Category Archives: Technology

Review: Founders of Gloomhaven groans beneath its own weight

By | September 22, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge

Welcome to Ars Cardboard, our weekend look at tabletop games! Check out our complete board gaming coverage at cardboard.arstechnica.com.

“In the age after the Demon War, the continent enjoys a period of prosperity. Humans have made peace with the Valrath and Inox. Quatryls and Orchids arrive from across the Misty Sea looking to trade. It is decided that a new city will be built on the eastern shores—a hub of trade and a symbol of many races working in harmony. Each race brings their own specialty to the city, and each race holds a desire for influence over the city by contributing the most to its construction.”

This, the opening paragraph of Founders of Gloomhaven’s bewilderingly dense manual, might mean something to hardcore board gamers—but to anyone who hasn’t played the original Gloomhaven, the current heavyweight champion of board gaming, it’s confusing (to say the least). As you’ll see, confusion and complexity are the order of the day with Founders.

Read 17 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »

Post-Cody Wilson’s arrest, few know what’s up with his company or legal efforts

By | September 22, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge / At Defense Distributed’s nondescript space among the North Austin business parks, it was business as usual on September 21, 2018. (credit: Nathan Mattise)

AUSTIN, Texas—On the surface, everything appears to be normal at Defense Distributed, the firearms company founded by 3D printed guns activist Cody Wilson. Employees have been reporting to work as usual. Sales of the Ghost Gunner and the related 3D-printed gun files on a USB stick continue. And the Defense Distributed team has been working to fulfill those just like any other week.

But of course, it hasn’t been just any other week for the Austin company. On Wednesday, September 19, an arrest warrant was issued for Wilson related to his alleged sexual assault of an unnamed underage girl. And on Friday, September 21, Wilson was arrested in Taipei, Taiwan. He flew to the country roughly two weeks earlier, and the Austin Police Department said that Wilson had skipped his return flight to the US after they believe the man received a tip about the allegations.

So while business at Defense Distributed rolls along at the moment, the company founder likely faces criminal charges upon returning to his home city. And that means Wilson could be effectively out at Defense Distributed.

Read 18 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »

Ecuador wanted to make Julian Assange a diplomat and send him to Moscow

By | September 22, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge / Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, gestures from the balcony of Ecuador’s embassy in London. (credit: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Last year, Ecuador attempted to deputize WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as one of its own diplomats and send him to Russia, according to a Friday report by Reuters.

Citing an “Ecuadorian government document,” which the news agency did not publish, Assange apparently was briefly granted a “special designation” to act as one of its diplomats, a privilege normally granted to the president for political allies. However, that status was then withdrawn when the United Kingdom objected.

The Associated Press reported earlier in the week that newly-leaked documents showed that Assange sought a Russian visa back in 2010. WikiLeaks has vehemently denied that Assange did so.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »

New discovered letter by Galileo resolves puzzling historical mystery

By | September 22, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge / The original letter in which Galileo argued against the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. (credit: Royal Society)

Renowned astronomer Galileo has been lauded for centuries for his courageous principled stance against the Catholic Church. He argued in favor of the Earth moving around the Sun, rather than vice versa, in direct contradiction to church teachings at the time. But a long-lost letter has been discovered at the Royal Society in London indicating that Galileo tried to soften his initial claims to avoid the church’s wrath.

In August, Salvatore Ricciardo, a postdoc in science history at the University of Bergamon in Italy, visited London, searching various British libraries for any handwritten comments on Galileo’s works. He was idly flipping through a catalogue at the Royal Society when he came across the letter Galileo wrote to a friend in 1613, outlining his arguments. According to Nature, which first reported the unexpected find, the letter “provides the strongest evidence yet that, at the start of his battle with the religious authorities, Galileo actively engaged in damage control and tried to spread a toned-down version of his claims.”

“I thought, ‘I can’t believe that I have discovered the letter that virtually all Galileo scholars thought to be hopelessly lost,’” Ricciardo told Nature. “It seemed even more incredible because the letter was not in an obscure library, but in the Royal Society library.”

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »

Telltale Games begins wave of layoffs, cancels Stranger Things game

By | September 21, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge / If today’s news about Telltale Games’ closure is true, that “final” season description may prove more accurate than Telltale originally intended. (credit: Telltale Games)

A wave of layoffs has apparently hit the video game studio Telltale Games, responsible for popular branching-narrative games based on the Walking Dead franchise. According to online reports, those affected by the layoffs have alleged that the studio is either shutting down entirely or staying afloat as a meager skeleton crew, ahead of The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series‘ final season launch throughout this fall.

On Friday, independent reporter Andrea Ayres posted an allegation that the studio had shut down, based on feedback from a game-development Facebook community that simply said, “Telltale Games is closing their doors.” Shortly afterward, Telltale narrative designer Emily Grace Buck confirmed that she does “not have a job anymore” and added that she was looking for job opening information for “a lot of other amazing people I love dearly.”

After Gamasutra reported on the story by saying Telltale was “closing its doors,” The Verge followed up to indicate that a team of 25 staffers will remain on board—perhaps to usher the company’s remaining Walking Dead episodes to launch. USGamer separately reports that a new game in Telltale’s The Wolf Among Us series, and a previously announced series based on the Netflix show Stranger Things, have been canceled.

Read 3 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »

Potential buyers for largest coal plant in the Western US back out

By | September 21, 2018
Article intro image

Enlarge / Navajo Generating Station and Navajo Mountain. (Photo by: Education Images/UIG via Getty Images) (credit: Getty Images)

Two investment companies that had been negotiating a purchase of the Navajo Generating Station (NGS) outside of Page, Arizona, have decided to end talks without purchasing the coal plant. The 2.25 gigawatt (GW) plant is the biggest coal plant in the Western US, and it has been slated for a 2019 shutdown. That decision came in early 2017, when utility owners of the plant voted to shut it down, saying they could find cheaper, cleaner energy elsewhere.

The 47-year-old plant employs hundreds of people from the Navajo and Hopi tribes in the area. It is also served by Arizona’s only coal mine, the Kayenta mine, which is owned by the world’s largest private coal firm, Peabody Energy. After the news of NGS’ proposed shutdown, Peabody began a search for a potential buyer for the coal plant so as not to lose its only customer.

The Salt River Project, the majority-owner of NGS, published a press release on Thursday saying Peabody Energy retained a consulting firm to identify potential buyers of the massive coal plant. That firm came up with 16 potential buyers who had expressed some interest. Salt River Project says that it hosted numerous tours for prospective buyers and set up meetings with various regulators as well as the Navajo Nation. Ultimately, a Chicago firm called Middle River Power and a New York City firm called Avenue Capital Group (which invests in “companies in financial distress”) had entered into negotiations to potentially take over the coal plant and keep it running.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

Read More »