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Messages - LetterRip

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1
I really like this, when a news article is linked at reddit,

They have  bot that gives a list of other links to articles by other news outlets about the same story (so you can see how the headlines are reporting the same story differently, etc.)

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d1kx0/starbucks_closing_nationwide_on_may_29th/

2
Something else I thought of.

My understanding (which could be mistaken) is that it was two other barista's who requested that they order something or leave.  When the men refused to do so, the barista's said they would call the police.  The manager simply relayed to the police that they refused to leave.

So was the barista who made the request that they order something to use the bathroom racist? The one who said if they didn't order something they would have to leave? The person who called the police because they refused to leave?

Does the fact that the manager had been chased change by previous individuals who had been asked to leave change your view of her calling the police?

Would it matter to you if the barista's were black?

3
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 10:18:24 PM »
So now we learn yet more details.

Quote
Holly, who managed the 18th and Spruce Street location for a year before leaving the company, told AppleNews.com on Saturday that she'd had problems with loiterers and one had even chased her round the shop after she asked them to leave.

The manager blamed what she claimed was a corporate policy at City Center Philadelphia locations which prohibits excessive loitering in their stores.

She told the news outlet that management has the discretion to ensure the policy is enforced - even if that means calling in the cops. She also revealed that she doesn't even tell the customers when she's calling the police.

However the other employees had said that they would call the police,

Quote
When the call was initially made the Starbucks employees had told the males that they were going to call the police and they said go ahead and call the police we don't care. So the police get there and they are confronted with the same type of attitude. They repeatedly told that they were not leaving. In fact, there's some alleged rhetoric about 'you don't know what you're doing, you're only a $45,000 a year employee' or something to that regard.

https://www.reddit.com/r/news/comments/8cysu4/starbucks_will_close_8000_us_stores_may_29_for/dxixmyn/

So they insulted the policemens income when they were asked to leave.

4
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 09:41:10 PM »
So two other recent post by Starbucks employees on reddit.  Basically confirming the DM policy.

Quote
It isn't fair that district tells us to enforce certain policies, like staying in the cafe for only a certain amount of time or having a bathroom code, without a sign to back us up. McDonald's has signs, Dunkin Donuts has signs, why can't we? This is why a lot of customers become hostile when we try to enforce them because it makes it seem like we're picking on them specifically versus it being an actual location rule.

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d6gyq/starbucks_you_need_signs/

Quote
My store is a downtown one that frequently kicks people out of the lobby and we have bathroom codes that we change 2-8 times a day. Since the Philly incident, my SM was told: we HAVE to give out the bathroom code to anyone who asks ("assume best intent"), we HAVE to allow people to film us (cause what's consent anyway?), and we HAVE to wait at least 20 minutes before kicking someone out. The latter part wouldn't be so bad if we had a lot of seating, but we don't, so I have to allow non-customers to take up multiple spots while paying customers leave because there's nowhere to sit. I was in a pissy mood all day and I'm already so fed up with my store as is.

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/8d4qso/all_the_bad_news_i_was_told_today/

5
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 05:22:41 PM »

Yes, ineligible, fraudulent and illegal voters.  Particularly the more recent policies have had adequate protections to ensure that eligible voters are not disenfranchised.

Oh really?

Quote
The federal court in Richmond found that the primary purpose of North Carolina’s wasn’t to stop voter fraud, but rather to disenfranchise minority voters. The judges found that the provisions “target African Americans with almost surgical precision.”…
In particular, the court found that North Carolina lawmakers requested data on racial differences in voting behaviors in the state. “This data showed that African Americans disproportionately lacked the most common kind of photo ID, those issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV),” the judges wrote.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/29/the-smoking-gun-proving-north-carolina-republicans-tried-to-disenfranchise-black-voters/

6
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:58:21 PM »
IOW, the people singled out by this policy most likely will be those of a certain economic status and possibly certain races.  Not exclusively, mind you, but mostly.  Generally.  Most of the time.

All indications are that the bathroom policy was to target homeless people shooting heroine in the bathroom and generally destroying the bathrooms (including things like smearing feces on the walls; plugging the toilets; doing 'bathroom showers' etc).  To a lesser degree it was to discourage people from just stopping in to use the bathroom at busy locations (such as next to train stations).

The loitering policy was mostly meant to target people hanging out all day taking up tables and taking out computer outlets (some starbucks simply removed all of the outlets).

Quote
It's like crack cocaine having stiffer penalties than powered cocaine.  Not really racist, except for the fact that crack was used primarily by minorities while powered was used primarily by whites.

The penalties for crack were specifically set higher at the request of the congressional Black Caucus because black constituents were concerned about sales of the drug (and the cultural changes that went with it) in their neighborhoods.

Quote
Or voter ID laws which just happen to affect minorities far more than whites.

Voter ID laws are deliberately targeted to disenfranchise specific groups of voters.

Quote
Closely examining a single case of either won't get you the big picture of how the laws affect the community, nor explain the reaction of the community to a single case.  Because it is a reaction to all the incidents before, not to that particular incident.

I can't think of any reason Starbucks could expect a no loitering policy to disproportionately impact African Americans.

7
General Comments / Justice and murder by the mentally ill
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:22:19 PM »
On facebook, a relative posted a story that a woman who killed her child and then attempted suicide is being sentenced to life (someone apparently the various people commenting had known).  There were a number of comments by people that they were glad that 'justice' had occurred for the child.

To me the word justice in this context seems entirely wrong.

8
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 02:08:59 PM »
Okay, we now have a recording of the call made by the manager and the communication by the police.  The manager calls and says two men are refusing to order and refusing to leave (note that no mention of ethnicity is made by the starbucks supervisor or police).

http://6abc.com/listen-philly-police-release-call-from-starbucks-employee/3357184/


9
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:56:12 PM »
LetterRip, I do think you should rethink the 'not Rosa Parks' comment.  To me these guys would be exactly like Rosa if they refused to comply in the face of an actual racist enforcement of the policy.

Good point, I fully agree.

I think the reporters have been extremely lazy and prejudged the incident.  I think it is possible there was racism - but the fact that there was a District Manager policy regarding this; the fact that the Starbucks statement has been "there is no company wide policy" and neglecting that they had district level policies and implied it was a store policy - it looks to me like someone was following the district policy and is getting thrown to the wolves (though I suspect Starbucks likely paid them to go away quietly).

10
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:05:18 PM »
There are many, many people who think her observation, and her paraphrasing of another customer's statement, are credible.

There are many people who believe in that tarot cards and horoscopes can be used to predict the future.  Public predisposition to believe something doesn't provide any insight into credibility.

 
Quote
And on its face, there is little in the article presented to refute her statement.

She made two statements that were contradicted by other evidence.  She said the police asked them to leave and then began moving chairs.  It wasn't till the third time that they refused to leave that the chairs were moved.  She said that the manager hadn't said anything to them.  They were told that they had to order something or leave.  So she either has abnormally high observation skills in some aspects that she would have no reason to; followed by extremely poor observation skills for important details - or she isn't credible.

Quote
That is not to say that a more thorough reporter would not have looked for other, conflicting witness statements. Regardless, you are once again in a position of claiming that something is not evidence because you feel it is not credible.

Incorrect.  She isn't credible due to her evidence contradicting known evidence; that her claimed observations are extremely suspect based on both the required amount of observation (she observed multiple white people use the bathroom without purchase; she observed the african american gentlemen for half an hour before the police showed up to know that the manager didn't interact with them to inform them they were trespassing) and it would be a fireable policy violation among other factors; and that she is an anonymous witness.

11
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 18, 2018, 10:42:38 AM »
Evidence doesn't become not evidence just because you do not believe it.

When people say 'evidence' in this context - it means 'credible evidence'.

My dog says that he watched the whole thing and he directly contradicts everything Lauren said.  So you obviously accept that as 'evidence' that Lauren is a liar - right?  Nope, because you knew that we were both talking about credible evidence.

Hearsay isn't credible evidence, and double hearsay of an anonymous witness especially isn't credible evidence.

12
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 09:51:39 PM »
Yes, you have mentioned a policy that has been, at different times and in other places, been enforced against different people.

And I've provided evidence that it was a district wide policy for that location. It was also a firing offense for failing to enforce it.

Quote
But that does not make the "Lauren" evidence disappear.  And the "Lauren" evidence if of unequal treatment in that specific Starbucks at that specific time.

Hearsay doesn't qualify as evidence.  If a woman comes forward and claims that she had used that bathroom without purchase on that day, then we can call it evidence.  Also, even then it wouldn't necessarily be racial discrimination, but could also be just gender discrimination.

Quote
Whether they are Rosa Parks is immaterial to your mistake.

No mistake was made, we just have different thresholds for what qualifies as evidence.  Hearsay of something that contradicts store policy of something that seems absurd that they would have been in a position to know or would have reason to observe isn't something that would be accepted as evidence by any reasonable person.

13
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 02:32:37 PM »
DonaldD,

Quote
This is not true.  There is evidence, you just don't find it persuasive - which is fine.  But that does not make the evidence disappear.

I've provided evidence that

1) This was standard policy and there were clear signs announcing this policy at that Starbucks
2) It was enforced against rich white women, police, and every other demographic
3) That the policy was only enforced against them once they tried to use the bathroom and refused to order anything
4) That they disobeyed a lawful order numerous times before backup were called and they were arrested

So yes, there is evidence of uneven treatment - but it is the opposite direction.  A non-black individual would have had far less patience exhibited when they were told that they were trespassing and needed to leave - they wouldn't have been requested five times - after not complying with the police the first time they would be arrested for trespassing and would have charges filed for failure to obey a lawful order.

These gentlemen are not Rosa Parks.

14
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 02:23:26 PM »
What I want to know is if the employee was charged for improper use of 911?

What evidence is there that they called 911 rather than the police dispatch number?

15
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 12:04:58 PM »
Yes, and employees always follow posted policies. The employee has someone come in that's a personal friend, they're going to adhere to that policy? You tell me that a person that the employee finds attractive asks for the bathroom key and they are going to point at the sign and send them away? Uneven treatment is THE question here. And we lack the information to know what happened. The cop in the scenario could have been singled out also. The employee doesn't like cops, no exception for him.

There is no evidence of uneven treatment.  Also it wasn't just a cop, there are public statements by employees at other Starbucks that this is their policy and it happens to everyone.

If this had been two white guys, the headlines would be "Cheap entitled *censored* refuse to buy a cup of coffee while taking up seats at a coffeeshop, and get arrested when they refuse to leave after being asked politely".


16
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 11:15:45 AM »
We also have a previous news report of a Philadelphia Starbucks refusing a cop to use the bathroom (and the cop ranted about it).

https://www.reddit.com/r/philadelphia/comments/3ktx1q/philly_cops_starbucks_restroom_rant_goes_viral/

Thus this seems to imply 'universal policy' rather than these gentlemen being singled out.

17
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 10:57:04 AM »
Also this store had signs posted "Customers Only" and "Bathrooms are for customer use only".  So this wasn't arbitrary - these were posted policies.


18
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 10:48:59 AM »
More digging - the Philedelphia Starbucks have apparently been cracking down on non-customers using bathrooms and the employees apparently have zero discretion.

Quote
The bathroom policy at Philadelphia Starbucks cafes seems to be being enforced more rigorously in the past few months or so than in the past.

Unfortunately, the employees don’t seem to be able to use any discretion in applying the policy ( maybe a district manager threatened to fire employees who allow bathroom use without purchases, or mystery shoppers have been deployed to discreetly test how employees apply the policy )

I myself have seen a well dressed white businesswomen, with a Dolce and Gabbana handbag denied the bathroom code at 3rd and Arch because she hadn’t yet made a purchase. She was miffed, but bought a coffee and was given the code.

I have also seen an employee come out from behind the counter at 15th and Latimer and intercept an individual who had walked in and lined up to use the bathroom ( he was thinking he could just walk in one as another person was leaving ). Waste of an employee’s time and energy - they should be behind the counter save for cleaning tasks and restocking display cases.

https://www.reddit.com/r/philadelphia/comments/8c7f8q/apparently_if_youre_black_in_a_philly_starbucks/

As to why they have that policy - apparently people ODing in bathrooms is a regular occurrence and rather than discriminate against the homeless or people who 'look like drug users' they have a policy that anyone who wants to use the Philadelphia Starbucks restrooms needs to make a purchase.  Similar with the no loitering policy.

19
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 17, 2018, 10:23:30 AM »
TheDrake,

she only shot cell video of the final interaction, about an hour after the initial interactions.  Only the girl who said she'd been there for hours was claimed to be a 'notes comparison' - the claim someone used the bathroom before without having bought anything was not AFAIK.

"As to whether they were telling the truth, or if Lauren heard them right, or if she made up the whole thing - you're right that we don't really know for sure."

The problem is that eyewitnesses in other claims of discrimination have frequently made stuff up wholesale - creating a narrative that is consistent with racism even if the facts directly contradict it.  I'm highly skeptical that she was paying attention sufficiently to know the bathroom habits and purchase habits of other customers.

As to name in quotes - she is only using her first name and is thus an anonymous source.

20
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 09:19:15 PM »
TheDrake,

Quote
Lauren said another woman had entered the Starbucks minutes before the men were arrested and was given the bathroom code without having to buy anything and that another person in the restaurant at the time of the incident "announced that she had been sitting at Starbucks for the past couple of hours without buying anything."

Would be interesting to have more detail.  Why would 'Lauren' have all of this knowledge?  It seems highly unlikely she would know the bathroom and purchase habits of other customers and have a detailed account of interactions between the manager and the black gentlemen.

21
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 07:35:47 PM »
As others noted it depends on several factors. The Starbucks where I have lived would never question, let alone kick out a person for using the bathroom regardless of purchasing anything. Total non issue - you just use it. If it was in one here I'd say it is racism or possibly something like them looking like vagrants or suspicion of them being druggies or whatnot.

They weren't kicked out for 'wanting to use the bathroom' - them wanting to use the bathroom brought up the issue that they hadn't bought anything after being there for half an hour, and that triggered the "no loitering" rule.

Both the 'bathrooms for patrons only' and the 'no loitering' rule are district specific.

22
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 02:47:27 PM »
Seriati,

Quote
Not sure how recent it is, haven't been to this Starbucks, but some of the Manhattan ones have never let non-customers use their bathrooms.  I mean absent an employee taking pity on someone.

It is the 'asking those who haven't bought anything recently to leave' that seems to be a change.

Quote
This story is one of those that trades on everyone's implicit bias to try and put their own local experience on it.

I think it is more that the people doing the reporting are unaware of the variation and assume uniform experience.  This is part of the larger issue in the US that regional variations seem utterly incomprehensible or odd to those raised in a different region.

Quote
If you're used to Starbucks where people walk in and work all day without ever buying something, this seems egregious, if you're used to the kind where the manager's ask you to make space after about 30 minutes and only give out the bathroom code or key with a purchase, the forced apology seems egregious.

Yeppers.

23
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 12:05:37 PM »
I've been in that situation myself. You find the cheapest thing that exists in the store, and then get your bathroom privilege.

Yep, same here.

I do think things might have gone differently if Starbucks had a history of this with all customers, rather than it being something that appears to be a recent initiative at only a subset of Starbucks.  Then I think the guys might not have felt singled out, and people wouldn't have interpreted it as a departure from the norm.

24
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:40:45 AM »
Crunch,

I think the most likely scenario is that the guys felt they were being singled out due to race which pissed them off and made them stubborn.

25
General Comments / Re: Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 16, 2018, 01:51:12 AM »
The police were even more patient than I'd thought.  The police had ordered them to leave three times before they called for backup and arrested them.

Quote
When police arrived, two Starbucks employees told them two men had asked to use the restroom but were told they couldn't because they hadn't purchased anything. The men allegedly refused to leave after being asked by Starbucks employees. Ross also said the two men refused to leave after being asked three times by police officers.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/14/602556973/starbucks-police-and-mayor-weigh-in-on-controversial-arrest-of-2-black-men-in-ph


26
General Comments / Racism or rational response to trespassing
« on: April 15, 2018, 09:26:31 PM »
Two African-American men were arrested for trespassing after they were asked to either order something or to leave and refused to do either.  Then when the police show up, they also refused to leave and were arrested.

Starbucks has a district by district policy on loitering and trespassing.

Quote
So in my district we have a new directive from our DM where the shifts are supposed to go around the lobby every few hours and kick out people who are loitering (basically, everyone who hangs out for a few hours studying or working in the lobby) or those who are relaxing in-store but who haven't bought anything. I can see why corporate doesn't want non-paying people using the store's resources, but I feel like this is a really bad look for Starbucks and the "welcoming" brand image that we are supposedly about.

https://www.reddit.com/r/starbucks/comments/6yhtu0/kicking_out_the_noncustomers

Quote
Thursday. A store manager had asked the two men to leave after they attempted to use the bathroom but had not made any purchases, police said. The men said they were waiting for a friend, their attorney later said. The manager then called 911 for assistance, the company said.

Quote
“They’re not free to leave. We’re done with that,” an officer replies. “We asked them to leave the first time.” The two men stand up to be cuffed. They do not appear to resist.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/business/wp/2018/04/15/two-black-men-were-arrested-waiting-at-a-starbucks-now-the-company-police-are-on-the-defensive/?utm_term=.70a5efc4ea0b

Also another discussion at reddit on the recent arrest - a few (white) people have mentioned that they have been asked to leave if they haven't ordered anything as well.

https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/8cg50j/video_cops_arrest_two_black_men_sitting_in/

So it isn't clear to me that racism was a motivating factor, it seems the manager was simply enforcing a recently enacted corporate policy against loitering, and the gentlemen refused to comply, so the manager called the police - something typical in this sort of situation.  Then they refused to obey the police when asked to leave, and so were arrested for trespassing.

So what do you think?  Was racism a likely factor?  What should a manager do if individuals loitering refuse to order or leave?  What should police do when individuals refuse to leave after being asked by the police?

27
General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: April 11, 2018, 02:01:57 PM »
People seem to misunderstand how this works.  The confiscated materials don't go directly to the FBI investigators.  There is a team that reviews each piece of confiscated evidence, and only if it would not be privileged will it be passed onto investigators.  So privilege will not be broken.

Also while raids on attorney offices aren't common (most attorney's will never be raided) - they aren't particularly novel - they are common with organized crime and other conspiracy type cases; the only thing new about it is that the client of the attorney is so high profile.

28
General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 04, 2018, 03:05:00 PM »
TheDaemon,

the statement is pushing a narrative that 'fake news' is a serious problem among mainstream media.  It isn't, most mainstream media do an excellent job of fact checking, and are not 'pushing a narrative'.

It is problematic because it is suggesting there is truth to the false narrative of 'fake news' being spread by conservatives and Trump in particular.  It is especially problematic because it is using the reputation of integrity that local broadcasters have to spread this narrative, and further it is doing so in a way that implies that it is the news broadcasters opinion.

So the ultimate goal to undermine the media as a whole.

This is further problematic in that the Sinclair Group has a history of themselves doing propoganda pieces designed to look like news reports to deceive the public.

http://variety.com/2017/politics/news/sinclair-fcc-fine-sponsor-violation-1202647175/

They also are now requiring propaganda pieces to be run during their news broadcasts, and have even hired a propagandist from Russia Today to produce the content.

http://www.newsweek.com/sinclair-broadcast-group-must-run-deep-state-rt-russia-today-867029

29
General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 03, 2018, 07:22:19 PM »
BTW, what's up with this reverence for local news?

It's basically a thing among the elderly.

30
General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 02, 2018, 02:58:14 PM »
Yeah I figured you understood that - I was just regretting that my subject line was poorly written so was trying to clarify it.

31
General Comments / Re: Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 02, 2018, 02:45:54 PM »
To clairfy - Sinclair ordered their newscasters to all read the same script, and those videos were broadcast to their local markets.  Someone else put them together showing that it was all the same script.

32
General Comments / Sinclair group propoganda video
« on: April 02, 2018, 01:20:23 PM »
Wow, this is creepy.  Sinclair Group instructed all of the 'news' stations they own to make the same statement, and they were put together into a single video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cabD_0h5mcA

It is the ultimate in irony.

33
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: April 01, 2018, 01:58:44 PM »
Interesting article at Wired. apparently car radars used for adaptive cruise control ignore all stationary stuff (road, signs, etc.) when they are at highway speeds because of too many false positives.

https://www.wired.com/story/tesla-autopilot-why-crash-radar/

34
People have such a poor understanding of statistics that I think they should entirely replace trigonometry with it in school.

After seeing how poor people are with statistics after taking a class in statistics I don't think that will do much good.

35
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 31, 2018, 11:49:56 AM »
A Tesla just crashed into a center divider with autopilot on.  Tesla claims he had been alerted for 5 seconds to take the wheel and had plenty of time to respond.  Of course the audible warning if it came at the end of the time period might have been too late.

Quote
In the moments before the collision, which occurred at 9:27 a.m. on Friday, March 23rd, Autopilot was engaged with the adaptive cruise control follow-distance set to minimum. The driver had received several visual and one audible hands-on warning earlier in the drive and the driver’s hands were not detected on the wheel for six seconds prior to the collision. The driver had about five seconds and 150 meters of unobstructed view of the concrete divider with the crushed crash attenuator, but the vehicle logs show that no action was taken.

The reason this crash was so severe is because the crash attenuator, a highway safety barrier which is designed to reduce the impact into a concrete lane divider, had been crushed in a prior accident without being replaced. We have never seen this level of damage to a Model X in any other crash.

https://www.tesla.com/blog/update-last-week%E2%80%99s-accident

While the Tesla autopilot is less sophisticated than self driving - this seems like something the autopiliot should have avoided either by swerving or more likely just slowing down.

36
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 28, 2018, 11:56:32 AM »
The posted speed limit was 45, Uber was driving 38.

37
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 23, 2018, 01:35:34 PM »
Depends on the design - well designed monitoring for sensors should be quite robust.  A failed sensor should be something that could be immediately detected by a reasonably designed algorithm.

It's less failed, than malfunctioning that concerns me.  I agree failed should be readily apparent, but misaligned?  impaired?  Dropping intermittently?

What happens when a sensor fails, does the car become a brick, or does it continue because of the redundancies?

For the video sensors they each overlap so every pixel is covered by two cameras.  There is also the lidar which will give full coverage.

If two sensors disagree by more than the noise threshold, than one of them has failed and the vehicle should come to a safe stop.

38
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 23, 2018, 10:57:00 AM »

I find it hard to reconcile those two videos.  If this is accurate, I'd be willing to believe that an alert human driver would not have made this mistake.  I stipulate that human drivers make other mistakes that a machine would avoid.

The videos have different gain settings.  The Uber dashcam isn't what the Uber vehicle is using for driving/object recognition and apparently is tuned so it won't be 'blown out' by oncoming lights, which means it loses detail in shadows.  Unfortunately the new video isn't necessarily representative either (if you set the gain too high, the camera can pick up detail in shadows that might not be visible to humans).

Quote
I'm also concerned about diagnositics. While there are many conditions that can impact a human driver, tiredness, sickness, drunkness, the vast majority are detectable by a responsible person.  Tech issues are very difficult to deduce, particularly for a machine.  If a camera is inefficient, or has a arc error, how robust is the self diagnostic?

Depends on the design - well designed monitoring for sensors should be quite robust.  A failed sensor should be something that could be immediately detected by a reasonably designed algorithm.

39
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 23, 2018, 12:14:08 AM »
Here is a video of the same area, the camera is set to a different gain.  The visibility is clearly much better, based on this video - I'd think the accident was fully avoidable by the driver and/or properly working equipment/sensors.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRW0q8i3u6E

40
General Comments / Re: A comedy of failures and a mass shooting
« on: March 22, 2018, 04:16:17 PM »
The other example, and that one can be pointed to as media manipulation(also in play in Ferguson), was the whole Trayvon Martin affair as well.

Using pictures of him when he was much younger to portray the victim(as happened again in Ferguson), selective editing of the dispatch tape recordings, so on and so forth.

You are wrong - his 11th grade photo ID is about the same as the photo used by the media - the only significant difference is he is smiling in the photo provided to the media - the photo used by the media is only with him 6 months younger than the age that he died.

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/false-trayvon-martin-photographs/

There are some cases of shootings where the photo used was misleading - for instance the Tamir Rice shooting.  Where Tamir was 80-100 pounds heavier when he was shot compared to the photo used (Both autopsy and eye witness testimony were that he was 5'7"/5'8" and 195 lb).  As far as I'm aware though that is the only photo of Tamir that was publicly available.  The autopsy information also wasn't available till after the photo was circulated, so there is no reason the media should have known that it was a younger picture of him (he 'looks' 12 in the photo).

41
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 22, 2018, 01:35:41 PM »
This should have been a case for infrared, lidar, and other sensors outperforming a human. It is nearly impossible to see this person. The engineers have work to do.

Yes I'm interested in the lidar/radar and infrared (if any?) sensor picture as well.  They should also use two camera sensors for increased dynamic range since the blown out blacks are useless.  For the lidar it really seems like it should have picked her up far earlier.

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This is a scenario that plays itself out all too often long before autonomous cars - a pedestrian in dark clothing in a dark area who clearly didn't look down the road before crossing coupled with an inattentive driver and a street not designed with pedestrian traffic in mind (there could be an on-demand stoplight at that area).

Agreed, and given how frequently it occurs we should have seen this sort of thing a 100 times already if the sensors didn't typically catch this.  So it is suggestive either Ubers design is defective compared to Waymo and others, or they had an unlucky sensor or software fault at just the wrong time.

42
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 21, 2018, 08:42:18 PM »
Here is a site that has video footage, both forward facing and of the driver.

https://jalopnik.com/video-shows-driver-in-fatal-autonomous-uber-crash-was-l-1823970417

It looks like the driver is texting or otherwise using her phone.  Her eyes are clearly not on the road for periods of time of 2-4 seconds.

The forward facing video there is maybe 1-2 seconds that you can see the biker before collision - she just appears out of a major shadow and takes two steps before the collision (video cuts out without showing the collision).  A driver of typical alertness probably wouldn't have seen her in time to have time to react sufficiently to avoid the collision.  A professional driver with amazing vision and reflexes might have been able to slam on the brakes, but definitely still would have hit her - though not necessarily fatally.

43
General Comments / Re: Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: March 21, 2018, 04:26:24 PM »
Yes they did change the title, and I think they have edited the article some also.

44
General Comments / Re: House Closes Investigation
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:17:16 PM »
The Republican and conservative response to this is amusing.  It is like they have zero knowledge of how criminal investigations work.  It isn't like Trump operatives are going to readily admit to criminal activities and instantly flip on Trump.

In most criminal conspiracies what happens is that you get the lower people on other crimes, get them to flip and get the evidence of the more severe crimes committed by the leadership.

This investigation is complicated due to the pardon power of the President.  Thus only charges and pleas for things that are crimes under Federal law but not State law are being charged rather than all relevant charges.

Criminal investigations are usually 2-6 years, this is only barely started its second year.

This investigation is moving at lightening speed compared to typical such investigations.

45
General Comments / Re: A comedy of failures and a mass shooting
« on: March 21, 2018, 12:01:24 PM »
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Wonder what could have caused that?  Couldn't be the presence of an armed guard almost immediately ended the threat could it?  It's not so useful for the narrative if a shooter is immediately shut down.

Actually the presence of the guard was likely irrelevant - the shooter had a single clip and no other preparations.  He shot his ex-girlfriend and one other person who was present.  The reality is that most school shootings the individual only shoots one or two targeted persons than stops and waits for the police then commits suicide - regardless of whether they are confronted.

46
General Comments / Re: Trump just won the 2020 election
« on: March 21, 2018, 11:30:16 AM »
Though this one may not pass, and is incredibly overt, it's an example of the trade war elements that the EU uses, and that don't get the same level of attention.  They use their equivalent of the anti-trust laws to extort billions out of US companies pretty much every couple years.

What a blantant misrepresentation.  The taxes aren't a 'trade war' - this is about tax avoidance and tech companies not paying their 'fair share' through using questionable tax avoidance methods.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-20/why-tech-giants-may-have-to-pay-more-taxes-in-europe-quicktake

47
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 21, 2018, 03:19:22 AM »
Position level data, at least so far, isn't constant and perfect.  Big data does make a lot of guesses.  Route information would be a step beyond what's there today.

My phone is within the same location accuracy as the GPS of the car I'm in - usually 2 m or so.

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Self drive AI will never stay isolated.  It'll connect into local and national data services that track road conditions, accidents and current maps, it'll need constant communication for updates on conditions with immediate impact on the roads.  It'll connect, all most immediately, into traffic control webs that specify red lights and government routing decisions.

I'm not sure what 'government routing decisions' would be relevant.  Again - my phone and GPS do all of this already - most cars do - that ship has sailed and is irrelevant to self driving cars.

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Whereas, the idea here would lead to prohibiting direct drivers over time.

You won't be able to solve this by banning self driving cars.  The AI are completely irrelevant to the issue.  Within the time frame this will happen - there probably won't be anyone who doesn't have a cell phone that is doing this tracking 24/7.

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In any event though, I think we ought to be pushing back on use of personal data generally.

Completely agree - that should be tackled via electing officials that enact privacy laws and buying privacy enacting products.  AI isn't really a factor either way.

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And how will long will it stay there?  Honestly, you seem awfully confident given the history of the uncrackable becoming crackable with more advanced technology.

There have been some bugs in implementations but largely things have remained roughly as secure as predicted.  Most of the security things you have heard about - were utterly incompetents who didn't care at all about security - royally screwing up.

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That's assuming that they don't include deliberate backdoors, which we know they will, you cited a few yourself, emergency overrides and I'm sure police controls.

It isn't a backdoor - it is integrated feature.  Leaving a backdoor would be dangerously stupid, and open the corporations up to liability.

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Are you 100% confident that the passwords to a police override won't be a hack vector?  Perfect encryption is only as perfect as the weakest human link.

There isn't a police override, why would their be?  They contact Waymo/Uber with the proper authorization and then they do the override.  There will almost certainly never be a root password that works on all cars.  There will be a unique per card encryption key that can only be installed at the factory.

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I don't always carry my phone.  I frequently have location services off when I do (not that that does any good).

You could walk, bike, etc. for the same privacy.  Any distance far enough that you would need to drive is also far enough that you will inevitably have your phone with you.

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Neither of which actually works when your car is reporting its location as in your driveway.

I'm not clear what scenario of framing you have dreamed up.  Regardless, it will always be easier now, than hacking a self driving car.

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By the way I didn't misread anything.  Nothing about what you said contradicts what I said.

What you had said was factually incorrect.  What I said was factually correct.

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If you guys really want to argue that you should have no privacy, please feel free.

I'm arguing that even if you completely ban AI it will have close to zero impact on your privacy, since other existing technologies are far more effective in such 'invasion', and those technologies are far more integrated into our lives (and growing more so).  So the only way to 'fix' such privacy concerns is via legislative action.  Worrying about the specific technology itself is sort of silly in my view.

48
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 21, 2018, 01:34:13 AM »
Lol, so the government can already see you at will, but they'd say never, redirect your car to their detention center?

No, they can't "see you at will" - they have to get a warrant.  As to 'redirect your car' - it would be kidnapping without a warrant, and they could only do so with the cooperation of Waymo/Uber/etc.

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I'm just surprised that several you acknowledge abusive data practices, and then waive your hands at the issue as if nothing can be done.  How about data privacy legislation?  How about mandatory wipes of records and barring storage?

I think there should be legal protections, I just don't think it is different issue from what already exists.

49
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 20, 2018, 03:09:48 PM »
So I think the security here would have to involve the car's internal processes being totally inaccessible from the outside, and only perhaps able to be altered by a licensed mechanic with hard mechanisms in place to protect it.

There will probably have to be the ability for remote control by Waymo operators if there is something abnormal that the AI can't handle.  This might be able to go away eventually as the unique and abnormal problem situtations become fewer and further between.

50
General Comments / Re: Uber self-driving car hits and kills pedestrian
« on: March 20, 2018, 02:17:23 PM »
How exactly is it irrational to believe that computer controlled vehicles are subject to the same risk?  It actually sounds to me like complete irrationality to believe they wouldn't be.

I find it irrational in that it provides little or no marginal risk.  The ship of 'constant tracking of my location' has sailed many years ago - and there are far more convenient methods for the government to get such data than via self driving cars.

Also the cars tracking data is less likely to be personally associated with you than your phone data.

Also almost every new car has GPS that constantly tracks and reports your location, the self-driving AI is unrelated to that concern.

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As to data availability, google does track you, stores track, and locations and venues track you, or sometimes they just track that someone is there.  None of that information is as comprehensive as a travel log would be, you literally would be visible, everywhere you go at all times.

Your phone has a far more detailed log of your movements than your car would have.  Also self driving AI don't have to report their location or store their history (they probably will, but it isn't a design requirement).

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Those records will be subpeonable, in a divorce proceeding, when your employer is looking to fire you, in commercial disputes, and in criminal investigations.  We've already seen from the NSA's actions, that if the records exist the government will collect them, which means probable cause and your civil rights are going to be things of the past.

If you've bought or driven a car in the past 5-10 years - all of that is already available.  OnStar has been around since 1996.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/27/automobiles/wheels/car-data-tracking.html

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But you have to have access to the vehicle.  There is zero chance that self drive cars will not have connectivity wirelessly and there's no modifications needed to the physical systems.

Ah - so you are thinking the 'remotely hack into the system'.  The authentication system that needs to be cracked to do so is going to be beyond most nation states.

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If you can't see how, tracking your every movement reduces your freedom then I don't think you're trying very hard.

See above.  There is a good chance your car already tracks your every movement - no AI needed.  Your phone definitely does so already.  The self-driving AI doesn't make any of this worse.

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  What if say, Trump decides to put a special focus on everyone who met with a certain political figure or group, all it would take is downloading the travel records (they already have the phone records) and they could specifically identify the lot of you.

See above - that scenario is already possible with the standard features of current cars and current phones.  The 'self driving AI' doesn't change anything.

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We already have a situation where the police are almost completely dependent on technological aids to solve a crime, what happens when that gets worse and people figure out how to manipulate it?

People can already manipulate it.   If I have access to your phone I can falsify a complete travel history for you.  A nation state resources would probably be required to falsify the cell tower pings though - same issue for driving logs.

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Say, someone commits a murder and hacked your car to go the location at the time of the murder.

That would be far harder than what could be currently done - steal your car, run a red light that gets a photo of your license plate.
 Or renting a car that looks like your own, and forging license plates, etc.  Framing using a self-driving car will actually be more difficult.  Especially if you have a phone that is tracking you at the same time.

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The first thing that's going to happen is the police are going to look at the local travel net reports for anonymous vehicles.   I can think of tons of mischief from being able to "put" someone someplace they weren't.  That's assuming that the records themself aren't easy to manipulate.  Pay a hacker, and you have "proof" of your wife's affair.

Hackers taking control of a car makes for great TV - but the reality is that it will likely be nation state level R&D to do so and probably not even then.

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Or you know you could rely completely on the privacy settings of the tech company, like say trusting Facebook not to have delivered private information to Cambridge Analytics for use in targeting political messages.

Actually you've misread what happened.  A third party had a facebook app.  That app harvested more data than is allowed by the facebook TOS.  The owner of the app then further violated the TOS to pass that data to Cambridge Analytics.

Regarding privacy settings - I suspect that facebooks privacy settings probably did prevent info being harvested for those who had it setup.  Most people don't have their privacy settings such that that would be prevented.

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