Freshly Exhumed writes "Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Cornell University and Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health report in the journal Psychological Science [abstract; press release] that a gene variant can cause individuals to perceive the negative side of every situation. UBC Prof. Rebecca Todd said the ADRA2b deletion variant influences not only emotional memory, which was previously known, but also amplifies a person's real-time perception of events, for better or for worse. 'Some individuals are predisposed to see the world more darkly than others,' Todd said. 'What we found is that a previously known genetic variation causes some individuals to perceive the world more vividly than others and, particularly, negative aspects of the world.'"
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dryriver writes with an except from Polygon's interview with DICE creative directory Lars Gustavsson, who says it would only take one "killer" game for Linux to break into mainstream gaming (something some would argue it already has): "We strongly want to get into Linux for a reason," Gustavsson said. "It took Halo for the first Xbox to kick off and go crazy — usually, it takes one killer app or game and then people are more than willing [to adopt it] — it is not hard to get your hands on Linux, for example, it only takes one game that motivates you to go there." "I think, even then, customers are getting more and more convenient, so you really need to convince them how can they marry it into their daily lives and make an integral part of their lives," he explained, sharing that the studio has used Linux servers because it was a "superior operating system to do so." Valve's recently announced Steam OS and Steam Machines are healthy for the console market, Gustavsson said when asked for his opinion on Valve's recent announcements."
formaggio writes "Team Austria was just announced the overall winner of the 2013 Solar Decathlon for their beautiful LISI House. With its elegant and innovative moving curtain facade, a simple form, and a strong emphasis placed on creating a seamless space that combines outdoor and indoor living, the stunning net-zero home is a versatile enough for life in both sunny California or the team's more temperate native land."
theodp writes "The Mercury News has an exclusive sneak peek of Apple's planned headquarters in Cupertino, which Steve Jobs personally sought approval for in 2011. 'We found that rectangles or squares or long buildings or buildings with more than four stories would inhibit collaboration,' Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer said, explaining the motivation behind the so-called Apple Ring. Nice, but if you wanted to hurt the feelings of the Design Gods at Apple, you could point out that, for all its $5 billion glory, what Apple calls 'the best office building ever' doesn't look all that different from an old-school $3.95 6250 BPI magnetic tape reel (still available on eBay, kids!)."
Lucas123 writes "Consumers appear more willing to use a self-driving car from a leading technology company, such as Google, over an auto manufacturer like Ford or Toyota, according to a new study from KPMG. Based on polls of focus groups, technology companies scored highest among consumers, with a median score of 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as the highest level of trust. Premium auto brands received a score of 7.75, while mass-market brands received a score of 5. Google is the brand most associated with self-driving cars, according to the study, while Nissan lead the mass auto producers in recognition for autonomous technology; that was based on its pledge in August to launch an affordable self-driving car by 2020. 'We believe that self-driving cars will be profoundly disruptive to the traditional automotive ecosystem,' KPMG stated." I suspect that when autonomous cars start arriving for ordinary buyers, there will be a lot of co-branding, as there is now for various car subsystems and even levels of trim.
Jeremiah Cornelius writes "Rapture of the Nerds co-author Charlie Stross hates Microsoft Word, worse than you do. Best of all, he can articulate the many structural faults of Word that make his loathing both understandable and contagious. 'Steve Jobs approached Bill Gates... to organize the first true WYSIWYG word processor for a personal computer -- ...should it use control codes, or hierarchical style sheets? In the end, the decree went out: Word should implement both formatting paradigms. Even though they're fundamentally incompatible... Word was in fact broken by design, from the outset — and it only got worse from there.' Can Free Software do any better, than to imitate the broken Microsoft model? Does document formatting even matter this much, versus content?"
An anonymous reader writes "Winston Smith, the protagonist of George Orwell's novel 1984, resorted to hiding the bushes with his lover in a failed attempt to escape the government's ubiquitous surveillance. Orwell was concerned with totalitarianism and explicit thought control enforced by police action. While that is still very much an issue for many of the world's residents, here in the West there is an unsettling feeling about a more subtle form of thought manipulation, as more and more of our activities are watched, cataloged, and analyzed by more and more institutions — governments, businesses, non-profits, political parties, mostly for predictive purposes. At least we have a name for it now: 'Dataland', a term suggested by Kate Crawford of Microsoft Research, who studies the sociological effects of networking technologies. Crawford has been written up in Slashdot before. She's criticized the indiscriminate adoption of Big Data analytics on several grounds, including the loss of anonymity, erroneous conclusions from skewed datasets, and the prospect of secret discrimination."
cold fjord writes with this excerpt from the BBC: "Astronomers have detected the tell-tale signs of a shattered asteroid being eaten by a dead star, or white dwarf. The Hubble telescope spotted the event some 150 light-years from Earth. The researchers tell Science Magazine that the chemical signatures in the star's atmosphere indicate the asteroid must contain a lot of water. This makes it the first time both water and a rocky surface — key components for habitable planets — have been found together beyond our Solar System. ... Of the 1,000 planets so far identified beyond our Solar System, none has been definitively associated with the presence of water." More at Smithsonian Magazine.
First time accepted submitter Gavrielkay writes "We seem to have attracted the attention of some less than savory types in online gaming and now find our home network relentlessly DoSed. We bought a new router that doesn't fall over quite so easily, but it still overwhelms our poor little DSL connection and prevents us web browsing and watching Netflix occasionally. What's worse is that it seems to find us even if we change the MAC address and IP address of the router. Often the router logs IPs from Russia or Korea in these attacks (no packet logging, just a blanket 'DoS attack from...' in the log. But more often lately I've noticed the IPs trace back to Microsoft or Amazon domains. Are they spoofing those IPs? Did they sign us up for something weird there? And how do they find us with a new MAC address and IP within minutes? We're looking for a way to hide from these idiots that doesn't involve going to the Feds, although that is what our ISP suggested. Piles of money for a commercial grade router is out of the question. We are running antivirus and anti-malware programs and haven't seen any evidence of hacked computers so far."
00_NOP writes "Researchers from the New School for Social Research in New York have demonstrated that if you read quality literary fiction you become a better person, in the sense that you are more likely to empathize with others [paper abstract]. Presumably we can all think of books that have changed the way we feel about the world — so this is, in a sense, a scientific confirmation of something fairly intuitive."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "No one wants to buy a stolen bike, but if you see a bike you're interested in on Craigslist or at a flea market, there isn't a good way to know if it's stolen. Now Kickstarter has an interesting project that is looking for funding to expand a searchable database that will help users protect their bikes by permanently saving the bike's serial number. 'We regularly saw people trying to sell stolen bikes, and would search for the bikes online — but it was too difficult to find definitive information about them because too few people save their serial numbers,' says Seth Herr, founder of the Bike Index and lead developer of the project. Herr envisions Bike Index as a way to solve the 'awareness problem' — awareness of existing registries and of a bike's identifying information. 'A common problem when people get their bikes stolen is that it's like the first time the owner thinks about "What was my serial number?" and other details that are important in recovering a stolen bike,' says Marcus Moore. If every bike shop integrated Bike Index registration at the point of sale, that would make it easy for victims of bike theft to accurately report a stolen bike, and for bike purchasers to verify that they aren't buying stolen goods. The Project plans to collaborate with Bryan Hance, the founder of stolenbikeregistry.com, one of the Internet's first-ever registries to track stolen bikes, which already has almost 20,000 bicycles in its registry."
An anonymous reader writes "Neal Stephenson's ambitious sword fighting Kickstarter Clang has run into financial troubles, and part of the reason is down to new controller that was required — the extra investment reportedly scared away investors. Sometimes though, games can help usher in a whole new type of controller, and create new ways to play. From Pong's easy dials, which helped bring the video game into the home, to Ape Escape's twin thumbsticks and Doodle's Jump savvy use of the accelerometer on the iPhone, some games have hit the critical mass necessary to establish a new input as a way to play. So what's next?"
Okian Warrior writes "Attendees to this year's New York Comic Con convention were allowed to pre-register their RFID-enabled badges online and connect their social media profiles to their badges — something, the NYCC registration site explained, that would make the 'NYCC experience 100x cooler! For realz.' Most attendees didn't expect "100x cooler" to translate into 'we'll post spam in your feed as soon as the RFID badge senses that you've entered the show,' but that seems to be what happened."
An anonymous reader writes "Google [on Friday] announced an upcoming change to its terms of service that will let the company add users' names and photos to certain parts of its advertising as of November 11. Make no mistake: this is a direct attack against Facebook. One of the few advantages of Google+ is that it features no ads. To be perfectly clear, Google isn't changing that. Google+ will still have a clean interface, at least for the foreseeable future. Instead, Google is tying Google+ into yet another one of its properties, and arguably its most important one: Google Ads."