America is Reopening. Here’s What it Looks Like

With safety restrictions easing, Americans from Maine to Montana are returning to concert halls, worship services and soapbox derbies in all 50 states. 

#athletics-and-sports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #culture-arts, #food, #labor-and-jobs, #photography, #puerto-rico, #religion-and-belief, #united-states, #virgin-islands-us


Puerto Rican Boxer Félix Verdejo is Questioned in Woman’s Disappearance

The body of Keishla Rodríguez Ortiz was found on Saturday. Félix Verdejo, who competed at the 2012 Olympic Games, has not cooperated with the investigation, the authorities said.

#boxing, #felix-verdejo, #keishla-rodriguez-ortiz, #missing-persons, #olympic-games-2012, #puerto-rico, #san-juan-puerto-rico


Puerto Rico Just Had Its ‘Worst Moment’ for Covid-19 Cases

The island saw explosive growth in coronavirus cases, fueled by business reopenings, Easter and tourists on spring break.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #pierluisi-pedro-r, #puerto-rico, #san-juan-puerto-rico


Von Diaz’s Essential Puerto Rican Recipes

The journalist and cookbook author, who grew up traveling between Atlanta and Puerto Rico, collects dishes that tell stories about life on the island, and the flavors that bring her back to it.

#cooking-and-cookbooks, #hispanic-americans, #plantain-vegetable, #pork, #puerto-rico, #rice, #yuca-vegetable


Idaho Pulls Out of Powerball Because of Overseas Expansion

An Idaho state committee killed a bill that would have allowed the popular lottery to continue in the state even after it expanded to Australia and Britain.

#australia, #canada, #great-britain, #idaho, #law-and-legislation, #lotteries, #multi-state-lottery-assn, #puerto-rico, #state-legislatures, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government, #virgin-islands-us


For Two Cloggers, 20 Years to Get in Step and Get Married

As a teenager, Stephanie Goodman told a friend, “I’m going to marry Mark Clifford someday.” Her prediction came true.

#dancing, #marriages, #puerto-rico, #weddings-and-engagements


What Trump, San Francisco and the Deer in My Backyard Have in Common

Democracy depends on understanding the connection.

#california, #filibusters-and-debate-curbs, #puerto-rico, #republican-national-committee, #republican-party, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #voting-rights-act-1965, #washington-dc


The 19th-Century Church One Artist Calls Home

For the painter Angel Otero, a former place of worship in upstate New York is a sanctuary in which to live and work.

#art, #churches-buildings, #content-type-personal-profile, #lehmann-maupin-gallery, #otero-angel-1981, #puerto-rico, #real-estate-and-housing-residential


Biden to Free Up Billions in Delayed Puerto Rico Storm Aid

The administration plans to release $1.3 billion that was meant to help Puerto Rico rebuild after Hurricane Maria in 2017, and will remove restrictions on another $4.9 billion.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #environment, #federal-aid-us, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #housing-and-urban-development-department, #humanitarian-aid, #hurricane-maria-2017, #puerto-rico, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


Puerto Rico’s Deposed Governor Describes His Family’s Panicked Flight From the Island

In his first newspaper interview since a public uprising forced him to step down last year, Ricardo A. Rosselló laments “the complete devastation of my reputation.”

#governors-us, #new-progressive-party-puerto-rico, #puerto-rico, #rossello-ricardo-a-1979


3 Police Officers Killed by Carjacker on Highway in Puerto Rico, Officials Say

The carjacker, who injured a fourth officer during a chase outside San Juan, was still at large on Monday night, officials said.

#attacks-on-police, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #pierluisi-pedro-r, #puerto-rico


Adál Maldonado, Provocative ‘Nuyorican’ Photographer, Dies at 72

Adál, who moved from Puerto Rico to New York as a teenager, created art that was often bitingly satirical and politically subversive.

#art, #deaths-obituaries, #hispanic-americans, #maldonado-adal, #photography, #puerto-rico


Miguel Algarín, Force Behind Nuyorican Cafe, Dies at 79

His Lower East Side performance space has been an incubator for poets, playwrights and other artists, many of them not initially embraced by the mainstream.

#algarin-miguel, #culture-arts, #deaths-obituaries, #hispanic-americans, #lower-east-side-manhattan-ny, #nuyorican-poets-cafe-manhattan-ny, #poetry-and-poets, #puerto-rico, #theater, #writing-and-writers


NSF releases footage from the moment Arecibo’s cables failed

Image of a large dome suspended from a metal lattice hanging from cables.

Enlarge / The instrument platform and the cables that until recently supported it, as viewed from the suspended walkway that allowed researchers to service them. (credit: University of Central Florida)

Today, the National Science Foundation released video taken at the moment the Arecibo Radio Observatory’s cables failed, allowing its massive instrument platform to crash into the dish below. In describing the videos, the NSF also talked a bit about the monitoring program that had put the cameras in place, ideas it had been pursuing for stabilizing the structure pre-collapse, and prospects for building something new at the site.

A quick recap of the collapse: the Arecibo dish was designed to reflect incoming radio radiation to collectors that hung from a massive, 900-ton instrument package that was suspended above it. The suspension system was supported by three reinforced concrete towers that held cables that were anchored farther from the dish, looped over the towers, and then continued on to the platform itself. Failure of these cables eventually led to the platform dropping into the dish below it.

Let’s go to the video

The video of that collapse comes from a monitoring system put in place in the wake of the cable failures. Due to the danger of further cable breaks, the NSF had instituted no-go zones around each of the three towers that supported the cables. With no personnel allowed to get close enough to inspect the cables, the staff started monitoring them using daily drone flights, one of which was in progress during the collapse. In addition, a video camera was installed on top of the visitor’s center, which had a clear view of the instrument platform and one of the support towers.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#arecibo, #astronomy, #nsf, #puerto-rico, #science


Arecibo Has Fallen Down. A Writer Looks Back.

Dennis Overbye has covered science since 1975. Here, he reflects on a great telescope’s undignified end.

#arecibo-ionospheric-observatory, #national-science-foundation, #puerto-rico, #space-and-astronomy


Rice and Beans, With an Exhilarating Crunch

Like the Persian tahdig Samin Nosrat grew up eating, this Puerto Rican arroz con gandules delivers a crispy layer you won’t be able to resist.

#cooking-and-cookbooks, #puerto-rico, #rice


The Arecibo Telescope in Puerto Rico Collapses

Astronomers and residents of Puerto Rico mourned as an eye on the cosmos shuttered unexpectedly overnight.

#arecibo-ionospheric-observatory, #national-science-foundation, #puerto-rico, #science-and-technology, #space-and-astronomy, #telescopes-and-observatories


Arecibo Observatory, a Great Eye on the Cosmos, Is Going Dark

The radio telescope in Puerto Rico has to come down before it collapses.

#arecibo-observatory, #drake-frank, #extraterrestrial-life, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #physics, #puerto-rico, #solar-system, #space-and-astronomy, #stars-and-galaxies, #telescopes-and-observatories


Thousands of Uncounted Votes Found a Week After Election in Puerto Rico

Nearly 200 boxes of uncounted votes have surfaced, potentially affecting the outcome of several close races across the island.

#elections, #new-progressive-party-puerto-rico, #politics-and-government, #puerto-rico


Amazon launches its first Amazon Air regional hub in Europe

Amazon has officially started operations at its first European Amazon Air hub, based out of the Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany. The new facility spans 20,000 square meters (65,600 square feet) and will host two Amazon-branded Boeing 737-800 aircraft, brining the company’s total operational air fleet to over 70 aircraft.

The retail giants says that the new hub will generate more than 200 jobs locally in the Leipzig area, where it already employs over 1,500 thanks to the presence of a large regional fulfilment center. Amazon also notes that this will help the company continue to offer timely delivery in Europe as the pandemic continues.

Amazon has steadily grown its Air cargo logistics operations since debuting the expansion of its delivery and shipping network in 2016. It has regional air hubs at airports in Texas, Puerto Rico, and Florida in the U.S., and plans to expand to Sand Bernardino International Airport in California and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2021.

Back in June, it added a dozen new aircraft to its fleet in a move that was said to help it handle extra demand as a result of COVID. The addition of its European hub indicates it’s still prioritizing growing this aspect of its operations, which makes sense given demand for its services are likely spiking amid the current second virus wave in Europe and elsewhere globally.

#aerospace, #amazon, #amazon-air, #california, #cincinnati, #companies, #ecommerce, #europe, #florida, #germany, #leipzig, #publishing, #puerto-rico, #retailers, #tc, #texas, #transportation, #united-states


Make Puerto Rico a State Now

With a historic vote, its people staked their claim to statehood.

#house-of-representatives, #politics-and-government, #puerto-rico, #referendums, #states-us, #united-states


Loon sets stratospheric sustained flight record with 312 day balloon trip

Alphabet’s Loon, the company focused on creating new networking capabilities using stratosphere-based infrastructure, has set a new world record for a continuous stratospheric flight. One of Loon’s ultra high-altitude balloons flew for 312 days straight, beating the existing record of 223 days by a considerable margin, and nearly racking up a full year of sustained time aloft.

The balloon in question took off from Puerto Rico in May 2019, and then made its way to Peru where it took part in a service test for three months, it then headed south over the Pacific Ocean, and finally ended up in Baja, Mexico for a landing in March this year. Loon’s CTO Sal Candido said in a blog post that the record-setting flight that it’s the result of the company’s continued work on advancing its technology and pushing both hardware and software forward in new and innovative ways.

Part of that means learning as much as possible from balloons that break records like this one, and Candido points out that Loon has a unique advantage over more traditional high-altitude balloons designed for weather observation because it recovers just about all of them, and can study the best performers in extreme detail. That allows it to replicate and improve on what’s going right when balloons are staying aloft for long periods.

Long-lasting stratospheric balloons are useful because they mean that Loon can provide connectivity to target area for longer, at lower costs, which hopefully means more affordable connectivity for everyone, including those in hard-to-reach areas where ground infrastructure is prohibitively expensive. There’s plenty of additional potential for science, Earth observation and weather tracking/modelling, but Loon’s squarely focused on the connectivity piece of the puzzle at the moment, and replicating this will help tremendously in that regard.

#aerospace, #aviation, #balloon, #cto, #loon, #mexico, #peru, #puerto-rico, #stratosphere, #tc, #x


Finding Strength in Sofrito in Puerto Rico

Hardship and hurricanes have shaped the island’s food for centuries. But chefs and home cooks make magic with whatever ingredients they have.

#andres-jose-1969, #cooking-and-cookbooks, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #food, #hispanic-americans, #hurricane-maria-2017, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #puerto-rico, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #restaurants, #vallejo-natalia-chef


Tax Officials Investigate Euro Pacific Bank in Puerto Rico

Tax enforcers from five nations are investigating Euro Pacific Bank, which operates in a U.S. territory criticized in the past for its lax financial regulation.

#banking-and-financial-institutions, #corporate-taxes, #euro-pacific-intl-bank-inc, #federal-taxes-us, #money-laundering, #peter-schiff, #puerto-rico, #tax-evasion, #tax-shelters


A Supreme Court Fight Might Be Exactly What America Needs

From the courts to Congress, we might need fewer embalming norms and more room for victories and defeat.

#abortion, #conservatism-us-politics, #constitution-us, #courts-and-the-judiciary, #democratic-party, #ginsburg-ruth-bader, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #puerto-rico, #republican-party, #senate, #supreme-court-us, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government, #washington-dc


Trump Declares He Is Now ‘the Best Thing That Ever Happened’ to Puerto Rico

In announcing long-awaited aid for the storm-ravaged island, President Trump seemed to have his eye partly on the Puerto Ricans who now make up an increasingly critical voting bloc in Florida.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #florida, #hurricane-irma-2017, #hurricane-maria-2017, #presidential-election-of-2020, #puerto-rico, #trump-donald-j


New Virus Hot Spots: U.S. Islands from Hawaii to Puerto Rico

U.S. islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific have growing cases of the coronavirus, which can spike even in places far removed from urban centers when controls are relaxed.

#american-samoa, #contact-tracing-public-health, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #guam, #hawaii, #puerto-rico, #virgin-islands-us


Gulf Coast Threatened by Hurricane Marco and Tropical Storm Laura

“We have a one-two punch that’s going to hit the state of Louisiana,” a meteorologist said.

#caribbean-area, #dominican-republic, #floods, #gulf-of-mexico, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #louisiana, #puerto-rico, #tropical-storm-laura, #tropical-storm-marco, #weather


Gulf Coast Threatened by Tropical Storms Marco and Laura

The governor has declared a state of emergency and some areas of Louisiana have issued mandatory evacuations ahead of Tropical Storms Laura and Marco.

#caribbean-area, #dominican-republic, #floods, #gulf-of-mexico, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #louisiana, #puerto-rico, #tropical-storm-laura, #tropical-storm-marco, #weather


A Rip in the Fabric of Interstellar Dreams

The iconic Arecibo radio telescope is temporarily crippled by an accident.

#black-holes-space, #drake-frank, #hurricane-maria-2017, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #national-science-foundation, #puerto-rico, #space-and-astronomy, #stars-and-galaxies, #telescopes-and-observatories, #university-of-central-florida, #your-feed-science


Tropical Storm Josephine Forms in the Atlantic

The 10th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Josephine is not expected to hit the Caribbean islands or the mainland United States, according to the National Hurricane Center.

#east-coast-us, #hurricanes-and-tropical-storms, #national-hurricane-center, #national-weather-service, #puerto-rico, #virgin-islands-us, #weather


Botched Primary Election Creates New Crisis in Puerto Rico: ‘This Is a Travesty’

Puerto Ricans lost confidence in their electoral system after ballots failed to reach polling places, forcing officials to partially suspend a primary.

#cruz-carmen-yulin-1963, #elections, #elections-governors, #new-progressive-party-puerto-rico, #puerto-rico, #rossello-ricardo-a-1979, #vazquez-garced-wanda


4.8-Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Puerto Rico

The island has been shaken by a series of earthquakes and aftershocks since late last year.

#earthquakes, #puerto-rico, #united-states-geological-survey


They Passed the Long-Distance Test

Dr. Erika Alejandro Crespo Martínez and Victor Gabriel Santiago Hernandez built a relationship on patience and pacing. Then the coronavirus came and they had to act quickly.

#harlem-manhattan-ny, #puerto-rico, #quarantines, #weddings-and-engagements


Puerto Rico, Still Reeling From Old Disasters, Is Slammed by Covid-19

The island has had to weather a hurricane, a political crisis and earthquakes, but those crises did not lead to the widespread unemployment caused by the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #labor-and-jobs, #puerto-rico, #san-juan-puerto-rico, #unemployment, #vazquez-garced-wanda


Alphabet’s Loon launches its balloon-powered Kenyan internet service

Alphabet’s Loon has officially begun operating its commercial internet service in Kenya . This is the first large-scale commercial offering that makes use of Loon’s high-altitude balloons, which essentially work as cell service towers that drift on currents in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Loon’s Kenyan service is offered in partnership with local telecom provider Telkom Kenya, and provides cellular service through their network to an area covering roughly 50,000 square kilometres (31,000 square miles) that normally hasn’t had reliable service due to the difficulty of setting up ground infrastructure in the mountainous terrain.

Loon has been working towards deploying its first commercial service deployment in Kenya since it announced the signed deal in 2019, but the company says that the mission has taken on even greater significance and importance since the onset of COVID-19, which has meant that reliable connectivity, especially in light of the restrictions upon travel that the epidemic has placed, making the ability to remotely contact doctors, family members and others all the more important.

Some of the technical details of how Loon’s stratospheric balloons will offer this continuous service, and what kind of network quality people can expect include that the fleet includes around 35 balloons acting together which are moving constantly to maintain the target area coverage. Average speeds look to be around 18.9Mbps down, and 4.74 Mbps up, with 19 second latency, and real-world testing has shown that this has served well for use across voice and video calls, as well as YouTube streaming, WhatsApp use and more, according to Loon.

The path followed by Alphabet’s balloons as they provide service to the target area in Kenya.

The company actually began testing its service earlier this year, with many customers connecting to the network without even realizing it during those tests, and Loon says it has served over 35,000 customers and provided the services listed during those tests.

Prior to today’s commercial service launch, Loon has also employed its balloons to provide emergency service to areas affected by disaster, including Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017. It’s now working with a number of commercial telecom partners to deploy non-emergency service in a number of underserved regions globally.

#aerospace, #balloon, #internet-service, #internet-service-providers, #kenya, #loon, #mbps, #puerto-rico, #tc, #whatsapp, #x


Five Years and 100-Plus Stories: What It’s Like Covering ‘Hamilton’

From the very beginning, it was clear the musical was going to be a big news story. I’ve been reporting on it, from the East Village to San Juan, ever since.

#disney-plus, #hamilton-play, #miranda-lin-manuel, #public-theater, #puerto-rico, #theater


Supreme Court Upholds Federal Response to Puerto Rico Debt

The case concerned the constitutionality of appointments to a government board charged with restructuring billions of dollars of debt.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #constitution-us, #hurricane-maria-2017, #puerto-rico, #supreme-court-us, #united-states-politics-and-government


Travel Reopenings Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic

As Australia announces plans to revive tourism, we look at 10 top travel destinations and their timetables for reopening. The challenge: balancing safety with the need to reboot.

#australia, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #france, #greece, #hawaii, #iceland, #italy, #mexico, #new-zealand, #puerto-rico, #travel-and-vacations


Alphabet’s Loon partners with AT&T to extend coverage globally in case of disasters

Alphabet-owned Loon, the company focused on providing connectivity via high-altitude, stratosphere skimming balloons that can act as on-demand, deployable cell towers, has signed a new agreement with AT&T. This partnership will help Loon ensure it’s in a much better position to address any potential need for disaster response cellular network coverage, thanks to AT&T and it global network partners.

The main benefit of the tie-up is that Loon’s system will now be fully integrated with AT&T, and this will also extend to any third-party mobile service provider that is already partnered with the U.S. carrier in order to provide international roaming for its network. That’s a key ingredient because the nature of disaster preparedness means you can’t really be sure when or where service will be needed, so the extended AT&T network provides a good swath of global coverage ready to be turned on in relatively short notice.

This is actually one of the most time-consuming elements of the entire process of setting up an emergency response Loon deployment, and can take “weeks or months” according to the company. Perhaps not surprisingly to anyone who has worked with carriers, there’s a lot of discussion and negotiation involved, which in many ways is more difficult than launching balloons to the stratosphere and navigating them thousands of miles with sensitive antenna attached.

The new partnership means that Loon should have over 200 global roaming partners ready to go in case of need, thanks to AT&T’s existing agreements. Loon notes that this won’t mean they don’t still work with local operators directly in order to improve and expedite response, and it still needs to work with local regulators and ensure that there is ground infrastructure present that can work with its equipment.

Loon is also tackling those potential hurdles, however, securing agreements with various regulatory bodies and governments for fly-over permission (it has signed over 50 thus far), and it’s also placing ground infrastructure where it’s likely to be needed most – like in the Caribbean, where it’s in the process of installing ground stations in anticipation of the forthcoming hurricane season for this year.

Loon previously worked with AT&T during its disaster response efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, so the two have a history of working collaboratively in times of need.

Meanwhile, Loon is also readying its first commercial service deployment in Kenya, which will be a big milestone in terms of its broader goals of providing reliable service to hard-to-reach areas around the world.

#aerospace, #articles, #att, #caribbean, #contents, #disaster-response, #internet-service-providers, #kenya, #loon, #puerto-rico, #roaming, #san-francisco-bay-area, #stratosphere, #tc, #united-states, #x


Two Arrested in Killings of Transgender Women in Puerto Rico

The police said they had classified the deaths as a hate crime after the remains of two women were found in a badly burned car last week.

#federal-bureau-of-investigation, #hate-crimes, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #pelaez-layla-d-2020, #puerto-rico, #velazquez-serena-angelique


Apple adds COVID-19 testing sites to Maps across the U.S., and shares more mobility data

Apple has now added COVID-19 testing sites to its Apple Maps app across the U.S., covering all 50 states and Puerto Rico. The update provide testing locations including hospitals, clinics, urgent car facilities, general practitioners, pharmacies and more, as well as dedicated COVID-19 testing sites, where tests are available. In addition, COVID-19 is now a prioritized point-of-interest option when you go to search for locations. Apple also updated its new Mobility Trends website, which provides free access to anonymized, aggregated data bout how people are getting around their cities and regions during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Maps update was reported last week, first spotted by 9to5Mac through a portal that Apple created in order to allow test site providers to provide their site location so that it could be added to the database. Now, it’s live and lives alongside other prioritized search options in Maps, which have been customized for the pandemic, and which include grocery stores, food delivery, pharmacies, hospitals and urgent care facilities.

As for the Mobility Trends site, it now includes improved regionalization, like state or province level search, depending on what terms a country uses, and it’s also been better localized, including use of a area’s local name added to search results to ensure that everyone can find what they’re looking for globally. Also, in the U.S., there are now more cities available to review.

Apple’s made this data available in order to help governments, transportation authorities and cities make better sense of the impact that the ongoing pandemic is having, and potentially provide information about the effective of, and compliance rate with, efforts like broad social distancing measures and shelter-in-place orders. The data comes from info about what methods of directions users are selecting within the Maps app, but it’s worth noting that Apple’s Maps app has privacy built-in by default, so it doesn’t collect any personal information along with guidance search info.

#apple, #apple-inc, #apple-maps, #apple-store, #apps, #companies, #food-delivery, #health, #here, #operating-systems, #puerto-rico, #software, #tc, #united-states


Bodies of 2 Transgender Women Found in Badly Burned Car in Puerto Rico

Activists said that the women, who were from New York City, were the third and fourth transgender people to be killed in Puerto Rico in the last two months.

#discrimination, #hate-crimes, #homosexuality-and-bisexuality, #murders-attempted-murders-and-homicides, #pelaez-layla, #puerto-rico, #transgender-and-transsexuals, #velazquez-serena-angelique, #women-and-girls


Puerto Rico Lags Behind in Coronavirus Testing

A strict lockdown has required much sacrifice from Puerto Ricans, whose patience with the slow pace of testing is running out.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #curfews, #grassley-charles-e, #puerto-rico, #quarantines, #san-juan-puerto-rico, #tests-medical, #vazquez-garced-wanda


The Sound of One Shrimp Snapping

How climate change is altering nature’s sonic landscape.

#animal-behavior, #animals, #australia, #birds, #drought, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #frogs, #global-warming, #krause-bernie, #nagelkerken-ivan, #oceans-and-seas, #puerto-rico, #reproduction-biological, #spring-season, #summer-season, #weather, #whales-and-whaling, #your-feed-science


Alphabet’s Loon deploys internet connectivity balloons to Kenya for first commercial service launch

Alphabet-owned Loon, the high-altitude broadband connectivity company for hard-to-reach places, has launched the first balloons that will provide its first ever commercial connectivity services to Kenyans following the approval of its service deployment by the government of Kenya a couple of weeks ago. The balloons are now in testing, but pending the results of those tests, they’ll turn on service “in the coming weeks,” according to the company.

Loon is working with partner Telkom Kenya to provide services to that network’s subscribers in the country. Its balloons fly at a height of roughly 65,000 feet, in the Earth’s stratosphere, with the goal of providing stable, reliable and fast connectivity to a specific area without requiring satellites and with access for remote areas not served by ground cell tower infrastructure.

The Loon balloons actually have quite the journey to make to get to the area they’ll service in Kenya, taking off from either Puerto Rico or Nevada, as Loon CTO Sal Candido explains in a Medium post. From there, they navigate on air currents to make their way to their target destination, using “the fastest route that drifting on the stratospheric winds allow,” to traverse upwards of 6,800 miles through a somewhat circuitous route, which is determined by Loon’s automated navigation software.

Upon arrival in Kenya, those same machine learning powered-algorithms are used to help the balloons maintain a relatively stable position over the target coverage area. Balloons move up and down in the stratosphere to catch different air currents, taking short trips in a fixed geographic area to provide 24-hour coverage to customers on the ground.

Loon’s model and partnership with Telkom means that it can provide access through Telkom’s network to that company’s customers instantly once the system is tested and proven, but that also means Telkom sets the rates, which African internet accessibility startup BRCK has noted might be a barrier to some. Still, this first commercial deployment is a significant milestone for Loon, and should help make the case for more and more varied deployments to follow, including a range of different business model approaches.

#alphabet, #brck, #broadband, #cto, #kenya, #loon, #machine-learning, #nevada, #puerto-rico, #science, #stratosphere, #tc, #x


Missives from My Locked-Down Friends, From Siberia to Samarkand

The people I met as the 52 Places Traveler were suddenly just as close as my friends down the street, so I reached out to my global community.

#aalborg-denmark, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #falkland-islands, #gambia, #georgia-georgian-republic, #italy, #lake-baikal-russia, #norway, #orcas-island-wash, #panama, #puerto-rico, #south-island-new-zealand, #travel-and-vacations, #tunisia, #uzbekistan


Bay Area effort to feed hospital workers partners with Jose Andres’ World Central Kitchen

An effort I’ve been following in the Bay Area to deliver meals to front-line hospital clinicians dealing with the results of COVID-19 is announcing a big new partnership today that should give it a national stage. Frontline Foods is partnering up with World Central Kitchen to scale up its ad-hoc efforts across the US.

World Central Kitchen is a not-for-profit organization founded by chef José Andrés in 2010 that has made headlines over and over again as it has provided food and disaster relief in countries around the world after disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the Camp Fires in California and most recently COVID-19-affected cruise passengers in Japan and Oakland.

Frontline Foods is an open-sourced effort to deliver meals to hospital staff from local restaurants impacted by loss of clientele due to coronavirus prevention measures. The equation is a brilliantly simple one. Restaurants have far less customers, hospital staff are moving at incredible speed and unable to score a great meal on the fly.

The #SFhospitalmeals experiment evolved into a full clinician meal program, as launched here by Frank Barbieri and Sydney Gessel, along with Ryan Sarver, who I spoke to via email about the program — one of several similar efforts that collectively became Frontline Foods.

“Frank was texting with a mutual friend of ours, Sydney Gessel, who is a registered nurse in the Emergency Department at UCSF Mission Bay. He asked her, ‘How can I help’ and she essentially replied ‘pizza.’ Nurses are pulling 16-hour shifts, are stressed, tired, no time to cook at home, restaurants are closed and the simple act of feeding themselves was going by the wayside,” Sarver said. “At the same time, restaurants were starting to face the reality of shelter-in-place and the dire results of what it meant for them and their teams. We called up a local pizza spot that night and had a bunch of pizzas delivered to her unit. The restaurant and the clinicians were both ecstatic and we realized there was an opportunity to try to do more of this.”

After a couple of dry runs and a tweet for donors, the project ended up expanding to 7 hospitals and raising an eventual $350k over the past few weeks.

Ryan and Frank and other volunteers like Chris Consentino outlined a spec for the project and reached out to a number of restaurants and started plugging them into spreadsheets that matched restaurants to units in need across a few Bay Area hospitals.

Frontline Foods, as a federation that now has multiple chapters across the US, has 150 volunteers in 12 cities and has raised a combined $700,000. In SF it has delivered 4,375 meals to 6 local hospitals. It currently has the ability to deliver another 12,000 meals in SF. Current hospitals served in the bay include UCSF Mission Bay, UCSF Parnassus, SFGH, Kaiser Geary, CPMC Van Ness and CPMC Davies.

Once they saw that there were more groups in the bay and across the US that had started similar ‘connect restaurants to COVID-19 clinicians’ efforts, they began to see the need to build out a standard.

“We decided ‘open sourcing’ the process and tools we were using would help other people start their own programs and allow us to learn from others groups,” Sarver said. “We eventually launched a Slack to help the other cities coordinate. In less than a week we now have 180 volunteers in the Slack, over a dozen cities launched, have raised $700k, and delivered 7,000+ meals.”

Frontline is looking to leverage WCK’s experience in raising money and preparing food for disasters over the last 10 years. WCK’s help as a fiscal sponsor will also give Frontline Foods the ability to utilize its 501c3 status to accept donations. The side of this that is bolstering local restaurants and creating a pipeline between them and groups of people in need of food — fueled by donations — is what Frontline is hoping to bring to the table.

The group boasts a diverse set of skills from technology and design to community management, food & beverage and non-profits. They’re distributed across the US, Canada and Australia as well. It’s nearly all being run on Slack and Zoom calls as well, and most of the group has never met one another.

“We open sourced the process and tools, which at the time was some Google Docs and Google Sheets,” said Sarver. “In the week since, we have spun up a product and engineering team of volunteers who are designing and building more automated systems. Some of it is custom built and but much of it is going to be built on Coda for the backend tools, documentation and automation.”

Many of the cities that are now a part of the Frontline Foods project were home to efforts that started in parallel. After reaching out and realizing that they were aligned, there was a drive to create a new umbrella that used a shared mission and shared systems to make them more effective.

Frontline is reaching out to local, independent restaurants in the areas where it operates or having them apply via a form, and word has spread through the restaurant community. Many of them, even without previous take-out or delivery experience, are figuring out how to package and deliver meals through Frontline’s pipeline. In return, they get a pipeline of predictable business at a time when they are not seeing much predictability at all.

The restaurant industry has been hit incredibly hard by COVID-19, and there is a real danger that an entire generation of independent food providers will just be wiped out. Many are adapting at speed to a life of takeout, or marketplaces, or safe delivery — but any additional help is welcome. And the double-ended benefit that results from the Frontline Foods (and WCK) project is a fantastic way to deliver that help.

“World Central Kitchen is a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to those who need them most. We are proud that this alliance with Frontline Foods will help activate even more restaurants and kitchens to feed our brave medical professionals on the front lines, in order to make a meaningful impact in the fight to keep everyone fed, and to support the distressed restaurant industry,” World Central Kitchen CEO Nate Mook said in a release today.

Frontline Foods and WCK are taking no fees from these transactions. Along with the WCK partnership, Frontline is also launching a national donation-matching program with a $200,000 matching grant from top donors.

“This is an unprecedented crisis (I’ve used that a lot, but it is) — the hospitals and clinicians have never seen anything like this,” said Sarver via email. “And for the 11 million people employed by restaurants in the US, they face a very uncertain future. Every dollar of a donation goes directly into the pockets of these restaurants to make the food that goes to our clinicians. If you can, please consider a donation.”

You can donate on Frontline Foods website here.

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