Thursday, May 13, 2021

Self-Drive Delivery Van from VW in Germany, Coming Soon!

 We read at the Verge,

Volkswagen will start testing its new autonomous vehicles in Germany this summer, the company announced Wednesday. The German automaker’s electric ID Buzz vans will use hardware and software developed by Argo AI, a Pittsburgh-based startup that is backed by Ford and VW. The aim is to launch a commercial delivery and micro-transit service in Germany by 2025.

Argo, which has been testing its vehicles in the US with Ford for the last few years, said it would be launching the fifth generation of its automated driving technology with the VW ID Buzz, which is the electric version of the automaker’s iconic microbus. Bryan Salesky, the startup’s founder and CEO, praised the collaborative nature of Argo and Volkswagen’s partnership.



Tuesday, May 11, 2021

UBI? How about “GBI”?

Guaranteed Basic Income might be a better alternative to Universal Basic income. It is the guaranteeing of an income sufficient enough to cover basic needs. It can be in various forms, such as a negative income tax (NIT), an unconditional basic income (UBI), or even a guaranteed minimum income (GMI).

First proposed by philosophers in the 16th century, the idea of an income delivered directly by the state has been seen in many quarters as a balm for all kinds of social ills. Progressives argue that a guaranteed minimum income has the potential to lift communities out of poverty. Some conservatives and libertarians, meanwhile, see universal basic income as a cost-effective alternative to existing social welfare systems. 

In the United States, proponents of guaranteed income as a matter of economic justice have included the Black Panthers and Martin Luther King Jr., while the libertarian economist Milton Friedman advocated it as a form of negative income tax. Even President Richard Nixon proposed providing cash directly to families, without conditions. His plan—produced after 1,000 economists urged it in an open letter—twice passed the House, but got rejected by the Senate.

Read more... As it turned out, what made the difference wasn't more research but a global pandemic. In the face of the recession caused by the pandemic, relief packages were suddenly seen as necessary to jump-start the American economy. The success of the $1,400 stimulus checks make it more likely now than ever before that that guaranteed income could soon become a permanent fixture of federal policy.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Friendly Helper or BattleBot?

That lovable scamp from Boston Dynamics, the robotic dog Spo, was one of several robots tested by the French army during training sessions at a military school in the northwest of France. This is according to a French source.

It’s not clear what role Spot was playing (neither Shark Robotics nor the École de Saint-Cyr had replied to requests for comment at the time of writing), but Ouest-France suggests it was being used for reconnaissance. The 70lb Spot (31kg) is equipped with cameras and can be remote controlled, with its four legs allowing it to navigate terrain that would challenge wheeled or treaded robots. To date, it’s been used to remotely survey a number of environments, from construction sites to factories and underground mines.

Read more over at Engadget...

Thursday, April 8, 2021

From the Archives... a Sixty Minutes report on Steve Jobs and his biography

Apple Computers, Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976, by college dropouts Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who brought to the new company a vision of changing the way people viewed computers. Jobs and Wozniak wanted to make computers small enough for people to have them in their homes or offices. Simply put, they wanted a computer that was user-friendly.

  • Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak co-founded Apple in 1977, introducing first the Apple I and then the Apple II.
  • Apple went public in 1980 with Jobs the blazing visionary and Wozniak the shy genius executing his vision.
  • Executive John Scully was added in 1983; in 1985, Apple's board of directors ousted the combative Jobs in favor of Scully.
  • Away from Apple, Jobs invested in and developed animation producer Pixar and then founded NeXT to create high-end computers; NeXT eventually led him back to Apple.
  • Jobs returned to Apple in the late 1990s and spent the years until his death in 2011 revamping the company, introducing the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, transforming technology and communication in the process.

On the 45th anniversary of the founding of Apple, a look back at the 2011 profile of Steve Jobs, which aired just weeks after his death. On Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs passed away at the age of 56.2 He had just left the CEO post at Apple, the company he co-founded, for the second time. Jobs was an entrepreneur through and through, and the story of his rise is the story of Apple as a company, along with some very interesting twists.

See it here...

Monday, April 5, 2021

Perseverance Finds Interesting Rock on Martian Surface, Zaps It

The Nasa rover on Mars, Perseverance, found a weird rock that is confounding scientists. The rover’s Twitter account published an image of a weird, pockmarked rock. It has a smooth, greenish appearance and the caption underneath confirms that scientists are stumped. Perseverance zapped the rock with its on-board laser and is trying to learn more about it.

‘While the helicopter is getting ready, I can’t help checking out nearby rocks,’ the rover tweeted in the first person. ‘This odd one has my science team trading lots of hypotheses. ‘It’s about 6 inches (15 cm) long. If you look closely, you might spot the row of laser marks where I zapped it to learn more.’

It can identify the chemical and mineral makeup of targets as small as a pencil point from a distance of more than 20 feet (7 meters). In the picture, one can see the tiny indentations on the right side of the rock where the rover’s laser hit it.

Over the course of several years, Perseverance will collect and store up to 30 rock and soil samples that will eventually be returned to Earth where labs will analyze them.

Read the tweet from the robot here...