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Waymo v. Uber: Letter exposes depths of alleged espionage - CNET - News - 3 hours 16 min ago
Even though it's filled with redactions, the "Jacobs letter" still gives a glimpse into allegations of Uber's "illegal intelligence gathering."

What to play this weekend: Okami HD, PUBG and Oddworld - CNET - News - 3 hours 38 min ago
Plus, discounts on almost every Star Wars PC game ever made.

New letter: Top Uber officials engaged in illegal wiretapping, shady spycraft

Ars Technica - 4 hours 32 min ago

Enlarge (credit: Adam Berry / Getty Images News)

The highly-anticipated demand letter written on behalf of a former Uber employee, which has become central to the unfolding drama that is the Waymo v. Uber trade secrets lawsuit, was publicly released on Friday afternoon.

As previewed in earlier court hearings, the "Jacobs Letter" outlines in detailed terms the questionable and possibly illegal behavior that former Uber security official Richard Jacobs and his former colleagues engaged in during his 11-month tenure at the company.

This letter, which was only recently shared with lawyers involved in the lawsuit and the judge overseeing the case, ultimately led to federal prosecutors opening a criminal investigation into Uber, which is still ongoing.

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Google ramping up AI in China, Nvidia's Titan V, Intel's hip-hop misstep

The Register - 5 hours 41 min ago
And more in your machine-learning news summary

Roundup Here's your quick guide to news in the AI world beyond what we've covered this week.…

The 39 best holiday shopping deals right now: Dec. 15 update - CNET - News - 6 hours 1 min ago
With less than 10 days until Christmas, some better-than-Black Friday deals are still available.

Linksys WRT32X AC3200 dual-band Wi-Fi gaming router review - CNET - Reviews - December 15, 2017 - 11:52pm
The Linksys WRT32X stabilizes in-game ping like a pro, but you're going to pay for the convenience.

Roku Streaming Stick 2017 review - CNET - Reviews - December 15, 2017 - 11:26pm
The Roku Streaming Stick is an excellent choice if you couldn't care less about 4K and want to declutter your coffee table of remotes.

Security robot loses its job after vandalism, threats - CNET - News - December 15, 2017 - 11:18pm
A San Francisco animal shelter fires a Knightscope security robot after a fracas over its role with nearby homeless.

Merry Xmas, fellow code nerds: Avast open-sources decompiler

The Register - December 15, 2017 - 11:06pm
RetDec will turn binaries into something more legible

Malware hunting biz and nautical jargon Avast has released its machine-code decompiler RetDec as open source, in the hope of arming like-minded haters of bad bytes and other technically inclined sorts with better analytical tools.…

Samsung and LG will show off new phones at CES, report says - CNET - News - December 15, 2017 - 10:48pm
The company's budget Galaxy A8 and A8+ for 2018 are said to be preparing an appearance in Las Vegas in January.

Ford finds the future of driving in Detroit - Roadshow - News - December 15, 2017 - 10:41pm
Ford is setting its EV and autonomous vehicle teams up in Detroit's hippest neighborhood.

Google Maps now will tell you it's time to get off the bus - CNET - News - December 15, 2017 - 10:27pm
On Android, Google's navigation service offers more of a helping hand when you're using public transit.

Top Silicon Valley tech battle judge probed over sex pest claims

The Register - December 15, 2017 - 10:26pm
Alex Kozinski accused of showing women clerks porn, sexually harassing staff

A misconduct inquiry has been opened into top US tech judge Alex Kozinski over allegations that he showed female law clerks pornography and repeatedly asked inappropriate sexual questions.…

ZF's concept steering wheel integrates gesture control - Roadshow - News - December 15, 2017 - 10:23pm
The German firm sees a future where touchscreens and capacitive sensors bring further functionality to your steering wheel.

Dealmaster: Get a 15-inch Dell laptop with a Core i7 for $580

Ars Technica - December 15, 2017 - 10:10pm

Greetings, Arsians! Courtesy of our friends at TechBargains, we have another round of deals to share. While the Dealmaster hopes you haven't left all your holiday shopping until now, we do have a few solid bargains for those who haven't gotten started yet. Dell is running a number of sales on its line of Inspiron and XPS laptops, for one, while the rest of the list includes sales on quality gadgets like the PlayStation 4 Pro, Sonos Play:1, Bose QuietComfort 25, Amazon Echo Dot, and Amazon Kindle Paperwhite among others. You can take a look at the full rundown below.

(credit: TechBargains)

Note: Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.

Featured Deals

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ISS astronauts will get their own Star Wars premiere—in space

Ars Technica - December 15, 2017 - 10:00pm

Enlarge / In space, no one can hear you stream. Because the latency would kill you. (credit: NASA)

When you're orbiting 400 kilometers above the Earth, getting to the movie-plex to watch the latest science fiction blockbuster is a bit of a drag. But the current crew of the International Space Station will still be able to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi, according to a report from Inverse—and they'll do so while in orbit.

NASA Public Affairs Officer Dan Huot told Inverse that the ISS crew “will be able to watch it in orbit. Don’t have a definitive timeline yet."

This is at least partially thanks to the improvements made in the ISS's communications systems in 2013. Those updates were intended to improve the "scientific output" of the space station, which once had to essentially rely on dial-up speed connections. The High Rate Communications System (HRCS) gave the ISS a massive upgrade in its downlink and uplink speeds—increasing the bandwidth of uplink from the ground to 25 megabits per second, making it qualify as broadband under FCC guidelines. The downlink speeds—the rate at which ISS can send data to ground stations—is a blazing 300 megabits per second. The high-speed networking gear and accompanying Ethernet upgrades were executed by the ISS's commander at the time, Canadian astronaut and interstellar rock star Chris Hadfield, and Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn.

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New discovery pushes star Kepler-90’s menagerie to eight planets

Ars Technica - December 15, 2017 - 9:50pm

Enlarge / That's a lot of mouths to feed. (credit: NASA/Wendy Stenzel)

If you have an emotional attachment to our Solar System’s distinctions, you may want to look away. We’ve found another star system with eight planets, tying our own mark. Oh, and a Google machine-learning algorithm is responsible for the discovery.

This is one of two new exoplanets scraped from the massive archive of data from the Kepler space telescope by NASA’s Andrew Vanderburg and Christopher Shallue of the Google AI team. Planets detected by Kepler show up as slight dips in the brightness of a star—the result of the planet passing in front and blocking some of the light. Some planets are more obvious than others, and the goal here was to turn the algorithm loose on digging through past measurements for weak signals that had been missed.

Like all machine learning systems, this one was fed measurements from previously identified exoplanets to work out what differentiates real signals from coincidental blips. The researchers say the system emerged with the ability to correctly identify false positives about 96 percent of the time.

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NASA is trying to make the Space Launch System rocket more affordable

Ars Technica - December 15, 2017 - 9:37pm

Enlarge / Artist concept of the Space Launch System. (credit: NASA/MSFC)

NASA has said that one of the strengths of its Space Launch System rocket is that the massive booster, in part, uses legacy hardware. These proven technologies, such as the space shuttle's main engines and the side-mounted rocket boosters, provide the agency with confidence that when it finally flies, the SLS will be reliable.

However, one problem with legacy hardware, built by traditional contractors such as Orbital ATK and Aerojet Rocketdyne, is that it's expensive. And while NASA has not released per-flight estimates of the expendable SLS rocket's cost, conservative estimates peg it at $1.5 to $2.5 billion per launch. The cost is so high that it effectively precludes more than one to two SLS launches per year.

The space agency recognizes this problem with its rocket, and in the past it has solicited ideas on how best to cut the production and operations costs for its SLS rocket. Now, the agency appears to be actively considering alternative hardware, including the use of potentially lower-cost engines from a new space rocket company, Blue Origin.

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Microsoft giving away PUBG game to lure you to buy Xbox One X - CNET - News - December 15, 2017 - 9:34pm
More than a million people are playing the viral gaming hit PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds on the game console, and a promotion could attract more.

Patent pictures show Microsoft is still trying to build a dual screen device

Ars Technica - December 15, 2017 - 9:20pm

It's eight years since we first heard rumors of Microsoft's Courier, a kind of dual-screen tablet that folded in half like a book, designed for note-taking and sketching and similar tasks. Courier was never officially acknowledged, but in 2010 word got out that it was cancelled.

But as patent applications show, Microsoft is continuing to work on the dual screen, folding concept. In January, a trifold design with a flexible screen and multiple hinges was patented. Over the last week, yet more new patents have been published, again showing devices with either multiple or folding screens, and in the very latest, complex hinging mechanisms. This time, the devices pictured have a single hinge and a two-part screen, much like the Courier concept.

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