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Comment Re:PEBAAC (Score 1) 1146

I can't begin to tell what the GP post was trying to say. I will say this, however: Cars don't have emergency brakes these days. They have "parking brakes". Sure, you can try to use it in an emergency, but it's not for nothing that all references in the manuals and other documentation call it a "parking brake".

In the case of the 2004-2009 Prius, the pedal for the parking brake is hooked directly to a cable that goes straight to the rear drum brakes. That means it will work fine in an emergency, but remember, these are only the rears, and they're drums (except the touring edition). It still might work in many emergency situations, but I don't know if that's enough to stop a car that thinks you're flooring it.

Comment Re:Not driver error? bzzt - wrong! (Score 1) 1146

The Prius is a hybrid. It can move with the electric motor without ever starting the gasoline one.

And yes, that could be done completely by the computer.

Problem is, it can't be done when the battery is physically disconnected from the electric motor. When you turn the Prius off, there's a big honkin' relay that actually cuts the supply from the traction battery to the motor. That relay doesn't get connected until the start button gets pressed with a valid key present, plus about a couple of dozen more checks. For a Prius that's actually shut off to start moving would require a cascade of failures to occur just to even get the battery reconnected to the motor. Then, once that happens, the ECU would have to shift itself out of park, which it's designed not to do unless the brake pedal is depressed. So, again, a couple of failures have to occur simultaneously for that to happen.

A much more likely scenario is that someone gets out of the car and forgets to turn the car off because the engine's already stopped. Not saying it's impossible for what the GP described to happen. It's just about a billion times more likely for the driver to screw it up. Occam's razor and all that.

Comment Re:Broken by design. (Score 1) 505

I have actually seen this happen at least a dozen times. Basically, the insurance company's processing software sees the parent as the subscriber, then sees the patient as the dependent with birthdate xx/xx/xxxx, sees the second service for a dependent with the same birthdate, and immediately denies the second service. They never think to check the name or flag it for review or anything. If their software even checked the gender on the 2 patients, that would at least let the cases of male/female fraternal twins through.

Education

Submission + - University of Arkansas buys Second Life "Islan (uark.edu)

adavidw writes: "University of Arkansas bought an "island" in the virtual world game Second Life to use for "research and educational purposes". An Second Life "island" is a very large plot of in-game land dedicated for the exclusive use of it's owner, and hosted on a dedicated server at the game's creator, Linden Labs. U of A will be using their island as a combined effort of their Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Art departments to research various projects. Some projects proposed for the island include "using SL to recreate Ostia Antica, the ancient port city of Rome and mirroring a real healthcare facility in SL and instrumenting it with RFID and smart devices that communicate with each other"."
Security

Submission + - Homeland Security Dept E-mail Doozy (wordpress.com)

sbrown3820 writes: "The Department of Homeland Security publishes a report Mon-Fri listing news reports affecting areas of critical U.S. infrastructure such as chemical, nuclear, transportation and others. Today, one of the subscribers innocently replied to the distribution email address that he was changing jobs and wanted DHS to update his email address. He didn't realize his message would set off a chain reaction."
Music

Submission + - Has allofmp3.com finally gone down for good?

adavidw writes: "Allofmp3.com is down this weekend in both its English and Russian versions. Is this the end? The Moscow Times is reporting that it is. The site has been down for "maintenance" a few times before, each time leaving people to speculate that it was an actual shutdown. However, with legal options rapidly disappearing and virtually no payment options remaining perhaps this time really is the end for the beleaguered music site."

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