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+ - The Growing Illusion of Single Player->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Multiplayer modes used to be an extra part of most games — an optional addition that the developers could build (or not) as they saw fit. These days, it's different: many games are marketed under the illusion of being single-player, when their focus has shifted to an almost mandatory multiplayer mode. (Think always-online DRM, and games as services.) It's not that this is necessarily bad for gameplay — it's that design patterns are shifting, and if you don't like multiplayer, you're going to have a harder time finding games you do like. The article's author uses a couple recent major titles as backdrop for the discussion: "With both Diablo III and Destiny, I'm not sure where and how to attribute my enjoyment. Yes, the mechanics of both are sound, but given the resounding emptiness felt when played solo, perhaps the co-op element is compensating. I'd go so far as to argue games can be less mechanically compelling, so long as the multiplayer element is engaging. The thrill of barking orders at friends can, in a way, cover design flaws. I hem and haw on the quality of each game's mechanics because the co-op aspect literally distracted me from engaging with them to some degree.""
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+ - Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "New research from Washington University has found that the condition known as schizophrenia is not just a single disease, but instead a collection of eight different disorders. For years, researchers struggled to understand the genetic basis of schizophrenia, but this new method was able to isolate and separate all of the different conditions, each with its own symptoms, which are classified the same way (abstract, full text). "In some patients with hallucinations or delusions, for example, the researchers matched distinct genetic features to patients’ symptoms, demonstrating that specific genetic variations interacted to create a 95 percent certainty of schizophrenia. In another group, they found that disorganized speech and behavior were specifically associated with a set of DNA variations that carried a 100 percent risk of schizophrenia." According to one of the study's authors, "By identifying groups of genetic variations and matching them to symptoms in individual patients, it soon may be possible to target treatments to specific pathways that cause problems.""
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+ - Sci-Fi Authors and Scientists Predict an Optimistic Future->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "A few years ago, author Neal Stephenson argued that sci-fi had forgotten how to inspire people to do great things. Indeed, much of recent science fiction has been pessimistic and skeptical, focusing on all the ways our inventions could go wrong, and how hostile the universe is to humankind. Now, a group of scientists, engineers, and authors (including Stephenson himself) is trying to change that. Arizona State University recently launched Project Heiroglyph, a hub for ideas that will influence science fiction to be optimistic and accurate, and to focus on the great things humanity is capable of doing. For example, in the development of a short story, Stephenson wanted to know if it's possible to build a tower that's 20 kilometers tall. Keith Hjelmsad, an expert in structural stability and computational mechanics, wrote a detailed response about the challenge involved in building such a tower. Other authors are contributing questions as well, and researchers are chiming in with fascinating, science-based replies. Roboticist Srikanth Saripalli makes this interesting point: "If the government has to decide what to fund and what not to fund, they are going to get their ideas and decisions mostly from science fiction rather than what's being published in technical papers.""
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+ - NZ government denies 'mass domestic spying'->

Submitted by Kittenman
Kittenman (971447) writes "The BBC and several domestic NZ sources are covering the latest revelations raised by Kim Dotcom, who is funding a political party in NZ as it heads to a general election on the 20th. Dotcom flew in a US journalist, Glenn Greenwald, and arranged for satellite links to Edward Snowden and Julian Assange, in their respective hideouts, at a 'disclosure' presentation in Auckland.

The NZ Prime Minister (John Key) has denied all claims. No-one making the claims can actually come up with a plausible reason why the NZ government would want to spy on its citizens."

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+ - Apple Outrages Users by "Automatically" Installing U2's Album on their Devices 3

Submitted by Zanadou
Zanadou (1043400) writes "Apple may have succeeded at breaking two records at once with the free release of U2’s latest album, titled Songs of Innocence, via iTunes. But now, it looks like it’s also on track to become one of the worst music publicity stunts of all time.

Users who have opted to download new purchases to their iPhones automatically have found the new U2 album sitting on their phones. But even if iTunes users hadn’t chosen automatic downloads, Songs of Innocence will still be displayed as an “iTunes in the Cloud” purchase. That means it will still be shown as part of your music library, even if you delete all the tracks. The only way to make the U2 album go away is to go to your Mac or PC and hide all of your “iTunes in the Cloud” purchases, or to use iTunes to manually hide each track from your purchased items list.

Other reactions include rapper, Tyler, The Creator, saying that having the new U2 album automatically downloaded on his iPhone was 'like waking up with herpes', while Twitter user Mez pondered 'If Apple can forcefully download a U2 album onto everyone's phone, imagine what else they can do.. and see.'"

+ - diaspora* version 0.4.1.0 released-> 1

Submitted by jaywink
jaywink (3824665) writes "A new diaspora* version 0.4.1.0 is out. It includes a lot of pages ported to Bootstrap, many bug fixes and small enhancements. Also included is a Terms of Service -feature for podmins. Diaspora* is an open source social networking server that joins all running pods into one big decentralized social network."
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