You should read GeekPress every day; Paul Hsieh always has fascinating links to interesting stories.

Here's a piece about the bustling real-world industry emerging to handle video game economies. The game items that people pay real money for can be thought of as abstract "fun tokens"; value isn't being created out of thin air, since the "items" really represent opportunities to derive pleasure from the existing game. Developers invest time and resources to make a fun game, and these secondary economies allow players to maximize their enjoyment.

Surgeons who play video games make fewer mistakes. The article talks about hand-eye coordination... but I bet young people who play massively-multiplayer online role-playing games have a better understanding of real-world economics than other youth, for the reasons described in the paragraph above. I'd love to see a study on how well kids manage their money based on how much time they spend in MMORPGs.

There's an article on putting weapons in space, and plenty of quotes by people who think pieces of paper and signatures can be a secure defense.

But the idea of weapons in space is greeted coldly by some.

"Weapons in space are not inevitable. If it were, it would have happened already," argued the senior defense expert, adding, "We should instead be taking the lead to make [weapons] agreements with other countries."

Right, just like the USSR, North Korea, Pakistan, and dozens of others have stuck to the treaties they've signed with us. None of our potential enemies are likely to be deterred by treaties -- they only sign them because they know we will be.

Some scientists claim to be close to artificial life, which is pretty nifty. They're close to fabricating biologically-based organisms that do the same things we can already create non-biological structures to do (follow that?). I'm sure the technology will lead to some neat innovations, but until and unless scientists can create biological intelligence I don't forsee any moral problems. I don't think creating new types of bacteria is "likely to shock people's religious and cultural belief systems" as the article claims.



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