ajs writes: "World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King expansion was staggered into 4 phases. The fourth and final phase, patch 3.3, is slated to be released tomorrow, December 8th. This patch is significant in that it will be the first introduction of one of the most anticipated new features in the game since PvP arenas: the cross-realmrandom dungeon as well as the release of new end-game dungeons for 5, 10 and 25-player groups. The ultimate fight against the expansion's antagonist, The Lich King AKA Arthas, will be gated as each of the four wings of the final dungeon are opened in turn--a process that may take several months. The next announced patch after 3.3 (presumably 4.0) will be the release of Cataclysm, the next expansion."
ajs writes: "There has been no official announcement yet, but a number of moves by Blizzard Entertainment seem to indicate that the next expansion for World of Warcraft will be titled Cataclysm. Speculation began when Blizzard trademarked Cataclysm recently and then later when a test server briefly popped up with the word "Maelstrom" in its name. If true, the name would fall neatly into the WoW lore and expected expansion list. The Cataclysm is another name for the Great Sundering, an event that created a swirling vortex of water and mystical energies (the "Maelstrom") that has appeared on the world map in-game since release. There are also indications that early design work included some of the islands in this area, which has long fueled anticipation of a Maelstrom-based expansion involving the former Night Elf noble, Azshara, queen of the Naga and the Goblins whose main city is in the south seas."
ajs writes: "World of Warcraft isn't the same game that it was even just six months ago, and it's changing again with the announcement of the upcoming changes in version 2.3. The major updates this year have been the release of Burning Crusade (the game's first expansion); the 2.1 patch which modified every class and trade skill and improved spam-prevention; and now 2.3 which is updating the player-vs-player battlegrounds, adding a new raid dungeon called Zul'Aman and "reviewing" every class for game balance in preparation for the release of Wrath of the Lich King "soon", as Blizzard is fond of saying. 2.3 looks to be clearing the way for the raised level cap (to 80) in Lich King as well, by increasing the rate at which new players can level from 20 to 60, and adding over 60 new quests to the middle of that range."
ajs writes: "Moriarty, over on Ain't It Cool News is running a column about the upcoming J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie. In it, he discusses some theories about where the movie is going, but doesn't reveal his sources. He claims that Nimoy's Spock, not the younger versions of the original Trek trio, will be the primary star of the film; and that the movie will make some very substantial changes to the Trek lore in a way that is internally consistent with what went before, but opens up many more options for future franchise films or series. If he's right, there are some pretty substantial spoilers in the column."
ajs writes: "The recent reporting on sea-level changes has often made the leap from observed rising sea-levels to predicted rises in sea-levels to so-called "doomsday" scenarios without a great deal of context. A recent article about rising antarctic sea levels on Scientific American's site has a fairly good discussion of the three different measures and how they relate. It also points out that observations currently map to the upper-end of the, "18-59 centimeters (7-23 inches) this century," predicted by the IPCC, but that the primary concern is that this could lead to a sudden melting of much larger amounts of inland ice, and could result in changes of meters (100 million people live within a meter of sea-level) that are not accounted for in current estimates."
ajs writes: "Ain't It Cool News is reporting that Preacher is now confirmed as an upcoming HBO series. For those that are unaware, Preacher was a mid-90s DC comics series that followed the exploits of a Texas preacher who becomes embroiled in a supernatural power strugle involving angels, devils, shadowy church organizations, John Wayne, his ex-girlfriend and his Irish drinking buddy. In concept, it's a bit like The Wizard of Oz as done by Tarantino and Troma Films. How or if HBO will sanitize it for TV is not clear."
ajs writes: "As previously announced, "Babylon 5: The Lost Tales" is a direct-to-DVD project based on the popular series from the mid-1990s. Lost Tales first DVD, titled "Voices of the Dark" has now begun production. As usual, J. Michael Straczynski and Doug Netter will be running the show with Straczynski directing. The characters, President John Sheridan (Boxleitner), Captain Elizabeth Lochley (Scoggins) and the technomage Galen (Woodward) are returning. The Lost Tales is an anthology series of sorts with two movies (previously three) per DVD starting in 2007. Straczynski has commented on Usenet that a more CG-intensive installment is coming in the next batch, featuring the character of Michael Garibaldi (Doyle)."
ajs writes: "Perl 6 has been a long time in coming, and it's not here yet but version 6.2.13 of Pugs was released today and the goal is now much closer. The Pugs sources actually contain two implementations of Perl 6: Pugs itself which is written in Haskell and v6, a Perl 6 to Perl 5 translator/emulator that allows you to mix Perl 6 and Perl 5 code. On the minus side, there has been very little work done on performance at this stage, so Perl 6 is still slow. On the plus side, most major language features are now supported, and the complex interaction of inline grammars or "rules" (a major step forward for old "regular expressions"); lazy lists; runtime object traits and mixins; and many other complexities are now in fairly good shape for continued development."