Articles by Ramiro Rodriguez

Scientific discoveries this week: 4/21/14

Evanston, Illinois – Northwestern University scientists have discovered the material that is the best at converting waste heat into electricity. An interdisciplinary team, led by inorganic chemist Dr. Mercouri Kanatzidis, has found that the crystal form of tin selenide conducts heat so poorly that it is the most efficient thermoelectric material discovered. Tin selenide has a ZT metric (a ratio of electrical conductivity and thermoelectric power to thermal conductivity) 2.6. The group responsible for the discovery point to countless commercial uses for the information due to two third of energy input being lost to waste heat on average.

Headlines from around the world: 4/21/14

Intuit, the company responsible for making TurboTax, has been linked to a grassroots campaign against a long-standing proposal called Return Free to allow taxpayers the option to use prefilled tax returns from the IRS instead of having to fill out the forms or using a tax preparation service. Agents working for the public relations and lobbying firm JCI Worldwide have worked to convince community leaders to write op-eds that Return Free would be harmful to members of their respective communities. The lobbying firm listed Intuit as a client, until it had been contacted on the matter by independent newspaper ProPublica and has since called the listing a mistake.

Scientific discoveries this week: 4/14/14

Geneva, Switzerland – The Large Hadron Collider beauty collaboration has announced the discovery, to a certainty of 13.9 sigma, of exotic hadrons. These hadrons are exotic because the type of matter discovered cannot be classified within the traditional quark model of matter. The exotic particle is currently known as Z(4430), which was discovered after 25000 decays of B mesons, after 180 trillion proton-proton collisions inside of the Large Hadron Collider.

Headlines from around the world: 4/14/14

After the overturning of a 2013 court ruling, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster will now be able to register as an official religion in Poland. The overturning was based on the parody religion not being given a requested extension to turn in documents which would have made the religion official in Poland. Polish Pastafarians, the term for followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, greeted the announcement by shouting “pasta” repeatedly in unison in front of the Warsaw court.


Papers, Please

While there will always be room for fantasy in video games, as they often are an escape from the toils of reality, there is an occasional need for the harsh and soul crushing reality of being a cog in the machine and slowly being ground to a fine dust by endless levels of bureaucracy. There are simply moments where instead of fighting dragons by yelling at them in their own ancient language or dealing with an army of fascists in anachronistic ancient Roman styled armor made from sports equipment armed only with a grenade launcher and your trusted cyborg dog, someone wants to experience the degradation of being a low level employee of a second world country’s border control. For gamers desiring that level of reality, “Papers Please” by Lucas Pope is the perfect game to experience that special feeling that comes along when someone is being simultaneously violated and ignored.

Scientific discoveries this week: 4/7/14

La Serena, Chile – Researchers at the Las Campanas Observatory outside of La Serena, Chile, have observed six luminous blue stars in the leading section of the Magellanic Stream. The stars are believed to be new, coming from the gas of the Magellanic Clouds, as they are too new to have come from any other place in space. The Magellanic Clouds are two nearby galaxies that unlike other nearby systems in that they are full with gas capable of forming stars.

Headlines from around the world: 4/7/14

The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision has struck down the decades-old aggregate political spending cap on a First Amendment basis. While the $2600 per candidate per election limit is still legal, individuals are no longer limited in the total amount of political contributions that can be made every two years. Justice Breyer, in his dissenting opinion writes that the ruling would allow “a single individual to contribute millions of dollars to a political party or to a candidate’s campaign”.

Not-So-Scientific discoveries this week: 3/31/14

Boulder, CO – Researchers for the Center for Recreational Marijuana Studies in Boulder, Colorado, have released a study definitively proving that “Dark Side of the Moon” does in fact sync up to “The Wizard of Oz” and that it is “really far out and trippy, man”. While work is still being done to confirm the discovery, experts in the field of watching movies while high are already hailing this the greatest discovery in the field since the discovery that “Another Brick in the Wall” syncs up with “Wall-E,” known as Another Brick in the Wall-E.

Headlines from around the NEW world: 3/31/14

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law formalizing the annexation of Europe. While no one else is recognizing the annexation, Putin said while Bond-villainously stroking a white cat “muahahaha let them protest, first Europe, next the world”. The United Nations has announced a plans to pass a resolution to send a rather strongly worded letter at some point assuming Russia doesn’t veto the resolution or failing to pass the resolution, will make Russia sit with the lame countries at the UN cafeteria.

Scientific discoveries this week: 3/24/14

South Pole – Researchers at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station have detected waves of gravitational energy in the oldest light detectable by telescopes. This is being seen as a residual marker for the exponential growth of the universe in the first trillionths of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the universe, giving large amounts of support to the Big Bang theory. The discovery has been confirmed to five-sigma values.

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