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Where once infographics were a bit of a niche specialism, in recent times they seemed to have gatecrashed the mainstream and you frequently see someone on Twitter drooling over the latest info-tastic offering. So it is with perfect timing Sandra Rendgen has produced a spectacular new book looking at this phenomenon – how infographics have developed, why they’re useful and how they work. There’s more than 400 examples in the book too, which proves Albert Einstein’s maxim: “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” We spoke to her to find out more…

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Google has been testing out its self-driving cars on real roads. This is still a long way from being available for you to purchase, but it's clear that it's working surprisingly well on a technological level.

You can watch some footage, recorded in the driverless cars during their test runs, in the video above. IEEE Spectrum's Erico Guizzo (who, incidentally, says he's a lot less skeptical of Google's goals after seeing this video) explains what makes the system work.

Two things seem particularly interesting about Google's approach. First, it relies on very detailed maps of the roads and terrain, something that Urmson said is essential to determine accurately where the car is. Using GPS-based techniques alone, he said, the location could be off by several meters.

The second thing is that, before sending the self-driving car on a road test, Google engineers drive along the route one or more times to gather data about the environment. When it's the autonomous vehicle's turn to drive itself, it compares the data it is acquiring to the previously recorded data, an approach that is useful to differentiate pedestrians from stationary objects like poles and mailboxes.

The video above shows the results. At one point you can see the car stopping at an intersection. After the light turns green, the car starts a left turn, but there are pedestrians crossing. No problem: It yields to the pedestrians, and even to a guy who decides to cross at the last minute.

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Via Bryan Walsh

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Click here to read Helpful chart explains the difference between "good" hacking and "bad" hacking

Hacking is a noble pursuit — it's what tinkerers do to create cool new machines and innovate. But the media is obsessed with using the word "hacker" interchangeably with "criminal." That's why IEEE Spectrum magazine has created this helpful chart (click to enlarge), in which they try to separate out the good hacks from the bad. See if you can guess which ones are good and which are bad . . . answers are on the interactive chart at IEEE, where you can check the boxes to show only good hacks, bad ones, or neutral. More »

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