Games for Change president Asi Burak has noticed an odd trend in the gaming industry. Gaming is growing rapidly as a form of entertainment and it's entering a space of serious artistic critique, where people from other fields of entertainment recognize its potential to influence real-world events. Here's the odd part: Opposition to sophisticated critique of video games tends to come from within the gaming industry itself, Burak says. He runs through a few potential reasons for this phenomenon: It's the nature of gaming to be edgy and anti-establishment. It's a young industry. It saw rapid commercial success and now doesn't want to derail its prosperous ways. It's historically an underground kind of field, not used to a spotlight that could reveal flaws alongside beauty.

"For all those reasons, social responsibility and real-world issues are not the core of the gaming industry," Burak says. "And I think it's interesting because when you look at other media, it's always the case [that they're socially aware]."

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Gears of War 3 troops

Have you wondered why video game characters bear precious little resemblance to the people you see on the street? PBS has. Its latest Game/Show episode dives into the reasons why bodies in games are so exaggerated, and finds that it's largely about the psychological associations you make with geometry. Circular shapes tend to communicate liveliness, innocence and stereotypical femininity, while squares and triangles often suggest balance, hardness and (historically masculine) strength. They're meant as a shorthand that conveys what a character is about before you even start playing, such as a tough-as-nails Gears of War soldier or a friendly mascot like Mario.

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While Tidal didn't have too much to say about independent artists during its relaunch a couple weeks ago, the company is lending a hand now. In an interview with Smashd, Tidal's Chief Information Officer Vania Schlogel discussed the upcoming Discovery feature for the service -- the ability for indie acts to upload music directly. Why is this a big deal? Well, for the likes of Spotify, those musicians have to go through a third-party service like CD Baby or TuneCore to get their music in the apps. Since record labels typically handle licensing deals with subscription services, if you're unsigned, you have to find another middleman. What's more, all artists will have access to Tidal's dashboard, where they can see exactly who's listening to their music and get contact info for each person. That's how Jay Z and Jack White were able to offer those thank-you calls last week.

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Facebook app icon on mobile phone.

Facebook's bet on mobile continues to pay off in absolute spades. The first quarterly earnings report of the year from Zuckerberg and crew lay testament to that, showing that a whopping 73 percent of its $3.32 billion in ad revenue now comes from mobile alone (Total revenue for the quarter was $3.54 billion). Its number of mobile users is also on the rise -- out of Facebook's 1.44 billion monthly active users,1.25 billion are on mobile, which is up 24 percent from this time last year. Perhaps more impressive is that the number of daily users -- ie. its most engaged audience -- has gone up as well; 936 million people visit Facebook everyday, with 798 million of them logging in from their phones.

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There's a lot more that goes into producing human vocalizations than just the dual flaps of your larynx and a gust of air. More than 100 muscles throughout your face and neck coordinate to create the wide range of complex sounds people make. And thanks to a new MRI technique, researchers can watch that muscular symphony at work in real time. As you can see from the video below, the results are simply jaw dropping.

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The indie game community has exploded in the last few years, especially as development tools and digital distribution channels have become more accessible. StudioBento filmmakers Lester Francois and Anna Brady wanted to document the movement and, in 2013, raised almost $58,000 on Kickstarter to make a new movie. Now, almost two years later (and a second Kickstarter) GameLoading: Rise of the Indies has finally arrived. It was filmed over three years and features prolific developers such as Davey Wreden (The Stanley Parable), Rami Ismail (Vlambeer) and Zoe Quinn (Depression Quest). You can grab it now through the GameLoading site, as well as iTunes, Steam, PSN and Xbox Video.

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Officers cover up the drone on the Japanese Prime Minister's office

Japan has a mystery on its hands. A worker has discovered a drone on top of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's office that was not only carrying a water bottle, but was marked with a radioactive sign and carried a "miniscule" amount of radiation, according to officials. While the quantity wasn't enough to harm anyone, the landing raised more than a few alarms, as you can see by the giant tarp and swarm of police in the photo here. Who was behind it? And how did they get on to the roof undetected?

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That clunky old Android phone sitting in a drawer may be more useful than you think. A team from Carnegie Mellon University has created a program called Zensors that uses connected smartphone or surveillance cameras to track your environment, figure out what's going on and give you valuable alerts and statistics. The team showed how a user can point a smartphone outside a window, circle an area of interest, and pose a natural-language question like "how many cars are in the parking lot?" Zensor then proceeds to track cars as they enter and leave, giving a business data about its customers.

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NASA art depicting everything from Earth to a distant galaxy

NASA knows that it can't rely solely on astronomers and robotic rovers to find life on other worlds, so it's recruiting some help. The space agency has formed the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS), a coalition of scientists who study astrophysics, Earth, other planets and the Sun. The group will use its collective knowledge to search for alien lifeforms using perspectives that NASA wouldn't always have -- how does the loss of atmospheric chemicals affect the chances for life, for example? NASA hopes that the group will not only determine the habitability of planets, but develop technology to study those planets in greater detail. There's no guarantee that NExSS will discover organisms, let alone organisms that you might see within your lifetime, but the odds of success are now a bit higher.

[Image credit: NASA]

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Augmented reality is supposed to be the future, but its current usefulness is pretty fuzzy. Sony's SmartEyeglass is reminiscent of your old monochrome monitors, Microsoft's HoloLens' games look intriguing, but who knows when that's coming out and Google Glass, well, we're not sure what the future holds for Glass. BMW's vision of augmented reality is still a ways off as well, but it's recently partnered with Qualcomm to announce something rather unexpected: a pair of AR glasses meant specifically for, of all things, driving a Mini. It looks and sounds ridiculous. But the thing is: It's actually pretty damn impressive.

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