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: 32 min 28 sec ago

Stellantis will open a 40 GWh/year battery plant in the US in 2024

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 7:01am
In 2024, Ram will offer a battery-electric Ram 1500 pickup truck, with battery packs of up to 200 kWh.

Enlarge / In 2024, Ram will offer a battery-electric Ram 1500 pickup truck, with battery packs of up to 200 kWh. (credit: Stellantis)

On Monday morning, car conglomerate Stellantis and LG Energy Solution announced a new joint venture to produce lithium-ion battery cells destined for electric vehicles in North America. The factory—to be built at an as-yet-unnamed site—should start producing cells in 2024, with a targeted output of 40 GWh/year once it is fully operational.

Stellantis was formed at the beginning of 2021 with the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)—which owned the Fiat, Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler brands, among others—together with Peugeot SA (PSA). FCA had been seeking to partner with another large OEM to prepare for the coming electrified future, and PSA had plenty of that expertise to bring to the table.

In July, Stellantis showed off its electrification roadmap, a $35.5 billion plan that includes four battery-electric vehicle platforms, including one for the big body-on-frame pickups and SUVs that are so beloved by US customers.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook AI moderator confused videos of mass shootings and car washes

Mon, 10/18/2021 - 6:30am
A frowning man in a business suit.

Enlarge / Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying before Congress in April 2018. It wasn't his only appearance in DC this decade. (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sounded an optimistic note three years ago when he wrote about the progress his company was making in automated moderation tools powered by artificial intelligence. “Through the end of 2019, we expect to have trained our systems to proactively detect the vast majority of problematic content,” he wrote in November 2018.

But as recently as March, internal Facebook documents reveal the company found its automated moderation tools were falling far short, removing posts that were responsible for only a small fraction of views of hate speech and violence and incitement on the platform. The posts removed by AI tools only accounted for 3–5 percent of views of hate speech and 0.6 percent of views of violence and incitement.

While that’s up from 2 percent of hate speech views two years ago, according to documents turned over to The Wall Street Journal by whistleblower Frances Haugen, it's far from a vast majority. One of the company’s senior engineers wrote in 2019 that he felt the company could improve by an order of magnitude but that they might then hit a ceiling beyond which further advances would be difficult.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Good Life review: A messy RPG as unique as it is ridiculous

Sun, 10/17/2021 - 6:00pm
 A messy RPG as unique as it is ridiculous

Enlarge

The Good Life throws you into its offbeat little tale without much preamble.

After a cute storybook introduction, New Yorker and photojournalist Naomi Hayward is dropped off in an Untitled Goose Game-caliber sleepy British hamlet called Rainy Woods, the self-proclaimed "happiest town in the world." Why is it the happiest town in the world? Nobody knows, but that's what Naomi is there to find out. The place supposedly has an earth-shattering secret that her employers at the Morning Bell want her to uncover—though because she's drowning in debt it's less of a request than a mandate.

Regardless, in the game's first five minutes, an enigmatic woman in an electric wheelchair gives Naomi a house. Not long after, the Bell has her uploading pictures of the town to an Instagram-esque site, Flamingo, to earn "emokes" (likes). Each is worth mere pence on the British pound, a mechanism used to slooowly pay down Naomi's debt. In the next hour, she learns everyone in the town (except the woman) turns into dogs or cats at night—and that it's not the million GBP scoop she thinks it is.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Before the new version, let’s revisit 1984’s Dune—the greatest movie ever made

Sun, 10/17/2021 - 12:00pm

Frank Herbert's 1965 sci-fi novel Dune gets a new film adaptation—this one helmed by Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Blade Runner 2049)—later this month. But before Ars Technica reviews the movie, there's the matter of its predecessor: 1984's Dune, made by a then up-and-coming filmmaker named David Lynch.

Detractors call Lynch's saga—a tale of two noble space families 8,000 years in the future, fighting over the most valuable resource in the universe amidst sandworms the size of aircraft carriers—incomprehensible, stilted, and ridiculous. It lost piles of money. Yet fans, especially in recent years, have reclaimed Lynch's film as a magnificent folly, a work of holy, glorious madness.

So which group am I in? Both. Am I about to describe Dune as "so bad it's good"? No, that's a loser take for cowards.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Review: Needle in a Timestack explores how love endures when time is in constant flux

Sun, 10/17/2021 - 10:53am
Oscar nominees Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo co-star as a husband and wife who fear being separated by a warped time line in <em>Needle in a Timestack,</em> a new film from director John Ridley.

Enlarge / Oscar nominees Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo co-star as a husband and wife who fear being separated by a warped time line in Needle in a Timestack, a new film from director John Ridley. (credit: Lionsgate)

A happily married couple finds its life together threatened by a romantic rival who travels back in time to alter his shared past in Needle in a Timestack, a new science fiction film directed by John Ridley. Sure, Needle in a Timestack is not the most compelling title, but Ridley has created a flawed but thought-provoking love story—featuring moving performances by Oscar-nominees Leslie Odom Jr. and Cynthia Erivo—that poses an existential question: how can love endure when time itself is constantly in flux?

(Some spoilers below for the short story and the film, but no major reveals.)

The film is based on a 1966 short story of the same name by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning science fiction author Robert Silverberg. Time travel is a common theme in Silverberg's work, most notably in novels like House of Bones and Hawksbill StationThe story goes that Silverberg's inspiration for "Needle in a Timestack" came during a science fiction convention. That's when a friend tried to rebuff a would-be interloper by telling him, "Go away, kid, or I'll change your future." Silverberg thought his friend should have threatened to change the interloper's past, and he realized he had a terrific premise for a story.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Robert Pattinson broods and batters his way through new The Batman trailer

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 2:35pm

Robert Pattinson stars as billionaire Bruce Wayne, aka the Caped Crusader, in director Matt Reeves' forthcoming film, The Batman.

Robert Pattinson is appropriately dark and brooding and beating up bad guys in the latest trailer for The Batman, which debuted at DC FanDome this weekend. Directed and co-written by Matt Reeves, the film's release has been delayed multiple times but will finally hit theaters next March.

As I've written previously, the original plan was to set the film within the DCEU, after the events of Justice League. But as Warner Bros. was rethinking the shared-universe model for its superhero films in favor of standalone films and franchises, Ben Affleck announced he was stepping down as director, and the studio replaced him with Reeves. Affleck would eventually withdraw from the project altogether, following his divorce from Jennifer Garner and a stint in rehab for alcohol abuse.

Reeves brought a very different vision to The Batman. He said he wanted it to be "an almost noir-driven, detective version of Batman," focused on Bruce Wayne's second year fighting crime as the Caped Crusader rather than once again retelling the character's origin story. 

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

John Cena shows off comedic chops in extended teaser for Peacemaker series

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 12:37pm

John Cena reprises his role as Peacemaker for the forthcoming HBO Max spinoff series Peacemaker.

John Cena's Peacemaker was among the standout characters in The Suicide Squad's star-studded ensemble cast, so we were intrigued by the news that a spinoff series about Peacemaker was in the works. We knew that Peacemaker was being written and directed by James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and that the series will explore the origins of the character and his subsequent missions. And now we have our first look, thanks to HBO Max, which released an extended teaser-trailer for the series during the DC FanDome event.

(A couple of spoilers for The Suicide Squad below.)

Gunn wrote the series last summer during the COVID-19 lockdown, just for fun, but then DC Films approached him about a possible spinoff series for one of the characters in The Suicide Squad. I'm not sure Peacemaker would have been my first choice—Cena's performance was terrific, but I haven't quite forgiven the character for the Very Bad Thing he did in that film. On the other hand, Gunn's instincts are impeccable, and he clearly felt there was more story to tell.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds exhibit comes to LA’s Skirball Center

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 5:30am

Back in 2016, the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle unveiled an immersive new exhibit, Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds, in its Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame. The exhibit is a tribute to the hugely influential long-running franchise, and it embarked on a national tour two years later. Exploring New Worlds has been exploring the country ever since, and now it has come to the final stop on its journey: the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, California, where Gene Roddenberry first created his visionary series, Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS).

"Star Trek's vision resonates deeply with the Skirball's commitment to using the power of arts and storytelling to help build a society in which everyone belongs," museum director Sheri Bernstein said during the press preview last month.

Highlights of the exhibit include Capt. Kirk's command chair and the wooden helm and navigation console from TOS, fully restored. There are also plenty of props: different designs of tricorders, communicators, phasers, and PADDs; a model of a Borg cube; and piles of weaponry, including a Klingon disruptor pistol.

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The Every: When Big Tech rules all, don’t say Dave Eggers didn’t warn us

Sat, 10/16/2021 - 4:30am
 A book so enjoyable, it even stands out when surrounded by tacos and Texas libations.

Enlarge / The TL;DR: A book so enjoyable, it even stands out when surrounded by tacos and Texas libations. (credit: Nathan Mattise (via his Pixel 3a))

The Every, a new near-future tech dystopia novel from author Dave Eggers, marks the first time the famed writer has penned a sequel in his two-decades-plus career. In the seven years after Eggers published his tech-obsessed bestseller The Circle, the author found himself still taking notes on things that could take place in that world. He soon understood why some of the writers he admires most (Margaret Atwood, Colson Whitehead, Philip Roth, etc.) revisit worlds, characters, and ideas they've already built. The evolution, he told Ars Technica, can be fascinating.

"When you establish the foundation and build a world, after the book comes out, you still have ideas about what happens next—I see the attraction," Eggers said in an interview with Ars. "[When I'm going to write a book] there’s usually a catalytic moment: 'OK, all these notes I’ve compiled might be something.' For me, it was thinking about the way we cede control over our lives to algorithms and rely more and more on numbers to determine our own worth and the worth of other things, whether it’s art, humans, restaurants, or basically anything we interact with on a daily basis. Where is this going if we’re uncomfortable with ambiguity or something that can’t be reportedly measured? Why are we so happy to cede decision-making and value assessment to algorithms? What’s it say about us?"

Published in 2013, Eggers' The Circle centered on surveillance and eventually inspired a Tom Hanks/John Boyega/Emma Watson film. In it, a company called The Circle develops an always-on streaming camera small enough to be unnoticeable, and the device becomes wildly popular. The central character, a low-level employee named Mae, eventually helps the device reach those heights by adopting a totally transparent lifestyle. She allows virtually all of her day-to-day interactions to be live-streamed on this Twitch-like ecosystem, complete with running comment threads and DMs. As you might expect, it's not always smooth sailing, and the ramifications can be dark.

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The Weeping Angels are as terrifying as ever in Doctor Who: Flux trailer

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 8:37pm

Jodie Whittaker returns for one last stint as our favorite time lord in Doctor Who: Flux.

We got the briefest of teasers for the upcoming 13th season (or series) of Doctor Who during San Diego Comic-Con in July, hinting at the return of some of the show's most classic villains. Now we finally have the full, official trailer, and it's a doozy, particularly for hardcore fans. We glimpse the Ood, the Cybermen, the Sontarans, and the Weeping Angels—for my money the most frightening and disturbing creatures the long-running franchise has yet invented. Just the brief shot of the Angels in this trailer gave me chills. And apparently there will be alien creatures known as the Ravagers. This will also, alas, be Jodie Whittaker's last full season as the Doctor.

(Spoilers for the 2021 New Year's Day special below.)

We last saw Whittaker's Doctor on New Year's Day in the special episode "Revolution of the Daleks," which found her being held in a Judoon prison. Her faithful companions—Yasmin (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh)—were back in Sheffield, searching for her. Meanwhile, corrupt politicians were building a defense drone squad by cloning the remains of the Reconnaissance Scout Dalek the Doctor and her companions encountered in the 2019 New Year's Day special, "Revolution." Naturally, wacky, world-threatening hijinks ensued.

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FDA advisors recommend J&J boosters for all as agency eyes mix-and-match doses

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 2:45pm
Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida.

Enlarge / Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida. (credit: Getty | Paul Hennessy)

A committee of independent advisors for the Food and Drug Administration on Friday voted unanimously in favor of authorizing a second dose of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to everyone 18 years of age and older, two or more months after a person has received the first dose.

It is the third time the FDA's advisory committee has recommended additional COVID-19 doses in recent weeks to bolster protection. But the reviewed data, discussion, and vote today were significantly different from the booster-authorization meetings for Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.

Dose two

The J&J vaccine has consistently lagged behind the two mRNA vaccines in efficacy against COVID-19. Some estimates have put the J&J vaccine's effectiveness against COVID-19 hospitalization as low as 68 percent, while the two mRNA vaccines have seen estimates of effectiveness against hospitalization in the high 80s to low 90s. Recent data suggests that the mRNA vaccines' protection against infection may start waning six or more months after primary doses—particularly in older and more vulnerable people. This data prompted the push for boosters. But such waning does not appear to be happening with the J&J vaccine.

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Continuous scrolling comes to mobile Google Search

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 1:23pm
See that spinny thing at the bottom of the page? It's going to load more search results any second now...

Enlarge / See that spinny thing at the bottom of the page? It's going to load more search results any second now... (credit: Google)

Google is rolling out a big update to mobile search today: continuous scrolling.

Now, instead of making you tap to load the next page after your usual 10 links of search results, Google will just load the next page.

The company hopes that continuous scrolling will get people to look at more search results and that a longer supply of results is better for more open-ended search questions. The blog post notes that "most people who want additional information tend to browse up to four pages of search results." If you search on your phone, you'll find that continuous scrolling lasts for exactly four pages before the familiar "show more" link pops up. When Google automatically loads the next page, it also sticks an ad before the next page of search results.

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Fixes for AMD Ryzen performance, other Windows 11 issues rolling out to testers now

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 12:20pm
A PC running Windows 11.

Enlarge / A PC running Windows 11. (credit: Microsoft)

Now that Windows 11 is out, the arduous process of fixing the new operating system's bugs can begin. The OS got its first Patch Tuesday update earlier this week, and now another update is rolling out to Windows Insiders in the Beta and Release Preview channels. It fixes a long list of early problems with Windows 11.

The headliner here is a fix for a problem affecting L3 cache latency on AMD Ryzen processors. According to AMD, the bug can reduce performance by 3–5 percent. The Windows 11 update released earlier this week may have actually made the problem worse, but at least a fix is imminent.

The L3 latency bug is one of a pair of problems that AMD identified with Windows 11 earlier this month. The other Windows 11 problem AMD identified, which can prevent high-core-count, high-wattage Ryzen chips from correctly assigning work to the processor's fastest individual cores, will be fixed via an AMD driver update.

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Trumpist county clerk barred after leak of voting-system passwords to QAnon

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 11:25am
A photo of Tina Peters.

Enlarge / Tina Peters. (credit: Tina Peters' campaign website)

A Colorado judge on Wednesday barred Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters from supervising elections due to the leak of voting-system BIOS passwords to QAnon conspiracy theorist Ron Watkins. Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold and Mesa County registered elector Heidi Jeanne Hess had petitioned the court for a ruling that Peters and Deputy Clerk Belinda Knisley are unable to perform the functions of the Designated Election Official for the November 2021 election.

The "court determines that the petitioners have met the burden of showing that Peters and Knisley have committed a breach and neglect of duty and other wrongful acts," Mesa County District Court Judge Valerie Robison wrote in Wednesday's ruling. "As such, Peters and Knisley are unable or unwilling to appropriately perform the duties of the Mesa County Designated Election Official. The court further determines substantial compliance with the provisions of the code require an injunction prohibiting Peters and Knisley from performing the duties of the Designated Election Official."

In August, Watkins released photos of information on Dominion's Election Management Systems (EMS) voting machines, including an installation manual and "BIOS passwords for a small collection of computers, including EMS server and client systems," as we reported at the time. While Watkins, a former 8chan administrator, was trying to prove that Dominion can remotely administer the machines, the documents actually showed "a generic set of server hardware, with explicit instructions to keep it off the Internet and lock down its remote management functions."

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The proof’s in the poop: Austrians have loved beer, blue cheese for 2,700 years

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 11:03am
A 2,700-year-old piece of human excrement found at the Hallstatt salt mines, in which beans, millet, and barley are clearly visible (assuming one wishes to look that closely).

Enlarge / A 2,700-year-old piece of human excrement found at the Hallstatt salt mines, in which beans, millet, and barley are clearly visible (assuming one wishes to look that closely).

Ancient Iron Age miners in what is now Austria were quite fond of beer and blue cheese, according to a new analysis, published in the journal Current Biology, of preserved paleo-poop. The researchers found evidence of two fungal species commonly used to produce blue cheese and beers, along with evidence that the miners' diet was particularly rich in carbohydrates in the form of cereal grains.

“Genome-wide analysis indicates that both fungi were involved in food fermentation and provide the first molecular evidence for blue cheese and beer consumption during Iron Age Europe,” said co-author Frank Maixner of the Eurac Research Institute for Mummy Studies in Bolzano, Italy. "The miners seem to have intentionally applied food fermentation technologies with microorganisms which are still nowadays used in the food industry."

For archaeologists keen on learning more about the health and diet of past populations—as well as how certain parasites evolved over the evolutionary history of the microbiome—preserved samples of ancient poo can be a veritable goldmine of information. Samples are usually found in dry caves, desert areas, frozen areas, or waterlogged environments (like bogs), according to Maixner and his co-authors, where desiccation, freezing, and similar processes preserve the fecal matter for posterity.

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MacBook Pros, an “M1X” chip, and other stuff to expect at Apple’s October event

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 10:41am
Apple could be getting ready to show us the next stage of the MacBook Pro's development.

Enlarge / Apple could be getting ready to show us the next stage of the MacBook Pro's development.

Another month, another Apple event. Fresh off a September event that delivered new updates for the entire iPhone lineup, some new iPads, and a gently tweaked Apple Watch, Apple is preparing for another event on Monday, October 18. And this time, we're expecting the company to focus on the Mac, which is still in the middle of a transition from Intel chips to the Apple Silicon chips that are making new Macs feel exciting and important in a way they haven't in years.

We'll be following along live starting at 10 am Pacific on Monday, but in the meantime, we've gathered all the current rumors and put together a list of things we're most likely to see (as well as one or two things that aren't as likely). The short version is that Apple should finally be gearing up to show us high-performance Apple Silicon chips.

The “M1X” chip, or whatever it’s called

Just as the MacBook Air, the newest 13-inch MacBook Pro, the Mac mini, and the 24-inch iMac all use the same M1 chip, we expect the next round of Macs to share the same silicon as well. Commonly referred to as the "M1X," the chip's exact specifications are a bit of a mystery, since Apple's chip designs are among its best-kept secrets. But it's not hard to guess the general gist of what we'll be getting—new chips that improve upon the performance of the Intel processors they're replacing while also enabling a dramatic increase in battery life. Recent Intel MacBook refreshes have struggled to provide one or the other of these things, but the M1 Macs managed to do both.

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You may soon be able to answer phone calls on your Chromebook

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 10:07am
Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, on white background

Enlarge / Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. (credit: Samsung)

Chromebooks, which are powered by Chrome OS, are generally viewed as a simpler alternative to Windows and macOS systems. But as more Chromebooks flirt with four-figure price tags—take, for example, the Asus Chromebook Flip C436, Samsung Galaxy Chromebook, and recently announced Acer Chromebook Spin 514—consumers will start to demand at least a little more functionality. To that end, a feature being worked on in Chromium’s open source code reviews tool would give Chromebooks an ability that Windows and macOS machines already have.

Based on an "add feature" flag spotted in the Chromium Gerrit by Chrome Unboxed, you might soon be able to answer phone calls on your Chromebook through its Phone Hub feature. The description for the flag, made to “enable the Incoming/Ongoing call notification feature,” says that it “enables the incoming/ongoing call feature in Phone Hub.”

Currently, you can use Phone Hub to view your Android phone’s notifications and recently used Chrome tabs and send and receive text messages. The ability to answer phone calls would give you one less reason to pick up your phone. Windows users with Android devices already have this option via Your Phone, and macOS users with iPhones, iPads, and Apple Watches have the same ability with the Continuity feature.

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NASA’s Lucy mission will soon be in the sky, with a launch set for Saturday

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 9:29am
Atlas V with the Lucy spacecraft aboard an SLC-41 on the morning of October 15 as media set their sound-activated remote cameras.

Enlarge / Atlas V with the Lucy spacecraft aboard an SLC-41 on the morning of October 15 as media set their sound-activated remote cameras. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

Less than five years have gone by since NASA selected the "Lucy" mission for development as part of its Discovery Mission program, and now the intriguing spacecraft is ready for launch.

The $981 million mission will fly an extremely complex trajectory over the span of a dozen years. The spacecraft will swing by Earth a total of three times for gravitational assists as it visits a main-belt asteroid, 52246 Donaldjohanson, and subsequently flies by eight Trojan asteroids that share Jupiter's orbit around the Sun.

The Lucy mission is scheduled to launch on Saturday at 5:34 am ET (09:34 UTC) from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. An Atlas V rocket carrying the 1.5-ton spacecraft rolled to the launch pad on Thursday in advance of the launch attempt. The weather looks fine Saturday morning, with a 90 percent chance of favorable conditions. The launch will be covered live on NASA TV.

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Theranos’ second lab director got $5K a month to rubber-stamp forms

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 6:08am
Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood-testing and life sciences company Theranos, leaves the courthouse with her husband, Billy Evans, after the first day of her fraud trial in San Jose, California, on September 8, 2021.

Enlarge / Elizabeth Holmes, founder and former CEO of blood-testing and life sciences company Theranos, leaves the courthouse with her husband, Billy Evans, after the first day of her fraud trial in San Jose, California, on September 8, 2021. (credit: Nick Otto / AFP)

In yesterday’s installment of the criminal trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, the jury heard some eye-opening testimony from Sunil Dhawan, the doctor Theranos hired to replace its previous lab director.

Dhawan was the longtime dermatologist of Theranos COO Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, who will be facing the same fraud charges as Holmes in the spring. Dhawan was a board-certified doctor, so he met state and federal requirements to be a lab director.

But unlike Adam Rosendorff, the previous director who resigned over the questionable accuracy of the company’s test results, Dhawan was not board-certified in laboratory science, nor did he have any prior experience running a lab of that scale or scope. Dhawan also admitted that he had to google Theranos’ tech when Balwani initially approached him—before he was recruited, he didn't know much about the company’s technology.

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Rocket Report: Virgin Galactic stands down, SpaceX faces environmental lawsuit

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 4:00am
A rocket launches.

Enlarge / Blue Origin's New Shepard launches its second human spaceflight on Wednesday. (credit: Blue Origin)

Welcome to Edition 4.20 of the Rocket Report! If this is edition 4.20 of the newsletter, you know we're going to bring extra smoke. So let's get to it.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Virgin Galactic substantially delays next mission. The space tourism company announced Thursday afternoon that it will delay a planned human flight for the Italian Air Force, Unity 23, and begin a "planned enhancement program" for its VMS Eve carrier aircraft and VSS Unity spacecraft. Effectively, this means that the vehicles will be taken out of service for the next eight months for repairs and upgrades. As one reason for this decision, the company cited a recent test that "flagged a possible reduction in the strength margins of certain materials used to modify specific joints, and this requires further physical inspection."

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