Does know one remember this being an idea from Big, the 1988 Tom Hanks movie?
An anonymous reader writes "Players of Lego's new MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) are tasked with a mission: help save imagination from the dark forces of evil. The bad force can be kept at bay only by users' 'imagination and creativity,' said Ryan Seabury, the creative director for the game and founder of Louisville, Colorado-based NetDevil, which is developing the game for Lego. Players cannot be killed, but they can be reduced to a pile of unassembled bricks. The idea is to play the game and collect bricks, which will allow users to build more interesting models. Lego Universe, will launch in the second half of this year and will be a subscription-based service (price not disclosed)."
Turn off the computer if you are in real trouble. Kids don't understand that when you are on the Internet you can just walk away.
CuteSteveJobs writes "Children who feel they are being bullied, harassed or groomed online could call for help instantly using a 'panic button' on their PCs under a plan by the Australian Government's cyber-safety working group. The button shall look like a 'friendly dolphin,' who will connect the child victim instantly to police or child protection groups. Australian Internet Censorship Advocate Hetty 'Save the Children' Johnson says the Internet needs something like 000 or 911. Will this be another scheme wasting taxpayer dollars in lieu of parental supervison, or could it actually work? Are 1 in 4 children really sexually abused by the Internet? Can flaming and trolling be classified as bullying?"
Josedemuerto writes "Lose/Lose is a video-game with real life consequences. Each alien in the game is created based on a random file on the players computer. If the player kills the alien, the file it is based on is deleted. If the players ship is destroyed, the application itself is deleted.
Check it out at http://www.stfj.net/art/2009/loselose/"
Check it out at http://www.stfj.net/art/2009/loselose/"
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."
traycerb writes "It's been 10 years since 9/9/1999, when the Dreamcast launched on American shores. The hardware was ahead of its time; online capability, web browser, a visual memory unit, and a controller that anticipated the much-loved Xbox 360 controller. The games were amazing: Jet Set Radio (the first popular 3d cell-shaded game on a console), Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (still the apotheosis of 2-d fighting; just try finding a copy on ebay), Soul Calibur (still looks good compared to the recent Xbox/PS3 versions), NFL 2K (came out of nowhere, and was so good that it shook EA into spending tens of millions of dollars to seal up exclusivity for NFL rights), and many others. No doubt some of the reasons for the Dreamcast's demise lay with Sega, whose dubious hardware decisions (ahem, 32x) finally caught up to them, in the form of ambivalence from both developers and gamers, just as the console-making world was shifting to the multinationals with big pockets who were willing to spend it on pricey hardware design (or could absorb the cost of faulty hardware design). It was also one of the first consoles widely used for homebrew. In honor of the 10th anniversary, a new game is being released for the Dreamcast, called Rush Rush Rally Racing. The Dreamcast is dead! Long live the Dreamcast!"
blacklily8 writes "Gamasutra has just published our history of Doug Neubauer's Star Raiders, a 1979 game for the Atari 8-bit that offered 'high-speed first-person perspective through a fully navigable 3D-like environment in just 8K of RAM (memory) and 8K of ROM (storage).' Designed by the creator of the Atari's POKEY chip, Star Raiders was a hit on its home platform but now seems to have fallen into obscurity: 'Star Raiders is a shining example of what happens when a developer is told that something can't be done, does it anyway, and then is promptly forgotten for having done it.' In addition to describing the game itself, the article focuses on its impact on later games such as Wing Commander, X-Wing, and Elite."
An anonymous reader writes to tell us that following the news of NASA's budget cuts impacting their ability to do things like watch the sky for asteroids, a British company has decided to create a "gravity tractor" ship that could divert asteroids away from Earth if the need should arise. Of course, a gravity tractor certainly isn't a new idea. "Dr. Cordey said the company had worked with a number of space authorities on other methods of protecting the Earth from asteroids, but this one would be able to target a wider range. He said: 'We have done quite a lot of design work on this with the European Space Agency and we believe this would work just as well on a big solid iron asteroid as well as other types.' But the high cost implications mean that before the device could be made, it would have to be commissioned by a government or a group of governments working together."
BeckySharp writes "With the nearly simultaneous release of Apple's Mac OS X 10.6 'Snow Leopard' (available right now) and Microsoft's Windows 7 (available Oct. 22), you get the inevitable debate: Which is the better operating system, Windows 7 or Snow Leopard? To help determine that, Computerworld's Preston Gralla put both operating systems through their paces, selected categories for a head-to-head competition, and then chose a winner in each category." Relatedly, Phoronix has posted Snow Leopard vs. Ubuntu 9.10 benchmarks. They ran tests from ray tracing to 3D gaming to compilation. Their tests show Ubuntu 9.10 winning a number of the tests, but there are some slowdowns in performance and still multiple wins in favor of Snow Leopard, so the end result is mixed.
BuzzSkyline writes "Improvements in helmets have helped modern soldiers survive bullets and blasts that would have killed them in past wars. But increasing numbers of soldiers are suffering long lasting brain damage from explosions, partly as a result of what appears to be a flaw in helmet designs. Although the blast itself may not accelerate the brain inside a soldier's head enough to cause injury, shockwaves that make it through the space between a helmet and a soldier's head can cause the skull to flex, leading to ripples in the skull that can create damaging pressures in the brain. Simulations that relied on 'code originally designed to simulate how a detonated weapon rattles a building or tank' could lead to new helmets that reduce the traumatic brain injuries that many soldiers suffer as a result of improvised explosive devices and other moderate-sized blasts. The research is due to be published in Physical Review Letters, but a pre-print of the entire article is currently available on the Physics ArXiv."
brothke writes "The Myths of Security: What the Computer Security Industry Doesn't Want You to Know is an interesting and thought-provoking book. Ultimately, the state of information security can be summed up in the book's final three sentences, in which John Viega writes that 'real, timely improvement is possible, but it requires people to care a lot more [about security] than they do. I'm not sure that's going to happen anytime soon. But I hope it does.'" Read on for the rest of Ben's review.
Canis Lupus writes to mention that researchers from the University of West England are designing the world's first biological robot, constructed from mold. The robot, "Plasmobot," will be created using vegetative slime mold called plasmodium (Physarum polycephalum) that is commonly found in forests, gardens, and most damp places in the UK. "This new plasmodium robot, called plasmobot, will sense objects, span them in the shortest and best way possible, and transport tiny objects along pre-programmed directions. The robots will have parallel inputs and outputs, a network of sensors and the number crunching power of super computers. The plasmobot will be controlled by spatial gradients of light, electro-magnetic fields and the characteristics of the substrate on which it is placed. It will be a fully controllable and programmable amorphous intelligent robot with an embedded massively parallel computer."
theodp writes "Toddlers don't need to be texting, concedes the NYT's Lisa Belkin, but since they have always had toy typewriters and toy telephones, why not toy Blackberrys? If your little tyke is itching to text, the NYT has a round-up of texting devices aimed at children as young as three who want to talk with their thumbs. The question of, 'when is a child is old enough for their own cell phone' has been replaced with the question of, 'what type of texting gadget is appropriate for which age group.' But don't forget to lay down the law: 'Our 13-year-old got a phone with an unlimited plan as a reward for good grades,' says HiTechMommy.com blogger Cat Schwartz. 'Each night he is required to turn the phone in at 10 p.m. and then gets it back first thing in the morning.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "The Charleston Daily Mail reports that machinist Mike Daugherty built his son a working cannon for his birthday — not a model — a real working cannon. 'It looks like something right out of the battle at Gettysburg,' says Daugherty. The 700 pound cast iron and steel howitzer, designed to use comparatively small explosive charges to propel projectiles at relatively high trajectories with a steep angle of descent, has a 4-inch gun barrel that is 36 inches long mounted on a wooden gun carriage with two 36- inch diameter wheels and took Daugherty about two weeks to build at a cost of about $6,000. 'I've always been interested in the Civil War and cannons, so I thought it would be a good gift,' says Daugherty's 11-year old son Logan. Daugherty said he is not worried about the federal government coming to get his son's cannon because he spoke to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and found it is legal to own such a cannon because it does not use a firing pin and is muzzle loaded so the government does not consider the weapon a threat. Two days after the family celebrated Logan's 11th birthday, father and son offered a field demonstration of the new cannon on top of a grassy hill overlooking Fairmont, West Virginia and on the third try, the blank inside the barrel went boom and a cannon was born. For a followup they popped a golf ball into the gun barrel, lit the fuse, and watched the golf ball split the sky and land about 600 yards away. 'Any rebels charging up this hill would be in trouble with a cannon like this at the top,' Logan says."