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An Early Look at the NASA MMO 208

Big Download is running an article with details and screenshots from the MMO under development by NASA. The game makes use of Unreal Engine 3, and it's titled Astronaut: Moon, Mars and Beyond. A demo is planned for later this year, and in 2010 they expect "the first episodic installment of the game" to come out. Jerry Heneghan, founder and CEO of Virtual Heroes, described it thus: "This game is going to be a fresh look at the future circa about 2035. ... The core of the gameplay is going to be people building up their characters and as you move forward, you will have more options unlock with new places to go, new equipment to use and new things to do. We are not so much focused on interstellar flight and all that entails... the gameplay is actually about being in a habitat on a planetary surface and doing things like mining Helium-3 for fuel, operating a hydroponics facility to grow plants and create oxygen and operating robots and vehicles."

Google Earth To Show Ocean Floor 181

f1vlad writes "Google is expected to announce the addition of ocean floor imagery to its Google Earth project, which will complete digital representation of our planet. 'The existing site, to which an estimated 400 million people have had access, already includes three-dimensional representations of large cities around the world and includes images from street-level and aerial photography covering thousands of miles across Britain and elsewhere. The new additions to the website are expected to include views of the ocean, and portions of the seabed. They will also provide detailed environmental data that will enhance information about the effect of climate change on the world's seas and oceans.'"

How To Build a Web 2.0 Government? 249

UltraAyla writes "With the announcement that President-Elect Obama will record his weekly address as a YouTube video to be posted at, questions arise as to how an Internet-fueled candidacy based in part on a platform of government openness can begin to use technology to make government transparent. Aside from popular Slashdot policies, such as Net Neutrality, how do you think government (either in the United States or elsewhere) can best utilize technology to engage the public and make government more transparent and accessible?" Reader Rick Zeman points out a related New York Times story about how Obama will have to give up some of his communications gadgets because of the Presidential Records Act. Despite that, he apparently hopes to be the first US president to have a laptop on his desk in the Oval Office.

Flower Robots For Your Home 119

Roland Piquepaille writes "Flower robots are not new, and some have already been developed in the US. Now, South Korean researchers have created a robotic plant which acts like real ones. This robot has humidifying, oxygen-producing, aroma-emitting, and kinetic functions. It is about 1.30 meters tall and 40 centimeters in diameter. The robotic plant can interact with people when they approach, and it can 'dance' when music is played. The researchers don't say when a commercial version of their flowers will come to the market. They also don't mention a retail price."

Cisco Turns Routers Into Linux App Servers 121

symbolset writes "InternetNews is reporting that Cisco's new Application eXtension Platform turns several models of Cisco switches into Linux application servers. With certified libraries in C, Java and Perl, developers will be able to use a downloadable SDK to build their apps. The AXP server is just another module in a Cisco switch running Cisco's own derivation of a modern Linux distro (Kernel 2.6.x) specifically hardened to run on that particular hardware. Modules will include up to 1.4-GHz Intel Pentiums with 2 GB RAM and a 160 GB hard drive."

All power corrupts, but we need electricity.