Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the rocketing-sales department: An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Carmakers have sold more than 500,000 battery electric cars in Europe during 2020, a milestone in the automotive industry's move away from fossil fuels. Sales of all plug-in cars, including hybrids, have surpassed 1m during the year in the UK and the largest 17 European markets, according to data collated by Schmidt Automotive Research. During the whole of last year only 354,000 battery electric sales were recorded across the region.

In the UK, the sale of new cars that run solely on petrol or diesel will be banned in 2030 -- although new hybrids will be legal until 2035. Other countries including France and Norway have also introduced plans to ban new internal combustion engines over varying timeframes. However, the car industry still faces a steep uphill journey away from fossil fuels. Total UK and European new car sales in the year to October were 13.3m, the vast majority of which had petrol and diesel engines, which are expected to be more profitable than battery cars until about 2024.

British consumers bought more than 75,000 electric cars in the year to October, well over double the sales in the previous year, plus another 50,000 plug-in hybrids, but the UK market share of battery electric cars was still only 5.5%. Data for the whole of November will be published on Friday. None of the 10 most popular cars in the UK in 2020 have been electric, although some are available as hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, such as the Mercedes A-Class.
Posted by from MMO Champion
Patch 9.0.2 Hotfixes - December 3, 2020

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Classes

Demon Hunter

General

Demon Hunters can now dodge and parry while casting The Hunt (Night Fae Ability).

The animation and visual effects when Metamorphasis ends has returned.

Mage

General

Fixed an issue where enemies under the effects of Frost Nova with the Grisly Icicle (Legendary Effect) would not be broken out by other player attacks.

Monk

Brewmaster

Resolved an issue that prevented Blackout Combo (Talent) from empowering Celestial Brew.

Rogue

General

The use of a Stealth ability provided by Sepsis (Night Fae Ability) will no longer be consumed while under the effects of Stealth, Vanish, Subterfuge, Shadow Dance, and Shadowmeld.

Warlock

Demonology

Bilescourge summoned from Nether Portal (Talent) no longer melee while casting Toxic Bile.

Creatures and NPCs

Valfir the Unrelenting has bolstered his defense, making oncoming attacks much less effective. Players that wish to take down the beast will first need to send anima to this location to unlock the key to Valfir's demise.

Valfir the Unrelenting will no longer wander quite so far from his spawn.

Dungeons and Raids

De Other Side

Mueh'zala

Resolved an issue that could allow Mueh'zala to be attacked prior to defeating the other bosses of De Other Side.

Halls of Atonement

The visual effects of Depraved Obliterator’s Curse of Obliteration spell will now more closely match the range of the spell's impact, regardless of the player’s race.

Necrotic Wake

Nalthor the Rimebinder

Summoned pets will now properly follow their master back to Nalthor the Rimebinder’s platform after completing the Dark Exile gauntlet.

Sanguine Depths

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New racing season! 2020-12-03 18:30:05
Posted by Gabe from Penny Arcade
Join us tonight for the first race of the new season! After a week off, the Penny Arcade iRacing league is back at it. The Pit Crew will open at 7:30 PT -Gabe Out
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the supply-and-demand department: "The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Pfizer is planning to cut their shipment of Covid-19 vaccines for 2020 in half due to supply-chain problems," writes Slashdot reader phalse phace. Axios (non-paywalled source) reports: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine -- enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, per WSJ. "Based on current projections we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021," Pfizer spokesperson Kim Bencker told Axios.

"[S]caling up a vaccine at this pace is unprecedented, and we have made significant progress as we have moved forwards in the unknown," Bencker said. "And it's important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection requiring us to focus additional efforts on clinical trial production." Pfizer did not specify to the Journal what shortfalls over ingredients and raw materials -- which were sourced from Europe and the U.S. -- took place as production ramped up. For the record, Pfizer's vaccine has been shown to be more than 90% effective.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the spoiler-alert department: According to Bloomberg, Google is set to win conditional European Union approval for its $2.1 billion takeover of Fitbit this month. From the report: The deal could be approved as soon as next week after national competition authorities give their opinion, said the people who asked not to be named because the procedure isn't public. The EU usually consults the so-called advisory committee on mergers days before it issues approval. Google announced its plans to buy Fitbit in November 2019, noting that it would use the smartwatch maker to improve its lagging hardware business. Clearing regulatory obstacles for the deal come in a tough climate when the company is facing mounting global scrutiny of big technology companies and potentially restrictive regulation in the EU and other regions. While Google has agreed to concessions to allay EU antitrust concerns about its move into wearable fitness devices, its final pledge to European authorities hasn't been disclosed.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the no-longer-employed department: Timnit Gebru, one of the best-known AI researchers today and co-lead of an AI ethics team at Google, said she was fired Wednesday for sending an email to "non-management employees that is inconsistent with the expectations of a Google manager." VentureBeat reports: She said Google AI employees who report to her were emailed and told that she accepted her resignation when she did not offer her resignation. According to Casey Newton's Platformer, who reportedly obtained a copy, Gebru sent the email in question to the Google Brain Women and Allies listserv. In it, Gebru expresses frustration with the lack of progress in hiring women at Google and lack of accountability for failure to make progress. She also said was told not to publish a piece of research and advised employees to no longer fill out diversity paperwork because it didn't matter. No mention is made of resignation.

"There is no way more documents or more conversations will achieve anything. We just had a Black research all hands with such an emotional show of exasperation. Do you know what happened since? Silencing in the most fundamental way possible," the email reads. When asked by VentureBeat for comment, a Google spokesperson provided a link to the Platformer article with a copy of an email sent Thursday by Google AI chief Jeff Dean to company research staff. In it, Dean said a research paper written by Gebru and other researchers was submitted for publication at a conference before completing a review process and addressing feedback. In response, Dean said he received an email from Gebru.

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Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the jumping-to-conclusions department: An anonymous reader shares a report from Techdirt: Last last week, a report out of the UK topped the trending news items at Hacker News. The report found that U.S. broadband speeds -- historically the poster child for mediocrity -- jumped roughly 90% during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The improvements weren't consistent geographically, and the report was quick to note that by and large, the U.S. remains relatively mediocre when it comes to broadband speeds (in large part due to limited competition): "The US stills lags behind many European and developed nations worldwide, and its major cities also often lag behind their European equivalents. That said, there is cause for celebration in Dallas, Seattle and Austin, after our analysis has shown that these cities are performing extremely well relative to most European capital cities."

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Posted by Luke Plunkett from Kotaku
While I’ve already bemoaned the lack of real technological advances in the past console generation, not every innovation of the PS4/Xbox One era had to do with visuals or framerate. One of the quieter revelations, and one of the most forward-thinking, has been the slow adoption of cross-platform gaming, aka crossplay.

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Posted by Brett Makedonski from Destructoid
There are three very good Epic freebies on the horizon. One you can grab this week, the other two you can grab this week.

Let's start with the here and now. This week's free game on the Epic Games Store is Cave Story+. It's quite possibly the most influential and quintessential indie game ever. You owe it to yourself to play Cave Story, as it's a piece of gaming history.

Next week's freebies are going to eat up a lot of your time. Epic has lined up two of Obsidian's recent CRPGs to give away at the same time. Kickstarter mega-success Pillars of Eternity and 2016's Tyranny are free starting on December 10.

If free games are your thing -- and they probably are by virtue of the fact that you're even reading this article -- you might want to keep your eye on December 10. That's when The Game Awards airs, and it's always ripe for promos and free stuff. But even if it isn't, Obsidian's got about 100 hours worth of RPG lined up for you.

Cave Story+ [Epic Games Store]

Posted by Jordan Devore from Destructoid
Supergiant Games revisited 10 of its songs from Hades, Bastion, Transistor, and Pyre for a special 10th anniversary orchestral album recorded at Abbey Road Studios with a guiding hand from Austin Wintory.

In a behind-the-scenes video, Wintory said the collaboration with Supergiant was "such a privilege."

"These songs are like opera. They're so dramatic, and tell such incredible stories. I love that. They don't just lay down a bunch of random words, but they actually really tell you something meaningful."

You can buy a digital copy of The Songs of Supergiant Games: 10th Anniversary Orchestral Collection directly from the studio for $10, and there are pre-orders for $35 and $50 vinyl sets shipping in Q1 2021 if that's more your style. Graciously, the entire album was also officially uploaded to YouTube.

Here's the track list and timestamps:

We All Become (00:00)

Never to Return (03:54)

In Circles (07:41)

Lament of Orpheus (11:07)

The Spine (14:56)

Vagrant Song (18:28)

She Shines (21:55)

In the Flame (26:30)

Paper Boats (29:46)

Remember the Bastion (34:04)

"The orchestral arrangements themselves sort of revealed stuff to me about some of the drama of those pieces, which is heightened by those arrangements," said long-time Supergiant Games composer and audio director Darren Korb. "When I recorded these tunes originally, I recorded them in my closet or a little tiny vocal booth at our office in San Francisco, and it is pretty nuts that now we are recording them again in Abbey Road Studio Two where the Beatles did their thing."

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the homeward-bound department: China's Chang'e spacecraft has lifted off from Oceanus Procellarum at 10:10 EST Thursday, carrying with it the first fresh lunar samples since 1976. Space.com reports: Six minutes later, the ascent spacecraft achieved lunar orbit, marking a huge milestone in the Chang'e 5 mission to return lunar samples to Earth. The ascent vehicle's job now is to meet up with the Chang'e 5 orbiter while still circling the moon, and then transfer its precious cargo to a return capsule for the journey home. That next stage is an extremely challenging rendezvousing and docking between the small ascent vehicle and the Chang'e 5 orbiter while orbiting the moon. The activity needs to be automated due to the time delay in communicating across the roughly 236,000 miles (380,000 kilometers) between the Earth and the moon.

The two spacecraft will begin a final approach sometime on Saturday (Nov. 5)and complete the docking 3.5 hours later. If all goes well, China will then prepare for the final leg of the journey to deliver the first lunar samples to Earth in 44 years. The lunar samples won't be coming home immediately however. The Chang'e 5 spacecraft will need to wait in lunar orbit for a number of days for a narrow window in which to fire its engines and head for Earth.

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Posted by Luke Plunkett from Kotaku
Per Aspera is a new PC game out this week that has you playing as an AI responsible for transforming Mars from a big cold rock into somewhere humans can walk their dogs outside in a grassy green park.

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Posted by Zack Zwiezen from Kotaku
Today, Rocksteady Games announced that two obscure skins will finally be obtainable again in its five-year-old superhero adventure Batman: Arkham Knight. The suits in question are the Anime Batman suit and the Zur En Arrh suit, and starting today, after you update Arkham Knight, the suits will be unlocked and playable…

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Posted by Jordan Devore from Destructoid
If your Nintendo Switch copy of Borderlands 2 has been broken for weeks, it's finally time for an update.

When players claimed the Commander Lilith & the Fight for Sanctuary DLC for free and installed it, many of them were unable to access the content and some couldn't even play the game in general due to persistent crashing. It got to the point where people had to use a workaround to delete the DLC and manually prevent it from re-materializing when they installed Borderlands 2 again on their Switch.

As of this week, the recurring crash should no longer be an issue. An update went out.

A patch for Borderlands 2 on Nintendo Switch has been pushed live to address reported stability issues some players experienced. Thank you for your patience as we worked on the fix.
— Borderlands 3 (@Borderlands) December 2, 2020


According to users on the BorderlandsSwitch subreddit, Borderlands 2 is all-clear.

The most fascinating part of this story is that players recently stumbled on (now-disabled) developer commands for Borderlands 2 that let them max out their Badass Rank, kill all nearby enemies, instantly level-up, earn a stockpile of Eridium, and use other mad-with-power cheat codes. What a saga.

Posted by from MMO Champion
WoW Classic: Obey the Call - Watch the Naxxramas Raid Trailer

Naxx and the Scourge Invasion are now live in WoW Classic!

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

The shadow of the necropolis Naxxramas falls heavily on the face of Azeroth. Now, it's up to the heroes of the Horde and the Alliance to put a stop to the Lich King's plans to seed the land with the plague of undeath.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the video-evidence department: Iwastheone shares a report from The Verge: Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released shocking footage of the collapse of the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. The video, captured on December 1st, shows the moment when support cables snapped, causing the massive 900-ton structure suspended above Arecibo to fall onto the observatory's iconic 1,000-foot-wide dish.

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Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the continuing-the-longstanding-debate department: An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: The government has interpreted a high-profile provision of the Patriot Act as empowering F.B.I. national security investigators to collect logs showing who has visited particular web pages, documents show. But the government stops short of using that law to collect the keywords people submit to internet search engines because it considers such terms to be content that requires a warrant to gather, according to letters produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The disclosures come at a time when Congress is struggling with new proposals to limit the law, known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act. The debate ran aground in the spring amid erratic messages from President Trump, but is expected to resume after President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. takes the oath of office in January.

In May, 59 senators voted to bar the use of Section 215 to collect internet search terms or web browsing activity, but negotiations broke down in the House. During that period, Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and one of the sponsors of the proposal ban, wrote to the director of national intelligence seeking clarity about any such use. Six months later, the Trump administration finally replied -- initially, it turned out, in a misleading way. In a Nov. 6 letter to Mr. Wyden, John Ratcliffe, the intelligence director, wrote that Section 215 was not used to gather internet search terms, and that none of the 61 orders issued last year under that law by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court involved collection of "web browsing" records. Mr. Wyden's office provided that letter to The New York Times, arguing that it meant Mr. Wyden's proposal in May -- which he sponsored with Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana -- could be enacted into law without any operational costs.

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Posted by Brett Makedonski from Destructoid
Kickoff came a day early. The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of Madden NFL 21 and FIFA 21 are scheduled to launch tomorrow, December 4. However, anyone who owns last-gen versions of those games can upgrade today.

EA Sports pulled the trigger on pushing upgrades out the door, which is a nice little surprise for anyone who's playing Madden or FIFA and making use of backward compatibility. Of course, PS4 versions can only be upgraded to PS5, and Xbox One versions can only be upgraded to Xbox Series S/X.

There are a few different scenarios at play here with EA's Dual Entitlement program. Anyone with a digital copy of either game can simply go to the PlayStation Store or Microsoft Store and grab the next-gen version for free. Those who have discs will be able to pop it into their new console and download a digital upgraded version. However, anyone with a disc but a disc-less console has to hit up EA support to validate the purchase.

Those who waited to buy Madden or FIFA can't take advantage of this early next-gen arrival. They have to wait until December 4 which is when it was supposed to go live in the first place.

Posted by Jordan Devore from Destructoid
In a surprising turn of events today at BioWare, two long-time staffers – Casey Hudson, the studio's general manager, and Mark Darrah, the executive producer of Dragon Age – announced they're retiring.

"Arriving at this point has been an opportunity for me to reflect on my own future, and 2020 has been a year that forced all of us to re-imagine how we think about work and life," said Casey. "For me, it's been the realization that I still have tremendous energy to create, but also that I need to try something different." With his retirement, he's opening the door "for the next generation of studio leaders."

"BioWare has always been about telling emotional stories through characters," said Darrah. "We have wandered away from this central guiding pillar at times, but I am confident that the next Dragon Age will show that we remain committed to this kind of game. We will have a lot to show you."

"Mass Effect too has an exciting future," he added. "I won't say too much but I am impressed by the growth of Mike Gamble and I am looking forward to all that franchise will do under his leadership."

EA's chief studios officer Laura Miele shared her own high-level update in a public statement.

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Posted by Chris Moyse from Destructoid
This month's Game Awards are expected to feature a slew of announcements, trailer, and reveals, with many developers taking the opportunity to direct the audience's eyes towards their latest wares. One such developer is Pearl Abyss, who will be debuting gameplay footage from its upcoming fantasy MMO, Crimson Desert.

The natural evolution of 2014's Black Desert Online, Crimson Desert promises to be another dramatic and lore-heavy adventure set within a dangerous mythical universe. Players will explore a huge kingdom, engaging with "worldviews, religions, and characters" unique to Crimson Desert's universe. Threat and danger will come in the form of a menagerie of terrifying monsters and beasties, so come loaded for bear, and best bring comrades.

Currently in development for PC and consoles, Pearl Abyss is yet to offer a launch window for Crimson Desert, but perhaps more information will be revealed during this upcoming gameplay premiere. The MMORPG market is hardly starved of titles, so let's hope Crimson Desert can turn enough heads to carve out a sizeable following for itself.

The Game Awards 2020 takes place Thursday, December 10.



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