With their live stream of the iPhone 6 release on September 9, 2014, Apple found themselves in a unique position: On the shoulders of their latest release, they’ll either get lost in the crowd of their competitors, or they’ll catapult a thriving tech industry into an even more advanced era—with Apple firmly at the helm.

10What They’re Giving Us

The Apple Live Event began with a promise of the biggest event in iPhone history. That was invariably going to be true, but it says nothing about the impact on the mobile industry as a whole. After all, every product is supposed to be better than its predecessor, regardless of brand.

What they did unveil were the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, and the Apple Watch—one new phone, a bigger version of it, and one new phone accessory. The buzz over everything is tremendous, but when you get down to it they aren’t offering much that hasn’t already been given to us: The iPhone 6 has a 12-centimeter (4.7 in) screen, but the Samsung Galaxy S5′s screen is already 13 centimeters (5.1 in). The 6 Plus is outmatched by at least four other phones already on the market.

There are plenty of other statistics to get into, but what it all boils down to is that, point by point, there’s a smartphone in existence that rivals nearly every feature the iPhone 6 gives us. What Apple has done that dominates every competitor is simple: They gave it all to us in one package. And that, more than anything, is why Apple is going to be the king of mobile for a long time to come. Let’s break it down.

9They’re Growing Despite The Odds

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Every good business knows that you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing if you want to stay in business. If they lower their prices, you have to do the same to make sure your customers keep buying your product. The problem is, Apple doesn’t do that. While the majority of Android and Microsoft phones are priced below $200, Apple has precisely zero phones that fall below that threshold.

Analysts have been saying for years that Apple is on the verge of tanking as their competitors catch up in terms of quality, and they’re still saying it. But despite all the odds, Apple has always outperformed them in sales, even with prices up to three times higher than what everyone else is charging. What really drives the point home is how computers are usually separated: It’s either Mac or PC, never mind the fact that there are dozens of current PC manufacturers and just as many that have already gone bankrupt. Through all the chaos, Apple slowly climbs in every market they enter.

8They’re Killing Other Industries

One of the main features presented in the Apple Live Event was the camera in the iPhone 6. Just a few years ago, the general consensus was that “no smartphone cameras can shoot video well.” Now, Apple’s taking a camera that can shoot 240 frames per second and running it as a standard feature in their smartphones. The video above was shot with an iPhone 6, if you want an idea of how that looks (make sure you have the quality set to the highest level). A stand-alone camera that can do that runs upward of $300, which honestly makes the iPhone’s price seem slightly less exorbitant.

And that’s big news not because it raises the bar for smartphone cameras, but because it’s going to keep pounding into the makers of regular cameras. Nikon, a popular camera maker and one of the kings of point-and-click cameras, has seen their sales dropping for years. Olympus, Canon, and Sony are also bleeding sales.

That’s not saying that any of those companies are going out of business soon, but smartphones like the iPhone 6 are quickly rendering their lower-value products obsolete. It’s no longer possible to look at Apple as simply a computing company, or even a mobile company. Everything they put into their products borrows from other industries—it’s what they do best. And each time Apple does that, those other industries take a hit.

7They’re Combating The Fear Of Theft

Earlier in 2014, Home Depot had a massive data breach in its payment systems. Before that, Target fell victim to data theft. There’s an inherent cult of fear surrounding digital payments like a dark cloud, and that’s hindered the progress of potentially innovative systems that let you pay for something with a smartphone.

With the Apple Pay feature on new iPhones, Apple might have a chance to eliminate that fear. With their system, paying for something—such as a cup of coffee—is a simple matter of tapping your iPhone against a digital reader at the checkout desk. To add a credit card to your account, you just take a picture of the card with your phone. It’s safe, Apple says, because if anybody steals your phone, you can click a button to stop the payments from working—after all, it’s not like the thief stole your actual credit card.

There have already been a few pioneers in the “wallet-free payment” field, including Paypal and Square Inc., but they’ve been slow to take off because of the distrust that a lot of people still harbor for keeping sensitive bank information in a smartphone. Whether Apple’s system will work is still to be seen, but with digital transactions projected to reach $90 billion annually in 2017, someone needs to bring it into the mainstream, and Apple just did.

6They Know How To Sell A Technology

The past two years have been a big time for smartwatches. All the tech giants—including Sony, LG, and Samsung—have released their own versions, but few have made as big a splash as the Apple Watch . . . even though it won’t even be released for several more months. But why? Why is Apple CEO Tim Cook calling the Apple Watch “a breakthrough product” when there are already so many options out there?

It’s the same reason the iPhone, iPad, and iPod were also considered “breakthroughs,” even though they weren’t the first smartphone, tablet, or MP3 player: Apple is simply the best in the business at making something easy to use and attractive. And by waiting until the reviews were in on other smartwatches, Apple was able to come out with something so seamless that we’ll likely look back at the Apple Watch as the first real smartwatch. That’s the same way we consider the iPad to be the first real tablet even though tablets had already existed for over a decade. Sneaky, but effective.

5They Can Effectively Bridge Technology Gaps

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Google Glass has a bad rep. It’s been in a state of partial release for over a year, and already the reviews are less than kind. The problem people have with it is, essentially, that it looks stupid. There’s an embedded psychological resistance that people have toward technological change, and it has a huge effect on the success of new technologies. Anything that abruptly changes what most people would consider “normal” is going to have a much harder time taking off than a technology that comes wrapped in something familiar.

That’s why Google Glass is predicted to tank while the Apple Watch is going to take off. There’s no bridge between Glass and what we’re used to, but the Apple Watch, well, it’s a wristwatch. Regardless of the fact that it brings a series of new interactive technologies to the table and will probably be a launchpad for future wearable technology, it’s still something that we can be comfortable with. It’s this same reason that most people don’t know about other highly innovative tech, like the Muse brainwave headband—technology can only move as fast as it’s accepted.

4They Still Offer Innovative Features

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Regardless of who came up with an idea first or how many backs need to be broken to carry a product to the top of a market, Apple is still one of the top innovators in their field, and the Apple Watch embodies that fact wholeheartedly. Case in point, Apple Watch is the first mobile platform that integrates useful functions that go beyond sight and sound.

Haptic tech is basically touch feedback. Any phone that has a vibrate setting is using haptics, but Apple Watch takes it a step further. On the back of the watch—the side pressed against the wrist—are several actuators that give the wearer a tap when they get a notification. But the innovation is tied into their navigation app, Apple Maps. When you activate GPS directions, a different tap tells you whether to turn left or right. You don’t even need to look at the watch.

Why is that important? It’s a simple enough addition, but the smartphone industry is predominantly sight-and-sound based. New features and upgrades invariably boost the quality of the screen or the speakers. This is a step in a direction that integrates more of the senses, and like just about everything Apple does, it doesn’t break new ground by itself so much as it sets the bar for what can be accomplished in the future.

3They’re Connecting Technology To Us

Just as keyboards are predicted to be rendered largely obsolete within the next decade or so, touch screens aren’t going to last forever, either. Technology is forever changing, and the current trend is already moving past this relatively new technology into more personal—more natural—ways to communicate with computers. The Microsoft Kinect is a good pioneer example of this—it uses motion capture to send commands to your Xbox.

The Apple Watch, in addition to its haptic sensors, features a heart rate monitor, an internal gyroscope, and an accelerometer, all of which are intended to keep track of you without the need for any conscious input. GPS keeps track of you wherever you go and, in the case of the built-in fitness app, it learns about you over time. To some people that’s incredible; to others it’s terrifying—regardless, it’s the direction technology is heading, and Apple is making it happen more than anybody. Heck, even their headphones detect when your ears are present.

2They’re Connecting The World

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Imagine being able to control all the locks, lights, thermostats, doors, and switches in your home from one central hub. Imagine being able to turn on your TV or radio with a single voice command, or start the oven from your bedroom. It’s something we’ve seen in movies, and it’s something Apple is working on.

Apple isn’t connecting the world in the sense that we’re all going to hold hands around the equator; their goal is a little more plausible: They’re making every gadget we own part of one centralized network. Everything from the homes we live in to the cars we drive will be just an iPhone tap away. It’s already happening, too—as soon as Apple announced their HomeKit, other companies scrambled to begin building products that would be compatible with Apple’s service.

Google is hard at work on a competitor home network, but while they’re fiddling with thermostats, Apple is taking the Edison approach: They’re letting other companies figure out the cool little gadgets while they happily play the mediator that connects it all together.

1Inductive Charging

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The future of technology is going to be largely wireless, and we’re already there as far as Internet connections and communication goes. But one area that still needs a big boost in the wireless world is electricity. No matter how much you can do on your smartphone, you still need to plug it in every few days (or every day, if you have an iPhone).

Conversely, the Apple Watch uses an inductive charger that magnetically clips onto the back of the phone and automatically aligns so that the charge can go through. There’s no need to wiggle a micro-USB into a tiny port; just hold it close enough and the magnets do the rest. As Apple says, you can do it in the dark without looking. Is it easy? Sure. Is it new? No—smartphones have been able to do that for years. But that’s what it’s all about. Apple isn’t going to control the future of mobile technology because they’re bigger or better—they’re going to control it because they’re easier, and that’s what we all really want.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2014/09/10/10-reasons-apple-will-control-the-future-of-mobile-technology/

Countless children grow up wanting to be just like their favorite superheroes. I know I idolized Spider-man when I was a kid (and I don’t think I’m alone in that sentiment). Well, some people took that dream and made it a reality. People are starting to dress up like heroes and they are actually doing some pretty heroic deeds.

1.) KnightVigil

1.) KnightVigil reallifesuperheroes KnightVigil, a religious super hero, has a specific message for the people of his community and beyond—and it’s not necessarily Scripture. For him, it’s all about neighbors helping neighbors, getting together to make a difference by building community. And his striking costume, which evokes references to the knights of medieval times, goes a long way toward delivering that message.

2.) Angle-Grinder Man

2.) Angle-Grinder Man whatpoll Angle-Grinder Man patrols by night looking for unhappy drivers who have been clamped and then sets their cars free. He promises to take on clamping firms, speed cameras and the congestion charge on behalf of drivers. An odd-job man by day, he claims to operate in Kent during the week and in London on weekends.

3.) Mr. Xtreme

3.) Mr. Xtreme reallifesuperheroes “I’ve been a volunteer crime-fighter for more than 10 years now,” Mr. Extreme says, “but the thing that really made me get involved in this is that I myself have been a victim of violent crime and have also come from a struggling background. I’ve been jumped by gang members, bullied at school, and I was molested as a child,” he revealed. But from the gauntlet of those experiences, Mr. Xtreme was born.

4.) Captain Ozone

4.) Captain Ozone whatpoll This time-traveler from the year 2039 was sent to Earth on a mission to save us from our ill-fated future. Braving a range of semi-heroic deeds, Captain Ozone is hard at work saving endangered species, promoting renewable energy and ecological art, and teaching school children how to become environmental activists.

5.) Ragensi

5.) Ragensi reallifesuperheroes In a City of Angels, Ragensi has come to know its demons. Referring to himself as a “Paranormal Investigator and Masked Adventurer Extraordinaire,” Ragensi utilizes his knowledge of paranormal activity to occupy a very unique niche in the world of real life super heroes.

6.) Knight Owl

6.) Knight Owl reallifesuperheroes Being first means everything to Knight Owl, a Real Life Superhero working and living in the Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR areas. Being first means answering a call when no one else can—or will. It means minimizing a victim’s trauma, with the safety of all concerned in mind. Being first, simply, means saving lives. Trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT), Knight Owl is currently working toward his certification as a paramedic.

7.) Dark Guardian

7.) Dark Guardian whatpoll The Dark Guardian has been dubbed, what the media calls a Real Life Superhero. He is here to show the world there are people that care to make a difference, people that will stand against what is wrong in our society, stand up to the bad guys, help those in need, and change the world for the better. He uses the iconic appearance of comic book superheroes to make a difference, inspire others, spread a positive message, and call attention to issues in his community. He works to help make a difference by doing civic activities, crime fighting, charity work, safety patrols, hospital visits, school talks, distributing wanted and missing person fliers, helping the homeless, community clean ups, and more.

8.) Nyx

8.) Nyx reallifesuperheroes Recognizing that poor people must often make hard choices between housing, food, child care, health care and education, Nyx knew she had to act. “Being poor means being an illness, an accident or a paycheck away from living on the streets,” she says, “and that makes the homeless easy targets on many levels.” That’s why she feels the strong need to protect these vulnerable individuals any way she can, from car patrols to foot patrols, to anonymous reporting to the city police department.

9.) Entomo

9.) Entomo heroesinthenight Entomo is the insect man, a crimefighting detective who seeks to protect the people of Naples as well as the environment. He claims to be the sum of all the powerful, silent and venomous small creatures inhabiting this world. He is also a synthesis, the human-like swansong of millions of races. He employs his faculties in saving what is left to save and destroying what doesn’t fit in the bigger scheme of equilibrium.

10.) Phantom Zero

10.) Phantom Zero reallifesuperheroes Phantom Zero’s journey began in a densely populated, highly urbanized town across the river from New York City. There, he went on regular patrols and came to realize that the local police were doing a fine job of keeping the neighborhood safe. His focus then shifted upon moving to a smaller town in Central New Jersey, and he now devotes most of his energies to working one-on-one, helping often random people through their personal crises, steering them toward resources or organizations to further them along their journeys.

11.) Civitron

11.) Civitron reallifesuperheroes A superhero living and working in Massachusetts, Civitron is an “artistic representation of self, a father, family man, and creative director of socially-conscious events and projects.” Much like a hip-hop artist will adopt a stage name and persona, Civitron exists as “my ambassador to the world and a symbol of creative altruism,” he says, while still allowing him a comfortable level of anonymity. “Instead of fighting ‘crime,’ I seek justice,” he continues, “I prefer direct social and emotional contact with the public as opposed to sticking to the shadows.”

12.) Polarman

12.) Polarman zimbio While a snow-shovelling hero from an isolated Canadian town of less than 7,000 might seem laughable, Polar Man has truly made a difference. Not only does he clear walkways for the elderly, he also tidies playgrounds in the summer and takes a keen interest in participating in community events.

13.) Zetaman

13.) Zetaman reallifesuperheroes While Zetaman patrols the seediest parts of Portland ready for anything, he’s never had to apprehend any criminals. More often than not, Zetaman spends his nights handing out gloves, sandwiches and other useful items to Portland’s less fortunate residents.

14.) Superbarrio Gomez

14.) Superbarrio Gomez italorondinella Superbarrio Gómez is a Mexican high school dropout that wears red tights and a red and yellow wrestler’s mask. Rather than fight crime and corruption with violence, he uses his image to organize labor rallies and protests, and file petitions.

15.) Capital City Super Squad

15.) Capital City Super Squad knollsranger The Capital City Super Squad is a volunteer organization using superhero identities to inspire and help the people living, working and traveling in Washington DC. The Capital City Super Squad engages in civic activities in the guise of superheroes to help people during safety patrols, community events, fundraisers and other activities. At this current time they have seven active members; Captain Prospect, team leader; Nice Ninja; Spark; Siren; Justice; DC Guardian and The Puzzler.

16.) Citizen Prime

16.) Citizen Prime reallifesuperheroes His bat mobile is a Nissan X-Terra. His weapon of choice is a cell phone. He is Citizen Prime, an anti-crime activist on a mission reminiscent of The Guardian Angels, but with a comic book flair. He takes photographs of evil-doers in the act and calls the cops. Call me crazy, but calling the cops to report loitering teenagers smoking pot out back of the Circle K probably doesn’t require a $4,000 suit of body armor.

 These people are making a difference in the community, even if it’s a little strange (and dangerous).

Read more: http://viralnova.com/real-superheroes/

More than 30 years hooked on kickass playtime.

1. Spanish art director and self-confessed gamer Javier Laspiur paid homage to his beloved hobbie in a photo series titled “Controllers,” documenting classic game controllers of the past three decades.

22 Classic Game Controllers Held In One Man's Hands

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

2. Each photo, placed in a Polaroid-esque frame, showcase the dates Laspiur first played the video consoles, starting with the prehistoric Teletenis, a gadget released in the mid 70s in Spain.

Each photo, placed in a Polaroid-esque frame, showcase the dates Laspiur first played the video consoles, starting with the prehistoric Teletenis, a gadget released in the mid 70s in Spain.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

3. Then off to a lesser known artifact by Casio.

Then off to a lesser known artifact by Casio.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

4. The humble Atari joystick.

The humble Atari joystick.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

5. The one that needs no introduction whatsoever.

The one that needs no introduction whatsoever.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

6. Sega’s MasterSystem, aKa 8-bit Heaven.

Sega's MasterSystem, aKa 8-bit Heaven.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

7. Nintendo’s groundbreaking Game Boy.

Nintendo's groundbreaking Game Boy.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

8. Two of Sega’s standards, the Mega Drive…

Two of Sega's standards, the Mega Drive...

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

9. …and the Game Gear.

...and the Game Gear.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

10. The all-mighty Super Nintendo.

The all-mighty Super Nintendo.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

11. Its rival, the Sega Mega-CD, home to the controversial “Night Trap.” Remember that one?

Its rival, the Sega Mega-CD, home to the controversial "Night Trap." Remember that one?

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

12. The last of the fifth generation of video consoles, the Nintendo 64.

The last of the fifth generation of video consoles, the Nintendo 64.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

13. And its less superior competitor, the failed Sega Saturn.

And its less superior competitor, the failed Sega Saturn.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

14. Onto the new age with the original Sony Playstation.

Onto the new age with the original Sony Playstation.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

15. The toy-ish Indigo controller from Nintendo GameCube.

The toy-ish Indigo controller from Nintendo GameCube.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

16. The ahead-of-its-time but short-lived Sega Dreamcast, home to “Shenmue,” the most expensive video game ever produced upon release in 2000.

The ahead-of-its-time but short-lived Sega Dreamcast, home to "Shenmue," the most expensive video game ever produced upon release in 2000.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

17. The superior PS2.

The superior PS2.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

18. The original Xbox, by Microsoft.

The original Xbox, by Microsoft.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

19. The always handy pair of PSP…

The always handy pair of PSP...

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

20. …and the Nintendo DS.

...and the Nintendo DS.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

21. That annoying Nunchuck and Remote from Nintendo Wii.

That annoying Nunchuck and Remote from Nintendo Wii.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

22. The brilliant but costy PS3.

The brilliant but costy PS3.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

23. And last but not least, Sony’s PS Vita.

And last but not least, Sony's PS Vita.

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Javier Laspiur / Via behance.net

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/diegomartinezy/22-classic-game-controllers-held-in-one-mans-hand-uqnn

September is here, summer is drawing to a close, but not to worry – it’s going to be a bloody good month to go to the cinema.

Check out some of the films we’re looking forward to seeing here:

Sausage Party (02/09)

Whats it about?Food items are horrified to discover what actually happens after humans take them home from the supermarket.

Whos in it?Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, James Franco, Michael Cera and Salma Hayek.

Is it good?It’s probably the weirdest film you’ll see all year, but it’s hilarious.

Don’t Breathe (09/09)

Whats it about? A group of friends attempt to rob a wealthy blind man, but they quickly find out that he’s a lot more capable (and violent) than they’d thought…

Whos in it? Stephen Lang, Jane Levy and Dylan Minnette

Is it good?Reviews have been very positive, and people are already suggesting that this could be the best horror of the year…

Blair Witch (15/09)

Whats it about?After James finds a video that he believes shows his (missing) sister in the notorious Blair Witch woods, he and a group of friends head there themselves, hoping to find her.

Whos in it?Corbin Reid, Wes Robinson and Valorie Curry.

Is it good?We haven’t seen it yet, but director Adam Wingard (V/H/S, You’re Next) claims it’s his scariest movie yet.

Cafe Society (02/09)

Whats it about? A young New Yorker moves to 1930s Los Angeles, and promptly falls in love with his uncle’sbeautiful young secretary.

Whos in it?Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell and Blake Lively

Is it good?Reviews have been largely positive, with loyal fans of Woody Allen sure to enjoy his most recent effort.

Bridget Jones’ Baby (16/09)

Whats it about?Bridget Jones, now divorced from Mark Darcy, gets pregnant, but has no idea who the father is. Is it her ex-husband, or her handsome rebound, the American Jack Qwant?

Whos in it?Rene Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey and Emma Thompson

Is it good? Watch this space…

The Girl with all the Gifts (23/09)

Whats it about?Based on the best-selling horror novel, this looks at a scientist and a teacher living alongside some very special children in a post-zombie-apocalypse hell.

Whos in it?Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close and Paddy Considine

Is it good?Reviews have been mixed, but fans of the zombie genre should be delighted.

Imperium (16/09)

Whats it about?An FBI agent goes undercover to take down a radical neo-Nazi group.

Whos in it?Daniel Radcliffe, Toni Collette and Sam Trammell.

Is it good?Yes – Imperium has attracted some high praise (apparently it’s tense and terrifying) with Radcliffe’s performance in particular seriously making some waves.

The Magnificent Seven (23/09)

Whats it about?Seven “magnificent” men come together to help a village defend themselves from thieves in this remake of the 1960 Western classic.

Whos in it? Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Ethan Hawke.

Is it good? Watch this space…

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (30/09)

Whats it about?Investigating his grandfather’s death, Jacob stumbles across a strange home filled with “peculiar children”.

Whos in it?Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson and Asa Butterfield

Is it good?We’ve yet to see it, but if Tim Burton’s other work(and the book that this film is based on)is anything to go by, we should be very excited…

Swiss Army Man (30/09)

Whats it about?A man stranded on a desert island gets some company in the shape of a (still farting) corpse that washes up on the beach.

Whos in it?Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe.

Is it good?This film polarised audiences when it first screened – some walked out in disgust, others gave it a standing ovation. You’ll have to judge for yourself whose side you’re on.

Read more: http://www.hellou.co.uk/2016/08/what-movies-are-coming-out-in-september-102996/

Long before first-person shooters took over and online multiplayer games collected fees, millions of entertainment seekers were enveloped by a genre known as “graphic adventure.” The next logical step from text-based adventures, the graphic adventure invented the open-world concept in gaming, testing wits and attentiveness over impulses; meaning that, once upon a time, videogamers had to (brace yourself) think before acting.

Whether in first-person or third-person, the point-and-click emphasis and inventory-based gameplay meant tools and conversation skills trumped firepower and platforming, and no great adventure was had without a satisfying plot that rivaled most of the movies playing at your local cinema. With that, these are 10 of the most significant graphic adventure games.

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As early as 1984, Roberta Williams was known for her bold and innovative approach to the adventure game, with the medieval themed King’s Quest. Often cited as the first successful graphic adventure title, King’s Quest introduced a captivating sword and sorcery universe that would spawn over a dozen sequels and collections, the biggest fan favorite often cited as 1992′s King’s Quest VI.

The game is a love story at heart, following the path of Prince Alex in his pursuit of the captivating Princess Cassima. In true graphic adventure fashion, wild personalities are introduced and players are rewarded with story and new areas to explore through each solved puzzle. This installment was notable for its leap forward in graphics and aesthetics from its predecessors, let alone alternate endings, achieved through wildly different gameplay paths and branches in storyline.

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Originally released in 1993, the most acclaimed Sam & Max title is also a source of true nostalgia for a lot of gamers in childhood during its heyday. In a similar aesthetic to Roger Rabbit, private detectives Sam (the hound dog) and Max (the rabbit) first debuted in a comic book series in the late 1980s, before starring in their most memorable PC title to date.

Hit the Road took the pair across the United States in the efforts of recovering a stolen carnival sideshow attraction (who else but Bigfoot, right?). Complete with mini-games and smart-aleck comments from the protagonists, the game’s offbeat humor may have overshadowed even the exploits of its technical influencer, The Secret of Monkey Island. The pair appeared in a couple of sequels before being given the “episodic” treatment with a few digital download games in recent years.

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Long before themes of sex were unnerving parents in polygonal form, Leisure Suit Larry was finding itself knocked off retail shelves and practically admonished even by its own publisher, who refused to heavily advertise the game. Therefore, the 1987 title became a top seller largely by word of mouth, placing mature gamers in the role of a wannabe lothario whose entire life revolves around one thing: getting laid.

The 40-something hopeful is guided by the player, trotting around the city and picking up on a variety of women, mostly high maintenance elitists only impressed with Larry’s ability to adorn with gifts and boast a substantial income. Call it dirty, call it degrading, but the Leisure Suit franchise spawned five sequels during the 1990s, not including a remake of the original that was designed primarily to enhance the graphics of the women depicted.

After a few under-performing sequels in the 2000s, a Kickstarter fund was started by a new developer to revive Larry on mobile devices and produce a new HD entry into the series. Larry is the graphic adventure of choice for any player’s inner deviant, and pushed the meaning of “graphic” in the genre to another level more times than once.

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Somehow, when it comes to true horror – the type that really makes you wince and fear – artists from the far East are some of the most talented. Setting the stage for terrifying exports like Resident Evil and Silent Hill, the original Clock Tower in 1995 was exclusive to its native Japan for a long time, but that didn’t stop the game from garnering worldwide attention once the internet was commonplace.

Despite being a point-and-click adventure game at its core, there is a looming survival horror aspect, as the player is constantly stalked by a non-playable psychopath known as Scissorman. This means, at any time, a player must abandon their puzzle and run for their life if the killer in fact enters the same room and attacks them. This was a big departure from the typical “take your time” mood of most graphic adventures. Popularized by a PlayStation port, the game’s construct shifted over its sequels, but the initial version was undoubtedly praised for its genre-bending take on the graphic adventure template.

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Fans of the original Myst in 1993 had to wait four years until the multi-million selling classic would finally be given its first sequel, Riven. The 1997 installment tested the wits of gamers unlike ever before, and pushed the sanity of its developers to the edge. It was not without reward — the title sold tremendously well, was critically acclaimed upon release, and is still considered by the majority of fans to be the best in the series.

Picking up where Myst left off, players assumes a role that is essentially themselves, never named specifically beyond “Stranger.” Set in a universe where talented authors can materialize actual worlds with mere writings, the player is tasked with rescuing a man’s wife from his totalitarian father who uses said writing talent for self-serving purposes. The game’s beautiful scenery yet dark undertones provided commentary on responsibility versus wrath.

Riven was not produced without several technical challenges due to its frame-by-frame gameplay, which meant even the slightest change in circumstances required every single angle and place in time to be reconsidered for each frame. The puzzle-based difficulty is notoriously brutal without outside help, including false leads and one-time-only clues (see: fire marble domes), not to mention a custom numerical system players must ascertain during gameplay.

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Regarded as the single title responsible for the boom in CD-ROM gaming, the 1993 hit The 7th Guest was a campy yet engaging first-person adventure set in a haunted mansion. The premise may owe a debt to the Mac OS classic Uninvited, but made its own niche with the use of real actors portrayed as ghostly apparitions, fleshing out the backstory and making the player feel like a clairvoyant, let alone investigator.

The plot was morbid, but presented in a TV horror aesthetic that mitigated the heaviness of themes concerning murder and betrayal. A maniacal antagonist teased the player’s performance and offered an unprecedented form of narrative in gaming (think the Haunted Mansion attraction gone wild). In a clever way to aid lost players, a hint system under the guise of a library exists, offering tips on how to solve a majority of the puzzles and aiding the title’s accessibility.

Although met with a less successful sequel, The 11th Hour, the original retains a strong fan base and re-releases have been produced, for formats as recent as the iPad and iPhone. A third installment is still in production at time of this writing, assumed to arrive no sooner than the original’s 20th anniversary.

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Regarded by many as the “lost” Indiana Jones film in spirit (harsher critics recommending this game over the fourth movie), the 1992 hit Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis introduced a new mythology, new villains, and new damsel testing the patience of everyone’s favorite whip-cracking archaeologist.

Inspired by Plato and his writings of Atlantis, the story concerns Indy in a search for proof of the fabled city, but not without crossing mysterious temples, characters of all cultures, and of course, Nazis begging for a beatdown. Rated “perfect” by various publications during its prime, Fate of Atlantis was lauded for a subliminal educational aspect, let alone having one of the best story arcs among all graphic adventure games. A revamp not long after the original release introduced voice talent, although not of any actors from the film series.

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Take Pirates of the Caribbean and mix it with a Saturday morning cartoon (and maybe just a pinch of acid) and you’d come up with the wacky yet revered classic, The Secret of Monkey Island. Released in 1990, this title is likely the one that proved to the world that graphic adventures could be all-ages fun while providing elements of tongue-in-cheek parody and taxing abstract thinking unlike ever before.

As Guybrush Threepwood (don’t worry, plenty of in-game characters already mock the name), you embark on the naive journey to become a pirate; in fact, it’s the first full sentence out of the young man’s mouth. However, when the town mayor is kidnapped, your bravery is put to the test and you must rescue her while adopting the pirate lifestyle, all done in a classic graphic adventure style (sword fighting is not won by real time actions, for example, but through witty insults and comebacks).

Complete with a hilarious cast of characters (including drunken skeletons, and tribal cannibals who speak articulately about their dietary concerns), the world of Monkey Island spawned a few sequels all the way up through the 2000s, including remakes of the first two installments with modern graphics. A movie was even planned at one point, but eventually canceled.

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Before moving on to his most successful creation – the Metal Gear Solid franchise – Japanese writer and developer Hideo Kojima started out with adventure games. The most revered and celebrated of these was the Blade Runner-meets-Terminator epic, Snatcher, released in the late 1980s for home computers and the Sega CD in 1993.

The adventure game platform was likely attractive to Kojima due to his knack for grandiose storytelling, rivaling even Hollywood films. Snatcher combines conversations, relationship dynamics, stationary shootouts, and evidence examination, all supported by a twisting plot concerning body-snatching robots and identity crises (not to mention the most blindsiding paternal twist since Darth Vader and Luke). To top things off, the player can be detoured severely if they abuse or misappropriate their interactions with some of the game’s supporting characters.

Hard at work on the latest announcement in the Metal Gear series, Ground Zeroes, Kojima has his plate full and the outcry from gamers for a Snatcher remake may go unfulfilled, at least for a while.

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In the greater perspective of graphic adventure games, it seems almost a crime to feature only one title spearheaded by Tim Schafer, adorned by many as one of the most visionary writers and developers in the entertainment industry. However, to keep a balance, this spot goes to Schafer’s most intriguing and technically-advancing accomplishment in the genre thus far.

After getting his feet wet on Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island, Schafer co-designed the former’s sequel, Day of the Tentacle. This opened the door for his first solo project, Full Throttle, a biker-themed cult classic featuring the voices of Mark Hamill (Star Wars), Tress MacNeille (The Simpsons), and the late Roy Conrad. Following Full Throttle’s success, Schafer was ready for his masterpiece of the decade, and entered the Land of the Dead (creatively speaking) with 1998′s Grim Fandango.

Players control the skeletal Manny Calavera, a “travel agent” for the newly deceased who accommodates his clients based on their goodness in life. Eventually Manny finds his business is corrupted from the top down, and perfectly good souls are being cheated out of good tickets by a crime lord finagling the agency. Upon discovering his love interest, Mercedes, a victim of this corruption, Manny becomes involved in a noir-style epic to save his woman and find a better life (or, afterlife) for the two of them.

The timing of Grim Fandango’s release marred its commercial success – it arrived at the end of the graphic adventure glory days, and when console gaming started to overshadow PCs in the mainstream. Coupled with the fact the game ran almost exclusively on Windows 98 (later systems requiring patches and tweaks), the title remains elusive for common gamers. None of this hindered the game’s legacy, however, as critics applauded the title with “Best of the Year” awards and fans remain faithful adherents. A glimpse online also reveals urging from numerous gamers to get a working port on download services such as Steam.

In the meantime, Schafer has embarked on a new high exposure venture; his Kickstarter fund in 2012 garnered over $3 million from the public when it was announced he intended to independently produce a new graphic adventure, reintroducing the genre to the masses. At time of writing, the details are unknown, but if history is any indication, the project will be a must-buy for anyone passionate about pristine storytelling and contextual gameplay.

Notable Extras: The fun doesn’t stop there. For those intrigued by this article, other worthy classics to explore that didn’t make the top 10 include: Maniac Mansion, The Journeyman Project, Myst, I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, Policenauts, King’s Quest, Full Throttle, and The Dig. A few modern blockbusters such as Heavy Rain borrow heavily from graphic adventures, and independent developers are frequently churning out new graphic adventures on the indie games market.

Read more: http://listverse.com/2012/09/15/top-10-captivating-graphic-adventures/

Top 10 Fictional Detectives

Whenever I’m bored I like to read a good detective story. I always make a list of suspects with their motives and alibis, and try to unmask the culprit at least four chapters before the end. Sometimes I’m right; sometimes I’m way off. These stories are two things in one: they are puzzles – like a crossword or a sudoku – but they are also literature, with interesting characters, a certain psychological depth and a vision of society in a given time and place. Making this top ten wasn’t easy, and I don’t expect everybody to agree. There’s the dilemma between quantity and quality, and the contrast between the British cosy mystery and American hardboiled fiction. Certain classics had to be included, but for the more recent ones it was a tougher choice. In the end I just followed my own taste. These are all detectives who gave me a lot of reading pleasure.

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Inspector Linley is a British detective created by the American author Elizabeth George. He’s the eighth Earl of Asherton. He solves crimes with his Scotland Yard colleague Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers, who has a working class background. In the third Linley novel, “Well-Schooled in Murder”, Linley and Havers solve a homicide case in an elite British public school, which is remarkably well depicted for a non-British author. George always prepares her novels by studying real locations in England, which makes her stories more realistic than those of many other crime writers. Linley himself is a round character with weaknesses. His relationship with Lady Helen Clyde evolves through the novels. Linley and Havers are portrayed by Nathaniel Parker and Sharon Small (photo) in the BBC series “The Inspector Linley Mysteries”.

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Private detective Kinsey Millhone was created by American author Sue Grafton. She appears in the alphabet series: “A Is for Alibi”, “B Is for Burglar” etc. She lives in an apartment in Santa Teresa, California. This fictional town based on Santa Barbara was invented by another writer, Ross MacDonald. Kinsey is a bachelorette who runs a lot to stay in shape, and has an affair from time to time. I like these novels because they are entertaining and have a fast pace and strong plot. There’s always a certain amount of action involved too. There hasn’t been a film or TV adaption of these stories yet – maybe an idea for the future.

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Philip Marlowe is a private investigator created by American author Raymond Chandler. He appeared for the first time in “The Big Sleep”, in 1939. Other well-known titles are “The Lady in the Lake” and “The Long Goodbye”. Marlowe belongs to the hardboiled direction, influenced by Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade. He smokes and drinks a lot. He lives in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The stories are set in the more dangerous neighbourhoods in and around this city. Violence, drugs and tough language occur frequently. Marlowe has been played by a lot of actors, including Humphrey Bogart in “The Big Sleep” and Powers Boothe (photo) in the ITV series “Philip Marlowe, Private Eye”.

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Private detective Sam Spade was invented by Dashiell Hammett. He only appears in one novel and three short stories, but remains important as the first example of a detective in the hard-boiled genre. Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, among others, was inspired by Sam Spade. Spade is the main character in “The Maltese Falcon” (1930). He runs a detective agency in San Francisco with his partner Miles Archer, who gets killed early in the novel. He’s not afraid of a fist fight or firearms. He appears to be cynical, but still has a sense of duty. The story also involves a typical femme fatale. He was played by several actors, of which the most famous remains Humphrey Bogart (photo) in the movie adaption of 1941.

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Detective Chief-Inspector Roderick Alleyn (pronounced “Allen”) is a British detective who appears in thirty-two novels by New Zealand writer Ngaio Marsh. It started with “A Man Lay Dead” in 1934, when a murder game ends with a real murder. Other examples are “Vintage Murder”, “Artists in Crime”, and “Overture to Death” – where the murder method is especially interesting. As the younger brother of a baronet Alleyn is another example of a gentleman detective. He works for Scotland Yard, where he eventually reaches the rank of Chief Superintendent. Society journalist Nigel Bathgate often helps him during his investigations. Initially a bachelor, Alleyn later marries painter Agatha Troy. Of the three actors who have played him in TV adaptions the best known is Patrick Malahide (photo).

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Commissaire Jules Maigret is the only one in this top ten whose stories were not written in English, but in French. Although his author, Georges Simenon, was Belgian, Maigret himself is French and works in Paris. He holds a quantity record by appearing in seventy-five novels and twenty-nine short stories. Maigret usually smokes a pipe, drinks a lot and wears a heavy overcoat. He’s a more realistic character than most of his colleagues in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. His method of investigation comes close to the way a real policeman would work. His successes are based on team work, routine research and tenacity, rather than individual brilliancy. Maigret has been played by several TV actors, of which Jean Gabin was the first, and Bruno Cremer (photo) the most famous.

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Lord Peter Wimsey was created by British author Dorothy L. Sayers. He’s the archetypal gentleman detective. Solving crimes is a hobby for him. In the second novel “Clouds of Witness” (1926), he has to take action because his brother is suspected of murder. He’s a round character with a past. After getting injured during World War I he was rescued by his later manservant Bunter, who also helps him with his investigations. Wimsey falls in love with Harriet Vine, and marries her. He likes to cooperate with Chief Inspector Charles Parker from Scotland Yard. These novels are still worth reading, because they are simply good literature with a broad perspective on British society in that era. Wimsey himself may be a gentleman, but he meets people from the lower classes, like the farmer in “Clouds of Witness” who suspects Wimsey of having an affair with his wife. Several actors have played Lord Peter Wimsey, including Ian Carmichael (photo) in a BBC series.

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Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple appeared first in a series of short stories in a magazine, later collected as “The Thirteen Problems”. This elderly spinster with a remarkable talent for amateur sleuthing can be followed in twelve crime novels, including “The Murder at the Vicarage” (1930) and “The Body in the Library” (1943). She lives in the small village of St Mary Mead, where she finds the opportunity to study human nature. She sees analogies with people and events she knows from village life, which helps her to solve many mysteries. Intuition and psychology are quite important to her. She can annoy the police investigators, who initially see her as an old busybody, until they have to admit she was right. I have to admit I used to be prejudiced against “the old bat” myself, but after reading her stories I became gradually convinced that she belongs to The Big Three of fictional detectives. She was played in movies by Margaret Rutherford and Angela Lansbury, and on TV by Helen Hayes, Joan Hickson (photo) and Geraldine McEwan.

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Hercule Poirot appears for the first time in Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles”, published in 1920. He is a retired Belgian police officer who came to England during World War I as a refugee. Poirot solves mysteries with his “little grey cells”, occasionally without even leaving his room. With his strong preference for symmetry, order and method, he has something of a comic book character. Captain Arthur Hastings is his best friend, who relies too much on his intuition to solve a mystery by himself, but often helps Poirot with his observations and accidental remarks. Poirot’s secretary, Miss Lemon, is very efficient, but in contrast to Hastings she doesn’t have any imagination. Chief Inspector Japp from Scotland Yard isn’t too bright, but Poirot often sends him in the right direction. Detective writer Ariadne Oliver, who is partly based on Agatha Christie herself, believes in female intuition. Poirot is surely one of the greatest fictional detectives, because he was involved in so many unforgettable crime novels, including “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd”, “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile”. Poirot was brought to life in movies by actors Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov, and by David Suchet (photo) in the ITV series.

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Sherlock Holmes, a creation by Arthur Conan Doyle, remains the archetypal detective who solves mysteries by logical reasoning. He appears in only four novels, of which “A Study in Scarlet” (1887) was the first, and “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1902) the most famous. At least as important are the fifty-six short stories. Two of my personal favorites are “The Red-Headed League” and “The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle”. Holmes believes in the science of deduction: the principle that any problem can be solved if the necessary information is given. He is surrounded by people who are less bright than him. Dr Watson is a good observer, and can relate the cases in detail as first person narrator, but he never comes to the correct conclusion by himself. Inspector Lestrade is the not too clever police investigator with a lot of tenacity once he’s on the right track. His archenemy Professor Moriarty only appears in two stories. As a private person Holmes is quite eccentric. He uses cocaine, and never gets romantically involved, although he does have feelings for Irene Adler from “A Scandal in Bohemia”. Of the many actors who have played Sherlock Holmes I’ll just mention Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett (photo).

Honorable mention: Auguste Dupin (E. A. Poe), Father Brown (G. K. Chesterton), Adam Dalgliesh (P. D. James), Chief Inspector Wexford (Ruth Rendell), Chief Inspector Barnaby (Caroline Graham).

Read more: http://listverse.com/2011/01/18/top-10-fictional-detectives/

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Wow, is the week over already? It seems like only yesterday we were upgrading our iPhone software to iOS 6.

Perhaps you skipped the update altogether, and decided to camp out and get yourself a shiny new iPhone 5. Or maybe you just spent the week playing video games in your underwear, and watching reruns of Lost. Don’t worry, we’re not here to judge.

What we are here to do is keep you updated on all the resources around the Internet you may have missed. Much of the content this week focused on updates, both to Apple’s mobile software and Twitter profile layouts.

There were also some tips for you movers and shakers in the business world. We had advice on how to avoid job scams, how to get a good job and how to maximize your performance once you get that job.

Gadgets galore, apps aplenty and advice that’s nice — There’s all of this and more in this week’s features roundup.

Editor’s Picks

Social Media

For more social media news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s social media channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Business & Marketing

For more business news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s business channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Tech & Mobile

For more tech news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s tech channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Lifestyle

For more digital lifestyle news and resources, you can follow Mashable‘s lifestyle channel on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/22/62-digital-resources-you-may-have-missed/

A new report published by the National Children’s Bureau (NCB), a UK educational charity, has received extensive coverage in the media as clear evidence that video games are “bad” for children. The findings are less apocalyptic than what you might have read so far.

The study’s aimwas to examine how young peoples use of computers and access to the Internet might impactfinal grades achieved in their GCSEs, a qualification that British students obtain at 16. The study was conducted in Northern Ireland on 611 students, as well as 41 parents and 18 teachers of the pupils. Possible confounding factors such as socio-economic background of the students and their educational needs were also taken into account.

Students benefit from having a computer and being familiar with the software, the study confirms. It highlights how students that have access to word processing and presentation programs are significantly more likely to achieve higher grades than the students that did not. They also found that the highest achieving pupils were the ones who spent a moderate to high amount of time on a computer (1-3hours a day), regardless of what they were actually doing on the computer.

The report goes on to analyze different aspects of information and communication technology.In general, teachers and parents were found to believe that usage of mobile phones, social media and gaming play a part in pupils’ poor academic achievements. Contrary to this idea, the study didnt find any relationship between time spent on social media or mobile phone usage and poor performance in school.

What the study did find, however, was that among those gamerswho used a portable gaming console more than twice a day, only a smallproportion (41%)achieved the highest grades.This has been reported elsewhereas the “smoking gun” of the damaging effect of video games, but the NCB study also failed to find any significant difference betweenthe grades of those classed as regular gamers (gaming oncea day) to occasional gamers.

In fact, recent studiesin the United Statesand in Englandhave highlighted how low levels of regular gaming (less than anhour per day) can actually have a positive impact on a student academic achievement. The report advises caution in the interpretation of these results and suggests a need for more detailed studies to understand the potential underlying cause, in addition to intensive gaming, which could possibly lead to poor academic performances.

In general, though, the study shows an overwhelmingly positive impact of ICT literacy on the pupils’ achievements in school, and the study recommends investment in young people’s access to ICT.

Read more: http://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/impact-technology-and-gaming-children-s-academic-achievements

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With the help of a laser-range finder, a laptop and a Microsoft Kinect, researchers at MIT have created a wearable piece of equipment that can map out a building in real time.

The prototype, called SLAM (short for Simultaneous Localization and Mapping), was announced today.

Essentially, SLAM operates as a second pair of eyes by generating a virtual map of the user’s location (think: real-time strategy video games.) Creators of the device say they hope firefighters and emergency personnel will use the device to help them more easily navigate through thick smoke during fire emergencies.

Watch the video above to learn more. How else can real-time mapping be used? Let us know your thoughts below.

Image courtesy of Flickr, GEEK ASiA

Read more: http://mashable.com/2012/09/26/mit-microsoft-kinect-mapping/