, from her perch on Potrero Hill, passes along this once-in-a-liftime photo of lightnng striking the San Francisco Bay Bridge.
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Louis Dunn: UC-Davis: Where real education begins

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Madeline Perez, our ace correspondent who reported the UC-Davis pepper spraying story from her tent on campus,  flashed the word that the long awaited and much delayed investigation report would be released Wednesday (4/11/2012).

The Louis Dunn cartoon, featured on this blog, summed up eloquently the pepper spraying incident then and the report now.  The cop, in full riot  gear, holding the spray can at the ready, with the caption: "UC-Davis, Where real education begins."  Some educational points:

The Chronicle front page head: "Pepper spraying is called improper." 

Subhead: "UC-Davis police conduct faulted in panel's report."  Read more »