Technology

Earth is (always has been) round, so why have the flat-out wrong become so lively?

For posterity’s sake, here’s Are’ recent look at reality vs. belief about the shape of the Earth. Click for a full transcript. Until the 17th century, the Fens—a broad, flat swath of marshland in eastern England—were home only to game-hunters and fishermen. Eventually, though, their value as potential agricultural land became too enticing to ignore, …

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Rocket Report: SpaceX scraps costly tooling, Vandenberg lull, Starliner slip

Enlarge / The Rocket Report is published weekly. (credit: Arianespace) Welcome to Edition 1.41 of the Rocket Report! This week we definitely have an international flavor, with news about spaceflight efforts from Brazil, Italy, Japan, the UAE, and the United States. There also is a fun story about hypersonic launch completing some initial tests with …

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Vice President may tell NASA to accelerate lunar landings

Enlarge / Vice President Mike Pence, center in Mission Control Houston, will oversee all space decisions made by the Trump administration. (credit: NASA) One of the panelists who will appear at a National Space Council meeting next Tuesday said to expect “a few fireworks” during the discussion, which will focus on NASA’s efforts to return …

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Facebook apps logged users’ passwords in plaintext, because why not

Enlarge / Facebook Lite users made up the majority of Facebook accounts exposed internally by plaintext password logging, according to a Facebook spokesperson. Facebook has mined a lot of data about its users over the years—relationships, political leanings, and even phone call logs. And now it appears Facebook may have inadvertently extracted another bit of …

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Why “chickenpox parties” are a terrible idea—in case it’s not obvious

Enlarge / A child with chicken pox. (credit: Getty Images | Dave Thompson) Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made headlines Tuesday after revealing in a radio interview that he had purposefully exposed his nine unvaccinated children to chickenpox, drawing swift condemnation from health experts. In case anyone needs a refresher on why you shouldn’t deprive children …

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Critical flaw lets hackers control lifesaving devices implanted inside patients

Enlarge / An X-ray showing an cardio defibrillator implanted in a patient. (credit: Sunzi99~commonswiki) The federal government on Thursday warned of a serious flaw in Medtronic cardio defibrillators that allows attackers to use radio communications to surreptitiously take full control of the lifesaving devices after they are implanted in a patient. Defibrillators are small, surgically …

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They didn’t buy the DLC: feature that could’ve prevented 737 crashes was sold as an option

Enlarge (credit: Marian Lockhart / Boeing) The crashed Lion Air 737 MAX and the Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX aircraft had more in common than aircraft design and the apparently malfunctioning flight system that led to their demises. Both of the planes lacked optional safety features that would have alerted the pilots to problems with their …

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A dev trained robots to generate “garbage” slot machine games—and made $50K

Enlarge / Two indie devs explain how they used automation, a single Google Play account, and a single slot-machine template to create and distribute over 1,000 slot machine apps. (credit: Alex Schwarz) SAN FRANCISCO—This year’s Game Developers Conference saw two game makers emerge with a possible chapter in a future dystopian sci-fi novel: the story …

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