3:36 This is what would happen if we still had dinosaurs 15 Photos The new conclusions are based on a 66-million-year-old skeleton found in Canada in the early ’90s. Roger Harris/SPL/Getty The undisputed king of the dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex, is even bigger than we once believed.That’s according to new research conducted on “Scotty,” a 66-million-year-old T. rex skeleton first discovered in Canada in 1991. A team of paleontologists at the University of Alberta measured up the skull, hip and limbs of Scotty and suggested that it had a living weight of almost 20,000 pounds (approx. 8,800 kilograms).With that kind of weight, the monstrous ancient lizard would be up there with the largest terrestrial animal currently alive, the African bush elephant, which can weigh up to 26,000 pounds.”This is the rex of rexes,” Scott Persons, lead author of the new study, said in a statement. Tags 5 Sci-Tech The skeleton was discovered in the western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, encased in sandstone. It took 10 years of fine excavation work to extricate the fossil and now scientists have finally been able to stitch together a picture of Scotty as he would have been 66 million years ago.The findings were published in the journal The Anatomical Record on March 21. The research team describes Scotty as “exceptionally large” and “robust”, which in reality means he was an absolute unit.Making Scotty even more unique is the fact that it is the oldest T. rex skeleton discovered and was likely in his early 30s when he died — which is a pretty good run for the theropods because as far as we currently know, they lived to between 20 and 30 years. By studying one of the major leg bones, the research team could determine that Scotty was a mature T. rex.And in his time, he’d seen things — he bore the marks of a fair few scuffles.”Riddled across the skeleton are pathologies — spots where scarred bone records large injuries,” said Persons.Scotty takes the crown for biggest ever ancient lizard from Sue, a wonderfully preserved T. rex skeleton discovered in South Dakota in 1990. Sue’s estimated weight is around 400 kilograms less than that estimated for Scotty, but with around 90 percent of that skeleton recovered, she is still the most extensive T. rex specimen ever found. Share your voice Comments Tyrannosaurus rex has a surprise for you Now playing: Watch this:
Tags 7 Comments Activision I’m currently playing a video game called Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It’s an action game in which you’re a shinobi trying to rescue your young kidnapped lord from formidable foes. You may have heard that it’s a hard game. I’m probably less than a quarter of the way through, but I’ve already lost track of how many times I’ve died — without exaggeration, the number is probably in the 40 to 50 range. Both in spite of and because of that difficulty, I’m having a great time. It’s an awesome game. Admittedly, I’m a fan of developer From Software. I’ve written in the past about the positive impact that Dark Souls, one of its previous games, had on my life. Overcoming the challenges of that game led me to some important life lessons. Sekiro might be the most difficult game this company has made and it has a reputation for making hard games. This has led to an intense online debate about whether or not Sekiro should have an “easy mode.” In a lot of video games, you can choose if you want to play on easy, medium or hard. Sekiro doesn’t offer that choice. One compelling article on Kotaku argued for the need for accessibility options in Sekiro so gamers with disabilities can play too. I firmly believe Sekiro is a better game without an easy mode, and I don’t say that because I want to belong to an exclusive club of people who can play it. To me, the ideas of difficulty and accessibility should not be conflated. While some gamers with disabilities have already come forth in defense of the game, Sekiro and all video games should have readily available accessibility options so that anyone who wants to can play them. Having accessibility options — perhaps similar to those outlined on Twitter by the creator of Celeste, another difficult game — is not the same as offering an easy mode. Accessibility options should include specific tweaks to gameplay in a specialized menu you can access if you need them — such as tweaking the game’s speed — but should stay out of sight if you don’t need them. An easy mode typically means a choice presented to all players right at the start of the experience that changes many aspects of the balance of the game. A lot of the value of the experience of Sekiro comes from overcoming the challenges and improving at the game. Playing Sekiro can be an incredible experience for anyone with the patience and perseverance to see it through, and in a lot of ways, Sekiro is a better game for gamers that kinda suck.Opening the gatesA big misconception about Sekiro and Dark Souls is they are only for “elite” gamers. That’s not the case at all, and those who argue against an easy mode because they want to use these titles for a kind of artificial gatekeeping, that keeps gaming exclusively for “real gamers,” are missing the whole point.They’re meant to be teaching exercises. They’re meant to provide a feeling of hard-won accomplishment not found in other games. Sekiro is designed for those willing to put in the effort. Period. That’s what makes it beautiful. The difficulty in Sekiro makes you pay attention and take in every detail of the environment. The difficulty is what makes the back-and-forth samurai swordplay so enthralling. You have to know when to attack and when to defend and each decision you make in each split second could lead to victory or defeat.All games should be playable by all gamers, but Sekiro is not walled off for only the elite. It takes humility. You will certainly die, and if you get mad at the game and stop, you won’t get better. If you let your deaths teach you how to improve, you’ll eventually be able to conquer everything the game throws at you. It’s a cool feeling when that happens, and a unique one in gaming, and there should be room in the gaming world for all manner of unique experiences.Combat in Sekiro is demanding and awesome. Activision Stumbling to victoryAs painful as it is for me to admit this, I’m not a particularly skilled gamer. I enjoy video games, but I tend to struggle my way through them, especially ones that are supposed to be hard. Another recent action game called God of War offers four different difficulty modes. In order from easiest to hardest, they were called “give me a story,” “give me a balanced experience,” “give me a challenge” and “give me God of War.” The game was lauded for letting people choose their own experience without being made to feel guilty if they wanted something easier. That was part of the artistic vision of the designers and there’s nothing wrong with that. God of War is an awesome game. I ended up playing the balanced experience option after trying and failing at the next level up. Even the normal difficulty proved challenging enough to kill me several times, but I never felt stuck. That wasn’t the point of God of War. That difficulty was perfect for me and perfectly described. Sekiro doesn’t have that. It has a narrower focus. God of War is about many things. At the forefront is a story about a father trying to reconnect with his son over the course of a harrowing journey. Sekiro has a story too, but it’s primarily about overcoming the steep challenges presented through patience and perseverance. In a lot of games, you make your character more powerful as you play. You do that in Sekiro too, but you also get significantly better at the game and as a gamer. The game teaches you how to win as long as you’re willing to learn. You’re naturally going to improve at almost any game as you play it, but I’ve never experienced anything similar to the curve of a From Software game.After beating Dark Souls for the first time, I started a new game with a fresh character to try my hand at some of the early bosses again. These bosses had all killed me numerous times on my first playthrough — approaching 10 to 20 times each. On that second playthrough, I killed the first three bosses without getting hit. Again, I’d started fresh, so it wasn’t my character that was more powerful. It was me — I was much more powerful. That’s an amazing feeling. Like Dark Souls before it, Sekiro is incredible in that regard. It’s collaborative art at its most interactive, because it requires your dedication to see it through to the end. Your journey mirrors the protagonist’s more than in any other game I’ve played. As your character faces tough challenges and grows and learns, so do you. Compromising on that vision with an easy mode would lessen that quality. It would take away from its singular artistic focus.Why do we fall? Defeating your enemies in Sekiro after a hard-fought battle feels amazing. Activision I’m still early in Sekiro. Just last night, a midlevel boss killed me five times, but I eventually beat him. Most enemies in the game are stronger than your character, but that’s OK, because every time you get knocked down, you can get back up and try again. To beat him, I couldn’t worry about the fact that I’m inevitably going to face much more challenging bosses. My job at that moment was to overcome that one task, and trust that this challenge would teach me to face the next one. Like the other From Software games I’ve played, Sekiro teaches a few life lessons about learning through failure and facing the task in front of you. Working through it is a remarkable experience that any gamer with patience and a willingness to learn can have. An easy mode would take away some of the qualities that make this game so wonderful. Not wanting to be frustrated with a video game is understandable, but not every video game needs to appeal to every taste. I sometimes like playing video games to relax as well. That’s not Sekiro, and it’s better for it. It’s unique and demanding and it’s meant for everyone who can appreciate those qualities in a game. Nintendo Labo VR, reviewed: a box of magic tricks 28 Photos The 28 best games on PlayStation 4 Video Games Now playing: Watch this: 3:03 Share your voice Originally published on April 14.
0 Share your voice Paleontology 20 Photos Oddities in amber Sci-Tech A spider’s erection, and other cool things trapped in amber The mystery bird is now named Elektorornis chenguangi, with “elektorornis” meaning “amber bird.” It was likely smaller than a sparrow and may’ve used the long toe to pull insects and other delectables out of tree trunks.”It shows that ancient birds were way more diverse than we thought,” said Xing. “They had evolved many different features to adapt to their environments.” Enlarge ImageThis illustration shows what Elektorornis chenguangi might’ve looked like and how it could’ve used its lengthy toes to rustle up num-nums. Zhongda Zhang/Current Biology Amber is the ancient wonder substance that’s brought us a glorious millipede, a spider with a tail, dinosaur-biting ticks and, now, a bizarre bird with toes longer than its lower legs.Scientists were surprised to find the bird foot and its extremely long toe trapped in 99 million-year-old amber from Myanmar, dating from the Cretaceous period. Enlarge ImageThe bird’s leg, foot and left wing tip were trapped in amber millions of years ago. Lida Xing Amber traders originally thought the foot belonged to a lizard that had been trapped and preserved in the sticky tree resin. “Although I’ve never seen a bird claw that looks like this before, I know it’s a bird. Like most birds, this foot has four toes, while lizards have five” Lida Xing of the China University of Geosciences in Beijing said in a press release. Xing is lead author of a paper on the find published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.The research team scanned the foot and created a 3D model to compare to both living and extinct birds. These efforts just proved how utterly weird the foot is. “There is no bird with a similar morphology that could be considered a modern analog for this fossil bird,” said co-author Jingmai O’Connor from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Tick’s ‘worst day ever’ frozen in amber for 100 million years Tailed spider found in amber will crawl into your nightmares Post a comment Tags
US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley delivers a speech during a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Palestine at the UN headquarters on 8 December 2017 in New York City. AFPThe United States stood alone Friday as one after another fellow UN Security Council member criticised its decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.The debate unfolded at a largely symbolic emergency meeting of the council-no vote on a resolution was planned, as the US has veto power-two days after president Donald Trump reversed two decades of US policy on the holy city.The meeting was convened by no fewer than eight of the 14 non-US members of the council.This seemed a vivid show of the discord triggered by Trump’s announcement, which included plans to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.Asked what he expected to come from the UN meeting, one diplomat said: “Nothing.” Another said the session would show US “isolation” on the issue.The UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process, Nikolay Mladenov, warned that the US decision could lead to a spiral of violence among the Palestinians and others angered by what Trump has done.Indeed, clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces Friday left two person dead after calls for a “day of rage” from the Islamist movement Hamas.The British ambassador to the UN, Matthew Rycroft, said flat out that Britain disagrees with Trump’s move on Jerusalem and the embassy location.“These decisions are unhelpful for the prospects for peace in the region,” Rycroft said.He urged Trump to now come up with detailed proposals for an Israel-Palestinian peace accord, a goal which has eluded the US and the international community for decades.The status of Jerusalem is one of the most hotly contested issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.Israel seized control of the east of the city in 1967 and later annexed it in moves never recognised by the international community.Israel considers the city its undivided capital, but Palestinians believe the east is illegally occupied and see it as the capital of their future state.Five European countries on the council insisted the new US policy is not in line with UN resolutions including one that considers east Jerusalem to be Israeli-occupied.At Friday’s meeting, US ambassador Nikki Haley defended Trump as remaining committed to the peace process and a two state solution if the Israelis and Palestinians choose this.Haley said that in his reversal of US foreign policy, Trump was simply recognising reality, since the Israeli government and parliament are located in Jerusalem.And she recalled that Trump insists his decision has no impact on whatever Israelis and Palestinians ultimately decide on boundaries and borders of the city, which is holy to Muslims, Christians and Jews.“I understand the concerns that members have in calling this session,” Haley said. “Change is hard.”