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NASA pays the price of being subjected to a massive, expensive rocket

reader comments 159 It's not easy to build the world's largest rocket. Here are some views of the process of constructing the Space Launch System at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana. NASA A liquid oxygen tank being manufactured for weld confidence testing shows how domes are added to make tanks in the Vertical Assembly Center. NASA The intertank to be flown on the first integrated flight of the Space Launch System and Orion is ...
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The Air Force’s secretive spy plane returns after 718 days in space

reader comments 0 The US Air Force's X-37B returned to Earth from space on Sunday morning. US Air Force It was the space plane's longest mission yet, 718 days. US Air Force The plane also made its first landing at Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. US Air Force The X-37B resembles the space shuttle, but is just 8.9 meters in length. The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle after it landed at Vandenberg Air Force Base in 2012. It had conducted on-orbit...
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Verizon lost 400,000 customers in the 6 weeks before it launched unlimited data

Verizon reader comments 14 Verizon Wireless lost 398,000 retail postpaid phone subscribers in the first six weeks of 2017. That's when the company launched unlimited smartphone data plans  and immediately turned things around. Verizon still ended up losing customers for the quarter ending March 31, the company said in earnings results released today. But a gain of 109,000 retail postpaid phone connections after the launch of unlimited data ...
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Vigilante botnet infects IoT devices before blackhats can hijack them

reader comments 21 Mirai, the botnet that threatened the Internet as we knew it last year with record-setting denial-of-service attacks , is facing an existential threat of its own: A competing botnet known as Hajime has infected at least 10,000 home routers, network-connected cameras, and other so-called Internet of Things devices. Hajime uses a decentralized peer-to-peer network to issue commands and updates to infected devices. This desi...
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Patent troll with an “Internet Drink Mixer” and a nonexistent office could be in trouble

USPTO reader comments 34 This February, Garmin International got  sued (PDF)  by inventor Leigh Rothschild and his patent-holding company, Rothschild Connected Devices Innovations LLC (RCDI). RCDI had already sued 68 other companies. A few weeks later, Rothschild's lawyer got in touch. He wasn't interested in discussing the technology behind his client's two patents, which describe making customized mixed beverages. Instead, he asked Garmin...
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Mysterious Microsoft patch killed 0days released by NSA-leaking Shadow Brokers

Contrary to what Ars and the rest of the world reported Friday , none of the published exploits stolen from the National Security Agency work against currently supported Microsoft products. This is according to a Microsoft blog post published late Friday night . That's because the critical vulnerabilities for four exploits previously believed to be zerodays were patched in March, exactly one month before a group called Shadow Brokers publis...
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Solar energy has plunged in price—where does it go from here?

Enlarge / LONG ISLAND SOLAR FARM reader comments 65 In the year 2000, the entire world had roughly four Gigawatts of solar power capacity installed, and it didn't seem to be going anywhere fast. In 2002, the International Energy Agency forecast suggested that, by 2020, global solar capacity would still be hovering at around 10GW, and still barely register on the global energy markets. How things change. Over the 15 years that followed, sola...
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Google deprecates Octane JavaScript benchmark, because everyone is basically cheating

reader comments 27 Google has announced that its widely used Octane JavaScript benchmark is being retired, with Google saying that it's no longer a useful way for browser developers to determine how best to optimize their JavaScript engines. Octane was developed for and by the developers of V8, the JavaScript engine used in Chrome. It was intended to address flaws in the earlier SunSpider benchmark, developed by Apple's Safari team. SunSpid...
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Squid, eyes, and blood, oh my! 2017’s best biology images

reader comments 12 The Wellcome Trust is a major funder of biomedical research in the UK. But part of its remit is improving the public's understanding of health and medical research. This mostly means educational and public outreach efforts. But each year, the Trust also runs a contest that recognizes the best images of all things biological. The winners run from the microscopic to the every day. Many of the winning images aren't clearly m...
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Lawyer films his traffic stop, even after cop says to stop, citing made-up law

reader comments 20 The police chief in Wilmington, North Carolina, has publicly lambasted one of his officers. The officer recently pulled over a local attorney moonlighting as an Uber driver and told the driver that he could not film the traffic stop. "Taking photographs and videos of people that are in plain sight, including the police, is your legal right," Chief Ralph Evangelous said in a Wednesday statement published on the department’...
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Blue Origin’s new engine isn’t good enough for some congressmen

Enlarge / A Blue Origin BE-4 engine at the company's Kent, Wash.-based factory is readied for transport to a test stand for full-scale testing. Jeff Bezos/Twitter reader comments 18 In 2014, the rocket company United Launch Alliance (ULA)  entered into an agreement with Blue Origin to jointly fund development of the latter company's BE-4 rocket engine. While ULA didn't commit to using the Blue Origin engine in its next-generation booster, i...
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Judge who ordered man remotely shocked in court faces $5 million lawsuit

reader comments 27 Warning: graphic content. A disrobed Maryland judge who ordered a bailiff to remotely shock a defendant in court with a 50,000-volt charge is now being sued on allegations of civil rights violations. While facing a weapons charge, the defendant was acting as his own attorney when then-Charles County Circuit Court Judge Robert Nalley ordered a deputy to remotely engage the man's ankle-bound "stun cuffs" for about five seco...
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It’s finally over: Mastermind behind Prenda Law porn trolls pleads guilty

reader comments 43 View more stories One of the attorneys behind the Prenda Law "copyright trolling" scheme has pleaded guilty to federal charges of fraud and money laundering. After years of denial, John Steele admitted Monday that he and co-defendant Paul Hansmeier made more than $6 million by threatening Internet users with copyright lawsuits. It's perfectly legal to sue Internet pirates—but not the way Steele did it. Steele and Hansmeie...
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Sprint’s long VoIP patent war leads to $140M verdict against Time Warner

reader comments 2 Sprint has been filing patent lawsuits over VoIP for more than a decade now, and the company may have just scored its biggest payout yet. On Friday, a jury in Sprint's home district of Kansas City said that Time Warner Cable, now part of Charter Communications , must pay $139.8 million ( Verdict Form ) for infringing several patents related to VoIP technology. The jury found that TWC's infringement was willful, which means...
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Tweaking fentanyl’s chemical structure may create safer opioid

Enlarge / Medical Research: albino rat for animal experiments reader comments 0 With a straightforward chemical tweak, the addictive—and often deadly—opioid painkiller, fentanyl, may transform into a safe, non-addictive, targeted therapy . Researchers reported this on Thursday in Science. In rats, a chemically modified form of the opioid could only work on inflamed, hurting tissue—not the rest of the body. Plus, it wasn’t deadly at high dos...
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No Man’s Sky creator describes issues with launch, crashes, money

reader comments 22 Sam Machkovech SAN FRANCISCO—Hello Games, the makers of beleaguered space-exploration game No Man's Sky, announced a new initiative on stage at this year's Game Developers Conference: Hello Labs. As announced by studio founder Sean Murray, the company is setting aside money to fund multiple projects—one of which is already in development—that focus on "procedural [world] generation and experimental games research." Murray...
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Get ready for robots made with human flesh

Enlarge / Oh hey, could you zip up my flesh? I can't reach. reader comments 13 Two University of Oxford biomedical researchers are calling for robots to be built with real human tissue, and they say the technology is there if we only choose to develop it. Writing in Science Robotics , Pierre-Alexis Mouthuy and Andrew Carr argue that humanoid robots could be the exact tool we need to create muscle and tendon grafts that actually work. Right ...
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Neurons recall place-related memories if you just get close

Enlarge / Fear is the mind killer reader comments 0 Place cells in the hippocampus are known to encode memories associated with a specific location. However, the precise role that these cells play in location-based memory retrieval is somewhat unclear. A recent study published in Nature Neuroscience finds that these cells can be active even when a rat is near a location associated with a fear memory. This result shows that place cells may p...
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New CPUs and accessories define HP’s updated repairable Surface clone

reader comments 14 HP's Pro x2. HP The included keyboard cover now has a pen loop. HP Most of the ports are on the tablet's right edge. HP The Pro x2 with its pen accessory. HP The optional $49 Rugged Case accessory. HP The tablet in the case. HP The optional $149 USB-C dock. HP The optional $49 USB-C Travel Hub. HP Mobile World Congress usually focuses on phones and phone-related technology, but even so we're still going to see a few compa...
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A fasting-diet may trigger regeneration of a diabetic pancreas

Enlarge / These mice are about to have issues. reader comments 0 In mice with either type I or type 2 diabetes, an intense, four-day fasting diet seemed to regenerate pancreas cells and restore insulin production. Researchers reported this finding on Thursday in Cell . In Petri dish experiments, human pancreas cells from patients with type 1 diabetes also showed altered gene expression and kick-started insulin production after being exposed...
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Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data

reader comments 13 Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords, and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users. A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five mo...
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How Blizzard distilled Overwatch’s hope from Project Titan’s failure

Enlarge / Blizzard's Jeff Kaplan says he thinks they did a good job capturing the feel of this very early concept art for Overwatch in the final product. We have to agree. Kyle Orland reader comments 19 LAS VEGAS—May of 2013 was not a very fun time to be at Blizzard if you hear Game Director and Vice President Jeff Kaplan tell it. After years of work on Project Titan, the massive MMO that was to be Blizzard's big follow-up to World of Warcr...
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Blizzard ends support for Windows XP and Vista

Jeff Christensen / ContributorChristensen/WireImage reader comments 16 If you took all the remaining Windows XP and Vista users in the world—a  surprisingly robust  10 percent—and placed them in a Venn diagram with those that play Blizzard games, the intersection would likely be very, very small. And yet, despite Microsoft ending mainstream support for XP and Vista in 2009 and 2012 (Windows XP limped on with security updates until 2014), Bl...
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New Zealand appeals court upholds Kim Dotcom extradition ruling

Enlarge / Kim Dotcom speaks to the media following a bail hearing at Auckland District Court on December 1, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. Fiona Goodall/Getty Images reader comments 1 Megaupload View more stories An appellate court in New Zealand has  upheld a lower court’s 2015 decision that Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants should be extradited to the United States to face criminal copyright-related charges involving his former website, Me...
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The Great Wall is my new favorite lizard monster war movie

reader comments 63 Jing Tian as Commander Lin Mae, wearing her amazing armor, is about to use her extraordinary spear-throwing powers to save the day. Universal/China Film Company Matt Damon as William, the western mercenary who learns that there's more to life than money. There's also throwing yourself off a burning wall into a pile of angry lizards. Universal/China Film Company The Nameless Order has been protecting China from the lizard ...
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