Tesla's Autopilot is losing out to Ford, GM in self-driving tech

The Register - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 15:01
Life in the fast lane, surely make you lose your mind

Tesla's Autopilot "self driving" technology has slipped to the middle of the active driver assist (ADA) software pack, says the nonprofit Consumer Reports, as companies like Ford and General Motors have overtaken the Musketeers in the automotive code lane.…

Categories: Tech News

Basket Case: The Best Products at REI, According to Our Editors

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 14:47

Welcome to Basket Case, wherein your trusty VICE editors scour the proverbial aisles of our favorite online retailers to bring you a smorgasbord of the absolute best things to buy. In this installment, we're diving into REI and getting out in the best REI has on tap, including deals on Hoka, The North Face, and plenty of other brands inspiring us to plan our next camping trip

Are you an outdoorsman? Someone who doesn’t mind eating baked beans outta the can for a week straight just to feel closer to nature? Congratulations, you have come to the right place. Today, we have all gathered here today to scope out the best products REI has to offer—a bonanza of some of the most coveted gorpcore brands for ye outdoorsy folk. We’re talkin’ Hoka, The North Face, Burton, REI’s in-house brand Co-op, Nathan (no, not Nathan For You), and more retailers that all the local (urban) lumberjacks deem luxurious. 

And, no. You don’t need to have plans to hike Mount Everest to shop at REI. Being one with nature means (to us) bird watching in your Adirondack chair while cooking a Ball Park frank over the ole’ Solo Stove, camping in your backyard, or maybe just reading National Geographic—who are we to judge? Whichever is on your agenda, gorpcore is a trend for everyone and their grandmother. So, we uncovered the best REI hiking, running, snow, and biking gear to scratch our itch for nature (no, it’s not a tick bite—we just need to touch grass). Don’t be shy; finally book that trip to Lake Tahoe and bust out your dad’s retro skis from the 80s. Or, simply buy your own, you strong independent workhorse. REI has entered the chat. 

The best hiking gear at REI

Hoka boots, obviously 

You can’t climb Mount Rainier without a good pair of trusty stompers. The pair that comes to our minds are of course from the GOAT, Hoka. The Anacapa Mid GTX provides superior traction on uneven terrain for hella grip action during rock scrambles and dirt trails. It comes in low and high-top models for slaying while you yodel up to the top.  

A pack for your junk

If insane mileage is on your agenda, you’re gonna need some serious supplies so you don’t keel over. The Trailbreak 60 Pack by REI’s in-house brand Co-op is top-rated and large enough to have a sleeping bag compartment for when you need to bonk in the middle of a random meadow. There’s also tons of stash pockets for food, water bottles, clothes, and other essentials. If you need something smaller, the Nano 22 H20 Hydration Pack is a top-rated option.

Speaking of sleeping bags…

This sleeping bag by The North Face is perfect for nestling yourself like a cocoon in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s insulated, can fit up to 84 inches, and even has an internal phone and watch pocket to hide your precious tethers to society from the wild.

And you need something to sleep in

We can appreciate tent for one, because sharing a small sleeping space is even less fun when you’re stuck in a five-foot-by-five-foot nylon sack on the ground with someone loudly snoring. This REI Co-op tent is simple to set up (even after too many beers) with its X-pole configuration. If you need some air, you can rely on its adjustable ceiling vents and rolling fly door. You can also stargaze with your sneaky link while you’re at it.

If you must share with people

This generously sized tent, also from REI Co-op, can sleep up to three people if you wish—whether they’re your trail buds, your kids, or your polycule. At under five pounds, it’s super-light, but its rugged construction can withstand dust and debris thanks to smartly placed mesh and ripstop panels. 

The best running gear at REI

Track your progress

What’s the point of training if you have no idea what your pace and mileage are? Whip your dérriere into high gear with a smartwatch. The Garmin Forerunner 255 Music is an optimal choice with its built-in coach for your own custom training plan and workouts tailored through personal stats, or, this writer’s personal favorite, the Fitbit Inspire 2, is currently on sale for 20% off.  

Caress your nooks and crannies

Your masseuse (named Fabio, naturally) might know how to get all your knots out, but we bet those times on the table are starting to add up. Cut out the middleman and tenderize yourself with a percussive massage gun and/or a sweet set of rollers. The Addaday Lyric Massager has a 4.6-star rating with its four-function rhythm therapy. The Orb is a popular, super affordable massage ball that provides deep tissue release to your IT bands, hamstrings, quads, and calves. While tiny, its bumpy surface offers a powerful massage for your limbs, shoulders, and anywhere else you need to work out knots..

So you don’t bonk

Take it from someone who is currently training for a half marathon: If you’re doing anything over six miles (or, let’s be honest, if it’s a scorcher outside), a hydration vest is highly recommended. This adjustable and lightweight one by Nathan has a 1.5-liter reservoir with a hose valve for easy drinking during a running session. You can also stash gels, your phone, and other essentials in its several pockets—all for 30% off.

More Hokas

We owe our heart and soul to Hoka (the Bondi 7 is chef’s kiss). Not only do the brand’s cult-fave, thick-soled sneakers relieve foot and ankle pain and help support recovery from injury, but they are a fan favorite among the running community. The Bondi 7 has a full EVA midsole and meta-rocker technology, while the Clifton 8 is designed with a lighter, more responsive midsole. 

The best snow gear at REI

Boots for shredding

If hitting the slopes is on your radar, a proper pair of boots is step one (pun not intended). These models from hot-shoe-brand-of-the-moment Salomon have a perfect five-star rating, thanks to its wool and metal layers for supreme warmth and custom shells for more power, and direct transmission to channel your inner snow version of Tony Hawk.

Four eyes

The last thing you need while going down an icy mountain is to be blinded. These goggles by Smith provide clear, fog-free vision, while filtering out specific wavelengths of light that are responsible for color confusion. 

An insulating jacket

Frostbite ain’t cute, so save yourself the embarrassment with this three-in-one thermal jacket by The North Face. It has a two-layer DryVent shell with sealed seams for waterproof and breathable protection, along with its durable water-repellent first layer. 

And pants to keep your tuchus dry 

Imagine zipping down a mountain, taking a fall, then having ice and snow immersed in your pants. Not only will you probably get frostbite, but you’ll look like you whizzed yourself on the slope. Avoid that trauma with these Burton pants that have a two-layer GORE-TEX wind and waterproof shell, and tapered seam construction that seals out all moisture. They also have built-in handwarmers (!).

The best cycling gear at REI 

Protect your noggin

You never know when you’re almost about to crash into the mailbox, so do yourself a favor and prevent a concussion. This tried-and-true bike helmet has a low-friction layer that slides 10 to 15 millimeters in all directions, which reduces rotational motion to the brain during impact (which, by the way, we hope you never have to experience).

Bike candy  

Or, perhaps you want to treat yourself with a new set of wheels. This bike by in-house brand Co-op (which makes surprisingly awesome bicycles, which you can have serviced in-store) comes in five different sizes, has 18 different gears for a variety of terrain, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes for reliable stopping during unpredictable weather conditions. 

Before you know it, you’ll be holding a fish in your Tinder profile, you outdoor stallion. 

Pick up these top picks and more at REI.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Drug maker paid for “news” story on CBS’s 60 Minutes, doctors’ group alleges

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 14:33
A broken watch.

Enlarge / A broken watch. (credit: Getty | Carlos Garcia Granthon/Fotoholica Press)

A 13-minute segment on a recent episode of CBS's 60 Minutes appeared to be a news story on Novo Nordisk's weight-loss drug Wegovy, but was actually a sponsored promotion violating federal regulations, according to the nonprofit public health advocacy organization Physicians Committee.

The group filed a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration last week, arguing that the segment, which aired on January 1, violates the FDA's "fair balance" requirement. This law requires that drug advertisements give a fair balance to a drug's risks and benefits.

The Physicians Committee claims that CBS's 60 Minutes received advertising payments from Novo Nordisk prior to the coverage, and that the aired segment only included experts who had also been paid by Novo Nordisk. The segment lauded the drug with words and phrases such as "highly effective," "safe," "impressive," "fabulous," and "robust," but didn't delve into side effects or alternative treatments and strategies for weight loss.

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Categories: Tech News

Tesla made an annual profit of $12.6 billion in 2022

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 14:16
Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks during the unveiling of the new Tesla Model Y in Hawthorne, California on March 14, 2019.

Enlarge / Elon Musk had plenty of headaches in 2022 but Tesla making money wasn't one of them. (credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Tesla published its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2022 on Wednesday afternoon. The company brought in $24.3 billion in revenue, a 37 percent increase on Q4 2021. Automotive revenues accounted for the lion's share—$21.3 billion, a 33 percent increase from Q4 2021. That translated to $3.7 billion in net profit once generally accepted accounting practices (GAAP) were applied—an impressive 59 percent increase from Q4 2021.

That means Tesla had an excellent 2022, despite missing its sales forecast. Automotive revenues grew by 51 percent compared to 2021, bringing in $71.5 billion. Total revenues were up by the same percentage year-over-year at $81.4 billion. Operating expenses accounted for $7.2 billion, and once GAAP was applied, Tesla ended the year with a net profit of $12.6 billion. Free cash flow dropped by 49 percent to $1.4 billion.

Tesla recognized revenue for its highly controversial "Full Self Driving" assist this year after making the beta open to all Tesla owners—provided they paid $15,000. However, despite CEO Elon Musk's claims that the financial future of the company depends upon FSD, in 2022 that only translated to $324 million. Tesla's financial presentation does claim that "we expect to recognize nearly $1 billion of deferred revenue that remains for such customers over times as software updates are delivered." Elsewhere in its financial presentation, it claims that there are approximately 400,000 FSD users in the US and Canada.

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Categories: Tech News

Daily Horoscope: January 26, 2023

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 14:00

The moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini at 5:40 AM, inspiring passion and courage. The moon squares off with Mercury in Capricorn at 10:08 AM, kicking up communication. Venus enters Pisces at 9:33 PM, inspiring a gentle and compassionate atmosphere. It’s a great time to make art, revel in fantasy, and connect with those we love most!

All times ET.

Read your monthly horoscope for January!

Stay in the cosmic loop with the VICE horoscopes newsletter. Get horoscopes straight to your inbox when you sign up here!

Aries glyph Aries: March 20, 2023 - April 20, 2023

The moon in Aries connects with your ruling planet Mars, currently in Gemini, encouraging straightforward communication—but you might feel quite shy about your desires as Venus enters Pisces. Aries may be at their most bashful during this time!

Taurus glyphs Taurus: April 20, 2023 - May 21, 2023

Communication might be especially busy as the moon in Aries squares off with Mercury in Capricorn. Venus enters Pisces, boding especially well for your social life and boosting the intellectual connection in your partnerships!

Gemini glyph Gemini: May 21, 2023 - June 21, 2023

The moon in Aries connects with Mars in your sign, Gemini, inspiring a busy atmosphere in your social life. You might feel particularly popular and glamorous as Venus enters Pisces!

Cancer glyph Cancer: June 21, 2023 - July 22, 2023

The moon in Aries squares off with Mercury in Capricorn, which can find you and your partners addressing a question or coming to an important decision. Venus enters fellow water sign Pisces, which may bring a love letter your way! You might be planning a trip with a lover.

Leo glyph Leo: July 22, 2023 - August 23, 2023

The moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini, which can inspire an especially exciting atmosphere in your social life! Venus enters Pisces, encouraging you to reflect on boundaries and the give-and-take in your relationships.

Virgo glyph Virgo: August 23, 2023 - September 23, 2023

The moon in Aries squares off with your ruling planet Mercury, now in Capricorn, which can find you having a meaningful discussion about desires, values, and expectations. Venus enters Pisces, finding you forging new—or deepening established—meaningful connections!

Libra glyph Libra: September 23, 2023 - October 23, 2023

Your partners may have exciting news to share as the moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini. Your ruling planet Venus enters Pisces, which can find you updating your beauty routine. You might be especially valuing partners who help you out on a daily basis at this time! Venus in Pisces encourages you to reflect on your needs.

Scorpio glyph Scorpio: October 23, 2023 - November 22, 2023

A creative solution to a tricky problem can be found as the moon in Aries connects with your ruling planet Mars, now in Gemini. The moon squares off with Mercury in Capricorn, encouraging communication, and Venus enters Pisces, inspiring romance and creativity.

Sagittarius glyph Sagittarius: November 22, 2023 - December 21, 2023

The mood can be particularly passionate as the moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini! Venus enters Pisces, inspiring sentimentality. A lovely reconnection with the past could form. You might be beautifying your home in some significant way.

Capricorn glyph Capricorn: December 21, 2023 - January 20, 2024

The moon in Aries squares off with Mercury in your sign, Capricorn, which can find you with something important to say to family or roommates. A decision regarding the past may be made. Venus enters Pisces, inspiring compassion. A love note might be exchanged.

Aquarius glyphs Aquarius: January 20, 2023 - February 18, 2023

Exciting invitations could arrive as the moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini. A creative breakthrough can take place. Venus enters Pisces, perhaps bringing a lovely gift your way!

Pisces glyph Pisces:  February 18, 2023 - March 20, 2023

Your focus may be on building wealth and security as the moon in Aries connects with Mars in Gemini. Venus enters your zodiac sign, Pisces, which can find you feeling especially attractive and glamorous!

Categories: Tech News

Microsoft closes another door to attackers by blocking Excel XLL files from the internet

The Register - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 13:59
More of them used by baddies since Redmond blocked VBA macros

Microsoft in March will start blocking Excel XLL add-ins from the internet to shut down an increasingly popular attack vector for miscreants.…

Categories: Tech News

Colombia’s Most Wanted Drug Lord ‘Otoniel’ Just Pleaded Guilty in US Court

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 13:14

BROOKLYN, New York — Dairo Antonio Úsuga David, known as “Otoniel,” was once the most notorious drug trafficker and paramilitary leader in Colombia, responsible for fueling a generation of violence across his country while exporting hundreds of tons of cocaine to the United States.

But in a federal courtroom on Wednesday, the feared leader of the narco-paramilitary group known as the Gulf Clan appeared humbled. He sat timidly wearing a blue jail smock, reciting the Spanish words for guilty as a judge read through the charges against him from three separate federal indictments: “Culpable. Culpable. Culpable.”

The 51-year-old Úsuga David admitted to smuggling a whopping 96,856 kilos of cocaine from Colombia and agreed to hand over $216 million in drug proceeds to the U.S. government as part of his plea agreement. Otoniel would typically face life in prison for his crimes, but Colombia does not allow life imprisonment so, in exchange for his extradition, the U.S. agreed not to keep the infamous drug lord incarcerated until the end of his days.

Judge Dora Irizarry will ultimately decide what sentence to hand down for Úsuga David, and she warned him that whenever he is released, “because you have no legal status in this country, you would be deported back to Colombia.”

Short and stocky, with an intense gaze and a nearly bald head except for a few patches of gray stubble, Otoniel delivered a short statement that he had prepared for the occasion. A native of Turbo in the Colombian province of Antioquia, he told the court that he had dropped out of school after fourth grade and occasionally stumbled over his words as he read aloud.

He explained that he and his group, also known as the Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia or AGC, “provided security to narcotics traffickers and their labs,” and “taxed” any cocaine that passed through his territory.

“Tons of cocaine were moved at my direction through Panama, Costa Rica, and Mexico for ultimate importation to the United States,” he said. “There was a lot of violence through guerrillas, criminal gangs, and offices for the collection of proceeds of drug trafficking.”

“Were homicides committed by members of the AGC?” a federal prosecutor asked him.

“Yes,” Otoniel replied. “In military work, homicides were committed.”

An estimated 500 members of Colombia’s special forces reportedly discovered Úsuga David at his jungle hideout on October 25, 2021, working on tips provided by U.S. and U.K. intelligence. He was extradited to the U.S. in May 2022, and he’s been locked up under strict security in a federal jail in Brooklyn ever since. At the plea hearing, nearly a dozen federal agents filled the benches on one side of the courtroom and several burly U.S. Marshals stood guard behind Otoniel and his attorneys.

Úsuga David dodged authorities for years even though the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration placed a $5 million bounty on his head, along with an additional $800,000 reward offered by the Colombian government. Former Colombian president Ivan Duque said at the time that the importance of “the arrest was only comparable to the fall of Pablo Escobar.”

Úsuga David allegedly headed the Gulf Clan or AGC, also known as the Urabeños, since 2009 after the arrest of its then-boss, Daniel Rendón Herrera. During Otoniel’s reign, his group became arguably the strongest Colombian cartel of the 21st century, controlling a large portion of the transnational drug trade, facilitating the production and shipments of massive quantities of cocaine to other criminal organizations who smuggled it mostly to markets in Europe and North America. U.S. authorities alleged he worked with groups all throughout Latin America, including Mexico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and elsewhere, according to the superseding indictment.

Born in 1971 during Colombia’s decades-long civil war, Úsuga David reportedly first picked up arms for a Marxist guerrilla organization known Colombia as the Popular Liberation Aarmy (EPL for its Spanish acronym.) His defense attorney, Paul Nalven, told reporters that Otoniel started out as a child soldier who was “basically carried away by the EPL at age 16.”

“Our client is really a child of the cycle of violence in Colombia,” Nalven said. “It was kind of the law of the jungle. He was indoctrinated.”

Úsuga David later joined a group of right-wing Paramilitaries before aligning himself with the growing Gulf Clan. U.S. authorities alleged that he began trafficking cocaine as early as 2002.

Unlike Pablo Escobar—known before his death in 1993 for his opulent lifestyle and flaunting wealth and power—Úsuga David gained infamy for his ability to evade authorities and maintain a low-profile living a near-off-the-grid lifestyle in the South American jungles. While many drug traffickers own luxury cars or travel by fortified vehicles, Úsuga David reportedly often rode donkeys to get from one place to another amid the rugged Colombian countryside.

But in the final years prior to his arrest, it is believed that Úsuga David’s control within the Gulf Clan began to wane. His 2021 arrest and subsequent arrest had little effect on the organization, according to an April 2022 report by the Peace and Reconciliation Foundation (PARES), that said the Gulf Clan actually increased its presence around Colombia with more than 5,000 members.

Following Otoniel’s extradition last May, in the leadup to a presidential election in Colombia, the Gulf Clan ratched-up violence against the country’s security forces. Sergio Guzmán, director of political risk consultancy firm Colombia Risk Analysis, told VICE World News the bloody campaign was intended to send a message.

“They demonstrated that they have the capacity and intent to grind a big portion of the country to a halt,” Guzmán said. “And so I don't think that their capacity or their intent have been mollified because of the extradition of this man.”

Nalven, Otoniel’s defense attorney, noted after the hearing Wednesday that his client had been allowed to send a message to his fighters last year urging them to quell the violence and give “space” to Colombia’s new president, Gustavo Petro to engage in peace negotiations with the Gulf Clan and other armed groups. Nalven said the message was “immediately acknowledged by the troops” who served under Úsuga David.

“He has a lot of family and a lot of friends in Colombia,” Nalven said. “He’d like to see a better Colombia.”

Guzmán, the security expert, didn’t think that Otoniel’s guilty plea would make much difference in Colombia.

“It's not going to change the fundamental equation. And that is that the war on drugs is unwinnable, that drug trafficking organizations overwhelm the state,” said Guzmán. “Otoniel, as important as he was, is replaceable by the other drug traffickers in Colombia.”

Categories: Tech News

Go Ahead, King: Reinforce Your Penis’ Cum Clock Before V-Day

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 13:05

Who doesn’t love a punctual cum lord? A wizard should arrive precisely when he means to, whether that means discharging his staff at the drop of his hat, or edging his ambrosia for hours on end with a partner. Sometimes, however, the penis has other plans. Approximately 40% of men experience sexual dysfunction of some kind, explains a new-ish sexual wellness company called Mate, whose sexual wellness supplements are designed to treat both premature ejaculation (PE) and erectile dysfunction (ED) with a shrewd concoction of 12 (supposedly) libido-boosting ingredients.

Screen Shot 2023-01-25 at 3.34.48 PM.pngPhoto: Courtesy of Mate

The brand was founded in 2020 by Jordan Elist, a former J.P. Morgan jabroni for whom premature ejaculation was a personal issue. Elist was dismayed to find that most of the solutions were desensitizing sprays and foams. “What’s the point of lasting longer if you can’t even enjoy the experience to the fullest?” he wondered. So he did what any stand-up lad would do, and called his dad.

Elist Sr. is a world-renowned urologist with over 40 years of experience under his belt (no pun intended) of treating male sexual dysfunction. Together with a team of pharmacologists and urologists, the Elist boys brewed up a one-daily supplement designed to stave off premature ejaculation and encourage sexual stamina and duration.

So, how does it work? Mate’s endurance supplement says that it uses the same underlying mechanism as generic prescription antidepressants, more specifically SSRIs, but without the same set of underlying side effects. Instead, the supplement uses amino acids to help increase serotonin production, a neurotransmitter that’s been studied in association with sexual performance, and brings a gumbo of purported libido-boosting ingredients into the mix, including cinnamon, fenugreek, grape seed extract, L-Tryptophan, L-Citrulline, and tribulus.

According to the Mate mages, the average participant taking the supplement increased his sense of ejaculatory control by 66% and felt a 68% increase in “bedroom satisfaction.” It’s earned high marks on the website from reviewers so far, with one user writing, “I noticed a small difference after the first week, [and] by the end of the first month my performance was like I was 25 again!” Favorable odds, indeed.

What with V-Day around the corner—no pressure or anything—Mate’s offerings couldn’t cum at a better time, whether you’ve got big plans with your boo, your sock, or a whole cuddle puddle of cuties. You’ve got nothing to lose, and all the potency of a family-founded, ejaculate-savvy brand to gain.

Mate’s endurance supplements can be purchased here.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Walmart runs creepy 'advergame' on Roblox, where kids can make toy wish lists

The Register - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 13:02
Toys that can then be purchased at... you guessed it, say critics in letter to watchdog

Rights organizations have asked a US children's ad watchdog to audit an app from Walmart, claiming it is "deceptively marketing" to young children who play Roblox by way of an "advergame" called Walmart Universe of Play.…

Categories: Tech News

Rocket Lab’s first US launch: Big for the company and the site

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 13:01
Rocket Lab’s first US launch: Big for the company and the site


Off in the southwest, the last colors of sunset lit up the rim of the sky, as a crescent Moon and two planets lined up above. It was a gorgeous scene, but one that everyone was ignoring. Instead, all eyes were focused on a bright patch of artificial light on a barrier island a couple of miles away. The lights there were focused on a small, slender needle—small enough to be hauled to the launch pad by a pickup truck.

For years, the Electron rocket and the company behind it had been stuck in limbo at the Virginia launch site, waiting on various approvals—for regulatory agencies to share enough paperwork with each other to convince everyone that the launch was safe. Then weather and the end-of-year holidays kept pushing the launch back. But on Tuesday, everything went as smoothly as it is possible to imagine, and the Electron shot to orbit almost as soon as the launch window opened.

The launch is critical for Rocket Lab, which in some ways invested the future of the company in its Virginia operations. But it's also critical for the launch site, which is billed as a spaceport but hasn't seen much traffic leaving Earth.

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Categories: Tech News

Poop on planes may help CDC probe international pathways of pathogens

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 12:46
A bathroom on an Airbus A321neo.

Enlarge / A bathroom on an Airbus A321neo. (credit: Getty | Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is considering blending sewage sampling from airplanes into the mix of its wastewater surveillance system, which has proven useful for monitoring the spread and prevalence of a variety of pathogens, particularly SARS-CoV-2.

Amid the pandemic, the CDC launched wastewater testing programs across the nation, trying to get ahead of SARS-CoV-2 surges. Viral particles are often shed in fecal matter and can be an early indication of an infection. The fecal focus has proven useful for sniffing out community-wide transmission trends and disease spread for not only COVID-19 but also other recent outbreaks as well, namely polio and mpox (formerly monkeypox). Adding surveillance from airplanes and airports could flush out yet more information about infectious disease spread, such as global travel patterns and the debut of novel viral variants.

A study published last week in PLOS Global Public Health found such sewage surveillance in UK airport terminals and airplanes was effective at tracking SARS-CoV-2 among international travelers. Overall, the surveillance data suggested that it is a "useful tool for monitoring the global transfer rate of human pathogens and other disease-causing agents across international borders and should form part of wider international efforts to monitor and contain the spread of future disease outbreaks," the authors, led by Kata Farkas of Bangor University, concluded.

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Categories: Tech News

Sease Is the Luxury Gorpcore Brand You Need to Know in 2023

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 12:38

You don’t need to be a gorpcore aficionado to appreciate a wardrobe that’s able to handle a variety of different conditions. That said, as much as we love brands like Arc’teryx, lacing up a trusty pair of hiking boots, or enjoy shopping at REI, getting dressed for daily life requires a bit more finesse; sure we love getting gorped out as much as the next guy, but that’s not always the key to success if you’re spending just as much time indoors behind a desk as you do outdoors. (Unless you’ve got a job that requires you to spend hours standing under a shower head—in that case, go off king). 

The true style sweet spot is in blending form and function—daily gear that’s designed with a fashion-focus in mind, but packing in incognito garment innovations under the surface. That spot is exactly where you’ll find Italian label Sease, including its new collaboration with The Woolmark Company.

For those new to the brand, Sease was founded in 2016 by Giacomo and Franco Loro Piana. If that name sounds familiar, then you’re definitely on to something; the pair are tied to the historic Loro Piana family, known for its world-class textiles and luxury garments. If there was ever a pair who could actually live up to Sease’s mission to be a “contemporary wardrobe of essential, functional and versatile garments made of high quality and sustainable materials designed for the outdoors meant for the city,” it would be those with a lifetime spent around one of Italy’s most prestigious mills and textile producers. Inspired by the founders’ love for sailing (Sease… get it?), mountain sports, and the rigors of urban life, it’s exactly the type of brand that someone who lives at REI would gravitate to if they had to suddenly stop spending the workday outdoors WFH and start heading into the office a few times a week. 

Given that Sease is directly informed by its founders’ love of nature, the brand also is heavily committed to sustainability, working with sustainably minded partners, producing all of its wares in Italy (to lower the brand’s Carbon footprint), and prioritizing natural, biodegradable fibers—like linen and wool. It’s that natural fit (pun not intended) that makes its latest collab with The Woolmark Company—an Australian-based organization focused on changing the way the garment industry sees and works with wool—an obvious partnership. The pair tried to rethink what could be possible with Merino wool, with Sease tapping in to provide a performance POV without sacrificing a luxury fashion-inspired lens.

But let’s be honest with ourselves for a minute: Sure, wool is great when it comes to keeping someone warm, but it’s assuredly not the first material that we’d reach for if we’re thinking about techwear or stuff we’d want to wear in decidedly wet conditions. That said, Sease made sure to come correct with the garment tech. Jackets like the spookily named Vampire 2.0 and the belted Dronefolk treat their laminated wool and cashmere fabrics with an “innovative membrane” that makes each model windproof and water-resistant (or in the case of the Vampire 2.0, water-repellent), but still breathable. Trust us, these aren’t your average winter wool coats or scratchy wool sweaters.

Heavier outerwear aside, what’s more impressive is the ability for Sease to weave in a clear focus on Italian-inspired tailoring. Akin to Arc’teryx’s Veilance line, Sease and The Woolmark Company have also created tailoring—like the unstructured C-Blazer and Ellen Blazer 2.0—that blends seamlessly with “upscale casual”-type beats like a wool polo and a drawstring trouser. Is it just us or is this the kind of thing that you’d likely spot on the members of Succession’s Roy family

Memes aside, if you have an in-office meeting at 10 a.m. but want to head to the slopes at 5 p.m.,  Sease is (unironically) pretty much exactly what you’re looking for. Besides, how many brands can say they set out to change public perception of a whole MF textile?

Check out Sease’s collaboration with The Woolmark Company here

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

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Oracle engineering exec quits after tryst with health division

The Register - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 12:22
Reports suggest Don Johnson left after 6 months in charge of strategic unit

The head of Oracle Health engineering has abruptly left the business, according to reports.…

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School Was Warned 3 Times Before Teacher Shot by 6-Year-Old, Lawyer Alleges

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:45

A lawyer for the first-grade teacher who was shot in the chest by a six-year-old student alleges the school was warned three times that the child had a gun and they didn’t do anything about it. 

Teacher Abigail Zwerner announced that she was suing the school during a press conference held by her lawyer Diane Toscano on Wednesday. 

On January 6, a six-year-old student shot her while she was teaching class at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, Virginia. The child took the 9-millimeter handgun from his parents and brought it to school in his backpack. Zwerner was hit in the hand and chest but still was able to safely get her students out of the classroom. 

The superintendent of Newport News Schools had previously said that administrators may have been aware that the student had a gun, but kept the details vague. Toscano unpacked many details in the press conference. 

“On that day, over the course of a few hours, three different times, three times, school administration was warned by concerned teachers and employees that the boy had a gun on him at the school and was threatening people,” said Toscano. “But the administration could not be bothered. 

“This tragedy was entirely preventable if the school administrators responsible for school safety had done their part and taken action when they had knowledge of imminent danger. But instead, they failed to act and Abby was shot.” 

Toscano said that the first incident occurred at 11:15 a.m.  when Zwener went to an administrator and said that the child had threatened to beat up another child. Then at 12:30 p.m., another teacher searched the child's book bag. They told the administrator she thought the child put the gun in his pocket before going out for recess but was told that wasn’t likely and said “well, he has little pockets.” 

“This is outrageous, given the opportunity to call the police over a report of a potentially armed student,” said Toscano. “The school administration failed to act and protect the school.” 

The final incident allegedly occurred shortly after 1 p.m. when a teacher told an administrator that a student came up to them in tears saying that the child with the weapon showed them the gun and threatened to shoot them if they told anyone. A fourth teacher who heard about the incidents then asked administrators to search the boy but was denied because the school day was almost over.

An hour later Zwerner was shot. Police said the teacher, even while wounded, made sure to get her students to safety and check that none were left behind. The child was taken into police custody after the shooting, he will not face charges because of his age, however, his parents may. The handgun belonged to the child's parents who told Buzzfeed News that the firearm had been "secured" when he took it. 

Toscano said that Zwerner is recovering from her injury. She did not take any questions from the media. 

Categories: Tech News

I Tried Superhuman, a New Age-y Meditation App Promising Health and Wealth

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:32

The world is stressful, and like countless others, I’ve spent a lot of time meditating and trying to relax. I’ve tried apps like Insight Timer and Peloton, I’ve taken a whole course from Jon Kabat-Zinn on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through MasterClass (reviewed here), and I went on to enroll in a full eight-week training course on MBSR. I’m sharing my experience to show that I am at least familiar with meditation (though I doubt anybody in my life would call me relaxed, chill, or enlightened, but that’s neither here nor here). Still, as a highly neurotic person with a ton of anxiety, meditating remains an important part of my life. So when the opportunity to try out Superhuman, a new meditation app based around visualization techniques, came across my desk, it was an easy thumbs-up.

Launched in 2021 by Mimi Bouchard, Superhuman has a very specific and modern vibe. The colorful, friendly app doesn’t feel too rooted in the history of “meditation,” the books, apps, and general aesthetic of which can sometimes feel outdated or austere (some might just say ancient or traditional); rather, Superhuman feels more like an Instagram post brought to life, or a Saturday morning pep talk from your pal between yoga and avocado toast. With sessions like “Re-center Before a Big Meeting,” “Create More Money, Wealth + Opportunity,” “Stop Feeling Insecure,” and “Good Vibes While Cleaning,” Superhuman is more like scrolling your #fyp page on TikTok when the algo has figured out you’re depressed and in search of #lifehacks (you’ll have to save your demons for your next SoulCycle ride). For better or worse, it’s the quintessential app example of our post-New Age, hustle-and-grind culture obsessed with manifesting, astrology, vibes, movement, and “the universe.” My trial of the app started out uneventful—we all know the Headspace vibe—and then… things got… interesting. Those looking to #manifest, read on.

For what it’s worth, exploring Superhuman’s meditations was really fun. If you’re seeking a session with a specific purpose beyond just mindfulness, there are sleep meditations; body positivity meditations; ones for running, walking, and stretching; and even cooking meditations. There’s even one about de-stressing during a family event, which I wish I’d had over the holidays.

The “Seated Meditations” section alone has over 200 sessions, with 60 sessions about stress and anxiety and 112 that clock in at under 10 minutes, making them perfect for people just wanting to chill for a few minutes. 

This morning, feeling like I wanted to loosen up a bit after a stressful weekend, I found my way into the “Legs Up Wall” meditations (where, naturally, you lay with your back on the ground and rest your legs vertically against a wall). I decided on “Calm Morning To Release Stress,” laid down on my yoga mat, hoisted those legs, and smashed the play button. The meditation was pretty relaxing—the woman in charge urged me to visualize my perfect day and gave me a few moments to do it; then, she encouraged me to relax a little deeper into the stretch, which was a good nudge. Ultimately, I do feel a little more relaxed, and definitely felt my back snap, crackle, and pop a bit along the way (though that could just be what happens when you’re in your 30s and try to get up from laying on the ground). I also enjoyed a seated meditation called “Let Go Of Stress,” which was a nice little morning-starter yesterday in which I was encouraged to embrace the present and contemplate what kind of feelings I wanted to have during the day.

Those two were pretty straightforward meditations. What would happen if I did one that was totally outside of what I’d normally listen to?, I wondered. So I loaded up one called “Feel Wealthy and Abundant.I’d love to feel wealthy, I thought. I wasn’t really sure what “abundance” meant in this context, but I was ready to find out! When the track started playing, a chill jungle techno beat came on, and a woman energetically delivered affirmations into my ear. “Money flows into my life,” she said. “I am a money magnet. Money and opportunity are drawn to me by my energy.” I had the urge to check my bank account, but I knew it would just bring me down, so I kept going. “Wealth and abundance are my birthright,” she said. “I can get rich doing what I love. It gets me so excited to think about having it all.” Listen, I know plenty of New Age wellness-obsessed people who spend their lives (aka Instagram accounts) trying to “manifest” things and “channel energy” and “feel gratitude,” and something they seem to have in common is being decidedly not wealthy (and some of them probably already do spend time visualizing flourishing bank accounts). But, hey, The Secret was a huge success, so why not Superhuman? Maybe having a year-round Christmas list of financial achievements is actually a killer idea, and I just don’t get it. At least that would explain my credit card statement.

I listened to these declarations intently, but I’m not sure I began to believe them; I do know people, however, who absolutely thrive (or, at least, believe they’re thriving, which is maybe the most important thing) through visualization like this, and I imagined them deeply internalizing these beliefs and emerging from their meditation sesh ready to both get that bread. Me, I’m simply not out here seeking to get rich or die trying (though I did read that using Superhuman could help me “earn 10x more money,” which I intend to bring to my editor’s attention ASAP), and even if I was, I am simply not sure considering wealth my “birthright” would be the most efficient way to achieve that goal. Anyway, I’ll probably be sticking to the app’s meditations about relaxation and managing anxiety, which were genuinely helpful.

Look, there are a lot of great reasons to use Superhuman. If you’re seeking results for the most common reasons people meditate, like relieving stress and anxiety and finding ways to relax and slow down, there are definitely a ton of sessions for you. I’m excited to try the sessions based around exercising, cooking, and managing awkward social situations. However, the wealth and abundance meditations left me feeling a bit strange (and definitely not wealthy). Still, I plan to continue using the app, because variety is key—and hey, if I do start making ten times as much money, that will just be an added bonus.

Go forth and ascend. If you do sign up for Superhuman and end up achieving wealth and abundance, remember who guided you there, and feel free to send me a check at your leisure.

Download the Superhuman app from Superhuman’s website.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

Categories: Tech News

Tesla planning new Semi electric truck plant, battery factory in Nevada

The Register - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:32
Two new facilities to cost $3.6b, while some truckers unimpressed with the machines

Tesla's original gigafactory in Sparks, Nevada is getting a $3.6 billion makeover that will add two fresh facilities and thousands of additional jobs, the electric automaker has confirmed.…

Categories: Tech News

DirecTV dumps Newsmax instead of paying new fee, drawing Republican outrage

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:20
Two men sit in front of a TV that displays only static.


Newsmax is no longer on DirecTV, as the satellite video provider today said it decided not to renew an expiring deal because of Newsmax's money demands.

"On multiple occasions, we made it clear to Newsmax that we wanted to continue to offer the network, but ultimately Newsmax's demands for rate increases would have led to significantly higher costs that we would have to pass on to our broad customer base," DirecTV said in a statement provided to Ars. (AT&T owns 70 percent of DirecTV.)

The carriage deal expired at midnight last night. The "rate increase" demanded by Newsmax was actually from a base of $0 because DirecTV didn't have to pay Newsmax to carry the network under their now-expired deal, a DirecTV spokesperson told Ars. DirecTV says it was one of the first pay-TV providers to carry Newsmax starting in 2014.

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Samsung’s new touch tech enables thinner, lighter OLED laptops

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 11:03
16-inch notebook concept product with touch-integrated OLED of Samsung Display

Enlarge / A concept laptop with Samsung Display's new 16-inch OLED touchscreen. (credit: Samsung Display)

As plenty of laptop makers proved at CES earlier this month, there will be plenty of OLED laptops to choose from in 2023. The technology's high-contrast, rich image quality has tempted creatives and power users alike. A new year means new ways to entice shoppers, though, so one approach Samsung plans to take with its next series of Galaxy Books concerns the screen's physical build.

On Tuesday, Samsung Display, which makes display panels for various companies, including parent company Samsung Electronics, announced that it started mass production of a new touch-capable OLED laptop screen. Samsung Display is calling it the first On Cell Touch AMOLED (OCTA) screen for laptops. Per a Google translation of the South Korea-based company's announcement, these screens use embedded touch sensors, whereas other OLED laptop panels use adhesive to apply a film screen with touch sensors.

According to Samsung Display, skipping the film results in a panel that's 6 to 11 percent thinner and lighter in weight. Because it uses fewer materials, Samsung Display also claims the technology is more environmentally friendly than the preceding design.

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Stolen League of Legends source code being ransomed, and Riot Games won’t pay

ARS Technica - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 10:29
League of Legends and TFT characters in artistic profile

Enlarge / The theft of Riot Games' source code for League of Legends, TeamFight Tactics, and an anti-cheat platform could have implications for future cheats and exploits. (credit: Riot Games)

Riot Games has confirmed that an attack on its development environment last week included the theft of source code for its League of Legends and Teamfight Tactics games, along with a "legacy anticheat platform." The company has received a ransom demand but states that it will not pay.

The release of source code by the attackers, whether publicly or by sale, could have implications for cheat software, providing direct knowledge of the game's mechanisms rather than relying on reverse engineering. Riot acknowledged that the attack, attributed to "social engineering," "could cause issues in the future," but added that it was confident "no player data or player personal information was compromised."

"Truthfully, any exposure of source code can increase the likelihood of new cheats emerging," Riot posted in a reply tweet. "Since the attack, we've been working to assess its impact on anticheat and to be prepared to deploy fixes as quickly as possible if needed." Riot added that the code "includes a number of experimental features," though it's mostly "in prototype and there's no guarantee it will ever be released."

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Categories: Tech News

I Tried On Running’s Cloudstratus Sneakers (and Like Treadmills Now)

Motherboard (Vice) - Wed, 01/25/2023 - 10:22

I’ve grown to love running on the treadmill when it’s freezing out. I used to be committed to strictly outdoor training year-round, but after each insanely sweaty run (I know, sounds hot), I found myself running into H&M way too much to buy a sweatshirt to change into afterward because of how cold I was. Sweating in frigid temperatures leads to freezing yourself, which has the potential to be dangerous if you can’t get indoors or change. I already have fabulous outdoor running shoes, Hoka’s Bondi 8s, but I like to reserve those chonky soles for terrain and hilly pounding of the pavement.

On the treadmill however, I don’t mind dabbling with a somewhat thinner sneaker. I’ve had knee issues in the past, and now that I’m in the midst of training for a half marathon, I need to be extra careful about what footwear I choose. While I’m picky, I did happen to find another shoe that surprised me with its performance—On’s Cloudstratus.

On Running was hatched in the Swiss Alps, which is no surprise—the Swiss know what they’re doing. On the whole, the brand’s shoes are specifically designed to absorb impact, reduce strain, and adapt to your own unique running style.

What is CloudTec?

On Running’s goal is to mimic the sensation of running and walking on clouds with its CloudTec innovation. The technology makes for soft landings (thank god) and powerful takeoffs, thanks to the sneakers’ feather-light construction. The Cloudstratus, the sneaker that made me a true fan of the brand actually has double the CloudTec for maximum cushioning, and purportedly has the ability to reduce muscle fatigue and lower your heart rate during the duration of your run. Speaking after wearing the brand’s shoes on a few runs, my muscles do, in fact, feel less tight, but I can’t vouch for the lower heart rate bit—it’s a complex metric based on a lot of different factors such as fitness level, temperature, terrain, the list goes on. Unless you know your average heart rate as measured across multiple past runs, it’s hard to determine whether or not these sneakers can actually impact it one way or another.

How did the shoes feel?

True to the Cloudstratus’ puffy namesake, I feel like I’m practically gliding on the treadmill while wearing these Swiss angels. They offer a slight elevation with forward rolling at the heel, which mimics the feeling of running on water.

One shocking highlight is that like many sneakers, the shoes are the proper width as is—they’re super comfortable for my feet. I avoid narrow shoes like the plague since I have cursed bunions, so I don’t know what kind of witchcraft could be responsible for the fact that these feel amazing. This great fit and high comfort level is on top of the shoe’s superior bounce, which, I must say, is superb.

My TL;DR is thus: If you’re looking for weightless shoes that feel like you defy gravity, working out in On Running’s CloudTec technology is a no-brainer. On’s Cloudstratus sneakers provide me pain-free running that makes running on the treadmill feel effortless. I literally almost feel like I’m zipping across the belt.

These give Moon Shoes a run for their money.

On’s Cloudstratus sneaker is available for purchase on On Running’s website.

The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. Want more reviews, recommendations, and red-hot deals? Sign up for our newsletter.

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