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Largest Auto-Scandal Settlement In US History: Judge Approves $15 Billion Volkswagen Settlement ( 106

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:Raised bar will be bypassed (Score 1) 111

The watermarking will just be removed and life will go on.

Hint: "real time". Can you identify the watermark without comparing your stream to someone else's stream? Can you do that while streaming your copy to a pirate repeater? Can you do that before sending out the first unique marker that identifies your stream?

I mean, if you can, you are indeed l33t. If not, the banhammer, she swings for you.

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:My network has 100% uptime. 2-0 team is undefea (Score 5, Funny) 237

  It's extremely unlikely that both providers will go down at the same time. It's extremely unlikely that both the Cisco (or pair of Ciscos) and the pair of Junipers will crap out simultaneously.

...says the guy who has obviously never run a Juniper. :-)

Comment Re:Obvious takeaway here? (Score 1) 41

Given thus finding, what does this say about the CIA's goals?

If their algorithms are neural networks trained to find common links to radical jihad videos to recruit *foreign* fighters from halfway around the world, and the problem they're trying to solve is identifying kids developing ties to *local* gangs, using this tool might not be the smartest choice. That doesn't mean the tool is or isn't effective for the purpose of identifying people who are interested in what ISIS has to say.

Comment Re: Four words (Score 3, Informative) 200

Depends on your point of view. If you're a customer, the point of a pod is to make you a cup of coffee. But in Keurig's eyes, the point of a pod was never to make coffee, it was always to make a profit on each pod sold.

However, third parties figured out how to make pods, too, and none of them paid Keurig royalties for doing so. This upset Keurig greatly. So they came out with Keurig 2.0, with a built-in Genuine Keurig Pod Detector (an LED and photo transistor that detects Keurig's invisible ink printed on the pod's foil top.) This invisible ink thwarted the evil third parties pods by reporting to the coffee maker's owner that "no valid Keurig pod was detected". This of course made all the coffee drinkers go back to buying Genuine Keurig Pods, making Keurig profits go up again.

Except it didn't. The day after they came out, enterprising coffee drinkers figured out this nonsense and simply taped an old Keurig label onto the detector, and continued using their third party pods. Some third party pod makers provided a free clip-on reflector printed with the invisible ink that fit over the detector. And all the blogs were atwitter with the Evil that Keurig had wrought with Keurig 2.0. The demise of the company was predicted, buckets of tar and feathers were gathered, and the peasants grabbed their pitchforks and torches.

Except that didn't happen either. Most people got on with their morning coffee, Keurig looked stupid for a while, and the whole tempest in a teapot blew over.

Comment Re:they'll never sell... (Score 2) 200

To paraphrase Thomas J Watson "I think there is a world market for about twenty Saturn rockets."

And that's not just counting the Saturn Vs.

Unimaginative.....If only they'd have kept building them, through economies of scale, we'd have a Saturn rocket in every household appliance by now.

Those F1 motors should heat that kettle up right quick.

Comment Re:flip flops (Score 2) 523

I removed Dilbert from my bookmarks a few months ago when Scott began bringing up politics constantly. If I want to hear more opinions about either candidate's lies or incompetence, I'll bash my head into the wall until the feeling goes away.

I was thinking I'd add it back after the election, but I haven't missed it enough to worry about it.

Comment Re:The new line for the Johnnie Cochran's out ther (Score 4, Insightful) 99

Why should I give up my right to have a secure phone just because some idiot can't keep his sword in his scabbard? It doesn't matter what he's done or if he's alive or dead, I'm not required to have useless encryption on my devices.

Sure, the police have the right to search his stuff all day long. They can disassemble his phone, unsolder the flash chip, clone it, and try PIN after PIN against the image as many times as they want. They can hire Bruce Schneier, they can subpoena Apple, they can send his phone to the NSA, they can even ask Chuck Norris to roundhouse kick it open. They absolutely have the right to try anything to get in to the phone. But they don't have the right to succeed. They don't have the right to make us make this task easier for them.

And despite your most fervent wishing that some middle ground exists somewhere, the fact is no middle ground is possible. This is simple logic we're talking about here -- encrypted data is either secure, or it's broken. It's a boolean, not a tri-state value. And law enforcement and intelligence agencies have proven with every leaked secret that they abuse whatever trust or tools they're given, and the volume of abuse increases over time. They have constantly violated our rights and abused our trust, and every single time they start down that path the leaked data shows they've overextended their reach. It's not only irresponsible to trust them again, it's reckless. We can't trust them with a key escrow system, not even with a court protecting us - they'll just stand up another secret FISA court to get around the rules.

Besides, the existing system worked pretty darn well. Bad guy starts stabbing people, policeman shoots him dead. I don't care what his stupid motives were, because they truly do not matter to anyone. Why should we bother giving his fetid ideas a single extra minute of daylight? Let his defective brain and rancid motives lie buried in the ground with the rest of his corpse in an unmarked grave, and never be shared with the public or media. It's not like learning his motives is useful to anyone. We can't just arrest people who simply share those ideas - people always have the right to think extremely stupid and anti-social thoughts; they just don't have the right to act on them.

Comment Re:Movie theaters (Score 1) 342

I go to the theater to see the big-name movies when I can't wait a few months for them to come out on BluRay (Star Wars, Hobbit/LotR, etc.), not because I want the "going to the cinema house" experience of an art theatre. I want to see movies that I want to see, in an environment that doesn't suck. That excludes both chain theaters and art houses.

I have found the nearby IMAX has a much more pleasant atmosphere than the commercial chains, so I patronize them when I can (while it costs nearly double the ticket price of the chain theater, it's totally worth it.) But they're limited to what they can show on one screen, and only films that are released on 70mm, so they never show most movies.

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