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Software

+ - Free software helps diabled use mouse->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A University of Washington team has developed a piece of free software to help those with motor control problem do what most of us take for granted every day — successfully use a computer mouse to get stuff done.The Pointing Magnifier combines an area cursor with visual and motor magnification, reducing need for fine, precise pointing. The UW team is actively seeking user feedback."
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NASA

+ - What If America Had Beaten the Soviets into Space?->

Submitted by
MarkWhittington
MarkWhittington writes "April 12 is the 50th anniversary of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s first space flight. Coming less than four years after Sputnik, Gagarin orbital space voyage galvanized the United States and led to President Kennedy announcing the race to the Moon six week later. The question arises, what if America had beaten the Soviet Union into space instead?"
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Robotics

+ - Roboweek Day One - Robotic Teamwork->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Roboweek is here! A robot’s equivalent to Hanukkah (or something along those lines). And that means I have the first robot for RoboTechEd’s roboweek celebration! These robots were made at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in Switzerland. They have been featured on tons of other technology blogs, and even on the news. Pretty sweet for two robots with one of the simplest concepts ever — playing catch. Yeah, you remember playing catch in the backyard with dad? Seemed like a thing that epitomized life, something that separated you from your computer...Until Now.

These two robots in the video below do exactly what you think but better, they fly. Pretty crazy right? While watching the video you see that they sometimes loose control of the ball, which is bound to happen when your already flying and trying to hit the ball up. But what I really think is cool about these two is that you often don’t see robotic teamwork. Multiple bots speaking to each-other to complete a task isn’t a new idea, but implementing it successfully is pretty rare. Overall I give these robots two thumbs up for their awesome teamwork and simple nature. Happy Roboweek guys, keep up the teamwork! ... Read more at roboteched.net"

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Idle

+ - What Happens If You Get Sucked Out of a Plane?-> 2

Submitted by
astroengine
astroengine writes "We've all wondered about it. When flying at 30,000ft, you look around the cramped economy class cabin thinking 'I wonder if I'd survive being sucked out of this plane if a hole, say, just opened above my head?' That's probably around the time that you should fasten your seat belt. According to medical experts interviewed by Discovery News in the wake of the Southwest Airlines gaping hole incident, the rapid depressurization, low oxygen levels and freezing cold would render you unconscious very quickly. Assuming you don't get chopped in half as you exit through the hole and hit the tail, you'd be long dead before you hit the ground. Nice."
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Programming

Polynomial Time Code For 3-SAT Released, P==NP 700

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the heard-this-before dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Vladimir Romanov has released what he claims is a polynomial-time algorithm for solving 3-SAT. Because 3-SAT is NP-complete, this would imply that P==NP. While there's still good reason to be skeptical that this is, in fact, true, he's made source code available and appears decidedly more serious than most of the people attempting to prove that P==NP or P!=NP. Even though this is probably wrong, just based on the sheer number of prior failures, it seems more likely to lead to new discoveries than most. Note that there are already algorithms to solve 3-SAT, including one that runs in time (4/3)^n and succeeds with high probability. Incidentally, this wouldn't necessarily imply that encryption is worthless: it may still be too slow to be practical."
Games

Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-takebacks dept.
The Moving Pixels blog has an article about the delicate balance within video games between giving players meaningful choices and consequences that cannot necessarily be changed if the player doesn't like her choice afterward. Quoting: "One of my more visceral experiences in gaming came recently while playing Mass Effect 2, in which a series of events led me to believe that I'd just indirectly murdered most of my crew. When the cutscenes ended, I was rocking in my chair, eyes wide, heart pounding, and as control was given over to me once more, I did the only thing that I thought was reasonable to do: I reset the game. This, of course, only led to the revelation that the event was preordained and the inference that (by BioWare's logic) a high degree of magical charisma and blue-colored decision making meant that I could get everything back to normal. ... Charitably, I could say BioWare at least did a good job of conditioning my expectations in such a way that the game could garner this response, but the fact remains: when confronted with a consequence that I couldn't handle, my immediate player's response was to stop and get a do-over. Inevitability was only something that I could accept once it was directly shown to me."
Movies

Tron: Legacy 412

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the you-saw-it-right dept.
In preparation for this weekend's release of Legacy, I re-watched the original Tron. Yes, I own the DVD. I thought I would watch it ironically and sarcastically, but it turns out I just can't. I really like the original. As for the sequel, I'm not going to write a full review, but I'll say that the visuals were pretty amazing. The CG Jeff Bridges was pretty darn close, but just not quite there. And the light cycles were awesome. What are your thoughts?
Graphics

+ - Graphics fundamentals - the why of 4-D matrices-> 2

Submitted by
solarmist
solarmist writes "I've seen a lot of posts that curse the math used in computer graphics, especially 4-d matrices. Most graphics books skip over the motivation for this entirely; leading people to see this as complicating things and being done arbitrarily, but there's a good reason behind it. This article tries to explain one of the main reasons for this. Basically it simplifies the math and makes representing transformations much easier."
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+ - Rare earths not so rare in the US

Submitted by LucasBrown
LucasBrown (1877368) writes "Some flurry was recently made over China's decison to halt exports of rare earth elements. This had the potential to be a big problem, as China has a near monopoly of the metals, accounting for 96% of global production. Fortunately, this may not be such a significant issue, as the USGS just released a study showing that known deposits within the US contain about 13 million metric tons of rare earth elements; furthermore, "at recent domestic consumption rates of about 10,000 metric tons annually, the US deposits have the potential to meet our needs for years to come." This is good news to magnet lovers and especially fans of those tiny little magnet balls--most of the strong consumer magnets are made from neodymium, a rare earth element."
Classic Games (Games)

FPS Games That Need a Remake 518

Posted by samzenpus
from the nostalgia-time dept.
kube00 writes "With the release and successful sales of Goldeneye 007 on the Wii, this opens the doors for other 90s FPS game remakes. Games like Jedi Knight, Red Rampage and Tribes could all use remakes and would look great with next-generation graphics. Nothing would be more satisfying than a remake of Jedi Knight that lets gamers slice Jar Jar to bits in multiplayer."
Censorship

Oregon Senator Stops Internet Censorship Bill 315

Posted by timothy
from the west-coast-style dept.
comforteagle writes "Senator Wyden of Oregon has objected to a bill in committee that if passed would have given the government the ability to censor the Internet. His objection effectively stop its current passing, forcing it to be introduced again if the bill is to continue — which it may not. Oregonians, please send this man pats on the back."
Crime

Real-Life Gadgets For Real-Life Superheroes 391

Posted by samzenpus
from the hero-on-a-budget dept.
cylonlover writes "Yes, there are real-life superheroes. And no, we're not just referring to firefighters, paramedics, and other heroic people whom we're used to seeing come to the rescue of others. We're talking about costume-wearing, identity-concealing, cool-name-having people who fight crime, pollution, or other evils in their own communities, on their own time, and at their own risk. Many of them actually patrol the city streets, ready to intervene if they see trouble brewing – and being ready includes having the right tools. Given that none of these people have Bruce Wayne's budget, Gizmag takes a look at some of the real-world gadgets they use as they go about their crime-fighting duties."

+ - Turns out BP is comprised entirely of saints->

Submitted by wonkavader
wonkavader (605434) writes "Not in one single instance did BP cut corners to minimize costs. It's official. The government investigative panel says so. "'We have not seen a single instance where a human being made a conscious decision to favor dollars over safety,' Fred Bartlit, the trial lawyer in charge of the investigation, said today." Not one."
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