TorrentFreak has posted some statistics on the most pirated games of the past year. Leading the list by a large margin is Spore, made infamous even before its release for the draconian DRM attached to the game. It was downloaded through BitTorrent roughly 1.7 million times, with The Sims 2 and Assassin's Creed following at just over a million each. (It's worth noting that Spore came out in September, so that figure is essentially for a mere three months.) GameSetWatch has posted a related piece discussing the countermeasures involved in dealing with piracy. It's the second article in a series about piracy; we discussed the first a couple days ago.
An anonymous reader writes "SIFO (a major Swedish survey company) has conducted a gaming survey right before the launch of Dreamhack Winter. One of the results is that gaming is bigger than football and hockey combined."
Rumor has it that RIAA is already training Space Ninjas, just in case.
gyrogeerloose writes "Stephen Hawking unveiled an unsettling clock in Cambridge on Friday. Designed by John Taylor — a British horologist and inventor whose thermostatic switch is incorporated in millions of electric appliances worldwide — the clock was conceived as a tribute to another British inventor, John Harrison. Harrison invented the grasshopper escapement in the early 18th Century, which resulted in extremely accurate mechanical time keeping and was instrumental in solving the Longitude Problem. Taylor's clock, which in entirely mechanical in operation but has no hands, uses a fearsome-looking 'demon grasshopper' as its escapement. 'I... wanted to depict that time is a destroyer — once a minute is gone you can't get it back' Taylor said. 'That's why my grasshopper is not a Disney character. He is a ferocious beast that over the seconds has his tongue lolling out, his jaws opening, then on the 59th second he gulps down time.' It also (purposely) only tells correct time once every five minutes. An excellent video of the clock in action, with an explanation of its workings by its inventor, is available on YouTube."
gurps_npc writes "CNN reports that a company called 'NAU' is working on an Immersion Cocoon that seems inspired by ST:TNG's Holodeck. The images are only 2D, and you can't touch them. But it is 360-degree video and sound, with light sensors to detect your hand movements and floor sensors to detect foot movements. They hope to have a prototype by October 2009."
thepacketmaster learned of "...the possibility of Steven Hawking moving to Waterloo in Canada: 'A report out of Britain suggests Stephen Hawking is considering an invitation to come work at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics....But he's also being encouraged to move to Ontario by his University of Cambridge colleague Neil Turok, the mathematical physicist who will take over as Perimeter's executive director on Oct. 1. Perimeter confirmed last night that it has made a standing offer to Hawking...Turok is leaving Cambridge after failing to persuade university authorities, research councils and sponsors to spend $40 million...By comparison, Waterloo's Perimeter Institute has about $600 million in funding...The addition of Hawking to Perimeter's staff of top physicists would be a major coup for the research institute, founded in 1999 by Mike Lazaridis, founder and co-CEO of Research In Motion, which makes the BlackBerry.'"
Elektroschock writes "At a Red Hat retrospective panel on the ODF vs. OOXML struggle panel, a Microsoft representative, Stuart McKee, admitted that ODF had 'clearly won.' The Redmond company is going to add native support of ODF 1.1 with its Office 2007 service pack 2. Its yet unpublished format ISO OOXML will not be supported before the release of the next Office generation. Whether or not OOXML ever gets published is an open question after four national bodies appealed the ISO decision."