Frosty Piss writes: On the tail wind of Volkswagen's $4.3 billion settlement in their emissions-cheating scandal, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board is accusing Fiat Chrysler of installing software on 100,000 diesel-powered cars and trucks that they say is cheating on emissions tests. The vehicles cited include 2014, 2015 and 2016 model year Jeep Grand Cherokees SUVs and and Dodge Ram 1500 trucks with 3-liter diesel engines. Fiat Chrysler claims its emission control systems software is an allowable way to meet emissions rules. But the EPA said that since the software had not be disclosed to the EPA, that puts Fiat Chrysler is in violation of the Clean Air Act, even if it wasn't seeking to cheat on emissions tests.
Frosty Piss writes: Customers of Uber have reported being offered drugs by drivers. According to the Sunday Times, dozens of people have alleged on social media that a driver offered to sell them drugs, and some suggested that the practice was common. One customer of UberEats said 'I ordered food one night, which was delivered by a young chap on a bike. After the food transaction he attempted to close a second deal' involving marijuana. While some have said the offers were polite, others experienced aggressive sales tactics. Josh Klein, a technology expert and author, told Vice 'You have a massive drug market which requires extralegal delivery mechanisms and a widespread, independently operated network of drivers for whom it is an ideal means of masking their activities.'
Frosty Piss writes: Intel is acquiring computer vision startup Movidius for an undisclosed sum in order to bolster its RealSense gesture-sensing platform. In a blog post, Movidius CEO Remi El-Ouazzane announced that his startup will continue in its goal of giving "the power of sight to machines" as it works with Intel's RealSense technology. Movidius has seen a great deal of interest in its radically low-powered computer vision chipset, signing deals with major device makers, including Google, Lenovo and DJI. "We're on the cusp of big breakthroughs in artificial intelligence," wrote El-Ouazzane. "In the years ahead, we'll see new types of autonomous machines with more advanced capabilities as we make progress on one of the most difficult challenges of AI: getting our devices not just to see, but also to think. The company's Myriad 2 family of Vision Processor Units are being used at Lenovo to build the company's next generation of virtual reality products while Google struck a deal with the company to deploy its neural computation engine on the platform to push the machine learning power of mobile devices.
Frosty Piss writes: A small asteroid has been found circling Earth. Scientists say it looks like the asteroid, named 2016 HO3, has been out there for about 50 years. Calculations indicate 2016 HO3 has been a stable quasi-satellite of Earth for almost a century, and it will continue to follow this pattern as Earth's companion for centuries to come. Scientists think the asteroid is between 120 and 300 feet (37 to 91 meters) in diameter, and NASA says it never gets closer than 9 million miles (14 million kilometers) from Earth. It was found on April 27, 2016 by the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope in Haleakala, Hawaii. So how do we miss a 300 foot object that has been orbiting the Earth for around 50 years? Probably the same way we've missed all the flying saucers!
Frosty Piss writes: Seattle music-licensing firm Audiosocketalleges in a lawsuit that Sen. Ted Cruz's Hollywood ad agency, Madison McQueen, used two of the firm’s songs in two separate political ads despite signing contracts specifically stating the music could not be used in political advertisements or television broadcasts, one of which aired on Fox Business News more than 86 times. Audiosocket is seeking at least $2 million in damages, $25,000 for each of those alleged contract breaches.
Frosty Piss writes: Philip Kives, a Canadian entrepreneur whose company, K-tel, saturated North American airwaves for decades with ads for a gaggle of gadgets like the Patty Stacker ("Your hands need never touch the meat!"), the Ginsu Knives, and the emblematic Veg-O-Matic. In touting one miraculous product after another, Mr. Kives reputedly coined the catchphrase "As Seen on TV." But wait, there's more! Mr. Kives, who was born on a small Saskatchewan farm, is considered the "father" of compilation music albums — "Hit Machine: 20 Original Hits, 20 Original Stars," "25 Polka Greats" and "A Musical Journey: Pan-Flute" — died on Wednesday in Winnipeg, Canada. He was 87.
Frosty Piss writes: In its annual environmental report released this week, Apple said it recovered 2,204 pounds of gold from recycled iPhones, iPads and Macs last year, worth almost $40 million. Of the 90 million pounds of e-waste that passed through Apple's recycling programs, 61 million was in reusable materials, including 23 million pounds of steel, 13 million pounds of plastic, 12 million pounds of glass, 4.5 million pounds of aluminum, 3 million pounds of copper, and 6,600 pounds of silver. Apple has been ramping up its recycling programs in recent years, and says it reuses many of the materials it extracts from the recycled products.
Frosty Piss writes: Seattle police raided the home of two outspoken privacy activists early on May 30th. Jan Bultmann and David Robinson, a married couple and co-founders of the Seattle Privacy Coalition, were awakened at 6:15 a.m. by a team of six detectives from the Seattle Police Department who had a search warrant to examined their equipment. They claimed to be looking for child pornography, however Bultmann and Robinson believe the raid is because they run a Tor exit node out of their home. They said they operated the node as a service to dissidents in repressive countries, knowing full well that criminals might use it as well, much like any other communication tool. The SPD acknowledged this morning that no child porn was found, no assets were seized, and no arrests were made.
Frosty Piss writes: Google has removed a Taliban-developed online application for Android smartphones aimed at increasing the militant group's visibility worldwide. The Pashto language app includes content such as official statements and videos from the Taliban, which has waged a jihad in Afghanistan for more than 14 years since it was ousted in 2001 with help from the U.S. The app was part of the Taliban's digital campaign to attract a bigger audience worldwide. The movement has an updated website run in five languages including English and Arabic, as well as Twitter and Facebook accounts providing daily updates on its insurgency. A Google spokeswoman confirmed Sunday the app is no longer available from the company’s Play Store.
Frosty Piss writes: A now-extinct giant 'Siberian unicorn' existed much more recently than previously thought according to paleontologists. The animal, an elasmotherium Siberian rhinoceros, was previously thought to be extinct 350,000 years ago. New research by experts at Tomsk State University in Russia indicates that the "unicorn" may have existed until 29,000 years ago. This means that the 'unicorn' may have roamed the Earth at the same time as humans — a human fossil found in western Siberia in 2008 was dated to 45,000 years ago.
Frosty Piss writes: A paper in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences [pay wall] reveals that people who worry and experience high anxiety tend to have high IQs and are quite visionary. Dr. Adam Perkins of King's College in London says 'high levels of spontaneous activity in the parts of the medial prefrontal cortex that govern conscious perception of threat' and a 'tendency to switch to panic sooner than average people' means that for neural reasons, 'high scorers on neuroticism have a highly active imagination, which acts as a built-in threat generator'. This means 'In a sense, worry is the mother of invention'. The study concludes that people with these traits often have them because they're incredibly developed, creative people.
Frosty Piss writes: If you thought Fortran and assembly language programming is pointless and purely for old-timers, guess again. NASA's Voyager program manager Suzanne Dodd said the retirement of the project's last original engineer left the space agency with a shortage of people capable of communicating with the 40-year-old craft. 'Although, some people can program in an assembly language and understand the intricacy of the spacecraft, most younger people can't or really don't want to,' Dodd said. With high-level languages now the standard for developers, knowing how to fluently code in assembly has become a specialized skill, as has fluency in languages such as Fortran. While obscure, the skill set is lucrative for those who know how to do it. Along with NASA's aging fleet of spacecraft, many businesses still rely on languages such as Fortran or COBOL for specialized tasks and critical infrastructure.
Frosty Piss writes: Next year, millions of Americans might have to start using passports to fly on domestic flights. A decade ago, the U.S. government issued stricter standards for state-issued IDs, including drivers licenses. Following recommendations of the 9/11 Commission, President Bush signed into law the REAL ID Act in 2005, and four states have refused to comply: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire and New York. After January 1st, 2016, the TSA will only accept REAL ID complaint driver's licences, $55 passport cards, or $135 passport books as valid ID.
Frosty Piss writes: Accotding to CNN, on Monday, NASA will announce confirmation of periodically flowing water on the Mars surface. Three of the scientists slated for the news conference are listed as authors of a new paper [PDF] to be delivered at this week's European Planetary Science Congress, in which the researchers say analysis of imaging from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter proves that seasonal dark streaks on the Martian surface are the result of briny water periodically flowing across the planet's surface.
Frosty Piss writes: Brewer chairs the geography program at Penn State, and has devoted much of her career to helping other people make better maps. By bringing research on visual perception to bear on design, she says cartographers can make maps that are more effective and more intuitive to understand. Many of the same lessons apply equally well to other types of data visualization. A big reason people run into trouble with their color schemes, Brewer says, is the way color picking is done in many software programs. Take the RGB cube (or sliders) many programs use to display colors along red, green, and blue axes, for example. 'That's not the least bit perceptually scaled,' Brewer said. 'In some parts of the cube a tiny step gives you a huge perceptual difference. In other parts it all looks the same.' Brewer’s best-known invention is a website called Color Brewer, which helps mapmakers pick a color scheme that’s well-suited for communicating the particular type of data they’re mapping.