posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Yes, you can pet the dog... in your village. You can kill the dogs in other people's villages. (All images in this article were captured from real-time preview gameplay.) [credit: Ubisoft ] Last week, Ubisoft offered me an opportunity to play its upcoming open-world quest game Assassin's Creed Valhalla in an almost-retail state. This follows my 3.5 hours of preview gameplay in July, and honestly, the long and short of my combined tests is pretty simple: I like this game just fine. Ubisoft may very well have struck the right balance between new and familiar content in this follow-up to Assassin's Creed Odyssey, a game we very much liked. As a result, I'm optimistic. However, I've yet to see exactly how the good bits fit together in the final retail experience or whether the solid momentum and pacing I've seen thus far falls apart under launch-version scrutiny. (Or, obviously, whether the game will buckle or crash under the load of a massive open-world engine, all while launching on a zillion old and new platforms on November 10.) In the meantime, I'll take this moment to talk about some of the stuff I've noticed thus far while playing the PC version (as streamed to my home via Ubisoft's private cloud services), then open the floor up to questions in our comments section in case I missed anything (which I probably did).Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Equipment including a diamond anvil cell (blue box) and laser arrays in the lab of Ranga Dias at the University of Rochester. Undoubtedly, they cleaned up the typical mess of cables and optical hardware before taking the photo. In the period after the discovery of high-temperature superconductors, there wasn't a good conceptual understanding of why those compounds worked. While there was a burst of progress towards higher temperatures, it quickly ground to a halt, largely because it was fueled by trial and error. Recent years brought a better understanding of the mechanisms that enable superconductivity, and we're seeing a second burst of rapidly rising temperatures. Equipment including a diamond anvil cell (blue box) and laser arrays are pictured in the lab of assistant professor of Mechanical Engineering and Physics and Astronomy Ranga Dias in Hopeman Hall August 26, 2020. Dias is studying the potential and applications of room temperature superconductivity in dense hydrogen-rich materials and carbon based materials. (Photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester)[/ars_img] The key to the progress has been a new focus on hydrogen-rich compounds, built on the knowledge that hydrogen's vibrations within a solid help encourage the formation of superconducting electron pairs. By using ultra-high pressures, researchers have been able to force hydrogen into solids that turned out to superconduct at temperatures that could be reached without resorting to liquid nitrogen.Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
The OnePlus 8T. There's not much new from the front. [credit: Ron Amadeo ] After releasing the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro earlier in the year, OnePlus is following them up with the OnePlus 8T, a phone that feels almost exactly like the OnePlus 8 Pro with a few features stripped away and a $150 cheaper price tag. For $749 you get a 6.55-inch, 120Hz, 2400×1080 display, a Snapdragon 865 SoC, 12GB of RAM, 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage, and a 4500mAh battery. Most of the features you would expect are here, like an in-screen fingerprint reader, OnePlus' three-position mute switch, a USB-C port, stereo speakers, and NFC. OnePlus says there's no "OnePlus 8T Pro" this year because there are really no upgrades to provide over the 8 Pro, so the 8T slots in just a bit below the 8 Pro. The major changes are a smaller, lower-resolution display, no wireless charging, no IP water-resistance rating, and a downgraded camera.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Video produced by Justin Wolfson, edited by Patrick Biesemans. Click here for transcript. Welcome to "Scare Tactics," a pilot for a video series that aims to explore how different creators make horror games. We see horror as a special genre—horror games aren't always played for the same reasons as other games. They aren't necessarily fun, and their reward often comes from overcoming one's own fears, rather than from overcoming the game's mechanics. We're starting the series by cozying up to Frictional Games cofounder Thomas Grip. To call the release of Frictional's Amnesia: The Dark Descent a watershed moment in horror gaming would be a severe understatement—it launched the careers of many Let's Play YouTubers and spawned dozens of copycats all trying the same scare-your-brains-out formula. The company is currently working on Amnesia: Rebirth, but Grip took time away from finishing Rebirth to take us through his philosophy and approach to horror game design. (Along the way, he also shared some Rebirth previews with us, and our video above showcases a few Rebirth gameplay elements that haven't been seen yet!)Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Breath of the Wild, along with a few other Switch games, have been discounted on Prime Day. (credit: Mark Walton) Amazon's two-day Prime Day event is kicking off its last day, and we’ve been diligently combing through it all for the best deals. While there are some higher-priced products seeing steep discounts—see our full Prime Day deals roundup for the details—we have a handful of our favorite deals under the $50 mark that'll reward thriftiness. Among them are desktop accessories, streaming devices, microSD cards, and a few more fun choices, like Nintendo Switch games and smart home gear. While you may see some shipping delays on some picks due to Prime Day's high demand, you can check out the full list below to nab yourself some cheap thrills.Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Jessica Rothe plays Samantha, a fan of the Dystopia comic, keen to bid on the just-discovered copy of the unpublished sequel: Utopia. [credit: YouTube/Amazon Prime ] It's a rare TV series that gives me pause about even writing a review, but Amazon's new sci-fi thriller Utopia turned out to be just that. Not because it isn't good—on the contrary, I found it both entertaining and thought provoking. But there are several key elements of the central plot that proved disquieting enough (even for someone like me who is not generally squeamish) that I had to ponder the pros and cons of giving space to a show whose release perhaps should have been postponed by a few months, given current world events. (I mean, read the room, Amazon! Geez!) In the end, the pro arguments won out. (All major spoilers are below the second gallery. We'll give you a heads-up when we get there.) As we reported previously, the series is a reboot of the 2013 British version, about online fans of a graphic novel called Dystopia that seems to have the power to predict the real-world future. The fans are obsessed with tracking down the sequel, Utopia, and this makes them targets of a secret organization. Amazon has kept the same basic premise (with a few tweaks) and swapped in an American cast. Per the official premise: "When the conspiracy in the elusive comic Utopia is real, a group of young fans come together to embark on a high-stakes twisted adventure to use what they uncover to save themselves, each other and ultimately humanity." Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg at Apple's iPhone 12 event. (credit: Apple) Verizon today announced "nationwide" 5G coverage along with support for the new 5G-enabled iPhones. But for most consumers, Verizon's 5G upgrade won't make much of a difference. The newly enabled 5G runs on the same spectrum bands used by Verizon for 4G, so it won't be nearly as fast as Verizon's millimeter-wave version of 5G. Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said in May that 5G users on the non-millimeter wave bands will see only a "small" upgrade at first. "Nationwide" doesn't mean it's available everywhere, either. As Verizon said in its announcement today, nationwide means that Verizon 5G "is available today to more than 200 million people in 1,800 cities around the US." That definition satisfies a standard set by the National Advertising Division, the advertising industry's self-regulatory body, which says that in general, "a wireless network can claim to be nationwide or coast to coast if the provider offers service in diverse regions of the country and the network covers at least 200 million people."Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 15 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / This is the 60kWh battery pack found inside a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The front of the pack is to the right of the picture, and the hump to the left are the double-stacked modules that live under the rear seat. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin) The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an investigation of the Chevrolet Bolt EV following several reports of vehicle fires. Specifically, NHTSA says it was contacted by two owners reporting that their Bolt EVs had caught fire while parked and unattended. The agency did some digging and turned up a third instance, and on October 9 it opened a preliminary investigation into the scope, frequency, circumstances, and safety consequences of the fires. In each case, NHTSA says the burn pattern was similar: fire damage was concentrated in the lithium-ion battery compartment (which sits underneath the passenger compartment), with some penetration into the passenger area through the rear seat. The three affected cars span model years 2017-2019. In one case—a MY 2018 Bolt EV in Belmont, Massachusetts—the vehicle was plugged into a charger in the owner's driveway when it caught fire. In this case, the residents and their neighbors had to be evacuated by the fire department due to noxious fumes and smoke.Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
The Beats Flex, Beats' latest wireless headphones. [credit: Beats ] It’s not just Apple that is announcing new products on Tuesday: the company’s Beats subsidiary has unveiled its latest set of wireless headphones, the Beats Flex, as well. The new model is up for preorder today for $50 on Apple.com and will begin shipping on October 21. The Beats Flex are the successor to the BeatsX, which the manufacturer released in 2017. Like that pair, the Flex are neckband-style wireless earphones. That means they connect over Bluetooth but aren’t totally devoid of wires a la Apple’s AirPods or Beats’ own Powerbeats Pro. Instead, the Flex’s earpieces are attached via a cable that extends behind your neck and has built-in modules for its microphone and call/music controls. Beats is promising improved sound quality compared to the BeatsX with the help of a redesigned driver, along with greater clarity during phone calls and a design that’s 8 percent lighter. (For reference, the BeatsX only weighed 0.05 lbs.) The earpieces can still connect magnetically when not in use, and Beats says the whole thing now supports auto-play/pause, so they’ll automatically stop or resume your audio whenever they’re removed or put back on.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The Beats Powerbeats Pro (left) and Apple AirPods Pro. (credit: Jeff Dunn) Tuesday marks the start of Amazon Prime Day, Amazon's annual Black-Friday-style sales event for members of its Prime subscription service. Though it arrives a few months later than usual after pandemic-related complications, Prime Day remains at once a manufactured celebration of an increasingly problematic giant and a nice perk for 150 million people looking to save a few bucks on nice things. However you slice it, Prime Day is also one of the rare occasions where we see several good deals on Apple devices. We can safely rule out instant discounts on the just-announced iPhone 12 lineup, and in general, it's entirely possible that Black Friday will bring better offers. That said, we are seeing a few good prices on AirPods, iPads, MacBooks, and various third-party accessories for Apple devices. So because significant sales on these devices are uncommon, and because we know many would-be shoppers are specifically looking for Apple hardware this holiday season, we've rounded up those top Prime Day Apple deals below. We'll be sure to keep this post updated as more discounts become available. As a reminder, most offers are only open to users of Amazon's Prime membership service, and Prime Day itself will last until 12am PT on October 14. For a complete rundown of deals, we're maintaining a more general roundup as well.Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
iPhone 12 Pro. Today, Apple announced the iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, all with 5G wireless capability. All the phones are a metal and glass sandwich with flat sides are that very reminiscent of the iPhone 4. The iPhone 12 and 12 Mini are aluminum, while the Pro line is stainless steel. The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch display, but it's the same size as the iPhone 11, so it's 15 percent smaller, and 11 percent thinner than last year's iPhone 11. The screen is an OLED display, and Apple has teamed up with Corning to make a new display cover material called a "Ceramic Shield." Apple claims it is tougher than any other smartphone glass. One of the headlines additions to the new iPhone is the addition of 5G connectivity, which has been hyped up by the carriers as the next big thing in smartphones. The quick primer is that there are two kinds of 5G: a potentially very fast "mmWave" network (Verizon calls this "Ultra Wideband") that is short-range, has poor signal characteristics, and is hard to roll out, and a "sub 6GHz" 5G, which is closer to an iterative step of 4G, with better signal characteristics, and a better shot of a world-wide rollout but with less of a revolutionary speed increase.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Richmond, the capital of Virginia, looking scenic as seen from across the James River. (credit: Sky Noir Photography by Bill Dickinson | Getty Images) Today is the last day to register to vote in the commonwealth of Virginia, so of course the official website for updating or managing voter registration is offline. Unlike in Florida, however, Virginia's site did not crash from high traffic but instead was rendered inaccessible because a vital fiber connecting the state's digital infrastructure was physically cut. Twitter users began to notice the state's voter registration page was failing to load sometime after 8:30 this morning, and at 9:00, the state's IT agency confirmed that a severed fiber optic cable was the root of all the problems. "A fiber cut near Rt. 10 in Chester near the Commonwealth Enterprise Solutions Center (CESC) is impacting data circuits and virtual private network (VPN) connectivity for multiple Commonwealth agencies," the Virginia Information Technologies Agency wrote in a tweet, adding, "Technicians are on site and working to repair the cut; updates will be provided as work progresses."Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Like HomePod, but smaller (and cheaper). It took a couple of years, but Apple has finally announced HomePod Mini, a smart speaker that's priced to compete with affordable offerings from competitors Google, Amazon, and Sonos. The revised HomePod is a cheaper, less powerful cousin to the steeply priced HomePod that Apple released in 2018, arriving on November 16 at $99. Instead of breaking down exactly how the HomePod Mini downgrades from the original, larger model, Apple's announcement talked up its use of an Apple S5 chip to drive "computational audio," which will dynamically adjust audio depending on the room it's in. Apple made its usual promise of "a full-range dynamic driver that delivers high output while keeping distortion to a minimum," which we look forward to testing.The hardware includes a touch panel on its top for play/pause and volume options, along with a light-up display to indicate use of Siri. And if you hold an iPhone close to a HomePod Mini, its top panel will reflect this—and you'll be able to access wacky options on the phone.Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine speaks during a State of NASA address on Feb. 10, 2020. (credit: NASA) NASA appears to be making good progress in building international support for a plan to return humans to the Moon in the 2020s. On Tuesday, during the virtual meeting of the International Astronautical Foundation, the space agency signed "accords" with seven other countries that will establish norms for cooperation among nations to explore the Moon, Mars, and other destinations in the Solar System. Signing the Artemis Accords alongside the United States were Australia, Canada, Japan, Luxembourg, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. Essentially, partner nations agreed to 10 basic norms as part of their space activities, such as operating transparently and releasing scientific data.Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / This is Soletair's demonstration unit. Air goes in, fuel comes out. (Espresso machine optional.) (credit: Soletair Power) At Ars, we get a lot of pitches from start-ups that want to talk about their products. At least for this science reporter, the feeling is rarely mutual. But once in a while, something piques my curiosity. Something like… carbon capture for an office HVAC system. Over a video call, Finnish start-up Soletair Power recently showed off a unit operating in its office. It had been built for the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, but, well, you know what has happened to expos. Instead, of powering an expo booth, there was a gas-powered espresso maker bolted onto the unit—since this machine turns CO2 into methane fuel. The value proposition for the first part of the device is pretty straightforward. Carbon dioxide accumulates in buildings full of people, and higher CO2 concentrations may impact your ability to think clearly. The usual way to manage that is to introduce more outside air (which may need to be heated/cooled). Another could be to selectively filter out CO2. This device could do the latter for you.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | ljhimages) If you live in an area where AT&T has taken government funds in exchange for deploying broadband, there's a chance you won't be able to get the service—even if AT&T initially tells you it's available. AT&T's Mississippi division has received over $283 million from the Federal Communications Commission's Connect America Fund since 2015 and in exchange is required to extend home-Internet service to over 133,000 potential customer locations. As we previously reported, the Mississippi Public Service Commission (PSC) accused AT&T of submitting false coverage data to the FCC program. As evidence, Mississippi said its "investigation found concrete, specific examples that show AT&T Mississippi has reported location addresses... as being served when, in fact, the addresses are without service." AT&T has since provided an explanation that confirms it submitted false data on the serviceability of some addresses but says it will still meet the overall requirement of serving over 133,000 new customer locations. The problem is in how AT&T determines whether its wireless home-Internet service can reach individual homes and businesses. AT&T uses propagation modeling software to map out coverage areas, but the software isn't always accurate. This wouldn't be a problem if AT&T deployed fiber-to-the-home or fiber-to-the-node in these areas, but the company is meeting its obligations with wireless service.Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Here's hoping Nintendo doesn't also consider those tattoos an infringement on its intellectual property. (credit: DigitalPrincess/Tiktok) Nintendo has issued a cease-and-desist order against a popular social media influencer for using Pokémon branding and imagery in her handle and products. But while the influencer formerly known as "Pokeprincxss" acknowledges her legal mistakes, she also feels she has been targeted by Nintendo for a very specific reason. "Nintendo doesn't want people to think I'm in any way, shape or form affiliated with them or that I have a partnership with them, and it all comes down to me being an adult entertainer," the now-renamed "Digitalprincxss" says in a recent YouTube video addressing the issue. "Even though there are other people with 'Poke' in their name and they make money off it... I think it just literally has to do with me being an adult entertainer because they aren't adult entertainers." Digitalprincxss boasts 1.9 million followers on Tiktok and significant followings on other public social media accounts. But she also hosts a subscription-based OnlyFans page, which charges $17 a month and promises "access to all my NSFW photos/videos that I post daily" and "uncensored content that I usually tease you with both on Instagram/Twitter."Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / While this may look like a set of iridescent satin ribbons, it's actually the scales on the wing of a butterfly. (credit: Don Komarechka) I don't know how many years I've been putting together image galleries of the Nikon Small World Microscopy contest, but it has been quite a few now, and it is hard not to feel like I'm repeating the same things when I introduce a selection of the images from it: that nature's beauty isn't limited to grand landscapes or charismatic megafauna. That serious science can co-exist with amazing aesthetics. That some of the best scientists also have an eye for the artistic and the desire to capture the worlds they study in compelling ways. That technology and software have revolutionized a technology—the microscope—that has been around for hundreds of years. All of those things are still true, which is why I keep emphasizing them. But words are just a distraction from the pure artistry of this year's contest winners. So I'll shut up and let you enjoy them. This is a chameleon embryo, which is late enough in development to look a lot like a mature chameleon. Note the loop behind its head is the tip of its tail. [credit: Dr. Allan Carrillo-Baltodano & David Salamanca ]  Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, and former House Speaker Paul Ryan participate in a groundbreaking for a Foxconn facility in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin in 2018. Foxconn has hired significantly fewer people than it claimed it would do at the time of the company's 2017 development deal with the state. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images) The state of Wisconsin was supposed to provide Foxconn with $3 billion in subsidies over the next few years to support the construction of a massive LCD display factory in the state. The deal was negotiated in 2017 by Gov. Scott Walker and announced by Donald Trump at a White House event. It was part of Trump's strategy to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States. In a Monday letter, the state informed Foxconn that the company wouldn't get the first installment of the $3 billion because Foxconn wasn't holding up its end of the deal. Under Foxconn's 2017 agreement with the state, Foxconn would be eligible for the first round of subsidies if it hired at least 520 full-time employees to work on the LCD panel factory by the end of 2019. Foxconn claimed that it had cleared this bar by hiring 550 employees in the state. But Wisconsin found that Foxconn had only 281 employees who counted toward the requirement. Foxconn was supposed to spend $3.3 billion on the project by the end of 2019. Instead, Foxconn had only spent around $300 million by the end of the year.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Amazon's waterproof Kindle Paperwhite. (credit: Valentina Palladino) Amazon Prime Day is upon us once again, folks. As it does every year, the sales event brings discounts to thousands of products—with the company’s own devices getting some of the biggest price cuts. This year, we have markdowns across the board, ranging from services like Amazon Music and Audible to Kindle, Fire, and Echo devices. So, if you’re seeking to set up your smart home, buy a new e-reader, tablet, streaming device, DVR alternative, or even a set of security cameras, we've gathered Prime Day's best Amazon device deals in one place for your convenience. As a reminder, the Prime Day offers below are only available to Prime subscribers, and the event itself will last until 12am PT on October 14. Best Kindle e-reader and Fire tablet deals of Prime Day 2020 The Amazon Fire HD 10 tablet. (credit: Valentina Palladino) For the budding or long-time bookworm, the Kindle Paperwhite is the best e-reader you can buy. The waterproof device is available in a classic black casing or a handful of playful, colorful alternatives for kids, who unfortunately aren't waterproof. The former in particular is down to $80, which is the lowest price we've tracked.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica) It's later than usual, but Amazon Prime Day has arrived. The Dealmaster is here to guide you away from the junk and toward 2020's best Prime Day deals—particularly when it comes to discounts on gadgets and gear. Much like last year, Prime Day 2020 is actually a 48-hour affair, live through October 13 and 14. The sales event remains a way for Amazon to bolster its hugely popular Prime membership program first and foremost, so you'll still need to subscribe to Prime to take advantage of the myriad Prime Day sales. Those on a free trial can take part, but trials are only available to people who haven't been a Prime member within the last 12 months. For those who haven't bothered with Prime Day in the past, know that most of the "deals" Amazon advertises aren't, well, deals. Sometimes, a product's advertised price isn't much cheaper than its typical street price; other times, the product itself just isn't worth buying in the first place. This hasn't changed with Prime Day 2020.Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images) A grim series of articles published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association makes clear just how hard the United States has failed at controlling the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic—from the country’s horrifying death toll to its inability to drag down its shamefully high death rates. It was already clear that the US has tallied more deaths from the coronavirus than any other country and has one of the highest death rates per capita in the world. But, according to one article in the series, the US is also failing to lower COVID-19 death rates—even as harder-hit countries have managed to learn from early disease peaks and bring their rates down substantially. For the analysis, researchers Alyssa Bilinski of Harvard and Ezekiel Emanuel of the University of Pennsylvania compared the shifting COVID-19 death rates of 18 high-income countries during three time windows. The idea was to see how death rates changed as countries adopted different public health interventions, especially if they had seen surges in cases early on that boosted their overall death rate during the pandemic. Specifically, Bilinski and Emanuel looked at COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people starting from February 13, May 10, and June 7, with all three windows ending on September 19.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 16 days ago on ars technica
The new Nest thermostat is operated with a touch-sensitive ring interface. [credit: Google ] Roughly five years have passed since the third-generation Nest thermostat was introduced, and a lot has happened since then—like an acquisition of Nest by Google. Today marks the first big overhaul to the Nest thermostat since that acquisition, and as you might expect, Google Home integration is a big part of the update. As with most other smart thermostats, the main pitch behind this device is that it could both save you money on utilities and make your home more eco-friendly. That's possible because it lets you do things like set different temperatures for different situations, like when you are at home, when you're out, or when you're sleeping. For example, the Nest thermostat could save energy by automatically lowering the temperature in your home while you're away, then returning it to a comfortable level once you get back.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 17 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Facebook's Menlo Park, California, headquarters as seen in 2017. (credit: Jason Doiy | Getty Images) Facebook today is, once again, theoretically ramping up enforcement against hate speech, this time with a new policy prohibiting Holocaust denial on the platform. The change is due to a "well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally," Facebook executive Monika Bickert wrote in a corporate blog post today. The policy is a complete 180 for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who in a 2018 interview specifically described Holocaust denial as the kind of "deeply offensive" speech he nonetheless felt should be permitted on the platform. The next day, amid blowback, he "clarified" his position:Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 17 days ago on ars technica
The OnePlus 8 Pro. [credit: Ron Amadeo ] OnePlus is staying true to its reputation of "best Android OEM" and is the first third-party manufacturer to ship a final Android 11 build to its phones. The big update started rolling out to the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro over the weekend, just 32 days after the OS hit Pixel phones. Some companies, OnePlus included, have been involved in the Android 11 beta program, but this is the first stable release outside of Pixel phones. For OnePlus, Android 11 also brings a rev of its Android skin, and the headline inclusion is that after years of complaints, the company is finally adding an always-on display mode to its smartphones. An always-on display pretty much never turns off, and always shows time and any notifications on your phone. The trick to doing this without killing the battery is that OLED displays have per-pixel lighting control (as opposed to the screen-wide backlight on an LCD), so black pixels can be turned off. With a minimal white-on-black interface, you can display important information all the time while only minimally impacting the battery. We check our phones nearly a hundred times a day to see things like the time or notifications, and if you're sitting at a desk, an always-on display lets you do that all the time without even touching the phone. Having the most important information always available, hands-free, is something that's hard to give up once you've lived with it, and here OnePlus has finally caught up to the competition. Google, Samsung, Motorola, and LG have been shipping the feature for years, even on budget phones.Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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