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Windows 10 will get better at telling the time with new leap second support

Ars Technica - 45 min 50 sec ago

Enlarge (credit: michael)

One of the things that to me sums up the utter futility of existence and the inevitability of humanity's eventual extinction is the fact that the world is slowing down. About every 18 months or so, the Earth takes about a second longer to rotate on its axis, ever so slowly grinding to a halt. There's at least a possibility that when this happens, the Earth will be tidally locked to the Sun, with one side in sun-scorched perpetual daylight (probably Texas, they frankly won't notice the extra heat) and the other side eternally dark. The future is really bleak.

But between now and then, we have to handle the problem of keeping track of the time. There are two main sources of time; a whole bunch of atomic clocks averaged together to produce International Atomic Time, and the astronomical time that comes from measuring how long the earth actually takes to spin on its axis. This latter time, named UTC ("coordinated universal time"), is used in science and engineering. For most purposes, it's the time reference that we want our watches, clocks, phones, and computers to be set by. Because UTC is based on the Earth's actual spinning, it slowly falls behind atomic time. Every time the gap is more than 0.9 seconds, an extra second is added to UTC—a leap second—to bring the two back in sync.

The next major update to Windows 10, likely due in October, and the next major version of Windows Server, named Windows Server 2019, will both include support for leap seconds. Whenever UTC needs an extra second to catch up, the clock in Windows will include the extra 61st second before rolling over to the next minute.

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After 500 years, a UV lamp solves the mystery of the Basel Papyrus

Ars Technica - 59 min 16 sec ago

Enlarge (credit: University of Basel)

The University of Basel has dozens of ancient papyrus texts in its collection, but one has been known for centuries as the Basel Papyrus. The two-thousand-year-old work has been in the university’s collection since the 1500s, when it was acquired from a lawyer and art collector named Basilius Amerbach. And throughout those 500 years, no one could decipher it.

The writing on the Basel Papyrus looked like the ancient Greek script commonly used during the waning days of the Roman Empire, around the 3rd century CE, but the letters were reversed, like writing held up to a mirror.

“A few individual letters were readable before, but no sense could be established,” Sabine Huebner, professor of ancient history at the University of Basel, told Ars. “There were several theories circulating [about] why the papyrus was written in mirror script: to hide a secret message? As a joke? A medieval forgery?” Generations of archivists have puzzled over the mystery since the papyrus arrived in the University’s collection, but until recently, they’d all been stumped.

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Comcast admits defeat in bidding war for Fox, clearing path for Disney

Ars Technica - 1 hour 25 min ago

(credit: Comcast)

Comcast is abandoning its attempt to purchase 21st Century Fox properties, the cable company announced today.

"Comcast does not intend to pursue further the acquisition of the 21st Century Fox assets," Comcast said in a statement.

That doesn't mean Comcast is done trying to buy media properties, however. Comcast's statement said that it will focus on its attempt to purchase Sky, a British media and pay-TV company. Comcast last week raised its bid for Sky, topping a previous offer made by 21st Century Fox.

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Adobe on internal systems bug: It's not critical

The Register - 1 hour 36 min ago
Researcher: I think you'll find....

Adobe has played down the significance of an admitted vulnerability in its internal systems.…

EU hits Google with record $5 billion fine over Android antitrust practices - CNET - News - 2 hours 13 min ago
Big changes to Android could be on the way.

Up way too close with the giant sexy Jeff Goldblum statue - CNET - News - 2 hours 22 min ago
Enjoy these gratuitous photos of the open-shirted man himself.

Samsung's latest VR moonshot literally takes a shot at the moon - CNET - News - 2 hours 30 min ago
It's no giant leap for mankind, but an antigravity rig does help you make giant leaps for mere Earthlings.

Spooked Cisco chief phoned AWS, asked: You're not making a switch, are you?

The Register - 2 hours 36 min ago
Firm's share price dipped following report

Networks hardware makers can rest easy: the tech titan that is Amazon Web Services isn't going to be selling switches any time soon, which will likely be music to the ears of current AWS supplier Cisco.…

Eyes on the skies

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 44 min ago
Farnborough Airshow in pictures: The big, the fast, the noisy.

Making a feature film with iMacs is brutal, says Searching director - CNET - News - 2 hours 55 min ago
The rainbow of death nearly killed ex-Google employee Aneesh Chaganty while he was editing his movie.

At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, DC and Wonder Woman hope to rope in new fans - CNET - News - 2 hours 55 min ago
No Marvel, no problem as DC Comic characters, and a raft of other franchises like Transformers and Predator, vie for the limelight.

DC's Comic-Con 2018 experience lets you rage like Harley Quinn - CNET - News - 2 hours 55 min ago
Swinging a baseball bat inside a padded cell may be the highlight of my show.

Comic-Con 2018: Hands-on with DC's bold new streaming platform - CNET - News - 2 hours 55 min ago
DC Universe is like Netflix, a comics shop and a message board all rolled into one service.

Comic-Con 2018: Watch the first trailer for DC’s Titans - CNET - News - 2 hours 56 min ago
Get your first look at DC’s latest Teen Titans adaptation, coming exclusively to its streaming platform.

Goodbye fingerprints and smudges. For phones, matte is the new black - CNET - News - 3 hours 9 min ago
Corning's new technology can etch designs -- one day, maybe even a photo of your dog -- onto the back glass panel of a phone.

Giant sexy Jeff Goldblum statue finds a way (into our hearts) - CNET - News - 3 hours 13 min ago
The huge shirtless statue is even more impressive in person.

Ah, British summer. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the internet is on the fritz

The Register - 3 hours 15 min ago
Sky, TalkTalk and M24Seven all withered in the heat this week

As the big red ball in the sky continued to shine on the UK, internet providers decided to have a bit of a lie-down, with Sky, TalkTalk and leased line specialist M24Seven all taking a turn on the sun-lounger.…

Google's Loon brings internet-by-balloon to Kenya

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 27 min ago
The network of balloons travels by predicting the speed and direction of winds in the stratosphere.

UA Sport Wireless Train: These on-ear headphones are built for the gym - CNET - Reviews - 3 hours 30 min ago
Under Armour's new Engineered by JBL rugged on-ear wireless sport headphones are finally available almost a year after they were first announced. Was it worth the wait?

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