Tech News courtesy of Ars Technica
- Gorf vs. Roadblasters vs. Lunar Lander: A classic arcade throwdown
- Could the Third Amendment be used to fight the surveillance state?
- “Random Darknet Shopper” is back, and it just bought a $35 knockoff polo
- Ars Cardboard reviews Dark Moon—a faster Battlestar Galactica board game
- America’s super-secret court names five lawyers as public advocates
- Prominent climate scientist offers scathing critique of Obama’s Paris plans
- At 11:59pm EST on Saturday, the NSA will stop in-house phone metadata collection
- Judge: There’s no proof Yelp manipulates reviews
- Lenovo teaming up with Razer for a new range of gaming PCs
- When children are breached—inside the massive VTech hack
CHICAGO—One of the advantages of living in Chicago is the existence of Galloping Ghost. One of the largest vintage arcades in the world, Galloping Ghost boasts a whopping 481 cabinets. A mere $15 gets you all the classic gaming your forearms can handle from 2pm to close.
Recently, Ars Senior Technology Editor Lee Hutchinson flew up from Houston to join Deputy Editor Nate Anderson and me (Managing Editor Eric Bangeman) in suburban Chicago for a couple of days of strategic planning. After a strenuous day of working on our plans for world domination, we decided to decamp to Galloping Ghost and challenge one another to our favorite games from years gone by.
(credit: Jane Dickson)
The Third Amendment to the United States Constitution is just 32 words: "No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."
Amongst very nerdy constitutional law circles, the Third Amendment is practically a joke. It’s never been the primary basis of a Supreme Court decision, and it only turns up rarely in legal cases. The reality is that the federal government isn’t going to be sending American soldiers to individual homes anytime soon. Even The Onion tackled the issue in 2007: "Third Amendment Rights Group Celebrates Another Successful Year."
But in a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, one California state lawmaker, Assemblyman Mike Gatto, has proposed a novel legal theory that could allow this amendment to fuel a major legal challenge to the American surveillance state:
(credit: !Mediengruppe Bitnik)
Last we heard from the “Random Darknet Shopper” over six months ago, it was returned to the Swiss art collective that made it after local authorities seized the laptop being used to purchase ecstasy online.
Now, the Shopper is back and soon to be on display in London. It's even shopping again: this week it purchased a knockoff $35 Lacoste polo shirt from Thailand.
At its core, Random Darknet Shopper is a live art project that consists of a laptop running a program designed to do nothing else but randomly buy items off illicit Tor-enabled websites. !Mediengruppe Bitnik, the Swiss art collective behind the project, designed the bot-based art installation to have a budget of $100 in bitcoins each week. From there, the bot randomly chooses an item on Alpha Bay, currently the largest such dark market. (Previously it used Agora, which has since been shuttered.) Ultimately, the purchased item is shipped to the art gallery where the laptop itself is on display and added to the installation.
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I was the only staffer working at the Noguchi-Masaki lunar mining outpost who knew the truth. Earlier in the night, I noticed Enver Ganon attempting to repair a heating duct, at which point he made a surprising fuss. He furrowed his brow at the pipe he'd been trying to repair, which the rest of the staff couldn't see because Ganon had used a standard, NM-issued safety gate that blocked our view of his hands.
|BGG rank||#928 overall|
|Price||$35-$40 (Amazon, Cool Stuff)|
"Dammit," he exclaimed, shaking his head quite a bit. "Dammit! The pipe is toast. We have to take another one of our shields offline."
Something about his over-acting felt wrong, and after we'd faced four system malfunctions, the staff was called together for a meeting—standard procedure after this many security and medical alerts. I was the one who suggested that we place Ganon into quarantine, assuming he had caught the mind-altering infection that had recently come to our outpost. I thought the rest of the crew would listen to me.
Lady Blind Justice (credit: Marc Treble)
America’s most secretive court has now named its five amici curae—friends of the court—who will act as an outsider public advocate at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The move was one of the provisions in the USA Freedom Act, which passed in June 2015 as a package of modest reforms to the national security system.
The five named attorneys are Jonathan G. Cedarbaum, John D. Cline, Laura Donahue, Amy Jeffress, and Marc Zwillinger. In September 2015, the FISC appointed Preston Burton as its first public advocate, but he will only serve in that role as a one-off for a particular case.
Top lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation called these attorneys “impressive.”
Hansen, in 1988, testifying before a U.S. Senate committee. (credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Three days before the beginning of a critical international climate conference in Paris, one of the world's most famous climate scientists, James Hansen, has written a withering criticism of President Obama's approach.
The Paris meeting will be attended by the heads of state of more than 130 countries, including Obama. Heading in, the United States has adopted a policy of calling for each country to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, and will push for the adoption of technology to capture and store carbon dioxide. That approach, Hansen wrote in a new letter posted on his web site, "is so gross, it is best described as unadulterated 100 percent pure bullshit."
In his "communication" published on Friday, Hansen argued that world leaders are eager to avoid the embarrassment of the last major climate meeting in Copenhagen in 2009, which was largely ineffectual. This time, world leaders will reach a deal, Hansen says, and pat themselves on the back. This deal will likely include pledges to cut emissions by 2025. For example, the United States is expected to aim for cuts of 25 percent based on 2005 carbon levels.
The Obama administration said on Friday that it would go ahead with the scheduled closure of the National Security Agency’s bulk phone records collection program. The USA Freedom Act, which passed in early June, outlined this weekend's deadline.
The NSA’s collection of vast amounts of metadata pertaining to calls made by users of telecommunications companies like AT&T and Verizon was unknown to the general public until June 2013, when The Guardian leaked its first document from former security contractor Edward Snowden.
Now, instead of the NSA keeping the metadata onsite, the organization will theoretically have to obtain a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to request metadata pertaining to a person or a group from a telecom company.
(credit: Michael Dorausch)
A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit alleging Yelp manipulated reviews in an attempt to coerce businesses to buy advertisements.
Lawyers representing a Yelp shareholder filed suit in August of 2014, saying that the company had misled investors with false statements about the veracity of its reviews.
The complaint, which sought class action status, was filed four months after The Wall Street Journal revealed that the Federal Trade Commission had received more than 2,000 complaints about Yelp. The WSJ article roughly correlated with a significant drop in the value of Yelp stock.
Lenovo and gaming PC company Razer have partnered up to build a new range of Lenovo gaming PCs. The giant Chinese PC OEM will have a range of Razer-branded Y series PCs available next year. The full set will be unveiled at CES in January, but this week at DreamHack Winter in Sweden the first prototype was shown off.
Except for the Lenovo label across the top, this device has that classic Razer look: an aggressive, angular case, and lots of green lights. It'll also include Razer's "Chroma" custom lighting feature.
In addition to producing and selling the co-branded systems, the companies say that they will be working together to develop "new technologies" to enhance the gaming experience.
(credit: Troy Hunt)
I suspect we’re all getting a little bit too conditioned to data breaches lately. They’re in the mainstream news on what seems like a daily basis to the point where this is the new normal. Certainly the Ashley Madison debacle took that to a whole new level, but when it comes to our identities being leaked all over the place, it’s just another day on the Web.
When it’s hundreds of thousands of children including their names, genders and birthdates, that’s off the charts. When it includes their parents as well—along with their home addresses—and you can link the two and emphatically say “Here is 9-year-old Mary, I know where she lives and I have other personally identifiable information about her parents (including their password and security question),” I start to run out of superlatives to even describe how bad that is.