Tag Archives: Inevitable

Tesla Will Recall 134,000+ Vehicles Affected by Inevitable eMMC Failure

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Tesla will recall every Model S and Model X vehicle that shipped with an 8GB eMMC NAND flash chip. Affected vehicles were produced between 2012-2018 (Model S) and 2016-2018 (Model X). Those produced after 2018 are configured with additional storage capacity and will not fail in the same fashion.

Any Model S or Model X with an 8GB Media Control Unit (MCU) will eventually fail, as we covered last month. This is not an issue that only affects certain vehicles. NAND flash is only rated for a fixed number of write cycles, which is to say, new data can only be written to the same physical sector of NAND a finite number of times. Tesla, unfortunately, shipped a number of vehicles with very aggressive data logging. It has since reduced some of these practices, but the amount of data the vehicle logs and transmits will inevitably wear out the NAND flash of any affected Model S or X.

When that NAND flash fails, so does the Media Control Unit. The driver loses access to climate controls and the backup camera. According to the NHTSA, the MCU’s failure affects the “rearview camera display, defrost /defog control settings, and exterior turn signal lighting.”

The Tesla Model S cockpit, with an MCU1-powered LCD.

Tesla told the NHTSA that these failures don’t constitute a safety risk. The NHTSA letter states: “We note that your report states that Tesla believes that this matter does not have a safety risk. In our view, this statement has no force or effect in terms of Tesla’s obligation to undertake and complete the recall, and NHTSA does not agree with it.”

ET agrees with the NHTSA. Tesla’s innovations and willingness to approach car manufacturing differently is praiseworthy, but Tesla should have known that an 8GB eMMC unit wasn’t going to stand up to constant logging for years on end. Most vehicles don’t log nearly as much information as Tesla does and an 8GB NAND flash chip simply wasn’t going to cut it.

The number of vehicles being recalled is down slightly from the 159K figure being quoted in January. Still, the recall affects 134,951 cars. If you own one of them, you’d best get in touch with the company. The recall statement promises that Tesla will “replace the VCM daughterboard with one containing an enhanced eMMC controller, free of charge.” That language is ambiguous enough that Tesla could just swap the older MCU1 units with MCU2. Alternately, it could equip existing Tegra 3 boards with more storage. The Tegra 3 SoC was capable of addressing at least 64GB of eMMC memory. Microsoft’s Surface RT was sold in this configuration. Tesla may have outfitted its boards with 8GB, but it ought to be able to upgrade them.

Tesla’s recall will kick off on March 30. Vehicle owners will be notified by mail. Owners may also contact Tesla at 1-877-798-3752. The number for the recall is SB-21-21-001.

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B.C.’s top doctor Bonnie Henry says 2nd wave of COVID-19 inevitable, but current lessons will guide response

British Columbia’s top doctor says that a second wave of COVID-19 caused by the novel coronavirus is inevitable in Canada, but that the lessons learned over the past few months will help inform future responses.

“The optimist in me would like to think that maybe it will go away, and the virus will mutate and won’t become worse,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry in an interview with Matt Galloway, host of CBC Radio’s The Current.

“But you know what? We’ve never had a pandemic in recorded history that has not had a second wave.”

Henry, who was on the front lines of the country’s SARS outbreak from 2002 to 2003, has led B.C.’s response to the coronavirus outbreak. She has been praised for her response to the pandemic that successfully flattened the curve ahead of many other regions.

B.C. was the second province with a confirmed case of COVID-19, and with strict physical distancing measures, new infections and hospitalizations have steadily decreased.

On Tuesday, the province entered the second phase of its pandemic response with many businesses and public spaces, including restaurants and beaches reopening with restrictions.

“Now is our time to regroup, learn as much as we can over the coming weeks and months, and prepare,” Henry said.

WATCH | ‘We’re not going to get everything right,’ says Henry:

Dr. Bonnie Henry says there might be some confusion about Phase 2 of B.C.’s reopening and it will take some time and patience to iron out.. 1:25

Testing, contact tracing crucial

As the country slowly reopens, Henry said that testing will continue to be crucial, particularly when the flu returns in the fall.

“We need to be able to understand the difference between influenza and COVID, and we’ll need to have testing in place to rapidly expand our testing if needed,” she said, adding that contact tracing for diagnosed cases will also play a role.

However, Henry pushed back at the idea of COVID-19 surveillance systems, such as those launched in China and Hong Kong, arguing they’re “probably not that helpful.”

“That one-on-one public health investigation is incredibly important, so if there [are] some applications that help us do that more efficiently, then that’s what we’re looking for.”

With the potential for a second wave, Henry said B.C. is already considering what measures may return — without delivering another blow to the economy.

“What I hope we can do is create a level of safety so that we can get our economy going, our schools going, work going — but not to the level that we were in December [before the virus],” she said.

“We’ll be looking at what were the measures that worked best to prevent transmission, and if we start to see increases in COVID, those are the things that we can put in place rather than the blanket shut everything down as we did before.”

B.C. schools to reopen in June

The most effective measures will be tested as the provincial economy reopens, and starting on June 1, students can voluntarily return to classrooms.

“We want to make sure that there’s not a long period of time where [students] don’t have that direct contact, but we need to do it in a way that’s safe,” Henry said.

While schools have remained open throughout the pandemic for some students, including children of essential workers, they will now be open to all.

WATCH | B.C. schools to reopen part-time in June:

In-person attendance is voluntary, and schools will have to follow rigorous cleaning procedures and health guidelines. 2:06

When they reopen next month class sizes will be small, and students will stay with one teacher for the full day.

Several provinces have already announced plans to keep students at home until at least the fall. Henry said that B.C.’s blueprint for schools is what students across the country might expect for the next school year.

“We’ll be learning from the experience that we have in June to make sure that we have things that are working both for the staff and the educators … as well as the students and the family,” she said.

Make seniors’ care ‘part of our whole health-care system’

Changes to other sectors, including elder care, will be further off, however.

Long-term care homes, which have faced outbreaks across the country, remain off limits to residents’ relatives in the province.

“As soon as we think it’s safe, we will be allowing family members in, but it won’t be in the same way,” she said. “We won’t be able to have those group experiences right now and probably for a number of weeks or months.”

When asked whether the pandemic would lead to a reckoning for how elder care is handled in this country, Henry said that it has highlighted “challenges” that public health has “recognized for a long time.” She included annual influenza outbreaks and a precarious workforce among the difficulties.

“All of these highlight the vulnerabilities that something like a virus can cause when it gets into a care home and we don’t have those essential pieces in place that support people,” she said.

“I’m hopeful that we will redo how we think about providing care in seniors’ homes.”

Henry said that while the federal government’s role in long-term care needs to be “worked out,” there is “a justification for making seniors’ care — particularly in the long-term care homes that we have — making that part of our whole health-care system.”

Be kind, be safe

Throughout the pandemic, Henry has encouraged British Columbians to “be kind, be calm and be safe.”

“It may sound corny, but I do believe that kindness and support and working together is what will get us through this, particularly things that last as long as an outbreak like this,” she said.

WATCH | Henry concerned for families and health workers affected by coronavirus:

Dr. Bonnie Henry is concerned for families and health workers affected by the coronavirus. 2:11

A return to pre-COVID-19 life remains a long way off, she said, telling Galloway “the types of contact, the things that we did in December,” could remain off limits until a vaccine is developed.

But Henry is hopeful that some of the positive changes that have come out of the pandemic will stick around well beyond COVID-19.

“There’s new ways of approaching things … the fact that we need to clean our hands regularly and the fact that we need to respect people’s safe distance, particularly if we’re feeling unwell ourselves … and how do we support people to be able to stay home from work if they’re sick?” she said.

“Those are things that I hope won’t change.”

Written by Jason Vermes. Produced by Idella Sturino and John Chipman.

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Trump impeachment trial: 3 unanswered questions — and 1 inevitable outcome

Ten days, 28,000 documents, 176 questions and nearly 200 pieces of video evidence later, the impeachment trial of Donald Trump is headed to its anticipated conclusion: acquittal.

As senators prepare to make closing statements ahead of a final vote Wednesday on the two articles of impeachment the U.S. president is facing, we take a look at some lingering questions that remain unanswered despite the mass of evidence and arguments presented.

Will we ever hear from those witnesses?

With the Democrats’ hopes of having current and former White House advisers appear before the Senate dashed Friday, is there any chance we will hear what they have to say about Trump’s suspension of aid to Ukraine last year?

When it comes to former national security adviser John Bolton, the answer is most certainly yes. He has a book coming out in March that details his time at the White House, and there’s nothing stopping him from talking publicly before then.

Details from the book have already been leaking out and with a trial appearance off the table and attacks on his credibility and character mounting, Bolton may be more motivated to share his side of the story.

Former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton was ready to testify at the impeachment trial but didn’t get the chance and may yet speak out. (Peter Nicholls/Reuters)

“The facts will come out. They will continue to come out,” lead prosecutor Adam Schiff said, when referencing details from Bolton’s book in the Senate.

The White House has signalled it might try to block parts of the manuscript, but Bolton’s lawyer has said he doesn’t believe anything in the book “could reasonably be considered classified.”

  • Closing arguments begin at 11 a.m. ET Monday. Watch live on CBCNews.ca

The other witnesses the House managers prosecuting the impeachment case wanted to hear from — acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, his adviser, Robert Blair and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) official Michael Duffey — are another matter.

Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has defied a subpoena from the House of Representatives. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Mulvaney, who famously confirmed a quid pro quo existed over the Ukraine funding before walking it back, has thus far refused to comply with the subpoena issued by the House of Representatives last November, and there is no reason to think he would change his mind.

Blair, who was one of the officials on the line during the infamous July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Duffey, were both involved in carrying out the president’s orders to hold up the aid and could have key information about the rationale for the hold and the series of events that surrounded it.

But without the force of impeachment, Democrats could have a long series of court fights on their hands in trying to extract that information. 

Their lawsuit against former White House counsel Don McGahn, who refused to comply with a subpoena last April, is still winding its way through the courts.

WATCH | U.S. Senate votes down a motion to subpoena additional witnesses and documents:

Republican senators voted against allowing witnesses to testify at U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, moving one step closer to acquittal by the Senate. 2:25

Is there more to learn about the Ukraine affair?

It beggars belief, but despite months of probing by Congress and the media, we still don’t really know when Trump first ordered a hold on military aid to Ukraine.

New details from Bolton’s manuscript published Friday suggest it was at least as early as May 2019, but at trial, Trump’s lawyers would not provide a specific date when asked about the timeline by Republican Sen. Mitt Romney.

They also couldn’t say exactly when Trump became interested in Joe and Hunter Biden.

“I can’t point to something in the record that shows President Trump at an earlier time mentioning specifically something related to Joe or Hunter Biden,” Patrick Philbin said when asked whether there was evidence that Trump had looked into the Bidens before Joe Biden announced his candidacy for president in April 2019.

WATCH | White House counsel Patrick Philbin answers a question about Trump’s interest in Ukraine:

Trump did, however, discuss corruption in Ukraine as early as 2017, Philbin said, and his personal attorney, Rudy Guiliani, was looking into the 2016 dismissal of prosecutor Viktor Shokin at the urging of then U.S. vice-president Joe Biden and a debunked theory of Ukraine’s part in U.S. election interference since 2018, they said.

The House managers laid out a convincing chronology to show that the decision to dismiss Shokin was not Biden’s personal initiative but part of a broader effort, supported by U.S. allies, to get rid of an ineffective prosecutor.

And while many of the Republican claims about Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma have been debunked, it wouldn’t hurt to know more about just why, of all the cushy board appointments in the world, Biden accepted one at a company already under investigation for corruption at a time when his father was serving as vice-president and chief negotiator on Ukrainian affairs for the U.S. 

WATCH | During the trial, the defence raised questions about Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma:

Trump impeachment lawyer Pam Bondi spent part of her presentation pointing out how several news outlets also tried to raise questions about Hunter Biden and his involvement in Ukraine gas company Burisma. 2:22

Why Biden Sr. didn’t spot the conflict of interest and shut it down and why Hunter Biden remained on the board until April of last year have also not been adequately explained.

About Giuliani himself, there is still a lot more to learn, specifically how much his own business interests intersected with the work he was doing on Trump’s behalf in Ukraine.

There are also outstanding questions about the extent to which other officials and advisers helped execute the aid hold and cover it up. 

House manager Zoe Lofgren alluded Friday to the volume of emails, memos, notes, cables and records that remain “at the White House, hidden by the president.” 

House Democrats have subpoenaed documents from the White House, State Department, Department of Defence and OMB but have so far been stonewalled and unable to get the bulk of them.

That will likely continue to fall to civilian groups, which have been using Freedom of Information Act requests to get some of those records, although most have been heavily redacted.

Former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch announced last week that she is resigning from the foreign service. (Andrew Harnik/The Associated Press)

There may also be more to learn about the dismissal of former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. While her removal was well documented through her own testimony and that of her fellow diplomats at the House impeachment hearings, a recording that emerged in the first week of the trial suggests Trump was discussing it a year prior to her firing.

Yovanovitch announced this week that she is retiring from the foreign service, which means we could eventually hear directly from her.

How will the acquittal impact the November election?

One refrain that sounded throughout the trial from both sides was that the upcoming presidential election was under threat.

For Republicans, it was the impeachment process itself that threatened to “tear up the ballots” of American voters. For Democrats, who asserted throughout the trial that the sole purpose of Trump’s suspension of the aid was to extort information on his political opponent that would help him “cheat” in the November 2020, an acquittal would give Trump free rein to “continue to seek to corrupt the upcoming election.”

To what extent Trump will — explicitly or tacitly — endorse foreign interference in the election is hard to say, but the legal arguments presented at trial could give him the justification to do so. 

WATCH | Defence counsel argues that receiving credible information from foreign countries about a political opponent is not illegal:

White House lawyer Patrick Philbin tells senators that not all foreign interference in an American election is illegal. 0:15

Philbin argued in the question and answer portion of the trial that “mere information” provided by foreign actors would not violate campaign finance laws. Trump attorney Alan Dershowitz told senators that leveraging presidential power to further one’s electoral interests was not an abuse of power as long as the president believed his re-election was in the national interest.

“Dershowitz and Philbin have put together a case for the president as king,” said constitutional legal expert Michael Gerhardt, who testified in the House impeachment hearings. “They have clearly argued for making the president above the law.” 

WATCH | Alan Dershowitz defends Trump’s effort to undermine political opponent:

Trump team lawyer Alan Dershowitz argues the U.S. president Donald Trump cannot be impeached because he was acting in what he believed to be the national interest. 5:36

As the election campaign revs up, we can expect the Democrats to continue to question the legitimacy of the verdict and Republicans to trumpet their victory over an illegitimate process.

How that will play with voters will likely come down to party affiliation. Americans remain about evenly divided on whether Trump should be removed from office.

Moderate Republicans have clearly calculated that it’s better to remain loyal to Trump than to court the votes of independents, who, a poll conducted during the trial suggests, wanted to hear from witnesses.

Of the two Republicans who did break ranks in the witness vote, one is already feeling repercussions: Romney, a vocal Trump critic who has clashed with the president, has been pilloried by Republican colleagues and pundits and disinvited from the annual mass gathering of conservatives known as CPAC.

It’s not likely the Democrats will draw up a new article of impeachment between now and November, and given that the Department of Justice has said a sitting president cannot be indicted, Trump will almost certainly remain immune from prosecution while in office.

One answered question

One question we do know the answer to is whether the Senate will vote to acquit. The answer was never really in doubt. To convict Trump, 20 Republicans would have to vote with the Democrats, and with no new witness testimony forthcoming, they have little reason to. 

The sole outlier is Romney, who has said from the start of the impeachment process that he’s keeping an open mind. The former presidential candidate may solidify his lone-wolf status by voting to convict but risks further angering his already vocal critics in his heavily Republican home state of Utah.

A few centrist Democrats from Trump-friendly states — Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Doug Jones of Alabama — may also break with their party, which could give the acquittal a thin veneer of bipartisanship.

Keep an eye on this guy in Wednesday’s impeachment vote. Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is up for re-election in the Trump-friendly state of Alabama in November and may break ranks with his party and vote against convicting the president. (J. Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press)

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Sony Bows to the Inevitable, Allows Fortnite Cross-Play on PS4

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For the past few years, console gamers have repeatedly raised the question of when Sony and Microsoft would collectively enable cross-play between their consoles. Microsoft has demonstrated various degrees of willingness to go along with the idea, but Sony has remained obstinately opposed. The pitch of these demands began to rise earlier this year as mega-hits like Fortnite began to dominate the industry and consoles like the Switch announced the game would launch there (and be cross-play compatible) as well. Through it all, Sony has remained stubbornly committed to the PS4 as its own platform.

Until now.

John Kodera, President and Global CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment, has written the following blog post:

Following a comprehensive evaluation process, SIE has identified a path toward supporting cross-platform features for select third party content. We recognize that PS4 players have been eagerly awaiting an update, and we appreciate the community’s continued patience as we have navigated through this issue to find a solution.

The company is beginning an open beta that will allow for cross-play between PS4, Android, iOS, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac. Kodera notes that the steps taken to enable this cross-play represent “a major policy change for SIE,” which is certainly true. The company has launched an open beta starting Wednesday, Sept. 26 for the cross-play feature and intends to take the capability live at some point in the undetermined future.

This is a major change for Sony, but it’s the right shift. The company has previously attempted to dodge the player desire for cross-play by claiming that the PS4SEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce offers the best experience with Fortnite you can have today — a blatantly false claim that ignores the fact that the Xbox One XSEEAMAZON_ET_135 See Amazon ET commerce outperforms Sony’s top console, to say nothing of PC gamers. The generally accepted explanation is that Sony didn’t want to open its platform because of potential financial losses. If games are tied to users based on a user account through a third party like Epic, it means someone could theoretically buy content on an Xbox and use that content on a PlayStation. As Polygon has explored, questions like how various account perks move from system to system and what’s available to a player who plays the same title on more than one console are still very much up in the air.

The post scarcely indicates that Sony is throwing in the towel on platform restrictions. Only “selected” third-party content will ever be available for cross-play, and there’s no information in the blog post about how to sign up for this Fortnite beta. But Sony’s willingness to take even this step forward towards a future in which being on different console platforms is no barrier to playing together is a good move for gaming. It’s a good move for gamers. And it puts Sony on the side of helping people extract more value from their peripherals rather than attempting to maximize profits with unreasonable demands.

Now Read: Sony Announces the PlayStation Classic, AMD Working With Both Sony and Microsoft on Next-Generation Consoles, and Performance Analysis: Spider-Man Kills It on PS4 Pro

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New Study Suggests ‘Hothouse Earth’ Could Be Inevitable

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Many nations and organizations around the world have emphasized lowering greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of keeping the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Past studies have pegged this as a critical tipping point for Earth’s long-term climate, but that may be harder to achieve than we thought. A new analysis suggests that even limiting emissions won’t be able to stop the planet from warming considerably more than the 2-degree cutoff.

Researchers at the Stockholm Resilience Centre note that Earth’s own feedback mechanisms could mean we’ve already crossed the point of no return. At present, the climate has warmed more than a degree above pre-industrial levels, and it’s going up about 0.17 degrees C every decade. Carbon sinks that currently limit the damage of greenhouse gasses could tip the other way and become sources of carbon past 2 degrees of warming.

The feedbacks cited in the study include permafrost, which could thaw as temperatures increase. Warming oceans could also cause the release of carbon dioxide and methane from the ocean floor. Forests that currently soak up atmospheric carbon could also die in many regions, causing the release of all that captured carbon as they decompose. The team likens it to a row of dominoes that could topple one after another once we cross the 2-degree barrier.

If the scenario laid out in the new study is accurate, we could be headed for a so-called Hothouse Earth, where the global temperature stabilizes at 4-5 degrees above pre-industrial averages. At that point, global climate would experience radical shifts, and the oceans would be 10-60 meters higher than today. That would render many currently habitable areas inhospitable to human life.

It might take a century or more for the full effects of Hothouse Earth to be realized, but the study suggests that is inevitable if we don’t make big changes. We’re not talking about the end of the world itself, but it might well be the end of the world for humans.

It’s still unclear if global temperatures can be “parked” at or near 2 degrees C. The Stockholm Resilience Centre study says that simply lowering emissions won’t be enough — we should be working toward ending the use of fossil fuels by the middle of this century. The world may need to exert considerable effort to take carbon out of the atmosphere through the use of new biological carbon stores and as-yet undiscovered technologies that can remove and sequester carbon.

Now read: NASA photographs huge new fissure opening in Greenland glacierNASA Satellite Records Big Increase in Carbon Dioxide, and Dinosaur-Killing Impact May Have Superheated Earth’s Atmosphere for 100,000 Years

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