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In a race between a self-driving car and a pro race-car driver, who wins?

November 1, 2012 A self-driving car and a seasoned race-car driver each speed around Northern California's three-mile Thunderhill Raceway loop. Which car will get the fastest time? Before you place your bets, a little setup: Send a pro out on a racetrack, and the driver will automatically find what is mathematically the quickest...

Is there life beyond Earth? 'I think absolutely,' says NASA JPL Director

October 31, 2012 Charles Elachi, Director of the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab at Caltech, doesn't hesitate when he's asked about life beyond earth. "Personally, I think absolutely," he said today at The Atlantic's Big Science Summit in San Jose, California. "We have the same laws of chemistry, physics. If there are any locations...

The automation of our skies: How computers could resolve flight delays

October 31, 2012 Three-quarters of flight delays are due to weather. While we can't convince SFO's fog to burn off according to our schedules, there most certainly is a better way to plan around it. At The Atlantic's Big Science Summit in San Jose, California, Parimal Kopardekar, the principal investigator at NASA's NextGen...

The password fallacy: Why our security system is broken, and how to fix it

September 11, 2012 For the few that haven't yet spotted technology journalist Mat Honan's story about his unfortunate hacking, here's the capsule version: What started as an attempt at his Twitter feed via an Amazon account security hole quickly escalated into several wiped devices, a gutted Gmail account, and devastating data loss, both...

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