Despite all the criticism the Playstation 3 has received, everyone acknowledges it a powerful piece of hardware. Scientists at Stanford University want to harness that power while you're not using it to play.
The researchers are studying the folding and misfolding of proteins, processes that might lead to diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and many kinds of cancer. It requires a lot of computing power to simulate the processes, so the Foldinghome program has set up a global network of computers to handle the calculations.
By the end of this month, Internet-connected PS3 owners will be able to donate time on their machines to the Foldinghome project. It's the first "distributed computing" project to take advantage of the PS3's zippy Cell processor, and Sony promises it won't be the last.
ART OF 'WAR'
That roar you heard across the PlayStation nation last week was the sound of Kratos, the crankiest guy in video games, returning to Earth in Sony's God of War II. It's the last big release for the PlayStation 2, and it will almost certainly be one of the years biggest sellers. Sony shipped more than 1 million copies of the game to stores.
During the event, creative director Cory Barlog dropped a few hints about the inevitable God of War III on the PlayStation 3 ... although he quickly backtracked because the game hasn't been officially announced. Then Sony issued a press release saying fans might be seeing God of War in full high definition, which would certainly seem to indicate a PS3 chapter.
Sony did officially announce a PlayStation portable version, which Mr. Barlog described as a completely original adventure that will be "a further fleshing-out" of Kratos' story. It's being developed by Ready at Dawn, the studio behind the superb Daxter PSP game, and it's scheduled for later this year.
Miami lawyer Jack Thompson has been after Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive for years, with the battle expected to resume this year with Manhunt 2 and GTA IV. This time, however, Take-Two is drawing first blood. According to the Game Politics Web site, the company petitioned the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida "to enjoin (Mr. Thompson) from bringing suit on behalf of the State of Florida to enjoin the sale of GTA IV or Manhunt 2 as a nuisance."
Mr. Thompson brought a similar (and unsuccessful) suit last year against Take-Two's Bully, and he was unfazed by the company's pre-emptive strike.
"I have been praying, literally, that Take-Two and its lawyers would do something so stupid, so arrogant, so dumb, even dumber than what they have to date done, that such a misstep would enable me to destroy Take-Two," the lawyer said.
Maybe Kratos isn't the crankiest guy in video games.