New submitter disconj writes "Over at Wired, Ethan Gilsdorf interviews Jon Peterson, author of the new book Playing at the World. Gilsdorf calls it 'a must read,' though he cautions it 'is not intended for a general audience. It's a book for geeks, about geeks.' It is apparently an insanely-detailed history of role-playing games and wargames, including everything from Prussian kriegsspiel up to Dungeons & Dragons and the beginning of computer RPGs (but none of that heathen stuff after 1980). Peterson says in the interview that he wanted to write a history of these games 'worthy of the future they are creating.' He apparently spent five years on the project, including unearthing a huge trove of previously-unknown historical documents."
Nate the greatest writes "Late last week three publishers and the Department of Justice finalized an agreement to settle the claims that the publishers conspired to raise ebook prices. One of the terms of the agreement was that publishers were going to have to allow ebook retailers like Amazon to set the price of ebooks. Today it looks like the new prices have gone into effect. Amazon, B&N, and a small indie ebookstore called BooksonBoard are all offering HarperCollins ebooks at a discount. B&N and Amazon seem to be using the same price book, while BoB is having a 24% off sale."
An anonymous reader writes "We've all heard the horror stories of Amazon swindling the user out of their content on the Kindle, but this time they've managed to do it preemptively: by blocking the GFDL licensed Arch Linux Handbook from the Kindle Store." Reasons include: "We’ve reviewed the information you provided and have decided to block these books from being sold in the Kindle Store. The books closely match content that is freely available on the web and we are not confident that you hold exclusive publishing rights. This type of content can create a poor customer experience, and is not accepted. As a result, we have blocked the books listed below from being sold in the Kindle Store." The workaround: he uploaded a mobi copy to the Arch website.
puddingebola writes "Can Toys R Us provide the iPad killer? The 'Tabeo' s a 7 inch Android tablet running ICS with a micro-SD card slot. From the article, 'Powered by a 1GHz processor, the multitouch device comes with 4GB of built-in storage but can handle up to 32GB with a micro SDHC card. The device comes with 50 preloaded games, books, and educational apps and offers access to 6,000 more apps through the Tabeo Store.'"
unixluv writes "Evidently, Wikipedia doesn't believe an author on his own motivations when trying to correct an article on his own book. A Wikipedia administrator claimed they need 'secondary sources.' I'm not sure where you would go to get a secondary source when you are the only author of a work. Thus, in a lengthy blog post for The New Yorker, Roth created his own secondary source. He wrote, 'My novel The Human Stain was described in the entry as "allegedly inspired by the life of the writer Anatole Broyard." ... This alleged allegation is in no way substantiated by fact. The Human Stain was inspired, rather, by an unhappy event in the life of my late friend Melvin Tumin, professor of sociology at Princeton for some thirty years.' The Wikipedia page has now been corrected."
linjaaho writes "Senja Larsen, who runs popular Facebook study group Senja teaches you Swedish, collected $14,161 via Kickstarter's crowd funding service. The project caught much media attention in Finland (TV and all major newspapers), since it is the first crowdfunded book project in this country, and among the first Finnish crowdfunded projects. (Previous ones include the movie Iron Sky, the role-playing game Myrskyn Sankarit, and the Wishbone headphone wire manager). Now, after successfully collecting the funds for the book (and after the book has been edited and printed), the National Police Board of Finland has asked Senja to submit a statement [PDF; Finnish] concerning using crowdfunding to finance a project [PDF; Finnish] and the terminology used. It is possible that all the funding collected must be returned. The main problem is that direct translations of terminology at Kickstarter, such as 'bounty' and 'support,' are interpreted to mean collecting money without giving anything back, and this kind of operation requires a permit which can be only given to associations, not to private persons, and it takes long to apply for such permit."
An anonymous reader writes "On Thursday a U.S. District Judge approved a settlement between the Department of Justice and three publishers accused to colluding to inflate ebook prices (order). 'The Justice Department had accused Apple and five publishers in April of illegally colluding on prices as part of an effort to fight internet retailer Amazon.com Inc's dominance of e-books. The publishers who agreed to settle are News Corp's HarperCollins Publishers Inc, CBS Corp's Simon & Schuster Inc and Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group. Apple; Macmillan, a unit of Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH; and Pearson Plc's Penguin Group have vowed to fight the Justice Department's lawsuit with a trial due to start on June 3 next year.' The decision came after a lengthy period of public comment. According to the AP, 'The ruling released Thursday cast aside the strident objections of Apple, other book publishers, book sellers and authors who argued the settlement will empower Internet retailing giant Amazon.com Inc. to destroy the "literary ecosystem" with rampant discounting that most competitors can't afford to match. Those worries were repeatedly raised in court filings about the settlement. More than 90 percent of the 868 public comments about the settlement opposed the agreement.'"
ananyo writes "South Korea's government has urged textbook publishers to ignore calls to remove two examples of evolution from high-school textbooks. The move marks a change of heart for the government, which had earlier forwarded a petition from the 'Society for Textbook Revise' to publishers and told them to make their own minds up about the demands. The petition called for details about the evolution of the horse and of the avian ancestor Archaeopteryx to be removed from the books. In May, news emerged that publishers were planning to drop the offending sections, sparking outrage among some scientists. The resulting furor prompted the government to set up an 11-member panel, led by the Korean Academy of Science and Technology. On 5 September, the panel concluded that Archaeopteryx must be included in Korean science textbooks. And, while accepting that the textbooks' explanation of the evolution of the horse was too simplistic, the panel said the entry should be revised rather than removed or replaced with a different example, such as the evolution of whales."
sciencewatcher writes "In an attempt to solve a rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, the Dutch police have asked 8080 men to provide their DNA. All these people lived 5 km or less from the crime scene at the time of the murder. This reopened cold case is the first large-scale attempt not to hunt the rapist and killer but to locate his close or distant male relatives. All data gathered will be destroyed after the match with this particular murder. There seems to be great public support for this attempt." Shades of The Blooding.
jyosim writes "Some see it as the latest ploy by textbook publishers to kill the used book market: 'access codes' for online supplements for course work. In some cases professors require students to purchase these codes in order to even see the required homework. One U. of Maine's student's struggle to find a reasonably priced textbook demonstrates the limits the new publisher practices put on students, but some argue that ultimately the era of digital course materials will be better for student learning."
eldavojohn writes "For quite some time humans have struggled to answer the question why there is anything rather than nothing. Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist? tackles such questions in the form of a journey. After laying a brief groundwork, Holt travels from leading prominent philosopher to curmudgeonly physicist to reserved theologian, visiting each and relaying the juiciest parts of his transcripts to the reader. In doing so, this book takes on an interesting form with a meaty dense center to each chapter (the actual dialogues) surrounded by the light and fluffy bread of Holt's expert writing about the settings, weather and food of his travels. While this consequently lacks the characteristics of a heady hard hitting original philosophical work, these sandwiches should prove quite palatable for most readers. Why Does the World Exist? criss-crosses the etymological, epistemological, theological and philosophical aspects of its title while remaining a fairly easy read." Keep reading for the rest of eldavojohn's review.
The 2012 Hugo Award ceremony has completed at Chicon 7, and Among Others by Jo Walton has been given the award for Best Novel. The Man Who Bridged the Mist by Kij Johnson won for Best Novella, and The Paper Menagerie won for Best Short Story. Doctor Who had three nominations for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), and ended up taking home the award for the episode "The Doctor's Wife," which was written by Neil Gaiman and directed by Richard Clark. Season 1 of Game of Thrones won Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), edging out Hugo and Captain America. Ursula Vernon was awarded the Best Graphic Story Hugo for Digger. See below for the full list of winners.
MassDosage writes "After nearly 15 years or of writing code professionally it was refreshing to take a figurative step back and read a book aimed at people getting started with computer programming. As the title suggests, Think Like A Programmer tries to get to the core of the special way that good programmers think and how, when faced with large and complex problems, they successfully churn out software to solve these challenges in elegant and creative ways. The author has taught computer science for about as long as I've been programming and this shows in his writing. He has clearly seen a lot of different people progress from newbie programmers to craftsmen (and craftswomen) and has managed to distill a lot of what makes this possible in what is a clear, well-written and insightful book." Read below for the rest of Mass Dosage's review.
Michael Ross writes "Of all the open source content management systems used for building websites, Drupal has a reputation for being one of the most flexible and powerful available, but not the easiest for web designers to use. Drupal version 7 has made some strides in alleviating those flaws, but there is still much progress to be made. During the past few years, a number of books have been published that explain how Drupal designers can do custom theming, but they tend to focus on the technical details of the theme layer, and not the practice of web design when using Drupal as a foundation. That rich yet neglected subject area is the focus of a new book, Drupal for Designers: The Context You Need Without the Jargon You Don't." Keep reading to see what Michael has to say about the book.
After watching this video, a lot of you are going to wish you were Dave Carter, who works at the University of Michigan's Computer and Video Game Archive. He deals with video games, from the oldest hand-helds and consoles to the newest Xbox and PC games and controllers. A lot of his time is no doubt spent fixing things that break, finding obscure games, being generally helpful, and making sure nobody breaks the games, consoles, computers, controllers, and even board games and memorabilia in the collection. But still, this has got to be the ultimate job for a game junkie. And it looks like a great place to visit, because this museum is part of a library, and just as a library encourages you to pick up books and read them, this is a place where you can actually play the games, not just stare at a ColecoVision console in a display case. You can play in a cubicle or, for games that take some space, there are a couple of big gaming rooms with soft-looking sofas and big flat-screen TVs, where you can jump up and down like crazy while you're doing Guitar Hero or using a Wii or Kinect. And if you can't make it to Ann Arbor, MI, there's an informative blog that's all about video games past and present that's must reading for almost any serious gamer.
Ian Lamont writes "Remember LendInk, the legitimate ebook lending community that got knocked offline at the beginning of August by a mob of misguided authors? The site's owner, Dale Porter, received a lot of support after the story went viral and last week was able to reactivate the site and his affiliate accounts with Amazon and Barnes & Noble." The owner reportedly received a DMCA notice immediately, but a few folks dug and it appears that the "lawyer" who issued it is no lawyer at all, and probably an Internet troll (evidence includes not being listed as a lawyer in PA, using a home address, and sending the takedown from gmail). Or just a really bad lawyer.
astroengine writes "Scientists are beginning to sketch out plans for NASA's new Mars rover Curiosity to climb Mount Sharp, but future robots may have a more direct way to access the planet's history books. Recent discoveries of 'skylights' and lava tubes on the surface of Mars, as well as the moon, are sparking the development of robotic probes that can descend into caves and explore tunnels. 'Geology works in layers, so how many layers can you see? Well, we know there are sinkholes on Mars. Those sinkholes expose potentially hundreds of feet of layers, so if you could lower something down and examine those layers and explore a tunnel underneath, or anything of that sort, the science that can be done with that is just phenomenal,' Jason Derleth, senior technology analyst with NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, told Discovery News."
Hugh Pickens writes "Biologist David P. Barash writes in the LA Times that as a scientist he has been participating in a deception for more than four decades — a benevolent and well intentioned deception — but a deception nonetheless. 'When scientists speak to the public or to students, we talk about what we know, what science has discovered,' writes Barash. 'After all, we work hard deciphering nature's secrets and we're proud whenever we succeed. But it gives the false impression that we know pretty much everything, whereas the reality is that there's a whole lot more that we don't know.' Teaching and writing only about what is known risks turning science into a mere catalog of established facts, suggesting that 'knowing' science is a matter of memorizing says Barash. 'It is time, therefore, to start teaching courses, giving lectures and writing books about what we don't know about biology, chemistry, geology, physics, mathematics.' Barash isn't talking about the obvious unknowns, such as 'Is there life on other planets?' Looking just at his field, evolutionary biology, the unknowns are immense: How widespread are nonadaptive traits? To what extent does evolution proceed by very small, gradual steps versus larger, quantum jumps? What is the purpose of all that 'junk DNA"? Did human beings evolve from a single lineage, or many times, independently? Why does homosexuality persist? According to Barash scientists need to keep celebrating and transmitting what they know but also need to keep their eyes on what science doesn't know if the scientific enterprise is to continue attracting new adherents who will keep pushing the envelope of our knowledge rather than resting satisfied within its cozy boundaries."
First time accepted submitter ternarybit writes "By 'Linux professional,' I mean anyone in a paid IT position who uses or administers Linux systems on a daily basis. Over the past five years, I've developed an affection for Linux, and use it every day as a freelance IT consultant. I've built a breadth of somewhat intermediate skills, using several distros for everything from everyday desktop use, to building servers from scratch, to performing data recovery. I'm interested in taking my skills to the next level — and making a career out of it — but I'm not sure how best to appeal to prospective employers, or even what to specialize in (I refuse to believe the only option is 'sysadmin,' though I'm certainly not opposed to that). Specifically, I'm interested in what practical steps I can take to build meaningful skills that an employer can verify, and will find valuable. So, what do you do, and how did you get there? How did you conquer the catch-22 of needing experience to get the position that gives you the experience to get the position? Did you get certified, devour books and manpages, apprentice under an expert, some combination of the above, or something else entirely?"
Rick Zeman writes "Consumer reviews are powerful because, unlike old-style advertising and marketing, they offer the illusion of truth. They purport to be testimonials of real people, even though some are bought and sold just like everything else on the commercial Internet. Yet it is all but impossible to tell when reviews were written by the marketers or retailers (or by the authors themselves under pseudonyms), by customers (who might get a deal from a merchant for giving a good score) or by a hired third-party service. The New York Times tells of the rise and fall of the founder of one such hired third party service who had has been so successful planting paid fake reviews that he no longer trusts any online review. He should know. Because of him and his kind, it's estimated that one third of online reviews are fake."