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24 Jul 19:50

What's the Appeal of Playing 'Mundane' Simulator Games?

by Woods

cafebabe writes:

The BBC News asks:

Storming through forests astride dragons, commanding armies of vicious Cossacks, flying spaceships at unthinkable speeds the possibilities are endless. Computer games can transport you anywhere and let you do anything.

So, when you can dine out cheaply and conveniently on the most excitement-filled, exhilarating scenarios imaginable, doesn't it seem strange that many choose repetition, rigmarole and meticulous control for their digital fixes?

Whether it is managing a campsite, driving a long-haul lorry, mending a car or working a rubbish lorry, more and more people are passionately playing simulator games that accurately replicate everyday life.

But who is it that plays these games? And what makes people play them when you could just do the real thing?

In addition to interviewing five gamers, tidbits include:

10 simulator games to note:

  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 Drive long-haul vehicles. Hugely popular and PC Gamers' Sim of the Year in 2012
  • Camping Manager Build and manage your own vacation paradise
  • Bear Simulator Still in development, the game will allow players to forage and explore the forest as a bear
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator Perhaps the best-known of all the vehicle simulator game series
  • Farming Simulator Cultivate land and livestock and manage your farm. Outsold Medal Of Honor in 2013
  • Street Cleaning Simulator 2013 Remove dirt from roads with several different cleaning techniques
  • U-Bahn Simulator Navigate Germany's metro systems
  • Arma 3 Experience the realities of a military campaign
  • Vatsim A flight simulator where live air traffic controllers will book your ultra-realistic flight paths
  • Viscera Cleanup Detail Clear up the gore from first-person shooter games

And if that's too racy for you, there's always Cow Clicker.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

24 Jul 16:55

Congressmen Take Minimum Wage Challenge To Live Off Reduced Budget For A Week

by janrinok

gewg_ writes:

from the How-the-Other-Half-Lives dept.

The Center for American Progress reports

Since he began his minimum wage challenge on Sunday, former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, now president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, has had eggs and toast, a bowl of cereal with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a banana. On Monday, he came to work with a bologna and cheese sandwich and a banana. "I'm not sure what I'm going to have for supper," he told ThinkProgress.

This is not a typical menu for him. But given that he can only spend $77 a week while he's taking the challenge, which asks lawmakers to live on a typical full-time minimum wage minus average taxes and housing expenses for a week, he has to "be sensitive about everything that I buy." Eggs are fairly cheap, he reasoned, and "I have found out that bananas don't cost a whole lot, so I stocked up on bananas." He hasn't eaten any other fruits or salads because they're too expensive. For the remaining five days of his challenge, "I don't think I'll be eating very healthy," he said. "Bologna's a lot cheaper than ham. I've been eating [quite] a bit of bread."


He came down with a cold but was lucky enough to find Tylenol and Afrin nasal spray in his cabinet already. "I don't think I would have been able to buy that Afrin nasal spray" on the challenge, he noted. "I never think about what medicine costs if i need it... But some people have to think constantly about how they spend their money, and their quality of life is quite different than mine."

Strickland will be joined by some current lawmakers this week, including Democratic Reps. Jan Schakowsky (IL), Tim Ryan (OH), and Keith Ellison (MN)


The hope is that those who take the challenge get a taste of what life is like on a low wage, even if it's temporary and they can go back to their normal lifestyles after a week. "I think it's important for those of us in these leadership positions that get elected by our constituents to represent their views from time to time to take a challenge such as this," Rep. Ryan said on the call, "to make sure we really are not just understanding this in an intellectual way but really understand the deep challenges that people face." It's meant to "bring awareness to this issue," he said.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

24 Jul 09:49

Norway warned of imminent security threat


How vague can you get?

"Reliable information" hints at some kind of attack "within days" involving people who fought in Syria, official says.
24 Jul 10:42 Now Supports Linux!


Oh, they did it months ahead of schedule! Impressive!

50 games for the free OS available right NOW!

A while ago, we've announced our plans to add Linux support as one of the features of our digital platform, with 100 games on the launch day sometime this fall. We've put much time and effort into this project and now we've found ourselves with over 50 titles, classic and new, prepared for distribution, site infrastructure ready, support team trained and standing by, and absolutely no reason to wait until October or November. We're still aiming to have at least 100 Linux games in the coming months, but we've decided not to delay the launch just for the sake of having a nice-looking number to show off to the press. It's not about them, after all, it's about you. So, one of the most popular site feature requests on our community wishlist is granted today: Linux support has officially arrived on!

The first 50+ titles we've have in store for you come from all the corners of our DRM-Free catalog. Note that we've got many classic titles coming officially to Linux for the very first time, thanks to the custom builds prepared by our dedicated team of penguin tamers. That's over twenty fan-favorite classics, like Flatout 1&2, Sid Meier's Colonization, Darklands, or Realms of the Haunting we've personally ushered one by one into the welcoming embrace of Linux gamers. That's already quite a nice chunk of our back-catalog, and you can expect more from our dedicated Linux team soon!

Now, for the recent titles. We've got some indie games with native Linux versions that finally find their well-deserved spot in our store. Among them, debuting on Linux, CLARC - a well received original comedic Sci-Fi puzzler. On top of that, be on the lookout for two new additions to the catalog: Gods Will Be Watching (coming in a couple of hours) and Unrest (Linux build coming right up!), both of them very fresh and intriguing. This is the very first time we can provide you with all the PC versions of a premiere game, and we will continue to do so in the future. If there's a Linux version of a title we're releasing, our aim is to deliver it to you Day-1. But enough about us, let's talk about the games. Here's what you can be playing on Linux today:

Anomaly Warzone Earth
Bionic Dues
Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold - first time on Linux!
Blake Stone: Planet Strike - first time on Linux!
Bloodnet - first time on Linux!
CLARC - first time on Linux!
Darklands - first time on Linux!
Don't Starve + DLC
Dragonsphere - first time on Linux!
Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition
FlatOut - first time on Linux!
Flatout 2 - first time on Linux!
Fragile Allegiance - first time on Linux!
Gemini Rue
Gods Will Be Watching
Hocus Pocus - first time on Linux!
Kentucky Route Zero
The Last Federation
Legend of Grimrock
Litil Divil - first time on Linux!
Long Live the Queen
Normality - first time on Linux!
Pinball Gold Pack - first time on Linux!
Pinball World - first time on Linux!
Pirates! Gold Plus - first time on Linux!
Realms of the Haunting - first time on Linux!
Rex Nebular and the Cosmic Gender Bender - first time on Linux!
Rise of the Triad: Dark War - first time on Linux!
Shattered Haven
The Shivah HD
Sid Meier's Colonization - first time on Linux!
Sid Meier's Covert Action - first time on Linux!
Sir, You Are Being Hunted
Slipstream 5000 - first time on Linux!
Space Pirates and Zombies
Stargunner - first time on Linux!
SteamWorld Dig
Super Hexagon
Surgeon Simulator 2013
Sword of the Samurai - first time on Linux!
Unrest:Special Edition (Linux build on the way!)

As if this wasn't exciting enough, we've put more than half of these titles on a special promo! Head out to the promo page and find out which of them you can get up to 75% off for the next 3 days. Of course, all of the games from the list above that you already own will be updated with Linux versions with no additional cost for you, just as you might have expected from

"OK, but how will Linux support actually work on" - you might ask. For both native Linux versions, as well as special builds prepared by our team, will provide distro-independent tar.gz archives and support convenient DEB installers for the two most popular Linux distributions: Ubuntu and Mint, in their current and future LTS editions. Helpful and responsive customer support has always been an important part of the gaming experience. We wouldn't have it any other way when it comes to Linux, and starting today our helpdesk offers support for our official Linux releases on Ubuntu and Mint systems.

Diversity and freedom of choice have always been an important part of the way. We're very glad that we could improve our service with the addition of the free (and DRM-Free) alternative to the commercial operating systems. Talking with gamers is just as important, so we're counting on your feedback! If you've got any questions, suggestions, or run into any trouble, just tell us in the forum thread below this post. Just please be gentle, this is our very first time with Linux. Happy launch day, everyone!

24 Jul 07:01

The Noblest House

by alex

The name of the game is bounce.

The Noblest House

24 Jul 10:00

Car Music

by Justin Boyd

Car Music

Friendship is an amazing thing.  Makes people explode right out of cars for no apparent reason. Incredible.

bonus panel
23 Jul 06:00


by Ryan Pagelow

So that's how hot dogs are born!

22 Jul 19:37

Oh God, make it stop.

Oh God, make it stop.

22 Jul 15:52


22 Jul 10:00

Cute Dog

by Justin Boyd

Cute Dog

It’s been proven that there is no way to not explode given those circumstances.

bonus panel
21 Jul 03:07


19 Jul 20:11

Biggi & Banzaii in One Minute (Highlight Reel)

by BirgirPall

The best of the best

Hi there and welcome to our youtube channel! We're a comedic duo from Iceland who started out doing BF3 videos and now play pretty much whatever we want. We mostly do edited highlight reels called "We Broke" in which we aim to play the game in unintended ways, often exposing glitches and bugs. White text is Biggi, Yellow Banzaii. Like what you see? Consider subscribing! Music: "Batty McFaddin" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 Facebook - Twitter -
From: BirgirPall
Views: 80306
6776 ratings
Time: 01:00 More in Gaming
20 Jul 05:00

Comic for July 20, 2014

Dilbert readers - Please visit to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to
19 Jul 15:02


19 Jul 04:00

July 19, 2014

19 Jul 13:44

World Health Organization Calls For Decriminalization of Drug Use

by Soulskill
An anonymous reader writes: We've known for a while: the War on Drugs isn't working. Scientists, journalists, economists, and politicians have all argued against continuing the expensive and ineffective fight. Now, the World Health Organization has said flat out that nations should work to decriminalize the use of drugs. The recommendations came as part of a report released this month focusing on the prevention and treatment of HIV. "The WHO's unambiguous recommendation is clearly grounded in concerns for public health and human rights. Whilst the call is made in the context of the policy response to HIV specifically, it clearly has broader ramifications, specifically including drug use other than injecting. In the report, the WHO says: 'Countries should work toward developing policies and laws that decriminalize injection and other use of drugs and, thereby, reduce incarceration. ...Countries should ban compulsory treatment for people who use and/or inject drugs." The bottom line is that the criminalization of drug use comes with substantial costs, while providing no substantial benefit.

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18 Jul 15:53

Frozach Submitted


Weirdest show ever.

18 Jul 13:31

Verizon's Accidental Mea Culpa

by Soulskill
Barryke writes: Verizon has blamed Netflix for the streaming slowdowns their customers have been seeing. It seems the Verizon blog post defending this accusation has backfired in a spectacular way: The chief has clearly admitted that Verizon has capacity to spare, and is deliberately constraining throughput from network providers. Level3, a major ISP that interconnects with Verizon's networks, responded by showing a diagram that visualizes the underpowered interconnect problem and explaining why Verizon's own post indicates how it restricts data flow. Level3 also offered to pay for the necessary upgrades to Verizon hardware: "... these cards are very cheap, a few thousand dollars for each 10 Gbps card which could support 5,000 streams or more. If that's the case, we'll buy one for them. Maybe they can't afford the small piece of cable between our two ports. If that's the case, we'll provide it. Heck, we'll even install it." I'm curious to see Verizon's response to this straightforward accusation of throttling paying users (which tech-savvy readers were quick to confirm).

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16 Jul 21:12

House of Commons Approves UK Emergency Data Retention Law

by azrael

NSA or no NSA, the UK is working very hard to be the worst.

wantkitteh writes:

A one week emergency process to pass laws to fill the legal gap left behind by the striking down of the EU Data Retention Directive has resulted in the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill being passed in the House of Commons. The bill received support from all three major parties and was passed with a huge majority, despite criticism for the process and content of the bill:

"The government won a large majority of 387 on its proposed Commons timetable for the legislation, as MPs agreed by 436 votes to 49 to complete consideration of the bill in one day. MPs subsequently approved the general principles of the bill at second reading by 498 votes to 31, a government majority of 467. It later passed its third and final reading by a comparable margin of 416 votes."

During the very short lead time between the announcement of the bill and it's reading in the House of Commons, senior labour leadership expressed support for the content of the bill but reservations about the speed of the process. The Conservative MP David Davis made a speech in the House of Commons in which he also criticised the process, describing it as "entirely improper", likening it to "democratic banditry resonant of a rogue state", and accusing infighting between the Conservative and Liberal Democrat factions of the ruling coalition of causing the three month.

The legislation also drew fire from many civil liberties groups and commentators. The Open Rights Group post a scathing analysis of the bill criticising the emergency nature of the bill and asserting that the bill will significantly extend data retention scope and enforcement jurisdiction, to the contrary of previous assurances by Home Secretary Theresa May that the bill would closely replicate the powers of the withdrawn EU Data Retention Directive. Isabella Sankey, the Policy Director for Liberty commented on the group's blog that this was a closed-doors agreement between the party leaders designed to evade democratic oversight and pass legislation equivalent to the previously abandoned Draft Communications Data Bill, otherwise known as the "Snooper's Charter".

The bill has now moved on the House of Lords, where it must also be approved before it becomes law.

UPDATE 17-07-14: The bill has now cleared the House of Lords and is becoming law. The criticism to the timetable for passing it has resulted in the insertion into the bill by the opposition of a six-monthly requirement for the Interception of Communications Commissioner to report on usage of the powers granted and to ensure that "same as the EU DRD" does genuinely mean that. It also means the EU Court of Justice's assertion that the EU DRD "[entailed] a wide-ranging and particularly serious interference with the fundamental rights to respect for private life and to the protection of personal data, without that interference being limited to what is strictly necessary" now applies to this new law as well.

Read more of this story at SoylentNews.

15 Jul 12:00

Where Do We Go From Here?: 3. III


Now that's what I call a weird record cover.

track art
16 Jul 07:59

I Need to Tell You Something

by Nico

I Need to Tell you Something

Holy shit, is this really my first new comic in 9 1/2 months? Time flies, I had no clue I had been gone for so long. Don’t expect any regular updates, but I may be putting out occasional comics. I have decided that I won’t be starting another comic, whatever I do, no matter how dramatic a change in style and humor, it will be hosted here on


14 Jul 21:14

Fair Use Continues To Pay The Price For YouTube's Direct Takedown Deal With Universal Music Group

by Tim Cushing
… And so, undeterred by technological advancements they both feared and misunderstood, the major labels continued their quest to "disrupt" fair use and further dwindle into irrelevance. [If you feel you're missing the first half of that sentence, these two posts will help you out.]

As noted recently, Soundcloud has given Universal Music Group the power to directly take down content, bypassing the site's internal takedown process as well as the few remedies it offers users who wish to dispute deletions. YouTube has also given UMG this same level of access, again bypassing the normal notice and takedown system.

While sites may claim (as Soundcloud did) that they need to give powerful rights holders direct access in order to comply with the DMCA, this simply isn't true. Utilizing the normal notice-and-takedown system would be more than adequate. The only thing giving a label direct access does is increase the amount of abuse.

It's long been noted that the DMCA takedown process tends to encourage rights holders to disregard fair use and fire off notices. The toothless "perjury" language included at the bottom of every takedown notice is almost never enforced, making false or bad claims painless for those sending takedowns.

UMG, with its direct access, certainly isn't going to consider fair use when it starts pulling the plug on content, as one YouTube remix artist discovered. Elisa Kreisinger has been remixing cultural touchstones for years. This video -- one that never even made it past YouTube's upload process -- was no different.
Last August, I saw Jay Z’s HBO mini-documentary commemorating his 6-hour “unprecedented performance experience” of “Picasso Baby” at Pace Gallery. The movie was ripe for remixing: Within the first minute, Jay Z reflects on the similarities between performance art and his usual concert performances, arguing that art galleries have separated art from mass culture, presumably unintentionally.

With one simple twist, I recontextualized select scenes of his performance and set it to Taylor Swift’s “22." The remix illustrates how both Jay Z and Swift use their status as outsiders to relate to audiences despite being very much insiders. [...] I uploaded the mashup to YouTube on Aug. 5, 2013, and it was immediately blocked globally. Ten months later, I finally uncovered the reason.
The reason was simply this: where fair use could be reasonably argued, UMG (and its bots/lawyers) saw nothing more than two of its videos being "stolen."
It turns out no defense would have revived my video. YouTube had cut a private deal that gave Universal Music Group the power to take down any video, even those videos (like mine and countless others, including creators as diverse as Patrick McKay and Megaupload) that didn’t require Universal’s permission in the first place.
The only plus side was that's UMG's deletion didn't result in a strike against Kreisinger's account. But that's of little comfort when fair use is steamrolled by "contractual obligations" YouTube (or Soundcloud) really don't need to have in place to stay compliant with the DMCA.

When fair use gets damaged, so does free speech.
Fair use prevents rightsholders from silencing critics with the threat of a copyright infringement lawsuit.   By giving UMG the ability to take down videos that use their content regardless of fair use, YouTube has given UMG sweeping power to control what is – and is not – said about UMG and UMG artists. UMG should not be asking for this kind of power, and YouTube should not be granting it.
Labels and copyright industry lobbyists love to call these sorts of deals "voluntary." But they aren't. They're coercive. Lobbyists lean on politicians and politicians lean on internet services to do more to help out struggling, billion-dollar industries. Rather than see IP laws get any worse (or target them any more specifically), they comply with increasingly ridiculous demands. And the users pay the price by having their uploads deleted, their accounts closed and their mouths shut -- all without any genuine level of recourse.

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15 Jul 00:45


14 Jul 05:15

Love Sinks

by Adam


14 Jul 12:03

Bot Tweets Anonymous Wikipedia Edits From Capitol Hill

by samzenpus
mpicpp writes about a new Twitter bot that reports all of the anonymous Wikipedia edits being made from the US Senate and House of Representatives. Ed Summers, an open source Web developer, recently saw a friend tweet about Parliament WikiEdits, a UK Twitter "bot" that watched for anonymous Wikipedia edits coming from within the British Parliament's internal networks. Summers was immediately inspired to do the same thing for the US Congress. "The simplicity of combining Wikipedia and Twitter in this way immediately struck me as a potentially useful transparency tool," Summers wrote in his personal blog. "So using my experience on a previous side project [Wikistream, a Web application that watches Wikipedia editing activity], I quickly put together a short program that listens to all major language Wikipedias for anonymous edits from Congressional IP address ranges and tweets them." The stream for the bot, @congressedits, went live a day later, and it now provides real-time tweets when anonymous edits of Wikipedia pages are made. Summers also posted the code to GitHub so that others interested in creating similar Twitter bots can riff on his work.

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14 Jul 07:01


by Doug
10 Jul 23:27

Re-Examination of Birdlike Fossil Challenges Common Belief that Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs

by janrinok

Hummm, I never knew about this "ground up" view, this new stuff confirms what I thought was the common belief.

lhsi writes:


By re-examining a fossil of Scansoriopteryx (which means "climbing wing"), a sparrow-size creature from the Jurassic era, researchers believe that the commonly held belief that birds evolved from ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly is false. The birdlike fossil is actually not a dinosaur, as previously thought, but much rather the remains of a tiny tree-climbing animal that could glide.

Through their investigations, the researchers found a combination of plesiomorphic or ancestral non-dinosaurian traits along with highly derived features. It has numerous unambiguous birdlike features such as elongated forelimbs, wing and hind limb feathers, wing membranes in front of its elbow, half-moon shaped wrist-like bones, bird-like perching feet, a tail with short anterior vertebrae, and claws that make tree climbing possible. The researchers specifically note the primitive elongated feathers on the forelimbs and hind limbs. This suggests that Scansoriopteryx is a basal or ancestral form of early birds that had mastered the basic aerodynamic manoeuvres of parachuting or gliding from trees.

Their findings validate predictions first made in the early 1900's that the ancestors of birds were small, tree-dwelling archosaurs which enhanced their incipient ability to fly with feathers that enabled them to at least glide. This "trees down" view is in contrast with the "ground up" view embraced by many palaeontologists in recent decades that birds derived from terrestrial theropod dinosaurs.

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11 Jul 05:00

#1045; Everyone is Obviously Right

by David Malki

Talking. It's hard.

but *I'M* of course considering matters OBJECTIVELY

10 Jul 19:38



Go Al!

10 Jul 15:52



For some reason that animation is hilarious.