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.

Bitcoin power plant is turning a 12,000-year-old glacial lake into a ‘hot tub’

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 10:38am
In this aerial photo of Greenidge Generation's power plant outside Dresden, NY, Seneca Lake is visible in the background. The lake receives warm water from Greenidge's operations.

Enlarge / In this aerial photo of Greenidge Generation's power plant outside Dresden, NY, Seneca Lake is visible in the background. The lake receives warm water from Greenidge's operations. (credit: Greenidge Generation LLC)

The fossil fuel power plant that a private equity firm revived to mine bitcoin is at it again. Not content to just pollute the atmosphere in pursuit of a volatile crypto asset with little real-world utility, this experiment in free marketeering is also dumping tens of millions of gallons of hot water into glacial Seneca Lake in upstate New York.

“The lake is so warm you feel like you’re in a hot tub,” Abi Buddington, who lives near the Greenidge power plant, told NBC News.

In the past, nearby residents weren’t necessarily enamored with the idea of a pollution-spewing power plant warming their deep, cold water lake, but at least the electricity produced by the plant was powering their homes. Today, they’re lucky if a small fraction does. Most of the time, the turbines are burning natural gas solely to mint profits for the private equity firm Atlas Holdings by mining bitcoin.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Microsoft’s Surface Duo falls even lower, now almost $1000 off

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 10:24am

Poor Microsoft. The company's Surface Duo phone was supposed to be the company's triumphant entry into the Android phone market, but instead, it will probably be remembered as one of the bigger flops in the industry. The latest chapter of Microsoft's dual-screen disaster involves a new low price for the ongoing fire sale: Amazon's Woot is selling the phone for $409, an incredible $990.99 off the $1399.99 MSRP. The one catch is that it's locked to AT&T.

It definitely feels like we've seen this trajectory before. The phone debuted in September 2020 for $1399 with poor reviews and a questionable spec sheet. A month after launch, it had a $200 price drop to $1199, and seven months in, it saw a 50 percent price drop down to $699. Today, at 71 percent off, the Surface Duo can now join the ranks of other market failures that ended up in the bargain bin, like the Amazon Fire Phone, the Essential Phone, and the Google Pixel Slate.

The Surface Duo is (was?) a very unique dual-screen smartphone design. Microsoft equipped the phone with a left 5.6-inch touchscreen and a right 5.6-inch touchscreen, and the whole thing folded up like a small notebook. It was visually beautiful, with an extreme emphasis on thinness and nothing but a flat pane of glass on the inside and outside.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Bentley has a new plug-in hybrid Flying Spur sedan on the way

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 9:00am

British luxury brand Bentley has a second plug-in hybrid in the works to join the Bentayga plug-in hybrid SUV. It's an electrified version of the Flying Spur sedan, and it represents the next step in Bentley's decade-long journey to becoming a completely electric car maker.

Instead of the usual V8 or W12 engine under the hood, this Bentley makes do with just six cylinders and 2.9 L of displacement. If that sounds a bit familiar, it's because it's a version of the same powertrain you'll find in the hybrid Porsche Panamera. Like Porsche (and Audi), Bentley is owned by Volkswagen Group.

The output of the V6 has been increased somewhat for use in the Bentley and now provides 410 hp (305 kW) and 406 lb-ft (550 Nm). It works in combination with a 134 hp (100 kW) permanent magnet synchronous motor that's located together with the transmission and is powered by a 14.1 kWh battery pack.

Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Spiders eating snakes, oh my! Here are the photographs to prove it

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 8:50am
A brown widow spider feeding on a Brahminy blindsnake in a garden house in Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico.

Enlarge / A brown widow spider feeding on a Brahminy blindsnake in a garden house in Zaachila, Oaxaca, Mexico. (credit: Matias Martinez)

What's a spider with a discriminating palate to do when it gets tired of chowing down on its usual insect-heavy fare? A few nibbles of fresh snake might do the trick. Yes, some species of spider do indeed occasionally feast on snakes, according to a recent paper published in the American Journal of Arachnology. And that paper is chock-full of pictures to prove it.

Scientists had previously believed that spiders consumed live insects or other arthropods almost exclusively, but more recent research has shown their diets are more diverse. According to co-authors Martin Nyffeler (an arachnologist at the University of Basel) and J. Whitfield Gibbons (a herpetologist at the University of Georgia), various spider species have been found to feed on earthworms, velvet worms, bristle worms, slugs, snails, shrimp, crayfish, freshwater crabs, bats, mice, voles, rats, shrews, frogs, fish, newts, and salamanders, among other prey. There have also been multiple observed instances of spiders overpowering and feeding on snakes—usually baby or juvenile snakes.

Nyffeler and Gibbons decided to conduct the first synthesis of the various documented cases, poring through published reports, Google pictures, Google books, social media sites, scientific  journals, and relevant academic dissertations and theses. The team ultimately found 319 individual reports of spiders preying on snakes, most of them naturally occurring incidents, although about seven percent were laboratory feeding trials or staged field experiments. Nearly 80 percent of those reports included photos or videos documenting the gruesome acts for posterity.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Peugeot plans to win Le Mans in 2022 with this 9X8 hybrid prototype

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 8:27am

No race is as important to a French company like Peugeot as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The annual endurance classic is arguably tougher than ever, now requiring not just complete reliability but also outright speed as the little hand goes twice around the clock. To up the pressure, it all happens in front of a larger crowd than practically any other sporting event you can think of. So after more than a decade's hiatus, Peugeot is returning to Le Mans with its eyes on the overall win. And the company hopes to do it with a new hybrid formally revealed to the world on Tuesday morning; it's called the 9X8.

Peugeot first saw success at Le Mans in 1992 and 1993, during the very final days of Group C. It then switched its attention to Formula 1 for a while, supplying engines to McLaren, Jordan, and then Prost with diminishing success. In 2007, Peugeot returned to endurance racing to face off against the might of Audi's domination, and in 2009 it beat the Germans at Le Mans with its 908 prototype. In 2012, the company was going to field a hybrid version of the 908 before the entire program was cancelled following an economic downturn for the business.

We got a brief golden era of hybrid endurance racers anyway between 2013-2017 as Toyota and then Porsche joined Audi in the LMP1h category at Le Mans. But LMP1h proved to be prohibitively expensive, even if it did give rise to some of the coolest racing cars to ever turn a wheel. The new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations are an attempt to fix that, allowing some (hopefully road-relevant) technical freedom and road car styling together with other measures meant to keep costs sane.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Meet the Switch Pro: $350 “OLED Model” launches on October 8

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 7:37am

After months of rumors and reports of a coming "Switch Pro," Nintendo has finally and officially revealed the upgraded version of its core Switch hardware. The "OLED Model" as Nintendo is calling it, will be available October 8 for an MSRP of $349.99.

As the name implies, the most immediately noticeable improvement is in the screen, which uses pricier OLED technology instead of the more common standard LCD found in previous Switch models. This should provide deeper blacks, better color display, and less motion blurring than existing Switch systems, if existing OLED TVs are anything to go by.

The OLED Model also expands the Switch's screen to 7", up from the 6.2" of the original Switch and 5.5" of the Switch Lite. This is accomplished without substantially increasing the size of the standard Switch unit itself; the OLED Model is just 0.1" wider than the original Switch, with the same height and depth. The increase in screen real estate is thanks to a reduction in the space used for the black bezel around the tablet screen.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Evolution of the dad

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/06/2021 - 4:15am
The "bearded hipster dad," as documented by Getty Images, is a particularly unique creature in the larger animal kingdom. (Well, technically, all human dads are.)

Enlarge / The "bearded hipster dad," as documented by Getty Images, is a particularly unique creature in the larger animal kingdom. (Well, technically, all human dads are.) (credit: Jessie Casson / Getty Images)

Lee Gettler is hard to get on the phone, for the very ordinary reason that he’s busy caring for his two young children. Among mammals, though, that makes him extraordinary.

“Human fathers engage in really costly forms of care,” says Gettler, an anthropologist at the University of Notre Dame. In that way, humans stand out from almost all other mammals. Fathers, and parents in general, are Gettler’s field of study. He and others have found that the role of dads varies widely between cultures—and that some other animal dads may give helpful glimpses of our evolutionary past.

Many mysteries remain, though, about how human fathers evolved their peculiar, highly invested role, including the hormonal changes that accompany fatherhood (see sidebar below). A deeper understanding of where dads came from, and why fatherhood matters for both fathers and children, could benefit families of all kinds.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Did lead poisoning cause downfall of Roman Empire? The jury is still out

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 1:32pm

Ancient Rome’s emperors did some pretty bizarre stuff—bursting into uncontrollable fits of laughter, appointing a horse as a priest, dressing in animal skins and attacking people… the list goes on. Why did they act this way? Possibly… lead poisoning.

There are any number of factors that contribute to the demise of an entire civilization, like the collapse of the Roman Empire circa 476 AD. The empire's slow decline is typically attributed to barbarian invasions, failed military campaigns, economic challenges, government corruption, and an over-reliance on slave labor, among other factors. But it's also been suggested that the toxic effects of lead poisoning on increasingly erratic rulers may also have contribute to its demise—a debate that has been revisited in a new Reactions video from the American Chemical Society.

Lead has a number of properties that make it attractive for practical use. It's cheap, widely available, corrosion resistant when exposed to air and water, has a low melting point, and is highly malleable, which means it's easy to fashion into a wide range of products. But lead is also highly toxic if it finds its way into the human body, which is why we use it far less these days compared to even 100 years ago. Common symptoms of lead poisoning include anemia, nerve disorders, memory loss, inability to concentrate, and even infertility. Lead exposure may also be a factor in malaria, rickets, gout, and periodontal disease.

Since 1943, scientists have known that lead can have adverse effects on neurological development in children, leading to behavioral problems and lowered intelligence. That's because it can easily replace calcium. Calcium is how neurons in the brain communicate, and if lead replaces it, there is either too little communication among neurons, or too much. This can cause erratic mood swings, or difficulty processing information, for instance.

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The rumor is true: Rimac is taking over Bugatti with Porsche’s help

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 8:40am
The Bugatti Chiron will be joined by new electrified models.

Enlarge / The Bugatti Chiron will be joined by new electrified models. (credit: Bugatti)

For almost a year, a rumor has been circulating that Volkswagen Group plans to offload Bugatti to Croatian electric vehicle specialists Rimac. That rumor turns out to be true: on Monday Porsche and Rimac revealed that they are forming a new joint venture called Bugatti-Rimac at the end of this year. It will be headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, although Bugatti's manufacturing will remain where it is currently, in Molsheim, France.

Originally founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, the company became known during the interwar period for cars that were at the apex of style and speed, winning Grands Prix as well as the approval of the ultra-rich. Based in Molsheim in the Alsace region, it foundered following Bugatti's death in 1947 and disappeared in 1963, before being resurrected by industrialist Romano Artioli in 1987. In this incarnation, Bugatti set up a high-tech factory in Campogalliano, Italy to build the carbon fiber EB110 supercar, before a faltering global economy put paid to Artioli's ambitions.

In 1998, Bugatti began its third incarnation when Volkswagen Group bought the name and returned the company to Molsheim. The driving force was Ferdinand Piech, VW Group's CEO at the time and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Piech wanted a car that had 1000 metric horsepower and a top speed of at least 260 mph (418km/h), and Bugatti delivered it with the Veyron 16.4 in 2005. Since then its hand-built a series of increasingly quick, extremely expensive hypercars, but questions have increasingly been asked about Bugatti's relevance within VW Group at a time when the rest of the brands are all going electric.

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Old school: I work in DOS for an entire day

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 6:50am
 I work in DOS for an entire day

(credit: Sean Gallagher)

Update, July 5, 2021: It's the July 4 holiday weekend in the US, which means Ars staff gets a well-deserved holiday to catch up on this summer's Steam sale (or maybe just to rest). As such, we're resurfacing a few classics from the Ars archives, including this somewhat masochistic experiment. Back in 2014, Ars' Editor Emeritus Sean Gallagher decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of MS-DOS's end-of-life by working in the operating system within a modern context. It... went about as smoothly as you'd expect.

Now 27 years after Microsoft announced that it would end support for the MS-DOS, we're resurfacing this exercise (and very much appreciating our present day options as we all work from home a bit more). This story originally ran on July 3, 2014, and it appears unchanged below.

Twenty years ago this week, as Microsoft announced that it would end support for the MS-DOS operating system, James Hall announced to the world that he intended to create a public domain version of the OS in order to keep the universe of character-based DOS software alive. Hall’s “PD-DOS” project eventually became FreeDOS, which today supports an ecosystem of developers, retro gamers, and diehards who will give up their WordStar when you pry the floppies from their cold, dead fingers.

In tribute to the project's two decades (and to those brave souls who keep the DOS fires burning), I decided to spend a day this week working in FreeDOS. I set up a machine running the latest distribution of the OS along with software from the FreeDOS Package Manager repositories. I then added whatever other software I could scrape together—open source software, freeware, and “abandonware” found on the Web, plus some software graciously sent by Lee Hutchinson from his own personal reserve of DOSware. I wanted to know if it was possible to do modern Web-based work in DOS—and just how painful it might prove to be.

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The thorny ethics of displaying Egyptian mummies to the public

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 6:00am
A visitor looks at displayed artifacts at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) during its official reopening a day after the Pharaohs' Golden Parade ceremony, a procession held to transport the mummified bodies of 22 ancient Egyptian kings and queens from the Egyptian Museum to their new resting place at the NMEC.

Enlarge / A visitor looks at displayed artifacts at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) during its official reopening a day after the Pharaohs' Golden Parade ceremony, a procession held to transport the mummified bodies of 22 ancient Egyptian kings and queens from the Egyptian Museum to their new resting place at the NMEC. (credit: Gehad Hamdy/picture alliance via Getty Images)

In 1823, the chief surgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital, John Warren, prepared to autopsy a 2,500-year-old corpse. Warren figured examining the Egyptian mummy—a gift from a patron that had been placed in the hospital’s surgical ward to collect quarters from gawkers—would advance knowledge of the ancients. He carefully began cutting through the old linen, and then stopped. He had exposed a blackened but exquisitely preserved head: high cheekbones, wisps of brown hair, gleaming white teeth. As Warren later recounted, this was a person, and “being unwilling to disturb” him further, he stopped there.

Fast forward to last October, when the press was on hand as Egyptian archaeologists opened the first of a cache of 59 recently discovered mummies for the whole world to see, revealing a perfectly wrapped body. Video of the event went viral, and the Twitter pushback followed: “Even in death POC can’t escape the prying and opportunistic advances of white people,” wrote one user, in a tweet that gained nearly a quarter-million likes.

The question of whether it is unseemly, ghoulish, disrespectful, or even racist to display ancient corpses, or whether it's a noble contribution to science and education, has nagged mummy displays since Warren took up his scalpel nearly 200 years ago. And the Black Lives Matter movement’s focus on issues of cultural ownership and appropriation has only added fuel to a persistent ethical dilemma for museums and experts who study mummies.

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AtGames Legends virtual pinball review: The better pre-built choice… mostly

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 5:00am

If you'd told me at the beginning of 2021 that I'd review not one but two virtual pinball options for the home, I would have nodded and said, sure, that sounds entirely unsurprising. A replica arcade experience seems like a great antidote for any nerd going stir-crazy in a pandemic. Yet while stand-up arcade multi-cabinets have rarely gotten me excited, virtual pinball is another story.

When I play classics like Pac-Man or Donkey Kong on a console, I generally feel like it's the same experience as standing up with chunky joysticks (your mileage may vary, in which case, there are tons of products for you). But pinball's orientation, form factor, and tactile nature have always precluded it from feeling authentic when virtualized on something like an Xbox. I don't have the cash or space for a fleet of classic pinball machines, however, so I like the idea of a single system that emulates dozens of tables while maintaining the genre's physicality—staples like flipper buttons, nudge options, and a plunger.

Last month, this led me to test the Arcade1Up Williams Pinball table, and I was left amused, if not charmed. But its great virtual table selection and solid physical construction were marred by enough issues to make it a tough sell to anyone beyond families. Still, I saw its potential as a moddable machine, whether to add more virtual tables or to use its $600 base as a cheap path to a dreamy homemade system.

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America’s “Smart City” didn’t get much smarter

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 4:30am

In 2016, Columbus, Ohio, beat out 77 other small and midsize US cities for a pot of $50 million that was meant to reshape its future. The Department of Transportation’s Smart City Challenge was the first competition of its kind, conceived as a down payment to jump-start one city’s adaptation to the new technologies that were suddenly everywhere. Ride-hail companies like Uber and Lyft were ascendant, car-sharing companies like Car2Go were raising their national profile, and autonomous vehicles seemed to be right around the corner.

“Our proposed approach is revolutionary,” the city wrote in its winning grant proposal, which pledged to focus on projects to help the city’s most underserved neighborhoods. It laid out plans to experiment with Wi-Fi-enabled kiosks to help residents plan trips, apps to pay bus and ride-hail fares and find parking spots, autonomous shuttles, and sensor-connected trucks.

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Sizzling science: How to grill a flavorful steak

ArsTechnica - Mon, 07/05/2021 - 3:30am
 How to grill a flavorful steak

Enlarge (credit: Cavan Images / Getty Images)

Summer has arrived, and it’s time to fire up the backyard grill. Though many of us are trying to eat less beef for environmental reasons, it’s hard to resist indulging in an occasional steak—and you’ll want to make the most of the experience.

So, what’s the best way to grill that steak? Science has some answers.

Meat scientists (many of them, unsurprisingly, in Texas) have spent whole careers studying how to produce the tenderest, most flavorful beef possible. Much of what they’ve learned holds lessons only for cattle producers and processors, but a few of their findings can guide backyard grillmasters in their choice of meat and details of the grilling process.

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Review: Warmly satirical Werewolves Within is comic horror with a heart

ArsTechnica - Sun, 07/04/2021 - 10:54am

Veep's Sam Richardson stars as park ranger Finn Wheeler in the comedy/horror/whodunnit Werewolves Within.

After so many years of zombies dominating the horror genre, it's nice to see the classic werewolf making a comeback. Last year's sleeper indie film The Wolf of Snow Hollow was a wry, clever take that mixed elements of FargoScooby-Doo, and the lesser-known 1981 film Wolfen. And now we have the horror comedy (emphasis on the comedy) Werewolves Within, loosely based on the Ubisoft multiplayer VR game of the same name. I'm happy to report that the film is a worthy successor to the GOAT of the genre: 1981's An American Werewolf in London.

(Some minor spoilers below but no major reveals.)

This is only the second feature film from Director Josh Ruben, who cut his teeth making viral video shorts for College Humor. His first feature was last year's winsome Scare Me, about two writers holed up in a remote Catskills cabin who compete over who can tell the scariest story. Ruben, who is also an actor, wrote and co-starred in that film (opposite Aya Cash, whose portrayal of Stormfront was a highlight of The Boys S2). Scare Me earned positive reviews for its witty script and creative camera work, among other strengths. So when Ubisoft was looking for a director for its film adaptation of Werewolves Within, Ruben seemed an obvious choice.

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The comics, award-winning sci-fi, and nonfiction we’re reading this summer

ArsTechnica - Sun, 07/04/2021 - 8:01am
Photo taken in Monopoli, Italy.

Enlarge / Photo taken in Monopoli, Italy. (credit: Fabrizio Grassi / EyeEm / Getty Images)

If the heatwaves haven't given it away, summer 2021 is in full swing across the US. COVID-19 robbed us of many, many things in 2020, including so much of what's great about this time of year—travel, time in parks or at a seashore, afternoons by a pool or lake. But as vaccination rates continue to climb, there's hope that 2021 can have a more genuine summer experience.

Venturing back into the world also means more opportunities to do so with a paperback or eBook in tow. So the Ars staff is back to provide another glimpse into what we've been reading and what's on our TBR lists as of late. From graphic novels to Hugo Award-winning authors to deep dives into topics you've probably read about here, there's no shortage of great 2021 options regardless of your typical reading habits. Plus, any time you can shout out a classic piece of literature by saying it's full of "throat-jabs of prose," you might be obligated to put together a list of book recommendations.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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Is the “Dragon Man” skull actually from a new hominin species?

ArsTechnica - Sun, 07/04/2021 - 7:00am
Two early-human skulls against a black background.

Enlarge / The Harbin skull (left) and the Dali skull (right). (credit: Ni et al. 2021)

The reported discovery of a new hominin species from China created a lot of buzz last week. Its discoverers—paleoanthropologists Xijun Ni, Qiang Ji, Chris Stringer, and their colleagues—say that a skull discovered near Harbin, in northeast China, has a combination of features that's so different from Neanderthals, Denisovans, and Homo sapiens that it must be a separate species. The researchers have named the find Homo longi after the river where the skull was unearthed. Based on statistical comparisons of the skull's measurements with skulls from other hominins, Ni and colleagues say that Homo longi is a sister species to Neanderthals, Denisovans, and us.

But that's still very much open for debate among paleoanthropologists, and the debate raises questions about how (or whether) we should draw lines between hominin species.

Meet the Harbin skull

Based on uranium-series dating, the Harbin skull lay buried for at least 146,000 years, but it's in remarkably good shape. Fossil hominin skulls often end up crushed or warped by the weight of the earth above them after many millennia in the ground, but the Harbin skull isn't distorted at all. It's also intact, even though the only tooth still attached is a left molar. That's unusual in itself, because teeth usually are the most common hominin fossil finds.

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Getting what you pay for? A spin on the design-focused electric bike

ArsTechnica - Sun, 07/04/2021 - 6:30am
Getting what you pay for? A spin on the design-focused electric bike

Enlarge (credit: Civilized Cycles)

The pricing on bicycles has always been a bit insane. While it's easy to find deals on bikes for under $1,000, it's also possible to spend over $10,000 on a high-end road bike. Electric bikes, while not quite as extreme, have a broad spread. At the low end, they're pretty much commoditized, with lots of companies offering similar options that provide basic e-bike functionality. The differentiation really happens at the high end, where prices can easily clear $5,000.

We recently got a chance to test-ride a new offering from a new company called Civilized Cycles based in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Its launch model, intended for availability late this year, aims squarely at the high end, with plenty of carefully thought-out features and a clear sense of design. You get quite a bit that's not available from commoditized alternatives, but the price for the extras is going to be $5,500.

Getting civilized

Ars met with Civilized Cycles founder Zach Schieffelin in the Navy Yard. That's when we talked about what informed the Model 1's design, which ranged from his own experience as a cyclist to his ownership of a Vespa scooter dealership. Overall, that's led to an e-bike that's positioned somewhere between the two.

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Wimbledon: The tech behind the world’s top tennis tournament

ArsTechnica - Sat, 07/03/2021 - 6:35am

The Championships at Wimbledon, which consumes some 28 tons of strawberries, 10,000 litres of cream, and 320,000 glasses of Pimm's per year, is notable for its seemingly unchecked luxuriant hedonism. But while most companies, organisations, and institutions are looking to cut costs, Wimbledon has stuck to its mantra. Don't do things cheaper; do things better.

Case in point: Wimbledon's use of technology is really quite impressive. I've been lucky enough to follow Wimbledon's tech over the last three years, and it has been very encouraging to see a massive endeavour like The Championships dive deeper and deeper into technology. You might think that after 140 years Wimbledon could be stuck in its ways, but far from it. When technology is the only viable way of providing consistent, significant gains for players, visitors, and hundreds of millions of people spectating remotely, you don't try to fight it; you embrace it.

Of course, Wimbledon is embracing tech in a distinctly Wimbledon way. This year, for example, The Championships are trialling free Wi-Fi—but because they don't yet know how people will behave with free Wi-Fi, it's only available in three specific locations (near the food court, in the ticket resale area, and on the west side of court 12). The tournament continues through this weekend, but its team has already started analysing the data. It turns out that, thankfully, the Wi-Fi users on court 12 only use their phones between points. When play begins, Wi-Fi usage stops. If the trial is a success, Wi-Fi could be rolled out across Wimbledon in 2018.

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The great sleep divide

ArsTechnica - Sat, 07/03/2021 - 6:00am
The great sleep divide

Enlarge (credit: C.J. Burton / Getty Images)

Remember the line from that old folk song?

If living were a thing that money could buy

You know the rich would live and the poor would die.

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