Building tech for worker safety, Guardhat Technologies is a company that could only come from Detroit

Saikat Dey, the founder of Detroit’s own Guardhat Technologies, got his start working in the steel industry. His last job, before founding Guardhat, was serving as the chief executive officer of Severstal International, the multinational steel conglomerate whose headquarters were in Dearborn, Mich.

There, managing the global business of the fourth largest steelmaker by volume and revenue, with 3,600 employees in Mississippi, Michigan, and the coal mines of West Virginia, Dey became obsessed with safety, he said.

Beyond tracking cash flow and EBITDA, the typical numbers companies use, Dey said that worker safety was another measurement that effected compensation. “One of the key metrics is how well and how safe we keep our frontline workers,” Dey said. 

Dey’s concerns over safety at his plants is what led him to reach out to union leadership and begin developing the technology that would form the core of Guardhat’s offerings.

The company pitches a multi-product intelligent safety system that integrates wearable technology and proprietary software to detect, alert, and prevent hazardous industrial work-related incidents.

Investors including Dan Gilbert’s Detroit Venture Partners, General Catalyst, and RTP Ventures, the venture investment firm led by Ru-Net Holdings co-founder, Leonid Boguslavsky, are backing Dey’s vision, which also has buy-in from the most important audience of all, the unions representing the workers that use the company’s tech.

Notes on the first day brainstorming session for Guardhat’s industrial wearable. Image Credit: Guardhat

Made in Detroit, built for the world’s industrial workers

Roughly fifteen workers are killed every day on the job in industrial jobs like mining, metals and oil and gas and another 3 million people are injured every year. For executives in the industry, the issue is as much a financial concern as it is an ethical one. At Severstal, 40 percent of Dey’s salary was tied to worker safety, he said.

In fact, the idea for Guardhat hit Dey while he was walking the floor of the company’s Detroit-area steel plant. On one of his regular walks through the factory Dey said he wandered past a man working on a piece of equipment when the employee’s carbon monoxide alarm started to buzz. Instead of trying to find the source of the leak, the man turned off his monitor.

“You’re taking about a steel facility in the heart of Detroit having the largest blast furnace in North America,” said Dey. “Whatever that individual was doing, it could have led to a catastrophic accident.”

That’s what inspired Guardhat’s technology that Dey said was designed to answer a few simple, situational questions that apply to any factory anywhere in the world: Where are you? What conditions do you face? When can help get to you? Those are the questions that Guardhat’s technology is designed to answer.

“We didn’t have effective means to prevent or if an accident happens to intervene with timely information,” Dey said. 

The technology may have been designed by executives, but it was made in consultation with the heads of the Detroit area unions, to ensure that workers would actually use the product.

We decided that we wanted to do this in September 2014,” Dey said. “And when I was struggling with whether to scratch that itch and start the business, the union guys said go for it and do it…. I was a person of color with a $6 billion P&L running one of the six largest steelmakers in the U.S. building this literally out of the garage. It took a lot of guts, stupidity, and it took a lot of support from regular friends at the UAW.” 

That collaboration ensured that the union’s workers were comfortable that the information wasn’t being generated and stored in a way that employees would not feel that they were being monitored unnecessarily or punitively.

Guardhat Technologies wearable safety helmet. Image Credit Guardhat Technologies

From prototype to product

The company’s first product was the HC1 — a helmet that comes jam-packed with sensor equipment. “You want to put it on something that everyone wears and is mandated to wear,” Dey said.

Initially the thought was to just create the wearable, but over time Dey and his team realized that the device alone wouldn’t be enough. “The helmet is just another form factor… [and] whatever the form factor, you need to know how you make this information the single source of truth for the platform of all things that surround the worker.”

Like dozens of other Detroit-area startups that came before them, when Dey and his team needed to raise cash, they first turned to Dan Gilbert.

Gilbert tested the prototype by running around a building and asking the GuardHat team if they could find him and tell him where they thought he was.

With Gilbert on board, the product design firm frog labs came into the picture and so did 3M. By then, it was time to test the prototype.

“I still remember the first day we were in testing in a third party certified lab in Akron, Ohio,” sad Dey. These guys were dropping a metal ball from 5 meters and each one of those puppies was $3,000 a-piece and 27 of those hats got ground down to powder,” Dey said. “We failed every test because we didn’t know how to build a helmet.”

Assistance from frog and others brought the device over the finish line and it’s now being used by over 5,000 workers and prevented or alerted workers to at least 2,000 potentially dangerous incidents. 

For Dey, the business could only have come from Detroit. “The Detroit thing is symbolic,” he said. It’s a symbol of the school of hard knocks that educated its founding team in the ways these heavy industries.

#chief-executive-officer, #dan-gilbert, #detroit, #detroit-venture-partners, #general-catalyst, #michigan, #mining, #oil-and-gas, #rtp-ventures, #tc, #wearable-technology


How a Very Weird Quirk Might Let Michigan Republicans Limit Voting Rights

State Republicans are pushing a voting law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she will veto. But a rarely used option for a voter-driven petition could allow the G.O.P. to circumvent her veto.

#corporate-social-responsibility, #democratic-party, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #law-and-legislation, #michigan, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vetoes-us, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #whitmer-gretchen


Surging Virus Has Michigan’s Whitmer at Loggerheads With Biden

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer pleads for more coronavirus vaccine, the Biden administration on Monday urged her to shut Michigan down, something she wants to avoid.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #michigan, #shutdowns-institutional, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #walensky-rochelle, #whitmer-gretchen


Daunte Wright, Michigan, Iran: Your Monday Evening Briefing

Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.

#alipay, #ant-financial-services-group, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #customs-and-border-protection-us, #england, #michigan, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings


It’s too late for vaccines to save Michigan, CDC director explains

A woman adjusts her face mask while sitting in front of a microphone.

Enlarge / Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adjusts her protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are simply too slow to stop surges like the one underway in Michigan, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

Dr. Walensky’s explanation during the White House COVID-19 press briefing comes amid mounting requests and calls for federal authorities to flood Michigan with vaccine supply. The state has seen a 400 percent spike in cases since March 5, when state officials eased restrictions on residential gatherings and occupancy limits for bars, restaurants, venues, and stores. Since then, the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has also increased in prevalence. Now, the state’s seven-day average for new daily cases is over 7,377, and hospitals are filling up.

On March 30, when the surge was already in full swing, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appealed to the White House for additional vaccine shipments. However, the White House declined, opting to stick to its largely population-based strategy for dolling out vaccine supply to each state and jurisdiction.

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#cdc, #covid-19, #infectious-disease, #lockdown, #michigan, #outbreak, #science, #social-distancing, #surge, #vaccine, #who


Michigan’s Virus Cases Are Out of Control, Putting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in a Bind

Ms. Whitmer, a Democrat, locked down her state over the din of protests last year. Now she is trying a different approach, appealing to personal responsibility.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #michigan, #shutdowns-institutional, #vaccination-and-immunization, #whitmer-gretchen


US COVID cases “disturbingly high” as Michigan sees dire spike

An A frame sign tells diners in a downtown patio how to behave.

Enlarge / A sign requiring protective face masks in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday, March 21, 2021. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Even as the pace of vaccination in the US nears a heartening 3 million per day, the country hovers on the brink of a fourth surge, with current cases lingering at a “disturbingly high level,” according to top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci.

The current seven-day average of new daily cases is now over 63,000—levels seen at the base of the record winter surge. “When you’re at that level, there is the risk of getting a surge back up,” Fauci said in an interview with CNN.

Adding to the precarious situation is the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant, first identified in the UK. It is now the predominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 in the US, Rochelle Walensky (director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) said in a White House Press Briefing Wednesday.

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#b-1-1-7, #cases, #cdc, #covid-19, #infectious-disease, #michigan, #pandemic, #public-health, #sars-cov-2, #science, #surge


Testing an Opaque Security Power, Michigan Man Challenges ‘No-Fly List’

The plaintiff, a Lebanese-American, says he was barred from flying after refusing to become an F.B.I. informant.

#airport-security, #american-civil-liberties-union, #constitution-us, #hezbollah, #justice-department, #michigan, #muslim-americans, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #terrorism, #united-states-politics-and-government


Covid Surge in Michigan Alarms Health Experts

The U.S. has entered a disconcerting phase: Vaccines are rolling out quickly, but upticks in cases raise the prospect of a new surge.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #hospitals, #michigan, #vaccination-and-immunization


Child Care in Crisis: Can Biden’s Plan Save It?

Child-care centers improvised during the pandemic, scrambling to stay open with razor-thin budgets and little government guidance. How long will the short-term solutions last?

#acca-child-development-center-annandale-va, #california, #child-care, #children-and-childhood, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #finances, #gender, #kinder-kare-michigan-child-care-centers-inc, #labor-and-jobs, #michigan, #ohana-family-child-care-vista-calif, #ohio, #rockport-early-childhood-center-rocky-river-ohio, #small-business, #united-states, #virginia, #women-and-girls


Michigan G.O.P. Chair Is Criticized After Calling State’s Top Democrats ‘Witches’

Ron Weiser, who leads the state’s Republican Party, was swiftly denounced after a video surfaced in which he also joked about assassination when discussing two G.O.P. congressmen.

#benson-jocelyn, #meijer-peter, #michigan, #nessel-dana, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #upton-fred, #weiser-ron-1945, #whitmer-gretchen


Closing on $103M, MaC VC is changing the face of venture capital

The partners at MaC Venture Capital, the Los Angeles-based investment firm that has just closed on $103 million for its inaugural fund, have spent the bulk of their careers breaking barriers.

Formed when M Ventures (a firm founded by former Washington DC mayor Adrian Fenty); the first Black talent agency partner in the history of Hollywood, Charles D. King; and longtime operating executive (and former agent) Michael Palank joined forces with Marlon Nichols, a co-founder of the LA-based investment firm Cross Culture Capital, MaC Venture Capital wanted to be a different kind of fund.

The firm combines the focus on investing in software that Fenty had honed from his years spent as a special advisor to Andreessen Horowitz, where he spent five years before setting out to launch M Ventures; and Nichols’ thesis-driven approach to focusing on particular sectors that are being transformed by global cultural shifts wrought by changing consumer behavior and demographics.

“There’s a long history and a lot of relationships here,” said King, one of Hollywood’s premier power players and the founder of the global media company, Macro. “Adrian and I go back to 93 [when] we were in law school. We went on to conquer the world, where he went out to Washington DC and I became a senior partner at WME.”

Palank was connected to the team through King as well, since the two men worked together at William Morris before running business development for Will Smith and others.

“There was this idea of having connectivity between tech and innovation… that’s when we formed M Ventures [but] that understanding of media and culture… that focus… was complimentary with what Marlon was doing at Cross Culture,” King said.

Few firms could merge the cultural revolutions wrought by DJ Herc spinning records in the rec room of a Bronx apartment building and Sir Tim Berners Lee’s invention of the internet, but that’s exactly what MaC VC aims to do.

And while the firm’s founding partnership would prefer to focus on the financial achievements of their respective firms and the investments that now comprise the new portfolio of their combined efforts — it includes StokeGoodfairFinessePureStream, and Sote — it’s hard to overstate the significance that a general partnership that includes three Black men have raised $103 million in an industry that’s been repeatedly called out for problems with diversity and inclusion.

MaC Venture Capital co-founders Marlon Nichols, Michael Palank, Charles King, and Adrian Fenty. Image Credit: MaC Venture Capital

“Our LPs invested in us… for lots of different reasons but at the top of the list was that we are a diverse team in so many ways. We’re going to show them a set of companies that they would not have seen from any [other] VC fund,” said Fenty. “We also, in turn, have the same investing thesis when we look at companies. We want to have women founders, African American founders, Latino founders… In our fund now we have some companies that are all women, all African American or all Latino.”

The diversity of the firm’s ethos is also reflected in the broad group of limited partners that have come on to bankroll its operations: it includes Goldman Sachs, the University of Michigan, Howard University, Mitch and Freada Kapor, Foot Locker, and Greenspring Associates.

“We are thrilled to join MaC Venture Capital in this key milestone toward building a new kind of venture capital firm that is anchored around a cultural investment thesis and supports transformative companies and dynamic founders,” said Daniel Feder, Managing Director with the University of Michigan Investment Office, in a statement. “Their unified understanding of technology, media, entertainment, and government, along with a successful track record of investing, give them deep insights into burgeoning shifts in culture and behavior.”

And it extends to the firm’s portfolio, a clutch of startup companies headquartered around the globe — from Seattle to Houston and Los Angeles to Nairobi.

“We look at all verticals. We’re very happy to be generalists,” said Fenty.

A laser focus on software-enabled businesses is complemented by the thesis-driven approach laid out in position papers staking out predictions for how the ubiquity of gaming; conscious consumerism; new parenting paradigms; and cultural and demographic shifts will transform the global economy.

Increasingly, that thesis also means moving into areas of frontier technologies that include the space industry, mixed reality and everything at the intersection of computing and the transformation of the physical world — drawn in part by the firm’s close connection to the diverse tech ecosystem that’s emerging in Los Angeles. “We’re seeing these SpaceX and Tesla mafias spin out, entrepreneurs who have had best-in-class training at an Elon Musk company,” said Palank. “It’s a great talent pool, and LA has more computer science students graduating every year than Northern California.”

With its current portfolio, though early, the venture firm is operating in the top 5% of funds — at least on paper — and its early investments are up 3 times what the firm invested, Nichols said. 

“The way to think about it is MaC is essentially an extension of what we were building before,” the Cross Culture Ventures co-founder said. “We’re sticking with the concept that talent is ubiquitous but access to capital and opportunity is not. We want to be the source and access to capital for those founders.”

#adrian-fenty, #andreessen, #andreessen-horowitz, #california, #co-founder, #computing, #cross-culture-ventures, #finance, #finesse, #foot-locker, #goldman-sachs, #greenspring-associates, #houston, #investment, #king, #laser, #los-angeles, #louisiana, #m-ventures, #mac-venture-capital, #macro, #marlon-nichols, #mayor, #media, #michigan, #money, #nairobi, #seattle, #sote, #spacex, #stoke, #tc, #tesla, #tim-berners-lee, #university-of-michigan, #venture-capital, #washington-dc, #will-smith


Doctors Are Investigated After Posting Organ Photos Online as ‘Price Is Right’ Game

The medical residents, who are employed by Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Mich., asked people on Instagram to guess how much a surgically removed organ weighed.

#doctors, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #grand-rapids-mich, #michigan, #social-media


More Childhood Lead Poisoning Is a Side Effect of Covid Lockdowns

Lead screenings for children plummeted last spring, and stay-at-home orders may have increased household exposure to the toxic metal.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #children-and-childhood, #hazardous-and-toxic-substances, #lead, #michigan, #minnesota, #new-york-city, #poisoning-and-poisons, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #tests-medical, #your-feed-health, #your-feed-science


Herbert Alford Sues Hertz Over Lost Receipt That Was His Murder Alibi

He spent four years imprisoned on a murder conviction before the car rental company finally located a receipt showing he was nowhere near the scene of the 2011 killing in Michigan.

#alford-herbert, #automobile-renting-and-leasing, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #hertz-global-holdings-inc, #ingham-county-mich, #michigan, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #suits-and-litigation-civil


Michigan Trooper Is Charged After Setting Dog on Man for Nearly 4 Minutes

The man, who the authorities said sustained several bite injuries, can be heard in dash camera footage pleading with Trooper Parker Surbrook to pull the dog off him.

#assaults, #cameras, #dogs, #ethics-and-official-misconduct, #fugitives, #michigan, #police-brutality-misconduct-and-shootings


John Geddert Charges: What Is Human Trafficking?

Experts say the filing of human trafficking charges against John Geddert, who died on Thursday, could have major ramifications for future prosecutions of coaches in the high-pressure world of elite sports.

#athletics-and-sports, #child-abuse-and-neglect, #coaches-and-managers, #forced-labor, #geddert-john-1957, #gymnastics, #human-trafficking, #michigan, #sex-crimes


Former U.S. Gymnastics Coach Is Dead After Human Trafficking Charges

John Geddert died by suicide shortly after he was charged with two dozen counts, including human trafficking and criminal sexual conduct, Michigan prosecutors said.

#child-abuse-and-neglect, #geddert-john-1957, #gymnastics, #human-trafficking, #michigan, #nassar-lawrence-g-1963, #olympic-games-2012, #sex-crimes, #usa-gymnastics


Woman Dies After Getting Covid-19 From Transplanted Lungs

In what appears to be the first case of its kind, a pair of donated lungs led to Covid-19 in an organ recipient, according to doctors at the University of Michigan.

#american-journal-of-transplantation, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #lungs, #michigan, #organ-donation, #surgery-and-surgeons, #transplants, #united-network-for-organ-sharing


Anuvia raises $103 million to commercialize its novel fertilizer

Anuvia Plant Nutrients has raised $103 million to commercialize its novel fertilizer technology.

The company, backed by investors like TPG ART, Pontifax Global Food and Agriculture Technology Fund, Generate Capital andPiva Capital, is now ready to roll out its tech, which is already used on roughly 1200 farms and is projected to be on 20 million acres of farmland by 2025. 

Now led by longtime agriculture executive Amy Yoder, who represents the sixth generation of a Michigan farm family, Anuvia pitches its tech as a supplement for crops that can boost productivity by taking excrement, food waste and agricultural processing waste and converting that into useful fertilizer using a proprietary catalytic process. 

By treating the waste with a specific blend of chemicals Yoder said Anuvia’s technology can control the release of nutrients as plants grow to make more productive crops and reduce leaching into soil, protecting groundwater and restoring carbon to the soil.

Anuvia is one of a growing number of agriculture technology companies trying to juice crop productivity and capture carbon to provide additional revenues from more abundant crops and carbon capture and storage. Other startups, including Pivot Bio, Indigo Agriculture, AgBiome, and Agrinos, are all developing other crop treatments that can purportedly boost agricultural production.

“Most of what I see would be very complimentary to us,” said Yoder. “Because we put the carbon back into the soil, because the nutrients are held in different way. You could utilize the pivot technology and the Anuvia technology. Those things when they could piggyback together could make really nice solutions in the longterm.”

The Winter Garden, Fla.-based company has a 1.2 million ton facility for production, but the company wants to build out additional capacity and continue developing new fertilizers to take to market, Yoder said.

Farmers using the product see increased yields of around five times their previous production levels and the product can be used on all the main row crops, according to Yoder.

That claim has been verified by Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a leading global environmental consulting firm, versus traditional fertilizer on corn, rice, and cotton.

Anuvia’s treatment can also reduce greenhouse gases on production by up to 32% compared to commercial fertilizers. Anuvia estimates that its products could provide emissions reductions equivalent to removing 30,000 cars from roads. If the company can get farmers to apply its treatment to the 90 million acres of corn in the U.s. that would reduce the equivalent emissions of 1.8 million cars, according to a statement.

“With the world’s population expected to hit 10 billion by 2050, we need technology-enabled, large-scale agriculture to meet this growing demand,” says Dr. Geoff Duyk, Founder and Managing Partner of Circularis and Anuvia Board Member. “Anuvia’s technology will help farms continue to feed the world, while also advancing the circular economy, increasing sustainability, and enhancing resource efficiency.” 


#agriculture, #articles, #board-member, #chemicals, #florida, #food-waste, #indigo, #managing-partner, #michigan, #soil, #tc, #technology, #united-states


On Trump, Michigan Republicans Lean One Way: ‘Fealty at All Costs’

Even after his defeat, Donald Trump is causing fierce infighting among Republicans in a crucial battleground state. Loyalists are rewarded. Dissenters face punishment.

#conservatism-us-politics, #elections-house-of-representatives, #maddock-meshawn, #meijer-peter, #michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #rumors-and-misinformation, #shirkey-michael-j, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #upton-fred


After Three Years in a Church Facing Deportation, ‘Today I Have Freedom’

Saheeda Nadeem, 65, an undocumented immigrant from Pakistan who was given sanctuary by the First Congregational Church in Kalamazoo, Mich., learned this week that she would not be deported, her lawyer said.

#asylum-right-of, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #citizenship-and-naturalization, #deportation, #illegal-immigration, #immigration-and-customs-enforcement-us, #immigration-and-emigration, #kalamazoo-mich, #michigan, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


‘Its Own Domestic Army’: How the G.O.P. Allied Itself With Militants

Actions taken by paramilitary groups in Michigan last year, emboldened by President Donald J. Trump, signaled a profound shift in Republican politics and a national crisis in the making.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #fringe-groups-and-movements, #michigan, #politics-and-government, #republican-party, #right-wing-extremism-and-alt-right, #shirkey-michael-j, #shutdowns-institutional, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j, #whites, #whitmer-gretchen


Celebratory Cannon Salute at Baby Shower Ends in Death, Police Say

The authorities are trying to determine why a device exploded, hurling shrapnel into a Michigan backyard.

#bombs-and-explosives, #deaths-fatalities, #michigan, #parties-social, #social-media


Strong Trump Supporters Picked to Head Michigan Republican Party

The state’s selection of party chair and vice chair hinged in large part on who was most loyal to the former president.

#michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #trump-donald-j


Couple Forced to Adopt Their Own Children After a Surrogate Pregnancy

Tammy and Jordan Myers will have to adopt their twins after two Michigan judges denied them parental rights because the children had been carried by a surrogate.

#adoptions, #in-vitro-fertilization, #infertility, #michigan, #myers-jordan-1983, #myers-tammy-1981, #parenting, #suits-and-litigation-civil, #surrogate-motherhood, #vermilye-lauren


Member of Extremist Group to Plead Guilty in Whitmer Kidnapping Plot

Ty G. Garbin, a 25-year-old airplane mechanic, agreed to plead guilty and to testify against the other five defendants charged in federal court in Western Michigan.

#kidnapping-and-hostages, #michigan, #united-states-politics-and-government, #whitmer-gretchen


Herman Miller C.E.O. Grapples With Politics and Pandemic

As the C.E.O. of Herman Miller, Andi Owen has had to navigate a polarized work force while thinking about the future of the offices her company makes furniture for.

#content-type-personal-profile, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #executives-and-management-theory, #furniture, #gap-inc, #herman-miller-inc, #innovation, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #michigan, #owen-andi, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #shutdowns-institutional


Is Rivian the Next Tesla? Investors Bet Big on Electric Truck Maker

Rivian, which has raised another $2.65 billion, plans to sell a pickup truck and S.U.V. it has worked on for more than a decade.

#amazon-com-inc, #automobiles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #michigan, #rivian-automotive-llc, #scaringe-r-j, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #start-ups, #stocks-and-bonds, #tesla-motors-inc, #united-states, #venture-capital


States Brace for Armed Protests in Wake of U.S. Capitol Attack

State officials are activating National Guard troops and closing off Capitol grounds in response to F.B.I. warnings that armed protesters are preparing to act.

#california, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #federal-bureau-of-investigation, #michigan, #national-guard, #state-legislatures, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #whitmer-gretchen


The View From a Republican Who Voted to Impeach

Representative Peter Meijer of Michigan explains why he joined nine colleagues in breaking from his party.

#capitol-building-washington-dc, #conservatism-us-politics, #impeachment, #meijer-peter, #michigan, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #united-states-politics-and-government


State Capitols ‘on High Alert,’ Fearing More Violence

Officials around the country are bracing for any spillover from last week’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol. State legislatures already have become targets for protesters in recent days.

#capitol-building-washington-dc, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #georgia, #idaho, #michigan, #minnesota, #missouri, #nevada, #oregon, #presidential-election-of-2020, #security-and-warning-systems, #shutdowns-institutional, #state-legislatures, #states-us, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


In Michigan, a Dress Rehearsal for the Chaos at the Capitol on Wednesday

In April, armed protesters crowded into the State Capitol in Michigan. Frightened lawmakers saw echoes of that day in Wednesday’s deadly riot at the Capitol in Washington.

#austin-tex, #charlottesville-va, #charlottesville-va-violence-august-2017, #demonstrations-protests-and-riots, #firearms, #michigan, #republican-party, #storming-of-the-us-capitol-jan-2021


Josh Hawley Puts Republican Party in a Bind With Objection to Biden’s Win

The Republican senator from Missouri said he wanted to draw attention to problems with election laws. But critics insist his bid has more to do with serving his own political ambitions.

#hawley-josh-d-1979, #michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #senate, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


He Was Hospitalized for Covid-19. Then Hospitalized Again. And Again.

Significant numbers of coronavirus patients experience long-term symptoms that send them back to the hospital, taxing an already overburdened health system.

#centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #chronic-condition-health, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #heart, #hospitals, #lungs, #michigan, #united-states, #university-of-michigan, #your-feed-healthcare


Trump’s Fraud Claims Died in Court, But the Myth of Stolen Elections Lives On

For years, Republicans have used the specter of cheating as a reason to impose barriers to ballot access. A definitive debunking of claims of wrongdoing in 2020 has not changed that message.

#arizona, #detroit-mich, #dominion-voting-systems-corp, #georgia, #michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #voter-registration-and-requirements, #voting-machines


Writing Into and Out of My Long-Distance Grief

Mourning on a wintry day at the end of a year that has all been winter.

#families-and-family-life, #funerals-and-memorials, #michigan, #pakistan, #parenting, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Long-Distance Grief

Mourning on a wintry day at the end of a year that has all been winter.

#families-and-family-life, #funerals-and-memorials, #michigan, #pakistan, #parenting, #quarantine-life-and-culture


Benny Napoleon, Michigan Sheriff and Ex-Detroit Police Chief, Dies at 65

Sheriff Napoleon served for more than a decade in the Michigan county that includes Detroit, and ran unsuccessfully for the city’s mayor.

#benny-napoleon, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-obituaries, #detroit-mich, #michigan, #police


Convicted Using False Testimony, Walter Forbes Is Free After 38 Years

After years of outreach by University of Michigan law students, a woman admitted that her account of seeing Walter Forbes help set a deadly fire had been “a complete fabrication.”

#black-people, #false-arrests-convictions-and-imprisonments, #forbes-walter-1957, #jackson-mich, #kennebrew-annice, #michigan, #university-of-michigan, #witnesses


As Trump Disputes Election Results, Republicans Target Voting by Mail

Nearly half of voters cast absentee ballots in the election, a huge increase. If Republicans have their way, that might not last.

#absentee-voting, #georgia, #michigan, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #texas, #trump-donald-j, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #voter-registration-and-requirements


Social Inequities Explain Racial Gaps in Pandemic, Studies Find

Higher rates of infection and mortality among Black and Hispanic Americans are explained by exposure on the job and at home, experts said.

#black-people, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-risks-and-safety-concerns, #deaths-fatalities, #hispanic-americans, #michigan, #minorities, #new-orleans-la, #race-and-ethnicity, #research, #united-states, #whites


No One Expects Civility From Republicans

What’s worse: making Sarah Sanders leave a restaurant, or terrorizing election officials?

#buchanan-patrick-j, #democratic-party, #michigan, #nielsen-kirstjen, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #sanders-sarah-huckabee, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #virginia


No Charges Against Man Who Struck Horse-Drawn Buggy, Killing 3 Children

The decision not to charge Ronald Ramsey, who was 83 at the time of the crash, was made in consultation with the family of the children, officials in Michigan said.

#amish, #horses, #michigan, #traffic-accidents-and-safety


In Key States, Republicans Were Critical in Resisting Trump’s Election Narrative

They refuted conspiracy theories, certified results, dismissed lawsuits and repudiated a president of their own party.

#elections-courts-and-the-judiciary, #georgia, #michigan, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2020, #raffensperger-brad, #republican-party, #tina-barton, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voter-fraud-election-fraud


A Failed Attempt to Overturn the Election

The Trump administration has authorized formal preparations for the transfer of power. Here is a look at the campaign of lawsuits, lies and pressure that sought to prevent that from happening.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #georgia, #michigan, #pennsylvania, #presidential-election-of-2020, #trump-donald-j


Biden-Harris team finally get their transition .gov domain

Finally. It only took almost three weeks, but the Biden-Harris transition has officially begun.

On Monday, the General Services Administration gave the green light for the Biden-Harris team to transition from political campaign to government administration, allowing the team to receive government resources like office space, but also classified briefings and secure computers. And, with it, comes a shiny new .gov domain.

Transitioning is an obscure part of the law that’s rarely discussed, in large part because outgoing governments and incoming administrations largely get on and try to maintain continuity of government through a peaceful transition of power. The process is formally triggered by the General Services Administration, the lesser-known federal agency tasked with the basic functioning of government, and allows the incoming administration to receive funds, tools, and resources to prepare for entering government.

But this time around, the agency’s head Emily Murphy had been reluctant to trigger the formal transition period after the Trump campaign filed a number of lawsuits challenging the election.

Murphy finally approved the transition on Monday after Michigan certified its election results.

Up until now, the Biden-Harris team to host its transition website. Now it’s hosted at, a departure from the domain used by the incoming Obama-Biden administration in 2008.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that until now the Biden-Harris team was using a Google Workspace for email and collaboration, secured with hardware security keys that staff need to log into their accounts. That setup might suffice for an enterprise, but had security experts worried that the lack of government cybersecurity support could make the camp more vulnerable to attacks.

As for the domain, which you might not think much about, the shift to a .gov domain marks a significant step forwards in the camp’s cybersecurity efforts. Government domains, hosted on the .gov domain, are toughened to prevent against domain hijacking or spoofing. In simple terms, they’re far more resilient than your regular web hosting services.

Biden tweeted out the domain marking the change.

#biden, #government, #head, #joe-biden, #michigan, #obama, #policy, #security, #trump


Recycling robotics company AMP Robotics could raise up to $70M

AMP Robotics, the recycling robotics technology developer backed by investors including Sequoia Capital and Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, is close to closing on as much as $70 million in new financing, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the company’s plans.

The new financing speaks to AMP Robotics’ continued success in pilot projects and with new partnerships that are exponentially expanding the company’s deployments.

Earlier this month the company announced a new deal that represented its largest purchase order for its trash sorting and recycling robots.

That order, for 24 machine learning-enabled robotic recycling systems with the waste handling company Waste Connections, was a showcase for the efficacy of the company’s recycling technology.

That comes on the back of a pilot program earlier in the year with one Toronto apartment complex, where the complex’s tenants were able to opt into a program that would share recycling habits monitored by AMP Robotics with the building’s renters in an effort to improve their recycling behavior.

The potential benefits of AMP Robotic’s machine learning enabled robots are undeniable. The company’s technology can sort waste streams in ways that traditional systems never could and at a cost that’s far lower than most waste handling facilities.

As TechCrunch reported earlier the tech can tell the difference between high-density polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate, low-density polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. The robots can also sort for color, clarity, opacity and shapes like lids, tubs, clamshells and cups — the robots can even identify the brands on packaging.

AMP’s robots already have been deployed in North America, Asia and Europe, with recent installations in Spain and across the U.S. in California, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.

At the beginning of the year, AMP Robotics  worked with its investor, Sidewalk Labs on a pilot program that provided residents of a single apartment building representing 250 units in Toronto with detailed information about their recycling habits. Sidewalk Labs is transporting the waste to a Canada Fibers material recovery facility where trash is sorted by both Canada Fibers employees and AMP Robotics.

Once the waste is categorized, sorted and recorded, Sidewalk communicates with residents of the building about how they’re doing in their recycling efforts.

It was only last November that the Denver-based AMP Robotics raised a $16 million round from Sequoia Capital and others to finance the early commercialization of its technology.


As TechCrunch reported at the time, recycling businesses used to be able to rely on China to buy up any waste stream (no matter the quality of the material). However, about two years ago, China decided it would no longer serve as the world’s garbage dump and put strict standards in place for the kinds of raw materials it would be willing to receive from other countries.

The result has been higher costs at recycling facilities, which actually are now required to sort their garbage more effectively. At the time, unemployment rates put the squeeze on labor availability at facilities where trash was sorted. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has put even more pressure on those recycling and waste handling facilities, despite their identification as “essential workers”.

Given the economic reality, recyclers are turning to AMP’s technology — a combination of computer vision, machine learning and robotic automation to improve efficiencies at their facilities.

And, the power of AMP’s technology to identify waste products in a stream has other benefits, according to chief executive Matanya Horowitz.

“We can identify… whether it’s a Coke or Pepsi can or a Starbucks cup,” Horowitz told TechCrunch last year. “So that people can help design their product for circularity… we’re building out our reporting capabilities and that, to them, is something that is of high interest.”

AMP Robotics declined to comment for this article.


#amp, #amps, #articles, #asia, #california, #china, #colorado, #denver, #europe, #florida, #machine-learning, #materials, #matter, #michigan, #minnesota, #new-york, #north-america, #pepsi, #recycling, #robot, #robotics, #sequoia-capital, #sidewalk-infrastructure-partners, #sidewalk-labs, #spain, #starbucks, #tc, #texas, #toronto, #united-states, #virginia, #water-conservation, #wisconsin


Trump Administration Approves Start of Formal Transition to Biden

A key official designated President-elect Joe Biden as the apparent winner after Michigan certified his victory there and President Trump lost another court decision in Pennsylvania.

#alexander-lamar, #benson-jocelyn, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #capito-shelley-moore, #decisions-and-verdicts, #general-services-administration, #michigan, #murphy-emily-w-1974, #pennsylvania, #portman-rob, #presidential-election-of-2020, #presidential-transition-us, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j


What We Know About a Suddenly Important Michigan Elections Board

Its work is usually routine, but thanks to a push by President Trump and other Republicans to overturn the election results, the Michigan Board of State Canvassers is now under a microscope.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #detroit-mich, #michigan, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #wayne-county-mich