And another thing...

TURNING THE TABLES. A lot of people have complained about the potential negative effect certain video and computer games might have on people who play them too often. A group of game developers, medical professionals and government officials are hoping to get another result by expanding the use of games as therapy. The Games for Health Project, including representatives from the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, will meet next month at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Richard Tate of the nonprofit HopeLab in Palo Alto, Calif., told Agence France-Presse, 'We think there is a huge potential for games to be used for good.' HopeLab developed a game called Re-Mission, which features a Lara Croft-like character named Roxxi who seeks out and destroys cancer cells in the body. Studies showed that patients who played the game were more likely to take their medicine and were more optimistic about beating the disease. Project organizers also plan to explore using games to combat anything from obesity to attention deficit disorder. The Japanese Dance Dance Revolution, for example, mixes the game with exercise. Another idea is to create a trauma center simulator similar to those used in flight training.

FREEDOM OF SUPPRESSION. Internet trends gradually filter their way into China, though not without some resistance from the ruling party. Last year, the People's Republic made Google, Yahoo and others agree to block searches of certain dirty words'such as freedom and Taiwan'before letting them operate. Now, officials are going after individuals who post videos, particularly videos that parody communist icons. In some cases, the party cites copyright protection. In others, it assails short films that are critical of party heroes and/or leaders. In either case, it has cracked down: Sites that broadcast videos will have to get approval from the state. Somehow, considering the ways of the Web and the number of people in China, we doubt the prohibition will be successful.

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