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Comment: Re:because drinking water is so pristine (Score 4, Informative) 242

by fireduck (#47438931) Attached to: Texas Town Turns To Treated Sewage For Drinking Water

Assuming the process is something akin to the Groundwater Replenishment System in Orange County, CA, those shouldn't be a major problem. I'm too lazy to look up the treatment plant in this story, but I'd guess that the article leaves out a few steps in the treatment process, including some sort of advanced oxidation process. At the GWRS in CA, that would be a hydrogen peroxide / UV step that oxidizes the crap out of anything that might make its way through the RO process -- which isn't much, except for possibly neutrally charged, small molecules. Further, it if it's a well run wastewater collection system, there should be source control measures in place to minimize a lot of nasty stuff, like heavy metals and toxins, as that throws off advanced wastewater treatment processes as well.

The Military

United States Begins Flying Stealth Bombers Over South Korea 567

Posted by samzenpus
from the nice-day-for-a-flight dept.
skade88 writes "The New York Times is reporting that the United States has started flying B-2 stealth bomber runs over South Korea as a show of force to North Korea. The bombers flew 6,500 miles to bomb a South Korean island with mock explosives. Earlier this month the U.S. Military ran mock B-52 bombing runs over the same South Korean island. The U.S. military says it shows that it can execute precision bombing runs at will with little notice needed. The U.S. also reaffirmed their commitment to protecting its allies in the region. The North Koreans have been making threats to turn South Korea into a sea of fire. North Korea has also made threats claiming they will nuke the United States' mainland."

Solar Car Speed Record Smashed 72

Posted by timothy
from the hats-are-off-to-you dept.
An anonymous reader writes with word from Australia that "There's a new world record for the fastest solar-powered land vehicle: 88 km/h average speed over one kilometre in a lightweight car that uses about the same power as a toaster." As the article goes on to explain, this solar racer, built last year by students from the University of New South Wales, managed to nab that speed record earlier this month on an Australian navy base airstrip.
Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons 95

Posted by Soulskill
from the double-whistle-to-victory dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

Examining Indie Game Pricing 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the in-for-a-penny-in-for-a-fivespot dept.
As the second Humble Indie Bundle flourishes, having taken in over $1.5 million in pay-what-you-want sales, the Opposable Thumbs blog has taken a look at indie game pricing in general, trying to determine how low price points and frequent sales affect their popularity in an ocean of $60 blockbusters. Quoting: "... in the short term these sales are a good thing. They bring in more sales, more revenue, and expand the reach of games that frequently have very little marketing support behind them, if any. For those games, getting on the front page of Steam is a huge boost, putting it in front of a huge audience of gamers. But what are the long-term effects? If most players are buying these games at a severely reduced price, how does that influence the perception of indie games at large? It's not an easy question to answer, especially considering how relatively new these sales are, making it difficult to judge their long-term effects. But it's clear they're somewhat of a double-edged sword. Exposure is good, but price erosion isn't. 'When it comes to perception, a deep discount gets people playing the game that [they] wouldn't play otherwise, and I think that has both positive and negative effects,' [2D Boy co-founder Ron Carmel] told Ars. 'The negative is that if I'm willing to pay $5 but not $20, I probably don't want to play that game very much, so maybe I'm not as excited about it after I play it and maybe I drive down the average appreciation of the game.'"

Comment: Re:Too early (Score 4, Interesting) 611

by fireduck (#32363414) Attached to: Gulf Oil Leak Plugged?

My understanding was that there was a chance it might make things worse. If the mud didn't actually slow the leak, but was pushed out as fast as it was applied, there was the fear it might further damage the already broken valve. So, rather than a partially open valve somewhat checking the flow of oil, you'd have a fully open pipe.

Comment: Re:Maryland already has this (Score 5, Informative) 393

by fireduck (#31964226) Attached to: Arizona Trialing System That Lets Utility System Control Home A/Cs

Except, at least with the deal we got from So Cal Edison, we give them the right to shut off our air conditioner in exchange for a discount on our summer electric bill. I don't recall exactly how much of a discount on the energy they gave us, but considering that they never once actually killed our air con during the summer, I have no complaints whatsoever.


+ - The Grapes of Wrath 2.0

Submitted by theodp
theodp (442580) writes "In August, Vanity Fair unveiled their let-them-eat-cake take on The Grapes of Wrath, recreating the original Great Depression scenes, but with Hollywood stars decked out in today's fashion portraying the down-on-their-luck, job-seeking Joads. Now, Gizmodo reports that the Amazon worker fulfilling your Xmas order for a Kindle edition of The Grapes of Wrath might himself be living a kind of updated Tom Joad-like existence, working 10 hours a night and walking 15 miles a day at a seasonal warehouse job in return for $10.50-$11 an hour and a free camping site (guess they ran out of $30 million mansions!)."

Real Users find the one combination of bizarre input values that shuts down the system for days.