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Comment: I worked on the ConnectedDrive system (Score 4, Interesting) 83

While I do not work for BMW directly, the company I work for does do projects for BMW. One of the projects I worked on was the iOS app which is part of this ConnectedDrive system.

To be precise, for the 'old' version of the app (My BMW Remote App) for non-i models we started off with this black box library (CD lib) which handled all the communication with the BMW servers.

While I didn't do any protocol analysis or looked at the communication between car and servers, even for this iOS app it was pretty clear to me and my colleagues what the security implications would be if someone were to be able to obtain log-in data just for that part of the communication.

Depending on the market (America, Europe, Japan, etc.) there are some limitations to what one can do with the app (based on the type of account, IIRC), such as from what range one can see where the car is on a map and whether one can unlock doors with the app or not (not allowed in the US market, from what I recall). Where these limitations are enforced I'm not sure. It might be based on the server, in which case this hack would bypass such limitations as well.

At any rate, this security leak does demonstrate quite succinctly how important it is to properly security audit such systems before releasing it into the wild. Even for the current project I do for BMW (related to the headunits), having an active internet connection means that security is essential, including plugging buffer overruns and similar.

Nobody wants to have one's headunit go blank during navigation, in a constant reset cycle or be turned into a spying device, after all :)

Note that I'm still under NDA for all of these projects, so I can't go into much detail.

Comment: Human Intelligence (Score 2) 68

by Elledan (#48441045) Attached to: Upgrading the Turing Test: Lovelace 2.0
All I can think of while reading up on the Turing and related tests is how many humans would fail such a test.

With the many assumptions made about what constitutes 'true' intelligence, how sure are we of the assumption that a human being of at least average intelligence would pass it? What's the research telling us there so far?

Or are human and artificial intelligence somehow considered to be mutually exclusive?

Comment: Amazing progress... (Score 4, Informative) 120

by Elledan (#48061833) Attached to: First Birth From Human Womb Transplant
Amazing progress, but it would be nice if the attitude within the medical scientific community to for example intersex-born individuals wasn't still stuck somewhere in the 19th century. Progress is relative.

How many people here actually know what intersex is? I didn't know it existed (among humans at least) or what it was called until I was 21 and I was born intersex (hermaphrodite).

Don't get me wrong, it's great that these women born without certain reproductive organs are getting them transplanted, but on the other side doctors are also chopping up the genitals of intersex infants and manipulating intersex adults like yours truly into 'normalization' surgeries.

Heck, after consulting dozens of 'experts' in about a dozen countries I honestly couldn't tell you which reproductive and related organs I do or don't have exactly. I also meet so many others who had to discover as a teenager or adult that their parents and medical file have withheld details about surgery being performed on them as an infant.

So yes, happy news for some, but just a bitter feeling for many others who had the misfortune of not being born a 'normal' male or female even one missing some bits...

Excuse the brief rant :)

Comment: Re:Only 4 displays, sticking to AMD. (Score 2) 125

by Elledan (#47954043) Attached to: NVIDIA Launches Maxwell-Based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 GPUs
Not true, each DisplayPort 1.2 output on a GTX 980 card can drive up to two monitors daisy-chained, so with a single GTX 980 you could have up to 6 displays with DisplayPort alone, more if the other outputs are independently driven (haven't checked into this yet).

+ - Solar plant sets birds on fire as they fly overhead->

Submitted by Elledan
Elledan (582730) writes "Federal investigators in California have requested that BrightSource — owner of thermal solar plants — halt the construction of more, even bigger plants until the impact of these plants on wildlife has been further investigated. The BrightSource solar plant in the Mojave Desert which was investigated reportedly kills between 1,000 and 28,000 birds a year with the concentrated solar energy from its 300,000 mirrors, charring and incinerating feathers of passing birds. This isn't the first report of negative environmental impact by this type of solar plant either."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Erm, not so much. (Score 2) 142

by Elledan (#47686021) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry
True, the US kinda switched to natural gas and are now shipping coal to Europe :) Here in Germany we got 26 new coal plants built or under construction in the past few years alone.

So the problem in the end is largely a logistics problem which should become less of an issue if more nuclear plants were being built due to the parts becoming less specialized. That's good to know, I guess :)

Comment: Just red tape? (Score 1, Interesting) 142

by Elledan (#47685819) Attached to: Delays For SC Nuclear Plant Put Pressure On the Industry
It always amazes me to hear about cost overruns and delays with new nuclear plants considering that in essence they're little more complex than coal plants, which keep popping up everywhere without any apparent issues.

So, is it just the red tape causing delays, or is it something else which make a nuclear plants so much more complex than a coal or gas plant?

Comment: Re:Nuclear is no good match for variable renewable (Score 1) 409

30-100% load cycling, according to Wikipedia:

Also this link:

Much depends on the exact reactor type, but for Gen II PWR/BWR reactors and up load-following is most definitely a realistic proposition. As the second link notes, German reactors were forced to switch to load-following mode due to the disruptions on the grid caused by the large-scale unbuffered PV solar and wind turbine fluctuations on the grid.

Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just makes the manuals thicker.