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Scientific study concludes: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Business, Politics & Money | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 5:33 am

In a recent report from the academic journal Perspectives on Politics, the United States is not a democracy, but is instead, an oligarchy. For those who aren't up with fancy words, this means that the US government is very, very corrupt.

 

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The study's opening question is quite an eye-opener in itself, where it asks: "Who governs? Who really rules?" in the United States. The answer: "Despite the seemingly strong empirical support in previous studies for theories of majoritarian democracy, our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts. Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise".

 

They continue: "But... America's claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened". The findings in the report shows that there is instead "the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories [of America]. When the preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy".

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Oculus VR founder says TVs 'won't be feasible' in the next 10-20 years

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Virtual & Augmented Reality | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 4:31 am

Oculus VR's founder, Palmer Luckey, sat down with Maximum PC recently, where he had some interesting things to say about the future of traditional viewing displays, and big-screen TVs.

 

 

Luckey talked about the resources required to build, ship and sell TVs, adding that the model "just won't be feasible". He continued: "Why in the world would you buy a 60-inch TV that, even if it were dirt cheap for that, it's still going to cost a lot to ship it and make it from raw materials. A VR headset is going to be much better and much cheaper and you can take it anywhere".

 

Some of the benefits of a large TV is that you can get a bunch of friends, or family members, to sit around and watch the same content. Luckey says that VR will soon be capable of doing that, where he adds: "It's all a matter of how good VR has to be. Eventually, VR is going to be good enough - someday, as good or as close to real life. If you want to simulate sitting in a room watching a TV, you'll be able to do that".

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AMD's next-gen Radeon R9 390X teased, codenamed Bermuda

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Video Cards | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 3:55 am

We've only just seen the announcement of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Z, and the proper release of the AMD Radeon R9 295X2 dual-GPU card, but now we're hearing about AMD's next-generation single GPU, the Radeon R9 390X.

 

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If the rumors are true, the Radeon R9 390X has a codename of Bermuda, with a family name of Pirate Islands. The Pirate Islands-based GPUs will be baked onto AMD's 20nm process, succeeding the Volcanic Island GPUs we all know and love today. The Radeon R9 390X would be quite the beast, featuring 4224 Stream Processors, 264 Texture Units (TUs), 96 ROPS, a Core Clock of around 1GHz, Memory Clocks hitting 7GHz or so, and a super-wide 512-bit memory bus.

 

Comparing this against the Radeon R9 290X which is already powerful, the R9 390X will trump it, easily. The R9 290X for comparison sake had 2816 SPs, 176 TUs, 64 ROPS, and similar core and memory clocks depending on the card (third-party cards can overclock very high).

Square Enix shuts its Mumbai, India studio down, six people laid off

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 3:35 am

MCV is reporting that Square Enix has just shut the doors on its Mumbai, India-based offices. Former Square Enix India Vice President, Atul Vibhandik has confirmed the news.

 

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The studio opened its doors in 2013, employing six people - all of which have been laid off. The Mumbai-based studio didn't produce any games at all. The news of the Mumbai office closing its doors come hot on the heels of Square Enix President Yosuke Matsuda stating on April 1 that the company wanted to shift focus from global markets, to concentrate its efforts in JRPGs.

 

Matsuda said: "Regardless of whether they're for smartphone or console, there's a difficult element to developing global titles, so we'll be making them without focusing too much on the 'global' aspect. For example, in the past, when we developed console games with a worldwide premise, we lost our focus, and not only did they end up being games that weren't for the Japanese, but they ended up being incomplete titles that weren't even fit for a global audience".

Artificial blood production on an industrial scale isn't far away

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Science, Space & Robotics | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 3:07 am

In something that feels like it's right out of HBO's 'True Blood,' we're looking at a future of artificial blood, mass manufactured on an industrial scale - in the near future.

 

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Wellcome Trust is behind the research, with scientists working on getting to the point of reaching a trial stage of using artificial blood made from human stem cells. Principal researcher, Marc Turner, has said that his team has made red blood cells that are capable of being used in a clinical transfusion. Professor Turner has talked of a technique to culture red blood cells from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells - cells that have been taken from humans, and 'rewound' into stem cells.

 

From there, biochemical conditions that are similar to what happens inside of the human body are recreated to induce the iPS cells to mature into red blood cells - best of all, in the universal blood type O. Prof Turner explains: "Although similar research has been conducted elsewhere, this is the first time anybody has manufactured blood to the appropriate quality and safety standards for transfusion into a human being".

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Hustle yourself a copy of American Hustle on Blu-ray

By: Ben Gourlay | More News: Contests & Giveaways | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 2:48 am

To celebrate this week's release of American Hustle on home video formats, our friends at Roadshow Home Entertainment have supplied us with copies of the film on Blu-ray to give away to five lucky readers. The 2013 motion picture was released to great critical acclaim, especially of its ensemble cast starring Jennifer Lawrence and Christian Bale, and scored ten Oscar nominations.

 

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To go into the running to take one copy home, simply answer the following question in 35 words or less:

 

How would you invest $2 million of embezzled money?

 

To enter, simply 'like' this post and share via Facebook or Twitter and send your answers, along with your postal address to ben at TweakTown.com before the competition closes on April 18th. The total prize pool is approximately $119.85.

 

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American Hustle is available on Blu-ray + UltraViolet, as well as DVD + UltraViolet combo pack from Australian retailers on April 16th.

Google updates Glass, ditches video calls, but improves photo browsing

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 2:30 am

Google is pushing out an update to Glass, which will see some improvements, and the removal of the function to video call people. Google removed the video call function from Glass as the feature didn't meet Google's "high standards".

 

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The search giant says that around 10% of Glass users were using the video call function, so in light of this, the Glass team made "the hard decision to remove video calls from Glass until the experience is better". Onto the updates, where Glass will not bundle photos together - this is really important, as your timeline can be completely cluttered with photos.

 

The latest update to Glass will bundle all of your photos, videos and vignettes into a single bundle for each day. For someone like me who takes lots of photos and videos per day, my timeline is constantly cluttered - news to my wearable ears!

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Is 4K not enough for you? How about 8K? Detail so high you can feel it

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 1:34 am

During the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Show in Las Vegas just recently, Japan's public broadcasting organization, NHK, showed off an 8K test. This test, according to Mashable, was "so dense with detail that the human eye will not detect additional resolution".

 

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NHK was showing off some footage that included a Japanese fireworks display, a short film by a performing arts troupe, a fashion show, and footage from a soccer game between Brazil and Spain. Mashable editor Josh Dickey said that this footage looked "real" and that it was "spectacular". Dickey talked more about the 8K footage: "The clarity and depth of field truly is uncanny, yet the picture had none of the harsh edges, strange light and "video" vibe of other super-HD displays and high frame-rate demos I've seen. It's somehow cinematic; yet you can focus in on any face in a large crowd and make out every feature at varying distances. It really is like being there".

 

He continued: "3D is already wobbling off to international markets, and if something like 8K ever catches on here, it won't help it. During the fireworks display footage, birds that fly into the shot had me thinking some sparrows had gotten into the place. Stereovision would be overkill". When will 8K penetrate more into the market? Well, the displays and TVs have no current ETA as we need broadcasts and movies to catch up.

Continue reading 'Is 4K not enough for you? How about 8K? Detail so high you can feel it' (full post)

ASRock teases next-generation Intel CPUs for Computex 2014 in June

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Motherboards | Posted: Apr 15, 2014 12:44 am

ASRock is already teasing the next generation of Intel CPUs and motherboards, inviting press to its 9 Series Motherboard launch during Computex 2014. ASRock is holding the session on June 4, just as the event kicks off.

 

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The company will be launching its new 9-series of motherboards, as well as its "latest product features" and exclusive product information to ASRock's closest friends in the media. You can be sure we'll be covering the event itself, and all of the new 9-series products that will be launched at Computex 2014.

Google acquires drone company, Titan Aerospace

By: Charles Gantt | More News: Drones | Posted: Apr 14, 2014 11:45 pm

For weeks now it has appeared that Facebook would be swooping in and buying up drone manufacturer, Titan Aerospace, but today Google has apparently beaten Facebook to the punch and picked up the company itself. While no price has been mentioned on how much the deal cost Google, it does mark the third company of this type that the Mountain View-based company has added to its stables.

 

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"Titan Aerospace and Google share a profound optimism about the potential for technology to improve the world. It's still early days, but atmospheric satellites could help bring internet access to millions of people, and help solve other problems, including disaster relief and environmental damage like deforestation," said a Google spokesperson.

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