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Submission + - $1b Ghost town to be built in New Mexico (

OzPeter writes: As reported in the Brisbane Times, construction of a $1b Ghost Town is expected to start in Lea County near Hobbs, New Mexico this year. The town is the brainchild of Pegasus Global Holdings and represents its Center for Innovation, Testing & Evaluation (CITE) and will be modeled after the real town of Rock Hill S.C. From the Brisbane times article:

The point of the town is to enable researchers to test new technologies on existing infrastructure without interfering in everyday life. For instance, while some researchers will be testing smart technologies on old grids, others might be using the streets to test self-driving cars. "The only thing we won't be doing is destructive testing, blowing things up — I hope," said Brumley (senior managing director of Pegasus Holdings).

Also from the that article:

Brumley said plans are to break ground on the town by June 30. The initial development cost is estimated at $US400 million, although Brumley estimates the overall investment in the project to top $US1 billion.


Submission + - Re-programming the thermostat (

OzPeter writes: As reported in WA Today, Tony Fadell of iPod fame has been using Nest Labs to design and build a thermostat that learns how you live in your house by following how you manually change the temperature. Once you have taught it how to behave (How the Nest learning Thermostat learns), it then can schedule temperature changes that suit your lifestyle, and help you cut down on energy costs.

Submission + - Volvo demonstrates automated car breaking (

OzPeter writes: Back in 2009 slashdot ran a story about Volvo working on a crash proof car that used radar and and automated braking ( Well a few weeks ago they demonstrated their S60 car with full auto braking. One small problem, it rear ended the truck it was meant to avoid. Fortunately (or perhaps smartly) no driver was in the car, so no one was injured. The failure of the demonstration was blamed on "one or more of the car's sensors had been "fried" before the demo, caused by the car maker fast-charging the S60's battery after discovering it was flat.". After seeing that I am not sure which is worse — that Volvo failed to properly run a demonstration of a new technology (and did not have a backup car ready), or that the said technology can easily be damaged without anyone noticing that it no longer works.

[note to editor — yes I deliberately said "breaking" in the title — its a joke, see]

The two most common things in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity. -- Harlan Ellison