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+ - Amazon Debuts Indie Games Store For PC, Mac And Web Games

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Amazon today announced an initiative to help indie game developers promote and sell their games: the Indie Games Store. The dedicated storefront is a new category in Amazon's Digital Video Games Store, designed specifically to help indie games for PC, Mac, and the Web get noticed.

The store appears to be US-only, but if you don't live there you should be able to get away with just putting in an American address. Most of the games are Steam downloads, so where you are in the world shouldn't matter too much."
Android

+ - First Africa - Designed smartphone launched->

Submitted by Taco Cowboy
Taco Cowboy (5327) writes "A smartphone said to be the first designed by an African company has been launched.

The phone, called "Elikia", which means “hope” in the local language, has a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 512 megabytes of RAM and a 650-Mhz processor, and runs Google's Android software.

The phone, although designed in Africa by Africans, will be manufactured in China

It will be retailed at $170.

Additional source from BBC — http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-20850778"

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Science

+ - Norway Launches Thorium Nuclear Reactor->

Submitted by
kkleiner
kkleiner writes "Oslo based Thor Energy is pairing up with the Norwegian government and US-based Westinghouse to launch a thorium based nuclear reactor. The thorium will run at a government reactor in Halden as part of a four year test that they hope will showcase the benefits of thorium as a reactor fuel. Proponents argue that thorium reacts more efficiently than uranium does, that the waste thorium produces is shorter lived than waste from uranium, and that, because of its much higher melting point, is meltdown proof. An added plus is the fact that thorium reactors do not produce plutonium and thus reduce the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation."
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China

+ - Unsurprisingly, the iPhone 5 Is a Hit in China Too->

Submitted by Sebolains
Sebolains (2792751) writes "The iPhone 5 launched in China last Friday, December 14th. Today, Apple announced on their blog that they had sold 2 million phones on the first weekend it was available. This figure is comparable to the just over 5 million iPhone 5s sold after its initial release in September in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the UK; a fact that is still impressive, even when taking into account the size of the Chinese market. Apple said that they plan to have the phone available in over 100 countries by the end of the year, making this the fastest iPhone roll-out ever."
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Google

+ - Google Loses Santa to Bing->

Submitted by Sebolains
Sebolains (2792751) writes "Unlike previous years, NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) has decided to use Bing maps to track Santa's journey as he goes around the world delivering presents. Starting Christmas eve, one will be able to go to the official NORAD Santa tracking site (http://www.noradsanta.org/) and use Bing maps to see where Santa is delivering presents at that time. In previous years, NORAD has always gone for Google maps to track Saint Nick. The reason for this switch were not disclosed, but since nearly 25 million people are expected to use this tool come this Christmas, this will definitely benefit Bing in the ongoing competition for online map applications."
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Graphics

+ - Vector vengeance: British claim they can kill the pixel within five years->

Submitted by
MrSeb
MrSeb writes "The humble pixel — the 2D picture element that has formed the foundation of just about every kind of digital media for the last 50 years — may soon meet its maker. Believe it or not, if a team of British are to be believed, the pixel, within five short years, will be replaced with vectors. If you know about computer graphics, or if you’ve ever edited or drawn an image on your computer, you know that there are two primary ways of storing image data: As a bitmap, or as vectors. A bitmap is quite simply a giant grid of pixels, with the arrangement and color of the pixels dictating what the image looks like. Vectors are an entirely different beast: In vector graphics, the image is described as a series of mathematical equations. To draw a bitmap shape you just color in a block of pixels; with vector graphics, you would describe the shape in terms of height, width, radius, and so on. At the moment, bitmaps are used almost exclusively in the realm of digital media — but that isn't to say they don't have their flaws. As display (and camera and cinema) resolution increases, so does the number of pixels. The obvious problem with this is that larger bitmaps are computationally more expensive to process, resulting in a slower (or more expensive) workflow. Pixel bitmaps don’t scale very gracefully; reduction is okay, but enlargement is a no-no. There is always the issue of a master format, too: With pixel bitmaps, conversions from one format to another, or changing frame rates, is messy, lossy business. Which finally leads us back to the innovation at hand: Philip Willis and John Patterson of the University of Bath in England have devised a video codec that replaces pixel bitmaps with vectors."
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+ - Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself-with a bad trip->

Submitted by
carmendrahl
carmendrahl writes "In Austria, people can submit their street drugs to a lab-on-a-bus to ensure they got what they paid for. The government is using the bus to track emergence of new variants of bath salts and other drugs. Now, researchers have developed a test they'd like to add to the bus's offerings: it assesses drug action instead of just reporting chemical structure.
Note- this is a resubmit that fixes the broken link here."

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Science

+ - How gaming PCs can help in the battle vs AIDS->

Submitted by skade88
skade88 (1750548) writes "Nvidia have info on how you can turn your gaming rig into a warrior in the fight against AIDS.

'Do you play a little more “Call of Duty: Black Ops II” than you’d care to admit? Got a ridiculously powerful GPU? When you’re not defending your nation from bad guys, maybe you’ll want to donate a little of that computing power to help advance the fight against AIDS.

Using GPUGrid.net – a volunteer distributed-computing effort that uses spare time on the GPUs of thousands of volunteers – Spanish researchers have made an important breakthrough in the quest to better understand HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.'"

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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft: What it did right and wrong in 2012 ->

Submitted by
coondoggie
coondoggie writes "At this writing Windows 8 could be the biggest thing Microsoft has done wrong — ever. But it could also wind up being one of the best things it has ever done. By CEO Steve Ballmer's own description it is the one of the top three major events in the company's history, grouped with IBM PCs adopting MS-DOS and the advent of Windows 95. By that measure, if it's a flop it's huge."
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Television

+ - Astronomer Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore dies; was 89 years old->

Submitted by McGruber
McGruber (1417641) writes "Astronomer Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore) has died (www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/arts/television/patrick-moore-astronomer-and-tv-host-dies-at-89.html). He was best known as the host of the BBC show "The Sky at Night" and also cowrote a book with Queen guitarist and astrophysicist Brian May."
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