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Reading Roundup: Truck Platoons, Cheek Vaccines, Wikileaks, Sotomayor

March 10, 2017
by Sarah Elizabeth Adler

Self-Driving Technology Trucks Along

self-driving truck / UC Berkeley

Equipped with special antennae and cabin hardware, three self-driving big rigs recently completed a 12-mile test run along Interstate 110. The “truck platoon” was the result of collaboration between Volvo and researchers from UC Berkeley’s Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology. Though self-driving cars still have a ways to travel before they are consumer-ready, the trucking technology is earning thumbs-ups from researchers and industry experts alike.

Using what’s called “cooperative adaptive cruise control,” the heavy trucks drive tightly together, responding to one another and their surroundings with computerized sensors, saving fuel and releasing fewer emissions. Well-plotted trips would also ease congestion, experts believe. 

Read more at the Long Beach Press Telegram.

Attention Needle Phobes: Cal is on the Case

MucoJet / UC Berkeley

Painless vaccines just might be the dream for all kids and needle phobics out there, and proof-of-concept tests conducted at UC Berkeley have demonstrated that a needle-free vaccine may someday be a reality. Berkeley postdoc Kiana Aran led the researchers in developing the “MucoJet” capsule, which uses a high-pressure spray to deliver vaccines into the cheek and reach underlying tissues.

Unlike injected vaccines, administering this “microjet vaccination” requires no particular skill. The researchers also contend that the capsule-shaped device, which they call MucoJet, triggers unique immune responses that neither oral nor injected vaccines can produce. 

Read more at Science Magazine»

Time to Dump Data Dump Alarmism?

WikiLeaks on Tuesday released thousands of documents alleged to document CIA cyber-espionage activities—including malware that could be used to hack Samsung smart TVs or to bypass the encryption used by secure messaging platforms like Signal. While the leak has stoked considerable fear for some, UC Berkeley computer scientist Nicholas Weaver says that reactions may be overblown. As he told NPR:

“The real story on encryption is not, ‘Oh my God the CIA breaks encryption,’ but that encryption is so good that the CIA has to risk $1.5 million assets to compromise a target’s iPhone if they want to read his messages,” [Weaver] says, noting the high price of developing smartphone-infiltrating techniques.

 Read more at NPR»

Testify, Judge Sotomayor

On Thursday, Supreme Court Judge Sonia Sotomayor talked to UC Berkeley Law students about poor people’s lack of access to the court system and her bumpy road to the nations’s highest court, among other things. 

“We don’t have enough lawyers volunteering their time to serve the need,” she said. “We have an imperfect criminal justice system. What some states pay criminal defenders is almost criminal in itself — some states barely above the minimum wage.”

Read more at SFGate»

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