New Vaccine Conspiracy Theories Are Going Viral in Arabic

Bill Gates is dressed as the Joker. His hair is fluorescent green, his face painted white and his elongated smile is cut into his face. In his hand is a large needle, filled with bright green liquid. The Facebook post has been shared more than 700 times and viewed by thousands of people. Below it, a caption teases Gates’ “horror plan.” It’s a baseless conspiracy theory that has torn through Facebook throughout the pandemic. But this post is different. It’s in Arabic—and it’s just one example of a much larger problem.

Across dozens of Arabic pages and groups, dangerous conspiracy theories about the pandemic are racking up millions of views and likes. New research from the Institute of Strategic Dialogue (ISD), which has been shared with WIRED, shows vaccine falsehoods are rampantly spreading in Arabic on Facebook. Sophisticated disinformation operations have racked up millions of views on videos promoting vaccine disinformation and built up hundreds of thousands of followers. And while Facebook has repeatedly been criticized for failing to tackle this problem in English, little attention has been paid to the scale of the problem in Arabic, a language spoken by more than 400 million people.

Between January 1 and February 28, ISD researchers found 18 Facebook pages and ten groups sharing pandemic-related misinformation and conspiracy theories in Arabic. They had a combined following of more than 2.4 million people. “It was way too easy to find this content,” says Moustafa Ayad, ISD’s executive director for Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Facebook’s popularity in the Arab world has soared in recent years, with more than 164 million monthly active users being reported in 2019.

To get an idea of the scale of Facebook’s Arabic disinformation problem, Ayad and ISD analyst Ciaran O’Connor created a list of key pandemic-related words and searched for pages and groups that used them. Using CrowdTangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool, they then produced a snapshot of the most prominent communities, including groups with up to 100,000 members and pages with up to 650,000 followers.

Some of it is brazen: group names, when translated from Arabic, included phrases such as “Corona lie”, “Covid-19 conspiracy”, and “No vaccine Corona has not ended.” Posts on these pages contain false claims about vaccine ingredients, production and rollouts. They also spread baseless conspiracy theories claiming that the world is about to end and that the pandemic has been fabricated as a way to control people.

Amongst this sludge of lies and mistruths, Gates emerges as a common theme. The Microsoft founder is a central figure in Western conspiracy theories around the pandemic and these same lies have been translated into Arabic, with text or voice-overs added to videos and images. One page, which has more than 134,000 likes, has pushed a video about Gates’ “horror plan”, baselessly accusing him of wanting to depopulate the planet and make money from vaccines. (There is no evidence this is true.)

Other conspiracy theories related to Gates that have gone viral in Arabic on Facebook include suggestions that people should “get ready for the Hunger Games.” Another video shows him with his lips sewn together. Many of the videos have been shared hundreds of times. “I’m talking about videos with millions of views about Bill Gates blocking the sun, or Bill Gates plans to put the mark of the beast in individuals through an injection,” Ayad says.

The videos are so absurd and blatantly false that it should be easy for Facebook to identify and remove them proactively, the ISD researchers say. Their report says Facebook’s moderation of Arabic misinformation isn’t as effective as it is in English. “You can’t just address it in one part of Facebook,” Ayad says. “You have to address the communities across the board.”

Read More

The 8 Best Smart Speakers With Alexa or Google Assistant

Connects to Amazon Alexa

If you aren’t in it for the music, the Amazon Echo Dot With Clock (4th Gen) and Google’s Nest Mini (7/10, WIRED Recommends) will give you most of the perks of owning a smart speaker, and you can use them to smarten up existing speakers on the cheap.

The sound is very similar between models, and they have nearly identical footprints, so you can easily make an argument that one is better than the other based on the ecosystem alone. We used to prefer the Nest Mini for this reason, but now that Amazon has added a simple clock to the front of the Echo Dot, we like the Alexa-powered option a little better.

The tiny display on the Echo Dot With Clock comes in handy. It can tell you when your timers are going to expire in the kitchen or when your alarm is set for the morning. Of course, it tells the time too. That makes it a better bedroom and kitchen companion. You can also ask it the weather, have it answer your random questions, and play white noise at bedtime to help you sleep. It also presents an easy way to get a smart assistant into the places in your home where you don’t normally listen to music.

Another alternative: The Nest Mini ($49) is also a great mini speaker if you prefer Google Assistant.

Best Party Speaker

Sonos Move

Sonos Move speaker
Photograph: Sonos

Connects to Google Assistant or Alexa

If you’re looking for a great speaker for a socially distanced party, WIRED reviews editor Jeffrey Van Camp has enjoyed the time he’s spent with the Sonos Move (8/10, WIRED Recommends). It’s got an IP56 water-resistance rating to withstand splashes of beer, a handle to carry it, and a nifty charging cradle for when you bring it back inside. It gets about 10 hours per charge and is the first Sonos speaker to offer Bluetooth, for when you want to bring it outside the confines of your home Wi-Fi.

Big, bold bass and an intelligent EQ that’s always listening to the sound around it make it punch well above its weight in terms of audio volume and quality for its size. It might not be enough to fuel a large outdoor dance party, but it certainly has the oomph for you and some friends to bust a few moves.

Read More

Amazon wins in union rejection, but scrutiny of its labor practices isn’t going away – CNET

Bernie Sanders speaks at an outdoor rally supporting the Amazon union effort in Bessemer, Alabama.

Bernie Sanders is among the politicians supporting Amazon workers who want to unionize. The union's objection to the Bessemer election could keep the issue in the public eye and energize efforts at other facilities.

Patrick T. Fallon/Getty Images

Amazon prevailed Friday in its fight against labor organizing at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse, with workers rejecting the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union by a ratio of 2-to-1. The union's definitive loss could be the end of the road for its effort in Bessemer, but the labor fight at Amazon may just be getting started.

The union, which has already filed an objection, argues that Amazon improperly swayed the vote, and it may yet win the chance to redo the election. Whether or not it does, the effort garnered the backing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and words of support from President Joe Biden, becoming a national story that could catalyze future attempts elsewhere -- especially as reports about the working conditions continue to spill out. 

Meanwhile, Amazon is trying to position itself as a leader on labor issues and directing the conversation away from unions. In a statement Friday, the company emphasized its advocacy for a $15 federal minimum wage for the "40 million Americans who make less than the starting wage at Amazon, and many more who don't get health care through their employers." 

Even if no warehouse workers try to organize in the near future, the scrutiny on working conditions at Amazon is likely to get even more intense. The National Labor Relations Board is reportedly considering investigating the company for a possible pattern of unfair labor practices, after receiving 37 complaints of retaliation from Amazon workers who say they were fired or disciplined for organizing walkouts or complaining about working conditions. And Amazon's thousands of workers, called essential during the coronavirus pandemic as they processed orders while risking infection, will likely continue calling attention to conditions they say leave them exhausted, at risk of injury and in fear of losing their jobs.

"People are not going to give up," said Kirthi Kanyalam, director of the Retail Management Institute at Santa Clara University. "They are too big an employer."

A union determined to keep going

It's uncommon for a union to object to a lost election when workers have voted it down by such a wide margin, said Andrew MacDonald, a labor attorney who represents employers but who wasn't involved in the Bessemer election. There's a high cost to running an organizing drive, and a big loss can send a signal that the union has lost worker support. 

But the RWDSU announced its intention to object before the NLRB publicly released its final tally.

"That says to me that they feel strongly," MacDonald said. "It's not over yet."

If the fight keeps going, it could help maintain the union's momentum in organizing efforts elsewhere in the country. RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum said Friday that the union is already talking about unionizing with workers at other Amazon warehouses. Additionally, the giant union federation AFL-CIO is working with the RWDSU on its unionizing efforts, adding heft and resources to the tiny union's endeavors. Separately, Teamsters organizers are reportedly talking with workers at two Iowa Amazon warehouses about a potential union drive. 

In its fight to redo the Bessemer election, the RWDSU takes issue with Amazon's anti-union tactics, including mandatory employee training sessions that argued against unions and that the RWDSU says were filled with falsehoods. It also criticizes Amazon for pressing the US Postal Service to install a mailbox at the Bessemer warehouse after the NLRB ordered Amazon not to host a drop box for ballots. 

Read more: Amazon union defeated, pushes for election redo: What you need to know

The union argues that the mailbox could've given employees the impression that Amazon was involved in collecting and counting votes -- which it wasn't. Amazon says only the post office had access to the mailbox.

Still, some of the conditions that may've led workers to reject the union will still be at play in future union elections, in Bessemer and in most other places in the country. In particular, fear of getting laid off or of seeing a whole facility shut down can often drive employees to reject the union, said Rebecca Kolins Givan, a professor of management and labor relations at Rutgers. 

That's especially the case in places like Alabama, where Amazon warehouse workers earn almost twice as much as the state's minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. The Bessemer facility brought thousands of jobs with pay higher than $15 an hour to the region. Workers' fear of losing that could make it hard for the union to make its case a second time, and it could also derail other union drives.

The future of labor relations at Amazon

Even if union drives fizzle out, Amazon will still have to face the NLRB and public opinion on its treatment of workers.

Based on 37 complaints from Amazon employees that the company fired or disciplined them in retaliation for organizing walkouts or complaining about working conditions, the NLRB is reportedly considering launching an investigation into Amazon's general practices. Amazon has settled some of the individual cases while saying the company disagrees with the claims. If the NLRB finds Amazon has a pattern of violating labor laws, it could hit the company with fines, however small they may be in proportion to Amazon's 2020 profits of $21.3 billion.

Additionally, the union drive and media attention have put pressure on Amazon to improve working conditions, said Michael Pachter, a financial analyst who follows Amazon for investment firm Wedbush. He added that Amazon would do well to address the complaints workers have made about breaks and job security -- and not simply rely on its wages and benefits as proof that it's doing the right thing.

"It's in everybody's best interest that the company treats the employees right," Pachter said. "If they can do so without a union, that's better for shareholders."

The challenge for Amazon is balancing competing needs: to treat workers well and to maintain control over its warehouse operations, which power the company's promise of two-day delivery. While no company wants to be unionized, Amazon's leadership especially prizes the company's ability to innovate, retail management expert Kalyanam said. 

That shows in the company's history of developing technology to improve its own operations, and then use tech to build a whole new business. The most striking example is Amazon Web Services, the cloud business that currently brings in the majority of Amazon's revenue. Innovations in robotics and automation at Amazon warehouses could potentially create the next big revenue generator.

The company wants to avoid labor negotiations slowing down that process, Kalyanam said, adding that "They would consider that an existential threat."

Amazon seems less concerned about having to pay its workers a bit more. As Amazon pushes for a higher federal minimum wage, it could drive up its own labor costs. If its competitors pay $15 an hour, the company could find itself paying even more to attract workers to its facilities. This likely doesn't worry Amazon, though, said Rutgers labor expert Rivans.

"That just demonstrates that this is not about the money," she said, "This is about control."

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

A Supreme Court Justice weighs in on Section 230: Here’s what it means – CNET

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas

Clarence Thomas has served as a justice of the US Supreme Court since 1991.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has fired a warning shot at social media giants Facebook and Twitter that could signal the possibility of stricter regulation and a potential radical shift in thinking around the First Amendment and the hotly debated topic of Section 230

On the first Monday in April, Thomas and the other eight Supreme Court justices handed down a ruling in a case involving former President Donald Trump blocking users from his Twitter account. The court vacated a lower court's ruling that said Trump's actions were unconstitutional. Since Trump is no longer president, the Supreme Court said, the case was moot

Still, Thomas took the opportunity to write a short concurring opinion, which explained why the government should regulate social media companies like so-called "common carriers," a designation often bestowed on utilities like telephone networks. This line of thinking would restrict social media companies from taking down content from their sites, ensuring that everyone could have equal access to the platforms. 

"If the analogy between common carriers and digital platforms is correct, then an answer may arise for dissatisfied platform users who would appreciate not being blocked: laws that restrict the platform's right to exclude," Thomas said in his opinion.

The short opinion could have big implications for the brewing scrutiny of a 25-year-old law that shields companies such as Facebook and Twitter from lawsuits over content users post on their platforms. Lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican sides of the aisle are calling for reforms to Section 230, a provision in the Communications Decency Act of 1996 that gives legal protections to social media companies. 

Calls for reform have taken on new urgency as social media sites battle a flood of troubling content, including disinformation about the coronavirus vaccines, the outcome of the US presidential election and the deadly attack on the US Capitol. But exactly how to institute reforms is something politicians on opposite sides of the political spectrum don't agree on.

Democrats argue that Section 230 prevents social media companies from doing more to moderate their platforms, such as taking down or limiting hate speech and disinformation about COVID-19. Republicans take a different view. They want the law repealed because of their perception that the Silicon Valley powerhouses are biased against the right and work to censor conservatives, like Trump, while giving liberal politicians a pass. 

Thomas, who's long expressed originalist views about the First Amendment, echoed conservatives' concerns over censorship. His comments from the highest court in the US could amplify these complaints and help them gain traction in Congress. 

"There's a lot of appetite for legislative reform for 230," said Gautam Hans, an assistant professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in First Amendment law and Section 230. "The opinion itself calls into question some of the current provisions ... which I think means that some legislators will use that to say look, 'We have a Supreme Court Justice who thinks we have some problems here. Why don't we go in and try to fix that?'"

What could that legislation look like?

As rhetoric heats up around reforming Section 230, lawmakers at both ends of the political spectrum have introduced a flurry of legislation over the past year. But so far none of it has gained much traction. 

Some bills call for liability protections to go away entirely, while others alter or refine the protections. There are bills that limit the scope of Section 230 by restricting types of activities protected under the law. Other bills strip away liability protections and would have companies earn those protections by showing they're politically neutral in how they moderate content. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also proposed a fix to the law. In testimony to Congress last month, he called for more transparency from social media companies and suggested that companies "be required to demonstrate that they have systems in place for identifying unlawful content and removing it." He also said companies shouldn't be held liable for content that evades their detection. 

The issue of social media bias has mostly been a conservative talking point that Republican senators, such as Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, have used to berate Zuckerberg and Twitter's CEO, Jack Dorsey, at congressional hearings. Republican lawmakers have repeatedly questioned the executives on these claims in spite of scant evidence such bias exists. 

Thomas' opinion, which no other justice on the court joined, talked about the unprecedented control "of so much speech in the hands of a few private parties." And Thomas predicted the court would be forced to address how the law handles large social media platforms. He called threat to free speech a "glaring concern."

In the opinion, he addressed the lower court's ruling that Trump had violated the First Amendment by blocking people from his Twitter account. Instead of Trump violating free speech, Thomas argued that the social media platforms had threatened the First Amendment. He claims the sheer size of the platforms and the power they wield to completely shut down Trump's account is evidence of their far-reaching power.

"[I]f the aim is to ensure that speech is not smothered," Thomas wrote, "then the more glaring concern must perforce be the dominant digital platforms themselves."

He also took aim at Google, which he said "can suppress content by de-indexing or downlisting a search result or by steering users away from certain content by manually altering autocomplete results."  He said Amazon "can impose cataclysmic consequences on authors by, among other things, blocking a listing."

Thomas' warnings build on arguments he made in a ruling in October that urged the court to narrow its interpretation of Section 230. He suggested the law has been applied too broadly. 

It may be difficult for lawmakers to translate Thomas' opinion directly into legislation, Hans said. But he added that it's likely Thomas' arguments could be used to boost proposals that call for a sort of "Fairness Doctrine" for extremely large technology companies. 

How Thomas' views have shifted 

Thomas' argument for justifying government regulation, however, is inconsistent with arguments he's made in the past. He argues that these large companies should be treated as common carriers, but it was Thomas who in 2005 wrote the Supreme Court decision in Brand X to allow the Federal Communications Commission not to regulate broadband providers as common carriers. 

More recently, Thomas signed on with his conservative colleagues on the court to the Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck decision, which was written by Justice Brett Kavanaugh and holds that the public access channel MNN hadn't violated the rights of two of its employees when it shut down the airing of a program they'd produced that was critical of the channel. In the opinion, Kavanaugh ruled that MNN was a private company and wasn't subject to the same requirements to protect the First Amendment as the government. 

"What I find very strange about all this is that just two years ago, Thomas signed on to an opinion that basically said something very different than what he wrote this week," Hans said. Hans said these inconsistencies make him question whether Thomas' views are based on law or are more influenced by politics. 

"Maybe I'm just one of those cynical people who thinks this is all just about politics," he said. "But I think if the facts on the ground about social media companies were different, I don't think he would have written this opinion."

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

A ‘Last Hope’ Experiment Finds Evidence for Unknown Particles

The Theory Initiative decided not to include BMW’s value in their official estimate for a few reasons. The data-driven approach has a slightly smaller error bar, and three different research groups independently calculated the same thing. In contrast, BMW’s lattice calculation was unpublished as of last summer. And although the result agrees well with earlier, less precise lattice calculations that also came out high, it hasn’t been independently replicated by another group to the same precision.

The Theory Initiative’s decision meant that the official theoretical value of the muon’s magnetic moment had a 3.7-sigma difference with Brookhaven’s experimental measurement. It set the stage for what has become the most anticipated reveal in particle physics since the Higgs boson in 2012.

The Revelations

A month ago, the Fermilab Muon g-2 team announced that they would present their first results on April 7. Particle physicists were ecstatic. Laura Baudis, a physicist at the University of Zurich, said she was “counting the days,” after anticipating the result for 20 years. “If the Brookhaven results are confirmed by the new experiment at Fermilab,” she said, “this would be an enormous achievement.”

And if not—if the anomaly were to disappear—some in the particle physics community feared nothing less than “the end of particle physics,” said Stöckinger. The Fermilab g-2 experiment is “our last hope of an experiment which really proves the existence of physics beyond the standard model,” he said. If it failed to do so, many researchers might feel that “we now give up and we have to do something else instead of researching physics beyond the standard model.” He added, “Honestly speaking, it might be my own reaction.”

The 200-person Fermilab team revealed the result to themselves only six weeks ago in an unveiling ceremony over Zoom. Tammy Walton, a scientist on the team, rushed home to catch the show after working the night shift on the experiment, which is currently in its fourth run. (The new analysis covers data from the first run, which makes up 6 percent of what the experiment will eventually accrue.) When the all-important number appeared on the screen, plotted along with the Theory Initiative’s prediction and the Brookhaven measurement, Walton was thrilled to see it land higher than the former and pretty much smack dab on top of the latter. “People are going to be crazy excited,” she said.

Papers proposing various ideas for new physics are expected to flood the Arxiv in the coming days. Yet beyond that, the future is unclear. What was once an illuminating breach between theory and experiment has been clouded by a far foggier clash of calculations.

It’s possible that the supercomputer calculation will turn out to be wrong—that BMW overlooked some source of error. “We need to have a close look at the calculation,” El-Khadra said, stressing that it’s too early to draw firm conclusions. “It is pushing on the methods to get that precision, and we need to understand if the way they pushed on the methods broke them.”

That would be good news for fans of new physics.

Interestingly, though, even if the data-driven method is the approach with an unidentified problem under the hood, theorists have a hard time understanding what the problem could be other than unaccounted-for new physics. “The need for new physics would only shift elsewhere,” said Martin Hoferichter of the University of Bern, a leading member of the Theory Initiative.

Researchers who have been exploring possible problems with the data-driven method over the past year say the data itself is unlikely to be wrong. It comes from decades of ultraprecise measurements of 35 hadronic processes. But “it could be that the data, or the way it is interpreted, is misleading,” said Andreas Crivellin of CERN and other institutions, a coauthor (along with Hoferichter) of one paper studying this possibility.

Read More

What’s Making You So Gassy? This Gadget Aims to Find Out

Gassy? Bloated? Suffering from painful indigestion? Treating gastro trouble with pills and Pepto is easy. Figuring out why you’re having stomach problems, that’s a more difficult calculus.

FoodMarble is a new technology-app combo that’s designed to help you get to the bottom of what ails your intestinal tract—but even with this gizmo, it’s still a long, gurgling road to get there.

The centerpiece of the product is the FoodMarble Aire, a Bluetooth-enabled, pocket-size, rechargeable “digestive breath tester,” which works a lot like a breathalyzer, measuring fermentation levels in your GI system. (The device has been the subject of clinical research reports in two medical journals.) As FoodMarble explains it, food that isn’t fully digested passes on into the large intestine, where it ferments, producing hydrogen that eventually makes it to the lungs. When you exhale, this hydrogen can be measured, which is what the Aire device does. Of course, that fermentation also causes a lot of other gasses to be generated, which is why you feel so sick a few hours after eating that habanero chili cheeseburger.

The other side of FoodMarble is a mobile app, which you use to log and track just about everything that goes into and comes out of your body. The app has a section that logs your breath samples (which you are supposed to do up to 10 times a day), a place where you list everything you eat, measurements of your sleep quality and stress levels, a log for any GI symptoms you encounter, and—my favorite feature—a “poop form.” It’s a daunting level of personal information to ask anyone to enter into an app, so if you’re the kind of person who thinks Alexa is a privacy risk, well, this is probably not for you. (The app is free, but the Aire hardware costs $179.)

Daily Digest

pThe app tracks your breath data and gives you a place to log other diet information.p

The app tracks your breath data and gives you a place to log other diet information.

Photograph: Alan Rowlette

If you’re serious about getting to the bottom of any stomach trouble you’re experiencing, plan to spend a considerable amount of time with the FoodMarble system. The app prompts you with reminders to take periodic breath sample tests, but it’s largely up to you to log your meals, symptoms, and other information. If you’ve ever done any food tracking, you know that this can be a bit of a bear, especially if you have a tendency to snack during the day.

Unfortunately, FoodMarble’s food logging is easily the weakest link in its arsenal. For starters, the interface is complicated and busy, and while FoodMarble claims that it has more than 600 foods cataloged in its database, it quickly turns out that this is not nearly enough. Just a few of the foods missing from its database include cashews, pecans, caramels, hot dogs, hummus, pupusas, chicken parmigiana, egg noodles, salami, farro, acorn squash, and any kind of salad other than “Greek,” to name just some of the delights in my quarantine diet. FoodMarble is based in Dublin, Ireland, but the items that are on the list seem largely tuned to the British diet (with Wensleydale, White Cheshire, and two kinds of Stilton appearing under the cheese category), so you may have better luck if you’re across the pond.

With those limitations in mind, FoodMarble doesn’t just track what you eat, it tracks what’s in what you eat. It’s looking for what are called FODMAPs, which are fermentable oligosaccharide, disaccharide, monosaccharide, and polyols—all stuff that tends to be poorly absorbed by the body, though of course absorption varies widely from person to person. All the foods in the FoodMarble database are broken down based on FODMAP content, so over time you are supposed to be able to correlate indigestion with certain FODMAPs you’ve consumed to determine where your intolerances lie.

Read More

WWE 2K22 game debuts at WrestleMania 37 – CNET

2k22.png
WWE

WWE 2K20, the last game in the WWE 2K series, was a disaster. A turbulent development period led to a buggy, glitchy mess of a game, and the problems ran deep enough that there was no WWE 2K21 at all. The series is back now though, with a trailer for WWE 2K21 debuting at WrestleMania 37.

The teaser showed a photo-realistic graphic of Rey Mysterio, followed by in-game footage of Mysterio hitting a 619 move on Cesaro. Seemingly acknolwedging the franchise's recent troubles, the game's tagline reads: "It just hits different." 

Previous WWE 2K games have been developed by Japanese developer Yuke's in conjunction with games studio Visual Concepts. WWE 2K20, however, was the first game in the series solely handled by Visual Concepts. Yuke's had developed every WWE game since 2000's original SmackDown on the PlayStation 1.  

WWE 2K20 was eviscerated by fans on social media for its graphics, which in many instances were worse than those in WWE 2K19, and for glitches that often rendered it unplayable. WWE 2K20 holds a 43 rating on Metacritic.

More information on WWE 2K22 is coming soon, promises the game's social media account.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter gets set to explore Mars – CNET

In the coming days, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter will make a historic attempt at the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. The space agency is targeting no earlier than Wednesday, April 14, for this first flight attempt.

Here, the Ingenuity helicopter can be seen on Mars as viewed by the Perseverance rover's rear hazard camera on April 4, 2021.

Read the article

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

NASA delays Ingenuity helicopter’s historic first flight on Mars – CNET

An artist's concept of NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter taking flight.

An artist's concept of NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter taking flight.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Looks like we'll have to wait a bit longer to see a helicopter flying around on Mars. NASA has decided to push back the Ingenuity Mars helicopter's first experimental flight due to a safety alert during a high-speed spin test of Ingenuity's rotors, the space agency said Saturday. The flight, originally set for Sunday, will now happen "no earlier than April 14," a Wednesday, the space agency said in a statement. But the copter is "safe and healthy," NASA said.

During Friday's rotor test, "the command sequence controlling the test ended early due to a 'watchdog' timer expiration," NASA said in a status update. "This occurred as it was trying to transition the flight computer from 'Pre-Flight' to 'Flight' mode."

The agency added that the watchdog timer "oversees the command sequence and alerts the system to any potential issues. It helps the system stay safe by not proceeding if an issue is observed."

Now playing: Watch this: How NASA's Mars helicopter could change the future of...

5:20

The space agency said the Ingenuity team is diagnosing the issue and will reschedule the rotor test based on its findings. NASA had previously said Ingenuity's flight date might shift as engineers make adjustments and go through preflight checks. 

When Ingenuity eventually winds up flying, it'll be the first time humans have achieved powered, controlled flight on another planet. The experimental copter, carried to Mars by NASA's Perseverance rover, could open up a whole new way to explore other worlds.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

WWE WrestleMania 37 Night 1 results, surprises and full recap – CNET

wm37-bobbydrew-fc-tonight-4df5b2a204f98596afef978765982109
WWE

When WrestleMania 37 Night 1 went to air, things didn't look good. The show opened with announcer Michael Cole informing us that bad weather above Tampa, Florida's Raymond James Stadium meant that the show's start would have to be delayed. After 30 minutes of stalling, the show opened properly.

And that's when the surprises started. The first bout was Bobby Lashley defending his WWE Championship against Drew McIntyre. Drew seemed like a sure thing -- but Lashley made him pass out with his Hurt Lock. WrestleMania started with a shocker. 

It was a mostly good show from that point on, with one weak match and many good ones. As far as WrestleManias go, though, it was saved by the main event. Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair killed it, and in the end Belair stood tall as SmackDown Women's Champion.

So Night 1 is officially in the books. But like NXT TakeOver was spread over Wednesday and Thursday, Sunday night will see a second night of WrestleMania. That's where we'll see the most anticipated match of the weekend: Reigns versus Bryan versus Edge. That kicks off on Peacock at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET.

WrestleMania opened with bad weather. 

WWE

Bianca Belair wins SmackDown Women's Championship

In a star-making babyface performance, Bianca Belair beat Sasha Banks in the main event of WrestleMania 37 Night 1. It was the best match on the show. Sasha Banks was on fire, and put on an absolute great performance that helped Belair look like a star.

The was great before the two even locked up. Belair and Banks were overwhelmed with emotion at main eventing the show, as the two were visibly tearing up as the bell rang. Once they locked up, though, both women were all business.

The point of this match was to get Bianca Belair over as a top bobyface. It was a success. All of the key spots showed off her crazy athleticism, like the bit where she got Banks in a military press on the outside and walked up the stairs, holding Banks in the air, before tossing Banks inside. Then there was the wicked suplex spot, where Belair hoisted Banks up for a vertical suplex, walked around the ring and bounced her off two sets of ropes, with Banks fighting back twice and almost countering it only for Belair to use her strength to re-lift Banks back to a vertical position, ultimately landing the suplex.

From what I could see, this was the stiffest match on the card -- or at least, it looked the stiffest. I mean that in a good way. All the action was tight, a hallmark of Banks' matches. There was a bit where Banks put her knees up to counter Belair's 450 Splash, and it looked like Belair crushed her ribs on the impact. Sasha also gave a lot with her body, crashing into the barricades and later the turnbuckles with Meteora attemps that Belair dodged.

Banks' creative flair was on show too, as she used Belair's long braid throughout the match. The high point here was when she wrapped Belair's own hair around Belair's shoulder before locking in the Banks Statement. Towards the end of the match, Belair hit back by whipping Banks with her long braid, slapping her leg (I hope) so it sounded like a gunshot. It was great. The finish came after a 450 Splash. Belair went for the KOD, Banks countered to go for the backstabber, but Belair countered again and scored the KOD for the pin.

Rating: 4.25 stars. Bianca Belair could be WWE's next big thing. She has everything. Incredible athleticism, highly marketable look and, as this showed, the ability to have great matches -- even if Sasha Banks deserves a lot of the credit for this one. 

With WWE's track record at making babyface stars, she's unlikely to reach that level. But we can complain about that in the future, if and when those mistakes are made. This was a breakout moment for her, and a fabulous WrestleMania main event. 

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest beat The Miz and John Morrison

Bad Bunny is the biggest star of the show so far. This whole match was laid out to make him shine, and he did great in his role. His offense was surprisingly tight, and he took his share of bumps too. You could tell he's a true fan who wanted to do this the right way. He pinned The Miz when Priest hoisted Miz on his shoulders and Bunny did a top-rope splash.

Miz and Morrison enter with a gang of bunnies, singing their parody rap song. Bad Bunny got a major superstar's entrance, with a prerecorded clip of him sitting atop a trucker arriving in the arena. He then got fireworks with his big entry. The crowd is hotter for Bad Bunny as he starts the match out with Miz than they've been for anything on the show, other than maybe Cesaro and Rollins.

It started with basic stuff, Bad Bunny hitting strikes on an incredulous Miz and getting the better of Miz in a few wrestling exchanges, including an armdrag counter. This lasted a good few minutes, with every moved being milked. Eventually, Miz cut Bunny off and Miz and Morrison got heat on him until Bunny tagged in Priest. 

Priest ran wild, and he and Bunny even hit stereo Falcon Arrows. Later, Bunny did a Canadian Destroyer to Morrison on the ground, which led to the finish. 

Rating: 3.5 stars. You can gripe about Miz and Morrison looking weaker than a celebrity star, which is an absolutely fair argument. But this in WWE, so considering the expectations that entails, this can't be considered anything other than a success. If I'd change anything though, I'd have given more shine to Damian Priest.

Braun Strowman obliterates Shane McMahon

Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a steel cage match after throwing him off the very top of the cage, a gnarly looking bump, and then hitting a powerslam.

Before the match began, Strowman was ambushed by Elias and Jackson Rikker, who smashed him with chairs. They threw Strowman and a chair into the ring, allowing McMahon to continue barraging Strowman with chair shots. From here, the flow of much of the match was that Strowman would fight back from below, only for McMahon to find a new weapon and cut him off. At one point, McMahon retrieved a sheet of steel from the top of the cage and clocked Strowman with it. Later, as both were ascending the cage, McMahon found a toolbox up there.

The best spot of the match was when McMahon climbed atop the cage and began his descent down to the floor. He stuck his arm through the cage to flip Strowman the bird, but Strowman jumped up and grabbed his arm. He then ripped the cage apart and pulled him back in. They then scaled to the top of the cage -- where Strowman threw him off in pretty brutal fashion.

Rating: 3.25 stars. The wrestling itself wasn't much, as you'd expect, but it did its job. We got the memorable Shane McMahon bump and the cool moment of Strowman ripping open the cage. Importantly, at under 12 minutes it wasn't long enough to really drag.

AJ Styles and Omos win Raw Tag Team Championships

Omos joins the club of wrestlers who've won a championship in their first match. He and AJ Styles defeated The New Day to win the Raw Tag Team Championships.

The story of the match was simple. Styles started out for his team, and The New Day did everything they could to to keep him from tagging Omos. They cut him off from his side of the ring, and the drama came whenever Styles would get close to Omos. This was kind of weird, because that's tag team psychology 101 -- except AJ and Omos are heels, not babyfaces. 

In any case, once Omos eventually did get tagged in it was very much game over. He entered the ring and threw both Kingston and Xavier Woods around. Styles hit a sweet Phenomenal Forearm by springboarding off Omos' shoulders. Omos planted Kingston with a double-arm chokeslam and pinned him with a single foot. 

Rating: 3.25 stars. Simple but sensible story. The downside is that AJ Styles, the best wrestler in the match, was relegated to the role of selling rather than providing thrilling offense. But it did its job of introducing Omos. From what we saw here though, it looks like Omos is severely limited, as all he did was a few shoves, a few throws and one average-looking chokeslam.

Cesaro pins Seth Rollins

This wasn't the classic match some (I) hoped it would be, but it was still a strong. It ended with Cesaro swinging Rollins 23 times in the Giant Swing, then pinning Rollins after a Neutralizer.

The story of the match was that Cesaro was trying at every turn to catch Rollins in the Giant Swing, and that Rollins escaped each time in increasingly creative fashion. Rollins also worked over Cesaro's arm. At one point, midway through, Cesaro got the swing but, after about 9 rotations, his arm gave out. Seth Rollins later showed off a new top-rope move, an awesome corkscrew splash.

Cesaro hit a surprise Neutralizer for a two count. Moments later, Rollins got a near fall with a Pedigree. The high point of the bout came when Rollins went for a Curb Stomp but Cesaro countered with an awesome uppercut. He then swung Rollins with a UFO firemans carry, got the 23-rotation Giant Swing and Neutralizer for the pin.

Rating: 3.75 stars. A very good bout, but not a classic. At just over 11 minutes, it would have benefited greatly for an extra 4-6 minutes of time. I suspect these two will have a stronger match with more time at an upcoming pay-per-view.

Tamina and Natalya win tag-team turmoil match

In what will hopefully be the weakest bout of the night, Tamina and Natalya won a tag team turmoil match to become the number one contenders for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships. The rules of the match are that two teams start, and that once one team is defeated another takes its place, with there being five teams in total. 

Naomi and Lana start the match off against Carmella and Billie Kay. After a minute or two of sloppy action, Kay pins Naomi with a rollup and added leverage from Carmella. The Riott Squad are in next and they almost immediately defeat Kay and Carmella with tandem finish,. Mandy Rose and Dana Brooke are in next -- with Brooke actually slipping on the stage on the way to the ring. Hate to see it.

After about five minutes of average-at-best wrestling, the Riott Squad elimianted Rose and Brooke with a cradle. The announcer actually got mixed up and said The Riott Squad was eliminated, but the referee corrected him. Natalya and Tamina were the final team. The most noteworthy spot was Tamina kicking out of the same double-team move the Riott Squad elimianted Billie Kay with. 

Tamina and Natalya then hit a Hart Attack on Ruby Riott, and then Tamina scored a pin after a top-rope splash.

Rating: 2 stars.

Bobby Lashley retains WWE Championship

WrestleMania opens with a shocker: Bobby Lashley beat Drew McIntyre with the Hurt Lock. McIntyre didn't tap out, Cole was eager to point out, he passed out.

It started slow, but the match ended up being very good. It began with standard stuff, exchanging moves in the ring with some brawling on the outside. It picked up about halfway through when McIntyre hit a trifecta of Future Shock DDTs for a two count. Moments later, McIntyre nailed a very impressive over-the-top-rope dive to Lashley on the outside, like Undertaker's famous dive at WrestleMania 25.

Back in the ring, Lashley locks in the Hurt Lock but McIntyre powers out.  McIntyre gets a submission of his own, locking in a Kimura Lock -- potentially signalling a return of Brock Lesnar. The announcers are selling that McIntyre has one last weapon to use in the Claymore Kick. Sure enough, after a big boot, McIntyre sets up the Claymore. Here's where things get dumb. McIntyre has it set up but, as he starts running for the kick, he's distracting by MVP yelling from the outside. Like, he stops in his tracks to look at MVP.

Again: MVP yelled at him from the outside. Not even from the apron. And it stopped McIntyre. So bad.

Lashley then takes advantage and, after some more action, successfully locks in the Hurt Lock and McIntyre passes out.

Rating: 3.5 stars. Shock finish with good action. Would have been better without the confoundingly stupid "distraction." We'll have to see how this plays out, as it could be leading to something worthwhile, but it feels like a bad move to cut off McIntyre like this. He was protected strongly for the past year, and it looks like an abrupt change of course to have him pass out clean to Lashley, who though protected has been a midcard star for the past few years. 

Weather delay opens the show

The Tampa, Florida area that's housing WrestleMania had heavy rain and storms in the hours preceding WrestleMania, and the main show opened with Michael Cole explaining they have to delay the action for a few moments due to weather concerns. Brutal. 

They're now stalling with backstage interviews. We hear from Shane McMahon, before Bobby Lashley comes into the backstage area to talk trash about Drew McIntyre. McIntyre then joins the set and they get into a confrontation. Lashley is sequestered off and McIntyre cuts a fiery promo. 

WWE is clearly stalling on the fly here, transitioning from backstage interviews to the kickoff-show panel to the announcer's at ringside. The promos are actually pretty good, way better than the scripted stuff we see each week, but this is still grim.

At 5: 25 p.m. PT, Cole tells us the weather delay will end within five minutes. After a brief Bianca Belair interview, a promo for the WWE Championship match opens. Here we go. 

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More
Page 3 of 2,015«12345»102030...Last »