Tech News Feed

NASA Challenges Space Fans to Find Secret Messages Hidden Inside Orion - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 16:51
The spacecraft is packed with Easter eggs, from a Morse code message to a bird image.

A new electrolyte mixture may prevent EV batteries from catching fire

Engadget - Thu, 2022-12-08 16:30

Lithium-ion battery fires may not be all that common, but they are a concern — just ask electric vehicle makers and Samsung. Thankfully, research at Stanford might reduce the chances of those devices lighting up. Scientists have developed an electrolyte (the substance that carries lithium ions between electrodes) that won't catch fire even at temperatures of 140F or more. The trick, it turns out, was extra lithium salt.

The team added as much of a particular lithium salt (LiFSI) as possible to a polymer-based electrolyte, bumping the mix from less than half of the electrolyte's weight to 63 percent. The LiFSI served as an "anchor" for flammable solvent molecules, preventing them from catching fire. The combination lets a lithium-ion battery continue functioning at temperatures as high as 212F.

Unlike other attempts at non-flammable electrolytes, the polymer-based design is gooey and can fit into existing lithium-ion battery components. That lowers the costs and lets companies use their current manufacturing processes. You could see the technology reach real-world products quicker than rivals that would require custom (and potentially expensive) production methods.

There's no mention of near-term attempts to commercialize the new battery tech, which was funded by the Energy Department. However, the researchers already see multiple benefits for electric cars. The design could not only lower the risk of EVs catching fire, but increase their range. Automakers frequently need to space lithium-ion battery cells to prevent them from heating each other. This advancement would let companies safely pack more batteries into a given area, allowing either higher capacities or more spacious interiors.

This could also prove useful for phones, laptops and other mobile devices where space and safety are priorities. You might eke out more runtime on a charge, or worry less about a fire in your pocket. This discovery wouldn't prevent fires resulting from damage, but it could prove reassuring in everyday use.

Disney Plus Just Hiked Its Price and Launched Ads: Everything to Know - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 16:30
Disney Plus, like many streaming services, is raising prices after it priced its service artificially low during its early years.

Google Combines Maps and Waze Teams Amid Pressure To Cut Costs

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-12-08 16:20
Alphabet's Google plans to combine the team working on the mapping service Waze with the group overseeing the company's Maps product, as the search giant faces pressure to streamline operations and cut costs. From a report: Google plans to merge Waze's more than 500 employees with the company's Geo organization, which oversees the Maps, Earth and Street View products, beginning on Friday, according to a Google spokeswoman. Waze CEO Neha Parikh will exit her role following a transition period, the spokeswoman said. Google said it planned to maintain Waze as a stand-alone service and didn't plan to conduct any layoffs as part of the reorganization. Google expects the restructuring to reduce overlapping mapmaking work across the Waze and Maps products, the company said. "Google remains deeply committed to Waze's unique brand, its beloved app and its thriving community of volunteers and users," the spokeswoman said in a statement. Google CEO Sundar Pichai has looked for areas to improve efficiency following a slowdown in advertising growth this year. In September, Mr. Pichai said he wanted Google to become 20% more productive and indicated the company could merge teams working on overlapping products.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Marvel's Midnight Suns Offers Lots of Heroes, Little Emotion - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 16:10
Commentary: The new strategy game has so much potential, but certain choices leave a lot on the table.

Best 1-Year Credit Union CD Rates (Share Certificates) - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 15:50
Credit unions offer CDs called share certificates. Like CDs, share certificates provide competitive rates over traditional savings accounts.

Samsung's Android App-Signing Key Has Leaked, is Being Used To Sign Malware

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-12-08 15:40
Lukasz Siewierski, a member of Google's Android Security Team, has a post on the Android Partner Vulnerability Initiative (AVPI) issue tracker detailing leaked platform certificate keys that are actively being used to sign malware. From a report: The post is just a list of the keys, but running each one through APKMirror or Google's VirusTotal site will put names to some of the compromised keys: Samsung, LG, and Mediatek are the heavy hitters on the list of leaked keys, along with some smaller OEMs like Revoview and Szroco, which makes Walmart's Onn tablets. [...] Esper Senior Technical Editor Mishaal Rahman, as always, has been posting great info about this on Twitter. As he explains, having an app grab the same UID as the Android system isn't quite root access, but it's close and allows an app to break out of whatever limited sandboxing exists for system apps. These apps can directly communicate with (or, in the case of malware, spy on) other apps across your phone. Imagine a more evil version of Google Play Services, and you get the idea.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

South Korea To Move To Standardized, Internationally Recognized Age System

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-12-08 15:00
South Koreans are set to become one or even two years younger - at least on official paperwork. From a report: On Thursday, the South Korean parliament passed a law to scrap Korea's two traditional methods of counting age. From June 2023, the so-called "Korean Age" system will no longer be permitted on official documents. Only the standardised, internationally recognised method will remain. The government is fulfilling a campaign promise to reduce confusion by adopting the same system used in the rest of the world. Currently, the most widely used calculation method in Korea is the so-called "Korean age system", in which a person is one year old at birth and then gains a year on the first day of each new year. In a separate method - the "counting age" - a person's age is calculated from zero at birth and a year is added on 1 January.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

US FTC Sues to Block Microsoft's $69B Acquisition of Activision Blizzard - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 14:14
The government agency said the massive deal would hurt competition. Microsoft has argued it won't.

FTC Sues Microsoft To Block $69 Billion Activision Blizzard Acquisition

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-12-08 14:03
The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday sued to block Microsoft's $69 billion acquisition of the video game publisher Activision Blizzard, charging that the massive deal would allow the Washington tech giant to suppress its competitors in gaming. Washington Post: The lawsuit represents the FTC's most significant effort to rein in consolidation in the tech industry since prominent tech critic Lina Khan (D) became the commission's chair and was expected to usher in a new era of antitrust enforcement characterized by a willingness to bring cases in court rather than pursue settlements with companies. The FTC lawsuit against Microsoft could foil the company's ambitions to become a heavier hitter in gaming frontiers. Activision is the owner of massively popular titles like "Candy Crush" and "Call of Duty," and its acquisition could bolster Microsoft in its competition with Japanese console makers Nintendo and Sony. The commission voted on Thursday on a party-line vote to issue the lawsuit in administrative court, with the three Democrats in favor of the complaint and one Republican against it.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

DNA from Extinct Human Relative May Have Shaped Modern Papuans' Immune System

Scientifc America - Thu, 2022-12-08 14:00

DNA from Denisovans, an extinct human species, that was found in the genomes of Indigenous Papuans may mold their immune system

Amazon Launches Inspire, A TikTok-Style Shopping Feed - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:50
The new feature lets you shop for products while scrolling through videos and photos.

Audeze reveals its latest gaming headset with planar magnetic drivers

Engadget - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:45

Audeze has revealed its latest wireless gaming headset. The company claims that Maxwell has a battery life of over 80 hours. When you eventually do need to recharge it, Audeze says you can fully top up the completely depleted battery in 2.5 hours via USB-C or by up to 25 percent of the capacity (which should be enough for a day of usage) in 20 minutes. The headset is said to offer improved low-latency wireless range and stability performance over Audeze's Penrose model.

Maxwell, which has 90mm planar magnetic drivers, can deliver high-resolution audio at up to 24-bit 96kHz when you use the included USB dongle or a wired USB connection, Audeze says. There's a 3.5mm jack too.

The headset has a hardware-based AI system that can automatically filter out background noise at the touch of a button when you're speaking. Maxwell has five built-in microphones as well as a Shure-designed detachable boom mic. There are built-in volume controls for the headphones and mic as well.

Along with audio quality, comfort was a key consideration for Audeze. The 490-gram Maxwell has a spring-steel headband with an adjustable suspension strap. Moreover, the earcups feature a dual-chamber design that offer passive noise isolation.

There are two versions of Maxwell, one designed for PlayStation and the other for Xbox. Both work with Windows, macOS, Android, iOS and Nintendo Switch. The PlayStation model costs $299 and supports Tempest 3D Audio on PS5 and PC. The Xbox version (which is licensed by Microsoft) costs $329. It comes with a Dolby Atmos license that will activate automatically for Xbox Series X/S and PC. Pre-orders are open and Audeze expects to start shipping Maxwell in January.

BlackRock Says Get Ready For a Recession Unlike Any Other

SlashDot - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:42
A worldwide recession is just around the corner as central banks boost borrowing costs aggressively to tame inflation -- and this time, it will ignite more market turbulence than ever before, according to BlackRock, the investment giant that manages about $10 trillion. From the report: The global economy has already exited a four-decade era of stable growth and inflation to enter a period of heightened instability -- and the new regime of increased unpredictability is here to stay, according to the world's biggest asset manager. That means policymakers will no longer be able to support markets as much as they did during past recessions, a team of BlackRock strategists led by vice chairman Philipp Hildebrand wrote in a report titled 2023 Global Outlook. "Recession is foretold as central banks race to try to tame inflation. It's the opposite of past recessions," they said. "Central bankers won't ride to the rescue when growth slows in this new regime, contrary to what investors have come to expect. Equity valuations don't yet reflect the damage ahead." The prospect of limited policy support means investors need more dynamic methods -- involving more frequent portfolio changes and taking a more "granular view on sectors, regions and sub-asset classes" -- to navigate the volatility ahead, according to BlackRock. "What worked in the past won't work now," the strategists said. "The old playbook of simply "buying the dip" doesn't apply in this regime of sharper trade-offs and greater macro volatility. We don't see a return to conditions that will sustain a joint bull market in stocks and bonds of the kind we experienced in the prior decade."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

McLaren Artura first drive: A hybrid supercar that adds EV torque to the mix

Engadget - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:30

There’s a concern that electrifying supercars will kill their spirit. A breed of vehicle known for massive roars, outrageous designs, and cornering that smooshes your internal organs from side to side while the vehicle sticks to the road.

But electrification is coming and how that’s handled can mean the difference between a vehicle that wins over naysayers or one that fails and gives the gas-or-nothing crowd one more piece of evidence that everything is ruined when a battery is added. McLaren’s Artura is not only an engineering marvel built upon a brand-new architecture; it’s also sure to get everyone on board with the idea of cramming an electric motor into a supercar.

The Artura can do zero to 60 in three seconds. That’s EV fast, and it’s thanks to the supercar’s plug-in hybrid setup. Wedged between a twin-turbo V6 and the 8-speed transmission sits a tiny electric motor that’s powered by a 7.5kWh battery pack. It adds low-end torque at launch and while exiting corners while the gas engine catches up.

On the more environmental side, according to the EPA the Artura can travel 11 miles while in EV-only mode. McLaren noted that it could get up to 15 with more surface street driving. It’s not in the league of the other PHEVs on the market, which offer ranges above 30 miles per charge. Remember though, it’s a supercar with all the joy and excitement that comes with that package.

We got a chance to try it out on the roads around Las Vegas, Nevada, and ended the day with 14 laps around a track. In both situations, it impressed. Watch the video below for the full story.

Get $50 Off This Excellent Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:24
The Soundcore by Anker Motion Boom Plus is on sale for $130, or $50 off. That may just be the best deal you can get right now on a Bluetooth speaker.

Best Meat Delivery Deals for December - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:17
A package of premium meat is about as foolproof as gifting gets. Save on high-end steaks or nab free ground beef for life with these tempting deals.

Jeep recalls over 62,000 Wrangler 4xe plug-in hybrids over engine shutdowns

Engadget - Thu, 2022-12-08 13:11

Jeep's first foray into electrified vehicles hasn't gone quite as smoothly as planned. The brand has recalled 62,909 Wrangler 4xe off-roaders over a fault that leads to unexpected shutdowns of the 2.0L plug-in hybrid engine. The powerplant may switch off when the diagnostic system reacts to a loss of communication, possibly leading to a crash if the failure occurs mid-drive.

The flaw affects Wrangler 4xe variants from the 2021 through to 2023 model year vehicles produced before August 17th, 2022, when Jeep started shipping units with updated control software. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says there have been two crashes and one injury potentially linked to the problem, as well as customer assistance instances, warranty claims and field reports.

Jeep will fix the affected Wranglers by updating calibration software for their hybrid control and transmission processors. It expects to formally notify owners starting January 12th. The NHTSA started investigating reports as early as September 2021, but it wasn't until November this year that the investigation wrapped and Jeep's parent Stellantis decided to launch a voluntary recall.

The glitch is unlikely to represent a major setback to Jeep's electric vehicle push. However, the timing is less than ideal. It comes just a few months after Jeep unveiled Grand Cherokee and Wrangler Willy PHEV models, and previewed its all-electric Avenger SUV. The Stellantis-owned badge is just now trying to establish its EV reputation, and a recall won't help matters.