Self-Driving Car’s Accident In Arizona Was Not Intentional Or Avoidable

In the early morning hours of Monday, March 19, 2018, a fully-automated Uber vehicle struck a pedestrian in Tempe, Arizona. The 49-year-old female initially battled her quickly-depleting health, but later died at a hospital in Tempe.

Many people might think, upon first glance, that the unmanned Uber vehicle was unarguably at fault for the crash. Since when can cars drive themselves, right?

In actuality, even though the vehicle wasn’t being driven by anyone, an alert, trained driver was behind the wheel, but even she couldn’t stop the crash from happening. Local regulations in Tempe require all moving vehicles to have an alert, licensed driver behind the steering wheel; even if they didn’t, Uber still finds human drivers as a necessary, added layer of safety.

The self-steering, -braking, and -accelerating Volvo XC90 SUV was traveling at roughly 38 miles per hour in a 35 mph speed zone. Before calling “speeding robot!” think about how you and most other people on the road travel at least a handful of your odometer’s tick marks above the speed limit. 38 miles per hour in such a situation was entirely reasonable.

So, here’s what happened – a pedestrian entered a crosswalk with a bicycle and several plastic shopping bags, failing to watch out for traffic, when the self-driving Volvo XC90 struck the 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg.

The collision occurred at night, and the side of the road Herzberg shot out from was undeniably dark. Neither the human driver nor Uber’s self-driving intellectual property detected Herzberg in time. The woman presented herself in front of the Uber so quickly that police inspection of the Uber’s two cameras resulted in police claiming that “[Herzberg] came from the shadows right into the roadway.”

Tempe police agreed that how quickly she moved into the roadway made the collision practically impossible to avoid.

Nobody knows if Tempe, Arizona, police are going to release the front and rear cams on the self-driving Uber-branded Volvo. No passengers were inside the vehicle, and the case is still being investigated.

Cambridge Analytics Suspends CEO Alexander nix

Everybody who’s practically been alive since Saturday is all too familiar – or at least familiar, in the slightest – with Cambridge Analytica, a data firm specifically concentrating on its political uses.

Cambridge Analytica gained unauthorized access to roughly 50 million Facebook accounts’ personal information and metadata, presumably allowing the firm to more closely tailor political marketing messages to Internet users, particularly those on Facebook.

It’s said that a scholar in the human sciences developed an app that asked personal questions about Facebook users, similar to other dating or personal life mobile applications. Through that application, which was then used by Cambridge Analytica, many gigabytes of data that turned out to be useful in advertising were mined, then combed through, used to make inferences, then pump out popular advertisements.

Here’s the newest of the news: Cambridge Analytica’s chief executive officer Alexander Nix was suspended from his position on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Alexander Tayler, the chief data officer of Cambridge Analytica, has been asked to act as the firm’s lead executive until more formal, permanent plans are finalized.

A popular news channel in Britain, Channel 4 News, published an exclusive piece on inappropriate behavior committed by Alexander Nix and others among the upper echelons of Cambridge Analytica. The publication was broadcast on Monday in the United Kingdom, just two days after Saturday, March 17’s dual reports from The New York Times and The Observer that initially detailed a link between 50 million Facebook profiles’ worth of data, Cambridge Analytics, Facebook, and even Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

Nix was found at what was apparently a business meeting, of which an undercover reporter for Channel 4 News was present and acting as a wealthy client seeking his services, claiming he could reliably bribe politicians to throw their chances of election off, or even entrap them with sex workers, take video evidence, and ruin their careers.

Many state politicians in both the U.S. and U.K. are calling on Mark Zuckerberg’s insight to his company’s data breach.

Intelligence Chiefs Warn Against Using Chinese Phones

On Tuesday at a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, American intelligence chiefs said its citizens should not use phones manufactured by Huawei and ZTE.

The directors of the CIA, FBI, NSA, as well as the director of national intelligence appeared before the committee, and they all issued the same warning against the two Chinese tech giants.

Chris Wray, who is the director of the FBI, said during his testimony that he was worried about letting any company or organization have access to American telecommunication networks when such a company or organization was bound by a foreign power that does not share American values. He went on to say that, by allowing this to happen, it would give these foreign powers the ability to steal or modify proprietary information. It would also give them the ability to spy on the United States without detection.

U.S. intelligence agencies have been suspicious of Huawei for many years. The Chinese company was founded by an engineer who previously worked for the People’s Liberation Army in China, and many in the U.S. government think that the company is essentially an extension of the Chinese government. It was this that led the U.S. government to ban Huawei in 2014 from receiving government contracts.

Huawei began as a telecommunication company that manufactured various forms of infrastructure-related hardware. But it has since become a major worldwide producer of smartphones. Last fall it even surpassed Apple to become the second largest manufacturer of the devices in the world, trailing only Samsung.

However, Huawei has so far failed to have much success in America, mostly because of the actions of the U.S. government. In January, it was about to announce an agreement to sell its phones through AT&T, but the deal fell through at the last moment, reportedly because of government pressure.

U.S. legislators are currently considering a bill that would prevent government employees from using phones made by either Huawei or ZTE.

SpaceX Satellite Internet Prototype Launching Soon

According to new information nabbed from the FCC website by CNET, Elon Musk’s SpaceX satellite internet project is finally nearing a launch date, and it’s planned for much sooner than most would expect.

The letter as presented by the FCC states that the first two demo satellites will be launch this weekend, February 17 at 6:17 AM PT. As prototypes, they are more of a proof of concept than something that would actually be usable for the program. If all goes well, though, it could pave the way for an operational model as soon as 2019, says SpaxeX vice president of satellite affairs Patricia Cooper.

Taking off from the Vandenberg Air Force Base, the two satellites named Microsat-2a and Microsat-2b will be launched using one of the company’s Falcon 9 rockets. Coming along with them will be a radar observation satellite from Spain known as Paz.

This rocket launch is part of a project known as Starlink, which hopes to utilize low-orbiting satellites to provide cheap internet services to everyone across the planet. Estimated to cost upwards of $10 billion upon completion, Musk hopes to have everything in operation by 2024 provided there are no significant delays.

In truth, however, universal internet access is not the real goal of Starlink. As Musk himself said in 2015, the purpose of the project is to eventually help fund his plan to colonize Mars. “This is intended to generate a significant amount of revenue, and help fund a city on Mars.”

With many unknowns left to be sorted out as well as plenty of chances for catastrophic failure along the way, it seems unlikely a Mars colony will be happening quite so soon. Starlink itself, though, is more than likely poised for completion within the next few decades, which is good news for people around the world hoping for more options in home internet services (despite what some internet service providers might have to say on the matter).

Nanobots Successfully Destroy Cancer Cells

In a new report from Nature, a team of scientists have just announced that their latest invention of autonomous nanobots can successfully be deployed within mice as a means of combating and curing cancer.

Using specially programmed DNA strands folded onto themselves, these nanobots seek out cancerous cells within a mouse and inject them with a drug that causes blood clots, cutting off a tumor’s supply of blood and causing it to die off before any harm can be done to the host.

The initial tests for these bots were carried out on mice injected with human breast cancer tissue samples. Within just two days of being injected intravenously with the DNA nanobots, the cancer cells had all begun to die off after the bots successfully located them and started treatment. Additionally, no other parts of the mices’ bodies were seen to have irregular clotting, meaning this treatment would carry little to no risk for patients.

Not only that, when this experiment was replicated with a species of miniature pig, the results turned out to be the same. As there were no signs of clotting in these pigs, it would suggest that even larger creatures would not face unexpected side effects from this cancer treatment as some have feared. The study authors say that they hope to be able to see the same results if they are ever cleared for testing on humans, wishing to implement these nanobots as a human cancer treatment one day.

Compared to other forms of cancer treatment like chemotherapy or invasive surgeries, it’s clear that this nanobot-focused strategy is the way of the future. While many more tests will need to be done before any trials could be conducted on human test subjects, the possibilities are no less impressive. Should these nanobots be approved for treatment strategies after that, they could completely change how we deal with cancer, greatly reducing the mortality rate and level of seriousness associated with the disease.

Nuclear Energy Could Take Humans to Mars

NASA is looking to the past as it prepares for future space feats. In its quest to reach Mars, the American space agency is considering the use of nuclear energy to power spacecraft, an idea that had been abandoned decades ago.
In a partnership with NASA, the private company Nuclear Energy has been awarded a contract to develop a nuclear reactor and the fuel it will use to power a spacecraft to the red planet. Nuclear engines will have some advantages over conventional rockets, which burn fuel to provide thrust. In addition to being more efficient, nuclear engines will be more compact, which will in turn reduce the size of spacecraft used in lengthy missions. They also offer greater flexibility than conventional rockets, making it easier to alter or abandon a mission if necessary.
Perhaps the most important aspect of nuclear propulsion is its greater power, which will increase the speed of spacecraft and reduce the time needed to reach other planets. Launched in 1975 with conventional rocket technology, the Viking 2 unmanned vehicle took nearly a year to complete its journey to Mars. A manned spacecraft using a nuclear engine might be make able to make the trip in only five months. More about the use of nuclear power in space exploration is available at www.reddit.com/r/technews.
Engines using a combination of nuclear and thermal technology were studied and even tested by the United States over a period of nearly 20 years until the program was cancelled in 1972 due to cost issues. The cost of nuclear engines could be a barrier to future designs, but recent technological advancements could make nuclear energy more practical and less expensive.
Whether or not the United States enters the nuclear space race, other countries are moving ahead with their own plans. A Russian company will soon test a nuclear engine that is being specifically designed to take a spacecraft to Mars. China has its own plans, using nuclear technology to power shuttle-type spacecraft it will be launching in the near future.

Modern Day Technologies That Are Nearing Their End

Progress insists on pushing out the old to make room for the new. However, it is clear that sometimes doing so leaves us all feeling a little nostalgic for the way things were. At the very least, we like to try to think about some of the pieces of modern technology that are going the way of the dinosaur so to speak. It can help us appreciate that technology for what it was while at the same time looking forward to what will come next.

 

There are more than a few pieces of modern technology that are very likely to meet their end in the near future. We want to take a look at what a few of those items are today.

 

CDs- You might have already heard the news that Best Buy is pulling CDs from their store shelves as customers are simply not purchasing them enough anymore. There was once a day when this was the only way that people got new music. With streaming services and digital downloads, listening to music this way has simply become outdated.

 

Cords- Cords of any kind for electronic devices are on their way out. The technology needed to make things cordless as simply gotten better and better. These days, we do not have as much need for power cords as we once did. It has meant that we can transition to a less corded world in general. So long tangled up messes!

 

Cable Television- There is just something about those streaming services like Netflix and Hulu that make cable not seem all that important anymore. A lot of people are simply ditching their cable television in favor of the ability to stream what they want when they want it. Thus, cable may be on its way out as well.

 

These are three of the things that are very likely to meet their end in the near future. Keep an eye out for what replaces them.;

The All-Screen Dream Smartphone is In the Works

When people are asked what the ideal smartphone is, the common responses that they give is a phone with all screen and no borders. There are no buttons or anything other than a screen. There is good news for those fans. This is very close to becoming a reality. For one thing, there have been smartphones released with a screen that takes up more space than usual. As a matter of fact, the smartphone is almost all screen and no borders. One company that comes to mind is Samsung. They have released the Galaxy S8 with the endless screen. Of course other companies are jumping on the bandwagon with what they can do with their screens.

Given that the smartphone market is heating up, it is important for other smartphone companies to make sure that they are coming up with something that is innovative. While Samsung does have the lions share of the smartphone market along with Apple, there are plenty of other companies that are just competing for a share in the market profits. However, the one who manages to bring forth something very new for the consumer is going to be the one to beat out all of the other competitors.

The edge-less phone is going to be the next step for smartphone technology. This is going to be the one that is going to have people in amazement. When they get to enjoy all of the benefits of a smartphone with a larger screen and no borders, then they are going to be enjoying devices more. Of course there are plenty of other inventions that people can bring forth in order to get themselves ahead of the smartphone market.

Breakthrough Made Building Synthetic Soft Brain Tissue With 3D ‘Bioprinting’

Scientists have taken a leap forward toward the goal of growing artificial human organ replacements thanks to a new application of 3D printing technology. The new method has successfully created material that is soft and spongy like human brain and lung tissue.

Using a 3D printer, researchers create shapes similar to human organs using a synthetic composite hydrogel. Once these organ “scaffolds” are completed, they are “populated” with living cells which grow on the spongy material to fill out a complete organ.

There’s still a lot of bugs to be worked out of the process, however. For example, developers of the technique have yet to work out a way to prevent underlying layers from collapsing when additional layers are added. Because 3D printers work by spraying on layer after layer, each additional layer puts more pressure on the lower sections.

But there’s considerable reason for optimism. A fix has been developed that involves cooling down the lower layers with a cryogenic freezing technique. This makes them more stable and able to accept additional layers of material. After printing is completed, the frozen layers can be thawed slowly. The key is to maintain the integrity of the shape desired once fully warmed.

So far, brain-shaped 3D-printed organs have been populated with skin cells which are added over a layer of collagen applied to the hydrogel. The method is not yet ready for real brain cells, although smaller brain parts have been successfully populated using genuine neurons. Making a whole brain “scaffold” with the 3D print method has yet to be perfected.

This cutting-edge 3D bioprinting research is being conducted by the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College London in cooperation with the Tissue Engineering and Biophotonics Division of King’s College London.

It’s unclear when cryogenic bioprinting will be ready for actual human transplant. However, the ability to produce soft-tissue structures with this technique is a significant accomplishment.

Verizon Wireless to Start Locking New Smartphones

Verizon Wireless announced on Monday that it will soon start locking new smartphone purchases made in store or online. This lock would exist for a fixed period of time, during which the user would be unable to insert a new SIM card and activate service through a different cellular carrier.

In recent years, Verizon has sold unlocked smartphones in their retail and online stores. When a customer would buy a new Apple iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, a Verizon SIM card would come pre-installed in the device, but the owner could remove it at any time and activate a new network either in the United States or abroad. Verizon had agreed to follow this process as part of settlement with the FCC, which granted the company access to a block of 4G network space in exchange for not blocking customers from switching networks.

Verizon’s new policy regarding locked phones is expected to go into effect this spring. The company does not believe it contradicts the agreement with the FCC, primarily because the driver of the change is related to theft protection. Verizon believes that by locking all new smartphones after purchase, it will deter criminals from trying to steal the devices.

Verizon has yet to reveal how long the locking policy will apply to new phones. Currently, other major U.S. carriers have similar rules in place. At&T locks smartphones for a minimum of 60 days, while T-Mobile’s wait period is 40 days.

As a result of this announcement from Verizon, more of the network’s customers may choose to shop directly from manufacturers like Apple and Samsung. When a phone is purchased directly from one of those companies’ stores, the device is delivered fully unlocked with no restrictions on what type of SIM card can be activated on it.