"When it’s not on the highway, one of the humans inside will take the wheel."
Driving on highways is about as straight forward as driving gets. While neat, this doesn't seem as ambitions as autonomously driving through a city full of obstacles.
An anonymous reader writes: I'm vacationing for 8 days in Colorado early next month and I need to rent a car. Since I don't have much car rental experience, the various insurance options available to me can be quite daunting. The obvious option is to buy the rental agency's Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or similar, but at $28 per day from Avis that will add a steep $224 to the cost of my 8-day rental. I don't have collision and comprehensive through my personal auto insurance, so I've been looking primarily at coverage through my various credit cards. The American Express Premium Car Rental Protection is enticing, but there are fees which may not be covered. When renting a car, how do Slashdot readers handle insurance?
from the good-for-something dept.
schrodingers_rabbit writes "Despite formidable odds, condensed matter physicists have made a breakthrough most thought impossible — finding a practical use for string theory. The initial breakthrough was made by physicist and cosmologist Juan Maldacena. His theory states that the known universe is only a 2D construct in anti-de-Sitter space, projected into 3 dimensions. This theory manages to model black holes and quantum theory congruently, a feat that has eluded scientists for decades; but it fails to correspond to the shape of space-time in the known universe. However, it does predict thermodynamic properties of black holes, including higher-dimensional viscosity — the equations for which elegantly and almost exactly calculate the behavior of quark-gluon plasma and other superfluids. According to Jan Zaanen at the University of Leiden, 'The theory is calculating precisely what we are seeing in experiments.' Unfortunately, the correspondence cannot prove or disprove string theory, although it is a positive step." Not an easy path to follow: one condensed matter theorist said, "It took two years and two 1000-page books of dense mathematics, but I learned string theory and got kind of enchanted by it. [When the string-theory related] thing began to... make predictions about high-temperature superconductors, my traditional mainstay, I was one of the few condensed matter physicists with the preparation to take it up."
from the stem-cell-stimulus-package dept.
An anonymous reader sends this quote from the Associated Press:
"Reversing an eight-year-old limit on potentially life-saving science, President Barack Obama plans to lift restrictions Monday on taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells. ... Under President George W. Bush, taxpayer money for that research was limited to a small number of stem cell lines that were created before Aug. 9, 2001, lines that in many cases had some drawbacks that limited their potential usability. But hundreds more of such lines — groups of cells that can continue to propagate in lab dishes — have been created since then, ones that scientists say are healthier, better suited to creating treatments for people rather than doing basic laboratory science. Work didn't stop. Indeed, it advanced enough that this summer, the private Geron Corp. will begin the world's first study of a treatment using human embryonic stem cells, in people who recently suffered a spinal cord injury. Nor does Obama's change fund creation of new lines. But it means that scientists who until now have had to rely on private donations to work with these newer stem cell lines can apply for government money for the research, just like they do for studies of gene therapy or other treatment approaches."
from the my-favorite-moon dept.
volcanopele writes "NASA and the European Space Agency announced today that they have selected the Europa/Jupiter System Mission as the next large mission to the outer solar system. For the last year, the Europa mission has been in competition with a proposal to send a mission to Saturn's moon Titan, as reported on Slashdot earlier. The Europa Mission includes two orbiters: one developed by NASA to orbit the icy moon Europa and another developed by ESA to orbit the solar system's largest moon, Ganymede. Both orbiters would spend up to 2.5 years in orbit around Jupiter before settling into orbit around their respective targets, studying Jupiter's satellites, rings, and of course the planet itself. The mission is scheduled to launch in 2020 and arrive at Jupiter in 2025 and 2026."