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Today's News

  • Atomic City Update: Adaptive Sports Program helps make dreams come true

    This week, I had the privilege of spending some time with the Adaptive Sports Program of New Mexico as they invited individuals with disabilities from Aspen Elementary School to the YMCA to have some fun at the climbing wall. 

    For many of these kids, having access to the harness chair attached to the wall is the only way they will be able to climb up and experience that type of adrenaline rush, and it is amazing to see them experience that. 

    For more than two hours, those kids got to have an amazing time, either going up the wall in the chair, or on their own with the help of one of the amazing leaders. Douglas Lewis, Jason Cline and Camille Romero were on hand Tuesday morning to help the kids in any way they could. It is clear that this is a life passion for all of them, and they were having just as much fun as the kids were having. 

  • Microsoft launches $25M program to use AI for disabilities

    By MATT O'BRIEN, AP Technology Writer

    Microsoft is launching a $25 million initiative to use artificial intelligence to build better technology for people with disabilities.

    CEO Satya Nadella announced the new "AI for Accessibility" effort as he kicked off Microsoft's annual conference for software developers. The Build conference in Seattle features sessions on cloud computing, artificial intelligence, internet-connected devices and virtual reality. It comes as Microsoft faces off with Amazon and Google to offer internet-connected services to businesses and organizations.

    The conference and the new initiative offer Microsoft an opportunity to emphasize its philosophy of building AI for social good. The focus could help counter some of the ethical concerns that have risen over AI and other fast-developing technology, including the potential that software formulas can perpetuate or even amplify gender and racial biases.

    The five-year accessibility initiative will include seed grants for startups, nonprofit organizations and academic researchers, as well as deeper investments and expertise from Microsoft researchers.

  • US oil prices top $70 a barrel for the first time since 2014

    DALLAS (AP) — U.S. oil prices crashed through the $70-a-barrel mark for the first time since late 2014, foreshadowing costlier gasoline and consumer goods.

    It's not clear that pricey crude will slow down the economy, however. The stock market moved higher in midday trading Monday, as investors bet that companies and consumers can cope with the increase.

    Benchmark U.S. crude is up 74 cents, more than 1 percent, to $70.46 a barrel on the futures market in New York. The international standard, Brent crude, is up again, to nearly $76.

    Analysts are citing concern that Iranian oil exports will fall if the U.S. withdraws from a 2015 deal that eased sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. And U.S. stockpiles of crude are down.
     

  • In the Lab: Constructing a unique laser application for research

    From his wallet, Paul Dowden produces a photo of his daughter, then about four years old. She is perched in the driver’s seat of a 1,400 horsepower, alcohol-fueled dragster he built from scratch.

    Dowden has applied his skillful hands to cars for decades. He has worked as an auto and diesel mechanic and as a hot rod enthusiast, doing his own fabrication, electronics and engine and transmission building.

    That same tinkering streak serves him well today as he oversees all pulsed laser deposition (PLD) operations for the

    Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) at Los Alamos. Innovation drives his contributions to a range of projects, from chemical lasers to the R&D 100 award-winning flexible superconducting tape.

    The inspiration to apply his talent for building hot rods to building lasers happened during freshman orientation at Indiana’s Vincennes University.

    Dowden walked out of the school’s mechanical engineering department mid-orientation and happened upon the laser and electro-optics department. One professor had worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which led to Dowden’s discovery of the Department of Energy-funded Antares Laser Research program, a large laser system built to achieve fusion.

  • NEA-NM’s nod confuses Dist. 43 candidates

    Democratic candidates running for House District 43 had to clear up confusion last week over which candidate received the endorsement by the National Education Association of New Mexico.

    On May 1, Christine Chandler sent out an email touting the endorsement of the NEA of New Mexico in her race against Pete Sheehey for the seat being vacated by Rep. Stephanie Garcia.

    Even though the NEA-NM has endorsed Chandler, a subsequent email showed the largest educational lobbyist group in the state had actually endorsed both candidates.

    The group in the endorsement letter did not mention Republican candidate Lisa Shin.

    The confusion may have come from the fact the original letter didn’t divulge that the other candidate was also being endorsed.

    According to an email sent by Charles Goodmacher, dated May 2, the NEA said the group believed either candidate would be a good selection to advance the priorities of the NEA-NM.

    Goodmacher, the government and media relations director for the NEA, wrote: “ … in the case of your district we were delighted that both answered your questionnaires very well, and NEA-NM EdPAC recommends either one of you for the general election.”

  • Drones a growing issue for fire fighters

    Drones are becoming more of a problem for firefighters with the U.S. Forest Service as the remotely manned vehicles have become more affordable and popular.

    The service reported that a drone grounded air tankers trying to fight the Chicoma Peak Fire this week near Española, forcing crews to use other strategies to extinguish the fire, which grew to 42 acres over a two-day period before being contained and extinguished.

    “Drones over fires risk firefighter safety, interrupt our air operations and compromise our ability to suppress wildfires,” Forest Supervisor James Melonas said. “Through great efforts, firefighters were able to make good progress to contain the Chicoma fire the last two days, but as we get hotter and drier, the impacts of stopping air operations during a fire will increase significantly.”

    Though they’re small in size in comparison to aircraft the Forest Service uses to fight fires, they are still capable of taking down an aircraft.

  • League forum hosts local candidates

    Five Democratic candidates for Los Alamos County Council and two Republican candidates for county sheriff squared off in the first League of Women Voters Primary Candidate Forum Thursday night at the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

    A crowd of 110 attended the forum, which featured council candidates David Izraelevitz, Sara Scott, James Robinson, Randall Ryti and Tim Morrison, and sheriff candidates James Whitehead and Hugh Rich.

    Council candidate Quentin Dimick was invited to be a part of the forum but was unable to attend.

    Each candidate was given three minutes for opening remarks before the forum was opened up to questions from the audience.

    Starting in order of placement on the ballot, Izraelevitz, who has been on the council for seven years, said he’s “essentially running on my record” after mentioning improvements such as Smith’s Marketplace, the Nature Center and Teen Center and old Ashley Pond.

    “So a lot of things have happened that I’m very proud of and very happy with during my tenure,” he said.
    Scott, who came to Los Alamos from Kansas about 30 years ago, said upon her arrival she “fell in love with the community.”

    She and her husband were married at Lookout Park in White Rock.

  • Scientists successfully test new nuclear reactor in Nevada

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Scientists successfully tested a new nuclear reactor in Nevada that could power future trips to outer space.

    NASA and the Department of Energy on Wednesday announced the Kilopower fission reactor performed better than expected during a 28-hour, full-power test completed last month inside a vacuum chamber at the Nevada National Security Site, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported .

    "Really everything ran perfectly during the test," said Kilopower lead engineer Marc Gibson.

    The test marked the end of five months of work on the "space-qualified nuclear reactor" at the site, about 85 miles (137 kilometers) northwest of Las Vegas.

    The goal of the project is to develop a safe, compact and reliable source of electricity for future manned and unmanned missions to the moon, Mars and other places beyond the Earth's orbit.

    "As we are looking to explore the moon and eventually Mars, we are going to need a large power source not dependent on the sun, especially if we're going to live off the land," said James Reuter, NASA's acting associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

  • Golf claims fifth straight district championship

    With a dominant showing in the District 2-5A golf championships, the Los Alamos High School boys’ golf team claimed a district championship, and four golfers were named All-District performers. 

    As a team, the Hilltoppers recorded a score of 315 at the championships, defeating second place Albuquerque Academy by 25 strokes. Española Valley followed in third place with a score of 435, Del Norte came in fourth place with a score of 446 and Capital finished in fifth place with a score of 457. 

    This is the fifth consecutive district championship for the Hilltoppers, dating back to 2014.

    After struggling a bit the previous two weeks, Henry Poston bounced back in a big way for LAHS, posting the best score at the event with a 74. His score was five strokes better than the second place finisher, his teammate Jacob Benelli, who scored a 79. The teammates were the only golfers to post scores under 80 for the day. 

    Hilltoppers Sean Rau and Davis Johnson finished tied for fourth place with scores of 81 to round out the team score for LAHS. 

  • Bulldogs offer tough test for LAHS in playoffs

     Following a successful regular season, the Los Alamos baseball team begins the 2018 State Baseball Championships today against an Artesia High School team that will provide a great challenge to the Hilltoppers. 

    Artesia, the No. 5 seed in the playoffs, went 16-10 this season overall and 9-3 in District 4-5A. After a tight district race against Goddard, Artesia finished as the runners-up, as Goddard went 10-2 in district play to claim the title and earn the No. 1 seed in the State Baseball Championships. 

    In head-to-head match-ups, Artesia went 2-3 against Goddard. 

    The teams split the four games in district play, with Goddard also winning 3-2 in the Rio Rancho Tournament in late March. 

    Like most good teams, Artesia is full of good players, and does not rely on a particular player to win. As a team, the Bulldogs bat .329, and have pitched to a 3.78 ERA. 

    Throughout the season, the team’s best batter has been Taylor Null, who batted .560 this season, with 42 hits and 24 RBI’s. 

    He hit nine doubles, two triples and two home runs this season, scoring 26 runs.