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Industry & Technology

670 horsepower and 0-60 in 2.2 seconds: The Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak

Ars Technica - 3 hours 4 min ago


They say there's none so zealous as a fresh convert. The fallout from dieselgate saw Volkswagen find religion in electrification, and the automaker sure is embracing it. Last year, now-departed VW Group Chairman Matthias Müller revealed Roadmap E, which commits the company to electrifying its entire lineup by 2030. It is building networks of 350kW DC chargers. In Europe that's happening with other OEMs; here in the US it's doing it alone (revealing on Monday that Target and Sheetz, among others, will join 100 Walmarts in the network). It has locked in $25 billion of batteries for European- and Chinese-market battery electric vehicles (BEVs), and barely an auto show goes by without the reveal of yet another BEV under the I.D. sub-brand. The first of these will go on sale in 2020, with the microbus that everyone drools over coming in 2022.

But one I.D. electric car will hit the street a little sooner. Well, one particular street—the strip of road that runs up to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado. Volkswagen will use this year's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb both to stress test its new BEV platform and—if driver Romain Dumas sets a new EV record—to make some headlines. In March we saw a couple of renders of the I.D. R Pikes Peak, but on Sunday at Alès in France, it finally gave us our first look at the real thing.

Read 7 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Shazam! The sound of EC shoving probe in Apple's plan to buy name-that-tune app

The Register - 3 hours 14 min ago
Show us your data says Euro Commish

The European Commission is causing Apple more angst by probing its acquisition of Shazam.…

Are we sure there wasn’t a coal-burning species 55 million years ago?

Ars Technica - 3 hours 16 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Getty / Aurich Lawson)

If you’ve ever wished that a new study came packaged with some science fiction exploring the implications, this is your lucky day. Of course, not every research paper lends itself to a short story, but a manuscript by NASA’s Gavin Schmidt and the University of Rochester’s Adam Frank asks a fun question: are we sure that humans built the first industrial civilization in Earth’s history?

In recent years, scientists have debated defining a new geologic epoch—the “Anthropocene”—based on the idea that humans have done enough to leave a recognizable mark in Earth’s geologic archives. Theoretically, if another world harbored life that produced an industrial civilization, we could find the proof written in that world’s rocks, too.

To examine that idea, Schmidt and Frank pawed through the pages of Earth’s history—after all, it’s not impossible that some earlier species built a civilization that was subsequently wiped out, right? By looking for funky signals in the rock record, you can think about how clear the signs might be on another world.

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Tesla's Model 3 videos have everything you could want to know - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 32 min ago
When it comes to a vehicle walkthrough, who better to do one than the company that built it?

Facebook says you aren't the product, social media is - CNET - News - 3 hours 33 min ago
The social network's vice president of ads seeks to answer the "hard question" of how much data the company has on its 2 billion users and how it's used.

Three years out, Final Fantasy VII remake still seems a long way off

Ars Technica - 3 hours 45 min ago

Enlarge / This 2017 concept art might be the closest we get to new Final Fantasy VII remake footage for a while.

We're now approaching three full years since Sony first announced it was remaking the beloved Final Fantasy VII for the PlayStation 4. In that time, we've only seen a quick trailer's worth of gameplay footage (itself now over two years old) and a few scattered pieces of concept art for the mysterious project.

Now, a new Japanese job posting from publisher Square Enix suggests the developers are still in the early stages of the project, which aims to be something much more ambitious than a simple remake of the 1997 original.

As translated by Gematsu, Square Enix's new job posting is looking for a "Battle Planner" that will lead the "creation of a battle system that combines commands and action" (this despite the fact that battle scenes were shown in a 2015 trailer for the project). The publisher is also filling a "Level Planner" position that will devise ideas for level designs and help construct a "workflow for location production."

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Bungling cops try to use dead chap's fingers to unlock his smartmobe

The Register - 3 hours 49 min ago
Open casket or open phone?

Detectives from Largo, Florida, visited a funeral home in nearby Clearwater and tried, unsuccessfully, to unlock a phone with the hand of its deceased owner to aid an investigation.…

Job details disappear as report suggests upcoming Amazon-made home robot

Ars Technica - 3 hours 50 min ago

While Amazon's Alexa successfully infiltrated homes via Echo devices over the past few years, the company reportedly continues to look for new ways that it can make homes smarter. According to a Bloomberg report, Amazon is secretly developing a "domestic robot" that may be a portable home for its virtual assistant.

The project is codenamed "Vesta" after the Roman goddess of the hearth, home, and family. According to people familiar with the plans, Vesta is being led by Gregg Zehr, the head of Amazon's Lab126 hardware research and development division. That same group developed devices, including the popular Echo smart speakers, Fire TV set-top boxes, and Fire tablets.

While the project has reportedly been in the works for years, Amazon appears to be hiring more employees for Lab126 to focus on robotics. There are a number of new robotics-related job listings on the Lab126 website, including one for an Applied Robotics Scientist position. However, most other listings now produce a 404 error page when clicked.

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Ars Technica is hiring a senior writer

Ars Technica - 3 hours 53 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Ars Technica is looking for an experienced writer who loves to help readers understand new technology and innovative ideas—and why they matter. The ideal candidate will be deeply conversant with science and technology and can independently research complex technical issues.

With this position, we're not trying to fill a pre-defined "beat"—we're trying to find a rock star of a writer, whether they cover drones or biotech, CPU design or operating systems, Linux or robots, AI or bitcoin.

We're looking for someone senior (at least 3-5 years of quality experience in sci-tech writing) and someone who already knows what we mean by an "Ars story." Can you craft stories that will become "can't miss" additions to a site reaching 15 million unique worldwide readers? Do you have serious writing skills, technical depth, and reporting chops? Would you call yourself a "subject matter expert" in at least a few areas you regularly cover?

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EV fast chargers might be coming to a Target near you - Roadshow - News - 4 hours 7 min ago
It's part of Electrify America's first major investment in American EV infrastructure.

Samsung VR Pilot Season puts episodic shows on Gear VR - CNET - News - 4 hours 27 min ago
Trying to give you a reason to return to your headset with indie films.

Microsoft: Tech support scams a 'growing global problem' - CNET - News - 4 hours 31 min ago
Social engineering attacks such as fake tech support calls are easy, effective and occur across all platforms.

Brexit has shafted the UK's space sector, lord warns science minister

The Register - 4 hours 36 min ago
We're off the team and everything is awful

A letter to UK science minister Sam Gyimah MP has outlined the impact of Brexit on Britain's space sector, and it doesn't make for happy reading.…

Mercedes-Maybach concept teaser gets revealing before Beijing - Roadshow - News - 4 hours 42 min ago
One interesting design choice will remain hidden until its debut, though.

An Amazon home robot may be coming to a living room near you - CNET - News - 5 hours 4 min ago
A secret Amazon project called Vesta is reportedly developing a new product, which may be released as soon as next year.

Amazon and Netflix join Hollywood to lob sueball at 'Kodi' service SetTV

The Register - 5 hours 5 min ago
No surprise really

Silicon Valley has historically been at war with Hollywood, so Amazon and Netflix's membership of a studio-dominated anti-piracy alliance may raise eyebrows. But it shouldn't: Amazon and Netflix are big studios now in their own right, and Apple is expected to join them.…

VW I.D. R prepares for Pikes Peak with 680 electric HP - Roadshow - News - 5 hours 7 min ago
It'll hit 60 mph in 2.25 seconds, which is mighty impressive.

Canary app update gives you more control over video recordings - CNET - News - 5 hours 27 min ago
Tell the Canary app whether you want your security cameras to record just people or everything -- or nothing.

Pavilion Data Systems hands more engineers their marching orders

The Register - 5 hours 33 min ago
Everything's fine, says NVMe-over-fabrics array startup

NVMe-over-fabrics array startup Pavilion Data Systems has laid off more engineers just a month after a previous cull during which co-founder Kiran Malwankar departed.…

Cambridge Analytica researcher fires back at Facebook - CNET - News - 5 hours 46 min ago
Aleksandr Kogan tells 60 Minutes that tech companies assume users know their data is being sold and shared.

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