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Air Force certifies Falcon Heavy, orders satellite launch for 2020

Ars Technica - June 21, 2018 - 11:34pm

Enlarge / The Falcon Heavy rocket took off at 3:45pm ET Tuesday, February 6, 2018, with all 27 engines firing. (credit: Trevor Mahlmann for Ars Technica)

When SpaceX debuted the Falcon Heavy rocket in February, one of the biggest questions concerned who, exactly, would use the large booster and its 27 engines. Now we have an answer: the US Air Force, which on Thursday announced that it had selected the Falcon Heavy to launch its Air Force Space Command-52 satellite.

The military launch is presently scheduled to occur in September 2020 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The Air Force will pay $130 million for the mission, which is higher than the standard rate for a Falcon Heavy launch due to the military's mission assurance requirements.

SpaceX has several other missions set for the Falcon Heavy before then, but this represents a big step for the company, as it means the Air Force has certified the rocket after just a single test flight. The Air Force Space Command-52 satellite flight is believed to be the first time that the Falcon Heavy rocket has competed head to head with a United Launch Alliance rocket for a military mission, and obviously it came out on top.

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Canadian utility makes blockchain upstarts bid for their ravenous rigs' electricity supply

The Register - June 21, 2018 - 11:15pm
Quebecois poutine the squeeze on cryptocurrency miners

One of Canada's largest utilities is planning to make blockchain companies bid for access to electricity.…

Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL: Rumored specs, price, release date - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:54pm
Will Google play catch-up -- or leapfrog the iPhone X?

AT&T's WatchTV bundle will come with new unlimited data plans - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:42pm
The WatchTV bundle will come with 31 channels and cost $15 for non-AT&T customers.

Big Cable unplugs Cali's draft net neutrality protections yet AGAIN

The Register - June 21, 2018 - 10:40pm
Sponsors of US state's proposed law fume as key committee chair guts legislation

The lobbying might of Big Cable was on show again this week when a critical net neutrality bill in the California legislature was gutted to remove its most important features.…

Supreme Court sales tax ruling will hit your online shopping bill - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:39pm
The decision should wipe away a big advantage internet retailers have over brick-and-mortar stores.

New 2018 iPhone, iPhone X Plus, iPhone 9: All the rumors on specs, price, release date - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:38pm
There's talk of a super-size one, a less expensive one and one with three rear cameras.

From Elastigirl to Edna, Incredibles 2 is a feminist statement - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:24pm
Commentary: Elastigirl is out fighting crime, while Mr. Incredible stays home with the kids. And Edna, well, she does everything right.

Project Maven wasn't alone: Googlers reportedly boycotted another military tool - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:15pm
Google is still juggling the desires of its employees with working for the government.

Carne y Arena puts you in VR shoes of scared fleeing immigrants - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:14pm
Carne y Arena, from Alejandro González Iñárritu, the Academy-Award winning filmmaker behind The Revenant, is mesmerizing audiences.

Viral toddler at the border photo strikes immigration debate - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 10:02pm
A photo of a crying toddler went viral on social media and helped put a face on a controversial story. It’s not the first time.

Dolby Vision, HDR10, Technicolor and HLG: HDR formats explained - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 9:55pm
Yep, there are lots of ways to get HDR on TV. We'll break 'em down.

IBM loses mainframe docs down the back of the web, customers cry 'sabotage'

The Register - June 21, 2018 - 9:45pm
Broken page links flummox big iron clients of Big Blue

Earlier this month, IBM's attempt to redesign its website broke links to product documentation – and all hell broke loose.…

Why a 40-year-old SCOTUS ruling against software patents still matters today

Ars Technica - June 21, 2018 - 9:15pm

Enlarge / Under the Federal Circuit appeals court, patent law swung from software patent skepticism in the 1970s to extreme permissiveness in the 1990s, then started to swing back toward skepticism with stricter Supreme Court oversight. (credit: Federal Circuit Historical Society / Aurich Lawson)

Forty years ago this week, in the case of Parker v. Flook, the US Supreme Court came close to banning software patents. "The court said, 'Well, software is just math; you can't patent math,'" said Stanford legal scholar Mark Lemley. As a result, "It was close to impossible in the 1970s to get software patents."

If the courts had faithfully applied the principles behind the Flook ruling over the last 40 years, there would be far fewer software patents on the books today. But that's not how things turned out. By 2000, other US courts had dismantled meaningful limits on patenting software—a situation exemplified by Amazon's infamous 1999 patent on the concept of shopping with one click. Software patents proliferated, and patent trolls became a serious problem.

But the pendulum eventually swung the other way. A landmark 2014 Supreme Court decision called CLS Bank v. Alice—which also marks its anniversary this week—set off an earthquake in the software patent world. In the first three years after Alice, the Federal Circuit Court, which hears all patent law appeals, rejected 92.3 percent of the patents challenged under the Alice precedent.

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Star Wars fans start campaign to remake The Last Jedi - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 9:14pm
Director Rian Johnson has an amusing response to a new campaign to raise money to completely redo the Star Wars movie.

This is what summer solstice looks like on other planets - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 9:12pm
NASA has caught sight of scenic summer solstices on Saturn and Mars.

Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and more tech companies are condemning Trump - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 9:10pm
Silicon Valley CEOs move past cybersecurity and taxes to comment on social issues like gay rights and immigration.

MOS-SAD: Israeli govt weighs in on Facebook privacy, promises action

The Register - June 21, 2018 - 9:02pm
Spymaster whines about smartphone privacy

Israel Cyber Week Facebook – already kicked around the block by politicians in the US and Europe over privacy in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal – has come under fire from Israel.…

Best Galaxy Note 9 leak and render pictures we've seen so far - CNET - News - June 21, 2018 - 8:56pm
The Samsung Galaxy Note 9 might be around the corner, and we can't help but check out some concept photos.

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