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Sharks Seen Swimming Down Australian Streets 210

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-a-bigger-sidewalk dept.
As if the flood waters weren't bad enough for the people of Queensland, it now appears that there are sharks swimming in the streets. Two bull sharks were spotted swimming past a McDonald’s in the city of Goodna, Butcher Steve Bateman saw another making its way past his shop on Williams street. Ipswich councillor for the Goodna region Paul Tully said: "It would have swam several kilometres in from the river, across Evan Marginson Park and the motorway. It’s definitely a first for Goodna, to have a shark in the main street."
Games

Balancing Choice With Irreversible Consequences In Games 352

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-takebacks dept.
The Moving Pixels blog has an article about the delicate balance within video games between giving players meaningful choices and consequences that cannot necessarily be changed if the player doesn't like her choice afterward. Quoting: "One of my more visceral experiences in gaming came recently while playing Mass Effect 2, in which a series of events led me to believe that I'd just indirectly murdered most of my crew. When the cutscenes ended, I was rocking in my chair, eyes wide, heart pounding, and as control was given over to me once more, I did the only thing that I thought was reasonable to do: I reset the game. This, of course, only led to the revelation that the event was preordained and the inference that (by BioWare's logic) a high degree of magical charisma and blue-colored decision making meant that I could get everything back to normal. ... Charitably, I could say BioWare at least did a good job of conditioning my expectations in such a way that the game could garner this response, but the fact remains: when confronted with a consequence that I couldn't handle, my immediate player's response was to stop and get a do-over. Inevitability was only something that I could accept once it was directly shown to me."
Hardware Hacking

Grad Student Invents Cheap Laser Cutter 137

Posted by samzenpus
from the frugal-cutting dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Peter Jansen, a PhD student and member of the RepRap community, has constructed a working prototype of an inexpensive table-top laser cutter built out of old CD/DVD drives as an offshoot of his efforts to design an under $200 open-source Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) 3D printer. Where traditional laser cutters use powerful, fixed-focus beams, this new technique dynamically adjusts the focal point of the laser using a reciprocating motion similar to a reciprocating saw, allowing a far less powerful and inexpensive laser diode to be used. The technique is currently limited to cutting black materials to a depth of only a few millimeters, but should still be useful and enabling for Makers and other crafters. The end-goal is to create a hybrid inexpensive 3D printer that can be easily reconfigured for 2D laser cutting, providing powerful making tools to the desktop."
Games

Videogame Places You're Not Supposed To Go 261

Posted by Soulskill
from the is-second-life-one-of-them dept.
Ssquared22 writes "The eight far-off realms in this article exist for different reasons. They could be developer test areas, or forgotten pieces of landscape that somehow made their way into the final code. Whatever their reason for being, they all have one thing in common: they weren't meant to be explored by the likes of you and me. But through persistence, hacks or some combination of the two, you can take in these rare delights for yourself. Pack your bags." What odd, interesting, or funny game locations have you wandered into?
Microsoft

+ - Users force Dell to resurrect XP

Submitted by jakosc
jakosc (649857) writes "The BBC reports that Dell continues to respond to feed back from their ideastorm website, and has restarted selling new PCs with Windows XP installed on them, reversing a January policy decision to abandon XP for Vista. The article quotes from analyst Michael Silver, 'This is really odd. On new PCs, consumers usually do want the latest and greatest.'"
Power

MIT's Millimeter Turbine to be Ready This Year 197

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the power-to-go dept.
Iddo Genuth writes "After a decade of work, the first millimeter size turbine engine developed by researchers at MIT should become operational by the end of this summer. The new turbine engine will allow the creation of smaller and more powerful batteries than anything currently in existence. It might also serve as the basis for tiny powerful motors with applications ranging from micro UAVs to children's toys. In the more distant future huge arrays of hydrogen fueled millimeter turbine engines could even be the basis for clean, quiet and cost effective power plants."

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