Tech News courtesy of Ars Technica
- A brace of warbirds to celebrate Memorial Day
- The spammer who logged into my PC and installed Microsoft Office
- Should broadband data hogs pay more? ISP economics say “no”
- Octopuses may indeed be your new overlords
- Munch, Monet, Michelangelo, and more: High art through a LEGO lens
- Kennedy’s vision for NASA inspired greatness, then stagnation
- Why can’t the Estonian president buy a song off iTunes for his Latvian wife?
- The Greatest Spectacle in Racing turns 100: The 2016 Indy 500
- ARM’s newest CPU design wants to make throttling a thing of the past
- SoundCloud’s free “auto-mastering” audio tool is more of an auto-turd
The workhorse of the US Army Air Corp's Eighth Air Force in World War II was the B-17. This one is a B-17G called Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby and it flew 24 combat missions during the war, ending its service after making an emergency landing in Sweden. The Eighth Air Force suffered very heavy casualties during WWII—more than 26,000 personnel lost their lives.
16 more images in gallery
Americans have honored those lost in war in some shape or another since just after the Civil War. Memorial Day as we know it—a federal holiday on the last Monday in May—is more recent, dating back to 1968. But the sentiment is the same—remembering those who paid the ultimate price in defense of their country. Since a recent trip happened to take us by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, we've decided to celebrate it here at Ars by bringing you this gallery of some fine-looking warbirds.
The museum can be found at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. It's truly vast—even giants of the air like the B-36 and B-52 can seem small underneath the roof of one of its hangars. It also has some rather significant planes in its collection, notably Bockscar, one of the two B-29s that dropped atom bombs on Japan in World War II (the Enola Gay lives at the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy collection in Dulles, VA).
The collections under those massive hangers are organized chronologically, from the beginning of flight through World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, through to today. Sadly, we weren't able to check out one of the museum's most fascinating aircraft, the remaining North American XB-70 Valkyrie; the new hanger for research and experimental aircraft (and old Air Force Ones) doesn't open until next week.
(credit: Aurich Lawson / Thinkstock)
It's Memorial Day, all Ars staff is off, and we're grateful for it (running a site remains tough work). But on a normal Monday, inevitably we'd continue to monitor the security world. Our Jon Brodkin willingly embraced a firsthand experience with low-grade scammers in April 2013, and we're resurfacing his piece for your holiday reading pleasure.
It all began with an annoying text message sent to an Ars reader. Accompanied by a Microsoft Office logo, the message came from a Yahoo e-mail address and read, "Hi, Do u want Microsoft Office 2010. I Can Remotely Install in a Computer."
An offer I couldn't refuse.
The recipient promptly answered "No!" and then got in touch with us. Saying the spam text reminded him of the "'your computer has a virus' scam," the reader noted that "this seems to be something that promises the same capabilities, control of your computer and a request for your credit card info. Has anyone else seen this proposal?"
Don't be stingy guys.
It's Memorial Day, all Ars staff is off, and we're grateful for it (running a site remains tough work). But on a normal Monday, inevitably we'd continue to monitor the world of ISPs—especially how the major players handle big data users. Our Nate Anderson looked at the economic side of the decision in July 2010, and we're resurfacing his piece for your holiday reading pleasure.
Just over a year ago, Time Warner Cable rolled out an experiment in several cities: monthly data limits for Internet usage that ranged from 5GB to 40GB. Data costs money, and consumers would need to start paying their fair share; the experiment seemed to promise an end to the all-you-can-eat Internet buffet at which contented consumers had stuffed themselves for a decade. Food analogies were embraced by the company, with COO Landel Hobbs saying at the time, "When you go to lunch with a friend, do you split the bill in half if he gets the steak and you have a salad?"
In the middle of the controversy, TWC boss Glenn Britt told BusinessWeek something similar, though with less edible imagery. "We need a viable model to be able to support the infrastructure of the broadband business," he said. "We made a mistake early on by not defining our business based on the consumption dimension."
A giant pacific octopus shows its colors at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. (credit: Monterey Bay Aquarium)
Over the past 60 years, the population of cephalopods—octopuses, squids, and cuttlefish—has been steadily growing. This is particularly remarkable because many types of marine life have been dying out as carbon levels in the oceans rise, making the water more acidic. So even as numbers of crabs, sea stars, and coral reefs are shrinking, the tentacled creatures of the deep are thriving.
Writing in Current Biology, a large group of marine biologists describe how they discovered this trend. Looking at the past 61 years of fisheries data from all major oceans, they examined numbers of cephalopods that are bycatch, or accidentally caught along with target fish. Using these numbers as a proxy for cephalopod populations as a whole, they discovered a steady increase over the decades, across all cephalopod species. The question is why.
The researchers say it's likely a function of a cephalopod's ability to adapt quickly. "These ecologically and commercially important invertebrates may have benefited from a changing ocean environment," they write. Most cephalopods have very short lifespans and are able to change their behavior very quickly during their lifespans. Indeed, octopuses are tool-users who can learn quickly, leading to many daring escapes from tanks in labs as well as brilliant forms of camouflage at the bottom of the ocean. All these characteristics add up to a set of species who can change on the fly, as their environments are transformed.
Seattle's Pacific Science Center is the latest home to Nathan Sawaya's all-LEGO art exhibit.
42 more images in gallery
SEATTLE—We at Ars love a good piece of LEGO design, particularly the fare found at regional fan fests like BrickCon on an annual basis. But while those shows impress with pop-culture references and sprawling towns full of vehicles, spacecraft, ships, and villagers, they don't typically include the kinds of original work or high-art references you'd expect to see at a museum.
Oregon-raised artist Nathan Sawaya, on the other hand, has made art out of LEGOs for years—and shown it off at art galleries across the world since 2007. The artist's latest show, which we caught on its opening weekend in Seattle, continues to revolve around his original creations, which are included in the lower gallery (and will be familiar to anybody who's attended a Sawaya show over the years). But his more recent work has revolved around LEGO recreations of classic paintings and sculptures, which you'll see in this article's upper gallery.
From Monet to Munch, and from Egyptian temples to politically charged Americana, Sawaya's Art of the Brick collection crosses a ton of artistic movements off the LEGO list. You can see all of this and more at the Pacific Science Center until September 11.
President Kennedy delivers his "Decision to Go to the Moon" speech on May 25, 1961 before Congress.
14 more images in gallery
The spring of 1961 was a time of uncertainty and insecurity in America. The Soviets had beaten the United States to space four years earlier with Sputnik, and in April 1961, they flew Yuri Gagarin into space for a single orbit around the planet. Finally, on May 5th, America responded by sending Alan Shepard into space, but he only made a suborbital flight.
Few would have predicted then that just five years later the United States would not only catch the Soviets in space but surpass them on the way to the moon. Perhaps that is the greatness of John F. Kennedy, who found in such a moment not despair, but opportunity. When Kennedy spoke to Congress on May 25th, 55 years ago, NASA hadn’t even flown an astronaut into orbit. Yet he declared the U.S. would go to the moon before the end of the decade.
“No single space project in this period will be more exciting, or more impressive, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish,” Kennedy told Congress. “In a very real sense it will not be one man going to the moon, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.”
On a recent afternoon, I waited patiently in a generic conference room with yellow-tinted walls at the Westin Hotel, dressed in a grey suit and a tie, eagerly anticipating the arrival of Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. My videographer, Chris Schodt, busily set up his camera and light rig.
(credit: Aurich Lawson)
INDIANAPOLIS—When it comes to American sporting traditions, there are few events as storied as the Indianapolis 500. It's a 500-mile test of speed, endurance, and bravery that takes place at the end of May. It takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a 2.5-mile (4km) race track that's not only the oldest of its kind but also the largest sporting venue anywhere on Earth. And this year's Indy 500 is a special one—it's the race's 100th running. With speeds well in excess of 200mph (321km/h), it's the fastest race on the motorsport's calendar, and this year Ars was in attendance along with more than 350 thousand others to take in what's often called the greatest spectacle in racing.
As we'll see, the cars have changed a lot over the course of those hundred runnings. And the race has gone through good times—with crowds topping 400,000—and bad. There's been innovation, and more than its fair share of tragedy. But throughout it all the track has remained a constant. Well, almost.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway was built in 1909 by Carl Fisher, who wanted to create a venue for the nascent American auto industry to test its new-fangled creations. Initially, the 2.5-mile track's surface was made of crushed stone, something that proved conducive to a series of fatal accidents that started with the first car race it held on August 19 of that year. As the death toll mounted over the next few days, Fisher and his partners made the wise decision to pave it. They opted for bricks—more than 3.2 million of them, leading locals to dub the speedway "the Brickyard."
Many companies, Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm included, like to rely on their own custom ARM CPU architectures for their chips, but the CPUs and GPUs that ARM itself designs for other companies to use are still important. They let commodity chipmakers like MediaTek and Rockchip offer chips with good performance for less money, and they serve as a sort of pace car for the rest of the mobile industry.
Enter the new Cortex A73 CPU architecture and the Mali G71 GPU. These are new high-end designs that target 2017’s flagship phones and tablets, but they’ve also been designed with virtual reality and augmented reality in mind.
Cortex A73: A new “big” core
Cortex A73 is being positioned as a replacement of sorts for Cortex A72, which in turn replaced Cortex A57. Like its two predecessors, it’s a high-end 64-bit CPU design, and it can be paired with with “little” Cortex A53 or A35 cores that handle light or idle tasks to reduce power consumption.
On Thursday, the audio-processing company Landr (founded in 2014) announced its partnership with the hugely popular self-publishing music platform SoundCloud. SoundCloud users can now have their original tunes processed and "optimized" for free by Landr.
This news promises a different kind of audio-related snake oil than we're used to at Ars. We've seen plenty of products advertising instant audio benefits, from cords to pre-amps to DACs, which largely target music consumers. Landr flips its sales pitch by targeting music creators.