Outside In: Representations of Nature in Video Games | Not Your Mama’s Gamer

Caves and sandboxes are some kinds of game spaces I’ve explored in conversations (and an unpublished manuscript) with David Thomas, so I was very interested in these musings from Not Your Mama’s Gamer. In a landscape polluted by smog and litter, box stores, fast food chains, more subdivisions and ever more streets–it becomes harder and harder to find parks and patches of woods preserved for our enjoyment.  Many of us…

Black holes turn into fuzzballs and destroy a thousand sci-fi plots

Until today, the understanding I had of black holes was as a spherical “event horizon” with a singularity at the centre. The event horizon is the surface of no return – anything which goes past it can never escape. The singularity is where quantum gravity kicks in, and is very handy for evading the speed-of-light limit in science fiction plots, where it functions as a gateway to a wormhole which…

Are We Alone? New Analysis Suggests Life Could Be Extremely Rare In the Universe| Statistics Crush Optimism in Search for Extraterrestrials | Search for Life, SETI | Space.com

Again with the mean scientists! Using a statistical method called Bayesian reasoning, they argue that the life here on Earth could be common, or it could be extremely rare — there’s no reason to prefer one conclusion over the other. With their new analysis, Spiegel and Turner say they have erased the one Drake factor scientists felt confident about and replaced it with a question mark. –Are We Alone? New…

Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

After observing children on playgrounds in Norway, England and Australia, Dr. Sandseter identified six categories of risky play: exploring heights, experiencing high speed, handling dangerous tools, being near dangerous elements (like water or fire), rough-and-tumble play (like wrestling), and wandering alone away from adult supervision. The most common is climbing heights. “Climbing equipment needs to be high enough, or else it will be too boring in the long run,” Dr.…

Is Google Ruining Your Memory? | Wired Science | Wired.com

Predictably, Wired celebrates the freedom that comes from depending on computers instead if your own memory. (The story includes a link to Nicholas Carr’s opposing view.) By sharing and comparing our memories, we can ensure that we still have some facts in common, that we all haven’t disappeared down the private rabbit hole of our own reconsolidations. In this sense, instinctually wanting to Google information – to not entrust trivia…