Signals indicate Texas economy continues to improve

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Signals indicate Texas economy continues to improve

Sunday, April 29, 2012

As many states across the US continue to struggle financially, many individuals, including some economists report multiple positive indicators for Texas.

The chief economist with Comerica Bank told media sources this week that most of the improvements are attributed to strong creations of jobs in both the energy and manufacturing and services sectors. More specifically, that report called the state’s recent job growth, “robust”.The state’s unemployment rate in March was more than 1% lower than the nationwide rate, according to recent data.

When asked her opinion about the state’s present economic trajectory, Chantal Woodhull, a middle school teacher in Tyler, Texas told Wikinews, “It’s getting better.” Other sources indicate slight improvements in the real estate sector.

According to a recent report, retail job growth in Houston outstretched all other states, increasing its number of workers by over 4%. Across the US, retail jobs are improving at a slow pace in many large metropolitan areas.

Hubble telescope spots oldest galaxies ever seen

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Hubble telescope spots oldest galaxies ever seen

Thursday, December 10, 2009

American and European scientists say the upgraded Hubble space telescope has spotted the oldest galaxies ever seen. The images were taken with the telescope’s new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in August this year.

The galaxies are about 13 billion light years from Earth, meaning they formed less than one billion years after the Big Bang — the cosmological model of the initial conditions and subsequent development of the universe.

WFC3 was installed in May this year, during a mission by the space shuttle Atlantis to repair and upgrade Hubble. Experts say the new instrument will let them peer even further back in time, to when the universe was in its infancy. The more distant a galaxy is, the more its light is “redshifted” due to expansion of the universe. Light from the furthest galaxies is shifted to infrared wavelengths invisible to the human eye, but WFC3 can detect these.

The new image was taken in August, in the same region as a 2004 visible light image known as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The 2004 photo previously showed the most distant galaxies, but the new infrared pictures from the WFC3 allow even more remote galaxies to be seen.

At these distances, you’re really looking back in time, like you have a time machine

Capturing the image took four days, and the total exposure lasted 173,000 seconds. In the three months since, twelve scientific papers have been submitted on it. On Tuesday one of these confirmed the galaxies as the furthest ever seen.

They are also the oldest, with the light from them having taken around 13 billion years to reach Earth.

“At these distances, you’re really looking back in time, like you have a time machine,” said Ray Villard, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “Those things don’t exist anymore.”

The photo could be one of the ultimate achievements of the Hubble telescope, now almost twenty years old.

“These new observations are likely to be the most sensitive images Hubble will ever take,” said Professor Jim Dunlop of the University of Edinburgh.

The servicing mission in May extended the telescope’s life by around five years, but it is scheduled to be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope in 2014. This will use infrared imaging and have a greater collecting area than Hubble, and it is thought that it may be able make out objects from just 100 million years after the Big Bang.

“We’ve really pushed Hubble to its limits,” said Villard, “and we need a bigger space telescope to go back even farther. It shows us there are really exciting things to look for with the Webb telescope.”

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<br\>This image, taken in August 2009 by the Hubble telescope with its WFC3 upgrade, shows the oldest galaxies ever seen. Image: NASA, ESA.

<br\>Astronaut working on Hubble during Servicing Mission 4 in May 2009, which included the installation of WFC3. Image: NASA.

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The Hubble Space Telescope, seen from Space Shuttle Atlantis. Image: NASA.

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Another image from WFC3, showing NGC 6302 — popularly known as the “Butterfly Nebula” Image: NASA, ESA.

Sony refreshes VAIO brand for business and entertainment

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Sony refreshes VAIO brand for business and entertainment

Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the middle of July, Sony Corporation refreshed their senior laptop brand VAIO from “Video Audio Integrated Operation” to “Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer”. According to Sony Taiwan Limited, this refreshment is an attempt to relocate the laptop consuming market for business and entertainment factors.

In the “VAIO Experience 2008” press conference in Europe, Sony promoted their new product series for different populations including BZ for business, FW for home entertainment, Z for ultra-slim, and SR for complex applications.

Different with past series, Sony added “Clear Bright” screening technology for high-definition display, and “full-carbon production” features. BD-burning and Intel Centrino 2 processing technologies will be featured in all the new models. For security issue, Sony also embedded fingerprint system to prevent personal data to be stolen. Continued from TZ series, innovative designs including “Green Power Button”, “Situational Switch” are also added in newly-launched series.

“Due to consuming market differences, Sony only promoted BZ series in Europe and America but not included Asia. Although the TICA Show in Taipei will be different, functionality will be the greatest issue when a consumers choose a notebook [computer] before buying.” addressed by executives from Sony Taiwan Limited, during the “VAIO Experience 2008” press conference in Taiwan.

Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?

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Israel Journal: Is Yossi Vardi a good father to his entrepreneurial children?
October 20th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Wikinews reporter David Shankbone is currently, courtesy of the Israeli government and friends, visiting Israel. This is a first-hand account of his experiences and may — as a result — not fully comply with Wikinews’ neutrality policy. Please note this is a journalism experiment for Wikinews and put constructive criticism on the collaboration page.

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Dr. Yossi Vardi is known as Israel’s ‘Father of the Entrepreneur’, and he has many children in the form of technology companies he has helped to incubate in Tel Aviv‘s booming Internet sector. At the offices of Superna, one such company, he introduced a whirlwind of presentations from his baby incubators to a group of journalists. What stuck most in my head was when Vardi said, “What is important is not the technology, but the talent.” Perhaps because he repeated this after each young Internet entrepreneur showed us his or her latest creation under Vardi’s tutelage. I had a sense of déjà vu from this mantra. A casual reader of the newspapers during the Dot.com boom will remember a glut of stories that could be called “The Rise of the Failure”; people whose technology companies had collapsed were suddenly hot commodities to start up new companies. This seemingly paradoxical thinking was talked about as new back then; but even Thomas Edison—the Father of Invention—is oft-quoted for saying, “I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

Vardi’s focus on encouraging his brood of talent regardless of the practicalities stuck out to me because of a recent pair of “dueling studies” The New York Times has printed. These are the sort of studies that confuse parents on how to raise their kids. The first, by Carol Dweck at Stanford University, came to the conclusion that children who are not praised for their efforts, regardless of the outcome’s success, rarely attempt more challenging and complex pursuits. According to Dweck’s study, when a child knows that they will receive praise for being right instead of for tackling difficult problems, even if they fail, they will simply elect to take on easy tasks in which they are assured of finding the solution.

Only one month earlier the Times produced another story for parents to agonize over, this time based on a study from the Brookings Institution, entitled “Are Kids Getting Too Much Praise?” Unlike Dweck’s clinical study, Brookings drew conclusions from statistical data that could be influenced by a variety of factors (since there was no clinical control). The study found American kids are far more confident that they have done well than their Korean counterparts, even when the inverse is true. The Times adds in the words of a Harvard faculty psychologist who intoned, “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments. It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.” But this is not the first time the self-esteem generation’s proponents have been criticized.

Vardi clearly would find himself encouraged by Dweck’s study, though, based upon how often he seemed to ask us to keep our eyes on the people more than the products. That’s not to say he has not found his latest ICQ, though only time—and consumers—will tell.

For a Web 2.User like myself, I was most fascinated by Fixya, a site that, like Wikipedia, exists on the free work of people with knowledge. Fixya is a tech support site where people who are having problems with equipment ask a question and it is answered by registered “experts.” These experts are the equivalent of Wikipedia’s editors: they are self-ordained purveyors of solutions. But instead of solving a mystery of knowledge a reader has in their head, these experts solve a problem related to something you have bought and do not understand. From baby cribs to cellular phones, over 500,000 products are “supported” on Fixya’s website. The Fixya business model relies upon the good will of its experts to want to help other people through the ever-expanding world of consumer appliances. But it is different from Wikipedia in two important ways. First, Fixya is for-profit. The altruistic exchange of information is somewhat dampened by the knowledge that somebody, somewhere, is profiting from whatever you give. Second, with Wikipedia it is very easy for a person to type in a few sentences about a subject on an article about the Toshiba Satellite laptop, but to answer technical problems a person is experiencing seems like a different realm. But is it? “It’s a beautiful thing. People really want to help other people,” said the presenter, who marveled at the community that has already developed on Fixya. “Another difference from Wikipedia is that we have a premium content version of the site.” Their premium site is where they envision making their money. Customers with a problem will assign a dollar amount based upon how badly they need an answer to a question, and the expert-editors of Fixya will share in the payment for the resolved issue. Like Wikipedia, reputation is paramount to Fixya’s experts. Whereas Wikipedia editors are judged by how they are perceived in the Wiki community, the amount of barnstars they receive and by the value of their contributions, Fixya’s customers rate its experts based upon the usefulness of their advice. The site is currently working on offering extended warranties with some manufacturers, although it was not clear how that would work on a site that functioned on the work of any expert.

Another collaborative effort product presented to us was YouFig, which is software designed to allow a group of people to collaborate on work product. This is not a new idea, although may web-based products have generally fallen flat. The idea is that people who are working on a multi-media project can combine efforts to create a final product. They envision their initial market to be academia, but one could see the product stretching to fields such as law, where large litigation projects with high-level of collaboration on both document creation and media presentation; in business, where software aimed at product development has generally not lived up to its promises; and in the science and engineering fields, where multi-media collaboration is quickly becoming not only the norm, but a necessity.

For the popular consumer market, Superna, whose offices hosted our meeting, demonstrated their cost-saving vision for the Smart Home (SH). Current SH systems require a large, expensive server in order to coordinate all the electronic appliances in today’s air-conditioned, lit and entertainment-saturated house. Such coordinating servers can cost upwards of US$5,000, whereas Superna’s software can turn a US$1,000 hand-held tablet PC into household remote control.

There were a few start-ups where Vardi’s fatherly mentoring seemed more at play than long-term practical business modeling. In the hot market of WiFi products, WeFi is software that will allow groups of users, such as friends, share knowledge about the location of free Internet WiFi access, and also provide codes and keys for certain hot spots, with access provided only to the trusted users within a group. The mock-up that was shown to us had a Google Maps-esque city block that had green points to the known hot spots that are available either for free (such as those owned by good Samaritans who do not secure their WiFi access) or for pay, with access information provided for that location. I saw two long-term problems: first, WiMAX, which is able to provide Internet access to people for miles within its range. There is already discussion all over the Internet as to whether this technology will eventually make WiFi obsolete, negating the need to find “hot spots” for a group of friends. Taiwan is already testing an island-wide WiMAX project. The second problem is if good Samaritans are more easily located, instead of just happened-upon, how many will keep their WiFi access free? It has already become more difficult to find people willing to contribute to free Internet. Even in Tel Aviv, and elsewhere, I have come across several secure wireless users who named their network “Fuck Off” in an in-your-face message to freeloaders.

Another child of Vardi’s that the Brookings Institution might say was over-praised for self-esteem but lacking real accomplishment is AtlasCT, although reportedly Nokia offered to pay US$8.1 million for the software, which they turned down. It is again a map-based software that allows user-generated photographs to be uploaded to personalized street maps that they can share with friends, students, colleagues or whomever else wants to view a person’s slideshow from their vacation to Paris (“Dude, go to the icon over Boulevard Montmartre and you’ll see this girl I thought was hot outside the Hard Rock Cafe!”) Aside from the idea that many people probably have little interest in looking at the photo journey of someone they know (“You can see how I traced the steps of Jesus in the Galilee“), it is also easy to imagine Google coming out with its own freeware that would instantly trump this program. Although one can see an e-classroom in architecture employing such software to allow students to take a walking tour through Rome, its desirability may be limited.

Whether Vardi is a smart parent for his encouragement, or in fact propping up laggards, is something only time will tell him as he attempts to bring these products of his children to market. The look of awe that came across each company’s representative whenever he entered the room provided the answer to the question of Who’s your daddy?

The Pirate Bay back online

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The Pirate Bay back online
October 20th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Saturday, June 3, 2006

Swedish BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay is back online following the Swedish police raid of their office on May 31.

Pirate Bay has previously announced on their website that they “will be up and fully functional within a day or two”. A Pirate Bay spokesperson identified as brokep told Slyck News that if necessary, they’d reopen in another country. The reopened website is currently hosted in the Netherlands.

The web page titles have been changed to The Police Bay and the indexing capability is reduced, with the search function disabled, though this is expected to change. All searches are now returned with the error message:

No hits due to politics
The search function will be back later today

Searches can still be done with Google and other search engines by adding site:thepiratebay.org to the search. Most attempts at downloading .torrent files resulted in 404 Not Found error messages during the first hours after the site went back online, however torrent downloads seem to be working fairly well now.

Currently 11:00 a.m. June 6 EDT, The Pirate Bay seems to be back and operational, but downloads still aren’t working too well; you may be able to, you may not. There’s probably a lot of traffic right now.

Surgeons reattach boy’s three severed limbs

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Surgeons reattach boy’s three severed limbs
October 19th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Tuesday, March 29, 2005A team of Australian surgeons yesterday reattached both hands and one foot to 10-year-old Perth boy, Terry Vo, after a brick wall which collapsed during a game of basketball fell on him, severing the limbs. The wall gave way while Terry performed a slam-dunk, during a game at a friend’s birthday party.

The boy was today awake and smiling, still in some pain but in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery, according to plastic surgeon, Mr Robert Love.

“What we have is parts that are very much alive so the reattached limbs are certainly pink, well perfused and are indeed moving,” Mr Love told reporters today.

“The fact that he is moving his fingers, and of course when he wakes up he will move both fingers and toes, is not a surprise,” Mr Love had said yesterday.

“The question is more the sensory return that he will get in the hand itself and the fine movements he will have in the fingers and the toes, and that will come with time, hopefully. We will assess that over the next 18 months to two years.

“I’m sure that he’ll enjoy a game of basketball in the future.”

The weight and force of the collapse, and the sharp brick edges, resulted in the three limbs being cut through about 7cm above the wrists and ankle.

Terry’s father Tan said of his only child, the injuries were terrible, “I was scared to look at him, a horrible thing.”

The hands and foot were placed in an ice-filled Esky and rushed to hospital with the boy, where three teams of medical experts were assembled, and he was given a blood transfusion after experiencing massive blood loss. Eight hours of complex micro-surgery on Saturday night were followed by a further two hours of skin grafts yesterday.

“What he will lose because it was such a large zone of traumatised skin and muscle and so on, he will lose some of the skin so he’ll certainly require lots of further surgery regardless of whether the skin survives,” said Mr Love said today.

The boy was kept unconscious under anaesthetic between the two procedures. In an interview yesterday, Mr Love explained why:

“He could have actually been woken up the next day. Because we were intending to take him back to theatre for a second look, to look at the traumatised skin flaps, to close more of his wounds and to do split skin grafting, it was felt the best thing to do would be to keep him stable and to keep him anaesthetised.”

Professor Wayne Morrison, director of the respected Bernard O’Brien Institute of Microsurgery and head of plastic and hand surgery at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital, said he believed the operation to be a world first.

Canada’s Trinity—Spadina (Ward 20) city council candidates speak

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Canada’s Trinity—Spadina (Ward 20) city council candidates speak
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments
This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Friday, November 3, 2006

On November 13, Torontoians will be heading to the polls to vote for their ward’s councillor and for mayor. Among Toronto’s ridings is Trinity—Spadina (Ward 20). One candidate responded to Wikinews’ requests for an interview. This ward’s candidates include Desmond Cole, Helen Kennedy, Douglas Lowry, Chris Ouellette, Carmin Priolo, Devendra Sharma, Joseph Tuan, and Adam Vaughan.

For more information on the election, read Toronto municipal election, 2006.

Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues

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Race to save Chilean miners trapped underground from spiralling into depression continues
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, September 2, 2010

It has emerged that the 33 Chilean miners trapped underground after the mine they were working in collapsed could be brought to the surface in a shorter time than was initially feared. While officials publicly announced that the men would not be brought to the surface until Christmas, sources inside technical meetings have revealed that they could in fact be on the surface by early November. The news comes as families were allowed to speak by radio-telephone to their trapped loved ones on Sunday. Over the weekend, video images filmed by the miners emerged showing the miners playing dominoes at a table and singing the Chilean national anthem. The miners also used the camera to send video messages to their families on the surface, saying that they regularly broke into tears, but were feeling better having received food and water.

The grainy nightvision images, filmed on a high definition camcorder that was sent down a small shaft to the mine, show the men in good spirits, chanting “long live Chile, and long live the miners.” They are unshaven and stripped to the waist because of the heat underground, and are seen wearing white clinical trousers that have been designed to keep them dry. Giving a guided tour of the area they are occupying, Mario Sepúlveda, one of the miners, explains they have a “little cup to brush our teeth”, and a place where they pray each day. “We have everything organized,” he tells the camera. Gesturing to the table in the center of the room, he says that “we meet here every day. We plan, we have assemblies here every day so that all the decisions we make are based on the thoughts of all 33.” Another unidentified miner asks to rescuers, “get us out of here soon, please.” A thermometer is shown in the video, reading 29.5C (85F).

As the film continues, it becomes evident that the miners have stuck a poster of a topless woman on the wall. The miners appear shy, and one man puts his hand to his face, presumably dazzled by the light mounted on the cameraman’s helmet. One miner sent a message to his family. “Be calm”, he says. “We’re going to get out of here. And we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your efforts.” Another said that the miners are “sure that there are people here in Chile that are big people, that are powerful people, that are intelligent people, and they have the technology and they will all work together to get us out of here.” Speaking to the camera, one says: “we have had the great fortune that trapped in this mine there are good, professional people. We have electricians, we have mechanics, we have machine operators and we will let you know that while you are working to rescue us on the surface, we are down here ready to help you too.” It has been reported that Mario Gómez, 63, has become the group’s “spiritual leader”, having worked in the mines for over fifty years. He has requested that materials to build a shrine be sent down to the cavern.

Upon seeing the video in a private screening, family members, who are living in a small village of tents at the entrance to the San José copper-gold mine—which they have named Camp Hope—were elated. “He’s skinny, bearded and it was painful to see him with his head hanging down, but I am so happy to see him alive”, said Ruth Contreras, the mother of Carlos Bravo, who is trapped in the mine. The video, of which only a small portion has been released to the public, shows the miners, many of them wearing helmets, cracking jokes and thanking the rescuers for their continued efforts. The supplies are being sent to the men through a small shaft only twelve centimeters wide, and a laboratory has been set up with the purpose of designing collapsible cots and miniature sandwiches, which can be sent down such a narrow space.

CNN reported on Friday that “officials are splitting the men into two shifts so one group sleeps while the other works or has leisure time .. On average, each man has lost 22 pounds (10 kilograms) since they became trapped three weeks ago, and dehydration remains a threat. But a survey of the men indicates that at least nine miners are still too overweight to fit through the proposed rescue shaft. Initially, the miners survived by draining water from a water-cooled piece of equipment. To stay hydrated in the 90-degree mine, each miner must drink eight or nine pints of water per day.”

But while there are jubilant celebrations on the surface that the miners are alive, officials are now nervous that the miners could become depressed, trapped in a dark room the size of a small apartment. Chilean health minister Jaime Mañalich said that, on the video, he saw the telltale signs of depression. “They are more isolated, they don’t want to be on the screen, they are not eating well”, he said. “I would say depression is the correct word.” He said that doctors who had watched the video had observed the men suffering from “severe dermatological problems.” Dr. Rodrigo Figueroa, head of the trauma, stress and disaster unit at the Catholic University in Santiago, Chile, explained that “following the euphoria of being discovered, the normal psychological reaction would be for the men to collapse in a combination of fatigue and stress … People who are trained for emergencies – like these miners – tend to minimize their own needs or to ignore them. When it is time to ask for help, they don’t.” NASA has advised emergency workers that entertaining the miners would be a good idea. They are to be sent a television system complete with taped football matches. Another dilemma facing Mañalich is whether the miners should be permitted to smoke underground. While nicotine gum has been delivered to the miners, sending down cigarettes is a plan that has not been ruled out.

With the news that drilling of the main rescue tunnel was expected to begin on Monday, officials have informed the media that they hope to have the miners out of the mine by Christmas—but sources with access to technical meetings have suggested that the miners could actually be rescued by the first week of November. A news report described the rescue plan—”the main focus is a machine that bores straight down to 688m and creates a chimney-type duct that could be used to haul the miners out one by one in a rescue basket. A second drilling operation will attempt to intercept a mining tunnel at a depth of roughly 350m. The miners would then have to make their way through several miles of dark, muddy tunnels and meet the rescue drill at roughly the halfway point of their current depth of 688m.” Iván Viveros Aranas, a Chilean policeman working at Camp Hope, told reporters that Chile “has shown a unity regardless of religion or social class. You see people arriving here just to volunteer, they have no relation at all to these families.”

But over the weekend, The New York Times reported that the “miners who have astonished the world with their discipline a half-mile underground will have to aid their own escape — clearing 3,000 to 4,000 tons of rock that will fall as the rescue hole is drilled, the engineer in charge of drilling said Sunday … The work will require about a half-dozen men working in shifts 24 hours a day.” Andrés Sougarret, a senior engineer involved in operating the drill said that “the miners are going to have to take out all that material as it falls.”

The families of those trapped were allowed to speak to them by radio-telephone on Sunday—a possibility that brought reassurance both the miners and those on the surface. The Intendant of the Atacama Region, Ximena Matas, said that there had been “moments of great emotion.” She continued to say that the families “listened with great interest and they both felt and realized that the men are well. This has been a very important moment, which no doubt strengthens their [the miners’] morale.” The phone line is thought to be quite temperamental, but it is hoped that soon, those in the mine and those in Camp Hope will be able to talk every day. “To hear his voice was a balm to my heart … He is aware that the rescue is not going to happen today, that it will take some time. He asked us to stay calm as everything is going to be OK … He sounded relaxed and since it was so short I didn’t manage to ask anything. Twenty seconds was nothing”, said said Jessica Cortés, who spoke to her husband Víctor Zamora, who was not even a miner, but a vehicle mechanic. “He went in that day because a vehicle had broken down inside the mine … At first they told us he had been crushed [to death].”

Esteban Rojas sent up a letter from inside the mine, proposing to his long-time partner Jessica Yáñez, 43. While they have officially been married for 25 years, their wedding was a civil service—but Rojas has now promised to have a church ceremony which is customary in Chile. “Please keep praying that we get out of this alive. And when I do get out, we will buy a dress and get married,” the letter read. Yáñez told a newspaper that she thought he was never going to ask her. “We have talked about it before, but he never asked me … He knows that however long it takes, I’ll wait for him, because with him I’ve been through good and bad.”

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson dies

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Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson dies
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dave Arneson, co-creator of the first roleplaying game, Dungeons and Dragons, died on Tuesday of cancer, at the age of 61.

A close friend of Arneson, Bob Meyer, reported on April 5 that he had taken a turn for the worse and was admitted to a hospital. Family later confirmed that he was in a facility “where we can focus on keeping him comfortable.” Reported at that time, the doctor indicated that he had days to live.

The Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design in 1984 inducted Arneson into their Hall of Fame. Pyramid Magazine in 1999 named him as one of The Millennium’s Most Influential Persons, “at least in the realm of adventure gaming”.

Arneson started out as a wargamer including naval games. He soon developed some for his personal use due to the major publishers’ slow release of games. With David Wesley and the other members of the Midwest Military Simulation Association, Arneson developed the basis of modern role-playing games with individual miniatures representing one person and having non-military objectives.

Arneson attended the University of Minnesota as a history student. He was a founder, along with Gary Gygax, of the Castle & Crusade Society as a medieval miniature chapter of the International Federation of Wargamers. With Gygax in 1972, he authored Don’t Give Up the Ship!, a naval wargame.

Arneson’s Blackmoor was the first role-playing game, a genre in which players describe their characters in thorough detail and can attempt almost any action the character plausibly could. Ernest Gary Gygax, then a close friend of Arneson, worked with him during 1972–73 to develop the extensive set of rules (in this case three volumes) that such a game requires. This became the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons. With his experience with David Wesley, Arneson tried it with fantasy miniatures free style calling his game, Blackmoor. He then latched on Gygax’s Chainmail miniature game and Fantasy supplement for resolution of battles. He showed Gygax what he was doing. Gygax got involved and started preparing a set of rules to supplement Chainmail. They shopped the game, Dungeons & Dragons, around to various gaming companies but got turned down. Gygax started a business partnership, Tactical Studies Rules, to publish the game in 1974. The game launched a whole new category in gaming.

Although not involved with rulebooks for later editions of D&D, Arneson did create adventure modules for later editions.

Owsley Stanley, icon of 1960s counterculture, dies at 76

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Owsley Stanley, icon of 1960s counterculture, dies at 76
October 17th, 2018 in Uncategorized | No Comments

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Owsley Stanley, mass-producer of LSD, the drug underlying much of the culture of the 1960s California hippie era, died Sunday in a car accident in Australia at the age of 76, his family announced on Tuesday.

According to The New York Times, “Mr. Stanley lent the ’60s a great deal of its color — like White Lightning, Monterey Purple and Blue Cheer, the varieties of his LSD that were among the most popular.”

Stanley, a talented, self-taught chemist who was known for the purity of his LSD, supplied the drug to such music groups as the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, and provided the acid for Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters, whose antics were recorded by Tom Wolfe in the The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. The Rolling Stones once called his acid “the best LSD in the world … the genuine Owsley.”

He was also an early sound engineer and designed the high-fidelity sound system for the live rock concerts of the Grateful Dead, known as the “wall of sound”. It was essentially a massive public address system made up of 600 speakers that enabled musicians to mix their sound from the stage and reduce distortion. His recordings of Grateful Dead live performances, some having been commercially released, are valued as a documentary of their early music.

Sam Cutler, formerly the tour manager of the Rolling Stones, said of Stanley: “He was a very sophisticated man, an amalgam of scientist and engineer, chemist and artist.”

I remember the first time I took acid and walked outside, and the cars were kissing the parking meters

Stanley was born in Kentucky and studied engineering briefly at the University of Virginia before dropping out and joining the Air Force. In 1958, he moved to California and worked at a wide variety of jobs, before enrolling at the UC at Berkeley in 1963, at a time when drug use was pervasive. He got his first taste of LSD in April 1964 which transformed him. “I remember the first time I took acid and walked outside, and the cars were kissing the parking meters,” he said in an interview with the Rolling Stone Magazine in 2007.

Deciding to provide his own LSD to ensure its quality, Stanley created his own lab to produce it. According to The Washington Post, “Working at first from a makeshift bathroom laboratory in Berkeley, Mr. Stanley produced at least 1 million doses of LSD between 1965 and 1967.” His LSD was widely distributed. The lab was raided and he spent two years in prison.

Stanley moved to Australia in the 1980s when he become convinced the Northern Hemisphere would be destroyed in the coming of a new ice age. He lived in the Australian bush near Cairns, Queensland.