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What Did 17th Century Food Taste Like?

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 18:40
Benjamin Breen, an assistant professor of history at UC Santa Cruz, looks at art history to figure out what people cooked in the 1600s, and wonders whether it is possible to ascertain the taste of food. From a blog post: What can we learn about how people ate in the seventeenth century? And even if we can piece together historical recipes, can we ever really know what their food tasted like? This might seem like a relatively unimportant question. For one thing, the senses of other people are always going to be, at some level, unknowable, because they are so deeply subjective. Not only can I not know what Velazquez's fried eggs tasted like three hundred years ago, I arguably can't know what my neighbor's taste like. And why does the question matter, anyway? A very clear case can be made for the importance of the history of medicine and disease, or the histories of slavery, global commerce, warfare, and social change. By comparison, the taste of food doesn't seem to have the same stature. Fried eggs don't change the course of history. But taste does change history. Fascinating read.

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Stardew Valley is getting new single-player content after all

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 18:07

In recent interviews, Stardew Valley creator Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone has given the impression the top farming sim's single-player mode is effectively finished. Last month, in a reddit AMA, Barone said he had "no plans" for further single-player content, and talked about how difficult adding new stuff had gotten since Stardew Valley had been widely localised and ported to different platforms.

The game has a big multiplayer update on the horizon which will add co-operative play within the same town. But, beyond that? Sadly, it felt like Barone was finally finished tinkering with his masterpiece.

Well, that's no longer the case. In a post to Twitter last night, Barone revealed he was once more back working on single-player Stardew stuff, and teased what it might be:

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Categories: Video Games

Forbes '30 Under 30' Conference Website Exposed Attendees' Personal Information

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 18:03
An anonymous reader shares a Motherboard report: Every year, Forbes' 30 Under 30 list recognizes people blessed with both youth and exceptional talent in their field -- including celebrities, startup founders, doctors, and artists. These are smart, savvy professionals -- and when some of them include information security pros, they're bound to go poking around for vulnerabilities. That's what Yan Zhu, a privacy engineer who made the 2015 list, was doing when she found a gaping privacy hole in the way Forbes handles recipients' personal information. Once you make the list, Yan told me in a Twitter direct message, Forbes asks you to register for its annual Under 30 Summit conference. "They send you a link for conference registration, but it's not tied to your email address," she said. "So you can literally enter anyone's email address who is also a 30 Under 30 member and it shows you their personal info." That information carries over into all future years, she said.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Is American English Going To Take Over British English Completely?

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 17:20
Paul Baker, writing for The Conversation: Brits can get rather sniffy about the English language -- after all, they originated it. But a Google search of the word "Americanisms" turns up claims that they are swamping, killing and absorbing British English. If the British are not careful, so the argument goes, the homeland will soon be the 51st State as workers tell customers to "have a nice day" while "colour" will be spelt without a "u" and "pavements" will become "sidewalks." My research examined how both varieties of the language have been changing between the 1930s and the 2000s and the extent to which they are growing closer together or further apart. So do Brits have cause for concern? Well, yes and no. On the one hand, most of the easily noticeable features of British language are holding up. Take spelling, for example -- towards the 1960s it looked like the UK was going in the direction of abandoning the "u" in "colour" and writing "centre" as "center." But since then, the British have become more confident in some of their own spellings. In the 2000s, the UK used an American spelling choice about 11% of the time while Americans use a British one about 10% of the time, so it kind of evens out. Automatic spell-checkers which can be set to different national varieties are likely to play a part in keeping the two varieties fairly distinct. [...] But when we start thinking of language more in terms of style than vocabulary or spelling, a different picture emerges. Some of the bigger trends in American English are moving towards a more compact and informal use of language. American sentences are on average one word shorter in 2006 than they were in 1931. Americans also use a lot more apostrophes in their writing than they used to, which has the effect of turning the two words "do not" into the single "don't." They're getting rid of certain possessive structures, too -- so "the hand of the king" becomes the shorter "the king's hand." Another trend is to avoid passive structures such as "a paper was written," instead using the more active form, "I wrote a paper."

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Categories: Geeky Stuff

Counter-strike's new matchmaking system can tell if you've been naughty in other Steam games

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:51

Counter-strike: Global Offensive has a new matchmaking system which takes into account your behaviour across Steam - not just in CS:GO.

Valve's new system assigns every player a hidden value, known as their Trust Factor. This score is derived from how you have played CS:GO - whether you have had reports lodged against you for cheating, for example - but also your activities in other Steam games.

In a blog post explaining the system, Valve said it deliberately avoiding explaining what other activities it was monitoring that would be folded into your Trust Factor value.

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Categories: Video Games

'Black Friday Is Dying'

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:40
A reader shares a report: For years, Black Friday signaled the beginning of Christmas shopping. The day after Thanksgiving was a frantic day of driving to the store at the crack of dawn to fight off other shoppers for great deals. For people who truly hated the ritual, I have some good news for you: Black Friday is going away. That's according to data from GPShopper, which tracks consumer behavior. It turns out, customers are really not into Black Friday. A full 81% of us feel stress surrounding the notion of Black Friday, and 45% of us believe it is the most stressful time of the year. And with online shopping, consumers are increasingly realizing they don't need to do all their shopping on one day. The majority would prefer to shop in the second week of December. Weirdly, a full 12% of consumers would prefer to shop after Christmas, to capitalize on the post-holiday sales, even though their recipients would get their presents a little late.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

New Pillars of Eternity 2 trailer suggests activity afoot at Obsidian

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:38

UPDATE 16TH NOVEMBER: Something really was afoot - the backer beta for Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire has launched!

It's not feature-complete and there are a "number of things" Obsidian is not quite ready to show yet but will be rolled out over time, said design director Josh Sawyer in an accompanying video. "There's at least one really big feature that's very complicated and we need to put some more time into before players take a look at it," he added, "but it's a very cool feature."

In the closed beta you'll poke around a Deadfire archipelago village called Tikawara, and the island surrounding it. You won't be playing with final-game companions because they're still in development, still being cast and their voice lines recorded, and Obsidian doesn't want to spoil any of their stories. Plus, Obsidian isn't doing the closed beta to get feedback on them so much as feedback on the core mechanics and interfaces in the game.

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Categories: Video Games

Three-year-old This War of Mine gets a new series of DLC

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:10

It's been three years since powerful civilian war survival game This War of Mine put Polish developer 11 bit Studios on the map. To celebrate, a new series of Stories downloadable content will be released, starting today and continuing in 2018.

The first of the Stories, Father's Promise, is available now for £1.69. It's based on an audio drama written by Polish author Łukasz Orbitowski, and follows father Adam as he struggles to save his daughters from the horrors of war. "Follow their steps and discover a story of love, hate and sacrifice - the emotions we all share in the darkest of days," the blurb says.

Father's Promise apparently offers several hours of play across four new locations and five remastered ones. There are new mechanics too, both in dialogue and when searching for clues.

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Categories: Video Games

Has Respawn fixed Titanfall 2 on Xbox One X?

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:00

As the Xbox One X game patches have come rolling in, it's been mostly good news for Microsoft and its new console. It's perhaps not been the 'true 4K' showcase many were hoping for and techniques like dynamic resolution are deployed to scale up current-gen 900p and 1080p games to better suit 4K displays. But the presentations have been convincing and the upgrade palpable - which made Titanfall 2's initial sub-par presentation so disappointing. Based on the findings of our report, Respawn Entertainment spent several days retooling the code and a new title update arrived at the tail-end of last week.

To quickly recap, our first hands-on with the Xbox One X upgrade did confirm that Respawn has deployed dynamic super-sampling technology - which can, in theory, scale resolution beyond 4K pixel-counts in order to keep the Scorpio Engine's six teraflop GPU fully tapped out. However, in actual gameplay, even the earliest campaign missions saw much lower resolutions - and occasionally even lower frame-rates - than the PlayStation 4 Pro version. It's safe to say that this is not what we expected, so we submitted our results to Respawn then spent a further couple of days testing and re-testing before publishing our article.

The extra testing highlighted a stress point that saw PS4 Pro's dynamic resolution scaler hit a low of 1080p, with Xbox One X sitting below that at around 864p. Something was clearly amiss. The good news is that the new patch massively improves the game's turnout in all of the crucial areas. Resolution issues are significantly improved and none of the advantages we saw in the earlier code - such as higher detail geometry at distance - are compromised. So in effect, we're looking at the best of both worlds here.

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Categories: Video Games

Nintendo Is Making An Animated Super Mario Bros. Movie, Says Report

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 16:00
According to The Wall Street Journal, Nintendo has made a deal with Illumination Entertainment -- the animation studio that makes the Despicable Me movies -- to make an animated Super Mario Bros. movie. The film is currently in "early development," but the report comes as a surprise given how protective Nintendo is of their intellectual properties. Gizmodo reports: According to the report, the companies have been in negotiations for a year and the fact Universal (which finances and distributes Illumination's movie) has partnered with Nintendo for several theme parks was helpful. Right now, the deal is one for one movie, but there is potential for more. Of course, Nintendo is almost laughably protective of their intellectual properties, especially after the disastrous 1993 live action Super Mario Bros. movie. They've made Pokemon movies but, beyond that, rumors of movies based on Mario and The Legend of Zelda have been around for years. This is the vide game company's first big move forward in a long time, and the implications are extremely significant.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Boeing 757 Testing Shows Airplanes Vulnerable To Hacking, DHS Says

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 15:00
schwit1 shares a report from Aviation Today: A team of government, industry and academic officials successfully demonstrated that a commercial aircraft could be remotely hacked in a non-laboratory setting last year, a DHS official said Wednesday at the 2017 CyberSat Summit in Tysons Corner, Virginia. "We got the airplane on Sept. 19, 2016. Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative, penetration. [Which] means I didn't have anybody touching the airplane, I didn't have an insider threat. I stood off using typical stuff that could get through security and we were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft." Hickey said the details of the hack and the work his team are doing are classified, but said they accessed the aircraft's systems through radio frequency communications, adding that, based on the RF configuration of most aircraft, "you can come to grips pretty quickly where we went" on the aircraft. Patching avionics subsystem on every aircraft when a vulnerability is discovered is cost prohibitive, Hickey said. The cost to change one line of code on a piece of avionics equipment is $1 million, and it takes a year to implement. For Southwest Airlines, whose fleet is based on Boeing's 737, it would "bankrupt" them. Hickey said newer models of 737s and other aircraft, like Boeing's 787 and the Airbus Group A350, have been designed with security in mind, but that legacy aircraft, which make up more than 90% of the commercial planes in the sky, don't have these protections.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Here's our first proper look at gameplay from thatgamecompany's Sky

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 13:46

Thatgamecompany has shown off an extended look at its upcoming social mobile game Sky, in a new video narrated by creative director Jenova Chen.

The six minutes of gameplay, published by IGN, show what look like Sky's opening moments, where you wake alone, on a beach, and play as the silhouette of a small child. Quickly you regain some light - which can then be used as a puzzle-solving tool via the use of a candle item.

But, crucially, you won't be able to progress without the help of other players. You'll come across a door, for example, which two people need to open at once.

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Categories: Video Games

Night and the City

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 13:33

Editor's note: This week sees the re-release of L.A. Noire on PS4, Xbox One and Switch, and to mark the occasion we thought we'd return to Chris Donlan's piece on playing through the game - still one of the very best things ever published on Eurogamer, he'll hate me for saying - which first went live back in 2012. Enjoy!

Today, I'm going to tell you about the time my grandfather shot a man in the ass.

The year was 1949. The place was downtown Los Angeles. The occasion was a robbery with violence. A small store, I think: a tailor's, or maybe a family-run grocery market? History has not recorded all of the details.

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Categories: Video Games

Jelly Deals: PS4 Pro with FIFA 18 and Crash Bandicoot for £299

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 13:01

A note from the editor: Jelly Deals is a deals site launched by our parent company, Gamer Network, with a mission to find the best bargains out there. Look out for the Jelly Deals roundup of reduced-price games and kit every Saturday on Eurogamer.

As the week progresses, more and more retailers are putting their Black Friday deals live ahead of next week's shopping madness. This basically solidifies the whole 'Black Friday' thing as less of a one-day event and more of a fortnight's worth of offers and price cuts. Such is the way of the world now.

We've been keeping track of all sorts of Black Friday deals, and will continue to until the whole thing is done with for another year. You can find our guides to the best PS4 Black Friday offers, Xbox Black Friday deals, Nintendo Black Friday bundles, PC gaming Black Friday discounts, and more on our various guide pages. Go ahead and bookmark them, they may come in handy soon.

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Categories: Video Games

StarCraft 2 Twitter account has a pop at Star Wars: Battlefront 2

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 12:38

While EA continues to fight Star Wars: Battlefront 2 fires ahead of launch this Friday, there are others who sniff an opportunity. In this case it's rival mega-publisher Activision Blizzard, whose StarCraft 2 Twitter account had a pop at Battlefront 2 overnight.

Pop number one: "Number of hours it takes to earn the full StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Campaign: 0."

Pop number two: "Number of hours before you can play ANY Co-op Commander in StarCraft II: 0."

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Categories: Video Games

Super Bomberman R on Nintendo Switch gets another generous free update

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:51

Nintendo Switch exclusive Super Bomberman R gets a chunky free update full of new stuff to download today.

The generous selection of new features includes a Grand Prix mode which publisher Konami said is designed for "future esports initiatives". It's a 3v3 versus mode with a couple of match types.

Crystal matches task the two teams with collecting crystals to earn points. Getting bombed means you lose half your total. Then there's the Basic Bomber match, which follows standard Bomberman rules with a stock of lives.

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Categories: Video Games

UC Browser Mobile App Disappears From Google Play Store

Slashdot - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:50
UC Browser, a popular mobile web browser owned by China's Alibaba Group, has mysteriously disappeared from the Google Play Store. The app was pulled from the Google Play Store on November 12, according to data from app analytics firm App Annie. Several users began inquiring about the app's whereabouts earlier this week on Reddit. It was not immediately clear why UC Browser had been pulled from Android's marquee app store. According to Twitter user Mike Ross, who claims to be a developer at Alibaba Group, Google pulled UC Browser from its store due to "misleading" and "unhealthy" promotional tactics used by the company to increase the install count of its app. UC Browser is still available to download on Apple's App Store, Amazon's Android store, and through company's official website. UC Browser Mini, a light version of the company's browser is notably still listed on Google Play. Though UC Browser is not a household name in the Western markets, the Alibaba's app is incredibly popular in markets such as India. It has been among the top six most downloaded apps from Google Play in India for the last two years, venture capitalist Mary Meeker noted in her yearly internet report in May this year. As of July, UC Browser had been installed more than 100 million times worldwide from Google Play Store.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geeky Stuff

Dedicated servers return to Call of Duty: WW2

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:49

Dedicated servers have returned to Call of Duty: WW2.

Developer Sledgehammer moved Call of Duty: WW2 to P2P servers shortly after launch when the game suffered from troubling online issues.

The P2P servers brought annoyances such as host migrations. This meant that if the host quit the game, the match would freeze while the game moved to a new host before resetting.

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Categories: Video Games

Arms 4.0 releases tomorrow, and will introduce a new character

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:19

Arms - Nintendo's best game of 2017 and I won't hear otherwise, thank you very much - is getting another significant update tomorrow, with version 4.0 introducing an all-new character, a new stage, a new element and a new mode. All gratis, of course.

We don't know too much about the new character, although we do know the new element is poison and that they have a companion of sorts, and that their stage looks to be Aztec-themed. Which is a fair amount to go on - and obviously we'll have the full picture within 24 hours.

It's the third significant update to Arms, and after the introduction of Max Brass and Lola Pop it'll be the third new character to be introduced to the game.

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Categories: Video Games

Far Cry 5 boss shows pitch for new game about a misplaced space teddy

Eurogamer - Wed, 15/11/2017 - 11:08

Far Cry 5 director Dan Hay has pitched a potential new game project, featuring a misplaced space teddy bear, during his developer lecture at the British Academy of Film and television. The question is, will it end up becoming into a real game?

Hay, who's variously been producer, executive producer and creative director on the Far Cry series since Far Cry 3, was presenting a talk entitled 'Rooted in Reality - How the real world can make your creativity soar', which broadly discussed how recognisable real-world experiences can be used to create games that are better, more impactful, and more affecting to players.

Toward the end of the discussion, Hay began to pitch a game idea, which had started out as a thought experiment, based on meaningful personal memories and interests. Namely, his childhood teddy bear, the tale of Prometheus, and his fascination with space travel: "I want to retell the story of Prometheus, giving that key moment of thought but I want to replace fire with a teddy bear and I want to put it in space because it's f**king awesome."

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Categories: Video Games
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