Posted by EditorDavid from Slashdot
From the final-rulings department: While NBC News reported on Tuesday that Facebook "has no plan in place to lift the indefinite suspension on President Donald Trump's Facebook account," there was a new twist two days later.

"Facebook on Thursday announced that it will refer its decision to indefinitely suspend the account of former President Donald Trump to its newly instituted Oversight Board," reports CNBC:
The independent body, which has been described as Facebook's "Supreme Court," will review the decision to suspend Trump and make a binding decision on whether the account will be reinstated. Until a decision is made, Trump's account will remain suspended, the company said in a blog post.

The board will begin accepting public comments on the case next week, it said in a tweet. It will have up to 90 days to make its decision, but its members have committed to move as quickly as possible, a spokesman for the body told CNBC. A decision can't be overruled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg or other executives.

"We believe our decision was necessary and right..." Facebook's VP of Global Affairs wrote on their blog, adding "We look forward to receiving the board's decision — and we hope, given the clear justification for our actions on January 7, that it will uphold the choices we made..."

< This article continues on their website >
Chess Looks Wild In 2021 2021-01-23 08:00:01
Posted by Zack Zwiezen from Kotaku
This week we figure out how tall the very big lady from Resident Evil Village is, flip out a Bernie chair, learn what games will be free for Xbox Live Gold subscribers this month, buy 900lbs of PlayStation consoles and check in on chess YouTube in 2021.

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by Chris Moyse from Destructoid
A new report suggests that the as-yet-unannounced remake of Capcom's Resident Evil 4 is currently undergoing something of a restructure. While it was previously reported that Japanese studio M-Two was heading up the project, new whispers from development are claiming that Capcom is taking the wheel after alleged disagreements over the project's direction.

The report, obtained by VGC, suggests that M-Two had expressed a desire to keep its remake of the 2005 horror classic relatively faithful, concerned over the backlash toward changes in 2020's Resident Evil 3. Capcom supposedly see otherwise, wishing to take chances, pointing the well-renowned adventure of Leon and Ashley in a new direction.

As a result, it is being rumored that M-Two's role in the development of Resident Evil 4 is now "significantly reduced", which Capcom allegedly bringing in its Division 1 team, (of Devil May Cry V fame) to perform the majority of the remake's design and development. This team restructure is expected to cause a significant delay to Resident Evil 4, with sources suggesting it will not see the light of day before 2023.

Of course, there's an amusing side-note in the fact that the Resident Evil 4 remake doesn't technically exist - given that Capcom are yet to officially announce the title. But given the commercial success of Resident Evil 2 and Resident Evil 3, as well as the specifically legendary status of the series' fourth mainline entry in the survival horror franchise, such a remake is as about as inevitable as a belly-to-belly suplex on a Los Ganados farmer.

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the what-to-expect department: An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Electric vehicles are close to the "tipping point" of rapid mass adoption thanks to the plummeting cost of batteries, experts say. Global sales rose 43% in 2020, but even faster growth is anticipated when continuing falls in battery prices bring the price of electric cars dipping below that of equivalent petrol and diesel models, even without subsidies. The latest analyses forecast that to happen some time between 2023 and 2025.

The tipping point has already been passed in Norway, where tax breaks mean electric cars are cheaper. The market share of battery-powered cars soared to 54% in 2020 in the Nordic country, compared with less than 5% in most European nations. Prof Tim Lenton, at the University of Exeter, said: "There's been a tipping point in one country, Norway, and that's thanks to some clever and progressive tax incentives. Then consumers voted with their wallets."

Data from Lenton's latest study showed that in 2019, electric vehicles in Norway were 0.3% cheaper and had 48% market share. In the UK, where electric cars were 1.3% more expensive, market share was just 1.6%. Once the line of price parity was crossed, Lenton said, "bang -- sales go up. We were really struck by how non-linear the effect seems to be." BloombergNEF's analysis predicts lithium-ion battery costs will fall to the extent that electric cars will match the price of petrol and diesel cars by 2023, while Lenton suggests 2024-2025. McKinsey's Global Energy Perspective 2021, published on January 15, forecasts that "electric vehicles are likely to become the most economic choice in the next five years in many parts of the world."
Posted by Black Convoy from TFW2005


Attention Canadian collectors. Friend site Cybertron.ca reports that the Transformers Generations Selects Cordon & Spin-Out And Shattered Glass Optimus Prime & Ratchet packs are out in Canada. These special 2-packs were spotted at EB Games in Ontario by Cybertron.ca member Tonestar.  Happy hunting!

The post Transformers Generations Selects Cordon & Spin-Out And Shattered Glass Optimus Prime & Ratchet Packs Out In Canada appeared first on Transformer World 2005 - TFW2005.COM.
Posted by Chris Moyse from Destructoid
[Update: In a welcomed reversal, Microsoft has announced it is not going to change the price of Xbox Live Gold. Not only that, but it is changing its policy on free-to-play games. In the coming months, players will no longer need a paid subscription to play free-to-play games on Xbox consoles.]

Microsoft has announced that it is to increase the cost of its paid online subscription service Xbox Live Gold. The new price program will see a one-month sub increase by $1 ($10.99), a three-month sub increase by $5 ($29.99), and a six-month sub increase by a substantial $20 ($59.99) with prices naturally adjusting for each territories' local currency.

"Periodically, we assess the value and pricing of our services to reflect changes in regional marketplaces and to continue to invest in the Xbox community," Microsoft said on its official blog. "In many markets, the price of Xbox Live Gold has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years."

Microsoft is currently contacting its Xbox Live Gold subscribers, and notes that the new pricing will take effect 45 days after this notice is sent. Microsoft has also clarified that any subscribers who choose to upgrade their Xbox Live Gold accounts to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will carry over any and all remaining time on their current Live Gold account. Thus, if you have 10 months of Xbox Live Gold remaining and choose to upgrade, that will then become 10 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Posted by Chris Moyse from Destructoid
It's Saturday morning, all y'all! And you know what that means. That's right, it's time for us to gather here once again to put the planet to rights and chat about the video games that have (hopefully) kept us all happy and safe and sane in these continuing difficult times. Video games shouldn't always be used purely as an escape from the troubles of the world at large, but the distraction sure is a blessing, giving us a chance to step away from our individual and collective dramas and take an outta sight trip into endless worlds of awesomeness.

This week, your boy Chris Moyse went back through time and space - in a fashion - as I revisited classic '90s platformer/shooter series Turrican, courtesy of ININ Games' upcoming retro release Turrican Flashback, which compiles several titles from the legendary series for the pleasure of fans old and new. I'm afraid I can't offer you a word on how the package holds up just yet - them's the rules - but be sure to keep an eye out for my full review at the start of the coming week.

And that'll be all from me for this week. All that remains is for all of you, our dear community, to jump into the comments and let us know what fun times you've been having this week/weekend. Despite having written this feature every Saturday - bar none - for two years, it still remains one of the most popular and most commented articles of each and every week. Thank you for that. I never, ever take any of you for granted.

Have a safe and pleasant weekend, from all of us at Destructoid.

Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the record-breaking department: SpaceX plans to launch the most satellites ever deployed in a single mission, 143, on Saturday morning from Florida for more than a dozen customers. UPI reports: A 2017 mission by the India Space Research Organization launched 104 spacecraft, which would be the previous record if the SpaceX launch is a success. Liftoff aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station is planned for at 9:40 a.m. EST, but could come up to 42 minutes later in case of a problem. The Transporter-1 mission is the first in a series of regularly scheduled SpaceX rideshare projects for multiple customers. SpaceX also plans to carry 10 of its Starlink communications satellites on this mission.

"The Starlink satellites aboard this mission will be the first in the constellation to deploy to a polar orbit," according to the SpaceX mission description. Polar orbits circle the globe by passing over the North Pole and South Pole, while many satellites circle above equatorial regions. Houston-based space firm Nanoracks is acting as a broker to arrange some customers for the launch, said Tristan Prejean, a mission manager at Nanoracks. Nanoracks' two customers for Transporter-1 are two satellite companies, California-based Spire Global and Montreal-based GHGSat. Spire launches fleets of small satellites that monitor weather and patterns for shipping for aviation interests. GHGSat monitors industrial emissions of gasses from space -- especially greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the rest-in-peace department: We have learned that Brad Cox, computer scientist known mostly for creating the Objective-C programming language with his business partner Tom Love, died on January 2, 2021 at his residence. He was 76. From a Legacy.com post: Brad was born on May 2, 1944 in Fort Benning, Georgia, to the late Nancy Hinson Cox and Dewey McBride Cox of Lake City, South Carolina. Brad grew up on the family's dairy farm in South Carolina but found himself most interested in science. After graduating from Lake City High School, he received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Organic Chemistry and Mathematics from Furman University, and his Ph.D. from the Department of Mathematical Biology at the University of Chicago, and worked on an early form of neural networks. He soon found himself more interested in computers and got a job at International Telephone and Telegraph (ITT) and later joined Schlumbeger -- Doll Research Labs, and ultimately formed his own Connecticut startup, Productivity Products International (PPI) later named Stepstone.

Among his first known software projects, he wrote a PDP-8 program for simulating clusters of neurons. He worked at the National Institutes of Health and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute before moving into the software profession. Dr. Cox was an entrepreneur, having founded the Stepstone Company together with Tom Love for releasing the first Objective-C implementation. Stepstone hoped to sell "ICPaks" and Dr. Cox focused on building his ICPak libraries and hired a team to continue work on Objective-C, including Steve Naroff. The late Steve Jobs', NeXT, licensed the Objective-C language for it's new operating system, NEXTSTEP. NeXT eventually acquired Objective- C from Stepstone. Objective-C continued to be the primary programming language for writing software for Apple's OS X and iOS.
Posted by Alexandra Hall from Kotaku
Following widespread customer backlash, Microsoft released a statement walking back its Friday morning announcement of sweeping price increases for the Xbox Live Gold subscription service.

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by Chris Moyse from Destructoid
[Update: In a welcomed reversal, Microsoft has announced it is not going to change the price of Xbox Live Gold. Not only that, but it is changing its policy on free-to-play games. In the coming months, players will no longer need a paid subscription to play free-to-play games on Xbox consoles.]

Microsoft has announced that it is to increase the cost of its paid online subscription service Xbox Live Gold. The new price program will see a one-month sub increase by $1 ($10.99), a three-month sub increase by $5 ($29.99), and a six-month sub increase by a substantial $20 ($59.99) with prices naturally adjusting for each territories' local currency.

"Periodically, we assess the value and pricing of our services to reflect changes in regional marketplaces and to continue to invest in the Xbox community," Microsoft said on its official blog. "In many markets, the price of Xbox Live Gold has not changed for years and in some markets, it hasn’t changed for over 10 years."

Microsoft is currently contacting its Xbox Live Gold subscribers, and notes that the new pricing will take effect 45 days after this notice is sent. Microsoft has also clarified that any subscribers who choose to upgrade their Xbox Live Gold accounts to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate will carry over any and all remaining time on their current Live Gold account. Thus, if you have 10 months of Xbox Live Gold remaining and choose to upgrade, that will then become 10 months of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

Posted by from MMO Champion
Activision's Vicarious Visions Merged into Blizzard

Patch 9.0.2 Hotfixes - January 22, 2021

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

Achievements

Fixed an issue where Fallen Acolyte Ersine would not grant credit for the achievement Adventurer of Bastion.

Classes

Hunter

Marksmanship

Explosive Shot (Talent) will now only show up as a debuff on the enemy's nameplate for the Hunter who casts it.

Mage

Will to Survive (Human Racial) and Gladiator's Medallion trinket will no longer prevent Mages from pressing Alter Time again to return to their previous location.

Shaman

Using Spiritwalker's Grace while already channeling Fae Transfusion (Night Fae Ability) will no longer interrupt Fae Transfusion's channel.

Spiritwalker's Grace now allows you to use Fleshcraft (Necrolord Ability) while moving.

Covenants

Venthyr

The point of interest indicator for “Beast Control” should now be easier to see on the map.

Prince Renathal’s Decree is now removed from your inventory after turning in “Fangs and Minds.”

Creatures and NPCs

Fixed an issue where some Horde characters could not see the refugees from the Undercity in Orgrimmar and some Alliance characters could not see the refugees from Teldrassil in Stormwind.

Dungeons and Raids

Castle Nathria

Lady Inerva Darkvein

Bottled Anima no longer targets player pets and guardians.

Mists of Tirna Scithe

Tirnenn Villager’s Overgrowth can no longer gain the Bolstered effect on Mythic Keystone difficulty.

Mistcaller

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the distorting-online-conversations department: An anonymous reader quotes a report from Scientific American: Twitter accounts run by machines are a major source of climate change disinformation that might drain support from policies to address rising temperatures. In the weeks surrounding former President Trump's announcement about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, accounts suspected of being bots accounted for roughly a quarter of all tweets about climate change, according to new research. "If we are to effectively address the existential crisis of climate change, bot presence in the online discourse is a reality that scientists, social movements and those concerned about democracy have to better grapple with," wrote Thomas Marlow, a postdoctoral researcher at the New York University, Abu Dhabi, campus, and his co-authors. Their paper published last week in the journal Climate Policy is part of an expanding body of research about the role of bots in online climate discourse.

The new focus on automated accounts is driven partly by the way they can distort the climate conversation online. Marlow's team measured the influence of bots on Twitter's climate conversation by analyzing 6.8 million tweets sent by 1.6 million users between May and June 2017. Trump made his decision to ditch the climate accord on June 1 of that year. President Biden reversed the decision this week. From that dataset, the team ran a random sample of 184,767 users through the Botometer, a tool created by Indiana University's Observatory on Social Media, which analyzes accounts and determines the likelihood that they are run by machines.

< This article continues on their website >
Allow Captcha 2021-01-22 19:40:01
Posted by Randall Munroe from XKCD
To prove you're human, please click all the number pairs that appear together in your Social Security number.
Posted by from MMO Champion
Upcoming PvP Tuning Changes for January 26

Originally Posted by Blizzard
(Blue Tracker / Official Forums)

We’re working on a new set of PvP tuning changes that will be applied to the game with weekly maintenance in each region (January 26 in this region). Here’s what we’re currently testing:

Player vs. Player

Players now deal 20% less damage to Death Knight, Hunter, and Warlock pets.

In 2v2 Arenas, Dampening will begin at 20% when both teams have either a tank or healer.

Druid

Convoke the Spirits no longer casts Full Moon and Feral Frenzy when engaged in combat with enemy players.

Mage

Triune Ward (legendary) now provides 50% effective barriers (was 65%) in PvP situations.**

Fire

Infernal Cascade (conduit) effectiveness reduced by 33% in PvP situations.

Paladin

Holy

Divine Favor (Honor Talent) cooldown increased to 30 seconds (was 25 seconds), and now increases cast speed by 30% (was 60%).

Protection, Retribution

Word of Glory’s healing has been reduced by 20% in PVP situations.

As always, we’ll post updates if we make changes to the changes, and the final adjustments will appear in our hotfixes update soon after they go live.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the downward-spiral department: US greenhouse gas emissions tumbled below their 1990 level for the first-time last year as a result of the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The BBC reports: A preliminary assessment from research group Rhodium says that overall emissions were down over 10%, the largest fall since World War II. Transport suffered the biggest decline, with emissions down almost 15% over 2019. Energy emissions also fell sharply, due to a decline in the use of coal. With stay-at-home orders in place, economic activity ground to a halt in March and April and this had significant implications for greenhouse gas emissions.

In transport, the restrictions on international travel and non-essential journeys saw demand for fuel fall sharply. At the peak of restrictions demand for jet fuel was down 68% on 2019, with petrol down 40%. They have both bounced back as travel bans were eased later in the year but jet fuel demand was still 35% down in December compared to the previous year. When it comes to electricity though the picture is more complicated. Overall the demand for electricity was down just 2% but emissions fell by over 10%. After decades of dominance, coal in 2020 was the third largest source of power, behind natural gas and nuclear. Renewables now supply 18% of power, the report says, just behind coal with 20% of the market.
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the new-and-shiny department: Honor, the Chinese smartphone brand formerly owned by Huawei, launched the V40, its first device since being sold off. CNBC reports: Huawei sold Honor, its budget smartphone brand, in November to a consortium of buyers in China, as a way to help the unit survive in the face of U.S. sanctions. In 2019, Huawei was put on a U.S. export blacklist called the Entity List which restricted American firms from selling certain components to the Chinese technology giant. This included both semiconductors and software.

Honor's new smartphone is called the V40. It boasts a 6.72-inch display and comes in three colors: silver, black and rose gold. Honor talked up the phone's graphics processing and touchscreen capabilities, features that enhance gaming on the device, a popular use of smartphones in China. It has the ability to connect to next-generation 5G mobile networks, a key requirement in China which is the world's largest market for 5G phones. The V40 uses a key 5G chip from Taiwan's MediaTek, a company which became China's number one smartphone semiconductor supplier in 2020. Honor's V40 starts at 3,599 yuan ($556) for the 128GB storage option and 3,999 yuan for the 256GB version. It will be released in China but it is unclear if it will be launched internationally.
Posted by Ian Walker from Kotaku
Earlier today, Activision announced Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 developer Vicarious Visions had been absorbed by Blizzard to provide support on future projects. A few hours later, we now know that one of those projects is a Diablo II remake.

< This article continues on their website >
Posted by BeauHD from Slashdot
From the IT-infrastructure department: Darrell Etherington reports via TechCrunch: Web infrastructure company Cloudflare is releasing a new tool today that aims to provide a way for health agencies and organizations globally tasked with rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to maintain a fair, equitable and transparent digital queue -- completely free of charge. The company's Project Fair Shot initiative will make its new Cloudflare Waiting Room offering free to any organization that qualifies, essentially providing a way for future vaccine recipients to register and gain access to a clear and constantly-updated view of where they are in line to receive the preventative treatment.

On the technical side, Cloudflare Waiting Room is simple to implement, according to the company, and can be added to any registration website built on the company's existing content delivery network without any engineering or coding knowledge required. Visitors to the site can register and will receive a confirmation that they're in line, and then will receive a follow-up directing them to a sign-up page for the organization administering their vaccine when it's their turn. Further configuration options allow Waiting Room operators to offer wait time estimates to registrants, as well as provide additional alerts when their turn is nearing (though that functionality is coming in a future update).

Waiting Room was already on Cloudflare's project roadmap, and was actually intended for other high-demand, limited supply allocation items: Think must-have concert tickets, or the latest hot sneaker release. But the Fair Shot program will provide it totally free to those organizations that need it, whereas that would've been a commercial product. Interested parties can sign up at Cloudflare's registration page to get on the waitlist for availability.
Posted by Ash Parrish from Kotaku
In my push to finish Final Fantasy XV before it leaves Xbox Game Pass I had hoped to make up for lost time. Doing the math, I figured I’ll need to cover an average of five hours a day. But after Day Two I only have a grand total of seven hours clocked on my save file; I’m still three hours behind.

< This article continues on their website >
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