Feed aggregator

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

Astronomers find growing number of Starlink satellite tracks

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 2:24pm
A Starlink track running across the Andromeda galaxy.

Enlarge / A Starlink track running across the Andromeda galaxy. (credit: Caltech Optical Observatories/IPAC)

SpaceX's Starlink Internet service will require a dense constellation of satellites to provide consistent, low-latency connectivity. The system already has over 1,500 satellites in orbit and has received approval to operate 12,000 of them. And that has astronomers worried. Although SpaceX has taken steps to reduce the impact of its hardware, there's no way to completely eliminate the tracks the satellites leave across ground-based observations.

How bad is the problem? A team of astronomers has used archival images from a survey telescope to look for Starlink tracks over the past two years. Over that time, the number of images affected rose by a factor of 35, and the researchers estimate that by the time the planned Starlink constellation is complete, pretty much every image from their hardware will have at least one track in it.

Looking widely

The hardware used for the analysis is called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) at the Palomar Observatory. The ZTF is designed to pick up rare events, such as supernovae. It does so by scanning the entire sky repeatedly, with software monitoring the resulting images to look for objects that were absent in early images but which appeared in later ones. The ZTF's high sensitivity makes it good for picking out dim objects, like asteroids, in our own Solar System.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

iOS developer donates unexpected windfall from unrelated Wordle app

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 1:59pm

Last week, we wrote about the legal status of a spate of shameless Wordle clones that briefly clogged the iOS App Store with attempts to cash in on the trendy web game. Today, we get to focus on a story that's almost the complete opposite of that, as the developer behind a pre-existing app named Wordle! is donating the proceeds from an unexpected windfall driven by the unrelated viral hit.

Developer Steven Cravotta wrote about how he created a game called Wordle! five years ago, at the age of 18, "mostly for fun, to sharpen my coding skillz, and maybe make a quick buck." That game—which asks players to build as many words as they can from a set of letters in a strict time limit—drew about 100,000 free downloads in a matter of months before Cravotta "stopped updating and promoting the app," he wrote on Twitter.

Imagine Cravotta's surprise when the usual pace of one or two legacy downloads a day suddenly increased to a reported 200,000 downloads per week. That spike was the result of the popularity of the other Wordle, a daily in-browser word-guessing game created by Josh Wardle that happens to share the same name (and no other relationship).

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Google wants to make it easier for you to send yourself files

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 1:09pm
Google wants to make it easier for you to send yourself files

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Google recently released a feature that allows users to quickly send data, like photos or documents, to a nearby person with a Chromebook or Android device. Now, it appears developers are working on updating that feature so users can easily send data across their own devices.

Nearby Share came to Chrome OS devices in June and competes with similar technologies like Apple's AirDrop. On Sunday, Chrome Story, a Chrome and Chrome OS-focused blog, spotted an "add feature flag" in the Chromium Gerrit referencing an addition to Nearby Share called Self Share. The feature "enables seamless sharing between a user’s own devices," the flag reads.

Self Share would allow you to send data to yourself without the use of email or third-party cloud drives. Using Bluetooth, WebRTS, or peer-to-peer Wi-Fi, data should transfer to a nearby Chrome OS or Android device in seconds.

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Mass. lawmakers want to tweak connected car “right to repair” law

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 11:46am
Mass. lawmakers want to tweak connected car “right to repair” law

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images/Aurich Lawson)

Back in 2013, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to pass a "right to repair" law that required carmakers to sell their proprietary diagnostic tools and software to third-party repair shops. During the 2020 election, the voters of that state voted, three-to-one, in favor of expanding the law to include the connected aspects of new cars.

From model year 2022, any new car sold in the state that features connected car services or telematics capabilities must have a standardized open data platform as a way of accessing those online services. Now, though, two bills seek to tweak the law in the hopes of getting OEMs to comply.

MY2022 cars have been on sale across the country for some months now. However, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healy has held off on enforcing the new provisions of the law due to an ongoing federal lawsuit brought by a coalition of automakers who claim that the current law is incompatible with widely accepted cybersecurity practices (a view shared by a horrified-sounding National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

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Dark matter asteroids (if they exist) may cause solar flares 

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 11:28am
An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 10, 2014.

An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 10, 2014. (credit: NASA/SDO)

Dark matter is proving to be a rather frustrating topic for physicists, cosmologists, and other outward-looking scientists. All the data for dark matter is gravitational, and the lack of other evidence only draws a box on the particle map where scientists have scrawled, “Here be dark matter.”

Dark matter interacts so weakly with ordinary matter that we simply don’t notice it over the racket of ordinary matter drunkenly shouting at the Universe’s particle bar. What we need is to give it a place to shine—to let it take the spotlight and sing karaoke. It turns out that the inside of a star might just be that place.

Disappointing flashes in the dark

Most proposals for dark matter candidates use the simplest possible extension to the Standard Model. These extensions allow theoretical physicists to estimate how such particles would interact with ordinary matter.

Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Pixel 6 gets its first stable update since November

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 10:45am
The Pixel 6 Pro.

Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Google is getting back on the update horse for the Pixel 6. After numerous delays and a recalled update, the company finally got caught up on patches for its flagship smartphone this past weekend. Assuming everything goes well, this will be the first Pixel 6 update that has stuck since November.

Software updates are supposed to be a major selling point of the Pixel line, but Google hasn't been doing so well delivering them. The phone shipped with the "November" Android security patch, and in the middle of November, Google patched the fingerprint reader. Early December should have brought the December security patch to the Pixel 6, but Google delayed that update to the middle of the month, saying that a mile-long list of bug fixes would be included with it. The December Pixel 6 update launched in the middle of the month, but Google didn't push the update to most users. The company ended up pulling the update due to connectivity issues and some broken features. January rolled around with more security patches and a fix for Android's emergency call issues, but the Pixel 6 didn't get that patch on time, either, with Google saying that the update would be out in "late January."

Well, the time has finally come. This past weekend, Google started releasing the January security patch out to Pixel 6 users. For most users, this will be the first patch since November. The update includes everything in the November and December Android security bulletins, plus these two sets of Pixel 6-specific bug fixes. The list goes on forever. The update is rolling out now, and I was able to pull it down on demand by hitting the "check for updates" button.

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Review: An archivist gets drawn into a spooky cold case in addictive Archive 81

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 10:24am
Dina Shihabi co-stars as Melody Pendras, a documentary filmmaker whose fire-damaged 1994 tapes end up in the hands of archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) in the Netflix series <em>Archive 81</em>. It's loosely based on a podcast of the same name.

Enlarge / Dina Shihabi co-stars as Melody Pendras, a documentary filmmaker whose fire-damaged 1994 tapes end up in the hands of archivist Dan Turner (Mamoudou Athie) in the Netflix series Archive 81. It's loosely based on a podcast of the same name. (credit: Netflix)

A troubled archivist finds himself drawn into the mystery of a woman who disappeared two decades ago in Archive 81, a new horror series from Netflix. Technically, the show belongs to the found footage subgenre of horror, but tonally, this spookily addictive eight-episode series evokes classic supernatural horror fare like Rosemary's Baby—exactly what one should expect when James Wan (of the Insidious and Conjuring franchises) is among the producers.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

The series is loosely based on the popular found footage podcast of the same name created by Daniel Powell and Marc Sollinger, in which the creators play fictionalized versions of themselves. The podcast tells the story of Daniel Powell, an archivist who goes missing after taking a job with the Housing Historical Committee of New York State. After Daniel's disappearance, his best friend Mark Sollinger finds hundreds of hours of audio tapes that Daniel had been archiving; the audio features interviews with residents in a high-rise building in 1994. Mark releases the tapes in the form of a podcast. The podcast is now in its third season.

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Tabletop Simulator removes global chat amid LGBTQ moderation controversy

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 9:14am
Dice placement game Euphoria as seen in <em>Tabletop Simulator</em>.

Enlarge / Dice placement game Euphoria as seen in Tabletop Simulator.

Here at Ars, we've repeatedly noted that Tabletop Simulator is one of the best ways to play virtual versions of physical games across long distances. But developer Berserk Games is now facing controversy over its chat-moderation policies and alleged treatment of LGBTQ discussion. In response, the developer has now taken down the game's global chat feature and announced a "renewed commitment to creating a culture that values inclusivity in board gaming and the world."

Keep it on topic?

The recent controversy began when a player going by the handle Xoe posted an extensive Google Doc documenting what she called "the suppression of gay/trans identities" in Tabletop Simulator's global chat. The chat logs cited in that doc include numerous instances of temporary bans issued right after Xoe discussed her personal sexual or gender identity in the chat.

In those cases, moderators cited posted rules that "there is an expectation that discussion will be family friendly and centered around Tabletop Simulator, tabletop games, and chatting with other players." Moderators specifically told Xoe that "discussing sexuality has no place in global chat" and that "Tabletop Simulator is about playing tabletop games, not a place to discuss sexuality, fetishes, politics [emphasis added]. Keep that to your private lobbies or public chats where these things are the topic at hand."

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Amazon halts plan to ban Visa credit cards in UK

ArsTechnica - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 7:58am
Amazon halts plan to ban Visa credit cards in UK

Enlarge (credit: Leon Neal | Getty Images)

Amazon has halted a plan to ban customers using UK-issued Visa credit cards from this week, as the companies work on a “potential solution” to a rancorous dispute that threatened to severely disrupt shoppers.

The world’s largest online retailer announced the proposed ban in November, citing the “high fees Visa charges for processing credit card transactions,” and advised customers to find new payment methods.

However, on Monday Amazon said that “the expected change regarding the use of Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk will no longer take place on January 19.” The group added that it was “working closely with Visa on a potential solution that will enable customers to continue using their Visa credit cards on Amazon.co.uk.”

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North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million in crypto last year

ArsTechnica - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 3:34pm
North Korean hackers stole nearly $400 million in crypto last year

Enlarge

The past year saw a breathtaking rise in the value of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, with Bitcoin gaining 60 percent in value in 2021 and Ethereum spiking 80 percent. So perhaps it's no surprise that the relentless North Korean hackers who feed off that booming crypto economy had a very good year as well.

North Korean hackers stole a total of $395 million worth of crypto coins last year across seven intrusions into cryptocurrency exchanges and investment firms, according to blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. The nine-figure sum represents a nearly $100 million increase over the previous year's thefts by North Korean hacker groups, and it brings their total haul over the past five years to $1.5 billion in cryptocurrency alone—not including the uncounted hundreds of millions more the country has stolen from the traditional financial system. That hoard of stolen cryptocurrency now contributes significantly to the coffers of Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime as it seeks to fund itself—and its weapons programs—despite the country's heavily sanctioned, isolated, and ailing economy.

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Logitech Signature M650: A quiet wireless mouse for big, small, or left hands

ArsTechnica - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 5:35am
Logitech Signature M650 in the rose colorway.

Enlarge / Logitech Signature M650 in the rose colorway. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: Logitech Signature M650 Sensor Optical (model not disclosed) Connectivity options Bluetooth Low Energy or 2.4 GHz dongle Programmable buttons 3 Onboard profiles 0 Lighting None Size Standard: 4.22×2.43×1.49 inches
(107.19×61.80×37.8 mm)
Large: 4.65×2.58×1.63 inches
(118.19×65.65×41.52 mm) Weight Medium: 3.57 ounces (101.2 g)
Large: 3.92 ounces (111.2 g) Warranty 1 year Price (MSRP) $40 Other perks AA battery included
(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

Many mice offer very basic functionality—left-click, right-click, scroll wheel, and not much more. Others boast a range of programmable buttons, premium sensor specs, USB-C charging, and other features for power users. But what if you don't need that extreme level of functionality but don't want something cheap and bare-bones, either?

Released this past week, the Logitech Signature M650 wireless mouse is a middle-ground device that supports Windows, macOS, Linux, Chrome OS, iPadOS, and Android. It doesn't have the most advanced features, but it isn't basic, either. And by skipping some add-ons, like multiple Bluetooth profiles, the mouse is able to maintain an affordable $40 price point.

Logitech's latest cord-free mouse also comes in three different versions: a standard size, a large size, and a large left-handed version, providing something for everyone—unless you have a smaller left hand, that is.

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Pregnant people are still not getting vaccinated against COVID

ArsTechnica - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 5:24am
Pregnant people are still not getting vaccinated against COVID

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Dmitry Rogulin )

Calendar year three into the pandemic, and vaccination coverage among pregnant people remains staggeringly low.

According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of January 1, just over 40 percent of pregnant people in the United States between age 18 and 49 were fully vaccinated prior to pregnancy or during their pregnancy, compared with 66 percent of the general population over the age of 5. For Black pregnant people, the figure plummets to about 25 percent. Data for the United Kingdom is a little less up to date, but in August 2021 just 22 percent of women who gave birth were fully vaccinated.

And with omicron running rampant, this is a problem. At the end of 2021, the UK’s vaccine watchdog, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization, announced that pregnant women would be made a priority group for vaccination, after reams of research has shown just how vulnerable the group is to COVID.

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The weekend’s best deals: HBO Max, new AirPods, Apple Watch Series 7, and more

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/15/2022 - 8:26am
 HBO Max, new AirPods, Apple Watch Series 7, and more

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

It's time for another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best deals we can find from around the web includes a rare discount on HBO Max subscriptions. Right now, new or lapsed subscribers to the video streaming service can take 20 percent off the cost of a monthly subscription, for up to 12 months in total. The deal applies to both the ad-supported and ad-free plans, bringing them down to $8 per month (from $10) and $12 per month (from $15), respectively. If you run the offer out for the full 12 months, it'll result in a $24 discount for those who subscribe to the ad-supported tier, or a $36 discount for those who go for the ad-free option. The deal doesn't lock you into subscribing for a set period of time, but note that, by default, the service will be set to auto-renew at the usual monthly price once your discounted period ends. The service's offer page says this deal is for the US only and will last until January 25.

While the deal doesn't apply to existing subscribers or HBO Max's annual plans, this is still decent savings for those who were already thinking of giving the service a go. Warner Bros. doesn't plan to release major films on HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously going forward, but if you need something new to binge, the service still has a good amount of fare we like, from the latest Matrix film (until January 21, at least) to newer shows like The White Lotus, The Nevers, Hacks, and Succession. Classics like The Sopranos and Curb Your Enthusiasm are still there as well.

If you're already overloaded with streaming services, though, our roundup has plenty more tech deals of note. The Apple Watch Series 7, our top smartwatch pick, is within $10 of the lowest price we've tracked, while Jabra's Elite 75t, a pair of noise-canceling true wireless headphones we recommend, are within $5 of their all-time low. The newest Apple AirPods are back down to a low of $140 and could fit the bill for those who prefer a more open earbud design, while the PC version of 2021 Ars game of the year Psychonauts 2 is discounted to $36. We've also got discounts on Nintendo Switch games and accessories, Wacom drawing tablets, and iPhone screen protectors, among other gear. You can check out the full list below.

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Backdoor RAT for Windows, macOS, and Linux went undetected until now

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/15/2022 - 7:00am
Backdoor RAT for Windows, macOS, and Linux went undetected until now

Enlarge (credit: Jeremy Brooks / Flickr)

Researchers have uncovered a never-before-seen backdoor malware written from scratch for systems running Windows, macOS, or Linux that remained undetected by virtually all malware scanning engines.

Researchers from security firm Intezer said they discovered SysJoker—the name they gave the backdoor malware—on the Linux-based Webserver of a “leading educational institution.” As the researchers dug in, they found SysJoker versions for both Windows and macOS as well. They suspect the cross-platform RAT—short for remote access trojan—was unleashed in the second half of last year.

The discovery is significant for several reasons. First, fully cross-platform malware is something of a rarity, with most malicious software being written for one specific operating system. The RAT was also written from scratch and made use of four separate command-and-control servers, an indication that the people who developed and used it were part of an advanced threat actor that invested significant resources. It’s also unusual for previously unseen Linux malware to be found in a real-world attack.

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The underground network bringing Japan’s arcades to the US

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/15/2022 - 6:12am
The underground network bringing Japan’s arcades to the US

Enlarge (credit: Julian Berman)

Last October, Phil Arrington precariously balanced a dream on the cargo bed of his 2002 Ford Ranger pickup. It was a stupid dream, but it did not deserve to die on a dolly behind a beige warehouse.

Arrington was hunched over the dolly, gold chain dangling over a tight gray tee. Between his arms, leaned at a 45-degree angle, was a video game arcade machine; its title, MUSECA, could be glimpsed over his shoulder. The machine had come a long way—from an arcade in Tokyo to an anonymous warehouse in Osaka and then, after a long wait on a container ship outside Long Beach, California, to Arrington’s warehouse in San Pedro. Arrington effortfully wheeled the 6-foot-tall cabinet toward the pickup’s hatch. On the concrete 3 feet below lay a thin, blue blanket. Nearby, a phone was recording.

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Hark back to the late 1990s with this re-creation of the dialup Internet experience

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 4:54pm

A demonstration of the late 1990s dialup experience using nearly period-accurate hardware, connecting to modern websites using outdated browsers over a 31.2kbit/s dialup connection. Be forewarned: page loads are in real time.

We all found our coping strategies for riding out the pandemic in 2020. Biomedical engineer Gough Liu likes to tinker with tech—particularly vintage tech—and decided he'd try to recreate what it was like to connect to the Internet via dialup back in the late 1990s. He recorded the entire process in agonizing real time, dotted with occasional commentary.

Those of a certain age (ahem) well remember what it used to be like: even just booting up the computer required patience, particularly in the earlier part of the decade, when one could shower and make coffee in the time it took to boot up one's computer from a floppy disk. One needed a dedicated phone line for the Internet connection, because otherwise an incoming call could disrupt the connection, forcing one to repeat the whole dialup process. Browsing the web was equally time-consuming back in the salad days of Netscape and Microsoft Explorer.

So much has changed since then, as the Internet has gone from a curiosity to a necessity, reshaping our culture in the process. As Liu noted on his blog:

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Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 3:52pm
Netflix cites “more entertainment choices than ever,” raises prices again

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

On Friday, Netflix confirmed plans to raise prices for its video-streaming services in North America for the seventh time in 11 years.

Unlike many previous Netflix price hikes, this year's bump hits all three subscription options. In the United States, the "basic" tier, which is capped at 720p and includes other limits, receives its first increase in three years, jumping $1 to $9.99 per month. The 1080p "standard" tier goes up $1.50 to $15.49 per month. And the 4K "premium" tier jumps $2 to $19.99 per month. Canadian customers can expect similar jumps in prices for all three tiers as well.

Netflix says the price increases will roll out in phases to existing customers based on their billing cycles, and all customers will get no fewer than 30 days' notice before the higher prices go into effect. Brand-new customers must begin paying the higher prices immediately.

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Shkreli’s infamous 4,000% price hike gets him a lifetime pharma ban

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 3:13pm
Martin Shkreli looks disappointed.

Enlarge / Martin Shkreli. (credit: Getty | Drew Angerer)

A federal court on Friday banned convicted fraudster Martin Shkreli from ever working in the pharmaceutical industry again in any capacity and ordered him to pay back $64.6 million in profits from his infamous scheme that raised the price of the life-saving drug Daraprim more than 4,000 percent.

US District Judge Denise Cote issued the lifetime ban after finding that Shkreli engaged in anticompetitive practices to protect the monopoly profits of Daraprim.

According to a lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission and seven states—New York, California, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—Shkreli, his former pharmaceutical company Vyera (formerly Turing), and former Vyera CEO Kevin Mulleady created a "web of anticompetitive restrictions to box out the competition" in 2015 after they bought the rights to Daraprim.

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Intel “mega-fab” coming to Ohio, reports say

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 3:05pm
Intel “mega-fab” coming to Ohio, reports say

Enlarge (credit: ony Avelar/Bloomberg)

Intel is reportedly planning to build a large chip facility in New Albany, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, the state capital. An official announcement is expected on January 21.

The company reportedly plans to invest $20 billion in the site, and the city of New Albany is working to annex up to 3,600 acres of land to accommodate the facility, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which first reported the deal.

Given the size of the parcel and the facility’s rumored price tag, it is likely the site of Intel’s “mega-fab,” which CEO Pat Gelsinger said would be like “a little city.” The mega-fab would contain six to eight modules, he said, and would focus on lithography processes and packaging techniques. Suppliers would have space on the site, too.

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Old stone toilet reveals Jerusalem’s wealthy elite had intestinal parasites

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/14/2022 - 12:44pm
A 2,700-year-old toilet seat made of stone revealed the poor sanitary conditions of a 7th-century Jerusalem luxury villa.

Enlarge / A 2,700-year-old toilet seat made of stone revealed the poor sanitary conditions of a 7th-century Jerusalem luxury villa. (credit: Yoli Schwartz, The Israel Antiquities Authority)

The wealthy, privileged elite of Jerusalem in the 7th century BCE were plagued by poor sanitary conditions and resulting parasitic intestinal diseases, according to a recent paper published in the International Journal of Paleopathology. An analysis of soil samples collected from a stone toilet found within the ruins of a swanky villa revealed the presence of parasitic eggs from four different species. The work should help document the history of infectious disease in the region, providing additional insight into the daily lives of the people who once lived there.

"The findings of this study are among the earliest observed in Israel to date," said author Dafna Langgut of Tel Aviv University and the Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, who is a leading researcher in the emerging field of archeoparasitology. "These are durable eggs, and under the special conditions provided by the cesspit, they survived for nearly 2,700 years. Intestinal worms are parasites that cause symptoms like abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and itching. Some of them are especially dangerous for children and can lead to malnutrition, developmental delays, nervous system damage, and, in extreme cases, even death."

Yes, it sounds gross, but archaeologists can actually learn a great deal by studying the remains of intestinal parasites in ancient feces. For instance, per Langgut, prior studies have compared fecal parasites found in hunter-gatherer and farming communities, thereby revealing dramatic dietary changes, as well as shifts in settlement patterns and social organization coinciding with the rise of agriculture. The domestication of animals in particular led to more parasitic infections in farming communities, while hunter-gatherer groups were exposed to fewer parasites and transmissible diseases given their nomadic lifestyle. This is even reflected in modern nomadic communities of hunter-gatherers.

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