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Feds reportedly spent $22M on mysterious UFO program - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 11:30pm
Program was discontinued in 2012, but its backers say it still exists, the New York Times reports.

Samsung Notebook 9 (15-inch, 2018) Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - December 17, 2017 - 11:27pm
Available in 13.3- and 15-inch sizes, the Notebook 9 refresh gets more power and performance while staying under 3 pounds.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pen Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - December 17, 2017 - 11:27pm
Samsung combined its 15-inch Notebook 9 and Notebook 9 Pro laptops into a sweet pen-enabled 13.3-inch convertible.

The 42 best holiday shopping deals right now: Dec. 17 update - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 11:09pm
With one week to go until Christmas, some better-than-Black Friday deals are still available.

More haunting declassified scans of nuclear weapons test videos released

Ars Technica - December 17, 2017 - 11:00pm

Enlarge / A high-altitude nuclear detonation captured on decades-old film at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. (credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

This week, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) released another 62 declassified nuclear explosion test videos on the lab’s YouTube channel. These videos follow an earlier batch of nuclear test videos that were released by LLNL in March.

The videos depict atmospheric nuclear tests carried out by the US between 1945 and 1962. Often, the detonations were filmed by as many as 50 different cameras at different angles, locations, and frame speeds. Over time, the US military racked up some 10,000 films from 210 tests.

The films sat in storage for decades until nuclear physicist Gregg Spriggs was asked to model the effects of nuclear explosions, according to an LLNL press release. Spriggs’ model didn’t correspond to information that was published contemporary with the actual tests in the 50s and 60s, so he started digging out old nuclear test films to reanalyze the explosions and fact-check his data against the manually-recorded historical data. In some cases, Spriggs found that the decades-old, manually-recorded data was off by as much as 30 percent.

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2019 Chevrolet Silverado: Here's a quick first look - Roadshow - News - December 17, 2017 - 10:25pm
The next-generation full-sized pickup truck just flew in from Detroit.

Ian McKellen wants to play Gandalf in Amazon 'Rings' series - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 9:28pm
Since the "Lord of the Rings" wizard is 7,000 years old, the actor feels he can still do the role justice at 78.

Netflix, Will Smith bring the blockbuster home with 'Bright' - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 8:39pm
The action film starring Will Smith is one of the company's first movie available with the kind of visual and audio quality that normally deserves a big Hollywood premiere.

Hurricane Harvey studies: Yesterday’s 100-year storm is today’s 30-year storm

Ars Technica - December 17, 2017 - 7:00pm

Enlarge (credit: Texas Military Department)

The story explaining the incredible flooding in Houston during Hurricane Harvey has many chapters, ranging from meteorology to the history of groundwater use and development zoning. The chapter on climate change has already had a few pages filled in, thanks to a study quickly published by MIT hurricane scientist Kerry Emanuel. This week, two complementary studies flesh the chapter out a little more.

The first paper comes from a group of scientists who have worked to rapidly analyze a number of extreme weather events over the past few years, including flooding in Europe and Louisiana last year. The general strategy for this type of undertaking is not entirely dissimilar from tracking the home run hitting of steroid-using baseball players. You can’t really know if an individual home run would have occurred sans steroids, but that’s not the point. Instead, you work out whether home runs like the one you just witnessed are generally being juiced.

In this case, the researchers were able to build on their analysis of the nearby Louisiana deluge from 2016. As in that study, they analyzed the history of rainfall measurements in the region to work out just how unusual the incredible rainfall totals from Harvey were—and whether the chances of an event like that have changed over time.

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'Game of Thrones' final season is 'bigger than it's ever been' - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 7:00pm
Take it from the King in the North: The HBO hit is coming back with a vengeance, though we still don't know when.

Jodie Foster revisits 'Silence of the Lambs' to troll Trump - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 6:02pm
Hannibal Lecter (Stephen Colbert) helps Clarice Starling with Robert Mueller's probe into the president's Russia ties.

Photosynthesis before oxygen may have kept the early Earth warm

Ars Technica - December 17, 2017 - 6:00pm

Photosynthesis. (credit: Petr Pakandl / WikiCommons)

“The so-called ‘faint young Sun paradox’ has long been a topic of debate because its resolution bears important ramifications for the basic factors structuring climate regulation and the long-term habitability of Earth and Earth-like exoplanets.” So begins Chris Reinhard’s new paper in Nature.

Reinhard is a Principal Investigator at the Alternative Earths Team of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, which has a goal of “unraveling the evolving redox state of Earth’s early atmosphere as a guide for exoplanet exploration” and eventual habitability.

The paradox at issue is that, three billion-ish years ago, our Sun was about 25-percent dimmer than it is today. Yet geological records suggest that the Earth was even warmer then than it is now. Most solutions to the paradox figure that there must have been high levels of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Two big questions are related to that, though: which gasses, and what sort of processes put them there? Geological, chemical, and biological factors have all been suggested, with a different mix of gasses depending on the cause.

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This Brooklyn brownstone brims with beautiful music, art - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 5:33pm
In this installment of CNET's Show Us Yours, we give you a peek into Ivan's pad. He's an artist, record company owner and an audiophile with a deep love of music.

Any phone but iPhone X, according to this Sprint salesman - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 5:15pm
Commentary: In my visit to the last of the big four carrier stores, the salesman was bullish, animated and adamant.

Ars Technica System Guide: December 2017

Ars Technica - December 17, 2017 - 5:00pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich / Getty)

In classic Ars system guides, we assumed that everybody wants the same thing out of a computer—the only question is how much you spend. And in that case, the beloved "Budget Box / Hot Rod / God Box" classifications made a lot of sense.

In this latest era of the guide, though, I'd like to branch out a little. System builds are getting more and more task-focused and specific—and that's not a bad thing. The modern geek doesn't just have one computer per household, or even one computer per geek.

So in our first guide for 2017, we're going to look at three separate systems anybody might want: the Thriftstation, the Workstation, and the Battlestation. They still range from least to most expensive, but they also have distinctly different foci. The Thriftstation makes a great silent HTPC (home theater) or unobtrusive, low-cost general-purpose machine. The Workstation steps things up and aims at serious office work, medium design work, and/or light gaming. And the Battlestation gets serious about FPS (c'mon) and pwning noobs.

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2017 was a year for the ages in games - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 4:46pm
A year jam-packed with incredible games made it tough to narrow it down to a select few.

'SNL' reveals what happens when superheroes get pulled over - CNET - News - December 17, 2017 - 4:38pm
Holy traffic tickets, Captain Shadow! Turns out Kevin Hart's superhero is keeping a super-secret.

Dr. Seuss and Star Trek mashup comic isn’t fair use after all, judge says

Ars Technica - December 17, 2017 - 4:00pm

Enlarge / This is a page from Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!, which Dr. Seuss Enterprises claims infringes its copyright. (credit: ComicMix)

A judge has allowed a lawsuit to proceed against the creators of Oh, the Places You’ll Boldly Go!—a nearly page-for-page remix of the Dr. Seuss classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go! and Star Trek. This decision reverses an earlier ruling.

After receiving a new court filing, US District Judge Janis Sammartino found that ComicMix, the company behind the new work, could not so easily have the case dismissed.

“Thus, after again weighing the fair use factors, the Court finds Defendants’ fair use defense fails as a matter of law,” Judge Sammartino wrote in a December 7 order.

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Vive Tracker review - CNET - Reviews - December 17, 2017 - 2:00pm
I played VR soccer, ping-pong, and shot virtual ducks with the Vive Tracker and its accessories. It's a lot of hassle.

Razer Cynosa Chroma Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - December 17, 2017 - 1:00pm
Razer's Cynosa Chroma keyboards are all about style over substance -- and I mean that in the best way possible.

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