The Buzz 09.12.19

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WHO’S IN TOWN?

On May 16, 2018, the International Society for Optics and Photonics, a nonprofit educational engineering organization, sponsored the inauguralInternational Day of Light to celebrate light and light-based technologies. The date is significant: it’s the anniversary of the first successful operation of a laser by physicist and engineer Theodore Maiman in 1960. The society is in town this week for the joint Photomask Technology + Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography 2019 conference to discuss the latest in the two high level technologies. Each are used by computer chip makers to manufacture the sophisticated chips inside our computers and mobile phones. Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography is a brand new process that’s only come into use within the last year. It aids chipmakers with the challenging step of printing circuit elements onto underlying silicon.

Mon-Thu Sept. 16-19. Monterey Conference Center, 1 Portola Plaza, Monterey. $1,105-$1,045. spie.org.

FREE SPEECH

California lawmakers want to force Uber and Lyft to treat their drivers like regular employees. But as the California News Publishers Association puts it, the passage of Assembly Bill 5 as it’s currently written could “spell disaster for the newspaper industry and the communities newspapers serve.” Under the law proposed by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, all businesses in the state would have to reclassify independent contractors as employees – with exceptions carved out for certain types of businesses. The idea is to give more than a million gig economy workers protections like minimum wage, overtime and workers compensation while exempting a list of industries that includes insurance brokers, doctors and lawyers. Not on the exemption list? Newspapers, like the Weekly, which rely on contract delivery drivers and freelance contributors. If print journalism is to survive in California, newspapers need their own exemption. Ironically, Gov. Gavin Newsom signalled his support for AB 5 with an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, a newspaper with significant income from print deliveries to subscribers.

GOOD WEEK / BAD WEEK

GOOD:

Just in time for the new school year, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is beginning programming for students in its new $42 million Bechtel Education Center on Sept. 17. The LEED certified building features STEM technologies in its Innovation Lab such as 3D printers and laser cutters, as well as a green screen room for bringing ocean education to children unable to visit. “The new center has much more integrated tech that will teach kids life skills and science simultaneously” says Aquarium Secondary School Programs Manager Pamela Wade. Located on Cannery Row, a five-minute walk from the main campus, the new center will enable the Aquarium to deliver facilitated programming to 60-percent more youngsters than before, totalling almost 1,000 students a day. All of the Aquarium’s student programs remain free of charge.

BAD:

At least a year of planning on a 48-acre mixed-use development in Marina just went down the drain. The project was supposed to be built on a parcel of formerFort Ord land that’s owned by the University of California through its UC MBEST Initiative. The university was prepared to sell the parcel to real estate developer Rutherford Investments for $4.25 million. But after about a year in escrow, the deal fell apart two weeks ago when Rutherford suddenly pulled out. “It was a little bit of a shock to us,” says Steve Matarazzo, UC MBEST’s planning director. “[Rutherford] had spent money on planning consultants and already gave the city of Marina a development proposal.” The developer is not revealing why they canceled the deal. For now the university has no plans to put the land up for sale again.

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