For understanding where an infectious disease is going to spread, it turns out it’s all about the airtime.
Physicists putting modern air travel and the global movement of people at the center of a new mathematical model can accurately predict the propagation of epidemics.
Their work places more weight in “effective distances,” the concept that a metropolitan area connected by international airports can transmit infection to other major cities at similar speeds to closer, less connected towns.
“From the perspective of Frankfurt, Germany, other metropolitan areas such as London, New York or Tokyo are effectively not more distant than geographically close German cities such as Bremen, Leipzig or Kiel,” said Dirk Brockmann, a theoretical physicist who developed the approach at Northwestern University’s Institute on Complex Systems and who now works at Humboldt University Berlin.
The Internet was birthed in good measure by the Pentagon and when history is written about the emergence of self-driving vehicles, the brass will once again deserve significant credit.
Long a Holy Grail for the car industry, autonomous vehicles are a highly prized goal because they offer huge potential compared to traditional consumer autos. They promise to be far safer (human error causes 93 percent of accidents), to ease congestion by making far more efficient use of increasingly crowded roads, and to relieve humans of this surprisingly complex, often enervating, task.
A recent milestone in the journey toward robotic chauffeurs was the 33-mile cruise by a self-driving Cadillac from Cranberry, Pa., to the Pittsburgh International Airport; aboard were U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Barry Schoch, the state’s transportation department chief.
Since a very young age, Sina Bahram, a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, has been blind.
“I did have a little bit more usable vision as a kid than I do now,” said Bahram.
But being blind hasn’t slowed him down. He’s a Ph.D. student and president of a consulting company. He has learned to feel his way through life. But there’s still one thing that’s a challenge to navigate: traffic.