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Transportation

Nevada Approves Rules For Self-Driving Cars 307

Posted by Soulskill
from the plans-to-install-slot-machines-in-place-of-steering-wheels dept.
Griller_GT writes with news that Nevada has become the first U.S. state to approve regulations for allowing self-driving cars on its roads. "Autonomous test vehicles will display a red license plate, Nevada officials said. If and when the technology is approved for public use, the cars will carry a green license plate. ... Nevada said it worked with Google, automobile manufacturers, testing professionals, insurance companies, universities and law enforcement to develop the regulations. Other states also have similar bills that will be voted upon to determine if they, too, can follow suit."
NASA

Genome of Controversial Arsenic Bacterium Sequenced 56

Posted by timothy
from the there's-gotta-be-some-arsenic-somewhere dept.
Med-trump writes "One year ago a media controversy was ignited when Felisa Wolfe-Simon and her colleagues held a press conference to announce the discovery of a bacterium that not only survived high levels of arsenic in its environment but also seemed to use that element in its DNA. Last week, the genome of the bacterium, known as GFAJ-1, which gets its name from the acronym for 'Give Felisa a Job.' (No joke!), was posted in Genbank, the public repository of DNA sequences for all who care to take a look. But it doesn't settle the debate over whether arsenic is used in DNA."
Science

Huge Tesla Coils Will Recreate Natural Lightning 199

Posted by samzenpus
from the warm-up-the-lightning-cannon dept.
jjp9999 writes "In order to study the nature of lighting, the team at Lightning on Demand (LOD) plans to build two, ten-story-tall Tesla coils—the largest ever—that will blast arcs of lightning hundreds of feet in length. LOD founder Greg Leyh said the project aims to reveal details on the initiation process of natural lightning, an area that remains a mystery, since smaller generated arcs have more trouble breaking through the air. It is believed that 'laboratory-scale electric arcs start to gain lightning-like abilities once they grow past about 200ft in length,' according to the LOD website, and so the team hopes to build Tesla coils large enough to do this. According to Leyh, 'Understanding how lightning forms [and grows] is the first step towards being able to control where lightning strikes or being able to suppress it completely in certain areas.'"
Robotics

Startup Testing Mobile Farmbots 243

Posted by Soulskill
from the robot-get-me-carrots dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired reports on Harvest Automation, a Massachusetts company developing small robots that can perform basic agricultural labor. The ones currently being tested in greenhouses and plant nurseries are 'knee-high, wheeled machines.' 'Each robot has a gripper for grasping pots, a deck for carrying pots, and an array of sensors to keep track of where it is and what's around it. Teams of robots zip around nursery fields, single-mindedly spacing and grouping plants. Key to making the robots flexible and cost-effective is designing them to work only with information provided by their sensors. They don't construct a global map of their environment, and they don't use GPS. The robots have sensors that detect boundary markers, a laser range finder to detect objects in front of them, and a gyroscope for navigating by dead reckoning. The robots determine how far they've traveled by keeping track of wheel rotations.'"
NASA

Green Crystal 'Rain' Discovered Near Infant Star 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the somebody-should-stake-a-claim dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this quote from a NASA press release: "Tiny crystals of a green mineral called olivine are falling down like rain on a burgeoning star, according to observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. This is the first time such crystals have been observed in the dusty clouds of gas that collapse around forming stars. Astronomers are still debating how the crystals got there, but the most likely culprits are jets of gas blasting away from the embryonic star. ... The crystals are in the form of forsterite. They belong to the olivine family of silicate minerals and can be found everywhere from a periodot gemstone to the green sand beaches of Hawaii to remote galaxies. NASA's Stardust and Deep Impact missions both detected the crystals in their close-up studies of comets. ... The findings (abstract) might also explain why comets, which form in the frigid outskirts of our solar system, contain the same type of crystals."

Comment: Re:Hungarian media law - a bitter medicine (Score 1) 185

by slider2800 (#34736486) Attached to: Hungarian Officials Can Now Censor the Media

Reading your thoughts makes me rethink the whole situation. We might not be as fucked as i previously assumed. If this new law enforces better quality of publications in our media, then I'm all for it.

What we have to put up with today is an indigestible bullshit. (thats why i don't watch hungarian television for two years now.

+ - Sir Maurice Wilkes, early programming pioneer dies-> 1

Submitted by EricTheRed
EricTheRed (5613) writes "Sir Maurice Wilkes — one of the early programming pioneers of the 1940's has died.

The National Museum Of Computing based at Bletchley Park announced on their twitter feed earlier:
http://twitter.com/#!/tnmoc/status/9283716039843841

Sad news that today Sir Maurice Wilkes passed away, aged 97. Here he was on a visit last year to #TNMOC http://ow.ly/3gUD2

from the article covering his visit to TNMON last year:

Born in 1913, Sir Maurice has been at the forefront of many post-1945 computing developments and even today, at the age of 96, maintains a keen interest and is an avid user of email and the Internet. Sir Maurice’s contributions to computing history have included the development of EDSAC, the first practical stored program computer begun in 1946, and co-authoring the first book on computer programming in 1951. His proposals for micro-programming have been widely adopted in the industry and in 1965 he published the first paper on cache memories. A co-designer, in the late 1970s, of the Cambridge Ring, a pioneering client-server system, Sir Maurice went on to work in industry on both sides of the Atlantic and in 2002 returned to the Computer Laboratory in Cambridge where he is an emeritus professor."

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