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.

Manchester City smart scarf wraps data-collecting sensors around fans’ necks

ArsTechnica - Thu, 07/28/2022 - 9:17am
Manchester City smart scarf wraps data-collecting sensors around fans’ necks

Enlarge (credit: Manchester City)

England's Manchester City soccer club wants to know how its fans really feel, and it has gone so far as to pilot The Connected Scarf, a "smart scarf" stuffed with sensors that the organization says enables it to gauge fan emotions.

According to Manchester City's page for the scarf, the club has been piloting the accessory with six fans thus far and has recorded "over 120 moments of interest across the 90 minutes of a match."

"The scarf records a range of physiological measures, including heart rate, body temperature, and emotional arousal—giving us concrete information to analyze how fans are feeling at different moments in the match," the page says.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The players are the problem: Community managers complain of excessive harassment

ArsTechnica - Thu, 07/28/2022 - 9:00am
I'll show that know-it-all community manager who's boss...

I'll show that know-it-all community manager who's boss...

In video games, community management is all about listening to the concerns of the fans and communicating with them in a way that makes them feel that their concerns are being heard. But what happens when some of the concerned players become a cause for concern themselves?

That's the question two major gaming companies have faced in recent days, with community managers saying that harassment from customers is making it harder for them to do their jobs.

The first example comes from the Destiny 2 community on Reddit, where one member posted Wednesday lamenting the shrinking number of threads that receive an official reply from Bungie. Destiny 2 Community Manager Dylan "dmg04" Gafner responded to explain that he has taken some time off due to "some serious harassment towards me and my family," which has led to "an amount of reduced communications as the team plans future protections / strategies to help avoid these sorts of things."

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

ArsTechnica - Thu, 07/28/2022 - 4:01am
You won’t be confused about electric vehicle charging after reading this

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

A significant factor that scares people away from electric vehicles is confusion around charging. Every gas station in the land is fitted with nozzles that will fill any gasoline-powered car's fuel tank. But not all EVs use the same plug, and then there's the matter of alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC) systems. And what do the different levels of charging mean?

The good news is that it's not that complicated, and we're here to explain everything you need to know.

EVs require electricity to charge, as the "E" in EV suggests. But that electricity can be AC, like the appliances in your home, or DC, like a USB device, only many times more powerful.

Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Carbon offsets alone won’t make flying climate-friendly

ArsTechnica - Thu, 07/28/2022 - 4:00am
The evening sun colors the underside of the Boeing 747 and the following contrail red in Berlin in 2021.

Enlarge / The evening sun colors the underside of the Boeing 747 and the following contrail red in Berlin in 2021. (credit: Soeren Stache/Picture Alliance/Getty )

Jet A-1, a straw-colored, kerosene-based fuel used in most big airplanes, is a difficult substance to replace. It’s packed with energy; per unit of weight, at least 60 times as much as the lithium-ion batteries used to propel electric cars. It’s also terrible for the climate. So as the aviation industry has gradually climbed aboard global pledges to get rid of carbon emissions, it has mostly promised to make up for its damage elsewhere—through offsets that might involve planting trees, restoring wetlands, or paying people to preserve ecosystems that otherwise would have been razed. But according to a growing body of research, those efforts leave something out: Most of the planet-warming effects of flying aren’t from carbon dioxide.

Burning jet fuel at 35,000 feet sparks a molecular cascade in the troposphere. The initial combustion releases a shower of particles—sulfur, nitrogen oxides, soot, and water vapor. At those frigid heights, some of the particles become nuclei around which condensation gathers and then quickly freezes, helping to produce puffy contrails that either vanish or persist as wispy, high-altitude cirrus clouds. In the presence of the Sun’s rays, nitrogen molecules set off a chain of reactions that produce ozone and destroy free-floating atmospheric methane. It's tough to pin down the meaning of all this chemistry. Some of these reactions, like the methane destruction, help cool the Earth. Others warm it. It all depends on the atmospheric conditions for each flight, multiplied across tens of thousands of planes streaking across the sky each day.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

FDA’s top tobacco scientist takes job at Marlboro-maker Philip Morris

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 4:13pm
FDA’s top tobacco scientist takes job at Marlboro-maker Philip Morris

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

The top tobacco scientist at the Food and Drug Administration has left his job to go work for tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI), best known as the maker of Marlboro cigarettes.

It is the second high-profile FDA hire by PMI in recent months, and it comes at a time when the FDA is struggling to regulate the evolving smoking and vaping products by companies such as PMI. Earlier this month, for instance, the FDA announced an embarrassing backpedal in its bungled attempt to ban Juul e-cigarette products. Juul—largely blamed for an epidemic of youth vaping—is partly owned by Altria, which spun-off PMI in 2008.

On Tuesday, Matt Holman, director of the Office of Science at the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), announced his departure, effective immediately, to accept a position at PMI. Holman, a biochemist by training, was at the FDA for over 20 years and director of the CTP's Office of Science since 2017.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Study sheds light on how dogs recognize their favorite toys

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 2:44pm

A new study found that dogs form a “multi-model mental image” of their toys.

Specific breeds of dogs, like border collies, can learn the verbal names of their favorite toys, but what is going on in the dog's mind when it's told to fetch a given toy? According to a recent paper published in the journal Animal Cognition, these dogs store key sensory features about their toys—notably what they look like and how they smell—and recall those features when searching for the named toy.

"If we can understand which senses dogs use while searching for a toy, this may reveal how they think about it," said co-author Shany Dror, a biologist at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary. "When dogs use olfaction or sight while searching for a toy, this indicates that they know how that toy smells or looks like."

Prior studies suggested that dogs typically rely on vision, or a combination of sight and smell, to locate target objects. A few dogs can also identify objects based on verbal labels, which the authors call "gifted word learner" (GWL) dogs. "Just like humans, GWL dogs not only recognize the labeled objects—or categories of objects—as stimuli they have already encountered, but they also identify them among other similarly familiar named objects, based on their verbal labels," the authors wrote. They wanted to investigate whether GWL dogs have an enhanced ability to discriminate and/or recognize objects compared to typical dogs.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Zuckerberg: Apple, Meta are in “deep, philosophical competition”

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 2:07pm
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (credit: Facebook)

Meta and Apple are entering a period of "very deep, philosophical competition" that will define the future of the Internet, according to comments by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg obtained by The Verge.

Both Apple and Meta are planning to invest heavily in mixed reality over the next decade, but they have diametrically opposed visions for what the AR/VR/XR landscape should ideally look like.

The Verge obtained an audio recording of an all-hands employee meeting at Meta, in which Zuckerberg answered an employee question about the company's future competition with Apple in great detail. His comments shed some light on how Meta, at least, sees the rivalry.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

FTC says Meta’s Supernatural purchase could ruin the VR fitness market

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 1:51pm
Artist's conception of the FTC fighting back against Meta's latest proposed acquisition.

Enlarge / Artist's conception of the FTC fighting back against Meta's latest proposed acquisition.

The Federal Trade Commission has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Meta in an attempt to stop the Facebook parent company from purchasing Within, which makes the popular virtual reality fitness app Supernatural.

Meta's plans to spend a reported $400 million on Within have reportedly been under FTC scrutiny after the proposed acquisition was announced last October. That proposed deal, according to the suit, "would substantially lessen competition, or tend to create a monopoly, in the relevant market for VR dedicated fitness apps and the broader relevant market for VR fitness apps."

Cornering the VR fitness market?

Meta has been on something of a VR acquisition spree in the last two years, scooping up game developers including Sanzaru Games (Asgard's Wrath), Ready at Dawn (Lone Echo), Twisted Pixel (Wilson's Heart), Downpour Interactive (Onward), and BigBox VR (Population: One). But the planned purchase of Within seems to be setting off antitrust alarm bells at the FTC because of the overlap with Beat Saber maker Beat Games, which Meta purchased in 2019.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

0-days sold by Austrian firm used to hack Windows users, Microsoft says

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 1:24pm
The word ZERO-DAY is hidden amidst a screen filled with ones and zeroes.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Microsoft said on Wednesday that an Austria-based company named DSIRF used multiple Windows and Adobe Reader zero-days to hack organizations located in Europe and Central America.

Multiple news outlets have published articles like this one, which cited marketing materials and other evidence linking DSIRF to Subzero, a malicious toolset for “automated exfiltration of sensitive/private data” and “tailored access operations [including] identification, tracking and infiltration of threats.”

Members of the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center, or MSTIC, said they have found Subzero malware infections spread through a variety of methods, including the exploitation of what at the time were Windows and Adobe Reader zero-days, meaning the attackers knew of the vulnerabilities before Microsoft and Adobe did. Targets of the attacks observed to date include law firms, banks, and strategic consultancies in countries such as Austria, the UK, and Panama, although those aren’t necessarily the countries in which the DSIRF customers who paid for the attack resided.

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Meta thinks Facebook may need more “harmful health misinformation” [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 11:57am
Meta thinks Facebook may need more “harmful health misinformation” [Updated]

Enlarge (credit: Caroline Brehman / Contributor | CQ-Roll Call, Inc.)

The US continues to struggle with pandemic management. Where cases are rising right now, some cities and counties are considering reinstating mask mandates, and many hospitals are confronting a chronic nursing shortage.

Despite new concerns and a recent uptick in daily deaths recorded in the US and globally, however, Meta is already thinking about what a return to normal might look like. That includes recently speculating that normalcy might mean it's time to go back to the company's heydays of allowing health misinformation to spread through posts on Facebook and Instagram.

On Tuesday, Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, wrote in a statement that Meta is considering whether or not Facebook and Instagram should continue to remove all posts promoting falsehoods about vaccines, masks, and social distancing. To help them decide, Meta is asking its oversight board to weigh whether the "current COVID-19 misinformation policy is still appropriate" now that "extraordinary circumstances at the onset of the pandemic" have passed and many "countries around the world seek to return to more normal life."

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Today’s best deals: Google Nest Hub, Apple TV 4K, and more

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 11:42am
 Google Nest Hub, Apple TV 4K, and more

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

It's Wednesday, which means the time has come for another Dealmaster. Our latest roundup of the best tech deals from around the web includes a strong discount on Google's Nest Hub, as the 7-inch smart display is down to $55 at several retailers. We've seen a handful of discounts on the device in recent months, but this deal matches the lowest price we've tracked, coming in at $45 off Google's MSRP.

We reviewed the latest Nest Hub positively after it launched last year, deeming it particularly useful as a bedside companion. The device includes an optional sleep-tracking feature, which our testing found to work surprisingly well, providing largely accurate and consistent data about how long you're in bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you get out of bed, and when you wake up, among other details. The approach here is more about detailing if you're sleeping enough than digging deep in the weeds about the quality of your sleep, but it works, and the whole process should be more comfortable than keeping a sleep-tracking smartwatch or fitness wearable strapped on throughout the night. There is a caveat, though: While the feature is free for now, Google plans to roll it into Fitbit's $10-a-month Premium service next year.

Besides the sleep-tracking hook, the Nest Hub does just about all the other Google Assistant things you'd expect (answering search queries, controlling smart home devices, showing recipes in the kitchen, etc.), which we generally find more useful in this class of device than Amazon's Alexa. The device's built-in speakers, while not amazing in a vacuum, are improved enough over the first-gen model to make casual music or podcast streaming not-aggravating. The 1024×600 resolution display isn't especially sharp, either, but it's enough to get by on a 7-inch touchscreen. The hardware as a whole doesn't call too much attention to itself, and while you likely know where you stand when it comes to the privacy concerns inherent to all voice assistant-based devices, the Nest Hub does omit any sort of built-in cameras, which might provide some extra peace of mind.

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Twitter has one more task before Musk trial: Get shareholder approval

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 11:24am
A sign at a polling place says

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Grace Cary)

Twitter is moving ahead with a shareholder vote on the merger with Elon Musk a few weeks before its lawsuit against Musk goes to trial. Twitter yesterday sent a letter to shareholders inviting them to a September 13 special meeting where they will be asked to approve the merger agreement that Musk is now trying to get out of.

"We are committed to closing the merger on the price and terms agreed upon with Mr. Musk," Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and Board Chairman Bret Taylor wrote. "Your vote at the special meeting is critical to our ability to complete the merger. Twitter's Board of Directors unanimously recommends that you vote 'FOR' each of the proposals at the special meeting."

Noting that a five-day court trial is set to begin in October, the letter said, "Adoption of the merger agreement by our stockholders is the only remaining approval or regulatory condition to completing the merger under the merger agreement." While Musk sent a "notice purporting to terminate the merger agreement," the Twitter letter said the company "believes that Mr. Musk's purported termination is invalid and wrongful, and the merger agreement remains in effect."

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Google Maps is getting 3D imagery on mobile, detailed biking info, and more

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 11:07am
 A location-sharing notification.

Enlarge / Left: Google Maps bike info shows detailed information about hill size and bike lane quality. Right: A location-sharing notification. (credit: Google)

Google Maps is launching a few new features today, and, after a decade of trying, Google is finally launching Street View in India. What took so long?!

First up, we have a few new features from Google's latest blog post. Cyclists will now see a lot more information explaining what a route will be like. Maps now breaks down a route by percentages, showing how long you'll be in a marked bike line, a shared path, on a steep hill, or on a major road. The route selection screen is also able to break down routes into categories like "more bike lanes" and "less turns."

Location sharing is now getting notifications. If any friends or family members share their location with you, you'll soon be able to watch a certain area and get notified when they arrive or leave. Google imagines that if you're all meeting up somewhere, you can flag that location and get a push notification when each person arrives. This would also be great to know when someone lands at an airport.

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Sylvester Stallone is a grizzled, disillusioned superhero in Samaritan trailer

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 10:53am

Sylvester Stallone stars as an aging superhero long believed to be dead, in Samaritan.

Action legend Sylvester Stallone has dabbled in the superhero genre before, most notably as Judge Dredd (1995), the Ravager Stakar Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. (2017), and the voice of King Shark in The Suicide Squad (2021). (He's reprising his Ravager role for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.) With his new film Samaritan, Stallone gets to play an aging superhero living anonymously as a garbage man, tormented by his past. Judging by the official trailer, it's the perfect role for the 73-year-old action star, combining all the best elements of his long, illustrious career.

Samaritan is the brainchild of screenwriter Bragi Schut, best known for Escape Room (2019) and 2011's Season of the Witch. He first penned a spec script for the film about 10 years ago. But spec scripts can meander through the Hollywood studio ecosystem for years before even being optioned, never mind going into development. So in the meantime, Schut adapted his screenplay into a series of graphic novels for Mythos Comics—the opposite of the usual process these days, with studios competing for recognizable IP to adapt into blockbuster films.

First published in 2014, the comic book version upends the genre's typical setting of a superhero arriving at a crime-ridden cesspool of a city to take on the bad guys and clean things up. This version depicts the gradual degradation of the fictional city of Acropolis after its superhero, Samaritan, is presumably killed in battle against the aptly named superhuman Nemesis inside a burning warehouse. (Nemesis is also killed).

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Spotify hits the brakes on Car Thing, halts production of its only hardware

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 8:18am
Spotify hits the brakes on Car Thing, halts production of its only hardware

Enlarge (credit: Spotify)

Spotify is no longer making Car Thing. The $90 device that connects to a car's auxiliary power outlet, docks to the dashboard, and enables Spotify listening was doomed by a combination of limited demand and resource issues.

As reported by TechCrunch, Spotify revealed during its Q2 2022 earnings today (PDF) that it has stopped making the hardware. Spotify released the device to a limited number of subscribers in October and to the public in late February.

“Based on several factors, including product demand and supply chain issues, we have decided to stop further production of Car Thing units," a Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch.

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Astronomers have found an especially sneaky black hole

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 5:00am

VFTS 243 is a binary system of a large, hot blue star and a black hole orbiting each other, as seen in this animation.

There is always something new and exciting happening in the field of black hole research.

Albert Einstein first published his book explaining the theory of general relativity—which postulated black holes—in 1922. One hundred years later, astronomers captured actual images of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. In a recent paper, a team of astronomers describes another exciting new discovery: the first “dormant” black hole observed outside of the galaxy.

I am an astrophysicist who has studied black holes—the most dense objects in the Universe—for nearly two decades. Dormant black holes are black holes that do not emit any detectable light. Thus, they are notoriously difficult to find. This new discovery is exciting because it provides insight into the formation and evolution of black holes. This information is vital for understanding gravitational waves as well as other astronomical events.

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Apple’s Virtualization framework is a great, free way to test new macOS betas

ArsTechnica - Wed, 07/27/2022 - 4:00am
Virtualizing macOS versions like the Ventura beta is a good way to experiment without blowing away your main OS install.

Enlarge / Virtualizing macOS versions like the Ventura beta is a good way to experiment without blowing away your main OS install. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

One of the coolest power-user Mac features of the Apple Silicon era is Apple's Virtualization framework. Normally the purview of paid software like Parallels Desktop or VMWare Fusion, virtualization lets you run multiple operating systems on one Mac at the same time, which is useful for anyone who wants to run Linux on top of macOS, test an app they're developing in different versions of macOS, or take a look at the latest macOS Ventura beta without risking their main install.

Apple’s documentation and sample projects provide everything you need to get a simple VM up and running with no additional software required. Still, some independent developers have built simple, free apps on top of the Virtualization framework that provides a GUI for customizing settings and juggling multiple guest OSes.

Getting ready to virtualize

My favorite for running macOS on top of macOS is VirtualBuddy, which streamlines the process of downloading the files you need to get a Monterey or Ventura virtual machine up and running. This is the app we’ll be using to set up our sample VM in this guide.

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Newly found Lightning Framework offers a plethora of Linux hacking capabilities

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 5:15pm
A stylized skull and crossbones made out of ones and zeroes.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

The software framework has become essential to developing almost all complex software these days. The Django Web framework, for instance, bundles all the libraries, image files, and other components needed to quickly build and deploy web apps, making it a mainstay at companies like Google, Spotify, and Pinterest. Frameworks provide a platform that performs common functions like logging and authentication shared across an app ecosystem.

Last week, researchers from security firm Intezer revealed the Lightning Framework, a modular malware framework for Linux that has gone undocumented until now. Lightning Framework is post-exploit malware, meaning it gets installed after an attacker has already gained access to a targeted machine. Once installed, it can provide some of the same efficiencies and speed to Linux compromises that Django provides for web development.

“It is rare to see such an intricate framework developed for targeting Linux systems,” Ryan Robinson, a security researcher at Intezer, wrote in a post. “Lightning is a modular framework we discovered that has a plethora of capabilities, and the ability to install multiple types of rootkit, as well as the capability to run plugins.”

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Out of prison, Shkreli plans “Web3 drug discovery” platform backed by crypto

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 3:25pm
Martin Shkreli being photographed for his role as CIO of MSMB Capital Management.

Martin Shkreli being photographed for his role as CIO of MSMB Capital Management. (credit: Getty Images)

Martin Shkreli—the notorious ex-pharmaceutical executive fresh from prison after his 2017 fraud conviction—announced his latest, eyebrow-raising venture Monday: creating a blockchain-based "Web3 drug discovery platform" that traffics in his own cryptocurrency, MSI, aka Martin Shkreli Inu.

The platform, still in the early development phase, is called Druglike, according to a press release that circulated Monday. The platform's goals are ostensibly lofty, but the details are extremely sketchy, and Shkreli's intentions have already drawn skepticism. It's also unclear if the enterprise will run Shkreli afoul of his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, which stemmed from the abrupt and callous 4,000 percent price hike of a life-saving drug that made him infamous.

Shkreli, who is named as a co-founder of Druglike, says the platform aims to make early-stage drug discovery more affordable and accessible. "Druglike will remove barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation and allow a broader group of contributors to share the rewards," Shkreli said in the press release. "Underserved and underfunded communities, such as those focused on rare diseases or in developing markets, will also benefit from access to these tools."

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One week later, astronomers find a galaxy even deeper back in time

ArsTechnica - Tue, 07/26/2022 - 2:28pm
The James Webb Space Telescope continues to deliver on its promises of discovering early galaxies.

Enlarge / The James Webb Space Telescope continues to deliver on its promises of discovering early galaxies. (credit: NASA)

Data from the Webb Space Telescope has only gotten into the hands of astronomers over the last few weeks, but they've been waiting for years for this, and apparently had analyses set to go. The result has been something like a race back in time, as new discoveries find objects that formed ever closer to the Big Bang that produced our Universe. Last week, one of these searches turned up a galaxy that was present less than 400 million years after the Big Bang. This week, a new analysis has picked out a galaxy as it appeared only 233 million years after the Universe popped into existence.

The discovery is a happy byproduct of work that was designed to answer a more general question: How many galaxies should we expect to see at different time points after the Big Bang?

Back in time

As we mentioned last week, the early Universe was opaque to light at any wavelengths that carry more energy than is needed to ionize hydrogen. That energy is in the UV portion of the spectrum, but the red shift caused by 13 billion years of an expanding Universe has shifted that cutoff point into the infrared portion of the spectrum. To find galaxies from this time, we have to look for objects that aren't visible at shorter infrared wavelengths (meaning that light was once above the hydrogen cutoff), but do appear at lower-energy wavelengths.

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