posted 20 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Chinese President Xi Jinping learns about the progress on a COVID-19 vaccine during his visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing on March 2, 2020. (credit: Getty | Xinhua News Agency) China has now signed on to a massive, global alliance to develop and equitably distribute a coronavirus vaccine—putting the United States’ absence from the pact into yet sharper relief. With its late entry announced Friday, China joins around 170 other countries in the pact, called the COVAX Facility. The effort is being spearheaded by the World Health Organization and co-led along with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. COVAX is designed to pool resources to help develop a vaccine and bring it to market globally. Once at that point, the alliance will help ensure all participating countries have access to whichever vaccine candidate(s) prove successful, regardless of where it was developed. It will also provide financial assistance to lower-income countries to access the vaccine. So far, at least 77 high-income countries (including China) have signed on, as well as 92 low- and middle-income countries.Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Ain't no party like a programming language virtual conference party I’ve been running into a lot of happy and excited scientists lately. “Running into” in the virtual sense, of course, as conferences and other opportunities to collide with scientists in meatspace have been all but eliminated. Most scientists believe in the germ theory of disease. Anyway, these scientists and mathematicians are excited about a new tool. It’s not a new particle accelerator nor a supercomputer. Instead, this exciting new tool for scientific research is... a computer language. How can a computer language be exciting, you ask? Surely, some are better than others, depending on your purposes and priorities. Some run faster, while others are quicker and easier to develop in. Some have a larger ecosystem, allowing you to borrow battle-tested code from a library and do less of the work yourself. Some are well-suited to particular type of problems, while others are good at being general-purpose.Read 51 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / A P120C solid rocket motor is fired in French Guiana. (credit: European Space Agency) Welcome to Edition 3.19 of the Rocket Report! This week we were glad to see US rockets, led by the Antares and Falcon 9 vehicles, get back on track after a series of scrubs due to technical and weather issues. Meanwhile, the world's next launch is a big one: a Soyuz carrying three astronauts to the International Space Station next week. As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar. Virgin Orbit's rocket comes at a high price. As Virgin Orbit drives toward its second launch attempt late in 2020, its expenses are adding up. Started in 2011 by Sir Richard Branson as an offshoot of his Virgin Galactic space business, Virgin Orbit has not revealed how much it has spent to date. But industry officials estimate it has expended between $500 million to $700 million developing LauncherOne and the infrastructure to support it.Read 29 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 20 days ago on ars technica
The fifth season of the sci-fi series The Expanse will begin streaming on Amazon Prime on December 16, 2020. Amazon Prime debuted the first trailer (embedded above) for the upcoming fifth season of The Expanse during the series panel at the New York Comic Con's Metaverse today. And the stakes are high. According to the official premise, "The future of The Belt has begun as Marco Inaros (Keon Alexander) wages Armageddon against the Inners for a lifetime of oppression and injustice." (Some spoilers for prior seasons below.) As we previously reported, The Expanse is based on a series of novels by James S.A. Corey (the pen name for writing team Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), exploring interplanetary tensions that are breaking out all over a Solar System long since colonized by humans—mostly between Earthers, Martians, and "Belters." Part mystery, part political thriller, part classic space opera, The Expanse has earned almost nothing but praise from critics and its devoted fans alike, not just for its gripping storytelling, but also its excellent use of accurate physics. The third and fourth seasons earned a rare 100 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes (seasons one and two earned 76 percent and 96 percent, respectively).Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 20 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Nick Wright. Used by permission.) For months, Apple’s corporate network was at risk of hacks that could have stolen sensitive data from potentially millions of its customers and executed malicious code on their phones and computers, a security researcher said on Thursday. Sam Curry, a 20-year-old researcher who specializes in website security, said that, in total, he and his team found 55 vulnerabilities. He rated 11 of them critical because they allowed him to take control of core Apple infrastructure and from there steal private emails, iCloud data, and other private information. The 11 critical bugs were:Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 20 days ago on ars technica
Mel Gibson plays a bitter, hard-drinking Chris Cringle in the forthcoming film Fatman. If you're one of those people who consider Die Hard and the first Lethal Weapon film a classic Christmas movie double feature, we've got good news for you. Mel Gibson plays a broke, embittered, hard-drinking, heavily armed Santa Claus in the forthcoming action/comedy Fatman. The official trailer dropped yesterday, and it looks like an irreverently fun, wild ride. Written and directed by brothers Eshom and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime), the film co-stars Walton Goggins (The Righteous Gemstones, Ant-Man and the Wasp) and Oscar-nominee Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Secrets and Lies, Blindspot). Per the official premise: To save his declining business, Chris Cringle (Gibson), also known as Santa Claus, is forced into a partnership with the U.S. military. Making matters worse, Chris gets locked into a deadly battle of wits against a highly skilled assassin (Goggins), hired by a precocious 12-year-old after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking. 'Tis the season for Fatman to get even, in the action-comedy that keeps on giving. "I don't know what I'm doing wrong—I've lost my influence," we see Gibson's Cringle mourn to Mrs. Cringle (Jean-Baptiste) about the decline in his business. "Maybe it's time I retired the coast. Some kids with an air rifle put two holes in the sleigh and one in me. All I have is a loathing for a world that's forgotten." So when the US military arrives to "procure" his services, he accepts, with the caveat that it will be a "one-time deal."Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 20 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge After covering Waymo for several years, I've learned to take the company's announcements with a grain of salt. In 2018, for example, Waymo said it would launch a fully driverless commercial service by the end of the year. Waymo did release a service called Waymo One in December 2018, but it came with a couple of huge asterisks: every vehicle had a safety driver, and the service was only open to a small group of people. But today Waymo finally seems to be launching the taxi service it promised two years ago: one that's fully driverless and open to the public. Waymo told Ars that the service will initially operate in a 50-square-mile area in the Phoenix suburbs of Chandler, Tempe, and Mesa.Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / If you can't socially distance, a face mask helps. (credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images) Many countries that controlled their COVID-19 cases in the spring are now seeing rises in infections, raising the prospect that they'll face a second wave of cases, as many epidemiological models had predicted. But in the United States, the number of cases has never dropped to low levels. Instead, it varied between high levels of infection and very high peaks in cases. Why is everything so different in the states? While there are plenty of possible reasons, a series of new studies essentially blame all the obvious ones: the United States ended social distancing rules too soon, never built up sufficient testing and contact-tracing capabilities, and hasn't adopted habits like mask use that might help substitute for its failures elsewhere. The fact that some of these studies used very different methods to arrive at similar conclusions suggests that those conclusions are likely to hold up as more studies come in. Too soon One of the studies, performed by a US-South African team, looked at the relaxation of social distancing rules in the US. Its authors created a list of restrictions for each state and the District of Columbia and tracked the number of COVID-19 deaths in each state for eight weeks prior to the rules being terminated. The number of deaths was used as a proxy for the total number of cases, as the erratic availability of tests made the true infection rate difficult to determine.Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Pasieka) Comcast's cable Internet still has a heavy emphasis on download speeds, as even its gigabit-download service only comes with 35Mbps uploads. But that may not be the case forever, as today Comcast announced a "technical milestone" that can deliver gigabit-plus download and upload speeds over existing cable wires. Specifically, Comcast said it conducted "a trial delivering 1.25Gbps upload and download speeds over a live production network using Network Function Virtualization (NFV) combined with the latest DOCSIS Technology." Comcast installed the service at a home in Jacksonville, Florida, where "the technology team consistently measured speeds of 1.25 Gbps upload and 1.25Gbps download over the connection." The speeds were delivered over a hybrid fiber-cable network, with the coaxial cable providing the final connection into the home. That's nothing new—Comcast has been using both fiber and cable for years, but Comcast said the trial benefitted from the company's "ongoing effort to extend fiber further into neighborhoods." Normally, symmetrical gigabit speeds require a fiber-to-the-home connection. But many more homes have cable than fiber, so a symmetrical gigabit technology could be deployed faster if it doesn't require bringing fiber all the way to each building.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Artist's illustration of a black hole merger. New simulations suggest that colliding black holes should emit not one, but multiple telltale "chirps," when the collision is observed from the "equator" of the final black hole. (credit: N. Fischer, H. Pfeiffer, A. Buonanno, SXS Collaboration) Physicists hunt for merging black holes and other similar cosmic events through the detection of gravitational waves, from which they can glean valuable information, such as the mass of both the precursor black holes and the final, larger black hole that results from the merger. Now a team of scientists has found evidence from supercomputer simulations that those waves may also encode the shape of merging black holes as they settle into their final form, according to a new paper published in the Nature journal Communications Physics. General relativity predicts that two merging black holes should give off powerful gravitational waves—ripples in the fabric of spacetime so faint that they're very difficult to detect. The waveforms of those signals serve as an audio fingerprint of the two black holes spiraling inward toward each other and merging in a massive collision event, sending powerful shock waves across spacetime. Physicists look for a telltale "chirp" pattern in the data as the two black holes collide. The new remnant black hole vibrates from the force of that impact, and those vibrations—called a "ringdown" since it is much like the sound of a bell being struck—also produce gravitational waves. Furthermore, the gravitational-wave signals have multiple frequencies, dubbed "overtones," that fade away at different rates (decay), with each tone corresponding to a vibrational frequency of the new black hole. LIGO detects these gravitational waves via laser interferometry, using high-powered lasers to measure tiny changes in the distance between two objects positioned kilometers apart. (LIGO has detectors in Hanford, Washington, and in Livingston, Louisiana, while a third detector in Italy, Advanced VIRGO, came online in 2016.) On September 14, 2015, at 5:51am EDT, both detectors picked up signals within milliseconds of each other for the very first time. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica) Today's Dealmaster is headlined by a handful of early Prime Day deals on various Amazon subscriptions and services. Like most Prime Day offers, you have to be a Prime member to take advantage, but if that's the case, you can currently grab six months of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited e-book service for $30 or grab the first year of its Audible Premium Plus audiobook service for $100. Those are $30 and $50 discounts, respectively. For the unfamiliar, Kindle Unlimited is an all-you-can-eat subscription that gives access to a large library of e-books for one monthly fee. It can be used on Kindle e-book readers or just through Amazon's Kindle app. Audible Premium Plus, meanwhile, provides a similar setup for audiobooks, podcasts, and original shows. Amazon recently introduced a similar subscription plan called Audible Plus that costs $8 a month, though that covers a smaller selection of content. This deal also includes 12 book credits upfront, which can be used to purchase a title permanently. In any event, note that both subscriptions will be set to renew automatically if you take the plunge, so keep an eye out to avoid any unwanted charges. Elsewhere, the Dealmaster also has deals on various first-party Switch games, the PlayStation exclusive Ghost of Tsushima, various iPads, Dell monitors, and more. Have a look at our full rundown below.Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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Enlarge / Kate Mulgrew speaking on a panel during the 17th annual official Star Trek convention on August 4, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (credit: Gabe Ginsberg | Getty Images) Actress Kate Mulgrew, who played Captain Kathryn Janeway in Star Trek: Voyager, is returning to the franchise to reprise her role in the upcoming Star Trek: Prodigy animated series, ViacomCBS announced today. Mulgrew popped in to make made the surprise announcement during the end of a Star Trek panel at this year's all-virtual New York Comic Con. "I have invested every scintilla of my being in Captain Janeway, and I can’t wait to endow her with nuance that I never did before," Mulgrew said. "How thrilling to be able to introduce to these young minds an idea that has elevated the world for decades. To be at the helm again is going to be deeply gratifying in a new way for me." Executive Producer Alex Kurtzman leveled a sideways blow at the sexism that dogged the first female Star Trek captain when she was cast in the 1990s, saying, "Captain Janeway was held to a different standard than her predecessors. She was asked to embody an inhuman level of perfection in order to be accepted as 'good enough' by the doubters but showed them all what it means to be truly outstanding. We can think of no better captain to inspire the next generation of dreamers on Nickelodeon, than she."Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / Facebook's "voter information center" as seen in July 2020. (credit: Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images) It seems fair to say that, here in the United States, this is an election season unlike any other, with tensions running exceptionally high. Facebook, which through its collection of apps reaches the vast majority of the US population, has again launched a new slew of initiatives to mitigate the harm misinformation on its platforms can cause. Several of these measures are sound ideas, but unfortunately, two of its latest efforts once again amount to waiting until the horse has made it halfway around the world before you shut the barn door. Facebook explained yesterday in a corporate blog post what its Election Day efforts are going to look like on both Facebook and Instagram. The company has promised for months that it will run real-time fact-checking on and after November 3 to prevent any candidate from declaring victory before a race is actually called, and it showed what that process will look like. In that post, Facebook also said that although ads are "an important way to express voice," it plans to enact a temporary moratorium on "all social issue, electoral, or political ads in the US" after the polls close on November 3, to "reduce opportunities for confusion or abuse." That stance will put Facebook, at least for the time being, in like with Twitter's position on political ads.Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
AMD CEO Lisa Su holds up a Zen 3 CPU at today's AMD Gaming event—most likely, a Ryzen 9 5900X or Ryzen 9 5950X. (credit: AMD) At today's AMD Gaming Event 2020, Team Red announced its next big thing in desktop CPUs—the Zen 3 powered Ryzen 5xxx series. The event was brief—only a half hour from start to finish—with AMD announcing record-breaking internal benchmark results. AMD CEO Lisa Su, CTO Mark Papermaster, and Director of Technical Marketing Robert Hallock took turns extolling the new gear's features. The trio paints a picture of more unrelenting pressure being laid on competitor Intel. According to AMD testing, raw performance, power efficiency, IPC, and single-threaded performance all increased markedly compared to current leading desktop processors from both AMD and Intel. Ryzen 9 5900X is a 12 core / 24 thread beast with a nearly 5GHz boost clock, but it still fits in a relatively frugal 105W TDP envelope. [credit: Jim Salter ] According to CTO Mark Papermaster, Zen 3—the architecture next month's Ryzen lineup is based on—has been in development for over five years. Zen 3 features a new unified 8-core complex that allows each core in the cluster direct access to L3 cache. Papermaster declared that the new architecture sees a 19-percent instructions per clock cycle (IPC) uplift when compared with Zen 2.Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / It's-a me, the long arm of the law. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Nintendo / Getty Images) Anyone who follows the console-hacking scene is by now used to the familiar stories of legal efforts to put a stop to the practice. Companies like Nintendo frequently make use of court orders, cease and desist letters, and civil lawsuits to stop the distribution of game ROMs and/or devices that allow those ROMs (and homebrew software) to run on their hardware. Still, some members of the console-hacking community expressed surprise at the recent arrests of Gary "GaryOPA" Bowser, Max "MAXiMiLiEN" Louarn, and Yuanning "100+1" Chen, members of the notorious Team Xecuter hacking group (aka TX). The 38-page indictment, announced Friday by the Department of Justice, runs down a laundry list of Team Xecuter's alleged crimes, chief among them designing and selling a variety of products "designed to be circumvention devices that had the purpose of allowing users to play pirated ROMs."Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge Working in IT often means finding creative ways to make the best of a situation you've been handed. Whether it's fixing problems you didn't cause or adapting to changes that leadership failed to account for, it's all about figuring out how to keep repairing the proverbial airplane while it's flying—and 2020 hasn't really made things any easier for anyone. To provide a bit of a respite for weary IT decision makers—and also because we're geeks who will take any excuse to talk shop!—Ars is organizing a livestreamed roundtable discussion next week starring Ars IT/infosec Editor Emeritus Sean Gallagher, where he'll sit down with our hand-picked panel of experts to discuss the ways in which businesses (and the ITDMs within them) are adapting their processes and strategies around the new reality of remote work, plague, and whatever the hell else is happening in the world right now. Look who’s talking We've pulled in three panelists to converse with Sean:Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
A big blue Big Blue chart showing how this is going to work. (credit: IBM) IBM announced this morning that the company would be spinning off some of its lower-margin lines of business into a new company and focusing on higher-margin cloud services. During an investor call, CEO Arvind Krishna acknowledged that the move was a "significant shift" in how IBM will work, but he positioned it as the latest in a decades-long series of strategic divestments. "We divested networking back in the '90s, we divested PCs back in the 2000s, we divested semiconductors about five years ago because all of them didn’t necessarily play into the integrated value proposition," he said. Krishna became CEO in April 2020, replacing former CEO Ginni Rometty (who is now IBM's executive chairman), but the spin-off is the capstone of a multi-year effort to apply some kind of focus to the company's sprawling business model. Cloudy with a chance of hitting the quarterly guidance The new spin-off doesn't have a formal name yet and is referred to as "NewCo" in IBM's marketing and investor relations material. Under the spin-off plan, the press release claims IBM "will focus on its open hybrid cloud platform, which represents a $1 trillion market opportunity," while NewCo "will immediately be the world’s leading managed infrastructure services provider." (This is because NewCo will start life owning the entirety of IBM Global Technology Services' existing managed infrastructure clients, which means about 4,600 accounts, including about 75 percent of the Fortune 100.)Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / In 1964, an overall aerial view of "Missile Row," Cape Kennedy Air Force Station. The view is looking north, with NASA's Vehicle Assembly Building under construction in the upper left-hand corner. (credit: NASA) Last month, the Space Force had a traffic jam to manage at the Eastern Range for launches it manages in Florida. Three rockets were vying for opportunities to liftoff amid poor weather and a slew of issues with ground support equipment. The largest of the rockets, a Delta IV Heavy booster, carried the most valuable payload—a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office said to cost well north of $1 billion. SpaceX also had two rockets ready to go, one carrying a GPS satellite for the Space Force and another with a purely commercial mission to launch the company's Starlink satellites. The first two missions were located on the Air Force side of the fence, which is managed by the US Space Force's 45th Space Wing. The second SpaceX rocket, carrying 60 Starlink satellites, stood on the NASA side of the fence, at Launch Complex-39A at Kennedy Space Center.Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
The camera block on the back of the OnePlus 8T. It looks like three cameras on the left, and on the right, there's an LED flash, laser autofocus, and a fourth camera on the bottom. OnePlus is gearing up to launch the OnePlus 8T, a Q4 2020 followup to the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, both of which launched around April. The phone is officially launching on October 14, but as part of the company's usual trickle of information before launch, today it posted a video of the phone, confirming what it will look like. The video is just a quick teaser, but it shows off the back of the phone and the new camera block, along with a sketch of the front of the phone. The back camera block is a lot bigger compared to the OnePlus 8 Pro. Now it houses not only the usual strip of three camera lenses but also the extra camera equipment. From top to bottom, the three circles on the right side look like an LED flash, laser autofocus, and a fourth camera lens. On the OnePlus 8 Pro, these components were just flush with the back of the phone. While phone manufacturers seem to never want to give us thicker phones with bigger batteries, bigger camera blocks are a way to ever-so-slightly move in that direction, freeing up more internal space for battery. We also know what the front of the OnePlus 8T will look like, thanks to OnePlus accidentally including an image of the phone in an OS update. It's the usual all-screen design with a hole-punch camera, and it looks a lot like the OnePlus 8 Pro. (Here's hoping that 2021 is the year of the under-display camera.) The only major difference is that the display of the OnePlus 8T looks flat rather than curved like the sides of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Curved displays don't add anything positive to a phone; they just distort the screen and pick up glare from overhead lights, so this is a big improvement.Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / "Everybody knows that APIs, declaring codes, are not copyrightable," Justice Sonia Sotomayor said during Wednesday's oral arguments. But most of her colleagues didn't seem convinced. (credit: Paul Marotta/Getty Images) The Supreme Court's eight justices on Wednesday seemed skeptical of Google's argument that application programming interfaces (APIs) are not protected by copyright law. The high court was hearing oral arguments in Google's decade-long legal battle with Oracle. Oracle argues that Google infringed its copyright in the Java programming language when it re-implemented Java APIs for use by Android app developers. The stakes in the case are high for Google, which could owe Oracle billions of dollars in damages. More importantly, an Oracle win could reshape how copyright law treats APIs, giving incumbents the power to lock out competitors who want to build compatible software. For decades prior to Oracle's lawsuit, most people in the software industry assumed that APIs couldn't be copyrighted. That meant a software company could re-implement the APIs of a competitor's product in order to enable software designed to work with the competitor's product to work with its own.Read 33 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Getty Images) If you bought a Tesla Model 3 instead of a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4, you'd probably save $15,000 over the total lifetime of the vehicle. That's according to a new analysis from Consumer Reports, which examines the total cost of ownership for electric vehicles—both battery EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs—versus comparable internal combustion engine vehicles. CR found that much lower maintenance costs and the lower price of electricity compared to gasoline more than offsets the higher purchase price of a new BEV compared to an ICE. Operating and maintenance costs were calculated using data from annual reliability surveys conducted by CR in 2019 and 2020. Among other data collected, the survey asked CR members to estimate their automotive maintenance and repair costs and driven mileage over the previous 12 months, as well as total mileage of their vehicle. (CR filtered out outliers who drove fewer than 2,000 miles (3,200km) or more than 60,000 miles (96,560km) in 12 months, as well as vehicles with more than $20,000 in maintenance costs or vehicles with more than 200,000 miles (322,000km) on the odometer.)Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge (credit: Global Privacy Control) Anyone who remembers Do Not Track—the initiative that was supposed to allow browser users to reclaim their privacy on the Web—knows it was a failure. Not only did websites ignore it, using it arguably made people less private because it made them stick out. Now, privacy advocates are back with a new specification, and this time they’ve brought the lawyers. Under the hood, the specification, known as Global Privacy Control, works pretty much the same way Do Not Track did. A small HTTP header informs sites that a visitor doesn’t want their data sold. The big difference this time is the enactment of the Consumer Privacy Act in California and, possibly, the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, both of which give consumers broad rights over how their private information can be used. At the moment, California residents who don’t want websites to sell their data must register their choice with each site, often each time they visit it. That’s annoying and time-consuming. But the California law specifically contemplates “user-enabled global privacy controls, such as a browser plug-in or privacy setting,” that signal the choice. That’s what the Global Privacy Control—or GPG—does.Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The promotional key art graphic Apple sent out with its announcement about its October 13, 2020, product launch event. (credit: Apple) Here we are again, less than one month after Apple's September 15 event. Next Tuesday, October 13, Apple representatives will take to the streaming stage to announce new products in an event the company has monikered "Hi, Speed." But what can we expect from the event? Normally, Apple launches iPhones at a September event, but it didn't this year, possibly because of COVID-related delays in its testing of the new devices. Rather, the September event was primarily about the Apple Watch (there was also a new, redesigned iPad Air, along with some services announcements and a slightly modified non-Air, non-Pro, non-mini iPad). All that is to say that iPhones are very likely to be the stars of Apple's October show. Let's get into what to expect from them—and what else we might see at the event.Read 30 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / The new Google Wi-Fi pucks look much like the originals—the substitution of a DC barrel jack for the original USB-C charging port seems to be the biggest difference. (credit: Google) This week, Google launched another, cheaper version of its Wi-Fi-mesh product line. A little more than a year after the introduction of Nest Wi-Fi, this new product line resurrects the original Google Wi-Fi branding and is sold in one-, two-, or three-piece sets. For the most part, the new Google Wi-Fi seems pretty similar to the original—each device is a small, squat white cylinder sporting twin gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-band 802.11ac, AC1200 (Wi-Fi 5, 2x2) radios, along with Bluetooth Low-Energy support. The 2020 version of Google Wi-Fi has a simple DC barrel jack in place of the USB-C charging port on the original version. The more expensive Nest Wi-Fi offers an integrated smart speaker in each node and a fatter Wi-Fi backhaul pipe—although both Nest Wi-Fi and Google Wi-Fi are dual-band 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), the 5GHz radio in the more expensive Nest Wi-Fi is 4x4, offering double the backhaul (connection to the next node closer to the Internet) throughput.Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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posted 21 days ago on ars technica
Enlarge / CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield. (credit: Getty | Alex Edelman) Renowned public health expert and former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention William Foege penned a private letter to current director Robert Redfield last month. It included a desperate plea: break free of the Trump administration’s political meddling, right the CDC’s course, and brace for a fiery end. “The White House will, of course, respond with fury,” Dr. Foege wrote of his plan, first made public by USA Today Tuesday. “But you will have right on your side. Like Martin Luther, you can say, ‘Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise.’” Peacefully resigning will not be enough to force change, Foege added. “When they fire you, this will be a multi-week story and you can hold your head high.” Foege, a former CDC director under the Carter and Reagan administrations, has not been a vocal critic of the Trump administration. But, in his letter to Dr. Redfield, he didn’t hold back on his acerbic take of how the White House had handled the pandemic while damaging and sidelining the CDC in the process.Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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