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The Late Movies: SimCity

A new version of SimCity is coming in March 2013. They're not calling it "SimCity 5" -- instead, EA/Maxis is rebooting the franchise, Star Trek-style, and just calling the new game "SimCity" again. This thing looks amazing to me; I've been playing since I was a kid, and this incarnation of the game feels really exciting and fresh (partly because you no longer need to build separate plumbing lines -- roads now handle everything). Here are some clips from the upcoming game, as well as a look back at previous versions.

SimCity Demo

In this nine-minute video, designer Stone Librande builds a casino town, and dumps his city's waste in a pile on the edge of town. Sounds about right.

The Economic Loop

Here's how commercial and industrial buildings interact with workers and the larger economy...which includes the environment. Note that these are definitely not the real graphics -- but it's pretty neat seeing the crazy debug mode developers use.

How Plumbing Works

This short video shows the basics of the water simulation within the new SimCity. The interesting parts to me: no more manual plumbing, limited resources (you deplete the water table), and groundwater contamination is quite easy. A nice balance of realism (water isn't just free forever) and convenience (let it travel down roads).

How Is SimCity Like A Real City?

Joey at Vsauce3 explains how SimCity's previous models of urban density are actually pretty realistic -- though some other elements (like building power plants) take shortcuts. Because, let's face it, going through a decade-long permit process to build a power plant is nobody's idea of fun.

Magnasanti (SimCity 3000)

6 million people in one SimCity, requiring terrifying efficiency. Built by Vincent Ocasla, this is an awe-inspiring city four human years in the making.

SNES SimCity

Here's ten minutes of gameplay on the SNES version of SimCity. The music may soothe you into a deep retro sleep. If you like this, check out this guy's SNES megalopolis with 916,000 citizens. Yes, he used an emulator and a money cheat to make it.

Let's Play SimCity 4

This extremely long play-through demo explains how to work through SimCity 4.

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Weather Watch
Heated Mats Keep Steps Ice-Free in the Winter
Amazon
Amazon

The first snow of the season is always exciting, but the magic can quickly run out when you remember all the hazards that come with icy conditions. Along with heating bills, frosted cars, and other pains, the ground develops a coat of ice that can be dangerous for pedestrians and drivers alike. Outdoor steps become particularly treacherous and many people find themselves clutching their railings for fear of making it to the bottom headfirst. Instead of putting salt down the next time it snows, consider a less messy approach: heated mats that quickly melt the ice away.

The handy devices are made with a thermoplastic material and can melt two inches of snow per hour. They're designed to be left outside, so you can keep them ready to go for the whole winter. The 10-by-30-inch mats fit on most standard steps and come with grips to help prevent slipping. A waterproof connector cable connects to additional mats so up to 15 steps can be covered.

Unfortunately, this convenience comes at a price: You need to buy a 120-volt power unit for them to work, and each mat is sold separately. Running at $60 a mat, the price can add up pretty quickly. Still, if you live in a colder place where it's pretty much always snowing, it might be worth it.

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Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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