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Industry & Technology

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

Ars Technica - 7 min 48 sec ago

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, to attempt to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

The idea comes from Katie Harbath, Facebook’s global director of policy programs, who gave a talk at a conference of the National Association of Secretaries of State over the weekend. If an ad mentions a specific candidate, she said, then Facebook would mail a postcard to an American address, ostensibly to prove that the ad buyer was Stateside.

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

Ars Technica - 18 min 54 sec ago

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 - 27 min 2 sec ago

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

Ars Technica - 48 min 8 sec ago

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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Lucky Charms new unicorn marshmallow is a Twitter hit - CNET - News - 1 hour 2 min ago
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 - 1 hour 17 min ago

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 - 1 hour 17 min ago
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 - 1 hour 42 min ago
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 - 2 hours 17 min ago


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 - 2 hours 47 min ago
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 - 2 hours 47 min ago
You can theoretically "seed" snow in the atmosphere, but it's really hard to tell if it actually works.

Sorry, I can't hear you, the line's VoLTE

The Register - 2 hours 48 min ago
The path to all-IP calls is not smooth. Just ask EE

EE has improved the reliability of its voice calls after a bumpy transition to an all-IP mobile network, according to network sleuth RootMetrics.…

The Boring Company gets a permit to dig up Washington DC parking lot

Ars Technica - 2 hours 52 min ago

Enlarge / A view of the parking lot The Boring Company has permits to dig up (partially obscured by a tree, the parking lot on the left is for McDonald's). To the right is a mural that local cars editor Jonathan Gitlin hopes will not be destroyed. (credit: Google Streetview)

The city of Washington DC has approved a permit that will allow Elon Musk's Boring Company to dig up a parking lot just north of Capitol Hill and just east of downtown. The lot, at 53 New York Avenue NE, is on a busy street adjacent to a McDonald's, near the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

The Boring Company doesn't have permits to dig under any streets yet. But according to the LA Times, the city's Department of Transportation is working to find out what other kinds of permits the company would need to pass under city roads and public spaces.

The permit is an interesting step forward in a project that the Tesla and SpaceX CEO announced vaguely last July. At the time, Musk tweeted that he had "verbal government approval" to build a New York-DC Hyperloop tunnel, although it was unclear who had issued such approval. The Boring Company later commented that it was engaged in discussions with local, state, and federal officials to make the project happen. In October, the company received official approval from the state of Maryland to dig a 10.1-mile tunnel under the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway using a utility permit (which is generally easier for a state to grant). Still, additional permits would be required for any construction beyond that limited scope.

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The Porsche 911 Carrera T suggests that paying more and getting less can make sense - Roadshow - News - 3 hours 11 min ago
There may be some seemingly large omissions in the Porsche 911 Carrera T, like any kind of infotainment system or even rear seats, but less can definitely be more.

Opportunity knocked? Rover survives Martian winter, may not survive budget cuts

The Register - 3 hours 16 min ago
Long-lived robot throws 5,000 sol party. Beancounters not invited

As MER-B, better known as the Opportunity rover, passes the 5,000 sol mark on Mars and approaches the 15th anniversary of its launch (thankfully without the desolate rendition of "Happy Birthday" played by its plutonium-powered successor, Curiosity) it appears the knives are out at NASA.…

Flight-sim devs say hidden password-dump tool was used to fight pirates

Ars Technica - 3 hours 23 min ago

Enlarge / Installing this airliner in a popular flight-sim seems to have exposed computers to potential malware. (credit: FlightSimLabs)

The usually staid world of professional-grade flight simulations was rocked by controversy over the weekend, with fans accusing mod developer FlightSimLabs (FSLabs) of distributing "malware" with an add-on package for Lockheed Martin's popular Prepar3d simulation. The developer insists the hidden package was intended as an anti-piracy tool but has removed what it now acknowledges was a "heavy-handed" response to the threat of people stealing its add-on.

The controversy started Sunday when Reddit user crankyrecursion noticed that FSLabs' Airbus A320-X add-on package was setting off his antivirus scanner. FSLabs had already recommended users turn off their antivirus protection when installing the add-on, so this wasn't an isolated issue.

The reason for the warning, as crankyrecursion found, was that the installer seemed to be extracting a "test.exe" file that matched a "Chrome Password Dump" tool that can be found online. As the name implies, that tool appears to extract passwords saved in the Chrome Web browser—not something you'd expect to find in a flight-sim add-on. The fact that the installer necessarily needs to run with enhanced permissions increased the security threat from the "Password Dump."

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Big data fitness plan: What's the deal with DX?

The Register - 3 hours 27 min ago
Shaping up for transformation

Over the last few months people have stopped saying “digitalization” or “digital transformation” and abbreviating it “DX.” The industry is full of abbreviations and ephemeral jargon, and the most irritating part of this latest addition, for those of us in receiving end of the phrase “DX”, is they don’t know what “DX” means.…

Dark web paedophile Matthew Falder jailed for 32 years

BBC Technology News - 3 hours 37 min ago
Matthew Falder blackmailed victims into sending sexual images that he then shared on the dark web.

Aerojet says government asking it to invest too much in its own engine

Ars Technica - 3 hours 40 min ago

Enlarge / An artist's conception of the AR1 engine. (credit: Aerojet Rocketdyne)

The propulsion company Aerojet Rocketdyne, formed in 2013 by two of America's most storied rocket engine manufacturers, has been working a new engine, known as the AR1, since 2014. Almost from its outset, however, the AR1 has faced two primary questions: who would pay for its development, and who would use the new engine.

In recent years, Aerojet has sought funding from the US Air Force to design and build the AR1, which has approximately 20 percent more thrust than a space shuttle main engine. The Air Force, in turn, has pledged as much as $536 million in development costs provided that Aerojet puts its own skin in the game—about one-third of research and development expenses.

According to a new report in Space News, Aerojet is now saying that even this modest investment is too much, and the company is seeking to reduce its share of the development costs from one-third to one-sixth. “As we look to the next phase of this contract, we are working with the Air Force on a smart and equitable cost-share,” Aerojet spokesman Steve Warren told the publication. “We are committed to delivering an engine in 2019.”

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T'Challa rules: 'Black Panther' smashes box-office records - CNET - News - 3 hours 41 min ago
All hail the king: Marvel film is on track for a $218 million debut, destroying the previous record for a February opening.

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