eSports: So Maybe You Can Make a Living at That

League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.
League of Legends Championship Series. Photo by Gabriel Gagne.

Yep, after decades of false starts, it is now possible – for the few, the young and the obsessive – to make  a living playing video games. Sprung from LAN party tournaments played for beer money stakes, eSports has today evolved into full-blown sporting franchise, complete with teams, groupies, college athletic programs, dedicated media, arena-filling crowds and tournament prize pools ballooning into the tens of millions of dollars.

For many, this development raises a number of questions. Are these really athletes? (Hint: the U.S. government thinks so.) Why was Amazon willing to pay almost a billion dollars for Twitch.tv? And, well, just how does professional gaming work?

How Professional Gaming Works

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble: 10 Terrible Cases of Mistaken Identity

The real this isn't quite as funny.
Oddly enough, the Katzenjammer Kids are still sometimes implicated.

It’s said that we all have a double somewhere in the world. It’s a haunting thought, but almost comforting compared to the harrowing tales of identity theft we hear on the nightly news. But, hey, we live in the age of fingerprints, DNA and CSI, right? The post-911 world of ever-more Orwellian identification requirements? Surely we’ve left cases of mistaken identity firmly in the past.

You know where this is going …

10 Terrible Cases of Mistaken Identity

Found in Translation: The Risks and Rewards of Video Game Localization

Video game localization has come a long way since a sub-par port of Zero Wing gave us the classic “All Your Base are Belong to Us” meme. As  game companies have gone international, and as their products have ballooned from small-batch text-and-sprite diversions to interactive blockbusters, the industry that makes those games accessible to other cultures has done its best to keep pace – despite too often being treated as an afterthought by game companies .

Find out how this process has evolved from basic text translation to fully embrace cultural norms, preferences and taboos as I explain …

How Video Game Localization Works

 

Time-Warp: The Unfolding Story of 4-D Printing

Image of printing press with legs holding a quill
It’s probably something like this.

4-D printing remains in its early stages, It’s certainly too early to tell if  it’s anything more than a buzzword, let alone if its promise will translate into practicality. But the sorts of people who bet on these kinds of things are betting on it.

And why not? Suppose a structure could unfold itself, like origami. Imagine if walls could flex or stiffen in response to shifting loads, or if a buried pipe could change shape to accommodate varying water flows — or to pump water via peristalsis, like your digestive system. Through 4-D printing, nothing is set in stone unless you want it to be.

How 4-D Printing Works

Education Film 38b: Zika Virus and You

The Zika-spreading mosquito Aedes aegypti takes a bloodmeal.
The Zika-spreading mosquito Aedes aegypti takes a bloodmeal. Photo courtesy CDC.

Zika virus is spreading through a hemisphere with plenty of mosquito habitat and no immunity to the disease, and summer is on its way. But what really chills the blood and drives our dread of what was once considered “dengue’s wimpy cousin” is the virus’s horrifying, yet unproven, link to infant microcephaly.

And so, even as epidemiologists struggle to contain and understand the problem, the news swarms with disturbing images and calls for wiping out the offending mosquito vectors. Clearly, if we’re going to get through this, we need to do our homework. Why not start with my article, in which I cut through the buzz to explore …

How Zika Virus Works

Writing • Editing • Commentary