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This Stanford Student’s Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’

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Stanford psychology Ph.D. student Natalia Vélez began sketching during academic talks a year ago. Now, she has earned the nickname “The Science Sketcher” for her work.

The early doodling days

Vélez began her doodling habit by scribbling in the margins of notebooks throughout elementary and high school.

Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

“Even if I was paying attention in class, I would just be so restless,” she said during a recent Stanford interview. “I just always needed to do something with my hands.”

However, she gave up her doodling for several years, until in 2017, she noticed Stanford psychology Associate Professor Michael C. Frank drawing portraits of speakers. This inspired her to start her scribbling once more.

RELATED: THIS PHYSICS TEACHER MAKES ART OUT OF FORMULAS

“I thought, that looks like fun,” said Vélez. From there, she began sketching at conferences and gatherings as well as department events, visiting speakers and weekly department area talks.

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Sharing her work

Vélez shares her illustrations on her Twitter feed, @natvelali. “Lately, I’ve also had the chance to sketch thesis defense talks by my cohort mates, which has been fun – but also bittersweet,” she said.

Earlier this year, Vélez made her debut as “The Science Sketcher” in the Stanford Psychology Newsletter, a feature that will now become a regular. 

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Vélez shared that she was happy to see that sketching in class or during other events was not only accepted but appreciated. This is a major difference from the way her sketching was perceived in high school where she got in trouble for doodling.

This Stanford Student's Doodles Have Earned Her the Nickname ‘The Science Sketcher’
Source: Natalia Vélez via Stanford

Now, Vélez just hopes her work can bring some benefit to her fellow classmates and academic colleagues. “Sketching has always helped me focus, but I hope it can be of some small benefit to others as well,” she said.



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AG Barr takes aim at Section 230, a key protection for tech firms

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Attorney General William Barr participates in a press conference at the Department of Justice on February 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Sarah Silbiger | Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr took aim Wednesday at a key legal protection for the tech industry, calling into question whether it is still needed as a small number of key tech players have reached a massive size and scale.

Besides questions of anticompetitive behavior, Barr said at a Department of Justice workshop, the agency is considering what a concentrated tech market means for a legal immunity originally created to help small start-ups thrive.

Barr convened the workshop to discuss Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which says tech companies cannot be held legally liable for content posted by third-party users. The law protects online platforms from being treated as publishers, which can be held legally liable for publishing misleading or harmful content, even if they choose to moderate or remove objectionable content from their platforms.

The law has been massively important in allowing some of the biggest tech firms, including Facebook and Google, to grow while maintaining community standards on their platforms and without becoming buried by lawsuits. Tech executives argue that the law is still integral to their work, especially in allowing for “good faith” content moderation.

But at the workshop, Barr said the industry Section 230 protects is no longer a fragile, emerging sector.

“No longer are technology companies the underdog upstarts,” Barr said. “They have become titans of U.S. industry.”

With that scale of power, Barr said, “valid questions have been raised as to whether Section 230’s broad immunity is still needed.”

Those questions emerged from the DOJ’s broad review of market-leading online platforms, Barr said. The Antitrust Division has been probing Google and has jurisdiction to probe Apple, as reported by various outlets. Barr described the review of Section 230 as part of a “holistic approach” to the tech industry that recognizes “not all of the concerns raised about online platforms squarely fall within antitrust.”

Still, the concentration of tech markets could complicate the importance of Section 230 since a small number of key players control a wide range of discourse, according to Barr. In the mid-1990s when the law was enacted, tech platforms hosted public bulletin boards, but today, they engage much more actively in serving content to users through algorithms and other mechanisms, Barr said.

“With these new tools, the line between passively hosting third-party speech and actively curating and promoting speech starts to blur,” Barr said.

While the department is “concerned about the expansive reach of Section 230 immunity” following the “broad interpretation” by the courts, Barr said he did not yet want to make a decision on Section 230. He said he hopes to consider how to align the incentives of private sector companies with the value of public safety.

“Law enforcement cannot delegate our obligations to protect the safety of the American people purely to the judgment of profit-seeking private firms,” Barr said. “We must shape the incentives for companies to create a safer environment, which is what Section 230 was originally intended to do.”

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WATCH: CNBC’s full interview with DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim on T-Mobile-Sprint merger



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Climate change could kill all of Earth’s coral reefs by 2100, scientists warn

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About 70-90% of all existing coral reefs are expected to disappear in the next 20 years due to warming oceans, acidic water and pollution, said scientists from the University of Hawaii Manoa, who presented their findings Monday at an ocean sciences conference.

“By 2100, it’s looking quite grim,” said Renee Setter, one of the University of Hawaii Manoa researchers, in a press release.

Some environmental activists and coral reef researchers have been working on coral restoration — growing live corals in a lab, then placing them back into marine environments to try and revive dying reefs. But this may not be enough to save Earth’s reefs, the researchers warned.

The new study mapped areas of the ocean that would be best suited to this type of coral restoration, taking into consideration factors like acidity, water temperature, human population density and fishing frequency.

After examining the world’s oceans, they reached a somber conclusion: “By 2100, few to zero suitable coral habitats will remain.”

Most parts of the ocean where coral reefs live today won’t be suitable by 2045 — and the health and condition of these environments are only likely to get worse by 2100, according to the team’s simulations.

“Honestly, most sites are out,” Setter said in the press release. There may only be a few viable sites for coral reef restoration by 2100, like portions of Baja California and the Red Sea — but even these aren’t ideal reef habitats because they’re close to rivers.

The researchers warned that climate change was the big killer — human pollution, while a problem, is only a small part of the larger threat.

“Trying to clean up the beaches is great and trying to combat pollution is fantastic. We need to continue those efforts,” Setter said in the release. “But at the end of the day, fighting climate change is really what we need to be advocating for in order to protect corals and avoid compounded stressors.”

Coral reef die-off

Scientists have been warning for years that the world’s reefs are heading for “massive death” and a “planetary catastrophe,” as ocean warming and acidification kill off entire swaths of reefs.
The 1,500 mile-long (2,300 kilometer) Great Barrier Reef is the best-known example — it has endured multiple large scale “bleaching” events caused by above average water temperatures in the last two decades.

Then, back-to-back marine heat waves in 2016 and 2017 killed about half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef, along with many others around the world.

Dramatic coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in March 2016.

One of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is roughly the length of Italy — and provides a habitat for a diverse range of marine life. Up to a third of all marine species everywhere depend on the coral reefs, meaning a reef extinction could cause ecological collapse, experts warn.

And these devastating effects will ripple out into human societies — almost a billion people worldwide rely on reefs as a source of food protein, according to Mark Eakin, coordinator for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch. Coral reefs also protect shorelines and infrastructure — meaning their death could threaten the safety and sustainability of coastal societies.

Climate crisis pushing Earth to a 'global tipping point,' researchers say
In recent years, activists have been scrambling to find ways to save the reefs; environmental entrepreneurs have opened coral farms, which scales up and speeds up restoration efforts.
Other scientists have also tried to use underwater loudspeakers to replicate the sounds of healthy reefs, in an attempt to entice fish back to dead reefs to help them recover.
These attempts have been met with some success — and potentially buys the world’s reefs a little more time — but all of the scientists and entrepreneurs involved have warned it’s not enough to save them all. Almost nothing will be, they say — unless we take drastic action on climate change.



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Climate change could kill all of Earth’s coral reefs by 2100, scientists warn

Published

on

By


About 70-90% of all existing coral reefs are expected to disappear in the next 20 years due to warming oceans, acidic water and pollution, said scientists from the University of Hawaii Manoa, who presented their findings Monday at an ocean sciences conference.

“By 2100, it’s looking quite grim,” said Renee Setter, one of the University of Hawaii Manoa researchers, in a press release.

Some environmental activists and coral reef researchers have been working on coral restoration — growing live corals in a lab, then placing them back into marine environments to try and revive dying reefs. But this may not be enough to save Earth’s reefs, the researchers warned.

The new study mapped areas of the ocean that would be best suited to this type of coral restoration, taking into consideration factors like acidity, water temperature, human population density and fishing frequency.

After examining the world’s oceans, they reached a somber conclusion: “By 2100, few to zero suitable coral habitats will remain.”

Most parts of the ocean where coral reefs live today won’t be suitable by 2045 — and the health and condition of these environments are only likely to get worse by 2100, according to the team’s simulations.

“Honestly, most sites are out,” Setter said in the press release. There may only be a few viable sites for coral reef restoration by 2100, like portions of Baja California and the Red Sea — but even these aren’t ideal reef habitats because they’re close to rivers.

The researchers warned that climate change was the big killer — human pollution, while a problem, is only a small part of the larger threat.

“Trying to clean up the beaches is great and trying to combat pollution is fantastic. We need to continue those efforts,” Setter said in the release. “But at the end of the day, fighting climate change is really what we need to be advocating for in order to protect corals and avoid compounded stressors.”

Coral reef die-off

Scientists have been warning for years that the world’s reefs are heading for “massive death” and a “planetary catastrophe,” as ocean warming and acidification kill off entire swaths of reefs.
The 1,500 mile-long (2,300 kilometer) Great Barrier Reef is the best-known example — it has endured multiple large scale “bleaching” events caused by above average water temperatures in the last two decades.

Then, back-to-back marine heat waves in 2016 and 2017 killed about half of the corals on the Great Barrier Reef, along with many others around the world.

Dramatic coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef in March 2016.

One of the natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is roughly the length of Italy — and provides a habitat for a diverse range of marine life. Up to a third of all marine species everywhere depend on the coral reefs, meaning a reef extinction could cause ecological collapse, experts warn.

And these devastating effects will ripple out into human societies — almost a billion people worldwide rely on reefs as a source of food protein, according to Mark Eakin, coordinator for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coral Reef Watch. Coral reefs also protect shorelines and infrastructure — meaning their death could threaten the safety and sustainability of coastal societies.

Climate crisis pushing Earth to a 'global tipping point,' researchers say
In recent years, activists have been scrambling to find ways to save the reefs; environmental entrepreneurs have opened coral farms, which scales up and speeds up restoration efforts.
Other scientists have also tried to use underwater loudspeakers to replicate the sounds of healthy reefs, in an attempt to entice fish back to dead reefs to help them recover.
These attempts have been met with some success — and potentially buys the world’s reefs a little more time — but all of the scientists and entrepreneurs involved have warned it’s not enough to save them all. Almost nothing will be, they say — unless we take drastic action on climate change.



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