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      How to keep Earth from being cooked by the ever-hotter Sun

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Yesterday - 11:30 · 1 minute

    I’d wager a guess that we are, as a species, rather fond of our home planet (our wanton carbon emissions notwithstanding). But the ugly truth is that the Earth is doomed. Someday, the Sun will enter a stage that will make life impossible on the Earth’s surface and eventually reduce the planet to nothing more than a sad, lonely chunk of iron and nickel.

    The good news is that if we really put our minds to it—and don’t worry, we’ll have hundreds of millions of years to plan—we can keep our home world hospitable, even long after our Sun goes haywire.

    A waking nightmare

    The Sun is slowly but inexorably getting brighter, hotter, and larger with time. Billions of years ago, when collections of molecules first began to dance together and call themselves alive, the Sun was roughly 20 percent dimmer than it is today. Even the dinosaurs knew a weaker, smaller star. And while the Sun is only halfway through the main hydrogen-burning phase of its life, with 4-billion-and-change years before it begins its death throes, the peculiar combination of temperature and brightness that make life possible on this little world of ours will erode in only a few hundred million years. A blink of an eye, astronomically speaking.

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      Framework’s software and firmware have been a mess, but it’s working on them

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 2 days ago - 11:00

    The Framework Laptop 13.

    Enlarge / The Framework Laptop 13. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

    Since Framework showed off its first prototypes in February 2021 , we've generally been fans of the company's modular, repairable, upgradeable laptops.

    Not that the company's hardware releases to date have been perfect—each Framework Laptop 13 model has had quirks and flaws that range from minor to quite significant , and the Laptop 16's upsides struggle to balance its downsides. But the hardware mostly does a good job of functioning as a regular laptop while being much more tinkerer-friendly than your typical MacBook, XPS, or ThinkPad.

    But even as it builds new upgrades for its systems, expands sales of refurbished and B-stock hardware as budget options , and promotes the re-use of its products via external enclosures , Framework has struggled with the other side of computing longevity and sustainability: providing up-to-date software.

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      Why there are 861 roguelike deckbuilders on Steam all of a sudden

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 5 days ago - 13:31

    A hand holding a set of cards from popular roguelike deckbuilders, including Slay the Spire and Balatro

    Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson)

    In a deckbuilding game, you start out with a basic set of cards, then upgrade it over time, seeking synergies and compounding effects. Roguelikes are games where death happens quite often, but each randomized "run" unlocks options for the future. In both genres, and when they're fused together, the key is staying lean, trimming your deck and refining your strategy so that every card and upgrade works toward unstoppable momentum.

    “Lean” does not describe the current scene for roguelike deckbuilder games, but they certainly have momentum. As of this writing, Steam has 2,599 titles tagged by users with “ deckbuilding ” and 861 with “ roguelike deckbuilder ” in all languages, more than enough to feed a recent Deckbuilders Fest . The glut has left some friends and co-workers grousing that every indie game these days seems to be either a cozy farming sim or a roguelike deckbuilder.

    I, an absolute sucker for deckbuilders for nearly five years, wanted to know why this was happening.

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      How to cheat at Super Mario Maker and get away with it for years

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 6 days ago - 10:45 · 1 minute

    Last month, the Super Mario Maker community was rocked by the shocking admission that the game's last uncleared level —an ultra-hard reflex test named "Trimming the Herbs" (TTH)—had been secretly created and uploaded using the assistance of automated, tool-assisted speedrun (TAS) techniques back in 2017. That admission didn't stop Super Mario Maker streamer Sanyx from finally pulling off a confirmed human-powered clear of the level last Friday, just days before Nintendo's final shutdown of the Wii U's online servers Sunday would have made that an impossibility.

    But while "Trimming the Herbs" itself was solved in the nick of time, the mystery of the level's creation remained at least partially unsolved. Before TTH creator Ahoyo admitted to his TAS exploit last month, the player community at large didn't think it was even possible to precisely automate such pre-recorded inputs on the Wii U.

    The first confirmed clear of Trimming the Herbs by a human.

    Now, speaking to Ars, Ahoyo has finally explained the console hacking that went into his clandestine TAS so many years ago and opened up about the physical and psychological motivations for the level's creation. He also discussed the remorse he feels over what ended up being a years-long fraud on the community, which is still struggling with frame-perfect input timing issues that seem inherent to the Wii U hardware.

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      The 2024 Fiat 500e is a $34K EV that appeals to emotion, not logic

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · 7 days ago - 04:01

    A head-on shot of a red Fiat 500e in front of a mural

    Enlarge / For now, Fiat's sole US offering is the (RED) 500e, but future versions will arrive in "drops." (credit: Stephen Edelstein)

    Fiat provided flights from New York to Miami and accommodation so Ars could drive the 500e. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    It's cliché to describe an Italian automaker as operating on a slower, more laid-back timetable than its rivals, but that seems to be the case with Fiat's North American product planning.

    The outgoing Fiat 500 brought the brand back to the United States in 2011, but it had been on sale in Europe since 2007. An electric 500e arrived after the gasoline models, but as then-CEO Sergio Marchionne was quick to point out, that was only to satisfy California's zero-emission vehicle mandate.

    Now the 500e is back, once again later than the European version (which was first shown in 2020), but this time, Fiat is skipping the gasoline engines for the line. The 2024 Fiat 500e is no compliance car—it's now the only version of this retro hatchback you can get and the only Fiat model available in the US—nor is it a mass-market item.

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      A frozen lake and several Lamborghinis provide lessons on traction control

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Monday, 8 April - 11:00 · 1 minute

    A yellow lamborghini huracan sends up a spray of snow as it drives on a frozen lake

    Enlarge / You can learn a lot about traction when there's very little of it around. (credit: Michael Teo Van Runkle)

    Lamborghini provided flights from Las Vegas to Montreal and accommodation so Ars could attend the ice driving school. Ars does not accept paid editorial content.

    From the passenger seat of my Lamborghini Huracán Sterrato, 24 Hours of Daytona winner Corey Lewis gives me a "slow down" hand gesture, urging me to avoid an Urus high-centered on a snow bank. I resist the childish impulse to blast by at full throttle and spray the recovery crew with a fresh layer of snow because I don't want to be the next driver to cause a scene. Once we pass the group, I punch it again, countersteering into a wide drift as my studded Blizzak winter tires shred through snow and ice, exhaust wide open and barking at redline, cranking through a series of left-right-left transitions until we come back around to the stuck SUV.

    Lewis and I both laugh—everybody spins at least once while ice-drifting Lamborghinis on Lake Catchima north of Montreal, which played host in February to North America's Esperienza Neve winter driving academy. This year, Lamborghini invited customers out to tear up the pristine Canadian winterscape in three Sterratos, four Uruses, and two rear-wheel-drive Huracán Tecnicas—all told, about $3 million worth of cars.

    Drifting in six-figure Lambos might make anyone a little nervous. In the controlled environment of a 30-inch (762 mm)-thick ice sheet, though, the consequences are minimal (there are bruised egos whenever anybody loses control and needs a tow, of course). So much power on the slip-and-slide immediately exposes driver skill—or lack thereof—despite 400 studs per tire on the Huracáns and 300 per tire on the Uruses providing grip and confidence. Even for a driver as experienced as Lewis, ice-drifting still has its value. For the mere mortals among us, all the more so.

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      The Maven: A user-friendly, $2K Cargo e-bike perfect for families on the go

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Friday, 5 April - 11:30 · 1 minute

    The Maven.

    Enlarge / The Maven. (credit: B. Mole)

    The first thing I should say in this bike review is that I am not a bike enthusiast.

    My preferred form of exercise is running, where no mechanical components are necessary. But I'm acting as reviewer here because what I lack in longstanding opinions on brand-name bike gearing and motor hubs, I make up for by being the exact target audience for the bike under review: the Maven Cargo E-bike by Integral Electrics. This is a cargo bike designed not for hardcore cyclists but for smaller riders, women specifically, who would happily swap out their family's second car for a simpler e-bike—as long as it can handle the needs of family life: toting children, running errands, and making short commutes.

    This is exactly what Integral CEO and co-founder Laura Belmar and her family were looking for amid the pandemic, she told me in an interview. But while her husband picked out e-bikes that were comfortably designed for him, who is taller than her, she consistently found herself top-heavy and struggling as soon as her two kids were loaded onto the bikes. "They were scared to ride with me," she said of her kids. "One time, we were literally going down in the park and a jogger came by and grabbed the rack and pulled us back up."

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      Space experts foresee an “operational need” for nuclear power on the Moon

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 4 April - 13:36

    Engineers from NASA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration lower the wall of a vacuum chamber around the KRUSTY experiment, the Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling Technology.

    Enlarge / Engineers from NASA and the National Nuclear Safety Administration lower the wall of a vacuum chamber around the KRUSTY experiment, the Kilowatt Reactor Using Stirling Technology. (credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory )

    In February, NASA celebrated the arrival of the first US-made lander on the Moon in more than 50 years, an achievement that helps pave the way for the return of American astronauts to the lunar surface later this decade. But the clock was ticking for Intuitive Machines' Odysseus spacecraft after touching down on February 22 near the Moon's south pole.

    Each day and night on the Moon lasts two weeks. When the Sun sets, a solar-powered lunar lander like Odysseus is starved of energy. Temperatures during the lunar night plummet, bottoming out at around minus 280° Fahrenheit (minus 173° Celsius).

    Over the course of two weeks, these cold temperatures can damage sensitive spacecraft equipment, killing a lander even if it could start generating power again at lunar sunrise. Surviving the night requires heat and electricity, and NASA officials say nuclear power is one of the most attractive solutions to this problem.

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      The fine art of human prompt engineering: How to talk to a person like ChatGPT

      news.movim.eu / ArsTechnica · Wednesday, 3 April - 11:30

    A person talking to friends.

    Enlarge / With these tips, you too can prompt people successfully.

    In a break from our normal practice, Ars is publishing this helpful guide to knowing how to prompt the "human brain," should you encounter one during your daily routine.

    While AI assistants like ChatGPT have taken the world by storm, a growing body of research shows that it's also possible to generate useful outputs from what might be called "human language models," or people. Much like large language models (LLMs) in AI, HLMs have the ability to take information you provide and transform it into meaningful responses—if you know how to craft effective instructions, called "prompts."

    Human prompt engineering is an ancient art form dating at least back to Aristotle's time, and it also became widely popular through books published in the modern era before the advent of computers.

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