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Facebook: New Zealand attack video viewed 4,000 times

BBC Technology News - March 19, 2019 - 12:32pm
Facebook says 4,000 people viewed the original attack video and fewer than 200 watched it live.

Thunderstorm with eye-popping 720GJ of energy

Ars Technica - March 19, 2019 - 11:30am

Enlarge (credit: John Fowler / Flickr)

Nothing says "I love diving headfirst into a ditch" like your hair suddenly elevating to the tingly feel of electricity. Thunderstorms are amazing from inside a building, but they're scary if you're trapped outside. And, despite a good deal of observation, an element of mystery surrounds them. For instance, we know that lightning can produce free neutrons, antimatter, and gamma rays, but we don't have much idea of how that happens.

That has partially changed thanks to an Indian muon telescope, called GRAPES-3—a classic example of a backronym. GRAPES-3 is designed to detect muons (a heavier cousin to the electron and positron) that are generated as gamma rays hit the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a relatively simple detector that has the benefit of covering a reasonable chunk of sky with good angular resolution. The detectors are also buried under a thick layer of concrete, so muons need to be quite energetic to get to them.

Prediction: Lightning with a chance of telescopes

GRAPES-3 doesn’t actually care where the muons come from; it just happily counts away. Evidently, the scientists running the detector noticed that their data would always go a bit skewiff every time a thunderstorm passed over. Instead of ignoring this, the researchers (while keeping their heads low), installed a set of electric field monitors at various distances from the observatory and started logging electric field strength every time a storm passed over. That data could be easily compared to the muon detection rate. Unsurprisingly, storms are complex beasts, resulting in a lot of data that simply couldn’t be interpreted.

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Ocado sales hit by warehouse fire

BBC Technology News - March 19, 2019 - 11:22am
The firm had more orders per week, but their average size was slightly lower.

Huge aluminium plants hit by 'severe' ransomware attack

BBC Technology News - March 19, 2019 - 11:22am
The Norwegian firm, which employs 35,000 people worldwide, has switched to manual controls at some plants.

Unity unveils new ties to Nvidia RTX pipeline, takes shots at Unreal

Ars Technica - March 19, 2019 - 2:30am

Enlarge / The 2019 BMW 8 Series Coupe, as rendered in real time using the Unity graphics engine and its newly announced Nvidia RTX pipeline of ray tracing. (credit: Unity / BMW)

SAN FRANCISCO—Unity, one of the leading 3D-rendering systems used to build modern video games, kicked off GDC 2019 with a keynote presentation that took aim at its primary rival, Unreal Engine 4.

"We have no interest in creating experiences that compete with your hobbies or your businesses," Unity CEO John Riccitiello told the keynote's crowd on Monday night. (This was a not-so-subtle dig at how Unreal's creators at Epic Games use their engine to power the mega-popular Fortnite.) "We're here to build the platform that serves you, the developer, and serves you alone."

While the keynote emphasized Unity's affinity for lower-end devices, particularly smartphones, it concluded with an emphasis on the highest-of-end machines: a partnership with Nvidia to bring its proprietary RTX ray tracing pipeline to any Unity video game.

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Call of Duty Mobile announced for iOS, Android, made by China’s Tencent

Ars Technica - March 19, 2019 - 1:23am

SAN FRANCISCO—Activision has taken the wraps off its first major Call of Duty video game for smartphones. The title is simple enough: Call of Duty Mobile. The online, multiplayer-only game will arrive later this year, but neither Activision nor any of its Western CoD-focused studios will lead the game's development.

Instead, dev duties will be handled by Tencent, one of China's leading mobile-game publishing houses. Activision clarified that Timi Studio, makers of the popular mobile game Arena of Valor, will lead development within Tencent.

Call of Duty Mobile was unveiled at today's Unity keynote presentation as part of the 2019 Game Developer Conference, because it has been built in the Unity Engine. An Activision representative at the Unity event said that players can expect "beloved maps, competitive game modes, and signature combat mechanics from [Call of Duty entries like] Black Ops and Modern Warfare." Teased maps coming to the series' first-ever mobile version include Nuketown, Hijacked, and Crash, and fans can expect traditional CoD multiplayer systems like kill streaks.

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Why are Venezuelans seeking refuge in crypto-currencies?

BBC Technology News - March 19, 2019 - 1:05am
As Venezuela staggers under political and economic crises, its citizens are embracing digital money.

Comic for March 18, 2019

Dilbert - March 19, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Boeing downplayed 737 MAX software risks, self-certified much of plane’s safety

Ars Technica - March 19, 2019 - 12:12am

Enlarge (credit: Boeing)

On Sunday, Ethiopia's transport minister announced that information recovered from flight data recorders aboard the ill-fated Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 revealed "clear similarities" to the data from the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 off Indonesia last October. And analysis of the wreckage indicated that the aircraft's control surfaces had put the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 into a dive just before it crashed, killing all aboard.

While the investigation is still underway, the flight data increases the focus on Boeing's Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) flight software—software developed to help manage the shifted handling characteristics of the 737 MAX aircraft from other 737s. And that software, it turns out, was originally presented to the Federal Aviation Administration as much less risky than it actually was, which limited FAA oversight.

Now the Transportation Department and Justice Department have launched a new investigation into how Boeing got the initial safety certification for the 737 MAX from the FAA two years ago.

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LG’s latest, greatest OLED TVs will start shipping in April

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 11:38pm

LG has announced the US release schedule and pricing for most of its 2019 OLED televisions. The first models will begin shipping next month, with some confirmed to ship through May and June.

The 55- and 65-inch C-series will ship in April for $2,500 and $3,500, respectively. A 77-inch variant will come a month later in May for $7,000. The E-series will see a staggered launch: the $4,300, 65-inch model will ship in April, but the $3,300, 55-inch will curiously ship a month later in May. Finally, there's the high-end W-series. Those TVs will ship in June, for either $7,000 for a 65-inch model or a whopping $13,000 for 77 inches.

LG's announcement didn't specify a release date for the lower-end B9 model, which will be available in 55- and 65-inch configurations whenever it does arrive. Neither did it mention the rollable TV (dubbed the R series) that made such a splash at CES or the 88-inch, 8K option known as the Z9. All of those TVs are expected this year sometime, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to get final confirmation of release dates and pricing.

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New Jersey becomes second state to ban cashless shops and restaurants

Ars Technica - March 18, 2019 - 11:23pm

(credit: frankieleon / Flickr)

On Monday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill banning cashless retail stores and restaurants in the Garden State. Murphy's signature makes New Jersey the second state in the US to ban cashless stores, after Massachusetts banned them in 1978.

More recently, New Jersey's move follows that of Philadelphia, which banned cashless stores earlier this month. Philadelphia's legislation was a reaction to a growing number of stores that only accept credit cards or require customers to pay with an app, like Amazon's new Amazon Go stores.

Ars contacted Amazon for comment on the new law, but the company did not respond.

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