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Author: engineering

Hazardous reactions database launched | The Safety Zone

A nonprofit group today released a database tool chemists can use to share information about hazardous chemical reactions. Called the Chemical Safety Library, the tool was developed by a group that included representatives from pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions. “We feel this will be a valuable and unique set of data that is currently not available and should advance safety for all researchers,” says Carmen Nitsche, executive director for business development in North America at the Pistoia Alliance, which brings…

The Grade-Crossing Accident in Biloxi

One of the first safety issues faced by the early railroad engineers (meaning the designers, as well as the guys who drove the trains) was how to handle grade crossings:  the place where a railroad line intersects a surface road.  The only foolproof way to handle such an intersection is to build a bridge so the foot or wheel traffic never obstructs the rail line.  Bridges are expensive, though, so in the twentieth century in the U. S. most grade…

Female instructors can help close the gender gap in STEM

Coauthored with Vinod Bakthavachalam, Data Scientist at Coursera Coursera was founded on the belief that education can help anyone, anywhere improve their career and life outcomes. We strive to enable global, inclusive access to high-quality education — especially for those who have historically been underrepresented in university classrooms. In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we’re thinking in particular about how we can support and encourage female learners in fields traditionally dominated by men. Only 28 percent of graduates from…

Introducing Similarity Search at Flickr

At Flickr, we understand that the value in our image corpus is only unlocked when our members can find photos and photographers that inspire them, so we strive to enable the discovery and appreciation of new photos. To further that effort, today we are introducing similarity search on Flickr. If you hover over a photo on a search result page, you will reveal a “…” button that exposes a menu that gives you the option to search for photos similar…

Engineering Ethics Blog: Telephone Museum, Anyone?

The spirit of modern science and technology is forward-looking, always reaching out for the next new discovery or invention and neglecting that which went before.  The creative destruction of the global technological economy means that every new technology is on a moving conveyor belt taking it to the dustbin of history, where its physical component parts are destroyed or recycled and knowledge of it largely vanishes.  But there is still value in understanding where we came from, what life was…

The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry » Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog

The Amazing Reality of Genes and The History of Scientific Inquiry Posted on March 4, 2017  Comments (2) The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee is a wonderful book. He does a great job of explaining the history of scientists learning about genes as well as providing understandable explanations for the current scientific understanding of genes and how they impact our lives. As I have mentioned before, I find biology fascinating even though I found biology classes utterly boring and painful. I…

Reducing Slack’s memory footprint – Several People Are Coding

by Johnny Rodgers, Charlie Hess, Raissa Largman, Jamie Scheinblum and Chris Sullivan Our desktop app is the most widely used and most capable Slack client that we offer. For many of our customers, it is one of just a few apps they keep open on their computer throughout the work day. It allows them to communicate and work with all the teams they belong to: reading and writing messages, composing posts, uploading files, taking calls, and responding to notifications. However,…

Always Be Learning – Kickstarter Engineering

One of our core values at Kickstarter is to “always be learning.” Employees here regularly hold teaching sessions — called “ABLs” — to share knowledge about anything from oil painting to functional programming. On the Data team, we’ve incorporated continual learning into our regular routines in a couple of different ways. We have monthly reading groups open to everyone at Kickstarter. These sessions tend to focus on a data-related paper or technique, but we’ve also read about and discussed issues like the ethics of…

Sourcing, hiring, and growing female talent

Here at Coursera, we are proud to have a data science team that is nearly half female. The problems we’re tackling demand creative approaches and, as the literature consistently shows, diversity unlocks innovation. Yet only 16% of technical roles at major tech companies are held by women. What lessons have we learned in building our team? Sourcing diverse talent Diversity — including gender diversity — demands conscious and consistent efforts to source the right mix of talent. Consider the very top of the recruiting…

From the archives: UC Berkeley lab demolished when molten salt bath explodes

More from last week’s trip into the C&EN archives. From Oct. 11, 1982: Molten salt baths cited as lab hazards Caption from 1982: Berkeley lab was demolished when a heated nitrite/thiocyanate mixture exploded A University of California, Berkeley, lab has been rebuilt and is ready for use again after being demolished in late July by the explosion of a molten salt bath. Berkeley chemistry and chemical engineering faculty members are concerned that many researchers are unaware of the potential dangers…