Scitech Briefs

Lawsuit filed against Grand Theft Auto

The Grand Theft Auto video game franchise recently ran into trouble when Los Angeles city attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed a lawsuit against Rockstar Games and Take-Two Interactive, the game’s parent companies. Hidden content, including pornographic and adult-only material, sparked the lawsuit. Delgadillo claims the companies engaged in misleading marketing statements and competition by not fully disclosing game content. Its mature and often violent ­gameplay caused many retailers, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy, to pull the game from its ­inventory after the game’s Mature rating changed to Adults Only.


Australian lifeguards get detection cameras

A lifesaving technology may soon launch at the beaches down under. Australian Steve Greene, of Griffith University, developed a motion-detecting camera system that specializes in tracking human motion. The system’s goal is to detect and track swimmer behavior and to alert lifeguards whenever swimmers drift beyond flagged areas. Green hopes to advance the system enough to ensure accurate imaging. Expect a system release within two years.


Modern car turns 120

The 1886 Benz Motor Car patent by carmaker Karl Benz is considered the birth of the modern car era. The patent describes a “vehicle with gas operation,” featuring modern engine designs, such as a single-cylinder, four-stroke engine; water-cooled radiators; and electric ignition. Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach demonstrated the first engine-driven carriage that year and formed the industry carmaker Daimler-Benz. Daimler’s death in 1900 inspired Maybach to develop a world-class vehicle, named Mercedes, which became the benchmark for all modern car designs.


EarthLink in Philly

Internet service provider Earth­Link Inc. finalized a 10-year deal on Monday, January 30, to provide public wireless access in the city of Philadelphia. The city was the first major metropolitan area to announce plans for free wireless Internet access. Low-cost service fees, starting at EarthLink’s wholesale $9 price to retail Internet service providers, would allow poorer residents to access the Internet. The City Council reviews the contract this month, and construction begins immediately upon approval. Expect full, city-wide service by spring 2007.

Source: Yahoo! News

Microsoft proposes cell phone solution

The Big M has stepped up the heat on the One Laptop Per Child program by introducing the idea of a program that utilizes cell phones as full computers. This move is in response to MIT’s Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop program, which targets the poorer nations of the world to increase access to technology using the affordable laptop. Microsoft has begun to promote the idea of a smart phone that is more practical. Bill Gates’ big push comes in part from Negroponte’s rejection of using the Windows platform on his laptops and may allow Microsoft to become a major player in the cellular telecommunications industry.

Source: The New York Times

Compiled by
Albert Lin