News & Updates

The Halo Infinite logo, as revealed at E3 2018.

Enlarge / The Halo Infinite logo, as revealed at E3 2018. (credit: Xbox Studios / 343 Industries)

As rumors heat up over what to expect from this summer’s Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), one Microsoft-focused news site has tossed a few more logs on the next-Xbox fire. In today’s case, that specifically means Halo rumors.

The news comes from Thurrott’s Brad Sams, who’s currently the leading resource for hints when it comes to Microsoft’s plans for its next wave of Xbox-branded devices. On Friday, Sams pushed forward an unsurprising rumor: that the previously announced game Halo Infinite will be confirmed at E3 2019 as a “launch title” for Microsoft’s next console (or consoles, more on that in a moment).

What makes this rumor a little more interesting is that Sams offered context we hadn’t yet heard about the game:

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Plot of the timing of Hayabusa2's approach.

Enlarge / The timeline of the approach and sampling process. (credit: JAXA)

Today, in an extended Twitter thread and ensuing press conference, JAXA’s Hayabusa2 team announced that everything had gone well in gathering an asteroid sample for eventual return to Earth. While we don’t yet know about the material it obtained, the Japanese spacecraft has successfully executed all the commands associated with the sample recovery.

Hayabusa2 has been in space since 2014, and it slowly made its way to an orbit 20km above the surface of the asteroid Ryugu. In late 2018, the spacecraft made a close approach to the asteroid and released two small, solar-powered robots that have been hopping on the surface since. This week has seen the first of what are intended to be several sample-gathering attempts.

The procedure for this is pretty straightforward: Hayabusa2 snuggles up to the asteroid and shoots it. The probe has a sample-gathering “horn” that it can place up against the asteroid’s surface. Once it’s in place, Hayabusa2 can fire a bullet into the asteroid’s surface, blasting material loose that will be gathered by the horn and stored for return to Earth. JAXA, the Japanese space agency, calls its gun a “projector” but admits that the thing it fires is a bullet. JAXA has a webpage that describes some on-Earth testing of the whole system.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

A Falcon 9 rocket launches the Iridium-8 mission in January, 2019.

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches the Iridium-8 mission in January, 2019. (credit: SpaceX)

Last summer, the Trump administration announced that it was opening negotiations with the European Union to achieve “fairer, more balanced trade” on behalf of US corporations, workers, and consumers. Since then, the talks have proceeded in fits and starts, with the president threatening auto tariffs if he didn’t like the deal struck by the current US Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer.

As part of this process, US companies were apparently asked what grievances they had concerning current barriers to free trade with the European Union. The most prolific US rocket company, SpaceX, was among those that responded, and the company used the opportunity to complain about foreign subsidies propping up its competitors for commercial satellite launches.

Large subsidies

On Dec. 10, SpaceX director of commercial sales Stephanie Bednarek wrote to Edward Gresser, chair of the Trade Policy Staff Committee in the Office of the US Trade Representative. The letter was first reported on by a French publication, Les Echos. A copy was then shared in the NASASpaceFlight.com forums.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Why putting Xbox games on Switch isn’t as ridiculous as it might sound

Enlarge (credit: Aurich)

Here at Ars, we tend to be skeptical of the regularly recurring rumors that two major video game competitors are going to be merging or teaming up in some way. From the early 2000s whispers that Microsoft would buy a struggling Sega to suggestions that Apple should buy Nintendo, these rumors often reflect wishful thinking at least as much as actual insider knowledge.

That said, we’re still intrigued by recent rumors that Microsoft could be bringing certain Xbox One games—and a version of its Xbox Game Pass subscription service—to the Nintendo Switch and other consoles.

As the current scuttlebutt has it, an Xbox app to be released for the Switch would let players with an Xbox Game Pass subscription play a selection of Xbox One games on Nintendo’s hardware. High-end games would work on Nintendo’s lower-end hardware thanks to streaming via Microsoft’s recently announced Project xCloud. Meanwhile, Microsoft would also sell certain low-end first-party Xbox One games, like the Ori series, to the Switch directly, according to the rumors.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Exterior of Google office building.

Enlarge / Some Googlers held protest signs during the November 2018 walkout. (credit: Cyrus Farivar)

Google is dropping forced arbitration requirements for its employees, the company announced on Thursday. Starting March 21, both existing and new employees will have the option to sue Google in court and to join together in class-action lawsuits.

The news is a victory for a group of activist Google employees who have been pressuring Google to make this change since last fall. Thousands of Googlers walked out last November to protest Google’s handling of recent sexual harassment controversies.

Google quickly agreed to drop forced arbitration requirements in certain sexual harassment cases. But critics kept up the pressure, and Google is now exempting all employees and direct contractors from forced arbitration requirements in a broader range of cases.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Every app installed on your smartphone with permission to access location service “can” continually collect your real-time location secretly, even in the background when you do not use them.

Do you know? — Installing the Facebook app on your Android and iOS smartphones automatically gives the social media company your rightful consent to collect the history of your precise location.

If you
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A Falcon 9 rocket launches on Thursday night from Florida.

Enlarge / A Falcon 9 rocket launches on Thursday night from Florida. (credit: SpaceX)

A mild winter breeze blew along the Florida coast when the final Apollo mission roared into the sky shortly after midnight, on Dec. 7, 1972. More than half a million people turned out to watch Apollo 17 lift off, despite the late hour. Imagine you were lucky enough to be among them. After the rocket disappears, and nighttime closes in, you’re musing about when humans might return to deep space when an aging drifter in a Steppenwolf t-shirt interrupts your reverie.

Won’t see that again in our lifetimes.

Huh?

A rocket sending a lander to the Moon. Ain’t gonna happen again for nearly 50 years.

That’s impossible. NASA is talking about going to Mars in a decade or so.

Well, the next rocket from here that’s sending a lander to the Moon won’t launch until 2019. 

I can’t believe that. And how can you know that—

And that rocket will already have flown twice.

What? Our rockets fall into the ocean.

Yeah, well, there will be a boat to catch this one.

I think I’ve got to be going.

Oh, and the rocket will be built by a dude from South Africa, and the lander will carry an Israeli flag.

You’d probably better call a cab to get home, old-timer.

In December, 1972, Elon Musk was one year old, living in South Africa. Israel was just three months removed from the Munich massacre, in which 11 members of its Olympic team were taken hostage, and killed, during the summer games. And yet, nearly five decades later Musk’s company, SpaceX, would link up with a private Israeli effort to launch a small lander to the Moon’s surface.

This really has not happened since Apollo 17. A NASA lunar mission named LCROSS did fly from Florida in 2009 on an Atlas V rocket, but it carried an impactor designed to crash into the Moon, rather than a spacecraft such as SpaceIL’s Beresheet vehicle launched Thursday night, built to make a soft landing and return images, video, and scientific data.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

William Happer, a retired Princeton physicist.

Enlarge / William Happer, a retired Princeton physicist. (credit: Gage Skidmore)

On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that it had obtained a document suggesting that the Trump administration is considering combining two areas where it has consistently dismissed expert conclusions: climate change and intelligence analysis. While the intelligence community has consistently accepted that climate change creates security risks for the United States, the document suggests that Trump will circumvent its advice by setting up an advisory committee in an effort headed by a retired professor noted for not accepting the conclusions of the scientific community.

The document is a National Security Council discussion paper, and it suggests using an executive order to set up a Presidential Committee on Climate Security. The committee would provide advice to Trump on the current climate and its future changes and how those affect the national security of the US.

Adversarial

Normally, these functions are provided by the scientific community and the intelligence community, respectively. But these parties have been giving Trump evidence that he’s not interested in accepting.

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Source: http://feeds.arstechnica.com/arstechnica/index/

Google on Wednesday revealed that it forgot to inform users that its
Nest Secure home alarm system includes a microphone.

Google announced this week that it forgot to inform users that its
Nest Secure home alarm system includes a microphone.

“The problem: Nest users didn’t know a microphone existed on their security device to begin with.” states a post published by Business Insider that first reported the news.

“The existence of a microphone on the Nest Guard, which is the alarm, keypad, and motion-sensor component in the Nest Secure offering, was never disclosed in any of the product material for the device.”

The news is disconcerting and privacy advocates are alarmed by this revelation, how is it possible that the tech giant has forgotten it?

Google announced earlier February that its voice assistant feature would be available on the system’s Nest Guard that allows controlling home alarm sensors.

Since the presentation on the market of the device in 2017, Google did not reveal the presence of the built-in microphone to its customers.

“As recently as January, the product specs for the device made no mention of a microphone.” reported the Associated Press Agency.

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs,” reads a statement issued by Google.

Google explained clarified that it never intended to hide the presence of the microphone and pointed put that it hasn’t been active since launch and customers have to specifically enable it going forward,

Google NEST

The revelation made by Google is problematic for the tech giant, in 2010 the company was criticized after it acknowledged that its fleet of Street View cars “accidentally” collected personal data transmitted over consumers’ unsecured WiFi networks.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Google NEST, privacy)

The post Google forgot to tell customers that Nest Hub has a microphone appeared first on Security Affairs.

Source: Security affairs

A team of cybersecurity researchers from the University of New Haven yesterday released a video demonstrating how vulnerabilities that most programmers often underestimate could have allowed hackers to evade privacy and security of your virtual reality experience as well as the real world.

According to the researchers—Ibrahim Baggili, Peter Casey and Martin Vondráček—the underlying
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