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UPI NewsTrack Science and Technology News

Feb. 10, 2012 at 6:57 PM   |   Comments

Internet users donate for game development

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Internet donations to an online game that hasn't even been created yet reached $1 million in a single day, U.S. "crowd funding" entity Kickstarter said.

The game, called Double Fine Adventure, had raised $1.2 million by Friday morning, CNN reported.

"With this project, we're taking that door off its hinges and inviting you into the world of Double Fine Productions, the first major studio to fully finance their next game with a Kickstarter campaign and develop it in the public eye," the game developer said on the Kickstarter Web site.

"Crowd-sourced fundraising sites like Kickstarter have been an incredible boon to the independent development community," Double Fine Productions said. "They democratize the process by allowing consumers to support the games they want to see developed and give the developers the freedom to experiment, take risks, and design without anyone else compromising their vision."

Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb said by asking the Internet to support the game and give users a chance to take a small part in something "epic," the game creators have tapped into something new.

"Put all that within the context of a known brand (the game makers themselves), the well-executed but still-fresh infrastructure of Kickstarter and the end result of a game that is easy to afford ($15 gets you a download on Steam when it's done), and you've got a recipe for some gamified game creation," he wrote.


Spacecraft sees slowing of Venus rotation

PARIS, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A spacecraft orbiting Venus has discovered the cloud-covered planet is rotating a little slower that previously measured, European Space Agency officials said.

An instrument on ESA's Venus Express spacecraft used infrared wavelengths to penetrate the thick shroud of clouds covering the entire planet and found surface features were displaced by up to 12 miles from where they should be given the accepted rotation rate as measured by NASA's Magellan orbiter in the early 1990s.

The Magellan mission determined the length of the day on Venus as being equal to 243.0185 Earth days.

However, surface features seen by Venus Express some 16 years later could only be lined up with those observed by Magellan if the length of the Venus day is on average 6.5 minutes longer than Magellan measured, an ESA release said Friday.

"When the two maps did not align, I first thought there was a mistake in my calculations as Magellan measured the value very accurately, but we have checked every possible error we could think of," Nils Muller, a planetary scientist at the DLR German Aerospace Centre, said.

It is thought the planet's dense atmosphere -- more than 90 times the pressure of Earth's -- and high-speed weather systems may be changing the planet's rotation rate through friction with the surface.


Sample of hidden antarctic lake presented

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A water sample from Lake Vostok, hidden under antarctic ice for millions of years, has been presented to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, scientists say.

Russian officials confirmed Wednesday researchers at the Vostok station located on the ice sheet above had drilled down to the untouched Antarctic sub-glacial lake, RIA Novosti reported.

Just hours before the historic penetration, Russia's Natural Resource Minister Yury Trutnev arrived at the station to observe the climax of the project to drill through more than 12,000 feet into the lake.

On Friday, Trutnev arrived at a meeting with Putin and delivered a flask of water bearing a label reading "Lake Vostok, more than million years old, depth 3,769.3 meters, 5.12.11, Antarctic."

Scientists said Lake Vostok, the largest of Antarctica's buried network of icebound lakes, could reveal clues to how life evolved before the ice age.

The first sample from the lake's ancient waters has not yet been tested, researchers said.


Improved display likely on iPad 3

GILBERT, Ariz., Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Of the many rumors about the U.S. release of the iPad 3, the most promising is increased screen resolution, experts say.

The consensus in the Apple-watching community is that the iPad 3 will carry a Retina display with a 2048X1536 pixels resolution, Slashgear.com reported Friday.

That would be a four-fold increase over the current pixel resolution.

The speculation grew when Apple recently updated instructions for developers sending in screen shots for their iPad 3 apps, saying screen shots for apps in iTunes Connect must be submitted in resolutions higher than the current requirements.

A leaked photo of some iPad 3 components showed three wide ribbon cables as opposed to the two that the previous models had, with the extra cable more than likely in place to carry additional data to the high-resolution display, Slashgear said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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