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Intel Co-Founder, Philanthropist Gordon Moore Dies at 94

Gordon Moore, the Intel Corp. co-founder who set the breakneck pace of progress in the digital age with a simple 1965 prediction of how quickly engineers would boost the capacity of computer chips, has died. He was 94.

Moore died Friday at his home in Hawaii, according to Intel and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Moore, who held a Ph.D. in chemistry and physics, made his famous observation — now known as “Moore’s Law” — three years before he helped start Intel in 1968. It appeared among several articles about the future written for the now-defunct Electronics magazine by experts in various fields.

The prediction, which Moore said he plotted out on graph paper based on what had been happening with chips at the time, said the capacity and complexity of integrated circuits would double every year.

Strictly speaking, Moore’s observation referred to the doubling of transistors on a semiconductor. But over the years, it has been applied to hard drives, computer monitors and other electronic devices, holding that roughly every 18 months a new generation of products makes their predecessors obsolete.

It became a standard for the tech industry’s progress and innovation.

“It’s the human spirit. It’s what made Silicon Valley,” Carver Mead, a retired California Institute of Technology computer scientist who coined the term “Moore’s Law” in the early 1970s, said in 2005. “It’s the real thing.”

‘Wisdom, humility and generosity’

Moore later became known for his philanthropy when he and his wife established the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which focuses on environmental conservation, science, patient care and projects in the San Francisco Bay area. It has donated more than $5.1 billion to charitable causes since its founding in 2000.

“Those of us who have met and worked with Gordon will forever be inspired by his wisdom, humility and generosity,” foundation president Harvey Fineberg said in a statement.

Intel Chairman Frank Yeary called Moore a brilliant scientist and a leading American entrepreneur.

“It is impossible to imagine the world we live in today, with computing so essential to our lives, without the contributions of Gordon Moore,” he said.

In his book “Moore’s Law: The Life of Gordon Moore, Silicon Valley’s Quiet Revolutionary,” author David Brock called him “the most important thinker and doer in the story of silicon electronics.”

Helped plant seed for renegade culture

Moore was born in San Francisco on Jan. 3, 1929, and grew up in the tiny nearby coastal town of Pescadero. As a boy, he took a liking to chemistry sets. He attended San Jose State University, then transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he graduated with a degree in chemistry.

After getting his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 1954, he worked briefly as a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

His entry into microchips began when he went to work for William Shockley, who in 1956 shared the Nobel Prize for physics for his work inventing the transistor. Less than two years later, Moore and seven colleagues left Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory after growing tired of its namesake’s management practices.

The defection by the “traitorous eight,” as the group came to be called, planted the seeds for Silicon Valley’s renegade culture, in which engineers who disagreed with their colleagues didn’t hesitate to become competitors.

The Shockley defectors in 1957 created Fairchild Semiconductor, which became one of the first companies to manufacture the integrated circuit, a refinement of the transistor.

Fairchild supplied the chips that went into the first computers that astronauts used aboard spacecraft.

Called Moore’s Law as ‘a lucky guess’

In 1968, Moore and Robert Noyce, one of the eight engineers who left Shockley, again struck out on their own. With $500,000 of their own money and the backing of venture capitalist Arthur Rock, they founded Intel, a name based on joining the words “integrated” and “electronics.”

Moore became Intel’s chief executive in 1975. His tenure as CEO ended in 1987, thought he remained chairman for another 10 years. He was chairman emeritus from 1997 to 2006.

He received the National Medal of Technology from President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2002.

Despite his wealth and acclaim, Moore remained known for his modesty. In 2005, he referred to Moore’s Law as “a lucky guess that got a lot more publicity than it deserved.”

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Betty, sons Kenneth and Steven, and four grandchildren.

'What Can We Do?': Millions in African Countries Need Power

From Zimbabwe, where many must work at night because it’s the only time there is power, to Nigeria where collapses of the grid are frequent, the reliable supply of electricity remains elusive across Africa.

The electricity shortages that plague many of Africa’s 54 countries are a serious drain on the continent’s economic growth, energy experts warn.

In recent years South Africa’s power generation has become so inadequate that the continent’s most developed economy must cope with rolling power blackouts of eight to 10 hours per day.

Africa’s sprawling cities have erratic supplies of electricity, but large swaths of the continent’s rural areas have no power at all. In 2021, 43% of Africans — about 600 million people — lacked access to electricity with 590 million of them in sub‐Saharan Africa, according to the International Energy Agency.

Investments of nearly $20 billion are required annually to achieve universal electrification across sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank estimates. Of that figure nearly $10 billion is needed annually bring power and keep it on in West and Central Africa.

There are many reasons for Africa’s dire delivery of electricity including ageing infrastructure, lack of government oversight and a shortage of skills to maintain the national grids, according to Andrew Lawrence, an energy expert at the Witwatersrand University Business School in Johannesburg.

A historical problem is that many colonial regimes built electrical systems largely reserved for the minority white population and which excluded large parts of the Black population.

Today many African countries rely on state-owned power utilities.

Much attention has focused in the past two years on the Western-funded “Just Energy Transition,” in which France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union are offering funds to help poorer countries move from highly polluting coal-fired power generation to renewable, environmentally friendly sources of power. Africa as a region should be among the major beneficiaries in order to expand electricity access on the continent and improve the struggling power grids, said Lawrence.

“The transition should target rural access and place at the forefront the electrification of the continent as a whole. This is something that is technically possible,” he said.

The Western powers vowed to make $8.5 billion available to help South Africa move away from its coal-fired power plants, which produce 80% of the country’s power.

As a result of its dependence upon coal, South Africa is among the top 20 highest emitters of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the world and accounts for nearly a third of all of Africa’s emissions, according to experts.

South Africa’s plan to move away from coal, however, is hampered by its pressing need to produce as much power as possible each day.

The East African nation of Uganda for years has also grappled with power cuts despite massive investment in electricity generation.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, has grappled with an inadequate power supply for many years, generating just 4,000 megawatts though the population of more than 210 million people needs 30,000 megawatts, say experts. The oil-rich but energy-poor West African nation has ramped up investments in the power sector but endemic corruption and mismanagement have resulted in little gains.

In Zimbabwe, electricity shortages that have plagued the country for years have worsened as the state authority that manages Kariba, the country’s biggest dam, has limited power generation due to low water levels.

Successive droughts have reduced Lake Kariba’s level so much that the Kariba South Hydro Power Station, which provides Zimbabwe with about 70% of its electricity, is currently producing just 300 megawatts, far less than its capacity of 1,050 megawatts.

Zimbabwe’s coal-fired power stations that also provide some electricity have become unreliable due to aging infrastructure marked by frequent breakdowns. The country’s solar potential is yet to be fully developed to meaningfully augment supply.

This means that Harare barber Omar Chienda never knows when he’ll have the power needed to run his electric clippers.

“What can we do? We just have to wait until electricity is back but most of the time it comes back at night,” said Chienda, a 39-year-old father of three. “That means I can’t work, my family goes hungry.”

In Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja, restaurant owner Favour Ben, 29, said she spends a large part of her monthly budget on electricity bills and on petrol for her generator, but adds that she gets only an average of seven hours of power daily.

“It has been very difficult, especially after paying your electricity bill and they don’t give you light.” said Ben. “Most times, I prepare customers’ orders but if there is no light (power for a refrigerator), it turns bad the next day (and) I have lost money for that.”

Businesses in Nigeria suffer an annual loss of $29 billion as a result of unreliable electricity, the World Bank said, with providers of essential services often struggling to keep their operations afloat on generators.

As delegates gathered in Cape Town this month to discuss Africa’s energy challenges, there was a resounding sentiment that drawn-out power shortages on the continent had to be addressed urgently. There was some hope that the Western-funded “Just Energy Transition” would create some opportunities, but many remained skeptical.

Among the biggest critics of efforts to have countries like South Africa to transition quickly from the use of coal to cleaner energy is South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe.

He is among those advocating that Africa use all sources available to it to produce adequate power for the continent, including natural gas, solar, wind, hydropower and especially coal.

“Coal will be with us for many years to come. Those who see it as corruption or a road to whatever, they are going to be disappointed for many, many years,” said Mantashe. “Coal is going to outlive many of us.”

US Regulators: Banking System 'Sound and Resilient'

The multi-regulator U.S. Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) agreed Friday that the U.S. banking system remains “sound and resilient” despite stress on some institutions, the U.S. Treasury said in its latest statement to calm jittery markets and bank depositors.

In a readout of a closed meeting chaired by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the department said that FSOC participants heard a presentation on market developments from the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

“The Council discussed current conditions in the banking sector and noted that while some institutions have come under stress, the U.S. banking system remains sound and resilient,” the Treasury said in a statement.

The videoconference meeting came as markets continued to seesaw amid concerns that a two-week-old banking crisis sparked by the failures of Silicon Valley Bank SIVB.O and Signature Bank SBNY.O could worsen, spreading more runs on smaller banks

The body of financial regulators, led by Yellen and including the heads of the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other regulatory agencies, last met March 12.

That was the same day that the FDIC, Fed and Treasury announced emergency actions to backstop all deposits in the two failed banks and create a new Fed lending facility to boost liquidity for all banks.

Two prominent House of Representatives Republicans demanded Friday that Yellen provide them with additional information about the March 12 meeting, including unredacted minutes, votes, details on timing and bank stress test results.

“The events that have transpired over the last 12 days related to both Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the ensuing market instability, and your role raise a number of questions for policymakers,” wrote Representatives Bill Huizenga and Andy Barr who chair House Financial Services subcommittees, in a letter to Yellen.

They added that the basis of the Treasury, Fed and FDIC determinations in the SVB and Signature cases “are of particular importance.”

The Friday FSOC meeting came as global banking contagion fears again caused European bank stocks to fall sharply, with Deutsche Bank and UBS knocked by worries that regulators and central banks have not yet contained the worst shock to the sector since the 2008 global financial crisis.

But on Wall Street, shares recovered from an earlier sell-off as three Federal Reserve bank presidents said in separate remarks that there was no indication that financial stress was worsening this week, allowing them to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point.

Yellen again sought to calm fears of further bank deposit runs Thursday, telling U.S. lawmakers that she was prepared to repeat actions taken in the Silicon Valley and Signature Bank failures to safeguard uninsured bank deposits if failures threatened more deposit runs.

Those actions to invoke “systemic risk exceptions” were taken by Yellen, President Joe Biden, the FDIC, and the Fed, which supervised Silicon Valley and Signature.

Massive Protests, Strikes Continue as Opposition Digs In Against French Pension Reform

Adeline Lefebvre was scrunched up next to a newsstand as a swelling crowd of demonstrators pushed past her at the Place de la Bastille — the iconic Paris square that earned its fame from French Revolution days.

Rock music blared and the gigantic balloons of the leftist CGT trade union bobbed in the air on this ninth day of nationwide strikes and protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s unpopular pension reform.

Lefebvre, 58, a secretary who began working at 17, has been at every one.

“Macron needs to understand things aren’t working out,” she said of the widespread opposition to his plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64. “We need to start over. But he’s in total denial.”

A day after Macron defiantly defended his reform on public TV — after his government narrowly survived a no-confidence vote in the national assembly — public anger shows no sign of abating.

Hundreds of thousands of people marched in the capital and elsewhere in the country. Unions calculated roughly 3.5 million nationwide; France’s Interior Ministry put the number at just over 1 million.

Hundreds were arrested after clashes with police.

“Macron doesn’t listen, he acts like a king,” protesters in Lyon chanted.

‘I’m prepared to be unpopular’

In Paris, people brandished posters reading “Macron the scornful of the Republic” — a play on words in French referring to his presidency.

“Maybe we have a chance to stop this law” by protesting, said Manon Chauvigny, who works with disabled people.

“Otherwise,” her partner warned, “it’s the revolution.”

Interviewed Wednesday by two top news stations, Macron said he hoped the reform would become law by year’s end.

“This reform is necessary. It does not make me happy. I would have preferred not to do it,” he said, arguing that the pension system would go bankrupt if nothing was done. “I’m prepared to be unpopular.”

Instead of calming an angry nation, his remarks appear to have further incensed it. A poll published Thursday on France’s BFMTV channel found seven in 10 respondents found his arguments unconvincing. More than 60% believe Macron’s remarks will spark even greater anger on the streets.

“There’s money in France” to pay for the pension reform, said retired insurance worker Jean-Francois Vilain, who joined the Paris protest sporting the CGT union logo. “Only it’s not in the hands of working people. We see financial companies making billions in profits, and they share very little of it.”

Sporting bright red, construction worker Djcounda Traore joined colleagues to march in the capital.

“Working until 64 years isn’t easy in our profession,” he said. “Maybe if everyone protests, we’ll win.”

Protester Lefebvre was less optimistic.

“I’d like to say we’ll win,” she said. “But I’m afraid that we won’t.”

Trains disrupted, garbage left to fester

Trains and metros were seriously disrupted Thursday. Fuel refinery blockages in some parts of the country have left gas stations dry and sparked fears of potential shortages at Paris airports.

While some garbage service has resumed in the French capital, rolling strikes leave many bags festering on sidewalks.

Reports also suggest the unrest in France may disrupt the upcoming visit of Britain’s King Charles to France in his first foreign trip as monarch.

French union leaders and political opponents have slammed Macron’s response, describing him as disdainful and failing to listen to the streets.

The president’s remarks Wednesday show “scorn toward the millions of people who have protested,” said CGT union leader Philippe Martinez.

Macron “reacts as if the crisis was already behind him,” France’s influential Le Monde newspaper wrote in an editorial Wednesday.

“For the country to advance, a president of the Republic needs to know how to cobble a consensus,” it added. “Right now, we’re nowhere near there.”

Banking Worries Ripple Around the Globe

Worries about recent bank failures and bailouts are rippling through the world economy, from New York to Beijing, and central bankers are working to calm depositors and financial markets. Mike O’Sullivan reports from California, where a major player in the tech industry, Silicon Valley Bank, collapsed earlier this month. Rob Garver contributed.