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.

Airbus shows off MAVERIC, an unusual aircraft to test blended wing bodies

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 8:06am

On Tuesday at the Singapore air show, Airbus revealed one of its new technology test beds. It's called MAVERIC—short for Model Aircraft for Validation and Experimentation of Robust Innovative Controls, and it eschews the traditional airliner shape for a more unconventional "blended wing body" (BWB) design. This packs a lot more interior volume into an aircraft than one with a traditional long, thin fuselage would for the same overall length and wingspan. In fact, Airbus has been flight testing MAVERIC in secret; the project began in 2017 and first flew in June 2019. However, don't expect to fly on it any time soon—although it's airworthy, it's also only a scale model, measuring 6.6 feet (2m) long and 10.5 feet (3.2m) wide.

"By testing disruptive aircraft configurations, Airbus is able to evaluate their potential as viable future products. Although there is no specific time line for entry-into-service, this technological demonstrator could be instrumental in bringing about change in commercial aircraft architectures for an environmentally sustainable future for the aviation industry," said Jean-Brice Dumont, EVP for Engineering Airbus, in a press release.

One big hope for the BWB design is to make a more efficient airliner. Unlike cars, trucks, buses, or even garbage trucks, electric passenger airliners remain a long way off. Air travel is going to keep burning hydrocarbons due to their sheer energy density, whether those are biofuels or not. And if we can't replace hydrocarbon fuels for air travel in the near- or mid-term, then surely we could find a way to get people to their destinations while releasing less CO2 into the atmosphere.

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New “red team as a service” platform aims to automate hacking tests for company networks

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 7:36am
Randori's Attack platform aims to automate the "red team" adversarial security role so that more companies can afford to constantly check their security.

Enlarge / Randori's Attack platform aims to automate the "red team" adversarial security role so that more companies can afford to constantly check their security. (credit: CSA Images via Getty Images)

Attack simulation and "red teaming as a service" have become a hot area of development over the past few years as companies continue to seek ways to better train their network defenders and find problems before attackers do. Randori, a company pulling together red-teaming skills and security software experience, today is launching a new platform that attempts to capture the expertise of a high-budget security testing team as a cloud-based service—giving chief information security officers a way to continuously take the pulse of their companies' defenses.

Red teaming, the practice of actively researching and exploiting vulnerabilities in systems to help find and fix gaps in their security, has long been the realm of high-paid security consulting firms with hands-on-keyboard (and occasionally, with full penetration testing, hands-on-lockpick) engagements, and not something most companies can afford to do regularly. Large organizations and software firms with a business imperative to keep their systems secure have typically maintained internal red teams, but smaller organizations that need red teams for things like getting credit card compliance certification or checking the security of other financial systems often rely on hit-and-run engagements with outside specialists.

There have been other efforts to streamline and automate components of red teaming to make it a more regular part of companies' security programs. For example, Scythe, a firm that spun out of the security research company Grimm, has focused on providing attack simulation as a service—allowing a company to test the mettle of its "blue team" defenders and users by running modular "attacks" that mimic the techniques of known threat groups, while creating a marketplace for security testing modules. And other companies, such as Pwnie Express, have used passive and "offensive" security tools to scan and audit networks for potential attack vectors.

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NASA confirms Crew Dragon almost ready, mostly paperwork left

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 7:15am
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken familiarize themselves with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon.

Enlarge / NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken familiarize themselves with SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. (credit: NASA)

NASA and SpaceX are closing in on the first launch of humans into orbit from US soil since 2011, when the space shuttle made its final flight.

Although the space agency has not yet said so publicly, NASA is working toward a May 7 launch of a Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station.

Asked Monday about the early May launch date, the director of Johnson Space Center, Mark Geyer, said it is tentative and that no final decisions have been made. The International Space Station and Commercial Crew programs are continuing to consult with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and the agency's chief of human spaceflight, Doug Loverro. "That's the target the two programs have agreed is reasonable, but we're still confirming with Jim and Doug really when we think we're going to launch," he said.

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How lidar makers are coping with slow progress of self-driving tech

ArsTechnica - Tue, 02/11/2020 - 4:45am
An experimental self-driving car from Cruise Automation is festooned with lidar sensors.

Enlarge / An experimental self-driving car from Cruise Automation is festooned with lidar sensors. (credit: Dllu)

The 2020 Consumer Electronics Show was absolutely crawling with companies hawking lidar. Short for light radar (yes, really), this powerful type of sensor generates a three-dimensional pointcloud of its surroundings. Experts and industry insiders not named Elon Musk see it as a key technology for self-driving cars. There are dozens of companies developing lidar technology, and each insists that its sensor is a cut above the rest.

But while every lidar is above-average in the halls of CES, things are starting to look different in the real world. At least one segment of the market—custom robots for warehouses, mines, and other industrial sites—is starting to buy lidar sensors in significant volume. Another segment—low-end lidars used in car driver-assistance systems—is poised to become a big market in the next couple of years.

For this piece I asked both lidar company officials and independent experts to help me understand the state of the lidar market. They told me that Velodyne—the company that invented modern three-dimensional lidar more than a decade ago—continues to dominate the industry.

Read 39 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NASA puts a price on a 2024 Moon landing—$35 billion

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 5:20pm
A man speaks from a podium in a space vehicle factory.

Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine discusses the FY 2021 budget proposal during a State of NASA address, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, at Aerojet Rocketdyne's facility at Stennis Space Center. (credit: NASA)

Nearly 10 months after Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to return astronauts to the Moon by 2024, the space agency has estimated how much its Artemis Program will cost. NASA says it will need an additional $35 billion over the next four years—on top of its existing budget—to develop a Human Landing System to get down to the Moon's surface from lunar orbit while also accelerating other programs to make the 2024 date.

NASA's human spaceflight chief, Doug Loverro, shared this number Monday at Johnson Space Center, as the Trump White House released its fiscal year 2021 budget. It calls for a big increase in NASA's budget, 12 percent over last year's budget request, with a top-line number of $25.2 billion.

The biggest increase will go toward the Human Landing System, $3.37 billion in fiscal year 2021 alone. NASA says, if funded by Congress, this would mark the first time the United States has directly spent money on a lunar lander since the Apollo program in the 1960s. The human spaceflight budget also funds a small space station in orbit around the Moon, called the Lunar Gateway.

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Do morning people do better in school because school starts early?

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 4:49pm
Closeup photo of a woman sleeping with her head on a desk.

Enlarge / Zzz... (credit: Sarah / Flickr)

The terms "night owl" and "early bird" have floated around in conversation for ages before scientists developed the jargon "chronotype" to describe a set of somewhat stable behavioral differences among people. Some individuals really are morning people, going to bed earlier and having their peak performance in the morning. Late-night sorts also exist, and there's a spectrum of people somewhere in between. Leading a lifestyle that doesn't match your chronotype leads to what's called a social jet lag, which has been linked to everything from school performance to frequency of car crashes.

But the "somewhat" portion of the "somewhat stable" description of chronotype is very real. People's chronotypes change as they age, and there's some indication that it can adapt to everything from light exposures to lifestyle.

All of that seemingly comes together at a rather important point in people's lives. School tends to start early, which studies have indicated works out well for the grades of morning people. And exacerbating this is the fact that adolescents normally see their chronotype shift ever later, typically reaching a lifetime peak in the late teens. Now, a group of Argentine scientists has tracked what happens to students' performance when there are different mismatches between chronotype and school start times.

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Stress, heart attacks, and 135 coronavirus cases on quarantined cruise ship

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 3:05pm
A cruise ship sits in a dock at dusk.

Enlarge / YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - FEBRUARY 10, 2020: The Diamond Princess cruise ship sits docked at Daikoku Pier where it is being resupplied and newly diagnosed coronavirus cases taken for treatment as it remains in quarantine after a number of the 3,700 people on board were diagnosed with coronavirus. (credit: Getty | Carl Court)

Japanese health officials on Monday confirmed an additional 65 cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infections aboard the quarantined luxury cruise ship, Diamond Princess, bringing the ship’s case total to 135.

So far, officials have reportedly only tested 439 of the 3,711 passengers and crew members initially aboard the vessel, which has been docked in Yokohama, south of Tokyo, since February 3. People who have tested positive have been removed from the ship and transferred to local hospitals for treatments.

Health officials are now weighing whether they should—and can—test more people. According to The Wall Street Journal, Japan’s health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said that the government has had to reserve testing kits for potential outbreaks in the rest of the country. He also warned that additional testing could potentially delay the end of the quarantine, which for now is set at February 19.

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BioWare promises “substantial reinvention” for year-old Anthem

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 1:29pm

Almost a year has gone by since BioWare launched its online space RPG Anthem to a loud critical thud and quickly dwindling player numbers. BioWare isn't giving up on the high-flying space-shooter, though, with General Manager Casey Hudson promising in a blog post today to provide "a longer-term redesign of the experience" that provides "a more substantial reinvention than an update or expansion."

While regular Anthem updates so far have focused on "stability, performance, and general quality of life"—as well as three seasons' worth of new content—Hudson acknowledges the fan feedback that the game still "needs a more satisfying loot experience, better long-term progression, and a more fulfilling end game." In the coming months, then, the company will be focused on more "fundamental work... to bring out the full potential of the experience... specifically working to reinvent the core gameplay loop with clear goals, motivating challenges, and progression with meaningful rewards—while preserving the fun of flying and fighting in a vast science-fantasy setting," Hudson writes.

To help that process along, the development team will be halting new "full season" updates as it focuses on this overhaul (in-game events, store refreshes, and previously released content will continue to be available during this process). Hudson also said BioWare will be "doing something we'd like to have done more of the first time around–giving a focused team the time to test and iterate, focusing on gameplay first."

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The Iowa caucuses were a comedy of tech errors and poor planning

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 11:52am
A man's hand holding an iPhone displaying the Iowa Democratic Party's app for reporting caucus results.

Enlarge / The Iowa Democratic Party caucus app displayed on an iPhone outside Iowa Democratic Party headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

The disastrous Iowa Democratic caucuses were hampered by a mix of tech problems and poor planning, a New York Times report published yesterday shows.

From a malfunctioning smartphone app to a barely staffed IT help desk and a key party official not knowing how to use a Google spreadsheet, plenty of problems turned the process of calculating and reporting caucus results into a laughingstock. While most of the problems were self-inflicted, the state party also suffered from jammed phone lines after 4chan users "publicly posted the election hotline number and encouraged one another to 'clog the lines.'"

As we noted in coverage last week, the smartphone app used for reporting results "repeatedly hung as precinct leaders attempted to submit returns."

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Microsoft’s first-ever Android Phone, the Surface Duo, spotted in the wild

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 10:12am

Microsoft's first-ever Android phone, and its first self-branded phone, is slowly becoming a reality. The Surface Duo, which was announced a full year before it was planned to release to market, was recently spotted in the wild. Twitter user Israel Rodriguez spotted a person with a prototype device on the Vancouver subway and snuck a spy video out into the world.

The video appears to show one new hardware addition that wasn't present in the initial announcement in October 2019: an LED flash next to the camera. The Surface Duo has a single camera above the right display, which, thanks to the 360-degree hinge, acts as the front and rear camera. The video shows a new white circle next to that camera, so now it seems like you'll get a rear (and front) flash.

The Surface Duo actually spends a good portion of the video being slow and unresponsive. At 46 seconds in the video, you can see the device lock up in some kind of app. First tapping on a button doesn't do anything, then it takes multiple swipes down from the top of the screen to open a panel. Swipes in from the bottom of the display, meant to trigger gesture navigation and close the app, take multiple attempts to work. The good news is that the "Holiday 2020" release window means Microsoft still has something like nine months to work out all the bugs.

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Equifax breach was the work of Chinese state hackers, DOJ says

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 9:41am
A monitor displaying Equifax Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Friday, September 15, 2017.

Enlarge / A monitor displaying Equifax Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York on Friday, September 15, 2017. (credit: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The saga of Equifax's massive 2017 data breach continues, as the Justice Department this morning announced formal charges against four members of the Chinese military allegedly behind the hack.

Attorney General William Barr today made public an indictment (PDF) filed in federal court in Atlanta (where Equifax is based). Four members of the People's Liberation Army are charged with hacking into the company to steal both individuals' data and company trade secrets. The men used a known vulnerability in Apache Struts to enact "a deliberate and sweeping intrusion into the private information of the American people," Barr said.

All four men—Wang Qian, Xu Ke, Liu Lei, and Wu Zhiyong—are members of the Chinese army's 54th Research Institute and face a total of nine charges, including computer fraud, wire fraud, and economic espionage, as well as conspiracy to commit computer fraud, wire fraud, and economic espionage. "This was an organized and remarkably brazen criminal heist of sensitive information of nearly half of all Americans, as well as the hard work and intellectual property of an American company, by a unit of the Chinese military,” Barr said.

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British Airways 747 just set subsonic speed record for Atlantic crossing

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 9:12am

Here's a good piece of trivia for you: what's the fastest commercial airliner in operation? As of Sunday, the answer might be "the Boeing 747"—not bad for an airliner that first entered service 50 years ago. On Saturday evening at 6:47pm ET, British Airways 747-400, tail number G-CIVP, took off from John F Kennedy (JFK) airport in New York. It landed at London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) at 4:43am local time—a crossing time of just 4 hours and 56 minutes, and a new record for subsonic aircraft.

Of course, the venerable jumbo had some help. Neither Boeing nor BA have rolled out a surprise engine upgrade, but Storm Ciara—a weather disturbance currently rearranging British landscapes—gave the plane a helping hand with 200mph+ (320km/h+) tailwinds. G-CIVP set a peak ground speed of 825mph (1,327km/h), although its peak airspeed remained subsonic at around Mach 0.85.

Virgin Atlantic actually had two of its planes reach Heathrow in under five hours from JFK on Saturday night, each an Airbus A350-1000. However, these planes achieved flight times of 4 hours and 57 minutes and 4 hours and 59 minutes, which at least allowed Virgin Atlantic to tease on Twitter that it accomplished the feat on much less fuel. Both times are still significantly faster than the previous best subsonic Atlantic crossing, set by a Norwegian airliner that took 5 hours and 13 minutes.

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After another failed launch, Iranian minister says “We’re UNSTOPPABLE!”

ArsTechnica - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 7:02am
Replica Iranian missiles are shown alongside the Simorgh rocket, left, on display at the Holy/Sacred Defense Museum, a vast complex that commemorates the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, in Tehran, Iran, on February 3, 2016.

Enlarge / Replica Iranian missiles are shown alongside the Simorgh rocket, left, on display at the Holy/Sacred Defense Museum, a vast complex that commemorates the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, in Tehran, Iran, on February 3, 2016. (credit: Scott Peterson/Getty Images)

A pair of Iranian satellites failed to reach orbit on Sunday after their Simorgh launch vehicle failed to inject them with enough velocity.

“Stage-1 and stage-2 motors of the carrier functioned properly and the satellite was successfully detached from its carrier, but at the end of its path it did not reach the required speed for being put in the orbit,” Defense Ministry space program spokesman Ahmad Hosseini told state TV, per an AP report.

The Simorgh rocket is a more powerful variant of a small-satellite launch vehicle developed in the country, with a capacity of 350kg to orbit. It has a terrible track record, however, with at least three failures and no successful orbital missions. Sunday's launch was intended to help the country celebrate the upcoming February anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution.

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Why is the healthcare industry still so bad at cybersecurity?

ArsTechnica - Sun, 02/09/2020 - 7:00am

A medical (cyber)simulation from the 2018 CyberMed Summit (credit:University of Arizona / CyberMed Summit)


Many articles about cybersecurity risks in healthcare begin with descriptions of live simulations (so when in Rome). Imagine a doctor completely unaware of what they’re walking into triaging two patients: one in need of a hospital cardiac catheterization lab after an irregular electrocardiogram (EKG) reading, the other suffering from a stroke and needing a CT scan. All systems are down due to ransomware, so the physician working through the scenario can’t access electronic health records or use any of the assessment methods modern medicine is so reliant on. So, what to do?

There are all kinds of scary scenarios like this that become possible when a hospital or other healthcare provider gets pwned. And the health industry has consistently been getting pwned as of late. In 2019, health organizations continued to get hit with data breaches and ransomware attacks, costing the sector an estimated $4 billion. Five US healthcare organizations reported ransomware attacks in a single week last June. A Michigan medical practice closed last spring after refusing to pay ransomware to attackers. And in 2018, when comparing a range of work sectors that included education, healthcare, general professions, and finance, healthcare entities' portion of all breaches and security incidents was at 41 percent—the highest percentage of any sector. The attacks are even becoming more severe and more sophisticated, too.

It’s not hard to imagine other modern nightmares like the EKG swap above. For example, malfunctioning pacemakers could lead to patients experiencing shocks they don’t need, or blood type databases could get switched and cause chaos due to an integrity attack. All four of these scenarios were in fact conducted during the two latest CyberMed Summits, a conference founded in the aftermath of 2017’s WannaCry attacks. “The world’s only clinically-oriented health-care cybersecurity conference” now annually brings together physicians, security researchers, medical device manufacturers, healthcare administrators, and policymakers in order to highlight and hopefully address vulnerabilities in medical technology.

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Europe’s solar orbiter begins its journey to the Sun

ArsTechnica - Sun, 02/09/2020 - 4:44am
ESA's Solar Orbiter mission will face the Sun from within the orbit of Mercury at its closest approach.

Enlarge / ESA's Solar Orbiter mission will face the Sun from within the orbit of Mercury at its closest approach. (credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

Just before midnight on Sunday, a spacecraft will depart from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on a mission to the sun. Known as Solar Orbiter, this spacecraft will spend the next seven years dipping in and out of the extremely inhospitable environment around the sun. In the process, it will provide us with our first glimpse of the sun’s poles, which will be critical to understanding its topsy-turvy magnetic field. It will also help uncover the origin of violent solar storms that send plasma hurtling toward Earth, where it can knock out satellites and disrupt our power grids.

The Solar Orbiter mission is spearheaded by the European Space Agency and has been almost two decades in the making. It complements NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, launched in 2018, which will pass closer to the sun than any spacecraft in history. Only a year into its mission, Parker is providing scientists with four times more data about the solar environment than expected, says Nour Raouafi, a heliophysicist at Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory and Parker project scientist. “We are venturing into regions of space that we never explored before,” says Raouafi. “Every observation is a potential discovery.”

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Review: Ragnarok updates Norse mythology for the modern age

ArsTechnica - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 10:40am

Definitely not Marvel's Thor: Norwegian actor David Stakston plays Magne, a high school student who finds himself imbued with the powers of the god of thunder in Ragnarok.

A lonely, awkward high school student finds himself channeling the mythic powers of Thor in Ragnarok, a surprisingly engaging Norwegian-language reworking of Norse mythology brought into the 21st century. Granted, Ragnarok isn't going to give the MCU incarnation of Thor a run for his money any time soon. But despite occasional lapses into clumsy moralizing and cliché teen-angst drama, the underlying story ultimately works.

(Mild spoilers below.)

The series is set in the fictional town of Edda, Norway—named after two Nordic literary masterpieces, the 13th-century Poetic Edda and Snorri Sturluson's Prose Edda—and we are told that this is the place where the gods and giants once battled to the death in the original Ragnarok. A handful survived, and a family of immortal giants currently heads up Jutul Industries (Jutul is a variant of jötnar, a mythological class of giants), on which the town depends for its economic survival. Unfortunately, the corporation has also been disregarding the environment for decades, dumping toxic chemicals into the water supply, while global warming is causing the glaciers to recede at an alarming rate.

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The next wild Star Wars twist has emerged in a Darth Vader comic

ArsTechnica - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 6:30am
Cover of comic book features Darth Vader and 3 other characters.

Enlarge / An alternate cover for Marvel Comics' new Darth Vader #1 implies that this series will dig deeply into the history of Star Wars' most iconic villain. (credit: Marvel)

The "Skywalker Saga" of nine films may have finally concluded, but that doesn't mean the Lucasfilm and Disney powers-that-be are done mining the original Star Wars films' stories and characters. Barely one month after the finale of The Mandalorian's first season, the Star Wars universe has already thrown another curveball at fans—but not in another TV or film launch.

Instead, this week's news comes from a brand-new Marvel series of comic books starring Darth Vader. We're here to spill the beans—and offer context and guesses as to what might come next.

Noooooooooooo...?

From here on out, we're in full-spoiler territory about multiple Star Wars properties. You've been warned.

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Cloudspire: a $130 MOBA for your tabletop?

ArsTechnica - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 5:50am
Look at everything that comes in the box. It's mostly plastic and neoprene.

Enlarge / Look at everything that comes in the box. It's mostly plastic and neoprene.

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Locating the perfect tabletop MOBA is a bit like looking for a unicorn. It simply doesn’t exist and no amount of begging or fist clenching will make it appear. While the “multiplayer online battle arena” genre remains popular in the digital realm, it seems impossible to nail its feel in cardboard form. Perhaps that’s why Chip Theory Games elected to go in a different direction with Cloudspire, drawing not just from MOBA games but also real-time strategy and tower defense as well.

DOTACraft?

Little cardboard can be found in this enormous box. Units are thick poker chips, while the game’s surface is neoprene tiles that interlock to form randomized configurations. The sheer quantity of stuff in the box attempts to justify its high price tag while threatening to make you throw out your back if you don’t lift with your legs. By the end of Cloudspire’s three-hour playtime, plastic discs will be scattered about the table as if a slot machine exploded.

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Welcome to the era of supercharged lithium-ion batteries

ArsTechnica - Sat, 02/08/2020 - 4:50am
Welcome to the era of supercharged lithium-ion batteries

Enlarge

Gene Berdichevsky believes in batteries. As employee number seven at Tesla, he helmed the team that designed the lithium-ion battery pack for the company’s first car, the Roadster, which convinced the world to take electric vehicles seriously. A decade later, EVs can hold their own against your average gas guzzler, but there’s still a large trade-off between the shelf life of their batteries and the amount of energy packed into them. If we want to totally electrify our roads, Berdichevsky realized, it would require a fundamentally different approach.

In 2011, Berdichevsky founded Sila Nanotechnologies to build a better battery. His secret ingredient is nanoengineered particles of silicon, which can supercharge lithium-ion cells when they’re used as the battery’s negative electrode, or anode. Today, Sila is one of a handful of companies racing to bring lithium-silicon batteries out of the lab and into the real world, where they promise to open new frontiers of form and function in electronic devices ranging from earbuds to cars.

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Boeing’s Starliner problems may be worse than we thought

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 3:40pm
A close-up view of the Starliner capsule with its service module immediately beneath it.

Enlarge / A close-up view of the Starliner capsule with its service module immediately beneath it. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann )

On Friday, officials from NASA and Boeing held a teleconference with reporters to discuss issues related to the Starliner spacecraft's performance during an orbital test flight in December.

Although an independent review team remains in the midst of an investigation that will not conclude until the end of February, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said he convened the call in the "interest of transparency."

The call followed an explosive revelation on Thursday at a meeting of NASA's Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel, that the Starliner spacecraft encountered a second major software issue that could have resulted in a total loss of the vehicle. At the outset of the media call, Bridenstine acknowledged that Starliner's flight had "a lot of anomalies." The agency published a summary here. At this point, it seems that NASA and Boeing do not yet know what they don't know about the problems, and it will take some time to sort all of this out.

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