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Planetary Resources' Arkyd-3R

Planetary Resources hasn't had much success getting its asteroid-mining business off the ground, in a very literal sense -- it lost its first satellite, Arkyd-3, in the Antares rocket explosion last year. It's about to get a second try, though. The Larry Page-backed company has announced that its craft's follow-up, Arkyd 3 Reflight (aka Arkyd 3R), is scheduled to launch from the International Space Station in July. While the vehicle will spend just 90 days sending self-diagnostic info before it falls to Earth, it'll serve as a useful test run before the more ambitious Arkyd 6 starts wielding its scientific instruments in December. No, this isn't the long-promised space telescope, but it's an important early step.

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The Dark Souls series' relationship with PC gamers has been contentious at best. The vanilla versions of the first two games weren't unplayable per se, but if it weren't for the enterprising community of modders around the franchise it'd look and run kind of, well, crappy. This apparently extends to the recently released Scholar of the First Sin as well. But there's a twist this time: Players installing the popular "DS2fix" softmod that addresses weapons durability glitches and save corruptions have found that they aren't able to easily summon other players into their game for help or adversarial combat. As Kotaku reports, the players aren't hacking in a nefarious way, they're just using a patch that makes the game work better on their platform of choice. Instead of pulling "undead" (how the series refers to its protagonists) from a general population, it's grabbing them from a comparatively smaller pool of other players that've been deemed cheaters for using DS2fix.

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On Tesla's quarterly earnings call, CEO Elon Musk announced "crazy off the hook" demand for its just-announced Powerwall battery product. He said over 38,000 reservations have been received, which should take up the expected production through mid-2016, and demand is high enough to account for all of the Gigafactory's production if they devoted it just to stationary batteries. That includes some 2,500 companies that are interested in the commercial-ready Powerpack (with orders averaging around 10 units each), and Musk said he estimates that commercial interest in Tesla Energy will account for 5-10 more megawatt hours than residential. To clear up one question about the Powerwall, he mentioned that while it doesn't have a DC-to-AC inverter included, it does have a DC-to-DC unit built in.

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A Pizza Hut in Florida

It's sometimes too dangerous to call 911, but one Florida woman just found a potentially life-saving alternative: a food delivery app. When Cheryl Treadway's boyfriend threatened to hurt her and her family if they left home, she used Pizza Hut's mobile app to send a request for help under the pretext of ordering food. Thankfully, staff caught the message and sent police to Treadway's home, getting the hostages out safely. This kind of stealthy, app-based plea won't be as necessary once text-to-911 rolls out in earnest, but it's good to know that it's an option in dire circumstances.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Alan Diaz]

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"Crabots" will help build Google's sprawling Mountain View campus. According to Architects Journal's latest report, these robot-crane hybrids will play a specific role in the construction of the Bjarke Ingels and Thomas Heatherwick designed structure. The UK publication is privy to detailed planning documents that the tech giant submitted to the City of Mountain View Council in Silicon Valley. The papers include mock-ups of the machines that will lift and shift the block-like "pre-fabricated" components inside the structure. The objective, according the report, is "to create a solution that can be assembled efficiently and economically within pre-erected canopy structures by means of small, easily manoeuvrable cranes."

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SWITZERLAND-EARNINGS-SWATCH

Smartwatches have yet to solve the riddle of battery life, but Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek says his company is hard at work on a solution. Speaking with the Swiss newspaper Handelszeitung, the chief executive revealed that not only with the watchmaker put out a smartwatch next year, but that it will feature "a revolutionary battery." Belenos, Swatch's research arm, and battery maker Penata are hard at work on the tech. The company announced last year that it would begin packing fitness-tracking tools inside its Touch line of watches, beginning with the Touch Zero for volleyball players earlier this year. What's more, the fruits of the long-lasting battery project will also be used in cars. "Whoever brings a battery for a smartwatch to the market that you don't need to charge for six months has a competitive advantage," Hayek said during the interview. For reference, battery life for both the Apple Watch and Moto 360 hovers around a day.

[Image credit: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images]

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Hey Jen-Hsun, turn that frown upside-down

Alas, NVIDIA's one-time dream of hitting it big in the cellular chip world is not to be. The company is planning to "wind down" its Icera modem business in the second fiscal quarter of the year (that is, no later than July), which could include selling it off. Simply put, NVIDIA's priorities have changed -- it's focused on those areas where its signature graphics and mobile processors tend to thrive, including cars, gaming and the cloud. It's an understandable move given the lack of traction for Icera's parts (Qualcomm virtually dominates the modem landscape), but it's unfortunate for the roughly 500 staffers who may find themselves out of work in a few months.

[Image credit: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan]

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Inside Toyota Motor Corp. Mirai Fuel-cell Powered Vehicle Showroom And Iwatani Corp. Hydrogen Gas Station

Toyota's new hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle (FCV), dubbed the Mirai, will be hitting dealer lots this October...all eight of them. The car company announced today that only select lots throughout California will actually be taking stock based on their previous advanced technology vehicle sales as well as the relative development of hydrogen infrastructure in their areas. The Mirai starts at $57,500, though with state and federal tax credits you're looking closer to $45,000 (plus free hydrogen for "up to three years"). You can check one out in person at San Francisco Toyota, Roseville Toyota, Stevens Creek Toyota, Toyota of Sunnyvale, Longo Toyota, Toyota Santa Monica, Toyota of Orange and Tustin Toyota. The company plans to produce just 200 units to start though it hopes to sell as many as 3,000 Mirai by the end of 2017.

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Bill Gates in his Reddit AMA

Reddit is about to host a lot more than links and comments. The social site is launching a dedicated team that will produce original video content. It'll initially focus on bringing the spirit of Ask Me Anything sessions to video, but it'll eventually look at covering stories from subreddits and individual users -- if you've seen the "Explain Like I'm Five" adaptation, that's a hint at where Reddit is going. It's hard to tell if this will click with a community that's more about impromptu discussions than slick presentations, but Reddit is clearly willing to find out whether or not there's money to be made in moving pictures.

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Sony has announced it is bringing Powers back for a second season. And, all things considered, it's easy to see why. As an entertainment platform, the future of PlayStation's original programming depends heavily on the success of Powers, a series based on the comic book story from Brian Michael Bendis. Thankfully for Sony, after premiering back in March, Powers quickly became a favorite for viewers and rose to the top of the charts on PlayStation Network. The company says season two is scheduled to debut in the US next year, although it didn't provide a specific time frame. In a statement, President of Programming and Development at Sony Pictures Television, Jamie Erlicht, said the new chapter will "broaden the Powers universe and bring even more of the fan-favorite characters and storylines to life."

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