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Comment Solitaire? (Score 1) 439

What about Solitaire? That's easy one of the most popular computer games in the entire world and it's freaking called Solitaire. I mean, a key component of a game like that is the ability to "trance out", and even though there can be a social aspect to gaming as well I believe this component is something timeless that will never fade away. Even the most popular multiplayer genres are based on this principle anyway. MMOs, FPSes, all of them have this "trance out" effect. The most popular games out there involve abstraction and repetition and reward, not getting together with twelve people and discussing how to run a virtual city. Other players are an interesting addition to this, but they're not fundamentally vital to the experience. At least for games huge numbers of people play, which is all I'm saying.

1928 Time Traveler Caught On Film? 685

Many of you have submitted a story about Irish filmmaker George Clarke, who claims to have found a person using a cellphone in the "unused footage" section of the DVD The Circus, a Charlie Chaplin movie filmed in 1928. To me the bigger mystery is how someone who appears to be the offspring of Ram-Man and The Penguin got into a movie in the first place, especially if they were talking to a little metal box on set. Watch the video and decide for yourself.

MIT Unveils Oil-Skimming Robot Swarm Prototype 123

destinyland writes "Today MIT reveals a swarm of autonomous floating robots that can digest an oil spill. The 16-foot robots drag a nanowire mesh that acts like a conveyor belt to soak up surface oil 'like paper towels soak up water,' absorbing 20 times its weight and then harmlessly 'digesting' the oil by burning it off. Powered by 21.5 square feet of solar panels, the 'Seaswarm' robots run on the power of a lightbulb, and with just 100 watts 'could potentially clean continuously for weeks' without human intervention, MIT announced. The swarm uses GPS data and communicates wirelessly to move as a coordinated group to 'corral, absorb and process' oil spills, and MIT researchers estimate that a fleet of 5,000 could clean up a gulf-sized spill within one month."

Comment I've always wondered... (Score 1) 262

Why did joystick buttons switch sides? On old sticks like this one, the buttons (in this case button) are generally on the left side (in this particular case it's easily re-positionable if you run the cable from the right side rather than the back, but the general design of old joysticks has buttons on the left), but for modern arcade sticks and joypads all the buttons are on the right. It's kinda weird, isn't it? One would think that since most people get better fine motor control out of their right hand it never would have changed...

Comment Solve them? (Score 2, Interesting) 72

Video game designers have a hard enough time creating hunger, disease, and poverty. At least realistically. You don't see part of Liberty City get poorer as drug lords thrive. You don't see the bums lunge at the hot dog carts. In X zombie game you don't see the virus spread through an un-inoculated population.

Maybe that's why the game looks a lot more like a comic book with a bulletin board system...

Political Affiliation Can Be Differentiated By Appearance Screenshot-sm 262

quaith writes "It's not the way they dress, but the appearance of their face. A study published in PLoS One by Nicholas O. Rule and Nalini Ambady of Tufts University used closely cropped greyscale photos of people's faces, standardized for size. Undergrads were asked to categorize each person as either a Democrat or Republican. In the first study, students were able to differentiate Republican from Democrat senate candidates. In the second, students were able to differentiate the political affiliation of other college students. Accuracy in both studies was about 60% — not perfect, but way better than chance."

$25,000 of Communications Gear In a $500 Car 215

In perhaps one of the finest displays of technological excess in automotive communications gear, one "enthusiast" has managed to cram over $25,000 worth of gear into a $500 car. The car is rigged for just about every conceivable communications band including FM, UHF, VHF, HF, and WTF. What other amazing displays of technological excess have others seen? "The equipment seems to cover an amazing array of technologies, many of which seem to be redundant. For instance, just how many handheld 144 MHz radios do you need? It seems like the owner of the Ham Car is capable of listening to every police/fire/ems/military channel in the world. Simultaneously. There's a laptop and we assume there's some form of cellular or satellite communication setup for that, too."
The Internet

Obama Looks Down Under For Broadband Plan 387

oranghutan writes "The Obama administration is looking to the southern hemisphere for tips on how to improve the broadband situation in the US. The key telco adviser to the president, Sarah Crawford, has met with Australian telco analysts recently to find out how the Aussies are rolling out their $40 billion+ national broadband network. It is also rumored that the Obama administration is looking to the Dutch and New Zealand situations for inspiration too. The article quotes an Aussie analyst as saying: 'There needs to be a multiplier effect in the investment you make in telecoms — it should not just be limited to high-speed Internet. That is pretty new and in the US it is nearly communism, that sort of thinking. They are not used to that level of sharing and going away from free-market politics to a situation whereby you are looking at the national interest. In all my 30 years in the industry, this is the first time America is interested in listening to people like myself from outside.'"

Comment Re:Copy protection (Score 1) 438

Uh, actually, 3.00, as might be indicated by the "point oh oh," was a pretty massive overhaul. Any PS3 owner noticed this at bootup, it's not that big a secret. The thing already has all the DRM it needs, this was probably a failed bugfix or something. Still, they seriously need to learn from their mistakes: the PS3 has a pretty good firmware backup system, and botched versions have already slipped past it twice. Not much of a failsafe... Is the difference between configs/models that hard to account for?

The Best Approach For Avoiding Zombies 15

BuzzSkyline writes "Last month, math students published a model of a zombie infestation that explained how the disease might spread. A new physics paper offers help for the more immediate problem — how to avoid being eaten. The paper, which recently appeared in the journal Physical Review E, considers where best to hide when being pursued by zombie-like predatory 'random walkers.' Although the researchers weren't thinking of zombies when they wrote the paper, the abstract describes the research as focusing on 'the survival probability of immobile targets annihilated by a population of random walkers.' (Sounds like a zombie movie premise to me.) The bottom line is you're better off the more labyrinth-like your hiding place is. So take a lesson from Dawn of the Dead, and hunker down in the mall, not in a farmhouse (as in Night of the Living Dead)."

Shuttle Flushes Toilet For All the World To See 5

Matt_dk writes "No, this was not a comet. It was Space shuttle Discovery executing a water dump. The shuttle needed to get rid of excess waste water before landing the next day, and jettisoned it overboard via the waste water dump line, creating a spectacular visual effect as sunlight hit the spraying water. This dump occurred just as the shuttle was flying over North America last week, and lots of people witnessed this toilet flush."

Comment Re:Color Blind audience? (Score 4, Insightful) 869

But quite clearly the intent was to relate him to a well-known character to get the artist's point across.

That's the part I don't understand. The Joker, specifically the one depicted, is certainly a "well-known" character, but he's not a socialist. He's pretty clearly portrayed as at best an anarchist, and at worst completely insane with no real political views whatsoever. The artist seems to have gone out of his way to choose provocative, rather than relevant, imagery. For instance, a Stalin mustache would have fit this alleged "point" better, and not have garnered nearly as much controversy. I'm not attacking his right to do so, I'm just saying the end result is transparent and cheap, manufactured for the sake of shock rather than any real critical message. That doesn't necessarily have to do with racism, either, he's being compared to a murdering psychopath. I don't recall seeing that too much, even with our last President. A Stalin comparison would at least reflect other ideas, about power gone wrong, etc., but with the Joker there's not much to the guy: he's a raving, homicidal lunatic. What are you supposed to think the message is? Does anyone really, truly agree with that, if you take a second to de-polarize from any political bias? That the President = the Joker? I disagree with this being taken down but I also disagree with the knee-jerk response that this is high art and shouldn't be scrutinized. My mind was open to this image, I thought about it, and came to my own conclusions. Free speech is worthless without free thinking, if that makes any sense.

Actually, that's kind of funny, even if everyone disagrees with me I'll feel like I got my point across...

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