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windows 10 will get better at telling time with new leap second support
enlargemichaelshare this storyone of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity's eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. about every 18 months or so, the earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. there's at least a possibility that when this happens, the earth will be tidally locked to the sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably texas—they frankly won't notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. the future is really bleak.but between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. not only is a day not exactly 24 hours (86,400 seconds) long, but it's also getting longer at about 2 milliseconds per century due to drag. today, there are two main sources of time: a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce international atomic time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how long the earth actually takes to spin on its axis. this latter time, named utc (`coordinated universal time`), is used in science and engineering. for most purposes, it's the time reference that we want our watches, clocks, phones, and computers to be set by. because utc is based on the earth's actual spinning, it slowly falls behind atomic time. every time the gap is more than 0.9 seconds, an extra second is added to utc—a leap second—to bring the two back in sync.the next m...
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the 5,000% price hike that made martin shkreli infamous is no longer paying off
enlarge/ new york - august 4: shkreli was found guilty on three of the eight counts involving securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities and wire fraud.getty | drew angerershare this storymartin shkreli’s former pharmaceutical company lost more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2018 amid waning sales of the drug made famous by shkreli’s more than 5,000-percent price increase. that’s according to financial documents recently reviewed by stat.vyera pharmaceuticals, formerly known as turing pharmaceuticals, had brazenly maintained shkreli’s despised price hike of the drug daraprim, which treats relatively rare parasitic infections that often strike babies and hiv/aids patients. as founder and ceo of turing, shkreli bought the rights to the cheap, off-patent drug and—without any generic competitors—abruptly raised its price from $13.50 a pill to $750 a pill in the fall of 2015.the move was wildly unpopular (to say the least) and attracted intense public scrutiny to the country’s quickly escalating drug costs. but it was a lucrative decision for turing and later vyera—at least until recently.shkreli claimed that turing would rake in hundreds of millions of dollars from the price hike and use the money to fund the development of new, better drugs. and financial documents indicate that the pricing did indeed bring a short-term windfall. but the documents also revealed that high expenses began cutting into profits in 2016 and 2017. at the same time, sa...
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microsoft posts bumper q4, with windows, surface, azure all up
julien gong min / flickrshare this storymicrosoft has posted the results of the fourth quarter of its 2018 financial year, running up until june 30, 2018. revenue was $30.1 billion (up 17 percent year-on-year), operating income was $10.4 billion (up 35 percent), net income was $8.8 billion (a rise of 10 percent), and earnings per share were $1.14 (an increase of 11 percent).this brings the full-year revenue to $110.4 billion (up 14 percent on the 2017 financial year), with operating income of $35.1 billion (up 21 percent) and net income of $16.6 billion, a drop of 35 percent, attributed to the impact of the tax cut and jobs act's $13.8 billion repatriation tax. without that, the company would have been looking at a net income of $30.3 billion, up 18 percent on 2017.microsoft currently has three reporting segments: productivity and business processes (covering office, exchange, sharepoint, skype, and dynamics), intelligent cloud (including azure, windows server, sql server, visual studio, and enterprise services), and more personal computing (covering windows, hardware, and xbox, as well as search and advertising). this reporting structure has been retained even though the windows division has been reorganized with responsibilities split between different groups.productivity group revenue was up 13 percent to $9.7 billion, with operating income up 20 percent at $3.5 billion. the gains were broad based: both commercial and consumer office revenue were up (10 percent and 8 perc...
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“fingerprint” of humanity’s climate impact seen in the seasons
enlarge/ trends in the satellite-measured seasonal temperature cycle of the troposphere (red means larger temperature swing, blue means smaller temperature swing).santer et al./scienceshare this storyone reason climate scientists have been able to confidently determine that humans are responsible for modern warming is that they have more than just weather records to work with. there are many places where a human cause can be identified if you know how to dust for fingerprints. for example, while the lower atmosphere warms, the stratosphere is actually cooling. that’s what you expect when greenhouse gases—rather than the sun—are behind the warming.a new study led by lawrence livermore national laboratory’s ben santer looked for fingerprints in a new place: the seasonal cycle of temperatures. the ideal tool for analyzing this is the global temperature record produced by satellites, which began their watch in 1979. that means they don’t go back nearly as far as weather-station records, but the dataset is now long enough to be useful for studies like this.hot and coldwhile everyone uses the same satellites, several different groups actually maintain separate satellite temperature datasets. this is because the measurements are far from straightforward, and a ton of work goes into all the necessary processing to spit out temperature maps. as a result, the different datasets don’t always line up perfectly with each other—or with those analyzed with previous versions of...
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$1 million heist on russian bank started with hack of branch router
enlargehenry burrows / flickrshare this storya prolific hacking group has struck again, this time stealing close to $1 million from russia’s pir bank. the july 3 heist came about five weeks after the sophisticated hackers first gained access to the bank’s network by compromising a router used by a regional branch.the theft—which according to kommersant.ru is conservatively estimated at about $910,000—is the latest achievement of a group researchers at security firm group-ib call the moneytaker group. in a report published last november that first detailed the group, researchers said its members had conducted 20 successful attacks on financial institutions and legal firms in the us, uk, and russia. in a follow-up report, group-ib said moneytaker netted about $14 million in the hacks, 16 of which were carried out on us targets, five on russian banks, and one on a banking-software company in the uk.while moneytaker is skilled at concealing its activities, group-ib was able to connect the heists by tracing a common set of tactics, techniques, and procedures. after initially gaining access to a target’s network, members often spend months doing reconnaissance in an effort to elevate system privileges to those of a domain administrator. members also try to remain active inside hacked networks long after the heists are carried out. the attackers also use a variety of freely available tools popular among hackers and security professionals alike, including the metasploit exp...
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windows 10 will get better at telling time with new leap second support
enlargemichaelshare this storyone of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity's eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. about every 18 months or so, the earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. there's at least a possibility that when this happens, the earth will be tidally locked to the sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably texas—they frankly won't notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. the future is really bleak.but between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. there are two main sources of time: a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce international atomic time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how long the earth actually takes to spin on its axis. this latter time, named utc (`coordinated universal time`), is used in science and engineering. for most purposes, it's the time reference that we want our watches, clocks, phones, and computers to be set by. because utc is based on the earth's actual spinning, it slowly falls behind atomic time. every time the gap is more than 0.9 seconds, an extra second is added to utc—a leap second—to bring the two back in sync.the next major update to windows 10, likely due in october, and the next major version of windows server, named windows server 2019, will both include support...
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gorilla glass 6 tackles the problem of cumulative smartphone damage
enlargeshare this storycoming soon to a smartphone near you: it's gorilla glass 6, the latest version of corning's ubiquitous smartphone display cover. gorilla glass typically sits between the display and the outside world, protecting your precious pixels from damage. lately, manufacturers have been using it for the back of the phone, too.every year, corning says the newest version of gorilla glass is better than the last. gorilla glass 4 survived drops `up to 80 percent of the time` when dropped `face down from one meter,` while gorilla glass 5 survived `80 percent of the time` from 1.6-meter drops onto a rough surface. this new glass concoction is designed to take multiple drops, though, with corning saying it can survive `15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces.` (one meter is a little more than three feet.)this year, the company is tackling repeated damage that is inflicted on a display. while a brand new piece of gorilla glass might survive any single drop, the micro abrasions incurred from multiple drops weaken the display panel and make it more likely to break next time. corning says gorilla glass 6 should reach the market in `the next several months.`
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ars on your lunch break: the consequences of a government genetic database
enlarge/ do you want gattaca? because this might be how we get gattaca.columbia picturesshare this storybelow you’ll find the third and final installment of my interview with medical geneticist robert green about the promise and pitfalls that could lie in reading out your full genome. please check out parts one and two if you missed them. otherwise, press play on the embedded player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.today we open with a heartening story about an infant who went through one of robert’s studies and may have picked up fifteen iq points as a direct result (this is neither a metaphor nor an exaggeration)! it’s an early—and perhaps even the first—hard example of how full-genome sequencing at birth could one day save innumerable lives and preclude untold human suffering.click here for a transcript and click here for an mp3 direct download.we then talk about the vast potential of pre-conception genetic screening and an early initiative in this area that has almost eradicated an awful genetic disease that long plagued the ashkenazi jewish population.we close by discussing a massively ambitious government initiative that’s just gathering steam called “all of us.” if it delivers on its goals (and doesn’t turn into a dmv-like debacle), it could transform our understanding of health, aging, and disease innumerable times more than the renowned framingham heart study (which robert and i also discuss).if you’re curious about the latest e...
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halo devs not working on battle royale mode for infinite
enlarge/ don't expect this to be the setting for a survival-style battle on an ever-shrinking map anytime soon.share this storythe stratospheric success of games like fortnite and playerunknown's battlegrounds in the past year has led to a wave of copycat battle royale survival games and modes. even franchises like call of duty aren't immune, with black ops 4adding a new battle royale mode called blackout while ignoring the usual single-player campaign.it seems the halo series will not be following the trend, though. in a halo 5-focused `social stream` hosted on microsoft's mixer platform last night, 343 industries writer jeff easterling said the studio is not working on a battle royale mode for the upcoming halo infinite .a viewer plainly asked, `will there be battle royale in halo infinite?` easterling responded definitively, `i’ll tell you right now, the only br we’re interested in is battle rifle, the original br. so calm yourself.`this is actually one of the most concrete pieces of information we've gotten about halo infinite since the game's existence was first revealed in a short, gameplay-free, in-engine e3 trailer. xbox marketing chief aaron greenberg said in a youtube live interview at the show that the game's new slipspace engine was built `purposefully to take halo in a whole new direction,` but he didn't go into detail on what exactly that means. greenberg also acknowledged in that interview that `it’s becoming more of a service-based indu...
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fcc votes against sinclair/tribune merger, likely dooming deal
enlarge/ a sign for the sinclair broadcast buildings seen on october 12, 2004 in hunt valley, maryland.getty images | william thomas cainshare this storythe federal communications commission has voted unanimously against approving sinclair broadcast group's acquisition of tribune media company, likely dooming the merger.technically, the commission adopted a hearing designation order that refers the merger to an administrative law judge. mergers usually don't survive that legal process. besides referring the merger to a judge, the fcc's other options included denying the merger outright, approving the merger, or approving it with conditions. the unanimous vote to refer the merger to a judge was finalized on wednesday evening.sinclair's problems stem from its plan to divest some stations in order to stay under station ownership limits. fcc chairman ajit pai proposed the designation order on monday, saying that sinclair's proposal to divest certain stations `would allow sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law.``when the fcc confronts disputed issues like these, the communications act does not allow it to approve a transaction. instead, the law requires the fcc to designate the transaction for a hearing in order to get to the bottom of those disputed issues,` pai said monday.after pai's announcement, sinclair said it would revise its station divestiture plan in an attempt to avoid the referral to a judge. but the fcc...
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project loon signs its first deal for internet-delivering balloons—in kenya
share this storyat the aaas 2018 conference, loon's sal candido shared this video aid when the time came to explain how project loon functions. `the team back in mountain view knows presentations aren't my strength.`project loon, the internet-delivering balloon system that grew out of alphabet's project x division, has announced its first commercial deal. according to multiplereports, the recent project x graduates will partner with telkom kenya to increase connectivity in the country.“connectivity is critical. if you are not online, you are left out,” joe mucheru, kenya's information, communication, and technology minister, told reuters. `loon is another technology that is being introduced that the licensed operators hopefully can be able to use.”public details of the deal appear scarce for now—no firm timeframe for deployment or financial details were available as of press time. the bbc notes that with this new partnership, telkom kenya will provide the internet signal, and loon will spread it over remote areas of kenya.loon initially started in 2011 within alphabet/then-google's experimental project x division. the basic idea was that, instead of building permanent physical structures with limited range, bunches of antenna-outfitted balloons could fly 60,000 feet above the ground, follow semi-regular wind patterns, and cover areas of roughly 2,000 square miles at a time. the company has simulated 30 million kilometers of potential navigation daily to be...
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new macbook pro keyboard design may fix dust problems after all
enlarge/ the keyboard on the 2016 touch bar macbook pro.andrew cunninghamshare this storywhile apple's redesigned keyboards in the new macbook pro models are made to be quieter, they also appear to be designed to prevent another problem. according to a document sent to apple authorized service providers and obtained by macrumors, the new keys have a `membrane` underneath that helps `prevent debris` from getting into the butterfly mechanism.`the keyboard has a membrane under the keycaps to prevent debris from entering the butterfly mechanism,` state the canadian and european versions of the document. `the procedure for the space bar replacement has also changed from the previous model. repair documentation and service videos will be available when keycap parts begin shipping.`the us version of the document doesn't mention the membrane specifically. however, it does link to another document entitled butterfly mechanism keycap replacement macbook pro (2018), which references the membrane under the keycaps as a method of stopping debris from entering the keyboard.upon debuting the new macbook pro models, apple insisted that the new keyboard was designed for a quieter typing experience and it was not designed to fix `sticky-key` issues. but ifixit hypothesized that this silicone membrane was indeed designed to stop dust and debris from getting under the keys after the site discovered the membrane during its teardown of the new 13-inch macbook pro.a number of macboo...
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comcast admits defeat in bidding war for fox, clearing path for disney
comcastshare this storycomcast is abandoning its attempt to purchase 21st century fox properties, the cable company announced today.`comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the 21st century fox assets,` comcast said in a statement.that doesn't mean comcast is done trying to buy media properties, however. comcast's statement said that it will focus on its attempt to purchase sky, a british media and pay-tv company. comcast last week raised its bid for sky, topping a previous offer made by 21st century fox.comcast's attempt to buy fox properties was facing increasingly long odds. comcast outbid the walt disney company on june 13 with a $65 billion offer, but disney quickly raised its offer to $71.3 billion and signed a new merger deal with fox. fox made it clear that it preferred to sell to disney, arguing that a disney/fox deal had a better chance of receiving us government approval than a comcast/fox one.comcast's chances of buying fox got even worse on june 27 when the department of justice gave its approval to the disney/fox deal. with comcast now abandoning any further attempt to outbid disney, disney and fox will likely be able to complete a merger.the fox/disney deal will give disney a controlling stake in hulu as well as 21st century fox's film and television studios, cable entertainment networks, and international properties including star in india and fox's 39-percent ownership of sky. the doj's approval of the fox/disney deal requires di...
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after 500 years, a uv lamp solves the mystery of the basel papyrus
enlargeuniversity of baselshare this storythe university of basel has dozens of ancient papyrus texts in its collection, but one has been known for centuries as the basel papyrus. the 2,000-year-old work has been in the university’s collection since the 1500s, when it was acquired from a lawyer and art collector named basilius amerbach. and throughout those 500 years, no one could decipher it.the writing on the basel papyrus looked like the ancient greek script commonly used during the waning days of the roman empire, around the 3rd century ce, but the letters were reversed, like writing held up to a mirror.“a few individual letters were readable before, but no sense could be established,” sabine huebner, professor of ancient history at the university of basel, told ars. “there were several theories circulating [about] why the papyrus was written in mirror script: to hide a secret message? as a joke? a medieval forgery?” generations of archivists have puzzled over the mystery since the papyrus arrived in the university’s collection, but until recently, they’d all been stumped.that changed in 2017 when an italian papyrus expert visited basel to study another set of ancient documents. while he was there, huebner and her colleagues asked him to examine the enigmatic text.“he looked at it with a small ultraviolet lamp,” huebner said. she and her colleagues had already made digital images of the document as part of a project to digitize the university’s papyrus...
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windows 10 will get better at telling time with new leap second support
enlargemichaelshare this storyone of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity's eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. about every 18 months or so, the earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. there's at least a possibility that when this happens, the earth will be tidally locked to the sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably texas—they frankly won't notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. the future is really bleak.but between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. there are two main sources of time; a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce international atomic time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how long the earth actually takes to spin on its axis. this latter time, named utc (`coordinated universal time`), is used in science and engineering. for most purposes, it's the time reference that we want our watches, clocks, phones, and computers to be set by. because utc is based on the earth's actual spinning, it slowly falls behind atomic time. every time the gap is more than 0.9 seconds, an extra second is added to utc—a leap second—to bring the two back in sync.the next major update to windows 10, likely due in october, and the next major version of windows server, named windows server 2019, will both include support...
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gorilla glass 6 tackles the problem of cumulative smartphone damage
enlargeshare this storycoming soon to a smartphone near you: it's gorilla glass 6, the latest version of corning's ubiquitous smartphone display cover. gorilla glass typically sits between the display and the outside world protecting your precious pixels from damage and receiving touch input. lately, manufacturers have been using it for the back of the phone, too.every year, corning says the newest version of gorilla glass is better than the last version. gorilla glass 4 survived drops `up to 80 percent of the time` when dropped `face down from one meter,` while gorilla glass 5 survived `80 percent of the time` from 1.6-meter drops onto a rough surface. this new glass concoction is designed to take multiple drops, though, with corning saying it can survive `15 drops from 1 meter onto rough surfaces.` (one meter is a little more than three feet.)this year, the company is tackling repeated damage that is inflicted on a display. while a brand new piece of gorilla glass might survive any single drop, the micro abrasions incurred from multiple drops weaken the display panel and make it more likely to break next time. corning says gorilla glass 6 should reach the market in `the next several months.`
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court denies star citizen backer’s $4,500 refund lawsuit
enlargeshare this storya star citizen backer who went to small claims court seeking a refund of $4,496 he had put toward the long-delayed crowdfunded space sim has seen his case dismissed.ken lord, a data scientist from colorado, had been a massive star citizen backer since the game first launched on kickstarter in 2012. but he's since grown disillusioned with the title's numerous delays, broken promises, and changes in scope, according to reports on motherboard and kotakukey among those changes was a new direction for spin-off shooter squadron 42, which removed a planned multiplayer co-op mode and added required first-person portions to the game. lord, who has multiple sclerosis, said this now means `my money’s stuck in a game i can’t possibly play.`in reports, lord said he felt his requests for a refund from roberts space industries—including a five-page letter—weren't getting due response. so he filed a lawsuit earlier this month, presenting evidence of dozens of development promises rsi hadn't fulfilled in a timely fashion.in court, though, rsi cited lord's access to a beta test of the game through the game's `evocati` program as evidence it was delivering a product in exchange for lord's money. rsi also cited its terms of service, which limit remedies to binding arbitration out of court, as reason to dismiss the case.lord presented evidence that this arbitration clause was not present in the initial version of the terms of service, when lord made his f...
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ars on your lunch break: the toxic truths within our dna
enlarge/ don't you know that your dna is toxic?jive recordsshare this storytoday we present the second installment of my interview with medical geneticist robert green about the promises and pitfalls that could lie in reading out your full genome. part one ran yesterday—so if you missed it, click right here. otherwise, you can press play on the embedded player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.in this installment, we discuss why some medical researchers view personal genetic information as a literal toxin. this isn’t strictly out of paternalism (although there are elements of that). a tiny fraction of people might indeed make discoveries that are both horrible and unactionable. a larger fraction could suffer anguish from the sheer ambiguity of what’s divulged. after carefully studying both the psychology and consequences of these situations, robert is fully convinced that personal genetic information should be made available to any adult who seeks it after being soundly apprised of the ramifications.we next discuss rare genetic diseases and how incongruously common they are. robert’s groundbreaking research recently revealed that as much as a fifth of us are recessive carriers of some exotic genetic horror or other. which brings us to the important notion of partial “penetrance,” or diseases that can slightly (and often mysteriously) manifest in a recessive carrier. high school biology trains us to think of recessive/dominant and afflicted/unaff...
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israeli defense firm demos kamikaze drone bomb that can be called off
share this storythe rotem `suicide drone` in action.in early july, israel aerospace industries demonstrated the rotem uas—a proof-of-concept quadcopter drone capable of providing both airborne surveillance and an explosive punch. the lightweight drone, which can be carried in a backpack and flown by one person, comes with a `combat head` that turns it into a guided weapon.rotem folds down into a package 38 inches long, 7 inches wide, and 5 inches high. according to a report from israel defense, the drone has a number of `automated modes.` it has automatic take off and landing control, an emergency `return home` feature, and can navigate to a given set of coordinates or follow a pre-specified route without operator interaction. it can also be put into automated observation and attack modes once a target is designated, and the drone can `safe ditch` and disable its warhead if an attack is aborted.a number of fixed-wing `loitering munitions` have been produced in the past, such as aeronautics defense systems' orbiter 1k—a suicide drone that drew unwanted attention when aeronautics' live-fire sales demonstration to azerbaijan turned into an attack on an armenian military position. in the us, textron developed battlehawk—essentially a fixed-wing loitering hand grenade—in 2013. and the us army started purchasing the tube-launched fixed-wing switchblade from aerovironment back in 2011.but the problem with fixed-wing systems is that they require some method of l...
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amazon prime day 2018 deals still active: apple watch, samsung ssd, dji drone
share this storygreetings, arsians! courtesy of our friends at techbargains, we have another round of deals to share. we'll be honest: the dealmaster is still a bit woozy from the flurry of deals amazon prime day threw at him. but today is a new day, which means there are new deals to discover.or, in this case, old deals—we're checking back in a bit sooner than usual this week to lay out a few prime day deals that are still live even after the official end of amazon's event. to boot, many of them don't require a prime subscription. to keep things tidy, we're also including deals from retailers beyond amazon, since a few sales events that ran counter to prime day are still ongoing.while some higher-profile deals have died down, good discounts can still be found on samsung ssds and microsd cards, the apple watch, dji drones, and more, plus you can find a few new offers on xbox memberships. have a look for yourself below. the dealmaster will see you on his regular schedule next week.enlarge/ the apple watch series 3 is discounted this week.valentina palladinonote: ars technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.featured dealssamsung 860 evo (500gb) 2.5` sata internal ssd for $99.99 (use code: 18fanst31) at newegg (list price $134.99).apple watch series 3 (38mm) for $279 at best buy (list price $329).xbox live gold 12-month membership for $39.99 at microsoft (list price $59.99).xbox game pass 3-month membership for $9.99...
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why is infowars allowed on facebook? zuckerberg: because it doesn’t cause “harm”
enlarge/ mark zuckerberg, chief executive officer and founder of facebook inc., holds his phone after the morning session at the allen & co. media and technology conference in sun valley, idaho, on friday, july 13, 2018.david paul morris/bloomberg via getty imagesshare this storylast week, facebook invited some media outlets to an event to hear what the company plans on doing about misinformation disseminated on its platform.but many journalists, including cnn's oliver darcy, were left dissatisfied with facebook's response.so why won't facebook ban sites that peddle obviously false information, like infowars?in a wednesday interview with recode's kara swisher, ceo mark zuckerberg said that facebook draws a distinction between information that is objectively false and words that are meant to incite physical violence or `attack individuals` verbally.`there are really two core principles at play here,` he said. `there's giving people a voice, so that people can express their opinions. then there’s keeping the community safe, which i think is really important. we're not gonna let people plan violence or attack each other or do bad things. within this, those principles have real trade-offs and real tug on each other. in this case, we feel like our responsibility is to prevent hoaxes from going viral and being widely distributed.`zuckerberg went on to explain that facebook would examine sites that were flagged as `potential hoaxes`—in other words, limiting their s...
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“an almond doesn’t lactate:” fda to crack down on use of the word “milk”
share this storyenlarge/ almond milkamazing almondsthe us food and drug administration seems to have soured on nondairy milk-alternative products that use the term “milk” in their marketing and labeling—like popular soy and almond milk products.in a talk hosted by politico, fda commissioner scott gottlieb announced tuesday that the fda will soon issue a new guidance on the use of the term. but he added that products aren’t abiding by fda policies as they stand now. he referenced a so-called “standard of identity” policy that regulates how milk is defined and should be identified.“if you look at our standard of identity—there is a reference somewhere in the standard of identity to a lactating animal,” he said. “and, you know, an almond doesn’t lactate, i will confess.”he went on to explain that the issue is that the agency hasn’t been enforcing its own policy or putting the squeeze on product makers—and that it’s time to get abreast of the labeling language.but, he admitted, curtailing the wording of non-moo juice labeling isn’t an easy task because it means that the agency has to change its “regulatory posture.”“i can’t just do it unilaterally,” gottlieb said. hence, the agency is putting together a new guidance for manufacturers to help skim the fat from the market. gottlieb said the agency will soon tap the public for comments on the terminology and hopes to wring out a new policy within a year.such a policy will likely be warmly e...
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ai plus a chemistry robot finds all the reactions that will work
simple robots have been part of chemistry for years.greg russshare this storychemistry is a sort of applied physics, with the behavior of electrons and their orbitals dictating a set of rules for which reactions can take place and what products will remain stable. at a very rough level, the basics of these rules are simple enough that experienced chemists can keep them all in their brain and intuit how to fit together pieces in a way that ultimately produces the starting material they want. unfortunately, there are some parts of the chemical landscape that we don't have much experience with, and strange things sometimes happen when intuition meets a reaction flask. this is why some critical drugs still have to be purified from biological sources.it's possible to get more precise than intuition, but that generally requires full quantum-level simulations run on a cluster, and even these don't always capture some of the quirks that come about because of things like choice of solvents and reaction temperatures or the presence of minor contaminants.but improvements in ai have led to a number of impressive demonstrations of its use in chemistry. and it's easy to see why this works; ais can figure out their own rules, without the same constraints traditionally imparted by a chemistry education. now, a team at glasgow university has paired a machine-learning system with a robot that can run and analyze its own chemical reaction. the result is a system that can figure out every re...
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judge slams fbi for improper cellphone search, stingray use
enlarge/ the seal of the federal bureau of investigation (fbi) hangs on a wall before a news conference at the fbi headquarters in washington, d.c., on thursday, june 14, 2018.al drago/bloomberg via getty imagesshare this storya federal judge in san francisco recently excoriated the government over its improper methods in searching one suspect's cell phone and in the use of a stingray to find an alleged co-conspirator.prosecutors say the two men, donnell artis and chanta hopkins, were engaged in credit card fraud and also illegally possessed firearms, among other pending charges that also involve four other people.the crux of the issue is that, in april 2016, an fbi agent sought and obtained two warrants from an alameda county superior court judge: one to search artis' phone and another to deploy a stingray to locate hopkins.as ars has reported for years, stingrays are in use by both local and federal law enforcement agencies nationwide. the devices determine a target phone's location by spoofing or simulating a cell tower. mobile phones in range of the stingray then connect to it and exchange data with the device as they would with a real cell tower.once deployed, stingrays intercept data from the target phone along with information from other phones within the vicinity—up to and including full calls and text messages. at times, police have falsely claimed that information gathered from a stingray has instead come from a confidential informant.good faithhowever, califor...
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blue origin to subject its rocket to high-altitude escape test
enlarge/ new shepard on the launch pad the morning of mission 8, april 29, 2018.blue originshare this story12:10pm et wednesday update. the test appears to have been a complete success. see our full report here.original post: as it continues to progress toward human flights, blue origin will perform another potentially dangerous uncrewed test today of its new shepard rocket and spacecraft. although it has not yet provided details, the company says it will fly `a high altitude escape motor test—pushing the rocket to its limits.` the test is scheduled to begin at 10 am edt (14:00 utc) at the company's west texas launch site. (update: the time has slipped to 11am et).this is the ninth test of the reusable new shepard system and the third in which it has included commercial payloads on its short suborbital flights. this time, the company is also flying a suite of materials from blue origin employees as a part of its internal “fly my stuff” program. (it's unclear at this point exactly how `abort test` and `payload` fit together in the same mission—presumably the high altitude abort will be followed by the new shepard spacecraft pressing to space, but we're not exactly sure. blue origin will have more details about exactly what's going on when its webcast starts.)this is not the first high-energy test of new shepard. in october, 2016, the company conducted a lower altitude in-flight escape test when engineers intentionally triggered the spacecraft's launch abo...
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walmart may launch a video streaming service to battle netflix, amazon
enlargewalmartshare this storywalmart may be the next giant to enter the video streaming wars, according to a report from the information. the retailer is reportedly considering launching its own video streaming service to battle netflix and amazon prime video. but walmart wants to undercut its competition by pricing its service at $8 per month—or lower.according to the report, the $8-per-month price comes from the idea that netflix and amazon are more popular with customers on the east and west coasts. customers living in the middle of america may gravitate toward a lower-cost option. currently, netflix prices its service between $8 and $14 per month, while amazon prime video is roughly $8 per month.both services have seen price increases recently as well—netflix raised the price of its top-tier 4k streaming plan by $2 and its mid-tier plan by $1 at the end of last year, while an amazon prime annual subscription jumped to $119 in may (prime video is included in a prime membership).the plan is still in the early stages, and walmart may decide to scrap the idea entirely. but launching its own streaming service would place walmart in direct competition with netflix and heat up its battle with amazon. walmart may also consider a no-cost ad-supported service, which sounds much like what roku has with the ad-supported channels it features across its streaming devices.walmart isn't totally new to video streaming—it already owns vudu, a service for buying and renting movie...
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eu: google illegally used android to dominate search, must pay $5b fine
enlarge/ the google search app on an android portable device on february 5, 2018.getty images | nurphoto share this storythe european commission today fined google $5.05 billion (€4.34 billion) for violating eu antitrust rules, saying that `google has imposed illegal restrictions on android device manufacturers and mobile network operators to cement its dominant position in general internet search.`the commission said that google is violating antitrust law by requiring phone manufacturers to pre-install the google search app and chrome browser `as a condition for licensing google's app store (the play store).`google also violated eu antitrust rules by `ma[king] payments to certain large manufacturers and mobile network operators on condition that they exclusively pre-installed the google search app on their devices,` the commission said.thirdly, google allegedly ran afoul of eu rules by deterring manufacturers from using android forks. google `has prevented manufacturers wishing to pre-install google apps from selling even a single smart mobile device running on alternative versions of android that were not approved by google,` the commission said.duckduckgo, a search company that aims to provide more user privacy than google, commented on the decision via twitter. `we welcome the eu cracking down on google's anti-competitive search behavior. we have felt its effects first hand for many years and has led directly to us having less market share on android vs ios ...
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court denies star citizen backer’s $4,500 refund lawsuit
enlargeshare this storya star citizen backer who went to small claims court seeking a refund of $4,496 he had put toward the long-delayed crowdfunded space sim has seen his case dismissed.ken lord, a data scientist from colorado, had been a massive star citizen backer since the game first launched on kickstarter in 2012. but he's since grown disillusioned with the title's numerous delays, broken promises, and changes in scope, according to reports on motherboard and kotakukey among those changes was a new direction for spin-off shooter squadron 42, which removed a planned multiplayer co-op mode and added required first-person portions to the game. lord, who has multiple sclerosis, said this now means `my money’s stuck in a game i can’t possibly play.`in reports, lord said he felt his requests for a refund from roberts space industries—including a five-page letter—weren't getting due response. so he filed a lawsuit earlier this month, presenting evidence of dozens of development promises rsi hadn't fulfilled in a timely fashion.in court, though, rsi cited lord's access to a beta test the game through the game's `evocati` program as evidence it was delivering a product in exchange for lord's money. rsi also cited its terms of service, which limit remedies to binding arbitration out of court, as reason to dismiss the case.lord presented evidence that this arbitration clause was not present in the initial version of the terms of service, when lord made his firs...
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ars on your lunch break: the toxic truths within our dna
enlarge/ don't you know that your dna is toxic?jive recordsshare this storytoday we present the second installment of my interview with medical geneticist robert green about the promise and pitfalls that could lie in reading out your full genome. part one ran yesterday—so if you missed it, click right here. otherwise, you can press play on the embedded player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.in this installment, we discuss why some medical researchers view personal genetic information as a literal toxin. this isn’t strictly out of paternalism (although there are elements of that). a tiny fraction of people might indeed make discoveries that are both horrible and unactionable. a larger fraction could suffer anguish from the sheer ambiguity of what’s divulged. after carefully studying both the psychology and consequences of these situations, robert is fully convinced that personal genetic information should be made available to any adult who seeks it after being soundly apprised of the ramifications.we next discuss rare genetic diseases and how incongruously common they are. robert’s groundbreaking research recently revealed that as many as a fifth of us are recessive carriers of some exotic genetic horror or other. which brings us to the important notion of partial “penetrance,” or diseases that can be slightly (and often mysteriously) manifest in a recessive carrier. high school biology trains us to think of recessive/dominant and afflicted/una...
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vr rivals come together to develop a single-cable spec for vr headsets
usb type-c, the most exciting boring connector in the industry right now.andrew cunninghamshare this storyfuture generations of virtual reality headsets for pcs could use a single usb type-c cable for both power and data. that's thanks to a new standardized spec from the virtuallink consortium, a group made up of gpu vendors amd and nvidia and virtual reality rivals valve, microsoft, and facebook-owned oculus.the spec uses the usb type-c connector's `alternate mode` capability to implement different data protocols—such as thunderbolt 3 data or displayport and hdmi video—over the increasingly common cables, combined with type-c's support for power delivery. the new headset spec combines four lanes of hbr3 (`high bitrate 3`) displayport video (for a total of 32.4 gigabits per second of video data), along with a usb 3.1 generation 2 (10 gigabit per second) data channel for sensors and on-headset cameras, along with 27w of electrical power.that much video data is sufficient for two 3840×2160 streams at 60 frames per second, or even higher frame rates if display stream compression is also used. drop the resolution to 2560×1440, and two uncompressed 120 frame per second streams would be possible.the new spec will ensure consistent and convenient connections for future vr headsets. current headsets tend to use multiple cables, transmitting usb data separately from display data, which travels over displayport or hdmi. the use of the thin type-c connector will also be hel...
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