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Comment Re:Forfeit all revenues from sales (Score 1) 355

I find it interesting that VW are throwing their software engineers under the bus over this.

This just isn't something that a couple of developers could independently do, unless VW's oversight and change control is absurdly sloppy. It's going to require at least someone involved in the testing telling the software engineers "we have a problem, can you do something to make the car pass in the test cell" - software engineers don't just generally add code like this for fun. One would imagine there would also be code reviews and audit given that engine management system software is now a safety of life issue (think drive-by-wire throttle, which this code would likely touch).

While it's probably true that Cxx level management weren't aware of what was going on, I find it extremely hard to believe that at least some layers of management were not actively involved with this, and people auditing the software were not actively involved in this. If they weren't, and really just a couple of software guys can put code into the engine management system with anyone being the wiser then this is probably worse (and then the Cxx level people definitely carry some of the culpability for allowing such a sloppy regime in safety critical systems).

Comment Re:Maybe (Score 1) 355

Well, no. Where I live an electric car is powered by natural gas (the only generation we have here). In the UK, depending on where you lived, your electric car may be nuclear powered, gas powered, wind powered or coal powered. Coal is on the wane, being replaced by natural gas and wind. If you live in France, your electric car is nuclear powered pretty much all the time (France generates more than 100% of its power needs with nuclear, exporting the balance to neighbouring countries).

Comment Re:A remarkable number of people are idiots (Score 1) 361

I know this is off topic, but now I'm curious. Do people who are incapable of taking the test still impact the scores? Does a 100 IQ indicate the median score of the set of "successful" test takers, or of the set of "functional humans", or of the entire population of all humans?

I believe you're saying that IQ 48 is approximately the minimum required level of functionality required to successfully take the test, but there is obviously a set of people who can't achieve that. And while 48 may be the lowest point on the curve that can be measured, the continuation of the curve is still implied below that point. People below 48 will still fall along some spectrum of abilities, but they're not measurable using the current test. So there may very well be someone with an "equivalent IQ" of 14; it's just the current IQ test lacks the resolution needed to identify that person.

And I'm not saying we should expend any effort to alter the test to measure lower IQs. I doubt that would add any value to society, nor would it be likely to benefit the people who can't take the test today. Such people are already identifiable as requiring a certain level of care, and most of the disabilities at that point are so profound you probably couldn't even use the scores to predict the costs of caring for them.

Comment Re:Can Verizon Stealth cookies be spoofed? (Score 1) 81

Browser fingerprinting is where it is at, and there is -no- browser that is resistant to this.

Au contraire. Apple iPhones are as common as houseflies, and as indistinguishable. Because Apple doesn't really let their users change anything about their browser configs, all the non-jailbroken Safari browsers for a given iOS version return the same fingerprint. So if you have one of those phones, you can hide in a very large crowd.

That implies the marketplace could actually use a common browser everyone can rely on to not share these details, but erasing fingerprints also means giving up useful functionality. Will people accept a browser that doesn't display a variety of fonts because they could be tracked? Will they be happy if the web sites can't deliver a page to fit their screen size? Are we looking for a tradeoff of not being tracked that only a few thousand privacy wonks will accept?

Comment Re:Not the total cost! (Score 2) 415

You also have to include the cost to maintain the fossil fuel plants that back up the fossil fuel plants, in the fossil fuel analysis.

The UK National Grid maintains a "spinning reserve". This has to be big enough to cope with a couple of large fossil fuel or nuclear plants going offline suddenly, which does happen from time to time (and there have been blackouts when there was not enough spinning reserve when two power stations went offline - for unrelated reasons - within minutes of each other). From the point of the UK National Grid, nuclear, coal and gas are seen as "intermittent power sources". Sizewell B, one of the largest generators in the country, could go from full capacity to zero in an instant, without any warning, if a problem occurs - and suddenly you're without a terawatt of generating capacity. Wind power on the other hand doesn't suffer this problem, wind generators are small and numerous and the loss of one of them doesn't have that kind of impact since at most they are only about 2MW each. Over the period of the next hour or two, wind is also extremely predictable. The wind doesn't just unexpectedly stop blowing. Also in the UK, it tends to be windiest when power demand is highest, those dull winter days when it's doing horizontal rain and everyone's got the lights on.

Of course you still need an alternative for when the whole country is under a high pressure system and there's not much wind at all. But any power generation system alone isn't a silver bullet, that's why we don't just have solely nuclear, or solely gas, or solely coal, or solely oil - we have a mix of different fuelled generation.

Comment Re:If the black cabs have a legal monopoly... (Score 1) 215

But London has had minicabs too for years (these are cabs you can't just hail in the street, you have to phone them to get one) and these are regulated under less onerous regulations than the black cabs. What makes Uber different to any other minicab service that's currently up and running in London? Nothing really, other than you press buttons on your mobile phone's touch screen to order one, instead of talking into your mobile phone's microphone.

Comment Re: They demanded my ID and power bill (Score 1) 232

What is a "real name" in Facebook's definition, anyway? I know many people who are not known by the name printed in their passport. There's two people at the place I work who are not known by the first name their parents gave them and that is printed in their passport. I'd argue the name we know them by is still their "real name" (more so in fact) than the name printed in their passport.

In any case I'd just photoshop mine if they asked.

Comment Re:What applications? (Score 3, Interesting) 178

In other words, virtual reality. The problem with the current VR headsets like the DK2, is you have effectively a 1080p display that fills most of your field of vision, in other words, yes - you can see the pixels and they are pretty big. The screen door effect is also pretty bad. Text is very difficult to read using the Rift DK2 unless the text is very large.

Developing very high PPI displays will be a real benefit for VR headsets. Tne next crop (the Vive/SteamVR and Oculus CV1) have better resolution (IIRC it's something like 1200 pixels vertical) and probably will have much less of a screen door effect, but the resolution really needs doubling at least for a VR headset to truly feel HD.

Comment Re:Obligatory Jeff Goldblum... (Score 2) 447

The difference there is that your driving record could be based on verifiable facts taken from the public record. "You had an accident in 2013 where at trial you were found 50% at fault." "In 2012 you pled guilty to driving 75 on a 55 road when you paid your traffic ticket." This is purely random digits, assigned out of spite, fear, hate, love, admiration, or whatever. Worse, it might be digits that are bought and paid for by the account owner (hire a sock puppet army to boost your score) or as a result of an attack (hire a sock puppet army to slag someone because they cheated on your sister, or because they dress funny, or simply because you're a sociopathic troll.)

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre