Thursday, October 31, 2019 October 29, 2019 at 04:00AM - Sony secures... October 29, 2019 at 04:00AM - Sony secures trademarks for PS6, PS7, PS8, PS9 and even PS10 | | @WitWGARA, #GamersUnite, #gaming, #indiewatch, #nerdy, #News, #OurMischief, #WitWGARA,, gaming, nerdy, New…
October 31, 2019 at 07:30PM

via Tumblr October 31, 2019 at 04:41AM - Nintendo Switch Lite sold 1.95m in 11 days

Nintendo's latest round of sales figures are in - and Switch Lite is off to a good start. In its first 11 days, Nintendo's newest Switch shifted 1.95m units worldwide.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening sold 3.13m copies during the same short timeframe.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses sold an impressive 2.29m since its launch at the end of July, while Super Mario Maker 2 has shifted 3.93m since the end of June.

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from October 31, 2019 at 02:55AM - Codemasters extends its F1 deal to 2025

Codemasters has just announced that it's extended its rights on the F1 licence to 2025 - with a further option for 2026 and 2027.

Coming off the back of two outstanding entries in Codemasters' series, it's fantastic news for fans of the sport, and it marks the longest extension in the franchise's history. Codemasters first signed up in 2008, with the first entry being Sumo's stopgap Wii effort in 2009, with the fully-fledged F1 2010 following soon after.

There have been lulls - F1 2014 marked a low-point for the series as the studio prepared for a new generation - but since then it's gone from strength to strength, with F1 2019 an enjoyable, detailed and passionate take on the sport that's bolstered by an esports offering now going into its third seasons that's become part and parcel of the sport itself.

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from October 31, 2019 at 01:00AM - The creepy allure of video game dungeons

"And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of Toledo. Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated - fables I had always deemed them - but yet strange, and too ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterranean world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited me?"

Edgar Allan Poe, The Pit and the Pendulum.

If you're playing a lot of games, there's no escaping the dusty depths of dungeons. They are everywhere; their twists and turns and nooks and crannies filled with monsters, traps and loot form the spine of countless games.

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from October 30, 2019 at 02:39PM - Apex Legends is getting a limited-time Duos mode next week

Apex Legends is mixing up its usual three-person squad formula again next week with the advent of a new limited-time Duos mode.

Duos mode will arrive, according to developer Respawn Entertainment, next Tuesday, 5th November. There's currently no word on when it'll be buggering off again though.

The introduction of Duos mode follows other efforts by Respawn to shake up its free-to-play battle royale shooter, including the addition of a much-requested Solo mode (albeit for a limited-time) in August. A variant of solo returns this week, in celebration of Halloween.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Fascinating Origins of Everyday Things (Part 2)

In this episode of The Brain Food Show, we start off looking at that time the United States government banned pre-sliced bread… Really.

Next up, we have a brief message from a sponsor, Blinkist, which gives you the key ideas from more than 3,000 bestselling nonfiction books in just 15 minutes instead of having to listen to the full audiobook or read it all. Try it out for free and help support this show by using the following link:

Moving on to the next section we look at who exactly invented what is so often compared to the “best things”- pre-sliced bread and the little saga to him getting bakers to accept his invention.

After that, we look at the surprisingly interesting saga of the invention and popularization of the shopping cart.

On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and review this show in whatever podcasting platform you’re using (including hopefully giving us some feedback related to the new format), we would be extremely grateful. Thanks!

(You can also discuss this episode and view references on The BrainFood Show forum here.)

Don’t miss future episodes of this podcast, subscribe here: iTunes | Spotify | Google Play Music | Stitcher | RSS/XML

You can also find more episodes by going here: The BrainFood Show

The post The Fascinating Origins of Everyday Things (Part 2) appeared first on Today I Found Out.

from Today I Found Out
by Daven Hiskey - October 30, 2019 at 08:46PM
Article provided by the producers of one of our Favorite YouTube Channels!
- October 30, 2019 at 11:38AM - Nioh 2 gets March 2020 release date on PS4

Team Ninja's long-awaited samurai hack-and-slash sequel Nioh 2 will be heading to PlayStation 4 on 13th March next year. What's more, there's a little more news on the game's open beta, which comes to the console next month.

While Nioh 2 retains the original's blend of exuberant third-person action and light RPG elements, developer Team Ninja is looking to expand and enrich its sequel - offering greater combat complexity through new weapons and mechanics - as players' roam its distinctly supernatural take on Sengoku-era Japan. Additionally, it's possible to build your own protagonist this time around, with Nioh 2 introducing character customisation tools.

As revealed in September, players can get a test of Nioh 2's enhanced action when its open beta begins next month, running from 1st November to 10th November on PS4.

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from October 30, 2019 at 10:48AM - Nioh, Outlast 2 are PlayStation Plus' games for November

With October almost done, it's time to gaze yonder into November, where another batch of PlayStation Plus games await eager subscribers, this time in the form of Team Ninja's acclaimed action game Nioh and Red Barrels' gruesome first-person horror sequel Outlast 2.

Nioh initially launched on PS4 in 2017, and its melding of light RPG elements and extravagant hack-and-slash action - which saw players donning the mantle of real-life western samurai William Adams - managed to draw comparisons with From Software's celebrated Dark Souls series, as well as Team Ninja's own Ninja Gaiden games.

"While the combat system and bosses offer a worthy successor to Souls and Gaiden fans," wrote Jeffrey Matulef in his Eurogamer Recommended review, "there are a few ways that Nioh falls short of the modern masterpiece it strives to be. The most troublesome problem with Nioh is its repetition. For all it does right, its padding is obvious and often obnoxious."

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from October 30, 2019 at 08:47AM - Here's your Xbox Games with Gold lineup for November

Remember remember the fifth of November, gunpowder, treason and... a whole lotta Xbox?

Next month's Games with Gold have been announced, and while it's not the most riveting collection, there are a couple of interesting picks for subscribers to enjoy as the nights draw in.

Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order releases on the 15th, but if you want to get into the mood before then, you can hop into a pilot seat in Star Wars: Jedi Starfighter, which originally released all the way back in 2002 on the original Xbox.

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from October 29, 2019 at 01:00AM - The historical... October 29, 2019 at 01:00AM - The historical precedent for video game demo melons | | @WitWGARA, #GamersUnite, #gaming, #indiewatch, #nerdy, #News, #OurMischief, #WitWGARA,, gaming, nerdy, News, OurMis…
October 30, 2019 at 03:30PM

via Tumblr October 30, 2019 at 08:01AM - PS4 sales overtake Wii and PS1

According to Sony's most recent financial report, the PlayStation 4 has shipped 102.8m units, placing it second on the list of best-selling home consoles.

It has even managed to surpass its great granddad, the original PlayStation, as well as Nintendo's Wii, meaning PlayStation consoles now take up the top three spots on the list.

Of course, the very top spot is still held by the PS2, which has sold over 155m units in its lifetime. However, the PS4 hit the 100 million consoles sold milestone at the end of the last quarter, becoming the fastest home console to do so.

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from October 30, 2019 at 07:20AM - Death Stranding's launch trailer is nearly eight minutes long

Death Stranding arrives on 8th November - that's a week on Friday - but you can get a sneak peek right now in the game's nearly-eight minute launch trailer.

As with anything from Hideo Kojima, settle down for a bunch of story cutscenes and plenty of head scratching as you try to work out what's going on.

Beware story spoilers - it looks like we see the death of an important character here. But then this is Kojima, and this has been deliberately put in a launch trailer, so it's always possible not everything is as it seems.

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from October 30, 2019 at 05:02AM - Get two PlayStation Hits games for £25

Catching up on a few of the best PS4 games you may have missed has got a whole lot cheaper now you can get two PS Hits releases for just £25.

Base is running the promotion across a selection of games in the PS Hits library including last month's new additions God of War, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy and Gran Turismo: Sport. Some of these are definite must-haves in your PS4 library.

Each game would usually set you back £15.99 at full price, so buying a couple will give you a decent £7 saving. They're also priced at £12.85 individually in case you only wanted to pick up a single title. You can't really complain about the terrific God of War for that price!

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from October 30, 2019 at 03:53AM - Mitsubishi pulls Blizzard sponsorship over Hong Kong controversy

Everyone was already expecting some fireworks surrounding Blizzard's Hong Kong debacle sometime this week. After Blizzard suspended Hearthstone player Chung "Blitzchung" Ng Wai for voicing Hong Kong support in a post-match interview, the company has been taking flak from all sides (even managing to unite US politicians), and protests are expected to take place at Blizzcon when it starts this Friday.

Yet it turns out serious consequences for Blizzard began a while back, as a major esports sponsor pulled out only a few days after the controversy started.

In a statement made to The Daily Beast, Mitsubshi Motors' Taiwanese branch has now confirmed it withdrew support for Blizzard's esport tournaments two days after Blitzchung's initial suspension. Speculation the sponsorship had been withdrawn began on Reddit when fans noticed the disappearance of the Mitsubishi logo from the Asia Pacific Hearthstone tournament - and now that move is official.

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from October 30, 2019 at 03:00AM - Someone should make a game about: Selling Sunset

Hello, and welcome to our new series which picks out interesting things that we'd love someone to make a game about.

This isn't a chance for us to pretend we're game designers, more an opportunity to celebrate the range of subjects games can tackle and the sorts of things that seem filled with glorious gamey promise.

Check out our 'Someone should make a game about' archive for all our pieces so far.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Fascinating Origins of Everyday Things (Part 1)

In this episode of The Brain Food Show, we start off looking at the surprisingly interesting origin of the paperclip and why a person who had nothing to do with its design commonly gets all the credit for it, including having a giant statue of it made in his honor only a couple decades ago. ūüôā

Next up, we have a brief message from our sponsor Skillshare! Level up your skills and support this show all at the same time by signing up for Skillshare today: Using that link also gets you a 2-month free trial. Big thanks to Skillshare for sponsoring this podcast!

Moving on to the next section of the show we’re looking at one of the most prolific inventors in American history who invented at least one thing (if not a couple) that are currently in your home right now and you probably use frequently, yet for various reasons we’ll get into, nobody remembers this guy at all and he never made much money off any of his hundreds of inventions. (And for those curious about the Lockstitch gif, click here.)

After that we’re looking at the fascinating origin of the ballpoint pen and the shockingly complex way these things are made considering you’ve probably lost 3 of them in your couch cushions today already and don’t care because they are dirt cheap somehow.

On another note, if you could do us a huge favor and rate and review this show in whatever podcasting platform you’re using (including hopefully giving us some feedback related to the new format), we would be extremely grateful. Thanks!

(You can also discuss this episode and view references on The BrainFood Show forum here.)

Don’t miss future episodes of this podcast, subscribe here: iTunes | Spotify | Google Play Music | Stitcher | RSS/XML

You can also find more episodes by going here: The BrainFood Show

The post The Fascinating Origins of Everyday Things (Part 1) appeared first on Today I Found Out.

from Today I Found Out
by Daven Hiskey - October 29, 2019 at 09:39PM
Article provided by the producers of one of our Favorite YouTube Channels!
- October 29, 2019 at 03:14PM - EA confirms no new Battlefield for next year

EA has confirmed that there will be no new Battlefield game launching next year, with the franchise instead due to make its return in fiscal year 2022.

Battlefield 5, developer DICE's most recent series entry, released a little under a year ago - and with no new instalment in 2019, fans have wondered whether 2020 might see its return.

However, during its Q2 Fiscal 2020 Earnings Call this evening, EA confirmed (as noted by Niko Partners' games industry analyst Daniel Ahmad) that it won't be releasing a new Battlefield experience until its 2022 fiscal year. That means the game could arrive anywhere between April 2021 and the end of March 2022.

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from October 28, 2019 at 04:53PM - Star... October 28, 2019 at 04:53PM - Star Citizen’s latest Free Fly event is now underway | | @WitWGARA, #GamersUnite, #gaming, #indiewatch, #nerdy, #News, #OurMischief, #WitWGARA,, gaming, nerdy, News, OurMi…
October 29, 2019 at 01:00PM

via Tumblr October 29, 2019 at 07:54AM - It's official - EA is returning to Steam

Just a few days after EA's steamy teaser, the publisher has made it official - EA is coming back to Steam.

EA is going all-in with the comeback too, kicking it off by opening Steam pre-orders for Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order today ahead of the game's release on 15th November.

Plans have also been announced to bring EA Access to Steam in spring 2020, making it the fourth platform (after PS4, Xbox One and Origin) to feature the subscription service.

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from October 29, 2019 at 04:15AM - The best Halloween game sales from Steam, GOG and more

With the spooky season now well and truly upon us, it's time for digital retailers to launch all of their competing Halloween game sales. Naturally, the likes of Steam and GOG have opened up their crypts to unleash a swarm of offers, so we've gathered all the best in one place to make it easier to digest.

As I'm sure you know from your inbox recently flooding with alerts about all your wishlist games being reduced, the Steam Halloween Sale is now underway until 1st November. We already knew it was coming after a range of Steam Sale dates leaked, but now's the time to decide whether you're going to part with your cash.

Leading the way is a whole menagerie of horror games. Many that you would expect are already present, including Resident Evil 2, Prey, Friday the 13th, Limbo and more. There are also a few hidden gems in there worth grabbing while they've been slashed in price.

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from October 29, 2019 at 04:11AM - New Blizzard leak reveals Overwatch 2 artwork ahead of BlizzCon

Blizzard has managed to leak yet another tidbit of info suggesting a reveal of Overwatch 2 at BlizzCon this weekend. This time, it's in the form of some artwork featuring old (and one new) hero found on the Blizzard Gear Store.

The new artwork, subtly titled "ow2-fine-art-gallery.png" in the URL, shows a few of Overwatch's most popular heroes going into battle. Brigitte, Tracer, Reinhardt, Mei, Genji, Winston and Mercy are among those featured, as well as Echo - who's rumoured to be the next hero coming to the game.

If you try visiting the web address for the artwork on the Blizzard store, you'll be met with a 403 error, meaning you don't have permission to view the page. If this artwork is indeed official Overwatch 2 art however, it's likely the page will go live if it's announced this weekend.

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from October 29, 2019 at 04:00AM - Sony secures trademarks for PS6, PS7, PS8, PS9 and even PS10

You've got to think ahead if you want to stay ahead in the video game business - and that's exactly what Sony's doing. Far far ahead.

The company behind PlayStation has filed trademarks for PS6, PS7, PS8, PS9 and PS10. Yep, even PS10.

Sure, this is just a forward-thinking protective measure from Sony suits in Japan. But let's do some quick maths: let's say we have a console transition every five years (could be longer, could be shorter) - then we're looking at PS10 in 2045.

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from October 29, 2019 at 01:00AM - The historical precedent for video game demo melons

I saw a bit of the new COD the other day. It was fine. Fighting through the streets, going silent with one of those contraptions on the end of a gun barrel. But then: a marketplace, or the remains of it. And what's this? Watermelons!

Reader, I am emphatically here for watermelons in video games. Watermelons always mean someone is showing off physics - look at the way they bounce around! - or animation - look at the way they come apart! (Third option is it's Yoshi's Island, but that's literally all three options covered.) Watermelons are always extra-curricular, a little bit of interaction to enjoy between headshots. More than that, that phrase "showing off" is never far away. Watermelons are where the tech gets to shine.

Demo melons are brilliant aren't they? Being sliced up in Metal Gear Rising, rolling and scattering in John Woo's Stranglehold. I would argue that they are something unique to video games - video games are the only form that shows off in this particular way. But the more I think about this, the more I realise this isn't true. Demo melons have roots that go way back into art history. (Melons have roots, don't they?)

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Monday, October 28, 2019

#Uranus Opens and Closes to Let out Hot Wind …...

#Uranus Opens and Closes to Let out Hot Wind …

#memes #meme #facts #strange #funnymemes #funny #memetime @jacksepticeye @pewdiepie
October 28, 2019 at 06:29PM

via Tumblr October 28, 2019 at 04:53PM - Star Citizen's latest Free Fly event is now underway

Controversial space sim Star Citizen's latest Free Fly event is now underway, meaning that curious sorts can get a first-hand progress update on developer Cloud Imperium Games' currently eight-years-in-the-making sci-fi extravaganza without paying a penny.

Star Citizen's Free Fly event will run until 6:59am on 4th November in the UK, and is intended to show off everything that's been introduced in the latest Alpha 3.7 update. This includes planetary caves, first-person mining, player interdiction, mission sharing, and more

Five ships will be available during the event - the Consolidated Outland Mustang Alpha, Banu Defender, Roberts Space Industries Aurora MR, Drake Cutlass Black, and the Avenger Titan - and full details of how to participate can be found on the Star Citizen Free Fly webpage.

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from October 28, 2019 at 06:45 AM - There's another 15% off at The Game Collection this week

For the rest of the week, you can save 15 per cent at The Game Collection thanks to a brand new voucher code at eBay.

Yep, there's another one!

The savings on offer aren't quite as dramatic as the 20 per cent voucher that we saw earlier in the month, but you can still find a few good deals on consoles, games, accessories and more. It's not a bad warm-up for Black Friday, though we expect to see some better PS4 Black Friday deals, Nintendo Switch Black Friday offers and Xbox Black Friday discounts next month.

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from October 28, 2019 at 06:41AM - Minecraft Dungeons started life as a Nintendo 3DS game

According to a new video on the Minecraft YouTube channel, the concept for Minecraft Dungeons originally came about when the team were trying to design a game for the Nintendo 3DS.

This comes from a video titled 'Minecraft Dungeons Diaries: Origins', which is seemingly the first in a series providing some background and insight into Mojang's new action-adventure game (thanks VG247).

"It all started when we were trying to figure out a cool, Minecraft-style game for the 3DS," says chief creative officer, Jens Bergensten. "We toyed with a bunch of different ideas but finally making a dungeon crawler was something that really struck a chord with us."

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from October 28, 2019 at 06:00AM - Microsoft announces upgrade option for the next Xbox console

Microsoft has announced an upgrade option for the next Xbox console.

Players in the UK and US who buy an Xbox One with Xbox All Access can upgrade to Project Scarlett once it goes on sale holiday 2020 and they've made 18 payments.

Xbox All Access lets you buy an Xbox One for as low as £17.99 for 24 months. You can choose between Xbox One X, Xbox One S or Xbox One S All-Digital Edition bundles (the payments change depending on which console you go for). One Xbox controller is included with each bundle, as is a 24-month membership to xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

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from October 28, 2019 at 05:26AM - Death Stranding confirmed for PC

Kojima Production's highly-anticipated debut independent game Death Stranding has finally been confirmed for PC, with a summer 2020 release window currently pencilled in.

Death Stranding is due on PlayStation 4 on November 8th - with reviews due to drop this coming Friday - and it marks Hideo Kojima's first work after his split with Konami back in 2015. It's been realised with support from Sony, with Death Stranding made using Guerrilla Games' Decima engine. Death Stranding's release on PC next year will mark the debut of the Decima Engine on PC. Publisher 505 Games is to handle the PC version.

What else exactly to say about Death Stranding? It's a curious exploration of what Kojima posits is an all-new genre, featuring cameos from Conan O'Brien, Geoff Keighley and Guilermo del Toro. It's going to be a bit weird.

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Sunday, October 27, 2019 October 27, 2019 at 10:23AM - Get 66% off Two Point Hospital as things get spooky

Spooooooky Mode is back at Two Point Hospital and to celebrate, Two Point Studios is offering its "biggest discount yet" with 66 per cent off the hospital sim game for the next 24-hours or so.

The new mode boasts nine "new spooky tracks", a pumpkin-headed variant of Lightheadedness, flying bats, "spooky and mysterious lighting changes across some levels" and, less spooky but nonetheless welcomed, UI updates to main menu and in-game HUD.

There's also a "frightening selection of replacement spooky decorations" up for grabs too, including a pumpkin-infested Carnivorous Plant to create a true botanical nightmare, the Newsagents' stand and The Arcade Machine have been web-adorned, and "orange is most definitely in this season for our beloved Gnome". Reception has also "been pimped, haunted house style", there's spooky bed-pans in the Nurse Station, and "pretty much every picture of a dog now has a rather unusual element to it..."

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from October 27, 2019 at 06:27AM - Sony issues refunds to unhappy WWE 2K20 PlayStation 4 players

Sony is offering refunds to fans dissatisfied with 2K latest iteration of its highly successful wrestling franchise, WWE 2K20.

As Wes reported yesterday, the wrestling video game launched on 22nd October and has since gone viral on social media for its nightmarish - and hilarious - glitches. #FixWWE2K20 ended up trending on Twitter in the US and WWE 2K20's Steam page has been hit with hundreds of negative reviews, dropping the game's rating to "mostly negative", prompting 2K to finally respond to the backlash.

According to our friends at (via VGC), Sony is now issuing refunds for players that report missing items from the collector's edition, broken in-game features, and graphical bugs. But while some players have provided evidence of having received refunds, others have not been successful due to Sony's 14-day refund rule.

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from October 27, 2019 at 05:05AM - Ubisoft share price tumbles following delay of its 2020 releases

Ubisoft has seen its stock plummet after the developer-publisher announced plans to delay the launch of three upcoming games until the next financial year.

Ubisoft announced on Thursday it would delay the release of Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, and Rainbow Six Quarantine, all of which are now slated to release after the current financial year ends.

Consequently, Ubisoft shaved its outlook for full-year net bookings from €2.19 billion to €1.45 billion and drastically revised its operating income down from €480 million to €20-50 million. In response to the news, Bloomberg reports the publisher's stock fell as much as 29 per cent in Paris, sending shares tumbling down 22 per cent - the lowest level they've been for six years.

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Saturday, October 26, 2019 October 26, 2019 at 07:31AM - It looks like EA is coming back to Steam

Eight years after launching Origin, EA is about to return to Steam.

EA tweeted a clip of a cup with steam coming out of it. I see what you did there, EA!

The tweet comes a few days after Twitter user @RobotBrush discovered a test application for running Origin games on Steam. The suggestion is EA will let people buy and run its games through Valve's rival PC platform, but you'll still need to use the Origin launcher.

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from October 26, 2019 - Video games in China: beyond the great firewall

Video games are a small window into Chinese life, but they're a window nonetheless, and video games themselves, in China, are huge. China accounts for more than half of the entire planet's PC gaming revenue. In fact, despite it being smaller than mobile gaming there, China's PC gaming market alone made over $15bn in 2018; more than half the entire amount of revenue made in the US gaming industry overall, including consoles, mobile, the lot. Going by the numbers of analyst firm Niko Partners, as of 2018 there were a total of about 630 million gamers in China - a little over 8 percent of humans on the planet.

Huge. But we know there are lots of people in China, and we know lots of them play games. What's really interesting is that these people are playing games in what is, on paper, the most aggressively censored system around. I suspect this sort of thing is why economists love visiting China, even if doing so is a risk: everything is a case study.

Games are no different. Under Chinese law, video games can't contain anything that "threatens China's national unity, sovereignty, or territorial integrity". They can't harm "the nation's reputation, security or interests". They can't promote cults, or "superstitions". They can't "incite obscenity, drug use, violence or gambling" - although loot boxes are, of course, fine (in fact Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad reckons a Chinese game may have invented them as far back as 2003) - and they can't include anything that "harms public ethics" or China's "culture and traditions". They also can't include any "other content" that might violate China's constitution or law, whatever that may be, and they have to be published in China by a Chinese company.

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Friday, October 25, 2019

What was It Actually Like to Be a Court Jester in Medieval Times?

LegitMarmalade asks: Is it true medieval jesters could insult the King in any way they wanted without risk of getting executed?

Although you might assume that being made to wear a stupid costume, be mocked, and act like an idiot for the entertainment of fatuous rulers would be a job nobody would want- like the position of Groom of the Stool (a job which initially consisted of directly supplying the necessaries to facilitate a good and clean bowel movement to the King, as well as to monitor said fecal matter and make dietary recommendations based on what you saw there)- the position of court jester was actually an enviable one due to it involving spending so much time with those in power. And as you were often putting them in good humor and otherwise making them happy, it was a position that came with a whole slew of perks. So what was life actually like as a court jester?

To begin with, the job of jester has been around going back to humanity’s earliest recorded history, as well as spanning just about every major culture on Earth. Beyond entertaining the masses, from Egyptian Pharaoh to the first Emperor of China, the wealthy have frequently employed the services of these individuals.

Over the centuries this line of work matured and as we get into Medieval times in the Western world, we start to see court jesters that somewhat fit the common stereotype depicted today. Although it should be noted they weren’t called “jesters” at this point, rather usually something like “fool” or “buffoon”. The jester name, deriving from the Anglo-Norman “gestour” meaning “storyteller”, wouldn’t come about until around the 16th century.

In any event, there were two popular types of court jesters prominent during the latter parts of Medieval times, the so-called “Licensed Fool” and the “Natural Fool”. In both cases, those with physical deformities, such as extreme hunchback, malformed limbs, particularly ugly visages, etc. were prized, as were dwarfs, perhaps the most famous of which being Lord Minimus, who we cover in detail in an episode of our BrainFood Show podcast- Lord Minimus: The Renaissance Dueling Dwarf.

As for garb, this varied from jester to jester, but in the general case, particularly for Licensed Fools, they typically were clothed in colorful, patchworked and mildly whimsical outfits, potentially including a monk’s cowl, and a pointed, colorful fool’s hat, originally modeled after donkey ears. They’d also sometimes wear donkey tails as well.

As for the job description, it was surprisingly diverse, but in a nutshell was to entertain the court and their patron basically anytime they wanted and in any way said royal wanted, be it some witty banter, performing a drama, reciting poetry or stories, singing songs, performing acrobatics, etc.  When not called to perform directly at banquets and the like, they were likewise frequent companions to their patron, and generally in charge of cheering them up whenever needed.

At other times, some were given additional tasks like various household duties, running messages, etc. On this latter note, given these jesters were present and privy to the inner workings of court intrigue, they were natural candidates to carry highly confidential messages. The down side of this is that jesters were sometimes the ones appointed to carry messages around on battlefields, as well as to the enemy camp- not the safest job in the world.

Not just useful on the battlefield for carrying messages, they also sometimes were tasked with entertaining the troops, more or less functioning as something of what we think of as a modern day cheerleader and comedian combined in this role.

As you can imagine from all of this, these “Licensed Fools” were usually extremely intelligent, quick witted, talented at many things, and needed to spend a lot of time continuing to improve and expand their skill set in order to retain their positions, lest their patron get bored with them.

As for the “Natural Fools”, they were a little different, though their general job of being entertainment was more or less the same. On the whole, these individuals were those who had some sort of mental issue and were by their very nature thought to be entertaining. They also were prized for their propensity to naturally speak the unbridled truth.

As to outfits for the Natural Fools, this occasionally seems to have differed from their Licensed brethren in that while they might wear such stereotypical outfits, other accounts have certain of them wearing clothing you might find on anyone at court in the regions and eras they lived.

An example of a Natural Fool we have William Sommers who replaced King Henry VIII’s previous Natural Fool, Sexton, who was originally gifted to the King by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey.

Moving on to Sommers, while he was considered a “natural fool”, it’s not really clear what his particular mental deficiency was. Noted as having an incredibly quick wit, being a master of satire, and occasionally giving wise council to the King, he ultimately became one of Henry’s most trusted advisors. That said, he was otherwise apparently incapable of taking care of himself, to the point that King Henry VIII went so far as to ensure that one William Seyton would be employed to take care of Sommers after the King died.

As an example of one of his many antics, according to an early 17th century account by comedic actor Robert Armin, at one point the King’s juggler, Thomas, was doing his thing when Sommers sauntered in with milk and a bread roll in hand mid-performance. Sommers then began singing,

This bit Harry I give to thee
and this next bit must serve for me,
Both which I’ll eat apace.
This bit Madam unto you,
And this bit I my self eate now,
And the rest upon thy face.

He then promptly chucked the milk in Thomas’ face, much to the amusement of all present.

Highly favored by the King, Sommers appears in a 1545 portrait “Henry the Eighth and His Family” with the King, one of his former wives Jane Seymour, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, son Edward, and Mary’s own jester, Jane the Fool, who is thought to have also been a “Natural Fool”.

Going back to the Natural Fool’s gift at speaking the “unbridled truth”, it turns out this was also something highly valued in Licensed Fools as well, though contrary to what is often said, while they were far more free to say whatever came to their minds, they still had to be tactful, especially with an audience.

For example, as beloved as Sommers was, even as stated included in a family portrait, on a few occasions King Henry VIII got so mad at him, he threatened to kill him. For example, in 1535 when Sommers apparently joked that one of King Henry’s children was a bastard… perhaps a little too close to home on that one.

In another case we have the famed jester Triboulet who served under King Louis XII and Francis I. French poet Jean Marot described Triboulet as “a fool with an unsightly head, as wise at thirty as on the day he was born; with a small forehead and large eyes, a big nose and squat figure, a flat, long belly, and a hump back. He mocked, sang, danced, and preached in derision of every one…”

So famous he had a few characters in literature based on him, most notably in Victor Hugo’s Le Roi s’Amuse, it is nonetheless reported his particular brand of satire didn’t exactly make him popular among the court to the point that he was apparently frequently beaten by those he’d offended. Legend has it, whether truth or not is impossible to tell, this led to an exchange between himself and King Francis in which he told the king one of the members of the court had threatened to kill him. The King purportedly replied to this, “If he does, I will hang him a quarter of an hour afterward.” To which Triboulet supposedly quipped, “Ah, Sire, couldn’t you contrive to hang him a quarter of an hour previously?”

In another famed instance, he angered the King via making fun of the queen, whereupon his execution was ordered. However, legend has it that given his years of good service, he was given leave to choose the manner of his death. After thinking it over, Triboulet purportedly told the king “Good sire, for Saint Nitouche’s and Saint Pansard’s sake, patrons of insanity, I choose to die from old age.” This so amused the king that he just had Triboulet banished instead of killing him.

All that said, a good jester was expected to help their master see folly in any plans they were making or actions, just if one wanted to keep their position and potentially keep breathing, this needed to be done in delicate and tactfully hilarious way.

On top of all of this, a lesser talked about duty of jesters that is somewhat glossed over in modern pop culture is that they were sometimes the ones tasked with breaking bad news to their master, seeing as they could do so humorously and with somewhat lesser fear of retribution.

For example, in the 14th century, legend has it that King Phillip VI of France was given the news that his fleet was destroyed by the English in the Battle of Sluys by his jester who burst in on the king saying “The coward English! the dastard English! the faint-hearted English!” The King then responded, “Why do you abuse them?” To which the jester supposedly stated, “Because they would not jump out of their ships into the sea as our brave Frenchman did.”

Moving on to compensation for their many services, this varied. In some cases, we have accounts of jesters given a regular stipend, and in other cases they had no official salary. However, at the least court jesters were exceptionally well taken care of with regards to their day to day needs such as food, shelter, clothing, etc, and were often rewarded for particularly good bouts of entertainment by those among the wealthy they were entertaining. This could potentially mean gifts of land, titles, money, etc. For example, there is a record of King Henry II awarding 30 acres of land to a jester by the name of Roland le Pettour upon his leaving the court, with one stipulation as a part of the deal- that Pettour must once a year return to the court and “leap, whistle and fart”… (The time before the internet people…)

In another instance, one Tom the Fool was awarded a whopping 50 shillings, (about a year’s salary for a commoner) for his excellent performance in front of the assembled court at King Edward I’s daughter, Elizabeth’s, wedding.

Further, many jesters were able to parlay their roles as fools into great wealth by using their position at the King’s side to secure lucrative deals and jobs for family and friends, something the aforementioned Sommers is noted to have done for his uncle who fell into financial ruin and was only saved when Sommers managed to secure a deal for him with the King.

As for female jesters, they seem to have enjoyed all the same perks as their male counterparts, even relatively free to insult the men of power around them with a level of impunity, though, again, tactfully. As such, the job of fool is noted by historians as being one of the few career options held by men that was also completely open to women with no real associated stigma nor much of a difference in job responsibilities.

One of the more famous female jesters was a legendary woman known as Mathurine the Fool who served in the courts of Henry III and IV, as well as Louis the XIII in the 17th century. Mathurine was well known for her extravagant costume, modeled after the idea of an Amazonian warrior complete with shield, armor, and a wooden sword. While the sword wasn’t sharp, her wit by all accounts was, with perhaps the most famous example of this being that time she was reportedly criticised by a lady in waiting who complained that she didn’t like having a fool at her right side. Without missing a beat, Mathurine supposedly jumped to the lady’s other side and announced to the court: “I don’t mind it at all.” **Burn**

Mathurine also famously supposedly kept a would be assassin of Henry IV from escaping, as recounted in a 19th century edition of Frank Leslie’s Popular Monthly where it states,

Mathurine it was who arrested the youth who attempted to assassinate Henri IV, on the 28th of December. This youth, who had glided into the apartment unperceived, struck at the King with his dagger. “Devil take that fool with her tricks,” cried his Majesty… Mathurine sprang to the door, and barring the passage, prevented the escape of the King’s assailant.

(So if you were feeling down today, remember that at one point in time, an assassin was foiled when a female comedian dressed like an Amazonian warrior burst into the room and told him not to move. No doubt the reenactment of this scene was great fodder for entertaining guests in the aftermath.)

As for what happened to the position of court jesters, while it stuck around in some regions of the world for another century or two, in the Western world as the 17th century progressed, the broadening popularity of theater and other such performing houses saw nobles seeming to have gradually shifted to this form of entertainment instead of keeping court jesters on hand at all times. Some of the best entertainers likewise gravitated more towards this line of work rather than the unpredictability of working under a royal.

Illustrating the shift, one of the last prominent court jesters in the Western world was Samuel “Maggoty” Johnson, who worked for the Duke of Montague, as well as hiring his entertainment services out to pretty much anyone else who wanted to pay. Not only entertaining the elite privately, he also at one point wrote an entire play to perform in a theater in London for the masses at the behest of the Duke of Montague. Noteworthy of this play is that it was universally considered incredibly awful, but nonetheless had a fairly successful run, apparently being something of an 18th century version of The Room in being so awful it’s amazing. As one commentator noted of the play,

The extraordinary drama of Hurlothrumbo… was… the talk and admiration of the town. A more curious or a more insane production has seldom issued from human pen.

Further demonstrating his sense of humor, when Maggoty died at 82, he requested his friends remove his body from the churchyard after burial, because he would be buried too close to a woman, Hannah Bailey, he had frequently quarreled. The problem with this was, according to Maggoty, that on the day of resurrection, this would no doubt see the two of them fighting over whose leg bone was whose.

Instead, he asked to be re-buried in a tomb in what today is called Maggoty Wood. The tomb was one he originally had made for his lady love, a servant of his who attended him for much of his life. The location of the tomb was her favorite spot in the woods.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:

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The post What was It Actually Like to Be a Court Jester in Medieval Times? appeared first on Today I Found Out.

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by Karl Smallwood - October 25, 2019 at 11:07PM
Article provided by the producers of one of our Favorite YouTube Channels!
- October 25, 2019 at 04:00AM - Five of the Best: Lighthouses

Five of the Best is a weekly series about the bits of games we overlook, those poor old things. I'm talking about crowds, potions, mountains, hands - things we barely notice at the time but can recall years later because they're so important to the overall memory of the game.

Now is the time to celebrate them - you and me both! I will share my memories but I'm just as eager to hear yours, so please share them in the comments below. We've had some great discussions in our other Five of the Best pieces.

But this week we're all about...

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Review: Skiny Cl√°ssico Assado

These corn-based snacks had a light yellow color and roughly hemispherical shapes. ...

from Snack Reviews
by October 25, 2019 at 06:45AM October 25, 2019 at 02:08AM - Fortnite quietly fixed its XP problem

This week, Fortnite Chapter 2 quietly fixed its big XP problem - which Eurogamer wrote about in detail on Monday.

In a nutshell, Fortnite fans had worked out you would need to play an extraordinary number of games to fill out your Season 2 Chapter 1 Battle Pass - and in a new season whose tagline is "More Fun, Less Grind".

Last weekend, developer Epic Games activated a "Supercharged XP" system which quadrupled match XP. And now, as of this week's 11.01 update, the same kind of quadrupling has gone into the game permanently. Fans are very happy.

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from October 25, 2019 at 01:41AM - Pokémon Go to get dedicated in-game PVP league in 2020

Pokémon Go is getting a fully-supported PVP Battle League in a forthcoming update due sometime in early 2020.

This is big news as Pokémon Go's current PVP mode lacks any form of support for in-game tournaments or rankings - which has left fans to make their own.

The current main provider, Silph Road, uses web pages you must manually input all your team data into. And, while it is a pretty capable bit of software, it's completely divorced from the game itself.

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from October 25, 2019 at 12:30AM - Where's our Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review?

It's a new Call of Duty day, you might have noticed, with Infinity Ward's reboot of Modern Warfare hitting hard-drives and shop shelves right about now. You might also see reviews out there from an early event held by Activision, but our own will be along a little while later as we're only just getting access to code today.

It promises to be a fascinating entry in the series, with a campaign that courts controversy and multiplayer that holds some interesting new ideas, plus this Modern Warfare sees the return of the popular Spec Ops mode. There's a lot to get through, in short, but we'll hope to have our verdict with you at some point next week.

In the meantime you could always read our early impressions of the multiplayer, or of the campaign and its more troubling moments, while Digital Foundry took on the beta (and they're currently tackling the final product, too). There'll be plenty more in the coming days too, but for now thanks for your patience.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

That Time the U.S. Military Launched a Half a Billion Needles to Space for Reasons…

northernlightsIn the early 1960s, international communications were limited to transmissions through undersea cables or occasionally unreliable radio signals bounced off of the ionosphere. As you might imagine from this, many in the Western world weren’t too keen on the state of the situation given that were to someone, say, the Soviet Union, cut those cables before launching an attack, international communications with overseas forces and foreign allies would have to rely on the mood of said ionosphere.

For those unfamiliar, the ionosphere is a layer of the upper atmosphere about 50 to 600 miles above sea level. It gets its name because it is ionized consistently by solar and cosmic radiation. In very simple terms, X-ray, ultraviolet, and shorter wavelengths of radiation given off by the Sun (and from other cosmic sources) release electrons in this layer of the atmosphere when these particular photons are absorbed by molecules. Because the density of molecules and atoms is quite low in the ionosphere (particularly in the upper layers), it allows free electrons to exist in this way for a short period of time before ultimately recombining. Lower in the atmosphere, where the density of molecules is greater, this recombination happens much faster.

What does this have to do with communication and radio waves?  Without interference, radio waves travel in a straight line from the broadcast source, ultimately hitting the ionosphere.  What happens after is dependent on a variety of factors, notable among them being the frequency of the waves and the density of the free electrons.  For certain types of radio waves, given the right conditions, they will essentially bounce back and forth between the ground and the ionosphere, propagating the signal farther and farther. So clearly the ionosphere can potentially play an important part in the terrestrial radio and communication process. But it is the constantly shifting nature of the ionosphere that makes things really interesting. And for that, we’ll have to get a little more technical, though we’ll at the least spare you the math, and we’ll leave out a little of the complexity in an effort to not go full textbook on you.

Ionosphere_LayersTo begin with, the ionosphere’s composition changes most drastically at night, primarily because, of course, the Sun goes missing for a bit. Without as abundant a source of ionizing rays, the D and E levels (pictured right) of the ionosphere cease to be very ionized, but the F region (particularly F2) still remains quite ionized. Further, because the atmosphere is significantly less dense here then the E and D regions, it results in more free electrons (the density of which is key here).

When these electrons encounter a strong radio wave of certain types, such as AM radio, they can potentially oscillate at the frequency of the wave, taking some of the energy from the radio wave in the process.  With enough of them, as can happen in the F layer, (when the density of encountered electrons is sufficient relative to the specific signal frequency), and assuming they don’t just recombine with some ion (which is much more likely in the E and D layers in the daytime), this can very effectively refract the signal back down to Earth at sufficient strength to be picked up on a receiver.

Depending on conditions, this process can potentially repeat several times with the signal bouncing down to the ground and back up.  Thus, using this skywave certain radio signals can be propagated even thousands of miles and, most pertinent to the topic at hand, across oceans.

Of course, given the unpredictability of this form of communication, and potentially even times when communication would be impossible, military brass during the Cold War wanted another option.

Developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Labs, the project was initially called “Project Needles” by Professor Walter E. Morrow in 1958 when he first dreamed up the idea. It was later re-named “West Ford”, presumably after Westford, Massachusetts, a nearby town. The idea was to place potentially even billions of tiny (1.78 centimeters 0.7 inches long and microscopically thin) copper antennae or dipoles in a medium Earth orbit to be used for communication signals at 8 Ghz.

The first set of well over a hundred million needles was launched on October 21, 1961, but unfortunately this test failed when the needles didn’t disperse as planned.

On a second attempt in May 9, 1963, a batch of 350 million needles was placed on the back of an Air Force satellite and sent into orbit. Once dispersed, properly this time, the needles spread to form a sparsely concentrated belt with approximately 50 dipoles per cubic mile.

While you might think surely this wouldn’t be dense enough to be effective for use in communication, in fact early results of the experiment were extremely promising, with communication established using the needle array from California to Massachusetts, some 3K or so miles or 4,800 km apart.  As such, there were reports that the Air Force was considering launching two more belts to be placed more permanently in orbit.

There was a problem, however. Beyond the Soviets, allies and even Americans opposed the further deployment and continuance of this program.

Why? Astronomers, in particular, were afraid that the belt would interfere with their observations. The outrage of scientists and the reason for it was perhaps best expressed by Sir Bernard Lovell of the Jodrell Bank Radio Observatory who said: “The damage lies not with this experiment alone, but with the attitude of mind which makes it possible without international agreement and safeguards.”  After all, the space above the Earth is not the United States’ alone to do with as it pleases without consulting other nations of Earth.

While you might consider this a bit of an overreaction, it’s important to understand the context here, with the U.S. up to and around this point having done a series of things in space without oversight that the international community was more than a little upset about. For example, consider that also smack dab in the middle of this time, the United States was busy accidentally nuking Britain’s first satellite, among many, many others.

The satellite in question was the Ariel-1, which was developed as a joint-venture between the United States and Britain, with Britain designing and building the core systems of the satellite and NASA launching it into orbit via a Thor-Delta rocket.

Around nine months after the launch of the first batch of needles, on July 9, 1962, mere weeks after Ariel-1 was put into orbit and had successfully begun transmitting data about the ionosphere back to Earth, British scientists were shocked when the sensors aboard Ariel-1 designed to measure radiation levels suddenly began to give wildly high readings.

As it turned out, as Ariel-1 was happily free-falling around the Earth, the US military had decided to detonate an experimental 1.4 megaton nuclear weapon named Starfish-Prime in the upper atmosphere as part of Project Fish Bowl.

The explosion, which happened on the other side of the planet to Ariel-1, sent a wave of additional radiation around the Earth that ultimately damaged some of the systems on Ariel-1, particularly its solar panels, killing it and about 1/3 of the rest of the satellites in low-Earth orbit at the time.

Most pertinent to the topic of communications, this famously included the Telstar satellite, which was the first commercial communication relay satellite designed to transmit signals across the Atlantic and managed around 400 such communications before the U.S. accidentally nuked it. Funny enough, the Telstar actually wasn’t in orbit at the time of the explosion, being put there the day after the Starfish-Prime detonation.  However, the additional ionizing radiation created by the explosion took years to dissipate and was not anticipated by the designers of this particular satellite. The immediate result being the degradation of Telstar’s systems, particularly the failure of several transistors in the command system, causing it to stop working just a few months after being placed in orbit. They were eventually able to get it back online for a short period via some clever software workarounds, but it didn’t last thanks to the extra radiation further degrading its systems.

It’s also noteworthy here that The Starfish explosion was actually supposed to have happened a couple weeks earlier on June 20th, but the rocket carrying it failed at about 30,000 feet. Once this happened, the self-destruct on the nuclear warhead was initiated and it broke apart, raining its radioactive innards down on Johnston and Sand Islands, as well as in the ocean around them.

It should also be noted that the effects of Starfish-Prime weren’t just limited to low orbit.
The electromagnetic pulse created by the blast ended up being much larger than expected and, in Hawaii some 900 or so miles away from the blast, the pulse ended up knocking out a few hundred street lights and damaged the telephone system. Today in our digital world, of course, a similar electromagnetic pulse would have much more catastrophic effects, especially if near more populated centers, potentially even revealing the Lizard people’s Matrix, which would be catastrophic to our Draconian overlords’ (may they reign forever) plans

Needless to say, this, the needles in space, and other such projects had many in the international community concerned with the lack of any oversight on the United States’ activities in space. (Presumably it would have been even worse had everyone realized the United States had, a few years before this, planned to nuke the moon, more or less just because they could…)

Going back to the needle issue, a compromise measure was reached thanks to incorporating a sort of planned obsolescence; that is, none of the needles would remain in orbit longer than five years. (Or so they thought, more on this in a bit.)

Thinking more long term, several groups of scientists, including the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) demanded access and consultation in this and other such projects in the future. Ultimately an agreement was reached which granted the scientists the ability to participate in the planning and evaluation of space projects.

Of course, this particular issue quickly became moot as shortly after the second group of needles was dispersed, the military deployed its own first communication satellite system in 1966, making the needle system, while effective, obsolete. With this deployment of one object instead of hundreds of millions, the furor died down and people, for the most part, forgot about West Ford.

That said, while the project is largely forgotten, its effects are not with the consultation provisions of the original West Ford agreement with the IAU included in the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, an agreement entered into by ninety-nine countries, that was designed to protect against the militarization and degradation of outer space. Among other things, in a nutshell, it provides that no country can claim ownership of space nor any celestial bodies; all countries will avoid contaminating both and are liable for any damage they cause; no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be deployed or placed in orbit or on any celestial body; and no military bases may be placed on any celestial bodies, including the Moon, something that unfortunately saw a planned military installation by the U.S. fully scrapped, as we covered in our article: That Time the U.S. was Going to Build a Massive, Death Ray Equipped, Military Moon Base.

On the bright side, the treaty also includes a Good Samaritan law that provides that astronauts are “envoys of mankind in outer space and [all] shall render to them all possible assistance in the event of accident, distress, or emergency landing.”

Going back to the needles, in case you’re wondering, despite the planned obsolescence, as of 2019, a few dozen clumps of them remain in orbit and are closely tracked to make sure they don’t cause any problems with all the other stuff floating around our little beautiful home space craft known as Earth.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:

Bonus Facts:

  • Given AM radio signals can propagate for thousands of miles via the aforementioned skywaves, particularly at night, this can become a major problem as there are only a little over 100 allowed AM radio frequencies (restricted to keep signals interfering too much with one another), but around 5,000 AM radio stations in the United States alone. As a result, at night, AM stations in the United States typically reduce their power, go off the air completely until sunrise the next day, and/or possibly are required to use directional antennas so their specific signal doesn’t interfere with other stations on the same frequency. On the other hand, FM stations don’t have to do any of this as the ionosphere doesn’t greatly affect their signals, which has the side benefit (or disadvantage, depending on your point of view) of severely limiting the range of the FM signals, which rely on groundwave propagation.
  • Speaking of Radio and space, while not a job ever mentioned by my school career counselor, it turns out “Space DJ” is a thing, if you work at NASA, going all the way back to 1965 during the Gemini 6 mission on December 16th, likely initially as a joke. During this mission, astronauts Walter Schirra and Tom Stafford were woken up by a recording of singer Jack Jones and Hello Dolly. This musical wake-up call quickly became a regular occurrence intended as a way of bolstering morale while allowing astronauts a few minutes to wake up slowly before having to respond to ground control. Over the years, wake-up calls became one of NASA’s most beloved traditions, with the role of picking the songs given to the mission’s Capsule Commander (CAPCOM)… Yes, just to be clear, not only do these people get to put CAPCOM for NASA on their resume, but they can also add in “Space DJ”. Thanks Career Councilor…
    If you’re wondering, the songs chosen over the years have been wildly eclectic, ranging from classical music by composers like Bach and Beethoven to Metallica and the Beastie Boys. Thanks to the extensive records NASA keeps, we not only know every song played for astronauts in orbit since 1965, we also have the astronaut’s responses to some of the more unusual choices played. For example, for a 2008 mission aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis, officially designated as STS-123, CAPCOM played a brief snippet of the theme song from the presumably epic film Godzilla VS Space Godzilla as well as part of the Blue Oyster Cult song, Godzilla, for Japanese astronaut Takao Doi, signing off by saying:

    Good morning Endeavour. Doi san, ohayo gozaimasu, from mission control here in Houston, take on today like a monster.

    An amused Doi responded that he was “happy to hear Godzilla,” before himself signing off to get to work. According to Fries’ extensive archives, Godzilla’s iconic theme song is apparently a popular choice for Japanese astronauts, as are the themes from other well-known films like Star Wars, Star Trek and Rocky.

    Predictably, songs with a space theme are also popular choices, with David Bowie’s Space Oddity and Elton John’s Rocket Man being noted as some of the most commonly played.

    In addition to songs, NASA has, at various points, played private messages recorded by the astronauts’ loved ones (including the occasional singing of “Happy Birthday” where applicable) and even occasional messages from celebrities. Notable examples of the latter include personalised greetings from William Shatner, Paul McCartney and Elton John, a skit performed by Jim Henson involving Miss Piggy, and even a song sung by Darth Vader set to backing music from The Beatles.

    Perhaps best of all was the crew of Atlantis on November 25, 1991 being woken to none other than Patrick Stewart stating (with Star Trek: The Next Generation theme music playing in the background),

    Space: the final frontier. This is the voyage of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Its ten-day mission: To explore new methods of remote sensing and observation of the planet Earth… To seek out new data on radiation in space, and a new understanding of the effects of microgravity on the human body… To boldly go where two hundred and fifty-five men and women have gone before!

    Hello Fred, Tom, Story, Jim, Tom, and especially Mario — this is Patrick Stewart, choosing not to outrank you as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, saying that we are confident of a productive and successful mission. Make it so.

    As for today, with the retirement of the Space Shuttle program, this wake-up call tradition has partially been left in the dustbin of history, though occasionally is still observed on the International Space Station, and presumably will be reinstituted as a regular activity once NASA begins sending people to space themselves again.

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The post That Time the U.S. Military Launched a Half a Billion Needles to Space for Reasons… appeared first on Today I Found Out.

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by Melissa - October 24, 2019 at 11:07PM
Article provided by the producers of one of our Favorite YouTube Channels!