Planet Google

Google Signs 60-Year Lease on NASA Air Base to Research Space Exploration and Aviation

The framework of Hangar One. (Wikipedia)

Today in existential crises, Google has just signed a long-term lease on an old Navy air base so they can research space exploration and aviation until we’re all dead. Fun!

The company has signed a 60-year, $1.16 billion lease for an 1,000-acre site on the NASA-owned Moffett Field Naval Air Station. The site, located on the San Francisco Peninsula, reportedly features a golf course, three hangars, and a working air field that Sergey Brin and Larry Page already casually use to land their private jets. Read More

the robots are coming

Google’s New Computer With Human-Like Learning Abilities Will Program Itself

Are we closer to AI? (Wikipedia)

In college, it wasn’t rare to hear a verbal battle regarding artificial intelligence erupt between my friends studying neuroscience and my friends studying computer science.

One rather outrageous fellow would mention the possibility of a computer takeover, and off they went. The neuroscience-savvy would awe at the potential of such hybrid technology as the CS majors argued we have nothing to fear, as computers will always need a programmer to tell them what to do.

Today’s news brings us to the Neural Turing Machine, a computer that will combine the way ordinary computers work with the way the human brain learns, enabling it to actually program itself. Perhaps my CS friends should reevaluate their position? Read More

College

This Startup Gets College Kids Jobs as Dildo Merchants, Liquor Evangelists, Nail Polish Bloggers

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 1.56.27 PM

No job description is more soul-suckingly droll than a campus work study gig — anyone who’s ever been forced to give a campus tour for minimum wage can attest to that. Unfortunately, those are often the only jobs available to students with full-time course loads and no cars.

Enter Campus Job, an online market that connects college kids to unlikely employers for part time jobs during the school year. The service officially launched earlier this month and is seeing over 1,000 new signups each week. Read More

Sharing is Caring

Combine Uber With Driverless Cars, and Nine Out of Ten Vehicles Become Obsolete

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 3.23.24 AM

The world is covered in unused cars — absolutely blanketed with them. All day, our cars sit useless in driveways and parking garages, sitting idle for far longer than we’re actually driving them. But what if when we got out of our car, it automatically drove off to give someone else a lift, and then kept doing so, day in, day out?

A pair of researchers from the University of Texas have published a report outlining the possible impacts of Shared Automated Vehicles (SAVs). For the study, the team simulated a hypothetical cab service of self-driven cars like the kind Google has already developed. They found that in a dense enough urban area — this example used Austin, Texas — the system would replace about nine out of ten vehicles while “maintaining a reasonable level of service,” as measured by the time people spent waiting for a ride. The test was run entirely on paper, modeled mathematically using Austin’s existing daily traffic data. Read More

Planet Google

Google Gives Up On Forcing You to Sign Up for Google +

Google's own Google Plus page. (Google Plus)

Poor Google+. Designed to rival social media giants like Facebook and Twitter, it’s been trying to get us to like it for ages — to somehow care about dividing our friends into “circles,” or whatever. But now it might be starting to give up the fight.

Google has recently stopped requiring new Gmail users to sign up for Google+, the Telegraph reports, apparently because they realized that people find it intrusive. Read More

Planet Google

We’ll All Have Self-Driving Cars Long Before We Can Actually Use Them

Doesn't matter if the tech is ready, you still need to map every road before the cars are worth anything. (Photo by Jakob Montrasio)

Every other week, some automotive CEO or founder you’ve never heard of will make news and keep their stock prices stable by guessing at the future of self-driving cars. Late Wednesday night, the robot-fearing space explorer and transportation tycoon Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX took his turn when he told the Wall Street Journal that Tesla would have self-driving cars ready in six years.

“The big car companies have been a lot slower than I thought,” he said.

Mr. Musk is fond of making fanciful predictions and projections about the future of transportation, but saying that he’ll have a self-driving car in six years isn’t as far fetched as, say, a bullet-speed interstate monorail in the sky. After all, Nissan says that they’ll have self-driving cars ready by then, too. Read More

Tech Dirty to Me

Ex-Googlers Help Build ‘Boodigo,’ a New Search Engine Just for Porn

A Wikipedia entry isn't always what you want when you Google "blow job." (Photo via Mislav Marohnić)

A couple of years ago, porn producer and director Colin Rowntree started feeling that mainstream search engines, like Google and Bing, where “trying to ghettoize the adult entertainment industry,” as he puts it. Google “blow job,” and you generally have to click through three pages of totally un-sexy content — you know, like a Wikipedia entry on the phrase’s etymology — before you actually arrive at the porn sites you were looking for in the first place. Read More