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I rarely give a shout-out to a console or PC game. But "This War of Mine" is very, very unique.

It is about war, but time you are not the one shooting but the one shot at. The goal of the game is to make 3 civilians survive in a city under siege, where everything is scarce. You may die by hunger, by disease, by a bullet wound, or just become depressed by the horrors of the war itself.

The game is divided into two phases. During the day you manage the scarce resources that you have to meet the needs of the characters and improve their shelter. During the night you send one person to scavenge for resources. And here is where most ethical questions come out. You'll often have to choose of whether stealing from (or even killing) innocent people to get a badly needed medicine for a sick roommate. Or risk being killed by snipers/thug members, etc... During the day you'll often have to decide whether to give your remaining food to starving neighbor children.

The game doesn't punish you for your bad actions. Instead, it wants you to understand the horrors of having to take a decision where no option is good. On one side you get so affectionate to your characters that you don't want any of them to die. On the other the characters themselves become openly sad when they do something wrong to somebody else even if it was for their own survival.

The real sad thing is that situations like these happen every single day somewhere in the world. This particular story and the names of the characters remind me of the siege of Sarajevo - in the heart of Europe - in the mid '90s. The game gives an opportunity of learning what does it mean for a civilian to live under siege. If you ask me I don't think that the game is pacifist propaganda: it is about living a story inspired by real facts, and letting people take their own conclusions.

I cannot say that the game was "fun", but I actually enjoyed the game mechanics and trying to survive in it. And believe me surviving in it is very, very hard!

It is about war, but time you are not the one shooting but the one shot at. The goal of the game is to make 3 civilians survive in a city under siege, where everything is scarce. You may die by hunger, by disease, by a bullet wound, or just become depressed by the horrors of the war itself.

The game is divided into two phases. During the day you manage the scarce resources that you have to meet the needs of the characters and improve their shelter. During the night you send one person to scavenge for resources. And here is where most ethical questions come out. You'll often have to choose of whether stealing from (or even killing) innocent people to get a badly needed medicine for a sick roommate. Or risk being killed by snipers/thug members, etc... During the day you'll often have to decide whether to give your remaining food to starving neighbor children.

The game doesn't punish you for your bad actions. Instead, it wants you to understand the horrors of having to take a decision where no option is good. On one side you get so affectionate to your characters that you don't want any of them to die. On the other the characters themselves become openly sad when they do something wrong to somebody else even if it was for their own survival.

The real sad thing is that situations like these happen every single day somewhere in the world. This particular story and the names of the characters remind me of the siege of Sarajevo - in the heart of Europe - in the mid '90s. The game gives an opportunity of learning what does it mean for a civilian to live under siege. If you ask me I don't think that the game is pacifist propaganda: it is about living a story inspired by real facts, and letting people take their own conclusions.

I cannot say that the game was "fun", but I actually enjoyed the game mechanics and trying to survive in it. And believe me surviving in it is very, very hard!

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I'm so happy to see that this video is back on YouTube. As I kid who didn't know English yet I couldn't appreciate the original Bowie's song interpretation. But this version is perfect in the actual context of the video, shot in the ISS.

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This is the most counter-intuitive fact of math that I've ever encountered:

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ... = -1/12.

That is, the sum of all positive integers is a negative number!

I'll never find an intuitive explanation for that, but I started understanding why saying that the sum is infinite is not necessarily correct. We've been taught in school how to compute the sum of the elements of a sequence in terms of limits of partial sums. And it is natural to think that if that limit converges to a number then the value of the sum is that number, because what is left off from the partial sum in the limit gets infinitely small. But what if the limit doesn't converge? I'm not sure that saying that when the limit diverges then the sum is infinite. After all, we're evaluating a limit of PARTIAL sum, and it doesn't matter how many elements you include in the partial sum, this sum will only a small contribution compared to the whole sum. What if the remaining elements (an infinite lot of them) makes us "go around" infinity and we get a negative number instead? It's hard to know.

Anyway, the amazing fact seems to have many application in math and quantum physics, and it has a rigorous proof by Riemann using his zeta-function. I didn't read his proof but I eventually understood how it works. I wish that this video and other related ones could explain the idea behind Rittman's proof in easier terms.

1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ... = -1/12.

That is, the sum of all positive integers is a negative number!

I'll never find an intuitive explanation for that, but I started understanding why saying that the sum is infinite is not necessarily correct. We've been taught in school how to compute the sum of the elements of a sequence in terms of limits of partial sums. And it is natural to think that if that limit converges to a number then the value of the sum is that number, because what is left off from the partial sum in the limit gets infinitely small. But what if the limit doesn't converge? I'm not sure that saying that when the limit diverges then the sum is infinite. After all, we're evaluating a limit of PARTIAL sum, and it doesn't matter how many elements you include in the partial sum, this sum will only a small contribution compared to the whole sum. What if the remaining elements (an infinite lot of them) makes us "go around" infinity and we get a negative number instead? It's hard to know.

Anyway, the amazing fact seems to have many application in math and quantum physics, and it has a rigorous proof by Riemann using his zeta-function. I didn't read his proof but I eventually understood how it works. I wish that this video and other related ones could explain the idea behind Rittman's proof in easier terms.

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Added photos to Google I/O After Hours with Train and Paul Oakenfold!.

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The computer of my youth. A tear is dropping...: -)

Il computer con cui sono cresciuto. Mi sta scendendo una lacrima:-)

Il computer con cui sono cresciuto. Mi sta scendendo una lacrima:-)

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One more step toward making printing simpler. Now you can print to any FedEx office (formerly Kinko's, US only) using Google Cloud Print.

Un nuovo passo per permettere di stampare in maniera piu` semplice. Ora puoi stampare in ogni FedEx office (ex Kinko's, solo negli Stati Uniti) usando Google Cloud Print.

Un nuovo passo per permettere di stampare in maniera piu` semplice. Ora puoi stampare in ogni FedEx office (ex Kinko's, solo negli Stati Uniti) usando Google Cloud Print.

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Why there is such a serious brain-drain from Italy to the United States? This is explained by 10 Italian Google employees in Mountain View office, interviewed by one of the most read Italian newspaper. For the people who cannot read Italian I can summarize it into: nepotism, corruption, crazy bureaucracy, lack of vision by politicians.

http://inchieste.repubblica.it/it/repubblica/rep-it/2011/12/06/news/cartoline_dal_nuovo_mondo-26166088/?ref=HREC1-5

http://inchieste.repubblica.it/it/repubblica/rep-it/2011/12/06/news/cartoline_dal_nuovo_mondo-26166088/?ref=HREC1-5

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