Volkswagen AG's settlement with half a million U.S. regulators and diesel vehicle owners over polluting vehicles is valued at more than $15 billion cash, a source briefed on the matter told Reuters Monday.
A separate report from AP puts the figure around $14.7 billion.
If that's accurate, the settlement will be the largest ever automotive buyback offer in American history, and the most expensive auto industry scandal ever.
The historic lawsuit followed the German automaker's admission in September 2015 it lied to regulators and installed secret software that let U.S. cars emit up to 40 times legally permitted pollution levels. Read the rest
Arriving in my inbox at a steady clip this morning: a series of phishing emails aimed at Bitcoiners, promising that the sender has found a bug in "the Bitcoin client" and promising "Pay 0.07 BTC today, get 10 BTC for 15 hours." Read the rest
The Smile Makers 88 was sent to McDonald's franchise managers in 1987, filled with garments they could buy for themselves, their families, and their workers. It. Is. Terrible. Read the rest
Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is one of the world's largest private jailers; it runs prisons and immigration detention centers across the USA (and is diversifying into halfway houses, mental health center, and surveillance for poor neighborhoods). Mother Jones's Shane Bauer went undercover at CCA's Winn Prison in Louisiana, the state with the highest incarceration rate in the world, and spent four months meticulously documenting the way that CCA destroys the lives of the prisoners in its care and its own employees, while paying its CEO $3.4M/year. Read the rest
Steven Levy is in characteristic excellent form in a long piece on Medium about the internal vogue for machine learning at Google; drawing on the contacts he made with In the Plex, his must-read 2012 biography of the company, Levy paints a picture of a company that's being utterly remade around newly ascendant machine learning techniques. Read the rest
A new US voter database leak has exposed the addresses, estimated income, ethnicity, phone numbers, political affiliation, and voting history of 154 million Americans.
Thomas H Crown's Twitter rant about the Trump campaign compares it to the real-estate developer playbook, which is based on inveigling others into putting up all the capital for a high-risk venture that is sold on the basis of the developer's confidence and force of personality. Read the rest
In Insurance coverage of customers induces dishonesty of sellers in markets for credence goods , a research paper in PNAS by German and Austrian economists, the authors show experimental evidence that electronics repair shops are more likely to overcharge for labor when their customers have insurance. Read the rest
Roger Grimes tracked down a Craigslist scammer and interviewed him for Infoworld, getting some surprisingly frank answers about what life is like as a small time online con-artist. Read the rest
Techpowerup caught hardware giants MSI and Asus shipping them graphics cards that were preset for a software-based overlock mode, meaning that the cards performed better out of the box for reviewers than they would for customers. Read the rest
When billionaires like Michael Bloomberg and Steve Forbes get into politics, they firewall their own companies off from their campaigns, demonstrating a basic care about the appearance of conflict of interest -- not so Donald Trump, who rents himself office space, sells himself private jet time, and supplies water, booze, and country club ballrooms.
It's hard to fund space exploration research -- the commercial applications are speculative and far-off -- but there's never been a better time to study super-efficient, closed-loop botany of the sort that will someday accompany human interplanetary missions, thanks to the need to develop better grow-ops for the burgeoning legal weed market in Canada. Read the rest
Inept employees at a business in China were publicly spanked for their poor performance, reports People's Daily.
In video captured on cellphone, a manager is seen upbraiding staff, lined up on stage before their colleagues at Chinese Rural Commercial Bank. Then he produces a baton and begins spanking them on the buttocks.
Though the employees are clothed, the manager's form is robust and the thwacks sharp. Read the rest