Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

“Technology Industries Spread Wealth in Washington State”

by Matt Rosenberg July 2nd, 2014

Writes the Executive Director of the Technology Alliance, Susannah Malarkey, at the Washington Business Alliance’s blog Catalyst.

“Through multiplier effects, technology-based employment and associated economic activity support a total of nearly 1.4 million jobs across all sectors of our economy, equivalent to 42 percent of total Washington employment. That 42 percent represents retail, recreation, construction, and financial and legal services provided by more than 920,000 people in our state thanks to the growing presence of tech.”

Read the whole thing.

“Seattle Women In Software Design: Student Improves on King County Web App

by Matt Rosenberg June 30th, 2014

“Ever find yourself puzzled over how to properly recycle or dispose of unwanted household and business wastes? For King County residents, there’s a new web app for that! It was engineered by Audrey Carlsen, a Seattle woman who took on the project as the capstone of her six months of intensive classroom instruction with the Ada Developers Academy.”

Read the whole thing at Catalyst, the blog of the Washington Business Alliance.

Catalyst: “Only One in 14 Washington State Public High Schools Offers AP Computer Science”

by Matt Rosenberg June 12th, 2014

From Catalyst, the blog of the Washington Business Alliance, a second part of their probe into how to get more computer science courses into public high schools in Washington State. An excerpt:

“Out of 709 public high schools in Washington, only 51 of them offer an Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course. When a student engages in rigorous high school computing curriculum via the AP courses it unlocks multiple career paths and the prospect of lucrative compensation.…..State Rep. Monica Stonier (D-17th), Vice Chair of the House Education Committee, advised advocates of computer science education to focus on identifying high performing programs around the state. “We’ll look at what’s working, identify the markers of a successful program, and then use that as an entry point.”

Read the whole thing.

“More K-12 Computer Science in Washington State: How?”

by Matt Rosenberg May 16th, 2014

Via Catalyst:

In the most recent Employment Projections report, Washington’s Employment Security Department identifies computer occupations as among the fastest growing and highest paying. Yet less than three out of every one thousand Washington students took AP Computer Science in 2013. The state’s skill gap around computer science dwarfs that found in other STEM fields.

Hadi Partovi of Code.org suggests the state: create clear benchmarks of what courses should cover; clarify teacher certification pathways; create computer science certification or “endorsement”; provide incentives like salary boosts for teachers who get certified; and design incentives for schools to teach computing.

Code recently announced partnerships with 30 school districts across the country, 11 in Washington. Next fall, Code will implement permanent computer science programs there, training existing math and science teachers.

Read the whole thing.

WSDOT seeks “toll educational” consultant for $2.3M

by Matt Rosenberg August 5th, 2013

The Washington State Department of Transportation is advertising for a contractor to conduct “statewide toll educational services” focused on the fourth of five Puget Sound highways currently designated for electronic tolling, I-405. The $2.3 million sought in “educational marketing” services will be for three years with up to two two-year renewals at an additional premium. Meanwhile, the state continues to explore a more sweeping “vehicle mileage tax” – with an update presented last week to the transportation commission outlining possible technologies and current study timelines.

UW scores DARPA grant add-on to boost soldier health

by Matt Rosenberg February 28th, 2013

According to an announcement this week by the U.S. Department of Defense the University of Washington has won a $9.6 million modification to a “cooperative agreement” with a high-tech DoD special projects unit to advance its work on a system to let soldiers in the field self-collect biomarker-bearing substances such as semen, urine, saliva and hair, and swipe them onto cards sent to labs where they will be used to help diagnose possible health problems which can then be treated on the fly if needed with other advanced tools in development. Meanwhile, other U.S. military contracts sent the way of Washington state in this month alone are worth up to another $293 million. They are for unmanned drone support, a tactical equipment facility, food and radiology systems.

WA advisors give preliminary green light to mileage tax

by Matt Rosenberg December 4th, 2012

In a report released today, an advisory committee to Washington state transportation officials pronounced as “feasible” an envisioned and sure to be controversial working concept for charging drivers by the mile, to fund future surface transportation system needs in the state. In a draft feasibility assessment, work plan and budget reviewed today during a meeting in SeaTac of the Washington State Road User Charge Assessment Steering Committee, the body found the proposed mileage tax – which it prefers to call a road user charge – “is feasible in Washington” and warrants further study detailed in the report. Next steps would cost at least $3.5 million and present the state legislature with enough information to decide whether the mileage tax is desirable, and if so, exactly how it would be implemented. Lawmakers will decide in the coming 2013 session whether to proceed with more study.

Global vehicle penetration, sliced three different ways

by Matt Rosenberg October 28th, 2012

Data visualizations derived from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators show that while North America far outpaces other major global regions in vehicles per 1,000 people, that gap compared to the developing world is declining. And perhaps more revealing: several developing global regions have more vehicles per kilometers of roadway than North America. Surface transportation of course is just one sector of the energy economy. Growing global energy demands in coming decades for surface transportation, plus other consumer, commercial and institutional uses, and manufacturing, accent the bracing challenge of developing competitively-priced green energy on a vast scale in order to limit climate change.

The World Bank has posted a wide array of World Development Indicators to Google Public Data Explorer, so that users can easily build their own charts, graphs and visualizations. Picking just three among dozens of data depictions across different World Development Indicators, let’s look at global vehicle penetration, by global region, and measured three different ways. The first is passenger vehicles per 1,000 people (not including two-wheelers). North America has almost 2.5 times more than the next closest competitor, but has been declining in recent years; while on the rise are the Europe/Central Asia region, Latin America/Caribbean, and East Asia/Pacific. This chart will likely look quite different in 2020, and even more so in 2030, as the gap between North America and the rest of the world continues to narrow.

Adding in buses and freight vehicles, this next graph looks at motor vehicles per 1,000 people. The gap between North America and other continents is even wider.

However, the measurement of motor vehicles (no two-wheelers) per kilometer of built roads is quite different. Though the data set has a few gaps, it is fairly striking that in the one year so far in which data exists for the Middle East and North Africa (2008), it leads the pack. By this metric, North America ranks third among the major global regions used in the World Development Indicators, behind Middle East/North Africa, and Europe/Central Asia. Data for Latin America/Caribbean is limited to only 2004, so can’t really be factored in. East Asia and Pacific is sharply rising. Europe/Central Asia and South Asia are also rising, North America is declining.

As more road infrastructure is built in developing nations, motor vehicles per kilometer of roadway will likely continue to grow in the developing world. This in turn has a strong probability of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from the surface transportation sector, unless net-green alternative fuels can be produced and sold on a wide scale. North America of course, with its huge number of vehicles overall, faces a related environmental challenge.

Against a backdrop of strong global concern about climate change, the data suggest we can expect even more effort will be focused on developing affordable green vehicles powered by electricity or biofuels; and that scrutiny will intensify of how electricity is produced for transportation and other purposes. In the developing world especially, will coal continue to dominate, or will cleaner, greener alternative energy sources actually gain a substantial foothold?

RELATED: “Global Energy Use and Carbon Emissions, 2005-2035,” Public Data Ferret.


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