Archive for the ‘Ars gallery’ Category

We’ll send postcards—pinball museums, CERN, and more favorite Ars trips of all time

January 16th, 2019

By default, life at Ars involves a lot of day-to-day work from a home office. But putting together two-decades-and-counting of high-quality journalism has opened opportunities over the years that may not have existed in 1999. Looking back through the archives recently in light of our 20th anniversary, we couldn't help but notice all the unbelievable places we've been and seen previously. Maybe things started with looking at Mac OS X DP2 from the confines of the Siracusa house, but work here has pretty quickly evolved to require occasional dinosaur riding and NASA booties wearing, too.

Ars will never say no to an on-the-nose museum exhibit (thank you again, Smithsonian's Art of the Video Game), but some of our most memorable tours have leveraged journalism privilege into some amazing behind-the-scenes experiences to share with readers. We've seen particle accelerators across continents and followed the forum's lead into hallowed ground like Mission Control (editor's note: we really need to do the same with the National Air Force Museum, too). Our former Navy man got to visit his old ship and see the quarters on a newly restored WWII PT-boat. Ars has seen old space and new space up close, and we even spent quality time with George, the early supercomputer.

Luckily, the future looks like it will have more of the same—if recent trips to the set of The Orville or to the Boring Company's LA tunnel are any indication, at least. We'll try to be better about postcards (and certainly remain open to invitations), but for now it's time to reminiscence and look back at snapshots from some of Ars' greatest trips.

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Remember when Bill Gates challenged Slash to Guitar Hero? 13 years of Ars at CES

January 14th, 2019

Ars may be turning 20, but the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) makes us feel downright youth-y. The annual tech gathering has been around quite a while at this point, some 50-plus years. And over that time, the show has hosted countless industry-wide announcements big (IoT everywhere, the Windows 7 public beta), small (USB C, 802.11ad WiGig routers), and just plain insane in retrospect (has using your eyes as a video game controller caught on yet? What about screens made of air?).

2019 makes it a baker's dozen for Ars—we've covered it on-the-ground annually since 2006. We've learned several times over that robots love "Gangnam Style" and that early Chromebooks proved only moderately effective for covering such a news fest. But looking back reveals some admirable prescience from CES. Maybe the TV Hat at CES 2010 genuinely did pave the way for Oculus-fever in 2014 and our present-day "VR is so close to happening, right?" realities. Or perhaps the abundance of personal transportation vehicles—Spinkix remote-controlled skates in 2013 to Inmotion unicycle-y things in 2015 to US Marshals targeting hover boards in 2016—really did set the stage for today's scooter-laden urban landscapes. CES 2010 stoked the tablet wars between Microsoft and Apple months before the iPad, 2014 pushed curved displays (at least TVs), 2018 highlighted the utility of self-driving cars. Heck, even in 2006 they knew years later we'd all be watching TV on our phones (c'mon, that's totally what Palm and Mobi TV had in mind).

So with another CES fresh on our minds and nostalgia levels a bit higher than normal given the site's anniversary, we decided to take a walk down Ars at CES memory lane (err, memory midway?) as part of our initial 20th anniversary series. Who knows what kinds of showcased technological movements we'll look back on as groundbreaking after we complete our 20th January in the desert? But we have total confidence at least that future tech executives we'll continue the proudest CES tradition—inviting friends from Slash to Tom Hanks onstage for some totally casual conversation about upcoming products.

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Sportbacks, TIE fighters, and the Panthermobile: the 2016 LA Auto Show

November 20th, 2016

Jonathan Gitlin

LOS ANGELES, CALIF.—There was quite a varied selection of four-wheeled delights on display at this year’s LA Auto Show. We’ve already covered the grid full of new racing cars that Porsche, Mazda, and others unveiled, as well as taken closer looks at the Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV, Chrysler Pacifica minivan Jaguar’s I-Pace electric concept, budget performance cars from Honda and Nissan, a new compact SUV from Ford, and a connected concierge service from Volvo. But as one of the nation’s three major auto shows (along with Detroit and New York) there was obviously a lot more going on. After pounding the floors of the LA Convention Center’s halls for a few days, the gallery above represents some of our highlights.

Audi usually does something to impress, and this year was no exception. The company’s new A5 Sportback wowed us in particular. It has all the brains of the A4 sedan, but in a lither body that keeps four doors and a capacious trunk. Audi brought the S5 (a sportier variant) along, and while we couldn’t get official confirmation I’d bet good money that a carbonfibre-clad RS5 version will join the fray before too long. With all-wheel drive and plenty of practicality to go with performance, I may just have found the eventual replacement for my trusty Saab 9-2x Aero.

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Mazda and Porsche race cars unveiled at the LA Auto Show

November 19th, 2016

Jonathan Gitlin

LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Unusually, Mazda and Porsche chose this year’s LA Auto Show to reveal to the world their latest racing cars. In fact, a host of racing machinery was on display at the LA Convention Center, joining the regular mix of new production cars and cool concepts. Normally, race cars get unveiled at pre-season tests or at the beginning of the year, so for both companies to choose LA as their venue is a vote of confidence for the health—and importance—of their factory racing efforts.

Mazda RT24-P

Let’s take a look at the Mazda RT24-P first. It’s built to contest the IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship’s Daytona Prototype International class, an offshoot of the LMP2 category that runs at Le Mans and in the World Endurance Championship. But LMP2 is a pro-am class. Although teams can choose a chassis from four different constructors, they all have to run the same kind of engine and electronics. IMSA’s DPI category, on the other hand, is for OEM-supported teams, and it has given car companies like Mazda a little more freedom to use their own engines, ECUs, and body work.

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Posted in Ars gallery, Cars Technica, IMSA, LA Auto Show, Lexus RC F GT3, Mazda RT24-P, Mercedes-AMG GT3, Porsche 911 RSR, WEC | Comments (0)

Vision Next 100: Meet BMW’s vision of the future in the coming years

October 15th, 2016

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—On Tuesday, BMW showed off its four new concept cars under one roof together for the first time. These cars included not only the new BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, but also a new futuristic Rolls-Royce, Mini Cooper, and BMW. Each shows us that marque’s view of its place in a world where our vehicles are intelligent and drive themselves, which some see as an existential threat to companies, like BMW, that have made their reputations by focusing on driver engagement.

The star of the show, which took place in the Santa Monica Airport’s Barker Hanger, was BMW’s new motorcycle, which combines previous models revealed in Munich, London, and Beijing. The concepts also build on ideas that BMW showed us at CES in January, notably the triangle-based UI for the BMW VISION NEXT 100, as well as the way its seats move and cant together when in self-driving mode.

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The BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100, the flexible motorcycle of the future

October 11th, 2016

Cyrus Farivar

SANTA MONICA, Calif.—BMW has been celebrating its centenary this year under the tagline, “The Next 100 Years.” As part of that celebration, the company has created a number of concepts that imagine its future vehicles, and, today in Los Angeles, the company took the wraps off the latest, the BMW Motorrad Vision Next 100.

Concept cars and bikes fall into two distinct categories; thinly veiled production machines designed to get consumers ready for a new model and more outlandish, forward-looking affairs that often include technology that’s still just a twinkle in the design team’s eye. The latter is definitely the case for BMW’s Vision Next 100 concepts, but that makes them no less interesting.

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Electric vehicles at altitude: Pikes Peak qualifying day

June 24th, 2016

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Racing at Pikes Peak starts early, really early. At this point I’m no stranger to the fact that a day at the track means leaving the house before dawn. But here at the mountain, the road is reopened for two-way traffic at 8:30am—so 4am it is. We’re here because Giti Tires and Team APEV with Monster Sport invited Cars Technica to embed with them as Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima attempts to become “King of the Mountain” for the eighth time.

Tajima-san runs in the Electric Modified class for purpose-built machines. On Thursday morning, we got our first look at his 1.1MW (1,500hp) Tajima Rimac E-Runner Concept_One as well as some of the cars from other classes. Acura is here with three NSXes. There’s an almost-stock NSX in Time Attack 2 Production, a second NSX—minus its AC and some interior trim—running in Time Attack 1 and silhouette NSX with four electric motors and torque vectoring in Electric Modified. There’s even a Tesla Model S that is being campaigned by Blake Fuller.

Later in the day, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb inducted its 2016 Hall of Fame. On the way in we were greeted by Arrow’s latest Project SAM—a Corvette Z06 that Sam Schmidt will drive on Sunday after the final race up to the top and back to lead the entire field back to the start line. Between this and Frédéric Sausset at Le Mans, it’s inspiring how motorsports is using technology to make itself more accessible, particularly because it’s leading to real-world applications.

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The Ars 2015 pictorial year in review

January 2nd, 2016

Not all that long ago, Ars was the rare outlet where your 5,000-word-plus treatise on some scientific techniques or operating system would be scant (or completely devoid) on images. In fact, it was only 2013 when a redesign required a new focus on visuals for all staff. In the years since, we like to think the pictures have slowly but surely caught up to the rest of the work done around the Orbital HQ. And while we can’t all be Aurich Lawsons (or Jennifer Hahns, to say nothing of our growing video cache), 2015 gave staff plenty of opportunity to flex their artistic muscles.

So to celebrate “the year that was” one final time, we’ve compiled a collection of our favorite pictures and images from 2015. You’ll find links to the relevant stories embedded in the image captions (and hopefully the sizes will be acceptable for all your Pinterest/Instagram/wallpaper/etc. needs). Let us know if we overlooked a particular looker in the comments, otherwise enjoy some of what stands out to the staff below.

Ars Visits…

If it wasn’t already evident, 2015 was a busy year here at Ars. We visited movie sets and fallout bunkers, poured molten lava, and toured a recycling plant among our many excursions. (No rest for the weary, however, as staff are set to attend CES this month.)

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Ars Technica’s (virtual) Performance Car of the Year

December 26th, 2015

2015 has been the year of the performance car here at Ars. We’ve spent some time behind the wheel of some quite powerful and exotic machines, from high-powered luxury sedans like the Tesla Model S P90D and Audi RS7 to mid-engined supercars from McLaren and Lamborghini. With a couple of exceptions though, we’ve had to be content with driving all of these cars on the road. That’s been both informative and fun, but if you want to really get to know a car there’s only one place to push it to its limits: the race track. Unfortunately we weren’t able to arrange a big track test this year, so we’ve done the next best thing—we conducted it virtually at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), using Forza Motorsport 6.

Almost all of the cars we drove in meatspace are digitally recreated in Forza 6, although we are missing the Porsche 991S, Volvo XC90 T8, and BMW i8. For a couple of other models we’ve had to substitute slightly—Audi’s more track-focused TTS stands in for the regular TT, and the Model S P85D represents Tesla, since there’s no Forza P90D yet. And finally, we’ve used two coupes (Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06 and the McLaren 650S) where the convertible versions were unavailable.

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2015 Los Angeles Auto Show: The sporty stuff

November 23rd, 2015

LOS ANGELES—We’ve already taken a look at the interesting technology on display at this year’s LA Auto Show, as well as the cool concepts and custom cars. Today it’s the turn of the sportiest stuff. Many of the big names we saw in New York—Aston Martin, Ferrari, McLaren—were absent. A few reappeared, inching closer to production like the Ford GT and Acura NSX. The former is Ford’s celebration of its first win at Le Mans in 1966. The latter a hybrid sportscar that’s more focused than BMW’s i8 but a lot more affordable than any hybrid sports car McLaren, Ferrari, or Porsche has made.

Think of Alfa Romeo’s Giulia Quadrifoglio as an Italian take on the M3—rear wheel drive, 505hp, and that endangered species, the manual gearbox. The fire-breathing one with the four-leaf clover will cost around $70,000, but the Giulia range starts at $40,000. We’re still a little unsure how we feel about Fiat’s Italian take on the Mazda MX-5. From some angles the new nose looks great, and the 1.4L MultiAir engine is interesting.

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