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Total votes: 60

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Neo-Nazi's Facebook account left active

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 8:35pm
The social network says it is investigating why the profile was not removed - as it had promised.

Huawei 5G row: Ministers demand leak inquiry

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 8:15pm
One senior minister said leaking from the security council - the "holy of holies" - was extraordinary.

In meeting with Twitter chief, Trump complains about lost followers

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 8:09pm

Enlarge / Trump giving Jack Dorsey advice on how to run Twitter better, April 23. (credit: White House )

On April 23, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had a meeting in the Oval Office with President Donald Trump. According to an email message to Twitter employees from Vijaya Gadde, Twitter's global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety, the purpose of the meeting was to discuss “the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”

In the email thread, first revealed by Motherboard, Dorsey himself explained, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions." Dorsey pointed out that he had met "with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” While Dorsey noted that some employees might be less than thrilled with him taking the meeting, "In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”

The meeting came just two days after Twitter suspended some 5,000 accounts believed to be "bots" involved in a campaign to boost "#RussiaGate" and other hashtags related to posts critical of the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller—bots that had connections to an account previously used to boost pro-Saudi propaganda.

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Out of bounds: Why basketball players believe they weren’t last to touch ball

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 7:52pm

Enlarge / Boston Celtics' Al Horford and Indiana Pacers' Thaddeus Young chase a ball out of bounds during a March game. A new study found that a self-centered bias in time perception might affect how each perceives who touched the ball last. (credit: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe/Getty Images)

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, emotions are running high among super-fans, inevitably leading to lots of heated arguments about bad referee calls and disputed plays. For instance, when a ball goes out of bounds, it can sometimes be challenging to determine which player touched it last. Both players will undoubtedly argue their opponent touched it last, trying to give possession of the ball to their own team. The other player will just as forcefully argue the opposite.

Who is right? According to a new paper in Science Advances, both players are subject to a kind of temporal bias whereby they will perceive themselves touching the ball first. "Our brains tell us that actions generated by ourselves come before simultaneous external events," the authors write. "Briefly, we have identified what may be a principal cause of arguments in ball games, and it's about time."

According to co-author Ty Tang, a graduate student in psychology at Arizona State University, the idea for the study emerged from conversations with his advisor, Michael McBeath, about subjective perception, particularly of time. This naturally evolved into how this subjective perception plays out in sports, specifically arguments over who touched the ball last before it went out of bounds in basketball. Tang proposed a series of three experiments to determine if the players might genuinely experience hitting the ball before their opponents in such scenarios. It wasn't the chaotic environment of a live basketball game, but it allowed them to control the variables to produce a robust study.

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EPA administrator asked to back up climate claims made on TV with science

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 7:24pm

Enlarge / Acting Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Andrew Wheeler listens as President Donald J. Trump leads a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 18, 2018, in Washington, DC. (credit: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In an appearance on CBS News in late March, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett that the threat posed by climate change is "50 to 75 years out."

Now, environmental lobby group Sierra Club has asked the EPA for any scientific evidence that backs up this claim. The group filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the agency, hoping to receive documentation that could back up Wheeler's claim.

The move is preliminary, but it's interesting because it follows in the footsteps of a successful challenge by another activist group: PEER, or Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. In 2017, PEER submitted a FOIA request for scientific evidence that could support statements made by former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on CNBC, where the administrator claimed that carbon dioxide was not known to be a major factor in climate change.

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Motor technology from Model 3 helps Tesla boost Model S range 10%

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 6:07pm

Enlarge (credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Tesla's Model S is known for its long range, with the 100kWh version rated to travel 335 miles between charges. On Tuesday, Tesla announced changes to the Model S drivetrain that boosted the range by more than 10 percent to 370 miles.

Similar improvements have pushed the range of the high-end Model X up to 325 miles. And that's all without increasing the vehicle's battery capacity. The cars are simply able to go 10 percent further for every kWh of charge—which translates to electricity savings for Tesla customers.

Several factors combined to produce these impressive efficiency gains. Tesla switched one of the motors in the Model S and Model X to a new technology pioneered in the Model 3. The company also announced an improved suspension system and other efficiency tweaks throughout the vehicle. The impressive result: greater than 93 percent energy efficiency.

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Dick Barnes, pioneer behind oldest working computer, dies

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 5:35pm
Dick Barnes co-designed the machine used by engineers who built the world's first commercial nuclear reactor.

The Oscars decides Netflix is OK after all, following DOJ warning

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 5:23pm

Enlarge / An Oscar statuette. (credit: Getty Images | Christopher Polk )

Netflix and other streaming platforms won't be banned from the Oscars as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has rejected calls from Steven Spielberg and others to restrict eligibility for the annual awards.

The Academy's Board of Governors approved rules for the February 2020 Oscars and left the eligibility requirement unchanged. Just as before, feature-length films must be shown for at least one week in a Los Angeles County theater to be eligible, a requirement Netflix-backed movies such as Roma met on their way to winning awards. Proposals to require theater runs of at least four weeks were rejected.

"We support the theatrical experience as integral to the art of motion pictures, and this weighed heavily in our discussions," Academy President John Bailey said in an announcement yesterday. "Our rules currently require theatrical exhibition, and also allow for a broad selection of films to be submitted for Oscars consideration. We plan to further study the profound changes occurring in our industry and continue discussions with our members about these issues."

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Leaked report: crashed Russian Air Force MiG-31 was shot down by wingman

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 5:16pm

Almost exactly two years ago, a Russian Air Force MiG-31 Foxhound supersonic interceptor went down during an exercise over the Telemba proving grounds in Buryatia, a Siberian semi-autonomous Russian republic that borders Mongolia. (Telemba was one of the sites for Vostok, Russia’s giant wargames staged last fall with Chinese and Mongolian troops in attendance.) The incident was described by Russia’s Defense Ministry at the time as a simple mishap: the fighter “crashed during a training flight,” and both crewmembers had ejected and parachuted to safety.

Now, however, the independent Russian news organization Baza has revealed leaked government documents that give somewhat more embarrassing details about the incident: the jet was shot down by another MiG-31. The accident was caused as a result of the second aircraft crew’s “violation of safety measures and missions for flight, expressed in the premature activation of the aircraft’s on-board radar station by the navigator and the unauthorized launch of the R-33 guided missiles by the commander,” the leaked report states. But the incident was also the result of a failure of the aircraft’s target-identification system (also known as an identification friend or foe, or IFF, system).

The MiG-31 was the first aircraft to use a phased array radar—the Zaslon passive electronically scanned array radar, capable of being used for both search and weapons targeting. (The passive phased arrays can be used to electronically steer radio signal beams, allowing some antennas to remain in search mode while others are used to lock on for a missile attack.)

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iFixit’s Samsung Galaxy Fold teardown reveals how the phone is dying

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 5:06pm

It might be delayed for at least a month, but Samsung's futuristic Galaxy Fold has hit the iFixit Teardown table. How exactly did iFixit get its hands on a phone that has never been for sale and has had all its review units recalled? It's probably best not to think too much about it. What matters is that we get to see the insides!

Between this teardown and an earlier blog post, iFixit has been building a compelling theory for why the Fold has been dying an early death for some reviewers. The problem, simply, is ingress. While most other smartphones are resistant to the ingress of just about everything, to the point of being water resistant, the Galaxy Fold is full of holes.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

View more stories Traditional slab-style smartphones have their displays bonded to a Gorilla Glass panel, which is then glued onto the front of the phone for a water-proof seal. That doesn't work for a foldable display that needs to bend and move, so the Galaxy Fold has a plastic display that rests on top of the phone and is held on only with a thin, plastic bezel that is glued along the edge. These bezels aren't flexible enough to cover the folding area of the phone, though, so they just don't. The plastic bezel stops before the hinge, so the display edge is just exposed to the world, opening a hole into the device.

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Windows 10 May 2019 update blocked for anyone using USB or SD storage

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 4:54pm

Enlarge / Better unplug all these if you want the new Windows version. (credit: Miia Sample)

While it's not officially out yet, the Windows 10 May 2019 update is available to Windows Insiders on the Release Preview distribution channel (and also to MSDN subscribers). So anyone who wants to get a head start on the next major iteration of Windows 10 can do so right now—unless they have USB storage connected to their PC.

Because of an issue that's frankly remarkable, Microsoft is blocking the update for anyone using USB storage or SD storage. That is to say: if you have a USB hard disk or thumb drive, or an SD card in an SD card reader, the update won't install. Perhaps more strangely, this is only the case if you're currently running version 1803 or 1809; upgrading from 1709 or 1703 (both of which are still supported, at least for Enterprise and Education users) means everything is, apparently, fine.

The reason for blocking the update is that it appears to be prone to shuffling the drive letters assigned to USB and SD storage devices. In other words, while your USB drive might show up as "D:" now, it could end up getting renamed to "E:" after upgrading to 1903. Fortunately, there is a straightforward workaround: unplug the drives and remove the memory card, and the installation will proceed normally. You can then plug them back in after it's finished.

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Report: Cheaper Switch coming by June

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 3:30pm

Enlarge (credit: Mark Walton)

A new, cheaper version of the Switch will be released by the end of June, according to one "person familiar with the matter" cited in a recent Bloomberg report. That's the most specific time frame yet for the still-rumored release of a redesigned version of Nintendo's system and coincides well with the E3 expo, a major gaming convention in June.

A Nikkei report earlier this month suggested the new unit would be available in the fall. That report followed a Wall Street Journal report from last month which said the cheaper redesign might arrive "as early as this summer, complete with reduced features and, possibly, no ability to dock to a TV."

Bloomberg also echoes Nikkei in suggesting that a "more powerful version" of the system, rumored by the WSJ, is not currently in the works. But a more "modest upgrade" to the standard Switch hardware could be coming before the end of the year, according to Bloomberg's sources.

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