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Google

+ - Amazing! Google's self-driving car allows blind man to drive->

Submitted by Velcroman1
Velcroman1 (1667895) writes "This is some of the best driving I've ever done," Steve Mahan said the other day. Mahan was behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius tooling the small California town of Morgan Hill in late January, a routine trip to pick up the dry cleaning and drop by the Taco Bell drive-in for a snack. He also happens to be 95 percent blind.

Mahan, head of the Santa Clara Valley Blind Center, “drove” along a specially programmed route thanks to Google’s autonomous driving technology. Look, ma! No hands. And no feet!” Mahan jokes at one point in the video. “I love it,” he added. Google announced the self-driving car project in 2010. It relies upon laser range finders, radar sensors, and video cameras to navigate the road ahead, in order to make driving safer, more enjoyable and more efficient — and clearly more accessible. In a Wednesday afternoon post on Google+, the company noted that it has hundreds of thousands of miles of testing under the belt, letting the company feel confident enough in the system to put Mahan behind the wheel."

Link to Original Source
The Internet

+ - S&M vs. SPDY: Microsoft and Google battle over HTTP 2.0-> 1

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "HTTP, the protocol that underpins almost every inch of the world wide web, is about to make the jump from version 1.1 to 2.0 after some 13 years of stagnation. For a long time it looked like Google’s experimental SPDY protocol would be the only viable option for the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to ratify as HTTP 2.0, but now out of left field comes a competing proposal from Microsoft. Lumbered with the truly awful name of HTTP Speed+Mobility, or HTTP S&M for short, Microsoft’s vision of HTTP 2.0 is mostly very similar to SPDY, but with additional features that cater towards apps and mobile devices. 'The HTTP Speed+Mobility proposal starts from both the Google SPDY protocol and the work the industry has done around WebSockets,' says Jean Paoli from the Microsoft Interoperability team. Basically, the S&M proposal looks like it's less brute-force than SPDY: Where server push, encryption, and compression are all built into SPDY, Microsoft, citing low-powered devices and metered connections, wants them to be optional extensions. Judging by the speed at which the internet (and the internet of things) is developing, I think MS's extensible, flexible solution has its merits."
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Comment: What do you think of corporate partnerships? (Score 2) 59

by mhh5 (#38590452) Attached to: Ask Carl Malamud About Shedding Light On Government Data

I'd like to know what Malamud thinks about corporate partnerships in the process to get public data released. (I'm not sure if Google Patents existed before the USPTO released its databases...?) Do corporations that get involved in the process tend to make the process better without question, or are there tradeoffs in some areas because the corporations always want to help but then try to retain a proprietary version of the data for themselves?

Comment: So the Delphi Method is re-invented...? (Score 1) 143

by mhh5 (#36173002) Attached to: Social Influence and the Wisdom of Crowd Effect

The Delphi Method was designed to avoid the "halo effect" and groupthink drawbacks... so this study basically re-affirms that when you want to improve the quality of conclusions from a group -- that the structure of the communication needs some anonymity or other means of removing groupthink.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delphi_method

Power

Thorium, the Next Nuclear Fuel? 710

Posted by Soulskill
from the plenty-on-the-auction-house dept.
mrshermanoaks writes "When the choices for developing nuclear energy were being made, we went with uranium because it had the byproduct of producing plutonium that could be weaponized. But thorium is safer and easier to work with, and may cause a lot fewer headaches. 'It's abundant — the US has at least 175,000 tons of the stuff — and doesn't require costly processing. It is also extraordinarily efficient as a nuclear fuel. As it decays in a reactor core, its byproducts produce more neutrons per collision than conventional fuel. The more neutrons per collision, the more energy generated, the less total fuel consumed, and the less radioactive nastiness left behind. Even better, Weinberg realized that you could use thorium in an entirely new kind of reactor, one that would have zero risk of meltdown. The design is based on the lab's finding that thorium dissolves in hot liquid fluoride salts. This fission soup is poured into tubes in the core of the reactor, where the nuclear chain reaction — the billiard balls colliding — happens. The system makes the reactor self-regulating: When the soup gets too hot it expands and flows out of the tubes — slowing fission and eliminating the possibility of another Chernobyl. Any actinide can work in this method, but thorium is particularly well suited because it is so efficient at the high temperatures at which fission occurs in the soup.' So why are we not building these reactors?"
Portables (Apple)

Users Rage Over Missing FireWire On New MacBooks 820

Posted by kdawson
from the liar-liar-pants-not-wired dept.
CWmike writes "Apple customers, unhappy that the company dropped FireWire from its new MacBook (not the Pro), are venting their frustrations on the company's support forum in hundreds of messages. Within minutes of Apple CEO Steve Jobs wrapping up a launch event in Cupertino, Calif., users started several threads to vent over the omission. 'Apple really screwed up with no FireWire port,' said Russ Tolman, who inaugurated a thread that by Thursday has collected more than 300 messages and been viewed over 8,000 times. 'No MacBook with [FireWire] — no new MacBook for me,' added Simon Meyer in a message posted yesterday. Several mentioned that FireWire's disappearance means that the new MacBooks could not be connected to other Macs using Target Disk Mode, and one noted that iMovie will have no way to connect to new MacBooks. Others pointed out that the previous-generation MacBook, which Apple is still selling at a reduced price of $999, includes a FireWire port. Apple introduced FireWire into its product lines in 1999 and championed the standard."
Biotech

Old Materials Resurface For "Prebiotic Soup" 263

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-clean-out-the-fridge dept.
AliasMarlowe writes "Stanley Miller performed the famous experiments in the 1950s showing that amino acids and other building blocks for biomolecules could be produced by passing lightning through a mix of simple hydrocarbons, water vapor, and ammonia (thought at the time to approximate the Earth's early atmosphere). Other experiments approximated the environment around volcanic eruptions, but those results were not published. Following his death last year, a former student discovered the materials from those experiments, in labelled vials. Analysis of this material indicates that the conditions around volcanic eruptions (still thought to be representative of such events in the early Earth) resulted in a higher yield of amino acids than the simple lightning experiments, and resulted in a greater variety of amino acids." Pharyngula has a discussion of the Science paper, including a graph of the amino acids produced.

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