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Enlarge / We hope Blizzard taps Ars' own Aurich Lawson for graphic-design duties on what we assume will be a new logo for the renamed Battle.net. (credit: Aurich Lawson) If you've touched PC gaming over the last two decades, chances are good that you've logged in to the Battle.net service at least once. Blizzard Entertainment's hugely popular online-gaming network has connected every one of the developer's PC games since 1996, and while the service has expanded and added myriad options over the years, its name has held on—which we at Ars think is awesome, considering "dot net" sounds delightfully dated. Apparently, 1996 called, and it wants its old-sounding domain name back. Blizzard used its World of Warcraft blog to announce the name-change news on Wednesday, where an unnamed representative confirmed that the company's online-matchmaking services will soon be dubbed "Blizzard tech." The company didn't offer a firm date for the name change other than indicating that we can expect the change "over the next several months." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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3,000 hp, two motors, eight battery packs, and 341mph. Venturi 2016 Shivraj Gohil / Spacesuit Media Tesla may have made column inches earlier this month with the announcement that the P100D is one of the fastest-accelerating production cars in the world, but when it comes to sheer electrifying speed, the Musk-mobile has nothing on the Venturi Buckeye Bullet-3. You may remember reading about VBB-3 back in February; it's a land-speed-record car built in a collaboration between Monegasque electric vehicle company Venturi and The Ohio State University. Well, the team has been out on the Bonneville Salt Flats the past few days, and on Monday it set a new land speed record for electric vehicles with a two-way average of 341mph (548km/h)! We spoke to team leader David Cooke last Thursday, when the team was bedding in the car and getting ready for the record attempt. "We're ready to go fast," Cooke told Ars, despite the fact that the condition of the salt was less than ideal. Mechanically, the car was much the same as when we saw it last, following a previous land speed record attempt that had to be shelved due to extreme vibrations caused by poor conditions at Bonneville. "From the beginning we have been fighting the complexity of the powertrain and electronics," Cooke said. In particular, getting the battery packs and the inverters all talking to each other properly had consumed a lot of time. "We're very conservative so reliability has been a big focus; we've redone all the wiring from the ground up, implementing some new techniques and concentrating on the wiring connections," he said. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Software engineer Travis Lerol takes aim with an unloaded Liberator handgun in 2013. (credit: AFP / Getty Images News) A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday against Defense Distributed, the Texas organization that promotes 3D-printed guns, in a lawsuit that it brought last year against the State Department. In a 2-1 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was not persuaded that Defense Distributed’s right to free speech under the First Amendment outweighs national security concerns. The majority concluded: Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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When the En-Gedi scrolls were excavated from an ancient synagogue's Holy Ark in the 1970s, it was a bittersweet discovery for archaeologists. Though the texts provided further evidence for an ancient Jewish community in this oasis near the Dead Sea, the scrolls had been reduced to charred lumps by fire. Even the act of moving them to a research facility caused more damage. But decades later, archaeologists have read parts of one scroll for the first time. A team of scientists in Israel and the US used a sophisticated medical scanning technique, coupled with algorithmic analysis, to "unwrap" a parchment that's more than 1,700 years old. (credit: Science Advances) Found in roughly the same area as the Dead Sea Scrolls, the En-Gedi scrolls were used by a Jewish community in the region between the 8th century BCE and 6th century CE. In the year 600 CE, the community and its temple were destroyed by fire. Archaeologists disagree on the exact historical provenance of the En-Gedi scrolls—carbon dating suggests fourth century, but stratigraphic evidence points to a date closer to the second. Either way, these scrolls could provide a kind of missing link between the biblical texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the traditional biblical text of the Tanakh found in the Masoretic Text from roughly the 9th century. As the researchers put it in a paper published in Science Advances: Dating the En-Gedi scroll to the third or fourth century CE falls near the end of the period of the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls (third century BCE to second century CE) and several centuries before the medieval biblical fragments found in the Cairo Genizah, which date from the ninth century CE onward. Hence, the En-Gedi scroll provides an important extension to the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls and offers a glimpse into the earliest stages of almost 800 years of near silence in the history of the biblical text. How to read a burned scroll with computers But it wasn't until University of Kentucky computer scientist Brent Seales developed a technique he calls volume cartography that archaeologists actually got that "glimpse." Seales had previously worked on a project to read fire-damaged scrolls from the library of a wealthy Roman whose home in Herculaneum was destroyed in the Pompeii eruption. He suggested that Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Pnina Shor scan the scrolls using X-ray micro-CT, which is essentially a very high-resolution CT scan of exactly the same type you might get in a hospital. Indeed, Shor explained in a press conference that her team used a medical imaging facility to produce digital scans that she sent to Seales to analyze in Kentucky. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / The iPhone 6S and 6S Plus and the sixth-generation iPod Touch were all introduced in Q4. (credit: Andrew Cunningham) A non-practicing entity called MobileMedia Ideas LLC won a patent lawsuit against Apple today, with a Delaware federal jury finding that Apple should pay $3 million for infringing MobileMedia's patent RE39,231, which relates to ring-silencing features on mobile phones. MobileMedia is an unusual example of the kind of pure patent-licensing entity often derided as a "patent troll." It is majority-owned by MPEG-LA, a patent pool that licenses common digital video technologies like H-264, MPEG-2, and MPEG-4. Minority stakes in MobileMedia are owned by Sony and Nokia, which both contributed the patents owned by the company. MobileMedia also has the same CEO as MPEG-LA, Larry Horn. The report of the verdict comes from legal newswire Law360. The verdict form wasn't immediately available from PACER, the federal courts database. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / McLaren's HQ in Woking, England. That lake provides water used to cool the wind tunnel. The round building next to the lake is where the F1 team is based; the one to the right is the production center where the company builds road cars. (credit: McLaren) On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that Apple has been in talks to either buy or invest in McLaren, the UK-based F1 team and supercar maker. The report, which cites three unnamed sources, says that the deal would be worth between $1 billion and $1.5 billion. Apple's possible interest in McLaren is not hard to fathom. Beyond the F1 team and those carbon-fiber sports cars, McLaren has a successful consulting business, a wealth of engineering expertise, and a hefty patent portfolio. What's more, Apple is sitting on quite a lot of cash (although much of it is tied up), and since McLaren is not based in the US, Apple would presumably not need to first repatriate—and therefore pay tax on—those funds. But we're not sure there's any smoke to this fire. According to the FT, "Apple’s interest in the Woking-based company centres on its technology, engineering prowess and patent portfolio, according to people briefed on the talks. However, those people cautioned that it was unclear if a deal would go ahead following a recent shift in Apple’s car strategy." Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge If you're the sort of PlayStation owner who likes to pay for the privilege of playing online—and get free games every month to boot—today is a good day to spend some money. That's because, after today, the price of an annual PlayStation Plus subscription is increasing from $50 to $60 (yes, we mentioned this back in August, but some of you may not have marked your calendars). It's not that much of an increase, when it comes down to it. Thanks to inflation, the $50 that Sony originally charged for PlayStation Plus when it launched in 2010 is equivalent to just over $55 in 2016 dollars. And the new $60 price matches what Microsoft has been charging for the highly similar Xbox Live Gold since 2010. Still, there's no reason you should pay for the increase before you have to. If you purchase an additional year's subscription today (which stacks on top of any current subscription time), you can lock in the current $50 price until the next time you have to renew. That's $10 you can put toward one of the many interesting indie games on the PS4. Or, um, toward a couple of cups of coffee, I guess? Look, you use your fungible savings however you want, OK? Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Enlarge / This is how we used to mess with the results of elections. The Internet has made it a lot easier. (credit: US Air Force photo) Even if the Russian government was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and various other political organizations and figures, the US government's options under international law are extremely limited, according to Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor and former US assistant attorney general. Goldsmith, who served at the Justice Department during the administration of George W. Bush and resigned after a dispute over the legal justifications for "enhanced interrogation" techniques, spoke on Tuesday about the DNC hack yesterday on a Yale University panel. "Assuming that the attribution is accurate," Goldsmith said, "the US has very little basis for a principled objection." In regard to the theft of data from the DNC and others, Goldsmith said that "it's hard to say that it violates international law, and the US acknowledges that it engages in the theft of foreign political data all the time." Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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I dunno... I still see some jagged edges on this logo... Remember earlier in the week when we described the emerging competition over the coming world of 4K console gaming? That contest just got a little more direct and personal, judging by comments Microsoft head of Xbox planning Albert Penello made about the PS4 Pro in a recent Eurogamer interview. "I know that 4.2 teraflops is not enough to do true 4K," Penello said, referencing the reported hardware power of the PS4 Pro, which launches in November at $400. "So, I feel like our product aspired a little bit higher, and we will have fewer asterisks around the 4K experiences we deliver on our box." Penello's comments followed a more direct comparison between the "true 4K" capabilities of the upcoming Xbox One Scorpio (launching late next year, price unknown) and the PS4 Pro: Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Google Fiber) The Nashville Metro Council last night gave its final approval to an ordinance designed to help Google Fiber accelerate deployment of high-speed Internet in the Tennessee city, despite AT&T and Comcast lobbying against the measure. Google Fiber's path isn't clear, however, as AT&T said weeks ago that it would likely sue Nashville if it passes the ordinance. AT&T has already sued Louisville, Kentucky over a similar ordinance designed to help Google Fiber. The Nashville Council vote approved a "One Touch Make Ready" ordinance that gives Google Fiber or other ISPs quicker access to utility poles. The ordinance lets a single company make all of the necessary wire adjustments on utility poles itself, instead of having to wait for incumbent providers like AT&T and Comcast to send work crews to move their own wires. One Council member who opposed the ordinance asked AT&T and Comcast to put forth an alternative plan, but the council stuck with the original One Touch Make Ready proposal. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: Melinda Sue Gordon for Netflix) While Netflix gained popularity by streaming licensed content, the company has been switching gears. According to a Variety report, Netflix aims to make 50 percent of its content original programming over the next few years; the other half will continue to be licensed TV shows and movies. At the start of 2016, the company announced it would launch 600 hours of original programming, a bump from the 450 hours it released in 2015. Over the next couple of years, Netflix plans to release a mix of content owned and produced by the company itself, in addition to co-productions and acquisitions. According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the company is currently “one-third to halfway” to reaching its 50 percent goal. In many cases, Netflix original programming has surpassed the popularity of its licensed content. Shows like House of Cards and Master of None have received numerous awards, and the new show Stranger Things has become a breakout hit in the past few months and has already been renewed for a second season. But Netflix acknowledges that not all of its original programs have been major hits, and the company is fine with that as it knows that not every new program will pick up major followings. "We don’t necessarily have to have home runs," Wells is quoted in Variety. "We can also live with singles, doubles, and triples especially commensurate with their cost." Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Artist's concept of Tiangong-1 space station with a Shenzhou spacecraft docking. (credit: CNSA) China says its first space station, launched in 2011, will return to Earth sometime during the second half of 2017. Chinese space officials cannot say exactly when, or where the Tiangong-1 laboratory will return to Earth, however. The small space station, named "Heavenly Palace," is presently at an orbit of about 370km, Chinese officials said. But it can no longer sustain such a high orbit and will gradually begin falling back to Earth. China's official news service, Xinhua, further reported: "Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling," she said, adding that it was unlikely to affect aviation activities or cause damage to the ground. China has always highly valued the management of space debris, conducting research and tests on space debris mitigation and cleaning, Wu said. Now, China will continue to monitor Tiangong-1 and strengthen early warning for possible collision with objects. If necessary, China will release a forecast of its falling and report it internationally, said Wu. The 8.5-ton, 10.4-meter-long facility served as an initial test bed for life-support systems in orbit and served as a precursor for China's plans to launch a larger space station in the 2020s. A second "Heavenly Palace," Tiangong-2, was launched earlier this month for further studies. It, too, will eventually return to Earth in an uncontrolled manner. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Enlarge Samsung has unveiled its next generation M.2 PCIe SSDs, the 960 PRO and 960 Evo. Like the 950 Pro, which was released last year, the 960 Pro and 960 Evo are PCIe 3.0 x4 drives that use the latest NVMe protocol for data transfer. As you'd expect, both are faster: the 960 Pro offers a blistering peak read speed of 3.5GB/s and a peak write speed of 2.1GB/s, while the Evo offers 3.2GB/s and 1.9GB/s respectively. The 950 topped out at a mere 2.5GB/s and 1.5GB/s. The 960 Pro and the 960 Evo are due for release in October. The Pro starts at $329 for 512GB of storage, rising up to a cool $1,299 for a 2TB version. The Evo is a little lighter on the wallet, starting at $129 for a 250GB version, rising to $479 for a 1TB version. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but a 512GB 950 Pro currently retails for around £300. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Huawei Honor 8. You can be forgiven for not being familiar with Huawei (pronounced "wah-way"). Other than the Nexus 6P, the Chinese company hasn't had much presence in the US. Despite mostly not dealing with the United States, Huawei is the largest telecommunications equipment manufacturer in the world and the third-largest smartphone OEM behind Samsung and Apple. At the beginning of this year though, Huawei finally started bringing phones to the US. Today we're looking at the value entry from Huawei's sub-brand, "Honor," called the "Honor 8." The Honor 8 occupies Ars' favorite $400 price point, which hits the (hopefully) perfect balance of high-end specs without all the often-gimmicky bells and whistles of $700-$800 phones. SPECS AT A GLANCE: Huawei Honor 8 SCREEN 1920×1080 5.2" (423ppi) LCD OS Android 6.0 with EMUI 4.1 CPU Eight-core HiSilicon Kirin 950 (four 2.3GHz Cortex A72 cores and four 1.8 GHz Cortex A53s cores) RAM 4GB GPU Mali-T880 MP4 STORAGE 32GB plus a Micro SD slot NETWORKING 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC BANDS WCDMA: B1/B2/B4/B5/B8 GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz LTE FDD: B1/B2/B3/B4/B5/B7/B8/B12/B17/B20 PORTS USB 2.0 Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack CAMERA Dual 12MP rear camera, 8MP front camera SIZE 145.5 x 71 x 7.45 mm (5.73 x 2.8 x 0.29 in) WEIGHT 153 g (5.4 oz) BATTERY 3000mAh STARTING PRICE $399 OTHER PERKS NFC, 9V/2A quick charging, fingerprint sensor, notification LED, IR blaster Design and build quality The Honor 8 can best be described as the Huawei P9's cheaper cousin. Huawei's more expensive phones, like the P9, get metal bodies, while the cheaper devices like the Honor 8 get glass backs with a metal frame. The Honor is basically built like a Samsung flagship, but for around half the price. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Andrew Brookes / Getty Images News) A federal judge in Iowa has ordered the suppression of child pornography evidence derived from an invalid warrant. The warrant was issued as part of a controversial government-sanctioned operation to hack Tor users. Out of nearly 200 such cases nationwide that involve the Tor-hidden child porn site known as "Playpen," US District Judge Robert Pratt is just the third to make such a ruling. "Any search conducted pursuant to such warrant is the equivalent of a warrantless search," Judge Pratt wrote Monday in his 19-page order in United States v. Croghan. While the charges against Beau Croghan have not been dropped yet, the ruling significantly hinders the government's case. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Bother the Google Assistant for things like recipes. Four months after announcing the product at Google I/O, Google Allo has finally launched. Allo is yet another attempt at a Google instant messaging platform, and while Google insists it won't shut down its current IM product, Google Hangouts, it's hard to imagine the new thing not replacing the old thing. So what makes Allo different? The sales pitch is that Allo is an instant messaging client with a Google cloud twist. Like Google Inbox, there's a "smart reply" feature, that scans the current chat and generates several pre-typed responses using Google's cloud-powered machine learning. For instance, at a very basic level, if Google detects a "yes" or "no" question, you'll get "yes" or "no" buttons to reply with above the keyboard. Google says that smart reply will "improve over time and adjust to your style." The other cloud-powered feature is the Google Assistant, which is Google's new chat bot technology that lets your perform Google queries and see results right inside a chat window. This can be things like asking questions, showing a plane flight, or finding nearby restaurants. While you can do all of this at Google.com, doing it inside Allo means you can collaborate with a friend. Being able to do things like browse restaurant results together sounds like a great way to make dinner plans. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Surface Pro 3. (credit: Peter Bright) Some models of Surface Pro 3 were struck with severe battery issues, reducing their time away from the power outlet to a few minutes or less. Microsoft issued a firmware fix in late August that appeared to work, but new complaints are growing about another battery problem, as reported by InfoWorld. Microsoft has two sources of batteries for the Surface Pro 3: Simplo and LG. The first issue, the one that's now fixed, applied to systems with Simplo batteries: affected systems saw the battery's charge capacity drop steadily, becoming unable to store any significant charge. The firmware fix reset the reported capacity. The new problem appears to have struck systems with the LG batteries. Affected systems don't charge when plugged into the wall and, even though they're showing that the battery has charge, are turning off immediately when unplugged. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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(credit: fdecomite) A Manhattan-based federal judge ruled on Monday (PDF) that a man accused of running an illegal Bitcoin exchange website could not have two charges of running an unlicensed money transfer business dropped because Bitcoin is money. The defendant is Anthony Murgio of Florida, who was arrested in July 2015 in connection with a number of other American and Israeli men who allegedly hacked into JP Morgan Chase, ETrade, and News Corp., among others. Murgio was not directly charged with conducting any of the hacks, but the Justice Department did claim that Murgio ran a sketchy Bitcoin exchange website called Coin.mx with Gery Shalon, the alleged mastermind of the JP Morgan hacks. According to a 2015 indictment, Murgio and others were able to accept shady money from co-conspirators through Coin.mx. Murgio is also accused of misrepresenting his business to financial institutions by creating a front for Coin.mx called the “Collectables Club,” as well as with bribing a small New Jersey credit union to process its electronic payments. Judge Alison Nathan’s Monday order did not impact those charges. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | RJ Sangosti) Chiming in with reminders, data, and tips, our sleek gadgets and handy apps want to program us into being better versions of ourselves: more responsible, productive, healthy. But, sadly, some technology is no match for the chaotic code of an emotional human—particularly one struggling on a diet. According to a two-year study, wearable fitness trackers designed to coax users into busting moves and burning calories throughout their daily lives didn’t help anyone lose weight. In fact, overweight dieters using the arm-mounted gizmos actually gained more weight on average than those using old-fashioned, tech-less dieting schemes. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, contradicts earlier studies that found the trackers can boost weight loss. But those earlier trials tended to be smaller and shorter. The new data, the authors say, suggests that tossing technology at big problems, like fitness, diet, willpower, and motivation, isn’t straightforward and requires more nuanced, long-term studies. “I think we have to be a little bit cautious about simply thinking that what we can do is just add technology to these already effective interventions and expect better results,” lead study researcher John Jakicic, of the University of Pittsburgh, said in an interview with JAMA. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images) Acacia Research Corporation, the largest publicly traded patent-assertion entity, won a $22.1 million verdict against Apple last week. A jury in the patent hotspot of East Texas found that Apple had infringed US Patent No. 8,055,820, owned by Acacia subsidiary Cellular Communications Equipment LLC. The patent describes a method of how cell phones can use "buffer status reporting" so that phone networks can optimize data usage. The patent originated at Nokia, which sold the patent to Acacia in 2013. Acacia is in a controversial business that critics refer to as "patent trolling." The firm buys patents from others, uses those patents to bring litigation, and then splits the proceeds with the original patent owner. The business model has made the company incredibly litigious, as dozens of Acacia-owned LLC's have filed hundreds of lawsuits over the years. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Highway viewed from the motor vehicle. (credit: Getty Images | chombosan) On Monday, the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency published its long-awaited Federal Automated Vehicles Policy. NHTSA is the part of the US government responsible for regulating the vehicles we drive, and it's broadly in favor of self-driving technology given the potential to reduce the death toll on the nation's roads. That toll, by the way, nudged above 35,000 in 2015 (up almost 8 percent on the previous year). The new document includes both a performance guidance (as opposed to regulation) for automated vehicles as well as a model policy for individual states to follow. As is the case with new federal government policies, the document is open for public comment for the next 60 days. What does the guidance say? First at bat is NHTSA's decision to abandon its own scale of autonomous driving levels. Instead, the agency will use the SAE scale; this goes from Level 0 (where a human driver does everything) to level 5 (completely automated). Cars equipped with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist, traffic jam assist, or Autopilot fall somewhere between SAE's Levels 2 and 3: Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Researchers from Tencent's Keen Security Labs totally hack the Tesla S over Wi-Fi. Security researchers at the Chinese Internet company Tencent's Keen Security Lab privately revealed a security bug in Tesla Model S cars that allowed an attacker to achieve remote access to a vehicle's Controller Area Network (CAN) and take over functions of the vehicle while parked or moving. The Keen researchers were able to remotely open the doors and trunk of an unmodified Model S, and they were also able to take control of its display. Perhaps most notably, the researchers remotely activated the brakes of a moving Model S wirelessly once the car had been breached by an attack on the car's built-in Web browser. Tesla has already issued an over-the-air firmware patch to fix the situation. Previous hacks of Tesla vehicles have required physical access to the car. The Keen attack exploited a bug in Tesla's Web browser, which required the vehicle to be connected to a malicious Wi-Fi hotspot. This allowed the attackers to stage a "man-in-the-middle" attack, according to researchers. In a statement on the vulnerability, a Tesla spokesman said, "our realistic estimate is that the risk to our customers was very low, but this did not stop us from responding quickly." After Keen brought the vulnerability to Bugcrowd, the company managing Tesla's bug bounty program, it took just 10 days for Tesla to generate a fix. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / We're pretty sure this supposed "leak" of an NX design is fake, but it's still a good mock-up based on the rumors we have heard about the supposed console/portable hybrid. (credit: EGMNow) With the NX just over six months away from launch (if Nintendo's "March 2017" launch roadmap is still to be believed), we're still stuck grasping at straws when it comes to official info about the system. The latest detail drip comes from The Pokemon Company (TPC) president Tsunekazu Ishihara, who seemingly confirmed the long-standing rumors about the system's console/hybrid design in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "The NX is trying to change the concept of what it means to be a home console device or a hand-held device [emphasis added]," Ishihara said in the interview. "We will make games for the NX." The wording of the quote leaves a little wiggle room for interpretation—perhaps Ishihara was guessing at the NX's existence as a console or a hand-held as an either-or proposition. It's also unclear if Ishihara has any specific, insider knowledge of the NX or its development process. The Pokemon Company is partly owned by Nintendo (in conjunction with game developers Creatures and Game Freak), so maybe there has been some hardware information sharing going on between the two companies. But TPC largely operates as its own entity, and Ishihara might have simply been speaking based on previous reports suggesting the system's hybrid design. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of the Wells Fargo & Company, testifies before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee September 20, 2016 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony on the topic of "An Examination of Wells Fargo's Unauthorized Accounts and the Regulatory Response." (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images) “I am deeply sorry that we failed to fulfill our responsibility to our customers, to our team members, and to the American public,” Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf told the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday. Stumpf was being taken to task by the committee over news earlier this month that employees of the bank had opened 2 million unauthorized bank accounts using customers’ names from 2011 onward. The bank CEO stopped short of placing blame on any senior executives, however, claiming that there was “no orchestrated effort” to get employees to create phony accounts. When the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its $100 million fine of the company on September 8, Wells Fargo said that it had fired 5,300 employees for misconduct and hired a third-party consulting firm to examine the extent of the problem at the recommendation of regulators. The CFPB said that employees opened 1.5 million debit accounts and more than 500,000 credit card accounts, fraudulently using customers' names in order to meet Wells Fargo’s aggressive cross-selling quotas. In some cases, employees temporarily moved money from a customer’s legitimate account to an illegitimate one, prompting overdraft and minimum balance fees. Wells Fargo said it would pay $2.6 million in refunds to affected customers. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle) On Wednesday, the United Nations will hold a historic meeting to take on the growing problem of antibiotic resistant microbes, which it called “one of the biggest threats to global health.” And according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they have their work cut out for them. It turns out that not even hospitals in the US are taking the threat seriously enough. Looking through hospitals’ prescription records from 2006 to 2012, the CDC found that the overall amounts of antibiotic prescriptions have held steady. That finding bucks warnings from the CDC and other public health agencies’ that doctors (as well as meat producers) are overusing and misusing the drugs and need to cut back. The CDC estimates that at least a third of antibiotic prescriptions in the US are unnecessary. Needlessly exposing microbes to antibiotics gives germs more opportunity to develop resistance to the otherwise life-saving drugs. Already, antibiotic-resistant infections strike 2 million people each year in the US alone, killing at least 23,000. Doctors and veterinarians need to cut back and use the drugs more wisely, the CDC has warned—apparently to no avail. Looking through the prescription data, the CDC noted that although doctors seemed to be ignoring their warnings, they couldn’t ignore the problem of resistance. Though overall-levels of antibiotics plateaued, doctors are increasingly skipping over antibiotics considered first-line defenses. Instead, they’re turning to second, third, and even some last-line drugs, which are more powerful but often come with more side effects. In the six-year study period, doctors upped their use of last-resort carbapenem antibiotics by 37 percent, according to the data published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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