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Giant Beetle Robot From Japan

It took 11 years for a Japanese man from Ibaraki to build this behemoth. When the robots take over the globe, this is the kind of machinery that we’re going to need to fight back. The only down side to this mechanical beast is that it is very slow. This robot monster beetle would probably fall in battle right away, but it is a step in the right direction. I’m glad to see that giant fighting robots will soon be a reality.

This model, which is named the MX-03, is the third version of the giant robot beetle. Let’s just hope the creator isn’t also into artificial intelligence research.

giant robot beetle

giant robot beetle

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Sunday, August 9th, 2009 robots 1 Comment

The Origins of Video Game Names

Blogger Drew Mackie has posted a lengthy analysis of the etymology of dozens of names from popular video game characters. It examines the real-life and mythological roots of names from Final Fantasy, Zelda, Mario Bros., Street Fighter, and many other prominent franchises, complete with citations where appropriate. Quoting: “It’s speculated that Street Fighter’s Russian wrestler Zangief takes his name from a real-life Russian wrestler, Victor Zangiev. More interesting to me is that the working name for this character was Vodka Gobalsky. This is notable for two reasons — for one, that this name is amazing [and] deserves to enter into the public consciousness and, for another, that it bears a striking resemblance to the name of a Russian boxer in Nintendo’s Punch-Out!! series, Vodka Drunkenski. I’m sure this says something about Japanese perception of Russian people. The latter Vodka, by the way, goes by the name Soda Popinski in US translations of the game, presumably because Nintendo of America didn’t allow references to booze.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Saturday, June 20th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on The Origins of Video Game Names

Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry

AnInkle writes “The question of whether modern video games represent art and the persistent attempts to censor controversial content in games have been discussed here at length. Now, a blogger at The Tech Report makes the case that censorship of violent and sexual pictures and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form. He cites a historical comparison between video game and film production, as well as geo-cultural comparisons of film production in the US vs. Europe and of video game development in the US vs. Japan. Are these comparisons apt and the assertions valid, or might the embrace of video games as a legitimate art form be limited for entirely different reasons?”

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Friday, June 19th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry

EU Fusion Experiment’s Financial Woes Get More Concrete

fiannaFailMan writes “An international plan to build a nuclear fusion reactor is being threatened by rising costs, delays and technical challenges. ‘Emails leaked to the BBC indicate that construction costs for the experimental fusion project called Iter have more than doubled. Some scientists also believe that the technical hurdles to fusion have become more difficult to overcome and that the development of fusion as a commercial power source is still at least 100 years away. At a meeting in Japan on Wednesday, members of the governing Iter council will review the plans and may agree to scale back the project.’ Iter will be a Tokamak device, a successor to the Joint European Torus (JET) in England. Meanwhile, an experiment in fusion by laser doesn’t seem to be running into the same high profile funding problems just yet.”

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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on EU Fusion Experiment’s Financial Woes Get More Concrete

EU Fusion Experiment’s Financial Woes Get More Concrete

fiannaFailMan writes “An international plan to build a nuclear fusion reactor is being threatened by rising costs, delays and technical challenges. ‘Emails leaked to the BBC indicate that construction costs for the experimental fusion project called Iter have more than doubled. Some scientists also believe that the technical hurdles to fusion have become more difficult to overcome and that the development of fusion as a commercial power source is still at least 100 years away. At a meeting in Japan on Wednesday, members of the governing Iter council will review the plans and may agree to scale back the project.’ Iter will be a Tokamak device, a successor to the Joint European Torus (JET) in England. Meanwhile, an experiment in fusion by laser doesn’t seem to be running into the same high profile funding problems just yet.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.


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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on EU Fusion Experiment’s Financial Woes Get More Concrete

Lucky Thirteen On the ISS

Hugh Pickens writes “Things may get a little tight in space as seven shuttle astronauts blast off from Florida on June 13 to join up with six colleagues already on the International Space Station bringing the ISS contingent to thirteen, the largest number of individuals on the platform ever at one time. The 13 space-farers represent seven from the US, two each from Russia and Canada, and one each from Europe and Japan. ‘”I don’t know what it’s going to be like,” says Endeavour commander Mark Polansky, a veteran of two prior spaceflights. “We know it’s going to be challenging with 13 people aboard.”‘ During five spacewalks, an external platform will be added to the lab which will enable those experiments to be performed that require materials to be exposed to the harsh environment of space and astronauts also have to fit equipment to the exterior of the platform such as batteries and a spare space-to-ground antenna.”

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Lucky Thirteen On the ISS

Using GPS Phones to Track Virtual Infections – and Real Epidemics


A few months from now, a highly contagious disease will spread through a Japanese elementary school. The epidemic will start with several unwitting children, who will infect others as they attend classes and wander the halls. If nothing is done, it will quickly gain momentum and rip through the student body, then jump to parents and others in the community. However, officials will attempt to stymie the disease and save the school — using mobile phones. The sickness will be a virtual one, in an experiment funded by the Japanese government.

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Saturday, June 13th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Using GPS Phones to Track Virtual Infections – and Real Epidemics

WHO Declares H1N1’s Spread Officially a Pandemic

juggledean writes “The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global flu pandemic after holding an emergency meeting, according to reports. It means the swine flu virus is spreading in at least two regions of the world with rising cases being seen in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile.” Whether it’s called a pandemic or not, there’s a hopeful note in the story about H1N1’s spread: “…there were people who believed we might be in a kind of apocalyptic situation and what we’re really seeing now with H1N1 is that in most cases the disease is self-limiting.”

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Thursday, June 11th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on WHO Declares H1N1’s Spread Officially a Pandemic

Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

eldavojohn writes “The Ethics Organization of Computer Software (EOCS), now 233 companies strong, and met in Tokyo yesterday to ban a controversial title from Japan known as RapeLay, an eroge game (something much more adult than the more popular dating simulators). It’s gotten a lot of press as reviewers have noted at one point the player must force sex on a 12-year-old. More importantly, the large (3 million annually) adult game industry in Japan will now need to stay away from rape in their games if they wish to remain a member of EOCS. RapeLay seems to be available on Amazon’s UK and JP sites, sparking outrage and causing a former US Ambassador to Japan to write an editorial criticizing Japan, saying, ‘Only Japan allows people to possess these hideous pictures without penalty. Six of the G-7 countries have found ways to protect the innocent from being prosecuted for possession of child pornography. Is it not time for Japan to find a way to punish the guilty?’ Singapore’s Straits Times has more details, pointing out that it’s still not illegal to possess these materials in Japan. We discussed this and other games last month in an editorial.”

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Monday, June 8th, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on Japanese ESRB Bans Rape Depiction In Games

University Gives Away iPhones To Curb Truancy

Norsefire writes “A Japanese University is giving away iPhones to its students to use the phones’ GPS functionality to catch students who skip classes. The University claims students currently fake attendance by having other students answer for them during rollcall, they also said that while this can be abused by giving other students the phone, they are much less likely to do this due to the personal information, such as email, a phone generally contains.”

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Sunday, May 31st, 2009 Uncategorized Comments Off on University Gives Away iPhones To Curb Truancy