This Week in the Universe rounds up some of the best and most interesting stories from around the web you may have missed this week.
The big news this week is the imminent arrival of the Curiosity Rover on Mars, it will be autonomously landing later on today. A lot of people are going to be holding their breath until 22:31 PDT.
“PASADENA, Calif. — The Mars Science Laboratory rover, still attached to its drum-shaped interplanetary cruise stage, closed in on the Red Planet on Saturday, steadily accelerating under the increasing tug of the planet’s gravity as it streaked toward a precisely targeted plunge into the martian atmosphere overnight Sunday for a high-stakes descent to the surface.”
And even before it gets there it has already produced some useful data, measuring the radiation levels it experienced on the way.
“The Mars Curiosity hasn’t even made it to Mars yet and it’s already made a discovery that vital the future of manned space travel: The exact type of radiation astronauts would likely encounter on their way to the Red Planet. This is so freaking awesome.”
Well there is no excuse for saying that Violent games make children violent now, they shouldn’t be playing them. Age ratings on games have just become legally enforceable in the UK this week. Not that it will make much difference, most retailers have been following the ratings for years, some 14 years ago I tried to buy The Ultimate Doom (just 2 months short of the rating on the box) and was told I couldn’t. The only thing that worries me about this is that some developers my tone down the content to get the 16 or 12 rating when there was actually artistic merit in having it as an 18 just so they have a larger potential audience. Anyway, be sure to check the comments section on that article, it makes for interesting reading.
“Video game ratings using the Pegi (Pan-European Game Information) system have become legally enforceable in the UK. Retailers that sell titles with ratings of 12, 16 or 18 years to children below the age limits will be subject to prosecution.”
When 2K boss Christoph Hartmann made comments about the importance of realism in games and how it will open up new genres and emotional responses there were a lot of counter arguments supplied quite quickly. Jim Rossignol supplied one of them.
“I can’t remember the first time I heard the idea that games could one day be “photorealistic”, but I suspect it was in an early issue of Edge, with a columnist or interviewee from the early Nineties making hand-wavey statements about the future of graphics, and therefore the future of games.”
Valve’s Linux Team explained this week why Left 4 Dead 2 runs faster on Linux than it ever has on Windows.
“After this work, Left 4 Dead 2 is running at 315 FPS on Linux. That the Linux version runs faster than the Windows version (270.6) seems a little counter-intuitive, given the greater amount of time we have spent on the Windows version. However, it does speak to the underlying efficiency of the kernel and OpenGL.”
Video this week is a topical one, an explanation of just what goes into a re-entry when you are doing it remotely with a time delay longer than the entire descent. It makes my Mun landing in Kerbal Space Program look a bit pathetic…
Have a good week!