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Facebook Tests "Satire" Tag To Avoid Confusion On News Feed

FatLittleMonkey Instead of labelling content (131 comments)

Couldn't they just put a label on the sort of people who not only believe satirical news, but, outraged, spread that "news" to everyone they know.

[Idiot] MagicBob97 shared [link].
[Idiot] catpiss wrote "typical fukink obamu!!!!!! [link]".
[non-idiot] sumdude wrote "uh, guys, teh onion is a satire site".
[Idiot] imtoorealforu shared [link].

2 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:NASA work == public domain, contractor not (160 comments)

And further, work done by NASA is public domain, but work done by hired contractors is generally proprietary

Although an outsider, I definitely support your "if the government funds it, the public owns it" open-source efforts.

Re: Games.

Here it's not just proprietary vs open source. Compare KSP and Moonbase Alpha. KSP is an amazingly rich open world simulator that inspires actual "play" and exploration and trial and error. And as you master it, you accidentally learn more about orbital mechanics than by actually studying orbital mechanics. (As former NASA engineer, XKCD cartoonist noted.)

OTOH, Moonbase Alpha is the worst aspects of "grinding" type games, but with no reward. About the most uninspiring game you could possibly create. "Astronaut/Starlite" looks to be cut from the same cloth.

KSP: I built my own rocket and blew it up! Woo! Then I built another one which got to orbit! Now I'm designing a ship for a deep space mission which I'll construct in orbit!
Alpha: I am "soldering" fixed points in someone else's "circuits" against an arbitrary clock. I will see how many circuits I can solder in an hour. And then see if I can beat it.

Moonbase Alpha is mindless drudgery (and I say that as a bookkeeper) that missed not only the entire concept of "a game", but also entirely missed what geeks (and geek kids) like about space.

2 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Follow the money (160 comments)

Flying the same expensive equipment for 30 years and more is not unusual if it lasts that long.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen. B52s are still flying, for example. 60 years next year.

But if you were a mad-obsessed young aircraft engineer looking for a challenge, would you go work at an airline flying five old 707s and mostly doing paperwork for maintenance contractors, or for a manufacturer building brand new aircraft every day, rapidly upgraded model lines, and with a supersonic passenger plane on the books(*)?

(* Trying to think of an aircraft analogy for FalconXX-BFR/MCT.)

3 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Correction (160 comments)

While your general theme is correct, you missed [...] Endeavour

I was going to add a comment about that, but it seemed unnecessarily pedantic. My point was there was no ongoing manufacturing capacity. The same is true of ISS modules, and nearly every other program. Build one unit, stop, disband the team, destroy the manufacturing base, operate the unit for five to ten years and then ask "What next?", start a new system entirely from scratch. Pretend all the while that doing it this way saves money.

For example:

In general, however, I believe we should have started the design and production of a second-generation shuttle during the Bush41 administration

Waiting a decade to begin developing Shuttle Mk II is exactly why NASA sucks so hard. For starters, the first version should have been severely reduced from the ambitions of the actual STS, minimising the number of new technologies for the first generation. Building a 100 tonne space-plane in a single generation was completely nuts. The aim would be whatever you can build in five years, not one day more. Each subsequent generation starts the moment the last first flies. (With early design work starting even sooner.) So the second generation would have started somewhere around 1975, flying by 1980. Third generation flying in '85, fourth generation around '90... But I'm proposing increments that are probably a fraction of the ones you were picturing.

And just to be pedantic, NASA did start work on successors to the Shuttle in that period. So did the USAF. Giant SSTO spaceplanes, like NASP then VentureStar, which repeated every mistake from the STS program. Pushing the state of the art beyond reasonable limits, while insisting that there are "no show stoppers", under-bidding and over-promising, then blowing budgets and under-delivering. Then when you get cancelled, scream for years about funding and a "lack of leadership".

From the other AC:

What about MSL?

MSL went significantly overbudget and overschedule. (Only the gob-smacking failures of JWST makes MSL's budget look reasonable.) But nonetheless, when it landed, people were excited... because NASA had "actually done something". Which suggests that not only are people excited about space, but they are starved for something to be excited about. It's worth noting that, unlike MER, Viking, etc, they built a single version of MSL with no possibility of a backup. Mars 2020 will be based on the same design, but again, will be a single unit. This is a trend at NASA. Like the 8 years between MSL and Mars 2020. Just long enough to lose most of the team, forget most of the lessons learned.

Similarly, not only did MER and MSL not carry any follow-ups to the Viking life experiments, neither will Mars 2020 even though "search for signs of (fossil) life on Mars!" is the centre of the NASA PR for Mars 2020.

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Not Surprising (160 comments)

It's no longer "news" to find that a private sector company has a leaner, less bureaucratic environment and workflow than a Federal government agency.

Except almost all work at NASA is done by private contractors. Likewise the development of military technology. The cultural failure extends through the whole aerospace industry except for a few small innovators, of whom SpaceX is the largest.

This isn't just mindless "private sector good, government bad". Most of the harm done to NASA is due to that mindless, unquestioning political belief that the private sector is more efficient... even at government funded programs.

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Not Surprising (160 comments)

The poster said "1961". There was a market for commercial satellite launches, there was clearly a value in weather satellites and Landsat type imaging. The military uses for space don't need explaining. So the NASA and Army development in the '50s and very early '60s did indeed create the technology that spawned a commercial space industry.

But during the '60s, the focus shifted from incremental, step-wise development of space technology to the all-in balls-to-the-wall development of Apollo. However, it's important to note that the purpose of Apollo was to develop a heavy lift launcher larger than the Soviets were capable of building and demonstrate it in a way the Soviets weren't capable of matching. It succeeded, and the Soviets pulled their heads in, and everyone signed the Outer Space Treaty. Job done. Last one to the bar buys the first round.

But Apollo wasn't about the myth of Apollo. "We chose to go to the moon in this decade..." blah blah. It was never an exploration program. (For example, only one astronaut amongst the dozen to walk on the moon, just one in the entire Apollo astronaut corps, was an actual geologist. And he only flew on the last ever mission.) Therefore Apollo can't be used to rebut Eepok's explore/commercialise/explore premise.

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Not Surprising (160 comments)

Then the military with their 'we-want-it-don't-much-care-how' attitude that brought you the Shuttle Kludge pushed in and pretty much trashed the Shuttle

It's a standard part of the myth, but it's not true. The involvement of the USAF in the Shuttle design came at the request of (and lobbying by) NASA management in order to try to get defence funding for the Shuttle (and when that failed, to just make the Shuttle uncancellable. "National security!" It's part of the reason why the Shuttle (and now SLS) used SRBs, to keep ATK profitable, to preserve ICBM production knowledge.) The USAF initially bought into the bullshit being spread by NASA about the Shuttle's proposed capabilities ("launch once a week, cost under $100m per launch!"), but never enough to contribute funding. And then when the true limits and costs of the Shuttle became apparent, they pulled all involvement and funded the EELV upgrades.

The problems of the Shuttle were entirely of NASA's own making. Likewise "Freedom", now ISS. Likewise JWST. Likewise Constellation/SLS/Orion. Likewise their other failed programs. They, and their strongest supporters in Congress, keep repeating the same mistakes over and over and expecting a different result.

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Not Surprising (160 comments)

Adding procedures is easy, removing procedures is hard.

Adding procedures is usually like a bug-fix in a program, correcting for unintended behaviour or interaction in the other procedures. But reducing procedures is more like scrapping an entire code-base and starting with a blank sheet. Exciting, but much bigger and much riskier. (And more likely to go wrong and piss people off. See Slashdot Beta.)

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Not Surprising (160 comments)

So, who funded the Native Americans who found the "New World" thousands of years before he did?

Their community.

Each explorer of the next-valley-over was reared and fed and protected and trained by the rest of the tribe through mostly communal ownership of major resources. The explorer then returned with news of bounteous herds of Caribou (or clams or whatever) and gave that knowledge to the entire tribe to replay their tolerance for his youthful indulgence. They, in turn, shared the new wealth amongst the whole tribe. The idea that the explorer alone would claim rights to the new land/resource for himself and "sell" access to the others would be so foreign to the tribe they wouldn't understand what the words mean.

[Occasionally, one presumes, groups might break off from the main tribe and forge ahead into the new land, due to politics or ambition. But even then, the ownership of the new resource was shared amongst the break-away tribe.]

4 days ago
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The Flight of Gifted Engineers From NASA

FatLittleMonkey Re:Follow the money (160 comments)

NASA isn't hot because it hasn't done anything since they retired the Space Shuttle in 2011.

I would suggest that the current malaise at NASA extends through the Shuttle program. Operating a first generation prototype for over a quarter of a century? Hell, just flying the same five vehicles for a quarter of a century (not even replacing those that crashed) is hardly a sign of a place that will thrill an innovative young engineer. It's more like a railway museum than a space agency.

4 days ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

FatLittleMonkey Re:Japan is still pretty backwards in some ways (143 comments)

It's been seriously suggested. It would provide them with a secondary income stream, increase the number of "banks" in poorer neighbourhoods (which often have a post office but no bank branches, precisely where people often need physical rather than electronic banking), and would thus replace a lot of pay-day-loan/cheque-cashing/pawnshops which do flock to poorer neighbourhoods and charge extortionate fees/interest, thus saving those communities tens of billions of dollars a year. There's about 60 million Americans who lack access to financial services who could benefit from a Postal Bank.

And, of course, the USPS was a savings bank until the '60s.

Here's a report from the USPS Inspector General. (pdf)

But the current Postmaster General is apparently a classic CEO, an MBA idiot who advocates branch closers, service cuts and fee hikes to "save" the post office. And Obama, of course, is terrified to take on the large banks.

5 days ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

FatLittleMonkey Whoosh (143 comments)

Kaatochacha was noting that "Cash-in-hand jobs" can't be read as "cash in hand-jobs done as a teenager", unlike the original comment.

[Which makes your "black economy" comment doubly unintentionally funny.]

5 days ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

FatLittleMonkey Re:I don't get it. (537 comments)

I think you'll find it's more likely this.

about a week ago
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Geneticists Decry Book On Race and Evolution

FatLittleMonkey Re:I don't get it. (537 comments)

even though no one is saying that the differences make anyone "superior" or "inferior" to anyone else, merely "different".

Except, you know, the author of the book being discussed, who specifically did rank races by their superiority. (Whites are genetically predisposed to civilisation, blacks to tribal living, Chinese to business, etc.)

Instead of what you said, I think it's the opposite: Whenever people object to the abuse of their research to support a racist/ideological agenda, people like you scream "That's political correctness!" without even attempting to understand what the objections are.

about a week ago
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I'd most like to (personally) explore:

FatLittleMonkey Re:Mars (246 comments)

There are places on Earth which are analogues of Mars, but easier to survive. Atacama, parts of Australia (say, Coober Pedy), the dry valleys in Antarctica. And doing the trip in a small caravan with too many people will provide the Mars rest of the experience for you.

Plus if you haven't explored the Earth, who are you to explore Mars. You wouldn't really be able to appreciate it, you wouldn't have the "eyes" to understand it.

about two weeks ago
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What Do You Do When Your Mind-Numbing IT Job Should Be Automated?

FatLittleMonkey Re:Fraud (228 comments)

And if you worked for me and I found you doing this I would fire you on the spot.

"Whereas..."? "...if you tell me..."? "...I'd give you..."?

Huh, nothing, weird. It appears you think only of negative reinforcement. So if your employees double their productivity, you offer them no reward, only threats if they seek a reward.

This leaves them with three choices:

A) Automate a process, tell you. You increase their workload to compensate. Result: Same pay, same workload, plus responsibility for the automation process.
B) Automate a process, don't tell you. Result: Same pay, decreased workload, small risk of getting caught.
C) Don't automate the process. Result: Same pay, same workload, no risk, no extra responsibility.

Logically, employees would chose between B and C, depending on their assessment of the risk of getting caught versus the benefit in halving their workload. No employee capable of automating processes would choose A unless they hadn't personally met you yet.

Meta-result: No improvements in business productivity. Low morale.

A competent business includes,
D) Automate a process, tell management. Have the increase in productivity shared. Result: Increased pay for same workload or same pay for easier workload.

Meta-result: Incentive for all employees to improve business practices. Ongoing improvements. High morale.

[I knew a guy who worked on a production line for a couple of years, suggested a single change that saved his company $1m per month in avoided waste. At the end of the year they gave him a $100 Christmas hamper. Guess how many other suggestions he shared. (Just one.)]

about two weeks ago
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My degree of colorblindness:

FatLittleMonkey Re:I am not colorblind (267 comments)

If you hold polarised filters (such as glasses) in front of a black-light, does the glow dim completely? Likewise, does a room lit only by a black-light go black again when wearing polarised glasses.

As a control, you could set up a regular light which to you seems as bright as the black-light. As you pass the polarised filters past both, the regular light should dim only as much the darkness of the glasses, the black-light otoh should virtually extinguish. Ditto a room lit by one versus the other.

If so, congrats, Ultravioletman, I have no such superpowers and can only look on in envy (with my puny regular person eyes). Now go, go out and fight crime (or commit it, depending on your preference. Ooh, supervillain name: "The Ultra Violent".)

about two weeks ago
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Google Will Give a Search Edge To Websites That Use Encryption

FatLittleMonkey Re: Great step! (148 comments)

1: their rules on who can get the free certs seem to be varied and arbitary. I've seen reports of an opensource developer being given a free cert initially but then come renewal time told that merely having a donation button makes their site count as "ecommerce" and therefore ineligable

OTOH, at $60/yr for an unlimited C2, if you're running a project with public donations, you should be paying. Even if you're still not-for-profit, you're no longer an "individual". Surely that's a little different than my personal email server?

about two weeks ago
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Man-Made "Dead Zone" In Gulf of Mexico the Size of Connecticut

FatLittleMonkey not replying to spam (184 comments)

$13333 @ $79/hr is 168hrs 46mins 19.7 seconds. What kind of employer pays you in units of fractions of a second? Also, 168 hours a month is more than "a few hours". Hell, it's a 40 hour week.

I suspect your spam is dishonest and wish to speak to your supervisor.

about two weeks ago

Submissions

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Fight you own muscles to create force-feedback on smartphones

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers in Germany have developed a device that allows users of portable devices, such as smartphones, experience force-feedback from games using just their own muscles... and a small EMS device. When stimulated by a painless electric pulse, the player's arm moves the device in whichever direction the game commands. The player then fights the movement with their other muscles, creating a strong sensation that the device itself is bucking in their hands. According to the developers, users found the sensation much more realistic than traditional vibrotactile feedback. (Should make PvP more interesting too.)"
Link to Original Source
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Multiple minds smooths your ship's path

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... Researchers at the University of Essex have shown that combining the output from two non-invasive "brain-computer interfaces", computer-interpreted EEG signals, led to a much clearer signal of the subjects' intention than the output from a single subject. To test this idea, they had two subjects try to steer a simulated space-ship at a target planet, by thinking of one of eight possible directions. While a single user could achieve 67% accuracy, this jumped to 90% when two minds were combined. Researchers believe the technique also compensates for individual lapses in attention, and thus may have applications in real-world space missions."
Link to Original Source
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How do you give a ticket to a driverless car?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about a year and a half ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "New Scientist asks a Bryant Walker Smith, from the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School, whether the law is able to keep up with recent advances in automated vehicles. Even states which have allowed self-driving cars require the vehicles to have a "driver", who is nominally in control and who must comply with the same restrictions as any driver such as not being drunk. What's the point of having a robot car if it can't drive you home from the pub while you go to sleep in the back?"
Link to Original Source
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Whitehouse Petition to sell Texas to pay off US Debt.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Amidst the flood of petitions on behalf of States demanding to be allowed to secede from the US, inevitably came the trolls suggesting that the US at least make some money out of the deal. Sell Texas to Mexico and use the money to pay down the US debt. Still in single digits at time of writing, but well worth supporting for the lulz."
Link to Original Source
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You can't print a gun if you have no 3d printer

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You may recall Cody Wilson's project to create a 3d printed gun, mentioned previously on Slashdot. Well, the Defense Distributed project has suffered a decidedly non-technical setback, with printer manufacturer Stratasys revoking the lease and repossessing the printer (presumably prying it from plastic models of Cory's cold dead hands.) According to New Scientist the manufacturer cited...

his lack of a federal firearms manufacturer's licence as their reason for the repossession, adding that it does not knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes.

"

Link to Original Source
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If U R readng ths, I M already dead.

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  about 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A particularly nasty text scam is doing the rounds in Australia. Police say that hundreds of people have reported receiving text messages reading: "Sum1 paid me to kill you. Get spared, 48hrs to pay $5000. If you inform the police or anybody, death is promised... Email me now killerking999@yahoo.com", or variations on the theme. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission's Scamwatch site, also details the threat messages.

(No reports yet of anyone managing to troll the scammers.)"

Link to Original Source
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MS damage washed away by stream of young blood

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 2 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "A new study on mice suggests that damage caused by diseases like Multiple sclerosis, as well as natural ageing, can be reversed by an infusion of stem cell rich blood from younger mice. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that erodes the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord, and can result is serious disability. Similar effects occur naturally with ageing. Via New Scientist:

White blood cells called macrophages from the young mice gathered at the sites of myelin damage. Macrophages engulf and destroy pathogens and debris, including destroyed myelin. "We know this debris inhibits regeneration, so clearing it up is important," says team member Amy Wagers of Harvard University.

Here's a direct Link to the paper, if you have academic access through the paywall.."
Link to Original Source

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Harnessing the energy of Galloping Gertie

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "You've all seen the footage of Galloping Gertie, the infamous Tacoma Narrows bridge. This is due to a type of turbulence called Wake Galloping, caused by airflow creating lift on the lee-side of cylinders (or cables on suspension bridges.) Now researchers in South Korea have developed a way of harnessing the turbulence to generate electricity. Their device works most efficiently at wind speeds too low for conventional wind turbines."
Link to Original Source
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Multicellular life found at 3.6km under the crust

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Researchers from Princeton University have discovered nematodes at depth of up to 3.6km in three gold mines in South Africa, likely feeding on the radiation-consuming bacteria also discovered by the same team. Carbon dating their environment confirms that the 500 micrometres long critters have been there for at least 3000 years and are not a recent contaminant. The finding means that unexpectedly complex ecosystems occur deep underground, increasing the chance that complex life may have survived on Mars according to Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute, "The significance was that you could imagine an ecosystem existing in the subsurface of a planet that didn't have a photosynthetic biosphere, like Mars," he says.

Until now, it was thought such an ecosystem could be made of bacteria only. But Onstott's new findings have completely changed that. "These nematodes are grazing on microbes. So now you could imagine that if animal life had ever developed on a planet, and the surface of that planet became lifeless," Pilcher explains, "you could imagine that animals could coexist with microbial ecosystems all powered by radioactivity."

"

Link to Original Source
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Can computers be used to optimise the US tax code?

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Science Fiction author, David Brin, wonders whether the US tax code, described by President Obama as a "10,000-page monstrosity", could be dramatically simplified. No, he's not trying to get support a libertarian wet-dream "Flat Tax", this is about using computers to... shuffle the existing system.

"I know a simple way the sheer bulk of the tax code could be trimmed by perhaps 70% or more, without much political pain or obstructionism! ... it should be easy to create a program that will take the tax code and experiment with zeroing-out dozens, hundreds of provisions while sliding others upward and then showing how these simplifications would affect, say, one-hundred representative types of taxpayers ... Let the program find the simplest version of a refined tax code that leaves all 100 taxpayer clades unhurt. If one group loses a favorite tax dodge, the system would seek a rebalancing of others to compensate. No mere human being could accomplish this, but I have been assured that a computer could do this in a snap."

With all the talk about Open Government, perhaps the computer code currently used in tax modelling could be released to the wider community, leading eventually to a Folding@Home type project."

Link to Original Source
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Can't get enough Will & Kate? Now meet their k

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "Prince William and Kate Middleton met while attending the University of St Andrews, so it seems... appropriate... that the Perception Lab at St Andrews would have a go at predicting the appearance of the royal couple's future "heir and a spare".

New Scientist also tries its hand at some evolution-centric royal fan-fic.

Oh, and feel free to participate in Perception Labs' experiment."

Link to Original Source
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South Australia to drop MA15+ video game rating

FatLittleMonkey FatLittleMonkey writes  |  more than 3 years ago

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) writes "While its former Attorney-General Michael Atkinson actively campaigned against an R18+ rating for video games in Australia, the new South Australian Attorney-General John Rau says he will abolish the MA15+ rating in SA after the introduction of an R18+ rating. To better differentiate "between what adults can get and what children can get", games will be rated G, PG, M, and R18+.

"I will push for the South Australian position on MA15+ games to be adopted nationally, but if it isn't, I'm prepared to go it alone," he promised, calling the MA15+ classification "dangerous".

"Besides," Rau says in an interview to Gamespot, "if the latest surveys about the average gamer being a 32-year-old single male who sits at home and plays games all day are correct, then what I am proposing is not going to have much impact at all." Ouch.

All of this follows a review of the classification system in general, so Rau may be reflecting a more general move away from MA15+ in all media."

Link to Original Source

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