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Comment alternative hypothesis (Score 1) 141

Despite my claim that it may have been an accident of optimization I do have an alternative theory. I imagine that the VW designers got up against a deadline. Perhaps the above referenced possibility of an optimization error had actually led them down the wrong track to a point were it was too late, things were tooled, people trained etc... Have to forge ahead. So plan B becomes, well let's fake it to buy some time to build the right engine. they already know how to fake it since they had managed to fool themsleves. So they go big, boast of clean deisel and then try to make the engine achieves that. When they find they can't they have a problem. If they put in the new engine it would be clearly worse than the old engine and that would bring scrutiny. And for some reason they figure, well no one noticed to maybe we can just keep pushing this out longer till the next round of emission laws gives us cover for a change of engine.

Comment The mantra of optimization (Score 1) 141

The mantra of optimization is you get what you optimize for. It's amazing how that seemingly innocuous phrase is something every person doing optimization has at some point been bitten in the ass by at least twice. Once when you do something stupid as you are learning and once later when the optimization produces some completely perplexing result leaving you in awe of the power of that mantra.

There was likely no conspiracy precisely because of the difficulty of maintaining the conspiracy at this scale. A much simpler explanation is that they had the system train itself. There's no reason to leave out certain features in the input vector so all the sensors go in. The car learns that when there's no frequent steering input and the cost function is dominated by emissions then you minimize the emissions. And later on the test track, where there is no emissions term in the cost function, the car learns to anticipate accelerations when there is steering input, so the cost function optimizes for performance and fuel economy not emissions. and so on.

One can see how this could happen so easily. And even if one group thought about it they didn't control the whole cost function and were exploring one part of it. Component manufacturers might notice this too but assume it's fixed in the full system. indeed one report said that there was some internal review of some odd issues.

But if you aren't expecting this and you are relying on the model training to integrate many different team testing one can see how this could accumulate.

It's also easy to see how this could even be seen and not noticed. For example, shutting down emission controls and air conditioning and other things is completely the norm in perfromance tuning. When you stomp on your accelerator the clutch in your Air conditioner disengages to give more power. THe exhaust gas recrculator shuts off. You want those things to happen, just as you want the turbo to kick in before you need it and to kick out when it won't be needed. Thus cars that anticipate these changes rather than wait for then feel much more responsive yet can get much better emissions and fuel milage.

But one can see that these traits could accidentally "cheat" when ever two different optimization features come into conflict.

Comment Some of us still dream in perl (Score 1) 160

I get so frustrated with people always having to analyze their datasets in some "app" and having a hell of a time sorting data in some special way, computing non-canned statistics in R, or just all the other ad hoc things that happen daily that the app maker never could have anticiapted. For sysadmin tasks a well tested perl script is so much more visible about what is happening than an app. I like flat files instead of data bases for the same reason. But I can see the virtue in these--keeps things nice and neat- just not very visible and hard to port or provision without some other app tha tknows how to do it.

Comment Won't buy from Motorola or Verizon again! (Score 4, Interesting) 123

How do I inform Verizon and Motorola that I won't buy an android phone from them EVER AGAIN until they start supporting their products with security patches?

My phone STILL hasn't been patched from the first stagefright vulnerability. I've disabled functionality on the phone in order to protect it.

I'm downright upset about the lack of security fixes from Motorola/Verizon.

Seriously, how do I let those two corporations know in an effective way that they'll NEVER get another phone purchase from me until they've changed their do-nothing security practices? Not one penny!

Comment Re:Is the NYT Racist? (Score 0) 225

Trump will not solve the problem but not for a second for the reasons that you believe. The problem with Trump is that he promises easy solutions to everybody and that is pie in the sky.

However there is nothing 'unregulated' about accumulation of wealth and power, unless you consider all the government intervention into the free market economy being 'unregulated'.

The only sane economy is economy based on actual free market capitalism, anarcho capitalism, unregulated (as in no government intervention) free market. We do not have that, we have gigantic, out of control governments, deciding price of everything, taxing every form of income and wealth, licensing every form of business activity, preventing savings from being accrued with extremely high inflation generated by government and pseudo-government structures.

I see both, Trump and Sanders being potential HITLER (here we go) characters. Except that I don't think Trump actually believes the crap that he is espousing, which makes Sanders much more dangerous. Collectivism (socialism, communism, Stalinism, Leninism, Marxism, Nazism) murdered hundreds of millions of free individuals, destroyed countless amounts of wealth. How many more hundreds of millions, how much more of the economic potential has to be destroyed?

Comment Re:You are right for the wrong reason (Score 0) 315

I'm afraid you're *very* misinformed.

Well I'd disagree. There's lots of studies and google is your friend if you want to leard the actual fraud rates for card not present with chip and pin. One of the many loopholes is that the chip and pins from europe can easily be used in the US without a password or a pin.

Comment Re:You are right for the wrong reason (Score 2) 315

So no this isn't going to do much about fraud since card-not-present is actually goging to become the dominant mode of sales (internet). But the pin doesn't help much.

Not always true. With the heavy use of digipasses in which you insert your (European-issue) cards when you shop online, this becomes a card-is-present transaction.
The digipass validates it with an extra online handshake with the bank servers or payment processors -- and prompts for your PIN, which the CHIP on the card verifies, and generates a signature challenge, which the bank servers verify. This is card-is-present and bank-is-present-too.

My expectation is that merchants are not going limit themselves to only the few customers with a card reader. On the otherhand, they obviously could limit themselves to customers with internet so apple-pay or similar to generate a transaction token would be easy

Comment Re:apple pay and paypal versus samsung pay (Score 1) 315

Samsung Pay still provides a virtual card number, so there's some benefit to it. And it can be used now, unlike Apple/Android Pay (which may very well never have anywhere near 100% acceptance if most retailers choose to keep NFC support on their brand new terminals turned off).

Why would they turn it off?

Comment apple pay and paypal versus samsung pay (Score 1) 315

So following up my own post, notice that paypal and apple pay both have the means to verify the user of the transaction for card-not-present transactions. Other card methods like say samsung-pay are just wrappers around the card right now and emulate the old swipe system. Thus samsung pay is actually obsolete before it even happened. Chip and Pin now forces you to carry your credit card not just the credit card number. Thus you will already have the credit card in your wallet making samsung pay replace exactly nothing you would have carried anyhow. Apple pay and pay-pal don't have that problem because they can conduct secure transactions through the stores payment mechanism.

Comment You are right for the wrong reason (Score 4, Insightful) 315

Studies in europe showed that when chip and pin nearly eliminated point-of-sale (in store) fraud, that within a year or so the fraud moved to card-not-present sales (that is, the fraud occured by european cards used on the internet, phone, and also countries where the Pin network was not integrated back to europes clearinghouses like brazil, the US, and off-the-grid stores). The total amount of fraud was roughly the same as it had been (one can argue about details or if it's less than it would have been).

For in-store (card present) sales, It isn't lost cards that are the biggest problem. It's stolen card numbers being either cloned onto forged plastic. Stolen card numbers are easily transmitted faster and also can be replicated many times, which is better than the original card itself. Just having the chip there can shut this down. You don't have to have the pin. thus card+signature is just as good as chip and pin for practical purposes. The pin just shuts down people using the original stolen card which is a small slice of the problem.

So no this isn't going to do much about fraud since card-not-present is actually goging to become the dominant mode of sales (internet). But the pin doesn't help much.

Comment Re:Uber is breaking the law, period! (Score 0) 465

AFAIC it is government that is the criminal organization. Government uses guns to extort money from individuals and businesses and it is 'legal' because it is 'the law'. Licensing, taxing, none of it is voluntary, all of it is coerced under the barrel of a government's gun. Uber is breaking that 'law', sure, but it is the law and the government mafia that is criminal.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.