Back before he invented Minecraft, developer Notch made a little Java game called Miners 4K, which had you digging tunnels on a 2D playing field for little miners to find minerals and other goodies below the dirt. Another developer named Jean-Philippe Sarda later decided to take that idea and run with it on Apple's iOS platform, and the result is this game, Micro Miners, out this week on the App Store.
You can see the basic gameplay idea in the video below: The game's sort of like Lemmings, in that you guide the path of a bunch of little creatures without actually controlling them. Instead, like Where's My Water, you swipe across the screen to dig down into dirt, trying to guide them around obstacles to various deposits and other goodies. The action can be relaxing or frantic, depending on where you are in each level, and while the graphics are definitely not extremely polished, they're well-designed in that it's always very clear what's happening in the game.
Micro Miners is a smart and fun take on Notch's original title, and for just US$0.99 in the App Store, it's definitely worth playing. Give it a look if the video below interests you.
Daily iPhone App: Micro Miners combines Lemmings and mining in a cute brew originally appeared on TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog on Fri, 16 Nov 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Most people assume that the primary reason for building the iPad in China is to take advantage of inexpensive labor. This may be true in part but another significant factor is the lack of strict environmental regulations (China currently ranks 116th out of 132 countries on Yale’s 2012 Environmental Performance Index rankings).
It turns out that your beautiful iPad is actually a mess of stuff and such that isn’t quite as beautiful when you break it down, including aluminum, glass, and a host of heavy metals and toxic chemicals. This doesn’t even take into account the fact that the manufacturing process for each iPad results in over 285 times its own weight (1.44 pounds) in greenhouse gas emissions.
It also doesn’t hurt that each iPad requires 17 difficult-to-mine rare earth elements (though it isn’t possible to name exactly which these are as it is a well kept secret inside the Apple vault –particularly the one used to create their signature impact-resistant glass). Best guesses say they use Asahi for the glass, lanthanum in their lithium ion polymer battery, and a special neodymium alloy in the magnets found along the side and cover of the tablet.
So when you consider that China owns between 95 and 97 percent of the world’s supply of rare earths (while also being reluctant to export them directly), Apple has little choice but to work and play well with the Asian country. United States President Obama isn’t as eager to do business in this way however, having recently lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization against China and their current practices.
Some scientists have suggested that recycling electronics may help other countries, such as the United States, to reclaim some of these already mined and purchased materials, but only the Japanese are doing it with any real success. The problem stems from the fact that the minute concentrations found in each device mean the process to extract them has to be incredibly efficient to be feasible.
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Bloomberg reports that new rules have gone into effect which prohibit electronics makers from buying minerals that help fund wars in Central Africa. The Conflict-Free Smelter program specifically bars electronics makers like Apple and Intel from buying tungsten, tin ore, gold and coltan from Congo and neighboring countries unless mineral processors can prove purchases don't contribute to conflict in eastern Congo.
The Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition in Washington, D.C. and the Brussels-based Global E-Sustainability Initiative developed the regulations in conjunction with Apple, Intel and others in hopes to bring more ethical responsibility to the mining of materials used in everyday products like the iPhone and motherboards. However, while the new regulations take effect in America and Europe many Congo mines will seek out new buyers in Asia. "We're committed to continue with all these programs," John Kanyoni, president of a mineral exporters association in the Democratic Republic of Congo told Bloomberg, "But at the same time we're traveling soon to Asia to find alternatives."