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Role Playing (Games)

WoW Database Site Sells For $1 Million 132

MattHock writes "Wowhead (a WoW information database) has been sold to ZAM (Affinity Media) for the price of $1 million. ZAM is the owner of several other WoW databases, including Thottbot and Allakhazam. Until recently Affinity was also the owner of IGE, a highly controversial company that sold in-game wealth for real life money. Affinity recently sold IGE, which Wowhead claims as the reason they allowed the sale to go through. But did ZAM really sell IGE? The blogger who put this story online doubts that IGE and ZAM have actually distanced themselves. He believes that the supposed sale was just actually a means of restructuring to hide the relationship, similar to how IGE's relationship to Thottbot was hidden for a number of months through a convoluted set of parent companies."
Space

Subcommittee Stops Human Mars Mission Spending 343

An anonymous reader writes "Last week's House Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, and Science FY08 budget markup would prevent work on programs devoted to human missions to Mars. According to a House Appropriations Committee press release, the markup language states that NASA cannot pursue "development or demonstration activity related exclusively to Human Exploration of Mars. NASA has too much on its plate already, and the President is welcome to include adequate funding for the Human Mars Initiative in a budget amendment or subsequent year funding requests." The Mars Society is already leading an effort to get the language removed."
Space

Volunteer to Simulate a Mars Mission for the ESA 209

number6x writes "The European Space Agency (ESA) is looking for volunteers for a simulated trip to Mars. The simulation will put a crew of six in isolation for 17 months. The crew will be made up of 4 Russians and 2 Europeans. In all the ESA will need 12 volunteers for back up purposes. Seventeen months was chosen to simulate the time needed for the journey to Mars and back, as well as a 30 day period spent doing experiments on the red planet."
Movies

DreamWorks Picks up Neil Gaimans' Interworld 140

Lisandro writes to tell us Geeks of Doom is reporting that author Neil Gaiman recently announced DreamWorks has optioned the film rights for his upcoming novel, 'Interworld'. "Gaiman said that in 1996 he began working with Michael Reaves on the idea for a story 'about a boy who finds himself in the middle of a war between two equally powerful forces, who joins a super-team consisting of versions of himself from different alternate realities to try and maintain the cosmic balance.' Soon after, the idea was pitched to DreamWorks and other studios, but was turned down."
Space

Female Astronaut Sets Space Record 243

Raver32 writes to tell us that U.S. astronaut Sunita 'Suni' Williams has set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman. Breaking the previous record of 188 days set by astronaut Shannon Lucid in '96, Williams has lived aboard the space station since last December. "'It's just that I'm in the right place at the right time,' Williams, 41, said when Mission Control in Houston congratulated her on the record. 'Even when the station has little problems, it's just a beautiful, wonderful place to live.'"
Networking

US Falls to 24th Place For Broadband Penetration 273

amigoro writes "According to research done by the consultancy firm Point Topic, the US has fallen to 24th place in terms of broadband penetration, with only 53% of households connected. South Korea led the pack, with 90% of households having highspeed connections. The US remains the largest broadband country in the world with more than 60.4 million subscribers in the quarter with 2.9 million new broadband additions, but China is fast catching up and has cut the gap to the US from 5.8 million at the end of 2006 to 4.1 million at end of March 2007. The firm's research also pointed out the disparity between the connectivity of first world nations and other places throughout the world. 'Many Sub-Saharan African states do not register in the figures at all: only South Africa, Sudan, Senegal and Gabon make it onto the list, with household broadband penetration running from 1.79% in South Africa - with 215,000 users at the end of March - to just 0.05% in Sudan - with a mere 3,000. North African states fare slightly better with Morocco scoring 6.78% penetration with 418,000 users and Egypt at 1.55% or 240,000.'"
Power

Wildlife Returning To Chernobyl 337

The wilderness is encroaching over abandoned towns in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. One of the elderly residents who refused to evacuate the contaminated area says packs of wolves have eaten two of her dogs, and wild boar trample through her cornfield. Scientist are divided as to whether or not the animals are flourishing in the highly radioactive environment: "Robert J. Baker of Texas Tech University says the mice and other rodents he has studied at Chernobyl since the early 1990s have shown remarkable tolerance for elevated radiation levels. But Timothy Mousseau of the University of South Carolina, a biologist who studies barn swallows at Chernobyl, says that while wild animals have settled in the area, they have struggled to build new populations."
United States

A Field Trip To the Creation Museum 1854

Lillith writes "The anti-evolution Creation Museum opened last weekend and Ars took a field trip there and took lots of pictures. 'There were posters explaining just how coal could be formed in a few weeks as opposed to over millions of years, and how rapidly the biblical flood would cover the earth, drowning all but a handful of living creatures. The flood plays a big part in the museum's attempt to explain away what we see as millions of years of natural processes. There was also an explanation as to why, with only one progenitor family, it wasn't considered incest for Adam and Eve's children to marry each other.' (Myself, I liked the picture of the velociraptor grazing peacefully next to Eve, who is wearing some kind of dirndl, in the Garden of Eden.)" The reporter posted more photos from the museum on Flickr.
The Courts

Vista Trademark Holder Sues Microsoft 209

Liam Cromar writes "Philippe Gildas, a French television presenter is suing Microsoft for 'violation of intellectual property' — in particular the use of the 'Vista' trademark. It appears that Gildas registered the trademark two years prior to Microsoft's application, planning to use the trademark for a new television channel, Télé Vista, which was to be launched later this year. Apparently, Gildas believes that Microsoft's 'hogging of the limelight' presents an 'obstacle to the launch'. Gildas has not, however, registered the Vista trademark in categories of activity 9 and 42, which cover software. With this in mind, his case might be hard to prove."
Security

Hardware Firewall On a USB Key 203

An anonymous reader writes "An Israeli startup has squeezed a complete hardware firewall into a USB key. The 'Yoggie Pico' from Yoggie Systems runs Linux 2.6 along with 13 security applications on a 520MHz PXA270, an Intel processor typically used in high-end smartphones. The Pico works in conjunction with Windows XP or Vista drivers that hijack traffic at network layers 2-3, below the TCP/IP stack, and route it to USB, where the Yoggie analyzes and filters traffic at close-to-100Mbps wireline speeds. The device will hit big-box retailers in the US this month at a price of $180." Linux and Mac drivers are planned, according to the article.
Software

Is Parallel Programming Just Too Hard? 680

pcause writes "There has been a lot of talk recently about the need for programmers to shift paradigms and begin building more parallel applications and systems. The need to do this and the hardware and systems to support it have been around for a while, but we haven't seen a lot of progress. The article says that gaming systems have made progress, but MMOGs are typically years late and I'll bet part of the problem is trying to be more parallel/distributed. Since this discussion has been going on for over three decades with little progress in terms of widespread change, one has to ask: is parallel programming just too difficult for most programmers? Are the tools inadequate or perhaps is it that it is very difficult to think about parallel systems? Maybe it is a fundamental human limit. Will we really see progress in the next 10 years that matches the progress of the silicon?"
GNU is Not Unix

MS-Funded Study Attacks GPL3 Draft Process 206

QCMBR writes "A new Microsoft-funded study by a Harvard Business School professor concludes that developers don't want extensive patent licensing requirements in the GPL3. There are significant problems with the study, however, especially given the very small sample size. 'Although 332 emails were sent to various developers, only 34 agreed to participate in the survey — an 11 percent response rate. Of the 34 developers who responded, many of them are associated with projects like Apache and PostgreSQL that don't even use the GPL.' Ars points out that the GPL3 draft editing and review process is highly transparent and inclusive 'to an extent that makes MacCormack's claims of under-representation seem difficult to accept given the small sample size of the study and the number of respondents who contribute to non-GPL projects.'"
Wireless Networking

How Bad Can Wi-fi Be? 434

An anonymous reader writes "Sunday night in the UK, the BBC broadcast an alarmist Panorama news programme that suggested wireless networking might be damaging our health. Their evidence? Well, they admitted there wasn't any, but they made liberal use of the word 'radiation', along with scary graphics of pulsating wifi base stations. They rounded-up a handful of worried scientists, but ignored the majority of those who believe wifi is perfectly harmless. Some quotes from the BBC News website companion piece: 'The radiation Wi-Fi emits is similar to that from mobile phone masts ... children's skulls are thinner and still forming and tests have shown they absorb more radiation than adults'. What's the science here? Can skulls really 'absorb' EM radiation? The wifi signal is in the same part of the EM spectrum as cellphones but it's not 'similar' to mobile phone masts, is it? Isn't a phone mast several hundred/thousand times stronger? Wasn't safety considered when they drew up the 802.11 specs?"
Microsoft

Microsoft's SUSE Coupons Have No Expiry Date 298

mw13068 writes "In a recent article in the Seattle Post Intelligencer FSF General Council Eben Moglen points out that the Microsoft SUSE coupons have no expiration date. The result? 'Microsoft can be sure that some coupons will be turned into Novell in return for software after the effective date of GPL 3. Once that has happened, patent defenses will, under the license, have moved out into the broad community and be available to anybody who Microsoft should ever sue for infringement.' Groklaw is also covering the story in it's inimitable way."

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