Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PST/-8.0/no DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Hackers alter stolen regulatory data to sow mistrust in COVID-19 vaccine

ArsTechnica - 6 hours 22 min ago
Hackers alter stolen regulatory data to sow mistrust in COVID-19 vaccine

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Last month, the makers of one of the most promising coronavirus vaccines reported that hackers stole confidential documents they had submitted to a European Union regulatory body. On Friday, word emerged that the hackers have falsified some of the submissions’ contents and published them on the Internet.

Studies of the BNT162b2 vaccine jointly developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech found it’s 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 and is consistently effective across age, gender, race, and ethnicity demographics. Despite near-universal consensus among scientists that the vaccine is safe, some critics have worried it isn’t. The hackers appear to be trying to stoke those unsupported worries.

Data unlawfully accessed by the hackers “included internal/confidential email correspondence dating from November, relating to evaluation processes for COVID-19 vaccines,” the European Medicines Agency based in Amsterdam said in a statement. “Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators prior to publication in a way which could undermine trust in vaccines.”

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

With Trump’s vaccine rollout in chaos, Biden unveils five-point plan

ArsTechnica - 6 hours 32 min ago
US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines in Wilmington, Delaware on January 15, 2021.

Enlarge / US President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks on his plan to administer COVID-19 vaccines in Wilmington, Delaware on January 15, 2021. (credit: Getty | Angela Weiss)

President-elect Joe Biden on Friday unveiled a five-point plan to try to rescue the country’s beleaguered COVID-19 vaccination campaign and achieve his stated goal of reaching 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office.

The five steps include, in brief:

  • Working with states to open and clarify eligibility for vaccination
  • Help set up additional vaccination sites
  • “Fully activate” pharmacies to act as vaccination sites
  • Ramp up manufacturing of vaccine and supplies
  • Commit to transparency and rollout a massive public information campaign to combat disinformation

“The vaccine rollout in the United States has been a dismal failure thus far,” Biden said in speech. These five things are an attempt to turn things around, to “turn frustration into motivation.”

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Wandavision premieres in ways that would never work on ABC—and that’s great

ArsTechnica - 7 hours 3 min ago
The black-and-white world of <em>Wandavision</em>, as occasionally interrupted by color in its first two episodes on Disney+ as of today.

Enlarge / The black-and-white world of Wandavision, as occasionally interrupted by color in its first two episodes on Disney+ as of today. (credit: Disney)

The modern era of Marvel Comics television has been a jumpy one, with ABC and Netflix dividing-and-conquering based on available comic series, exclusivity deals, and otherwise trying not to step on Marvel Studios' gargantuan toes. Fans got some fascinating television out of the process, but those network deals eventually fizzled—perhaps not coincidentally, right around the time that the Disney corporate umbrella began plotting its own content-filled streaming service.

As a result, today's premiere of Wandavision on Disney+ is far from the first TV series with clear links to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it's definitely the clearest one yet. Take two major actors from repeat MCU films, slap them into the first-ever TV series that opens with a Marvel Studios logo, and you've got yourself one massive statement of intent.

As if that weren't gutsy enough, Wandavision goes further in terms of ambition with a two-part series premiere that will befuddle fans and outsiders alike. After over a year of squint-worthy reveals, with hints of black-and-white TV throwbacks and superhero-filled intrigue, we have 65 minutes of goofiness, dread, and a sense that this weird series is only going to get weirder.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Report: Xbox’s “instant on” feature could consume 4 billion kWh by 2025 [Updated]

ArsTechnica - 8 hours 3 min ago
A lot of neon green power potentially

Enlarge / A lot of neon green power potentially (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

[Update (8:45 ET): A Microsoft spokesperson provided Ars with the following statement: Users are given a choice during setup between the two power modes for the console: energy saving and instant on. To ensure players can select the option they prefer, they are not opted-in to either power mode by default. At Microsoft, we are committed to sustainability and, as we begin a new generation of gaming with Xbox Series X|S, we’re continuing to explore how we can reduce our environmental impact across the product life cycle - from conceptualization, design, production, and packaging, to what happens once our consoles are in the hands of consumers and at their end-of-life. As part of this commitment, we are evaluating additional methods to highlight the benefits of energy saving mode, but have nothing further to share at this time.]

Original Story

The "instant on" feature on new Xbox Series S/X consoles could suck up a total of 4 billion kWh—the equivalent of a year's operation for a large power plant—from US owners alone through 2025. That's according to a preliminary report released this week from the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmentally focused nonprofit advocacy group.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

As it turns out, the Biden administration will listen to scientists

ArsTechnica - 8 hours 16 min ago
Co-Founder & CEO of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki President & Founding Director Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Professor, Eric Lander, speak onstage during the TIME 100 Health Summit in 2019.

Enlarge / Co-Founder & CEO of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki President & Founding Director Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard Professor, Eric Lander, speak onstage during the TIME 100 Health Summit in 2019. (credit: Brian Ach/Getty Images)

During the height of the presidential election last October, President Trump warned voters that if Joe Biden was elected president, he would "listen to the scientists." Now, as the president-elect is about to be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States, Biden appears to be leaning into this attack line.

On Friday, the incoming Biden administration announced that it would name Eric Lander to become director of the Office of Science Technology and Policy. As is customary in this role, Lander will also serve as chief "science advisor" to the president. In addition, Biden announced that he is making the science advisor a cabinet-level position. This is a first for this role.

“Science will always be at the forefront of my administration—and these world-renowned scientists will ensure everything we do is grounded in science, facts, and the truth," President-elect Biden said in a news release announcing the appointments.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

FDA blindsided as Trump Admin cripples agency on its way out

ArsTechnica - 8 hours 22 min ago
Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Enlarge / Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The US Food and Drug Administration is under siege from the Trump Administration, which is forcing through a steady stream of changes in its final days that threaten the remaining independence of the regulatory agency.

Perhaps the most dramatic meddling came on Monday, when FDA officials were blindsided as the agency cycled through three different top lawyers. FDA’s Chief Counsel, Stacy Cline Amin—a Trump appointee—resigned Monday, which FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn announced in an email. Hahn’s email also included the news that career civil servant Mark Raza, the FDA’s principal deputy chief counsel, would serve as Cline Amin’s replacement on an acting basis. But that decision was abruptly overturned Monday night when the Department of Health and Human services tweeted that James Lawrence, deputy general counsel for the HHS, would serve as the FDA’s new chief counsel until January 20.

"We were all very surprised," a senior FDA official told Politico. "But it's consistent with all the fire bombs that keep getting thrown over the fence."

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

FCC fines white-supremacist robocaller $10 million for faking caller ID

ArsTechnica - 9 hours 20 sec ago
Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum speaking to a crowd.

Enlarge / Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum addresses an audience on March 20, 2019 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Gillum's campaign was targeted by racist robocalls in 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Saul Martinez )

A neo-Nazi, white-supremacist robocaller who spread "xenophobic fearmongering" and "racist attacks on political candidates" has been ordered to pay a $9.9 million fine for violating the Truth in Caller ID Act, a US law that prohibits manipulation of caller ID numbers with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The Federal Communications Commission finalized the fine against Scott Rhodes of Idaho yesterday, nearly one year after the FCC first proposed the penalty.

"This individual made thousands of spoofed robocalls targeting specific communities with harmful pre-recorded messages," the FCC said in an announcement. "The robocalls included xenophobic fearmongering (including to a victim's family), racist attacks on political candidates, an apparent attempt to influence the jury in a domestic terrorism case, and threatening language toward a local journalist. The caller used an online calling platform to intentionally manipulate caller ID information so that the calls he was making appeared to come from local numbers—a technique called 'neighbor spoofing.'"

Rhodes made "4,959 unlawful spoofed robocalls between May 2018 and December 2018," with several different calling sprees that "targeted voters in districts during political campaigns or residents in communities that had experienced major news events relating to or involving public controversies," the FCC's forfeiture order said.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

ArsTechnica - 9 hours 24 min ago
You see Facebook, Facebook sees you...

Enlarge / You see Facebook, Facebook sees you... (credit: Chris Jackson | Getty Images)

Millions of Facebook users in Illinois will be receiving about $340 each as Facebook settles a case alleging it broke state law when it collected facial recognition data on users without their consent. The judge hearing the case in federal court in California approved the final settlement on Thursday, six years after legal proceedings began.

"This is money that's coming directly out of Facebook's own pocket," US District Judge James Donato said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "The violations here did not extract a penny from the pockets of the victims. But this is real money that Facebook is paying to compensate them for the tangible privacy harms that they suffered."

Three different Illinois residents filed suit against Facebook in 2015 and claimed that the service's "tag suggestions" feature, which uses facial recognition to suggest other users to tag in photos, violated their rights under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The suits were eventually rolled together into a single class-action complaint and transferred to federal court in California.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump team modernizes car safety regulations for the driverless era

ArsTechnica - 9 hours 34 min ago
Nuro makes small electric vehicles for hauling cargo. They are designed to be street-legal but have no room for passengers.

Enlarge / Nuro makes small electric vehicles for hauling cargo. They are designed to be street-legal but have no room for passengers. (credit: Nuro)

Until this week, the federal government's car safety regulations were based on two assumptions that probably seemed self-evident when they were written: that every car will have people inside, and that one of those people will be the driver. To protect the safety of the driver and possible passengers, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) requires that every car have seatbelts and airbags. It also sets minimum standards for everything from windshield strength to crash test performance.

In the coming years, these assumptions will be increasingly out of date. So on Thursday, as the Trump administration is coming to a close, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) published a new version of the FMVSS that recognizes that some cars don't have drivers—and some vehicles don't have anyone inside at all.

One of the biggest beneficiaries of these new rules will be Nuro, a startup that is building delivery robots designed to operate on streets rather than sidewalks. In a statement to Ars, Nuro hailed the rules as a "significant advancement that will help Nuro commercialize our self-driving delivery vehicles."

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A big wing and no back seats: The 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP

ArsTechnica - 10 hours 48 min ago

To some people, John Cooper is best known for the racing cars bearing his name that showed F1 and Indianapolis that the engine should go behind the driver. He taught that lesson back in 1960, and 61 years later it remains as true as ever. But more will associate his name with little front-wheel drive Minis, which he tuned in addition to building successful single-seaters.

The Mini Cooper was a budget bijou performance car, a good 16 years before VW thought up the Golf GTI, beloved by rally drivers and celluloid bank robbers alike. These days, there's an entire John Cooper Works lineup at Mini, with hot versions of the various vehicles that now make up the Mini range. And this is the hottest of them all, the $44,900 2021 Mini John Cooper Works GP.

Limited to just 3,000 cars, the JCW GP is the most extreme Mini you can buy that isn't a Dakar off-road racer. Its track has been widened, pushing the wheels farther apart from each other—hence the naked carbon fiber-reinforced plastic wing arch extensions with vents that you could lose a finger inside.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

How law enforcement gets around your smartphone’s encryption

ArsTechnica - 11 hours 9 min ago
Uberwachung, Symbolbild, Datensicherheit, Datenhoheit

Enlarge / Uberwachung, Symbolbild, Datensicherheit, Datenhoheit (credit: Westend61 | Getty Images)

Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies around the world, including in the United States, have increasingly called for backdoors in the encryption schemes that protect your data, arguing that national security is at stake. But new research indicates governments already have methods and tools that, for better or worse, let them access locked smartphones thanks to weaknesses in the security schemes of Android and iOS.

Cryptographers at Johns Hopkins University used publicly available documentation from Apple and Google as well as their own analysis to assess the robustness of Android and iOS encryption. They also studied more than a decade's worth of reports about which of these mobile security features law enforcement and criminals have previously bypassed, or can currently, using special hacking tools. The researchers have dug into the current mobile privacy state of affairs and provided technical recommendations for how the two major mobile operating systems can continue to improve their protections.

“It just really shocked me, because I came into this project thinking that these phones are really protecting user data well,” says Johns Hopkins cryptographer Matthew Green, who oversaw the research. “Now I’ve come out of the project thinking almost nothing is protected as much as it could be. So why do we need a backdoor for law enforcement when the protections that these phones actually offer are so bad?”

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Report: New MacBook Pro models will arrive this year with MagSafe, M1 successor [Updated]

ArsTechnica - 11 hours 30 min ago
A 16-inch MacBook Pro with the lid closed

Enlarge / This is the 16-inch MacBook Pro as it's being sold now. According to today's report, the new one will generally look quite similar. (credit: Samuel Axon)

According to a report in Bloomberg, Apple plans to launch new versions of its MacBook Pro laptops "around the middle of the year," and these machines will feature speed and display enhancements, as well as a return of the MagSafe charging design seen in MacBook computers several generations ago.

Citing "a person with knowledge of the plans," the Bloomberg story claims that Apple's 13-inch MacBook Pro will get a 14-inch successor, just as the 15-inch MacBook Pro became a 16-inch model when the screen bezel was reduced to allow more screen real estate in a similarly sized chassis.

Both the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro are slated for the middle of the year and will incorporate Apple's custom silicon. The company first introduced its own silicon with the M1 chip included in November refreshes of the low-end 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini. The new machines described today would have a successor to Apple's M1 chip with more CPU cores and "enhanced graphics."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

US declares Xiaomi a “Communist Chinese military company,” bans investments

ArsTechnica - 11 hours 59 min ago
The Xiaomi Mi 11.

Enlarge / The Xiaomi Mi 11. (credit: Xiaomi)

The latest shot in the US Government's war on leading Chinese smartphone vendors is directed at Xiaomi, which today has landed on the US government's list of "Communist Chinese Military Companies" via a new executive order. The declaration makes it illegal for US citizens to own Xiaomi stock.

The US and China have been trading blows for a year and a half now over Huawei, which was added to the "entity list" by the US Department of Commerce. While on the entity list, American companies can't collaborate with Huawei or export products to it. It becomes illegal for Huawei to import any product of "US-Origin." US Origin doesn't just mean products made in the US by US companies; there's also a "viral" component to the law, where any product made internationally with some US-origin components also counts as a US-origin product.

Trade War! USA v. China

View more stories While Huawei got an all-encompassing ban, it doesn't look like Xiaomi is in the same boat right now. Huawei landed on the Department of Commerce's entity list, while Xiaomi is now on the Department of Defense's list of “Communist Chinese Military Companies” (Huawei is also on this list). The DOD designation seems to only ban US investment in Xiaomi, and any American stakeholders need to divest their holdings by November 11, 2021. (Xiaomi is a public company and had an IPO back in 2018.) The suffocating supply chain restrictions that apply to Huawei don't (yet?) apply to Xiaomi.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

There is no COVID vaccine reserve. Trump admin already shipped it

ArsTechnica - 12 hours 4 min ago
Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who allegedly deceived states on the vaccine supply, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during an event at the NIH Clinical Center on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

Enlarge / Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), who allegedly deceived states on the vaccine supply, receives the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during an event at the NIH Clinical Center on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The Trump administration announced Tuesday, January 12, that it would begin shipping reserved vaccine supplies, raising hopes that states may see their vaccine supply potentially double as they work to accelerate the sluggish immunization campaign. But according to a report by The Washington Post, that promised vaccine stockpile doesn’t actually exist—it was already shipped out—and the limited vaccine supply available to states will remain as it is for now.

The news has not only left state health officials angry and confused by the false promises, they’re also left scrambling to sort out distribution changes. In addition to claiming they would release the (non-existent) stockpile, Trump administration officials told states to expand access to vaccines—now allowing anyone over age 65 to get vaccinated and people under 65 who have a documented underlying health condition that makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.

The expanded eligibility covers around 152 million people in the US. But administration officials had previously estimated that it wouldn’t be until the end of March before they would have 200 million doses—enough to vaccinate only 100 million people—as STAT noted earlier.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump tries to claw back billions from COVID vaccine distributor

ArsTechnica - 13 hours 8 min ago
A picture taken on January 15, 2021, shows a pharmacist holding with gloved hands a vial of the undiluted Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19.

Enlarge / A picture taken on January 15, 2021, shows a pharmacist holding with gloved hands a vial of the undiluted Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19. (credit: Getty | JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER)

With mere days left in office, President Donald Trump has proposed $27.4 billion in brutal budget cuts—including clawing back 5.1 billion from global public health amid a raging pandemic. Of the proposed health cuts, $4 billion would be slashed from a vaccine alliance playing a central role in helping to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to low-income countries.

The proposed cuts are part of a rescission request, which has no chance of being enacted by Congress, as Politico reports. However, the proposed cuts—particularly to the vaccine alliance—are likely to add insult to injury to the global public health community, which continues to battle the out-of-control pandemic.

Worldwide, the total number of COVID-19 cases is over 93 million, and deaths are approaching 2 million. In the US alone, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases is over 235,000, with 129,000 people currently hospitalized. Around 4,000 people have died each day for the past three days, bringing the US death toll to around 380,000.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This painted pig is the world’s oldest figurative art

ArsTechnica - 13 hours 55 min ago
Color photo of stylized pig painted in red on a rock wall

Enlarge (credit: Brumm et al. 2021)

A pig painted on the wall of an Indonesian cave is the world’s oldest figurative art—that is, it’s the oldest known drawing of something, rather than an abstract design or a stencil.

The 45,500-year-old ocher painting depicts a Sulawesi warty pig, which appears to be watching a standoff between two other pigs. If that interpretation is correct, the painting is also a contender for the world’s oldest narrative scene. And it hints at how much the earliest Indonesians observed and recorded about the animals and ecosystems around them. A growing pile of evidence tells us that the first people to reach the islands of Indonesia carried with them a culture of art and visual storytelling, as well as the means to cross the expanses of water between the islands, eventually reaching Australia.

Painted pig’s feet, anyone?

Griffith University archaeologist Adam Brumm and his colleagues used uranium-series dating to measure the age of a mineral deposit that had formed above one of the pig’s rear feet. As water flows through a limestone cave, it leaves behind small deposits of minerals, which gradually build up into layers of calcite, like the one atop the pig painting. The minerals in the water contain trace amounts of uranium, which gradually decays into different uranium isotopes and eventually into a completely different element, thorium. By measuring the amounts of uranium-234 and thorium-230 in a cave deposit (also called a speleothem) and then comparing that to the local groundwater, archaeologists can measure how long ago the speleothem formed.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

ArsTechnica - 14 hours 8 min ago
Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

(credit: Toyota)

On Thursday, Toyota reached a settlement with the US government over a decade of noncompliance with Clean Air Act reporting regulations. Under the law, defects or recalls that affect vehicle emissions equipment have to be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.

But, says EPA assistant administrator Susan Bodine, "[f]or a decade Toyota failed to report mandatory information about potential defects in their cars to the EPA, keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.  EPA considers this failure to be a serious violation of the Clean Air Act."

Manufacturers are supposed submit emissions defect information reports if they know of an emissions defect that affects at least 25 or more vehicles (or engines) of a particular model in a given model year. They also have to submit voluntary emissions recall reports when beginning a recall to fix an emissions problem, as well as quarterly reports on the progress of the recall.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The NSA warns enterprises to beware of third-party DNS resolvers

ArsTechnica - 16 hours 5 min ago
The NSA warns enterprises to beware of third-party DNS resolvers

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

DNS over HTTPS is a new protocol that protects domain-lookup traffic from eavesdropping and manipulation by malicious parties. Rather than an end-user device communicating with a DNS server over a plaintext channel—as DNS has done for more than three decades—DoH, as DNS over HTTPS is known, encrypts requests and responses using the same encryption websites rely on to send and receive HTTPS traffic.

Using DoH or a similar protocol known as DoT—short for DNS over TLS—is a no brainer in 2021, since DNS traffic can be every bit as sensitive as any other data sent over the Internet. On Thursday, however, the National Security Agency said in some cases Fortune 500 companies, large government agencies, and other enterprise users are better off not using it. The reason: the same encryption that thwarts malicious third parties can hamper engineers’ efforts to secure their networks.

“DoH provides the benefit of encrypted DNS transactions, but it can also bring issues to enterprises, including a false sense of security, bypassing of DNS monitoring and protections, concerns for internal network configurations and information, and exploitation of upstream DNS traffic,” NSA officials wrote in published recommendations. “In some cases, individual client applications may enable DoH using external resolvers, causing some of these issues automatically.”

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NASA gives up on taking Mars’ temperature

ArsTechnica - 16 hours 32 min ago
Image of the lander hardware flanked by two arrays of solar panels.

Enlarge / A selfie taken by the InSight Lander. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Today, NASA announced that it was giving up on its attempts to place a temperature sensor several meters under the Martian surface. Part of the agency's InSight lander, the hardware was supposed to be placed deep enough to avoid the influence of Mars' weather, seasons, and daily temperature changes. But because of the unusual conditions at the landing site, the hardware never made it below the surface.

The InSight lander carried several instruments meant to provide a clearer picture of Martian geology. One of those instruments, the SEIS seismometer, has been successfully tracking marsquakes to provide a better perspective on Mars' structure and the local composition under the surface near the landing site. A second measures the wobbling of Mars' axis of rotation, which will be influenced by a combination of the red planet's composition and the gravitational influences of the rest of the Solar System.

InSight's other major experiment is the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3. While previous landers hadn't put any hardware deeper than about 20 centimeters, HP3 was designed to operate several meters below the Martian surface. From there, the fluctuations on the surface would be somewhat averaged out, and HP3 could measure the heat flow from the Martian interior to the surface. This would allow an estimate of the energy still left in the Martian core from a combination of its formation and radioactivity, a key element in understanding what geological activity might still be possible there.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The rise and fall (and rise again) of retro car design

ArsTechnica - 16 hours 47 min ago
Director Maurice Dwyer leads the cast and crew in his production of <em>Cop Block</em>, which prominently featured the Chrysler PT Cruiser, at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.

Enlarge / Director Maurice Dwyer leads the cast and crew in his production of Cop Block, which prominently featured the Chrysler PT Cruiser, at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. (credit: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images)

Odds are you probably never liked the Chrysler PT Cruiser, a retro-style five-door hatchback sold from 2001 through 2010. In fact, you might even hate it. Most people do. Just ask Tom Gale, Chrysler Corporation’s former vice-president of design.

"The PT Cruiser gets hammered by a lot of people,” Gale said. “But it really hit a spot. You know, we sold 1.3 million of those things.”

Today, it’s easy to forget how outrageously popular this compact car was when it was launched. Credit the PT Cruiser’s success to its retro look, which was a relatively new automotive design trend that was growing in popularity at the time. The PT Cruiser would ultimately be but one of many retro-style vehicles created by automakers. Others include the 1989 Nissan S-Cargo, 1991 Nissan Figaro, 1992 Dodge Viper, 1993 BMW Z8, 1994 Dodge Ram, 1994 Ford Mustang, 1997 Jaguar XK-8, 1998 Plymouth Prowler, 1999 Jaguar S-Type, 1999 Volkswagen New Beetle, 2001 Mini Cooper, 2002 Ford Thunderbird, 2002 Jaguar X-Type, 2004 Chevrolet SSR, 2004 Chrysler Crossfire, 2004 Ford GT, 2004 Jaguar XJ-8, 2006 Chevrolet HHR, 2008 Dodge Challenger, 2009 Chevrolet Camaro, 2011 Fiat 500, 2017 Fiat 124 Spider, and, most recently, the forthcoming 2022 Ford Bronco.

Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content