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.

Tesla ordered to pay $137M to Black former worker subjected to racist workplace

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 7:11am
Tesla ordered to pay $137M to Black former worker subjected to racist workplace

Enlarge (credit: David Butow | Getty Images)

Tesla owes Owen Diaz $137 million after a jury found that the Black former worker was subjected to racial abuse that the electric vehicle company insufficiently addressed during his tenure.

Diaz, an elevator operator at the company’s Fremont factory for nine months from 2015 to 2016, had been called racial epithets by coworkers, was told to “go back to Africa,” and saw racist graffiti in the bathrooms. The trial lasted a little over a week, and the jury found that Tesla had not taken reasonable steps to prevent racial harassment.

“It shines a light on what’s going on inside of Tesla’s factory,” Diaz told The Wall Street Journal. “Elon Musk, you’ve been put on notice. Clean that factory up.”

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

iOS 15 review: Forget quantity, Focus on quality

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 7:01am
Screenshot of smartphone interface.

Enlarge / A few apps that received significant updates in iOS 15. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Every year, Apple releases a major update to its operating systems for the iPhone and iPad that sets the stage for a year of changes to come.  This year, iOS 15 brings new FaceTime and Messages features, tweaks to existing apps and notifications, and most notably, a new way of managing apps and notifications called Focus.

Frankly, this is a relatively modest update compared to what we saw last year. That's amplified by the fact that some key features that Apple initially announced in June haven't made it into the initial release of iOS 15. But today we'll be exploring whether a modest update means a bad one. Should you bother to upgrade to the new version of iOS when it's mostly a tune-up and a fresh coat of paint?

As always, let's start with a look at which devices are still supported.

Read 102 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Surface Pro 8 review: The best Surface for people who love the Surface

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 6:00am

Microsoft needed three tries to get the Surface Pro right. The 2nd- and 3rd-generation models both improved aggressively on the first model's small screen and mediocre battery life, arriving at something that was laptop-y enough to fill in for a laptop but tablet-y enough to be unique.

And then, things just sort of... stood still. Some of the ports changed over the years—late 2019's Surface Pro 7 finally got USB-C—but the basic design and accessory compatibility have been exactly the same in every mainline Surface Pro between 2014 and now.

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

Five generations' worth of accessory interoperability is laudable and useful in some cases, especially if you're using multiple generations of Surface Pro tablets in a business and you need to be able to swap parts quickly. But some elements of the Surface Pro 3 design have been showing their age in the last couple of generations—Thunderbolt and/or USB-C ports accomplish nearly everything that the proprietary Surface Connect port is trying to do, and other laptops, tablets, and convertibles had been shrinking their display bezels for a few years to increase screen size.

Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NASA likely to move some astronauts off Starliner due to extended delays

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 5:45am
NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada watch as an Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft onboard is rolled to the launch pad ahead of the Orbital Flight Test mission in December 2019.

Enlarge / NASA astronauts Nicole Mann and Josh Cassada watch as an Atlas V rocket with Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft onboard is rolled to the launch pad ahead of the Orbital Flight Test mission in December 2019. (credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky)

NASA will not make an official announcement for weeks or months, but two sources say the space agency is moving several astronauts from Boeing's Starliner spacecraft onto SpaceX's Crew Dragon vehicle for upcoming missions to the International Space Station.

The assignments are not final—they have yet to go through the formal approval process of the Multilateral Crew Operations Panel, which includes all international partners—but sources say NASA's rookie astronauts who have not yet flown to space will move off the Boeing vehicle due to its ongoing delays.

The most likely scenario is that Nicole Mann, Josh Cassada, and Jeanette Epps will now fly on the SpaceX Crew-5 mission, targeted for launch no earlier than August 2022 on a Falcon 9 rocket. They are likely to be joined by an international partner astronaut, probably Japan's Koichi Wakata, for the mission.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Facebook’s outage likely cost the company over $60 million

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 5:33am
Facebook’s outage likely cost the company over $60 million

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images)

In a major outage yesterday, Facebook, along with its sibling sites, WhatsApp and Instagram, became unreachable for hours. Real-time website status tracker DownDetector received over 14 million reports from users who couldn't use the social media giant's apps and services.

But beyond the obvious inconvenience to those cut off from these services, yesterday's outage has had financial repercussions not only for Facebook, but many small businesses that rely on the platform.

Downtime estimated to cost Facebook over $60 million

Facebook's 2020 revenue was $86 billion. Experts have used this number to approximate the average loss incurred by the company yesterday at $163,565 for every minute of the outage. Over the six-hour period, this sums up to roughly $60 million in lost revenue. Another report by Fortune pinned the loss at $100 million, stating that "for many companies, a $100 million drop in revenue over any time period would be a financial event of significant concern. For Facebook, it is (for now) a drop in the bucket that investors will likely shrug off."

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The 2022 Ford Maverick is a cheap, cheerful, DIY-friendly pickup truck

ArsTechnica - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 3:00am
Ford provided flights to Nashville and two nights in a hotel so we could drive the Maverick trucks. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—If you have ever bemoaned the increasing size and cost of a new pickup truck—and Ars' comment threads are bursting with such like-minded individuals—then today's truck might pique your interest. The new Ford Maverick comes with a highly efficient hybrid powertrain capable of more than 40 mpg (5.9 L/100 km), a simple but stylish interior with a can-do attitude, and a starting price of just $19,995.

Unlike the rest of Ford's pickup truck lineup—all of which use body-on-frame construction—the Maverick shares its unibody platform with the Escape and Bronco Sport crossovers. It's compact for a pickup: at 199.7 inches (5,072 mm), it's more than 10 inches shorter than a Ford Ranger and nearly 3 feet shorter than an F-150. However, that means the Maverick makes do with a 4.5-foot (1,372 mm) bed. Although, as we'll see, bed size hardly impedes this truck's utility.

The Maverick bucks the big-truck trend under its hood, too: there is no V8 or even V6 option. Instead, the default powertrain is a hybrid that combines a 162 hp (120 kW), 155 lb-ft (210 Nm) 2.5 L four-cylinder engine that runs the Atkinson cycle and a 126 hp (94 kW), 173 lb-ft (234 Nm) electric traction motor, with a combined output of 191 hp (142 kW) via a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to the front wheels.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Biden administration expects J&J boosters in the next few weeks

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 4:20pm
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)

Johnson & Johnson plans to seek authorization for a booster dose for its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine early this week, according to a report by The New York Times.

J&J is the last to apply for booster authorization among the makers of the three COVID-19 vaccines used in the US. Yet, it is the booster that many health officials are most eager to see. The vaccine, which uses a viral vector strategy rather than an mRNA-based design, is the only available COVID-19 vaccine given as just one shot. Its efficacy has lagged behind the other vaccines throughout the pandemic.

Still, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, both mRNA-based vaccine, have already submitted booster applications to US regulators. On September 22, the Food and Drug Administration granted authorization for a booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for certain groups of people. The decision was tense, with experts torn over whether a booster for the highly effective vaccine was widely needed.

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ex-Sony exec opens up about efforts to bring PlayStation hits to PC

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 4:05pm
Ex-Sony exec opens up about efforts to bring PlayStation hits to PC

Enlarge (credit: Collage by Aurich Lawson)

Sony has a long history of keeping its first-party games behind the walled garden of console exclusivity.

So the company's choice to bring its PS4 hit Horizon Zero Dawn to PC in August 2020 felt like a precedent-changing move away from that barrier to entry. It represented a seismic shift for a publisher protective of its wide array of console exclusives.

But as former CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Shawn Layden tells it, adopting a more open strategy for porting first-party titles to PC was actually an easy decision.

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Understanding how we sense touch, temperature earns a Nobel

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 2:29pm
The protein that allows us to sense touch is big and complicated.

Enlarge / The protein that allows us to sense touch is big and complicated. (credit: PDB)

Today's Nobel Prize is in "Physiology or Medicine," which often means "biology" these days. And 2021 is no exception, as two researchers have won for their discoveries of how humans detect their immediate environment through the sense of touch. David Julius won half the prize for identifying the protein that allows us to sense painful heat or its chemical mimic from chili peppers, and Ardem Patapoutian got the other half for figuring out how we sense physical touch.

The predominant finding made by both researchers relied on a clever scheme that allowed them to identify the critical gene involved in a fairly specific process. But that discovery opened the door to a lot of follow-on work. In the case of temperature, the work enabled the discovery of a small family of related proteins that all sense different aspects of heat or cold. And in the case of touch, the finding reveals that the same protein manages to track all sorts of stresses and strains inside the body.

Feel the burn

People who enjoy a good chili pepper will often talk about the heat generated by the chemicals it contains. That's not a metaphor—over the years, researchers have figured out that a key chemical in hot peppers, called capsaicin, activates the same nerve cells that are triggered by unpleasant heat.

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Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus are down. Here’s what we know [Updated]

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 1:22pm
Screenshot of one of Facebook's downward-facing thumb icons.

Enlarge / Today's global Facebook and Facebook-owned-services outage appears to be the result of a flubbed BGP configuration change pushed by a Facebook engineer this morning. (credit: Sean Gladwell via Getty Images / Jim Salter)

Original story 1:26 pm EDT: Facebook—and apparently all the major services Facebook owns—are down today. We first noticed the problem at about 11:30 am Eastern time, when some Facebook links stopped working. Investigating a bit further showed major DNS failures at Facebook:

DNS—short for Domain Name System—is the service that translates human-readable hostnames (like arstechnica.com) to raw, numeric IP addresses (like 18.221.249.245). Without working DNS, your computer doesn't know how to get to the servers that host the website you're looking for.

The problem goes deeper than Facebook's obvious DNS failures, though. Facebook-owned Instagram was also down, and its DNS services—which are hosted on Amazon rather than being internal to Facebook's own network—were functional. Instagram and WhatsApp were reachable but showed HTTP 503 failures (no server is available for the request) instead, an indication that while DNS worked and the services' load balancers were reachable, the application servers that should be feeding the load balancers were not.

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FCC plans to rein in “gateway” carriers that bring foreign robocalls to US

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 12:18pm
Drawing of a robot holding a telephone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Juj Winn)

The Federal Communications Commission hopes to reduce the number of illegal robocalls from overseas with an expansion of rules that require phone companies to implement Caller ID authentication technology and block illegal calls. "Eliminating illegal robocalls that originate abroad is one of the most vexing challenges the commission faces because of the difficulty in reaching foreign-based robocallers and the foreign voice service providers that originate their traffic," the FCC said.

To make a dent in that problem, the FCC is proposing new requirements on domestic gateway providers that accept calls from outside the US. A Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) adopted Thursday and released on Friday proposes requiring those gateway phone companies to implement STIR (Secure Telephone Identity Revisited) and SHAKEN (Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using toKENs) protocols, which verify the accuracy of Caller ID by using digital certificates based on public-key cryptography.

"This proposal would subject foreign-originated calls, once they enter the United States, to requirements similar to those of domestic-originated calls, by placing additional obligations on gateway providers in light of the large number of illegal robocalls that originate abroad and the risk such calls present to Americans," the NPRM said. Gateway providers would be required to "apply STIR/SHAKEN caller ID authentication to, and perform robocall mitigation on, all foreign-originated calls with US numbers," the FCC said.

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Scientists are still learning cool new things about gooey hagfish slime

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 12:07pm
 the Galapagos Ghost Hagfish (Myxine phantasma).

Enlarge / A recently discovered species: the Galapagos Ghost Hagfish (Myxine phantasma). (credit: Tim Winegard)

Meet the humble hagfish, an ugly, gray, eel-like creature affectionately known as a "snot snake" because of its unique defense mechanism. The hagfish can unleash a full liter of sticky slime from pores located all over its body in less than one second. That's sufficient to, say, clog the gills of a predatory shark, suffocating the would-be predator. A new paper published in the journal Current Biology reports that the slime produced by larger hagfish contains much larger cells than slime produced by smaller hagfish—an unusual example of cell size scaling with body size in nature.

As we've reported previously, scientists have been studying hagfish slime for years because it's such an unusual material. It's not like mucus, which dries out and hardens over time. Hagfish slime stays slimy, giving it the consistency of half-solidified gelatin. That's due to long, thread-like fibers in the slime, in addition to the proteins and sugars that make up mucin, the other major component. Those fibers coil up into "skeins" that resemble balls of yarn. When the hagfish lets loose with a shot of slime, the skeins uncoil and combine with the salt water, blowing up more than 10,000 times its original size.

From a materials standpoint, hagfish slime is fascinating stuff. In 2016, a group of Swiss researchers studied the unusual fluid properties of hagfish slime, specifically focusing on how those properties provided two distinct advantages: helping the animal defend itself from predators and tying itself in knots to escape from its own slime. They found that different types of fluid flow affect the overall viscosity of the slime. A flowing liquid is essentially a series of layers sliding past one another. The faster one layer slides over another, the more resistance there is, and the slower the sliding, the less resistance there is. As I wrote for Gizmodo at the time:

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Revealed: The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 11:26am
 The secret notes of Blue Origin leaders trying to catch SpaceX

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

About three years ago, Blue Origin officials knew they were behind, failing to deliver on their founder's grandiose vision.

With Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos had long talked about building a world-class space transportation company and had even gone so far as to trademark "Build a Road to Space." But despite being nearly two decades old, Blue Origin had not built a road to space, nor even launched an orbital rocket.

Meanwhile, the rocket company founded by Bezos' rival, Elon Musk, had established itself as the most dominant launch company in the world. By the fall of 2018, SpaceX was well on its way to launching a record 21 rockets in a single year, had debuted the Falcon Heavy, and was starting to seriously reuse first stage boosters.

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Epic Games Store gets achievements next week—so what’s still missing?

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 11:13am
How long until EGS's new experience point system unlocks outfits and dances in <em>Fortnite</em>?

Enlarge / How long until EGS's new experience point system unlocks outfits and dances in Fortnite? (credit: Aurich Lawson)

Nearly three years after its debut on Windows PCs, the Epic Games Store (EGS) will soon finally support a feature that has become common on other gaming platforms: achievements.

As announced on Monday, the system will go live "next week"; it revolves around a mix of "trophies" and "experience points," thus resembling both the Xbox and PlayStation families' takes on the concept. Fulfill an objective while playing a game and a pop-up box will announce whatever you completed, along with both a trophy and a number of experience points. Every EGS achievement list will add up to 1,000 experience points, with smaller achievements (45 points or less) being labeled "bronze" and higher point counts described as "silver," "gold," and "platinum."

Epic hasn't said how these points will impact the service. "Keep your eyes out for more updates you’ve been waiting for as we drop new social features and player rewards later this year," the announcement reads. Does this mean achievement points might work as currency in some fashion, akin to Ubisoft Connect? Epic isn't saying.

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Android 12 gets a source code release—but not a Pixel release

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 10:59am
With Android 12 Beta 2, Google's color-changing UI is live, so we took a trip through the rainbow.

Enlarge / With Android 12 Beta 2, Google's color-changing UI is live, so we took a trip through the rainbow. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Here's a strange development. Plenty of people thought today would be the official release of Android 12, which would make the nearly eight-month beta process one of the longest ever for Google's latest operating system. Today, Google is releasing Android 12, sort of—but only in source code form. There aren't any day-one updates for any device, even the Pixel phones.

Android is developed in secret (though nothing is really secret when you have an eight-month beta process) and then released as open source code once it's done. Usually, this also includes a release to Pixel phones—one of the big benefits of owning one. Today, with the source code release, Google's blog post says that Pixel devices will get the update "in the next few weeks."

Place your bets in the comments for why we're getting this unprecedented release schedule of no day-one phone releases. Is Android 12 not done? It seems pretty done based on the latest beta release from last month. It's also done enough to release the source code, so that doesn't seem like it. Is Google holding back the Android 12 release so the OS can debut on the Pixel 6? Marketing getting involved is currently the best guess we have for this strange release.

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The Apple Watch Series 7 release date is October 15

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 10:12am
The Apple Watch Series 7.

Enlarge / The Apple Watch Series 7.

The new Apple Watch Series 7 will be available starting October 15, Apple announced today. Online orders will begin this Friday, October 8.

Specifically, those prerelease orders will start at 5 am PDT, one week before the watch hits Apple's brick-and-mortar stores globally. In most cases, preordered Apple devices show up at your door no earlier than the same day that they arrive on store shelves.

Previous leaks from Jon Prosser and Hermes indicated that the Watch would go up for order this week and begin shipping the next, so Apple is confirming what we already suspected.

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VR, AR, wearables, and smart home tech are now mainstream, research says

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 9:21am

It wasn’t long ago that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets, smartwatches, and voice-controlled homes were the fantasies of books and movies. Today, VR, AR, wearables, and smart home tech have passed the early-adoption phase and are all firmly part of the “mass market,” according to research that the International Data Corporation (IDC) shared today. The global research firm predicted that the combined market will hit $369.6 billion by the end of 2021 and grow to $524.9 billion in 2025. 

IDC expects AR and VR combined to show the most growth out of the three categories, thanks to both businesses and individual consumers. The latter is particularly interested in “robust gaming solutions,” IDC said. Businesses represent the bulk of AR spending today, but IDC thinks the market for AR headsets targeting the general public will grow. It predicted a 67.9 percent compound annual growth rate from 2020 to 2025 for AR and VR combined, which is more than 10 times the next competitor, smart home tech (10.1 percent growth rate).

Smart home tech will represent the most valuable market, however, with a predicted 2025 value of over $400.3 billion. The biggest sellers will reportedly be smart TVs, streaming players, and other “networked entertainment devices," which are expected to represent $229 billion in 2025. 

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FCC filing shows Dyson is prepping next Roomba rival

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 8:27am
This could be Dyson's next robovac.

This could be Dyson's next robovac. (credit: Dyson)

British vacuum cleaner company Dyson doesn’t want to be left in the dust when it comes to robotic vacuums. The company’s current robovac, the Dyson 360 Eye, is out of stock in the US right now. But recent FCC filings show that the company is working on a potential new product to help address the demand for mechanical housekeepers.

Dyson’s FCC filings, spotted by The Verge today and titled "Dyson 360 VISNAV," point to a striking blue offering with “Dyson 360 Hyperdymium” branding. Hyperdymium refers to a proprietary motor technology that can “run at speeds of up to 125,000 revolutions per minute,” according to Dyson. Dyson also says the tech allows it to make lightweight vacuums. The “360” part suggests that the robot will follow in the 360 Eye’s rolling brush-steps by carrying a 360-degree vision system. The 360 Eye has a small camera on top and sensors on the sides. 

The robot in the FCC filings looks like it's built to stay much closer to the ground than the 360 Eye, which should allow the device to fit under low spaces, like under a couch. As noted by The Verge, this device differs from the 360 Eye and the more recently launched 360 Heurist, which are both taller and slimmer in order to navigate around tight corners and furniture. Pictures submitted also show a light ring, which could help the robot clean up at night. 

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Researcher refuses Telegram’s bounty award, discloses auto-delete bug

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 7:12am
Researcher refuses Telegram’s bounty award, discloses auto-delete bug

Enlarge (credit: Joshua Sortino)

Telegram patched another image self-destruction bug in its app earlier this year. This flaw was a different issue from the one reported in 2019. But the researcher who reported the bug isn't pleased with Telegram's months-long turnaround time—and an offered €1,000 ($1,159) bounty award in exchange for his silence.

Self-destructed images remained on the device

Like other messaging apps, Telegram allows senders to set communications to "self-destruct," such that messages and any media attachments are automatically deleted from the device after a set period of time. Such a feature offers extended privacy to both the senders and the recipients intending to communicate discreetly.

In February 2021, Telegram introduced a set of such auto-deletion features in its 2.6 release:

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Facebook “is tearing our societies apart,” whistleblower says in interview

ArsTechnica - Mon, 10/04/2021 - 6:46am
Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's <em>60 Minutes</em> interview aired on October 3, 2021.

Enlarge / Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen's 60 Minutes interview aired on October 3, 2021. (credit: 60 Minutes / CBS)

The Facebook whistleblower revealed her identity last night, along with her plans to reform the embattled social media company from the outside. Frances Haugen, a data scientist by training and a veteran of Google and Pinterest, had been recruited to Facebook in 2018 to help the platform prepare for election interference. When she quit in May, she took with her a cache of tens of thousands of documents that now underpin a sweeping congressional investigation into Facebook's practices.

But Haugen's turning point came months earlier, on December 2, 2020, less than a month after the presidential election, when the company disbanded the Civic Integrity team she worked on.

“They told us, ‘We’re dissolving Civic Integrity.’ Like, they basically said, ‘Oh good, we made it through the election. There wasn’t riots. We can get rid of Civic Integrity now.’ Fast forward a couple months, we got the insurrection,” Haugen told CBS’s 60 Minutes, referring to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol. “And when they got rid of Civic Integrity, it was the moment where I was like, ‘I don’t trust that they’re willing to actually invest what needs to be invested to keep Facebook from being dangerous.’”

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