posted 6 days ago on ars technica
The trailer for Hatred. Controversial mass shooting game Hatred has been taken down from Steam Greenlight after its listing on the crowd-voting section of the service garnered widespread attention this morning. "Based on what we've seen on Greenlight, we would not publish Hatred on Steam. As such we'll be taking it down," Valve VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi told Eurogamer in the wake of the game's removal this afternoon. Hatred, from unknown Polish developer Destructive Creations, was first announced back in October. Its trailer seemed to revel in the massacre of civilians with a kind of gruesome glee. The video drew comparisons to ultra-violent game franchises like Postal and Manhunt for its apparently amoral focus on gunning down innocent bystanders in violent detail. "This is the time for vengeance, and no life is worth saving, and I will put in the grave as many as I can," the protagonist says in the trailer. "It's time for me to kill, and it's time for me to die. My genocide crusade begins here." The developers at Destructive responded with a statement to the press almost immediately following the Greenlight takedown. "Even though games like Manhunt or Postal are still available on Steam, we of course fully respect Valve’s decision, as they have the right to do so," the developers said. "In the same time we want to assure you that this won’t in any way impact the game's development, game’s vision, or gameplay features we’re aiming for." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A local Texas police department has placed an officer on administrative duty following a Thursday scuffle with a 76-year-old man pulled over for allegedly displaying expired tags. The motorist, Pete Vasquez, was stopped at an auto dealership—where he worked and had just pulled into. He is seen exiting the vehicle—owned by the lot—to show the officer that the car has dealer plates. He also tried to get the dealership manager's attention. The brutality by the 23-year-old officer, Nathanial Robinson, then ensues. The officer is seen grabbing the man's arm and wrestling him to the ground in a Nelson hold. The two disappear from the dashcam's site, and the officer then appears standing, having drawn his stun gun. In the background is Drake's "Under Ground Kings" blaring from the patrol car's stereo, making it difficult to decipher the officer's words in front of the vehicle. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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OAKLAND, Calif.—Over the last two years, the Oakland Police Department (OPD) has disciplined police officers on 24 occasions for disabling or failing to activate body-worn cameras, newly released public records show. The City of Oakland did not provide any records prior to 2013, and the OPD did not immediately respond to Ars’ request for comment. The records show that on November 8, 2013 one officer was terminated after failing to activate his camera. Less than two weeks later, another resigned for improperly removing the camera from his or her uniform. However, most officers received minor discipline in comparison. The OPD has used Portable Digital Recording Devices (PDRDs) since late 2010. According to the department's own policy, patrol officers are required to wear the cameras during a number of outlined situations, including detentions, arrests, and serving a warrant. At present, the city has about 700 officers. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion almost a year ago, and we're now finally starting to see some Google/Nest integration. Droid Life spotted that the device's long-promised Google Now integration is finally live. The integration is detailed on workswithnest.google.com, where Nest users can opt in to the two features. The first new trick is pretty simple: you can control the temperature with your voice. Just say "OK Google, change the temperature to 70 degrees" and the Nest will do it. The second is a little more advanced. Nest has always been able to detect when you're away, but now Google Now will detect when you're headed home. This allows a user to fire up an HVAC system so that everything is a comfortable temperature when arriving. Nest can use its data to estimate how long an HVAC system will take to heat or cool a house and Google Now can estimate your arrival time, so presumably the two systems take all the ETAs into account and plan accordingly. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 6 days ago on ars technica
Early Sunday morning, negotiators in Lima, Peru, came to an agreement that set a deadline of next year for countries to come up with a plan for reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases. Although the agreement is non-binding, recent developments, such as the US-China emissions agreement, suggest that there will be substantial international pressure for every country to come through with a plan. 192 countries are party to the Lima agreement, which asks the group to come up with what are being called "Nationally Determined Contributions." These will include things like inventories of greenhouse gases and the sources that produce them, as well as the methods nations used to obtain these numbers. The nations will also have to produce a detailed plan for how these emissions will be reduced. All of this is due by March of next year, and the results will serve as a foundation for the continuing negotiations toward a binding treaty. Unfortunately, there's nothing binding about the current agreement. Those pushing for it are effectively hoping that all the signatories will be too embarrassed to show up at future meetings empty-handed. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
Privacy regulators in the Netherlands announced Monday that they have imposed an "incremental penalty payment" against Google for violating Dutch data protection law, which could be as much as €15 million ($18.7 million). The Dutch data protection authority (DPA) specifically notes that the search giant's 2012 terms of service revision, which permits the company to combine user data across multiple services (Gmail, YouTube, and others), is against Dutch law. Over a year ago, the Dutch data protection authority (DPA) found Google in violation of the law, but it has not explained the long delay in imposing the financial sanctions. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
About 100,000 or more websites running the WordPress content management system have been compromised by mysterious malware that turns the infected sites into attack platforms that can target visitors, security researchers said. The campaign has prompted Google to flag more than 11,000 domains as malicious, but many more sites have been detected as compromised, according to a blog post published Sunday by Sucuri, a firm that helps website operators secure their servers. Researchers have yet to confirm the cause of the infection, but they suspect it's related to a vulnerability in Slider Revolution, a WordPress plugin, that was disclosed in early September. Update: In a new blog post published after Ars went live with this brief, Sucuri says it has confirmed the so-called "RevSlider" vulnerability is the culprit. The in-the-wild attack observed by Sucuri causes infected sites to load highly obfuscated attack code on every webpage that includes the following: Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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747s under construction at Boeing's Everett facility. Meutia Chaerani / Indradi Soemardjan 2014 hasn’t been a great year for jumbo jet manufacturers: according to a report by Jalopnik, neither Boeing nor Airbus netted any orders for their newest and biggest airplanes in 2014. For Boeing, this means that its 747-8 production would be reduced to just 16 aircraft per year to meet existing orders and keep the assembly line at Everett running; Airbus has its A380 production run allocated for three years, but no one is buying past that. The lack of orders for the big four-engined jets isn’t necessarily unexpected, although it has to be a disappointment for company officials in both Chicago and Toulouse. Boeing has spent considerable effort in modernizing the 45-year old 747’s design, applying improvements from its newest 787 to the big jet to increase its efficiency and lower its operating costs. Airbus has also invested tremendously in making the A380 a workable, affordable plane for airlines to purchase and operate. Instead, aircraft operators have focused on replacing existing four-engine jumbos with twin-engine jets like the Airbus A330 and Boeing’s 777 and 787. As Jalopnik explains, without additional orders to keep the big four-engine jets in production, Airbus will have to cease production in 2018; Boeing would cease 747 production at approximately the same time. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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A lobby group of Spanish publishers has asked the country's government to stop Google News from being shut down. Last week Google said it would close its news service after Spain introduced new intellectual property laws that would have forced Google to pay royalties for links to news websites. Now the Association of Editors of Spanish Dailies (AEDE), the same lobby group that campaigned for the new laws to be introduced, is asking the Spanish government to stop Google News from closing. In a statement issued to The Spain Report, AEDE said that the search giant had not taken "a neutral stance" and said that it was still "open to negotiations with Google." The new legislation means that aggregator services such as Google News will be charged to show snippets of content from news publishers. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to €600,000 ($745,000). Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Chemists face a lot of challenges when synthesizing complex organic chemicals. Chief among them is the fact that many of their reactions are indiscriminate. If there are any alcohols (carbon-oxygen-hydrogen combinations) in a molecule whatsoever, the reaction will typically modify all of them rather than the specific one you're trying to change. Chemists have come up with a variety of clever ways to avoid this problem, and one of the most commonly used is a protecting group. This is a chemical that attaches to part of your molecule and keeps it from reacting while the rest of the molecule is built up. When your synthesis is done, you simply pop the protecting group off, restoring part of the original molecule. In general, biological systems don't need protecting groups. But a new paper suggests that they've evolved them anyway. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Criminal hackers are actively exploiting the critical shellshock vulnerability to install a self-replicating backdoor on a popular line of storage systems, researchers have warned. The malicious worm targets network-attached storage systems made by Taiwan-based QNAP, according to a blog post published Sunday by the Sans Institute. The underlying shellshock attack code exploits a bug in GNU Bash that gives attackers the ability to run commands and code of their choice on vulnerable systems. QNAP engineers released an update in October that patches systems against the vulnerability, but the discovery of the worm in the wild suggests a statistically significant portion of users have yet to apply it. "The attack targets a QNAP CGI script, /cgi-bin/authLogin.cgi, a well known vector for Shellshock on QNAP devices," Johannes B. Ullrich, dean of research at Sans, wrote. "This script is called during login, and reachable without authentication. The exploit is then used to launch a simple shell script that will download and execute a number of additional pieces of malware." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 7 days ago on ars technica
December is always a month for reflection in tech. Yes, it's the end of another year, but it's also a rare lull for releases—a break in between the rush to release products in time for Christmas and the absurd spectacle of CES in January. Plenty of digital ink is spilled recounting things that have happened since January 2014, usually with a focus on telling you what's "best" or what the implications are for 2015. We'll be doing plenty of that as well, but we also wanted to take a minute to look back at our favorite stuff from 2014. The list of gadgets and software below might not represent the best of a given field, and much of it isn't even practical, but it's the stuff that stuck in our minds the most after we finished writing about it. We hope it inspires you to share your favorite tech from this year with us (if it does, make sure to take to the comments). DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ by Senior Reviews Editor Lee Hutchinson Read 39 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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In the wake of the ongoing hostage crisis in Sydney’s Central Business District (CBD), the quasi-taxi service Uber initially imposed its surge pricing to astronomical levels—four times a normal fare, with a A$100 ($82.50) minimum charge—before correcting the fare, and instituting refunds and free rides in the area. The price increase was first reported by Mashable. On Monday morning Australian time, at least one gunman took over the Lindt Chocolate Café in Martin Place, just one block from the consulates of New Zealand, Pakistan and the United States in downtown Sydney. As of this writing, the area had been cleared, but according to the Sydney Morning Herald, there are 20 people being held inside the café, although three of them did manage to escape. The hostages also appeared to be forced to hold up a Shahada flag, which portrays the Muslim creed in Arabic calligraphy: "There is no god but the God, Muhammad is the messenger of the God." It is not the flag of the terror group known as the Islamic State. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This weekend, the “Guardians of Peace”—the cyber-attackers who brought Sony Pictures Entertainment’s network down in November and have since shared over a terabyte of the company’s internal data—made two more dumps of SPE data to file sharing sites and torrents. The second of the two, on Sunday, was the e-mail box of Sony Pictures Releasing International president Steven O’Dell. And the hackers promised a “Christmas present” soon of even more data if the company does not relent and meet their unspecified demands. "We are preparing for you a Christmas gift," the GoP said in a post to Pastebin and Friendpaste. "The gift will be larger quantities of data. And it will be more interesting.The gift will surely give you much more pleasure and put Sony Pictures into the worst state. Please send an email titled by 'Merry Christmas' at the addresses below to tell us what you want in our Christmas gift." As the breach spills into another week, details have emerged that suggest the attack may have begun much earlier this year, or even earlier, and that the attackers were able to collect significant intelligence on the network from Sony Pictures’ own IT department. It's clear that those behind the attack were deep inside Sony's network for a long time before they set off the malware that erased Sony hard drives—and some of the data they collected could have been used in other attacks. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A local judge in Arizona ruled Friday that the Tucson Police Department (TPD) does not have to disclose records related to the use of stingrays, also known as cell-site simulators, under the state’s public records act. According to a Saturday report from Capitol Media Services, a state news wire, complying with reporter Beau Hodai’s public records request "would give criminals a road map for how to defeat the device, which is used not only by Tucson but other local and national police agencies." Hodai sued the TPD and the City of Tucson in March 2014 to force them to hand over such records. The devices are often used covertly by local and federal law enforcement to locate target cellphones and their respective owners. However, stingrays also sweep up cell data of innocent people nearby who have no idea that such collection is taking place. Stingrays can be used to intercept voice calls and text messages as well. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Marvel's upcoming Ant-Man wrapped shooting last week, and now the studio has finally released the official plot details for the film. The film will feature Paul Rudd as Scott Lang, the diminutive hero of the piece who keeps peak human strength despite shrinking down to microscopic sizes and can command hordes of insects. Michael Douglas appears as Hank Pym, Lang's mentor and creator of the Ant-Man technology, with Evangeline Lilly as Hope van Dyne, love interest and presumed relation of The Wasp. The studio's synopsis reads: "The next evolution of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brings a founding member of The Avengers to the big screen for the first time with Marvel Studios' Ant-Man. Armed with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, master thief Scott Lang must embrace his inner-hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, protect the secret behind his spectacular Ant-Man suit from a new generation of towering threats. Against seemingly insurmountable obstacles, Pym and Lang must plan and pull off a heist that will save the world." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Gaz_Edge asks: Over the last few years, the trend for client-side (browser) applications has really taken off. For my latest project, I have decided to try and move with the times and write a client-side application. Part of this application involves sending transaction emails to users (for example, validate sign up, password reset emails, etc.). I am using a third-party API to send the emails. Normally I would have my application running on a server. I would call the third-party API from code on my server. Running a client-side application means this now needs to happen on a user's browser. The third-party API provides the necessary JavaScript files to achieve this. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Today is the second anniversary of the opening of the Museum of Math in New York City. And, to celebrate, the museum is releasing a swarm of robots on the public, starting this Sunday. We got a chance to look over the new Robot Swarm exhibit earlier this week, and thought it made a nice addition to the museum's regular displays. The swarms of the exhibit are meant to be an example of emergent behavior, where complex actions result from a group of individuals following simple rules. The behavior of things like schools of fish and flocks of birds may appear to require sophisticated mental activity, but computer simulations showed that it was possible to model similar behavior using a few simple rules, primarily involving keeping a certain distance from your neighbors. Once computer models showed that this worked, robotics researchers quickly jumped in and showed that programming these rules into computers produced the same effect. Those demonstrations appear to have inspired the creators of the Robot Swarm exhibit. In this case, the robots are small wheeled devices, about the size of a grapefruit and shaped to evoke a horseshoe crab (it even has small, non-functional "eyes" molded into the plastic). Its back is filled with LEDs that change colors to indicate its current status and programming. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Twice this year, we at Ars declared that Lenovo was onto something with its Yoga Pro laptop line, offering conditional praise for both the Yoga 2 and Yoga 3 flavors of that ultra-thin, reasonably powered, fold-and-bend model. However, at starting prices at or over $1,000, they didn't necessarily feel powerful enough to deplete someone's gizmo budget just because users wanted a 13-inch touchscreen. Specs at a glance: Lenovo Yoga Tablet 2 Pro Screen 2560×1400 13.3" (221 PPI) IPS LCD OS Android 4.4.2 (custom Lenovo fork) CPU Intel Atom quad-core 1.8GHz Z3745 RAM 2GB LPDDR3 GPU Intel HD Graphics for BayTrail Storage 32GB (plus up to 64GB micro-SD card) Networking 802.11 a/b/g/n, MiMo Ports Micro-USB, headphone Camera 8MP rear camera, 1.6MP front camera Size 13.1" × 8.8" × 1.0" (333 x 224 x 25 mm) Weight 2.1 lbs (948g) Battery 9600 mAh (non-removable) Starting price $499 Someone at Lenovo must have agreed, as the company has found a way to get that giant touchscreen onto a more reasonably priced device. If the Yoga Tablet 2 Pro had been nothing more than a 13.3-inch Android tablet with an Intel Atom chipset and 2GB of RAM, we'd have called it a day. Here, have a giant, so-so Android device for $500, we might have said, otherwise not giving the thing much consideration. Instead, Lenovo has made a few interesting design decisions to make the Tablet 2 Pro stand out. Most notably, the tablet isn't flat like most of its peers. It sports a bulging hinge system that has been loaded with... a fully fledged projector? Really? This we had to see, and look at it we sure did. Read 27 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Android Police reports that the Google Play edition of Samsung's Galaxy S4 has begun to get its Android 5.0 Lollipop update, which means that every past and present Google Play Edition device will soon be running Google's latest operating system. The S4 was the last of the GPE phones to receive the update—it was preceded by the Moto G, the HTC One M7 and M8, Sony's Z Ultra, and the LG G Pad 8.3. Google Play Edition phones and tablets look and feel like Nexuses, but behind the scenes the OEMs are still doing much of the heavy lifting. Google provides the software and distributes the update, but ultimately your phone's manufacturer still needs to handle things like the kernel, drivers, and firmware. The only Google Play Edition devices currently listed on Google's site are the 2013 Moto G and the HTC One M8; neither is in stock as of this writing. We had hoped that Google and the OEMs would be working together in the future to deliver Android updates to the Google Play Edition devices (and, hopefully, other phones) at the same time, but Lollipop's rollout has taken the better part of two weeks. Device owners are still getting Android updates faster than most people—Nexus phones and tablets only began getting over-the-air updates and factory images a month ago. The 2014 Moto X and Moto G, some variants of the LG G3, and the newest Nvidia Shield tablet have also been updated. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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GCHQ has released its own "fun, free, educational" Android app to teach secondary school students about cryptography. The Cryptoy app, which has no permissions to access confidential information on Android devices, helps children understand basic encryption techniques and create their own encoded messages. The government hopes the app could help find the next generation of cyber-spies. Minister for the cabinet office Francis Maude said that it was a "creative solution in the hunt for expertise, but with a 21st century spin." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com. TheWirecutter The $90 Buffalo MediaStation Portable BDXL Blu-ray Writer is the best external Blu-ray drive for most people to use with their computers—if you need one at all. It’s the fastest one for less than $100, and it’s quieter than most of the others we tested. Read 38 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C. Sign up for its newsletter. That AT&T just won an eight-figure contract to provide the federal government’s General Services Administration with new mobile devices isn’t itself particularly notable. What is: Casey Coleman, an AT&T executive responsible for “delivering IT and professional services to federal government customers,” oversaw the GSA’s information technology division and its $600 million IT budget as recently as January. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Bacteria, like all living things, needs iron for a variety of biochemical functions. Humans and other higher order organisms have plenty of iron; we limit bacterial access to it as a means of defending against bacterial infection. So when we need to transfer iron throughout our bodies, we keep it tightly sequestered in a protein called transferrin. In order to infect us, bacterial pathogens must try to wrest that iron away; they have specialized transferrin binding proteins (Tbps) to do just that. Recent work demonstrates that transferrin "is engaged in ancient and ongoing evolutionary conflicts" with one of these Tbps, TbpA. By comparing the genetic sequence of transferrin across twenty-one different primate species, researchers found that transferrin has undergone positive evolutionary selection in a manner often seen in molecular arms races between mammals and viruses. Fourteen of the sixteen rapidly evolving sites identified in transferrin are in amino acids that form direct contact with TbpA from bacterial all-stars like Neisseria meningitidis, which causes meningitis; Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which causes gonorrhea; and Haemophilus influenzae, which can cause pneumonia. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
One of this week's Patch Tuesday updates for Windows 7 has been withdrawn after some users discovered that it blocked installation of software containing digital signatures, including first- and third-party software, and even other Windows updates. The problem update is called KB3004394. The purpose of this update was to change how Windows updates its collection of root certificates used to authenticate SSL and TLS connections. Without the update, Windows is meant to poll for certificate updates once a week. With the update, this frequency is increased to once a day. Unfortunately, this apparently simple change has had severe consequences for some users of Windows 7 Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1, with users reporting that Windows Update, drivers from both Nvidia and AMD, and some third-party software including Virtual Box are all unable to install correctly. The error code 0x8004FF91 seems to be a common finding. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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