Mr. Snowden is a HERO in any sense of the word. He has the moral fortitude to stand up for his Rights and Freedoms against an illegitimate and hostile regime. He does this at great peril to himself and his family / friends, to attempt to secure a better future for everyone. Support him by contacting your local and regional politicians and demand full disclosure of these illegal activities, destruction of all data, arrests of all persons involved in planning and implementing these intrusive technologies, strict laws to force full transparency in the future, and strict laws with penalties against law enforcement or spy agencies for any future Rights violations.
"His planning and execution around pissing the largest organization on the planet off?"
... " criminal " organization
Dthief writes "From MSNBC: 'Firefighters in rural Tennessee let a home burn to the ground last week because the homeowner hadn't paid a $75 fee. Gene Cranick of Obion County and his family lost all of their possessions in the Sept. 29 fire, along with three dogs and a cat. "They could have been saved if they had put water on it, but they didn't do it," Cranick told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann. The fire started when the Cranicks' grandson was burning trash near the family home. As it grew out of control, the Cranicks called 911, but the fire department from the nearby city of South Fulton would not respond.'"
Softhaus writes "Many readers here are likely familiar with the popular, open source RTS game Glest, which comes packaged with nearly every Linux distro. Unfortunately, all development ceased on the original game back in 2008, disappointing many around the world. During the past year, a new fork (called Mega-Glest) has endeavored to take this great game and bring it to the masses. This new fork can provide hours of fun at your next LAN party, as it supports up to eight players in real-time (with or without CPU AI players), and the newly released v3.3.5 offers Internet play via a master server lobby. Cross-platform network play is now a reality, which could help bridge the gap between Linux and Windows users in a cohesive manner. One of the best features of Mega-Glest (and indeed Glest itself) is the ease with which new 'factions' and mods may be produced via a Map editor, model viewer, Blender plugins, XML files describing your unit traits, particles, weapons, and LUA scripting for scenarios and AI. Full installers for Windows, Linux 32-bit and 64-bit are available on SourceForge, promising hours of fun. But one warning: the game can become highly addictive. You can provide feedback for the game through the official forums."
An anonymous reader writes "PIXAR Animator Angus MacLane has created an incredible series of LEGO 'CubeDudes' modeled after beloved characters from sci-fi movies and comic books. From Star Wars heroes R2D2 and C-3PO to Toy Story's Buzz Lightyear and Jessie, the pixellated creations bear a remarkable likeness to their forebears. MacLane says, 'When I had a moment here and there I chip away at a few at a time. I'll have the body of one Dude and a head of another that I will be working on at the same time. It takes me about 10-15 minutes to make one CubeDude and I average about two a day.' The hardest part is the color palette — LEGO doesn't make purple bricks, so villains like Lex Luthor, The Joker, and Grimace are a challenge."
Have you ever been so drunk that you passed out and your dog ate your toe? I haven't either, but luckily for Michigander Jerry Douthett, he has. It turns out Jerry has type 2 diabetes and a wound on his toe had becoming dangerously infected. After a night of drinking Jerry passed out in his chair and the family dog Kiko decided to do a little doggy doctoring. From the article: "'The toe was gone,' said Douthett. 'He ate it. I mean, he must have eaten it, because we couldn't find it anywhere else in the house. I look down, there's blood all over, and my toe is gone.' [Douthett's wife] Rosee, 40, rushed her husband to the hospital where she's a gerontology nurse — Spectrum Health's Blodgett Campus. Kiko had gnawed to a point below the nail-line. When tests revealed an infection to the bone, doctors amputated what was left of the toe."
A couple's home was saved from foreclosure after they found a copy of Action Comics #1 in a box in the basement. From the article: "In a statement released through ComicConnect, the owner of the prized comic book said the family was still 'a little shell shocked' after the unexpected find. 'I was so nervous when I realized what it was worth,' the owner said. 'I know I am very fortunate but I will be greatly relieved when this book finds a new home.'"
longacre writes "Erik Sofge trudges through NASA's latest free video game, which he finds tedious, uninspiring and misguided. Quoting: 'Moonbase Alpha is a demo, of sorts, for NASA's more ambitious upcoming game, Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, which will feature more destinations, and hopefully less welding. The European Space Agency is developing a similar game, set on the Jovian Moon, Europa. But Moonbase Alpha proves that as a recruiting campaign, or even as an educational tool, the astronaut simulation game is a lost cause. Unless NASA plans to veer into science fiction and populate its virtual moons, asteroids and planets with hostile species, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to suffer through another minute of pretending to weld power cables back into place, while thousands of miles away, the most advanced explorers ever built are hurtling toward asteroids and dwarf planets and into the heart of the sun. Even if it was possible to build an astronaut game that's both exciting and realistic, why bother? It will be more than a decade before humans even attempt another trip outside of Earth's orbit. If NASA wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, its games should focus on the real winners of the space race — the robots.'"
Ben Sturmfels writes "Over 500 members of the Australian software industry have have signed an open letter urging their government to abolish software patents. Signatories include free software luminaries Andrew Tridgell and Jonathan Oxer. In 2008 the Australian government began a Review of Patentable Subject Matter. While we missed the 2009 public consultation period, we hope to influence the government's response to the Review, due in February 2011. The letter will be presented to Minister Kim Carr in early August."
An anonymous reader writes "Recently, video game developers have begun to make games about current conflicts the world over. Many veterans and current military personnel now take an active role in the video game community. Are game companies running the risk of walking into a public relations disaster when making games about current wars? More importantly, how will veterans react to playing games about a conflict in which they have participated? From the article: 'To portray conflict in a way that not only accurately depicts the acts of war, but does so in a manner that takes into account the sacrifices of soldiers within some sort of moral framing is a complicated matter. Now add to this the idea that such depictions are essentially created as entertainment and to make money. It is certainly mind numbing when looked at from a social perspective. ... Now try and apply this dynamic to a more recent conflict such as the Vietnam War or the current conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Considering that the latter wars are still in progress, the ability for a game developer to accurately gauge the morality of such a conflict is limited at best. To make a game that takes these factors into account while trying to create something that is both entertaining and capable of mass appeal among the gaming community is near impossible.'" We caught a glimpse of this last year with the reactions to Six Days In Fallujah.
A pair of security researchers speaking at DefCon demonstrated how video game consoles, which are becoming increasingly common break room or team-building toys, can open vulnerabilities in corporate networks. "[They] found that many companies install Nintendo Wii devices in their work places, even though they don’t let you walk into the company with smartphones or laptops. (Factories and other sensitive work locations don’t allow any devices with cameras). By poisoning the Wii, they could spread a virus over the corporate network. People have a false sense of security about the safety of these game devices, but they can log into computer networks like most other computer devices now. In the demos, the researchers showed they could take compromised code and inject it into the main game file that runs on either a DS or a game console. They could take over the network and pretty much spread malware across it and thereby compromise an entire corporation. The researchers said they can do this with just about any embedded device, from iPhones to internet TVs."
Every so often, video games are accused of causing all sorts of negative behavior in children, teens, and adults. These accusations are typically predicated on statistics that sound much more damning than they actually are. In that vein, gaming website Rock, Paper, Shotgun did their own tongue-in-cheek statistical analysis, complete with pretty charts and graphs. Quoting: "As part of my research I thought to compare the sales of each GTA game with what the divorce rate must have been when each came out. As you can see each new GTA game has been directly correlated with an increase in divorces. ... An often ignored statistic (and you have to ask why it’s being ignored by the games media, don’t you?) is the sheer volume of PC games being released. We’ve all noticed the British population is abandoning the church, turning instead toward shopping, DVDs and knife crime. But few have thought to check for a connection between PC sales and the numbers of people attending their local Church Of England church on a Sunday. When you look at the data there’s little doubt left that as the publishers continue to release more and more PC games each year, our nation’s faith is being increasingly eroded. And at what cost? If only a graph could tell us that."
United States Coast Guard? what, and or who, exactly are they Pirating? one would expect the Coast Guard to have more respect on the open seas, but then again, was it not a Letter of Mark from the king that permitted and reinforced some of the old time Piracy back in the day?
wooferhound writes "Like proud parents savoring their baby's very first steps, mission team members gathered in a gallery above a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory to watch the Mars Curiosity rover roll for the first time. Engineers and technicians wore bunny suits while guiding Curiosity through its first steps, or more precisely, its first roll on the clean room floor. The rover moved forward and backward about 1 meter (3.3 feet). Mars Science Laboratory (aka Curiosity) is scheduled to launch in fall 2011 and land on the Red Planet in August 2012. Curiosity is the largest rover ever sent to Mars. It will carry 10 instruments that will help search an intriguing region of the Red Planet for two things: environments where life might have existed, and the capacity of those environments to preserve evidence of past life."