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Comment: Politics in games (Score 1) 37

by Kataton (#38868605) Attached to: Ian Bogost Replies: Deep Thoughts On Gaming

Of course, the commercial games industry hasn't been very interested in making arguments with games, in taking strong positions on topics of any sort, let alone controversial ones like politics. We have begun to see some efforts to push harder at this boundary COD:MW2 is one example, but so are Deus Ex, Homefront, Farcry 2, Bioshock. I'm glad to see this progress, but of course I'd like to see more. In particular, we only seem to get the very faintest sense of an argument or position in these games. It's almost like it's just there for the publicity, but not too much publicity, because that might turn some players off.

It seems this guy doesn't know Killer7. That game was a compendium of these topics. The games he mentions here are quite childish by comparison.

Games

Graphic Novelist Calls For Better Game Violence 465

Posted by Soulskill
from the anyone-who-can't-take-a-few-rockets-is-a-pansy dept.
eldavojohn writes "Landry Walker (alternative comics creator of X-Ray Studios) has a brief opinion piece at Elder Geek asserting that all he wants for Christmas is more realistic game violence. While he acknowledges the world probably isn't ready for it, he wishes that getting shot in a video game was a bit more like getting shot in real life. From his piece: '... that's my problem with video game violence. Bullets are something we shrug off. Point blank fire with a machine gun is something that a tiny bit of flexible body armor and 20 seconds sitting on a magic invisibility inducing gargoyle can cure. Time and time again, I've heard people claim that they want to see a greater degree of realism in video games. But that's a lie. We don't want realism. We want fantasy. We want unlimited ammo and we want rapid respawns. We want to jump out of second story windows without a scratch. We want to dodge bullets and shake off mortal wounds without pause.' What say you, reader? Would this bring a new level of impossibility to video games or would there be a way to balance this out?"
Math

Why Computers Suck At Math 626

Posted by Soulskill
from the must-be-lit-majors dept.
antdude writes "This TechRadar article explains why computers suck at math, and how simple calculations can be a matter of life and death, like in the case of a Patriot defense system failing to take down a Scud missile attack: 'The calculation of where to look for confirmation of an incoming missile requires knowledge of the system time, which is stored as the number of 0.1-second ticks since the system was started up. Unfortunately, 0.1 seconds cannot be expressed accurately as a binary number, so when it's shoehorned into a 24-bit register — as used in the Patriot system — it's out by a tiny amount. But all these tiny amounts add up. At the time of the missile attack, the system had been running for about 100 hours, or 3,600,000 ticks to be more specific. Multiplying this count by the tiny error led to a total error of 0.3433 seconds, during which time the Scud missile would cover 687m. The radar looked in the wrong place to receive a confirmation and saw no target. Accordingly no missile was launched to intercept the incoming Scud — and 28 people paid with their lives.'"
Power

A Step Closer To Cheap Nuclear Fusion 404

Posted by kdawson
from the you-may-feel-a-slight-pinch dept.
ewsnow writes "The Focus Fusion Society reports that the scientists and engineers at Lawrenceville Plasma Physics have finally built an operational Dense Plasma Focus device. While still at less than half power, they were able to achieve a pinch on their device. The small company that Eric Lerner started recently gathered enough funding to start a two-year study on the validity of his theory regarding fusion-inducing plasmoids. If the theory holds, the device will produce more electricity than it consumes. In contrast to the billions of dollars spent on Tokamak fusion (think ITER), LPP is conducting their research on a budget around a million dollars. Yet, if it works, it will provide nuclear fusion with much simpler equipment and much less cost. Eric Lerner and Focus Fusion have been discussed on Slashdot before."

Comment: Re:Demonstrably Untrue (Score 1) 875

by Kataton (#29768661) Attached to: 1Mb Broadband Access Becomes Legal Right In Finland

Well, here in Spain at least it's in fact impossible to go bankrupt due to medical issues, because healthcare here is free, public, universal and guaranteed to everyone, even if you're not Spanish.
It's just basic humanity. Society is there for those types of issues. It may sound alien to you, but it has obvious advantages that the average greedy, absurdly individualistic American is unable to see.

Space

Irish Astronomers Investigate Sky Explosion 157

Posted by timothy
from the stopping-snake-attacks-since-400-AD dept.
puroresu writes "Astronomers in Ireland have appealed to the public to contact them with eyewitness accounts of a massive explosion in the sky over the country. From the BBC: 'Astronomy Ireland chairman David Moore said: "So far, reports have been registered by residents in west Cork, Kerry, Cavan and as far north as Donegal, thus suggesting that this spectacular event may have been witnessed by people all over the country. In the past two decades there have been two major explosions in the skies over Ireland. When we investigated these, we were able to conclude that one was a Russian military satellite that exploded over the country, and the other was a rock from space."'"
Media

iPod Fee Proposed For Canada 414

Posted by timothy
from the when-organized-interests-meet-diffuse-ones dept.
innocent_white_lamb writes "The Canadian Private Copying Collective is pushing for the implementation of an iPod fee in Canada to compensate them for 'losses' when people copy music to their digital music players. They have collected a fee from every CDR sold in Canada since 1997 and now want to extend that to digital music players. From the article: 'Some have argued that once they buy a CD they shouldn't have to pay again and again to listen to those songs — which they already purchased — on a personal compilation CD or on their MP3 player. But for people like Milman and Basskin, it's about recognizing the value of those works. "There has to be some sort of way to compensate the artist for the hours and the sweat and the blood and the tears and the extreme, extreme expense that goes into making music," Milman said.'"
Programming

Nokia Makes LGPL Version of PyQt 263

Posted by timothy
from the if-not-one-way-then-another dept.
EtaCarinae writes "Nokia didn't succeed in convincing Riverbank to change its licensing terms on PyQt, and so decided to create their own LGPL'ed version of it. From the FAQ at the PySide site: 'Nokia's initial research into Python bindings for Qt involved speaking with Riverbank Computing, the makers of PyQt. We had several discussions with them to see if it was possible to use PyQt to achieve our goals. Unfortunately, a common agreement could not be found , so in the end we decided to proceed with PySide.'"
Google

Microsoft Holding 'Screw Google' Meetings In DC 331

Posted by Soulskill
from the or-perhaps-screwgle dept.
Runaway1956 writes "Microsoft's chief Washington lobbyist has been convening regular meetings, attended by the company's outside consultants, that have become known by some beltway insiders as 'screw Google' meetings, DailyFinance has learned. The meetings are part of an ongoing campaign by Microsoft, other Google opponents, and hired third parties to discredit the Web search leader, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the matter. 'Microsoft is at the center of a group of companies who see Google as a threat to them in some combination of business and policy,' said a source who requested anonymity to avoid retribution. 'The effort is designed to make Google look like the big high-tech bad guy here.'"

Highly-Paid Developers As ScrumMasters? 434

Posted by Soulskill
from the madness-to-our-method dept.
An anonymous reader writes 'At my company, our mis-implementation of Agile includes the employment of some of our most highly-paid, principal engineers as ScrumMasters. This has effectively resulted in a loss of those engineering functions as these engineers now dedicate their time to ScrumMastery. Furthermore, the ScrumMasters either cannot or do not separate their roles as Team Leads with those of ScrumMastery and — worse — seem to be completely unaware that this poor implementation of Agile development is harmful to our velocity. To date, I have chalked this up to poor leadership, a general lack of understanding of Agile, and an inability to change from traditional roles left over from the waterfall development mode. In addition, I have contended that, for a given Scrum Team, the role of ScrumMaster should be filled by someone of lower impact, such as an intern brought in specifically for that purpose. But I would like to put the questions to Slashdotters as to whether they have seen these same transitional difficulties, what the results have been at their respective companies, or whether they just plain disagree with my assertion that principal engineers should not be relegated to the roles of ScrumMasters.'
Hardware Hacking

Open Source Russian Vacuum Fluorescent Tube Clock 155

Posted by kdawson
from the ice-blue dept.
ptorrone writes "Hacker extraordinaire Ladyada (whose open source hardware projects we have discussed before) has just published a complete how-to, with design document, on making your own open source Russian vacuum fluorescent clock. The vacuum fluorescent tubes aren't as dangerous as (high-voltage) Nixie tubes, and there seem to be more of them available in the world. If you're not interested in building a clock from scratch, you can also pick up a kit version. All the schematics, source code, and files are available on the project's page."
Input Devices

BrainPort Lets the Blind "See" With Their Tongues 131

Posted by kdawson
from the battery-testing dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Scientific American reports that a new device called 'BrainPort' aims to restore the experience of vision for the blind and visually impaired by relying on the nerves on the tongue's surface to send light signals to the brain. BrainPort collects visual data through a small digital video camera and converts the signal into electrical pulses sent to the tongue via a 'lollipop' that sits directly on the tongue, where densely packed nerves receive the incoming electrical signals. White pixels yield a strong electrical pulse and the electrodes spatially correlate with the pixels, so that if the camera detects light fixtures in the middle of a dark hallway, electrical stimulations will occur along the center of the tongue. Within 15 minutes of using the device, blind people can begin interpreting spatial information. 'At first, I was amazed at what the device could do,' says research director William Seiple. 'One guy started to cry when he saw his first letter.'" There is some indication that the signals from the tongue are processed by the visual cortex. The company developing the BrainPort will submit it to the FDA for approval later this month, and it could be on sale (for around $10,000) by the end of the year.
Businesses

Financial Issues May Force Changes On Games Industry 246

Posted by Soulskill
from the go-go-gadget-indies dept.
krou writes "According to comments made at the Edinburgh Interactive conference, operating costs of making games are spiraling upwards, and there has been 'significant disruption' to the games industry's business model. Games are getting much bigger and taking longer to develop, the console market is fragmented, and the cost of licensing intellectual property has gone up. All of this, says Edward Williams from BMO Capital Markets, means that 'For Western publishers, profitability hasn't grown at all in the past few years and that's before we take 2009 into account.' Recent figures suggest game sales have fallen 29% over the last 12 months. While westerners still relied on putting games on DVDs and selling them through retail channels, 'Chinese developers focused primarily on the PC market and used direct download, rather than retail stores, to get games to consumers,' and the lack of console users 'meant developers there did not have to pay royalties to console makers.' Peter Moore of EA Sports said that significant changes will come in the future, particularly in electronic purchasing of games."

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