GM Plans to Build, Test Thousands of Self-Driving Bolts in 2018

February 18th, 2017

Via: Reuters:

General Motors Co plans to deploy thousands of self-driving electric cars in test fleets in partnership with ride-sharing affiliate Lyft Inc, beginning in 2018, two sources familiar with the automaker’s plans said this week.

It is expected to be the largest such test of fully autonomous vehicles by any major automaker before 2020, when several companies have said they plan to begin building and deploying such vehicles in higher volumes. Alphabet Inc’s Waymo subsidiary, in comparison, is currently testing about 60 self-driving prototypes in four states.

Most of the specially equipped versions of the Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicle will be used by San Francisco-based Lyft, which will test them in its ride-sharing fleet in several states, one of the sources said. GM has no immediate plans to sell the Bolt AV to individual customers, according to the source.


White House Denies Report it Might Call up National Guard for Immigration Roundup

February 17th, 2017

This is what I wrote on election day:

The thing about Trump that scares the crap out of me the most is his pledge to round up people who are in the U.S. illegally. I’m very much for securing the border. I’m not for mass arrests. Danger. Danger. Red flag.

What’s he going to do? Deploy the U.S. Marines to places like Santa Ana and wide swaths of Los Angeles County?

Good luck with that.

For the moment, they’re saying troops won’t be used.

If they do decide to use military force at some point, you will want to already be long gone, whether you are in the U.S. illegally or not.

Via: AP:

President Donald Trump’s administration is considering mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants, according to The Associated Press. The Trump administration strongly denied the report Friday morning.

A draft memo obtained by The Associated Press outlines a Trump administration proposal under consideration to mobilize as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants. Millions of those who would be affected in 11 states live nowhere near the Mexico border.

The 11-page document calls for the unprecedented militarization of immigration enforcement as far north as Portland, Oregon, and as far east as New Orleans, Louisiana. If the proposal is implemented, governors in the affected states would have final approval on whether troops under their control participate.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that the AP report is not true.

“That is 100 percent not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this. There is no effort at all to round up, to utilize the National Guard to round up illegal immigrants,” Spicer said.

“I don’t know what could potentially be out there, but I know that there is no effort to do what is potentially suggested,” he said. “It is not a White House document.”

Governors in the 11 states would have a choice whether to have their guard troops participate, according to the memo, written by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired four-star Marine general.

While National Guard personnel have been used to assist with immigration-related missions on the U.S.-Mexico border before, they have never been used as broadly or as far north.

The memo is addressed to the then-acting heads of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It would serve as guidance to implement the wide-ranging executive order on immigration and border security that President Donald Trump signed Jan. 25. Such memos are routinely issued to supplement executive orders.


Flashback 2013: Jeff Bezos Is Doing Huge Business with the CIA, While Keeping His Washington Post Readers in the Dark

February 17th, 2017

Not only do I buy a lot of homeschooling books for my children from Amazon, but Cryptogon depends on affiliate commissions from Amazon.

Several retailers in New Zealand simply buy stuff at retail from Amazon and then send it over to NZ. (That should give you an idea of how broken retailing is in NZ and how expensive things are here.)

And Amazon is a major contractor for the CIA.

*sigh*

Via: AlterNet:

News media should illuminate conflicts of interest, not embody them. But the owner of the Washington Post is now doing big business with the Central Intelligence Agency, while readers of the newspaper’s CIA coverage are left in the dark.

The Post’s new owner, Jeff Bezos, is the founder and CEO of Amazon — which recently landed a $600 million contract with the CIA. But the Post’s articles about the CIA are not disclosing that the newspaper’s sole owner is the main owner of CIA business partner Amazon.

2016: CIA Loves Amazon’s Cloud Services


AI-Powered Body Cams for Police

February 17th, 2017

Via: Vocativ:

The police body camera industry is the latest to jump on the artificial intelligence bandwagon, bringing new powers and privacy concerns to a controversial technology bolstered by the need to hold police accountable after numerous high-profile killings of unarmed black citizens. Now, that tech is about to get smarter.

Last week, Taser, the stun gun company that has recently become an industry leader in body-mounted cameras, announced the creation of its own in-house artificial intelligence division. The new unit will utilize the company’s acquisition of two AI-focused firms: Dextro, a New York-based computer vision startup, and Misfit, another computer vision company previously owned by the watch manufacturer Fossil. Taser says the newly formed division will develop AI-powered tech specifically aimed at law enforcement, using automation and machine learning algorithms to let cops search for people and objects in video footage captured by on-body camera systems.

Moreover, the move suggests that body-worn cameras, which are already being used by police departments in many major cities, could soon become powerful surveillance tools capable of identifying different objects, events, and people encountered by officers on the street — both retroactively and in real time.


Elon Musk Is Really Boring

February 17th, 2017

Via: Bloomberg:

As Musk tells it, the L.A. traffic jam was a breaking point. Screw it, he thought, I’ll do tunnels myself. Within days of his tweetstorm, he acquired a domain name—BoringCompany.com—and appointed a leader for the project, Steve Davis, a senior SpaceX engineer who designed the guidance systems for the company’s first rocket. The barely sketched plan was to dig lots of tunnels for cars and high-speed trains. Mostly, Musk was going to approach it in his usual way: He’d figure it out as he went along.


Cassie – Next Generation Robot

February 17th, 2017

Via: Oregon State University:

Related: Agility Robotics


U.S. Solar Capacity Nearly Doubles in One Year, Blows Away Previous Records

February 15th, 2017

Disclosure: I sell solar power systems in New Zealand.

Via: Green Tech Media:

In its biggest year to date, the United States solar market nearly doubled its annual record, topping out at 14,626 megawatts of solar PV installed in 2016.

This represents a 95 percent increase over the previous record of 7,493 megawatts installed in 2015. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) previewed this data in advance of their upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, set to be released on March 9.

For the first time ever, U.S. solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions on an annual basis. In total, solar accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016.

“What these numbers tell you is that the solar industry is a force to be reckoned with,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO. “Solar’s economically winning hand is generating strong growth across all market segments nationwide, leading to more than 260,000 Americans now employed in solar.”

Related: The Continuing Exponential Growth Of Global Solar PV Production & Installation


Four Kinds of Dystopia

February 15th, 2017

Via: expressiveegg:

The reader can decide for herself under which of above we currently struggle to eke out a life worth living. I would like to suggest that all modern societies are both Kafkaesque and Phildickian with either a Huxleyan or Orwellian overarching framework; modern, western, capitalist societies tend to be basically Huxleyan (HKP) and pre-modern, eastern, communist countries tend to be basically Orwellian (OKP).


Daimler to Convert Engine Production to Electric at Its Largest Factory

February 14th, 2017

The simplicity of EV powertrains, compared to internal combustion, means that, “The plant will require significantly fewer employees.”

Via: Electrek:

Daimler has ambitious plans for electric vehicle production. It is among the few major automakers that not only have accepted the transition to fully electric propulsion in the auto industry, but who have also committed to converting production assets currently dedicated to internal combustion engine production. That’s a difficult move for large legacy automakers.

In one of its biggest move toward that goal, the company announced today plans for its major Untertürkheim plant to produce electric motors in a deal with workers.

Daimler employs over 19,000 people at the Untertürkheim factory, one of the biggest powertrain manufacturing facility in the world. There are a lot of complex internal combustion engines (ICE) coming out of that place, which produces everything from complete engines, axles, transmissions and other components.

Due to the transition to electric propulsion, which requires simpler electric motors, the company expects the modernisation of the plant will require significantly fewer employees.

Related: Mercedes Smart Brand Stopping Sales of Gas Powered Cars in U.S., Going EV Only


Flynn’s Takedown, “A Soft Coup”

February 14th, 2017

In case anyone is keeping score, there was a faction allied with Trump that claimed that they were going to steal the election from Hillary, who was obviously well into the process of stealing the election for herself (see Bernie).

Post election, Hillary’s faction obviously hasn’t just shrugged its shoulders and said, “Oh well.”

Via: The Week:

The whole episode is evidence of the precipitous and ongoing collapse of America’s democratic institutions — not a sign of their resiliency. Flynn’s ouster was a soft coup (or political assassination) engineered by anonymous intelligence community bureaucrats. The results might be salutary, but this isn’t the way a liberal democracy is supposed to function.

Unelected intelligence analysts work for the president, not the other way around. Far too many Trump critics appear not to care that these intelligence agents leaked highly sensitive information to the press — mostly because Trump critics are pleased with the result. “Finally,” they say, “someone took a stand to expose collusion between the Russians and a senior aide to the president!” It is indeed important that someone took such a stand. But it matters greatly who that someone is and how they take their stand. Members of the unelected, unaccountable intelligence community are not the right someone, especially when they target a senior aide to the president by leaking anonymously to newspapers the content of classified phone intercepts, where the unverified, unsubstantiated information can inflict politically fatal damage almost instantaneously.

Related: Disclosing SIGINT Contents, “One of the Most Serious Felonies”


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