When great video games make great art

Sometimes, moral lessons can be learned from blowing away zombies.

The Last of Us Part II

Credit: Naughty Dog
  • Most video games are happily escapist entertainment, but some are much more.
  • One of these is The Last of Us Part II (TLOU2), which takes place in a post-apocalyptic pandemic world.
  • Through the innovative use of game play technology TLOU2, radically changes your perspective and elevates this game from entertainment to true art.

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How do you tell reality from a deepfake?

The more you see them, the better you get at spotting the signs.

ROB LEVER/AFP via Getty Images
  • The number of deepfake videos online has been increasing at an estimated annual rate of about 900%.
  • Technology advances have made it increasingly easy to produce them, which has raised questions about how best to prevent malicious misuse.
  • It's been suggested that the best way to inoculate people against the danger of deepfakes is through exposure and raising awareness.
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    Lessons from the Roman Empire about the danger of luxury

    Are we enslaved by the finer things in life?

    Credit: Public domain via Wikipedia
    • The Roman writer, Tacitus, argued that the Roman Empire was built by enslaving conquered people who became accustomed to fine living and luxury.
    • Technology today has become so essential to our daily lives that it seems impossible to break free of it. It's as much a cage as a luxury.
    • Being dependent on a thing gives it power over you. To need something or someone is, for better or worse, to limit yourself.
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    Sorry, the EmDrive doesn’t work

    The EmDrive turns out to be the "um..." drive after all, as a new study dubs any previous encouraging EmDrive results "false positives."

    Credit: AndSus/zolotons/Adobe Stock/Big Think
    Technology & Innovation
    • The proposed EmDrive captured the public's imagination with the promise of super-fast space travel that broke the laws of physics.
    • Some researchers have detected thrusts from the EmDrive that seemed to prove its validity as a technology.
    • A new, authoritative study says, no, those results were just "false positives."
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    ​This zero-energy 'daylight harvesting' device can send sunlight underground

    Researchers in Singapore invented a novel device that may help the island nation illuminate its growing underground infrastructure.

    Daylight-harvesting system developed in Singapore

    Goela et al.
    Technology & Innovation
  • The device consists of an acrylic ball that absorbs and concentrates sunlight.
  • Under the ball is an optical fibre that transports the sunlight up to two stories underground.
  • The study found that the device's luminous efficacy rating was more than double that of commercially available LED bulbs.
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    How your daily coffee can help tropical forests grow back

    Researchers find that the coffee pulp is valuable in its own right.

    A dog relaxes next to a new forest area, courtesy of coffee-pulp

    Credit: Rebecca Cole/British Ecological Society
    Technology & Innovation
  • When coffee is harvested, the skin and pulp surrounding the bean are often discarded.
  • Costa Rica, which had much of its tropical forests chopped down for agricultural use, is testing coffee pulp as a way to help reforest the country.
  • A new study finds that coffee pulp can help reforest land in just two years.
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