Wednesday, December 2, 2015

This Blog Has Stalled

None of the internal or external searches have been working the last few days and I've done everything I can via the tools available to me here. I've also used different servers and browsers and all I'm getting are endless spinning wheels or no results at all, and thus I can not offer you continuous links while following the very important stories (blog editor tongue firmly in cheek) I've been working. 

What's worse, the Google seems to have started censoring my name and site specific searches as well so I guess you will just have to drive yourself today:

"No ticket, no driver: Police stop Google self-driving car" by Christine Hauser New York Times  November 13, 2015

Police in the Northern California city of Mountain View saw something unusual on the road Thursday: A car was moving too slowly, causing a traffic backlog.

So they pulled over the vehicle and peered inside.

It was a self-driving car.

Google’s autonomous vehicle project, which has logged 1.2 million miles, was nearly handed its first traffic ticket Thursday when police officers stopped one of the cars because it was going 24 miles per hour in a 35 mile-per-hour zone.

“The officer stopped the car and made contact with the operators to learn more about how the car was choosing speeds along certain roadways and to educate the operators about impeding traffic,” a police statement said.

Under the California Vehicle Code, the cars are permitted to operate on streets that have limit of 35 miles per hour or slower, police said.

So no ticket was issued. The car technically had no driver, but there are usually two operators in the Google cars capable of taking over if needed, and that was the case this time, the police official in charge of the traffic team, Sergeant Saul Jaeger, said in a telephone interview.

The Google vehicle was allowed to go on its way, with the understanding that if the operators noticed that traffic was stacking up, they needed to pull over and let it flow by, just as if someone had engine trouble and was inching down the road.

“Just like anybody,” Jaeger said.

Google’s autonomous test cars are programmed to follow the letter of the law. But as The New York Times reported in September, researchers in the fledgling field of autonomous vehicles say that one of the biggest challenges facing automated cars is blending them into a world in which human drivers don’t behave by the book. Since 2009, Google cars have been in 16 crashes, mostly fender-benders, and in every single case, the company says, a human was at fault.

I'm really starting to get the feeling that the elite crust of $ociety don't want us around at all.

Google, responding to Thursday’s episode, said its vehicles had never been issued a ticket. “We’ve capped the speed of our prototype vehicles at 25 miles per hour for safety reasons. We want them to feel friendly and approachable, rather than zooming scarily through neighborhood streets. Like this officer, people sometimes flag us down when they want to know more about our project.”

Zandr Milewski photographed the car that was stopped in Mountain View, which happens to be the home of the headquarters of Google’s parent, Alphabet, from a nearby office building, The San Jose Mercury News reported. He was working on a project in a conference room when a colleague told him what was happening outside.

“We all immediately dropped what we were doing to go look,” Milewski told The Mercury News. “It’s not something you see every day.”


Did you see the color of that car? Good thing there wasn't an accident.

Continuing with my morning commute:

MBTA warns riders not to let rabbits loose

VW makes them, don't they?

Volkswagen hires expert in self-driving cars

Volkswagen tied to cheating in Europe, as woes mount

"At Volkswagen, an internal whistle-blower was responsible for uncovering the exaggerated carbon dioxide and fuel economy claims, which the company disclosed last week. But German media reports have said that internal investigators looking into the emissions cheating software, which came to light in September, have been hampered by a reluctance among employees to come forward when there has been a protracted climate of secrecy or fear." 

Good thing he didn't blow it over here.

Volkswagen global sales fell 5 percent in October

As other auto sales in the US soared

Maybe this will bring them back:

"VW diesel owners to get $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers" by Tom Krisher Associated Press  November 10, 2015

DETROIT — VW announced the $1,000 in gift cards and vouchers Monday as the automaker strives to placate customers dismayed by an emissions-rigging scandal. In mid-September, VW admitted the cars are equipped with software that turns on pollution controls during government tests and turns them off while on the road.

VW has yet to unveil a fix for the cars.

And no one wants to bring them in because adjusting it will hurt mileage. That's why they did what they did.

‘‘The problem that most of us suffer from is we’re in never-never land, so this at least gives us some compensation until they figure it out,’’ said Bob Rand, a retired judge in Pasadena, Calif., who says he and his wife have owned at least a dozen new Volkswagens.

The $500 Visa gift card can be used anywhere, while the $500 voucher can be used at a VW dealership for things such as an oil change or new set of tires, or a down payment on a new car. The offer also includes free roadside assistance for the diesel vehicles for three years.

Can't just get cash back?

‘‘We are working tirelessly to develop an approved remedy for affected vehicles,’’ Michael Horn, VW’s US chief executive, said in a statement. ‘‘In the meantime we are providing this goodwill package as a first step towards regaining our customers’ trust.’’ 

In this age of lies and deceit everywhere, that isn't happening. Sorry.

Steve Kalafer, chairman of the Flemington Car and Truck Country dealerships in Flemington, N.J., said Volkswagen’s offer is a welcome first step after a long silence between the automaker, its customers, and its US retailers.

Kalafer said he hasn’t heard yet from customers about Volkswagen’s offer, but he expects they will want more from the company to address the many issues raised by the emissions scandal.

‘‘They will appreciate the communication, but I imagine that until a real resolution is found that appreciation will be muted,’’ he said.

Whatever fix VW designs could wind up hurting performance or fuel mileage, the main reasons people buy diesels. More than 200 class-action lawsuits have been filed in the United States against VW alleging that the scandal caused the diesel cars to drop in value.

Josh Badall of Phoenix recently sold his 2009 Jetta TDI because of the scandal and a host of mechanical problems.

‘‘I don’t think solving it in a retrospective manner like that really changes a whole lot of anything, especially considering the value of those vehicles now is pretty bad,’’ he said....


I have seen the new television ads and my first impression was pffffft -- although I suppose anything is better than the last round of sickening gas.

"Google giving away its artificial intelligence" by Jack Clark Bloomberg News  November 10, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — Companies ranging from Google to Facebook Inc. to Microsoft Corp. are seeking to influence AI development by staffing up research labs, publishing academic research papers, giving presentations at conferences, and even guest lecturing at universities. They’re betting that by being open they can entice talented academics to work for them, while encouraging the wider community to work on new AI technologies. Other companies, such as Apple and have been more secretive in the past, but are seeking to be more open.

The companies are also trying guide AI development....


See where we are headed. 

Time to call a cab:

Lyft trying to raise $500m as it burns through cash

They lost $127 million in the first half of 2015  as the company burns through tens of millions of dollars a month in investor's venture capital.

Uber CEO says fingerprint-based background checks can be ‘discriminatory’

See who they are pointing the finger at while laughing? 

I'd call a Globe tow truck, but....

Look Out Below: the Real Economy Just Hit Stall Speed

NDU: Bob Kraft’s preferred ride

Look who likes poker!