How VW was caught: scientists couldn’t afford nicer cars


As if the brand damage wasn’t bad enough, it has now been revealed that Volkswagen got sprung because the scientists researching emissions couldn’t afford to buy nicer cars to run their tests on.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal was uncovered only because researchers could not afford to test more expensive cars, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

The American engineers who discovered that Volkswagen used a ‘cheat device’ to pass emissions tests said they originally wanted to test Mercedes and BMW vehicles, but the cars were too pricey to rent.

Instead, they used a VW Passat and a VW Jetta saloon – without knowing the cars were fitted with the device to help them pass emissions standards. A BMW X5 sport utility vehicle was also used.

The testers spent a month driving the three cars around California with specialist monitoring equipment.   Read more »

Face of the day


The parents say it was their love for Einz that drove them to try to preserve her

Today’s face of the day has had her brain frozen by her parents in the hope that she may have another chance at life in the future.

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You’d think Len Brown would have picked up on this during one of his many trips to Asia

He probably picked up something else, but he certainly has missed where the rest of the world is going on public transport…and it isn’t with trains.

Singapore unveiled its public transport future on Monday, and it was a vision of passengers commuting in driverless buses along roads and freeways populated by platoons of autonomous trucks following a single driver.

The city state’s plans to streamline its transport future have begun with two self-driving vehicles going through their paces in a Singapore estate that is home to research facilities and educational institutes.

The vehicles are the vanguard of two projects – one run by the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) with the National University of Singapore and one by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Some U.S. states and countries including Germany also allow testing of driverless vehicles on public roads.   Read more »

Steve’s MBIE should be renamed The Ministry of Troughs

I can see the Taxpayers’ Union getting all exercised over this news:

Cloud storage can be insecure and people should take steps to protect their personal data online, a cyber security researcher says.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is helping fund a $12 million project, called Stratus, to increase the security of data storage.

Waikato University researcher Ryan Ko, who heads the project, told Nine to Noon his team was focusing on tools which let internet users retain more control over what they had uploaded.   Read more »

How Twitter has wrecked the left wing

One of these days Labour will get it and who knows maybe even the Media Party might figure it out too.

Twitter has turned left-wing Labour supporters into a ‘digital mob’ out of touch with the rest of the country, the party’s Tristram Hunt will warn today.

In a major speech, the former shadow education secretary will say Labour has ‘marched decisively away from the views of the voters’ since losing in 2010 – driven in large part by social media.

Mr Hunt’s warning comes after David Cameron used his party conference speech on Wednesday to ridicule Labour MPs for failing to understand the public mood because they spent so much time talking to each other on social media.

The Prime Minister said: ‘The vast majority of people aren’t obsessives, arguing at the extremes of the debate. Let me put it as simply as I can: Britain and Twitter are not the same thing.’

Mr Hunt, a Blairite MP who has refused to serve under Jeremy Corbyn, will today warn that left’s use of Twitter and Facebook meant it was losing touch with ordinary voters.

In a damning passage Mr Hunt warns left-wing activists that if social media was ‘significantly growing the number of people engaged in politics… rather than confirming pre-held bias, then Ed Miliband might now be sitting in 10 Downing Street’.

Mr Hunt is expected to say: ‘What people say to each other on the internet – and social media in particular – rewards strong, polarising opinions and primary coloured politics.

‘Far from broadening the mind through access to the greatest library human beings have ever created, people’s experience of the internet is increasingly a narrow online world where anyone who puts their heads above the parapet can be the target of an anonymised digital mob.’    Read more »

Oh bugger… cannabis hair test can give wrong results


Looks like some innocent people have been stitched up for using drugs when all they may have done was be around people that did.

Hair analysis for cannabinoids is extensively applied in workplace drug testing and in child protection cases, although valid data on incorporation of the main analytical targets, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and 11-nor-9-carboxy-THC (THC-COOH), into human hair is widely missing. Furthermore, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid A (THCA-A), the biogenetic precursor of THC, is found in the hair of persons who solely handled cannabis material. Read more »

Why do we need trains when driverless technology is upon us?

Trains are locked onto rails…they can’t divert around network outages and are horribly inefficient especially for passenger transit. Basically they don’t work unless massively subsidised.

If we look at the billions poured into Kiwirail since Labour bought it back at an inflated price you can see just how bad and inefficient it is.

I’ve often said rip up the rails and create heavy transport lanes on the land instead, sending buses and trucks down the nice even gradients.

I’ve also said driverless technology will solve transport issues. The video above shows how it can work for bus transport and the Daily Mail also has an article about the advent of driverless trucks for heavy transport.

Self-driving cars have long been confined to the storylines of futuristic films and the engineer’s drawing board but now they finally being tested in real traffic on a German autobahn.

German carmaker Daimler has been trialling a self-driving truck under real traffic conditions on a German motorway for the first time.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros truck was fitted with the ‘highway pilot’ system, allowing it to work without a human driver, and travelled from Stuttgart to the town of Denkendorf.   Read more »

Is Minecraft sexist?

My Open Letter To Notch: Why Minecraft Is Sexist And Needs To Be Banned Screenshot

My Open Letter To Notch: Why Minecraft Is Sexist And Needs To Be Banned

I came across this rabid feminist blogger on Facebook. I say rabid because she is suing some poor guy for daring to save her from drowning. Even weirder is her belief that vegemite is racist ( I am not kidding ) She describes herself as a fab social justice activist working for and she says that Feminism F:ing rules!

What really caught my eye though was her attack on the game Minecraft. I am familiar with this game and what she said did not seem right so I contacted a 17 year old who plays Minecraft and asked her to respond to Cassidy Boon’s tirade. I will refer to her as Gamer X.

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NASA to reveal Mars breakthrough. Can you guess it? [POLL]

NASA is going to do a big reveal about Mars:

Is it aliens? Flowing water? Or perhaps the long-awaited discovery of Martian crabs?

NASA has sent space fans into a frenzy on Sunday by announcing it will hold a special news conference on Monday to reveal “a major science finding” from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars.

The space agency says it has solved a major “Mars mystery” and will reveal all during the news briefing from headquarters in Washington.   Read more »


Hillary Clinton’s email server has still more top secret emails on it


The email scandal engulfing Hillary Clinton took another turn for the worse yesterday with even more top secret emails being revealed.

Hillary Clinton continues to be plagued by the email scandal that won’t die. Today the FBI reportedly managed to recover a new set of work-related emails from her private email account – these dealing with Libya and Benghazi, reports Mediaite.

After Hillary’s repeated insistence that she has handed over every such email from her private account, subsequent State Department digital scans have detected a 925-page email chain from her private server that was not originally turned over. They appear to be exchanges with former general David Petraeus during Clinton’s first few days as Secretary of State. Reports indicate that the messages pertain largely to personnel matters, with no classified material having yet been identified. Read more »