Tesla released a video of a commute from home to office, including parking as a demonstration of its fully self-driving hardware. "The person in the driver's seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself."
From Tesla's release notes for its upgraded Autopilot technology based on radar as its primary control sensor:
The net effect of this, combined with the fact that radar sees through most visual obscuration, is that the car should almost always hit the brakes correctly even if a UFO were to land on the freeway in zero visibility conditions.
Taking this one step further, a Tesla will also be able to bounce the radar signal under a vehicle in front - using the radar pulse signature and photon time of flight to distinguish the signal - and still brake even when trailing a car that is opaque to both vision and radar. The car in front might hit the UFO in dense fog, but the Tesla will not.
Of course they're kidding. Or so they'd like us to believe.
Video clip from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah
Tesla: The Life and Times of an Electric Messiah by Nigel Cawthorne Chartwell Books 2014, 192 pages, 7.2 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches $9 Buy a copy on Amazon
Mad scientist. Inventor. Philosopher. Visionary. Eccentric. A man who was terrible at business, but great with pigeons. A mythic figure, Nicola Tesla was all these things and more. Examining his life and career, Tesla: The Life And Times Of An Electric Messiah is a lengthy, oversized book filled with illustrations, photos, diagrams of his many inventions, and brief, informative vignettes about his friends, colleagues, business associates, and rivals.
Tesla's own words are pulled from writings and correspondence, and help flesh out a turn-of-the-century futurist, although they can be somewhat dry and academic. His eccentricities liven things up considerably. For instance, did you know he once fell into a vat of boiling milk, and lived on a diet of bread, warm milk, and something mysteriously known as 'Factor Actus'? Did you know he had a strange aversion to women's earrings, and would become feverish at the sight of a peach? Tidbits like these keep the book moving at a nice pace, as the man became more reclusive and odd toward the end of his life.
His War Of The Currents with Thomas Edison is detailed, as well as his battle of radio with Guglielmo Marconi. His experiments with wireless transmission of energy, X-Rays, flying machines, remote control, and artificial intelligence are also described, as well as the mystery surrounding the disappearance of his papers concerning his invention of a death ray by the US government. Read the rest
In my weekly segment on KCRW's “Press Play” news program with host Madeleine Brand, we listen to Elon Musk wax poetic about artificial intelligence and whether life might be a dream--and his plans to send humans to Mars by 2025.
How can you not appreciate how personally Elon Musk cares about the cars his company produces? The man really means it.
Espen got a parking ticket for his Tesla, and he's pretty sure he can exonerate himself, if only the company would give him access to his car's data, but they won't. Read the rest
Rachel writes, "My chap and I are dedicated steampunks and geeks. My chap Andy also happens to be the owner of a very tidy laser cutter! Put the two together and you end up with our fabulous tribute to Nikola Tesla in the form of a beautiful laser etched vase entitled Souvenir of Wardenclyffe featuring a super illustration via Leo Blanchette. The back of the vase is also etched using a sample of Tesla's own handwriting!"
"A concert on the engineering quad, University of Illinois," explains Tau Zero. "The arcs reproduced the fundamental tones of music played back through a PA system. Part of the Engineering Open House." Read the rest
"My Favorite Museum Exhibit" is a series of posts aimed at giving BoingBoing readers a chance to show off their favorite exhibits and specimens, preferably from museums that might go overlooked in the tourism pantheon. I'll be featuring posts in this series all week. Want to see them all? Check out the archive post. I'll update the full list there every morning.
Spend enough time in a museum and the space starts to take on a personality. From knowing the exhibits—and thinking about what is included and what isn't—you start to feel like you have some insight into "who" the museum is supposed to be, and, perhaps, a peek into the minds that shaped the place.
And sometimes, what you learn is kind of funny.
Read the rest
When you go through The Henry Ford as many times as I have, you start to assemble a portrait of a borderline-creepy affection for Thomas Edison by Henry Ford. There's industrialist BFFs ... and then there's Ford and Edison. I've never seen any notebooks with Edison's name and little hearts around it, but whole thing feels rather odd.
So I think it's very telling that there's just one tiny case related to Tesla — arguably Edison's 'Apollo Creed' to Tesla's 'Rocky' — and it mainly houses his death mask almost like a trophy.