Google’s Self Driving Cars May Become ‘Too Safe’ for Urban Areas

Google has worked on improving the safety features of their self-driving cars for some time now. Despite that, the cars have seen their fair share of accidents, all of which the company claims it was not the fault of their cars.

Some accidents involved other cars hitting the rear of the self-driving vehicles, others hitting them sideways and there is word of a case where a self-driving car was hit by a driver who went through a red light. This means that Google has successfully achieved their goal of providing state of the art algorithms that are more attentive than a human. However, other consequences may arise from these ultra-safe rules.

Google and other manufacturers that activate in the autonomous vehicles market have managed to prove that self-driving cars are a lot safer than humans. But sometimes, a human’s recklessness may prove to come in handy in urban environments. For example, in crowded areas, a self-driving car’s algorithm may keep the car from ‘pushing forward’ as people continuously walk in front of it.

In the above situations, a human would get tired of waiting at some point and push forward. This does not mean that he will hit other people, rather than he knows that people would jump out-of-the-way and stop. Also, if a pedestrian is not looking and still heading in front of the car, a human can quickly react and stop the vehicle to prevent the accident.

This is just one of many situations a computer is not capable of understanding and coping with, marking it as the last milestone between the extremely safe and ‘shy’ cars that are just entering the market and the fully fledged autonomous vehicles we see in sci-fi movies. So having said all of the above, would you troll a self-driving vehicle on the streets?

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information

The Wolf of Wall Street Was the Most Pirated Movie of 2014

‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Yes, the Leonardo DiCaprio biopic was the most illegally downloaded movie with 30.035 million downloads. Still, the Oscar-nominated movie grossed $392 million despite all of those downloads.

Although the highest, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ was certainly not exceptional –  the close second, Disney’s ‘Frozen’, was downloaded a massive 29.919 million times. The equally close third – the 2014 remake of ‘Robocop’, was downloaded 29.879 million times last year.

What’s most interesting about this list, is how it compares to previous years. ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ was the most downaloded movie of 2013 with just 8.72 million downloads, suggesting that movie piracy is definitely on the increase. See the full list bellow.

  1. The Wolf of Wall Street: 30.035 million (Paramount, Dec. 25, 2013)
  2. Frozen: 29.919 million (Disney, Nov. 27, 2013)
  3. RoboCop*: 29.879 million (MGM, Feb. 12, 2014; and Orion, July 17, 1987)
  4. Gravity: 29.357 million (Warner Bros., Oct. 4, 2013)
  5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: 27.627 million (Warner Bros., Dec. 13, 2013)
  6. Thor: The Dark World: 25.749 million (Disney/Marvel, Nov. 8, 2013)
  7. Captain America: The Winter Soldier: 25.628 million (Disney/Marvel, April 4, 2014)
  8. The Legend of Hercules: 25.137 million (Summit, Jan. 10, 2014)
  9. X-Men: Days of Future Past: 24.380 million (20th Century Fox, May 23, 2014)
  10. 12 Years a Slave: 23.653 million (Fox Searchlight, Oct. 18, 2013)
  11. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: 23.543 million (Lionsgate, Nov. 22, 2013)
  12. American Hustle: 23.143 million (Sony/Columbia, Dec. 13, 2013)
  13. 300: Rise of an Empire: 23.096 million (Warner Bros., March 7, 2014)
  14. Transformers: Age of Extinction: 21.65 million (Paramount, June 27, 2014)
  15. Godzilla: 20.956 million (Warner Bros., May 16, 2014)
  16. Noah: 20.334 million (Paramount, March 28, 2014)
  17. Divergent: 20.312 million (Lionsgate, March 21, 2014)
  18. Edge of Tomorrow: 20.299 million (Warner Bros., June 6, 2014)
  19. Captain Phillips: 19.817 million (Sony/Columbia, Oct. 11, 2013)
  20. Lone Survivor: 19.130 million (Universal, Dec. 25, 2013)

Source: The Verge

Google Street Car Crashes Going Backwards on One-Way Street

The Google Street View Car has been involved in an accident after it was travelling the wrong way down a one-way street, which is kind of ironic given that this car is supposed to be helping others to navigate roads, when its drivers seem at a loss for how to drive themselves.

the Google car suffered significant damage to its front end and the other car was totalled. The Google car, a 2010 Subaru Legacy was being driven by 28yr old Alexander Spurr, who said he attempted a U-turn, but accidentally came out onto an adjacent road. At this point they struck the side of the other vehicle, with the victims car also suggesting to local police that the Google Car must have run a red light for the collision to happen.

Police estimated that around $1500 in damages was done to the Google Car, while around $2000 in damages was done to the Mazda they hit.

The driver of the Mazda, a 22 year old construction worker received treatment at a local hospital for bruised ribs and whiplash after a catscan and X-Ray and I fully suspect he’ll be taking Google for everything he can.

Thank you TheSmokingGun for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of TheSmokingGun.

Bad Hotel Reviews Attract $500 Fee

Have you ever posted a negative review of service on Yelp or other public review sites? If your host had their function at Union Street Guest House, you might be doing them a great disservice.

Located in Hudson NY, this guest house has been said to charge $500 USD for negative reviews left on their website – the money for which comes out of the wedding couples deposit.

“Please know that despite the fact that wedding couples love Hudson and our inn, your friends and families may not,” reads an online policy. “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.” Page Six

Not only will they keep the $500 if the couple themselves leave a negative review, but if any of the guests do so you’re also in trouble. If the review is deleted, your deposit is fully refunded.

Since this information has come to light, people are quite outraged and many have started leaving negative reviews on the companies Yelp page, with one politely stating:

Just want to keep flushing down their ratings in toilet.

Booooooooooo” Valenz L. on Yelp

Unfortunately, we have been unable to find any official statement from the guest house regarding this issue.

Have you been a victim to a similar story? Let us know.

Image courtesy of Union Street Guest House

New Graffiti Artwork Uses GIFs as Modern Street Art

Pedestrians walking down the streets of London have been greeted with some amazing and funny works of art. This is the making of Guus ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier, who apparently used a picture frame around an iPad to display some of their GIF artworks, taping the device in various places for people to enjoy and be amazed.

The colorful, lively and funny GIFs have been an eye-catcher for people walking down the streets, having them stop, take notice and even take some pictures of what the two artists displayed. It is said that after the GIFs got some attention, ter Beek and Sarier would then remove the iPad and place it in another location, recording people’s reactions as they walked past or stopped to admire them.

[vimeo]https://vimeo.com/101718999[/vimeo]

The two are said to be working in advertising, but also enjoy creating art projects on the side. They are said to be constantly showing each other GIFs, which is how the two came up with the project to “integrate the world of GIFs with our favorite hangouts.” The GIFs have also been chosen to ‘reflect their surroundings’, having an infinite hamburgers GIF for example placed in an area where food franchises are present.

However, ter Beek and Sarier are not the first to get creative with GIFs. The Photographer’s Galley in London and the Museum of the Moving Image in New York City are also housing similar forms art.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information
Images and video courtesy of Mashable

Facebook Facial Recognition Software Proven to be More Accurate than FBI Counterpart

There has been a lot of debating when it comes to facial recognition, having the FBI scare people off with its Next Generation Identification project and its intention to gather millions of photos in a federal database.

However, the FBI’s system has been proven to be inaccurate despite the EFF’s concern regarding people’s privacy and pointing out the fact that innocent people might end up in the ‘pool’ of photos. It is said that the NGI returns a ranked list of 50 possibilities, giving only a 85 percent chance of returning the suspect’s name in the list. This means that one in several suspects might slip away from the analysis and nobody can do anything about it.

Comparing the FBI’s project to Facebook’s DeepFace system revealed at the IEEE Computer Vision conference could make the law enforcement agency look like little kids playing with toy blocks. It is said that DeepFace can return a match in two pictures with a 97 percent accuracy, similar to having a human witnessing a suspect. Nonetheless, both the social media giant and the authorities are still far away from true facial-recognition capabilities.

Shahar Belkin, CTO of FST Biometrics, describes that for a facial recognition software to work, it currently needs a person to stare into a camera at an offset of 15 degrees at most off the center axis. Even so, the actual camera or photograph needs to present a high density of pixels and resolution, namely to be a high-quality picture. This is why Belkin states that we are still far away from actual face-recognition software that works. Street cameras and even surveillance cameras are not made for facial-recognition technology due to their poor image quality and angle.

This does not mean that your privacy is secure though. Facebook may win in facial recognition, but it does however present an opportunity which the FBI could take advantage of. While the law enforcement agency cannot provide a fully working facial recognition system just yet, it can still drag the social media giant into court orders to gain access to its database. It is just a matter of time until a fully working facial recognition system will emerge.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of The Verge

What’s Going on Around the World? View it Via Drone!

Drones are becoming somewhat of a phenomenon worldwide. Whether it be Amazon’s delivery drone for late night purchases or even a champagne and chocolate distributor drone, there’s no denying drones are going to be something we see much more in the future.

Based out of Switzerland, TravelByDrone is designed by local developer Jan Hiersemenzel. Following it’s launch in April this website is designed to help give us a panoramic birds eye view of our planet through the eyes of various drones. Unfortunately this isn’t a live feed of ‘Big Brother’ style footage but a compilation of numerous YouTube video’s showing off local beauty, nature, attractions and surroundings. Jan Hiersemenzel has been involved in many various drone projects through his development career and seems to hold this website with the purest intentions, stating:

“The video needs to be taken by a drone (not of a drone), be of good quality and clearly show the area in which the drone flies,” reads the site’s guidelines. “A video will not be accepted if it is taken indoors, is from a military drone or is of promotional nature (promoting a product or has a political, religious or other personal message).” TechCrunch

Drone footage in each region is clearly marked out by blue pins with current footage (shot in the recent months) is marked as a vibrant orange. What drives Hiersemenzel’s inspiration for such a project? When asked he replied:

“I remember when Street View came out. I was obsessed and so were my friends. I would look all over the world and travel to new places. I thought, okay, we can do that, but now with drones”

Drone footage can be submitted simply by clicking the ‘add video’ button (contained at top right), bearing in mind that Hiersemenzel and his team of four have to check over the 100-200 submissions daily to verify their integrity, accuracy, quality and intent given the above guidelines. There are some awe-inspiring and beautiful submissions already included on TravelByDrone. We’ll leave you with a screenshot and link to a drone almost flying into an active, and erupting volcano. Images courtesy of TravelByDrone and YouTube.