This can't be reiterated enough. It took them five *years* to get MTGO 3.0 out. Five years for a major version bump that didn't really have any new functionality, and was actually missing a lot of the old functionality at launch. Half Life 2 was made in less time than that, with a compelling narrative and excellent graphics. MTGO is a 2D card game with e-commerce bolted on. I don't even know how that's even possible. Did they only have one programmer? Did they hire a team that had to spend the first four years getting a CS degree?
According to a story at the Washington Post, John McCain's presidential campaign is offering more than moral suasion to fire people up for a McCain presidency; they're also offering ready-made snippets of rhetoric for interested supporters to supply under their own names in public comments to online news sources and forums. Such pre-written commentary by itself is neither new nor necessarily nefarious, but it seems a bit off-kilter that prolific commenters are eligible for rewards — not just campaign swag like hats and stickers, but higher-ticket items like a ride with McCain on his campaign bus. Probably a script could be whipped up to compare the canned suggestions on the site with "grassroots" comments on political news sites around the web.
HeavensBlade23 writes: Wikileaks has gotten ahold of the US Special Forces Counterinsurgency Manual. "The document, which has been verified, is official US Special Forces doctrine. It directly advocates training paramilitaries, pervasive surveillance, censorship, press control and restrictions on labor unions & political parties. It directly advocates warrantless searches, detainment without charge and the suspension of habeas corpus. It directly advocates bribery, employing terrorists, false flag operations and concealing human rights abuses from journalists. And it directly advocates the extensive use of "psychological operations" (propaganda) to make these and other "population & resource control" measures more palatable."
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
Andrew Feinberg writes "A California State Senator is seeking to mandate climate change as part of the standard science curriculum. Other members of the legislative body seek to teach an opposing view. 'Simitian noted that his bill wouldn't dictate what to teach or in what grades, but rather would require the state Board of Education and state Department of Education to decide both. Although global warming is mentioned in high school classes about weather, it is currently not required to be covered in all textbooks, said the head of the California Science Teachers Association ... teachers would have plenty to discuss: rising levels of carbon dioxide, how temperatures are measured globally, and what is known and not known about global warming.'"
holy_calamity writes "Researchers have successfully added two 'unnatural' DNA letters to the code of life. They created two artificial base pairs that are treated as normal by an enzyme that replicates and fixes DNA inside cells. This raises the prospect of engineering life forms with genetic code not possible within nature, allowing new kinds of genetic engineering."
HeavensBlade23 writes: The operator plans to offer four different packages that would cap monthly data downloads at 5, 10, 20 or 40 Gigabytes, according to Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley. As of yet, there's no unlimited option planned for the trial. Pricing has not been determined for the tiers, he said. The tiered pricing would apply only to new customers, not existing ones. If customers exceed their data-download limit, they will be charged additional per-gigabyte fees. "It's kind of like a cell phone plan," Dudley said. — Yes, because we all know how much everyone loves worrying over how many minutes they've used on their cell plan...why not bring it to internet access too?
Link to Original Source
Link to Original Source
miletus writes "A Wired article tells us that not everyone in Britain loves the surveillance state." The linked entry (part of Bruce Sterling's blog) quotes a story about British anti-camera groups, one of which claims its up-and-coming methods "will enable them to destroy a roadside camera in just a few seconds," and illustrates with a burned-out camera. I wonder how many Americans are similarly motivated.
theodp writes "PC Magazine's John C. Dvorak has a unique take on the cute One Laptop per Child XO-1, deeming the OLPC project a naive fiasco waiting to unfold that sends an insulting 'let them eat cake' message to the world's poor. When it comes down to a choice of providing African kids living in absolute poverty with access to Slashdot or a $200 truckload of rice, Dvorak votes for the latter. Buy ten OLPCs if it assuages your guilt, says Dvorak, but 'I'll donate my money to hunger relief.'"
g-san writes "Some Mac users are having problems with the latest 10.4.11 update, yours truly included. The problem seems to be caused by the presence of a Boot Camp partition and renders the Mac unable to reboot after the update fails. Note the Geniuses at the Apple stores are recommending a full disk wipe; but data can be recovered via Firewire." MacNN has a note up that if you fall victim to this "known issue" and need to reformat the disk, you can't reinstall Boot Camp because it is no longer available to OS X 10.4 Tiger users.
hereisnowhy writes "A giant fossilized claw discovered in Germany belonged to an ancient sea scorpion that was much bigger than the average man, an international team of geologists and archaeologists reported Tuesday. In a report in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, the team said the claw indicates that sea scorpion Jaekelopterus rhenania was almost 2.5 meters long, making it the largest arthropod — an animal with a segmented body, jointed limbs and a hard exoskeleton — ever found. In the report, the authors said the scorpion exceeds previous size records for arthropods by almost half a meter."
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In what has been termed the ''RIAA's worst nightmare', the Free Software Foundation has announced that it is coming to the aid of the victims of RIAA lawsuits, by establishing an Expert Witness Defense Fund to assist defendants in RIAA cases. The purpose of the fund is 'to help provide computer expert witnesses to combat RIAA's ongoing lawsuits, and to defend against the RIAA's attempt to redefine copyright law.' The funds will be used to pay fees and/or expenses of technical expert witnesses, forensic examiners, and other technical consultants assisting individuals named as defendants in non-commercial, peer-to-peer file sharing cases brought by the RIAA, EMI, SONY BMG, Vivendi Universal, and Warner Bros. Records, and their affiliated companies, such as Interscope, Arista, UMG, Fonovisa, Motown, Atlantic, Priority, and others."
SuperBanana writes "According to a report by the Boston Globe, MIT Student Star Simpson was nearly shot by Logan Airport police who thought she was armed with a bomb. She approached an airline employee wearing a prototyping board with electronic components, crudely attached to the front of her sweatshirt and holding 'putty' in her hand. She asked about an incoming flight, and did not respond when asked about the device. Armed police responded. 'Simpson was charged with possessing a hoax device and was arraigned today East Boston Municipal Court. She was held on $750 cash bail and ordered to return to court Oct. 29. "Thankfully because she followed our instructions, she ended up in our cell instead of a morgue," Pare said. "Again, this is a serious offense ... I'm shocked and appalled that somebody would wear this type of device to an airport."'"
eldavojohn writes "A meteorite struck in Peru on Saturday leaving cinders, rock & water boiling out of the ground. Villagers nearby reported headaches & vomiting and attributed it to the event. From the article, 'Seven policemen who went to check on the reports also became ill and had to be given oxygen before being hospitalized, Lopez said. Rescue teams and experts were dispatched to the scene, where the meteorite left a 100-foot-wide (30-meter-wide) and 20-foot-deep (six-meter-deep) crater, said local official Marco Limache.' It's not yet clear whether this is from the meteorite, gas trapped underground that was released or a chemical reaction between the two."
cyberianpan writes "Wired is carrying commentary on the story that Brussels police have begun an investigation into a citizen's allegations of rape in Second Life. For reasons of civil liberty & clarity we'd like to confine criminal law to physical offenses rather than thought crimes but already threats, menace & conspiracy count as crimes. Could we see a situation where our laws extend?"