Verizon lobbyist runs for NY AG—as the state sues FCC over net neutrality repeal

Leecia Eve, a Verizon lobbyist and candidate for New York Attorney General.

Enlarge / Leecia Eve, a Verizon lobbyist and candidate for New York attorney general. (credit: Leecia Eve)

A Verizon lobbyist is trying to become the attorney general of New York in the upcoming November election.

Verizon executive Leecia Eve is one of four candidates in the Democratic primary for the seat vacated when Eric Schneiderman resigned after assault allegations from four women.

If elected, Eve says she would recuse herself from Verizon matters and New York State's appeal of the federal net neutrality repeal.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Nintendo’s promised cloud saves on Switch won’t work for every game [Updated]

Article intro image

Enlarge / A few Nintendo Switch games' save files will be stuck on your console even if you pay for cloud-save support, as per Nintendo's latest confirmations. (credit: Aurich Lawson)

The first paid online service for Nintendo Switch, simply named Nintendo Switch Online, is set to arrive at some point later this month, and we're still waiting on a few key details. One detail about the service emerged on Friday via Nintendo's official site, and it's not a great one: there will be specific limits to the service's promised cloud-save support.

Nintendo Switch Online's $20/year cost includes a promise to "save your data online for easy access"—which, for the uninitiated, will be the only way to back up your Switch games' save data when it launches. Currently, should your Nintendo Switch be lost, stolen, or damaged, your progress in games like Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is toast, as you cannot personally back save data up to a hard drive. (Full system backups can be transferred from one console to another, but not if the host system is too damaged to power on.)

An eagle-eyed member of the ResetERA gaming community noticed on Friday that Splatoon 2's newest listing at Nintendo's official site, for its upcoming "starter pack" version, includes a new piece of warning text: "This game does not support Save Data Cloud backup." It's unclear exactly when this text was posted, but a quick Internet search for that exact phrase, limited solely to the domain, brings up the same warning for the following current and upcoming Switch games:

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

New Microsoft hardware launching on October 2

Article intro image

Enlarge / Surface Laptop. (credit: Justin Wolfson)

Microsoft is holding a hardware event in New York City on October 2.

We're expecting the event to be relatively low-key, with a focus on refreshes of existing form factors rather than anything extraordinary and new. The release of the Whiskey Lake and Amber Lake processors by Intel means that the Surface Laptop, Surface Pro, and Surface Book 2 could all stand to see a processor bump. The niche Surface Studio would also be a good candidate for an update (its processor is two generations old and its GPU is one generation old), but we're not honestly sure if Microsoft is even continuing to develop that particular form factor.

The one thing we can be confident that we won't see is a Surface Phone. The last rumors around Andromeda, Microsoft's alleged dual-screen handheld pocket-sized device, were that it was being delayed because the software wasn't ready and nobody is quite sure what it's good for. Since then, we've heard nothing more, so we'd expect this to still be the case.

Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Transplanted mammals take a century to learn to “surf the green wave”

Article intro image

Enlarge / That is an aptly named sheep. (credit: California Department of Fish and Game/Tim Glenner)

In many areas of the globe, native species have been wiped out of large areas of their range even though some habitats that could support them were left intact or later restored. That has allowed conservationists to reintroduce these species, sometimes with spectacular success. The North American bison, for example, has gradually returned from near extinction largely due to reintroductions from the few small herds that were once left.

But not all of these reintroductions have worked out, and a paper in this week's Science suggests a reason: over generations, native populations develop a "culture" that helps them to understand when and where to migrate. New populations, dropped into an unfamiliar landscape, tend to sit still and don't make the most out of their habitat.

Waves of green

Seasonal migrations are common throughout the animal kingdom, and most of the attention is drawn to the more dramatic ones, like the multigenerational travels of the monarch butterfly or the spectacular distances covered by some birds. But many migrations are relatively local, as animals may shift locations without venturing out of their larger habitat. The reasons for this are typically practical: moving to breeding grounds that predators can't reach easily, for example.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Tesla stock falls on executive departures, Musk smoking weed

Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: Joe Rogan)

Tesla's newly hired chief accounting officer abruptly resigned on Tuesday, the company has disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He had been on the job for less than a month.

In the filing, now-former Tesla executive Dave Morton said that he was leaving because "the level of public attention placed on the company as well as the pace within the company have exceeded my expectations."

"I want to be clear that I believe strongly in Tesla, its mission, and its future prospects, and I have no disagreements with Tesla’s leadership or its financial reporting," Morton added.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Fortnite reaches 15 million Android downloads without Google Play

Article intro image

Enlarge / Disclaimer: Artist's conception. Do not play Fortnite while skydiving. Ars Technica and Epic Games will not be held liable for any injuries sustained jumping out of planes while playing the game. Void where prohibited.

In bringing Fortnite to Android this summer, Epic gambled that the biggest video game phenomenon in the world could find success without relying on the centralized Google Play storefront (and its 30 percent cut of all revenues). That gamble seems to have paid off so far—Epic reports 15 million Fortnite downloads and 23 million players on Android just 21 days after the game's beta release.

For context, the iOS version of the game saw roughly 11 million installations in its first month, according to analysis firm Sensor Tower, though the first two weeks of that period were a more limited "closed beta." It took the iOS version of Fortnite about three months to reach 100 million downloads, according to analysis firm Apptopia.

Technical hurdles

The Android launch numbers come directly from Epic, which goes on to detail the technical challenges of the Android port in a lengthy blog post.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Verizon throttling firefighters may have violated FCC rule, Democrats say

A Verizon logo on a red background.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Spencer Platt)

Senate Democrats yesterday asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate Verizon's throttling of firefighters during California's largest-ever wildfire.

US Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) also sent a letter to Verizon, accusing the carrier of misleading the fire department in its marketing of unlimited data. Additionally, the Democrats sent letters to the other major carriers asking for commitments that they won't throttle the data of public safety officials while they are responding to emergencies.

Though FCC Chairman Ajit Pai eliminated net neutrality rules, the commission maintains a revised version of a transparency rule that requires carriers to publicly disclose enough information about network management practices and commercial terms of service "to enable consumers to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of such services."

Read 12 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Mapping what it would take for a renaissance for nuclear energy

Cooling towers of a nuclear power plant in Germany

Enlarge / April 2018, Germany, Gundremmingen: No steam is ascending from the cooling towers of the nuclear power station. After block B was turned off at the end of 2017 in the course of phasing out nuclear energy, now block C has gone off the grid for the regular annual overhaul. Germany's most efficient nuclear power station at one time is going to be turned off around mid of May. Photo: Stefan Puchner/dpa (Photo by Stefan Puchner/picture alliance via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

Nuclear energy has been struggling. Aging reactors are being shut down, a process accelerated after the 2011 Fukushima disaster, and new reactors aren't being built. Even the exceptions bend more toward the rule in the US, where recent reactor construction was abruptly halted following the 2017 bankruptcy of reactor maker Westinghouse.

But many believe that total decarbonization of the energy sector can't fully happen without nuclear power. And decarbonization must occur in the near future if we want to have a shot at mitigating the effects of climate change. Nuclear power's advantages are that it suffers none of the variability of wind and solar power, and the energy it produces is essentially carbon-free, (although, of course, uranium fuel is generally mined and processed in ways that emit carbon dioxide). Nuclear power plants are also capable of supplying huge amounts of power to the grid, which is a boon as the global population keeps growing.

At the juncture of nuclear's sad present predicament and its apparent necessity in the future, a new, 270-page report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) details what it would take for nuclear energy to see a renaissance.

Read 22 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Rocket Report: Lots of losers in small launch, Air Force award, Red (Bull) Mars

Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson/United Launch Alliance)

Welcome to Edition 1.16 of the Rocket Report! This week, we discuss an interview with Rocket Lab's Peter Beck, cover China's burgeoning private launch market, and note an interesting payload going up on a Japanese space station mission early next week.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Rocket Lab chief sees lots of losers in competition. In an interview with Via Satellite, Rocket Lab Chief Executive Peter Beck says that after his experience building the Electron rocket, he sees a difficult path for competitors. "There are more than 100 small launch vehicles in development, but we'd only expect to see a handful launch and even fewer succeed," he said.

Read 24 remaining paragraphs | Comments

DOJ: Man sextorted women after giving up password reset clues, like pets’ names

Article intro image

Enlarge (credit: carlosbezz / Getty Images News)

Federal agents arrested a former NASA contractor at his home in Los Angeles on Thursday, accusing him of sextortion.

According to the August 28 indictment, Richard Gregory Bauer, 28, used Facebook to send questions to his victims for his purported "human societies class." He asked his marks for things like their pets' names and where their parents met—queries that are often similar, if not identical, to prompts used in password-reset tools.

After doing so, he would seemingly use those passwords to access their accounts, sometimes stumbling upon nude or semi-nude photographs. Sometimes, he would convince victims to install malware that included keyloggers, enabling him to capture logins and passwords.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments