arstechnica.com
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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
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What’s the technology behind a five-minute charge battery?

What’s the technology behind a five-minute charge battery?

Building a better battery requires dealing with problems in materials science, chemistry, and manufacturing. We do regular coverage of work going on in the former two categories, but we get a fair number of complaints about our inability to handle the third: figuring out how companies manage to take solutions to the science and convert them into usable products. So, it was exciting to see that a that was claiming the development of a battery that would allow five-minute charging of electric vehicles was apparently willing to talk to the press.Unfortunately, the response to our inquiries...

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John Timmer
3d ago
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“I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” new CDC head says

“I can’t tell you how much vaccine we have,” new CDC head says

With the country’s vaccine rollout in utter disorder, health officials in the Biden administration are cautiously trying to both manage expectations and express optimism.In a series of interviews over the weekend, officials warned that states could face vaccine shortages in the short term, with some states’ supplies already running low—or completely running out. On the other hand, the officials remained convinced that they would be able to achieve the administration’s goal of getting 100 million doses in arms in their first 100 days in office—a goal that has been criticized as being both...

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Beth Mole
18h ago
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Military intelligence buys location data instead of getting warrants, memo shows

Military intelligence buys location data instead of getting warrants, memo shows

The Defense Intelligence Agency, which provides military intelligence to the Department of Defense, confirmed in a memo that it purchases "commercially available" smartphone location data to gather information that would otherwise require use of a search warrant.The DIA "currently provides funding to another agency that purchases commercially available geolocation metadata aggregated from smartphones," the agency wrote in a memo () to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), first obtained by .The Supreme Court that the government needs an actual search warrant to collect an individual's cell-site location...

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Kate Cox
4d ago
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Google: We’ll shut down Australian search before we pay news sites for links

Google: We’ll shut down Australian search before we pay news sites for links

Google says it would have "no real choice" but to shut down its search engine in Australia if Australia passes a new law requiring Google to pay news sites to link to their articles. This would "set an untenable precedent for our business and the digital economy," said Google's Mel Silva in before the Australian Senate.News organizations around the world have been struggling financially over the last decade or two. Many have blamed Internet companies like Google and Facebook that—in their view—have diverted advertising revenue that once went to news organizations. Some in the news industry...

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Timothy B. Lee
4d ago
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SpaceX to set record for most satellites launched on a single mission

SpaceX to set record for most satellites launched on a single mission

As early as Saturday morning, SpaceX will launch the first dedicated mission of a rideshare program in late 2019. As part of this plan, the company sought to bundle dozens of small satellites together for regular launches on its workhorse Falcon 9 rocket.There seems to have been a fair amount of interest in the program, which offered a very low price of $15,000 per kilogram delivered to a Sun-synchronous orbit. For its first "Transporter-1 mission," SpaceX said it will launch 133 commercial and government spacecraft, as well as 10 of its own Starlink satellites. SpaceX had to obtain...

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Eric Berger
4d ago
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Google says it’s closing the Fitbit acquisition—uh, without DOJ approval?

Google says it’s closing the Fitbit acquisition—uh, without DOJ approval?

Google's senior VP of Hardware, Rick Osterloh,  Thursday that Google has closed its acquisition of Fitbit. The $2.1 billion deal was announced  and kicked off a regulatory review process from governments around the world concerned about Google's influence over the Internet and the data it can collect on users.Normally, Osterloh announcing that "Google has completed its acquisition of Fitbit, and I want to personally welcome this talented team to Google" would mean Google has cleared its worldwide regulatory gauntlet. Google's announcement today is highly unusual since the Department of...

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Ron Amadeo
Jan 14
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CenturyLink, Frontier missed FCC broadband deadlines in dozens of states

CenturyLink, Frontier missed FCC broadband deadlines in dozens of states

CenturyLink and Frontier Communications have again failed to meet broadband-deployment deadlines in dozens of states after taking money from the Federal Communications Commission.When the FCC in 2015, CenturyLink accepted $505.7 million in annual support over six years in exchange for deploying broadband with 10Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds to 1.17 million homes and businesses in 33 states. Frontier accepted $283.4 million in annual support over six years to deploy service to 659,587 homes and business in 28 states.The deadline to hit 100 percent of the required deployments...

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Jon Brodkin
4d ago
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Home alarm tech backdoored security cameras to spy on customers having sex

Home alarm tech backdoored security cameras to spy on customers having sex

A home security technician has admitted he repeatedly broke into cameras he installed and viewed customers engaging in sex and other intimate acts.Telesforo Aviles, a 35-year-old former employee of home and small office security company ADT, said that over a five-year period, he accessed the cameras of roughly 200 customer accounts on more than 9,600 occasions—all without the permission or knowledge of customers. He said he took note of homes with women he found attractive and then viewed their cameras for sexual gratification. He said he watched nude women and couples as they had...

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Dan Goodin
4d ago
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Treasury nominee Yellen is looking to curtail use of cryptocurrency

Treasury nominee Yellen is looking to curtail use of cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies could come under renewed regulatory scrutiny over the next four years if Janet Yellen, Joe Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, gets her way. During Yellen's Tuesday confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) about the use of cryptocurrency by terrorists and other criminals."Cryptocurrencies are a particular concern," Yellen responded. "I think many are used—at least in a transactions sense—mainly for illicit financing."She said she wanted to "examine ways in which we can curtail their use and make sure that [money...

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Timothy B. Lee
6d ago
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Ars Technicast special edition, part 1: The Internet of Things goes to war

Ars Technicast special edition, part 1: The Internet of Things goes to war

Welcome to a special edition of the Ars Technicast! Ars has partnered with Northrop Grumman to produce a two-part series looking at the evolution of connectivity on the modern battlefield—how the growing ubiquity of sensors and instrumentation at all levels of the military is changing the way we think about fighting. . (A transcript of the podcast is available .)We all know what the Internet of Things is, even though that's always been kind of a nonsensical name—it's the idea that adding smarts and sensors to formerly "dumb" devices like refrigerators and washing machines and coffee makers...

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Lee Hutchinson
5d ago
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“Complete incompetence:” Biden team slams Trump’s COVID work

“Complete incompetence:” Biden team slams Trump’s COVID work

Just a day into office, President Joe Biden and his administration have unveiled a comprehensive, and over a dozen executive orders and actions to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic currently rampaging across the country.With the running start, the administration hopes to finally get control over the virus, which has already taken the lives of more than 408,000 Americans. The number of deaths is expected to top 500,000 next month, Biden said to unveil his strategic plan."Things are going to continue to get worse before they get better," he said, calling his approach to the pandemic a "full-scale...

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Beth Mole
5d ago
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3Mbps uploads still fast enough for US homes, Ajit Pai says in final report

3Mbps uploads still fast enough for US homes, Ajit Pai says in final report

In one of his last acts as Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai decided to stick with the FCC's 6-year-old broadband standard of 25Mbps download and 3Mbps upload speeds.The decision was announced yesterday in the FCC's , released one day before Pai's departure from the FCC. As in all previous years of Pai's chairmanship, the report concludes that the telecom industry is doing enough to extend broadband access to all Americans—despite FCC Democrats saying the facts don't support that conclusion.Pai's report said:We find that the current speed benchmark of 25/3Mbps remains an...

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Jon Brodkin
6d ago
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Security firm Malwarebytes was infected by same hackers who hit SolarWinds

Security firm Malwarebytes was infected by same hackers who hit SolarWinds

Security firm Malwarebytes said it was breached by the same nation-state-sponsored hackers who compromised a dozen or more US government agencies and private companies.The attackers are best known for first hacking into Austin, Texas-based SolarWinds, compromising its software-distribution system and using it to infect the networks of customers who used SolarWinds’ network management software. In an , however, Malwarebytes said the attackers used a different vector.“While Malwarebytes does not use SolarWinds, we, like many other companies were recently targeted by the same threat actor,”...

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Dan Goodin
6d ago
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NASA likely to redo hot-fire test of its Space Launch System core stage

NASA likely to redo hot-fire test of its Space Launch System core stage

Following the of a Space Launch System hot-fire test, NASA is likely to conduct a second "Green Run" firing in February.On Tuesday, three days after the first hot-fire test attempt, NASA of its preliminary analysis of data from the 67.2-second test firing. The report highlights three issues, none of which appears to be overly serious but will require further investigation.The agency found that the test, conducted at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, was automatically shut down by an out-of-limits reading of hydraulic pressure in the thrust vector control mechanism used to gimbal, or...

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Eric Berger
7d ago
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As Ajit Pai exits FCC, Charter admits defeat on petition to impose data caps

As Ajit Pai exits FCC, Charter admits defeat on petition to impose data caps

Charter Communications has withdrawn a petition seeking government permission to impose data caps on broadband users this year.Unlike other ISPs, Charter is subject to the prohibition on data caps and overage fees until May 2023 because of seven-year conditions applied to its 2016 of Time Warner Cable. In June 2020, the Federal Communications Commission to let the condition expire two years early, on May 18, 2021.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on the petition but never took final action, even though he had opposed the merger conditions when they were imposed by the Obama-era FCC. With Pai upon...

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Jon Brodkin
7d ago
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Facebook knew about violent extremists before insurrection, reports find [Updated]

Facebook knew about violent extremists before insurrection, reports find [Updated]

Update, 1/14: A trio of new reports make clear that contrary to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's position, individuals were using Facebook to plan violence before last week's insurrection at the US Capitol—and that users are still doing so today.The New York Times today looking at individuals, including at least one who attended the January 6 rally at the Capitol, who were radicalized specifically on Facebook and Instagram. Simply put, many users whose earlier content tended toward the bland and anodyne saw massive spikes in engagement—way more likes and comments—from other users when they...

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Kate Cox
Jan 14
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Parler seems to be sliding back onto the Internet, but not onto mobile

Parler seems to be sliding back onto the Internet, but not onto mobile

Right-wing social media platform Parler, which has been offline since Amazon Web Services dropped it like a hot potato last week, has reappeared on the Web with a promise to return as a fully functional service "soon."Although the platform's Android and iOS apps are still defunct, this weekend its URL once again began to resolve to an actual website instead of an error notice. The site at the moment consists solely of the homepage, which has a message from company CEO John Matze."Now seems like the right time to remind you all—both lovers and haters—why we started this platform," the...

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Kate Cox
Jan 18
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AI-powered text from this program could fool the government

AI-powered text from this program could fool the government

In October 2019, Idaho proposed changing its Medicaid program. The state needed approval from the federal government, which solicited public feedback via .Roughly 1,000 comments arrived. But half came not from concerned citizens or even Internet trolls. They were generated by . And a study found that people could not distinguish the real comments from the fake ones.The project was the work of Max Weiss, a tech-savvy medical student at Harvard, but it received little attention at the time. Now, with AI language systems advancing rapidly, some say the government and Internet companies need to...

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Will Knight
Jan 17
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After a decade, NASA’s big rocket fails its first real test

After a decade, NASA’s big rocket fails its first real test

STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss.—For a few moments, it seemed like the Space Launch System saga might have a happy ending. Beneath brilliant blue skies late on Saturday afternoon, NASA’s huge rocket roared to life for the very first time. As its four engines lit, and thrummed, thunder rumbled across these Mississippi lowlands. A giant, beautiful plume of white exhaust billowed away from the test stand.It was all pretty damn glorious until it stopped suddenly.About 50 seconds into what was supposed to be an 8-minute test firing, the flight control center called out, “We did get an MCF on Engine...

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Eric Berger
Jan 17
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What motivates the motivated reasoning of pro-Trump conspiracists?

What motivates the motivated reasoning of pro-Trump conspiracists?

Motivated reasoning is the idea that our mental processes often cause us to filter the evidence we accept based on whether it's consistent with what we want to believe. During these past few weeks, it has been on display in the United States on a truly grand scale. People are accepting context-free videos shared on social media over investigations performed by election officials. They're rejecting obvious evidence of President Donald Trump's historic unpopularity, while buying in to evidence-free conspiracies involving deceased Latin American dictators.If the evidence for motivated...

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John Timmer
Jan 16
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Hackers alter stolen regulatory data to sow mistrust in COVID-19 vaccine

Hackers alter stolen regulatory data to sow mistrust in COVID-19 vaccine

Last month, the makers of one of the most promising coronavirus vaccines reported that they had submitted to a European Union regulatory body. On Friday, word emerged that the hackers have falsified some of the submissions’ contents and published them on the Internet.Studies of the BNT162b2 vaccine jointly developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech found it’s at preventing COVID-19 and is consistently effective across age, gender, race, and ethnicity demographics. Despite near-universal consensus among scientists that the vaccine is safe, some critics have worried it isn’t....

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Dan Goodin
Jan 15
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Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

Facebook will pay more than $300 each to 1.6M Illinois users in settlement

Millions of Facebook users in Illinois will be receiving about $340 each as Facebook settles a case alleging it broke state law when it collected facial recognition data on users without their consent. The judge hearing the case in federal court in California approved the final settlement on Thursday, six years after legal proceedings began."This is money that's coming directly out of Facebook's own pocket," US District Judge James Donato said, according to the . "The violations here did not extract a penny from the pockets of the victims. But this is real money that Facebook is paying to...

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Kate Cox
Jan 15
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FCC fines white-supremacist robocaller $10 million for faking caller ID

FCC fines white-supremacist robocaller $10 million for faking caller ID

A neo-Nazi, white-supremacist robocaller who spread "xenophobic fearmongering" and "racist attacks on political candidates" has been ordered to pay a $9.9 million fine for violating the Truth in Caller ID Act, a US law that manipulation of caller ID numbers with the intent to defraud, cause harm, or wrongfully obtain anything of value. The Federal Communications Commission against Scott Rhodes of Idaho yesterday, nearly one year after the FCC first ."This individual made thousands of spoofed robocalls targeting specific communities with harmful pre-recorded messages," the FCC said in an...

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Jon Brodkin
Jan 15
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Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

Toyota fined $180 million for 10 years of noncompliance with EPA regs

On Thursday, Toyota reached a settlement with the US government over a decade of noncompliance with Clean Air Act reporting regulations. Under the law, defects or recalls that affect vehicle emissions equipment have to be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency.But, says EPA assistant administrator Susan Bodine, "[f]or a decade Toyota failed to report mandatory information about potential defects in their cars to the EPA, keeping the agency in the dark and evading oversight.  EPA considers this failure to be a serious violation of the Clean Air Act."Manufacturers are supposed submit...

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Jonathan M. Gitlin
Jan 15
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PC sales finally saw big growth in 2020 after years of steady decline

PC sales finally saw big growth in 2020 after years of steady decline

During the Consumer Electronics Show this week, research firm IDC released a report on worldwide traditional PC sales in 2020, and it tells a rosier story than we've been used to in recent years. In the fourth quarter of 2020, PC shipments grew 26.1 percent over the same period last year.That means 13.1 percent year-over-year growth overall, and the best year and month for PC sales in quite some time. In total, 91.6 million traditional PCs were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2020. "Traditional PCs" in IDC's report include systems like desktops, laptops, and work stations. For years, sales...

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Samuel Axon
Jan 14
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