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Feed Engadget: NASA crowns winner in $250k "flying car" contest (

Filed under: Transportation

Flying cars come pretty high up the average gadget geek's wishlist, so it's pretty encouraging to see NASA funding a $250,000 contest that could eventually produce a pioneering vehicle that can fly and drive. Although none of the winners this time around can actually achieve the two feats, they all have features that tend towards the PAV (or Personal Aircraft Vehicle) area of the General Aviation spectrum. The winner was the Pipistrel Virus, a $70,000 aircraft that can do 50 MPG and take off on short runways, whilst having a top speed of 170 MPH. The industry still seems to have a while to go yet, seeing as NASA awarded a prize to the Cessna 172, which has been flying in one form or another for practically half a century.

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Submission + - Dan Rather uncovers flaws in touchscreen voting

goombah99 writes: Dan Rather Reports has posted a lengthy YouTube teaser of their upcoming touchscreen voting expose (to air tuesday at 8 or 11pm ET) This is sort of a "60-minutes" style investigation of touchscreen voting. It's apparently not a rehash either. Rather turns up some new evidence such as tracking down the dilapidated plant where the ES&S ivotronic touchscreens were assembled. There they were having a 30 to 40% rejection rate on the screen themselves. Apparently the issue here was a rush to market to meet the election schedule. They needed lots of machines, fast. So plant workers say the rejects got shipped too. The "rush to market" aspect demonstrates an often overlooked strength of the use of open source software with commodity hardware and a multiple vendor business model like open voting consortium. This should be much less subject to single source point failures and has a built-in adversarial oversight nature that might lend some quality control. I just hope their conclusion is not "we need perfect machines and perfectly trained operators" and instead is we need a different approach that is transparent, robust and self correcting in the face of errors.

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