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Government

Largest Auto-Scandal Settlement In US History: Judge Approves $15 Billion Volkswagen Settlement (usatoday.com) 128

A federal just has approved the largest auto-scandal settlement in U.S. history, a $14.7 billion settlement concerning Volkswagen Group's diesel car emissions scandal. USA Today reports: U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer in San Francisco approved the sweeping agreement between consumers, the government, California regulators and the German automaker in a written ruling a week after signaling he was likely to sign off. He said the agreement is "fair, reasonable and adequate." The settlement comes about a year after Volkswagen admitted that it rigged 11 million vehicles worldwide with software designed to dodge emissions standards. The company is still facing criminal investigations by the U.S. Justice Department and German prosecutors. The U.S. probe could lead to additional financial penalties and criminal indictments. About 475,000 Volkswagen owners in the U.S. can choose between a buyback or a free fix and compensation, if a repair becomes available. VW will begin administering the settlement immediately, having already devoted several hundred employees to handling the process. Buybacks range in value from $12,475 to $44,176, including restitution payments, and varying based on milage. People who opt for a fix approved by the Environmental Protection Agency will receive payouts ranging from $5,100 to $9,852, depending on the book value of their car. Volkswagen will also pay $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for clean-emissions infrastructure.

Comment Re:Bribe? (Score 1) 122

Why not both ?

As an aside, can you imagine the unholy shitstorm that would be making the rounds if any of this were happening to Apple ?

Exploding iPhones... The internet might not cope with that, and then Apple bribing people to keep quiet about the whole thing ? We might have a singularity event...

Comment Re:Adjective of Venus (Score 5, Informative) 125

As far as I know we say Martian because of the Latin Martis (which is the genitive case of the noun; Mars is the nominative). By the same rule Veneris is the genitive of Venus.

Looking on etymonline.com I see that Venerian was the older form of the word but has been displaced by Venusian. A pity.

Comment Re:Everyone is a moron to someone.... (Score 1) 294

I've been coding for about 30 years now, a bit longer actually. Something that's become apparent over the years is that there ought to be a law of conservation of complexity. You can abstract and then re-abstract, you can use well-known design patterns, you can write defensively, and you can document until the cows come home. All of these help, they help by spreading out the complexity onto a larger surface - it becomes less opaque as it gets "thinner", the more it spreads out.

However, it remains the case that some things are just inherently complex, that understanding them, or their particular interfaces and parameters, requires the understanding of the system as a whole, not the parts in isolation. Sometimes divide does not conquer, at least in the real world. There's not *many* problems like this, and I've no idea if this is the sort of thing Linus is referring to - I don't keep up with the Linux kernel these days, but there may be a good reason why he's done what he's done. You "calling him out" without explicit reasons why, or (better) giving a superior approach than what is already there is just showing ignorance, IMHO.

Comment Nobody knows yet (Score 3, Informative) 165

While Brexit means London soon won't have access to the EU's open market across the continent,

Nobody knows yet whether this will turn out to be true. The negotiators may be able to cook up some deal that keeps the UK within the single market but outside the European Union (broadly as happens for Norway). On the other hand, a complete break is also a possibility.

Comment Re:Pics or it didn't happen! (Score 1) 412

Personally I think you've already made the assumption that naked infant pictures are in some way embarrassing. To my mind, they're not. To most Europeans, they're not.

It seems I'm really struggling to say this sufficiently clearly: The difference between a photo of a naked 4 year-old and a clothed 4-year old to me is the clothes, that's it. I really don't care whether the kid has clothes on or not, it makes absolutely no difference to the photo, and the first comment that would come to mind would be something like "wasn't that Summer of '73" or "Hey look at the size of that sand-castle you were building", or something equally irrelevant to the clothing situation.

If someone wants to get all upset over the photos, then fine. It's a bit weird to make an issue out of it, but whatever. Similarly, if the parents don't want to take the photos down, that's also a bit weird, it seems like basic courtesy ought to rule here. As I said, I don't really care; I think it's a matter for the family to handle, and apparently they think it's a matter for the courts to handle. Fair enough. I don't really see why it's news, either.

Comment Re:Pics or it didn't happen! (Score 1) 412

[sigh] My point was that *I* live in the USA. If *I* posted pics of my 4-year-old niece naked, then *I* would be in trouble in the USA. Because nuts.

FWIW, I have no desire or plan to post pics of my niece naked, I see no reason to. I just don't regard it with the same level of apparent disgust that Anonymous Coward "Pics or it didn't happen" 2 posts up seems to.

I don't have a horse in the race here - I don't care what the parents or the child do in this particular case, I think they're both being stupid, but whatever.

Comment Re:Good Lord... (Score 2) 412

The law in the UK is specifically *not* for this sort of thing:

"The most recent amendment to the law, outlawing the possession of pornographic photographs of children, was introduced seven years ago, amid intense lobbying from campaigners who included Mary Whitehouse. Although John Patten, then a Home Office minister, emphasised it was not the intention to catch innocent family snaps of naked children in the bath or on the beach"

I quickly googled. There *are* people getting into trouble for taking photos of naked teens etc. on European beaches, but the photographer wasn't related to those teens and that makes a big difference. Naked teenagers is also a lot different from naked 4 year-olds. I didn't find anything successfully prosecuted over naked infant snaps when the photographer was related.

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