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.

Duke Nukem Forever’s 2001 build appears online, may fully leak in June

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/09/2022 - 8:41am
Apparent footage from a 2001 build of <em>Duke Nukem Forever</em> has leaked, 21 years later. As this version of the <em>Mona Lisa</em> might say, deal with it.

Enlarge / Apparent footage from a 2001 build of Duke Nukem Forever has leaked, 21 years later. As this version of the Mona Lisa might say, deal with it. (credit: 3D Realms)

The story of Duke Nukem Forever's development appeared to be tied up in a bow when the game finally launched in 2011, a whopping 14 years after it had been announced. But the first-person shooter that was eventually cobbled together by Gearbox Software, crappy as it was, didn't necessarily show the game's whole story.

Arguably the game's most famous trailer came at E3 2001; it showed off a bombastic, explosion-filled romp through Las Vegas that actually looked like a playable video game, apparently rendered in that era's version of Unreal Engine. This week, we've learned just how playable that version of the game was—with at least one of Duke Nukem Forever's original creators backing up its authenticity.

“A smattering of test levels”

The game's latest leak, posted to 4chan on Sunday and widely shared by Duke Nukem fansite duke4.net, appears to be made of original 2001 code and assets. It includes a one-minute video of first-person carnage in a very Duke-appropriate environment of a strip club called "Slick Willy." The sequence was apparently played and captured by the build's leaker.

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It’s Ars Frontiers week—and we’ve got something happening every day

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/09/2022 - 6:58am
It’s Ars Frontiers week—and we’ve got something happening every day

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

We made it! After announcing our inaugural conference and providing you with updates, we're ready to get things started. We've been planning this event for months, and as some of your favorite Ars staffers start hopping on planes to meet up in Washington, DC, later in the week, we'll be kicking things off with a series of livestreams before the main event on Thursday.

Today: Making critical infrastructure safer

We'll get things rolling today with a conversation between security researcher Lesley Carhart and Ars alum Sean Gallagher on Twitter Live at 1 pm ET. Lesley and Sean will be discussing how we should be thinking about cybersecurity when it comes to our critical infrastructure and how we continue to build a talent pipeline prepared to address the ever-increasingly complex challenges of keeping our digital society running.

Tuesday: How COVID is shaping virology research

We heard your requests for a Beth Mole-moderated COVID discussion (thank you!), and she and Dr. Angela Rasmussen will be with us on Tuesday to talk about how the pandemic is altering the field of virology—particularly in terms of future pandemic preparedness—and how COVID has given the public a first-hand look at the unknowns and long-term effects of viral infections. Join us Tuesday on Twitter at 3:30 pm ET.

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After losing contact with its helicopter, NASA put the entire Mars mission on hold

ArsTechnica - Mon, 05/09/2022 - 6:32am
NASA's Mars <em>Ingenuity</em> helicopter has been flying across the red planet for more than a year.

Enlarge / NASA's Mars Ingenuity helicopter has been flying across the red planet for more than a year. (credit: NASA)

The achievement of powered flight on another world is one of the great spaceflight feats of the last decade. Since its first brief hop on April 19, 2021, the Mars Ingenuity helicopter has subsequently made an additional 27 flights, traveling nearly 7 km across the surface of the red planet and scouting ahead of NASA's Perseverance rover. It has wildly exceeded the expectations and hopes of its scientists and engineers.

But recently, the small, automated helicopter has had problems with dust accumulating on its solar panels, NASA says. This dust reduces the ability of the vehicle to recharge its six lithium-ion batteries. And just as the helicopter needs all of the solar energy it can get, the northern hemisphere of Mars is approaching the dead of winter, which comes in a little more than two months.

Due to these battery issues, the helicopter's team of flight controllers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory lost contact with the helicopter on May 3. They had been closely monitoring the health of their tiny spacecraft, particularly the charge state of its batteries. After losing contact, the engineers figured that the Ingenuity's field-programmable gate array—essentially, its flight computer—entered into shutdown mode due to a lack of power. In such a situation, virtually all of the helicopter's on-board electronics turned off to protect them from the cold nighttime temperatures, more than 100° Fahrenheit below freezing. This included the internal clock.

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Museum rigs up multi-screen N64 GoldenEye to prevent “screencheating”

ArsTechnica - Sun, 05/08/2022 - 5:00am
One console, four displays, zero "split-screen" antics.

Enlarge / One console, four displays, zero "split-screen" antics. (credit: B&H Photo and Video)

Anyone who remembers playing GoldenEye 007 on the N64 likely remembers having to account for the "screencheaters" that would glance at another quadrant of the split-screen shooter to gauge an opponent's locations. There's even a modern game that forces players to rely on the tactic to track invisible opponents.

Now, 25 years after GoldenEye's launch, a museum has managed to do something about those screencheaters, rigging up a way to split a game of GoldenEye across four TV screens without modifying the original cartridge or N64 hardware.

4 screen GoldenEye on the original N64 hardware! No screencheating here! …but how?
Come and experience this at our GoldenEye evening, celebrating 25 years of GoldenEye for Nintendo 64: https://t.co/F918hEQ20v pic.twitter.com/05jA82upb8

— Computing History (@computermuseum) May 4, 2022

The multi-screen GoldenEye gameplay will be featured as part of the "25 Years of GoldenEye" event at Cambridge, England's Centre for Computing History this weekend. A proof of concept for the unique playstyle (with all the monitors awkwardly facing the same direction) attracted some attention via a tweet Wednesday, leading Ars to reach out for more details on how the museum pulled it off.

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Corals convert sunscreen chemical into a toxin that kills them

ArsTechnica - Sun, 05/08/2022 - 4:00am
Image of a coral reef.

Enlarge (credit: Justin Lewis)

Medical authorities have spent years convincing people to use sunscreen to limit their exposure to UV light. But that effort has had a bit of a setback, as several locations have recently banned the use of sunblocks by beachgoers. Those bans took effect after local waters were found to have high levels of some of the chemicals in sunblock, which was associated with the lower health of nearby coral reefs.

Several studies have indicated that one specific sunblock component, a chemical called oxybenzone, is at the root of the problem. But the mechanism by which oxybenzone could harm corals wasn't clear. And, without that understanding, it's difficult to tell which sunblocks might pose a risk.

Now, researchers from Stanford University have identified the problem. The corals convert oxybenzone from a chemical that can harmlessly absorb UV light to one that damages biological molecules after being exposed to UV. And there's evidence that coral bleaching makes matters worse, as the coral is less able to withstand exposure.

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Small drones are giving Ukraine an unprecedented edge

ArsTechnica - Sun, 05/08/2022 - 3:05am
Small drones are giving Ukraine an unprecedented edge

Enlarge (credit: Petro Zadorozhny | Getty Images)

In the snowy streets of the north Ukrainian town of Trostyanets, the Russian missile system fires rockets every second. Tanks and military vehicles are parked on either side of the blasting artillery system, positioned among houses and near the town’s railway system. The weapon is not working alone, though. Hovering tens of meters above it and recording the assault is a Ukrainian drone. The drone isn’t a sophisticated military system, but a small, commercial machine that anyone can buy.

Since Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine at the end of February, drones of all shapes and sizes have been used by both sides in the conflict. At one end of the scale are large military drones that can be used for aerial surveillance and to attack targets on the ground. In contrast, small commercial drones can be flown by people without any specific training and carried around in a suitcase-sized box. While both types of drones have been used in previous conflicts, the current scale of small, commercial drone use in Ukraine is unprecedented.

Drone videos shared and posted to social media depict the brutality of the war and reveal what has happened during battles. Drones have captured fighting in the destroyed Ukrainian city of Bucha, with lines of tanks moving around streets and troops moving alongside them. Commercial drones have helped journalists document the sheer scale of destruction in Kyiv and Mariupol, flying over burnt-out buildings that have been reduced to rubble.

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An encyclopedia of geology that’s less a reference than a journey

ArsTechnica - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 9:30am
Image of purple crystals inside a grey shell of rock.

Enlarge / An amethyst may make a good metaphor for geology as a whole. (credit: Getty Images)

To outsiders, geology can seem as dull as a rock, with a lexicon just as opaque, but to insiders, it is a limitless source of wonder. Various authors have used different tools to crack open geology’s dull exterior to show non-geologists the sparkling wonders within: Robert Hazen used color; Jan Zalasiewicz used a pebble; and Richard Fortey used a railway journey, for example.

Marcia Bjornerud uses words to unlock the mysteries of geology the way a video game might use gems to unlock a new level to explore. Her new book is a buffet of bite-size chapters perfect for dipping in and out of, read in no particular order. Geopedia is structured like an encyclopedia to the extent that its topics are arranged alphabetically, but it’s written for enjoyment rather than as a mere fact-reference.

Bjornerud keeps the reading light even when serving up expanses of time and space, and she follows each geological ‘dish’ with a chaser of pointers to other entries that may be related, if only tangentially. After “Amethyst,” for example, she suggests “Kimberlite,” a diamond ore, and “Pedogenesis,” the process by which soil is made.

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Why Severance is one of the best shows on TV

ArsTechnica - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 5:00am
Helly R. awakes as an "innie."

Enlarge / Helly R. awakes as an "innie."

Severance, which recently completed its first-season run on Apple TV+, explores a world in which people can really separate their work and personal lives. Thanks to a new procedure developed by Lumon Industries, people can bifurcate themselves into "innies" (work selves) and "outies" (personal selves)—with no sharing of memories. This appeals to people like Mark, who lost his wife in a car crash and has struggled to work through the grief. Why not forget all that pain for eight hours a day?

Mark works on the "severed floor" at Lumon, a place that makes your own office—no matter how bad it is—look like Disney World. But Mark likes it. Or thinks he likes it. Meanwhile, we as viewers have a few concerns. What, for instance, is he actually doing all day for Lumon? What's with the creepy cult-like vibe everywhere? What happened to his buddy Petey? And why are people so excited about waffle parties?

If you think this sounds like the setup for a corporate sci-fi dystopia, you're not wrong. Severance makes terrific TV out of its premise. Directed by Ben Stiller, the show is funny, absurd, depressing, mysterious, visually distinct, and ultimately propulsive. Each episode gathers speed, from the slow start to the rip-roarin' finale, making this one of the best things we've seen so far in 2022. Here's why.

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Rifftrax: The Game serves the fun, will make you crow in laughter

ArsTechnica - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 4:00am
 The Game serves the fun, will make you crow in laughter

Enlarge (credit: Wide Right Games)

At Ars Technica, we're fans of the Jackbox Party Pack series, which gathers friends around a TV to play social, joke-filled minigames that revolve around cracking jokes and voting on the group's favorite gags. Really, any game that turns the trading of jokes into a group contest is up our alley.

For my money, at least, I am fine with cutting out the filler in these games and getting to the heart of what they often remind me of: creating my own Mystery Science Theater 3000 experience, where my friends and I mine humor out of the mundane. Turns out, there are already a few games that drill down to this exact premise, though the most recent one includes a substantial branding edge.

This week's Rifftrax: The Game is pretty much what it sounds like, and it's as close as you'll get to playing along with that series' founders (who themselves have deep ties to MST3K's legacy). While this $10 game on PC and all major console families isn't the first of its kind, it clearly understands what's fun about the concept—and errs on the side of simplicity, which mostly pays off.

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Vast underground water system helps drive Antarctica’s glaciers

ArsTechnica - Sat, 05/07/2022 - 3:06am
Vast underground water system helps drive Antarctica’s glaciers

Enlarge (credit: De Agostini Picture Library | Getty Images)

Lake Whillans is a strange body of water, starting with the fact that there is liquid to fill it at all. Though buried under more than 2,000 feet of Antarctic ice, its temperatures climb to just shy of 0° Celsius, thanks to a combination of geothermal warmth, intense friction from ice scraping rock, and that thick glacial blanket protecting it from the polar air. Given the immense pressure down there, that’s just balmy enough to keep the lake’s water watery. Stranger still, Lake Whillans is also teeming with life. One survey a decade ago found thousands of varieties of microscopic critters, thought to be feeding on nutrients left by seawater that sloshed into the basin several millennia ago, when the glaciers last pulled back.

More recently, Chloe Gustafson, a geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, arrived on the remote stretch of ice above Lake Whillans with a different mystery in mind: What’s happening underneath that lake? Antarctic researchers had long suspected the plumbing below the glacier went much deeper than they could see. Any groundwater beneath the lake would have implications for how the ice up above moves oceanward, and thus for how quickly it might contribute to rising seas. But they couldn’t definitively prove what groundwater was there. It was too deep, too ice-covered to map with the traditional tools of glaciology, like bouncing radar signals off the ice or setting off explosives and listening to the shockwaves.

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Review: Moon Knight takes its troubled protagonist on classic voyage of the hero

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 3:26pm
Moon Knight in full costume

Enlarge / Oscar Isaac is a tormented man with multiple personalities who becomes the avatar of the Egyptian moon god Khonshu in Moon Knight. (credit: YouTube/Marvel Studios)

Can anything good ever come of gods interfering in the affairs of men? That's the underlying conundrum posed in Moon Knight, the latest spinoff series in the MCU's Phase Four, and in the case of the series, the answer is a resounding yes. Starring Oscar Isaac as a tormented man with dissociative identity disorder (DID), the series has more in common with the Netflix Defenders series than with recent Marvel fare like WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki. But instead of taking place in New York City's Hell's Kitchen, it's telling a unique superhero origin story rich in symbolism drawn from Egyptian mythology.

(Some spoilers below for the comics and the TV series. Any major reveals are at the very end, and we'll give you a heads-up when we get there.)

As I've written previously, in the comics, Marc Spector (aka Moon Knight) is the son of a rabbi, marked at a young age by the Egyptian moon-god Khonshu to be the god's avatar on Earth. But Khonshu is a supernatural entity with many aspects to his nature—and also exists out of phase with normal time and space—so forging a psychic connection with the human Marc harms the man's mental health.

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Puzzling cases of hepatitis in kids leaps to 109 in 25 states, CDC reports

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 2:05pm
Huge facade for CDC headquarters against a beautiful sky.

Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating 109 cases of unexplained liver inflammation—hepatitis—in young children from 25 states over the past seven months. Of the 109 affected children, five have died, and 15 (14 percent) required liver transplants. The children were all under the age of 10, and 90 percent were hospitalized.

The CDC's announcement Friday marks a dramatic uptick in the US's reported cases, which was limited to nine confirmed cases in Alabama just three weeks ago. The cases also add to a mounting global tally, which reached upward of 300 cases from more than two dozen countries.

But, despite the boom in cases, CDC and international health investigators are still puzzled about the cause of the illnesses. Severe hepatitis is rare in young children, and unexplained cases of severe hepatitis are rarer.

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How Apple, Google, and Microsoft will kill passwords and phishing in one stroke

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 11:33am
How Apple, Google, and Microsoft will kill passwords and phishing in one stroke

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

For more than a decade, we’ve been promised that a world without passwords is just around the corner, and yet year after year, this security nirvana proves out of reach. Now, for the first time, a workable form of passwordless authentication is about to become available to the masses in the form of a standard adopted by Apple, Google, and Microsoft that allows for cross-platform and cross-service passkeys.

Password-killing schemes pushed in the past suffered from a host of problems. A key shortcoming was the lack of a viable recovery mechanism when someone lost control of phone numbers or physical tokens and phones tied to an account. Another limitation was that most solutions ultimately failed to be, in fact, truly passwordless. Instead, they gave users options to log in with a face scan or fingerprint, but these systems ultimately fell back on a password, and that meant that phishing, password reuse, and forgotten passcodes—all the reasons we hated passwords to begin with—didn’t go away.

A new approach

What’s different this time is that Apple, Google, and Microsoft all seem to be on board with the same well-defined solution. Not only that, but the solution is easier than ever for users, and it's less costly for big services like Github and Facebook to roll out. It has also been painstakingly devised and peer-reviewed by experts in authentication and security.

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Musk’s Twitter deal could face national security probe into foreign investors

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 11:03am
A photoshopped image of Elon Musk emerging from an enormous pile of money.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Duncan Hull / Getty)

Elon Musk's $44 billion purchase of Twitter could face a probe into potential national security risks posed by Musk's foreign investors, according to a Reuters report on Friday. The foreign investment could invite "the kind of regulatory scrutiny over US national security that social media peer TikTok faced," the report said.

Musk's investors include Qatar's sovereign wealth fund and Saudi Arabia's Prince Al Waleed bin Talal al Saud. The Saudi Kingdom Holding Company already owns 5.2 percent of Twitter stock and plans to roll that $1.9 billion stake into Musk's privatized Twitter. The Qatar investment is for $375 million.

Musk also has a $500 million investment from Binance, a major cryptocurrency exchange that has faced its own government scrutiny. Binance was founded in China in 2017 but quickly left the country when China's government restricted cryptocurrency trading; it now operates without an official headquarters. Binance's founder is Changpeng Zhao, who was born in China but reportedly moved to Canada with his family when he was 12 years old.

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FDA puts the brakes on J&J vaccine after 9th clotting death reported

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 11:03am
Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida.

Enlarge / Boxes of Johnson & Johnson's Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Florida. (credit: Getty | Paul Hennessy)

The US Food and Drug Administration limited the use of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine late Thursday, citing the risk of a very rare but severe clotting disorder called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS).

From now on, the J&J vaccine is only to be used in people ages 18 and up who are unable or unwilling to receive an alternative COVID-19 vaccine. That includes people who have had a life-threatening allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, people who have personal concerns about mRNA COVID-19 vaccines and would otherwise not get vaccinated, and people who don't have access to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The limitation comes as the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been closely monitoring people who received J&J COVID-19 vaccinations for TTS. To date, the agencies have identified and confirmed 60 cases of TTS linked to the vaccine, including nine deaths. That represents a rate of 3.23 TTS cases per million doses of J&J vaccine administered, and a rate of 0.48 TTS deaths per million doses of vaccine administered, the FDA said Thursday.

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Nvidia hid how many GPUs it was selling to cryptocurrency miners, says SEC

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 10:23am
Nvidia hid how many GPUs it was selling to cryptocurrency miners, says SEC

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

Nvidia has agreed to pay $5.5 million in fines to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that it failed to disclose how many of its GPUs were being sold for cryptocurrency mining, the agency announced today.

These charges are unrelated to the current (slowly ebbing) crypto-driven GPU shortage. Rather, they deal with a similar but smaller crypto-driven bump in GPU sales back in 2017.

The agency's full order (PDF) goes into more detail. During its 2018 fiscal year, Nvidia reported increases in its GPU sales but did not disclose that those sales were being driven by cryptocurrency miners. The SEC alleges that Nvidia knew these sales were being driven by the relatively volatile cryptocurrency market and that Nvidia didn't disclose that information to investors, misleading them about the company's prospects for future growth.

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Amazon Kindle book purchases are the next Google Play billing casualty

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 10:12am
Amazon's new purchase explainer and the "learn more" link.

Enlarge / Amazon's new purchase explainer and the "learn more" link.

Following up on its earlier move to pull Audible audiobook purchases from its Play Store app, Amazon is also turning off Kindle digital book purchases on Android. The Google Play purchasing crackdown is to blame, of course. Starting on June 1, Google will require all Play Store apps to use Google Play billing for digital purchases or face removal from the marketplace. Google Play billing technically has been in the rules for a while, but Google is ending a hands-off enforcement policy that effectively allowed companies to run their own billing systems.

When you visit the Amazon app, you can still buy physical books, but digital purchases now show a "Why can't I buy on the app?" link instead of a purchase button. Amazon's link shows a popup that says, "To remain in compliance with the Google Play Store policies, you will no longer be able to buy new content from the app. You can build a reading list on the app and buy on [the] Amazon website from your browser."

Amazon Music purchases have also been shut down on the Google Play app. The move brings Amazon's Google Play app in line with the iOS app, which also doesn't allow digital purchases. On Android, Amazon is pushing users to the website, where they can still buy digital content or sign up for an unlimited subscription, which avoids the Play Store purchase lockdown.

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Wi-Fi 7 home mesh routers aim to hit 33Gbps

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 9:52am
Wi-Fi 7 home mesh routers aim to hit 33Gbps

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

It's looking increasingly likely that Wi-Fi 7 will be an option next year. This week, Qualcomm joined the list of chipmakers detailing Wi-Fi 7 products they expect to be available to homes and businesses soon.

The Wi-Fi Alliance, which makes Wi-Fi standards and includes Qualcomm as a member, has said that Wi-Fi 7 will offer a max throughput of "at least 30Gbps," and on Wednesday, Qualcomm said its Network Pro Series Gen 3 platform will support "up to 33Gbps." These are theoretical speeds that you likely won't reach in your home, and you'll need a premium broadband connection and Wi-Fi 7 devices, which don't exist yet. Still, the speeds represent an impressive jump from Wi-Fi 6 and 6E's 9.6Gbps.

The next-gen tech is aimed at network-intensive applications, like virtual and augmented reality, video streaming at 4K and higher, and cloud computing and gaming. By making changes to the physical (PHY) layer and medium access control (MAC), Wi-Fi 7 should allow you to enjoy these applications with less latency and jitter.

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Eve Online fans literally cheer Microsoft Excel features at annual Fanfest

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 9:30am
Yeah, yeah, this looks exciting and all, but the spreadsheets are where the <em>real</em> action happens.

Yeah, yeah, this looks exciting and all, but the spreadsheets are where the real action happens.

There aren't many games for which built-in integration with Microsoft Excel would be a major feature whose announcement would draw literal cheers from fans. But Eve Online showed itself to be the exception when developer CCP announced coming Excel integration during its Eve Fanfest keynote this morning.

Through an official partnership with Microsoft, CCP said it is creating a JavaScript API that will allow players to "seamlessly export data from Eve Online" into the popular spreadsheet program. That "will help players access and calculate everything from profit margins to battle strategy, making day-to-day Eve operations easier to execute," the company said in a press release.

"It's not April fools; this is real," Eve Online Creative Director Bergur Finnbogason said on the Fanfest stage, receiving bemused laughter in response. "I'm not lying—we actually reached out to [Microsoft] and they were like, 'Oh my god, we love Eve!'"

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Rogue Legacy 2 review: Dopamine in video game form

ArsTechnica - Fri, 05/06/2022 - 8:53am
 Dopamine in video game form

Enlarge (credit: Cellar Door Games)

There was something insidious about Rogue Legacy, the 2013 platformer "roguelite" developed by Cellar Door Games.

I remember sitting down to play the game for the first time on a Friday, and the next thing I knew, it was Sunday night. I emerged from that gaming bender bleary-eyed and disoriented, entirely unable to account for where my weekend went.

Rogue Legacy 2, which began life as an Early Access title in 2020, was fully released late last week, and it seems that Cellar Door has done it again. I’ll sit down to play “just one run” before I get my day started, and all of a sudden, it’s dark outside and I realize I’ve skipped two meals. For a certain kind of player, this game is a black hole.

Like its predecessor, Rogue Legacy 2 puts you in the role of an adventurer who strikes out on a quest to kill monsters and take their stuff. You hop around 2D levels and assault baddies with swords, bows, magic wands, and various other implements of death. Starting out as a puny weakling, you gradually upgrade your character to become strong enough to take on the game's six bosses, who rule over the game's six biomes.

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