posted 10 days ago on ars technica
The Gear 2's various bits and pieces. iFixit We weren't the biggest fans of Samsung's first Galaxy Gear, but however you feel about it (and the wearable computing phenomenon in general), it's clear that Samsung is willing to iterate quickly to fix the watch's biggest problems. That's the thinking behind the Tizen-powered Gear 2 smartwatches the company announced at Mobile World Congress in February—they trailed the original Gear by just a few months, but they aim to fix some of the watch's biggest problems. The way the watches work will ultimately be more important than what's inside them, but iFixit's thorough teardown gives us some insight into what makes them tick. As advertised, the camera has been moved from the band of the watch to the body, and this makes the band easy to replace without the need for any screwdrivers or other tools. Surprisingly, the rest of the watch isn't that easy to take apart, either. Four small Torx screws hold the back of the watch to the rest of it, and once you're inside you'll be able to remove the 300 mAh battery easily—it even has a pull tab. While this is probably the only internal component you'd actually need to replace over the useful life of a watch like this, iFixit was able to remove the camera, main system board, speaker, and the rest of the internal components with tweezers and spudgers—there isn't a lot of glue or specialty screws holding this thing together, which is odd for a product as small and tightly integrated as this one. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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After twelve and a half years, the curtain fell on Windows XP yesterday: the aged operating system transitioned out of extended support and into a long, dark, unsupported and unpatched twilight. Bespoke patches will still be made for those customers willing to pay enough money—mainly governments and large corporations with significant Windows XP installed bases—but for most of the world, XP is now officially a dead operating system. Windows XP wasn't the only thing to be shuffled into unsupported purgatory yesterday, though. Also included in the group of applications to be dumped down the memory hole is the browser that everyone loves to hate: Internet Explorer 6. For all its terribleness now, IE6 accomplished a pretty stunning set of achievements. It's the browser that definitively killed Netscape Navigator and ended the first great "Web Browser War." At its height, IE6 was the browser of choice for ninety percent of the Web's users. Its crushing market dominance also ensured that businesses used it internally as well as externally, developing ActiveX-based Web applications for it and further perpetuating Microsoft's ecosystem lock-in. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Los Alamos National Lab As recent disclosures have reminded us, security is not a simple matter. Most will tell you that the weak link in the chain is us: we simply don't use good security habits. But we're only one part of a number of issues. Although passwords are weaker than they should be, a strong password used on a weak system won't be much help. There is still a lot of necessary work being done to ensure that communication between parties is strongly encrypted. One option that has received waves of attention over the last ten years is quantum key distribution (QKD). Despite its promise of absolute security, QKD has many practical difficulties that have limited it to niche applications. Now, in a nice bit of work, researchers have shown how to implement QKD for handheld devices. A quick recap of QKD Light has a property called polarization, which is measured with respect to a reference frame. So, for instance, horizontally polarized light has its electric field aligned with the ground, while vertically polarized light has its electric field aligned perpendicular to the ground. In between, we can have diagonal and anti-diagonal polarized light. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Many gamers who invested in the latest consoles last year are no doubt waiting for a truly next-generation Borderlands title to show off the new hardware. Unfortunately, 2K Games has announced that the next game in the series, the oddly titled Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, will not be on the latest generation of consoles when it launches this fall. Speaking to Eurogamer at a preview event for the game, Gearbox's Randy Pitchford said the decision to limit the game to PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 was purely based on the higher number of potential players on those platforms. It's not free to build a game for next-gen. So when we decide where to spend our resources, we want to spend all of the attention we can on the game itself. If you try to image the set of Borderlands players who have already upgraded, that's not 100 percent. But if you try to image the set of Xbox One or PS4 owners who do not have an Xbox 360 or a PS3, the difference there is so close to nil you can't make a business rationalization around that... I don't think I would have to stretch far to suggest there's probably a lot of demand for more Borderlands. That demand lives on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. We don't know to what extent it'll live on the next-gen. I imagine over time—maybe by the time we get to the third or fourth Christmas—there will be enough of an install base. Currently there is, between PS3 and Xbox 360, over 150 million installed units worldwide—probably 170 million is more realistic. There are fewer Xbox Ones and PS4s than we sold copies of Borderlands 2. Taking place between the events of Borderlands and Borderlands 2, Pre-Sequel follows four new playable characters—including fan favorite mini-robot Claptrap(!)—that fight alongside former antagonist Handsome Jack during his rise to power. The game takes place in a low-gravity, atmosphere-free environment of Pandora's moon, which means high-arcing double jumps and the need for monitoring your oxygen levels. Gearbox has handed off development of the semi-sequel to 2K Australia, which previously contributed work to the Bioshock series and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Quarks are gregarious particles, but only within limits. Protons, neutrons, and other baryons are made up of three quarks, while unstable particles called mesons are composed of a quark-antiquark pair. (An antiquark is the antimatter partner to a quark.) Nothing with more than three quarks in a single particle has been found in nature, at least under ordinary circumstances. Since 2008, however, researchers at CERN in Europe and at Belle in Japan found hints of a four-quark particle. Those hints were confirmed today by physicists at the LHCb experiment at CERN. To discover and characterize the particle, researchers sifted through 25,000 decays of mesons resulting from more than 180 trillion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. This object they studied, known affectionately as Z(4430)-, has provided the first unambiguous measurement of a four-quark particle; earlier experiments also provided hints about another candidate, the Zc(3900)+. With that much data, physicists were able to determine the composition of the Z(4430)-: it consists of a charm quark, a charm anti-quark, a down quark, and an up antiquark. The "4430" part of the name indicates its mass: 4,430 million electron-volts, which a little more than four times the mass of a proton (938 million electron volts). The combination of quarks gives the Z(4430)- a negative electric charge, hence the "-" in the label. The particle is highly unstable, so none of them are expected to be seen in nature. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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D.C. Atty Comcast executives are reportedly considering expanding the company’s telephone service into the mobile realm—or at least letting customers cut the chord to the cable modem. The Information reports that Comcast is looking at a plan that would offer mobile voice and data service over Wi-Fi hotspots, with leased cellular network capacity filling in the holes. Comcast already offers a service, called Voice 2go, that allows existing Xfinity Voice customers to make calls from an Android or iOS device over existing Wi-Fi, using their existing home phone number. Voice2go works from any Wi-Fi connection. But the Voice2go app requires the caller to stay connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot for the entire call, so it’s not exactly “mobile” in the sense that cellular networks are. The new service would work in a fashion similar to that of Republic Wireless, which uses leased 3G and 4G cellular network capacity (in Republic’s case, from Sprint) as a fallback when Wi-Fi networks aren’t present. Comcast could also use its existing infrastructure to offer public Wi-Fi coverage in some areas, as it's begun to do in some states by adding a public Wi-Fi hotspot to existing home modems. As Comcast noted in a filing for its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the company has "the largest Wi-Fi network in the nation." Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
For more than two years, the Internet's most popular implementation of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol has contained a critical defect that allowed attackers to pluck passwords, authentication cookies, and other sensitive data out of the private server memory of websites. Ars was among the millions of sites using the OpenSSL library, and that means we too were bitten by this extraordinarily nasty bug. By mid morning Tuesday, Ars engineers already updated OpenSSL and revoked and replaced our site's old TLS certificate. That effectively plugged the hole created by the vulnerability. By installing the OpenSSL update, attackers could no longer siphon sensitive data out of our server memory. And although there's no evidence the private encryption key for Ars' previous TLS certificate was compromised, the replacement ensured no one could impersonate the site in the event hackers obtained the key. With Ars servers fully updated, it's time to turn our attention to the next phase of recovery. In the hours immediately following the public disclosure of the so-called Heartbleed vulnerability, several readers reported their Ars accounts were hijacked by people who exploited the bug and obtained other readers' account passwords. There's no way of knowing if compromises happened earlier than that. Ars has no evidence such hacks did occur, but two years is a long time. There's simply no way of ruling out the possibility. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
The power light on the front of the Fire TV. Casey Johnston In early April, Amazon announced that its long-rumored video streaming media box was finally coming to market. According to Amazon, the Fire TV wasn't just another slightly differently shaped rectangular prism of plastic. Fire TV was no less than the solution to so many of the problems plaguing its competitors. A significant part of Amazon's Fire TV presentation was couched in the criticism of currently available media players, and the company harped on three points: performance, closed ecosystems, and complexity. When we looked closer at the Fire TV, we saw some solutions. But these fixes are too half-baked and too limited in scope. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn't appear to be looking for an answer to the big media box issues as much as it's interested in finding less-glaring ways of cutting the same corners. As a result, functionality is expended for Amazon's own self-absorption. From left, the Fire TV box, the remote, and the power cable that come in the box. On the hardware and setup Our review unit came with a separate HDMI cable in the bag, which means you'll have to supply your own. Everything else, including batteries for the remote, comes in the box. The Fire TV itself is simple, flat, and black without even a set of feet to hold it up off the ground. Instead, the bottom is surfaced with a rubbery plastic. Read 66 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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With no ice flowers in sight, Mario decides to let his rage control him and stupidly fight fire with fire. Adding some much-needed fuel to the waning Nintendo Wii U fire, Super Smash Bros. game director Masahiro Sakurai took to Nintendo's YouTube channel today to announce release windows for the fighting series' next two entries. The boringly named pair of games, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS and Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, will launch "this summer" and "this upcoming winter," respectively. Both titles will include the exact same characters and move sets, Sakurai promised, but the game's wild, constantly mutating stages will differ between the platforms. The two versions will link up in various ways, "but I will tell you about those on a later date," Sakurai said. The director also revealed two as-yet-unannounced combatants. Gear up, Pokemon fans, because Pokemon X/Y character Greninja will join the battle as a quick, karate-loving, water- and ice-spraying frog thing, while Charizard will return to Smash Bros. as an individual combatant (as opposed to his version in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which paired him with other characters under the Pokemon Trainer moniker). Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
The recent launch of Diablo III's Reaper of Souls expansion and the accompanying version 2.0.1 patch finally brought support for clans and communities to the nearly two-year-old game. That new feature's introduction brought with it a naming controversy that has led Blizzard to once again respond to an issue over its policy regarding banned "offensive" terms in its games. The latest controversy began when player Lucian Clark tried to create a clan in the game "for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals who would like to play the game together in a relatively safe space of like identified individuals." As Clark explained in a blog post, he found that clans that contained the prefix "tran" or "trans" in their names were explicitly blocked by the game, despite the fact that "gaymer" clans could be created without a problem. Blizzard says that the "trans" naming block was unintentional and that it is taking steps to fix the issue. "'Trans' was not intentionally prohibited; it was an oversight on our part due to outdated content in one of the source databases we pull from for the game," a company spokesperson told Ars. "We've been working on making the necessary corrections since this was first brought to our attention last week—should be finalized [Tuesday]." Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Kyle Orland Despite Microsoft's insistence that the Kinect is an integral part of the Xbox One package, it's not hard to find people who think Microsoft should unbundle the 3D camera and directional microphone peripheral from the base hardware. Still, when storied game developer and former Microsoft executive Peter Molyneux says the Kinect is "an unnecessary add-on," people are liable to take notice. Speaking to Edge magazine as part of a cover story on the Xbox One, Molyneux derided the new Kinect's functionality and its forced inclusion with every Xbox One sold: I actually wish Kinect wasn't a requirement. It feels like an unnecessary add-on to me. Maybe it's because we're in England, and it doesn't really use the TV stuff, but it feels more and more like a joke. My son and I sit there saying random things at it, and it doesn't work. They could cost-reduce it [by removing Kinect]. I'm sure they’re going to release an Xbox One without Kinect. It would be unthinkable that they wouldn't. Molyneux's criticism carries weight because of his role at Microsoft during the launch of the original Kinect for the Xbox 360, following Microsoft's 2006 acquisition of Lionhead Studios. Molyneux's ambitious (and ultimately fruitless) virtual friend project Milo & Kate was a poster child for the Kinect when the hardware was first announced as "Project Natal" back in 2009. Molyneux also finished up work on the Kinect-controlled (and critically middling) Fable: The Journey in 2012, just before he left his role as creative director of Microsoft Game Studios Europe to start new studio 22 Cans. Now that he's no longer a part of Microsoft, Molyneux's feelings about the promise of motion and voice controls seem to have changed substantially. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago houses the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Matt Watts / flickr Prenda Law, the firm that became controversial as a profligate "copyright troll" by suing thousands with lawsuits over downloading porn movies, has fallen apart over the course of the last year. The organization and the lawyers widely believed to be behind it—John Steele, Paul Hansmeier, and Paul Duffy—have been sanctioned by numerous federal judges. While Prenda has settled a few cases, most of the Prenda setbacks, including the original hammer-drop from US District Judge Otis Wright, are actually being appealed. Yesterday, the Prenda lawyers had their first oral argument (audio) on appeal in front of the US Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. It went about as badly as close Prenda-watchers might expect. While it's dangerous to try to guess the results of an appeal based on questions at oral argument, it doesn't look good for Prenda. The judges repeatedly challenged the statements of Daniel Voelker—the attorney defending Steele, Hansmeier, and Duffy—and that's when things were going well for the once-vigorous copyright enforcer. Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Netflix will start streaming in 4K, though it didn't mention which bits of content will get its new resolution. Netflix has added 4K streams to its slate of offerings as of Tuesday, according to a report from CNET. However, the streams only work on TVs that were released this year and include a built-in H.265/HEVC decoder—sorry, everyone who jumped the gun and paid way too much money for 4K last year. Netflix has been making pushes into higher-definition content for some time, much to the dismay of ISPs who would just as soon not have customers streaming video. As of September last year, Netflix allowed "Super HD" streams of 1080p video with higher bit rates and less compression to go to all ISPs. However, Netflix's service had performance issues caused by Comcast and Verizon, which Netflix eventually paid to improve. The company is also experimenting with standard-definition-only plans that would be slightly cheaper than its normal streaming plan. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith listens to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on stage in Las Vegas. Megan Geuss LAS VEGAS—At the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler stepped into somewhat hostile territory to address an audience of broadcast licensees that were angry about their perceived mistreatment by the commission. In a keynote speech yesterday, NAB President and CEO Gordon Smith questioned whether the FCC was dealing straight with TV broadcasters. During that speech, Smith cited perceived favoritism of wireless broadband providers, as well as a recent move by the FCC to restrict TV stations’ ability to jointly negotiate ad sales and retransmission deals, as evidence that broadcasters are getting short shrift compared to the treatment of wireless industries. Today, Wheeler addressed that tension right up front. "Now it’s no secret that the NAB has been critical of some of my actions as FCC chairman; I don’t know if you noticed or not,” Wheeler said sarcastically. Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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David Medine had not been on the job for a week as chairman of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board when The Guardian dropped its first of many bombs supplied by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden. As Medine described it in a telephone interview Monday, the revelation that the NSA was bulk-collecting the metadata from every phone call made to and from the United States "was sort of a fast-moving train that we decided to jump on." "My first week we requested a briefing from the Justice Department. The third week we met in the Situation Room with the president," Medine said. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Cliff The Los Angeles Police Commission is investigating how half of the recording antennas in the Southeast Division went missing, seemingly as a way to evade new self-monitoring procedures that the Los Angeles Police Department imposed last year. The antennas, which are mounted onto individual patrol cars, receive recorded audio captured from an officer’s belt-worn transmitter. The transmitter is designed to capture an officer’s voice and transmit the recording to the car itself for storage. The voice recorders are part of a video camera system that is mounted in a front-facing camera on the patrol car. Both elements are activated any time the car’s emergency lights and sirens are turned on, but they can also be activated manually. According to the Los Angeles Times, an LAPD investigation determined that around half of the 80 patrol cars in one South LA division were missing antennas as of last summer, and an additional 10 antennas were unaccounted for. Citing a police source, the newspaper said that removing the antennas can reduce the range of the voice transmitters by as much as a third of the normal operating distance. Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Consumerist Comcast has edged out controversial agribusiness giant Monsanto in Consumerist's March Madness-style "Worst Company in America" poll. "In one of the narrowest Final Death Matches in the centuries’ long history of WCIA battle, Comcast managed to hold the genetically modified body blows of Monsanto," Consumerist wrote. To outlast 31 other competitors, Comcast had to win five rounds, defeating Yahoo, Facebook, Verizon, and SeaWorld before taking on Monsanto. The final poll was close, with 51.5 percent of voters selecting Comcast. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Greetings, Arsians! Our partners at LogicBuy have hooked us up with a new set of deals. Today's top deal is for a 1TB Dell hard drive, which can be yours for just $44.19. Forget spring cleaning—get a new hard drive and save everything. Top Deal: Ends soon! 1TB Dell 3.5" 7200RPM SATA III Internal Hard Drive for $44.19 with free shipping (normally $79.99 - use coupon code 9QB025WNJ3X$MJ) Laptops, desktops, and tablets: Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Shubin along with Tiktaalik, a fossil fish that made him famous. Image courtesy of PBS. Neil Shubin's day job consists of two apparently unrelated tasks. He teaches anatomy to medical students at the University of Chicago, and he studies evolution by looking at fossils of ancient fish (he also runs a lab that experiments on modern ones). But the work he does while moonlighting as a popularizer of science neatly ties these two things together. The human anatomy has deep roots in the evolutionary past, and some of our key features date back to an odd-looking fish called Tiktaalik that Shubin found high in the Canadian Arctic. That find seems to have been what launched Shubin's career as a communicator. His first book, Your Inner Fish, was published in 2009, and it features Tiktaalik on its cover. The themes of that book have now been made into a three-part television series, which will begin airing on PBS tomorrow night. Big ideas like human evolution take in concepts from a huge variety of fields, as different people tackle individual problems using a variety of methods that are largely unrelated to each other. The tools Shubin uses to dig for fossils, for example, have little to do with the ones his lab uses to manipulate the development of fish embryos. So it's often good to have an overarching metaphor to provide some conceptual organization to the chaos. Cosmos has its cosmic calendar and ship of the imagination; Your Inner Fish guides its viewers using the tree of life. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Mascamon at lb.wikipedia Lest readers think "catastrophic" is too exaggerated a description for the critical defect affecting an estimated two-thirds of the Internet's Web servers, consider this: at the moment this article was being prepared, the so-called Heartbleed bug was exposing end-user passwords, the contents of confidential e-mails, and other sensitive data belonging to Yahoo Mail and almost certainly countless other services. The two-year-old bug is the result of a mundane coding error in OpenSSL, the world's most popular code library for implementing HTTPS encryption in websites, e-mail servers, and applications. The result of a missing bounds check in the source code, Heartbleed allows attackers to recover large chunks of private computer memory that handle OpenSSL processes. The leak is the digital equivalent of a grab bag that hackers can blindly reach into over and over simply by sending a series of commands to vulnerable servers. The returned contents could include something as banal as a time stamp, or it could return far more valuable assets such as authentication credentials or even the private key at the heart of a website's entire cryptographic certificate. Underscoring the urgency of the problem, a conservatively estimated two-thirds of the Internet's Web servers use OpenSSL to cryptographically prove their legitimacy and to protect passwords and other sensitive data from eavesdropping. Many more e-mail servers and end-user computers rely on OpenSSL to encrypt passwords, e-mail, instant messages, and other sensitive data. OpenSSL developers have released version 1.0.1g that readers should install immediately on any vulnerable machines they maintain. But given the stakes and the time it takes to update millions of servers, the risks remain high. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Comcast Comcast today filed a 175-page "public interest statement" with the Federal Communications Commission to explain why its proposed $45.2 billion purchase of Time Warner Cable will be good for consumers. The country's largest cable and broadband Internet provider is already meeting opposition in its quest to buy the second largest cable provider, however. As Comcast prepares for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for tomorrow, more than 50 public interest groups "submitted a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler calling a market takeover of this scale 'unthinkable' and urging the agency to block the deal," said an announcement from consumer advocacy group Free Press. "The coalition delivered the same letter to Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice, which is also charged with reviewing the merger." While consumer groups think buying Time Warner Cable will give Comcast too much power, Comcast Executive VP David Cohen said in a conference call today that it needs extra scale to compete against Google, Netflix, and other companies in the broadband and video markets. Google is only offering fiber Internet in a few markets today, but "the point is, Google is coming," Cohen said. "They are a company with global scale, enormous resources, [that] is substantially larger than we are. The business reasoning behind the transaction is that we also need the scale to be able to compete with the Googles and other generations of competitors that are going to continue to flood the multi-channel video marketplace." Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The General Atomics Blitzer, one of two railguns being tested by the US Navy at Dahlgren, Virginia. The US Navy has completed another round of tests in its quest for the ultimate ship’s gun: a functional weapon based on railgun technology. The next step is to take the gun to sea for tests aboard the USNS Millinocket (JHSV 3), a high-speed transport catamaran built by Austal. “We’re beyond lab coats—we’re into engineering now,” said Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert during a speech at the Navy League’s Sea-Air-Space Expo in National Harbor, Maryland. The railgun is just one of a number of high-energy weapons being tested by the Navy. The first to go to sea will be the Laser Weapon System (LaWS), which will be put to sea aboard the USS Ponce late this summer, the Office of Naval Research confirmed yesterday. But the LaWS is a relatively low-power directed energy weapon intended to take out drones, small boats, and other threats at fairly close range. The electromagnetic rail guns, which are being tested at the Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Dahlgren Division in Dahlgren, Virginia, are capable of launching a projectile at speeds over Mach 7 and would have ranges exceeding 100 miles. A 23-pound projectile flying at Mach 7 has 32 megajoules of energy. That’s roughly equivalent to the energy required to accelerate 1,000 kilograms (1.1 US tons) to 252 meters per second—or around 566 miles an hour. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The strange saga of a paper about the public behavior of some of the people who argue about climate science got stranger still over the weekend. The paper, slated for publication in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, was hung up in limbo for several years before finally being pulled from the journal's website entirely. At the time, the journal posted a statement saying that the reason for its vanishing was that "the legal context is insufficiently clear," and the journal's lawyer told Ars there were no ethical concerns regarding the study. Roughly two weeks later, the journal apparently no longer feels that's the case. Last Friday, it released a statement that said the paper was pulled because it "does not sufficiently protect the rights of the studied subjects" and that attempts to get the authors to submit a modified version that does have been unsuccessful. One of the authors, meanwhile, has professed confusion about the entire situation and says that an anonymized version had been submitted. Ironically, the entire muddled and bewildering situation grew out of a paper on conspiracy theories and the blog communities who love them. Apparently, a small subset of the people who frequent climate blogs are prone to believing conspiracy theories, both generally and about climate scientists in particular (The paper's title was "NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, [Climate] Science Is a Hoax"). The paper spurred a rather aggressive response on the blogs of the so-called "climate skeptic" community, one that—you guessed it—included a number of conspiracy theories. Which, naturally, some of the same authors chose to write up in another study, this one entitled "Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation." Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Cassidy Curtis It's finally here. After 12 years, 6 months, and 12 days on the market, Windows XP has hit its end of life. It will receive its last ever set of patches on Windows Update today (or "Woo" as Microsoft remarkably pronounces it internally), and for the most part, that will be that. Any flaws discovered from now on—and it's inevitable that some will be discovered—will never be publicly patched. How bad is this going to be? It's probably going to be pretty bad. By some measures, about 28 percent of the Web-using public is still using Windows XP, and these systems are going to be ripe for exploitation. While we can hope that personal firewalls and NAT systems will prevent any kind of Code Red or Nimda-style self-propagating worm from infecting these systems, exploitation through the likes of malicious e-mail attachments, Office documents, USB keys, and browsers is inevitable. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Dyn's service comparison chart no longer features a "free" column. Dyn offers a whole passel of DNS-related products, but the company is most famous for its free DynDNS service: it lets users associate often dynamic IP addresses with hostnames, as long as those users "check in" once a month. It's a boon for people wanting to slap an easily remembered, fully qualified domain name onto their home ISP connections without dropping the money to actually register a domain—and it's vanishing on May 7, 2014. Dyn CEO Jeremy Hitchcock posted a blog entry yesterday morning explaining the reasoning behind killing off DynDNS' free tier. The language is a little muddled and the post reads like it was run through a corporate communications department before posting, but Hitchcock explains that the move away from free accounts is due to increased abuse and diminishing value for Dyn. Hitchcock notes that the change will allow Dyn to spend more time refining its paid service offerings and supporting paying customers. Dyn users who had previously donated money to the company in exchange for free lifetime service are exempted from the discontinuation. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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