Here’s How to Destroy Your Manual Transmission (And How to Make it Last)

What I wanted to know was simple: how to drive a manual without breaking it, since repairs are expensive and every piece of advice I got was b.s. So I called up a rally champion and found out what will actually blow up your car in the space of an afternoon, and what will keep it running just about forever.

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Reveal metal objects with Wi-Fi; overexcited engineers think security

Enlarge / Even in 2018, there’s still a wooden sign proudly advertising “Free Wi-Fi.” (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

One of the least fun jobs when writing a scientific paper is coming up with a motivation. It should be easy and fun: look at this awesomely cool thing we did—aren’t the results interesting? Instead, we typically have to claim to reveal the secrets of the Universe, cure cancer, or protect the public. Preferably all three at the same time.

A recent paper (PDF) on using Wi-Fi as an environmental sensor has some really exciting results. But my heart shrunk three sizes after reading the following: “Traditional baggage check involves either high manpower for manual examinations or expensive and specialized instruments, such as X-ray and CT. As such, many public places (i.e., museums and schools) that lack of strict security check are exposed to high risk.”

As I said, the research is totally cool. It’s just not likely to ever help with security unless molesting people with hip replacements is your version of improved security.

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The best consoles and games to play in the dorm

The last thing you want to do after spending hours staring at your laptop studying is spend more time staring at your laptop when you want to play a game or watch a movie. That's where game consoles come in. The Xbox One S starts at $244 on Amazon, w…

Bixby still isn’t smart enough for a speaker

As it gears up to move into a new home (a Galaxy Home, to be specific), Bixby is far from ready. Samsung's digital assistant has become infamous for its tardiness, and even after showing up late to the AI party, Bixby doesn't have much to show for th…

Elon Musk Sent That 420 Tweet During a Drive in a Model S: Report

The New York Times sat down with Tesla CEO Elon Musk yesterday for an interview, revealing, well, a lot. Among the things we learn: Musk acknowledges taking Ambien, he sent his 420 tweet during a drive to the airport, he won’t quit as CEO, some Tesla board members want him to stop tweeting, and he nearly missed his…

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At $29,988, Could You Face Owning This Custom 2005 Chevy SSR?

Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Chevy has been dubbed the DinoSSauR for reasons that are pretty obvious. Let’s see if the price on this custom restomod proves to be a deal, or an extinction level event.

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Google Goggles is officially dead

Google signed Goggles' death warrant the moment it launched Lens, and now it looks like the tech giant is ready to bid farewell to its old image recognition app. As Android Police has noticed, the only thing you'll see when you fire up the Goggles ap…

20 years of the iMac at Ars Technica, in reviews and pictures

Enlarge / The original iMac was hardly a workhorse. It was designed to be a relatively affordable, visually pleasing consumer desktop, and that’s what it was. (credit: Apple)

Apple released the first iMac on August 15, 1998—that makes this week the 20th anniversary of the often divisive, always popular, and ever iconic all-in-one. That first iMac was a revolution in terms of design—an important part of the history of not just Macs but personal computing generally. But some of the choices Apple made haven’t aged that well and were controversial even at the time.

It all began with the iMac G3, which was the first product created under the watchful eye of a returning Steve Jobs. Jobs resigned from Apple in the wake of a reorganization by then-CEO John Sculley in the ’80s, but he returned to the company in the late ’90s and oversaw the iMac and other subsequent successes like the iPod and iPhone. Jobs unveiled the iMac in 1998. His presentation is included below; the iMac reveal begins 16 minutes into the video.

Steve Jobs reveals the iMac.

Also notable, of course, were the commercials—in the past, Apple was known for its exceptional advertising campaigns. (Lately not as much.) The iMac was introduced to the world in a series of TV ads featuring Jurassic Park‘s Jeff Goldblum. Goldblum shot several of them, which you can find on YouTube, but the most well-known was probably the one titled “Step 3,” embedded below.

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Rocket Report: China aims for the Moon, SpaceX gets approval for load-and-go

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson/SpaceX)

Welcome to Edition 1.13 of the Rocket Report! This week’s issue covers a lot of ground, from more commercial space activity in China, to new Russian launch pads, and finally a not-so-brief history of SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket. We’re also looking forward to the next flight of the Vega rocket, carrying an important weather satellite.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don’t want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Chinese startup raises $44 million. The Chinese rocket company OneSpace, which aims to attempt its first orbital launch late this year, has raised $43.6 million in Series B financing, SpaceNews reports. This fourth round of financing brings the total raised since the founding of OneSpace in August 2015 to $116 million.

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Just say no: Wi-Fi-enabled appliance botnet could bring power grid to its knees

Enlarge / Reddy Kilowatt is not ready for IoT botnets. (credit: EC Comics (formerly Educational Comics))

BALTIMORE—At USENIX Security Symposium here on Wednesday, Saleh Soltan from Princeton University’s Department of Electrical Engineering presented research that showed that if Wi-Fi-based high-wattage appliances become common, they could conceivably be used to manipulate electrical demand over a wide area—potentially causing local blackouts and even cascading failures of regional electrical grids. The research by Soltan, Prateek Mittal, and H. Vincent Poor used models of real-world power grids to simulate the effects of a “MaDIoT” (Manipulation of Demand Internet of Things) attack. It found that even swings in power usage that would be within the normal range of appliances such as air conditioners, ovens, and electric heating systems connected to “smart home” systems would be enough to cause fluctuations in demand that could trigger grid failures.

These kinds of attacks—focused on home-automation hubs and stand-alone connected appliances—have not yet been seen widely. But the increasing adoption of connected appliances (with many home appliances now coming with connectivity by default) and the difficulty of applying security patches to such devices make a Mirai-style botnet of refrigerators increasingly plausible, if not likely.

Soltan and his team looked at three possible categories of potential malicious demand manipulation:

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