Saturday, 5 March 2016

Why Everything You Might Know About Aliens Could Be Wrong

What if aliens have visited us but we just haven't recognised them? Perhaps Hollywood has lied to us about what aliens look like and we just don't know what to look out for. Here is my theory on why we haven't yet had contact with aliens (or we may have had ) and what an alien invasion would look like based on this theory:

Aliens As Single Celled Organisms
We usually hear about aliens being portrayed as white or green slender humanoid creatures albeit with enlarged craniums and gigantic eyes. Or we imagine something from Men In Black, a H.R. Giger painting or the movie Alien or AVP. What if these common alien stereotypes are waaayy off the truth?

Alien Stereotypes: Roger from American Dad

Though what if the large majority of aliens weren't around our size at all? What if they were in fact much, much smaller to the point that we would need a microscope to see them? Yes, I am suggesting that many aliens could in fact be microscopic single-celled organisms. People seem too preoccupied with Hollywood depictions of aliens to consider for a second that aliens may in fact be too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Extremophiles
An extremophile refers to a living organism which can survive in conditions humans can't. An example of this is the Tardigrade aka "miniature water bear" which you can read watch a video about here. How does this relate to aliens? Well if you look at what the living conditions would be like on other planets you'd see sometimes that they are significantly hotter or colder than those on Earth. There are a number of different categories of extremophiles and some can even survive with extremely limited water or oxygen. In fact scientists have been looking into the extremophiles on Earth for clues to possible alien life! Check out this article on space.com about how Earth's extromophiles could help us find aliens.
Side note: Really cute Tardigrade e-card to send to a loved one~

Aliens As Pathogens
Every bit of alien fiction has led us to believe that aliens but - if aliens are single-celled organisms (which would include bacteria) as my previous post has highlighted - what would happen as a worst-case-scenario if said aliens were to invade? Simple. Unless they somehow ended up harmless, we've be in for one massive pandemic. It'd be like Plague Inc in real life. We as a population simply wouldn't have the antibodies to match the alien antigens and as such - to simplify things using less fancy scientific terminology - we'd be doomed! In fact the idea has been suggested before and been a topic of some scary science fiction! Cross-species diseases such as SARS and the Avian Flu have often made news... just imagine the headlines if bacteria from an asteroid from, say, Jupiter were to land on Earth and end up being pathogenic.

Reader question: What do you think of these theories and how plausible they are? Do you think we're at bigger danger of an alien pathogen infecting humanity or should we instead be investing in preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse?

Friday, 4 March 2016

Pokemon Go to Begin Japanese Beta Testing Next Month

Pokemon Go, the upcoming augmented reality game where you can find, battle and catch Pokemon in real life being developed by Niantic is going to launch its Japanese-only beta field test next month.
Currently instructions and sign ups for the test are available on the Japanese version of the website (click here to view). For purposes of the beta testing participants will be asked to keep all content confidential.
Pokemon Go will be available for iOS and Android smartphone devices although currently a worldwide release date remains unscheduled.

Confessions of an Adult Who Still Plays Neopets

Remember Neopets? I'm sure you do. Chances are that you haven't fed yours in years though I fed mine just the other day. Yes, you heard me right: I am adult that still plays Neopets and will admit to it.

I first signed up for Neopets close to thirteen years ago. I remember first hearing about it in popular Australian kids magazines aimed at a tween audience such as Total Girl and primary-school-me thought the whole concept of virtual pets sounded uber cool - especially since my parents never really let me have pets as a kid - and the character designs were colourful and cute. Naturally I had to sign up!  (Plus soon after I signed up I also heard that they had a Trading Card Game & a game on PS2!)

I remember my first Neopet was a Shoyru! Shoyru remains to this day one of my favourite Neopets even though they have introduced a few more since I first started playing. My first Neopet was a blue Shoyru and I even remember when McDonald's here had Neopets plushies and I insisted on getting the blue Shoyru. It was and still is one of my favourite Neopets. It's been a while and the designs have changed but personally I prefer the new Neopets designs! I think the colours in the illustrations are a lot more vibrant and the linework a lot smoother. Here is a comparison between the old Shoyru design to the new:


Notice the difference? For a full comparison between all the Neopets check out Jellyneo's Book of Ages by clicking here.

On the subject... I always wanted a Draik but could never afford the Draik egg despite being a "Millionaire Double Platinum" (if only that reflected my real life bank balance!) as I spent most of my earnings on collecting Usuki dolls and saving for Hidden Tower items such as a Royal Paintbrush as I wanted a Royal female Usul badly too! One of the good things is the new Neopets now allows users to use real currency to purchase "NC" virtual currency to spend at the NC Mall to buy "wearables" for your Neopet. This is similar to how a lot of online games give users to spend their own money to unlock in-game items and it also gave you the option of customising your Neopet even if you weren't able to obtain a paintbrush (those things were expensive!).

Whilst a lot of people may argue that Neopets is "just a game" and has no educational value, I beg to differ! One thing I am thankful for Neopets for to this very day is just how much the site taught me about real life things such as how the economy worked, how to run a business and it was largely my gateway into getting serious about coding. Perhaps one of the aspects I LOVED most about Neopets was how each of the pets had their own "web pages" and how you could also customise your user lookup and shop, create guilds, etc. I remember spending hours upon hours customising these pages and I got quite good using HTML, CSS and Javascript... Fast forward all the things Neopets taught me about business and programming and we have a Masters Degree in Info Systems! So, yes, to any parents who are reading this concerned that Neopets is a bad influence on their child, think again! Additionally Neopets has a lot of more creative outlets such as the caption contest and art and story competitions and a number of more educational Flash games (Jelly Blobs of Doom, Hannah & the Ice Caves and Meerca Chase still win my top picks though!)! Some of the games like Hannah & the Ice Caves & Pirate Caves as well as have their own level editors where you can even make and submit your own levels!

Side note: Neopets actually has a HTML guide which is handy for kids & teens (& adults)wanting to learn how to code which can be accessed right here!

I know a lot of people complained that as soon as Dr Sloth aka Viacom bought Neopets (& more recently sold it to JumpStart) that the site became full of advertising but... in this day and age which site ISN'T full of advertising? Even YouTube, once mostly ad-free, now shows ads when you click to view most of the videos. Personally I don't see this increased advertising as a deterrent from playing Neopets. Internet advertising is everywhere, at this point I am more or less used to seeing it.

Really, I think the more recent Neopets website has fixed up a lot of things I thought were missing from the old Neopets and made visiting the site a much more immersive experience than before. The world of Neopia has definitely been upgraded and expanded to be larger and a way more interactive user experience overall! Yes they've still kept classics such as the Snowager, Tombola, Coltzan's Shrine, the Fruit Machine, the Wheel of Excitement, the Haunted Woods, the Giant Omelette, Illusen's Glade & Jhudora's Bluff (formerly Jhudora's Cloud) and other classic aspects of the world but they've added so much more to visit including Darigan Citadel, Altador, Lutari Island, Shenkuu, etc.

I think the only disappointment I have experienced with Neopets overall is how a lot of old Neohome items I saved up a lot of Neopoints to buy ever since they changed Neohomes to make them more interactive. I wish they had kept aspects of the old Neohomes into the new and improved Neohomes since I really loved building everything room by room and even though everything was previously a lot more static I felt I had greater creative control over it. Thankfully Neopets HAS realised a lot of us old players would miss our Neohomes since the upgrade and kept these features by enabling "Classic Neohomes".

Whilst I now have other things to do like work and a social life I still do frequently go on Neopets to either play games or get my "dailies". I really enjoy the escapism and as someone who is not in a position to adopt any pets and enjoys playing recreational computer games I do not see any reason why adults should be ashamed to still enjoy Neopets.


I wear my "12 years" Neopets badge with honour!

Sooo... now that I have admitted my love for Neopets and why I am not ashamed to still be feeding my virtual pets and making virtual currency on a "kids site" I wonder... how many of my fellow adult Neopians are out there? I would love that if you're an adult (or even an older teen) who still plays Neopets if you leave a comment and let me know a) How long you've been playing Neopets for and b) do you feel ashamed of it?

GTG feed my Neopets!

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Yu-Gi-Oh! Brings Kaiba Land to Japanese Amusement Park

As part of the events for the 20th Anniversary of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yu-Gi-Oh! is collaborating with Japanese theme park Yokohama Cosmo World to bring special Yu-Gi-Oh! themed events to the park from March 18th to May 11th, 2016.
Some of the events planned include:


President Kaiba's Gondola
A gondola on the ferris wheel "Cosmo Clock 21" has been decorated with a Blue Eyes White Dragon theme

Kaibaland Puzzle Solving Battle City
There will be puzzles and riddles throughout the park and if you solve them all you get a rare Obelisk the Tormentor card with alternate artwork as well as 1 of 3 stickers. The dates for this event are: March 19th to April 3rd, April 9th, April 10th, April 16th, April 17th, and April 23rd to May 8th.

Photo with Kaiba
There will also be an event on April 23rd and 24th where you can get a token card featuring you and Kaiba:

Additionally there will be a "Complete Exodia" event which will take place where the first 20 to complete Exodia and post a picture with the hashtag #海馬ランド in横浜 will receive a prize.

If you're planning a trip to Japan for the event Cosmo World's opening hours are:  weekdays 11:00 to 21:00, at weekends and holidays 11 am to 22:00. Further details can be found here:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Home Release in April!

The latest movie in the Star Wars franchise will be getting a home release early next month in multiple formats along with loads of bonus content!
According to starwars.com Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released in both Blu-Ray and DVD format as well as exclusive editions available at select retailers plus there's a 3D version set for release later this year.

Here is what the covers will look like:

Blu-Ray Combo Pack

DVD

Best Buy Exclusive Blu-Ray Combo Pack

Target Exclusive Blu-Ray Combo Pack

Walmart Exclusive Blu-Ray Combo Pack

Bonus content will include:
"Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey – For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary
The Story Awakens: The Table Read – Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie’s script
Building BB-8 – See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe
Crafting Creatures – Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life
Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight – Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren
John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens
ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force – An insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects.
Force For Change – Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others
Plus Deleted Scenes
* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer"

Gambling ads!?


A letter from the admin:

"I was recently asked about the idea of increasing paid advertising revenue on this site through placing a number of more adult oriented advertisements on this site.
Needless to say I have turned down this offer for a number of reasons which I think I should outline just before anybody asks me again:

  1. Children visit this site
    For those who just stumbled upon this site, chances are it was through a Google search for something to do with Pokemon or some other anime or video game franchise. Website demographics obtained through Google tell me that a large number of my readership is between 12-24 and as such I do not want a portion of my audience being exposed to advertisements for gambling or other adult entertainment.

  2. It would just look too messy and ill-placed
    I am slowly looking to expand this site to a regular news & general entertainment site aimed at a 12+ crowd and as such I do NOT want to feature advertisements about things such as poker or cam girls on my site.

  3. I do not like such ads myself
    I absolutely hate it when I go on a website and the ads feature links to online poker, blackjack or sports betting or pornography, etc. My logic is: If I hate it myself then why subject my readership to it?

As you can see I have a number of reasons why I have declined this offer and am instead sticking with advertising revenue through AdSense and other affiliate programs which are more age-appropriate and relevant to the content published on this website"

Celebi Now Available via Nintendo Network

As part of the lineup of Pokemon 20th Anniversary legendary Pokemon distributions, Celebi is now available as the March installment via Nintendo Network in Europe, Australia and the United States and will be available right up until March 24th
.
Celebi comes with the hidden ability Natural Cure and the following moves: Confusion, Heal Bell, Safeguard and Recover. The moves Celebi comes with are actually the same moves Celebi had in the original Gameboy Color games Pokemon Gold & Silver.


Additionally EB Games now has the Pokemon 20th Anniversary plushie available!

Get yours now!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Droid Rage, 30,000+ hits & the future!

First of all I want to thank all you guys for your support! I never thought this site would get anywhere near the attention it has been getting when I started. It's by far my longest running website ever!
I don't know if anyone remembers but I used to run a Seto Kaiba fan shrine by the name of "Dark Illusions" many many many years ago when I was also a moderator on several Pokemon forums using a number of aliases including "Ganon" (I used to be obsessed with the Legend of Zelda as well as Pokemon and back then was even writing a number of Ocarina of Time walkthroughs for Nintendo 64). Whilst now defunct the site can still be found on the PPN Top 50 listing here.

What happened between now and then is a loooong story which I don't really feel like going into the details of but since then I decided to get back into the whole Pokemon & general Nintendo community on Twitter which inspired me to get back into the whole fandom and open a blog called "Android Dreaming of Electric Sheep" (the name was partly inspired by the Pokemon Mareep as well as Blade Runner & the novel).
Originally I started writing a number of articles related to Pokemon and fan theories but later expanded to include interviews with local cosplayers and articles related to other fandoms (with the help of a number of my close friends). This helped broaden the audience and cross-promotion through Twitter has definitely assisted with the spread of articles. Unfortunately Facebook now requires pages to pay for exposure so I'm relying less and less on Facebook for any publicity.
Anyway it looks like most of my hard work paid off because I recently logged back in to update the site and................
THE HIT COUNTER SAYS IT'S OVER 9000!!!!
...WELL MORE LIKE "OVER 30,000" but I've been on/off due to other commitments but didn't want to miss my grand Vegeta meme moment.

Soooo what does this mean for Droid Rage (formerly known as Android Dreaming of Electric Sheep)?

Welll for starters I've decided to change the name.
WHY CHANGE THE NAME?? you may wonder so let me explain:
Short names are catchy and memorable. Long names on the other hand are a mouthful. I wanted to still keep the "Android" theme in the name so as a bit of play on words decided on "Droid Rage". It's short and has a ring to it - unlike "Android Dreaming of Electric Sheep" which a number of my friends and strangers have criticised as being too long.

Next on the agenda was changing the logo and layout. 
I wanted to keep the quirky feel to the site but at the same time I wanted to get rid of the Pokemon Ampharos and Mareep which have so commonly featured on this blog. Why? It's because I no longer want to exclusively write about Pokemon. Yes, this site will still be providing Pokemon updates but it will no longer be 100% Pokemon and, really, it's been becoming less and less a Pokemon website ever since I started doing cosplay interviews. I am looking at doing another few interviews with cosplayers (as well as other public figures like YouTube and Twitch streamers, alternative models & game developers) in the future along with articles about other things. One of my friends who has offered to write for the site is a big fan of The Elder Scrolls Skyrim as well as League of Legends so these are some other franchises we intend to write about in the future too. Additionally, with Jordan's review of the game Dying Light I want to start including more and more reviews on this site and this will once again mean being less focused on JUST Pokemon. Along with that I want to start appealing to people with a wider variety of interests such as fashion, beauty, art & craft, etc.


Last but not least: Increasing reader interactivity
I have noticed some good discussions going on in some of the post comments but I'd like to see more of this and as such I have decided on including a forum on this site. Head on over, introduce yourself and start a discussion! Part of my intention with this forum is to also gain reader feedback and get an idea of what articles YOU would like to see more of.




Regirock, Regice, and Registeel will be available for Pokémon Bank users

Users of Pokemon Bank rejoice! The official Pokemon website has announced that from March 4th right up until October 31 2016, Pokemon Bank users will be able to obtain Regirock, Regice and Registeel complete with hidden abilities! These three legendary rock Pokemon will be available to be transferred from Pokemon Bank into Pokemon X, Pokemon Y, Pokemon Omega Ruby & Pokemon Alpha Sapphire.

The detail of the Pokemon according to the official Pokemon website are quoted as follows:

Regirock

With the Hidden Ability Sturdy, if Regirock has full HP and is hit with an attack that would normally knock it out, it will be able to endure the hit with 1 HP remaining. This is a great Ability for Regirock to have, being a Rock type with many weaknesses.

Level: 50
Ability: Sturdy
Moves: Explosion
Ice Punch
Stone Edge
Hammer Arm


Regice

Regice's Hidden Ability Ice Body allows it to restore HP when the weather condition is hail. Regice is strong against opponents that attack it with special moves. By using Hail, it can recover HP throughout the battle while doing even more damage!

Level: 50
Ability: Ice Body
Moves: Thunderbolt
Amnesia
Ice Beam
Hail


Registeel

Registeel's Hidden Ability Light Metal reduces its weight by half. This decreases the damage it will take from moves such as Low Kick and Grass Knot that are more powerful the heavier the target is. It is especially good for Low Kick, a Fighting-type move that is super effective against the Steel-type Registeel. Roll with those supereffective punches and strike back!

Level: 50
Ability: Light Metal
Moves: Iron Head
Rock Slide
Gravity
Iron Defense

"

Cute Mexican Indie Lolita Dresses!

My Sweet Addiction (Sweet Addiction Store on Facebook) is an independent lolita brand from Mexico. The dresses are available for order by sending the page admin/owner a message via Facebook and can be custom made to your measurements. Dresses are shipped worldwide and are super cute! Some examples can be seen below:



The Korean Twitter Page Dedicated to Seto Kaiba's Chin You Didn't Know You Needed

We've recently discovered a pure gem whilst spending hours and hours upon Twitter! The sheer existence of this page is like a gift from the God Cards so we just had to share!

Remember Kaiba's unnaturally pointy chin from Yu-Gi-Oh season 5? Some Korean Twitter page - @chosik_chin - has surfaced dedicated entirely to making memes/mashups of Kaiba's infamous season 5 chin - likening it to pizza slices, Digimon, Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarepants and more!
Here are some of the best:







Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Pokemon Sun & Moon To be Released Late 2016


Recently it was discovered that trademarks for the titles Pokemon Sun & Pokemon Moon had been filed by Nintendo Co. Ltd. for the European Union.
Soon after Pokemon Sun & Moon were announced as upcoming titles for the 3DS scheduled for release later this year during the Pokemon Direct Live Stream. Not too much is known so far except that we will have a new generation of Pokemon (Generation VII) and it is expected to be compatible with Pokemon Red, Blue & Yellow released on Virtual Console via transfers through Pokemon Bank. It will also be the first Pokemon game to contain the option for different languages.


"As if innocent children weren't sufficiently traumatised by lewd websites when they googled "Pokemon X", now they're going to look up "Pokemon S&M""