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Guidemaster: The best Qi wireless charging pads for your smartphone

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 12:45pm

Enlarge (credit: Valentina Palladino)

Wireless charging has a long way to go before it replaces wired charging, but the technology has advanced dramatically in the past few years. Everyone with the newest smartphones, wearables, and other gadgets can get behind the idea—simply place your device on a charging pad or stand and let it sit. Within a few minutes, you'll have more battery power than you did before, and you didn't have to fuss with wires or cables to get it.

But quite a bit of technology goes into making an accessory that makes your life that much easier. Most wireless chargers come in the form of circular or rectangular pads, some of which are propped up on legs to make stands that take up minimal space and work well as nightstand or desk accessories. But don't be fooled by their minimalist exteriors—there are a number of things you should know before investing in a wireless charging pad. To navigate this murky world, Ars tested out some of the most popular devices available now to see which are worth buying.

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

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Huawei row: UK to let Chinese firm help build 5G network

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 12:05pm
The US wants its intelligence allies, including the UK, to exclude the Chinese telecoms giant.

Considering methane leaks, is moving from coal to natural gas all that good?

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 11:30am

Enlarge / DUNKIRK, NEW YORK, 2016: A NRG-owned coal-fired energy facility that planned to convert to a natural gas facility. (credit: John Greim/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Coal is among the most polluting fuels that nations around the world use regularly to create electricity. It's especially bad in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and in order to slow climate change, we'll need to retire coal plants sooner rather than later.

Many have argued that, rather than retiring coal plants completely, they should be altered to burn natural gas if possible. Natural gas emits less than half the amount of carbon dioxide that coal does when it's burned, and it also emits fewer nitrogen oxides and less sulfur dioxide, pollutants that are harmful to human health. Natural gas is also dispatchable; unlike with renewables, we don't have to wait for the sun or the wind to appear to start generating electricity.

But using natural gas comes with less-obvious costs. Natural gas itself is mostly methane (CH4), which is an extremely potent greenhouse gas before it's combusted, although its lifetime in the atmosphere is much shorter than CO2. Numerous recent reports show that natural gas operations leak an uncertain amount of that methane—making it difficult to determine whether replacing coal with natural gas is actually better, at least in the short term, when lifecycle analyses of both fuels are compared.

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Microsoft Paint: Fans rejoice as art app saved 'for now'

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 10:51am
After suggestions Paint could be removed from Windows, Microsoft says it's staying - "for now".

Jacinda Ardern leads effort to curb online extremism

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 4:42am
New Zealand and France will host a summit aimed at curbing the use of social media to promote terrorism.

Donald Trump meets Twitter's Jack Dorsey at White House

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 2:43am
Twitter says CEO Jack Dorsey spoke with the president about "the health of public conversation".

How virtual reality may help Grenfell survivors 'let go of emotions'

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 1:44am
England footballer Les Ferdinand is using VR to try to help young men deal with the trauma of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Comic for April 23, 2019

Dilbert - April 24, 2019 - 12:59am
Categories: Geek

Netherlands 'hosts most child sex abuse images'

BBC Technology News - April 24, 2019 - 12:59am
About half of such images reported to the Internet Watch Foundation in 2018 were hosted in the Netherlands.

Review: Avengers Endgame is three of Marvel’s best films, rolled into one

Ars Technica - April 24, 2019 - 12:12am

Enlarge / The beginning of the End... game. (credit: Marvel Studios)

Ars Technica takes spoilers seriously. This Avengers Endgame review has been written with a bare minimum of plot details, for those interested in seeing the film completely fresh-eyed starting on Friday, April 26.

The buzz word "inevitability" comes up a few times during the three-hour course of Avengers Endgame. And it's fitting: there's no ignoring the buzz and build-up for this film, which began with the mega-event of Infinity War and continued with two huge teases in the satisfying (and arguably time-killing) films Ant Man 2 and Captain Marvel.

It's gonna be big, epic, full of drama, this Endgame thing. Inevitable, right? And isn't the continuation of Disney's money-printing Marvel Cinematic Universe just as inevitable? How can this movie—whose trailers have focused on loss and grief—have any teeth if superhero business is supposed to continue as usual?

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Swirling patterns in Starry Night match those in gassy star nurseries

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 11:41pm

Enlarge / The bold blue and yellow swirls of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night (1889) share turbulent properties with the molecular clouds that give birth to stars. (credit: Museum of Modern Art/Public domain)

In 2004, NASA published an image by the Hubble Space Telescope of turbulent eddies of dusty clouds moving around a supergiant star. The agency noted that this "light echo" was reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh's masterpiece, Starry Night. Now, two Australian graduate students have mathematically analyzed the painting and concluded it shares the same turbulent features as molecular clouds (where literal stars are born). They described their work in a paper posted to the physics arXiv.

The notion that van Gogh's often troubled life was reflected in his work is not especially new. In a 2014 TED-Ed talk, Natalya St. Clair, a research associate at the Concord Consortium and coauthor of The Art of Mental Calculation, used Starry Night (1889) to illuminate the concept of turbulence in a flowing fluid. In particular, she talked about how van Gogh's technique allowed him (and other Impressionist painters) to represent the movement of light across water or in the twinkling of stars. We see this as a kind of shimmering effect, because the eye is more sensitive to changes in the intensity of light (a property called luminance) than to changes in color.

In physics, turbulence relates to strong, sudden movements within air or water, usually marked by eddies and vortices. Physicists have struggled for centuries to mathematically describe turbulence. It's still one of the great remaining challenges in the field. But a Russian physicist named Andrei Kolmogorov made considerable progress in the 1940s when he predicted there would be a mathematical connection (now known as Kolmogorov scaling) between how a flow's speed fluctuates over time and the rate at which it loses energy as friction.

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Crap artists rejoice! MS Paint is getting a last-minute reprieve

Ars Technica - April 23, 2019 - 11:26pm

Enlarge / Who needs Aurich's artistic talents, anyway? (credit: Peter Bright)

Long, long ago, Microsoft quietly announced that it was going to remove the venerable mspaint.exe from Windows 10. The app was listed as deprecated, indicating intent to remove it in a future Windows 10 update, and the app itself was even updated to warn users that it was going to be removed from Windows in a future release.

Microsoft said that Paint would still be installable from the Store, but it was no longer going to be included by default. The app was even updated to include a "Product alert" button on its ribbon that, when clicked, showed a message box to warn that Paint would soon be moving to the Store. Paint's role would be filled by the new Paint 3D application, which contains most Paint features, as well as lots of 3D things.

But there's good news. The very latest builds of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update have removed the "Product alert" button, and Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc has confirmed that Paint will in fact continue to be shipped with Windows 10. You won't need to get it from the Store. As such, there will be nothing standing between Windows users and terrible artwork.

Read on Ars Technica | Comments

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