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.

New “targeted healing” approach rejuvenates run-down battery materials

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 3:20pm
Stock photo displays rows of batteries.

Enlarge (credit: Peter Miller / Flickr)

As electric vehicle adoption grows, the need for battery recycling is growing along with it. Typically, recycling involves breaking the battery down into pure chemical components that can be reconstituted for brand-new battery materials. But what if—at least for some battery chemistries—that’s overkill?

A new study led by Panpan Xu at the University of California, San Diego shows off a very different technique for lithium-iron-phosphate (LFP) batteries. This isn’t the most energy-dense type of lithium-ion battery, but it is economical and long-lived. (It’s the chemistry Tesla wants to rely on for shorter-range vehicles and grid storage batteries, for example.) Its low cost cuts both ways—less expensive ingredients mean less profit from recycling operations. But rejuvenating the lithium-iron-phosphate cathode material without breaking it down and starting over seems to be possible.

The idea behind the study relies on knowledge of how LFP battery capacity degrades. On the cathode side, the crystalline structure of the material doesn’t change over time. Instead, lithium ions increasingly fail to find their way back into their slots in the crystal during battery discharge. Iron atoms can move and take their place, plugging up the lithium pathway. If you could convince iron atoms to return to their assigned seats and repopulate with lithium atoms, you could have cathode material that is literally “as good as new.”

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook AI catches 95% of hate speech; company still wants mods back in office

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 2:45pm
Facebook logo on a street sign outside a wooded campus.

Enlarge / Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. (credit: Jason Doiy | Getty Images)

Facebook's software systems get ever better at detecting and blocking hate speech on both the Facebook and Instagram platforms, the company boasted today—but the hardest work still has to be done by people, and many of those people warn that the world's biggest social media company is putting them in unsafe working conditions.

About 95 percent of hate speech on Facebook gets caught by algorithms before anyone can report it, Facebook said in its latest community-standards enforcement report. The remaining 5 percent of the roughly 22 million flagged posts in the past quarter were reported by users.

That report is also tracking a new hate-speech metric: prevalence. Basically, to measure prevalence, Facebook takes a sample of content and then looks for how often the thing they're measuring—in this case, hate speech—gets seen as a percentage of viewed content. Between July and September of this year, the figure was between 0.10 percent and 0.11 percent, or about 10-11 views of every 10,000.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google Chrome is available as an Apple M1 native app today

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 2:02pm
Chrome isn't available in the App Store—you'll need to download it using Safari. When you do, Google will ask you which version you'd like to download.

Enlarge / Chrome isn't available in the App Store—you'll need to download it using Safari. When you do, Google will ask you which version you'd like to download. (credit: Jim Salter)

The Google Chrome browser is now available as an Apple M1 native application, for those of you lucky enough to have M1 Mac Mini, Macbook Air, or Macbook Pro systems. (If you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, the M1 is Apple's newest in-house-designed ARM silicon, which the company began selling in traditional form-factor laptops and Mac Minis for the first time this week.)

Google presents Chrome for download as either an x86_64 package or an M1 native option—which comes across as a little odd, since the M1 native version is actually a universal binary, which works on either M1 or traditional Intel Macs. Presumably, Google is pushing separate downloads due to the much smaller file size necessary for the x86_64-only package—the universal binary contains both x86_64 and ARM applications, and weighs in at 165MiB to the Intel-only package's 96MiB.

Performance

In our earlier testing, we declared that the previous version of Google Chrome—which was available only as an x86_64 binary and needed to be run using Rosetta 2—was perfectly fine. That was and still is a true statement; we find it difficult to believe anyone using the non-native binary for Chrome under an M1 machine would find it "slow." That said, Google's newer, ARM-native .dmg is available today, and—as expected—it's significantly faster if you're doing something complicated enough in your browser to notice.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The new Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE are both $50 off today

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 1:44pm
Collage of electronic consumer goods against a white background.

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a pair of $50 discounts on the Apple Watch Series 6 and Apple Watch SE. The deals bring the two newest Apple smartwatches down to $350 and $230, respectively, from Apple's list prices of $399 and $279. While we can't say for certain whether these will be the deals we see during Black Friday next week, they are the biggest discounts on the watches to date—both wearables only launched in September—and Target is advertising them as Black Friday prices.

Our Apple Watch Series 6 review found that while Apple's highest-end model isn't perfect—particularly when it comes to sleep tracking performance—it's still the best smartwatch for most people. (Or, at least, most iPhone owners.) The Apple Watch SE makes you accept a few more trade-offs by comparison: there's no always-on display, no ECG or blood oxygen measurements for health buffs, and fewer case options. But for those who don't need the Series 6's advanced health features, the Watch SE still runs Apple's watchOS 7 software, has faster and nicer-feeling hardware than the cheaper Series 3, and, most importantly, costs significantly less.

If you don't need a new Apple Watch, though, we also have deals on Bose wireless headphones, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch, Roomba robot vacuums, and much more. You can check out our full rundown below.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Google is testing end-to-end encryption in Android Messages

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 1:33pm
Stylized illustration of a padlock.

Enlarge / Security padlock in circuit-board background. (credit: Getty Images | Yuichiro Chino)

Google has begun rolling out end-to-end encryption for Rich Communication Service, the text-messaging standard the industry giant is pushing as an alternative to SMS.

Abbreviated as RCS, Rich Communication Service provides a, well, richer user experience than the ancient SMS standard. Typing indicators, presence information, location sharing, longer messages, and better media support are key selling points. They lead to things like better-quality photos and videos, chat over Wi-Fi, knowing when a message is read, sharing reactions, and better capabilities for group chats. As Ars Review Editor Ron Amadeo noted last year, RCS interest from carriers has been tepid, so Google has been rolling it out with limited support.

Google said on Thursday that it has now completed its worldwide rollout of RCS and is moving to a new phase—end-to-end encryption. Interest in end-to-end encryption has mushroomed over the past decade, particularly with revelations from Edward Snowden of indiscriminate spying of electronic communications by the NSA.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland are hunted on distant planet in Chaos Walking trailer

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 12:49pm

Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley star in Chaos Walking, a film adaptation of the award-wining trilogy by Patrick Ness.

A young man and woman on a distant planet called the New World find themselves on the run from a town of religious fanatics in Chaos Walking, a forthcoming film directed by Doug Liman and based on the award-winning sci-fi trilogy of the same name by Patrick Ness. And the film boasts two megastars: Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in the most recent Star Wars trilogy, and Tom Holland, the latest incarnation of Spider-Man in the MCEU.

The series consists of three novels—The Knife of Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, and Monsters of Men—as well as three short stories set in the same fictional universe, intended as companion pieces to the novels. The series takes place on a planet called New World, where we meet Todd, a boy living in a religiously devoted settlement known as Prentisstown, led by the megalomaniac mayor, David Prentiss. There are no women left, and all the men are afflicted by something called the "Noise," which makes their thoughts audible, driving many of them mad. The same is true for Todd's little dog, Manchee. This is purportedly the result of biological warfare on the part of a native intelligent species known as Spackle, who resented the arrival of the colonizers. The germ killed all the women and left the men with the Noise.

One day, Todd discovers a patch of silence (a "hole in the Noise") in a nearby swamp, and when he tells his adoptive parents about it, they insist he has to flee Prentisstown. Back in the swamp, Todd comes face to face with Viola, a young girl who has crash-landed on New World in a small scouting craft, ahead of an incoming ship of new planetary settlers. They are relentlessly pursued by the mayor, his son Davy, and an evil preacher named Aaron as they seek refuge with other, more peaceful settlements—including a town called Haven that is rumored to have a cure for the Noise—in hopes of finding a way to warn the incoming ship of the potential violence they face.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

A luxury crossover with a mainstream price? The 2021 Toyota Venza

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 12:23pm

After dragging my better half to a lot of car races over the years, it was an easy yes when she asked if we might visit the Baseball Hall of Fame a few weeks ago. She is as big a fan of baseball as I am of motor racing, and her beloved Washington Nationals were being celebrated for having won the World Series, after all. Sure Cooperstown, New York, does indeed lie nearly 6.5 hours north-northeast from where I write this. But I quite like driving, and a 13-hour round trip is a better way than most to get to know a car.

But which car? As luck would have it, my calendar was double-booked that week. In the red corner, a 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS with a revvy 4.0L naturally aspirated engine, manual transmission, and fixed carbon fiber bucket seats. In the pearl-white corner, a 2021 Toyota Venza with cooled and heated seats, adaptive cruise control, and a hybrid powertrain capable of a combined 39mpg (6l/100km). You'll be able to read about how addictive that Porsche was in the near future, but obviously it was the wrong tool for this particular job.

So after checking with the nice people at Toyota to make sure they were OK with me adding 750 miles (1,207km) to their new crossover—they were—the day booked off work, and with all the forms filled in to satisfy New York's public health people, we were all set.

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AT&T raises DirecTV prices again amid customer losses and possible sale

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 11:43am
A DirecTV satellite dish mounted to the outside of a building.

Enlarge / A DirecTV satellite dish seen outside a bar in Portland, Oregon, in October 2019. (credit: Getty Images | hapabapa)

AT&T has announced another round of price hikes for DirecTV satellite and U-verse TV services, with monthly prices set to rise up to $9 starting January 17, 2021.

"Due to increased programming costs, we're adjusting the price of our video packages," AT&T said in a notice on its website. "Periodically, TV network owners increase the fees they charge DirecTV for the right to broadcast their movies, shows, and sporting events." Of course, AT&T itself determines some of these programming prices because it owns Time Warner.

A $5 monthly increase is coming to DirecTV's 160-channel "Entertainment" package, which currently has a standard rate of $97 a month. A $7 monthly increase is coming to the 185-channel Choice package, currently at $115 a month. A $9 increase is coming to both the 250-channel Ultimate package (currently $142) and the 330-channel Premier package (currently $197).

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Big dish of Arecibo observatory has reached the end of the line

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 11:10am
Image of a large silvery dish embedded in a hilltop.

Enlarge / An aerial view of the Arecibo facility, showing the increasingly fragile cables supporting the instrument platform, as well as the gash caused when one of those cables failed. (credit: University of Central Florida)

Today, the National Science Foundation announced that its famed Arecibo radio observatory would be shut down. Built into a hilltop in Puerto Rico, the main dish of the observatory is over 300 meters across, and its massive size has made it a feature in popular culture ranging from James Bond movies to video games. But despite a long history of scientific contributions, the observatory has been struggling for funding for over a decade, and two cables that support it have failed this year, leaving it in a precarious state.

After engineering studies determined there was no way to repair the hardware without putting workers at risk, the NSF made the decision to shut the observatory down.

More than a big dish

While the sheer scale of the main dish at Arecibo grabbed the most attention, the dish was purely a reflector. The actual business end of the telescope, where radio waves were sensed, was an instrument platform suspended high above it by cables strung from three towers. The instrument platform held a receiver that could be moved to different locations above the disk, giving it the ability to resolve signals from more directions than its fixed dish might suggest.

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Internalized gender-focused attitudes affect health, career prospects

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 10:08am
Two women in red clothing.

Enlarge / Women in traditional Mosuo clothing. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In most societies, there are very easy to quantify differences between men and women. Women tend to live longer but earn less, for example. Historically, there has been a strong tendency to ascribe those differences to biology. But most societies treat women very differently, making disentangling biological and societal factors a challenge. This week, a couple of papers apply some interesting approaches to teasing the two apart.

In one, researchers looked at a matrilineal society in China to explore gender norms' impact on health. In the second, a detailed survey explored how internalized expectations can influence engineering career success in the US.

A healthier society

The work on China focused on women's health. Since women outlive men, you might expect that they're generally healthy. You'd be wrong; women tend to have a higher disease burden than men do. To get a hint as to why that might be the case, the researchers looked at an ethnic group called the Mosuo, who occupy an area near Tibet, on the border between Yunnan and Sichuan provinces. Some members of the Mosuo society have adopted patriarchal practices, with males as the head of the household. But others have women as the head of household, while their husbands continue to live with the families they grew up in. Children are raised by their mothers and remain part of her household.

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Stadia game streaming will come to iOS via Web browser

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 10:00am

After over a year of being barred from iOS, Google's Stadia game-streaming service will soon be available on the mobile platform as a progressive Web application running through a browser, Google announced today. Testing for the mobile Web version of the service will begin this week, with a wider rollout planned for "several weeks from now."

The move to a Web app for iOS support gets around the onerous restrictions Apple recently placed on game-streaming apps distributed through the iOS App Store. Such apps would need to submit each individual game for review by Apple for listing in a distinct App Store product page.

Xbox Chief Phil Spencer said last month that Microsoft would be using the same Web-based workaround to get its Project xCloud streaming service on iOS sometime in 2021. Amazon's Luna streaming service has support for iOS via a Web interface.

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Nikola soars as clueless investors mistake month-old GM website for new

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 9:30am
GM CEO Mary Barra.

Enlarge / GM CEO Mary Barra. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Nikola stock rose 15 percent on Wednesday after confused investors apparently mistook a month-old GM website for a brand-new announcement about the companies' pending agreement. The stock is up another 7 percent as I write this on Thursday morning.

Shortly before 10am ET on Wednesday, people began sharing links to this GM page on social media.

"We signed an agreement with Nikola to engineer and manufacture the Nikola Badger," the GM page said. Nikola's stock price soared from $22.23 at 9:30am to $24.94 at 10am—a 12-percent jump in 30 minutes.

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Mac mini and Apple Silicon M1 review: Not so crazy after all

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 7:03am

Apple is crazy, right? The Mac just had its best year of sales ever, and Cupertino is hitting the platform with a shock like it hasn’t had in nearly 15 years—back in a time when the Mac was not having such a good year. Apple is beginning the process of replacing industry-standard Intel chips with its own, custom-designed silicon.

In a way, we're not just reviewing the new Mac mini—a Mac mini is always a Mac mini, right? We're reviewing an ARM-based Mac for the first time. And this is not exactly the same story as all the other ARM machines we've looked at before, like Windows 10 on ARM—a respectable option with some serious tradeoffs.

Sure, longer battery life and quick waking from sleep are already out there on other ARM computers. But as you may have seen in our hands-on earlier this week, what we're encountering here is also a performance leap—and as you'll also see in this review, a remarkable success at making this new architecture compatible with a large library of what could now, suddenly, be called legacy Mac software.

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Nvidia developed a radically different way to compress video calls

ArsTechnica - Thu, 11/19/2020 - 5:57am
Instead of transmitting an image for every frame, Maxine sends keypoint data that allows the receiving computer to re-create the face using a neural network.

Enlarge / Instead of transmitting an image for every frame, Maxine sends keypoint data that allows the receiving computer to re-create the face using a neural network. (credit: Nvidia)

Last month, Nvidia announced a new platform called Maxine that uses AI to enhance the performance and functionality of video conferencing software. The software uses a neural network to create a compact representation of a person's face. This compact representation can then be sent across the network, where a second neural network reconstructs the original image—possibly with helpful modifications.

Nvidia says that its technique can reduce the bandwidth needs of video conferencing software by a factor of 10 compared to conventional compression techniques. It can also change how a person's face is displayed. For example, if someone appears to be facing off-center due to the position of her camera, the software can rotate her face to look straight instead. Software can also replace someone's real face with an animated avatar.

Maxine is a software development kit, not a consumer product. Nvidia is hoping third-party software developers will use Maxine to improve their own video conferencing software. And the software comes with an important limitation: the device receiving a video stream needs an Nvidia GPU with tensor core technology. To support devices without an appropriate graphics card, Nvidia recommends that video frames be generated in the cloud—an approach that may or may not work well in practice.

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Wonder Woman 1984 will reach theaters, HBO Max the same day: December 25

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 5:37pm
Wonder Woman 1984, now coming to HBO Max the same day it hits theaters.

Enlarge / Wonder Woman 1984, now coming to HBO Max the same day it hits theaters. (credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

After weeks of rumors, a leaked trailer has let the golden lasso out of the bag: Warner Bros. Pictures' oft-delayed film Wonder Woman 1984 has finally conceded to the pandemic with a massive digital launch plan.

The film's December 25 launch date had been previously announced after being bumped out of June, then once again out of October. That Christmas launch date remains fixed for theaters around the world—including those in the United States that remain open in the face of rising COVID-19 contraction rates. The news today is that HBO Max, which currently operates exclusively in North America, will additionally serve the film on the same day—without charging existing subscribers any extra fee on top of its $14.99/mo rate.

This plan differs from Disney's September launch of its live-action Mulan remake, which was restricted to theaters in countries without the paid Disney+ subscription service. In territories with Disney+, on the other hand, subscribers could pay a one-time fee of $30 to access the film for unlimited viewing, or wait until December 4 to access the film as part of the standard Disney+ $7.99/mo service.

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Massive, China-state-funded hack hits companies around the world, report says

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 5:02pm
A motherboard has been photoshopped to include a Chinese flag.

Enlarge / Computer chip with Chinese flag, 3d conceptual illustration. (credit: Steve McDowell / Agefotostock)

Researchers have uncovered a massive hacking campaign that’s using sophisticated tools and techniques to compromise the networks of companies around the world.

The hackers, most likely from a well-known group that’s funded by the Chinese government, are outfitted with both off-the-shelf and custom-made tools. One such tool exploits Zerologon, the name given to a Windows server vulnerability, patched in August, that can give attackers instant administrator privileges on vulnerable systems.

Symantec uses the code name Cicada for the group, which is widely believed to be funded by the Chinese government and also carries the monikers of APT10, Stone Panda, and Cloud Hopper from other research organizations. The group, which has no relation to or affiliation with any company using the name Cicada, has been active in espionage-style hacking since at least 2009 and almost exclusively targets companies linked to Japan. While the companies targeted in the recent campaign are located in the United States and other countries, all of them have links to Japan or Japanese companies.

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Caribbean cruise COVID outbreak expands; Cruise line cancels voyages

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 4:14pm
A relatively small luxury liner at sea.

Enlarge / A SeaDream cruise liner sailing into the sunset. (credit: Courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club)

Plans for luxury cruises have quickly—and perhaps predictably—run aground in the Caribbean.

Cruise ship-operator SeaDream Yacht Club this week canceled all voyages for the rest of the year after one of its ships—the first to resume sailing in the region amid the pandemic—was wrecked by a COVID-19 outbreak last week.

So far, at least seven of the 53 passengers and two of the 66 crew aboard the yacht-style SeaDream I liner have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The infected and those testing negative have since disembarked.

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Google Pay relaunch transforms it into a full-fledged financial service

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 2:36pm

Google's Caesar Sengupta announced and explained the new Pay relaunch on YouTube earlier this afternoon.

Google today announced a major relaunch of Google Pay—which formerly was a relatively simple tap-to-pay app but will now be a complete financial service competing with the likes of Venmo, Mint, Apple Pay, and even some banks. The new Pay is available as an Early Access app in the Google Play store as of this afternoon, alongside the original and much less ambitious Google Pay—which is now tagged as "old version."

In addition to the simple tap-to-pay features offered in the previous app, users of the new Google Pay can directly link bank accounts and credit cards to the app. This allows for AI-driven insights into spending and saving, replacing much of the functionality of your own bank's online banking app with Google Pay, and more.

Privacy

We can already hear readers screaming about the privacy implications of allowing Google directly into your banking, credit card, and payment histories—and we don't really blame you. Google clearly heard those cries coming as well and seems to be doing what it can to allay those concerns.

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Apple settles with states for $113M over iPhone battery throttling

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 2:11pm
An iPhone 6 pictured from behind, showing the Apple logo.

Enlarge / An iPhone 6. (credit: Getty Images | NurPhoto)

The attorneys general for 33 states and the District of Columbia have reached a $113 million settlement with Apple over allegations that the iPhone maker throttled performance in several generations of the device to conceal a design defect in the battery.

The states alleged that Apple throttled performance in aging iPhones without telling consumers it was doing it or why. That concealment violated states' consumer protection laws, the attorneys general argued.

"Apple withheld information about their batteries that slowed down iPhone performance, all while passing it off as an update," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said when announcing the settlement. "Today's settlement ensures consumers will have access to the information they need to make a well-informed decision when purchasing and using Apple products."

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When stars collide: Solving the 16-year mystery of the Blue Ring Nebula

ArsTechnica - Wed, 11/18/2020 - 1:49pm
Beautiful stellar object.

Enlarge / The Blue Ring Nebula was discovered by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, or GALEX, in 2004, but it took 16 years of observations with other telescopes, both on the ground and in space, to finally pin down its cause (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Seibert (Carnegie Institution for Science)/K. Hoadley (Caltech)/GALEX)

It took 16 long years, but astronomers have finally solved the puzzle of the mysterious Blue Ring Nebula, according to a new paper published in Nature. First spotted in 2004, the star with an unusual ultraviolet ring appears to be the result of two stars merging, spewing out debris in opposite directions and forming two glowing cones. It appears to us as a blue ring because one of those cones points directly at Earth. That makes this the first observation of a rare stage of stellar evolution, just a few thousand years into the process, akin to capturing a baby's first steps.

The story begins with the so-called GALEX (Galaxy Evolution Explorer) mission, an all-sky survey in the ultraviolet band of the electromagnetic spectrum that was in operation from 2003 to 2013. Caltech physicist Chris Martin was the PI for GALEX when his team spotted an unusual object: a large, faint blob of glowing gas with a star at its center. GALEX makes measurements in both the far UV and near UV bands, but while most objects GALEX observed showed up in both bands, the stunning blue ring around the star dubbed TYC 2597-735-1 only showed up in the far UV.

Intrigued, Martin decided to investigate further, confident that he and his team could come up with a viable explanation by the end of the year. He thought the Blue Ring Nebula was most likely a supernova remnant or perhaps a planetary nebula formed from the remains of a star roughly the size of our Sun, even though these typically emit light in multiple wavelengths outside the UV range. But it turned out to be a far knottier problem.

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