How Silicon Valley Became Silicon Valley

It turns out, Silicon Valley was always ahead of the curve.

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Silicon Valley is a $3 trillion neighborhood where Teslas, mansions and startups are thick on the ground. And it turns out, the area south of San Francisco was always a tech-forward region. Check out this entertaining and informative video from Tech Insider to learn more about how Silicon Valley became Silicon Valley.

Will California Amend The Constitution To Allow Sports Betting?

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Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that states should be allowed to legalize betting on major sports such as baseball, football and basketball. Kyle Kirkland, of the California Gaming Association, argues that sports betting in the state could be a boon in terms of job creation and tax revenue. Others worry that legalized betting will encourage teams to throw games like we saw with the Chicago White Sox almost 100 years ago.

If sports betting is going to become an industry in California, the legislature will have to amend the state constitution. Merced Assemblyman Adam Gray says he is working on an amendment but it’s unlikely anything will happen this year. For more on California’s move to allow spots gambling read this, this and this.

The Less Glamorous Side Of California’s Economy

Three stories about the industries that power California’s economy.

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When outsiders think about the California economy, they usually boil it down to two industries: entertainment and tech. And while those might be our showiest exports, the reality is much more nuanced. For example, we’re the top agricultural producing state in the nation and we’re home to America’s busiest port.

NPR’s The Indicator podcast drills down into the nitty gritty of the California economy with three stories about celery, housing and ship horns.

L.A. Pols Want Waze Off Of Their Lawns

The app is sending drivers onto small residential streets.

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Like the proverbial old man shouting at the local kids to get off of his lawn, some Los Angeles politicians are now trying to get Waze off of local streets.

In a city where going two miles at rush hour can take up to an hour, the Google-owned app is directing drivers onto smaller residential streets during busy times.

That might be great for commuters but it’s rough for folks living on those small streets that are suddenly getting congested. It’s been a serious problem for people who use Baxter Street in the city’s Echo Park area.  On one of the steepest streets in L.A. (and the country), inexperienced Waze-directed drivers are causing accidents at an alarming rate.

Keep an eye on how the government and the tech company work together to solve this problem.

 

She Moves In Mysterious Ways

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What’s made of plastic, powered by air and able to squeeze into small spaces? Behold: Vinebot.

Vinebot, a flexible soft robot developed at Stanford University, is a thin plastic tube, inverted like an inside-out sock. When air or fluid is pumped into the tube, it everts and extends in one direction, lengthening from the end while the body stays still.

Aside from being entertaining to watch (see below), the Vinebot holds promise as a search-and-rescue tool because it can twist, turn and fit into spaces humans can’t. “The body can be stuck to the environment or jammed between rocks, but that doesn’t stop the robot because the tip can continue to progress as new material is added to the end,” lead author Elliot Hawkes told Stanford University News. According to Stanford, future iterations of the Vinebot could use water to grow — useful for delivering water to people trapped in tight spaces or extinguishing fires.

Here’s the Vinebot in action:

Solving Infrastructure Problems From the Bottom Up

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Author: Kish Rajan

Walking down the streets of San Diego, it’s not immediately apparent that the city is at the center of a technological revolution in infrastructure. That’s because the technology, 3,200 sensors, is hidden inside the city’s new street lights. The sensors collect data that will help the city save $2.5 million on electricity each year, track air quality, and improve traffic flow and parking. They can even be of use to public-safety first responders.

San Diego’s smart lights are just part of the city’s push to rebuild its infrastructure. Last June, voters approved the Rebuild San Diego ballot initiative, which will provide up to $4 billion for infrastructure projects over the next 25 years.

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