The Bad Astronomer writes "In front of a mostly enthusiastic audience at NASA's Kennedy Space Center today, President Obama outlined a bold, new space policy. It's a change from his previous policy; the Constellation rockets are still dead, but a new heavy-lift rocket system is funded. He specifically talked of manned asteroid and Mars missions, but also stated there would be no return to the Moon. This is a major step in the right direction, but still needs some tweaking."
shogun writes "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress. The shuttle, ISS and GPS systems may be affected." They think this storm was caused by a weak solar flare on April 3rd. As you may expect, this has caused some unusually impressive northern lights since it started. What you may not expect is a photograph from Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi aboard the International Space Station showing the aurora from orbit. He apparently tweets a lot of pictures from space. He and his crewmates have taken over 100,000 pictures since coming aboard the ISS.
eldavojohn writes "A new report from the FTC is claiming minors have access to explicit content via online virtual worlds such as those found in online games. The report makes five recommendations to keep little Johnny away from the harms of Barrens chat: Use more effective age-screening mechanisms to prevent children from registering in adult virtual worlds; Use or enhance age-segregation techniques to make sure that people interact only with others in their age group; Re-examine language filters to ensure that they detect and eliminate messages that violate rules of behavior in virtual worlds; Provide more guidance to community enforcers in virtual worlds so they are better able to review and rate virtual world content, report potential underage users, and report any users who appear to be violating rules of behavior; and Employ a staff of specially trained moderators who are equipped to take swift action against rule violations."
A recent post at the Press Start To Drink blog examined the relationship the games industry has with copyright laws. More so than in some other creative industries, the reactions of game companies to derivative works are widely varied and often unpredictable, ranging anywhere from active support to situations like the Chrono Trigger: Crimson Echoes debacle. Quoting: "... even within the gaming industry, there is a tension between IP holders and fan producers/poachers. Some companies, such as Epic and Square Enix, remain incredibly protective of their Intellectual Property, threatening those that use their creations, even for non-profit, cultural reasons, with legal suits. Other companies, like Valve, seem to, if not embrace, at least tolerate, and perhaps even tacitly encourage this kind of fan engagement with their work. Lessig suggests, 'The opportunity to create and transform becomes weakened in a world in which creation requires permission and creativity must check with a lawyer.' Indeed, the more developers and publishers that take up Valve's position, the more creativity and innovation will emerge out of video game fan communities, already known for their intense fandom and desire to add to, alter, and re-imagine their favorite gaming universes."