Feed aggregator

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

Warner Bros. releases trailer for noir-esque sci-fi thriller Reminiscence

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 12:33pm

Hugh Jackman stars as a man who helps clients recover lost memories in the sci-fi thriller Reminiscence.

A solitary man living in a dystopian near-future helps people recover lost memories and ends up uncovering a violent conspiracy in Reminiscence, a sci-fi thriller that feels like a cross between classic film noir and ambitiously heady fare like Memento and Inception. That's no surprise, as it's the feature film directorial debut of Lisa Joy, co-creator (with husband Jonathan Nolan) of HBO's critically acclaimed series Westworld.

Per the official premise:

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman), a private investigator of the mind, navigates the darkly alluring world of the past by helping his clients access lost memories. Living on the fringes of the sunken Miami coast, his life is forever changed when he takes on a new client, Mae (Rebecca Ferguson). A simple matter of lost and found becomes a dangerous obsession. As Bannister fights to find the truth about Mae's disappearance, he uncovers a violent conspiracy and must ultimately answer the question: how far would you go to hold on to the ones you love?

During a virtual event on Wednesday, Joy said she was inspired to make Reminiscence after finding an old photograph among her grandfather's belongings. The picture was of an unknown woman her grandfather had never mentioned to anyone in the family. "It made me start to think about memory and our lives in general," she said. "And the moments that maybe pass by, and maybe disappear—they don't stay with us, those connections necessarily—but that meant something, that changed us and touched us. And how nice it would be able to go back to these memories fully for a moment, to live that life and feel the way you felt when you experienced them."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung will shut down the v1 SmartThings hub this month

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 11:29am
A featureless, white electronic device.

Enlarge / The v1 SmartThings Hub from 2013. It's dying at the end of the month. (credit: Samsung)

Samsung has spent the last year or so upending its SmartThings ecosystem. SmartThings was born as an independent company in 2012 when it launched one of the largest Kickstarter campaigns ever: a $1.2 million funding program for the company's first smart home hub. Samsung bought SmartThings in 2014, and in June 2020, the Korean giant announced a plan that would basically shut down all of the stuff it acquired, forcing everyone over to in-house Samsung infrastructure. A big part of that plan is happening at the end of the month, when Samsung will kill the first-generation SmartThings Hub.

The SmartThings Hub is basically a Wi-Fi access point—but for your smart home stuff instead of your phones and laptops. Instead of Wi-Fi, SmartThings is the access point for a Zigbee and Z-Wave network, two ultra low-power mesh networks used by smart home devices. Wi-Fi is great for loading webpages and videos, but it's extreme overkill for something like turning on a light switch or working a door sensor; these things need to just send a few bits for "on or off" or "open or closed." Zigbee and Z-Wave are so low-power that you can run the devices on AA or coin cell batteries for months. The Hub connects your smart home network to the Internet, giving you access to a control app and connecting to other services like your favorite voice assistant.

You might think that killing the old Hub could be a ploy to sell more hardware, but Samsung—a hardware company—is actually no longer interested in making SmartThings hardware. The company passed manufacturing for the latest "SmartThings Hub (v3)" to German Internet-of-things company Aeotec. The new Hub is normally $125, but Samsung is offering existing users a dirt-cheat $35 upgrade price.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Sony’s “generations matter” mantra crumbles: Gran Turismo 7 will be cross-gen

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 11:03am
We've since touched up <EM>GT7</eM>'s last significant advertisement, as per this week's platform update.

Enlarge / We've since touched up GT7's last significant advertisement, as per this week's platform update. (credit: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Aurich Lawson)

On Wednesday, Sony published a wide-ranging interview with the head of its PlayStation Studios division, arguably to set expectations ahead of the usual barrage of mid-June game announcements and reveals. In Sony's case, setting expectations now requires telling fans which console to expect future games to land on—especially in a world where chip shortages have made it tough to purchase the company's new and very popular PlayStation 5.

This week's PlayStation announcement marks a change for multiple games that had been previously advertised as PlayStation 5 titles. We have now learned that God of War: Ragnarok and Gran Turismo 7 are officially coming to both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The news follows last week's confirmation that Horizon: Forbidden West will also launch as a cross-gen game.

While the God of War sequel's backward-compatibility status was unclear, the Gran Turismo 7's announcement comes as a big surprise, since it was revealed to the world in June 2020 with a loud "get ready for next gen" tagline, followed by an outright declaration six months later that the game would be a "PlayStation 5 exclusive." Both video advertisements for the anticipated racing game revolved around intense reflection effects that take material properties and car surface warping into account. While Sony Interactive Entertainment has yet to detail exactly how the game's tech works, what we've seen so far will likely hinge on next-gen processing power, perhaps with ray-tracing or double-rendered geometry.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The world saw a shark-pocalypse 19 million years ago, and we don’t know why

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 11:00am
The outline of a shark traced with shark scales.

Enlarge (credit: Leah D. Rubin)

Sharks have been swimming and hunting in the world's oceans for 450 million years, and though their numbers have recently declined because of human activity, they're still with us. But the world once had many more, and many more varieties of, the large marine predators compared to today. In fact, new research published in Science suggests that 19 million years ago, the vast majority of sharks and shark species died off. We don't understand why or how this large extinction event occurred.

“Sharks have... weathered a large number of mass extinctions. And this extinction event is probably the biggest one they've ever seen. Something big must have happened,” Elizabeth Sibert, one of the authors of the paper, told Ars.

Sibert is a Hutchinson postdoctoral fellow at the Yale Institute for Biospheric Sciences, and she was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows for the initial phases of this research back in 2017.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Stack Overflow sold to tech investor Prosus for $1.8 billion

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 10:41am
If you've ever gone looking for answers to software development questions, this screenshot probably looks quite familiar.

Enlarge / If you've ever gone looking for answers to software development questions, this screenshot probably looks quite familiar. (credit: Jim Salter)

Legendary programming Q&A site Stack Overflow is being acquired by Prosus N.V., Europe's largest tech investment firm. According to a press release on Prosus' website, the two companies entered into a definitive acquisition agreement yesterday.

According to Amazon Alexa web analytics, Stack Overflow is the 46th most heavily engaged site in the world. Since 2008, the site has served as the first stop for developers searching for answers to their programming-related questions—and eventually, their non-programming-related questions, as the Stack Exchange network of sites expanded into categories including culture, recreation, arts, science, business, and more.

Prosus will likely be much less familiar, particularly to Americans, as the Amsterdam-listed investment firm has a much lower public profile. Although based in Europe, Prosus invests internationally; for example, it has the largest single stake in Chinese gaming and social media company Tencent.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Aviation in 2030: Fuel-guzzling supersonic planes or electric air taxis?

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 10:28am
Joby Aviation's electric aircraft takes off for a test flight.

Enlarge / Joby Aviation's electric aircraft takes off for a test flight. (credit: Joby Aviation)

Over the last two days, two companies have outlined radically different—yet oddly familiar—visions for the future of air travel.

One idea is built around a buzzing network of small, electrically powered vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft ferrying commuters in and out of dense urban areas, a tantalizing vision prophesied since at least the 1950s. The other vision bets on a fleet of a few dozen supersonic airliners jetting well-heeled travelers from one global city to another, a dream that many thought died with the Concorde some 20 years ago.

Oddly, it's the flying cars that seem closer to reality this time. Yesterday, Joby Aviation announced another step in its plan to bring eVTOL services to the masses. The company has signed an agreement with two real estate companies, Neighborhood Property Group and Reef Technology (the latter is a sort of WeWork for non-office commercial real estate), to allow rooftop access to Reef’s 5,000 parking garages in the US and Europe. By comparison, there are about 5,600 US heliports, which are managed by a patchwork of owners.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Here’s why Toyota converted this Corolla to hydrogen and went racing

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 9:58am

In late May, a special Toyota Corolla entered the track at Fuji Speedway in Japan to take part in a 24-hour race. Unlike the other cars in the race, this one was hydrogen-powered. But it didn't use a fuel cell like the Mirai sedan; instead, this car's three-cylinder engine was converted to burn the gas instead of burning gas(oline). The driver line-up for the car showed why. Among the racers listed was a "Morizo," better known to the world as Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Company's president.

No pressure, then.

"The reason for competing in a 24-hour endurance race is that simply lasting three or five hours is not enough. You have to have done the preparation to last for 24 hours," Toyoda said in the weeks before the race. There's no doubt about it—completing a 24-hour race is no easy thing, and the crucible of racing will often reveal problems that engineers don't encounter on the test bench.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Virgin Galactic announces another human-tended science flight

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 6:51am
Virgin Galactic's third powered flight on July 26th 2018.

Enlarge / Virgin Galactic's third powered flight on July 26th 2018. (credit: Virgin Galactic)

Virgin Galactic announced a new contract Thursday for human-tended research aboard its suborbital spacecraft, VSS Unity. The company said that Kellie Gerardi, a researcher and science communicator, would conduct two experiments during an upcoming flight that could happen as early as 2022.

The announcement is notable because it suggests there may be a viable business for Virgin in this kind of microgravity research and because the news provides further evidence that "regular" people may one day be able to go into space as more companies start flying there.

Gerardi has been involved in the commercial space industry, including working for the Commercial Space Federation, for about a decade. She obtained this flight by partnering with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences to secure research contracts with the National Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency.

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Attack on meat supplier came from REvil, ransomware’s most cutthroat gang

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 5:40am
Ransomware

Enlarge / Ransomware (credit: Getty Images)

The cyberattack that halted some operations at the world’s biggest meat processor this week was the work of REvil, a ransomware franchise known for its ever-escalating series of cutthroat tactics designed to extort the highest price.

The FBI made the attribution on Wednesday, a day after word emerged that Brazil-based JBS SA had experienced a ransomware attack that prompted the closure of at least five US-based plants, in addition to facilities in Canada and Australia.

High-pressure ransom

REvil and its affiliates account for about 4 percent of attacks on the public and private sectors. In most respects, REvil is a fairly average ransomware enterprise. What sets it apart is the cruelty of its tactics, which are designed to exert maximum pressure on victims.

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This Range Rover Classic restomod runs on Tesla power

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 3:45am
ECD Automotive provided a flight to Orlando and a night in a hotel so I could drive its electric Range Rover Classic. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

KISSIMMEE, Fla.—At the upper end of the automotive market, there exists the restomod. A portmanteau of "restoration" and "modification," the restomod is usually a reimagining of a classic car, with a fit and finish far in excess of factory spec—and a price tag to match. It's a less conventional alternative to spending six figures on a supercar and a great way to stand out from the crowd (or blend in, depending on how stealth you go). And nothing in the world of restomodding appeals to me as much as the electric conversion.

Some classic cars lend themselves to the electric restomod treatment better than others—like the gloss-white 1995 Range Rover Classic you see in the photos here. No one will really miss the old Rover V8, originally an engine of Buick design. And while you could replace the engine with a modern V8 fresh out of a crate (as is done for most of ECD Automotive's restomods), doesn't a Tesla drive motor and some Tesla lithium-ion sound a whole lot cooler?

It looks a lot cooler under the hood of the electric Range Rover, too. Instead of an oily engine bay, two battery packs are nestled with ancillaries like the cooling system beneath a custom cover. The other pack is at the far end, where it takes up some (but not too much) space in the cargo area. In total, the batteries amount to 100 kWh, good for about 220 miles (350 km) of range. The packs feed a single 450 hp (335 kW) drive motor from a Tesla Model S, mounted roughly where the transmission used to be so it can drive the front and rear axles in a 50:50 torque split.

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No Man’s Sky gets an impressive VR-DLSS performance boost—let’s test it

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 3:30am
Promotional image for VR game No Man's Sky.

Enlarge / No Man's Sky added a bunch of trippy stuff this week, including rideable mounts. We love mounts. But we also love frames, so hence, we're analyzing the game's newfound use of DLSS, specifically in its punishing VR mode. (credit: Hello Games)

Over the past few years, Nvidia's Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS) standard has largely delivered on its magical promise: smoother gaming performance and crisper imagery, all based on zillions of machine-farm computations to predict 3D game visuals. (You can see comprehensive DLSS breakdowns in my reviews of the RTX 3060 and RTX 3080 Ti.) The catch remains that your computer needs a compatible Nvidia "RTX" GPU to tap into the proprietary standard; this has become much more difficult in a chip-shortage world.

If you run a DLSS-compatible game on an Nvidia RTX GPU, the performance gains can range from a solid 25 percent to an astonishing 90 percent—usually with greater returns coming at higher resolutions. But until this week, one demanding PC gaming use case has somehow not been a part of the DLSS ecosystem: virtual reality.

The default pixel resolution on popular headsets like Oculus Quest 2, Valve Index, and HP Reverb G2 often surpasses an average 4K display, and those headsets also demand higher frame rates for the sake of comfort. Thus, the DLSS promise seems particularly intriguing there. When DLSS works as advertised, a given game renders fewer pixels. This is when Nvidia's RTX GPUs leverage their "tensor" processing cores to fill in the missing details in ways that, theoretically, look better than standard temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) methods.

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Physicists unlock multispectral secrets of earliest color photographs

ArsTechnica - Thu, 06/03/2021 - 3:00am

French physicist Gabriel Lippmann pioneered color photography and snagged the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physics for his efforts. But according to a recent paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Lippmann's technique distorted the colors of the scenes being photographed. Physicists at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland were able to determine the nature of that distortion and developed a means of reconstructing the original spectrum that created the plates.

"These are the earliest multi-spectral light measurements on record, so we wondered whether it would be possible to accurately recreate the original light of these historical scenes," said co-author Gilles Baechler. "But the way the photographs were constructed was very particular, so we were also really interested in whether we could create digital copies and understand how the technique worked."

A physics professor at the Sorbonne, Lippmann became interested in developing a means of fixing the colors of the solar spectrum onto a photographic plate in 1886, "whereby the image remains fixed and can remain in daylight without deterioration." He achieved that goal in 1891, producing color images of a stained-glass window, a bowl of oranges, and a colorful parrot, as well as landscapes and portraits—including a self-portrait. (Fun fact: Lippmann's laboratory protégés included a promising Polish physics student named Marie Skłodowska, who went on to marry Pierre Curie and win two Nobel Prizes of her own.)

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Venus is so very nice, NASA is going there twice

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 3:41pm
NASA has not launched a mission to Venus since 1989.

Enlarge / NASA has not launched a mission to Venus since 1989. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA announced Wednesday that it will send, not one, but two spacecraft to Venus this decade as part of its efforts to ramp up exploration of the closest planet to Earth.

The decision was hailed by scientists who study Venus and have felt neglected by a space agency decidedly more interested in Mars. NASA has not sent a robotic spacecraft to Venus since the launch of the Magellan orbiter in 1989. Launched by space shuttle Atlantis, Magellan made a controlled entry into the Venusian atmosphere in 1994 after collecting reams of data that have tantalized scientists ever since.

"The Venus community is absolutely elated and excited and wants to just get to work and see this happen," said Venus researcher Ellen Stofan, the Smithsonian Under Secretary for Science and Research, in an interview. "We all are so hungry for data, for moving the science forward. A lot of us worked in this field since Magellan. We've had these really fundamental science questions for so long."

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Huawei officially replaces Android with HarmonyOS, which is also Android

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 3:05pm

This morning in a livestream, Huawei officially kicked off the launch of Harmony OS, its in-house operating system and (among other things) its replacement for Android. The company announced a new watch, a new tablet, and a new phone powered by HarmonyOS. The company also said it would be updating a massive list of 100 different Huawei Android phone models to Harmony OS over the next year.

With today's announcement, Huawei looks like it has two completely different operating systems that it calls "HarmonyOS." First is the IoT and smartwatch version of HarmonyOS, which is based on Huawei's LiteOS and is open source. The second version of Harmony OS is for phones and tablets and is a fork of Android and uses the Linux kernel (Huawei is very reluctant to admit this). Having what seems like two totally different operating systems share the same brand name leads to a lot of confusion, and you can make a lot of claims about the IoT version of HarmonyOS that don't apply to the phone version.

For instance, TechCrunch spoke to Huawei and reported "Huawei denied speculations that HarmonyOS is a derivative of Android and said no single line of code is identical to that of Android. A spokesperson for Huawei declined to say whether the operating system is based on Linux, the kernel that powers Android." This statement is true of the IoT version but untrue of the phone version. Meanwhile, the company said the complete opposite thing to the German site ComputerBase, which quotes Huawei's software president as saying "To make sure our existing users can still enjoy the experiences that they are familiar with in our phones and tablets, Huawei uses the open source code from AOSP in HarmonyOS on the condition of complying with open source license rules and fulfilling related responsibilities and obligations."

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Verizon says forcing people off old plans to get FCC subsidy isn’t “upselling”

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 1:45pm
A Verizon FiOS box truck on a street in New York City.

Enlarge / A Verizon FiOS truck in Manhattan on September 15, 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Smith Collection | Gado)

Verizon is defending its practice of forcing customers to switch plans to get a government-funded $50-per-month discount, telling the Federal Communications Commission that this is not the same thing as "upselling." Verizon has partially backtracked from this restrictive policy but told the FCC it will take "about a month" to deploy a billing-software update that will let more home-Internet customers get the discounts without changing plans.

As we wrote on May 18, Verizon is preventing some customers from getting the new government subsidies unless they switch to different plans that are sometimes more expensive. AT&T, Charter, and T-Mobile also limit the plans eligible for the subsidies, while Comcast says it will honor the discounts even on grandfathered plans that are no longer offered to new customers.

Verizon is mad that its policy was criticized.

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SEC struggling to rein in Elon Musk’s tweets, letters reveal

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 1:05pm
A man in a suit frowns comically while shrugging.

Enlarge / Elon Musk isn't sure. (credit: VCG/VCG via Getty Images)

The Securities and Exchange Commission is having a hard time reining in Elon Musk’s social media use, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal.

The regulator sent Tesla three sternly worded letters between August 2019 and June 2020, asking Tesla’s attorney’s to enforce a 2018 settlement that demanded greater oversight of Musk’s social media posts. “Tesla has abdicated the duties required of it by the court’s order,” said the SEC in a letter from May of last year.

The three letters, including the SEC’s records of its correspondence with Tesla’s attorneys, were obtained by the Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request. They show a regulator struggling to enforce a settlement that, from the outset, seemed challenging to implement.

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Dunning-Kruger meets fake news

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 12:45pm
A silhouetted figure goes fishing in a complex collage.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

The Dunning-Kruger effect is one of the most famous—and predictable—biases in human behavior. It posits that people who don't understand a topic also lack sufficient knowledge to recognize that they don't understand it. Instead, these people know just enough to convince themselves that they completely grasp the topic, with results ranging from hilarious to painful.

Inspired by the widespread sharing of blatantly false news articles, a team of US-based researchers looked into whether Dunning-Kruger might be operating in the field of media literacy. Not surprisingly, people overestimate their ability to identify misleading news. But the details are complicated, and there's no obvious route to overcoming this bias.

Evaluating the news

Media literacy has the potential to limit the rapid spread of misinformation. Assuming people care about the accuracy of the things they like or share—something far from guaranteed—a stronger media literacy would help people evaluate if something is likely to be accurate before pressing that share button. Assessing the credibility of sources is an essential part of that process.

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Apple’s “homeOS” slip fits with prior rumors about new smart home products

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 12:18pm
A smart speaker about the size of a mason jar.

Enlarge / Apple's discontinued HomePod. (credit: Jeff Dunn)

A reference to "homeOS" was recently found in an Apple job listing, suggesting that the company may have plans to change how it classifies and presents the software running on devices like the HomePod mini in the future.

Twitter user Javier Lacort discovered the terminology in an Apple Music-related job listing and posted a screenshot to Twitter. "You'll get to work with system engineers across Apple, learning the inner-workings of iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and homeOS," the posting reads. "The Apple Music Frameworks team owns the technology stack that enables the system-integrated Apple Music experience on all of our mobile platforms: iOS, watchOS, and homeOS," it adds shortly afterward.

The job listing appeared to later be updated to say "HomePod" instead of "homeOS" in the first case and "tvOS" instead of "homeOS" in the second case.

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Take $15 off a 12-month PlayStation Plus subscription today

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 11:57am
Take $15 off a 12-month PlayStation Plus subscription today

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a nifty deal on PlayStation Plus, while 12-month subscriptions to Sony's online gaming service are currently available for $45 at various retailers. We've seen year-long memberships go for less on multiple occasions over the years, but this discount is still $15 off the service's usual going rate. The discount comes as part of Sony's official Days of Play sale, and the company says it will be valid until June 10.

As a refresher, PlayStation Plus is still required to play online multiplayer in most PS4 and PS5 games, nets users access to a few free games each month, and hosts a few extra discounts on PlayStation's digital storefront. If you mostly stick to single-player games, it isn't as vital, but a recent Sony investor report said the service had almost 48 million subscribers in the 2020 fiscal year.

Beyond that, Sony has also discounted its PlayStation Now service, with 12- and 3-month subscriptions currently marked down to $45 and $20. While not a direct competitor, this is the closest thing Sony has to an Xbox Game Pass alternative, as it bundles together various PlayStation games for one monthly fee. Its selection isn't as stocked with as many high-profile brand new games as Game Pass, but it does include several worthwhile titles from across the PS4, PS3, and PS2 libraries, including a number of older exclusives.

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One week with Garmin’s newly announced Forerunner 945 LTE and Forerunner 55

ArsTechnica - Wed, 06/02/2021 - 11:45am
Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE

Enlarge / The Garmin 945 LTE family. (credit: Garmin)

Garmin just announced the new Forerunner 945 LTE and Forerunner 55 running smartwatches, and I know what you’re thinking: “Garmin finally caved and made a full-blown, cellular-connected smartwatch!”

Not quite. The new device does have LTE connectivity, which requires a monthly subscription of either $5.99 (with an annual contract) or $6.99 (with no annual contract), but the feature is exclusively for enhanced safety tracking and activity sharing.

These enhanced functions let you receive audio and text messages from chosen contacts via a shared link during activities, as well as two-way text communication with Garmin’s 24/7 emergency services. Beyond that, you cannot send or receive calls or texts without your phone.

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