The Hubble Space Telescope resumed science observations on Friday after ground teams spent most of the last three weeks assessing the performance of a finicky gyroscope, NASA said.
The troublesome gyroscope is a critical part of the observatory's pointing system. Hubble's gyros measure how fast the spacecraft is turning, helping the telescope aim its aperture toward distant cosmic wonders.
Hubble still provides valuable scientific data for astronomers nearly 34 years since its launch aboard NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990. Five more shuttle servicing missions repaired Hubble, upgraded its science instruments, and replaced hardware degraded from long-term use in space. Among other tasks, astronauts on the last of the shuttle repair flights in 2009 installed six new gyroscopes on Hubble.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 8:30 pm
European Union lawmakers have agreed on the terms for landmark legislation to regulate artificial intelligence, pushing ahead with enacting the world’s most restrictive regime on the development of the technology.
Thierry Breton, EU commissioner, confirmed in a post on X that a deal had been reached.
He called it a historic agreement. “The EU becomes the very first continent to set clear rules for the use of AI,” he wrote. “The AIAct is much more than a rulebook—it’s a launchpad for EU start-ups and researchers to lead the global AI race.”
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 7:09 pm
When Ars first drove the then-new Ford Mustang Mach-E back in early 2021, the car was an attention magnet. Now, almost three years later, the Mustang Mach-E is a much more common sight on our roads, but so are other electric crossovers from most of Ford's usual rivals, including the sales juggernaut that is the Tesla Model Y. We decided to book a few days with a Mustang Mach-E to see how (or if) this equine EV has matured since launch.
Originally, Ford had been working on a much more boring battery electric car until Tesla started delivering its Model 3s, at which point a hastily convened "Team Edison" set to work adding some much-needed brio to the design, rethinking Ford's EV strategy in the process.
Giving this midsize crossover EV a Mustang name tag remains divisive—I expect a reasonable percentage of comments to this story will be people showing up to complain, "It ain't no real Mustang." The crossover's name is what it is, and there are plenty of Mustang styling cues, but even with the designers' trick of using black trim to make you ignore the bits they don't want you to see, there's no denying the proportions are pretty far from coupe-like.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 6:44 pm
The Food and Drug Administration on Friday approved two gene therapies to treat sickle cell disease, one of the which is the first CRISPR/Cas9-based treatment to win regulatory approval in the US.
The announcement is a landmark in the treatment of sickle cell disease, a devastating condition in which red blood cells deform into a sickle shape and clog up blood vessels. Sickle cell disease affects around 100,000 people in the US, most commonly African Americans. It leads to anemia, vaso-occlusive events and crises (painful episodes in which small blockages starve tissue of oxygen), strokes, progressive and irreversible organ damage, decreased quality of life, and early death.
Until today, treatments have been limited. A bone marrow transplant from a genetically matched sibling can cure the condition more than 90 percent of the time, but only around 20 percent of people with the disease have such a genetically matched sibling donor. There are also multiple drugs available and supportive care, but these mainly reduce the severity of the disease. The new gene therapy treatments, on the other hand, have shown to be highly effective at preventing vaso-occlusive events and crises.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 6:27 pm
Beeper Mini, the Android app born from a reverse-engineering of Apple's iMessage service, is currently broken, and it is unknown whether it will resume functioning.
Beeper desktop users received a message from co-founder Eric Migicovsky late on Friday afternoon, noting an "iMessage outage" and that "messages are failing to send and receive." Reports had started piling up on Reddit around 2:30 pm Eastern. As of 5:30 pm, the app was still reporting errors in sending and receiving messages, with "Failed to lookup on sever: lookup request timed out." Comments on Beeper's status post on X (formerly Twitter) suggested mixed results, at best, among users.
The Verge, messaging with Migicovsky, reported that he "did not deny that Apple has successfully blocked Beeper Mini"; to TechCrunch, Migicovsky more clearly stated about an Apple cut-off: "Yes, all data indicates that." To both outlets, Migicovsky offered the same comment, re-iterating his belief that it was in the best interests of Apple to let iPhone owners and Android users send encrypted messages to one another. (Ars reached out to Migicovsky for comment and will update this post with new information).
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 6:06 pm
Earlier this month, Microsoft posted a new entry in its list of known issues with fully up-to-date Windows 11 PCs: The HP Smart printer app was installing automatically on Windows 10 and Windows 11 PCs whether they had an HP printer installed or not, changing the names and icons of their connected printers and causing error messages.
Affected PCs will usually appear to have an HP LaserJet M101-M106 connected, so look for that model number in your list of printers (people who actually own one of those HP LaserJets presumably won't have problems). All versions of Windows 11 are affected, plus all currently supported versions of Windows 10; Windows Server versions going back to 2012 can also be affected.
Microsoft continues to look into the issue, but in an update posted yesterday, the company stated unambiguously that HP was not to blame. The company also says that most printers should continue to work fine, and that they "will continue to use the expected drivers for printer operations." But if your printer relies on a third-party app for additional functionality, that may be broken.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 5:58 pm
According to a report in Bloomberg, Tang Tan, vice president of Product Design, is leaving Apple, and his departure heralds a shuffle of executives heading up some of the company's most important products.
Sometimes, you might wonder just how much a specific executive influences the grand scheme of things, but the report claims that people within Apple see Tan's departure as "a blow," clarifying that he "made critical decisions about Apple's most important products." His team reportedly had "tight control" over the look and functionality of those products.
Tan oversaw major aspects of iPhone and Apple Watch design, and he was the executive overseeing accessories and AirPods, as well. He reported to John Ternus, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, who is likely a more widely known name.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 4:57 pm
Verizon Wireless gave a female victim's address and phone logs to an alleged stalker who pretended to be a police officer, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI special agent. The man, Robert Michael Glauner, was later arrested near the victim's home and found to be carrying a knife at the time, according to the affidavit submitted in court yesterday.
Glauner allegedly traveled from New Mexico to Raleigh, North Carolina, after finding out where she lived and, before arriving, sent a threatening message that said, "if I can't have you no one can." He also allegedly threatened to send nude photos of the victim to her family members.
Glauner was charged yesterday with stalking and fraud "in connection with obtaining confidential phone records" in US District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. We aren't posting or linking directly to the court record because it seems to contain the victim's home address. The incident was previously reported by 404 Media.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 4:44 pm
Stealthy and multifunctional Linux malware that has been infecting telecommunications companies went largely unnoticed for two years until being documented for the first time by researchers on Thursday.
Researchers from security firm Group-IB have named the remote access trojan “Krasue,” after a nocturnal spirit depicted in Southeast Asian folklore “floating in mid-air, with no torso, just her intestines hanging from below her chin.” The researchers chose the name because evidence to date shows it almost exclusively targets victims in Thailand and “poses a severe risk to critical systems and sensitive data given that it is able to grant attackers remote access to the targeted network.
According to the researchers:
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 3:54 pm
Some do it horizontally, some do it vertically, some do it sexually, and some asexually. Then there are some organisms that would rather grow a butt that develops into an autonomous appendage equipped with its own antennae, eyes, and brain. This appendage will detach from the main body and swim away, carrying gonads that will merge with those from other disembodied rear ends and give rise to a new generation.
Wait, what in the science fiction B-movie alien star system is this thing?
Megasyllis nipponica really exists on Earth. Otherwise known as the Japanese green syllid worm, it reproduces by a process known as stolonization, which sounds like the brainchild of a sci-fi horror genius but evolved in some annelid (segmented) worms to give future generations the best chance at survival. What was still a mystery (until now) was exactly how that bizarre appendage, or stolon, could form its own head in the middle of the worm’s body. Turns out this is a wonder of gene regulation.
Source: Ars Technica - All content | 8 Dec 2023 | 2:53 pm
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