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Formula E driver disqualified for gamer swap-in

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 7:12pm
Formula E driver Daniel Abt is disqualified and ordered to pay £8,900 to charity for getting a professional gamer to compete under his name in an official esports race.

Homecoming S2: The most fun you’ll have with an evil company this spring

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 4:50pm

Enlarge / Name? Date of birth? Home address? "I don't know." (credit: YouTube/Amazon Prime)

Warning: This story references happenings from Homecoming S1 but tries to avoid any major spoilers for FX's Devs and the new second season of Homecoming.

Sometimes Hollywood at large seems to embrace the infamous Google strategy: make two of everything and see what sticks. Who recently asked for twin dog-as-best-friend-but-end-of-life tearjerkers? And did audiences need dual "Nikola Tesla races to make electricity" biopics starring beloved heartthrobs? (In a world where The Prestige already exists, probably not.)

This spring, streaming TV got in on this strategy, too. A pair of shows centered on secretive, shady startups—companies doing almost otherworldly things that piqued government interest but really complicated an employee's life—each arrived with star-boasting casts and filmmaking pedigrees behind the camera. Like a dutiful TV reviewer, I watched the first four episodes of both series. Despite each having oodles of style, one felt opaque and unnecessarily complex, like piecing together a puzzle without knowing what the full picture was at the start.

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Coronavirus: Could these social distancing hacks make it to market?

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 4:36pm
People around the world are inventing their own gadgets and designs to adhere to social distancing.

When COVID-19 is a joke: Stand-up comedy versus livestreaming’s limits

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 3:00pm

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty)

“Was that a stinky DD coming from a big giraffe? It’s definitely not coming from our 14 different pooper dooper locations!”

Moments after stand-up comedian Meg Stalter drops this punchline, as part of a routine mocking the Disney Work Orientation process, her crowd of 11,400 viewers is silent. But she’s not bombing. Stalter is streaming her comedy set via Instagram Live, and as soon as the joke drops, her audience members begin furiously tapping their phone screens, thus sending a wave of pink, yellow, and blue diaphanous hearts up from the right-hand side of her own livestreaming interface.

“I’m about to puke this is so funny,” one fan types. It’s not the immediate feedback of a laughing crowd, but for Stalter, she’ll take it.

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Ars’ summer reading guide for our very surreal summer

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 2:30pm

Enlarge / A lot of literature in this. (credit: Liyao Xie / Getty Images)

Look, we're admittedly biased around the Ars Orbital HQ. Whether the best of times or worst of times, we routinely find comfort in a good book. COVID-19 has changed so much about our day-to-day lives, including some of our entertainment habits around things like gaming or streaming TV and film. But when it comes to precious reading time in between work and busy personal lives, we're continually drawn to the stories that grip us—as grim as some of those may be.

This year's staff summer recommendation/To Be Read list has a few newer releases, plenty of old classics, and a lot of alternate reality/sci-fi. Ars' book tastes remain nothing if not on-brand, meaning we may never get through one of these without Douglas Adams being mentioned. Here's everything, Hitchhiker's Guides and others, we've been escaping to.

The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (credit: Sparth)

Series starters

Sci-fi fans who enjoy engaging characters and story driven more by human interaction than technical wharrgarbl will enjoy John Scalzi's latest trilogy, The Interdependency. The third book just released last week, and it ties things up neatly—a first, for Scalzi. The Interdependency is an old-school galaxy-spanning empire, with a twist—habitable planets are almost impossibly difficult to find, and in an effort to curtail war, the Interdependency was designed so that no system can survive without trade with the others.

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Can a trip to the iconic Monaco Grand Prix cure an F1 cynic?

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 2:00pm

For the first time since 1954, the Monaco Grand Prix will not take place this year—and, for some F1 fans, that’s not entirely a bad thing. The iconic race has been maligned in recent years, and for good reason: who wants to watch modern F1 cars drive single file across narrow city streets, with virtually no chance for overtakes, as billionaires look on from enormous yachts? Critics have argued the event is boring, outdated, and downright obnoxious.

For years, I believed that, too. That is, until I actually attended the race in 2019 and witnessed the pomp and circumstance firsthand. From bombastic ceremonies to surprisingly passionate locals, the experience wound up defying my expectations, resulting in a charming weekend that could sway even the most hardened F1 cynic.

So take a trip with me to last year’s race and find out how you, too, can check this Grand Prix off your bucket list—without breaking the bank—and maybe even rekindle your love of F1 in the process.

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Coronavirus: Derby 5G phone mast set on fire

BBC Technology News - May 24, 2020 - 1:33pm
Attacks on 5G masts have been fuelled by a conspiracy theory wrongly linking 5G and coronavirus.

Gears of war: When mechanical analog computers ruled the waves

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 12:46pm

The Advanced Gun System, left, is intended to take on the role of the battleship's 16-inch guns, right. Aside from its GPS-guided shell, the digital technology of the AGS's fire control system does exactly what the USS Iowa's Rangekeeper Mark 8 did—just with fewer people and less weight. (credit: US Navy)

Update: We are resurfacing this feature from 2014 for your reading pleasure on this holiday weekend.

The USS Zumwalt, the latest destroyer now undergoing acceptance trials, comes with a new type of naval artillery: the Advanced Gun System (AGS). The automated AGS can fire 10 rocket-assisted, precision-guided projectiles per minute at targets over 100 miles away.

Those projectiles use GPS and inertial guidance to improve the gun’s accuracy to a 50 meter (164 feet) circle of probable error—meaning that half of its GPS-guided shells will fall within that distance from the target. But take away the fancy GPS shells, and the AGS and its digital fire control system are no more accurate than mechanical analog technology that is nearly a century old.

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On the Moon, astronaut pee will be a hot commodity

Ars Technica - May 24, 2020 - 11:56am

Enlarge / Future moon bases could be built with 3D printers that mix materials such as Moon regolith, water, and astronauts’ urine. (credit: ESA/Foster and Partners)

Ever since President Donald Trump directed NASA to get boots on the Moon by 2024, the agency and its partners have been hard at work trying to make it happen. Late last month, NASA awarded contracts to three companies to develop a crewed lunar lander, but getting to the Moon is just the start. The agency also plans to build a permanent Moon basebefore the end of the decade and use it as a stepping stone to Mars.

If astronauts are going to spend weeks at a time on the Moon, they’re going to have to figure out how to live off the land—er, regolith. It’s too expensive to ship everything from Earth, which means they’ll have to get creative with the limited resources on the lunar surface. Moon dirt is a great building material and there’s water in the form of ice at the south pole that can be turned into rocket fuel. But the hottest commodity of them all may very well turn out to be an astronaut’s own pee.

Earlier this year, a team of European researchers demonstrated that urea, the second-most common compound in human urine after water, can be mixed with Moon dirt and used for construction. The resulting material is a geopolymer, which has similar properties to concrete and could potentially be used to build landing pads, habitats, and other structures on the Moon.

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Comic for May 23, 2020

Dilbert - May 24, 2020 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

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