Rhett Allain can see physics in everyday life. But for his students at Southeastern Louisiana University, some of the concepts were a bit trickier to grasp. What started as a project to help students better understand his subject has become a popular blog, Dot Physics, on the Wired website. I spoke recently with Allain about science blogging, teaching physics and answering impossible questions. Below are excerpts from our interview. Why did you start the Dot Physics blog? I wanted [my students] to do projects like this. They needed an example. I wrote up two or three example projects, so they could see what I was looking for. Then, things got out of control. I started to come up with other projects. I enjoyed it too much. Initially, it was just a couple of projects for them. But here I am, three years later, still doing it. Last September, [the blog moved to Wired]. How do you come up with post ideas? There are lots of sources for posts. People email me and ask … [Read more...] about Using physics to answer life’s impossible questions
Volvo is known for safety fanaticism. And lately it’s been focusing on the most unsafe part of most cars: the driver.The Swedish carmaker’s latest experiment with self-driving cars involves installing magnets in the road surface to help orient a car’s robot brain.A car needs to know where it is in order to navigate the environment, and Volvo believes allowing it to talk to the road is the most reliable and cost-effective way to to do that.Unlike the GPS, cameras, and other sensors used in existing autonomous cars, it says road magnets aren’t affected by physical obstacles or weather.The ferrous magnets create an “invisible railway,” giving the car a path to follow. Volvo says the system is accurate to within one decimeter, and has already been tested on a track at the company’s facility in Hällered, Sweden.In addition to the obvious safety benefits of a car that automatically stays in its lane, Volvo believes the system will make road … [Read more...] about Volvo envisions roads dotted with magnets to guide self-driving cars
Quantum-dot technology has been on the verge of breaking into the mainstream for a while, with various companies exploring its use in all kinds of displays, and its advantages over LCD and OLED in televisions. These advantages include lower power consumption, a longer lifetime and more physical flexibility.It’s therefore only a matter of time before QD displays make it into stores, and British firm Nanoco has announced it’s working with several “major Asian electronics companies” in order to make them a reality by the end of next year. CEO Michael Edelman hasn’t stated which companies specifically, but The Telegraph suggests Sony, Samsung, LG and Sharp are all working on QD-TV.A QD television would be thinner and lighter than current LCD and OLED screens, while the image would improve with richer colors and more realistic blacks, all while using a fifth of the power an LCD screen. Additionally, quantum dots are so tiny (100,000 times thinner … [Read more...] about British scientists hope to introduce quantum-dot TVs as soon as 2012
The Google Home Mini is real. On Wednesday in San Francisco, Google officially launched the compact version of its smart speaker. The Google Home Mini will offer the same functionality as the original Google Home. With a voice command, you'll be able to talk to the Google Assistant to stream music, control your smart home, check your calendar, and search the internet. The Mini brings those tricks to a smaller package designed to take on the popular Amazon Echo Dot. The original Google Home emulated the Amazon Echo, but Amazon has continued to dominate smart speaker sales, thanks to the smaller and more affordable Dot. The Dot also plugs into your speakers. I'm disappointed the Mini doesn't have any extra physical tricks, but you'll be able to control any Chromecast speakers with a voice command, as you could with the Home. It'll be able to take advantage of today's updates to the Assistant as well. For example, ask Google to find your phone, and it'll call it. Your phone will … [Read more...] about Google Home Mini is official, takes on Amazon’s Echo Dot
Now that the Google Home Mini is more than just a rumor, it's time to compare it side-by-side with the similar Amazon Echo Dot. The Mini is a smaller, more affordable version of Google's voice controlled smart speaker Google Home. It's obviously inspired by the Dot, which similarly shrunk the power of the original Amazon Echo down into a compact puck you could buy for a reasonable price. Since the Dot has helped Amazon dominate smart speaker sales, Google's move to launch a more affordable Google Home makes a lot of sense. Both the Dot and the Mini are always-listening smart speakers that respond to your voice commands. The Mini makes use of Google's digital assistant -- simply called the Google Assistant. The Dot has Amazon's assistant Alexa built-in to answer your questions. Physically, the two have similar specs.The Dot's biggest advantage over the Mini is the 3.5 mm stereo output port which allows you to connect it to your own speakers. Plug in the Dot, and you can add voice … [Read more...] about How does the Google Home Mini compare to the Amazon Echo Dot?
A Kickstarter project for glowing Bluetooth beacons designed to make your smartphone more useful has blown past its $20K goal with about a week to go.Iota Labs is building physical Bluetooth 4.0-enabled Dots that use location tracking to put your smartphone notifications into context. For example, stick one in the kitchen to prompt you to check food expiration dates or in your car to automatically open up Waze. Put one in the hallway to let you know -- via its LED color as it senses you being in the area -- if a roommate is home and might need a bit of discretion on your part. Or if you want to stretch this initially consumer-oriented product into a business tool, have one alert you to unread emails from your boss as you step into your office. (See Iota's video pitch below.)As of Wednesday afternoon, the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign -- which ends on Sept. 21 -- had raised nearly $100,000.Rahul Ramakrishnan, one of five UC Berkeley engineers/entrepreneurs behind the outfit, … [Read more...] about How to connect the Dots with cool new smartphone-friendly beacons
Businesses frequently divide risk and security efforts among several business units or make them specific to a certain place or type of activity: Electronic is separate from physical is separate from financial. However, keeping them all apart makes it impossible to understand how one risk can affect and exacerbate so many others. That's the problem Eric Cowperthwaite, CISO for Providence Health and Services, is most concerned with.The 2012 CSO Compass Award HonoreesThis year's CSO Compass Award winners point the way toward risk management that's more inclusive — and more exactJack Jones: Numbers gameShelley Stewart: Business viewKristin Lovejoy: Enabling innovationDick Parry: Culture changeRick Kelly: Value focusEric Cowperthwaite: Connect the dotsCowperthwaite has been overseeing Providence's drive to create enterprisewide risk management. He wants to close the gaps that allow issues to be overlooked—most likely because no one is looking at the entire picture. [Read more … [Read more...] about Eric Cowperthwaite: Connect the dots
"Traditional terrorism refers to violent acts that indiscriminately target civilians," says Jon Iadonisi, former Navy SEAL, cyber security expert and co-founder, White Canvas Group. Traditional terrorists are largely interested in achieving or thwarting political or ideological goals in the process. "Cyberterrorism invokes the specific use of computer networks to induce violence against innocent civilians," says Iadonisi.Lloyd's of London affirms the occurrence and rising risk of physical danger from cyberterrorist attacks. But, as the risks increase, the law is not rising to the occasion to prosecute these terrorists. "We have a growing criminal body [cyberterrorists] that has technically out maneuvered federal prosecutors," says Iadonisi. The cyberterrorism landscape is exposing federal judges to cases they are unable to prosecute. "When you look at the evidentiary support and try to prove guilt, you realize there is no existing statute," says Iadonisi. This leaves CSOs and CISOs … [Read more...] about Statistics point to increased physical danger risks of cyberterrorism
With the launch of the Google Home Mini , there are now two sub-$50 smart speakers competing for dominance in your living room, bedroom and elsewhere around your house. But how does the Mini compare to the Amazon Echo ? We put them through a seven-round matchup to find out which is the best budget speaker. Design With its hockey-puck-like shape, the Echo Dot is a chief example of function over form. Nothing stands out about its design, but this speaker is a cinch to use. Four buttons on top let you control the volume, turn the mic on and off, and activate Alexa. A ring of LEDs around the top edge makes it easy to see when Amazon's voice assistant is listening. The cloth-covered, pebble-like Home Mini is aesthetically more pleasing, but not as intuitive to use. Instead of physical volume buttons, for instance, you merely have to tap either side of the device. That's cool, but it's not obvious unless you read the manual. Four LEDs on the top of the Home Mini … [Read more...] about Google Home Mini vs. Echo Dot: Which Cheap Smart Speaker Wins?
While the black hole recently discovered is not the most humongous, it is still pretty big by normal standards. And it is relatively nascent in its inception. About 875 million years after the start of the universe, it expanded to its current size. Get the Free Tracker App to find a SNES Classic in Stock The universe had barely begun its formation back then. It comes as a shocker since most black holes expand in a tortoise-like fashion by absorbing other matter surrounding them. The question that remains before astronomers is how such a big black hole could have been formed in the first place. It is indeed an anomaly.The huge black hole despite its size cannot be seen since its extreme gravitational force does not allow anything (even light) to escape its grasp. What the scientists did detect was a quasar that became hotter as it entered the jumbo black hole. The quasar was very bright and it emitted light that was 40,000 more luminescent than any other heavenly body in the … [Read more...] about Discovery Of Supermassive Black Hole 12 Billion Times Bigger Than Sun Challenges Physics