The second I looked at THQ’s Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine video game, I figured I had seen it before. The sci-fi game may be set in the fabled Warhammer universe, but the style and game play look so much like Gears of War that it’s embarrassing.
This piece by Dean Takahashi at VentureBeat had me in stitches from start to finish. The obliviousness is astonishing. GEARS INVENTED SPACE MARINES
The very best part is when he admits that maybe he has the chain of inspiration reversed:
When I asked the THQ folks about this, they immediately pointed out that this game was set in the Warhammer universe, which has its own rich and original lore. In fact, this universe predates the existence of Gears of War, so you might argue that Gears of War copies Warhammer 40,000.
UPDATE: Takahashi has updated the post with a lengthy clarification/apology/mea culpa… thing. It’s longer than the original post.
First, this post is not research-backed journalism. I walked into a room, looked at a game, and offered what I thought about it. I’ve been doing that professionally for around 15 years. It’s my opinion. I just wanted to walk into this room and decide whether this game was good and whether it was original and fresh. What happened? I walked into the room and thought, “hey, this game looks like something I’ve already played.” That’s the point that I wanted to hammer home.
Apparently, maker of browsers, Opera, has been getting fan mail for Oprah Winfrey for years now due to the similarity between their monikers — and the woeful degradation of the English language that renders such disparate names identical in the eyes of some.
None of these people that are so convinced of the language’s decline are able to provide a shred of evidence. (Other than their own stupid protestations.) I’d also love to know how you make the jump from degradation of the English language to people can’t see properly anymore.
So, since October of last year, Marvel has had the entire 1992 X-Men animated series online for free viewing. They started posting them in 2009, once a week, and the final episode went up on October 5, 2010.
Wait, why are you still here reading this?
It’s kind of hard to watch the episodes in order, because the overall category for the show somehow doesn’t contain all of the episodes, and the search box kind of sucks because there’s no way to sort chronologically. So here’s an index. The theme song made me do it.
An app that uses image recognition to tell you what type of tree you’re looking at based on the shape of its leaves? So cool. And plus:
Users of Leafsnap will not only be learning about the trees in their communities and on their hikes—they will also be contributing to science. As people use Leafsnap, the free mobile app automatically shares their images, species identifications and the tree’s location with a community of scientists. These scientists will use the information to map and monitor population growth and decline of trees nationwide.
Seems like fun. I gave it a try and while I’m no botanist, it seemed to work pretty well.
Reno has a new football team that began playing this year: the Reno Barons. It’s an independent, professional, indoor football team which has so far played… any other team they can schedule. Which has resulted in routs of semi-pro teams and routs by the only other pro team they’ve played this season, the Stockton Wolves.
I haven’t seen them play, and based on this column by the Reno Gazette-Journal's Dan Hinxman describing their feud with Reno's semi-pro team, the Silverbacks, I'm not sure I want to:
The war of words with the Silverbacks escalated last week. The Barons were scheduled to play Tucson in Reno last Saturday. When Tucson backed out early last week, the Barons asked the Silverbacks to step in. The Silverbacks declined because they had a game Saturday against the Sacramento Warriors in Herlong, Calif. By week’s end, the Warriors had backed out of their game with the Silverbacks so they could play the Barons.
The Silverbacks believe the Barons went after the Warriors after the Silverbacks turned them down. Barons spokesman Steve Matson said they put out a request to teams all over the Sacramento valley and the Warriors were the ones who contacted the Barons.
"The silverbacks (sic) are men of our word and we did the right thing," Silverbacks spokesperson Veronica Ruiz wrote on the Silverbacks’ Facebook page. "Unfortunatley (sic) not everyone does the right thing in this world."
The Barons then mocked the Silverbacks on their website.
"Hey Reno Silverbacks get your weight up…wait get your website up…lol we are offering you the money to help you," the post read (and if you’ve seen the Barons’ website you know they have no room to poke fun at someone else’s).
The post was followed by a link to a Barons Facebook page that added this grammar-challenged nugget:
"… Reno Silverbacks, You call yourself Reno’s Team. How many home games have you play? How much money and time have you put into this community? Your team is a joke. … We made an open invite to you last night and Reno wants to see it. Let’s do this. Put your money where your mouth is. Per GM Tim Pierce and Owner Chez Jennings. We will have a suitcase with 3000.00 in it. The suitcase will sit on the announcers table the whole game. Come play us and if you beat us its yours. If you don’t beat us (which you won’t) you drop out of existence Reno Silverbacks. Put up or shut up. No one even knows who you are. …"
Oh, and there’s also this tidbit at the very end:
Last week, the Barons hired a coach, Jim Terry, who has a criminal record, and tried to tell the RGJ that his name was Jim Michaels.
As you may have heard, one of the Senators from my state of Nevada, John Ensign, resigned earlier this month amid an affair and possible ethics violations. His seat was quickly filled by our governor through appointment of Dean Heller, one of our House members. Heller’s House seat was then to be filled by a special election, which our Secretary of State is organizing.
I haven’t really been paying attention to it that much but apparently there’s been a bit of a ruckus over how he’s handling said election:
The legal reasoning used by the state’s top election official to determine how candidates will be chosen for a special election to fill Nevada’s vacant U.S. House seat was “unreasonable and absurd,” a state judge said Monday.
Secretary of State Ross Miller said the Sept. 13 special election would be an open contest, with the 2nd Congressional District seat going to the candidate who gets the most votes.
Okay, well, I’m not entirely sure how that qualifies as capricious.
But he also set different rules for minor political parties and independent candidates, who would have to be designated by their party executive committee or file a petition with signatures of 100 registered voters to get on the ballot.
The attacker used an Internet Explorer zero-day vulnerability that Microsoft patched on April 12 to breach the lab’s network. The vulnerability, described as a critical remote-code execution vulnerability, allows an attacker to install malware on a user’s machine if he or she visits a malicious web site.
According to Zacharia, the intrusion came in the form of a spear-phishing email sent to lab employees on April 7. The e-mail, purportedly sent from the human resources department, discussed employee benefits and included a link to a malicious web page, where malware exploited the IE vulnerability to download additional code to users’ machines.
Oh come on. Well, at least they’ll learn their —
It’s not the first time the lab has been breached through spear phishing. In 2007, a similar attack allowed hackers to access a nonclassified database at the lab and gain access to thousands of names, Social Security numbers and birth dates belonging to anyone who had visited the lab between 1990 and 2004.
How could you -–
“One of our core competencies at the lab is cybersecurity research,” Zacharia said.
The Supreme Court Monday ordered California to release tens of thousands of inmates or take other steps to ease overcrowding in its prisons to prevent “needless suffering and death.”
By a 5-4 vote, the high court told the nation’s largest state prison system to sharply cut its inmate population in stages over two years in one of the biggest prison release orders in U.S. history.
Justice Anthony Kennedy said for the court majority that the medical and mental health care provided by California’s prisons had fallen below the standard of decency required by the Constitution.
Kennedy cited suicidal inmates being held for prolonged periods in telephone booth-sized cages, backlogs of up to 700 prisoners waiting to see a doctor for care and as many as 54 inmates sharing a single toilet.
Fred, the draft horse standing next to Desmarais, is unperturbed by the snake or much else. The muscled 1,700-pound cable-hauling Belgian is in full draft regalia. Studded leather flaps keep his eyes on the task at hand. A leather collar wraps around his neck, bearing the hames, or a frame from which the traces span Fred’s torso and connect to an iron whippletree trailing behind.
It’s perhaps a fitting irony that Fred is the anachronistic vehicle for broadband installation in remote areas of the Northeast Kingdom. Without Fred pulling his weight in fiber-optic cable, however, FairPoint would be hard-pressed to meet its 2013 goal, set by Gov. Peter Shumlin, to bring Internet to every home in the state.
[T]his week astronomers are announcing a truly unique and new class of exoplanets: Jupiter sized planets that are in extremely large orbits or completely unbound from a host star altogether. And there appear to be a lot of them, as these planets seem to be more common than main sequence stars.
I really wonder what it would be like to live on a moon of one of these planets. Without a nearby star, would the planet even be illuminated in the sky? Or would it simply be a dark disk blocking out starlight.
A few weeks ago a postdoc in my lab logged on to Amazon to buy the lab an extra copy of Peter Lawrence’s The Making of a Fly – a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists – consult regularly. The book, published in 1992, is out of print. But Amazon listed 17 copies for sale: 15 used from $35.54, and 2 new from $1,730,045.91 (+$3.99 shipping).
Apparently two sellers created an automated upward pricing spiral. Basically, one seller is trying to price their copy of the book just below the highest priced alternative on the market — a totally reasonable strategy. The other half of the equation is a little stranger, however:
My preferred explanation for bordeebook’s pricing is that they do not actually possess the book. Rather, they noticed that someone else listed a copy for sale, and so they put it up as well – relying on their better feedback record to attract buyers. But, of course, if someone actually orders the book, they have to get it – so they have to set their price significantly higher – say 1.27059 times higher – than the price they’d have to pay to get the book elsewhere.
Between the two of them, the eventual high point of the book’s price (“The Making of a Fly – a classic work in developmental biology that we – and most other Drosophila developmental biologists – consult regularly”) was $23,698,655.93.
Kill Math is my umbrella project for techniques that enable people to model and solve meaningful problems of quantity using concrete representations and intuition-guided exploration. In the long term, I hope to develop a widely-usable, insight-generating alternative to symbolic math.
My favorite bit:
I went on to college, and grad school, and an engineering career, and I must have solved, what, hundreds of differential equations? Thousands? Obviously I understood the formal relationship between differential equations and integration. But I don’t know that I ever felt it.
Game Developers Conference is a meeting for cool kids in the game industry: designers, programmers, musicians, all them folks. Droves descend upon the unsuspecting sleepy town of San Francisco, bringing with them the mortal sin of networking.
At the past three GDCs, a few musicians have convened for an informal round table discussion about composing for indie games. This year’s discussion was hosted by Emily Ridgway (sound design, BioShock) and featured Daisuke Amaya (everything, Cave Story), Baiyon (art design and music, PixelJunk Eden), Mattias Häggström Gerdt (music, Cobalt), Darren Korb (music, Bastion), Daniel Olsén (music, ilomilo), and Pocket Groovy (music, You Have No Legs).
IndieGames.com published a transcript of the discussion today, and it’s full of all kinds of good stuff: music implementation details, thoughts on the game scene in Japan, and so on. Recommended read.
ER: Do you aspire to do bigger budget or traditional AAA games?
DK: I aspire to have these games become popular. I work with guys who used to work at EA LA, so I know the horror stories of working at large studios. I’ve only known working this way, and I’m sure that if I were to work under the conditions they talk about that I would want to die. Obviously, I’m new to games, so I have no idea whether I’ve been labeled or not, but I want to make interesting things. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called. I just want to make something cool.
DO: When I’m working on a game for a couple of years, I tend to get really tired of it. The fun parts are the start-up and the polish. The other part I could skip. I definitely prefer working on smaller titles.
MHG: I think, like you said, with small games part of the charm of being in audio is that you never end up in-house if you’re just a composer. I bounce between all different types of projects. You have these really short timeframes, but you get to put everything in it.
"X Files: The Musical" is the seventh production and third backyard musical by The Colonel Mustard Amateur Attic Theatre Company in Lincoln, Nebraska. Millions of people worldwide love The X-Files, and our audacious vision is to transform the show into a full-length theatrical spectacle.
After cramming over 100 people into the attic for a play, we knew it was time to move to a new, larger venue: the backyard. That’s where we performed “Jurassic Park The Musical!” in 2009 before a capacity crowd of 250. An even bigger spectacle, “Dr. Quinn: The Musical,” required a larger backyard, one that barely squeezed the 450 people who showed up to see it in 2010.
We’ve added exciting elements to each new production, and “X Files: The Musical” will be the biggest thing we’ve ever created. We have 40+ people in the cast and crew, a 30-piece orchestra, plans for elaborate sets and backdrops, and we’re expecting 1000 people to come see the show during its two-night run (August 19-20, 2011). It’s going to be almost unbelievably awesome.
How do people get these ideas?
They’ve already reached their Kickstarter funding goal, but you can still fling money at them if you want.
CONSTRUCTED entirely of sugar by Adolph Hubner, a San Francisco confectioner and sculptor, the novel violin shown above produces excellent music. The instrument was first modeled in cardboard, and finally modeled in sugar with gum tragacanth. A number of famous- violinists have pronounced the instrument excellent in tone.
Modern Mechanix posted this blurb from the April 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics and Inventions today. Would sugar even have the tensile strength to hold the strings taut enough?
In 1994, the Genesis game Monster World IV came out. Part of the Wonder Boy/Monster World metaseries, it was only released in Japan. The game is bright and colorful and beautiful, with large sprites and great animations. It’s quite an enjoyable romp.
The internet game news blogodrome was abuzz in February because the game was rated by several overseas rating boards for console download release: the U.S.’s ESRB, Europe’s PEGI, and Australia’s ACB all published ratings online for it. Being rated doesn’t necessarily mean anything at all, but I admit it was hard to contain my excitement because the game rules.
Well! SEGA of Europe announced on their blog on May 12 that the game is being released as part of a pack of five games on the PlayStation Network and Wii Virtual Console! Translated!
SEGA is proud to announce that the next edition of our Vintage Collection series is headed here in late 2011 and early 2012, to PlayStation Network and Nintendo Wii Virtual Console! This collection features favorites from the Wonder Boy series as well as some other gems from that era, including one of the first titles produced by legendary designer Yu Suzuki.
The biggest news of this bundle is that we are releasing a fully localized version of Wonder Boy in Monster World IV, which has never had a previous release in the West – it has previously appeared only in Japan.
Here’s everything that’s on the way:
Monster World IV (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Arcade)
Revenge of Shinobi (Genesis/Mega Drive)
Alex Kidd in Miracle World (Master System)
Wonder Boy in Monster World (Genesis/Mega Drive)
These are all pretty good games in one way or another, but I’m positively giddy over the MWIV news.
Radek Koncewicz of Significant Bits wrote a nice long post about the game in 2009. The text contains some plot spoilers, but at the very least just skim through the images to get a sense of just how gorgeous this game is.
Here’s a story from the Associated Press about a bizarre trend in the Mexican city of Matehuala: cowboy boots with long, curved, pointed toes.
The next thing Calderon knew, it seemed like everyone wanted the bizarre, half-Aladdin, all-Vegas pointy boots, from little boys attending church ceremonies to teenagers at the discos.
Calderon fashioned the elongated toes from plastic foam and charged 400 pesos ($34) for the extensions. The competition began charging 350 pesos ($30) per 15 centimeters (6 inches) of new toe.
Boys who couldn’t afford that used garden hoses to make their own. When one added glittery butterflies, another made 5-foot-long toes and added multicolor glitter stripes. When one added stars to the tips, others added flashing lights and disco balls, strutting them on the dance floor to attract the girls, like peacocks spreading their feathers.
It even has an apocryphal origin story, featuring a mysterious man known only as “Cesar of Huizache.”
Make sure to click through to the story; the AP also published thirteen photos of these silly people and their silly shoes.
The magazine Develop published an interview with Valve co-founder Gabe Newell on Friday. There was an interesting tidbit about how Newell feels the current pricing model for video games, that everyone pays the same price for the same thing, is outdated:
The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone. That’s actually a bug, and it’s something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products.
An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.
So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.
DAKAR, Senegal — The central African nation of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been called the worst place on earth to be a woman. A study released yesterday by the American Journal of Public Health shows it is even worse than previously thought: 1,152 women are raped every day, a rate equal to 48 per hour.
That rate is equal to 420,480 rapes per year, 26 times more than the previous estimate of 16,000 rapes in a year reported by the United Nations.
Michelle Hindin, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University who specializes in gender-based violence, said the rate could be even higher. The source of the data, she noted, is a survey that was conducted through face-to-face interviews, and people are not always forthcoming about the violence they have suffered when talking to strangers.
I don’t really have anything to add; the situation in the DRC is just abominable.
“People often assume I find computers and software interesting in themselves. I find them about as interesting as cars or washing machines. But I find the things we do with computers more interesting than the things we do with cars or washing machines.”—William Gibson, today on Twitter
Di Voch, a weekly Brooklyn Hasidic magazine, has dropped Hillary Clinton and Audrey Tomason from its pages, much as the Di Tzeitung newspaper did. The magazine does leave somewhat blurry lines to suggest the photo was altered, as if a ghost Clinton still lingers, but the females are nevertheless scrubbed from the room[.]
In a statement, Di Tzeitung said, “Because of laws of modesty, we are not allowed to publish pictures of women.” Both magazines are Hasidic, an ultra-orthodox form of Judaism. Yossi Gestetner, a PR consultant within the Orthodox Jewish community, wrote in an e-mail that the removal of Clinton has much less to do with women in power than it does in keeping with the sense of full-scale modesty within the community.
However, many other people saw the incident as an example of the religion’s supression of women. “Extreme discomfort with the presence of women or even images of women is common to virtually all totalitarian religious communities, regardless of the tradition involved,” Brad Hirschfield, a Jewish blogger for The Post, writes.
Others took issue with the affront to journalistic standards. One reader on my previous post about the photo manipulation cited a section the Code of Ethics according to the Society of Professional Journalists. It reads: “Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.”
The 46 million people who play FarmVille every month are getting an eccentric new neighbor. This morning, social gaming company Zynga announced a partnership with Lady Gaga, which will allow users to stream songs from Gaga’s forthcoming Born This Way before the album is released on May 23. Players will visit a neighboring farm, “GagaVille,” where they can undertake lightweight tasks to unlock tracks from Born This Way.
He talks, predictably, about libraries in the American Northwest: Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, the then territory of Alaska, and the Canadian province of British Columbia. The piece starts off rather flowery, with phrases like “To this conference on the Pacific many of its members and most of its officers have come as far westward as Columbus sailed westward from the Pillars of Hercules” and quotations of the poems “Columbus” by Joaquin Miller and “Thanatopsis" by William Cullen Bryant. He eventually gets into the nitty gritty of numbers, libraries at universities, laws regarding libraries, and so on.
The final section of his piece, “The future,” returns to the puffy language of the introduction. And while he does eventually talk about the future of building libraries in the Northwest, he begins with a paean of libraries as “man’s crowning effort to fulfill that ‘higher law’ of human evolution which bids each individual begin where all his predecessors left off.” I thought it was a pretty powerful statement; the public library is one of our noblest and most important ideas, ever.
Here are all ten paragraphs of that section, courtesy of Google Books:
In early 1971, Hart wrote to dozens of actors, authors, artists, musicians, playwrights, librarians, and politicians of the day. She asked them to write a letter to the children of Troy about the importance of libraries, and their memories of reading and of books.
Hart received 97 letters addressed to Troy’s young people from individuals who spanned the arts, sciences, and politics across the 50 states, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, the Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.
Those writing included First Lady Pat Nixon; Michigan Governor William Milliken; then-Governor of California Ronald Reagan; Michigan State University President Clifton Wharton, Jr., the first African-American president of a major U.S. university; first-man-on-the-moon Neil Armstrong; Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown; authors Isaac Asimov, Hardie Gramatky, Dr. Seuss, Dr. Ben Spock, and E.B. White; and actors Douglas Faribanks, Jr., Vincent Price, and Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.
Many centuries ago in Asia Minor in a city with the same name as yours, literature was born. One of the greatest poets who ever lived sat among his people and told the stories of the fabulous past. And they remembered them down through the years until the legends became fact, the fact not so much of history but of the word, of language.
Your new library is the home of language, yours and all others from the beginning. In it you will learn how others lived and thought and from it you will learn to live and think better for yourselves.
Last month Kobe Bryant called a ref a “fucking fag” on the court. (No censors out here in Internetland.) The NBA did the right thing and gave him a technical foul and a $100K fine. Kobe responded with a non-apology apology and stated he would fight the fine. John Amaechi, the first openly gay former NBA player, responded with an op-ed in the New York Times:
A young man from a Los Angeles public school e-mailed me. You are his idol. He is playing up, on the varsity team, he has your posters all over his room, and he hopes one day to play in college and then in the N.B.A. with you. He used to fall asleep with images of passing you the ball to sink a game-winning shot. He watched every game you played this season on television, but this week he feels less safe and less positive about himself because he stared adoringly into your face as you said the word that haunts him in school every single day.
Well said. The term “fag” is incredibly offensive and should not be bandied about so casually. (There’s little difference between what Kobe did and a white player (hypothetically) calling a black referee a nigger.)
Touchstone (a division of Simon & Schuster) will tentatively release my book in Fall 2012, which sounds like it’s a long time away, but really, it’s only the gestation period of two slightly premature babies. And if you’re a time-traveler, then it can be as soon as you want it to be. It can be now!
The book will contain roughly 50% new material. The other 50% will be posts I’ve published on this site already, but some of the posts that did not previously contain illustrations will be illustrated. It will be basically just like my blog in book-form (illustrated short stories, guides, etc.), but it will have at least an attempt at an organizational structure, probably.
So do Americans think that the founder and leader of the al Qaeda terrorist network is now in hell?
According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Tuesday, 61 percent of the public says yes, with one in ten saying no and nearly a quarter unsure.
"Not all Americans believe in hell - a point of view reflected in the relatively large number of ‘don’t know’ responses - and many religions don’t include punishment in an afterlife as part of their teachings," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Nonetheless, the six in ten who say bin Laden is in hell reflects how strongly many Americans feel that bin Laden was an evil figure."
"This is one question on which there is little partisan division - at least six in ten Democrats, independents and Republicans all believe bin Laden is in hell," adds Holland.
Wolf Blitzer also announced this poll result on air.
Quitting watching CNN was, for the most part, the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
What the birthers see is The Other. They look in the cedar chest and see their calligraphic Birth Certificate with flourishes and footprints and gold seals and doctor names, and take that as What A Birth Certificate Is. It’s ceremonial, official-looking, and old-fashioned, traits that they associate with authority. When they see a cold, austere, government-generated computer form without the ceremonial flourishes they expect, they disbelieve. It Is Not Like Mine. and that plays into the fundamental bias—He Is Not Like Me.