porcupine8 writes: KMIZ, a Missouri ABC affiliate, is running a brief story about the possibility of predators using online Wii games such as Animal Crossing: City Folk to communicate with children. It should come as no surprise to anyone by now that pedophiles would use an internet-based means of communication to find victims, though the article notes that so far only three children in Missouri have been targeted in this way. The less obvious conclusions come from Detective Andy Anderson, coordinator of the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force, who claims that "There is no reason an adult should have this game [AA:CF]." He goes on to admit that "The equipment is real expensive and we cannot afford to buy all of the systems and do not have the resources either to examine all of the possibilities," which makes one wonder on what he is basing his assertions.
porcupine8 writes: Science fiction author Michael Crichtonpassed away today from cancer, at the age of 66. Crichton is the author of many popular science fiction novels such as The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, and Jurassic Park, as well as non-sci-fi thrillers such as Disclosure and several non-fiction books. Many of his novels have been turned into blockbuster movies or TV mini-series, and he was the creator of the long-running (in its final season) TV show ER.
Reading Sphere when I was fifteen helped spur my interest in a career in psychological research, so I am very sad to hear that he's gone at only 66.
porcupine8 writes: If you've wandered the web outside of Slashdot lately, you've surely come across the ever-present cat macros, also known as Lolcats. Originally a product of the 4chan forums, they have exploded in popularity thanks to sites such as I Can Has Cheezburger (named after the caption in a popular early lolcat) and spinoffs like LOLTrek.
It seems that the lolcats are better-educated than anyone guessed, and have been putting their computer science skills to use in the development of the new programming language LOLCode. This may look like a simple joke at first, but a quick glance through the contributions section of the site shows that far too many people have spent far too much time bringing this to fruition.
porcupine8 writes: The Kansas State Board of Education has changed the state science standards once again, this time to take out language questioning evolution. This turnaround comes fast on the heels of the ouster given this past election to the ultra-conservative Board members who originally introduced the language. "Science" has also been re-redefined as "a human activity of systematically seeking natural explanations" (the word "natural" had been previously stricken from the definition).
porcupine8 writes: Like the Playstation 3, the Nintendo Wii sold out on launch day this weekend. Unlike the PS3, the launch was a peaceful affair with no reports yet of console-related violence in the US. This may be partially due to the fact that Nintendo promises to have a total of four million units in stores by Christmas, with the bulk of those going to North America.
Midnight launch parties on both the east and west coasts ushered the new console in with a bang.