Four short links: 9 June 2010

DIY Games, Code Review, Open Oil Data, Crowd Sourced Science Success

  1. Game Dev 101 lessons with WarioWare DIYNintendo’s long-running and (at its debut) groundbreaking WarioWare franchise has always been predicated on discrete games played for 5-10 seconds at a time, in rapid succession, and it’s precisely that stripped-bare approach that makes it an ideal launchpad for re-wiring the way aspiring designers think about what makes games fun. With its own bespoke image and music editor, a graphical scripting language not altogether (so I’m told) that different from the tools available in popular PC package GameMaker, and — crucially, if a bit over-long for those more familiar with game dev proper — hours worth of mandatory tutorials that leisurely stroll you through Your First Animated Sprite or Your First Logic Gate. (via BoingBoing)
  2. What Should Mozilla Look For In an Automated Review SystemMondrian’s review comment system really seemed to encourage a style where there was a one-way flow of instructions from the reviewer to the reviewee: “Do this. Do this. Do this.” and the reviewee replies with “Done. Done. Done.” Sometimes this is appropriate, but oftentimes it isn’t. (Mondrian is Google’s internal tool for this) (via Marc Hedlund)
  3. DOE Releases BP Oil Spill DataAs part of the Obama Administration’s ongoing commitment to transparency surrounding the response to the BP oil spill, the Department of Energy is providing online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer. (via EllnMllr on Twitter)
  4. The Rise of Crowd Science — fascinating account of the life work of Alex Szalay, who has turned astronomy into a data-sharing discipline embracing crowdsourcing. I loved this story: More than 270,000 people have signed up to classify galaxies so far [on Galaxy Zoo]. One of them is Hanny van Arkel, a schoolteacher in Holland, who found out about the site after her favorite musician, Brian May, guitarist for the rock group Queen, wrote about it on his blog. After clicking around on Galaxy Zoo for a while one summer, she landed on an image with what she describes as a “very bright blue spot” on it. “I read the tutorial and there was nothing about a blue spot,” she says, so she posted a note to the site’s forums. “I was just really wondering, What is this?” Her curiosity paid off. Scientists now believe the spot is a highly unusual gas cloud that could help explain the life cycle of quasars. The Hubble telescope was recently pointed at the object, now nicknamed “Hanny’s Voorwerp,” the Dutch word for object. Astronomers have published papers about the discovery, listing Ms. van Arkel as a co-author. “Don’t ask me to explain them to you, but I am a co-author of them,” she says with a laugh. Szalay will be at Science Foo Camp this year, and I can’t wait to meet him. (via Penny Carnaby)
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