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A battle between the sexes in a single gene

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 10:00pm

Enlarge / This female fruit fly wants Apollo out of her ovaries. (credit: Katja Schulz)

Evolution is great at driving changes when a species has specific needs. But what happens when different members of the same species need different things?

If those different groups are just different populations, that's a recipe for a split into two new species. But in many cases, the issue comes about because males and females have different needs. That makes speciation a lousy solution (unless you can get rid of the males). What you end up with is a battle between the sexes that plays out in their genes, as changes that are good for females are balanced against the harm they do to males and vice versa. Now, researchers have identified one of these cases in fruit flies, and they figured out how the battle was resolved so that everyone mostly wins.

The Greek gods of fruit flies

In this case, the site of the battle is a small chunk of the genome that contains two genes: Apollo and Artemis. The genes aren't just close to each other—they're closely related as well. Approximately 200,000 years ago, a single ancestral gene was duplicated to produce these two. Closely related species of Drosophila only have a single copy of this gene.

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NRA gives Ajit Pai “courage award” and gun for “saving the Internet”

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 9:51pm

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 23, 2018 in National Harbor, Maryland. Pai was given the 'Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award' by the National Rifle Association at the conference. (credit: Getty Images | Chip Somodevilla)

The National Rifle Association (NRA) today gave its Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award to Ajit Pai, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

Pai was about to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland when the award presentation seemed to catch him by surprise. The award is a handmade long gun that could not be brought on stage, so it will be housed in the NRA museum until Pai can receive it.

"Ajit Pai, as you probably already know, saved the Internet," American Conservative Union (ACU) Executive Director Dan Schneider told the audience. The ACU is the host of CPAC; Schneider made a few more remarks praising Pai before handing the award presentation over to NRA board member Carolyn Meadows.

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FCC chairman gets NRA award for repealing net neutrality - CNET - News - February 23, 2018 - 9:43pm
The NRA bestows its "Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award" on Ajit Pai for withstanding criticism over his push to end net neutrality regulations.

Grab Sweet Outdoor Gear Deals: Proof, Nomad, Black Diamond, LTHR

Wired - February 23, 2018 - 9:34pm
Some of the best (and priciest) outdoor gear around is now steeply discounted.

FBI warns taxpayers to beware of new scams to steal W-2 info

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 9:20pm

Enlarge (credit: IRS)

With fewer than two months before tax returns are due, the FBI is warning of an increase in new scams that try to trick taxpayers and employers into sending employee records, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other sensitive information.

The scams are most often directed at human resources departments in an attempt to trick workers into sending records for large numbers of employees. Often, the people perpetrating these crimes impersonate executives inside a targeted company by compromising or spoofing a trusted email account that asks for all W-2 information on record.

"Individual taxpayers may also be... targeted, but criminals have evolved their tactics to focus on mass data thefts," FBI officials wrote in an advisory published Wednesday. "This scam is just one of several new variations of IRS and tax-related phishing campaigns targeting W-2 information, indicating an increase in the interest of criminals in sensitive tax information."

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Feds have spent 13 years failing to verify whether passport data is legit

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 9:14pm

Enlarge / Leonel Cordova (L) and Noris Cordova, who are not plaintiffs in this lawsuit, speak to a CBP officer at Miami International Airport on March 4, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

For over a decade, Customs and Border Protection has failed to properly verify e-passports (which contain biometric data) as "it lacked the software to do so," according to a new letter sent by two top senators.

According to a 2010 report authored by the Government Accountability Office, the problem needed fixing then—and eight years later it still hasn’t been resolved.

An e-passport is essentially a passport that includes machine-readable RFID chips containing a traveler's personal information. These more digitally secure passports, which began to be required by the United States for visitors form visa waiver countries beginning in 2007, are scanned at the border by a CBP agent’s computer. However, without a digital signature, it is impossible to validate that the data contained on the passport is actually authentic.

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Cali cops' Clue caper: Apple technicans, in an iPhone repair lab, with the 1,600 silent 911 calls

The Register - February 23, 2018 - 9:11pm
Mystery solved... behind closed doors

For more than three months now, cops in Sacramento, California, have been baffled by a rash of false-alarm 911 emergency calls.…

Can gaming’s own “academy awards” become a cultural event?

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 9:10pm

Enlarge / Do many gamers even recognize this as one of gaming's most prestigious awards?

LAS VEGAS—Every year, when I tell people I'm going to Las Vegas in February for video gaming's version of the academy awards, the response is usually the same: "I didn't even know video games had an academy awards."

Yes, those who follow the industry closely might have read the list of winners at Thursday night's 21st annual DICE Awards (where Nintendo generally—and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild specifically—cleaned up). A few thousand really dedicated fans even watched the livestream on IGN.

But gaming's own academy awards can't even come close to the attention and cachet of major industry happenings like the Oscars, the Emmys, or the Grammys. Video gaming's most "official" award show struggles to even get the same kind of attention as The Game Awards, a bombastic, marketing announcement-fueled spectacle that grew out of an embarrassing Spike TV telecast.

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The Struggle to Predict—and Prevent—Toxic Masculinity

Wired - February 23, 2018 - 9:04pm
Sociological research shows that some delinquent boys—but not all—turn into men with no regard for other people's rights.

What Rick Gates' Guilty Plea Means For Mueller’s Probe

Wired - February 23, 2018 - 9:02pm
Paul Manafort’s longtime deputy is cooperating with the special prosecutor, so we may soon have answers to these questions hovering around the Russia investigation.

5 reasons why the LG G7 won't be at MWC 2018 - CNET - News - February 23, 2018 - 8:53pm
LG's next flagship won't be unveiled next week in Barcelona. Here are a few guesses as to why (one rhymes with "Gamsung Salaxy").

Homeland Security's tall order: A hacker-free election - CNET - News - February 23, 2018 - 8:46pm
Jeanette Manfra, the top cybersecurity official at DHS, tells CNET about all the ways hackers can sow chaos in this year's primaries and midterm elections.

Volvo will expand T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid to other models - Roadshow - News - February 23, 2018 - 8:32pm
Future electric components will be "pioneered" by Polestar.

Tesla’s new “workplace charging” program would corner office parking spots

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 8:32pm

Enlarge (credit: Tesla)

Tesla has long had a brand-specific charging port on its cars, which requires a brand-specific plug or an adapter to use a more generic plug. Now the company wants to help workplaces add brand-specific Tesla charging stations, so that people without access to a garage at night can find 6 to 8 hours of charging on the other end of the clock. On Thursday, Tesla announced that it would work with building managers to install free charging infrastructure—the building would only have to pay for the cost of the electricity.

Tesla already has a similar destination charging program, where hotels and restaurants can have a Tesla charger installed, and the property owner covers electricity cost. One important note about these workplace chargers, however, is that their location won't be made public, so tenants of the building are the primary beneficiaries.

It obviously benefits Tesla to bring potential customers without a garage at home into the fold. If workplace charging can replace garage charging, the electric vehicle (EV) company can make its pitch to more people. But though it sounds very altruistic, Tesla would certainly be getting something out of any "workplace charging" agreement. As autonomous vehicle law consulting firm Safe Self Drive tweeted, installing Tesla charging spots in crowded urban areas amounts to building Tesla-reserved parking spots. (That is, unless you have access to one of the few adapters out there that let non-Tesla EVs draw from Tesla chargers.) From a building manager's perspective, it's probably better to install a generic EV charger and let Tesla owners use their adapters to fill up the tank.

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Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer heckles Stephen Curry, fails - CNET - News - February 23, 2018 - 8:25pm
Commentary: Ballmer thinks he can distract the world's best NBA shooter. It was reminiscent of his battles with Apple.

An Instant Pot multicooker is melting -- but not the one you think - CNET - News - February 23, 2018 - 8:08pm
Instant Pot warns its Facebook community that its Gem multicookers could overheat and melt.

Dealmaster: Get a Dell desktop PC with an 8th-gen Core i5 and GTX 1060 for $650

Ars Technica - February 23, 2018 - 8:05pm

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today the Dealmaster is bringing you into the weekend with a handful of sales on PCs and laptops, including Dell's Inspiron 5680 desktop down to $650.

This is certainly not the beastliest rig around—you may want to upgrade on this config's 1TB HDD, for one—but bargain hunters could do worse than an 8th-gen, six-core Core i5-8400 chip and Nvidia GeForce 1060 graphics card for the price.

If that's not your bag, we've also got deals on one of TCL's popular Roku TVs, a PlayStation VR bundle, wireless charging pads, monitors, and a handful of other laptops and desktops. Take a look for yourself below.

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Abandoning Android: iPhone X is Apple's first device to satisfy all my mobile needs

ZDnet News - February 23, 2018 - 7:52pm
As a mobile phone fanatic, I regularly buy the latest iPhone. But then, after a month, I grow bored and move on to more exciting Android hardware. However, four months after buying iPhone X, it remains my true daily driver and has subdued my enthusiasm for Android.

Do people agree with Kylie Jenner on the Snapchat update?

BBC Technology News - February 23, 2018 - 7:28pm
We asked young people what they thought about the Snapchat after Kylie Jenner said she was no longer a fan.

Geely to buy $9B Daimler stake, report says - Roadshow - News - February 23, 2018 - 7:13pm
It would make Volvo's parent company the largest investor in Mercedes-Benz's parent company.

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