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Posts by Jonah Feldman

What’s in a Name? The Wizard/Sorcerer Split In Dungeons & Dragons

Is the sorcerer an endangered species?

The latest playtest for the upcoming fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons, known as D&D Next, made a minor but significant change to the Wizard class: its name. It's now the Mage. Aside from the fact that it's gender-neutral and not alphabetically last, what does this say about the future of the D&D wizard and its marginalized sibling, the sorcerer?

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Proposed Internet Error 451 Would Warn Users of Government Censorship

ERROR 451: Civil Rights Not Found

Government censorship of the Internet is becoming more and more common, and in many cases blocked sites are indistinguishable from those that are just not working. That's why the Open Rights Group is proposing a "451 unavailable" error message to appear on those sites to let us know if we're living in a Bradburian dystopia.

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Slimy Biofilms Formed In Space Are Tougher, Thicker, And Display New Structures

Bacteria have mastered classical architecture, in space. What have you done lately?

We're not alone in space... because of the microorganisms we take with us. In space, bacteria builds up and forms biofilms that pose a threat to health and hygiene for spaceflight, so it's important we understand them. A study of biofilm growth showed that in space, biofilms combine in a unique 'column-and-canopy structure' and are more resilient.

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Science Finally Proves That Lumberjacking Is More Manly Than Sports

Express your rage against the trees.

It seems the popular association between testosterone, the hormone associated with masculinity, and competition, may be overstated. Scientists studying an isolated population in Bolivia found that men engaged in competitive sports got a measurably lower boost in testosterone than those who chopped down trees, a non-competitive activity.

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Watch Thorested Development Work Out Some Asgardian Family Issues [VIDEO]

And now the story of the Internet doing another awesome and perfectly appropriate mashup. It's Thorested Development.

And now the story of the Internet doing another awesome and perfectly appropriate mashup. It's Thorested Development.

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Faster Than A Speeding Bullet: Elon Musk Reveals the Hyperloop

Elon Musk worked all night on this? What a procrastinator.

Well, it's here. So here's what's going on with Elon Musk's Hyperloop scheme for building a high-speed maglev transit system, which he calls "a new mode of transport – a fifth mode after planes, trains, cars, and boats."

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Catch the Leaked X-Men: Days of Future Past Trailer While It’s Still Leaked

X-tremely secret stuff.

A leaked trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past from the Fantasia International Film Festival is floating around. We found a link that works (for now!) Take a look before it's taken down by the studio, which probably won't take very long at all.

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Luigi Rides The Chicago “L” Train For Nintendo Promotional Event

"They pull a mushroom, you pull a Fire Flower! That's the Chicago way!"

Mario might have pioneered the platformer game genre, but today his brother Luigi's on a different platform: he's riding a special train on Chicago's Brown Line. Nintendo is promoting New Super Luigi U and the "Year of Luigi" with a specially decorated green train, a decked-out station, and appearances from the character himself.

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Research Suggests No Link Between Cell Phone Use and Car Crashes

Still though, please don't read this article while driving.

A new statistical study of cell phone use has come up with results that surprised the researchers: they found no correlation between a documented rise in cell phone usage and the number of car crashes. While their research might not tell the whole story, it could call into question some assumptions about the dangers of driving while on the phone.

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We’re Anxiously Awaiting Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Announcement

The Internet isn't a series of tubes, but Hyperloop probably is.

PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk is going to lay out his latest futurist idea today at 1:30 PDT (4:30 Eastern). It's called the Hyperloop, and it's a transit system that can go between San Francisco to Los Angeles in only 30 minutes using magnetic levitation and Futurama-esque vacuum tubes.

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Here’s How Scientists Track Interplanetary Dust From Meteor Showers

Dust science: the best science.

The Perseid meteor shower will peak August 11 and 12, but while you're wishing on a shooting star, do you ever wonder what happens to the remains of the meteors that are burning up due to intense friction in Earth's atmosphere? No? What, that's too unromantic a thought? Sorry, but science has some answers for you.

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Scientists Make Electrical Activity In Fruit Flies’ Brain Cells Light Up

Like a cartoon light bulb, but with more genetic engineering and neuroscience.

We know that electricity drives neural impulses in the brain, forming complex networks of neurons, but it's still difficult to trace the electrical activity of the nervous system. Scientists at the Yale School of Medicine have developed a fluorescent protein that may provide a more effective way to map the electrical impulses in brain cells.

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Internet Response League to Crowdsource Disaster Relief From Online Gamers

In which using social media could make you more of a hero than slaying a dragon would.

Ding! Level up, you've just gained 5000 experience points for coordinating disaster relief efforts. That's the goal of the Internet Response League, a group that hopes to harness the multitude of online gamers to use social media to save lives when natural disasters strike.

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Edward Snowden Masks Donned By Brazilian Protesters And Senators

E For EdSnowdendetta, coming to theatres everywhere

Move over, Guy Fawkes. The new face of resistance to government authority is NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and we have the creepy masks to prove it. In Brazil, activists opposed to the NSA's spying programs made masks of Snowden's face, and like-minded senators borrowed them to wear to a hearing.

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Harrison Ford Will Be In The Expendables 3, But Bruce Willis Won’t Be

"It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

If you're not following Sylvester Stallone's Twitter then you have a problem, because tweets sound amazing if you read them in Sylvester Stallone's voice. But more than that, Stallone revealed some amazing news yesterday: Harrison Ford will join the cast of The Expendables 3 for some old-fashioned (pun intended) ass-kicking action.

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John Carmack Joins Oculus Rift Maker As CTO

Virtual reality is virtually reality at this point.

John Carmack, the co-founder of id Software who pioneered 3D graphics and the first-person shooter with Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, and Quake, is moving on to a new level of first-person gaming. It's just been announced that Carmack will be the chief technical officer for Oculus, the company that makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

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150-Gigapixel Panorama Makes Tokyo – And Your Head – Spin

Or did SimCity's just graphics get really realistic?

Take a look at one of the largest digital images ever created, a panoramic view of Tokyo from high atop Tokyo Tower. Photographer Jeffrey Martin, who runs the blog 360Cities, has outdone himself with this view of the city. It had to be stitched together from thousands of individual high-res images, but the end result is stunning to behold.

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ABC Gives Us A New Hope For A Live-Action Star Wars TV Series

But it could still be a long time and a galaxy far far away from happening.

Good news, Star Wars fans, the live-action TV series might be back on! Or maybe bad news, since we've been both looking forward to and dreading every development since Disney acquired Star Wars from George Lucas. The point is, ABC has been talking to Lucasfilm about giving it another shot, so hooray and/or boo!

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The Old Reader Will Stay Open Thanks To Unidentified Benefactor

Just like when Agent Coulson saved Sports Night!

RSS users who switched from the deceased Google Reader to The Old Reader had reason to be worried. The Old Reader threatened to shut out newer users or close altogether. However, it's just been announced that the service will remain open and free to the public thanks to unspecified outside help. Sounds like something Bruce Wayne would do.

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Syrian President Now on Instagram, Because Sure, Why Not

I need help reacting to something.

What do you do when you're a leader who wants to communicate to the world that you're a hip, in-touch dictator? Get on Instagram, naturally. Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is showing off his #yoloswag with photos of himself doing cool things like shaking hands, greeting crowds, visiting the sick, and most certainly not waging a bloody civil war.

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