Saturday, February 07, 2009

Debugging your car, and wiretaps

Another provocative IEEE Spectrum article, this time claiming that a modern "premium class" car contains about 100 million LOC. Impressive, but could the decimal point be off, since even the article says that a Boeing 787 has 6.5 million LOC (I previously talked about the software architecture of the Boeing 777). Here's a quote:
John Voelcker, IEEE Spectrum’s automotive editor, wrote in April 2007 about the GMC Yukon hybrid automobile and its Two-Mode Hybrid automatic transmission. Voelcker told me that “of all the staff hours in the entire program to build the Two-Mode Hybrid transmission…some 70 percent…were devoted to developing the control software.”
Other tidbits:
  • Does this mean that the realign-your-jaw procedures pushed by dentists is bunk? Bonus: bogus food allergies.
  • How we choose candidates: "While gender bias related to a female candidate's attractiveness was consistent across both male and female voters, good looks was almost all that mattered in predicting men's votes for female candidates. And, true to prevailing stereotypes, competence was almost all that mattered in predicting men's votes for male candidates."
  • Didn't we already know that altitude is bad for your brain, and that you never really "get used to it"? Edmund Hillary et al. studied it over 40 years ago during their "silver hut" expedition.
  • Finally, success in graduate school is about gettin' stupid
Finally, we previously talked about how transpacfic cables come ashore near Morro Bay. The recent infuriating PBS Nova about the NSA listening to network traffic talks about the site and asks why the NSA put the supersecret listening equipment in San Francisco (where it was quickly found) instead of a remote building near San Luis Obispo. That part is the last few minutes of the video's Chapter 4.