The Null Device
The residents of the Austrian village of Fucking are sick of English speakers finding treating their village as a joke (and stealing their road signs); however, the Daily Telegraph's writers obviously aren't:
"Let's just say there are plans in place to deal with this," the Kommandant warned darkly. "What they are, I am not at liberty to disclose, but we will not stand for the F---ing signs being removed. It may be very amusing for you British, but F---ing is simply F---ing to us. What is this big F---ing joke? It is puerile."
"The Germans all want to see the Mozart house in Salzburg. Italians and Russians always celebrate New Year here. Every American seems to care only about The Sound of Music (filmed around Salzburg in 1965). The occasional Japanese wants to see Hitler's birthplace in Braunau. But for the British, it's all about F---ing."
"Yet still there is this obsession with F---ing. Just this morning I had to tell an English lady who stopped by that there were no F---ing postcards."
His predecessor, Siegfried Hauppl, was equally dismissive when he was interrupted playing a game of Skat. "I am no longer the mayor so this F---ing problem is nothing to do with me," he growled, turning his back and studying his cards.
"The older people don't like being laughed at by some of the younger ones from other villages, but we are proud of our beautiful F---ing."It's all rather Benny Hill, isn't it?
A number of video game designers were posed the question of how to design games for grandmothers. Here is Keita Takahashi (of Katamari Damacy fame)'s answer:
He introduced his presentation, "I thought really hard about this one, I haven't thought this hard since I was coming up with the idea for Katamari Damacy. I decided that I wanted to get old ladies playing games and bring a little of the sunshine that they end up losing when they stay indoors all the time back into their lives." The focus of his talk began with the controller, he explained that current hardware designs are inorganic and difficult to understand. He introduced the design of his new controller specifically tailored for the Granny, and a picture of a cat appeared on the screen to great amusement. He explained, "the shape of the cat and the heat waves that it gives out really gets the old ladies going as they get quite cold. They like the cat shape. The cat is designed to be rested on the old ladies knees." The cat controller was met with rapture from the audience as Takahashi went on to explain the gameplay concept.
The game would begin with the family suggesting to Granny that she wear the cat because, for example, her knees looked cold. Embedded in the cat is the capability for it to communicate wirelessly with other cat controllers (on other Grannies' knees) in the neighborhood. When the cat connects to another one, "..the onboard a.i. kicks in." This causes the cat to speak, paraphrased as "meow, meow, grandma, meow". Takahashi explains that the family are required to participate in the game by pretending that they haven't heard anything, because of this--Grandma begins to build the perception that she is able to communicate directly with the cat.
As the dialogue with the cat develops, it suggests that Granny make some soup -- but faster than the other granny down the street who has also received the instruction. A competitive element emerges and gradually the cat suggests more and more group activities that Grandma might engage in, culminating in trips to the park. "..So they all go outside and eventually they meet other old ladies with cats and they all become friends."Takahashi then said that he would put the cat proposal to Namco/Bandai.
(via bOING bOING)
ReBirth, the 303/808/909 emulator/music production tool/toy of the late 1990s, is now free (as in beer). Propellerheads have put ISO images of it, as well as demo songs and mods (i.e., skin/sample packs), up for downloading. The software itself is unmodified; it apparently doesn't work with OSX, it still checks for the CD every time it starts (a useless exercise in "copy protection" when the CD is a burnable image), and even shows the old EULA which prohibits use on multiple machines (though the web site tells you that the new download license overrides that).
What would be cool would be if Propellerheads released the source code. They wouldn't lose any competitive advantage by doing so, and would stand to gain good will, while hackers with more time on their hands than Propellerheads would be able to update it (from getting it to run on OSX to porting it to new platforms, from Linux to hacked PSPs). And, of course, getting rid of the pointless CD check on startup.
Incidentally, the ISO image for the PC version isn't a pure ISO9660 image but has a large quantity of 0s at the start. If burning it with cdrecord (i.e., under Linux), you will need to first strip the nulls off with something like:
dd if=rebirth_pc_installation.iso of=rebirth.iso bs=4096 skip=75
There have since been more 303 emulators; there's a commercial VST/AU plugin here which is said to be good. And then there's Muon's Tau, a free-as-in-beer 303-esque softsynth. In the open-source world, there is a rather rudimentary open-source attempt at 303 emulation, written by Your Humble Narrator a few years ago, here (it runs on Linux and uses Curses).
Scientists have developed mice which can regrow lost limbs or organs (or, in fact, everything other than brains).
Professor Heber-Katz made her discovery when she noticed the identification holes that scientists punch in the ears of experimental mice healed without any signs of scarring in the animals at her laboratory.
In one case the mice had their toes amputated -- but the digits grew back, complete with joints. In another test some of the tail was cut off, and this also regenerated. Then the researchers used a cryoprobe to freeze parts of the animals' hearts, and watched them grow back again. A similar phenomenon was observed when the optic nerve was severed and the liver partially destroyed.Not only that, but cells from the mutant mice, injected into ordinary mice, confer the regenerative ability, and it is believed that it may confer greater longevity. The genes in question are believed to exist in humans as well.