Fordite: a rare mineral only found in old Detroit auto-painting facilities


"Fordite" is an anthropocenic mineral "formed from the built up of layers of enamel paint slag on tracks and skids on which cars were hand spray-painted (a now automated process), which have been baked numerous times. In recent times the material has been recycled as eco-friendly jewelry." (via JWZ) Read the rest

EPA finds more toxic VW emissions fraud in Audis and Porsches


The EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Environment Canada have detected more fraudulent firmware in VW products; this time in 2014-2016 cars from the super-profitable Audii and Porsche lines. Read the rest

EPA finds more Dieselgate emissions fraud in VW's Audis and Porsches

The EPA, the California Air Resources Board and Environment Canada have detected more fraudulent firmware in VW products; this time in 2014-2016 cars from the super-profitable Audii and Porsche lines. Read the rest

General Motors recalls 1.4 million older cars over engine fires sparked by oil leaks

GM dealership in Miami, FL. REUTERS

Auto maker General Motors today announced a recall of some 1.4 million cars in which a known oil leak problem can cause engine fires. All of the affected vehicles are over 10 years old, and the oldest were model year 1997.

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Back to the Future Flux Capacitor car USB charger

1dbd_flux_capacitor_car_charger (1)

It's Back to the Future day, the day in 2015 that Marty McFly travels to in the distant hoverboard future. Hoverboards remain nonexistent-to-bullshit, but Thinkgeek does make a very nice $25 Flux Capacitor car-lighter USB charger with one 1A USB port and two 2.1A ports, as well as a credible animated light-show (which you can turn off when the novelty wears off). Read the rest

Car accidents aren't accidents


The use of the term "accident" gives cops and courts the cover to excuse murder. In a brutal editorial, Hsi-Pei Liao talks about his daughter, who was killed by a driver when she was three. The driver got a ticket for failure to yeild and failure to use due care, and those tickets were eventually thrown out by a DMV judge who considered the case for 47 seconds. Read the rest

Theoretical "auto-brothel" attack on mechanics' computers could infect millions of cars


Companies like GM have engineered their cars so that it's a felony to make independent diagnostic tools for them, or to investigate the official diagnostic tools rented to mechanics in exchange for a promise to only buy GM's hyper-inflated replacement parts. Read the rest

Review: These microfiber towels are a much better way to clean up spills and messes in my car

There's always this method, too.

There's always some kind of mess in my car. Spilled coffee, greasy hands, fogged-up or bird-pooped-on windows. I usually fumble around for whatever paper napkins I might have stashed away, but then I saw Quickie microfiber towel 24-packs on Amazon for $10. They turned out to be a way better solution. Read the rest

Appeals court rules Batmobile is a "character" and is copyrighted by DC


Judge Sandra Ikuta wrote the opinion for the 9th Circuit panel that heard DC Comics vs Mark Towle, in which the comics company was suing a guy who sold expensive kits to make your car look like the Batmobile. Read the rest

Not just emissions: manufacturers' dirty tricks fake everything about cars


VW's diesel firmware detected when it was undergoing emissions testing and changed the engine tuning to produce 1/40 of its normal toxic output, fooling regulators. But though they're the only ones who've been caught using firmware to game emissions testing, they're not the only ones with something to hide. Read the rest

In Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal, proprietary software is the real villain


“Proprietary software is an unsafe building material. You can’t inspect it.”

Columbia University law professor Eben Moglen made that observation 5 years ago. It's timely today, as the Volkswagen emissions fraud scandal--enabled by proprietary software--worsens. Read the rest

VW con produced as much extra air pollution as all UK power generation, industry, ag & vehicles


Volkswagen's intentional fraud resulted in an extra 1,000,000 metric tons of air pollution being spewed into the skies over America; if they'd extended the con to Europe (where there are far more diesels), it would have been orders of magnitude worse. Read the rest

Extreme offroad minivan jumping looks like dangerous fun


This is a thing that people do. No wait, this is a thing that men who are completely insane do. But it's very entertaining stuff on YouTube, so I hope they keep doing it.

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VW's car DRM let it get away with cheating on its diesel emissions testing


The EPA has accused Volkswagen of rigging its software to cheat the agency's diesel emissions standards so that its cars could be on the road while spewing 40 times the legal limit for diesel emissions. Read the rest

Silicon Valley is raiding tech academia: “Uber would like to buy your Robotics Department”

The National Robotics Engineering Center, part of the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon. Credit Christopher Payne for The New York Times
Silicon Valley is raiding technology departments of universities around the U.S.—can tech academia survive?

Car information security is a complete wreck -- here's why

Sean Gallagher's long, comprehensive article on the state of automotive infosec is a must-read for people struggling to make sense of the summer's season of showstopper exploits for car automation, culminating in a share-price-shredding 1.4M unit recall from Chrysler, whose cars could be steered and braked by attackers over the Internet. Read the rest

Insurance monitoring dashboard devices used by Uber let hackers "cut your brakes" over wireless

UCSD computer scientist Stefan Savage and colleagues will present their work at Usenix Security: they were able to disable the brakes on a 2013 Corvette by breaking into a Mobile Devices/Metromile Pulse dongle, used by insurance companies to monitor driving in exchange for discounts on coverage. Read the rest

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