Thu05052016

News

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Hills man arrested on molestation charges

Gregory Helfrich

Updated 11:28 a.m.:

Santa Clara Sheriff’s detectives have arrested a Los Altos Hills man they suspect repeatedly molested a child decades ago.

Detectives arrested Gregory Helfrich, 54, on a warrant at his Old Page Mill R...

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Schools

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students

Local AAUW gives gift of science to junior high students


Courtesy of Jessica Harell
Blach Intermediate School seventh-grader Paris Harrell, who loves science and animals, recently received a scholarship from the local branch of the AAUW to attend Tech Trek camp.

It’s not every day that a junior hig...

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Community

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner

At 98, former language teacher remains a lifelong learner


Federici

Longtime Los Altos resident Mario Federici, who turned 98 Feb. 24, is a man of many languages. He shared his knowledge with thousands of students during his long career as a teacher.

Federici was born and raised in Italy, where he stud...

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Comment

Attend an event, get involved, have fun: Editorial

You don’t have to run for city council to get involved in the community. Sometimes it can be as simple as attending a Los Altos event. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, as the May and June calendars are bustling with activity.

The Dow...

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Special Sections

Racing around Monterey

Racing around Monterey


Gary Anderson/Special to the Town Crier
The easy handling of the VW Golf R, above, makes for an ideal ride along the Big Sur coast.

 

When automotive journalists are asked to list their favorite places in the world to drive, Monterey alway...

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Business

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations

'Steampunk' eatery toasts local libations


Courtesy of Eureka
Eureka, a new restaurant in downtown Mountain View, highlights local craft beer and whiskeys on a menu of food spanning from sea to farm.

Craft beer and fancy whiskeys headline the menu at Eureka, the new restaurant that opene...

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People

Stepping Out

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'

PA Players seek escape in 'Into the Woods'


Courtesy of Palo Alto Players
The Baker’s Wife, left, and Cinderella’s erstwhile Prince stand out in the Palo Alto Players production of “Into the Woods.”

Little Red Riding Hood sets forth at the outset of “Into the...

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Spiritual Life

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International

Los Altos United Methodist Church service salutes Heifer International


Courtesy of Los ALtos United Methodist Church
Hidden Villa will bring some of its farm animals to Los Altos United Methodist Church Sunday to support the nonprofit Heifer International.

Los Altos United Methodist Church is scheduled to salute th...

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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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