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Industry & Technology

A bride must play the most dangerous game in Ready or Not red band trailer

Ars Technica - 4 hours 22 min ago

Samara Weaving plays a new bride who must survive a deadly game of hide-and-seek in the horror/comedy Ready or Not.

A young bride's idealized wedding night takes a deadly turn when her eccentric new in-laws insist that playing a game at midnight is a family tradition in the red-band trailer for Ready or Not, a forthcoming comic horror film from Fox Searchlight. Per io9, "It's kind of The Purge meets every newlywed-themed gothic horror movie ever (Rebecca, Crimson Peak) but with a pitch-black sense of humor." That sounds like a winning combination.

Grace (Samara Weaving) can't believe her good fortune when she falls in love with Alex Le Domas (Mark O'Brien), a member of a wealthy gaming dynasty—although the family prefers the term "dominion." After a picture-perfect wedding on the family estate, Alex informs her that there's just one more formality to be observed: "At midnight, you have to play a game. It's just something we do when someone joins the family."

That game turns out to be hide-and-seek, except Grace soon discovers that, as played by the Le Domas family, it has less in common with an innocent children's pastime and more with the classic 1924 short story "The Most Dangerous Game." Grace is the prey, and she must elude detection until dawn to avoid being killed in a bizarre ritual sacrifice.

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AMD says its Ryzen 3000 isn’t just cheaper—it’s better

Ars Technica - 5 hours 58 min ago

Enlarge / AMD provided infrared photos showing its new Ryzen 3700x running cooler than an Intel i7-9700k. (credit: AMD Computex slide deck)

AMD's new line of Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs will benefit from the same 7nm manufacturing process as the company's new Navi-powered GPUs. Much of the tech community's hype is for the biggest and baddest of the bunch: the 16-core, 32-thread Ryzen 9 3950x. But there's an entire new line ranging from the $749 3950x down to a relatively-modest $199 3600X—and AMD is gunning for Intel every step of the way.

What's really interesting is, this time around, AMD is not just pitching cheaper parts and "good-enough" performance—the company is claiming top-dog stats, along with thermal and power efficiency wins. The Ryzen 7 3700x is listed at $329, while Intel's i7-9700k is currently available for about $410. But according to AMD's slides, the Ryzen part also outperforms the i7-9700k across the board, and it draws less power and produces less heat while doing so. Even when comparing absolute flagship CPUs, the monstrous 16-core/32-thread Ryzen 3950x boasts 105W TDP, while Intel's 32-threaded i7-7960x runs 165W TDP.

If the data here is reasonably accurate, the savings in power and cooling costs over the lifespan of a system will probably outweigh its already lower purchase price.

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Inside Heathrow's high-tech baggage system

BBC Technology News - 6 hours 22 min ago
Heathrow's luggage system handles 180,000 items per day. Tom Burridge takes a look inside.

How a struggling airline went soaring through the cloud

BBC Technology News - 6 hours 50 min ago
In a "David and Goliath" battle of the skies, the small airline used tech to punch above its weight.

Federal bill would allow clean energy companies to structure like oil companies

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 10:56pm

Enlarge / Wind turbines near Palm Springs, Calif. (credit: nate2b / Flickr)

Last week, US senators and representatives introduced bills in the Senate and the House to open up a type of corporate structure originally reserved for oil, gas, and coal companies to clean energy companies.

Called a Master Limited Partnership (MLP), the structure currently allows fossil fuel companies to take advantage of lower taxes placed on limited partnerships while also allowing those companies to issue publicly traded stocks and bonds. If the recently re-introduced bills—which have bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate—pass their respective votes, clean energy companies would have the option to structure their companies as MLPs and take advantage of the tax and funding benefits.

According to sponsoring Senator Chris Coons' (D-Del.) website, "Newly eligible energy resources would include solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy-efficient buildings, and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS)."

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AT&T cuts another 1,800 jobs as it finishes fiber-Internet buildout

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 9:44pm

Enlarge / AT&T service truck driving on a street in a residential neighborhood on May 17, 2019 in Sunnyvale, Calif. (credit: Getty Images | Andrei Stanescu)

AT&T has informed employees of plans to cut another 1,800 jobs from its wireline division, an AT&T workers' union told Ars today.

Last week, AT&T declared more than 1,800 jobs nationwide as "surplus," meaning they are slated to be eliminated in August or September, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) told Ars.

"They've been cutting their employment massively in the past year and a half or so," with cuts affecting both union and non-union jobs, CWA Communications Director Beth Allen told Ars. Under union contracts, AT&T can declare a surplus of jobs each quarter, she said. But even by AT&T standards, last week's surplus declaration "was a very large number," Allen said.

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Russia warns of “cyberwar” following report the US attacked its power grid

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 9:28pm

Enlarge / Zapadnaya in the Moscow region. (credit: Vladimir Fedorenko / Владимир Федоренко)

The Kremlin on Monday warned that reported US digital incursions into Russia's electric power grid could trigger a "cyberwar" between the two countries.

The warning came two days after The New York Times reported that the US Cyber Command, the arm of the Pentagon that runs the military's offensive and defensive operations in the online world, was aggressively stepping up its targeting of Russia's grid. Saturday's report said the command had taken steps to place "potentially crippling malware inside the Russian system at a depth and with an aggressiveness that had never been tried before." In some cases, the NYT reported, Pentagon and intelligence officials have been hesitant to brief President Trump in detail about the activities out of concern he might countermand the operations or discuss them with foreign officials. Last year, Trump gave the Cyber Command more leeway to conduct offensive online operations, the publication said.

Some analysts have cast doubt on the NYT reporting that the United States has put implants inside Russia's grid, and the publication was clear it had no classified information detailing how deep into Russia's power infrastructure the US has bored. The report, however, was enough to get the attention of Kremlin officials, who pushed back in a post published Monday by the TASS news agency, which is owned by the Russian government.

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PSA: Upgrade 3 years of Xbox Live to Game Pass Ultimate for just $1

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 9:14pm

Enlarge (credit: Xbox)

If you've been paying attention to Xbox rumors and announcements of late, you may know that Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass have now been officially merged into a single $15 a month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription plan (which now also includes PC games, for good measure).

What you might not realize is you can upgrade up to three years of a current Xbox Live gold subscription to the new, more expensive plan for $1 as part of a launch promotion from Microsoft.

As Microsoft describes on the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate announcement page (emphasis added):

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Nvidia pushes ARM supercomputing

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 8:22pm

Enlarge (credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory [Public domain])

Graphics chip maker Nvidia is best known for consumer computing, vying with AMD's Radeon line for framerates and eye candy. But the venerable giant hasn't ignored the rise of GPU-powered applications that have little or nothing to do with gaming. In the early 2000s, UNC researcher Mark Harris began work popularizing the term "GPGPU," referencing the use of Graphics Processing Units for non-graphics-related tasks. But most of us didn't really become aware of the non-graphics-related possibilities until GPU-powered bitcoin-mining code was released in 2010, and shortly thereafter, strange boxes packed nearly solid with high-end gaming cards started popping up everywhere.

From digital currencies to supercomputing

The Association for Computing Machinery grants one or more $10,000 Gordon Bell Prize every year to a research team that has made a break-out achievement in performance, scale, or time-to-solution on challenging science and engineering problems. Five of the six entrants in 2018—including both winning teams, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory—used Nvidia GPUs in their supercomputing arrays; the Lawrence Berkeley team included six people from Nvidia itself.

The impressive part about the segmentation masks overlaid on this map projection has nothing to do with antialiasing—it's the 300+ petaflops needed to analyze an entire planet's worth of atmospheric data in order to produce it. (credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories)

In March of this year, Nvidia acquired Mellanox, makers of the high-performance network interconnect technology InfiniBand. (InfiniBand is frequently used as an alternative to Ethernet for massively high-speed connections between storage and compute stacks in enterprise, with real throughput up to 100Gbps.) This is the same technology the LBNL/Nvidia team used in 2018 to win a Gordon Bell Prize (with a project on deep learning for climate analytics).

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“We are very sorry”—Boeing division CEO apologizes for 737 Max deaths

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 7:10pm

Enlarge / The 10,000th Boeing 737, a MAX 8, was delivered to Southwest Airlines in March 2018. Southwest is a major customer for the 737 MAX 8. (credit: Stephen Brashear|Getty Images)

On Monday, Boeing's head of commercial aircraft, Kevin McAllister, apologized for the deaths of 346 people in a pair of recent airplane crashes. Speaking at the Paris Air Show, McAllister told a press conference that "we are very sorry for the loss of lives as a result of the tragic accidents," referring to the October 2018 crash of a Lion Air 737 Max into the Java Sea and the March 2019 crash of an Ethiopian Air 737 Max. "Our priority is doing everything to get this plane safely returned to service. It is a pivotal moment for all of us," he said.

Additionally, McAllister apologized to his airline customers. "I’m sorry for the disruption," he said. Air travel authorities around the world—including in the US, European Union, and China—have grounded Boeing 737 Max airliners while the company works to fix the problem.

The problem in this case is flight control software for the newest version of Boeing's venerable narrow-body jet. The first 737 took to the skies in 1966, and more than 10,000 have been built in the intervening years. But the 737s that now leave the factory in Renton, Washington, are very different when compared to those earlier models. Called the 737 Max, it was redesigned to compete with a more efficient rival airliner from Airbus. Boeing's tweaked plane gained FAA certification in March 2017.

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Ars on your lunch break: Let’s talk about the extinction of humanity

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 5:00pm

Enlarge / It looks so peaceful up there. (credit: alxpin / Getty)

Welcome back to Ars on your Lunch Break! It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so I’ll start with a brief orientation. This series is built around the After On Podcast—which itself is a series of deep-dive interviews with thinkers, founders, and (above all) scientists.

Often exceeding 90 minutes, After On episodes run longer than the average busy Ars reader’s lunch break. So we carve these unhurried conversations into three to four 30-ish minute segments, and run ‘em here around lunch, Ars Daylight Time. You can access today’s segment via our embedded audio player, or by reading the accompanying transcript (both of which are below).

We’ve presented two seasons of these episodes so far and are planning a third one in the fall. As for this week’s run, it’s sort of a summer special. The impetus is a talk I gave at April’s annual TED conference, which TED will debut on their site’s front page tomorrow. I was asked to speak as a direct result of a two-part podcast interview I ran in late March. Some quick cocktail napkin math may tell you this gave me about 10 days to prepare my talk.

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Data surveillance powers unlawfully wide, court told

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 4:59pm
Security services are invading people's privacy by "Hoovering up" communication data, a court hears.

Huawei bracing for a 40% to 60% drop in international smartphone shipments

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 4:41pm

Enlarge (credit: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Hot off the news of Huawei cancelling a laptop launch and delaying its foldable smartphone, we're now starting to see hard numbers for just how much the Trump Administration's export ban may affect the Chinese company's business. A report from Bloomberg claims to detail Huawei's internal estimates, saying the company is expecting a 40 to 60 percent drop in international smartphone shipments due to the export ban. Huawei does about half its smartphone business internationally, and with 206 million phones sold in total in 2018, this would work out to about 40 million to 60 million sales lost.

Trade War! USA v. China

View more stories The Bloomberg report also has talk of Huawei pulling its next smartphone launch, the Honor 20, if sales aren't up to snuff. The phone launches on June 21 in parts of Europe, but the report says "executives are monitoring the launch and may cut off shipments if it sells poorly as expected." Carriers also need to be considered in this equation, and the report notes that two of the largest carriers in France have already opted out of selling the device.

This morning Huawei sent a response to the report to Ars and other outlets, saying the Honor 20 launch was still on schedule for June 21, and the Honor 20 Pro would be available in overseas markets "soon."

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Samsung TVs should be regularly virus-checked, the company says

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 3:55pm
The technology company tweeted its QLED-branded sets should be scanned once every few weeks.

Domino’s will start robot pizza deliveries in Houston this year

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 2:10pm

Enlarge (credit: Nuro)

Domino's will begin delivering pizza using self-driving robots in the Houston area later this year, the company announced on Monday. The company will use delivery vehicles from the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.

“Nuro’s vehicles are specially designed to optimize the food delivery experience, which makes them a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," said Kevin Vasconi of Domino's in a press release. "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing.”

The deal is a coup for Nuro, which raised $940 million in February and is already delivering groceries for Kroger in the Houston area. Pizza delivery is one of the most common applications for last-mile deliveries, and Domino's is one of the biggest companies in the business, delivering about 3 million pizzas per day. That's a lot of potential business for Nuro if the Houston trial is successful.

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Firefly opens first Alpha rocket launch to academic and educational payloads

Ars Technica - June 17, 2019 - 2:00pm

Enlarge / Firefly performed a full-duration firing of its rocket's second stage in April, 2019. (credit: Edwards Media)

One of the questions facing any company as it brings a new rocket to market is what to put on top of the booster. After all, things can sometimes go all explodey with inaugural flights. So the first flight of any rocket typically serves as a demonstration mission, to prove via an actual test flight that all of a company's modeling and ground testing were correct. SpaceX famously put Elon Musk's cherry red Tesla Roadster on the first flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket.

Despite a sometimes whimsical payload, however, first flights demonstrate a number of capabilities to potential customers. (In the case of the Falcon Heavy, the rocket's upper stage performed a six-hour coast in space before re-firing its upper stage-engine to demonstrate the ability to directly inject key satellites into geostationary space for the US military.)

As the Austin, Texas-based rocket company Firefly nears the first flight of its Alpha rocket, the company also faces such a payload decision. It has an (undisclosed) customer for the flight, but the smallsat launcher also has some unused capacity for the mission—the Alpha rocket has about twice as much lift as an existing competitor, Rocket Lab's Electron vehicle.

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Instagram to make hacked account recovery easier

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 1:50pm
The photo platform is testing a new way to get back into hacked accounts.

Hacker conference speaker axed over abortion views

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 1:34pm
Protests and a threatened boycott lead the Black Hat hacker conference to axe its keynote speaker.

Boris Johnson's full fibre plan needs more detail says industry

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 1:13pm
Broadband providers say it will take more than money to achieve a "full fibre for all" by 2025 pledge.

Huawei smartphone sales hit amid US curbs

BBC Technology News - June 17, 2019 - 12:05pm
The founder of the Chinese telecoms giant says overseas sales of its mobile phones have sunk 40%.

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