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The next Xbox has a name and a new design: Behold, 2020s Xbox Series X

Xbox Series X. It's tall. And it has a modified controller compared to the Xbox One pad. Xbox Straight-ahead perspective. Xbox Phil Spencer confirms "15 Xbox game studios" are working on new games for the console. This is a better look at the new controller, along with a peek at at least one front-of-box USB Type-A port. Xbox Series X. It's hovering in a watery landscape. Apparent ventilation dots on the top of the console's tower. Dramatic angled view. Official logo. A sizzle reel of potentially "real-time" rendering includes a dramatic zoom on Halo's Master Chief. Halo Infinite is still slated to launch close to Xbox Series X's "holiday 2020" launch window. Let's rumble a sports car through a detailed valley. Assumedly taken from the Forza franchise. Another dramatic Halo landscape view. Phil Spencer then showed off new game Hellblade II: Senua's Saga, which he said was "all captured in-engine as being built to take ..

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Review: Castle Rocks signature slow burn pays off in tight, twisty finale

Lizzy Caplan portrays Annie Wilkes, one of Stephen King's most memorable characters—from the novel Misery—in the second season of Hulu's anthology series, Castle Rock. A nurse on the run with her teenaged daughter ends up stranded in a small Maine town where something evil lurks in the second season of Castle Rock, Hulu's psychological horror anthology series that draws inspiration from the works of Stephen King. The series was a surprising breakout hit last summer, and this new season doesn't disappoint, bringing the same slow burn and unexpected twists leading to a riveting finale. (Mild spoilers for season one and season two below.) The fictional town of Castle Rock features in so many of King's novels that co-creators Sam Shaw and Dustin Thomason thought they could use it as an organizing principle for their storytelling. The series is less a direct adaptation of King's works and more new stories set in the fictional town that occasionally bump up ag..

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Judge serves up sizzling rebuke of Arkansas anti-veggie-meat labeling law

Enlarge / Tofurky's bourbon glazed ham.Tofurky A federal judge on Tuesday roasted Arkansas' law banning makers of meatless meat products from using words such as "burger," "sausage," "roast," and "meat" in their labeling. The law also established fines of $1,000 for each individual label in violation. Known as Act 501, the law passed state lawmakers in March but has yet to be enforced. If it had, meatless-meat makers, such as Tofurky, would be forced to stop selling their products in the state, face a ruinous amount of fines, or change their labeling of meatless burgers and sausages to unappetizing and vague descriptors, such as "savory plant-based protein" and "veggie tubes." The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), The Good Food Institute, and Animal Legal Defense Fund challenged Act 501 on behalf of Tofurky in July. Together, the groups argued that the law amounted to a ham-fisted attempt by meat-backed lawmakers to protect the profits of the dairy and meat industry ..

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France claims big win against Vestager in battle for champions

The French are popping the Champagne corks. They think they have achieved the impossible, and have pushed EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager to revise her hallowed rulebook to allow the creation of European industrial champions that can rival China. Ever since Vestager early this year blocked a mega merger in the rail sector between Frances Alstom and Germanys Siemens, Paris and Berlin have mounted a determined push to tear up EU competition rules, which they say stand in the way of industrial heavyweights that can challenge China and the U.S. The main Franco-German argument is that Brussels needs to focus less on European consumers and prioritize the survival of EU companies on the international stage. After months of officials in Brussels dismissing the French and German offensive and saying the rules were fine, Vestager performed an unexpected volte-face this week and announced that she was going to review the way that Brussels defines markets for competition cases. “The a..

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Chrome 79 will continuously scan your passwords against public data breaches

EnlargeGoogle Google's password checking feature has slowly been spreading across the Google ecosystem this past year. It started as the "Password Checkup" extension for desktop versions of Chrome, which would audit individual passwords when you entered them, and several months later it was integrated into every Google account as an on-demand audit you can run on all your saved passwords. Now, instead of a Chrome extension, Password Checkup is being integrated into the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome 79. All of these Password Checkup features work for people who have their username and password combos saved in Chrome and have them synced to Google's servers. Google figures that since it has a big (encrypted) database of all your passwords, it might as well compare them against a 4-billion-strong public list of compromised usernames and passwords that have been exposed in innumerable security breaches over the years. Any time Google hits a match, it notifies you that a ..

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988 will be the new 911 for suicide prevention—by sometime in 2021

EnlargeGetty Images | Chris McLoughlin The Federal Communications Commission plans to designate 988 as the short dialing code for the United States' suicide-prevention hotline. Much like 911 for general emergencies, 988 could be dialed by anyone undergoing a mental health crisis and/or considering suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can already be reached at 1-800-273-8255 (or 1-800-273-TALK), but the FCC today gave preliminary approval to a plan that would make 988 redirect to that hotline. The commission's unanimous vote approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that seeks public comment on the plan. Once the NPRM is published in the Federal Register, there will be a 60-day period for taking public comments, and the FCC would finalize the plan after considering the public input. It could take another 18 months after that to implement 988 nationwide, depending on what requirements the FCC imposes on phone providers. The 1-800-273-8255 hotline "provides..

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Dealmaster: Nintendos Switch Pro Controller is down to $55 today

EnlargeArs Technica Today, the Dealmaster's tech discount roundup is headlined by a deal on the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, which is currently down to $55. While this isn't the absolute lowest we've seen Nintendo's ergonomically friendly gamepad fall, it is the cheapest we've seen it in some time, as drops below $60 have been infrequent over the past year. The controller normally retails closer to its $70 MSRP. For reference, it only fell to $62 on Black Friday. The Pro Controller itself is worth it if you frequently use the Switch docked to a TV. As we note in our guide to the best Nintendo Switch accessories, it's much more akin to an Xbox One controller than the Switch's default Joy-Cons, whose tiny buttons and joysticks can become uncomfortable over time. The Switch Pro pad should present no such issues—its face buttons and triggers are sized more appropriately for adult hands, its joysticks are tight and responsive, its textured handles giv..

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Ursula von der Leyens risky climate gambit

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen grabbed the Continents attention with Wednesdays announcement of her Green New Deal program that aims to turn the EU climate neutral by mid-century. The honeymoon could last less than a day. Just hours after her lofty speech calling her program Europes “man on the moon moment,” political reality will return to Brussels when the leaders of 27 member countries show up for a two-day summit and scrap over whether to agree on a goal of zero net emissions by 2050. The omens arent great. Leaders failed to agree on that target in June thanks to resistance from Central Europeans worried about the economic costs of such a pledge, and the defiance hasnt died. The Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have no plans to shift positions unless they get massive dollops of EU cash to take the sting out of decarbonizing their coal-dependent economies. “Poland is determined to find an agreement, but at the moment we dont have it — not in the way wed like,” Konra..

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This 3D-printed Stanford bunny also holds the data for its own reproduction

Courtesy ETH Zurich. It's now possible to store the digital instructions for 3D printing an everyday object into the object itself (much like DNA stores the code for life), according to a new paper in Nature Biotechnology. Scientists demonstrated this new "DNA of things" by fabricating a 3D-printed version of the Stanford bunny—a common test model in 3D computer graphics—that stored the printing instructions to reproduce the bunny. DNA has four chemical building blocks—adenine (A), thymine (T), guanine (G), and cytosine (C)—which constitute a type of code. Information can be stored in DNA by converting the data from binary code to a base 4 code and assigning it one of the four letters. As Ars' John Timmer explained last year: Once a bit of data is translated, it's chopped up into smaller pieces (usually 100 to 150 bases long) and inserted in between ends that make it easier to copy and sequence. These ends also contain some information where the data resides in the ove..

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Win part of a $4,500 prize pool in the 2019 Ars Technica Charity Drive

Enlarge / Just some of the prizes you could win by entering our Charity Drive sweepstakes. It's once again that special time of year when we give you a chance to do well by doing good. That's right—it's time for the 2019 edition of our annual Charity Drive. Every year since 2007, we've been actively encouraging readers to give to Penny Arcade's Child's Play charity, which provides toys and games to kids being treated in hospitals around the world. In recent years, we've added the Electronic Frontier Foundation to our annual charity push, aiding in their efforts to defend Internet freedom. This year, as always, we're providing some extra incentive for those donations by offering donors a chance to win pieces of our big pile of vendor-provided swag. We can't keep it (ethically), and we don't want it clogging up our offices anyway. So, it's now yours to win. This year's swag pile is full of high-value geek goodies. We have ov..

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