Mars’ underground brine could be a good source of oxygen

Mars’ underground brine could be a good source of oxygen

Enlarge / The Pathfinder rover took this photo. It didn’t need oxygen, unlike the weak, fleshy humans that would like to follow its path. If humans are ever going to visit Mars, they may well need to make some crucial resources while they are there in order to survive long enough to explore and restock for the long return journey. Although the days of flowing surface water are long gone, the red planet is not entirely without the raw ingredients to make this work. The Mars 2020 mission that launched in July is carrying an experiment with exactly this goal... Read More
297 Best Cyber Monday Deals 2020: TVs, Video Games, Laptops, etc.

297 Best Cyber Monday Deals 2020: TVs, Video Games, Laptops, etc.

Ars Technica Cyber Monday has arrived. To help you shop smarter this holiday season, the Dealmaster has sifted through hundreds of junky offers, researched countless products, and ignored the retailer hype to pick out the best Cyber Monday 2020 deals on gadgets, games, and tech gear we like. As expected, many of Cyber Monday’s most notable deals are repeats of what we saw on Black Friday. But there are a few new discounts worth noting, and if you’ve still got holiday shopping to do, most of the deals in our hand-picked roundup below continue to bring excellent value. We’ve given... Read More
How many turkey feathers does it take to make an ancient blanket? 11,500

How many turkey feathers does it take to make an ancient blanket? 11,500

Enlarge / A segment of fiber cord that has been wrapped with turkey feathers, along with a single downy feather. Indigenous Pueblo populations in the American Southwest—ancestors of today’s Hopi, Zuni, and Rio Grande Pueblo tribes—typically wove blankets, cloaks, and funeral wrappings out of animal hides, furs, and turkey feathers. Anthropologists at Washington State University (WSU) have examined one such ancient turkey-feather blanket and determined it took thousands of those feathers, wrapped around nearly 200 yards to yucca fiber, to make, according to a new paper published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports. “Blankets or robes made with turkey... Read More
Walton Goggins steals show as assassin trying to take out Santa in Fatman

Walton Goggins steals show as assassin trying to take out Santa in Fatman

Enlarge / Mel Gibson plays Chris Cringle, a disillusioned Christmas shopkeeper in North Peak, Alaska. There’s a fine line between comedy and tragedy, which is why black comedy is a film genre that is notoriously tough to get right. Despite good performances and some nice moments, Fatman—in which Mel Gibson plays a gruff, grizzled, disillusioned Santa—doesn’t quite succeed tonally in finding that elusive sweet spot. The trailer was certainly promising, but the concept is better than the ultimate execution. That said, it’s still pretty entertaining, and a solid addition to the growing genre of what one might call “anti-holiday” films. (Some... Read More
333 Best Black Friday Deals 2020: TVs, Video Games, Laptops, and more

333 Best Black Friday Deals 2020: TVs, Video Games, Laptops, and more

Enlarge / Black Friday once again brings tons of new low prices on good gadgets and tech gear. Ars Technica The abnormalities of 2020 have stretched this holiday shopping season out farther than usual, but now Black Friday proper has finally arrived. That means the Dealmaster has been hard at work scouring retailer ads, researching products, checking price history charts, and discarding the junk to bring you the very best Black Friday deals we can find. The result is the latest version of our annual mega-roundup of good Black Friday discounts. Per usual, we’ve highlighted a few of our favorite offers... Read More
AstraZeneca’s best COVID vaccine result was a fluke. Experts have questions

AstraZeneca’s best COVID vaccine result was a fluke. Experts have questions

Enlarge / Vials in front of the AstraZeneca British biopharmaceutical company logo are seen in this creative photo taken on 18 November 2020. Covid-19 Coverage View more stories Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford made an exciting announcement Monday: the COVID-19 vaccine they developed together appeared up to 90 percent effective at preventing disease. But in the days since, that exciting news melted into a pool of confusion after it became clear that the 90 percent figure came about from a complete accident. Now, experts are scratching their heads over what actually happened in the trial and what... Read More