ArsTechnica

  • 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.
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Updated: 30 min 6 sec ago

EPA: Chemicals called PFAS will see more research and new regulations

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 11:00am
Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced a major effort to handle environmental contamination by chemicals called PFAS.

Enlarge / Michael Regan, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has announced a major effort to handle environmental contamination by chemicals called PFAS. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images)

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency announced what it called a "comprehensive national strategy" to handle pollution by a group of industrial chemicals that are collectively called PFAS. These chemicals are relatively inert and persist for decades in the environment; as a result, there are many sites where they pollute the ground or water. And there are some indications that they can cause health issues if they accumulate at sufficient levels.

But the fact that the family of chemicals is so large has made them difficult to study—and their pollution difficult to manage. The EPA's announcement indicates that the agency has started an expansive program to handle these challenges, from expanding the study of individual PFAS chemicals to tracing contamination and limiting future pollution.

PFAS chemistry and health

"PFAS" stands for both per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances. Essentially, they are large hydrocarbon chains in which some or all of the hydrogens are swapped out for fluorines. The fluorines ensure that the chemicals do not interact well with water, making them excellent options for waterproof treatments. They're also very unreactive, meaning they don't break down readily in the environment. Thus, PFAS contamination can persist for decades.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SEC says GameStop’s stock surge was more than just a simple short squeeze

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 10:39am
*Glass-breaking noise*

Enlarge / *Glass-breaking noise* (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Back in January, when we attempted to explain the meteoric rise of GameStop's stock price, we wrote a lot of words about the potential role of a short squeeze on what was happening. The theory was that a large number of short sellers were being forced to cover shares they had previously borrowed by buying shares at rising prices, thus helping to drive the price even further upward.

This week, a 45-page report from the Securities and Exchange Commission takes a detailed look at the situation and concludes that, while "short sellers covering their positions likely contributed to increases in GME’s price... a short squeeze did not appear to be the main driver of events."

The setup

Among the so-called "meme stocks," GameStop was particularly susceptible to a short squeeze in January. That's because the level of "short interest" in the stock—the ratio of borrowed shares to total outstanding shares—spiked to an unprecedented 122.97 percent (reborrowed shares essentially count a second time, which can drive the ratio past 100 percent).

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Pixel 6 is official—and it’s $300 cheaper than a comparable Samsung phone

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 10:00am

The Pixel 6 is finally official, with Google taking the wraps off the phone during a livestreamed event on Tuesday. We have so much to talk about.

SPECS AT A GLANCE Pixel 6 Pixel 6 Pro SCREEN 6.4-inch, 90 Hz, 2400×1080 OLED 6.7-inch, 120 Hz, 3120×1440 LTPO OLED OS Android 12 CPU Google Tensor

Two 2.8 GHz Cortex-X1 cores
Two 2.25 GHz Cortex-A76 cores
Four 1.8 GHz Cortex-A55 Cores
5 nm

GPU ARM Mali G78 MP20 RAM 8GB 12GB STORAGE 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1 128GB/256GB/512GB
UFS 3.1 BATTERY 4600 mAh 5000 mAh NETWORKING Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC, 5G mmWave (optional) & Sub-6 GHz Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC, 5G mmWave & Sub-6 GHz, UWB PORTS USB Type-C 3.1 Gen 1 with 30W USB-PD 3.0 charging REAR CAMERA 50 MP Main
12 MP Wide Angle
Laser autofocus, OIS, spectral and flicker sensor 50 MP Main
12 MP Wide Angle
48 MP 4x Telephoto 
Laser autofocus, OIS, spectral and flicker sensor FRONT CAMERA 8 MP 11 MP SIZE 158.6×74.8×8.9 mm 163.9×75.9×8.9 mm WEIGHT 207 g 210 g STARTING PRICE $599 $899 OTHER PERKS IP68 dust and water resistance, eSIM, wireless charging, in-screen fingerprint reader

First, the basics: There are two phones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro. The big news today is the price, which is lower than we were expecting: $599 for the Pixel 6 and $899 for the Pixel 6 Pro. Both phones are an incredible $300 cheaper than comparable devices from Samsung. The $900 Pixel 6 Pro spec sheet compares well to the $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra, while the $600 Pixel 6 lands somewhere between the $800 Galaxy S21 and $1,000 S21+. Right off the bat, it's pretty hard to go wrong when you're this much cheaper than your major competition.

As for specs, the Pixel 6 Pro has a 6.7-inch, 120 Hz, 3120×1440 LTPO OLED display; 12GB of RAM; 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage; and a 5000 mAh battery. LTPO means that the Pixel 6 Pro has a dynamic refresh rate display that can drop down to a more power-efficient display mode for specific content. You get 120 Hz for scrolling, a framerate-appropriate refresh for video (think 60, 30, or 24 Hz, depending on the content), and 10 Hz for still images. This is also the only Pixel phone with UWB, or ultra wide-band, a Bluetooth tracker technology. There are three rear cameras—a 50 MP main camera, a 12 MP wide-angle, and a 48 MP 4x telephoto.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The “Google Silicon” team gives us a tour of the Pixel 6’s Tensor SoC

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 10:00am
A promo image for the Google Tensor SoC.

Enlarge / A promo image for the Google Tensor SoC. (credit: Google)

The Pixel 6 is official, with a wild new camera design, incredible pricing, and the new Android 12 OS. The headline component of the device has to be the Google Tensor "system on chip" (SoC), however. This is Google's first main SoC in a smartphone, and the chip has a unique CPU core configuration and a strong focus on AI capabilities.

Since when is Google a chip manufacturer, though? What are the goals of Tensor SoC? Why was it designed in its unique way? To get some answers, we sat down with members of the "Google Silicon" team—a name I don't think we've heard before.

Google Silicon is a group responsible for mobile chips from Google. That means the team designed previous Titan M security chips in the Pixel 3 and up, along with the Pixel Visual Core in the Pixel 2 and 3. The group has been working on main SoC development for three or four years, but it remains separate from the Cloud team's silicon work on things like YouTube transcoding chips and Cloud TPUs.

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COVID vaccines for kids 5-11 up for preorder Wednesday ahead of FDA review

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 9:28am
A thirteen-year-old celebrates getting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 13, 2021.

Enlarge / A thirteen-year-old celebrates getting the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 13, 2021. (credit: Getty | JOSEPH PREZIOSO )

Starting tomorrow, October 20, states and other jurisdictions will be able to preorder doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine formulated for children ages 5 to 11, according to a federal planning document. The orders are in anticipation of a rollout that could begin as early as November 3.

The vaccine is not yet authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not yet given the green light for its administration. But US officials are wasting no time in preparing to vaccinate as many children as possible as quickly as possible. There are an estimated 28 million children in the US between the ages of 5 to 11, and the US government says it has enough vaccine doses for all of them. Vaccine doses are planned to roll out at pediatricians' offices, pharmacies, health centers, and rural clinics when the time comes.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently available for people ages 12 and up. In late September, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted data to the FDA indicating that small doses of their vaccine—a third of the dose used for adults—could safely and robustly protect children ages 5 to 11 from COVID-19. On October 7, the companies formally requested that the FDA grant an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the use of their vaccine in those youngsters.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Coal bucks 15-year decline in US with 22% increase as natural gas prices rise

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 9:02am
Heavy equipment moves coal into piles at PacifiCorp's Hunter coal-fired power plant outside of Castle Dale, Utah.

Enlarge / Heavy equipment moves coal into piles at PacifiCorp's Hunter coal-fired power plant outside of Castle Dale, Utah. (credit: GEORGE FREY / AFP)

The US is expected to burn 22 percent more coal than last year, marking the first annual increase in the use of the polluting fossil fuel since 2014, the Energy Information Administration said.

“The US electric power sector has been generating more electricity from coal-fired power plants this year as a result of significantly higher natural gas prices and relatively stable coal prices,” the government agency said. Coal is selling for record prices, though, and economists say that skyrocketing energy costs are fueling inflation.

President Joe Biden has set a target of reducing economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The news is a setback for those plans, but the EIA predicts that the bump in coal use will be transitory, with 2022 consumption down 5 percent from this year.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New Linux laptop offers RTX 3080 and 144 Hz 17-inch screen

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 8:48am
New Linux laptop offers RTX 3080 and 144 Hz 17-inch screen

Enlarge (credit: Juno Computers)

Linux users like to game, too, and the Juno Neptune 17-inch V3 laptop announced this week ensures that people on Ubuntu can play their favorite titles on the go.

Keeping up with the Alienwares, Asus ROGs, and other Windows-focused gaming brands, the new portable packs up to an RTX 3080 discrete graphics card and the 8-core Intel Core i7-11800H. And it lets you experience all the action on a spacious, 17.3-inch screen with a 144 Hz refresh rate. A colorfully backlit keyboard completes the package.

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Supporters and opponents of SpaceX launch site air their concerns

Tue, 10/19/2021 - 6:17am
Rendering of SpaceX's Boca Chica launch site with FAA annotations.

Enlarge / Rendering of SpaceX's Boca Chica launch site with FAA annotations. (credit: FAA)

The Federal Aviation Administration convened the first of two virtual public hearings on Monday evening to solicit public comments on SpaceX's plan to launch its Starship rocket from South Texas.

The hearing, which lasted nearly four hours, drew passionate support for SpaceX's plans to expand its Starbase facility as well as heated opposition. Limited to comments of three minutes or less, nearly five dozen people spoke during the hearing over Zoom.

By my informal counting, the comments tallied 39 in favor of the project and 18 against. The comments in favor of SpaceX were more likely to come from out of state, from people generally appreciative of the company's efforts to make humanity a "multiplanetary species." However, there were plenty of local supporters as well.

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Myth, busted: Spider silk might not have antibiotic properties after all

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 3:29pm
Extreme close-up photo of petri dish.

Enlarge / A new study found that ethyl acetate and other solvents typically used to study the antimicrobial properties of spider silk can inhibit bacterial growth. So prior studies finding such evidence may be methodologically flawed. (credit: Simon Fruergaard/CC BY-SA)

Ancient Greeks and Romans are said to have treated wounds suffered in battle with poultices made of spider silk, believing the silk had healing properties, as well as using it to treat skin lesions and warts. There have also been reports of people in the Carpathian Mountains using spiderwebs as bandages, and doctors of ages past sometimes prescribed placing silk cocoons on infected teeth.

This notion that spider silk might have antimicrobial properties—making it a kind of "webiccillin"—has been the focus of numerous studies over the last decade in particular, with conflicting results. Some found evidence of antimicrobial activity, while others did not. Now researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark have produced the strongest case yet against spider silk's rumored healing properties, according to a recent paper published in the journal iScience. The authors suggest that prior positive results are the result of either bacterial contamination or the use of solvents in the experiments that have antimicrobial properties.

"Spider silk has always been admired and almost has a mythical status," said co-author Trine Bilde, a biologist at Aarhus University. "It's one of these myths that seems to have become 'established' by 'belief' and not by strong empirical support."

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With no new Apple monitors, here are the best high-res screens for your Mac

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 2:38pm
imac in blue on white background

Enlarge / No larger M1-powered iMac yet. (credit: Apple)

Apple held its fall event was today, and the stars of the show were the M1 Pro and M1 Max announced for the new MacBook Pros. We even got new AirPods and word on macOS Monterey. But all was quiet on the displays front. Hope for a larger iMac with Apple Silicon to accompany the 24-inch model announced in April was not rewarded, and the Apple Pro Display XDR is still Apple's only standalone monitor. If you were waiting for today's event to help you select the next screen to run macOS on, we feel your pain. We can’t force Apple to release new displays, but we can round up some non-Apple PC monitors worth considering if you need something now.

But let's get something out of the way first. Nothing can really compete with the iMac right now in terms of display resolution and computing power. Every display listed below is a monitor only; there are no all-in-one PCs here.

5K alternatives

One of the greatest advantages the iMac and Pro Display XDR have is their ridiculous pixel count. The iMac has what Apple calls a 4.5K resolution (4480 x 2520). And the Pro Display XDR claims 6K, or 6016 x 3384. Neither resolution is common, and 5K (5120 x 2880) options have more pixels than the iMac (14,745,600 versus 11,289,600 pixels). But pixel density, which affects how sharp the image looks, is determined by each monitor's size.

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Valve’s “Deck Verified” program evaluates which Steam games are Steam Deck-ready

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 1:51pm
Games that earn the "Deck Verified" checkmark will appear in the "Great on Deck" tab of the Steam Store.

Enlarge / Games that earn the "Deck Verified" checkmark will appear in the "Great on Deck" tab of the Steam Store. (credit: Valve Corporation)

Valve says it has started the process of reviewing all of the tens of thousands of games in the Steam catalog for compatibility with the upcoming Steam Deck portable. The company is doing the review as part of a new informational program called "Deck Verified."

Games that provide "a great, smooth experience" and "work great on Steam Deck right out of the box" will receive a green "Deck Verified" check mark on the Steam store and library interfaces. They will also appear on the default "Great on Deck" tab when the Store is viewed on the Steam Deck itself. Games will receive that check mark if they meet the following criteria:

  • Input: Games must have "full controller support" and the ability to access all content using the Steam Deck controls, with no adjustments necessary. This includes the use of on-screen "glyphs" that match those of the Steam Deck buttons or those on the Xbox 360/One (many Steam games already do this for compatibility with console versions or console controllers). Any in-game text entry must be done using only the controller or an on-screen keyboard.
  • Display: Games must include native support for 1280x800 or 1280x720 resolution and include a default configuration that runs at a "playable framerate" on the hardware at that resolution (Valve has previously promised that "really the entire Steam library" can meet this threshold on the Steam Deck hardware). On-screen text should also be legible when the screen is held 12 inches from the face; Valve says this means no letter should be less than 9 pixels in height, though a 12-pixel height is recommended.
  • Seamlessness: Games shouldn't throw up any compatibility warnings when running on Steam Deck, and players must be able to navigate any third-party launchers with the controller.
  • System support: The game must be compatible with the SteamOS natively or with the Proton compatibility layer that allows Windows games to run on the Linux-based system. This includes any middleware and/or anti-cheat software used in the game.
//arstechnica.com/gaming/2020/03/half-life-alyx-review-the-greatest-vr-adventure-game-yet-and-then-some/"><em>Half-Life: Alyx</em></a> will officially show up as "Unsupported" on the Steam Deck.

VR games like Half-Life: Alyx will officially show up as "Unsupported" on the Steam Deck.

Games that don't quite reach the Verified ideal can still earn a yellow "Playable" badge if they run but "require some extra effort to interact with or configure." That includes games that require manual controller or graphics configuration on first launch, games with "missing or inaccurate controller glyphs," and games where players need to use the touchscreen for whatever reason.

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Starts at $1,999, ends at $6,099: Here’s what the new MacBook Pros will cost you

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 12:49pm
Promotional image of three computer monitors.

Enlarge / Apple's new MacBook Pros (and the 13-inch M1 model that's still hanging around). (credit: Apple)

The new Apple Silicon-based MacBook Pros are here, and Apple's presentation on the M1 Pro and M1 Max made both chips look like a dramatic improvement over the Intel processors and Intel and AMD GPUs they'll be replacing.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, and the 16-inch model starts at $2,499. Both of those configurations get you an M1 Pro processor, 16GB of memory, and 512GB of storage, and both represent only minor price increases from the MacBook Pros they're replacing. But things quickly get complicated from there.

Even though Apple technically only announced two new chips today, both the M1 Pro and M1 Max come in an array of different configurations with different numbers of CPU and GPU cores (just like the M1). This is common in chipmaking—if you make an M1 Pro with one or two defective GPU cores, then selling it as a lower-end model is a sensible alternative to just throwing the chip out entirely. But this decision does complicate Apple's high-level performance numbers slightly, and it means that you'll still need to choose between multiple processor options when you're shopping for a new MacBook Pro.

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Disinformation guru “Hacker X” names his employer: NaturalNews.com

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 11:23am
Picture of Rob Willis.

Rob Willis.

Robert Willis, the hacker who helped build a massive, US-based disinformation network and was profiled in a recent Ars Technica feature, has decided to name names. In a blog post today, Willis confirmed he worked for Mike Adams, who goes by "the Health Ranger" at the site NaturalNews.com. This matches the documentation previously seen by Ars Technica in the course of reporting the piece.

Willis had joined NaturalNews.com in the run-up to the 2016 US presidential election and helped the site build out a network of anonymized websites that looked independent but secretly promoted the "health" information and pro-Trump political writings of Mike Adams and NaturalNews.com.

NaturalNews has long been linked to disinformation. In 2019, The Atlantic named it one of the top producers of anti-vax content on the Internet. The site has touted homeopathy, urged "natural" remedies for things like cancer, and warned about "chemtrails." NaturalNews content has been banned from Facebook, and the site has been called a "powerful conspiracy empire."

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macOS Monterey is coming to a Mac near you on October 25

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 11:01am
macOS Monterey is coming to a Mac near you on October 25

Enlarge

Apple will release macOS Monterey, the next major version of its Mac operating system, on October 25, the company announced today. The software will also ship on the new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros that Apple is releasing next week.

Compared to the major redesign Apple gave macOS last year with Big Sur, Monterey is a low-key release, not unlike iOS 15. One of the major new features is Shortcuts support, which originally appeared in iOS 12 back in 2018. Shortcuts doesn't immediately replace Automator or AppleScript, but it will most likely become the go-to way to automate complex tasks on Macs. Other major features include Universal Control, which allows you to use a Mac's keyboard and trackpad to seamlessly control multiple Macs or iPads, and a Focus mode that adds more granularity to the Do Not Disturb feature.

Monterey will run on both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs, though it won't run on everything that currently supports macOS Big Sur. The OS drops support for a handful of 2013 and 2014-model Intel Macs, as well as the first iteration of the 12-inch MacBook from 2015.

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Apple intros 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros with display notches, M1 Pro, and M1 Max

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 10:33am
The new MacBook Pro.

Enlarge / The new MacBook Pro. (credit: Apple)

Nearly a year after announcing the first low-end M1 Macs last November, Apple has finally unveiled an update for its higher-end laptops. New 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will include the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips, faster successors that build upon the foundation of the original M1, as well as more ports and a slight redesign. This marks the most significant change to the MacBook Pro since the Touch Bar was introduced back in 2016.

Both MacBook Pro models will be available for order today, and they'll begin shipping next week. The 14-inch model starts at $1,999, which will get you a version of the M1 Pro with an eight-core CPU and 14-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. The 16-inch model will start at $2,499, which includes the full version of the M1 Pro, with a 10-core CPU and 16-core GPU, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. Color options remain relatively staid: you can get silver or space gray, but not the rainbow of color options you get with the 24-inch iMac.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro uses a 16.2-inch display with a 3456×2234 pixel resolution, while the 14-inch model uses a 14.2-inch display with a 3024×1964 resolution. Both screens use mini LED backlighting and slimmer bezels almost all the way around the screen, albeit at the expense of an iPhone-style display notch at the top of the screen for the improved 1080p webcam. Both screens also support Apple's ProMotion feature, increasing the typical 60 Hz refresh rate up to a smoother 120 Hz.

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Apple’s 3rd-generation AirPods arrive next week with a new design, spatial audio

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 10:15am
The third-generation Apple AirPods.

Enlarge / The third-generation Apple AirPods. (credit: Apple)

Today, Apple announced an update to its popular AirPods true wireless earbuds. The new third-generation model features a slightly revamped design that looks more like the higher-end AirPods Pro, with shorter stems and a similar touch-based "force sensor" control scheme built-in. Their charging case takes after the shorter and wider design of the Pro model as well.

The new AirPods retain their usual hard plastic finish and do not have in-ear tips like the AirPods Pro, though Apple says they are now officially IPX4-rated for sweat and water resistance. Apple says the earbuds have six hours of battery life and up to 30 hours when including the charging case. (That's compared to five and 24 hours, respectively, on the second-gen model.) The included case supports MagSafe and wireless charging, though the earbuds do not feature active noise cancellation or a transparency mode like their pricier siblings.

Though the second-gen AirPods were renowned more for their ease of use than their audio quality, Apple says it has updated them with a redesigned driver and an adaptive EQ feature that automatically tunes your music based on the AirPods' fit in your ear. The earbuds will also use Apple's spatial audio tech, which makes audio sound like it is coming from around the user's head. To help with that, the new AirPods support dynamic head tracking like the AirPods Pro and the over-ear AirPods Max. We'll have to get our hands on the new model to see how they perform.

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Liveblog—All the fun stuff from Apple’s “Unleashed” event

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 9:40am
This is happening.

Enlarge / This is happening. (credit: Apple)

We've rounded the bend in 2021 to October, and you know what that means: it's time for a second fall Apple event! Last month, we got new portables—new watches, new iPhones, new iPads—but folks eager for more Apple Silicon-powered Macs were left wanting. If that was you last month, then take heart: Today's event might be more your speed.

While we can never predict with full accuracy everything that Apple will reveal—the company prefers to hold its PR cards annoyingly close to the chest—there have been some solid clues and leaks. We believe we'll see some redesigned MacBooks of the 13- and 16-inch variety, and we're pretty sure those new MacBooks will be powered by a fancy new version of Apple's in-house SoC. That new SoC will probably be called the "M1X," according to the rumor mill, and we expect it to contain more cores and more on-board RAM than the M1 SoC that can be found in current-generation MacBooks and Mac minis.

Speaking of minis, they're also on the "maybe" list—there's a chance we might end up seeing an M1X mini, which would give the small desktop a pretty big punch. If M1X-powered minis do make an appearance, it will mark the next step in Apple pushing Apple Silicon out to all its computing products. The company had previously noted in 2020 that this rollout process was expected to take two years, and we're approaching the halfway point.

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Anti-vaccine school in Florida tells kids to stay home if they get a COVID shot

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 9:24am
Centner Academy private school building is seen in Miami's Design District in Miami on April 27, 2021.

Enlarge / Centner Academy private school building is seen in Miami's Design District in Miami on April 27, 2021. (credit: Getty | CHANDAN KHANNA)

An anti-vaccine private school in Miami, Florida, is requiring students who receive a COVID-19 vaccine to stay home for 30 days after each shot, according to local news outlet WSVN.

In a letter to parents, the school once again spread vaccine misinformation, falsely claiming that COVID-19 vaccines can cause "potential transmission or shedding onto others." No COVID-19 vaccines in use in the US include a live virus; there are only mRNA-based vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and a nonreplicating viral vector-based vaccine (J&J) in use here. These COVID-19 vaccines do not cause "shedding" or pose any risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to others.

The school, the Centner Academy, is well-known for its anti-vaccine rhetoric and vaccine misinformation. The academy notes that it is against all vaccine mandates and does not require any immunizations for its students, citing "freedom of choice." Without evidence, it links routine, safe, and life-saving childhood vaccinations to the rise of a variety of health conditions such as diabetes and offers to help parents obtain exemptions from state vaccine requirements. Like many anti-vaccine groups, Centner plays up fears of harms and falsely suggests that there have been insufficient safety studies on vaccines. Centner's tuition ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 per year.

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Toyota sets aside $3.4 billion for American electric vehicle batteries

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:29am
An array of Toyota's electrified model year 2021 vehicles

Enlarge / Toyota's current lineup of electrified vehicles will be joined by a battery-electric crossover in 2022. (credit: Toyota)

In 2025, Toyota will open a new North American battery manufacturing plant as part of the automaker's electrification strategy. The company made the announcement on Monday morning, stating that it will spend $3.4 billion (¥ 380 billion) on high-voltage batteries for electric vehicles in the US between now and 2030.

"This investment will help usher in more affordable electrified vehicles for US consumers, significantly reduce carbon emissions, and importantly, create even more American jobs tied to the future of mobility," said Ted Ogawa, CEO of Toyota Motor North America.

Toyota was an early leader in electrified vehicles and has sold more than 18.7 million hybrids since it introduced the first Prius in 1997. But it has been overtaken by other OEMs in the shift toward emission-free battery-electric vehicles and will only release its first modern BEV—a RAV4-sized crossover called the bZ4x—in mid-2022.

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Lucy’s solar panel hasn’t latched—a problem for a mission powered by the Sun

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:17am
One of the Lucy spacecraft's solar arrays, with a human for scale.

Enlarge / One of the Lucy spacecraft's solar arrays, with a human for scale. (credit: NASA)

NASA's Lucy spacecraft launched safely into space early on Saturday morning from Florida, but after the deployment of its two large solar arrays, one of them failed to latch properly.

Combined, the two solar arrays have a collecting area of 51 square meters. Such large arrays are necessary because the spacecraft will spend much of its 12-year journey about five times the distance of the Earth from the Sun. Lucy's solar panels can only generate about 3 percent of the energy at a Jovian distance than they can at Earth's orbit around the Sun.

The solar panels are critical. Mission scientists say that Lucy will travel farther from the Sun, for a longer time, than any previous solar-powered spacecraft.

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