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Google and Apple car plans face Benz boss skepticism

Google and Apple car plans face Benz boss skepticism

Apple's car ambitions may have burst into the headlines over the weekend, as chatter surfaced of a hundreds-strong team working on EV and autonomous vehicle tech, but some of the old guard in automotive aren't so convinced we'll see an iCar any time soon. In fact, Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche predicts, despite public and private projects underway by Google and other tech luminaries, he sees their collective goal as more about disrupting traditional vehicle technology without going so far as to create four-wheeled alternatives of their own. However, while Zetsche is all for figuring out ways to co-exist and collaborate with tech firms, he's also cautious about giving them too much access to drivers.

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Apple Titan self-driving electric car rumors gain traction

Apple Titan self-driving electric car rumors gain traction

Apple's auto ambitions are shaping up to be far more broad than simply dominating the dashboard with maps and multimedia, with multiple sources tipping an autonomous, electric car project underway dubbed "Titan". The Tesla-challenging car would be a cocked-snook not only to the traditional auto industry, it's suggested, but key rivals like Google which are themselves working on self-driving technologies. Reports that Apple had raided top automakers for engineers and R&D specialists broke late last week, for what at the time was speculated as a more advanced version of CarPlay. Now, however, the scope of the rumor-worthy skunkworks seems to be far greater.

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Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

Interstellar’s black hole code leads to real science

To achieve the effect of a black hole in the film Interstellar, Christopher Nolan worked with real physicist Kip Thorne to depict scientifically-sound images. Thorne and a team at Double Negative Visual Effects worked to create a new code to solve the equation for visualizing light beams as seen from a viewer as they approach a black hole. This has never been done before. While previous studies have been performed at great distances and with light rays, this system bundled light beams together to create an image that was realistic, beautiful, and scientifically sound.

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Zooming contact lenses enlarge at a wink

Zooming contact lenses enlarge at a wink

A contact lens with a built in zoom that the wearer can switch at will between regular and telescopic vision could mean the end to dwindling independence for those with deteriorating eyesight, researchers suggested today. The rigid lens covers the majority of the front surface of the eye, including both the whites and the pupil, and contains an array of tiny aluminum mirrors that together can enlarge the world by 2.8x. Winking flips the view between regular and magnified.

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198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

198 whales swim ashore in New Zealand

No, they weren't coming ashore to take the Hobbiton tour. On New Zealand's South Island on Friday, nearly 200 pilot whales beached themselves - most likely on accident. Scientists are speculating that these whales may have been in an area where their built-in sonar abilities were messed with, leading them to swim up and over the area they'd normally be comfortable in. These whales can't, after all, survive on the shore for extended periods of time. They breath oxygen, but they still need to be wet.

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New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

New Megadrought may be worst in 1000 years

If you're living in the West, you may want to start thinking about conserving your water. A group of scientists from NASA, Columbia University, and Cornell University have published a paper in Science Advances which suggests a 35-year drought - or "megadrought," as they call it - will be hitting the Southwest and central Great Plains in the near future. This will happen, they say, if we stay on our current trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions. If emissions continue as they are, there's an 80% chance, this team says, that we'll hit at least one "decades-long" megadrought between the years 2050 and 2100.

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DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

DSCOVR success: watch SpaceX launch NASA’s space weather station

You may have heard of the craft called DSCOVR, but what is it, exactly? Why is NASA working with SpaceX to launch this craft into orbit between our sun and the Earth? It'll serve as a warning beacon - that's what. DSCOVR stands for Deep Space Climate Observatory, and now that it's been launched into space (just last night), it'll allow much better lead time for NOAA's space weather alerts and forecasts. Geomagnetic storms is what this craft will be warning against - where, when, and how severe we'll be getting them.

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Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

Watch the ESA’s car-sized shuttle take off

This week the European Space Agency's Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) took off on a Vega rocket. This takeoff sequence was done at the European Spaceport in French Guiana on Wednesday (February 11th) at 8:40 a.m. EST (1340 GMT). This craft was a prototype for a reusable orbiter, prepared to move passengers into space in the future. Below you'll be able to watch this spacecraft take off successfully, heading 340 km into space not long after its initial launch earlier this morning. This system precedes a program called PRIDE: Program for Reusable In-orbit Demonstrator for Europe.

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Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may run out of time as Apple Watch nears

Android Wear may have beaten Apple Watch to market, but demand for smartwatches running Google's OS hasn't been as rampant as some predicted, new research released today suggests. Over 720,000 Android Wear watches shipped in 2014, Canalys suggests, and while some like Motorola's Moto 360 can't be produced fast enough to meet demand, the overall diagnosis is that the smartwatch market is still up for grabs. While the research firm appears confident that Google will continue to improve Android Wear, the lingering question is whether those enhancements can come quickly enough.

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