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Southwest Airlines protested airworthiness directive designed to prevent engine failures

Ars Technica - 45 min 13 sec ago

Enlarge / Southwest's Boeing 737-700, tail number N772SW, was the aircraft for Southwest flight 1380. A failure in its left turbofan engine caused the death of one passenger and multiple other injuries. (credit: Aeroprints)

While a National Transportation Safety Board investigation is still underway, NTSB officials confirmed that the uncontained engine failure aboard Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 was the result of a fan blade breaking from a crack near the fan's hub. The failure is similar to one that occurred on another Southwest flight in September 2016.

"The fan blade separated in two places," said NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt. "At the hub... there's a fatigue fracture where this #13 fan blade would come into that hub. It also fractured roughly halfway through it. But it appears the fatigue fracture was the initial event. We have the root part, but we don't have the outboard part. The crack was interior, so certainly not detectable from looking at it from the outside."

After that incident, the manufacturer of the engine—CFM International—issued a technical bulletin urging customers to conduct more frequent ultrasonic inspections of the fan in the type of turbofan engine used by Southwest's 737 Next Generation aircraft. In 2017, CFM even asked the FAA to enact a new rule requiring those checks. But Southwest Airlines opposed the proposed change to frequency of inspections, stating in a comment to the FAA that it would take longer for the airline to comply because of the number of engines in its fleet:

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As PUBG-like contenders emerge, Islands of Nyne might already have them beat

Ars Technica - 1 hour 2 min ago

Call it a trend, if not an outright phenomenon. Battle royale games have officially catapulted into the industry's pole position, largely fueled by the neck-and-neck popularity contest between PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) and Fortnite: Battle Royale. And this week, we learned that even more of these games will likely show up by year's end, with rumors circling around major series like Call of Duty and Battlefield.

The news follows plenty of latecomers to the battle royale genre, which all have a few things in common. Roughly 100 players parachute onto an island with the goal of being the last shooter standing, and that contest is made all the more tense by random-item pickups and a constantly shrinking battlefield.

But what does it take to make a good battle royale game at this point? As more games pile onto the fray and triple-A entries poke their head in, I want to point to one out-of-nowhere game that has done more than bolt the niche's basics onto existing properties. It's called Islands of Nyne, and after playing a lot of battle royale games, I have to say, this indie entry is the one to watch from here on out.

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Male fruit flies like ejaculating and turn to alcohol when starved of sexual pleasure

The Register - 1 hour 14 min ago
Flies closer to human beings than previously thought

A new study reveals that male fruit flies enjoy the sensation of ejaculation, and are more likely to turn to alcohol when sexually frustrated. Sound familiar?…

Ryzen gains on Intel with second generation

Ars Technica - 1 hour 36 min ago

(credit: AMD)

The second-generation Ryzen chips announced last week are now out, and reviews have hit the 'Net. Unlike the situation last week, we're now free to talk about what has changed in the second-generation chips and where their improvements lie.

Model Cores/Threads Clock base/boost/GHz TDP/W Cooler Price Ryzen 7 2700X 8/16 3.7/4.3 105 Wraith Prism (LED) $329 Ryzen 7 2700 8/16 3.2/4.1 65 Wraith Spire (LED) $299 Ryzen 5 2600X 6/12 3.6/4.2 95 Wraith Spire $229 Ryzen 5 2600 6/12 3.4/3.9 65 Wraith Stealth $199

AMD is calling the new parts "Zen+." This isn't a new architecture; rather, it's a tweaked version of the first-generation Zen architecture. The basic layout of the chips remains the same: each contains two core complexes (CCXes), which are blocks of four cores, eight threads, and 8MB level 3 cache, joined with AMD's Infinity Fabric.

Architecturally, the biggest improvements seem to have been made to memory and cache latencies. AMD says that the cache latency for level 1, level 2, and level 3 caches and main memory have all improved, reduced by up to 13 percent, 34 percent, 16 percent, and 11 percent, respectively. Tech Report's benchmarks show improved main-memory latency, and PC Perspective found improved communications latency between CCXes.

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Telegram CEO poses topless in riposte to Putin ban - CNET - News - 1 hour 39 min ago
Commentary: After Russia blocks his messaging app, Pavel Durov shows that his body is more beautiful than even that of the Russian president.

At Tribeca Film Festival 2018, the Virtual Arcade rules - CNET - News - 1 hour 39 min ago
From tech-enhanced installations and theater pieces to fantasy and mystery to CGI and documentary film creations that can be explored through virtual reality headsets, VR is alive and well at Tribeca.

Speed Queen TR7 review - CNET - Reviews - 1 hour 39 min ago
Speed Queen's TR7 top-loader is the worst washing machine we've ever reviewed.

This new 2018 iPhone may cost half the price of an iPhone X - CNET - News - 1 hour 50 min ago
The 6.1-inch iPhone could have a starting price of $550, according to KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo.

Moto G6 vs G6 Plus, E5 Plus, E5 Play: What's the difference? - CNET - News - 1 hour 52 min ago
All four new budget handsets are coming to the US. Here's how the heck do you tell them apart.

Facebook puts 1.5bn users on a boat from Ireland to California

The Register - 2 hours 1 min ago
Social media giant continues its loving embrace of GDPR privacy rules

Facebook is quietly changing its terms of service to shift 1.5 billion users away from Europe to the US while continuing to claim it wants to offer greater privacy protections.…

Motorola Moto G6 Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 3 min ago
Meanwhile, the Moto G6 Play crams in a 4,000-mAh battery, and the Moto G6 Plus adds NFC.

Daimler's new EV charging system takes the hassle out of payment - Roadshow - News - 2 hours 4 min ago
The system uses digital certificates instead of swipe cards or phone apps to exchange payment info in the background.

Emilia Clarke tries to spoil Game of Thrones final season - CNET - News - 2 hours 4 min ago
The Game of Thrones star makes a valiant attempt to share spoilers for season 8 in a video promoting an Omaze charity campaign.

Motorola Moto E5 Plus Release Date, Price and Specs - CNET - Reviews - 2 hours 6 min ago
These supercheap phones from Motorola still hold on to the headphone jack.

Apple unveils 'Daisy' iPhone recycling robot for Earth Day - CNET - News - 2 hours 7 min ago
Daisy is part of a broader set of environmental programs from Apple, including a donation to a nonprofit for every used device traded in through the end of April.

Meet Daisy, Apple's new iPhone recycling robot - CNET - News - 2 hours 10 min ago
The robot can sort out precious materials other recyclers can't recover.

Dealmaster: Get a Dell laptop with a Core i7 and 16GB of RAM for $700

Ars Technica - 2 hours 19 min ago

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. Today's list includes a decent price on Dell's Inspiron 15 5000 notebook, which can be had with a 7th-gen Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and a 4GB AMD Radeon R7 graphics card for $700.

It probably goes without saying this isn't the most luxurious notebook in the world—you have to deal with a 1TB HDD instead of a faster SSD, there's no USB-C, and, again, the processor is a generation old—but that's still a good amount of horsepower for a laptop with a midrange price. Just note that it uses a TN panel, not an IPS one, so its contrast isn't the best—though it does at least have a 1080p resolution and is touch-enabled. There's also a DVD drive and HDMI port, if you're still hanging onto those. Heads up, though: Dell says stock is limited for this one.

If you don't need a new laptop on the cheap, we also have deals on Google's Daydream View headset, 4K TVs, Logitech mice, the Essential Phone, Bluetooth speakers, and more. Check them all out for yourself below.

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2018 Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid review - Roadshow - Reviews - 2 hours 34 min ago
With a killer biturbo V6 and strong electric boost, the Panamera Hybrid is a plug-in that’s purely Porsche.

After 15 months, NASA finally has an administrator [Updated]

Ars Technica - 2 hours 35 min ago

Enlarge / Oklahoma GOP Congressman Jim Bridenstine is Trump's nominee to become NASA administrator. (credit: Space Foundation)

Thursday update: It took awhile, but after eight months of consideration—and a key flip of Florida Senator Marco Rubio to "yes"—the United States Senate confirmed Jim Bridenstine to be NASA's next administrator on Thursday afternoon. The vote was 50 for, and 49 against, for Bridenstine. Vice President Mike Pence, the head of the National Space Council, was in the Capitol had a tie-breaking vote been necessary.

Like many other nominations from the Trump White House, this vote played out along party lines (Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, was absent). Historically, however, such nominations for NASA administrator have not been partisan affairs. For example, in 2009, the nomination of Charles Bolden as administrator, and Lori Garver, as deputy administrator, was approved with unanimous consent by the Senate. NASA's previous administrator, Mike Griffin, nominated by George W. Bush in 2005, was also unanimously approved.

Immediately after the vote, Bridenstine released the following statement: "It is an honor to be confirmed by the United States Senate to serve as NASA Administrator. I am humbled by this opportunity, and I once again thank President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence for their confidence. I look forward to working with the outstanding team at NASA to achieve the President’s vision for American leadership in space."

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ISPs should charge for fast lanes—just like TSA Precheck, GOP lawmaker says

Ars Technica - 2 hours 39 min ago

Enlarge / Airport security line. (credit: TSA)

Congressional Republicans want to impose "net neutrality" rules that allow Internet service providers to charge online services and websites for priority access to consumers. Making the case for paid prioritization Tuesday, US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said that paying for priority access would be similar to enrolling in TSA Precheck.

"In real life, all sorts of interactions are prioritized every day," Blackburn said in her opening statement at a subcommittee hearing on paid prioritization. Blackburn continued:

Many of you sitting in this room right now paid a line-sitter to get priority access to this hearing. In fact, it is commonplace for the government itself to offer priority access to services. If you have ever used Priority Mail, you know this to be the case. And what about TSA Precheck? It just might have saved you time as you traveled here today. If you define paid prioritization as simply the act of paying to get your own content in front of the consumer faster, prioritized ads or sponsored content are the basis of many business models online, as many of our members pointed out at the Facebook hearing last week.

Dividing up online services into those that have paid for TSA Precheck-like priority access and those that haven't wouldn't necessarily be appealing to consumers. While TSA Precheck lets travelers zoom through security, everyone else is stuck in a long, slow-moving line and met with frequent obstacles. Comparing paid prioritization to TSA Precheck lends credence to the pro-net neutrality argument that allowing paid fast lanes would necessarily push all other online services into "slow lanes."

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