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  • 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.

Tiger Lake is coming in Dell XPS 13, XPS 13 DE, and XPS 13 2-in-1

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/28/2020 - 6:05am
Ubuntu will be available and supported even for XPS 13s, which weren't bought as "Developer Edition" this time around.

Enlarge / Ubuntu will be available and supported even for XPS 13s, which weren't bought as "Developer Edition" this time around. (credit: Dell)

The latest update to Dell's XPS 13 product line will be available beginning Wednesday, September 30, and will feature 11th-generation Intel CPUs, aka Tiger Lake. We know a lot of AMD fans are going to be disappointed at no Team Red option—honestly, we're a little disappointed, too; we've been extremely impressed with this year's AMD Renoir laptop CPUs.

However disappointed AMD fans might be, Tiger Lake represents a pretty massive upgrade from last year's Ice Lake and Comet Lake lineup, as we saw directly when we had the chance to test a prototype Tiger Lake laptop earlier this month. The four core/eight thread i7-1185G7 we expect in the highest-end XPS 13 models might not be a match for an eight core/sixteen thread Ryzen 7 4800U—but it hangs pretty even with an eight core/eight thread Ryzen 7 4700U, even on massively multithreaded workloads.

Meanwhile, not every workload is massively multi-threaded—and the Tiger Lake i7 we tested demonstrated extremely fast single-threaded performance. More importantly, its Xe integrated graphics were far and away the highest performing iGPU we've ever seen—they aren't ready to take the place of a gamer's Nvidia RTX series discrete GPU, but we suspect they sounded a death knell for Nvidia's cheaper MX series of discrete laptop GPUs.

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Xbox Series X hands-on: The big back-compat dive begins [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Mon, 09/28/2020 - 6:00am

What good is a next-gen console without any "new" video games to play on it?

That question loomed as I unpacked an Xbox Series X console at my home office last week, nearly two months before its $499 retail launch on November 10. Such early access to a state-of-the-art gaming machine surely comes with some concession, and in my case, that was a severe asterisk on its compatible content. Unlike other console-preview opportunities I've had in my career, this one didn't come with a single new or freshly updated game in the box.

The funny thing is, this is exactly what I'd asked for.

Read 66 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nikola founder bought truck designs from third party

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/27/2020 - 9:55am
A 2018 Nikola video showed the Nikola One prototype rolling down a shallow hill in Utah. Nikola now says it never claimed the truck was driving under its own power.

Enlarge / A 2018 Nikola video showed the Nikola One prototype rolling down a shallow hill in Utah. Nikola now says it never claimed the truck was driving under its own power. (credit: Nikola)

The original design for Nikola’s flagship truck was purchased by founder Trevor Milton from a designer in Croatia, according to two people with knowledge of the matter, despite company claims in a 2018 lawsuit that the vehicle was initially designed by Mr. Milton “in his basement..”

The truck, the Nikola One, is at the centre of a $2 billion lawsuit with Tesla, in which Nikola alleges its rival infringed on its patents. Nikola claims in that lawsuit that Mr. Milton began designing the model in 2013, with other company staff later working on it.

In a rebuttal to the lawsuit filed last week, Tesla alleged that Nikola could not protect the designs because they did not originate from the company itself, but from Adriano Mudri, a designer based in Croatia.

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Judge grants TikTok a reprieve, ban will not go into effect tonight [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/27/2020 - 8:46am
Judge grants TikTok a reprieve, ban will not go into effect tonight [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Update, 9:00pm: In the 8:00 hour, Judge Carl Nichols of the US District Court for DC granted TikTok's request for a preliminary injunction on the ban, meaning the app will not be removed from app stores tonight.

The judge did not address the parts of the ban slated to go into effect on November 12, which would render TikTok effectively useless inside the United States.

The majority of Nichols' order is currently sealed; both sides have until 11:00 Monday morning to tell the court if they think it can be unsealed.

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Feels Good Man, a film that truly gets how things are passed across the Internet

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/27/2020 - 7:00am

Trailer for Feels Good Man.

There’s no shortage of documentaries about our current political climate or the fact that the Internet might be bad, but Feels Good Man focuses on the craziest intersection of these two modern realities: Pepe, the cartoon frog.

If you’re aware of Pepe already, chances are it’s because the character has become synonymous with the alt-right, that extreme online demographic tied to modern white supremacists and Nazi movements. Or perhaps you heard of Pepe before that, during the time this frog had become the meme du jour of 4chan, the anonymous message board associated with all sorts of nefarious real-world behavior. Though Pepe's most high-profile 15 minutes of fame were inarguably a cameo on then-candidate Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, leading to the character’s adoption by some of his most extreme supporters, like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

Feels Good Man will get to all that, of course, but this documentary starts with the now-toxic toad’s tadpole days. By doing so, the film will likely show viewers something they didn’t know or hadn’t previously considered regardless of prior familiarity with Pepe and the insanity swirling around him. And through tracing Pepe’s evolution, Feels Good Man manages to remind everyone of a fundamental truth of communication, particularly in the Internet age. Once you click send on something, things like original intent and context might become as ephemeral as a single tweet.

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Battle of the $350 laptops: Acer Swift 1 vs. Gateway Ryzen 3 3200U

ArsTechnica - Sun, 09/27/2020 - 5:30am
Acer's Swift 1 looks a little more professional than Gateway's GWTN141-2—but looks aren't everything, as our testing conclusively demonstrates.

Enlarge / Acer's Swift 1 looks a little more professional than Gateway's GWTN141-2—but looks aren't everything, as our testing conclusively demonstrates. (credit: Jim Salter)

We've been on the lookout for good but seriously cheap laptops for a while now. Acer's $650 Swift 3 is an excellent choice for budget laptops in the under-$700 range, but we've been really itching to find one in the almost nonexistent sub-$400 category. To that end, today we're looking at two of Walmart's finest—a $378 Acer Swift 1 and a $350 Gateway GWTN141-2.

Both of these are serviceable if cheap laptops, but the Gateway, despite being the less expensive model, will be the clear winner for most people. It's more powerful, more repairable, more upgrade-able, and in our testing, a bit more reliable as well.

Specs at a glance: as reviewed Acer Swift 1 SF114-32 Gateway GWTN141-2 OS Windows 10 Home (S mode) Windows 10 Home (S mode) Screen 14 inch IPS FHD (1920×1080, 250nits) 14.1 inch IPS FHD (1920×1080, 190nits) CPU Pentium Silver N5000 Ryzen 3 3200U GPU Intel UHD 605 AMD Vega 3 RAM 4GiB DDR4 (soldered, non expandable) 4GiB DDR4 (soldered, with one empty DIMM slot) HDD 64GB eMMC
(SanDisk DF4064) 128GB NVMe M.2
(Netac S539N) Networking Intel 9560
2x2 Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 Realtek 8821CE
1x1 Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 4.2 Ports
  • 1x USB-C (data only)
  • 2x USB-A 3.0
  • 1x USB-A 2.0
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x SD card
  • 1x 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • 1x DC barrel jack
  • 1x Kensington lock slot
  • 1x USB-C (data only)
  • 2x USB-A 3.0
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x SD card
  • 1x 3.5mm audio combo jack
  • 1x DC barrel jack
  • 1x Kensington lock slot
Size 12.7" x 9" x 0.6"
(323 x 229 x 15mm) 13.1" x 8.9" x 0.8"
(333 x 226 x 21mm) Weight 2.9 pounds (1.3kg) 3.5 pounds (1.6kg) Warranty 1 year limited 1 year limited Extras Fingerprint reader,
720P camera Fingerprint reader (in touchpad),
720P camera Price as tested $378 at Amazon and Walmart $350 at Walmart Acer Swift 1 SF114-32

We didn't actually intend to test or review the Swift 1—we ordered a Walmart Motile 14, with a Ryzen 5 processor for only $350. But Walmart has an unfortunate tendency to just throw in any similar product when it runs low on stock, and the Swift 1 is what got sent in its place—with no notification, either by email or in our account at Walmart.com, and no paperwork in the box either.

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When coffee makers are demanding a ransom, you know IoT is screwed

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/26/2020 - 7:58am

With the name Smarter, you might expect a network-connected kitchen appliance maker to be, well, smarter than companies selling conventional appliances. But in the case of the Smarter’s Internet-of-things coffee maker, you’d be wrong.

Security problems with Smarter products first came to light in 2015, when researchers at London-based security firm Pen Test partners found that they could recover a Wi-Fi encryption key used in the first version of the Smarter iKettle. The same researchers found that version 2 of the iKettle and the then-current version of the Smarter coffee maker had additional problems, including no firmware signing and no trusted enclave inside the ESP8266, the chipset that formed the brains of the devices. The result: the researchers showed a hacker could probably replace the factory firmware with a malicious one. The researcher EvilSocket also performed a complete reverse engineering of the device protocol, allowing remote control of the device.

Two years ago, Smarter released the iKettle version 3 and the Coffee Maker version 2, said Ken Munro, a researcher who worked for Pen Test Partners at the time. The updated products used a new chipset that fixed the problems. He said that Smarter never issued a CVE vulnerability designation, and it didn't publicly warn customers not to use the old one. Data from the Wigle network search engine shows the older coffee makers are still in use.

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Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion makes the megahit more accessible

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/26/2020 - 7:00am
There's still a lot of stuff in this box.

Enlarge / There's still a lot of stuff in this box. (credit: Cephalofair Games)

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

There’s a reason Gloomhaven (read our 2017 review) is so popular. There’s also a reason why half of my friends who own a copy have opened it once, stared in despair at the contents within, and loosed a timid box-fart as they reassembled the package. “More is better!” can be true, especially when it comes to fighting your way through a dungeon. “More” means more monsters, more classes, more loot—even additional varieties of stonework decorating the corridors. It also happens to mean, you know, more. More to learn. More to remember. More to sort and keep sorted. Gloomhaven basically defines "more."

But now there’s Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion, the largest box to ever feel small. With only four classes, a single (mostly) linear campaign, and some clever quality-of-life improvements, this is Isaac Childres’s attempt to make a Gloomhaven for the rest of us. (Or the rest of you, since I played Gloomhaven until I was well and truly sick of it.)

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Deep algebra for deep beats: The beautiful sounds of musical programming

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/26/2020 - 6:00am
 The beautiful sounds of musical programming

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Musicians have spent centuries flirting with technology to push the boundaries of the art, from the Theremin to mid-century tape experiments. Despite this fascination, only a tiny niche have gone so far as to programmatically generate music via code. In a span of roughly 70 years, the few who’ve done so comprise a Venn diagram of intersecting programmers and avant-garde musicians.

The results are unlike anything you've ever heard—and some of the most ambitious music to blend the realms of analog and digital sound.

I talked with people who are using code to make a wide variety of music, from sample mangling to a live algorithmic radio show to preaching the Marxist qualities of open source software. Despite the technological complexity and deep algebra involved, they are all seeking something very simple: a creative sandbox unbound by conventions of time and theory.

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The madness of Susanna Clarke, fairy princess

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/26/2020 - 5:45am
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fans, it's a good fall.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell fans, it's a good fall. (credit: Amazon / Bloomsbury)

Do fairies exist? To steal us away, to cast curses, to impurify our bloodlines? Let’s say yes. We have artists, don’t we? Sensitive types, so fragile and retreating. The best of them seem touched by an otherness, an otherlandishness, of being. Maybe a small part of their humanity was bargained away without their knowing. A pinky finger. A left eyeball. That’s why they don’t stomp through the world as the rest of us do, very loudly. On those rare occasions when they’re seen to leave their homes, they sort of flicker—fairly float—across the way. Whatever you do, don’t startle the fairy-people, or you’ll scare them off. Just look at what befell Susanna Clarke.

In 2004, Clarke published what can only be described as her first dispatch from the land of Faerie. Ten years in the making and 846 (footnoted!) pages long, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was ethnography, lore. It was as if she’d been there, to England, at the time of Napoleon, when those two infamous magicians, the bookworm Norrell and his perky pupil Strange, tapped into unearthly powers to impress politicians, move mountains, and defeat the French. That’s not how it happened, you say? Why, yes it is. You simply haven’t read your hidden history.

The events that followed only proved Clarke’s preternatural pedigree. After the publication, in 2006, of The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories, a collection of fairy tales written around the same time, and in the same world, as Strange & Norrell, Clarke went poof. Yumpy. Far, far away. For 14 years. The official story was debilitating mental illness—housebound, couldn’t write—but clearly her fairy patrons had come for her, to reclaim their erstwhile princess. Or else they meant to punish Clarke for her betrayal, for spilling their precious secrets, by enfuzzing her beautiful brain. Something like that. The ways and reasons of the Fae are little known to common folk.

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Seismic sound waves crossing the deep ocean could be a new thermometer

ArsTechnica - Sat, 09/26/2020 - 4:30am
A seismometer on the atoll of Diego Garcia (left) can calculate ocean temperature with earthquakes near Sumatra (right).

Enlarge / A seismometer on the atoll of Diego Garcia (left) can calculate ocean temperature with earthquakes near Sumatra (right). (credit: Wu et al./Science)

Geophysics has shown that precise measurements and a little modeling can perform wonders, like showing us the detailed structure of the Earth’s interior despite the fact that it is inaccessibly buried beneath hundreds of kilometers of rock. This is possible because seismic waves produced by earthquakes subtly change velocity or direction as they pass through different materials. A new paper shows that something similar can actually measure small temperature changes in the deep ocean.

An idea to use acoustic waves from man-made sources was actually floated several decades ago but died out after some trials. A team led by Wenbo Wu at the University of Toronto realized that earthquakes could be taken advantage of in the same way, removing the expensive logistics of constantly setting off booms to get measurements, as well as concerns about the effects on marine life.

There are actually several types of seismic waves released by earthquakes, and each behaves a bit differently. The P-wave (P for “primary” because it’s the first to arrive) is analogous to a sound wave, as it compresses the rock in the same direction it’s traveling. So where this wave reaches the seafloor or the ground surface, the rock can behave like a massive speaker, producing a very low-frequency sound wave in the air or water.

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