Arvisp writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "Solar physicists may have discovered why the Sun recently experienced a prolonged period of weak activity. The most recent so-called 'solar minimum' occurred in December 2008. Its drawn-out nature extended the total length of the last solar cycle — the repeating cycle of the Sun's activity — to 12.6 years, making it the longest in almost 200 years. The new research suggests that the longer-than-expected period of weak activity may have been linked to changes in the way a hot soup of charged particles called plasma circulated in the Sun."
JoshuaInNippon writes "Japan has gone life-size anime model crazy. Last year there was the robotic 1:1 Gundam model that guarded Tokyo for a few months in the summer to mark the series' 30th anniversary, and then there was the giant Gigantor moment that opened in Kobe in the fall in honor of the city's rejuvenation from the devastating 1995 earthquake. Now, an amusement park near Mt. Fuji named Fuji-Q Highland is building an Eva Unit 01 from the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion series, or at least a bust of it, in conjunction with the series' recent movies. The bust will sit in a replica hanger, and reportedly stand around 9 meters tall. Visitors will have the chance, for a little extra money, to have their photo taken in the unit's cockpit, where the series' protagonist-of-sorts Shinji Ikari normally sits. The attraction is set to a cost of over US$1.6 million to build, and open on July 23 of this year. It will also undoubtedly be swamped by crazed fans looking the opportunity to bring their anime dreams to life."
lbalbalba writes "Electronic Arts is shutting down its Westwood-based game developer Pandemic Studios just two years after acquiring it, putting nearly 200 people out of work. 'The struggling video game publisher informed employees Tuesday morning that it was closing the studio as part of a recently announced plan to eliminate 1,500 jobs, or 16% of its global workforce. Pandemic has about 220 employees, but an EA spokesman said that a core team, estimated by two people close to the studio to be about 25, will be integrated into the publisher's other Los Angeles studio, in Playa Vista.' An ex-developer for Pandemic attributed the studio's struggles to poor decisions from the management."