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Industry & Technology

“Out poked two antennae”—crafting an insect-based dinner party

Ars Technica - November 28, 2019 - 2:51pm

This is the same feeling all those Blue Apron customers get, right? (credit: Jason Plautz)

Update: It's Thanksgiving in the US, meaning most Ars staffers are working on mashed potatoes and only mashed potatoes today. With folks off for the holiday, we're resurfacing this culinary classic from the archives—a look at a true evening of entomological entertaining. This story first ran in May 2016, and it appears unchanged below.

The boxes at my door were plastered with red drawings of bugs and the blunt warning: “Live Insects.” I could hear audible scratching and shuffling—and even what I thought was an errant “chirp”—as I placed them on my kitchen counter.

I slowly opened the first lid. Out poked two antennae, followed by the head of a cricket. I lifted the lid higher and saw dozens of them hopping around. Inside the second box, a thousand mealworms wriggled over an egg crate.

Read 70 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Ukrainians condemn Apple's Crimea map change

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 1:36pm
Politicians and bloggers are outraged after the firm agrees to show Crimea as a Russian territory.

Twitter: 'My boyfriend died but I still like to read his tweets'

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 12:01pm
Adam Parker says it's "good news" that Twitter is going to create a way to memorialise accounts.

General election 2019: Why we all see politics differently on social media

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 7:27am
Why our digital life means political campaigners target us in ways we might not realise.

India may cite Whatsapp row to store data locally

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 7:06am
India is reportedly citing a major WhatsApp breach to make a further case for data localisation.

Feroza Aziz: I'm not scared of TikTok

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 5:30am
TikTok has apologised to Feroza Aziz who was blocked after criticising China's treatment of Uighurs.

Dealmaster: More Black Friday deals are now live, including AirPods for $129 [Update]

Ars Technica - November 28, 2019 - 4:03am

Enlarge / Apple's AirPods.

Update 2, 11/28 6:30PM ET: Amazon is now matching Walmart's AirPods deal, bringing the headphones down to $129 as well.

Update, 11/27 11:10PM ET: The two Apple deals highlighted below appear to be going in and out of stock at Walmart. If the $129 AirPods offer runs dry for good, we'll note that the headphones are currently available for $5 more at Amazon and other retailers. There are several other good Black Friday deals that just went live beyond that—check them out below.

Original story

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TikTok apologises and reinstates banned US teen

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 1:46am
Feroza Aziz tells BBC she will continue to spread awareness of issues that "need to be talked about".

Netflix 'reactivated' users without permission

BBC Technology News - November 28, 2019 - 1:19am
Some former Netflix customers are being charged subscription fees, months after closing their accounts.

MediaTek and Intel team up to bring 5G networking to laptops and PCs

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 10:40pm

Enlarge / The new partnership will be Mediatek's first venture out of the ARM world and into x86. (credit: MediaTek)

In April of this year, Intel cancelled its 5G-modem building plans. This week, it's announcing that they're back on the table—but this time, with system-on-chip vendor MediaTek building the hardware.

The partnership has Intel setting the 5G specifications, MediaTek developing the modem to match, and Intel optimizing and validating it afterwards. Intel will also lend its marketing and integration muscle to convince OEMs to use the new hardware and help them make sure it works well in final products. This also means Intel will be writing operating-system-level drivers for the modems.

The partnership looks like a sensible one for both parties: Intel has been struggling to get its own 10nm hardware out the door on time, so getting this hardware design task off its plate may relieve some pressure there, while still keeping the company in an emerging market. MediaTek, on the other hand, can definitely benefit from Intel's software development expertise and deep integration with OEM vendors in the PC space.

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CT scans confirm 17th-century medical mannikins are mostly made of ivory

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 10:15pm

Enlarge / An ivory manikin after removal of the abdominal and chest wall, ribs, and part of the uterus. Internal organs such as the lungs, intestines, as well as a fetus inside the uterus are visible. (credit: F.R. Schwartz/Duke University/RSNA)

Researchers at Duke University have completed digital scans of small medical manikins and identified the materials used to make them. They will be presenting their findings next week at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago.

These are not the department-store mannequins familiar to most of us today. Rather, they are tiny, intricately carved anatomical figurines dating back centuries. According to the New York Academy of Medicine, there was an explosion of interest in three-dimensional anatomical models in the mid-16th century, typically made of wax molds or carved from wood or ivory. The manikins likely emerged as a result of this trend. Scholars have pegged their origins to Germany in the late 1600s or early 1700s, possibly created in the Nuremberg workshop of sculptor Stephan Zick, known for his ivory models of human ears and eyeballs.

The figurines measure between 12 to 24 centimeters (4 to 9 inches) and have movable arms. The torso has a lid that can be removed to reveal tiny, intricately carved organs within the cavity. The removable organs include lungs, heart, intestines, bladder, kidneys, stomach, liver, and pancreas. There are some male and female pairs, but most of the manikins are pregnant female figures, with a tiny carved fetus attached to the uterus with a red cord.

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UN report card: Carbon-emissions cuts are way behind schedule

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 9:40pm

Enlarge (credit: UNEP)

While the world's nations have been in agreement for some time that we should limit global warming to no more than 2°C (or even 1.5°C), action has fallen short of ambition. As such, this week saw the 10th annual UN Emissions Gap Report—an update on the gap between our current greenhouse gas emissions and the cuts that would set us up to meet those goals.

When someone who is trying to lose weight steps on a scale and sees a higher number than yesterday, it's not very encouraging. That's where we find ourselves. The report puts 2018 human-caused greenhouse gas emissions at the equivalent of 55.3 billion tons of CO2—our highest yet. (This method combines all greenhouse gases into one number.)

The factors driving a country's emissions can be described by GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the energy used per unit of GDP, and the greenhouse gas emitted per unit energy. The wealthiest (OECD) nations are averaging about 2% economic growth, while the rest of the world is averaging 4.5%. Those two categories of nations are reducing energy per unit GDP at about the same rate, so energy use barely increased among the wealthiest nations but increased 2.8% among the others. As a result, much of the recent increase in emissions has obviously come from developing economies.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Hacker’s paradise: Louisiana’s ransomware disaster far from over

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 8:20pm

Enlarge / Louisiana State Capitol, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at dusk. (credit: Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Louisiana has brought some of its services back as it recovers from a targeted ransomware attack using the Ryuk malware on November 18. The state's Office of Motor Vehicles re-opened offices on Monday in a limited fashion. But OMV and other agencies affected—including the state's Department of Health and Department of Public Safety—are facing a number of potential hurdles to restoring all services, according to people familiar with Louisiana's IT operations.

The ransomware payload was apparently spread across agencies by exploiting Microsoft Windows group policy objects—meaning that the attackers had gained access to administrative privileges across multiple Active Directory domains. This is symptomatic of TrickBot malware attacks, which uses GPOs and PsExec (a Microsoft remote administration tool) to spread its payload.

This is the second major cybersecurity incident this year in Louisiana tied to Ryuk ransomware. In July, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and deployed the state's cyber response team to assist seven parish school districts. There have been many other Ryuk attacks this year that have used TrickBot and, in some cases, the Emotet trojan—an attack referred to by some experts as a "Triple Threat" commodity malware attack. At least two Florida cities and Georgia's Judicial Counsel and Administrative Office of the Courts were also hit by "Triple Threat" attacks.

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Galaxy S11+ renders show off world’s most disorganized camera array

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 8:03pm

OnLeaks showed off renders of the Galaxy S11 a few days ago, and now he has teamed up with CashKaro to show off renders of Samsung's bigger phone, the Galaxy S11+. As usual, these are unofficial renders, but they're based on CAD drawings, and in the past they've been very accurate.

You'd normally expect the Galaxy S11+ to look just like the Galaxy S11 that was shown off earlier, but Samsung is doing something, uh, special, for the camera bump on this bigger model. Not only is it one of the biggest camera bumps of all time, housing a whopping five camera lenses, it also has a totally wild, disorganized design: nothing is horizontally or vertically aligned with anything else. The camera lenses, flash, and sensors are just kind of randomly distributed around the camera bump area. It certainly looks unique, but I'm not sure that's "unique" in a good way.

The only caveat with these renders is that the report says the placement of the LED flash is "still not confirmed," but it sounds like the cameras are going in their random positions.

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Netflix cancels its Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 7:50pm

Enlarge / Mystery Science Theater 3000. (credit: Mystery Science Theater 3000)

Netflix will not produce a third season of its Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival, according to a series of tweets from the show's star, Jonah Ray Rodrigues.

The text of his Twitter thread follows:

So, Netflix decided to not do another season of MST3K. We are off to Get Down in Lilyhammer while the OA helps us take it One Day At A Time. We will be in group therapy with Tuca & Bertie, Jessica Jones, & Lady Dynamite. The sessions will be run by Gypsy (w/ Naomi Watts.) thread

We don't know what the future holds for the show, it always seemed to figure out how to survive. From Comedy Central to SyFy. Then kept alive by RIFFTRAX & Cinematic Titanic. whatever happens, I want everybody to know that getting a chance to be on this show was a dream come true

Getting to work with old friends while making new ones was a gift I didn't take lightly. Collaborating with heroes from my childhood is something I'll never stop beaming about.

So, Thank you Joel & especially all the MSTies who embraced me as a mug in a (yellow) jumpsuit. I know it wasn't easy accepting a new guy, so I appreciate the warmth.

This is the fourth time in the series' history that it has been canceled in one way or another. Fans have repeatedly rallied to bring it back on new networks or, in some cases, in totally new formats and spinoffs like RiffTrax. Also on Twitter, MST3K creator Joel Hodgson said, "It's not the end of MST3K, It's just the end of the first chapter of bringing back MST3K."

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State ignored worker death to lure Amazon business, report says

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 7:30pm

Enlarge / The Amazon logo at the entrance of a logistics center in France, July 2019. (credit: Denis Charlet | AFP | Getty )

Reports of poor and unsafe working conditions within Amazon's sprawling web of warehouses have been surfacing for years. A new report alleges that not only did conditions in one Indiana warehouse lead to a worker's death in 2017 but also that state authorities manipulated a report on the matter in a futile attempt to bring Amazon's much-vaunted "HQ2" to town.

Amazon worker Phillip Lee Terry was crushed and killed in September 2017 while performing maintenance on a forklift at Amazon's Plainfield, Illinois, fulfillment center, according to a recent report from the Center for Investigative Reporting. While investigating Terry's death, Indiana regulators found that he had never been given formal safety training that could have prevented the incident.

"The safety issues I've brought up have been dismissed and not dealt with," another worker at the Plainfield facility told the safety inspector from Indiana's OSHA department. "There's no training, there's no safety, it's 'Get 'er done.'" Ultimately, the department issued four citations to Amazon, totaling $28,000 in penalties.

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German murderer wins 'right to be forgotten'

BBC Technology News - November 27, 2019 - 6:58pm
The man was convicted of murder but has won the right to have his name removed from search results.

Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands

BBC Technology News - November 27, 2019 - 6:45pm
Apple Maps now shows Crimea - annexed from Ukraine in 2014 - as part of Russia, when viewed there.

Poopy lettuce strikes again, sickening 67 with E. coli-tainted romaine

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 6:25pm

Enlarge / Romaine lettuce can be seen at a store in Mountain View, California, United States, on Friday, November 22, 2019. (credit: Getty | NurPhoto)

An outbreak of potentially life-threatening E. coli infections linked to contaminated romaine lettuce has widened to 67 cases in 19 states, with 39 of those cases leading to hospitalizations, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No deaths have been reported in the outbreak so far, but six cases have progressed to hemolytic-uremic syndrome, a life-threatening disorder brought on when toxic substances made by an infection destroy red blood cells and damage the kidneys.

The widespread outbreak linked to romaine around Thanksgiving will likely give many consumers an unpleasant sense of déjà vu. About this time last year, the CDC warned consumers to put down their holiday salads as another romaine-linked outbreak struck. When it was declared over in January, the agency had tallied 62 cases, including 25 hospitalizations across 16 states.

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Google is offering refunds for players who bought new Stadia freebies

Ars Technica - November 27, 2019 - 5:48pm

Google had some good news to share with Stadia streaming's early adopters yesterday: their $10/month Stadia Pro subscription will grant access to two new titles—Farming Simulator 19: Platinum Edition and Tomb Raider: Definitive Editionstarting next month.

That didn't come as welcome news to all Stadia owners, though, because those games had already been on sale as Stadia launch titles for the week leading up to the announcement. That means a fair number of Stadia Pro subscribers had spent $49.99 (for Farming Simulator) or $9.99 (for Tomb Raider) on games that would be free in less than two weeks' time.

Google, to its credit, has not ignored these players. "Because of the proximity between the launch of the platform, and the announcement of these titles in Stadia Pro, we're happy to assist you if you'd like to request a refund if you have purchased either or both of these titles, even if it's outside of our normal policy," a Google community manager wrote yesterday afternoon.

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