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Businesses

Google Tries Not To Be a Black Hole of Brilliance 322

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-that's-why-they-won't-hire-me dept.
theodp writes "Google says it's declined to pursue awesome job prospects to avoid an over-concentration of brilliance at the search giant. Speaking at the Supernova conference, Google VP Bradley Horowitz said the company intentionally leaves some brainpower outside its walls: 'I recently had a discussion with an engineer at Google and I pointed out a handful of people that I thought were fruitful in the industry and I proposed that we should hire these people,' said Horowitz. 'But [the engineer] stopped me and said: "These people are actually important to have outside of Google. They're very Google people that have the right philosophies around these things, and it's important that we not hire these guys. It's better for the ecosystem to have an honest industry, as opposed to aggregating all this talent at Google."'"
Patents

Federal Appeals Court Tosses Spam Patent 76

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the no-way-that-was-my-idea dept.
Zordak writes "US patent 6,631,400 claims a method of making sure enough people get your spam. A federal district court had overturned the patent as anticipated and obvious, and not drawn to patentable subject matter. The Federal Circuit, the appeals court which hears patent matters, upheld the finding of obviousness, thus invalidating the patent."
Input Devices

Brain-Control Gaming Headset Launching Dec. 21 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the oh-hey-it's-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Controlling computers with our minds may sound like science fiction, but one Australian company claims to be able to let you do just that. The Emotiv device has been garnering attention at trade shows and conferences for several years, and now the company says it is set to launch the Emotiv EPOC headset on December 21. PC Authority spoke to co-founder Nam Do about the Emotiv technology and its potential as a mainstream gaming interface." One wonders what kind of adoption they expect with a $299 price tag.
Space

New Aluminum-Ice Rocket Propellant Tested 130

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the burn-it-up dept.
eldavojohn writes "With the problem of moving conventional rocket fuel to the Moon and Mars on their minds, researchers from Purdue and Penn State successfully tested and demonstrated the use of aluminum-ice (ALICE) as fuel. In a paper from last August they outlined how it would work (PDF), and now they know it does. Space.com also has more information on the paper and how nano-scale aluminum functions as a fuel."
Earth

Modeling the Economy As a Physics Problem 452

Posted by kdawson
from the gazintas-and-comezoutas dept.
University of Utah physicist Tim Garrett has published a study that approaches the economy and its relation to global warming as a physics problem — and comes to some controversial conclusions: that rising carbon dioxide emissions cannot be stabilized unless the world's economy collapses or society builds the equivalent of one new nuclear power plant each day. The study was panned by economists and was rejected by several journals before its acceptance in the journal Climatic Change. "[Garrett discovered that] Throughout history, a simple physical constant... links global energy use to the world's accumulated economic productivity, adjusted for inflation. So it isn't necessary to consider population growth and standard of living in predicting society's future energy consumption and resulting carbon dioxide emissions. ... 'I'm not an economist, and I am approaching the economy as a physics problem,' Garrett says. 'I end up with a global economic growth model different than they have.' Garrett treats civilization like a 'heat engine' that 'consumes energy and does "work" in the form of economic production, which then spurs it to consume more energy,' he says. That constant is 9.7 (plus or minus 0.3) milliwatts per inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar. So if you look at economic and energy production at any specific time in history, 'each inflation-adjusted 1990 dollar would be supported by 9.7 milliwatts of primary energy consumption,' Garrett says. ... Perhaps the most provocative implication of Garrett's theory is that conserving energy doesn't reduce energy use, but spurs economic growth and more energy use."
Games

3D Video Game Collaboration Used To Solve Crimes 45

Posted by Soulskill
from the world-of-csi-craft dept.
eldavojohn writes "Reuters explains how the National Science Foundation's Cyber-Enabled Discovery and Innovation (CDI) program is funding research used to implement real life crimes in a CSI-like game. They will use IC-CRIME's laser scanner technology and the Unity platform (which recently enjoyed the release of a freeware version) to recreate the crime scene as closely as possible. The crime scene will then be hosted for multiple remote crime scene investigators to explore concurrently while discussing what they see, sharing their data and experience as well as learning and asking questions."
Games

The Psychology of Achievement In Playing Games 80

Posted by Soulskill
from the no-you-don't-get-points-for-reading-this dept.
A post on Pixel Poppers looks at the psychological underpinnings of the types of challenges offered by different game genres, and the effect those challenges have on determining which players find the games entertaining. Quoting: "To progress in an action game, the player has to improve, which is by no means guaranteed — but to progress in an RPG, the characters have to improve, which is inevitable. ... It turns out there are two different ways people respond to challenges. Some people see them as opportunities to perform — to demonstrate their talent or intellect. Others see them as opportunities to master — to improve their skill or knowledge. Say you take a person with a performance orientation ('Paul') and a person with a mastery orientation ('Matt'). Give them each an easy puzzle, and they will both do well. Paul will complete it quickly and smile proudly at how well he performed. Matt will complete it quickly and be satisfied that he has mastered the skill involved. Now give them each a difficult puzzle. Paul will jump in gamely, but it will soon become clear he cannot overcome it as impressively as he did the last one. The opportunity to show off has disappeared, and Paul will lose interest and give up. Matt, on the other hand, when stymied, will push harder. His early failure means there's still something to be learned here, and he will persevere until he does so and solves the puzzle."

Blizzard Answers Your Questions and More 368

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the life-in-the-crosshairs dept.
Last week we asked for interview questions to help supplement our face-to-face interviews at Blizzcon. Over the course of the two-day con we were able to sit down with StarCraft II's Dustin Browder, Diablo III's Leonard Boyarsky, WoW's J. Allen Brack, and Battle.net expert Rob Pardo to answer a few questions on each of the four major camps in Blizzard at the moment. Since this wasn't a usual Slashdot-style interview, we tried to use as many of your suggestions as possible, but the conversation often took us in a unique direction once it got rolling.

Ask Blizzard About Starcraft2, Diablo III, WoW, or Battle.net 520

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the have-you-fixed-the-controls-for-diablo-yet dept.
Well, Blizzcon 2009 is about to get underway (look for the big news from the keynote in a few hours) and given how fast it sold out I'm sure there are still many rabid fans interested in what Blizzard might have to say that don't want to shell out the $40 for Pay-Per-View access. So, to that end we have interviews scheduled tomorrow with the teams from Starcraft2, Diablo III, World of Warcraft, and Battle.net. If there is anything you wish to know about the progress or juicy details from any of these teams please leave it in the comments below. We'll try to parse through for the best questions and get you answers during our interview slots tomorrow. The usual Slashdot interview rules apply.

"In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current." -- Thomas Jefferson

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