New research suggests that in addition to being one of history's cruelest conquerors, Genghis Khan may have been the greenest. It is estimated that the Mongol leader's invasions unintentionally scrubbed almost 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere. From the article: "Over the course of the century and a half run of the Mongol Empire, about 22 percent of the world's total land area had been conquered and an estimated 40 million people were slaughtered by the horse-driven, bow-wielding hordes. Depopulation over such a large swathe of land meant that countless numbers of cultivated fields eventually returned to forests. In other words, one effect of Genghis Khan's unrelenting invasion was widespread reforestation, and the re-growth of those forests meant that more carbon could be absorbed from the atmosphere." I guess everyone has their good points.
A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."
An anonymous reader writes "The French Assembly has rejected the Three Strikes bill (in French!) which would allow ISPs to cut off users found to have been downloading protected content after two warnings. Summary: the Sarkozy administration can go back with a new draft for approval by both chambers or try to get upper house approval of a softer version without the cutoff passed by the lower house."
aboivin writes "The Songwriters association of Canada has put forward a proposition for collective licensing of music for personal use. The Right to Equitable Remuneration for Music File Sharing would legalize sharing of a copy of a copyrighted musical work without motive of financial gain, for a monthly fee of $5.00 applied to all Canadian internet connections, which would be distributed to creators and rights holders. From the proposal: 'File sharing is both a revolution in music distribution and a very positive phenomenon. The volunteer efforts of millions of music fans creates a much greater choice of repertoire for consumers while allowing songs — both new and old, well known and obscure — to be heard. All that's needed to fulfill this revolution in distribution is a way for Creators and rights holders to be paid.'"
An anonymous reader writes "ZDNet has front page coverage of the looming daylight savings changeover, and the bugs that may crop up this year. With the extension of daylight savings time by four weeks, some engineers and programmers are warning that unprepared companies will experience serious problems in March. While companies like Microsoft have already patched their software, Gartner is warning that bugs in the travel and banking sectors could have unforeseen consequences in the coming months. ' In addition, trading applications might execute purchases and sales at the wrong time, and cell phone-billing software could charge peak rates at off-peak hours. On top of that, the effect is expected to be felt around the world: Canada and Bermuda are conforming to the U.S.-mandated change, and time zone shifts have happened in other locales as well.'" Is this just more Y2K doomsaying, or do you think there's a serious problem here?