By Soulskill from Slashdot's aka-every-game-on-xbox-live department
An article at Wired takes a look at two multiplayer survival games, DayZ
, and at the behavior of players when their actions are freed from a civilized moral code
. 'Violence wouldn't bother a psychopath, [Dr. Adam Perkins] says, but they might have another incentive to avoid violence: the consequences of getting caught. Most psychopaths are logical people, he says, and understand that actions bring consequences. The threat of repercussions — say, for example, prison — might keep them from acting out. Such disincentives do not exist in virtual worlds. Absent a sense of empathy, you're free to rob and kill at will. What we do with this reveals something about us.
Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test
, says imagining ourselves doing something horrible is a way to see ourselves in a new light. "One of the ways we keep ourselves moral is to imagine the terrible things we could do, but then don't do," Ronson says. "You stand on a train platform and think, 'I could push that person in front of the train.' That thought pops into your head, and it doesn't make you a lunatic. It makes you a good person, because what you're actually saying is, 'Oh my god, I’m capable of doing a terrible thing, but I would never actually do it.'" ... But we're still left with the big question: Are our actions in a virtual world tantamount to imagining those things we could do in real life but never would? Or are we merely behaving as we would in real life if there were no consequences for our actions?'Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's didn't-do-it-and-nobody-saw-me department
This analysis of trading logs
from the Mt. Gox Bitcoin exchange analyzes a subset of the transactions that took there prior to the Mt. Gox collapse
, and makes the case that two bots (the writer calls them "Willy," and "Markus") were making suspicious transactions which may have been used to intentionally manipulate the trading price, and which can explain the loss of Bitcoin inventory on which the exchange's failure was blamed.
The author of the analysis says "[T]here is more than plenty of evidence to suspect that what happened at Mt. Gox may have been an inside job. What I hope to achieve by releasing this analysis into the wild is for the public to learn the truth behind what happened at Mt. Gox, how it affected the Bitcoin price, and hopefully for the individuals responsible for the massive fraud that occurred at Mt. Gox to be put to justice. Although the evidence shown in this report is far from conclusive, it can hopefully spur a more rigorous investigation into Mt. Gox’s accounting data, both by the public (using the leaked data) and the authorities (forensic investigation on the actual data)."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's both-at-once-is-just-asking-for-it department
That smoking is bad for your health is a commonplace; cancer, lung disease, and other possible consequences can all shorten smokers' lifespans. A new meta study from researchers at Oxford concludes that mental illness is just as big a factor in shortening lives
, and not only because depression is a contributing factor to suicide.
From the story at NPR: "We know that smoking boosts the risk of cancer and heart disease, says Dr. Seena Fazel, a psychiatrist at Oxford University who led the study. But aside from the obvious fact that people with mental illnesses are more likely to commit suicide, it's not clear how mental disorders could be causing early deaths. The researchers looked at data on 1.7 million patients, drawing from 20 recent scientific reviews and studies from mostly wealthy countries. Comparing the effects of mental illness and smoking helps put the stats in context, Fazel tells Shots. 'It was useful to benchmark against something that has a very high mortality rate.'"
[Press release from Oxford
.]Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's old-and-new-together department
As reported by Phoronix, the Haiku operating system
"has added (untested) support for the newest AMD Radeon graphics cards
to its open-source driver for the BeOS-compatible operating system." (Specifically, that support is for the "Mullins" and "Hawaii" graphics processors.) Impressive that this project keeps the BeOS flag raised and continues to modernize; Haiku has been around since 2001 — years longer than Be, Inc.
itself lasted.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's ok-but-avoid-the-spreading-kind department
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from the BBC about one very cool building material: "Real carbon fibre, mind, is still just as wondrous as it was in the last century, even if a bit more commonplace in road cars. But it's still very expensive to make in large pieces and quantities, it requires copious energy to manufacture, can be very brittle if made poorly, is not recyclable and can impose a detrimental impact of the environment when being produced. In other words, it is ripe for disruption. Technology stands still for no one. But could nature provide carbon fibre's replacement? So argues Gary Young, a renowned manufacturer of surfboards who has spent his life pioneering alternative materials use for that industry. 'With the right approach, bamboo can be used in many applications in the automotive world where its performance qualities can better carbon fibre's,' Young says. 'Plus, it does not have a negative effect on the environment.''"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's good-thing-about-races-to-the-bottom. department
Ars Technica reports that HP is back in the $100 tablet market
, and this time with a tablet that's intended to be priced there instead of just a fire sale
. The new offering lacks Bluetooth and GPS, among other features you might wish for in a tablet, and the screen is surrounded by a hefty bezel, but manages a pretty good list of features. Ars summarizes: "For $100, you can't expect much of the spec sheet. The HP 7 Plus has a 7-inch 1024x600 IPS display, a 1GHz quad-core Cortex A7 processor (made by a company called "Allwinner"), 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, 802.11 b/g/n, a microSD slot, and a 2800 mAh battery. The biggest downside HP could have fixed at this price point is the software: it's only running Android 4.2.2. Android versions are free, HP." Having an avaialble microSD slot beats some more expensive options, too.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's but-the-latency department
A joint project involving NASA and MIT researchers had demonstrated technology that could supply a lunar colony with broadband via lasers ("faster Internet access than many U.S. homes get") and has already demonstrated its worth in communications with spacecraft. From ComputerWorld's article
: "The Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) kicked off last September with the launch of NASA's LADEE (Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer), a research satellite now orbiting the moon. NASA built a laser communications module into LADEE for use in the high-speed wireless experiment. LLCD has already proved itself, transmitting data from LADEE to Earth at 622Mbps (bits per second) and in the other direction at 19.44Mbps, according to MIT. It beat the fastest-ever radio communication to the moon by a factor of 4,800." Communicating at such distances means overcoming various challenges; one of the biggest is the variability in Earth's atmosphere. The LLCD doesn't try to power through the atmosphere at only one spot, therefore, but uses four separate beams in the New Mexico desert, each aimed "through a different column of air, where the light-bending effects of the atmosphere are slightly different. That increases the chance that at least one of the beams will reach the receiver on the LADEE.
Test results have been promising, according to MIT, with the 384,633-kilometer optical link providing error-free performance in both darkness and bright sunlight, through partly transparent thin clouds, and through atmospheric turbulence that affected signal power."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's think-of-the-corn-farmers department
Five years ago today, we mentioned here what was characterized as "The Great Ethanol Scam
." According to the central story in that post, the ethanol in gasoline was (or would be) "destroying engines in large numbers," and the only real winners with a rise in the use of ethanol as a gasoline supplement would be auto mechanics. An increasing number of cars are officially cleared for use with E15 (15 percent ethanol), and a growing number of E85 vehicles are in the wild now, too, though apparently many of their owners don't realize
that their cars can burn a mixture that's mostly ethanol. When I can, I fill my car with no-ethanol gas, but that's not very easy to find (farmer's co-ops are one handy source), so most of my driving over the past decade has been with E10 fuel. I seem to get better mileage with all-gas, but the circumstances haven't been controlled enough to make a good comparison. What has your experience been? Have you experienced ethanol-related car problems, or were the predictions overblown?Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's literally-anti-competitive-behavior department
Bloomberg reports that after Apple's patent victory in court last week over smart-phone rival Samsung, Apple is
seeking a sales ban on several specific phones from Samsung
; none of them are currently flagship devices. "The nine devices targeted by Cupertino, California-based Apple for a U.S. sales ban include the Admire, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy S2, Galaxy S2 Epic 4G Touch, Galaxy S2 Skyrocket, Galaxy S3 and Stratosphere." Getting the competition blocked from the marketplace
over patent claims is something that Apple's tried before in connection with its beef with Samsung, and the company has had mixed results
, depending on jurisdiction. Last week's decision in favor of Apple hints that the jury didn't think the company deserved the entire $2.2 billion it was seeking, awarding (a mere) $120 million, instead.Read Replies (0)
R Throwdown Challenge
Posted by News Fetcher on May 25 '14 at 05:00 AM
By timothy from Slashdot's if-you-pirate-it-so-much-the-better department
writes "R beats Python!" screams the headline at Prof. Norm Matloff's Mad (Data) Scientist blog. "R beats Julia! Anyone else wanna challenge R?" Not that he has anything against Python, Matloff adds, but he just doesn't believe that Python or Julia will become "the new R" anytime soon, or ever. Why? "R is written by statisticians, for statisticians," explains Matloff. "It matters. An Argentinian chef, say, who wants to make Japanese sushi may get all the ingredients right, but likely it just won't work out quite the same. Similarly, a Pythonista could certainly cook up some code for some statistical procedure by reading a statistics book, but it wouldn't be quite same. It would likely be missing some things of interest to the practicing statistician. And R is Statistically Correct."Read Replies (0)