Monthly Archives: August 2013

Nearly a fifth of scientists are considering abandoning the U.S.

Sequestration, which cut research and development funding by $9.3 billion, is partly to blame. But according to the report, the United States’ investment in R&D isn’t keeping up with inflation:

Globally, the United States invests more real dollars in research and development than any other country. However, in terms of percentage of gross domestic product, the United States is reducing its investment in scientific research. In fact, of the 10 countries investing the most money in scientific research, the United States is the only country that has reduced its investment in scientific research as a percentage of GDP since 2011.

more on salon.com.

Not that anyone would still treat Obama electoral campaign promises seriously anyway.

SteveB’s Retirement Announcement

The truth is, I don’t think Steve gets enough credit for saving the company. Without him Microsoft probably would now be a footnote in tech history. Like Digital Equipment Corporation in the 90s, an industry titan that became irrelevant and then quickly faded away. It would have been easy for Microsoft to turn itself into a cash cow. Or break up the company. Or become a niche player. Or be absorbed into another tech industry giant. Can you imagine the irony of IBM having purchased Microsoft?

more on hal2020.com.

Former Microsoft employee reflects on the departure of Steve Ballmer.

Sheena Iyengar: The art of choosing

Sheena Iyengar studies how we make choices — and how we feel about the choices we make. At TEDGlobal, she talks about both trivial choices (Coke v. Pepsi) and profound ones, and shares her groundbreaking research that has uncovered some surprising attitudes about our decisions.

more on youtube.com.

How cultural differences are reflected in how we perceive choice. Suddenly Americans became easier to understand.

Don’t Fly During Ramadan

"How many times a day do you pray?" he asked. This time, my surprise must have registered on my face, because he quickly added, "I’m not trying to offend you; I just don’t know anything about Hinduism. For example, I know that people are fasting for Ramadan right now, but I don’t have any idea what Hindus actually do on a daily basis."

A Kafkaesque situation that more and more Americans find themselves in. Ironically, it seems more inconceivable to me, born in a communist state, than to some aforementioned Americans who apparently accept this as a necessary cost of the “war on terror”.

Life is a Social Game: Lessons Learned Bringing The Sims to Facebook

The Sims Series has sold over 150 million games in 10 years. But in just six months, 70 million players have already played The Sims Social. This transition from a AAA franchise into a successful free-to-play social game was a major design challenge.

Drawing on this experience, this talk looks at how designers new to "social" have to adjust their approaches and design philosophies. We’ll also discuss the paramount importance of clear communication in free-to-play games, building a strong ranking system, and the conflict of design and monetization.

Finally, learn how the "human element" makes The Sims Social stand out amongst its peers, why in-game relationships could be the next big trend, and how you might harness these things for your games.

more on gdcvault.com.

Excellent talk about designing social games.

The Intelligence Squared Debate – Christopher Hitchens & Stephen Fry

The Intelligence Squared Debate – Christopher Hitchens & Stephen Fry

more on youtube.com.

A video of the debate between Nigerian archbishop Onaiyekan, British MP Ann Widdecombe, Stephen Fry and Christopher Hitchens on the subject if the Catholic Church is a force for good in the world. The outcome of the discussion is rather predictable, but it’s still worth watching, if not for anything else then for Stephen Fry’s performance, starting at 21:00.