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Sons born to US Civil War POWs were more likely to die young
"It is hard on our men held in Southern prisons not to exchange them, but it is humanity to those left in the ranks to fight our battles." – General Ulysses S. Grant, August 18, 1864. General Grant did not halt the exchange of Union and Confederate soldiers between the summers of 1863 and 1864, although this quotation—chiseled into a…

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Relativity hires senior Tesla manager to help automate rocket production
No one could argue that a company like SpaceX has one of the most cutting-edge rocket factories in the world, as the company builds some of the most advanced boosters launching today. And yet much of the manufacturing is still done by hand, at various work stations. Humans remain integral to building rockets.

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Google Home Hub review—Awesome hardware for Google’s nascent smart display software
The latest entry to the Google Home ecosystem is called the Google Home Hub. The Home Hub marries a screen with the Google Assistant-powered voice command system, allowing users to call up recipes, utilize smart home controls, or watch YouTube videos. We've seen this software before—there's presently a whole device category out there known as "Google Smart Displays.

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Elon Musk tweets a date for the opening of his first Los Angeles tunnel
On Sunday night, Tesla, SpaceX, and Boring Company CEO Elon Musk tweeted "The first tunnel is almost done," adding that the tunnel will open December 10. "The first tunnel" refers to the initial tunnel that The Boring Company has been digging under the streets of Hawthorne.

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First thing we do, let’s kill all the experts
There is a Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. Take a moment to consider the implications of that fact. The inhabitants of what, under other circumstances, would be an obscure academic backwater need legal defense. Non-scientists have convinced themselves so thoroughly that these experts have to be wrong that they claim the whole field is swimming in fraud and have engaged…

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The Guilty review: Even in 2018, a simple phone can be utterly thrilling
AUSTIN, Texas—Browsing through written descriptions (whether in this year’s Fantastic Fest brochure or this weekend’s movie listings), might sound remarkably unremarkable: a cop on desk duty takes a panicked 9-1-1 call and has to figure out what’s happening. It sounds like a classic high-stakes, detective-against-time story, but what makes its intriguing is that the entire film the detective’s office—the cinematic…

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Lithium giants feud over competition, brine in Chile’s Atacama Desert
Two of the world's biggest lithium producers, Albemarle Corporation and Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile (otherwise known as SQM), are tangled in two disputes: the first over water rights in Chile's Atacama desert, and the second over ownership of SQM. Both Albemarle and and SQM have significant operations in the Atacama desert, where some of the world's best lithium…

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Hack on 8 adult websites exposes oodles of intimate user data
A recent hack of eight poorly secured adult websites has exposed megabytes of personal data that could be damaging to the people who shared pictures and other highly intimate information on the online message boards. Included in the leaked file are (1) IP addresses that connected to the sites, (2) user passwords protected by a four-decade-old cryptographic scheme, (3) names,…

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Review: Istanbul: The Dice Game rules the bazaar
Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com. When it comes to gaming, I am a man of simple pleasures. I need no boxes of sculpted minis, no hour-long setup, no manuals the size of novels. Let me chuck huge handfuls of dice, collect colorful goods, earn chunky gems,…