wjousts writes "IEEE Spectrum takes a look behind the scenes at Valve's on-going efforts to battle cheaters in online games: 'Cheating is a superserious threat,' says [Steam's lead engineer, John] Cook. 'Cheating is more of a serious threat than piracy.' The company combats this with its own Valve Anti-Cheat System, which a user consents to install in the Steam subscriber agreement. Cook says the software gets around anti-virus programs by handling all the operations that require administrator access to the user's machine. So, how important is preventing cheating? How much privacy are you willing to sacrifice in the interests of a level playing field? 'Valve also looks for changes within the player's computer processor's memory, which might indicate that cheat code is running.'"
The tech giants have separately announced they have hired planes to fly over certain parts of Sydney on Australia Day, photographing what lies beneath.
The Microsoft-sponsored campaign, orchestrated by the National Australia Day Council (NADC), is dubbed "Look Up and Smile". It hopes to gather hundreds of Sydneysiders at Centennial Park to create a huge map of Australia. LookUpAndSmile
Google's plane flyover on the other hand is aimed at drawing more attention to its Google Maps service, by updating it with new, higher resolution images of parts of Sydney. Google Flyover
femto writes: This Friday, Australia Day, it will be Google vs. Microsoft in a dogfight over Sydney, Australia. Google will be flying a plane, taking aerial photographs at 600 metres. The resulting photographs will be the basis for a trial of the most detailed Google Map pictures to date. Microsoft's simultaneous effort, using a satellite and aeroplanes, is part of a competition. There is no word yet on whether these images will find their way into Microsoft Virtual Earth Both companies are encouraging people to get out on the street, put on a show and be photographed.
Mikey Trent writes: Online poker gaming fans have now found a loop hole within the recently passed Online Gambling Ban Bill. From article, "Americans who want to play online poker are doing so through a loop hole that employs Canadian based servers. The loop hole masks American based ip addresses with Canadian ones as to evade the self imposed US ban by the various online poker sites".
Korkman writes: It seems Google has just lost one of it's major toplevel domains, google.de, to some german webhoster which was obviously well prepared for the traffic hit. See "http://www.google.de/", and, if already recovered, "http://www.goneo.de/" for the webhoster. Google.com stopped immediately redirecting german visitors to google.de. Anyone here to guess how much economic damage this will deal?
Mrs. Grundy writes: "Wikipedia has started automatically adding rel="NOFOLOW" to all external links in an effort to combat link spam. Since wikipedia pages are hip-deep in high page rank they attract the unsavory sort of character hoping to gain a little love from Google on their coattails. By making pages NOFOLOW they essentially deny conferring any page rank points from google and hopefully reduce the incentive to spam the pages with offtopic links. This topic has come up before and the community voted to remove the NOFOLLOW business in 2005. Will this move actually reduce link spam or is even the potential clickthrough valuable enough without the boost in Google's ranking? And how does the value of ranking sites based on links change as more and more popular sites start tagging (eh...labeling) their links NOFOLLOW?"
davidwr writes: A team of researchers at Duke University published a paper linking the brain's posterior superior temporal cortex to altruistic behavior. The BBC also picked up the story. If confirmed, this has applications in neurology, psychology, child-rearing, and a host of other domains.
blackbearnh writes: "The virtual community known as Second Life has been getting a lot of press lately, as the hyperbolic real estate market has made some residents into real life millionaires. The Christian Science Monitor set out to find some Second Lifers making a good living doing something other than land speculation. It wasn't hard to find. From the article:
Blaze Columbia is, by any measure, doing well with his line of designer clothing. He's on track to generate more than $100,000 in annual profits, barely a year after launching his business. And that's in addition to a first career as a professional photographer.
There's just one big difference between the clothing that this Missouri resident produces and that of any other top-of-the-line dress or business suit: His don't exist — at least not in the physical world.
The article also considers the real life problems that Second Life may face as virtual money is used for real world vices. From the article:
Some SL businesses already may be operating outside current law. Casino gambling and sports betting are pervasive in SL. The fact that bets are made in lindens, not dollars, won't shield gamblers from possible prosecution under federal laws banning Internet gambling, says Jaclyn Lesch, a spokeswoman for the US Justice Department. "Regardless of how one pays for the bet, it is still a bet if it involves something of value. While not a credit card or cash, [virtual currencies] would still be a 'thing of value' especially considering the fact that they are later redeemed for cash.
Truth in advertising: The submitter is also the author of the article."
brian0918 writes: "Times Online is reporting that French and American researchers have discovered that the stones on the higher levels of the great pyramids of Egypt were built with concrete. From the article: 'Until recently it was hard for geologists to distinguish between natural limestone and the kind that would have been made by reconstituting liquefied lime.' They found 'traces of a rapid chemical reaction which did not allow natural crystalisation. The reaction would be inexplicable if the stones were quarried, but perfectly comprehensible if one accepts that they were cast like concrete.'"
punkish writes: "WASHINGTON (AP) — Without notifying the public, federal agents have assigned millions of international travelers, including Americans, computer-generated scores rating the risk they pose of being terrorists or criminals.
The travelers are not allowed to see or directly challenge these risk assessments. The government intends to keep the scores on file for 40 years."