News & Updates

Enlarge / An undated file photo of some of the Mercury 13 candidates. (credit: Mercury 13 / Netflix)

This June, the world will mark the 55th anniversary of the first woman flying into space. Valentina Tereshkova, an amateur Russian skydiver, spent nearly three days in orbit inside a spherical Vostok 6 capsule. The first American woman, physicist Sally Ride, would not follow Tereshkova into space for another two decades.

A new documentary on Netflix, Mercury 13, examines the question of why NASA did not fly women in space early on and, in particular, focuses on 13 women who underwent preliminary screening processes in 1960 and 1961 to determine their suitability as astronauts. The film offers a clear verdict for why women were excluded from NASA in the space agency’s early days—”good old-fashioned prejudice,” as one of the participants said. Mercury 13 will be released Friday.

The film admirably brings some of these women to life, all of whom were accomplished pilots. There is Jerrie Cobb, who scored very highly in the preliminary tests and gave compelling testimony before Congress in an attempt to open NASA’s early spaceflight programs to women. Another key figure is pilot Jane B. Hart, married to a US Senator from Michigan, whose experience in the project compelled her to become one of the founders of the National Organization for Women.

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Enlarge / Mark Zuckerberg in 2017. (credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Facebook has quietly altered its terms of service, making stricter Irish data protection laws no longer binding on the vast majority of its users. The revision was first reported Wednesday by Reuters.

Now, Facebook’s headquarters in California will be responsible for processing any relevant legal claims, and American law will be binding for those outside the EU.

Previously, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said Facebook would implement new EU rules “everywhere.” While Facebook may claim that it is offering EU-style control globally, removing this provision in its own terms of service suggests that the company is trying to mitigate its potential legal liability.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Enlarge (credit: Android)

Here in the US and other developed countries, the smartphone and Internet markets are more or less saturated—most people are online and swiping away at their smartphones. This isn’t the case everywhere though—only about half of the worldwide population is on the Internet. That means there are more than 3.5 billion people that don’t have access to the largest collection of human knowledge (and dank memes) ever assembled.

These throngs of disconnected people come from poorer countries, so when they do eventually get online, they will do so via the most inexpensive devices they can get. The cheapest online-capable devices we make are also the smallest: smartphones. And on smartphones, unless you’re spending several hundred dollars on an Apple device, there’s one OS out there: Android.

Google has taken to calling these people the “next billion users” and has been chasing them for some time with various programs. The effort we’re looking at today, Android Go, is Google’s largest to date. It offers the whole Android package but reworked with entry-level phones in mind.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

If you have installed any of the below-mentioned Ad blocker extension in your Chrome browser, you could have been hacked.

A security researcher has spotted five malicious ad blockers extension in the Google Chrome Store that had already been installed by at least 20 million users.

Unfortunately, malicious browser extensions are nothing new. They often have access to everything you do online


Source: http://feeds.feedburner.com/TheHackersNews

Enlarge / Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., speaks during an event at Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago on Tuesday, March 27, 2018. (credit: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In an interview published in The Sydney Morning Herald today, Apple CEO Tim Cook suggested that Apple is not working toward eventually running the same operating system on Macs and mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, counter to widespread speculation.

The interview took place at the education-themed event in Chicago at which Apple unveiled the last iPad. Here’s the relevant quote from Cook:

We don’t believe in sort of watering down one for the other. Both [the Mac and iPad] are incredible. One of the reasons that both of them are incredible is because we pushed them to do what they do well. And if you begin to merge the two… you begin to make trade-offs and compromises.

So maybe the company would be more efficient at the end of the day. But that’s not what it’s about. You know it’s about giving people things that they can then use to help them change the world or express their passion or express their creativity. So this merger thing that some folks are fixated on, I don’t think that’s what users want.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg ran a report saying that Apple will soon unveil tools for developers that will allow deploying an app for both macOS and iOS machines. Apps that target both platforms would be usable with either a touchscreen or a mouse/trackpad, depending on which device launches them. While some outlets are saying Cook’s statement debunks that rumor, that’s not necessarily the case; apps that support macOS/iOS interoperability don’t require a unified operating system.

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Enlarge (credit: PUBG Corp./Microsoft)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)’s stratospheric rise in popularity on PC and console has been curious, in particular because of its $30 cost of entry—a fact that sets it apart from its popular, free-to-play rival Fortnite Battle Royale. For at least a few days, however, that barrier is (for the most part) going away… if you are willing to play PUBG on Xbox One.

The console’s “early access” version of the 100-person, massive-arena shooter is currently free to download and play so long as you are an Xbox Live Gold subscriber. (If you do not pay for Xbox Live Gold and are interested, now might be a good time to dig out one of the many 48-hour and 7-day trials packed into Xbox game boxes.) The game’s “Free Gold Weekend” promotion runs from today, April 19, until 11:59pm ET on Sunday, April 22.

In some ways, this mostly-free version doesn’t offer an ideal way to get to know the popular shooter. We defer to the frame rate analysis gurus at Digital Foundry, who took a hard look in March at what had and hadn’t improved for the console version in its first three months. In short: the game is fun, but the performance issues don’t help.

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Enlarge / Southwest’s Boeing 737-700, tail number N772SW, was the aircraft for Southwest flight 1380. A failure in its left turbofan engine caused the death of one passenger and multiple other injuries. (credit: Aeroprints)

While a National Transportation Safety Board investigation is still underway, NTSB officials confirmed that the uncontained engine failure aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was the result of a fan blade breaking from a crack near the fan’s hub. The failure is similar to one that occurred on another Southwest flight in September 2016.

“The fan blade separated in two places,” said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. “At the hub… there’s a fatigue fracture where this #13 fan blade would come into that hub. It also fractured roughly halfway through it. But it appears the fatigue fracture was the initial event. We have the root part, but we don’t have the outboard part. The crack was interior, so certainly not detectable from looking at it from the outside.”

After that incident, the manufacturer of the engine—CFM International—issued a technical bulletin urging customers to conduct more frequent ultrasonic inspections of the fan in the type of turbofan engine used by Southwest’s 737 Next Generation aircraft. In 2017, CFM even asked the FAA to enact a new rule requiring those checks. But Southwest Airlines opposed the proposed change to inspection frequency, stating in a comment to the FAA that it would take longer for the airline to comply because of the number of engines in its fleet:

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Call it a trend, if not an outright phenomenon. Battle royale games have officially catapulted into the industry’s pole position, largely fueled by the neck-and-neck popularity contest between PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite: Battle Royale. And this week, we learned that even more of these games will likely show up by year’s end, with rumors circling around major series like Call of Duty and Battlefield.

The news follows plenty of latecomers to the battle royale genre, which all have a few things in common. Roughly 100 players parachute onto an island with the goal of being the last shooter standing, and that contest is made all the more tense by random-item pickups and a constantly shrinking battlefield.

But what does it take to make a good battle royale game at this point? As more games pile onto the fray and triple-A entries poke their head in, I want to point to one out-of-nowhere game that has done more than bolt the niche’s basics onto existing properties. It’s called Islands of Nyne, and after playing a lot of battle royale games, I have to say, this indie entry is the one to watch from here on out.

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(credit: AMD)

The second-generation Ryzen chips announced last week are now out, and reviews have hit the ‘Net. Unlike the situation last week, we’re now free to talk about what has changed in the second-generation chips and where their improvements lie.

Model Cores/Threads Clock base/boost/GHz TDP/W Cooler Price
Ryzen 7 2700X 8/16 3.7/4.3 105 Wraith Prism (LED) $329
Ryzen 7 2700 8/16 3.2/4.1 65 Wraith Spire (LED) $299
Ryzen 5 2600X 6/12 3.6/4.2 95 Wraith Spire $229
Ryzen 5 2600 6/12 3.4/3.9 65 Wraith Stealth $199

AMD is calling the new parts “Zen+.” This isn’t a new architecture; rather, it’s a tweaked version of the first-generation Zen architecture. The basic layout of the chips remains the same: each contains two core complexes (CCXes), which are blocks of four cores, eight threads, and 8MB level 3 cache, joined with AMD’s Infinity Fabric.

Architecturally, the biggest improvements seem to have been made to memory and cache latencies. AMD says that the cache latency for level 1, level 2, and level 3 caches and main memory have all improved, reduced by up to 13 percent, 34 percent, 16 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. Tech Report’s benchmarks show improved main-memory latency, and PC Perspective found improved communications latency between CCXes.

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today’s list includes a decent price on Dell’s Inspiron 15 5000 notebook, which can be had with a 7th-gen Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 4GB AMD Radeon R7 graphics card for $700.

It probably goes without saying this isn’t the most luxurious notebook in the world—you have to deal with a 1TB HDD instead of a faster SSD, there’s no USB-C, and, again, the processor is a generation old—but that’s still a good amount of horsepower for a laptop with a midrange price. Just note that it uses a TN panel, not an IPS one, so its contrast isn’t the best—though it does at least have a 1080p resolution and is touch-enabled. There’s also a DVD drive and HDMI port, if you’re still hanging onto those. Heads up, though: Dell says stock is limited for this one.

If you don’t need a new laptop on the cheap, we also have deals on Google’s Daydream View headset, 4K TVs, Logitech mice, the Essential Phone, Bluetooth speakers, and more. Check them all out for yourself below.

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