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Comic for November 19, 2018

Dilbert - November 20, 2018 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Bill Nye: Humans living on Mars is a pipe dream - CNET - News - 44 min 43 sec ago
The Science Guy won't be eating Martian potatoes with Matt Damon.

VW says it’s 1 to 2 years behind Waymo’s self-driving-car development - Roadshow - News - 52 min 14 sec ago
That's not a huge surprise, given how close Waymo is to launching its public service.

Blackout for thousands of dark web pages

BBC Technology News - 56 min 57 sec ago
Hackers have deleted more than 6,500 sites being held on a popular Dark Web server.

The best Black Friday 2018 deals on Nintendo Switch consoles, games - CNET - News - 57 min 6 sec ago
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is coming, and you'll need to either get a Switch to play it on or a bundle of games to pair with it.

Facebook aims to support local news with fund to train UK journalists - CNET - News - 57 min 40 sec ago
Applications for the Community News Project open up in early 2019.

Forget VR treadmills—Google patents motorized, omnidirectional VR sneakers

Ars Technica - 1 hour 7 sec ago


If virtual reality is ever going to become the immersive, holodeck-style platform that we all dream of, someone is going to have to figure out locomotion. Today, you can strap on a Vive or Oculus headset and more or less be visually transported to a virtual world, but the reality of, well, reality, means you can usually only take a few steps before you bump into your coffee table.

So far, we've seen a few solutions that take aim at VR's "limited space" problem. On the simpler side of the spectrum, one option has you stick a motion tracker in your pants and jog in place. On the more complicated end, there's the "VR treadmill" solution, which has you strap into a big plastic platform that keeps you in place with slippery footwear and a waist harness. Neither option is quite the same as natural walking, but a new patent from Google puts forth an interesting idea: what about motorized VR shoes?

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What we can learn about crowd behavior by watching the Tour de France

Ars Technica - 1 hour 10 min ago

Enlarge / Cyclists hit the 18th stage between Trie-sur-Baise and Pau, southwestern France, in the 2018 Tour de France. (credit: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images))

Check out the aerial footage of bicyclists competing in the annual Tour de France and you'll notice that riders tend to spontaneously group themselves into a diamond-shaped pattern. Jesse Belden, a researcher at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, says such patterns emerge because riders are trying to stay close to their competitors while avoiding collisions.

Belden, an avid cyclist himself, described his work at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta, Georgia. While watching coverage of the Tour de France, especially the aerial footage, he became fascinated by the formations of the group of cyclists. They resembled flocks of starlings or schools of fish—both examples of so-called "collective behavior" in nature. And he found himself wondering how one might model the behavior of riders in a peloton.

The study of swarming and other collective behavior in animals is a booming field, with scientists studying the group dynamics of murmurations of starlings, ubiquities of sparrows, swarms of midges, armies of fire ants, and schools of fish, among other examples in nature. The aim is to better understand the underlying mechanisms, with an eye toward identifying possible universal laws governing such behavior—a task made more difficult by the fact that there are slightly different mechanisms behind the collective behavior of each of the aforementioned groups.

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