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Earth

Experts: Aim of 2 Degrees Climate Goal Insufficient 386

Posted by samzenpus
from the keeping-it-cool dept.
An anonymous reader points out that a long held goal of keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising above 2 degrees Celsius might not be good enough. "A long-held benchmark for limiting global warming is 'utterly inadequate,' a leading U.N. climate scientist declared. Keeping the Earth's average temperature from rising past 2 degrees Celsius – a cap established by studies in the early 1970s – is far too loose a goal, Petra Tschakert, a professor at Penn State University and a lead author of an assessment report for the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, said in a commentary published in the journal Climate Change Responses. Already, with an average increase of just 0.8 degrees Celsius, she wrote, 'negative impacts' are 'widespread across the globe.' Tschakert called for lowering the warming target to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

Comment: It will have an effect all right... (Score 4, Interesting) 346

It will encourage high tech companies in general and venture capital firms in specific to:

A). Locate their businesses in a state (like Texas) where Social Justice Warrior-type lawsuits have little chance to succeed.
B). More carefully screen potential employees for Social Justice Warrior tendencies so as to minimize the chance of future lawsuits.

Businesses exist to make money, they don't exit for believers in victimhood identity politics to wage politics and cash in at their expense.

Toys

Dad and Daughter Recreate Jurassic Park With $100,000 In Lego Pieces 52

Posted by samzenpus
from the play-time dept.
mpicpp writes Animator Paul Hollingsworth and his daughter Hailee, along with some help from a few "master builders" — decided to Jurassic Park using only Lego pieces. More than $100,000 in Lego were used, according to the video's description. The result is a surprisingly stunning and hilarious version of the 1993 dino-thriller. The team behind the film also released an in-depth behind-the-scenes look at the production.
Programming

A Software Project Full of "Male Anatomy" Jokes Causes Controversy 764

Posted by samzenpus
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along? dept.
An anonymous reader writes with the story of a Github user's joke repository that is causing some controversy. "There's no question that the tech world is an overwhelmingly male place. There's legit concern that tech is run-amok with 'brogrammers' that make women programmers feel unwelcome. On the other hand, people just want to laugh. It's at that intersection that programmer Randy Hunt, aka 'letsgetrandy' posted a 'project' earlier this week to software hosting site GitHub called 'DICSS.' The project, which is actual free and open source software, is surrounded by geeky jokes about the male anatomy. And it's gone nuts, so to speak, becoming the most trending project on Github, and the subject of a lot of chatter on Twitter. And, Hunt tells us, the folks at Github are scratching their heads wondering what they should do about it. Some people love DICSS ... and some people are, understandably, offended. The offended people point out that this is exactly the sort of thing that makes tech unwelcoming to women, and not just because of the original project, but because of some of the comments (posted as "commits") that might take the joke too far."

Comment: Not in Valve's commercial interest (Score 4, Insightful) 215

by RogueyWon (#49292863) Attached to: Gabe Newell Understands Half-Life Fans, Not Promising Any Sequels

Valve has no commercial interest in making Half-Life 3. It's not that the game wouldn't be profitable. It almost certainly would be - lots of people would buy it. But it would risk the wider strategy they've been pursuing for a decade now.

Valve's income these days isn't from making and selling games; it's from charging other people to sell games via Steam. Seriously - you buy a game on Steam and a big slug of the price you pay goes straight to Valve. Sure, they have hosting costs, but there is a lot of pure profit in there.

Ever since Steam started to be a big thing, Valve has focussed on more niche games rather than big-budget fpses. It does not want to be seen as threatening or a rival to its biggest business partners. EA have already taken their toys and gone home to Origin; Valve's dominance of the PC gaming market relies on keeping Activision, Ubisoft and others on board.

And a big part of that is not being seen as a competitor. If Activision wants to pay Valve a lot of money to plaster the Steam front-page with a huge Call of Duty advert, then that's good for Valve. But Activision might get nervous if they worried that the platform they were using was run by a company that was actively pushing a game in competition with theirs.

Over in console-land, Sony and Microsoft's first party exclusives are generally put out there to sell consoles (not always a profitable activity in itself). They build up the installed base to get the third parties interested. The only platform-owner to really emphasise first-party games development is Nintendo, who, surprise surprise, have terrible third-party relationships.

Far easier for Valve to allow other people to put the effort in to making money for them, rather than take the risk of investing in games development to make direct income from sales. Particularly now that Steam is so ubiquitous as a platform that it doesn't need first-party games to grow the installed base.

Comment: My casualty list... (Score 1) 307

One CPU (an AMD Thunderbird 900 which developed severe over-sensitivity to heat).

One graphics card (an Nvidia 7950GX2 - bleeding edge cards have a reputation for early-deaths).

One power supply.

Several CD-ROM drives (though my very first one is nigh-indestructible - a 2x speed drive from 1995 which still works, still sits in a PC in my parents' house and is still used occasionally to recover data from very old CD-Rs that, for some reason, it can read while modern drives just shrug).

And more hard drives than I care to think about. A steady drip-drip of them over the years, with a big spike due to Seagate Barracudas over the last 3 years.

In games console-land, I've had the following die on me: 1x Gamecube (optical drive stopped working after 9 months), 1x Xbox 360 (RROD after 3 years), 1x PS3 (YLOD after 6 years), 2x Wiis (one with a dodgy optical drive after 2 years, the second dead on arrival).

Comment: And when the "default" is the preferred option? (Score 2, Interesting) 127

by RogueyWon (#49274339) Attached to: Analysis: People Who Use Firefox Or Chrome Make Better Employees

Well... up to a point. I can follow the logical connection that would suggest that people who act as informed consumers are likely to make better employees.

However, I've recently switched back to Internet Explorer after more than a decade with Firefox and a short experiment with Chrome. I did so because I find that comparing across the latest versions of all three, IE was my favourite in terms of performance and user-experience. So I made a reasonably informed decision to use it.

Making practical use of data like this would be more justifiable if there was a clear case that the "default" option was inferior (which in fairness, IE has sometimes been previously).

Earth

UN Backs Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the this-SUV-won't-run-on-unleaded-moral-authority dept.
mdsolar sends this report from The Guardian: The UN organization in charge of global climate change negotiations is backing the fast-growing campaign persuading investors to sell off their fossil fuel assets. It said it was lending its "moral authority" to the divestment campaign because it shared the ambition to get a strong deal to tackle global warming at a crunch UN summit in Paris in December.

The move is likely to be controversial as the economies of many nations at the negotiating table heavily rely on coal, oil and gas. In 2013, coal-reliant Poland hosted the UNFCCC summit and was castigated for arranging a global coal industry summit alongside. Now, the World Coal Association has criticized the UNFCCC's decision to back divestment, saying it threatened investment in cleaner coal technologies.
Programming

Prison Program Aims To Turn Criminals Into Coders 305

Posted by Soulskill
from the hello-walls dept.
Press2ToContinue writes with news that San Quentin, a notorious California prison, has started a program to teach a class of inmates to write code. The first class will last for six months, and the inmates are learning about programming for eight hours a day. The hope is to give them the skills to find a good job after they leave prison, which in turn would reduce their chances of recidivism. Since the state's Dept. of Corrections prohibits internet access, the class only "pretends" to be online — they can't use internet-based resources, and nobody on the outside can see or use the software they create. One of the class's backers said, 'Almost every week there's epiphanies. And most of the guys in here, they've never touched a computer before. They are progressing beyond our expectations."

Comment: Re:forget the gameplay! (Score 1) 81

by RogueyWon (#49252757) Attached to: Rendering a Frame of <em>Deus Ex: Human Revolution</em>

No, but I just looked at its Steam page and it looks like yet another pseudo-8-bit sprite art game. Local multiplayer oriented... no singleplayer to speak of and, looking at the trailer, nothing particular gripping about the concept either. Not interested.

I'll stick to Farcry 4 and Tokyo Twilight Ghost Hunters for now, until Bloodborne comes out in a couple of weeks.

Comment: Re:forget the gameplay! (Score 1) 81

by RogueyWon (#49251449) Attached to: Rendering a Frame of <em>Deus Ex: Human Revolution</em>

And yet... I have had masses of fun over the last 6 months with Farcry 4, Dragon Age 3, Alien Isolation and Forza Horizon 2. Big, AAA technical-powerhouse games. And all of them more enjoyable than anything I've seen come out of the indie-sector.

It is a commonly-held myth - but a myth nonetheless - that good graphics and good gameplay are mutually exclusive.

Comment: Re:forget the gameplay! (Score 4, Interesting) 81

by RogueyWon (#49248351) Attached to: Rendering a Frame of <em>Deus Ex: Human Revolution</em>

I'd have more sympathy with you if the new-releases list on Steam these days wasn't completely buried by "retro 8-bit style" indie roguelikes which look dreadful and usually play that way as well.

These days, I've gone beyond "it's not the graphics that matter, it's the gameplay" to "they both matter, seriously". The former has become a go-to excuse for lazy development.

Comment: Re:Redolent of the past. (Score 5, Interesting) 192

by RogueyWon (#49233715) Attached to: Steam On Linux Now Has Over a Thousand Games Available

Exclusivity bribes are on the wane even in console gaming land. Modern development costs means that the size of the bribe needed to provide the game's publisher with confidence it can still turn a profit despite locking out part of the market is getting ludicrous. If a developer/publisher expects that a platform will generate enough sales to be worth the porting costs, the general rule these days is that they will do the port.

Valve is notoriously secretive about its sales figures, but it's increasingly clear that the Steam platform is a direct and significant competitor to Sony's Playstation platforms and, more crucially, Microsoft's Xbox platforms.

Valve are not in a happy commercial place for so long as they are dependant upon their platform sitting on top of one of their competitors' products. They had a bad scare with the Windows 8 app store (though it turned out to be essentially a false alarm on this occasion). So it's entirely unsurprising that they are encouraging alternatives to Windows.

CCI Power 6/40: one board, a megabyte of cache, and an attitude...

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