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Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - Wizards of the Coast has moved away from DRM!

sckeener writes: "Wizards of the Coast (D&D) has decided that the PDF market is viable and has switched from DRM to watermarking!

Per Monte Cook

This has been a long time coming, and is, pretty much hands down, the best thing that's happened to the pdf side of the market in a very, very long time. Particularly if one reads between the lines of the announcement and figures that WotC finally has some faith in the medium. Price, number of titles, etc... these are all just more steps that need to be taken, but I think it's pretty clear that this was the big step.
In addition to the 3.0 and 3.5 materials, WotC's ESD Materials (older versions of D&D, modules, etc) are still available."
Sci-Fi

Submission + - Exclusive Interview with Douglas Adams from 1979

DarkerMatter writes: "A new online science fiction magazine, Darker Matter, has just gone live with an exclusive interview conducted with Douglas Adams (author of the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy) in 1979, just before his first book was published. The interview was never used until now. The site also has high quality short sf stories from writers inclusing Hugo award winner David D. Levine, Bud Sparhawk and Edward M. Lerner. The site is funded by advertising, pays the going rate to writers and is planning to donate any profits to charity.

http://www.darkermatter.com/"
Censorship

Google Ads Are a Free Speech Issue 148

WebHostingGuy writes "A US Federal Court recently ruled that ads displayed by search engines are protected as free speech. In the case at issue, Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft were sued by an individual demanding under the 14th Amendment that the search engines display his advertisements concerning fraud in North Carolina. The Court flatly stated that the search engines were exercising their First Amendment right of free speech in deciding what ads they want to display."
Music

Submission + - Boycott the RIAA in March

Barrien writes: The guys over at Gizmodo have declared a boycott of the RIAA during the month of March. They are not advocating piracy, instead they suggest buying non-signed artist's music, or music that is available online. The full scoop can be found on their webpage, or here's a direct link to their plan. This is how we make our stand against the monster that is the RIAA.
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - Cheap desalinisation using waste heat

hcdejong writes: "Dutch research organisation TNO has developed a desalinisation technique that at last, promises to be inexpensive enough to be used on a large scale.

The process is called Memstill (a contraction of Membrane and deStillation). Salt water is run through a condensor, on which water vapour condenses. Energy from the vapour is transferred to the salt water, which warms up. More energy is then added from an external heat source, making the salt water warm enough for evaporation. In a membrane array, the evaporation escapes through a membrane that allows the vapour to pass through, but which stops liquid water. The vapour ends up at the condensor.

The external heat source can be just about anything. The required temperature is only 50-100 C, which means that e.g. cooling water from an industrial plant can be used. Solar heating also works.

Thanks to this 'free' heat, TNO estimates that a production plant will be able to make freshwater for only $ 0.30-0.40 per cubic metre, lower than any other desalinisation technique, see this PDF for a comparison. The current price for potable water is about 1.50 Euro/cubic metre in the Netherlands.

Memstill is currently in use in a few pilot projects."
Education

Submission + - Top 50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming

An anonymous reader writes: Global warming is a dramatically urgent and serious problem. We don't need to wait for governments to solve this problem: each one of us can bring an important help adopting a more responsible lifestyle: starting from little, everyday things. It's the only reasonable way to save our planet, before it is too late.

There's an handy list of the Top 50 things to do to fight Global Warming that gives useful advices that everyone can follow in order to help the environment: some of them are at no cost, some other require a little investment but can help you save a lot of money, in the middle-long term!
Businesses

Submission + - Tell your friends about Geek Squad's shenanigans!

Kevin_Torvalds writes: "Yes, I'm sure everyone here knows about this, but someone doesn't... otherwise they wouldn't still be in business. Geek Squad, the well-known Best Buy tech support guys, are basically just an everyday, run-of-the-mill scam. They claim that they'll fix your computer, but at what cost? Well, it seems "O" found out. In this article, http://it.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/27/142 3220 Geek Squad is shown to have a bit of a criminal element about them. They will tell customers that certain parts need to be replaced and this and that, when all that might need to be done is, say, a repair installation of Windows, and then they charge far more than a small repair shop would, and that without actually doing the job. Spread the word. The unknowing, vulnerable public needs to know. Friends don't let friends go to Geek Squad!"
Biotech

Chinese Develop Remote Controlled Pigeons 238

Many readers sent us links to the story about Chinese scientists developing pigeons whose flight can be controlled remotely. The best coverage may be Wired's, both because they link to the English language version of the original Peoples Daily Online release, and because of the (disturbing) photos. The birds can be commanded to fly left, right, up, or down. Reader KDan writes, "A number of obvious uses jump out to me... the remote-controlled pigeons will finally allow us to create an efficient implementation of RFC 1149 and RFC 2549."

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