posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Michael Dorausch AT&T has entered the legal fracas over whether court warrants are required for the government to obtain their customers' cell-site location history. The telecom, while not siding one way or the other, said Monday the courts should adopt a uniform policy nationwide. As it now stands, there's conflicting appellate rulings on the matter. The Supreme Court has yet to decide the issue. The Dallas, Texas-based company told [PDF] the following to the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which is considering the issue: Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The regulation of Google's search results has come up from time to time over the past decade, and although the idea has gained some traction in Europe (most recently with “right to be forgotten” laws), courts and regulatory bodies in the US have generally agreed that Google's search results are considered free speech. That consensus was upheld last Thursday, when a San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Google's right to order its search results as it sees fit. The owner of a website called CoastNews, S. Louis Martin, argued that Google was unfairly putting CoastNews too far down in search results, while Bing and Yahoo were turning up CoastNews in the number one spot. CoastNews claimed that violated antitrust laws. It also took issue with Google's refusal to deliver ads to its website after CoastNews posted photographs of a nudist colony in the Santa Cruz mountains. Google then filed an anti-SLAPP motion against the plaintiff. Anti-SLAPP regulations in California allow courts to throw out lawsuits at an early stage if they're intended to stifle free speech rights. In this case, the judge agreed [PDF] that Google was permitted by the First Amendment to organize its search results as it saw fit. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
A large number of the Tor-anonymized domains recently seized in a crackdown on illegal darknet services were clones or imposter sites, according to an analysis published Monday. That conclusion is based on an indexing of .onion sites available through the Tor privacy service that cloaks the location where online services are hosted. Australia-based blogger Nik Cubrilovic said a Web crawl he performed on the darknet revealed just 276 seized addresses, many fewer than the 414 domains police claimed they confiscated last week. Of the 276 domains Cubrilovic identified, 153 pointed to clones, phishing, or scam sites impersonating one of the hidden services targeted by law enforcement, he said. If corroborated by others, the findings may be viewed as good news for privacy advocates who look to Tor to help preserve their anonymity. Last week's reports that law enforcement agencies tracked down more than 400 hidden services touched off speculation that police identified and were exploiting a vulnerability in Tor itself that allowed them to surreptitiously decloak hidden services. The revelation that many of the seized sites were imposters may help to tamp down such suspicions. Cubrilovic wrote: Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The surprise is $5. Snapchat On Monday the messaging app Snapchat, which lets you send images and text that disappear soon after the recipient has viewed the message, announced that it would let its users send something more permanent—money. Partnering with payments processor Square to handle all the sensitive information, Snapchat introduced “Snapcash,” which will detect a dollar amount when typed into the body of a message and allow the user to send that amount with a click of a green button appearing to the right of the text box. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel told Re/code that “none of the personal financial information from Snapchat users will reside on Snapchat servers.” Instead a Snapcash user will, in essence, be signing up for a Square Cash account and agreeing to Square's Terms of Service before using Snapcash. That's a good thing too, given some of Snapchat's more egregious privacy fumbles in the last year—from ignoring warnings from Gibson Security that users' usernames and phone numbers could be easily tied together with minimal effort to suddenly making the people that Snapchat users communicated with the most publicly accessible in a list of “Best Friends.” In May, the messaging service had to settle with the FTC over its claim that all messages sent through Snapchat were “ephemeral” when, in fact, there were a number of ways for those messages to be saved. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Songs recorded before 1972 aren't protected by federal copyright. Recently, though, some older bands have started looking for royalty payments based on the patchwork of state copyright laws. 1960s rock band The Turtles sued Sirius XM seeking payments for use of their songs. If the band is successful in its lawsuit, it could open the door to lawsuits against online streaming media over older song titles. Pandora was sued by the Recording Industry Association of America earlier this year and last month by The Turtles. On Friday, the band had a breakthrough in its case. US District Judge Colleen McMahon said that unless a factual issue requiring a trial comes up by December 5, she intends to rule in favor of The Turtles and against Sirius, according to a Reuters report. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
One of the LinkNYC booths that will bring free Wi-Fi to New York's streets. A new "communications network" called LinkNYC announced plans Monday to turn all of the payphones in New York City into public Wi-Fi stations. The kiosks, which are taller and narrower than the average phone booth but preserve the advertising space, will have "up to gigabit speeds" and charging stations for devices, according to a press release Monday. New York has been trying to figure out what to do with its decrepit payphones for years. In 2012, the city did a very small-scale rollout of Wi-Fi hotspots at 10 phone booths, and in 2013, the Department of Information Technology and Communications solicited and displayed proposals for redesigning and repurposing the booths into something more sightly and useful. The network, LinkNYC, is a "public-private" partnership between the Mayor's Office of Technology and Innovation, DoITT, and CityBridge, a collective of New York companies that includes Qualcomm, Antenna, Comark, and Transit Wireless (the company that has installed Wi-Fi in 47 stations of the city's subway system). In addition to being Wi-Fi hotspots, LinkNYC kiosks will also have touch screens for accessing information about the city and will allow free domestic phone calls. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Benthall / Facebook The attorney representing Blake Benthall, whom prosecutors claim was the head of the Silk Road 2.0 website, told Ars on Monday that his client's Twitter account has been hacked. "He remains in custody and thus, of course, is not tweeting,” Jean-Jacques Cabou said by e-mail. “Blake’s Twitter account was compromised by unauthorized users, who posted the tweet regarding bitcoin donations. Neither Blake nor any member of Blake’s family authorized the tweet or its request. Beginning days ago, we took proper measures to report to Twitter that the account was compromised and the tweet was unauthorized. We have no idea who holds the private key(s) associated with the bitcoin address posted in the tweet.” Last Tuesday, Benthall's account simply stated: Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The firm that issues the TRUSTe privacy seal displayed on thousands of websites has agreed to pay $200,000 to settle charges that it deceived consumers about the sites it vouched for and perpetuated misrepresentations about TRUSTe's status as a nonprofit. San Francisco-based TRUSTe told consumers that the websites certified under its programs receive a recertification review every year, according to a release published Monday by the Federal Trade Commission. But in fact, the consumer watchdog agency said, TRUSTe failed to conduct annual reviews in at least 1,000 cases from 2006 to 2013. "TRUSTe promised to hold companies accountable for protecting consumer privacy, but it fell short of that pledge," FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said in Monday's release. "Self-regulation plays an important role in helping to protect consumers. But when companies fail to live up to their promises to consumers, the FTC will not hesitate to take action." Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Ron Amadeo Lollipop adds notifications to the lock screen, along with a shortcut to the dialer. Album art still makes it to the lock screen, but now the controls are displayed in a notification. 23 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } Android 5.0 Lollipop—and the app updates that were released with it—changed the look of Android quite a bit. Google's new design style, called "Material Design," makes the OS more colorful, more consistent, and even more of a "light OS" than before. While we covered the OS in detail in our Lollipop review, we thought it would be fun to take a look at how the apps have changed during the journey from KitKat to Lollipop. In the above gallery, we've rounded up before-and-after shots of the major changes. Despite all these transitions, there are still a few things we're waiting on. Google Drive and its satellite apps—Docs, Sheets, and slides—haven't gotten a full Material makeover yet. The same goes for Google Hangouts, YouTube, and Google+. Material Design is supposed to affect not just Android, but all of Google's Web apps. Those need to be updated, too. The new designs are a good first push, but Google still has a ton of work to do before the promise of consistent design across all platforms can be achieved. For now the Core OS has been updated and is looking pretty consistent, which is what matters for Android 5.0. Expect the rest to be delivered via the Play Store when it's ready. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled in Citizens United that unions, groups, and nonprofit corporations had a First Amendment right to spend as much as they wanted on political campaigns. The only caveat was that they could not coordinate with the actual campaign they were campaigning for. But CNN said Monday the GOP employed Twitter to "stretch" Citizens United by using anonymous Twitter accounts to publicly share internal polling data to "signal to the campaign committees where to focus on precious time and resources." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Welcome to Yosemite Server. Andrew Cunningham OS X Server is in maintenance mode. That much was clear when Mavericks Server came out a year ago with just a handful of welcome-but-minor tweaks and improvements. The software hasn’t grown stagnant, really—certainly not to the extent of something like Apple Remote Desktop, which only gets updated when it’s time to support a new OS X version. But now OS X Server is changing very little from version to version, and since the untimely death of the Mac Mini Server, Apple isn't even selling any kind of server-oriented hardware. Still, the Yosemite version of OS X Server changes enough to be worth revisiting. As with our pieces on Mavericks and Mountain Lion, this article should be thought of as less of a review and more of a guided tour through everything you can do with OS X Server. We’ll pay the most attention to the new stuff, but we’ll also detail each and every one of OS X Server’s services, explaining what it does, how to use it, and where to find more information about it. In cases where nothing has changed, we have re-used portions of last year's review with updated screenshots and links. Table of Contents Installation, setup, and getting started Server.app basics OS X Server and AirPort Open Directory Users and Groups Comparison with Active Directory Profile Manager RIP Workgroup Manager, last of the Server Admin Tools File Sharing SMB 3.0: Optional encryption and performance improvements WebDAV FTP and SFTP Time Machine Xcode Caching Software Update Areas of overlap, and advice for moving forward Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Messages Mail Calendar Contacts Messages Connecting to your server NetInstall Creating a basic image with the System Image Utility Configuring images for booting Websites Wiki VPN DHCP DNS Xsan Conclusions: OS X Server is still kicking Installation, setup, and getting started Read 168 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Apple Apple has just released OS X 10.10.1, the first major update to Yosemite. The patch doesn't include any big new features, but it fixes a handful of bugs including one that could cause problems with Wi-Fi connections. The update was released alongside iOS 8.1.1, a minor update that improves performance on older devices like the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. You can grab 10.10.1 through the Mac App Store's Update tab, and it ought to show up on Apple's downloads site later today if you prefer to manually download and install. From Apple's official release notes: Improves Wi-Fi reliability Improves reliability when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server Resolves an issue that may prevent Mail from sending messages through certain email service providers Addresses an issue prevents connecting to remote computers using Back to My Mac Resolves an issue where sharing services, Notification Center widgets and Actions may not be available Addresses an issue that could cause Notiication Center settings to not be retained after a restart Addresses an issue that might prevent the Mac App Store from displaying certain updates Addresses an issue that could prevent some Mac mini computers from waking from sleep Resolves an issue that might prevent Time Machine from displaying older backups Addresses an issue that might prevent entering text in Japanese The update also provides two fixes for enterprise customers. One makes the Mac App Store report that an Apple Remote Desktop update is available even when it's not true, and another "allows you to append search domains for partially qualified domain names when performing DNS lookups." Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Lee Hutchinson Apple has just released iOS 8.1.1, the fourth update to iOS 8 since it was released two months ago. The update is available for all devices running iOS 8, including the iPhone 4S, 5, 5C, 5S, 6, and 6 Plus; all iPads except the first-generation model; and the fifth-generation iPod Touch. iOS 8.1 focused mostly on adding features like SMS forwarding and Apple Pay, but 8.1.1 returns its focus to fixing bugs. The biggest improvement should be better performance on the iPhone 4S and iPad 2, devices that both suffered when iOS 8 was originally released. While they aren't mentioned in the release notes, these performance improvements should hopefully apply to the original iPad Mini and the fifth-generation iPod Touch, since they both use hardware very similar to the 4S and iPad 2. Apple usually gives some specific examples of other bugs that are being fixed, but it doesn't list any for this update—we'll update the article if we can find more information. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Valve When Valve first launched Steam's Early Access program back in March 2013, the intent was for developers to sell "unfinished" games to players early, letting those players experience a rough beta as the game worked through development and toward a "full release." In practice, the vast majority of games taking part in the Early Access system have yet to make it to that full release finish line. In an analysis published on GamesIndustry International, Patrick Walker of game research firm EEDAR points out that only 25 percent of the 334 Early Access games placed on Steam through October 2014 have seen subsequent release as full games. That statistic could be a bit misleading, since it includes many games that only launched as Early Access in the last few months. Even if you look at games that have been available on Early Access for a year or more, though, over half haven't made the jump to a full release, according to Walker's numbers. This isn't exactly news to anyone who's been paying attention to the way Early Access has been used in the wild. Back in June, Valve changed its Early Access FAQ to explicitly note that "some teams will be unable to 'finish' their game. So you should only buy an Early Access game if you are excited about playing it in its current state." Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The European Space Agency’s decade-old Rosetta mission managed to do what no mission has done before—successfully rendezvous a probe with a comet and then land on it. Even if things didn’t go entirely as planned with the landing, the lion’s share of the mission’s science was always slated to be carried out by the Rosetta probe itself rather than by the Philae lander, so plenty of experiments will still be carried out over the next year. A mosaic assembled by ESA scientists showing Philae's first bounce across Comet 67P. ESA In fact, one of the Rosetta probe’s instruments managed to capture some remarkable imagery last week during Philae’s landing. In a blog post that went live this morning, ESA posted pictures from the spacecraft’s OSIRIS imager (that’s Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) showing Philae’s initial approach and first "bounce" off of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12. Philae was supposed to have anchored itself to Comet 67P with a pair of harpoons, but those harpoons didn’t fire on touchdown. Philae actually rebounded away from the comet (67P has a small but appreciable amount of gravity, although its escape velocity is only 0.5 meters per second). It was during the first of two "bounces" that Rosetta’s OSIRIS imager captured a series of frames showing the lander’s parabolic journey across the comet’s face. The exact location of Philae’s final resting place remains as yet undermined. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
A red light camera at the intersection of Sylvan and Coffee in Modesto, California. Cyrus Farivar The chairman of the major red light camera vendor, Redflex, has told the company's investors that North America is a "low/no-growth market," and that the company continues to face "potential legal risk as a result of the investigative findings." Redflex has been under fire in particular as a result of its Chicago contract that resulted in a federal corruption case. In October 2014, one of the three defendants in that case pleaded guilty, which marked the first guilty plea in a high-level case involving Redflex. Since losing the Chicago contract as a result of this corruption scandal, Redflex’s 2013 pre-tax profits in its North American division (its corporate parent is an Australian company) have plummeted over 33 percent—from $3.4 million in the first half of 2013 to $2.28 million in the second half. The company announced that it lost $1.2 million during its fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. At present, the company operates in California, New Jersey, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia, among other states. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
British Columbia Emergency Services Judges in Pierce County, Washington, have now begun requiring law enforcement agencies to ask for specific permission when using a cell site simulator, commonly known as a "stingray," according to a Saturday report by the Tacoma News Tribune. Previously, as is the case nearly everywhere else in the country, law enforcement would go to a judge asking for a "pen register, trap and trace" order, which in the pre-cellphone era allowed law enforcement to obtain someone's calling metadata in near real-time. Now, that same data can be gathered directly by the cops themselves through the use of a stingray used against mobile phones. Stingrays, however, also can be used to intercept calls and text messages, and the stingray doesn't only work against one target phone but also against other phones that may happen to be nearby. The new, more stringent standard is unusual among American courts. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
NASA/JPL One aspect of planetary formation has remained enigmatic. Observations of young star systems indicate that it usually takes less than five million years for the star’s planets to form—perhaps much less. For that to happen, there must be a really efficient mechanism to bring mass into the protoplanetary disk in which the planets form. Gravity alone doesn’t account for it happening so quickly. Theoretical explanations abound for the fast accretion of material, some of which involve its interactions with a solar system's magnetic field. Until now, there’s been no way to test these models or determine the role of a magnetic field. By examining a meteorite, however, researchers found indications that the magnetic field in the early Solar System was sufficient to account for the short accretion time. The researchers studied a meteorite called Semarkona, which was filled with olivine-bearing chondrules. Chondrules are round grains that form as molten droplets but later accrete into the meteoroid they’re found in. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Google Finance Copyright enforcement company Rightscorp told investors it has closed 130,000 cases against Internet pirates, up from 100,000 just two months ago. Despite that, the company's newest earnings report shows it's losing more money than ever. Rightscorp launched in 2011, and it now represents the broadest attempt to wrestle cash from online piracy outside the adult media space. The company boasts that its proprietary technology can identify individual pirates even as they change ISP addresses. It constantly monitors peer-to-peer sharing sites, policing its clients' 1.5 million copyrighted works. The company reported its Q3 earnings Friday afternoon, emphasizing its jump in revenue to $248,000. While that is an increase of $183,000 from the third quarter of 2013, company expenses totaled $1.05 million, up from $526,000 last year. Since beginning in 2011, Rightscorp has lost $6.5 million. It now needs to find additional investors to avoid bankruptcy. "If the Company is unable to obtain adequate capital it could be forced to cease operations," it acknowledged in its most recent SEC filing. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
"I’m pretty much fucked," reads the opening passage of Andy Weir’s The Martian. After barely surviving a catastrophic accident that leaves him stranded alone on Mars, those are the first words protagonist Mark Watney writes in his journal. The passage is followed by an elaboration: "That’s my considered opinion: fucked." I knew immediately that I was going to like this book. After all, even if I were a highly skilled and trained astronaut, the first thing I’d say in that kind of situation wouldn’t be a Star Trek style stoic affirmation—it’d be a lot of swear words. It’s only human, and Watney, for all his otherworldly genius, makes a remarkably accessible everyman. Set in the near future, The Martian tells his story. Watney is an astronaut and member of mankind’s third manned Mars landing, and he finds himself stranded alone on Mars after his crewmates are forced to abandon him during a dust storm (hence the gloomy tone of the book’s opening passage). Watney must attempt to survive using only leftover tools and components from the abandoned mission, because there is no Home Depot on Mars. Fortunately, he has a few tricks up his spacesuit sleeves: he’s damn smart, damn resourceful, and really, really damn optimistic. Read 63 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
How does the Nexus 10 Andrew Cunningham CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:[], collapse: true});I've never been tempted to buy a large widescreen tablet. They're good at certain things, but they're too wide for everything onscreen to be reachable if you're holding it with both hands. They're too tall for portrait mode to be comfortable for long stretches. One-handed use is generally tolerable at best. Smaller widescreen tablets like the Nexus 7 are nice because they're closer in size and heft to books, but 10-inch-and-up widescreen tablets have always been too gawky for my taste. Which brings us to Google and Samsung's Nexus 10. This tablet replaced the underwhelming Motorola Xoom in late 2012, and it was the Android ecosystem's first answer to the high-density Retina display Apple had added to the iPad earlier that year. Its hardware was perfectly good then and it remains solid now—it has aged much better than the old Nexus 7—but hardware was never the Nexus 10's problem. The problem two years ago was that the Android ecosystem was light on good tablet apps. There wasn't a ton to do with that big screen, which meant there wasn't much incentive to choose the Nexus 10 over an iPad or a smaller Android tablet. In examining Lollipop on the Nexus 10, our biggest questions are about the ways the redesigned OS and apps make use of that extra space. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
UltimateGaming Apparently, a free version of Windows 7 and VMFusion virtualization software didn't do the trick. Those were among the freebies that Ultimate Gaming, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based online poker company, was giving away when it launched about 19 months ago. The company is now folding, having crapped out on a failed social experiment. And at least for the moment, it's one sign that legalized online gaming is coming up snake eyes. "As has been the case in other jurisdictions, online poker revenues in Nevada have fallen far short of original projections,” Tom Breitling, chairman of Ultimate Gaming, said in a statement. "Moreover, the state-by-state approach to online gaming has created an extremely cost-prohibitive and challenging operating environment. These factors have combined to make the path to profitability very difficult and uncertain. Consequently, we have decided to cease operations." Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The Markagrunt gravity slide in Utah includes most of the area between Beaver, Cedar City, and Panguitch. Google Earth Some things can be too big to notice, as our flat-Earth-believing ancestors can attest, having failed to work out that the surface of the Earth curves around a sphere. Or, as the saying goes, you can focus on the details of some fascinating trees and miss interesting facts about the forest as a whole. In southwest Utah, geologists had noticed some pretty cool “trees.” The area had been volcanically active between 21 and 31 million years ago, building up a host of steep, volcanic peaks. A number of huge blocks of rock from these peaks, up to 2.5 square kilometers in area and 200 meters thick, are obviously out of place—they've been interpreted by geologists as the result of many landslides around the volcanoes. In a recent paper in Geology, David Hacker, Robert Biek, and Peter Rowley show that rather than being the result of many individual landslides, these are actually all part of one jaw-droppingly large event. The deposit, called the Markagunt gravity slide, covers an area about 90 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide and is hundreds of meters thick. During the event, all of this slid 30 kilometers or more. The scale puts run-of-the-mill landslides—as terrifying and deadly as they can be—to shame. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Good job on those photos, Philae. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA Rosetta’s lander Philae, which made a historic touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko earlier this week, has run out of battery power, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Saturday. In a blog post, ESA said that the lander is now in “idle mode” and it is unlikely that communication will be reestablished in the near future. Contact with the spacecraft was lost at 6:36pm ET on Nov. 14. Philae was expected to deplete its battery power this weekend, but the event happened a little earlier than planned. The spacecraft had a bouncy landing on the comet on Nov. 12, which placed it in a spot that offered less sunlight to charge its solar panels. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Stack Exchange This Q&A is part of a weekly series of posts highlighting common questions encountered by technophiles and answered by users at Stack Exchange, a free, community-powered network of 100+ Q&A sites. TheIndependentAquarius asks: I was working on a project three months ago when suddenly another urgent project appeared and I was asked to shift my attention. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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