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Education

NAMCO Takes Down Student Pac-man Project 218

An anonymous reader writes "The core of how people first learn to do stuff — programming, music, writing, etc. — is to imitate others. It's one of the best ways to learn. Apparently a bunch of students using MIT's educational Scratch programming language understand this. But not everyone else does. NAMCO Bandai sent a takedown notice to MIT because some kids had recreated Pac-man with Scratch. The NAMCO letter is pretty condescending as well, noting that it understands the educational purpose of Scratch, but 'part of their education should include concern for the intellectual property of others.'"
PC Games (Games)

Valve Apologizes For 12,000 Erroneous Anti-Cheating Bans 202

Earlier this week, there were reports that large numbers of Modern Warfare 2 players on Steam were getting erroneously banned by Valve's Anti-Cheat software. While such claims are usually best taken with a grain of salt, the quantity and suddenness caused speculation that Valve's software wasn't operating correctly. A few days later, Valve president Gabe Newell sent out an email acknowledging that roughly 12,000 players had been inappropriately banned over the preceding two weeks. "The problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version. This was caused by a combination of conditions occurring while Steam was updating the disk image of a game." Valve reversed the bans and gave free copies of Left 4 Dead 2 to everyone who was affected.
HP

Commission Affirms NVIDIA Violated Rambus Patents 35

MojoKid writes "The International Trade Commission has announced its findings in the NVIDIA/Rambus patent infringement lawsuit, and it's not the sort of ruling Team Green would've preferred. The commission found NVIDIA to be in violation of three Rambus patents. The trade panel also granted an injunction Rambus had requested, which theoretically prevents NVIDIA and the various companies attached to the lawsuit (Asus, HP, Palit, and MSI among others) from selling products that contain the infringing IP. The commission's decision this week affirms a January ruling that saw NVIDIA in violation of three Rambus patents while dismissing two additional claims of infringement Rambus made."
Science

Empathy Is For the Birds 201

grrlscientist writes "Common Ravens have been shown to express empathy towards a 'friend' or relative when they are distressed after an aggressive conflict — just like humans and chimpanzees do. But birds are very distant evolutionary relatives of Great Apes, so what does this similarity imply about the evolution of behavior?"
Math

First Self-Replicating Creature Spawned In Conway's Game of Life 241

Calopteryx writes "New Scientist has a story on a self-replicating entity which inhabits the mathematical universe known as the Game of Life. 'Dubbed Gemini, [Andrew Wade's] creature is made of two sets of identical structures, which sit at either end of the instruction tape. Each is a fraction of the size of the tape's length but, made up of two constructor arms and one "destructor," play a key role. Gemini's initial state contains three of these structures, plus a fourth that is incomplete. As the simulation progresses the incomplete structure begins to grow, while the structure at the start of the tape is demolished. The original Gemini continues to disassemble as the new one emerges, until after nearly 34 million generations, new life is born.'"
Image

Study Shows Monkeys Like Watching TV Screenshot-sm 103

According to a Japanese study, monkeys are not immune to the siren call of the idiot box. It seems rhesus monkeys enjoy watching videos of circus animals. From the article: "The study found that when the monkey was witnessing the acrobatic performances of circus animals on a television screen, the frontal lobe area of its brain became vigorously active. The activity in such an area was significant in reflecting the monkey's pleasure, as the human equivalent is a neurological area associated with triggering delight in a baby when it sees the smile of its mother."
Education

Students Show a Dramatic Drop In Empathy 659

MotorMachineMercenar writes "Several news sources report that today's college students show a precipitous drop in empathy (here's MSNBC's take). The study of 14,000 students shows that students since the year 2000 had 40% less empathy than those 20 and 30 years before them. The article lays out a laundry list of culprits, from child-rearing practices and the self-help movement, to video games and social media, to a free-market economy and income inequality. There's also a link so you can test your very own level of narcissism. Let's hope the Slashdot crowd doesn't break the empathy counter on the downside."
Censorship

Venezuela's Last Opposition TV Owner Arrested 433

WrongSizeGlass writes "AP is reporting the owner of Venezuela's only remaining TV channel that takes a critical line against President Hugo Chavez was arrested Thursday. 'Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of Globovision, was arrested on a warrant for remarks that were deemed "offensive" to the president,' Attorney General Luisa Ortega said. This comes on the heels of last week's story titled Venezuela's Chavez To Limit Internet Freedom."
Earth

Piezo Crystals Harness Sound To Generate Hydrogen 187

MikeChino writes "Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered that a mix of zinc oxide crystals, water, and noise pollution can efficiently produce hydrogen without the need for a dirty catalyst like oil. To generate the clean hydrogen, researchers produced a new type of zinc oxide crystals that absorb vibrations when placed in water. The vibrations cause the crystals to develop areas with strong positive and negative charges — a reaction that rips the surrounding water molecules and releases hydrogen and oxygen. The mechanism, dubbed the piezoelectrochemical effect, converts 18% of energy from vibrations into hydrogen gas (compared to 10% from conventional piezoelectric materials), and since any vibration can produce the effect, the system could one day be used to generate power from anything that produces noise — cars whizzing by on the highway, crashing waves in the ocean, or planes landing at an airport."
Programming

Simpler "Hello World" Demonstrated In C 582

An anonymous reader writes "Wondering where all that bloat comes from, causing even the classic 'Hello world' to weigh in at 11 KB? An MIT programmer decided to make a Linux C program so simple, she could explain every byte of the assembly. She found that gcc was including libc even when you don't ask for it. The blog shows how to compile a much simpler 'Hello world,' using no libraries at all. This takes me back to the days of programming bare-metal on DOS!"
Open Source

OpenBSD 4.7 Preorders Are Up 191

badger.foo writes "The OpenBSD 4.7 pre-orders are up. That means the release is done, sent off to CD production, and snapshots will turn -current again. Order now and you more likely than not will have your CD set, T-shirt or other cool stuff before the official release date. You get the chance to support the most important free software project on the planet, and get your hands on some cool playables and wearables early. The release page is still being filled in, but the changelog has detailed information about the goodies in this release."
Open Source

Licensing an Abandonware Game? 148

WolverineOfLove writes "I'm recreating a 1980s abandonware game with copyrights that have been seemingly unused for the past 18 years. The situation is detailed further in a Slashdot journal entry I just wrote, but in short: Is it worth dealing with all the copyrights and paying money if I want to recreate an abandonware title as an open source game? I know there are legal implications to certain decisions I might make, but there is a real possibility that this game's copyright holder will do nothing with the rights, and I'd much prefer preserving it for others than letting it fade away."
Hardware Hacking

Submission + - The Wow Factor. Lua meets mbed (mbed.org)

spartacus writes: That unsung hero of embedded scripting languages, Lua, has been ported by the eLua project to the powerful, low cost microcontroller development environment, mbed
. The marriage of Lua with mbed, an Arduino-on-steroids with its compiler-in-the-cloud, provides a
fascinating insight into future tools that will be available to the humble hobbyist to develop ever more complex
home hacks.
Wow!

Image

How the Internet Didn't Fail As Predicted Screenshot-sm 259

Lord Byron Eee PC writes "Newsweek is carrying a navel-gazing piece on how wrong they were when in 1995 they published a story about how the Internet would fail. The original article states, 'Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we'll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Intenet. Uh, sure.' The article continues to say that online shopping will never happen, that airline tickets won't be purchased over the web, and that newspapers have nothing to fear. It's an interesting look back at a time when the Internet was still a novelty and not yet a necessity."

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