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The historic flooding throughout central Europe continues, as the Elbe River has broken through several dikes in northern Germany, and the crest of the swollen Danube River has reached southern Hungary, and threatens Serbia. Parts of Austria and the Czech Republic are now in recovery mode, as thousands of residents return home to recover what they can. Gathered here are images from the past several days of those affected by these continuing floods. See earlier entry: Flooding Across Central Europe. [24 photos]

A garden with a swimming pool is inundated by the waters of the Elbe River during floods near Magdeburg in the state of Saxony Anhalt, on June 10, 2013. Tens of thousands of Germans, Hungarians and Czechs were evacuated from their homes as soldiers raced to pile up sandbags to hold back rising waters in the region's worst floods in a decade. (Reuters/Thomas Peter)     

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Heavy rainfall over Europe during the the past week has swollen many rivers past their flood stage, wreaking havoc unseen in decades across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Czech Republic. At least 18 people across the region have been killed, and tens of thousands have been evacuated. In Germany, the crest of the Elbe River is now approaching the North Sea, as the swollen Danube River is surging toward the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Collected here are images from the past several days of those affected by these historic floods, even as meteorologists predict more rain over the coming weekend. [36 photos]

The city hall of Grimma, Germany, surrounded by floodwater, on June 3, 2013. Flooding has spread across a large area of central Europe following heavy rainfall in recent days. Eastern and southern Germany are suffering under floods that in some cases are the worst in 400 years. Tens of thousands of Germans, Hungarians and Czechs were evacuated from their homes as soldiers raced to pile up sandbags to hold back rising waters in the region. (AP Photo/dpa, Jens Wolf)     

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An anonymous reader writes "Graphene once again proves that it is quite possibly the most miraculous material known to man, this time by making saltwater drinkable. The process was developed by a group of MIT researchers who realized that graphene allowed for the creation of an incredibly precise sieve. Basically, the regular atomic structure of graphene means that you can create holes of any size, for example the size of a single molecule of water. Using this process scientist can desalinate saltwater 1,000 times faster than the Reverse Osmosis technique."


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Popular gaming press has bemoaned the seeming homogenisation of the gaming industry in recent years as it undergoes its own version of globalisation. Critics say that Japanese developed games are no longer as out on a limb as they used to be. And perhaps they have a point: Genki certainly can't imagine Crane Master being released on the current platforms... A cracking title in which you get to become a master crane operator through the various stages and challenges including pulling out fish as in the child's toy fishing game. There is also an expert course to graduate aswell as the grind of work mode where going about your duties is strangely gratifying. Only in Japan, but well worth a spin. Known as Crane Master ni Narou in Japan. Interested parties seeking the full license should also see Shovel Master and Machine Master in the Kenki Ippai series. Keep it left field.

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Tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day, an event established by the United Nations in 1993 to highlight the challenges associated with this precious resource. Each year has a theme, and this year's is "Water and Food Security." The UN estimates that more than one in six people worldwide lack access to 20-50 liters (5-13 gallons) of safe freshwater a day to ensure their basic needs for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. And as the world's population grows beyond 7 billion, clean water is growing scarcer in densely populated areas as well as in remote villages. Collected here are recent images showing water in our lives -- how we use it, abuse it, and depend on it. [36 photos]

A journalist takes a sample of polluted red water from the Jianhe River in Luoyang, Henan province, China, on December 13, 2011. According to local media, the sources of the pollution were two illegal chemical plants discharging their production wastewater into the rain sewer pipes. (Reuters/China Daily)

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Here in the BoingBoing newsroom, we are dedicated to keeping you informed on the latest developments in cetacean friendship. You already know that dolphins and whales hang out and, in fact, play together

Now, some more awesome news: Dolphins apparently have a system of identifying themselves to each other similar to the way you and I use names.

Scientists have actually known since the 1960s that this system existed. Basically, each dolphin creates their own "signature" whistle when they're very young. In studies of captive dolphins, they used this whistle mainly when they got separated from the rest of the group. It was like a way of saying, "Hey, I'm over here!" Or, given the environment, perhaps some version of "Marco! Polo!"

But at Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong writes about a new study of wild dolphins that has really increased our understanding of signature whistles and how dolphins use them.

Quick and Janik recorded the calls of swimming dolphin pods using underwater microphones. From 11 such recordings, they worked out that dolphin groups use their signature whistles in greeting rituals, when two groups meet and join. Only 10 per cent of such unions happen without any signature whistles. And the dolphins use their signatures nine times more often during these interactions than during normal social contact.
The signature whistles clearly aren’t contact calls, because dolphins hardly ever use them within their own groups. Mothers and calves, for example, didn’t exchange signature whistles when travelling together. And they’re not confrontational claims over territory, because bottlenose dolphins don’t have territories.

Instead, Janik thinks that dolphins use the whistles to identify themselves, and to negotiate a new encounter. The human equivalent would be saying, “My name is Ed. I come in peace.”

Quick and Janik also found that the dolphins don’t mimic each other’s signatures when they meet up. Justin Gregg from the Dolphin Communication Project says, “In other words, dolphins are not shouting out “Hey there Jerry” to each other, they are saying “it’s me, Tim!” He adds, “We really have no idea when or why they use these whistles. This study has uncovered a brand new function for the signature whistle, which makes it rather exciting. They appear to be identifying themselves to social partners after a prolonged separation.”

Read the rest at Not Exactly Rocket Science

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Image: Dolphins, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from hassanrafeek's photostream

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Genki has always held Edge magazine in high esteem. Recently we may have lost touch a little, but its scoring system was always direct and accurate whilst others may have rode on the game's wave of hype and possible freebies. Credit was also due for making full use of the scoring system rather than just the top 30%. Covering the score up of a big release was essential to avoid any disappointment before even reading the review. A bit like watching Match of the Day without knowing the scores. The thrill of the Goldeneye N64 review, the perfect Mario 64 ten and amongst the cutting reviews came some fine guides to systems now out of circulation. The Edge Saturn Collectors Guide was a real bible and we have taken the liberty of identifying such titles on the site. Dodonpachi, Dracula X, Dungeons & Dragons, Guardian Heroes, Kingdom Grandprix, Metal Slug, Radiant Silvergun, Sengoku Blade, Strikers 1945 II, Thunderforce V... To name just a few that may or may not be in stock on the site. God bless the Saturn's tricky-to-programme-in-3D architecture for some sizzling 2D gameplay. Happy days.

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The search continued for those still missing after the Costa Concordia luxury cruise ship smashed into a reef off the coast of Giglio, Italy, and partially sank last weekend. Eleven deaths were confirmed on Tuesday. The ship’s captain, Francesco Schettino, has been accused of manslaughter by prosecutors after he left the ship before all passengers were evacuated. -- Lloyd Young (34 photos total)
A rescuer being lowered on the cruise liner Costa Concordia on Jan. 18 that ran aground in front of the harbor of the Isola del Giglio (Giglio island) after hitting underwater rocks on January 13. Emergency workers fear that the ship could slip from its resting place on a rocky shelf and slip into deeper waters. (Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images)

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