It’s Hurricane Season: Do You Know Where Your Storm Is?

Souped-up satellites, supercomputers, and superior science might soon mean you really can trust the weather report

16 min read
Photo: Joe Skipper/Reuters/Landov
Photo: Joe Skipper/Reuters/Landov

It was the evening of 26 August 2005, and Hurricane Katrina was barreling toward the Gulf Coast of the United States. Weather models were predicting that the center of the huge and devastating hurricane would slam directly into New Orleans in two and a half days. But New Orleans officials, perhaps recalling false warnings in the past, didn’t order a mandatory evacuation until the morning of 28 August—too late to do much good. The prediction was just 50 kilometers and a few hours off target. It is now painfully clear that an evacuation order ought to have come a lot sooner.

It was an all-too-rare example of a forecasting bull’s-eye. Just a month later, the two- to three-day forecast of Hurricane Rita’s path showed the storm hitting Houston; hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, or at least tried to, but it missed the city entirely. An accurate forecast of Rita’s path would have prevented an enormous amount of disruption and even death—a bus accident during the evacuation killed 23 people.

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AI Matches Doctors in Screening  for Tuberculosis

TB is the second-leading cause of death by an infectious disease, behind only COVID-19

4 min read
image of chest x-ray
Getty Images

A killer could be stopped cold—or at least be limited in its deadly toll—thanks to AI.

Apart from COVID-19, tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death by an infectious disease worldwide, despite being largely preventable and treatable. While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using chest X-rays to help identify likely cases of TB, many health-care centers lack adequate radiologists to interpret these X-rays. In a study published on 6 September in the journal Radiology, researchers at Google along with colleagues from India, South Africa, and Zambia showed that their deep-learning algorithm could identify cases of TB from chest X-rays as well as radiologists could.

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Video Friday: Humans Helping Robots

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
A photo of a human with two white robotic arms strapped to their arms

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

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