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Venus Flytraps Are Even Creepier Than We Thought

I clicked for the topic, but it was the writing that captured me. The first impulse sets a secret timer, and what the fly does in the next 20 seconds will determine its fate. If it avoids the hairs, it will live. If it bumps a second one, it sets off another electrical impulse, which raises the trap’s calcium levels above a critical threshold. The plant responds by sending water into…

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NASA Releases New Earthrise Image

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon. “The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.” In this composite image…

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Cave Gave Game: Subterranean Space as Videogame Place | Electronic Book Review

Electronic Book Review just published an article I wrote with Dave Thomas, on cave space in video game ecology. Parts of this article are a companion to my 2007 Digital Humanities Quarterly article on the 1970s text computer game Colossal Cave Adventure. Crowther’s translation of real world caving experience into the digital medium provides a precise bridge between the cave as environment and the cave as game design metaphor. The…

Rossum's Universal Robots

Rebooting “Rossum’s Universal Robots” for the 21st century

“It is over three hours long, and it is like a cross between Noel Coward and The Terminator” – Ivor Benjamin describing the original version of “R.U.R.”Last Wednesday I went to see an adaption of Karel Čapek’s play “Rossum’s Universal Robots”, presented at the British Library. | There was one question from the audience that suggested Benjamin had gone too far in the adaptation. “This [play] is more about philosophy…