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Apple updates operating systems to fix app-crashing bug - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 11:52pm
Bug causes apps running on iOS devices and Macs to crash when a certain Indian symbol was displayed.

Pure magic! See Harry Potter's Hogwarts Great Hall in Lego - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 11:10pm
Still waiting for Hedwig to fly in with your Hogwarts acceptance letter? Buy your way into the famed wizarding school with this $100 playset.

Ancient DNA sheds light on what happened to the Taino, the native Caribbeans

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 9:55pm

Enlarge / Reconstruction of a Taino village in Cuba. (credit: Michal Zalewski)

The Caribbean was one of the last parts of the Americas to be settled by humans, although scientists don’t agree on when the first settlers arrived or where they came from. Some argue that people probably arrived from the Amazon Basin, where today’s Arawakan languages developed, while others suggest that the first people to settle the islands came from even farther west, in the Colombian Andes.

“The differences in opinion illustrate the difficulty of tracing population movements based on a patchy archaeological record,” wrote archaeologist Hannes Schroeder of the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and his colleagues. Schroeder’s research team has a new study on the genetics of the long-lost Taino people, which gives some clear indications of their origin and where they went after European colonization.

Complex social networks linked the islands

The Bahamas weren’t settled until 1,500 years ago. The people who settled there are known as the Lucayan Taino, and they and the other Taino communities of the Caribbean were the natives who met the first Spanish colonists in 1492. At the time, the Taino were thriving; Spanish priest Bartolomé de las Casas estimated that about 600,000 people each lived on Jamaica and Puerto Rico, with as many as a million on Hispaniola. That didn’t last long; by the mid-16th century, smallpox and slavery had driven the Taino to the brink of extinction.

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Woman billed $17,850 for dodgy pee test. Alarmed experts say she’s not alone

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 9:33pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Frank Bienewald )

In 2015, a college student in Texas named Elizabeth Moreno had back surgery to correct a painful spinal abnormality. The procedure was a success, and her surgeon followed it with just a short-term prescription for the opioid painkiller hydrocodone to ease a speedy recovery. Then came a “routine” urine drug test, ostensibly to ensure she didn’t abuse the powerful drug.

A year later, she got the bill for that test. It was $17,850.

She understandably didn’t see it coming, according to a report on her case in Kaiser Health News. The surgery was covered by her insurance and she had weaned herself off the painkiller with no problems. When the surgeon’s office asked for the urine test in mid-January 2016,  “I didn’t think anything of it,” Moreno told KHN. “I said fine, whatever.”

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'Black Panther' Discussion: This One's Gonna Be Fun

Wired - February 19, 2018 - 9:24pm
We've seen it. You've seen it. It's time we all talked it out.

Samsung reveals soothing ringtone for Galaxy S9 - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 9:00pm
Commentary: You haven't seen the phone, but you can listen to what its default ringtone sounds like right now.

Lego Hulkbuster's big, buildable suit is ready to smash - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 8:41pm
Exclusive: Tony Stark's big suit from "Avengers: Age of Ultron" comes in Lego form this March.

Facebook’s secret weapon in the fight against foreign meddling? Postcards

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 8:39pm

Enlarge / Mock-up of expected returns from Facebook’s postcard campaign. (credit: Alexey Nikolsky / AFP / Getty Images / Aurich Lawson)

A Facebook executive has announced a new plan designed to mitigate foreign influence in political ad buys on the social media platform. It involves a technology your grandparents would recognize—postcards.

The plan was announced one day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller unveiled indictments against 13 Russians who used Facebook, among other American social media sites, to attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The idea, according to Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy programs, is that if an ad mentions a specific candidate, Facebook will mail a verification postcard containing a code to the advertiser's American address to confirm that the ad buyer is Stateside. Then, the buy would then need to provide that code on Facebook's ad platform for the ad to be published.

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Judge finds written attack on climate scientist too ludicrous to be libel

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 8:28pm

Enlarge / Justice. (credit: Brian Turner / Flickr)

A few climate scientists have found themselves in court in recent years. Generally, they've been the targets of suits, often by political groups filing Freedom of Information Act requests to fish through their emails. But in a couple of cases, fed-up scientists have taken their most vitriolic detractors to court for defamation and libel.

Well-known Penn State researcher Michael Mann, for example, sued columnist and radio host Mark Steyn and two others for articles repeatedly accusing him of academic fraud (and making an analogy to child molestation).

Canadian climate scientist Andrew Weaver is in a slightly different position, as he decided to run for office several years ago and is now the leader of the Green Party in British Columbia. In 2015, he won a case against the National Post for an article accusing him of scientific misconduct, though that decision was overturned by an appeals court last year.

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Dealmaster: Presidents Day sales on TVs, laptops, and electronics are here

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 8:20pm

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. But not just any deals: Presidents Day deals. Ooooooh.

OK, so Washington's Birthday isn't the biggest holiday—the Dealmaster doesn't even have the day off—but it still brings a decent assortment of sales to this otherwise slow portion of the shopping year.

So to help you sort through it all, we've rounded up a choice selection of these discounts, which include sales on a number of Lenovo ThinkPad laptops, Dell PCs, Bose and Beats headphones, DJI drones, Samsung SSDs, and an assortment of 4K TVs, among other gadget goodies. We've updated the list since it was initially published last week, and we'll be sure to keep an eye out for additional deals as they come along.

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Volvo XC40 adds 3-cylinder engine, fancy Inscription trim - Roadshow - News - February 19, 2018 - 8:12pm
You want a crystal gear lever in your compact crossover? You got it.

Windows 10 on ARM limits (briefly) confirmed: No virtualization, no OpenGL

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 7:59pm

Enlarge / The Snapdragon 835-powered HP Envy x2. (credit: HP)

As spotted by Paul Thurrott, Microsoft briefly published a document that enumerated the major differences between Windows 10 for ARM processors and Windows 10 for x86 chips. Though the document has now been removed, a cached copy is still available.

Many of the differences are predictable consequences of the different architecture. Windows 10 for ARM is a 64-bit ARM operating system. It can natively run both 32-bit and 64-bit ARM applications (though the SDK for the latter is currently, and temporarily, incomplete). As such, drivers for the operating system need to be 64-bit ARM drivers; existing 32- and 64-bit x86 drivers won't work.

This isn't a surprise; 64-bit x86 Windows can't use 32-bit drivers, either, even though 64-bit Windows can generally run 32-bit applications without even requiring any kind of emulation. This will mean that ARM Windows has limited hardware support relative to x86. It will also pose a problem for some games that use drivers for their copy protection.

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Lego Millennium Falcon: How fast can you build the Kessel run? - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 7:56pm
Snap it together, fuzzball! A new playset tied to "Solo: A Star Wars Story" might reveal some movie spoilers.

Lucky Charms new unicorn marshmallow is a Twitter hit - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 7:45pm
The swirly, psychedelic new cereal piece is replacing the hourglass. In other news, Lucky Charms had an hourglass marshmallow?

AT&T tries to prove Trump meddled in merger review because he hates CNN

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 7:30pm

Enlarge / AT&T will own a bunch of new media properties if it is allowed to buy Time Warner. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

AT&T and the Department of Justice are fighting in court over whether President Trump's hatred of CNN played a role in the DOJ's attempt to block AT&T's purchase of Time Warner Inc.

In a pre-trial court hearing on Friday, AT&T demanded "that the Justice Department hand over additional evidence to prove that President Trump did not wield political influence over the agency as its antitrust enforcers reviewed the company's bid to acquire Time Warner," The Washington Post reported.

AT&T wants the DOJ to provide logs of any conversations about the merger between the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The DOJ should also have to "disclose any conversations between Sessions and the agency's antitrust division," the Post wrote.

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See a burnt Falcon Heavy booster in person this week - CNET - News - February 19, 2018 - 7:30pm
One of the recycled SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets that launched the historic Falcon Heavy system to space for the first time is hanging out at Kennedy Space Center for a few days.

Iiyama reanimates LCD cartel lawsuit corpse, swings it at Samsung

The Register - February 19, 2018 - 7:05pm
Court of Appeal: Can't kick this out, let's have a trial

LG and Samsung may be getting hot under the collar after an English court agreed that the long-running liquid crystal display (LCD) price-fixing cartel case can be reopened.…

In late-breaking photo leak, Galaxy S9 bares it all

Ars Technica - February 19, 2018 - 6:30pm


German site WinFuture has given us a ton more Galaxy S9 pictures to admire before the phone's launch next week. The pictures show everything we've been expecting: a phone that looks a lot like the existing Galaxy S8 but with a revised camera and fingerprint setup on the back.

Besides offering the most complete look yet at Samsung's next flagship, these pictures shoot down an odd regression shown in the earliest Galaxy S9 leaks. The early pictures shared by VentureBeat showed a Galaxy S9 with thicker side bezels than the Galaxy S8, and now it seems those were not accurate. These pictures show a design that seems to have the same slim side bezels as the Galaxy S8, which, as usual, will curve into the phone body.

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How to decide if a hybrid or electric vehicle is right for you - Roadshow - News - February 19, 2018 - 6:00pm
Roadshow’s ultimate guide to the wide world of hybrids, plug-ins, EVs and more.

Could Scientists Use Silver Iodide to Make Snow for the Olympics?

Wired - February 19, 2018 - 6:00pm
You can theoretically "seed" snow in the atmosphere, but it's really hard to tell if it actually works.

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