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Games

Review: Spore 605

Posted by Soulskill
from the evolution-of-games-and-vice-versa dept.
The hype leading up to Spore was excessive. But then, so is the scope of the game; following the growth of a species from the cellular level to galactic domination was an ambitious goal, to say the least. Bringing evolution into the realm of entertainment was something Will Wright hoped and gambled he could do after the success of the Sim franchise. But rather than evolution, Spore became more about creation — creation that allows a single-player game to include the community, as well. It ties the various parts of the game together to make Spore very entertaining as a whole. Read on for my thoughts.
Transportation

+ - Red-light Cameras Increase Crashes Researchers Say

Submitted by
Pickens
Pickens writes "Rather than improving motorist safety, red-light cameras significantly increase crashes researchers at the University of South Florida College of Public Health conclude. "The rigorous studies clearly show red-light cameras don't work," said lead author Barbara Langland-Orban, professor and chair of health policy and management at the USF College of Public Health. "Instead, they increase crashes and injuries as drivers attempt to abruptly stop at camera intersections. If used in Florida, cameras could potentially create even worse outcomes due to the state's high percent of elderly who are more likely to be injured or killed when a crash occurs." Langland-Orban said the findings have been known for some time citing a 2001 paper reporting that red-light cameras are "a hidden tax levied on motorists." The report concluded cameras are associated with increased crashes, the timings at yellow lights are often set too short to increase tickets for red-light running, and that red-light running can be reduced by engineering improvements that address factors such as signal visibility and timings, wet roads and traffic flow. The original paper is available online (pdf)."
Earth

+ - Scientists Find the Dark Ages Really Were Dark

Submitted by
Ponca City, We Love You
Ponca City, We Love You writes "In 536 Byzantine historian Procopius wrote that "a most dread portent took place. For the sun gave forth its light without brightness... and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear." Now palaeoclimatologist Keith Briffa and an international team of collaborators have found the characteristic fingerprint of a volcanic eruption in layers of ice in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, narrowly dated to around 533-536 and the amount of sulphate they found implies that the eruption was even bigger than that of Tambora in Indonesia in 1815, perhaps releasing as much as 40% more dust making the event "the most severe volcanic cooling event in the Northern Hemisphere in the past 2,000 years". Some have suggested that consequences of the erpuption were more dramatic than mere crop failure and overcast skies. Around 541, a plague pandemic rampaged from southern Asia to Denmark, wreaking havoc in the Byzantine Empire and possibly killing about 40% of the inhabitants of its capital Constantinople."
First Person Shooters (Games)

+ - Using gaming to ease war-related stress

Submitted by foobarx
foobarx (1134525) writes "The New York Times is reporting on "Virtual Iraq," a virtual reality simulator which is being used to treat post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans of the Iraq war. The simulation, which also uses specific smells released in four second puffs, is based on the 2004 XBox game Full Spectrum Warrior. Virtually Better, the Decatur, Georgia based company that produces Virtual Iraq, also produces Virtual Vietnam, for veterans of that war."
The Media

+ - China Overtakes US As Worst CO2 Emitter-> 1

Submitted by
cybermage
cybermage writes "The Guardian broke the story of a new study that says "China overtakes U.S. as world's biggest CO2 emitter". Does the press have the story right? On a per person basis, the U.S. emits four times the carbon of China. Also, when you consider how much American manufacturing for American consumption is outsourced to China, how can the study be taken at face value?"
Link to Original Source
Math

+ - Mixed Reality, Physics and WoW->

Submitted by hkfczrqj
hkfczrqj (671146) writes "Researchers at the University of Illinois are studying systems in which virtual and real physical systems interact (first story). Using a real and a simulated pendulum to create a "mixed reality" system, the authors hope to understand the conditions under which emergent, more complex phenomena such as the interaction between real and virtual economies in MMORPGs arise."
Link to Original Source
Robotics

+ - Robots to Replace Migrant Fruit Pickers

Submitted by Vicissidude
Vicissidude (878310) writes "As if the debate over immigration and guest worker programs wasn't complicated enough, now a couple of robots are rolling into the middle of it. Vision Robotics, a San Diego company, is working on a pair of robots that would trundle through orchards plucking oranges, apples or other fruit from the trees. In a few years, troops of these machines could perform the tedious and labor-intensive task of fruit picking that currently employs thousands of migrant workers each season. The robotic work has been funded entirely by agricultural associations, and pushed forward by the uncertainty surrounding the migrant labor force. Farmers are "very, very nervous about the availability and cost of labor in the near future," says Vision Robotics CEO Derek Morikawa."
Patents

+ - New Lightbulb 50% Efficient...Never Burns Out.-> 1

Submitted by
hankmt
hankmt writes "Ceravision has just been awarded a patent for a new kind of light. The system is four times more efficient than Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs and it contains now hazardous materials. It basically works by using a microwave emitter to create a high intensity electric field inside a chamber filled with gas. The gas quickly converts to plasma, an the plasma releases more than 50% of it's energy as light.

The device uses components that are all already in mass production, so it could be available relatively quickly. The high directionality of the light makes it perfect for rear projection screens and medical applications, but it could be entering the mass consumer market as a "edison-type" bulb in the next five years."

Link to Original Source
Math

+ - New theory suggests extra dimensions are time-like

Submitted by
everyplace
everyplace writes "Professor George Sparling proposes a new unified theory of mathematics, building upon the works of Cartan, Penrose and countless other philosophers and physicists. From the article: "...A fundamental question pondered since the time of Pythagoras, and still vexing scientists today: what is the nature of space and time? After analyzing different perspectives, Sparling offers an alternative idea: space-time may have six dimensions, with the extra two being time-like.""
XBox (Games)

+ - Xbox 360: Guitar Hero II killing consoles?

Submitted by
bitrot42
bitrot42 writes "First, there were problems with the whammy bar, for which Red Octane produced a patch. Now there are reports of the patch bricking the console, causing the infamous Ring of Death. Is this a case of confusing coincidence with causality? Update/patches/downloads for the 360 often spawn some reports of killing consoles, which may have failed anyway for other reasons. Or is GHII really bad news?"
Education

+ - The Six Dimensional Space-Time Theory

Submitted by
eldavojohn
eldavojohn writes "PhysOrg is covering an interesting year old paper that proposes an alternative space-time relationship theory. His resulting proposition, based on Einstein's general relativity and Elie Cartan's triality concept, is a Twister Space (which I've only read of in Roger Penrose's latest work). The basic gist of his theory is that space-time is not modeled by four dimensions but instead six. He's hoping that tests from the Large Hadron Collider will help prove his theory. The extra two dimensions are time like or related to time and are the designated twisters in his equations. He's coining this as a "Xi transform" and cites the rationale of these extra dimensions to be providing symmetry — the product of a wave operator and a Xi transform, taken in any order, is zero. The three dimensional space model is s2 = x2 + y2 + z2. The traditional four dimensional space-time model has a critical minus sign, s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 — t2. Sparling is proposing a model that resembles s2 = x2 + y2 + z2 — t2 — u2 — v2, where u and v represent the new time variables. The implied connotations the new theory holds are massive would rock the very concepts of future versus the past, the paper is heavy but the PhysOrg article summarizes it nicely."
Role Playing (Games)

+ - WoW Addiction Results in Death of Toddler

Submitted by Henry V .009
Henry V .009 (518000) writes "The Albuquerque Journal reports that Federal authorities have just charged Rebecca Wulf for allowing her 3-year-old daughter to starve to death, surrounded by "cat feces, moldy food and unwashed dishes" while Rebecca played World of Warcraft. I thought Slashdoters might want an early heads up on what is likely to become a big news story. Having worked with abused children in the past, I can say that the stories I hear of WoW addiction cases are on the level of hard drug addiction stories — in my opinion at least, this can no longer be dismissed as a 'you can be addicted to anything' issue anymore."

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