Give Out Free Copies of Plants vs. Zombies This Halloween

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You read that right. PopCap and the American Dental Association are teaming up to offer free copies of Plants vs. Zombies to trick or treaters this Halloween. The “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign is aimed at replacing tooth damaging candy with a healthy addiction like computer gaming.  Just go to the site and print out a [Read More...]

Uncovering Hidden Texts at the Mountain of God

Fr. Justin and Michael Toth

St. Catherine’s Monastery occupies a spot at the base of Mount Sinai where Moses is believed to have encountered the burning bush. We know monks have been there since at least the late 4th century, since the peripatetic Egeria noted its existence in the early 380s, but it’s possible monastic life there stretches back even further. So: really old. St. Catherine’s [Read More...]

You Know What Makes New York’s Spy Computer a Little Less Terrifying?

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The fact that it’s not run by the FBI. Nationwide. With facial and voice recognition as a core feature. Because that would be so much worse: Birthmarks, be damned: the FBI has officially started rolling out a state-of-the-art face recognition project that will assist in their effort to accumulate and archive information about each and every American [Read More...]

The Panopticon Awakes

I wrote some quick reactions to New York’s and Microsoft’s new spy computer when the news first broke, and the National Catholic Register asked me to expand on these ideas in a column. An excerpt:  “The head of Argus (as with stars the skies) / Was compass’d round, and wore an hundred eyes.” So writes [Read More...]

Beyond the Cloud: DNA is the Next Storage Frontier

DNA strand with code

I try to resist computer-to-human analogies like “the brain is just an organic computer!” They’re facile and, ultimately, inaccurate. One role of DNA, however, is to act as a kind of data storage. It’s a wild oversimplification to compare genetic code to computer code, but there’s a kernel (geek pun: sorry) of truth in there. [Read More...]

“Person of Interest” Becomes Real

So the TV show Person of Interest just became real in the city where it’s set. In the show, Michael Emerson (Ben Linus from Lost) plays a computer programmer who created The Machine for the government. This black box system sorts all the data feeds from all the CCTV cameras, cell phones, computers, and other digital detritus looking for [Read More...]

The Oxyrhynchus Project: Desktop Papyrology

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el-Bahnasa is a sand-blasted village about 100 miles south of Cairo. Once known as Oxyrhynchus (“City of the Sharp-Nose Fish”), it prospered under the Greeks, and became largely Christian under the Romans and Byzantines. It had a gradual decline until about the 7th century, when Arab invasions finished it off. Its structures–including a number of churches and monasteries–were [Read More...]

The State of Games

In The Darkness II, you can kill enemies using a hell-spawned imp, who then urinates on his victims.

As I mentioned last week, late summer tends to be The Busy Season in long-lead media, since we’re working on our Christmas issues, which traditionally are larger. Ours contains our annual game awards and buyer’s guide. so I’ve been deep in the gaming world for a while now, looking at the whole range of mobile, [Read More...]


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