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.

China takes desperate, “wartime” measures to stop coronavirus in Wuhan

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 3:36pm
WUHAN, Feb. 5, 2020 -- Patients infected with the novel coronavirus are seen at a makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 5, 2020. The first makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in China's epidemic-hit Wuhan city began accepting patients Wednesday. The hospital can provide about 1,600 beds to infected patients.

Enlarge / WUHAN, Feb. 5, 2020 -- Patients infected with the novel coronavirus are seen at a makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Feb. 5, 2020. The first makeshift hospital converted from an exhibition center in China's epidemic-hit Wuhan city began accepting patients Wednesday. The hospital can provide about 1,600 beds to infected patients. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency)

Chinese authorities in Wuhan Thursday said that they will conduct door-to-door home searches for people potentially infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) and corral the sick into massive, makeshift quarantine camps around the city, according to a report in the New York Times.

These latest extreme outbreak control measures are on top of already draconian travel restrictions and shutdowns of public transit, which have effectively isolated Wuhan—a city of 11 million where the explosive outbreak began—as well as other highly populated cities in the Hubei province. Overall, the lockdown has made it difficult to get food and supplies to Hubei’s 50 million residents, contributing to a humanitarian crisis that is now swelling from Wuhan in the wake of the virus.

The desperate situation in Wuhan is clear from the latest outbreak figures.  Of the 31,530 reported cases of 2019-nCoV in over two dozen countries, 22,112 are confirmed in the Hubei province alone. And of the 638 deaths logged so far in the outbreak, 618 have occurred in the province.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook, YouTube order Clearview to stop scraping them for faces to match

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 3:25pm
A video surveillance camera hangs from the side of a building on May 14, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

Enlarge / A video surveillance camera hangs from the side of a building on May 14, 2019, in San Francisco, California. (credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images)

A secretive startup that promotes a massive international universal facial recognition database seeded from more than three billion images is facing pushback from tech firms as it tries to woo more law enforcement agencies.

The company, called Clearview AI, went from near-complete obscurity to national headlines following a report published by the New York Times in January. The Times described Clearview as a "groundbreaking" facial recognition service. A user imports a photo of a person, and then the app shows "public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared," the NYT explains.

Clearview claims to have agreements with 600 law enforcement agencies for use of its services, and the company says it has a set of three billion public photos to match new images against. Those photos come from a wide array of sources, and the sources are ticked off.

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

“I have the Coronavirus”—two teens arrested for prank at a Walmart

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 3:05pm
A Walmart store.

Enlarge (credit: Alan Schein Photography / Getty)

A 19-year-old man named Tyler Wallace is in police custody after he entered a Walmart last Sunday in the Chicago suburb of Joliet. He walked through the store wearing a mask and sign that said "I have the coronavirus." He sprayed Lysol on produce, clothing, and other products. According to the Chicago Tribune, he faces charges of disorderly conduct, retail theft, and criminal trespass to property.

A 17-year-old friend who accompanied Wallace in the store is also facing charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. His case will be handled by juvenile courts.

Police don't believe that either teen is actually infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ultra-tough dungeon-crawler Below adds easier “Explore” mode

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 2:45pm
Surviving these dark caves is about to get a whole lot easier, if you want it to be.

Enlarge / Surviving these dark caves is about to get a whole lot easier, if you want it to be.

The Capy Games' survival-focused dungeon-crawler Below has earned a well-deserved reputation for punishing difficulty—Rock Paper Shotgun used it as a prototypical example of the necessary industry niche for "ultra-hard games." But the coming console release of the game will be introducing a new "Explore" mode that completely does away with this game-defining difficulty.

While the original game will still be available as "Survival" mode, the new Explore mode is "tuned to be accessible for players who seek more of an action-adventure style of play," as Capy put it in an announcement. In-game mechanics like survival, death, and damage will be toned down to be more forgiving, so players can "lose themselves on The Isle without suffering the exquisite pain of Below's original design."

"EXPLORE mode is our way of answering everyone who played BELOW at launch and found the challenge a bit too steep," Capy's Kris Piotrowski said in a statement. "It was clear that many players were intrigued by the game's haunting underworld and rich atmosphere, but its difficulty made the game inaccessible to some. We hope to see new players to get into Below, and for seasoned players to revisit The Isle and enjoy the game in a whole new way."

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Windows trust in abandoned code lets ransomware burrow deep into targeted machines

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 2:30pm
A note left behind by the RobbinHood malware.

Enlarge / A note left behind by the RobbinHood malware. (credit: Sophos)

Attackers behind one of the world’s more destructive pieces of ransomware have found a new way to defeat defenses that might otherwise prevent the attack from encrypting data: installing a buggy driver first and then hacking it to burrow deeper into the targeted computer.

The ransomware in this case is RobbinHood, known for taking down the city of Baltimore networks and systems in Greenville, North Carolina. When networks aren’t protected by robust end-point defenses, RobbinHood can easily encrypt sensitive files once a vulnerability has allowed the malware to gain a toehold. For networks that are better fortified, the ransomware has a harder time.

Now, RobbinHood has found a way to defeat those defenses. In two recent attacks, researchers from security firm Sophos said, the ransomware has used its access to a targeted machine to install a driver, from Taiwan-based motherboard manufacturer Gigabyte, that has a known vulnerability in it. Despite the vulnerability that led to the driver being deprecated, it retains the cryptographic signature required for it to run in the highly sensitive Windows region known as the Kernel.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

ViacomCBS plan would unify all of Star Trek (and more) in one new streaming service

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 1:48pm
The Viacom and CBS merger brought Star Trek films (Viacom) and TV series (CBS) under one umbrella. Both would likely appear on this new service.

Enlarge / The Viacom and CBS merger brought Star Trek films (Viacom) and TV series (CBS) under one umbrella. Both would likely appear on this new service. (credit: Paramount)

According to a report from CNBC, ViacomCBS is planning the launch of a new streaming service that would expand upon the already successful CBS All Access with films from Paramount Studios and Miramax, plus TV programs from networks like MTV and Comedy Central.

The news follows a high-profile merger between Viacom and CBS. CBS had already launched its CBS All Access service before serious movement on the merger began, and Showtime (also owned by ViacomCBS) has offered streaming options for a while now. Previously, Viacom offered some streaming services of its own while also licensing its content to bigger players like Amazon Prime Video. Both CBS All Access and Viacom's existing streaming services would continue to exist alongside this new service in the company's current plans.

The future TV landscape is looking increasingly clear: an à la carte selection of major media companies' individual libraries, with a streaming service for each company. Disney recently launched its own service called Disney+ to early success, and WarnerMedia has begun pulling its properties like the popular sitcom Friends from other streaming services as it prepares to launch its own offering.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

We’ve figured out how mosquitos sense our warmth

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 1:15pm
Image of a blood-filled mosquito perched on someone's hand.

Enlarge (credit: CDC)

The phrase "warm summer evenings" sounds like an offer of a lazy, peaceful, relaxing respite. Any peace, however, will almost certainly be temporary, interrupted by an annoying buzz that signals it's time to start swatting away and, if that doesn't work, spend the rest of the night scratching some itchy welts.

By the time you hear its buzz, the mosquito has already engaged in a multisensory program that started by picking up your scent and the increased levels of carbon dioxide coming from your breath. By the time it's close enough for you to hear it, it's picking a place to land on you based on the fact that your skin temperature is even warmer than the summer air.

Interfering with this multisensory program holds the potential to not only improve your enjoyment of summer evenings; it could play a major role in limiting a variety of insect borne diseases that collectively kill millions of people each year and exact a staggering toll beyond that. But to interfere with the system, we have to understand it. And a key step toward that has now been provided by the identification of the protein that lets the mosquito sense that we're warmer than the environment. Unfortunately, that knowledge has enabled us to confirm that wiping out the heat-sensing part of the system is unlikely to protect us.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Comcast “not welcome” here: Customers protest sale of tiny cable company

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 1:11pm
Illustration of a neon sign that says

You can check out any time you'd like, but you can never... well, you know the song. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Customers of a small cable company in Vermont are protesting the company's pending sale to Comcast.

The sale of Southern Vermont Cable Co. (SVCC), which has about 2,450 subscribers and operates 123 miles of cable, is being reviewed by the Vermont Public Utility Commission. The commission has received 25 public comments, all of them either opposing the sale or expressing concerns that it will be bad for customers without appropriate consumer-protection measures.

Southern Vermont Cable owner and president Ernest Scialabba founded SVCC in 1988. He is selling the company and plans to retire after spending more than 40 years in the cable industry. Comcast already provides service in neighboring areas.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Supersized trucks and SUVs seem here to stay, unlike the auto show

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 1:05pm

After essentially flat sales in 2019, (most of) the auto industry came to Chicago this week for the first big auto show of the year. In terms of making headlines, the 2020 Chicago show is yet more proof that the days of the big trade show are almost at an end as OEMs increasingly opt for standalone events to premiere new products. Two laps of the McCormick Place convention center was more than sufficient to take it all in, and while there was little new, a clear trend was evident. Efficiency, electrification, or advanced safety systems mostly took a back seat to size, with monster-faced SUVs and trucks everywhere I cared to look. As a harbinger of things to come, I dare say there was even a sense of menace lurking in the shadows.

Arguably the biggest product news of the week—albeit one of little interest to most of this audience—was the launch of Cadillac's newest Escalade. But that took place in California earlier in the week, and the biggest, brashest, body-on-frame behemoth didn't show its bluff nose (or anything else) in the Windy City. The closely related Suburban and Denali (and their full-size pickup cousins) were out in force, and I'm not being dramatic when I say some of them felt physically threatening to stand next to even when they were stationary. I'm 5' 7" (1.7m) tall, and some of the hoods are now level with my shoulders, which is a recipe for vast, child-swallowing blindspots in front of their drivers. At a time when pedestrian safety is headed in the wrong direction, one has to wonder how we can get this pendulum to swing the other way.

Chicago's press preview coincided with a string of financial results, and as ever there are winners and losers. Lots of OEMs are changing the way they share their results, ending monthly sales. General Motors saw profits decline by nearly 20 percent in 2019, but it still ended the year $6.7 billion in the black. GM might have made a Super Bowl splash with a teaser for an electric Hummer, but the best its combined booths could boast if you were looking for evidence of its $2.2 billion electrification investment were a couple of Chevy Bolts.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Spacey McSpaceface: Space Force tries crowdsourcing term for members

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:53pm
What do you call the people who wear the new Space Force space camouflage? That's what the service is asking its members.

What do you call the people who wear the new Space Force space camouflage? That's what the service is asking its members. (credit: US Space Force )

The United States Space Force, the newest branch of the US military hewn from the Department of Defense's space-focused units under instructions from President Donald Trump, has a lot to do in order to establish itself. Among other things, the service's leadership needs to decide what to call its members and each of its ranks (which, unlike "airman" and "seaman," needs to be gender neutral).

In a Space Force email posted to an Air Force enlisted group on Facebook, Chief Master Sergeant Amber Mitchell—a senior enlisted leader on the staff of the United States Space Force—reached out to enlisted members of the nascent service for the purpose of "crowdsourcing your best ideas" on a number of topics essential to establishing the force's identity. Among those key questions:

- What should the enlisted E1-E9 ranks in the Space Force be called? Must be gender neutral.

- What should the collective group of members serving in the Space Force be called? Some names floating around already are Guardians, Sentinels, and Vanguards. Feel free to create a brand new word for those who are linguistically inclined.

CMSgt Mitchell also asked for input on enlisted rank insignia, uniforms ("all black with white nametapes," one forum member responded), and other key elements of a "Space Force culture."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Locke and Key series was worth the wait

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 12:00pm

It's been a long time coming, but it's finally here. I'm talking about Locke and Key, the highly anticipated adaptation of the award-winning comic book series of the same name, written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabe Rodriguez. And yes, fellow uber-fans, it was worth the wait. The series boasts strong writing, pacing, performances, and above all, it looks amazing, bringing the fabled Keyhouse and the darkly fantastical world of the comics to vivid life.

(Mild spoilers below.)

We've had to swallow our disappointment again and again over the years, since it proved notoriously difficult to get any adaptation off the ground. The project (in various iterations) bounced from Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox, to Universal and then Hulu, before finally landing at Netflix. That proved to be the perfect match. "I think this is the story in the best possible version," Hill said at a pre-release press event that also included Rodriguez and show runners Carlton Cuse (Lost) and Meredith Averill (Haunting of Hill House). He compared the various adaptation attempts to turning a combination lock and waiting to hear it click. "This time it clicked."

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why you can’t bank on backups to fight ransomware anymore

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:54am
The Credit Union National Association held a ransomware exercise for member institutions and then got hit itself. While CUNA quickly recovered, the assumption that ransomware attacks don't equal data breaches is changing what "recovery" actually means.

Enlarge / The Credit Union National Association held a ransomware exercise for member institutions and then got hit itself. While CUNA quickly recovered, the assumption that ransomware attacks don't equal data breaches is changing what "recovery" actually means. (credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)

Not every ransomware attack is an unmitigated disaster. But even the most prepared organizations, it seems, can have small-scale disasters in the era of mass scans, spear phishes, and targeted ransomware.

Just a few months after staging a ransomware exercise for its member credit unions, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) experienced what a spokesperson described as a "business disruption issue"—caused by ransomware, according to a source that spoke with TechCrunch's Zack Whittaker. By late on February 4, the site had been fully restored. Jim Nussle, CUNA's president and CEO, sent a message to members on February 5:

We are pleased to share that as of last night, we have restored access to our site and other online resources. We want to thank you for your patience as we worked around the clock to restore these systems. We apologize for the inconvenience and frustration this may have caused as you had trouble accessing our services.

CUNA spokesperson Vicky Christner told Whittaker that “CUNA does not store Social Security numbers or credit card numbers of our members" and that "there no evidence to suggest that any data in our system—such as names, businesses addresses and email addresses—have been accessed."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Just one day after launch, Moto Razr durability problems begin to pile up

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:39am

So, just how durable is the new Moto Razr? Motorola's nostalgic, folding-display flip phone has a number of unproven features that, after the public failure of the Galaxy Fold, every potential customer should be concerned about. Evidence is starting to pile up that the Razr might be another delicate foldable that isn't up to the task of day-to-day smartphone usage.

In addition to the same display durability issues that the Galaxy Fold had—an OLED display that has to deal with both the stress of bending and an easily damageable plastic display coating—the Razr has a trick hinge system that is a lot more complicated than that of the Galaxy Fold. In an effort to keep the display from creasing deeply, Motorola says the Razr hinge "includes moveable support plates that rigidly support the display when the phone is open but collapse out of the way when the phone is closed." There have been a few sources now that suggest this hinge design isn't going to last.

The first piece of evidence comes from CNET, which just wrapped up a torture test of the Moto Razr with disappointing results. CNET got ahold of SquareTrade's Foldbot, a robot designed to open and close folding smartphones repeatedly until they die. The Galaxy Fold survived the Foldbot for 120,000 folds before the fatigue from bending destroyed the display. CNET was hoping the Razr would last for a similar 100,000-fold torture test, but Moto's phone only lasted for about a quarter of that time. After 27,000 folds, the hinge mechanism jammed up, and the phone wouldn't close anymore.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ajit Pai defeats another attempt to restore FCC’s net neutrality rules

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 9:42am
A judge's gavel next to a book titled

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Zerbor)

The Federal Communications Commission has defeated another challenge to its repeal of net neutrality rules, as a federal court yesterday decided that it won't rehear the case.

In October 2019, a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the FCC's repeal of net neutrality rules. Mozilla, consumer-advocacy groups, and state attorneys general asked for a rehearing in front of all the DC Circuit court judges, but the request was denied yesterday in a very short ruling.

The petitioners could still appeal to the US Supreme Court but haven't said if they will do so. "While today's result is unfortunate, it's not that surprising," Free Press VP of Policy and General Counsel Matt Wood said. "Courts routinely deny rehearing requests like this. But we'll keep weighing our legal options."

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Infantilizing babies helps them learn language

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 8:35am
Infantilizing babies helps them learn language

Enlarge (credit: flickr user: Lars Plougmann)

Confronted with a baby—or puppy—most adults can’t stop themselves from dissolving into baby talk: “WHO’S the cutest? It’s YOU! YES it IS!” We slow down, increase our pitch by nearly an octave, and milk each vowel for all it’s worth. And even if the baby can’t speak yet, we mimic the turn-taking of a conversation.

This “parentese” is found across cultures, and babies exposed to more of it at home seem to do better at acquiring their home language. But it’s not all about instinct: a paper published in PNAS this week suggests that parents can be trained to improve their parentese and that this training gives their babies’ language a boost.

Learning to baby talk

Why does more parentese go hand in hand with language acquisition? It’s an open question. Recordings from parents and children in their homes show a correlation—the more parentese there is, the more likely the babies are to be a little more advanced with their language abilities. But is the parentese itself actually helping? And if so, how? Or is there another factor at play that boosts them both?

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Metro Exodus comes to Steam after a year of Epic Games Store exclusivity

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 7:20am
 Exodus</em> or an artist's conception of Steam's future storefront if there trends continue?

Enlarge / A screen from Metro: Exodus or an artist's conception of Steam's future storefront if there trends continue?

Update (Feb. 7, 2020): A Steam version of Metro Exodus is now due for release on Feb. 15, precisely one year after it appeared as one of the first big-name exclusives on the Epic Games Store. Other high-profile games launched exclusively on the Epic Games Store last year seem likely to follow suit throughout 2020.

Original Story (Jan. 28, 2019):

Epic Games and Deep Silver announced today that the PC version of Metro Exodus will be downloadable exclusively through Epic's recently launched Game Store starting February 15.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

India proudly showcases its anti-satellite weapon at an arms bazaar

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 7:12am

This week, India's Ministry of Defense is holding Defexpo 2020 in the northern part of the country. The event seeks to promote India as a "defense manufacturing hub." In other words, it is essentially an arms bazaar.

One of the main exhibits of this week's show is a large display showing off a copy of the hardware used during Mission Shakti, the successful anti-satellite test conducted by India in March, 2019. During this test, the country successfully fired a missile from the ground to shoot down a satellite at an altitude of 300km.

The country's prime minister, Narendra Modi, characterized the test as a critical one for his nation, saying, "It shows the remarkable dexterity of India’s outstanding scientists and the success of our space program." Effectively, Modi was saying that India had arrived as a global space power. After the United States, Russia, and China, India became only the fourth nation to shoot down a satellite.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Birds of Prey review: Margot Robbie and the fantabulous redemption of DC

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 6:00am
Margot Robbie, seen here sporting a shirt that will help you remember her character's name through the course of the film. Oh, and she's also smiling while explaining how she and her cohorts may die within the next few minutes. It's on par for the giddy insanity that is <em>Birds of Prey</em>.

Enlarge / Margot Robbie, seen here sporting a shirt that will help you remember her character's name through the course of the film. Oh, and she's also smiling while explaining how she and her cohorts may die within the next few minutes. It's on par for the giddy insanity that is Birds of Prey. (credit: Warner Bros.)

Slowly and doggedly, DC Comics' filmmaking division has been crawling back to relevance. Since the 2016 film that shall not be named, the results have been uneven, with Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Joker's mostly-thumbs-up results being balanced out by the stink of Suicide Squad, Justice League, and Aquaman.

It's been a positive enough trajectory to set the table for this week's stellar Birds of Prey, which appears to benefit from the DC powers-that-be telling its writer, director, and crew to go completely nuts. This bombastic, hypercolor explosion of filmmaking is exactly what the comic-film industry needs: equal parts slapdash and artfully arranged, designed to please anyone who wants more depth and weight in a "light," humor-focused comic film. I went into its screening expecting a killer performance from Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, which came true. I left surprised and stunned by the rest of the film's bloody, candy-colored pieces falling into place around her performance.

I shaved my what for this?

Let's start with the film's easiest point of praise. DC Comics' Bronx-accented scoundrel Harley Quinn steps out of the shadow of her usual criminal-clown boyfriend, and the results, in Robbie's nimble hands, rank at the top of the modern comic-film acting pantheon. Unlike her performance in Suicide Squad, where the character wavered between "lead" and "sidekick" status, her return in BoP enjoys a front-and-center placement, which the actor relishes.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

15 co-op games to play with your partner this Valentine’s Day

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 5:50am
15 co-op games to play with your partner this Valentine’s Day

Enlarge (credit: StudioMDHR Entertainment Inc)

The days leading up to Valentine's Day can be stressful. The Hallmark holiday sneaks up on us after the collective hangover from the winter holidays finally disappears—before you realize the tinsel's been tucked away, you're scrambling to buy flowers, chocolates, jewelry, and the like. But instead of spending money on expensive gifts that your partner may only enjoy for a finite amount of time, we at Ars want to encourage you to spend quality time together—and what better way to do that than to pick up the joysticks and play some video games?

While there's a lot of emphasis in the video game community on online multiplayer and the ease of being able to play with friends regardless of your location, it's always fun to share the experience with the person you love most while being literally right next to them on your own couch. Below we've gathered some of our favorite couch co-op games, which span across platforms and range from hardcore to beginner-friendly. They should allow seasoned and less experienced gamers alike to spend a couple hours this Valentine's Day vacuuming up ghosts, preparing meals, battling underground monsters, defusing bombs, and racing to the finish line. Regardless of your skill level or game of choice, the time should be more special because you're spending it together (aw).

Luigi’s Mansion 3

Luigi's Mansion 3 tasks Mario's sheepish little brother with rescuing his friends from the clutches of a haunted hotel. Its two-player mode doesn't become available until an hour or so into the story, but at that point the rest of the game becomes one of the most accessible co-op campaigns in recent memory.

Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Uber’s plan to turn billion-dollar losses into profits isn’t crazy

ArsTechnica - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 5:39am
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in December 2019.

Enlarge / Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in December 2019. (credit: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Uber announced on Thursday that it lost $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter of last year. As I said last quarter, this wasn't a surprise. After all, Uber lost $1 billion in the first quarter of 2019, a lot more than $1 billion in the second quarter (though most of it was one-time charges related to Uber's IPO), and $1.1 billion last quarter. Uber has been burning cash at about this rate since at least 2017.

The losses might seem endless, but CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says that the end is actually in sight. The company previously said it was aiming for profitability in 2021. In a Thursday conference call with investors, Khosrowshahi said that Uber was actually on track to turn a profit even earlier: by the fourth quarter of this year.

Could Uber really reach profitability so quickly after years of 10-figure quarterly losses? Uber management has always argued that the situation was temporary—that big losses were driving Uber's rapid growth and would turn into profits once Uber's growth leveled out.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content