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Elon Musk’s Mars rocket may be about to lose half of its engines

Enlarge / SpaceX may be dumping the outer ring of 21 engines for its new Mars vehicle. SpaceX reader comments 70 Last year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared plans for his transportation system to send humans to Mars in the 2020s. But the fantastically huge rocket, with 42 Raptor engines and enormous technical challenges, seemed more like science fiction than reality. Then there was the small matter of who would pay the tens of billions of do...
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German energy company wants to build flow batteries in old natural gas caverns

reader comments 28 A German energy company recently announced that it’s partnering with a university to build a massive flow battery in underground salt caverns that are currently used to store natural gas. The grid-tied battery, the company says, would be able to power Berlin for an hour. The technology that the project is based on should be familiar to Ars readers. Two years ago, Ars wrote about an academic paper published in Nature that ...
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Paying people to preserve forests really seems to work

reader comments 7 We’re trashing the world not because it’s fun, but because it pays to do so. People respond to financial incentives. So, how do you provide an incentive to stop trashing the world? One idea is to use cold, hard cash. If people earn more by not trashing, the thinking goes, the incentive flips: it suddenly pays to conserve. Based on this idea, a trial program in Uganda paid landowners to preserve the forest on their land and...
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Cop’s body cam films him planting drugs—he obviously didn’t know it was recording

reader comments 160 In May, we published a story about how police body cams can be employed in the worst way—for planting evidence, or staging a crime scene. In what was among the first instances of its kind, we revealed that a Colorado cop had staged the body cam footage of a search of a vehicle in which he is seen finding drugs and cash. Pueblo prosecutors dropped the drug charges, and the Pueblo Police Department said it disciplined the ...
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Distributed energy sources can reduce cost of electricity up to 50%, study says

reader comments 2 Dramatic changes are coming to the old power grid. As infrastructure ages and policy dictates a move away from fossil fuels, utilities and governments are looking at Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) as potential alternatives to continually building out a centralized grid. DERs include all kinds of hardware that the utility may not necessarily own directly— solar panels , natural gas-fired microturbines, stationary batte...
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Doctor Who: Jodie Whittaker spectacularly unveiled as the 13th Doctor

BBC reader comments 181 Jodie Whittaker, who worked with new Doctor Who showrunner Chris Chibnall on Broadchurch, has been unveiled as the 13th Doctor. She will be the first female actor to play the Time Lord in the history of Doctor Who. In a publicity chat with the BBC, Whittaker urged Whovians to be open about the Doctor's gender switcheroo. "I want to tell the fans not to be scared by my gender. Because this is a really exciting time, a...
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Animal rights? Monkey selfie case may undo evolution of the Internet

Enlarge / The cover of the book at the center of a legal dispute about animal rights, copyright, and an open Internet. reader comments 66 Going on two years now, an Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto, represented by his self-appointed lawyers from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been trying to claim ownership of the selfies he took of himself with a camera he swiped from a British nature photographer in the jungle o...
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Not for the first time, Microsoft’s fonts have caught out forgers

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. reader comments 86 I was confused for a few moments today, after one of my colleagues asked me if I'd heard about "fontgate." "Fontgate?" I queried. "Pakistan either loves or hates Calibri," I was unhelpfully informed. Apparently, there were some forged documents, and the forgery was detected by the use of Microsoft's Calibri. But I was confused; this sounded like a story from years ago. Why was it in the news n...
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Global Web standard for integrating DRM into browsers hits a snag

reader comments 3 Days ago, Ars reported on a controversial decision by the industry trade group that oversees the global development of Web standards. The decision by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to back a standard for implementing digital rights management (DRM) for Web-based content is now under appeal, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced Wednesday. Cory Doctorow, the W3C Advisory Committee representative for the EFF, sai...
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Trump election commission stops collecting personal voter data—for now

reader comments 74 The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity made headlines on June 28 when it requested that states hand over registered voters' full names, political affiliations, addresses, dates of birth, criminal records, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, and other personal identifying information. The government wants to make all of the data public. Many of the states deem varying parts of the dat...
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Audi manager charged in diesel scandal

Enlarge / Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg via Getty Images Getty images reader comments 11 The US Justice Department announced criminal charges against former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio late last week. The 60-year-old manager was on a team concerned with thermodynamics in Audi’s diesel engine department between 2006 and 2015—the years when Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche were producing diesel vehicles that included "defeat device" so...
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Drone dropped “tools” enabling inmate to escape, prison officials say

reader comments 86 A South Carolina inmate used wire cutters and other "tools" like mobile phones believed to be dropped from a drone to coordinate his escape from a maximum-security prison. The inmate wasn't noticed missing for 18 hours, prison officials said Friday. Jimmy Causey. South Carolina Department of Corrections Jimmy Causey was arrested Friday in Austin, Texas, about 1,200 miles away from the Lieber Correctional Institution outsi...
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Mike Pence appears bullish on efforts by SpaceX and others

Enlarge / Vice President Mike Pence addresses NASA employees on Thursday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. reader comments 21 As he continues to visit key space facilities around the country, Vice President Mike Pence spent a few hours at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. During the visit, Pence spoke to the NASA workforce inside the iconic Vertical Assembly Building and, for the most part, gave his stump speech in which he and Pre...
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Volvo says from 2019 all new models it introduces will be electric or hybrid

Enlarge / Volvo's current plug-in hybrid range, the S90, V90, XC60 and XC90 T8s. Volvo Cars reader comments 7 On Wednesday, Volvo Cars announced that all new models introduced from 2019 will feature some form of electric propulsion. The news follows an announcement in May that diesel engines have no future with the brand , in part because of ever-stricter EU carbon emissions targets, but also because of the growing concern over the health e...
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Aztec tower of skulls turns out to be no myth

reader comments 76 An ongoing excavation in the heart of Mexico City, once the great Aztec capital Tenochtitlan, has revealed a legendary tower inlaid with hundreds of skulls. This tower was first described by Europeans in the early 16th century, when a Spanish soldier named Andres de Tapia came to the city with Hernan Cortez' invading force. In his memoirs, de Tapia described an "edifice" covered in tens of thousands of skulls. Now his acc...
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Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy: As good as the uneven series will ever get

Enlarge / Sadly, Activision didn't unlock an option in which you're a human wearing a giant Crash costume, like in the old ads. Oh well. reader comments 0 Game details Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision Platform: PS4 Release Date: June 30, 2017 ESRB Rating: E for Everyone Price: $40 / £33 Links: PlayStation Store Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy gets about as much right as a game trilogy of this scope possibly could. A few un...
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The U.S. government is removing scientific data from the internet

reader comments 5 Ars Live is filmed by Chris Schodt and produced by Jennifer Hahn. In our latest episode of Ars Technica Live, Ars editors Annalee Newitz and Joe Mullin talked to UC Santa Cruz sociology professor Lindsey Dillon about how the Trump Administration has been removing scientific and environmental data from the Web . Lindsey is part of a group called Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI), which is working on ways to re...
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Amazon Prime Day is on July 11, with early access on July 10

reader comments 22 Amazon Prime Day 2017 is almost upon us: starting from 6pm on July 10 (Monday), and running until the end of July 11, you'll be able to stock up on toilet rolls and other odd things that Amazon has failed to shift over the last year, plus a few nice products that you'll actually be interested in. Prime Day 2017 is officially on July 11, but Amazon is adding six more hours of shopping this year, presumably to cash in on a ...
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Rick Perry talks nuclear energy research investment, Paris Agreement

Enlarge / US Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry addresses employees for the first time at the Department of Energy’s headquarters in Washington, DC, March 3, 2017. Image courtesy Ken Shipp/US Department of Energy. reader comments 76 Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke briefly this afternoon to a group of reporters to address topics in energy. The Trump administration has deemed this week “Energy Week” and tasked its appointees, includi...
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Dealmaster: Today only, get an Amazon Echo for just $130

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Doctor Who: World Enough and Time review

Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC reader comments 18 This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: World Enough and Time. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:45pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America. Season 10 of Doctor Who has been incredibly lopsided—floating in and out of decent stories, while teasing us with a subtle Missy...
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Espionage suspect totally thought messages to Chinese intel were deleted

reader comments 54 On June 22, Kevin Patrick Mallory was  brought before a US federal judge for his first hearing on charges that he sold highly classified documents to a Chinese intelligence agent. These documents, which are considered "National Defense Information," included at least one Top Secret document and three classified as Secret and were found on a phone Mallory had been provided by his Chinese contacts. Mallory, a 60-year-old fo...
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“The enemy is real,” and the new Game of Thrones trailer is too

reader comments 39 It's the new trailer for Game of Thrones season 7! The second big trailer for Game of Thrones season 7 is here, and I'm starting to get pretty excited for the July 16 premiere. The cast and crew have promised that this penultimate season, only a measly seven episodes, will move at a faster pace than previous ones. Plus, all the characters will eventually find themselves in the same place at some point near the end of the ...
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AMD’s Zen steps into the server room with Epyc

reader comments 3 Most of the Epyc SKUs. Epyc has tons of I/O. Infinity Fabric interconnects. AUSTIN—Today, AMD unveiled the first generation of Epyc, its new range of server processors built around its Zen architecture . Processors will range from the Epyc 7251—an eight-core, 16-thread chip running at 2.1 to 2.9GHz in a 120W power envelope—up to the Epyc 7601: a 32-core, 64-thread monster running at 2.2 to 3.2GHz, with a 180W design power....
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Audi’s A5 and S5 Sportback: A performance-minded detour from the SUV

Enlarge / The Audi 2018 S5 Sportback, parked just outside of Snoqualmie Falls, WA. Sam Machkovech reader comments 23 SEATTLE—When introducing its sportback successor to the A4, Audi minced no words about its intended consumer target: the frequent car updater who is this close to switching to an SUV. After a few hours' drive in two flavors of this upgrade, the 2018 A5 and S5 Sportback, I was inclined to agree. If you want a luxury car with t...
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