Deploy the space harpoon

Watch out, starwhales. There’s a new weapon for the interstellar dwellers whom you threaten with your planet-crushing gigaflippers, undergoing testing as we speak. This small-scale version may only be good for removing dangerous orbital debris, but in time it will pierce your hypercarbon hides and irredeemable sun-hearts.
Literally a space harpoon. (Credit: Airbus)
However, it would be irresponsible of me to speculate beyond what is possible today with the technology, so let a summary of the harpoon’s present capabilities suffice.
The space harpoon is part of the RemoveDEBRIS project, a multi-organization European effort to create and test methods of reducing space debris. There are thousands of little pieces of who knows what clogging up our orbital neighborhood, ranging in size from microscopic to potentially catastrophic.
There are as many ways to take down these rogue items as there are sizes and shapes of space junk; perhaps it’s enough to use a laser to edge a small piece down toward orbital decay, but larger items require more hands-on solutions. And seemingly all nautical in origin: RemoveDEBRIS has a net, a sail and a harpoon. No cannon?
You can see how the three items are meant to operate here:

The harpoon is meant for larger targets, for example full-size satellites that have malfunctioned and are drifting from their orbit. A simple mass driver could knock them toward the Earth, but capturing them and controlling descent is a more controlled technique.
While an ordinary harpoon would simply be hurled by the likes of Queequeg or Dagoo, in space it’s a bit different. Sadly it’s impractical to suit up a harpooner for EVA missions. So the whole thing has to be automated. Fortunately the organization is also testing computer vision systems that can identify and track targets. From there it’s just a matter of firing the harpoon at it and reeling it in, which is what the satellite demonstrated today.
This Airbus-designed little item is much like a toggling harpoon, which has a piece that flips out once it pierces the target. Obviously it’s a single-use device, but it’s not particularly large and several could be deployed on different interception orbits at once. Once reeled in, a drag sail (seen in the video above) could be deployed to hasten reentry. The whole thing could be done with little or no propellant, which greatly simplifies operation.
Obviously it’s not yet a threat to the starwhales. But we’ll get there. We’ll get those monsters good one day.


Source: Feedburner Tech Gadgets
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Deploy the space harpoon

How AI and machine learning can help you defend the enterprise from cyberattacks

As attack methodologies advance, tool-assisted detection is indispensable for security professionals to manage sprawling networks of devices that are not necessarily trustworthy.
Source: ZDNet US News
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How AI and machine learning can help you defend the enterprise from cyberattacks

Five emerging cybersecurity threats you should take very seriously in 2019

Ransomware isn’t the only cyberthreat your business will face this year. Here are five emerging threats that leaders need to know about.
Source: ZDNet US News
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Five emerging cybersecurity threats you should take very seriously in 2019

The EU's new copyright laws threaten to destroy the internet

The EU’s new copyright laws will force all websites to check all posts to see if anything ever published might be a copyright violation. That will include photos, videos, words, tweets, memes, source code — you name it.
Source: ZDNet US News
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The EU’s new copyright laws threaten to destroy the internet

MIT tech could let desalination plants use their own brine waste

When salt is removed from seawater in desalination plants, the byproduct is – not surprisingly – a lot of highly-concentrated salty brine. Ordinarily, this is just dumped back into the sea, which can harm the environment. Thanks to a new treatment process, however, that brine could actually be used to desalinate more water…
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Source: Gizmag
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MIT tech could let desalination plants use their own brine waste

Dichroic 3D-printing material changes color with point of view

In use since at least the 4th century AD, dichroic glass displays different colors depending on how it’s being viewed. Now, Dutch scientists have produced the effect in a material that can be used to create 3D-printed objects – and it’s not just a novelty, as it could have practical applications…
Continue Reading Dichroic 3D-printing material changes color with point of view



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Source: Gizmag
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Dichroic 3D-printing material changes color with point of view

Crackdown 3 Review – With Great Powers Come Great Predictability

Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Sumo Digital
Release: February 15, 2019
Rating: Mature
Reviewed on: PC
Also on:
Xbox One

Crackdown was a surprise hit back in 2007, giving Xbox 360 players who may have only been in it for the Halo 3 demo a chance to be a superhero. Dismantling Pacific City’s criminal network – or even puttering around town – was a blast, with an arsenal that included high-flying acrobatics, super strength, and a kit of exotic weapons that let you turn traffic jams into smoldering lines of debris. A disappointing sequel followed, which added little and ultimately failed to innovate or capture the spark of the original. Now, a dozen years later, the series is back in an all-new entry that, well, fails to innovate or capture the spark of the original. It’s not bad, but Crackdown 3 is a bland and uninspired time capsule of a game.

The unrelenting drabness is especially frustrating because maneuvering your agent around New Providence’s neon-lined streets is an absolute joy. The character is quick and responsive, and after collecting several hundred agility orbs, you can move with surgical precision. In the rare times that I found myself flailing in midair, I could lean into a variety of thrusts and additional leaps to get back on course. I can’t overstate how great it feels. The problem is that once you get to wherever you’re going – whether it’s the top of a massive tower or a crime lord’s inner sanctum – the action is a predictable last-gen letdown.

Twelve years ago, leaping onto the scene with a rocket launcher and sending bad guys ragdolling into the sky was still a novelty. Games have evolved since then, and simply rehashing the same action all these years later isn’t satisfying. The underlying systems in Crackdown 3 aren’t deep or flexible enough to generate sandbox moments that you want to tell your friends about, either. Part of the reason why the first game was so successful was that it was so surprising. This entry is like hearing the same joke again; when you can anticipate the punchline, it’s boring.

New Providence is a bland network of themed zones and an abundance of ramps connected by maze-like freeway systems. It’s run by a sinister organization called TerraNova, which you take out piece by piece. You can try to head straight for the final boss if you want, but good luck. She’s heavily defended, so you’re better served whittling away her defenses by going after her heads of security, science, and technology. First, you have to bait them out by blowing up their stuff. Sometimes that stuff is shrouded behind force fields, which you turn off by unplugging refrigerator sized-power cores, but that’s really about it. These individual tasks are technically different, but ultimately it comes down to destroying nodes or killing officers. Once you get ahold of a rocket launcher or other explosive weapon it’s trivially easy, and the only incentive to try new tactics is because you’re bored of using the same successful strategies.

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Multiplayer is another throwback experience, reminiscent of the era where every shooter had a competitive mode crammed in. When it was first unveiled, multiplayer seemed to be trying something new: Up to 10 players battle in destructible worlds, showing off the kind of mayhem that’s only possible with current-gen tech. That was the pitch, but the reality is far more mundane. The aggressive lock-on targeting that makes the campaign so easy doesn’t do multiplayer any favors, and most fights immediately devolve into two Agents jumping around in a circle, facing each other and trying to unload their weapons faster. Falling debris doesn’t cause any damage, so when the building you’re on starts to crumble (or when one crumbles on your head), at the worst you’re temporarily inconvenienced. Without any kind of party support, you can’t even goof off in the mode with your buddies. It seems like a cheap afterthought, from the paucity of maps and modes to the way you’re kicked out to the menu when a match concludes.

Destruction was clearly on the developers’ mind, which makes it frustrating that it’s isolated to the lame competitive multiplayer. No matter how much I pummeled the city with rockets and missiles, I barely left a scuffmark. It feels like playing in a sandbox made of concrete. Blowing up cars and lawn furniture is good for a laugh or two, especially with a co-op friend, but that excitement is fleeting. Driving remains an afterthought; your character is so fleet of foot and collecting orbs is so vital that hoofing it is just a better option than wasting time behind the wheel of the poorly controlling rides.

Sumo and Elbow Rocket’s insistence on treating a game from 2007 like a sacred text is strange. The original Crackdown was fresh and exhilarating, and bounding across the city as a superhuman agent was a thrilling sensation. Since then, a lot has happened in the genre. Developers have found ways to incorporate destruction into the action as they weave interesting choices and competent world-building into their narratives. Crackdown 3 aims far lower, and manages to hit that disappointing target.

Score: 6

Summary: It’s not bad, but this long-awaited sequel is a bland and uninspired time capsule of a game.

Concept: Revisit the long-dormant franchise in a new entry that stays remarkably faithful to the original

Graphics: Crackdown’s visuals are clean to the point of seeming sterile

Sound: Hearing the Agency Director’s familiar voice and the throbbing ping of agility orbs all these years later is fun. The rest of the audioscape is dominated by an unremarkable symphony of explosions and gunfire

Playability: Moving your Agent around New Providence is an absolute joy, thanks to the precise and intuitive controls. When the game demands pinpoint platform accuracy, it delivers

Entertainment: Crackdown 3’s campaign is like a thawed-out relic from more than a decade ago. Multiplayer’s environmental destruction is interesting in concept, but its bare-bones nature keeps it from being more than a curiosity

Replay: Moderately low

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Source: GameInformer News
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Crackdown 3 Review – With Great Powers Come Great Predictability

Samsung is preparing to launch a sports smartwatch and AirPods-like earbuds

Samsung’s newest product launch happens next week, but already the Korean tech giant has revealed its entire upcoming range of wearable devices that will seemingly be unveiled alongside the Galaxy S10.
That’s because the company’s Galaxy Wearable’s app was uploaded today with support for a range of unreleased products, which include wireless earbuds, a sports-focused smartwatch and a new fitness band.
First reported by The Verge — and originally noticed by @SamCentralTech on Twitter — the new wearables include a Galaxy Sport smartwatch, fitness bands Galaxy Fit and Galaxy Fit e and Galaxy Buds, Samsung’s take on Apple’s AirPods. The devices have all been teased in various leaks in recent weeks, but this confirmation from the Samsung app, deliberate or inadvertent, appears to all but confirm their impending arrival.
That said, we really can’t tell too much about the respective devices based on the app, which just shows basic renders of each device.

Still, that might just be enough of a tease to general a little more interest in what promises to be Samsung’s biggest consumer launch event of the year.
The Samsung unveiling comes days before Mobile World Congress, the mobile industry’s biggest event of the year — so expect to see new product launches coming thick and fast over the coming weeks.

What to expect from Mobile World Congress 2019


Source: Feedburner Tech Gadgets
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Samsung is preparing to launch a sports smartwatch and AirPods-like earbuds