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Earth

Nuclear Energy Now More Expensive Than Solar 635

Posted by samzenpus
from the sunlight-is-free dept.
js_sebastian writes "According to an article on the New York Times, a historical cross-over has occurred because of the declining costs of solar vs. the increasing costs of nuclear energy: solar, hardly the cheapest of renewable technologies, is now cheaper than nuclear, at around 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Furthermore, the NY Times reports that financial markets will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants unless the risk of default (which is historically as high as 50 percent for the nuclear industry) is externalized to someone else through federal loan guarantees or ratepayer funding. The bottom line seems to be that nuclear is simply not competitive, and the push from the US government to subsidize it seems to be forcing the wrong choice on the market."
Image

Girl Seeks Help On Facebook During Assault 417

Posted by samzenpus
from the emergency-status-update dept.
A 12-year-old girl who was being assaulted by her mother's ex-boyfriend used some quick thinking by sending a message on her iPod to a friend's Facebook account for help. The friend was able to contact the girl's mother who then contacted the police. 42-year-old Raymond Ernest Cesmat was arrested and charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the first degree. He is being held at the Dakota County Jail on $175,000 bail.
Piracy

Study Claims $41.5 Billion In Portable Game Piracy Losses Over Five Years 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the fair-and-balanced dept.
Gamasutra reports that Japan's Computer Entertainment Suppliers Association conducted a study to estimate the total amount of money lost to piracy on portable game consoles. The figure they arrived at? $41.5 billion from 2004 to 2009. Quoting: "CESA checked the download counts for the top 20 Japanese games at what it considers the top 114 piracy sites, recording those figures from 2004 to 2009. After calculating the total for handheld piracy in Japan with that method, the groups multiplied that number by four to reach the worldwide amount, presuming that Japan makes up 25 percent of the world's software market. CESA and Baba Lab did not take into account other popular distribution methods for pirated games like peer-to-peer sharing, so the groups admit that the actual figures for DS and PSP software piracy could be much higher than the ¥3.816 trillion amount the study found."
Image

New Gadget Tells You When To Take a Break 50

Posted by samzenpus
from the step-away-from-the-keyboard dept.
Kilrah_il writes "An Israeli company developed a gadget that measures your blood pressure and tells you when you are stressed and need to take a break from your computer. 'The user grasps two sensors shaped like computer mouses to measure the electric activity of the heart in minute detail. Software then combines the measurements with prerecorded personal details such as age and sex to calculate various indicators for stress and mood.' Looks like a must-have accessory for Slashdotters everywhere."
Businesses

Former Exec Says Electronic Arts "Is In the Wrong Business" 180

Posted by Soulskill
from the inspiring-internet-outrage-is-a-bad-business-model dept.
Mitch Lasky was the executive vice president of Mobile and Online at Electronic Arts until leaving the publisher to work at an investment firm. He now has some harsh things to say about how EA has been run over the past several years, in particular criticizing the decisions of CEO John Riccitiello. Quoting: "EA is in the wrong business, with the wrong cost structure and the wrong team, but somehow they seem to think that it is going to be a smooth, two-year transition from packaged goods to digital. Think again. ... by far the greatest failure of Riccitiello's strategy has been the EA Games division. JR bet his tenure on EA's ability to 'grow their way through the transition' to digital/online with hit packaged goods titles. They honestly believed that they had a decade to make this transition (I think it's more like 2-3 years). Since the recurring-revenue sports titles were already 'booked' (i.e., fully accounted for in the Wall Street estimates) it fell to EA Games to make hits that could move the needle. It's been a very ugly scene, indeed. From Spore, to Dead Space, to Mirror's Edge, to Need for Speed: Undercover, it's been one expensive commercial disappointment for EA Games after another. Not to mention the shut-down of Pandemic, half of the justification for EA's $850MM acquisition of Bioware-Pandemic. And don't think that Dante's Inferno, or Knights of the Old Republic, is going to make it all better. It's a bankrupt strategy."
Image

Man Sues Neighbor For Not Turning Off His Wi-Fi 428

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-you-never-wondered-why-I-drink-only-distilled-water-or-rain-water-and-only-pure-grain-alcohol dept.
Scyth3 writes "A man is suing his neighbor for not turning off his cell phone or wireless router. He claims it affects his 'electromagnetic allergies,' and has resorted to being homeless. So, why doesn't he check into a hotel? Because hotels typically have wireless internet for free. I wonder if a tinfoil hat would help his cause?"
Security

Blizzard Authenticators May Become Mandatory 248

Posted by Soulskill
from the gotta-take-off-your-shoes-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "WoW.com is reporting that a trusted source has informed them that Blizzard is giving serious consideration to making authenticators mandatory on all World of Warcraft accounts. The authenticators function the same as ones provided by most banks — in order to log in, you must generate a number on the external device. Blizzard already provides a free iPhone app that functions as an authenticator. The source stated, 'it is a virtually forgone conclusion that it will happen.' This comes after large spates of compromised accounts left Bizzard game masters severely backlogged by restoration requests."
Space

Astronomers Discover 33 Pairs of Waltzing Black Holes 101

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the teach-them-to-foxtrot dept.
Astronomers from UC Berkeley have identified 33 pairs of waltzing black holes, closing the gap somewhat between the observed population of super-massive black hole pairs and what had been predicted by theory. "Astronomical observations have shown that 1) nearly every galaxy has a central super-massive black hole (with a mass of a million to a billion times the mass of the Sun), and 2) galaxies commonly collide and merge to form new, more massive galaxies. As a consequence of these two observations, a merger between two galaxies should bring two super-massive black holes to the new, more massive galaxy formed from the merger. The two black holes gradually in-spiral toward the center of this galaxy, engaging in a gravitational tug-of-war with the surrounding stars. The result is a black hole dance, choreographed by Newton himself. Such a dance is expected to occur in our own Milky Way Galaxy in about 3 billion years, when it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy."
Space

Super-Earths Discovered Orbiting Nearby, Sun-Like Star 242

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-for-one dept.
likuidkewl writes "Two super-earths, 5 and 7.5 times the size of our home, were found to be orbiting 61 Virginis a mere 28 light years away. 'These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away,' said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC. Among hundreds of our nearest stellar neighbors, 61 Vir stands out as being the most nearly similar to the Sun in terms of age, mass, and other essential properties."
Space

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Posted by kdawson
from the toil-and-trouble dept.
Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."
Bug

Saboteur Launch Plagued By Problems With ATI Cards 230

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-or-less-finished dept.
An anonymous reader writes "So far, there are over 35 pages of people posting about why EA released Pandemic Studios' final game, Saboteur, to first the EU on December 4th and then, after knowing full well it did not work properly, to the Americas on December 8th. They have been promising to work on a patch that is apparently now in the QA stage of testing. It is not a small bug; rather, if you have an ATI video card and either Windows 7 or Windows Vista, the majority (90%) of users have the game crash after the title screen. Since the marketshare for ATI is nearly equal to that of Nvidia, and the ATI logo is adorning the front page of the Saboteur website, it seems like quite a large mistake to release the game in its current state."
Games

The Struggle For Private Game Servers 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the let's-make-onyxia-fight-ragnaros dept.
A story at the BBC takes a look at the use of private game servers for games that tend not to allow them. While most gamers are happy to let companies like Blizzard and NCSoft administer the servers that host their MMORPGs, others want different rules, a cheaper way to play, or the technical challenge of setting up their own. A South African player called Hendrick put up his own WoW server because the game "wasn't available in the country at the time." A 21-year-old Swede created a server called Epilogue, which "had strict codes of conduct and rules, as well as a high degree of customized content (such as new currency, methods of earning experience, the ability to construct buildings and hire non-player characters, plus 'permanent' player death) unavailable in the retail version of the game." The game companies make an effort to quash these servers when they can, though it's frequently more trouble that it's worth. An NCSoft representative referenced the "growing menace" of IP theft, and a Blizzard spokesperson said,"We also have a responsibility to our players to ensure the integrity and reliability of their World of Warcraft gaming experience and that responsibility compels us to protect our rights."
Role Playing (Games)

Sims 3 Expansion Announced 84

Posted by Soulskill
from the hundreds-of-new-ways-to-torture-your-sim dept.
EA has announced that The Sims 3 will be getting its first expansion pack on November 16th, titled World Adventures. It will be available at first for the PC and Mac clients, and later for mobile platforms. "Players can take their Sims on new journeys to famous real-world inspired destinations around the globe for the first time ever and seek out new adventures. ... From mastering martial arts in Shang Simla, China, discovering rich culture and famous landmarks on a romantic getaway to Champs Les Sims, France or exploring the depths of ancient tombs in Al Simhara, Egypt, players can take their Sims on a journey that will change their Sims' lives." EA's Lyndsay Pearson spoke further about the expansion in an interview with IGN.

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