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.

Gear from Netgear, Linksys, and 200 others has unpatched DNS poisoning flaw

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 2:15pm
Gear from Netgear, Linksys, and 200 others has unpatched DNS poisoning flaw

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Hardware and software makers are scrambling to determine if their wares suffer from a critical vulnerability recently discovered in third-party code libraries used by hundreds of vendors, including Netgear, Linksys, Axis, and the Gentoo embedded Linux distribution.

The flaw makes it possible for hackers with access to the connection between an affected device and the Internet to poison DNS requests used to translate domains to IP addresses, researchers from security firm Nozomi Networks said Monday. By feeding a vulnerable device fraudulent IP addresses repeatedly, the hackers can force end users to connect to malicious servers that pose as Google or another trusted site.

The vulnerability, which was disclosed to vendors in January and went public on Monday, resides in uClibc and uClibc fork uClibc-ng, both of which provide alternatives to the standard C library for embedded Linux. Nozomi said 200 vendors incorporate at least one of the libraries into wares that, according to the uClibc-ng maintainer, include the following:

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Nintendo Switch Sports review: Wii would like something better than this

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 1:24pm
Welcome back to the world of <em>Wii S</em>—er, ahem, I mean, <em>Nintendo Switch Sports</em>.

Enlarge / Welcome back to the world of Wii S—er, ahem, I mean, Nintendo Switch Sports. (credit: Nintendo)

Wii Sports is dead; long live Nintendo Switch Sports.

This many years into the Switch's life span, Nintendo has finally decided that its casual, cartoony take on sports should live on, even if its original home on the Wii is no longer supported. But what's in a name? Are the words "Nintendo" and "Sports" enough to imply a continuation of the series' style, mechanics, and fun?

This week, we've learned that, on the surface level, things look and feel quite familiar. But while Nintendo Switch Sports sometimes feels cozy and accessible, there's no getting around an unfortunate "Switch" in the series' direction.

Disc-appointed by the sports selection

In some ways, NSS follows the trail blazed by 2006's Wii Sports. If you're one of roughly 82 million people who've played the original, you know the drill: motion controls reign in six dumbed-down, easy-to-play sports games, and players select a cartoony avatar to represent their wrist-waggling selves on their TV. If you don't like NSS's touched-up avatars, you can select an old Wii-era Mii (learn how to create one on your Switch here) and transport back to 2006.

Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

US spending money to spur domestic battery production

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 11:02am
Image of blue cylinders on a track that passes beneath industrial equipment.

Enlarge / Batteries roll through an automated assembly line. (credit: xPACIFICA/Getty Images)

On Monday, the US Department of Energy announced that it was releasing over $3 billion in funds to stimulate the production of batteries within the country. The funding is divided into two chunks, one intended to spur the processing of battery materials and manufacturing demos and the second for stimulating the reuse and recycling of electric vehicle batteries.

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden's administration started a review of the lithium battery industry in the US. The result was a "National Blueprint" that set out a series of priorities for stimulating domestic production and use.

These include:

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Pixel 6 finally getting a Dirty Pipe patch, one month after the Galaxy S22

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 10:16am
Promotional image of cutting-edge smartphone.

Enlarge / The Pixel 6 Pro. (credit: Google)

Android's May security update is out, and that means the Pixel 6 is finally getting a patch for the Dirty Pipe vulnerability. The update comes one month after Samsung shipped Google's patch to the Galaxy S22, but at least it's finally arriving.

Dirty Pipe, aka CVE-2022-0847, is one of the biggest Linux vulnerabilities to come around in recent years. The vulnerability lets an unprivileged user overwrite data that is supposed to be read-only, which can lead to additional privilege escalation. Android actually has a working demo of this. Twitter user @Fire30_ demoed using the bug to root a Pixel 6. Linux devices running 5.8 and up are affected, and after the vulnerability was discovered on February 19, patches for PC distributions of Linux started rolling out after 17 days.

Android has been a different story, though. First, not that many devices run Linux kernel 5.8 yet. Despite that version releasing in August 2020, Android only jumped from 5.4 to 5.10 with the release of Android 12 in November. Since existing devices typically don't jump major kernel versions when they get an Android update, that means only new devices coming with Android 12 have kernel 5.10. That's a very small number of new devices that launched in the past eight months or so—namely the Pixel 6, Galaxy S22, and OnePlus 10 Pro.

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Twitter warns of possible employee exodus before Musk completes purchase

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 9:49am
In this photo illustration, Elon Musk's twitter account is displayed on a smartphone in front of a background with the twitter logo.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | SOPA Images)

Twitter warned that it may lose key employees and have difficulty hiring during the period before it closes its $44 billion sale to Elon Musk. Twitter also warned that it could have trouble keeping advertisers on board.

"During the period prior to the closing of the merger, our business is exposed to certain inherent risks and certain restrictions on our business under the terms of the Merger Agreement that could harm our business relationships, financial condition, operating results, cash flows, and business," Twitter said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Monday.

Twitter's stated list of risks includes "whether advertisers continue their spending on our platform" and "our inability to attract and retain key personnel and recruit prospective employees, and the possibility that our current employees could be distracted, and their productivity decline as a result, due to uncertainty regarding the merger."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nintendo Switch Sports players are breaking TVs like it’s 2006

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 9:33am
This is what can happen if you don't secure your wrist strap before playing <em>Nintendo Switch Sports</em>.

Enlarge / This is what can happen if you don't secure your wrist strap before playing Nintendo Switch Sports. (credit: Reddit / Equivalent_Actuary_6)

When you've covered the game industry for as long as I have, you tend to see the same types of stories appearing over and over. Still, new reports that Nintendo Switch Sports players are breaking their TVs with accidentally thrown Joy-Cons are a bit too reminiscent of similar stories during Wii Sports' heyday in the mid-2000s.

So far, these new reports of virtual sports-related accidents are limited but dramatic. Twitch-streamer 63man started things off by breaking his monitor live on stream during a particularly energetic tennis swing Saturday. "HAS HE MENTIONED HE DOESNT HAVE A WRIST STRAP," one viewer wrote in chat shortly following the incident.

The look on his face is priceless...

The next day, Reddit user Equivalent_Actuary_6 shared an image showing "my first broken TV playing Switch Sports." In a subsequent comment, that poster said they had lost the wrist straps originally provided with the Joy-Cons but that they were "confident on [sic] my grip" after playing through The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword strapless.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NASA chief says cost-plus contracts are a “plague” on the space agency

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 9:14am
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is seen in firing room four during the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Crew-4 mission in April.

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Bill Nelson is seen in firing room four during the launch of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company's Crew Dragon spacecraft on the Crew-4 mission in April. (credit: Joel Kowsky/NASA via Getty Images)

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson appeared before a US Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday to discuss NASA's budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. Then, quite unexpectedly, he dropped a bombshell.

After his opening remarks, Nelson was asked what, in his opinion, was the biggest threat to NASA's goal of landing humans on the Moon by 2025. Nelson responded that the agency needed competition in its program to develop a Human Landing System. In other words, he wanted Congress to support NASA's request for funding to develop a second lander alongside SpaceX's Starship vehicle.

But Nelson didn't stop there. He said Congress needs to fund this lander contract with a fixed-price award, which only pays companies when they reach milestones. This contracting mechanism is relatively new for the space agency, which traditionally has used "cost-plus" contracts for large development programs. Such awards pay contractors their expenses, plus a fee.

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Kindle e-readers finally (kind of) support ePub books

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 8:25am
Kindles still won't directly open ePub files, but there's one less hoop to jump through now.

Enlarge / Kindles still won't directly open ePub files, but there's one less hoop to jump through now. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Amazon's Kindles are some of the best dedicated e-readers you can buy, but a longstanding criticism from users of DRM-free books from non-Amazon sources is that they don't support the open ePub standard. That has changed at some point in the recent past, as spotted by Good E-Reader: Amazon's Kindle Personal Documents Service will now accept ePub files sent to your device's Send to Kindle email address, the same way it currently handles PDF files, Word documents, and other image and text files.

Kindles still don't natively support sideloading ePub files—the Send to Kindle service converts the documents to AZW3 files, something users could already do themselves using a variety of free tools. But official support from Amazon removes a step from the process and will help users avoid shady ad-riddled third-party conversion sites. We've tested it with an 11th-generation Kindle Paperwhite running the latest version of the Kindle software, and the conversion process seemed to go off without a hitch.

If using the Send to Kindle email address is still too onerous, Amazon's support document says it will add the same ePub conversion support to its Send to Kindle apps at some point in late 2022. Amazon also says that it will discontinue Send to Kindle support for MOBI files in late 2022, since those files "won't support the newest Kindle features for documents." MOBI files already on your device will remain there and will continue to work as they currently do.

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Turning waste into gold drugs

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 8:13am
Image of green colored solutions in glass vials.

Enlarge (credit: Krisana Antharith / EyeEm)

Earth Day was April 22, and its usual message—take care of our planet—has been given added urgency by the challenges highlighted in the latest IPCC report. This year, Ars is taking a look at the technologies we normally cover, from cars to chipmaking, and finding out how we can boost their sustainability and minimize their climate impact.

Countless things we use in modern societies, from food to food containers, rely on industrial-scale chemistry. That chemistry often produces materials that aren't useful to us—and in some cases, they're hazardous or toxic. Not only are these materials wasteful, but paying to dispose of them safely can add to the costs of materials.

Early developments in green chemistry have mostly focused on finding reaction pathways that limit the production of unwanted byproducts and the use of toxic solvents. But researchers are looking beyond that, trying to find ways to better integrate chemistry into a circular economy, where source materials are either sustainable or recycled.

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Rocket Lab catches a 1-ton booster falling back from space

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 6:12am
After being caught by a helicopter, and then dropped into the sea, an Electron booster is brought back to New Zealand by boat on Tuesday.

Enlarge / After being caught by a helicopter, and then dropped into the sea, an Electron booster is brought back to New Zealand by boat on Tuesday. (credit: Rocket Lab)

On Monday evening Rocket Lab launched its 26th Electron mission, successfully deploying a record 34 small satellites into orbit. But attention for this mission was far more focused on what happened after the launch, not during it.

That's because, for the first time, Rocket Lab attempted to catch the falling first stage of its Electron booster with a helicopter. And briefly, they succeeded with this mid-air recovery.

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.

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Ars Frontiers is next week—here’s what’s on tap at our first conference

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 6:00am
Ars Frontiers is next week—here’s what’s on tap at our first conference

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

As we noted a couple of weeks ago with our announcement post, we're fast approaching the date for Ars Frontiers, our inaugural single-day conference. The event will be held next week, on May 12, in Washington, DC.

We're going to be exploring the interconnectedness of innovation—looking at how the things that change our world are interlinked. As we peer into our crystal balls, we're also going to try to answer a very pressing question: Can we still drive explosive growth in these fields while prioritizing ethical technology and sustainability?

Because conversation emboldens innovation, we've assembled a room full of subject matter experts in areas like human space flight, machine learning, information security, and bioscience to help us prognosticate. At Frontiers, Ars Technica editors will sit down and interact with those experts, and we'd love to have you on board for the ride. More details on how to request an invite to join us in person can be found at the end of this announcement.

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Botnet that hid for 18 months boasted some of the coolest tradecraft ever

ArsTechnica - Tue, 05/03/2022 - 5:24am
Botnet that hid for 18 months boasted some of the coolest tradecraft ever

Enlarge

It’s not the kind of security discovery that happens often. A previously unknown hacker group used a novel backdoor, top-notch tradecraft, and software engineering to create an espionage botnet that was largely invisible in many victim networks.

The group, which security firm Mandiant is calling UNC3524, has spent the past 18 months burrowing into victims’ networks with unusual stealth. In cases where the group is ejected, it wastes no time reinfecting the victim environment and picking up where things left off. There are many keys to its stealth, including:

  • The use of a unique backdoor Mandiant calls Quietexit, which runs on load balancers, wireless access point controllers, and other types of IoT devices that don’t support antivirus or endpoint detection. This makes detection through traditional means difficult.
  • Customized versions of the backdoor that use file names and creation dates that are similar to legitimate files used on a specific infected device.
  • A live-off-the-land approach that favors common Windows programming interfaces and tools over custom code with the goal of leaving as light a footprint as possible.
  • An unusual way a second-stage backdoor connects to attacker-controlled infrastructure by, in essence, acting as a TLS-encrypted server that proxies data through the SOCKS protocol.
A tunneling fetish with SOCKS

In a post, Mandiant researchers Doug Bienstock, Melissa Derr, Josh Madeley, Tyler McLellan, and Chris Gardner wrote:

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Omicron subvariants BA.4, BA.5 evade protection from earlier omicron infection

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 3:44pm
A COVID-19 testing tent stands in Times Square on April 27, 2022, in New York City.

Enlarge / A COVID-19 testing tent stands in Times Square on April 27, 2022, in New York City. (credit: Getty | Spencer Platt)

Enduring an initial omicron infection may not spare you from omicron's subvariants, according to preliminary data from South Africa.

The country is currently at the start of a new wave of infections, primarily driven by two omicron coronavirus subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5. Despite a towering wave of cases from the initial BA.1 omicron variant in December that infected a large chunk of the country, new omicron cases increased 259 percent in the last two weeks, according to data-tracking by The New York Times. Hospitalizations are also up, and deaths have increased by 18 percent.

Preliminary data posted online last week helps explain why cases are once again surging—the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants can evade neutralizing antibodies generated by infections from BA.1. For the study, led by virologist Alex Sigal of the Africa Health Research Institute, researchers pitted neutralization antibodies from people infected with BA.1 up against BA.4 and BA.5 in a lab. They had samples from 24 unvaccinated people infected with BA.1 and 15 vaccinated people who had also had a BA.1 infection (eight people were vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and seven had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine).

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Listen to the X-ray echoes of a black hole as it devours a companion star

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 3:26pm

The sound of a binary black hole's echoes, courtesy of MIT's Erin Kara and Kyle Keane. Animation computed by Michal Dovciak.

Black holes feeding on companion stars can go through cycles where they emit high-energy outbursts. MIT astronomers are using X-ray echoes from those cycles to map out the environment around these exotic objects, similar to how bats map out their environment via echolocation. The astronomers hope to use this new data to learn more about the evolution of these kinds of black hole systems, and by extension, the formation of galaxies, according to a new paper published in the Astrophysical Journal.

“The role of black holes in galaxy evolution is an outstanding question in modern astrophysics,” said co-author Erin Kara of MIT. “These black hole binaries appear to be ‘mini’ supermassive black holes, and so by understanding the outbursts in these small, nearby systems, we can understand how similar outbursts in supermassive black holes affect the galaxies in which they reside.”

As we've reported previously, it's a popular misconception that black holes behave like cosmic vacuum cleaners, ravenously sucking up any matter in their surroundings. In reality, only stuff that passes beyond the event horizon—including light—is swallowed up and can't escape, although black holes are also messy eaters. That means that part of an object's matter is ejected in a powerful jet.

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Apple clarifies its controversial app removal emails with policy statement

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 2:29pm
Stock photograph of a smartphone being used in the dark.

Enlarge / Apps on an iPhone. (credit: Wiyre Media / Flickr)

Last month, an email sent by Apple to many app and game developers led to confusion and frustration about the role in the App Store of apps that aren't intended to be long-term services. Now Apple has published a news release targeted at developers to clarify the confusion and soften the frustration.

The initial email warned recipients that their apps would face removal from the App Store because they had not been updated in a "significant amount of time." The email told each developer they would have to submit an update for their affected app or apps within 30 days to avoid removal. A related support document clarified that submitting an update after 30 days could lead to a removed app being reinstated.

Developers took to Twitter and other online platforms, claiming that many of the apps in question still work perfectly on modern hardware and should be seen as completed works rather than ongoing services with continual updates. Some also found examples of apps that have not been updated in many years that have apparently not faced removal, suggesting that Apple has been inconsistent in how it applies the policy.

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Lawsuit claims more Fitbits are burn hazards, includes gross pictures

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 1:36pm
Lawsuit claims more Fitbits are burn hazards, includes gross pictures

Enlarge (credit: Fitbit)

Google and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalled 1.7 million Fitbit Ionic smartwatches earlier this year, citing "78 reports of burn injuries in the United States, including two reports of third-degree burns and four reports of second-degree burns." A new lawsuit claims the recall was not enough and that "the same defect exists throughout all" Fitbit products.

The Fitbit Ionic's recall was due to faulty batteries that would overheat and burn a user's skin. It's hard to believe "all" Fitbit products are affected by this defect, but given that companies tend to share designs and components across products, it would not be surprising to hear that multiple smartwatch-style models contain defective batteries.

Two women named in the lawsuit claim they were burned by their Fitbits; one had a Fitbit Versa Light and the other a Fitbit Versa 2. The lawsuit also points out several online reports of burns from Fitbit products, like the Fitbit Versa and Fitbit Sense lines. Fitbit's replies usually claim these reports are due to "skin irritation" or "friction," but the lawsuit contends that this is not the case, saying that these products can "overheat and pose a significant hazard for burns and fires" due to a defect in "the battery and charging system."

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FCC Republican backs Musk’s Twitter purchase, slams “restrictions on speech”

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 12:44pm
FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington sitting in front of a microphone at a Congressional hearing.

Enlarge / FCC Commissioner Nathan Simington testifies during a House committee hearing on March 31, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Federal Communications Commission member Nathan Simington says the FCC should "applaud" Elon Musk for buying Twitter, arguing that Musk's "stated intention to ease Twitter's restrictions on speech... would almost certainly enhance competition and better serve those Americans, the majority, who value free speech."

"The FCC cannot, and should not, block this sale," Simington, one of two Republican commissioners on the FCC, said in a statement issued Monday. "We should instead applaud Mr. Musk for doing something about a serious problem that government has so far failed to address." Simington was nominated to the FCC by then-President Donald Trump in 2020 to replace a Republican commissioner who objected to Trump's demand that the FCC crack down on social media "censorship."

There's not much reason to think the FCC would try to block Musk's pending $44 billion purchase of Twitter, as the commission's authority over mergers and acquisitions is centered on transactions that involve FCC licenses. Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, hasn't issued any statements on the Twitter sale. However, a group called the Open Markets Institute last week claimed that the FCC, Department of Justice, and Federal Trade Commission all have "ample authority" to block the sale.

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SpaceX engineer says NASA should plan for Starship’s “significant” capability

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 11:53am
In this illustration, SpaceX's Starship vehicle is seen landing on the Moon.

Enlarge / In this illustration, SpaceX's Starship vehicle is seen landing on the Moon. (credit: NASA)

As part of its Artemis program to return humans to the Moon this decade, NASA has a minimum requirement that its "human landing system" must be able to deliver 865 kg to the lunar surface. This is based on the mass of two crew members and their equipment needed for a short stay.

However, in selecting SpaceX's Starship vehicle to serve as its human lander, NASA has chosen a system with a lot more capability. Starship will, in fact, be able to deliver 100 metric tons to the surface of the Moon—more than 100 times NASA's baseline goal.

"Starship can land 100 tons on the lunar surface," said Aarti Matthews, Starship Human Landing System program manager for SpaceX. "And it’s really hard to think about what that means in a tangible way. One hundred tons is four fire trucks. It’s 100 Moon rovers. My favorite way to explain this to my kids is that it's the weight of more than 11 elephants."

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DIY Apple Studio Display uses 2014 iMac to save $730

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 10:46am
DIY Apple Studio Display uses 2014 iMac to save $730

Enlarge (credit: Luke Miani/YouTube)

Apple's Studio Display is much less expensive than its $5,000 Pro Display XDR. But with a starting price of $1,600, it's not cheap. For those who need 14,745,600 pixels, though, like video editors and graphic designers, there are few options besides Apple's costly monitor, especially since Apple discontinued its 27-inch 5K iMac desktop upon announcing the Studio Display in March.

That didn't stop YouTuber Luke Miani from finding an old iMac and turning it into a makeshift Studio Display for about $870, webcam and 5K included.

In a video describing the process, Miani noted that the panel performance of the Studio Display is similar to what Apple has been offering for years, so he opted to use a 2014 iMac rather than the most recent 2020 27-inch iMac for his project. The iMac cost Miani $620, he said.

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Apple slammed by EU for denying Apple Pay rivals access to iPhone’s NFC tech

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/02/2022 - 10:08am
European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager speaking at a press conference. The backdrop behind her says

Enlarge / European Commission Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager speaks to reporters on May 2, 2022, in Brussels, Belgium. (credit: Getty Images | Thierry Monasse )

Apple has "abused its dominant position" to give Apple Pay an advantage over competitors on iPhones and other iOS devices, the European Commission said Monday. The EC informed Apple of its view in a Statement of Objections.

The preliminary finding "takes issue with the decision by Apple to prevent mobile wallets app developers from accessing the necessary hardware and software ('NFC input') on its devices, to the benefit of its own solution, Apple Pay," the EC said. "We have indications that Apple restricted third-party access to key technology necessary to develop rival mobile wallet solutions on Apple's devices," said EC Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager.

"Tap and go" technology that uses near-field communication (NFC) "enables communication between a mobile phone and payments terminals in stores," the EC noted. But "Apple Pay is the only mobile wallet solution that may access the necessary NFC input on iOS. Apple does not make it available to third-party app developers of mobile wallets," the announcement said.

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