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Staffsource: Ars staffers share their favorite books to get lost in this summer

Ars Technica - 4 hours 15 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on all the things you've been meaning to do—like get your to-be-read (TBR) pile down to a manageable size (if that's even possible). As the longer days with better weather beg you to venture outside and crack open your current read, we at Ars considered our recent favorite reads to compile this makeshift summer 2019 reading list.

These titles may not be what most would consider "summer reads." Scant few white-sand beaches and picture-perfect resorts fill these pages—but that doesn't make them any less escape-worthy. Whether they be space operas or true crime sagas, we consider a "summer" read to be a story that you can fully immerse yourself in, leaving work and other worries behind even just for a little while.

Regardless of whether you prefer reading physical books, e-books, or audiobooks, these recommendations will keep you wanting to read all summer long. Apologies in advance for adding to your already extensive TBR—but we think these books are worth it.

Read 62 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Guidemaster: Ars tests and picks the best e-readers for every budget

Ars Technica - 4 hours 16 min ago

Enlarge / The new Kindle Paperwhite. (credit: Valentina Palladino)

If you want to not only read more, but read better, an e-reader may be for you. Yes, it has become easy to find material to read and to get it on any of the numerous devices we have in our electronic arsenals—smartphones, tablets, computers, and the like. But even in a world full of versatile devices, e-readers are still favorites among dedicated readers open to getting their hands on e-books and digital publications in many ways. Ultimately, it may be freedom through limitation: E-readers help you focus on the reading rather than the distractions that are oh so easily accessible through other electronics.

But that's just one perk to having a dedicated reading device that either replaces or supplements your physical library. While e-reader technology hasn't radically changed much in the past few years, companies have updated their most popular e-readers recently to make them even more useful and competitive. One e-reader also doesn't look very different from the next, so it can be difficult to tell them apart—but trust the dedicated readers of Ars, there are notable differences within this product category.

Luckily, to help you decipher the world of e-readers ahead of any beaches, porches, or general down time that may await you this summer, Ars has been testing and tinkering. Today, these are the best devices for all kinds of readers.

Read 53 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Why a Windows flaw patched nine days ago is still spooking the Internet

Ars Technica - 4 hours 36 min ago

Enlarge / Artist's impression of a malicious hacker coding up a BlueKeep-based exploit. (credit: Getty Images / Bill Hinton)

It has been nine days since Microsoft patched the high-severity vulnerability known as BlueKeep, and yet the dire advisories about its potential to sow worldwide disruptions keep coming.

Until recently, there was little independent corroboration that exploits could spread virally from computer to computer in a way not seen since the WannaCry and NotPetya worms shut down computers worldwide in 2017. Some researchers felt Microsoft has been unusually tight-lipped with partners about this vulnerability, possibly out of concern that any details, despite everyone’s best efforts, might hasten the spread of working exploit code.

Until recently, researchers had to take Microsoft's word the vulnerability was severe. Then five researchers from security firm McAfee reported last Tuesday that they were able to exploit the vulnerability and gain remote code execution without any end-user interaction. The post affirmed that CVE-2019-0708, as the vulnerability is indexed, is every bit as critical as Microsoft said it was.

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DJI drones to come with plane detection

BBC Technology News - 4 hours 47 min ago
From January, new DJI drones will be able to detect nearby planes and helicopters.

Nintendo removes mobile games in Belgium

BBC Technology News - 4 hours 50 min ago
The two titles break local gambling laws that prohibit giving players random rewards in "loot boxes".

Serial publisher of Windows 0-days drops exploits for 2 more unfixed flaws

Ars Technica - 15 hours 20 min ago

Enlarge (credit: SandboxEscaper)

Update: One of the two exploits published on Wednesday has now been confirmed to exploit a Windows vulnerability that Microsoft patched in this month's Update Tuesday release cycle. The flaw involving the Windows Error Reporting service was previously described as CVE-2019-0863, Gal De Leon, the researcher Microsoft credited with discovering the vulnerability, said on Twitter. Researchers with "micropatching" service 0patch have confirmed that the other exploit published on Wednesday, an IE 11 sandbox bypass, does indeed work on a fully patched Windows 10 system.

The headline of this post has been changed to reflect this new information. What follows is the story as it appeared earlier, with the exception of the last paragraph, which has also been changed to reflect the new information.

A serial publisher of Microsoft zeroday vulnerabilities has dropped exploit code for three more unpatched flaws, marking the seventh time the unknown person has done so in the past year.

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Comic for May 22, 2019

Dilbert - 16 hours 1 min ago
Categories: Geek

Billion-year-old fossils may be early fungus

Ars Technica - 17 hours 49 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Loron, et. al.)

When did the first complex multicellular life arise? Most people, being a bit self-centered, would point to the Ediacaran and Cambrian, when the first animal life appeared and then diversified. Yet studies of DNA suggest that fungi may have originated far earlier than animals.

When it comes to a fossil record, however, things are rather sparse. No unambiguous evidence of a fungus appears in fossils until after the Cambrian was over. A few things from earlier may have looked fungus-like, but the evidence was limited to their appearance. It could be that fungi branched off at the time suggested by the DNA but didn't evolve complex, multicellular structures until later. Alternatively, the fossils could be right, and there's something off about the DNA data. Or, finally, it could be that we simply haven't found old enough fossils yet.

A new paper out in today's Nature argues strongly for the last option. In it, a small team of researchers describe fossils of what appear to be fungi that could be up to a billion years old. And the researchers back up the appearance with a chemical analysis.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Anti-abortion clinics that try to trick women face new Google ad policy

Ars Technica - May 22, 2019 - 10:38pm

Enlarge / MONTGOMERY, Ala. - MAY 19, 2019: A protestor dressed as a character from the Hulu TV show The Handmaid's Tale, based on the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood, walks back to her car after participating in a rally against one of the nation's most restrictive bans on abortions. (credit: Getty | Julie Bennett)

Google will roll out a policy next month to crack down on deceptive advertisements dealing with abortion—a topic rife with misleading and false health information.

The policy changes come amid backlash from a report in The Guardian saying that the tech giant granted $150,000 worth of free advertisements to The Obria Group, which runs a network of clinics across the United States that are funded by Catholic organizations. Obria's advertisements have suggested that the clinics (aka Crisis Pregnancy Centers) provide abortions and other medical services. But the clinics are in fact opposed to abortion and all forms of contraception, including condoms. According to The Guardian, the misleading advertisements are an attempt to bait "abortion-minded women" so that the clinics can then deter them from terminating their pregnancies.

To ostensibly address this problem, Google will now require all advertisers in the United States, Ireland, and the United Kingdom who run abortion-related ads to submit to a pre-certification. The process is intended to identify the types of services that the advertisers provide. All of their subsequent advertising will then be automatically and clearly labeled with either "Provides abortions" or "Does not provide abortions."

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments


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