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.

The commander who laughed and joked Wednesday does not lack courage

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 8:46am

Shortly after sunrise on the morning of February 1, 2003, Doug Hurley waited on the long runway at Kennedy Space Center for a vehicle that would never come.

Only recently graduated to becoming a full-fledged astronaut, one of Hurley's first tasks was serving as a "Cape Crusader" for the corps, meaning he watched out for the Astronaut Office's interests in Florida. On this morning, he was part of a small cadre of astronauts to greet seven returning crew members on board the space shuttle Columbia.

As he waited, Columbia broke into pieces as it passed over Texas and other southern US states along its ground track to Florida. Hurley's friends died as their spacecraft burned up and broke apart during their reentry to Earth's atmosphere. From the beginning of his career, then, Doug Hurley profoundly understood the risks of the profession he had just entered into.

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Archaeologists in Norway are about to dig up a Viking ship

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 8:20am
If Scandinavian archaeology needed a logo, this outline would be a good one.

Enlarge / If Scandinavian archaeology needed a logo, this outline would be a good one. (credit: NIKU)

A ground-penetrating radar survey in 2018 found a 20-meter Viking ship buried just beneath the surface of a farmer’s field in Østfold, Norway. At the time, archaeologists decided that the rare find was safest where it was. But recent analysis of a wood sample taken in 2019 reveals that although the ship looks remarkably well-preserved, it’s actually being eaten away by fungus. And that means it’s time for a rescue mission.

A Viking burial

The intended excavation is being led by archaeologist Jan Bill, curator of the Viking Ship Collection at Norway’s Museum of Cultural History, and his colleagues at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU). When they start digging in June, they’ll be the first archaeologists in a century to excavate a Viking ship.

The site, called Gjellestad, is especially interesting—and especially complicated. It’s a ship from the period when Scandinavian seafarers were raiding and settling their way around the North Sea and Atlantic—but it’s also the tomb of a Norse ruler. “Ship graves of this size were built for persons from the uppermost echelons in society—we would tend to call them kings and queens today, possibly also jarls,” Bill told Ars.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Leaked draft details Trump’s likely attack on technology giants

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 7:46am
Leaked draft details Trump’s likely attack on technology giants

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

The Trump administration is putting the final touches on a sweeping executive order designed to punish online platforms for perceived anti-conservative bias. Legal scholar Kate Klonick obtained a draft of the document and posted it online late Wednesday night.

"In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online," the draft executive order states. "This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power."

The document claims that online platforms have been "flagging content as inappropriate even though it does not violate any stated terms of service, making unannounced and unexplained changes to policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints, and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Lego brings out a $380, 3,969-piece Lamborghini Sián FKP 37 kit

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 7:03am

Lamborghini chose last year's Frankfurt auto show to debut its Sián FKP 37 hypercar. Based on the Lamborghini Aventador, the Sián FKP 37 teaches that old dog a new trick through the addition of a supercapacitor hybrid system, adding an additional 34hp (25kW) to help out the 774hp (577kW) V12 engine. Only 63 Sian FKP 37s will be built, and even if you have the $3.7 million asking price, they're already sold out. But from June 1st, there's a cheaper way to get your own Sián FKP 37, as long as you don't mind it being 1:8 scale. That's when the Lego Technic version comes out—a 3,696-piece kit that will cost $379.99.

Highly detailed technical models of cars have been a thing for Lego's Technic line since the late 1970s. Building techniques have changed a lot in that time, as has the array of Technic parts, resulting in a remarkably accurate-looking scale model of the outrageous Lamborghini. But in keeping with more than four decades of Technic car models, this one still has functional suspension, steering, moving pistons inside its engine, and a working eight-speed paddle-shift gearbox.

The Sián FKP 37 is one of the latest in Lego's range of 18+ sets, although that age rating is for the difficulty of the build, not any NSFW content. Building it should occupy at least a weekend, if my experience of the Lego Technic LMP2 car is anything to go by (and no, I still haven't disassembled that one to fix a tiny error that I made early on). Lego and Lamborghini have also put together a series of 13 videos, accessible via QR codes in two included booklets, that it says "delve into the inspiration behind different stages of the design."

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dangerous SHA-1 crypto function will die in SSH linking millions of computers

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 5:15am
Dangerous SHA-1 crypto function will die in SSH linking millions of computers

Enlarge (credit: Chaval Brasil)

Developers of two open source code libraries for Secure Shell—the protocol millions of computers use to create encrypted connections to each other—are retiring the SHA-1 hashing algorithm, four months after researchers piled a final nail in its coffin.

The moves, announced in release notes and a code update for OpenSSH and libssh respectively, mean that SHA-1 will no longer be a means for digitally signing encryption keys that prevent the monitoring or manipulating of data passing between two computers connected by SSH—the common abbreviation for Secure Shell. (Wednesday's release notes concerning SHA-1 deprecation in OpenSSH repeated word for word what developers put in February release notes, but few people seemed to notice the planned change until now.)

“Chainsaw in a nursery”

Cryptographic hash functions generate a long string of characters that are known as a hash digest. Theoretically, the digests are supposed to be unique for every file, message, or other input fed into the function. Practically speaking, digest collisions must be mathematically infeasible given the performance capabilities of available computing resources. In recent years, a host of software and services have stopped using SHA-1 after researchers demonstrated practical ways for attackers to forge digital signatures that use SHA-1. The unanimous agreement among experts is that it's no longer safe in almost all security contexts.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Artificial “tongue” for maple syrup weeds out batches with “buddy” off flavors

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 3:45am
Different brands of maple syrup clutter a shelf.

Enlarge / A sampling of different brands of Canadian maple syrup. Scientists at the University of Montreal have developed an artificial "tongue" using gold nanoparticles to detect batches with "buddy" off flavors. (credit: Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Genuine maple syrup is a treat for the taste buds, whether you prefer light golden varieties or robust darker syrups. But sometimes batches can have off-putting flavors. Scientists at the University of Montreal in Quebec, Canada, have developed an artificial "tongue" using gold nanoparticles that can weed out bad batches early on. It's not so much an electronic device as a simple, portable chemistry test that detects a color change when an off flavor is present in a sample, according to a recent paper published in the journal Analytical Methods.

"Especially here in Canada, we take maple syrup for granted," said co-author Jean-François Masson of the University of Montreal. "But it is much more complicated than we had anticipated. It has some of the same complexities as fine wine and whiskey." Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup, accounting for about 70 percent of the world's supply.

He is not referring to cheap knockoffs whose primary ingredients are high-fructose corn syrup with imitation maple flavoring. To be considered a true maple syrup, at least in Canada, a product must be made entirely from maple sap collected from maple trees, usually sugar maple, red maple, or black maple varieties. Maple syrup is mostly sugar, water, and a small amount of organic molecules that are responsible for the final product's flavor profile. Those compounds account for just 1 percent of the content, but it is a crucial 1 percent, determining whether a given syrup is caramelized, smoked, salty, or woody, among the 60 or so possible categories.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New data indicates the Mississippi Delta is on borrowed time

ArsTechnica - Thu, 05/28/2020 - 3:30am
The drowning of Louisiana's wetlands is "inevitable."

Enlarge / The drowning of Louisiana's wetlands is "inevitable." (credit: Louisiana Sierra Club)

Since 1932, coastal wetlands in Louisiana have declined by about 25 percent. At its fastest, the decline was around one football field lost every 34 minutes; at its slowest, every 100 minutes. The Pelican State is losing ground faster than any other state in the contiguous United States. And those losses reach far beyond its borders: coastal Louisiana plays a crucial role in fisheries, shipping, and oil and gas production.

In recent years, the wetlands have been faring better than in previous decades, possibly because there hasn't been a Katrina-level storm in that time. But a study published last week in Science Advances suggests that this is a temporary reprieve. With sea levels rising as rapidly as they are, the wetlands, including the famed Mississippi Delta, are likely to be gone in a matter of decades—or, at most, centuries.

Tipping point

Coastal Louisiana is currently home to 15,000 square kilometers of marshland, a critical ecosystem held together by a complex, interlocking set of processes. The tide washes in; plants grow and die; sediment is brought in by rivers and builds up. If the system changes—for instance, if sea levels rise rapidly—the marsh changes, too.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

HBO Max is live: $15/mo for a massive library, significant headaches

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:18pm
 $15/mo for a massive library, significant headaches

Enlarge (credit: WarnerMedia)

Like it or not, another subscription streaming service has entered the chat.

This one—HBO Max—debuts across the United States on Wednesday, and it comes from the combined AT&T-Time Warner media empire. After taking shape in 2018, the new "WarnerMedia" cluster of film and TV content has since put together a streaming library of exclusive content—particularly by yoinking content away from Netflix and other partners in apparent defiance of AT&T's antitrust pledge to US Congress.

WarnerMedia didn't make the service available to Ars Technica ahead of the launch, so I jumped into the fray by claiming a free seven-day trial on launch day and picked through its first day's content and interface. I did so to answer the following question: has WarnerMedia pulled off a service worthy of a $15/month fee?

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

YouTube ducks questions about “error” that nixed anti-Beijing comments

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 1:51pm
A man in a suit speaks into a microphone.

Enlarge / Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks in Wuzhen, China, in 2017. (credit: Du Yang/China News Service/Visual China Group via Getty Images)

YouTube says it has "rolled out a fix" for an "error in our enforcement systems" that had led to the automatic deletion of comments that included two phrases critical of China's government. But in an email exchange and phone call with Ars Technica, a company spokeswoman declined to provide real details about why YouTube's software was deleting the comments in the first place.

As I explained on Tuesday, "共匪" means "communist bandit." It was a derogatory term used by Nationalists during the Chinese Civil War that ended in 1949. It continues to be used by Chinese-speaking critics of the Beijing regime, including in Taiwan.

"五毛" means "50-cent party." It's a derogatory term for people who are paid by the Chinese government to participate in online discussions and promote official Communist Party positions. In the early years of China's censored Internet, such commenters were allegedly paid 50 cents (in China's currency, the yuan) per post.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

100,000 Americans dead—and counting—as COVID-19 ravages US

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 1:15pm
A medical technician in protective gear handles a wrapped corpse on a gurney.

Enlarge / Transporter Morgan Dean-McMillan prepares the body of a COVID-19 victim at a morgue in Montgomery county, Maryland, on April 17, 2020. (credit: Getty | ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

More than 100,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19 according to several pandemic-tracking efforts—and the pandemic is far from over. As the country reached the grim milestone, many areas were still seeing increasing case counts, and researchers have suggested that a second wave of infection is looming.

The risk of continued spread remains high as all 50 states have now begun easing restrictions aimed at curbing transmission.

So far, the US leads the world in the number of confirmed cases and deaths, with around 1.7 million cases and over 100,000 deaths. The country with the next highest numbers is Brazil, which has nearly 400,000 cases and over 24,500 deaths.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Bankrupt OneWeb seeks license for 48,000 satellites, even more than SpaceX

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 11:51am
Illustration of a sunrise over planet Earth.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Shulz)

SpaceX and OneWeb have asked for US permission to launch tens of thousands of additional satellites into low Earth orbit.

SpaceX's application to launch 30,000 satellites—in addition to the nearly 12,000 it already has permission for—is consistent with SpaceX's previously announced plans for Starlink.

OneWeb's application to launch nearly 48,000 satellites is surprising because the satellite-broadband company filed for bankruptcy in March. OneWeb is highly unlikely to launch a significant percentage of these satellites under its current structure, as the company reportedly "axed most of its staff" when it filed for bankruptcy and says it intends to use bankruptcy proceedings "to pursue a sale of its business in order to maximize the value of the company." Getting FCC approval to launch more satellites could improve the value of OneWeb's assets and give more options to whoever buys the company.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Trump tweet throws House surveillance debate into chaos

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 10:27am
Trump tweet throws House surveillance debate into chaos

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

President Donald Trump threw efforts to renew a controversial Patriot Act provision into turmoil on Tuesday evening with a tweet calling on Republican members of the House to reject spying legislation that is due for a vote this week. It's the latest setback for a bill that has been embroiled in controversy for months.

The provision, known as Section 215, was first passed in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. It gives the federal government broad powers to obtain "any tangible thing," including "books, records, papers, documents, and other items," without a warrant.

This power isn't supposed to be used for ordinary criminal cases—only for foreign intelligence operations. But it has been subject to abuse in the past. Most notoriously, Section 215 was used to collect records of every phone call made in America for several years. The NSA ultimately terminated the program under sustained pressure from civil liberties groups.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Poor weather scrubs SpaceX’s historic launch attempt [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 10:10am
Skies at 2pm ET Wednesday over the launch site were rather stormy.

Enlarge / Skies at 2pm ET Wednesday over the launch site were rather stormy. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann)

4:20pm ET Wednesday: SpaceX scrubbed the launch of its Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon spacecraft Wednesday a little less than 17 minutes before liftoff. Although weather conditions were improving at the launch site—thunderstorms rolled through earlier in the day, and a tornado warning was issued for Kennedy Space Center—they did not improve fast enough. Had Dragon been able to launch 10 minutes later, the weather would have been good to go.

Informed of the scrub, Dragon's commander Doug Hurley said from inside the spacecraft, "It was a good effort by the teams, and we understand. Everybody’s probably a little bit bummed out. It’s just part of the deal."

There were no technical issues with Dragon or the rocket. Now SpaceX will work to recycle the systems for another launch attempt on Saturday at 3:22pm ET (19:22 UTC). The reason for skipping the next two days is an unfavorable phase angle for Dragon's approach to the International Space Station. Weather is forecast to be somewhat better on Saturday, but it is no slam-dunk. A back-up opportunity will be available on Sunday.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tracing the trajectory of a 66 million-year-old asteroid impact

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 9:33am
How to make a big hole fast.

Enlarge / How to make a big hole fast. (credit: Collins et al./Nature Communications)

You know that scene in every forensic crime drama where someone works out the angle the bullet was fired from and points back to the source? In the case of the Chicxulub asteroid impact and the end-Cretaceous mass extinction 66 million years ago, there’s no mystery about the shooter. (Space did it.) But the trajectory is interesting for other reasons, and researchers have long been trying to trace the path back out of the crater off the Yucatán coast.

Unsurprisingly, 66 million years have taken their toll on the crater, so researchers have offered several very different answers. Did the asteroid hit from the southeast at a very low angle? Did it come from the southwest at a moderate angle? Many studies that needed to model the impact have simply defaulted to a 90-degree strike and avoided the whole argument. The details actually matter, though, and precisely which rocks get vaporized—and which climate-changing gases they release—depends on that impact angle.

A lot of new research on the crater has been published recently thanks to a major expedition that included drilling a rock core down through the crater’s peak ring. (Impacts this violent leave a raised ring in the center rather than a single peak.) A new paper led by Imperial College London’s Gareth Collins makes the latest contribution using model simulations to see what impact angle best matches the observed characteristics of the crater.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Samsung copies the Apple Card, announces “Samsung Money”

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 9:17am

The Apple Card debuted 14 months ago, and right on cue, Samsung is today announcing "Samsung Money," a self-branded MasterCard debit card from SoFi. Unlike the Apple Card, which is a credit card, it sounds like Samsung Galaxy smartphone owners will be signing up for a money management account from SoFi, an online personal finance company. The account is FDIC insured, has "no account fees," and even pays out interest for your savings.

Sign up for the account, and you'll get a physical "Samsung Money" card. It doesn't seem like Samsung tried to compete with Apple's fanciful titanium card design—the Samsung card looks like a regular plastic credit card with "dark mode" toggled on. Samsung did strip the card of numbers: it won't display the card number, expiration date, or CVV. Instead, you'll have to look those numbers up in the app, which is locked behind a pin or biometrics.

Users will be able to manage their new money management account from the Samsung Pay app. "With just a tap in the Samsung Pay app," Samsung's press release reads, "users can check their balance, review past statements, and search transactions. They can flag suspicious activity, pause or restart spending, freeze or unfreeze their card, change their pin, and assign their trusted contact—all without ever having to leave home or call a representative."

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New material releases hydrogen from water at near-perfect efficiency

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 9:00am
Image of the setting Sun.

Enlarge (credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Solar energy is currently dominated by photovoltaic devices, which have ridden massive economies of scale to price dominance. But these devices are not necessarily the best choice in all circumstances. Unless battery technology improves, it's quite expensive to add significant storage to solar production. And there are types of transportation—long-distance rail, air—where batteries aren't a great solution. These limitations have made researchers maintain interest in alternate ways of using solar energy.

One alternative option is to use the energy to produce a portable fuel, like a hydrocarbon or hydrogen itself. This is possible to do with the electrons produced by photovoltaic systems, but the added steps can reduce efficiency. However, systems that convert sunlight more directly to fuel have suffered from even worse efficiencies.

But a Japanese group has decided to tackle this efficiency problem. The team started with a material that's not great—it only absorbs in the UV—but is well understood. And the researchers figured out how to optimize it so that its efficiency at splitting water to release hydrogen runs right up against the theoretical maximum. While it's not going to be useful on its own, it may point the way toward how to develop better materials.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

GE switches off light bulb business after almost 130 years

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 8:04am
A good old-fashioned General Electric lightbulb, which not only is no longer incandescent but also no longer made by GE.

Enlarge / A good old-fashioned General Electric lightbulb, which not only is no longer incandescent but also no longer made by GE. (credit: Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images)

General Electric has finally found a buyer for its lighting business and will be selling off its last consumer-facing business after more than 120 years of operation.

Boston-based GE said today it would divest the lighting business to Savant Systems, a smart home management company also based in Massachusetts. The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal, but sources told The Wall Street Journal that the transaction was valued at about $250 million.

Savant specializes in full smart home systems for the luxury market. Acquiring a lighting business directly will allow it to take advantage of vertical integration and take more control over the physical equipment it installs in consumer' homes. Savant will keep the business's operations in Cleveland, where it is currently based, and will receive a long-term license to keep using the GE branding for its products.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Wuhan swabs 9 million people, tests 6.5 million for COVID-19 in 10 days

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:37am
WUHAN, May 15, 2020 - Residents take nucleic acid tests at a testing post set up at a primary school in Dongxihu District in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, May 15, 2020. Wuhan will arrange nucleic acid tests for all residents who have not been tested before, in order to better know the number of asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus.

Enlarge / WUHAN, May 15, 2020 - Residents take nucleic acid tests at a testing post set up at a primary school in Dongxihu District in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, May 15, 2020. Wuhan will arrange nucleic acid tests for all residents who have not been tested before, in order to better know the number of asymptomatic cases of the novel coronavirus. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency )

When Chinese officials in the city of Wuhan discovered a cluster of just six COVID-19 cases around two weeks ago—the first cases there in more than a month—they quickly set an ambitious plan to test the entire city of roughly 11 million and crush a potential second wave of infection. And they initially planned to try to do it in just 10 days.

Ten days out, they nearly met that goal. Wuhan Municipal Health Commission swabbed more than 9 million residents and tested more than 6.5 million of those swabs for coronavirus genetic material between May 15 and May 24, according to state media.

Laboratories in the city went from conducting 46,000 tests a day to as many as 1.47 million in the screening sprint, according to The New York Times. The Times notes that in the US, New York tested 1.7 million people since March 4, a nearly three-month time frame, according to The Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Return to RAID: The Ars readers “What If?” edition

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:26am
I get anxious if I can't watch the blinkenlights in the big Terminal window in the background while the tests run.

Enlarge / I get anxious if I can't watch the blinkenlights in the big Terminal window in the background while the tests run. (credit: Jim Salter)

In earlier coverage pitting ZFS against Linux kernel RAID, some readers had some concerns that we had missed some tricks for mdraid tuning. In particular, Louwrentius wanted us to retest mdadm with bitmaps disabled, and targetnovember thought that perhaps XFS might outperform ext4.

Write intent bitmaps are an mdraid feature that allows disks that have dropped off and re-entered the array to resync rather than rebuild from scratch. The "age" of the bitmap on the returning disk is used to determine what data has been written in its absence—which allows it to be updated with the new data only, rather than rebuilt from scratch.

XFS and ext4 are simply two different filesystems. Ext4 is the default root filesystem on most distributions, and XFS is an enterprise heavy-hitter most commonly seen in arrays in the hundreds or even thousands of tebibytes. We tested both this time, with bitmap support disabled.

Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Scientists discover that four “blank” Dead Sea Scrolls actually have text

ArsTechnica - Wed, 05/27/2020 - 4:59am
Multispectral imaging has revealed hidden text on four Dead Sea Scroll fragments previously believed to be blank.

Enlarge / Multispectral imaging has revealed hidden text on four Dead Sea Scroll fragments previously believed to be blank. (credit: University of Manchester)

The 16 purported fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Museum of the Bible might be fakes, but at least four such fragments housed at the University of Manchester in the UK are the real deal. For decades, those fragments were presumed to be blank, but a new analysis has revealed the existence of actual text, most likely a passage from the book of Ezekiel.

These ancient Hebrew texts—roughly 900 full and partial scrolls in all, stored in clay jars—were first discovered scattered in various caves near what was once the settlement of Qumran, just north of the Dead Sea, by Bedouin shepherds in 1946-1947. Qumran was destroyed by the Romans, circa 73 CE, and historians believe the scrolls were hidden in the caves by a sect called the Essenes to protect them from being destroyed. The natural limestone and conditions within the caves helped preserve the scrolls for millennia; they date back to between the third century BC and the first century CE.

The scrolls are understandably of great historical and archaeological interest. Several of the parchments have been carbon dated, and synchrotron radiation, among other techniques, has been used to shed light on the properties of the ink used for the text.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Syndicate content