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+ - Lord British Wants to Make Space Travel Affordable->

Submitted by sigma_epsilon
sigma_epsilon (1701846) writes "Ars Technica has a wonderful article on the Opposable Thumbs blog about Lord British's efforts to bring space travel down from a $50 million venture to as little as $25,000 using reusable rockets, and the impact that could have on climate preservation, as well as jump starting a private space industry."
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Comment: Re:Governments tend (Score 1) 433

by sigma_epsilon (#34811264) Attached to: Internet Downloading Costs To Rise In Canada

I don't think that you understand the benefits of that regulation.

If people could buy insurance policies across state lines, states would have no ability to force insurance providers to conform to certain standards of service. Instead of each state being able to mandate certain minimum standards, insurance companies could locate only in the state which has the lowest bar and the most loopholes in regulations. Much like how all patent lawsuits are filed in Texas, there could be a 'race to the bottom' between states, with each trying to give companies the most incentives to locate in the states and benefit from the tax revenue.

This is beneficial to just the one state, and hurts all other states which then 1) do not benefit from tax revenue and 2) screws over everyone by offering subpar care.

Basically, instead of having an issue in the one city, it spreads to the whole nation.

Welcome to a world of corporations willing to let customers go bankrupt and suffer through illness to increase their profit margins.

+ - Kiwi Alchemy->

Submitted by Master Moose
Master Moose (1243274) writes "New Zealand researchers have cracked what seems like modern-day alchemy, transforming one kiwifruit into 100 plastic spoons and the city's sewage into electricity.

Researcher Martin Markotsis said the secret was a chemical process that made kiwifruit melt like plastic in standard factory equipment.

Small batches of prototypes have been made, mixing different amounts of kiwifruit, corn and other secret, but organic, additives.

The project is now picking the best mixture — with the right strength and flexibility — and ramping up production to a commercial scale. One piece of fruit, about 90g, can make more than 100 of utensils.

The global market for bioplastics is expected to grow 20-fold in a decade, with overseas rivals building mobile phones from cashew nut shells and corn."

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Cellphones

Android Fork Brings Froyo To 12 Smartphones 193

Posted by timothy
from the sticking-it-to-the-phone-companies dept.
jj110888 writes "CyanogenMod has just been updated to version 6.0, bringing Android Open Source Project 2.2 (Froyo) to several devices. This fork includes enchantments to many of the built-in apps, Ad-hoc network connectivity, OpenVPN support, Bluetooth HID, Incognito browsing, extensive control over audio and UI elements, and more found in the extensive CHANGELOG. The CyanogenMod team uses an instance of Google's gerrit tool for code review and patch submission, helping make this former backport of Android 1.6 to T-Mobile's G1 into thriving development for the G1/MyTouch/MyTouch 1.2, Droid, Nexus One, HTC Aria, HTC Desire, HTC Evo 4G (minus 4G and HDMI output), Droid Incredible, and MyTouch Slide. HTC Hero (including Droid Eris) are coming soon for 6.0, with Samsung Galaxy S devices expected to be supported in 6.1."
Idle

+ - Man Single-Handedly Builds Underground Subway->

Submitted by jerryjamesstone
jerryjamesstone (1641841) writes "Everybody is into rail these days; it is the greenest way to get around next to a bike. Leonid Mulyanchik has been into it for years since before the Berlin Wall fell, since before the first Macintosh, building "his own private underground Metro railway system." English-Russia says that he has been doing it with his pension, that it is all legal and approved and that he is still at it. Gizmodo calls it "inspiring, one man against all odds type of persistence, but more the obsessive, borderline insane persistence.""
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Image

Happy Towel Day 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the wringing-out-the-wit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While Douglas Adams continues his attempt to set a new record for the longest extended lunch break, geeks all over the universe pay tribute to the beloved author by celebrating the tenth edition of Towel Day. Towel Day is more alive than ever. This year Richard Dawkins, one of Adams' best friends, has tweeted a Towel Day reminder to his numerous followers. The CERN Bulletin has published an article on Towel Day. There has been TV coverage and there will be a radio interview. The Military Republic of the Deltan Imperium, a newly formed micronation, has recognized Towel Day as an official holiday. In Hungary several hundreds of hitchhiker fans want to have a picnic together in a park. And there's a concert, a free downloadable nerdrap album, a free game being released, the list goes on and on."

Comment: Re:Nail on the head (Score 1) 249

by sigma_epsilon (#32139584) Attached to: Nintendo To Take On Piracy In 3-D

While a lot of slashdotters support Software as a Service, very few, if any, would support Music as a Service.

Pandora. I pay for it. Media as a service works as long as the media is actually a service, not a more obnoxious way to get something that you could store locally anyway. The whole point of SaaS is to provide added benefit at the expense of requiring an internet connection. It's why WoW works, and why Steam works, but why Ubi's DRM doesn't. With WoW, you get other players by connecting to the server. With Steam, you can host your games in the cloud. With Pandora, you can take advantage of their algorithms. With DRM, you just have to connect to the internet without any additional benefit.

Games

Roger Ebert On Why Video Games Can Never Be Art 733

Posted by Soulskill
from the wait-till-you-catch-those-moving-pictures dept.
Roger Ebert has long held the opinion that video games are not and can never be considered an art form. After having this opinion challenged in a TED talk last year, Ebert has now taken the opportunity to thoughtfully respond and explain why he maintains this belief. Quoting: "One obvious difference between art and games is that you can win a game. It has rules, points, objectives, and an outcome. Santiago might cite an immersive game without points or rules, but I would say then it ceases to be a game and becomes a representation of a story, a novel, a play, dance, a film. Those are things you cannot win; you can only experience them. She quotes Robert McKee's definition of good writing as 'being motivated by a desire to touch the audience.' This is not a useful definition, because a great deal of bad writing is also motivated by the same desire. I might argue that the novels of Cormac McCarthy are so motivated, and Nicholas Sparks would argue that his novels are so motivated. But when I say McCarthy is 'better' than Sparks and that his novels are artworks, that is a subjective judgment, made on the basis of my taste (which I would argue is better than the taste of anyone who prefers Sparks)."
Censorship

Switzerland Passes Violent Games Ban 294

Posted by Soulskill
from the they're-just-mad-they-suck-at-olympic-hockey dept.
BanjoTed writes with a followup to news from February that the Swiss government was pursuing a ban on violent video games. He writes "Sadly, Switzerland has now passed the law that paves the way for an outright ban on violent video games in the country. The full implications of the ruling will not be known until the government reveals the exact requirements that will be laid down by the new legislation – a decision that has not yet been made. What is certain though is that the Swiss authorities have now obtained the power to introduce any measures they see fit. The likeliest outcome seems to be an outright ban on the production, distribution and sale of any games deemed to be unsuitable – most likely anything with either a PEGI 16+ or PEGI 18+ certificate."
Firefox

Mozilla Labs To Bring Address Book To Firefox 80

Posted by timothy
from the are-belong-to-us dept.
suraj.sun writes with this excerpt from Ars Technica: "Mozilla has announced the availability of an experimental new add-on for Firefox that is designed to import information about the user's contacts from a variety of Web services and other sources. The add-on makes contact details easily accessible to the user and can also selectively supply it to remote Web applications. ... After the add-on has imported and indexed the user's contact data, it becomes available to the user through an integrated contact management tool that functions like an address book. One of Mozilla's first experiments is an autocompletion feature that allows users to select a contact when they are typing an e-mail address into a Web form. ... To make the browser's contact database accessible to Web applications, the add-on uses the W3C Contacts API specification."
Piracy

Ubisoft's Authentication Servers Go Down 634

Posted by kdawson
from the single-point-of-well-you-know dept.
ZuchinniOne writes "With Ubisoft's fantastically awful new DRM you must be online and logged in to their servers to play the games you buy. Not only was this DRM broken the very first day it was released, but now their authentication servers have failed so absolutely that no-one who legally bought their games can play them. 'At around 8am GMT, people began to complain in the Assassin's Creed 2 forum that they couldn't access the Ubisoft servers and were unable to play their games.' One can only hope that this utter failure will help to stem the tide of bad DRM."

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