Automatic Circuit Reclosers Probed as Potential Cause of California Fires - "Automatic reclosers are pole-mounted circuit breakers that can quickly restore power after outages, but they can also multiply the fire risk from damaged lines. " https://www.spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/energy/the-smarter-grid/utilities-probed-as-potential-cause-of-california-fires
Everyone thinks they're an above average driver, that they never make mistakes, that they're never distracted or tired. So where's the improvement for them in self-driving cars? It's just everyone else needing to be automated. Risks? Adopting self-driving cars too fast, or too slowly. Regulating them too much, or not enough. Overly dreading any robo-caused accidents, or accepting unnecessary carnage because of sloppy products. Once it's required to have someone with a flag walking in front of every self-driving car (it worked once, right?) we'll be OK. -------- Forwarded Message -------- Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2017 08:48:06 +0000 From: Aging In Place Technology Watch <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject: The Unstoppable Momentum of Self-Driving Cars <http://feedproxy.google.com/%7Er/AgingInPlaceTechnologyWatch/%7E3/kZqVQKjLFxM/unstoppable-momentum-self-driving-cars> Everybody's doing it—talking, investing, launching an initiative for self-driving cars. Imagine 300,000 lives saved per decade, preventing the 37,500 deaths just last year <https://www.wired.com/story/self-driving-cars-rand-report/>. In fact, the development of self-driving cars and other Autonomous Vehicles (AV), have received a whopping $80 billion in investment to date <https://jalopnik.com/a-whopping-80-billion-has-been-invested-so-far-in-the-181950442>. Amid the hype, obstacles are occasionally noted (like roads <https://www.ageinplacetech.com/-%20http%3A/thehill.com/opinion/technology/353034-self-driving-cars-are-coming-but-us-roads-arent-ready-for-the-change>) and surveyed consumer disinterest, including AAA <http://www.newsweek.com/you-may-not-live-long-enough-ride-driverless-car-575305>, JD Power <http://www.jdpower.com/cars/articles/car-news/study-says-minority-drivers-want-autonomous-cars>, Gartner <https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3790963>, and in particular, older people might not be interested <http://www.wbur.org/bostonomix/2017/05/25/mit-study-self-driving-cars>, even though enabling older adults to keep driving is one of the oft-repeated rationales by self-driving car evangelists. And of course, since older adults want to age in place, self-driving cars are often described as enablers <https://finance.yahoo.com/news/age-place-self-driving-cars-will-transform-retirement-173308278.html>. Who and what can get on board first with a media-friendly project? Will it be Optimus Ride <https://www.optimusride.com/>, testing the 'future <https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/28/optimus-ride-will-provide-self-driving-vehicles-to-boston-community-residents/>of transportation' near Boston https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/28/optimus-ride-will-provide-self-driving-vehicles-to-boston-community-residents/>? Will it be Lyft in Boston <https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/6/16742924/lyft-nutonomy-boston-self-driving-car>, Uber in Pittsburgh (maybe not) <https://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/22/pittsburgh-welcomed-ubers-driverless-car-experiment-not-anymore.html>, Tempe (never mind that crash) <https://www.wired.com/2017/03/uber-redeploys-self-driving-cars-wreck-arizona/>? Will it involve redoing the roads to add a separate self-driving lane, as Foxconn in Wisconsin has requested for its 13,000 employee <https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/12/11/apple-supplier-foxconn-wants-build-self-driving-vehicles-into-its-new-u-s-campus/938500001/> plant near Racine? Does it matter that a new self-driving shuttle has an accident on its first day <https://arstechnica.com/cars/2017/11/the-real-lesson-of-that-self-driving-shuttles-first-day-accident/> (blaming a driver, naturally)? What about that 6 mph Robot shuttle in Japan <https://futurism.com/japan-is-testing-driverless-buses-to-help-the-elderly-get-around/> (and likely Paris, Singapore, etc.)? And how about this “ commercial delivery via self-driving trucks <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/business/self-driving-trucks.html>, and for local delivery even self-restocking delivery vehicles <https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/11/08/magazine/tech-design-autonomous-future-cars-100-percent-augmented-reality-policing.html> (imagine the UPS truck with no driver)? Why is *boon for the elderly* generally included as a rationale? First, 70% of older adults live in car-dependent suburbs <https://usa.streetsblog.org/2011/06/14/how-seniors-get-stuck-at-home-with-no-transit-options/>, and of course, ask AARP, 90% expect to age in place <https://www.aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/info-11-2011/Aging-In-Place.html>. So seniors are among other much-lobbied reasons to create the 2017 Self-Drive Act <https://www.theverge.com/2017/9/6/16259170/self-drive-act-autonomous-cars-legislation>, a federal effort to reduce the regulatory burden on getting 80,000 self-driving cars into the market, and to discourage states from crafting individual legislation, one state at a time. Never mind that only 6 percent of cities <https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/13/16453926/self-driving-car-us-cities-uber-traffic-collision> have any policy or strategy about self-driving cars—it's full spending steam ahead. Waymo <https://www.theverge.com/2017/11/28/16709104/waymo-self-driving-autonomous-cars-public-roads-milestone> (formerly Google's Self-driving project) has even issued a report <https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/12/waymo-self-driving-safety-report/> to explain self-driving safety, benefit to the elderly <https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/trafficandcommuting/driverless-cars-promise-far-greater-mobility-for-the-elderly-and-people-with-disabilities/2017/11/23/6994469c-c4a3-11e7-84bc-5e285c7f4512_story.html?utm_term=.450933a33ece> and disabled, and to justify its own investment and expected growth. Do risks matter? Toyota offered a wake-up comment. From Toyota: <http://www.businessinsider.com/toyota-is-skeptical-of-self-driving-tech-2017-1> "Society has come to accept 39,000 traffic fatalities a year in the US, mostly due to human error, but would never tolerate similar carnage involving cars controlled by computers." People are worried—in a 2017 Harris poll about the future of self-driving cars, 52% fear for other drivers, 62% fear for pedestrians <https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2017/11/16/breaking-down-the-barriers-of-self-driving-cars/#5aece2102ef1>. What about the ability of a car's sensors to work when covered with slush and ice “ maybe that will work and maybe not <https://globalnews.ca/news/3165122/we-may-never-see-self-driving-cars-anywhere-it-snows-heres-why/>. Meanwhile manually-driven cars are still being purchased today, and owners keep their cars 11.6 years on average <http://www.newsweek.com/you-may-not-live-long-enough-ride-driverless-car-575305>. So it will take a few decades to get all of those cars off the regular roadways, assuming that all other vexing barriers <https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/barriers-to-self-driving-cars>, not to mention ethical concerns <https://www.technologyreview.com/s/542626/why-self-driving-cars-must-be-programmed-to-kill/> and insurance <https://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2017/04/03/522222975/self-driving-cars-raise-questions-about-who-carries-insurance> issues, are addressed. And for sure, this is just the beginning.
Lauren's Blog via NNSquad https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/12/26/google-home-is-leaving-elderly-and-disabled-users-behind I continue to be an enormous fan of Google Home—for example, please see my post "Why Google Home Will Change the World" - https://lauren.vortex.com/2016/11/10/why-google-home-will-change-the-world from a bit over a year ago. But as time goes on, it's becoming obvious that a design decision by Google in the Home ecosystem is seriously disadvantaging large numbers of potential users—ironically, the very users who might otherwise most benefit from Home's enormous capabilities. You cannot install or routinely maintain Google Home units without a smartphone and the Google Home smartphone app. There are no practical desktop based and/or remotely accessible means for someone to even do this for you. A smartphone on the same local Wi-Fi network as the device is always required for these purposes. This means that many elderly persons and individuals with physical or visual disabilities—exactly the people whose lives could be greatly enhanced by Home's advanced voice query, response, and control capabilities—are up the creek unless they have someone available in their physical presence to set up the device and make any ongoing configuration changes. Additionally, all of the "get more info" links related to Google Home responses are also restricted to the smartphone Home app. I can see how imposing these restrictions made things faster and easier for Google to bring Home to market. For example, by requiring a smartphone for initial Wi-Fi configuration of Home, they avoided building desktop interfaces for this purpose, and leveraged smartphones' already configured Wi-Fi environments. But that's not a valid excuse. You might be surprised how many people routinely use the Internet but who do not have smartphones, or who have never used text messaging on conventional cell phones—or hell, who don't even have cell phones at all! Now, one could argue that perhaps this wouldn't matter so much if we were talking about an app to find rave parties or the best surfing locations. But the voice control, query, and response capabilities of Home are otherwise perfectly suited to greatly improve the lives of the very categories of users who are shut out from Home, unless they have someone with a smartphone in their physical presence to get the devices going and perform ongoing routine configuration changes and other non-voice interactions. In fact, many persons have queried me with great excitement about Home, only to be terribly disappointed to learn that smartphones were required and that they were being left behind by Google, yet again. I have in the past asked the question "Does Google Hate Old People" -- https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/02/06/does-google-hate-old-people and I'm not going to rehash that discussion here. Perhaps Google already has plans in the works to provide non-smartphone access for these key Home functionalities—if so I haven't heard about them, but it's clearly technically possible to do. I find it distressing that this all seems to follow Google's pattern of concentrating on their target demographics at the expense of large (and in many cases rapidly growing) categories of users who get left further and further behind as a result. This is always sad—and unnecessary—but particularly so with Home, given that the voice-operated Home ecosystem would otherwise seem tailor-made to help these persons in so many ways. And at the risk of repetition since I have been saying this quite a bit lately: Google is a great company. Google can do better than this.
[via Dave Farber] Another Internet debate is simmering, specifically about the liability of online companies and their users: > Twenty-six words within Section 230 shield websites from many types of claims arising from user content: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider. For example, if a newspaper publishes a defamatory article, the subject can sue the newspaper publisher for defamation. But under Section 230, if a user posts a defamatory comment on Twitter, the subject cannot successfully sue Twitter for defamation (but can sue the tweeter). > I'm writing a book about Section 230 for Cornell University Press, titled *The Twenty-Six Words that Created the Internet*. The title is not an overstatement. Without Section 230, it is difficult to conceive of social media, consumer review sites, and other user-focused online platforms existing in their current forms. > Perhaps no case was more troubling to me than a lawsuit brought by plaintiffs who were victims of sex-trafficking against Backpage.com, the site where they were advertised. A district court granted Backpage's motion to dismiss, relying on Section 230 immunity, and last year the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the decision. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2017/12/how-do-you-change-the-most-important-law-in-internet-history-carefully/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act
Lisa W. Foderaro, *New York Times*, DEC. 24, 2017 https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/nyregion/traffic-apps-gps-neighborhoods.html LEONIA, N.J. ” It is bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see, the kind of soul-sucking traffic jam that afflicts highways the way bad food afflicts rest stops. Suddenly, a path to hope presents itself: An alternate route, your smartphone suggests, can save time. Next thing you know, you're headed down an exit ramp, blithely following directions into the residential streets of some unsuspecting town, along with a slew of other frustrated motorists. Scenes like this are playing out across the country, not just in traffic-choked regions of the Northeast. But one town has had enough. With services like Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps suggesting shortcuts for commuters through the narrow, hilly streets of Leonia, N.J., the borough has decided to fight back against congestion that its leaders say has reached crisis proportions. In mid-January, the borough's police force will close 60 streets to all drivers aside from residents and people employed in the borough during the morning and afternoon rush periods, effectively taking most of the town out of circulation for the popular traffic apps—and for everyone else, for that matter.
Something similar had happened in Israel in 2013: A major freeway was flooded, and the popular Waze navigation app (which was rather new, now owned by Google) was directing drivers directly into it, because it sowed on the maps as having no traffic! This resulted in huge jams all over the central region of the country. Following this incident, Waze had added an option for drivers to report block roads, and incorporated blockages into its maps and algorithms. I wonder what type of application drivers in California are using...
https://medium.com/bread-and-circuses/how-i-got-paid-0-from-the-uber-security-bug-bounty-aa9646aa103f "So Uber partners with HackerOne to offer a public bug bounty program, advertising a $500 minimum guaranteed payout if a security vulnerability is found within an Uber app or information asset. Fair enough, I've led numerous penetration tests over the years in addition to delivering advanced pentest training for corporate clients..."
[A good effort, but useless] https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2017-12-25/college-students-come-up-with-plug-in-to-combat-fake-news A team of college students is getting attention from Internet companies and Congress after developing a browser extension that alerts users to fake and biased news stories and helps guide them to more balanced coverage. The plug-in, "Open Mind ," was developed earlier this month during a 36-hour problem-solving competition known as a hackathon at Yale University. An educational project, and ultimately a useless one. What they fail to understand is that fake news issues must be handled natively by these platforms—extensions and other add-ons are virtually useless. First, most people will never learn of such extensions—and will be unwilling to install them due to rising concerns about their security. https://lauren.vortex.com/2017/08/02/beware-the-browser-extensions-privacy-trap But even more to the point, the persons most in need of such extensions are convinced that they already have the ability to ferret out what they believe to be fake news, and would continue to frequent the racist, alt-right sites that disseminate it. That is, the users most vulnerable to be taken in by fake news don't believe that those stories from their favorite racist outlets are fake, and would never use an extension that told them otherwise. They'd simply call it a bogus (or fake!) fake news extension. So such projects are essentially only preaching to the choir, and are not expected to move the ball in any meaningful positive way. Sorry about that, Chief.
Excerpt from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/us/politics/us-border-privacy-phone-searches.html WASHINGTON—They spoke of being humiliated and shaken. They described being made to feel like a criminal. And they maintained that their rights had been violated. Grievances over lost privacy run through a trove of roughly 250 complaints by people whose laptops and phones were searched without a warrant as they crossed the United States border. Filed with the Department of Homeland Security since 2011, mostly during the Obama administration, these stories add a personal dimension to a growing debate over rights, security and technology. In January 2016, a Virginia woman wrote of experiencing a blatant abuse of privacy after she and her 19-year-old son were pulled aside for extra screening at Newark Liberty International Airport upon returning from Spain. “They took his laptop and cellphone and proceeded to go through both after getting the passwords from him,'' she wrote in her complaint, adding that her phone was taken and browsed through “without my consent,'' as well. While the officers were cordial, she said, “the line between security screening and blatant search and seizure without cause or explaining is not.'' American courts have long permitted government agents who protect the borders to search, without a warrant or any specific basis for suspicion, the possessions carried by people as they cross. But smartphones and other personal electronics contain vastly more private information than suitcases. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have filed a lawsuit in Boston arguing that a warrant should be required to search such devices at the border. Last week, the Trump administration asked a judge to dismiss the case. <https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4327064-Alasaad-v-Duke-e-search-border-ACLU-EFF-amended.html> The lawsuit comes amid a surge in agents looking through—and sometimes copying data from—cellphones and laptops. Midway through fiscal year 2017, Customs and Border Protection was on pace to search 30,000 travelers' electronics—more than tripling the annual number by that agency since 2015, when it searched 8,503 people's devices. <https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-releases-statistics-electronic-device-searches-0> The complaints were submitted to the Department of Homeland Security's Traveler Redress Inquiry Program. In many cases, the people list a set of grievances in addition to feeling their privacy was violated, like being detained for hours and missing connecting flights. The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University obtained the filed complaints under the Freedom of Information Act and provided them to The New York Times. [...] <https://knightcolumbia.org/>
One can only be astounded that it was apparently possible to hack a container ship such that the captain lost control completely. It is analogous to being unable to disconnect the autopilot in a manned aircraft. Such a scheme would fail certification for good reason. Not even considering hacking, a major electrical power fault in a ship, especially in concert with fire, could disable the computer systems of the ship. The possible results would include stranding, collision, and pollution. I should expect that like for aircraft, low probability events with with possibly disastrous consequence would require preventive measures but am not conversant with the relevant design rules. In the days before automation, ships' engines had a so-called maneuvering platform from which the engine could be controlled by hand through mechanical connections. Similarly, at least the tiller flat, the space that houses the mechanical actuation for the rudder, had a second ship's wheel that was connected mechanically to the rudder actuation mechanism. Providing such a backup system would be straightforward engineering. Lastly, one is puzzled by the fact that the chief engineer did not close the emergency or other fuel valves for the main engine. One wonders if the "vessel not under command" signals were shown during the incident. If piracy is suspected, a call to the nearest warship on the international distress frequency might give the pirates pause.
If the pirates who take over the crewless container ship also get control of communications, then the owners will have no clue that their ship has been hijacked and is not where it claims to be: until it mysteriously fails to appear at the destination port! The failed appearance is then followed by the appearance of an eBay auction for a fully automated container ship: "Excellent condition. One rather careless owner".
> The risks? This one's too easy... The errors? This one has too many... First of all, Yara is not a shipping company at all, but rather the world's largest manufacturer of fertilizer. The first commercially viable way to produce artificial fertilizer was invented in 1905 and led directly to the start of the company. Yara was started as Hydro, and developed into an international conglomerate (about the same size in employees/revenue/profits as Intel) involved with Aluminum and Oil&gas as well as the traditional fertilizer business. 10+ years ago that original part of the company was split off and became Yara. http://yara.com/about/history/ The "high seas" mentioned here is a less than 3km-wide pond ("Frierfjorden") which has had Yara's largest facility on the north-east side since 1925 and several much more recent developments on the other side, the automated ship will just go back & forth across this extremely sheltered water. https://goo.gl/maps/zS9px2c5mbn Terje (who grew up there and worked for Hydro for about 25 years, starting in this facility)
Their former arch rival SPG (now part of their other arch-rival Marriott) has a small version of this that lets you use your phone as your door key. Old manual method: walk up to door, take key card out of your pocket, tap lock, door unlocks, open door. New high tech method: walk up to door, take phone out of your pocket. Unlock phone, start up SPG app. Tap to tell it you want to open your door. Phone tells you this uses bluetooth, do you want to turn on bluetooth? Switch to other app, turn on bluetooth, switch back to SPG app. App says aha, there is a door nearby. App icon makes blobby motion pattern while it talks to the door. Door unlocks, open door. Probably forget to turn off bluetooth, thereby running down phone battery faster. Try to remember to take phone out of your pocket and start up the app and turn on bluetooth while you're in the elevator, next time.
Sounds like my experience today trying to introduce my 2007 car to a newly installed garage-door opener. Car of course worked fine having been programmed in 2007 for replaced opener. Car and new opener manuals both have instructions for connecting, each to the other. While not quite contradictory, the instructions don't quite mesh. And the car's instruction steps loop (Step 4 stating "If this fails, repeat Steps 2-4"). Of course, there's a separate remote opener but it's annoying the built-in button apparently can't be programmed to the new/fancy opener. I'll call LiftMaster for advice, not being optimistic. How fancy? It's WiFi capable. I just need to connect opener to my home network, install the app, establish an account, and I can use my phone to open/close/monitor the door. Aside from (as you note happening in elevator) fumbling with phone while driving, running app, finding open/close option, what could go wrong with THAT, having my garage door online?
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