Answers to some of your iTunes questions: Old libraries, Windows, and more

Apple is planning to buy up original podcasts with exclusivity in mind

Enlarge / Apple will replace iTunes with Music, Podcasts, and TV on Mac. (credit: Ron Amadeo)

Podcast fans will want to keep their ears to the ground with the latest Apple news. Bloomberg reported that Apple may be looking for deals to bring exclusive original shows to its podcast-listening platform. Unnamed sources said the company is reaching out to media companies to secure rights for podcast exclusivity.

This development would mark a shift in how Apple runs its podcast platform. Shows that list on Apple Podcasts can also make their episodes available elsewhere. Exclusive arrangements in the future could come with different restrictions. This might mean that Apple’s app is the only place where you can hear an entire show, or this could be a windowing deal where new episodes first appear on Apple before the podcaster can send them to other platforms.

Apple’s app for podcast listening has

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Printing vaccines at the pharmacy or at home will be the way of the future

Printing vaccines at the pharmacy or at home will be the way of the future

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of a vaccine printer. (credit: Getty / Aurich Lawson)

We’re running a series of companion posts this week to accompany our special edition Ars Lunch Break podcast. This is the third of three guest posts centered around Rob Reid’s TED talk from Tuesday. Today, microbiologist Andrew Hessel weighs in with his opinions and recommendations about the future of biomanufacturing.

The US government doesn’t skimp on bio-preparedness. Vaccines and other countermeasures are carefully developed in anticipation of disease outbreaks or bioterrorist attacks. The Strategic National Stockpile maintains a hefty inventory of medicines, supplies, and equipment, which can be shipped almost anywhere within 12 hours. In situations ranging from the 2001 anthrax attacks to 2016’s Zika scare, Americans have been lucky to have strong biodefenses.

But as anti-vaccine hysteria allows measles to regain long-lost beachheads, we’re reminded that human folly is a dynamic element of the disease

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Ars on your lunch break: There’s hope, and we’ll all be fine… probably

Ars on your lunch break: There’s hope, and we’ll all be fine… probably

Enlarge / This robot doesn’t want to murder you or give you weaponized SARSbola! It just wants to vaccinate you! (Probably!) (credit: Donald Iain Smith / Getty)

Today we’re presenting the fourth and final installment of my conversation with Naval Ravikant about existential risks. This interview first appeared in March as two back-to-back episodes of the After On Podcast (which features fifty unhurried conversations with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists). Ravikant is one of tech’s most successful angel investors and the founder of multiple startups—including seed-stage investment platform AngelList. Please check out parts one, two, and three of this conversation if you missed them. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.

The theme of today’s installment: there’s hope. Yes, really! If there’s one thing that any religious, national, or political mindset should agree on, it’s that

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Ars on your lunch break: engineering superbugs, accidentally or otherwise

Ars on your lunch break: engineering superbugs, accidentally or otherwise

Enlarge / “George, you’ve heard about this virus? Shall I cough on you, George?” (credit: Warner Bros.)

Today we’re presenting the third installment of my conversation with Naval Ravikant about existential risks. This interview first appeared in March, as two back-to-back episodes of the After On Podcast (which now features 50 unhurried conversations with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists). Naval is one of tech’s most successful angel investors and the founder of multiple startups—including seed-stage investment platform AngelList. Please check out parts one and two of this conversation if you missed them. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript, both of which are below.

In this segment, Ravikant and I move on from yesterday’s topic of AI risk to the dangers inherent in the rise of synthetic biology, or synbio. Here, I should disclose that I am a hopeless synbio fanboy. I’ve

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We should create a global DNA threat-detection network to fight future pathogens

We should create a global DNA threat-detection network to fight future pathogens

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of scientist doing DNA science. (credit: Roger Richter / Getty)

We’re running a series of companion posts this week to accompany our special edition Ars Lunch Break podcast. This is the second of three guest posts centered around Rob Reid’s TED talk from yesterday. Today, geneticist George Church weighs in with his thoughts and opinions on synthetic biology and a world-wide “DNA detector” net. Tomorrow we’ll have a guest post from microbiologist Andrew Hessel.

Since the start of the millennium, we’ve improved the cost and quality of reading DNA 10 millionfold. This technology applies identically to our own genomes and to those of the most deadly pathogens. Yet we’ve barely begun to use this new “superpower” of DNA scrutiny to monitor our environment for threats to human health.

Many of the enabling technologies for highly distributed DNA detection networks are already here. For instance, we

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Ars on your lunch break: The fate we might be making for ourselves

Ars on your lunch break: The fate we might be making for ourselves

Enlarge / Suck it, Skynet.

Today we’re presenting the second installment of my conversation with Naval Ravikant about existential risks. Naval is one of tech’s most successful angel investors and the founder of multiple startups—including seed-stage investment platform AngelList. Part one of our conversation ran yesterday. If you missed it, click right here. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript—both of which are below.

This interview first appeared in March as two back-to-back episodes of the After On Podcast (which offers a 50-episode archive of unhurried conversations with world-class thinkers, founders, and scientists). As I mentioned in yesterday’s article, my conversation with Naval led to a last-minute invite to give a related talk at April’s TED conference. TED posted that talk to their site this morning, and

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In the not-so-distant future, “synbio” could lead to global catastrophe—maybe

In the not-so-distant future, “synbio” could lead to global catastrophe—maybe

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of a post-superbug world. (This is the cover art for Stephen King’s The Stand, a story wherein a genetically enhanced superflu causes the end of the world. thatsthejoke.gif.) (credit: John Cayea / Doubleday)

We’re running a series of companion posts this week to accompany our special edition Ars Lunch Break podcast. This is the first of three guest posts centered around Rob’s TED talk below. Tomorrow we’ll have a post continuing the discussion from geneticist George Church, and Thusday we’ll have one from microbiologist Andrew Hessel.

The H5N1 flu strain makes SARS and swine flu look almost cuddly. But though it kills higher percentages of infected patients than even Ebola, this ghastly flu variant claimed just five human lives over the past three years. Happily, it’s barely contagious amongst humans.

In 2011, two separate research teams—one in Holland, the other in Wisconsin—set out to

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Ars on your lunch break: Let’s talk about the extinction of humanity

Ars on your lunch break: Let’s talk about the extinction of humanity

Enlarge / It looks so peaceful up there. (credit: alxpin / Getty)

Welcome back to Ars on your Lunch Break! It’s been a while since we’ve done this, so I’ll start with a brief orientation. This series is built around the After On Podcast—which itself is a series of deep-dive interviews with thinkers, founders, and (above all) scientists.

Often exceeding 90 minutes, After On episodes run longer than the average busy Ars reader’s lunch break. So we carve these unhurried conversations into three to four 30-ish minute segments, and run ‘em here around lunch, Ars Daylight Time. You can access today’s segment via our embedded audio player, or by reading the accompanying transcript (both of which are below).

We’ve presented two seasons of these episodes so far and are planning a third one in the fall. As for this week’s run, it’s sort of a summer special. The impetus

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Hackers breached 3 US antivirus companies, researchers reveal

Hackers breached 3 US antivirus companies, researchers reveal

Enlarge / An infographic from Advanced Intelligence showing the hacking group Fxmsp’s breach-selling business model. (credit: AdvIntel)

In a report published Thursday, researchers at the threat-research company Advanced Intelligence (AdvIntel) revealed that a collective of Russian and English-speaking hackers are actively marketing the spoils of data breaches at three US-based antivirus software vendors. The collective, calling itself “Fxmsp,” is selling both source code and network access to the companies for $300,000 and is providing samples that show strong evidence of the validity of its claims.

Yelisey Boguslavskiy, director of research at AdvIntel, told Ars that his company notified “the potential victim entities” of the breach through partner organizations; it also provided the details to US law enforcement. In March, Fxmsp offered the data “through a private conversation,” Boguslavskiy said. “However, they claimed that their proxy sellers will announce the sale on forums.”

Fxmsp has a well-known reputation in the

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