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Japan's asteroid return mission arrives on Earth
by Paul Hill
A Japanese space capsule carrying large quantities of rock from the asteroid Ryugu has landed back on Earth, more specifically, near Woomera in South Australia. According to BBC News, the capsule was captured on camera streaking across the sky before parachuting down to the ground. It was subsequently found at 19:47 UTC after it transmitted a beacon which was tracked from a helicopter.
The capsule which came back to Earth had been attached to the Hayabusa-2 spacecraft that originally collected the samples which weigh more than 100 grams. Hayabusa-2 detached the capsule at an altitude of around 200km. The capsule then came through the atmosphere with a fiery tail travelling at 11km/s before deploying its parachute and separating its heat shield. As it got closer to the Earth, a beacon began transmitting so that it could be found.
The 16kg capsule will undergo examination in Australia and then it’ll go to a JAXA facility in Sagamihara for further analysis and storage. The cargo that it’s carrying is significant because it will help scientists learn more about the history of the Solar System but also about asteroids like Ryugu.
Hayabusa-2 was launched on December 3, 2014, and rendezvoused with Ryugu on June 27, 2018. It spent about 18 months surveying the asteroid and took the samples. It began its return last November before arriving back several hours ago.
Source: JAXA via BBC News
By Usama Jawad96
ACCC soliciting feedback regarding Google's acquisition of Fitbit
by Usama Jawad
Back in November 2019, much to everyone's surprise, Google announced that it is buying wearable manufacturer Fitbit in a deal valued at $2.1 billion. Since then, this transaction has gone through multiple phases including a probe from the European Commission regarding antitrust concerns. Despite this hurdle, Google is optimistic of completing the purchase by the end of this year.
Now, regulatory authorities such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) are also looking into the deal.
As spotted by ZDNet, the Australian watchdog has published draft undertakings submitted by Google and is now soliciting feedback from interested parties among the general public. The undertaking - which can be enforced by the court - restricts Google from utilizing user data harvested from Fitbit and future wearables developed by the company for its own advertising purposes for 10 years. This time frame could be extended by another 10 years if the ACCC believes it to be necessary. That said, Google also has to provide certain user data to third-party health apps and ensure their interoperability with Android handsets for the next 10 years.
ACCC chairman Rod Sims went on to say that:
The undertaking is meant to restrict potential anti-competitive behaviour from Google, and to stop it from utilizing user data gained from this acquisition to enhance its targeted advertising capabilities. The ACCC is soliciting feedback about the undertaking from interested parties until December 9, 2020.
Source: ACCC via ZDNet
By Usama Jawad96
Google criticizes Australia for new code about news media bargaining [Update]
by Usama Jawad
Like every country, Australia clashes with tech giants over various issues from time to time. Back in 2018, Huawei slammed the government ban that prevented it from providing 5G services in the country, claiming it to be a politically motivated. In the same year, numerous companies including Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, and Facebook formed an alliance to combat Australia's efforts to weaken encryption.
Now, the country's legislation has once again come under fire, this time from Google's content publishing wing.
In a nutshell, the new legislation, called the "News Media Bargaining Code", states that organizations such as Google and Facebook will have to bargain with Australian news outlets to secure "fair payment" for the content shown on their platform. Three months will be allotted for negotiations, and if these fail, an independent arbitrator will evaluate which side's offer was the most reasonable and decide in favor of either party within 45 business days.
This code has now come under fire from Google. In an "open letter to Australians," Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia, has stated that the new law hurts the free services that its users utilize. It claims that the company already pays news media millions of dollars per year and provide them billions of free clicks, but instead of fostering this partnership, the Australian government is encouraging local news media to make unfair demands. Silva went on to say that:
Silva has stated that Google will devote its efforts to changing the law while building and maintaining constructive partnerships with news media organizations, and that it will be talking more about this code in the coming days.
Update: The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has now responded to Google's accusations, essentially calling them baseless. The organization went on to say that:
The ACCC says that it will continue to consult with those involved, including Google, until August 28.
By Namerah S
Atari VCS pre-orders go live in Australia and New Zealand today
by Namerah Saud Fatmi
Atari's upcoming new hybrid gaming PC/console, the Atari VCS, is set to debut in the Australian and New Zealand regions later this year. Today the company announced that it has partnered up with Bluemouth Interactive for distribution purposes in these markets. Customers located in these areas will be glad to know that pre-orders for the VCS go live today.
Frédéric Chesnais, CEO of Atari, commented on the alliance with Bluemouth:
After a long and arduous journey featuring multiple delays and other issues, Atari finally announced a release window of fall 2020 for the VCS last month. An exact release is still missing from the picture, however, the upcoming gaming system's website states that orders in the U.S. will be delivered before December 24, 2020.
Today's updates contained in a press release shed more light on the matter, stating that the Atari VSC will launch in Australia and New Zealand in November 2020. Presumably, this applies to the U.S. as well, as it aligns with the previously disclosed information.
It must be noted that only the Atari VCS 800 with 8GB of RAM will be available in the Australian and New Zealand regions. As for the pricing details, they can be found below:
Atari VCS 800 Onyx Base version | AU$699.95/ NZ$749.95 Atari VCS Classic Joystick | AU$109.95/NZ$129.95 Atari VCS Modern Controller | AU$109.95/NZ$129.95 Atari VCS 800 All-In bundle (includes Classic Joystick and Modern Controller) | AU$849.95/NZ$899.95 Those who are interested in purchasing the hybrid PC/console and its accessories and are situated in either Australia or New Zealand may pre-purchase the items starting today. Orders can be placed through Bluemouth's online store or other participating retailers such as EB Games, JB HiFi, The Gamesmen, Catch.com.au and Mightape.co.nz.
Amazon Project Zero arrives in seven more countries
by Paul Hill
Amazon has announced that its Project Zero anti-counterfeit tool is now available in seven more countries including Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, and the U.A.E. Project Zero combines Amazon’s “advanced technology, machine learning, and innovation” with brands’ knowledge of their intellectual property to crack down on counterfeit products.
By using Project Zero, over 10,000 brands including Arduino, BMW, ChessCentral, LifeProof, OtterBox, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Veet can ensure that customers always receive authentic products when using Amazon to do their shopping. This, in turn, may encourage customers that have had a positive experience to come back to Amazon to shop in future.
Discussing the product, Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner Support at Amazon, said:
Businesses that are enrolled with Amazon Project Zero and have an existing trademark in one of the new countries will automatically be able to use Project Zero in these areas. If you’re a brand on Amazon that’s not yet using Project Zero, you can learn more and sign-up on the dedicated page.