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(credit: Lower Columbia College) Just in time for the Nov. 8 presidential elections, a federal appeals court on Wednesday declared a New Hampshire law banning so-called ballot booth selfies "facially unconstitutional." The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (PDF) there was no compelling government need to restrict First Amendment rights and ban voters from disseminating pictures of their ballots or of themselves posed with their ballots. State lawmakers, when approving the law that carries a $1,000 fine, had maintained in 2014 that the statute was needed to combat voter fraud—like having people coerced into voting a certain way and then having to prove it via social media or by some other means, for example. The appeals court explained: Digital photography, the internet, and social media are not unknown quantities — they have been ubiquitous for several election cycles, without being shown to have the effect of furthering vote buying or voter intimidation. As the plaintiffs note, “small cameras” and digital photography “have been in use for at least 15 years,” and New Hampshire cannot identify a single complaint of vote buying or intimidation related to a voter’s publishing a photograph of a marked ballot during that period. No federal law addresses the issue. That means across the US, the law in the 50 states on voting booth selfies remains mixed. There's a few court challenges across the country. The court that ruled Wednesday covers the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Maine. The Huffington Post has a lengthy guide on which state's it's OK to post a picture of yourself showing your votes this November. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / More traditional memristors have also been made by HP. (credit: HP) While the human brain isn't particularly quick at handling complex calculations, it performs a variety of tasks, such as image analysis, far more accurately than any computer. And, when it comes to energy efficiency, a brain beats a traditional computer with ease. Which is why it's somewhat ironic that all the original attempts to model a brain were forced to use software running on traditional computers, since that was all we had. Recently, however, there have been a variety of attempts to build hardware that acts more like a collection of neurons than anything that Apple or Intel have designed. While some of that uses traditional silicon-based transistors, other efforts have explored a relatively newer development, the memristor. Now, an international collaboration that includes everyone from HP to the Air Force has designed a memristor that behaves a bit more like a neuron: its recent activity influences how it responds. This is accomplished by allowing metal to diffuse within the solid memristor. The idea behind the new design was apparently inspired by our understanding of neurons. In many cases, the activity of a neuron isn't only set by the signals it's receiving right at that instant. Instead, it has the biochemical equivalent of short-term memory. If it's received signals in the recent past, it's easier to activate that neuron by an additional signal. Over time, that memory fades, and the neuron goes back to its normal level of responsiveness. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | BSIP) For teens, a face full of oozing, bulging, and bursting zits is sure to mortify. But the puss-spewing horror may be a sign of a glowing godsend to come. Those who suffer through acne early in life are likely to have longer telomeres (protective DNA caps on the ends of chromosomes) in their white blood cells—a feature that suggests their cells may age more slowly. The finding, published Wednesday in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, may finally explain a phenomenon dermatologists have long noted: that past acne sufferers tend to have more youthful looking skin, with less wrinkling and thinning, compared to peers who never battled blemishes. “Our findings suggest that the cause could be linked to the length of telomeres, which appears to be different in acne sufferers and means their cells may be protected against ageing,” lead author of the study, Simone Ribero, a dermatologist at King’s College London, said in a statement. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This is the Volkswagen I.D. It's an electric car with a decent (250-300 mile) range that you'll be able to buy in 2020. Within the first few weeks of Volkswagen's diesel shenanigans becoming public knowledge, the company's board decided that electrification would have to be the way of the future. And earlier this year, the company got more concrete about those plans, forecasting that 20 to 25 percent of its sales in 2025 would be electric vehicles. While we'd already seen veiled production EV concepts from Audi and Porsche, at the Paris Motor Show on Wednesday VW revealed the I.D. concept, a battery electric vehicle that VW says will go into production in 2020. The I.D. features a 125kW motor, batteries good for 250 to 375 miles' range (400 to 600km) according to VW, and it's the first car to use VW Group's Modular Electric Drive (MEB) platform. (The Audi e-tron and Porsche Mission-e concepts linked above both predate MEB.) The I.D. will be launched as a model parallel to VW's very successful Golf, and the dimensions look roughly similar based on the provided images of the car. VW also tells us that the car is our first look at the marque's plans for autonomous driving. A self-driving mode will apparently be available from 2025, and when in automated mode, the steering wheel recesses into the dash. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Sam Schmidt (in the car) and the team of Arrow engineers with Project SAM in the pit lane at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Schmidt did some demo laps for the crowd on Carb Day. Arrow Back in April, we told you about Project SAM, a Chevrolet Corvette specially modified by Arrow to enable the vehicle to be driven by Sam Schmidt. Schmidt is a successful IndyCar team owner these days, but he used to be an IndyCar driver until an accident in 2000 paralyzed him from the neck down. On Wednesday, Nevada—which has a reputation as an early adopter when it comes to automotive technology—issued Schmidt the first "autonomous vehicle restricted driver's license." Project SAM works with a combination of head tracking (for the steering) and a sip-and-puff controller for the throttle and brake. The system is sensitive enough to let Schmidt actually drive the car to its potential; at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb this year, Schmidt gave a demonstration run up the mountain on race day. His co-driver, Robby Unser, confirmed to Ars that Schmidt did not take things easy. However, Schmidt's license does come with a few restrictions. For one thing, like the autonomous vehicle testing licenses granted by the state to Google, it's only valid within Nevada. Also, Project SAM can't go out if there's snow or ice on the road, and there needs to be a pilot car ahead as well as a licensed driver ready to take control of the Z06 if necessary. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Humans living in Argentina 14,000 years ago were hunting giant armadillos. This one looks especially grumpy. (credit: Heinrich Harder) For more than a decade, evidence has been piling up that humans colonized the Americas thousands of years before the Clovis people. The Clovis, who are the early ancestors of today's Native Americans, left abundant evidence of their lives behind in the form of tools and graves. But the mysterious pre-Clovis humans, who likely arrived 17,000 to 15,000 years ago, have left only a few dozen sources of evidence for their existence across the Americas, mostly at campsites where they processed animals during hunting trips. Now a fresh examination of one such campsite, a 14,000-year-old hunter's rest stop outside the city of Tres Arroyos in Argentina, has given us a new understanding of how the pre-Clovis people might have lived. Archaeologists are still uncertain how the pre-Clovis people arrived in the Americas. They came after the end of the ice age but at a time when glaciers and an icy, barren environment would still have blocked easy entrance into the Americas via Northern Canada. So it's extremely unlikely that they marched over a land bridge and into the Americas through the middle of the continent—most scientists believe they would have come via a coastal route, frequently using boats for transport. That would explain why many pre-Clovis sites are on the coast, on islands, or on rivers that meet the ocean. These early settlers were hunter-gatherers who used stone tools for a wide range of activities, including hunting, butchery, scraping hides, preparing food, and making other tools out of bone and wood. Many of the pre-Clovis stone tools look fairly simple and were made by using one stone to flake pieces off the other, thus creating sharp edges. At the campsite in Argentina, known as the Arroyo Seco 2 site, archaeologists have found more than 50 such tools made from materials like chert and quartzite. They're scattered across an area that was once a grassy knoll above a deep lake, which is rich with thousands of animal bone fragments that have been carbon dated to as early as 14,000 years ago. There are even a couple-dozen human burials at the site, dated to a later period starting roughly 9,000 years ago. The spot has the characteristic look of a hunter's camp, used for processing animals, that was revisited seasonally for thousands of years. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An HP Officejet ink cartridge, just $26.99. (credit: HP) HP Inc. today said it will restore the ability of certain OfficeJet printers to use third-party ink cartridges, after being criticized for issuing a firmware update that rejects non-HP ink. But HP is still defending its practice of preventing the use of non-HP ink and is making no promises about refraining from future software updates that force customers to use only official ink cartridges. HP made its announcement in a blog post titled "Dedicated to the best printing experience." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Amazon's new Fire TV Stick and its Alexa remote. (credit: Amazon) It's a good time to be in the market for a streaming TV box. Roku just updated its lineup earlier this week with the tiny $30 Roku Express and some mainstream boxes that bring 4K video support for less than $100. Google is expected to release a 4K version of its popular Chromecast dongle at its product event next week. And Amazon has just announced a new version of its $40 Fire TV Stick. For most people, the most noticeable upgrade will be the included Alexa Voice Remote, which can be used to search for media, launch apps, and control playback, among other things. Voice input can go a long way toward solving the normally frustrating experience of tapping out text using a giant on-screen keyboard, and Amazon is offering the feature in a cheaper package than either Roku or Apple. 4K TV and streamers are becoming more common and more affordable, but the Fire TV Stick is still aimed primarily at people with 720p and 1080p TVs and relatively basic needs. It's still getting a few hardware upgrades that should make the experience better, though. It trades its dual-core Broadcom SoC for a quad-core MT8127 chip from MediaTek. Its 1.3GHz ARM Cortex A7 cores and quad-core ARM Mali 450 GPU would be laughably outdated in any smartphone, but they're well-suited for 1080p media streaming and should provide a noticeable improvement to UI fluidity and general responsiveness. The SoC also supports 1080p decode for h.265/HEVC content. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images) In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration sent letters out to beverage makers warning that their caffeinated, alcoholic drinks were “unsafe.” The federal admonishment followed an exceptional string of reports that college kids were getting black-out drunk and severe alcohol poisoning after consuming them. Mixing alcohol and high levels of caffeine is a dangerous combination, the FDA and health experts cautioned; the drinks amp people up while dousing their ability to sense their own intoxication, leading to more drinking and riskier behavior. But according to new research, highly caffeinated beverages can be linked to serious trouble. In a six-year study following 1,000 college students, researchers found that the more non-alcoholic energy drinks a person reported throwing back, the more likely they were to drive drunk. The finding squares with past studies that have linked alcoholic energy drinks to such dangerous behaviors. However, the study, published Tuesday in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, is the first to decouple the bad effects of alcohol from those of the energy drinks alone. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A promotional image used in the announcement of Oculus' Launch Pad funding initiative. (credit: Oculus / Twitter) Back in March, Oculus announced the creation of Launch Pad, a workshop and funding initiative created in part as a way to attract the development efforts of "women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community and anyone who is willing to share how their perspective adds to the 'diversity of thought' in our community." Now, in the wake of reports of Oculus cofounder Palmer Luckey's funding of a controversial pro-Trump "shitposting" group, some participants in that initiative are having doubts about their involvement with the company. The 100 fellows chosen for the Launch Pad program took part in a one-day bootcamp to develop their project idea in May and have received feedback and mentorship from the company via online forums over the summer. Participants are also competing for scholarships of $5,000 to $50,000, the winners of which will be announced in October. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images) An Alabama man who worked as a Verizon Wireless technician has agreed to plead guilty to a federal hacking charge in connection to his illegal use of the company's computers to acquire customer calling and location data. The man, Daniel Eugene Traeger, faces a maximum five years in prison next month. He admitted Thursday that he sold customer data—from 2009 to 2014—to a private investigator whom the authorities have not named. According to the man's signed plea deal (PDF): At some point in 2009, the Defendant met a private investigator ("the PI") who wanted to buy Verizon customer information from the Defendant. The Defendant accepted the PI's offer. The defendant used Verizon computer systems and facilities to access customer call records and customer location data that he knew he was not authorized to access, and provided that information to the PI even though the Defendant knew that he was not authorized to provide it to a third party. The Defendant accessed customer call records by logging into Verizon's MARS system. The Defendant then compiled the data in spreadsheets, which the Defendant provided to the PI, including by e-mail. The Defendant accessed customer location data using a Verizon system called Real Time Tool. Using RTT, the Defendant "pinged" cellular telephones on Verizon's network and provided location data for those telephones to the PI. The plea agreement said that Traeger began making $50 monthly in 2009, when he sold two records a month. By mid-2013, he was earning $750 each month by selling 10 to 15 records. In all, the plea deal says he made more than $10,000 over a five-year period. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Elliott Brown) The Federal Trade Commission will appeal a court decision that let AT&T avoid punishment for throttling the Internet connections of customers with unlimited data plans. The FTC sued AT&T in October 2014, seeking refunds for customers. But last month, a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled in favor of AT&T, overturning a District Court decision that had gone in the FTC's favor. The FTC's options include seeking a rehearing of the case in front of the entire Ninth Circuit appeals court, and that is what the commission will do. "We are going to be seeking a rehearing in that matter," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez told US senators during an FTC oversight hearing yesterday. If the FTC fails at the appeals court level, it could take the matter to the US Supreme Court, but Ramirez did not address that possibility. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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"Rip and Tear," the lead-off song from Doom's new soundtrack. One of the year's best video game soundtracks is now available to buy—but its rippin', rockin' qualities aren't the only reason you should care. Doom 2016's soundtrack is just as notable for its path from video game to MP3. During the late-'90s rise of CD-ROM gaming, Nintendo stubbornly held onto cartridges for many reasons. One lesser-known reason was the company's fondness for dynamic soundtracks. Nintendo wanted MIDI songs in N64 games that could transform based on action and player location, with elements like tempo and instrumentation changing on the fly. (Super Mario 64 introduced this concept, and Banjo-Kazooie ultimately perfected it.) We haven't had a dynamic soundtrack that good in years, but the closest probably came in this March's surprisingly awesome Doom reboot—whose backing tracks are composed as sections that can turn ominous, eerie, or outright violent based on gameplay moments, such as whenever one of the game's memorable "monster closets" opens up, thus causing demons (and guitar riffs) to spill out. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The BlackBerry Priv, Blackberry's first Android phone. Ron Amadeo BlackBerry CEO John Chen has been hinting at this move for almost a year now: today BlackBerry announced it will no longer design hardware. Say goodbye to all the crazy hardware QWERTY devices, ultra-wide phones, and unique slider designs. Speaking to investors, BlackBerry CEO John Chen described the move as a "pivot to software," saying "The company plans to end all internal hardware development and will outsource that function to partners. This allows us to reduce capital requirements and enhance return on invested capital." The "Outsourcing to partners" plan is something we've already seen with the "BlackBerry" DTEK50, which was just a rebranded Alactel Idol 4. Chen is now betting the future of the company on software, saying "In Q2, we more than doubled our software revenue year over year and delivered the highest gross margin in the company's history. We also completed initial shipments of BlackBerry Radar, an end-to-end asset tracking system, and signed a strategic licensing agreement to drive global growth in our BBM consumer business." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Hello Destiny With over 30 million players registered since its 2014 launch, Destiny is one of the most popular shooters on consoles today. Now it looks like PC players will be able to get in on the action with upcoming sequel Destiny 2, according to online reports. The rumor got going yesterday with a NeoGAF poster citing "somebody that works at Activision" as confirming that PC support for the sequel was being communicated to Activision employees. That tidbit was then fleshed out by Kotaku's Jason Schreier, who says he heard about the PC plans "earlier this year" and cites "several sources" in confirming the information. Schreier seems well-positioned to know, too, as he previously wrote an in-depth report on Destiny's messy development history. The reported addition of PC support will likely be aided by the fact that Activision and Bungie officially abandoned the last-generation consoles (i.e., Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) for Destiny's last Rise of Iron expansion. That likely means any sequel won't have to worry about scaling back the PC experience so it also works on console hardware that is over a decade old at this point. The upcoming launch of the PS4 Pro and Xbox's Project Scorpio should also ensure that the development team can target relatively high-end PCs alongside the console market. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / What the view of Mars might look like from inside the Interplanetary Transport System. (credit: SpaceX) Elon Musk finally did it. Fourteen years after founding SpaceX, and nine months after promising to reveal details about his plans to colonize Mars, the tech mogul made good on that promise Tuesday afternoon in Guadalajara, Mexico. Over the course of a 90-minute speech Musk, always a dreamer, shared his biggest and most ambitious dream with the world—how to colonize Mars and make humanity a multiplanetary species. And what mighty ambitions they are. The Interplanetary Transport System he unveiled could carry 100 people at a time to Mars. Contrast that to the Apollo program, which carried just two astronauts at a time to the surface of the nearby Moon, and only for brief sojourns. Moreover, Musk’s rocket that would lift all of those people and propellant into orbit would be nearly four times as powerful than the mighty Saturn V booster. Musk envisions a self-sustaining Mars colony with at least a million residents by the end of the century. Beyond this, what really stood out about Musk’s speech on Tuesday was the naked baring of his soul. Considering his mannerisms, passion, and the utter seriousness of his convictions, it felt at times like the man's entire life had led him to that particular stage. It took courage to make the speech, to propose the greatest space adventure of all time. His ideas, his architecture for getting it done—they’re all out there now for anyone to criticize, second guess, and doubt. Read 36 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Getty Images) Amazon is already in the business of delivering packages to your door as quickly as possible, but now the company seems intent on cutting out shipping middlemen. A report by The Wall Street Journal claims that Amazon is building its own shipping service to replace FedEx and UPS, giving it more control over its packages and possibly allowing it to ship packages from other retailers. Amazon has said its own delivery services would be meant to increase its capacity during busier times of the year, like the upcoming holiday season. However, "current and former Amazon managers and business partners" claim that the company's plans are bigger than that. The initiative dubbed "Consume the City" will eventually let Amazon "haul and deliver" its own packages and those of other retailers and consumers. That delivery network would also directly compete with the likes of UPS and FedEx. It makes sense that Amazon would want to sell, ship, and deliver orders on its own. The report estimates that the company spent $11.5 billion on shipping just last year, amounting to 10.8 percent of sales. The shipping process is currently a bit convoluted: packages from Amazon warehouses get sent to one of two shipping routes, either FedEx or UPS, or to a sorting facility that lumps all packages with similar zip codes together. FedEx and UPS handle its shipments and deliver them to customers, while the packages at the sorting facilities either get delivered via USPS or by Amazon employees themselves. If Amazon were to have control over its shipments over longer distances, it's estimated that the company could save about $3 per package—about $1.1 billion annually. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: BusinessKorea) Samsung's exploding battery nightmare may not yet be over, amid a report from China that a new Galaxy Note 7 burst into flames this week. A Chinese customer has reported that a Note 7 that he bought this week exploded within 24 hours of acquiring it from an online retailer, causing minor injuries to two fingers and damaging his Apple MacBook. “We are currently contacting the customer and will conduct a thorough examination of the device in question once we receive it,” the Korean company said in a statement sent to Bloomberg. Samsung, following an earlier Note 7 fire in China, had previously reported that there were no issues with the batteries used in Note 7s sold there. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: FotoGuy 49057) On Tuesday evening, Wells Fargo announced that the bank’s CEO, John Stumpf, would forfeit $41 million in uninvested equity and forego his salary in the wake of a scandal that has hurt the bank’s reputation. The news comes on the heels of a new Labor Department investigation into the bank's practices, as well as the filing of a proposed $7.2 billion class-action lawsuit by several ex-employees who claim they were forced to "choose between keeping their jobs and opening unauthorized accounts," according to CNN Money. In early September, federal consumer protection regulators announced that thousands of Wells Fargo employees had temporarily opened at least 2 million fake accounts to goose their sales quotas by using real customers’ names without their consent, going so far as to move money from authorized accounts into unauthorized accounts to make them look real. In some cases, the movement of money triggered overdraft and minimum balance fees for the customers. About 500,000 of the fake accounts were credit card accounts—the rest were debit accounts. In a hearing held by the Senate Banking Committee last week, Stumpf admitted that he was unsure if any of the fake accounts harmed customers’ credit ratings. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Google Logo for India Independence Day 2014. (credit: Google Doodles) Google's new instant messaging client Allo doesn't seem like a compelling product. Allo is missing many of the basic features you might expect in an instant messaging app: it only works with one device at a time, it doesn't work on a desktop or laptop computer, it doesn't support tablets very well, it doesn't use a Google account, and it doesn't support SMS. Allo has had a curiously incomplete product launch, and many Google users are left wondering what the company was thinking. Allo's limitations are deal breakers for many people in the hyper-connected developed world who are accustomed to multiple devices and a few GBs of internet connectivity. But what if you're not in a developed country? Google hasn't explicitly come out and said so, but Allo's features and Google's actions around the launch of Allo all point to it being targeted at developing countries, and one developing country in particular: India. When viewed through the lens of the average person in India, Allo's "incomplete" launch, odd design decisions, and missing features suddenly make sense. Google Google's love affair with India is no secret. Google is all about scale and having huge numbers of users, and if you look at a list of countries by population, China is first with 1.38 billion people; India is second with 1.32 billion people; and the United States is third, with 324 million people. Google would love to go to China, but that would mean dealing with the censorship-happy Chinese government, so India is the biggest country in the world where Google can freely do business. India is also the home country of Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Two current-gen Apple Watch Sport models. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) On Tuesday, health insurance giant Aetna announced that it’s starting a new app-based health program that will exclusively rely on Apple products—namely, the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. As part of the program, Aetna will subsidize Apple Watches for select customers as well as offer the smartwatches at no cost to their own 50,000 employees beginning in early 2017. The news from Aetna, which covers about 23 million people nationwide, may please its Apple-loving customers. But no one will be as happy as Apple, which has recently pushed for its devices to be fashioned into medical hubs. Earlier this year, the company unveiled CareKit, an open source platform for creating healthcare apps. In a joint statement with Aetna, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the following: Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel (right) has asked her colleagues to investigate how Hofstra University forced journalists to stop using their own Wi-Fi during the presidential debate. (credit: Bloomberg / Getty Images Press) One of the members of the Federal Communications Commission, Jessica Rosenworcel, has asked the agency to investigate the Monday evening ban on journalists’ Wi-Fi personal hotspots at the presidential debate held at Hofstra University. As Ars reported on Monday evening, the host venue demanded that journalists pay $200 to access the event’s Wi-Fi and were told to shut down their own hotspots or leave the debate. At least one photo, taken by Kenneth Vogel of Politico, showed a handheld device that was being used to scan for and locate “rogue” Wi-Fi networks. My office has asked the @FCC Enforcement Bureau to investigate, figure out what happened. cc: @cfarivar — Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) September 27, 2016 Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An Altera Stratix V developer board, which uses the same kind of FPGA as Microsoft is deploying in Azure. (credit: Altera) Microsoft is embarking on a major upgrade of its Azure systems. New hardware the company is installing in its 34 datacenters around the world still contains the mix of processors, RAM, storage, and networking hardware that you'll find in any cloud system, but to these Microsoft is adding something new: field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), highly configurable processors that can be rewired using software in order to provide hardware accelerated implementations of software algorithms. The company first investigated using FPGAs to accelerate the Bing search engine. In "Project Catapult," Microsoft added off-the-shelf FPGAs on PCIe cards from Altera (now owned by Intel) to some Bing servers and programmed those FPGAs to perform parts of the Bing ranking algorithm in hardware. The result was a 40-fold speed-up compared to a software implementation running on a regular CPU. A common next step after achieving success with an FPGA is to then create an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) to make a dedicated, hardcoded equivalent to the FPGA. This is what Microsoft did with the Holographic Processing Unit in its HoloLens headset, for example, because the ASIC has greatly reduced power consumption and size. But the Bing team stuck with FPGAs because their algorithms change dozens of times a year. An ASIC would take many months to produce, meaning that by the time it arrived, it would already be obsolete. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge The organization that develops Firefox has recommended the browser block digital credentials issued by a China-based certificate authority for 12 months after discovering it cut corners that undermine the entire transport layer security system that encrypts and authenticates websites. The browser-trusted WoSign authority intentionally back-dated certificates it has issued over the past nine months to avoid an industry-mandated ban on the use of the SHA-1 hashing algorithm, Mozilla officials charged in a report published Monday. SHA-1-based signatures were barred at the beginning of the year because of industry consensus they are unacceptably susceptible to cryptographic collision attacks that can create counterfeit credentials. To satisfy customers who experienced difficulty retiring the old hashing function, WoSign continued to use it anyway and concealed the use by dating certificates prior to the first of this year, Mozilla officials said. They also accused WoSign of improperly concealing its acquisition of Israeli certificate authority StartCom, which was used to issue at least one of the improperly issued certificates. "Taking into account all the issues listed above, Mozilla's CA team has lost confidence in the ability of WoSign/StartCom to faithfully and competently discharge the functions of a CA," Monday's report stated. "Therefore we propose that, starting on a date to be determined in the near future, Mozilla products will no longer trust newly issued certificates issued by either of these two CA brands." Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our partners at TechBargains, we're sharing a bunch of great deals with you today. Now you can get a one-year Newegg Premier membership, which includes free return shipping and free three-day expedited shipping—and a $100 gift card for the site—for just $100. Newegg Premier costs $50 for the year, so you essentially get the service and all its perks for the price of just the gift card. It will undoubtably come in handy during the holiday shopping season, so grab it now and use it well into next year. Check out the rest of the deals below, too. Featured Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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