posted about 3 hours ago on ars technica
Volkswagen says the ID.4 is as important to its future as the Beetle was to its past. [credit: Jonathan Gitlin ] The Volkswagen ID.4 is a big deal for its manufacturer. After getting busted six years ago for fibbing about diesel emissions, VW underwent a corporate transformation, throwing all its chips into electrification. As a big believer in modular architectures that it can use to build a wide range of vehicles from a common set of parts, it got to work on a new architecture just for battery electric vehicles, called MEB (Modularer E-Antriebs-Baukasten or Modular Electrification Toolkit). Since then, we've seen a dizzying array of MEB-based concepts, including that electric bus that everyone wants, and even a bright green buggy. But the ID.4 is no mere concept. It's the first production MEB vehicle to go on sale here in the US, designed with the crossover-crazy US market firmly in mind. Last September we got our first good look at the ID.4 in under studio lights in Brooklyn, and a month later, Ars got to spend 45 minutes on the road with a pre-production ID.4. But now we've had two full days in a model year 2021 ID.4 1st Edition, getting to know it on local turf. Volumetrically, it's about the same size as a Toyota RAV4 or VW Tiguan: 181 inches (4,585mm) long, 73 inches wide (1,852mm), and 64 inches tall (1,637mm), with a 109-inch (2,766mm) wheelbase. Depending on the angle it can be quite a handsome shape. That's helped by the way the 1st Edition's aerodynamic 20-inch alloy wheels fill their arches helps convince the brain that the car is smaller than it actually is, as well as the designer's trick of making bits disappear by cladding them in glossy black panels.Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Alix Wilton Regan stars as Mary Shelley in the throes of creating her timeless literary masterpiece in A Nightmare Wakes. It's one of the most famous origin stories in literary history. One summer night in 1816 in Geneva, Lord Byron hosted a gathering of his fellow Romantics, including Percy Shelley and his lover (soon-to-be wife), Mary Godwin. The incessant rain confined the party indoors for days at a time, and one night, over dinner at the Villa Diodati, Byron propose that everyone write a ghost story to amuse themselves. The result was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, the classic Gothic horror tale of a mad scientist who creates a monster—arguably the first science fiction novel. That fateful summer is the subject of A Nightmare Wakes, the first feature film from writer/director Nora Unkel. It's been portrayed before, most recently in a 2020 episode of Doctor Who, but Unkel's film delves particularly into Mary Shelley's inner state of mind and the process of creation, as the world of her imagination begins to bleed into her reality. Per the official premise: "While composing her famous novel, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley (Alix Wilton Regan) descends into an opium-fueled fever dream while carrying on a torrid love affair with Percy Shelley (Giullian Yao Gioiello). As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague her relationship with Percy. Before long, she must choose between true love and her literary masterpiece." (Mild spoilers below)Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Gulf Stream, as imaged from space. (credit: NASA images courtesy Norman Kuring, MODIS Ocean Team.) The major currents in the Atlantic Ocean help control the climate by moving warm surface waters north and south from the equator, with colder deep water pushing back toward the equator from the poles. The presence of that warm surface water plays a key role in moderating the climate in the North Atlantic, giving places like the UK a far more moderate climate than its location—the equivalent of northern Ontario—would otherwise dictate. But the temperature differences that drive that flow are expected to fade as our climate continues to warm. A bit over a decade ago, measurements of the currents seemed to be indicating that temperatures were dropping, suggesting that we might be seeing these predictions come to pass. But a few years later, it became clear that there was just too much year-to-year variation for us to tell. Over time, however, researchers have figured out ways of getting indirect measures of the currents, using material that is influenced by the strengths of the water's flow. These measures have now let us look back on the current's behavior over the past several centuries. And the results confirm that the strength of the currents has dropped dramatically over the last century.Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A prototype of the Nikola Tre battery electric truck. (credit: Nikola) Aspiring electric truck maker Nikola has admitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission that nine statements made by founder Trevor Milton were "inaccurate." Milton was forced to resign from Nikola in September, shortly after the falsehoods first came to light. Between 2016 and 2020, Milton told a series of whoppers about his fledgling truck maker. At a 2016 press event, Milton took to the stage to unveil a prototype of the company's first truck, dubbed the Nikola One. During the event, Milton claimed that the truck "fully functions." In reality, Nikola never got the truck to move under its own power. Nikola's most infamous flimflam came in 2018, when the company released a video of the Nikola One "in motion." In reality, Nikola had towed the inoperative truck to the top of a long, shallow incline and rolled it down, angling the camera so that it looked like it was driving on level ground.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Perseverance's two Mastcam-Z imagers (in the gray boxes) are part of the rover's remote sensing mast. (credit: NASA) The seven minutes of terror are over. The parachute deployed; the skycrane rockets fired. Robot truck goes ping! Perseverance, a rover built by humans to do science 128 million miles away, is wheels-down on Mars. Phew. Percy has now opened its many eyes and taken a look around. The rover is studded with a couple dozen cameras—25, if you count the two on the drone helicopter. Most of them help the vehicle drive safely. A few peer closely and intensely at ancient Martian rocks and sands, hunting for signs that something once lived there. Some of the cameras see colors and textures almost exactly the way the people who built them do. But they also see more. And less. The rover’s cameras imagine colors beyond the ones that human eyes and brains can come up with. And yet human brains still have to make sense of the pictures they send home.Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Yuri Smityuk | Getty Images) For all the nation-state hacker groups that have targeted the United States power grid—and even successfully breached American electric utilities—only the Russian military intelligence group known as Sandworm has been brazen enough to trigger actual blackouts, shutting the lights off in Ukraine in 2015 and 2016. Now one grid-focused security firm is warning that a group with ties to Sandworm’s uniquely dangerous hackers has also been actively targeting the US energy system for years. On Wednesday, industrial cybersecurity firm Dragos published its annual report on the state of industrial control systems security, which names four new foreign hacker groups focused on those critical infrastructure systems. Three of those newly named groups have targeted industrial control systems in the US, according to Dragos. But most noteworthy, perhaps, is a group that Dragos calls Kamacite, which the security firm describes as having worked in cooperation with the GRU's Sandworm. Kamacite has in the past served as Sandworm's "access" team, the Dragos researchers write, focused on gaining a foothold in a target network before handing off that access to a different group of Sandworm hackers, who have then sometimes carried out disruptive effects. Dragos says Kamacite has repeatedly targeted US electric utilities, oil and gas, and other industrial firms since as early as 2017. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A sign at the Johnson & Johnson campus on August 26, 2019 in Irvine, California. (credit: Getty | Mario Tama) After a day-long meeting Friday, an advisory panel for the US Food and Drug Administration voted 22 to 0 to recommend issuing an Emergency Use Authorization for Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot, refrigerator-stable COVID-19 vaccine. If the FDA accepts the panel’s recommendation and grants the EUA—which it likely will—the country will have a third COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use. Earlier this week, FDA scientists released their review of the vaccine, endorsing authorization. Today’s panel, the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) went through the data further. “It’s a relatively easy call,” Eric Rubin, a Harvard researcher and voting member of the VRBPAC said after the vote. “[The vaccine] clearly gets way over the bar and it’s nice to have a single-dose vaccine… the demand is so large [for vaccines], it clearly has a place.”Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Rockwell Automation) Hardware that is widely used to control equipment in factories and other industrial settings can be remotely commandeered by exploiting a newly disclosed vulnerability that has a severity score of 10 out of 10. The vulnerability is found in programmable logic controllers from Rockwell Automation that are marketed under the Logix brand. These devices, which range from the size of a small toaster to a large bread box or even bigger, help control equipment and processes on assembly lines and in other manufacturing environments. Engineers program the PLCs using Rockwell software called Studio 5000 Logix Designer. On Thursday, the US Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Administration warned of a critical vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely connect to Logix controllers and from there alter their configuration or application code. The vulnerability requires a low skill level to be exploited, CISA said.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Mateusz Slodkowski | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images) TikTok parent company ByteDance has agreed to a $92 million deal to settle class-action lawsuits alleging that the company illegally collected and used underage TikTok users' personal data. The proposed settlement (PDF) would require TikTok to pay out up to $92 million to members of the class and to change some of its data-collection processes and disclosures going forward. The suit, which rolled up more than 20 related lawsuits, mostly filed on behalf of minors, alleged that TikTok violated both state and federal privacy laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and the Video Privacy and Protection Act, through its use of data.Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / As we learn more about Stadia's inner workings, we've begun adding some "flair" to this Stadia-branded PUBG parachute. (credit: PUBG / Getty Images / Aurich Lawson) In the wake of Google shutting down its Stadia Games & Entertainment (SG&E) group, leaks about the underwhelming game-streaming service have started to emerge. A Friday Bloomberg report, citing unnamed Stadia sources, attaches a new number to the failures: "hundreds of thousands" fewer controllers sold and "monthly active users" (MAU) logging in than Google had anticipated. The controller sales figure is central to the story told Friday by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier: that internally, Google was of two minds about how Stadia should launch. One idea looked back at some of the company's biggest successes, particularly Gmail, which launched softly in a public, momentum-building beta while watching how it was received over time. The other, championed by Stadia lead Phil Harrison, was to treat Stadia like a console, complete with some form of hardware that could be hyped and pre-sold. In Stadia's case, the latter won out, with Harrison bullishly selling a Stadia Founder's Bundle—and this worked out to be a $129.99 gate to the service. Without it, you couldn't access Stadia for its first few months. As Schreier reports, Harrison and the Stadia leadership team "had come from the world of traditional console development and wanted to follow the route they knew."Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Jessie Mei Li stars as Alina Starkov in Shadow and Bone, a new Netflix fantasy series adapted from Leigh Bardugo's worldwide bestselling "Grishaverse" novels, premiering April 23. Netflix unexpectedly dropped an extended teaser trailer for its forthcoming fantasy series Shadow and Bone during a panel at IGN Fan Fest. The hotly anticipated series is adapted from Leigh Bardugo's bestselling "Grishaverse" novels and will premiere on April 23. (Mild spoilers for the books below.) Bardugo published Shadow and Bone, the first of a trilogy, in June 2012, followed by Siege and Storm in 2013 and Ruin and Rising in 2014. She told Entertainment Weekly in 2012 that she deliberately avoided the usual medieval fantasy motifs and drew inspiration instead from the Russian Empire in the early 1800s. "As much as I love broadswords and flagons of ale—and believe me, I do—I wanted to take readers someplace a little different," she said. "Tsarist Russia gave me a different point of departure."Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A vast, ancient wilderness ready to be explored. Today's online Pokémon Presents stream, which celebrated the series' 25th anniversary, included at least one major surprise: the announcement of a new, more action-oriented Pokémon game set in a period resembling feudal Japan. Pokémon Legends: Arceus is in full development by Game Freak and is targeting an early 2022 release, according to the announcement. While the new game will be set in the now-familiar Sinnoh region, it will move things back to "a long, long time ago, when the Sinnoh region was still only a vast wilderness." Players will operate from a base in a feudal-style village, starting out with one of three familiar starter pokémon (Rowlett, Cyndaquil, or Oshawott) to explore that wilderness and fill in the region's first pokédex. A short trailer for the game showed a few changes from the series' usual RPG format. Using a Sword and Shield-style over-the-shoulder camera, players can "study the pokémon’s behaviors, sneak up to them, then throw pokéballs" to catch them directly, as the game's official description puts it.Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination center in Madrid on Feb. 26, 2021. (credit: Getty | NurPhoto) With worrisome coronavirus variants seemingly emerging and spreading everywhere, lead vaccine makers are wasting no time in trying to get ahead of the growing threat. This week, Moderna and partners Pfizer and BioNTech announced they have kicked off new vaccine clinical trials aimed at boosting the effectiveness of their authorized vaccines against new, concerning SARS-CoV-2 variants—primarily B.1.351, a variant first identified in South Africa. In a set of studies published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, both the Moderna mRNA vaccine and Pfizer/BioNTech mRNA vaccine spurred antibodies in vaccinated people that could neutralize the B.1.351 variant. But the levels of those neutralizing antibodies were significantly lower than what was seen against past versions of the virus. (Both vaccines performed well against the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, which is expected to become the dominant strain in the US next month.)Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The US and Texas flags fly in front of high-voltage transmission towers on February 21, 2021 in Houston, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Justin Sullivan ) A Texas woman who was charged $9,546 for power this month has filed a class-action lawsuit against Griddy, alleging that the variable-rate electricity provider violated a state law against price gouging during disasters. Lisa Khoury, a retiree in Mont Belvieu, signed up with Griddy in June 2019 and typically received monthly bills of $200 to $250 until this month's power disaster that sent rates soaring. Griddy charged Khoury and her husband $9,546 from February 1 to 19, 2021, the lawsuit said, noting that "some customers received bills as high as $17,000." Khoury's lawsuit filed Monday in Harris County District Court seeks certification of a class of thousands of Texas residents who bought power from Griddy, claiming they're entitled to damages of over $1 billion.Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Snow outside of a Best Buy store in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Feb. 17, 2021. (credit: Nick Oxford/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Best Buy says it has trimmed its headcount by 21,000 over the last year as the pandemic has accelerated the company's transition to selling online. Most of those losses were due to attrition—including workers who were furloughed during the pandemic last year and then chose not to return to work. But Best Buy says that in recent weeks it formally laid off 5,000 workers. The company now has about 102,000 workers—including employees in its retail stores and corporate headquarters. A company will often lay off workers because it is struggling. The last year has certainly been a challenging period for some brick-and-mortar businesses. This week, for example, electronics giant Fry's shut down all of its stores. But that doesn't seem to be the situation at Best Buy, which has weathered the pandemic fairly well. In the last quarter, same-store sales at Best Buy's brick and mortar stores were up 12 percent compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, online sales were up an impressive 89 percent.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Google TV setup will show you this menu in the future. Here, the Google TV option enables apps, the Google Assistant, and recommendations. [credit: 9to5Google ] The new Google TV is a fine smart TV interface, but when it gets integrated into some TV sets later this year, its best feature might be that you can turn it off. A report from 9to5Google details an upcoming "Basic TV" mode that will be built into Google TV, which turns off just about all the smart TV features. Right now, Google TV is only available in the new Chromecast, but Google TV will be built into upcoming TVs from Sony and TCL. Basic mode means we'll get smart TVs with a "dumb TV" mode. The rise of smart TVs has led to the extinction of dumb TVs—today, basically every TV has some kind of computer and operating system built into it. If you're actually expecting to live with a TV for several years, the problem with smart TVs is that the dirt-cheap computers inside these TVs don't last as long as the display does. When your smart TV is a few years old, you might still have a perfectly good display panel, but you'll be forced to interact with it through a slow, old, possibly abandoned integrated computer. Companies should sell dumb TVs without any of this crap permanently integrated into them, but if they refuse, letting consumers turn off the software is the next best thing. When the new feature rolls out, you'll be asked to choose between "Basic TV" or "Google TV" at setup. 9to5Google says that with basic mode, "almost everything is stripped, leaving users with just HDMI inputs and Live TV if they have an antenna plugged directly into the TV. Casting support, too, is dropped." The UI notes that you'll be turning off all apps, the Google Assistant, and personalized recommendations.Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / This style of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD should soon work with the PS5, though that massive heatsink won't fit inside the system's expansion bay. Bloomberg cites unnamed "people briefed on the matter" in reporting that PS5 owners will finally be able to expand the system's built-in storage by this coming summer. The planned firmware update that will unlock this feature will also allow for higher cooling-fan speeds on the system to prevent overheating, Bloomberg reports. For games designed for the PS5, owners are currently limited to 667GB of usable space on the system's 825GB high-speed NVMe drive. That's a pretty strict limit when individual PS5 games can be 50 to 100GB or more at the high end. PS5 owners can plug in a standard USB hard drive to store backward compatible PlayStation 4 games running on the system, though. Almost a year ago, Sony announced that the PS5's storage space would be expandable with certain standard M.2 solid state drives, which are shaped a bit like a stick of gum. Sony said it would be benchmarking a number of those drives to ensure compatibility with the PS5's stated 5.5GBps data transfer spec. But Sony's Mark Cerny said at the time that the announcement of these officially confirmed PS5-compatible drives would "likely be a bit past" the PS5's launch.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / This is a Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley school bus, built by Thomas Built Buses and equipped with an electric powertrain from Proterra. (credit: Daimler) This week's news about the new US Postal Service truck contract, and the USPS' decision to order 90 percent of them with internal combustion engines, has been viewed by many as a missed opportunity. Thankfully, the news is better when it comes to electrifying another one of our public services—the school bus. On Thursday, Montgomery County—a wealthy Maryland suburb adjacent to Washington, DC—approved a contract to electrify its entire school bus fleet. School buses are an ideal candidate for electrification, given the frequent stops and the fact that the buses usually only run a couple of times each day. With more than 1,400 buses, the Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education, which has more than 200 schools and 160,000 students, has one of the largest fleets of school buses in the country. And now it's getting 326 new ones, the largest single order of EV buses by a school district in the country. The buses in question are Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouleys, built by Thomas Built Buses and equipped with electric powertrains made by Proterra. The Saf-T-Liner C2 Jouley uses a 226kWh battery to achieve a range of up to 135 miles (217km), with up to 81 passengers aboard. The switch to electric power should cut the district's carbon emissions by 25,000 tons and reduce diesel particulate pollution.Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Uconnect 5 infotainment system, as seen in the latest Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, is built on Android Automotive. [credit: Bradley Iger ] Infotainment systems have been a common sight in new passenger vehicles for well over a decade, but many automakers are only now realizing just how important these devices really are. For drivers who have embraced the always-connected lifestyle, it's undoubtedly the vehicle technology they'll directly interact with the most. As such, the features, performance, and user experience provided by these systems can have far-reaching implications for customers' overall impression of their automobiles. It's something Stellantis has been well aware of for some time now. Back in 2003, Chrysler Group was the first North American automaker to offer Bluetooth technology in its vehicles, laying the groundwork for what would eventually become Uconnect 1.0. In the years since, Uconnect has gone on to become one of the standard-bearers for OEM infotainment. Often at the forefront of emerging connectivity options and software integration, Uconnect has regularly been praised for its responsive performance and robust feature set—both key struggling points for many manufacturers back in infotainment's early years. The Uconnect ecosystem would continue to mature with the launch of 3.0 in 2013 and 4.0 in 2016, the latter being one of the earliest to adopt Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in a wide breadth of vehicles across various market segments.Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / We won't be seeing New Glenn take flight for nearly two years, at least. (credit: Blue Origin) Welcome to Edition 3.34 of the Rocket Report! I apologize for the unplanned hiatus last week. The Rocket Report's Houston-based author lacked power until Wednesday night amidst a massive winter storm and had no reliable Internet until Friday afternoon. We still had no hot water at our house, but at least we're no longer freezing. We're back just in time to spew all manner of spicy launch news this week. As always, Ars welcomes reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. KSLV-2 rocket on track for 2022 launch. As part of its budget for 2021 space activities, South Korea will spend $553 million for satellites, rockets, and other equipment. SpaceNews reports this funding will keep the country's development of its natively build KSLV-2 rocket, nicknamed Nuri, on schedule for a launch next year.Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Greg (Owen Wilson) and Isabel (Salma Hayek) find themselves shifting between a beautiful and an "ugly" world—but which is real, and which is the simulation? (credit: YouTube/Amazon) A depressed man finds himself questioning the reality of his existence when he meets a free-spirited woman who insists he's inhabiting a simulation in Bliss, a new film from director Mike Cahill that stars Owen Wilson and Salma Hayek. Sure, it sounds like an indie riff on The Matrix, and there are a few shared elements, but Bliss is markedly different in theme and tone, and it is very much Cahill's unique vision. (Major spoilers below the gallery. We'll give you a heads up when we get there.) As we've reported previously, Cahill also directed the 2011 indie sci-fi film Another Earth—his first feature—which received a standing ovation at its premiere and won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Cahill's 2014 followup feature, I Origins, also snagged the Sloan Prize; in fact, he's the only director to have twice won the award, so he's got some serious indie sci-fi film street cred. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Yuffie—a beloved hero who is in the original Final Fantasy VII but not its existing remake—returns to the remake's... remake. [credit: Square Enix ] Sony's latest PlayStation-focused video reveal event, as part of its State Of Play series, was its shortest yet, lacking announcements on any first-party Sony games coming to either PlayStation 5 or the older PS4. Instead, the event was led by a third-party whopper: a remake of... last year's Final Fantasy VII Remake. That definition is a stretch, since this new title may be better classified as a graphical remaster, but there's a lot going on, as visible in the above gallery. The new game, FFVII Remake Intergrade, will land exclusively on PlayStation 5 consoles on June 10, and in good news, existing owners on PS4 will get nearly all of its content as a free upgrade (so long as they either own the game digitally or have a disc-based PS5). That content includes a sweeping graphical overhaul with new lighting, texture, and particle systems and an optional 60fps mode, plus a new "classic" option for the game's active battling system. Picking "classic" will let players focus entirely on selecting commands from menus, instead of giving direct joystick control to a "lead" character like Cloud or Tifa. For existing owners who may have already beaten the game, the incentive to double-dip comes in the form of a new "episode" of content. This will put players in control of original series character Yuffie, and the revealed footage includes her and a companion named Sonon spending time in existing game regions like the Sector 7 slums—and Yuffie using Sonon as a springboard to pull off cinematic, sweeping attacks. To access this new chapter, existing owners will have to pay for the extra DLC, though publisher Square Enix hasn't yet clarified how much that will cost.Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A registered nurse practitioner holds up a sign and a flag asking for another patient to dose with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine as well as a more vaccine doses at a vaccination site in Seattle, Washington on January 24, 2021. (credit: Getty | Grant Hendsley) In its efforts to help Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is quietly working on a new website that will let people see every location in their community offering COVID-19 vaccinations, how many shots each of those locations has for the current day, and provide links to set up vaccination appointments. That's the ideal, at least; there's a lot of work to do to get there. Right now, the site—vaccinefinder.org—only has the full lists of vaccine providers for four states—Alaska, Indiana, Iowa, and Tennessee. Those lists include providers at hospitals, clinics, public health centers, doctor's offices, drug stores, and grocery store pharmacies.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Matthew Horwood / Getty Images) In general, obesity is linked with a large range of health problems—for most people, at least. But for a substantial minority of those who are overweight, obesity is accompanied by indications of decent health, with no signs of impending diabetes or cardiovascular disease. These cases have probably received unwarranted attention; who doesn't want to convince themselves that they're an exception to an unfortunate rule, after all? But the phenomenon is real, and it's worth understanding. To that end, a large international team of researchers has looked into whether some of these cases might be the product of genetic influences. And simply by using existing data, the team found 61 instances where a location in our genomes is associated with both elevated obesity and signs of good health, cardiovascular or otherwise. Good and bad The team's method of searching the genome is remarkably straightforward, and it relies on the fact that many research groups have already done so much work to look for factors associated with obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular health. This work includes searching for areas of the genome associated with measures of obesity, like body mass index, body fat percentage, and waist-to-hip ratio. Insulin and glucose levels have also been studied genetically, as these numbers give some indication of how the body is responding to weight and food intake. Cardiovascular health measures including things like cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as blood pressure, have also been explored.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / AT&T's logo at its corporate headquarters on March 13, 2020 in Dallas, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Ronald Martinez ) Nearly six years after buying DirecTV for $48.5 billion, AT&T today announced a deal to sell a minority stake in the business unit and spin it out into a new subsidiary. AT&T said its deal with private equity firm TPG Capital values the TV business at $16.25 billion. A press release said that AT&T and TPG "will establish a new company named DirecTV that will own and operate AT&T's US video business unit consisting of the DirecTV, AT&T TV, and U-verse video services." AT&T will own 70 percent of the spun-off DirecTV company's common equity while TPG will own 30 percent. DirecTV in its new form "will be jointly governed by a board with two representatives from each of AT&T and TPG, as well as a fifth seat for the CEO, which at closing will be Bill Morrow, CEO of AT&T's US video unit," the announcement said.Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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