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Why NASA's New Video Game Misses the Point 205

longacre writes "Erik Sofge trudges through NASA's latest free video game, which he finds tedious, uninspiring and misguided. Quoting: 'Moonbase Alpha is a demo, of sorts, for NASA's more ambitious upcoming game, Astronaut: Moon, Mars & Beyond, which will feature more destinations, and hopefully less welding. The European Space Agency is developing a similar game, set on the Jovian Moon, Europa. But Moonbase Alpha proves that as a recruiting campaign, or even as an educational tool, the astronaut simulation game is a lost cause. Unless NASA plans to veer into science fiction and populate its virtual moons, asteroids and planets with hostile species, it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to suffer through another minute of pretending to weld power cables back into place, while thousands of miles away, the most advanced explorers ever built are hurtling toward asteroids and dwarf planets and into the heart of the sun. Even if it was possible to build an astronaut game that's both exciting and realistic, why bother? It will be more than a decade before humans even attempt another trip outside of Earth's orbit. If NASA wants to inspire the next generation of astronauts and engineers, its games should focus on the real winners of the space race — the robots.'"

Submission + - Has Newsrover Vanished?

Kiralan writes: Has anyone heard of NewsRover shutting down? I tried to use it on Sunday, and it was nowhere to be found. I have checked multiple DNS servers, and tried it from both home and work networks. Even their owning company, S&H Computing has gone absent. Not a word Could this be a side-effect of the recent NNTP indexing legal issues?

Submission + - iProf, India's First Personal Education Tablet

Aakriti Bhargava writes: "Introducing iProf, India’s, oops, world’s first personal education tablet that is here to revolutionize the way students prepare for entrance tests. Who had thought that one day piles of books and hours of lectures and thousands of test papers will be bunched together in just one small, portable device that will change it all forever?
With a 7-inch touch screen tablet, iProf has built-in, high quality operating system Android (from Google) and a Learning Management System installed on it.
iProf is available at iStudy Zones located in various cities across India. iStudy Zones are enablers of the e-learning delivery mechanism via iProf. With high performance servers, high speed broadband and Wi-Fi capabilities, iStudy Zones will let students download content on iProf in a secure environment. Besides, iStudy Zones will also hold video conference for doubt clearing sessions between faculty and students.
Launched in the IIT-JEE preparation category and bundled with content from Brilliant Tutorials, it has been reasonably priced at INR.14900/- (content packaged tablet, exclusive of taxes) in the initial phase.
You may not have been waiting for it but the impact that it is going to create will surely make you follow it zealously."

Submission + - Oddest Book Titles of 2010 announced (

egghat writes: The Bookseller ( is already down) has announced the 2010 prizes for their yearly Diagram Prize for the oddest book title of the year.

The IMHO very well deserved prize goes to “Crocheting Adventures With Hyperbolic Planes” by Dr. Daina Taimina which combines non-gaussian mathematics and crocheting (who would have thought that this would be possible?).

Second place went to “What Kind of Bean Is This Chihuahua?” by Tara Jansen-Meyer. And“Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter” by David Crompton and “The Changing World of Inflammatory Bowel Disease” by Ellen Scherl and Marla Dubinsky aren't bad either ...


Submission + - Interesting data from the YouTube outage (

superapecommando writes: YouTube continues to fascinate people, even when nobody is able to watch it.
A revealing data nugget has turned up from the Internet department of Arbor Networks on the effect (or lack of it) of yesterday’s well-publicised YouTube ‘outage’.
The interruption was relatively brief — perhaps an hour and a half — which turns out to correspond to a measurable drop in Google Internet traffic seen by the company across a random sample of 50 small and mid-size ISPs spread across the world.


Submission + - Spam Filters Force Magazine Name Change (

krou writes: After 90 years of publication, a Canadian history journal is being forced to change its name because of spam filters. The Beaver, which chose its name because of Canada's iconic dam-building creatures, has been forced to change its name to Canada's History, because 'attempts to reach a new online audience kept falling foul of spam filters — particularly in schools — because beaver is also a slang term for female genitalia.' They 'also noticed that most of the 30,000 or so visitors to their website per month stayed for less than 10 seconds', and they probably correctly suspected that those visitors were not interested in 'learning about the trade in beaver fur which built Canada's early economic fortunes'.

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