THE BLEEDING EDGE
Today’s news for the future
March 7, 2016
Forget Google--This Company Is the one to watch in driverless cars
By Chris Neiger
Behind some of Google's driverless car advancements lies another company. Chipmaker NVIDIA has used its Tegra processors to help power some of Google's driverless car tech over the past few years, and the company recently announced its second generation of autonomous car software technology. NVIDIA calls its new Drive PX 2 driverless platform the "world's first in-car artificial intelligence supercomputer." The platform can process 24 trillion deep learning operations every second. Beyond Google, Audi, BMW, Daimler, and Ford are among fifty carmakers and auto suppliers using and testing NVIDIA’s Drive PX platform.
The broken world of mobile payments and how to fix it
By John Rampton
It’s being predicted that by the end of this year, mobile payment transactions in the U.S. will grow 210 percent. Despite this impressive gain, many still do not take advantage of mobile payments. Users maintain security concerns, the processes lack global standards, the technology remains fragmented, and other obstacles remain. Whatever the hurdles that must be tackled, it seems that our mobile payment options are only going to increase. Companies and innovators are going to have to solve some of the problems and issues surrounding the mobile payment world. By addressing, answering and solving the questions that have been raised, companies will be able to quiet the hesitation of its users by providing optimal solutions for the convenience of mobile payments.
MP calls for Green Investment Bank Safeguards Before Privatisation
By Terry Macalister
The head of a UK parliamentary committee is to demand ministers introduce tougher safeguards to ensure the Green Investment Bank continues with its low-carbon mandate following a controversial privatization. Mary Creagh MP, who chairs the environmental audit committee (EAC), also expressed concern that the bank could in future put more effort into overseas projects than in supporting the domestic sector for which it was set up. The government has said it will retain a special share in the lending institution. It insists this will prevent new owners deviating from the core task of funding renewable energy projects that are deemed at risk by traditional lenders. Despite this pledge, Creagh wants to see the commitment enshrined in law.
The real war on coal is happening in China right now
By Brad Plumer
The most important global warming story over the past two years has arguably been China's struggle to suppress its once-insatiable appetite for coal.Lately, those efforts have begun paying off. Recent data suggests that China's carbon dioxide emissions fell in 2015, driven by a sharp drop in coal use. There's always plenty of uncertainty with China's energy stats, but this shift does look significant. After two decades, the era of relentless growth in Chinese coal consumption appears to be finally coming to a close. In order to cut down on the horrendous smog that's choking its cities and tackle climate change, the government has vowed to get 20 percent of its total energy from carbon-free sources by 2030. This clean-energy boom accounts for roughly the other quarter of the drop in coal demand.
LABOR AND ECONOMY
The Right Wing’s Casting Agency, and its Agent
By Noam Scheiber
The New York Times
Over the last year, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a Milwaukee group that has financed decades of research into curbing the power of public sector unions, hired three new staff members: a fund-raiser, an administrative aide and a program officer. Libertarian groups and activists backed by deep-pocketed conservative donors have been successful in recent years in pushing beyond Washington into dozens of states. They have provided the intellectual and political muscle for elected officials who have rolled back regulations, cut taxes and tried to remake public education. Perhaps most significantly, they have helped pass anti-union legislation in once heavily unionized states and embarked on well-organized campaigns to discourage workers from paying union dues and fees in liberal bastions like Washington State.
Largest Healthcare Union Applauds NYTimes Over Fight for $15 Support
By Connor D. Wolf
The Daily Caller
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East has been an adamant supporter of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Union President George Gresham even sits as chairman for an initiative started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to enact the policy in New York. Gresham thanked The New York Times editorial board for supporting the initiative in an opinion piece Friday. In a Feb. 17 write up, it called on Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to support the policy. Her rival Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has made the policy a main focus of his campaign but Clinton argues the federal minimum wage should not exceed $12 an hour. The University of California, Berkeley and the Economic Policy Institute have found in their research that the policy has a generally positive impact.
Finland, Home of the $103,000 Speeding Ticket
By Joe Pinsker
Most of Finland’s reckless drivers pay between €30 and €50 per day, for a total of about €400 or €500. Finland’s maximum multiplier is 120 days, but there's no ceiling on the fines themselves—the fine is taken as a constant proportion of income whether you make €80,000 a year or €800,000. Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland also have some sliding-scale fines, or “day-fines,” in place, but in America, flat-rate fines are the norm. But more importantly, day-fines could introduce some fairness to a legal system that many have convincingly shown to be biased against the poor.
Pakistan’s biggest threat isn’t terrorism, it’s climate change
By Sualiha Nazar
For decades, Pakistan has struggled to manage urgent crises, ranging from infrastructure woes to terrorism. While its policies focus on short-term conventional threats, a potentially devastating danger lurks in the shadows: Climate change. Karachi, one of the country’s primary economic hub with a population of 17 million, is close to the Indus River Delta, where the Indus flows into the Arabian Sea. Due to rising sea levels, the delta is now almost at level with the Arabian Sea. This threatens the stability of the ecosystem because it leads to land erosion and increases the salinity of creeks flowing from the Indus. Sea intrusion can cause temporary and permanent flooding to large land areas, negatively impacting local ecosystems and freshwater supplies that villagers rely on for food security and drinking water.
America’s lead poisoning problem isn’t just in Flint. It’s everywhere.
By Sarah Frostenson
The city of Flint, Michigan, is in the midst of a terrible and rightly shocking lead poisoning crisis, but it’s not the only one. The data that is available shows that lead exposure is a pervasive issue in the United States. In some places outside of Flint, more than half of children test positive for lead poisoning. Nine counties nationwide told the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that 10 percent or more of their lead poisoning tests came back positive. Four of them are in Louisiana, two in Alabama, and the rest scattered across West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Oklahoma. A 2013 study from the CDC found that lead exposure impacts black communities disproportionately to their white counterparts. Though there is no comprehensive data from the CDC. The Center lacks any data whatsoever from 1,570 counties (of 3,143) as states are not mandated to submit their data to the CDC.
College behind bars: An old idea with new energy
By Donna Gordon Blankinship
College education in American prisons is starting to grow again, more than two decades since federal government dollars were prohibited from being used for college programs behind bars. The shift comes as everyone from President Barack Obama to state policymakers are looking for ways to get better results from the $80 billion the U.S. spends annually on incarceration. Private money kept some prison education programs going when government dollars vanished. Several recent studies have shown those projects cut crime and prison costs by helping inmates go home and stay there instead of returning.