Rocket Report: Japanese spaceplane, GEO downturn, Block 5 results good

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson/SpaceX) Welcome to Edition 1.17 of the Rocket Report! This week, we discuss a lot of new launch contracts, a Japanese plan to build a suborbital spaceplane, and Chinese plans to develop a potentially recoverable payload fairing. Also, check the launch schedule. Three launches in three days! As always, we welcome reader […]

There’s a new insecticide on the block, and it’s also bad news for bees

Enlarge / A foraging bee. (credit: Nunzio_Zotti / Flickr) We need bees to pollinate the plants that feed us. And bees need us to stop inadvertently poisoning them with the insecticides we use to keep those plants healthy. Unfortunately, just as we start to make progress on reducing the worldwide use of neonicotinoids (a class […]

Senators want Google and Facebook to block 3D-printed gun files

US authorities lost the legal battle that would prevent Defense Distributed from legally releasing its 3D-printed gun files, but social networks can still ban them from their platforms. Facebook is already blocking people from posting their blueprints in the form of Computer Aided Design (CAD) files on its website and on Instagram, and now a […]

Live tonight: SpaceX set to re-fly a Block 5 rocket for the first time

Enlarge / A Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 rocket launches in July. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann) On May 11, SpaceX launched the new, optimized-for-reuse Block 5 variant of its Falcon 9 rocket for the first time. Just before the flight, Ars asked company founder Elon Musk how long it would be before we saw […]

Firefox is the latest browser to block autoplaying web audio

Firefox is finally joining the ranks of web browsers that block autoplaying web sounds. Mozilla’s latest Nightly builds for Firefox now include an option to mute autoplaying audio, hopefully saving you from jumping out of your seat when an obnoxious video ad makes its presence felt. It’s finer-grained than Chrome’s recently removed automatic muting, too. […]

SpaceX has a successful second launch of its Block 5 rocket

Enlarge / The Block 5 variant of the Falcon 9 rocket, on the launchpad, with its Telstar 19V payload. (credit: SpaceX) Update: At the top of its launch window, the Falcon 9 rocket took off early Sunday at 1:50am ET (05:50 UTC) and lofted its large satellite payload into geostationary transfer orbit. Meanwhile, the first […]

The Voice Season 15: NBC's Sing-Off Has to Lose the Block — and Here's Why

Between its swivel chairs, Steals and duet-or-die Battles, The Voice has always been as much about gimmickry as it has singing. So on paper, the Block, installed in Season 14, made sense as a fresh, fun novelty. But in practice, it didn’t work. Yes, the new button, which allowed the coaches to choose a rival […]

US oil touches $75 amid fears Iran will block Middle East shipments

West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the US benchmark, has surged to $ 75 per barrel for the first time since the oil crisis of 2014. Read more The movement came after Iran reportedly threatened to disrupt oil shipments from the Middle East Gulf if Washington pressed ahead with sanctions against Iran. On Wednesday, the WTI slipped […]