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LoLz / ^_^
« on: August 29, 2012, 04:17:11 PM »
League of Legends Story Time: Lulu ~ The Fae Sorceress

General Discussion / Astronaut Neil Armstrong dies at 82
« on: August 25, 2012, 05:12:04 PM »

CINCINNATI –  Neil Armstrong was a quiet, self-described "nerdy" engineer who became a global hero when as a steely-nerved U.S. pilot he made "one giant leap for mankind" with the first step on the moon.
The modest man who entranced and awed people on Earth has died. He was 82.
Armstrong died Saturday following complications resulting from cardiovascular procedures, a statement from his family said. It didn't say where he died.
Armstrong commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon July 20, 1969, capping the most daring of the 20th century's scientific expeditions. His first words after setting foot on the surface are etched in history books and in the memories of those who heard them in a live broadcast.
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," Armstrong said.
In those first few moments on the moon, during the climax of a heated space race with the then-Soviet Union, Armstrong stopped in what he called "a tender moment" and left a patch to commemorate NASA astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts who had died in action.
"It was special and memorable, but it was only instantaneous because there was work to do," Armstrong told an Australian television interviewer this year.
Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin spent nearly three hours walking on the lunar surface, collecting samples, conducting experiments and taking photographs.
"The sights were simply magnificent, beyond any visual experience that I had ever been exposed to," Armstrong once said.
The moonwalk marked America's victory in the Cold War space race that began Oct. 4, 1957, with the launch of the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1, a satellite that sent shock waves around the world.
An estimated 600 million people -- a fifth of the world's population -- watched and listened to the moon landing, the largest audience for any single event in history.
Parents huddled with their children in front of the family television, mesmerized. Farmers abandoned their nightly milking duties, and motorists pulled off the highway and checked into motels just to watch on TV.
Although he had been a Navy fighter pilot, a test pilot for NASA's forerunner and an astronaut, Armstrong never allowed himself to be caught up in the celebrity and glamour of the space program.
"I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer," he said in February 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. "And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession."
A man who kept away from cameras, Armstrong went public in 2010 with his concerns about President Barack Obama's space policy that shifted attention away from a return to the moon and emphasized private companies developing spaceships. He testified before Congress, and in an email to The Associated Press he said he had "substantial reservations."
NASA chief Charles Bolden recalled Armstrong's grace and humility in a statement Saturday.
"As long as there are history books, Neil Armstrong will be included in them, remembered for taking humankind's first small step on a world beyond our own," Bolden said.
Armstrong's modesty and self-effacing manner never faded.
When he appeared in Dayton, Ohio, in 2003 to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of powered flight, he bounded onto a stage before 10,000 people. But he spoke for only a few seconds, did not mention the moon and quickly ducked out of the spotlight.
He later joined former astronaut and Sen. John Glenn to lay wreaths on the graves of airplane inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright. Glenn introduced Armstrong and noted it was 34 years to the day that Armstrong had walked on the moon.
"Thank you, John. Thirty-four years?" Armstrong quipped, as if he hadn't given it a thought.
At another joint appearance, the two embraced and Glenn commented: "To this day, he's the one person on Earth, I'm truly, truly envious of."
Armstrong's moonwalk capped a series of accomplishments that included piloting the X-15 rocket plane and making the first space docking during the Gemini 8 mission, which included a successful emergency splashdown.
In the years afterward, Armstrong retreated to the quiet of the classroom and his Ohio farm. Aldrin said in his book "Men from Earth" that Armstrong was one of the quietest, most private men he had ever met.
In the Australian interview, Armstrong acknowledged that "now and then I miss the excitement about being in the cockpit of an airplane and doing new things."
At the time of the flight's 40th anniversary, Armstrong again was low-key, telling a gathering that the space race was "the ultimate peaceful competition: USA versus U.S.S.R. It did allow both sides to take the high road, with the objectives of science and learning and exploration."
Glenn, who went through jungle training in Panama with Armstrong as part of the astronaut program, described him as "exceptionally brilliant" with technical matters but "rather retiring, doesn't like to be thrust into the limelight much."
Glenn told CNN on Saturday that Armstrong had had a number of close calls in his career, including during the moon landing, when they had less than a minute of fuel remaining on arrival.
"He was a good friend and he'll be missed," Glenn told the network.
Derek Elliott, curator of the Smithsonian Institution's U.S. Air and Space Museum from 1982 to 1992, said the moonwalk probably marked the high point of space exploration.
"The fact that we were able to see it and be a part of it means that we are in our own way witnesses to history," he said.
The 1969 landing met an audacious deadline that President John F. Kennedy had set in May 1961, shortly after Alan Shepard became the first American in space with a 15-minute suborbital flight. Soviet cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin had orbited the Earth and beaten the U.S. into space the previous month.
"I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before the decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth," Kennedy had said. "No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important to the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish."
The end-of-decade goal was met with more than five months to spare. "Houston: Tranquility Base here," Armstrong radioed after the spacecraft settled onto the moon. "The Eagle has landed."
"Roger, Tranquility," the Houston staffer radioed back. "We copy you on the ground. You've got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We're breathing again. Thanks a lot."
The third astronaut on the mission, Michael Collins, circled the moon in the mother ship Columbia while Armstrong and Aldrin went to the moon's surface.
Collins told NASA on Saturday that he will miss Armstrong terribly, spokesman Bob Jacobs tweeted.
In all, 12 American astronauts walked on the moon between 1969 and the last moon mission in 1972.
For Americans, reaching the moon provided uplift and respite from the Vietnam War. The landing occurred as organizers were preparing for Woodstock, the legendary rock festival on a farm in New York.
Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, on a farm in Ohio. He took his first airplane ride at age 6 and developed a fascination with aviation that prompted him to build model airplanes and conduct experiments in a homemade wind tunnel. He was licensed to fly at 16, before he got his driver's license.
Armstrong enrolled in Purdue University to study aeronautical engineering but was called to duty with the U.S. Navy in 1949 and flew 78 combat missions in Korea. After the war, Armstrong finished his degree and later earned a master's degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He became a test pilot with what evolved into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, flying more than 200 kinds of aircraft from gliders to jets.
Armstrong was accepted into NASA's second astronaut class in 1962 -- the first, including Glenn, was chosen in 1959 -- and commanded the Gemini 8 mission in 1966. After the first space docking, he brought the capsule back in an emergency landing in the Pacific Ocean when a wildly firing thruster kicked it out of orbit.
Armstrong was backup commander for the historic Apollo 8 mission at Christmastime in 1968. In that flight, Commander Frank Borman, and Jim Lovell and Bill Anders circled the moon 10 times, and paving the way for the lunar landing seven months later.
Aldrin said he and Armstrong were not prone to free exchanges of sentiment.
"But there was that moment on the moon, a brief moment, in which we sort of looked at each other and slapped each other on the shoulder ... and said, `We made it. Good show,' or something like that," Aldrin said.
In Wapakoneta, media and souvenir frenzy was swirling around the home of Armstrong's parents.
"You couldn't see the house for the news media," recalled John Zwez, former manager of the Neil Armstrong Air and Space Museum. "People were pulling grass out of their front yard."
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins were given ticker tape parades in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles and later made a 22-nation world tour. A homecoming in Wapakoneta drew 50,000 people to the city of 9,000.
In 1970, Armstrong was appointed deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA but left the following year to teach aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati.
He remained there until 1979 and during that time bought a farm, where he raised cattle and corn. He stayed out of public view, accepting few requests for interviews or speeches.
"He didn't give interviews, but he wasn't a strange person or hard to talk to," said Ron Huston, a colleague at the University of Cincinnati. "He just didn't like being a novelty."
In February 2000, when he agreed to announce the top 20 engineering achievements of the 20th century as voted by the National Academy of Engineering, Armstrong said there was one disappointment relating to his moonwalk.
"I can honestly say -- and it's a big surprise to me -- that I have never had a dream about being on the moon," he said.
Armstrong married Carol Knight in 1999. He had two adult sons from a previous marriage.
His family's statement Saturday made a simple request for anyone who wanted to remember him:
"Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink."


BOULDER, Colo. — One of the most challenging parts of NASA’s huge new space telescope, the building of its ultrasophisticated mirror system, is now finished, and the mirrors are ready for delivery.

Send-off ceremonies held here at Ball Aerospace on Aug. 15 saluted the completion of 18 beryllium primary mirror segments for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is billed as the successor to NASA's venerable Hubble Space Telescope. Ball is also responsible for JWST’s secondary and tertiary mirrors, a fine steering mirror assembly and several engineering development units.

Ball is the principal subcontractor to manufacturer Northrop Grumman for the JWST optical technology and lightweight mirror system at the heart of the telescope — an astronomical project that is now pegged to cost roughly $8.7 billion and to be lofted in the fall of 2018.

Success story

The JWST mirror system includes 18 gold-coated, ultrasmooth, 4.2-foot (1.3 meters) hexagonal mirror segments that comprise the 21.3-foot (6.5 m) primary mirror. When launched, it will be the largest mirror ever flown in space. [Photos: Building the James Webb Space Telescope]

Down on the floor where the packaged mirrors are ready for shipping to NASA, labels such as "do not stack…this side up" and "critical space flight hardware" are visible.

A folding scheme allows the primary mirror segments to fit atop Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher for their eventual unfolding in space. Aligning the mirror segments and adjusting the primary mirror’s curvature will occur over approximately two months.

It has taken about eight years to complete the fabrication of the mirrors, said Paul Lightsey, a Ball mission systems engineer for the optical system on JWST.

"We actually have a real nice success story," Lightsey told "We’ve been able to show how long it took to polish the first mirror, then each successive mirror. By the time we got up to the later mirrors, we were taking half the time than it took for the first mirror."

Working together as one mirror, those 18 beryllium mirror segments are adjusted by computer-controlled actuators. They adjust each of the mirror segments to correct any errors and are key to giving JWST the power to produce high-quality, sharp images.

"One of the difficulties in making mirrors is to make the curvature exactly what you want," Lightsey said. JWST's mirrors can be pushed and pulled a little to get the curvature right, as well as moved up, down and sideways, he said.

Lifetime at L2

Allison Barto, JWST program manager at Ball Aerospace, said the beryllium mirrors couldn’t be too heavy.

"We had to take out over 90 percent of the material in the back of the mirrors to make them light enough to launch 18 of them into space," she said.

Since JWST is an infrared telescope, the mirrors and actuators must function at temperatures as low as minus 400 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 240 degrees Celsius).

Lightsey said the JWST project is set to be a five-year mission, but has a goal of 10 years beyond commissioning. Outfitted with a five-layer sunshield, JWST will operate at supercold temperatures at a spot about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth known as Lagrange Point 2, or L2.

At L2, the balance of gravitational pull means that the telescope will keep up with the Earth as it goes around the sun. The gravitational forces of the sun and the Earth can nearly hold a spacecraft at this point, so that it takes relatively little rocket thrust to keep the spacecraft in orbit around L2.

JWST’s to-do list

JWST should help scientists search for the first light after the Big Bang, determine how galaxies evolved and observe the birth of stars and protoplanetary systems, NASA officials have said. [The Big Bang to Now in 10 Easy Steps]

But JWST’s astronomical to-do list now includes eyeing alien planets, too.. The instrument will also investigate the properties of planetary systems and, perhaps, the origins of life.

"That wasn’t part of the original plan … but this instrument can look at planets orbiting other suns," said Blake Bullock in JWST business development at Northrop Grumman, the prime contractor for the huge spacecraft. The telescope has the ability to look for biomarkers, such as water in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another sun, she said.

"It’s not going to give you the pale blue dot … but it could give you a squiggly line that says there might be carbon … there might be an ocean," Bullock said.

Geoff Yoder, NASA’s JWST program manager, told that the telescope is on track for an October 2018 liftoff. Still to come, however, are key integration tests of the fully assembled and instrumented observatory.

Yoder said work has been completed this month on an Apollo-era test chamber at NASA's Johnson  Space Center in Houston, modified to test the integrated JWST at cryogenic temperatures — at minus 424 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 253 Celsius) or colder.

Back to the beginning of time

Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, noted the size of JWST.

"Hubble is the size of a school bus," Mountain said. "JWST is the size of a tennis court."

JWST’s mirrors are so flat that if you stretch them all out across the United States, "the largest bump would be no bigger than two inches. That’s how smooth these mirrors are," Mountain added.

NASA's chief scientist, Waleed Abdalati, underscored JWST’s future abilities. "The things that are blurring to Hubble will be in sharp focus. And the things that Hubble doesn’t know are out there will be observable, back to the beginning of time as we understand it."


Although strictly speaking this is more like a speeder bike used by imperial stormtroopers on the forest moon Endor, we think this photo invokes the more innocent pleasures afforded by Luke Skywalker's landspeeder, which he used on the desert planet Tatooine.

But enough sci-fi indulgence. Aerofex, an aerospace company in California, has released images and video of its working prototype hover bike. According to the website Innovation News Daily, rotors on the underside of the vehicle provide lift, and the pilot controls the bike by leaning to the left and right (much as a regular bike might work).

Sadly, it seems the company does not plan to market this bike for the public: it intends to develop it as a pilot-less drone.

Video link


Just two weeks after landing its Curiosity rover on Mars, the US space agency has announced it will send another robot to the planet in 2016.

The InSight spacecraft will be a static lander that will carry instruments to investigate Mars' deep interior.

Scientists say this will give them a clearer idea of how the rocky planets formed - the Earth included.

InSight beat two other proposals in a competition to find Nasa's next relatively low-cost mission.

This so-called Discovery class of endeavour is cost-capped at $425m (£270m; 345m euros), although that figure does not include the rocket to launch the spacecraft.

InSight stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.

It will be led from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.

The design of the lander leans heavily on the successful Phoenix probe put on the Red Planet in 2008. But although the 2016 venture will look very similar, it will carry very different instrumentation.

A seismic experiment will listen for "marsquakes" and use this information to map the boundaries between the rock layers inside Earth's neighbour.

It will determine if the planet has a liquid or solid core, and provide some clues as to why its surface is not divided up into tectonic plates as on Earth.

Key components of this package will come from France and the UK.

InSight will also push a German-built thermal probe into the surface to gauge Mars' temperature profile. This will reveal how the planet is cooling.

JPL will provide the two cameras on InSight and a robotic arm.

It will also deliver another sensor that will very accurately determine the degree to which the planet wobbles on its axis.

All the data combined will inform researchers about the internal state of Mars today and how it has changed through the eons.

"This is science that has been compelling for many years," said John Grunsfeld, who heads up Nasa's science division.

"Seismology, for instance, is the standard method by which we've learned to understand the interior of the Earth - and we have no such knowledge for Mars.

"This has been something the principal investigator (JPL's Bruce Banerdt) of this mission has been trying to get to Mars for nearly three decades, and so I'm really thrilled that this is now at a mature stage where he has been able to propose something that fits within the cost and schedule constraints of the Discovery programme."

It is clear from surface features that the Red Planet was much more geologically active in the past. The remains of the largest volcano in the Solar System - Olympus Mons - can be seen on Mars.

When and why this activity waned remains to be established, but it is an issue that plays directly to the question of life on the planet.

Earth retains an atmosphere and water at its surface because of the protective magnetic field generated in its liquid iron/nickel core.

At some point, Mars lost its global magnetic shield and that allowed the stream of particles billowing away from the Sun - the "solar wind" - to strip away the planet's atmosphere, leading to the loss also of its surface water. This change may have stifled any chance for life to establish itself on Mars.

Tom Pike from Imperial College London, UK, will be working on the mission.

He told BBC News: "This is not going to be a mission of pretty pictures like Curiosity, but when we get the first marsquakes I think that is going to be a really cool data set.

"We'll be doing comparative planetology. We know the internal structure of the Earth, but we have nothing to compare it with.

"We don't know if Earth is a special case or a more general case. A lot of science is based on it being a more general case because that allows you to develop theories about how the core formed, the mantle around it and then the crust on top. But we'd really like to test this out on another planet.

"InSight will enable us to do that Mars."

Nasa is currently basking in the success of its Curiosity rover, which landed on the planet two weeks ago. That mission, by comparison, is costing $2.5bn (£1.6bn; 2bn euros).

The space agency says the InSight selection was made before the six-wheeled vehicle touched down and so was not influenced in any way by recent events.

The outlook for American Mars scientists now looks considerably brighter than it did at the beginning of the year.

Back in February, they were told Nasa's budget for Red Planet exploration would be cut back sharply; and many feared that if Curiosity was lost during its risky landing, they might not see another US-led Martian lander for perhaps 10 years.

The two missions that missed out in the final Discovery selection were:

Titan Mare Explorer - Billed as the first direct exploration of an ocean environment beyond Earth. This would put a "boat" on a large methane-ethane sea on Saturn's moon Titan.

Comet Hopper - This would study cometary evolution by landing on a comet multiple times and observing its changes as it interacted with the Sun.

LoLz / AstroNautilus
« on: August 16, 2012, 05:02:58 AM »
Teaser - AstroNautilus Skin


MP calls for ban on tattooed preacher who 'cures' cancer by kicking people in the face

An evangelist who kicks followers in the face, claiming his violence will cure them of cancer, is to tour Britain this month – but his proposed visit has provoked outrage and demands that he be banned from entering the country.

Tattooed preacher Todd Bentley,  who as a 15-year-old was convicted of a sex attack on a boy aged seven, claims God uses him as an instrument to heal the sick, and is urging the frail to attend his shows.

The former drug user, who is Canadian but based in the United States, even laughs about his ‘healing’  techniques. In one show he treated a man claiming to be suffering from colon cancer by planting his knee hard into the victim’s stomach. The man fell to the floor in agony.

On another occasion, a man was pushed over so forcefully that he lost a tooth.

Burly Mr Bentley, 36, said in one YouTube clip: ‘And I’m thinking  why is the power of God not moving? And He said, “Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.”

‘And there is this older lady worshipping right in front of the platform and the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The gift of faith comes on me. He said, “Kick her in the face with your biker boot.” I inched closer  and I went bam! And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God.’

Labour MP for Croydon North Malcolm Wicks has urged Home Secretary Theresa May to ban Mr Bentley from the UK. He told her: ‘His visit can do nothing but harm and I would be grateful for any measures you can take.’

Mr Bentley launches his tour at the 400-capacity Croydon Conference Centre in South London with three shows from August 30, before visiting Liverpool, Cwmbran and  Co Armagh in September.

LoLz / Why is rank a fuckton worse than normal?
« on: August 07, 2012, 10:28:09 PM »
5 times in a row, it happens to be on my team that goes afk and disconnects. To top it off, my support that's laning with me just chills at the turret and doesn't do anything. Then the stupid son of a bitch has the audacity to whine at me for not having a good CS, while I'm getting zoned/stunned/harassed.

Rank is a god damn joke.

I feel better now, just needed to vent.  :oldsmile:

General Discussion / International Beer Day (August 5th)
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:12:45 PM »

About International Beer Day
International Beer Day (August 5th) is a global celebration of beer, taking place in pubs, breweries, and back yards all over the world -- It's a day for beer lovers everywhere to raise a toast to our brewers and bartenders, and rejoice in the greatness of beer!

That’s right, folks. Come this August 5th, Makers, Lovers and Sellers of beer all around the globe now have another reason to raise their frosty mugs. Along with hundreds of bars, restaurants, pubs and breweries worldwide, we have declared the aforementioned International Beer Day!

The purpose of IBD is threefold:
1) To gather with friends and enjoy the deliciousness that is beer.
2) To celebrate the dedicated men and women who brew and serve our beer.
3) To bring the world together under the united banner of beer, by celebrating the beers of all nations and cultures together on this one remarkable day.

International Beer Day is our chance to let the breweries and bars of the world know how much we appreciate them, all while participating in one of the best activities ever -- drinking beer!  Perhaps even more than the beverage itself, International Beer Day is about celebrating the establishments who produce it, sell it and give folks a place to enjoy it.

So raise your glass on August 5th to celebrate these heroes behind each tasty brew. Cheers, and Happy International Beer Day!


Our Russian comrades over at Stark Industries have obtained information which may have revealed the title of Matthew Vaughn's X-Men followup. Russian News site Film Business Today states that the sequel will be lifted from the pages of Marvel comic books and will be called X-Men: Days of Future Past. Fox envisioned X-Men: First Class as the first film of a new trilogy. Simon Kinberg, who co-wrote X-Men: The Last Stand and co-produced X-Men: First Class, is writing the sequel,along with Vaughn and his longtime collaborator, Jane Goldman. Bryan Singer will return as producer on the film, which is set to begin filming in January 2013, after Jennifer Lawrence has finished shooting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. The sequel for First Class is scheduled for a release on July 18, 2014.

General Discussion / (Philosophy Test) Battleground God
« on: July 26, 2012, 06:13:03 PM »
Interesting test: there is no right or wrong answers in this, just how rationally consistent you are with your metaphysical beliefs. I scored 0 hits and didn't bite any bullets.

Can your beliefs about religion make it across our intellectual battleground?

In this activity you’ll be asked a series of 17 questions about God and religion. In each case, apart from Question 1, you need to answer True or False. The aim of the activity is not to judge whether these answers are correct or not. Our battleground is that of rational consistency. This means to get across without taking any hits, you’ll need to answer in a way which is rationally consistent. What this means is you need to avoid choosing answers which contradict each other. If you answer in a way which is rationally consistent but which has strange or unpalatable implications, you’ll be forced to bite a bullet.

Of course, you may go along with thinkers such as Kierkegaard and believe that religious belief does not need to be rationally consistent. But that takes us beyond the scope of this activity, which is about the extent to which your beliefs are rationally consistent, not whether this is a good or a bad thing.

To begin the test: <Battleground God Test>

General Discussion / Best documentary on Cannabis
« on: July 24, 2012, 07:56:43 AM »
It's not biased, it considers both sides of the argument when it comes to legalization and the history behind cannabis -- very educational.

Marijuana A Chronic History part 1 / 2

Marijuana A Chronic History part 2 / 2

I didn't lose my faith in the History channel completely yet.

General Discussion / Take Action to End the War on Drugs
« on: July 23, 2012, 03:38:47 PM »

Help end the war on drugs by letting your representatives, family, and friends know that you stand for drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights.

Click on the Issues, Facts, and Community tab on that website.

Anaheim police open fire and use K-9 on women and children.

General Discussion / Oregon man diagnosed with "black death" plague
« on: July 18, 2012, 08:52:06 PM »

(CBS News) Oregon health officials believe a man in a Bend hospital has been infected with the "black death" plague, a bacterial infection that affects the blood stream.

According to The Oregonian, the man became ill with the bubonic plague - the cause of the "black death" - after he was bitten on the hand by a stray cat while trying to get a mouse out of its mouth. As of Tuesday, he was listed in critical condition at St. Charles Medical Center-Bend, and his family was given preventative medication. He marks the fifth case discovered in Oregon since 1995.

The stray cat has since died, and has been sent to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention for testing.

Often transmitted by fleas that are infected with the Yersinia pestis bacteria, people often get black plague through a bite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Symptoms include a swollen lymph gland known as a "bubo," fever, chills, headache, and extreme exhaustion. Illness usually occurs two to six days after infection.

During the "Black Death" period starting in the late 1340s and lasting for centuries, 25 million lives were claimed, according to National Geographic.

"This can be a serious illness," said Emilio DeBess, Oregon's public health veterinarian told The Oregonian. "But it is treatable with antibiotics, and it's also preventable."

Treatment consists of hospitalization, antibiotics and medical isolation. The problem occurs when the disease goes untreated. The plague bacteria can multiply in the bloodstream. If the lungs are infected, the person gets the pneumonia form of the plague, creating problems in the respiratory system. Both types can be fatal, and about 1 in 7 cases in the U.S. end in death. On average, 10 to 20 people are diagnosed with the disease each year in the U.S., with worldwide rates reported at 1,000 to 3,000 cases a year.

While four people have died from the plague since 1934, the last four cases - one in 1995, two in 2010 and one in 2011 - all survived, according to the Oregonian. While a plague vaccine exists, it is no longer sold in the U.S.

General Discussion / Judge Dredd (Trailer)
« on: July 12, 2012, 11:12:00 PM »
Dredd Official Trailer (2012) HD


As many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and a new Williams Institute study of youth shelters confirms this estimate. Between October 2011 and March 2012, 354 agencies completed surveys about their clients and found that about 40 percent of their homeless and non-homeless clients were LGBT (9 percent of whom identified as bisexual). About 30 percent of clients using housing-related services (like emergency shelter and transitional living programs) were LGBT.

What was particularly disconcerting about this study was how evident family rejection contributed to this disproportionate number of homeless LGBT youth:

Of all the agencies’ LGBT homeless clients, 68 percent have experienced family rejection and more than half (54 percent) experienced abuse in their family. Fortunately, nearly 80 percent of the service providers who work with clients under the age of 18 are doing family acceptance-related work, though only about half of providers working with older youth offer such resources.

The largest barriers to doing more work to reduce LGBT youth homelessness were insufficient state funding, insufficient local funding, and insufficient federal funding.

This data demands that more be done to support these agencies, but important than treating the symptom is treating the problem itself. Family rejection is devastating the lives of young people across the country, and very few organizations outside the Family Acceptance Project are addressing this issue. It’s all too easy to see LGBT homeless youth as an invisible population, but there is a very visible onslaught of anti-gay and anti-trans propaganda specifically targeting parents to raise their fears of the LGBT community. Rather than protecting children, the anti-gay efforts led by conservative evangelical Christians may very well be causing the exact kinds of child abuse that they blame LGBT people for.


There's no denying the pressure that the Drug Enforcement Administration must be feeling lately. The popularity behind the marijuana legalization movement is at an all-time high, and prohibitionists are jumping ship at record rates to support cannabis reform. The drug agency has never been without opposition in its near 40 year history, but it's hard remembering a time when there's ever been this much heat on the narc outfit. The DEA is obviously still alive and well at present, but government bureaucracies are in no way immune from having to evolve with the times for lasting survival.

Looking back, 1973 was an epic year in the United States. The Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade in January, the Watergate hearings began in May, the legendary thoroughbred Secretariat won the Triple Crown in June, and then a month later in July, the world was introduced to the biggest narcotics police conglomerate ever known to man: The United States Drug Enforcement Administration.

I say conglomerate because the DEA wasn't created from thin air. Instead, several existing agencies gelled together to form the inaugural drug enforcement monopoly. The main forerunners to the Justice Department's newest play-toy were the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), the Office for Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE), the Office for National Narcotic Intelligence, and many of the enforcement components from the U.S. Customs Service. These agencies ceased to exist entirely once the DEA came onto the scene, excluding Customs of course, which only relinquished some of its arsenal to the new kid on the block.

Coincidentally, the U.S. Customs Service was the first federal law enforcement agency I worked for, though it was several years later and towards the end of the organization's historic span when I was employed. I bring this up because the fate of U.S. Customs, as it was under the Treasury Department, is a perfect example of the government evolution I alluded to earlier. Ultimately, neither the Customs Service nor the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) could stand the test of time as standalone entities post-9/11, thus the merging of their authorities under the newly formed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2003.

Going back to the DEA's similar rocky formation, President Richard Nixon's purpose for establishing the agency was to have a single and streamlined unit at the federal level to combat the nation's growing problem of drug consumption. Leading up to that point, the feds had no real teeth to combat the illicit narcotics industry. Actually, it's not that the feds didn't have the teeth, it's more that they weren't chewing and operating in sync with one another (as is still the case today with the constant red-tape and rivaling between certain agencies).

The concept of having a centralized narcotics bureau might have been admirable in the early seventies. However, we're now witnessing the long-term flaws associated with creating such a robust agency with the sole purpose of drug enforcement, especially considering one of the DEA's biggest targets is marijuana (which is obviously a commodity becoming more and more acceptable every day).

The growing tolerance towards cannabis poses a huge risk for the DEA, or at least the agency seems concerned with pot going mainstream. If this weren't the case, they wouldn't be so relentless in their fight against the medical marijuana industry. Polls consistently show that the use of cannabis via doctor recommendation is welcomed by almost eighty percent of the population. Yet, the DEA refuses to throw in the towel when it comes to this costly and unpopular crusade, even if it means trampling all over the rights of state and local governments in the process. Common sense should tell the DEA to give up on marijuana entirely at this point, including policing against recreational usage, which a majority of Americans now believe should be legally on par with alcohol consumption.

Many long-term factors were neglected when the DEA was formed in 1973. For example, what if public perception changed over time and people later determined that drug abuse and addiction should be treated as health issues rather than law enforcement ones? Or what if society came to agree that prohibition's caustic side effects weren't worth fronting a fruitless multi-billion dollar drug war each year? Or what if citizens deemed that one illicit substance in particular, the one realistically funding more of the DEA's annual enforcement budget than any other, was a plant that could generate a taxable fortune for a country in need of financial aid more than ever?

Unfortunately for the Drug Enforcement Administration, the organization is single minded for the most part, meaning there's no backup plan should Americans one day decide to do away with prohibition altogether. As a result, the agency has a vested interest in maintaining the Controlled Substances Act as it now stands. This is why the agency fights tooth and nail over losing its grip on any banned substance, let alone the most popular and abundant one.

Other agencies (i.e. FBI, ICE, ATF, etc.) have wider scopes, broader authorities, and more mission flexibility. If the threat from terrorism ended tomorrow, the FBI would certainly survive due to the agency's array of enforceable statutes. Likewise with ICE's investigative division, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), as this DHS component actually has the broadest statutory authority of all federal investigative agencies.

One factor often overlooked regarding the futility of drug policing is the fact that the relationship between drug suppliers and drug users is essentially victimless. It's not as if Chapo Guzman and company are down in Mexico with their guns drawn to the heads of Americans, forcing their products into the mouths and noses of Yankee gringos. Rather, it is Americans seeking out the services of the cartels, and ironically and unfairly for Mexico, drug traffickers south of the border have American guns drawn amongst themselves as they compete over U.S. business.

The horrific bloodshed below the Rio Grande is reason enough to legalize marijuana entirely and immediately at this point, and for Americans who still don't get it, our shared boundary with Mexico is 1,969 miles long and unsecured. It's obvious the violence can't remain isolated to only Mexico if it's allowed to foster long enough. Indeed, the Department of Justice reports that Mexican cartels have already set up shop in more than 1,000 U.S. cities.

The southwest border will never be fully secured as long as much of the trade between South and Central America crosses America's southern border. However, there's no denying we'd be much safer if it weren't for the constant criminalization of our neighbors to the south. Illicit marijuana revenues make up around sixty percent of cartel profits per the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and it's the earning potential from this substance alone that tempts and lures most recruits into the narco game. Maintaining marijuana's illegality is only producing, enriching, and weaponizing more and more psychopath killers in Mexico, while simultaneously wasting valuable and scarce resources here in the United States.

Just recently, the DEA's administrator, Michele Leonhart, only reaffirmed her agency's stubborn position on marijuana. She was questioned in front of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, and it's intriguing to me that a congressman from Tennessee, Steve Cohen, was the one who grilled Leonhart the most on the DEA's outdated stance towards cannabis. Not because Tennessee ranks second to only California when it comes to the domestic production of marijuana, but mostly because I imagine the DEA feels confident hedging its bet on "indefinite marijuana prohibition" with southern conservative mindsets. However, as a speaker for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), who is tasked with giving presentations in some of the bible belt's deepest parts imaginable, I feel confident stating that I don't think the south will be the DEA's saving grace when it comes to deterring pot legalization.

Obviously the Drug Enforcement Administration is at a crossroads right now, and in no way am I implying the organization should be eliminated or disbanded. However, when it comes to marijuana the ballgame is over, and resources need to be drastically and quickly shifted. The agency needs to bow down gracefully to cannabis's legitimacy at this point, instead of continuing to prolong the inevitable. The government was set up to be run by the people for the people, and it's time for the DEA to recognize this. It might've been in 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared drug abuse to be public enemy number one, but it's nearly half a century later today, and prohibition itself has now become a much bigger nuisance to society (especially concerning marijuana).

General Discussion / Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony
« on: July 07, 2012, 04:38:38 AM »

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a "Declaration of Independence from Mormonism."

"This feels awesome," said Alison Lucas, from West Jordan, Utah, who took part in the rally amid soaring temperatures. "I don't know if I would have had the courage except in a group."

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.

After gathering in the park, participants hiked a half-mile up nearby Ensign Peak, scaled in 1847 by church President Brigham Young to survey the spot where his Latter-day Saints would build a city.

At the top, those gathered gave three loud shouts of "Freedom," cheered, clapped and hugged.

"It's been a hard journey and this is a symbolic end," said event organizer Zilpha Larsen, of Lehi, Utah. "I just hope that it boosts people up and helps them feel more comfortable in their decision."

The church bills itself as the one "true" Christian faith, and its theology promises families eternal relationships among those who remain faithful, sealing those gifts through special religious rites.

Among the reasons cited by those resigning are the church's political activism against gay marriage and doctrinal teachings that conflict with scientific findings or are perceived as racist or sexist.

Others cite inconsistencies in the Mormons' explanation of its own history, including the practice of polygamy. The church renounced plural marriage over a century ago as Utah was seeking statehood.

Asked about the resignations, a church spokesman said the church loves and respects each member.

"People make their own decisions about the direction they will follow in life," spokesman Michael Purdy said in an email. "While there are very few who take this action, it is sad to see someone choose to leave. We wish them well."

The most recent figures show the Mormon church claims 14.4 million members worldwide. The number of those resigning from the church are not publicly reported.

Among prominent Mormons is Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee facing off against President Barack Obama in November. Should he win office, Romney would be the first Mormon elected to the White House.


Some leaving the church Saturday did so with trepidation, as Mormon culture often stigmatizes those who fall away, leaving some without social or business connections.

"It's hard, so we have to be very careful," said Robin Hansen, a participant who said she quit over a "culture of abuse" which she believes is cultivated by church teachings promoting obedience.

Hansen said her husband had not joined her in leaving the faith because he works in a church-related business and could lose his job if he doesn't maintain his membership.

To resign from the church, Mormons must submit a formal letter asking their names be removed from church rolls, a church instructional handbook for lay leaders published on the Internet in 2010 shows.

On Saturday, participants filled a basket with their letters for mailing by Larsen, who split with the church over doubts about the veracity of a translation of ancient Egyptian writings which are included in sacred Mormon texts.

A sixth-generation Mormon, Kris Fielding, 35, traveled from Phoenix for the resignation event in part to represent those who do not yet have the courage to do so, he said, including his wife, who worries about reaction from their families.

Married in a Mormon temple, Fielding said the couples shared disaffection from their faith is tied in part to their local church leader's response to questions Fielding had about polyandry and polygamy - taking multiple husbands and wives - in the early church.

"I went to him looking for a faithful perspective. He called my wife and told her she needed to find a new husband," Fielding said.

He said he felt relief after his decision.

"The monkey's off the back ... I don't feel like I have to explain myself or the positions of the church anymore."


Hewlett Packard has been granted a US patent for its see-through screen technology.

The firm describes a system to create transparent displays that would allow users to see both the screen's computer graphics and the backdrop of the room or an object behind the device.

Possible uses include navigation data shown on vehicle windscreens and adverts shown on windows.

Samsung is also known to be working on similar technology.

Slat system

The patent was filed in 2006 and describes using light-reflective slats to display images produced by a computer on a transparent screen while also allowing light from behind the device to shine through.

HP acknowledges that alternative see-through technology using angled half-silvered mirrors is already used by TV broadcasters in teleprompters to allow newsreaders to see text superimposed over camera lenses.

While such systems coped well with text or images formed by bright lines, HP said, they struggled with greyscale or full-colour graphics.

The firm said its proposal should overcome this problem and added that those behind the screen could also shown different images in order to overcome privacy concerns.

The patent's authors also suggested the user might opt to place the display directly against an object in order to superimpose information.

This could be a "chart, picture or other image," they wrote, "For example [the] see-through display may be placed upon a map so as to provide an observer with a navigation route."

They added that it might be advantageous to make such screens flexible so that they could be rolled away for storage.

Sci-fi props

Although HP has yet to put this technology to use, it released videos last year showing concept designs provided to the makers of the movie Real Steel.

These included the ThruScreen, designed to allows descriptive data to appear over a scanned object held behind the device.

Another showed the HP Flex, a laptop computer whose screen allows a sports trainer to see live data about his team projected over his view of their performance.

The company is not the only one exploring the idea.

Samsung's mobile unit released a video last year showing an imagined transparent, bendable tablet computer that could be held over signs and objects to reveal more information about them.

The South Korean firm has also showed off a prototype laptop with a transparent OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screen, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Potential profits

One analyst who had been shown HP's work on the technology at its Palo Alto, California research lab said the firm was serious about the technology.

"HP has been working on trying to perfect this technology for about two decades," said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at Davies Murphy Group Europe.

"There's many real world applications, from augmented reality to displaying information on flat surfaces such as web browsers on windows or heads-up displays in cars.

"It may look gimmicky in the movies but there's huge financial potential in this if you can get the technology right and sell it for an acceptable price."

Your tax money at work.

An estimated 4,000 pounds of illegal fireworks worth at least $10,000 were seized from an East Los Angeles man who allegedly was selling them for July 4th celebrations, sheriff’s deputies said.

The Monday night raid took place in front of a produce market on the 700 block of South Kern Avenue in East Los Angeles after authorities received a tip about the sales.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said they spotted boxes of fireworks, including such powerful rockets as “Devil’s Thrill,” “Triple Break Magnum Shells” and “Reapers Doom.”

Victor Nolasco, 34, was cited for possession of illegal fireworks and released, according to deputies.

This was reported to be the third major seizure of illegal fireworks by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department over the past week, with a total of about 20,000 pounds of what they said were dangerous items confiscated.

General Discussion / Chick-Fil-A Donates $2 Mil to Antigay Groups
« on: July 03, 2012, 06:41:55 AM »

An analysis of charitable donations by Chick-Fil-A shows the fast-food chain gave nearly $2 million to antigay groups in 2010.

A previous investigation showed the company donating the same amount to antigay causes in 2009, despite constant statements from spokespeople denying that Chick-Fil-A supports an antigay agenda.

WinShape, Chick-Fil-A's official charitable arm, has donated $1.9 million to Exodus International, the National Christian Foundation, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Family Research Council, the Marriage and Family Foundation, and the Georgia Family Council, Equality Matters reported Monday.

The largest donation, $1.1 million, went to the Marriage and Family Foundation, an anti-gay marriage organization that raises money for the Marriage CoMission. The latter group was created in response to the "downward spiral of marriage and the traditional family in America."

LoLz / We need more dominion games
« on: June 28, 2012, 06:47:03 PM »
Because I'm a pretty big deal there.

Spamalot / I have a weird boner
« on: June 27, 2012, 12:24:43 AM »
Nadya Suleman: Home Alone

This is fucking sad.

It sounds like a hoax, but it's apparently true: The Loch Ness Monster is on the science class syllabus for kids at Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, Louisiana.

As reported by the Herald Scotland (which must track all Loch Ness-related news), a school that will receive tax-payer dollars, will teach kids that the mythological sea creature is real in order to debunk the theory of evolution. So pay attention: That will be on the test.

Eternity Christian Academy uses the  fundamentalist A.C.E. Curriculum to teach students "to see life from God's point of view."

According to the Herald, one textbook, Biology 1099, reads, "Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the 'Loch Ness Monster' in Scotland? 'Nessie' for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur."

Starting in the fall, thousands of schoolchildren will receive publicly funded vouchers to attend private schools, some of which are religious. Religious schools in Louisiana will receive public funding as part of a push from Louisiana's governor, Bobby Jindal, to move millions of tax dollars to cover tuition for private schools, including small bible-based church schools. Money will fund schools that have "bible-based math books" and biology texts that refute evolution.
At Eternity Christian Academy, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier says that the her first through eighth-grade students learn at their own pace from Christian workbooks.  The beginning science text explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. Evolution is not taught.

Carrier said, "We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children." She hopes to secure enrollment of 135 voucher students for the 2012-2013 school year. According to the website Salon, the school currently has just 38 students.

Whether this gambit will help move Louisiana from the bottom of math and science rankings in the country is unclear. A 2011 study of how well primary education prepares students for engineering careers had Louisiana third from the bottom, with only West Virginia and Mississippi performing worse.

General Discussion / SeaOrbiter construction to begin October 2012
« on: June 26, 2012, 02:12:07 PM »
Looks neat.

Looking at the above photo the SeaOrbiter certainly looks like something out of a popular SciFi book or movie, but the reality is that this concept design may begin construction as early as October of this year. The idea was conceived by French architect Jacques Rougerie nearly twelve years ago, but with recent breakthroughs in technology it seems that the project is now finally preparing for real construction.

If construction goes off without a hitch, it could take as little as a year to complete the SeaOrbiter. This unique vessel could become the world’s first vertical ship to measure a massive 170 feet in height. In order to accomplish this huge feat, about 50% of the ship will be underwater to better maintain balance. The project is said to cost $52.7 million and is designed around the idea that it would permanently host ocean researchers to study marine life. The vessel would rotate out eighteen researchers and would give marine biologists an up-close and personal look at marine life under the water, with its lower chamber going down about 102 feet.

This ship looks nothing short of amazing and if they go forward and finish this project it will certainly have a major impact on the study of life under the water going forward.

LoLz / What do you guys think of Blizzard All-Stars now?
« on: June 19, 2012, 12:23:38 AM »
I'm intrigued how they're removed and redone the last hit aspect of the MOBA (I think last hitting is boring).

I'm not so sure about the mounts though -- I kinda like walking around. It will probably eliminate the strategic push in a game.

The StarCraft 2 mod Blizzard DOTA was unveiled a year ago at Blizzcon 2010 to mixed reviews and has since been revamped in to a fresh and fast-paced product with the same amount of care that is standard of Blizzard titles. If you want to know about the updated Blizzard DOTA then stay a while and listen, as we're about to break down the top ten things you need to know about the new and improved version of the StarCraft 2 mod that was on display at this year's Blizzcon.

1. Stats are broken down in to three types

Blizzard thought that the amount of stats within the original Blizzard DOTA were a bit unintuitive so they've removed unnecessary math stats like armor and attack speed and replaced them with just three stats: health, damage, and mastery. Health is of course how many hit points your hero has, damage is how hard your Hero will hit others, and each rank of mastery gives your Hero 10% cooldown reduction and 10% more mana.

2. Simplified items

With simplified stats comes simplified items. Blizzard has completely removed the "recipe" aspect of Dota items and replaced the entire system with just one page of available items. In Blizzard DOTA, your character only has access to four items rather than the standard six, and most of the items can be upgraded twice to increase their power.

Blizzard has also introduced tomes that when used will increase one of your Hero's three main stats. There are also items called Artifacts that can't be upgraded, like the Cloak of Flames, that damages enemies around you based on your max health.

3. There are four Hero roles

Blizzard DOTA is breaking away from the standard tank, damage, and support trinity by adding a fourth type of Hero role to the genre: siege. A siege Hero's role is to destroy the enemy's base and towers as effectively as possible. All of their abilities out range towers, so they're great at pushing lanes by themselves while the other members of the team are off fighting against enemy Heroes. One example of a siege hero is the Witch Doctor. They have a zombie wall ability that is not only great at trapping enemy Heroes, but it can also fit perfectly around a tower to help bring it down quickly, or to help defend their own tower.

Aside from Siege Heroes, Blizzard DOTA does still maintain Tank, Damage, and Support Heroes. Tanks are strong with plenty of hit points and come with a lot of crowd control abilities. Arthas was my favorite Tank Hero. He could summon a ghoul that could be sacrificed to regain HP, use a strong area of effect damage spell called Death and Decay, freeze enemy Heroes in place with his Howling Blast move, or pull enemies toward him and regain HP with his ultimate spell, Death Grip. All of these moves will be familiar to anyone who played a Death Knight in World of Warcraft, and each Hero has their own signature abilities similar to Arthas'.

Damage Heros will be used for ganking and assassinating other Heroes the most. They have the highest burst damage of all the Heroes in the game but they're extremely squishy with their low hit points. In most cases they'll have to rely on their tank allies for defense. Characters like Nova and Kerrigan from StarCraft 2 are both damage Heroes.


Finally, there are support Heroes. These extremely essential Heroes dole out buffs, heal their allies, and can change the course of every battle. Uther and Thrall are great support Heroes with their healing abilities. Because the support Heroes offer so much when it comes to the big battles and there is no need to get last hits within Blizzard DOTA, it makes these types of characters much more fun to play.

4. No more last hitting

To introduce a more team driven type of gameplay rather than team competitiveness, last hitting is gone in Blizzard DOTA. Whenever a creep, Hero, or tower dies, those in the area are rewarded an equal amount of experience and money. This leads to support and tank Heroes who don't deal too much damage to still want to contribute and help out the team as a whole. It also stops the carry types from getting too cocky and ruining the game.

5. Territorial control is very important

Territorial control is much more important in Blizzard DOTA than it is in standard DOTA/MOBA games. While having map control of the jungle and three lanes is advantageous, Blizzard DOTA also introduces things like Yeti and Ogre camps that add an additional layer to the game.

Killing off Yeti camps in the jungle rewards you with a runestone that you can use to summon one, two, ten, or more, Yetis to a tower to help push that lane back. For example, if you control the jungle for almost the whole game and acquire a ton of Yeti tokens, you can help out an ally Hero who is pushing a lane by throwing a dozen Yetis down. You can also help defend lanes in the same way.

Ogre camps are another new addition to Blizzard DOTA. When you defeat a mercenary camp of Ogres, during your next creep wave one ranged and one melee Ogre that are stronger than standard creeps will join your creeps to help push the lane. There are several ogre camps located on both teams' side of the map, so whichever team holds more will have stronger creep pushes.

Blizzard DOTA is changing the way that the big boss battle works. Instead of killing a huge boss with your teammates and then getting a rare item, the boss will instead walk out in to the lane (!) and start dealing massive damage to anything in its path. It's a brilliant addition to the game, and insanely terrifying when a huge boss with Colossus lasers is reigning down its fury upon either you or your enemies.

6. Towers

Towers in Blizzard DOTA act unlike towers in just about every other Dota-esque game. This time around they still do damage to nearby Heroes, but only until they run out of ammunition. The ammo does regen slowly, but once they use up all their ammo, they power down and Heroes can hit and destroy them freely until it starts regenerating which takes a few seconds. They also have less hit points than they do in standard titles, making them even easier to kill. This almost completely does away with the tower hugging aspect of Dota games and allows for characters to have more heroic moments.

7. Mounts

Mounts are another new mechanic being introduced to the Dota scene by Blizzard. Replacing the entire "boots" mechanic of other Dota games, every character now gets a mount at the start of the game which they can use to get around faster.

Mounts take two channeled seconds to summon, like in World of Warcraft, and they allow your character to get from place to place on the battlefield much faster. If you get hit while on your mount you'll be dismounted and stunned for a few seconds.

Since you can use mounts at any time as long as you can get the channel off for two seconds, Mounts add a whole new strategic level to Blizzard DOTA. Because everyone has one, it's up to the players to use them to run from camp to camp in the jungle, to gank other players, to quickly run to their allies to help, to run away from other players, or anything else. Plus, let's face it, they're cute.

8. Multiple Map Possibilities

Blizzard DOTA will eventually introduce multiple maps. According to the developers, they have been coming up with a few interesting possibilities like changing the amount of lanes or where the big boss spawns. They also have been exploring ideas like introducing themed maps. For example, one map could potentially be themed after Onyxia's Lair from World of Warcraft and Onyxia herself could be the big boss of the map. Neat!

9. Blizzard DOTA Will Have Its Own Ladder

When the Blizzard Arcade is released with StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard DOTA will have its very own ladder. Meaning, when you play Blizzard DOTA you'll be matched up against people at your same skill level and will get points and a ranking based on your accomplishments.

10. The Future Of Blizzard DOTA

The future of Blizzard DOTA is already being talked about by developers. They want to add some sort of reconnect feature to the game and are working on something to penalize people who leave the game early. They also plan on adding things like custom skins and mounts to the game at a later date, but no more information on that was available during our first playthrough of the new version.

Spamalot / Bhutanese
« on: June 14, 2012, 11:16:57 PM »
Never met one.

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