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Robotics

Giant Robotic Jellyfish Unveiled by Researchers 43

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, an anonymous reader writes in with news about a giant robot jellyfish. As if there weren't enough real jellyfish around to trigger our thalassophobia, researchers at Virginia Tech have created Cryo -- an eight-armed autonomous robot that mimics jelly movement with the help of a flexible silicone hat. The man-sized jellybot altogether dwarfs previous efforts, hence the upgrade from small tank to swimming pool for mock field tests. And unlike the passively propelled bots we've seen recently, Cryo runs on batteries, with the researchers hoping to better replicate the energy-efficient nature of jelly movement to eventually increase Cryo's charge cycle to months instead of hours. That's also the reason these robotic jellyfish are getting bigger -- because the larger they are, the further they can go."
Power

Laser Fusion's Brightest Hope 115

Posted by samzenpus
from the coming-together dept.
First time accepted submitter szotz writes "The National Ignition Facility has one foot in national defense and another in the future of commercial energy generation. That makes understanding the basic justification for the facility, which boasts the world's most powerful laser system, more than a little tricky. This article in IEEE Spectrum looks at NIF's recent missed deadline, what scientists think it will take for the facility to live up to its middle name, and all of the controversy and uncertainty that comes from a project that aspires to jumpstart commercial fusion energy but that also does a lot of classified work. NIF's national defense work is often glossed over in the press. This article pulls in some more detail and, in some cases, some very serious criticism. Physicist Richard Garwin, one of the designers of the hydrogen bomb, doesn't mince words. When it comes to nuclear weapons, he says in the article, '[NIF] has no relevance at all to primaries. It doesn't do a good job of mimicking secondaries...it validates the codes in regions that are not relevant to nuclear weapons.'"
Google

Google Releases Street View Images From Fukushima Ghost Town 63

Posted by samzenpus
from the new-fallout-map dept.
mdsolar writes in with news that Goolge has released Street View pictures from inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima disaster. "Google Inc. (GOOG) today released images taken by its Street View service from the town of Namie, Japan, inside the zone that was evacuated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. Google, operator of the world's biggest Web search engine, entered Namie this month at the invitation of the town's mayor, Tamotsu Baba, and produced the 360-degree imagery for the Google Maps and Google Earth services, it said in an e-mailed statement. All of Namie's 21,000 residents were forced to flee after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, about 8 kilometers (5 miles) from the town, causing the world's worst nuclear accident after Chernobyl. Baba asked Mountain View, California-based Google to map the town to create a permanent record of its state two years after the evacuation, he said in a Google blog post."
The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-day-for-a-flight dept.
skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Comment: Yet another solution in search for a problem (Score 1) 278

by alexmin (#31904236) Attached to: SEC Proposes Wall Street Transparency Via Python

Hey, let's forget about unfunded goverment mandates, senators busy playing blame games, clueless SEC employees, greedy intermediaries, lopsided compensation practices, and market participants that do not understand instruments that they are trading.

What we really miss is python interface to EDGAR. Some guy say so, it must be true.

Comment: Video Game Art is emergent as the game is played (Score 1) 733

by Labcoat Samurai (#31903918) Attached to: Roger Ebert On Why Video Games Can Never Be Art

A video game unplayed is, to the player, all unrealized potential. When you play the game, a set of experiences emerge from those interactive sessions. Perhaps you forge a narrative in a game like Dragon Age or Mass Effect. Perhaps it's some form of finessed performance art in a game like Flower. Whatever it is, the art is there once the game has been played from its beginning to its completion. A unique advantage of the medium is the freedom to create new or different art on subsequent traversals of the game.

Interestingly, this is not fundamentally different from any other art. Would a painting or a book or any other recognized piece of art be art if there was no human to experience it? I think not. A painting is an unremarkable thing until a human being looks upon it and interacts with it emotionally. Perhaps the interaction is limited to your imagination, but there definitely is interaction.

And finally, as to the argument that you can't win art, I wholeheartedly disagree. The creator of the art has a definite sense of whether he won or lost based on how happy he is with the finished product. A game player is a co-creator in the art, since it is emergent from the playing experience, and, similarly, winning and losing is about perception.... the game just tends to make it a bit more clear whether or not you should be happy with a given outcome... but with many games it's more nebulous. Not everyone survived my first playthrough of Mass Effect 2, and yet I felt more satisfied with that result than if there had been a perfectly happy ending free of consequences.

Comment: Re:Same old (Score 1) 267

by Bigjeff5 (#31649986) Attached to: Microsoft Lost Search War By Ignoring the Long Tail

I disagree. The search ain't "just like google", hence TFA.

Not as good, but just as free. That's the point.

I don't think hotmail is as good as gmail either, but it's just as free.

The browser is exactly the same - you might like chrome better (I do), but IE is just as free as Chrome.

It's not fair to intentionally misinterpret someone's point to make a different point of your own. When someone says "X is true", you aren't disagreeing when you say "No, Y is definitely not true" even when you pretend X and Y are the same thing. Now, to refute your Y argument:

The browser ain't "just like google" because Chrome isn't the property of a monopoly trying to squash the only other popular browser in use.

Chrome is the property of a monopoly trying to squash the only other search engine in use. What's the difference? It's a competitive market, and Google is doing the exact same thing to Bing that Microsoft is trying to do to Chrome. It's competition, and its healthiest when you have three or more competitors. The search market really only has two, and one of those is far more dominant than the other.

Again I say, what's the difference between the two? Both give away tons of free tools (though targeted to different markets), both give away their most visible services for free or virtually for free, both charge significant premiums for their high-end services, and both have a near monopoly in their primary market.

The only real difference between the two, is Google is newer, smaller, and hasn't tried nearly as many dirty tricks as Microsoft has. That's it. Whether Google will grow up to be as bad as Microsoft, time will tell. But I'll tell you this much - the bigger they get, the more likely it is they will become another Microsoft. Principles become harder and harder to stick to when you have more and more people who need to follow them. Google in China is a perfect example of that - it took China fucking with their servers before they decided to actually follow their "Do no evil" pledge in China. The Google of 8 years ago would have stood on that pledge to begin with and refused to do business in China if it meant censoring their searches.

Comment: Re:So? (Score 1) 518

by Moryath (#31649610) Attached to: Are Consoles Holding Back PC Gaming?

but as the horrible control mechanisms of Mass Effect 2 and others showed

We learned this long ago about the time Deus Ex:Invisible War came out. Dumbing that game down for consoles just about killed the franchise.

Hell, dumping Mechwarrior 5 for MechInsult and MechInsult 2 DID kill the Mechwarrior franchise, and Crimson Skies: MechInsult In Biplanes did the same for that franchise. Someone at Microsoft needs a beating with a cluestick.

I disagree with the idea of "a few truly great games" however. The problem for PC games is that they have to play to a "lowest common denominator." You can release something with major graphical ability, BUT it has to be able to scale back to a PC at least 4 years old to have a decent purchasing market while still looking good on those PCs. And you have to contend with the army of Dell/HP/etc users who bought a PC with an Intel "Extreme Shittiness" on-motherboard graphics card that can't even run games that were 7 years old when the PC was bought, too.

Comment: Game Boy Color Emulator (Score 5, Informative) 88

by allynfolksjr (#31307802) Attached to: TI-Nspire Hack Enables User Programming
Seems the developers have had some projects stored away until Ndless was released:

http://www.ticalc.org/archives/files/fileinfo/426/42630.html

From the program description: "gbc4nspire is a Game Boy and Game Boy Color emulator for the TI-Nspire and TI-Nspire CAS, written from scratch in ARM assembly"

Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
PC Games (Games)

Are MMOs Time-Release Vaporware? 193

Posted by Soulskill
from the going-going-gone dept.
KKnDz0r writes "Australian technology and gaming site 'Atomic' raises an interesting question about the dangers of MMOs that go bust. Are they part of a new breed of games that render themselves completely useless and without value if the parent company goes belly-up? It certainly seems that way in some cases, with Fury and now Hellgate: London both going to software heaven, leaving a player base holding relatively useless client software." While it's certainly not an issue for the large, continuously successful MMOs, we've lately seen a huge influx of companies trying to grab a slice of the MMO pie, some of which will inevitably fail. It would be great to see a dying company at least open up the server software, but how can we give them incentive to do so?
Book Reviews

Linux Networking Cookbook 36

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
stoolpigeon writes "As a dba, I'm constantly looking to learn more about networking and system administration. Both can have quite an impact on the performance of my piece of the puzzle. A welcome addition to the materials to help me learn about networking is Carla Schroder's "Linux Networking Cookbook". This book is just right for the person like myself who enjoys learning by getting hands-on experience with the technology. The scope is wide and so someone with a great depth of networking experience may find that the treatments of each is a bit shallow. On the other hand, that wide scope means this book may hold something new, even for someone with some level of experience." Read on for the rest of JR's review.

A large number of installed systems work by fiat. That is, they work by being declared to work. -- Anatol Holt

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