Here are five stories from around the Web that I recommend reading.
1. How Google’s self-driving car handles city streets. Eric Jaffe had the pleasure to cruise around the streets of Mountain View, Calif. Via the Atlantic:
We go through a yellow light, the car having calculated in a fraction of a second that stopping would have been more dangerous. We push past a nearby car waiting to merge into our lane, because our vehicle’s computer knows we have the right-of-way. We change into the right lane for a seemingly pointless reason until, a minute later, the car signals a right turn. We go the exact speed limit because maps the car consults tell it this road’s exact speed limit. The car identifies orange cones in the shoulder and we drift laterally in our lane, to give any road workers more space.
The car can even detect hand signals from cyclists who are about to change lanes and adjust accordingly. See the software that powers it here:
2. Mosquito Week. We fear sharks, but mosquitos can be much more dangerous as they spread malaria. Bill Gates explains:
Sharks kill fewer than a dozen people every year and in the U.S. they get a week dedicated to them on TV every year. Mosquitoes kill 50,000 times as many people, but if there’s a TV channel that features Mosquito Week, I haven’t heard about it. That’s why we’re having Mosquito Week on the Gates Notes.
3. A knitting class for prisoners. Via The Washington Post’s Michael Livingston II:
At Dorsey Run Correctional Facility in Jessup, Md., one of the most popular recreational programs is a weekly Thursday afternoon knitting class created by [Lynn] Zwerling, 69, designed to teach more than two dozen inmates discipline, empathy, patience and a professional work ethic through the slow, quiet practice of turning balls of yarn into colorful creations.
4. How a government agency can be more innovative. Bryan Sivak explains to The Washington Post’s Steven Overly:
“The ultimate goal of what we’re trying to do is create a more modern and effective government. When you look across [Health and Human Services], we have approximately 90,000 full-time employees and then contractors. These people are highly intelligent and motivated for the right reasons, but in many cases the bureaucracy prevents them from executing on things in innovative and modern ways.”
5. Sharing cups at your coffee shop. Via Fast Company:
A team of social good entrepreneurs launched a cup-sharing pilot program in DUMBO, a cute and highly expensive cobblestone neighborhood in Brooklyn. The DO School, a 10-week international social good program, partnered with the Brooklyn Roasting Company to roll out 500 ceramic cup-share mugs. Instead of buying a disposable cup each day, coffee-drinkers have been picking up their bright blue mugs from the Brooklyn Roasting Company and returning used ones to be washed and sanitized the following day.