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.

The Witcher’s Netflix success: How three timelines somehow became cohesive

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/11/2020 - 12:50pm
Promotional image from Netflix fantasy series The Witcher.

Enlarge / Netflix's version of The Witcher exercises wiggle room with three types of source material. For the series' spread of main characters, that's good news. (credit: Netflix)

The Witcher is Netflix's surprise hit of the year, a series that seemed from the outset an unlikely to succeed adaptation greenlit in the foolish hope of finding the "next Game of Thrones." Despite middling reviews from critics, the show has become one of Netflix's 10 "most popular" shows of 2019, an honor it achieved with barely 11 days left in the year.

Even more surprising is its path to success. Netflix's The Witcher turned out to be a catchy, bingeable series not because of a blind faithfulness to the original work but by showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich disregarding how the original material was structured. By sticking with the spirit of the stories, instead of following them letter-of-the-law style, The Witcher was far more successful than anyone could have imagined.

100 years, one Continent, three timelines

When Game of Thrones arrived in 2011, one of the ways it reeled in fans was its almost slavish allegiance to the source material. Entire segments of dialogue were lifted directly from the page. Major plot points came in the same order as they did in the books, including Ned Stark's death before the season finale. When the show added scenes out of order, such as Cersei and Jaime's scene over Jon Arryn's body in the pilot, they too were lifted directly from other parts of the novels.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Review: Cowboy Bebop becomes a boardgame

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/11/2020 - 8:00am
Get ready to relive iconic moments from the series... by playing cards with icons on them.

Enlarge / Get ready to relive iconic moments from the series... by playing cards with icons on them. (credit: Charlie Theel)

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

It has been years since I watched Cowboy Bebop. I remember borrowing imported VHS tapes and flying through the series (“bingeing,” as the kids today call it). I still remember Faye’s tragic return home, the iconic confrontation at the cathedral, and the many scenes of violence backed by beautiful jazz. The show is electric, burned into my brain.

So Cowboy Bebop: Boardgame Boogie is immediately appealing. This is a 60-minute cooperative game where participants play Spike, Jet, Faye, and Edward, and it has a similar feel to titles like Star Wars: Outer Rim, Firefly, and even Tobago. You will spend most of the game on the repetitive grunt work of chasing bounties and earning Woolong to keep the Bebop’s lights on, creating enough food and cash so you can buy just enough time to deal with each character’s personal issues.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Inside TASBot’s semi-secret, probably legal effort to control the Nintendo Switch

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/11/2020 - 5:15am

A sneak peek of the Super Mario Maker 2 gameplay that TASBot will show off, live, on stock Nintendo Switch hardware and software this weekend

For years now, the TASBot team has shown time and again that tool-assisted speedruns—which can feature superhuman input speeds powered by frame-by-frame emulator recordings—can actually work on unmodified console hardware. Thus far, though, TASBot's efforts have focused on defunct retro consoles from the Atari 2600 up through the Gamecube and Nintendo DS.

This weekend, TASBot will finally take its talents into the modern gaming era, showing off expert-level Super Mario Maker 2 gameplay on an actual Switch during the livestreamed Awesome Games Done Quick speedrunning marathon. And this time, the TASBot team is taking pains to make sure no one else can copy its method—to hopefully avoid Nintendo's potential legal ire in the process.

Flipping the Switch

The effort to let a Linux computer take external control of a Switch game began a bit inadvertently back in 2018, when the TASBot team attempted to partner with the AbleGamers charity. Their goal was to create an Arduino interface that would allow inputs (and pre-recorded input macros) from any controller to be re-mapped into input signals for any console interface.

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Amazon takes a swipe at PayPal’s $4 billion acquisition

ArsTechnica - Sat, 01/11/2020 - 4:30am
Exterior of large building during daytime.

Enlarge / The Amazon logo at the entrance of a logistics center in France, July 2019. (credit: Denis Charlet | AFP | Getty )

Days before Christmas, at the height of the last-minute holiday shopping rush, an ominous message appeared on Amazon.com. It warned shoppers who used a popular browser extension called Honey that the service, which promises to track prices and discount codes, was “a security risk.”

“Honey tracks your private shopping behavior, collects data like your order history and items saved, and can read or change any of your data on any website you visit,” the message read. “To keep your data private and secure, uninstall this extension immediately.” It was followed by a hyperlink where users could learn how to do so. Screenshots of the warning were posted to forums and social media by Honey users, like Ryan Hutchins, an editor at Politico.

Honey isn’t some obscure browser extension from an unknown developer. Founded in 2012, the Los Angeles-based startup now boasts over 17 million users. It finds discount codes to save shoppers money at tens of thousands of online retailers, including Amazon. In November, PayPal agreed to purchase Honey for an eye-popping $4 billion, its largest deal ever. The acquisition was completed this week.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Apple slashes trade-in values for many of its products

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 3:34pm
The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which will now gain consumers $40 less in trade-in value than before.

Enlarge / The iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, which will now gain consumers $40 less in trade-in value than before. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple has proudly touted its trade-in and recycling programs, mentioning them prominently at major events, during investor calls, and on its website. But in changes that quietly went into effect this week, the company reduced the trade-in value for many of its products, meaning consumers will get less money for their old iPhones and other devices than they did previously.

MacRumors reported the news based on looking at values estimated on Apple's online store before and after the change, and the site listed the tracked changes. Trading in an iPhone XS Max was previously estimated to fetch the consumer $600 toward an upgrade, but that number is now $500. The iPhone 8 estimate has gone down from $220 to $180, an iPad Air from $100 to $70, and an Apple Watch series 4 went from $110 to $100.

It's interesting to note, however, that Mac trade-in values were barely affected, if they changed at all. And all Apple Watch models except the newest series 4 model also remained the same. It's mainly the iPhone and iPad product lines that have been impacted.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Xbox Series X won’t have next-gen exclusives for a while

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 3:25pm

Back in the middle of 2016, Microsoft was just revealing the first details of Xbox One Scorpio (which became the Xbox One X), and Sony was just confirming the rumored existence of the PlayStation 4 Neo (which became the PS4 Pro). At the time, we had a simple question for the console industry's near future:

In 2021, will developers still be expected to make games fully compatible with the original Xbox One and PS4 (console hardware that will be pushing eight years old at that point)? Or will developers be allowed to focus on the 'legacy' Neo/Scorpio hardware and (presumably) whatever new top-end upgrade will replace them?

Now that such a heralded console future is approaching the console present (a year ahead of our original predictions), we at least have a temporary answer as far as Microsoft is concerned. In a recent interview with trade magazine MCV, head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty revealed that there are no plans to sequester the first year or two of games for the upcoming Xbox Series X away from compatibility with the original Xbox One.

"As our content comes out over the next year, two years, all of our games, sort of like PC, will play up and down that family of devices," Booty explains. "We want to make sure that if someone invests in Xbox between now and [Series X] that they feel that they made a good investment and that we’re committed to them with content."

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump taking credit for lower cancer death rate is absurd, expert explains

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 2:40pm
A picture of President Trump in a blue suit, with a red tie, looking at the camera while giving a thumbs-up. A crowd of supporters are seen, out of focus, behind him.

Enlarge / US President Donald Trump arrives for a "Keep America Great" campaign rally at Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio, on January 9, 2020. (credit: Getty | Saul Loeb)

The CEO of the American Cancer Society has refuted President Trump’s claim that his administration had a hand in lowering the country’s cancer mortality rate, which has been steadily declining since 1991—26 years prior to Trump taking office.

Trump’s bold claim came after the American Cancer Society published its latest data on US cancer mortality rates in an annual report. The data, published Wednesday, January 8, indicated that the overall cancer mortality rate continued its downward slide through 2017, with a 2.2 percent drop between 2016 and 2017. That’s the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality rate ever recorded. And overall, mortality rates between 1991 and 2017 have declined by 29 percent, sparing an estimated 2.9 million people from cancer deaths in that time frame.

The next day, January 9, Trump posted a tweet appearing to take credit for the decline, writing, “U.S. Cancer Death Rate Lowest In Recorded History! A lot of good news coming out of this Administration.”

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Indian Supreme Court finds 150-day Internet blackout in Kashmir illegal

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 1:25pm
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in 2019.

Enlarge / Indian prime minister Narendra Modi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in 2019. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The Indian region of Kashmir has had most Internet service blacked out since August. The government of Narendra Modi says the online blackout is a necessary security measure in the face of growing unrest in the region triggered by a change in Kashmir's status under the Indian constitution. (Kashmir's status within India has been a topic of controversy for decades.)

"The government says it was necessary to block the Internet to stop agitators orchestrating mass, potentially violent, protests against its decision to revoke Kashmir’s special status," Reuters reports.

But on Friday, India's highest court rejected the government's rationale, arguing that the blackout violated Indian telecommunications laws.

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FCC will pay ISPs to deploy broadband with 250GB monthly data cap

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 12:30pm
Illustration of the United States, with fiber-optic cables circling around the Earth.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Henrik5000)

The Federal Communications Commission plans to grant a request from AT&T and other ISPs to make more rural-broadband funding available for slower-speed services with lower data caps.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai initially proposed distributing $20.4 billion in rural-broadband funding to ISPs offering three levels of service: an entry-level tier of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds, with a data cap of at least 150GB a month; a mid-range level of 100Mbps down and 20Mbps up, with a data cap of at least 2TB per month; and a "gigabit performance" tier of 1Gbps down and 500Mbps up, with a data cap of at least 2TB.

But AT&T, Frontier, Windstream, and their industry lobby group urged the FCC to either lower the standards of the mid-range tier or add another tier that would be below the mid-range one. The FCC is complying, with an updated plan that it released yesterday and scheduled for a January 30 vote.

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New LG CEO won’t give up on smartphone market, promises profitability by 2021

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 11:51am

LG is still clinging to its dying smartphone business. The company's new CEO, Kwon Bong-seok, (who was appointed just last month!) promised a return to profitability for LG's mobile division by 2021.

"LG Electronics' mobile business is going to be profitable by 2021," Kwon told The Korea Times. "I can say we can make that happen as LG Electronics will expand our mobile lineup and steadily release new ones attached with some wow factors to woo consumers."

Kwon didn't share many details on how he plans to resurrect LG's smartphone business, which has lost money for something like 14 quarters in a row now. When asked by the Korea Times, the site said Kwon "only reiterated LG Electronics' plan to expand the phone lineup." LG sold 19 phone models each in 2019 and 2018, according to GSM Arena's database. In 2014, the last time LG Mobile reliably turned a profit, the company produced 44 phone models—is this correlation or causation?

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Will lithium-sulfur batteries be in our future?

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 10:59am
Monash University Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, and Professor Mainak Majumder with the lithium-sulphur battery design.

Monash University Associate Professor Matthew Hill, Dr. Mahdokht Shaibani, and Professor Mainak Majumder with the lithium-sulphur battery design. (credit: Monash University)

The name "lithium-ion battery" seems to imply that lithium is the essential ingredient that dictates the battery's performance characteristics. But that's less true than it appears. The electrodes that the lithium shuttles between are critical for dictating a battery's performance, which is why electrode materials played such a large role in the description of last year's Chemistry Nobel. Different electrode materials dictate the battery's performance in part based on dictating the energy difference between the charged and uncharged state. But they also determine how much lithium can be stored at an electrode, and through that the energy density of a battery.

There are a number of ideas floating around for new electrode materials that store lithium in fundamentally different ways: as solid lithium metal or as lithium oxide, which allows some of the electrode material to come from the air outside the battery. There are also chemicals that can store much more lithium per given area of volume. All of these options present serious issues (often more than one) that have kept them from being adopted so far. But a recent paper is promising a major breakthrough in something that has always been an attractive option for lithium storage: sulfur.

Alternate electrodes

"Holds lots of lithium" isn't a high bar to clear; if that was all we were looking for, some of these alternative electrode materials would be in use already. But there's a whole host of other characteristics: cheap and easy to work with, compatible with the chemistry of the rest of the battery components, holds up to repeated charge cycles, and so on.

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California considers selling its own generic prescription drugs

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:45am
A close up of Newsom's face turned to face reporters not pictured, with camera lights in the background.

Enlarge / California Governor Gavin Newsom. (credit: Getty | AGUSTIN PAULLIER )

California could become the first state to introduce its own brand of generic prescription drugs in an effort to drag down stratospheric healthcare costs.

The plan for state-branded drugs is part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal, which he is expected to unveil Friday, January 10.

“A trip to the doctor’s office, pharmacy or hospital shouldn’t cost a month’s pay,” Newsom said in a statement. “The cost of healthcare is just too damn high, and California is fighting back.”

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Intel’s Mobileye has a plan to dominate self-driving—and it might work

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 9:05am
Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua.

Enlarge / Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua. (credit: Walden Kirsch/Intel Corporation)

A lot of media coverage of self-driving technology has focused on a handful of big companies with well-known brands: Google, Uber, Tesla, and GM. But there's another company working on self-driving technology that might ultimately prove even more important. That company is Mobileye, an Israeli startup that was acquired by Intel in 2017.

Mobileye doesn't have Elon Musk's star power or Google's billions. But it has something that's arguably even more important: a dominant position in today's market for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). Mobileye had a very public split with Tesla back in 2016, but it continues to do business with a lot of other carmakers. Mobileye says it shipped 17.4 million systems last year, which means 17.4 million customers bought cars with Mobileye's cameras, chips, and software.

In a Tuesday speech at the Consumer Electronics show, Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua made clear just how big of a strategic advantage this is. He laid out Mobileye's vision for the evolution of self-driving technology over the next five years. And he made it clear that he envisions Mobileye staying at the center of the industry.

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Forget Top Gun: Maverick—let’s settle Blue Thunder vs. Airwolf once and for all

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 5:15am
A child or someone with a head injury has drawn Blue Thunder and Airwolf battling on a sheet of notebook paper.

Enlarge / Look at this crap I used to do in elementary school. (credit: Peter Opaskar)

In June 2020, the nostalgia-industrial complex will pump out Top Gun: Maverick, which will undoubtedly feature hotshot pilot Tom Cruise slaughtering a few dozen foreigners in order to complete his character arc. Cruise may do the hardest salute you've ever seen, but the real star of TG:M could just as easily be his F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet.

The movie is a sequel to 1986's Top Gun, which was part of the 1980s' obsession with turning cool vehicles into movie and TV stars. Depending on how pedantic you feel like being, this subgenre/cycle/craze kicked off with either The Dukes of Hazzard (1979) or Knight Rider (1982) and continued through Firefox, Iron Eagle, Black Moon Rising, and no less than 10 Knight Rider remakes/sequels/video games before culminating in Knight Boat. Even Magnum, P.I.'s Ferrari and The A-Team's van were more recognizable than any of their actresses. (I know I just rattled off more Gen X signposts than a season of Family Guy, but bear with me.)

Attempts to revive the genre have been mixed. Why? Because now that you can sit down at a computer and make thousands of spaceships out of pixels and Red Bull, the idea of building an entire franchise around one vehicle seems silly. It was only in the '80s—which came after the rise of the summer blockbuster but before CG-everything—that the vehicle show could flourish. (The closest analogs currently on the market are the Fast & Furious movies, which have the technology and budgets to create a world in which muscle cars outnumber people 10 to 1.)

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Rocket Report: SpaceX goes vertical, smallsat launch dates slip

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 5:00am
A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (credit: SpaceX)

Welcome to Edition 2.27 of the Rocket Report! We're back after a lengthy holiday break, refueled and ready for a new year. 2020 promises to be a huge year in the launch industry, with the potential for several dedicated smallsat rockets taking flight for the first time, as well as the likelihood of large tallies in China, the United States, and Europe. We'll try to be your guide to all the action.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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1917 film review: War has never been captured so incredibly

ArsTechnica - Fri, 01/10/2020 - 4:45am
still from the film 1917

Enlarge (credit: Universal Pictures)

Our film coverage sometimes veers outside the typical "nerd" spectrum, and 1917 stands perilously on the edge of relevance to Ars Technica. Anyone who reads our coverage of military tech and the history of war might be surprised to read that, given how 1917 revolves around the German occupation of northern France during World War I.

But 1917 (out now nationwide, after a Christmas launch in select US cities) doesn't make our list for its accurate wartime depiction. Sobering and brutal though it may be, it's more of an abstraction than a historical reproduction. Instead of major historical beats and accurate colonel-by-colonel retellings, its story is an interpretation of WWI stories that director/co-writer Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) heard from his veteran grandfather as a child.

Even so, 1917 makes our list because its "one unbroken shot" gimmick is a technological achievement, and it unlocks Mendes' ability to tell a different kind of WWI story than we've ever seen in theaters.

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Here’s what a $300 set of official, sapphire-loaded D&D dice looks like

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 7:45pm

On the occasion of Dungeons & Dragons' 45th anniversary this November, series handlers Wizards of the Coast celebrated by announcing a rarity from the company: official, limited, super-pricey dice. Are you as old as, or older than, D&D? Does that make you feel so allegiant to the game that you'd like to own a gem-infused 20-sided die with a set of aluminum dice to match?

If so, Wizards had you in its sights with its $300 Sapphire Anniversary Dice Set. Only 1,974 were made (get it?), and from the look of things, they haven't sold out as of press time. While we'd never recommend spending so much money on tabletop dice—we tend to lose our cheapos thanks to errant, booze-soaked tosses amongst friends—we figured we'd at least photograph and describe the set that surprise-arrived at the Ars Orbital HQ earlier today.

The above gallery tells most of the story, though it only goes so far to convey the glory of a shiny blue sapphire inside of a 20-sided die. We've yet to rig up our dice-rolling robots to test Wizards' claim that an in-laid gemstone doesn't negatively affect rolling weight for a D20. Instead, I rolled the thing 100 times while uploading this report's images, and my tally was... drumroll, please... two critical hits, and three critical misses. Hmm.

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Deadly fungus became resistant to all existing drugs in 3 unlinked US patients

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 7:21pm
A strain of <em>Candida auris</em> cultured in a petri dish at the CDC.

Enlarge / A strain of Candida auris cultured in a petri dish at the CDC. (credit: CDC)

A deadly fungal pathogen developed the ability to resist all existing antifungal drugs on three separate occasions in the United States, according to a new report.

The fungus, Candida auris, was already classified as an "urgent threat" by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the emergence of so-called "pan-resistant" strains raises additional concern, according to the report's authors, who are infectious disease specialists at the CDC and the New York State Department of Health. They published their findings Thursday in the CDC's publication Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

C. auris was first identified in 2009 in Japan and has since popped up in nearly 40 countries. (It arrived in the US by 2013, and New York City, Chicago, and New Jersey have been hit the hardest.) The insidious germ is known for creeping around healthcare facilities and infecting vulnerable patients, causing invasive infections marked by nondescript fever and chills.

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A young computer engineer tries to solve a mystery in first teaser for Devs

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 5:00pm

Nick Offerman stars as a sinister Silicon Valley executive in Devs, a sci-fi thriller from FX and Hulu.

Something sinister is afoot as a young computer engineer investigates a mysterious disappearance at a Silicon Valley quantum computing company in Devs, a forthcoming sci-fi miniseries created by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation). The first teaser for the FX/Hulu miniseries just dropped, in conjunction with Garland's appearance at the Television Critics Association (TCA) meeting.

In Devs, young engineer Lily Chan (Sonoya Mizuno of Crazy Rich Asians) is convinced her recently deceased boyfriend was murdered, rather than committing suicide. She suspects it has something to do with the highly secretive development division (the titular DEVS) of the quantum computing company she works for: Amaya.

Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation, Fargo) co-stars as Amaya's obsessively sinister CEO, Forest, with Alison Pill (American Horror Story: Cult) playing his second in command, a quantum physicist named Katie. Rounding out the main cast are Zach Grenier (The Good Wife) as Amaya's head of security, Kenton; Jin Ha (Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert) as Lily's former boyfriend, Jamie, a cyber security specialist; Stephen McKinley Henderson (Lady Bird) as Stewart, one of the researchers in DEVS; and Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale) as Lyndon, yet another DEVS employee.

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Trump plans to “modernize” environmental impact reports

ArsTechnica - Thu, 01/09/2020 - 4:33pm
President Trump gesturing while speaking in front of a small group of supporters.

Enlarge / US President Donald Trump speaks during an event to announce proposed new environmental policies at the White House in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Trump spoke about proposed scale backs of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). (credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Today, the Trump administration announced a major overhaul to the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act. This is the legislation that requires the consideration of the environmental impacts of projects that the federal government is involved with. In an effort to limit the consideration of environmental impacts, the new rules will call for completion of environmental analyses on a time scale that's too short for a thorough evaluation. And the scope of the analysis will be curtailed so that many environmental impacts won't be considered at all.

In introducing the changes, Trump claimed that his administration was "modernizing" environmental impact analysis. But various environmental groups are already planning to contest the changes in court.

High impact

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was part of a collection of environmental legislation passed in the early 1970s, a collection that includes the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts. Compared to the other legislation, its scope was relatively limited, applying only to projects and rules that involved a federal agency. But its impact proved to be significant, as it required that an environmental impact analysis be completed to assess the consequences of federal decisions and the results of that analysis to be considered prior to any decision to move forward.

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