Feed aggregator

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

NASA delays Moon landings, says Blue Origin legal tactics partly to blame

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 5:34pm
The Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I mission is lifted above the Space Launch System rocket in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.

Enlarge / The Orion spacecraft for NASA’s Artemis I mission is lifted above the Space Launch System rocket in the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. (credit: NASA)

Senior NASA officials on Tuesday provided an updated timeline for returning humans to the Moon under the agency's Artemis program, and they discussed costs and other issues related to it. The biggest news came in the form of NASA's formal acknowledgement that a human landing on the Moon in 2024 is not possible, but there were plenty of other noteworthy tidbits.

The briefing with space reporters, led by NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, came five days after the US Court of Federal Claims ruled against Blue Origin's lawsuit against NASA for its selection of SpaceX to build a lunar lander for the Artemis program. Previously, Nelson had promised to provide an update on the Artemis program following the lawsuit, and on Tuesday he made good on that.

He came out guns blazing at Blue Origin. "We've lost nearly seven months in litigation, and that likely has pushed the first human landing likely to no earlier than 2025," Nelson said, pinning the delay in NASA's return to the Moon firmly on Blue Origin and its lawyers. During the legal process, NASA was forbidden from working or even talking with SpaceX regarding the Human Landing System (HLS) program. The agency was also unable to provide milestone payments.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Captured on video: Bees pipe out alarms to warn of “murder hornet” attacks

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 5:01pm

Wellesley College researchers have identified a sound that Asian honeybees use to warn the hive of a "murder hornet" attack.

Asian honeybees (Apis cerana) produce a unique alarm sound to alert hive members to an attack by giant "murder hornets," according to a new paper published in the journal Royal Society Open Science. For the first time, scientists at Wellesley College have documented these so-called "anti-predator pipes," which serve as clarion calls to the hive members to initiate defensive maneuvers. You can hear a sampling in the (rather disturbing) video, embedded above, of bees under a hornet attack.

“The [antipredator] pipes share traits in common with a lot of mammalian alarm signals, so as a mammal hearing them, there's something that is instantly recognizable as communicating danger,” said co-author Heather Mattila of Wellesley College, who said the alarm signals gave her chills when she first heard them. “It feels like a universal experience.”

As I've written previously, so-called murder hornets rocketed to infamy after November 2019, when a beekeeper in Blaine, Washington, named Ted McFall, was horrified to discover thousands of tiny mutilated bodies littering the ground—an entire colony of his honeybees had been brutally decapitated. The culprit: the Asian giant hornet species Vespa mandarinia, native to Southeast Asia and parts of the Russian Far East. Somehow, these so-called "murder hornets" had found their way to the Pacific Northwest, where they now pose a dire ecological threat to North American honeybee populations. 

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook to stop targeting ads based on race, sexual orientation, and politics

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 3:50pm
Facebook logo displayed on a phone screen

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto )

Facebook today announced it will stop letting advertisers use certain targeting options related to "sensitive" characteristics such as race, religion, sexual orientation, health causes, and political beliefs. In today's announcement, Facebook owner Meta said:

Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., "Lung cancer awareness," "World Diabetes Day," "Chemotherapy")
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., "same-sex marriage" and "LGBT culture")
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., "Catholic Church" and "Jewish holidays")
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures
Facebook cites concerns from civil rights experts

Facebook's Detailed Targeting feature lets advertisers buy ads that are displayed to narrow groups of people. This is also known as "microtargeting." Facebook said it decided to make these changes to "address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available."

"It is important to note that the interest targeting options we are removing are not based on people's physical characteristics or personal attributes, but instead on things like people's interactions with content on our platform," Facebook wrote. "However, we've heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups."

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X-rays reveal secrets of 14th-century tomb of England’s infamous Black Prince

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 3:36pm
Effigy of Edward of Woodstock, aka the Black Prince, in Canterbury Cathedral.

Enlarge / Effigy of Edward of Woodstock, aka the Black Prince, in Canterbury Cathedral. (credit: Josep Renalias/CC BY-SA 2.5)

Visitors to Canterbury Cathedral can view the effigy of a 14th-century knight in full armor laid out on top of a marble tomb. It's the tomb of Edward of Woodstock, colloquially known as the Black Prince, and it's one of just six surviving large cast-metal sculptures from medieval England. Now, a team of researchers at The Courtauld Institute of Art has gotten the first glimpse inside the gilt-copper alloy effigy in 600 years, thanks to X-ray and medical imaging techniques. The researchers' findings were recently published in The Burlington Magazine.

"Until now, a lack of documents about the Black Prince's tomb and effigy has limited our understanding of their construction, chronology, and patronage. So our scientific study of them offers a long-overdue opportunity to reassess the effigy as one of the country's most precious medieval sculptures,' said co-author Jessica Barker, a medievalist at The Courtauld. "By using the latest scientific technology and closely examining the effigy, we have discovered so much more about how it was cast, assembled, and finished."

Edward of Woodstock was the eldest son of King Edward III and heir apparent to the throne. He was educated in philosophy and logic and well-trained in the art of war—skills that proved useful in this particular period of the Hundred Years' War, when invasion by the French was a constant threat. Edward's first foray into battle was at the vanguard of the famous Battle of Crécy in 1346, when he was just 16. Beset by a dangerous counterattack, the young knight sent word to his father requesting reinforcements. Edward III refused to give in to protective paternal instincts, declining the request and insisting he wanted his son to "prove his spurs" in battle.

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Bipartisan bill would force Big Tech to offer algorithm-free feeds, search results

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 2:31pm
The dome of the United State Capitol Building against a deep blue sky in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / The dome of the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Phil Roeder)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives introduced a bill that would force social media platforms to allow people to use the site without algorithms that filter or prioritize the content that users see. The bill joins a similar act proposed in the Senate, and together, the bills suggest that lawmaker animus toward social media companies isn’t going away.

“Consumers should have the option to engage with Internet platforms without being manipulated by secret algorithms driven by user-specific data,” Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said in a statement to Ars. Buck introduced the bill with three cosponsors, Reps. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), and Burgess Owens (R-Utah).

“Facebook and other dominant platforms manipulate their users through opaque algorithms that prioritize growth and profit over everything else,” Rep. Cicilline said in a statement. “And due to these platforms’ monopoly power and dominance, users are stuck with few alternatives to this exploitative business model, whether it is in their social media feed, on paid advertisements, or in their search results.”

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Today’s best deals: Nintendo & Xbox gift cards, standing desks, and more [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 2:05pm
 Nintendo & Xbox gift cards, standing desks, and more [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Update (11/10/21 9:30am EST): As expected, our headline sale on Nintendo eShop and Xbox digital gift cards has expired as of Wednesday morning. Our rundown still has plenty other offers of note, though, and we've added a few new deals on Sony's latest noise-canceling earphones and a Microsoft wireless mouse we like, among others. Our original post is below.

Original post (11/9/21 4:05pm EST): The Dealmaster is back with another list of the best discounts we can find from across the web. You can find our full roundup further down, but below are a few of the highlights we're seeing as of this writing:

Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

38% of US adults believe government is faking COVID-19 death toll

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 1:24pm
 Remember," a public art installation commemorating all the Americans who have died due to COVID-19, on the National Mall September 21, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / A man walks through "In America: Remember," a public art installation commemorating all the Americans who have died due to COVID-19, on the National Mall September 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images / Drew Angerer)

From the very beginning, misinformation has plagued the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, undermining efforts to stop the spread of the disease and save lives. New survey data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) spotlights just how monstrous the problem of misinformation is.

Among a nationally representative sample of US adults, 78 percent reported that they had heard at least one of eight common COVID-19 falsehoods and either said the falsehood is true or said they're not sure if it's true or false.

The most common falsehood that people marked as true was that "the government is exaggerating the number of COVID-19 deaths." Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they had heard this falsehood and that it is true. An additional 22 percent said they had heard it but weren't sure if it is true or false.

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Google sends anti-regulation propaganda to small businesses using Google Maps

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 12:03pm
Let's see, you landed on my "Google Ads" space, and with three houses... that will be $1,400.

Enlarge / Let's see, you landed on my "Google Ads" space, and with three houses... that will be $1,400. (credit: Ron Amadeo / Hasbro)

Google is quietly enlisting the help of small businesses to protect the nearly $2 trillion company from antitrust regulations. In response to congressional bills like the "Ending Platform Monopolies Act," which would ban platform owners from favoring their own services over the competition, Google is telling small business owners that these bills would hurt their ability to find customers online and that they should contact their congressperson about the issue.

We've seen Google do political action before, usually in the form of headline-grabbing blog posts from CEO Sundar Pichai defending the latest product-bundling scheme. The strategy here seems new, though; rather than writing a public blog post, Google is quietly targeting users who have registered business listings on Google Maps. These users report receiving unsolicited emails and an "action item" in the Google Business Profile UI that both link to Google's new anti-antitrust site.

Both the email and Google Business action item beg for a click, saying, "New laws may impact businesses. Proposed legislation could make it harder to find your business online." Both items link to this site, which is full of scary language imploring users to "stay up-to-date on proposed legislation that could impact your business." The site recommends concerned users sign up for Google's new political action mailing list, with the sign-up form saying, "By clicking this button, I consent that Google can contact me about legislative and regulatory issues, events, and advocacy opportunities related to my business."

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Tiny room at Pompeii villa reveals how Roman slaves lived

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 11:40am
Tiny room at Pompeii villa reveals how Roman slaves lived

Enlarge (credit: Pompeii Archaeological Park)

Just outside the ancient city of Pompeii, archaeologists recently unearthed a small room where at least three enslaved people lived and worked until Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. The rediscovery of the dreary space near the villa’s stables provides a rare glimpse into the lives of the people at the bottom of the ancient Roman social order.

A small room in a grand villa

When Mount Vesuvius buried the Roman city of Pompeii under meters of ash and pumice, the destruction didn’t stop at the city walls. The Civita Giuliana villa, about 700 meters northwest of the city’s walls, also vanished under dust and rock. Inside the house, a wealthy man and a young laborer—probably enslaved—died together when a pyroclastic flow swept down the volcano’s slopes. Three horses died in the villa’s stables, and archaeologists unearthed their remains in 2018. An ornate ceremonial chariot waited in a nearby portico facing the stables, too late to aid any last-ditch escape attempts.

Archaeologists have been excavating the villa from beneath layers of volcanic sediment since 2017, and they recently unearthed a small room near the portico and stables, where it appears three people once lived and worked in close, dreary quarters. The three beds of rough wooden planks and rope webbing probably belonged to enslaved people who worked at the villa, according to Pompeii archaeological park director Gabriel Zuchtriegel and his team. No human remains were found in the room, so we have no way of knowing whether its occupants escaped or died elsewhere.

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A quarter of new Volvos are now plug-in hybrids or battery EVs

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 10:25am
More than one in five new Volvos is a plug-in hybrid, putting the automaker well on its path to an entirely electric range by 2030.

Enlarge / More than one in five new Volvos is a plug-in hybrid, putting the automaker well on its path to an entirely electric range by 2030. (credit: Volvo)

In 2017, Volvo became one of the first automakers to pivot strongly toward electrified vehicles. More recently, it announced that by mid-decade, it wants half of its sales to be plug-in vehicles, with an entirely electric line-up by 2030.

As it turns out, the company is well on its way to making that happen—for the first 10 months of this year, just over a quarter of all new Volvos were electrified. And the automaker isn't fudging the numbers by including 48 V "mild hybrids"—just plug-in hybrid and battery-electric Volvos.

Volvo sold a total of 581,464 cars between January and October of this year, despite supply chain problems that have affected production. Of those cars, 148,068 were either plug-in hybrid or battery electric, with the vast majority (129,803) being plug-in hybrid versions of the 60 series and 90 series vehicles.

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Zuckerberg’s metaverse will invade workers’ privacy, whistleblower says

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 10:20am
screen sharing

Enlarge / Facebook/Meta wants its metaverse to be at the center of nearly everything, including work. (credit: Facebook)

Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the virtual reality-fueled future could bring new privacy risks to our homes and workplaces, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen said.

Last month, Zuckerberg announced that he would focus his company on the metaverse. While the concept has many meanings, to Zuckerberg, it’s an “even more immersive and embodied Internet,” where users can meet with friends, connect with colleagues, shop for goods and services, and so on. In other words, Zuckerberg wants to take people’s lives and put them inside a metaverse, preferably one he controls.

To Haugen, that’s a red flag. “Facebook should have a transparency plan for the metaverse before they start building all this stuff because they’ve demonstrated with regard to Facebook that they can hide behind a wall, they keep making unforced errors, they keep making things that prioritize their own profits over our safety,” she said in an interview with the Associated Press.

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Netflix Gaming starts to look legit with impressive League of Legends spinoff

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 10:00am

Last week, Netflix Gaming formally launched in a way we didn't predict when the service was first teased earlier this year. Instead of churning out games for home consoles or creating a cloud-based streaming service a la Google Stadia and others, Netflix opted to create a smartphone-exclusive gaming portal, free to anyone who has a paid Netflix subscription.

What's more, Netflix Gaming's day-one library consisted entirely of games that had previously launched on Android, with a mix of licensed Stranger Things games and generic tap-action smartphone fare. But game development exec Mike Verdu teased more to come: "Just like our series, films, and specials, we want to design games for any level of play and every kind of player, whether you're a beginner or a lifelong gamer," he said at the time.

Today, Netflix takes the wraps off a more interesting game for its smartphone-only service: a previously unannounced League of Legends spinoff with promising gameplay and serious developer pedigree.

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The latest Surface is a $250 laptop that takes a swing at cheap Chromebooks

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 10:00am
Microsoft's Surface Laptop SE.

Enlarge / Microsoft's Surface Laptop SE. (credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft's next Surface device is the company's latest and most direct attempt to compete with Chromebooks in schools. The $250 Surface Laptop SE is a low-end, 11.6-inch laptop made for basic browsing, document editing, and remote learning. The Surface Laptop SE runs Windows 11 SE, a cloud-focused version of the operating system that preserves the basic look and feel of Windows 11 but allows school IT admins to control which apps are installed and keeps most files and user settings in the cloud rather than on-device.

The Surface Laptop SE's specifications are uninspiring, and I have my doubts about whether its processor is sufficient for classroom Zooms with dozens of students in them. But the hardware is also about what you'd expect from similarly priced Chromebooks; the machine has a dual-core Intel Celeron N4020 or quad-core Celeron N4120 processor, integrated graphics, 4 or 8 GB of RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of storage. It weighs 2.45 pounds and includes one USB-A port, one USB-C port, a headphone jack, and a proprietary power connector. A netbook-esque 11.6-inch 1366×768 screen, a 720p webcam, 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity round out the key specs. This is all largely consistent with leaks from late last month.

One detail that Microsoft provided more information on was repairability. While recent Surface devices have made use of user-replaceable storage and a few other parts, the Surface Laptop SE is meant to be simple to repair. According to Microsoft, "vital components like the display, battery, keyboard—even the motherboard—can be easily repaired onsite, saving time and money for IT admins and schools."

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Epic disables Fortnite shop section featuring Travis Scott dance emote

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 9:42am

Fortnite's "Out West" emote.

Epic temporarily disabled the "Daily" section of Fortnite's in-game item shop just hours after it was updated Sunday with an "Out West" emote featuring Travis Scott. The move comes after the tragic events at Houston's Astroworld concert last Friday, where at least eight people died and 25 were hospitalized during Scott's performance.

Fortnite confirmed that the move was "intentional" in a Twitter update Sunday night but made no mention of Scott or the specific motivation for the decision. An Epic representative was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment.

The emote in question plays a clip from the song "Out West" by Scott and Jackboys alongside a dance based on a viral TikTok sensation set to the same song. It first appeared in the game in August 2020 and has been regularly available for 500 V-Bucks (roughly $3 to $4) at least once a month ever since. Players who have previously purchased the emote can still use it in the game, alongside a Travis Scott skin that was available for purchase in April 2020.

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Comcast admits “widespread” outage as tens of thousands of users report problems

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 9:34am
A Comcast Xfinity service van driving down a street.

Enlarge / A Comcast Xfinity service van in Sunnyvale, California, in November 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Sundry Photography)

There appears to be a widespread Comcast outage affecting customers in multiple parts of the country this morning. News reports have described large outages in Chicago, Philadelphia, and southern New Jersey. "Xfinity's own outage tracker is currently down, displaying the error message: 'We are experiencing abnormal traffic to our network or… the service or servers on it are not currently available,'" The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote.

There were also reports of a large Comcast outage in the San Francisco Bay Area last night, leading to a message from the Marin County Sheriff's office that said, "Please do not call 911 to ask why your Internet is out. Call your Internet service provider." That outage may be resolved, as "Comcast tells NBC Bay Area late Monday its systems show Xfinity services are starting to come back online following widespread Internet outages across the Bay Area," the news site reported. Comcast outages in other regions are ongoing.

"Some customers are experiencing intermittent service interruptions as a result of a network issue. Our teams are actively working to bring impacted customers back online as we continue to investigate. We apologize to those who have been affected," Comcast's Xfinity Support account wrote in a tweet just after 11 am ET. In another tweet responding to a customer who complained about an outage, Xfinity Support wrote, "Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we are experiencing widespread interruptions to the Xfinity services."

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US charges Ukrainian and Russian nationals over ransomware attacks

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 8:33am
Russian national Yevgyeniy Polyanin remains at large.

Enlarge / Russian national Yevgyeniy Polyanin remains at large. (credit: FBI)

US authorities have brought criminal charges against a Ukrainian and a Russian national for their roles in high-profile ransomware attacks as part of a sprawling global crackdown on digital extortion groups.

The US justice department on Monday said it had charged Ukrainian Yaroslav Vasinskyi, 22, for allegedly conducting one of the largest global supply chain ransomware attacks, the Kaseya hack, among others. The US said it is seeking to extradite Vasinskyi, who was arrested in Poland after crossing the border from Ukraine, Merrick Garland, attorney general, said.

The sprawling hack in July hit information technology management software supplier Kaseya and an estimated 1,500 of its clients and clients’ clients. The attack forced Swedish supermarket chain Coop to close nearly all of its 800 stores.

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Logitech Pop Mouse review: Emoji button meets colorful simplicity

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 8:00am
Logitech Pop Mouse.

Enlarge / Logitech Pop Mouse. (credit: Scharon Harding)

Specs at a glance: Logitech Pop Mouse Sensor Optical (model not disclosed) Connectivity Options Bluetooth Low Energy or 2.4 GHz dongle (not included) Programmable Buttons 2 Onboard profiles 0 Lighting None Size ~4.5 x 2.6 x 1.4 inches (114.3 x 66 x 35.6 mm) Weight 2.9 ounces (81.9 g) with battery Warranty 1 year Price (MSRP) $40 Other perks Available in yellow, purple or pink

There are many reasons to prefer wireless mice. They keep your desk clear of unnecessary cords, and it's now easy to find one with advanced capabilities, a nice set of programmable buttons, and the ability to hold a reliable connection. Some people use a wireless mouse to control a distant system—like a media PC, for example—and are interested in mice that not only cut the cord but the volume as well.

The Logitech Pop Mouse is aimed at that latter crowd. But before you notice its absence of cable and ability to easily toggle across three devices paired with Bluetooth, you'll see the daring color options that scream "vibrant" in all their plastic glory.

Priced at $40, the Pop Mouse also boasts an "emoji button" directly under the scroll wheel, pushing the device toward a young demographic. But that emoji button is programmable, so the Pop Mouse can still be a viable option for advanced users looking for a secondary or travel mouse. Just don't rely on this diminutive, flatter, more limited mouse for your next big Photoshop project.

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NASA’s stalwart Mars helicopter is back and better than ever

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 7:33am
NASA's <em>Ingenuity</em> Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its navigation camera during its thin-atmosphere flight this week.

NASA's Ingenuity Mars Helicopter acquired this image using its navigation camera during its thin-atmosphere flight this week. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Nearly seven months have passed since NASA's Ingenuity helicopter made its first groundbreaking flight on Mars.

Since that initial tentative hovering above the surface of Mars, Ingenuity has flown a progression of longer, more significant, and scientifically important flights. It has flown as far as 625 meters in a single flight, as high as 12 meters, and for a duration of as long as 169.5 seconds.

But in September the small flying vehicle faced a growing threat from a thinning atmosphere due to seasonal variation. NASA's Perseverance mission had landed in Jezero Crater, in the northern hemisphere of Mars, during the planet's late winter in February. But since then summer has come on, and the density of Mars' atmosphere has fallen from about 1.5 percent that of Earth's atmosphere to 1.0 percent. For a helicopter already pushing the limits of flying in a thin atmosphere, this represented a significant decline.

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How to reduce our carbon footprint

ArsTechnica - Tue, 11/09/2021 - 5:30am
How to reduce our carbon footprint

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

After the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month, it's easy to feel demoralized. With everything else in the news, it's also easy to focus on threats that are arguably more imminent, like the delta coronavirus variant. But the threat from the climate crisis is increasingly part of our everyday lives—and it's going to get worse.

As a result of insufficient action over the past several decades, the next 30 years will bring more extreme weather and a temperature rise of at least 1.5° C, no matter what we do. But—and there is a very important but—collective action now will decide whether the future is even worse than the IPCC's already grim forecast.

"The question now isn't whether we're going to avoid this," says Professor Michael E. Mann, a leading climatologist at Pennsylvania State University who has been a proponent of recognizing and combating climate change. "It's how bad are we willing to let it get."

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Crew Dragon lands safely, despite one parachute inflating slowly [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Mon, 11/08/2021 - 8:30pm
NASA Television of the Crew-2 landing shows three main parachutes deployed, with a fourth one lagging behind.

Enlarge / NASA Television of the Crew-2 landing shows three main parachutes deployed, with a fourth one lagging behind. (credit: NASA TV)

11:30pm ET Monday update: Crew Dragon Endeavour safely splashed down into the Northern Gulf of Mexico on Monday evening, just south of Pensacola, Florida. The water landing capped a successful 199-day mission to the International Space Station.

The spacecraft's return to Earth seemed nominal up until four minutes before splashdown, when the vehicle's main parachutes deployed. Three of the four parachutes came out nominally, but inflation of the fourth parachute was delayed by a fraction of a minute. Despite this, the commentators on the NASA-SpaceX livestream indicated that the fourth parachute's inflation rate was normal, and the spacecraft's descent speed nominal.

The crew emerged from the spacecraft less than an hour later, onboard a recovery ship, no worse for wear. Another Crew Dragon spacecraft, carrying NASA's Crew-3 mission, is set to launch from Florida in less than two days. It seems possible that this mission could be delayed due to the parachute issue observed Monday night.

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