An anonymous reader writes "In a study conducted by TNO for the Dutch government the economic effects of filesharing are found to be positive. According to the 146 page report (available for download, but in Dutch) filesharing is good for the prosperity of the Dutch: with filesharing more media are available, even though this costs the media industry some profit. One of the most noticeable conclusions is that downloading and buying are not mutually exclusive: downloaders on average buy just as much music as non-downloaders, but they buy more DVDs and games then people who don't download. They also tend to visit more concerts and buy more merchandise."
Jeffrey Steefel, executive producer for Lord of the Rings: Online recently spoke to Eurogamer about the game's upcoming expansion and its future in the MMO market. One thing he mentions is the challenge of designing an MMO for consoles, which have a larger player base than PC games. He admits that UI development would be a huge issue, but also thinks MMOs could benefit from splitting tasks between various devices. "Long term, for me, the real exciting vision is ... thinking about a game, a franchise, as this centralised content. There's this thing called Lord of the Rings that sits on a bunch of servers ... and whether you're on your PC, your console, your mobile device, those are all just access points, and they're all good at different things. ... The console is great for fast action, immediate activities. Combat, raids, things like that could be a lot of fun sitting on your couch. And some things that are necessary but slightly rote and boring, like managing your inventory or setting up for a raid, or some elements of crafting — those are things that you can do instead of playing Bejeweled when you're sitting on the train or on a break or whatever it happens to be."
1Up has a feature discussing where the line should be drawn when it comes to game addiction. The author speaks to researcher Neils Clark about some of the common characteristics of addiction, and how the high level of immersion in many modern games contributes to the mind's ability to drown out mundane tasks. We've discussed game addiction many times over the past several years. Quoting: "If we're not all dribbling addicts, then why are we playing so much? Clark puts this down to a theory proposed by The Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien — primary and secondary worlds. The primary world is our own real life. The secondary is the fictional world: literature, film, videogames, and so on. 'It used to be that the imagery and artistic intent had to be fully available before you could really "find" yourself in a written story,' Clark says. 'Immersion has progressed to the point where entering a world [inside a game] is almost automatic. At the point we're at, playing healthy not only means understanding immersion but [also] recognizing that these secondary worlds are designed to be more fulfilling than the primary. Learning to balance them is its own technology. It's something that humankind is in a process of developing, even if on a subconscious level for most gamers.'"
Croakyvoice writes "The ScummVM Team has released a new version of their program that allows owners of many systems to play the old point and click adventure games of yesteryear. This release sees support for 5 new games — The Legend of Kyrandia: Book Two: Hand of Fate, The Legend of Kyrandia: Book Three: Malcolm's Revenge, Lost in Time, The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble and Drascula: The Vampire Strikes Back. The new version officially supports, for the first time, the Gamecube and the Wii, and also the ability to use the Wiimote as a controller. The binaries and the source code are both available."
Kligat writes "For the first time since 2003, the International Space Station has utilized the rockets on the European Space Agency's Automated Transfer Vehicle to dodge leftover remnants of a defunct satellite. The Russian Cosmos-2421 was launched in June 2006 to track Western Navy vessels and is believed by NASA to have exploded — 'likely due to a self-destruct command issued by Russian officials' according to the article — leaving 500 pieces of space debris. Ordinarily, the rockets on the ATV are used to take the ISS away from Earth's atmosphere and reduce drag. In this case, the 5-minute firing caused the ISS to move downward because it was already near the top of its acceptable range. Estimated probability of impact was 1 in 72, and an avoidance maneuver is called for if the probability is greater than 1 in 10,000. The space junk was predicted to pass the ISS within just a mile."
KingofGnG writes to tell us that the genius behind games like Monkey Island, Maniac Mansion, and the SCUMM script engine has returned to bring you another action-adventure entitled "DeathSpank". Showcased at the recent Penny Arcade Expo, the game promises the same adventure-styled gameplay of Monkey Island with the RPG-style gameplay of Diablo. Now all you have to do is get the fish out of your pants and belly up to the SCUMM bar.
An anonymous reader writes "China is aiming to produce the world's fastest operating conventional train for its new high speed rail link between Shanghai and Beijing, achieving speeds up to 380 km/h and cutting the travel time between the two cities from the current ten hours to under five. The new rail link is scheduled to be completed within four years. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Railways' Deputy Chief Engineer has announced that China will be able to manufacture the new trains within two years."
Ostracus writes to share a new take on the word "treehouse." Engineers and plant scientists from Tel Aviv have taken the application of tree shaping to the next level, designing everything from streetlamps to houses. "A home built from trees, the researchers said, would be a natural storm protector. 'After earthquakes and after tsunamis the only structures that still survive are trees,' said Yaniv Naftaly, director of operations at Plantware, a company founded in 2002. Naftaly told LiveScience the same sturdiness should apply to tree-made homes. Eshel and TAU colleague Yoav Waisel are working with Plantware to commercialize the leafy designs. The team found that certain tree species grown aeroponically (in air instead of soil and water) have roots that don't harden. Once the malleable, so-called soft roots grow long enough in the lab, they are molded around metal frames in the shape of a playground or park bench."
Who said the Prius has to be wimpy?
I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "It probably won't surprise you, but in 2005, the FBI manufactured evidence to get the power to issue National Security Letters under the PATRIOT Act. Unlike normal subpoenas, NSLs do not require probable cause and you're never allowed to talk about having received one, leading to a lack of accountability that caused them to be widely abused. The EFF has discovered via FOIA requests that an FBI field agent was forced by superiors to return papers he got via a lawful subpoena, then demand them again via an NSL (which was rejected for being unlawful at the time), and re-file the original subpoena to get them back. This delay in a supposedly critical anti-terror investigation then became a talking point used by FBI Director Robert Mueller when the FBI wanted to justify their need for the power to issue National Security Letters."
An anonymous reader writes about a new robot submersible that uses temperature differences in the sea to power operation for more than twice as long as previous, battery-dependent vehicles. "The torpedo-shaped glider moves through the ocean by changing its buoyancy to dive and surface, unlike motorized, propeller-driven undersea vehicles. To power its propulsion, the submersible gathers thermal energy from the ocean. When it moves from cooler water to warmer areas, internal tubes of wax are heated up and expand, pushing out the gas in surrounding tanks and increasing its pressure. The compressed gas stores potential energy, like a squeezed spring, that can be used to power the vehicle. To rise, oil is pushed from inside the vehicle to external bladders, thus increasing the glider's volume without changing its mass, making it less dense. The oil can be shifted inside to increase the density and sink the vehicle."
derrida writes "Because the traditional System V init daemon (SysVinit) does not deal well with modern hardware, including hotplug devices, USB hard and flash drives, and network-mounted filesystems, Ubuntu replaced it with the upstart init daemon. Several other replacements for SysVinit are also available. One of the most prominent, initng, is available for Debian and runs on Ubuntu. Solaris uses SMF (Service Management Facility) and Mac OS uses launchd. Over time, Ubuntu will likely come to incorporate features of each of these systems into Upstart. Furthermore, heading in a different direction from its main rivals, Ubuntu Linux will use KVM as its primary virtualization software. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server both use the Xen virtualization software, a 'hypervisor' layer that lets multiple operating systems run on the same computer. In contrast, the KVM software runs on top of a version of Linux, the 'host' operating system that provides a foundation for other 'guest' operating systems to run in a virtual mode." Slashdot shares a corporate overlord with Linux.com.
NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In an Arizona case against a defendant who has no legal representation, Atlantic v. Howell, the RIAA is now arguing — contrary to its lawyers' statements to the United States Supreme Court in 2005 MGM v. Grokster — that the defendant's ripping of personal MP3 copies onto his computer is a copyright infringement. At page 15 of its brief (PDF) it states the following: 'It is undisputed that Defendant possessed unauthorized copies... Virtually all of the sound recordings... are in the ".mp3" format for his and his wife's use... Once Defendant converted Plaintiffs' recordings into the compressed .mp3 format and they are in his shared folder, they are no longer the authorized copies...'"
PocketPick writes: Kotaku is reporting that following a unflatering review of the game Kane & Lynch: Dead Men, long-time editor Jeff Gerstmann is no longer under the employment of video gaming website Gamespot and it's parent, CNET. Kane & Lynch, a game published by Eidos for the Xbox 360, PS3 & PC, has been heavily featured in flash, image and text advertisments on Gamespot's website since the release on November 13th, inevitably leading to questions whether or not Mr. Gerstmann's firing was motivated by pressure from Eidos.