posted 10 days ago on ars technica
Apple's A7 was its first 64-bit chip. Now, the company is ready to mandate 64-bit support. iFixit Apple released iOS 8.1 to the public today, but it delivered something else to developers too. As of February 1, 2015 Apple will require all App Store submissions to include 64-bit support and to be built with the iOS 8 SDK. If you've got an older iPhone or iPad (anything with an Apple A5 or A6 chip in it) this announcement means nothing to you. Like their OS X counterparts, 64-bit iOS apps can be distributed as universal binaries that support both 32- and 64-bit processors. 9to5Mac also reports that existing 32-bit apps will remain in the App Store. Only developers submitting new apps or updates to existing apps will need to comply with the new rules. Apple is usually fairly aggressive about mandating use of its latest developer tools. It required developers to switch to Xcode 5 and comply with iOS 7's new design rules in February of 2014—for older devices, this is just business as usual. If you've got a 64-bit device, though, you may stand to get significant performance boosts to your apps. Remember, for ARM processors the move to 64-bit isn't just about addressing more RAM—64-bit ARM chips come with a new ARMv8 instruction set that cleans up some of the cruft found in ARMv7. Our benchmarks estimate that an Apple A7 can run 64-bit code up to 30 percent faster than it runs 32-bit code. An A8 can be as much as 40 percent faster. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Spotify Family Streaming music service Spotify will soon enable its customers to use the service under a family subscription plan, according to a press release Monday. The group subscription would allow up to five users to maintain separate accounts organized under a single bill for a discount. Existing Spotify subscriptions are priced at $9.99 per month, which gets users an ad-free listening environment and access to the mobile apps. With the new tier, users can group up under a single subscription, with each user after the first one only costing $5 rather than the full $9.99. So two users cost $14.99, three users $19.99, and so on, up to $29.99 per month for five members. Spotify's closest competitor, Rdio, has long offered a multi-subscription plan, with two users for $17.99, three for $22.99, and then half the base price ($9.99) for the third, fourth, and fifth users grouped under the plan. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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JD Lasica Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is taking Shakespeare's phrase "let's kill all the lawyers" to a different level. On Monday, he sued many of the attorneys who represented a New Yorker named Paul Ceglia, the man who claimed Zuckerberg promised him half of Facebook back when Zuckerberg was an 18-year-old Harvard University student. "The lawyers representing Ceglia knew or should have known that the lawsuit was a fraud—it was brought by a convicted felon with a history of fraudulent scams, and it was based on an implausible story and obviously forged documents. In fact, Defendants’ own co-counsel discovered the fraud, informed the other lawyers, and withdrew. Despite all this, Defendants vigorously pursued the case in state and federal courts and in the media," Facebook said in a New York Supreme Court suit. Ceglia faces trial next year on accusations that his lawsuit—in which he claimed half ownership of Facebook—was a fraud. He has pleaded not guilty and faces a maximum 40-year prison term if convicted. Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Two steps toward privacy, one step back. While privacy advocates lauded Apple for the company’s decision to default to encrypting data on its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, the technology firm faced criticism on Monday after independent researchers discovered that its latest operating system, Mac OS X Yosemite, is configured to send location and search data whenever a user queries Spotlight. Spotlight is the company’s search feature for Mac OS X. The capability doesn't just search a user’s computer, though; it also sends information to Apple and Microsoft to return searches from the companies’ services, according to Fix-MacOSX.com. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Flickr user: Tiz Is it possible to appreciate the motives of the people on the opposite side of a conflict? In some of the more intractable, compromise-free conflicts of our time—think Republicans vs. Democrats, Israelis vs. Palestinians—there's widespread belief that the opposition has motives that are, put simply, not very nice. There's also a sense that your opponents are generally bad people, which undoubtedly contributes to the conflict. But according to a new study being released by PNAS, it's possible to get people to think more positively about their opponents. All it takes is a small cash payment to get people to step back and think. And with a more positive understanding of the opposition, people become willing to think that compromise is possible. While all that sounds fairly simple, its consequences are profound. "Ideological opponents risk the health of their economies and their planet because they are unable to make political compromises," the authors of the new paper write. "Ethnic and religious groups across the world engage in mass acts of violence, rejecting solutions of mutual benefit that involve sharing power, land, or religious sites." Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A screen capture shows the warning of a fake iCloud.com certificate—signed by an official Chinese certificate authority. GreatFire.org GreatFire.org, a group that monitors censorship by the Chinese government’s national firewall system (often referred to as the “Great Firewall”), reports that China is using the system as part of a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on users of Apple’s iCloud service within the country. The attacks come as Apple begins the official rollout of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus on the Chinese mainland. The attack, which uses a fake certificate and Domain Name Service address for the iCloud service, is affecting users nationwide in China. The GreatFire.org team speculates that the attack is an effort to help the government circumvent the improved security features of the new phones by compromising their iCloud credentials and allowing the government to gain access to cloud-stored content such as phone backups. Chinese iCloud users attempting to log in with Firefox and Chrome browsers would have been alerted to the fraudulent certificate. However, those using Mac OS X’s built-in iCloud login or another browser may not have been aware of the rerouting, and their iCloud credentials would have been immediately compromised. Using two-step verification would prevent the hijacking of compromised accounts. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Apple rode the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus to a record quarter. Andrew Cunningham Apple has just released the data for the fourth quarter of its fiscal 2014, and the story is the same as it's been for most of the year: iPhone sales are up, iPad sales are down-to-flat, Mac sales are up a little and continue to beat the growth rate of the wider PC market, and iPods have fallen off a cliff. Apple's fourth quarter runs from the beginning of July to the end of September, so it includes the new iPhone launch but not the new iPads and Macs announced last week. First, some hard numbers: Apple made a record $42.1 billion in revenue and $8.5 billion in profit, and had a gross margin of 38 percent. The revenue numbers beat Apple's guidance from last quarter, which predicted revenue between $37 and $40 billion and a margin between 37 and 38 percent. Last year, the company posted $37.5 billion in revenue and profit of $7.5 billion with gross margins of 37 percent. For the first quarter of fiscal 2015—usually Apple's largest by far, since it encompasses the holidays and several new product launches—the company is predicting between $63.5 and $66.5 billion of revenue and 37.5 to 38.5 precent margins. Andrew Cunningham Andrew Cunningham The iPhone continues to be Apple's biggest product both in terms of unit sales and of revenue. The first weeks of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus availability helped Apple sell 39.27 million iPhones, up from 33.78 million last year, and the iPhone lineup accounts for 56.2 percent of the company's revenue. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
Cable bills have a way of starting out expensive and then getting even more expensive as time goes on. This is especially true when cable companies offer promotional rates that last a year or two without telling customers what they'll actually have to pay once the discounted rate expires. No cable customer is immune from this phenomenon—even outspoken telecom analysts like Bruce Kushnick are in for bill shock. Kushnick, a frequent critic of Internet service providers, signed up for a Time Warner Cable "Triple Pay" package in 2012 and is now paying more than double the advertised rate. "When I signed up, less than two years ago, it was advertised at $89.99 and today, less than two years later, the actual price is 110 percent more—now $190.77," Kushnick wrote today in the Huffington Post. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Trey Ratcliff Google will begin rolling out a change to its search algorithm that the media giant says will "visibly affect" rankings of piracy sites globally. The Mountain View, California company promised to do this in 2012. But at the time, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, and others said the changes to its search algorithm had "no demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy." Google said the latest global algorithm changes, to roll out this week, will work. “In August 2012 we first announced that we would downrank sites for which we received a large number of valid DMCA [Digital Millennium Copyright Act] notices,” Google’s senior copyright counsel Katherine Oyama wrote in a Friday blog post. “We’ve now refined the signal in ways we expect to visibly affect the rankings of some of the most notorious sites." Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ferrari You don't need a degree in marketing to know that using social media right is an important part of building up any kind of brand these days. And the growing value of fan websites and Facebook fan pages seems to be leading to an increase in legal disputes over who controls them. The latest example involves Italian sports car manufacturer Ferrari. Last week, a Swiss father and son sued Facebook and Ferrari after control of their popular Ferrari fan page was taken away from them. In their lawsuit (PDF), Olivier and Sammy Wasem claim they controlled "by far the most popular Facebook pages for Ferrari enthusiasts," which they created in 2008. The complaint describes Sammy Wasem as an aspiring Formula One driver whose "passion for racing and Ferrari drew many fellow fans together." By 2009, the Wasem's Ferrari page had more than 500,000 fans. In February of that year, Olivier Wasem got an e-mail from a Ferrari employee stating that "legal issues force us [Ferrari] in taking over the formal administration of" the Ferrari fan page. The same employee promised "to preserve and even enhance your role in the Ferrari Web Presence and communities." Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Executive Vice President for Cloud and Enterprise Scott Guthrie are talking cloud today, so we're on the scene to hear what they have to say. Join us for live updates and check back for a recap of any important announcements. View Liveblog Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) today called on Comcast to make a long-term pledge that it won't charge content providers for faster access to its subscribers. Comcast already agreed to follow network neutrality provisions until September 2018 as part of its 2011 purchase of NBCUniversal. While the agreement with the US government doesn't specifically prevent Comcast from signing paid prioritization deals, the company has said it has no plans to do so. Comcast has been touting its net neutrality commitments while making the case that it should be allowed to purchase Time Warner Cable, the second biggest cable company in the US after itself. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Comcast Executive VP David Cohen today, saying he worries about "the risk of paid prioritization agreements through which websites could be charged for priority access over the Internet." Leahy wants "meaningful pledges from our Nation's broadband providers that they share the American public's commitment to an Internet that remains open and equally accessible to all." Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Jade Raymond's former profile photo at Ubisoft, which was deleted on Monday following the announcement of her departure. Ubisoft Toronto On Monday, Ubisoft Toronto announced that its managing director, Jade Raymond, was parting ways with the game-making company to "pursue future opportunities separately." The co-creator of the Assassin's Creed series and executive producer of its first two games offered a statement within the company's announcement, calling the exit "one of the hardest decisions of my career" while asking fans to "stay tuned for more on what's next for me." During her ten-year tenure at Ubisoft, complete with production credits on titles like Watch Dogs and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Raymond rose within the company's leadership ranks. She was tasked in particular with growing the game studio's Toronto division "to 800 employees by 2020," according to her Ubisoft profile (already deleted by Monday morning). She talked openly about efforts to bring Ubisoft series like Assassin's Creed to the big screen. Long before a recent rash of anonymous backlash against women in the games industry, Raymond attracted negative attention for her efforts as a game maker, in spite of rarely making public comments about her gender affecting her work. (That continued on Monday, with Raymond's Twitter feed mostly talking about her departure.) While she offered no hints about new games or companies, she responded to questions about her games-industry future by saying, "rest assured, I'm a lifer." Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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Apple View Liveblog2014-10-20T16:00:00-05:00 It’s that time again: time for Andrew Cunningham and me to press our headphones tight against our ears and type up the rapid-fire financial chatter of Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Luca Maestri as they walk us through Apple’s latest quarterly earnings. Today, Apple will be releasing the results of the last quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, and pre-call expectations are that the call will feature some big numbers. Analyst expectations are for Apple to hit just a smidgen under $40 billion in revenue, on the back of guidance for between $37 billion and $40 billion. This will be up about six percent from last quarter’s $37.4 billion and should generate an earnings per share of around $1.30 (which is an increase of about 11 percent year over year). These would be the highest quarterly earnings in the company’s history, and if accurate, they’re due in no small part to huge initial sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Analysts' feelings on iPhone sales appear to run the entire gamut, with some calling the new iPhone’s launch an excellent sign of increasing iOS adoption worldwide and others saying that competition from cheaper Android-based alternatives will cause iPhone adoption in developing markets to falter in the long term. We’ll hear Apple's own take later today. Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Andrew Cunningham As it promised at its iPad event last week, Apple has just released the iOS 8.1 update to the public. The update isn't as far-reaching as iOS 7.1, but it enables a number of previously announced features. Chief among these is Apple Pay, Apple's new contactless payments system. For the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, Apple Pay enables wireless NFC payments using credit cards scanned into Passbook. For those phones plus the new iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3, Apple Pay also enables in-app purchases using those stored credit cards—but without using the actual credit card information. The card data is instead stored locally on your device in a "Secure Element" and is never sent directly to Apple or to any vendors; randomly generated numbers are used instead to confirm each transaction. Version 8.1 also completes the Continuity features Apple first announced at WWDC. Passthrough of SMS messages and the Personal Hotspot feature join Handoff, AirDrop, and phone call support to link iDevices and Macs running OS X Yosemite more closely to one another. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 11 days ago on ars technica
camknows A 39-year-old UK man has been convicted of possessing illegal cartoon drawings of young girls exposing themselves in school uniforms and engaging in sex acts. The case is believed to be the UK's first prosecution of illegal manga and anime images. Local media said that Robul Hoque was sentenced last week to nine months imprisonment, though the sentence is suspended so long as the defendant does not break the law again. Police seized Hoque's computer in 2012 and said they found nearly 400 such images on it, none of which depicted real people but were illegal nonetheless because of their similarity to child pornography. Hoque was initially charged with 20 counts of illegal possession but eventually pled guilty to just 10 counts. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The on/off switch from an IBM 26. Marcin Wichary IBM announced today that GlobalFoundries will acquire its chip manufacturing business in a deal expected to close in 2015. IBM will pay GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion over the next three years to complete the transfer but will presumably save more than that over the long haul by offloading a costly chipmaking operation. IBM designs the chips for its Power servers and mainframe computers and will continue to invest in chip research even after outsourcing manufacturing to GlobalFoundries. IBM is continuing a previously announced $3 billion investment over five years in semiconductor technology research, and the company said that "GlobalFoundries will have primary access to the research that results from this investment through joint collaboration at the Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), SUNY Polytechnic Institute, in Albany, NY." Additionally, GlobalFoundries will become "IBM's exclusive server processor semiconductor technology provider for 22 nanometer (nm), 14nm and 10nm semiconductors for the next 10 years." GlobalFoundries will take over IBM manufacturing facilities in New York and Vermont, and the company "plans to provide employment opportunities for substantially all IBM employees at the two facilities who are part of the transferred businesses, except for a team of semiconductor server group employees who will remain with IBM." GlobalFoundries will also acquire thousands of patents and IBM's commercial microelectronics business. Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Sandia National Lab Reducing our emissions of carbon dioxide quickly enough to minimize the effects of climate change may require more than just phasing out the use of fossil fuels. During the phase-out, we may need to keep the CO2 we're emitting from reaching the atmosphere—a process called carbon capture and sequestration. The biggest obstacle preventing us from using CCS is the lack of economic motivation to do it. But that doesn't mean it's free from technological constraints and scientific unknowns. One unknown relates to exactly what will happen to the CO2 we pump deep underground. As a free gas, CO2 would obviously be buoyant, fueling concerns about leakage. But CO2 dissolves into the briny water found in saline aquifers at these depths. Once the gas dissolves, the result is actually more dense than the brine, meaning it will settle downward. With time, much of that dissolved CO2 may precipitate as carbonate minerals. But how quickly does any of this happen? Having answers will be key to understanding how well we really sequester the carbon. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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The Kindle Voyage is an excellent (but expensive) e-reader. Andrew Cunningham CN.dart.call("xrailTop", {sz:"300x250", kws:["top"], collapse: true});Most of the time I’m not sorry that all my dedicated, single-use devices are dead and gone. If you’re carrying a modern smartphone around, why would you miss your Discman, or your portable DVD player,  or your dumbphone, or your tape recorder, or your point-and-shoot camera, or your PalmPilot? Not only can one device replace all of them, but that one device is usually better at all of that stuff than most dedicated devices ever were. Yet there’s something pure about hardware that’s only designed to do one thing, at least when it’s designed well. A gadget that only wants to do a couple of things can tailor itself better to those specific uses while ignoring everything else. Maybe you could get better battery life out of your camera if it didn’t need to be a portable game console and full-featured computer all wrapped up into one. Specs at a glance: Amazon Kindle Voyage Screen 1448×1072 6" (300 PPI) E-Ink Carta OS Kindle OS 5.5.0 Storage 4GB (non-upgradeable) Networking 802.11b/g/n, optional 3G Ports Micro-USB Size 6.4" x 4.5" x 0.30" (162 x 115 x 7.6 mm) Weight 6.3 oz (180 g) Wi-Fi, 6.6 oz (188 g) 3G Battery Unknown capacity; Amazon claims 6 weeks of life if used for 30 minutes a day with wireless disabled and brightness set to 10 Starting price $199 with Special Offers, $219 without; $269 for 3G with Special Offers, $289 for 3G without Price as reviewed $289 That’s the strongest argument there is for the Kindle line of e-readers, which continue to soldier on even though Amazon has branched out into full-on Android tablets, phones, and set-top boxes. The company's e-reader lineup changes only occasionally and very gradually; the biggest change was probably back in 2011 when Amazon switched out the physical keyboard for a software keyboard with navigation buttons and rudimentary touchscreens. The Kindle Paperwhite’s front-lit screen is a close second. Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Elvert Barnes In a rare decision, the Florida Supreme Court ruled last Friday that law enforcement must get a warrant in order to track a suspect’s location via his or her mobile phone. Many legal experts applauded the decision as a step in the right direction for privacy. "[The] opinion is a resounding defense of our right to privacy in the digital age," Nate Freed Wessler, staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. "Following people’s movements by secretly turning their cell phones into tracking devices can reveal extremely sensitive details of our lives, like where we go to the doctor or psychiatrist, where we spend the night, and who our friends are. Police are now on notice that they need to get a warrant from a judge before tracking cell phones, whether using information from the service provider or their own ‘stingray’ cell phone tracking equipment." Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Cliff Newly released documents definitively show that local law enforcement in Washington, DC possessed a cellular surveillance system—commonly known as a "stingray"—since 2003. However, these stingrays literally sat unused in a police vault for six years until officers were trained on the devices in early 2009. "It's life imitating The Wire," Chris Soghoian, a staff technologist at the American Civil Liberties Union, told Ars. "There's an episode in Season 3 where [Detective Jimmy] McNulty finds a [stingray] that has been sitting on the shelf for awhile." In response to a Freedom of Information Act request sent to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPDC), Ars received dozens of documents pertaining to the acquisition and training of stingrays and related upgrades. Vice News received the same documents, reporting on them last Friday. Read 19 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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A chip card and the inside of a card's chip. Explain That Stuff On Friday, President Obama signed an executive order to speed the adoption of EMV-standard cards in the US. The transition to EMV—an acronym eponymous of Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, the companies that developed the standard—has been slow to gain traction in the US. The EMV standard will require credit card companies to do away with the magnetic stripe cards that are common today in favor of cards with embedded-chips that will offer more secure credit card transactions. Lawmakers and credit card companies confirmed earlier this year that the US would make the transition to EMV cards in October 2015. But over the past several months, retail stores like Target, Home Depot, Michaels, Neiman Marcus, and more have sustained major hacks that caused the retailers to loose credit card information and personal information of millions upon millions of customers, giving new urgency to the call for more secure credit cards. Speaking at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Friday, President Obama said that the federal government would apply “chip-and-PIN technology to newly issued and existing government credit cards, as well as debit cards like Direct Express.” The White House also said that all payment terminals at federal agencies will soon be able to accept embedded chip cards. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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This post was done in partnership with The Wirecutter, a list of the best technology to buy. Read the full article below at TheWirecutter.com. The HooToo HT-UH010 seven-port hub ($40) is our favorite USB 3.0 hub because it’s compact, reliable, and has well-placed ports aplenty. But its main strength is its usability and design—we looked at many other hubs that were larger, had fewer ports, and weren’t as easy to use. We determined the HooToo is the best hub for most people after 100 hours of research, testing, and consulting with electrical engineers to learn about how power flows through USB hubs and where things commonly go wrong. Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock Last November, my father took his own life. I'm frequently aware of the fact that the depression which helped drive him to that dark fate lives on in my genes. That's a doozy of a legacy to inherit, but it's one that has not been wholly negative for me. Getting to the point where I could write this article involved a series of debates. I debated talking about my father’s suicide; I debated “outing” myself as a depression sufferer; I debated not talking about it and what that meant. I decided in the end that I would be the worst kind of hypocrite if I believed that dialog about depression was essential but was unwilling to start that dialog myself. I hope that my story can help others understand why the traits that cause depression have been both a plague and a gift to so many. Nothing's easy when talking about depression. Navigating this sensitive topic is fraught with traps and taboos that can make Israel the good option at dinner discussion. But this dialog is important, and hopefully we can lift the grim veil that hangs over this subject before disaster strikes someone we know and love. Even as it goes underreported, suicide now kills more people than car accidents in the US. Read 52 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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NASA NEW YORK—What do you do after you’ve achieved the ultimate goal of your avocation—not once, but three times? That’s the question facing Chris Hadfield, who capped 25 years of NASA service by commanding both the International Space Station and an audience of millions on YouTube and Twitter. Hadfield gave a partial answer recently during a public talk at the American Museum of Natural History: get as many people as possible to understand the experience and try to use that to keep the public supporting a program of space exploration. Hadfield may be an unassuming looking man—he’s got nothing like the imposing build of astronaut and former football player Leland Melvin—but you don’t get sent to space three times without having an imposing set of talents. He said that, in addition to the expected job skills, he spent time in a Texas emergency room, stitching up and intubating people as part of the preparations to handle anything that might come up while in space. And millions saw his musical and photographic skills on display since. Now you can add “performer” to Hadfield’s long list of accomplishments. He wove together a series of anecdotes into a coherent, compelling show, gesturing animatedly and lying back on the floor to demonstrate the Soyuz launch posture. Parts of it might have been scripted or at least well practiced, but there were others that seemed spontaneous. While an orbital photo of San Francisco was on the screen, someone from the audience had to tell him that both the bridge and the large park were named Golden Gate. At that point, he called everything visible "Golden Gate" something or other, including New York’s Central Park when it appeared in the next picture. He was also just as easygoing and clear when handling questions from the audience. Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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