Author Topic: All Those Wasted Hours On The PlayStation Finally Pay Off...  (Read 790 times)

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Offline trapeze

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All Those Wasted Hours On The PlayStation Finally Pay Off...
« on: September 19, 2011, 10:08:44 PM »
There's this urban legend that goes something like this:

A gamer plays his favorite arcade game every day. He pumps thousands of quarters into the game over the course of several weeks (or months) continually improving until he gets to the point where his score is high enough that he earns the privilege of entering his initials into the "Hall Of Fame" list. Not too long after that he gets to the very top score, enters his initials and then the "men in black" swoop in and spirit him away to some Area 51 type of installation where he is forced to work on top secret military war game type stuff. He is never heard of again.

If that little bit of nonsense sounds vaguely familiar it's because there was a movie made which utilizes that story. It was called "The Last Starfighter" and it was extraterrestrials who spirit the gamer off planet to fight in some alien versus alien war.

So...where is this going?

Hard to believe but scientists actually figured out a way to harness gamer brain power to do something useful and significant. In this case the gamers were able to solve a three dimensional modeling problem that biochemists have been stumped on for over a decade...

Quote
In just three weeks, online gamers deciphered the structure of a retrovirus protein that has stumped scientists for over a decade, and a study out Sunday says their breakthrough opens doors for a new AIDS drug design.

The protein, called a protease, plays a critical role in how some viruses, including HIV, multiply. Intensive research has been underway to find AIDS drugs that can deactivate proteases, but scientists were hampered by their inability to crack the enzyme's structure.

Looking for a solution, researchers at the University of Washington turned to Foldit, a program created by the university a few years ago that transforms problems of science into competitive computer games, and challenged players to use their three-dimensional problem-solving skills to build accurate models of the protein.

Within days, the gamers generated models good enough for the researchers to refine into an accurate portrayal of the enzyme's structure. What's more, the scientists identified parts of the molecule that are likely targets for drugs to block the enzyme.

Now if only they could figure a way to harness the brains all of those stoners sitting around sucking down on their bongs, who knows what might come of that?

LINK
In a doomsday scenario, hippies will be among the first casualties. So not everything about doomsday will be bad.

Offline Libertas

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Re: All Those Wasted Hours On The PlayStation Finally Pay Off...
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2011, 06:28:34 AM »
"Now if only they could figure a way to harness the brains all of those stoners sitting around sucking down on their bongs, who knows what might come of that?"

Spooky, as I was concluding the article this very thought entered my mind...but then I dismissed it as a foolish thought...

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Online IronDioPriest

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Re: All Those Wasted Hours On The PlayStation Finally Pay Off...
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2011, 06:33:47 AM »
I used to try to tell my Grandpa that playing Super Mario Brothers helped a person develop problem-solving skills. He'd just look at me sideways from underneath those bushy white eyebrows and shake his head.
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Online ToddF

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Re: All Those Wasted Hours On The PlayStation Finally Pay Off...
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 09:58:10 AM »
May I introduce 3 words to this thread?

Ender's Game.  Buggers.

 ::stirpot::