* Posts by IWVC

39 posts • joined 24 Aug 2014

I'm still not that Gary, says US email mixup bloke who hasn't even seen Dartford Crossing

IWVC

Another Dartford crossing complaint...

At the beginning of the year I sold (part exchanged) my car and received confirmation from DVLA that I was no longer the registered keeper of the vehicle. A month or so later I started receiving emails from Dartford Crossing about multiple unpaid crossing fees. I had opened an account with them several years earlier as it was the only way to pay for using the crossing. I only used it twice, once in each direction, and then forgot all about it. In the meantime the credit card I had to use had expired but they were still trying to take money from it. I contacted Dartford Crossing and explained I was no longer the owner or user of the car at the time of the crossings they kept billing me for and if they checked with DVLA this would be confirmed. No dice,the vehicle and your credit card is registered on our system therefore you have to pay. I spoke to several people there, one of which was sympathetic due to the circumstances but I had to "appeal" to Highways England (presumably the English bit left from the Highways Agency after the Welsh and Scottish Highways Agencies had been split off) This then started a merry go round as HE said that I'd have to take it up with DC obviously washing their hands of any complaint. and DC saying that I had to take it up with HE. Being very wary of large organisation's ability to bully through the legal process, I decided to pay the outstanding charges, cancel my dormant D account and just get out of it all.

A spot of after-hours business email does you good, apparently

IWVC

El Reg has heard of these workaholics but doesn't believe they exist outside Dilbert cartoons.

Sorry to say that many years ago when I had to work for a living I had access to email from home as health circumstances resulted in a deal to work from home 3 or 4 days a week. Working from home was always a problem with domestic interruptions but I eventually cleared a bit of work and emailed it to my boss' email address at about 11pm. Was somewhat surprised to receive a reply at 11.15pm .....

Careful now, UK court ruling says email signature blocks can sign binding contracts

IWVC

Proper signatures

I think we should go back to proper ink signatures from the contracting parties to avoid any confusion. Much clearer. At least that's what my mate who has spent the last 30 years motorcycle dispatch riding thinks....

I also suspect the land seller will be hiring a new set of lawyers to claim against the set that put the wrong figure in their email ?

We're not going Huawei even if you ban our 5G kit, Chinese firm tells UK

IWVC

Re: US trade Deal

Yes a point many anti US standards commentators have missed. We may have to accept the stuff but WE DON'T HAVE TO ACTUALLY BUY IT or eat it. Market forces etc.

Transport for London Oyster system pulled offline after credential-stuffing crooks board customers' accounts

IWVC

Re: Missing the point?

Well said I'm fed up of having to open a account to buy one thing, or get info from a web site / forum or whatever each time having to give email (for the inevitable log in code check) and a password, mothers name inside leg measurement etc etc

'We've done it, we've wasted further time!' Judge raps HP over Mike Lynch court scrutiny

This post has been deleted by a moderator

Kwik-Fit hit by MOT fail, that's Malware On Target

IWVC

Re: Can't get better than a Kwik-Fit fitter.

Kwick fit always reminds me of Auntie Wainwrights shop in last of the summer wine. The uninitiated go in for a tyre replacement and come out with 5 new tyres, new discs and pads, a new exhaust and windscreen wipers. Apart from the initial tyre none of the other bits really needed but the fitters must make more on commission than hourly rate. I don't go there normally but a couple of years ago I was forced to get a replacement battery from there and as things were quiet they did a "safety check" (without asking) and informed me my oil level was dangerously low and wanted to put 2 litres in. I then checked the oil level in front of the "Kwik-Fit fitter" using the dipstick which showed it was perfectly OK. Apart from the cost of 2 litres of oil, overfilling to that extent would have damaged the engine. Even if they had a paper system to cover IT failure I wouldn't have much confidence in them working out the price properly

Erm... what did you say again, dear reader?

IWVC

Re: To be human.

Not so. If you have ever read Hansard, the official publication of Parliamentary business, every "Oh" "erm" "like", "But" etc. is faithfully recorded. In the days before Hansard was published electronically (mid 1980s) I was part of a group of Department of Transport officials being interrogated by a House of Lords Scrutiny Committee. As we were getting up to leave at the end of the session one of their Lordships fired a late question that was directed to me. I wasn't expecting it and my response of "..er um, I think Belgium does it" was duly recorded in the Parliamentary archives.

Don't make us pay compensation for employee data breach, Morrisons begs UK court

IWVC

What are the legal requirements for data security

I'm with Morrisons on this one - but there again it wasn't my data that was leaked.

Not sure what the legislation requires but if there is an expectation that there must be some level of reasonable provision to prevent unauthorised theft then the legal debate should be interesting

You're burning £1.2bn for what? UK spending watchdog gives digital court plans a kicking

IWVC

Trial (conviction) by Computer

"It also warned that the controversial "conviction by computer" plans pioneered by HMCTS, in which people accused of crimes will be encouraged to plead guilty from their phones and pay fines online instead of questioning what evidence the State has against them, could have "serious implications"."

This has been happening for years in the UK with vehicle traffic violations caught on camera such as speeding resulting in a computer generated fine and penalty points being sent automatically with no human monitoring. Even worse it is the "registered keeper" of the vehicle that is assumed to be guilty unless he/she can prove - to the satisfaction of the authorities - that they were not the driver at the time. What was that about innocent until proven guilty?

Ex-Rolls-Royce engineer nicked on suspicion of giving F-35 info to China

IWVC

From what I've read, RR suffered from the disease that affects many companies making profits ( and nationalised / Government run entities who don't make profits...) of the ability to afford to enlarge "middle management" for various reasons (aka Empire building by senior managers). Getting rid of these layers will reduce immediate costs but more importantly allow greater financial resource to the technical problem solvers and a much simpler chain of command between the operators and designers.

IWVC

Re: 1st Gen Swarm Tech?

Single fighter v fighter combat was outdated in about 1916 when the German airforce realised that such fighting had to be carried out by pairs of aircraft. I think it was Boelcke that initiated it in the newly formed "Jastas" on the Western Front. The RAF didn't really learn from the opposition at the time and even after the Luftwaffe used the "schwarm" 4 aircraft and "rotte" pair successfully in Spain in the late 30s, the RAF didn't catch on until after the Battle of Britain and the large losses suffered. Since then the RAF and Fleet Air Arm has used pairs for fighter to fighter combat up to the Falklands - since then there has been no appreciable fighter to fighter combats as Bosnia, Gulf and Afghanistan did not involve fighter to fighter combats as far as I know.

Britain's new F-35s arrive in UK as US.gov auditor sounds reliability warning klaxon

IWVC

Re: News to us in the U.S.

An MoD spokesman told The Register: "The F-35 programme remains on track, on time, within costs"

presumably that is the same Government definition of "on time" etc. used to describe the rail franchising system....?

Happy 100th birthday to the Royal Air Force

IWVC

Re: Marine Craft Section

The MCS was disbanded in 1986 I believe.

IWVC

Marine Craft Section

The bit of the RAF that is less known is the Marine Craft Section. Formed in 1918 it owed its existence to the RNAS and the support vessels for the float planes and sea planes incorporated into the RAF. The Navy didn't appreciate the "competition" so only transferred clapped out vessels. After witnessing a fatal accident where the cumbersome and slow vessels could not reach a crashed aircraft in time to save the crew, Lawrence of Arabia, who had entered the RAF as Aircraftman Shaw, was heavily involved in the devlopment of high speed launches. However the RAF did not have an organised rescue service for downed pilots until after the Battle of Britain (unlike the Germans who had a very good system in place). By the end of WW2 the RAF MCS had about 600 vessels of various descriptions and a staff of around 6000. During the war the high speed vessels were out in conditions where the navy wouldn't use simlar vessels and carried out wider duties- for example acting as marker boats for the D day landings. Post war they continued search and rescue until superceded by helicopters and carried out target towing and torpedo / sonar bouy recovery as well as periodic dunking if aircrew to keep up ditching survival skills.

UK.gov: Here's £8.8m to plough into hydrogen-powered car tech

IWVC

Hydrogen safety thoughts.

I went to an ImechE lecture in 1974 titled “Hydrogen – the fuel of the future”. Still waiting for it to happen although (potentially) commercial fuel cells have since arrived on the scene

LPG is not a “clean” fuel. It is a variant of petrol (Butane / Propane end of the paraffin group) and has all the problems associated with petrol emissions. It is less energy dense and more difficult to carry as it needs pressurised containers. The Government of the day was taken in by snake oil salesmen rather than their own in house engineering staff (said salesmen were also selling a largely unwanted by-product at the time) and had information that showed that the LPG conversions of the time took a state of the art “clean” petrol engine and made it several orders worse on HC and CO / CO2 emissions under the standard tests of the day.

Energy density and production costs / efficiencies of Hydrogen is a major issue and will be very difficult to overcome. Safety has its own wide field to consider. Your average common rail diesel runs at about 1700 – 2000 bar at the rail so high pressures and associated fatigue cycles are well known and in use. Tanks are composite materials for lightness and as noted by others are literally bulletproof. However one thing that has not been touched on so far in the comments is the day to day consequences of lots of tanks of Hydrogen in general circulation. Not the Hindenburg type explosion or the exploding cars in collisions featured in so many films but the accumulation of small leaks. When we were looking to authorise the use of Hydrogen Fuel Celled buses in London in the very early 2000s we had to consider the overnight parking and workshop facilities. As many have noted, Hydrogen WILL leak out from just about anything. Putting it under high pressure will of course increase the risk of leakage. Leaked hydrogen will rise. Workshops and garages had to be redesigned to put ventilation in roof spaces to avoid accumulation of hydrogen in such spaces. “Traditional” workshops had ventilation at low level since dangerous gases such as CO and HC collect at low level. Now would you want you Hydrogen powered car stored in your ground level integrated garage? What about multi storey car parks? All the dealerships workshops and MoT centres? All in old tech with no built in high level ventilation. The buses incidentally didn’t have a very long operating range and the tanks were in the roof – in case of leaks and risk of someone having a crafty fag at the back of the bus.

AT teh end of the day (although I wouldn't turn down a personal payment :-) )£8m is nothing in Government spending terms. The governments of the day have spent far more to influence better, safer and cleaner car designs. For example In the 1970s and 80s few vehicle manufacturers were interested in safety until pushed by Government funded NCAP (National Crash Assessment Programme?) and later EuroNCAP forced them into making better vehicles. That was a LOT more than £8m and extremely successful.

IWVC

Re: The New Hybrid

The main problem with Methanol is that it burns with a colourless flame. If in an accident a puddle of spilt methanol ignited you wouldn't easily notice it until you stepped in said puddle and your foot melted!

Uber breaks self-driving car record: First robo-ride to kill a pedestrian

IWVC

Re: Didn't see that coming

OK to add another angle to the debate. AI systems will struggle to identify every pedestrian or cyclist likely to do something spontaneously that could cause an accident. In the UK, although not official policy, the driver of a vehicle is assumed to be the person responsible for an accident until proved otherwise. In considering the ability of AI driven vehicles to be safe, perhaps those in government promoting self driving vehicles should consider promoting road safety education for kids more (the old "Tufty Club" and "Green Cross Man" of the 60s and 70s have never been fully replaced) and in particular rethink about age limits and training for cyclists before being allowed out on roads. Autonomous driving or not that should help reduce accidents anyway.

Fancy owning a two-seat Second World War Messerschmitt fighter?

IWVC

CASA 2.111 engines

We have a static running Merlin at the RAF Museum occasionally. The owner told me that it was originally built in WW2 for a Lancaster or Halifax, post war was fitted in a Hastings transport (derived from Halifax) and was then rebuilt as a Merlin 500 series fitted in a CASA 2.111. Must have been a rare engine to have powered types of the principal bombers of WW2 from both sides. :-)

IWVC

Some further thoughts

To pick up on a few comments. Around 500 Me109G-12s (the 2 seat version) were built from 1944 all converted from existing G series airframes. They were in response to the loss of trainee pilots especially in take off and landing accidents. The second seat took up most of the original fuel tank so they were very short ranged and used for take off and landing instruction.Few retained armaments.

Bf / Me 109s did not have a successful engine mounted cannon installation until the "F" model - post Battle of Britain. The two guns firing through the prop had a reduced rate of fire due to interruptor gear. Possibly resulting in retaining 3 blade props even with the more powerful DB605. Original 109s had two blade props.

I'm not sure if the one offered for sale is airworthy. There is one other "G12" flying being a conversion of a single seat Buchon in 2013. That one has interchangeable RR Merlin 500 and DB DB605 engines. Most of the flying is likely to be carried out with the Merlin being a lot less rare than the DB605.

The inverted V engine is possibly easier to service as most of the valves etc can be reached by someone standng on the ground whereas Merlin installations required ladders and / or platforms. RR did consider an inverted V for the Merlin but legend has it that such a configuration was considered too Germanic....

BoB film used a B25 Mitchell as a camera platform rather than B17.

As well as Standford Tuck, other RAF pilots contributed including Ginger Lacey and Douglas Bader.

US docs show Daimler may have done a Dieselgate – German press claims

IWVC

Real life test procedure

Here we go again. What is “real life” testing. Is a cycle developed for real life in, say, the Netherlands where it is almost flat valid for Yorkshire, Wales or Scotland which tend to be very lumpy?

I don’t know about the US test regime but in Europe the test cycle was originally developed in the 1960s as ECE Regulation 15 (Identical to EU Directive 70/220/EEC, the first EC standard on vehicle emissions) with a test cycle that intended to represent urban driving. Hence the cycle had low speeds and low acceleration rates. At some time in the 1980s I think, an additional high speed bit was added for various reasons but essentially to provide enough heat in the exhaust to trigger the then new 3 way catalysts on larger vehicles. Now the problem with a test cycle is that it has to be repeatable, not only between runs but also between test centres so, given the technology of the time, it was quite simple. Again at this time the fuelling systems of vehicle were relatively crude with carburettors and at best open loop fuel injection. So reducing the limit values would almost certainly reduce the emissions across most of the working range of the engine. However two things have changed the emission scenario completely. Political pressure to “reduce the limit values” without fully understanding the limitations of the test procedure and the almost universal adoption of fully electronically controlled injection systems (both petrol and diesel) which can be tuned to change the engine performance at very specific points. The first can be resolved educating politicians about the way vehicles actually produce emissions and maybe accept higher NUMERICAL limit values commensurate with a different test cycle. This is a more difficult task than many will appreciate. The second by developing a new test (assuming some form of pan European “real life” cycle can be negotiated) with so many measured test points that cycle beating is made far more difficult.

FCA 'gold-plates' EU rule, hits BYOD across entire UK finance sector

IWVC

Re: Pedant here....

2 further points.

1) A Directive is binding on all Member States but has to be implemented by national law. So (before Brexit is completed at least) companies who comply with the Directive but not the stricter UK interpretation could appeal to the EU Courts?

2) Each directive is published in all the 24 official languages of the EU so your interpretation of the phrase needs to be checked in the other 23.....

(not a joke, many years ago I was dealing with directives on vehicle standards and one had different calculations of a critical dimension in the English, French and German translations - they were all different. The Commission's response to my unofficial query was that all languages are equal in the legal sense so you could approve to whichever language text suited you! A correction was later issued.)

Fear not, driverless car devs, UK.gov won't force you to write Trolley Problem solutions

IWVC

At present the registered keeper of a vehicle is automatically prosecuted if an offence is detected by cameras unless the keeper can prove that he/she wasn't driving. So how can you prove that the computer was in control when the camera was passed?

Smart meters: 'Dog's breakfast' that'll only save you 'a tenner' – report

IWVC

Re: Benefits - *cough* 1972 *cough*

It's taken a while but I've found a copy of the panorama debate. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zBFh6bpcMo It wasn't 1972 as I originally thought but 1975 when there was a referendum on whether to stay in. I'm not a fan of either politician but the arguments seemed very much the same as the Brexit debate. And even then the political union and sovereignty arguments were brushed under the carpet. Jenkins states about 10 minutes in that the EU Commission were "servants of the council of ministers" This is clearly untrue (although Jenkins probably wanted to believe it) and in the 1990s when I was involved in the agreement of a Directive I was told by staff of our Permanent Representative to the EU that the Council could only REQUEST the Commission to do something (i.e. in that case to bring forward further proposals to resolve deficiencies in the agreement on the table) it had no power to INSTRUCT the Commission to do anything. That in my understanding means that the Commission has the upper hand and is definitely NOT a servant. maybe Jenkins was naive - but he did rise to be head of the Commission from 1977 to 81..... and as such had more power than any of the then 9 member state's Parliaments. Wondered if he remembered the Panorama debate then?

IWVC

Re: Benefits - *cough* 1972 *cough*

The actual facts were that in 1972 the UK voted to join a European Community whose rules and ambitions were set out in the 1958 (?) Treaty of Rome. That clearly has political union set out in its objectives. The great British Public however, were not told if the wider consequences of "joining the club". There was one BBC Panorama interview between Roy Jenkins and Tony Benn where "Woy" flatly denied Benn's correct assertion that the EU commission were commited to political union and the consequences to UK sovereignty.

USMC: We want more F-35s per year than you Limeys will get in half a decade

IWVC

Re: Irrational

Well a bit too old to be relevant now but Sharkey Ward's book Sea Harrier over the Falklands has some interesting accounts of operating in bad North sea conditions when the US carriers couldn't launch (Chapter 1) and some exercises with the US using F5s and F15s where they used the Harrier's characteristics to their advantage (Chapter 6). He reckoned you could pull a 2G "stop" at 400 knot by vectoring and used it against F5s.

Having said that he isn't exactly reserved and unbiased in describing the performance of the Sea Harrier :-)

Ex-soldier pleads guilty to terror crime after not revealing iPhone PIN

IWVC

Re: Right to remain silent

So that included the really bad offences of parking and using a bus lane? Both of which are treated in the same way - the registered keeper of the vehicle is fined unless he/she can prove someone else was in charge at the time??

Demo may have frozen, but narrowband IoT stew is still piping hot

IWVC

Re: Not really the best use case....

A bit of a digression off the main topic but I would find an empty space app very useful in many of the car parks which charge (via ANPR identification) from the moment you pass the entry barrier rather than from when you actually park and buy a ticket. At Heathrow last week ended up overstaying the 1st half hour rate by about 5 minutes and it cost me an additional £4 or so.... The 5 minutes being roughly the same time as it took to find an empty space in the short term car park from entering the place.

Brexit judgment could be hit for six by those crazy Supreme Court judges, says barrister

IWVC

@localzuk

" I don't see what the government's angle is to be honest. The parliamentary system has worked for the UK for hundreds of years, why does this government think it suddenly has the right to do things differently with something so constitutionally important? "

So you want a Government that has conducted a nationwide survey to ignore the results and do something different? Really sounds like democracy in action.

As I said earlier the Brexit decision has been made (whether you like it or not) and the difficulty is how Parliament can oversee the terms that the Government negotiates without revealing their hand to others in the process. As I see it this will require Parliamentary scrutiny of the deal on the table before final ratification of the UK's position. At that stage at least it will be clear on what the actual position is and then the "informed" commentators can have something to comment on. However the obvious bias of the current set of MP's views which do not reflect the population's overall view still has to be addressed.

IWVC

Re: Ground rules - what is Parliament for?

@Xamol

yes I agree that inevitably the party system that has evolved over many years results in compromises when voting for an MP. However I think that in this case a national picture of 52% out 48% in vs a Parliament of 25% out and 75% in, is a bigger distortion than can be accepted.

IWVC

Re: Ground rules - what is Parliament for?

@localzuk

Yes I did miss this - as did (I suspect) most of the 70odd percent who voted. Certainly the mainline media reports didn't make much of the non binding nature. Who actually said this is a referendum but we reserve the right to ignore it?

On the other hand I voted with an understanding of the "sovereignty" issues which are not just immigration. Ground rules of EU: 1. Commission have SOLE power to initiate or amend EU legislation. Council of Ministers have limited scope to amend Commission proposals, the EU parliament even less scope to make changes. If Commission don't like way amendments are developing they can simply withdraw proposal so that nothing happens. Neither the Council of Ministers or the Parliament have the power to TELL the Commission to do anything. 2. Single market sets common standards for everything using the logic that common standards prevent technical barriers to trade. This is OK for large businesses but screws up innovation or small businesses. 3 The Commission can claim "community competence" in any area to set common EU rules and have the power to stop any national legislation they consider contrary to harmonised EU principles. 4. The Commission are hell bent on early adoption of political and economic union and quote the Treaty of Rome in its original and amended versions to support this view.

I never saw any of this deployed in the lead up to the referendum.

IWVC

Ground rules - what is Parliament for?

We have a democracy in which the population's wishes are carried out by Parliament. In order to make representation work in a practical way we elect a number of Members who each represent roughly the same number of people. If we wanted true democracy we'd have to run a referendum on every political decision which is clearly impractical. However, occasionally an issue is so important it is put to the whole (eligible) population. In this case we have a referendum result which says the majority of the population want to leave (52%) whereas we have 75% of MPs who want to remain (using the 479/158 figures from an earlier comment). So either the allocation of MPs to population is badly wrong or we have MPs putting forward their personal views rather than those of their constituents. If it is the latter case then we no longer live in a democracy and appear to be prepared to submit to the will of a political elite. (anyone read "Animal Farm" recently?)

I'm annoyed by the "new" legal argument that the referendum was not legally binding. I was asked to vote on whether I wanted to stay in or go by the government. No one told me that it was only a glorified opinion poll.

I do not believe Parliament can overturn the brexit referendum result or at least if they legally can, they should not. However I see the point that Parliament should somehow oversee the terms that are negotiated. That is the difficult point as the Government will be negotiating with a bunch of self interested Commission and national representatives and you can't display your hand in public.

Maybe it is about time that someone actually set out what staying in actually means (not just laws about bent bananas) - which is what the out campaign should have done in the beginning.

British defence minister refuses to rule out F-35A purchase

IWVC

and early experiments with plenum chamber burning (afterburning in the front nozzles I think) showed very promising supersonic potential if developed properly.

James Dyson's new startup: A university for engineers that doesn't suck

IWVC

Nothing is new

@Pen-y-gors

Many years ago, in the mid '60s Harold Wilson's Government set up about half a dozen new universities to concentrate on engineering and technology. Their "white heat of technology" phase. These included Aston, Brunel, Loughborough and Bath among others who concentrated on the "sandwich" degree. To get in you had to have the appropriate "O" and "A" levels along with a sponsor for the duration of the course. The sponsor was obliged to give the student practical experiencing in design, development, test and production of products along with (in my case at least) experience in tooling, plant and building maintenance and "back office" customer relations etc. The course was monitored by the appropriate Professional Institution and, usually, the sponsor promised a full time job at the end of the 4 or 5 year course. Various company schemes meant that the student was either paid on a full time basis or applied for a local authority grant (non repayable in those days) with a substantial bursary from the company in term time combined with full time pay when based at the factory. This type of course was not as narrow on the product side as " day release" courses and allowed participants the wider benefits of getting p!553d with other students, sorry the wider social benefits of mixing with others and independent living along with a much better appreciation of practical engineering. I do not know why this form of degree course seems to have died out but hopefully Mr Dyson's initiative will tempt industry and academia to consider reintroducing them.

The Internet of Things isn't just for Bluetooth toothbrushes, y'know

IWVC

Bluetooth toothbrush?

I'm not bothered by someone being told by my toothbrush that I'm using it so call back, but how can i stop my fridge ringing me at 3 in the morning to tell me the milk is past it's use by date????

Power Bar: EE was warned of safety risk BEFORE user was burned in explosion

IWVC

Re: A symptom of CE

That's what used to be covered by the British Standards Kite Mark. As I recall there are several variations of "CE" marking, from manufacturers simply marking products to self declare their conformity with a CEN standard (the euro equivalent to British Standards) to 3rd party "type testing" with fully documented Quality Control procedures - ie random samples checked from production. My EE Power bar (yet to be returned) has a CE stamp but no reference to a standard. So is there a requirement to meet a standard and if so which one?

Pedals and wheel in that Google robo-car or it's off the road – Cali DMV

IWVC

Re: Technically viable and Google insurance company

They may have to as current UK companies don't seem to want the business

http://t.cars.uk.msn.com/features/can-you-get-insured-on-a-driverless-car#image=1

more background on driver less cars here

http://www.technologyreview.com/featuredstory/520431/driverless-cars-are-further-away-than-you-think/

IWVC

Legal issues and insurance

Been discussing driver-less cars down the pub with former colleagues all of who worked as engineers and/or administrators at a government department responsible for vehicle and road safety. One of us has actually experienced being driven in a fully autonomous car in Germany. He was in the normal driving position (on the left) without any controls. However the car was originally built for the UK market and had a driver with full controls on the right side....

That aside he was favourably impressed and believes the technology is viable. The rest of us are more cynical and wonder how driver-less cars comply with the law. If one has an accident or contravenes regulations who is liable - the owner, someone in the vehicle nominated as "Driver" or the programmer who wrote the software controlling the vehicle? (in UK many "fixed penalty" fines issued by autonomous systems such as speed cameras are directed at the vehicle owner and it is the responsibility of the owner to prove that someone else was driving at the time. However note that as a certain ex government minister discovered lying to dodge a fine is fraught with danger.)

In Europe the Geneva and Vienna conventions on road traffic require vehicles to have drivers in control so the California regulation changes are not new.

On insurance liabilities $5 million is not that great. In the 1970's Ford in the US cynically concluded that as the likely cost of legal claims against the company for deaths and injuries caused by their Pinto model bursting into flames as a result of a rear end impact was substantially less than the cost of redesigning the car to cure the known fault they would pay the costs and not redesign it. This logic went somewhat wrong when a court, once made aware of this company policy, awarded £126million in damages to the badly burnt survivor of an impact. Although this was later dropped to I think $3.5 million this still has to be considered in terms of 1970s values and is much greater than $5 million now.

In the UK you can legally drive without insurance provided you deposit £500 000 with the government. I'm not sure what happens if a claim of more than that amount is made against someone using this provision.

Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?

IWVC

Chemo and radiotherapy before surgery

A very interesting article. I had a run in with bowel cancer 7 years ago. The treatment at the time recommended Chemo and radiotherapy BEFORE the surgery. Fortunately for me it worked! The thinking was that cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells and that the healing process is itself cell growth as it repairs the cuts. Some mechanism may cause the healing process to rum amok. Using chemo and radiotherapy after surgery slows the healing process and this may have some effect on the possibility of uncontrolled cell division happening. However the consultant surgeon warned me that if possible never to have surgery in that area again. Quoting him, "cancer loves an open wound" which fits in with the more detailed explanation in the article.

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