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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/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 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Polestar expands the Polestar 2 lineup, adds a single-motor variant

ArsTechnica - 2 hours 24 min ago

On Tuesday morning, Polestar expanded its line of battery-electric vehicles with two new versions of the Polestar 2 fastback, both of which should be cheaper than the fully loaded $59,500 Polestar 2 Launch Edition we tested last summer.

In the next few weeks, the automaker will start offering a simplified version of the dual-motor Polestar 2. It says that this version should have an EPA range of 240 miles (386 km). That should increase if you option it with the Plus Pack, which adds a slightly nicer interior (using the WeaveTech fabric from the Launch Edition), more speakers for the sound system, heated rear seats, steering wheel, and wiper blades, but perhaps most importantly, a heat pump.

The addition of a heat pump means that the Polestar 2 can warm or cool the cabin with less draw from the 78 kWh battery pack, and Polestar says that at ambient temperatures between 40-60˚F (4.4-15.5˚C) it can add up to 10 percent to the car's range.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

J&J COVID vaccine use paused due to one-in-a-million complication

ArsTechnica - 2 hours 40 min ago
Image of a woman receiving a vaccine.

Enlarge / A nurse practitioner named Heidi Johnson administers a vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. (credit: Tom Williams / Getty Images)

On Tuesday morning, the US Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a release acknowledging an extremely rare clotting disorder was associated with the use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The problem is actually less than a one-in-a-million issue; in data from the US, where 6.8 million doses of this vaccine have been used, there have only been six instances of the clotting problem detected.

Because the clots call for an unusual treatment, however, the organizations are calling for a pause in administering the shot. This will provide them with time to ensure the medical community is aware of the appropriate treatment.

This is not the first vaccine to create extremely rare clotting issues. They've also been seen following use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The problem appears to be caused by the harmless virus (an Adenovirus) that carries a single gene from SARS-CoV-2 in order to elicit an immune response.

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Roku’s latest streaming device gives 4K, HDR, and a voice remote for $40

ArsTechnica - 2 hours 47 min ago

Roku on Tuesday announced its latest 4K media streamer, the Roku Express 4K+. In addition, the streaming-device maker launched a new optional voice-remote upgrade, the Roku Voice Remote Pro, a lightly updated version of its two-in-one Smart Soundbar called the Streambar Pro, and a Roku OS 10 software update for its family of video hardware, audio devices, and Roku TVs.

A new 4K HDR streamer for $40

Starting with the new streamer, the Roku Express 4K+ will cost $40 and replace the current Roku Premiere player when it starts shipping in mid-May. It has the similarly small and slightly curved design of the existing Roku Express, but now it can output 4K HDR video instead of basic 1080p. It won't support Dolby Vision HDR—that, along with Dolby Atmos audio, will remain limited to the high-end Roku Ultra—but it will support HDR10 and HDR10+. (The latter will also arrive on the Ultra via a software update.) Like other Roku players, it also supports Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit for direct streaming and Siri (or Home app) control, respectively, from an iOS device or Mac.

Roku says the Express 4K+ has a more powerful processor that supplies performance comparable to that of the $50 Roku Streaming Stick+, as well as more internal storage space than the Premiere. Also included is a voice remote with TV controls, again similar to the one found with the Streaming Stick+. The Express 4K+ adds support for dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi (the Premiere only had less robust single-band wireless) as well as Micro USB Ethernet adapters, though it won't have the 2x2 MIMO wireless tech of the Streaming Stick+ for better handling crowded Wi-Fi networks.

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Microsoft makes the Surface Laptop 4 official, offers choice of AMD or Intel

ArsTechnica - 2 hours 47 min ago

After recent leaks suggested an imminent arrival, Microsoft has officially launched the latest entry in its line of Surface PCs: the Surface Laptop 4.

The new laptop starts at $999 and will be available to purchase in the US, Canada, and Japan as of today, with shipping beginning on April 15. Microsoft says more markets will follow in the “coming weeks.” In the US, those who buy the Surface Laptop 4 through Microsoft or Best Buy before April 15 will get a pair of Surface Earbuds headphones bundled in at no extra cost.

Familiar hardware

As for the device itself, the Surface Laptop 4 is more of a refinement than a reinvention of the previous Surface Laptop 3, which launched in late 2019. That laptop’s build quality was generally well-regarded, and the design here is more or less identical to before.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The era of reusability in space has begun

ArsTechnica - 3 hours 11 min ago
Artist's rendering of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (foreground) docked to a client satellite.

Enlarge / Artist's rendering of the Mission Extension Vehicle-2 (foreground) docked to a client satellite. (credit: Northrop Grumman)

A large, passenger van-sized spacecraft sidled up to an active, 6-ton satellite on Monday afternoon about 36,000 km above the Earth's surface. Slowly, ever so slowly, the distance between the two vehicles closed.

There was nothing wrong with the satellite, which is 17 years old and owned by Intelsat. All the while on Wednesday, it continued actively delivering broadband and other media services across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. But it was running desperately low on fuel to maintain its position, and Intelsat would have soon had to send the vehicle to a "graveyard" orbit.

And so Intelsat contracted with Northrop Grumman to test its new life extension services. That led to the launch of Northrop's "Mission Extension Vehicle-2" last year, which used fuel-sipping electric propulsion to approach the orbit of Intelsat 10-02 and dock with the active satellite on Wednesday. As a result of this pairing, the satellite will now live on for five more years.

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This is Intel’s plan to dominate driverless car technology

ArsTechnica - 5 hours 2 min ago
A Udelv-branded van roams wet streets at night.

Enlarge / Udelv hasn't announced details about its forthcoming Mobileye-powered delivery robots—such as who will help Udelv build them—but they are expected to look something like this. (credit: Udelv)

I've written before that Mobileye, an Intel subsidiary since 2017, is among the most formidable and underrated players in the self-driving sector. The Israeli company is the leading supplier of the chips, cameras, and software that power today's driver-assistance systems—a couple of years ago, Mobileye claimed 70 percent market share. The company is hoping to enjoy a similarly dominant position in the emerging market for fully self-driving systems.

On Monday, Mobileye announced that its self-driving technology stack would be branded Mobileye Drive. Mobileye says the technology will be "a turn-key self-driving system ready for commercial deployment at scale." A Mobileye Drive system will have 13 cameras, three long-range lidars, six short-wave lidars, and six radars. It will be powered by Mobileye's EyeQ 5 processors.

(credit: Mobileye)

Mobileye says the technology will be ready for commercial use by 2023. That would be a big deal if true, but I can't help being skeptical. Over the last five years, a number of major self-driving companies have announced optimistic launch dates and failed to meet them.

Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New wooden satellite is part advertising, part student project

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 3:49pm
Artist's conception of the satellite in orbit.

Enlarge (credit: WISA WOODSAT)

Late last year, we were extremely skeptical of reports regarding a plan for wooden satellites that seemed confused about what could be gained from using the natural material. But a wooden satellite looks like it might get to orbit later this year, via a project we can fully endorse. It's a bit of silly advertising by a plywood manufacturer that will ensure that a student project gets sent to space.

The project, based in Finland, is called the WISA WOODSAT, and it has taken a bit of an indirect route to orbit. The design is based on a CubeSat format called Kitsat, which is intended for student projects. If the goal is simply to expose students to what it takes to make a compact satellite (the design is a 10 cm/side cube), the satellite can be built using cheap, easy-to-obtain hardware. But it can also be made using space-rated materials and sent to orbit.

The WOODSAT started out as more of the former, with students around the country contributing different parts to a CubeSat that was then taken aloft by a balloon. But now, with an opportunity to go to orbit, another version is getting an upgrade to survive the harsh environment.

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Report: Apple plans Apple TV/HomePod and iPad/HomePod hybrid products

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 3:22pm
RIP HomePod, 2021.

Enlarge / RIP HomePod, 2021. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

Apple is working on multiple new products to replace the recently discontinued HomePod and to bring Siri and Apple services into living rooms, according to a new report from Bloomberg's Debby Wu and Mark Gurman.

One of those products would be a device that combines the TV streaming box and gaming features of the Apple TV 4K with a HomePod-like smart speaker, as well as a camera.

The device would allow users to stream TV shows, videos, music, and films using the same apps that are already available on the Apple TV. It would also act as a Siri-enabled smart speaker, and it would enable video conferencing on the connected TV.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Free Software Foundation and RMS issue statements on Stallman’s return

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 2:59pm
RMS at LibrePlanet 2019, approximately six months before his resignation from the FSF's board of directors.

Enlarge / RMS at LibrePlanet 2019, approximately six months before his resignation from the FSF's board of directors. (credit: Ruben Rodriguez)

The Free Software Foundation's board of directors issued a statement today regarding the controversial return of Richard M. Stallman (RMS) to its ranks. Stallman also released a statement.

The controversy in brief

RMS has never been known for personal tact or diplomacy, but his 2019 decision to defend MIT computer science Professor Marvin Minsky was the beam that broke the camel's back. Minsky was a sometime associate of notorious pedophile and trafficker Jeffrey Epstein; Epstein survivor Virginia Giuffre stated under deposition that she had been directed to sleep with Minsky when she was 17.

In the attempt to defend Minsky, RMS declared it "morally absurd" to call statutory rape "rape," and he spun an elaborate scenario regarding the likelihood that Giuffre—whom RMS had never met—would have "appeared entirely willing" to Minsky.

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It’s too late for vaccines to save Michigan, CDC director explains

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 1:01pm
A woman adjusts her face mask while sitting in front of a microphone.

Enlarge / Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adjusts her protective mask during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

Highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are simply too slow to stop surges like the one underway in Michigan, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.

Dr. Walensky’s explanation during the White House COVID-19 press briefing comes amid mounting requests and calls for federal authorities to flood Michigan with vaccine supply. The state has seen a 400 percent spike in cases since March 5, when state officials eased restrictions on residential gatherings and occupancy limits for bars, restaurants, venues, and stores. Since then, the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 coronavirus variant has also increased in prevalence. Now, the state’s seven-day average for new daily cases is over 7,377, and hospitals are filling up.

On March 30, when the surge was already in full swing, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer appealed to the White House for additional vaccine shipments. However, the White House declined, opting to stick to its largely population-based strategy for dolling out vaccine supply to each state and jurisdiction.

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Microsoft acquires Nuance—makers of Dragon speech rec—for $16 billion

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 12:42pm
A man with his sleeves rolled up speaks into a headset while staring at a laptop.

Enlarge / In this 2011 photo, Dr. Michael A. Lee uses Dragon Medical voice-recognition software to enter his notes after seeing a patient. (credit: David Ryan via Getty Images)

Earlier today, Microsoft announced its plans to purchase Nuance for $56 per share—23 percent above Nuance's closing price last Friday. The deal adds up to a $16 billion cash outlay and a total valuation for Nuance of about $19.7 billion, including that company's assumed debt.

Who is Nuance?

Nuance is a well-known player in the field of natural language recognition. The company's technology is the core of Apple's Siri personal assistant. Nuance also sells well-known personal speech-recognition software Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which is invaluable to many people with a wide range of physical disabilities.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, originally released in 1997, was one of the first commercially available continuous dictation products—meaning software that did not require the user to pause briefly between words. In 2000, Dragon Systems was acquired by ScanSoft, which acquired Nuance Communications in 2005 and rebranded itself as Nuance.

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Charter must pay $19 million for tricking customers into switching ISPs

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 12:25pm
A Pinocchio doll with a long nose.

Enlarge / Pinocchio. (credit: Getty Images | malerapaso)

A judge has ordered Charter Communications to pay $19.2 million to Windstream for lying to customers in order to trick them into switching from Windstream to Charter's Spectrum Internet service. Charter also faces a $5,279 penalty for shutting off service to hundreds of Windstream's resale customers.

When Windstream filed for bankruptcy in early 2019, Charter began a "literally false and intentionally misleading advertising campaign intended to create the impression, using mailings designed to seem as if they were coming from the Debtors [Windstream], that the Debtors were going out of business," said an order issued Thursday by Judge Robert Drain of US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

Charter's goal with the mailings "was to induce the Debtors' customers to terminate their contracts and switch to Charter by sending them literally false and intentionally misleading information about the Debtors' bankruptcy cases and financial wherewithal," the ruling said. Charter premised its ad campaign "on false assertions regarding the Debtors' bankruptcy cases," the ruling said.

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Archaeologists find “lost golden city” buried under sand for 3,400 years

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 12:06pm
Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a 3400-year-old city just outside Luxor, dating back to the reign of Amenhotop III, grandfather to King Tut.

Enlarge / Egyptian archaeologists have discovered a 3400-year-old city just outside Luxor, dating back to the reign of Amenhotop III, grandfather to King Tut. (credit: Zahi Hawass)

A team of Egyptian archaeologists has unearthed what some describe as an industrial royal metropolis just north of modern-day Luxor, which incorporates what was once the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes (aka Waset). The archaeologists dubbed the site "the lost golden city of Luxor," and they believe it may have been devoted to manufacturing decorative artifacts, furniture, and pottery, among other items.

Hieroglyphic inscriptions found on clay caps of wine vessels at the site date the city to the reign of the 18th-dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep III (1386-1353 BCE), whose generally peaceful tenure was marked by an especially prosperous era, with Egypt at the peak of its international power. (Mud bricks at the site were also marked with Amenhotep III's cartouche.) There are more surviving statues of Amenhotep III than any other pharaoh. He was buried in the Valley of the Kings, and his mummy was discovered in 1889. Analysis revealed that Amenhotep III died between 40 and 50 years of age, and he likely suffered from various ailments in his later years (most notably arthritis, obesity, and painful abscesses in his teeth).

The pharaoh's eldest son and heir, Thutmose, died young, so the throne passed to his second son, Amenhotep IV, who soon changed his name to Akhenaten. (His queen was Nefertiti, and his son, who would eventually assume the throne, was the famous boy-king, Tutankhamun.) Akhenaten rejected the traditional polytheistic religion, dominated by the worship of Amun, and decided to start his own religion. He worshipped Aten instead (hence the name change) and would eventually try to suppress the worship of Amun entirely.

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How long can Epic afford to throw money at the Epic Games Store?

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 11:33am
Promotional image for Epic Game Store.

Enlarge / Free for you, not so free for Epic... (credit: Epic Games)

The bitter court fight between Apple and Epic is primarily focused on the mobile-gaming landscape and Apple's iron-fisted control of the iOS App Store. But recent court filings in that case have also given the public a rare glimpse into just how much money Epic is throwing at the Epic Games Store as it struggles to make a dent in the PC marketplace.

The raw numbers, as reported in a "Proposed Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law" document Apple filed last week, show massive incurred and projected losses for Epic's game download hub, which launched in late 2018. Documents and testimony from Epic itself show a $181 million loss for the store in 2019 and projected losses of $273 million in 2020 and $139 million in 2021.

You might think Epic is incurring those losses because it only takes a 12 percent cut of third-party game revenues, compared to the industry-standard 30 percent cut on other digital storefronts. On the contrary, though—in its own court filings, Epic says that 12 percent revenue chunk has been "sufficient to cover its costs of distribution and allow for further innovation and investment in EGS."

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Google is killing the Google Shopping app

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 10:02am
Google is killing the Google Shopping app

(credit: Google)

RIP to the Google Shopping app. XDA spotted a hidden closing message in the app on Thursday, and late Friday, Google confirmed to 9to5Google that the Shopping app is on the way out. Here's the company's statement:

Within the next few weeks, we’ll no longer be supporting the Shopping app. All of the functionality the app offered users is available on the Shopping tab. We’ll continue building features within the Shopping tab and other Google surfaces, including the Google app, that make it easy for people to discover and shop for the products they love.

The Google Shopping app launched only 19 months ago, when it took over for another Google shopping shutdown, Google Express. The Google Shopping service has been a rough proposition for users—starting in 2012, it has been nothing but an ad vector that exclusively showed "paid listings" and no organic results whatsoever. This made some sense as a service that showed advertisements in little embedded boxes in Google.com search results, but it was unclear why a user would download an app that exclusively shows ads.

Google kills product

View more stories In April 2020, Google Shopping gave up on the "paid listings only" policy and started listing anyone that signed up on the "Google Merchant Center." The Merchant Center has retailers generate and send Google a product data feed, which is used for the search results. This means Google Shopping still isn't a spider-driven search engine the way Google Search is. Google Search does it best to find, catalog, and index the world's data, while Google Shopping doesn't go out of its way to index the web; it only cares about businesses that send it data feeds. This can lead to woefully inadequate listings for some searches, especially for companies Google doesn't like. For instance, a search for "Amazon Echo" will never list an Amazon.com result in the Shopping search results (Amazon is welcome to buy an ad, though).

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Six decades after Gagarin, nostalgia—and not much else—fuels Russia in space

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 7:59am

Sixty years ago today, a single Soviet man climbed into a small spherical capsule at a secretive spaceport in modern-day Kazakhstan. A Vostok-K rocket sent the capsule, carrying Yuri Gagarin, into low orbit with an apogee of 327 km.

Gagarin would make one pass around the Earth before his spacecraft reentered the planet's atmosphere, enduring forces above 8 g. Because the Vostok capsule had no means of making a soft landing, Gagarin was ejected at 7 km above the ground and landed about 10 minutes later under his parachute. The flight lasted just 108 minutes, but Gagarin's legacy would be eternal.

Amid the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union, the Soviets had struck a tremendous blow with this flight. Although the mission was used for propaganda purposes, in later remarks, Gagarin expressed a peaceful sentiment since repeated by subsequent generations of astronauts. "Looking at the Earth from afar, you realize it is too small for conflict and just big enough for cooperation," he said.

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France bans air travel that could be done by train in under 2.5 hours

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 7:45am
A <em>Train á Grand Vitesse</em>.

Enlarge / A Train á Grand Vitesse. (credit: Michael Dunning/Getty Images)

On Sunday, the French National Assembly voted to ban some short-haul flights in favor of train travel. If the measure is formally approved, it would mean the end to domestic flights on routes where the journey could also be completed by train in 2.5 hours or less.

It's the kind of news that will have some cheering in delight as one of the world's richest nations makes a strong statement about the need to cut carbon emissions. However, there will probably be less impact than you might first expect. For one thing, connecting flights won't be affected, so international travelers won't have to worry about having to navigate the train system from Charles De Gaulle International airport.

In fact, French lawmakers are only proposing to cancel five routes in total. Yes, just five: Paris Orly to Bordeaux, Paris Orly to Lyon, Paris Orly to Nantes, Paris Orly to Rennes, and Lyon to Marseille. And while France has a high-speed train network that we in America can only look at with envy, the French government is just as happy to provide state support for its airlines as trains—last week it announced it would invest $4.8 billion (€4 billion) in Air France to help that airline as it weathers the pandemic.

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The Rolls-Royce Ghost: A magic carpet ride that costs as much as a house

ArsTechnica - Mon, 04/12/2021 - 4:15am

The most inescapable thing about driving a Rolls-Royce Ghost is never being able to forget how much it costs. So let's get that out of the way: with a sticker price of $460,350, it's a car that costs more than a house in many parts of the country. This knowledge never escapes you, a constant reminder that you're visiting a world where just the cost of the options fitted to the car seen here would buy a pretty good pre-owned Mercedes S-Class.

You remember it when you park or whenever another car gets a little too close in traffic, given the pricey consequences of a scratch or scrape. But the price tag also looms when you feel the weight of the metal switchgear or your feet sink into the deep shag of the lambswool carpets. You quickly realize the amount of time and materials that went into putting everything together.

The award for most improved goes to…

Despite the above, it was hard not to like the 2021 Ghost. When we tried the previous model a couple of years ago, it was similarly solid and sumptuously trimmed, but it thoroughly underwhelmed, particularly from behind the wheel. Part of the problem, perhaps, was that car sharing a platform with BMW's 7 Series.

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Review: Our fave gunslinger expels her inner demons in Wynonna Earp finale

ArsTechnica - Sun, 04/11/2021 - 2:26pm

Demons are defeated, a long-running feud finally comes to an end, personal rifts are healed, and a hotly anticipated wedding finally takes place in the decidedly upbeat series finale of Wynonna Earp, SyFy's supernatural Western/horror series. SyFy canceled the series earlier this year, although showrunner Emily Andras has not ruled out the possibility of additional seasons, should the series find a new US distributor. But for now, we must bid a fond farewell to the boozily irreverent, tough-yet-vulnerable protector of the fictional town of Purgatory.

(Spoilers for prior seasons below. All major S4 spoilers are below the second gallery. We'll give you a heads-up when we get there.)

As we've reported previously, the series is based on the comic book series created by Beau Smith in 1996. Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) takes on "revenants," the repeatedly reincarnated outlaws that Wyatt Earp killed. They won't stay dead until the Earp heir—Wynonna—offs them with Wyatt's famous 16-inch-barrel revolver, dubbed Peacemaker. Over the course of four seasons, she has battled witches, vampires, vengeful spirits, nutty sister-wife cults, possessed neighbors, demonic nuns, and killer trees, among other threats. She is not without allies, however, including the immortal being, Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon), with whom Wynonna becomes romantically entangled (and yes, it's complicated). Then there is her baby sister, Waverly (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), who falls for local deputy Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell)—a popular pairing dubbed "Wayhaught" by shippers—and the local sheriff, Nedley (Greg Lawson), who becomes a father figure and demon-hunting ally.

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Ecological impacts of solar geoengineering are highly uncertain

ArsTechnica - Sun, 04/11/2021 - 6:30am
Aerial photograph of volcanic eruption.

Enlarge / Most geoengineering plans involve humanity doing what some volcanoes already do: inject particles into the stratosphere that reflect sunlight. (credit: NASA)

Without condoning or condemning the poorly understood tactic, recent reports suggest we should try to understand one proposed strategy to cool the planet: altering the atmosphere to reflect sunlight. Called solar radiation modification (SRM), this strategy is a type of geoengineering that involves scattering particles into the sky to reflect sunlight back out into space so it can't warm the Earth's atmosphere.

In theory, SRM could cool off the planet and help limit global warming to 1.5ºC compared to preindustrial levels. But it's viewed as something of a last-resort tool to tackle climate change. Two new analyses explore what deploying this tactic could mean for the environment and the flora, fauna, and people living in it. In all, the authors of both reports suggest that more work needs to be done to understand SRM.

Greater cooperation

The idea has gained some traction. Bill Gates, for example, advocated for it in 2019. The Geoengineering Model Intercomparison Project (GeoMIP) has released more than 100 studies related to SRM in the decade since the group was formed. But recently, in response to public outcry, the Swedish Space Corporation canceled a test flight that would help study SRM.

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