arstechnica.com
arstechnica.com
Ars Technica is a website covering news and opinions in technology, science, politics, and society, created by Ken Fisher and Jon Stokes in 1998. It publishes news, reviews, and guides on issues such as computer hardware and software, science, technology policy, and video games. Many of the site's writers are postgraduates and some work for research institutions. Articles on the website are written in a less-formal tone than those in traditional journals. Ars Technica was privately owned until May 2008, when it was sold to Condé Nast Digital, the online division of Condé Nast Publications.Source
Founded 1998
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Sadly, none of the big rockets we hoped to see fly in 2020 actually will

Sadly, none of the big rockets we hoped to see fly in 2020 actually will

This was supposed to be the year of the big rocket. At one point, as many as four large, powerful boosters were slated to take flight this year. Alas, we now know for sure that none of them are going to make it.Two years ago,  outlining the four large and powerful rockets expected to make their debuts: Arianespace's Ariane 6, NASA's Space Launch System, Blue Origin's New Glenn, and United Launch Alliance's Vulcan-Centaur. Our confidence in each of these boosters launching in 2020 ranged from medium-high for the Ariane 6 (oops!) to low for New Glenn and Vulcan-Centaur.Given that none of...

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Eric Berger
3d ago
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Pediatricians walk back school-reopening stance as WHO gives dire warning

Pediatricians walk back school-reopening stance as WHO gives dire warning

The American Academy of Pediatrics has clarified its stance on school reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic after the Trump administration repeatedly used the academy’s previous statement to ., emphasized that school reopening should be driven by science and safety—“not politics.” It also directly responded to President Trump’s threat of withholding funding from schools that did not reopen, calling the move a “misguided approach.”The point was echoed Monday by Michael Ryan, an infectious disease expert with the World Health Organization, who implored countries not to let school reopening...

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Beth Mole
2d ago
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It’s modular, it’s cheap, it runs Windows—it’s the $300 Kano tablet PC

It’s modular, it’s cheap, it runs Windows—it’s the $300 Kano tablet PC

Last June, educational software and hardware vendor Kano an ambitious new project: a build-your-own computer kit based on x86 hardware and Windows 10. This replaces similar products Kano has offered for years,  on the Raspberry Pi. The finished product, designed in partnership with Microsoft, launched .The Kano PC, , is an 11.6-inch touchscreen two-in-one design, usable as either tablet or laptop—although it's a Windows system, it most strongly resembles an extremely chunky Android tablet in a folding case with a built-in keyboard. The case includes a built-in stand to prop the screen up at...

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Jim Salter
1d ago
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This device keeps Alexa and other voice assistants from snooping on you

This device keeps Alexa and other voice assistants from snooping on you

As the popularity of Amazon Alexa and other voice assistants grows, so too does the number of ways those assistants both do and can intrude on users' privacy. Examples include hacks that use to surreptitiously unlock connected-doors and start cars, malicious assistant apps that , and discussions that are or are . Now, researchers have developed a device that may one day allow users to take back their privacy by warning when these devices are mistakenly or intentionally snooping on nearby people.LeakyPick is placed in various rooms of a home or office to detect the presence of devices that...

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Dan Goodin
2d ago
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Malware stashed in China-mandated software is more extensive than thought

Malware stashed in China-mandated software is more extensive than thought

Three weeks ago, security researchers exposed a that the Chinese government requires companies to install. Now there’s evidence that the high-stealth spy campaign was preceded by a separate piece of malware that employed equally sophisticated means to infect taxpayers in China.GoldenHelper, as researchers from security firm Trustwave dubbed the malware, hid inside the Golden Tax Invoicing software, which all companies registered in China are mandated to use to pay value-added taxes. The malware is able to bypass the User Account Control, the Windows mechanism that requires users to give...

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Dan Goodin
2d ago
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How COVID-19 transformed Pokémon Go into “Pokémon stay-at-home”

How COVID-19 transformed Pokémon Go into “Pokémon stay-at-home”

Since its launch in 2016, the premise of mobile titan Pokémon Go has centered on roaming the outdoors in search of mystical little creatures. As a result, it’s a game that’s particularly ill-suited to pandemic-derived restrictions on movement.In an attempt to remedy this, Pokémon Go developer Niantic has regular to make the game more quarantine-compatible in recent months. This has led to a new era of play among many in the Pokémon Go scene. Call it “stay-at-home, play-at-home.”Such a systemic change in the way Pokémon Go is played was likely necessary for the game to survive in an era...

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2d ago
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Two months after infection, COVID-19 symptoms persist

Two months after infection, COVID-19 symptoms persist

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated in many countries, an ever-growing group of people is being shifted from the "infected" to the "recovered" category. But are they truly recovered? A lot of anecdotal reports have indicated that many of those with severe infections are experiencing a difficult recovery, with lingering symptoms, some of which remain debilitating. Now, there's a small study out of Italy in which a group of infected people was tracked for an average of 60 days after their infection was discovered. And the study confirms that symptoms remain long after there's no...

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John Timmer
3d ago
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How small satellites are radically remaking space exploration

How small satellites are radically remaking space exploration

At the beginning of this year, a group of NASA scientists agonized over which robotic missions they should choose to explore our Solar System. Researchers from around the United States had submitted more than 20 intriguing ideas, such as whizzing by asteroids, diving into lava tubes on the Moon, and hovering in the Venusian atmosphere.Ultimately, of these Discovery-class missions for further study. In several months, the space agency will pick two of the four missions to fully fund, each with a cost cap of $450 million and a launch late within this decade. For the losing ideas, there may be...

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Eric Berger
5d ago
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CERN has discovered a very charming particle

CERN has discovered a very charming particle

The quark model was an intellectual revolution for physics. Physicists were faced with an ever-growing zoo of unstable particles that didn't seem to have a role in the Universe around us. Quarks explained all that through an (at least superficially) simple set of rules that built all of these particles through combinations of two or three quarks.While that general outline seems simple, the rules by which particles called "gluons" hold the quarks together in particles are fiendishly complex, and we don't always know their limits. Are there reasons that particles seem to stop at collections...

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John Timmer
5d ago
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Yes, Apple silicon Macs will have Thunderbolt ports

Yes, Apple silicon Macs will have Thunderbolt ports

Macs with Apple silicon will still support Thunderbolt, according to Apple. The clarification came after Intel's led many to speculate that Macs without Intel CPUs would not have Thunderbolt ports.Here's Apple's statement, which was provided :Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.Earlier this week, Intel announced the minimum requirements for Thunderbolt 4 certification, as...

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Samuel Axon
5d ago
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French parliament passes porn age-verification legislation

French parliament passes porn age-verification legislation

The French parliament has agreed to pass a new law requiring age verification on pornographic websites to prevent access by children under 18, . The initiative has the support of President Emmanuel Macron, who in January.The French law gives sites discretion to decide how to perform age verification. Requiring users to enter a credit card number seems to be one of the most popular options.According to Politico, the law gives French regulators the power to create a blacklist for overseas sites that don't comply with the new rules. If a site doesn't respond to a warning from French officials,...

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Timothy B. Lee
5d ago
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Android 10 has the fastest update rate ever, hits 16% of users in 10 months

Android 10 has the fastest update rate ever, hits 16% of users in 10 months

Google today detailing its progress on improving the Android ecosystem's update speed. The company has been hard at work for the past few years modularizing Android, with the hope that making Android easier to update would result in device manufacturers pushing out updates faster. Google's efforts have been paying off, with the company announcing Android 10 has had the fastest rollout ever.The last few versions of Android have each brought a major improvement to Android's update system. Android 8 introduced Project Treble, which separated the OS from the hardware support, enabling easier...

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Ron Amadeo
6d ago
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Frontier misled subscribers about Internet speeds and prices, AG finds

Frontier misled subscribers about Internet speeds and prices, AG finds

Frontier Communications misled thousands of customers about the prices it charges and about the speeds its broadband network can provide, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson's office has found.The state's investigation of Frontier's business practices found evidence of the telecom "failing to adequately disclose taxes and fees during sales of cable, Internet, and telephone services; failing to adequately disclose its Internet Infrastructure Surcharge fee in advertising; misleading consumers by implying that the Internet Infrastructure Surcharge and other fees are mandatory and/or...

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Jon Brodkin
6d ago
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Microsoft neuters Office 365 account attacks that used clever ruse

Microsoft neuters Office 365 account attacks that used clever ruse

Microsoft has neutered a large-scale fraud campaign that used knock-off domains and malicious apps to scam customers in 62 countries around the world.The software maker and cloud-service provider last week obtained a that allowed it to seize six domains, five of which contained the word “office.” The company said attackers used them in a sophisticated campaign designed to trick CEOs and other high-ranking business leaders into wiring large sums of money to attackers, rather than trusted parties. An earlier so-called BEC, or business email compromise, that the same group of attackers carried...

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Dan Goodin
Jul 8
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FBI nabs Nigerian business scammer who allegedly cost victims millions

FBI nabs Nigerian business scammer who allegedly cost victims millions

The US government has gained custody of a Nigerian man who is accused of participating in a massive fraud and money laundering operation. The defendant, Ray "Hushpuppi" Abbas, has amassed , where he flaunts his access to luxury cars, designer clothing, and private jets. The feds say that he gained this wealth by defrauding banks, law firms, and other businesses out of millions of dollars. He was arrested last month by authorities in the United Arab Emirates, where he had been living.The FBI's details how the government obtained a wealth of information tying Abbas to his alleged crimes....

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Timothy B. Lee
Jul 6
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Does First Amendment let ISPs sell Web-browsing data? Judge is skeptical

Does First Amendment let ISPs sell Web-browsing data? Judge is skeptical

The broadband industry has lost a key initial ruling in its bid to kill a privacy law imposed by the state of Maine.The top lobby groups representing cable companies, mobile carriers, and telecoms , claiming the privacy law violates their First Amendment protections on free speech and that the state law is preempted by deregulatory actions taken by Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. Maine's Web-browsing privacy law is similar to the one killed by Congress and President Donald Trump , as it prohibits ISPs from using, disclosing, or selling browsing history and other personal...

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Jon Brodkin
Jul 7
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Congress may allow NASA to launch Europa Clipper on a Falcon Heavy

Congress may allow NASA to launch Europa Clipper on a Falcon Heavy

The US House of Representatives released its proposed fiscal year for NASA on Tuesday, funding the agency at $22.63 billion. This is the same amount of funding that was enacted for NASA's budget this year.This is just the beginning of the budget process, of course. The White House released its budget request back in February, and now the House and Senate will establish their priorities. Months of negotiations will ensue, compounded by the COVID-19 crisis and the 2020 presidential election. After the fiscal year 2020 budget ends in October, a continuing resolution is likely. The 2021 budget...

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Eric Berger
Jul 7
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Independent reviewers offer 80 suggestions to make Starliner safer

Independent reviewers offer 80 suggestions to make Starliner safer

Following the failed test flight of Boeing's Starliner spacecraft in December, NASA on Monday of an investigation into the root causes of the launch's failure and the culture that led to them.Over the course of its review, an independent team identified 80 "recommendations" for NASA and Boeing to address before the Starliner spacecraft launches again. In addition to calling for better oversight and documentation, these recommendations stress the need for greater hardware and software integration testing. Notably, the review team called for an end-to-end test prior to each flight using the...

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Eric Berger
Jul 7
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The rise and fall of Adobe Flash

The rise and fall of Adobe Flash

Few technologies have yielded such divisive and widespread passion as Flash. Many gush over its versatility and ease of use as a creative platform or its critical role in the rise of web video. Others abhor Flash-based advertising and Web design, or they despise the resource-intensiveness of the Flash Player plugin in its later years.Whichever side of the love-hate divide you land on, there's no denying the fact that Flash changed how we consume, create, and interact with content on the Web. For better and worse, it helped shape the Internet of today.But now, after roughly 25 years, Flash...

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Jul 7
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Petnet charges new $30 annual fee for a service that still doesn’t work

Petnet charges new $30 annual fee for a service that still doesn’t work

It has not been a good year for customers of Petnet's cloud-connected automated pet-feeder system. After a rough spring, with multiple prolonged service outages, the company tried a last-ditch plea to its customers: pay a subscription fee of $4 a month, or $30 a year, and we'll be able to keep the lights on. Some users paid up—but it was apparently in vain, as their smartfeeders are still basically paperweights without connected service.Petnet's public troubles began in February, when a service outage . The connection issues lasted for more than a week, during which time Petnet was...

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Kate Cox
Jul 7
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Supreme Court strikes down 2015 law allowing robocalls by debt collectors

Supreme Court strikes down 2015 law allowing robocalls by debt collectors

The US Supreme Court today struck down a provision in US law that let debt collectors make robocalls to cell phones, ruling that the law violates the First Amendment by favoring debt-collection speech over other speech.The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991 prohibits "almost all robocalls to cell phones," but Congress in 2015 amended the law to add "a new government-debt exception that allows robocalls made solely to collect a debt owed to or guaranteed by the United States," the Supreme Court noted in . The opinion was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh."As the Government...

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Jon Brodkin
Jul 6
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Toxic hand sanitizers have blinded and killed adults and children, FDA warns

Toxic hand sanitizers have blinded and killed adults and children, FDA warns

Adults and children in the United States have been blinded, hospitalized, and, in some cases, even died after drinking hand sanitizers contaminated with the extremely toxic alcohol methanol, .In an updated safety warning, the agency identified five more brands of hand sanitizer that contain methanol, a simple alcohol often linked to incorrectly distilled liquor that is poisonous if ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin.The newly identified products are in addition to the FDA identified last month, which are all made by the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV. According...

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Beth Mole
Jul 6
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The explosive physics of pooping penguins: they can shoot poo over four feet

The explosive physics of pooping penguins: they can shoot poo over four feet

Nature is a brutal place, so during brooding, chinstrap and Adélie penguins are reluctant to leave their eggs unguarded in the nest—even to relieve themselves. But one also does not wish to sully the nest with feces. So instead, a brooding penguin will hunker down, point its rear end away from the nest, lift its tail, and let fly a projectile of poo—thereby ensuring both the safety of the eggs and the cleanliness of the nest.Back in 2003, two intrepid physicists became fascinated by this behavior and were inspired to  to a burning question: just how much pressure can those penguins generate...

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Jennifer Ouellette
Jul 4
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The remote British village that built one of the UK’s fastest Internet networks

The remote British village that built one of the UK’s fastest Internet networks

Nestled between Lancashire’s stand-out beauty, the Forest of Bowland, and the breathtaking vistas of the Yorkshire Dales, the serene, postcard-perfect village of Clapham seems far removed from the COVID-19 pandemic. But when the British government announced a nationwide lockdown in mid-March, Clapham went on high alert.Local residents formed what they dubbed “Clapham COBRA," a volunteer emergency response initiative that aimed to mitigate the negative effects of isolation by sharing information, delivering supplies, and checking in on one another. Like many rural villages, Clapham is fairly...

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Jul 4
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Can’t afford to fly to space? Settle for smelling like it

Can’t afford to fly to space? Settle for smelling like it

If you ask a US Navy submariner the most visceral part of the underwater and underway experience, you'll get the same answer almost every time—it's the smell. "Eau de Boat," as we sailors called it, is a unique combination of diesel fuel, machine oil, laundry hamper, and flatulence. To the best of my knowledge, nobody's ever attempted to bottle and sell Eau de Boat—but a Kickstarter is trying to do the same thing for space travel.In late June, the US National Space Council's Executive Secretary Scott Pace expressed his desire to support companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin in...

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Jim Salter
Jul 2
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