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Trailer for tonight's episode of Year Million. (video link) If you're interested in where science and technology might take humanity over the next million years, you might want to check out a new series from National Geographic called Year Million. Part science fiction, part speculative commentary, the show explores what could happen to humanity if we actually achieve some of today's scientific moonshots, like extreme longevity, human-equivalent AI, fully immersive VR, and space colonization. The series' advisers included futurists like George Dvorsky and Michio Kaku, as well as science fiction writers like N.K. Jemisin. Their commentary is interspersed with the story of a family whose members go through all the changes created by technology. Thanks to life extension, they get to live for a million years and see the Earth and humanity utterly transformed. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Atypeek) Two Democratic senators have asked Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to explain why "FCC security personnel reportedly manhandled, threatened, and ejected" a journalist who was trying to ask questions after last week's net neutrality vote. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) sent a letter to Pai Friday, one day after CQ Roll Call reporter John Donnelly accused FCC guards of forcing him out of the building when he was trying to talk to Pai and Commissioner Michael O'Rielly. Udall and Hassan wrote: Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Yuriko Nakao/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter on Sunday night to let the world know that a revised version of the company's semi-autonomous Autopilot software would arrive on compatible cars next month. Excited about the Tesla Autopilot software release rolling out next month. New control algorithm feels as smooth as silk. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2017 The release will be for the most recent versions of the Model S sedan and Model X SUV, built from October 2016 onward. Earlier Teslas—known as HW1 or "hardware 1" vehicles—used sensors and algorithms from Mobileye (like many other semi-autonomous cars). However, following a fatal crash in May 2016 that garnered a lot of media attention, the relationship between Tesla and Mobileye broke down, and the former decided to develop its own sensor suite and software. (An NHTSA investigation into the crash revealed that the car's software was not to blame for the accident and that virtually every automatic emergency braking system would also have failed to activate given the specific circumstances of the crash.) Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Intropin) Amid a national shortage of a critical medicine, US hospitals are hoarding vials, delaying surgeries, and turning away patients, The New York Times reports. The medicine in short supply: solutions of sodium bicarbonate—aka, baking soda. The simple drug is used in all sorts of treatments, from chemotherapies to those for organ failure. It can help correct the pH of blood and ease the pain of stitches. It is used in open-heart surgery, can help reverse poisonings, and is kept on emergency crash carts. But, however basic and life-saving, the drug has been in short supply since around February. The country’s two suppliers, Pfizer and Amphastar, ran low following an issue with one of Pfizer’s suppliers—the issue was undisclosed due to confidentiality agreements. Amphastar’s supplies took a hit with a spike in demand from desperate Pfizer customers. Both companies told the NYT that they don’t know when exactly supplies will be restored. They speculate that it will be no earlier than June or August. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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An Oregon man who stripped naked at an airport security screening checkpoint must pay a $500 fine after a federal appeals court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect this method of protest. The nude protest at Portland International Airport (PDX) by a traveler named John Brennan prompted legal action by both the federal government and the state of Oregon. Portland prosecutors charged him with indecent exposure. A local judge acquitted him, saying that Oregon cannot "punish" him for his nudity, which amounted to protest speech protected by the First Amendment. Federal authorities also imposed a civil fine for violating a US law that prohibits "interference with screening personnel." The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, siding with the government, ruled last week that the First Amendment is no defense to getting naked in a TSA security line. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino) The Samsung Chromebook Pro is finally going to be a real device. Lost in the hubbub of Google I/O Friday, Samsung quietly dropped a press release pegging the device for a May 28 release date. With the Chromebook Pixel off the market, the all-aluminum, touch-and-pen enabled, Android app-packing Samsung "Chromebook" models were immediately looked to as the flagships of the Chromebook universe. Samsung announced the ARM-powered Chromebook Plus and Intel-powered Chromebook Pro at CES in January, and the Plus saw a reasonable release date the next month. Review units for the faster, Intel-powered Chromebook Pro went out in February, too, but the actual release date remained a mystery. Now it's May, and almost five months after the announcement, the Chromebook Pro will finally hit the streets. The reason for the delay is the Android apps on Chrome OS feature. It has been around as a "beta" for some time, but wrapping things up apparently took much longer than Google expected. According to a report from The Verge, the Android on Chrome OS beta will continue into the summer. And while the Chromebook Pro's Android container will be running Android 7.0, it still won't support window resizing at launch. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Careful, friend... while you were sleeping, the real-world value of that gold pile just went down a bit. Activision's decision to sell Destiny 2 through Blizzard's Battle.net (or the Blizzard app, if you insist on calling it that) is already having ripple effects throughout the platform. Look no further than World of Warcraft, where the real-world value of in-game gold has sunk quickly in the wake of the announcement, according to the tracker at WoWToken.info. The in-game auction price of a WoW Token—which can be exchanged for $15 in credit on other Battle.net games—settled at around 120,000 gold pieces on North American servers this morning. That's up from a price of about 110,000 gold pieces just before the Destiny 2 announcement threw the market into turmoil, causing the Token price to briefly spike to over 140,000 gold on Thursday evening. The result looks to be about a 7 percent decline in the real-world buying power of a piece of WoW gold in less than a week. Put another way, the functional price of a $60 copy of Destiny 2 in WoW gold jumped from just under 450,000 gold pieces to just over 480,000 in a matter of days. An incredibly focused, min-maxing gold farmer could still earn that gold in a month or two of dedicated WoW play, though. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: University of Tasmania) Plastic is durable—very, very durable—which is why we like it. Since it started being mass-produced in the 1950s, annual production has increased 300-fold. Because plastic is so durable, when our kids grow up and we purge our toy chests, or even just when we finish a bottle of laundry detergent or shampoo, it doesn’t actually go away. While we're recycling increasing amounts of plastic, a lot of it still ends up in the oceans. Floating garbage patches have brought some attention to the issue of our contamination of the seas. But it's not just the waters themselves that have ended up cluttered with plastic. A recent survey shows that a staggering amount of our stuff is coming ashore on the extremely remote Henderson Island. Henderson Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site in the Pitcairn Group of Islands in the South Pacific, roughly half way between New Zealand and Peru. According to UNESCO, Henderson is one of the best examples we have of an elevated coral atoll ecosystem. It was colonized by Polynesians between the 12th and 15th centuries but has been uninhabited by humans since then. It is of interest to evolutionary biologists because it has 10 plant species and four bird species that are only found there. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Gearah Goldstein speaks with her plastic surgeon, Dr. Loren Schechter, about her gender confirmation surgery. (credit: ASPS) Gender confirmation procedures are on the rise in the US, doctors reported Monday. Surgeons performed more than 3,200 transfeminine and transmasculine procedures in 2016, according to new data from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). That’s nearly a 20 percent increase from numbers in 2015, when the ASPS began tracking the procedures, the society says. Gender confirmation surgeries encompass a variety of procedures, including those that contour or transform the face, chest, or genitals. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach to gender confirmation," Loren Schechter, a board-certified plastic surgeon based in Chicago, said in a statement. "There's a wide spectrum of surgeries that someone may choose to treat gender dysphoria, which is a disconnect between how an individual feels and what that person's anatomic characteristics are." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / John L. Steele, photographed in Chicago in 2010. (credit: Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images) John Steele, one of the masterminds behind the Prenda Law "copyright trolling" scheme, has been disbarred. Court papers indicate that Steele agreed to the disbarment, which was announced by the Illinois Supreme Court on Friday. Steele pled guilty in March to federal fraud and money laundering charges. Over the course of several years, Steele said he and a co-defendant, Paul Hansmeier, made more than $6 million with "sham entities" that threatened Internet users with copyright lawsuits. Along with Hansmeier and a now-deceased attorney named Paul Duffy, Steele "conspired to extort settlement funds from thousands of Internet users in a multi-jurisdictional copyright litigation scheme," Illinois attorney regulators said in a statement of charges. "Specifically, they attempted to exact settlements from users who allegedly infringed on the copyrights of certain pornographic movies, including movies that Mr. Steele himself produced and distributed." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A photo from the China Geological Survey. The researchers extracted methane hydrate from the bottom of the South China Sea. (credit: China Geological Survey) This month, teams from Japan and China have successfully extracted methane hydrate, a hydrocarbon gas trapped in a structure of water molecules, off the seafloor. The substance looks like ice but can be set on fire, and it’s energy-dense—one cubic meter of methane hydrate can contain 160 cubic meters of gas. This makes searching for methane hydrate an attractive research project for several countries. According to the Department of Energy, methane hydrates are abundant on the seafloor and under permafrost, and they contain “perhaps more organic carbon that all the world’s oil, gas, and coal combined.” Such vast reserves of fossil fuels are untapped because of how difficult it is to extract them. As a 2012 post from the Energy Information Agency (EIA) stated, until recently, methane hydrates “provided more problems than solutions.” Preventing their formation around deepwater oil and gas drilling operations has been a crucial part of planning ocean wells. The “ice” substance that contains the gas generally can’t just be picked up off the seafloor because it disintegrates outside of its high-pressure environment. The South China Morning Post wrote that current extraction efforts involve machinery “to depressurize or melt [the methane hydrate] on the sea bed and channel the gas to the surface.” Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Nissan With the public charging infrastructure for electric cars expanding apace and Tesla Superchargers popping up like mushrooms, the concept of driving a few hundred miles in an EV is no longer as absurd a suggestion as it was just a couple of years ago. But ten thousand miles across Europe and central Asia? Come on now. That’s exactly what Chris Ramsey of Plug In Adventures plans to do, entering an all-electric Nissan Leaf in the 2017 Mongol Rally charity run. It’s the first time an electric vehicle has entered the event. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Like my father always said, it's always easier to climb a tower while riding a fire-breathing beast. (credit: WB Interactive / Monolith) LOS ANGELES—Having played a fair amount of Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, I thought I knew what I was in for with its upcoming sequel, Shadow of War. The badass, "slay orcs all around" hero of the first game, Talion, returns with some supernatural twists. You'll use his new slate of dark superpowers against an even tougher crowd of Tolkien-inspired monsters. At recent Shadow of War preview events, the series' developers at Monolith have loudly hinted at one of the game's major new concepts: leadership. Now that your ranger hero is infused with former rival Celebrimbor's dark-elf powers, he can dominate orcs and conscript them to his own army. You'll need the monsters' help to invade and overthrow evil war chiefs at various fortresses and camps. These battlegrounds are packed full of powerful orc foes who remember you, and this idea builds upon SoM's "nemesis" system of persistent enemies. But only last week did Monolith let a particular cat (or orc?) out of the bag: how bleedin' hard this Lord of the Rings adventure game's sequel will be. Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A wall of user photos form a Facebook logo at the company's data center in Lulea, Sweden. (credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images) Just as the Tories—in their bid to form the next UK government—push for greater policing of free content ad networks, a trove of documents revealing the secret guidelines used by Facebook's moderators to deal with posts from child abuse to suicide to terrorist propaganda has been leaked online. The Guardian published the Facebook files on Sunday night. It reported some disturbing findings about what can and can't be moderated on Facebook, after the newspaper was passed more than 100 internal training manuals that included spreadsheets and flowcharts on how the Mark Zuckerberg-run company deals with hate speech, violence, self-harm, and a whole range of other issues. So, it's absolutely fine—under Facebook rules—to leave up a violent, deeply misogynistic post that reads: "To snap a bitch's neck, make sure to apply all your pressure to the middle of the throat." Likewise for comments such as "kick a person with red hair," or "let's beat up fat kids." But one that carries a message such as "Someone shoot Trump" is banned from the site, with moderators being advised to remove such a post. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino) HP announced a slew of updates to its Envy laptop line today, in addition to a mildly revamped Spectre x2. Many of these changes focus on elevating overall design, but in a practical way that doesn't impede the power and efficiency of each device. Slimmer bezels, bold edges, and USB Type-C abound, giving way to a more modern-looking Envy family and Spectre x2. Envy’s new edges Envy laptops and convertibles are getting welcome improvements: in particular, the Envy 13 looks quite different now than when Ars' Andrew Cunningham reviewed it last year. The most striking difference is the hinge, which now sports a shiny, sharp edge branded with the Envy name. Compared to the previous model's rounded hinge, this looks and feels more premium, and it still lifts the laptop slightly off its surface to allow better airflow. Although it maintains that lift-hinge and tapered design, the new Envy 13 is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, measuring .55-inches thick and weighing 2.7 pounds. Combine its new edginess with its all-metal construction and you have a laptop that appears better positioned to take on devices like the Dell XPS 13. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Bullet Cluster, which has been viewed as a demonstration of dark matter. (credit: APOD)   The Universe is a strange place. Apart from the normal matter that we see around us, there appears to be a far larger amount of matter that we cannot see—the infamous dark matter. Even more puzzling, the Universe seems to be bathed in a similarly invisible dark energy, which drives the Universe to expand faster and faster. This all points to something missing from our understanding. At the moment, we tend to think that dark matter is something missing from quantum mechanics, a particle that provides dark matter. Dark energy seems to be more gravity related. But it's possible the two are linked. According to Professor Erik Verlinde from the University of Amsterdam, it may be that dark matter does not exist. His work indicates that in a Universe with dark energy (a positive cosmological constant), gravity does not exactly follow general relativity. His preliminary calculations indicate that the difference between general relativity and his work may provide forces that we currently ascribe to dark matter. Read 42 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Chatting up MoonExpress co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain (video link) NEW ORLEANS—The day before we talked with Moon Express co-founder and chairman Naveen Jain, he sat on the Collision Conference mainstage next to a HoloLens-clad Robert Scoble. The successful investor Jain and the enthusiastic tech-evangelist Scoble chatted about “Startups as a Superpower,” exploring what it means if a private business—and not another nation-state—becomes the fourth entity to reach the Moon. And while the challenge definitely carries an inherent amount of glory, Jain believes a startup will have the next Armstrong moment for one familiar reason. “[Successful entrepreneurs] have to look at what problems we want to solve—tech is a means to an end, and profit is a motivator,” he said. “If I want to create a $10 billion business, I need to solve a problem that affects at least one billion people.” Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Andrew Cunningham We live in uncertain times, but when it comes to laptops, we’re actually pretty spoiled these days. The low-end still has plenty of junky machines, but buying good, thoughtfully designed computers for $700 and up is also easier than ever. That means that sweating the details is more important than ever. A thin-and-light design, a nice IPS screen, a non-terrible keyboard and trackpad, and a good (and/or forward-looking) port selection can all be expected from a high-end laptop these days. So purchasing decisions and recommendations increasingly come down to the little things. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Video shot/edited by Jennifer Hahn. (video link) Polar continues to improve on its existing running watches with the new M430 tracker. It's an upgrade to the M400 in many subtle ways, including an improved accelerometer, longer battery life, and the inclusion of Polar's own optical heart-rate monitor. Although it's positioned as a runner's watch, you can do much more with the M430 thanks to Polar's sport profiles. But runners will appreciate the convenience of having an accelerometer that can handle indoor and outdoor activities well, an onboard heart-rate monitor, and a GPS that doesn't make you wait when you're ready to run now. While it has stiff competition in the TomTom Spark 3, Polar's device combines enough essential features to hold its own. Design Although the M430 has all-day activity tracking features, its design is best suited for training sessions. It has that rounded-rectangular shape many other Polar devices have, featuring two left-side buttons for the screen backlight and navigating back, and three right-side buttons for scrolling up and down and selecting options on the display. Physical buttons are easier to use (and more accurate) than a touchscreen would be on a serious training device, so I don't mind having them on the M430. In fact, I would have preferred them on the TomTom Spark 3 instead of its awkward touchpad below the display. Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/BBC) This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Extremis. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 7:25pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America. Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat clearly wants to go out in style: might he achieve that plan with a trilogy—starting with Extremis—that brings us mysterious new enemies known only as The Monks, who are plotting to conquer Earth with the help of a simulated computer game? VR might not have taken off in the real world yet and, in my view, looks set to join the '80s versions of the headsets in the Woolworths bargain bin (remember that?). But in Extremis, the tech is used imaginatively to create a nightmarish vision that aligns with space billionaire Elon Musk's insistence that there's a "one in billions" chance we're not living in a simulated universe. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A US Army manual updated this month stresses that soldiers should not solely rely on technology when detecting enemy aircraft. Soldiers, the Army said, must possess a skill the manual calls "Visual Aircraft Recognition" (VACR). That's military-speak for being able to determine the type of aircraft one might encounter—all in an effort to distinguish between friend and foe "to decrease any chance of fratricide." "VACR is a highly perishable skill and must be trained on and evaluated regularly in conjunction with table training. While it is the Soldier on the ground, weapon system in hand that is executing VACR, leaders at all levels must be proficient at this skill," according to the manual, (PDF) Visual Aircraft Recognition. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Kaspersky Lab) Eight days ago, the WCry ransomware worm attacked more than 200,000 computers in 150 countries. The outbreak prompted infected hospitals to turn away patients and shut down computers in banks and telecoms. Now that researchers have had time to analyze the self-replicating attack, they're learning details that shed new and sometimes surprising light on the world's biggest ransomware attack. Chief among the revelations: more than 97 percent of infections hit computers running Windows 7, according to attacks seen by antivirus provider Kaspersky Lab. By contrast, infected Windows XP machines were practically non-existent, and those XP PCs that were compromised were likely manually infected by their owners for testing purposes. That's according to Costin Raiu, director of Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis Team, who spoke to Ars. While the estimates are based only on computers that run Kaspersky software, as opposed to all computers on the Internet, there's little question Windows 7 was overwhelmingly affected by WCry, which is also known as "WannaCry" and "WannaCrypt." Security ratings firm BitSight found that 67 percent of infections hit Windows 7, Reuters reported. Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Prepare to kick some shell! Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com—and let us know what you think. The first afternoon I played the new board game, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past, my friends and I had been ninja fighting for an hour before someone realized that Leonardo had a special ability: he could flip right over the heads of two street toughs to prevent them from getting away. My friend was so excited by this revelation that he grabbed the Leo figure and played-acted a physical flip up and over the thugs. Turtle power! Shadows of the Past comes from IDW Games, the gaming division of the same company publishing the latest iteration of the Turtles’ comic books. The game is built around its own simple narrative that covers 16 possible battles. One player controls the Big Bad, Shredder, and oversees all the villain action in the game, while all other players control the four Turtles. Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Windows 10 S default wallpaper is a rather attractive simplified version of the Windows 10 default wallpaper. (credit: Microsoft) While still not out yet, we're learning a little more about what Windows 10 S, the imminent version of Windows 10 that'll run Store apps but nothing more, will and won't be able to do. First, a thing 10 S won't do: run command-line applications. CMD and PowerShell, the two built-in Windows command-line interfaces, won't be supported. Neither will the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) that allows the use of Linux software on Windows. The rationale is that the built-in command-line applications include dangerous tools (for example, the diskpart partitioning program) that can break things, and the Store has no third-party command-line tools at all. To keep Windows 10 S protected against user error, they're all prohibited. Oddly, at Microsoft's Windows 10 S launch event, I was successfully able to run both CMD and PowerShell on a number of the Windows 10 S machines that were on display. Although the obvious ways of launching these things were removed (no entry in the Start menu or the Win-X menu, for example), the programs themselves did run. Leaked builds of Windows 10 S do appear to properly prevent their execution. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ars interviews an astronaut! (video link) NEW ORLEANS—Mike Massimino wanted to be an astronaut ever since Neil Armstrong inspired the former six-year-old. He obsessed over space so much, in fact, his mom once converted an elephant costume from Massimino’s first-grade play into his official flight suit. “She cut the tail off and made it an astronaut,” he said while sharing a vintage Polaroid on stage at this year’s Collision Conference. “I didn’t have any friends apparently, so Snoopy was my copilot.” Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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