Around town: Former Stanford coach vouches for his innocence in book on college admissions scandal | New

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Chef Bruno Chemel adds a final touch to the strawberry lime tartare sorbet, served with the garden chocolate green tea, in his restaurant Baumé in Palo Alto in 2015. Embarcadero Media file photo.

In the latest Round Town column: news from a former Stanford coach’s first book on the college admissions scandal, a restaurateur’s joy at not being in the 2021 Michelin Guide, and the discovery of asteroids by a local student.

SPEAK… More than two years after the national university admissions scam, dubbed Operation Varsity Blues by law enforcement, became public, one of dozens of defendants in the scandal has released his side of the story on paper. Former Stanford University sailing head coach on Tuesday John Vandemoer released a new book, “Rigged justice“, in which he vouches for his innocence and tells firsthand how the scam affected his life. The ploy, carried out by Singer William “Rick”, involved bribing staff at the country’s top universities to admit students based on fraudulent test results and athletic credentials. Charges were laid against more than 50 people, many of whom were parents, admissions staff and coaches. The book begins in February 2019, when the former sailing coach describes how he was shaken with anxiety after federal agents questioned him at his home about Stanford’s hiring process and his ties to Singer. A month later, he pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy. He was sentenced to one day in prison, two years of supervised release and a fine of $ 10,000. In an interview this week with Hello america, Vandemoer pointed out that none of the students Singer recruited for Stanford applied to college and that the bribe money went to Stanford. “My biggest mistake is perspective, I never took the time to step back and really think, ‘Well, why is Rick interacting with me? Why is he offering me something that seems Too good to be true ?'”

STARS AND INFLUENZA … Many in the restaurant industry were in a festive mood Tuesday when the California Michelin Guide 2021 was released, even those who were not on the list. Selby’s at Atherton was among the new additions to the roster, earning a respectable star. Bacchus Management Group opened the chic, upscale restaurant in July 2019. “Kudos to our amazing team for working extremely hard under the craziest conditions,” the restaurant said in an Instagram post. Other local restaurants have retained their unique star, including The village pub in Woodside, Madeira in Menlo Park, protected in Palo Alto and At TJ in Mountain View. The jubilation also spread to Balm in Palo Alto, but not in the way most people would expect. Bruno Chemel, chef and owner of the French restaurant on California Avenue, was grateful not to be included in this year’s guide, a goal he has been working towards for several years. “The erratic and corporate orientation and fixings of the Guide have been a distraction for years, creating no value for restaurateurs or diners,” he said in a press release. “I finally feel free to enjoy cooking just for the happiness of my guests. Instead of following the status quo, I can follow my own vision and listen to customer feedback, not Michelin guidelines.

IMPACTANT ASTERODES … Palo Alto High School Franklin wangthe discovery of six previously undetected near-Earth asteroids recently earned him a $ 50,000 scholarship from the Davidson Institute. Wang created a machine learning model that identifies asteroids from telescope images. The Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program honors young people who have “carried out significant projects that have the potential to benefit society in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, literature and music.” according to a press release. In the past, Wang said he has used machine learning for lighter projects, like creating a song lyrics generator. “I wanted to work on a more serious machine learning project that might actually… improve on previous work,” Wang said. He got the idea for the project after reading an article from the Zwicky Transient Facility that used machine learning to find asteroids. Photographs of asteroids capture a trail similar to a shooting star, but these trails can be difficult to detect with conventional techniques, Wang said. Machine learning offered a potential avenue, but the challenge was how “data-hungry these algorithms are,” Wang said. “We don’t have a very large dataset available on these asteroid streaks, and because of that, it’s quite difficult to train these machine learning models,” Wang said. He simulated around 500,000 asteroid trails using mathematical expressions which he then used to train his model to identify what is and what is not an asteroid.


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