Drug driving suit mimics taking the wheel stoned

2015-11-26 23:10:30

A simulation suit that mimics the effects on wearer's reactions of taking illegal substances has been developed by scientists to show young drivers the dangers of getting behind the wheel while intoxicated by drugs.Scientists from the Meyer-Hentschel Institute in Germany, in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, created the suit to simulate some of the effects of drugs, such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin, and MDMA (Ecstasy); in particular slower reaction time, distorted vision, hand tremors and poor co-ordination.A kinetic device in the suit's gloves produces a tremor akin to that caused by some illicit drugs. Random flashing lights in the goggles' peripheral area, allied to hallucinogenic-type sounds in the headphones, combine to disorientate drivers. In tests even professional drivers were badly affected, failing to perform simple tasks such as driving in between cones."The suit's made of a number of different elements," Ford vehicle safety manager Paul Fay told Reuters. "So there are pads that go on the elbows and knees, which stiffen the joint and slow down reaction times. In addition to that there are large heavy weights placed on the ankles and wrists. These have a big effect on co-ordination and balance. On one hand there's a device that produces a tremor and affects motor skills, and the key thing is the addition of the goggles which produce tunnel vision, with visual distortions, and random flashing lights, and finally headphones which provide audible disturbances with random noises which are very distracting when you are trying to drive.""We start with very heavy ankle weight, then you've got knee padding, knee restraints, restricting movement," added Ford spokesperson Charlotte Ward. "We've then got two wrist weights, elbow restrictions, the tremor glove, neck brace to again restrict movement, the goggles which distort the vision and with the flashing lights can help create this kind of tunnel vision effects and then we've got the headphones playing this sort of horrible noise." The experience will be incorporated into Ford Driving Skills for Life DSFL), the automakers' young driver program that provides training to people around the world through hands-on and online tuition. Young drivers will be given the opportunity to wear the suit while driving on a closed course. "The suit is designed not to produce the sensation of being on drugs, but to reproduce the side effects which may have a dangerous effect on your driving," said Fay.The suit is a variation on the Drink Driving Suit that the automakers incorporated into their training last year.Fay said the company wants to provide hands-on education to young people about the effects of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, even when they might believe they feel fine. "A lot of the skills that they need for driving - co-ordination, good eyesight, good visual acuity, being able to be free from the distractions of things that are happening on the road to be able to operate and control the vehicle. All of those deteriorate, response times are slower, co-ordination is poorer," he said.A 2013 survey by the US's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that around 18 percent of the country's motor vehicle driver deaths involved non-alcoholic drugs other than alcohol. Their study showed that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs that impair driving. Fay says it is too early to draw major conclusions from the success of the suit in changing young people's perceptions, as the project has only just been launched, but said those who have tried it out for themselves were "all surprised. Obviously it's been launched as part of Driving Skills for Life program, so we haven't a huge amount of experience with it but I think everyone who puts it on says I didn't expect the effects to be so marked and I guess when you take the suit out of context of people actually being high on drugs and saying this is the effects it would have, if they were taking drugs they may not notice that their performance was being affected in this way, so it's a real eye opener for them that this could seriously affect what they're doing and how they're driving." Ford works alongside leading safety organizations in 11 European countries, including France, Germany, Spain, and Russia. In addition to its range of driving suits, Ford has also developed training that highlights the dangers of social media activity at the wheel.

Second Russian warplane pilot 'alive and well' in Syria after being rescued

2015-11-25 12:47:33

A Russian military pilot whose plane was shot down by Turkey and crashed in Syria arrived on Wednesday at an air base in Latakia province after being rescued by a Syrian army commando unit, Syrian and Russian officials said. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian news agencies that the man was rescued in a 12-hour operation which ended in the early hours on Wednesday and is now "safe and sound" at Russia's air base in the government-controlled area in Syria. See also: Maps from Russia and Turkey tell very different stories about the downed jet Turkey shot down the Russian warplane on Tuesday, saying it ignored repeated warnings after crossing into its airspace from Syria. One of the two pilots was killed and captured by Syrian rebels who said they were searching for the other. The incident inflamed tensions between Turkey and Russia, and Russian President Vladimir Putin warned of "significant consequences." A statement from the Syrian armed forces on Wednesday said a special unit carried out overnight a "qualitative" operation with the Russian forces and rescued one of the two pilots. Russian President Vladimir Putin also confirmed a second pilot has been rescued. In a statement carried by Syria's official news agency SANA, the army said the Syrian and Russian forces penetrated into the areas where "terrorists" are entrenched at a depth of 4.5 kilometers and rescued the pilot. It said he is in "good health." Screenshot from a video by Turkey's Anadolu Agency that allegedly shows the Russian fighter plane as it was shot down Tuesday.Image: Anadolu AgencyRussia's ambassador to France also said that the second pilot is in the hands of the Syrian army. Ambassador Alexander Orlov said on Europe-1 radio that one of the pilots was wounded, then killed on the ground by "jihadists." He said the other "managed to escape and be rescued by the Syrian army." He didn't elaborate. Orlov accused Turkey of being an "accomplice" of Islamic State extremists and playing an ambiguous role in Syria's civil war. However he played down concerns of escalation of violence among the international players involved in Syria. Protest outside the #Turkish embassy in #Moscow following downing of the #SU24 fighter plane. Eggs thrown, windows broken — Sarah Rainsford (@sarahrainsford) November 25, 2015 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday that his country does not wish to escalate tensions with Russia over the downing of the plane. Speaking at an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation economy meeting in Istanbul, Erdogan said that Turkey favors "peace, dialogue and diplomacy." Erdogan however defended his country's move to shoot down the plane saying: "''no one should expect Turkey to stay silent to border violations or the violation of its rights." Turkey shot down a Russian warplane on Tuesday that it said ignored repeated warnings and crossed into its airspace from Syria. Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments. window._msla=window.loadScriptAsync||function(src,id){if(document.getElementById(id))return;var js=document.createElement('script');js.id=id;js.src=src;document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0].parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}; _msla("//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js","twitter_jssdk");

Amazon founder Bezos’ rocket company passes landing test

2015-11-24 19:28:36

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Tuesday his space transportation company, Blue Origin, plans about two more years of test flights before it will offer rides to passengers.On Monday, Blue Origin successfully landed a suborbital rocket back at its launch site, a key step in its drive to make reusable rockets, the company said. “This flight retired a lot of risk and validated of lot of the elements of the design,” Bezos, who founded Amazon.com Inc and owns the Washington Post newspaper, said in an interview. Being able to refly a rocket will slash launch costs, a game-changer for the space industry, Bezos said. “When you lower the cost of access to space very significantly you will change the markets, you will change what’s possible,” he said. About two more years of test flights are planned before people will ride on the New Shepard spacecraft, Bezos said. The vehicles are designed to carry six passengers about 62 miles (100 km) above Earth, breaching the boundary between the atmosphere and space. “We’ll enter into commercial operations when we’re ready. In my view, if you can think of another test to do, you do it,” Bezos said. A New Shepard rocket blasted off from Blue Origin’s West Texas launch site at 12:21 p.m. CST (1821 GMT) on Monday, reached a suborbital altitude of 62 miles (100 km) and landed back at the launch site eight minutes later. In suborbital spaceflight, rockets are not traveling fast enough to reach the speed required to counter the pull of Earth's gravity, so they re-enter the atmosphere like a ballistic missile. Another New Shepard rocket failed its first landing attempt in April due to a hydraulic system problem. The redesigned system now includes a backup second pump. Attempts by fellow billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk's rival rocket company, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), to return the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket have been unsuccessful so far. Blue Origin also is developing a rocket engine in partnership with United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, to replace Russian-made RD-180 engines used on ULA’s Atlas 5 boosters. Congress last year banned the use of the RD-180 engines for military missions to punish Russia for its annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine.(This version of the story has been refiled to add dropped words, "said in an interview," in third paragraph) (Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

Wal-Mart pulls Cyber Monday forward to Sunday, record industry sales expected

2015-11-23 15:06:39

Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N) has decided that Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, should not start on a Monday anymore.The world's largest retailer by revenue will, for the first time this year, launch all its Cyber Monday deals on the Sunday after Thanksgiving rather than the early hours of Monday morning as in previous years.Cyber Monday's origins trace back more than a decade when people started using the high-speed Internet access at their workplaces to purchase things they saw but did not buy during trips to the shopping mall over the weekend after U.S. Thanksgiving, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November.Now, with Internet access readily available, the logic of limiting the event to a weekday no longer holds, said Fernando Madeira, chief executive of Walmart.com. "The customers have changed but Cyber Monday hasn’t changed with them," Madeira told Reuters. "Now everyone has Internet."Wal-Mart had a handful of 'teaser' deals on Sunday last year but this is the first time it will offer all of its Cyber Monday promotions the day before. It will launch 2,000 online-only specials at 8 p.m. Eastern U.S. time on Sunday, Nov. 29 (0100 GMT on Monday, Nov. 30), up from 500 such deals last year. The move shows how retailers are looking to stretch what were once single-day shopping events in a bid to capture demand. A number of retailers are promoting deals for 'Black Friday' - the day after Thanksgiving and traditionally one of the busiest shopping days - weeks in advance.The early Cyber Monday start also comes as retailers wage a bruising battle for online demand with Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), which is several times larger than Wal-Mart in e-commerce sales and is growing at a faster rate. Industry-wide Cyber Monday sales in the U.S. will likely reach $3 billion for the first time in 2015, up 12 percent from last year, according to projections by Adobe. While Cyber Monday is expected to remain the biggest single day in terms of online revenue, Black Friday is expected to close the gap, with sales expected to rise 15 percent to $2.7 billion, Adobe said. (Reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Bill Rigby)

Adele's soul soars during 'When We Were Young' performance on 'SNL'

2015-11-22 16:59:44

Excuse us as we attempt to write through the tears... Needless to say, Adele absolutely slayed her performance of "When We Were Young" on Saturday Night Live, marking her first live American TV performance since her 2013 Oscars performance. See also: Adele goes undercover as Adele impersonator, pranks actual Adele impersonators The British singer's album, "25," dropped Friday and has already soared to the top of the charts.

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