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Industry & Technology

Sham news sites make big bucks from fake views

BBC Technology News - November 30, 2019 - 1:50am
Websites that copy news stories from legitimate sites are making money from Google and Amazon ads.

Dealmaster: The best Black Friday gaming deals for PS4, Switch, and Xbox

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 7:22pm

Enlarge / The Nintendo Switch. (credit: Photo Illustration by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Today is Black Friday, and that means a lot of video game deals. While the annual shopping event is still filled with offers that push mediocre products or prices that aren't particularly low, many of the gaming deals the Dealmaster has found across various retailers are genuinely worth your time.

On the PlayStation side of things, that includes $100 off the 4K-ready PlayStation 4 Pro, with the standalone console and a bundle that includes Call of Duty: Modern Warfare currently down to $299. The standard "Slim" PS4, meanwhile, is down to $199; that's about $80-100 off where we normally see it online, but Sony is packaging God of WarHorizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition, and The Last of Us: Remastered with the console as part of its holiday season bundle. For context, those three games usually sit in the $10-20 range these days. (All of them are also pretty good, if you haven't tried them already.) This deal does appear to be running out of stock pretty quickly, though.

A bundle of the company's PlayStation VR headset that includes two games and two PlayStation Move motion controllers is also discounted to $250. That's roughly a $100 discount and about as low as we see it at major retailers. An additional bundle that included five games but no Move controllers was available for $200 earlier this week, but that unfortunately looks to be out of stock at major retailers on Black Friday itself.

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Dealmaster: All the Apple devices worth buying at Black Friday prices

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 5:30pm

Enlarge / The 2019, seventh-generation iPad with a 10.2-inch display. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Apple devices are constantly in high demand, and they rarely go on sale. But for Black Friday 2019, a number of retailers have sales and discounts on some of the most popular Apple products.

Let's start with Apple's wireless earbuds—AirPods are now $139 at Amazon, and that includes the standard charging case. These are the second-generation AirPods and the regular charging case; the optional wireless charging case is available separately at its regular price of $79. AirPods were down to $129 a few hours ago, but that deal appears to have expired. Regardless, this AirPods bundle gives you the essentials at a good sale price.

The new AirPods Pro are also on sale today—now you can get the new and improved earbuds for $234.98, which is about $15 off their regular price of $250. These are the in-ear version of the original AirPods, which could make them more comfortable for those who found the shape of AirPods less than ideal. AirPods Pro use the same H1 chip found in second-gen AirPods to pair with Apple devices, but they have active noise cancellation and "transparency mode," features that the original AirPods do not have. The former mode blocks out ambient noise, while the latter mode lets in some external sound so it's easier to hear others around you.

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Election polls aren’t broken, but they still can’t predict the future

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 4:00pm

Enlarge / Stickers await residents who vote at the Parks and Recreation Center building on August 14, 2018, in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. (credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In the days before the 2016 US presidential election, nearly every national poll put Hillary Clinton ahead of Donald Trump—up by 3%, on average. FiveThirtyEight’s predictive statistical model—based on data from state and national voter polls—gave Clinton a 71.4% chance of victory. The New York Times’ model put the odds at 85%.

Trump’s subsequent win shocked the nation. Pundits and pollsters wondered: How could the polls have been so wrong?

Trump-Clinton isn’t the only example of a recent electoral surprise. Around the world, including in the 2015 United Kingdom election, the 2015 Brexit referendum, the 2015 Israeli election, and the 2019 Australian election, results have clashed with preelection polls.

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Rise of comic book piracy 'a real problem'

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 2:41pm
Comic book creators search for ways to combat the rise of illegal digital sharing of their work.

Half an operating system: The triumph and tragedy of OS/2

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 2:34pm

Update: It's the day after Thanksgiving in the US, meaning most Ars staffers are on the lookout for deals rather than potential stories. With folks off for the holiday, we're resurfacing this consumer tech classic from the archives—a look at why we're not all trying to buy an IBM PS/10 today and updating to OS/12, perhaps. This story first ran in November 2013, and it appears unchanged below.

It was a cloudy Seattle day in late 1980, and Bill Gates, the young chairman of a tiny company called Microsoft, had an appointment with IBM that would shape the destiny of the industry for decades to come.

He went into a room full of IBM lawyers, all dressed in immaculately tailored suits. Bill’s suit was rumpled and ill-fitting, but it didn’t matter. He wasn’t here to win a fashion competition.

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Dealmaster: All the best Black Friday 2019 tech deals we can find

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 2:10pm

Enlarge (credit: Ars Technica)

Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back with another round of discounts to share—and, well, it's the big one. While the holiday sales have been steadily trickling in over the past few weeks, it's now Black Friday, and that means the floodgates are officially open for tech deals across the Web.

Now, as is often the case with major shopping events like this, the majority of the offers retailers are pushing don't totally hold up. Sometimes the prices aren't much lower than you'll see at other points in the year, and other times the products aren't worth buying in the first place. (If there's a product you're interested in but don't see below, we recommend using a price-tracking site to ensure you're not overpaying.) But with lots of consumer tech, Black Friday and Cyber Monday often do result in the lowest prices of the year. With that in mind, the Dealmaster has been burning the midnight oil to find the Black Friday tech deals that are most worth considering. You can find the fruits of his labor below.

There are simply too many notable deals going on now to give a quick recap here, but we've called out a few of our favorite offers based on testing the Dealmaster and the rest of the Ars team has done in the past. There's a truckload of discounts on video games, PC gear, headphones, TVs, streaming devices, and more alongside that. We'll do our best to update this roundup as deals expire and new ones become available, but for now, let's try to make your holiday shopping a little less hectic.

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Spying tools website taken down after UK raids

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 2:06pm
International police have arrested 14 people who may have sold or used the cyber-spying tools.

Rocket Report: Cornwall locals protest spaceport, China’s toxic rocket problem

Ars Technica - November 29, 2019 - 1:00pm

Enlarge / The Rocket Report is published weekly. (credit: Arianespace)

Welcome to Edition 2.24 of the Rocket Report! We have a shorter report this week due to the American holiday of Thanksgiving. But don't worry, there is still plenty of interesting news from the world of lift—from strong anti-spaceport protests in England to continued problem with toxic rocket stages falling on people in China.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

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Deadline for UK drone registration approaches

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 7:50am
Drone owners in the UK must register them by the end of Friday or face a £1,000 fine.

Jet suit man flies off Royal Navy ship and other news

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 1:17am
BBC Click's Lara Lewington looks at some of the week's best technology news stories.

Amazon: What does 'peak season' mean for employees?

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 1:14am
The technology company is resisting calls for its staff to join unions, but do they need to?

What happens inside a fridge recycling plant

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 1:09am
What happens to your old fridge when it's time to replace it, the BBC's Dougal Shaw reports.

How to make phone batteries that last longer

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 1:08am
A breakthrough in battery technology would be an engineering triumph and spur to other technologies.

Goo Hara and the trauma of South Korea's spy cam victims

BBC Technology News - November 29, 2019 - 12:55am
Goo Hara's death shows it's often the victims of spy cams who are punished the most.

General election 2019: BBC complains to Tories over Facebook advert

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 11:25pm
BBC lawyers ask the Tories to stop running a Facebook advert using edited footage of its reporters.

Teaching children to build satellites in school

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 7:40pm
South African start-up XinaBox is teaching children to build satellites using a modular chip.

Blocked TikToker: I don't believe app's explanation for device ban

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 5:42pm
The maker of a video accusing China of abuse of the Uighurs rejects TikTok's explanation for blocking her.

Apple removes designer Ive from leadership page

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 4:23pm
The former design head is deleted from Apple's web page, ending speculation about his departure date.

That time Benjamin Franklin tried (and failed) to electrocute a turkey

Ars Technica - November 28, 2019 - 3:40pm

Enlarge / In December 1750, Benjamin Franklin theorized that electricity could be used to tenderize meat, and tried to electrocute a turkey to prove it. (credit: YouTube/HistoryPod)

In households across the United States today, people are busily preparing the traditional turkey for their Thanksgiving feast—usually in an oven, although more adventurous souls might risk personal injury and opt for a deep-frying method. But when it comes to risky cooking methods, Benjamin Franklin has them beat. The Founding Father once infamously electrocuted himself while trying to kill a turkey with electricity.

Franklin's explorations into electricity began as he was approaching 40, after he'd already had a thriving career as an entrepreneur in the printing business. His scientific interest was piqued in 1743, when he saw a demonstration by scientist/showman Archibald Spencer, known for performing a variety of amusing parlor tricks involving electricity. He soon struck up a correspondence with a British botanist named Peter Collinson and began reproducing some of Spencer's impressive parlor tricks in his own home. "I was never before engaged in any study that so totally engrossed my attention and my time," he confessed to Collinson in one letter.

Guests at Franklin's home were frequently recruited for his experiments and practical jokes. For instance, he would have guests rub a tube to create static and then had them kiss, producing an electrical shock. He designed a fake spider suspended by two electrified wires, so that it seemed to swing back and forth of its own accord. And he devised a game dubbed "Treason," whereby he wired up a portrait of King George so that anyone who touched the monarch's crown would receive a shock. ("If a ring of persons take a shock among them, the experiment is called the Conspiracy," he wrote.)

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