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Comment Re:They do run 'cleaner' when they're not sabotage (Score 1) 496

Yeah the problems have been known for a while, but it's something else to see disassembled ECU code with very specific conditions that disables the system during normal driving. In the talk they even re-create the emissions test conditions on a rolling road with realtime monitoring of the ECU's memory contents, so you can watch as it calculates the amount of urea to inject. As soon as the driving behavior leaves the test boundaries those calculations drop to 0 and stay there. It's pretty blatant.

The EPA just filed a lawsuit against VW, and given this evidence I don't see how they can weasel their way out of it this time.

Comment They do run 'cleaner' when they're not sabotaged (Score 2) 496

There was a fantastic talk at this year's Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg delving into the reasons behind "Dieselgate", including insights into the car industry itself and findings from disassembled ECU code. Part of it shows exactly how and why the NOx scrubbing technology was purposely disabled during normal driving. It does work, it just wasn't allowed to do its job, presumably to lower maintenance costs for the customer. And as the talk shows this decision must have involved hundreds of people including upper management, not just a couple of engineers.

The testing methodology for emissions is a shambles and has been cheated by every car manufacturer for decades now to varying degrees. If we're serious about fixing the emissions problems then this is the first place that needs attention. I believe you can make diesels cleaner, but it costs money. Fix the tests to force these emission standards to be applied in normal driving and then let the consumer decide if the added cost is worth owning a diesel. In fact we need to fix the tests regardless, if only to get a proper look at the real state of emissions across the board.

But seriously, the talk is well worth watching.

Comment Region locking is socially unacceptable (Score 3, Interesting) 408

Sounds to me like region locking content has become socially unacceptable in this globally connected age. These people are not only paying for the content, they're paying extra on top of it just to get around your arbitrary restrictions.

Maybe it's time for people like her to join us in the 21st century.

Comment Re:Bitcoin? (Score 2, Interesting) 72

1. Three years ago in Brazil you could buy Bitcoins in local online markets using your local account. Several large markets also accepted international wire transfers. Or you could also go to localbitcoins.com IIRC, and buy in cash from people geographically near you.

2. There were services accepting Bitcoins that sold gift cards for Amazon and other big stores. Don't know if there are such services still. Of course they charged fees.

In any case, Bitcoin serves three main purposes, as I see:

I. dealing in shady business (silk road, etc)
II. trading and speculating
III. keeping a handful of libertarians geeks thinking they're really "sticking it to the man"

I and II are obviously the reasons Bitcoin still exists. III is not enough to keep it rolling.

Comment Re: Good grief... (Score 1) 681

Learning facts don't make anyone knowledgeable of science. I think what really means is that your regular software writer (and CS bachelor, IMHO) has no contact whatsoever with the scientific method and with how science actually works. That is, they are unaware of how to develop an hypothesis, test it against experiment, place the phenomenon under a broader context, etc.

A really simple test to see if someone has at least a minimum understand of how science works is asking them about what a theory is. I've seem plenty of college educated people think that, say, Theory of Relativity and Theory of Evolution are mere guesses that haven't still been properly verified and one have not only the right, but the moral obligation to chose whether to believe them or not based on their on personal logic. Actually, most people say things like "this and that haven't actually been proved by science", thinking that there are actually "proofs" of anything in science.

I disagree with how they picture Nye's position as a prominent science educator, but his opinion is right on the dime.

Comment Re:Maybe it's because the music industry has adapt (Score 1) 196

I stopped downloading music and picked up a sub to Spotify instead simply because it's more convenient. I share the same music library on my home PC, work PC and smartphone without having to fiddle with anything. When I'm in the car I plug the smartphone into the deck and listen to the playlists that I've downloaded. Even my AV receiver at home can stream from Spotify. It all just works and I'm always stumbling across new music that I end up liking a lot.

I've even set up a few collaborative playlists with friends. When one of us finds something new we add it to the list, then the others can have a listen and add it to their own private playlists if they like it.

Only two things bother me: not everything is available and some things that were available will simply disappear one day. Same old licensing BS that just doesn't work in a digitally connected world.

One thing is clear though. Previously the music industry made no money at all off me, now they do. Not because of some anti-piracy campaign but because someone was finally able to provide an acceptably priced product that's more convenient than pirating. Funny how that works.

Comment Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 3, Insightful) 480

That's possible yes. I guess you could already snap a photo of your completed election ballot to show to those thugs, but you're right that it'd be easier for them to verify votes if they can coerce you into giving up your ID.

If you ask me having those kinds of thugs around in the first place is a pretty good sign of a broken system, but it's a fair point anyway.

Comment Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 1) 480

How is that any different from your employer demanding your Facebook password or your private email history? If you can be fired for refusing either of those demands then sure, they could fire you for refusing to give them your voting ID. But I'd say that's a completely different issue, wouldn't you?

Comment Re:Secret Ballot? (Score 4, Interesting) 480

Voter shows ID to election worker. Worker checks a box. Voter reaches into a giant lottery box full of generated IDs and uses that ID to vote. Later the voter can inspect the blockchain, find his ID and verify that his vote went to the right candidates.

I'm not saying it's a better system but I think there are ways to keep voter anonymity while also allowing the public to audit the result.

Comment #JeSuisCharlie? (Score 5, Insightful) 1350

Maybe instead of representing solidarity with a silly hashtag it'd better for us all to exercise free speech by posting a picture of Muhammad. Not an overly offensive picture either, a simple stick man would do.

This craziness isn't going to stop until the media and us people in general start standing up for the things that we're always claiming to hold dear.

Comment Wrong threat maybe? (Score 1) 580

Maybe this has more to do with the threat of releasing more information "if their demands aren't met" than it does the threat of physical attacks? Maybe there really was some backroom discussion between Sony and the big theater chains to scrap the release because of this?

Or maybe not. It's probably just stupidity.

Comment Different kind of risk (Score 1) 151

Maybe there wasn't a legal risk that would have held up in court. What all that legal council evidently failed to mention is the very real threat of crippling litigation that, while ultimately unsuccessful, could still wipe you out in the process.

I guess that's one thing separating the 'good' legal council from the 'best'. The former will stop at examining the laws, the latter will also examine all the ways the laws could be abused to achieve the same result.

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