A British-based computer scientist has been banned from publishing an academic paper revealing the secret codes used to start luxury cars including Porsches, Audis, Bentleys and Lamborghinis as it could lead to the theft of millions of vehicles, a judge has ruled.
The high court imposed an injunction on the University of Birmingham’s Flavio Garcia, a lecturer in computer science, who has cracked the security system by discovering the unique algorithm that allows the car to verify the identity of the ignition key.
The UK injunction is an interim step in a case launched by Volkswagen’s parent, which owns the four luxury marques, against Garcia and two other cryptography experts from a Dutch university.
It complained that the publication could “allow someone, especially a sophisticated criminal gang with the right tools, to break the security and steal a car”. The cars are protected by a system called Megamos Crypto, an algorithm which works out the codes that are sent between the key and the car.
Car crash fatalities are at the lowest level they’ve been since 1949, but still average more than 32,000 every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“It is vital for us to educate American drivers about safe driving behaviors they can demonstrate on the road that will help make our roadways safer,” said Roche. “Minimizing distractions, obeying traffic laws, and using your car’s safety features like turn signals and headlights, are all ways to be safer, no matter where you drive.”
Big-city vs. Small-city Driving
Different levels and types of traffic, noise and activity, as well as varying road conditions and rules, can make big city driving different than driving in smaller cities or more suburban areas. Allstate offers the following tips for driving in both settings. In larger cities:
The first task is to consider mileage. The Center for Neighborhood Technology’s Housing and Transportation Affordability Index estimates the number of miles that members of an average household travel by car in a year, broken down by city. Among our candidates, the average is 14,433 miles. (Garland, Tex., tops our list at 19,234 miles, while New York City is at the bottom with 9,375). We’ll incorporate this information into the data by creating a multiplier based on how many miles a city’s residents drive relative to the average. The Allstate rankings, for example, are based on the number of years between accidents. San Franciscans average 6.5 years between crashes, but they drive 74 percent as many miles as the average for cities in our survey, so we lower their years-between-accidents to 4.8 to account for how rarely they drive.
Cook explained, “It is a part of the ecosystem. And so just like the App Store is a key part of the ecosystem, and iTunes and all of our content is key, and the services we provide from messaging to Siri and so forth, having something in the automobile is very very important. It’s something that people want. And I think that Apple can do this in a unique way, and better than anyone else. And so it’s a key focus for us.”
That’s certainly a stronger endorsement than Cook’s recent descriptions of the state of Apple TV, which have morphed from a “hobby” to being “a string we keep pulling to see where it takes us.”
The origins of iOS in the Car
iOS in the Car appears to be Apple’s first significant new hardware product that isn’t a standalone device. It’s an outgrowth of the company’s car integration features, which originated as a way to control music playback from the iPod.
Between the iPod’s release in 2001 up until 2003, Apple experimented with basic serial interfaces, starting with iPod Accessory Protocol. This morphed into the more sophisticated Advanced iPod Remote (AiR) with the capacity to depict artist and title information, navigate songs within a playlist, handle shuffle playback and even show album art.
I spent the summer of 1961 behind the Iron Curtain. I was part of the US-USSR student exchange program. It was the second year of the program that operated under auspices of the US Department of State. Our return to the West via train through East Germany was interrupted by the construction of the Berlin Wall. We were sent back to Poland. The East German rail tracks were occupied with Soviet troop and tank trains as the Red Army concentrated in East Germany to face down any Western interference.
Fortunately, in those days there were no neoconservatives. Washington had not grown the hubris it so well displays in the 21st century. The wall was built and war was avoided. The wall backfired on the Soviets. Both JFK and Ronald Reagan used it to good propaganda effect.
In those days America stood for freedom, and the Soviet Union for oppression. Much of this impression was created by Western propaganda, but there was some semblance to the truth in the image. The communists had a Julian Assange and an Edward Snowden of their own. His name was Cardinal Jozef Mindszenty, the leader of the Hungarian Catholic Church.
The City of Tsukuba (Tsukuba) in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) are to begin public sidewalk demonstration trials tomorrow of the “Winglet”, a TMC-developed personal transport assistance robot ridden in a standing position. The trials, to be conducted in the Tsukuba Mobility Robot Experimental Zone, are the first for the Winglet on a public thoroughfare.
The Winglet, created with the aim of contributing to the development of a society where mobility is safe, freely accessible, and fun, is a next-generation mobility robot that offers users outstanding operability and performance that expands the user’s world, with a compact size and ease of use suited to modern living environments.
As with most difficulties in global health care, lack of adequate technology is not the biggest problem. We already have a great warming technology: a mother’s skin. But even in high-income countries we do not consistently use it. In the United States, according to Ringer, more than half of newborns needing intensive care arrive hypothermic. Preventing hypothermia is a perfect example of an unsexy task: it demands painstaking effort without immediate reward. Getting hospitals and birth attendants to carry out even a few of the tasks required for safer childbirth would save hundreds of thousands of lives. But how do we do that?
The most common approach to changing behavior is to say to people, “Please do X.” Please warm the newborn. Please wash your hands. Please follow through on the twenty-seven other childbirth practices that you’re not doing. This is what we say in the classroom, in instructional videos, and in public-service campaigns, and it works, but only up to a point.
Then, there’s the law-and-order approach: “You must do X.” We establish standards and regulations, and threaten to punish failures with fines, suspensions, the revocation of licenses. Punishment can work. Behavioral economists have even quantified how averse people are to penalties. In experimental games, they will often quit playing rather than risk facing negative consequences. And that is the problem with threatening to discipline birth attendants who are taking difficult-to-fill jobs under intensely trying conditions. They’ll quit.
The kinder version of “You must do X” is to offer incentives rather than penalties. Maybe we could pay birth attendants a bonus for every healthy child who makes it past a week of life. But then you think about how hard it would be to make a scheme like that work, especially in poor settings. You’d need a sophisticated tracking procedure, to make sure that people aren’t gaming the system, and complex statistical calculations, to take prior risks into account. There’s also the impossible question of how you split the reward among all the people involved. How much should the community health worker who provided the prenatal care get? The birth attendant who handled the first twelve hours of labor? The one who came on duty and handled the delivery? The doctor who was called in when things got complicated? The pharmacist who stocked the antibiotic that the child required?
Besides, neither penalties nor incentives achieve what we’re really after: a system and a culture where X is what people do, day in and day out, even when no one is watching. “You must” rewards mere compliance. Getting to “X is what we do” means establishing X as the norm. And that’s what we want: for skin-to-skin warming, hand washing, and all the other lifesaving practices of childbirth to be, quite simply, the norm.
Reactions that I’ve heard both abroad and at home have been interestingly divided. The most common objection is that, even if it works, this kind of one-on-one, on-site mentoring “isn’t scalable.” But that’s one thing it surely is. If the intervention saves as many mothers and newborns as we’re hoping—about a thousand lives in the course of a year at the target hospitals—then all that need be done is to hire and develop similar cadres of childbirth-improvement workers for other places around the country and potentially the world. To many people, that doesn’t sound like much of a solution. It would require broad mobilization, substantial expense, and perhaps even the development of a new profession. But, to combat the many antisepsis-like problems in the world, that’s exactly what has worked. Think about the creation of anesthesiology: it meant doubling the number of doctors in every operation, and we went ahead and did so. To reduce illiteracy, countries, starting with our own, built schools, trained professional teachers, and made education free and compulsory for all children. To improve farming, governments have sent hundreds of thousands of agriculture extension agents to visit farmers across America and every corner of the world and teach them up-to-date methods for increasing their crop yields. Such programs have been extraordinarily effective. They have cut the global illiteracy rate from one in three adults in 1970 to one in six today, and helped give us a Green Revolution that saved more than a billion people from starvation.
In the era of the iPhone, Facebook, and Twitter, we’ve become enamored of ideas that spread as effortlessly as ether. We want frictionless, “turnkey” solutions to the major difficulties of the world—hunger, disease, poverty. We prefer instructional videos to teachers, drones to troops, incentives to institutions. People and institutions can feel messy and anachronistic. They introduce, as the engineers put it, uncontrolled variability.
But technology and incentive programs are not enough. “Diffusion is essentially a social process through which people talking to people spread an innovation,” wrote Everett Rogers, the great scholar of how new ideas are communicated and spread. Mass media can introduce a new idea to people. But, Rogers showed, people follow the lead of other people they know and trust when they decide whether to take it up. Every change requires effort, and the decision to make that effort is a social process.
This is something that salespeople understand well. I once asked a pharmaceutical rep how he persuaded doctors—who are notoriously stubborn—to adopt a new medicine. Evidence is not remotely enough, he said, however strong a case you may have. You must also apply “the rule of seven touches.” Personally “touch” the doctors seven times, and they will come to know you; if they know you, they might trust you; and, if they trust you, they will change. That’s why he stocked doctors’ closets with free drug samples in person. Then he could poke his head around the corner and ask, “So how did your daughter Debbie’s soccer game go?” Eventually, this can become “Have you seen this study on our new drug? How about giving it a try?” As the rep had recognized, human interaction is the key force in overcoming resistance and speeding change.
As the rep had recognized, human interaction is the key force in overcoming resistance and speeding change.
I believe that the people who will come up with creative solutions to solve the world’s biggest problems—ecological devastation, global warming, the global debt crisis and distribution of dwindling natural resources, to name a few—will not be experts in their fields. The real disruptors will be those individuals who are not steeped in one industry of choice, with those coveted 10,000 hours of experience, but who approach challenges with a clean lens, bringing together diverse experiences, knowledge and opportunities.
Sure, there will always be a need for experts to continue to drive steady incremental advancements in fields such as biotechnology, environmental sciences or information technology. But the best ideas come from those not immersed in the details of a particular field. Experts, far too often, engage in a kind of myopic thinking. Those who are down in the weeds are likely to miss the big picture. In my mind, an expert is in danger of becoming a robot, toiling ceaselessly toward a goal but not always seeing how to connect the dots.
The human brain, or more specifically the neo-cortex, is designed to recognize patterns and draw conclusions from them. Experts are able to identify such patterns related to a specific problem relevant to their area of knowledge. But because non-experts lack that base of knowledge, they are forced to rely more on their brain’s ability for abstraction, rather than specificity. This abstraction—the ability to take away or remove characteristics from something in order to reduce it to a set of essential characteristics—is what presents an opportunity for creative solutions.
Jay-Z’s new album and song lyrics show how our understanding of the Magna Carta has come a long way since barons imposed their will on King John in 1215
It was, as these things go, something of a flop. The Magna Carta was a document hammered out between King John and a group of feisty barons in the summer of 1215 that set out an agreement between them on the subjects of England’s taxation, feudal rights and justice.
It was the culmination of a sticky period for both parties, and must have been greeted with some eyebrow-raising on that evening’s edition of Newsnight. The most striking part of the charter allowed, for the first time, for the powers of the king to be limited by a written document. Observers hoped that it heralded a new era of collaboration between the monarch and his subjects.
But the dawn was false. The Magna Carta was valid for just 10 weeks.
The only reason the king had agreed to the terms of the charter was to play for time. He then appealed to Rome to declare the document null and void. By the end of the summer, a papal bull from Pope Innocent III granted him his wish. By the winter, England was embroiled in civil war. The following year John went on the offensive, celebrating a victory in the eastern counties with a feast of peaches and cider. They gave him dysentery. He died in October 1216.
Little of the drama and subterfuge of those politically febrile days can be detected in the small room of the British Library in which two of the four surviving copies of the first Magna Carta are kept. One of them is virtually illegible, having been damaged by fire in the 18th century. The other is a pretty tough read too, the text laid out austerely in a continuous flow of abbreviated Latin.
When Harinath Sheela was busiest at his gastroenterology clinic, it seemed he could bend the limits of time.
Twelve colonoscopies and four other procedures was a typical day for him, according to Florida records for 2012. If the American Medical Association’s assumptions about procedure times are correct, that much work would take about 26 hours. Sheela’s typical day was nine or 10.
“I have experience,” the Yale-trained, Orlando-based doctor said. “I’m not that slow; I’m not fast. I’m thorough.”
This seemingly miraculous proficiency, which yields good pay for doctors who perform colonoscopies, reveals one of the fundamental flaws in the pricing of U.S. health care, a Washington Post investigation has found.
Unknown to most, a single committee of the AMA, the chief lobbying group for physicians, meets confidentially every year to come up with values for most of the services a doctor performs.
Those values are required under federal law to be based on the time and intensity of the procedures. The values, in turn, determine what Medicare and most private insurers pay doctors.
But the AMA’s estimates of the time involved in many procedures are exaggerated, sometimes by as much as 100 percent, according to an analysis of doctors’ time, as well as interviews and reviews of medical journals.