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Submission + - Oculus Has No Plans to Block Virtual Reality Porn (variety.com)

schwit1 writes: Facebook-owned Oculus VR has no plans to prevent the adult entertainment industry from using its Rift virtual reality headset, which is scheduled to launch as a consumer product within the first quarter of 2016, according to Oculus founder Palmer Luckey.

Asked about plans to block any X-rated content or apps during a panel at the first Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Luckey responded: "The rift is an open platform. We don't control what software can run on it," adding: "And that's a big deal."

Luckey's remarks stood out as most of his fellow panelists tried to dodge controversial questions around topics like adult entertainment as well as motion sickness and other side effects of using virtual reality headsets.

Submission + - Navy's new laser weapon: Hype or reality? (thebulletin.org)

Lasrick writes: MIT's Subrata Ghoshroy deconstructs the Navy's recent claim of successful testing with the Laser Weapon System. It seems the test videos released to the press in December were nothing more than a dog and pony show with scaled-down expectations so as to appear successful: 'When they couldn’t get a laser lightweight enough to fit on a ship while still being powerful enough to burn through the metal skin of an incoming nuclear missile, they simply changed their goal to something akin to puncturing the side of an Iranian rubber dinghy.' Ghoshroy is an entertaining writer who is an 'old hand' in the laser research industry. He gives a explanation here of the history of laser weapons, and how the search for 'SWAP' continues: 'At the end of the day, good beam quality and good SWAP—size, weight and power—still determine the success or failure of a given laser weapon, and we’re just not anywhere near meeting all those requirements simultaneously.'

Submission + - Destiny and Germanic Mythology (thang.dk)

GNious writes: For Gaming and Mythology nerds alike, a look at the game Destiny, and how it uses Germanic/Norse Mythology (text+video) in its imagery and designs, notably Odin's tree, ravens, and wolves.
Also included, some pointers to where some other in-game objects may have found their names, outside of the Germanic family of mythologies

A previous episode looked at the upcoming House of Wolves' use of Ancient Egyptian inspiration.

Submission + - Programming with computers

Whiteox writes: After a 25 year break from programming on MS DOS and Apple machines, I've decided to take it up again as a hobby for fun (and maybe profit). I had a knowledge of BASIC and macro-assembly compilers. When I dug up my old documentation, most of it was eaten by mice, water damaged — basically unusable. Years ago I tried to convert a compiled basic program to visual basic with disastrous results, so I realize that I need to retrain.
I'm not sure if *nix O/S is more suitable than WinX as a platform of choice either. Whichever way I go, I'll need good support from books and the programming community.
I'm looking for a language that has a short learning curve, good documentation and would lead me towards command and control.
What language/direction should I take?

Submission + - Undersea Link from Finland to Estonia Visioned (yle.fi) 1

jones_supa writes: A train link between Finland and continental Europe could become a reality 15 or 20 years from now. A study carried out by Sweco Consulting recommends moving ahead with negotiations on building a railway tunnel between the capital cities Helsinki and Tallinn. According to a preliminary report out Wednesday, an undersea link would shorten the travel time between the two capitals from the current minimum 90 minutes by ship to around 30 minutes by rail. Estimated ticket cost is about 40 euros. The study, commissioned by the two cities, estimates that the undersea route could be completed after 2030 and would cost somewhere between 9 and 13 billion euros.

Submission + - TV isn't broken, so why fix it? (cnn.com) 3

PolygamousRanchKid writes: The technology industry is absolutely bent on reinventing television. ccording to Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, one of his last big accomplishments was figuring out how to make a better TV. Apple isn't alone. Google just released the second version of its Internet-meets-TV software, Google TV. Microsoft is also getting into the act again, after countless failed attempts stretching back almost two decades. (Remember WebTV?)

But nobody seems to be able to answer the big question: what exactly is so broken about TV anyway?

The tech industry is filled with engineers and geeks. They naturally want to optimize the TV experience, to make it as efficient and elegant as possible, requiring the fewest number of steps to complete a particular task while offering the greatest number of amazing new features. But normal people don't think about TV that way. TV is passive. The last thing we want to do is work at it. As long as there's something on — anything — that is reasonably engaging, we're cool. Most of us are even OK spending a few minutes just shuffling through channels at random.

Submission + - Names Proposed for 2 New Elements on Periodic Tabl (iupac.org) 1

HairyNevus writes: "New chemical elements numbered 114 and 116 have begun the five month long comment period for receiving official names from the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). The proposed names are flerovium (symbol Fl) for element number 114 and the name livermorium (symbol Lv) for that with number 116. Livermorium is named for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, California, and flerovium for Georgi Flerov, the founder of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia. (Dubnium was already taken — it’s element 105). If you don't like the names, now's the time to complain, although such a change is not likely."
Social Networks

Submission + - Slashdot Ecosystem Success Factors.

Whiteox writes: "Well folks, the results of the Slashdot Questionnaire formulated by the City University of Hong Kong have been posted to the 310 lucky Slashdot participants. It was a study to try "to understand the popularity of Slashdot".

They asked 3 questions in late October last year:

Question 1: In your opinion, what (if so) makes Slashdot special among online discussion sites? Is it the content, the group of people it draws in, the discussion engine (e.g., content rating and filters), or possibly other factors?

Question 2: Compared with other discussion sites you know or/and have used, do you consider Slashdot's technology platform to be better? In other words, does it encourage (a) more sense of community or (b) more active participation? (In answering please also feel free to mention the other discussion site or sites you might be comparing to)

Question 3: As a unique user in slashdot, could you please rate your own reciprocity by assessing what you get from the community compared with what you contribute to it?(you can give an answer such as: i think i get more or i contribute more,of course we would be very appreciative for your explanation of detail)

Results are in an emailed PDF and I'm not going to host it cause I don't want my servers to go down.

Here's some of the results:

1. Reason To Communicate Slashdot participants enjoyed communicating with like-minded individuals and generated net positive value from their participation.

2. Community Centered Design The majority of users felt the Slashdot engine was community- enhancing.

3. Usability (good) Half of the respondents commented positively on the technology.

4. Registration Moderation (appropriate and responsible) Participants commented on the value of anonymous commenting. Further, some responses were made about moderation and meta- moderation

5. Moderation The moderation system was considered positive. The rating system was described as fair, trustworthy, and quality enhancing.

6. And Epic Fail on the 'Nature of Distributed Resources' Evidently Slashdot doesn't have any.

Here's their conclusion:

"Thus it remains to explore, among other issues, whether community members balance the reason to communicate with the effort to communicate and ultimately place their resources into communities accordingly. If community success could be determined based on this trade-off, it would provide a great impetus for the design of highly efficient community information and coordination portals, so as to not only achieve sustainability, but sustained growth."

Yep. I don't understand it either."

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.