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    Ubisoft’s “most powerful creative force” resigns in wake of sweeping allegations / ArsTechnica · 00:51


Enlarge / Ubisoft's Montreal headquarters. (credit: Getty Images)

Ubisoft's chief creative officer tendered his resignation from the video game publisher behind series like Far Cry and Assassin's Creed on Saturday, one day before its biggest gaming-reveal event of the year .

Longtime CCO Serge Hascoet, described by Bloomberg game industry reporter Jason Schreier as Ubisoft's "most powerful creative force" and " the man in charge of ALL of their games ," is leaving the company effective immediately, Schreier confirmed . Ubisoft's global PR chief Cecile Cornet and Ubisoft Canada's managing director Yannis Mallat also announced their intentions to "step down" from their current roles, and while Mallat is leaving the company altogether, Cornet's future with Ubisoft is not yet clear.

The news follows the resignation of Ubisoft Toronto co-founder Maxime Beland on July 3, which came in response to a Kotaku investigation that was set off, in part, by an internal allegation of abusive workplace behavior by Beland .

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    Review: Palm Springs is a fresh, slyly self-aware addition to time loop trope / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 22:00 · 1 minute

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti relive the same day over and over in Palm Springs , now streaming on Hulu.

Last year gave us two innovative multiverse twists on the well-worn time-loop trope: the Netflix comedy series Russian Doll , and the horror/comedy Happy Death Day 2 U (a sequel to 2018's Happy Death Day ). One would think there wouldn't be many new veins to mine in this subgenre, but Palm Springs rises to the challenge, delivering a slyly subversive, charmingly self-aware time loop tale that toys with audience expectations in subtly surprising ways.

(Some spoilers below, but no major reveals.)

Screenwriter Andy Siara ( Lodge 49 ) wrote a draft of the script while still a student at the American Film Institute, although there were no science-fiction-y time loop elements in that version. He has said he was inspired more by Leaving Las Vegas than Groundhog Day . Eventually he reworked the script with the help of Director Max Barbakow ( Palm Springs is Barbakow's directorial debut), and Saturday Night Live alum Andy Samberg ( Brooklyn Nine-Nine ) signed on to star in the film. The film premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival (pre-coronavirus), and sparked a bidding war for distribution rights. Neon and Hulu ultimately shelled out a purported $17.5 million for those rights—the biggest deal yet in Sundance's history.

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    Why is this copy of Super Mario Bros. worth a record $114,000? / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 16:35

A sealed, early copy of Super Mario Bros. for the NES sold for $114,000 Friday at specialist house Heritage Auctions, setting a new record for the sale price of an individual video game.

The online auction surpassed the old record set by a $100,000 sale of a "sticker-sealed" Super Mario Bros. early last year. At the time, the seller behind that $100,000 edition told Ars that it was “probably the wrong move, long-term, to sell.”

For context, the Guinness World Records certified the world's largest video game collection sold at auction for $750,000 in 2014 . That collection contained over 11,000 games, including over 8,300 in their original box.

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    Here’s what one startup does when its self-driving cars get stuck / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 13:00

A man operates an automobile simulator.

Enlarge (credit: Voyage )

The ideal self-driving car would drive itself all the time, in all situations. But achieving that goal in practice is difficult—so difficult, in fact, that most self-driving companies have provisions for human backup to help cars get out of tricky or confusing situations.

But companies are often secretive about exactly how these systems work. Perhaps they worry that providing details—or even admitting they exist—will cast their self-driving technology in an unflattering light.

So it was refreshing to see the self-driving startup Voyage unveil its remote driving console as if it was announcing a major new product—which, in a sense, it is. Voyage didn't just create software that allows a remote operator to give instructions to a self-driving car—it built a physical "Telessist Pod" where a remote driver sits to control the vehicle.

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    How small satellites are radically remaking space exploration / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 12:00 · 1 minute

An Electron rocket launches in August 2019 from New Zealand.

Enlarge / An Electron rocket launches in August 2019 from New Zealand. (credit: Sam Toms/Rocket Lab)

At the beginning of this year, a group of NASA scientists agonized over which robotic missions they should choose to explore our Solar System. Researchers from around the United States had submitted more than 20 intriguing ideas, such as whizzing by asteroids, diving into lava tubes on the Moon, and hovering in the Venusian atmosphere.

Ultimately, NASA selected four of these Discovery-class missions for further study. In several months, the space agency will pick two of the four missions to fully fund, each with a cost cap of $450 million and a launch late within this decade. For the losing ideas, there may be more chances in future years—but until new opportunities arise, scientists can only plan, wait, and hope.

This is more or less how NASA has done planetary science for decades. Scientists come up with all manner of great ideas to answer questions about our Solar System; then, NASA announces an opportunity, a feeding frenzy ensues for those limited slots. Ultimately, one or two missions get picked and fly. The whole process often takes a couple of decades from the initial idea to getting data back to Earth.

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    No, the WHO has not reversed its stance on airborne transmission / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 23:00

A serious woman speaks into a microphone.

Enlarge / World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan attends a press conference organized by the Geneva Association of United Nations Correspondents (ACANU) amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus, on July 3, 2020 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva. (credit: Getty | Fabrice Coffrini )

If you happened to read The New York Times this week, you may be under the false impression that the World Health Organization significantly changed its stance on whether the pandemic coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, spreads by lingering in the air.

Around midday Thursday, the paper declared: “ W.H.O., in Reversal, Affirms Virus May Be Airborne Indoors .” The paper also called it an “admission” and, in a subsequent article, said the WHO had “ conceded .” The articles both noted that a group of more than 200 researchers had also published a commentary piece this week urging the WHO and other public health bodies to acknowledge and address the potential for airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

The problem: the WHO did not change its stance on airborne transmission. And, as such, it did not issue any new recommendations or guidance on how people can stay safe.

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    CERN has discovered a very charming particle / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 22:13

Image of orange lines leading into bluish rectangles.

Enlarge / Particle tracks from the LHCb detector. (credit: Brookhaven National Lab )

The quark model was an intellectual revolution for physics. Physicists were faced with an ever-growing zoo of unstable particles that didn't seem to have a role in the Universe around us. Quarks explained all that through an (at least superficially) simple set of rules that built all of these particles through combinations of two or three quarks.

While that general outline seems simple, the rules by which particles called "gluons" hold the quarks together in particles are fiendishly complex, and we don't always know their limits. Are there reasons that particles seem to stop at collections of three quarks?

With the advent of ever-more powerful particle colliders, we've found some indications that the answer is "no." Reports of four-quark and even five-quark particles have appeared in different experiments. But questions remain about the nature of the interactions in these particles. Now, CERN has announced a new addition to growing family of tetraquarks, a collection two charm quarks and two anti-charm quarks.

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    Macs with Apple silicon will support Thunderbolt, Apple says / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 20:55

Tim Cook begins his announcement of Apple Silicon.

Enlarge / Tim Cook begins his announcement of Apple Silicon. (credit: Apple)

Macs with Apple silicon will still support Thunderbolt, according to Apple. The clarification came after Intel's Thunderbolt 4 announcement led many to speculate that Macs without Intel CPUs would not have Thunderbolt ports.

Here's Apple's statement, which was provided to The Verge :

Over a decade ago, Apple partnered with Intel to design and develop Thunderbolt, and today our customers enjoy the speed and flexibility it brings to every Mac. We remain committed to the future of Thunderbolt and will support it in Macs with Apple silicon.

Earlier this week, Intel announced the minimum requirements for Thunderbolt 4 certification, as well as the features consumers can expect in Thunderbolt 4-ready devices and a timeline and details about the rollout of the first devices using the standard. It will first arrive later this year in laptops equipped with Intel's Tiger Lake CPUs, and Intel is producing controller chips for computers and peripherals.

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