Backtalk 05/06/2010

May 3, 2010
Fifty years ago, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, accompanied by Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard, piloted the Swiss-designed bathyscaphe Trieste to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the heart of the Mariana Trench

Rolex takes the plunge
Fifty years ago, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh, accompanied by Swiss oceanographer Jacques Piccard, piloted the Swiss-designed bathyscaphe Trieste to the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the heart of the Mariana Trench, some 200 miles off the island of Guam. Strapped to the outside was a Rolex watch. A third-generation Rolex prototype of the Deep Sea Special was specifically engineered to withstand the tremendous pressure the bathyscaphe would encounter — approximately 8 tons/sq in. at a depth of over 35,000 ft.

You get in your car on a foggy morning and you can’t see the end of your driveway or the road. Wouldn’t it be great if the sides of the road could appear on your windshield?

A team at General Motors R&D is working on just that. They are developing a system that uses data gathered from an array of sensors and cameras to project images generated by compact ultraviolet lasers directly onto the entire surface of a car’s windshield. The team is working with Carnegie Mellon Univ., The Univ. of Southern California, and other institutions, to create a full windshield head-up system leveraging night vision, navigation, and camera-based sensors for improved driver visibility and object detection.

“Let’s say you’re driving in fog. We could use the vehicle’s infrared cameras to identify where the edge of the road is and the lasers could ‘paint’ it onto the windshield so the driver knows where the edge of the road is,” says Thomas Seder, group lab manager - GM R&D.

Coated with a series of transparent phosphors that emit visible light when excited by a light beam, the windshield becomes a transparent display. Current HUDs use only a small portion of the windshield. Add sleet or snow to the fog, and the system could work with night vision to identify and highlight the precise location of animals roaming alongside the road that can’t be seen by the naked eye.

As an added safety feature, the system could be combined with sign-reading technology, similar to the Opel Eye on the 2009 Opel Insignia, to alert drivers they are driving over the posted speed limit, there’s impending construction, or other potential problems ahead. Using nav data, the system could also alert drivers of their desired exit by reading overhead traffic signs.

Confusing isn’t it?
1. Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?
2. Why is the third hand on the watch called the “second” hand?
3. If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?
4. If Webster wrote the first dictionary, where did he find the words?
5. Why do we say something is out of whack? What is whack?
6. Why does “slow down” and “slow up” mean the same thing?
7. Why does “fat chance” and “slim chance” mean the same thing?
8. Why do “tug” boats push their barges?
9. Why do we sing “Take me out to the ball game” when we’re already there?
10. Why are they called “stands” when they are made for sitting?
11. Why is it called “after dark” when it really is “after light?”
12. Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?
13. Why are a “wise man” and a “wise guy” opposites?
14. Why do “overlook” and “oversee” mean opposite things?
15. Why is “phonics” not spelled the way it sounds?
16. If work is so terrific, why do they have to pay you to do it?
17. If all the world is a stage, where is the audience sitting?
18. If love is blind, why is lingerie so popular?
19. If you are cross-eyed and have dyslexia, can you read all right?
20. Why is bra singular and panties plural?
21. Why do you press harder on the buttons of a remote control when you know the batteries are dead?
22. Why do we put suits in garment bags and garments in a suitcase?
23. How come abbreviated is such a long word?
24. Why do we wash bath towels? Aren’t we clean when we use them?
25. Why doesn’t glue stick to the inside of the bottle?
26. Why do they call it a TV set when you only have one?
27. Christmas – What other time of the year do you sit in front of a dead tree and eat candy out of your socks?
28. Why do we drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

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