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Sunday’s launch could be the start of an annus mirabilis for SpaceX
DSC3618-980x605.jpg Trevor Mahlmann SpaceX launched from the most hallowed ground of the US space enterprise on Sunday—the place where nearly all of the Moon launches occurred, and about 80 percent of all the space shuttle missions, including the vehicle's final flight in 2011. Just as SpaceX brought the pad back to life with its launch this weekend, so too could Launch Complex 39A rejuvenate the innovative rocket company based in California. It has been a difficult two years for SpaceX. Accidents in 2015 and 2016 cost the rocket company two boosters, and two payloads. On Friday, during a news conference near the launch pad, company president Gwynne Shotwell acknowledged that the last two years were "painful" for SpaceX, adding that it is hard to make money when you're not flying. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-19-2017
37 mins ago
“Nothing is impossible”: Trump donation server defaced
Screen-Shot-2017-02-19-at-1.51.22-PM-800x443.pngEnlarge / Oops. Someone calling themselves "Pro_Mast3r" managed to deface a server associated with President Donald Trump's presidential campaign fundraising on Sunday, The server, secure2.donaldjtrump.com, is behind Cloudflare's content management and security platform, and does not appear to be directly linked from the Trump Pence campaign's home page. But it does appear to be an actual Trump campaign server—its certificate is legitimate, but a reference to an image on another site is insecure, prompting a warning on Chrome and Firefox that the connection is not secure. The page, now displaying an image of a man in a fedora, displays the following text: Hacked By Pro_Mast3r ~ Attacker Gov Nothing Is Impossible Peace From Iraq The source code contains a link to  javascript malware on a now-nonexistent Google Code account, masterendi, previously associated with the hacking of at least three other websites. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-19-2017
2 hours ago
Is this what the Nintendo Switch’s insides look like?
198abb315c6034a802e63c12c213495408237648.jpg Images of what appears to be a teardown of a Nintendo Switch began circulating around the Internet on February 19. While it is impossible at this point to confirm the legitimacy of these images, the hardware pictured appears to have required some remarkable design and engineering chops. And several of the design points raise our confidence that these images are of the real thing—or at least of a prototype. The leaked images of this possible Nintendo Switch contain a Chinese game-parts manufacturer's watermark. The device seen here puts component density first and foremost, with a Li-On battery that takes up nearly half of the hardware's footprint. Nintendo has previously confirmed that the Switch's battery will measure 4310 mAh, and that measure is printed on the battery seen in these images (which is also coated with some kind of foam, perhaps meant for both protection and heat management). Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-19-2017
3 hours ago
Cop filmed telling motorist he wanted to beat him, sic dog on him
A days-old viral Facebook video shows an angry New Jersey cop yelling at a young motorist. The police officer says he wants to knock the motorist "the fuck out" and sic his 90-pound police dog on him—in what appears to be retribution for the man filming the officer. Because of the video, taken by one of the two motorists pulled over in Atlantic City, the officer has been placed on paid administrative leave. Following the publication of the 80-second video, which has more than 400,000 views, Atlantic City Police Chief Henry White called for an internal affairs investigation. The men involved in the traffic stop have been neither identified nor arrested. The incident is being investigated solely because it was recorded. This is another example of how the YouTube society—in which people are constantly filming each other and their surroundings with mobile phones—is altering the criminal justice system. "Take that phone and stick it out of my face. I'm not gonna tell you again," the officer tells one of the motorists who is filming him. The officer then becomes enraged. Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-19-2017
7 hours ago
Watch live: SpaceX makes second attempt from historic Moon launch pad
IMG_3710-800x543.jpgEnlarge / Saturday's launch attempt of a Falcon 9 rocket was called off just 13 seconds before liftoff. (credit: Trevore Mahlmann) Another day, another launch attempt for SpaceX. Although the company's countdown on Saturday toward liftoff of a Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A proceeded mostly smoothly, SpaceX founder Elon Musk called it off during the last moments. He said he wanted to make sure a slight steering issue with an engine in the rocket's upper stage was not indicative of a more significant upstream problem. Today the rocket appears ready to go for a 9:39am ET (14:39pm UK) instantaneous launch time from Kennedy Space Center. The company said it has replaced the parts at issue with the second stage steering issue. That leaves unacceptable weather as the only issue, and according to Launch Weather Officer Mike McAleenan, the primary concern is for cumulus clouds and the possibility of having to fly through precipitation. If the Falcon 9 rocket launches on Sunday morning, it would mark an important moment for SpaceX. NASA built two main launch pads during the Apollo program, 39A and 39B. The former was used for every Moon landing launch, and most of the space shuttle ... read more
Published on 02-19-2017
7 hours ago
The Great Wall is my new favorite lizard monster war movie
The-Great-Wall-Official-Trailer-2-1-980x520.jpg Universal/China Film Company I'm going to lay some truth on you right now. You're not going to have a lot of chances in your life to see movies about herds of giant psychic lizards attacking a massive, acrobatic army occupying the Great Wall of China. Which is why you should get your ass to theaters and watch The Great Wall. The Great Wall is a joint production between American and Chinese companies and feels like the perfect cross-national hybrid of two countries obsessed with monsters blowing stuff up. Directed by Yimou Zhang (Raise the Red Lantern, Hero) and co-written by Max Brooks (World War Z), The Great Wall stars Matt Damon as a European mercenary named William and Tian Jing as Lin Mae, the commander of the Nameless Order. Lin Mae and her army of acrobats have pledged their lives to hold the Great Wall and defend southeastern China against the Taotie, a species of mega-lizards with skulls for faces and eyeballs in their shoulders. Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck
3739556348_62061103fe_o-1-800x568.jpgEnlarge / Can Facebook's AIs travel back in time to help with this boiler explosion? Probably. Eventually. (credit: Courtesy of De Forest Douglas Diver Railroad Photographs, ca. 1870-1948/Cornell University Library) Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has just published a 5,700 word "letter" on his profile, where he asserts that Facebook represents one of history's "great leaps." Though he covers a number of topics, what's most interesting is how he positions Facebook as a force for political change in the coming years. His goals are lofty, sometimes even grandiose. That's not the problem. The problem is a fundamental contradiction built into the way he hopes to create what he calls a "global community" by essentially gerrymandering the Internet. Facebook for politicians Zuckerberg begins by claiming we're in an historic moment similar to "our great leaps from tribes to cities to nations." Then he adds that we need social media to "reach the next level." That next level is some kind of ill-defined global community which will come into being by using Facebook as a platform. In recent years, he says, the ideal of global community has become controversial. Though he never uses the word "nationalism," that's clearly what's on ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
Uber exec broke ethics rule when lobbying about rights at Chicago airports
plouffe-800x534.jpgEnlarge / David Plouffe (credit: Warren Little/Getty Images) Chicago's Board of Ethics is handing a former Uber executive a $90,000 fine for illegally lobbying the city's mayor over ride-sharing privileges at the city's two airports. On Thursday, the ethics panel voted 5-0 to levy the fine on David Plouffe, who was Barack Obama's former campaign manager. The fine came because Plouffe was not registered with the city as a lobbyist when he e-mailed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's personal account. Plouffe received an immediate reply to his e-mail from Emanuel, even though the mayor was overseas at the time. Lobbyists must disclose their activities. But the lobbying by Plouffe came to light in December as part of open-records lawsuits. In response to those suits, the mayor released hundreds of personal e-mails connected to his public position. Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
Huge, curved, fast, and loud: HP’s 34-inch Envy all-in-one reviewed
DSC06172-980x653.jpg Andrew Cunningham Sometimes it feels like PC makers develop products by adding adjectives. Why would you sell an all-in-one desktop when you could sell a gigantic, ultra-wide premium curved all-in-one desktop? That seems to be the design theory behind HP’s curved Envy desktop, a desk-devouring, 34-inch all-in-one. The Envy is in the same market as the Retina iMacs and, to a lesser extent, Microsoft’s artist-oriented Surface Studio. It’s a machine that makes an immediate impression, both for its size and for the number of features it offers. But how well does it work once that awe has worn off? Is it a practical machine? And is it worth the at-least-$1,700 you’ll pay for the privilege of using it? Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
Mechs vs. Minions review: Come for the minis… then maybe leave
mechs-vs-minions-box-800x570.jpgEnlarge (credit: Riot Games) 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. Determining the best "MOBA"-style video game in the genre is a tough call—and, weirdly, so is deciding which one pumps out the craziest merchandise. These games each contain dozens of characters—which teammates must pick and choose from before engaging in five-on-five online combat—and they offer all kinds of merchandise options. It's not just figurines, dolls, and T-shirts, which typically focus on a single, favorite hero; characters also team up in, for example, comic books or virtual reality showcases. In the case of League of Legends, one of the most popular video games in the world, the characters go one bigger by teaming up for a freaking board game. Read 31 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
The 12 worst Android phone gimmicks once hailed as ‘innovations’
Sometimes innovation is best left on the drawing boardThe 12 worst Android phone gimmicks once hailed as 'innovations'Image by Ryan WhitwamIt's hard for a phone to get noticed by consumers when it looks like all the other flat black slabs out there. That has led some OEMs to try some particularly wacky things — gimmicks to set them apart. Just because a gimmick is new doesn't mean it's good. In fact, there are a lot of gimmicks that look cool at a tradeshow, but in real life they're terrible ideas. Here are some of the worst to make it to market.To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here ... read more
Published on 02-18-2017
1 day ago
Techdirt lawyers ask judge to throw out suit over “Inventor of E-mail”
Mike.Masnick.2012.jpgMike Masnick in 2012. (credit: Joel Sage / flickr) Michael Masnick, who founded the popular Techdirt blog, filed a motion (PDF) today asking for a defamation lawsuit against him to be thrown out. Masnick was sued last month by Shiva Ayyadurai, a computer scientist who claims to have invented e-mail in 1978 at a medical college in New Jersey. In his motion, Masnick claims that Ayyadurai "is seeking to use the muzzle of a defamation action to silence those who question his claim to historical fame." He continues: The 14 articles and 84 allegedly defamatory statements catalogued in the complaint all say essentially the same thing: that Defendants believe that because the critical elements of electronic mail were developed long before Ayyadurai’s 1978 computer program, his claim to be the "inventor of e-mail" is false. The motion holds that Techdirt's allegedly defamatory statements are actually constitutionally protected opinion. "This lawsuit is a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai's grandiose claims," write Masnick's lawyers. Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-17-2017
2 days ago
GM, Lyft could deploy “thousands” of autonomous Bolts in 2018
An array of Bolt EVsAn array of Bolt EVs (credit: Martin Klimek for Chevrolet) On Friday afternoon, Reuters reported that two sources familiar with GM’s plans said the automaker would deploy thousands of Chevrolet Bolts equipped with self-driving equipment in 2018. The move would be in partnership with ride-hailing service Lyft. GM has said it won’t sell autonomous vehicles to individuals. Instead, the automotive giant is targeting fleets for private companies and ride-hailing companies. The American automaker partnered with Lyft a year ago to work on driverless autos, and it even purchased a Lyft and Uber rival called Sidecar after that startup closed down. GM announced yesterday that its in-house car-sharing service, called Maven, would launch 100 Bolts for rental in the city of Los Angeles. Those electric vehicles won’t be autonomous, but Lyft drivers will be able to take advantage of the Maven cars and use them as their work vehicle for a fee. Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-17-2017
2 days ago
Ars takes you to the pad a day before SpaceX’s historic launch
DSC3405-980x652.jpg Trevor Mahlmann NASA built two main launch pads during the Apollo program, 39A and 39B. The former was used for every crewed Apollo launch, except for Apollo 10, and most of the space shuttle missions. After the final space shuttle flight in 2011, NASA decided it needed just one of the pads for its future operations. So it leased Launch Complex 39A to SpaceX. The company had intended to use Launch Complex 39A primarily for launches of its new Falcon Heavy rocket and commercial crew missions. However, on September 1, 2016, a static fire test accident at SpaceX's other Florida launch pad, Launch Complex 40, caused severe damage to facilities there (repairs may be complete later this summer, according to company president Gwynne Shotwell). This pushed SpaceX to expedite its refurbishment of Launch Complex 39A and to expand its use for all launches from the East Coast. Read 2 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-17-2017
2 days ago
Marathon gets the Shkreli treatment from industry after $89K drug dust up
8266471202_63a8f743a9_z.jpg(credit: ccPixs.com) Last week, Marathon Pharmaceuticals announced that it would start selling an old steroid drug that treats Duchenne muscular dystrophy for a whopping $89,000 per year of treatment. That’s a steep increase from the $1,200-per-year generic version that families could import from other countries. The standard reactions ensued: patient groups were outraged, health experts fretted, and lawmakers made blustery statements before sending strongly worded letters. The reaction was, sadly, exactly what we’ve seen each time drug makers outrageously price drugs that should be affordable. But one thing was different this time: Marathon’s eye-popping price tag landed on the heels of an industry-wide effort to distance itself from price gouging. Now, Marathon’s industry partners are joining in the outrage, and Marathon has hit “pause” on the drug’s release. Marathon’s standing within the industry may even be in question, according to the pharmaceutical trade group PhRMA, which currently counts Marathon as a member. Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments ... read more
Published on 02-17-2017
2 days ago
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