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The Almighty Buck

Toshiba To Halt HD-DVD Production 494

Multiple users have written to tell us that Toshiba is planning to halt production of devices related to HD-DVD. According to Japanese broadcasting network NHK, Toshiba will lose "hundreds of millions of dollars" as the format war finally draws to a close. Regardless, investors are pleased that Toshiba has made the decision to cut its losses. This comes after a last-ditch price cut was unable to prevent Wal-mart from throwing their lot in with Blu-ray, although some sources suggest that Wal-mart was already aware of Toshiba's plans to withdraw from fight.

Green Light for Human/Animal Hybrids 292

Henneshoe writes "BBC News is reporting that two research facilities have been given the green light to create part human, part animal embryos. According the the report, 'Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days.' The decision to allow the embryos was made after research showed that people in large are OK with the idea."

NASA Wants Fast Moonbuggies and Solid Lunar Lander 117

coondoggie writes "NASA may have its eyes on the Sun and Mercury this week but it is clearly focusing on the moon for the future. NASA is soliciting proposals from the scientific and aerospace communities for design ideas for its next lunar lander. NASA officials said the Altair spacecraft will deliver four astronauts to the lunar surface late during the next decade. According to NASA Altair will be capable of landing four astronauts on the moon, providing life support and a base for weeklong initial surface exploration missions, and returning the crew to the Orion spacecraft that will bring them home to Earth. And while they won't be flying to the moon but rather flying around the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala., the space agency has set April 4-5 as the dates for 'The 15th Annual Great Moonbuggy Race'. The race is for high school and college teams where they build and race their lightweight, two-person lunar vehicles. More than 40 student teams from 18 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Canada and India have already registered." My proposal just features a domo-kun mouth and giant pink ears attached to an El Camino. Money please!

Is There Such a Thing As Absolute Hot? 388

AlpineR writes "Is there an opposite to absolute zero? An article from PBS's NOVA online explains several theories of the maximum possible temperature. Maybe it's the Planck temperature, 10^32 K, beyond which the known laws of physics break down. Or maybe just 10^30 K, the limit of some versions of string theory. If space is actually 11-dimensional then the maximum temperature could even be as low as 10^17 K, attainable by the Large Hadron Collider. Or maybe infinite temperature wraps around to negative temperature and absolute hot is the same as absolute cold."

Study Finds That 'M'-Rated Games Sell Best 107

Gamasutra is reporting on information from a new research firm called Electronic Entertainment Design and Research, which has recently released a number of papers looking into trends in the gaming industry. One (perhaps surprising) finding: M-rated titles sell better than any other rating group. "The study, titled 'Console Intelligence Brief 2007' examines the PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360 since each consoles' release through June 1, 2007, and comprises some 219 retail and 187 downloadable games made available on the new platforms, examined by genre, ESRB rating, gross sales in the United States, MetaCritic scores, online functionalities, multiplayer capability and other core game features. Among the sample results made available, the study found that critics' favorite list and the blockbuster charts have a lot in common, with highly-rated titles selling up to five times better than titles with lower scoring reviews. Despite online connectivity being a marketing cornerstone for all new consoles, the study concluded that 45 percent of retail games are not utilizing it in any way -- 98 percent of Nintendo Wii games have no online functionality at all."
United States

CA Proposes Rigorous Voting Machine Testing 172

christian.einfeldt writes "During her successful campaign for California Secretary of State, newly-minted California Elections Czar Debra Bowen spoke repeatedly of the need to use free open source software in voting machines to ensure the integrity of California's elections. Now that Secretary Bowen is acting on that campaign pledge, closed-source voting machine vendor Diebold worries aloud that rejecting its black-box voting machines could snarl California's elections. Diebold's concerns come at the same time that it is suing Massachusetts for declining to purchase those same voting machines." Quoting: "California's elections chief is proposing the toughest standards for voting systems in the country, so tough that they could [have the result of banishing] ATM-like touch-screen voting machines from the state. For the first time, California is demanding the right to try hacking every voting machine with 'red teams' of computer experts and to study the software inside the machines, line-by-line, for security holes."

Live 12-Hour Oblivion Marathon 106

HarvardFrankenstein writes "Gamespot's Greg Kasavin will be playing The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for 12 straight hours tonight (Monday, March 20th) and the entire marathon session will be broadcast live. Kasavin will be 'offering commentary about the experience as it transpires. Subscribers will see a picture-in-picture view of Kasavin as he spends an increasing number of successive hours playing the game, and they will be able to chat with each other over the course of the event.'" The event starts tonight at 6pm PST, if they get started on time.

Halo Graphic Novel In the Works 42

A new chapter in the Halo story was announced this past week, and it's not going to be a videogame this time. Marvel comics will be working with Bungie studios on a Halo graphic novel. The tome will include four short stories and a bevy of art from concept artists. Joystiq has overall impressions and some artwork, while Gamespot has details on the deal with Marvel. From the Gamespot article: "Marvel has said they will feature signature characters and weapons and be set against a backdrop involving the alien races of the Covenant and the Flood. Perhaps more interesting to comic fans is the roster of talent secured to put words and images on the page. Beyond renowned French comics artist Moebius, the Halo graphic novel will also feature the talents of Phil Hale, Ed Lee, Tsutomo Nihei, Jay Faerber, Andrew Robinson, Simon Bisley, and Lee Hammock."

Comment Re:Not as good as they would have you believe (Score 4, Informative) 84

As you point out there are some players that absolutely love it. We now have 71.000 customers, experiencing continuous growth since launch, surpassing big titles such as Sims Online, Asherons Call (1&2) and Planetside (See I can only assume from that fact that your statement is indeed correct and there are some players that absolutely love it ;)

We will however never be a mainstream game and we have never intended to be so. We have a brutal and harsh universe and embrace PVP, and consciously live with the drawbacks of that decision as a cost of doing business. Your experience of being a miner attacked by a pirate a stellar example of such cost. Nevertheless, would EVE be so unique and growing if it didn't have such an extensive PVP system? I seriously doubt it :)

However, I can't agree with your estimation of the skill training system, time required to train to be proficient and the gap between experienced players. I'll go in to some basic details first so everyone reading is on the same page;

In EVE, a skill is trained off-line, each skill involving 5 levels, each level giving an additional cumulated benefit. Since we are talking about combat proficiency, lets take the Small Projectile Turret skill. It allows the Operation of small projectile turrets and gives a 5% Bonus to small projectile turret damage for each level trained, resulting in 25% bonus to damage at level 5.

The key here is to look at levels 1-4 and compare them to training from 4-5. Training from level 1-4 to get an accumulated bonus of 20% takes a day. Training from level 4-5 to get an accumulated bonus of 25% takes a bit more than 6 days. If I have a decent amount of learning skills trained and implants, these numbers would change to 3/4 of a day and 4 days respectively. I can shave more off with better learning skills, better implants and a character in a combat bloodline. I should also mention that advanced learning skills and implants were released considerably after launch, so older players are at a disadvantage, having spent more time achieving the level they are at today compared to the possible speed of a new player.

Therefore, the skill system inherently has a built in favoritism towards new players even though off-line skill training would seem to contradict that simply because you spend relatively more time achieving those extra percentages. Surely, a 2 year player will be better off in general than a 6 month player, but if you train wisely, fit for the occasion and position yourself well, you can have him running too.

Remember, you only need to train for about 5 months to get everything to level 4 which a 2 year character all has to level 5. If you want to advance to higher tech levels however, you start getting training prerequisites of level 5 in certain skills, which again requires you to start selecting what you want to specialize in.

I assume you the 3 years you mention are to train all those skills to level 5 and you are right, if you want to max out the skills, you will need something in that ballpark. But that also means you can use almost any ship and any module from any race in the game and be pretty damn good at it. Currently, nobody has that ability, EVE is only 30 months old.

I'd also like to point out a new feature coming up, which is called "Eye for an Eye" which I believe might help your situation. If someone kills you illegitemately, like you describe, you get an "Eye for an Eye" contract on him which allows you to shoot him down whenever you see him - once. I don't know if that is the kind of retribution you are looking for, but it might be.

Thanks for voicing your concerns, although I don't agree with some of them - but I hope I addressed them to some extent.

Nathan "Oveur" Richardsson
Senior Producer - EVE Online

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