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The 2017 Mini Countryman: SUV practicality, car-like driving fun

The littlest SUV has quirky charm and coped like a champ in the snow.

Decrypted: The Expanse: “The truth is never what you expect it...

This week our guest is Nick Farmer, the linguist who's creating Belter creole for the show.

Purple and Smarter WiFi reach new heights at renowned ski and...

Purple, the intelligent spaces company, has revealed that the Ice Factor, Snow Factor and Bar Varia are collecting four times more CRM data following the installation of its solution by Smarter WiFi.The Scottish attractions draw visitors from far and wide as the Ice Factor is home to the world’s biggest indoor climbing walls and the Snow Factor has the UK’s longest indoor real snow slope. With guest WiFi already on offer, the group sought an... Source: RealWire

3 signs of an AI snow job

Suddenly, it seems, every application and cloud service has been fortified with machine learning or artificial intelligence. Presto! They now can do magic. Much of the marketing around machine learning and AI is misleading, making promises that aren’t realistic—and often using the terms when they don’t apply.
In other words, there’s a lot of BS being peddled.

Don’t fall for those snow jobs.[ Real or virtual? The two faces of machine learning. | The truth behind AI, machine learning, and bots. | The InfoWorld review roundup: AWS, Microsoft, Databricks, Google, HPE, and IBM machine learning in the cloud. ] Before I explain how can you tell if the software or service really uses machine learning or AI, let me define what those terms really mean:To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here

Get ready for a JJ Abrams movie about Nazi monsters

Specifically, Overlord is about fighting supernatural Nazi monsters in World War II.

The state(s) of texting and driving in the US

EnlargeJustin Sullivan/Getty Images reader comments 67 Share this story We plow through five mile markers then slide 60 feet along the edge of the shoulder before enough snow piles up to scrape our ride to a halt.

This is the good outcome.

The three tons of steel traveling 55 miles an hour could have flipped and rolled in a second, killing everyone inside.

But after disentangling my heart from my esophagus, we determine that everyone's fine.

Dad pulls himself out of the car to catch his breath on the side of the road, and he looks to his smartphone GPS to figure out how far we are from West Yellowstone, Montana.
It’s below freezing, and my phone doesn’t have anything remotely resembling service.

This is the second time he’s glanced at his phone for the GPS; the first is what landed us here. How’d this happen? My guess is it has something to do with the dopamine.
I’m going to play fast and loose and speculate that a major component of cellphone interaction comes from “wanting” that dopamine response.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that gives us little jolts of pleasure to motivate us to go and seek out more pleasurable experiences.
It would seem to me that smartphones facilitate this process—every time you punch a button, you get a little jolt of dopamine, as that button push has the potential to take you somewhere pleasurable.

Thanks to the device’s ability to easily access the Internet, we have at our fingertips an unlimited amount of available seeking.

The satisfaction of clicking on a new thing keeps dopamine flowing along at a healthy thrum.

Today, we also have all sorts of connectivity to apps that offer validation—a double-tap on Instagram gives us the jolt that we love. This is one of the core principles of design—draw the gaze without making it seem like you're trying.
It can be a really lovely thing depending on your perspective, and we see all different manifestations of it on our smartphones. When we’re talking about driving though, ultimately design has little to do with why we crash into snowbanks while driving our vehicles.

Driving is boring, or at least we’ve been acculturated to believe so—the lone reward for most is getting where we need to go.
So as we travel along this dull journey from point A to point B, many instead pepper themselves with mini dopamine hits—snacks, music, or by mainlining digital dopamine like text messages, Snapchats, Vines (RIP), or whatever.
If we can get these mini seeking hits from dopamine while driving, the experience is far more pleasurable. In the case of my accident, my dad distracted himself from act of driving by engaging with something that helped us anticipate getting there—his GPS.
It’s a strange sort of paradox, and the more you think about it, the weirder it gets. In 2014, distracted driving was responsible for 3,179 deaths and 431,000 motor vehicle injuries according to the federal government.

That’s the latest data, but more is likely forthcoming as we become more and more attached to smartphones.
It's been pretty well established that using a smartphone or any other distracting device while on the road has at the very least a detrimental effect on one's ability to drive, and at the worst it’s incredibly dangerous.

The CDC classifies three main types of distraction: Visual (looking at the road), Manual (removing your hands from the wheel), and Cognitive (not thinking about driving).
Interacting with a cell phone engages all three of these.

To be fair though, chowing down on a double cheeseburger would hit me on all three fronts as well. But if we hold for a moment that it's bad to be twiddling a cell phone while you're behind the wheel of a two-ton death machine, what is the US doing about it on a federal and state level? President Obama has been a supporter of anti-texting and driving measures. Pictured: In 2010, he invited students to a White House science fair and honored the kids behind a device that sends out an alarm when you take a hand off the steering wheel for more then three seconds. Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images) The state of texting and driving Turns out, the response to the issue isn’t that mixed.
In 2009, President Obama issued an order that prohibits federal employees from texting while driving on government business. Railway operators and commercial vehicle drivers have rules governing their use as well. State response has been more sporadic.

As of this summer, 14 states (including DC) prohibit the use of hand-held cellphones while driving a car.

Those laws are what are referred to as primary enforcement laws—i.e. an officer can pull you over and cite you if he/she sees you using a phone. No states have bans on using hands-free devices totally, but 38 prohibit novice drivers from using cell phones in any capacity. Now, what I’ve been rambling about: 46 states and DC have bans on texting while driving.

Four states do not—Missouri, Arizona, Montana, and Texas—though a few of these have bans on novice drivers utilizing devices to text.
I don’t want to ride the personal fallacy all the way to the bank, but my 60-year-old pop’s little smasheroo with a snowbank makes me suspicious of the assumption that errors only happen to novices. Seeing this landscape and its sporadic enforcement, I was confused.

Even with this many legal measures in place, there's still more than a few distracted driving deaths and injuries every year.
I wanted to know how effective these state measures are at preventing accidents.

Are these laws enforced? How effective are they? How many of these distracted driving deaths are caused by interactions with smartphones? Turns out, these are not really easy questions to answer. Enlarge / The wide-open roads of Montana aren't immune to the dangers of texting and drive.

This is in Pondera County near Highway 89. Education Images/UIG via Getty Images) Crashes in Big Sky Country and beyond I decided to follow a trail in Montana, where, coincidentally, my accident took place.

There were 192 crash fatalities in Montana in 2015. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any data on distracted driving, though impaired driving (alcohol/drugs) accounted for 10 of those fatalities.
It’s dangerous to generalize with data, so we’ll just leave those numbers there. With stats not helping much, I chatted with Audrey Allums, a Grants Bureau Chief for the Montana Department of Transportation.
She's responsible for approving grant funding for tons of different safety projects throughout the state.

For example, if a police department wants overtime pay to run a DUI training workshop, they send those requests to Allums.

Any sort of political action is not really within her purview, but she did tell me that many different cities in Montana have their own laws prohibiting the use of a cell phone while driving within city limits.

Allums noted the state has national data on distracted driving, and it's a terrible thing that continues to cause loss of life. However, she wasn't sure why Montana doesn't have a primary enforcement law.

All Allums could add was that it's really difficult to track if someone was using a phone or not when a crash took place. This, of course, totally makes sense. When someone's involved in an accident, first responders aren’t prioritizing the discovery out what caused the crash—their primary concern is saving lives. People involved in such accidents aren't necessarily going to fess up either. Who's going to admit to liking dog posts on Facebook when they crashed and killed someone? Allums pointed me toward a recently proposed bill in the Montana state legislature: HB 297.
It was a primary enforcement law similar to what exists in many others states, and it passed in the House before ultimately failing to get a second reading in the Senate before the legislature adjourned.

The state’s website lists the bill as "probably dead." Other states are trying to minimize potential injuries due to texting in other ways.

At Utah Valley University, administrators have divided staircases into three lanes, one for walking, one for running, and one for texting.

Antwerp, Belgium has similar lanes for walking texters, but as a whole, this sort of solution doesn’t seem particularly widespread or effective. Police have tried unconventional methods, like going undercover to catch and cite distracted drivers. New York might be working towards allowing police officers to use a device called a Textalyzer, which functions like a breathalyzer, except that it detects whether or not a touch screen has been used and text has been typed. Laws that enable strong penalization for distracted driving are becoming more common as well (for example, the recently passed Daniel’s Law in PA). And, of course, all aspects of the auto industry are simultaneously pushing steadily towards autonomous driving mechanisms.

Tesla's efforts may be the most high-profile, but tech companies like Google, traditional auto-powers like Ford, and new transportation companies like Uber are all scrambling towards similar goals.
In theory, removing the traditional role of a driver from all vehicles would free up individuals to toy with their phones as desired, but theory and practice are not one in the same.

A piece of technology can fail, and results could be tragic.

This reality is a long ways away anyway, as both the tech needs to improve and the regulations have to catch up. Currently, these measures are by no means common and standard across all states, nor is there likely to be pressure federally for everyone to adopt unusual measures.

The sad reality, for now, is that we may just resign ourselves to more auto deaths until self-driving cars come to fruition and save the day (if ever). Among other alternative anti-texting and driving initiatives: Simulations have been created to dramatize the experience for drivers.

This is one from AT&T's 2014 "It Can Wait" campaign in New York City. Spencer Platt/Getty Images) In Maine, New Gloucester High School goes beyond the standard scared-straight, crashed car display.

The school held an entire live mock crash demonstration instead. John Patriquin/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images No sign of stopping Will these laws and measures make a difference? There’s been research into that question.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has looked into it and found that texting and driving roughly doubles the reaction time of a driver when doing several different roadway activities.

They also found that voice-to-text services don’t do much in the way of alleviating the danger.

According to a CBS news report on a separate study done in 2015, researchers found that there was a seven percent reduction in car crash hospitalizations in states that issued bans between 2003 and 2010.

Though the researchers attempted to account for other laws that might have influenced that reduction, the researchers stand by their data. Much of this research suggests creating stricter enforcement laws surrounding the use of devices on the road is a net good.

But let’s engage in a bit of wild speculation here: I’m not sure we can totally believe that people are going to use cell phones less in their vehicles.
Sure, many of the measures police are employing or mining data from cell phones post-crash might significantly improve our abilities to identify what caused those crashes, but so far, people seem to be using their phones in their cars more than ever before. Personally, I use my phone all the time as a navigational device, propped up right on my dashboard to give me directions wherever I’m headed. This is the difficulty that safety officials face.

As cars become better designed, the fact that you’re driving a physics nightmare waiting to happen becomes more and more unreal.

Think about it. When was the last time you became fully aware of the fact that you were driving your metal bullet to the grocery store? That experience has an impossibly difficult time competing with our slick smartphones. After the crash, my dad used his phone to locate an affordably-priced tow truck company with his data connection.

A few minutes later, the truck was there to pull the car from the bank.

Dad nestles the phone back into the front pocket of his vest, ready for its next use. For more info on texting bans: http://www.ghsa.org/html/stateinfo/laws/cellphone_laws.html Thomas Wells is a writer and a teacher who lives in Bozeman, Montana. You can read the occasional tweet at @thomastalketh or check out his website at therealthomaswells.com.

Speaking from prison, incarcerated reporter maintains innocence

Enlarge / Former Reuters social media editor Matthew Keys (R), seen here with his lawyer Jay Leiderman at the federal courthouse in Sacramento in 2013.Max Whittaker / Getty Images News reader comments 6 Share this story After having served nearly three months in a federal prison camp in central California, Matthew Keys is making the best of it. In August 2016, the 29-year-old journalist began his two-year sentence in Atwater, California, about 120 miles east of San Francisco.

Earlier this year, Keys was convicted at trial under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), the notorious anti-hacking federal law that dates back to the 1980s.

An effort to reform that law has languished in Congress. Keys told Ars that, even post-conviction, he did not hand over any login information that led to the 40-minute alteration of a Los Angeles Times headline in 2010. Hours before Keys’ sentencing hearing in April 2016, Ars received a letter from someone under the pseudonym “Sam Snow,” who claimed that he, and not Keys, was the one who actually handed over the login details.

This new claim by Snow will likely have no impact on Keys’ appeal, which is pending at the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals. Ars has been periodically corresponding with Keys by e-mail through CORRLINKS, the monitored e-mail system set up for federal inmates, and the following interview has been edited for clarity. We hope to be able to visit him in person in the coming months. Ars: What is your day-to-day like? Keys: I wake up around 6:30am, shower, sometimes grab breakfast or nibble on something on my way to work. Work starts around 7:30.
I'm at work until 10:10am, lunch is at 10:30am, back to work around 11am, and then usually I'm off work by 2:20pm. (except for lately, which I'll get into later).

Dinner is at 3:30pm, after which I usually wait around the dormitory until mail call (between 4 and 5pm).
If I don't have classes that day (programming classes, not "college classes," basically classes we can take to do something interesting and kill some time), I'll nap until around 8pm or I'll read the newspaper, a magazine, or a book.

TV time from 8pm until around 10pm, then I’m usually in bed. Weekends are a little different. With the rare exception of an overtime day (there have been three of those), we don’t work on the weekends. My boyfriend visits me every other Sunday, so I’m awake around 8am to get ready for his visit (from 10:30am to 3pm); otherwise the schedule is about the same.
I use weekend time to work out and catch up on reading and writing. What is your living situation like? There are two buildings at Satellite Camp Prison (SCP) Atwater: A dormitory, which is an open living area with three rows of metal bunk beds and a common area, with round tables and television sets, and another building with a visitation room, a library, a chapel, and three classrooms.

The dormitory also houses a recreation room/small gymnasium, a TV viewing room, staff offices, and lavatory with private-stall showers.

There are, at any given time, around 90 to 100 men living in the dorms (there are no cells at a satellite camp). Most people are here for one of two crimes: White collar (mostly financial fraud) or non-violent drug related offenses.

The number of drug-related offenses generally outnumbers the white collar cases. Camps have a general reputation of being "Club Fed," an easy place to do time.

But that’s wrong.

This is still prison. We might have slightly more freedom of movement, but we still have plenty of restrictions.

The system of rehabilitation here is significantly flawed in a way that almost guarantees most people here who actually committed a crime will offend again.
Very rarely is this a staff issue—most of the staff members I've met here are cordial, respectful, and helpful—it's an institutional problem.
Someone thousands of miles away is making broad decisions governing all inmates, regardless of their crime, situation, living condition, financial situation, education, or health. The problem with that is everyone's circumstance is unique and different.
Some people can’t afford medical care (we have to pay out of pocket for it), some can't afford toiletries, some (like me) have medical conditions the government refuses to acknowledge and treat.
Some people have been told they will not receive halfway house time—time meant to help rehabilitate and reintegrate a person into society—if they are unable to pay hundreds of dollars in owed fines and restitution.
Some people have been told they will spend weeks, if not months, in redundant GED classes despite having graduated with college degrees. (For a while, one of the inmates here with a doctorate in jurisprudence was told, despite his scholarly record, he would still have to attend GED classes.) Taxpayer resources are wasted in some areas, while resources that could go toward helping rehabilitate people, prepare them for reintegration into society, and encourage their success are severely lacking. Yes, this is prison.

But it seems to me if society is willing to take a person’s liberty away, society has a responsibility to ensure that person is taken care of while in custody and is well-prepared and well-informed in order to function as a constructive member of society once they are released.
I’ve only been here three months, but it’s clear to me that even at “Club Fed,” that doesn't happen.

That’s a problem that can only be fixed at the institution level. How did you spend your last few days on the outside? On the suggestion of a friend, I encouraged people to contact the White House.
I wrote a letter to a White House official and distributed the letter to a select handful in the media. POLITICO was the only news organization to write about the campaign, which both surprised me and didn’t surprise me. When I realized that our effort wasn’t getting us anywhere, I spent the last of those days with my family, my boyfriend, and a handful of close friends. Who is managing your digital accounts/devices while you’re away? Nobody. What contingency plans, if any, did you establish for re-establishing your accounts when you get back? I took steps to ensure I could access my accounts when I’m released.

Depending on when I’m released will depend on whether I’m able to re-access my accounts, I guess.
I really don’t know if something will happen or something will change between now and then—inmates in the federal prison system do not have Internet access. Is there any opportunity to do journalism from the inside, whether about the BOP, the Atwater facility, or otherwise? You mentioned to me that a lot of people are interested in criminal justice reform.

Does your experience now make you want to cover the criminal justice system more when you get out?
I’m still exploring this possibility. Officially, the Bureau of Prisons does not allow for an inmate to act as a reporter or publish under a byline while they are incarcerated. Legal material available to us here challenges that policy, suggesting it may be a constitutional issue.

There have been cases in the past where people have written columns while incarcerated—Barrett Brown, who wrote for The Intercept, and the Manhattan Madame who wrote for XOJane—though there have also been consequences for people who have exercised their constitutional rights while they’ve been incarcerated. One thing that did make me happy: I received a letter from the FCC earlier this month letting me know I had won an issue I raised on appeal two years ago, and the outcome of the appeal meant more documents would be disclosed pursuant to a [Freedom of Information Act] request I made a while back.

Another journalist, Shawn Musgrave, filed the same FOIA about a year after I did, so I’m hoping he does something with the documents that emerge, since I can’t while I’m here.
I’m glad to know, though, that the public will continue to be informed on important issues based in some small part on the work I was able to do before I arrived here. Who is Sam Snow? I don’t reveal the names of sources who have been promised confidentiality. Since you reported to Atwater, I have received a few more very short e-mails from Sam Snow.

Frankly, he seems a bit naïve as to how the legal system works. On July 26, for example, he wrote me: "no i dont plan on visiting him i'm hoping he won't have to go to prison at all!" and when I told him that this was extremely unlikely, he seemed surprised.

Can you tell me anything more about who he is and what your relationship with him is? Now that you are serving your sentence, is he worth protecting? Under what circumstances would you reveal more about him?
I would reveal more about any confidential source only if I had their permission to do so, and if I felt their decision to volunteer their identity was made of sound mind and not under duress or persuasion.

A change in my circumstance does not alter the fact that a source was offered and accepted anonymity. Do you have any regrets about not taking a plea deal? It strikes me that even if your conviction and/or sentence is overturned on appeal, you’ll have already served the bulk, if not all, of your time.
Is that price worth it? Do you have any regrets about not taking the stand at trial? You told me in Vacaville that you want to “narrow the applicability of the law so it doesn’t happen to anybody else...” Does that motivation still hold true?
No.
I am innocent.
Innocent men should, and do, fight for their liberty. My main motivation for taking this case to trial, and now to appeal, is to clear my name.

But there are other reasons for fighting this case as well.

An aggressive prosecutor is seeking to create precedent by using a broad, vague law to charge a journalist with conspiracy for committing an act of journalism.

As I’ve said before, that should frighten many people in the journalism community.

For some reason, it apparently doesn’t, because no journalistic institution came to my defense—which was more than disappointing—although a number of journalists did challenge the prosecutor’s intentions and the harshness and vagueness of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It is well-documented, through FBI reports published on the Internet, that I was under surveillance [and] that the prosecutor in the case had personal motivations for wanting this case. He reportedly threw a fit when the lead FBI agent sought to move the case to Los Angeles, where the Times newspaper was based, because, according to the document, “he really wants to prosecute Keys.” That the Department of Justice has targeted journalists and their sources in a number of other cases (the New York Times, Fox News, the Associated Press, and others)—in some cases, threatening to jail reporters for contempt.

But here, there was no main suspect for about three years, so they couldn’t charge me with contempt.
Instead, they charged me as a conspirator. Which, as I’ve said many times before, is bullshit. What happened to me can, and almost certainly will, happen to others—to journalists, to activists and to others the government deems to be unsavory.
If we succeed on appeal—and we believe we will—it’ll prevent another person from having to go through what I’ve been through. Let’s assume for a moment that the 9th Circuit doesn’t rule in your favor, and an en banc appeal is declined. Would that change anything for you, and how you talk about your case? No. We still have the Supreme Court.

As my attorney Jay Leiderman said in one of the hearings, the Supreme Court “is bound to take up this issue, and it might as well be us” who brings the case before them.

Cyber-security specialist Post-Quantum appoints former Thomson Reuters CEO as strategy adviser

Tom Glocer joins company to advise on business growth in finance, government and healthcare verticals14 September 2016 – British cyber-security firm Post-Quantum has appointed Tom Glocer, the former CEO of Thomson Reuters, as a strategy adviser. Post-Quantum specialises in developing defence-grade cyber-security solutions that protect the data and communications systems of global investment banks and other enterprises against sophisticated criminal and nation-state attacks. Tom Glocer Glocer will focus on business development as Post-Quantum builds out its modular product suite to counter the growing cyber-security threat to the finance, government and healthcare verticals. His appointment follows an investment he made in the company in 2015. His extensive experience and familiarity with financial services will be of particular benefit to Post-Quantum as it builds on initial successes in the sector, which include deploying its modular product suite in partnership with IPC Systems and delivering a project for Barclays’ Global Information Security division. Commenting on his position as a strategy adviser, Glocer said: “I chose to invest in Post-Quantum and work closely with Andersen Cheng and his team because of the quality of the technology, the experience of the team and the urgent market need. My many years running Thomson Reuters, and its predecessor firm, Reuters, and my board-level experience at other large companies highlighted the demand for a modular toolkit of defence-grade security components for use in communications, trading and other critical systems.” Andersen Cheng, CEO, Post-Quantum added: “Tom Glocer’s unrivalled experience at Thomson Reuters – one of the largest and most dynamic organisations in the world – will bring invaluable benefit to Post-Quantum. We are at an exciting stage of our development. We recently closed an £8 million Series A funding round which will enable us to refine and deploy our modular product suite consisting of quorum consensus approval, biometric authentication and encrypted messaging. With Tom’s input we will be able to connect our products suite with the financial services sector.
Success in this key market will demonstrate the value of working with Post-Quantum.” Glocer was at the helm of Thomson Reuters between 2001 and 2011, and is also a director at Merck & Co., Inc., Morgan Stanley, Publicis Groupe and K2 Intelligence. He is the founder and managing director of Angelic Ventures LP, a family office focusing on early-stage investments in financial technology, media, big data and healthcare. Glocer joins Post-Quantum’s notable advisory board, which also includes Brian Snow, former Technical Director of the NSA and Rebecca Bace, former NSA Research Leader and experienced tech investor with Trident Capital.

Both are highly respected figures in the world of cryptology and cyber-security. -Ends- Contact:Michael House for Post-Quantum:+44 (0) 20 7242 8867michael.house@aspectuspr.com About Post-QuantumPQ Solutions Limited, trading as Post-Quantum, is a UK-based company specialising in secure communications, authentication and encryption.
It is staffed by experts who have many years’ experience gained in the defence, intelligence, cryptography, data security and financial services sectors.

The directors and advisers collectively have in excess of 300 years of relevant sector experience and own in excess of 60 granted patents in data security and communications. https://post-quantum.com/

Social engineering tricks and why CEO fraud emails work

CSO Online | Aug 4, 2016 At the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas, CSO’s Steve Ragan talks with Stephanie Carruthers, owner of Snow Offensive Security, about why business email compromise (aka CEO fraud) works so well against companies.
She also discusses several tricks that phishers will use to gain trust among corporate employees when preparing for an attack.