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Lord of the Rings

Submission + - LOTR Rewritten from Perspective of Mordor

Hugh Pickens writes writes: "It's been said that history is written by the winners but Laura Miller writes in Salon about a counterexample as she reviews a new version of "Lord of the Rings" published to acclaim in Russia by Kirill Yeskov, a professional paleontologist whose job is reconstructing long-extinct organisms and their way of life from fossil remnants. Yeskov performs essentially the same feat in "The Last Ring-bearer," reconstructing the real world of Tolkien's Arda from "The Lord of the Rings" set during and after the end of the War of the Ring and told from the perspective of the losers. In Yeskov's retelling, available in translation as a free download, the wizard Gandalf is a war-monger intent on crushing the scientific and technological initiative of Mordor and its southern allies because science "destroys the harmony of the world and dries up the souls of men" and Aragorn is depicted by Yeskov as a ruthless Machiavellian schemer who is ultimately the puppet of his wife, the elf Arwen. Sauron's citadel Barad-dur is, by contrast, described as "that amazing city of alchemists and poets, mechanics and astronomers, philosophers and physicians, the heart of the only civilization in Middle-earth to bet on rational knowledge and bravely pitch its barely adolescent technology against ancient magic." According to Miller "in Yeskov's scenario, "The Lord of the Rings" is a highly romanticized and mythologized version of the fall of Mordor, perhaps even outright propaganda; "The Last Ringbearer" is supposed to be the more complicated and less sentimental true story.""

Preserving Great Tech For Posterity — the 6502 290

trebonian writes "For great old hardware products like the MOS 6502 (used in the Apple II, the C64, the Nintendo NES), the details of the designs have been lost or forgotten. While there have been great efforts to reverse engineer the 6502 from the outside, there has not been the hardware equivalent of the source code — until now. As Russell Cox states: 'A team of three people accumulated a bunch of 6502 chips, applied sulfuric acid to them to strip the casing and expose the actual chips, used a high-resolution photomicroscope to scan the chips, applied computer graphics techniques to build a vector representation of the chip, and finally derived from the vector form what amounts to the circuit diagram of the chip: a list of all 3,510 transistors with inputs, outputs, and what they're connected to. Combining that with a fairly generic (and, as these things go, trivial) "transistor circuit" simulator written in JavaScript and some HTML5 goodness, they created an animated 6502 web page that lets you watch the voltages race around the chip as it executes. For more, see their web site'"

Nintendo 3DS GPU Revealed 133

An anonymous reader writes "The GPU for the Nintendo 3DS has just been revealed, and it's not made by Nvidia, ATI, or even Imagination Technologies. Instead, Nintendo has signed up Japanese startup Digital Media Professionals (DMP) in a deal that sees the company's PICA200 chip churning out the 3-D visuals. For the first time in Nintendo's history, the 3DS will feature a GPU with programmable shaders, rather than a fixed-function pipeline, meaning the 3DS is more graphically versatile than the Wii. Among the PICA200's features are 2x anti-aliasing, per-pixel lighting, subdivision primitives, and soft shadows. As well as featuring DMP's own 'Maestro' extensions, the PICA200 also fully supports OpenGL ES 1.1. The architecture supports four programmable vertex units and up to four pixel pipelines."

Australia Gets Its First Female Prime Minister 419

An anonymous reader writes "Julia Gillard has been elected unopposed to the Labor leadership, seizing power in a bloodless Parliament House coup after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd decided not to contest this morning's leadership ballot. Ms. Gillard will now be sworn in as Australia's first female prime minister. Emerging from this morning's meeting, she said she felt 'very honored' and said she would be making a statement shortly. Treasurer Wayne Swan now steps up as deputy prime minister. He was also elected unopposed."

Rich Pretexter, Poor Pretexter 121

theodp writes "David Kernell used pretexting to gain access to Sarah Palin's e-mail. And now Kernell faces the possibility of a 20-year prison sentence. HP used pretexting to gain access to its Board's phone records. And now HP faces the possibility of supplying phones to the very companies that were victimized in the HP pretexting scandal. So perhaps Kernell should try coughing up $14.5 million to see if that'll make his pretexting problems disappear. Seems to have worked for HP!"

Data Centers Push Back On US Efficiency Rules 134

alphadogg writes "Data center executives from Google and other large companies are pushing back against new efficiency requirements proposed by a prominent standards group, saying they are too 'prescriptive' and don't leave them room to innovate. 'This standard defines the energy efficiency for most types of buildings in America and is often incorporated into building codes across the country,' Urs Hoelzle, Google senior vice president for operations, wrote in a post on the Google blog. Data centers are among the fastest-growing users of energy, and setting efficiency standards for them is a welcome step, he said. But he called the requirements 'too prescriptive.' Instead of setting efficiency targets and letting engineers decide how they can best meet them, the amendments specify types of cooling systems that companies should use."

MSI Will Launch iPad Alternative 756

itwbennett writes "Underwhelmed by the iPad? Don't give up on tablets just yet, says blogger Peter Smith. MSI has a tablet coming in the second half of 2010 that measures up on price and size and addresses a lot of the iPad's most noted shortcomings. 'The iPad runs iPhone OS while the MSI runs Android,' writes Smith. 'That means the MSI will multitask of course, and Flash support in Android should be a given by launch time (though that isn't certain). It has a camera. It's running on an Nvidia Tegra2 chip which Ars Technica suggests puts it on par with the iPad's A4 as far as computing horsepower. And of course Android doesn't live in a walled garden.'" The post notes that the MSI device does not support multitouch in its built-in apps. Still, would an Android-powered iPad-alike tempt you?

Update: 01/29 17:58 GMT by KD : Dave Altavilla suggests Hot Hardware's coverage of Asus's recently announced tablet, also based on the Tegra2 chip.

US Grants Home Schooling German Family Political Asylum Screenshot-sm 1324

A US judge has granted political asylum to a family who said they fled Germany to avoid persecution for home schooling their children. Uwe Romeike and his wife, Hannelore, moved to Tennessee after German authorities fined them for keeping their children out of school and sent police to escort them to classes. Mike Connelly, attorney for the Home School Legal Defence Association, argued the case. He says, "Home schoolers in Germany are a particular social group, which is one of the protected grounds under the asylum law. This judge looked at the evidence, he heard their testimony, and he felt that the way Germany is treating home schoolers is wrong. The rights being violated here are basic human rights."

Music By Natural Selection Screenshot-sm 164

maccallr writes "The DarwinTunes experiment needs you! Using an evolutionary algorithm and the ears of you the general public, we've been evolving a four bar loop that started out as pretty dismal primordial auditory soup and now after >27k ratings and 200 generations is sounding pretty good. Given that the only ingredients are sine waves, we're impressed. We got some coverage in the New Scientist CultureLab blog but now things have gone quiet and we'd really appreciate some Slashdotter idle time. We recently upped the maximum 'genome size' and we think that the music is already benefiting from the change."

Lack of Manpower May Kill VLC For Mac 398

plasmacutter writes "The Video Lan dev team has recently come forward with a notice that the number of active developers for the project's MacOS X releases has dropped to zero, prompting a halt in the release schedule. There is now a disturbing possibility that support for Mac will be dropped as of 1.1.0. As the most versatile and user-friendly solution for bridging the video compatibility gap between OS X and windows, this will be a terrible loss for the Mac community. There is still hope, however, if the right volunteers come forward."

Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging the Least Influential 259

theodp writes "In the world envisioned by Microsoft's just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or $25 for the identical item based on the influence the purchaser wields. A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called 'influence and exploit' strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (PDF). The invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates's pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics."

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