Collection of Published Clips
Welcome to John Roach’s clips, a curated collection of links to public-facing, bylined stories for current and past clients. This is a sliver of the thousands of stories he’s written over the course of his career. If you’re looking for something specific or different, please ask.
November 2, 2021
Mesh for Teams is designed to make online meetings more personal, engaging and fun. It’s also a gateway to the metaverse – a persistent digital world that is inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things. Think of the metaverse as a new version – or a new vision – of the internet, one where people gather to communicate, collaborate and share with virtual presence on any device.
June 21, 2021
At the outset of the global pandemic in March 2020, Svitlana Volkova and her colleagues turned to the social media platform Twitter to understand and model the spread of COVID-19 misinformation, which was wrinkling hastily hatched plans to protect people from the disease.
April 6, 2021
Quincy, Washington – Ping! Emails and other communications sent between Microsoft employees are literally making liquid boil inside a steel holding tank packed with computer servers at this datacenter on the eastern bank of the Columbia River. Unlike water, the fluid inside the couch-shaped tank is harmless to electronic equipment and engineered to boil at 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
October 26, 2020
The innocuous microwave on a shelf in a laboratory at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash., is anything but ordinary. “Weird,” is how Penny McKenzie, a cybersecurity engineer at the laboratory, describes the device. The microwave arrived at PNNL with the capability to be controlled through a smart speaker connected to the internet.
September 14, 2020
Earlier this summer, marine specialists reeled up a shipping-container-size datacenter coated in algae, barnacles and sea anemones from the seafloor off Scotland’s Orkney Islands. The retrieval launched the final phase of a years-long effort that proved the concept of underwater datacenters is feasible, as well as logistically, environmentally and economically practical.
July 27, 2020
In a worldwide first that could jumpstart a long-forecast clean energy economy built around the most abundant element in the universe, hydrogen fuel cells have powered a row of datacenter servers for 48 consecutive hours, Microsoft announced Monday. The feat is the latest milestone in the company’s commitment to be carbon negative by 2030.
January 19, 2020
Cambridge, United Kingdom – Theo, a 12-year-old boy who is blind, is seated at a table in a crowded kitchen on a gray and drippy mid-December day. A headband that houses cameras, a depth sensor and speakers rings his sandy-brown hair. He swivels his head left and right until the camera in the front of the headband points at the nose of a person on the far side of a counter.
November 7, 2019
The first time people don the new HoloLens 2 on their heads, the device automatically gets to know them: It measures everything from the precise shape of their hands to the exact distance between their eyes. The artificial intelligence research and development that enabled those capabilities “was astonishingly complicated” but essential to making the experience of using the device “instinctual.”
October 10, 2019
Redmond, Washington and Ithaca, New York – Jenny Sabin is perched high on a scissor lift, her head poking through an opening of the porous fabric structure that she’s struggling to stretch onto the exoskeleton of her installation piece, which is suspended in the airy atrium of building 99 on Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington, campus. Momentarily defeated, she pauses and looks up.
June 5, 2018
Under the sea, Microsoft tests a datacenter that’s quick to deploy, could provide internet connectivity for years
Microsoft is leveraging technology from submarines and working with pioneers in marine energy for the second phase of its moonshot to develop self-sufficient underwater datacenters that can deliver lightning-quick cloud services to coastal cities. An experimental, shipping-container-size prototype is processing workloads on the seafloor near Scotland’s Orkney Islands, Microsoft announced today.
April 5, 2018
ROCHESTER, NY — As stragglers settle into their seats for general biology class, real-time captions of the professor’s banter about general and special senses – “Which receptor picks up pain? All of them.” – scroll across the bottom of a PowerPoint presentation displayed on wall-to-wall screens behind her. An interpreter stands a few feet away and interprets the professor’s spoken words.
June 28, 2017
Sometimes the best place to showcase the potential of a bold, world-changing technology is a flower garden. Take the case of Ofer Dekel, for example. He manages the Machine Learning and Optimization group at Microsoft’s research lab in Redmond, Washington. Squirrels often devoured flower bulbs in his garden and seeds from his bird feeder, depriving him and his family of blooms and birdsong.
March 3, 2016
From Bonneville County, Idaho, to Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, tablet-toting agronomists with Anheuser-Busch InBev — the world’s largest brewer by volume — are visiting farmers who grow the company’s malt barley, a key ingredient in beer. These meetings are a decades-old ritual: Growers review contracts as agronomists offer advice on ways to maximize productivity and profitability.
April 29, 2015
Glacier, Washington, is the final stop for coffee and treats on the Mt. Baker Highway, which ends at a ski area holding the world record for most snowfall in a season. The small town in the woods might seem an unlikely spot for a $9.6 million warehouse to store excess energy, but it might prove the perfect testing ground. The area's winter storms routinely knock out power to Glacier.
August 4, 2014
SEATTLE -– Going solar is expensive, but a confluence of plummeting equipment prices, rising utility bills, new financing schemes and a raft of federal, state, and local incentives are encouraging homeowners across America to take the plunge and put photovoltaic panels on their roofs, even in rainy Seattle.
May 9, 2014
Trains loaded with crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken shale formation rumble past the outfield bleachers of the Seattle Mariners' baseball stadium several times a week. From there, the trains head north, their cargo destined for multiple refineries in Washington State.
August 23, 2014
SEATTLE — A quarter-century after a drunk captain and his fatigued crew ran the Exxon Valdez onto a reef where it spilled 10.8 million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, new rules are taking shape to prevent a similar disaster in the rapidly opening Arctic Ocean. There, melting sea ice is opening a new frontier.
February 17, 2014
Besieged by drought and desperate for new sources of water, California towns are ramping up plans to convert salty ocean water into drinking water to quench their long-term thirst. The plants that carry out the high-tech "desalination" process can cost hundreds of millions of dollars, but there may be few other choices for the parched state.
January 20, 2012
Mysterious, unseen structures on the outskirts of creation most likely aren't tugging on our universe, according to a new study. The paper reexamines "dark flow"—an unusual, one-way motion of matter—using measurements of supernovae and the existing laws of physics.
April 27, 2011
Harvesting of a parasitic fungus that grows high on the Tibetan Plateau in China is infusing hordes of cash into rural communities, scientists say. The fungus, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, takes over the bodies of caterpillar larvae then shoots up like finger-size blades of grass out of the dead insects' heads.
September 21, 2010
The green energy future envisions a technological road that leads to an infinite supply of power, independence from potentially hostile nations and an atmosphere cleared of the excess heat-trapping gases that are blamed for warming the planet. The track to this future, however, is full of technological and policy hurdles. Learn how eight of the biggest hurdles might be cleared.
March 17, 2010
Newfound stone tools suggest the evolutionary history of the "hobbits" on the Indonesian island of Flores stretches back a million years, a new study says—200,000 years longer than previously thought. The hobbit mystery was sparked by the 2004 discovery of bones on Flores that belonged to a three-foot-tall (one-meter-tall), 55-pound (25-kilogram) female with a grapefruit-size brain.
June 30, 2009
Salads of the future may still be served in bowls, but their ingredients might be grown in skyscrapers. That's the hope of scientists and architects who are erecting a unique strategy to feed a swelling population on a planet with finite farmland.
May 14, 2008
Human-induced climate warming is already having a dramatic effect on Earth's plumbing, plants, and animals, according to an exhaustive analysis of data from around the world. The report's individual findings are familiar and widely cited, such as cannibalistic polar bears, melting glaciers, and earlier-blooming plants. But this is the first time the data have been compiled in a single study,