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Bill Would Tie Financial Aid To Anti-Piracy Plans 425

theodp writes "The MPAA is applauding top Democratic politicians for introducing an anti-piracy bill that threatens the nation's colleges with the loss of a $100B a year in federal financial aid should they fail to have a technology plan to combat illegal file sharing. The proposal, which is embedded in a 747-page bill, has alarmed university officials. 'Such an extraordinarily inappropriate and punitive outcome would result in all students on that campus losing their federal financial aid — including Pell grants and student loans that are essential to their ability to attend college, advance their education, and acquire the skills necessary to compete in the 21st-century economy,' said university officials in a letter to Congress. 'Lower-income students, those most in need of federal financial aid, would be harmed most under the entertainment industry's proposal.'"

Comment Re:Quake's Lag (Score 4, Interesting) 88

That actually has more to do with latency than number of updates. Latency determines how long until you feel an action from that was updated to the server. If everyone has 200ms ping, then someone shoots you, and that shot is updated to the server 100ms later, then you feel the hit 100ms after that, for a total of 200ms. Within that 200ms, you'd have ample time to hide behind a box or the corner of a wall, but the server would still say you were hit (because 200ms ago you weren't behind that box or wall on your enemies computer). This retroactive update is how modern systems work, and it reduces apparent shooting lag.

Sidenote: This began the misconception that lag time benefited the lagger, or that laggy players lag the whole server, neither of which is true. The quicker your ping time, the faster your shots or actions will register on the server. If a high ping bastard and low ping bastard shoot each other at the same exact moment, the LPB will have his shot register first, and the HPB will die.

Originally, shots and hits were always done actively at the time it reached the server. So if you had 400ms ping, you'd see your gun shoot 400ms after you fired it. This made lag almost unbearable for most high ping players, because if they shot at you, they'd almost always miss, because by the time their shot registered, you would've moved out of the spot you were standing a split second ago.

As for the article, it's dealing solely with player movement on MMORPGS, which is determined by the rate of updates (how many packets get sent out per second). Player action updates are always triggered at the time of action (such as casting a spell), however, movement is an ongoing process. Basically your client updates the server around a dozen times a second with position and velocity information, because of your movement. However, it always assumes you'll stick to that velocity (moving forward? dead reckoning predicts you move forward some more) in between updates. If you deviate from your predicted movement along a velocity, you need to send an update to the server. This new method will predict what movement you'll take, rather than always assuming a straight line from your current movement.

My student ACM account doesn't have subscription to access the article, so I'm not entirely sure, but this is my take on what it does:
For instance, if you're moving forward, and there's something in front of you, the neural net will attempt to determine that you'll probably move in a different direction, and send that as your predicted velocity. If it turns out you don't move that direction, you'll simply have to send another update. If you do move that direction (which statistically you should), then there will be no need for an update, thereby saving bandwidth. These predictions and updates happen at a rate which makes it seem like your player is moving smoothly, when in reality, there's a bunch of micro deviations and stuttering.

Evidence Found for Earliest Modern Humans 417

Hugh Pickens writes "Researchers at Arizona State University report that they have pushed back the date for the earliest modern humans to 164,000 years ago, far earlier than previously documented. Paleoanthropologists now say that genetic and fossil evidence suggests that modern human species — Homo sapiens — evolved in Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago and in seeking the "perfect site" to explore for remains of the earliest populations, researchers analyzed ocean currents, climate data, geological formations and other data to pin down a location. "The world was in a glacial stage 125,000 to 195,000 years ago, and much of Africa was dry to mostly desert; in many areas food would have been difficult to acquire. The paleoenvironmental data indicate there are only five or six places in all of Africa where humans could have survived these harsh conditions," said Curtis Marean, a professor in ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change. Photos from the cave at Pinnacle Point in South Africa show where the team found ochre, bladelets and evidence of shellfish — findings that reveal the earliest dated evidence of modern humans."

Verizon, Copper, Fiber, and the Truth 367

Alexander Graham Cracker writes "Starting last spring, reports began surfacing of Verizon routinely disabling copper as it installed its fiber-based FiOS service. We discussed the issue here a couple of times. In my experience, every time Verizon has installed FiOS at a friend's house, they have insisted they have to cut off the copper and move the POTS to the fiber. By doing so, they block anyone else such as COVAD or Cavalier from renting the copper for competitive access. Sources report that today, at a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Verizon executive VP Thomas Tauke denied ever doing that. (The transcript should be up in a day or so. The AP coverage does not mention this detail.) I wonder if Rep. Markey's staff is interested in hearing from people who experienced Verizon disabling copper, and without notice?"
XBox (Games)

Submission + - Halo 3 helps the industry

An anonymous reader writes: While it's obvious to see the mainstream success that Bungie's Halo 3 is bringing to the industry, other developers (and their fans) might see Halo 3 as a competitor and threat. However, an industry analyst sees it as a benefit for other large developers, such as EA, as gamers who bought the XBox 360 platform for Halo continue to buy other titles. The largest benefactor is Gamestop, who gained enormous foot traffic during the Halo launch (which will likely continue into the upcoming holiday season).

I speculate even further that the entire industry will eventually benefit: as more casual or new gamers (freshmeat) see what the hype is about, more just might stick around and buy other platforms and games. I'm fairly cynical about over-hyped advertising and platform exclusives, but I'm currently biting my tongue over Microsoft's well crafted campaign.

AT&T Denies Censorship, Won't Change Contract 170

Vox writes "As we discussed here a few days back, AT&T's Terms of Service has very broad language giving them the right to terminate the account of any AT&T Internet service customer who criticizes the company. Ars Technica notes that such broad language is not unusual in ISPs' terms of service, and that AT&T told them they won't be changing the contract. A company spokesman said it's not a big deal because they have no intent to censor criticism. AT&T claims to respect its subscribers' right to voice their opinions and says that the contract is aimed at stopping the exploitation of children, and other tangible wrongs. As the article notes, taking the company on faith after the spying scandal is asking maybe a little too much."

The World's Languages Are Fast Becoming Extinct 939

Ant sends news of a report, released a couple of weeks back by the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages in Oregon, on the alarming rate of extinction of the world's languages. While half of all languages have gone extinct in the last 500 years, the half-life is dropping: half of the 7,000 languages spoken today won't exist by the year 2100. The NY Times adds this perspective: "83 languages with 'global' influence are spoken and written by 80 percent of the world population. Most of the others face extinction at a rate, the researchers said, that exceeds that of birds, mammals, fish and plants."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Canadian Bureaucrats Don't "Think Different" 427

owlgorithm writes "Apple's new store in Montreal has three parking meters on the street in front of it. The city is in the middle of a campaign to reduce downtown parking. In Apple's ever-conscientious attempt to improve design, they offered to reimburse the city for the parking meters and their revenue if the city would remove them. Answer: Non — because 'We've never done it before, so we can't.'"

No More TV Listings For MythTV Users 346

Ryan Brown writes "As of September 1, the free XML TV guide service at zap2it labs has shut its doors due to misuse issues, as well as internal business issues. Now that Linux users, and most PVR users for that matter, are nearing the end of their last fetched TV guide, what free alternatives exist that can replace this much-needed service?"
The Almighty Buck

Copyright Advocacy Group Violates Copyright 176

word munger writes "Commercial scholarly publishers are beginning to get afraid of the open access movement. They've hired a high-priced consultant to help them sway public opinion in favor of copyright restrictions on taxpayer-funded research. Funny thing is, their own website contains several copyright violations. It seems they pulled their images directly from the Getty Images website — watermarks and all — without paying for their use."
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - Sun Releasing 8-Core Niagara 2 Processor

An anonymous reader writes: Sun Microsystems is set to announce its eight-core Niagara 2 processor next week. Each core supports eight threads, so the chip handles 64 simultaneous threads, making it the centerpiece of Sun's "Throughput Computing" effort. Along with having more cores than the quads from Intel and AMD, the Niagara 2 have dual, on-chip 10G Ethernet ports with crytopgraphic capability. Sun doesn't get much processor press, because the chips are used only in its own CoolThreads servers, but Niagara 2 will probably be the fastest processor out there when its released, other than perhaps the also little-known 4-GHz IBM Power 6.

Submission + - California Voting System Code Reviews Released (ca.gov)

zestyping writes: "Today, the California Secretary of State released the reports from what is probably the most comprehensive analysis of voting system source code to date. The reports cover optical scan and touchscreen voting systems by Diebold, Hart, and Sequoia that are used in many California counties.

Whereas the "red team" reports released last Friday described specific attack scenarios, these reports offer a detailed analysis of the software architecture and source code. All three reports identify significant security weaknesses in the respective systems, including susceptibility to tampering of voting machine firmware, the possibility of viral propagation, and vulnerabilities in the central election management software.

The Secretary of State has until tomorrow, August 3, to decide whether to decertify any voting systems, because she is required to give six months' notice of decertification before the California primary election next February."

The Internet

Submission + - The Pirate Bay About To Relaunch Suprnova.org 3

kungfujesus writes: The Pirate Bay crew has been working on this secret project for quite some time now. Back in April they wrote a cryptic post on their blog announcing that something was coming. In a response to this announcement TPB admin Brokep told TorrentFreak: "The past, the present and the future. It's all the same, but one thing's for sure, we will radiate for weeks", today it became clear that he was referring to the resurrection of Suprnova. Article Here

A rock store eventually closed down; they were taking too much for granite.