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daily 02/28/2014

    • The Indigency Program applies to individuals who are living at or below 125% of the federal poverty level, defined annually by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.  For approved applicants, surcharges will be reduced to 10% of the total amount assessed. The total amount due will not exceed $250 (service fees apply).
    • These programs will not remove other suspensions on the driving record. To check the status of your driving record, please visit  www.texas.gov/driver,  then select Driver License Reinstatement and Status.
    • Supporting Documents – Applicants must include supporting documentation based on answers provided on the application. If submitting an online application, you may upload all documents,  including your notarized application. All documents must be complete and accurate. Your application and any supporting documents you provide may be forwarded to the Texas Department of Public Safety  for additional review. If your application is found to be fraudulent, it can result in criminal penalties
    • You will need the following items ready in order to access your account information, apply for the Indigency / Incentive programs online, or to make a payment online:  


          bulletYour current Texas Driver License or I.D. Card number   (or Department of Public Safety assigned number). 
          bulletThe Reference number from the surcharge notice letter sent to you by U.S. mail
          bulletA valid credit or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover,  or American Express) OR
          bulletA valid checking, savings, or money market account  (you will need the Routing Number, Financial Account Number and Financial Institution Name). 

        Payments require 24 to 48 business hours to process and 3-5 business days to be updated to your driver history.

    • The barge is still a work in progress (hence the need for the proper paperwork), but once it’s done, it will showcase the company’s more avant-garde creations like Glass, autonomous cars and other projects from Google X’s lab.
    • Send Files Directly From the Web to Dropbox
    • Among the recent developments: Russia gave apparent refuge to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who plans to surface in a news conference today, a week after fleeing the capital of Kiev.
    • gunmen took over the Crimean parliament building and raised the Russian flag—reportedly in uniforms similar to those who turned up later at the airport.
    • Meanwhile, some 150,000 Russian troops continued maneuvers on Ukraine’s border.
    • Putin is not put off by Western warnings for Russia to stay out of Ukraine.
    • Georgia was a walkover; Ukraine would not be.
    • With a plan to build the world’s largest lithium-ion battery factory, Elon Musk continues his long bet against all the incumbents around him: rival car companies, battery-makers and the scientific establishment. The wager is based on two big assumptions: that no one else will make a meaningful breakthrough in battery science and render the $5 billion factory obsolete; and that sales of his Tesla autos will rise more than 22-fold by 2020
    • But if he is right, he will again show up the auto industry, not to mention the oil majors and energy experts, most of whom forecast that a full-fledged electric car industry won’t materialize until the 2030s or even later.
    • Thus far, Musk has proven prescient. For about a half decade, the establishment hope for competitively priced electric cars with long-distance capability has rested on a radical improvement in battery chemistry.
    • Musk, casting a skeptical eye on the science, decided when he founded Tesla that the leap in electric cars would come in better engineering and management of existing battery systems—and installing these off-the-shelf batteries into a triumphantly styled vehicle.
    • Gallagher, who co-invented a widely used model for forecasting battery economics, says that Musk’s numbers align with his program. Although carmakers vigorously conceal their specific battery economics, the assumption in the field is that Musk’s use of conventional Panasonic batteries has allowed him to cut the cost of his battery packs to about $300 a kilowatt hour, compared with an industry average just below $500 per kilowatt hour. If with the factory he reduces his costs by another 30%,he would reach $200 a kilowatt hour, or the precise number that Gallagher’s forecasting model suggests is possible with economies of producing 100,000 vehicles
    • Across the room is a table with a paper invitation that will be his first topic of discussion: “Join the NRA.”


      The pitch is straightforward. It costs just $35 to sign on with America’s top gun lobbying group, and membership comes with $2,500 of insurance in case anything happens to your piece. Dukes concedes that not everyone is a fan of the NRA’s politics, but in his view the group puts together smart training programs and its aim is true—”320 million people a year are being saved by guns, because they’re not being killed,” he tells us.

    • A white person who shoots a black person is 11 times more likely to have the homicide classified as justifiable than in the reverse situation, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute. (Mother Jonesongoing investigation of public mass shootings shows that 5 of the 23 shootings that occurred since 2010 were carried out by killers using legally concealed handguns.)
    • Constitutional-carry-type laws already exist in eight states, including Arizona, where former Rep. Gabby Giffords’ assailant was exercising his legal right to carry a Glock 19 and high-capacity magazines.
    • A few weeks after my graduation, I call up Dukes. My application is still being processed, but a question has been nagging at me: What did a seasoned instructor think about the fact that pretty much anyone could walk in and get a Utah permit without demonstrating a lick of proficiency with a gun? While he seems disappointed that I signed up for the class with no actual desire to protect myself, he hardly hesitates: “The Constitution doesn’t say you need it.”
    • The callers that Seely recorded thought they were speaking directly to the government agencies because they looked up the telephone number on Google Maps. What they didn’t know was that Seely had set up fake listings for the San Francisco FBI office and Secret Service in Washington, D.C., displaying numbers that went to a phone account he set up rather than the federal offices. After Seely’s numbers received the calls, they were seamlessly forwarded to the real offices the callers were trying to reach, only now the audio of their conversations with real federal agents was being captured by Seely.
    • After that, Seely says, he got patted down, read his Miranda rights, and put in an interrogation room. Email correspondence with the Secret Service indicates that the special agent in charge called him a “hero” for bringing this major security flaw to light. They let him go after a few hours.
    • Why not fix the problem? Austin says there’s a cottage industry around flooding Google Maps with fake listings for businesses like locksmiths, the most notoriously abused sector, and then forwarding the calls from unsuspecting Google users to call centers. The centers either dispatch workers who only accept cash and charge more or, in some cases, they sell the leads back to the actual local businesses being squeezed out. “They make way too much money on AdWords to give a shit about small businesses,” said Seely, noting one spammer who made $10 million a year.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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