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Role Playing (Games)

D&D Co-Creator Gary Gygax Has Passed Away 512

Posted by Zonk
from the tip-of-the-hat-roll-of-the-dice dept.
Mearlus writes "In the recent past co-creator of Dungeons and Dragons Gary Gygax has worked with Troll Lord Games, a small tabletop RPG publisher. Their forums have up a post noting that Mr. Gygax has apparently passed away. Gygax was known, along with Dave Arneson, as the Father of Roleplaying." Saddened reactions from well-known designers have already begun to appear online. Consider this is an in-memoriam Ask Slashdot question: How has D&D (and tabletop roleplaying) touched/improved your life? Update: 03/04 23:16 GMT by Z : With more time, official announcements have had time to appear. Many sites are featuring posts on Gygax's impact on gaming, including touching entries on Salon and CNet.
Linux Business

Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free 1243

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-get-what-you-may-or-may-not-pay-for dept.
Vlad Dolezal tips us to a philosophical take on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. According to the author, the reason is simple; Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable. "Here's what Compy McNewb sees. He can get both OS's for free. But one of them is worth over three hundred dollars, while the other one is worth nothing. 'That's not true!' I hear you scream. 'Linux is worth a lot! It's just being offered for free!' I know it's not true that Linux is worth less than Windows. It's far more valuable to the end user in terms of getting things done. But that's not what Average Joe Computer Newbie sees. He sees a free product versus a three-hundred-dollar product he can get free. It's all about the perception!"
Education

High School Students Forced To Declare A Major 670

Posted by samzenpus
from the elementary-trade-school dept.
i_like_spam writes "As reported in the NYTimes, high school freshmen at many high schools across the nation are now being forced to pick a major. Starting this Fall, 9th graders in Florida will have to choose to major from among a set of state-approved subjects, while some students in Mississippi will have to follow one of nine designated career paths. High school administrators hope that having students declare majors will lead to greater student interest in school until graduation. College administrators think otherwise: 'youngsters should instead concentrate on developing a broad range of critical thinking and communication skills,' says Debra Humphreys from the Association of American Colleges and Universities."
Biotech

Echeria Coli Co-Opted To Make Gasoline 331

Posted by Zonk
from the good-first-step-i-guess dept.
Flask_Man writes "Technology Review has an article about a small biotech company in the Silicon Valley that has successfully produced renewable gasoline from genetically modified bacteria, including the nefarious E.Coli bacteria. A pilot plant is slated to be constructed in California in 2008, and it is claimed that hundreds of different hydrocarbon molecules are capable of being produced. The modified bacteria make and excrete hydrocarbon molecules that are the length and molecular structure the company desires. From the article: 'To do this, the company is employing tools from the field of synthetic biology to modify the genetic pathways that bacteria, plants, and animals use to make fatty acids, one of the main ways that organisms store energy. Fatty acids are chains of carbon and hydrogen atoms strung together in a particular arrangement, with a carboxylic acid group made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen attached at one end. Take away the acid, and you're left with a hydrocarbon that can be made into fuel.'" We discussed something similar to this earlier this year.

Wireless, Gaming Addiction, Spam, and More 45

Posted by timothy
from the one-block-from-the-ocean-in-san-francisco dept.
Of the thousands of comments on yesterday's Slashdot page, gathered below are some of the ones that defined the conversations on the rise of wireless peripherals, the meaning of content-free spam, whether one can be truly addicted to online gaming, and Intel's move to open source some of its graphics adapter drivers. Read on for the Backslash summary.

Self-Heating Coffee Cans Recalled 208

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the hot-cup-of-joe dept.
Old Man Kensey writes "Apparently those nifty Wolfgang Puck self-heating latte cans, introduced with such fanfare last year, have proven to be buggy -- cans have been reported failing to heat adequately or, more disturbingly, exploding and melting through the packaging. A recall has been announced -- here's hoping the flaws can be 'patched' soon."

If builders built buildings the way programmers wrote programs, then the first woodpecker to come along would destroy civilization.

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