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Comment: Re:Avatar first-impression: (Score 1) 443

by Soulslayer (#29174833) Attached to: Avatar, Has Sci-fi Found Its Heaven's Gate?

**POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING**

Unless he has deviated wildly from his scriptment from '94 or so what you have seen so far is just the setup. The overall story is more complex and vears into more hard sci-fi territory with a revelation along the lines of Solaris; or even more precisely, Robert Charles Wilson's Bios.

Role Playing (Games)

CCP Announces Console MMO Tie-In To the EVE Universe 89

Posted by Soulskill
from the ambitious-endeavours dept.
Hork_Monkey writes "CCP Games, developer of the popular MMO EVE Online, has announced a new game called Dust 514. Building on the EVE universe, this game will provide planetary combat from an RTS and FPS perspective, with significant impact into the space combat aspects of EVE Online. Love or hate EVE Online, this appears to be an innovative way to expand the overall universe by catering to a different gamer audience. A video with a trailer and further explanation was posted from GDC Europe."
Businesses

Apple Eyeing EA? 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the ever-bigger-publishers dept.
yerktoader writes "There are rumors that Apple might buy EA, but some interesting counterpoints abound. File this one firmly under 'unconfirmed,' but it's nevertheless a tantalizing rumor. According to Fast Money's Guy Adami, Apple is 'eyeing Electronic Arts as a takeover target.' EA is currently the second-largest games publisher in the world and owner of the smash hit NFL-licensed series of football games. Could we be facing the possibility of an iMadden? Well, probably not. Apple has indeed been bolstering its games know-how, hiring a major Xbox strategist away from Microsoft in recent weeks. And EA is no stranger to Apple platforms: in the last year it's brought several of its major franchises to the iPhone (with more on the way), including Sim City, Tiger Woods, and Spore, with considerable success. But it's a far cry from there to a takeover, and that's putting it mildly. Video games analyst Michael Pachter seems to agree. Speaking to Gamasutra, he pointed out that if Apple was looking to make some entertainment acquisitions, it could buy Warner Music — which controls 20% of the music industry — for roughly half of EA's estimated price."

Comment: Re:Uncanny nightmares (Score 1) 215

by Soulslayer (#27792869) Attached to: Cameron's <em>Avatar</em> a 3D Drug Trip?

[SPOILERS]

The movie is supposed to be 30% live action and 70% photorealistic CG. The story (if it sticks to the old 1990's scriptment) is about a research station on an incredibly biodiverse and seemingly hostile planet. Researchers use genetically engineered "avatars" virtually indistinguishable from the native tool using higher species. A species that appears to be somewhere in the neanderthal stage of advanced evolution.

The base where the research scientists are based is guarded from the hostile plant and animal wildlife by heavily armed space marines and giant auto-turrets that keep the jungle from consuming the facility.

The story (as far as the scriptment goes) is very similar to Robert Charles Wilson's "BIOS" hard sci-fi novel only with more Aliens-esque action.

The "twist" in the story is similar to the idea presented in Solaris, that the entire planet is a living organism with the plants and animals on it either symbiotic or part of the planet's structure. The jungle and it's inhabitants are acting like white blood cells attempting to repel a virus (the human researchers).

The CG from WETA is said to be astoundingly life-like. As big a jump over Gollum and Davy Jones as those characters were over the characters from the Final Fantasy and Hulk (Ang Lee's) movies.

The human sequences are live action. The avatar sequences are 100% CG.

Comment: Re:Tesla Business Plan (Score 2, Informative) 652

by Soulslayer (#27561017) Attached to: Tesla CEO Says Gov't Loan Is 99% Sure and Deserved

Ah, but if you are going to do that kind of calculation you then have to factor in the costs of exploration, drilling, refining, transporting, storing, and pumping fossil fuels. Plus the intangibles like the economic impact of gas stations to a local economy; etc. You also need to factor in the costs of locating, mining, and processing battery materials vs their real world life span. One could also include the cost of shipping, storing, and recycling the batteries.

Then you get into the maintenance costs. A modern internal combustion engine and its necessary ancillary components comprise hundreds (if not thousands) of components. Many of them moving, in a caustic environment, and subject to wear. Compare that to a BEV where there are a couple dozen drive components with only two moving parts and MTBF ratings. Switch to electric vehicles and suddenly you are only getting the brakes, tires, and transmission/differential serviced. And with regenerative braking your period between maintenance is greatly extended.

The main advantages of electric vehicles are:

1) 90-95% efficient drive train.
2) Can use any energy storage medium that can be converted into electricity. (flywheels, fuel cells, gasoline powered generators, turbines, batteries; etc).
3) More torque at lower (zero) RPM.
4) Less components to wear out.
5) With BEVs you have a centralized fuel delivery system with a pre-built infrastructure that allows you to increase efficiency/environmental impact for millions of vehicles (assuming everyone is driving one) with a single upgrade over a very short period of time.
6) BEVs can actually help balance a power grid by acting as local storage systems for neighborhood power during periods of peak load and consuming poer at off-peak when that power is otherwise wasted.

Comment: Re:I missed it? (Score 2, Informative) 464

by Soulslayer (#27432557) Attached to: Wolverine Film Leaked a Month Before Release

The Alamo Drafthouse Village in Austin just had all of its screens upgraded to Sony's 4K DLP projectors. Only the second theater in Texas to offer films in 4K DLP.

Right now only Sony and WB are distributing films in 4K, but everyone else is expected to jump on board soon. The 4K projectors must have some nice scalar chips in them because 2K films seem more impressive displayed on them as well.

Comment: Re:Sarcastic or not? (Score 1) 353

by Soulslayer (#27218889) Attached to: How $1,500 Headphones Are Made

There are plenty of headphones with larger circumference ear pads that actually completely contain your ears. For good work sealed can the Seinheiser 280 Pro's are a good choice. Fairly inexpensive at $100 with excellent sound reproduction, large ear pads, and really excellent exterior noise deadening. I use them both at work hooked up to my PC and on plane trips powered by nothing more than my iPod Nano. They work so well at blocking exterior noise that most people ask if they are active noise canceling. Very comfy, too. I have moderately large ears and I've gone for 8+ hours at a stretch with no discomfort.

For semi-open and open cans I really like AKG headphones. My old K501's are still going strong. Sure they ran $350 when brand new, but the sound reproduction is really accurate and they are extremely comfortable (more so than the Seinheisers as they use a fabric covering for the pads rather than imitation leather).

By far the best place for headphone shopping I have found is HeadRoom . Their reviews are spot on and their prices are better than just about anyone else's.

Comment: Re:Aw jeez, hydrogen AGAIN? (Score 1) 204

by Soulslayer (#27034215) Attached to: A New Way To Produce Hydrogen

Coal and oil are FAR more efficient and readily available than both batteries and hydrogen cells.

Eh? No they aren't. They have a far greater energy density than current battery technology and hydrogen fuel tanks can provide, but their efficiency is terrible. The reason you get more range out of an internal combustion engine, gasoline powered, vehicle is that, even if the best you can do is 30-40% efficiency, the energy storage density is so great that it counter balances the wastefulness of the combustion process.

The only time coal and oil become moderately efficient is in large scale power plants. On the small scale battery electrics kick the arse out of gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and hydrogen (combustion and fuel cell) powered vehicles in terms of efficiency. At the same time, they allow you to leverage a centralized power system to gain the efficiencies of large scale coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear; etc, power generation sources.

Even better, once you have a cleaner source of mass energy production all the battery electric vehicles out there get an instant end to end efficiency upgrade simply by changing out the centralized power source. Instead of each revolution in power generation requiring hundreds of millions of vehicles to be rotated out of active duty you can make massive gains without any end user doing everything different. This is one of the biggest reasons why we should be pushing BEVs as the successor to the ICE vehicle.

Microsoft

20 Years of Bill Gates Predictions 269

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tell-me-a-story-oh-powerful-oracle dept.
NewsCloud writes "The Seattle PI's Microsoft Blogger Todd Bishop asks "How does Gates shape up as a seer?" None strike me as particularly clairvoyant, but the missed ones are winners: "I believe OS/2 is destined to be the most important operating system, and possibly program, of all time." and "Two years from now, spam will be solved." But in fairness to Gates, for many years Microsoft's tagline was "a PC on every desktop and in every home.""
The Courts

+ - Want fair use rights? Use a VHS tape

Submitted by Village_Troll
Village_Troll (666) writes "Ars Technica has an interview up with Marybeth Peters, head of the US Copyright Office, in which she explains why her office has so far failed to grant a DMCA exemption for DVD ripping—even though the CSS encryption used on the discs makes presumed "fair use" rights impossible to exercise. "According to Peters, the exemptions only exist to give users access to material that is lawful for them to use and that they cannot get in any other way. While the first part of that test does apply to backing up DVDs or watching them under Linux, the second part generally does not. People don't really just want fair use, Peters says, they want to "crack a code in order to make fair use of content, but the content, for the most part, they can get in an unencrypted format. But they don't really want that." Much of the material on DVDs can be obtained from other sources — VHS tapes, for instance." VHS tapes? Um, no thanks."
Music

+ - Ogg's time has come -- again.

Submitted by OurNewOverlord
OurNewOverlord (984041) writes "Michael Calore at Wired magazine reports on the launch of PlayOgg.org, "The time may be ripe for Ogg Vorbis to truly shine. According to Chris "Monty" Montgomery, creator of Ogg and founder of the Xiph.org Foundation which oversees Ogg's development, such big-name backing has been a long time coming." Wired News had previoualy predicted a surge in interest around Ogg Vorbis following recent patent lawsuits over use of the MP3 format. Calore says, "If you're willing to say goodbye to your iPod's soul, as you know it, you can add Ogg support yourself by installing Rockbox, an open-source firmware replacement.""
Announcements

+ - Spy Drones take to the sky in the UK

Submitted by Novotny
Novotny (718987) writes "The Guardian and various other sources are reporting that 'the UK's first police "spy drone" has taken to the skies'. Originally usd in military applications, these drones are being put into use as a senior police officer warns the surveillance society in the UK is eroding civil liberties. In the UK, there are an estimated 4.2 million surveillance cameras already, and you are on average photographed 300 times a day going about your business. Is there any evidence to suggest that this increasingly Orwellian society is actually any safer?"

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