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.

The world’s biggest hydrogen fuel cell EV has started work in South Africa

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 8:13am
A two-megawatt hydrogen-fueled powerplant, designed and built by First Mode in Seattle, is installed in a haul truck at Anglo American's platinum mine at Mogalakwena, South Africa. This vehicle is the world's largest zero-emission truck.

Enlarge / A two-megawatt hydrogen-fueled powerplant, designed and built by First Mode in Seattle, is installed in a haul truck at Anglo American's platinum mine at Mogalakwena, South Africa. This vehicle is the world's largest zero-emission truck. (credit: Anglo American)

Mining will always be an inherently anti-environment activity to some degree due to the whole "digging stuff out of the ground" thing. But mining companies are a part of society, and as society as a whole looks for ways to decarbonize, so too does the mining industry.

In South Africa, mining company Anglo American wants to set an example at its platinum mine in Mogalakwena, which has become home to one of the world's largest electric vehicles—a 210-metric-ton (463,000-lb) truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells.

The nuGen haul truck started life as a Komatsu 930E with a diesel-electric powertrain, in which a 16-cylinder engine acted as a generator to power the truck's electric traction motors. Now, that diesel engine is gone, and the haul truck's traction motors are powered by eight 100 kW hydrogen fuel cell modules from Ballard and a lithium-ion battery pack from Williams Advanced Engineering capable of outputting 1.1 MW, integrated by First Mode in Seattle.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

All’s not lost for the vaquita—even though its gene pool is shallow

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 7:35am
Image of two animals swimming.

Enlarge / The vaquita's population is small, but it may have purged most of its harmful mutations in the past. (credit: David Schneider)

With only around 10 individuals left in the world, a tiny porpoise called the vaquita is facing extinction. Somewhat surprisingly, despite the relative shallowness of its gene pool, inbreeding isn’t likely to be an issue for the porpoise. This is according to a new study by the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), University of California, San Francisco, and other groups around the globe.

The vaquita, also known as the California harbor porpoise, is the smallest cetacean and makes its home in the northern part of the Gulf of California. Over the decades, the diminutive mammals have been caught as bycatch in gillnets, and these accidental drownings have devastated their population. Ultimately, gillnets (and other random deaths) are the biggest risk the incredibly small population faces, said Jacqueline Robinson, one of the authors of the paper and postdoctoral scholar at the UCSF Institute for Human Genetics.

The reasoning goes that vaquitas have had a small population size for thousands of years and have experienced catastrophic population decline. This is a similar situation to one faced by the Channel Island Fox. “But through protection, conservation action, and captive breeding, those fox populations were able to rapidly recover and reach their pre-decline population sizes,” Robinson told Ars.

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Russia hammered by pro-Ukrainian hackers following invasion

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 7:30am
Russia hammered by pro-Ukrainian hackers following invasion

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

For years, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin sat atop the FBI’s most-wanted list. The Russian government-backed hacker has been suspected of cyberattacks on Germany’s Bundestag and the 2016 Olympics, held in Rio de Janeiro.

A few weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, his own personal information—including his email and Facebook accounts and passwords, mobile phone number, and even passport details—was leaked online.

Another target since the war broke out two months ago has been the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company, known as a voice of the Kremlin and home to Vladimir Solovyov, whose daily TV show amplifies some of the most extreme Russian government propaganda.

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: Virgin Galactic delayed again, June targeted for next SLS test

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 4:00am
Tory Bruno shared an image of a brightly painted Vulcan rocket first stage tank this week on Twitter.

Enlarge / Tory Bruno shared an image of a brightly painted Vulcan rocket first stage tank this week on Twitter. (credit: Tory Bruno)

Welcome to Edition 4.42 of the Rocket Report! I am sorry to say there will be no Rocket Report next week as I will be traveling to Washington, DC, to participate in the Ars Frontiers conference on Thursday. I'll be speaking with former NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver about commercial spaceflight and to an esteemed panel about the problem of space debris.

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

Rocket Lab grabs a booster from the sky. For the first time on Monday evening, Rocket Lab attempted to catch the falling first stage of its Electron booster with a helicopter. And briefly, it succeeded with this mid-air recovery, Ars reports. As the rocket descended beneath its main parachute at about 10 meters per second, a drogue chute trailed behind with a 50-meter line. A Sikorsky S-92 helicopter tracked this descending rocket, and it, too, had a 50-meter line with a hook on the end of it.

Read 28 remaining paragraphs | Comments

SpaceX caps an incredibly busy month with a NASA crew landing Friday morning

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 11:58pm
Crew Dragon <em>Endurance</em> spacecraft is seen reentering Earth's atmosphere on Friday morning.

Enlarge / Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft is seen reentering Earth's atmosphere on Friday morning. (credit: NASA)

After a 177-day spaceflight, four astronauts returned to Earth early Friday morning aboard Crew Dragon Endurance.

NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, as well as European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer undocked from the International Space Station on Thursday before lining up Endurance for a return that brought it back to Earth across the Bay of Campeche, Yucatan Peninsula, and the Gulf of Mexico.

Seas were fair when Endurance splashed down at 12:43 am ET on Friday (04:43 UTC), with a glassy surface on the ocean. The spacecraft was brought on board the recovery ship, named Shannon, and the crew clambered out less than an hour after landing. From there they boarded a helicopter and subsequently will take a plane ride to Houston for reunions with family members.

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Pandemic killed 15M people in first 2 years, WHO excess death study finds

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 3:02pm
A woman watches white flags on the National Mall on September 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Over 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 epidemic.

Enlarge / A woman watches white flags on the National Mall on September 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Over 660,000 white flags were installed here to honor Americans who have lost their lives to COVID-19 epidemic. (credit: Getty | Chen Mengtong)

An estimated 14.91 million people worldwide died in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to an analysis of global excess deaths released Thursday by the World Health Organization.

The estimate—with a 95 percent confidence interval of 13.3 million to 16.6 million—is significantly larger than the number of reported deaths directly caused by COVID-19 during that time, which was around 5.42 million by official counts. But, estimates of excess death try to capture the true toll of the pandemic—direct and indirect deaths. The estimate is done by comparing the number of deaths that occurred during a time period to those expected to occur in that period based on historical mortality data and modeling. Such modeling also accounts for historical differences, such as fewer traffic and influenza deaths during the pandemic due to movement and health restrictions.

Thus, excess death estimates aim to capture not only reported COVID-19 deaths, but also unreported COVID-19 deaths and deaths indirectly caused by COVID-19. Those can include people dying of preventable, non-COVID conditions because they delayed or avoided health care in fear of becoming infected, or because their health care system was overburdened with COVID-19 patients and unable to provide optimal care.

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Doctor Strange 2 review: Let Sam Raimi take you on a romp through Madness

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 1:59pm
Unsurprisingly, things get strange in <em>Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness</em>.

Enlarge / Unsurprisingly, things get strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (credit: Marvel Studios)

On paper, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a formulaic Marvel Studios superhero romp. Its plot beats read like sticky notes slapped onto an overpaid executive's wall: A superhero arrives, seems all-powerful, then runs into an unstoppable foe. That strife turns the world upside down, and in resolving that change, the hero mends something in themselves to ultimately save the day, all while finding equal parts comedy and heart when the film's world gets weird.

But a great film can succeed even while twisted around a formulaic plot, and it's here that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (launching tonight in the US as a theatrical exclusive) wins out. Even though it comes with the Marvel Studios pitfall of predictability, it also stands as a grand example of the company letting filmmakers be themselves—and shows how clever, visually arresting filmmaking can transform "formulaic" plot beats into a fascinating journey for multiple characters. (Plus, after so much alternate-universe wackiness in multiple Spider-Man films, this film surprises by finding refreshing uses of the concept.)

What better way to show how far the universe of Marvel films has come in the past two decades than to have Sam "is he seriously dancing" Raimi stretch out his weird filmmaking legs and regain his blockbuster-level comfort?

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Frontier lied about Internet speeds and “ripped off customers,” FTC says

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 1:51pm
A computer showing a slow-moving loading bar.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Steven Puetzer)

The Federal Trade Commission today said it "has moved to stop Internet service provider Frontier Communications from lying to consumers and charging them for high-speed Internet speeds it fails to deliver."

Frontier was sued by the FTC in May 2021, and on Thursday, it agreed to a settlement with the FTC and district attorneys in Los Angeles County and Riverside County who represented the people of California. Frontier must pay $8.5 million to California "for investigation and litigation costs" and another $250,000 that will be distributed to Frontier customers who were harmed by Frontier's alleged actions.

Frontier must also make changes, such as letting customers cancel service at no charge and "discount[ing] the bills of California customers who have not been notified that they are receiving DSL service that is much slower than the highest advertised speed," the FTC said.

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Despite the Epic v. Apple battle, Fortnite is officially back on the iPhone

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 1:40pm

Fortnite on Xbox Cloud Gaming.

In an about-face, Epic Games has made Fortnite available on Microsoft's Xbox Cloud Gaming streaming service. Among other things, that means the massively popular game is officially available to play on the iPhone again for the first time since it was pulled in the midst of the recent legal battle between Epic and Apple.

A post on Microsoft's Xbox blog specifies that all you need to play Fortnite on just about any device with a screen is a Microsoft account, Internet access, and the device.

Fortnite is a free-to-play game, and for the first time, Xbox Cloud Gaming is also free-to-play, so long as the game you want to play is Fortnite. The company's cloud-gaming service is normally restricted to paying Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers, but Fortnite is receiving an exception and works in any web browser with nothing more than a free Xbox login. Microsoft writes that it plans to introduce more free-to-play cloud games that don't require paid Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscriptions in the future.

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AMD doubles the number of CPU cores it offers to Chromebooks

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 1:03pm
HP Elite c645 G2 Chromebook lid

Enlarge / HP Elite c645 G2 Chromebook. (credit: HP)

AMD is upping the ante when it comes to Chromebooks. While still a ways off from having Chrome OS devices with the capabilities of the Ryzen 6000 mobile CPUs, Team Red announced the Ryzen 5000 C-series for Chromebooks on Thursday. The top chip in the series has eight of AMD's Zen 3 cores, giving systems that use it more x86 CPU cores than any other Chromebook. The chips aren't just a nice idea either; HP and Acer have already detailed Chromebooks they plan to release with the chips this year.

The 7nm Ryzen 5000 C-series ranges from the Ryzen 3 5125C with two Zen 3 cores and a base and boost clock speed of 3 GHz, up to the Ryzen 7 5825C with eight cores and a base clock speed of 2 GHz that can boost to 4.5 GHz. For comparison, Intel's Core i7-1185G7, found in some higher-end Chromebooks, has four cores and a base clock speed of 3 GHz that can boost to 4.8 GHz. You can take a look at the Ryzen 5000 C-series full specs below:

On their own, the chips aren't that exciting. They seemingly offer similar performance to the already-released Ryzen 5000 U-series chips. The Ryzen 5000 C-series also uses years-old Vega integrated graphics rather than the upgraded RDNA 2 found in Ryzen 6000 mobile chips, which, upon release, AMD said are "up to 2.1 times faster."

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Major mobile publisher buys Wordle! (but not the game you’re thinking of)

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 12:45pm
Major mobile publisher buys Wordle! (but not the game you’re thinking of)

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Regular readers may remember how the viral success of Wordle led to an unexpected flood of downloads for an unrelated, six-year-old iOS game that also happened to be called Wordle! (note the exclamation point.) Those readers may also remember how mobile developer Steven Cravotta pledged to donate some proceeds from his unexpected Wordle! windfall to charity.

Since that report, though, Cravotta's Wordle! has ended up in the hands of mobile gaming powerhouse AppLovin after selling for an undisclosed sum (as first noticed by TechCrunch). In doing so, the multi-billion-dollar company seems to have found a legal way to exploit the popularity of the Wordle name and brand to make millions of dollars in revenue.

A tale of two Wordles

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HBO drops official trailer for House of the Dragon prequel series

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 11:13am

HBO's new series, House of the Dragon, is a prequel based on George R.R. Martin's Fire & Blood.

Many Game of Thrones fans no doubt view the looming debut of House of the DragonGoT's first spinoff series, with considerable trepidation. On the one hand, the 10-episode prequel series is based on George R.R. Martin’s book Fire & Blood, and it's complete, so there's no chance of the series getting too far ahead of the source material. On the other hand, the GoT series finale was a crushing disappointment to many (if not most) fans, and HBO has a bit of an uphill battle ahead to win back their trust.

HBO just dropped the official trailer for House of the Dragon, which is visually sumptuous and confirms the likely plot and overall tone. But it will take more than a decent trailer to set those lingering doubts to rest. HBO also unveiled new, appropriately brooding posters for each major character.

As I've written previously, House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of its predecessor, chronicling the beginning of the end for the reign of House Targaryen. Those events culminated in civil war and the extinction of the dragons—at least until Daenerys Targaryen came along two centuries later. In addition to co-creators Martin and Ryan J. Condal, Miguel Sapochnik—who filmed some of the most eye-popping, complicated battles on Game of Thrones—serves as co-showrunner and directed the pilot and several other episodes.

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Apple, Google, and Microsoft want to kill the password with “Passkey” standard

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 10:51am

The first Thursday of May is apparently "World Password Day," and to celebrate Apple, Google, and Microsoft are launching a "joint effort" to kill the password. The major OS vendors want to "expand support for a common passwordless sign-in standard created by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium."

The standard is being called either a "multi-device FIDO credential" or just a "passkey." Instead of a long string of characters, this new scheme would have the app or website you're logging in to push a request to your phone for authentication. From there, you'd need to unlock the phone, authenticate with some kind of pin or biometric, and then you're on your way. This sounds like a familiar system for anyone with phone-based two-factor authentication set up, but this is a replacement for the password rather than an additional factor.

A graphic has been provided for the user interaction:

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Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is either good or it’s just so comforting that I don’t care

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 9:51am
 Strange New Worlds is either good or it’s just so comforting that I don’t care

Enlarge (credit: Paramount+)

If the modern Star Trek shows have all felt a little off to you, Strange New Worlds may be what you've been waiting for.

The modern era of TV Star Trek has been more than willing to experiment with what a Star Trek show is. Discovery and Picard both focus on heavily serialized season-long plotlines. Lower Decks is an animated sendup of (and love letter to) Trek's cultural peak in the '90s. And the computer-animated Prodigy aims for a younger audience, with simpler storylines, a lighter tone, and tween-y interpersonal melodrama aplenty.

What none of these shows has explicitly tried to do is replicate the format of older shows like the Original Series or The Next Generation—monster/alien/glowing-godlike-being-of-the-week stories where no matter how bad things might look for our heroes, everything will be more or less wrapped up at the end of the hour.

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Stung by 3 court losses, ISPs stop fighting California net neutrality law

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 9:25am
The words

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | nevarpp)

The broadband industry has abandoned its lawsuit against California's net neutrality law after a series of court rulings went against Internet service providers.

The four broadband lobby groups that sued California "hereby stipulate to the dismissal of this action without prejudice," they wrote in a filing Wednesday in US District Court for the Eastern District of California. The ISP groups are ACA Connects (formerly the American Cable Association), CTIA-The Wireless Association, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, and USTelecom.

"After losing three times in federal court, the ISPs have finally realized that they can't overturn California's net neutrality law and that they should just stop trying," Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Schewick wrote, calling the development "a historic win for Californians and the open Internet."

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Volta Trucks will launch its electric Class 7 trucks in the US next year

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 7:41am
Volta Trucks' Zero has been designed from the ground up as a battery-electric logistics vehicle. The driver can enter or exit from either side and sits in a central driving position with eyes at the right height to spot cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Enlarge / Volta Trucks' Zero has been designed from the ground up as a battery-electric logistics vehicle. The driver can enter or exit from either side and sits in a central driving position with eyes at the right height to spot cyclists and other vulnerable road users. (credit: Volta | Getty Images | Aurich Lawson)

If you live in Los Angeles, you might start seeing some of Volta Trucks' distinctive-looking electric vehicles driving around, as the Swedish startup plans to deploy a pilot fleet of Class 7 trucks in the city next year. After initially focusing on Europe, Volta Trucks revealed on Thursday that, like Prince Akeem, it's coming to America.

The Volta Zero was designed from the ground up to be an electric heavy-duty truck rather than an adaptation of an existing internal-combustion platform. The truck features a central driving position, with a minimum of blind spots, that places the driver at an appropriate height to spot vulnerable road users like cyclists. Range is a route-appropriate 95-125 miles (152-201 km)—the Zero is meant for urban logistics, not long hauls.

But don't think of Volta Trucks as a research project. The batteries and motors are both sourced from leaders in the field, and rather than set up a new factory with plans for world domination, the trucks are being contract-manufactured at the former MAN plant in Steyr, Austria.

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Larry Ellison chips in a cool billion toward Musk’s Twitter takeover

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 6:53am
Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison looks on after Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill lost race 1 of the America's Cup Finals on June 17, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda.

Enlarge / Oracle Corporation CEO Larry Ellison looks on after Oracle Team USA skippered by James Spithill lost race 1 of the America's Cup Finals on June 17, 2017, in Hamilton, Bermuda. (credit: Xaume Olleros | Getty Images)

Elon Musk has raised $7.14 billion of funding for his $44 billion buyout of Twitter from investors including Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison, crypto exchange Binance, and asset management firms Fidelity, Brookfield, and Sequoia Capital.

With the new financing commitments, Musk will cut the margin loan he has taken with a group of lenders by half to $6.25 billion and increase the equity portion to $27.25 billion. The remainder of the purchase price will be paid with debt raised from global banks.

The Tesla chief has been in a whirlwind effort to secure outside backing to join his audacious bid for the social media platform, even as traditional private equity firms involved in leveraged buyouts have largely eschewed the transaction.

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50 years on, the lessons of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study still reverberate

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 4:20am
Dr. Walter Edmondson of PHS draws a blood sample from a Tuskegee study participant in Milstead, Macon County, Georgia, 1953.

Enlarge / Dr. Walter Edmondson of PHS draws a blood sample from a Tuskegee study participant in Milstead, Macon County, Georgia, 1953. (credit: National Archives/Public domain)

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The New York Times' exposé of the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, thanks to a frustrated social worker who tipped off the press. By the time it broke in 1972, experiments had been conducted on unsuspecting Black men in the area surrounding Tuskegee, Alabama, for 40 years. All 400 or so of the male subjects had contracted syphilis, and all had been told they were receiving treatment for the disease—except they were not.

The researchers in charge of the study instead deliberately withheld treatment in order to monitor the progression of the disease as it advanced unchecked. The study's exposure led to a public outcry and heated debate over informed consent, ultimately giving rise to a number of regulations to prevent such an ethical lapse in the future. The Tuskegee Syphilis Study has since become a vital case study in bioethics, but public awareness of its existence is spotty at best. A new paper published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine seeks to remedy that, and it argues that federal regulation is not enough to prevent similar unethical research.

"Citizens have an obligation to remember the victims of any major catastrophe, as people do with 9/11," the paper's author, Martin Tobin, told Ars. "The men in Tuskegee suffered major injury, including death, at the hands of the premier health arm of the US government. A failure to remember what happened to these men is to add another layer of injury to what they already endured."

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Lenovo’s new Slim laptops delight the digits with carbon and glass

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/05/2022 - 4:00am
Lenovo Slim 9i closed

Enlarge / The Slim 9i is the flagship. (credit: Scharon Harding)

On Thursday, Lenovo introduced a series of laptops with various options and designs. The Slim laptops, formerly called IdeaPad Slim, are a new lineup of clamshell designs that will look to compete in June with thin and light builds, high-end components, high-res OLED displays, and some unique textures.

Creator clamshells

The standout products are the 14.5-inch Slim 7i Pro X and Slim 7 Pro X—with the "i" meaning it has an Intel CPU. Lenovo is launching the "X" moniker to represent laptops made for creators. In addition to offering up to an RTX 3050 laptop GPU (4GB GDDR6), Lenovo also fine-tunes the machines' hardware, a Lenovo rep told Ars Technica when we checked out the laptops in person. AI software also helps manage performance and battery usage.

Lenovo wouldn't disclose TDP numbers but said the Slim 7/7i Pro X has a higher TDP than the non-Pro X versions, (which in the US will only be available as 16-inchers), especially if you get it with a dedicated laptop GPU, which is turned down in the non-Pro X versions.

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Today’s best deals: Star Wars, Chromebooks, AirTags, iPads, and more

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/04/2022 - 6:07pm
 Star Wars, Chromebooks, AirTags, iPads, and more

Enlarge

Happy May the fourth, everyone! That means two things: a slew of discounts on Star Wars gear and accessories, and a brand new deal round-up. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals from around the web includes a number of deals on Star Wars games and gear, as well as Apple AirTags and a pair of our favorite inexpensive wireless, noise-canceling headphones, Anker's Soundcore Q35.

Apple's AirTags proved to be highly capable in our review. As we noted, the more Apple devices that are in proximity of your lost, Air-Tagged item the better. That doesn't make them the best choice for people more worried about losing something on a hike in the woods. Tile Mate, which is also on sale, is a better choice for such scenarios. Still, AirTags are extremely capable trackers in ideal conditions. In fact, we were a bit scared by how well they worked. In our review, we note some of the "anti-stalker" features Apple built into them, and those features have been bolstered since then. Snagging this four-pack saves you $15 off the typical $100 price.

Anker's Soundcore Q35 is the latest version of our favorite inexpensive over-the-ear, ANC wireless headphones. They do a decent job of noise cancelation, particularly with low-tone rumbles like trains and planes. The Q35 is also lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods, delivering bass-heavy sound and 40 hours of continuous listening. The latest $98 price matches its all-time low from the holidays.

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