GDC 2018: ‘Safari Central’ Uses Real-World Data to Put Safari Animals in Your World to Track in AR

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Internet of Elephants is a development studio based out of Kenya who focuses on making digital experiences that help people learn about and make connections with animals in hopes of raising awareness about animal conservation. In August of last year they released the app Safari Central [Free] which allows users to interact with a handful of protected safari animals in augmented reality and do things like take photos or learn more about them. It’s definitely an “app” and not a “game” but that’s where GDC 2018 comes in. We met up with Internet of Elephants to see their future plans for Safari Central, which right now is considered just a limited preview. The real goal is to create an almost Pokemon GO-like tracking experience through AR. What’s really cool is that the studio has many partners in Kenya who are able to provide real-life data on all the featured animals, and coupled with the impressively animated 3D models it really has the potential to bring real awareness and knowledge to people who use Safari Central. You can find much more information about Safari Central and Internet of Elephants at their official website, and you can see a brief demo of the new AR mode in the video below. It’s in a VERY early state right now but already looks really cool. And of course if you want to check out the limited preview version of Safari Central, you can do so with the link at the end of this article.

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Tips: Google Lens in Photos can now identify animals and plants, and be used on ChromeOS

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A couple of days ago we learned that Google Lens was now rolling out to everyone inside Google Photos (and to more devices with Assistant), and one side-effect of that universal availability is it now works in ChromeOS. Aside from that, the promised identification of plants and animals is now active.

First, as discovered by Chrome Unboxed, you can download the Google Photos Android app on any Chromebook and use Lens inside it.

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Tips: Google Lens in Photos can now identify animals and plants, and be used on ChromeOS was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Exploring Animals’ “Junk DNA” Could Help Us Fight Human Diseases

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Junk DNA

What can the genomes of dolphins, elephants, and squirrels tell us about our capacity to resist diseases? Plenty, according to a new study published today in Cell Reports.

Some 98 percent of the mammalian genome doesn’t code for proteins. Instead, this region controls where and when the body expresses genes. Scientists at University of Utah Health (U of U Health) investigated this portion of the genome in various animals to find out more about its effect on health and disease response.

“People used to call the noncoding regions ‘junk DNA,’ but I see it as a jungle that has not been explored,” said paper co-author Christopher Gregg, an assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at U of U Health, in a university news release. “We are exploring the noncoding regions to try to discover new parts of the genome that might control different diseases.”

The researchers studied the genomes of African elephants, hibernating bats, orcas, dolphins, naked mole rats, and thirteen-lined ground squirrels for their research. They hoped that identifying rapidly evolving parts of the animals’ noncoding regions might offer up clues about how the human genome responds to different diseases.

“What we’ve done is use animals with extraordinary traits to reveal new elements in the human genome that we think are important, but were hidden to us before,” said Gregg in a press release.

From Animals to Humans

The team’s efforts paid off.

Elephants rarely suffer from cancer despite having 100 times more cells than a human and living for 60 to 70 years. During their research, the U of U team identified three genes linked to the elephant genome’s rapidly evolving regions that help repair the animal’s cells and prevent mutation.

In further tests of blood samples, the scientists identified additional links between genes that respond to damage and these rapidly evolving regions. According to Gregg, this shed a light on potentially cancer-resistant elements in human genomes.

“The elephant results revealed noncoding sequences in the human genome that we predict may control gene activity and reduce the formation of mutations and cancer,” he said in the news release.

This charts depicts the animals the U of U Health team studied and the potential areas of human health each could impact. Image Credit: Ferris et al./Cell Reports

The study’s insights weren’t limited to cancer, either.

The team identified elements in the bat genome that could help us understand hand and foot abnormalities. The dolphin and orca genomes could shed light on blood clotting disorders and eye development, while the squirrel genome might inform our understanding of albinism and Leopard Syndrome. The naked mole rat research could tell us more about glaucoma.

As Gregg noted, “junk DNA” is still largely unexplored territory, and drawing an accurate map of its most promising landmarks is an important first step to exploring it. Next, researchers can focus on figuring out how to leverage these discoveries to improve human medicine.

The post Exploring Animals’ “Junk DNA” Could Help Us Fight Human Diseases appeared first on Futurism.

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Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp: How to change an animal’s clothing

Give your animal friends a completely different look by sharing your outfits with them!

You know all of those shirts, sweaters, hats, and glasses you’ve been collecting since the start of Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp? Well you can put them to good use now by letting other animals dress up, too. If you have more than one of the same shirt, you might even end up as “twinsies” with your favorite villager. Here’s everything you need to know about changing villagers’ clothing.

How to change a villager’s outfit

All you have to do is ask!

Tap an animal that’s visiting your campsite and then tap Change Outfit! You’ll then see all of the clothing you own that can be shared with the animal.

Select a shirt, dress, hat, or glasses and tap Wear to make the change.

Animals will earn two Friendship points for the first outfit change of a cycle rotation.

Animals must be in your Campsite in order to change clothing

Animals in the wild don’t want to change their clothing. You’ll have to invite them to your campsite if you want to see them in one of your adorable shirts.

If you tap an animal in your Campsite and it doesn’t bring up the option to change an outfit, tap the animal again. Sometimes they don’t realize you want to help them out.

Animals have to reach a certain level before they can change outfits

New visitors to your Campsite are not quite as trusting as old friends. That’s why animals have to reach a certain Friendship Level before you can change their outfits.

There is no official information about the minimum level requirements, but I was able to change outfits on a villager that was only at Friendship Level 6, so I’m guessing it’s pretty low, maybe Friendship Level 3.

Some animals can’t wear certain clothing items

You may have three dozen pairs of cargo pants, but guess what. Animals in ACPC don’t wear pants! Some clothing items just won’t be offered to your animal friends when you’re changing their outfits. Things like pants, shoes and socks are a no-go. You also won’t see any flowers, wigs, or hoods in their closet.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about how to dress up villagers in new outfits? Put them in the comments and I’ll help you out.

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These animals’ sex lives could be screwed up by climate change

In a warmer world, the future could be entirely female for green sea turtles. These reptiles are born female if they’re exposed to warmer-than-usual temperatures while they’re embryos — and due to climate change, that’s what’s happening at the northern edge of the Great Barrier Reef, according to new research. Here, more than 99 percent of the younger sea turtles are now female.

But green sea turtles aren’t alone: for certain reptile and fish species, the outside temperature determines the sex of their offspring. That means that as global temperatures continue to climb, entire populations could wind up becoming all male or all female, which would make reproduction a challenge.

The phenomenon is called temperature-dependent sex…

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After Math: Merry Christmas, you filthy animals

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