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Industry & Technology

Coronavirus: YouTube tightens rules after David Icke 5G interview

BBC Technology News - 1 hour 37 min ago
Videos will now be deleted if they falsely link coronavirus to 5G mobile networks.

How to be sociable without leaving your home

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 20 min ago
BBC Click's Chris Fox looks at how you can use technology to keep a social life while stuck at home.

New Guinea villagers unearth evidence of the island’s Neolithic past

Ars Technica - 2 hours 40 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Ben Shaw)

When people in New Guinea started tending crops like yam and fruits around 8,000 years ago, they transformed nearly everything about life on the island. By around 5,000 years ago, people had begun settling in houses supported by wooden posts. The farmers developed new kinds of cutting tools, and they carved stone pestles to prepare yams, fruits, and nuts. They also wove brightly colored fabrics with dyed fibers, elaborate carved stone figures of birds, and traded across 800km of ocean for obsidian.

The details of daily life were uniquely New Guinea. But the big picture—more people, settled village life, new types of stone tools, and a sudden flourishing of symbolic art—might have been familiar to people from other early agricultural societies around the world. Together, those things are a bundle of cultural trends that archaeologists call Neolithic.

Until recently, archaeologists didn’t think New Guinea had developed its own Neolithic culture. Instead, many researchers thought all the trappings of Neolithic village life had arrived around 3,200 years ago with the Lapita, a group of seafaring farmers who came to the island from Southeast Asia. That’s because the few Neolithic artifacts that could be properly dated all seemed to come from after the Lapita arrived. But the people of the small highland village of Waim recently rewrote that narrative with a chance discovery during a local construction project.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Pixel 4: Google addresses Face Unlock problem five months later

BBC Technology News - 2 hours 52 min ago
A security concern with the Pixel 4 Face Unlock feature is patched, five months after launch.

Coronavirus: 'Reading about virus online makes me anxious'

BBC Technology News - 6 hours 55 min ago
Parents are urged to consider their children's mental health as they are kept indoors.

Polestar’s latest concept shows it thinks differently about design

Ars Technica - 8 hours 10 min ago

The Polestar Precept was one of the cars I was most looking forward to seeing in person before the Geneva auto show got cancelled. The brand is a new one, spun out of Volvo with a fully funded mission to build exciting electric vehicles. And the Precept is a statement in that regard, with some interesting things to say about the way an EV can look, both outside and inside, that aren't just a rehash of decades-old conventions. Polestar was evidently sad that it couldn't show off its latest design study to the wider world, too, and so it sent us a bunch of new images of the car while designer Max Missoni hopped on a phone in Sweden to talk to me about the Precept.

Although the Precept is just a design study, it has been designed in parallel with the Polestar 3, a coupe-like SUV that should arrive before the end of 2021. "However, we are always careful to not overpromise and do design studies that are so far away from reality that none of it could be imagined in production," Missoni told me. "A lot of the elements of the Precept are going to resurface in Polestar 3. So, the dimensions and features and design language is quite realistic."

The car's shape has been heavily influenced by the demands of aerodynamic efficiency, which is why there's what looks like a floating-wing element over the nose, as well as a rather unusual rear end.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Short-form streaming app Quibi launches to rival Netflix

BBC Technology News - 10 hours 37 min ago
BBC's technology reporter tests if Quibi's platform with 10-minute or shorter videos could get viewers hooked.

500-year-old manuscript contains earliest known use of the “F-word”

Ars Technica - 13 hours 41 min ago

Enlarge / "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!" Monty Python and the Holy Grail's family-friendly approach to swearing handily avoids the F-word. (credit: YouTube/Funny or Die/Monty Python)

Scotland has much to recommend it: impressive architecture, gorgeous Highlands, and a long, distinguished intellectual tradition that has spawned some of the Western world's greatest thinkers over several centuries. It's also, apparently, home to a medieval manuscript that contains the earliest known usage of the swearword "F#$%."

The profanity appears in a poem recorded by a bored student in Edinburgh while under lockdown as the plague ravaged Europe—something we can all relate to these days. The poem is getting renewed attention thanks to its inclusion in a forthcoming BBC Scotland documentary exploring the country's long, proud tradition of swearing, Scotland—Contains Strong Language.

The Bannatyne Manuscript gets its name from a young 16th-century Edinburgh merchant named George Bannatyne, who compiled the roughly 400 poems while stuck at home in late 1568, as the plague ravaged his city. It's an anthology of Scottish literature, particularly the texts of poems by some of the country's greatest bards (known as makars) in the 15th and 16th centuries. According to a spokeswoman for the National Library of Scotland (where the manuscript is housed), "It has long been known that the manuscript contains some strong swearwords that are now common in everyday language, although at the time, they were very much used in good-natured jest."

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Drones in Africa: How they could become lifesavers

BBC Technology News - 13 hours 46 min ago
Rwanda's President Paul Kagame says drones will become important for his nation, but can they really deliver?

Coronavirus: Offline sex workers forced to start again online

BBC Technology News - 14 hours 6 min ago
Increased competition and privacy risks are some of the challenges facing workers making the switch.

After troubled first flight, Boeing will refly Starliner without crew

Ars Technica - 14 hours 51 min ago

Enlarge / A closeup view of the Starliner capsule with its service module immediately beneath it. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann )

Boeing announced on Monday evening that it will refly its Starliner spacecraft, without astronauts, to demonstrate the vehicle's safety for NASA.

"We are committed to the safety of the men and women who design, build and ultimately will fly on the Starliner just as we have on every crewed mission to space," Boeing said in a statement. "We have chosen to refly our Orbital Flight Test to demonstrate the quality of the Starliner system. Flying another uncrewed flight will allow us to complete all flight test objectives and evaluate the performance of the second Starliner vehicle at no cost to the taxpayer."

The decision follows the initial uncrewed flight of Starliner in late December, when what was supposed to be a week-long mission was cut to two days and a plan to dock with the International Space Station was abandoned due to a "mission elapsed time" error.

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Bubba Wallace rage-quit a NASCAR esports race, then lost his sponsor

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 9:09pm

Enlarge / When Bubba Wallace (top left, #43 car) got into a wreck with Clint Boyer (middle, #14 car) during an iRacing event on Sunday night, he rage-quit after respawning in the pit lane. (credit: iRacing/NASCAR)

As NASCAR turns to esports as a way to continue racing in an age of social isolation, one up-and-coming driver has found out there are consequences for rage-quitting. Bubba Wallace, whose regular job is driving the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports car, was wrecked in a race held at a virtual Bristol Motor Speedway in iRacing. When his car respawned in the pitlane, Wallace told his Twitch stream "That's it. That's why I don't take this shit seriously. Peace out," as he quit the game instead of rejoining a lap or three down on the leaders.

Fans on Twitter weren't shy of criticizing Wallace's move, which is where things went quickly downhill. After Wallace made light of the fact that he "ruined so many peoples [sic] day by quiting.. [sic] a video game," his major sponsor for the race, Blue Emu, quit him, replying to his tweet with the news that "We're interested in drivers, not quitters."

GTK where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We're interested in drivers, not quitters.

— Blue-Emu (@BlueEmu1) April 5, 2020

During our last visit to a NASCAR race, a visibly angry Wallace burned rubber in the paddock (and nearly sideswiped this writer) after being wrecked and having to retire early. As we've noted before, the sport is aiming to bring as much of a sense of normality as possible in its temporary switch to esports, and in that regard Wallace's rage-quit seems par for the course. Only that time, it didn't cost him a sponsor.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

NASA sees an “exponential” jump in malware attacks as personnel work from home

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 8:50pm

Enlarge (credit: Christiaan Colen / Flickr)

NASA has experienced an exponential increase in malware attacks and a doubling of agency devices trying to access malicious sites in the past few days as personnel work from home, the space agency’s Office of the Chief Information Officer said on Monday.

A new wave

“A new wave of cyber-attacks is targeting Federal Agency Personnel, required to telework from home, during the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak,” officials wrote in a memo. The wave over the past few days includes a(n):

  • Doubling of email phishing attempts
  • Exponential increase in malware attacks on NASA systems
  • Double the number of mitigation-blocking of NASA systems trying to access malicious sites (often unknowingly) due to users accessing the Internet

The last item is particularly concerning because it suggests that NASA employees and contractors are clicking on malicious links sent in email and text messages at twice the rate as normal. Tricking people into clicking on malicious links or opening malicious email attachments remains one of the easiest ways to gain entry into enterprise networks and individual computers users alike.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Dr. Drew apologizes for being a COVID-19 denier after copyright silliness

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 8:25pm

The supercut of Dr. Drew being wrong.

Everyone who is (or wants to be) anyone seems to have some opinion or advice about the current COVID-19 crisis. Many of those opinions have been, frankly, quite bad. And someone who makes his money from media appearances trying to disappear those opinions from the Internet after realizing those opinions were, in fact, quite bad, doesn't help matters any.

Dr. Drew Pinsky is up there with Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil on the list of "celebrity doctors whose name you probably know." He soared to fame in the 1990s and 2000s on the back of his TV and radio advice show Loveline. Pinsky, who performs and markets himself as Dr. Drew, is indeed a medical doctor—but he is not an epidemiologist or specialist in infectious disease. He earned his MD from the University of Southern California in 1984 and went to work as a physician, specializing in the treatment of addiction and chemical dependencies, in the decades that followed.

But not being an expert in infectious disease did not stop him from being widely dismissive of the potential threat from COVID-19 throughout the year, even as the threat continued to grow. Dr. Drew is taking the threat seriously now that more than 330,000 people inside the United States have tested positive for the disease and more than 10,000 have died. On Saturday, he released a video apologizing for his earlier comments, which he said were "wrong."

Read 11 remaining paragraphs | Comments

TV stations don’t have to correct Trump’s COVID-19 statements, FCC says

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 7:59pm

Enlarge / President Donald Trump holds a press briefing with members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force on April 5, 2020, in Washington, DC. (credit: Getty Images | Sarah Silbiger)

The Federal Communications Commission has rejected a request to investigate TV stations' handling of President Donald Trump's coronavirus press conferences.

Advocacy group Free Press' emergency petition asking the FCC to investigate said that TV broadcasters' "context-less coverage of President Donald Trump's press conferences and other statements" may violate the broadcast-hoax rule. Denying the petition today, the FCC said that Free Press "misconstrues the Commission's rules and seeks remedies that would dangerously curtail the freedom of the press embodied in the First Amendment."

Free Press' petition said that "broadcasters are prohibited from knowingly airing false information about a catastrophe that causes 'substantial public harm.'" Under FCC guidelines, broadcasters can avoid violating the hoax rule by including a disclaimer that "clearly characterizes the program as a fiction and is presented in a way that is reasonable under the circumstances."

Read 14 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Acting Navy secretary hammers captain he relieved over coronavirus

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 7:35pm

Enlarge / WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 21: Acting US Navy Secretary Thomas Modly. (credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images)

There were two major developments in the saga of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which saw its captain relieved of command after an email leaked in which he argued that he needed more assistance in dealing with a coronavirus outbreak among his crew. The first is that the former captain, Brett Crozier, has now had a positive test result for coronavirus. According to The New York Times' sources, Crozier had already been experiencing symptoms when he was removed from command. In that, he joins at least 155 members of his crew, based on numbers provided by the Department of Defense on Sunday.

The second is that the man who relieved him, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly, visited the Theodore Roosevelt to give a talk that was sent over the ship's intercom system to the entire crew. In it, Modly blasted Captain Crozier, telling the crew he "put you at great risk." Modly said that the former captain's actions caused problems for the Navy staff that was caring for sick crew members, as well as for the government of Guam, where the ship is currently docked. "Think about that when you cheer the man off the ship who exposed you to that," Modly told the crew.

"I understand that you love the guy," Modly said, speaking of the captain's warm send-off. "It's good that you love him, but you're not required to love him." Instead, he reminded the crew that their duty was to the Navy and the US public.

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TCL launches self-branded smartphones at $449, $249

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 6:38pm

TCL is primarily known as a company that builds cheap TVs, but it has also been building smartphones for awhile now. After Blackberry quit the smartphone market in 2016, TCL licensed the brand and started pumping out QWERTY-equipped Android phones. It licenses the Alcatel brand from Nokia and builds cheaper slab phones. It bought the Palm trademark from HP and produced the microscopic "Palm Palm" smartphone. Starting now, though, TCL is actually going to put its own name on the smartphones it makes, and the first is this set of three devices that all cost under $500.

The lineup here is kind of strange since the most expensive phone is not the fastest phone of the bunch. The most expensive is the $449 TCL 10 Pro, which has a Snapdragon 675 SoC, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, a 4500mAh battery, and a 6.47-inch, 2340×1080 OLED display. The design is pretty flagship-y, with an in-screen fingerprint reader, a front camera notch, a display that curves along the sides, and an always-on display mode. There are four rear cameras, a 64MP main, a wide-angle lens, a macro camera, and a "low light video cam." TCL says this phone is coming out in "Europe, North America, Australia, and the United Kingdom starting in Q2 2020 for €449/$449/£399."

The Snapdragon 675 is the one oddball listing in that spec sheet. This is an 11nm, eight-core SoC with two Cortex A76 cores and six Cortex A55 cores. This SoC was first introduced in 2018, which makes it pretty old. Now let's get weird and compare this $449, 4G, Snapdragon 675 phone to the next phone in TCL's lineup, a Snapdragon 765G, 5G phone for... $430?

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Sheltering in place? Start your car once a week, and other basic tips

Ars Technica - April 6, 2020 - 6:13pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

By now, it's hard to escape the severity of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. As more and more local and state authorities tell everyone to stay at home, traffic has declined to the point where there has been a meaningful (albeit temporary) fall in air pollution over major American cities as people give up the daily commute or school run. With commutes off the calendar for the time being, it's easy to forget about your car. If that sounds like a description of your new reality, don't just park up and put away the keys. Being completely sedentary is bad for a car, just like it's bad for humans. The following tips might come in handy, and don't worry—they're not as complicated as trying to refuel a nuclear reactor.

Try to drive your car(s) for at least 20 minutes once a week

The most immediate problem is keeping your car's 12V battery from dying, and running the engine—and therefore the alternator—for at least this long, about once every week, should prevent that from happening. But getting your car moving will help more than just the battery. Oils and fluids and lubricants will circulate around the bits that need them. Brakes will shed their surface rust. And in the long term, you'll avoid problems like tire flat spots and dried-out belts.

For people with only one car in the household, it's probably advice that's unnecessary, because everyone needs to pop out for groceries at some point. But America is the land of two (or more) cars per family, and both need the occasional bit of attention. Even if you have a battery electric vehicle that gets plugged into a nice, dry garage every night, it should get turned on weekly—even some BEVs will discharge their 12V batteries if left idle for too long.

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Coronavirus: Exercise bike firm Peloton stops live classes

BBC Technology News - April 6, 2020 - 6:00pm
The bike firm has paused live classes just days after an employee tested positive for Covid-19.

Coronavirus: Call for single EU tracking app with data protection

BBC Technology News - April 6, 2020 - 5:41pm
EU data watchdog calls for a single, privacy-centred virus app, instead of dozens of national ones.

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