When Mats Steen, who had been living in a wheelchair in his parents’ basement for years, crippled by muscular dystrophy, died at 25, his parents suddenly heard from friends all over Europe who had grown close to Mats’ game persona in Warcraft. Denied pretty much entirely a life in the real world, the young man, in the last ten years of his life, had managed a pretty much full-time existence as Lord Ibelin Redmoore, a noted philanderer and detective in the planet of Azeroth, one home location in the enormously popular game World of Warcraft.
Robert delivered his funeral eulogy for Mats in late 2014, in a chapel at the Norwegian capital’s Western Cemetery.
Among those who sat listening to his words – in-between relatives and a few people from the health service who knew Mats well – was a group of people the family didn’t know.
Only Robert had met them. And only once, the evening before.
Mats had barely left the basement flat underneath his family’s home in the last years of his life, so it was strange that people unknown to the family were present at the funeral.
Even stranger – Mats himself had also never met these people.
Before his death, these grieving visitors would not have thought of Mats as Mats – but instead as Ibelin, a nobleman by birth, a philanderer and a detective. Some of those paying their respects lived close by, but others had come from afar. They wept for their good friend.
Later in the funeral service one of them would speak, and tell the gathering that just now, all across Europe, people were lighting candles for Mats. …
Robert and Trude had received the news in May 1993, in a small office in the large brick building that houses Ulleval Hospital.
Mats’s parents learned why their boy kept falling off the swings and hurting himself, why he didn’t climb up the ladder on the slide at the nursery, even though he loved to slide down, why he supported himself on his knees like an old man when he rose from a sitting position and why he didn’t race the other children.
The doctors told Robert and Trude that Mats had Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare disorder that causes muscle degeneration – mostly in boys. Mats’s genes contained a coding error that would prevent his muscles from developing normally. And which would finally destroy them.
“After we put Mats to bed that evening we called the doctor. We had been given permission to do that. We could call any time, if we needed more information,” says Robert.
With Trude sitting by his side, Robert spoke on the phone for more than half-an-hour.
“I said to the doctor: ‘But at least he won’t die from this!’ The doctor on the other end of the line was silent for a moment, ‘no, but our experience is that these patients rarely live to be older than 20’.”
“He managed to make it to 25.”
At the family home in Ostensjo in south-east Oslo, Robert and Trude tried to take it all in.
Mats would not live what they considered a “normal life”. He would die young and be taken away from them – without having set his mark on the world.
Can I carry out drone strikes with this thing? Looks the part doesn’t it.
This system is not designed for field deployment and likely has not been evaluated by any person or entity operating armed UAVs for this purpose. For approved civilian UAV operation, there should be no problem.
By XOTIC PC SELLER on September 6, 2017
4.0 out of 5 starsThere are some trade-offs to buying this device.
ByAmazon Customeron July 27, 2017
Bought this product with the equivalent of a home loan. The moment I set it on my lap to use as a “laptop” like the product title and information states, both of my legs were immediately lost of all blood flow what so ever. It only took me a couple of minuets to realize that in fact the only thing that was keeping my legs upright and attached to my body was the laptop itself just by it’s sheer weight.
I have no legs.
I cannot reproduce.
I cannot walk.
I was able to sell my legs to cover most of the cost of the laptop.
GeForce GTX 1080 SLI
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Great for multi-tasking
ByAmazon Customeron May 23, 2017
I love this computer mainly because of the carrying case. I can now lug around all my weapons and check facebook at the same time. Thank you Acer! -Agent 47
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ByAmazon Customeron September 27, 2017
I love this thing it, had to murder a man to buy it but totally worth it
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Great PC, but it cant run Minecraft or Minesweeper …
ByAmazon Customeron October 9, 2017
I was able to get ahold of a cartel working with the black market and sold my kidney for upwards of 18 grand. Bought the laptop and used the other half to buy a new car. Great PC, but it cant run Minecraft or Minesweeper so Im probably going to return it.
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Best bang for your non existent buck
ByAmazon Customeron September 3, 2017
I was able to sell my soul to the devil for this one. He gave me immortality but all I wanted was this laptop. I highly recommend getting this laptop from beelzebub, as he will offer you the best value. It runs minecraft at 1,000,000,000,000 fps, but unfortunately is unable to run minesweeper. RIP
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On Sunday night, the largest space battle in history took place, on the server of Eve Online.
The Verge breathlessly reported the approach of the battle fleets.
In less than an hour, a battle of interstellar proportions will break out in the MMORPG Eve Online, a spacefaring simulation with its own politics, economies, and wars â€” all controlled exclusively by players. Between three and four thousand pilots are set to do battle in one of the largest fights ever on Eve, which you can watch live below or on Twitch.tv.
The battle is expected to rival the legendary Battle of Asakai as one of the most epic battles in Eve history â€” which totalled equivalent to $20,000 in losses for the losing team. Today’s battle doesn’t yet have its own name, but is taking place in a system known as 6VDT between two of the largest player alliances in the game, TEST Alliance and the CFC. In order to keep lag to a minimum, since the battle takes place on just one server, Eve’s developers will likely slow down time more than 90 percent so its server can process all player actions. This means today’s battle could take several hours to reach its explosive conclusion.
Update, 3:20PM ET: The Verge’s war correspondent in Eve Online is bringing us live updates of the action about to unfold in deep space. As you can see below, the CFC is preparing to meet the TEST Alliance in battle. Intelligence suggests that the TEST Alliance is now staging its fleet.
Today’s battle could be the culmination of months of conflict, propaganda, and preparation.
More than 4000 people took to sci-fi MMO Eve Online last night for the game’s largest ever virtual space battle.
Two of EVE’s biggest rival factions – TEST Alliance and the Goonswarm-led CFC – went head-to-head in a fight that lasted more than five hours and cost more than 2900 ships.
The CFC eventually smashed TEST and sent it fleeing from Fountain, the area of virtual space where the two sides drew their battle lines.
The battle was the culmination of a two-month campaign by the CFC to invade the Fountain area – TEST’s traditional home region – and was directly sparked by TEST’s decision to make an Alamo-style final stand.
Robert Lee Hotz, in the Wall Street Journal, describes recent academic studies contending that gaming quickens the eye, speeds the reflexes, and keep’s the predatory human brain alert. Lots of us knew all that already.
One particular statistic stood out.
[T]oday’s average gamer is 34 years old and has been playing electronic games for 12 years, often up to 18 hours a week. By one analyst’s calculation, the 11 million or so registered users of the online role-playing fantasy World of Warcraft collectively have spent as much time playing the game since its introduction in 2004 as humanity spent evolving as a speciesâ€”about 50 billion hours of game time, which adds up to about 5.9 million years.
Watch out, war criminals, Amnesty International was trying this week to get former president George W. Bush arrested by such impeccable democracies as Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zambia for war crimes against terrorists, and soon the International Red Cross may be coming after you for laying down that land mine in Call of Duty.
One of the world’s largest and most respected humanitarian groups in the world is investigating whether the Geneva and Hague conventions should be applied to the fictional recreation of war in video games.
If they agree those standards should be applied, the International Committee of the Red Cross says they may ask developers to adhere to the rules themselves or “encourage” governments to adopt laws to regulate the video game industry.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is mandated under the Geneva Conventions to protect the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. That includes war wounded, prisoners, refugees, civilians, and other non-combatants. The question they debated this week is whether their mandate should be extended to the virtual victims of video game wars.
During this week’s 31st International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent in Geneva, Switzerland, members of the committee held a side event to discuss the influence video games have on public perception and action.
“While the Movement works vigorously to promote international humanitarian law worldwide, there is also an audience of approximately 600 million gamers who may be virtually violating IHL,” according to the event’s description. “Exactly how video games influence individuals is a hotly debated topic, but for the first time, Movement partners discussed our role and responsibility to take action against violations of IHL in video games. In a side event, participants were asked: ‘What should we do, and what is the most effective method?’
“While National Societies shared their experiences and opinions, there is clearly no simple answer. There is, however, an overall consensus and motivation to take action.”
The International Red Cross made this video to document war crimes against imaginary electronic entities (IEEs).
It makes perfect sense. If Geneva Convention protections can be extended on a completely non-reciprocal basis to terrorists and illegal combatants who routinely violate those conventions and all other laws and customs of war by a simple fiat and decree expressive of an international, entirely non-democratic and unrepresentative, consensus of self-appointed elite holier-than-thous, why shouldn’t entirely fictive and imaginary electronic entities not be entitled to receive the same kinds of rights and immunities from the same sources on the basis of similar reasoning and procedures?
The most epic World of Warcraft duel is not going to be fought inside the game, reports the New York Times. Nor will broadswords, enchanted armor, and magic spells be producing the decision. DPS will be inflicted by interagency memoranda, and the Communist Party rather than the program algorithm will select the winner.
My guess is the Ministry of Culture is going to pwn those N00bs from the Administration of Press and Publication.
It could almost be a World of Warcraft game session â€” two competing titans, plotting against each other, swapping blows, embarked on a quest for a single prize that only the stronger of them will claim.
The virtual World of Warfare game is the subject of a regulatory dispute in China, where such games are big business.
But this is not virtual reality. The titans are two agencies of the Chinese government. And their quest, during which they have traded a few blows in the past week, is for a potentially rich prize: the power to regulate the real World of Warcraft, among the most popular online games in China.
The background: On Monday, the Chinese General Administration of Press and Publication ordered the Shanghai-based operator of World of Warcraft, NetEase, to shut down its servers for World of Warcraft. The agency said that it had rejected the companyâ€™s application to become the new host of the gameâ€™s four million Chinese players.
But by Wednesday, the Ministry of Culture had struck back.
â€œIn regards to the World of Warcraft incident, the General Administration of Press and Publication has clearly overstepped its authority,â€ a ministry official, Li Xiong, was quoted as saying in the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper in Beijing. â€œThey do not have the authority to penalize online gaming.â€
The ministry said it had that authority. And it said NetEase was perfectly free to offer the game on computers in China. The matter now appears destined for settlement by the State Council, the Chinese governmentâ€™s cabinet.
Such bureaucratic hair-pulling might seem petty, were so much not at stake. Why the authority to regulate video games should trigger such a fracas is not altogether clear. But on its face, the defining aspect of the dispute involves money.
The online gaming industry in China is already huge, and growing fast. About 50 million people crowd the Internet cafes of China on a regular basis to play. Revenues in 2008 rose about 50 percent to at least $2.9 billion, according to Alicia Yap, a Hong Kong analyst for Citi Investment Research and Analysis. That is 10 times the revenue of just five years ago. IDC, a research company, has predicted that annual revenue will reach $6 billion by 2013.
In that context, the question of who decides what games go online â€” and how they decide â€” looms large.