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Wikipedia and the History of Gaming 240

Wired is running a story about Wikipedia's tremendous contribution to documenting the history of video games, and why it shouldn't necessarily be relied upon. Quoting: "Wikipedia requires reliable, third-party sources for content to stick, and most of the sites that covered MUDs throughout the ’80s were user-generated, heavily specialized or buried deep within forums, user groups and newsletters. Despite their mammoth influence on the current gaming landscape, their insular communities were rarely explored by a nascent games journalist crowd. ... while cataloging gaming history is a vitally important move for this culture or art form, and Wikipedia makes a very valiant contribution, the site can’t be held accountable as the singular destination for gaming archeology. But as it’s often treated as one, due care must be paid to the site to ensure that its recollection doesn’t become clouded or irresponsible, and to ensure its coalition of editors and administrators are not using its stringent rule set to sweep anything as vitally relevant as MUDS under the rug of history."

MIT Unveils Portable, Solar-Powered Water Desalination System 117

An anonymous reader writes "A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Field and Space Robotic Laboratory has designed a new solar-powered water desalination system to provide drinking water to disaster zones and disadvantaged parts of the planet. Desalination systems often require a lot of energy and a large infrastructure to support them, but MIT's compact system is able to cope due to its ingenious design. The system's photovoltaic panel is able to generate power for the pump, which in turn pushes undrinkable seawater through a permeable membrane. MIT's prototype can reportedly produce 80 gallons of drinking water per day, depending on weather conditions."

Man Takes Up Internal Farming 136

RockDoctor writes "'A Massachusetts man who was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung came home with an unusual diagnosis: a pea plant was growing in his lung.' Just that summary should tell you enough to work out most of the rest of the details, but it does raise a number of questions unaddressed by the article: How did the pea roots deal with the patient's immune system? What would have happened if the situation had continued un-treated? I bet the guy has a career awaiting him in PR for a pea-growing company."

Comment Re:Restraint Of Free Speech (Score 1) 560

Actually, the moment they change the terms of service, the original contract is NULL and VOID. They changed the terms, now you can re-negotiate the payment.

Just send them a email saying "I accept the New AUP terms and agree to adjust my payment to $0 immediately for the duration of this change in service level. Receiving this email constitutes acceptance of the new terms by both parties."

If they can change the terms arbitrarily, then so can you. Make it hurt. Stupid should hurt.

Of course, then they'll just disconnect you for "uninvited" communications.

"[I]t is a violation of the Agreement and this AUP to[...] (b) transmit uninvited communications, data or information"

First Person Shooters (Games)

Infinity Ward Fights Against Modern Warfare 2 Cheaters 203

Faithbleed writes "IW's Robert Bowling reports on his twitter account that Infinity Ward is giving 2,500 Modern Warfare 2 cheaters the boot. The news comes as the war between IW and MW2's fans rages over the decision to go with IWnet hosting instead of dedicated servers. Unhappy players were quick to come up with hacks that would allow their own servers and various other changes." Despite the dedicated-server complaints, Modern Warfare 2 has sold ridiculously well.

Tag Images With Your Mind 64

blee37 writes "Researchers at Microsoft have invented a system for tagging images by reading brain scans from an electroencephalograph (EEG). Tagging images is an important task because many images on the web are unlabeled and have no semantic information. This new method allows an appropriate tag to be generated by an AI algorithm interpreting the EEG scan of a person's brain while they view an image. The person need only view the image for as little as 500 ms. Other current methods for generating tags include flat out paying people to do it manually, putting the task on Amazon Mechanical Turk, or using Google Image Labeler."

Comment Re:Mental maps... (Score 1) 289

Not that I'm surprised -- women will navigate first by landmarks and familiarity, and if that fails they fall back on maps. Men, on the other hand, rarely use anything but a map.

[Citation needed]

As with all generalizations, it's just that: a generalization. There are lots of members of both sexes that follow the trend to one degree or another, but in general, if you had to guess a strategy used and were only given their sex for information, you can do better than chance.

Comment Re:Champions Online is a great game! (Score 2, Informative) 154

It sounds like the GP hasn't played it, but I have. The character creation is better, but not by a tonne. Here are the key differences I noticed:
1) Asymetrical choice for things like gloves, armbands, eyes, etc. You choose things that can be mirrored independantly if you want.
2) You can save the costume and load it again later. I imagine it's a jpeg with some metadata, I haven't looked, but it's really handy. Similar to Spore
3) You can only wear capes with tights or skin. No capes and armor or robot arms or anything like that. You can have wings and stuff with whatever though.
4) Seem to be less choices for cool armor/skin/jackets.
5) No auras
6) Still buggy a bit

So, it's a bit better for the asymetrics and costume saving, but there are a bunch of things that are worse. Like Champions in general, really. I had it pre-ordred, but I don't think I'm going to pick it up. CoH was a lot more fun.

On one hand, you can try out a new power before you have to lock it in. On the other hand, you can't actually see what powers are avaliable later without having one ready to choose and going to the trainer. When you create a character you have no way of knowing what's in the future.

The combat system is neat, having attack that gives energy rather having to stand around doing nothing. It's gives you an absurd amount though, you just stop your main for like a second or two and you're back to full. Not even worth worrying about for the most part.

The UI in Champions is what really did it in. It doesn't have a compas icon on your minimap to point to any missions, much less the current one. Same for team mates. You can't set a mission to be the active one for the group very well. There really doesn't seem to be much point in grouping for the most part anyway, everything is just killing things outside with other people. Too easy to quest-steal. The few indoor missions I ran into were really short, like two rooms.

I wanted to like it, I even thought about the lifetime subscription (you get a lot of benifits). I figured it was a sure thing as long as they didn't make it worse than the game they made before. They did. The whole time I was playing, I was like.. Why am I playing this when I could play CoH instead?

Comment Re:New anti-piracy tool, eh? (Score 1) 377

Absolutely. I buy more games than I can keep up with on Steam because they keep putting great ones on sale. If you want me to play your game at full price, it's going to have to be amazingly awesome. Otherwise I'm just going to wait for it to be on sale on Steam. If that never happens, I'll probably just forget about it, because there are way too many others.

Comment Re:Disney pah (Score 1) 320

No matter how silly the movie is they'll at least get my money for sheer nostalgia.

Do not give Disney your money, they will only use it to steal your culture

Not only that, but it's that sort of sentiment that encourages publishers to just churn out cheap crap on an established universe rather than make something that lives up to, and even surpasses the original.

I refuse to see any revivals that aren't at least as good as the original.

Comment Re:Not possible, at least for now (Score 1) 365

Another factor usually overlooked is that lotteries can be FUN. You spend a dollar, and you can the thrill of comparing the numbers, getting a few right, that sort of thing. On that dollar, how much is accounted for by the entertainment value alone? When I spend $50 on a computer game, that's just money down a hole. At least with a lottery ticket you're having fun and potentially changing your life.

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