Colossal review: Everyone has a monster, most aren’t this fun

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder

AUSTIN, Texas—The film Colossal currently doesn't have a publicly-available trailer, let alone a release date. But it aired at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, sparking hurried whispers of "Anne Hathaway's kaiju movie" among #FilmInternet. Those four words made up all the prior knowledge I had when the title slid into this week's genre-centric Fantastic Fest for its US premiere.

Having seen it, I can now confirm: Anne Hathaway appears in this film, so does a kaiju monster. But pitching Colossal as Hathaway taking the Bryan Cranston role in the most recent Godzilla sells writer/director Nacho Vigalondo's latest work so, so short. Instead, Colossal proves to be an incredibly fun mishmash of well-established genres with two extremely accessible characters at its core. Over the course of 110 minutes, things shift fluidly between rom-com and monster film, dark horror and art-house indie. All the while, Colossal does its best kaiju impression, leaving tropes of each mashed in its path.

Everyone's from a Mainline, USA

Burnt-out online writer Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has been losing the eternal battle with NYC. She drinks too much, works not enough, and may be involved in an emotionally abusive relationship with Tim, a successful suit-type. It all comes to a breaking point after one too many midday, inebriated return trips to their apartment. Tim has Gloria's bags packed and ready for departure.

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Terraforming Mars review: Turn the “Red Planet” green and blue with this amazing board game

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder

Enlarge (credit: Nate Anderson)

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games. Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

Terraforming Mars is a board game inspired by Kim Stanley Robinson's hard sci-fi "Mars trilogy." Though not endorsed by the author, Sweden's Jacob Fryxelius has enlisted his family members to produce a science-driven game that is pure homage to Robinson's classic series; even the players in the manual's examples are named "Kim," "Stanley," and "Robinson."

The goal is simple: make Mars habitable. Forget Matt Damon as the primitive first "Martian"; Terraforming Mars takes place much further in the future and unfolds over centuries, ending with a green and blue map of a Red Planet covered with cities, vegetation, and oceans.

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The Martian’s Andy Weir talks to Ars about the science of Musk’s Mars vision

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder

Enlarge / Mars or bust! (credit: NASA)

If Elon Musk has his way, humans will be going to the red planet—and soon. Over the past few days, our senior space-master Eric Berger has analyzed Musk’s Interplanetary Transport System plans in detail, and our chief scientist Dr. John Timmer has examined the science of how to generate resources on Mars. But Musk’s thoughts for getting to and living on Mars—both the nitty-gritty details and also the glossed-over blank bits—still come across to many folks as science fiction. It’s all well and good to talk about building an enormous rocket and a self-sustaining Martian colony, but it’s another thing entirely to do it.

So who better to discuss the differences between science and science fiction than an actual science fiction author—one who studied up for years on the problems of surviving on Mars before crafting a cracking good story about how exactly it might work? And as it happens, we know the perfect such person: author Andy Weir, whose best-selling novel The Martian (and the subsequent Ridley Scott movie) covers much of the same ground Musk wants to cover—though Musk is dreaming on a much larger scale.

Author Andy Weir and hat.

Author Andy Weir and hat. (credit: Lee Hutchinson)

“In-situ resource generation”

Though Musk and SpaceX envision a long-term plan that involves thousands of launches to Mars, the company wants to bring most of those spacecraft back to Earth—otherwise, as Musk explained, we’d end up with a gigantic “spacecraft graveyard” littering Mars. This leaves us with two options: the Martian spacecraft have to bring their return fuel with them, or they have to generate it somehow on Mars (“in situ,” as the terminology goes). Since every gram of mass going to Mars must be paid for in fuel (including the mass of the fuel itself), generating the fuel on Mars is highly preferable to hauling all that fuel with you and paying the mass penalty for it.

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Posted in andi weir, Elon Musk, Mars, spacex, spacex bfr, spacex its, the martian, The Multiverse | Comments (0)

South Korea says their military cyber command was hacked

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder

By Owais Sultan

South Korea says their military cyber command was hacked with

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Posted in Cyber Crime, Hacking, hacking news, Internet, malware, Military, north korea, security, South Korea | Comments (0)

Uh oh, Yahoo! Data Breach May Have Hit Over 1 Billion Users

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder
The massive data breach that Yahoo! confirmed to the world last week is claimed by the company to have been carried out by a "state-sponsored actor" in 2014, which exposed the accounts of at least 500 Million Yahoo users. But, now it seems that Yahoo has downplayed a mega data breach and triying to hide it's own security blunder. Recently the information security firm InfoArmor that analyzed

Posted in data breach, email hacking, email hacking software, How to hack email, state sponsored attack, Yahoo, yahoo data breach, Yahoo Security | Comments (0)

More than 400 malicious apps infiltrate Google Play

October 1st, 2016
by The Feeder

Enlarge (credit: Curious Expeditions)

Google Play was recently found to be hosting more than 400 apps that turned infected phones into listening posts that could siphon sensitive data out of the protected networks they connected to, security researchers said Thursday.

One malicious app infected with the so-called DressCode malware had been downloaded from 100,000 to 500,000 times before it was removed from the Google-hosted marketplace, Trend Micro researchers said in a post. Known as Mod GTA 5 for Minecraft PE, it was disguised as a benign game, but included in the code was a component that established a persistent connection with an attacker controlled server. The server then had the ability to bypass so-called network address translation protections that shield individual devices inside a network. Trend Micro has found 3,000 such apps in all, 400 of which were available through Play.

"This malware allows threat actors to infiltrate a user's network environment," Thursday's report stated. "If an infected device connects to an enterprise network, the attacker can either bypass the NAT device to attack the internal server or download sensitive data using the infected device as a springboard."

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Posted in android, Gear & Gadgets, google play, Risk Assessment | Comments (0)

Amazon adds Twitch perks to $99/year Prime subscription

September 30th, 2016
by The Feeder

Amazon has unveiled yet another add-on for its paying Prime subscribers, and it represents the company's biggest tie-in yet with Twitch, the game-streaming service that Amazon acquired in 2014 for nearly $1 billion.

The new add-on, Twitch Prime, will dole out monthly gaming-related goodies to any Amazon Prime subscriber who links their shopping account with a Twitch user ID. Upon doing so, Twitch users will get a few Twitch-specific bonuses. The first is a series of free game downloads, which change every month and can range from full-game unlocks to DLC add-ons for games you already own (much like PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold). Twitch Prime's first month includes a full download of the Twitch-enabled multiplayer game Streamline and add-on bonuses for free-to-play games Hearthstone and Smite.

Twitch Prime appears to be enabled for Prime subscribers in the US, UK, Spain, Germany, France, Canada, and Italy.

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Posted in Amazon Prime, game streaming, Opposable Thumbs, twitch, twitch prime, twitch turbo, youtube gaming | Comments (0)

Fancy Bears hacked MH17 crash investigators with spear-phishing campaign

September 30th, 2016
by The Feeder

By Waqas

New Spear-phishing Campaign Targets Bellingcat Researchers trying to Investigate Flight

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Posted in Cyber Crime, Hacking, hacking news, Internet, Malaysia, phishing, Phishing Scam, russia, security | Comments (0)

Tracking the eruptions of a star that’s shed 15 times the mass of the Sun

September 30th, 2016
by The Feeder

Enlarge / The two stars of η Carinae are embedded in the nebula they've created. (credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

"Even among Luminous Blue Variable [stars], η Car is unusual and its parameters are extreme."

That bit of science-speak roughly translates to "Even among the largest, most energetic stars, η Carinae has done things we can't explain, but find incredibly impressive." The top item in η Carinae's list of extreme behaviors involves producing a decades-long outburst that caused it to become the second-brightest star in the sky. This outburst released as much energy as a supernova and ejected many times the mass of the Sun. Yet somehow η Carinae remained intact.

Now, researchers have used a series of Hubble images to produce a timeline of the debris left behind by this enigmatic outburst. The new data reveals that this was just the latest in a series of eruptions, and we still can't explain why they happen.

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Posted in astronomy, astrophysics, Scientific Method | Comments (0)

BMW will make an electric Mini and an electric X3 SUV after all

September 30th, 2016
by The Feeder

It says “Mini” but every generation gets bigger and bigger. (credit: Jim Resnick)

BMW confirmed to Bloomberg today that it will start work on an electric Mini and an electric X3 SUV. This news comes after reports of deliberation on BMW's electric strategy among the company’s top executives earlier this month.

Chief Executive Officer Harald Krueger told Bloomberg that the all-electric Mini would be market-ready by 2019 and the X3 SUV would be a 2020 vehicle.

Reuters reported three weeks ago that BMW’s top executives had been resistant to the idea of building an electric Mini-brand car. Minis have a smaller profit margin than BMW-brand cars, they argued, and the investment costs of building an all-electric vehicle are considerable. A few executives felt that BMW should push ahead in the electric vehicle field, but after the weak US performance of the i3, other bigwigs were apparently not convinced that committing additional investment to purely electric cars would make financial sense.

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Posted in BMW, Cars Technica, Electric vehicles | Comments (0)