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Car Talk

#1426: The Sleek Black Beauty

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This week on Car Talk, Tom recounts a day that will live in Magliozzi family infamy-when Ray sent his beloved 1965 AMC Ambassador, a.k.a., "The Sleek Black Beauty," to the crusher. Elsewhere, Ron's check engine light has been on for 75,000 miles, and he's beginning to think it might be time to figure out what's causing it; Ellen's looking for an intervention to help cure her fiancé of his non-stop shopping for performance add-ons for their Blazer; and, can Casey's career as a bagpipe maker help rid his car of garter snakes? And, from the Department of Gender Numismatics, why do women pay for things with change and men don't? All this and lots more, this week on Car Talk.

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Studio 360

Drone Art

Friday, September 27, 2013

Movies and TV are absorbing drones (or unmanned aerial vehicles as they are properly called) as plot devices in The Bourne Legacy and Homeland, for example. But some fine artists are also trying to sway this national conversation. Adam Harvey designs burqas and hijabs that make the wearer invisible ...

Video: Dancing with Robots

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Studio 360

Making Friends with Drones

Friday, September 27, 2013

Missy Cummings saw the dawn of the age of drones — sorry, “unmanned aerial vehicles” — firsthand from the deck of an aircraft carrier. As one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots, flying an F-18, Cummings realized that improvements in GPS were going to obviate her job. So she switched gears ...

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Transportation Nation

MIT Is Making a Road Frustration Index to Measure Stresses of Driving (Video)

Friday, July 19, 2013

WNYC

Driving is stressful. To MIT researcher Kael Greco, piloting an automobile falls somewhere on the anxiety scale above giving a class presentation and below sky diving but just barely. 

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Radiolab

A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map of America

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Put away that old Rand McNally map — it's time for a new way to see what America really looks like.

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Radiolab

MIT Invents A Machine That Can Look At Batman's Face And See His Heart Beating

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A new video technology that amplifies small color changes and slight movements can, when pointed at people, tell what's going on inside.

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On Being

Sherry Turkle — Alive Enough? Reflecting on Our Technology [remix]

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sherry Turkle directs the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her book, Alone Together, created a catchword for anxiety about the alienating potential of technology. But that's not really her message. We explore the real challenge she poses — that we c

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On Being

[Unedited] Sherry Turkle with Krista Tippett

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sherry Turkle directs the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self. Her book, Alone Together, created a catchword for anxiety about the alienating potential of technology. But that's not really her message. We explore the real challenge she poses — that we c

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The Takeaway

Promoting a Culture of Science in the United States

Monday, June 18, 2012

There are many stereotypes associated with the sciences, including the ideas that scientific fields are out-of-reach, too intellectual, or exclusively for men and academia. The outgoing president of M.I.T. discusses these problems and says that the United States must create a culture of the sciences in order to generate interest in the masses.

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The Takeaway

John Hockenberry: Doing the Math on the Value of College

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two kids starting high school. In New York City Public schools, that is an exciting moment and something of a relief. It concludes what can be a harrowing admissions process. My wife and I are certainly glad that's over for our twin 13-year-old daughters, but having two girls going into ninth grade starts something else rolling. The first day of ninth grade will be the first step down that long road to choosing and being ready — financially and otherwise — for college.

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The Takeaway

How Big Data Can Solve Big Problems

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yesterday Kathleen Hall Jamieson and Andrew Rasiej discussed how political campaigns have been using data mining to target campaign ads. Now other experts are using data to give us information on everything from medicine, to our ancestry, to the state of traffic on Los Angeles’s busy highways.

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The Takeaway

Is the Future of Higher Education Online?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

President Obama began his 2012 presidential campaign last month with a stop at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where he addressed young, swing-state voters about the need for affordable higher education in the coming decades. The question that remains is how can public universities keep tuition costs down in a depressed economy. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology might have an answer. This spring, MIT announced the launch of MITx, an online learning platform that offers MIT classes for free.

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Transportation Nation

Algorithm Predicts Red Light Runners

Monday, December 05, 2011

(Courtesy of MIT. Graphic by Christine Daniloff)

MIT has developed an algorithm to predict which vehicles will run a red light. That's useful for a future where cars talk to each other, or traffic signals respond dynamically to traffic.

There are more than 2.3 million accidents a year at U.S. intersections causing 7,000 deaths. About 700 of those fatalities are from red light running. MIT's algorithm aims to reduce that number by giving advanced warning to drivers -- or even just the car's computer braking system -- that another vehicle is approaching that is statistically likely to roll on through an intersection.

The MIT algorithm used sensors capturing vehicle speed, deceleration, and distance from intersection to predict with 85 percent accuracy which cars would run red lights and which wouldn't.

The U.S. Department of Transportation outfitted a Virginia intersection with censors that tracked the behavior of more than 15,000 vehicles, including when they ran a red light. This is part of a larger effort by the DOT to plan for a future where cars talk to each other in numerous ways that improve safety. As we've reported before, once cars can talk to each other, they will need to know what to say that actually improves safety. Early warning of a dangerous approaching vehicle would be near the top of the list.

The new MIT algorithm, with 85 percent accuracy, is an improvement of 15 - 20 percent over previous algorithms. As important as accuracy, the predictions proved early enough to be acted upon. Researchers found a “sweet spot” one to two seconds in advance of a potential collision where the algorithm was most accurate, and while a driver still had time to react if, say, a red danger light on the dashboard began flashing.

According to an MIT News Release, the researchers report their findings in a paper that will appear in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

Hat tip Gizmag.

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The Takeaway

Random-Matrix Theory Could Help Fight HIV

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Physicists used andom-matrix theory—a mathematical method for finding otherwise hidden correlations within groups of data—in the 1990s and early 2000s to predict stock market volatility. Arup Chakraborty, a chemistry and chemical engineering professor at MIT, is a researcher at the Ragon Institute in Massachusetts. Ragon and a scientific collegue used random-matrix theory to analyze enzymes, and develop new ways to treat HIV. 

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The Takeaway

How Google's Ubiquity Makes Your Life Better

Monday, October 18, 2010

An estimated 300 million people use the internet search engine Google every day. They do more than search the web with Google. They write emails with it, plan their lives with the Google calendar, exchange documents and images, translate from one language to another. And while Google doesn't have a monopoly, but seems to have become ubiquitous in our everyday lives.

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The Takeaway

The Evolution of the MIT Media Lab

Friday, October 15, 2010

John is broadcasting from our partner station, WGBH, in Boston today. He's there to take part in the celebrations surrounding the 25th anniversary of the MIT Media Lab. 

Over the years a long list of new computer and digital technologies were developed there. Since then the lab has also become hugely prolific developer of medical technologies. Researchers at the lab have worked on projects as abstract as figuring out how to improve health care record keeping and as concrete as how to hybridize robotic technologies with prosthetics to improve the lives of veterans and civilians who've lost limbs.

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The Takeaway

Cap and Trade

Friday, April 24, 2009

Cap and trade, it’s not a breakfast cereal or an off-season NFL strategy. Yes even though the NFL draft starts tomorrow, but no, it is not some new football strategy or rule. So what exactly is cap and trade, and why are some Republicans predicting that it’s going to cost each household in the United States over $3,000 if this Democrat-sponsored global warming proposal gets approved?

To answer these questions, The Takeaway is joined by John Reilly, an MIT Environmental Economist. He is the man behind the curtain who actually calculated the cost of the proposed cap and trade. And he says that the GOP has misrepresented his data.

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