New submitter sirlark writes "'Researchers at the University of Auckland tested an interactive 3D fantasy game called Sparx on a 94 youngsters diagnosed with depression whose average age was 15 and a half. Sparx invites a user to take on a series of seven challenges over four to seven weeks in which an avatar has to learn to deal with anger and hurt feelings and swap negative thoughts for helpful ones. Used for three months, Sparx was at least as effective as face-to-face conventional counselling, according to several depression rating scales. In addition, 44% of the Sparx group who carried out at least four of the seven challenges recovered completely. In the conventional treatment group, only 26% recovered fully.' One has to wonder if it's Sparx specifically — or gaming in general — that provides the most benefit, given that most of the symptoms of depression relate to a feeling of being unable to influence one's environment (powerlessness, helplessness, ennui, etc) and games are specifically designed to make one feel powerful but challenged (if they hit the sweet spot)."
benfrog writes with a piece that appeared in yesterday's Wall Street Journal about the in-progress legal battle between Oracle and Google over Java: "Ex-Sun and current Google employee Tim Lindholm testified that it was "not what he meant" when asked about the smoking gun email (included here (PDF)) that essentially said that Google needed to get a license for Java because all the alternatives 'suck[ed].' He went on in 'brief but tense testimony' to claim that his day-to-day involvement with Android was limited."
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "Security firm Dr. Web released new statistics Friday showing that the process of eliminating Flashback from Macs is proceeding far slower than expected: On Friday the security firm, which first spotted the Mac botnet earlier this month, released new data showing that 610,000 active infected machines were counted Wednesday and 566,000 were counted Thursday. That's a slim decrease from the peak of 650,000 to 700,000 machines infected with the malware when Apple released its cleanup tool for the trojan late last week. Earlier in the week, Symantec reported that only 140,000 machines remained infected, but admitted Friday that an error in its measurement caused it to underestimate the remaining infections, and it now agrees with Dr. Web's much more pessimistic numbers."
Saint Aardvark writes "It seemed like a pretty simple question about a pretty cool topic: an Ottawa newspaper wanted to ask Canada's National Research Council about a joint study with NASA on tracking falling snow in Canada. Conventional radar can see where it's falling, but not the amount — so NASA, in collaboration with the NRC, Environment Canada and a few universities, arranged flights through falling snow to analyse readings with different instruments. But when they contacted the NRC to get the Canadian angle, "it took a small army of staffers— 11 of them by our count — to decide how to answer, and dozens of emails back and forth to circulate the Citizen's request, discuss its motivation, develop their response, and "massage" its text." No interview was given: "I am not convinced we need an interview. A few lines are fine. Please let me see them first," says one civil servant in the NRC emails obtained by the newspaper under the Access to Information act. By the time the NRC finally sorted out a boring, technical response, the newspaper had already called up a NASA scientist and got all the info they asked for; it took about 15 minutes."
Titus Andronicus writes "Scientific fraud has always been with us. But as stated or suggested by some scientists, journal editors, and a few studies, the amount of scientific 'cheating' has far outpaced the expansion of science itself. According to some, the financial incentives to 'cut corners' have never been greater, resulting in record numbers of retractions from prestigious journals. From the article: 'For example, the journal Nature reported that published retractions had increased tenfold over the past decade, while the number of published papers had increased by just 44 percent.'"
MojoKid writes "Game designer Richard Browne has come out swinging in favor of the rumored antipiracy features in the next-gen PlayStation Orbis and Xbox Durango. 'The real cost of used games is the damage that is being wrought on the creativity and variety of games available to the consumer,' Browne writes. Browne's comments echo those of influential programmer and Raspberry Pi developer David Braben, who wrote last month that '...pre-owned has really killed core games. It's killing single player games in particular, because they will get pre-owned, and it means your day one sales are it, making them super high risk.' Both Browne and Braben conflate hating GameStop (a thoroughly reasonable life choice) with the supposed evils of the used games market. Braben goes so far as to claim that used games are actually responsible for high game prices and that 'prices would have come down long ago if the industry was getting a share of the resells.' Amazingly, no game publishers have stepped forward to publicly pledge themselves to lower game prices in exchange for a cut of used game sales. Publishers are hammering Gamestop (and recruiting developers to do the same) because it's easier than admitting that the current system is fundamentally broken."
coondoggie writes "DARPA's experimental Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2), lost significant portions of its outer skin and became uncontrollable after three minutes of sustained Mach 20 speed last August. That was the conclusion of an independent engineering review board investigating the cause of what DARPA calls a 'flight anomaly' in the second test flight of the HTV-2. Quoting the report: 'The resulting gaps created strong, impulsive shock waves around the vehicle as it traveled nearly 13,000 miles per hour, causing the vehicle to roll abruptly. Based on knowledge gained from the first flight in 2010 and incorporated into the second flight, the vehicle's aerodynamic stability allowed it to right itself successfully after several shockwave-induced rolls. Eventually, however, the severity of the continued disturbances finally exceeded the vehicle's ability to recover.'"
pigrabbitbear writes "Those who continue to inflate the tech bubble will be quick to remind us all of how they've learned from the past. That this time, it's simply different. They do have a point. Silicon Valley (and Alley) have matured. Startups these days are focused, driven, and efficient, creating products that people actually use. In a period of less than a year after its launch, Instagram was used by 5 million users, who by August of 2011 had uploaded 150 million photos. But even with these impressive results, it's impossible to ignore the fact that many of the fundamental economic factors that led the first bubble remain." A couple other readers contributed similar articles — Instagram's sale seems to have solidified the idea for many that we're in the midst of another tech bubble, though some are more certain about it than others.
Eponymous Hero writes "Does dark matter exist or doesn't it? It seems these results don't shed as much light as we'd hoped. 'Moni Bidin says he's not sure whether dark matter exists or not. But he says that his team's survey (PDF) is the most comprehensive of its type ever done, and the puzzling results must be reckoned with. "We don't have a good comprehension of what is going on," he says.' This has the smell of a Neutrinogate scandal, but at least we've been warned about the shoulder shrugging. 'As an example, Newberg notes that the researchers assumed that the group of stars they examined were smoothly distributed above and below the plane of the Milky Way. But if the distribution turns out to be lumpier, as is the case for stars in the outer parts of the galaxy, then the resulting calculations of dark matter density could be incorrect. Flynn agrees that there are a number of ways that the method employed by Moni Bidin and his co-authors "could get it wrong."'"
Canazza writes "In a podcast interview with Seven Day Cooldown, summarized by Develop, Valve Boss Gabe Newell discusses the payment model for upcoming strategy game DOTA 2. 'The issue that we're struggling with quite a bit is something I've kind of talked about before, which is: how do you properly value people's contributions to a community? ... 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. ... “So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get DOTA 2 for free, because of past behavior 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.'"
Hugh Pickens writes "LiveScience reports that a survey conducted for the American Institute of CPAs reveals that while more than half of U.S. adults believe technology has made it easier to spend money, just three percent think it has made it easier to save. The research found that Americans who subscribe to digital services spend an average of $166 each month for cable TV, home Internet access, mobile phone service and digital subscriptions, such as satellite radio and streaming video — the equivalent of 17 percent of their monthly rent or mortgage payment. Those who download songs, apps and other products spend an additional $38 per month. 'Our gadgets and connections can bring benefits like mobility and efficiency,' says Jordan Amin. 'But they can also bring financial challenges, like taking money that could go to savings, for instance, or contributing to credit card debt.' If facing a financial crunch, Americans would rather change what they eat than give up their cell phones, downloads or digital TV services. Asked to choose the one action they would most likely take in tight time, 41 percent said they would cut back on eating out, 20 percent said they would cut off cable TV, 8 percent said they would end cell phone service and 8 percent said they would stop downloading songs and digital products."
trichard writes with this quote from an AP report: "Ameren Missouri is vying to be the first utility in the country to seek a construction and operating license for a small-scale nuclear reactor, a technology that's appealing to utilities because of the smaller upfront costs and shorter development lead times. The small reactors, about a fourth or less the capacity of full-size nuclear units, are appealing to the nuclear industry because they could be manufactured at a central plant and shipped around the world. By contrast, building nuclear reactors today is a more cumbersome process that must be done largely on site and takes years."
Titus Andronicus writes "Professors Daphne Koller and Andrew Ng of Stanford University announced a major expansion in the catalog of free, massive, open online courses being offered by the company they founded, Coursera. The subject areas include computer science, mathematics, and business. The providers include Stanford, Princeton, the University of Michigan, and the University of Pennsylvania. Even more courses are expected to be announced by competitors such as Udacity, MITx, Minerva, and Udemy — perhaps soon. Is this the future of education?"
itwbennett writes "Your browsing behavior may reveal more personal information than you'd tell your own mother. Which is why Tim Berners-Lee is urging technology companies to 'show more restraint' in how they use the information they hoover up. 'We're moving towards a world in which people agree not to use information for particular purposes. It's not whether you can get my information, it's when you've got it, what you promise not to do with it,' said Berners-Lee, speaking out against the U.K.'s proposal to allow government intelligence to monitor digital communications."
suraj.sun sends this excerpt from Deutsche Welle: "YouTube was told by a regional court in Hamburg on Friday not to display seven out of 12 contested clips without permission from the German copyright fee collecting society Gema. Gema claimed that its members were losing money every time their music was being displayed on YouTube. A proper licensing fee between the two sides expired in 2009. The Hamburg State Court ruled YouTube would in future have to install an efficient mechanism to filter out such content uploaded by users or face a fine of up to 250,000 euros ($330,000) for each case, or up to six months imprisonment. Knowing that a foolproof filter system looks next to impossible, Gema is now hoping that Google will finally agree to a new bilateral licensing treaty whereby the collecting society would not get an annual lump sum for the contested videos, but a fixed fee each time copyright-protected videos are watched."