Lands End VR Game Announced By Monument Valley Creators


Monument Valley took iOS and Android devices by storm in 2014. The mobile title has racked up many accolades in a short period of time from GDC, BAFTA and Apple—among others. Now Ustwo is looking to follow up with a virtual reality title.

Land’s End will give fans of Monument Valley a similarly stimulating experience, but this time all around you. Like Valley, Land’s End will feature detailed environments using a visually pleasing aesthetic. There’s not much we can tell from the teaser trailer, but it appears Ustwo is sticking to their puzzle game roots. The game is slated for October 30.

Land’s End won’t serve as a sequel to Monument Valley—players can look to the Forgotten Shores expansion for that—but the new title is reminiscent of its predecessor. Engadget’s preview of Land’s End claims gameplay will be similar to old point-and-click adventure games. Much like figuring out the world of Monument Valley, players of Land’s End will run into a puzzle every so often—requiring they move blocks or connect the dots.

The number of virtual reality-first games will only rise as these devices become more and more ubiquitous. With

Power Ingestible Gadgets With Batteries You Can Eat


Today, implanted medical devices continuously monitor the body to give doctors and researchers more information than ever about the state of a patient’s disease and the effects of certain treatments. Engineers have also been making devices that a patient can swallow, which lets doctors and patients avoid risky surgical and other invasive procedures when able. Ideally, these devices would continuously monitor conditions inside the body or release drugs, and, once they’ve done their job, they would pass through the body without harming it. While some devices are on the market today, one of the biggest technological impediments to these devices is finding a non-toxic power source. The best solution might be to create a battery that uses the unique chemical environment inside the body to function and to construct the battery using metals that the body already needs, according to a review published today in Trends in Biotechnology by Christopher Bettinger, a researcher from Carnegie Mellon University.

Ingestible devices are often called semi-invasive–they travel inside the body and can collect much of the same data that implanted devices can, but don’t carry many of the same risks. The earliest

An Oxygen-Storing Salt Could Replace Bulky Air Tanks

University of Southern Denmark researchers have discovered a way heavy metal might help patients with lung disease. We’re not talking Black Sabbath. The heavy metal is cobalt, in the form of a crystalline salt.

A mere 10 liters — about a bucketful — is enough to suck up a room’s worth of oxygen. Oxygen stored in the crystalline salt can then be released as needed. Another bonus? That 10 liters of special salt holds three times the oxygen as a conventional tank of the same size, possibly rendering bulky scuba tanks and portable oxygen therapy equipment obsolete. Using pressurization, it could allow lung disease patients and deep-sea divers to draw oxygen directly from their environment using special masks. Other possibilities include regulated oxygen supply for fuel cells in electric cars.

The oxygen-sucking substance might sound like a perfect weapon for an evil mastermind, but researcher Christine McKenzie, part of the team that created the material, said you can’t just toss it into a room to sop up all the air.

“At normal atmospheric pressure and temperature, where air is 21 percent O2, the material already contains oxygen and cannot absorb more,” McKenzie explains.

The crystalline salt can steal oxygen from its environment only after

The Element That Shaped Our World

Physicist Derek Muller found his way into numerous classrooms, homes and office cubicles via Veritasium, his YouTube science channel. But Muller’s latest project, hosting a documentary about uranium, took him even further afield (8 p.m. EDT July 28, PBS).

His travels included the ghost town of Pripyat, Ukraine, near the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, a uranium mine in Australia’s remote Kakadu region and Marie Curie’s old lab in Paris. Muller chatted with Discover Senior Associate Editor Gemma Tarlach about the world’s most controversial element.

Q: Telling uranium’s story in two hours is ambitious. Where do you start?
A: We go back more than 5 billion years to this rock’s source, an exploding supernova. The rock contains that trapped energy. So when you detonate a nuclear weapon, for example, you’re releasing energy that’s been trapped for billions of years.

Q: What makes the discovery of uranium so significant, in a nutshell?
A: With its discovery, our understanding of matter shifted. Things we thought were inert rocks were really powerful energy sources. It’s mind-blowing to think of how one element has shaped the modern world. Uranium has a strong yin yang. It’s the most destructive power on Earth, but when it

How the Atomic Bomb Myth Disarmed America

More than 70 years after the first atomic bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, historians still debate whether or not the atomic bombs played a major role in convincing Imperial Japan to surrender in 1945. But what’s clear is that U.S. faith in the atomic bomb as a super weapon nearly proved disastrous just five years after World War II ended. When the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the U.S. discovered that its reliance on the atomic bomb had left it without strong conventional military forces. That belief in the power of nuclear weapons technology almost led to catastrophe when U.S. soldiers went into battle against Soviet-backed North Korean troops and tanks invading South Korea.

The awesome U.S. military might that had helped the Allies win World War II had vanished by the time of the Korean War, according to David Halberstam, journalist and historian, in his book “The Coldest Winter.” Instead of maintaining larger armed forces, the U.S. trusted its initial monopoly on nuclear power and Air Force bombers as a counterbalance to the large Soviet armies at the start of the Cold War. There were many reasons why President Truman’s administration, Congress and the U.S. public all wanted to believe that the atomic bomb alone could

Astronauts Eat Food Grown in Space for First Time

A plain bite of lettuce was “awesome,” astronauts aboard the International Space Station concurred. It helped that it was a rare bite of fresh vegetable. And it was also a tasty milestone in spaceflight history: the first time astronauts ate food grown and harvested in space.

The garden, called Veggie, is part of NASA’s research into food provision for a future manned mission to Mars.

Space Salad

An earlier crop of romaine lettuce was grown last year and returned to earth for safety analysis in October 2014. It passed the test, and now astronauts are growing both lettuce and zinnias under Veggie’s LED lights. (The pinkish light is the combination of red and blue LEDs, which are more efficient in driving plant growth.)

The red lettuce was chosen, NASA said on the ISS Facebook page, “because it grows well, tastes good, and has low natural microbial levels. In addition, red crops have higher levels of antioxidants, which could help astronauts stay healthy.”

The flowers are partly of interest to see how they pollinate in zero gravity, which will be important to future attempts to grow fruit, said Paul Zamprelli of Orbitec, the company that developed the Veggie greenhouse.

The astronauts

Study shows that internet search engines have the power to swing elections

As a society, we are happily ensconced in the internet era. And we’re sure that you, oh wonderful blog readers, are among the first to use the internet to find information about candidates come election time. And by and large, we assume the internet search engines we use to find that information are unbiased. But what if they aren’t? Could the order of search results skew our perceptions of possible candidates? Well, this paper explores that very scenario. The result? Let’s just say that we’re happy that Google’s motto is “don’t be evil.”

The search engine manipulation effect (SEME) and its possible impact on the outcomes of elections.

“Internet search rankings have a significant impact on consumer choices, mainly because users trust and choose higher-ranked results more than lower-ranked results. Given the apparent power of search rankings, we asked whether they could be manipulated to alter the preferences of undecided voters in democratic elections. Here we report the results of five relevant double-blind, randomized controlled experiments, using a total of 4,556 undecided voters representing diverse demographic characteristics of the voting populations of the United States and India. The fifth experiment is especially notable in that it was conducted with eligible voters