News & Updates

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai with his oversized coffee mug in November 2017. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media Company has run into a major roadblock at the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he won’t approve the Sinclair/Tribune acquisition as it’s currently structured, saying Sinclair’s plans for divested stations would violate the law. Pai is recommending that the merger be reviewed by an administrative law judge, a move that could ultimately kill the deal.

Pai’s decisions came after months of pressure from Democratic lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups, and industry lobby groups. Pai has been repeatedly accused of making regulatory changes that benefit Sinclair; the FCC’s inspector general in February agreed to investigate whether Pai has improperly coordinated with Sinclair on rule changes.

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With its first teaser, Stranger Things S3 is officially on the clock…

Through two seasons, the most dominant criticism of Netflix’s Stranger Things series has been that the show perhaps over-relies on nostalgia (and under-relies on things like original story or true stakes). But with its season teasers, the show seems to playfully lean into this. Last year’s season two trailer brought viewers hero kids in Ghostbuster uniforms and ample amounts of Dragon’s Lair, and, for season three, the team has focused on another staple of 1980s American culture: the mall.

Bookstores! Old corporate logos! Whatever these people were thinking with those pants, that hair, and all the bright color! Made to lovingly look like an ad found on some old bootleg VHS, the new teaser delivers tons of style, though admittedly little substance. We learn Hawkins will be even more “Small town, USA” with the arrival of a mega-mall. We get a glimpse of Steve slinging ice cream with a likely soon-to-be-familiar co-worker (whom you can read a little about via casting news here). And… well, that’s about it.

Noticeably absent from this new teaser is any firm indication of timing for S3, although the ad says this new mall will arrive “next summer,” which could indicate a bit of a delay for fans. The first teasers for S2 infamously showed up during the 2017 Super Bowl, giving fans about a 10-month heads up before the Halloween-ish premiere. Ten months from now would put Stranger Things S3 around mid-May 2019. That would roughly mirror the summer-release timing of S1, though again, there’s no firm word from Netflix on S3’s release date just yet. The company’s online media center lacks any S3 press materials, but the writers’ room has tweeted about post-production being in progress.

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Allan Unger

Ever since Sony and Naughty Dog released the first Uncharted video game, fans have pestered the companies about two things: wanting a live-action version, and dreaming of Firefly‘s Nathan Fillion as its star. Fillion’s resemblance to fictional hero Nathan Drake, both in appearance and in sarcastic tone, has always been apparent.

Fillion himself got tongues wagging about the idea again over the weekend by posting a vague tease about the Uncharted series on social media. He followed through on Monday with quite the reveal: a 15-minute “fan film” (simply titled Uncharted) in which he stars as the game’s globe-trotting action-hero.

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Enlarge / Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber, arrives at the Sun Valley Resort for the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference, July 10, 2018 in Sun Valley, Idaho. (credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has opened a formal investigation into the hiring and employment practices of Uber.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the probe has been going on since August 2017. It seeks to reveal whether there is a pay disparity between male and female employees, among other labor concerns.

Uber did not immediately respond to Ars’ question as to how many federal inquiries the company currently faces, but the company told multiple media outlets in a statement that Uber has “made a lot of changes in the last 18 months” and that it had added new “diversity and leadership training” worldwide.

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Enlarge / Elon Musk speaks onstage at SXSW on March 11, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (credit: Getty Images | Diego Donamaria )

A diver who helped rescue boys trapped in a Thailand cave may sue Elon Musk after the tech billionaire called the rescuer a “pedo guy.”

Diver Vernon Unsworth was instrumental in the rescue, and he said that Musk’s attempt to build a small submarine for the rescue effort was a “PR stunt” that had no chance of working. Musk soon promised to prove Unsworth wrong—and lobbed a baseless charge of pedophilia at the rescuer.

In a series of tweets yesterday, Musk initially challenged Unsworth to “show [the] final rescue video” before writing, “You know what, don’t bother showing the video. We will make one of the mini-sub/pod going all the way to Cave 5 no problemo. Sorry pedo guy, you really did ask for it.”

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Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of deals to share. Today, as you may have heard, Amazon Prime Day begins—it’s the annual sales event/advertisement/sunk cost celebration in which Amazon discounts thousands of items for members of its Prime subscription service.

While more than 100 million people now subscribe to Prime, the event still leaves a big chunk of would-be bargain hunters out in the cold, and the recent price hikes to the service don’t make it any more welcoming. Naturally, this has left the door open for competing stores to swoop in and try to capitalize on the Prime Day buzz with alternative deals of their own.

Below we’ve rounded up a preliminary list of tech deals from non-Amazon retailers that have surfaced alongside Prime Day. The list includes discounts on Google devices, laptops, game consoles, the Apple Watch, and more. We’ll update this post throughout the next couple of days as more planned sales from other retailers go live, so be sure to check back regularly.

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Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. And not just any deals—Prime Day deals.

Yes, today is the big one. The one the Dealmaster has been stretching and preparing and running up steps Rocky II-style for. From now through Tuesday, it’s Amazon’s Prime Day 2018 event, in which the online shopping giant discounts an absolute truckload of things for members of its Prime subscription service. If you don’t pay for Prime, you’ll have to sit this one out, but remember that new signups can still get a 30-day trial for free.

Now, is Amazon going to pass off a whole lot of junk as “deals” over the next two days? You betcha. Is the whole event a giant ad for an already massive company? Pretty much! Does that mean there won’t be any legitimate discounts on good tech? Absolutely not. The Dealmaster will be curating and updating the deals list below throughout Prime Day 2018, so feel free to check back regularly and see what new and worthwhile discounts have popped up.

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Block Island, the largest meteorite yet found on Mars and one of several identified by the Mars Exploration Rovers. (credit: NASA)

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover has done many great things in its decade-plus of service—but initially, it rolled 600 feet past one of the initiative’s biggest discoveries: the Block Island meteorite. Measuring about 67 centimeters across, the meteorite was a telltale sign that Mars’ atmosphere had once been much thicker, thick enough to slow down the rock flying at a staggering 2km/s so that it did not disintegrate on impact. A thicker atmosphere could mean a more gentle climate, possibly capable of supporting liquid water on the surface, maybe even life.

Yet, we only know about the Block Island meteorite because someone on the Opportunity science team manually spotted an unusual shape in low-resolution thumbnails of the images and decided it was worth backtracking for several days to examine it further. Instead of this machine purposefully heading toward the rock right from the get-go, the team barely saw perhaps its biggest triumph in the rear view mirror. “It was almost a miss,” says Mark Woods, head of autonomy and robotics at SciSys, a company specializing in IT solutions for space exploration that works for the European Space Agency (ESA), among others.

Opportunity, of course, made this near-miss maneuver all the way back in July 2009. If NASA were to attempt a similar initiative in a far-flung corner of the galaxy today—as the space organization plans to in 2020 with the Mars 2020 rover (the ESA has similar ambitions with its ExoMars rover that year)—modern scientists have one particularly noteworthy advantage that has developed since.

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