Shadowgun Legends is, quite frankly, a brilliant game. If you’ve not read our review yet, you can check it out by clicking this link right here. Because we’re a bit in love with it, we thought it’d be a good idea to share some of the tricks we’ve picked up while playing the game. That’s where these guides come in. We’re going to break down the game, show you what’s what, as well as explaining what some of the mechanics do. First up though, we’re going to look at the different types of weapons in the game.
The platypus is, frankly, a weirdo. It’s one of the last surviving species of egg-laying mammals. It has venomous flippers. And that furry body combined with the duck bill? Looks like it belongs on evolution’s blooper reel.
And now another strange element of its biology is intriguing scientists: platypus milk contains a one-of-a-kind protein that could help us fight antibiotic resistance.
For nearly 70 years, antibiotics have been our go-to treatment option for a number of conditions, from gonorrhea to pneumonia. The more we’ve used them, the more resistant to antibiotics these bugs have become, resulting in some “superbugs” that don’t respond to several types of antibiotics.
That simple fact is putting millions of lives at risk every year in the U.S. alone. In 2016, the United Nations (UN) elevated the issue to “crisis level.” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called it a “fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development.”
Scientists have gotten increasingly creative in their search for anything that might help humanity fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. In 2010, that led to the discovery that platypus milk contains antibacterial properties.
Unlike other mammals, which deliver milk to their young through teats, platypus “sweat” their milk, secreting it through the skin on their bellies for their young to drink. That leaves the offspring pretty exposed to the outside world, which may explain why platypus milk needs to contain antibacterial characteristics.
To find out exactly what makes the milk that way, a team of researchers from Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and Deakin University set out to replicate one of its proteins in a lab setting.
Once they got a closer look at the protein’s structure, they were surprised to see something completely unique. The three-dimensional fold made the protein look like a ringlet. So naturally the team dubbed the protein “Shirley Temple,” a reference to the actress’ curly hair.
The researchers believe this unique structure could help develop new drugs to take down superbugs. They’re looking for collaborators to help them do more research with the intention of hastening a new antibiotic to market.
And truly, we have no time to lose.
The post Our Latest Weapon Against Antibiotic Resistance? Platypus Milk appeared first on Futurism.
Digging for Drugs
A newly discovered family of dirt-dwelling antibiotics could be our best weapon against treatment-resistant “superbugs.”
Researchers from Rockefeller University discovered the compounds, which are called malacidins, while analyzing more than 1,000 soil samples from across the United States. When they noticed a number of samples contained malacidins, they decided to dig a bit deeper into the compounds.
After infecting rats with MRSA, a bacteria that’s particularly resistant to most antibiotic treatments, the researchers treated the rodents with malacidins, and the compound eliminated the infection in the animals’ skin wounds. The team’s research has been published in Nature Microbiology.
In December 2016, the United Nations elevated the problem of antibiotic resistance to crisis level, calling it a “fundamental, long-term threat to human health, sustainable food production, and development.”
No corner of the world is immune to the issue, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), and if we don’t do something about it, we could soon find ourselves living in the “post-antibiotic era,” a period in which something as simple as a minor cut could be deadly.
The WHO urges the healthcare industry to develop new antibiotics to combat this issue, and thus far, most of that research has been undertaken in labs. In that respect, the Rockefeller University team’s approach of turning to nature for leads is fairly unique.
“Every place you step, there’s 10,000 bacteria, most of which we’ve never seen,” lead researcher Sean Brady told The Washington Post. “Our idea is, there’s this reservoir of antibiotics out in the environment we haven’t accessed yet.”
The team is now working to improve the effectiveness of their treatment so it could be used in people. However, as Brady told BBC News, that process will be neither quick nor easy.
“It is impossible to say when, or even if, an early stage antibiotic discovery like the malacidins will proceed to the clinic,” said Brady. “It is a long, arduous road from the initial discovery of an antibiotic to a clinically used entity.”
Still, arduous or not, it’s a road worth traveling because an estimated 700,000 people die every year due to drug-resistant superbugs, and that number could increase to as many as 10 million by 2050 if we don’t take action now.
The post Bacteria Hidden Under Our Feet May Be a New Weapon Against Superbugs appeared first on Futurism.
A Military Fact
On January 11, The Huffington Post leaked a copy of the Trump administration’s first nuclear posture review. The report assesses the role nuclear weapons will likely play in U.S. security over the next five to ten years, and it confirms that Russia is developing Kanyon, the world’s most powerful nuclear weapon.
Rumors of Kanyon (or Ocean Multipurpose System Status-6, as it’s known in Russia) first started swirling in 2015 following a leak on Russian television. Soon after, the nation confirmed the weapon’s existence, while claiming the leak was a mistake.
However, as defense analyst and military historian H. I. Sutton told Futurism, this leak of the latest nuclear posture review is the first official recognition of Kanyon by U.S. officials.
“The unclassified posture review document doesn’t really tell defense analysts anything new, but it does establish Kanyon as a military fact,” said Sutton. “Until now, many observers had regarded the system as ‘fake news.’ I think that this was partly because the stated specifications are so incredible and partly because it is hard to understand how it will be used.”
“Incredible” is perhaps putting it mildly.
Based on leaked Russian documents, Kanyon is a nuclear-armed autonomous torpedo capable of traveling 10,000 kilometers (6,213 miles) with a 100-megaton thermonuclear weapon as its payload. That’s at least twice as powerful as any nuclear weapon ever tested. According to nuclear bomb simulator Nukemap, it would instantly kill 8 million people and injure an additional 6.6 million if dropped on New York City.
Kanyon’s weapon wouldn’t be dropped, though. It would arrive via the ocean and bring with it a massive artificial tsunami that would blanket the coastal area in radioactive water. If the warhead is “salted” with the radioactive isotope Cobalt-60, as some have reported, a detonation could render contaminated areas uninhabitable by humans for an entire century.
“Kanyon is unique in every respect,” said Sutton. “There really is nothing like it in any navy’s inventory.”
Though both massive and powerful, Kanyon isn’t particularly fast. The autonomous torpedo’s reported top speed is 100 knots (115 miles per hour), so it would need almost 36 hours to travel from Kronstadt, the westernmost point in Russia, to New York City, the most populated city in the U.S.
Of course, it could be launched from somewhere closer, but according to Sutton, Americans probably don’t need to worry about a surprise Kanyon attack. However, he still believes it’s a “terrifying weapon” and sees its development as a sign that Russia is looking to diversify its nuclear arsenal, likely in an attempt to find ways to get around future missile defenses.
As Sutton told Futurism, nuclear deterrence is a nuanced topic. Ultimately, impenetrable missile defenses could actually decrease safety by undermining mutually assured destruction (MAD), the idea that the mere threat of using a strong nuclear weapon against an enemy could prevent that enemy from using a nuclear weapon of its own.
By that line of thinking, knowing that Russia has a weapon the U.S. couldn’t defend against could prevent the U.S. or other nations from attacking Russia, starting a nuclear war that would leave the entire planet devastated. If those opposed to nuclear weapons are looking for any bright side to the confirmation of Kanyon’s existence, it’s probably that.
The post US Report Confirms Russia Is Developing the World’s Most Powerful Nuclear Weapon appeared first on Futurism.
Man At Arms: Reforged is an engrossing video series that follows the blacksmiths at Baltimore Knife & Sword as they create real-world versions of fictional weapons and shields, such as Link’s Master Sword from Legend of Zelda to the Lich King’s Frostmourne from World of Warcraft to Wonder Woman’s iconic shield. In their latest video, they’ve created an unlikely weapon: the shovel from the retro side-scrolling game Shovel Knight.
Swordsmith Kerry Stagmer notes at the top of the episode that he feels like users have been trolling them with suggestions that they make the shovel. But took them up on it, and they spend the entire episode overbuilding the weapon. They forge the blade, cutting edge, and socket, then later create the iconic…
Controversial policy shift
The White House may be changing its previous policy on nuclear weapons, according to recent reports quoting a former U.S. government official, who has seen the draft of the nuclear posture review (NPR) prepared by the Pentagon.
Jon Wolfsthal, an Obama administration special assistant on arms control and nonproliferation, told The Guardian that the draft NPR would loosen constraints on nuclear weapons use, as well as provide for a low-yield nuclear warhead for the Trident D5 submarine-launched missiles. The NPR, which is the first of its kind in eight years, is expected to be published after president Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech towards the end of January.
Responses have been edited for brevity and clarity.
The post Experts Weigh in on the U.S. Government’s Plans to Loosen Nuclear Weapon Constraints appeared first on Futurism.
Back in August of last year, Daylight Studios brought their quirky simulation game Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! [$ 4.99]from desktop to mobile, tasking players with creating a successful weapon shop from the ground up and expanding it across a wacky land of potato people while providing adventurers with the weaponry they need for their various quests. While the game had a dedicated fan base on desktop that loved having a version to play on the go, many wondered whether any of the additional content released for the desktop version would ever make its way to the mobile game. Well, today Daylight has announced that the DLC pack titled Spud Tales: Journey to Olympus will be arriving on both iOS and Android this Friday, January 19th at a price of $ 1.99.
What exactly are Spud Tales? As Daylight describes, “Spud Tales are missions that place you in various scenarios with different end goals, objectives, and difficulty levels. The aim of the game is to complete all the objectives of the specific scenario. Scenarios will be a lot more difficult to complete than an ordinary play-through, so be weary of your $ tarch and managerial decisions!” The Journey to Olympus tale in particular follows Herclueless, the hapless son of Zeus, as he attempts to forge a weapon “worthy of a God” and punch his ticket back into Olympus.
In addition to the DLC content, this update to Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! will also add full screen support for the iPhone X as well as iCloud integration so you can transfer your game progress between devices. You may remember that Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! had a bit of a rocky launch on iOS when it first arrived last year, as it was released in separate iPhone and iPad versions. The developers eventually did make the original iPhone-only version Universal so it could also play on the iPad, but only in a weird letterboxed way that didn’t match up to the true iPad version of the game.
They’ve since sorted that out and there’s now just one Universal version of the game that displays properly on both iPhone and iPad devices, and they’ve also squashed all the strange crashing and progress saving issues that plagued that initial release. It’s a really cool game and you can read a lot more impressions about it in our forums, and this Friday it’ll get even better with the new expansion content arriving as an update for both the iOS and Android versions of Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?!
A US government source told The Diplomat this week that China has conducted flight tests of a missile equipped with a hypersonic glide vehicle (HGV). Two tests of the HGV, a model known as the DF-17, took place in November and China is understood to…
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Lazy Dog Bombs
The Vietnam War began in 1955 and wouldn’t see its conclusion until 1975. One can only imagine the number of weapons used over the twenty years before the conflict came to an end. Yet one weapon in particular — used by the United States — didn’t utilize fire or gunpowder to do damage. All it needed was gravity and a bit of metal.
Dubbed “Lazy Dog” bombs, these kinetic weapons were small, missile-shaped tubes of metal about 2 inches in length and less than an inch in diameter. Outfitted with fins, they would be dropped by the hundreds on U.S. enemies, who were almost certainly ill-prepared for such a bombardment.
As reported by We Are The Mighty, these Lazy Dog bombs would be dropped by planes from thousands of feet in the air, and would reach speeds up to 500 mph. From a height of 3,000 feet, they’d be capable of punching a 9-inch-deep hole into concrete. Needless to say, you wouldn’t want to be hit by one.
Lazy Dogs bombs don’t have a monopoly on this concept; if you want to count weapons that simply relied on gravity, look no further than the trebuchet. Task & Purpose writes that U.S. Army veteran and Boeing enginner Jerry Pournelle also had a similar idea, though his involved using longer pieces of metal, and dropping them from sub-orbital heights. Interestingly enough, Pournelle had these thoughts in the 1950s, in the early years of the Vietnam War.
Pournelle’s idea came to have the name “Project Thor,” though it was eventually given the much more menacing title of “rods from god.” Regardless of the name used, the potential destruction was enormous. As explained by Popular Science, the rods from god were tungsten rods made to be nearly 20 feet in length and a foot in diameter. A pair of satellites would be placed thousands of miles above the earth, with one controlling the targeting and communications, while the other would carry an untold number of rods.
Starting with those on the ground monitoring and controlling the satellites, and ending with the rods’ impact, the whole ordeal could play out within 15 minutes. The rods from god could achieve speeds multiple time the speed of sound; the nine inches of penetration the lazy dog bombs could achieve pales in comparison to hundreds of feet their larger counterparts could travel.
Best of all? Project Thor could impact with the force of a nuclear weapon, without the nuclear fallout that would affect the surrounding environment and any people unfortunate enough to be there.
The Modern Day Equivalent
Project Thor was never turned into a real weapon, as they were simply too expensive to launch, but the concept of a weapon based on kinetic energy hasn’t gone away. In fact, it’s seeing a bit of a resurgence. In 2013, the U.S. Air Force 846th Test Squadron test fired a “Kinetic Energy Projectile warhead” that moved 3,500 feet per second, or three times the speed of sound. Earlier this month, the Navy tested a long-range electromagnetic rail gun and its electromagnetic hyper velocity projectile. According to Scout, it can fire a kinetic warhead “at speeds greater than 5,000 miles an hour.”
Speaking to Task & Purpose, Matt Weingart, weapons program development manager at Lawrence Livermore, explained that while a traditional bomb relies on chemical explosives to do damage, kinetic weapons only need speed and mass.
“[For traditional bombs] the violence comes from the chemical explosive inside that bomb sending off a blast wave, followed by the fragments of the bomb case,” said Weingart. “But the difference with kinetic energy projectiles is that the warhead arrives at the target moving very, very fast — the energy is there to propel those fragments without the use of a chemical explosive to accelerate them. The more mass, the more violence.”
It’s unclear how much money the U.S. military might save from switching to kinetic weapons, as well as just how far away we are from practical applications of kinetic weaponry in real world scenarios. Yet at the rate that technology is advancing, it’s only a matter of time before we incorporate space into warfare, and likely find new ways to increase the power of our weaponry as we do.
The post Air Force Tech Can Hit With the Impact of a Nuclear Weapon With No Fallout appeared first on Futurism.
Nintendo released their latest Feh Channel video earlier today, outlining the immediate future of their hit social RPG, Fire Emblem Heroes [Free]. The game has been a big success for the company, and it has even been nominated for Best Mobile Game at the upcoming Game Awards. One of the likely reasons for that success is in how much effort the development team has put into listening to the players and delivering solid updates every month. The next update is a particularly big one, and it’s coming alongside a number of interesting events.
The biggest new feature seems to be the Weapon Refinery, which will allow you to power up certain weapons to give them increased stats and even some new properties. You’ll need to collect some new bits and bobs to make use of this refinery, and the best weapons will require a currency you can only get from refining basic weapons. One nice point about this is that you can choose exactly which form you want to refine the weapon into, giving you some options for customization.
Other changes aim to make the game more player-friendly than it already is. First of all, many players have complained that staff users aren’t worth their keep, so every character who wields a staff now has access to some great new skills. This change is retroactive, so even staff users you’ve already pulled will be able to pick up these new moves. And hey, you’ll have more room to keep extra heroes around since the developers will be increasing every player’s hero storage by 100 spaces, no purchase necessary. Makes sense, as I think this game is making its money from people trying to collect all their favorite heroes. Finally, stamina costs on Main Story and Paralogue missions will be capped at a maximum of 10 points, allowing you to play longer before running out.
Speaking of the story, it seems like Fire Emblem Heroes will soon be starting on the next chapter. Book 2 sees the heroes befriend a new character named Fjorm, the ruler of an ice kingdom that has been targeted by the wicked King Surtr, who hails from a fire kingdom. The first couple of chapters of Book 2 will go up with this update, and every player who beats the first chapter will receive a five-star version of Fjorm for free. Can’t argue with that! It seems like this will be something of a fresh start, so even beginning players should be able to tackle this story when it hits.
Fjorm will be headlining a new summoning event that sees a number of limited heroes make a comeback. If you missed the Spring Festival or the Brides event, this is your chance to get some of those special versions of Fire Emblem‘s best-known characters. Other popular rarities will also be part of this event, and the rate for pulling all of them will be set to 8%, much higher than the usual. On top of that, a Choose Your Legends event kicked off today, bringing four more characters from the popularity poll to the game. From Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Dorcas joins the game. From Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones comes Lute, and from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance, Mia. In addition, Joshua from The Sacred Stones will be made available in the next Tempest Trials event.
Phew, that’s quite a bit for one update. It looks like Nintendo and Intelligent Systems still have a lot of enthusiasm for Fire Emblem Heroes, to say the least. I’m impressed that they’re making the game even more player-friendly, too. Most players already feel this is a fairly generous game, so seeing the monetization relax a bit is a pleasant surprise. If this game’s first several months are any indication, this game should have a long, healthy life ahead of it. This update should be coming quite soon, so keep your eyes peeled.