Articles, Page 16 of 204

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31 Oct 11

Google's Autonomous Cars

Google’s autonomous cars are everywhere, having logged nearly 200K miles of driverless miles in all sorts of conditions. There’s a bunch of technology in there powering the system (embedded link has some cool video presentations):

  • a Velodyne 64-beam laser for creating detailed 3D maps of the environment
  • four radars to detect traffic
  • cameras to detect traffic lights
  • GPS
  • an inertial measurement unit & wheel encoder

There was a lot of learning to program into the cars based on modeling human habits and showing a bit of aggression to avoid the algorithms constantly yielding. Google’s next goal? Getting a threefold increase in safe miles by hitting a target of one million miles.

31 Oct 11

Seven Billion People

Two’s company … Three’s a crowd … Seven Billion!?! Analysts predict Earth’s human population will reach seven billion on 31 October 2011. According to the UN Population Fund, “With planning and the right investments in people now … our world of 7 billion can have thriving, sustainable cities, productive labor forces that can fuel economic growth, youth populations that contribute to the well-being of economies and societies, and a generation of older people who are healthy and actively engaged in the social and economic affairs of their communities.” It’s further predicted that more than ten billion people will roam the planet by the century’s end.

29 Oct 11

Methods for Managing and Sharing Photos?

I recently blogged about how I think using Aperture and Picasa is the best way to manage and share photos. I’m curious if anyone has any thoughts on photo software, workflow, etc. Do you have an approach that you think is notably good?

26 Oct 11

Yoga Eases Back Pain

Yoga … most guys picture women stretching into weird shapes while wearing tight pants and chanting OM. For those that haven’t found that reason enough to participate, researchers have confirmed that yoga was beneficial to relieving chronic back pain giving yet another excuse to lay around on a spongy mat. They did caveat that yoga wasn’t particularly any better than a stretching regimin, but was superior to other pain relief methods.

24 Oct 11

End of Gaddafi

NATO has been operating in Libya for seven months with Operation Unifed Protector scheduled to close down on 31 October. The recent rebel victory in toppling Muammar Gaddafi’s 42 year reign has resulted in mixed reactions internationally. While the Libyans and NATO have been celebrating the victory, the UN Human Rights Agency is seeking an investigation into what’s being called his murder. The blame does not seem to rest so much with the military action that happened to capture him, in which commanders admit to not even realizing he was part of the struck convoy. Rather, the investigation is centering around the fact that he died of torturous injuries apparently suffered at the hands of the rebels in violation of the Geneva Convention. A video has surfaced that seems to portray the Libyan rebels assaulting the prisoner to include what appears to be sodomizing him with a knife. [Note: Video on linked site is graphic]

24 Oct 11

Mind Blowing Sex

Transient Global Amnesia is defined as “a sudden, temporary episode of memory loss that can’t be attributed to a more common neurological condition, such as epilepsy or stroke.” It’s now giving men everywhere the excuse to forget her name in the morning simply by claiming the sex was mind blowing. Medical experts acknowledge that truly fantastic sex may actually induce the condition but still disagree as to the reason. Some hypothesize it’s just the right amount of blood flow transference for just the right amount of time to cause an amnesia effect from the encounter lasting upwards of 24 hours.

24 Oct 11


Last year, Stuxnet unveiled itself as one of the most sophisticated and targeted pieces of malware with its penchant for Iranian nuclear centrifuges. It was only a matter of time before variants came out, whether from the original authors or from criminals harvesting techniques. Symantec identified a variation using components of Stuxnet’s code and techniques running around Europe they’ve dubbed Duqu, based on a string of DQ characters found within. Duqu seems to be an information gathering tool allowing interactive remote access, keylogging and other data snarfing abilities while embedding itself as a driver using stolen certificates. This particular one differs from Stuxnet in that it seems to have no code specific to SCADA systems nor does it self-replicate.

22 Oct 11

1% of America

As the Occupy Wall Street folks beat their drum about representing 99% of America … there is a definite 1% of America that doesn’t match any other group. What will this spell for the future of politics 20 years from now? In decades leading up to now, there has always been a decent representation amongst politicians that had prior military service. It’s increasingly unlikely that civilian leadership of the country will have any idea what military service means.

20 Oct 11

Color Coded School Performance

California’s Kennedy High School recently killed off a controversial program of academic performance segregation. The program was intended to offer incentives and rewards to students scoring above and significantly above baseline test standards. These students were given gold and platinum cards and were allowed to use special fast-access lines in places like the cafeteria. Meanwhile, all the regular and under-achieving students were given white cards and used slower lines, etc. Naturally, the not-haves were complaining about being called out, identified and segregated.

20 Oct 11

Quantum Locking Demonstration

Physicists are always creating the darndest things. In the past few days, a video created at the Tel Aviv University demonstrates the flux pinning effect that’s now being called quantum locking. This differs from typical demonstrations in that it’s not simply magnetic levitation. As can be seen in the video, the suspended object is locked into place regardless of it’s orientation or the orientation of it’s reference point. It works similar to the Meissner-Ochsenfeld effect but differs in that the suspended object is intentionally super thin to allow magnetic flux-tubes through the object instead of repelling them. The superconducting material then “locks” into place within the magnetic field.

18 Oct 11

Possible Cuts to VA Benefits

It would appear that lawmakers just find the military easy to push around. As yet another source for recouping the $1.2 trillion in budget cuts, VA benefits have been proposed for the chopping block. In the bipartisan words of congressional veterans’ committees, “We believe no constituency better understands the challenge America faces, and no constituency is better suited to, again, lead by example by putting country first.” Currently, no specific cuts have been proposed but the committee supported themselves by citing prior cuts to the VA from previous budget showdowns.

14 Oct 11

Passing of Two Tech Legends

Two legends of the computing age have passed recently. Shortly after Apple’s Steve Jobs passed away, the legendary Dennis Ritchie has died as well. Ritchie created the C language, which essentially is at the core of everything today, and was the co-developer of the first UNIX operating system which in some permutation exists in nearly all operating systems today.

14 Oct 11

iOS 5 Problems

Anybody having issues with the upgrade to iOS 5 and the Apple iCloud?

Thus far, I’ve noticed most of my music files no longer play properly in the renamed Music app. The player just sits at 0:00 while indicating that it’s playing or it just skips through tracks before hanging like that. I’ve noticed it seems to have no problem with iTunes purchased, DRM-crippled music. In various Google searches, this problem has been reported by others in addition to various issues regarding cloud syncing causing duplications and other problems with contacts, the calendar, etc.

13 Oct 11

Iranian Plot to Assassinate Saudi Ambassador

So the USA, Saudi Arabia and Iran walk into a bar …

The latest international scuff between these countries involves the FBI’s discovery of an Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington DC. At the center of it all is a 56 year old Iranian-American named Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri, a Quds Force member. Supposedly, Arbabsiar was to solicit a Mexican drug cartel to carry out the plot. He just happened to make contact with an informant to the DEA. The United States has begun engaging the international community for increased sanctions and political isolation with 100 diplomats invited to the State Department for a full briefing on the details along with briefings to the United Nations from the State Department, Justice Department and CIA. However, many pundits and experts are already declaring the whole situation laughably absurd as Iran denies the entire incident. Analysts can’t fathom Arbabsiar, a used car salesmen from Texas, as a probable agent nor do they believe Mexican drug cartels want to get involved with heat from the Global War on Terror.

12 Oct 11

Music Purchase Log: 2011 Q3

Music I purchased in the third quarter of 2011:

  • August Burns Red – Leveler
  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl
  • Centro-Matic – Candidate Waltz
  • City and Colour – Little Hell
  • Crime in Stereo – Selective Wreckage
  • Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys
  • Drive Like Jehu – Yank Crime
  • High on Fire – Death Is this Communion
  • Human Abstract, The – Digital Veil
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