Feed aggregator

  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.
  • warning: date(): It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Los_Angeles' for 'PDT/-7.0/DST' instead in /nfs/cristina/home1/b/brian/public_html/drupal-6.28/modules/aggregator/aggregator.pages.inc on line 259.

Hospital suspends 178 health care workers for failing to get COVID vaccine

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 11:02am
Multistory glass-and-steel hospital.

Enlarge / An American flag flies outside the Houston Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center (TMC) campus in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, June 24, 2020. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

As of Tuesday, 178 health care workers employed by a Houston-based hospital system are on a two-week unpaid suspension after failing to meet the hospital system’s mandate to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Monday, June 7.

Houston Methodist CEO Marc Boom announced the mandate in April, telling hospital staffers that if they failed to get vaccinated, they would be fired. The 178 suspended employees now have the two unpaid weeks to become fully vaccinated before termination. They can do so by getting the one-shot COVID-19 vaccine by Johnson & Johnson or a second dose of either of the two mRNA vaccines. Boom noted in a letter to employees sent Tuesday that 27 of the 178 suspended employees have received one dose of vaccine.

The Texas hospital system stood out in issuing the vaccination mandate. Many employers have shied away from mandates, though more employers have followed Houston Methodist’s lead in recent weeks. Overall, the mandate appears successful: about 97 percent of the hospital’s nearly 26,000 employees are fully vaccinated. Boom reported that 24,947 staffers were fully vaccinated, while 285 received a medical or religious exemption, and 332 were granted deferrals for pregnancy and other reasons.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Bitcoin now legal tender in El Salvador, first nation to adopt cryptocurrency

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 8:57am
El Salvador now says both US dollars and bitcoin are legal tender.

Enlarge / El Salvador now says both US dollars and bitcoin are legal tender. (credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images News)

On Wednesday, El Salvador’s president signed into law a proposal to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, making the Central American nation the first in the world to officially use the cryptocurrency.

The new law says that companies must accept bitcoin as a form of payment, and the government will allow people to pay taxes with it as well. The exchange rate with the dollar will be set by the market, and exchanges from dollars to bitcoin won’t be subject to capital gains tax. The law was passed by a supermajority vote of the legislature, with 62 of 84 deputies assenting.

President Nayib Bukele said the new law would make it easier for Salvadorans living abroad to send remittances back to friends and family in the country. Some $6 billion in remittances flowed into the Salvadoran economy last year, accounting for nearly a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product. Around 70 percent of Salvadorans lack access to traditional banking and other financial services within the country, the president said. The 39-year-old leader hopes that sending remittances will become cheaper, too. Last year, the average fee was 3 percent per transaction. Eliminating that fee would net Salvadorans an additional $180 million.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google kills its augmented reality “Measure” app

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 8:36am

Another day, another dead Google product. This time, the augmented reality app "Measure" is being put out to pasture.

As first spotted by Android Police, the Android app is no longer available via a Play Store search, and a direct link to the listing shows a new message in the description: "This app is no longer supported and will not be updated. Users who previously installed this app can continue to use it on compatible devices."

Measure was pretty neat. The app used a smartphone to measure real-life objects through the magic of augmented reality. AR tracks real-life objects in order to accurately place virtual items in a camera feed, and if the tracking is good enough, an app can turn that data into a pretty good estimate of distance. Measure was never good enough for applications like detailed carpentry work—we found that short measurements were accurate to within half an inch, and longer measurements could be off by several inches—but the best measuring tape is the one you have with you. Plus, the app worked great if you wanted to measure something large, like a telephone pole, which would be pretty difficult with a tape measure.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Battlefield 2042 will host 128-player combat on PC, next-gen consoles Oct. 22

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 8:10am

As part of this week's E3-like dump of game news and reveals, EA has announced one of its most unsurprising games of the year: Battlefield 2042. But don't get too excited. The word "reveal" should be taken with a grain of salt, as we don't know much about how the game will work—and we expect that EA will tease fans with a slow news trickle until the game's launch on October 22 on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.

For now, the game's developers at DICE have confirmed that the game is indeed a recognizable Battlefield title, complete with massive team combat, the return of popular objective-based modes, and aspirations to deliver the series' biggest battle arenas yet. I've been at Ars long enough to hear that very promise three times, and to its credit, DICE tends to deliver on an increased battling scope with every major installment.

The most significant change? The developer is finally—fiiiiinally—raising the maximum player count to 128 combatants on a single, super-sized map in the game's PC, Xbox Series X/S, and PlayStation 5 versions. The series has famously maxed out at 64 players since its very first entry, and over the years, DICE reps have explained away the limitation by saying that more players doesn't always mean more fun. But those statements largely came before a certain 100-player genre changed everything, and last week, DICE showed high-level pans of a few upcoming maps to showcase its design philosophy: providing discrete zones that teams can divide and conquer throughout, instead of lumping that many players into hallways of death.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Lordstown Motors warns its electric vehicle business may fail

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 6:18am
a rendering of the Lordstown Motors Endurance

Enlarge / This is a rendering of the Lordstown Motors Endurance, which may never be built. (credit: Lordstown Motors)

Electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors said Tuesday it does not have enough money to start commercial production and runs the risk of failing as a business, sending its stock tumbling.

The company on Tuesday amended its annual report with the Securities and Exchange Commission to say in one year it may no longer function as “a going concern.”

The company said that with its current cash and cash equivalents of $587 million as of the end of the first quarter, it did not have enough funding to launch the Endurance, an electric pickup truck geared toward commercial operators.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

RTX 3070 Ti review: Nvidia leaves the GPU fast lane (for now)

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 6:00am

In a normal GPU marketplace, Nvidia's new GPU—the RTX 3070 Ti—would land either as a welcome jump or a power-per-watt disappointment. In the chip-shortage squeeze of 2021, however, both its biggest successes and shortcomings may slip by without much fanfare.

The company's RTX 3070 launched eight months ago at an MSRP of $499, and it did so at an incredibly efficient power-to-performance ratio. There's simply no better 220 W GPU on the market, as the RTX 3070 noticeably pulled ahead of the 200 W RTX 3060 Ti and AMD's 230 W RX 6700XT. That efficiency, unsurprisingly, isn't repeated with the new model released this week: the RTX 3070 Ti. This device's MSRP jumps 20 percent (to "$599," but mind the scare quotes), and its TDP screams ahead at 32 percent. We've been here before, of course. "Ti"-branded Nvidia cards aren't usually as power-efficient as their namesakes, and that's fine, especially if a mild $100 price jump yields a solid increase in performance.

But the RTX 3070 Ti spec sheet doesn't see Nvidia charge ahead in ways that might match the jump in wattage. And while the 3070 Ti's performance mostly increases across the board, the gains aren't in any way a revolution. That may be less about Nvidia's design prowess and more about squeezing this thing between the impressive duo of the RTX 3070 and RTX 3080 ($699) on an MSRP basis.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hackers can mess with HTTPS connections by sending data to your email server

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/09/2021 - 5:00am
A highly stylized image of a padlock.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

When you visit an HTTPS-protected website, your browser doesn't exchange data with the webserver until it has ensured that the site's digital certificate is valid. That prevents hackers with the ability to monitor or modify data passing between you and the site from obtaining authentication cookies or executing malicious code on the visiting device.

But what would happen if a man-in-the-middle attacker could confuse the browser into accidentally connecting to an email server or FTP server that uses a certificate that's compatible with the one used by the website?

The perils of speaking HTTPS to an email server

Because the domain name of the website matches the domain name in the email or FTP server certificate, the browser will, in many cases, establish a Transport Layer Security connection with one of these servers rather than the website the user intended to visit.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A “disgraceful decision:” Researchers blast FDA for approving Alzheimer’s drug

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 4:26pm
” Researchers blast FDA for approving Alzheimer’s drug

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Congressional Quarterly)

The US Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved the antibody drug Aduhelm (generic name aducanumab) to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Aduhelm is the first new Alzheimer’s drug to earn FDA approval since 2003. It’s also the first drug to target a theoretical cause of the irreversible neurodegenerative disease—clumps of beta-amyloid peptides that build up in the brains of Alzheimer's patients—rather than just treating the disease’s symptoms.

The approval is, without a doubt, a landmark. It could provide hope to millions of patients, who currently have few options. And, given those limited options, it will certainly be a massive money-maker for its developer, Biogen, which has already set the list price for a year’s worth of Aduhelm at $56,000. Analysts estimate that the drug will bring in $5 billion to $6 billion worth of sales per year in the US alone.

But, the FDA’s approval is far from a celebrated decision, and the drug is far from a clear success. Since the FDA’s approval yesterday, researchers and pharma watchers have called the agency’s decision “disgraceful,” “a grave error,” and a “dangerous precedent” that will end up “eroding confidence in the agency as a whole.”

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Spurred by Clarence Thomas, Ohio AG wants Google declared a public utility

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 3:30pm
A large Google logo seen on the outside of a Google office in Silicon Valley.

Enlarge / Googleplex office in Palo Alto, California, in January 2018. (credit: Getty Images | Ingus Kruklitis)

The state of Ohio sued Google today in an unusual complaint that seeks a legal declaration that Google is a common carrier and public utility under Ohio law.

"Google uses its dominance of Internet search to steer Ohioans to Google's own products—that's discriminatory and anti-competitive," Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, a Republican, said when announcing the lawsuit. "When you own the railroad or the electric company or the cellphone tower, you have to treat everyone the same and give everybody access."

The complaint was filed in the Common Pleas Court of Delaware County in Ohio. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages but would impose certain nondiscrimination obligations on Google.

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Fastly broke the Internet for an hour this morning

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 3:06pm
The United Kingdom government's official website was one of those affected by this morning's outage. The cryptic "Guru Mediation" message shown is an untrapped, unskinned error returned from the Varnish cache server powering the Fastly CDN.

Enlarge / The United Kingdom government's official website was one of those affected by this morning's outage. The cryptic "Guru Mediation" message shown is an untrapped, unskinned error returned from the Varnish cache server powering the Fastly CDN. (credit: Leon Neal via Getty Images)

For roughly an hour this morning—6 am to 7 am EDT, give or take a few minutes—enormous swathes of the Internet were down or interestingly broken. Sites taken down included CNN, The Guardian, The New York Times, PayPal, and Spotify, among many more—including The Verge, which resorted to reporting via Google Docs during the duration of the outage.

The underlying problem was an outage at Fastly, one of the world's largest Content Delivery Network providers—the entire service went down due to a misconfiguration that it had deployed to all of its Points Of Presence (POPs) globally. As a result, sites using Fastly for content delivery came up with various errors dependent on the local site configuration. Some sites delivered relatively uninformative plain HTTP 503 (Service Unavailable) pages, while others returned errors such as "Fastly error: unknown domain."

The "unknown domain" error gives us some tantalizing hints to the nature of the problem, which is more than Fastly's own status updates have so far. This tells us that Fastly's network was up and its Varnish cache servers were answering requests, but its cache configuration—the Varnish Control Language files that point the cache server to the back-end servers supplying the original content—was almost certainly either missing or garbled.

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Pick up a recommended pair of Anker noise-canceling headphones for $60

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 1:35pm
Pick up a recommended pair of Anker noise-canceling headphones for $60

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a new low price on Anker's Soundcore Life Q30 headphones, which are currently down to $60 on Amazon when you clip the on-page coupon. Typically, these wireless noise-canceling headphones retail for $80.

While we haven't formally reviewed the Soundcore Life Q30s on Ars, we have tested them and found them to be a rare value among sub-$100 wireless headphones. In short, the Q30s serve up a lightweight and well-padded design, with tremendous battery life that pushes 40 hours per charge, multidevice pairing, and USB-C charging.

Don't expect the noise-canceling strength of Sony's WH-1000XM4, but what's here is still effective for the price and plenty capable of reducing a good chunk of external noise, particularly low-end sounds like jet or bus engines. Along those lines, the Q30s' bass-heavy sound won't be for everyone, but Anker makes it possible to tinker with the sound profile through a dedicated app. Anker recently launched a successor to this pair called the Soundcore Life Q35, promising better mic performance and wider Bluetooth codec support, but the headphones currently retail for $130. If you're looking to stay well under $100, the Q30 remains an excellent value.

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Buried features: There’s more to macOS Monterey than the keynote let on

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 1:22pm
A laptop computer displays a video call as well as web browsing.

Enlarge / A promotional image of macOS Monterey. (credit: Apple)

As is always the case with each Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple's 90-minute presentation Monday covered what the company deems the biggest features of its new operating systems. But Apple didn't cover every change coming to Macs.

We've singled out a few changes that didn't get much fanfare yesterday but are nonetheless interesting or exciting for macOS or iOS users. This is not a complete list of changes. Fortunately, if you want that, the Apple website offers an "all new features" page for macOS.

That said, here are some changes we thought were worth surfacing as WWDC rolls on.

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Apple TV’s summer preview includes tantalizing glimpses of Foundation series

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 12:25pm

Last summer, we got our first glimpse of Apple TV's hotly anticipated adaptation of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series of novels when Apple released a teaser trailer during the 2020 Worldwide Developers Conference. Production on the new show, which stars Jared Harris and Lee Pace, shut down last March due to the pandemic, but filming resumed last October. No official air date besides "late 2021" has surfaced, but there are a few tantalizing extra glimpses in the streaming platform's new summer (and beyond) preview trailer, per the eagle eye of The Spaceshipper on Twitter.

Mild spoilers for the first book in the Foundation series below.)

The series started as eight short stories by Asimov that appeared in Astounding Magazine between 1942 and early 1950. Those stories were inspired in part by Edward Gibbons' History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the first four were collected, along with a new introductory story, and published as Foundation in 1951. The next pair of stories became Foundation and Empire (1952), and the final two stories appeared in 1953's Second Foundation. Asimov's publishers eventually convinced him to continue the series, starting with two sequels: Foundation's Edge (1982) and Foundation and Earth (1986). Next came a pair of prequels: Prelude to Foundation (1988) and Forward the Foundation (1993), the latter published posthumously (Asimov died in 1992).

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Branson may make a last-ditch effort to beat Bezos into space

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:39am
Sir Richard Branson takes his shirt off.

Enlarge / Sir Richard Branson takes off his shirt to don a T-shirt that says "Future Astronaut Training Program" that was given to him by Virgin Galactic Test Pilot Mark "Forger" Stucky as Air and Space Museum Director Ellen Stofan looks on. (credit: JIM WATSON / AFP / Getty Images)

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said on Monday he would fly on the first human spaceflight of his company's New Shepard spacecraft. This mission will launch from Blue Origin's spaceport in West Texas on July 20, which is the anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing in 1969.

With this timeline, Bezos seemed almost certain to beat his suborbital space tourism rival, Sir Richard Branson, into space. Setting aside whether Branson's VSS Unity vehicle reaches space—its maximum altitude is just below the Kármán line, or 100 km—this is nonetheless a meaningful milestone.

Both Bezos and Branson have been investing in the space industry for about two decades, and both men have made clear they intend to fly on their own spacecraft as soon as practically possible.

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FBI sold phones to organized crime and read 27 million “encrypted” messages

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:36am
Illustration of a Trojan horse in an electronic environment.

Enlarge / A digital Trojan horse. (credit: Getty Images | posteriori)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation created a company that sold encrypted devices to hundreds of organized crime syndicates, resulting in 800 arrests in 16 countries, law-enforcement authorities announced today. The FBI and agencies in other countries intercepted 27 million messages over 18 months before making the arrests in recent days, and more arrests are planned.

The FBI teamed up with Australian Federal Police to target drug trafficking and money laundering. They "strategically developed and covertly operated an encrypted device company, called ANOM, which grew to service more than 12,000 encrypted devices to over 300 criminal syndicates operating in more than 100 countries, including Italian organized crime, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and international drug trafficking organizations," Europol said today.

Distribution of the devices began in October 2018. The cellphones sold by the FBI-run company were "procured on the black market" and "performed a single function hidden behind a calculator app: sending encrypted messages and photos," The New York Times wrote today. The cellphones were "stripped of all normal functions," with the faux calculator being the only working app. Once users entered a code, they could use the app to send messages that they thought were protected by end-to-end encryption.

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Google’s revamped Wear OS sounds like a clean break from the old version

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 10:27am
A Wear OS watch.

Enlarge / A Wear OS watch. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

At Google's I/O 2021 conference, the company announced what sounds like a complete re-launch of Wear OS, with Samsung as a major partner. The biggest remaining hardware vendor for Wear OS is fashion company Fossil Group, and in a weekend interview with CNET, the company shed a bit more light on the project.

"Premium" seems to be the name of the game for the revamped Wear OS. Fossil is currently charging $350 for the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, while an LTE-equipped Apple Watch costs closer to $500. When the new Wear OS comes out, we'll probably see watches more in line with Apple's pricing. CNET came away from the interview saying, "The upcoming wave of Android-compatible watches will be entirely new, with new chips focused on faster performance and better battery life."

Many sites concluded that existing watches would not be updated from the old Wear OS to the new Wear OS. Fossil responded by sending out a statement that didn't deny the speculation and only said that "future upgrade plans are still being developed." Samsung has said that Tizen watches won't be upgraded to Wear OS, but that's a completely different operating system.

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Amazon and Walmart try—again—to upend prescription drug prices

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 9:40am
Amazon and Walmart try—again—to upend prescription drug prices

Enlarge (credit: Getty | George Frey)

Amazon and Walmart are ramping up their efforts to grab market share in the $360 billion prescription drug market in the US.

Today, Amazon announced that Prime members can receive a six-month supply of several widely prescribed drugs, starting at $6. Many drugs are pricier but are still discounted relative to typical cash prices. And yesterday, Walmart said it would be adding new discounts of up to 85 percent on prescription drugs purchased through its Walmart+ RX service, with an average savings of about 65 percent.

The new announcements come as the retail behemoths have largely failed to disrupt the traditional pharmacy industry. Big names still dominate, with CVS and Walgreens topping the rankings by revenue. Walmart, which has a significant physical footprint for its pharmacies, comes in fifth. 

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Playdate, the console with a crank, gets July preorder for $179, game details

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 9:19am

On Tuesday, Playdate, the portable, one-bit gaming system with an analog crank as a primary control option, took one more step toward being a bonafide thing you can buy.

The diminutive portable system's creators at Panic (publishers of games like Firewatch and Untitled Goose Game) hosted their first-ever Playdate Update video today (embedded below) and confirmed that the hardware will launch to paying customers "later this year," with preorders beginning "in July," starting at $179.

That price will include the system's complete "first season" of Playdate-exclusive games, and Panic had originally pledged to include 12 games in all with the purchase price. Today's presentation included a welcome surprise: double the included games. Now, Playdate owners can expect to get two games a week as free downloads over a span of 12 weeks (which, if my calculator is correct, means 24 games in all).

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The WF-1000XM4 is Sony’s noise-canceling answer to the AirPods Pro

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 9:00am

Sony on Tuesday announced its latest pair of noise-canceling wireless earbuds, the WF-1000XM4.

This is the follow-up to the also-awkwardly-named WF-1000XM3 earbuds that Sony launched in 2019. Like that pair, the XM4 is aimed squarely at the premium end of the burgeoning true wireless market, with a loaded feature set packed into their diminutive frame.

Given that market, the XM4 is expensive: the earbuds are available to order today for $279.99. That puts them in line with competitors like the $279 Bose QuietComfort Earbuds but above other premium noise-canceling pairs like the $249 Apple AirPods Pro or $230 Jabra Elite 85t. For reference, the XM3 launched for $230.

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Solar farms could double as pollinator food supplies

ArsTechnica - Tue, 06/08/2021 - 8:28am
Solar farms could double as pollinator food supplies

Enlarge (credit: US Fish and Wildlife Service)

Pollinator habitats and solar farms may seem like ecologically great neighbors, but we still don't understand very much about that relationship. A team of researchers recently published a paper surveying the ins and outs of keeping solar production alongside the kinds of plants that pollinators like bees and butterflies love. The paper notes that there's a good amount of potential here, but more work needs to be done to fully understand the potential partnership.

“I think in some ways, it sounds like a no-brainer that we should be implementing pollinator habitats at these types of facilities. And on one hand, I agree with that, but I think it really does benefit us to figure out the most efficient ways to get these kinds of benefits out there,” Adam Dolezal, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's department of entomology, told Ars.

More than 100 crops in the US rely on pollinators. However, around the world, the number of pollinators has been in decline. Habitat loss is a significant reason for the decline, though there are others, including climate change and invasive species.

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