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Month: May 2024

Behemoth Tornado in Iowa

Behemoth Tornado in Iowa

There were some pretty big storms near Greenfield Iowa and these guys got some amazing footage of an absolute monster of a tornado. This thing had multiple rotating vortices, took out multiple wind turbines, and you can see just how far it sucks air around it in the drone shots.

Here’s a video from the guys in the car chasing it

Generating a music video from a text prompt

Generating a music video from a text prompt

Sora is an artificial intelligence video generator that is capable of producing multi-shot clips of a minute or longer from nothing more than a text prompt — but so far only a select few have used it to create content. OpenAI is working on security issues and slowly rolling it out this year.

One of the artists given early access to Sora is August Kamp, a musician, researcher and creative activist. She described Sora as representing a “turning point” for artists as it means the only limitation on visuals is the human imagination. 

“Taking these pictures that I’ve held onto [in my mind] for two years and saying ‘August – we can share these with folks’. that’s what I think is special about this tool,” she said.

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More information about the software defined car

More information about the software defined car

Modern vehicles are marvels of electronics. Many contain over 200 controllers in domains from infotainment to ride management to engine control. But the software behind our driving experiences has been treated largely as afterthoughts.

Audi is trying a new approach in the Q6 e-tron SUV’s. It allows over-the-air upgrading of the software to all those different domains and controllers.

This involves a new way of working with component suppliers, dealing with regulations that differ country-to-country, and how to get cars certified in all these geos.

The article is a good quick read on the current state of affairs.

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Securing your car with the Konami Code

Securing your car with the Konami Code

Car thieves are nothing if not persistent. Locks can be picked or ripped out. Wireless key fobs have become vulnerable to a number of new attacks.

Univerisity of Michigan students came up with a new method. Instead of relying on wireless fobs and locks, they connect a security monitoring device between the battery and electrical system. It watch for users to make a series of voltage changes on the electrical system before the car can start.

What voltage changes? They might perform some combination of flicking the windshield wipers, turn signal or headlights on and off, or locking and unlocking the doors.

Battery Sleuth’s default mode allows the battery to deliver enough current to power systems like electronics and lights, but not enough to power the vehicle’s starter. Only when it detects the pre-set series of voltage fluctuations in the vehicle’s electrical system does it turn up the juice, allowing the battery’s full power through to the starter.

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Kangaroos 1, Volvo 0

Kangaroos 1, Volvo 0

In 2015, David Pickett, Volvo Australia’s technical lead, was a part of the team that tried to develop the world’s first kangaroo detection and avoidance system by a major car manufacturer.

Volvo’s team spent the next two years searching for a way to make Volvo’s cars brake for kangaroos before the company admitted to the media in 2017 that its self-driving cars couldn’t account for marsupials

Volvo’s camera and radar system were no match for the marsupials. Wallabies proved to be equally challenging.

They look entirely different in full flight than when resting, and they’re fast. They jump in unpredictable ways, maneuvering mid-air to confuse and outrun predators.

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Dean’s Scene Home Brewery

Dean’s Scene Home Brewery

I recently found out about an old-Portland speakeasy. Dean opened up his basement in NE Freemont for people to come hang out and drink. He made some beers, ‘gave’ them away for a $20 door donation, and never bothered to get a liquor license or card people. People would come hang out in his basement and have some beers.

He got shut down in 2014 by the OLCC and it appears he died just a few years later, but not before he had tons of people swing by. He didn’t bother to card and it was apparently quite the little hangout.

It appears it was purchased and re-opened in 2018 after being under uncertain ownership.

Read about more legitimate undeground bars here.

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The Giant Gundam in Yokohama says Goodbye

The Giant Gundam in Yokohama says Goodbye

Bandai has decided to send it’s giant Gundam out in style. I got to see 2 different iterations of the Gundam one my trips to Japan – and the mini-shows were really great.

The 18 meter tall, life-sized replica of the classic RX-78-2 Gundam—the original main mobile suit of the 1979 anime—originally opened to the public at the Yokohama Gundam Base in Tokyo Bay in December 2020.

Bandai sent the Gundam out in style last night with one final exhibition, which featured luminaries from across the franchise’s history—including a few words from Gundam creator Yoshiyuki Tomino

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Cool stuff during the 2024 Eclipse

Cool stuff during the 2024 Eclipse

Purdue/Indy 500 eclipse watching party

Purdue co-sponsored an eclipse watching party at the Indianapolis 500 motor speedway. There were science events, NASA gave several presentations, an Indy car racer did some demo laps, and astronauts were on hand to sign autographs. There’s some good pictures on the recap website.

Shatner comes to Indiana

William Shatner went to Indiana University for an eclipse event. He was joined by performers from IU’s musical theatre and dance programs, as well as an appearance by retired NASA astronaut Mae Jemison and a concert by Janelle Monáe. He’ll be performing a spoken word piece as part of the celebration’s program, with his last words ending just as totality is beginning.

NASA chases the eclipse

NASA sent two of their NASA Martin/General Dynamics WB-57F planes N926NA and N927NA to chase the eclipse at 50,000ft. You could track them on adsbexchange.

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A sad metric to be at the top of

A sad metric to be at the top of

Oregon used to be #1 in this category. Now it looks as if Vermont (75%), New Hampshire (66%) and Maine (66%) are now the top share of adults who say they never or seldom attend church or religious services.

Ironically, half of people believe that’s a bad thing but only 30% of Protestants, 28% of Muslims, 23% of Catholics, and 16% of Jews report they attend services weekly.

There’s a ton of data in the Pew research link. Worth taking a look.

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