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.

A domestic newspaper warns of the Russian space program’s “rapid collapse”

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 7:23am
Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin visits the construction site for the launch pad for the rocket boosters of the Angara family, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome.

Enlarge / Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin visits the construction site for the launch pad for the rocket boosters of the Angara family, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. (credit: Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images)

A long and strikingly critical article that reviews the state of the Russian space program was published in the state-aligned newspaper MK this week.

None of the findings in the 2,800-word article were particularly surprising. Western observers who track the Russian space industry realize the program is deeply troubled, and to a great extent running on the fumes of its past and very real glory. What is notable, however, is that a major Russian media outlet has published such a revelatory article for a domestic audience.

Increasingly, Russia's space program seeks to project its greatness in space through symbolic acts rather than technological achievements—such as the launch of a Russian movie star, sending a robot nicknamed Fedor to space, or making (entirely) hollow promises about a Moon landing in 2030. But now it has been called out on these acts in a publication closely aligned with the Russian government.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

War Stories: How Deus Ex was almost too complex for its own good

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 7:00am

Directed by James Herron, edited by Sean Dacanay. Click here for transcript. (video link)

Coming in under the wire here is our last video for 2021—and we tried to make it a fun one. If you play games, chances are you've played something that Warren Spector was involved in creating—with stints at Origin, Ion Storm, and Disney, he helped design and/or produce a whole giant pile of famous titles, including Wing Commander, various Ultimas, System Shock, and the title we're focusing on today: the original Deus Ex.

But even for someone with Warren's pedigree, and with an amazing and talented design team backing him up, Deus Ex was a challenge to pull off. The idea was to produce a game that enabled the player to approach things in whatever way the player wanted. If you're playing a shooter like Doom and you run into a difficult section that you can't get through, there often isn't an alternate path that involves not shooting; similarly, if you're playing a sneaker like Thief and you run into a difficult section of a heist where you keep getting detected, you can't just pull out your sword and start whacking things. (Well, you can, but you'll quickly wind up dead.) Frustrated by the gameplay linearity of most genres, Warren wanted to do things a different way and make a game where all play-styles were valid.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A sublime landscape: New model explains Pluto’s lumpy plains

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 6:21am
Greyscale image of topographic features.

Enlarge / The polygons of Sputnik Planitium. (credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

Expectations for active geology on Pluto were pretty low prior to the arrival of the New Horizons probe. But the photos that came back from the dwarf planet revealed a world of mountains, ridges, and... strange lumpy things that don't have an obvious Earthly analog. One of the more prominent oddities was the plain of Sputnik Planitia, filled with nitrogen ice that was divided into polygonal shapes separated by gullies that were tens of meters deep.

Scientists quickly came up with a partial explanation for these structures: convection, where heat differences cause deeper, warmer nitrogen ices to bubble through the soft material toward the surface. The problem is that the planet has no obvious sources of heat deep inside. Now, however, a group of European researchers is suggesting that the convection could be driven by surface cooling, rather than heat from the planet's interior. The secret is the sublimation of nitrogen ices directly into vapors.

Lacking heat

Explaining the formations on small, icy bodies like Pluto is difficult because scientists expect that they lack the heat sources that drive plate tectonics, like those on Earth. These icy bodies are small enough that any heat generated by the collisions that built them, and the dwarf planet, dissipated long ago. And they don't have enough metallic materials for radioisotopes to provide ongoing heat generation. The few exceptions to this, like Europa and Enceladus, are heated by gravitational interactions with the giant planets they orbit, but that's not an option for Pluto, either.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Wheel of Time episode 7 finally tells us who the Dragon is

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 6:00am
Moiraine strides purposefully, as usual.

Enlarge / Moiraine strides purposefully, as usual.

Andrew Cunningham and Lee Hutchinson have spent decades of their lives with Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson's Wheel of Time books, and they're bringing that knowledge to bear as they recap each episode of Amazon's new WoT TV series. These recaps won't cover every element of every episode, but they will contain major spoilers for the show and the book series. If you want to stay unspoiled and haven't read the books, these recaps aren't for you.

New episodes of The Wheel of Time will be posted to Amazon Prime subscribers every Friday.

Andrew: I wouldn't say that the middle of this Wheel of Time season slowed down, exactly, but episode seven sees the show kicking back up into a busier register that reminded me more of the bewildering early episodes of the season. In just one episode, we navigate through the darkness of The Ways; we encounter our first Borderlanders, the Blight, and the fortress city of Fal Dara; we get a small info dump on Lan's doomed homeland of Malkier; we meet a woman named Min who sees visions of the future; and the show resolves the mystery of Who The Dragon Reborn Is (we will talk about the how and the who momentarily, but let's just say book readers won't be surprised). That's a long list of stuff—did any of it stick out to you?
The Wheel of Time season one View more stories
Lee: So many things stuck out! I have so many thoughts on this one, and not all of them are positive. And I’m a little disappointed in the show for playing dirty with its big mystery—we’ll get to that.

But the thing that stuck out most is the pre-credits intro, where we get to see an Aiel Maiden of the Spear doing what Maidens do best: killing the crap out of things. The moment of compassion between Tam (wearing the Golden Bees of Illian) and the maiden during Rand’s birth was so incredibly powerful—it was an instance of pure, raw humanity that transcended conflict, and I thought it was really nice. On the other hand, book readers know precisely who Rand’s mother is, and without spoiling anything at all about that Maiden’s identity, I’m starting to wonder if the show is going to change up Rand’s mom from the books. I am somewhat doubtful, given how well the woman we see on screen fights, that her identity is the same as it is in the books. Do you think I’m off-base here, Andrew? Either way, I loved the little prologue. Easily my favorite part of the episode, and possibly my favorite series moment so far.

Andrew: I think the cold open was trying to do a couple of things—show us something about Rand's previously hinted-at parentage, and show us how well Aiel characters fight. The latter bit is endlessly discussed in the books, and while Aiel only hover at the margins of this first season, I'd expect the accelerated pace of the show to bring us in contact with more of them next year. This scene accomplishes those things! And as for a more detailed depiction of who Rand's mother is, as a person, there's some room for the show to fudge this, given how little we actually learn about her show-character from this brief glimpse. While we're talking about things that were adapted well, I did think the spookiness of the Ways was pretty pitch-perfect. And if Machin Shin (or the Black Wind, if you prefer) doesn't work exactly as it did in the books, I do really like the depiction of it as a force that breaks you down by repeating all the stuff that the shittiest part of your brain tells you about yourself. (Maybe you don't know what I am talking about if you don't have a history of dealing with impostor syndrome and depression! But it hit uncomfortably close to home for me.)
Lee: I am 100 percent OK with the depiction of Machin Shin in the Ways—it’s suitably creepy, and it also works as a storytelling change to hurry everybody’s plots along, because this is the second-to-last episode of the season. Whispering the characters’ inner fears back to them is a neat way to surface (or re-surface) that information to the audience.

I wish the Ways themselves had been a little easier to see on the screen—they were a little Battle of Winterfell-esque in how dark they were. (Though that may just have been the lower bitrate of the media screener we were watching.) Obviously it’s hard to depict on screen a place that’s pitch black and lit only by torches, but I could have used a little more light to actually, you know, see stuff.

There is one major complaint I have about Machin Shin’s whispers, and it has to do with the show not playing fair with its mysteries. But lemme table that for just a moment—I’ve got a big bit of spleen-venting to do about the episode’s middle, where the characters rest overnight in Fal Dara.

Andrew: Why don't you just go ahead and spleen vent for a sec?
Lee: All righty then. There are two major, major problems I have with this episode, and I want to run these by you to see if I’m just being overly picky. The first problem is the weird out-of-nowhere accusation that Perrin is seemingly in love with another woman–and that it seems to be Egwene.

Huh? Obviously two people with shared trauma and a lot of rough traveling—like Perrin and Egwene—will develop some closeness, even if it’s not romantic. This makes total sense. But there are clues here that paint a different picture—is Perrin always supposed to have been in love with Egwene? Is that the reason why Laila didn’t go to Egwene’s braid ceremony celebration back in the Two Rivers?

It’s a weird moment that feels unearned and... just... weird. Rand eventually laughs off the accusations, which might just be part of the post-channeling "madness lite" that boys experience the first few times they touch the One Power, but that was just an odd scene. It smelled more like the result of studio notes than organic storytelling. (Though I guess we got to see Rand do the "Flame and Void" archery trick, at least.)

Andrew: The Perrin-Egwene thing is just there to artificially heighten tensions between some of our main characters, because some shows seem to believe that characters can't be interesting unless they're in some kind of conflict with one another at literally every possible second.

I am also just completely lost with how I'm supposed to feel about Perrin's Dead Wife, and how he feels about her, and just what her sketchily drawn character was supposed to be doing for the story in the first place (the most interesting theory I've heard among my friends is that she was a Darkfriend and was actually going for Perrin at the moment he killed her, but the show hasn't offered much to support that). We talked last week about how Perrin and Mat were feeling a bit underwritten compared to a lot of our other characters, and this kind of scene is what you get when you try to use an underdeveloped character to prop up an emotional beat like this.

As for Mat, he's just gone from this episode after last week's cliffhanger, and it says something about his presence on the show that neither the viewers nor the characters on screen seem to actually miss him much.

Lee: Yep. And here’s problem number two: a hugely pivotal scene in the books occurs when Rand is helping a Trolloc-injured Tam into town for help, and Tam, delirious with fever, spills the beans that Rand was a foundling baby. This scene was absent from the show, and book fans complained bitterly about it.

Well, it turns out that the scene wasn’t absent—it happened, and we just didn’t get to see it until now. And also, in the Ways, the Black Wind whispered some more stuff to Rand that we didn’t hear the first time around, about how he’s, you know, the Dragon Reborn and stuff.

Look. I enjoy it when shows give us mysteries to play with. I loved it when Westworld constructed this amazing puzzle box story and dared you to solve it. And I’ve been enjoying the game of “Who’s the Dragon” that WoT has been stringing us along with.

But this isn't honest storytelling. This is cheating. If you’re going to lay out a mystery for the audience to solve, you can’t spring up at the last second and say “LOL, psyche! We actually withheld critical information from you, so there’s no way you could have pieced together the solution on your own!” This is taking what should have been an earned and gratifying resolution to a season-long puzzle and turning it into a cheap gotcha. It's the same complaint I have about Rand's Machin Shin whispers—we see one set of events happen, and then a bit later the show comes back with the rest of what it said to Rand. It just feels like a low blow.

Andrew: Both of those contrivances—Perrin has feelings for Egwene, plus a whole scene about the Dragon Reborn thing that happened but didn't make it onscreen at the time—definitely feel very Made For TV, in a bad way. And the retconned-in scene between Tam and Rand... It feels like an awfully cheap way to add another piece to the "Who Is The Dragon Reborn" mystery, because I feel like the show was honestly doing a pretty solid job of juggling that up until now—that they were handling it well helped me excuse the fact that they were doing it in the first place, and this reveal squanders a lot of that. I think you can replay those scenes of Rand doing things he shouldn't have been able to do, and reveal to us what the Black Wind was saying to him, and then let the cold open and the season's Rand-is-an-Aiel-breadcrumbs work together to let us arrive at the same conclusion without making the audience feel duped.
Lee: Yeah. This is lame, y'all. This is lame sauce. This is not how you do a puzzle. I am disappointed and annoyed that Rand’s “I am the Dragon” reveal happened this way. This is going beyond having an unreliable narrator and into feeling like we have dishonest storytellers. Come on, Amazon and Rafe and team. You can do better than this.
Andrew: It's a shame to have spent so much time on something that I honestly don't think sticks the landing, because on balance I still think the show as a whole—and even within this episode—is doing about as well as anyone could have expected at adapting a story of this size and complexity for the screen.

I did really enjoy the snippets of time we spend with Min (who, apart from being transplanted from a tavern from early in Eye of the World to a tavern from later in Eye of the World, does and says pretty much what she does and says in the book). I think the bits of Lan-Nynaeve we get here are basically fine—on the gauzy side, but the presence of Lan's "family" here is keeping with the books' depiction of him as a sort of king-in-exile whose former subjects are scattered across the Borderlands. This episode also makes explicit what eagle-eyed book-readers have probably picked up on by now—that Padan Fain, a barely-remarked-upon peddler in the very first episode of the show, has been tracking our party from a distance, Gollum-like, lurking in the shadows and waiting for... something.

But I do think this episode's busy-ness hurts it and that the show would really have benefitted from a 10-episode season instead of an abbreviated 8-episode order that needs to rush so many things.

Lee: I really quite liked the way they did Min’s visions, too. They looked quite “realistic,” in that I could believe that if one were to hallucinate prescient visions about people, they’d look like this—not incredibly dramatic or with swooshy sound effects or anything. Just ghostly weird stuff that comes and goes. And it was nice to see Lord Agelmar and his sister, and Uno, and Ingtar (though I don’t believe Ingtar was named on-screen). These are all faces that we’ll see again.

And I really like the visual look they’ve got for Fal Dara—it looks Tibetan, and that fits in really well with my mental image of the Borderlands. We even get a glimpse of what I assume is Tarwin’s Gap next to the fortress—and then, near the end of the episode, Moiraine and Rand ride out into the Blight together.

The Blight, for non-book-readers, is the part of the physical world that’s withering and rotting from being in proximity to the Dark One’s prison—the prison that the show has apparently relocated to the Eye of the World. There are a ton of unresolved threads around the Bad Guy side of the story so far, and wrapping together the Eye, the Forsaken, the weird dreams Rand is having about Dude With Fire Coming Out of His Eyes and Mouth, and the overall tale of the Dragon Reborn is going to be a pretty tall order for the single episode we have left.

Andrew: Maybe it will have an extended runtime? These finales sometimes do. But there's certainly a lot to wrap up in our last hour, and then a gap of who knows how long between seasons (though season two is well into filming at this point).

Whatever happens, we'll be back to talk about it (and our impressions of the season as a whole) one last time next week. May you always find water and shade, Lee!

(credit: WoT Wiki)

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

What physics can teach us about Pamplona’s annual running of the bulls

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 5:15am

Physicists from Argentina and Spain have studied the pedestrian dynamics at the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona.

In his first and arguably most famous novel, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway wrote tersely but lovingly about the annual running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, during the seven-day Festival of San Fermín. "One man fell, rolled to the gutter and lay quiet," the protagonist, Jake, observes while watching from a balcony. "But the bulls went right on and did not notice him. They were all running together." A new analysis of the physics behind the dynamics of the crowds running from the bulls takes the probability of falling into account, according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Local legend holds that the running of the bulls dates back to northeastern Spain in the early 14th century. Cattle herders at the time found that hurrying the beasts through the streets was an efficient way to move livestock from fields or barges to the market—or the bullfighting ring. Young men started racing in front of the charging bulls, competing to see who could make it safely to the bull pens without being overtaken (or worse, trampled and gored). The race eventually became part of the San Fermín festival and is now the festival's most popular event.

Per official records, 15 people have died during the running of the bulls in Pamplona since 1910, usually from being gored. Sometimes bystanders can be injured or killed, too, especially if they're trying to capture live footage of the event with their smartphones. That happened during a different bull run, this time in Villaseca de la Sagra, Spain. In 2015, a 32-year-old man was gored from behind while attempting to share his experience by way of a smartphone recording. The victim died of neck and thigh wounds. Hot tip: maybe running away from charging bulls isn't the best time to try to snap a selfie.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: SpaceX plans a Falcon 9 flurry, Bill Gates buys into rockets

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 5:00am
Rocket engine spews flame.

Enlarge / Blue Origin's BE-4 engine hot-fire tests take place at the company's facility in West Texas. (credit: Blue Origin)

Welcome to Edition 4.26 of the Rocket Report! This will be the final edition of 2021 due to a forthcoming (and much-needed) holiday break. As I write this, NASA and the European Space Agency are debating whether to press ahead with a launch attempt of the James Webb Space Telescope on December 24 or a few days later. Whenever the $10 billion telescope flies, my single Christmas wish is for a safe launch and deployment sequence. See you in 2022.

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

Blue Origin launches six people for the first time. On Saturday, the company's New Shepard capsule sent six people on a suborbital trip for the first time, increasing the number of passengers from four. Laura Shepard Churchley, daughter of Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard, and former NFL football player Michael Strahan were invited guests along with four paying customers.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Review: Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 is a powerful laptop with heat problems

ArsTechnica - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 4:35am
Lenovo's Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen 4.

Enlarge / Lenovo's Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen 4. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

The term “desktop replacement” is a bit out of fashion as a descriptor for laptops these days, if only because fewer people have desktop computers they’re trying to replace. But I struggle to think of a better term for something like Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Extreme, currently in its 4th generation.

Where other workstation-y laptops like Dell’s XPS 15 have dropped ports and offer only limited GPU options in an effort to slim down and become more mobile, the X1 Extreme still comes with a healthy selection of ports (both in number and variety) and offers GPUs all the way up to Nvidia’s RTX 3080. Its 16-inch screen is also subtly but noticeably larger than the 15.6-inch panels you’ll find in other laptops with similar speeds and weights.

(If you’re buying an X1 Extreme Gen 4, you could also check out the Lenovo P1 Gen 4, which is a workstation-branded version of an essentially identical laptop with Nvidia A- and T-series workstation GPUs in most models rather than RTX-series consumer GPUs. If you can get a P1 for cheaper than a comparable X1 Extreme, it’s a safe trade to make.)

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 is the best EV we drove in 2021

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:01pm
A cutting-edge electric car parked on a street.

Enlarge / Hyundai's striking new Ioniq 5 EV was worth the wait. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Hyundai provided flights to San Diego and two nights in a hotel so we could drive the Ioniq 5. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

SAN DIEGO—In 2020, Hyundai Motor Group revealed that it had developed a new platform built solely for battery electric vehicles. The company's smaller, earlier EVs have gotten impressively close to Tesla levels of powertrain efficiency, and these days, the Korean automaker is at the head of the class in terms of quality and reliability.

So the excitement was palpable when we learned that this new "Electric-Global Modular Platform" (or E-GMP) was intended for larger, more powerful EVs with either rear- or all-wheel drive. The platform would use an 800 V electrical architecture and would provide 18-minute fast-charging and the ability to power AC devices. The anticipation only grew when we got our first look at the Hyundai Ioniq 5—the first of those EVs—back in February.

In fact, if I had been paying more attention at the 2019 Frankfurt Auto Show, I would have seen the Ioniq 5, barely disguised as a concept called the "45." The design team, led by SangYup Lee, channeled some of Giorgetto Giugiaro's angular and boxy energy into the Ioniq 5's proportions. The 45 concept was meant to pay homage to a 1974 concept that Giugiaro created for the Korean brand, but to my eyes, it's more reminiscent of a 1980s Lancia Delta, except scaled up by 19 percent.

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google Play app with 500,000 downloads sent user contacts to Russian server

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 3:21pm
A robotic hand tries to activate a smartphone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

An Android app with more than 500,000 downloads from Google Play has been caught hosting malware that surreptitiously sends users’ contacts to an attacker-controlled server and signs up users to pricey subscriptions, a security firm reported.

The app, named Color Message, was still available on Google servers at the time this post was being prepared. Google removed it more than three hours after I asked the company for comment.

Ostensibly, Color Message enhances text messaging by doing things such as adding emojis and blocking junk texts. But according to researchers at Pradeo Security said on Thursday, Color Message contains a family of malware known as Joker, which has infected millions of Android devices in the past.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

I don’t want another Netflix adaptation—I want Mega Man Legends 3

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 3:00pm
Screenshot from Mega Man video game.

Heading back to the ship in Mega Man Legends 2. (credit: Capcom)

Netflix seems to be on a mission of late. The streaming brand has been on a near-rampage, sourcing Japanese content with nostalgic appeal and turning it into live-action content with the "Netflix original" stamp. There's always trepidation when hearing about an adaptation of an old favorite, but the latest Netflix adaptation I heard about stings more than usual. Not because I'm outraged by casting choices, character omissions, or use of heartless CGI—we haven't gotten that far yet. It's because I've been waiting for a different addition to the Mega Man franchise for nearly (gulp) 22 years.

When I hear the phrase "new Mega Man," I presume it's going to be the announcement of a new video game, and deep down, I always hope that announcement is Mega Man Legends 3. Decades later, I and many other fans are still holding out for a follow-up to the two PlayStation games (they were eventually ported to a few other platforms, including Windows) that challenged, entertained, and mesmerized me starting in 1998.

Since Mega Man Legends 2 came out in 2000, Capcom has offered me small return trips to the Mega Man universe, including 2001's Mega Man Battle Network series and 2018's Mega Man 11. But none continued—or, better yet, completed—the detailed, mysterious story of the Legends games, whose lore is loaded with themes of myriad familial bonds, independence, ingenuity, and coming of age.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Electric vehicles ask a lot of their tires—here’s why

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 1:51pm
Promotional image of new tire.

Enlarge / Pirelli recently introduced a high load (HL) version of its P Zero performance tire, designed to cope with the greater mass of an electric vehicle. (credit: Pirelli)

In the past, we've looked at the technology that goes into winter tires—and even what makes a good racing tire. But considering that the majority of our auto coverage at Ars focuses on electric vehicles, it's time to dig into the specialized tires those EVs have to wear.

"We like to design [the tire] as the car is being designed," explained Ian Coke, director of quality at Pirelli. That means getting started with the OEM several years before the car is due on sale, when it's still just a concept being developed. "Or if you're Tesla, six weeks, because they work in a different way," he laughed.

"We're getting to know [Tesla] very well now," he said, as the Italian tire company develops rubber for the automaker.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Fossil fuel combustion kills more than 1 million people every year, study says

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 1:40pm
A pair of concrete towers overlooks an empty playground.

Enlarge / Coal smoke and steam vapor pour out of the Bruce Mansfield Power Plant across from a largely abandoned children's park on September 11, 2008, in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. After two enormous toxic coal soot discharges in 2006 and 2007, the children's park was rarely used. The 2,460 MW coal-fired plant wasn't fully decommissioned until November 2019. (credit: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

Burning fossil fuels kills more than 1 million people ever year, according to a new study that examined the worldwide health effects of fine particulate pollution, also known as PM2.5.

Coal, which produces sooty, particulate-laden pollution, is responsible for half of those deaths, while natural gas and oil are responsible for the other half. Some 80 percent of premature deaths due to fossil fuel combustion takes place in South Asia or East Asia, the report said.

“Our key objective was to identify major sources of PM2.5 pollution and to understand how these sources change around the world,” Erin McDuffie, the study’s lead author and a research associate at Washington University, said in a statement. “In some countries, our results are some of the first pieces of information they have on the major sources in their region.”

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

After months-long battle, Apple takes the due date off its return-to-office plans

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 1:26pm
An enormous ring-shaped building on a green campus.

Enlarge / Apple's global headquarters in Cupertino, California. (credit: Sam Hall/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

It's been a rocky road for Apple's return-to-office plans. Over the past few months, we've reported on numerous stops and starts, but the industry behemoth seems to have come to the hardest stop yet, according to a Bloomberg report.

According to a memo sent to Apple employees by CEO Tim Cook, the company's return-to-office date (which was last set at February 1 a few weeks ago) has once again been delayed—but this time, it has been delayed to a "date yet to be determined." Up to this point, previous delays had set a new target. Not so this time.

Cook wrote in the memo that the delay is due to "rising cases in many parts of the world" as well as "the emergence of a new strain of the virus." He described the change in plans as a delay, though, not a cancellation. Employees will get at least four weeks of notice before a new return-to-office date, he added.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Backdoor gives hackers complete control over federal agency network

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 1:15pm
Backdoor gives hackers complete control over federal agency network

Enlarge (credit: Jeremy Brooks / Flickr)

A US federal agency has been hosting a backdoor that can provide total visibility into and complete control over the agency network, and the researchers who discovered it have been unable to engage with the administrators responsible, security firm Avast said on Thursday.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, associated with international rights, regularly communicates with other US agencies and international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. The security firm published a blog post after multiple attempts failed to report the findings directly and through channels the US government has in place. The post didn't name the agency, but a spokeswoman did in an email. Representatives from the commission didn't respond to an email seeking comment.

Members of Avast’s threat intelligence team wrote:

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Comcast delays data caps in Northeast US for at least another year

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:17pm
A Comcast gateway modem-and-router device labeled with the Xfinity brand name.

Enlarge / Comcast's xFi Advanced Gateway. (credit: Getty Images | Jeff Fusco )

Comcast says it won't deploy data caps in the Northeast US in 2022, giving another year's reprieve to 12 states and a few other areas where Comcast customers don't face overage fees. "We don't have plans to implement our data usage plan in our Northeast markets in 2022 at this time," Comcast said, according to a Light Reading article.

Comcast confirmed that quote to Ars today but declined to provide any further statement when asked about plans for 2023 and beyond. Comcast's statement came after Massachusetts state Rep. Andy Vargas, a Democrat, told WHAV that "the latest we have is that they have no intention of reintroducing the data caps at all, which is a huge win."

Vargas and 70 other Massachusetts lawmakers slammed Comcast a year ago when it announced a plan to start enforcing the data cap in the Northeast starting in January 2021.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Players invest $54M in Molyneux’s NFT game Legacy in hopes of earning even more

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 12:00pm
<em>Legacy</em> investors earn the ability to make more money in-game by crafting and selling unique items.

Enlarge / Legacy investors earn the ability to make more money in-game by crafting and selling unique items. (credit: 22cans)

On Saturday, Peter Molyneux's 22cans studio and blockchain gaming company Gala Games announced the first limited land sale in Legacy, an NFT-powered game being sold as "a creative entrepreneur’s dream come true." Less than a week later, early player-investors have already poured over $54 million into the virtual-land non-fungible tokens that make up the game, which isn't expected to launch until sometime next year.

How it works

Described as "the first ever Blockchain Business Sim," Legacy lets players design in-game products and buildings that are then manufactured by virtual workers in in-game factories. Players can trade those items with other players in an "open market" and compete in in-game competitions for "leaderboard positions and big prizes" (denominated in the game's own LegacyCoin cryptocurrency).

To participate in that in-game economy, though, you'll have to be a Legacy landowner. Currently, that means purchasing one of 4,661 available plots of land in a virtual recreation of London using the Gala Games marketplace (it's unclear how many more plots of Legacy land will eventually be made, if any).

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Focusing sound vibrations precisely can knock over one Lego minifig among many

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:31am
Brian Anderson's experiments with Lego minifigs led to the development of an interactive museum exhibit in Switzerland.

Enlarge / Brian Anderson's experiments with Lego minifigs led to the development of an interactive museum exhibit in Switzerland. (credit: Brian Anderson)

Legos are a beloved staple of educational science activities and have even proved useful in particle physics experiments at CERN to explore the properties of hadrons. For Brian Anderson, a physicist at Brigham Young University, Legos are an essential component of his acoustics research. At a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America in Seattle earlier this month, Anderson described how he figured out how to focus sound-wave energy precisely enough to knock over a single Lego minifig without disturbing other minifigs clustered around it.

The key is a signal-processing technique called "time reversal," originally used by submarines in the 1960s to help focus signal transmission in the ocean. The name is a bit misleading, since it's sound waves that are being reversed, not time. The technique involves playing a sound (impulse) from a sound source—Anderson uses speakers for playing music through a computer or laptop—and using a sensor (like a microphone or a laser) at a targeted location on a metal plate to record the response to the impulse there.

That recording essentially maps the acoustic wave as it bounces around. One can then use software to reverse that signal and play it back so the waves retrace their steps and constructively interfere with each other, enabling Anderson to precisely focus that acoustic energy on the targeted location. The spatial extent of the focusing depends on the frequencies being used. Higher frequencies typically have smaller wavelengths, enabling Anderson to focus the acoustic energy to a more narrow point in space.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Final Fantasy VII Remake on PC: A gorgeous start, but where are the toggles?

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 7:30am
Cloud Strife is finally on PC again, and this image is taken directly from real-time rendering in the new PC port.

Enlarge / Cloud Strife is finally on PC again, and this image is taken directly from real-time rendering in the new PC port. (credit: Square Enix)

Final Fantasy VII Remake's exclusivity on consoles ends today. Nineteen months after its launch on PS4 and seven months after its PS5 update, Square Enix's ambitious return to Midgar breaks out of Sony's console family to land on PCs.

If you're the type of Final Fantasy fan who wants little more than a way to play this game on your computer, you can expect a beautiful and mostly solid port that delivers the perks of the PS5 version to many more people. I went into my testing of FFVIIR on PC with higher hopes, however. For gamers like me, the news isn't nearly as good, and that makes its unusually high PC price of $70 even harder to swallow.

A graphics menu brick wall

My first stop before starting any FFVIIR PC gameplay was the options screen, where I slammed into the brick wall that is the above "graphics" menu.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rigetti announces 80 qubit processor, experiments with “qutrits”

ArsTechnica - Thu, 12/16/2021 - 6:25am
Image of a golden colored square with lots of attachment points for cables.

Enlarge / The Aspen-M 40-qubit chip and its housing. (credit: Rigetti)

On Wednesday, quantum computing startup Rigetti announced a number of interesting hardware developments. To begin with, its users now have access to its next-generation chip, called Aspen-11, which provides 40 qubits and improved performance. While that's well below the qubit count achieved by IBM, the company has hinted at a way it can stay competitive: private testers will now have access to an 80 qubit version achieved by linking two of these chips together.

Separately, the company says that it is now experimenting with allowing testers to access a third energy state in its superconducting hardware, converting its qubits into "qutrits." If these qutrits show consistent behavior, they will allow for the manipulation of significantly more data in existing hardware.

New and improved

For traditional processors, advances are typically measured in clock speed, core count, and energy use. For quantum computers, one of the most critical measures is error rate, since the qubits lose track of their state in a way that digital hardware doesn't. With Aspen-11, Rigetti is claiming that a specific type of error—the readout of the state of the qubit—has been cut in half.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Current vaccines are enough to fight omicron, but massive wave is coming fast

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 4:29pm
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 1, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Enlarge / Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, during the daily press briefing at the White House on December 1, 2021, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty | Anna Moneymaker)

Though booster doses of current vaccines can foil the ultra-transmissible omicron coronavirus variant, a towering wave of omicron cases may peak in the US as soon as January, officials warn.

Scientists are still racing to fully understand the variant, which first gained international attention in late November. But a few things are becoming increasingly clear: the variant spreads stunningly fast, and it can largely circumvent protection from two vaccine doses. However, people who have received a third vaccine dose are well-protected against severe disease.

In a White House press briefing Wednesday, top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci reviewed the early laboratory and real-world data on vaccine effectiveness. Numerous laboratory studies have all shown that levels of neutralizing antibodies from two doses of a vaccine are significantly lower against omicron—potentially so low that they do not protect against the variant. But studies looking at neutralizing antibodies after a third dose consistently find a substantial increase in protection. One study found a 38-fold rise in the level of neutralizing antibodies against omicron after a third dose of an mRNA vaccine.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content