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Cody Wilson reportedly trying to rent an apartment in Taiwan, per local media

Ars Technica - 24 min 20 sec ago

Enlarge / Cody Wilson (right), the founder of Defense Distributed, spoke to reporters in Austin on August 28. (credit: Nathan Mattise)

After skipping his flight back to the US in the wake of accusations of sexual assault against a minor, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson attempted to rent an apartment in Taipei this week, according to United Daily News (Chinese, Google Translate), a Chinese-language media outlet based in Taiwan.

That article indicates Wilson appears to have initially passed himself off as an American student living in the city. But after Wilson seemed to have secured an apartment by making an initial down payment, the rental agency reportedly recognized him and called the authorities. UDN writes that area police and Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau are now trying to again locate Wilson.

On Wednesday, police in Austin, Texas, first announced that they had a warrant out for the arrest of the 3D-printed gun pioneer on an allegation of sexual assault of an underage girl. At a press conference later that afternoon, the Austin Police Department revealed that Wilson’s last known location was Taiwan and that the department was not sure whether Wilson had gone to Taiwan on legitimate business or whether he was expressly trying to flee the United States.

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Sagging bedrock tracked Houston’s floodwater after Hurricane Harvey

Ars Technica - 25 min 7 sec ago

Enlarge (credit: US Coast Guard / Flickr)

Shortly after Hurricane Harvey unleashed its flooding on Houston, we wrote about a remarkable observation shared by a scientist on Twitter: the weight of all that floodwater had measurably depressed the Earth’s crust. This week, a more detailed study of that observation was published in the journal Science Advances.

A team of researchers led by Chris Milliner of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory extended its analysis to the weeks after the hurricane and found that the network of sensitive GPS sensors could actually track the volume of floodwater as it receded.

While bedrock is commonly considered representative of concepts like “firm” and “unmovable,” it has some compressibility when the forces are big enough. This “elastic” behavior explains how the land surface around Houston could sag slightly under the weight of Harvey’s prodigious rainfall.

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Top drone: Reaper scores drone kill in air-to-air missile test

Ars Technica - 39 min 17 sec ago

Enlarge / The MQ-9 Reaper isn't a fighter aircraft. But it could soon be armed to take out other drones, helicopters, or other aircraft, after a successful kill with a heat-seeking missile in a November 2017 test. (credit: US Air Force)

The US Air Force has revealed that an MQ-9 Reaper uncrewed aircraft successfully shot down a smaller drone with a heat-seeking air-to-air missile in a test last November. The details, provided by Col. Julian Cheater, commander of the 432nd Wing, came in an interview with at the Air Force Association's Air, Space and Cyber Conference in Washington, DC, yesterday.

The Air Force's Air Combat Command has been exploring ways to arm the MQ-9 with air-to-air weapons since 2003. That was when the Air Force was preparing to issue a contract to General Atomics for the uncrewed aircraft, which was known at the time as the Predator-B. Much of the problem has been that the MQ-9, which is flown over a satellite communications link by Air Force operators, lacks the kind of sensors a fighter aircraft would use to track and target other aircraft. Its Lynx multimode radar is a synthetic aperture radar intended for tracking surface targets on land and sea and for providing ground imaging—but not for searching for other aircraft. Its other sensors (other than navigational cameras) were intended for tracking things below as well. And the MQ-9 lacks the sort of electronic-warfare sensors and countermeasures of crewed combat aircraft.

However, the Reaper's Multispectral Targeting System (MTS) has proven to be usable for tracking some types of flying targets. In 2016, the latest version of MTS, the MTS-C, successfully tracked missile launches in a test conducted by the Missile Defense Agency. The MTS-C added long-wave infrared to the short and medium infrared wavelength sensors used in previous versions, allowing the sensor to track "cold body" objects.

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Big nutrition research scandal sees 6 more retractions, purging popular diet tips

Ars Technica - 1 hour 14 min ago

Enlarge / Broken plate with knife and fork on white background. (credit: Getty | PM Images)

Brian Wansink, the Cornell nutrition researcher who was world-renowned for his massively popular, commonsense-style dieting studies before ultimately goingdown in flames in a beefy statistics scandal, has now retired—with a considerably slimmer publication record.

JAMA’s editorial board retracted six studies co-authored by Wansink from its network of prestigious publications on Wednesday, September 19. The latest retractions bring Wansink’s total retraction count to 13, according to a database compiled by watchdog publication Retraction Watch. Fifteen of Wansink’s other studies have also been formally corrected.

Amid this latest course in the scandal, Buzzfeed reported today that Wansink has retired from his position at Cornell, effective at the end of the current academic year. The announcement comes a day before Cornell planned to release its findings from an internal investigation into his work.

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Amazon Echo Sub is $130, turns Echos into a 2.1 system - CNET - Reviews - 1 hour 25 min ago
Amazon has taken the wraps off the Echo Sub, designed to supplement either a single or stereo pair of Echo speakers.

Amazon announces 11 new and refreshed Echo-branded gadgets—like a wall clock

Ars Technica - 1 hour 29 min ago

Sam Machkovech

SEATTLE—"Echo Dot is the best-selling speaker ever."

With that simple assertion, Amazon made no bones about its aspirations to keep making Echo-branded devices—and proceeded to unveil a significant number of voice-activated and connected-home products and technologies, with a mix of existing products and all-new ones.

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New Echo devices and more: Everything Amazon announced

ZDnet News - 1 hour 42 min ago
Wall clock? Microwave? Amazon expands its line of Alexa-enabled devices while refreshing its smart speaker lineup.

Tesla Model 3 earns five-star NHTSA crash rating

Ars Technica - 1 hour 44 min ago


A video of a Tesla Model 3 crashing is rarely cause for celebration. But today it is, because the videos are of recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) safety tests, which the littlest Tesla just aced. Whether it was front impact, side impact, or rollover testing, the Model 3 performed to a T, earning the full five stars on each test.

We probably should not act particularly shocked: both Tesla Model S and Model X also scored top marks in NCAP testing. What's more, the very layout of battery EVs affords them inherent advantages.

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Star Trek: Short Treks on CBS All Access to start this fall - CNET - News - 1 hour 49 min ago
Discovery's Harry Mudd, Saru and Tilly will star in Star Trek short films set to delve into their backstories.

Amazon’s Echo devices get redesign on the way to world domination - CNET - News - 1 hour 54 min ago
Alexa-powered microwave and wall clocks were just the tip of the Alexa iceberg today.

Ralph Breaks the Internet tackles modern online life - CNET - News - 1 hour 54 min ago
Ralph and Vanellope head to the big (internet) city.

Amazon Echo event: Pictures from Seattle - CNET - News - 1 hour 56 min ago
Amazon is announcing new products in Seattle. Here's what things look like from the inside.

Nokia is announcing a new phone on Oct. 4 - CNET - News - 1 hour 56 min ago
Could it be the Nokia 7.1 Plus?

Alexa is coming to Sony smart TVs - CNET - News - 2 hours 1 min ago
Amazon's new software lets other companies integrate Alexa into their products.

Amazon debuts Echo Auto and Alexa on the Go in Seattle - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 1 min ago
The small dash-mounted device brings location-sensitive Alexa functionality to any car for just $50.

Amazon Alexa location-based Routines turns on your lights when you get home - CNET - News - 2 hours 1 min ago
Set your personalized entrance music to blast as soon as you walk through the door.

Amazon Echo Dot, Basics Microwave, Echo Sub: Everything Amazon just announced - CNET - News - 2 hours 2 min ago
A redesigned Echo Dot, a smart microwave and a subwoofer are just some of the new things Amazon unveiled at its September event.

Amazon's Alexa Hunches will remind you to lock your door at night - CNET - News - 2 hours 2 min ago
The ecommerce giant is trying to make Alexa more predictive.

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