Elon Musk says The Boring Company could build a second BART Transbay tube for a fraction of the cost

Elon Musk says The Boring Company could build a second BART Transbay tube for a fraction of the cost

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says he could build the Bay Area a second BART tunnel connecting the East Bay and San Francisco in a fifth of the time and for a 10th of the cost of current projects. Local regulators and Bay Area commuters have long coveted a second Transbay tunnel to unclog some of the region’s congestion. Musk tweeted this week that The Boring Co., a side company he operates in addition to Palo Alto-based carmaker Tesla, Inc. and his space exploration company SpaceX, could get the tunnel done faster and far more cheaply than the figures he’s seen quoted so far.

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From ‘JStock Android – Stock Market’ – http://goo.gl/05dQ2T

Praying Mantis have a form of 3D vision useful for Computer Vision AI algorithms


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Scientists have gained new insight into the way praying mantises see the world, and this knowledge could potentially open up new avenues for computer vision.

Unlike other insects, praying mantises have a pair of large, forward-facing eyes. Humans and other primates use this kind of stereo sight setup to compare two slightly different viewpoints in order to gauge depth. However, it seems that praying mantises see things differently than we do.

Using beeswax as an adhesive, a team led by Vivek Nityananda at the University of Newcastle affixed lenses to praying mantises’ faces, being careful not to cause injury. One lens was green and the other was blue, a setup that allowed the scientists to control what each eye could see.

The scientists then projected films onto a screen in front of the insects. The first film featured a moving dot, which the mantises attacked, demonstrating that they could perceive depth if an object moved. Then, the dot was manipulated to move in two different directions, a disparity that would prevent human eyes from comprehending the image, but the mantises still attacked it.

This suggests that mantises have a previously unknown type of vision. It relies on targets moving around, but those movements don’t necessarily have to match between one eye and the other. It’s based on motion over time, rather than a direct comparison.

Being insects, mantises have fewer than a million neurons, far fewer than the 85 billion possessed by humans. However, thanks to this unique form of vision they use, they can still see in three dimensions, just like we can.

The researchers noted in a press release that their discovery could lead to the development of an algorithm based on mantis vision. Small robots, such as those used to respond to disasters, could use this algorithm to assess their surroundings without the need for a sophisticated “brain.”

China Police use AI Facial Recognition Glasses to Catch Criminals


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You’ve probably heard of Transitions lenses that can adapt to changing light conditions. Now, get ready for facial recognition lenses.

Police officers in Zhengzhou, China have been spotted wearing sunglasses equipped with facial recognition software that allows them to identify individuals in a crowd. These surveillance sunglasses were actually rolled out last year, but a recent report from China’s QQ published a series of photos of the glasses in action.

China has consistently been ahead of the curve in terms of utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) for surveillance. The country’s CCTV system tracked down a BBC reporter in just seven minutes during a demonstration in 2017. But this new technology, developed by LLVision, takes China’s surveillance efforts to a whole new level. Not just in theory, either — reports from the official People’s Daily newspaper seem to indicate that it’s improving police work.

Surveillance That Actually Works
With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, it’s a busy time of year for the country’s many airports, railway stations, and public transportation hubs. Chinese state media has reported that police wearing the specs at the East Railway Station in Zhengzhou have already spotted seven people wanted in connection with major criminal cases and have caught more than 25 people who were using someone else’s identity.

Not only do the surveillance glasses actually work, but they also work better — and faster — than traditional CCTV setups. Security footage is notoriously grainy, and even if cameras are being monitored in real-time, the lag between spotting someone who might be a person of interest and calling authorities can be enough time for that person to make a clean getaway.

The sunglasses are connected to a handheld device that uses facial recognition software to compare who the wearer sees against a pre-loaded database packed with photos of 10,000 suspects. And it does so in just one tenth of a second.

Image Credit: Creative CommonsImage Credit: Creative Commons.
“By making wearable glasses, with AI [artificial intelligence] on the front end, you get instant and accurate feedback,” LLVision Chief Executive Wu Fei told the Wall Street Journal. “You can decide right away what the next interaction is going to be.” However, Wu did add that the accuracy isn’t perfect. Environmental “noise” in a crowded terminal, for instance, could skew the results.

Skewed results aren’t the only concern that comes with giving law enforcement wearable surveillance: many have also pointed out that the devices could lend themselves to racial profiling, and even more broadly, have the potential to infringe on citizens’ privacy.

As William Nee, a China researcher at Amnesty International, said to the Wall Street Journal: “The potential to give individual police officers facial-recognition technology in sunglasses could eventually make China’s surveillance state all the more ubiquitous.”

Eventually? Given that Chinese law enforcement is already using technology that’s uncomfortably reminiscent of Mission Impossible, it seems like that ubiquity has already arrived.

Elon Musk shares the epic last photo of ‘Starman’ in the red Tesla he shot into space

Elon Musk shares the epic last photo of ‘Starman’ in the red Tesla he shot into space

For as long as a connection was available, SpaceX took pictures of the car and mannequin driver as it floated through space.

video embeds and photos in the article are definitely worth checking out. Especially the animation!

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From ‘JStock Android – Stock Market’ – http://goo.gl/05dQ2T

Elon Musk marvels at Falcon Heavy success and focuses on bigger spaceship – GeekWire


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Trending: Time for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to fly: Watch live video of the final countdown
Space & Science
Elon Musk marvels at Falcon Heavy’s triumph and looks ahead to a bigger rocket
BY ALAN BOYLE on February 6, 2018 at 8:34 pm
Elon Musk
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk meets the press at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, says that even he was surprised by how successful the first flight of his company’s Falcon Heavy rocket turned out to be, and that it boosted his confidence about building an even bigger rocket ship that could someday send settlers to Mars.

“It’s surreal to me,” Musk admitted tonight during a post-launch news conference at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which provided the base of operations for today’s test flight.

Musk said half-jokingly that he had visions of a catastrophic failure. “I had this image of a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road and a Tesla logo landing somewhere,” he told reporters. “But fortunately, that’s not what happened.”

Instead, SpaceX provided the first demonstration of what is now the world’s most powerful rocket in operation, and created a viral sensation by sending a Tesla Roadster sports car into a long, looping orbit that will go out beyond the orbit of Mars, with the driver’s seat occupied by a “Starman” mannequin wearing a standard-issue SpaceX spacesuit.

“It taught me, like, crazy things can come true,” Musk said.

On a more serious note, Musk was gratified by the performance of the Falcon Heavy’s triple-barreled booster, created by joining together a modified Falcon 9 rocket core with two previously used cores. The two flight-tested cores made synchronized landings after separating from the center core, and the center core narrowly missed executing an at-sea landing.

“I can imagine large numbers of those, just coming in and landing, taking off, landing, doing many flights per day,” he said. “I think it gives me a lot of faith for our next architecture, our interplanetary spaceship.”

That spaceship, known as the BFR (which could stand for “Big Falcon Rocket” or “Big F**king Rocket”), could start going into short-hop flight tests next year, Musk said. Those hops could take place at a space complex that NASA is building near Brownsville, Texas. “We’ve got a lot of land with nobody around, so if it blows up, it’s cool,” Musk said.

Within three or four years, the BFR spaceship could start making trips in low Earth orbit, and within a decade or so, it just might offer regular passenger service to Mars.

It sometimes sounded as if Musk was already shifting his focus from the Falcon Heavy to the BFR.

“Falcon Heavy opens up a new class of payload. It can launch more than twice as much payload as any other rocket in the world, so it’s kind of up to customers what they might want to launch,” he said. “It can launch things direct to Pluto and beyond. … It can launch giant satellites, it can do anything you want. You could send people back to the moon if you did a bunch of launches of Falcon Heavy and did orbital refilling.”

He noted that putting two or three Falcon Heavy missions together would equal the capability of the Apollo era’s Saturn V rocket, which still holds the record for the most powerful rocket ever built.

“But I wouldn’t recommend doing that, because I think the new architecture, the BFR architecture, is the way to go,” he said.

The success of Falcon Heavy and the rise of the BFR could spark more innovation elsewhere in the space industry, Musk said.

“I think it’s going to encourage other countries and companies to raise their sights and say, ‘Hey, we can do bigger and better,’” he said. “Which is great. We want a new space race. Races are exciting.”

Here’s what Musk had to say on other topics:

He waxed rhapsodic about the Starman experiment: “It’s kind of silly and fun, but I think silly and fun things are important. … It’s still trippin’ me out.” One journalist asked Musk whether the BFR could open the way for missions as crazy and as awesome as the Starman in the Roadster. “No idea,” Musk answered. “Suggestions are welcome.”
Musk estimated that SpaceX has spent more than $500 million on development of the Falcon Heavy. “We tried to cancel the Falcon Heavy program three times at SpaceX, because it was like, ‘Man, this is way harder than we thought,” he said.
SpaceX is working on ways to recover the fairing, or nose cone, from its Falcon 9 rockets, which could save millions of dollars per launch. “My guess is, the next six months, we figure out fairing recovery,” Musk said. “We’ve got a special boat to catch the fairing…. It’s like a giant catcher’s mitt in boat form.” The technology might also be adapted for capturing SpaceX’s Dragon capsules. “If NASA wants us to, we could play ‘Catch the Dragon,’” Musk said.
SpaceX is “making great progress” on upgrading the Dragon to carry crew to and from the International Space Station. Now that Falcon Heavy has gotten off the ground, “it’s all hands on deck for Crew Dragon. and we’re aspiring to fly crew to orbit at the end of this year,” Musk said.
Love space and science? Sign up for our GeekWire Space & Science email newsletter for top headlines from Alan Boyle, GeekWire’s aerospace and science editor.

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