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Comment I've Been to Palenque (Score 1) 220

Really amazing place, off the beaten path, near another amazing place, Aqua Azul. Ancient, lush, unique. Only pyramid in the Americas where they buried a king inside a pyramid. As for what happened to it, I believe that there was quite a lot of warring amongst the various Mayan city states-it had nothing to do with plumbing.

Comment I'm typing with one hand (Score 1) 123

As I understand the issue the problem with screen time is twofold. You are sitting still and thus are not exercising and burning calories, building muscle, and hopefully playing well with others. Second, many kids (and adults) couple that still time with eating. Video games require you to use your hands so they are actually less likely to include overeating. Therefore if the camp included some physical activity and the gaming wasn't accompanied by copious amounts of snacks, there is no problem, precisely the opposite-the camp could be a godsend.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Call of Duty: Black Ops Announced 110

UgLyPuNk writes "In amongst all the lawsuits and signings, Activision and Treyarch have found the time to announce the latest in one of the world's best-selling video game franchises: Call of Duty: Black Ops is due to hit shelves November 9." The official site has a trailer, which has been dissected for details by the folks at GameTrailers.

Man Accused of Trying To Sell Kids On Craigslist 172

crimeandpunishment writes "You can get a lot of good deals on Craigslist, apparently including children. A New York State man has been arrested for allegedly trying to sell his children on the online marketplace. From the article: 'State Police Investigator Bryan Blum said Joshua A. Stagnitto, 24, was charged with one count of third-degree falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor, after a report was made to Monroe County Child Protective Services advising them of the posting on the online marketplace. The posting indicated a person was selling their children. Police said an investigation revealed Stagnitto was the source of the posting.'"

Comment I Used To Work For the Red Light Company (Score 2, Informative) 976

I temped for I believe it was Lockheed in 2002 in Washington DC. There was human oversight of the red light ticketing. In those days the cameras were film cameras and you'd go get a spool of film and load it into a device that would display two photos on a computer screen. The camera was triggered by motion and would go off if you were moving at the intersection as the light was yellow. So the first photo would be of a yellow light. This would clearly catch the license plate. The second photo would be of the car going through the intersection on a red, or of it stopping just in time. If the driver ran the red, you'd click on the first photo to read the license plate #. You also had to discern what state was on the plate, which could be quite difficult. The atmosphere of the company was very parochial, the managers were aloof, condescending jerks who thought they were nice, and once I got within two weeks start date of my real job and I had finals looming, I basically told them off and got fired on purpose. There was a cop that worked there that was supposed to be certifying the tickets but I don't remember ever seeing him. We processed thousands of tickets a day and I don't know how anyone could check all that work. I remember the cameras catching one accident in the month or two I worked there, don't remember much else interesting there other than that some of the people that I worked with went to the club a lot.
First Person Shooters (Games)

Code Review of Doom For the iPhone 161

Developer Fabien Sanglard has written a code review for id Software's iPhone port of Doom. It's an interesting look into how the original 1993 game (which he also reviewed to understand its rendering process) was adapted to a modern platform. "Just like Wolfenstein 3D, Doom was rendering a screenframe pixel per pixel. The only way to do this on iPhone with an acceptable framerate would be to use CoreSurface/CoreSurface.h framework. But it is unfortunately restricted and using it would prevent distribution on the AppStore. The only solution is to use OpenGL, but this comes with a few challenges: Doom was faking 3D with a 2D map. OpenGL needs real 3D vertices. More than 3D vertices, OpenGL needs data to be sent as triangles (among other things because they are easy to rasterize). But Doom sectors were made of arbitrary forms. Doom 1993's perspective was also faked, it was actually closer to an orthogonal projection than a perspective projection. Doom was using VGA palette indexing to perform special effect (red for damage, silver for invulnerable...)."

Game Difficulty As a Virtue 204

The Wii and various mobile gaming platforms have done wonders for the trend toward casual or "easy" games. But the success of a few recent titles, despite their difficulty, has caused some to wonder whether the pendulum has swung too far; whether a little frustration can be seen as a good thing. Quoting: "The evidence is subtle but compelling. For one example, look to major consumer website GameSpot's Game of the Year for 2009: Atlus' PS3 RPG Demon's Souls, which received widespread critical acclaim – none of which failed to include a mention of the game's steep challenge. GameSpot called it 'ruthlessly, unforgivingly difficult.' Demon's Souls was a sleeper hit, an anomaly in the era of accessibility. One would think the deck was stacked against a game that demanded such vicious persistence, such precise attention – and yet a surge of praise from critics and developers alike praised the game for reintroducing the experience of meaningful challenge, of a game that demanded something from its players rather than looked for ways to hand them things. It wasn't just Demon's Souls that recently flipped the proverbial bird to the 'gaming for everyone' trend. In many ways, the independent development scene can be viewed on the macro level as a harbinger of trends to come, and over the past year and into 2010, many indies have decided to be brutal to their players."

Why Time Flies By As You Get Older 252

Ant notes a piece up on WBUR Boston addressing theories to explain the universal human experience that time seems to pass faster as you get older. Here's the 9-minute audio (MP3). Several explanations are tried out: that brains lay down more information for novel experiences; that the "clock" for nerve impulses in aging brains runs slower; and that each interval of time represents a diminishing fraction of life as we age.

Comment Moderation of Chat in Games like WoW is minimal (Score 1) 355

I've enjoyed playing WoW for several years and during that time I've seen things like people typing the word Anal and then linking a character skill, such as the warrior ability Rampage. I've seen this go in in /2 trade chat, which is visible in all cities, for as long as it is 'funny', which can be about 30 minutes. No moderation is done and to get someone in trouble you have to open a ticket and complain. This went on across many different servers and lasted for months before I heard of anyone getting banned for it. Profanity is tossed around rather frequently as well. In other words, it is basically just like the real world, which it is basically futile to try to protect kids from. My concern is simply for parents who are naive about what their kid is getting into. I personally don't see a huge problem with this. I was a latch key kid, found my dad's stash of Hustler mags at an early age, and I'm a normal adult with a young family etc. I rode my bicycle all over town, bought cigarettes from a machine, yada yada yada. I remember in college I learned to prey upon girls who had been aggressively sheltered all their lives. Once they got to college they were just looking for a guy to go crazy with. I was determined to be that guy for as many beautiful young women as I could find. So really, as a parent, ask yourself, is it really the best thing to own a helicopter?

Comment Midsummer Festival Perfect Example of the Paradigm (Score 1) 337

Currently I'm trying to get the Midsummer Festival done on 2 characters. This requires me to fly all over the entire world of warcraft, three continents, and visit about 50 or so locations apiece. Some of the locations I have to use a ground mount to travel to. And the point of doing this? So I can get a 310% speed mount by completing all 8 or 9 of these seasonal events so I won't have to spend as much time flying around. See the irony?

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