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Comment: There are alternatives... (Score 2) 166

by VanessaE (#47947911) Attached to: The Minecraft Parent

I don't mean to advertise here, but if language, "adult content" and so on is as big a problem as it's being made out to be on Minecraft servers, you might want to try an alternative game instead.

Those of us who run Minetest (the open source game/engine) usually very careful about policing the users on our servers, to the point at least that adult discussions are usually not tolerated at all, and coarse language/cursing is usually equally shunned. Sometimes, depending on the server, it's okay to "blur" your curses if they're not directed at someone in an insulting manner.

Some servers have PvP enabled, but I guess most server owners have that turned off.

We're small, and we're not Minecraft, but I think we do okay, and besides - its fun.

Freenode channel #minetest or http://minetest.net/ if you want to take a look. And no, it's not supposed to be a Minecraft clone and it does not use any code or assets from that game. It's just supposed to be similar enough to appeal to same "sandbox" audience.

Full disclosure: I am a modder and texture pack author for this project and have contributed a couple of small things to the engine.

Technology

Ask Slashdot: What Old Technology Can't You Give Up? 635

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-touch-that-dial dept.
An anonymous reader writes: It's the year 2014, and I still have a floppy drive installed on my computer. I don't know why; I don't own any floppy disks, and I haven't used one in probably a decade. But every time I put together a PC, it feels incomplete if I don't have one. I also have a Laserdisc player collecting dust at the bottom of my entertainment center, and I still use IRC to talk to a few friends. Software, hardware, or otherwise, what technology have you had a hard time letting go? (I don't want to put a hard limit on age, so you folks using flip-phones or playing on Dreamcasts or still inexplicably coding in Perl 4, feel free to contribute.)
Government

San Jose Police Apologize For Hiding Drone Program, Halts Until Further Review 59

Posted by timothy
from the no-department dept.
v3rgEz (125380) writes As part of MuckRock's Drone Census, the San Jose Police twice denied having a drone in public records requests — until the same investigation turned up not only a signed bid for a drone but also a federal grant giving them money for it. Now, almost a full year after first denying they had a drone, the department has come clean and apologized for hiding the program, promising more transparency and to pursue federal approval for the program, which the police department had, internally, claimed immunity from previously.
Earth

Walter Munk's Astonishing Wave-Tracking Experiment 55

Posted by samzenpus
from the gnarly-experiment-dude dept.
An anonymous reader writes in with a look at a scientist's interesting wave-tracking experiment and the incredible journeys that waves make. His name is Walter Munk, now in his 90s and a professor emeritus at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. About 60 years ago, he was anchored off Guadalupe Island, on Mexico's west coast, watching swells come in, and using an equation that he and others had devised to plot a wave's trajectory backward in time, he plotted the probable origins of those swells. But the answer he got was so startling, so over-the-top improbable, that he thought, "No, there must be something wrong." His equations said that the swells hitting beaches In Mexico began some 9,000 miles away — somewhere in the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, near Antarctica. "Could it be?" he wrote in an autobiographical sketch. Could a storm half way across the world produce a patch of moving water that traveled from near the South Pole, up past Australia, then past New Zealand, then across the vast expanse of the Pacific, arriving still intact – at a beach off Mexico? He decided to find out for himself. That is why, in 1957, Walter Munk designed a global, real life, wave-watching experiment.
Technology

Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-the-reality-tv-show dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Dubai is building "the world's first climate-controlled city" — it's a 4.3 mile pedestrian mall that will be covered with a retractable dome to provide its shoppers with air conditioning in the summer heat. The Mall of the World, as it's called, will become the sort of spectacular, over-the-top attraction Dubai is known for. Shortly after, it will probably become an equally spectacular real-world dystopia.

By sectioning off a 3-million-square-foot portion of the city with an air conditioned dome, Dubai is dropping one of the most tangible partitions between the haves and the have nots of the modern era—the 100 hotels and apartment complexes inside the attraction will be cool, comfortable, and nestled into a entertainment-filled, if macabre, consumer paradise."
Medicine

A Box of Forgotten Smallpox Vials Was Just Found In an FDA Closet 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-for-making-me-feel-safe dept.
Jason Koebler writes: The last remaining strains of smallpox are kept in highly protected government laboratories in Russia and at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. And, apparently, in a dusty cardboard box in an old storage room in Maryland. The CDC said today that government workers had found six freeze-dried vials of the Variola virus, which causes smallpox, in a storage room at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland last week. Each test tube had a label on it that said "variola," which was a tip-off, but the agency did genetic testing to confirm that the viruses were, in fact, smallpox.
Microsoft

Microsoft Backs Open Source For the Internet of Things 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the free-and-open dept.
dcblogs writes Microsoft has joined a Linux Foundation effort to create an open platform for the Internet of Things. The AllSeen Alliance is an effort to standardize device communications. The code that it champions, called AllJoyn, was initially developed by Qualcomm but was subsequently made open source. Big vendors have been recruited to support it, and the AllSeen Alliance now includes LG, Panasonic, Sharp and Haier, among others. Its Xbox gaming platform is seen as a potential hub or control center for home devices. Microsoft's leadership in computing "and its significant Xbox business make it a potentially important contributor to the AllSeen ecosystem," said said Andy Castonguay, an analyst at Machina Research, a Reading, England-based research firm focusing on machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things.

Comment: Re:Software Patents Are Just Wrong (Score 1) 43

If software patents were around back in the 80's

They were. Commodore used a character set which contained an inverse-video duplicate set to avoid a software patent on the use of exclusive-OR to draw a cursor. Specifically, some drafting company back in the late 70's patented the idea of using XOR to draw a crosshairs, so in the VIC20, C64, and others, the cursor was implemented by periodically alternating the target location between the character located there and its counterpart in the inverse-video half of the character set. Apple avoided this patent by alternating between the character on the screen and a little checkerboard cursor.

Supercomputing

Stanford Bioengineers Develop 'Neurocore' Chips 9,000 Times Faster Than a PC 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the i'll-order-a-dozen dept.
kelk1 sends this article from the Stanford News Service: "Stanford bioengineers have developed faster, more energy-efficient microchips based on the human brain – 9,000 times faster and using significantly less power than a typical PC (abstract). Kwabena Boahen and his team have developed Neurogrid, a circuit board consisting of 16 custom-designed 'Neurocore' chips. Together these 16 chips can simulate 1 million neurons and billions of synaptic connections. The team designed these chips with power efficiency in mind. Their strategy was to enable certain synapses to share hardware circuits. ... But much work lies ahead. Each of the current million-neuron Neurogrid circuit boards cost about $40,000. (...) Neurogrid is based on 16 Neurocores, each of which supports 65,536 neurons. Those chips were made using 15-year-old fabrication technologies. By switching to modern manufacturing processes and fabricating the chips in large volumes, he could cut a Neurocore's cost 100-fold – suggesting a million-neuron board for $400 a copy."

Comment: Re:Now it's the grid engineers' problem to solve.. (Score 1) 227

by VanessaE (#46685693) Attached to: Nanodot-Based Smartphone Battery Recharges In 30 Seconds

So put a big, obvious indicator on the charging station that shows a color-coded load level. After a while, EV owners will come to understand it at least enough to know that a high reading means their car will charge slower.

If consumers can figure out those little pinch-the-ends-to-read charge indicators in some batteries, and what a regular traffic signal means at an intersection, they can figure out "green means fast, red means slow" at the charge station and charge up or go elsewhere accordingly.

Stations can even display their capacity reading on their main sign under the price, if they're proud of it anyway.

There are running jobs. Why don't you go chase them?

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