Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mixed-Handed Children More Likely to Have Mental Health, Language and Scholastic Problems, Study Finds

ScienceDaily (Jan. 27, 2010) — Children who are mixed-handed, or ambidextrous, are more likely to have mental health, language and scholastic problems in childhood than right- or left-handed children, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Scientology Attacker Will Be Sentenced To Jail

Posted by kdawson on Wednesday January 27, @05:15AM
from the taking-one-for-the-team dept.
OBG writes"A Nebraska native charged with taking part in a massive cyber-attack against the Scientology website will be spending the next year behind bars. 20-year-old Brian Thomas Mettenbrink will plead guilty to the charge of unauthorized access of a protected computer for his involvement in the denial of service attack, which was orchestrated by the online group 'Anonymous.' Mettenbrink's is the second successful prosecution connected to the 'Anonymous' attacks. Last year, Dmitriy Guzner of Verona, New Jersey, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for attacks on Scientology sites."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

China Will Lead World Scientific Research By 2020

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday January 26, @08:12AM
from the we-got-the-numbers-we-got-the-will dept.
Hugh Pickens writes"An analysis of papers published in 10,500 academic journals across the world shows that, in terms of academic papers published, China is nowsecond only to the US, and will take first place by 2020. Chinese scientists are increasing their output at a far faster rate than counterparts in rival 'emerging' nations such as India, Russia, and Brazil. The number of peer-reviewed papers published by Chinese researchers rose 64-fold over the past 30 years. 'China is out on its own, far ahead of the pack,' says James Wilsdon, of the Royal Society in London. 'If anything, China's recent research performance has exceeded even the high expectations of four or five years ago.' According to Wilsdon, three main factors are driving Chinese research. First is the government's enormous investment, with funding increases far above the rate of inflation, at all levels of the system from schools to postgraduate research. Second is the organized flow of knowledge from basic science to commercial applications. And third is the efficient and flexible way in which China is tapping the expertise of its extensive scientific diaspora in North America and Europe, tempting back mid-career scientists with deals that allow them to spend part of the year working in the West and part in China."Here's the Financial Times's original article.

Universe Closer To Heat Death Than Once Thought

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday January 26, @09:37AM
from the we're-doomed dept.
TapeCutter writes"In a paper soon to be published (PDF) in the Astrophysical Journal, Australian researchers have estimated the entropy of the universe is about 30 times higher than previous estimates. According to their research, super-massive black holes 'are the largest contributor to the entropy of the observable universe, contributing at least an order of magnitude more entropy than previously estimated.' For those of us who like their science in the form of a car analogy, Dr. Lineweaver compared their results to a car's gas tank. He states, 'It's a bit like looking at your gas gauge and saying "I thought I had half a gas tank, but I only have a quarter of a tank."'"Fortunately, that quarter of a tank will still get us as far as we need to go and then some.

Uranus and Neptune May Have "Oceans of Diamonds"

Posted by kdawson on Monday January 25, @09:33PM
from the went-to-sea-in-a-sieve dept.
Third Position writes"Oceans of liquid diamond topped with solid 'icebergs' of the precious gems could be on Uranus and Neptune. The first-ever detailed research into the melting point of diamond found it behaves like water during melting and freezing — with its solid form floating on the liquid. A large diamond ocean on one or both of the planets could provide an explanation for an oddity they both share: unlike Earth, they do not have magnetic poles that match up with their geographical poles."The article doesn't mention what the pressures might be like in these outer-planets environments, but the researchers found that liquefying diamond requires 40 million times Earth's atmospheric pressure at sea level.

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Tops 10 Million Sales

Posted by Soulskill on Tuesday January 26, @01:43AM
from the it'sa-me-mario dept.
According to a report from Japanese publication Nikkei Net, Nintendo's New Super Mario Bros. Wii has now sold 10 million copies worldwide. The game needed only 45 days to pass the already impressive sales numbers of Super Mario Galaxy. Quoting Gamasutra:"NSMB Wii has sold 3 million units in Japan, where it launched on December 3; 3 million copies in Europe, where it launched November 20, and 4.5 million units in North America, where it launched November 15. Super Mario Galaxy has sold 4.1 million units in North America since 2007. The game's design hearkens back to the two-dimensional, side-scrolling style of earlier Mario titles ... The numbers would seem to suggest that these traits successfully generated more mass appeal for NSMB Wii than for the three-dimensional and far less familiar Super Mario Galaxy, which sent the plumber navigating more innovative spherical space environments."

Monday, January 25, 2010

Prison Bans D&D For Mimicking Gang Structure

They have obviously never played or they would know that the DM builds the world that the players interact with. If the DM "gives directions" to the players beyond the rules, it is not fun any longer.
Posted by kdawson on Tuesday January 26, @05:21AM
from the step-away-from-the-polyhedral-dice dept.
Trepidity writes"In a case that has been winding its way through the courts for a while now, a Wisconsin prison banned inmates from playing Dungeons & Dragons, using the justification that 'one player is denoted the Dungeon Master... [who] is tasked with giving directions to other players... [which] mimics the organization of a gang.' The prison also cited some sparse evidence that a handful of non-inmate D&D players once committed some crimes that allegedly were related to their D&D playing. On Monday the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the regulation (PDF) against challenges from inmates. The court appeared skeptical of the ban, sarcastically referring to it as the 'war on D&D,' but upheld it nonetheless as having a 'rational basis.' Law professor Ilya Somin suggests that the court may have had no choice, given how deferential rational-basis review usually is."