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.

Let’s make a deal: Entrepreneur wants to trade Buran shuttle for a skull

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 5:45am
The original Buran shuttle, which flew one time, is photographed in the year 2000 two years before its destruction.

Enlarge / The original Buran shuttle, which flew one time, is photographed in the year 2000 two years before its destruction. (credit: Scott Peterson/Liaison)

Tensions are continuing to escalate between a Kazakh businessman and Russian space officials over the fate of the second Buran-class orbiter, named Burya.

The businessman, Dauren Musa, claims ownership of Burya. This was the second orbiter built as part of the Soviet Buran program, which aimed to produce a fleet of space shuttle-like vehicles four decades ago. At the time of the program's cancellation in 1993 due to a lack of funding, the Burya vehicle was deemed to be more than 95 percent completed for flight operations.

The first Buran shuttle made just a single, unpiloted flight to orbit in 1988. However, this vehicle was destroyed in 2002 after the roof of the hangar where it was stored at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan collapsed. The loss of the original Buran makes Burya all the more valuable to Russian space officials.

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Making sense of Mazda’s MX-30 electric commuter car

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 2:00am
Mazda provided flights to Santa Ana and a night in a hotel so we could drive the MX-30. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

IRVINE, Calif.—It's fair to say that Mazda has some work ahead of it with regard to electrification. The Japanese automaker has repeatedly impressed us with its keen understanding of vehicle dynamics and attention to details. But Mazda is only just bringing its 1st-generation battery electric vehicle—the MX-30 compact crossover—to market at a time when other carmakers are on their fifth.

It would be easy to dismiss the Mazda MX-30 just based on the numbers. The 100-mile (160 km) range will be the biggest hurdle for people to get over; that would have been a hard sell in 2014, let alone now in 2021. Then there's the fact that Mazda only plans to import 560 MX-30s for now, all bound for California. This is not an EV for the masses, something Mazda's PR people were upfront about. They're openly describing the $33,470 (before federal tax credits) EV as a "commuter car."

And yet Mazda is the car company that built a crossover that's more fun to drive than most hot hatches. It has also churned out more than a million MX-5 Miatas. Which is why I went to California last week to find out whether the MX-30 is a rare Mazda misstep or if the boffins from Hiroshima had a surprise in store after all.

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Elizabeth Holmes’ defense strikes back in cross-examination of lab director

ArsTechnica - Sun, 10/03/2021 - 3:01pm
Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building and US Courthouse in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Holmes is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Enlarge / Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the Robert F. Peckham Federal Building and US Courthouse in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021. Holmes is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and nine counts of wire fraud and could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. (credit: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/The Mercury News)

Theranos’ former lab director has become a central focus of early questioning in Elizabeth Holmes’ criminal trial. Late last week, the defense continued its cross-examination of one of the prosecution’s key witnesses, attempting to paint Dr. Adam Rosendorff as unreliable.

Three facts could damage Rosendorff in the eyes of the jury. Whether those facts diminish his prior testimony depends largely on Holmes’ defense team. Given the damning facts Rosendorff laid out during the prosecution’s questioning, that will be a difficult task. But discrediting key witnesses is something all defenses have to attempt.

Three lines of questioning

First, Rosendorff admitted under questioning by Holmes’ attorney Lance Wade that he had approved of the company’s controversial pseudo-policy regarding outliers. While Theranos had no official policy for how to eliminate outliers—despite there being ample guidance for how to do so—the company did develop a framework called the “six tip policy.” Each sample produced six results, and from that, two were discarded and the remaining four were averaged. The policy says it was OK to eliminate two, but it didn’t help lab techs identify which are the best candidates for omission. So, this is kind of a policy, but it's one that didn’t cover everything it should have.

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The decreasing cost of renewables unlikely to plateau any time soon

ArsTechnica - Sun, 10/03/2021 - 2:07pm
Image of a wind turbine.

Enlarge

Past projections of energy costs have consistently underestimated just how cheap renewable energy would be in the future, as well as the benefits of rolling them out quickly, according to a new report out of the Institute of New Economic Thinking at the University of Oxford.

The report makes predictions about more than 50 technologies such as solar power, offshore wind, and more, and it compares them to a future that still runs on carbon. “It’s not just good news for renewables. It’s good news for the planet,” Matthew Ives, one of the report’s authors and a senior researcher at the Oxford Martin Post-Carbon Transition Programme, told Ars.

The paper used probabilistic cost forecasting methods—taking into account both past data and current and ongoing technological developments in renewables—for its findings. It also used large caches of data from sources such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Bloomberg. Beyond looking at the cost (represented as dollar per unit of energy production over time), the report also represents its findings in three scenarios: a fast transition to renewables, a slow transition, and no transition at all.

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The controversial quest to make cow burps less noxious

ArsTechnica - Sun, 10/03/2021 - 4:05am
The controversial quest to make cow burps less noxious

Enlarge (credit: Hans Meleman | Getty Images)

It's an oppressively hot morning in the barnyard, even in the shade of the long open-air structure where the cows come to feed. On a typical farm, they would gather around a trough, but here at UC Davis they chow from special blue bins, which detect when and how much each one eats. It’s like Weight Watchers, only researchers here aren’t so much interested in these cows’ figures, but how much they burp.

Animal scientist Frank Mitloehner leads me to another kind of feeder, one that could easily be mistaken for a miniature wood chipper. He grabs a handful of the alfalfa pellets that the machine dispenses when it detects that a cow has poked its head in. “This is like candy to them,” Mitloehner says. I stick my head into the machine as Mitloehner points out a small metal tube within: “This probe measures the methane they exhale, and that happens every three hours for all the animals in this study.”

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YouTube TV keeps NBC, won’t have to bundle Peacock as companies strike new deal

ArsTechnica - Sat, 10/02/2021 - 10:35am
NBC's peacock-shaped logo on the NBC Tower in Chicago.

Enlarge / NBC's logo on the NBC Tower in Chicago on March 25, 2011. (credit: Getty Images | Raymond Boyd )

Update 10/2/2021 YouTube TV and NBC today announced a new contract that will let NBC channels remain on YouTube TV. "We're thrilled to share that we've reached a deal to continue carrying the full NBCUniversal portfolio of channels. That means you won't lose access to any of their channels, and YouTube TV will continue to offer 85+ networks for $64.99," YouTube said. NBC confirmed the deal in a statement to Ars.

YouTube confirmed to Ars that the new contract is a multiyear deal, but neither company revealed the exact length. The sides previously agreed to a short extension of the old contract to avoid a blackout and were then able to finalize a new channel-carriage agreement.

The new contract does not require YouTube TV to bundle NBC's Peacock online service, an NBC source confirmed to Ars. NBC previously sought a YouTube TV/Peacock bundle but dropped the demand earlier in the negotiations. The NBC source said that Peacock was not a "major part" of the negotiations with YouTube TV. Instead, the source said, Peacock is "a part of the conversation" in all negotiations with partners.

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Metal Gear, Silent Hill, and Castlevania could return in 2022, allegedly

ArsTechnica - Sat, 10/02/2021 - 7:00am
Metal Gear, Silent Hill, and Castlevania could return in 2022, allegedly

Enlarge (credit: Collage by Aurich Lawson)

Konami is rumored to be bringing back some of its most classic—and long dormant—series, including Metal Gear and Silent Hill, with multiple new titles set to be revealed in 2022.

The embattled Japanese publisher and developer has been largely inactive since pivoting to focus on mobile games in 2015. But as reported by VGC, it allegedly has several large-scale projects currently in production. Anonymous sources told the news site that a "reimagining" of Castlevania is being made internally in Japan with help from "local external studios," while outside developers are working on new entries for Metal Gear and Silent Hill.

Could it be true?

Beyond Konami proper, the Metal Gear project is alleged to be a remake of 2004's Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, headed up by the Singapore-based outfit Virtuos. The auxiliary studio has recently worked on the Switch ports of Dark Souls Remastered and The Outer Worlds, and it otherwise offered development support in various capacities on hit series like Uncharted, Call of Duty, and Battlefield. (Last November, rumors began circulating that it was actually Bluepoint Games that was working on a remake of 1998's Metal Gear Solid, which continued until the studio confirmed this week its next project will be an original game.)

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Google Pay’s disastrous year continues, promised bank account feature is dead

ArsTechnica - Sat, 10/02/2021 - 5:45am
The Google Play logo is flushed down a toilet alongside many dollar bills.

Enlarge / Google Pay continues to circle the drain. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Ars Technica)

Google's grand plan to launch Google Bank Accounts is dead. As part of its big relaunch this past year, the Google Pay division promised to launch "Plex," a digital banking service from Google. After a disastrous year for Google Pay that included a botched app revamp and an employee exodus from the division, though, a report from the Wall Street Journal now says Google's bank account plans are dead.

Plex was officially announced almost two years ago and heavily promoted on the Google Pay website and app, complete with a waitlist users could sign up for. The service would have been a "mobile first" banking app with physical cards, less fees, and lots of spending visualizations. I want to say something like, "I can't imagine anyone wanting a Google Bank Account" given the privacy concerns and how unstable new Google products can be, but the Wall Street Journal reports that there were 400,000 people on the waitlist.

Google was partnering with Citigroup, Stanford Federal Credit Union, and a few other banks for the service, and not all of them were apparently in on the plan to cancel Plex. The Wall Street Journal report closes with a rather sad paragraph:

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This software aims to make your flight smoother—and help the planet

ArsTechnica - Sat, 10/02/2021 - 4:40am
So many airplanes are in line on the runway waiting for take off. These Air Force planes are part of Operation stop service to transport in Covid-19 situation.

Enlarge / So many airplanes are in line on the runway waiting for take off. These Air Force planes are part of Operation stop service to transport in Covid-19 situation. (credit: Naruecha Jenthaisong | Getty Images)

Fastening the seat belt buckle and knowing your flight is on its way to its destination: Nice. Getting stuck in a tarmac traffic jam and waiting for your flight to take off: Not so nice. Turns out the wait is also not nice for the planet.

Flying in an airplane is already one of the most emissions-intensive things you can do. Globally, aviation produced over 1 billion tons of carbon emissions in 2019, more than 2 percent of all human-generated emissions—more than either shipping or rail. Aircraft engines also emit nitrogen oxides, soot particles, and water vapor, which also contribute to warming the planet.

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Hundreds of scam apps hit over 10 million Android devices

ArsTechnica - Sat, 10/02/2021 - 3:50am
Never put a GriftHorse on your phone.

Enlarge / Never put a GriftHorse on your phone. (credit: John Lamparsky | Getty Images)

Google has taken increasingly sophisticated steps to keep malicious apps out of Google Play. But a new round of takedowns involving about 200 apps and more than 10 million potential victims shows that this longtime problem remains far from solved—and in this case, potentially cost users hundreds of millions of dollars.

Researchers from the mobile security firm Zimperium say the massive scamming campaign has plagued Android since November 2020. As is often the case, the attackers were able to sneak benign-looking apps like "Handy Translator Pro," "Heart Rate and Pulse Tracker," and “Bus - Metrolis 2021” into Google Play as fronts for something more sinister. After downloading one of the malicious apps, a victim would receive a flood of notifications, five an hour, that prompted them to "confirm" their phone number to claim a prize. The “prize” claim page loaded through an in-app browser, a common technique for keeping malicious indicators out of the code of the app itself. Once a user entered their digits, the attackers signed them up for a monthly recurring charge of about $42 through the premium SMS services feature of wireless bills. It's a mechanism that normally lets you pay for digital services or, say, send money to a charity via text message. In this case, it went directly to crooks.

The techniques are common in malicious Play Store apps, and premium SMS fraud in particular is a notorious issue. But the researchers say it's significant that attackers were able to string these known approaches together in a way that was still extremely effective—and in staggering numbers—even as Google has continuously improved its Android security and Play Store defenses.

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Venom 2 film review: Let there be (mostly) boredom

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 3:15pm

My favorite parts of underwhelming films come when on-screen characters say the insulting things we, the audience, are all thinking. Out of all the modern comic book-iverse characters to hand these honors to, none relishes this duty better than Venom in his latest sequel, Let There Be Carnage.

"This guy makes zero sense," the CGI beast, voiced by Tom Hardy, blurts after one puzzling dialogue exchange. He's even harsher to his real-life co-star Woody Harrelson in a climactic kiss-off, exclaiming "Fuck this guy!" after an utterly tone-deaf confession.

That's mostly what Venom: Let There Be Carnage has going for it: a willingness to let Hardy off his leash and channel his id. Whether he's going for violence or compassion in his beast form, it's hilarious stuff. But the fun only reigns for about 30 minutes before the production loses momentum, all while failing to make up its mind on whether to deliver an overwrought plot or throw logic out the window.

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COVID-19 vaccines will be added to immunization list required for CA students

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 3:00pm
California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks with 7th grade students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California.

Enlarge / California Gov. Gavin Newsom talks with 7th grade students at James Denman Middle School on October 01, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (credit: Getty | Justin Sullivan)

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday announced that the state will add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of immunizations students are required to get to attend in-person public and private schools.

California is the first state to announce such plans. COVID-19 vaccines will join the ranks of vaccine for measles, mumps, polio, hepatitis B, pertussis, tetanus, and chicken pox, which are already required for school attendance.

The mandate isn't immediate. The requirement will not kick in until the vaccine is fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration for school aged children. As such, the requirement will be phased in by grade groups—grades 7 through 12 and K-6—and begin at the start of the school term following full FDA approval.

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X-rays reveal censored portions of Marie Antoinette’s letters to Swedish count

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 2:31pm
1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, by Jean-Baptiste-André Gautier-Dagoty. X-ray analysis of letters between the queen and a Swedish count revealed words that had been blacked out, rendering them illegible—until now.

Enlarge / 1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, by Jean-Baptiste-André Gautier-Dagoty. X-ray analysis of letters between the queen and a Swedish count revealed words that had been blacked out, rendering them illegible—until now. (credit: Public domain)

Most people associate Marie Antoinette with the affair of the diamond necklace, "Let them eat cake!" and the onset of the French Revolution. The French queen and her royal husband, Louis XVI, were guillotined in 1793, 10 months apart. But her colorful life also included a possible clandestine love affair with a Swedish count, and historians have been diligently working to decipher the surviving letters between the two for years.

The letters were cyphered, as was the custom at the time for politically sensitive correspondence. Fifteen of the surviving letters in the collection of the French National Archives also have significant portions redacted, amounting to some 108 illegible lines in all. Thanks to cutting-edge x-ray imaging techniques and data processing methods, the redacted portions of eight of those letters have finally been revealed, according to a new paper published in the journal Science Advances. The research is a collaboration between the National Archives, the French Museum of Natural History, and the Fondation de France.

Marie Antoinette and Count Hans Axel von Fersen of Sweden met as teenagers at a masquerade ball, when she was still Dauphine of France, and he became a frequent visitor to Versailles thereafter. Her royal husband famously proved unable to consummate the marriage for the first seven years.

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Biden sued by Air Force officers who compare vaccine rule to death sentence

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:51pm
President Joe Biden rolls up his sleeve before receiving a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

Enlarge / President Joe Biden receiving a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in the White House September 27, 2021. (credit: Getty Images | Anna Moneymaker )

President Biden's vaccine mandate is being challenged in a lawsuit filed by four active-duty US Air Force officers, a Secret Service agent, a Border Patrol agent, and four other federal employees or contractors. The lawsuit claimed that "convicted serial killers who have been sentenced to death receive more respect" than citizens who are required to take vaccines.

The lawsuit alleges that the vaccine mandate forces service members, federal employees, and federal employees to "inject themselves with: (1) a non-FDA approved product; (2) against their will; and (3) without informed consent." Plaintiffs seek a ruling that the vaccine mandates issued by Biden and the Department of Defense "violate the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of substantive due process" and "the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment." (The Pfizer vaccine does have full FDA approval.)

Plaintiffs also claim the mandate violates the Free Exercise and Establishment clauses of the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and other US laws including "Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by discriminating against Plaintiffs and service members, federal employees, and federal contractors on the basis of their religion or disability." Biden's order does allow exceptions for medical or religious reasons but exemptions reportedly may be difficult to obtain.

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California DMV gives Cruise and Waymo OK to charge for rides

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 12:26pm
A Cruise robotaxi test vehicle in San Francisco.

Enlarge / A Cruise robotaxi test vehicle in San Francisco. (credit: Cruise)

The autonomous vehicle developers Cruise and Waymo both got a little closer to running true driverless robotaxi services in and around San Francisco. In May, both Waymo and Cruise applied to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for deployment permits (as opposed to the testing permits that have allowed non-commercial operations). On Thursday, the DMV issued autonomous deployment permits to both companies, which is a necessary step if the robotaxis are to charge passengers for their rides.

San Franciscans might have to be night owls to catch a Cruise; the DMV's authorization gives Cruise permission to operate on surface streets within a geofenced area of San Francisco between the hours of 10 pm and 6 am. Cruise's autonomous vehicles are allowed to operate in light rain and light fog, but they aren't allowed to exceed 30 mph (48 km/h).

Waymo is allowed to operate over a wider area; the DMV's authorization is "within parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties." These robotaxis are also trusted to cope with light rain and light fog and are approved for speeds of up to 65 mph (105 km/h).

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After years of futility, NASA turns to private sector for spacesuit help

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:48am
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine high-fives Kristine Davis, a spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, wearing a ground prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) in 2019.

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine high-fives Kristine Davis, a spacesuit engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, wearing a ground prototype of NASA’s new Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit (xEMU) in 2019. (credit: NASA)

This week NASA's Johnson Space Center issued a call to industry for new spacesuits. The space agency's existing suits are decades old, and new ones are needed both for the International Space Station as well as Artemis missions to the lunar surface later this decade.

"Our undertakings in low-Earth orbit, at the Moon and beyond have evolved and are calling for innovative technology," said NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy. "The next astronauts on the Moon—including the first woman—will be kept safe in revolutionary spacesuits that fit better and enable greater human exploration than ever before."

The announcement did not garner a whole lot of attention, but it is significant for two reasons. First of all, with this "request for proposals," NASA may finally solve the problem of finding its next-generation spacesuits, which has vexed the agency for the last 14 years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, with this new approach to buying spacesuits, NASA is further signaling its intent in a more commercial procurement process. It will be essentially renting the suits from industry, not building them in-house at a far greater expense.

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Google Lens is coming to desktop Chrome, will soon handle text+image search

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 11:08am

Google Lens, Google's computer vision search engine, is coming to desktop Chrome. Google didn't exactly share a timeline, but a teaser tweet showed what the feature will look like.

On desktop Chrome, you'll soon be able to right-click an image and pick "Search with Google Lens," which will dim the page and bring up a clipping tool so you can throw a certain image to Google's photo AI. After a round-trip to the Internet, a sidebar will pop up showing several results.

While Google.com's image search just tries to find similar pictures, Lens can actually identify things in a picture, like people, text, math equations, animals, landmarks, products, and more. It can translate text through the camera and even copy text from the real world (with OCR) and paste it into an app. The feature has existed on Android and iOS for a while, first as a camera-driven search that brought up a live viewfinder, then in Google Photos, and more recently as a long-press option for web pictures in Chrome for Android.

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Meet molnupiravir, Merck’s Thor-inspired pill that hammers COVID

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 10:04am
A Merck sign stands in front of the company's building on October 2, 2013, in Summit, New Jersey.

Enlarge / A Merck sign stands in front of the company's building on October 2, 2013, in Summit, New Jersey. (credit: Getty | Kena Betancur)

An oral antiviral drug appears to cut the risk of hospitalization and death from COVID-19 by roughly 50 percent in people newly diagnosed with the infection and at risk for severe disease, pharmaceutical company Merck announced Friday morning.

The drug-maker and its partner, Ridgeback Biotherapeutics, released top-line results of a Phase III trial, which the companies ended early given the positive results. The companies say they will apply for an Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration as soon as possible.

The trial enrolled people who had newly tested positive for a SARS-CoV-2 infection and had onset of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 symptoms within just the past five days of starting the trial. The enrollees also had to have at least one risk factor for a poor outcome, such as having obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or being age 60 or above. While some participants received a placebo and standard care, others took an oral dose of the drug every 12 hours for five days.

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Apple Watch Series 7 orders begin next week, leaks claim

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 9:05am
The Apple Watch Series 7.

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 7. (credit: Apple)

Two different apparent leaks have stated that preorders for the Apple Watch Series 7 will begin next week and that the wearable will ship the following week.

Jon Prosser, a leaker with a long track record on Apple products, wrote on Front Page Tech that "multiple sources familiar with the release" have said that preorders would begin "as soon as next week, with shipping happening mid-October."

And as reported first by AppleTrack, an email blast to customers from luxury brand Hermès (which makes Apple Watch-related products) got more specific: it named the first day to order the Watch. "The Apple Watch Series 7 will be available for preorder beginning October 8, 2021," the brief email said.

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Research says the gaming monitor and PC trend isn’t over yet

ArsTechnica - Fri, 10/01/2021 - 8:33am
Powerful Personal Computer Gamer Rig with First-Person Shooter Game on Screen. Monitor Stands on the Table at Home. Cozy Room with Modern Design is Lit with Warm and Neon Light.

Enlarge / Not even the GPU shortage can kill gaming. (credit: Getty)

If you thought heightened interest in gaming-focused monitors, desktops, and laptops would falter as the pandemic eased, you might want to hold onto your RGB gaming chair: the International Data Corporation (IDC) is predicting four more years of increased demand, with each segment growing faster than its parent market.

This week, the global researcher shared the latest numbers from its Worldwide Quarterly Gaming Tracker and predicted that gaming monitor shipments will surge, growing from 14.2 million screens in 2020 to 26.4 million in 2025 for a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.2 percent.

As the pandemic brought a scarcity across gaming hardware, from graphics cards to CPUs and even the latest consoles, gaming monitors were among the few pieces of serious hardware in stock for gamers. And with lockdowns mandated across the globe, many people were simply seeking something to do.

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