Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communications Tech Will Be Mandatory, say Feds

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) will soon propose rules for vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communications on U.S. roads, it announced yesterday. The agency is now finalizing a report on a 2012 trial with almost 3000 cars in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and will follow that report with draft rules that would “require V2V devices in new vehicles in a future year.”

Read the rest of this post in IEEE Spectrum’s Tech Talk blog: [html] [pdf]

Supernova erupts in nearby galaxy


UCL/University of London Observatory/Steve Fossey/Ben Cooke/Guy Pollack/Matthew Wilde/Thomas Wright

Last night, light from a new supernova reached astronomers on Earth. Its origin: the nearby galaxy M82, some 3.5 megaparsecs away (11.4 million light years). It is one of the closest and brightest supernovae seen from Earth since a monster exploded in 1987 just 168,000 light years away. Astronomers say that the latest supernova is of the type 1a class, and may help reveal how such supernovae form. Moreover, because these supernovae are used as cosmic measuring sticks, understanding them better may help clarify the shape of the Universe.

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Millionaire’s gift to San Diego

homecoverBusinessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford committed $100 million this November to create a stem cell center at the University of California in San Diego (UCSD). The Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center will be directed by Lawrence Goldstein, who already directs UCSD’s stem cell research and the existing Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine. “The goal is very straightforward,” Goldstein says, “and that is to accelerate the development of stem cell–based therapies for patients with intractable diseases.” As San Diego already has many stem cell research institutions, Goldstein says the new center will seek to provide a “shared pipeline” to help those institutions identify therapeutic candidates for human trials. The center will also include a counseling component to advise patients on emerging therapies. One important investment will be in staff to guide researchers through the “regulatory gauntlet.” Stem cell biologist Chad Cowan, a program director principal faculty at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts, welcomes the regulatory support: “I think it’s a smart move on Larry’s part to consider investing some of the funds in the people who will actually educate the FDA [US Food and Drug Administration] to help pave the way for their translational trials.” The gift, he says, “has the opportunity to put San Diego on the map, sort of the way the Broad Institute has for [Boston].”

First published in Nature Biotechnology [html] [pdf]

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