Revolutionary prototyping with the 2021 Ford Bronco design team

Ford Motor Company

The Bronco design team made their early prototypes out of packing material. “There was a lot of stumbling upon invention,” Wraith says. “We were able to quickly see a full-size, scale car in a matter of a week or so—in much shorter time frames. They were very fast and very cheap. You could just chop off pieces and overlay it with VR [virtual reality]; it was what we needed to show something that was much more realistic than clay models.

The link takes you to an article about 5 “design secrets”. The VR info is #3. I found all of them interesting; but, I’ve been a gearhead for decades. The VR stuff is for geeks as well as folks interested in design.

Inside the world’s largest particle accelerator

…You can see scientists try to make space for a giant 360 degree camera-ball while they’re hard at work helping uncover the origins of the universe: the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) unveiled two new panoramic videos today of the Large Hadron Collider — you know, the same giant underground machine that found evidence of the Higgs boson back in 2012.

Both videos were taken during the Large Hadron Collider’s first long shutdown in 2013. During this time, called “consolidation,” crews performed accelerator element maintenance that’d help it run at a higher energy once they turned it back on in 2015. And that it did — at almost twice the energy as before, its proton beams colliding at an energy of 13 TeV (teraelectronvolts).

Ah, yes. Bill Clinton and a Republican Congress made damned certain we never built anything like this in our god-fearing nation.

Sex slave gets ‘groundbreaking’ settlement from UK Home Office

A woman who was a repeated victim of sex trafficking and suffered severe sexual degradation is to be paid substantial damages by the Home Office after it returned her to Moldova, where she faced grave dangers.

The “groundbreaking” settlement was reached on the eve of a high court hearing of her claim against the Home Office for failing to take steps to protect her and for sending her back to Moldova despite substantial grounds to believe she was at risk from her traffickers.

The woman, who cannot be named because she and her family are still at risk of retribution by her traffickers, was kidnapped at the age of 14 and then continually trafficked and re-trafficked for forced prostitution in Italy, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Israel and Britain until she was 21…

She was arrested by police and immigration officers in a brothel in London in 2003, but instead of rescuing her they charged her with possessing false documents, which had been provided by her traffickers.

She was imprisoned for three months before being sent back to Moldova through a fast-track immigration process. Her trafficker was neither investigated nor arrested but was allowed to visit her in Holloway prison and Oakington detention centre, where he posed as her boyfriend, in order to intimidate her.

Her solicitor, Harriet Wistrich, said the woman was found by her trafficker when she got back to Moldova and was savagely ill-treated before being trafficked back into prostitution for a further two years.

In 2007 she was arrested again in Britain and held at Yarl’s Wood immigration detention centre, but was eventually referred to the Poppy project, which identified her as a victim of sex trafficking and provided her with the necessary support to make an asylum claim…

Wistrich said the undisclosed “substantial damages” followed the “groundbreaking” attempt to sue the Home Office for its failure to protect her. She said she hoped immigration authorities would learn from the experience so that other trafficked women would be treated as victims instead of criminals and rescued rather than handed back to their traffickers to be raped and ill-treated.

I don’t believe there is any genetic predilection that forces bureaucrats to behave like an absolute iron-headed ass. Going “by the book” resulting in predictable abusive treatment like this should be halted at the source.

Merkel tells off Netanyahu: “You haven’t made a single step to advance peace”

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, has sternly rebuked the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in an unusually fractious telephone call, according to media reports…

The Israeli prime minister telephoned Merkel on Monday to say he was disappointed that Germany had voted for a UN security council resolution condemning settlements that was vetoed by the US.

According to a German official quoted by Haaretz, Merkel was furious. “How dare you?” she said. “You are the one who has disappointed us. You haven’t made a single step to advance peace…”

The quoted comments reflect growing impatience in Europe with the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian talks and a belief that Israel is stalling or impeding progress. With the exception of the US last Friday’s resolution was backed by all the security council members including Britain, Germany and France.

Despite the resolution being carefully worded to reflect American policy on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the US wielded its veto for the first time under Barack Obama’s presidency

Netanyahu told Merkel that he was planning a new initiative to be disclosed in the next few weeks. “I intend to make a new speech about the peace process in the next two to three weeks,” he was quoted as saying.

The only thing Netanyahu is interested in advancing is more rightwing politics in Israel. If he must stretch himself to vent more hot air and lies into the diplomatic ether – so be it. He has plenty of practice.

And he knows he can count on the United States Congress and the White House to back whatever crap lies he utters.

Scientists reverse the ageing process in mice – are we next?

Scientists claim to be a step closer to reversing the ageing process after rejuvenating worn out organs in elderly mice. The experimental treatment developed by researchers at Harvard Medical School turned weak and feeble old mice into healthy animals by regenerating their aged bodies.

The surprise recovery of the animals has raised hopes among scientists that it may be possible to achieve a similar feat in humans – or at least to slow down the ageing process…

“What we saw in these animals was not a slowing down or stabilisation of the ageing process. We saw a dramatic reversal – and that was unexpected,” said Ronald DePinho, who led the study, which was published in the journal Nature.

“This could lead to strategies that enhance the regenerative potential of organs as individuals age and so increase their quality of life. Whether it serves to increase longevity is a question we are not yet in a position to answer…”

The Harvard group focused on a process called telomere shortening. Most cells in the body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, which carry our DNA. At the ends of each chromosome is a protective cap called a telomere. Each time a cell divides, the telomeres are snipped shorter, until eventually they stop working and the cell dies or goes into a suspended state called “senescence”. The process is behind much of the wear and tear associated with ageing…

Repeating the trick in humans will be more difficult. Mice make telomerase throughout their lives, but the enzyme is switched off in adult humans, an evolutionary compromise that stops cells growing out of control and turning into cancer. Raising levels of telomerase in people might slow the ageing process, but it makes the risk of cancer soar…

DePinho said none of Harvard’s mice developed cancer after the treatment. The team is now investigating whether it extends the lifespan of mice or enables them to live healthier lives into old age.

Bravo! Another step forward for medicine, science, for human beings.

Google sues Feds for bid-rigging

Google has filed suit against the U.S. government, alleging that the process by which a government agency evaluated a request for a new software suite unfairly gave preference to Microsoft.

In 2009 the Department of the Interior sought a new collaboration and messaging suite for its approximately 88,000 employees. Google sought to join the process, but was allegedly rebuffed by the bureaucratic process.

Because of Microsoft’s long history of providing government solutions, the suit alleges that the DOI established Microsoft Office as a departmental standard, which was affirmed in an updated decision in July 2010

Microsoft had submitted its Microsoft BPOS-Federal Suite, consisting of hosting services, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Office Communications Online. Google wished to challenge Microsoft with its Google Apps, a hosted service that Google said could be implemented more cheaply and effectively than Microsoft’s service. In July, Google won FISMA certification for Google Apps for Government, a hosted version of Google Apps that Google said met the DOI’s requirements.

Google asked the court to bar the Department of the Interior from going forward with the requisition process, including a planned 5,000-user pilot process for Microsoft’s products.

Bid-rigging is a time-honored part of American government. How dare Google challenge our traditions?