Autonomous Cars in Alabama – Are we ready?

Remember Herbie? Rehosted from

Look at nearly any science fiction show since Herbie and you’ll see cars that drive themselves.  If you buy certain models, today your car can even park itself.  But we’re a long way off from being able to call our cars on the phone and have them pick us up, according to Dr. Abidin Yildirim, Director of UAB’s Signal Processing and Embedded Systems Laboratory.  Dr. Yildirim and his laboratory work on the most important part of any autonomous car: the programming that allows a car to interpret and react to its surroundings.  I interviewed Dr. Yildirim and visited his lab to learn more about what is being pushed as the future of transportation.

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Making AirWaves: Good People hosting 6th annual Riverkeeper benefit

From last year’s AirWave festival, via

The AirWave Festival is back! The festival, scheduled for Saturday, March 25, to benefit local riverkeeper organizations Black Warrior , Coosa, and Cahaba Riverkeeper is hosted again this year by Good People Brewing Company. Continue reading “Making AirWaves: Good People hosting 6th annual Riverkeeper benefit”

Ten events to try and see next week

If you only have time (or cash) for ten events next week, have I got a list for you!  That’s right, it’s a top ten, for events coming next week!  I try to include youtube links to music when I can, so don’t click things if you’re at work and aren’t using headphones.  In the spirit of different strokes for different folks and not actually having seen them yet, I’m not going to rank any of these.

Amos Lee.  Source:

Amos Lee – Playing at the Alabama Theatre Feb 28th, doors open 7.30PM.  Read more

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Proton, anti-cancer: UAB building new radiation treatment center

A current proton therapy machine. Source:

UAB is installing a new and improved form of cancer treatment – proton therapy. Proton therapy is generally described as x-ray radiation therapy, but better: it’s more precise and less damaging to healthy tissue than its more common counterpart.

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BhamOS: science fiction comes to life in the magic city

Totally, 100% accurate depiction of a smart city. Definitely not Tron promo art.

The idea of “smart cities” has been around even longer people have been using “smart” as a synonym for “connected.”  All through popular media, the “grid” is becoming aware of its residents, helping them get to work faster, safer, and less stressfully.  Sure, there are those inconvenient robot uprisings and security exploits, but those are all just plot points, right?

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Coming up this week…

So I’ve noticed there hasn’t been an “upcoming events” post in a while – we seem to be focusing on single events.  And to top it all off, birmingham365 is giving me an error page on my laptop.  So I’ll do it myself!  Coming up this week in Birmingham (keep in mind that none of the artist links should be considered worksafe unless your job is to listen to music)…

Chief Keef forgetting you can’t call people on your money –

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Friday night fracking: Energen expects to expand

Energen Plaza in Birmingham (yeah, it’s that building!) Rehosted from Flickr

You’d be forgiven for not knowing what Energen is.  The Birmingham-based oil drilling company doesn’t exactly show off.  But today, the “exploration and production” company announced a plan to significantly expand their American drilling operations in a conference call with slides available here.

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Can You Make Money with Airbnb in Birmingham?

Perhaps you’ve heard of Airbnb.  Maybe it’s been positive, maybe it’s been controversial, and maybe you’ve used it yourself, but the odds are pretty high that you haven’t used it in Birmingham, AL.

Airbnb is available all over the world, but centers on places people visit.  Who knew!  Source:

The idea of renting a place to stay from someplace cheaper than a hotel (and probably more likely to let you use a kitchen) is attractive, and home sharing has been around probably since there were homes: the Greeks felt a duty to let travelers stay in their homes for the night, and some of us are familiar with the time-honored tradition of couch-surfing.  The internet, and especially Craigslist, made all that easier.  But today, home-sharing has gone commercial, interactive, and centralized, thanks to our new obsession with the “gig economy.”

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Followup: CrossPlex Village isn’t all fun and games

Jefferson County Millennial Democrats’ Facebook profile banner

Yesterday morning, I wrote about the City Council’s approval of a proposed CrossPlex Village near Five Points West.

Yesterday afternoon, I was able to get in contact with the most visible voice of dissent: the Jefferson County Millennial Democrats.

Speaking with their treasurer, Emma Colburn, I was able to get a more in-depth analysis of why they object to the development approval.

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Historic tax credit could make historic comeback

If Alabama senators Jabo Waggoner (R-Vestavia Hills) and Del Marsh (R-Anniston) have their way, renovating Alabama’s historic buildings is going to get a lot cheaper. The Historical Rehabilitation Tax Credit expired in 2016, and these two state senators are re-introducing the credit this legislative session.

The Lyric Theatre benefited from the original historical renovation tax credit, which expired in 2016

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Birmingham could go bananas for bike lanes

Birmingham has long been familiar with road cycling groups, and academically, I think everyone understands the positive benefits of getting outside and moving around. However, many roadworthy bikes can be a hefty investment of time, money, or both. With  Zyp’s bike-sharing program, however, Birmingham could see a lot more cyclists on the road.

An army of bicycles… is it the future?

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