After AlphaGo There Is No Stopping AI

justvoteno – excerpt

Artificial Intelligence, in one form or another, is everywhere. We invite it into our homes and feed it on social media. Businesses that have the resources to automate, will. Every sector of the economy utilizes AI in some form.

It is nearly impossible to find an industry that is not looking to AI for improvements. AI is potentially playing a role in semiconductors, industrial applications, military and defense and everything in-between. Manufacturers hope AI will make developing products and innovation easier. Globalspace, September 6, 2019

You and AI

Whether you embrace or fear artificial intelligence, AI is here to stay. In the short run you will benefit from augmented diagnostic techniques or harmed by loss of a job. In the long run your place in the universe – to your advantage or not — might be determined by a machine…(more)

Challenges to new California power plants now allowed in Superior Court

by Bob Egelko : sfchronicle – excerpt

Californians can go to their local Superior Court to challenge the state Energy Commission’s approval of large new power plants that use natural gas or other fuels, a state appeals court has ruled, overturning a state law backed by energy companies.

The law, passed in 2001 during an energy crisis, required opponents of thermal power plants approved by the commission to file their objections with the state Supreme Court. That court decides which cases to review, and, environmental groups say, has not granted review of any challenges to power plants since 2001.

But the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco said the 2001 law violates the state Constitution, which, with some specified exceptions, allows challenges to government actions to be filed in a county Superior Court where a judge would review the legality of the commission’s action. The judge’s ruling could be appealed…(more)

SF apartment smoking ban proposal includes cannabis; draws opposition

by John Ferrannin : ebay – excerpt

Progressive LGBTQs are making known their opposition to a proposal in San Francisco that would ban people from smoking tobacco and cannabis in their apartments.

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President Norman Yee introduced the legislation, which also includes vaping, that applies to apartment buildings of three or more units.

Yee wrote the ordinance over concern of secondhand smoke traveling into other units.

Yee’s plan includes an exemption for medical marijuana, but that doesn’t satisfy opponents…

Goldman alleges Yee’s proposed legislation would run afoul of Prop 64, because cannabis use is only allowed under Prop 64 in private residences and certain private venues.

“I find it amazing Supervisor Yee is promoting this,” Goldman said, adding that encouraging people to switch to edibles is not a good alternative for those who need quick relief from symptoms they are using cannabis to treat.

The offices of Yee, Supervisor Dean Preston, and Mayor London Breed did not respond to requests for comment…(more)

I find it amazing that anyone would suggest eating cannabis instead of smoking it. If they had ever eaten it if they would know better. Eating it is much less predictable than smoking it. That should be obvious from the effects it has on kids that accidentally eat it. Putting novices in charge of a product they own nothing about is absurd. This bill is absurd. We fought for the right to keep government out of our homes and this is not the time to invite them in or turn neighbors into spies. We need a return to freedom and unity not more divisive city ordinances.

USPTO Announces Across the Board Patent Fee Increases

By Lathrop GPM : jdsupra – excerpt

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Final Rule today in the Federal Register, viewable at 85 Fed. Reg. 46932 (August 3, 2020), announcing fee adjustments affecting all aspects of patent practice before the USPTO. The fee adjustments, which will go into effect on October 2, 2020, include an approximately 5% across-the-board increase for all patent fees, except for certain fees specifically targeted for greater adjustments to offset USPTO costs for a variety of strategic reasons.

A primary justification for the USPTO’s increased fees is to provide the USPTO with sufficient financial resources to maintain operation at effective and reliable levels, especially in times of financial fluctuations and economic uncertainly. Even with the COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding economic downturn, the USPTO has seen a continued increase in patent filings, and predicts further increases over the next five fiscal years. However, patent fee revenues have been down about 1.5% from projections for the current year. The increased fees set forth in the Final Rule will help replenish and grow the patent operating reserve, which will position the USPTO to be able to enhance the country’s innovation ecosystem and undertake important capital improvements, such as continuing to adapt to an ever-increasing technological future and improve inventors’ access to the patent system…

As noted, the USPTO has generally increased all patent-related fees by about 5%…

Additional fees have been targeted for greater adjustments to account for associated increases in USPTO costs and required resources. These targeted fee increases relate to the following aspects of USPTO operation:

  • AIA Trial Fees
  • Utility and Reissue Issue Fees
  • Maintenance Fees
  • Requests for Expedited Examination of Design Patent Applications

(more)

The new fees took effect on October 2, 2020

Regional planners back off from mandatory telecommute goal

By Carly Graf : sfexaminer – excerpt

Widespread pushback yields possible compromise allowing more flexibility, emphasis on transit

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission might back off from a telecommute mandate passed in September that would have encouraged many Bay Area employers to make 60 percent of their workforce telecommute on any given workday.

Stakeholders, including high-profile regional lawmakers, transit agencies and everyday residents, objected to the mandate, worrying it would decimate downtown centers of cities such as San Francisco, disincentivize the development and use of green transit options and disproportionately burden lower income individuals who can’t comfortably work from home… (more)

California mayors share how the pandemic shapes their cities

By Elizabeth Castillo : calmatters – excerpt (includes audio track)

In the latest installment of the “Future of Work” series, California mayors explain their cities’ most pressing issues…(more)

The Future of Work #4: A Q&A with California Mayors

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, several California mayors described how the crisis has affected their cities, from an impending “homelessness armageddon” to the success of pedestrian-oriented streets.

The virtual event, moderated by CalMatters economy reporter Lauren Hepler, occurred less than an hour after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that most counties are headed back to the state’s most restrictive tier of reopening. About 94% of Californians will now live in counties with the most severe restrictions…(more)

‘Severe’ understaffing at DA’s office could harm cases

By Michael Barca, Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Boudin seeks approval from Breed to fill positions

District Attorney Chesa Boudin is calling on Mayor London Breed to remedy a “severe” staffing shortage in his office that threatens to harm criminal prosecutions unless key positions are filled.

The District Attorney’s Office has reached a “tipping point,” with a single prosecutor in the General Felonies Unit handling as many as 229 cases a year compared to the national standard of 150 cases, according to Boudin.

The shortages have also impacted the homicide and domestic violence units.

“Staff who have left the office have expressed deep concern about the extreme caseloads, and a fear that the high volume of cases will cause them to make an inadvertent mistake in the handling of their cases; mistakes that can have severe ramifications for their license to practice law,” Boudin recently wrote to Breed and other officials.…(more)

SJ Sharks Ramping Up Battle With City Over Development

cbslocal – excerpt

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Representatives from the San Jose Sharks informed fans Thursday morning that development projects planned for the city’s downtown could force the team out of the SAP Center.

Fans and supporters received a detailed email from the professional hockey team early Thursday saying that the city was ignoring their concerns and if nothing changes, the team could leave San Jose.

“For more than a year, we have been sharing our concerns with you regarding the proposed, massive development projects within the Diridon area of downtown San Jose, which surrounds SAP Center,” the email read. “For the past several years, we have been sharing those same concerns with city of San Jose officials and Google. Unfortunately, those discussions have yielded limited results.”… (more)

Looks like some really big operators may be pulling out of the urban centers that have built a long-term plan on having them around. Football teams have been left and now San Jose may lose the Sharks. Do the residents get to decide between the Sharks and more development? Or will the wise old guys down at City Hall make the judgement for them?

Significant Changes to State CEQA Filing and Noticing Requirements and Procedures

By Jack Rubens and Justin Mahramas : Posted in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), New Rules and Legislation

Two significant changes to California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) noticing and filing requirements and procedures recently took effect. First, on September 23, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-80-20 (“Order“), which conditionally suspends certain requirements for filing, noticing, and posting of CEQA documents with county clerk offices. The Order provides an alternate means of complying with those requirements during the current pandemic, and extends the prior suspension by Executive Order N-54-20.[1] It will remain in effect until it is modified or rescinded, or until the COVID-related State of Emergency instituted on March 4, 2020 is terminated, whichever occurs sooner.

Second, on November 3, 2020, the State Clearinghouse Unit of the California Office of Planning and Research (“OPR”) discontinued accepting hard copies of CEQA documents and notices of determination and exemption. The State CEQA Guidelines require lead agencies for development projects to post certain environmental documents through OPR as part of the noticing process. OPR will now require most CEQA documents and notices be submitted online, through the CEQAnet Database.… (more)

One wonders how old the computer system is and who will have access to the files.

Condo Prices Drop 9% in San Francisco, All-Time Record Inventory Glut Piles Up

by Wolf Richter : wolfstreet – excerpt

The glut is in neighborhoods with condo towers, particularly where the construction boom has been. Neighborhoods with low-rise buildings are less impacted.

The situation in the San Francisco housing market is getting increasingly curious. Even as there is a veritable land rush in many parts around the US, including in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco is now facing historic record high inventory of condos for sale, and sharp drops in condo prices. Inventory of single-family houses is also up and prices are mixed…

Unemployment and work-from-home or work-from-anywhere are massively shifting where people want to live. Read… US Apartment Market Splits in Two, 100 Cities: Where Rents Jumped or Dropped the Most, Are Highest or Lowest (more)

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