GETTING TO THE ROOT OF IT: Fascinating projects going on over at Root-1, a quiet startup with some powerful brains at work. Root-1 has debuted two seemingly simple games: Xwords, which offers up contemporary crossword puzzles, and Word Joust, a vocabulary-building game that students can play solo or in competition. This first Word Joust is built around 3,000 SAT-type words. But 10,000 students in Singapore (soon rising to 40K) are playing an experimental, browser-only version (Word Kungfu) based on elementary school word lists. At the core of Root-1 is a platform that can handle any list. Later this autumn, the team plans to open its doors so that anyone can create their own Word Joust (or Kungfu, or other linguistic melee). Built into to Root-1s projects are some cool adaptive techniques that should help the platform deliver ever more relevant games the more people play. Did we mention that former Google execs' are jousting away at Root-1? We call that sirenic!