Sunday, March 14, 2010

Mad Toyota Hoaxes And Other Stories

The media reported two Toyota incidents this week. The first one involving James Sikes who claimed his 2008 Prius accelerated out of control turned out to be BS. His claims to the media have been dismissed on closer examination and he has a previous history of bankruptcy and insurance fraud. The second incident involved a housekeeper who hit a wall after an apparent sudden acceleration. In this case there were injuries, though it is too early to say if this was a driving error or a technical fault.

The BBC reports on a plan to introduce a natural enemy of the Japanese knotweed, a plant introduced to the UK in Victorian times that is very hardy and has been even known to disrupt building sites. I do worry about these tactics in the same way as I do about GM foods, in that a proven one-to-one relation between pest and plant does not mean that there will be other consequences, such as effects on native species.

More news on the Auschwitz sign theft. The Swedish suspect will be extradited to Poland to stand trial, according to the BBC.

The LHC will be a shutdown for a year at the end 2011 to repair errors in the design that prevent the machine from working at full power under safe conditions. The BBC reports that scientists admit that unique projects of this size are their own prototypes, so their is always risk of a design fault. For conspiracy theorists, a year after the end of 2011 means the 2012, so those of us worried about black holes and the end of the world have something more to worry about.

The 512-byte block size has had its day say the BBC. Disks have become so large that the number of blocks required for error detection reduces the effective amount left over for real use. 4K will be the new standard, but apparently Windows XP users will be out of luck because drivers will only 512 bytes, forcing disks to run in slower, compatibility mode.

OnLive is finally scheduled to go live in June this year. The BBC call it a console killer, and there conceptually it could be. I just hope they can guarantee the server power needed to run games like Crysis for thousands of user over the net and you'll probably need a decent multiple-Mbps connection too.

My Mental Radio has been playing two tracks persistently this week. Maybe I should make this a regular feature:

Long Long Way From Home - Foreigner
Lethal Weapon - Honeymoon Suite