And So the Popularity Contest Begins Anew

“With the death of Osama bin Laden in May and the arrest of James (Whitey) Bulger on Wednesday night in California, there are only eight fugitives now on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 Most Wanted list…

It will take a couple of months or so for the bureau to decide which fugitives will replace Bin Laden and Mr. Bulger on the list. First, it solicits candidates from its field offices, a process that began after Bin Laden’s killing. Then representatives from the Criminal Investigative Division and the Office of Public Affairs narrow down the names. The director of the F.B.I. gives final approval.” (via NYTimes.com).


Reasons to Stay off the Road?

Volkswagen Autopilot Lets You Drive Hands-Free at 80 MPH: “Volkswagen is testing a self-driving system that lets you travel up to 80 MPH. It maneuvers the highways like a champ and even handles the stop and go of traffic jams. The temporary auto pilot technology uses adaptive cruise control, lane assist and a variety of sensors to track your speed, your location and all the cars around you. It’s a semi-automatic system so you need to continually monitor the car. You don’t have to keep your hands on the wheel, but you really shouldn’t be napping while the car is flying down the highway at 75MPH.” (via Gizmodo).

The tone of the post says that Gizmodo is enthusiastic about this development. Technological boosterism is fine, but don’t ignore that many humans are at their absolute worst when they are behind the wheel, which they will still be.


Google’s Driverless Cars Are Now Legal in Nevada: “A state bill with new rules for self-driving cars just passed, allowing Google’s fleet of hybrid vehicles to hit the road in Nevada soon. Google had been lobbying for the bill for weeks, saying they’re safer than human-driven cars.” (via Gizmodo)


Expansion Memory for a Brain

‘After studying the chemical interactions that allow short-term learning and memorization in rats, a group of scientists lead by Dr. Theodore Berger—from the University of South California’s Viterbi School of Engineering—have built a prosthetic chip that uses electrodes to enhance and expand their memory abilities. The chip is capable of storing neural signals, basically functioning as an electronic memory, allowing rats to learn more and keep it in the devices.’ (via Gizmodo).

‘The Wire’ Creator David Simon Has a Counteroffer for Eric Holder

Official portrait of United States Attorney Ge...
Att'y Gen. Holder

“We’re going to blame the Times of London pay wall for the fact we’re just now seeing The Wire creator David Simon’s emailed response to the paper following attorney general Eric Holder’s light-hearted plea for another season of The Wire at a drug policy event in Washington last Tuesday. “I want to speak directly to [Co-creator Ed] Burns and Mr. Simon: Do another season of The Wire,” Holder said, adding, “I have a lot of power Mr. Burns and Mr. Simon.”

Late last week, Simon replied with a counteroffer:

The Attorney-General’s kind remarks are noted and appreciated. I’ve spoken to Ed Burns and we are prepared to go to work on season six of The Wire if the Department of Justice is equally ready to reconsider and address its continuing prosecution of our misguided, destructive and dehumanising drug prohibition.

David Simon, co-creator of The Wire
David Simon

The exchange has at least clarified one thing: the chances of another season of The Wire are now exactly the same as America having a rational dialogue about drug law reform.” (via The Atlantic Wire).


Lightning Eclipse from the Planet of the Goats

“Thunderstorms almost spoiled this view of the spectacular June 15 total lunar eclipse. Instead, storm clouds parted for 10 minutes during the total eclipse phase and lightning bolts contributed to the dramatic sky. Captured with a 30 second exposure the scene also inspired what, in the 16 year history of Astronomy Picture of the Day, the editor considers may be the best title yet for a picture…” (via APOD: 2011 June 18).