Tech News

  • OnePlus 5T review—An outstanding combination of specs, design, and price

    Ron Amadeo

    After launching the OnePlus 5 earlier this year, OnePlus is back with an end-of-year upgrade for the device. The OnePlus 5T takes a winning formula—high-end specs with a low price tag and a metal body—and reworks the front of the phone to dedicate as much space as possible to the screen. This device has a new screen, a new button layout, a new fingerprint reader, and a new camera setup. It almost feel like a totally new device.

    We liked the OnePlus 5 from earlier in the year, but with the more modern design, OnePlus has fixed OnePlus 5's biggest downside. The result is something that is extremely compelling—a $500 phone that makes you question exactly why you'd give $800 to those other OEMs when this has nearly everything the more expensive phones have.

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  • Delhi smog levels drop from severe to very poor—you know, half-marathon weather

    Enlarge / A man wears a face mask as he takes part in the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 in New Delhi on November 19, 2017. (credit: Getty | SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP)

    Despite extremely dangerous levels of air pollution smothering Delhi and creating “gas chamber” conditions, thousands took to the streets to run a half marathon Sunday. Most ran without masks that would filter out harmful pollution.

    In recent weeks, air pollution measurements around the sprawling megacity have been off the charts, hitting levels around 30 times those considered safe by the World Health Organization. Authorities blamed the toxic smog on seasonal crop burns in nearby areas as well as calm winds and the usual emissions from vehicles and industry.

    Exasperated doctors explained that it was harmful to merely walk around in the smog, let alone run. The thick pollution can spark asthma attacks, lung and heart damage, and sudden cardiac arrest, they warned. And they implored race organizers and authorities to cancel or postpone the event, which has been long set for November 19.

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  • Pixel Buds review: OK Google, go back to the earbud drawing board

    Enlarge (credit: Sam Machkovech)

    Find me a critic who would recommend any company's first-ever earbuds priced at $159, and I will find you that critic's sordid history of wire-transfer scams on Craigslist. Headphones and earbuds have to cater to so many tricky, subjective variables: various ear fits, sound preferences, and desired features. Nobody gets that right the first time, and even for longtime companies, one fan's treasure is another audiophile's trash.

    Google isn't the company to buck this trend. Its Pixel Buds arrive as an admittedly ambitious entry to the sector, with promises of pristine sound quality and Google Assistant-fueled superpowers. And as Google's first-ever entry to the earbud world, they're not all that terrible. Some of their features range from compelling to downright cool.

    But between this price point, inconsistent sound quality, underwhelming voice-assistant features, and glaring use issues, I have to wonder how long Google actually weighed and tested what it was about to launch, as opposed to rushing its own answer to Apple's AirPods.

    Read 41 remaining paragraphs | Comments

  • Archaeologists find mysterious, 4,000-year-old dog sacrifices in Russia

    4,000 years ago in the northern steppes of Eurasia, in the shadow of the Ural Mountains, a tiny settlement stood on a natural terrace overlooking the Samara River. In the late twentieth century, a group of archaeologists excavated the remains of two or three structures that once stood here, surrounded by green fields where sheep and cattle grazed. But the researchers quickly discovered this was no ordinary settlement. Unusual burials and the charred remains of almost fifty dogs suggested this place was a ritual center for at least 100 years.

    Hartwick College anthropologist David Anthony and his colleagues have excavated for several years at the site, called Krasnosamarskoe, and have wondered since that time what kind of rituals would have left this particular set of remains behind. Anthony and his Hartwick College colleague Dorcas Brown offer some ideas in a paper published recently in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.

    The people who lived at Krasnosamarskoe were part of an Indo-European cultural group called Srubnaya, with Bronze Age technology. The Srubnaya lived in settlements year-round, but were not farmers. They kept animals, hunted for wild game, and gathered plants to eat opportunistically. Like many Indo-European peoples, they did not have what modern people would call an organized religion. But as Krasnosamarskoe demonstrates, they certainly had beliefs that were highly spiritual and symbolic. And they engaged in ritualistic practices over many generations.

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  • Infosec star accused of sexual assault booted from professional affiliations

    Enlarge / Morgan Marquis-Boire, then a security researcher at the University of Toronto Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab, seen here on July 24, 2012. (credit: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

    A well-known computer security researcher, Morgan Marquis-Boire, has been publicly accused of sexual assault.

    On Sunday, The Verge published a report saying that it had spoken with 10 women across North America and Marquis-Boire's home country of New Zealand who say that they were assaulted by him in episodes going back years.

    A woman that The Verge gave the pseudonym "Lila," provided The Verge with "both a chat log and a PGP signed and encrypted e-mail from Morgan Marquis-Boire. In the e-mail, he apologizes at great length for a terrible but unspecified wrong. And in the chat log, he explicitly confesses to raping and beating her in the hotel room in Toronto, and also confesses to raping multiple women in New Zealand and Australia."

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  • Some Instacart workers to strike over pay that can be as low as $1 per hour

    Enlarge / Kaitlin Myers, a shopper for Instacart, studies her smartphone as she shops for a customer at Whole Foods in Denver. Myers received a grocery list for a shopper and then completed the shopping on Tuesday, October 28, 2014. (credit: Denver Post Photo by Cyrus McCrimmon)

    OAKLAND, Calif.—Seated at a dimly-lit bar, a gregarious man dressed in a scarf and beanie reflecting his favorite local sports team, explained to Ars last week why he and some of his fellow Instacart shoppers plan on not working this Sunday and Monday.

    "We’re going to sign up for shifts and then when it’s time, if I’m working from 10am to 1pm on [November 19], the first order, I’m going to decline it, not accept the batch," he said, using Instacart’s term for multiple pickups at a single retail location. "They’ll kick us off and we’ll continue to do that until they kick us off [for the day]."

    The man, who goes by Ike, declined to let Ars use his full name for fear of reprisal—he also doesn’t want unwanted scrutiny from his colleagues at his full-time public sector job.

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  • What I learned visiting my first live eSports tournament

    Kyle Orland

    At this point, I don't have much patience for the argument that eSports fans should stop watching other people play video games and just play those games themselves.

    For one, it's an argument that few people make about spectator sports like basketball and football, where the skill difference between a pro and a novice is roughly the same as in eSports. For another, the thrill of watching a competitor at the top of his or her game is entirely distinct (and better in some ways) from competing yourself.

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  • How an unpaid UK researcher saved the Japanese seaweed industry

    Enlarge / A nori farm off the coast of Japan. (credit: H. Grobe)

    The tasty Japanese seaweed nori is ubiquitous today, but that wasn't always true. Nori was once called “lucky grass” because every year's harvest was entirely dependent on luck. Then, during World War II, luck ran out. No nori would grow off the coast of Japan, and farmers were distraught. But a major scientific discovery on the other side of the planet revealed something unexpected about the humble plant and turned an unpredictable crop into a steady and plentiful food source.

    Nori is most familiar to us when it's wrapped around sushi. It looks less familiar when floating in the sea, but for centuries, farmers in Japan, China, and Korea knew it by sight. Every year, they would plant bamboo poles strung with nets in the coastal seabed and wait for nori to build up on them.

    At first it would look like thin filaments. Then, with luck, it grew into healthy, harvestable plants with long, green leaves. The farmers never saw seeds or seedlings, so no one could cultivate it. The filaments simply appeared every year. That is, they appeared until after World War II, when pollution, industrialization along the coast, and a series of violent typhoons led to a disastrous drop in harvests. By 1951, nori production in Japan had been all but wiped out.

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  • Pandemic Legacy: Season 2—The world’s “best board game” gets better

    Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

    How do you follow the most popular board game ever made?

    In a world where three separate versions of Smurfs Monopoly exist, Pandemic Legacy: Season One (PL:S1) isn’t the biggest-selling game of all time—but it has topped the popularity charts at Board Game Geek since it was released. It’s as close to “universally loved” as it’s possible to get in this contrarian world.

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  • Pentagon contractor leaves social media spy archive wide open on Amazon

    (credit: Wikipedia)

    A Pentagon contractor left a vast archive of social-media posts on a publicly accessible Amazon account in what appears to be a military-sponsored intelligence-gathering operation that targeted people in the US and other parts of the world.

    The three cloud-based storage buckets contained at least 1.8 billion scraped online posts spanning eight years, researchers from security firm UpGuard's Cyber Risk Team said in a blog post published Friday. The cache included many posts that appeared to be benign, and in many cases those involved from people in the US, a finding that raises privacy and civil-liberties questions. Facebook was one of the sites that originally hosted the scraped content. Other venues included soccer discussion groups and video game forums. Topics in the scraped content were extremely wide ranging and included Arabic language posts mocking ISIS and Pashto language comments made on the official Facebook page of Pakistani politician Imran Khan.

    The scrapings were left in three Amazon Web Servers S3 cloud storage buckets that were configured to allow access to anyone with a freely available AWS account. It's only the latest trove of sensitive documents left unsecured on Amazon. In recent months, UpGuard has also found private data belonging to Viacom, security firm TigerSwan, and defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton similarly exposed. In Friday's post, UpGuard analyst Dan O'Sullivan wrote:

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About jvaudio

I have masters degrees in information systems management, project management, and computer science. I have bachelors degrees in technical management and finance.

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