NASA reveals the 3 contenders to replace the International Space Station

NASA reveals the 3 contenders to replace the International Space Station

While the International Space Station is the destination for conducting research in low-Earth orbit, it will not be that way forever. The United States and NASA, along with partners worldwide who are already helping to maintain the ISS, will continue to fund the space station for a few more years, but eventually, it will have to be replaced. NASA has now named three companies selected to submit designs for new space stations, and there are some familiar names on the list.

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NASA’s TESS found a boiling exoplanet with an 8 hour year

NASA’s TESS found a boiling exoplanet with an 8 hour year

NASA's TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) performs the job of discovering distant planets orbiting other stars extremely well. It has discovered thousands of potential exoplanet candidates, and a number of those have been confirmed to be planets orbiting distant stars. In its latest discovery, TESS has found an exoplanet the size of Mars but similar to the composition of Mercury.

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Apple could turn Epic Games’ app tax victory into unexpected defeat

Apple could turn Epic Games’ app tax victory into unexpected defeat

For years, developers and platform makers have been waging an almost silent war over how much each can really take out of every successful purchase or subscription. That struggle was brought to light recently when Epic Games not only publicly questioned the status quo but even dared to sue giants like Apple and Google. The repercussions of those lawsuits have so far gone in favor of developers and publishers, pushing app stores to make changes to the way they do business. Apple, however, may have found a loophole that would allow it to still tax developers even if they don't use its App Store payment system.

The 70/30 Rule

Few probably remember now when or where it started, but it has become an almost de facto standard that sellers take only 70% of profits while distribution platforms take a 30% commission. That practice may have become notorious on Apple App Store and Google Play Store, but that practice has been used by many stores, both digital and physical. Most of the digital games distribution channels like Steam use it but so do physical stores like Walmart.

It has been common practice for stores to impose some tax on owners selling their products through those channels, and it makes the most sense in the context of a brick-and-mortar store. App store owners like Apple and Google also justify the cut they get by saying how it goes into improving the store platform, usually by developing stronger security measures. Not everyone, however, buys those excuses.

Epic Games, for one, has cast doubt on any innovation Google makes for the Play Store to justify its 30% share. More importantly, the famed game developer and publisher calls into question the almost arbitrary restriction that Apple places on apps distributed on its App Store. In a nutshell, all the apps there have to use Apple's first-party payment system, which also means agreeing to that 70/30 split. Given it's nearly impossible to install apps on iPhones outside of that App Store, Epic Games has argued that this requirement is, in fact, illegal.

The Verdict

Epic Games' stance found victory both in courts of law and the court of public opinion. Indirectly, it has caused many companies to review and even change their policies. Microsoft, for example, pretty much made its own Store completely open and has waived many of the restrictions developers would encounter on Steam, the App Store, and the Google Play Store.

In some territories like South Korea, Google and Apple are being legally compelled to allow third-party payment systems in apps distributed through their stores. While Apple is still appealing that new law, Google has already accepted it, but with some caveats that we'll see later.

For its part, Apple has been making changes, like offering different tiers with lower taxes depending on what's being distributed or how much an app is making. One of its biggest changes is to allow apps to link to an external site when signing up for a subscription, and soon, it will also be required to allow linking to external payment systems. It's not a clear win for developers and publishers, however, and Apple might still have the last laugh.

The Loophole

9to5Mac reports that Apple might still be getting a commission out of payments made outside of the App Store, as long as the link to the external payment system comes from an app that was installed through the App Store. That, in effect, means all the apps that are installed on iPhones and iPads.

This pretty much circumvents the spirit of Epic Games' lawsuit as well as the rulings that are being imposed against Apple. The reason why developers would want to give up the convenience of Apple Pay or Google Pay for in-app purchases is to escape that tax in the first place. The filing indicates that Apple doesn't see things the same way, at least legally speaking.

It isn't the only one either, as Google already revealed something similar last month, where it said it would take only 11% or 26% of profits when a third-party payment processor is used. The Android maker presents a list of justifications for this policy, and Apple will most likely use the same tactic if questioned. South Korean regulators are still investigating whether this is legally sound, and you can bet that Apple's injunction will be met with intense scrutiny as well.

This Toyota GR Yaris prototype hides a new twist on hydrogen power

This Toyota GR Yaris prototype hides a new twist on hydrogen power

Japanese auto giant Toyota has released images of its latest hydrogen-powered creation. No, it's not a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (HFCEV) like the sleek new Toyota Mirai. As you can see, Toyota has outfitted its brilliant GR Yaris hot hatch with a simple ol' internal combustion engine, but this time it runs on hydrogen instead of fossil fuel.

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NVIDIA Arm acquisition faces another hurdle with FTC lawsuit

NVIDIA Arm acquisition faces another hurdle with FTC lawsuit

Most people probably don't know it, and they certainly shouldn't have to, but Arm's processor technologies pretty much run the world today. It's present not just in smartphones and tablets, including Apple's iPhones, but also in supercomputers, cars, and quite a number of IoT products. It is because of that rather critical position that NVIDIA's plan to buy Arm from SoftBank is meeting a lot of resistance, and the latest to fall into place could be the final nail in the acquisition's coffin, unless the two companies can convince the FTC otherwise.

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2022 Aston Martin DBX Review: A Vantage For Four

2022 Aston Martin DBX Review: A Vantage For Four

Since the inception of Porsche’s hugely successful Cayenne in 2003, the two-row luxury SUV market has exploded with offerings from every manufacturer with their toe in the six-digit waters. Rolls-Royce now offers the hyper-plush Cullinan. VAG’s Bentley and Lamborghini joined the fray with the staid Bentagya and hyper-masculine Urus, both based off the Audi Q8 platform, which itself offers a near-600-horsepower, canyon-carving-couch in the form of the RS Q8.

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Google’s first smartwatch leaks as Apple Watch rival for 2022

Google’s first smartwatch leaks as Apple Watch rival for 2022

Google is gearing up to release its own smartwatch, insiders claim, and it may hit the market next year. The sources allege Google's smartwatch -- which has long been rumored under the name "Pixel Watch" -- will be designed to compete with the Apple Watch, potentially giving Wear OS the boost it needs to earn back consumer attention.

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What Are Black Holes and How Do They Form?

What Are Black Holes and How Do They Form?

You've probably heard of black holes existing in the universe and may even have studied the phenomena in a high school science class. According to NASA, scientists speculate that they can range in size from a mere atom to supermassive ones the size of a million suns combined.

While countless artists have used their imaginations to depict these mysterious objects, you might be surprised to find out that, in spite of the size of some of them, they cannot be seen with either the naked eye or with the most powerful telescopes. How can something potentially so massive hide so well? To understand this, we must learn about what black holes are and how they are formed.

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Sennheiser HD 400 PRO reference headphones aim for ‘all the tiny details’

Sennheiser HD 400 PRO reference headphones aim for ‘all the tiny details’

Sennheiser is back with another pair of reference headphones targeting professionals, studios, and anyone who needs to clearly hear every subtle note in an audio project. The Sennheiser HD 400 model boasts a wide frequency response beyond that of consumer headphones, exceeding the audible range to ensure even the most nuanced sounds are perceived.

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Who Invented the Space Suit?

Who Invented the Space Suit?

Before humankind was able to explore the sky outside of Earth's orbit, we first had to get an understanding of what happens to our bodies once we ascend past a certain elevation. Fly too high in the sky and the human body will succumb to a lack of oxygen. And if you survive that, the colder atmosphere will surely lead to hypothermia. Believe it or not, it took the perseverance of one determined Spaniard to figure out how to work around those issues, allowing for exploring the skies at great heights.

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Free at-home COVID test availability expands in Biden action plan

Free at-home COVID test availability expands in Biden action plan

President Biden today announced a multi-faceted approach to dealing with the spread of the Omicron and Delta COVID-19 variants this winter, and it includes a massive expansion to at-home testing. Throughout the pandemic, much of our testing has taken place at testing sites dotted around the nation. With Biden's new list of actions to combat the spread of COVID-19, many more Americans will be able to obtain rapid at-home tests for free.

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The 11 Most Influential Women in NASA History

The 11 Most Influential Women in NASA History

The history of the United States space program was molded in part by the many women who have not only been launched into orbit aboard spacecraft, but who have also worked tirelessly behind the scenes in making the rocket and shuttle launches mathematically possible. From the more than 50 women launched into space, to the engineers that started the process on paper, women have been an integral part of NASA from the beginning (via History of NASA).

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