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Comment: Why hasn't Nature done this already? (Score 1) 156

by fhknack (#35789850) Attached to: Scientists Aim To Improve Photosynthesis

I'm no botanist, but I've seen Japanese maples and rainbow Swiss chard. I've also read enough Dawkins and Ridley to understand that even extremely complex biological evolution is not only possible but inevitable. If photosynthesis can be improved, it probably would have been. If we increase photosynthetic efficiency, what are we trading? TAANSTAFL, and all that.

XBox (Games)

Anatomy of an Achievement 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-don't-get-an-achievement-for-commenting-on-this-one dept.
Whether they annoy you or fulfill your nerdy collection habit, achievements have spread across the gaming landscape and are here to stay. The Xbox Engineering blog recently posted a glimpse into the creation of the Xbox 360 achievement system, discussing how achievements work at a software level, and even showing a brief snippet of code. They also mention some of the decisions they struggled with while creating them: "We are proud of the consistency you find across all games. You have one friends list, every game supports voice chat, etc. But we also like to give game designers room to come up with new and interesting ways to entertain. That trade-off was at the heart of the original decision we made to not give any indication that a new achievement had been awarded. Some people argued that gamers wouldn't want toast popping up in the heat of battle and that game designers would want to use their own visual style to present achievements. Others argued for consistency and for reducing the work required of game developers. In the end we added the notification popup and its happy beep, which turned out to be the right decision, but for a long time it was anything but obvious."
Image

Doctor Slams Hospital's "Please" Policy 572

Posted by samzenpus
from the paging-doctor-manners dept.
Administrators at England's Worthing Hospital are insisting that doctors say the magic word when writing orders for blood tests on weekends. If a doctor refuses to write "please" on the order, the test will be refused. From the article: "However, a doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity that he sees the policy as a money-saving measure that could prove dangerous for patients. 'I was shocked to come in on Sunday and find none of my bloods had been done from the night before because I'd not written "please,"' the doctor said. 'I had no results to guide treatment of patients. Myself and a senior nurse had to take the bloods ourselves, which added hours to our 12-hour shifts. This system puts patients' lives at risk. Doctors are wasting time doing the job of the technicians.'"
It's funny.  Laugh.

Man Spends 2,200 Hours Defeating Bejeweled 2 179

Posted by Soulskill
from the wins-complimentary-straight-jacket dept.
An anonymous reader writes "A California steel contractor spent 2,200 total hours over the last three years racking up a high score in Bejeweled 2. He exceeded the 2^31-1 maximum score programmed for the score display, proving that there is, in fact, an end to the game. I suppose congratulations or condolences are in order."
The Courts

Writer Peter Watts Sentenced; No Jail Time 299

Posted by timothy
from the new-spirit-of-openness dept.
shadowbearer writes "SF writer Peter Watts, a Canadian citizen, whose story we have read about before in these pages, was sentenced three days ago in a Port Huron, MI court. There's not a lot of detail in the story, and although he is still being treated like a terrorist (cannot enter or pass through the US, DNA samples) he was not ordered to do any time in jail, was freed, and has returned home to his family. The judge in the case was, I believe, as sympathetic as the legal system would allow him to be."
Image

College To Save Money By Switching Email Font 306

Posted by samzenpus
from the smallest-things dept.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has come up with an unusual way of saving money: changing their email font. The school expects to use 30% less ink by switching from Arial to Century Gothic. From the article: "Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one. That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon. Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money."
PC Games (Games)

Terminator Salvation Game Launched, PC Version Recalled 75

Posted by Soulskill
from the stop-making-mediocre-tie-ins dept.
On Tuesday, the video game tie-in to the Terminator Salvation movie was launched for the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. Most reviews pegged the game as solidly mediocre; IGN said, "the action is fairly tame throughout and the cutscenes are stunningly ordinary. And yet despite the poor presentation, there are some clever gameplay elements that make Terminator enjoyable. Too bad that joy only lasts a handful of hours before the credits roll." However, customers who had purchased the retail PC version ran into installation errors, leaving them unable to play the game. Now, publisher Evolved has issued a recall for that version of the game, saying, "a defect occurred during replication," and promising a replacement plan for people who had purchased it.
Role Playing (Games)

Managing Player-Created Content In City of Heroes 43

Posted by Soulskill
from the what's-your-favorite-naughty-word dept.
Superhero MMO City of Heroes recently went live with its 14th expansion (release notes), one of the main features of which is the Mission Architect, a system to allow players to create their own quest content and then submit it to be implemented into the game. Now, Joe Morrissey of the City of Heroes team has written an article about how they plan to manage the content that players create. "You have to decide how draconian you want to be. The more hardcore you are, the fewer people who will see inappropriate content, but you expose yourself to potential grief voting. Grief voting is when a player flags perfectly acceptable content as inappropriate just because it's fun. If it only takes a single vote to eliminate content from the game, clicking that button is going to be the game for a lot of players. You don't want perfectly good content getting pulled because someone's a jerk."

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