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Role Playing (Games)

Submission + - 4th Edition Dungons and Dragons Announced

An anonymous reader writes: Wizards of the coast has announced that the 4th edition of Dungeons and Dragons will be released in May 2008 for the Player's Handbook, June 2008 for the Dungeon Master's Guide, and July 2008 Monster Manual. Check out enworld and Wizard Universe if you cannot reach the Wizards site..
The Courts

Submission + - Tanya Andersen Brings Class Action Against RIAA

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: "Ever since the RIAA's litigation campaign began in 2003, many people have been suggesting a class action against the RIAA. Tanya Andersen, in Oregon, has taken them up on it. The RIAA's case against this disabled single mother, Atlantic v. Andersen, has received attention in the past, for her counterclaims against the RIAA including claims under Oregon's RICO statute, the RIAA's hounding of her young daughter for a face to face deposition, the RIAA's eventual dropping of the case "with prejudice", and her lawsuit against the RIAA for malicious prosecution, captioned Andersen v. Atlantic. Now she's turned that lawsuit into a class action. The amended complaint seeking class action status (pdf) sues for negligence, fraud, negligent misrepresentation, federal and state RICO, abuse of process, malicious prosecution, intentional infliction of emotional distress, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, trespass, invasion of privacy, libel and slander, deceptive business practices, misuse of copyright law, and civil conspiracy."

Submission + - color laser printers with good graphics output?

irw writes: I'm after a choice of colour lasers with the best _available_ colour graphics quality for say $1000 or under (I'm actually in the UK, with around 700 UKP to spend). Networked if possible, duplex if possible, but colour quality is most important.

I've looked at the reviews on c|net, but differences of opinion between editors and actual users make judgement difficult. I also know that in this price range inkjets would generally give better quality, but they dont provide b+w durability and I don't want two printers.

Opinions on printers to avoid (and reasons) would also be useful, things like chip-based page counts in toner cartridges regardless of remaining toner, drive belts prone to failure, and so on.

Submission + - Alan Cox on Patent Law and GPLv3 (

tykev writes: "Linux kernel guru Alan Cox talks about kernel features, cooperation with hardware vendors, and software patents. From the interview: "I don't think [Microsoft's patent threats] are the biggest danger. As Microsoft has been finding out recently it is the patent trolls, and organisations with buried patents in interesting areas that are the biggest threat in the USA. The real answer to that problem, however, is to pull the USA back into line with the majority of the world which simply does not recognize patents on software but respects them as literary works subject to copyright law. Also therefore we have to make sure the continuing US attempts to spread bogus patent law into the EU are defeated.""

Submission + - Is there any future left for us in space?

jollyreaper writes: I was born in the late 70's and cut my science geek teeth on the promise of a better tomorrow. NASA had all these bold ideas of where we'd be going and what we'd be doing. What happened to the future we were promised? For a microcosm of what's happened to our national ambition, look at Epcot. Epcot, "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." According to Wikipedia, "It was dedicated to international culture and technological innovation." And you know something? I remember it being that way as a kid. It was Disney for geeks. I remember seeing hydroponics, technology demos from our leading corporations, showcasing the bleeding edge of human innovation. And even that was a downscaling of Disney's original vision. But what's it about now? Minimized expectations. It's just another theme park, another way to surgically extract money from the wallets of indifferent tourists. Instead of doing and being something visionary, Disney executives settled for mediocrity and the fast buck.

NASA seems to share more in common with Disney these days than just proximity. The shuttle program has been described as a 30 year detour for the American space program. The shuttle was designed by a committee to satisfy multiple contradicting goals, none of which remained by the time the vehicle was completed. It cost more than the disposable vehicles it replaced, could not go high enough to do anything interesting, possessed capabilities that proved unnecessary, and contained so many design compromises that many engineers thought it to be a widowmaker before Challenger was even lost. Right now NASA doesn't make headlines for shuttles blowing up, they make headlines for shuttles NOT blowing up. After the cancellation of several shuttle successors, NASA has decided to go back to capsules with Project Constellation. There are vague talks of moonbases and a showboat Mars mission that will undoubtedly be canceled after squandering millions, possibly billions of dollars. NASA at this point is divided between the manned space flight camp (a political creature which suffers for it) and the "everything else" camp which includes the wildly successful pure science missions. Nobody can agree on the agency's goals and, even they they could, political appointees will change with every administration and sabotage whatever progress has been made.

NASA at this point seems to be like an 800lb man, trapped in his own house, suffocating under his own weight, too far gone to do anything to change his condition, just waiting to die. I think NASA is a lost cause.

Who represents the future in space? The private concerns like Virgin Galactic? Perhaps SpaceX? Government-sponsored programs such as China and India's? And even at that, these efforts represent small thinking. Tourists in space? More communication satellites? Whatever happened to proper space colonies like O'Neill Habitats? What about solar power satellites? How about space mining and manufacturing? How about a cost-effective heavy lift vehicle like Sea Dragon? I suppose an Orion Drive vehicle might be too much to ask for, though I have heard that there might be ways to generate the nuclear-style explosions without fallout and environmental damage.

What I find the most frustrating here is that none of what I've mentioned is technologically infeasible, it is all within the realm of possibility. What is lacking is the political will to make it so. Of course, the same thing can be said about world hunger: we have the resources and technology to feed the world, what prevents that from happening is politics. Most wish-fulfillment sci-fi involves individual men and women of genius who are capable of developing and applying revolutionary technology while cleverly circumventing the stifling hand of government oversight and bureaucracy. That isn't how it works in the real world.

My question boils down to this: I'm not asking what is theoretically possible, I'm asking what we can realistically expect. What can we expect our future in space to be?

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