Wed03042015

News

Council considers freezing First St. development

Council considers freezing First St. development


Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
A pedestrian walks along First Street in downtown Los Altos last week. Future construction on the street could soon be barred by an emergency moratorium on development.

Further construction along First Street could be t...

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Schools

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices

Former NFL player huddles with Blach students about life choices


Ellie Van HOutte/Town Crier
Former NFL tight end Eason Ramson visited with Blach Intermediate School students, Feb. 13 to share the perils of drug use. Now a motivational speaker, Ramson works with at-risk teens in San Francisco.

Although former ...

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Community

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts

Music for Minors partners with Harvard to expand efforts


Palmer

When the thriving Music for Minors began to outgrow its capacity, the local nonprofit organization made new friends.

Beginning in late February, Music for Minors – a Town Crier Holiday Fund recipient – partnered with Harvard Business Sch...

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Comment

Dangerous streets: A Piece of My Mind

I’m driving along El Monte Avenue between Foothill Expressway and Springer Road at approximately 6 p.m. on a midwinter evening. In keeping with the “village feeling” of our town, there are no sidewalks and no streetlights.

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Special Sections

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March

Lions, lambs and Cab Franc for March


Christine Moore/Special to the Town Crier
Oven fries, a slice of feta cheese and the bite of harissa mayonnaise make for a late-winter, early-spring dinner perfectly paired with Cabernet Franc.

I can’t help but wonder whether March will come in ...

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Business

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year

Los Altos scientist named Inventor of the Year


Above Photo by Alicia Castro/Town Crier; Below Rendering Courtesy of SST inc.
Robert Showen, above, the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Lawyers Association’s Inventor of the Year, began researching his ShotSpotter technology in his Los A...

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Books

French novel

French novel "Hunting and Gathering" offers character-driven suspense


Anna Gavalda is a well-known author in her native France, where she has published six books, most of which have met with considerable praise and commercial success. Her fourth novel, “Hunting and Gathering” (Riverhead Books, 2007), is filled ...

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People

HELEN KNOFLOCH

HELEN KNOFLOCH

Aug. 14, 1920 – Feb.12, 2015

Resident of Cupertino

Helen Knofloch, 94, loving wife and devoted mother passed away on Feb. 12th. She was born in Vienna, Austria and moved to Los Altos in 1949, where she met Andy, the love of her life. They resided...

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Travel

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new

Seoul of the city: Korean capital offers mix of old and new


Ramya Krishna/Special to the Town Crier
Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon public recreation space, above, features an elevated pedestrian bridge.

Seoul, South Korea, is a study in contrasts. Having grown quickly, the city is a mix of old and new.

Using...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’

TheatreWorks jumps into ‘Lake’


Kevin Berne/Special to the Town Crier
Jason Bowen, from left, Adam Poss and Nilanjana Bose star in “The Lake Effect,” opening this weekend at the Lucie Stern Theatre in Palo Alto and running through March 29.

The TheatreWorks production ...

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Spiritual Life

Is your thought life sabotaging your spiritual journey?

My computer started having problems – there seemed to be some sort of malware running in the background. At first it was just annoying, then it began to slow down my computer, interfering with its basic operations. What is it doing? Why can...

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Magazine

Local events serve up family fun

Local events serve up family fun


Courtesy of Peninsula Youth Theatre
Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of “Pecos Bill: A Tall Tale” is slated to open March 20 in Mountain View.

For families seeking a break from the daily routine, events abound this month and next in Los Alto...

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GPS guru explains its immense capability in Rotary Club of Los Altos appearance


John Hammerschmidt/ Special to the Town Crier
Frank van Diggelen, an expert on GPS, addresses the Rotary Club of Los Altos Oct. 24.

That tiny global positioning system chip in cellphones has had a big impact on society, according to GPS expert Frank van Diggelen, Ph.D., who appeared at the Rotary Club of Los Altos meeting Oct. 24.

Van Diggelen is senior technical director at Global Navigations Satellite Systems, chief navigation officer at Broadcom Corp. and consulting professor at Stanford University, where he teaches a graduate course on GPS. He holds 69 U.S. patents and won the Institute of Navigation’s Thurlow Award for outstanding contribution to the science of navigation in 2010.

We are living through a huge technology transition that allows access to navigation, formerly limited to the elite, to the general population, van Diggelen said, a shift equivalent to the development of the printing press in the 1500s, which brought literacy to the masses, or the development of computers in the 1980s, which made personal computing available to the general public. Smartphones produced since the first 3G iPhone have GPS capability linked to the 32 satellites now in orbit, he added.

Satellite navigation began when Sputnik was launched in 1957, van Diggelen said. It broadcast radio signals that reached Earth in 70 milliseconds. The time delay and Doppler effect could be measured to establish locations on the planet. The U.S. Navy built the first GPS for Polaris submarines. Satellites’ atomic clocks keep time accurately to a billionth of a second. There is just one line of code in smartphones that establishes their GPS location, van Diggelen said.

In geoscience today, fixed reference stations measure crust motion on Earth accurately to millimeters. A receiver near Stanford University indicates that the Los Altos area moves northwest 3 inches per year, van Diggelen noted.

He predicts a “big future” that includes GPS forensics to prove where a person’s cellphone is located at any time, and autonomous vehicles that communicate other vehicles’ positions for safe, automatic driving. With GPS, even “economically efficient” traffic lights may become available.

“How much are you prepared to pay for green lights?“ van Diggelen asked the Rotarians.

Marlene Cowan is a member of the Rotary Club of Los Altos.

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