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The France-based Ariane Group is the primary contractor for the Ariane 5 launch vehicle, and it has also begun developing the Ariane 6 rocket. The firm has a reliable record—indeed, NASA chose the Ariane 5 booster to fly its multi-billion dollar James Webb Space Telescope—but it also faces an uncertain future in an increasingly competitive launch market.
Like Russia and the US-based United Launch Alliance, the Ariane Group faces pricing pressure from SpaceX, which offers launch prices as low as $62 million for its Falcon 9 rocket. It has specifically developed the Ariane 6 rocket to compete with the Falcon 9 booster.
But there are a couple of problems with this. Despite efforts to cut costs, the two variants of the Ariane 6 will still cost at least 25 percent more than SpaceX's present-day prices. Moreover, the Ariane 6 will not fly until 2020 at the earliest, by which time Falcon 9 could offer significantly cheaper prices on used Falcon 9 boosters if it needed to. (The Ariane 6 rocket is entirely expendable).
Capcom will give Japanese Switch owners a chance to play last year's Resident Evil 7 on the Switch later this week. But the port will only be playable as an online stream running on Capcom's own servers, rather than a downloaded version that would run directly on the Switch's relatively low-powered hardware.
On May 24, Biohazard 7: Cloud Edition will be offered to Japanese consumers as a 15-minute free trial and a 180-day, ¥2,000 (about $18) streaming "play ticket," according to a trailer posted by Nintendo Everything. The 45MB download includes streaming access to all of the game's DLC but not the English-language translation, so most Westerners shouldn't even bother trying to play from across the ocean.
Earlier this month, Sega's Japanese Switch port of Phantasy Star Online 2 used a similar cloud server structure to stream gameplay to the system. This seems to be the first time an exclusively single-player game is being streamed to the Switch rather than ported as a direct download, though. There have also been cloud-powered versions of Final Fantasy XIII and Dragon Quest X for Japanese smartphones in recent years.
Everyone thinks they're a good driver. Despite this, the annual death toll on our roads keeps going up—despite ever-safer vehicles—and human error is to blame for 97 percent of all fatal crashes. Bad driving isn't just about crashes, though; racing from stoplight to stoplight is bad for the planet, since it adds unnecessary carbon to our atmosphere at a time when we can ill afford it. In the age of the connected car, it has become trivial to quantify just how good or bad a driver one is; for some time now, some insurance companies have been supplying customers with plug-in devices that can track their driving and—assuming it's good—offer a discount as a result. But you don't even need one of those dongles to do that, as some new cars can do that tracking on their own.
A while back, we tested out a Buick Enclave that comes with a feature called Teen Driver that lets parents monitor their offspring remotely behind the wheel. And, as it turns out, there's an adult version, too—it's called Smart Driver.
Smart Driver leverages General Motors' OnStar platform. Sensors on the car record events like hard braking, hard acceleration, high-speed driving, late-night driving, and fuel economy, uploading that data to OnStar's cloud where it can be accessed via the myBuick app.
A new group of apps in China's App Store is facing scrutiny from Apple. According to a report from 9to5Mac, the iPhone maker is curtailing apps with CallKit framework due to a "newly enforced regulation" from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Apple started sending notices to developers whose apps use the CallKit framework, notifying them that CallKit functionality isn't allowed in China due to the new regulations. Developers reportedly have two options: remove CallKit framework from their apps, or remove their apps from China's App Store entirely.
Apple introduced CallKit with iOS 10. It allows developers to build calling services into related applications, but it doesn't actually make calls. CallKit provides the interface, allowing the application to have a more native look, while developers can use a VoIP system on the back-end to handle making the calls.
The Chinese government frowns upon VoIP services, since they can allow users to bypass surveillance measures that the government has put in place. It's believed that Skype was removed from the App Store for a similar reason last year. The popular Chinese chat app WeChat supported Apple's CallKit briefly, but the functionality was removed shortly after implementation.
OAKLAND, Calif.—As far as mass entertainment goes, giant robots smashing each other should be a sure bet. Turns out, there are a lot of kinks to work out first.
On Sunday, MegaBots, a Hayward, California-based company (approximately 19 miles south of Oakland) that builds these robo-gladiators, held its second live event. It was an experiment of sorts. Instead of a robo-battle, it was more of a droid demolition derby, with MegaBots flagship mech Eagle Prime smashing appliances, a piano, and for the grand finale, a Chevy Astro van.
A drug manufacturer used the same uncleaned equipment to make pesticides as it did several human drugs, according to a warning letter released by the Food and Drug Administration. The result was that at least two medicines were contaminated with pesticides, the agency noted.
The FDA’s sternly worded letter charged that drug manufacturer Product Quest MFG, LLC of Daytona Beach, Florida, and its manufacturing facility, Ei LLC in Kannapolis, North Carolina, committed “significant violations.” It also noted that the firm’s response to the problems so far were “inadequate” and that its investigations into the extent of the problems were “not thorough and scientifically sound.” The agency levied legal threats if the issues weren’t fixed pronto.
“Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice including, without limitation, seizure and injunction,” the letter stated. The agency also threatened to deny the manufacturer’s drug applications, contracts, and block its drug export certifications.
SANTA MONICA, California—Ten years ago, the LittleBigPlanet game series did the seemingly unthinkable for console players: it opened up the "mod and make your own games" experience that had previously been the domain of PC gaming. Its cute simplicity enabled a new audience to create (and share, via an online browser) their own 2D platform and adventure games, complete with higher-level concepts like if-then clauses, proximity triggers, and per-object logic.
In 2015, LBP's creators at Media Molecule announced something even more ambitious: Dreams, a game that would do the same thing for the 3D-gaming world. Use controllers like a paintbrush, toggle through coding-command menus, and create your own 3D worlds, the Media Molecule devs promised.
But thanks to a number of unclear media-event teases, we've gathered more questions than answers. Would Dreams really require those old, barely used PlayStation Move wands, as originally hinted during its 2015 announcement? How exactly would we build our own worlds and experiments? And would this PS4 product ever look like an actual video game?
Mobileye, the Israeli self-driving technology company Intel acquired last year, announced on Thursday that it would begin testing up to 100 cars on the roads of Jerusalem. But in a demonstration with Israeli television journalists, the company's demonstration car blew through a red light.
Mobileye is a global leader in selling driver-assistance technology to automakers. With this week's announcement, Mobileye hoped to signal that it wasn't going to be left behind as the world shifts to fully self-driving vehicles. But the red-light blunder suggests that the company's technology may be significantly behind industry leaders like Waymo.
While most companies working on full self-driving technology have made heavy use of lidar sensors, Mobileye is testing cars that rely exclusively on cameras for navigation. Mobileye isn't necessarily planning to ship self-driving technology that works that way. Instead, testing a camera-only system is part of the company's unorthodox approach for verifying the safety of its technology stack. That strategy was first outlined in an October white paper, and Mobileye CTO Amnon Shashua elaborated on that strategy in a Thursday blog post.
OnePlus might not be a perfect Android device maker, with fairly regular controversies involving its security mistakes, bad advertising decisions, and lack of a concrete support policy. But OnePlus is really good at making high-end hardware at a low price, though, and for some people that's enough to forgive the company's other flaws.
For 2018, the company is introducing the OnePlus 6. While OnePlus' flagship pricing is once again jumping up $29, to $529, the OnePlus 6 is still one of the cheapest Snapdragon 845-powered devices you can buy. With a switch to a glass back and a notched display design, OnePlus' flagship seems more generic than ever. But for that price, it's still hard to beat.
China's space agency has taken a critical first step toward an unprecedented robotic landing on the far side of the Moon. On Monday, local time, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation launched a Long March 4C rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Although it did not broadcast the launch, the Chinese space agency said it went smoothly, according to the state news service Xinhua.
"The launch is a key step for China to realize its goal of being the first country to send a probe to soft-land on and rove the far side of the Moon," Zhang Lihua, manager of the relay satellite project, told Xinhua.
About 25 minutes after the launch, the Queqiao spacecraft separated from the rocket's upper stage and began a trip toward a halo orbit of the Earth-Moon Lagrange Point L2. Over the next six months, the 425kg spacecraft will undergo tests to ensure it will function properly as a communications relay.
On Saturday night Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a few announcements via Twitter about new options for the Tesla Model 3. Specifically, the CEO said that in July the Model 3 would be available with options for a dual-motor and all-wheel drive. On a normal Model 3, that addition will come at a cost of $5,000.
Cost of normal dual motor AWD option is $5k. Range is also 310 miles. Takes 0-60mph to 4.5 sec & top speed to 140 mph.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 20, 2018
Musk also announced a "performance" Model 3, which will also have dual-motor, all-wheel drive. That model will cost $78,000. What you get for all that extra cash will be the ability to go 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, with 155 mph top speed and at range of 310 miles. "Cost of all options, wheels, paint, etc is included (apart from Autopilot)," Musk tweeted.
In 2016, Tesla announced similar upgrades for the the Model S and Model X in the P100D version. The Model S P100D offered 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds and a 315-mile range. The Model X had a similar option available, though the heavier car went from 0 to 60 in 2.9 seconds and had a 289-mile range. Upgrading those already-pricy cars cost $10,000 at the time. In November 2017, Tesla announced a new Roadster that it says will take 1.9 seconds to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour, with a 620-mile range. That performance vehicle has yet to make it to production.
A small group of developers for Apple platforms has banded together to request new features and policies from Apple, and its members say they have ideas for ways to make it easier to make a living on the platform, Wired reports. They're calling it "The Developers Union," and they launched a website where devs can sign up to share their support of a free trial feature for the app store.
The union has some notable names attached, including Jake Schumacher, director of the documentary App: The Human Story, and NetNewsWire and MarsEdit developer Brent Simmons—along with a product designer named Loren Morris and a software developer named Roger Ogden.
The group says it will start with the free trial push but that it will follow that up with "other community-driven, developer-friendly changes" including a "a more reasonable revenue cut." The starting revenue share is 70-30 in the developers’ favor, presently. Google offers a similar rate, but Microsoft recently announced a cut to its share of revenue to developers' favor.
Some 50-plus years in, Jeopardy’s cultural impact seems definitive. The iconic game show has fans of all sorts: Drake listeners, scholars of classic cinema, local-pub-trivia diehards. It can turn “a software engineer from Salt Lake City” into author/TV personality/quizmaster Ken Jennings or “a bartender from New York” into your parents’ favorite contestant in recent memory.
But not all of the legendary quiz show’s champions enjoy universal adoration, and new documentary Who Is Arthur Chu?—debuting on PBS’ America ReFramed this Tuesday, May 22, and available via VOD on June 12 across platforms (including iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, and Amazon)—looks at this oddly controversial contestant’s first year after becoming an 11-time Jeopardy champion in 2014. If you recognize the name today, it’s likely you’re a Jeopardy diehard with some sort of feeling about Chu’s unusual “Forrest Bounce” strategy, which essentially eschewed going top-down on categories in favor of hunting out Daily Doubles in order to limit an opponent’s big-play ability. The approach seemed to anger the game’s purists and make Chu divisive to the show’s fan community, but that’s a subject destined to be the starting point for some other film.
Who Is Arthur Chu? instead stumbles into a more interesting reality. Post-Jeopardy, Chu had no interest in resting on his new reputation and embracing the trivia lifestyle—rather, he decided to capitalize on his newfound fame and following by using it to fight back against online trolling and hate campaigns in the era of GamerGate and incels. Filmmakers Yu Gu and Scott Drucker, therefore, don’t end up with a behind-the-scenes look at Trebek’s temple; Who Is Arthur Chu? goes on to ask questions that are too complex for even Final Jeopardy.
It’s not every day someone develops a malware attack that, with one click, exploits separate zero-day vulnerabilities in two widely different pieces of software. It’s even rarer that a careless mistake burns such a unicorn before it can be used. Researchers say that’s precisely happened to malicious PDF document designed to target unpatched vulnerabilities in both Adobe Reader and older versions of Microsoft Windows.
Modern applications typically contain “sandboxes” and other defenses that make it much harder for exploits to successfully execute malicious code on computers. When these protections work as intended, attacks that exploit buffer overflows and other common software vulnerabilities result in a simple application crash rather than a potentially catastrophic security event. The defenses require attackers to chain together two or more exploits: one executes malicious code, and a separate exploit allows the code to break out of the sandbox.
A security researcher from antivirus provider Eset recently found a PDF document that bypassed these protections when Reader ran on older Windows versions. It exploited a then-unpatched memory corruption vulnerability, known as a double free, in Reader that made it possible to gain a limited ability to read and write to memory. But to install programs, the PDF still needed a way to bypass the sandbox so that the code could run in more sensitive parts of the OS.
The Federal Communications Commission has taken preliminary steps to examine the actions of LocationSmart, a southern California company that has suddenly found itself under intense public and government scrutiny for allowing most American cell phones’ locations to be easily accessed.
As Ars reported Thursday, LocationSmart identifies the locations of phones connected to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon, often to an accuracy of a few hundred yards, reporter Brian Krebs said. While the firm claims it provides the location-lookup service only for legitimate and authorized purposes, Krebs reported that a demo tool on the LocationSmart website could be used by just about anyone to surreptitiously track the real-time whereabouts of just about anyone else.
"I can confirm the matter has been referred to the Enforcement Bureau," wrote FCC spokesman Neil Grace in a Friday afternoon email to Ars.
On May 13, 2005, Star Trek: Enterprise ended its four-season run with the controversial two-part finale, “These Are the Voyages… ” The finale infamously brought in cast members from The Next Generation to tell the final chapter in Enterprise’s story, and it was viewed by some as a disrespectful and ignominious end to 18 almost-unbroken years of Trek on the small screen.
Generously put, many fans considered this a low point in the franchise’s history. With Enterprise, some fans blamed the anemic finale on the series’ often-uneven writing. Others blamed Rick Berman, who had been Star Trek’s Nerd-in-Chief since Gene Roddenberry’s passing in 1991. And still others blamed the rise of “darker” and more heavily serialized sci-fi fare like Battlestar Galactica (although BSG showrunner Ron Moore first dabbled in this style, largely successfully, in the latter seasons of Deep Space Nine).
But no matter who or what was to blame, Trekkies everywhere were suddenly in an odd position—left to wonder if the universe they’d come to know and love for almost four decades would make it to its 50th birthday. Star Trek was off the airwaves with no successor series waiting in the wings for the first time since 1987. And for some salt in the wound, it had even been three years since the last TNG-cast film, Nemesis, which had been poorly received by most fans and critics. (Its predecessor, Insurrection, hadn’t fared much better.)
NEW YORK—Upon walking into a gray, bricked-facade gallery in Manhattan's Chelsea area, color immediately flooded my eyes. LEGO chose an unassuming location to show off some of the more than 100 new sets coming out in time for the 2018 holiday season. The company literally took the blank canvas of the gallery's interior and splashed it with colorful bricks, some waiting patiently in buckets begging to be dumped out and some built into magical express trains, massive starfighters, and working roller coaster replicas.
As an avid LEGO fan for years (I had my father's old LEGO bricks to play with as a kid), I'm always struck by the hundreds of new sets that come out each year. According to Amanda Madore, senior brand relations manager at LEGO, the company constantly tries to spice things up in new sets with various levels of intricacy. While some builders are perfectly content sitting down for a few hours with a 1,000-piece set, others want a burst of building that's just as fun and yields almost instant gratification. Also, some fans can't afford to drop hundreds on a huge LEGO set and that's where new forms like Brick Headz come in.
Cambridge Analytica LLC, the American arm of the London-based data analytics firm of the same name, filed for bankruptcy in federal court in New York on Friday.
The company submitted a voluntary formal petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy—liquidation. That document reveals the company has between $1 and $10 million in debt with very little assets. On May 2, SCL Elections Ltd. and its other British affiliates filed similar "insolvency" documents with UK authorities.
It was revealed last month that a 2014 survey app created at the behest of Cambridge Analytica required Facebook login credentials and provided the survey creator access to their friends' public profile data. In the end, this system captured data from 87 million Facebook users. This data trove wound up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, the British data analytics firm, which worked with clients like the Donald Trump presidential campaign.
A coalition of utilities and electric vehicle makers, including Tesla, filed a petition with a US Federal Appeals Court to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider its recent work to roll back auto emissions standards.
In April, the EPA said that it would relax greenhouse gas emissions standards that had been put in place for model year 2022-2025 vehicles.
One of the first actions that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt took when he assumed office in 2017 was to start the process of rolling back passenger vehicle greenhouse gas standards for automakers. The standards had been made official late in the Obama presidency, but the Trump administration claimed that the standards were too burdensome for automakers to adhere to. Automakers agreed, despite having been party to years of negotiations with the previous EPA to determine what was technically and economically possible from a fuel efficiency standpoint.
Warning: This post contains minor spoilers for HBO's Fahrenheit 451.
Media and entertainment have been stripped of thought and reduced to quick dopamine hits. Societal norms—whether that means popular thought or preferred means of communication—have been siloed in order to eventually be streamlined. And ever-present government surveillance watches over all of it, ensuring any resistance or counter-initiatives get ignored, eventually squashed, and ultimately presented to the public as another flawless victory.
No, technically that doesn’t describe America 2018. But the world of HBO’s new Fahrenheit 451 film adaptation (debuting this Saturday, May 19) doesn’t look unrecognizable. Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel has become a staple in grade school English curriculums for its futuristic yet timeless portrayal of things like government overreach, censorship, and the importance of diverse culture and thought. So adding details like ever-present interactive screens or bot voice assistants to both the real world and this fictional one only heightens this story’s inherent sense of relevance.