Sunday, September 23, 2018

Using an FPGA to Navigate China’s Railroads

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If you’re headed over to mainland China as a tourist, it’s possible to get to most of the country by rail. China is huge though, about the same size as the United States and more than twice the size of the European Union. Traveling that much area isn’t particularly easy. There are over 300 train terminals in China, and finding the quickest route somewhere is not obvious at all. This is an engineering challenge waiting to be solve, and luckily some of the students at Cornell Engineering have taken a stab at efficiently navigating China’s rail system using an FPGA.

The FPGA runs an algorithm for finding the shortest route between two points, called Dijkstra’s algorithm. With so many nodes this can get cumbersome for a computer to calculate, but the parallel processing of a dedicated FPGA speeds up the process significantly. The FPGA also includes something called a “hard processor system“, or HPS. This is not a soft-core, but dedicated computing hardware in the form of an ARM Cortex-A9. Testing showed that utilizing both the HPS and the FPGA can speed up the computation by up to ten times over a microcontroller alone.

This project goes into extreme detail on the methodology and the background of the math and coding involved, and is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in FPGAs or traveling salesman-esque problems. FPGAs aren’t the only dedicated hardware you can use to solve these kinds of problems though, if you have a big enough backpack while you’re traveling around China you could also use a different kind of computer.

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Florence Leaves North Carolina Roads Covered in Stinky Dead Fish

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As Hurricane Florence’s floodwaters start to recede, the storm’s lasting damage is slowly becoming apparent. Apart from the 44 deaths and thousands of flooded homes, some of the storm’s most concerning impacts are environmental. Poisonous coal ash is flowing into rivers, and at least 50 lagoons of pig waste flooded,…

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Polestar unveils first production EV with aim to overtake Tesla

Jake Bright Contributor
Jake Bright is a writer and author in New York City. He is co-author of The Next Africa.

Polestar debuted its first production EV and previewed its electric car line in New York with the CEO squarely taking aim at Tesla.

The Volvo subsidiary pulled the cover off its Polestar 1, which it positioned less as a hybrid and more as a fully electric (gas optional) car to attract fence sitters to EVs.

The $155,000 auto—that will hit streets in 2019—has 3 electrical motors powered by twin 34kWh battery packs and a turbo and supercharged gas V4 up front (more details here).

All electric range is up to 100 miles—which the company claims gives the Polestar 1 the longest all electric range of any production hybrid.

Polestar drivetrain

The Polestar 1 brings 600 horsepower and 738 ft-lbs of torque. It is the first in a series, with an all electric Polestar 2 to debut in 2019 and a Polestar 3 SUV after that.

“Polestar 2 will be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3…” CEO Thomas Ingenlath said on the launch stage.

He told TechCrunch the company will focus more on creating converts to EVs than pulling away Tesla’s existing market share.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive officer, Polestar

One advantage Ingenlath described was using Polestar 1 as a gateway car for getting laggards to go all electric. “There are many people out there who still think a car has to have a combustion engine,” he said. “Polestar 1 is an extremely good vehicle to get people across that line and once they drive it…understand what an amazing experience an electric car is.”

Polestar converts shouldn’t get too attached to that gasoline/voltage combo, however.

Polestar 1 will be the company’s first and last electric and gas vehicle, according to Ingenlath. “The future is electric. We will not do a hybrid car again,” he told TechCrunch.

At their New York Polestar 1 debut, the company devoted about as much time to the Polestar sales and service experience as the actual car. It will be multi-channel—from app to physical—leveraging parts of Volvo’s dealer network for certain things and staying completely separate for others. For one, Polestar will not have dealers or use Volvo dealers to showcase their cars, according to Ingenlath.

The buyer experience will start on the company’s app, then move into what it refers to as a network of “Polestar Spaces” across the U.S., Europe, and China where buyers can view and test cars. Purchased cars can be delivered to one’s home and service coordinated by app and home pickup—though Polestar will use Volvo dealers (not their spaces) on the service end.

“We will become a company that produces around a 100,000 cars a year and this will definitely scale-up,” said Ingenlath. “We’ll never become a Volvo, but we certainly need a certain scale to come in to a profitable range.”

The company oversubscribed orders for the Polestar 1 with 200 cars coming to North American buyers.

While Polestar’s HQ is in Gothenburg, Sweden, it will manufacture cars at a plant in Chengdu China.

The company’s EV debut comes as Tesla’s $49,000 to $64,000 Model 3 earned the NHTSA’s top safety rating and Audi introduced it $74,800 all electric e-tron SUV (covered here at TechCrunch)

In the U.S. market Tesla still dominates plugin sales by make and model and its Model 3 is expected to boost that lead, according to EV Volumes.

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Watch and listen to the Tesla Semi accelerate

Filed under: Green,Videos,Tesla,Technology,Truck,Electric

Screen+Shot+2018-09-21+at+1.01.17+PM.png It's remarkably fast for its size.

Continue reading Watch and listen to the Tesla Semi accelerate

Watch and listen to the Tesla Semi accelerate originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Sep 2018 15:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch the woman takes bicycle speed world record behind 800 hp dragster

Filed under: Etc.,Racing

Denise+Mueller-Korenek+Project+Speed.jpg Denise Mueller-Korenek hit nearly 184 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats

Continue reading Watch the woman takes bicycle speed world record behind 800 hp dragster

Watch the woman takes bicycle speed world record behind 800 hp dragster originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 21 Sep 2018 15:49:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DOE Awards More Than $3 Million For High Performance Computing Manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy has granted almost $3.8 million for 13 industry projects in the High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Program, which operates in various national labs like LLNL, LBNL, Oak Ridge, and Sandia. The program combines DOE supercomputing capabilities and expertise with American manufacturers to improve innovation and industrial processes. Robin Miles, acting director of the HPC4 Manufacturing program, answered some questions about the projects, and Brandon Wood answered the ones related to KeraCel for CleanTechnica https://ift.tt/2Do4CNn
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

One Man’s Journey To Becoming His Own ISP

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America is a BIG country. There are pockets all across the land where broadband Internet is slow-to-nonexistent, and many individuals are left with wireless cell service as their only means of internet connection. This is the situation [Brandt Kuykendall] found himself in upon moving his family to Dillon Beach, CA. So he started up his own fiber ISP. (YouTube, embedded below.)

“Cell phone service was really our only option, but that proved to be extremely expensive. My wife came home with the bill (of) $707, and that was the last straw.”

Despite being a mere two hours from the technological hub of San Francisco [Brandt] found himself dissatisfied with the level of service he was receiving from his provider. However, instead shredding his current contract altogether he decided to go directly to the source. He tracked down the location of the AT&T cell tower in his area and made every call he could in order to find out who was in charge of “opening up the taps”. Months of negotiation between AT&T and [Brandt] ensued and eventually resulted in a fiber line being installed directly into his garage.

The story didn’t stop there, because [Brandt] took it upon himself to spread the wealth by providing his neighbors with Wi-Fi access to the fiber optic line in exchange for a small monthly fee. Employing the use of industrial-grade small cell transmitters he essentially created a point-to-point network along his neighbors’ roofs. [Brandt’s] garage serves as the network monitoring hub enabling him to diagnose any traffic issues. What began as one man seeking decent internet speeds burgeoned into a journey to becoming his own ISP which now serves over 100 other residents of the Dillon Beach area.

[Via CBS San Francisco]

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Bose Sleepbuds review: Helpful, but needs improvement

Edit_04DSC06861-1.jpgBose, which is well-known for its quality (and pricey) audio equipment, went an interesting route with its latest piece of hardware. Two years ago, the company took to Indiegogo to gauge interest in a pair of noise-masking sleep earbuds. Essentially,... https://ift.tt/2xzKh1y
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iOS 12 Installed on 10% of Devices 48 Hours After Launch

Apple's newest operating system, iOS 12, is installed on just over 10 percent of devices 48 hours after it launched according to data collected by analytics company Mixpanel. The data suggests customers are adopting iOS 12 at a slower rate than iOS 11 and iOS 10.

Last year, iOS 11 was installed on 10 percent of devices just 24 hours after launching, and in 2016, iOS 10 was installed on 14.45 percent of devices within 24 hours.


Customers may be reluctant to adopt a new operating system after all of the bugs and issues that were seen with iOS 11 software updates, but Apple made an effort to focus on the underlying code of iOS 12 and thus far, the update has been stable.

iOS 12 is an update that brings significant speed and performance improvements to older devices, so most customers installing the software should see notable speed improvements over iOS 11 after updating.

On the iPhone 6 Plus, for example, apps launch up to 40 percent faster, while the keyboard can appear up to 50 percent faster. Opening the camera on the Lock screen to take a photo can be done 70 percent faster.

Apple has made animations smoother and more responsive across the operating system, so accessing Control Center, scrolling in apps, or swiping up when multitasking feels more fluid.

iOS 12 also includes optimizations for when the operating system is under load. Apps launch up to twice as fast under a heavy load, as does the Share Sheet.

With iOS 12 installed on 10 percent of devices, iOS 11 adoption has dipped to 82 percent and will continue to fall as more people adopt iOS 12. Installation could jump this weekend as some people wait until they have a free block of time to complete a major software update.

iOS 12 is a free download that's available for the iPhone 5s and later, iPad mini 2 and later, and the 6th-generation iPod touch. In addition to noticeable and useful speed and performance improvements, the update introduces Screen Time for monitoring device usage, Memoji and new Animoji, ARKit 2.0, and a new Shortcuts app for creating customized automations. For more on what's new in iOS 12, make sure to check out our roundup.

Have you installed iOS 12 yet? Let us know in the comments.

Related Roundup: iOS 12

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

You can now use Google Maps with Apple’s CarPlay in iOS 12

With iOS 12, Apple added support for third-party mapping services, namely Google Maps, to its CarPlay service, a much-needed feature that’s been a long time coming. That means, starting today, you no longer have to solely use Apple Maps when connecting your iPhone to your car’s infotainment and navigation center.

With Google Maps version 5.0, the update for which should be available for iOS users right now, you’ll get the ability to sync Google Maps navigation to your vehicle’s built-in display. You unfortunately cannot use Siri to control Google’s app, but it does come with built-in voice control that involves tapping a button to activate. (Taking your hands off the steering wheel is not recommended... but hey, it beats using your...

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