News & Updates

Nathan Mattise

AUSTIN, Texas—“We are here today because the importance of science in our nation is in dispute,” Dr. Art Markman told the assembled crowd outside the Texas State Capitol. “And I have to lecture a bit because I’m a professor.”

Evidently, professors weren’t the only ones compelled to act at this weekend’s March for Science. Activists, writers, engineers, scientists, coders, kids, dogs, religious leaders, a PhD student preparing to give his dissertation next Friday, and a joke-telling robot named Annabelle gathered side-by-side among thousands ready to march at the Austin event.

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Botema, seen here on the cover of the new Image Comics book Afar. (credit: Image Comics)

Sci-fi stories often tantalize us with visions of travel to other worlds—and the promised glory that accompanies such journeys. Turning this familiar trope on its head, Afar, a new graphic novel from Image, written by Leila Del Duca and drawn by Kit Seaton, suggests that such dreams might be more nightmarish than we expect—at least initially. It challenges the premise that extra-planetary travelogues must revolve around the acquisition of mastery or power. Instead, the shifting worlds of Afar remind us that we are never less in control than when we leave the familiar behind.

Early in the book’s first chapter, a young woman named Botema begins to suspect that she is not entirely herself when she sleeps. Each time she closes her eyes, she unwillingly leaves her own post-apocalyptic milieu—a world of arid deserts and ancient technology—behind. No mere tourist, she occupies other bodies as she travels. To her horror, she often takes on monstrous forms. “I think I travel to other planets when I sleep,” she finally confesses to her brother.

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David Charles Hahn, who was nicknamed the “Radioactive Boy Scout,” received regular visits from the FBI for nearly a decade from 2005 through 2015, Ars has learned.

Hahn, who was profiled by Harper’s Magazine in 1998 for his attempts to build a homemade breeder nuclear reactor in his mother’s backyard shed, passed away late last year in Michigan at the age of 39. Last month, Ars reported that Hahn did not die as a result of radiation poisoning.

Upon his death, we filed numerous Freedom of Information Act requests with various federal agencies, including the FBI. Amongst the documents we received were three FBI reports dating between 2007 and 2010. They detail three separate instances when people reported to law enforcement that they believed that Hahn may be trying to restart his nuclear activities. When local and federal authorities investigated, they found no such evidence.

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This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: Smile. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who broadcasts on Saturdays at 7:20pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Emojis aren’t only the future of language for us doomed Earthlings, but we’re also the only poor saps throughout the universe who use them. This is one of many things that the Doctor’s ace new companion Bill Potts learns from her intergalactic tutor in Smile, the second installment of series 10 of Doctor Who.

While Nardole (Matt Lucas) is left back at base grumpily guarding the mysterious vault in the bowels of the university and making a brew (NB: for our American readers, that’s a cup of tea), Bill (Pearl Mackie) tells the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) that she wants to travel to the future. “Why?” he asks. “I wanna see if it’s happy,” she says.

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Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com—and let us know what you think.

On first inspection, Cry Havoc looks like any number of similarly grim and gritty science fiction board games. It comes with a stash of plastic soldiers, robots, and aliens, and its artwork paints a world in tones of mud, fire, and gun metal. But if you’re expecting a quick fix of hectic, dice-chucking combat, you’re going to be disappointed, because Cry Havoc offers a much more thoughtful take on the concept of planetary conquest.

(credit: Portal Games)

Cry Havoc hands players command of rival factions competing to colonize a newly discovered world. Playing as aggressive and expansionist humans, merciless and powerful machines, or elusive and enigmatic aliens known as the Pilgrims, you attempt to claim victory by seizing control of territories and exploiting them for their resources (in the form of shiny plastic crystals).

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(credit: Phera Laster / Flickr)

Excessive intake of sugar has been linked to a huge variety of health problems, many of them a consequence of the obesity that’s also linked to excessive sugar. That’s led many people to switch to drinks with artificial sweeteners that aren’t metabolized by the body. A new study is now suggesting that these sweeteners are associated with their own health risks, namely stroke and dementia. But the study doesn’t get into causality, and there’s enough oddities in the data to suggest that it’s not time to purge your fridge just yet.

The study, run by a collaboration of Boston-based researchers, relied on a cohort of individuals that had been recruited starting in 1971. On average, every four years since, the participants have completed follow-up surveys and had their health checked out. Over 5,000 people are in this cohort, and they provide a rich source of epidemiological data.

The authors started out intending to look at whether sugar-rich drinks increased the risk of strokes and dementia. So they eliminated a lot of people from this cohort because they’d previously experienced these or related issues. That reduced the study population considerably: under 3,000 for stroke, and under 1,500 for dementia.

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Just as we reported last week, Samsung has started rolling out the Android 7.0 Nougat firmware to Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge smartphones. Android 7.0 Nougat is one of the most-awaited software updates on the planet, hence, it’s a reason of small joy for the owners of the said device. Samsung is on the […]

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Enlarge / There. All better, Nintendo Switch. (credit: Sam Machkovech)

With the Nintendo Switch’s newness starting to fade, interest in the new console has begun to shift toward its upcoming wave of “bigger” games. These include a gussied-up Mario Kart 8, the brand-new fighting series Arms, and a new Splatoon game that is finally looking more like a sequel than a last-gen port. But something interesting is quietly bubbling within the world of Switch games—though, sadly, I don’t mean Nintendo’s catalog of classic Virtual Console games.

What’s bubbling up is just about as good, however: frequently updated games. And in one case, those updates have transformed at least one major Switch game from “maybe try” to “must buy.”

Patchwork

Nintendo spoke at length at a late-February event about how its Nintendo Switch platform will make certain development tasks easier for game makers. The participating “Nindies” game makers on hand echoed that statement. At the time, they mostly spoke about the ease of translating games from other platforms, whether through a major engine like Unity and Unreal or through their own custom-built engines.

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Script kiddies and online criminals around the world have reportedly started exploiting NSA hacking tools leaked last weekend to compromise hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Windows operating systems exposed on the Internet.

Last week, the mysterious hacking group known as Shadow Brokers leaked a set of Windows hacking tools targeting Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows 7 and 8, and


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Dragon Ball Super – the Japanese anime television series produced by Toei Animation – is the first Dragon Ball television series featuring a new storyline in 18 years. The series goes on tell about the events that place in Battle of Gods and Resurrection F, which follow the events in Dragon Ball Z. The series […]

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