Thursday, February 3, 2011

WikiLeaks Nominated For Nobel Prize, Gameranx Believes Duke Nukem Forever Is Better Off Buried, Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Screenshots, Star Wars: Old Republic Can Profit From Just 500000 Subscribers, Is Spying On Teenage Drivers Invasion Of Privacy Or Parent's Right?, Atheists Offer Porn For Bibles, Spray-On Skin Is A Reality, Don't Touch My Shit, Japenese Girl Explains Titanic, Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Hello everyone it is Thursday,  meaning tomorrow is the last 9-5 for those who work it. For those still working this weekend, I feel sorry for you! Here is today's blog!

WikiLeaks Nominated For Nobel Prize

A lawmaker from Norway has nominated WikiLeaks for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. The lawmaker saying that "its disclosures of classified documents promote world peace by holding governments accountable for their actions." The candidates are usually kept secret for fifty years by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, but those with the right to nominate sometimes make their picks known. A twenty-six year old legislator from Norway's Socialist Left Party, named Snorre Valen, told The Associated Press he gave his nomination in person on Tuesday. Valen said, ""I think it is important
 to raise a debate about freedom of expression and that truth is always the first casualty in war. WikiLeaks wants to make governments accountable for their actions and that contributes to peace." He also wrote on his blog that WikiLeaks has made an advance on the struggle for human rights, democracy and freedom of speech, just as last year's winner did. He believes WikiLeaks "made a small contribution to bringing down" the Tunisia's presidential family regime. Usually the prize committee receives more than two-hundred nomination, so there is fair competition for the prize.
Leading Nobel-watcher and director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo, Kiristian Harpsviken, says he doesn't consider WikiLeaks a strong candidate for the ten-million kronor award. Ten-million kronor is $1.6 billion dollars American. He said, "The reason I think it's unlikely is that there has been so much criticism of WikiLeaks, not least how they have handled identification issues of people in the documents. I don't think it quite does the trick." Harpsviken keeps a list of what he says are "possible
and confirmed nominations and this years list includes WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, who is an Army private that was accused of leaking material onto the site. The winner of the the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced by the committee in October.

Gameranx Believes Duke Nukem Forever Is Better Off Buried

Ahem, Gameranx, quit being a party pooper. Of course it was delayed many times and was ridiculed by the gaming industry, but that doesn't mean a game should just die in the dust. It is nice to have an old nostalgic game come back from the gaming graveyard and bring back the old fun. Gameranx
believes that Duke Nukem 3D has been gone and forgotten for so long that they feel it should just stop trying to bring back the old nostalgic feel. They then go on to blast the humorous sexism in the game and say that it is only funny if you are a young teen. I'm sorry but if that's all you played the game for as a kid then you must not have enjoyed the full game. You must have just played it until the strippers, dropped your jaw, giggled, and then probably did your business. I found the game difficult on some levels, I don't use cheats. They go further and blast the artwork for the angle of Duke's pose and the women's had reaching around his crotch. Sure it is suggestive but that is exactly what they are going for. They also try to say that with games like “Deus Ex: Human Revolution”, “Homefront”, “Breach”, “Crysis 2”, “Portal 2”, “Brink” and “Bulletstorm”. I'm sorry Gameranx but you do know that it is probably going to be on X-Box Live Arcade and the PlayStation Network right? It will be a successful arcade game, and even if it goes retail it doesn't need to be the best shooter game on the market. I mean seriously guys grow up and don't shoot games into the graveyard just because you don't think it lives up to the popular names. For their whole blurb about Duke Nukem Forever go to the link above.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance Screenshots

I guess for more promotion of the Nintendo 3DS they released pictures of the new Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance games. I assume it is for the 3DS here is a few screen shots for your likings.

Star Wars: Old Republic Can Profit From Just 500000 Subscribers

World of Warcraft may have over twelve million subscribers, but that does not mean that Star Wars: The Old Republic needs to be competition. Even more so because they do not need that many subscribers to be profitable. Electronic Arts CFO Scott Brown talks about how many subscribers would be need to be profitable and he said: "At half a million subscribers, the game is substantially profitable, but it's not the kind of thing we would write home about. Anything north of a million subscribers, it's a very profitable business." It may be hard to tackle World of Warcraft's popularity as they already have a head start on gaining popularity but with the new MMO carrying the Star Wars brand it may be able to reach even a few million easily. It is said that 500 000 subscriber at an estimated $14.99 a month to play over EA's 10-year plan amounts to a revenue of $900 000 000. This does not include in game mount or pet purchases and the expansion packs that could possibly come out. There is still no release date for the new MMO but I hope when it comes out that it is successful. I know I will be jumping ship from World of Warcraft. As I'd rather play in a world which is more known and entertaining to me.

Is Spying On Teenage Drivers Invasion Of Privacy Or Parent's Right?

Studies shows teenagers crash while driving nine times more often than adults do and that they drive more safely when accompanied by an adult. The only problem is adults cannot always babysit young drivers so with the help of new technology, parents can now watch their children drive with a new camera system. Two video cameras, that can pick up audio as well, are installed on the rear view mirror and records the driver and the driver's view of the road. If there is erratic driving, it triggers a twenty second video recording which is sent to a DriveCam safety analyst. If the video shows any signs of disturbing driving, the parents are sent an email alert. These videos can then be seen online
on a site that needs the parents to log in the view them. Parents are then to "coach" their teen on how to better their driving habits and keep them safer. American Family says this on the matter: "Parents also receive a weekly driver report card showing their teen's performance compared to their peers." I find that the idea of any kind of invasion of privacy, even if it is only erratic driving, is horrid. The video recording can be started by "pot holes, unpaved roads, rail road tracks, turning hard in a large vehicle, rocking an unloaded tractor-trailer, waste truck throwing a trash bin into the vehicle hard, jack-rabbit start, vehicle maintenance, defensive driving / evasive maneuver, risky driving maneuver, collision, etc." So practically any bump or swerve starts the recording. So all these examples are things teenagers can't avoid. Network World did an interview with Rusty Weiss, the director of DriveCam. It is short so I will include it:

"What do you do with all the videos collected, such as studies or findings via research?

Weiss: Videos are available for 90 days after they are collected. They are temporarily archived (less than a year) and then they are permanently deleted. Videos that contain crash events are analyzed with greater scrutiny and are saved for a longer period of time. We never share any video with anyone outside our business unless we have permission from the family to do so or when compelled by court order (that's happened twice in our history but in both cases the family had already signed a release as they wanted the video to be part of the investigation).

What do you say to critics who believe this is going too far into invading privacy?

Weiss: As far as privacy is concerned: We capture sights and sounds of less than 1/10th of 1% of the average teen's driving time. Teens trigger our system 10 times per week, on average, in the first 2 to 3 weeks but then quickly drop the number of triggered events to less than 1 per week. In each case, we capture 8 seconds before the trigger and 4 seconds after so the total amount of video compared to total drive time is very, very small. The best part about g-force triggering is that the teen can quite easily prevent the system from triggering just by slowing down and paying attention (similar to how they drove when mom and dad were in the car with them).

FYI - there's a study coming out soon from the University of North Carolina that will show that teens rarely ever trigger the camera while with mom and dad but show a 10x increase when mom and dad are no longer in the car - in this study, the system is not employed to give feedback to the teen or family - it is there to measure what naturally happens). It should be no surprise to any of us that some teens drastically change their behaviors when not under direct supervision. Our system puts mom and dad back in the parenting role when needed but gives the teen 100% of their privacy when they choose to drive reasonably. There are occasions when teens are doing the right thing and the camera triggers - in these cases we identify the good work and help the parents reinforce good driving habits.

Most notable about the privacy issue is the feedback we get from the teens: more than 70% are concerned about it before starting the program and fewer than 10% say it was an issue after being in the program. For us, privacy has been a crucial component to the program - it is highly valuable to a teen to have it and they will work to keep it - even keep their focus on driving despite tons of pressure to do otherwise. I don't think we'd be as successful if privacy weren't in the balance.

Parents are quick to point out that there really shouldn't be anything "private" going on in the car when their kids are first learning to drive. Also, we actively work to protect the teen's privacy on matters that are not driving related. For example, kids have been captured doing things you wouldn't think they'd do if a camera was in their car (nose picking, for example). We will hold back a video that shows something like this if the potential lesson to learn from the driving aspect of the event is minor. Our need to do this has been very, very rare as teens learn quickly in our program to not trigger the camera and that takes care of most every potential issue."

Of course teens need to be better drivers but if the DriveCam picks up little bumps then it is definately an invasion of privacy.

Atheists Offer Porn For Bibles

A group of atheist students at UTSA are offering to trade porn for bibles, for an apparent second time. Atheist Agenda set up a booth on the northwest side of the campus of UTSA and asked students to bring their bibles in exchange for porno magazines. Their event was called "Smut for Smut" and stirred up some controversy. Kyle Bush, a student at UTSA explained their event, "It is to send a message that the stuff in the bible, and the Quran, and the Torah, and all that sort of thing is, in our case worse, in our opinion worse, than pornography." Another student, Alex Liu, commented on the event: "I can see that God can definitely use this for a greater purpose. And I see a lot
 of Christian organizations coming together, you know, to be brothers and sisters standing up for their faith." This is the second year that Atheist Agenda has put on their event on.

Spray-On Skin Is A Reality

Apparently the skin gun is a myth no more! It is a prototype medical device that actually sprays skin cells onto burn victims and it re-grows their skin. Skin grafting took weeks to heal, but with the skin gun you are looking good as new in an hour. The spray-on skin gun was starting as a rumor back in
2008 and it already successful in over a dozen burn victims. It is still in the experimental stage though. It works by using the stem cells from the patient's healthier skin and mixes it with the solution to come up with the spray. Doctor's say "skin cell spraying is like paint spraying." If you can
believe it.

That's it for today, tomorrow is Friday. So TGIF everyone! I leave you with a couple entertaining and funny videos! A CollegeHumor original, a Japanese Girl explaining Titanic, and Weird Al Yankovic pondering the eternal question.

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