Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Chitin could be used to build tools and habitats on Mars, study finds

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 3:18pm
A figurine of an astronaut stands next to a block.

Enlarge / Scientists mixed chitin—an organic polymer found in abundance in arthropods, as well as fish scales—with a mineral that mimics the properties of Martian soil to create a viable new material for building tools and shelters on Mars. (credit: Javier G. Fernandez)

Space aficionados who dream of one day colonizing Mars must grapple with the stark reality of the planet's limited natural resources, particularly when it comes to building materials. A team of scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design discovered that, using simple chemistry, the organic polymer chitin—contained in the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans—can easily be transformed into a viable building material for basic tools and habitats. This would require minimal energy and no need for transporting specialized equipment. The scientists described their experiments in a recent paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

"The technology was originally developed to create circular ecosystems in urban environments," said co-author Javier Fernandez. "But due to its efficiency, it is also the most efficient and scalable method to produce materials in a closed artificial ecosystem in the extremely scarce environment of a lifeless planet or satellite."

As we previously reported, NASA has announced an ambitious plan to return American astronauts to the Moon and establish a permanent base there, with an eye toward eventually placing astronauts on Mars. Materials science will be crucial to the Artemis Moon Program's success, particularly when it comes to the materials needed to construct a viable lunar (or Martian) base. Concrete, for instance, requires a substantial amount of added water in order to be usable in situ, and there is a pronounced short supply of water on both the Moon and Mars. And transport costs would be prohibitively high. NASA estimates that it costs around $10,000 to transport just one pound of material into orbit. 

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Porsche boosts battery capacity by 27 percent for 2021 Panamera hybrid

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 3:01pm

It takes a lot of time and money to design and then produce a new vehicle, so the longer the car stays on sale, the more time there is to recoup that investment. Eight years is about the lifespan of a new model, which unfortunately is long enough for customers to get bored.

Enter the midlife refresh. The idea is as simple as it sounds—halfway through a model's lifespan, it gets treated to a makeover. There are always things that can be tweaked to make production easier, to satisfy customers, or to take advantage of some new gadget or gizmo that showed up in the meantime.

Such is the case for Porsche's Panamera sedan, which emerges fresh from the styling department with a sharper new face, a subtle tweak to the taillights, and of most interest to our audience, a 27-percent bump in battery size for the plug-in hybrids in the model lineup.

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US has topped 200,000 COVID-19 deaths—and many more to come

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 2:20pm
A medical technician in protective gear handles a wrapped corpse on a gurney.

Enlarge / Transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan prepares the body of a COVID-19 victim at a morgue in Montgomery county, Maryland, on April 17, 2020. (credit: Getty | ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

The US death toll from COVID-19 topped 200,000 Tuesday as daily reports of new cases still hover around 40,000 and daily deaths are in the 700s.

The grim milestone of 200,000 deaths is equivalent to the death toll from the 9/11 attacks occurring every day for 66 days. It’s also equivalent to losing about the entire population of Salt Lake City, Utah, or nearly the population of Rochester, New York. COVID-19 has killed more in the United States than the number of Americans who died in the five most recent wars combined (the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Iraq War, the War in Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf War).

By mid-afternoon Tuesday, the COVID-19 death toll had already reached 200,541 deaths, stemming from more than 6.88 million cases. While these figures are based on data from state health authorities, the actual death toll is expected to be much higher.

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“LokiBot,” the malware that steals your most sensitive data, is on the rise

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 2:11pm
The words

Enlarge (credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr)

Federal and state officials are seeing a big uptick in infections coming from LokiBot, an open source DIY malware package for Windows that’s openly sold or traded for free in underground forums. It steals passwords and cryptocurrency wallets, and it can also download and install new malware.

In an alert published on Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency and the Multi-State Information Sharing & Analysis Center said LokiBot activity has scaled up dramatically in the past two months. The increase was measured by “EINSTEIN,” an automated intrusion-detection system for collecting, correlating, analyzing, and sharing computer security information across the federal civilian departments and agencies.

“CISA has observed a notable increase in the use of LokiBot malware by malicious cyber actors since July 2020,” Tuesday’s alert stated. “Throughout this period, CISA’s EINSTEIN Intrusion Detection System, which protects federal, civilian executive branch networks, has detected persistent malicious LokiBot activity.”

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Blogger who trashed Fauci online “retires” after being ID’d as NIH staffer

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 1:29pm
A man in a suit and a face mask stands in a wood-paneled room.

Enlarge / Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, wears a Washington Nationals protective mask after a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

A public affairs officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is out of a day job after a report found he was moonlighting pseudonymously as an editor for a conservative website, where he regularly trashed his agency and its director, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The RedState managing editor known as "streiff" is actually William Crews, The Daily Beast reported yesterday. Crews was, until this week, a public affairs specialist at NIAID, which is one of the 27 institutes and centers that comprise the National Institutes of Health.

As streiff, Crews "derided his own colleagues as part of a left-wing anti-Trump conspiracy and vehemently criticized the man who leads his agency," according to The Daily Beast. Additionally, he described his boss as "attention-grubbing and media-whoring Anthony Fauci" and "a mask nazi."

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Arctic sea ice hits second-smallest summer extent on record

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 1:01pm
A view of the Earth from outer space.

Enlarge (credit: NASA)

One sign of the transition from summer to fall in the Northern Hemisphere is the annual minimum point in Arctic sea ice extent. Last year tied 2016 and 2007 for second place behind 2012’s record-low coverage. But after another warm year on a warming planet, 2020 hit a lower mark and claimed the No.2 spot free and clear.

Sea ice is floating frozen seawater, and so its melting does not materially contribute to sea level rise, unlike glacial ice on land. Sea ice coverage in both polar regions grows over the winter and shrinks over the summer. In the Arctic, losses bottom out and give way to growth in mid-September. Around this time of year, scientists watch satellite data carefully, waiting for several days of stability or slight growth to call the minimum.

That minimum likely occurred on September 15, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. (It’s possible that a weird turn of weather could cause the extent to drop again to a lower minimum in the next few days, but this probably wouldn’t change the numbers much.) The center put the minimum extent at 3.74 million square kilometers (1.44 million square miles).

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Apple Watch Series 6 teardown unveils missing Force Touch, bigger battery

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 12:20pm

The Apple Watch Series 6 isn't a radical leap forward from its predecessor. It adds a few new features, like blood-oxygen monitoring, but at its heart, it's the same Apple Watch people have been buying and wearing for a bit now. That said, repairability advocate (and repair-tool vendor) iFixit did a teardown of the Watch to find out just how different or similar it is inside.

The verdict is that the Series 6 is indeed mostly the same Watch, with a few key differences. First, it opens a little differently—it "opens to the side like a book." This is a slightly different approach to getting inside the Watch. iFixit posits that this change may be possible in part because the hardware for Force Touch has been removed from the Watch, just as it was in recent iPhones. As with the iPhones, Apple has replaced Force Touch with long-presses.

The battery is notably bigger, at 1.17Wh for the 44-millimeter model and 1.024Wh for the 40mm. That's a modest, single-point increase for both. There are fewer display cables to disconnect when disassembling the device, and there's a larger Taptic Engine in the Watch, too. And of course, iFixit found the pulse oximeter sensor inside.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

What to expect from Google’s 2020 hardware event

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 12:03pm

Google's big yearly hardware event is scheduled for September 30, and as usual, we're expecting a big pile of products to be announced. Google has a hard time keeping anything under wraps before the event, so we're doing a roundup of all the leaks so far. We're expecting four products: the Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a 5G), the "Nest Audio" smart speaker, a new Chromecast with a remote and Android TV, and maybe even a new Nest thermostat.

The Pixel 5 (and Pixel 4a 5G)

No yearly Google hardware event would be complete without the launch of a new smartphone, and this year we're getting two phones: the Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G. We don't need rumors for the basics on this one: these phones were officially confirmed by Google in the Pixel 4a launch blogpost. The Pixel 4a (5G) even has an official price: $499.

This year we should see Google's Pixel line change from ultra-premium, ultra-expensive flagship phones to a lower price with lower specs. Between leaks from WinFuture and a prototype Pixel 5 in the wild, we can piece together a 6-inch, 2340×1080 90Hz display, a Snapdragon 765G SoC, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 4080mAh battery. The phone has a rear capacitive fingerprint reader instead of the in-screen reader every other high-end Android phone has. It also has wireless charging. Besides a wide-angle camera, the Pixel 5 disappointingly has the same main camera sensor as the Pixel 4, which has the same sensor as the Pixel 3, which, with a minor revision, has the same sensor as the Pixel 2. Google has been staying atop the camera comparisons all these years thanks to pure software magic, but you've got to wonder what the company could do with a bigger, more modern sensor. WinFuture lists the price in Germany as "629 euros," which would work out to $736.84.

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Facebook warns privacy rules could force it to exit European market

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 11:04am
Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin.

Enlarge / Facebook's European headquarters in Dublin. (credit: Brian Lawless - PA Images / Getty)

Facebook has warned that it could be forced to pull out of the European market if European regulators push forward with limits on data sharing between the European Union and the United States.

Until this year, an arrangement called Privacy Shield allowed US technology companies to move data easily between the two jurisdictions. But Europe's highest court nixed that arrangement in July, arguing that US law lacks robust protections against surveillance by the US government.

In the wake of that ruling, Ireland's privacy regulator ordered Facebook to stop sending data on European users to its US data centers. Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC) leads enforcement of European privacy regulations with respect to Facebook because Facebook's official European headquarters is in Dublin.

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Old TV set interfered with village’s DSL Internet each day for 18 months

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 9:45am
An old television set displaying static.

Enlarge / An old television set. (credit: Getty Images | Jeffrey Coolidge)

A 400-resident village in Wales suffered 18 months of DSL Internet outages each morning until the culprit was identified as electrical interference from an old TV set.

The residents of Aberhosan mysteriously experienced the outages each morning at 7am. Openreach, a BT subsidiary that provides Internet service in the UK, replaced old cables in the village in an attempt to stop the outages.

"Unfortunately, this didn't resolve the problems and so they began sleuthing for electromagnetic interference with the aid of a spectrum analyzer," according to an article in ISPreview today. The article has a lengthy quote from Openreach engineer Michael Jones, who said, "Not being able to solve the fault for our customers left us feeling frustrated and downbeat, but we were determined to get to the bottom it." Jones explained what happened next:

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Google could face federal, state antitrust suits next week, reports say

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 9:27am
Google's in everything. Perhaps too much everything, regulators now worry.

Enlarge / Google's in everything. Perhaps too much everything, regulators now worry. (credit: Omar Marques | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images)

Multiple investigations into Google parent Alphabet's competition practices may finally be reaching a head, as state and federal regulators meet today to plan next steps for one or more lawsuits against the company.

Attorneys from the Department of Justice are meeting today with attorneys general from several different states about imminent plans to file an antitrust suit against Google, The Washington Post and Bloomberg report.

The DOJ began its antitrust probe of "market-leading online platforms" a little more than a year ago, without naming names. Google was widely assumed to be one of the targets, and the company confirmed last September that it was indeed under investigation.

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156 countries commit to fair COVID-19 vaccine access, but US won’t join

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 9:10am
World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva.

Enlarge / World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a press conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. (credit: Getty | Fabrice Cof)

A total of 156 countries—representing about 64 percent of the world’s population—have committed to pooling resources to help develop, buy, and equitably distribute two billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.

“This isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, which is co-leading the effort along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

So far, 64 high-income countries have signed on to the effort, as well as 92 low- and middle-income countries, which would be eligible for support in procuring vaccine doses. Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said in a WHO press conference on Monday that he expects 38 more countries to sign up in the coming days.

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What happens to Bethesda’s multi-platform games under Microsoft?

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 8:45am

As recently as last weekend, it seemed relatively certain that the next games in major franchises like Doom, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Dishonored, and The Evil Within would come to the PlayStation 5 (and maybe even to the Nintendo Switch). That certainty went out the window yesterday, though, when Microsoft announced that it would spend $7.5 billion to acquire major publisher Bethesda Softworks.

Still, there is some hope for Bethesda fans who don't want to play on Xbox, PC, or via Microsoft's xCloud streaming. Future Bethesda titles will still be considered for multi-platform release "on a case-by-case basis,” Microsoft Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said in an interview with Bloomberg News Monday morning.

Thus far, there are only a few clues as to which games might qualify for either side of that "case-by-case" line.

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LGR’s Clint Basinger plumbs the depths of retro computing—and his YouTube comments

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 8:15am

Produced by Vara Reese, edited by Ron Douglas. Click here for transcript.

Retro-tech YouTube is an awesome place to lose months and months of time—it's a place where awesome creators like The 8-Bit Guy and Techmoan ply their wares, tempting viewers with in-depth discussions of decades-old technology. My personal favorite retro-tech channel to fall into, though, is LGR, or "Lazy Game Reviews," hosted by the smooth-voiced Clint Basinger.

LGR has been reliably churning out videos (often set to smooth jazz) for more than a decade, running the gamut from game reviews to industry retrospectives to... whatever this is, but the videos I love the most are the unboxing videos. They're not your typical unboxing videos—I mean, where else can you watch someone unwrap and set up a new old-stock IBM PC AT, model 5170? And then upgrade the crap out of it?

We've done a couple of successful videos with YouTubers Markiplier and Linus Tech Tips, and so we thought it was time to give Clint at LGR the same treatment—we trawled through the comments on his past videos looking for gems, and then we asked him for his recollections about the comments and the videos to which they're attached.

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The story of cheaper batteries, from smartphones to Teslas

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 7:06am
The story of cheaper batteries, from smartphones to Teslas

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

At today's "Battery Day" event, Tesla is expected to unveil new technologies that will drive the company's products over the next decade. Ahead of the event, we thought readers would enjoy this article, first published in May, about Tesla's role in the falling cost of batteries over the last decade.

In 2010, a lithium-ion battery pack with 1 kWh of capacity—enough to power an electric car for three or four miles—cost more than $1,000. By 2019, the figure had fallen to $156, according to data compiled by BloombergNEF. That's a massive drop, and experts expect continued—though perhaps not as rapid—progress in the coming decade. Several forecasters project the average cost of a kilowatt-hour of lithium-ion battery capacity to fall below $100 by the mid-2020s.

That's the result of a virtuous circle where better, cheaper batteries expand the market, which in turn drives investments that produce further improvements in cost and performance. The trend is hugely significant because cheap batteries will be essential to shifting the world economy away from carbon-intensive energy sources like coal and gasoline.

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All your Xbox Series X and S preorder links in one place

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 6:39am
Promotional image of video game console.

Enlarge / The Series S is nearly 60-percent smaller than the Series X, Microsoft says. (credit: Microsoft)

Sony made its PlayStation 5 available to preorder last week. It didn’t exactly go smoothly.

On Tuesday, it’s Microsoft’s turn. After almost a year of buildup, the tech giant is ready to make its new Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles available to the public—but unlike with the PS5, these preorders are set to go live at a specific, predetermined time.

As a service for those interested in the new machines, and to help them beat the inevitable shopping rush, we’ve compiled all the Xbox Series X and S preorder listings we could find in one place, just like we did with the PS5 last week.

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Facebook vows to restrict users if US election descends into chaos

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 6:32am
United States Map - State with glow with malicious code background in a 1970 dot matrix font on a computer screen. 8K Resolution ready.

Enlarge / United States Map - State with glow with malicious code background in a 1970 dot matrix font on a computer screen. 8K Resolution ready. (credit: Matt Anderson Photography | Getty Images)

Facebook has said it will take aggressive and exceptional measures to “restrict the circulation of content” on its platform if November’s presidential election descends into chaos or violent civic unrest.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nick Clegg, the company’s head of global affairs, said it had drawn up plans for how to handle a range of outcomes, including widespread civic unrest or “the political dilemmas” of having in-person votes counted more rapidly than mail-in ballots, which will play a larger role in this election due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are some break-glass options available to us if there really is an extremely chaotic and, worse still, violent set of circumstances,” Mr Clegg said, though he stopped short of elaborating further on what measures were on the table.

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Digital equity program in Maryland adds Plume Wi-Fi to its Internet access

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 6:00am
Seventy low-income and special needs units in this apartment complex will offer Plume-managed Wi-Fi.

Enlarge / Seventy low-income and special needs units in this apartment complex will offer Plume-managed Wi-Fi. (credit: Michael Bennett Kress Photography)

Montgomery County, Maryland offers its low-income and special needs citizens Internet access via a 600-linear-mile fiber route as part of its Digital Equity program. In a new pilot project, the county will add onsite Wi-Fi—by way of Plume superpods—to its existing basic Internet access.

Digital Equity is defined as a condition in which all individuals in a society can access the technology needed to fully participate in our society, democracy, and economy. The Office of Broadband Programs (OBP) is taking steps towards achieving digital equity in Montgomery County, through programs such as expanding broadband services, educating seniors, and aiding individuals in connecting to the internet.

—Montgomery County Office of Broadband Programs

Ars spoke to Montgomery County's Chief Broadband Officer, Joe Webster, about the upcoming project. Webster told us that although the county has been providing free or low-cost Internet service to residents in need for some time, significant challenges remain beyond the demarc. If you're unfamiliar with the term, "demarc" is ISP shorthand for "point of demarcation"—the point beyond which your IT problems are your own, not the service provider's.

Wi-Fi is a particular pain point, and the low-income and special needs citizens served by Joe's office face particular challenges trying to set up and administer in-home Wi-Fi, due to both the expense and complexity. Ongoing support of in-home Wi-Fi is also a challenging and expensive proposition—network equipment vendor Actiontec claims 60 percent of all ISP support calls are really for Wi-Fi, not the Internet service itself.

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A tip from a kid helps detect iOS and Android scam apps’ 2.4 million downloads

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 4:15am
Screenshot of App Store icon.

Enlarge (credit: Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Researchers said that a tip from a child led them to discover aggressive adware and exorbitant prices lurking in iOS and Android smartphone apps with a combined 2.4 million downloads from the App Store and Google Play.

Posing as apps for entertainment, wallpaper images, or music downloads, some of the titles served intrusive ads even when an app wasn’t active. To prevent users from uninstalling them, the apps hid their icon, making it hard to identify where the ads were coming from. Other apps charged from $2 to $10 and generated revenue of more than $500,000, according to estimates from SensorTower, a smartphone-app intelligence service.

The apps came to light after a girl found a profile on TikTok that was promoting what appeared to be an abusive app and reported it to Be Safe Online, a project in the Czech Republic that educates children about online safety. Acting on the tip, researchers from security firm Avast found 11 apps, for devices running both iOS and Android, that were engaged in similar scams.

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New Xeon-capable motherboard offers 20 USB 3.2 ports

ArsTechnica - Tue, 09/22/2020 - 3:45am

Industrial PC company Portwell is offering an unusual server motherboard. The PEB-9783G2AR is a FlexATX board designed for use in low-profile chassis, supporting Intel Comet Lake-S CPUs and up to 128GiB of DDR4 ECC RAM. This, and the rest of the board's specs, are pretty normal—but then there's the 20 USB 3.2 type-A ports.

Yes, that's right, 20 USB ports, and box headers for an additional four straight serial ports. Tom's Hardware covered this board and speculated that the massive array of USB ports would be useful to cryptocurrency miners for use with external GPUs (though some commenters disagreed).

The cryptocurrency angle is interesting, but it's probably a bit off the mark—Portwell's own press release pushes automation and robotics as applications for the new board. Portwell marketing engineer Maria Yang says that the ports "[allow] customers to connect to many peripheral devices such as cameras that can be used for robot and vehicle navigation."

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