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.

Patch fixing critical Log4J 0-day has its own vulnerability that’s under exploit

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 2:40pm
Patch fixing critical Log4J 0-day has its own vulnerability that’s under exploit

Enlarge (credit: Wikimedia Commons/Alex E. Proimos)

Last Thursday, the world learned of an in-the-wild exploitation of a critical code-execution zero-day in Log4J, a logging utility used by just about every cloud service and enterprise network on the planet. Open source developers quickly released an update that patched the flaw and urged all users to install it immediately.

Now, researchers are reporting that there are at least two vulnerabilities in the patch, released as Log4J 2.15.0, and that attackers are actively exploiting one or both of them against real-world targets who have already applied the update. The researchers are urging organizations to install a new patch, released as version 2.16.0, as soon as possible to fix the vulnerability, which is tracked as CVE-2021-45046.

The earlier fix, researchers said on late Tuesday, “was incomplete in certain non-default configurations” and made it possible for attackers to perform denial-of-service attacks, which typically make it easy to take vulnerable services completely offline until victims reboot their servers or take other actions. Version 2.16.0 "fixes this issue by removing support for message lookup patterns and disabling JNDI functionality by default," according to the above-linked vulnerability notice.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Today’s best deals: Apple Watch Series 7, gaming gift cards, and more

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 1:32pm
 Apple Watch Series 7, gaming gift cards, and more

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

If you're still looking to snag some good values for your holiday shopping, the Dealmaster is here to help. Leading today's roundup of the best tech deals we can find is a new low price for the Apple Watch Series 7—it's currently down to $349 at several retailers, which is $30 less than the previous low and a $50 drop from Apple's MSRP. Not every color is discounted, but listings at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy all say the device will ship in time for Christmas as of this writing.

The Series 7 is currently the top pick in our guide to the best smartwatches. That's probably not a shock—the Apple Watch has been recommended by many reviewers for a long time—but all the things that have made it stand above other wearables still apply here. Apple's watchOS remains head and shoulders above competing platforms in terms of app support and variety. The waterproof design is handsome, durable, and relatively easy to operate. It tracks the requisite health metrics—heart rate, sleep, various exercises, etc.—and runs apps quickly. You can buy a wide variety of alternative watch bands down the road if you want. It largely leaves Android users in the dark, but if you use an iPhone, it's not outrageous to say that the Series 7 can serve as an effective substitute to your phone, at least in smaller doses.

There's no major need to upgrade if you own a Series 6, but compared to that model, the Series 7's big addition is a larger display. It's only slightly bigger physically, but Apple has also shrunk down the black bezels surrounding the screen. All told, there's about 20 percent more available screen space for viewing apps and messages; there's now support for a QWERTY keyboard as well. And while the watch's battery life is still only OK, lasting roughly a day per charge, it does recharge faster than before. You'll need a capable power brick, but if you do, you can refill the Series 7 from zero to 100 percent battery in a little over an hour. With prior models, this took about two and half hours.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tesla sexual harassment lawsuits multiply as 6 more women sue Musk-led firm

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 12:39pm
Tesla signs outside of a showroom and service center.

Enlarge / A Tesla showroom and service center on Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Burbank, California. (credit: Getty Images | Kent Nishimura )

Six more women sued Tesla yesterday, alleging that the company failed to stop rampant sexual harassment at factory facilities in Fremont, California, and service centers in the Los Angeles area.

The lawsuits are similar to one filed last month by employee Jessica Barraza, who alleged that she and other women working in the carmaker's Fremont factory have been subjected to "nightmarish conditions of rampant sexual harassment," including offensive comments, propositions, and "frequent groping on the factory floor." Barraza alleged that managers and human resources personnel failed to protect her even though she complained repeatedly.

The lawsuits filed yesterday "detail specific instances of harassment that each woman experienced, and the lack of action from Tesla when these claims were reported," according to a press release from law firm Rudy Exelrod Zieff & Lowe, which represents Barazza and the six other women. "Those who complained were sometimes threatened into silence or faced undesirable transfers. The message was clear, there would be no consequences for abusers. The six women describe an environment in which it was normal for women to be catcalled, ogled, touched inappropriately, and propositioned."

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pfizer’s anti-COVID drug still looks effective after further analysis

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 12:25pm
Scenes like this might become less common if a new SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor becomes widely available.

Enlarge / Scenes like this might become less common if a new SARS-CoV-2 protease inhibitor becomes widely available. (credit: Getty Images)

On Monday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer released more data on its anti-COVID-19 drug, named Paxlovid. The company had released its initial data on the drug in early November, and it looked extremely promising: a drop in hospitalization and death of 89 percent in high-risk patients. But preliminary results like that don't always hold up, as we saw with a drug from Merck. But there's good news in this case: Paxlovid appears to be just as effective once more patients and numbers from a second trial are included.

On trial

Paxlovid inhibits a viral protein called a protease, which normally breaks chemical bonds in other viral proteins, converting them into their mature, functional forms. This processing is needed before the virus is able to copy its own genome, so inhibiting the protease should block viral reproduction.

Pfizer started at least two clinical trials with Paxlovid. One involved unvaccinated individuals who are at high risk from COVID-19 due to age or health issues. The second trial involved moderate risks: either unvaccinated individuals with no risk factors, or those who have been vaccinated but are at elevated risk. In both trials, treatments started within days of a confirmed infection.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

No jab, no job: Google will fire unvaccinated employees

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 9:42am
People walk out of a Google office building in Taipei, Taiwan, on January 29, 2021.

Enlarge / People walk out of a Google office building in Taipei, Taiwan, on January 29, 2021. (credit: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto)

Google is giving employees until January 18 to prove that they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19 or apply for an exemption, according to a report from CNBC. 

News of the requirement broke late Tuesday, but Google employees have been aware of the policy since December 3, when an internal memo alerted them to the deadline. If employees don’t upload proof of vaccination by then, they’ll be placed on paid administrative leave for 30 days and unpaid personal leave for six months after that. If they still haven’t shown proof of vaccination after seven months, they’ll be fired.

“We expect that almost all roles at Google in the US will fall within the scope of the executive order,” the memo said. “Anyone entering a Google building must be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation that allows them to work or come onsite.” 

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Polestar 2 owners will be able to purchase more performance via OTA update

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 9:07am
The single-motor version of the Polestar 2 just achieved a 270-mile range rating from the EPA.

Enlarge / The single-motor version of the Polestar 2 just achieved a 270-mile range rating from the EPA. (credit: Polestar)

Perhaps the most paradigm-shifting element of electric vehicles—other than their owners being able to wake up every morning to a car with a full battery—is the way automakers are improving the cars over time via over-the-air (OTA) updates.

Cynics might point out that the approach is borrowed from the tech industry's practice of releasing a "minimally viable product" and then rolling out new features when they're ready rather than completing everything first and then selling the product. But the practice proved popular enough when Tesla started doing it that it's now expected in the EV market.

Earlier this summer, Polestar bumped the range of its dual-motor Polestar 2s, increasing the EPA rating from 233 miles (375 km) to 249 miles (400 km). The Polestar 2 can now also precondition its battery if you set a charger as a navigation destination, and Sirius XM satellite radio was added via an OTA update.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Review: Spider-Man: No Way Home is the best superhero film of the year

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 6:53am
MJ and Peter Parker, dropping in one more time.

Enlarge / MJ and Peter Parker, dropping in one more time. (credit: Sony Pictures / Marvel Studios)

After watching Spider-Man: No Way Home, the third Tom Holland live-action film in the series, I'm befuddled. How do I fully convey its quality without spoiling even a smidge of its contents? As I left the theater, I found myself giddily talking aloud about the film, recounting its delightful surprises. It might have been enough to earn a slap from a spoiler-averse passerby.

Tricky as it may be to convey the film's charm, laughs, excitement, and heart without revealing its twists, I'll do my best to keep most of No Way Home's surprises as hidden as Peter Parker's identity.

Something really wacky happens (shocker)

That simile may make you sweat a bit, however, if you've been following the Holland series that kicked off with Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017. Its 2019 sequel ended with an NYC-rocking reveal of who's been hiding beneath Spider-Man's mask, and NWH picks up at this exact point in time, with Parker (Tom Holland) and his girlfriend MJ (Zendaya) escaping an alarmed, newly informed mob via frantic web-swinging.

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Dell’s magnetic wireless webcam concept may help you forget about that infamous nose cam

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 5:22am
A small camera is attached directly to a computer monitor.

Enlarge / The prototype can stick onto a screen so you can place it at eye level, or wherever else you'd want. (credit: Scharon Harding)

If you asked me to guess which company is revamping webcam positioning, I wouldn't name Dell. That's because I still remember the Dell XPS's infamous up-the-nose webcam, an unfortunately placed shooter that provided an in-nostril view of countless XPS users for years. But Dell wants a different, more positive reason for you to associate it with funky webcams, and, ironically, the company is all about getting webcams in the most ideal spot possible.

Dell demoed Concept Pari to the press last week (at the same event where it showed off its Concept Luna repairable PC). It's a 1080p webcam prototype that can depart its holster with a simple pluck, to be placed anywhere magnets work. The idea is that the camera will continue to send video to a connected PC through Wi-Fi, even from a couple of feet away. The most obvious use case for Concept Pari is sticking it directly onto your computer's display rather than on its bezel. This creates a more intimate space for conversation with your long-distance interlocutors, bringing their view of you to eye level. 

"It can be placed directly—anywhere—on compatible displays, in a charging dock, on a stand, or even held in the hand," Dell Technologies CTO of the Client Solutions Group Glen Robson explained in a blog post today.

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The Ars Technica 2021 holiday gift guide: Procrastinator’s edition

ArsTechnica - Wed, 12/15/2021 - 4:30am
A collection of products from our last minute holiday gift guide.

Enlarge / A handful of picks from our last-minute gift guide. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

The holiday season is ticking away, and procrastinators are sweating. Do you still need to find the right gift for the last few people on your shopping list? No problem: We've researched and tested countless products and services over the last year to find the gear that's worth your time, so allow us to help you get across the finish line.

We've dug into our Santa bags to round up a handful of last-minute gift ideas below. As we write this, each pick is scheduled to ship in time for Christmas, but that could change as the days roll on, so don't be surprised if you need to visit a physical store to grab something on time. If you're all set with your holiday shopping, meanwhile, congratulations on being responsible—and maybe consider participating in our annual Charity Drive to further your giving spirit.

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

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A potential hangup for quantum computing: Cosmic rays

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 4:30pm
Image of a chip above iridescent wiring.

Enlarge / Google's Sycamore processor. (credit: Google)

Recently, when researchers were testing error correction on Google's quantum processor, they noted an odd phenomenon where the whole error-correction scheme would sporadically fail badly. They chalked this up to background radiation, a combination of cosmic rays and the occasional decay of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope.

It seemed like a bit of an amusing aside at the time—Google having accidentally paid for an extremely expensive cosmic ray detector. But the people behind the processor took the problem very seriously and are back with a new paper that details exactly how the radiation affects the qubits. And they conclude that the problems caused by cosmic rays happen often enough to keep error-corrected quantum computations from working unless we figure out a way to limit the rays' impact.

It’s a shame about the rays

Cosmic rays and radioactivity cause problems for classical computing hardware as well. That's because classical computers rely on moving and storing charges, and cosmic rays can induce charges when they impact a material. Qubits, by contrast, store information in the form of the quantum state of an object—in the case of Google's processor, a loop of superconducting wire linked to a resonator. Cosmic rays affect these, too, but the mechanism is completely different.

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Porsche builds a sporty red wagon: The 2022 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 4:01pm
A red Porsche Taycan GTS Sport Turismo next to a solar panel farm

Enlarge / Porsche's newest electric car variant is the $133,300 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Porsche provided flights to Los Angeles and two nights in a hotel so we could drive the Taycan GTS Sport Turismo and the sedan that we wrote about two weeks ago. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

Two weeks ago, we found out how the new Porsche Taycan GTS sedan handles some light track work—quite competently, as it turns out. But as I noted at the time, few Taycan GTSes will ever take part in a track day, so how the car drives on the road is more important .

We didn't get a road drive in the GTS sedan, but we did get a few hours' seat time in that car's new sibling, the $133,300 Taycan GTS Sport Turismo. And for readers who don't speak fluent Porsche, that means this one is a station wagon.

In fact, this is not even the first battery electric station wagon. I think that honor goes to the Taycan Cross Turismo, which is basically the same bodyshell with the suspension raised a few millimeters, plus some plastic bumper extensions to give it an ersatz off-roader feel. Porsche would say that the Cross Turismo "exemplifies all-weather, all-road capability" and that this new Sport Turismo version is focused entirely on on-road performance.

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You asked. Ars answers. Here’s how to give an electric eel an MRI

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 3:30pm
Veterinarians at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium have pioneered a lot of unusual procedures to diagnose and treat the animals in their care—including figuring out how to give MRIs to electric eels.

Enlarge / Veterinarians at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium have pioneered a lot of unusual procedures to diagnose and treat the animals in their care—including figuring out how to give MRIs to electric eels. (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

Right before Thanksgiving, we reported on how Chicago's Shedd Aquarium solved the Curious Case of the Missing Chloroquine. The antiparasitic drug is typically added to the water for new animals in quarantine, but it was mysteriously disappearing. The culprit: hungry, hungry microbes. The post included a throwaway line about how the aquarium vets also had the lowdown on how to give an electric eel an MRI.

That bit seemed to resonate with readers, and we received several queries about how, exactly, this feat might be accomplished. You asked. We wanted answers. So we turned to Bill Van Bonn, the clinical veterinarian in charge of the aquarium's Center for Animal Health and Welfare, which boasts a state-of-the-art animal hospital for monitoring the health of all the animals in the exhibits and treating them as necessary. Dr. Van Bonn and his colleague, Dr. Karisa Tang, were happy to oblige.

Van Bonn describes the veterinary team at the aquarium as "family practitioners" rather than specialists, although they are able to draw on world-class expertise as needed from the greater Chicago area. And since there isn't a lot of diagnostic and treatment precedent in the literature for many of the animals in their care, they practice comparative medicine by necessity.

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Omicron is rising rapidly in the US—3% of cases nationally, 13% in NY and NJ

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 2:49pm
A woman on a stretcher is pulled from an ambulance.

Enlarge / Medical workers carry a patient to a hospital in New York, the United States, Dec. 13, 2021. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency )

Health officials sounded the alarm Tuesday over the fast spread of the omicron coronavirus, which has now been detected in 77 countries worldwide and 33 states in the US—and is expanding quickly.

Only two weeks have passed since health officials detected the first omicron case in the US, and the variant is already accounting for 3 percent of cases overall in the country—which is still swept up in a powerful wave of the delta variant. In New York and New Jersey, omicron accounts for 13 percent of cases, according to Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Surge upon surge

Currently, the US is seeing around 120,000 new COVID cases per day, a 49 percent increase over two weeks ago. The country is averaging 66,500 hospitalizations a day, which is a 22 percent increase. For now, nearly all of the cases and hospitalizations are due to delta, but that will likely change quickly with omicron.

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Ajit Pai and Tom Wheeler agree: The FAA is behaving badly in battle against FCC

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 1:56pm
Then-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai smiling and talking to each other before a Congressional hearing.

Enlarge / Then-Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler (L) and FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai talk before testifying to the House Judiciary Committee on March 25, 2015 in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla )

Six former chairs of the Federal Communications Commission yesterday criticized the Federal Aviation Administration's fight against a new 5G rollout on spectrum that the FCC has studied and deemed safe to use. Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael Powell joined with Democrats Tom Wheeler, Mignon Clyburn, Julius Genachowski, and Michael Copps in writing a letter describing their concerns about how the FAA has tried to undermine public confidence in the FCC's decision-making process.

"The FAA should work with the FCC and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)... to assess and resolve the FAA's concerns expeditiously, but this debate should not be fought publicly in a way that undermines consumer confidence in the process, nor should it require months of additional delays," said the six former chairs' letter, which was sent to FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel and NTIA acting Administrator Evelyn Remaley.

The "FAA position threatens to derail the reasoned conclusions reached by the FCC after years of technical analysis and study," the former chairs also wrote.

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Concerns about sexism in the aerospace industry land at SpaceX

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 1:30pm
The front of the SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

The front of the SpaceX Headquarters in Hawthorne, California. (credit: Megan Geuss)

In late September, a former communications executive at Blue Origin and 20 other current and former employees raised concerns about the culture at the company, highlighting issues such as sexism in the workplace. Writing on the Lioness website, Alexandra Abrams and the unnamed employees wrote that Blue Origin "turns a blind eye toward sexism."

The essay ignited a wildfire of criticism about the working environment of Blue Origin, even extending to concerns about the safety of the company's vehicles. In the wake of the essay's publication, the Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation of these safety allegations.

Now the conflagration has spread to SpaceX. On Tuesday, Lioness published another essay by Ashley Kosak, a former mission integration engineer at SpaceX. This essay has fewer anonymous co-signers (only two) and is more tightly focused on sexism rather than the company's broader culture. But in regard to harassment, its allegations are no less worrisome. Kosak writes about multiple occasions of feeling sexually harassed and her belief that SpaceX's management did not do enough to intervene.

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Google is building a new augmented reality device and operating system

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 12:42pm
Google Glass for Enterprise. Google's job listings suggest that the new device and platform would be more mass-market than the one picture here.

Enlarge / Google Glass for Enterprise. Google's job listings suggest that the new device and platform would be more mass-market than the one picture here. (credit: Google)

Google was one of the early leaders in the first wave of modern augmented reality (AR) research and devices, but the company has appeared to cool to AR in recent years even as Apple and Facebook have invested heavily in it. But it looks like that trend will soon be reversed.

On LinkedIn, operating system engineering director Mark Lucovsky announced that he has joined Google. He previously headed up mixed reality operating system work for Meta, and before that he was one of the key architects of Windows NT at Microsoft. "My role is to lead the Operating System team for Augmented Reality at Google," he wrote.

He also posted a link to some job listings at Google that give the impression Google is getting just as serious about AR as Apple or Meta.

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Turns out that “HDMI 2.1” ports don’t need to actually support HDMI 2.1 features

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 11:37am
Newer game consoles like the Xbox Series X and S support additional features on HDMI 2.1 displays, but HDMI 2.1 can mean different things depending on the product you're buying.

Enlarge / Newer game consoles like the Xbox Series X and S support additional features on HDMI 2.1 displays, but HDMI 2.1 can mean different things depending on the product you're buying. (credit: Microsoft)

If you dabble in high-end 8K TV equipment or own one of the newest Xbox or PlayStation consoles, you might be familiar with HDMI 2.1. The latest version of the ubiquitous display spec adds variable refresh rate support, reduces latency, and offers a big bandwidth increase that allows for higher resolutions, higher refresh rates, and greater color depth. At least, it can support those things.

It turns out that TV and monitor makers don't actually need to support those marquee HDMI 2.1 features to claim HDMI 2.1 compliance. That's the gist of a report from TFTCentral, which points out that the HDMI 2.1 spec actually fully replaces the HDMI 2.0 spec rather than simply upgrading it. So any manufacturer that supports HDMI 2.0-level features is technically supporting "HDMI 2.1" because the HDMI 2.0 spec doesn't exist anymore. And the features we think of when we talk about HDMI 2.1—including Fixed Rate Link (FRL) signaling, variable refresh rate (VRR) support, Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and the enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)—are technically optional.

"Products can no longer get certified for 2.0 only for 2.1, and also 2.1 features are optional to implement, so popular features like 4k120, ALLM, VRR are not required," Brad Bramy, VP of marketing and operations for the HDMI LA, confirmed to Ars. "Manufacturers could only implement eARC, for example, and claim to be a 2.1-enabled device."

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There’s a lot we don’t know about ocean CO₂ removal

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 11:19am
There’s a lot we don’t know about ocean CO₂ removal

Enlarge (credit: National Academy of Sciences)

It’s clear from climate science that we need to drop greenhouse gas emissions to zero as quickly as possible. But it’s also clear from our slow progress that we could use some help with those emissions. One thing that can help is carbon dioxide removal, as it allows us to reach net-zero emissions even as some difficult-to-solve emissions remain.

Carbon removal on land—including obvious techniques like reforestation—gets a lot of attention. Carbon removal in the ocean, on the other hand, has seemed a bit pie-in-the-sky, even though the ocean already soaks up more CO2 than land ecosystems do. A new National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report takes up the challenge of outlining what we would need to learn to make some theoretical techniques for boosting ocean uptake a reality—or to rule them out. The report follows 2015 and 2019 reports that set the stage for carbon dioxide removal science more broadly.

Boosting productivity

The report's goal is to provide some direction, both for scientists designing studies and for funders (like the National Science Foundation) setting priorities. The report is the work of a sizable group of scientists organized by the National Academies, with funding provided by a sponsorship from the ClimateWorks Foundation.

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OSHA probes Amazon warehouse where workers died with no tornado shelter

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 10:57am
A first responder walks among the wreckage of a damaged Amazon warehouse on December 11, 2021, in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Enlarge / A first responder walks among the wreckage of a damaged Amazon warehouse on December 11, 2021, in Edwardsville, Illinois. (credit: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced yesterday that it is opening an investigation into the deaths of six workers at an Amazon warehouse in Illinois that was struck by a massive tornado, one of more than 40 that ripped through the region over the weekend.

Nearly half of the 1.1 million-square-foot building was demolished as winds as high as 150 mph (240 kph) tore through the structure. “The west-facing walls of the warehouse collapsed inward, which was followed by multiple structural failures as the tornado moved through the complex,” the National Weather Service said.

The first warnings came relatively early, at 8:06 pm and again at 8:16 pm, when the NWS issued tornado warnings. A "warning" means that a twister has been sighted or radar data suggests one will form. The NWS says that the tornado formed at 8:28 pm as an EF-0, the lowest on the scale, and quickly intensified to an EF-3 as it moved across Interstate 255. More than 20 minutes elapsed between the first warning and touchdown, over double the average lead time.

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New PS4 homebrew exploit points to similar PS5 hacks to come

ArsTechnica - Tue, 12/14/2021 - 10:36am
Sony's PlayStation 4.

Enlarge / Sony's PlayStation 4. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Hackers have released details of a new exploit that allows homebrew and custom firmware to be installed on PS4 consoles running relatively recent firmware. What's more, the specifics of the exploit suggest similar homebrew capabilities may soon be available on some versions of the PlayStation 5.

The new exploit builds on a known error in the way that the PS4's WebKit implementation utilizes font-faces. That exploit on the PS4 was publicized in October as a proof of concept after a similar error was found in Apple's Safari WebKit implementation in September.

On the PS4, the full exploit can now be triggered by visiting a website with specially formatted JavaScript via the PS4 web browser, allowing the system to run kernel-level code that bypasses the console's usual security protections. From there, the exploit can read files from an inserted USB stick and install homebrew software, including existing custom PS4 firmware.

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