Linklist: July 10, 2012

Green Car Congress: Volvo Car Corporation developing new safety systems with autonomous driving support [JW writes “It seems everyone is working on the path to autonomous cars. The animal avoidance is especially useful for Minnesotans.”

KurzweilAI: Smart headlight system sees through rain and snow:

“A new ‘smart headlight‘ system invented by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute can improve visibility when driving at night in a rainstorm or snowstorm.
By constantly redirecting light to shine between particles of precipitation, the system prevents the distracting and sometimes dangerous glare that occurs when headlight beams are reflected by precipitation back toward the driver.”

Pedestrian Observations: Northeast Corridor HSR, 90% Cheaper:

“Amtrak’s latest Next-Generation High-Speed Rail plan is now up to $151 billion, from a prior cost of $117 billion. This is partially a small cost escalation, but mostly including Master Plan upgrades to the legacy line. Per kilometer of route length, this means the project has now crossed the $200 million/km mark, a higher cost than 60%-underground Chuo Shinkansen maglev. The primary cause of the high cost of Amtrak’s project is the heavy amount of deep-cavern urban tunneling: nearly a tenth of the cost is the Gateway Tunnel, a rebranded bundling of ARC into the project, and a similar amount is a similar project in Philadelphia. At least this time they’re serving Rhode Island with a stop in or near Providence rather than Woonsocket.
In contrast with this extravaganza, it is possible to achieve comparable travel times for about one tenth the cost. The important thing is to build the projects with the most benefit measured in travel time reduced or reliability gained per unit of cost, and also share tracks heavily with commuter rail, using timed overtakes to reduce the required amount of multi-tracking.”

UMNews on Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50 Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012,: The medium is the message:

“Six-hundred pages in just 10 weeks. Peer-reviewed—no kidding.”

[True, that.]