A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region's tiny villages.
Despite how much noise pop psychology makes about being left-brained or right-brained, the brain is really a very cohesive unit. The right and left hemispheres have some differences, but they communicate with each other via dedicated neural connections that bridge the two halves of the brain.
The whole world is exhausted. And it's killing us. But particularly me. As I write this, I'm at TED 2019 in Vancouver, which is a weeklong marathon of talks and workshops and coffee meetings and experiences and demos and late-night trivia contests and networking, networking, networking.
A few weeks ago, I finally tried Tesla Motors' "autopilot" feature. A Tesla rep and I tooled around Houston's I-45 in a Model X crossover SUV for 15 minutes, just long enough to test the vehicle's adaptive cruise/automatic lane-keeping wizardry.
For decades, avid runners and casual joggers have had their ups and downs with the running shoe. Some argue that the shoes’ spongy soles help us bound comfortably across our unforgiving urban landscapes of concrete and asphalt.
For years, privacy advocates have pushed developers of websites, virtual private network apps, and other cryptographic software to adopt the Diffie-Hellman cryptographic key exchange as a defense against surveillance from the US National Security Agency and other state-sponsored spies.
Scientists seem to be topping off the data on coffee’s health benefits. In a fresh-brewed study involving more than 200,000 people, researchers found that drinking coffee—regular or decaf—is associated with an overall lower risk of mortality.
February 1, 2016: One of the most tragic events in the history of space exploration is the loss of the space shuttle Columbia and all seven of its crew on February 1, 2003—a tragedy made worse because it didn’t have to happen.
For the past several years, a group of researchers has been observing a seemingly impossible wood ant colony living in an abandoned nuclear weapons bunker in Templewo, Poland, near the German border.
In a battle against an infection, antibiotics can bring victory over enemy germs. Yet that war-winning aid can come with significant collateral damage; microbial allies and innocents are killed off, too.
Ars is excited to be hosting this online debut of Sunspring, a short science fiction film that's not entirely what it seems. It's about three people living in a weird future, possibly on a space station, probably in a love triangle.
Brian Wansink didn’t mean to spark an investigative fury that revisited his entire life’s work. He meant to write a well-intentioned blog post encouraging PhD students to jump at research opportunities.
In light of the $5 billion EU antitrust ruling against Google this week, we started noticing a certain classic Ars story circulating around social media.
My military tactics against the invaders were those of a typical San Francisco eco-nerd. I used non-toxic spray made with orange peels to repel them (it actually works pretty well) and placed low-toxin poison sugar bait traps close to cracks they used to enter the house.
Last Thursday, President-elect Donald Trump issued a few statements (guess where) about America's military, with this statement as a kicker: "The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its sense regarding nukes.
Walking into the Slack offices in downtown San Francisco feels like walking into a Slack channel online. Brightly colored sofas in the shape of hashtags fill the shared spaces, surrounded by a comfortable margin of airy whitespace.
Don't panic, but we will need to generate approximately 15TW of usable energy from renewable (carbon-neutral) sources by 2050 in order to stabilize the atmospheric CO2 concentration. And purely in terms of available energy, solar power has the greatest potential for meeting this requirement.
Economic inequality in the US has drawn attention to the attitudes and behaviors of the elite, as those who are educated in the top universities are both likely to start out wealthy and disproportionately likely to have an impact on the future of this country.
People who live with cats like to joke about how these small fuzzy creatures are still wild, basically training us rather than the other way around. Now a new genetic study of ancient cat DNA reveals that we are basically right.
Nest CEO Tony Fadell wasn't officially "fired" from Nest, but it certainly feels like it. Nest and Alphabet announced Fadell would be "transitioning" to an advisory role at Alphabet, dropping both Nest and Fadell into a sea of negative press.
11,700 years ago, the Earth suffered a catastrophic climate change. As the ice age ended, sea levels rose by 120 meters, the days grew warmer, and many kinds of plant and animal life died out. But one animal began to thrive more than ever before.
DEA Special Agent Carl Force wanted his money—real cash, not just numbers on a screen—and he wanted it fast. It was October 2013, and Force had spent the past couple of years working on a Baltimore-based task force investigating the darknet's biggest drug site, Silk Road.
With Microsoft's decision to end development of its own Web rendering engine and switch to Chromium, control over the Web has functionally been ceded to Google. That's a worrying turn of events, given the company's past behavior.
Twenty years ago this week, on December 29, 1997, Bill Gates bought Microsoft a $450 million late Christmas present: a Sunnyvale-based outfit called Hotmail. With the buy—the largest all-cash Internet startup purchase of its day—Microsoft plunged into the nascent world of Web-based email.
Tearing down walls and cubicles in offices may actually build up more barriers to productivity and collaboration, according to a new study.
“Yesterday after I wrote to you, I had an attack of asthma,” Marcel Proust wrote to his mother in 1901. “[It] obliged me to walk all doubled up and light anti-asthma cigarettes at every tobacconist’s I passed.
After a dozen years and nine major releases, OS X has had a full life: the exuberance of youth, gradually maturing into adulthood, and now, perhaps, entering its dotage. When I am an old operating system I shall wear… leather? The 2011 release of OS X 10.
Almost every aspect of our daily lives is now shaped in some way by computer code. Yet the average person on the street has no idea how this all works or just how much influence developers now quietly wield in society.
One of the big questions surrounding the first launch of SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft was how the Russians would react.
They bunked in a double-wide trailer, cramming inside on cots and sleeping bags, as many as a dozen at a time. In the mornings, they feasted on steaming plates of scrambled eggs.
The following story happened in 1985 but subsequently vanished into obscurity. Over the years, many details have been twisted, others created. Even the original storytellers got some things just plain wrong.
As many of us are busy crafting the perfect playlist for grilling outdoors, most likely such labor is happening on a modern streaming service or within iTunes. But during the last 15 years or so, that wasn't always the case. Today, we resurface our look at the greatest MP3 player that was—Winamp.
The Meltdown and Spectre flaws—two related vulnerabilities that enable a wide range of information disclosure from every mainstream processor, with particularly severe flaws for Intel and some ARM chips—were originally revealed privately to chip companies, operating system developers, and cloud
One-shot cures for diseases are not great for business—more specifically, they’re bad for longterm profits—Goldman Sachs analysts noted in an April 10 report for biotech clients, first reported by CNBC.
Adventurers and archaeologists have spent centuries searching for lost cities in the Americas. But over the past decade, they’ve started finding something else: lost farms.
In 2005, Apple contacted Qualcomm as a potential supplier for modem chips in the first iPhone. Qualcomm's response was unusual: a letter demanding that Apple sign a patent licensing agreement before Qualcomm would even consider supplying chips.
CANCUN, Mexico — In 2009, one or more prestigious researchers received a CD by mail that contained pictures and other materials from a recent scientific conference they attended in Houston.
Digital privacy has come a long way since June 2013.
Nation-sponsored hackers have penetrated the operational networks multiple US and European energy companies use to control key parts of the power grid that supplies electricity to hundreds of millions of people, researchers warned Wednesday.
Friday morning was going pretty well, all things considered. I was at my desk, editing some photos and having breakfast. Then Ars editor Lee Hutchinson pinged me on Slack and ruined it all. "It’s even worse than we could have possibly imagined," said my boss.
Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto.
When wireless networking based around the 802.11b standard first hit consumer markets in the late nineties, it looked pretty good on paper. Promising "11 Mbps" compared to original wired Ethernet's 10 Mbps, a reasonable person might have thought 802.
Eight years ago, Google was on top of the world. People across the political spectrum saw the search giant as a symbol of high-tech innovation.
The iPad is having a great year. It started with the $329 iPad back in April, a compelling tablet that’s both good and cheap enough to entice upgraders and people who have never bought a tablet before. And it continued in June, with new 10.5- and 12.
Chile's Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is famous for its giant monumental statues, called moai, built by early inhabitants some 800 years ago. The islanders likely chose the statues' locations based on the availability of fresh water sources, according to a recent paper in PLOS One.
With clever chemical tweaks, an old antibiotic can dole out any of three lethal blows to some of the deadliest bacteria—and give evolution one nasty concussion.
In March, readers followed along as Nate Anderson, Ars deputy editor and a self-admitted newbie to password cracking, downloaded a list of more than 16,000 cryptographically hashed passcodes. Within a few hours, he deciphered almost half of them.
The buffer overflow has long been a feature of the computer security landscape. In fact the first self-propagating Internet worm—1988's Morris Worm—used a buffer overflow in the Unix finger daemon to spread from machine to machine.
Ah, there you are. That didn't take too long, surely? Just a click or a tap and, if you’ve some 21st century connectivity, you landed on this page in a trice.
The death of network neutrality and the loosening of regulations on how Internet providers handle customers' network traffic have raised many concerns over privacy.
In late 2010, Sean Brooks received three e-mails over a span of 30 hours warning that his accounts on LinkedIn, Battle.net, and other popular websites were at risk.
With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season in the US is officially underway. If you're reading Ars, that can only mean one thing: you'll be answering technical questions that your relatives have been saving since the last time you visited home.
Microsoft and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation progenitor Bill Gates is not a fan of cryptocurrencies. In a Reddit AMA yesterday, he posited that cryptocurrencies subvert governments' abilities to intercept terrorist funding, illegal drug transactions, and more.
There are more than 90,000 vitamin and dietary supplement products sold in the US. They come in pills, powders, drinks, and bars.
A half century ago, computer history took a giant leap when Douglas Engelbart—then a mid-career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute in the heart of Silicon Valley—gave what has come to be known as the "mother of all demos.
Last year, Ripple Labs, creator of the virtual currency XRP, was fined $0.7 million (~£540,000) by the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network for violating regulations concerning money laundering.
The philosopher Martin Heidegger suggested in the 1920s that time persists solely as a consequence of the events that take place within it.
AUSTIN, Texas—As much as subscription services want you to believe it, not everything can be found on Amazon or Netflix.
Lee Hutchinson has a problem. My fellow Ars writer is a man who loves to watch YouTube videos—mostly space rocket launches and gun demonstrations, I assume—but he never knows when his home Internet service will let him do so.
Facebook's secretive advertising practices became a little more public on Monday thanks to a leak out of the company's Australian office.
Here at Ars, we're always making lists (just like Liam Neeson). Lists of science fiction movies are a common item for discussion on the Ars staff Slack channel—particularly short lists of the best science fiction movies ever made.
Criminals in 2017 managed to get an advanced backdoor preinstalled on Android devices before they left the factories of manufacturers, Google researchers confirmed on Thursday.
Saturday August 25 marks the one-year anniversary of the Texas landfall of Hurricane Harvey. Alongside Hurricane Katrina, it ranks as the costliest hurricane on record for the United States.
This explainer originally ran in early December. With continued high interest in bitcoin, we're republishing it with updated prices. This week, bitcoin has gone through a wrenching selloff, falling from a high of $19,500 earlier this week to below $13,000 on Friday.
Welcome (almost) to 2017. If you're reading this, the Seventh Seal has not yet been broken, the cybers have not all fallen over, and you apparently have not been consigned to the kids' table by a disagreement with relatives about which bowl game to watch. Hooray for minor victories.
This piece is now a few years old, and we've posted an update on Lee's experiences with Ubiquiti gear as of mid-2018 that you can read right here.
The market for high-end graphics cards used to work like the market for almost any other piece of computer gear. You'd go to your local electronics store, pick one up off the shelf, and pay an amount right around the manufacturer's suggested retail price.
In a corner of SpaceX’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California, a small, secretive group called Ad Astra is hard at work. These are not the company’s usual rocket scientists.
Apple's traditional desktop computing business has suffered many indignities over the past decade. Once Apple's flagship product line, the Mac first found itself playing second fiddle to the iPod—a mere music player—in the early 2000s.
Everyone in Silicon Valley knows the story of Xerox inventing the modern personal computer in the 1970s and then failing to commercialize it effectively.
It was a cloudy Seattle day in late 1980, and Bill Gates, the young chairman of a tiny company called Microsoft, had an appointment with IBM that would shape the destiny of the industry for decades to come. He went into a room full of IBM lawyers, all dressed in immaculately tailored suits.
I've noticed a trend lately. Rather than replacing a router when it literally stops working, I've needed to act earlier—swapping in new gear because an old router could no longer keep up with increasing Internet speeds available in the area. (Note, I am duly thankful for this problem.
Language takes an astonishing variety of forms across the world—to such a huge extent that a long-standing debate rages around the question of whether all languages have even a single property in common.
E-mail is old and complex. It's the oldest still-recognizable component of the Internet, with its modern incarnation having coalesced out of several different decades-old messaging technologies including ARPANET node-to-node messaging in the early 1970s.
Suleiman the Magnificent earned his epithet, at least militarily. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire for 46 years, he spent much of his time on campaign. Hungary and Persia felt the brunt of his martial genius, but perhaps his most famous victory was the Siege of Rhodes in 1522. It was a grudge match.
Right now, I can open up Google Photos, type "beach," and see my photos from various beaches I've visited over the last decade. I never went through my photos and labeled them; instead, Google identifies beaches based on the contents of the photos themselves.
YouTube was recently caught displaying ads that covertly leach off visitors' CPUs and electricity to generate digital currency on behalf of anonymous attackers, it was widely reported.
"See! That shit keeps popping up on my fucking computer!" says a blond woman as she leans back on a couch, bottle-feeding a baby on her lap. The woman is visible from thousands of miles away on a hacker's computer.
Author Nick Sullivan worked for six years at Apple on many of its most important cryptography efforts before recently joining CloudFlare, where he is a systems engineer.
Mac OS X 10.7 was first shown to the public in October 2010. The presentation was understated, especially compared to the bold rhetoric that accompanied the launches of the iPhone ("Apple reinvents the phone") and the iPad ("a magical and revolutionary device at an unbelievable price").
Sometimes you just want to escape into another world... of facts. That's why the best way to round out your holidays is to snuggle up with a book that is both entertaining and true. We're here for you with some suggestions for great new nonfiction books that came out in 2016.
After finally reaching the tipping point with off-the-shelf solutions that can't match increasing speeds available, we recently took the plunge. Building a homebrew router turned out to be a better proposition than we could've ever imagined.
Shodan, a search engine for the Internet of Things (IoT), recently launched a new section that lets users easily browse vulnerable webcams.
Three years ago, security consultant Dragos Ruiu was in his lab when he noticed something highly unusual: his MacBook Air, on which he had just installed a fresh copy of OS X, spontaneously updated the firmware that helps it boot.
When a man named Temüjin was given the title of Genghis Khan in 1206, the Mongols were a recently united people, tucked away in the northeast corner of Asia. By the time Genghis Khan died in 1227, they were sunning themselves on the shores of both the Pacific Ocean and the Caspian Sea.
Over the last few years, the failed biomedical startup Theranos has become synonymous with some of the worst aspects of Silicon Valley.
Maybe its pervasiveness has long obscured its origins. But Unix, the operating system that in one derivative or another powers nearly all smartphones sold worldwide, was born 50 years ago from the failure of an ambitious project that involved titans like Bell Labs, GE, and MIT.
One could claim that the IBM PC was not really IBM's first PC at all. In September 1975 the company introduced the IBM 5100, its first "portable" computer. ("Portable" meant that it weighed just 55 pounds and you could buy a special travel case to lug it around in.)
There's rarely time to write about every cool science-y story that comes our way. So this year, we're running a special Twelve Days of Christmas series of posts, highlighting one story that fell through the cracks each day, from December 25 through January 5.
Poor OS X can't get no respect. Apple's Mac operating system has been playing second fiddle to the iPhone since 2007, when Leopard was delayed to make more room for the then-new smartphone. And despite the occasional protest to the contrary, OS X hasn't been the apple of Apple's eye since then.