Daria Dunchenko


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Today in Uber Autonomous Murderbot News

"Safety driver" of fatal self-driving Uber crash was watching Hulu at time of accident:

Police obtained records from Hulu, an online service for streaming TV shows and movies, which showed Vasquez's account was playing the TV talent show "The Voice" for about 42 minutes on the night of the crash, ending at 9:59 p.m., which "coincides with the approximate time of the collision," the report said. [...]

The Uber car was in autonomous mode at the time of the crash, but the company, like other self-driving car developers, requires a back-up driver inside to intervene when the autonomous system fails or a tricky driving situation occurs.

WHICH WILL NEVER WORK!

Vasquez looked up just 0.5 seconds before the crash, after keeping her head down for 5.3 seconds, the Tempe police report said. Uber's self-driving Volvo SUV was traveling at just under 44 miles per hour. [...] Police said a review of video from inside the Volvo showed Vasquez was looking down during the trip, and her face "appears to react and show a smirk or laugh at various points during the times that she is looking down." The report found that Vasquez "was distracted and looking down" for close to seven of the nearly 22 minutes prior to the collision. [...]

According to a report last month by the National Transportation Safety Board, which is also investigating the crash, Vasquez told federal investigators she had been monitoring the self-driving interface in the car and that neither her personal nor business phones were in use until after the crash. That report showed Uber had disabled the emergency braking system in the Volvo, and Vasquez began braking less than a second after hitting Herzberg. [...]

In addition to the report, police released a slew of audio files of 911 calls made by Vasquez, who waited at the scene for police, and bystanders; photographs of Herzberg's damaged bicycle and the Uber car; and videos from police officers' body cameras that capture the minutes after the crash, including harrowing screams in the background.

I repeat myself, but:

  1. The Uber executives who put this software on the public roadways need to be in jail. They disabled safety features because they made testing harder. They disabled safety features because they made the ride rougher.

  2. This notion that having a "safety driver" in the passenger seat will allow a distracted human to take over at the last minute is completely insane. You think driving-while-texting is dangerous? This is so much worse. When people aren't engaged in the task of driving, their minds wander. They cannot re-engage fast enough. This is obvious on its face, we don't need studies to prove it. Oh, but we have them anyway.

  3. I would still like to know the answer to the question of who gets charged with vehicular homicide when one of these machines kills someone. Even if they are ultimately ruled to be not at fault, what name goes on the court docket? Is it:

    • The Uber employee "non-employee independent contractor" in the passenger seat?
    • Their shift lead?
    • Travis Kalanick?
    • The author(s) of the (proprietary, un-auditable) software?
    • The "corporate person" known as Uber?

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Trump Dating

"Sad Trombone"

When it comes to disclosing their affiliation with Trump, no ground is more fraught than courtship. "Trump supporters swipe left" -- meaning "don't even bother trying" -- might be the single most common disclaimer on dating app profiles in Washington.

One beleaguered 31-year-old female administration official described at length her "very, very frequent" scraps with her matches on dating apps. "You do the small talk thing, and you have a very good conversation, and then they might say, 'You didn't vote for Trump, right?'" she says. "As soon as I say, 'Of course I did,' it just devolves into all-caps 'HOW COULD YOU BE SUCH A RACIST AND A BIGOT?' And 'You're going to take away your own birth control.'" In one recent star-crossed exchange, the official told a match she worked for the federal government. When he pushed, she revealed she was in the administration. He asked her, "Do you rip babies from their mothers and then send them to Mexico?"

Evasive answers will get you only so far, though, since many dating apps provide enough information for inquisitive users to sleuth out their matches' identities. "I literally got the other day, 'Thanks but no thanks. Just Googled you and it said you were a mouthpiece for the Trump administration. Go fuck yourself,'" says the official. It's all enough to drive her and some of her colleagues away from at least some of the apps. "I'm no longer on Bumble," she says.

Young staffers have had to develop a keen sense of just when to have "The Talk" with romantic partners. "I've still been able to hook up with women," says a male former White House staffer. "But I know that I need to be careful about broaching the Trump stuff. I just know that going in, I need to be able to get it out at the right time and not get it out too early."

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Please do not touch the Unabomber cabin.

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Aha! Judge!

Aha! Judge!

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Trump Lacks Character for His Hotel to Keep Its Liquor License

COMPLAINT TO SHOW CAUSE WHY THE TRUMP INTERNATIONAL HOTEL ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE LICENSE SHOULD BE REVOKED.

This is beautiful:

The Trump International Hotel in Washington shouldn't be allowed to serve alcohol because the hotel's ultimate owner, President Donald Trump, isn't of "good character," a group of religious leaders and former judges said in a complaint.

The group asked Washington's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to investigate Trump and ultimately revoke his namesake hotel's license to serve liquor. [...]

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board would have had to determine that Trump was of good character when it issued a liquor license to the hotel, a review of the board's rules suggests. Max Bluestein, a spokesman for the beverage board, said the board's enforcement division was reviewing the complaint.

Trump's offenses, according to the complaint, include associating with people convicted of major crimes; accusations of sexual assault; lying; and a general lack of integrity. The complainants say that the allegations and evidence demonstrates that Trump fails to meet the beverage board's requirement that only people of "good character" qualify for the right to sell alcohol in Washington.

Funny story: Under DC law, anyone convicted of a felony is also banned from owning a liquor license.

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Plane loop

vernbestintheworld:

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Stephen Miller Actually Enjoys Seeing Those Pictures at the Border

This is a completely normal thing for someone to say about the President's senior policy adviser:

Meanwhile, as the border crisis spirals, the absence of a coordinated policy process has allowed the most extreme administration voices to fill the vacuum. White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller has all but become the face of the issue, a development that even supporters of Trump's "zero-tolerance" position say is damaging the White House. "Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border," an outside White House adviser said. "He's a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There's always been a way he's gone about this. He's Waffen-SS."

Christopher Moore: "What's the German expression for Tender Age Shelters? They might be able to re-purpose the old signs." (Apparently Jugendkonzentrationslager, but I haven't found a good picture of a sign.)

Outside Trump Hotel, an Uproar. Inside, a Calm Sea of Conservative Cash.

At the hotel, he spoke for an hour to 150 supporters -- about half of whom were donors who paid $100,000 to $250,000 to attend a two-day summit meeting organized by America First Action, the "super PAC" formed to support Mr. Trump and allied candidates.

Outside, the world was cloudy. Beyond the hotel's walls, protesters blasted audio of children crying in detainment centers. Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security, was heckled at a nearby Mexican restaurant. In the days before, an anti-Trump group had projected the words "Over 3,000 children taken from their parents" onto the hotel facade.

But inside, all was well.

"Does anybody here look stressed out?" the conservative commentator Candace Owens asked as she surveyed the lobby. [...]

Sensitive to campaign finance rules barring federal officials from soliciting donations greater than $5,400, the White House has been careful to call these events gatherings with supporters, not fund-raisers, although they have a similar effect. The event this week felt like a conference, with several panels geared toward foreign policy, "America First" messaging and a healthy disdain for the news media. [...]

Mr. Hamm has donated $1 million to America First Action through personal and corporate accounts. Mr. Weiser, who has donated $200,000, said he suspected the event raised "a lot" of money. [...]

"We have to give the impression that our laws matter," he said. "I think conservatism is the new counterculture."

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Today in "Party Pigeon" News

Rocky Mountain Adventures Pigeon Express™

Using specially designed Lycra backpacks, the birds fly film of your rafting trip on the Cache la Poudre River back to our Fort Collins outpost, typically traveling distances between 20 and 40 miles. [...] After the pigeons arrive back home, we develop the film so that you can see your photos when you get back from the river.

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Mario Klingemann's Music Videos

"An AI automatically detects the scenes in the source video clip and then replaces them with similar looking archival footage. The process is fully automatic, there are no manual edits."



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Current Music: as noted

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