At BlizzCon 2010, Blizzard announced that at least part of the player-versus-player experience in Diablo III will take place in a team arena. I got a chance to play a three versus three match for about forty-five minutes.Only three of the five classes were playable in PvP, but they were sufficiently powered-up with numerous skills. I tried all three and while I think I had the most success with the Wizard, the Barbarian and Witch Doctor both had effective abilities and combat roles.If Blizzard can balance this PvP, I could see it easily becoming an eSport. The matches are extremely intense and require intense coordination to succeed. It quickly led to taunting and cheering as we all figured out the game. The arena was square-shaped and full of pillars and barriers for cover. In the middle of the round, four health orbs will spawn in the center providing the only healing available to players.
Five Steam community members participated in the initial round of content creation. Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm created items for Team Fortress 2 which were then made available to other community members for purchase from the in-game Mann Co. Store. Today they received checks for the first two weeks of sales, with royalties ranging from $39,000 to $47,000 per person. Funds from sales of community members' items were to be deposited directly into their PayPal accounts. However, within days, the revenue that their items generated exceeded PayPal's cap on the maximum deposit size. While Valve made alternate payment arrangements for the others, two of the community members flew to Seattle to receive their first checks directly.
Robots are usually designed to be useful, but an amateur robotics competition last weekend indulged in technology gone wrong.Organised by SparkFun Electronics in Boulder, Colorado, the Antimov competition mischievously subverts Isaac Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, one of which states that a robot must protect its own existence.Instead, the competition challenged people to build a robot that attempts a simple, menial task but fumbles it or fails, before destroying itself. Participants could either submit their entries as a video, or present their creation live, at an event on 16 October.
Skydiving is dangerous. Skydiving from a plane in outer space is worse. But it's the lawsuits that'll really kill your dreams. For years, an Austrian daredevil named Felix Baumgartner has been planning to take a 23-mile plunge from the edge of space -- and in the process, become the first parachutist to break the sound barrier, plummeting toward the ground at 760 miles per hour. The engineers and scientists behind The Red Bull Stratos project, an effort to break the record for the highest freefall ever, billed the jump as more than a stunt. The leap from 120,000 feet was to yield volumes of data that would have been used to develop advanced life support systems for future pilots, astronauts, and even space tourists. But a promoter feels that the jump was his idea, and filed a lawsuit in April to prevent the event from taking place. Daniel Hogan claims that Red Bull stole confidential plans he had developed for the stunt, which he pitched as "SpaceDive" to Red Bull in 2004. Due to the ongoing lawsuit, Red Bull has been forced to suspend the mission -- and put on hold Baumgartner's jump.
A couple weeks ago, I was listening to a story by NPR's Planet Money team about "Toxie" a toxic asset they had purchased to follow and help tell the story of the recent financial meltdown. One of the mortgages in Toxie was on a home bought for investment in Bradenton, Florida, and the team took a look at housing in the area. Many homes there are empty and have been for years. Huge developments sit partially completed among densely built up neighborhoods and swampland. A guest stated that there were "enough housing lots in Charlotte County to last for more than 100 years". Boom and bust residential development has drastically affected parts of southwest Florida for decades now, and I spent some time (with the help of Google Earth), looking around the area. With permission from the fine folks at Google, here are a few glimpses at development in southwest Florida. (26 photos total)
A highly sophisticated computer worm that has spread through Iran, Indonesia and India was built to destroy operations at one target: possibly Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor.That's the emerging consensus of security experts who have examined the Stuxnet worm. In recent weeks, they have broken the cryptographic code behind the software and taken a look at how the worm operates in test environments. Researchers studying the worm all agree that Stuxnet was built by a very sophisticated and capable attacker -- possibly a nation-state -- and it was designed to destroy something big.Though it was first developed more than a year ago, Stuxnet was discovered in July 2010, when a Belarus-based security company found the worm on computers belonging to an Iranian client. Since then it has been the subject of ongoing study by security researchers, who say they have never seen anything like it before. Now, after months of private speculation, some of the researchers who know Stuxnet best say that it may have been built to sabotage Iran's nukes.
It's amazing to see how things change in a little more than a decade. Back then, Steve Jobs preached the new iMac as the centre of your digital life, the internet machine. Now, the internet machine fits in your pocket.But with 16 times the memory, eight times the storage and more than double its raw computational power, all in just a tiny fraction of the iMac's size and at almost half the price, it truly boggles the mind. Back then, if you told this to anyone, they would have thought you were nuttier than Mel Gibson on speed.It's even more amazing to see how this tiny little thing has dwarfed the Mac. In 2009, Apple sold 10 million Macs - including the desktop and portables - compared to a whopping 45 million iPhones. And the 45 million is not counting the other iOS devices. Next year, the iPad alone is expected to surpass the sales of all Mac computers combined.
Awesome photos of old school Russian arcade machines
The Hornsby Water Clock, titled Man, Time and the Environment is a piece of kinetic sculpture, a decorative fountain and a functional clock in the Florence Street pedestrian mall in Hornsby, New South Wales, Australia. Unveiled in 1993, the sculpture was designed and engineered by Victor Cusack and constructed of bronze, stainless steel and glass by Victor and his foundry floor manager Rex Feakes. Construction, including alterations to the mall, cost over AU$1 million and took two and half years; thereafter, chicken bones and other carelessly discarded items caused many breakdowns before the water filtration system was upgraded
The strange and eventful story of one of the great unsung heroes of modern science. Robert Hooke was a scientist and architect and during the late 17th century there was hardly a scientific advance or discovery that he did not have something to do with, or lay claim to. He payed his part in the invention of the barometer, the thermometer, the spring-driven watch, the air pump, the diving bell, the telescope and the calculator. He was also Christopher Wren's assistant in rebuilding London after the Great Fire of 1666. However, he died a pauper and his story is little known. Why was it that Hooke never won the reputation of his famous contemporaries, Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Edmund Halley and Christopher Wren? Stephen Inwood goes in search of the man and uncovers this troubled and troublesome chatracter and a story full of incident. Dr Stephen Inwood was born in London in 1947, and was educated at Dulwich College and at Balliol and St Antony's College, Oxford. For twenty-six years he was a college and university history lecturer, but he became a professional writer in 1999. He lives in Richmond, west London, with his wife and three sons.