Uber’s Self-Driving Head is Forcibly Sidelined Amidst Lawsuit on Stolen Tech

Anthony Levandowski is now being called “the brother from another mother” of Travis Kalanick. He has also been forced to officially step down as the head of Uber’s self-driving car division. Levandowski is the key suspect in a lawsuit filed by his former employer, Google, that claims he stole technology that Uber is now incorporating into its cars. This case could prove fatal for the ride-sharing startup. In the news of Levandowski’s sent out by e-mail, Uber confirmed that Levandowski will no longer be involved in the unit of Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group that develops the LiDAR system that is crucial for self-driving cars.

ub1-640x328 Uber’s Self-Driving Head is Forcibly Sidelined Amidst Lawsuit on Stolen Tech

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According to Levandowski in a statement, “I want to let you know that Travis and I have decided that I will be removed from all LiDAR-related work and management at Uber, through the remainder of the Waymo litigation. Going forward, please make sure not to include me in meetings or e-mail threads related to LiDAR, or ask me for advice on the topic.” Eric Meyhofer, a co-founder of Carnegie Robotics before he joined Uber, will be taking over as the head of the Advanced Technologies Group.

ub3-640x362 Uber’s Self-Driving Head is Forcibly Sidelined Amidst Lawsuit on Stolen Tech

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Because of the removal, Levandowski is currently not allowed to provide input on detailed LiDAR design choices. In the past Levandowski and Uber have tried to downplay his involvement with the LiDAR unit. A casual mention that he isn’t really part of the day-to-day activities raises suspicion that they may be intentionally downplaying his role with the LiDAR. This comes just a week before a San Francisco court is scheduled to rule on a preliminary injunction filed by Google. If the court rules in Google’s favor, Uber could be barred from further development of the disputed technology until the lawsuit is resolved.

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Technically, it’s not Google that’s suing Uber. It is actually Google’s newly created parent company Alphabet Inc. that is suing Uber over technology designs it claims Levandowski stole from its self-driving car company, Waymo. Levandowski was previously working for Waymo before he decided to start his own self-driving car company called Otto. The suit alleges that before he left, Levandowski illegally copied 14,000 files from Waymo’s servers. Otto was only an independent company for about eight months before Uber bought it. Alphabet claims that Uber’s new LiDAR designs are based on its engineers’ proprietary work.

According to Alphabet, Waymo technology was recently and inadvertently copied from one of its LiDAR component vendors. The file had attached machine drawings of what purports to be an Uber LiDAR circuit board. This circuit board bears a striking resemblance to Waymo’s own highly confidential and proprietary design and reflects Waymo trade secrets. As is clearly shown, Otto and Uber are currently building and deploying LiDAR systems obviously bearing and using Waymo’s trade secret designs. The file also shows that Otto and Uber’s LiDAR systems infringe multiple LiDAR technology patents awarded to Waymo. Given all of Uber’s troubles, this one could be the ultimate multi-billion dollar failure.

Scientist Reveals Math for Time Travel is Possible, but No Machine Yet

Since HG Wells first popularized the idea in 1885, time travel has remained a steady theme in science fiction. Popular films such as 12 Monkeys, Looper, and the Terminator film series has shown variations on the theme of time travel, leaving it as something that would remain as fiction, something unreachable even by technology. But in reality, it might be more feasible than anyone could think. A physicist has created a new mathematical model that reveals that time travel actually is possible. However, scientists have yet to discover the right materials and how to bring a time machine to reality.

tt2-640x337 Scientist Reveals Math for Time Travel is Possible, but No Machine Yet

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According to Ben Tippett, a mathematics and physics instructor at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus, “People think of time travel as something created by science fiction. And we tend to think it’s not possible because we can’t and don’t actually do it. But mathematically, it is possible.” In a recently published study, Tippett thoroughly explains that space should not be divided into three dimensions, with time separated. Instead, the four dimensions should be imagined simultaneously as a space-time continuum and that the different directions are connected. Based on Einstein’s theory, the researcher says the curvature of space-time accounts for the curved orbits of the planets.

tt3-640x366 Scientist Reveals Math for Time Travel is Possible, but No Machine Yet

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If space-time were not curved, planets and stars would move in straight lines, and this makes sense. Near any massive star, space-time geometry becomes curved, causing the straight trajectories of nearby planets to bend to follow the curvature around the star. Again according to Tippet, “The time direction of space-time surface also shows curvature. There is evidence showing the closer to a black hole we get, time moves slower. My model of a time machine uses the curved space-time to bend time into a circle for the passengers and not in a straight line. That circle takes us back in time.

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HG Wells popularized the term ‘time machine’ and he left people with the thought that an explorer would need a ‘machine or special box’ to actually accomplish time travel. While it is mathematically feasible, it is not yet possible to build a space-time machine because we need materials using exotic matter to bend space-time in these impossible ways, but they have yet to be discovered.” Actually, Tippetts’ model describes a Traversable Acausal Retrograde Domain in Space-time, or TARDIS. This is similar to the model used by the protagonist in the TV series Dr. Who.

This is a mathematical ‘bubble’ of space-time geometry, which can carry its contents backward and forward through space and time along a circular path. As it can travel at speeds faster than light, it is able to move backward in time. While it may be mathematically possible, though, the researcher says it’s unlikely anyone will be able to build a working time machine any time in this, or any foreseeable future.

 

 

Now Available: Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus

Samsung recently released the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus and the initial feedback is glowing with praises. Both models are innovative, sophisticated, and full of interesting features.   With the two flagship phones, Samsung has stirred the market and made a lot of people excited about getting their own units. Both models are described as being equipped with a revolutionary design with its immersive screen and infinity display, which features an end-to-end screen spilling over to the sides of the phone. Its concept is similar to that of an infinity pool.

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Additionally, both the S8 and S8 plus are equipped with a 10nm processor, the first of its kind in the smartphone market all over the world. This processor elevates user experience many times over. The S8 and S8 Plus are faster, and they won’t die on you because of efficient and powerful batteries.

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A new and interesting feature of both smartphones is Bixby, a virtual personal assistant that you can communicate with using only text, touch, and voice. This innovative technology offers you convenience, especially when you have a multitude of tasks. Instead of doing everything yourself, you can ask Bixby to help you out to perform some of them.

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For those who are still contemplating whether to get an S8 or S8 plus or not, here are selected features of the two smartphones.

Samsung Galaxy S8

Dimensions:  148.9×68.1x80mm; 155g

Display:  5.8” Quad + Super AMOLED, 2960×1440, 570 ppi

Camera:  Front – 8 megapixels, with an aperture of F1.7 and a wide selfie feature. Its sensor size is 1/3.6, while FOV is 80.

Meanwhile, its rear camera has the following specs:

  • 12 megapixels (Dual Pixel), an aperture of F1.7 and sensor size of ½.55”,  Optical Image Stabilization or OIS, Maximum zoom is pegged at 8x.

Video Recording:   VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), 4K Video Recording (30 fps), 8x Digital Zoom, 720p HD Video Recording at 30fps, 1080p HD Video at 30 or 60fps

Performance:   Octa-core 64-bit 10nm processor (2.3GHz Quad + 1.7GHz Quad)

Memory:    4GB RAM, expandable memory – MicroSD Slot with up to 256GB storage

Operating System:          Nougat – Android 7.0

Galaxy S8 Plus

Dimensions:  159.5×73.4×8.1mm; 173g

Display:  6.2” Quad HD + Super AMOLED, 2960×1440, 529 ppi

Camera: Front – 8 megapixels, with an aperture of F1.7 and a wide selfie feature. Its sensor size is 1/3.6, while FOV is 80.

Meanwhile, its rear camera has the following specs:

12 megapixels (Dual Pixel), A – F1.7 and Sensor Size –  ½.55”, Optical Image Stabilization or OIS,   Maximum zoom – 8x

Video Recording:   VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), 4K Video Recording (30 fps), 8x Digital Zoom, 720p HD Video Recording at 30fps, 1080p HD Video at 30 or 60fps

Performance:   Octa-core 64-bit 10nm processor (2.3GHz Quad + 1.9GHz Quad)

Memory:    64GB, expandable memory – MicroSD Slot with up to 256GB storage

Operating System:    Nougat – Android 7.0

Both the S8 and S8 Plus are offered by T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon. If you want to get the best offer for Galaxy S8, go for US Cellular as they have a 30-month plan where you can own an S8 for free. The S8 is also offered by MetroCPS.

 

 

 

Online Videos of Killings are a Real Headache for Facebook

Technology has never been so easy and accessible, especially when posting videos of live murders taking place on the internet. Recent cases of murder videos uploaded in the U.S. and Thailand has made this a tricky issue and an urgent headache problem that Facebook needs to tackle. On Monday, a 20-year-old Thai man broadcast a live video on Facebook showing him killing his baby daughter before he himself committed suicide. In the previous week, a US man dubbed the “Facebook Killer,” Steve Stephens, 37, had posted a video on Easter Sunday, saying he intended to kill.

ov1-640x347 Online Videos of Killings are a Real Headache for Facebook

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He followed up two minutes later with a video showing the fatal shooting of an elderly grandfather whom he had seemingly chosen at random in Cleveland, Ohio. In a third video 11 minutes later, streamed live from Stephens’ car, he said he intended to kill others. Stevens fatally shot himself when police cornered him after a three-day nationwide manhunt. Facebook denounced the horrific crime videos saying it had “no place” on social media. But Steven’s videos weren’t taken down by Facebook for more than two hours after they were posted. The Thai murder video remained on Facebook for close to 24 hours.

2-31-640x306 Online Videos of Killings are a Real Headache for Facebook

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Critics say the social media giant has been too slow to react and is now questioning whether Facebook Live should be completely disabled. After the Cleveland killing, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg said that they would “keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening. But, there is a lot of work to do here.”

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This is not the first time Facebook Live has been used for crime or tragic videos. Also last week, three men in Sweden were sentenced to prison for gang-raping a woman and live-streaming the attack. Young people and even children have been continually using Facebook Live to broadcast their suicides.  Some critics were quick to point out – based on unconfirmed insider talk – that Facebook will never remove Facebook Live because Twitter’s Periscope and Live.me would greatly benefit from that move. Any online platform that lets users freely publish content will face problems, but Facebook is particularly vulnerable given its huge user base, with around 1.86 billion users worldwide as of the end of December.

Facebook said it has “thousands” of people combing through the “millions” of items posted weekly in more than 40 languages, adding that it was trying to speed up the process. Artificial intelligence technology is improving but is still not good enough and would create too many “false positives.” In reality, Facebook is not legally responsible for the actions of users and that any restrictions on content require “moral judgment” on what should be permitted. Obviously, Facebook doesn’t want that role. It has been accused of censorship in the past, such as last year when it blocked the iconic 1972 image of a Vietnamese girl fleeing a napalm attack, because she was naked. Facebook later reinstated the photo, citing its historical importance.

High-tech Meat Alternatives That Could Change the Future

It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet. Everyone eats, but they also feel like they can eat better. The food we eat has a big effect on our health and quality of life.

Meat-Alternatives-image-3-640x360 High-tech Meat Alternatives That Could Change the Future

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Although eating healthy can be fairly simple, the rise in popular “diets” and dieting trends has caused confusion.

Meat-Alternatives-image-2-640x360 High-tech Meat Alternatives That Could Change the Future

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If you find it hard to diet and love meat so much that you find it so hard to resist, here’s a list of future meat alternatives that could be the solution to your problem:

Exo Protein

Most of us have been taught that eating insects is a bad thing. People tend to find the idea a bit disturbing. But you will be surprised when I say that one of the most nutritious and sustainable protein sources in the world are insects. The idea was born of an attempt by college students at Rhode Island’s Brown University, to make food products out of insects that actually taste good. With 2000 crickets, Lewis and his co-founder created a protein bar that makes insects edible.

By combining cricket flour (slow roasted milled crickets) with organic and all-natural ingredients such as raw cacao, dates, almond butter and coconut, they created a bar that is high in protein, low in sugar, incredibly nutritionally dense and packed with omega 3 fatty acids, iron and calcium. Lewis and Sewitz admitted that getting people to consider insects as a food source is a challenge but the idea of the protein bar is about to change the world.

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Impossible Foods

If you’re a burger lover then you will probably frown when you hear the world “healthy burger”. A burger without the real actual meat of the cow may not sound delicious for meat lovers. Impossible Foods wants to change that.  Their scientist spent five years to finally complete their studies from cow to bun. They identified methods and ingredients to naturally create everything exactly like the real thing. The result is the impossibly a delicious game changer of a burger. They use 0% cows and use a fraction of the Earth’s natural resources.

Compared to cows, the Impossible Burger uses 95% less land, 74% less water, and creates 87% less greenhouse gas emissions. And it’s 100% free of hormones, antibiotics and artificial ingredients. While the process is a secret, Impossible Foods says the “heme” is what makes the burger taste like meat. It is found in large quantities in animal muscle. The company says they discovered a way to extract heme from plants and ferment it using a process similar to how the Belgians make their beer. The burger is only the beginning and they already have plans for another concept.

Beyond Meat

Why do you need an animal to create meat? Why can’t you eat it directly from plants? This is the question that Beyond Meat wanted to answer. On the entire list in here, only Beyond Meat has been successful on a wide scale rollout and in offering their products in stores. They hope that their plant-based meats can allow you and your family to eat more, not less, of the traditional dishes you love but feel great about health.

“The flavors in meat are the results of a reaction of about 600 different molecules” The Beyond Meat said. “We’ve studied those molecules to identify similar molecules in the plant kingdom and combine them in the same way, so they give you that aroma and flavor”. They hope that they can bring exciting change to the plate, and beyond.

Memphis Meats

Even if you made a perfect veggie burger that tastes just like meat, it is still a veggie burger. We love meat but we don’t love the negative impact it brings on the environment. So Memphis Meats built a future where you can eat the meat you love without the downsides. What makes it more amazing is that, no animals are slaughtered in the process. They are developing real meat grown from animal cells without the need to raise and slaughter the animals. The cells are extracted from a living animal and fed a mixture of vitamins, minerals and plants.

For about two weeks, the meat is then harvested when it reaches the desired tenderness. This is much better than raising and slaughtering livestock that takes about six months to complete. “As we scale up, we are confident we will be able to produce meat at a price that is cost-competitive with, and ultimately more affordable than, conventionally produced meat.” Memphis Meats said. They also announced a chicken and duck substitute and will be grown in the same way they did with meat.  It is said to be widely available later this year.

Soylent

In 2013, 24-year-old Rob Rhineheart and co-founders Matt Cauble, John Coogan and David Rentelnb created a powered drink mix that met all of the nutritional requirements for an average adult. The team originally planned the Soylent to be a nutrition drink like any other but changed directions and is now actively promoting the “Development of a world where access to affordable, complete nutrition is no longer a challenge.”

Soylent Drink is a ready-to-drink meal in a bottle that provides 20% of your daily nutritional requirements at the twist of a cap. Each Soylent product contains a complete blend of protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and micronutrients. According to them, with the Soylent Drink, you can get a balanced meal at a lesser time than it takes to boil or microwave a burrito. They said that life is busy enough but they can make things a little less complicated.

Clara Foods

Clara Foods is a Bay area venture capital-backed company working towards a disruptive advance in food technology. The company joins a new generation of entrepreneurs, activists and scientists who recognize that the decades-old factory farm model cannot sustain the dietary needs of 7 billion people and counting.

To that end, Clara Foods is working towards a completely animal-free egg white substitute. As much as the growing market demands for egg production exert pressure on hatcheries to improve their efficiencies and outputs, there is also growing public distaste for the environmental, animal welfare, and health compromises of industrial-scale egg production. Clara Foods aims to subvert this moral and economic deadlock by taking the chicken out of the equation. They are bringing an egg white to the table that is produced completely animal-free, uses less land and water inputs, while matching the taste, nutritional value, and unique culinary properties of hen-borne egg whites. There is no immediate release yet for the market-ready product. The company is hiring for several positions and recently completed $1.75 million seed funding.