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Idle

Pope Says Technology Causes Confusion Between Reality and Fiction 779

Pope Benedict XVI has warned that people are in danger of being unable to discern reality from fiction because of new technologies, and not old books. "New technologies and the progress they bring can make it impossible to distinguish truth from illusion and can lead to confusion between reality and virtual reality. The image can also become independent from reality, it can give birth to a virtual world, with various consequences -- above all the risk of indifference towards real life," he said.
Games

Decrying the Excessive Emulation of Reality In Games 187

An editorial at GameSetWatch makes the case that game developers' relentless drive to make games more real has led to missed opportunities for creating unique fictional universes that are perhaps more interesting than our own. Quoting: "Remember when the norm for a video game was a blue hedgehog that ran fast and collected rings and emeralds? Or a plumber that took mushrooms to become large, and grabbed a flower to throw fireballs? In reality they do none of those things, but in the name of a game, they make sense, inspire wonder, and create a new universe. ... We’ve seen time and time again that the closer you try to emulate reality, the more the 'game' aspects begin to stick out. Invisible walls in Final Fantasy, or grenades spawning at your feet when you go the wrong way in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 are examples of kicking the player out of that illusion of reality, and letting them know that yes, this is a game, and yes, the rules are designed to keep you in the space of this world, not the real world. In reality, as a soldier I could disobey my orders and go exploring around the other side. I could be cowardly and turn back to base. Games shouldn’t have to plan for every eventuality, of course, but it’s not so hard to create universes that are compelling but where the unusual, or even simple backtracking, is not so unfeasible."
PC Games (Games)

EA Editor Criticizes Command & Conquer 4 DRM 266

Command & Conquer 4's DRM hasn't garnered Electronic Arts as much bad press and fan outrage as Ubisoft's scheme, despite being very similar. Nevertheless, it's been causing problems and frustrations for some users, including EA.com's own editor-in-chief, Jeff Green. An anonymous reader points this out: "Green wrote on his Twitter account late last week: 'Booted twice — and progress lost — on my single-player C&C4 game because my DSL connection blinked. DRM fail. We need new solutions.' He continued later, 'Well. I've tried to be open-minded. But my 'net connection is finicky — and the constant disruption of my C&C4 SP game makes this unplayable. The story is fun, the gameplay is interesting and different at least — but if you suffer from shaky/unreliable DSL — you've been warned.'"
PC Games (Games)

An Early Look At Civilization V 286

c0mpliant writes "IGN and Gamespot have each released a preview of the recently announced and eagerly awaited Civilization V. Apart from the obvious new hexagon shape of tiles and improved graphics, the articles go on to outline some of the major changes in the game, such as updated AI, new 'flavors' to world leaders, and a potentially game-changing, one-unit-per-tile system. No more will the stack of doom come to your city's doorsteps. Some features which will not be returning are religion and espionage. The removal of these two have sparked a frenzy of discussion on fan-related forums."
Robotics

The Best Robots of 2009 51

kkleiner writes "Singularity Hub has just unveiled its second annual roundup of the best robots of the year. In 2009 robots continued their advance towards world domination with several impressive breakouts in areas such as walking, automation, and agility, while still lacking in adaptability and reasoning ability. It will be several years until robots can gain the artificial intelligence that will truly make them remarkable, but in the meantime they are still pretty awesome."
Music

ASCAP Seeks Licensing Fees For Guitar Hero Arcade 146

Self Bias Resistor writes "According to a post on the Arcade-Museum forums, ASCAP is demanding an annual $800 licensing fee from at least one operator of a Guitar Hero Arcade machine, citing ASCAP licensing regulations regarding jukeboxes. An ASCAP representative allegedly told the operator that she viewed the Guitar Hero machine as a jukebox of sorts. The operator told ASCAP to contact Raw Thrills, the company that sells the arcade units. The case is ongoing and GamePolitics is currently seeking clarification of the story from ASCAP."
Businesses

World of Goo Creators Try Pick-Your-Price Experiment 216

2D Boy, the independent game studio behind World of Goo, recently celebrated the game's one-year anniversary by offering it at whatever price buyers cared to pay. They've now released some sales statistics about how people responded to the opportunity. The average price during the sale was $2.03; the game normally retails for $20. According to a survey of why people paid what they did, 22.4% said it was all they could afford at the time, and 12.4% said they already owned World of Goo and were buying it for a different platform. (Yes, there is a Linux version.) Over 57,000 people took advantage of the offer, which was enough for 2D Boy to term it "a huge success." Interestingly, they also saw a significant increase in sales through Steam, and a smaller increase through Wiiware. They've decided to extend the experiment until October 25th.

Comment Re:No one should have expected (Score 3, Insightful) 1364

Marriage is, by definition, not a private institution, but a public one. Being married doesn't affect what you do inside your own home (to be taken as an idiom for things that don't affect others), it affects how society interacts with you. I therefore think it is disingenuous to claim that it is not a social issue, outside the purview of societal interest.

That's not to say that it should be regulated, in this case or any other, but I merely wish to indicate that the question is not itself injurious, as you seem to say.

Comment Re:Okay, You Have the Floor (Score 1) 507

You could tell the children that copyright is not absolute, and that its primary purpose is to allow creators to make money off their copyrights. Sometimes, you can use pieces of their material for certain uses. You could follow it up with a few simple examples, like a short piece of a song, a screenshot of a game, etc.

Education

Study Catches Birds Splitting Into Separate Species 153

webdoodle writes "A new study finds that a change in a single gene has sent two closely related bird populations on their way to becoming two distinct species. The study, published in the August issue of the American Naturalist, is one of only a few to investigate the specific genetic changes that drive two populations toward speciation."

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