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Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) has been appointed to serve on the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ, Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) has been appointed to serve on the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology.

“New Jersey has long-been an incubator for innovators,” Singer said. “From the light bulb, to the solar panel, to dozens of lifesaving pharmaceuticals, countless innovations were created right here in the Garden State. By reinstating the Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology, we are continuing that historic legacy. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as a member of this commission. Together, we will develop strategies to encourage more groundbreaking researchers and entrepreneurs to set up shop in New Jersey.”

Continue reading Senator Robert Singer (R-Monmouth, Ocean) has been appointed to serve on the New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology

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Murphy Signs DePhillips bill putting New Jersey at the forefront of science and technology


the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Midland Park NJ,  Legislation (A3652/S2329) sponsored by Assemblyman Christopher DePhillips establishing a state commission on science, innovation and technology is now law.
DePhillips said the new law will help make New Jersey one of the most innovative states in the country in science and technology. New Jersey is currently a global leader in biotechnology, especially pharmaceuticals, but other states have been ramping up their efforts to get the industry to come to them.

Continue reading Murphy Signs DePhillips bill putting New Jersey at the forefront of science and technology

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Reader says News Papers are Dying

Bergen record Newspaper-vending-machine2

file photo by Boyd Loving

The NY Times will likely always exist in some form, but it is fading in relevance. It’s dying for a number of reasons, but mostly, it’s dying because the trend in how people consume news is rapidly changing. It’s no different to record companies and record stores managing the music business. The Times keeps trying to sell itself through online subscriptions but people simply won’t pay a cent for it. News is easily available elsewhere for free. Same deal with lesser outlets, like The Record. The other main reason is its content. The liberal bias might work on the Upper West Side, but not in Preoria. America is predominantly right-of-center, and The NYT, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and a whole host of what’s known as the mainstream media is losing market share and dying.

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The Zonopact Innovation Lab : Innovation platform for students

The Zonopact Innovation Lab

October 29,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Students today grow up in a technological society. Social platforms have replaced in person or on phone conversations and the thought of traveling is on almost everyone’s mind. So, a commonplace or what is better know as ‘An Innovation Lab’ was developed to share their stories and journeys while collaborating on projects.

 The Zonopact Innovation Lab ( provides education, sparks inspiration, and enables kids across the globe to follow their aspirations.

 Mayur Ramgir, President & CEO Zonopact, Inc. is the creator of the Zonopact Innovation Lab (ZIL). It provides a social platform like Facebook for students to mingle with other like-minded people, work on real world projects, share ideas and see the impact, it creates an opportunity to travel worldwide and make a real impact in someone else’s life. ZIL also provides an opportunity to work on industry sponsored projects so students can earn money as well. Colleges can even partner with ZIL to extend these benefits to their students without investing too much money on setting up their own platform.

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Ridgewood’s Benjamin Franklin Middle School Goes Solar

BF Solar
August 19,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, The solar panels were approved by the Board of Education in 2015, and were supposed to be erected last summer, but were pushed back for various reason to this summer.

According to the Ridgewood Board of Education ,Eight Ridgewood schools have been receiving a portion of their electricity from solar power since late 2012/early 2013 ; • Ridgewood High • BF Middle • Glen • Hawes • Orchard • Ridge • Somerville • Travell •

Total installed solar capacity of 841 kW • 2014 solar energy production of ~875,000 kWh • 2014 savings from using solar energy ~$70,000

BF Middle School will add • 329.4 kW Carport Mounted System • $0.125/kWh year 1 PPA Price with a 3% Escalator • Year 1 Savings ~$18,000 • 15-Year Savings Potential >$275,000

Information was pulled from March 25,2015 presentation from Verterra :

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Brianna Alexandra Patek of Ridgewood High School will present a research project at the 2016 Research Symposium of the New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering & Technology at Rutgers University

Health-Monitoring Wearables
July 21,2016

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, Brianna Alexandra Patek, of Ridgewood High School will present  a research project Friday at the 2016 Research Symposium of the New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering & Technology at Rutgers University’s Busch campus in Piscataway. Patek will be joining 80 of her peers in presenting the results of their respective research projects.

11:20 AM – 11:40 AM Health-Monitoring Wearables Amy Liang, Brianna Patek, Sruthi Srinivasan, Eileen Wang, Andrew Zheng

The introduction of the final symposium from 10:00 AM – 10:50 AM in the Allison Road Classroom Building Room 103 on Rutgers’ Busch Campus (directions at the end of this invitation). (Visitors on the day of the symposium may park in Lots 51, 59, 60B, and 67 without permits.

Links to the parking lots are at the bottom of this document). Light refreshments will be served.  Students’ research presentations will run from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM concurrently in three locations: the Computing Research and Education (CoRE) Building Auditorium, located on the first floor of the CoRE Building; the Easton Hub Auditorium, located in the Fiber Optic Materials Research Building; and the CAIT Auditorium, located in the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation Building.

The schedule of presentations from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM there will be a one hour break for individuals to examine the final project results in the Life Sciences Building Atrium

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Super Science Saturday exhibits science and technology in Ridgewood



RIDGEWOOD – An award-winning Ridgewood tradition, Super Science Saturday (SSS), is ready to educate and inspire community members of all ages.

The event, which is being held on Feb. 27 for the 28th straight year, will feature professional presenters and student projects, according to its website.

This popular village event received an award from the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame last October.

“SSS is an annual science exhibition that brings students at all grade levels and adults together to experience the wonder and excitement of science and technology in our daily lives,” said Mary Ann Copp, a member of the SSS Executive Committee. “Since its founding in 1988 by former Ben Franklin [Middle School] science teacher Jim Wallace, SSS is fun [makes science approachable and understandable], free [for anyone to attend] and non-competitive. Any student and adult can exhibit just by registering in advance.”

This year’s version of SSS will have a “special interactive show” featuring an actor playing Thomas Edison, Copp said, noting that the Edison show will begin at 9:30 a.m.

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Cheer up, the post-human era is dawning


Martin Rees

Artificial minds will not be confined to the planet on which we have evolved, writes Martin Rees

So vast are the expanses of space and time that fall within an astronomer’s gaze that people in my profession are mindful not only of our moment in history, but also of our place in the wider cosmos. We wonder whether there is intelligent life elsewhere; some of us even search for it. People will not be the culmination of evolution. We are near the dawn of a post-human future that could be just as prolonged as the billions of years of Darwinian selection that preceded humanity’s emergence.

The far future will bear traces of humanity, just as our own age retains influences of ancient civilisations. Humans and all they have thought might be a transient precursor to the deeper cogitations of another culture — one dominated by machines, extending deep into the future and spreading far beyond earth.

Not everyone considers this an uplifting scenario. There are those who fear that artificial intelligence will supplant us, taking our jobs and living beyond the writ of human laws. Others regard such scenarios as too futuristic to be worth fretting over. But the disagreements are about the rate of travel, not the direction. Few doubt that machines will one day surpass more of our distinctively human capabilities. It may take centuries but, compared to the aeons of evolution that led to humanity’s emergence, even that is a mere bat of the eye. This is not a fatalistic projection. It is cause for optimism. The civilisation that supplants us could accomplish unimaginable advances — feats, perhaps, that we cannot even understand.

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Screen Addiction Is Taking a Toll on Children


By JANE E. BRODY JULY 6, 2015 6:00 AM July 6, 2015 6:00 am

Excessive use of computer games among young people in China appears to be taking an alarming turn and may have particular relevance for American parents whose children spend many hours a day focused on electronic screens. The documentary “Web Junkie,” to be shown next Monday on PBS, highlights the tragic effects on teenagers who become hooked on video games, playing for dozens of hours at a time often without breaks to eat, sleep or even use the bathroom. Many come to view the real world as fake.

Chinese doctors consider this phenomenon a clinical disorder and have established rehabilitation centers where afflicted youngsters are confined for months of sometimes draconian therapy, completely isolated from all media, the effectiveness of which remains to be demonstrated.

While Internet addiction is not yet considered a clinical diagnosis here, there’s no question that American youths are plugged in and tuned out of “live” action for many more hours of the day than experts consider healthy for normal development. And it starts early, often with preverbal toddlers handed their parents’ cellphones and tablets to entertain themselves when they should be observing the world around them and interacting with their caregivers.

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Scientist claims immortality within reach


Published: 11:43AM Saturday July 04, 2015 Source: Sunday

A visiting American research scientist says he is close to discovering a ‘cure’ for ageing, that he could have a drug ready for testing by the end of next year.

Molecular Biologist Dr Bill Andrews told TV ONE’s SUNDAY programme that humans shouldn’t have to suffer from the ravages of ageing. He says that ageing is a disease that should, and could be cured.

His research centres around Telomeres – small caps at the end of our chromosomes that become shorter every time our cells divide.

When they become critically short, we age and eventually die.


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Time to bring education into the 21st century

Super_Science_ Saturday_theridgewoodblog

July 2,2015
By Alan Shusterman

As “Pomp and Circumstance” plays at ceremonies nationwide this month, a record number of high school students are celebrating their hard-earned diplomas.

The celebrations won’t last. Despite their hard work, these students will soon find that they’re far from prepared for life after graduation. Academically, they’re worse educated than most of their foreign contemporaries. Occupationally, they’re ill-equipped for the jobs our economy needs. And emotionally, they’re less healthy than any generation in recent history.

America’s K-12 educational system is to blame. Despite huge advances in classroom technology and the science of learning, our nation’s schools remain a relic of another era.

Modernizing our schools isn’t just a matter of changing funding formulas and tweaking mechanisms for accountability. Instead, we must completely reimagine the American model of schooling, drawing on the science- and technology-driven practices that have revolutionized the modern world.

U.S. students are rapidly falling behind their international peers in primary and secondary education. A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ranked countries based on the average math and science scores of 15-year-old students. America’s schools came in 28th.

Even worse, the OECD found that almost a quarter of American 15-year-olds failed to acquire “basic skills” in math and science. Of the 76 countries evaluated in the study, only Luxembourg performed worse.

This poor academic performance translates directly into inadequate workforce skills, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. Because of a lack of qualified applicants, companies take more than twice as long to fill STEM positions than equivalent non-STEM ones. The problem will only worsen. STEM positions are projected to grow 17 percent by 2024, almost double the rate of non-STEM jobs.

As if leaving students undereducated and unprepared for the workforce isn’t enough, current school practices are also making students psychologically unhealthy. The incidence of anxiety and depression among American adolescents has reached alarming levels. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one in five high school kids contemplated suicide in 2013, many due to stress from school.

If we are going to reverse these dangerous trends, we need to completely change the way we teach our young people.

That starts by acknowledging that every student is different, and that the same student can be different depending on the week, the month, and the year. As a result, students need an education customized to their evolving individual needs.

This idea is far from new. Individualized teaching has long been recognized as superior to standard one-size-fits-all instruction. A 1984 study showed that individually tutored students, on average, performed better than 98 percent of students educated in a standard setting.

The problem is that such tutoring has long been prohibitively expensive. But with the advent of new technology, programs such as Khan Academy and Coursera are demonstrating that personalized, self-directed learning is possible on a large scale.

That could mean a classroom full of students using laptops or tablets to learn at their own pace. Or teachers using technology to closely track individual student progress so they know when to step in and help.

Once students master foundational core knowledge and skill requirements, they need resources and time to pursue their own projects, internships, and other opportunities for applied learning.

Rather than trudge through unnecessary extra English courses, a science-lover should be able to spend her time in the laboratory. By the same token, an aspiring writer should be encouraged to work on the novel kicking around in his head rather than taking unwanted extra science courses. It’s amazing what teenagers are capable of if they are given agency and a little direction.

Apart from academics, schools should address students’ emotional and social growth. For too long, a skeptical public has brushed aside concepts like socio-emotional learning as hippie nonsense. But in this case, the hippies have it right. Those who embrace these concepts experience very real, measurable benefits — including enhanced academic achievement.

For example, in January, Developmental Psychology published a study of grade-school students who were taught meditation and mindfulness techniques. After 12 weeks, the students showed a 24 percent decrease in aggression and an overall reduction in depression-like symptoms — plus a 15 percent improvement in math scores!

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Watch Venus Take Jupiter in a Race Around the Sun


Over the past week, you may have noticed what appear to be two superbright stars near the horizon. Those aren’t stars; they’re planets in a celestial race around the sun. On Tuesday, Venus will come neck-and-neck with Jupiter.

That day, at 2:17 pm Universal Time or 10:17 am E.T., the two planets will be at their closest. You can see this unusual sight, known as a conjunction, from just about anywhere in the world.

The optimal viewing location, according to Jackie Faherty, an astrophysicist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, is one where where the sun sets just as the planets approach one another. Complete darkness is not necessary to see these bright objects, but it helps.

Regardless of where you are, your viewing instructions are simple: At sunset, get away from buildings or trees that might block your view of the western sky. Stick an arm out, give a thumbs up, and squint your eyes. Venus and Jupiter should be about one third of a degree, or about a thumb’s width, apart.

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Ridgewood STEM clubs are branching out


MAY 28, 2015    LAST UPDATED: THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2015, 3:11 PM

It might sound like a scene straight out of a science fiction film, but this weekend’s rise of the machines won’t be the result of a Hollywood blockbuster. The anticipated sights and sounds, instead, are the products of middle school creativity and ingenuity.

George Washington Middle School (GW) will be crowded Saturday afternoon with young scientists and engineers, most of them showing off their robotic creations at the second annual FIRST Robotics Showcase. Those not exhibiting and competing will simply be there for the show.

And based on last year’s inaugural event, there will be plenty in attendance.

“Last year was a tremendous success; we had almost 500 people come,” student Ashton Rollins said during a presentation to the Ridgewood Board of Education earlier this spring. A member of the GW STEM Club, Rollins noted that roughly eight new teams formed as a result of the 2014 showcase.

“In other words,” he said, “they were so influenced at our event that they wanted to have a team themselves.”

The showcase, which takes place from 1 to 3:30 p.m. inside the new gymnasium at GW, will boast New Jersey’s best robotics teams in all age groups. Teams will compete in several categories: Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge and FIRST Robotics Competition.

A handful of teams from both Ridgewood middle schools are expected to compete, as are notable squads from Glen Rock and the Pascack Valley area. Last year’s event, which also took place at GW, attracted teams from as far as Livingston.

Enthusiasm for learning STEM topics – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – is the main draw to the Robotics Showcase, and many believe the excitement is contagious.

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Living and working in paradise: the rise of the ‘digital nomad’


Fed up with spending the 9 to 5 in a stuffy office? Anna Hart packs her Mac and follows the trend for extreme remote working – in Bali

By Anna Hart

7:00AM BST 17 May 2015

Typing these words, my forefinger sticks sweatily to the trackpad. When I glance up from the screen, I see steam rising from the neighbouring paddy field. As with all workplaces, there’s a steady hum of white noise: coffee being brewed, group meetings peppered with jargon such as “touch base”, “reach out”, “loop back” and “incentivise”.

But Hubud, AKA “Hub-in-Ubud”, Bali, isn’t a conventional office. It is a bamboo and wood building with an outdoor organic café and a pretty garden dotted with beanbags – and monkeys, as it is just 100m from Ubud’s famous Monkey Forest. For everyone who has ever come back from holiday and wished they could have stayed, I am living the dream – and working in paradise.

• Five reasons why everyone should live abroad at least once

This is one of a rapidly increasing number of co-working spaces, where freelancers, sole traders and small companies rent desks and share printers and coffee machines. But even within that hip, fast-evolving realm, Hubud is an outlier – and its 250-strong community believes that this highly covetable office environment is the workplace of the future. The diversity of this group also signals another change: that more and more jobs are becoming portable, possible to do at a digital distance – not just web designers and freelance writers but fashion designers, photographers, models, marketers and even a remote-working GP.

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ICANN sees privatization of Internet management soon


By Glenn Chapman1

San Francisco (AFP) – The head of the nonprofit group that oversees the world’s Internet addresses expressed confidence Thursday that it would be privatized and out of US government control by year’s end.

Fadi Chehade’s comments came despite criticism in the US Congress, where some lawmakers have resisted the plan to end Washington’s key management role in the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Chehade said all the necessary components for a new stewardship scheme are accounted for and there will be “major legitimizing endorsements” from several countries in coming weeks.

“It is now up to the community to wrap them up, put them in a nice little box with a bow and ship them to Washington,” Chehade said, of the pieces of a plan to supplant a contract ICANN has with the US Department of Commerce.

The comments come a year after the US government said it would end its technical oversight role for the Internet domain system, with the stipulation that it be managed without direct control by governments or intergovernmental bodies like the United Nations.

The US plan seeks to turn over this function to what Chehade calls a “global multistakeholder community.”

Chehade said a growing number of countries, including China and Brazil, have voiced support for this new system.

“When we started we heard things like the UN would take over or China will fragment the Internet. Everyone was in threat and defense mode,” he said.

ICANN is in charge of assigning Internet domain names and the numbering codes that lie behind online …

“Now that China has come to the table, and Brazil has done the same, government after government is showing support.”

Chehade said some 150 countries now support the shift of ICANN oversight away from the US government to a globally representative group of governments, civil society and businesses.