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A giant has left the dungeon

Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson dies at 61 - TwinCities.com
Dave Arneson was a master dreamer. His daughter thought every girl grew up with dragons and fairies. His father couldn't figure out why the college kids in his St. Paul basement weren't raiding the liquor cabinet. But Arneson — who in 1974 co-created Dungeons & Dragons, the best-known and best-selling role-playing game of all time — molded fantasy in such a way that many lament him as the "unsung hero" of the gaming industry. After a falling-out with DD co-creator Gary Gygax and the company that published their work, Arneson went on to other careers: co-founding two other companies, moving to teaching — and finally, after being diagnosed with cancer, returning to St. Paul, where he died Tuesday at the age of 61.

April 09, 2009

Los Angeles has 13,000 untested rape kits

Nearly 13,000 Rape Kits Go Untested in LA County - Feministing

Through dozens of interviews with police officers, public officials, DNA analysts, rape treatment providers and rape victims, I found that as of March 1, 2009, there were at least 12,669 untested rape kits sitting in storage facilities. In those cases, officers never sent the kits along for forensic testing.

Of these untested kits, at least 1,218 are from unsolved cases in which the attacker was a stranger to the victim. And 499 kits are attached to cases that have passed the 10-year statute of limitations for rape in California, making it impossible to prosecute the alleged assailants even if they were to be identified. Under California law, if those 499 kits had been opened within two years of the attack, the statute would no longer apply. Thousands more rape kits were destroyed untested.

The backlog grew even as the police and sheriff's departments received millions of federal dollars from the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant, a program the U.S. Congress created to address rape kit backlogs. But the effect of the program is blunted by the fact that grantees can use the money to test any kind of DNA backlog.

The A.P. finally realizes what the internet is, panics

Associated Press Seeks More Control of Content on Web - NYTimes.com

Please discuss below.

A.P. executives said they were concerned about a variety of news forums around the Web, including major search engines like Google and Yahoo and aggregators like the Drudge Report that link to news articles, smaller sites that sometimes reproduce articles whole, and companies that sell packaged news feeds.

They said they did not want to stop the appearance of articles around the Web, but to exercise some control over the practice and to profit from it.

The group’s new stance applies to thousands of news organizations whose work is distributed by The A.P., as well as its own material, but the debate about unauthorized use has focused on newspapers, which are in serious financial trouble, and which own The A.P. The policies were adopted by the A.P. board, composed mostly of newspaper industry executives.

April 08, 2009

The Dark Side of Dubai

The dark side of Dubai - Johann Hari, Commentators - The Independent

Karen Andrews can't speak. Every time she starts to tell her story, she puts her head down and crumples. She is slim and angular and has the faded radiance of the once-rich, even though her clothes are as creased as her forehead. I find her in the car park of one of Dubai's finest international hotels, where she is living, in her Range Rover. She has been sleeping here for months, thanks to the kindness of the Bangladeshi car park attendants who don't have the heart to move her on. This is not where she thought her Dubai dream would end.

Her story comes out in stutters, over four hours. At times, her old voice – witty and warm – breaks through. Karen came here from Canada when her husband was offered a job in the senior division of a famous multinational. "When he said Dubai, I said – if you want me to wear black and quit booze, baby, you've got the wrong girl. But he asked me to give it a chance. And I loved him."

All her worries melted when she touched down in Dubai in 2005. "It was an adult Disneyland, where Sheikh Mohammed is the mouse," she says. "Life was fantastic. You had these amazing big apartments, you had a whole army of your own staff, you pay no taxes at all. It seemed like everyone was a CEO. We were partying the whole time."

Her husband, Daniel, bought two properties. "We were drunk on Dubai," she says. But for the first time in his life, he was beginning to mismanage their finances. "We're not talking huge sums, but he was getting confused. It was so unlike Daniel, I was surprised. We got into a little bit of debt." After a year, she found out why: Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

The whole thing deserves a read.

*Thanks, Jessica!*