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Classic Games (Games)

Super Mario Bros. 3 Level Design Lessons 95

An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Significant Bits about how the early level design in Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually introduced players to the game without needing something as blatant and obtrusive as a tutorial: "Super Mario Bros. 3 contains many obvious design lessons that are also present in other games, e.g., the gradual layering of complexity that allows players to master a specific mechanic. What surprised me during my playthrough, though, was how some of these lessons were completely optional. The game doesn't have any forced hand-holding, and it isn't afraid of the player simply exploring it at his own pace (even if it means circumventing chunks of the experience)."

Alzheimer's Disease Possibly Linked To Sleep Deprivation 164

sonnejw0 writes "NewScientist is reporting a link between sleep deprivation and Alzheimer's Disease via an increased amyloid-beta plaque load thought responsible for a large part of the symptoms of the disease, in mice. Medication to abrogate insomnia reduced the plaque load. Also discussed is a recently discovered sleep cycle of amyloid-beta deposition in the brain, in which levels decrease while asleep. 'Holtzman also tried sending the mice to sleep with a drug that is being trialled for insomnia, called Almorexant. This reduced the amount of plaque-forming protein. He suggests that sleeping for longer could limit the formation of plaques, and perhaps block it altogether.'"

The Duct Tape Programmer 551

theodp writes "Joel Spolsky sings the praises of The Duct Tape Programmer, who delivers programming teams from the evil of 'architecture astronauts' who might otherwise derail a project with their faddish programming craziness. The say-no-to-over-engineering attitude of the Duct Tape Programmer stems not from orneriness, but from the realization that even a 50%-good solution that people actually have solves more problems and survives longer than a 99% solution that nobody has because it's in your lab where you're endlessly polishing the damn thing. Like Steve Jobs, Duct Tape Programmers firmly believe that Real Artists Ship."

Submission + - Geeks are as sexy as anyone

Don Brooks writes: "Geeks are as sexy as anyone.

Wired blog

Some fun little meaningless non-scientific online poll results about the sex lives of geeks from Geek 2 Geek, an online dating site for people who self-identify as geeks (whatever that means)"

Submission + - File descriptors and why we can't use them

insane_coder writes: "I wrote a short article explaining the virtues of file descriptors, and how file management security is now going to get much better and easier to program with soon to be standardized functions, yet why we can't make good use of it. I also propose what we may be able to do to fix it."

Journal Journal: Eclipse IDE - do people actually use it for c/c++ coding???? 6

I decided to give Eclipse another try today. Downloaded the latest version (3.2.2 after all the updates) and the packages necessary for c/c++ coding.

I cannot believe how painfully s - l - l - o - o - o - w - w - w - w - w it is, for what little additional functionality it appears to bring to the party if you're doing c ...


Submission + - A hole in the earth's crust?

Rockin' Green writes: There's a hole in the earth's crust, according to this story by the Associated Press (via Yahoo). Normally, the earth's crust is a thick layer of hot lava. But in one spot, three miles below the ocean and 2,000 nautical miles off the Canary Islands, the normal crust is missing — replaced by the dark green rock from the earth's mantle, the layer below the crust. "It is like a window into the interior of the Earth," Bramley Murton, a geophysicist who is taking part in the six-week mission, said. d_expedition;_ylt=Ai0v_8.DZ1WEjHhooLUyhQ_MWM0F

Submission + - Breathtaking, Beautiful Portraits of Sol

An anonymous reader writes: Without our Sun — that massive, bright, hot star only 150 million kilometers (93 million miles) from us — life on our home planet Earth ( larger images ), as we know and understand it, would not exist. At specific times every day and without fail Sol, or, if you prefer Helios, interacts with our home in a more artistic manner. These solar paintings are appreciated by all; a welcome addition to life's beauty component. Using film and digital cameras, photographers around the world have captured these unique-each-time moments. And here is what they've seen: the spectacular, awe-inspiring, rising and setting of our Sun.

Submission + - Now playing: An Open Source movie

Pritesh Jethwani writes: "Now playing at a theater near you: The world's first film made by a worldwide community
- — A unique community website project that plans to bring thousands of talented minds on the same online platform for the purpose of creating a "complete mainstream film," was launched today.

The project has officially begun building its first film called "The Bomb Within," a story that unfolds in a post 9/11 era, surrounding the discovery of a new biochemical weapon. Lets Film has written a synopsis of the script and posted it online, which a global community of thousands of talented, budding scriptwriters is expected to takeover and drive to completion.

Commenting on the launch, Hinesh Jethwani, Founder & Head, Lets Film, said, "Through this unique community website, we plan to bring talented individuals together that are passionate about movies and have a willingness to share and learn from one another. This would be the first time that anyone in the world has attempted to make a complete commercial film that will be starred, written, produced, directed, edited and distributed, by a team of people simply passionate about movies collaborating from all over the world."

Lets Film has setup a Wiki (the same technology that powers the immensely popular Open Source online encyclopedia called Wikipedia), which will allow virtually thousands of scriptwriters to work on the same script simultaneously. In the meanwhile, budding actors, directors, editors, producers, effects artists and even extras who want to play any kind of a role in the film can create their profiles on the site with their audios (voiceovers), videos (demo reels), photos (portfolios), profiles (resumes), etc.

An online rating system will allow both visitors and members to vote for their favorite members. A jury is in the process of being setup that will sort through profiles and pick the most popular members to play key roles in the making of the film.

However, whether somebody gets to play the lead role or not, at the end of the day, everyone is a winner, says Hinesh.

"Registration on is absolutely free for life. Members of Lets Film will be able to chat/IM/email each other, which will make it a true collaborative platform for them to expand their horizon. Plus, they will get the opportunity to interact with their counterparts located all across the world. For anyone with a genuine passion for movies, this would be an experience of a lifetime," he adds.

From the days of the dotcom fallout, the Internet has evolved into a new avatar, more popularly known as Web2.0. UGC or User Generated Content is at an all time high. Internet users from all over the world are contributing and sharing their knowledge through open media like blogs, forums and chat rooms. Lets Film's unique attempt at making a "complete commercial" film by bringing together people from all over the world on the Internet is an innovative spin-off on UGC.

"Sites like YouTube, DailyMotion and GoogleVideo have started a unique era for Web 2.0, something I like to term as User Generated Movies — i.e. UGM. It's about time that a complete User Generated Movie be played at your nearest cinema hall," says Hinesh.

Lets Film expects community-styled filmmaking to challenge closed-door proprietary fillmmaking that has long since been the norm in the film industry.

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
Pritesh Jethwani,
Lets Film
pritesh at LetsFilm dot com
+91 98207 99225

About Lets Film is a unique social networking website designed to bring thousands of film enthusiasts on the same platform for the purpose of creating a complete commercial film. has launched the world's first attempt at making a commercial film that will be starred, written, produced, directed, edited and distributed by people collaborating from across the globe over the Internet."

Submission + - Google's terabyte transfer system

An anonymous reader writes: Google has a system for shipping terabytes of information around the world. This system was brought about by following on the work started by by Microsoft researcher Jim Grey, who delivered copies of the Terraserver mapping data to people around the world. Google's open source team is working on ways to physically transfer huge data sets up to 120 terabytes in size. From the BBC article: "We have started collecting these data sets and shipping them out to other scientists who want them," said Google's Chris DiBona. The program is currently informal and not open to the general public. Google either approaches bodies that it knows has large data sets or is contacted by scientists themselves. One of the largest data sets copied and distributed was data from the Hubble telescope — 120 terabytes of data. "We have a number of machines about the size of brick blocks, filled with hard drives. "We send them out to people who copy the data on them and ship them back to us. We dump them on to one of our data systems and ship it out to people." Google keeps a copy and the data is always in an open format, or in the public domain or perhaps covered by a creative commons license.

Submission + - Microsoft criticizes Google on Books

red crab writes: "Book publishers worldwide concerned about online piracy have found an unexpected supporter in Microsoft. BBC is carrying a report in which Microsoft has openly castigated Google on its approach to copyright issues. Quoting Microsoft lawyer Thomas Rubin, "Companies that create no content of their own, and make money solely on the backs of other people's content, are raking in billions through advertising revenue and IPOs". Microsoft is expecting to take on Google Books with its recently launched Live Search Books. Google has defended its position saying that it has complied with all international copyright laws."

Submission + - Bacteria could one day store data?

Vinit writes: "Japanese researchers has announced a new technology which utilizes bacteria as a long-term record medium of the data. The information is retained in the bacterium by inserting artificial DNA arrangement in genome DNA arrangement of the bacterium. Bacterias are very small in size and keep gene information for generations, so they can be used to store information for a longer period of time, compared to electronic or magnetic media including CD-ROM, flash memory and hard disc. The robustness of DNA data ensures the maintenance of archived information over hundreds to thousands of years, according to the researchers. ld_one_day_store_data.php"

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