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Industry & Technology

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been revealed with a stunning trailer

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 6:21pm

On Friday, a world premiere trailer at the annual Star Wars Celebration event confirmed the name of the final film in the "Skywalker Saga." Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is the official name for Episode IX, which is slated to land in theaters "this Christmas."

After hearing narration from Luke Skywalker ("A thousand generations live in you now, but this is your fight"), the trailer focuses largely on dramatic action sequences. We see a few Millennium Falcon flights and some desert-speeder combat before this teaser reveals at least one scene starring Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. (We already knew Fisher would appear in the film by way of footage shot before her 2016 death.) This new footage concludes with the primary new-trilogy cast staring at the landed wreckage of a Death Star.

The trailer appeared at the end of an hour-long event hosted by CBS' Stephen Colbert; other reveals included world-premiere photos of various cast members in the film and the live-action unveiling of BB-8's new robotic buddy, a one-wheeled junk-heap character named Dio.

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Liverpool 'dropout' jailed for Silk Road dark web site

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 5:58pm
Investigators believe Thomas White traded around £70m worth of goods online on his Silk Road site.

Ajit Pai proposes $20 billion for “up to” gigabit-speed rural broadband

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 5:55pm

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Henrik5000)

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is proposing a $20.4 billion rural broadband fund that could connect up to four million homes and small businesses over the next ten years.

The new program will be part of the Universal Service Fund (USF), and it will be similar to an existing USF program that began during the Obama administration. In 2015, the USF's Connect America Fund (CAF) awarded $9 billion for rural broadband deployment—$1.5 billion annually for six years—in order to connect 3.6 million homes and businesses.

Carriers that accepted the CAF money are required to finish the broadband deployments by the end of 2020. Pai's proposed Rural Digital Opportunity Fund will be the follow-on program, an FCC spokesperson told Ars. The fund would "inject $20.4 billion into high-speed broadband networks in rural America over the next decade," the FCC said.

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We can admit it—we’re dazzled by the controlled fury of the Falcon Heavy

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 5:01pm

Sometimes, you've just got to pause for a moment to appreciate great feats of engineering.

On Thursday, before it took off, the Falcon Heavy rocket stood on a Florida launch pad and packed the energy equivalent of a tactical nuclear weapon. Then, as it launched, all of this energy poured forth from 27 engines in a meticulously controlled explosion for the purpose of sending a 6-ton satellite into geostationary orbit.

The single image below, of those 27 engines burning against the sunset backdrop along the Florida coast, may in some small measure put that achievement into perspective.

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You cheated not only the game, but you became a meme

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 4:39pm
A Twitter user's exaggerated statement becomes so viral Sega joins in the fun with a creative video.

Stressed-out laser diode may deliver 200Gb/s data rates

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 4:13pm

Enlarge / Laser beams illuminating unit of Diode Pumped Green Laser. (credit: Forrest Anderson | The LIFE Images Collection | Getty Images)

The data usage of the modern world is absolutely mind-boggling. We have giant, air-conditioned buildings dedicated to shuffling bits around at high speed. And for what? To ensure that Instagram can tell Facebook to tell its advertisers that you really love rubber duckies.

Vicious truth-telling aside, the infrastructure underlying data centers is based on lasers that are modulated at high speed. Thanks to some recently published research, however, the latest and greatest of the hardware currently in our data centers will start to look very slow. A speed-up of about a factor of 10 may be just around the corner.

Birefringence is your friend

It turns out that the key to making a laser go faster is to make it a bit shoddy. Let’s break that down.

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Internet Archive denies hosting 'terrorist' content

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 2:05pm
Europol has sent 550 "false" demands to the site asking for "propaganda" to be removed immediately.

DVD and Blu-ray sales nearly halved over five years, MPAA report says

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 12:58pm

Enlarge / Samsung's UBS-K8500, introduced in 2015, was positioned as the world's first UltraHD, 4K Blu-ray player. (credit: Mark Walton)

In its annual Theatrical Home Entertainment Market Environment report, the Motion Picture Association of America described an immensely sharp drop-off of physical media sales over the past five years. According to the data, which was obtained from DEG and IHS Markit, global sales of video disc formats (which in this context means DVD, Blu-ray, and UltraHD Blu-ray) were $25.2 billion in 2014 but only $13.1 in 2018. That's a drop in the ballpark of 50 percent.

Don't expect 8K Blu-rays or other emerging quality-focused formats to turn the tide, either. Market data published by Forbes showed that the aging, low-definition DVD format still accounts for 57.9 percent of physical media sales, and 4K Blu-rays are only 5.3 percent.

Samsung introduced the very first UltraHD (that's the industry certification for 4K discs) Blu-ray in 2015 but told the press it was stopping manufacture of Blu-ray players in the US this year—and not just 4K ones, either. Chinese OEM Oppo made a similar announcement last year, though Sony and Panasonic continue to make dedicated Blu-ray players. Also, Microsoft and Sony's game consoles still play Blu-rays.

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Upskirting now a crime after woman's campaign

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 12:56pm
Gina Martin campaigned after a man photographed her at a festival, changing the law in England and Wales.

Bounty pregnancy club fined £400,000 over data handling

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 12:54pm
The club shared the personal data of more than 14 million people without proper consent.

Wikileaks: Document dumps that shook the world

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 12:39pm
Since 2006, Wikileaks has published thousands of classified documents and emails.

Rocket Report: Virgin to fly from Guam, why SpaceX is mum on the Moon plan

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 12:00pm

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches from Vandenberg Air Force Base. (credit: Aurich Lawson/SpaceX)

Welcome to Edition 1.44 of the Rocket Report! There remains no let-up in the world of lift, with lots of activity in the realm of smallsat launchers as well as some interesting speculation about the future of Aerojet's rocket engine business. Oh, and we think we know why SpaceX hasn't had too much to say yet about a Falcon Heavy Moon mission.

As always, we welcome reader submissions, and if you don't want to miss an issue, please subscribe using the box below (the form will not appear on AMP-enabled versions of the site). Each report will include information on small-, medium-, and heavy-lift rockets as well as a quick look ahead at the next three launches on the calendar.

Relativity announces first launch contract. The California-based rocket company Relativity announced its first customer on Friday, the global satellite operator Telesat. The contract for flights on the Terran 1 rocket includes "multiple" launches, but in an interview with Ars Relativity CEO Tim Ellis said he could not provide additional details. Although this is the first contract the company has chosen to announce, he said, Relativity has signed other binding deals earlier.

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Disney, Netflix, Amazon: The battle for streaming survival

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 11:54am
As Disney moves into streaming TV what will it mean for Netflix, Apple and Amazon?

World Snooker Championship: Mark Williams left off official video game cover

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 11:29am
Snooker fans wonder where the world champion could be on the official video game's jacket.

The robot supermarket shelf scanner and other news

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 10:37am
BBC Click's Paul Carter looks at some of the week's best technology stories.

Singapore airport: Tallest indoor waterfall opens

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 9:26am
Thousands are flocking to Singapore's Changi Airport to see the world's tallest indoor waterfall.

Tesla starts leasing Model 3s; $35,000 version is now software-locked

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 5:42am

Enlarge / My favorite view of the Model 3 is from dead-ahead. (credit: Jonathan Gitlin)

Update: Tesla contacted us this morning to say that in fact you can get a $35,000 Model 3 with no autopilot, if you call or visit one of its stores. As noted below, that information was not mentioned in its blog post on Thursday night.

Original story: On Thursday night, Tesla announced some changes to its Model 3 range. The lineup has been simplified, the prices have been altered, and in the US it will now be possible to lease the car.

First, Autopilot is now a mandatory option, although the company is only raising prices by $2,000 on each configuration instead of the $3,000 that customers have paid until this evening.

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Police detectors to warn mobile phone-using drivers

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 1:02am
Two police forces will use detectors in a bid to deter drivers using mobile phones at the wheel.

Disney+ launches on November 12 for $6.99/mo, plus new Marvel, Star Wars series

Ars Technica - April 12, 2019 - 12:16am

The Walt Disney Company finally took the wraps off of its Disney+ streaming services app, slated to launch on November 12 of this year at a $6.99/mo rate or an annual price of $69. The company also confirmed a few new series exclusive to the paid, ad-free subscription service, along with some technical details—and Disney+'s exclusive acquisition of the complete Simpsons archives.

Ahead of the event, rumors pointed to one major Marvel-affiliated series revolving around the hero Hawkeye. Instead, Disney confirmed a series in the Disney+ "Marvel" tab titled Falcon and Winter Soldier while showing off the service's interface. No footage was shown of this series as of press time, but the characters will be portrayed by their MCU actors, Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. Additional series announced by Marvel at the event include What If, an animated series that will "take pivotal moments from the MCU and turn them on their head," and WandaVision, a vaguely teased series starring Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Wanda Maximoff and The Vision, respectively.

"The post-Endgame vision will be extremely different," Marvel added as a sneaky tease to its upcoming blockbuster (and its assumedly crazy ramifications on the MCU).

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How does it feel to be watched at work all the time?

BBC Technology News - April 12, 2019 - 12:10am
Many more firms are monitoring and analysing employee communications and behaviour. Does it work?

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