“The First Video Game”

See a streaming video of the Tennis For Two video game in action. (RealPlayer required.)“Higinbotham designed the game as entertainment for visitors’ days at BNL (Brookhaven National Laboratory). In the 1950s, most of the exhibits were static displays. Higinbotham, who was then head of the Instrumentation Division, said it occurred to him that ‘it might liven up the place to have a game that people could play, and which would convey the message that our scientific endeavors have relevance for society.’

“The division had a small analogue computer that contained ten direct-connected operational amplifiers. The computer’s instruction book described how to generate various curves on the cathode-ray tube of an oscilloscope, using resistors, capacitors and relays. Among the examples were the trajectory of a bullet subject to gravity and wind resistance, missile trajectories and a bouncing ball. The bouncing ball inspired Higinbotham to design a tennis game. Four of the operational amplifiers were used to generate the ball motions and the others to sense when the ball hit the ground or the net, and to switch the controls to the person in whose court the ball was located.

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Man beams 5,000 radio, TV channels with a dozen satellite receivers

“(C)ome to Al Jessup’s house where his 5,000-plus radio and television stations from around the world beamed in by his 12 satellite dishes are bound to keep you entertained somehow…

“Over the years, the 54-year-old disabled former ice cream salesman collected more and more dishes so he could pick up more and more ‘ree to air’ channels. Neighbors, he said, never complained about his large display of dishes in front of his house. In fact, some of his dishes were hand-me-downs from his neighbors.

“The last time he counted, he received more than 5,000 channels. He has stopped counting since… ‘It’s just interesting to watch stations from far away.'” Photo by Lew Whitener/The Register-Herald

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Anti-cancer compound in beer gaining interest

“A compound found only in hops and the main product they are used in – beer – has rapidly gained interest as a micronutrient that might help prevent many types of cancer.

“Researchers at Oregon State University first discovered the cancer-related properties of this flavonoid compound called xanthohumol about 10 years ago… (M)any other scientists in programs around the world are also beginning to look at the value of these hops flavonoids for everything from preventing prostate or colon cancer to hormone replacement therapy for women.

“‘Xanthohumol is one of the more significant compounds for cancer chemoprevention that we have studied,’ said Fred Stevens… ‘We can’t say that drinking beer will help prevent cancer,” Stevens said. ‘Most beer has low levels of this compound, and its absorption in the body is also limited… It clearly has some interesting cancer chemopreventive properties, and the only way people are getting any of it right now is through beer consumption.'”

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Ass photocopying causes 25% hike in Christmas season service calls

“Photocopier supplier Canon is warning customers to take better care of their office equipment during the Christmas period, claiming that the festive season traditionally leads to a 25 percent hike in service calls due to incidents such as the classic backside copying prank.

“Such a stunt, a mainstay of the office party, often results in cracked glass on the copier, with 32 percent of Canon technicians claiming to have been called out to fix glass plates during the Christmas period after attempts to copy body parts went wrong.”

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“Aeon Flux” to be released on December 2

From IMDB – “The sci-fi actioner is set 400 years in the future, when disease has wiped out the majority of the earth’s population except for one walled, protected city-state, Bregna, ruled by a congress of scientists. The story centers on Aeon Flux, the top operative in the underground ‘Monican’ rebellion, led by The Handler. When Aeon is sent on a mission to kill a government leader, Trevor Goodchild, she uncovers a world of secrets which make her doubt her mission and question everything she thought she knew.”

The trailer is available on the official movie web site at http://www.aeonflux.com/.

iTunes outsells traditional music stores

Apple“Apple’s popular iTunes online music store edged out three traditional music retailers during the July through September time frame to leap into the number seven spot of top U.S. music retailers–and it’s likely to displace more stores by the end of the year, according to the NPD Group, a market research company.

“The iTunes Music Store beat out Tower Records, Sam Goody, and Borders in NPD’s third quarter ranking to crack the top ten for the first time ever, said the NPD Group in a Monday report. The steep climb of the online music service to seventh place from fourteenth during the same time last year reflects the speed at which users are turning to music online.

“‘With the growing interest in digital music, forecasts of more iPod demand this holiday, plus the stocking-stuffer appeal of iTunes gift cards, we can expect Apple to increase its share even more by year’s end,’ said Russ Crupnick, music and movies industry analyst for the NPD Group, in the report.”

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“Superman Returns” movie trailer online

From IMDB: “Following a mysterious absence of several years, the Man of Steel comes back to Earth in the epic action-adventure Superman Returns , a soaring new chapter in the saga of one of the world’s most beloved superheroes. While an old enemy plots to render him powerless once and for all, Superman faces the heartbreaking realization that the woman he loves, Lois Lane, has moved on with her life. Or has she? Superman’s bittersweet return challenges him to bridge the distance between them while finding a place in a society that has learned to survive without him. In an attempt to protect the world he loves from cataclysmic destruction, Superman embarks on an epic journey of redemption that takes him from the depths of the ocean to the far reaches of outer space.”

Click here to see the trailer at “supermanreturns.warnerbros.com” | digg story

“Talking” camera tackles city crime

“(AP) The city’s newest breed of surveillance camera will do more than keep an eye on vandals, litterbugs and other miscreants.

“The cameras will also give the crooks a talking-to. Baltimore’s Board of Estimates has approved five talking cameras – armed with motion detectors, a bright flash and a recorded warning, as part of an effort to curb quality-of-life crimes, especially illegal dumping.

“When the solar-powered cameras detect motion, they will issue a scolding: ‘Stop. This is a restricted area. It is illegal to dump trash or spray graffiti here. We have just taken your photograph. We will use this photograph to prosecute you. Leave the area now.’

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