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Comment News reports: Volkswagen used special hardware. (Score 2) 351

"Volkswagon's mistake..."

Apparently it wasn't a "mistake". Apparently Volkswagen used special hardware and software to break the law.

Yesterday on PBS NewsHour the CEO of Volkswagen said the dishonesty was the fault of unknown rogue software engineers, and no managers knew about it. However, special hardware was designed into the system; that couldn't have happened without help from other people in the company, including hardware buyers.

See this article: Older VW diesels will need software and hardware fixes, Horn tells lawmakers.

The CEO seems to be lying deliberately. He says "software". Then later mentions "hardware".

That Auto News article was apparently written by someone who doesn't understand that, if hardware is required, the dishonesty must have been approved by Volkswagen management.

Submission + - US government will not force companies to decode encrypted data... for now (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: The Obama administration has announced that it will not require companies to decrypt encrypted messages for law enforcement agencies. This is being heralded as a 'partial victory' by the Electronic Frontier Foundation; partial because, as reported by the Washington Post, the government "will not — for now — call for [such] legislation".

This means that at the moment companies will not be forced to build backdoors into their products, but there is no guarantee that this won’t happen further down the line. The government wants to continue talks with the technology industry to find a solution, but leaving things in limbo for the time being will create a sense of unease on both sides of the debate.

Submission + - The one number that's eerily good at predicting your success in love (washingtonpost.com)

schwit1 writes: A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Board that looks at what role credit scores play in committed relationships suggests that daters might want to start using the metric as well. The researchers found that credit scores — or whatever personal qualities credit scores might represent — actually play a pretty big role in whether people form and stay in committed relationships. People with higher credit scores are more likely to form committed relationships and marriages and then stay in them. In addition, how well matched the couple's credit scores are initially is a good predictor of whether they stay together in the long term.

Submission + - Google Helped Cause the Mysterious Increase in 911 Calls SF Asked it to Solve

theodp writes: Android users have long complained publicly that it's way too easy to accidentally dial 911. So it's pretty astonishing that it took a team of Google Researchers and San Francisco Department of Emergency Management government employees to figure out that butt-dialing was increasing the number of 911 calls. The Google 9-1-1 Team presented its results in How Googlers helped San Francisco Use Data Science to Understand a Surge in 911 Calls, a Google-sponsored presentation at the Code for America Summit, and in San Francisco’s 9-1-1 Call Volume Increase, an accompanying 26-page paper.

Submission + - Mozilla sets out its proposed principles for content blocking (betanews.com)

Mark Wilson writes: With Apple embracing ad blocking and the likes of AdBlock Plus proving more popular than ever, content blocking is making the headlines at the moment. There are many sides to the debate about blocking ads — revenue for sites, privacy concerns for visitors, speeding up page loads times (Google even allows for the display of ads with its AMP Project), and so on — but there are no signs that it is going to go away.

Getting in on the action, Mozilla has set out what it believes are some reasonable principles for content blocking that will benefit everyone involved. Three cornerstones have been devised with a view to ensuring that content providers and content consumers get a fair deal, and you can help to shape how they develop.

Comment Opinions: Many problems in Seattle and Portland (Score 4, Informative) 367

Seattle: Huge problems with traffic. Amazingly, amazingly, Seattle residents often mention that there are areas with poor internet service!

Portland: Unlivable. The traffic is 10 times worse than 2 years ago. The slowly, slowly moving cars make the pollution far worse. The Portland city government has been allowing the construction of huge apartment buildings with no parking. The parking problem lowers the value of all the buildings in the area.

There are many other areas of corruption. Here is just one: The Portland law against plastic bags favors a nearby company that makes paper bags. Paper bags are far worse for the environment because someone has to cut trees, trucks then bring the trees to a plant where they are processed with chemicals that also cause pollution. The paper bags cost grocery stores 10 times more than plastic bags and are so weak they often cannot be fully packed. Paper bags become weak when wet in the frequent rain. People who don't want the problems shop outside of Portland; Portland is a small city of 609,456 people (2013).

Often humans are not good at taking care of themselves.

Submission + - Volkswagen Gate Rise Expectations For Electric Cars, Carsharing (citiesofthefuture.eu)

dkatana writes: One thing the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal has demonstrated is that diesel technology is not as clean as advertised, and cities — especially in Europe where more than 55 percent of passenger cars are diesel — need to address the huge pollution problem created by private vehicles.

The key to success is shifting “from car ownership to car experience,” Brigitte Courtehoux, director of the Connected Services Business Unit at PSA Peugeot Citroën, said recently at the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) World Congress in Bordeaux, France.

She expressed the manufacturer’s opinion that “car sharing [is for] those who can’t afford to own cars and those who don’t want to own cars.” She predicted that “a car company will become a mobility service provider.”

Submission + - bring your own device nightmare 1

HongoBelando writes: The company I contract for is pushing on to me a new "bring your own device" policy. It would not be bad if the mandatory requirements IMHO are braindamaged and push to a complete Windows environment. Windows 7 or 8 64bit, Pointesec or Bitlocker, Symantec or other similar stuff. IOS and Linux are not permitted, xBSD are not even mentioned. Some lines even mention TPM (yuck).

Until now I could happily use my dual boot Debian and FreeBSD that suites my job perfectly.

My only idea at the moment is to try installing a VirtualBox W7 client and hope one of the permitted disk encrypters works. I really would want to avoid repartitioning just to meet idiotic requirements of some bean counter. All ideas appreciated!

Submission + - Elephants don't get cancer. Here's why (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The surprisingly low cancer rates in elephants and other hefty, long-lived animals such as whales—known as Peto’s paradox after one of the scientists who first described it—have nettled scientists since the mid-1970s. So far, researchers have made little progress in solving the mystery or determining how other long-lived species beat cancer. Now, a new study shows that the animals harbor dozens of extra copies of one of the most powerful cancer-preventing genes, p53. These bonus genes might enable elephants to weed out potentially cancerous cells before they can grow into tumors. The researchers say they are now trying to determine whether they can make human cells more elephantlike, for example by inserting additional copies of the p53 gene or by identifying compounds that duplicate the effects of the extra copies.

Submission + - NSF awards $74.5 million to support interdisciplinary cybersecurity research (nsf.gov)

aarondubrow writes: The National Science Foundation announced $74.5 million in grants for basic research in cybersecurity. Among the awards are projects to understand and offer reliability to cryptocurrencies; invent technologies to broadly scan large swaths of the Internet and automate the detection and patching of vulnerabilities; and establish the science of censorship resistance by developing accurate models of the capabilities of censors. According to NSF, long-term support for fundamental cybersecurity research has resulted in public key encryption, software security bug detection, spam filtering and more.

Submission + - Government admits whole milk was always good for you

schwit1 writes: A new study has found that whole milk not only does not increase heart disease, it might even help prevent it.

The most significant part of this story however is that when the federal government made the original recommendation that people stop drinking whole milk to avoid fats, the science behind that recommendation was flawed and inconclusive.

But even as a Senate committee was developing the Dietary Goals, some experts were lamenting that the case against saturated fats was, though thinly supported, was being presented as if it were a sure thing. "The vibrant certainty of scientists claiming to be authorities on these matters is disturbing," George V. Mann, a biochemist at Vanderbilt's med school wrote in the New England Journal of Medicine. Ambitious scientists and food companies, he said, had "transformed [a] fragile hypothesis into treatment dogma."

As Morrissey says at the link, "Golly, doesn't that sound ... familiar?"

When you make your mark in the world, watch out for guys with erasers. -- The Wall Street Journal