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Russia’s meteorological service said on Tuesday it had measured pollution of a radioactive isotope at nearly 1,000 times normal levels in the Ural mountains, the first official Russian data supporting reports that a nuclear incident had taken place. The data appears to back up a report by the French nuclear safety institute IRSN, which said on Nov. 9 a cloud of radioactive pollution over Europe had indicated some kind of leak had taken place at a nuclear facility either in Russia or Kazakhstan in the last week of September. Neither Russia nor Kazakhstan has acknowledged any accident.
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As one of the most secretive tech companies out there, Apple rarely reveals any details regarding hardware or software products that may be in development. But the company last week quietly disclosed self-driving car research that proves not only that Apple is interested in this field, but that it may have solutions to improve various aspects of it.
The paper details technology that can be used by existing self-driving cars equipped with LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology for mapping their surroundings to better detect obstacles, including pedestrians and cyclists.
Apple said a year ago that it will let AI and machine learning researchers to share their research with the world. In July, the company launched the Apple Machine Learning Journal which covers the same topics. However, Apple’s blog did not cover self-driving cars before.
What the VoxelNet tech does, is to allow computers to detect moving obstacles with the help of LiDAR information only, without the necessity of additional sensors. Detecting 3D obstacles from a distance is a crucial aspect of self-driving car tech, as autonomous cars will have to interpret in real time, as fast as possible, everything that happens around them. The technology might be even better than what’s currently available out there.
Experiments on the KITTI car detection benchmark show that VoxelNet outperforms the state-of-the-art LiDAR-based 3D detection methods by a large margin. Furthermore, our network learns an effective discriminative representation of objects with various geometries, leading to encouraging results in 3D detection of pedestrians and cyclists, based on only LiDAR.
It’s unclear at this time what Apple plans to do with self-driving cars in the future, but the paper proves it’s a very hot topic at Apple.
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A war in outer space sounds like the stuff of science fiction but it is something we need to consider. Its impact on everybody on Earth and its implications for future human space exploration would be devastating. The aim is to develop a Manual on International Law Applicable to Military uses of Outer Space (MILAMOS) that covers times of tension and outright hostility.
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For years, left-handedness was seen as an affliction to be cured, and it seems probable that there remains an ingrained – if unthinking – bias against left-handed people today. Indeed, even the word 'left' speaks of an Alpha and Omega, deriving as it does from the Anglo-Saxon 'lyft', meaning 'weak'. But being left-handed isn't all bad news. New research has indicated that being left-handed could be a significant bonus – for sports players at least. The study, published by academics at the University of Oldenburg, in northwestern Germany, found that the greater the time pressure in a game, the greater the number of professional players who are left-handed. (Time pressure in this sense is measured as the average time between a ball leaving one player and reaching another.) One in five top-flight cricket bowlers are left-handed, while a third of baseball pitchers use their left arm According to Dr Florian Loffing who led the research, the reason left-handers may do better is because most of their opponents are predominantly accostomed to responding to right-handers. Approximately ten percent of the world's population is left handed, but in sports where Loffing's research applies these odds are slashed dramatically. For example, one in five top-flight cricket bowlers are left-handed, while a third of baseball pitchers use their left arm. If you yourself are left-handed, but don't fancy turning your hand to either of those sports, then fear not: with the aid of some statistics and a splash of imagination, we've come up with five more reasons why being left-handed is brilliant. Lefties become President What do Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton all have in common? They're all lefties of course. Coincidence? Well, maybe. The preponderance of lefties in fields that are traditionally associated with intellect, such as mathematics and politics, has led to conjecture that left-handed people are simply smarter. Theories abound as to why: some claim it's due to left-handers' superior use of the right-hand side of the brain, while others suggest lefties train themselves to think problems through from a young age as they have to find solutions in the right-hand designed world. Whatever the reasoning, lefties do seem to rise to the top. Look at the list of Nobel Prize winners and you're faced with a disproportionate amount of left-handers, while Mensa says that 20 per cent of its members are similarly orientated (that's double the amount you'd expect). Lefties spend less time queuing Seriously. Imagine facing a line of 20 supermarket checkouts. Which one do you choose? Studies show that people tend to veer towards their dominant side: right-handers go right, left-handers go left. As a result, the queues on the left are often shorter - which means lefties spend less time waiting in line. Lefties are better at learning to drive (in the UK at least) Left-handed drivers are ten per cent more likely to pass their driving test, according to the AA Driving School. A significant reason for this could be the use of the gear and clutch, which require precise motor skills. Both are positioned to the left of the driver. Lefties are better at playing video games Between men, nothing secures bragging rights more than sweet victory in the world of video games. And as it is, left-handers are yet again at an advantage, as research from the Australian National University, shows that they outperform right-handers in processing a large amount of information at a fast rate, making them more capable of coping with any flying bullets and rogue zombies. Lefties make natural catwalk models As the best models know, you have to be able to turn left as well as right to reach the top of your game. As a leftie, turning left comes as naturally to you as throwing a left hook in a fight. Not that you ever would, of course - even the most bitter rivals in the modelling world wouldn't dream of harming a colleague’s face...