McGruber writes: In a June 30 letter, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO, http://www.transportation.org/), Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America, http://www.itsa.org/ ) and the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE, http://www.ite.org/ ), requested that the US Secretary of Transportation finally release the Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) Deployment Guidance. The organizations note that the draft V2I guidance was issued in September 2014 and, in the two years since, the federal government and the auto industry have been funding V2I deployments that have proceeded without the final V2I Guidance.
The delay is apparently related to the National Cable & Telecommunication's (NCTA) efforts to allow wi-fi to share the 5.9 GHz band used for V2I. That effort is described in a July 11 article, "NCTA, Wi-Fi Alliance push for 5.9 GHz sharing": http://www.fiercewireless.com/...
At least two FCC commissioners have shown an interest in sharing in the 5.9 GHz band. More than a year ago, Commissioners Michael O'Rielly and Jessica Rosenworcel rallied around the idea, saying there are ways to use it for Wi-Fi while protecting the Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) systems that are intended for road safety.
McGruber writes: WABE, one of the NPR stations in Atlanta, is reporting that Georgia’s Public Service Commission is investigating Google Fiber contractor S&N Communications after it reported damaging gas lines 36 different times in the past year. In the first quarter of this year, utility company Atlanta Gas Light had a 67 percent increase in reports of damaged natural gas lines within its service areas.
Atlanta Fire Department Sgt. Cortez Stafford said sometimes the fire department responds to five calls in one day. "Due to the amount of crews digging and boring in the Atlanta area, there has been a significant increase in our number of emergency responses to gas leaks," Stafford said. "It's a pretty severe incident because with that amount of gas flowing, if it ignites, then that could start a fire in another location." Sgt. Stafford said some of these crews are operating boring machines to install fiber optic cables for companies like Google Fiber. He said the drills are hitting gas lines that can range in diameter from 1 to 4 inches. They can be high pressure lines or supply lines that feed off to other feeder lines.
In May, WSB-Television news reported (http://www.wsbtv.com/news/local/atlanta/google-fiber-contractor-connected-to-several-line-breaks/296434858) that Google Fiber contractors were responsible for hitting gas lines at four different locations.
McGruber writes: The Washington Post is reporting (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2016/06/30/tesla-owner-killed-in-fatal-crash-while-car-was-on-autopilot) that Joshua David Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio was was killed in a May 7 collision in Florida with a tractor trailer while the Tesla was in "Autopilot" mode. "Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied," Tesla said in a blog post entitled "A Tragic Loss (https://www.teslamotors.com/blog/tragic-loss).
Michelle Krebbs, a senior analyst at Kelley Blue Book, called for a recall of cars with Autopilot. And Karl Brauer, another senior analyst at KBB, added: “I’d like to say I didn’t see this coming, but it was inevitable based on the documented abuses of driver-assist technology we’ve been seeing on sites like YouTube.”
“This will be a big hit to Tesla’s reputation because the automaker has been seen as a leader in both passenger safety and advanced technology,” Brauer added.
McGruber writes: CNBC is reporting that Microsoft is acquiring "professional social platform" LinkedIn for $196 per share, in an all-cash deal valued at $26.2 billion.
In a statement, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said "The LinkedIn team has grown a fantastic business centered on connecting the world's professionals. Together we can accelerate the growth of LinkedIn, as well as Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics as we seek to empower every person and organization on the planet."
McGruber writes: Back in 2009, Georgia Dentist Gordon Trent Austin was indicted on multiple counts of assault and battery—including against children. He was also indicted on charges of Medicaid fraud, to which he pleaded guilty in exchange for the other charges being dropped. An anonymous youtube user later republished a Georgia TV station’s 2009 news story about Austin, titling it "Psycho Dentist — Gordon Trent Austin — Georgia" (https://youtu.be/vtCVHcT2mB0). In 2015, Austin sued the anonymous YouTube user. Austin also attempted to lift the Youtube user's anonymity by subpoenaing Google. First Amendment lawyer Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen leapt to the defense of the anonymous user, arguing that Austin has no case, as the former dentist has not provided any evidence of defamation, and the statute of limitations has expired. (http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/01/rogue-dentist-who-allegedly-hit-patients-now-targets-anonymous-youtube-user/)
Now, Atlanta television station CBS46 reports (http://www.cbs46.com/story/32169844/georgia-party-delegate-previously-indicted-for-medicaid-fraud) that the former dentist is one of 30 delegates that Georgia's Republican Party has named to represent the state at this year's national convention in Cleveland. The station spoke with the chairman of the nominating committee, who was surprised and concerned. He said the party doesn't have the resources to vet everyone.
When the Georgia State Board of Dentistry revoked Austin's license (https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2692552-2009-2250-DN008598-003.html) on December 7, 2009, its docket stated that Austin "entered a guilty plea to six (6) counts of misdemeanor theft by taking. Respondent received first offender treatment and was sentenced to probation for five consecutive 12-month periods and one concurrent 12-month period."
McGruber writes: The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau released a report (http://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5770117/debris-examination-mh370_19april2016.pdf) that concludes two items of debris recovered from beaches in Mozambique are from the Malaysian Airlines Berhad (MAB) Boeing 777 aircraft, registered 9M-MRO, that went missing on March 8, 2014 while operating as MH370.
McGruber writes: The Associated Press is reporting that TSA's PreCheck program is causing maddening long security lines at US airports.
TSA's PreCheck security lanes can screen 300 passengers an hour, twice that of its standard security lanes. Based on that and other increased efficiencies, the TSA's front-line screeners were cut from 47,147 three years ago to 42,525 currently. At the same time, the number of annual fliers passing through checkpoints has grown from 643 million to more than 700 million.
The TSA told Congress its goal was to have 25 million fliers enrolled in the PreCheck registration program but, as of March 1, only 9.3 million people had registered for PreCheck. TSA first tried to make up for that shortfall by randomly placing passengers into the express Precheck lanes, but scaled back that effort for fear dangerous passengers were being let through. That's when the regular security lines started growing, up to 90 minutes in some cases. The TSA is now shifting some resources to tackle lines at the nation's biggest airports, but it claims there is no easy solution to the problem with a record number of fliers expected this summer.
To enroll in TSA's Precheck registration program, travelers must pay $85 to $100 every five years, then submit to a background check, in-person interview at an airport, and to being fingerprinted. Unsurprisingly, getting once-a-year fliers to spend the time or the money to register has been a challenge. While 250,000 to 300,000 people are registering for Precheck every month, it will take more than four years at that pace to reach the TSA's target enrollment.
McGruber writes: Google's rollout of Fiber in Atlanta (https://fiber.google.com/cities/atlanta/) is causing competitor AT&T to create new jobs: The Atlanta Business Journal is reporting (http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/news/2016/03/14/at-t-to-hire-more-than-340-in-georgia.html) that AT&T is hiring for more than 340 retail & technical jobs across Georgia, to support AT&T's rollout of its competing fiber service.
McGruber writes: The Washington, DC Metrorail subway system is being completely shutdown for at least 29 hours so that crews can check 600 underground jumper cables. A problem with those jumper cables caused a fire at the McPherson Square station early Monday and was also the cause of a fatal smoke incident in January, 2015, that killed one person and injured others. (http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/metro-shutdown--372144902.html)
The safety checks could have been delayed until the weekend or conducted at night over about six days, officials said. But if the system were kept open, a public announcement about the risk would have to be made. That would have put passengers, and Metro, in the awkward position of publicly acknowledging that it was operating despite being aware of a potentially deadly safety problem. Metro also would have been liable in the case of any crashes or calamities. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/2016/03/15/8e0b2be4-eae8-11e5-b0fd-073d5930a7b7_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-low_metro-4pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory)
The shutdown prompted the Washington Post to publish an editorial titled "It’s official: Metro is a national embarrassment". (https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/its-official-metro-is-a-national-embarrassment/2016/03/15/3a33c828-eaf7-11e5-bc08-3e03a5b41910_story.html)
McGruber writes: A month after it suffered a nationwide outage (http://www.fastcompany.com/3056724/fast-feed/comcast-nationwide-outage-on-presidents-day-nationwide-outrage-on-twitter), Comcast announced that a Dunwoody, Georgia resident is the first customer in the NATION to get Comcast’s new $80/month uncapped 1-gigabit service.(http://business.blog.myajc.com/2016/03/15/comcast-gets-furious-speed-with-1-gig-in-atlanta/) The service will only be available in select Atlanta neighborhoods. The company would not say how many people would be chosen for the initial roll out of its 1-gigabit service, but admitted the numbers would be small to “ensure seamless deployment,” a spokesman said. The company claims that the service will roll out more broadly later in the year.
Comcast has 22.4 million broadband customers (http://nypost.com/2015/05/04/comcast-now-has-more-internet-subscribers-than-cable-subscribers/).
McGruber writes: Last Fall, certified public accountant Dennis Nicholl boarded a Chicago subway train while carrying a plastic bag of Old Style beer. Nicholl popped open a beer and looked around the car, scowling as he saw another rider talking on a cellphone. He pulled out a black device from his pocket and switched it on. Commuters who had been talking on their phones went silent, checking their screens for the source of their dropped calls.
On Tuesday, undercover officers arrested Nicholl. Cook County prosecutors and Chicago police allege he created his own personal "quiet car" on the subway by using an illegal device he imported from China. He was charged with unlawful interference with a public utility, a felony.
This is not the first time Nicholl has been charged with jamming cell calls. He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge in June 2009, according to court records. He was placed under court supervision for a year, and his equipment was confiscated and destroyed.
McGruber writes: The US Department of Labor has filed suit against electronics retailer B&H Photo Video (http://bhphotovideo.com/) for hiring only Hispanic men into entry-level jobs in a Brooklyn warehouse and then subjecting them to harassment and unsanitary conditions. The company was so unlikely to hire women to work in the warehouse that it did not have a separate restroom for them, according to the lawsuit. (www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/nyregion/bh-electronics-store-sued-for-discrimination-of-hispanic-workers.html)
The latest federal complaint arose from a standard review of the employment practices of companies with federal contracts. B&H has supply contracts with the General Services Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation that are worth $46 million. Those contracts could be canceled and B&H could be prohibited from receiving other federal contracts if an administrative law judge decides the company has failed to meet its obligations.
B&H is a family-owned business that started in New York City's financial district in 1973 and moved to Midtown in 1997. The company has a history of labor disputes. (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/14/nyregion/workers-at-bh-photo-video-citing-hazards-move-to-unionize.html)
(Note: Article submitter is a long-time B&H customer and is expecting a delivery from the company tomorrow.)
McGruber writes: Clayton County, Georgia Police Officer Anthony Walker recorded a Facebook video while driving his police cruiser. The clip shows him, in uniform while apparently driving in his police car saying, “I can’t drive and Facebook. It’s illegal, it’s against the law. No. No."
Clayton County Police Chief Michael Register says that Officer Walker admitted to the video and apologized. "The officer involved in the incident has taken full responsibility for filming it in a patrol vehicle while on duty, and also he has written a memo, and we are currently investigating the incident," Chief Register said Monday. Chief Register is investigating possible departmental violations Walker may have committed, including driving unsafely and publishing a video in uniform without approval.
McGruber writes: CNN is reporting that the man accused of killing six people and injuring two more in Kalamazoo, Michigan, was an Uber driver who picked up and dropped off passengers between shootings.
The ride-selling company confirmed to CNN that Jason Dalton, 45, was an Uber driver and said he had passed a background check. "We are horrified and heartbroken at the senseless violence in Kalamazoo," Uber's chief security officer Joe Sullivan said to CNN in a statement. "We have reached out to the police to help with their investigation in any way that we can."
McGruber writes: Citylab has the news that the U.S. Federal Highway Administration is revoking its 2004 approval of the "Clearview" font for road signs.
Clearview was made to improve upon its predecessor, a 1940s font called Highway Gothic. Certain letters appeared to pose visibility problems, especially those with tight interstices (or internal spacing)—namely lowercase e, a, and s. At night, any of these reflective letters might appear to be a lowercase o in the glare of headlights. By opening up these letterforms, and mixing lowercase and uppercase styles, Clearview aimed to improve how these reflective highway signs read.
Now, just 12 years later, the FHWA is reversing itself: “After more than a decade of analysis, we learned—among other things—that Clearview actually compromises the legibility of signs in negative-contrast color orientations, such as those with black letters on white or yellow backgrounds like Speed Limit and Warning signs,” said Doug Hecox, a FHWA spokesperson, in an email.
The FHWA has not yet provided any research on Clearview that disproves the early claims about the font’s benefits. But there is at least one factor that clearly distinguishes it from Highway Gothic: cost. Jurisdictions that adopt Clearview must purchase a standard license for type, a one-time charge of between $175 (for one font) and $795 (for the full 13-font typeface family) and up, depending on the number of workstations.