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Data from the International Space Station confirms: Lightning is insane
Lightning is such a common phenomenon that people often overlook just how powerful it is (provided it doesn't hit you, obviously). But over the past decade, research has gradually revealed just how extreme lightning is. This everyday phenomenon is powerful enough to produce antimatter and transform atoms, leaving a radioactive cloud in its wake.

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Failed plot to steal domain name at gunpoint brings 14-year prison term
An Iowa man who plotted to steal an Internet domain name at gunpoint was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison yesterday. Rossi Lorathio Adams II, a former Iowa State University student who ran a social-media platform featuring "images and videos of young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity," repeatedly tried to buy the "doitforstate.com" domain name from…

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Intel’s SGX coughs up crypto keys when scientists tweak CPU voltage
To counter the growing sophistication of computer attacks, Intel and other chip makers have built digital vaults into CPUs to segregate sensitive computations and secrets from the main engine computers use. Now, scientists have devised an attack that causes the Software Guard Extensions—Intel's implementation of this secure CPU environment to divulge cryptographic keys and induce potentially dangerous memory errors.

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Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.2, iOS and iPadOS 13.3
As has become a custom, Apple has simultaneously released software updates for nearly its entire suite of consumer products today—including iOS 13.3, iPadOS 13.3, macOS Catalina 10.15.2, watchOS 6.1.1, tvOS 13.3—and an update for HomePods. All updates should be available to all users by the end of the day.

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Uploaded Ring footage reportedly provides location to the square inch
Amazon's aggressive push to grow its surveillance-camera company Ring is working, and adoption has skyrocketed in the past two years thanks to deals with hundreds of police departments. A new set of reports highlights the ways Amazon convinces police to join those partnerships—and the amount of data that users can inadvertently reveal.

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Pensacola confirms ransomware attack but provides few details
On December 7—less than a day after a mass shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola—the city of Pensacola, Florida, was hit by what was originally described as a generic "cyber incident". A city spokesperson has since confirmed that ransomware had struck a number of the city's servers, taking down phones, email, electronic "311" service requests, and electronic payment systems.

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Dealmaster: Get $30 in Amazon credit when you buy a new Nintendo Switch
Greetings, Arsians! The Dealmaster is back today with more holiday deals to share. Of note are a few deals on the newest model of the Nintendo Switch. Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart all have Nintendo Switch deals right now that include up to $30 in gift cards or promotional credit when purchasing the console at its regular price of $299.

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AT&T raises DirecTV prices again despite losing millions of customers
AT&T announced another round of DirecTV and U-verse TV price increases, saying that monthly rates will rise by up to $8 per month starting on January 19. "Because our programming costs went up, we have to raise our monthly prices for select packages," AT&T said in a notice titled "TV price changes for 2020.

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Unusual type of flu virus is dominating early start to this year’s flu season
The 2019-2020 flu season is up and running—and so far, it's off to a weird start. Flu activity has been elevated since the start of November and is only expected to continue climbing, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in its latest flu update. That's a few weeks earlier than in past years.