Devolver Digital Celebrates 2 Million ‘Reigns’ Players by Offering Owners of Either ‘Reigns’ Game A Discounted Copy of the Other One

There are tons of games on the App Store that appeal to either more casual or more hardcore gamers. Very few play brilliantly and appeal to all kinds of gamers as well as Reigns does. Reigns [$ 2.99] from Devolver Digital alongwith the sequel Reigns: Her Majesty [$ 2.99] are fantastic experiences and two of my favourite iOS games ever. If you aren’t familiar with these games at all, imagine an RPG lite experience where your main gameplay is akin to swiping through the Tinder app. Now Devolver Digital and Reigns Announced that they have crossed 2 million players. To celebrate this, they are offering the bundle with both games at a discount. Check it out on the App Store here.

The big news is that if you bought either Reigns game at full price, you get the other one for a big discount (this varies by region) through this bundle. The way bundles work on the App Store, you end up paying the difference if you bought a single item in a bundle at a price lower than the total bundle cost. The Reigns: King & Queen Bundle is $ 2.99 right now for those who don’t own either game which is a big discount (even free depending on region) over the regular price. Check out our reviews of both games here and here. We also interviewed Jim Guthrie about Reigns: Her Majesty’s music. Out of all the games designed from the ground up for mobile, the Reigns games and the lost phone games are easily my favourite. You can tell that while they are available on non mobile platforms as well, they’re more immersive and play best on mobile. You can also see some other player impressions for both Reigns games on our forum threads for them here and here.

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NASA’s robots will either explore Titan or study a comet

NASA's New Frontiers program consists of a series of unmanned missions with the intent of exploring the solar system. The missions are designed to target specific goals as defined by the broader planetary community. Yesterday, NASA announced the two…
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Either Stars are Strange, or 234 Alien Species Are Trying to Contact Us

We all want there to be aliens. Green ones, pink ones, brown ones, Greys. Or maybe Vulcans, Klingons, even a being of pure energy. Any type will do.

That’s why whenever a mysterious signal or energetic fluctuation arrives from somewhere in the cosmos and hits one of our many telescopes, headlines erupt across the media: “Have We Finally Detected An Alien Signal?” or “Have Astronomers Discovered An Alien Megastructure?” But science-minded people know that we’re probably getting ahead of ourselves.

Skepticism still rules the day when it comes to these headlines, and the events that spawn them. That’s the way it should be, because we’ve always found a more prosaic reason for whatever signal from space we’re talking about. But, being skeptical is a balancing act; it doesn’t mean being dismissive.

What we’re talking about here is a study from E.F. Borra and E. Trottier, two astronomers at Laval University in Canada. Their study, titled “Discovery of peculiar periodic spectral modulations in a small fraction of solar type stars” was published in the Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

The two astronomers used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and analyzed the spectra of 2.5 million stars. Of all those stars, they found 234 stars that are producing a puzzling signal. That’s only a tiny percentage. And, they say, these signals “have exactly the shape of an ETI signal” that was predicted in a previous study by Borra.

A portion of the 234 stars that are sources of the pulsed ETI-like signal. Note that all the stars are in the narrow spectral range F2 to K1, very similar to our own Sun. Image: Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier
A portion of the 234 stars that are sources of the pulsed ETI-like signal. Note that all the stars are in the narrow spectral range F2 to K1, very similar to our own Sun. Image: Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier

Prediction is a key part of the scientific method. If you develop a theory, your theory looks better and better the more you can use it to correctly predict some future events based on it. Look how many times Einstein’s predictions based on Relativity have been proven correct.

The 234 stars in Borra and Trottier’s study aren’t random. They’re “overwhelmingly in the F2 to K1 spectral range” according to the abstract. That’s significant because this is a small range centred around the spectrum of our own Sun. And our own Sun is the only one we know of that has an intelligent species living near it. If ours does, maybe others do too?

The authors acknowledge five potential causes of their findings: instrumental and data reduction effects, rotational transitions in molecules, the Fourier transform of spectral lines, rapid pulsations, and finally the ETI signal predicted by Borra (2012). They dismiss molecules or pulsations as causes, and they deem it highly unlikely that the signals are caused by the Fourier analysis itself. This leaves two possible sources for the detected signals. Either they’re a result of the Sloan instrument itself and the data reduction, or they are in fact a signal from extra-terrestrial intelligences.

This graph shows the number of detected signals by Spectral Type of star. Image: Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier
This graph shows the number of detected signals by Spectral Type of star. Image: Ermanno F. Borra and Eric Trottier

The detected signals are pulses of light separated by a constant time interval. These types of signals were predicted by Borra in his 2012 paper, and they are what he and Trottier set out to find in the Sloan data. It may be a bit of a red flag when scientist’s find the very thing they predicted they would find. But Trottier and Borra are circumspect about their own results.

As the authors say in their paper, “Although unlikely, there is also a possibility that the signals are due to highly peculiar chemical compositions in a small fraction of galactic halo stars.” It may be unlikely, but lots of discoveries seem unlikely at first. Maybe there is a tiny subset of stars with chemical peculiarities that make them act in this way.

To sum it all up, the two astronomers have found a tiny number of stars, very similar to our own Sun, that seem to be the source of pulsed signals. These signals are the same as predicted if a technological society was using powerful lasers to communicate with distant stars.

We all want there to be aliens, and maybe the first sign of them will be pulsed light signals from stars like our own Sun. But it’s all still very preliminary, and as the authors acknowledge, “…at this stage, this hypothesis needs to be confirmed with further work.”

That further work is already being planned by the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, a project that searches for intelligent life in the cosmos. They plan to use the Automated Planet Finder telescope at the Lick Observatory to further observe some of Borra’s 234 stars.

The Breakthrough team don’t seem that excited about Borra’s findings. They’ve already poured cold water on it, trotting out the old axiom that “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” in a statement on Borra’s paper. They also give Borra’s findings a score of 0 to 1 on the Rio Scale. The Rio Scale is something used by the international SETI community to rank detections of phenomena that could indicate advanced life beyond Earth. A rating of 0 to 1 means its insignificant.

Better reign in the headline writers.

The post Either Stars are Strange, or 234 Alien Species Are Trying to Contact Us appeared first on Futurism.

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Sharks in AR are either awful or awesome — we can’t decide


An augmented reality app now lets you catch and tame your very own virtual shark, which will follow you around everywhere you go. Judging by my colleagues’ reactions, you’re either going to love this or hate this. The sharks aren’t restricted to the water. Instead, they float over and around you, swimming through the air, and you use bait to draw them near. You can attract a leopard shark for free or pay to unlock the Great White. An in-app photo mode lets you share footage of the weirdest places your shark turns up. One place it might turn up?…

This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web

Data Shows Summers are Now Either “Hot” or “Extremely Hot” Compared to 50 Years Ago

The Temperature Shift

Elon Musk tweeted a few weeks ago that there’s “no need to rely on scientists for global warming — just use a thermometer.” While climate change is more complicated that that, with implications that extend far beyond just temperature, Musk’s point stands. Summers across the globe are hotter than they used to be, and extreme weather has never been more common.

Global Warming Scenarios
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With the help of his colleagues at Columbia UniversityJames Hansen, a former NASA climate scientist, compiled decades of temperature data and then put it into a variety of graphs and charts illustrating this shift in global temperature.

According to Hansen’s data, 15 percent of summers between 2005 and 2015 fall into the category of “extremely hot,” while the number of “hot” summers has doubled compared to the base period (1951 to 1980), jumping from around 33 percent to 66 percent.

Todd Sanford, director of research at Climate Central, told The New York Times that the findings “really highlight that changes in the average, while they may seem modest, have big implications for the extremes. And that’s what’s going to affect society and ecosystems.” He also asserted that this upward trend provides “a glimpse to what’s in our future.”

What Can We Do?

An increase in high temperatures is one of many facets of climate change. Erratic weather phenomena, pollution, and ecosystem shifts due to other manifestations of the same cause have resulted in millions of deaths worldwide. In recent years, increased nitrogen levels caused the beaches of Florida to flood with foul-spelling green algae that killed animals and diseased people, and tropical storms, hurricanes, and typhoons have wrecked homes and damaged lives.

However, the last few years have marked a shift in the way we approach climate change, as well. While the 2000s were marked by a distrust of statistics and skepticism regarding the true extent of the problem, the 2010s have seen more people asking the question, “What can we do?”

In response to this question, the Paris Agreement has been created, numerous countries have pledged a commitment to being carbon neutral before 2050, and the car industry has been turning to electric vehicles. While the situation is dire, all of these initiatives (combined with many others) could help us reverse the damage humans have done to the planet.

The post Data Shows Summers are Now Either “Hot” or “Extremely Hot” Compared to 50 Years Ago appeared first on Futurism.

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