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Transportation

Can Urine Rescue Hydrogen-Powered Cars? 313

thecarchik writes with this interesting excerpt: "It takes a lot of energy to split hydrogen out from the other atoms to which it binds, either in natural gas or water. Which means energy analysts are skeptical about the overall energy balance of cars fueled by hydrogen. Ohio University researcher Geraldine Botte has come up with a nickel-based electrode to oxidize (NH2)2CO, otherwise known as urea, the major component of animal urine. Because urea's four hydrogen atoms are less tightly bound to nitrogen than the hydrogen bound to oxygen in water molecules, it takes less energy to break them apart."
Television

Submission + - Star Trek Technology Is Today (sfgate.com) 1

An anonymous reader writes: The gadgets that emerged in Star Trek on TV 40 years ago are not so futuristic anymore, as movie goers to the latest Star Trek movie, clutching their cell phones, demonstrate. While the possibility of warp drive was discussed on Slashdot the other day (http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/05/06/2228251&art_pos=2), there's a lot more technology that became real (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/05/10/MNPH17GI1J.DTL&type=printable): a "tricorder" has become a bloodless medical probe, the no-kill phaser is reincarnated as the military's Active Denial System, and the universal translator is in use as the "Phraselator" used by troops in Iraq since 2003.
The Almighty Buck

Submission + - Apple to Buy EA? 1

yerktoader writes: There are rumors abound that Apple might buy EA, but some interesting counterpoints abound. Film at eleven(via Yahoo):

File this one firmly under "unconfirmed," but it's nevertheless a tantalizing rumor.

According to Fast Money's Guy Adami, via TheStreet.com, Apple is "eyeing Electronic Arts as a takeover target." EA's currently the second-largest games publisher in the world and owner of the smash hit NFL-licensed series of football games. Could we be facing the possibility of a Mac-only iMadden?

Well, probably not. Apple has indeed been bolstering its games know-how, hiring a major Xbox strategist away from Microsoft in recent weeks. And EA is no stranger to Apple platforms: in the last year it's brought several of its major franchises to the iPhone, including Sim City, Tiger Woods, and Spore, with considerable success. But it's a far cry from there to a takeover, and that's putting it mildly.

Specialist video games analyst Michael Pachter seems to agree. Speaking to Gamasutra, he pointed out that if Apple was looking to make some entertainment acquisitions, it could buy Warner Music — which controls 20% of the music industry — for roughly half of EA's estimated price. However, the doubt didn't stop EA's stock from bucking the market trend to climb 1.63% at closing.
Robotics

Sink Your Balls Quickly With Pool-Cue Robots 79

AndreV writes "In another attempt to dehumanize our bar games, a Canadian engineer has turned the classic game of billiards on its head with his BilliardBots pet project, which consists of a series of remote-controlled mobile robots meant to replace the standard cue sticks normally used to pocket pool balls. While in his version the basic rules remain, unlike regular billiards, players in this version simultaneously rush to pocket their designated balls (they don't take turns), 'thus it's very competitive and fast,' the creator says. In order to keep tight reins on the mechatronic ball handlers' movements, he adapted a pair of Playstation controllers and says that playing 'requires dexterity, like a video game,' to control their 3.5-m/sec-maximum speeds. The 'bots are designed simply but effectively, using a 3-by-3-by-3-inch metal frame with an electronic board, two motors and rechargeable battery packs. Using a Bluetooth wireless communication protocol, its commands come from the wireless controller with single or double joystick selectable control (the other buttons are not used). Its other parameters are software programmable, such as maximum acceleration rate, maximum speed and maximum rotation speed."

Comment Re:Causality (Score 1) 627

No - the moon is not going to crash into us, the tidal forces are robbing the earth of rotational velocity and in fact moving the moon to higher orbits. That's why in about 600 million years we're not going to have any total eclipses of the sun anymore.

Comment Re:159357 popular with lefties? (Score 1) 299

No left-handed person, myself included, would use the mouse with his left hand for the simple reason that a goodly number of mice are shaped to fit a right hand so it would be ... impractical to get used to the ambidextrous mice and then encounter a right-handed only mouse and try to use it in the left hand.

Much better to just use the right hand and be ready for any situation.
Games

Video Game Conditioning Spills Over Into Real Life 232

doug141 writes "Lessons learned in video games may transcend computers, PlayStations and Wiis. New research suggests that virtual worlds sway real-life choices. Twenty-two volunteers who played a cycling game learned to associate one team's jersey with a good flavored drink and another team's jersey with a bad flavored drink. Days later, 3/4 of the subjects avoided the same jersey in a real-world test. Marketers and lawyers will take note."
Education

ACM Urges Obama To Include CS In K-12 Core 474

jmcbain writes "The ACM issued a set of recommendations supporting Barack Obama's stated goal of making science and mathematics education a national priority at the K-12 level. The ACM is urging the new administration to include Computer Science as an integral part of the nation's education system. 'The new Administration can play an important role in strengthening middle school education, where action can really make a difference, to introduce these students to computer science,' said ACM CEO John White." Is CS such a basic subject, at the level of science or math, that it makes sense to (try to) teach its principles to every elementary school child?
Bug

Left 4 Dead Bug Patched Quickly, EVE Exploit Takes 4 Years 157

Earlier this week, news surfaced that some savvy modders of Valve's Left 4 Dead were able to find a way to enable console commands (meant for the PC version) in the Xbox 360 version of the game. This allowed players to increase the size of their character models to ridiculous proportions, spawn unlimited weapons for themselves (or unlimited enemies for other, unsuspecting players), and go around the map deleting objects as they saw fit. A video posted on YouTube showed how to enable the commands. Valve reacted swiftly to the issues, releasing a patch to disable access to the commands a few days later. Several readers have pointed out another exploit-related story which broke recently; in EVE Online, a bug that was reported and went un-patched for four years has recently come to light, apparently responsible for the fraudulent creation of trillions of ISK, the game's currency. An anonymous reader says that (illegitimate) sales of ISK between players and farmers run on the order of $35 per 450 million ISK.

Comment More information about ACTRA (Score 1) 318

ACTRA is the Canadian equivalent of the American "union", AFTRA - the performers' rights society for actors in Film, Television, and Radio.

From the back of my membership card:

"ACTRA is a national organization that represents the interests of professional performers in Canada's recorded media and bargains collectively on their behalf."

Communications

NFL's First Broadcast In 3-D, Still Has Work To Do 178

darkwing_bmf writes "The NFL broadcast a live game to theaters in 3-D for the first time on Thursday night. The technology demonstration was mostly successful but they still have some issues to work out. 'Some scenes clearly captured the benefits of 3-D broadcasts, however, such as an interception by Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper as players crisscrossed the field, and a long touchdown catch by San Diego's Vincent Jackson with the arc of the ball caught on camera all the way. Viewers were encouraged to text in their reaction to the viewing. One of the first comments, according to the commentators: "More cheerleaders."'"
PC Games (Games)

Left 4 Dead Demo Includes Linux Steam Client Libraries 217

SheeEttin writes "If you've been longing to play games from Steam on your Linux machine, you may not have to wait much longer — the Left 4 Dead demo includes some Linux libraries, in particular, one named 'steamclient_linux.so.' While the game's full release does not include these libraries, their apparently accidental inclusion in the demo suggests that Steam games will have native Linux clients in the near future. (A job listing at Valve looking for someone whose responsibilities would include 'Port[ing] Windows-based games to the Linux platform' would seem to support this.) The libraries also include several strings nonessential to a pure server, including references to forgotten passwords. Hopefully, this indicates that at least some Valve-affiliated games will have native Linux clients."

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