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Submission + - Cow Clicker: The Essence of Facebook Games (

mjn writes: "Game designer and academic Ian Bogost announces Cow Clicker, a Facebook game implementing the mechanics of the Facebook-games genre stripped to their core. You get a cow, which you can click on every six hours. You earn additional clicks if your friends in your pasture also click. You can buy premium cows with 'mooney', and also use your mooney to buy more clicks. You can buy mooney with real dollars, or earn some free bonus mooney if you spam up your feed with Cow Clicker activity. A satire of Facebook games, but actually as genuine a game as the non-satirical games are. And people actually play it, perhaps confirming Bogost's view that the genre of games is largely just "brain hacks that exploit human psychology in order to make money", which continue to work even when the users are openly told what's going on."

Submission + - BBC mulls blocking vuvuzela drone from World Cup (

Stoobalou writes: The BBC may transmit a 'vuvuzela-free' version of its World Cup coverage tonight, as viewers tear their hair out over the buzz reverberating around eardrums world-wide.

The BBC has been on the receiving end of hundreds of complaints about the drone of the South African horn and is reported to be considering providing a version of matches with much of the sound of the crowd removed that sensitive viewers could access via the red button.


Submission + - Researcher studies musical earworms ( 1

Julie188 writes: Some 99 percent of the population has, at some point, been "infected" with a song they just can't seem to shake off. In most cases, earworms will disappear after a few minutes or hours, but some can last days. Researcher Andréane McNally-Gagnon is also a musician and finds herself a frequent earworm sufferer. So she launched a study into which songs were most infectious and under what circumstances earworms occur. (And, if I add the words "Hey, Jude" ... will you catch an earworm right now?)

Submission + - George W. Bush embraces alternative energy ( 1

Geoffrey.landis writes: It's hard to believe, but former Texas oilman George W. Bush just came out in favor of alternate energy sources. At the American Wind Energy Association conference in Dallas, Bush said: "It's in our economic interests that we diversify away from oil. It's in our environmental interest. And, finally, it's in our national security interest." More details are on the green blog:

He had said in a State of the Union address that America was addicted to oil. "If you’re a guy from Texas and you say America is addicted to oil, it's a surprising moment," Mr. Bush said... These days, the former president said, "The overall trend in my judgment is that new technologies will find new ways to power our lives. I fully believe that hybrid plug-ins will be a transition to electric cars," he said, and that new ways to generate electricity will be needed.

In a time when climate-warming-deniers are screaming that shifting to alternate energy sources is going to destroy America's economy, it's amazing to see the former number-one Republican actually say that moving to alternate energy is in our economic interest, and new ways to generate electricity are needed Now if we could only get the ones who are still in power to understand this...

The Internet

Submission + - Facebook party crashed by 60,000 RSVPs (

An anonymous reader writes: After being egged on by professional troll David Thorne, 60,000 people RSVPed for "Kate's Party" on Facebook this past weekend — the private birthday party of an unassuming woman from Adelaide, Australia who neglected to make the event a private one. Though it's tempting to laugh away, it's yet another reminder that Facebook's privacy settings are not exactly in line with the needs or Internet usage patterns of the average civilian.

Submission + - BORG a mere light-decade away (

Cmdrm writes: A mysterious object discovered near a brown dwarf doesn’t fit into any known astronomical category.

The newly discovered mystery companion forms a binary system with the brown dwarf, located 460 light-years away in the Taurus star-forming system. The object is too light to be another brown dwarf, but it’s too young to have formed by accretion, the way a typical planet does.

After looking at the image, I am sure the BORG are on the way. I for one, welcome our new assimilators.


Submission + - Fast Company Fesses Up on Google Jail

theodp writes: After fooling CNET and others, Fast Company confessed to being behind Google Jail, which the mag describes as 'an April Fools prank about an April Fools prank.' Some found the FC gag funnier than Google's real prank, a goof by Google's billionaire CEO on the efforts of cities desperate to have Google rebuild their communities, an odd choice with Google in the news for dashing others' similar hopes.

Submission + - Catholic Church Abuse Hotline Melts Down (

pdragon04 writes: An abuse hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany melted down on its first day of operation as more than 4,000 alleged victims of paedophile and violent priests called in to seek counselling and advice. The numbers were far more than the handful of therapists assigned to deal with them could cope with. In the end only 162 out of 4,459 callers were given advice before the system was shut down.

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