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We're just one month away from the release of director James Wan's Aquaman, the first full-length feature film centered around Jason Momoa's Justice League superhero. Now the final trailer has dropped, with all the magical tridents, warrior princesses, and epic CGI battles you'd expect from a superhero movie about averting a mythological war between two very different worlds.
Aquaman first entered the DC Comics universe in a 1941 anthology and later turned into a solo comic book series. He was a founding member of the Justice League during the "Silver Age" of the 1950s and 1960s. But he was never among the most compelling superheroes in the DC stable, often serving as the butt of jokes because of his supposedly inferior super powers. Hey, telepathically communicating with fish is cool, right?
So there was some initial skepticism about introducing the character into DC's rebooted cinematic universe. Casting Momoa, who was so riveting as Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones' first season, was an inspired choice, and the initial artwork showing an Aquaman reimagined for the 21st century looked promising. For the reboot, DCEU wisely played down the talking-to-fish thing (it's more a form of telepathic compulsion) and focued instead on Aquaman's superhuman strength, ability to breathe underwater, super fast swimming, and so forth.
Attackers suspected of working for the Russian government masqueraded as a US State Department official in an attempt to infect dozens of organizations in government, military, defense contracting, media, and other industries, researchers from security firm FireEye warned on Monday.
The spear-phishing campaign began last Wednesday. This is almost exactly two years after the Russian hacking group known under a variety of monikers, including APT29 and Cozy Bear, sent a similar barrage of emails that targeted many of the same industries, FireEye said in a blog post. The tactics and techniques used in both post-election campaigns largely overlap, leading FireEye to suspect the new one is also the work of the Russian-government-controlled hacking arm. FireEye researchers Matthew Dunwoody, Andrew Thompson, Ben Withnell, Jonathan Leathery, Michael Matonis, and Nick Carr wrote:
Analysis of this activity is ongoing, but if the APT29 attribution is strengthened, it would be the first activity uncovered from this sophisticated group in at least a year. Given the widespread nature of the targeting, organizations that have previously been targeted by APT29 should take note of this activity. For network defenders, whether or not this activity was conducted by APT29 should be secondary to properly investigating the full scope of the intrusion, which is of critical importance if the elusive and deceptive APT29 operators indeed had access to your environment.“Secure” communications
At least 38 FireEye clients have been targeted so far in the spear-phishing campaign, Carr told Ars. The emails purport to deliver an official US State Department from a known public-affairs official at the same US agency. The messages were designed to appear as a secure communication that’s hosted on a webpage linked to the official’s personal drive. To further appear legitimate, the message delivers a legitimate State Department form.
A US appeals court ruling today said that cable companies do not have a First Amendment right to discriminate against minority-run TV channels.
Charter, the second-largest US cable company after Comcast, was sued in January 2016 by Byron Allen's Entertainment Studios Networks (ESN), which alleged that Charter violated the Civil Rights Act of 1866 by refusing to carry TV channels run by the African-American-owned ESN. Allen, a comedian and producer, founded ESN in 1993 and is its CEO; the lawsuit seeks more than $10 billion in damages from Charter.
Charter argued that the case should be dismissed, claiming that the First Amendment bars such claims because cable companies are allowed "editorial discretion." But Charter's motion to dismiss the case was denied by the US District Court for the Central District of California, and the District Court's denial was upheld unanimously today by a three-judge panel at the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
On Monday, NASA announced that it had chosen a landing spot for its upcoming Mars 2020 rover. The site (more or less at center here) is called Jezero Crater, and it contains a delta formed by flowing water. NASA says that landing in its difficult terrain requires new technology that allows increased steering in the atmosphere.
Mars 2020 will be based on the design of the Curiosity rover, which is currently operating in Gale Crater, but it will have a different suite of instruments. The mission will have two focuses: to give us a better perspective on whether Mars has ever hosted life and to cache rocks for a sample return mission.
The details of how to get rocks back off the Red Planet are still being worked out. But there has been a steadily growing body of evidence that Mars had large amounts of liquid water on its surface in the distant past, and Mars 2020 will be about sampling some of what that water left behind in order to determine if it could have hosted lifeforms similar to those on Earth.
Almost a year to the day after its tragic loss at sea, the Argentine Navy submarine ARA San Juan has been located. Using side-scan sonar and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), the crew of the oceanographic survey vessel Seabed Constructor found the lost sub in the bottom of an undersea ravine about 600 kilometers (approximately 375 miles) east of Comodoro Rivadavia in Argentina's Patagonia region. The submarine rests at a depth of 920 meters (more than 3,000 feet) below the surface of the South Atlantic—over three times its safe operating depth and well below the crush depth of the sub.
The San Juan was one of only two TR-1700 (or Santa Cruz) class submarines completed for the Argentine Navy by Thyssen Nordseewerke. Built in Germany, the San Juan was delivered in 1984 and underwent a major refit in 2014; other subs intended to be built for the class were put on hold or cancelled, with two unfinished subs cannibalized for parts. Much of the sub's mission in recent years was focused on surveillance operations in Argentina's exclusive economic zone in the South Atlantic, primarily to combat illegal fishing.
The announcement of the discovery came only two days after a memorial service held by family members of the crew and a day after the anniversary of the ship's loss. Recovery operations are pending, awaiting a decision by the Argentine government.
Last week's release of the Spyro Reignited Trilogy disappointed many, including deaf and hard-of-hearing gamers, by not including subtitles in the games' many spoken cut scenes. Now, Activision's justification for that decision is angering many for seeming insensitivity to the needs of the community.
An Activision spokesperson gave the following statement to British site GamePitt when asked about the issue (the company was not immediately available to respond to a request for comment from Ars Technica):
When Toys For Bob set out to make an awesome game collection, there were certain decisions that needed to be made throughout the process. The team remained committed to keep the integrity and legacy of Spyro that fans remembered intact. The game was built from the ground up using a new engine for the team (Unreal 4) and was localized in languages that had not previously been attempted by the studio. While there’s no industry standard for subtitles, the studio and Activision care about the fans' experience especially with respect to accessibility for people with different abilities, and will evaluate going forward.
As GameCritics' Brad Gallaway phrased it on Twitter, many are taking the statement as Activision "basically saying 'we evaluated whether it was worth the cost and effort to keep Deaf and HH players happy, and we decided that it wasn't.'"
Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share.
Hoo boy, is this a busy time for the Dealmaster. Although Black Friday is still a few days away, we're coming at you a day ahead of schedule this week, because several stores have already made a bunch of their deals available today. Right now, those include a PlayStation 4 and Spider-Man bundle for $200, $100 off Microsoft's Xbox One X, Amazon's new Fire TV Stick 4K streamer for $35, TV deals from Sony, LG, and Vizio, Samsung's Galaxy S9 for $520, and much more.
Frankly, the amount of time the Dealmaster has already spent staring at his laptop screen this week is unhealthy. But soldier on we must, since the discounts will only pick up as the week rolls on. Melodramatics aside, we've got a great assortment today, so have a look below and see if you can't get any holiday shopping done early.
How is Ryan Reynolds going to successfully transition from voicing the filthiest superhero of the past few years (Deadpool) to the fluffiest (Detective Pikachu)? The answer will arrive in theaters this December in a re-release we never saw coming: a PG-13 edit of Deadpool 2, complete with new scenes.
Once Upon a Deadpool arrives on December 12, only seven months after Deadpool 2's debut, but it appears to include just enough new content to entice series fans to hit theaters one more time. The biggest difference is an apparent storytelling wrapper starring none other than Fred Savage—who has been tied down by Deadpool and trapped in a Princess Bride-style bedroom. The timing of this announcement is certainly quite bittersweet, after fans mourned the loss of screenwriter William Goldman last week.
If virtual reality is ever going to become the immersive, holodeck-style platform that we all dream of, someone is going to have to figure out locomotion. Today, you can strap on a Vive or Oculus headset and more or less be visually transported to a virtual world, but the reality of, well, reality, means you can usually only take a few steps before you bump into your coffee table.
So far, we've seen a few solutions that take aim at VR's "limited space" problem. On the simpler side of the spectrum, one option has you stick a motion tracker in your pants and jog in place. On the more complicated end, there's the "VR treadmill" solution, which has you strap into a big plastic platform that keeps you in place with slippery footwear and a waist harness. Neither option is quite the same as natural walking, but a new patent from Google puts forth an interesting idea: what about motorized VR shoes?
Check out the aerial footage of bicyclists competing in the annual Tour de France and you'll notice that riders tend to spontaneously group themselves into a diamond-shaped pattern. Jesse Belden, a researcher at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, says such patterns emerge because riders are trying to stay close to their competitors while avoiding collisions.
Belden, an avid cyclist himself, described his work at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta, Georgia. While watching coverage of the Tour de France, especially the aerial footage, he became fascinated by the formations of the group of cyclists. They resembled flocks of starlings or schools of fish—both examples of so-called "collective behavior" in nature. And he found himself wondering how one might model the behavior of riders in a peloton.
The study of swarming and other collective behavior in animals is a booming field, with scientists studying the group dynamics of murmurations of starlings, ubiquities of sparrows, swarms of midges, armies of fire ants, and schools of fish, among other examples in nature. The aim is to better understand the underlying mechanisms, with an eye toward identifying possible universal laws governing such behavior—a task made more difficult by the fact that there are slightly different mechanisms behind the collective behavior of each of the aforementioned groups.
Every major cryptocurrency was down sharply on Monday morning, with many hitting levels not seen since 2017.
Bitcoin fell below $5,100, a low not seen since October 2017. Ethereum's currency, ether, fell below $155—down 25 percent over the last week. Ether's value hasn't been this low since July 2017.
The weekend's losses are a continuation of last week's selloff.
The first entry in our holiday gift guide dealt with gear your loved ones could use on the go. In contrast, today's edition centers all on tech that's more suited for the house—be it gadgets for improving a desk setup or an A/V upgrade for the living room. Like with all our guides, we've put in a year's worth of testing in order to make a handful of recommendations that may actually delight or prove useful to your favorite people. Have a look for yourself below.
Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.Creative Pebble
For the first time, Virgin Orbit has strapped its 21-meter rocket to a modified 747 aircraft and taken to the skies. The company performed this "captive-carry" test flight on Sunday in Victorville, located to the northeast of Los Angeles.
“The vehicles flew like a dream today,” Virgin Orbit Chief Pilot Kelly Latimer said in a news release. “Everyone on the flight crew and all of our colleagues on the ground were extremely happy with the data we saw from the instruments on-board the aircraft, in the pylon, and on the rocket itself. From my perspective in the cockpit, the vehicles handled incredibly well, and perfectly matched what we’ve trained for in the simulators.”
In an interview with Axios on HBO, Apple CEO Tim Cook explained the decision to use Google as the default search engine on Apple products. This decision has baffled some, considering Google's business model of making money off of users' data—something Apple has spoken out against numerous times.
"I think their search engine is the best," Cook said in the interview. He followed up by diving into privacy features Apple has implemented in its Safari browser.
"Look at what we've done with the controls we've built in," Cook stated. "We have private Web browsing. We have an intelligent tracker prevention. What we've tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day. It's not a perfect thing. I'd be the very first person to say that. But it goes a long way to helping."
Nearly two years have passed since the Federal Communications Commission reported on whether broadband customers are getting the Internet speeds they pay for.
In 2011, the Obama-era FCC began measuring broadband speeds in nearly 7,000 consumer homes as part of the then-new Measuring Broadband America program. Each year from 2011 to 2016, the FCC released an annual report comparing the actual speeds customers received to the advertised speeds customers were promised by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, AT&T, and other large ISPs.
But the FCC hasn't released any new Measuring Broadband America reports since Republican Ajit Pai became the commission chairman in January 2017. Pai's first year as chair was the first time the FCC failed to issue a new Measuring Broadband America report since the program started—though the FCC could release a new report before his second year as chair is complete.
Daniel Rigmaiden wants the world to know that, while CNBC's American Greed television show may have portrayed him more than two years ago as a "hacker," a "recluse," and more, he is none of those things.
Earlier this year, Rigmaiden sued NBCUniversal, CNBC's parent company, and an Arizona Republic journalist shown in that episode, accusing them all of defamation.
Rigmaiden wants unspecified damages and also a permanent injunction that would stop further distribution of the episode, which is currently available on Amazon Video for $2.99.
The ability to rapidly shrink down to bug size (and beyond) gives Ant-Man and the Wasp tremendous advantages. But it also comes with some scale-related drawbacks, most notably, more difficulty breathing. Trick out their suits with insect-inspired microscale air pumps, compressors, and molecule filters, combined with the fictional "Pym particle" technology, et voila! Problem solved.
Anne Staples, a bioengineer at Virginia Tech, and her graduate student Max Mikel-Stites first outlined the respiratory difficulties Ant-Man and the Wasp would likely face while insect-sized in a paper published this summer in the fledgling journal Superhero Science and Technology. (Can I just say how delighted I am that this journal exists?) The group researches respiration at the microscale, using insects as models. They described their work at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Atlanta, Georgia.
Mikel-Stites, a fan of the Marvel cinematic universe, was stoked for Ant-Man and the Wasp's release. So one day in the lab last spring, the conversation naturally turned to how difficult it would be for the superheroes to breathe when insect-sized. "Applying that perspective to Ant-Man and the Wasp seemed like a straightforward thing to do," says Mikel-Stites, who admits to being a bit nitpicky when it comes to science in the movies. And he couldn't stop thinking about the breathing problems that our superheroes would inevitably face.
A company called Energy Vault has proposed a new utility-scale battery that is both old and new at the same time. The "battery" is mechanical, rather than chemical, and stores energy much like pumped hydro does, but it does it with bricks.
If you're not familiar with pumped hydro, it works like this. The system pumps water from a lower elevation to a higher elevation when electricity is plentiful and cheap. When electricity becomes more expensive, operators release that water through a hydroelectric turbine to give the grid some extra juice. Similarly, Energy Vault wants to build a system of six cranes, which will electrically stack heavy bricks into a tower when electricity is cheap and plentiful. When electricity becomes more scarce and expensive, the cranes will release each brick and harvest the energy from their fall.
This system solves an important problem inherent to pumped hydro: it requires a pretty specific kind of topography and often causes environmental concerns.
You might not think of giant impact craters as being particularly subtle or in any way capable of hiding from us. If so, you’ll be surprised by the discovery, announced this week, of a 31-kilometer- (19-mile-) wide crater we didn’t know existed.
Let’s get the important questions out of the way—no, the crater isn’t home to a Godzilla or some Lovecraftian horror. It’s filled with ice. And that’s how it escaped our notice for so long.
The crater lies beneath Hiawatha Glacier in northwestern Greenland. One of the tools researchers use to monitor the shrinking of the Greenland Ice Sheet is airborne radar surveys. The resulting high-resolution data shows the shape of the ice sheet’s surface, some of its internal layering, and even the bedrock below. In this case, it revealed a suspiciously circular depression in the ice near the glacier’s edge.
An evil genius in a wheelchair and a psychotic serial killer with superhuman abilities join forces to escape from a mental institution in the new TV spot for Glass—the third and final installment in what has become known as Director M. Night Shyamalan's "Unbreakable trilogy." The trilogy brings together characters from his 2000 film Unbreakable and his 2016 box-office hit, Split.
(Spoilers for Unbreakable and Split below.)
Unbreakable tells the story of a security guard named David Dunn (Bruce Willis). Dunn is the sole survivor of a horrific train crash who draws the attention of a wheelchair-bound comic-book art dealer named Elijah Price (Samuel Jackson). Price, who has a genius-level IQ, suffers from a rare disease that gives him very fragile, easily fractured bones. He has become convinced that he must have an opposite "unbreakable" counterpart; he thinks Dunn might be that man.