posted 8 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Telegeography) Efforts to secure a new data transfer pact between the US and the European Union failed to meet a January 31 deadline set by national privacy regulators in the 28-member-state bloc. Data watchdogs in the EU will meet tomorrow to finalise their own views on how data can be transferred from one side of the Atlantic to another, following a European Court of Justice ruling in October last year, which deemed the EU-US Safe Harbour pact invalid. It's expected that the national data authorities will publish their own judgment on Wednesday. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 8 days ago on ars technica
Andrii Degeler A few sheets of flexiramics 4 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } Modern chemistry can sometimes produce the most unlikely things, including materials familiar to everyone but with totally new—and useful—properties. A recent example of such a material is "flexiramics," which is being developed by Dutch startup Eurekite at the University of Twente. As the name suggests, flexiramics is a foldable, tissue-like material that is also fireproof and non-conducting, like most other ceramics. As Eurekite commercializes flexiramics and prepares to take it to market, we decided to pay the startup a visit. The startup's founding team consists of three people: two international students coming from Spain and Azerbaijan and their academic supervisor. Eurekite CEO Gerard Cadafalch Gazquez, who came to the Netherlands from Barcelona in 2010 to pursue a Master's and then a PhD degree, showed his favorite trick with a sheet of flexiramics: Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Amanda) Coffee is one of the most popular drinks worldwide, with countless cups of the dark, alluring elixir brewed up each day. And, lucky for those coffee-guzzlers out there, mounting data suggest it’s good for you; moderate coffee drinking has been linked to lowered risk of cardiovascular disease, liver diseases, diabetes, and an overall lowered risk of dying too soon. But, as coffee-lovers happily continue sipping their morning fix with a dash of self-satisfaction, it’s worth noting that not every cup of coffee is equal. Brewed coffee can vary wildly in its flavor and chemical make-up, particularly the chemicals linked to health benefits. Everything that happens before the pour—from the bean selection, roast, grind, water, and brew method—can affect the taste and quality of a cup of joe. So far, there’s little to no data on the health impact of drinking one type of coffee over another. In studies linking coffee to lowered risks of disease and death, researchers mostly clumped all coffee types together, even decaffeinated coffee, in some cases. But, there is a fair amount of data on individual components of coffee that are flavorful and beneficial—and how to squeeze as much them as possible into your mug. Here’s what the science says: Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
The Neato Botvac Connected. 16 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } It's been about two months since I've vacuumed my house, and the floor has never been cleaner. That's because I haven't been doing it—a robot has. For the past two months we've had a Neato Botvac Connected rolling around the house, the latest robo vac in Neato's lineup. Like all Neato robots, this has a spinning LIDAR unit that maps out the house. In this new "Connected" version, it's got Wi-Fi and a smartphone app. The household name in household robots is definitely iRobot's Roomba, a round robotic vacuum cleaner that popularized the idea of having a little bot clean up after you. The fundamentals of the Roomba haven't changed much since its introduction: it's a vacuum on motorized wheels with a bumper plate in the front. When the plate bumps into something, the robot knows it hit an obstacle and changes directions. Start a Roomba on floor and usually it will spiral outward until it hits a wall, try to feel out the perimeter of the room, and then ping pong all across the center of the house in an attempt to cover the interior space. Most Roombas can't "see." Its only window to the outside world is the little bumper plate—it feels its way around a space by running into stuff. Roomba will say it takes this limited information and runs it through an algorithm to be a little smarter than "randomly driving around," but to the human eye, there's little logic to where the little disk is driving. Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Rob Woolsey Dayonta International Speedway, the home of NASCAR and IMSA (the organizing body for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship). The track just received a $400 million upgrade. 21 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The Rolex 24 at Daytona is the start of the American sportscar racing season. Since it happened to coincide with my 40th birthday, we decided to fly down to Florida to check it out. The main event is a 24-hour race for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which you might remember last year as the Tudor United SportsCar Championship. The race involves four different classes of car racing on track at the same time. The fastest cars race in the Prototype class, a mix of older Daytona Prototypes (tubeframe race cars) and LMP2s (carbon fiber prototypes that race at Le Mans). Next quickest are the GTLM cars, which are factory-supported racecars based on roadgoing machines like the Corvette Z06 and Porsche 911. Both Prototypes and GTLM feature lineups of professional drivers, many of whom are world-class. Several stars of NASCAR and IndyCar were in the field this year. The next two classes are pro-am, where wealthy amateurs are joined by professional hotshoes. There are the Prototype Challenge cars, which are all identical open-cockpit cars with Chevy V8s. The other pro-am class is GTD, which this year uses the GT3 technical ruleset. Like the GTLM cars, these are based on road-going machines like Lamborghini Huracáns and Dodge Vipers, but there is less room for technical development. It's been an action-packed race so far (with almost six hours left to run at the time of writing). Who wins is anyone's call. You can catch the end of the race on Fox Sports or streaming via the IMSA website or app. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Anderson Dawes runs the OPA on Ceres Station. His belter accent—multilingual slang delivered by Jared Harris with an accent that wouldn't sound out-of-place in Attack the Block—is a joy to listen to. (credit: SyFy) Attention all would-be OPA members: Du sif wang wit milowda fo yam seng unte revelushang! (Translation—join us for drinks and revolution!) This Wednesday, February 3, 2016, come join Ars’ Tech Culture Editor Annalee Newitz and me at Longitude bar in downtown Oakland, California. Not only will you be among friends and fellow fans of The Expanse, but you’ll be able to hang out and learn Belter from the man who created it—Nick Farmer, the language consultant for the show. Farmer is well-trained in many languages, including Swedish, Spanish, and a smattering of others to various degrees. At Longitude, he'll give all of us a basic lesson in Belter 101—a fascinating and poorly-understood (at least by us Earthers) creole. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Dave Loschiavo Totally understand why the author wants to live here. 2 more images in gallery SLOAT, CALIFORNIA—Plumas County is rural, mountainous, and at the far north of the Sierra Nevada Range. In area, it is larger than the individual states of Rhode Island and Delaware, but the population here is under 20,000. It all makes for a beautiful place to live, but some amenities that are common in more densely populated areas can be hard to come by. High-speed Internet access that’s reliable across all seasons of the year is one clear example. In 2014, the local cable TV provider (New Day Broadband) went bankrupt, taking with it the only source for cable-based Internet access in the town of Quincy, California. It was also the only tethered high-speed provider accepting new customers. AT&T used to offer DSL in the area, but the company stopped taking on new clients and does not allow existing customers to transfer service. And while both satellite Internet access and multiple WISPs (wireless ISPs) are available, both of these delivery methods face reliability challenges in stormy, snowy weather (a common occurrence for this area in the winter). With that in mind, you can imagine my surprise when in recent years I learned a local ISP—Plumas Sierra Telecommunications—now offers fiber to the doorstep. This new availability of reliable, high-speed Internet access allowed me to shift from an office job to telecommuting, meaning my wife and I could return to the rural Sierra Nevada after 15 years of living in the metropolis of Southern California. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
An access ­point tower constructed by Tribal Digital Village overlooks Pala, California. (credit: Tribal Digital Village) Recently, Sam Tenakhongva, a teacher living on the Hopi reservation in northern Arizona, bought a Chevrolet pickup truck equipped with integrated 4G LTE. As the company’s advertising boasts, the feature was novel for a commercial vehicle and unprecedented for a truck. Intrigued, Tenakhongva decided to take advantage of a free trial. It didn’t take long for him to eschew the service. The truck only connected when Tenakhongva was in a 4G network and, given the region’s limited broadband access, Tenakhongva knew such an occurrence would be too rare to justify the cost. Today, this situation rings true for an overwhelming majority of American Indians living on reservations. This year, the Federal Communications Commission reported that 41 percent of Americans living on tribal lands lacked access to broadband (which the FCC currently defines as 25Mbps for downstream speeds and 3Mbps for upstream speeds); that number leaps to 68 percent for those in rural areas of tribal lands. Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Franco Bouly) The social-networking site Facebook, and its Instagram photo-sharing service, are prohibiting person-to-person firearms transactions and related firearms advertising on the popular platforms. The Friday move comes almost a month after President Barack Obama announced an executive initiative requiring those selling guns—whether at a flea market or online—to register as a firearms dealer and to perform background checks on gun purchasers. The White House has urged Silicon Valley to bake encryption backdoors into its wares, and has also urged social media companies to make it difficult for unlicensed gun dealers to sell firearms on their networks. Silicon Valley, however, has publicly balked at calls for encryption backdoors. Facebook's changeover is part of its updated terms of service that also prohibit its 1.6 billion monthly visitors from selling marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs. The company will remove posts reported by its users that violate the policy, which had already prohibited firearms sellers from promoting "no background checks required." Licensed dealers, which by law must perform background checks, may still advertise as long as transactions occur outside Facebook properties. Minors have already been shielded from seeing pages advertising guns. Repeat violators of Facebook's policy, designed to clamp down on unregulated gun sales, could be banned from the social network. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 9 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Was this image taken with an iPhone or a DSLR? Spoiler: this one's from a DSLR, on a tripod, with a long exposure and a fair amount of post-processing. This is Gordon Cooper's "Faith 7" Mercury capsule, on display at Space Center Houston. (credit: Lee Hutchinson) "The best camera," goes the old saying, "is the one you have with you." It’s true, too—spend just a few minutes browsing places like /r/pics and you’ll find stunning image after stunning image taken on a wide variety of cameras, from DSLRs with telephoto lenses all the way down to smartphones. A modern smartphone is equipped with a hell of a lot of picture-taking power and can spit out pro-looking images without a whole lot of effort, and nearly everyone has one on them all the time. Does that mean, then, that the best camera today is a smartphone? We explored this in our October 2014 "iPhone vs. DSLR" shootout—and we learned a lot. The first lesson was, at least according to a whole lot of people, that I suck at photography. And that’s all right—I do suck at photography. Most of the images I take are properly called "product photography," done inside in studio conditions with lots of lights and not necessarily a lot of variation in settings. Shooting in the real world is a lot more complicated. More importantly, we proved conventional wisdom right. A smartphone does take awesome pictures, so you don’t need a DSLR, two bags of gear, and a tripod unless you really need an expensive DSLR, two bags of gear, and a tripod. Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
SEATTLE, Washington—How many times can a publication attend a virtual reality showcase and walk away stunned by something it's never seen before? Judging by the past few years of Ars' VR explorations, quite a few. As such, we don't blame readers who might say, "Tap the VR brakes, Ars." Still, this week's SteamVR Developer Showcase event is forcing us to reach into the hyperbole bag once more. The event blew us away thanks to a number of never-before-seen stunners, along with previously announced HTC Vive titles that have only gotten better in the oven before their retail launch later this year. (April, we hope.) "Room scale" VR is a tough sell, especially for people whose homes don't easily accommodate enough cleared-out space for walking around with a headset on, but while we've already been impressed with what the platform can support, we didn't think we could be impressed any further. We were wrong. Read below to see why we're currently trying to put our kids, pets, beds, and significant others up for adoption—so we can hurry up and make space for this incredible new platform. (Sorry, sweeties.) Read 42 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Andrew Cunningham HP's new Stream 11. 7 more images in gallery .related-stories { display: none !important; } Cheap phones and computers aren’t as capable or as exciting as high-end phones and computers. We tend to focus on the expensive ones here because they’re where new tech usually shows up first, but plenty of people are buying based mostly or entirely on price and not on features. For people who don’t have $400 or $500 to drop on a laptop—more or less the minimum amount we’d recommend for anyone looking for a primary machine—there are computers like HP’s Stream 11. We came away pretty impressed by this $200 11.6-inch laptop when we reviewed it last year, and now HP is back with a follow-up that tries to retain what made the first one good while addressing a few of its flaws. More impressively, the company does this without driving the price up. This is still a niche laptop. $200 just isn’t going to buy you a powerhouse. But it’s a solid upgrade to the first model, and it’s a worthy Windows-based competitor to most budget Chromebooks out there if you’re just looking to do some basic computing. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Warning: This preview contains minor spoilers to recent events in the show's universe and elements of the upcoming season. Sneak peek! If there has been any constant running through the soon-to-be six seasons of The Venture Bros., it’s expanse. Things are never quite what they seem; they tend to be bigger, vaster, and way more complex. This all started with the 2003 premiere, an episode any fan should rewatch if they would like to gasp at the advances since. (Creators Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer told Ars that the slick setting and animation awaiting viewers in this upcoming season has only been possible in the last two years. It’s not a technical evolution, though; “it’s our idiocy that makes it possible,” Hammer insisted.) Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Fantasy Flight Games) Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage right here—and let us know what you think. There’s perhaps no theme in board gaming as well-trod as the noble dungeon crawl. A party of stalwart adventurers suits up and smashes down a dungeon door to explore its catacombs, loot its chests, and kill pretty much anything standing in their way. Playing a dungeon crawl board game is like playing a Dungeons and Dragons session with 90 percent less narrative and 100 percent more face-smashing. The genre’s enduring popularity is in large part due to its ability to provide gamers an RPG-like experience with a much lower barrier to entry. But dungeon crawlers are table-gobbling beasts, and the 1995 Games Workshop classic Warhammer Quest was no exception. Miniatures, dungeon tiles, terrain, dice, cards, tokens, piles of rulebooks—a good dungeon crawl is all about excess, lavish production values, and as much theme as you can pack into a (gargantuan) box. Read 26 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
2016 is a big year for Star Trek fans—it's the 50th anniversary of the debut of the series! To mark the occasion, there will be a new film (Star Trek Beyond) and likely initial glimpses of the forthcoming new television series. But the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is doing its part, too. The organization is currently carrying out important restoration work on the original Enterprise model, the one that was used in the filming of all 79 episodes of the original series. The model was donated to the Smithsonian in 1974, but it was taken out of public display in September 2015 since it was in dire need of conservation. "We're working to both stabilize it and bring it to an appearance as people saw it in the show," Nicholas Partridge, a Smithsonian spokesman, told Ars. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Ohio University Libraries) Once a month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's crack team of patent lawyers reaches deep into the US Patent Office's giant sack of freshly issued patents. Then they pull out one of the shadiest, saddest, painfully obvious, never-should've-gotten-even-close-to-issuance patents and subject it to public scrutiny. This month, EFF attorney Vera Ranieri selected a highly questionable Xerox patent and yanked it into the bleak January sunlight. US Patent No. 9,240,000, entitled "Social Network for Enabling the Physical Sharing of Documents," boils down to a system of sharing documents online. It looks like exactly the kind of patent that shouldn't have made it through the system, considering new guidelines put in place as a result of the Supreme Court's Alice Corp. v. CLS decision. "Ultimately this patent is one of hundreds or thousands of patents that don’t describe actual inventions, but rather just rehash old, obvious ideas 'on a computer' using confusing language," writes Ranieri. "The failure of the patent office to prevent this patent from issuing is regrettable, and shows just how dysfunctional our patent system is." Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
A block diagram that is supposed to clarify what Azure Stack does and is. (credit: Microsoft) Microsoft today released a preview of Azure Stack, a version of the Azure services and infrastructure that you can run in your own datacenters. Azure Stack was announced at the Ignite conference last year. It's an Azure-flavored counterpart to OpenStack, offering enterprises the ability to use the same services and management systems for both local on-premises deployments and true cloud deployments. Currently, the Azure Stack offers only a subset of Azure services, and it runs on just a single server. Its full release is planned for the fourth quarter, but even this will not have parity with the full Azure service. Microsoft's aim for the initial release is to provide all the major parts to support deploying platform-as-a-service Web Apps and infrastructure-as-a-service virtual machines. It will also include components for storage and virtualized networking. The Azure Portal front-end for managing the service will also be included. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Google Fiber current cities and expansion plans. (credit: Google Fiber) Google Fiber launched more than three years ago with gigabit Internet and TV, but not phone service. Now, Google might finally be adding a VoIP phone component in order to duplicate the "triple-play" bundle offered by many ISPs. The Washington Post reported today that Google is sending invitations to try a new home phone service to members of its "Fiber Trusted Tester" program. "Our latest offering is Google Fiber Phone, which gives you the chance to add home phone service to your current Fiber service plan," the invitation said. (See the full invitation here.) Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Don't get too excited by the look of this boss. You just shoot it a lot. In Bombshell, the new isometric shooter from Interceptor Entertainment and 3D Realms, there is a shield. I know this with 100 percent certainty because for the last third of my playthrough, every step, action, and breath I took was punctuated by a robotic voice intoning "shield activated." That’s not because I was spamming my character's comically overpowered bubble shield (though I did plenty of that), but it resulted from what I assume was a bug. I say "assume" because I'm not entirely sure that Bombshell hadn't grown sentient and developed just a bit of malice towards me. The game seems sapient enough to at least realize what a repetitive drag it had been up to that point, so maybe it turned its newborn ability to think and feel entirely towards mocking my efforts to find the fastest path to the credits. Bombshell isn't an aggressively terrible game. It's just aggressively mediocre for long enough that it starts to seem that way. Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Smile for your close-up, F/A-18s. (credit: IRNA) Today, Iran's IRNA news agency broadcast video apparently taken from an Iranian Revolutionary Guard unmanned aircraft as it flew directly over an American aircraft carrier operating in the Persian Gulf. The US Navy has confirmed that an Iranian drone flew "directly over" the USS Harry S. Truman and near the French carrier Charles de Gaulle, which are both in the Persian Gulf launching airstrikes against Islamic State (Daesh) forces in Syria and Iraq. RT rebroadcast of the Iranian television footage, showing the drone flyover of the USS Harry S. Truman. Navy Commander Kevin Stephens, a spokesman for the US Navy's 5th Fleet, said that the Navy was "not in a position to verify the authenticity of the video as there are countless examples of similar footage to be found on the Internet." But he did confirm that an Iranian surveillance drone passed over the Truman on January 12. The drone did not pose a threat, he said. "It was, however, abnormal and unprofessional." Stephens added that the Navy would "respond appropriately as the situation dictates" to future incidents. Iranian Navy Commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told IRNA that the drone's flight over the Truman was "a sign of bravery," and it "allowed our men to go so close to the warship and shoot such a beautiful and accurate footage of the combat units of the foreign forces." IRNA also reported that a small Iranian diesel submarine was involved in surveillance of the ships. The drone and submarine operations are part of an Iranian Navy exercise being mounted this week. Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Google) In an FCC filing, Google has told the US government that it believes its secret airborne network won't interfere with any existing networks and won't harm any people or animals. Google has been hoping to perform a "two-year nationwide test" of the network and recently addressed some concerns people had raised about it. In the filing, Google only calls the project a "nationwide testing of airborne and terrestrial transmitters in the 71-76 and 81-86 GHz bands (collectively, the E-band)." It wants to keep the project a secret, but all signs point to it being for Project Loon, Google's airborne network of balloons which it has primarily tested in New Zealand. The application is signed by Astro Teller, the head of Google's "X" division, which houses Project Loon. The "E-Band" that Google says it will use is often deployed as a wireless backhaul option for network providers. Fiber is, of course, preferable, but Fiber is expensive and sometimes—like in the case of Project Loon—you just can't use a wire. Most E-Band applications use highly directional antennas and are capable of multi-gigabit speeds over a mile or two. Google notes that it will have both terrestrial antennas that "will be pointed upward" along with airborne transmitters. In Project Loon, this would suggest the E-Band would be used for balloon-to-ground and balloon-to-balloon communication. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Since the early 20th century, teachers at Montessori schools have taught reading and math by having kids trace letters and numbers with their fingers. This trace-to-learn idea, which has become semi-legendary among students, now appears to have some scientific basis. A group of Australian researchers found that kids who learn mathematical formulas while tracing the outlines of shapes are able to understand and recall their lessons more easily. University of Sydney educational psychologist Paul Ginns worked with 279 students between the ages of nine and 13, teaching them algebra and geometry by asking them to trace over practice examples with their fingers while reading about the underlying math. Students might trace a triangle while learning the Pythagorean Theorem, for example. After tracing, students recalled the math more easily and gave correct answers about it more often than students who did not trace. Ginns, who studies memory in learning, believes that the physical act of tracing may give the task "processing priority" in the brain. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
(credit: BTC Keychain) Curtis Green, a former Silk Road lieutenant, was sentenced Friday to time served and four years of supervised release by a federal judge in Baltimore. As one of the top employees of the underground drug marketplace, Green faced felony drug charges in 2013 after being arrested. Soon after, he took a plea deal. Green was also known as “chronicpain” in the Silk Road community. Famously, Ross Ulbricht (as Dread Pirate Roberts) believed he killed Green. Ulbricht was under the impression that Green had stolen money from Silk Road, when in fact that money was stolen by two corrupt Baltimore-based federal agents. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Carl Mark Force played the part of the fictitious hitman who “killed” Green and sent a photo to Ulbricht. When it turned out that Force was one of two law enforcement officials who were involved in a conspiracy to steal from Silk Road for their own benefit, Green became a cooperating witness in the investigations of those agents. He testified in the sentencing hearing of Shaun Bridges, the corrupt Secret Service agent. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Trustees of the British Museum/Mathieu Ossendrijver) Even when a culture leaves behind extensive written records, it can be hard to understand their knowledge of technology and the natural world. Written records are often partial, and writers may have been unaware of some technology or simply considered it unremarkable. That's why the ancient world can still offer up surprises like the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient mechanical computer that highlighted the Greeks' knowledge of math, astronomy, and the mechanical tech needed to tie them together. It took several years after the discovery for the true nature of the Antikythera Mechanism to be understood. And now something similar has happened for the Babylonians. Clay tablets, sitting in the British Museum for decades, show that this culture was able to use sophisticated geometry to track the orbit of Jupiter, relying on methods that in some ways pre-figure the development of calculus centuries later. We already knew that the Babylonians tracked the orbits of a variety of bodies. There are roughly 450 written tablets that describe the methods and calculations that we're aware of, and they date from 400 to 50 BCE. Most of the ones that describe how to calculate orbital motion, in the words of Humboldt University's Mathieu Ossendrijver, "can be represented as flow charts." Depending on the situation, they describe a series of additions, subtractions, and multiplications that could tell you where a given body would be. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
(credit: Georges Seguin (Okki) / via Wikimedia) Documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden show new evidence of a long-running surveillance campaign against drones flown by the Israelis, Syrians, and other nations in the region. The operation by the United Kingdom's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) signals intelligence organization, with the assistance of the NSA, intercepted scrambled analog video feeds from remotely piloted aircraft and tracked the movement of drones. In some cases, the operation even intercepted video from Israeli fighter aircraft during combat missions. There was no supercomputing magic involved in at least most of the video interceptions. As part of an operation codenamed "Anarchist," NSA and GCHQ analysts used Image Magick (an open-source image manipulation tool) and other open-source software developed to defeat commercial satellite signal encryption. One of the tools, called antisky, was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn of the University of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory. The tools could be used by anyone able to intercept satellite signal feeds then exhibit the patience and skill to sort through the pixels. However, the conversion to digital video feeds on some drones has apparently made video interception more difficult. The signals were intercepted at a GCHQ station at the Royal Air Force's communications installation in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus. The facility, near Mount Olympus, is used by the GCHQ for exploiting satellite and radio communications in the eastern Mediterranean and Levant regions—including Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Egypt, and much of North Africa. The encrypted signals were then processed with Image Magick and antisky, according to a training manual obtained by The Intercept. That manual details the process of "brute forcing" the breaking of encryption on satellite video feeds. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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