khanglexx asked:

Funny how you were talking about Bethesda games and mods a little while back, what are your thoughts on Valve opening up the workshop to paid mods?

To anyone out there in the modding community, I’m going to be really blunt. You’d have to have to be a naive child if you take this offer and put your work on Steam Workshop under the current agreement. Not because you should work for free - I know some mods are supported by Patreon or donations, and that’s fine. Not because of the ethics of a paywall, which is its own can of worms.
It’s because you’re selling your work for an embarrassing 25% of the profits, which is frankly disgusting. It’s an insult to you and the work you do as a programmer and an artist. Let me put this into perspective: if you work as a franchise under McDonalds, they take 12.5% of your sales, but in exchange they’ll run advertisements on all of the local televisions, online, and on billboards around the city. They’ll set you up with a menu, give you training, license toy deals for you to give to the kids, and you can advertise yourself directly with the McDonald’s brand. All this for 12.5% of your sales.
But if you upload your work to Steam Workship, they take 75% of your sales. I’m not even a part of the modding community and it makes me furious to hear that. Look at what McDonald’s provides for 12.5% of your income versus what Bethesda and Steam provide for 75%. Even if you can make the argument that your mod relies on the Bethesda brand, that it relies on Bethesda software, that you have no Right of First Sale here, and that you even should be paying these fees at all for making a mod that actually improves the sales of the original product via third party support, you are still being ripped off to such a degree that it should be criminal.
In all honestly, I think Bethesda and Steam are taking people for a real ride with this deal. They obviously think the modding community is a stupid, fat cow that’s ready for exploitation. And I hate to say it, but if you accept an agreement where you do 100% of the work on that mod and get only 25% of the money for it, forget the rest of the politics, you are being foolish and you are being treated like a fool. Art is hard, guys, but you’ve got to value yourselves more than this.

Memories in the Making

Full article at

Researchers provide new insight into how the brain makes memories.

The research is in Journal of Biological Chemistry. (full access paywall)

Research: “The Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor (GEF) Asef2 Promotes Dendritic Spine Formation via Rac Activation and Spinophilin-dependent Targeting” by J. Corey Evans, Cristina M. Robinson, Mingjian Shi, and Donna J. Webb in Journal of Biological Chemistry doi:10.1074/jbc.M114.605543

Image: This is a fluorescent microphotograph of neurons that shows filapodia extending out from dendrite. Image credit: Webb Lab / Vanderbilt.

Stop sharing accounts! SDR2 thread is at risk of closing!

According to Slow Beef’s recent tweet, the thread is at risk of being gassed. Nobody wants that. In an effort to eliminate shared accounts, Slow Beef is offering upgrades to anyone who can find and autoban a shared account. It’s a great incentive, and it should help to weed out those who can’t follow the site’s rules. Outdated information. The thread is safe. I guess account sharing isn’t as common anymore with the mirror now well-established.

Now, here are my thoughts. Most of you reading this only visit Something Awful for SDR2. I can understand your past frustration with the paywall, but orenronen has already allowed the creation of this mirror. There will obviously never be a paywall here on tumblr, there is no future risk of spoiler banners, and new updates are mirrored very shortly after they are posted in the thread. The first LP has been archived, and the current LP is in progress here on this blog. If you are only interested in Dangan Ronpa, there is absolutely no reason to attempt sharing accounts on Something Awful.

If someone is upset about the paywall, please direct them here. If someone is asking to share an account, please, please direct them here. If you come across a shared account’s login information, I encourage you to get it autobanned to prevent future use. Please spread the word about this mirror, and please be a decent person so we can continue enjoying this fantastic LP.

The Staten Island grand jury must have seen the same video everyone else did: the one showing a group of New York City police officers swarming and killing an unarmed black man, Eric Garner.

Yet they have declined to bring charges against the plainclothes officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who is seen on the video girdling Mr. Garner’s neck in a chokehold, which the department bans, throwing him to the ground and pushing his head into the pavement.

The imbalance between Mr. Garner’s fate, on a Staten Island sidewalk in July, and his supposed infraction, selling loose cigarettes, is grotesque and outrageous. Though Mr. Garner’s death was officially ruled a homicide, it is not possible to pierce the secrecy of the grand jury, and thus to know why the jurors did not believe that criminal charges were appropriate.

What is clear is this was vicious policing and an innocent man is dead. Another conclusion is also obvious. Officer Pantaleo was stripped of his gun and badge; he needs to be stripped of his job. He used forbidden tactics to brutalize a citizen who was not acting belligerently, posed no risk of flight, brandished no weapon and was heavily outnumbered.

Any police department that tolerates such conduct, and whose officers are unable or unwilling to defuse such confrontations without killing people, needs to be reformed. And though the chance of a local criminal case is now foreclosed, the Justice Department should swiftly investigate what certainly seem like violations of Mr. Garner’s civil rights.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton responded quickly to Wednesday’s development, as they did in July, when anguish and anger flared. Mr. de Blasio went immediately to Staten Island to meet with elected officials, clergy members and other community leaders, and he issued a statement urging that New Yorkers outraged by the grand jury’s failure express themselves in peaceful ways.

Protests in New York City on Wednesday unavoidably echoed those in Ferguson, Mo., where an officer escaped indictment for fatally shooting Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager. Protesters in both places have every right to deplore both outcomes, as well as the appalling frequency of fatal encounters between black men and the police.

New Yorkers, at least, have a mayor and Police Department that have not fully squandered their credibility with the public. Mr. de Blasio’s and Mr. Bratton’s vows to retrain the police force top to bottom in defusing conflict, to reduce unwarranted arrests and restore community trust, remain credible, if far from fulfilled.

Those who seek justice should remain hopeful, if skeptical and wary. Indeed, if not for a bystander with a cellphone, the police officers’ version of events would have been the prevailing one: that Mr. Garner “resisted arrest” and had to be subdued.

Mr. Garner, who was 43, and left a wife and six children, cannot speak for himself. But the video, at least, speaks for him. It’s a heartbreaking, damning exhibit, showing Mr. Garner’s final moments alive, and his final words: “I can’t breathe.”

—  The New York Times, The Editorial Board, New Inquiry Needed on Eric Garner’s Death

Neural Activity in the Cerebral Cortex Stimulates Glioma Brain Cancer Growth

Full article at

Deadly brain tumors called high-grade gliomas grow with the help of nerve activity in the cerebral cortex, according to a new study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

The research is in Cell. (full access paywall)

Research: “Neuronal Activity Promotes Glioma Growth through Neuroligin-3 Secretion” by Humsa S. Venkatesh9 Tessa B. Johung, Viola Caretti, Alyssa Noll, Yujie Tang, Surya Nagaraja, Erin M. Gibson, Christopher W. Mount, Jai Polepalli, Siddhartha S. Mitra, Pamelyn J. Woo, Robert C. Malenka, Hannes Vogel, Markus Bredel, Parag Mallick, and Michelle Monje in Cell doi:10.1016/j.cell.2015.04.012

Image: The image is for illustrative purposes only and shows a glioma on the left parietal lobe via a CT scan. Image credit: Mikhail Kalinin.

The Top 5 Best Uses For Your Local Library (That Aren’t Just Books)

H/T to Lifehacker:

  1. Rent A/V Equipment
  2. Get Access To Paywall Content
  3. Find Tickets To Museums, Concerts, And Events
  4. Print Off Legal Forms
  5. Fill Up On E-Books
Stop Calling it Content


With the New York Times finally erecting its paywall last week, I thought it was relevant to write about the subject of content, and how we value it.  A good friend of mine is a film director and the closest person I know to a professional creative person. Despite having directed multiple studio films, my friend still hasn’t found financial success.  He is currently living on the floor of his brother’s house, and is pretty much broke.  And at age 36, he has no plans of giving up any time soon.

I once tried to explain AOL’s business strategy to him – I told him we are trying to produce high quality content for the web – and his response has been ringing in my head ever since: “your first problem is that you’re calling it content.”  He doesn’t live on the floor of his brother’s house so that he can create “content.” He does it to create artful, beautiful, and emotional experiences.  He does what most of us dream of doing as kids and most of us eventually give up on.  It occurred to me that calling it content commoditizes it and sends a message to the creative community that quality doesn’t matter.  It’s not unique to AOL either, everyone in Silicon Valley calls it content - it was eye-opening to see how repulsive that was to my friend and probably to most of Hollywood and the artistic community.

Journalists and reporters are also artists of a certain kind – maybe better described as passionate professionals.  The business model of news distribution is changing dramatically, and we all agree that journalists need to get compensated if we want them to continue the important work they do.  But I would argue that charging consumers to read news articles is not only bad for consumers, it’s also bad for journalists.

I have had a chance to work with hundreds of publishers over the last several years, first heading up business development for Digg, and now as VP of business development at AOL.  Publishers have two revenue models: subscriptions or advertising – and in some cases both.  The benefit of the advertising model is that the publisher and the writer have mutually aligned interests.  They both want as many people reading each story as possible.  The writer gets famous, and the publisher has more pageviews on which to sell more ads.  However with the subscription model, the writer and publisher have misaligned interests because while the writer still wants broad distribution, the publisher wants to keep the best stories locked up for only the paid subscribers to see.   The better writer you become, the less distribution you get.

The New York Times released what seem like complicated rules allowing readers to access up to 20 free articles per month, but the first five clicks from Google don’t count toward that 20, nor do any clicks that come from Facebook. They are trying to delicately balance the conflicting needs of getting massive exposure for a story while still protecting the value of a subscription.  While I think they’ve done an elegant job with a complicated problem, I worry that the underlying model just isn’t feasible.

The fundamental question is whether readers will pay to access stories from one publisher when others offer the same news for free?  Even if you believe that the New York Times writers have the best prose, analysis, and access to newsmakers, is it really $180 a year better than all the other free sources on the web combined?  Then consider that you are probably reading the article on a three-inch screen while stopped at a red light, and it’s even more difficult to justify the subscription model.

If writers need to get paid, subscriptions don’t work, and ads aren’t paying the bills, then what will work?  I think the answer is out there.  One possibility: Netflix reportedly bid close to $100 Million to distribute a TV show with David Fincher and Kevin Spacey.  Netflix is a brand that offers a broad range of value and convenience to consumers, and is enhancing that value proposition with top tier premium shows.  That’s a much easier sell to a consumer than an individual publisher charging to access its own news articles.  I also think there are ad models that will work, but that’s a subject for a different post.

By analogy to what Netflix is doing, an aggregated news reader like Flipboard (or AOL’s upcoming Editions) is something that offers value beyond just the articles.  I could imagine paying a subscription to Flipboard if it gave me access to multiple premium sources, I could read the articles within a really slick interface, it made smart recommendations for me and constantly added features that made my news reading experience better.  Then Flipboard could share that subscription revenue with the publishers.  I think the money is there to pay for the cost of creating and publishing the news, but it is going to take more creativity than we have seen so far in the publishing industry.  As business people, we need to do better.  Let’s start being more creative about how to get creative people paid.

Study Sheds New Light on Brain’s Source of Power

Full article at

New research represents a potentially fundamental shift in our understanding of how nerve cells in the brain generate the energy needed to function. The study shows neurons are more independent than previously believed and this research has implications for a range of neurological disorders.

The research is in Nature Communications. (full access paywall)

Research: “Direct neuronal glucose uptake heralds activity-dependent increases in cerebral metabolism” by Iben Lundgaard, Baoman Li, Lulu Xie, Hongyi Kang, Simon Sanggaard, John D. R. Haswell, Wei Sun, Siri Goldman, Solomiya Blekot, Michael Nielsen, Takahiro Takano, Rashid Deane and Maiken Nedergaard in Nature Communications doi:10.1038/ncomms7807

Image: Scientists have long believed that a support cell found in the brain, called the astrocyte, played an intermediary role in the supplying neurons with energy. This theory is called the lactate shuttle hypothesis.  Image adapted from the University of Rochester press release.

Jeffrey Zeldman's Awesome Internet Design Panel (13/03 @ 5PM)

Web standards pioneer and general icon of the internet Jeffrey Zeldman was one of the first names on my must-see list when skimming through the conference listings. His session this year was titled ‘Jeffrey Zeldman’s Awesome Internet Design Panel’ and the big man began by explaining that the SXSW people demanded he add an adjective to the title, hence 'Awesome’. With him on the panel was designer Dan Mall, Mandy Brown of Typekit and A List Apart, and Roger Black of, er, Roger Black Studio Inc. 

We kicked off with a discussion on web platforms, perhaps the most widely-changing aspect of the web in the past 18 months. Zeldman began with a story about his efforts to check in to his upcoming flight to SXSW from a taxi cab in New York. He entered his details into his airline’s mobile app and clicked the 'log in’ button, only to be taken to their desktop website which required Flash to log in, which inevitably, his iPhone didn’t support. How did this kind of user experience failure occur?

Dan Mall responded by making an interesting point: the choices we make dictate the context we see things in. Sounds obvious perhaps, but he suggested that we buy iPhones to see apps that look iPhone-like, or that we use Chrome (as opposed to Internet Explorer or Firefox) to see websites rendered in a particular fashion. Perhaps this only applies to more technical users who know the difference between Webkit and Gecko, but still noteworthy. Mall did add that when straddling the divide between user and developer, things became tricky to negotiate. Zeldman’s problem with his airline was aided by his understanding of why it failed - an average user would perhaps just feel frustrated that it didn’t work and may have continued to attempt to log in.

Moving on, the panel began to discuss publishing. The advent of plugins like Readability and a new product Roger Black is working on called TreeSaver allow readers to specify how they want to see content, and the advent of web standards means that content is generally separated from presentation, to the benefit of the reader. Zeldman made the point that the entire platform is for content, which makes it odd when some products are designed with the content being the last thing in mind.

The paywall quickly came up and the overwhelming ethos from the panel was “if you have exclusive great stuff, people will pay for it”. Dan Mall suggested that traditional publishers didn’t understand alternative modes of publishing and were attempting to price them at the same rate as their paper-and-ink versions. Mandy Brown joked that many publishers saw the iPad as their saviour, just like they did with the CD-ROM back in the 90s. She also made the point that despite its web-savvy audience, the A Book Apart project’s sales were 75% print.

Discussion turned to content curation - Dan Mall mentioned that he follows so many Twitter users that he almost requires a service to filter them for him; a human-powered content recommendation tool. This for me highlighted the need for journalism in the 21st century - while we could all get our news from Twitter or similar, the role that journalists and editors play in sifting through the noise is absolutely crucial and will always have a place in the way we consume information - no matter how clever Google’s algorithms get.

A question at the end returned to Zeldman’s airline issue and asked whether it was really the fault of the airline - was it Apple’s fault for not supporting Flash? Adobe’s fault for not producing a lightweight version of Flash? Zeldman’s fault for not just using their (working) mobile site? Zeldman responded that while all of those things can be cause for concern, the way to solve these issues is always to simply put the user first. Make the user happy and research their needs, expectations and frustrations and everything else will follow. A good conclusion to a great talk by an iconic figure.

- Matt Andrews

Novel Regulator Inhibits Toxic Protein Aggregates in Huntington’s Disease

Full article at

Huntington’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by huntingtin protein aggregates in a patient’s brain, but how these aggregates form is not well understood. In a study published online today in Genome Research, researchers developed a novel computational strategy to identify interaction partners of the huntingtin protein and discovered a novel factor that suppresses misfolding and aggregation.

The research is in Genome Research. (full access paywall)

Research: “Systematic interaction network filtering identifies CRMP1 as a novel suppressor of Huntingtin misfolding and neurotoxicity” by Martin Stroedicke, Yacine Bounab, Nadine Strempel, Konrad Klockmeier, Sargon Yigit, Ralf P. Friedrich, Gautam Chaurasia, Shuang Li, Franziska Hesse, Sean-Patrick Riechers, Jenny Russ, Cecilia Nicoletti, Annett Boeddrich, Thomas Wiglenda, Christian Haenig, Sigrid Schnoegl, David Fournier, Rona K. Graham, Michael R. Hayden, Stephan Sigrist, Gillian P. Bates, Josef Priller, Miguel A. Andrade-Navarro, Matthias E. Futschik, and Erich E. Wanker in Genomic Research doi:10.1101/gr.182444.114

Image: This shows huntingtin protein aggregates under an atomic force microscope. Scale bar, 500 nm. Image courtesy of Nadine Strempel and Erich Wanker, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.

New York Times Co said on Tuesday it will halve the number of free articles readers can view on its site.

Starting in April visitors to the website will be able to read up to 10 free articles a month, down from 20 free articles previously. The change comes one year after launching the paid digital subscription, which now has 454,000 paid subscribers.

The Times, like other U.S. newspaper publishers, has been struggling with sinking advertising sales and dwindling print subscribers and has focused on improving its digital strategy to replace the lost revenue.

The company started 2012 without a CEO or a digital boss after former CEO Janet Robinson and former digital head Martin Nisenholtz retired.

Read more: New York Times cuts free digital articles by 50 percent

The recent news that Skype has started charging a fee for group videoconferencing may not have come as a surprise to anyone—after all, the company had clearly stated that it was planning to make the feature a pay service once Skype 5.0 exited beta. However, that doesn’t change the fact that one of the best multi-party videoconferencing options for OS X has suddenly disappeared behind a paywall.

Similar Articles:
With Skype 5.0 out of beta, group video chat becomes a premium feature
26th Annual Editors’ Choice Awards: the complete list
Apps with Maps: 11 iPhone GPS apps compared
Smartphones making news at CES
Printing primer: Know your options in Adobe InCopy
Ten changes we’d like to see at the Mac App Store
2011 Predictions: Macworld’s annual forecast of the year ahead
Fear not, though. The intrepid Macworld staff has scoured the Internets to bring you five alternatives to Skype that will let you create a videoconference with your friends while still preserving the sanctity of your wallet. Some of the options are obvious ones, while others are a bit off the beaten path. In all cases, this article only focuses on applications and services that allow multiple users to be connected together in a videoconference, rather than just simple one-to-one conversations.