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Enlarge / Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton is a leading opponent of Trump's ZTE bill. (credit: Pete Marovich/Getty Images) Last week the Trump administration announced a deal to lift a ban on US companies exporting technology to Chinese smartphone maker ZTE. ZTE has been largely shut down since the ban was announced last month, because the company depends heavily on Qualcomm chips, Google's software, and other US-made components. But now a bipartisan group of US senators is seeking to reverse Trump's decision and re-impose the export ban. The Wall Street Journal reports that the legislators have reached a deal to attach a ZTE export ban to the National Defense Authorization Act, a "must-pass" bill that authorizes funding for the military. Supporters of the amendment include Democratic minority leader Chuck Schumer and at least two Republican Senators—Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). In the closely divided Senate, just a handful of Republican defections can be enough to give critics of President Trump a majority. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Disney) Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey of science readers we ran a couple weeks ago. It will take us some time to think about how to use what you've told us, but we can definitely let you know what you told us about yourself. To begin with, you're generous. Well over 9,000 of you took the time to fill out the survey, and about 3,500 of you shared additional details via a text field. Public opinion companies would kill to have access to a test group like that. Can’t get enough Sort of. They would if you weren't so... weird. One of our hopes was that we might hear from people who aren't very interested in science but might occasionally read an article if it was pitched the right way. We didn't. There were nine people who said they were either indifferent to science news or avoided it. That's not nine percent of 9,000—it's nine total. Nearly 70 percent said they were very interested in science, and another 23 percent said they do it for a living. Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Amio Cajander) "Modern copyright rules fit for the digital age" is how the European Commission describes its proposals for the first major overhaul of EU copyright law since 2001. But a wide range of startups and industry, academic, digital activist and human rights groups believe that key elements of the proposals will cause serious harm to the functioning of the Internet in the EU and beyond. A vote taking place next week in the key European Parliament JURI committee will determine the likely shape of the law. The most contentious element is Article 13 of the proposed directive (EU-speak for law). It seeks to make Internet services that host large amounts of user-uploaded material responsible for policing their holdings to prevent copyright infringement. Until now, companies have been able to draw on the safe harbor protection in the EU's e-commerce law, which online services enjoy when they are "mere conduits." The new copyright directive would withdraw that protection for any service that "optimizes" content, which includes things like promoting, tagging, curating, or sequencing a site's contents—most major online services, in other words. Legal and technical problems In the future, sites would have two options. They could enter into a licensing agreements for all the content uploaded by their users, although the proposed law does not explain how that could be done for fragmented markets where there is no single licensing body. Alternatively, online services must "prevent the availability on their services of works or other subject-matter identified by rightsholders." Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The Little Snitch firewall was one of at least eight third-party Mac security tools affected by a code-signing bypass. (credit: Okta) For almost 11 years, hackers have had an easy way to get macOS malware past the scrutiny of a host of third-party security tools by tricking them into believing the malicious wares were signed by Apple, researchers said Tuesday. Digital signatures are a core security function for all modern operating systems. The cryptographically generated signatures make it possible for users to know with complete certainty that an app was digitally signed with the private key of a trusted party. But, according to the researchers, the mechanism many macOS security tools have used since 2007 to check digital signatures has been trivial to bypass. As a result, it has been possible for anyone to pass off malicious code as an app that was signed with the key Apple uses to sign its apps. The technique worked using a binary format, alternatively known as a Fat or Universal file, that contained several files that were written for different CPUs used in Macs over the years, such as i386, x86_64, or PPC. Only the first so-called Mach-O file in the bundle had to be signed by Apple. At least eight third-party tools would show other non-signed executable code included in the same bundle as being signed by Apple, too. Affected third-party tools included VirusTotal, Google Santa, Facebook OSQuery, the Little Snitch Firewall, Yelp, OSXCollector, Carbon Black’s db Response, and several tools from Objective-See. Many companies and individuals rely on some of the tools to help implement whitelisting processes that permit only approved applications to be installed on a computer, while forbidding all others. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Plume made a splash into the burgeoning Wi-Fi mesh scene a couple of years ago by promising to do things differently. In a market where vendors vie with each other to put the biggest, nastiest-looking hardware with the biggest possible numbers on the box, Plume seemed to say, "That's not how you actually fix Wi-Fi." Instead, the small, crowdfunded startup started by taking a risk on selling tiny, low-powered devices with cloud-based smart management. And the strategy proved to be successful, despite the devices' individual low power and speed. Fast-forward to today, Plume is now releasing a second generation of hardware—called "Superpod"—that keeps the small form factor, nimble deployment, and overall network reliability of its first product. And after getting a little pre-release hands-on, Plume's newest effort also appears to add the raw speed its predecessor was missing. Plume's new Superpod design is shown here next to an Orbi RBS-50 satellite, an Eero router, and an Eero beacon. The Superpod is roughly the size of Orbi's power brick, without the actual Orbi. Quarter-mile times aren’t everything Before talking about this particular product's performance, we need to talk about how to measure Wi-Fi performance in the first place. When I'm not busy building my own routers, I've spent the last couple of years learning about and improving methods of testing Wi-Fi systems in ways that actually matter for real-world use. Wireless AC speed ratings are complete mumbo-jumbo, and simple iPerf3 runs don't get the job done, either. Read 41 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Nathan Mattise LOS ANGELES—After rival Microsoft showed 50 games from a wide range of genres in a very traditional E3 press conference yesterday, Sony promoted its PlayStation platform with a focused and unconventional presentation. There were only a handful of games, but they were nearly all heavy hitters. The event started out in a small, church-like space with hanging lights—very unusual for this kind of press conference. It was here that Sony opened the show with an extended gameplay trailer of Naughty Dog's The Last of Us Part II. It became immediately apparent why Sony constructed this unusual venue: it was plucked right out of the game. Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ron Amadeo LOS ANGELES—Even as Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony hold events to promote games on their consoles at E3, a somewhat scrappier event to promote PC games takes place: the PC Gaming Show. This year's too-long show was a barrage of trailers and brief developer talks. We basically lost count of the games, there were so many. Battle royale? Check. Victorian steampunk settings? Check. Survival crafting games? Check. Crytek engine? Check. Lovecraft? Check. A lengthy plug for hardware from a gaming hardware company? Check. It was everything you'd expect from the PC Gaming Show. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Nathan Mattise LOS ANGELES—Ubisoft held a press conference at E3 today to show off its upcoming slate of games. As is usually the case with Ubisoft, the conference was heartfelt, zany, and high on showmanship. The company announced very few new games, but it went deeper on a few that players have been anticipating from big franchises. Here's what they covered. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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LOS ANGELES—Ubisoft didn't do a great job hiding Assassin's Creed Odyssey ahead of this year's E3, thanks to a leaked promotional keychain of all things. But the game's developers at Ubisoft Quebec redeemed the company by hiding the bigger news: that this annual Assassin's Creed update actually feels ambitious. Monday's Ubisoft press conference saw the company telling players to "live your Odyssey" starting October 5 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows PC. Before that announcement, Ubisoft was gracious enough to give us nearly an hour of hands-on time with a pre-release build. That much time wasn't enough to confirm all of the developer's lofty claims, but it was enough to see serious Witcher-like aspirations for the series' first true "open world RPG." Son (or daughter) of Nikolas Ubisoft Quebec Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Jonathan Gitlin) Tesla has begun rolling out a new version of its software, version 2018.21.9, that is stricter about requiring drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Previous versions of the software allowed drivers to take their hands off the wheel for one to two minutes before reminding them to put them back on the wheel—a measure designed to make sure drivers were paying attention to the road. The new update dramatically shortens this interval, with videos showing warnings popping up after around 30 seconds. Tesla has tightened up the rules at least once before—in late 2016. That was a few months after Tesla customer Josh Brown died in a crash in Florida earlier that year. Brown had had his hands off the wheel for several minutes before the crash. Since late 2016, Tesla vehicles have been programmed to come to a gradual stop if a customer ignores too many warnings. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Washington State Capitol building in Olympia, Washington. (credit: Getty Images | Richard Cummins) The State of Washington today became the first US state to impose a net neutrality law that replaces the nationwide regulations repealed by the Federal Communications Commission. Washington's legislature and governor approved the new law three months ago and arranged for it to take effect as soon as the FCC finalized its repeal. The FCC repeal was finalized today, so Washington's state law has gone into effect. The Washington state law prohibits home and mobile Internet providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic and from charging online services for prioritization. The rules will be enforced by the state attorney general under Washington's Consumer Protection Act. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Hi there, Chloe. (credit: Quantic Dream) For all the problems we had with Detroit: Become Human's storytelling (and they were myriad), the game does offer one surprisingly affecting choice at the end of the first playthrough. Apparently, that choice was a little too affecting for many players, leading developer Quantic Dream to "follow the popular vote" and introduce a patch to change the story in a way that blunts the emotional impact significantly. (WARNING: The rest of this post necessarily involves major spoilers for some side stories in Detroit: Become Human. The moments discussed don't impact the main, player-driven story involving Connor, Kara, and Markus, though. You have been warned). Throughout the first playthrough of Detroit, a fully animated and voiced android named Chloe serves as your guide to the game's menu systems. During that playthrough, she reacts to your in-game decisions and events whenever you return to the main menu, occasionally questioning your take on some of the game's blunt philosophical issues. Her emotional reactions in these "out-of-game" sections add an interesting perspective to the often unsubtle plotting on hand in Detroit itself. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ron Amadeo LOS ANGELES—Square-Enix kept its E3 2018 presentation short and sweet, with a focus on trailers for games in the company's popular franchises, like Kingdom Hearts and Tomb Raider. Here's what the company showed and announced. Shadow of the Tomb Raider Square-Enix opened with Tomb Raider. The third game in a reboot that began with 2013's Tomb Raider is slated for release on September 14. The game is titled Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and we got some hands-on time with it already earlier this year. In it, Lara must grapple with the consequences of accidentally inciting the Mayan apocalypse while battling a paramilitary organization. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Federal authorities announced Monday that they had "disrupted" what they call "Business Email Compromise" schemes, which involve a malicious actor sending a phishing email and somehow convincing employees with access to a company’s financial credentials to transfer money fraudulently. The FBI added that $2.4 million dollars was seized, while $14 million in "fraudulent wire transfers" was recovered. Seventy-four people were arrested worldwide, including 42 in the United States, 29 in Nigeria, and three others in Canada, Mauritius, and Poland. "Fraudsters can rob people of their life's savings in a matter of minutes," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement. "These are malicious and morally repugnant crimes. The Department of Justice has taken aggressive action against fraudsters in recent months, conducting the largest sweep of fraud against American seniors in history back in February." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Thomas Trutschel / Getty Images News) The value of bitcoin and many other digital currencies fell to their lowest levels this year after South Korean exchange Coinrail said a hack over the weekend stole virtual coin estimated to be worth more than $37 million. In a post published Monday morning, Coinrail said hackers obtained about 30 percent of its coin and token reserves. The stolen coins included those designated as NPXS, ATX, NPER, and DENT. A wallet address reportedly belonging to the attackers showed the value of the pilfered coins was as much as $37 million. Coinrail’s statement said officials took the exchange offline and moved the remainder of its assets to cold storage as officials review the security system and work with law enforcement to investigate what happened. The statement made no mention of if or how the exchange might reimburse customers for the losses. The price of bitcoin was trading down about 6 percent on Monday morning, according to Coinbase. As Ars reported Sunday, bitcoin had already lost more than half its value since last year’s all-time high. The price of Ethereum and many other digital currencies also fell on Monday after experiencing declines over the past month or two. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Jhaymesisviphotography) Apple recently announced new restrictions on the use of cryptocurrencies on iPhones and iPads, a change first noticed by Apple Insider on Monday. "Apps may not mine for cryptocurrencies unless the processing is performed off device," Apple's app store guidelines for iOS now say. This requirement was absent from the same document just a few weeks ago. Apple's new policy is apparently motivated in part by concerns that cryptocurrency mining could drain the batteries of mobile devices. "Apps, including any third party advertisements displayed within them, may not run unrelated background processes, such as cryptocurrency mining," the policy states. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A lot of tech packed into this svelte box. (credit: Kyle Orland) Microsoft plans to deliver "console quality gaming on any device"—PC, Xbox, or phone—with a "game streaming network" that the company is developing, said executive president of gaming Phil Spencer at the company's E3 press conference. This isn't the first time that Spencer has spoken of such development. At the Xbox One X launch last year, he said that Microsoft would have a game streaming service within three years, taking advantage of Azure's substantial global footprint to ensure that datacenter distance—and hence in-game latency—was low enough to enable high quality gaming. Spencer is far from the only one talking about streaming: Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said that streamed games will replace consoles some time after the next console generation, and EA has announced its own cloud streaming service. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The US flag flies outside the US Embassy on October 14, 2017 in Havana, Cuba. (credit: Getty | Gary Hershorn) The US government has withdrawn two more US workers from its embassy in Cuba following fresh accounts of bizarre noises followed by an array of symptoms consistent with mild traumatic head injuries, according to a series of reports from the Associated Press. The two workers are considered “potentially new cases” in mysterious incidents plaguing Cuba and also workers in the US consulate in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, just northwest of Hong Kong. The workers have been sent to the University of Pennsylvania for more neurological testing, where experts previously evaluated and treated 21 of the 24 confirmed US cases from Cuba and have begun evaluating workers evacuated from Guangzhou. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at Fox Studios on November 10, 2017 in New York City. (credit: Getty Images | John Lamparski ) The Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules took effect today. But as net neutrality supporters try to get the rules back in place, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is trying to convince Internet users that they're going to love the newly deregulated broadband industry. Pai's FCC has eliminated rules that prohibited Internet service providers from blocking or throttling lawful Internet traffic. The repeal will also let ISPs charge websites or online services for priority access to consumers. Pai claimed in a CNET op-ed that the repeal preserves the Internet as "an open platform where you are free to go where you want" and that it "will protect consumers and promote better, faster Internet access and more competition." Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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"Are you sure?" we hear Ryan Gosling, as Neil Armstrong, ask his wife Janet (portrayed by The Crown's Claire Foy). "Yeah," she replies meekly, grabbing for her husband's hand. "[It'll] be an adventure." Director Damien Chazelle's First Man, a film focused on Neil Armstrong's journey to becoming the first human to set foot on the Moon, doesn't launch into theaters until October 12. But this weekend, Universal revealed the first trailer—and boy, do Chazelle and company know how to set the stakes. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / We're really hoping to see more of this crazy cast of Beyond Good and Evil 2 characters this year. (credit: Ubisoft) Liveblog starts in: View Liveblog Once again, major French publisher Ubisoft will be kicking off its E3 week with a press-conference presentation featuring all its upcoming games. The event will take place at LA's Orpheum Theater at 1pm PDT (4pm EDT, 8pm UTC) on Monday, June 11. A lot of Ubisoft's presentation will likely focus on the same still-unreleased games discussed before last year's E3. That includes open-ocean pirate game Skull & Bones, mysterious VR title Transference, toys-to-life space sim Starlink, and the surprising tonal shift of Beyond Good and Evil 2. Expect announcement of new content for some of Ubisoft's ongoing multiplayer games like For Honor and Rainbow Six Siege, too. Plus it wouldn't be an Ubisoft press conference without new sequels in franchises like Assassin's Creed, Far Cry, The Division and maybe a few others (is it time for another Watch Dogs game, yet?) Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Zone Out. Click here for transcript. Two years ago, Ars Technica hosted the online premiere of a weird short film called Sunspring, which was mostly remarkable because its entire script was created by an AI. The film's human cast laughed at odd, computer-generated dialogue and stage direction before performing the results in particularly earnest fashion. That film's production duo, Director Oscar Sharp and AI researcher Ross Goodwin, have returned with another AI-driven experiment that, on its face, looks decidedly worse. Blurry faces, computer-generated dialogue, and awkward scene changes fill out this year's Zone Out, a film created as an entry in the Sci-Fi-London 48-Hour Challenge—meaning, just like last time, it had to be produced in 48 hours and adhere to certain specific prompts. That 48-hour limit is worth minding, because Sharp and Goodwin went one bigger this time: they let their AI system, which they call Benjamin, handle the film's entire production pipeline. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Cyclone Mekunu caused severe flooding in Oman when after making landfall on May 25th as a Category 3 storm. (credit: NASA Earth Observatory) The formula for how much water a hurricane drops on you is pretty simple: how much rain is failing per hour, and how many hours is the storm overhead. While this won't account for things like storm surges, it can give a strong sense of the problems inland areas will face. Hurricane Harvey took this formula to an extreme when it got stuck over Houston for several days, dumping incredible amounts of rain all the while. Alterations in hurricane behavior due to climate change have been much dissected, from projections of stronger storms in a warming world to the unavoidable fact that a warmer atmosphere can carry more moisture. But there's also a second part to that simple formula—could hurricanes linger longer, adding to rainfall totals? That question is complex, but a new study by NOAA’s James Kossin takes a look at one portion of it—whether hurricanes are moving more slowly than they did in the past. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Bethesda's logo as carried by the publisher's growing roster of mascots. New this year: Rage 2's punk rocker! (credit: Sam Machkovech) LOS ANGELES—Video game publisher Bethesda hosted a rollicking pre-E3 press conference on Sunday evening with a number of game reveals from existing franchises like Doom, Fallout, The Elder Scrolls, and Rage. But the publisher's most tantalizing reveals were also its shortest ones: long-rumored game series Starfield. and the first mainline Elder Scrolls entry since 2011. Bethesda director Todd Howard closed the conference with Bethesda's two-part tease of future games. The first, Starfield, was described as "a brand-new, next-generation, single-player game. This one is in an all-new epic franchise. Our first wholly original franchise in 25 years." Starfield's reveal trailer began with a cinematic look at a planet's edge in space, followed by a floating satellite in its vicinity that is abruptly ripped through time. No release date was announced. Its description counters the repeated rumor that Starfield might revolve around smartphone play. Instead, Howard's brief description may point to a wait until successors to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One reach the market. Read 20 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / It's coming, Squid Boy. It's coming.... (credit: Nintendo) Liveblog starts in: View Liveblog For the sixth straight year, Nintendo will forgo the traditional pre-E3 press conference in favor of a livestreamed Nintendo Direct video presentation. We'll be on hand to deliver all the news straight from Nintendo starting at 9am PDT (12pm EDT, 4pm UTC) on Tuesday, June 12. Nintendo has made no secret that the Nintendo Switch edition of the Super Smash Bros. fighting-game series will be a prominent focus of its E3 activities this year, so expect to hear a lot of details about that effort. We also wouldn't be surprised to hear a bit more about upcoming Switch entries in the Pokemon and Metroid Prime series, which have been under radio silence since very brief teases at last year's E3. Outside of the first-party efforts, a credible leak suggests a Switch port of Fortnite will lead a lineup of coming indie and third-party ports for the system that includes Dragon Ball FighterZ, Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, Killer Queen Black, Paladins, and Overcooked 2. Don't be surprised if that list is at least a bit incomplete, too. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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