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Games

Dead Space Highlights Disparity Between Plot and Gameplay 87

Gamasutra is running an opinion piece praising recent horror-action game Dead Space for its pacing and gameplay while simultaneously criticizing the plot and the attempts to scare the player. Quoting: "What Dead Space is, is carefully and stylishly unoriginal. You'll love playing it, but when you aren't playing it, it's hard to say what's so great about it. It has some really great set pieces, some sweet effects, solid gameplay, an amazing interface and that's all. Anything and everything having to do with dialogue and story comes off as rote. ... You get the feeling the developer are trying very hard, though. When I see a dark shape in the distance, which turns and disappears, I don't get scared. I know he'll pop out of a vent later! Likewise, when I find a scientist who promptly slits her throat because of the horror, I just check for an item drop. None of the survivors ever surprise you and go hostile (which I think would have been a brilliant scare), so you never have to worry."
Earth

Reducing the Risk of Human Extinction 399

wiredog sends in a study from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Center For Biosecurity, assessing risks of human extinction and the costs of preventing it. "In this century a number of events could extinguish humanity. The probability of these events may be very low, but the expected value of preventing them could be high, as it represents the value of all future human lives."
Space

Colliding Galaxies Reveal Colossal Black Holes 134

Matt_dk writes "New observations made with the Submillimeter Array of telescopes in Hawaii suggest that black holes — thought to exist in many, if not all, galaxies — were common even in the early Universe, when galaxies were just beginning to form. Astronomers have found two very different galaxies in the distant Universe, both with colossal black holes at their hearts, involved in a spectacular collision."

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