Saturday, August 01, 2015

Things I learned lately - 2 Aug

  • Bandar Mahshahr, Iran, soared to a staggering 'feels like' heat index of 72.7 degrees Celcius (163F) on 31 July. While the temperature was only 46C (115F), the dew point was an unfathomable 32C (90F).
  • Tesla's evolving autopilot technology is getting a key update soon. Right now, autopilot-equipped models can detect vehicles and obstacles ahead, read speed limit signs, and detect pedestrians. There's also 360-degree ultrasonic sonar, which monitors the electric car's periphery, and allows it to make its own lane changes when you hit the turn signal. The technology has evolved. On July 31st, Elon Musk made good on a promise for a highway auto steer and parallel auto park software update. That auto steer feature will let drivers travel distances on highways without touching any controls at all. There's at least one more wrinkle to sort out first. It's dealing with low contrast lane markings while driving into the sun at dusk. Other cars with lane-keeping technology have the same problem. In its current state, Tesla's autopilot may not be quite as advanced as Mercedes Benz's Intelligent Drive, which can navigate equipped models through stop-and-go traffic. But it continues to evolve and updates pushed out to existing cars.
  • In 4 years since the Japanese nuclear disaster in Fukushima, while the world's nuclear industry has stagnated, China added 10 new nuclear power plants.
  • An article in Alberta Oil magazine refers to the Tesla electric car as the most dangerous car ever made in terms of its effect on the oil industry. That's because it's the first electric 'object of desire'. Tesla is a real business model disruptor, threatening car dealership networks with its direct sales model and a predicted major drop in oil consumption as more of these types of cars hit the road.
  • Facebook is building solar powered electric flying wings, that will fly at 60,000 feet and beam internet via laser light to other similar planes, which will be offering high speed internet via RF to remote regions. The planes will fly for 90 days without landing.
  • The two fonts recommended for using in email are Georgia and Verdana. The two fonts not recommended are Helvetica and Arial.
  • Canon is releasing a new $30,000 camera with a 4,000,000 ISO capability.
  • Haus Falkenstein in Lougheed, Alberta, has 67 varieties of Schnitzel.
  • For the launch of Windows 95, Microsoft hired actors Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston to record an hour-long video explaining how to use the new operating system.
  • 61.4% of iPhone users have no idea that they can replace the phone's battery. Many 3rd party services offer this service, but even Apple stores can do it.
  • My Canary is an app that tests whether you are too stoned to drive. 
  • A child's ticket to Disneyland cost $0.35 in 1956. Today it costs $93 (ages 3 to 10).

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