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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 72523 times)
philliman
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1485 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 10:53am »

on Oct 9th, 2010, 09:22am, Seeker wrote:
And lets not forget the ladies! Carole Lombard, Bette Davis, Greer Garson, Katherine Hepburn, Elinor Barrymore... the list goes on and on!

Or Barb Stanwyck. But it would have sounded a bit strange if I would have compared him with an actress. wink grin

on Oct 9th, 2010, 09:22am, Seeker wrote:
I wonder if it's that those those individualistic strong characters don't exist in our homogeonized world anymore, or is it merely because the press respected privacy in those days and we did not read private and personal un-seemly revelations about the stars in those days. Perhaps if we were "treated" to daily doses of that junk then as we are now we might not think so highly of THEM either! But I have to agree with you that an era has ended and there are very few among today's crowd that can compare to those legends of old.

Possible. But as far as I know there were already some stories around some of the more controversial characters like fe. Errol Flynn. There are at least some actors around today who could come close to those former stars (but actually won't ever be able to fill those roles) who are IMO Tom Hanks and George Clooney. But they seem to lack that special something which those former stars had back then.

on Oct 9th, 2010, 09:22am, Seeker wrote:
On a more personal note, I'm sorry to hear your father has crossed into spirit. I don't know if this is recent or some years back, but I extend my condolances. I lost my Mom just after Christmas of 2007, and I know how painful it is to lose a beloved parent.

Thank you. It's already quite some time ago. But I would have to lie if I would try to claim that it wouldn't bother me anymore. smiley
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1486 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 1:32pm »

Quote:
Or Barb Stanwyck. But it would have sounded a bit strange if I would have compared him with an actress.


Oh yes, Barbara Stanwick is another! And I see your point about comparing Tony to an actress...! wink

Quote:
Possible. But as far as I know there were already some stories around some of the more controversial characters like fe. Errol Flynn. There are at least some actors around today who could come close to those former stars (but actually won't ever be able to fill those roles) who are IMO Tom Hanks and George Clooney. But they seem to lack that special something which those former stars had back then.


Oh I know there was "talk", but there simply was not the incessant invasive intrusion of the paparazzi stars of today must endure. They can't burp without the story being carried on national T.V. It really is over-the-top, revealing far too many personal details than are in good taste to share. I agree with your assessment of Tom Hanks and George Clooney, and to that list I would also add Johnny Depp, Ralph Fienes, Jeff Bridges and Gerard Butler, competent actors all, which has been clearly demonstrated in some excellent roles. Unfortunately, they all seem to do a certain amount of "fluff" as well, but then I guess when baby needs new shoes, someone must bring home the proverbial bacon! There might be others I haven't named as well, but certainly not in the quantity such as were present in the past.

As to your loss, the death of a loved one is not something one "gets over" like the measles. We learn how to cope and go on with the business of living, but we never stop loving or missing them.
« Last Edit: Oct 9th, 2010, 1:38pm by Seeker » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1487 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 2:39pm »

The Arizona State Fair is starting soon.

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We had my Dad's stagecoach parked out front at our wedding. grin

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1488 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 5:10pm »

Not cows, but CATS?! shocked


SURREYNOW

Aliens among suspects in ‘surgical’ cat deaths


By Tom Zytaruk, Surrey Now October 8, 2010

Throughout North America, pet cats have been found sliced clean in half, and to date no one knows why.

This phenomenon has been blamed on anything from Aliens to coyotes. But an animal did not cause the latest Lower Mainland cases, Thiessen noted.

“This is surgical, very clean cut.”

Typically, only the front or back half is found, with very little blood at the scene.

Read more: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/Aliens+among+suspects+surgical+deaths/3646316/story.html#ixzz11twcYLAt
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1489 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 5:37pm »

on Oct 9th, 2010, 5:10pm, Swamprat wrote:
Not cows, but CATS?! shocked


SURREYNOW

Aliens among suspects in ‘surgical’ cat deaths


By Tom Zytaruk, Surrey Now October 8, 2010

Throughout North America, pet cats have been found sliced clean in half, and to date no one knows why.

This phenomenon has been blamed on anything from Aliens to coyotes. But an animal did not cause the latest Lower Mainland cases, Thiessen noted.

“This is surgical, very clean cut.”

Typically, only the front or back half is found, with very little blood at the scene.

Read more: http://www.thenownewspaper.com/news/Aliens+among+suspects+surgical+deaths/3646316/story.html#ixzz11twcYLAt


Waaaaaa! Cats?
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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1490 on: Oct 9th, 2010, 5:45pm »




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« Reply #1491 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 08:27am »

Wired Danger Room

Fish, Birds and Bats Inspire Navy’s Next-Gen Drones
By Katie Drummond October 8, 2010 | 12:11 pm


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The Pentagon wants robots that can maneuver through pretty much any environment, from dense forests to towering city skyscrapers. So the Navy is trying to learn from creatures that can already do it all, by funding a consortium of researchers to study the travel patterns of fish, bats, birds and insects.

And it’s hardly the first time the Pentagon’s expressed interest in applying the talents of the animal kingdom to unmanned air travel. They’ve already invested in research to create handheld drones that mimic the “echolocation” abilities of bats and mini-drones inspired by hummingbirds.

Now, researchers led by a team at the University of Washington have received a five-year, $7.5 million grant from the Office of Naval Research, to evaluate other animal features that would make for better autonomous aerial vehicles. One major focus of the project will be to eliminate or minimize the need for a human operator, whose own instincts aren’t always enough to guide rapid travel.

“For vehicles operating at high speeds in highly complex and dynamic environments (like windy forests for example), a wireless connection back to a human operator might not be fast enough to keep the vehicle from crashing or allow it to be as maneuverable as it could be,” UW researcher Kristi Morgansan tells Danger Room.

Morgansan imagines that drones of the future might have features like “flapping wings, flexible surfaces, and sensors that are lighter, lower power and use less energy…than what is used currently in engineered systems.” By accumulating data from flight studies, researchers will create mathematical models that are transferable to engineered systems.

Her own team is zeroing in on underwater movement patterns. Studying a school of robotic fish, they’re looking to develop bio-inspired propeller replacements, that would offer less drag and better maneuverability at low speeds, and use less power.

“We also study how schooling fish interact with one another in various settings,” she says, “to come up with more effective ways of operating groups of underwater vehicles for tasks such as tracking, searching [and] map-building.”

Combined, the consortium’s work could also give drones the skills to sense obstacles and travel safely even in tough weather. Other researchers are investigating how moths detect and respond to their surroundings, and how bees adapt to fly in windy conditions.

Photo: National Marine Sanctuary

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/10/fish-birds-and-bats-inspire-navys-next-gen-drones/

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« Reply #1492 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 08:30am »

New York Times

October 9, 2010
I.M.F. Doesn’t Press China on Currency
By SEWELL CHAN

WASHINGTON — The world’s financial leaders failed on Saturday to reach agreement on how to contain an escalating currency dispute that has threatened to undermine global cooperation on economic recovery.

Despite loud calls from the United States, and more muted appeals by Europe, Japan and other countries, the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund did not succeed in placing significant pressure on China to allow a prompt and meaningful rise in the value of its currency, the renminbi.

In essence, the topic was deferred until leaders of the Group of 20 economic powers, including President Obama, gather in Seoul, South Korea, in November.

But the leaders here called on the I.M.F. to play a stronger role in monitoring how the policies of each member affect the others — a move the Obama administration supports in the absence of more direct pressure on China to revalue the renminbi.

“The outcome of the I.M.F. meetings makes it clear that collective action remains an ideal rather than a reality,” said Eswar S. Prasad, a former I.M.F. economist who now teaches at Cornell.

The meetings here focused in large part on the currency issue, underscoring its role as a flashpoint in relations between the United States and China and a source of global tension. The high jobless rate in the United States, along with the looming midterm elections, have prompted the administration to intensify calls for China to allow its currency to appreciate in the hope that it will increase American exports and help create jobs at home.

In addition, economists and some of the policymakers here have warned of the dangers of a currency war in which other nations weaken the value of their own currencies to better compete with China on the world market.

Slow growth in Europe and the United States has led to a surge of capital flowing into faster-growing economies like India, Mexico and South Korea, putting upward pressure on their currencies. Japan, Brazil and other countries have tried to limit currency appreciation.

Concern about currency-weakening applies to the United States as well. Expectations that the Federal Reserve will undertake a second round of bond purchases to lower long-term interest rates has pushed the dollar down against the euro and the yen.

Despite the volatility of the currency issue, the language in the concluding statement of the I.M.F.’s policy-setting committee was benign. It pledged to “work toward a more balanced pattern of global growth, recognizing the responsibilities of surplus and deficit countries.”

The committee also vowed to “address the challenges of large and volatile capital movements, which can be disruptive.”

“The language is ineffective,” the I.M.F.’s managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, conceded later. “The language is not going to change things. Policies have to be adapted.”

The I.M.F. has said that the renminbi is substantially undervalued, but like American policymakers it is wary about pressuring China too severely, and has few tools to do so given that it operates by consensus. “There is no way to believe that global growth can be rebalanced without some change in currency values,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn said.

The committee called on the I.M.F. to “deepen its work” in areas like global imbalances.

Youssef Boutros Ghali, chairman of the committee and Egypt’s finance minister, said members “recognized explicitly that the solution to this issue is going to be cooperative” and want the I.M.F. to help solve it.

Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, said the monetary system would be a priority next year when her country plays host to the G-20. “I regard it as an extremely positive outcome of these past two days that we talked about it extensively,” she said.

Chinese officials tried to deflect the currency criticism, arguing that the large public debts of the richest countries and the easy-money policies of central banks like the Fed were also contributing to global imbalances.

China has agreed in principle to take steps like expanding its social safety net, rural development and the service sector, measures that would cut its dependence on exports and stimulate consumer spending. The United States has pledged to spend less and save more, at least in the long run.

Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China’s central bank, who said on Friday that appreciation of the renminbi should only occur gradually, met with the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, on Saturday, in the latest of many discussions.

The I.M.F. committee agreed to amend the reports the staff produces about the economies of its 187 members. The reports will now take into account the international consequences of each nation’s actions.

But in the past, China has resisted the release of reports critical of its policies, so the effectiveness of expanding the I.M.F.’s “surveillance” remains unclear.

Members also debated, but did not agree on, how to alter governance of the I.M.F. The United States has pushed for rapidly growing economies like China to have greater representation in the institution, hoping that in return Beijing will assume a greater responsibility for economic cooperation. But a proposal for Europe to surrender some seats on the I.M.F.’s board to emerging economies ran into resistance. The issue is not expected to be resolved until the G-20 meeting.

Compared to the past two annual meetings, in which the financial crisis galvanized cooperation, the mood this year was darker, according to participants at a forum here on global economic governance.

The cooperation of the last meetings “was driven by fear,” the financier George Soros said. “Markets have come back to life, the fear has dissipated and the differences of opinion have become much sharper.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/business/global/10imf.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #1493 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 08:36am »

New York Times

October 9, 2010
Whistle. Then Worry and Wait.
By EDWARD WYATT

SITTING in a Minneapolis mansion and listening to a charismatic investment manager describe a currency trading system that kept earning handsome returns year after year, Arthur F. Schlobohm IV was certain he had stumbled onto a Ponzi scheme.

A longtime trader who started running tickets on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as a teenager, Mr. Schlobohm, known as Ty, knew that Minneapolis, his home for nine years, was too small a town for a $4.4 billion investment fund to have escaped his notice.

It had taken him just a few Google searches to discover that the fund’s manager, Trevor G. Cook, had been suspended twice by the National Futures Association and been fined $25,000 for using false information to open a trading account for a customer. Calls to contacts in Switzerland and Kuwait also raised doubts about Mr. Cook’s boasts about deal-making abroad.

Yet Mr. Schlobohm later found himself back in Mr. Cook’s mansion, surrounded by a room full of his neighbors, many of whom were about to hand their life savings to a charlatan.

“If I could have just leaned over and whispered in someone’s ear, ‘Don’t invest in this! Just trust me!,’ there would be a family out there now with kids that could go to college,” Mr. Schlobohm recalls of the meeting, which took place 18 months ago.

But he couldn’t do that. At the time, Mr. Schlobohm, now 37, was working as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Wired to record Mr. Cook’s sales pitches and carrying a hidden camera, Mr. Schlobohm gathered evidence for at least four months as the Justice Department zeroed in on the scheme.

Mr. Cook pleaded guilty to mail and tax fraud last summer and was sentenced to 25 years in prison for orchestrating what ultimately became a $160 million swindle. William J. Mauzy, a lawyer who has represented Mr. Cook, did not respond to repeated requests for comment and for an interview with Mr. Cook.

That the authorities brought Mr. Cook to justice is undoubtedly a positive outcome. But Mr. Schlobohm’s journey as a whistle-blower, and some of the financial losses that still occurred even though authorities were closely monitoring Mr. Cook, also underscore the limitations of the system.

During the period when Mr. Schlobohm helped the F.B.I. to gather evidence, from April through July 2009, at least $16 million flowed into Mr. Cook’s fund — and disappeared. From the time securities regulators first had credible information that he was engaged in a fraud and when the authorities shut down his fund, December 2008 to July 2009, some $35 million flowed into his coffers — funds that afforded Mr. Cook a lifestyle that included an expensive gambling habit, a collection of Fabergé eggs, fancy cars and the construction of a casino in Panama.

“There was a tremendous amount of guilt being there,” watching Mr. Cook lure investors, said Mr. Schlobohm in an interview, the first in which he has spoken publicly about how he helped put Mr. Cook behind bars. “Knowing this was a fraud with the highest degree of certitude, and having to watch people in the process of losing their life savings, was extremely difficult.”

The United States attorney for Minnesota prosecuted the case against Mr. Cook, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both pursuing civil suits against Mr. Cook and helped with the federal investigation. Those agencies point to the Trevor Cook case as an example of the positive lessons authorities learned from the Bernard L. Madoff scandal and other regulatory debacles. (In the Madoff case, tipsters warned regulators for years of problems, but they did not take action until Mr. Madoff’s fund collapsed.)

For all of the Justice Department’s efforts, though, only about 5 percent of the $160 million invested in Mr. Cook’s scheme has been recovered.

And for his part, Mr. Schlobohm says that his time as a whistle-blower was often an ordeal, leaving him worried about his safety and that of his family. After he began acting as an informant, he was spending considerable time on the case. He and his employer, an investment company, agreed that it was better for him to quit than to risk dragging the firm into the probe.

“There were definitely times when I was fearful,” he says. “I had to ask questions and dance on a tightrope, pretending I was going to help them bring money in without being obvious I was working with the federal regulators. They certainly knew what they were doing was a fraud, so I was surprised that they weren’t thinking that maybe someone else had discovered it.”

ONE day in early 2009, Ty Schlobohm was visiting the 117-year-old Romanesque mansion that Mr. Cook had bought for $2.8 million and outfitted as a modern trading floor, where walls of flat screens flashed currency prices from around the globe.

“I was walking down the stairs, and on the first floor they had a big conference room,” Mr. Schlobohm recalls. “There sat no less than 25 women, all north of 65 to 70 years old, at an investment seminar where one of the salesmen was waxing poetic about the strategy. I was fairly certain at that point that I was looking at some degree of fraud.”

That epiphany, backed up by his research into Mr. Cook’s trading strategy, which included claims of no-interest loans from a Jordanian bank, led Mr. Schlobohm to take a raft of documents to the authorities.

“I realized,” Mr. Schlobohm says, “that in what was somewhat of an unremarkable financial career, this was that fork in the road where I could do something good.”

There had already been others who had raised questions about Trevor Cook. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, a federal agency that regulates commodity markets and monitors foreign currency trading, got a full report on Mr. Cook’s suspension in 2006.

Then, in April 2008, Duke Thietje, a Florida investor, filed a lawsuit in a Minnesota state court against Mr. Cook and his firm, Universal Brokerage Services, contending that Mr. Cook lost $450,000 he had turned over to him in 2005 to invest in foreign currencies.

Mr. Thietje abandoned his lawsuit in the fall of 2008. But around that time, his lawyer turned over copies of his filings to the C.F.T.C., providing that agency with its second warning about Mr. Cook.

The C.F.T.C. would not comment on the documents, in part because its civil fraud charges against Mr. Cook and his companies are still pending.

After examining Mr. Thietje’s allegations, the C.F.T.C. decided that it lacked the jurisdiction to do anything about Mr. Cook, according to people close to the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity because some charges are still pending. It wasn’t until March 2009, when Mr. Schlobohm contacted both the C.F.T.C. and the United States attorney in Minneapolis with his information about Mr. Cook, that the C.F.T.C. began to connect the dots.

That was made more difficult because Mr. Cook’s ventures went by an ever-changing lineup of names: Universal Brokerage Services, UBS Diversified, Oxford Global, Market Shot, the Basel Group, Crown Forex.

None of them, however, were registered with either the Commodity Futures Trading Commission or the S.E.C. So even after Mr. Schlobohm provided his own research pointing to a Ponzi scheme, regulators said they had limited options as to how they could act.

According to two senior regulatory officials speaking on the condition of anonymity because the civil cases are still in court, the agencies could not simply walk in and demand to see the firms’ books and records without running the risk that the group would fold up shop and disappear with investors’ money.

And the agencies thought that convincing a judge that the Cook firms’ assets should be frozen required more evidence than they had from Mr. Schlobohm, the officials said. Mr. Cook was indeed sending some of his victims’ funds to foreign currency trading accounts, where his unauthorized trading was losing millions of dollars. In the end, regulators discovered 21 domestic bank accounts and 27 brokerage accounts involved in the scheme, as well as 19 foreign accounts at 17 institutions in 12 countries, many of which zealously guard the identity of depositors.

Mr. Schlobohm had few doubts, however. Mr. Cook was telling potential investors that he was producing monthly returns of one-half to 1 percent, month after month, without a loss, over a period that included one of the worst investment markets in modern times.

Mr. Cook claimed to be generating those profits by performing a so-called carry trade that allowed him to game the differences on currency yields in various countries. He used investors’ money, he said, to buy high-yield securities denominated in a currency like the Australian dollar. He then sold low-yielding securities denominated in United States dollars, and pocketed the difference in returns. Next, he said, he used interest-free loans to set up a mirror-image trading position, creating a perfectly hedged transaction that, he said, produced guaranteed profits.

The free money, he said, came from a bank in Jordan, which, because of Shariah Islamic law, was not allowed to charge interest. Mr. Cook said the difference between the two trading positions generated annual returns of 10 percent to 12 percent — year after year after year.

In reality, what Mr. Cook was running was a plain-vanilla Ponzi scheme, in which he simply used money from new investors to pay off earlier investors and maintain the mirage that his funds were earning handsome returns.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/10/business/10whistle.html?ref=business

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« Reply #1494 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 08:40am »

Guardian

Hungary workers race to build dam as reservoir crack widensReservoir cracks threaten to unleash second torrent of toxic sludge on village of Kolontar in Hungary

Reuters
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 10 October 2010 13.00 BST

Workers are racing to build an emergency dam in western Hungary on Sunday as cracks in a reservoir widen, threatening to unleash a second torrent of toxic sludge on the village of Kolontar and nearby rivers.

About one million cubic metres of the waste material leaked out of the alumina plant reservoir into villages and waterways earlier this week, killing seven people, injuring 123 and fouling rivers including a local branch of the Danube.

Kolontar was evacuated yesterday after cracks appeared in the northern wall of the reservoir.

News agency MTI cited environment state secretary Zoltan Illes as saying a 25-metre crack in the weakened wall had widened slightly by this morning.

Tibor Dobson, spokesman for disaster crews at the scene, said workers had laid the groundwork of a new dam in Kolontar to ward off any fresh flood of the sludge, which tore through neighbouring areas last Monday, toppling cars and wreaking havoc in houses.

Dobson said the number of people evacuated from Kolontar, which lies closest to the reservoir, had increased to about 1,000 overnight.

Prime minister Viktor Orban has said the torrent of sludge is the worst ecological catastrophe Hungary has suffered.

The nearby town of Devecser, home to 5,400 people, remained on alert. The military has sent 319 soldiers and 127 transport vehicles into the town and five trains are ready in case it has to be evacuated.

Dobson said 400-500 people had decided to leave the town voluntarily and at this stage an evacuation was unlikely. Orban will inform parliament about the findings of an investigation tomorrow and promised "the toughest possible consequences" to ensure such a disaster does not recur.

The interior ministry said on its website that samples taken early today showed that alkalinity levels in smaller rivers affected by Monday's spill, and in the Danube, had returned to normal.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/oct/10/hungary-build-dam-crack-widens

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« Reply #1495 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 08:50am »

Seattle Times

Sunday, October 10, 2010 - Page updated at 12:16 AM

Robots at wheel driving Google cars
By JOHN MARKOFF
The New York Times

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.
Anyone driving the twists of Highway 1 between San Francisco and Los Angeles recently may have glimpsed a Toyota Prius with a curious funnel-like cylinder on the roof. Harder to notice was that the person at the wheel was not driving.

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The car is a project of Google, which has been working in secret in plain view on vehicles that can drive themselves, using artificial-intelligence software that can sense anything near the car and mimic the decisions made by a human driver.

With someone behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry and a technician in the passenger seat to monitor the navigation system, seven test cars have driven 1,000 miles without human intervention and more than 140,000 miles with only occasional human control.

One even drove itself down Lombard Street in San Francisco, one of the steepest and curviest streets in the nation. The only accident, engineers said, was when one Google car was rear-ended while stopped at a traffic light.

Tech dream

Autonomous cars are years from mass production, but technologists who long have dreamed of them believe they can transform society as profoundly as the Internet has.

Robot drivers react faster than humans, have 360-degree perception and do not get distracted, sleepy or intoxicated, engineers say. Engineers speak in terms of lives saved and injuries avoided; more than 37,000 people died in vehicle accidents in the United States in 2008.

The engineers say the technology could double the capacity of roads by allowing cars to drive more safely while closer together.

Because the robot cars eventually would be less likely to crash, they could be built lighter, reducing fuel consumption. But to be truly safer, the cars must be far more reliable than, say, today's personal computers, which crash on occasion and are frequently infected.

The Google research program using artificial intelligence to revolutionize the automobile is proof the company's ambitions reach beyond the search-engine business.

The program is also a departure from the mainstream of innovation in Silicon Valley, which has veered toward social networks and Hollywood-style digital media.

Variety of sensors

During a half-hour drive beginning on Google's campus 35 miles south of San Francisco last Wednesday, a Prius equipped with a variety of sensors and following a route programmed into the GPS navigation system nimbly accelerated in the entrance lane and merged into fast-moving traffic on Highway 101, the freeway through Silicon Valley.

It drove at the speed limit, which it knew because the limit for every road is included in its database, and left the freeway several exits later. The device atop the car produced a detailed map of the environment.

The car then drove in city traffic through Mountain View, stopping for lights and stop signs, and making announcements such as "approaching a crosswalk" (to warn the human at the wheel) or "turn ahead" in a pleasant female voice. This same pleasant voice would, engineers said, alert the driver if a master-control system detected anything amiss with the various sensors.

The car can be programmed for different driving personalities, from cautious, in which it is more likely to yield to another car, to aggressive, where it is more likely to go first.

Christopher Urmson, a Carnegie Mellon University robotics scientist, was behind the wheel but not using it.

To gain control of the car he has to do one of three things: Hit a red button near his right hand, touch the brake or turn the steering wheel.

He did so twice, once when a bicyclist ran a red light and again when a car in front stopped and began to back into a parking space. But the car seemed likely to have prevented an accident itself.

When he returned to automated "cruise" mode, the car gave a little "whir" meant to evoke going into warp drive on "Star Trek," and Urmson was able to rest his hands by his sides or gesticulate when talking to a passenger in the back seat.

He said the cars did attract attention, but people seem to think they are just the next generation of the Street View cars that Google uses to take photographs and collect data for its maps.

Project's brainchild

The project is the brainchild of Sebastian Thrun, 43, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a Google engineer and the co-inventor of the Street View mapping service.

In 2005, he led a team of Stanford students and faculty members in designing the Stanley robot car, winning the second Grand Challenge of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a $2 million Pentagon prize for driving autonomously over 132 miles in the California desert.

Besides the team of 15 engineers working on the current project, Google hired more than a dozen people, each with a spotless driving record, to sit in the driver's seat. Google is using six Priuses and an Audi TT.

The Google researchers said the company did not have a clear plan to create a business from the experiments. Thrun is known as a passionate promoter of the potential to use robotic vehicles to make highways safer and lower the nation's energy costs. It is a commitment shared by Larry Page, Google's co-founder, according to several people familiar with the project.

The self-driving-car initiative is an example of Google's willingness to gamble on technology that may not pay off for years, Thrun said. Even the most optimistic predictions put the deployment of the technology more than eight years away.

One way Google might be able to profit is to provide information and navigation services for makers of autonomous vehicles. Or, it might sell or give away the navigation technology, much as it offers its Android smartphone system to cellphone companies.


more after the jump
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2013120769_googlecar10.html

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xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #1496 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 10:02am »

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"Let's see what's over there."
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« Reply #1497 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 4:31pm »

on Oct 10th, 2010, 10:02am, Swamprat wrote:
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« Reply #1498 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 4:36pm »

UFO - Fake plane morph into 2 balls of fire! Germany,09.10.2010!



description:
Whatever this was it was not a random plane!
Please choose 460dp!Watch it in FULLSCREEN!
I filmed alot of planes flyby the sunset but this never happend before!
This video was filmed on 09.10.2010 around 19:00 pm!
I started filming because this trail looked crazy,at first i thought its a normal plane and this is just sunreflection!
But after a few seconds i changed my first thought!
This was unreal!
Thank you for watching!


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..you talkin' to me...YOU TALKIN' TO ME..??!


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« Reply #1499 on: Oct 10th, 2010, 6:38pm »

Thanks for sharing the vid, WoC! I looked at it with interest, and from the gold contrast shining off the contrails, I would deduce the powerful golden glare effects are in sequence sun lighting up contrails at high altitude, then same on the fuselage, then finally both jet engines, while to the observer/camera the sun already has sunk below the horizon.


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Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.

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