The Mountain View resident had a rough start in the quarterfinals round when he quickly found himself in the red with negative $200 in a category that challenged the contestants to sort out anagrams. After a commercial break, he gained momentum by correctly answering questions under the "In the Principal's Desk" category, where the contestants were given clues to items typically confiscated from students.
Crowell shone the competition when he correctly answered all five questions about NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, the final category question being a video Daily Double where his $2,000 wager boosted him to $7,000.
In the second round, he showed off his knowledge about Central America, correctly identifying bananas and coffee as the region's most important fair trade crops in yet another Daily Double that raised his earnings to $11,200. Crowell showed off his chops in the classics category, where he secured his third Daily Double that asked for the book containing this Plato quote: "Democracy passes into despotism." (Answer: "The Republic.")
He incorrectly answered the Final Jeopardy question: "As a teacher, this woman regained her sight thanks to 2 surgeries in 1881 and 1882." Another competitor responded with the correct answer, Annie Sullivan, whereas Crowell wrote the name of Sullivan's well-known student Helen Keller. His $100 wager left him with $15,500 — enough to help his advance to next week' semifinals and a step closer to winning $100,000.
No word on Waymo 'ghost cars'
Waymo executives plugged their hardware, computer systems and safety standards at a Wednesday press event — but the self-driving car company is still mute on when driverless testing will actually launch in the Bay Area.
Ever since last October, Waymo officials have had permission to begin a new stage of autonomous testing, with authorization to send out about 60 driverless vehicles onto the streets of Mountain View, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale and Los Altos.
Up to this point, Waymo vehicles have always had a driver behind the wheel ready to take control if needed, but this new phase would allow the vehicles to navigate the city with no one on board. News of the coming "ghost cars" have excited some, and alarmed others.
Waymo has held off on launching this new test phase. The company has given no indication of when it would be ready to launch.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, May 8, Waymo Chief Technology Officer Dmitri Dolgov remained tight-lipped about the company's plans. He said Waymo was getting ample data from its testing in the greater Phoenix area of Arizona. He declined to give any time frame for when driverless vehicles could make a debut in the Mountain View area.
"I don't want to throw out any concrete date, our deployment will be gated by the safety," he said.
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