FW: Autodrive


‘"Siri, drive me home."


Okay, so it's not quite that simple (yet) but Oxford University is testing out a driverless version of the Nissan Leaf electric car using technology controlled from an Apple iPad on the dashboard. The car is guided by a low-cost navigation system that gauges its surroundings through small cameras and lasers discreetly built into the body of the car and does not rely on GPS. The iPad flashes up a prompt offering the driver the option of taking over a portion of the route. Touching the screen can switch back to "auto drive" where the robot system takes over.


The system is currently being tested at Begbroke Science Park, near Oxford. The next stage of the research will work on enabling the new robotic system to understand complex traffic flows and to make decisions on the best routes to take, said Dr. Ingmar Posner, who is co-leading the project.


It's estimated that the current prototype navigation systems costs around 5,000 pounds (about $7,625 US) but, "Long-term, our goal is to produce a system costing around 100 (pounds) [$151 US]," said Professor Paul Newman, the other co-leader. A series of videos about the Robot Leaf is available below.’





Nicolaus Copernicus

Nicolaus Copernicus (German: Nikolaus Kopernikus; Italian: Nicolò Copernico; Polish: About this sound Mikołaj Kopernik (help·info); 19 February 1473 – 24 May 1543) was a Renaissance mathematician and astronomer who formulated a comprehensive heliocentric model which placed the Sun, rather than the Earth, at the center of the universe.[1]


The publication of Copernicus' epochal book, De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres), just before his death in 1543, is considered a major event in the history of science. It began the Copernican Revolution and contributed importantly to the rise of the ensuing Scientific Revolution. Copernicus' heliocentric theory placed the Sun at the center of the solar system and described that system's mechanics in mathematical rather than Aristotelian terms.


One of the great polymaths of the Renaissance, Copernicus was a mathematician, astronomer, jurist with a doctorate in law, physician, quadrilingual polyglot, classics scholar, translator, artist,[2] Catholic priest, governor, diplomat and economist.





'How tough are Chicago's gun laws?


A 55-year-old woman who works as a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago was jailed this week for bringing a pistol -- licensed, unloaded and in a case – to her office.


The woman, who also holds an "Illinois firearm owners registration card," told Chicago police that she had brought the handgun, recently purchased for home defense, to her workplace because she did not want to leave it at her residence while a work crew was there doing a renovation project.


But Chicago has perhaps the toughest gun laws in the nation and carrying the weapon, even without ammunition, is a serious offense.


A co-worker spotted the pistol case and called police who came and snatched up the information specialist from her workplace. The Chicago Tribune reports that the woman was held on $25,000 bond pending trial and placed on leave by the university.


Not too far away on the city's West Side, Chicago Police were having less luck in dealing with another crime that day than they did with the case of the pistol packing information specialist.


An unidentified male was found stabbed to death in an alleyway, marking the 50th murder in the city so far this year. The victim was later identified as a 22-year-old from across town in Calumet City, but given the low rate at which the city's 535 murders last year were solved, it looks unlikely that police will soon be identifying the one who did the stabbing.'




Brain Study

'The Obama administration is planning a decade-long scientific effort to examine the workings of the human brain and build a comprehensive map of its activity, seeking to do for the brain what the Human Genome Project did for genetics.


The project, which the administration has been looking to unveil as early as March, will include federal agencies, private foundations and teams of neuroscientists and nanoscientists in a concerted effort to advance the knowledge of the brain's billions of neurons and gain greater insights into perception, actions and, ultimately, consciousness.


Scientists with the highest hopes for the project also see it as a way to develop the technology essential to understanding diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as to find new therapies for a variety of mental illnesses.


Moreover, the project holds the potential of paving the way for advances in artificial intelligence.


The project, which could ultimately cost billions of dollars, is expected to be part of the president's budget proposal next month. And, four scientists and representatives of research institutions said they had participated in planning for what is being called the Brain Activity Map project.


The details are not final, and it is not clear how much federal money would be proposed or approved for the project in a time of fiscal constraint or how far the research would be able to get without significant federal financing.


In his State of the Union address, President Obama cited brain research as an example of how the government should "invest in the best ideas." '