Saturday, February 29, 2020

That Time Someone Actually Tested the Infinite Monkey...

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February 29, 2020 at 06:30PM

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Do Beards Really Grow Faster in the Winter?

silentrob asks: Is it true that beards grow faster in the winter than they do in the summer?

A commonly touted notion is that your hair will grow faster, be thicker, and otherwise naturally longer in the winter time thanks to the supposed evolutionary benefit to help keep you warm in the colder months. But is this actually true? And what about beards?

As to the former, yes and no. As to the latter, it turns out something more interesting is going on with beard growth cycles. Let’s jump into it shall we?

First, it’s important to understand how hair growth cycles actually work. Hair length is completely controlled by the length of the anagen phase of your hair follicle.  How long this period lasts is generally determined mostly by genetics and hormones, with factors like extreme stress, nutrition, and activity levels influencing the latter.

Following the anagen phase is the catagen phase.  It isn’t yet fully understood all the factors that go into triggering the catagen phase, but once it is triggered, the outer part of the root ends up being cut off from its nutrient supply (blood), as well as the cells that produce new hair, thus your hair stops growing. This phase lasts about three weeks.

Next up comes the telogen phase where the follicle is in a resting state and your hair is now a “club hair”, completely dead down to the root.  During this stage, these hairs are relatively easy to pull out (as can happen while brushing/combing/washing your hair), but if they manage to last long enough, they’ll eventually be pushed out by a new hair as the cycle begins again.

Obviously hairs on your arms or legs have a very different anagen period than hairs on your scalp, thus why your leg hair doesn’t grow two feet long without trimming.  Further, different people, thanks mostly to their genetics, have differing lengths of the anagen period for a given body part compared to other people.

For the hair on your scalp, the average length of the anagen phase is about 2-7 years.  For your arms, legs, eyebrows, etc., this phase usually lasts just 30-45 days.  However, in extreme cases which are quite rare, some people have anagen periods for their scalp hair as small as most people’s anagen phases for their arms and legs. For these people, their scalp hair never naturally grows more than a few inches long.  The opposite is also true, with very rare individuals whose anagen phase can last decades for their scalp hair.

At any given time about 85%-90% of your hair is in the anagen phase, 1-2% is in the catagen phase, and 10-14% is in the telogen phase.  However, extreme stress can trigger the anagen phase to stop prematurely and hair can rapidly progress to the telogen phase, even as much as 70% of the hair on your body at once. When this happens, the majority of your hair that should still be growing can fall out more or less all at the same time.

This all brings us around to seasons and what effect this has on your hair. It turns out studies have shown that while your overall growth rate of much of the hair on your body doesn’t change significantly from month to month, there is a difference in density thanks to the peak percentage of hairs in the anogen (growth) phase in certain months and peak percentage of hairs in the telogen (dead/falling out) phase during other months.

For example, a study Seasonality of hair shedding in healthy women complaining of hair loss, looking at 823 women over 6 years noted a marked and relatively consistent trend of periodic shedding, with peak density of hairs in the telogen (falling out) phase in the summer, and another small spike in spring as the weather starts to warm. The lowest rates, and thus highest rates of the anogen (growth) phase were in the winter, maximizing the density of hairs on your body. That said, the differences here are relatively slight, as we’ll get into shortly, so this isn’t likely to actually make any real difference in keeping humans warmer or not, even if one were simply to let their hair grow out for maximal insulation.

But what about beards? You may or may not be surprised to learn that this is an area that very few researchers have thrown their brain power at. Thus, while we couldn’t find any data on density of beard hairs in anogen/catogen/telogin phase by season, there does exist one study tracking beard hair growth rates by month that reveals something rather interesting.

It turns out, the data so far seems to pretty strongly indicate that beard growth is actually maximized not in the winter, but the summer. This actually makes sense when you look at the underlying mechanisms behind beard hair growth and its hypothesized connection to mating, the latter of which we’ll get into in the Bonus Facts in a bit.

But first, the study, Seasonal Changes in Human Hair Growth, published in 1991, looks at a group of British men aged 18-39, tracking their beard growth and activities for 18 months.

In the study, the researchers also confirmed what others have likewise shown- that scalp hair, for example, has a peak amount of hair in the anogen (growth phase) in the winter. In their study, they observed that peak anogen phase around February/March at approximately 90%, then falling steadily from there until September then climbing back up. They also directly measuring about 60 hairs lost per day from the scalp at peak telogen phase time (in the summer) and about half that rate during the winter.

As for beards, they observed that the growth rate of beard hair actually peaked in June and July and was at its lowest in January and February. Not a subtle difference, the peak growth rate in the summer months was 38% faster than in the lowest growth rate months of January and February.

Bizarrely, the rate of growth in these men’s thigh hair more or less mimicked the general growth cycle of the beard hair, albeit without as much of a contrast between the lowest growth rate months and the highest.

Now, one thing to note about this is that there has been very little research done on rates of beard hair growth and, for example in this study, the sample size was only 14 men and all who had indoor jobs. This is potentially significant given what is hypothesized to be causing the difference. If the hypothesis is correct, men who, say, live in southern California and work outdoor jobs may see little variance in beard hair growth from season to season.

So what’s thought to be causing the change? First, the researchers noted that the men were significantly more active in the summer and spent more time outdoors. It is hypothesized from this that the increased activity outside results in things like more exposure to sunlight and boost in Vitamin D, change in melatonin secretion (which in turn effects prolactin secretion), along with various other hormonal changes that follow from all that, including a slight boost in testosterone. These all seem to play their parts in seasonal changes observed in our hair, both in the very slight cycles in seasonal shedding and, particularly in the case of testosterone, change in growth rate of the beard.

So how does testosterone do this? It turns out, not directly. The extra testosterone ends up resulting in the creation of a much more potent sex hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT), with the enzyme 5α-reductase, facilitating the conversion of testosterone to this, including this conversion happening in hair follicles.

From there, different hair follicles on your body react differently to DHT. Pertinent to the topic at hand, DHT seems to be a major factor in male pattern baldness. (More on this in a bit.) On the other hand, the hair follicles in your face, end up getting stimulated by DHT causing an increase in hair growth rate.

Thus, more testosterone means more DHT stimulating your facial hair growth, and thus in the summer when you’re more active and the like, your beard grows faster. Or, at least, that’s the working hypothesis at the moment. Again, beards are not exactly something many scientists are earning their PhD’s with research projects on. But at least the data at hand seems to be leaning this way.

Now, noteworthy here, contrary to popular belief, men with thick, flowing beards do not necessarily have more testosterone than their patchy or naturally bare-faced brethren. As dermatologist Dr. Jennifer Chwalek states: “Men who can’t grow a beard or have patchy beards usually have normal testosterone levels. It isn’t a reflection of having low testosterone or being deficient in testosterone.”

It turns out that, while there are certainly many exceptions, most men of a given age and general fitness, nutrition level and the like have in the ballpark of the same amount of testosterone as their compatriots with the same fitness level, age, etc. Thus, the difference in beard hair growth usually isn’t so much about a significant difference in testosterone. If it was, you’d not have so many elderly men with their long, flowing beards, for example. Rather, it more comes down to genetics, and in turn the results of that- like the density of hair follicles on your face and their sensitivity to DHT in the first place, which can vary considerably from man to man.

As Dr. Chwalek sums up “Some men… have more hair follicles, so they can grow denser, coarser beards than others. Testosterone gets converted in the hair follicle to a more potent form called dihydrotestosterone. Some hair follicles have receptors on them that are very sensitive to this higher form of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, and that will stimulate hair growth.”

Thus, men whose facial hairs are like the drama queen’s of hair follicles (super sensitive), end up producing magnificent beards when combined with a high density of hairs.

This brings us to the question of why bald men seem to be able to grow the best beards., While we could find no scientific study done on whether bald men actually do grow thicker and longer beards than their hairy scalped compatriots, the perception certainly exists and there may be something to it.

As alluded to, an interesting thing about DHT is it seems to be a major contributor to male pattern baldness, with scalp hair reacting differently to it than facial hair. But if the extra sensitivity is there for both facial and scalp hair, in one case it may result in an increased likelihood of the man going bald, while in the other case, it may well result in a magnificent beard. Though, again, we couldn’t actually find anyone whose done a study on this, but it seems a reasonable hypothesis given the data at hand, with further research needed to determine things definitively.

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:

While we could find no study looking at pubic hair growth by season, it’s noteworthy that other studies have indicated DHT has a similar affect on pubic hair as facial and thigh hair, meaning it could be hypothesized that there may be a seasonal growth rate change in one’s nether regions mimicking the acceleration of beard growth in the summer. Given other studies have shown sperm count, semen volume, and sperm mobility also peaks in the summer for many men, and it’s hypothesized that pubic hair has remained on humans (along with armpit hair) to help attract the opposite sex via certain pheromones, this would also make sense here. (For more details on this, see our article, Why Do We Still Have Pubic and Armpit Hair?)

Further, beards have likewise been connected to mating via a surprising number of studies looking into the connection with beards and attractiveness. On this, studies pretty consistently show that women en masse find men with stubble to short beards the most attractive. However, there is another element that may favor men with long, full beards in terms of actual desire to mate with said man. For example, in the 2013 study The role of facial hair in women’s perceptions of men’s attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities the researchers found that while the majority of women perceive men with long, thick beards as more masculine then men with closely trimmed beards or clean shaven, when women are most fertile in their cycle, their ratings of the masculinity of men with full beards increased even more.  Further, the women in the study also consistently rated men with long, full beards as more likely to be better fathers and more socially mature. As the researchers sum up of their research, this “suggest[s] that an intermediate level of beardedness is most attractive while full-bearded men may be perceived as better fathers who could protect and invest in offspring.”

Further, this and other studies have likewise shown that women consistently rate bearded men of all levels as healthier than their bald-faced compatriots. Thus, all combining to potentially give a benefit to faster beard growth at times when male sperm counts and motility are the highest- the warmer months when historically resources for baby making are at their peak.

Finally, to debunk a myth, as you might have now guessed from the fact that hair growth is completely controlled by what’s going on under the surface, within your hair follicles, and that genetics and hormones are the primary things determining hair growth length and rate, which are in no way affected by shaving- contrary to popular belief, shaving does not in any way alter your hair growth rate nor does it alter the color of the hair, nor thickness. Study after study has shown this, and it just makes sense when you understand the mechanisms behind hair growth.

There is one exception to this- waxing. With waxing it is possible to affect the thickness and other aspects of hair regrowth. However, it will never be the case that the hair will grow back thicker/darker/faster. It actually goes the other way. With waxing you are damaging the hair follicles underneath the skin; over time as you wax more and more, the hair will grow back less and less and even sometimes will get lighter colored and thinner. So though waxing, unlike shaving, actually does affect your hair growth, it more or less affects it in the opposite way most people think shaving does.

Illustrating this in a rather humorous way, in the film The Reader (2008), actress Kate Winslet was having a bit of trouble growing out her pubic hair to the satisfactory of the filmmakers (owing to, as she put it, “years of waxing”); so they had a merkin (vagina wig) made to cover the area instead. Winslet, however, didn’t care for the thing and stated in an interview she told them, “Guys, I am going to have to draw the line at a pubic wig, but you can shoot my own snatch up close and personal.”

The problem is that film makers need the hair to avoid an NC-17 rating. If the actress’ nether regions are sufficiently concealed by hair, the MPAA will sometimes look the other way and give a film a less restrictive rating, depending on how exactly said region is shown in the movie.  If the bare lady bits are shown, however, even briefly, getting a less restrictive rating is much less likely. Thus, erring on the side of caution, most directors will instruct the bare ladies to either grow out their hair down there for nude scenes or put on a merkin.

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The post Do Beards Really Grow Faster in the Winter? appeared first on Today I Found Out.

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by Daven Hiskey - February 29, 2020 at 05:44PM
Article provided by the producers of one of our Favorite YouTube Channels!
- February 29, 2020 at 11:22AM - Fallout 76's Wastelanders expansion looks promising

Bethesda has shown off gameplay of the upcoming Fallout 76 Wastelanders expansion - and it looks like it makes some significant improvements to the game.

In the video below, Bethesda developers show off a raft of new locations, NPCs, conversations and a quest.

Much has changed in the massively multiplayer online game - and perhaps the most significant change is the addition of NPCs you can talk to. Upon leaving Vault 76 you'll bump into a couple, and some areas once dead are now alive with people.

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from February 29, 2020 at 08:28AM - Call of Duty Zombies overlord Jason Blundell exits Treyarch

Jason Blundell, one of the chief creators of Call of Duty's popular zombies mode, has left Treyarch after 13 years.

In a statement published to Twitter, Blundell said his time working on zombies had been "special", and thanked the zombies community for helping to create "memories I will cherish for a lifetime".

Blundell began working on nazi zombies - 1-4 player bonus mode in which players fought against waves of enemies - back in 2007 for 2008's Call of Duty World at War. World at War was the first game in Activision's blockbuster shooter series to feature a zombies mode, although it was only playable once the campaign was completed. It would go on to gain huge popularity within Treyarch's Black Ops games as a fully-fledged mode separate to campaign and traditional multiplayer.

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from February 29, 2020 at 06:51AM - Major Counter-Strike tournament is eerily quiet without a crowd

A major Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tournament forced to go ahead without a crowd due to fears over Coronavirus has pulled in a massive live audience online.

IEM Katowice, ongoing at the time of this article's publication, is being played without a crowd at the Spodek arena - and it's making for an eerily quiet viewing experience.

Without the cheer of the Polish crowd to accompany the action, we can hear the players yell at key moments, the occasional clap from a coach and... that's about it. In between rounds the stage is treated to a light show that's now for the benefit of the cameras only.

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from February 29, 2020 at 06:18AM - Trackmania goes live service with Trackmania Nations remake

A remake of Trackmania Nations is in the works, Ubisoft has announced.

The remake includes an official season campaign, daily track selections as well as new track-creation options with new surfaces and special blocks, developer Ubisoft Nadeo said.

Trackmania Nations came out in January 2006 as a free, standalone game. This remake, simply dubbed Trackmania, launches on PC on 5th May. It was announced at the Grand League Finals in Lyon, France, where Ubisoft Nadeo showed a trailer, below.

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from February 29, 2020 at 05:08AM - Game Developers Conference postponed amid Coronavirus fears

The Game Developers Conference has been postponed, its organisers have announced.

GDC said it intends to host a GDC event later in the summer.

"Having spent the past year preparing for the show with our advisory boards, speakers, exhibitors, and event partners, we're genuinely upset and disappointed not to be able to host you at this time," GDC said in a statement.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

So What are the Actual Rules with Conjugal Visits and How Did...

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February 28, 2020 at 03:00PM

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The Difference Between… [Part 1]

In this episode of The Brain Food Show, we are looking at the difference between a number of things, kicking it off with the difference between hardwood and softwood…. which you’d think you already know, but we’re guessing for most, you don’t actually know the difference. 🙂

We also have a brief message from a sponsor, Skillshare. Help support this show and learn a lot of interesting new skills, as well as TWO MONTHS FREE using the following link

Up next we dive into a bunch of “difference betweens” such as the difference between fruits and vegetables, green and black tea, various types of olive oils, brown and white eggs, etc. as well as a slew of interesting tips on optimizing ripeness schedules on bananas, including a way to keep your bananas at the perfectly ripe stage for approximately a week, instead of the two seconds or so that happens naturally.

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

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by Daven Hiskey - February 28, 2020 at 03:56PM
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- February 28, 2020 at 02:55PM - Netflix's live-action Witcher series casts its Vesemir

Following the success of the Witcher TV series' first season (and, of course, the enduring popularity of a certain inescapable song), streaming service Netflix has continued to fan the flames of hype with an ever-increasing roll-call of cast members for season two. And now it's finally named the man who'll fill the shoes of Geralt of Rivia's friend and mentor, Vesemir.

Admittedly, it's probably not the name some fans were expecting/hoping to hear; recent rumours suggested that Mark Hamill had been offered the part of Vesemir (and Hamill himself expressed an interest in the role last year), but we know now that Danish actor Kim Bodnia will play "the Continent's oldest and most experienced Witcher", Vesemir, in season 2.

Bodnia, if you're unfamiliar, received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor last year for his roll in spy thriller Killing Eve, so the character should be in good hands. It's unclear, however, if he'll also be doing voice acting duties in Netflix's previously announced animated Witcher movie, which will chart Vesemir's adventures long before meeting Geralt.

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Review: Planters Cheez Balls White Cheddar

These cheese balls had the same shapes as the original Planters Cheez Balls, but with a light yellow color instead of orange, plus there was a very light smattering of tiny green bits (easy to miss if you don't look carefully, but we are professional snack tasters). ...

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by February 28, 2020 at 08:45AM February 28, 2020 at 08:31AM - A look at some of the week's best game deals

Another week survived - congrats all. How about we reward ourselves with a look at what's on offer in the world of gaming right now? Sounds good to me. Let's get into it!

We're already seeing an (admittedly very small) discount on the Bayonetta & Vanquish 10th Anniversary Bundle. Digital Foundry recently dug into the performance of these new ports and found them to be good enough - though definitely lacking that something more they wanted. Still, for a pair of terrific games like this, you can't go too far wrong.

It's also becoming more and more clear that the next generation is on the horizon with the continued discounts on current-gen consoles. It's looking like it's going to be a great time to snap up a console if you've been waiting for the big price cuts to come. The lowest price I can find right now, though, is this 1TB Xbox One S Forza Horizon 4 Lego Speed Champions Bundle for £169.99.

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from February 28, 2020 at 04:00AM - Five of the Best: Storms

Five of the Best is a weekly series about the bits of games we overlook. I'm talking about hands, maps, cats, startup screens - things we ignore at the time but can recall years later because, it turns out, they're integral to our memory of the game. Now is the time to celebrate them!

It works like this. Various Eurogamer writers will share their memories in the article and then you - probably outraged we didn't include the thing you're thinking of - can share the thing you're thinking of in the comments below. We've had some great discussions in our other Five of the Best pieces. So come on, what are you waiting for? On we go!

Did you know the UK has the next dozen or so storm names already figured out? Following the rather mundane "Dennis" will be Ellen, then Francis and then Gerda, which is a great name! There are a few other bangers in there too: Iris (imagine the puns!), Noah (ironically reincarnated as the storm) and Willow (great to see her working again after Buffy).

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from February 28, 2020 at 03:00AM - Infliction: Extended Cut review - PT-esque thrills fall flat

If Infliction was a colour, it would be beige. If it was a biscuit, it'd be the tasteless disc of a Rich Tea. If it was a band, it'd play nothing but Coldplay tracks. Sure, they all have their fans and they all technically deliver on what's promised on the tin, but let's face it: you could probably live without them, too.

The big but here? For every sin it commits, Infliction has a saving grace. For every recycled cliche, it offers something fresh. For every cringey line of dialogue, there's another delivered with perfect timing and pathos. When you tire of picking through the contents of the same old rooms in the same old house, the game will unexpectedly toss you someplace new. And when you get bored with that place - oh, look! - we're back in the marital home again.

Consequently, I'm not sure what to think about this indie horror just yet. On one hand, that can't be a good sign; at the time of writing I've completed it three times (once on PC, and twice on PlayStation 4) and if that isn't long enough to form an opinion, then I don't know what is. But on the flip side, I didn't mind playing it the second or even third time, either.

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from February 28, 2020 - The Double-A Team: LocoRoco is a bright and breezy charmer

The Double-A Team is a feature series honouring the unpretentious, mid-budget, gimmicky commercial action games that no-one seems to make any more.

You can catch up with all of our Double-A Team pieces in our handy, spangly archive.

I took the bus into town to buy LocoRoco when it first came out for the PSP, back in - crikey! - 2006. I remember this because I took the bus home, too. And I remember that because halfway through the trip, a grey day with low clouds and the promise of rain, I briefly pulled the LocoRoco box out of the bag to take a look at it - and it was like the sun had risen, all of a sudden, on the top deck of a 46 to deepest Hove.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

Video Games: Rent/Buy PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Wii...

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February 27, 2020 at 07:30PM

via Tumblr February 27, 2020 at 08:12AM - This year's BAFTA Fellowship goes to...

Hideo Kojima will pick up a prestigious BAFTA Fellowship award this year, and follow in the footsteps of past recipients such as Shigeru Miyamoto, Will Wright and Gabe Newell.

Creator of Boktai and voice actor in Control, Kojima is also known for his work on the Metal Gear series, and for the PlayStation 4/PC game Death Stranding.

Kojima will pick up his prize at the 2020 BAFTA Games Awards, due to take place on 2nd April at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London.

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from February 27, 2020 at 07:38AM - Get The Division 2 for £2.50 on PC

The Division 2 is available for just £2.50/$2.99 right now on the Uplay Store.

The offer is running over the next few days in the UK and US to coincide with The Divison 2's free weekend that got underway today. Access to the entire game has been granted to all on PC - as well as PS4 and Xbox One - and all of your progress will be carried over if you decide to buy the game during the sale or at a later date. I don't expect it to get much cheaper than this, though.

You get the impression that Ubisoft is trying to give the game a bit of a shot in the arm what with the Warlords of New York expansion due for release on 3rd March. This paid DLC sees the action return to the Big Apple - the setting of the first game in the series - as you hunt down a rogue agent.

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from February 27, 2020 at 06:46AM - Pokémon Sword and Shield's brand new Mythical monster revealed

The Pokémon Company has revealed Zarude, an all-new Mythical creature which will debut in Nintendo Switch games Sword and Shield.

Zarude is described as the Rogue Monkey Pokémon, an angry-looking baboon with vines wrapped around its wrists. Its typing is Dark/Grass, and it has the existing ability Leaf Guard.

It'll be available for the first time sometime later this year via a future update to Pokémon Sword and Shield. (There's no word yet on whether you'll need the games' upcoming Expansion Pass to get it.)

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from February 27, 2020 at 04:35AM - Diablo 4 has customisable controller support on PC

Blizzard has provided an update on the in-development Diablo 4, and confirmed a number of changes following the game's initial showing at BlizzCon last year.

Diablo 4 will offer controller support on PC, Blizzard confirmed, with the option to switch between the two seamlessly. (The game is, of course, the first Diablo to be developed simultaneously for consoles and PC.)

The much-requested option to re-bind the game's primary skill to "anything but the left-mouse button" to separate moving from attacking will also be possible. In fact, any skill can be reassigned and have their keys rebound - something that will also be possible on a controller.

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from February 27, 2020 at 04:30AM - Here are some of the best Pokémon Day 2020 deals

Happy Pokémon Day! Yep, I had no idea this was a thing, either. Nevertheless, it turns out that 27th February marks 24 years since the launch of Pokémon Red and Green in Japan so a handful of events and offers are running a to celebrate.

Starting off at the Nintendo Official UK Store, you can enter the voucher code 'TEAMBLUE' to receive a water partner Pokémon mug or 'TEAMRED' to get a fire partner Pokémon mug for free with any Pokémon games and Pokémon console bundle. This includes both pre-orders for Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX or the Pokémon Sword and Shield Expansion Pass.

You can find everything that's eligible for the offer on their Pokémon Day 2020 store page. No massive reductions here, then. Just a neat little freebie to go with your purchase if you were considering picking up either anyway.

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from February 27, 2020 at 04:12AM - Stardew Valley's getting even more free content

After receiving a huge free content update back in November, there's more good news for Stardew Valley fans: yet another free content dump is trundling its way towards players.

The news comes directly from Stardew Valley creator Eric Barone, who took to Twitter to announce that more free content is "currently in the works" - although there's currently no details on what this will include, or when it will be released. You'll have to wait until later to mark it on your kalender.

The previous free content update, 1.4, added a vast amount of content to all platforms: including quality of life changes, new rewards, items - practically everything you could think of under the Stardew Valley sun. It bodes well for the next free update, which hopefully will continue to improve and develop the already-brilliant sim.

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from February 27, 2020 at 04:00AM - Still fighting: meet the developers of Hong Kong protest games

When Blizzard suspended professional Hearthstone player, Blitzchung, for expressing his support for Hong Kong on a very public platform - the Hearthstone Grandmasters stream - one thing it probably didn't account for was the outpouring of support and the furore that followed. Long-time players threatened to boycott Blizzard games. Employees staged walkouts with umbrellas, a key symbol of resistance in the Hong Kong protest. United States senators, Ron Wyden and Marco Rubio, as well as representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Mike Gallagher and Tom Malinowski, signed a letter to Blizzard, requesting the ban be fully reversed. And in Hong Kong, an anonymous group of game developers witnessed the far-reaching impact of his actions and was inspired to make a game about being at the frontline of the protests against the barrage of attacks by the riot police. The result was the protest game, Liberate Hong Kong.

"The initial idea [behind] this game is the incident of Blizzard. Blitzchung Ng just said eight words, [and] it created a large influence over the world," one member of the team, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal from the authorities, told Eurogamer. "We want to replicate this effect to promote the protest in Hong Kong."

And it worked. Liberate Hong Kong was covered extensively in international media, from the BBC to Bloomberg, which helped draw widespread condemnation for the Hong Kong police's brutality against protesters.

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from February 27, 2020 at 02:36AM - Anthem has finally taken down its Christmas decorations

This week's Anthem update, timed for the game's one-year anniversary, has at last removed its wintry decorations and, days from March, ended its Icetide event.

Flowers are now sprouting on trees in Anthem's overworld, while its Fort Tarsis hub now sports various potted plants in vases.

There's more to Anthem's 1.7.0 update, of course. This new patch, available now, sets Anthem off on a "recurring schedule" of rotating challenges and game modes that will keep the game ticking over until BioWare's fabled Anthem 2.0 relaunch - due at some undisclosed point in the future.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Our Partners Recommend Liquid Web

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February 26, 2020 at 03:30PM

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February 26, 2020 at 11:47AM

via Tumblr February 26, 2020 at 09:05AM - Destiny 2 director discusses changes ahead of game's fourth year

Destiny 2 director Luke Smith has released a new blog post on the state of the game, and given an update on how Bungie's shooter will change as it heads towards its fourth year.

No one realistically expected a Destiny 3 this September, the month Destiny's big releases regularly appear. But in Smith's latest Director's Cut blog, there are several mentions of Destiny 2 Year 4 as a thing the developer is already well into the planning stages for.

Destiny 2's future seasons will have less "FOMO" to them, Smith said, as Bungie rejigs its development time and resources away from activities which disappear when a season ends, and towards enhancements which evolve the core game.

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from February 26, 2020 at 07:57AM - Warframe's Lotus joins Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as a spirit

Well this is certainly unexpected: the latest third-party game to be represented in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is Warframe, as two characters from the space ninja game are joining Smash as spirits.

As part of Nintendo's Spirits in Black five-day event starting this Friday (not the Slayer song), players will be able to unlock both Lotus and her recently-transformed version Natah. To claim her, you'll need to beat Bayonetta in the Spirit Board. She's a two-star advanced, neutral, primary unit with three open slots, and as an enhanceable spirit will transform at level 99 (thanks, Siliconera). Here's a little preview of what she'll look like:

In keeping with the event's theme, players will also be able to catch up on a variety of other shady spirits they may have missed: including Darkrai, Bullet Bill, Infinite, Judge, Zekrom, Oil Panic, Raphael the Raven, Fire and Turtle Bridge.

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from February 26, 2020 at 07:33AM - Plants vs. Zombies 3 gameplay emerges as game gets soft launch

The previously-teased Plants vs. Zombies 3 has finally poked its head above ground to soft launch for iPhone and Android in Ireland, Romania and the Philippines.

We first got wind of PVZ3 back in July last year, when a pre-alpha build popped up for certain US Android users.

Now, EA has made the whole thing a lot more official - and released a Q&A blog post on what to expect when it does roll out worldwide.

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from February 26, 2020 at 07:00AM - Platinum Games' Kamiya announces mysterious Project G.G.

Platinum Games mastermind Hideki Kamiya has announced his next project - the second of the studio's four planned reveals.

The game - currently codenamed Project G.G. - sounds like it's still a long way off, but has been announced now to attract development talent.

Meanwhile, there's now a release date for The Wonderful 101 Remake - the first of Platinum's four reveals. It will launch for PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 on 22nd May (19th May in North America, 11th June in Japan).

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from February 26, 2020 at 05:32AM - The classic Doom games are currently just £1 each

Need something to sate your demon-slaying desires before the launch of Doom Eternal next month? Why not go back to where it all started with some classic Doom games for just £1.20 on Switch?

It's the sort of money you'd probably find if you stuck your hand down the back of the sofa. Go on, take a look right now and see what you find - the deals can wait.

Find anything? If it's money you didn't think you had in the first place, why not spend it on a little treat for yourself to get the rip and tear juices flowing?

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from February 26, 2020 at 02:25AM - Trials of Osiris resurrected for Destiny 2 next month

Bungie will resurrect Trials of Osiris, Destiny's toughest PVP mode, within Destiny 2 on 13th March.

This revamped version of Trials looks set to feature plenty of what made the original great: three-on-three teams, power-enabled gameplay, plus the return of classic D1 maps such as Cauldron, Exodus Blue and Anomaly.

Oh, and you can once again dress up like an Egyptian god. The old D1 Trials of Osiris armour will return for your D2 character, and it now glows if you pulled off a Flawless run that week.

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from February 26, 2020 at 02:00AM - Someone should make a game about: Doo-wop

For the first dance at our wedding, my wife and I chose The Danleers' one and only hit, One Summer Night. It's not a very famous song, and although we had listened to it a lot together - along with many other classics from this magical moment in American pop - it didn't hold a particularly special meaning for us. The lyric is on point for a July wedding, sure, not to mention reminiscent of the heady days of late May and early June a couple of years earlier, when we had first dated as the heat started to rise off the London pavement and the city went happy-mad under an opening sky. But that's not why we picked it either.

We picked One Summer Night because it's doo-wop, and there is no more romantic sound on earth. If you want to make someone feel an almost painful nostalgic yearning; if you want to transport them to a world of elegant courtship and sublimated sexual heat; if you want their hearts to soar and break, and you want to do it all in under two-and-a-half minutes, then you can't do better than doo-wop.

Here's your potted wiki: doo-wop is a genre of rhythm and blues and a close cousin of rock'n'roll that was popular through the 50s and early 60s. It's defined by harmony singing, often contrasting a high tenor voice with a deep, deep bass, and was usually performed by penguin-suited vocal groups with names that instantly conjure a world of neon-lit diners and chrome-edged tailfins: The Drifters, The Skyliners, The Five Satins. Its roots go back to southern gospel but also to New York's pop production lines of the early 20th century, Tin Pan Alley and Broadway, and it has strong precedents in 30s and 40s vocal groups like The Ink Spots. Like hip-hop later, doo-wop was originated as an a capella street music by black teenagers who couldn't afford musical instruments, though it was quickly seized upon by Italian-Americans as well. The name doo-wop refers to the nonsense sounds often sung by the backing singers as a rhythmic bed for the lead's soaring melody.

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from February 26, 2020 at 12:01AM - Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a triple-A 2D Metroidvania

Having played a good handful of hours with Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Moon Studio's follow-up to 2015's sumptuous Metroidvania, it's clear that a lot has changed. It's larger, deeper and somehow even more sumptuous, but one thing's exactly the same. It's still a video game that has the power to have me in tears within the opening five minutes.

Ori and the Blind Forest pulled that trick first time around the fate of Naru, a character so lovingly realised it was impossible not to be reminded of a loved one. This time it's all about Ku, the owl that hatches at the climax of Blind Forest and who it soon becomes clear has a disability - one that her new adopted family rally around to assist with.

It's an entirely wordless opening infused with so much warmth, humanity and that heart-soaring feeling that comes when seeing people come together in the face of adversity. I can't imagine being more moved by a video game this year, and on the strength of its opening alone Will of the Wisps is going to be every bit as wonderful as its predecessor.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Lord Minimus- the Knight Who was Two Feet Tall

The 17th century wasn’t exactly the most progressive time in history, as evidenced by the fact people with dwarfism were literally traded about by the upper echelons of society like Pokemon cards. Amongst the pantheon of known “court dwarfs” as they were called, one stood above them all thanks to the frankly astonishing life he led in his rise from the son of a commoner to ultimately seeing himself not just a Captain of the Horse, but a knight as well.

Jeffrey Hudson, or “Lord Minimus”,  Sir Jeffrey, or Captain Hudson to give him his proper titles, was reportedly born sometime in June of 1619 in the town of Oakham located right in the heart of the quaint English county of Rutland.  The son of a stout and broad shouldered man, called John Hudson, Jeffrey’s dwarfism was not initially apparent. This is largely because Jeffrey had what is known as “proportionate dwarfism” which, as the name suggests, is characterised by the individual having limbs of proportionate size to their body. As a result, Jeffrey’s family didn’t actually notice that anything was amiss until he just stayed abnormally small.

There were many hypotheses bandied about during Jeffrey’s lifetime about how exactly he came to be so small, with our personal favourite being a contemporary one espousing that the cause was his mother choking on a pickle while giving birth… However, experts have since concluded that he, like many proportionate dwarfs, most likely just had hypopituitarism, much to the chagrin of those of us who like the pickle story.

In any event, Jeffrey was born into, while not a well to do family, at least a well connected one. Jeffrey’s father, John, was described as a man of “lusty stature”, which was a bit of a requirement of his job- breeding and managing bulls meant for fighting with other animals for the Duke of Buckingham, George Villers.

Little is known of Jeffrey’s childhood, that is, until his dear old dad decided to present him to the Duches Katherine Villers at the age of 7. You see by the time Jeffrey was around 7 years old, he reportedly stood “scarce more than a foot and half in height”, while still being near perfectly proportioned.

Jeffrey’s father knew how uncommon this was as well as how prized dwarfs were at court. It turns out many royals kept at least one dwarf, among other such “pets”, around for their own and their guests’ amusement. His hope seemingly was that Jefferey would be made a member of the Duchess’ court as such an object of entertainment.

While this might seem somewhat cruel, it should be noted here that Jeffrey’s future prospects were not exactly good in this era. By seeing if the Duchess would take little Jeff as part of her court, John potentially was ensuring his son a life of luxury, if, of course, also one that would be extremely demeaning. But he would be demeaned by people either way. Thus, might as well choose the life that would see him have his own servants, plenty of food in his belly, and anything he could wish, rather than scraping a living as a commoner.

Whatever his father was thinking, the young Jeffrey was indeed accepted and quickly became a beloved plaything of the Duchess, who spent her time dressing him in miniature outfits and taking delight in the reaction he garnered from friends when she presented him at parties.

Mere months later, Jeffrey’s life was once again upended when the Duke’s household was expecting a visit from King Charles I and his wife, Queen Henrietta.

As we’ve talked about before, a common practice of the day was to impress guests via having obscenely large food items made and have random things burst out like living birds, frogs, and even in one case an an entire 28 member orchestra. In this particular case, the Duchess decided to surprise the King and Queen with a rather small pie that Jeffery was scrunched up in.

At the appropriate moment, Jeffrey burst out of the pie wearing a small suit of armor and brandishing a little sword that he swung about wildly to the amusement of all.

The Queen is said to have immediately become enamored with Jeffrey’s “remarkable smallness”, and asked the Duchess if she could take him home to add to her own little collection, which comprised of a couple other dwarfs, a giant called William Evans who was reportedly over 7 feet tall, and a little monkey named Pug. Happy to oblige, the Duchess handed Jeffrey over to the Queen in 1626.

After this, Jeffrey went to live with the Queen in London and became known as “Lord Minimus”, with his remarkably near perfect proportions and extremely small stature, even for a dwarf, being particularly valued. As noted by Sir Walter Scott when Jeffrey had reached adulthood and still not added much in height from his 7 year old self,

He although a dwarf of the least possible size, had nothing positively ugly in his countenance, or actually distorted in his limbs….His countenance in particular, had he been a little taller, would have been accounted, in youth, handsome, and now in age, striking an expressive; it was but the uncommon disproportion betwixt the head and the trunk which made the features seem whimsical and bizarre- and effect which was considerably increased by the dwarf’s moustaches, which it was his pleasure to wear so large that they almost twisted back amongst and mingled with his grizzled hair.

Going back to his childhood, due to the massive difference in height between Evans and Jeffrey (over 7 feet vs about 1.5 ft), apparently one of many popular party tricks Evans and Jeffrey used to perform was to have Evans presented to guests, at which point he’d pull a large loaf of bread out of one pocket, then pull Jeffrey out of another. The two would then proceed to prepare some food for the guests using the bread.

It wasn’t all about entertaining guests, however. While Jeffery initially was treated as little more than a pet, for whatever reason the Queen, who was about a decade older than Jeff, and he hit it off, quickly becoming extremely close.

It’s speculated by some that their shared sense of being outsiders to the society in which they lived may have played a part- the Queen being a French Catholic living in England at a time when both were somewhat taboo. Things got even worse for her when she was further isolated by her husband, King Charles, when he had almost her entire retinue, including her close friend Madame St. George, forcibly removed by guards and kicked out of the country in June of 1626, around the same time Jeffery came into the Queen’s life.

With Jeffrey her trusted confidant, the Queen saw to it that he became educated, taught how to be a gentlemen, and even began giving him courtly tasks, rather than having him working solely as entertainment for guests and herself.  For example, in 1630 the Queen sent a then 10 year old Jeffrey to France as part of a delegation to retrieve her midwife, Madam Peronne, ten Catholic friars, and various valuables from her mother Queen Marie de Medicis.

While there, along with famed court dance master and hunchback Jacques Cordier dit Bocan who was also part of this delegation, Jeffrey reportedly wowed the court in France with his dancing abilities, in the process collecting quite a lot of rather expensive gifts from impressed members the court.

Unfortunately for Jeff, this journey ended in disaster when the ship he was on while headed back home was captured by pirates. The midwife and Jeff, his own newfound valuables, along with those sent as gifts to the Queen, were taken, though the others aboard, like the friars and the dance master, were allowed to go free.

When the Queen found out what had happened, she reportedly was extremely concerned for Jeffery’s safety. As to how she got him back, this isn’t clear, but it can be presumed she paid some sort of ransom for his return. Whatever the case, return he did shortly thereafter and continued his life at court.

Unfortunately for the Queen, her baby died not long after being born, though reportedly Jeffrey was a great comfort to her during this period, staying by her side throughout her long recovery from what was described as an extremely difficult labor. From here, Jeffery was her constant companion and when he got older one of her most trusted advisors.

On that note, a curious and academically inclined child, Jeffrey was known to be a voracious reader. He also soon was known in the Queen’s court for his rapier wit and penchant for devilishly cutting put downs to any who would insult him- something that only served to make him even more popular with the Queen and later the King who are both said to have been endlessly amused by Jeffrey’s growing confidence and ability to reduce anyone insulting him to a sputtering idiot with a marvelously well-crafted insult of his own.

Beyond book learning and his weaponpized wit, Jeffery was also taught to use actual weapons and to ride horses, with a special saddle and custom-made pistols more suited for his stature made for him.

By all accounts, as with so many other areas of learning, Jeffrey excelled at horsemanship and became an exceptional marksman- two skills that would ironically result in the latter half of his life go horribly wrong.

Nevertheless, at the age of 23, Jeffery was keen to do his bit for his King and Queen when the English Civil war began in 1642. Though still only around 20-23 inches tall, he didn’t hesitate to lend his newfound talents to the war effort. Impressed by the dwarf’s candor, the King and Queen granted him the title of “Captain of the Horse”, although it’s not clear if Jeffery actually was allowed to lead troops in battle or if it was just a ceremonial position. It was also around this time the the King knighted Jeffrey, though that one was reportedly a joke during a party. Nevertheless, it was an official knighting from the King.

As for Jeffrey, he took his new positions incredibly serious, insisting upon being addressed as Captain Jeffrey Hudson after being given that rank.

When the Queen fled England at the height of the war, Jeffrey dutifully accompanied her to France. Upon arriving in the country, emboldened by his recent successes in life, he made it known to the Queen’s entourage that he would no longer accept jibes about his height and that he’d defend his honor with his life, if necessary. After all, whether originally as a joke or not, he was now a knight of the English court, a Captain of the guard, an excellent marksmen, and one of the most trusted confidants of the Queen.

This brings us to an event that would change his life forever, occurring in 1644 when he was about 25 years old.

A gentlemen of the court evidently decided to ignore Jeffrey’s insistence that he was no longer some court pet to be teased, and instead apparently insulted Jeffrey in some way, though what exactly was said has been lost to history. Enraged, Jeffrey challenged the man to a duel- a challenge that was accepted, with pistols on horseback being chosen for the fight.

Showing how much he thought the whole thing was a joke, Jeffrey’s opponent chose to face him not wielding a pistol of his own, but rather a squirt-gun like device, as noted in a letter from Queen Henrietta of the event,

The giving cavalier took no firearms, but merely a huge squirt, with which he meant at once to extinguish his small adversary and the power of his weapon. The vengeful dwarf, however, managed his good steed with sufficient address to avoid the shower aimed at himself and his loaded pistols, and, withal, to shoot his laughing adversary dead.

Not just shooting him dead, from horseback, Jeffery demonstrated his prodigious skill as a marksmen, by putting a rather sizable hole in his opponents forehead, almost hitting him right between the eyes.

This all might have amused the royals, except that the man Jeffrey had just killed happened to be the brother of the Queen’s Master of the Horse, Baron William Croft.

This still might have been OK, except on top of having a well connected brother, it turned out that dueling was illegal in France at the time. Meaning that Jeffrey had just committed murder in the eyes of the court.

Sir Jeffrey was promptly arrested, with calls to have him executed, but the Queen was having none of it. Although apparently extremely displeased at Jeffrey for embarrassing her in this way among the aristocracy and while a guest in the country, she nevertheless wrote to Cardinal Mazarin pleading that Jeffery’s life be spared. Her request was granted, and instead of being executed, Jeffrey was exiled from France.

Exactly what happened to Jeffrey after this isn’t clear, other than apparently shortly thereafter he found himself on a ship that was captured by Ottoman pirates. Being something of a novelty, he was sold into slavery and spent around two and a half decades in this state.

Ultimately freed sometime in the late 1660s as a part of efforts by England to get its captured citizens released from slavery, the first mention of him back in England after this period occurred in 1669.

As to what he got up to as a slave, little is known of this, other than an account gleaned from interview he gave to author James Wright who was writing a history of Rutland book. From this, we know only a couple things. First, Jeffrey somehow grew 22 inches, approximately doubling his height from age of around 25 to 50 when he returned.

This is where we have some small reference of what his life was like as a slave when he credited his growth to the stresses of hard labor as well as “buggery”. For those not familiar, this is another word for sodomy, seemingly implying at least part of Jeffrey’s role as a slave for someone was as a sex toy, or perhaps other slaves used him for such.

Whatever the case, now free, the much taller Jeffrey now was simply a short man, instead of a miniature one, meaning he wasn’t able to resume his former post at court. Compounding the issue was that Queen Henriette had died in 1669, the year he appears to have returned to England, so benefiting from her patronage also was not an option.

Ultimately he was given money by the Duke of Buckingham George Villiers II, who was the son of Jeffery’s first patron, as well as from Charles II, son of Queen Henriette, to help set himself up on his new life.

Unfortunately for him, when he traveled to London in 1676 to request a pension from the court, this was a peak time of anti-Catholic sentiment in the country. This saw Jefferey promptly arrested upon arriving in London for the sole crime of daring to be a Catholic- a faith he’d taken up as a youth because the Queen.

Jeffrey subsequently spent the next four years or so in prison, being released in 1680. As to what he got up to after, this isn’t known, other than he died 2 years later at the age of 63 in 1682, buried in a pauper’s grave without so much as a headstone, despite officially being a knight and a Captain of the Horse.

While it isn’t known where he was buried, a marker was created at some point near his place of birth which states simply, “Sir Jeffery Hudson-1619-1682- A dwarf presented in a pie to King Charles 1st.”

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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February 25, 2020 at 01:00PM

via Tumblr February 25, 2020 at 05:02AM - Save on Shenmue 3, Yakuza Remastered Collection and Dreams

If you managed to hold off just a little bit longer than the already arduous 18-year wait since the second entry in the series, you can now get Shenmue 3 for the lowest price it's been so far.

Multiple retailers in both the UK and US have put the long-anticipated follow-up in Ryo Hazuki's quest to track down his father's killer on sale. The price drop seems universal at £22.99/$29.99, but a couple of places have taken a few more pennies off just to make it to the top of our list. You'll find all the prices below:

Following a surprise announcement at Sony's E3 conference in 2015, Shenmue 3 started off on Kickstarter with an initial goal of $2 million. It ended up raising over three-times that amount to become the highest-funded videogame in Kickstarter history.

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from February 25, 2020 at 04:07AM - Riot Games legal troubles set to continue

League of Legends developer Riot Games' long-running gender discrimination lawsuit has entered a new phase, as a fresh legal counsel has rejected the developer's preliminary offer of a $10m settlement.

Last December, Riot's proposed $10m sum was agreed to by plaintiffs in the class action case. But intervention from state agencies in January left Riot having to deny allegations it colluded with the plaintiffs' legal team to settle for a lower amount.

Now, a fresh legal team has been brought in, has reported, following the state's claim the lawsuit could be worth some $400m - not $10m - (a figure Riot told was "clickbait").

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from February 25, 2020 - Luna: The Shadow Dust review: a charming self-contained puzzler

It all begins rather abruptly. Üri, the protagonist of Luna: The Shadow Dust (a game that's not to be confused with Luna, Funomena's 2017 puzzler), a small boy with a hood that makes him look as if he's got bunny ears, falls from a great height. After he's dusted himself off and gotten his bearings, he discovers a large tower, stretching all the way into the sky. The task is clear: let's climb that thing. And that's pretty much all the context you're given. Luna likes to keep it simple. All this point and click puzzler is asking you to do is, well, point and click. You ascend the tower one room per level, and in order to do proceed, you need to open the door leading out of the room, much like finding the solution to an escape room puzzle. As the boy enters from one end of the room, it's always a good idea to find out what's even clickable in order to start out. Some rooms are dominated by large machines, so that you can already tell there will be buttons to press and levers to push. Trial and error is encouraged, and figuring solutions out naturally feels rewarding.

Sometimes trial and error is all you have, though, since Luna is a game that communicates entirely without words. Some of the more intricate puzzles have visual hints hidden somewhere in the room, but since even these are occasionally difficult to work out, all you're left with is clicking around until inspiration strikes.

To be fair, I rarely got completely lost. Most of Luna's puzzles range from simple yet elegant to perhaps a little too easy to solve, but this is coming from someone who's near-exclusively played LucasArts adventure games as a child, which famously feature a lot more counterintuitive puzzles. Many puzzles in Luna are nevertheless classics you will have seen in almost any game - can you really call something a puzzle game if you don't have to put together an image by rotating different discs? - but the simple and too simple generally strike a good balance here. A lot of the simplicity of the puzzles comes from the fact that everything you need is part of the room - if you give yourself a moment to take it all in, you'll quickly work out what's possible and can start working on the solution. To some, the occasional trial and error may become frustrating, but I found it oddly relaxing to find a way to advance even without a central eureka moment that turned everything around.

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Monday, February 24, 2020

Is It True Women Retain the DNA of Every Man They’ve Ever Slept With in Their Bodies?

If you’ve spent virtually any time on the interwebs, and particularly lurked in the social media areas of this marvel of human ingenuity, you’ll no doubt at one point or another come across the fact that many women have living male cells hanging out in their bodies, including in their brains. The most common explanation, according to social media, for how these instances of microchimerism came to be is that women acquire these cells via making the beast with two backs with a man. The claim that often follows this is that, given these cells and their replicates have been shown to sometimes hang around for decades in the women, that most women have the DNA of every male sexual partner they’ve ever had in their bodies.

But is any of this actually true?

As with the vast majority of “quick facts” spread around on social media, there are elements of truth to it, but the part that makes the fact spread does not appear to be true at all based on the current state of scientific research. Unlike the effect of having unprotected social media, which will always leave residual undesired things in your brain, having sex with a guy doesn’t seem to be a contributor, or at least not a major contributor, to male cell lines finding their way into women’s bodies and brains. So how do these cells get there and where did the rumor that women retain the DNA of every man they ever slept with start?

To begin with, back in 2012 a study titled, Male Microchimerism, noted that after dissecting a number of deceased women’s brains, 63% of the brains (37 out of 59) had male microchimerism present. While it was touted by many a media source that this was a huge discovery, in fact, it has long been known that a large percentage of women eventually carry living male cell lines in their bodies. For example, a study in 1969, published in The Lancet, showed that 70% (21 of 30) pregnant women, 19 of whom were pregnant with boys and 2 others having previously had boys, were found to have male microchimerism.

From there countless other studies have shown the same thing, including some animal studies that showed some of these cell lines are able to cross the blood-brain barrier in mice. What made this particular 2012 study interesting was simply that it was the first to show these cell lines could cross the blood-brain barrier in humans too.

It’s also interesting to note from this study that 33 of the women had Alzheimer’s and that these women had lower likelihood of having male microchimerism present. And even those who had Alzheimer’s AND male microchimerism, they tended to have lower concentrations of these cells. More on this and the potential benefits and drawbacks of this microchimerism in the Bonus Facts in a bit.

In any event, noteworthy here is that despite explicitly stating the likely sources of these cell lines- mostly centered around pregnancy- at no point in the study did the researchers state that these came from former sex partners. And as for the pregnancy source, the researchers speculate this may be how the cell lines are getting past the blood-brain barrier in the first place. As they state, “Changes in BBB permeability occur during pregnancy and may therefore provide a unique opportunity for the establishment of [microchimerism] in the brain.”

So how did this study become the source of the myth that women retain the DNA of every sex partner they’ve ever had? Enter Baxter Dmitry, a man who has the personal tagline “Speaking truth to power since he learned to talk…” and noting that he’s “travelled in over 80 countries and won arguments in every single one”. Naturally, a person who speaks such truth would write on a website, Your News Wire, that itself had the tagline “News. Truth. Unfiltered.”

With all that advocating for truth, it should come as no surprise that in June of 2017, Baxter published a completely unbiased, truthful piece on Your News Wire titled Women Absorb and Retain DNA from Every Man They Have Sex With using a study that literally said none of this as his primary source for that belief…

As for how he got around this little problem of the researchers not even hypothesizing this, using his masterful debating skills famed in 80 countries the world over, Baxter states of the researchers’ actual suggested sources of this male DNA,

Researchers assumed that the most likely answer was that all male DNA found living in the female brain came from a male pregnancy. That was the safe, politically correct assumption. But these researchers were living in denial… the scientists didn’t know what the hell was going on. Confused, they did their best to hide the evidence until they could understand and explain it. They buried it in numerous sub studies and articles, but if you sift through them all you will find the damning statement, the one line that gives the game away…

This “one line that gives the game away” is from a 2005 study, Male microchimerism in women without sons. In this study, they found that 21% of the 120 women they looked at had male microchimerism. Of these women, 26 of them had daughters; 23 had spontaneous abortions; 23 of them had induced abortions; and 48 of them had never been pregnant that the women were aware of. The results were the first group who only had daughters had an 8% rate of male microchimerism. The second group with spontaneous abortions had a rate of 22%; the third group with induced abortions had a rate of 57%; and the final group who’d never been pregnant were at just 10%, similar to the group who’d only had daughters.

How does this support Baxter’s claim? In this study, along with mentioning the more likely origins of this microchimerism, they also hypothesize that it may be possible some of these cases could be from having sex partners of the male persuasion. They offer no supporting evidence of this, simply speculating for potential further research.

From that one, then unstudied hypothesis presented in the paper as the least likely possibility, and completely dismissing the many, many other studies on the subject, Baxter naturally gave the unfiltered truth that this proved women retain the DNA from not just some, but every single man they ever had sex with. And that- we don’t know, for reasons we guess?- the researchers of the 2012 study were trying to hide this fact from the world.

He also made another lesser talked about rather… we’ll say “interesting”… claim we’ll get to shortly. But before that, as for the main claim, given this information has a grain of truth, is claimed to be backed by a scientific study (which few are going to bother to read), is mildly plausible on the surface, or at least not readily debunkable by the layman without looking into it a little, and is incredibly eye catching in headline form, it naturally spread throughout the various social media outlets whose algorithms and platforms cater to content with no depth or nuance, like Facebook and Twitter.

Now, you’d think that’s where it would end given this particular little “fact” using the 2012 study as its supposed source takes only about 10 minutes to call its accuracy into question via even just skimming the cited study. But it turns out a large percentage of popular general news sites don’t actually bother to have their authors read the studies they are reporting on, with this little rumor functioning as a great test to see which outlets do and which outlets don’t.

And so it was that many of the most popular general news outlets’ reported that the researchers in the study claimed the source of the DNA in women’s brains was from sexual partners. Some of the worst offenders even doubled down and went with the full supposed fact that the study showed women retain the DNA of many or ALL of their previous sex partners.

This finally brings us to where the DNA is actually coming from. As briefly alluded to, pregnancy seems to be the #1 source, though it turns out it doesn’t necessarily need to be the pregnancy of the woman in question. Because these cell lines from the fetus can survive for decades after the pregnancy, subsequent pregnancies a given woman has can then see some of these cell lines find their way into the new little.

Demonstrating this cellular exchange, directly after pregnancy, approximately two thirds of women will carry fetal immune cell lines, for example. On the flipside, about 1/3 of the time the baby will have maternal immune cell lines after they are born.

Illustrating all this, we have such research as a 2015 study Microchimerism of male origin in a cohort of Danish girls, looking at 154 girls 10-15 years old. Unfortunately for adding a more definitive data point to the question at hand, the researchers did not ask the girls if they’d had sex before, though given their age, it can be presumed that the majority had not. Delving into this, the researchers note that in a separate study it was shown that approximately 16% of 14 year old girls in Denmark have had sex, and a total of 36% have done so by age 15. Importantly, however, 80% of these 14/15 year old girls who had sex reported their partner used a condom, which limits the possibility of such cell transfer.

In any event, the results of this study on 10-15 year old girls showed that 13.6% of the girls tested positive for male microchimerism, which is more or less inline with the previously mentioned study of adult women who’d either only had daughters or never been pregnant, with rates of about 8% and 10% respectively. This also almost exactly lined up with another study on prepubescent girls, with about 14% testing positive for male microchimerism in that study.

As other studies have also shown, the 2015 study researchers also noted that girls who had older brothers were more likely to test positive for male microchimerism, with the more older brothers, the more likely to test positive. They also found girls whose mothers had blood transfusions during pregnancy were more likely to test positive as well.

Given this data set, however, the researchers do note that they could not account for all the instances of male microchimerism based on the known data and, thus, further research is needed to figure out where all these cells lines are coming from more definitively.

To date, it isn’t actually fully clear what is happening here for these unaccounted for cases. The leading hypotheses is that these are probably coming from things like cases of a vanished and unobserved male twin or, more likely in most cases, a woman, including the mothers of these girls, having been previously pregnant with a boy and they simply didn’t know it. It turns out, depending on what study you want to go with, between 1/3 and just under 1/2 of all human pregnancies result in a miscarriage, with a decent percentage of these happening without the woman actually knowing she was briefly pregnant. Further, a large percentage of the rest of these miscarriages happen before the sex of the baby is known.

That said, given researchers have not yet definitively been able to account for all these sources of male microchimerism, it’s always possible it could be from a sex partner, and more research is needed to figure this out definitively. But at present, this is deemed unlikely.


It turns out, it’s a massive conspiracy backed by the Lizard People…

Or for those of you who want to continue to allow our Lizard overlords to pull the wool over our eyes, when talking the “every partner” narrative, this can conclusively be shown to be false with the known data given that if that were true, virtually every heterosexual woman should test positive for male microchimerism. This is not the case.

But even when just looking at unprotected sex partners, where there is indeed some brief surface level cellular exchange happening for both partners, most researchers still find this an unlikely source, as the vagina is an incredibly inhospitable place to try to establish a cell line in the first place, including being relatively rapidly self cleaning and good at getting rid of such offending cells.

And even if some cells still managed to find their way into the bloodstream, via, say cuts in the vagina or the like, these would in the vast majority of cases be identified and eliminated by the woman’s immune system. Fetal cells, on the other hand, can potentially have ways around this problem.

As summed up by Dr. J Lee Nelson, co-author of the aforementioned 2012 study that is the commonly cited source of this myth, “any suggestion that male DNA is routinely retained from sexual partners has no support from any scientific study… the biggest statement is the data; if this were routinely happening… you would see it in the vast majority of adult women (without sons) that we studied.”

We should probably also address very briefly that some have, very bizarrely, gone further and claimed it’s the sperm themselves that manage to survive and live on in the women. But, of course, sperm don’t replicate themselves and only last at most a week or so. So, no. Just no.

And how that rumor got started… Well, that was in Baxter’s original piece that started the main rumor in the first place. To quote the legendary debater,

Sperm is alive. It is living cells. When it is injected into you it swims and swims until it crashes headlong into a wall, and then it attaches and burrows into your flesh. If it’s in your mouth it swims and climbs into your nasal passages, inner ear, and behind your eyes. Then it digs in. It enters your blood stream and collects in your brain and spine. Like something out of a scifi movie, it becomes a part of you and you can’t get rid of it.

Given that this part is easily debunkable without any research needed by the vast majority of even high school educated humans, it goes to show you that the over 70,000 people who shared his post on the subject didn’t bother to read the source of the “fact” before sharing it.

Now, all this said, if you twist the wording of the headline “women retain the DNA of the men they sleep with” enough, you could say a man who got a woman pregnant does have a part of his DNA surviving in her thanks to the joined genes from the sperm and egg then producing a fetus that then spreads certain of its cells in the woman, some of which survive long term. But, at least, when talking about the common full headline- “Women retain the DNA of every man they’ve ever slept with,” this is conclusively false, even when talking having sex without a condom. And while research may someday show this can potentially happen in some very isolated cases, though again among other factors the woman’s immune system makes this implausible, the body of evidence to date definitively shows it can’t be common, else by the twilight years of most heterosexual women’s lives there would be an almost 100% rate of male microchimerism, even in women who’d never had older brothers nor been pregnant with boys themselves.

Thus, as ever when having unprotected social media, always remember the wise words of the great Wheezy Waiter, in his sage song “A Headline’s Not an Article”

A Headline’s not an article, a Tweet is not an article. It’s basically a farticle, of a full-blown pooped out article.

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 Fact:

Speaking of the potential health benefits and drawbacks of these fetus sourced cellular lines hanging around in women’s bodies, women with lupus erythematosus that also have male fetal cell lines in their bodies have been shown to have consistently better functioning renal systems vs those women without these male fetal cells. This, and many other studies, seem to indicate in some cases these fetal cell lines might actually help in repairing damage to certain body parts.

Similarly, it’s long been known that pregnancy ultimately reduces a woman’s chance of both getting and dying of breast cancer. Why isn’t clear. But relatively recent research has shown that certain fetal cell lines concentrate in this breast tumor tissue, with it being hypothesized this may be having a positive effect. Other studies have similarly shown a potential benefit to fetal cell lines to women who later develop certain other types of cancers, with similar congregation of the fetal cells in the tumors. Again with all of this though, how this is helping, if at all, isn’t fully clear. And in some cases it’s been speculated to actually INCREASE the chances of getting certain cancers. Obviously much more research is needed to determine any of this definitively.

Also on that flipside, the effect of these cell lines in a woman’s brain have been proposed as a possible reason women are more susceptible to certain neurological disorders. Likewise, these cell lines have been speculated to be increasing the chances of certain autoimmune disorders that women are more susceptible to.

That said, there is one neurological disorder, mentioned in the aforementioned 2012 study, and also in several others, where the presence and high concentration of fetal microchimerism seems to strongly correlate to less chance of developing the disorder- that being Alzheimer’s. Though, again, as with pretty much everything to do with this field of study right now, significantly more research is needed to determine anything definitive.

Expand for References

The post Is It True Women Retain the DNA of Every Man They’ve Ever Slept With in Their Bodies? appeared first on Today I Found Out.

from Today I Found Out
by Daven Hiskey - February 24, 2020 at 10:34PM
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