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Games

The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-you-don't-get-points-for-reading-this dept.
A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."
Image

Teenager Invents Cheap Solar Panel From Human Hair 366

Posted by samzenpus
from the 50-watt-shampoo dept.
Renoise writes "Milan Karki, 18, who comes from a village in rural Nepal, believes he has found the solution to the developing world's energy needs. A solar panel made from human hair. The hair replaces silicon, a pricey component typically used in solar panels, and means the panels can be produced at a low cost for those with no access to power. The solar panel, which produces 9 volts (18 watts) of energy, costs around $38 US (£23) to make from raw materials. Gentlemen, start your beards. The future of hair farming is here!"
Image

Geeks Prefer Competence To Niceness 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the catching-more-geeks-with-vinegar dept.
Death Metal writes "While everyone would like to work for a nice person who is always right, IT pros will prefer a jerk who is always right over a nice person who is always wrong. Wrong creates unnecessary work, impossible situations and major failures. Wrong is evil, and it must be defeated. Capacity for technical reasoning trumps all other professional factors, period."
Education

Computer Science Major Is Cool Again 328

Posted by kdawson
from the on-average-we-all-have-jobs dept.
netbuzz sends along a piece from Network World reporting that the number of computer science majors enrolled at US universities increased for the first time in six years, according to new survey data out this morning. The Taulbee Study found that the number of undergraduates signed up as computer science majors rose 8% last year. The survey was conducted last fall, just as the economic downturn started to bite. The article notes the daunting competition for positions at top universities: Carnegie Mellon University received 2,600 applications for 130 undergrad spots, and 1,400 for 26 PhD slots. "...the popularity of computer science majors among college freshmen and sophomores is because IT has better job prospects than other specialties, especially in light of the global economic downturn. ... The latest unemployment numbers for 2008 for computer software engineers is 1.6%... That's beyond full employment. ... The demand for tech jobs may rise further thanks to the Obama Administration's stimulus package, which could create nearly 1 million new tech jobs."
Privacy

Cities View Red Light Cameras As Profit Centers 740

Posted by timothy
from the criminalize-everything-spread-the-guilt dept.
Houston 2600 writes "Chicago could rake in 'at least $200 million' a year — and wipe out the entire projected deficit for 2009 — by using its vast network of redlight and surveillance cameras to hunt down uninsured motorists, aldermen were told today. The system pitched to the City Council's Transportation Committee by Michigan-based InsureNet would work only if insurance companies were somehow compelled to report the names and license plates of insured motorists. That's already happening daily in 13 states, but not here."
Medicine

Brain Decline Begins At Age 27 381

Posted by timothy
from the mine-started-before-that dept.
krou writes "The BBC is reporting that a new study suggests that our mental abilities start to dwindle at 27 after peaking at 22, and 27 could be seen as the 'start of old age.' The seven-year study, by Professor Timothy Salthouse of the University of Virginia, looked at 2,000 healthy people aged 18-60, and used a number of mental agility tests already used to spot signs of dementia. 'The first age at which there was any marked decline was at 27 in tests of brain speed, reasoning and visual puzzle-solving ability. Things like memory stayed intact until the age of 37, on average, while abilities based on accumulated knowledge, such as performance on tests of vocabulary or general information, increased until the age of 60.'"
Networking

World-First VDSL2 Demo Gets 500Mbps Data Transfers 110

Posted by timothy
from the right-quick dept.
pnorth writes "Ericsson has achieved data transfer rates of more than 500Mbps in what it said is the world's first live demonstration of a new VDSL2-based technology. The demonstration achieved data rates of more than 0.5 Gbps over twisted copper pairs using 'vectorized' VDSL2. Vectoring decouples the lines in a cable (from an interference point of view), substantially improving power management, and reduces noise originating from the other copper pairs in the same cable bundle."

"Stupidity, like virtue, is its own reward" -- William E. Davidsen

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