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Submission + - Dragon Age: Inquisition Possibly The Best RPG In A Decade, Reviewed, Benchmarked (

MojoKid writes: To say that BioWare has something to prove with Dragon Age: Inquisition is an understatement. The first Dragon Age: Origins was a colossal, sprawling, unabashed throwback to classic RPGs. Conversely, Dragon Age: Inquisition doesn't just tell an epic story, it evolves in a way that leaves you, as the Inquisitor, leading an army. Creating that sense of scope required a fundamentally different approach to gameplay. Neither Dragon Origins or Dragon Age 2 had a true "open" world in the sense that Skyrim is an open world. Instead, players clicked on a location and auto-traveled across the map from Point A to Point B. Thus, a village might be contained within a single map, while a major city might have 10-12 different locations to explore. Inquisition keeps the concept of maps as opposed to a completely open world, but it blows those maps up to gargantuan sizes. Instead of simply consisting of a single town or a bit of wilderness, the new maps in Dragon Age: Inquisition are chock-full of areas to explore, side quests, crafting materials to gather, and caves, dungeons, mountain peaks, flowing rivers, and roving bands of monsters. And Inquisition doesn't forget the small stuff — the companion quests, the fleshed-out NPCs, or the rich storytelling — it just seeks to put those events in a much larger context across a broad geographical area. Dragon Age: Inquisition is one of the best RPGs to come along in a long time. Never has a game tried to straddle both the large-scale, 10,000-foot master plan and the small-scale, intimate adventure and hit both so well. In terms of graphics performance, you might be surprised to learn that a Radeon R9 290X has better frame delivery than a GeForce GTX 980, despite the similarity in the overall frame rate. The worst frame time for an Radeon R9 290X is just 38.5ms or 26 FPS while a GeForce GTX 980 is at 46.7ms or 21 FPS. AMD takes home an overall win in Dragon Age: Inquisition currently, though Mantle support isn't really ready for prime time.

Submission + - The Royal Society Proposes First Framework for Climate Engineering Experiments

Jason Koebler writes: The Royal Society of London, the world's oldest scientific publisher, has unveiled a proposal to create the first serious framework for future geoengineering experiments.
It's a sign that what are still considered drastic and risky measures to combat climate change are drifting further into the purview of mainstream science. The scientific body has issued a call to create "an open and transparent review process that ensures such experiments have the necessary social license to operate."

Submission + - Selectable Ethics For Robotic Cars?

Rick Zeman writes: Wired has an interesting article on the possibility of selectable ethical choices in robotic autonomous cars.

From the article: The way this would work is one customer may set the car (which he paid for) to jealously value his life over all others; another user may prefer that the car values all lives the same and minimizes harm overall; yet another may want to minimize legal liability and costs for herself; and other settings are possible.
Philosophically, this opens up an interesting debate about the oft-clashing ideas of morality vs. liability.
Media (Apple)

Submission + - Steve Jobs taking medical LOA (

stapedium writes: "Steve Jobs is taking a medical leave of absence from Apple until June.
Lets hope the fine folks at Apple can continue to deliver innovative products under Tim Cook, and pray for the best for Steve."


Submission + - U.S. Gov't E-mail Server Turns Into Spam Cannon (

mytrip writes: "Subscribers to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security daily e-mail bulletin were inundated with dozens of e-mails on Wednesday due to a glitch with the mailing list.

The gaffe started after one man, Alex Greene, a manager at GKN Freight Services Inc., sent a reply to the Daily Open Source Infrastructure Report, a round-up of security-related news reports, to change his subscription information.

The e-mail server sent Greene's reply to everyone on the DHS's subscriber list, which sent off a torrent of responses from recipients — some humorous, some irritable — which in turn were fired out again to all subscribers, according to the SANS Institute, a computer security monitoring organization. The cause of the problem was likely an erroneous change in the e-mail server's settings.

"If you maintain a broadcast mailing list, make sure that the address will not reflect e-mail from sources other than the owner of the list," Sachs wrote. "Otherwise, you will become a training example for SANS.""


Submission + - March is Boycott the RIAA Month

A Name Similar to Di writes: Sick of the RIAA's actions against consumers, Gizmodo has declared March Boycott the RIAA month

Gizmodo is declaring the month of March Boycott the RIAA month. We want to get the word out to as many people as humanly possible that we can all send a message by refusing to buy any album put out by an RIAA label. Am I saying you should start pirating music? Not at all. You can continue to support the artists you enjoy and respect in a number of ways.

Submission + - Gizmodo calls for RIAA boycott in March

An anonymous reader writes: Gadget review site Gizmodo is calling for a boycott of RIAA-signed bands in the month of March: ing-our-money-where-our-mouths-are-boycott-the-ria a-in-march-239281.php Instead, they suggest spending your greenbacks on indy artists, or attending concerts/buying merchandise from your favorite RIAA artist (which puts money in the artist's pocket), rather than buying recordings (and further enriching the fat cats at the RIAA). All I can say is, "hell yes!"
The Internet

Submission + - Requesting retraction of Conservapedia story

dpbsmith writes: On second thought, it occurs to me that submitting a Slashdot story about a site whose servers are overwhelmed is... just plain stupid. If you wouldn't mind, please just ignore that submission. Thank you kindly.
The Internet

Submission + - Conservapedia

dpbsmith writes: Conservapedia appears to be undergoing an interesting evolution. Or meltdown. The site was started last fall, initially as a project for about sixty homeschooled students to learn their assigned subject matter by writing encyclopedia articles about it.

However, its rather grandiose home page makes claims for the site that are extravagant compared to the reality. It bills itself as a "a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia." In reality, it has about three thousand "articles" that are amateurish dictionary definitions, extracted from the students' textbooks in an effort to rough out a topic list for the encyclopedia; a score of high-school-term-paper quality articles; and a score of personal essays by Andrew Schlafly on topics in which he has an interest, an expertise, and a fairly right-wing point of view.

After some admiring mentions in conservative blogs by writers who apparently did not really look at the site, it was discovered by non-conservative circles. It has been quite interesting to perform successive Google searchs on "Conservapedia" over the course of the last twenty-four hours, as the conservative mentions get overwhelmed by non-conservatives making mocking fun of the site.

At the moment there appears to be a vicious circle taking place. Vandals are being attracted to the site. The typical vandalism consists of adding over-the-top satiric parody of what the contributors imagine to be Conservapedia's point of view. Non-conservative readers are apparently failing to judge what is real (Conservapedia's bee in its bonnet about Wikipedia's occasional use of British spellings, and CE/BCE for dates instead of AD/BC) and what is vandalism ("However, God has recently revealed on His blog that Jesus is actually His nephew, not His son.")

Their server is currently quite slow. When it is possible to get in and access Recent Changes, there is some evidence that the administrators are not managing to block vandal accounts or delete joke pages as fast as they are being created.

At the moment it almost appears as if the founders of the site have provided free Wiki space to non-conservatives, who are using it to build a satiric website that mocks the founders' opinions.

On December 22nd, an article on Conservapedia was deleted from Wikipedia, either because it did not have a high enough Alexa rank to be considered notable, or because of Wikipedia's liberal bias. Unfortunately, the vandals apparently are not using the Alexa Toolbar, as Conservapedia's Alexa rank still stands at 1,985,594.

Submission + - Open Letter to Ballmer

RelliK writes: Hi,

I am tired of Ballmer's BS and I want to send a response. Somebody has to stand up and say something, and so far I have heard nothing from our "leaders". However, a response is necessary and must be circulated far and wide. I can't think of a better forum to place it on.

Mr Ballmer,

Lately you have made a lot of noise with your vague threats against Linux. Indeed you were quite livid in your assertions that Linux infringes on some of Microsoft's unspecified patents. However, no amount of yelling, dancing, or chair throwing can make up for one crucial deficiency in your claims: you have so far failed to specify what it is you are complaining about. So, Mr. Ballmer, if you want to be taken seriously, here is what we, the Linux community, want you to do:
  • Provide the list of all patents that you believe pertain to Linux.
  • For each alleged patent, explain why you believe it applies to Linux.
  • Provide the exact source code coordinates in Linux (file, version, lines of code) that you believe infringe on said patents.
Should any of your claims prove true, we would be happy to remove the offending code from Linux. However, in the absense of the above information, we can only conclude that you are making things up. The strategy of vague, unspecified allegations and innuendo has already failed for your minion, SCO. You, of all people, should know that, Mr. Ballmer. The Linux community shall not be intimidated.

Your assertion that Open Source has no respect for intellectual property rights is baseless. On the contrary, because the code is open for all to see, it is impossible to hide illicit proprietary code in Open Source software. The same cannot be said about proprietary developers who often "borrow" Open Source code. Indeed, Microsoft itself has time and again shown disdain for intellectual property rights of others. Most recent example of that is $1.5 billion judgment against Microsoft in a patent dispute with Alcatel-Lucent. Further, while purporting to assert patents against Linux, Microsoft is at the same time arguing before US Supreme Court that software cannot be patented.

In conclusion, Mr. Ballmer, the moment of truth has arrived: either specify your claims or stop your libelous accusations.

People are always available for work in the past tense.