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DARPA taps Intel to create simulation software for off-road autonomous vehicles


DARPA's RACER program has been developing off-road autonomous combat vehicles that can travel as fast as crewed systems. The agency has now selected Intel to develop a simulation platform for these off-road AVs. The aim of the project, known as RACER-Sim, is to create computer models that mimic the type of rugged, unstructured terrain that these vehicles commonly encounter. Intel Labs will work with the Computer Vision Center in Barcelona and the University of Texas at Austin to craft these simulation tools. "We brought together a team of renowned experts from the Computer Vision Center and UT Austin with the goal of creating a versatile and open platform to accelerate progress in off-road ground robots for all types of environments and conditions," said Intel's Autonomous Agents Lab director German Ros in a statement.

YouTuber deliberately crashed his own plane for views, US aviation agency says

The Guardian

The US Federal Aviation Administration has revoked a YouTuber's pilot license after it concluded that he intentionally crashed his plane for the sake of gaining online views. On 24 November 2021, Trevor Jacob was flying over California's Los Padres national forest in his small turboprop plane when his propeller stopped working. "I'm over the mountains and I … have an engine out," Jacob said into his camera while sitting in the cockpit. He then proceeded to jump out of the plane, filming himself using a selfie stick before landing with his parachute into an open field. Jacob filmed the whole incident and uploaded it to YouTube in a video titled I Crashed My Plane.

Artificial intelligence helps grow algae for producing clean biofuel


Algae has such immense potential as a biofuel source that scientists have long been studying it for sustainable energy. They even created 3D printed artificial leaves out of algae to produce oxygen for our investigations of Mars. Now, scientists from Texas A&M AgriLife Research are using artificial intelligence to break a new world record for producing algae as a reliable biofuel source, so that a greener and more economical fuel source for jet aircraft and other kinds of transportation could be achieved. The research project is conducted by Joshua Yuan, PhD., and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy Fossil Energy Office. One of the major problems with algaes' prominence was their growth limitations due to mutual shading and the high cost of harvest.

Artificial Intelligence Predicts Sustainable Biofuels from Algal


Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife are using artificial intelligence (AI) to set a new world record for creating algae as a dependable, economic source for biofuel that can be employed as an alternative fuel source for jet aircraft and other transportation requirements. Joshua Yuan, Ph.D., AgriLife Research scientist, professor and chair of Synthetic Biology and Renewable Products in the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, is directing the study. The team's findings have been reported in the January issue of Nature Communications. Ongoing research is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy Fossil Energy Office. The study is also being financially supported by a gift from Dr. John '90 and Sally '92 Hood, who recently met with Yuan to talk about his biofuels research program.

Rep. Jackson stands by calls for Biden cognitive test amid Russia-Ukraine crisis, says president 'not fit'

FOX News

The'Outnumbered' panel reacts to cyberattacks targeting Ukrainian websites as the U.S. warns of an imminent Russian attack. Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, is standing by his calls for President Biden, 79, to take a cognitive test, saying that Biden is "not fit to be our president right now" amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis. "The whole country is seeing his mental cognitive issues on display for over a year now, and there's really no question in most people's minds that there's something going on with him, that he's not cognitively the same as he used to be and, in my mind, not fit to be our president right now," Jackson told Fox News Digital in a phone interview. REPUBLICANS URGE BIDEN TO TAKE COGNITIVE TEST, SAY HIS'MENTAL DECLINE' HAS'BECOME MORE APPARENT' Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician who was elected on Nov. 3, 2020, to be the next congressman from Texas' 13th Congressional District. "Every time he gets up and talks to the American people, it's not just the American people that are watching him speak, it's the whole world, and that's part of what the problem is here," Jackson also said.

Texas sues Meta, saying it misused facial recognition data

NPR Technology

FILE photo - Texas sued Meta on Monday over misuse of biometric data, the latest round of litigation between governments and the company over privacy. FILE photo - Texas sued Meta on Monday over misuse of biometric data, the latest round of litigation between governments and the company over privacy. Texas sued Facebook parent company Meta for exploiting the biometric data of millions of people in the state - including those who used the platform and those who did not. The company, according to a suit filed by state Attorney General Ken Paxton, violated state privacy laws and should be responsible for billions of dollars in damages. The suit involves Facebook's "tag suggestions" feature, which the company ended last year, that used facial recognition to encourage users to link the photo to a friend's profile.

SpaceX successfully assembles a full 400ft Starship rocket using a trio of giant robot arms

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The massive 400ft Starship rocket has been assembled on a launch platform by SpaceX, ahead of an announcement on the future of the heavy lift launcher tonight. Founder Elon Musk announced his plan to reveal details about the future of the massive, and fully re-usable spacecraft, starting at 21:00 ET, from Boca Chica, the home of the SpaceX Starship test facility in Texas. It will be the first update on the vehicle in almost three years, and while details haven't been revealed over what Musk will say, it will likely include details of the first orbital test launch for the next generation rocket. Starship, which will return humans to the lunar surface and could one day ferry more than 100 people a time to Mars, is set to make its first orbital flight in March. The latest development in Boca Chica saw the firm stack a two-stage Starship rocket - with the upper stage being lifted on to the Super Heavy booster using a trio of robotic arms attached to the 480ft launch tower.

Republicans urge Biden to take cognitive test, say his 'mental decline' has 'become more apparent'

FOX News

FIRST ON FOX: Nearly 40 Republican lawmakers are calling on President Biden, 79, to take a cognitive test, following the example set by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump. The Republican push for Biden to undergo cognitive testing comes as recent polls have shown Americans are unsure of the president's mental fitness for office. Former physician to the president Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, led a letter with 37 of his GOP colleagues to Biden on Tuesday expressing their "concern" with Biden's "current cognitive state." "My colleagues and I are again asking President Biden to immediately undergo a formal cognitive screening exam, such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA)," Jackson told Fox News Digital in an email. BIDEN SAYS HE HAS'NO IDEA' WHY MANY AMERICANS DOUBT HIS MENTAL FITNESS Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, is seen during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Equitable Community Resilience: The Case of Winter Storm Uri in Texas Machine Learning

Community resilience in the face of natural hazards relies on a community's potential to bounce back. A failure to integrate equity into resilience considerations results in unequal recovery and disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations, which has long been a concern in the United States. This research investigated aspects of equity related to community resilience in the aftermath of Winter Storm Uri in Texas which led to extended power outages for more than 4 million households. County level outage and recovery data was analyzed to explore potential significant links between various county attributes and their share of the outages during the recovery and restoration phases. Next, satellite imagery was used to examine data at a much higher geographical resolution focusing on census tracts in the city of Houston. The goal was to use computer vision to extract the extent of outages within census tracts and investigate their linkages to census tracts attributes. Results from various statistical procedures revealed statistically significant negative associations between counties' percentage of non-Hispanic whites and median household income with the ratio of outages. Additionally, at census tract level, variables including percentages of linguistically isolated population and public transport users exhibited positive associations with the group of census tracts that were affected by the outage as detected by computer vision analysis. Informed by these results, engineering solutions such as the applicability of grid modernization technologies, together with distributed and renewable energy resources, when controlled for the region's topographical characteristics, are proposed to enhance equitable power grid resiliency in the face of natural hazards.

Biometric surveillance: Face-first plunge into dystopia

Al Jazeera

Flying into Dallas Fort Worth International Airport from Mexico in December, I queued in the immigration line for US citizens and was taken aback when – rather than request my passport – the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent simply instructed me to look at the camera and then pronounced my first name: "Maria?" Feeling an abrupt violation of my entire bodily autonomy, I nodded – and reckoned that it was perhaps easy to lose track of the rapid dystopian devolution of the world when one had spent the past two years hanging out on a beach in Oaxaca. A CBP poster promoting the transparent infringement on privacy was affixed to the airport wall, and featured a grey-haired man smiling suavely into the camera along with the text: "Our policies on privacy couldn't be more transparent. In my case, the process was not so fast, as I had to hand over my passport for physical scrutiny after I raised the agent's suspicions by being unable to answer in any remotely coherent fashion the ...