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An Intimate Look at a Family on the Rocks Trying to Get Their Sh*t Sorted out with the Help of Doctor Feels
Is Bitcoin a bubble? It's a natural question to ask—especially after Bitcoin's price shot up from $12,000 to $15,000 this week.
So we decided to ask a couple of experts on bubbles what they thought: Brent Goldfarb is a business professor at the University of Maryland, and William Deringer is a historian at MIT. Both have done research on the history and economics of bubbles, and they talked to Ars by phone this week as Bitcoin continues its surge.
Both academics saw clear parallels between the bubbles they've studied and Bitcoin's current rally. Bubbles tend to be driven either by new technologies (like railroads in 1840s Britain or the Internet in the 1990s) or by new financial innovations (like the financial engineering that produced the 2008 financial crisis). Bitcoin, of course, is both a new technology and a major financial innovation.
Charter Communications is really excited to tell you about all its new broadband network investments.
"Increasing Flagship Broadband Speeds; Giving Customers More For Less," is the title of the company's latest announcement on this topic. The second-largest cable company in the US has increased its standard download speed from 60Mbps to 100Mbps—"at no extra cost to our customers"—while providing speeds of 200Mbps or 1Gbps in some markets. Gigabit service is available in "Oahu, Hawaii with additional markets to be launched in the weeks ahead," Charter said.
A graphic from Charter's press release. (credit: Charter )
The amazing thing is that Charter is doing all this despite the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules and related Title II regulation of ISPs as common carriers. In July, Charter told the FCC that the "broad and vague prohibitions" in the rules "have caused broadband providers to reconsider innovations and investments out of concern that regulators could squelch, or force significant modifications to, those ventures after funds had been expended."
When a company like Microsoft needs to fix a security flaw in one of its products, the process is normally straightforward: determine where the bug lies, change the program's source code to fix the bug, and then recompile the program. But it looks like the company had to step outside this typical process for one of the flaws it patched this Tuesday. Instead of fixing the source code, it appears that the company's developers made a series of careful changes directly to the buggy program's executable file.
Bug CVE-2017-11882 is a buffer overflow in the ancient Equation Editor that comes with Office. The Equation Editor allocates a fixed-size piece of memory to hold a font name and then copies the font name from the equation file into this piece of memory. It doesn't, however, check to ensure that the font name will fit into this piece of memory. When provided with a font name that's too long, the Equation Editor overflows the buffer, corrupting its own memory, and an attacker can use this to execute arbitrary malicious code.
Back when he was a kid, Jimmy Kimmel created a comic book called “The Terrific Ten,” and in honor of the man’s 50th birthday, Ben Affleck and J.J. Abrams got their hands on the comic and created a trailer of the story and turned it into a major motion picture.
Here is the WORLD PREMIERE EXCLUSIVE trailer of The Terrific Ten starring Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Jennifer Aniston, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Cousin Sal, Jon Hamm, Shaq, Ty Burrell, Billy Crudup, Jake Tapper and Wanda Sykes.
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Dragon Ball Z: Light of Hope is a non-profit live-action fan film by the folks over at Robot Underdog and is an adaptation of “The History of Trunks” TV Special. The story features Gohan & Trunks in their battle to survive against the Androids during a timeline where Goku and the other Z warriors are dead. Check it out!
Yep, that’s right: It’s a 44-piece tool set (officially licensed) that comes inside a molded case that looks like Thor’s hammer. Now how awesome is that?
This 44-piece tool set, a ThinkGeek creation and exclusive, comes in a molded case that looks like Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Inside it has all your basic tool needs, including a hammer (duh), a tape measure, a level, a screwdriver, a wrench, a ratcheting wrench, and a utility knife you can conveniently use to open your next box from ThinkGeek. It’s perfect for someone worthy of their first place or a great extra set of everything to have around in case of emergencies (like having to replace your lock set because Loki got a copy of the key AGAIN). We predict it’s a gift your recipient will return to repeatedly and get a chuckle out of every time.
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, it’s guaranteed to be one of the biggest box office hits of the year, if not all time. So why are some theaters flat-out refusing to screen the movie at all?
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For ages I’ve been thinking about doing a video analyzing time travel in fiction and doing a comparison of different fictional time travels – some do use wormholes, some relativistic/faster than light travel with time dilation, some closed timelike curves, some have essentially “magic” or no consistent rules that make any sense, or TARDIS’s, or whatever. This video is an explanation of how time travel functions in different popular movies, books, & shows – not how it works “under the hood”, but how it causally affects the perspective of characters’ timelines (who has free will? can you change things by going back to the past or forwards into the future?). In particular, I explain Ender’s Game, Planet of the Apes, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Primer, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Back to the Future, Groundhog Day, Looper, the video game “Braid”, and Lifeline.
On Tuesday, the State Department confirmed that two more Americans have fallen victim to an ongoing series of mysterious attacks targeting diplomats in Cuba, the Associated Press reports. The new cases bring the total of Americans affected by the assaults to 21.
US authorities first acknowledged the attacks in August, about nine months after diplomats began reporting bizarre sonic experiences and a puzzling spectrum of symptoms, from brain injuries to hearing loss. Despite an international investigation into the attacks, which have also affected Canadian diplomats, authorities and scientists are still baffled as to what kind of weapon or devices could have been used—let alone by whom.
The victims report a range of symptoms including dizziness, nausea, headaches, balance problems, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), nosebleeds, difficulty concentrating and recalling words, permanent hearing loss, and speech problems. There have also been brain injuries, including swelling and concussion.
Based on Jeff VanderMeer’s best-selling Southern Reach Trilogy, Annihilation stars Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson, Tuva Novotny and Oscar Isaac. It was written and directed by Alex Garland (Ex Machina, 28 Days Later).
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; the second expedition ended in mass suicide; the third expedition in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another. The members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within weeks, all had died of cancer. In Annihilation, the first volume of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy, we join the twelfth expedition.
Annihilation will hit the big screen on February 23, 2018.
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For as long as video game piracy has existed, gamers and the industry have argued about whether the practice really hurts sales of legitimate games. In 2010, the Business Software Alliance estimated that generalized software piracy costs the world $51 billion annually and half a million jobs. Even most people who doubt every pirated download is equivalent to a lost sale will admit that illegal downloads have some negative effect on overall game sales.
So it's more than a bit surprising that an exhaustive study of piracy's effects by the European Commission found that "illegal consumption [of games] leads to increased legal consumption." To be more precise, the study estimates that for every 100 games that are downloaded illegally, players actually legally obtain 24 more games (including free games) than they would in a world in which piracy didn't exist.
The 306-page "Estimating Displacement Rates of Copyrighted Content in the EU" report (PDF) points out a number of caveats for this headline number, not least of which is a 45-percent error margin that makes the results less than statistically significant (i.e. indistinguishable from noise). That said, the same study finds that piracy has the more-expected negative effects on sales of films and books (and a neutral effect on music), singling out games as one area where piracy really does seem to work differently.
Update (9/28/2017 4:25 ET): Apple has responded to FCC chairman Ajit Pai's call for the company to enable FM radio chips in its devices. In an emailed statement, the company downplayed the need for FM radio broadcasts in times of emergency, and said its iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 devices have neither the chips nor the antennas necessary to allow FM radio reception in the first place. Here's the full statement:
"Apple cares deeply about the safety of our users, especially during times of crisis and that’s why we have engineered modern safety solutions into our products. Users can dial emergency services and access Medical ID card information directly from the Lock Screen, and we enable government emergency notifications, ranging from Weather Advisories to AMBER alerts. iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 models do not have FM radio chips in them nor do they have antennas designed to support FM signals, so it is not possible to enable FM reception in these products."
Apple declined to comment on why newer iPhones are unable to pick up radio broadcasts or if it could ever enable the FM tuner in pre-iPhone 7 devices in the future. Various smartphones with an active FM chip use the cord from a pair of wired headphones as an antenna, however, so the omission of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 may contribute to those devices' lack of FM tuner support. Our original story follows.
Original post: Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday issued a public statement requesting that Apple activate the disabled FM radio chips within its iPhones.
Today, a huge scientific team announced that humanity has added a third gravitational wave detector to its arsenal. And, only two weeks after Europe's VIRGO detector joined forces with the two LIGO detectors, the three combined to pick up a new black hole merger. While the three have worked together for less than a month so far, there are plans for a substantial observation run next autumn.
Waves in space
Gravitational waves are produced as two massive objects spiral inward toward a collision. Once they get close enough, their rapid circling distorts space itself, sending gravitational waves rippling out. Immediately after their collision, the object formed by their merger vibrates like a bell, briefly producing a different pattern of waves. These ripples in space will alternately expand and contract the distance between two objects by an infinitesimal amount—but one sufficient for our most sensitive instruments to pick up.
The new event, GW170814, is similar to the ones detected earlier. It involves stellar-mass black holes, 31 and 25 times the mass of the Sun. Those are heavier than theoretical work indicates should be possible to form through the collapse of stars. This suggests that either these were formed through earlier mergers or some alternate route of formation exists. The resulting black hole is 53 times our Sun's mass. The missing material—three solar masses' worth of black hole—was converted to energy in the form of gravitational waves. The event occurred about 1.8 billion light years away, though, so don't be surprised that you didn't notice anything.
SpaceX has filed trademark applications for the word "Starlink" to describe its planned satellite broadband network.
SpaceX filed applications with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 21 to have Starlink trademarked for "wireless broadband communication services," "high-speed wireless Internet access," and other services related to its upcoming satellite network.
The trademark applications were surfaced by a user on Reddit and then made the rounds in news articles. SpaceX is also seeking an additional trademark on "SpaceX" specifically for the satellite network, in addition to the SpaceX trademarks it already owns for aerospace launch vehicles, rockets, and services for launching payloads into space.
The Federal Communications Commission chairman's proposal that could lower the country's broadband standard is "crazy" and does nothing to solve the United States' broadband accessibility problems, a Democratic FCC commissioner said yesterday.
The FCC is "proposing to lower US broadband standard from 25 to 10Mbps," FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel tweeted. "This is crazy. Lowering standards doesn't solve our broadband problems."
— Jessica Rosenworcel (@JRosenworcel) September 20, 2017
Redefining broadband to declare problem solved
The FCC's current policy, a holdover from former Chairman Tom Wheeler, is that all Americans should have access to home Internet service with speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream and access to mobile broadband. If that policy remained in place, having one or the other wouldn't be enough to be considered "served" in the FCC's annual analysis of whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.
The recent CCleaner malware outbreak is much worse than it initially appeared, according to newly unearthed evidence. That evidence shows that the CCleaner malware infected at least 20 computers from a carefully selected list of high-profile technology companies with a mysterious payload.
Because the CCleaner backdoor was active for 31 days, the total number of infected computers is "likely at least in the order of hundreds," researchers from Avast, the antivirus company that acquired CCleaner in July, said in their own analysis published Thursday.
At least five California municipalities are suing five major oil companies, claiming in public nuisance lawsuits that the firms should pay for the infrastructure costs associated with rising sea levels due to climate change.
The latest suits announced Wednesday by Oakland and San Francisco name BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Royal Dutch Shell. The cities claim the oil companies knew of the dangers of fossil-fuel-driven climate change but kept mum. The cities claim that global warming, which they say has melted ice sheets and heated sea water, has contributed to rising seas by about eight inches in California over the past decade. They say it could rise 10 feet by the year 2100.
"The bill has come due," San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said. "It's time for these companies to take responsibility."