Target has agreed to a $10 million settlement with lawyers for victims of its 2013 data breach, and CBS News reports it could pay individuals up to $10,000 each in damages. It has yet to be approved by a judge, but Target spokesperson Molly Snyder says the company is “pleased to see the process moving forward.” In case you’ve already forgotten, the retailer discovered in December 2013 that hackers had stolen information for some 40 million credit and debit cards, while its security ignored breach alerts for 12 days. The company’s CEO stepped down in May saying he felt “personally accountable” for the lax security. KSTP TV5 in Minnesota has posted a copy of the form victims will fill out to receive their damages if the settlement is approved, which you can see here.
Fallout 4 is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on November 10th. Bethesda revealed Fallout 4 earlier this month with a teaser site and a trailer full of brighter colors and a friendly dog companion. Plus: The robot butler of your dreams. The Fallout team has been working on 4 since the launch of Fallout 3 in 2009, Bethesda announced on-stage today. Fallout 4 includes the series’ most in-depth character-customization process and it showcases a dynamic dialogue system that lets you “walk away at any point.” Also new in Fallout 4, there’s a crafting system. Players can create their own settlements — build power stations to run turrets and other fancy, electrical fortress elements. In addition, the weapon-modding system is robust, with 50 base weapons and more than 700 modifications, plus a separate UI for the power armor.
Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you’ll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.
To get you in the proper mindset for tonight’s ghoulish activities, Grantland offers a look at the best horror movie monsters of all time. Jason, Michael, Freddy and Leatherface are all considered for categories like best costume, most creative kill and more. Take a look… if you dare.
Cassini has just finished the second of three planned Enceladus flybys on October 28th, going as close at 30 miles above the surface of the icy moon’s south polar region. The photo above was taken after the flyby, showing both the moon and Saturn’s rings, but rest assured the probe took a lot of close-up photos. It even grabbed some of the gas and dust that erupted from one of Enceladus’ geysers that typically spew water and other materials up to 125 miles into the sky. NASA will analyze those samples within the next few weeks, which should gives us more details about the composition of the moon’s ocean floor, as well as about any underwater hydrothermal activity. Cassini made the first flyby this early October to take a closer look at Enceladus’ north pole region. It’s scheduled to make its last one on December 19th to measure the heat the moon gives of, after which it’ll move on to other things for the last two years of its life.
NASA is considering a mission that will look into the habitability of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, thanks to data gathered by the Cassini probe. Now, the spacecraft will get up close and personal with the natural satellite by doing three flybys, possibly for the last time, as it has only has two years left. According to NASA, the probe will soar close to the moon’s north pole, which was too dark to photograph during earlier flights. The agency hopes to find out whether it has fractures similar to the ones found at the moon’s south pole and whether it was geologically active in the past. Cassini is flying at an altitude of 1,142 miles above Enceladus’ surface today, October 14th, with a second flyby scheduled for late October and a third for mid-December.
The probe first spotted geysers spewing out water and gas on the moon’s surface back in 2005. More recently, the samples and data it collected led to two studies suggesting that those geysers are caused by hydrothermal vents or fissures heating up the water. The spacecraft is also responsible for scientists discovering that Enceladus is a bit wobbly, proving that its ocean encompasses the whole moon. By the way, if you’re looking forward to seeing some close up images, the photos captured today will be released in the next few days — we’ll keep an eye out for you, as always.
Enceladus used to be just another icy moon until the Cassini spacecraft spotted geysers on its surface, spewing water 125 miles into the sky back in 2005. Now, after years of research, scientists have published two studies suggesting that these geysers are caused by hydrothermal vents or fissures that heat the water at the bottom of the 6-mile-deep ocean beneath the Saturn’s moon ice crust. Why is that important? Well, if the vents truly exist, the waters that surround them will contain chemicals and minerals necessary for life. Plus, the conditions around those vents will be similar to the environment surrounding Atlantic Ocean’s hydrothermal field — the place where life on Earth might have begun.
The first study published in Nature explores the findings of the researchers who analyzed and studied samples from Saturn’s outermost ring within the past four years. They determined that the minuscule particles the spacecraft collected are grains of silica formed from water erupted by the geysers. Since these particles can only be formed by water with specific saline content, pH and temperatures around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, they strongly indicate the existence of hydrothermal activity beneath the moon’s oceans.
The other study published in Geophysical Research Letters reinforces the belief that there are hydrothermal vents on the Saturn moon. It suggests that the methane content in gas and ice particles collected from southern geysers is a product of hydrothermal activities. Whether or not life actually exists on Enceladus, however, remains to be seen. Space agencies will probably need to send underwater robots similar to the ones they plan to send to Jupiter’s moon Europa to collect samples before they can confirm anything. If they do find signs of life, then Enceladus might be the key to helping us understand how life started on our planet.
Yes, the image above shows the cratered surface of a moon, but it’s not ours — it’s Saturn’s ice-covered satellite, Enceladus. NASA has received the first batch of photos Cassini captured during its flyby close to the celestial body’s north pole on October 14th. This is the first time we’ve seen that part of Enceladus up close, as it always seemed to be engulfed in wintry darkness those previous times the spacecraft passed by. Apparently, NASA expected its surface to be heavily cratered based on the low-res images taken by Voyager decades ago. While it turns out that it is indeedcratered, we now know that it’s also covered in cobwebby cracks. “These thin cracks are ubiquitous on Enceladus,” Cassini imaging team member Paul Helfenstein said, “and now we see that they extend across the northern terrains as well.”
The October 14th flyby was the first in a series of three — the probe is scheduled to come within 30 miles of the moon’s south pole on October 28. The final encounter will be on December 19th, and it might be the last time Cassini flies close to Enceladus, as it has other missions to accomplish within the remaining two years of its life. We’ve uploaded some of the photos the spacecraft sent back above, but you can see more raw images right here.
Nissan has begun testing its Leaf-based autonomous car prototype, not on private property, but on Japanese inner city roads and highways. To be exact, the automaker wants to put its “Piloted Drive” mode (part of its Intelligent Driving System) to the test, which can take control of the car in certain conditions. The mode’s first version, which Nissan wants to add to production models by the end of 2016, enables a car to drive autonomously in heavy traffic on the highway. The company hopes to roll out the ability to change lanes by 2018, as well as the power to navigate city roads and intersections without human input by 2020.
To make driving on busy urban roads possible, the Japanese corporation created a high-spec laser scanner that uses 3D measurement to determine the vehicle’s distance from objects in the environment. It designed an eight-way camera with a 360-degree view of its surroundings to help the system make a decision when crossing intersections, as well. Just recently, Nissan also unveiled its IDS concept vehicle: an EV loaded with all these autonomous functions and can offer restaurant recommendations.
NASA and Nissan believe they’ve got a lot to learn from each other when it comes to autonomous vehicle technology. So, the two have decided to team up for the next five years and develop a self-driving system that they can use not just on Earth, but also in space. A team of scientists from both organizations will design an autonomous vehicle technology at the NASA Ames Research Center, home to Moffett Field, where Google is also testing its self-driving auto prototypes. The duo will start by conjuring up a fleet of zero-emission robotic cars, presumably modified Nissan Leafs, as that’s exactly what’s pictured above. They expect to start test driving the first one by the end of 2015.
Nissan has long been working on self-driving cars, even testing an autonomous Leaf on Japanese roads in 2013. But company CEO Carlos Ghosn thinks NASA, which has a great track record building durable space rovers controlled from Earth, can teach the automaker how to create a more reliable human-machine interface. NASA, on the other hand, aims to pick up pointers on how to properly incorporate self-driving technology into vehicles. The agency plans to build autonomous rovers for use in locations farther or more dangerous than Mars.