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First Person Shooters (Games)

Black Mesa Nearing Completion, Trailer Released 103

Posted by Soulskill
from the silencing-naysayers dept.
Today, the Black Mesa Team released an impressive trailer for their remake of Half-Life . The remake is a total-conversion mod for Half-Life 2, bringing the updated graphics and AI of the Source engine to the original game. The team has been dropping hints lately that the project, which began in 2004, is almost done, and the trailer confirms that it will be out in 2009. They also recently announced that they've "dropped Counter-Strike: Source as a requirement for Black Mesa, and from now on, the only thing you'll need to play the mod is a Steam account with any Source engine game installed! Black Mesa is now running completely off of our own content and base Source shared content, and we felt the vastly increased user base more then [sic] justified creating all the extra assets needed to make this switch."
Space

Riding an Ion Drive to the Asteroid Belt 141

Posted by samzenpus
from the to-infinity-and-beyond dept.
Iron Condor writes "JPL is now close to embarking on another of its trademark, one-of-a-kind missions, this time to the heart of the asteroid belt: The Dawn mission is being prepared for launch this summer from Kennedy Space Center. Dawn will explore Ceres and Vesta, the two largest known asteroids in our solar system, which lie in the vast expanse between Mars and Jupiter. In the process, the mission will make history on several fronts. Besides being the first spacecraft to orbit a main-belt asteroid and the first to ever orbit two targets after leaving Earth, Dawn will be the first science mission powered by electric ion propulsion, the world's most advanced and efficient space propulsion technology."
Republicans

+ - Congressman Orrin Hatch caught pirating software

Submitted by
Rocketship Underpant
Rocketship Underpant writes "Orrin Hatch, the Congressman viewed by many as a shill for corporate copyright interests, recently stated that people who download copyrighted materials should have their computers destroyed as punishment. However, as Wired.com reports, Hatch's own website uses copyrighted software without permission — a Javascript menu system developed by a British company. Is Mr. Hatch accepting volunteers to go through his home and office destroying all his computers, or were his comments to Congress just a bunch of hypocritical hot air?"
Biotech

+ - Slow Drug Tests Cause False Positives

Submitted by MissDemeanor
MissDemeanor (666) writes "Wired science reports that chemists at the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia have proven that the illicit drug Gamma Hydroxy Butyrate is slowly produced in refrigerated urine samples, which could cause innocent people to accidentally test positive. Drug testing labs often have a massive backlog of samples. This means that a urine sample could be left in a refrigerator for months before it is tested. During that time, the drug known as liquid ecstasy, forms naturally and can lead to a false positive result that fools even the most rigorous laboratory testing by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. To make matters worse, the field test for GHB gives a false positive when exposed to natural soaps."
Education

+ - Encouraging Students to Drop Mathematics

Submitted by
Coryoth
Coryoth writes "The BBC is reporting that students in the UK are being encouraged to drop math at the senior levels. It seems that schools are seeking to boost their standing on league tables by encouraging students not to take "hard" subjects like mathematics, in favour of easier subjects in which they are assured good grades. The result is Universities being forced to provide remedial math classes for science students who haven't done math for two years. The BBC provides a comparison between Chinese and UK university entrance tests — a comparison that makes the UK look woefully behind. Is the UK slipping behind in science education?"
Software

Source Control For Bills In Congress? 300

Posted by kdawson
from the real-subversion dept.
grepya writes "An article in Slate talks about the sneaky way a major change in the Patriot Act reauthorization bill was made by (possibly) a Congressional staffer without even his boss knowing about it. (The change increased the power of the Executive at the expense of the other two branches of government.) Now, I write software for a large and complex system containing millions of lines of code and I know that nobody could slip a single line of code into my project without my knowledge. This is because everything that goes into the build goes into a source control system, and email notification is generated to interested parties. This is for a body of work that affects perhaps a few hundred thousand people at most (our company and the combined population of all our customer organizations). Shouldn't the same process be applied to bills being debated in national legislatures that affect potentially hundreds of millions of people?"
Science

Jeff Hawkins' Cortex Sim Platform Available 126

Posted by kdawson
from the build-a-brain-at-home dept.
UnreasonableMan writes "Jeff Hawkins is best known for founding Palm Computing and Handspring, but for the last eighteen months he's been working on his third company, Numenta. In his 2005 book, On Intelligence, Hawkins laid out a theoretical framework describing how the neocortex processes sensory inputs and provides outputs back to the body. Numenta's goal is to build a software model of the human brain capable of face recognition, object identification, driving, and other tasks currently best undertaken by humans. For an overview see Hawkins' 2005 presentation at UC Berkeley. It includes a demonstration of an early version of the software that can recognize handwritten letters and distinguish between stick figure dogs and cats. White papers are available at Numenta's website. Numenta wisely decided to build a community of developers rather than trying to make everything proprietary. Yesterday they released the first version of their free development platform and the source code for their algorithms to anyone who wants to download it."
Security

+ - Remote Control To Prevent Aircraft Hijacking

Submitted by
Snad
Snad writes "The UK's Evening Standard is reporting that Boeing plans to roll out aircraft remote controls systems in a bid to eliminate the threat of terrorist hijackings, and prevent any repetition of the events of September 11 2001.

"Scientists at aircraft giant Boeing are testing the tamper-proof autopilot system which uses state-of-the-art computer and satellite technology. It will be activated by the pilot flicking a simple switch or by pressure sensors fitted to the cockpit door that will respond to any excessive force as terrorists try to break into the flight deck.
Once triggered, no one on board will be able to deactivate the system. Currently, all autopilots are manually switched on and off at the discretion of pilots. A threatened airliner could be flown to a secure military base or a commercial airport, where it would touch down using existing landing aids known as 'autoland function'.""
X

+ - LinuxBIOS with X Server Inside

Submitted by
acassis
acassis writes "LinuxBIOS is a BIOS replacement. You can use it to start Linux from Hard Disk or even using Linux inside BIOS flash. This work show LinuxBIOS with Linux and graphic mode inside the BIOS flash. There is used a tiny X Server known as Kdrive (formely tinyx). The graphic mode and window manager (MatchBox) starts in 8s.
See yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuzRsXKm_NQ
More info about this system: http://www.linuxabordo.com.br/wiki/index.php?title =LinuxBIOS_Graphical"
Censorship

In France, Only Journalists Can Film Violence 531

Posted by kdawson
from the possibly-intended-consequences dept.
BostonBTS sends word that the French Constitutional Council has just made it illegal to film violence unless you are a professional journalist (or to distribute a video containing violence). The law was approved exactly 16 years after amateur videographer George Holliday filmed Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King. The Council was tidying up a body of law about offenses against the public order, and wanted to ban "happy slapping." A charitable reading would be that the lawmakers stumbled into unintended consequences. Not according to Pascal Cohet, a spokesman for French online civil liberties group Odebi: "The broad drafting of the law so as to criminalize the activities of citizen journalists unrelated to the perpetrators of violent acts is no accident, but rather a deliberate decision by the authorities, said [Cohet]. He is concerned that the law, and others still being debated, will lead to the creation of a parallel judicial system controlling the publication of information on the Internet."
Music

Major Broadcasters Hit With $12M Payola Fine 222

Posted by kdawson
from the pay-for-play-no-no dept.
Gr8Apes writes with a just-breaking AP story reporting that the FCC is wrapping up a settlement in which four major broadcast companies would pay the government $12.5 million and provide 8,400 half-hour segments of free airtime for independent record labels and local artists. The finish line is near after a 3-year investigation. An indie promoter is quoted: "It's absolutely the most historic agreement that the independent community has had with radio. Without a doubt, nothing else comes close."
Announcements

+ - RFID Passports Cloned Without Opening the Package

Submitted by
Jeremy
Jeremy writes "Using some simple deduction, a security consultant discovered how to clone a passport as it's being mailed to its recipient, without ever opening the package. These are the kinds of things that people need to understand are possible now that our governments are trying to use wireless technology (inherantly insecure) for security."

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