Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

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The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

Can A Gun Buyback Program Stem Violence In Detroit?

Alarmed by new reports that show a marked increase in the chances that a young black man in Detroit will be murdered, the Detroit Police Department has initiated a gun buyback program designed to help get more firearms off the city's streets.

Police will pay from $25 for a gun that doesn't work to $50 for a gun that does to $100 for two or more guns. Cash will be handed out on the spot.

"We have to get guns out of circulation," Interim Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said. "We don't know for sure what these guns would be used for, but we know they won't be used for crimes."

I've felt the anger and fear that living under the constant threat of gun violence can produce in young men, so I'm not against Godbee's suggestion or any other idea that will save these brothers' lives. But I still can't shake the feeling that this program will end up as little more than a giant symbolic placebo. Feels good to note it, sure. But will it do any real good in the city's streets? I have my doubts.

First off, gun buyback programs don't do jack to stop the steady flow of illegal firearms into cities like Detroit. Sure, the police may get ahold of a few weapons, but that doesn't mean they're necessarily taking them from the people most likely to use them in crimes. And it certainly doesn't stop those criminals from buying many more. As long as copping a gun in Detroit is as easy as buying a cheeseburger, buyback programs do little except create more room in the illegal firearms marketplace.

Secondly, criminals aren't really into turning in their guns, at least not the guns that work well. I mean, if you just used a gun to, say, shoot a liquor store clerk or a drug rival, chances are, you're not going to hand over incriminating evidence to the cops. Plus, to be quite frank, the average stick-up kid or drug enforcer can get a lot more than $50 out of a pistol if he's willing to "put in work." Even the Justice Department has said that guns obtained through buyback and turn-in programs are the least likely to have been involved in a crime, according to reports.

And even if a criminal gunman were so inclined to turn in his piece, does the DPD have any idea what the going rate is for a really good weapon on the streets? I mean, sure you may be able to buy some cheap Lorcin .380 from your local back-alley arms hustler for a few dollars, but the stuff that people might want to hold on to — say, an AK-47 assault rifle — is going to run you way more than that, even on the black market. If they're serious about buying back the criminals' guns, Chief Godbee and his men might want to sweeten the pot a bit.

All that said, though, I still hope the program yields positive results. I mean, even if a gun hasn't been used in a crime, that doesn't mean it won't be — or that it won't fall into the hands of a child and lead to even more horrifying results. So from that standpoint, certainly the buyback program has its merits. And if it's integrated into a broader set of policies and programs aimed at stemming violence among young men, then that's beautiful, too.

But a buyback program won't offset the social and economic ills plaguing Detroit, won't bring the jobs and training that these young men so desperately need. It won't dissolve the still-congealing subculture of violence that continues to plague places like my old eastside neighborhood and that have left the city's worst-off sections largely abandoned, destabilized and unable to recover. As my homie Carl Taylor told the Detroit News:

When he grew up in Detroit, Taylor said, his teachers were his neighbors, as were area businessmen. There were standards to meet and social rules to follow.

Not so today, he said: "In some neighborhoods, there is almost anarchy and no one wants to address that."

Taylor said public officials have to acknowledge the problem first. He said many leaders have been reluctant to talk about Detroit's murder problem because it's bad news few want to share. Then, they have to act.

"This is well out of control but it's been well out of control for some time," Taylor said. "If you don't do something, the facts I'm looking at, it's only going to get worse."

Yes, get the illegal guns off the streets. Spend what it takes to recover those guns, because it's way too easy to die in Detroit. But damn it, it's not just about "not dying." These young men deserve a better way to live, too. And this city, this state, this country should be willing to pay whatever price necessary to make that happen.

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 Arduboy Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale - TIME
TIME Gadgets

Business Card Plays Tetris, Might Be for Sale Soon

TAKE MY MONEY!

+ READ ARTICLE

The above video showcases a credit card-sized whatsit with a built-in screen, control pad and two buttons. It plays Tetris! If you’re not convinced by now that we’re either at or very near the pinnacle of human ingenuity, I’m not sure I’d ever be able to convince you otherwise and I’m not sure it’s worth your time to keep reading this. We should amicably go our separate ways.

For the rest of you, this project is called Arduboy. It’s about a millimeter and a half thick and apparently packs north of nine hours of battery life. Its creator, Kevin Bates, created the proof-of-concept you see in the above video and has plans to roll out a Kickstarter campaign to sell these things, complete with a website where people can share other types of software and games they create for Arduboy.

Bates writes on his site that he wants to use Kickstarter to raise $820 to cover licensing costs. I write here that he’ll probably be able to raise that amount faster than he can clear the first level of Tetris. He’ll also probably have to sell the cards without a game loaded onto them to avoid legal issues, though.

No word on how much a final version would cost, but you can visit Bates’ website to read more about how the project came together, complete with photos of the Qdoba and REI gift cards he used to test some of the early builds.

My business card plays Tetris [YouTube via The Next Web]

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Quotes of the Day »

NICHOLAS FISHER, expert at Stony Brook University in New York who took part in a study which found that bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi were present off the coast of California just five months after the nuclear meltdown.
 MIT Student Creates Connect Four Playing Robot for Course Final - TIME
TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on

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When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

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