Category Archives: Uncategorized

Real-time Self-impeachment!

Trump exceeds expectations.

Wow. Fox News’ Bret Baier says that Trump’s tweets attacking Yovanovitch could be construed as witness intimidation and hence “adding essentially an article of impeachment in real time as this hearing is going on.”

President TV

Trump sees CNN report of a US Navy ship entering the Black Sea and see it as a challenge to Russia, calls Bolton at home and orders him to cancel the mission.

In Case You Were Still Wondering…

One of Rudy Giuliani’s associates arrested last month in connection with shady activities in Ukraine appears to have flipped on Donald Trump and his personal attorney. Lev Parnas, who has agreed to comply with investigators, is claiming that he personally offered a quid pro quo to the incoming government in Kiev at Giuliani’s direction, undercutting the president and his lawyer’s claims of innocence and suggesting their pressure campaign in Ukraine went further than previously known.

According to an attorney for Parnas, he traveled to Kiev just ahead of Volodymyr Zelensky’s swearing-in in May to deliver an ultimatum: investigate Joe Biden, or Vice President Mike Pence will not attend Zelensky’s inauguration, and Congressionally-approved military aid will be held up.

Green Acres

Today I learned that someone near us has a flock of Guinea fowl that he lets run around, “free range ” – in the middle of the road, in this case. I had to herd them off to the side with my car. Cause that’s country livin.

I didn’t know what they were. Looked like fat chickens with puffin heads.

What Dat?

The NTSB report includes a second-by-second timeline showing what the software was “thinking” as it approached Herzberg, who was pushing a bicycle across a multi-lane road far from any crosswalk:

  • 5.2 seconds before impact, the system classified her as an “other” object.
  • 4.2 seconds before impact, she was reclassified as a vehicle.
  • Between 3.8 and 2.7 seconds before impact, the classification alternated several times between “vehicle” and “other.”
  • 2.6 seconds before impact, the system classified Herzberg and her bike as a bicycle.
  • 1.5 seconds before impact she became “unknown.”
  • 1.2 seconds before impact she became a “bicycle” again.

It saw her five seconds before it ran her over.

Two things are noteworthy about this sequence of events. First, at no point did the system classify her as a pedestrian. According to the NTSB, that’s because “the system design did not include consideration for jaywalking pedestrians.”

Second, the constantly switching classifications prevented Uber’s software from accurately computing her trajectory and realizing she was on a collision course with the vehicle. You might think that if a self-driving system sees an object moving into the path of the vehicle, it would put on its brakes even if it wasn’t sure what kind of object it was. But that’s not how Uber’s software worked.

The system used an object’s previously observed locations to help compute its speed and predict its future path. However, “if the perception system changes the classification of a detected object, the tracking history of that object is no longer considered when generating new trajectories,” the NTSB reports.

What this meant in practice was that, because the system couldn’t tell what kind of object Herzberg and her bike were, the system acted as though she wasn’t moving.

A 2018 report from Business Insider’s Julie Bort suggested a possible reason for these puzzling design decisions: the team was preparing to give a demo ride to Uber’s recently hired CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Engineers were asked to reduce the number of “bad experiences” experienced by riders. Shortly afterward, Uber announced that it was “turning off the car’s ability to make emergency decisions on its own, like slamming on the brakes or swerving hard.”

Don’t worry, the software driving the car that’s coming at you will have been written by uncompromised omnipotent super-humans who won’t overlook anything.

Masterminds

Why would Rudy Giuliani associate and indicted dealmaker Lev Parnas name his company “Fraud Guarantee”?

Is there a worse name for a company with the stated mission of helping “reduce the risk of fraud”?

Well, Parnas apparently had a reason for the unusual name: Google search results.

When Parnas and Fraud Guarantee co-founder David Correia set up the company, Parnas picked the name so that people Googling the words “Parnas” and “Fraud” would see something positive — Parnas’ business — rather than his long history of legal trouble.