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Apple closes two Dallas stores in apparent bid to ward off patent trolls

Ars Technica - 4 hours 41 min ago

Enlarge / Apple's new store will be at the Galleria Dallas. In addition to being a beautiful mall, it's also outside the reach of the notoriously patent-friendly Eastern District of Texas. (credit: jinjian liang / Flickr)

Apple is closing two Apple stores in the northern suburbs of Dallas in an apparent bid to ward off litigation from patent trolls. The stores are in the Eastern District of Texas, a federal court jurisdiction notorious for its friendliness to patent holders. As Joe Rossignol at MacRumors points out, closing the two stores will make it easier for Apple to resist being dragged into Eastern District courtrooms in patent cases.

Apple confirmed the closings in a statement to TechCrunch, though the company didn't say whether the move was patent-related.

The Eastern District wraps around to the North of Dallas, covering Dallas suburbs like Plano and Frisco. Apple currently operates two stores north of Dallas that fall into the Eastern District: Apple Willow Bend and Apple Stonebriar.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments

This strange “paint disease” is putting Georgia O’Keeffe paintings at risk

Ars Technica - 5 hours 41 min ago

Enlarge / Dale Kronkright (left), head of conservation at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, uses a handy new imaging tool to study "acne" on O'Keeffe's Ritz Tower. Northwestern University's Oliver Cossairt (right) developed the tool. (credit: YouTube/Northwestern University)

The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico, houses some 140 oil paintings by the iconic American artist, along with thousands of additional works from O'Keeffe's prolific career. But the oil paintings have been developing tiny pin-sized blisters, almost like acne, for decades. Conservationists and scholars initially assumed they were grains of sand trapped in the paint. But then the protrusions grew, spread, and started flaking off, leading to mounting concern.

Now an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Northwestern University is studying this mysterious "paint disease," using a low-cost, portable tool that allows the scientists to image the surface of the paintings quickly and easily with a smartphone or a tablet. They demonstrated the new technique last week at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Washington, DC.

This "paint disease" isn't limited to O'Keeffe's oeuvre. Conservators have found similar deterioration in oil-based masterpieces across all time periods, including works by Rembrandt. Chemists concluded that the blisters are actually metal carboxylate soaps, the result of a chemical reaction between metal ions in the lead and zinc pigments and fatty acids in the binding medium used in the paint. The soaps start to clump together to form the blisters and migrate through the paint film. "They can form exudates on the surface, which obscure the painting itself, creating an insoluble film, or an effect of transparency, so you can look through those layers, which was not the intention of the artist," said Marc Walton of Northwestern University, who co-led the study.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Fallout: Wasteland Warfare: A “rad” miniatures game full of Nuka-Cola flavor

Ars Technica - 6 hours 41 min ago

Enlarge / Mutants defending their camp.

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

After going decades without a proper Fallout tabletop title, we’ve now been graced with two quality releases in the span of a little more than a year. While Fantasy Flight’s offering is a narrative adventure game about roaming the wasteland, Modiphius’ new Wasteland Warfare is a miniatures skirmish design that features grizzled war bands clashing in harrowing environments. (Think Warhammer, but we swap Space Marines for the Brotherhood of Steel and Orks for Super Mutants.) At the risk of making you cringe, I’ll say it: the game is pretty rad.

Because this is a true miniatures game, it requires some work. The two-player starter set comes with pre-assembled plastic miniatures, but expansion figures are multi-part and will require assembly. You will fight with 6-12 of these figures over the stretch of an hour or two, and you will need to supply your own terrain for the brutes to battle over. It’s a commitment, as these games tend to be, but one that promises a deep and immersive experience in return.

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

$100K Mario seller: “It’s probably the wrong move, long term, to sell”

Ars Technica - 7 hours 12 min ago

Enlarge / Ba-ding! (credit: Aurich)

Last week, a copy of the first printing of Super Mario Bros. in pristine condition sold for just over $100,000. This week, the collector who sold that gem told Ars that he's been preparing for this moment for years.

The seller—who asked to remain anonymous to protect his privacy but goes by the handle Bronty online—told Ars he didn't even have an NES growing up. He just played games like Super Mario Bros. at a friend's house. But around 2002, at age 27, Bronty was gripped by a desire to once again play the NES games he hadn't thought about for well over a decade.

A quick trip to eBay got him his nostalgic gaming fix and sparked an interest in a new hobby that fewer people were paying attention to at the time. "Having already been a comic collector for many years, I had an interest in collecting in general," Bronty told Ars. "I started thinking, 'Would this be an interesting thing to collect?'"

Read 44 remaining paragraphs | Comments

The triumphant rediscovery of the biggest bee on Earth

Ars Technica - 7 hours 44 min ago

Enlarge / Wallace's Giant Bee next to a honeybee for scale. (credit: Clay Bolt)

For security reasons, I can’t tell you exactly where Clay Bolt rediscovered Wallace’s giant bee. But I can tell you this. With a wingspan of two and a half inches, the Goliath is four times bigger than a European honeybee. Very much unlike its honey-manufacturing cousin, it’s got enormous jaws, more like those of the famous stag beetle. And it lives not in nests with thousands of family members but largely alone in burrows in termite mounds, a tubular home it coats with waterproof resin.

Last month, Bolt and his colleagues were on a miserable slog through the rain on an Indonesian Island That Shall Not Be Named, searching for termite mounds in trees, the last place a scientist spotted the superlative species of bee nearly 40 years ago. Sometimes they’d sit under a tree with a pair of binoculars for 20 minutes, watching for the distinctive movements that would reveal a bee in a mound way up high. For mounds closer to the ground, they’d scramble up for a closer look.

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Lessons From Six Software Rewrite Stories

Slashdot - 10 hours 57 min ago
Categories: Geek, Opinion

Dragon aces final NASA review, now set for test flight on March 2

Ars Technica - 19 hours 31 min ago

Enlarge / It is nearly time for crewed flights on SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. (credit: SpaceX)

On Friday, key NASA officials gathered in a large meeting room at Kennedy Space Center. Here, for decades, NASA managers have reviewed analyses about the next space shuttle mission and, more often than not, cleared the vehicle for launch. But after 2011, there were no more crew vehicles to review.

That changed this week when NASA convened a "flight readiness review" for the initial test flight of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft, without people aboard. By Friday evening, the meeting was over and, among the NASA and SpaceX officials, the verdict was in—Dragon was ready for its demonstration mission as part of the commercial crew program on March 2. Launch time for the Falcon 9 rocket is 2:48am ET (07:48 UTC), from Kennedy Space Center. "I'm ready to fly," NASA's commercial crew program manager, Kathy Lueders, said succinctly.

The mood was ebullient among NASA leadership as well as SpaceX's top official on the scene, Hans Koenigsmann, the company's vice president of build and flight reliability. He, too, had participated in the flight readiness review in the storied room where so many shuttle meetings had been held. "It was a really big deal for SpaceX, and me personally," he said.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

NHS told to ditch 'outdated' pagers

BBC Technology News - 20 hours 36 sec ago
The health secretary wants to scrap the “archaic technology” which costs the NHS about £6.6m a year.

Comic for February 22, 2019

Dilbert - 20 hours 42 min ago
Categories: Geek

Nike app for self-tying shoe comes undone

BBC Technology News - February 22, 2019 - 11:49pm
The Google Android app that controls the new Adapt BB fails to sync with wearers' feet.

Facebook Will Shut Down Its Spyware VPN App Onavo

Slashdot - February 22, 2019 - 11:45pm
Categories: Geek, Opinion

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