Tag Archives: Geek

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Eclipsosaurus Rex

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Eclipsosaurus Rex 
Image Credit & CopyrightFred Espenak (MrEclipse.com)Explanation: We live in an era where total solar eclipses are possible because at times the apparent size of the Moon can just cover the disk of the Sun. But the Moon is slowly moving away from planet Earth. Its distance is measured to increase about 1.5 inches (3.8 centimeters) per year due to tidal friction. So there will come a time, about 600 million years from now, when the Moon is far enough away that the lunar disk will be too small to ever completely cover the Sun. Then, at best only annular eclipses, a ring of fire surrounding the silhouetted disk of the too small Moon, will be seen from the surface of our fair planet. Of course the Moon was slightly closer and loomed a little larger 100 million years ago. So during the age of the dinosaurs there were more frequent total eclipses of the Sun. In front of the Tate Geological Museum at Casper College in Wyoming, this dinosaur statue posed with a modern total eclipse, though. An automated camera was placed under him to shoot his portrait during the Great American Eclipse of August 21.

 

From: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171007.html

Advertisements

Astronomy Picture of the Day – Global Aurora at Mars

See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.Global Aurora at Mars 
Image Credit: MAVENLASP, University of ColoradoNASAExplanation: A strong solar event last month triggered intense global aurora at Mars. Before (left) and during (right) the solar storm, these projections show the sudden increase in ultraviolet emission from martian aurora, more than 25 times brighter than auroral emission previously detected by the orbiting MAVEN spacecraft. With a sunlit crescent toward the right, data from MAVEN’s ultraviolet imaging spectrograph is projected in purple hues on the right side of Mars globes simulated to match the observation dates and times. On Mars, solar storms can result in planet-wide aurora because, unlike Earth, the Red Planet isn’t protected by a strong global magnetic field that can funnel energetic charged particles toward the poles. For all those on the planet’s surface during the solar storm, dangerous radiation levels were double any previously measured by the Curiosity rover. MAVEN is studying whether Mars lost its atmosphere due to its lack of a global magnetic field.

 

Source: https://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap171006.html

D&D’s New Digital Toolset Is A Convincing Argument Against Pen And Paper Purists

An official digital toolset for Dungeons & Dragons called D&D Beyond has been announced, first at PAX East and now on the D&D website.

D&D Beyond is set to include a host of features that will be useful for players and GMs alike. A built-in compendium should make it easy for people to refer to tables and lore as needed. A character sheet manager will mean that you’ll have much less paper to shuffle around. Players can even pop onto official Dungeons & Dragons communities or check out the latest news from the wider world of Dungeons & Dragons. A trailer showcasing the company’s vision for the service was released alongside the announcement:

The information we have about D&D Beyond states that it will be set in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition. It’s also stated to support homebrew content; the robustness of this particular feature is likely to be of some importance to Dungeon Masters new and old alike, if only for the ability to create custom content for their campaign

The official website doesn’t detail the pricing model, but a comment on Reddit’s r/Games subreddit from Adam at Curse has laid out some of the details of the pricing and functionality. It’s going to be a web application, but it will nonetheless have offline support. The tool is being developed by Curse, but it won’t be tied into the Curse app which is currently undergoing a relaunch and rebrand as the Twitch Desktop App. A subscription fee will be necessary for managing “more than a handful of characters” and to enable features such as homebrew content integration.

Additionally, thanks to a comment from Adam over at ENWorld we know that this is not going to be a VTT (Virtual Table Top):

D&D Beyond is intended to enhance gameplay around a table (virtual or otherwise) – we intend this to be completely complementary and have no intention of creating a VTT.

The demo trailer certainly shows a clean experience, it’s the features and how well they work that is likely to determine how successful D&D Beyond will be. If you’re interested in checking out more and signing up for the beta you can head over to the official D&D Beyond website.


Quick Take

Having used Fantasy Grounds and Tabletop Simulator quite a bit, I think that D&D Beyond is going to be fighting an uphill battle. I have the feeling that they may be reluctant to support older versions of Dungeons & Dragons, and I personally know dozens of players of the classic tabletop RPG that have very few kind words to say about 4th or 5th edition. There’s also the issue of cost – we don’t yet know what this will cost exactly, but there are plenty of free tools that can do the job. It will need to compete against the stuff already out there that can be picked up for a one-time cost (if not entirely free) and it will have to provide a better level of functionality. In any case, hopefully Wizards can bring D&D 5th edition into the 21st century with this service.

What do you think of D&D Beyond? Do you think this is something that many Dungeons & Dragons players will be using? Let us know in the comments below!

Stargate Returns with – Stargate Origins – Trailer Comic-Con International 2017 HD

Twenty years ago, Stargate SG-1 debuted on Showtime and transformed the single film into an enduring live-action TV franchise that spanned three series. And while it’s been six years since Stargate Universe came to an end, MGM is finally ready to open the iris for a brand new series.

SGO_LOGO

 

At the Stargate SG-1 20th anniversary panel at Comic-Con International, MGM revealed that a new Stargate series, Stargate Origins, is slated to begin filming next month. The leading character will be Catherine Langford, the young woman who witnessed her father, Professor Paul Langford, uncover the Stargate in Giza in 1928, as seen in the film. In 1996, Catherine hired Daniel Jackson to translate the symbols on the Stargate, which marked the beginning of the larger story.

It’s not clear if Stargate Origins is a reboot of the TV series timeline or a retcon, as Stargate SG-1 established that Catherine did not go through the gate until much later in life, but she did lose her fiancée, Ernest Littlefield, to an early experiment with the gate. According to MGM, the new series will follow Catherine as she “embarks on an unexpected adventure to unlock the mystery of what lies beyond the Stargate in order to save Earth from unimaginable darkness. ”

Stargate

Stargate Origins will be a ten-episode event series, written by Mark Ilvedson and Justin Michael Terry, with Mercedes Bryce Morgan lined up as the director. Since production is starting next month, casting news should be available soon. The other major reveal of the panel is that Stargate Origins will be produced directly for Stargate Command, a new online home for the franchise.

Stargate-Command_gold_long

As you may have suspected, Stargate Command will be a subscription service and it will presumably host the previous TV series as well as other content from the franchise’s history. We wouldn’t be surprised if Stargate Origins is only the beginning of their plans for new content. But it may be some time before we learn more. Stargate Command isn’t scheduled to officially launch until this fall.

Are you excited about the return of Stargate? Let us know in the comment section below!