Google’s Self Driving Car Initiative

 

The self driving car is Google’s initiative, but what drives the giant to complete it?

Google has yet to NOT surprise me. From balloon wifi to free internet to Google glasses. I mean, Google finds ways to incorporate itself into everyone’s daily lives one way or another. If you have an android phone, the Play Store where you get all your apps? Google. How about your web browser Chrome? Google. (Mind you if you don’t have it, it is quite possibly the best browser out there, at least from what I have tested.) I mean who doesn’t use Google.com for their daily searches. How about YouTube; now I know for a FACT ya’ll use YouTube. And yes, Google owns that too. Here is a diagram of stuff Google owns and invests in, just for fun.

Related ArticleThe Road Rage is Strong With This One

 

 

It seems that Google is once again taking things further, this time in the form of a self driving car. As it is, Google has been working on self driving cars for a long time now, but most recently they decided to roll out their idea into the world around us. Google’s self driving car initiative is taking to the public streets for tests and trials as they move forward to a promised public release date of 2017. But of course, that consumer friendly release of a self driving car is all speculation, and critics such as Dan Flores, from General Motors’ advanced technology group, say very hurtful things:

 We do not think someone will have a fully autonomous production vehicle that soon, vehicles that can drive themselves are years — maybe decades — away. The technology will develop in steps to allow the vehicle to do more and act incrementally as sensors get more robust and costs come down.

Leave it to a big auto company like GM to put us down. And yet, Google perseveres. Already 3 states have legalized public testing of the self driving cars; Nevada, California, and Florida have made changes to laws to help Google’s plans for driver-less cars to move forward. Already we are seeing companies work on transport grids that would warn drivers of upcoming hazards and instant traffic details. With technology like this in the works, it wouldn’t be too unrealistic to expect driver-less cars sometime very soon.

Google’s future in car transportation seems to point to a Google taxi service, a Robo Taxi of sorts. With the newly introduced, and fairly popular Lyft driving services, it would only make sense for Google to move in the direction of replacing conventional taxis. As this idea is only speculative, it does somewhat make sense. A search engine giant that has a taxi service to inspire more search engine time goodness? Focusing on creating self driving cars to allow for more YouTubing and Google+ing? Why else is Google Maps so popular and updated so frequently?

Related Article: Blimps are the Future!

Who knows what is in store for driver-less cars from Google. With the way things are panning out I wouldn’t be surprised if Google’s driveless cars featured solar panels and some sort of wind turbine to gather energy throughout the daily drives. Then again, (deep breath) I wouldn’t be surprised if Google turned out to be run by a self aware computer that was looking to entwine itself into everything and anything living on Earth only to have the human race rise against it and fight nearly to extinction but through a last ditch effort survive and beat the main computer that the AI started from because of course the computer wouldn’t think to make a lot of central hubs that it can reside in. Boy wouldn’t that be a sci-fi movie cliche. Cheers to artificial intelligence!

 

Research:

Google Glass

Wikipedia: Google Play

Google Browser: Chrome

CNET: How Google’s robo-cars mean the end of driving as we know it

GM: Dan Flores

CNET: First Smart Cars, Next Smart Transport Grids

USA Today: States take the wheel on drive-less cars

Google’s Robo-Taxi Rumors

Be a Lyft Driver

Google Plus

Google Maps

Wondergressive: A Non-Loony Google Project Called Loon

Wondergressive: Free Internet, Help Yourself

Wondergressive: The Road Rage is Strong With This One

Wondergressive: Blimps are the Future!

First Time Photo Captures Double Helix Structure of DNA

For the first time in history scientists have taken a photo that shows the double helix shape of DNA clearly. Using an electron microscope, Enzo di Fabrizio from the University of Genoa, Italy, did what was once thought to be impossible.

The structure of DNA was first hypothesized (and later understood to be spot on) by Francis Crick, who  received a Nobel Prize for discovering the structure.  Interestingly, after remaining unable to piece together the details of the structure for some time, Crick was reportedly able to comprehend it fully while under the effects of LSD.

After Crick and his colleagues made the discovery, the double helix structure was further validated using x-ray crystallography.  Even that was still just convincing speculation.   Despite learning that DNA is a double helix in school, no one had any actual visual evidence for this claim and it remained a theory backed by some pretty solid mathematics.

Well, solid mathematics is now backed by solid photography.  Case closed.

Take a good, long look at that picture – that’s what you look like under an electron microscope.

 

Sources:

http://io9.com/5964239/scientists-snap-a-picture-of-dnas-double-helix-for-the-very-first-time?utm_source=io9.com&utm_medium=recirculation&utm_campaign=recirculation

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

Cute Baby Animal Pictures Increase Productivity

 

cute baby cat duck baby animal

funny-pics.co

A study from Hiroshima University has found that viewing pictures of baby animals throughout the day increases efficiency, productivity, and accuracy while at work.

Hiroshi Nittono asked 48 female and male students to answer questions before and after viewing a particular set of pictures.  They either viewed baby animals, adult animals, or delicious food.  The group that viewed baby animals before answering the questions did much better.  They were able to focus more clearly and felt happier and more at ease.

According to the study:

This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing. For future applications, cute objects may be used as an emotion elicitor to induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and office work.

Next time you plan on going for a drive around the block, do us all a favor and look at a baby penguin first, will ya!?

 

Sources:

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0046362?imageURI=info:doi/10.1371/journal.pone.0046362.g003#s3

 

Kid Allergic to Everything, Attends School Via a Mobile Robot

Devon Carrow’s allergies are so severe that simply being around other children can be life threatening.  He spends nearly all of his time in isolation, and subsists on a diet of corn, apples and carrots.  And yet, he attends school every single day.

Devon sends a robot to school equipped with HD cameras and other useful gizmos in his place.  His robot is called a roboswot, or a VGO robot, and it is designed to allow Devon to go to school without actually, you know, dying. The robot costs approximately $6000 dollars and an additional $1200 per year for routine maintenance, which is still far less than, say, university tuition.

The roboswot allows Devon to interact with his class mates, move from classroom to classroom, and even comes equipped with an LED light that he can use in place of raising his hand.

Devon might be allergic to life, but according to his mom,

he’s required to do everything every other kid does in the class

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/05/devon-carrow-robot-school_n_1942802.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/19830587

http://www.vgocom.com/sites/default/files/vgo_press_faq_v0712.pdf

The Politician Who Donates 90% of Salary to Charity

No my American friends, surprisingly he is not from the United States. José Mujica, who donates 90% of his salary to charity, is the president of Uruguay.  He is known in his nation as the poorest president, ‘el presidente mas pobre.’

Hard to believe? It’s true.  He is the most generous president in the world, receiving $12,500 a month as salary, but only keeping $1,250.  According to Mujica, whose biggest expense and only personal asset is a $1,945 Volkswagen Beetle, he has enough.  He reminds those who inquire about his generosity that

“I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less.”

Mujica is a former Rebel who believes that power does not come from the top, but from the hearts of the people. He is a vegetarian with no bank account and no debt, and his favorite thing in the whole world is “the companionship of his dog.”

Under the direction of Mujica, Uruguay has become known as one of the least corrupt countries in the world. His party has also taken strong steps to legalize personal use of cannabis in order to put an end to gang violence and to provide a safe and natural medicine to the people. Sounds like a sensible man with rational ideas indeed.

The Politician Who Donates 90% of His Salary to Charity

patriotism

comunidad-uruguaya-peru.blogspot.com

No my American friends, surprisingly he is not from the United States. José Mujica, who donates 90% of his salary to charity, is the president of Uruguay.  He is known in his nation as the poorest president, ‘el presidente mas pobre.’

Hard to believe? It’s true.  He is the most generous president in the world, receiving $12,500 a month as salary, but only keeping $1,250.  According to Mujica, whose biggest expense and only personal asset is a $1,945 Volkswagen Beetle, he has enough.  He reminds those who inquire about his generosity that

“I do fine with that amount; I have to do fine because there are many Uruguayans who live with much less.”

Mujica is a former Rebel who believes that power does not come from the top, but from the hearts of the people. He is a vegetarian with no bank account and no debt, and his favorite thing in the whole world is “the companionship of his dog.”

Under the direction of Mujica, Uruguay has become known as one of the least corrupt countries in the world, ranking at #20 of 174 in 2012. His party has also taken strong steps to legalize personal use of cannabis in order to put an end to gang violence and to provide a safe and natural medicine to the people. Sounds like a sensible man with rational ideas indeed.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jos%C3%A9_Mujica

Yahoo News: “Poorest President” Donates 90% of his Salary

Washington Post: The Most and Least Corrupt Countries in the World (2012)

http://www.beetle.com/int/en/home

https://wondergressive.com/2013/01/10/ticks-are-turning-people-into-vegetarians-for-life/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/09/25/dogs-can-predict-earthquakes-by-hearing-them/

https://wondergressive.com/2012/10/12/uruguay-to-legalize-marijuana/

Suicide the Leading Cause of Injury Mortality in the United States

That’s right, currently, more people kill themselves than die in car crashes in the United States.  A new study from the American Journal of Public Health has revealed a startling truth that many people are downright refusing to believe.

In the last decade suicide has increased by 15% while deaths from car accidents have decreased by 25%. Cars are safer, and people are more miserable.

According to the study:

“Suicide ranked first as a cause of injury mortality, followed by motor vehicle traffic crashes, poisoning, falls, and homicide. Females had a lower injury mortality rate than did males.”

Not to worry, I’m sure doctors have a solution up their sleeves.  More anti-depressants!