At House hearing, witnesses for Trump admin defend fuel-economy rollback

At House hearing, witnesses for Trump admin defend fuel-economy rollback

Enlarge / Cars and trucks drive along Interstate 75/85 June 25, 2003 in Atlanta, Georgia. (credit: Erik S. Lesser/Getty Images)

The Trump administration has been trying to roll back Obama-era fuel-economy standards for passenger vehicles out to model year 2025. But the state of California and its allies have been fighting this rollback in every venue possible.

Today, energy and commerce subcommittees from the House of Representatives held a joint hearing to question the creators of the proposed fuel-economy-standards rollback. William Wehrum, the Assistant Administrator in the Office of Air and Radiation at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Heidi King, the Deputy Administrator at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), both responded to questions from representatives on how the two agencies came to propose the new fuel-economy rollback.

Later in the day, a second panel included Mary Nichols, the chairperson of the California Air Resource Board (CARB),

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Apple introduces a recall program for some MacBook Pro laptops with faulty batteries

Apple introduces a recall program for some MacBook Pro laptops with faulty batteries

Today, Apple sent out a press release and published a customer support document announcing a new voluntary recall-and-replace program for certain MacBook Pro models that contain batteries that may overheat, and which may have the potential to be a fire risk.

The recall program is limited to certain 15-inch MacBook Pros from 2015, which were sold “primarily” between 2015 and 2017, Apple says—so pre-Touch Bar, Retina models from near the end of that form factor’s life cycle. The company’s support page offers a field wherein a consumer can input their serial number to find out if their laptop is affected.

“Because customer safety is a top priority,” Apple wrote, “Apple is asking customers to stop using affected 15-inch MacBook Pro units.” The company hasn’t provided details about the nature of the problem other than to say, “in a limited number

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DEAL: Get a 2-Pack of WiFi Full Color Light Bulbs for $14 (Google Assistant Compatible)

DEAL: Get a 2-Pack of WiFi Full Color Light Bulbs for $14 (Google Assistant Compatible)


I’m all for making everything in my house controllable with my voice, especially when it comes to lighting. Over on Amazon, you can get a 2-pack of WiFi-enabled LED light bulbs, capable of nearly any color imaginable and able to be controlled via Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.

With no hub necessary to control them, all you need to do is download the eFamilyCloud app, which allows you to choose colors, dim the lights, schedule timers for the lights, plus more. But again, if you have a Google Home installed in your home, control over the lights is as easy as telling Assistant to turn them on once they are established on your network.

The usually going price for this 2-pack of bulbs is over $30, so at just $14 with the below coupon code, that’s around 55% in savings.

Amazon Link (Code: FQP8DDJE)

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Potent Firefox 0-day used to install undetected backdoors on Macs

Potent Firefox 0-day used to install undetected backdoors on Macs

Enlarge / The fox animoji. (credit: Samuel Axon)

Hackers exploited a pair of potent zero-day vulnerabilities in Firefox to infect Mac users with a largely undetected backdoor, according to accounts pieced together from multiple people.

Mozilla released an update on Tuesday that fixed a code-execution vulnerability in a JavaScript programming method known as Array.pop. On Thursday, Mozilla issued a second patch fixing a privilege-escalation flaw that allowed code to break out of a security sandbox that Firefox uses to prevent untrusted content from interacting with sensitive parts of a computer operating system. Interestingly, a researcher at Google’s Project Zero had privately reported the code-execution flaw to Mozilla in mid April.

On Monday, as Mozilla was readying a fix for the array.pop flaw, unknown hackers deployed an attack that combined working exploits for both vulnerabilities. The hackers then used the attack against employees of Coinbase, according to Philip Martin,

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Survey: Autopilot name causes people to overestimate Tesla capabilities

Survey: Autopilot name causes people to overestimate Tesla capabilities

Enlarge (credit: IIHS)

Does the name “Autopilot” cause people to overestimate the abilities of Tesla’s driver-assistance technology? It’s a question that comes up in the Ars comments almost every time we write about the feature.

Critics warn that some customers will assume something called “Autopilot” is fully self-driving. Tesla’s defenders counter by pointing out that autopilot capabilities in planes aren’t fully autonomous. Pilots still have to monitor their operation and intervene if they have a problem, and Tesla’s Autopilot system is no different.

A new survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety brings some valuable hard data to this debate. The group asked drivers questions about the capabilities of five advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS). They identified the products only by their brand name—”Autopilot,” “Traffic Jam Assist,” “Super Cruise,” etc. Survey participants were not told which carmaker made each product, and they did not learn the capabilities of the

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What’s it like to race a Jaguar I-Pace electric car?

What’s it like to race a Jaguar I-Pace electric car?

“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday.” Like many aphorisms from an earlier time, this no longer works quite as well as it did. But for an auto industry trying to persuade people it’s OK to buy one of their newfangled electric vehicles, some racetrack glory never hurts. That’s the thinking behind the Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy, which sees a grid of identical electric Jags duke it out as a support act during a Formula E event.

One-make series like the I-Pace eTrophy aren’t exactly new. And for a manufacturer like Jaguar, you can see the appeal: whoever wins on Sunday (technically Saturday in the case of most ePrix events), they’ll be driving an I-Pace. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t good entertainment.

The annual Toyota pro-am race

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New study takes a bird’s-eye view of the Nasca Lines

New study takes a bird’s-eye view of the Nasca Lines

Enlarge (credit: Masaki Eda)

At first glance, one of the most famous figures of Peru’s Nasca Lines looks like a fairly generic hummingbird. But the details of the drawing—and those of several other ancient drawings, paintings, and sculptures of animals and plants around the world—reveal a lot of information about the actual species. The bird has three toes, all pointed in the same direction, a long, thin beak, and the feathers at the center of its tail are long and straight.

Those are trademarks of birds called hermits, a genus in the hummingbird family. Other hummingbird species in Peru have forked or fan-shaped tails (which is the kind of detail the Nasca artists likely would have gotten right).

“Until now, the birds in these drawings have been identified based on general impressions or a few morphological traits present in each figure,” said zooarchaeologist Masaki Eda of the Hokkaido University

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Americans aren’t interested in the Moon and Mars—and that’s understandable

Americans aren’t interested in the Moon and Mars—and that’s understandable

Enlarge / Mars or the Moon? It’s a debate that has bedeviled NASA for decades. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Nearly two years ago, Vice President Mike Pence made the administration’s space policy official, saying NASA would re-focus its program around “establishing a renewed American presence on the Moon, a vital strategic goal.” In December 2017, President Trump signed a space-policy document codifying this human-exploration plan.

Under this space-policy directive, a sustainable presence on the Moon would then become a stepping stone to destinations further out in space, such as Mars. The president recently made clear his preference for getting to Mars quickly, tweeting a few weeks ago: “For all of the money we are spending, NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon—we did that 50 years ago. They should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars.”

A new poll

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Evil shapeshifters stalk by night in first trailer for  AMC’s The Terror: Infamy

Evil shapeshifters stalk by night in first trailer for AMC’s The Terror: Infamy

AMC’s The Terror: Infamy is set in the Japanese-American internment camps of World War II.

Shape-shifting spirits terrorize a Southern California community of Japanese Americans in the first trailer for The Terror: Infamy, the second season of AMC’s horror anthology series. And the hauntings are likely related to horrifying events in the Japanese internment camps of World War II.

(Some spoilers for season 1 below.)

The first season of The Terror was based on the eponymous 2007 novel by Dan Simmons that was a fictionalized account of Captain Sir John S. Franklin‘s doomed Arctic expedition to hunt for the Northwest Passage in 1846. His two ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, became icebound in the Victoria Strait, and all 129 men ultimately died. Scientific studies of the evidence that survived showed that pneumonia, tuberculosis, lead poisoning, or a zinc deficiency contributed to the high death

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Google has Given Up on Making Tablets, Which is Probably Good (Updated)

Google has Given Up on Making Tablets, Which is Probably Good (Updated)


The Pixel Slate will likely be Google’s last tablet for a while, according to a new report today. After using the Pixel Slate on two separate occasions and dealing with the hell that was that experience, this news won’t make me sad. It probably shouldn’t cause any grief in your life either.

Google had apparently just begun development on two smaller tablets, says Computerworld, but decided that it would put its focus back onto laptops rather than keyboard-less slates. Google confirmed this after an internal meeting revealed the details yesterday.

A focus back onto laptops is the right move for Google. The Pixelbook is a bit dated at this point, but it’s such an excellent device that it deserves a follow-up. It also doubles as a tablet, for those needing that experience, yet the Pixelbook doesn’t have any of the downfalls of the Pixel Slate because it’s a full-blown … Read the rest