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Comment: Re:Why though? (Score 1) 509

I work in a remote mining camp in northern Saskatchewan (that's in Canada for the geographically unaware). I bring my X-Box 360 to game for a few hours after my 12 hour shift. There is no internet there. With the X-Box One, how am I supposed to use it? Well I guess I can't. I am not alone, there is quite a few people who also bring their gaming devices to work. Other than working out or satellite TV there is nothing to do here when you are not working. There is multitudes of reasons why having a always on connection is unacceptable for many people.
Security

DHS X-ray Car Scanners Now At Border Crossings 295

Posted by samzenpus
from the scanning-what-you-have-to-declare dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "CNET has a story on DHS' whole car X-ray scanners and their potential cancer risks. The story focuses on the Z Portal scanner, which appears to be a stationary version of the older Z Backscatter Vans. The story provides interesting pictures of the device and the images it produces, but it also raises important questions about the devices' cancer risks. The average energy of the X-ray beam used is three times that used in a CT scan, which could be big trouble for vehicle passengers and drivers should a vehicle stop in mid-scan. Some studies show the risk for cancer from CT scans can be quite high. Worse still, the DHS estimates of the Z Portal's radiation dosage are likely to be several orders of magnitude too low. 'Society will pay a huge price in cancer because of this,' according to one scientist."

Comment: Re:For what (Score 2) 377

by Things_falling_apart (#38706218) Attached to: The Pirate Bay To Stop Serving Torrent Files
If I bought a shed and then lost the keys in a fishing accident, would it be wrong of me to get a locksmith to come and drill the lock out and replace it with another functioning one? Or would I have to buy a new shed because I lost the locking mechanism. I cannot believe and will not agree that losing a license key means I lose access to the product I bought. I will use a keygen or a crack in order to use my product if I do not have the "key".
Earth

Optical Furnace Bakes Better Solar Cells 93

Posted by timothy
from the might-as-well-be-walking-on-the-sun dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory just announced that they have found a way to create more efficient photovoltaic cells using 50% less energy. The technique hinges upon a new optical furnace that uses intense light instead of a conventional furnace to heat silicon to make solar cells. The new furnace utilizes 'highly reflective and heat-resistant ceramics to ensure that the light is absorbed only by a silicon wafer, not by the walls inside the furnace.'"

+ - Chistopher Hitchens passes away->

Submitted by Things_falling_apart
Things_falling_apart (856111) writes "Noted atheist and writer Christopher Hitchens has passed from pneumonia. Always controversial, the world has lost a leading intellectual, one who devoted an entire lifetime to change the world. Whether you loved or hated him, we should all take a moment to reflect on this loss and be inspired to do our best to make the world a better place, as he would have wanted."
Link to Original Source
Software

+ - New Call Center Software Will Knows When You're An 2

Submitted by
Hugh Pickens writes
Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Telegraph reports that researchers have developed new voice recognition software that detects how users are feeling that could be used in automated call centers to route inquiries differently according to the emotional state of the caller. The researchers looked closely at the anger, boredom and doubt that people often experience when talking to automated call center voices and by examining tone of voice, the speed of speech, the duration of pauses, the energy of the voice signal and up to a total of sixty different ‘acoustic parameters’, they have produced computer models of what people sound like according to the emotions they are feeling. “Thanks to this new development, the machine will be able to determine how the user feels and how the caller intends to continue the dialog (PDF)”, claims David Griol one of its creators. "For example, a dialog management strategy could be as follows: If the emotional state is Angry apologize and transfer the call to a human operator immediately.""

Comment: Re:Phil Plait is not a bad astronomer (Score 1) 84

by Things_falling_apart (#37749614) Attached to: Comet Nearly Hit Earth? Not So Fast
His original site was all about debunking myths and misconceptions related to astronomy. Here is the link to his original site: http://www.badastronomy.com/index.html He changed to a blog format when he joined the discover magazine network. His name refered to him pointing out bad astronomy in the movies and TV. Not really all that hard to understand why he has his name. He got pretty well known and discover magazine put him on the payroll and since he was well known, he kept his moniker.

Comment: Re:Inflated Membership Numbers (Score 1) 265

by Things_falling_apart (#35721100) Attached to: The Facebook Obsession

Because the media leaves their parents basement once in a while and notices in every direction in a reasonably populated area that there is either:
a) multiple conversations that the word facebook comes up every 3rd sentence
b) sees someone using their internet connected device (ie - smartphone, Ipad, DSi, netbook, etc) on facebook.

My suggestion is leave the house once in a while.

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."
Piracy

Call of Duty: Black Ops the Most Pirated Game of the Year 5

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-button-discount dept.
Torrentfreak reports that after calculating download frequency for pirated copies of popular video games, Call of Duty: Black Ops has won the dubious honor of being the most pirated game of 2010. The PC version of the game was torrented roughly 4,270,000 times, and the Xbox 360 version was downloaded an additional 930,000 times. (The most pirated Wii game was Super Mario Galaxy 2, and Dante's Inferno somehow managed to accrue the most downloads of Xbox 360 games.) Fortunately for Activision, the game has still made over $1 billion in sales, and its 20,000,000+ players have racked up over 600,000,000 man-hours of play time since the game's launch in early November.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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