Recycling cars’ lithium batteries is more complicated than you might think

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 07 November 2019
Browse Technology

The primary issue with lithium batteries is a loss of capacity over time. Eventually, this will lead to reduced range for any vehicles that rely on them.

Even now—long before there should be many at the end-of-life stage—the authors note that some lithium batteries have found their way into metal recycling facilities, where handling them inappropriately has set off fires.

The individual cells in the batteries are also different sizes and shapes, and the chemistries of the cathodes are distinct. All of this rules out a single process or automated system for handling electric vehicle batteries.

New car models are pushed onto the streets without thinking about the different problems they may cause. I would be really helpful to have some unbiased research about the environmental footprints of combustion based cars compared to electric cars which also takes into account various variables, like production costs, lifetime, maintenance costs, recycling costs and of course energy costs.

German government expands subsidies for electric cars

Found on DW on Wednesday, 06 November 2019
Browse Technology

The German government and car industry have agreed to increase joint subsidies for the purchase of electric cars on the same day automobile giant Volkswagen began production of a new all-electric vehicle.

Under the agreement, consumer subsidies for electric cars costing less than €40,000 ($44,500) will increase to €6,000 (about $6,700) from €4,000. Purchasers of plug-in hybrids in this price range would be given a subsidy of €4,500, up from €3,000.

You only need to throw money onto products which would not sell otherwise; and if they sell really bad, you throw even more money onto them.

Bloodhound goes faster still at 491mph

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 05 November 2019
Browse Technology

At the moment, Bloodhound is operating on just the thrust of its Eurofighter EJ200 jet engine. But as Tuesday's outing showed, this vehicle has tremendous potential.

Bloodhound is festooned with sensors. It's their information which must verify all the computer modelling that went into the design of the car. The team has a good idea of how Bloodhound should behave as it approaches the sound barrier, but it's only by running the car that they'll find out for sure.

Really impressive, but nothing you will see soon on the roads.

ISPs lied to Congress to spread confusion about encrypted DNS, Mozilla says

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 04 November 2019
Browse Internet

Mozilla is urging Congress to reject the broadband industry's lobbying campaign against encrypted DNS in Firefox and Chrome.

"Unsurprisingly, our work on DoH [DNS over HTTPS] has prompted a campaign to forestall these privacy and security protections, as demonstrated by the recent letter to Congress from major telecommunications associations. That letter contained a number of factual inaccuracies," Mozilla Senior Director of Trust and Security Marshall Erwin wrote.

Mozilla is not exactly very honest about secure DNS either. They keep pushing and pushing for DoH, instead of focusing on DoT that would fit easily and reliably into the current systems. For Mozilla, their enemies are the ISPs because they want to "log and sell all the data" about their users. So for Mozilla, it boils down to trust. However, by rolling out DoH with the resolver defaulting to Cloudflare, there is nothing gained because in the end you still have to trust Cloudflare. Just in the same way you have to trust your ISP. Of course all the companies behind DoH promise never to abuse this data, but since it all is about trust, why trust them? So, don't mess with one of core components of the Internet and just upgrade to DoT and bury that DoH idea.

Jane Fonda: 'I worry about climate activist Greta Thunberg'

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 03 November 2019
Browse Various

"They handcuff you with plastic things, not the old good metal ones. They hurt more," Fonda says of her most recent arrest.

But she says: "I don't want to go to prison.

"The police are figuring out what to do. I was told if I keep getting arrested every week I may be put in the slammer. I may not get arrested every week because I have to start filming Grace and Frankie (her series for Netflix)."

People are beginning to realize that when you get arrested, then going to jail is inconvenient? One would assume that being "inconvenient" is the main idea behind jailtime.

Blizzard president gives vague apology for Hong Kong protest response

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 02 November 2019
Browse Various

In the wake of the Blitzchung decision, Blizzard was forced to cancel a public promotional event and belatedly punish a college Hearthstone team for a similar on-stream protest. The company faced both a brief employee walkout and admonishment from a bipartisan group of US legislators.

How that accountability will manifest, and what if any changes were in store for the company, was less clear from Brack's statement. The executive only offered a vague promise to "do better going forward."

Typical management talk, meaning nothing. It's just an attempt to reduce damage after they kowtowed to China.

Not just adhesive, but alcohol-resistant adhesive: Well done, Apple. Airpods Pro repairability is a zero

Found on The Register on Friday, 01 November 2019
Browse Technology

Just like its predecessors, Apple's latest designer buds are impossible to self-service, earning them a repairability score of zero. This is largely a consequence of Apple's liberal use of alcohol-resistant adhesives, which makes it almost impossible to separate components without causing serious damage.

It's still almost impossible to replace the battery without causing a catastrophic level of destruction. The cell sits buried under thick blobs of white glue, and, to add insult to injury, is firmly soldered to the device.

Everybody talks about how important it is to protect the environment, and here comes Apple (again), rolling out products which cannot be repaired, produced for landfills.

Blizzard Sponsor Bailed After ‘Free Hong Kong’ Gamer Ban

Found on Daily Beast on Thursday, 31 October 2019
Browse Politics

After gaming giant Activision Blizzard banned a pro gamer who expressed support for Hong Kong protesters, the company has taken heat on all sides. Players boycotted Blizzard games. Employees walked out of work. Lawmakers lambasted the company for caving to pressure from China.

Two days after the company announced that it would ban Hong Kong-based professional Hearthstone player Chung Ng Wai, Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan ended its sponsorship of Blizzard’s esports events, according to Erica Rasch, a spokesperson for Mitsubishi.

According to Blizzard’s most recent earnings report, the company made 12 percent of its quarterly revenue in the Asia Pacific market.

For 12 percent (and the Asia Pacific market includes more than China) Blizzard has no problem to restrict free speech. Even worse, Blizzard really thinks people will believe that this has nothing to do with chinese politics.

Chrome devs tell world that DNS over HTTPS won't open the floodgates of hell

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 30 October 2019
Browse Internet

The blurb comes as part of Google's effort to convince hostile police agencies and legislators around the world that DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) won't result in ordinary people's internet usage being completely shielded from the ability of state agencies and ISPs to monitor and police them – the snoops will just have to work harder to eavesdrop on folks. In contrast, Mozilla, maker of Firefox, has vowed to press on and redirect users' DNS queries to its preferred host, Cloudflare, if it is so enabled.

So under the premise to protect privacy from curious ISPs, they want to redirect all DNS requests to a single provider: Cloudflare. Yes, we're told that it is possible to change the DoH settings, but how many average users will do that? Right now, DNS traffic spreads across various ISPs; in the not so far away future, the vast majority of this traffic will end up at Cloudflare, ready to be used. For now, everybody involved does not hesitate to underline that this data will never be used, but don't forget that Google already dropped its "Don't be evil" motto. If they really would care, they would not open such a can of worms but simply push for DoT instead which is much simpler and already works.

Why passwords don't work, and what will replace them

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 29 October 2019
Browse Various

Facebook admitted in April that the passwords of millions of Instagram users had been stored on their systems in a readable format - falling short of the company's own best practices, and potentially compromising the security of those users.

And Yahoo! recently settled a lawsuit over the loss of data belonging to 3 billion users, including email addresses, security questions and passwords.

"People tend to use passwords that are easy to remember and therefore easy to compromise."

Because companies cannot handle the data given to them and users are too lazy to come up with good passwords does not mean that the concept of passwords is insecure. If implemented correctly, it's safe; and if you replace one authentication method with another one, the bad guys will just focus the new one.