The rumors were true: Microsoft is buying Minecraft developer Mojang for $2.5 billion. Crazy, right? That’s not all that happened today though. Go ahead and spice up your Monday with Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours. You know you want to.
As with any populous country that’s experienced a shift in demographics over the past century or so, Japan is littered with abandoned locations devoid of human population – a phenomena known as “haikyo”. Urban exploration involves actively seeking out and documenting these places in photographs and videos for all to see. Enthusiasts risk personal safety and being caught by authorities to bring the rest of us some amazing sites. Here are some highlights from Japan, home to some of the oddest abandoned locations. Abandonment In Japan The word “haikyo” means literally “ruins” in Japanese, though it has become synonymous with a pastime that we more commonly refer to…
Apparently, Google has always known that the California DMV wouldn’t allow it to test self-driving cars on the road unless they have manual controls and a backup driver onboard. The company has just revealed in a new Google+ post that its latest prototypes (designed to live without the now-vestigial controls) can accommodate temporary steering wheels and controls, as seen above. Once testing’s done, folks working on the self-driving car division can easily remove the steering wheel and any manual control they’ve had to add. Convenient, right?
Some of that prototype testing will take place at Moffett Field, home to NASA’s Ames Research Center. Unlike its California-bound cars, though, those slated to hit the federal property’s roads don’t need to have manual controls at all. According to Google, its private test track simulates traffic lights, construction zones and even wobbly cyclists to create a busy street environment. In fact, a month or two after their initial testing (that’s slated to begin three to six months from now), the prototypes don’t even need to have backup drivers onboard. Google started leasing Hangar One and its surrounding air field at Moffett earlier this year, so it’ll at least have a ton of parking space for its diminutive, cartoon-like vehicles.
These photographs by Rebecca Litchfield make it seem as if the apocalypse has come and gone and the world is in complete ruins. Not quite. They’re actually photographs of countries and places that were a part of the former Soviet Union. The forgotten decay is haunting.
It’s a world that few of us have ever seen. Litchfield writes:
I travelled to 10 countries in Eastern Europe, The Baltic’s, Ukraine and of course Russia to capture what is left from the collapse of the Soviet Union such as forgotten towns, factories, prisons, schools, monuments, hospitals, theatres, military complexes, asylums & death camps across the former communist countries and occupied satellite states. I even came across a Soviet submarine in the UK.
My aim with the book was to capture the crumbling empire of the former Soviet Union, before it is gone completely. The title Soviet Ghost comes from the ghosts and stories that are left behind after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The former USSR was once a living, breathing place, but with the fall of a Communism, places now lie’s derelict, uninhabited, broken shells of a forgotten time. The collapse of the Soviet Union left haunting memories of ordinary people who once lived and worked there.
You can read more about her experience in photographing the former USSR here and buy her book ‘Soviet Ghosts’ on Amazon here.
Rebecca Litchfield is a photographer based in London. She loves photographing abandoned buildings, dark tourist sites and travel photography.
A study [PDF] published in a journal of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence found that sites that have a "downvote" button to punish bad comments lock the downvoted users into spirals of ever-more-prolific, ever-lower-quality posting due to a perception of having been martyred by the downvoters. Read the rest