Cool and Interesting News & Such.

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Tawmis » Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:00 pm

Non Political cool and interesting news... :)

The storm as wide as the Earth. wrote:
http://news.yahoo.com/tempest-hell-seen ... 17740.html

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Imagine being caught in a thunderstorm as wide as the Earth with discharges of lightning 10,000 times more powerful than normal, flashing 10 times per second at its peak.

Now imagine that this storm is still unfolding, eight months later.

One of the most violent weather events in the Solar System began to erupt on Saturn last December and is still enthralling astronomers, the British journal Nature reported on Wednesday.

Two studies draw on observations by professional and amateur astronomers using a broad range of gear, from relatively small ground-based telescopes to NASA's magnificent scoutcraft, Cassini.

Saturn, like Jupiter, is no stranger to convective storms.

It too is a "gas giant," or planet comprising layers of thick, roiling gases rather than a rock, like Earth, Mars, Venus and Mercury.

The difference, though, is that jovian mega-storms tend to erupt unexpectedly, but the lord of the rings gives birth to a monster almost periodically.

It occurs on average once every Saturnian year -- nearly 29.5 Earth years -- and appears to be linked to the summer solstice, when the planet's orbit brings it a bit closer to the Sun and its atmosphere warms a little.

The event is known as the "Great White Spot" (a counterpart to the swirling "Great Red Spot" on Jupiter) because of the mass of brilliant white storm clouds that erupt in the upper atmosphere.

The show is so big that it can be visible by telescopes from distant Earth. Five have been observed in the last 130 years. The last occurred in 1990.

But the current Great White Spot is proving to be a dazzling spectacle, revealed by an unprecedented array of observational power at hand.

Events began at 2105 GMT on December 5, when ground-based telescopes detected a "barely visible white point" on a normally unblemished and hazy part of Saturn's northern hemisphere, at around latitude 35 degrees north.

At the same time, Cassini turned its "ears" towards the target, listening in to radio emissions from the storm via an onboard plasma-wave instrument.

These signals are the telltales of lightning. Lightning cannot be seen visually on Saturn at night because of interference from sunlight scattered from the planet's ring system, which comprises billions of shiny particles.

Within a few weeks, the point had ballooned into a storm system that was some 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) across, roughly comparable with the diameter of the Earth, and after two months the clouds had almost encircled the entire planet.

Analysis of the data suggests that the "spot" is in fact a cluster of super-storms, produced by upwelling of heat, moisture and ammonia from water clouds from lower down in the Saturnian atmosphere, where the pressure is high.

As this mix rises into a cooler atmospheric layer called the tropopause, bright, white clouds of ammonia start to spread horizontally into a tail, sculpted by eastward jets of wind.

Astronomers are especially intrigued by the current Great White Spot.

The observational history of this phenomenon is sketchy. But evidence suggests the present spot is exceptionally intense and rather premature, for it was still spring on Saturn when the storm brewed.

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Tawmis » Tue Jul 12, 2011 7:46 pm

How much do you love Harry Potter?
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Jules » Tue Jul 12, 2011 9:03 pm

Tawmis wrote:How much do you love Harry Potter?


He's taken over the woooorld! :D
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby audiodane » Thu Aug 04, 2011 12:58 pm

Interesting news re: Nintendo:

Nintendo 3DS Gets Sudden, Massive Price Drop

Boy, those 3DS sales sure fell off a cliff. So much so that Nintendo has instituted one of the swiftest and deepest price cuts for a handheld in recent memory.

The 3DS only went on sale earlier this year for $249, but as of August 12, it'll be slashed all the way down to $169.99. That's...wow.

In addition to the price cut for new consumers, those who bought/buy a 3DS before the August 12 markdown will be able to download 20 free games from the 3DS eShop. That offer comes in the form of ten NES Virtual Console games (including classics like Zelda and Super Mario Bros.), which will be available after September 1, and ten Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games (like Yoshi's Island and Metroid Fusion), which will be available a little later.

Yes, you read that right. In addition to original Game Boy games already available there will also be a Game Boy Advance Virtual Console and a NES Virtual Console for the 3DS.


More on the new GBA/NES eShop here.

Until now, the Nintendo 3DS's eShop has only offered Game Boy and Game Boy Color games. Soon, that will change.

Today, Nintendo revealed that it would be giving those who purchased the 3DS before the August 12 markdown the chance to download 20 free games (either NES or GBA Virtual Console) via the 3DS eShop.

Wait, what? That's right, the 3DS eShop is getting NES Virtual Console games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong Jr., Balloon Fight, Ice Climber and The Legend of Zelda.

Early 3DS adaptors get the games...early and for free. The titles are slated to become paid downloads for everyone else, and you'll become automatically enrolled in the program starting September 1.

Also, ten Game Boy Advance Virtual Console games are headed to the 3DS—games like Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, Mario Kart: Super Circuit, Metroid Fusion, WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ and Mario vs. Donkey Kong.

According to Nintendo, "Nintendo currently has no plans to make these 10 games available to the general public on the Nintendo 3DS in the future."


Given that the old Virtual Console games (nes, snes, n64, gb, gbc, gba) are what really stole my attention for a 3DS in the first place, this sounds great. However that last line above (bolded by me) is disappointing. Shell out $250 to get 'free' games, or wait until Aug 12th and only shell out $170, but some of the great classics won't be available. Du-oh!

Oh well. Interesting news (to me at least) nevertheless..

..dane
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Tawmis » Thu Aug 04, 2011 2:17 pm

I believe this is because Nintendo has recently taken a heavy hit... The Wii's popularity has plummeted in the wake of the X360 with Kinetic and the PS3... The once mighty giant (Nintendo) is now buckling at the knees.

http://thelazygeeks.com/2011/07/29/nint ... g-so-well/

http://thewiiu.com/topic/1029-nintendo- ... oing-well/

http://gaming-realm.com/2011/04/nintend ... -as-hoped/

http://guyism.com/lifestyle/nintendo-is ... ashed.html
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby DeadPoolX » Thu Aug 04, 2011 7:35 pm

Actually, I think Nintendo has realized that fewer people are interested in buying dedicated hand-held systems now that their smartphones can play games.

Just about everyone has a cell phone and most who do also have a smartphone. It's easier and more economically sound to simply play games on your phone rather than purchase an entirely new system.
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby audiodane » Fri Aug 05, 2011 2:39 am

DPX, I think that's an interesting point. I wonder how well the PSP and other handhelds are doing in comparison to 3DS. That said, I really enjoy the tactile feel of buttons, which smartphones for the most part (as far as I know- I still have a Nokia 1100!) -- lack. It's an interesting intersection that the portable gaming market is in- a real pileup of different technologies that each have their own set of gameplay pros and cons.

I heard someone recently propose that in 10 years the handheld gaming market will still not see a singular platform but rather a DIvergence (rather than a CONvergence) of platforms into more specialty gaming. That motion control will move from the casual to the hardcore gamer (as the technology improves) and the causal game will get back to casual- no needing to tilt and shake, just push buttons. An interesting prediction, but one that I could foresee coming to fruition. I still like the idea of playing all my old favorite NES/SNES games on a singular platform (with buttons!), but that requires them to actively port them all. Which leads me to the Pandora platform. It sounds really neat. Get a ROM, load an emulator, and play to your heart's content, with the original game logic (well, emulated, at least). Of course I don't know how to get binaries of all the carts I have. And when I looked into it, the hardware is extremely pricey. Oh, the irony.

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby DeadPoolX » Fri Aug 05, 2011 4:53 am

audiodane wrote:That said, I really enjoy the tactile feel of buttons, which smartphones for the most part (as far as I know- I still have a Nokia 1100!) -- lack.

Every smartphone I know of uses a touchscreen interface except the Xperia PLAY. It was designed by Sony, so it's basically a PSP that has all the same functions a normal Android-powered smartphone has as well.

I've played games on two different smartphones and I prefer using a touchscreen. With the possible exception of the Xperia, using buttons on a smartphone is too unwieldy.

audiodane wrote:That motion control will move from the casual to the hardcore gamer (as the technology improves) and the causal game will get back to casual- no needing to tilt and shake, just push buttons.

Unless playing a sports game or racing, using motion controls is a real pain in the ass. Motion controls just don't translate well to most genres.
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby audiodane » Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:21 am

DeadPoolX wrote:
audiodane wrote:That said, I really enjoy the tactile feel of buttons, which smartphones for the most part (as far as I know- I still have a Nokia 1100!) -- lack.

Every smartphone I know of uses a touchscreen interface except the Xperia PLAY. It was designed by Sony, so it's basically a PSP that has all the same functions a normal Android-powered smartphone has as well.

I've played games on two different smartphones and I prefer using a touchscreen. With the possible exception of the Xperia, using buttons on a smartphone is too unwieldy.

audiodane wrote:That motion control will move from the casual to the hardcore gamer (as the technology improves) and the causal game will get back to casual- no needing to tilt and shake, just push buttons.

Unless playing a sports game or racing, using motion controls is a real pain in the ass. Motion controls just don't translate well to most genres.


motion controls- agreed; I think it's a fad, much like 3D. I'm not terribly interested in either.

buttons- agreed, buttons on a smartphone are probably a bit counter-intuitive. But it poses an interesting question for games that use button interfaces. One 'feature' of buttons is that while playing vigorously, you can physically feel where your fingers are; with a touch interface it's too easy to let your fingers no longer be in the right place to push the 'button' you want to push.

I think it will be really interesting to see where the portable gaming market heads in the coming decade. I have my own preferences, but they don't always line up with what gets mass produced. :)

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Collector » Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:15 am

I think that motion controls will be much more than a fad. We have yet to see where it may lead. It is an interface that has more potential than is evident in its current iteration. Additionally, we have yet to see 3D's real potential. You have to think beyond gaming. The 3D printers are just an inkling (no pun intended) where it may go. 3D printers have been used to create frameworks or scaffolding for non embryonic stem cells to produce organs and other body parts. This requires 3D modeling and what better way to manipulate a digital 3D object than an IO device that works on all X, Y and Z axes? The advent of 3D displays may very well have a huge influence on it, too. Don't dismiss things too fast. I am not saying that you are absolutely wrong, but futurists and their predictions are usually wrong more often than they are right. After all, no one will ever need more than 640 KB of memory.
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby audiodane » Sat Aug 06, 2011 4:07 pm

Everything's a fad until someone can find the "killer app" for it. The application that "makes it stick." I don't think gaming is the killer app for much of anything but wasting time. :) Now with that said, it's one of the best ways to give technology early life. And if they can use gyros and 3D technology effectively for things like medicine, office productivity improvements, safety systems, etc, that would be fantastic.

(almost) Anything's possible if you put enough resources into it; just have to find the right application that justifies butting that many resources into it. :)

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Tawmis » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:59 pm

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/technology- ... 51421.html

hen you think of stars, you probably imagine massive, burning balls of fire much like our sun, but there are stars out there in space which you could actually stand on and not be burnt to a crisp. NASA has known of these celestial bodies — called brown Y dwarf stars — for a great long time. But now, a satellite has spotted a particularly chill Y dwarf that holds the new record for the coolest star at just 80 degree Fahrenheit.

Prior to the discovery, the coolest Y dwarfs on record wouldn't instantly incinerate a human explorer, but that unlucky individual would be uncomfortably warm. The new cold star record holder put out just enough infrared light to be spotted by NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) satellite, and is an order of magnitude cooler than any before it. WISE also spotted roughly 100 other brown dwarfs — a handful of which are considerably closer than NASA had thought.

Brown dwarf stars of sometimes referred to as "failed stars" because their comparatively low mass keeps them from being able to fuse atoms like our own sun. The lack of bright visible light makes these cool stars difficult to spot, even with the assistance of telescopes, and infrared sensors are sometimes the only way to learn of their existence. Researchers were surprised to learn that several were within 40 light years of our own solar system, just a stone's throw in terms of our galaxy.
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby audiodane » Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:59 am

audiodane wrote:Everything's a fad until someone can find the "killer app" for it. The application that "makes it stick." I don't think gaming is the killer app for much of anything but wasting time. :) Now with that said, it's one of the best ways to give technology early life. And if they can use gyros and 3D technology effectively for things like medicine, office productivity improvements, safety systems, etc, that would be fantastic.

(almost) Anything's possible if you put enough resources into it; just have to find the right application that justifies butting that many resources into it. :)

..dane


I wanted to go back and ammend my earlier post and say that even though I think gaming isn't worth much more than wasting time, gaming is still extremely fun and satisfying. All I meant was that once the game is over, there's not a whole lot to show for it other than, "I did it!" :) And maybe a stronger social life with MMO gaming. But given the time, I still love to game. :)

..dane

Tawmis wrote:But now, a satellite has spotted a particularly chill Y dwarf that holds the new record for the coolest star at just 80 degree Fahrenheit.


That's really awesome. How cool would it be to walk around on that dwarf? But now wait a minute, how big is this thing? I'm guessing it's still a lot bigger than Earth and therefore a lot stronger gravitational pull? (Or, what was it called, Intelligent Falling? :lol: ) Oh well, fun to dream about, anyway.

80F won't do this, but thinking about walking on a hot star/planet reminds me a bit about SQIII, planet Ortega, if you forget the ThermoWeave underwear... :lol:

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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Tawmis » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:19 pm

:lol: Perfect screen for that.

On another note...

Join me mateys, for Talk Like A Pirate Day! (And feel free to pass it around!)
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Re: Cool and Interesting News & Such.

Postby Collector » Sat Aug 27, 2011 4:53 am

A Planet Made of Diamond
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(Reuters) - Astronomers have spotted an exotic planet that seems to be made of diamond racing around a tiny star in our galactic backyard.

The new planet is far denser than any other known so far and consists largely of carbon. Because it is so dense, scientists calculate the carbon must be crystalline, so a large part of this strange world will effectively be diamond.

"The evolutionary history and amazing density of the planet all suggest it is comprised of carbon -- i.e. a massive diamond orbiting a neutron star every two hours in an orbit so tight it would fit inside our own Sun," said Matthew Bailes of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

Lying 4,000 light years away, or around an eighth of the way toward the center of the Milky Way from the Earth, the planet is probably the remnant of a once-massive star that has lost its outer layers to the so-called pulsar star it orbits.

Pulsars are tiny, dead neutron stars that are only around 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) in diameter and spin hundreds of times a second, emitting beams of radiation.

In the case of pulsar J1719-1438, the beams regularly sweep the Earth and have been monitored by telescopes in Australia, Britain and Hawaii, allowing astronomers to detect modulations due to the gravitational pull of its unseen companion planet.

The measurements suggest the planet, which orbits its star every two hours and 10 minutes, has slightly more mass than Jupiter but is 20 times as dense, Bailes and colleagues reported in the journal Science on Thursday.

In addition to carbon, the new planet is also likely to contain oxygen, which may be more prevalent at the surface and is probably increasingly rare toward the carbon-rich center.

Its high density suggests the lighter elements of hydrogen and helium, which are the main constituents of gas giants like Jupiter, are not present.

Just what this weird diamond world is actually like close up, however, is a mystery.

"In terms of what it would look like, I don't know I could even speculate," said Ben Stappers of the University of Manchester. "I don't imagine that a picture of a very shiny object is what we're looking at here."


http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/ ... 9A20110825
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