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Doctor Whos Weeping Angels make terrifying return in immersive video game The Edge of Time – The Sun

DOCTOR Whos most frightening monsters are set for a comeback of nightmarish proportions.

The Weeping Angels left viewers quaking in fear when they made their debut back in 2007 episode Blink.

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Only able to move when theyre not being looked at, the predatory statues stalk their prey until they make contact, at which point they teleport them into an unknown time and place anywhere in history.

They ended up returning for a number of other episodes, terrorising every poor soul unfortunate enough to encounter them.

Now Doctor Who fans can take on the fearsome creatures first hand in the franchises first ever immersive game The Edge of Time.

Appropriately named, the game spans different periods and destinations, including Victorian London, ancient Egypt and deep space all courtesy of the Tardis.

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Players take the role of the Doctors assistant and have to complete a series of puzzles and battles in a fully rendered virtual reality.

Developed by studio Maze Theory, the game includes voice work from current Doctor Jodie Whittaker, who guides you through the narrative.

"All along, the Doctor's there to help you," Maze Theory's Ian Hambleton told Digital Spy earlier this year.

"She communicates with you through different electronic devices... and she also appears as a hologram in certain sections."

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The announcement comes after former Doctor Christopher Eccleston claimed his role should have been given to a woman when the BBC rebooted the show.

He also opened up about his battle with anorexia during filming.

Doctor Who: The Edge Of Time is playable on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC VIVE and the upcoming VIVE Cosmos.

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Doctor Whos Weeping Angels make terrifying return in immersive video game The Edge of Time - The Sun

There’s murky mysteries aplenty in Doctor Who: The Edge of Time – Eurogamer.net

I'm familiar with modern-day Doctor Who, but I don't watch it. In fact, I haven't properly watched a Doctor Who episode since the days when Sylvester McCoy and Ace went head-to-head with a man made out of Liquorice Allsorts.

Back then Doctor Who still felt like a sci-fi horror show for kids, featuring a healthy dose of mortal peril in each episode, but in my minds eye, the episodes were always rather colourful and a touch psychedelic. That's why I was a bit taken aback by how gloomy Doctor Who: The Edge of Time was. Are the newer series really this poorly lit?

If you want to see what I'm on about, check out this week's episode of Ian's VR Corner in the video player below. I took a trip to developer Maze Theory's offices to record an exclusive Let's Play of a portion of one of the game's five levels and this snippet shows off just how murky the visuals in the game can actually get.

The level I played in the video is set in a creepy forest on an alien world and it unfolds a bit like Myst by the way of Slenderman. After leaving the safety of the TARDIS, I had to fumble my way through a dark, twisting forest with only a torch for comfort, all whilst being stalked by aggressive dog-like creatures with glowing red faces.

Then, after a couple of well executed jump-scares, I had to solve a random wire puzzle hidden in a cave, in order to activate an old lift and make my escape.

It all worked nicely and I was suitably immersed in the experience, even if a few graphical glitches threatened to shatter the illusion along the way. My main issue however, was just how incredibly dark and monochromatic in tone it was and this forest level isn't an exception. One earlier level I played that was set in a London alleyway was bathed entirely in varying shades of dark red, which made it rather hard to distinguish between pieces of scenery and props I could interact with.

Perhaps this is just my fading memories of McCoy's adventures giving me a false idea of what Doctor Who should look like, but I found myself wishing for a bit more pop and vibrancy to the locations, rather than the depressing gloom that for some reason permeates the game.

I played the demo on a Rift S and was happy to learn that on both PC and PSVR platforms, there will be a variety of control schemes and comfort settings available, from smooth move and teleport through to optional vignetting and click or smooth turning. You can also play the game in seated or standing position so wannabe companions of any VR skill level should be able to comfortably enjoy The Edge of Time.

The people who'll really appreciate The Edge of Time are the hardcore Whovians, who this game has undoubtably been made for. Maze Theory has spared no expense in making this as authentic an experience as possible, with almost heroic attention to detail when it comes to honouring the source material.

Although you play as a random, emergency companion rather than the Doctor, Jodie Whittaker shows up to lend her voice to the proceedings, which makes things sound nice and official. Plus, the legendary Nicholas Briggs has been employed to once again provide the iconic, robotic screeches of the Daleks. Oh, and there's also a level that features The Weeping Angels, which are some modern(ish) Doctor Who villains that I am aware of, mainly because people often mention how scary they are. I didn't get to play that level during my time at Maze Theory, but considering how creepy the forest level was, I can imagine running into those spooky statues in VR being an utterly terrifying experience!

The exterior and interior of the TARDIS has also been accurately modelled using photogrammetry mapping in order to make it feel just like you're starring in your very own episode of Doctor Who - as have iconic props like the Sonic Screwdriver. Basically, if you've ever dreamt of being one of the Doctor's companions, this is probably the closest you'll get other than actually landing yourself a role in the TV show.

Those who favour VR experiences over the Doctor's adventures will probably have a slightly different experience though. Without a love of the source material, the short levels and basic puzzling elements do feel rather underwhelming and while there's some nice attention to detail in the graphics, none of it is particularly mind blowing, especially when it comes to the muted colour palette.

If you want to explore the TARDIS for yourself, Doctor Who: The Edge of Time will be coming to PSVR, Oculus, and Vive soon.

If you enjoyed this episode of Ian's VR Corner, you can catch up with my previous adventures over on YouTube in our VR playlist, where I've covered Sairento, Ghost Giant and Five Nights at Freddy's VR. You can also read our list of best PSVR games.

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There's murky mysteries aplenty in Doctor Who: The Edge of Time - Eurogamer.net

Heres what actually can help you live to a ripe old age – The Florida Times-Union

The longevity files: A strong grip? Push-ups? While researchers continue searching for a pill to extend life, you'll have to try these verified methods:

So you want to live to a healthy old age. But how?

You could start doing push-ups. A study published in February found that men who can hammer out 40 push-ups in one session had a lower risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease compared with guys who could do only 10 or fewer.

Or you could practice going from sitting on the floor to standing. Another study concluded that how easily people over 50 can do that is a good predictor of how long they might live.

Perhaps you want to work on your grip strength. That's another measure that tracks longevity in middle-aged folks.

And if none of those appeal, you could always try improving your walking speed, which researchers have used to predict mortality rates in older adults.

The problem with any of these approaches is that you would just be training for a particular test, which misses the point. It's not the push-up itself that makes you live longer; it's that you are still strong and nimble enough to execute one.

What these tests have in common is they're good shorthand of things that matter for longevity: overall health, fitness and muscle strength. A fit person walks faster than someone out of shape, and getting up off the floor is tricky for people with weak bones and muscles.

"Frailty is a really bad thing starting in middle age, and even worse as you get older," says Michael Joyner, a physician and human physiology researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

One way to think of longevity is "not as some magic property of a body, but as the lucky state of not having a fatal disease," says Steve Cole, professor of medicine and psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. "By and large, people don't die of being old; they die of disease." Therefore, the study of longevity is a way of looking at disease risk or the rate of disease development, he says.

Over the years, various drugs and nutritional supplements have been studied for their potential to help us live longer, but nothing has been shown to work in humans to the extent that would be required for the Food and Drug Administration's approval, says Gordon Lithgow, chief academic officer at the California-based Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

While researchers continue searching for a pill to extend life, you'll have to try these verified methods.

- - -

The most powerful way to promote longevity and improve your long-term health is also simple and, depending on how you do it, free.

"There's no question that exercise is the biggest anti-aging medicine there's ever going to be - it's really huge," Lithgow says.

"Hands down, nothing compares to exercise," says Laura L. Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. "The great thing is that most people can do it, and you don't need 10,000 steps per day to get the benefits." It takes remarkably little exercise to get longevity benefits.

Even 10 to 15 minutes per day provides measurable rewards, says Michael Joyner, a physician and human physiology researcher at the Mayo Clinic. Going from sedentary to even just a bit of exercise is where you get the biggest payoffs. The health benefits - such as reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes - increase with greater amounts of exercise, until you get to about an hour of exercise per day. After that, the rewards start to level off.

"Almost anyone doing more than that is doing it for things other than health," Joyner says.

Go ahead and train for that Ironman if that's what you want, but if you're exercising for health and longevity, you don't need to run a marathon. Work by Iowa State University epidemiologist Duck-Chul Lee suggests that even running a little less than 10 minutes per day could decrease your mortality risk by about 30%.

But you don't have to run. Walking or other moderate activities are just as good if you're looking for a longevity boost.

Some of the early evidence for the heart benefits of moderate exercise came from studies in the 1950s by British epidemiologist Jeremy N. Morris showing that conductors on double-decker buses, who spent their shifts walking up and down, had lower rates of coronary heart disease and thus lived longer than bus drivers who spent their workday sitting. Since then, studies showing the cardiovascular benefits of exercise have been "incredibly consistent, Joyner says.

But there's more. Physical activity also reduces the risk of diabetes, which one study found shaved six years off life expectancy.

And it keeps your brain healthy, too. "Exercise has better effects on cognitive performance than sitting around playing brain games," Carstensen says. A 2006 study in Neuroscience found that exercise spurs the brain to release growth factors that promote new connections between neurons, keeping the brain healthy. There's even research suggesting that strength training can reverse some age-related changes in your muscles.

There seems to be something about keeping an active lifestyle, too.

When you look at centenarians as a group, they might not be Arnold Schwarzeneggers, but they typically maintain a high level of physical function, says author Bill Gifford, who interviewed quite a few of them while writing his book, "Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying)." "They can go up and down stairs, probably because they never stopped going up and down stairs," Gifford says.

His research for the book spurred him to make sure he was exercising at least a little bit every day.

- - -

Extend your life span while you sleep. It sounds like a bad infomercial, but it turns out that sleeping well is a good way to keep your body healthy for the long haul. Sleep is a time when your brain gets caught up on maintenance. In 2013, a team led by Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Center published a study in Science concluding that sleep helps the brain clear out metabolic waste that accumulated during waking hours, providing a kind of restorative maintenance.

Skimp on sleep, and you hinder this important work.

If you've ever missed a night of slumber, you know that sleep deprivation hampers your mood and makes it hard to think clearly, but it can have severe consequences for your metabolic health, as well. Take someone who needs seven hours of sleep per night and restrict them to only five hours of shut-eye for five nights and they experience metabolic changes that look a lot like diabetes, says Satchidananda Panda, who studies circadian biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation can decrease insulin sensitivity - a measure of how well your body regulates blood sugar - and increase your risk of diabetes. A 2015 meta-analysis found that Type 2 diabetes risk was higher in people who sleep less than seven hours or more than nine hours, compared with people who got seven to eight hours per night.

So why is sleeping more than nine hours associated with greater mortality? "People who sleep 14 hours per day are probably not healthy," Carstensen says, but it's hard to say right now whether it's possible to get too much sleep. Most people are on the other end of the spectrum.

Regularly sleeping too long may indicate a health problem

The consensus among sleep researchers is that seven to eight hours of sleep is ideal, but that's just a best guess based on the current data, Carstensen says.

"The biggest problem is that most of the data is self-reported and people are really bad at that," Carstensen says.

The advent of sleep trackers can help with the measurements, but they aren't always accurate, so avoid fixating too much on the exact numbers or you may end up in a cycle of anxiety that prevents you from sleeping. The problem is common enough that researchers have coined a term for it - orthosomnia.

Don't make a habit of skimping on sleep during the week with the idea that you'll catch up on the weekends. It doesn't take many nights of short sleep to reduce insulin sensitivity, and a small study published earlier this year in Current Biology found that recouping on sleep over the weekend didn't entirely make up for the metabolic problems that developed during sleep deprivation. Furthermore, when volunteers in the study were given the opportunity to catch up on sleep over the weekend, they ended up shifting their body clocks so that it became harder to get up Monday morning.

(Getting enough sleep every night might also improve your work life. In the throes of writing his book, Gifford made a decision to start prioritizing sleep over work. His deadline was fast approaching, and he'd been getting up early and staying up late. Allowing his body to sleep as long as it needed to led to a "radical transformation in my ability to write," Gifford says. "I'd been trying to work 14 hours per day, and then suddenly I was getting twice as much done in six or seven hours.")

- - -

Forget all those headlines you've seen about "anti-aging diets" and anti-aging "superfoods."

"These notions are generally not supported by science," Lithgow says. That's not to say diet isn't important, only that "nutrition is just a very difficult science," he says.

Severely restricting calories in lab animals makes them live longer, but "it's not clear that it works in humans," Lithgow says. Although there's plenty of evidence that it's not good to overeat, he says, whether drastically limiting food intake can extend life in people remains an open question. The joke, of course, is that calorie restriction will surely make your life seem longer.

It might be possible to get some of the benefits of calorie restriction without giving up so much food. Intriguing work by Panda suggests that restricting the timing of when you eat, rather than the amount, might provoke some of the healthy metabolic changes that reduce the risk of diabetes. Most of these studies have been done in mice, however, and Panda acknowledges that the human studies are small.

Although Panda is confident enough in the results to have written a book, "The Circadian Code," which includes instructions on how to try it, some skepticism is warranted, Joyner says.

"Time-restricted eating has shown some interesting results in small studies," Joyner says, but "will it be sustainable over time in the real world? This is important because most dietary strategies work only if they are adhered to."

He says he wonders whether the metabolic benefits that Panda has found with time-restricted eating is really about the timing or simply related to people eating less when their dining hours are restricted. One thing shown repeatedly in anti-aging studies is that things that initially look like magic bullets never live up to their initial hype, Joyner says.

What does seem clear, however, is that metabolic health is important for long-term health, because it keeps diabetes in check and that insulin sensitivity in particular appears crucial.

Given what we know right now, a Mediterranean diet - with its heart-healthy emphasis on fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains and limited consumption of red meat -" is probably the best approach for improving longevity," Carstensen says.

But the benefits are pretty modest. If you hate eating that way, then the payoff probably won't feel worth it to you, she says. At least try to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

- - -

The idea of red wine as a health elixir became popular in the 1980s with the observation that rates of coronary heart disease were low in France, despite the predominance of a diet relatively high in fat and cholesterol. The French penchant for a glass of red wine with dinner was proposed as an explanation for this "French Paradox," popularizing the notion of red wine as heart helper.

Subsequent studies have indeed found that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, and a two-year randomized clinical trial in Israel showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who were assigned to drink a glass of red wine with dinner every night experienced some improvements in blood markers associated with cardiovascular disease risk.

But other studies suggest that alcohol may raise the risk of many cancers, and a report published last year in the journal Lancet concluded that there's no amount of alcohol that improves health. What gives?

"Alcohol studies are very much like nutrition studies - based almost exclusively on self-reports, and we know that people are really bad at self-reporting," Carstensen says. "Most people, when they say they're drinking two drinks per day, are probably consuming more. We don't know the amounts that people are consuming nor do we know what else they do."

There's some evidence that people who abstain from alcohol are sicker or less healthy than those who imbibe a little.

"That probably reflects not a lack of alcohol in their system, but something about their world - that they're sick or isolated or don't have friends to meet at the pub," Carstensen says. "I've never seen a study that's really controlled for all of those factors." Which means that the studies calculating the health consequences of alcohol consumption depend on consumption figures that are inherently unreliable and may fail to account for other factors that could be at play.

Drinking to excess - more than one or two drinks a day - is unhealthy, and will take a toll on your longevity - no doubt about it. But taking the published studies together, "I don't think we have a lot of evidence that moderate alcohol is bad for you," Carstensen says. At the same time, she'd "be very hesitant to recommend that people who don't drink should start."

- - -

In today's world, it's easy to live in a state of chronic stress, and the problem isn't just that stress feels lousy. It also makes you more susceptible to diseases that could shorten your life.

Researchers are now learning that many conditions associated with older age - such as cancer, heart attacks and Alzheimer's disease - share a common ingredient: inflammation.

Under normal conditions, inflammation is simply the body's response to injury - it's how the body heals cuts and wounds and other insults, Cole says. "Inflammation by itself is not inherently evil." But when we're feeling chronically threatened or under siege, our bodies amp up their inflammatory machinery to ready our biological response to injury, and that inadvertently fuels the development of an array of age-related diseases, where inflammation is a common fertilizer, Cole says.

Research has identified chronic stresses that can provoke harmful biological changes, including living in poverty, caregiving for a dying spouse, losing a loved one, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, and experiencing prejudice.

"Any way of feeling threatened or insecure seems to be enough to activate the body to produce more inflammation," Cole says. "This is one of the best defined connections between the world as we experience it and how we end up generating a body that's a fertile ground for the development of these diseases."

Your chance of developing chronic inflammation also rises with the passing years. "Inflammation seems to be a general sign of aging, where our inflammatory processes are being turned on or accumulated," Lithgow says. "Age-related inflammation is very much like inflammation from an injury, but now it's coming on without a source of infection."

What's the antidote?

"Obviously we should all just be happy," Cole says with a laugh, as if it were that easy. He knows that it's not and says you probably can't eliminate stress from your life, but you can find ways to manage it. Identify the recurring stressors in your life, and work on a plan to diffuse them.

Wellness strategies such as yoga, tai chi and meditation can reliably help diffuse stress, Cole says, although he acknowledges that they often don't make a huge difference.

- - -

Forging connections with other people has been found to be a powerful way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

"People who report having stronger relationships live longer than people who are socially isolated," Carstensen says. A meta-analysis published in 2015 calculated that loneliness and social isolation were associated with 29% and 26% increases in mortality risk, respectively, and living alone was linked to a 32% increase risk of dying.

What's clear is that people who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives have a markedly lower risk of death than those who don't.

"How we can bottle that and make it useful is more of a challenge," says Cole, who has studied loneliness and longevity.

Telling a lonely person to stop being lonely doesn't work, Cole says, "but if you can go to the lonely person and say, 'Hey, we really need your help. Is there anything you can do to help others?' - that is incredibly powerful. The mechanism here seems to be turning attention away from yourself and your own suffering and toward a community or cause greater than yourself."

Centenarians tend to have a sense of purpose in their lives.

"It's really important that people who are entering the later phases of life have a clear purpose, something to get up for every day," Lithgow says. That thing can be anything from looking after a grandchild or working or tending a garden.

Many centenarians continued working into their 80s, 90s and beyond, Lithgow says, and usually these jobs are in environments where they interact with younger people. Interacting with other generations can keep older people engaged, and some retirement communities and nursing facilities are now taking steps to give their residents opportunities to connect with kids - for instance, placing kindergarten classrooms in nursing homes.

- - -

Most of the proven tips for living a long, healthy life are not products that you buy, but good lifestyle habits that you adopt (or bad ones, such as smoking, that you either quit or never take up and is clearly associated with diminished longevity).

Even something as simple as always wearing a seat belt can reduce your chances of dying early. Most of the things that make up a longevity lifestyle are simple - exercise, eat (and drink) healthily, sleep adequately, stay engaged - if only people would do them.

"To me, the bottom line is: Live a reasonably moderate life and you'll be OK," Carstensen says.

The rest is here:
Heres what actually can help you live to a ripe old age - The Florida Times-Union

How Gears of War changed to become Xbox Game Pass biggest launch – Polygon

Once upon a time, Rod Fergusson knew that if players would hurdle a $60 barrier to a triple-A game, there would be some breathing room for the developers on the other side. Every design choice they made wouldnt be the one to make or break the game. They could count on new players hanging in as the story caught them up on a canon sprawling over a decade or more.

If somebody puts down $60, they have this sort of sunk cost idea, and that even if they did have some road bumps along the way, or theyre struggling to learn a game or they dont quite understand whats going on, theyre like, Im determined to get my value out of this, Fergusson said.

Gears 5, launching on Xbox Games Pass at the beginning of the month, inverted Fergussons concerns somewhat. The Coalition, the studio Fergusson leads, wasnt going to want for an audience; theyd probably get the biggest one any Gears of War game has ever seen. The game is, effectively speaking, free with a Game Pass subscription. So how would Fergussons team keep huge tranches of Game Pass players engaged, especially when they could tap out and play any of a number of other practically free games without considering Gears 5 a pile-of-shame sacrifice.

We had to go in with this idea of, like, How do we make this even though its got a 5 on the end of the title how do we make this the most approachable Gears of War ever? Fergusson said. Its not necessarily just going to be hardcore third-person shooter types. Its going to be people who are puzzle gamers, or people who are RPG players and what have you.

Launching on Xbox Game Pass, in other words, didnt just mean setting out prime rib at the buffet and making sure the carving knife was sharpened. Fergussons team had to do things like create a boot camp showing players how to take cover and this franchise is one of the seminal works of the cover-shooter genre.

Then, when you fire up the campaign, we give you a three minute video, a Previously on Gears so that you understand what the story is, Fergusson recounted. We then also have a whole bunch of accessibility options, realizing that the audience is going to be much greater.

If, as some have argued (OK, we argued it) spending $60 on a game doesnt make sense anymore, then developers like Fergusson should expect a lot more of this. That whole sunk-cost-as-a-motivator idea is no more farfetched than the thought that a big triple A name with a big number next to it communicates big value in the subscription offering it.

Microsoft, which owns The Coalition and bought the Gears of War franchise in 2014, last week touted a launch week audience of 3 million people for Gears 5. With sales figures somewhat mooted by the games availability in a subscription, this is one of the few times where a publisher touting the size of a player base really means something about its success.

The company has launched flagships and big-name first-party titles on its service before Forza Horizon 4 and Sea of Thieves last year come to mind. But a brand new IP and the mass appeal of race cars are a little easier to serve to newcomers. Gears 5 wasnt going to beat both of them, for player numbers anyway, on incumbency.

Multiplayers inclusion of the robot drone Jack a support-class character! in a Gears of War game! was another pole holding up The Coalitions big tent. Jack flies around, repairs fortifications, revives allies and distributes guns and ammo. The role is there, Fergusson said, specifically for players who want to contribute to hardcore multiplayer but arent accustomed to that idea of a fast-moving, cover-taking, pixel-hunting, gun-shooting character.

Gears of War is the type of franchise where youd expect dedicated players to roll their eyes at talk of accessibility, but Fergusson says players are actually happy to have the n00bs around, thanks to the Jack role.

We even did that on Versus. The Versus community on Gears is seen as a somewhat hardcore audience, Fergusson said. You go in, you wall bounce, you take a shotgun in the face five times and you quit. So one of our mandates was, we designed a new mode that was more welcoming called Arcade, which slowed down movement, increased weapon variety, made it more rewarding to get kills and made it easier to get kills.

What we did with Gears 5, to the best of our ability, was try to remove as many barriers as possible, Fergusson said, just because we knew we were going to have such a diverse audience coming in, more diverse than weve ever had before.

Ben Decker, the head of gaming services for Microsoft, chimed in with additional figures suggesting Xbox Game Pass was doing a swell job of driving new players to Gears of War on the whole. Over [the games] lifetime now, 40 percent of Gears of War 4 players tried the game for the first time through Xbox Game Pass, Decker said. We saw that engagement, we saw that discovery build over time via the Gears catalog, and then we really saw it come to fruition with the launch of Gears 5. And it was our biggest [Game Pass launch] ever and the biggest one for an Xbox Game Studios game.

But Fergusson, of course, doesnt see the job as finished just because Gears 5 delivered big numbers and The Coalitions owners are happy to tout them in a bullet-point news release.

When Microsoft bought Gears of War, my mandate was to grow the franchise, Fergusson said. And so thats what Ive been attempting to do since 2014. The idea of getting ahead and growing the franchise and continuing to show that something with a big number at the end of its title is still going to have value and resonance and relevance in the industry is hugely important.

See the original post here:
How Gears of War changed to become Xbox Game Pass biggest launch - Polygon

Heres what actually can help you live to a ripe old age – Ahora Si

The longevity files: A strong grip? Push-ups? While researchers continue searching for a pill to extend life, you'll have to try these verified methods:

So you want to live to a healthy old age. But how?

You could start doing push-ups. A study published in February found that men who can hammer out 40 push-ups in one session had a lower risk of heart attacks and cardiovascular disease compared with guys who could do only 10 or fewer.

Or you could practice going from sitting on the floor to standing. Another study concluded that how easily people over 50 can do that is a good predictor of how long they might live.

Perhaps you want to work on your grip strength. That's another measure that tracks longevity in middle-aged folks.

And if none of those appeal, you could always try improving your walking speed, which researchers have used to predict mortality rates in older adults.

The problem with any of these approaches is that you would just be training for a particular test, which misses the point. It's not the push-up itself that makes you live longer; it's that you are still strong and nimble enough to execute one.

What these tests have in common is they're good shorthand of things that matter for longevity: overall health, fitness and muscle strength. A fit person walks faster than someone out of shape, and getting up off the floor is tricky for people with weak bones and muscles.

"Frailty is a really bad thing starting in middle age, and even worse as you get older," says Michael Joyner, a physician and human physiology researcher at the Mayo Clinic.

One way to think of longevity is "not as some magic property of a body, but as the lucky state of not having a fatal disease," says Steve Cole, professor of medicine and psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. "By and large, people don't die of being old; they die of disease." Therefore, the study of longevity is a way of looking at disease risk or the rate of disease development, he says.

Over the years, various drugs and nutritional supplements have been studied for their potential to help us live longer, but nothing has been shown to work in humans to the extent that would be required for the Food and Drug Administration's approval, says Gordon Lithgow, chief academic officer at the California-based Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

While researchers continue searching for a pill to extend life, you'll have to try these verified methods.

- - -

The most powerful way to promote longevity and improve your long-term health is also simple and, depending on how you do it, free.

"There's no question that exercise is the biggest anti-aging medicine there's ever going to be - it's really huge," Lithgow says.

"Hands down, nothing compares to exercise," says Laura L. Carstensen, founding director of the Stanford Center on Longevity. "The great thing is that most people can do it, and you don't need 10,000 steps per day to get the benefits." It takes remarkably little exercise to get longevity benefits.

Even 10 to 15 minutes per day provides measurable rewards, says Michael Joyner, a physician and human physiology researcher at the Mayo Clinic. Going from sedentary to even just a bit of exercise is where you get the biggest payoffs. The health benefits - such as reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes - increase with greater amounts of exercise, until you get to about an hour of exercise per day. After that, the rewards start to level off.

"Almost anyone doing more than that is doing it for things other than health," Joyner says.

Go ahead and train for that Ironman if that's what you want, but if you're exercising for health and longevity, you don't need to run a marathon. Work by Iowa State University epidemiologist Duck-Chul Lee suggests that even running a little less than 10 minutes per day could decrease your mortality risk by about 30%.

But you don't have to run. Walking or other moderate activities are just as good if you're looking for a longevity boost.

Some of the early evidence for the heart benefits of moderate exercise came from studies in the 1950s by British epidemiologist Jeremy N. Morris showing that conductors on double-decker buses, who spent their shifts walking up and down, had lower rates of coronary heart disease and thus lived longer than bus drivers who spent their workday sitting. Since then, studies showing the cardiovascular benefits of exercise have been "incredibly consistent, Joyner says.

But there's more. Physical activity also reduces the risk of diabetes, which one study found shaved six years off life expectancy.

And it keeps your brain healthy, too. "Exercise has better effects on cognitive performance than sitting around playing brain games," Carstensen says. A 2006 study in Neuroscience found that exercise spurs the brain to release growth factors that promote new connections between neurons, keeping the brain healthy. There's even research suggesting that strength training can reverse some age-related changes in your muscles.

There seems to be something about keeping an active lifestyle, too.

When you look at centenarians as a group, they might not be Arnold Schwarzeneggers, but they typically maintain a high level of physical function, says author Bill Gifford, who interviewed quite a few of them while writing his book, "Spring Chicken: Stay Young Forever (Or Die Trying)." "They can go up and down stairs, probably because they never stopped going up and down stairs," Gifford says.

His research for the book spurred him to make sure he was exercising at least a little bit every day.

- - -

Extend your life span while you sleep. It sounds like a bad infomercial, but it turns out that sleeping well is a good way to keep your body healthy for the long haul. Sleep is a time when your brain gets caught up on maintenance. In 2013, a team led by Maiken Nedergaard at the University of Rochester Medical Center published a study in Science concluding that sleep helps the brain clear out metabolic waste that accumulated during waking hours, providing a kind of restorative maintenance.

Skimp on sleep, and you hinder this important work.

If you've ever missed a night of slumber, you know that sleep deprivation hampers your mood and makes it hard to think clearly, but it can have severe consequences for your metabolic health, as well. Take someone who needs seven hours of sleep per night and restrict them to only five hours of shut-eye for five nights and they experience metabolic changes that look a lot like diabetes, says Satchidananda Panda, who studies circadian biology at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Indeed, numerous studies have shown that sleep deprivation can decrease insulin sensitivity - a measure of how well your body regulates blood sugar - and increase your risk of diabetes. A 2015 meta-analysis found that Type 2 diabetes risk was higher in people who sleep less than seven hours or more than nine hours, compared with people who got seven to eight hours per night.

So why is sleeping more than nine hours associated with greater mortality? "People who sleep 14 hours per day are probably not healthy," Carstensen says, but it's hard to say right now whether it's possible to get too much sleep. Most people are on the other end of the spectrum.

Regularly sleeping too long may indicate a health problem

The consensus among sleep researchers is that seven to eight hours of sleep is ideal, but that's just a best guess based on the current data, Carstensen says.

"The biggest problem is that most of the data is self-reported and people are really bad at that," Carstensen says.

The advent of sleep trackers can help with the measurements, but they aren't always accurate, so avoid fixating too much on the exact numbers or you may end up in a cycle of anxiety that prevents you from sleeping. The problem is common enough that researchers have coined a term for it - orthosomnia.

Don't make a habit of skimping on sleep during the week with the idea that you'll catch up on the weekends. It doesn't take many nights of short sleep to reduce insulin sensitivity, and a small study published earlier this year in Current Biology found that recouping on sleep over the weekend didn't entirely make up for the metabolic problems that developed during sleep deprivation. Furthermore, when volunteers in the study were given the opportunity to catch up on sleep over the weekend, they ended up shifting their body clocks so that it became harder to get up Monday morning.

(Getting enough sleep every night might also improve your work life. In the throes of writing his book, Gifford made a decision to start prioritizing sleep over work. His deadline was fast approaching, and he'd been getting up early and staying up late. Allowing his body to sleep as long as it needed to led to a "radical transformation in my ability to write," Gifford says. "I'd been trying to work 14 hours per day, and then suddenly I was getting twice as much done in six or seven hours.")

- - -

Forget all those headlines you've seen about "anti-aging diets" and anti-aging "superfoods."

"These notions are generally not supported by science," Lithgow says. That's not to say diet isn't important, only that "nutrition is just a very difficult science," he says.

Severely restricting calories in lab animals makes them live longer, but "it's not clear that it works in humans," Lithgow says. Although there's plenty of evidence that it's not good to overeat, he says, whether drastically limiting food intake can extend life in people remains an open question. The joke, of course, is that calorie restriction will surely make your life seem longer.

It might be possible to get some of the benefits of calorie restriction without giving up so much food. Intriguing work by Panda suggests that restricting the timing of when you eat, rather than the amount, might provoke some of the healthy metabolic changes that reduce the risk of diabetes. Most of these studies have been done in mice, however, and Panda acknowledges that the human studies are small.

Although Panda is confident enough in the results to have written a book, "The Circadian Code," which includes instructions on how to try it, some skepticism is warranted, Joyner says.

"Time-restricted eating has shown some interesting results in small studies," Joyner says, but "will it be sustainable over time in the real world? This is important because most dietary strategies work only if they are adhered to."

He says he wonders whether the metabolic benefits that Panda has found with time-restricted eating is really about the timing or simply related to people eating less when their dining hours are restricted. One thing shown repeatedly in anti-aging studies is that things that initially look like magic bullets never live up to their initial hype, Joyner says.

What does seem clear, however, is that metabolic health is important for long-term health, because it keeps diabetes in check and that insulin sensitivity in particular appears crucial.

Given what we know right now, a Mediterranean diet - with its heart-healthy emphasis on fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil, whole grains and limited consumption of red meat -" is probably the best approach for improving longevity," Carstensen says.

But the benefits are pretty modest. If you hate eating that way, then the payoff probably won't feel worth it to you, she says. At least try to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

- - -

The idea of red wine as a health elixir became popular in the 1980s with the observation that rates of coronary heart disease were low in France, despite the predominance of a diet relatively high in fat and cholesterol. The French penchant for a glass of red wine with dinner was proposed as an explanation for this "French Paradox," popularizing the notion of red wine as heart helper.

Subsequent studies have indeed found that moderate alcohol consumption may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, and a two-year randomized clinical trial in Israel showed that people with Type 2 diabetes who were assigned to drink a glass of red wine with dinner every night experienced some improvements in blood markers associated with cardiovascular disease risk.

But other studies suggest that alcohol may raise the risk of many cancers, and a report published last year in the journal Lancet concluded that there's no amount of alcohol that improves health. What gives?

"Alcohol studies are very much like nutrition studies - based almost exclusively on self-reports, and we know that people are really bad at self-reporting," Carstensen says. "Most people, when they say they're drinking two drinks per day, are probably consuming more. We don't know the amounts that people are consuming nor do we know what else they do."

There's some evidence that people who abstain from alcohol are sicker or less healthy than those who imbibe a little.

"That probably reflects not a lack of alcohol in their system, but something about their world - that they're sick or isolated or don't have friends to meet at the pub," Carstensen says. "I've never seen a study that's really controlled for all of those factors." Which means that the studies calculating the health consequences of alcohol consumption depend on consumption figures that are inherently unreliable and may fail to account for other factors that could be at play.

Drinking to excess - more than one or two drinks a day - is unhealthy, and will take a toll on your longevity - no doubt about it. But taking the published studies together, "I don't think we have a lot of evidence that moderate alcohol is bad for you," Carstensen says. At the same time, she'd "be very hesitant to recommend that people who don't drink should start."

- - -

In today's world, it's easy to live in a state of chronic stress, and the problem isn't just that stress feels lousy. It also makes you more susceptible to diseases that could shorten your life.

Researchers are now learning that many conditions associated with older age - such as cancer, heart attacks and Alzheimer's disease - share a common ingredient: inflammation.

Under normal conditions, inflammation is simply the body's response to injury - it's how the body heals cuts and wounds and other insults, Cole says. "Inflammation by itself is not inherently evil." But when we're feeling chronically threatened or under siege, our bodies amp up their inflammatory machinery to ready our biological response to injury, and that inadvertently fuels the development of an array of age-related diseases, where inflammation is a common fertilizer, Cole says.

Research has identified chronic stresses that can provoke harmful biological changes, including living in poverty, caregiving for a dying spouse, losing a loved one, suffering post-traumatic stress disorder, and experiencing prejudice.

"Any way of feeling threatened or insecure seems to be enough to activate the body to produce more inflammation," Cole says. "This is one of the best defined connections between the world as we experience it and how we end up generating a body that's a fertile ground for the development of these diseases."

Your chance of developing chronic inflammation also rises with the passing years. "Inflammation seems to be a general sign of aging, where our inflammatory processes are being turned on or accumulated," Lithgow says. "Age-related inflammation is very much like inflammation from an injury, but now it's coming on without a source of infection."

What's the antidote?

"Obviously we should all just be happy," Cole says with a laugh, as if it were that easy. He knows that it's not and says you probably can't eliminate stress from your life, but you can find ways to manage it. Identify the recurring stressors in your life, and work on a plan to diffuse them.

Wellness strategies such as yoga, tai chi and meditation can reliably help diffuse stress, Cole says, although he acknowledges that they often don't make a huge difference.

- - -

Forging connections with other people has been found to be a powerful way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

"People who report having stronger relationships live longer than people who are socially isolated," Carstensen says. A meta-analysis published in 2015 calculated that loneliness and social isolation were associated with 29% and 26% increases in mortality risk, respectively, and living alone was linked to a 32% increase risk of dying.

What's clear is that people who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in their lives have a markedly lower risk of death than those who don't.

"How we can bottle that and make it useful is more of a challenge," says Cole, who has studied loneliness and longevity.

Telling a lonely person to stop being lonely doesn't work, Cole says, "but if you can go to the lonely person and say, 'Hey, we really need your help. Is there anything you can do to help others?' - that is incredibly powerful. The mechanism here seems to be turning attention away from yourself and your own suffering and toward a community or cause greater than yourself."

Centenarians tend to have a sense of purpose in their lives.

"It's really important that people who are entering the later phases of life have a clear purpose, something to get up for every day," Lithgow says. That thing can be anything from looking after a grandchild or working or tending a garden.

Many centenarians continued working into their 80s, 90s and beyond, Lithgow says, and usually these jobs are in environments where they interact with younger people. Interacting with other generations can keep older people engaged, and some retirement communities and nursing facilities are now taking steps to give their residents opportunities to connect with kids - for instance, placing kindergarten classrooms in nursing homes.

- - -

Most of the proven tips for living a long, healthy life are not products that you buy, but good lifestyle habits that you adopt (or bad ones, such as smoking, that you either quit or never take up and is clearly associated with diminished longevity).

Even something as simple as always wearing a seat belt can reduce your chances of dying early. Most of the things that make up a longevity lifestyle are simple - exercise, eat (and drink) healthily, sleep adequately, stay engaged - if only people would do them.

"To me, the bottom line is: Live a reasonably moderate life and you'll be OK," Carstensen says.

Link:
Heres what actually can help you live to a ripe old age - Ahora Si

Which Baseball Team Will Win The Riddler Fall Classic? – FiveThirtyEight

Welcome to The Riddler. Every week, I offer up problems related to the things we hold dear around here: math, logic and probability. Two puzzles are presented each week: the Riddler Express for those of you who want something bite-size and the Riddler Classic for those of you in the slow-puzzle movement. Submit a correct answer for either, and you may get a shoutout in next weeks column. If you need a hint or have a favorite puzzle collecting dust in your attic, find me on Twitter.

This weeks puzzles are both baseball-themed, so get your glove and thinking cap ready!

Riddler Nations Jibriel Taha, an avid baseball fan, saw the following tweet from the Milwaukee Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy:

Inspired by the Brewers apparent mediocrity (theyve since gone on a roll to clinch a playoff spot) Jibriel asks the following:

If a baseball team is truly .500, meaning it has a 50 percent chance of winning each game, whats the probability that it has won two of its last four games and four of its last eight games?

Submit your answer

Riddler League Baseball, also known as the RLB, consists of three teams: the Mississippi Moonwalkers, the Delaware Doubloons and the Tennessee Taters.

Each time a batter for the Moonwalkers comes to the plate, they have a 40 percent chance of getting a walk and a 60 percent chance of striking out. Each batter for the Doubloons, meanwhile, hits a double 20 percent percent of the time, driving in any teammates who are on base, and strikes out the remaining 80 percent of the time. Finally, each batter for the Taters has a 10 percent chance of hitting a home run and a 90 percent chance of striking out.

During the RLB season, each team plays an equal number of games against each opponent. Games are nine innings long and can go into extra innings just like in other baseball leagues. Which of the three teams is most likely to have the best record at the end of the season?

Submit your answer

Congratulations to Michael DeLyser of State College, Pennsylvania, winner of last weeks Riddler Express.

Last week, Riddler Nation needed help designing the logo for the new Riddler Express credit card, which consisted of two overlapping circles with radius 1 inch, creating three distinct regions: one region thats shared between the two circles and two regions that are part of one circle, but not the other.

In particular, the areas of all three regions had to be exactly the same. How far apart must the centers of the two circles have been?

If the two circles are far apart, the area of the overlapping region is very small. As you move the circles closer together, at some point the area of the middle region will precisely equal the areas of the two outer regions. By moving the circles in this way, Dogan Kazakli determined that the areas are equal when the circles are approximately 0.81 inches apart.

Solver Brian Corrigan gave this exact problem to his high school students late last year, and he was able to nail down the distance with greater precision using calculus integrating the areas of the different regions and setting them equal. Alan Greenburg took a trigonometric approach, splitting the middle region into two equal circular segments. This leads to an equation for the distance d between the circles:

Unfortunately, theres no simple expression for d beyond this equation, but a computer will tell you that d is approximately 0.8079455 inches.

For extra credit, you were asked to arrange three circles so that the areas of the largest and smallest of the seven resulting regions were as close to equivalent as possible. Heres an animation showing how the difference between the largest and smallest areas changed along with the distance between the circles:

If you watch very carefully, you can see that the difference is minimized when the circles are a little more than 0.8 inches apart, a distance that closely resembles the answer from the two-circle problem. Surely the answers arent the same for both two circles and three circles. But as solver Grant Larsen found, they are indeed the same! He reasoned that the areas are closest when regions I and III in the image below have the same area. That means the combined area of regions I and II (the middle region from the two-circle problem) must equal the combined area of regions III plus II (the outer region from the two-circle problem). So the answer to the extra credit was, once again, approximately 0.8079455 inches.

By the way, if youd like to know the answer to even more decimal places, you can find it here. Apparently this sequence of digits is kind of a big deal.

Congratulations to Gavin Lee of New York, New York, winner of last weeks Riddler Classic.

In last weeks Riddler Classic, you were the coach for Team Riddler at the Tour de FiveThirtyEight, where there were 20 teams. Your objective was to win the Team Time Trial race, which had the following rules:

All teams were of equal ability, and the faster the pace, the greater the probability of cracking. Team Riddler was the first team to attempt the course. How likely were they to finish the course while maximizing their chances of winning?

Gavin assumed Team Riddler would finish the course with probability p and that there were N total teams. If Team Riddler cracked, theyd certainly lose, giving that event probability 1-p. If Team Riddler finished the course, then the second team would ride at a pace that was ever so slightly faster than Team Riddlers, giving it a similar probability p of finishing the course. Therefore, in order to win, Team Riddler needed to finish the course, with probability p, while the remaining N-1 teams each needed to crack, with probability 1-p. Since teams chances of cracking were independent, the probability of all this occurring was p(1-p)N-1. To maximize this probability, you can set its derivative equal to zero, finding that p = 1/N. When there are 20 teams, that means the probability that Team Riddler finishes the course was 1/20, or 5 percent. Plugging in this value of p reveals that Team Riddlers chances of winning stood at a paltry 1.89 percent.

To solve the extra credit, you first needed to determine the optimal strategy for each team. If no team before you successfully finished the course, and there are N teams remaining (including them), then its just like being the first to compete among N teams, so you should select a pace such that your chances of finishing the course are 1/N. However, if any prior team finished the course, then youre forced to attempt an ever so slightly faster pace than the current winning pace.

Now, to find Team Riddlers chances of victory when it was the last to attempt the course, solver Jason Shaw broke things down into cases in his writeup. If the first team finishes the course, which we already know happens 1/20 of the time, then Team Riddler must ever so slightly beat them, also with probability 1/20. If the first team cracks, with probability 19/20, and the second team finishes the course, now with probability 1/19, then Team Riddler must beat that second team, again with a probability of 1/19. Continuing with this reasoning and working out all the cases, Jason found that when Team Riddler is the last to attempt the course, its chances of winning were 1/20(1/20+1/19+1/18++1/1), a sum thats just shy of 18 percent. Here are the chances of winning based on the order in which teams attempted the course:

In the Tour de FiveThirtyEight, it definitely pays to go last.

Finally, solver Sawyer Tabony extended the problem, considering what the first and last teams chances of winning would be as more and more teams compete. For N teams, the solutions are beautifully concise: 1/(eN), and ln(N)/N, respectively. Surprise, surprise, this is yet another Riddler in which Eulers number magically appears.

Well, arent you lucky? Theres a whole book full of the best puzzles from this column and some never-before-seen head-scratchers. Its called The Riddler, and its in stores now!

Email Zach Wissner-Gross at riddlercolumn@gmail.com.

Read more here:
Which Baseball Team Will Win The Riddler Fall Classic? - FiveThirtyEight

The Sojourn Review – TheXboxHub

By their very nature puzzle games are meant to be mysterious. But in The Sojourn, that mystery extends out beyond just the mind-testing levels that are found within, with the development team at Shifting Tides providing a number of thought-provoking opportunities as progression is made. However, can the mix of mysterious story and immersive puzzle action work together? Well, at the end of the day the basic narrative is pushed to one side by the test that unfolds but thats more to do with the complexities and brain-bashing nature of each stage of The Sojourn than anything else.

For all the storytelling in the world, The Sojourn sees you making your way through a series of standalone puzzles, in the hope that you can free mysterious orbs of light in order to let them unveil the world around you. It is these puzzles which make up the backbone of the gameplay, and even though a pretty deep, hugely thought-provoking narrative weaves its way in and out as you wander through a number of environments, for the most part youll be wanting to concentrate all efforts on the puzzle action that is in place.

Thats not to say that The Sojourn doesnt do a tremendous job at delivering a tale though, for it does. Its just that this is much more of a first person puzzler than a walking sim, and it is the former which comes to light throughout.

After wandering through a deep tutorial-type section which delightfully hammers home what is required from you, The Sojourn opens up to provide a stunning puzzling experience. Played out via a string of wonderfully well created stages, the ultimate goal of each is to reach the end of a linear path, free a couple of orbs of light, and get on your merry way. To do this youll need to manipulate a variety of objects, such as ringing harps that create new pathways, or switching places with mammoth statues in order to see them power up specific doors. However not everything is interactable from the get-go and only by moving in and out of the normal light side and into the mysteries of the dark via a number of portals, will any progress be made. See, it is when youre in the dark side that you can begin to interact fully with each and every object, casting glances at all-powerful eyes, utilising mirrors, building light tunnels and more to create safe paths and passageways as you go. And in that sense, The Sojourn is nothing but awesome.

It works brilliantly well and throughout the whole experience of The Sojourn will find that the game delicately invites you in, teaching you the way of new items and objects, before ramping up difficulties to leave you scratching your head, as youre left to figure out the best course of action ahead. Multiple times youll be left to backtrack in order to solve a test, moving through the dark portals and back out again as you pull off a specific action and set things in motion. The tests are properly real too, seeing you need to utilise every ounce of your brain power in order to save these orbs of light and ensures that the visual storytelling continues to unfold.

There seems to be just the one correct answer for each of the levels, yet even once you have made it through a stage, there are multiple other options open to you, with many of the levels expanding in size to sport a secondary objective too, putting a narrative scroll at the end of an even trickier to reach path, and leaving you to get on with it. Collecting these scrolls isnt essential though, and failing to grab them doesnt see the story progression falter, but should you find yourself fully entwined in the world of The Sojourn and just need to understand a bit more as to what has made the minds at Shifting Tides tick, then its well worth spending a few more minutes pushing on. In fact, if anything, it sees every single puzzle in The Sojourn come across with two different endings. And for replayability stakes alone, thats a good thing.

The entirety of The Sojourn on Xbox One is played out with absolutely stunning visuals put at the fore. From the word go, and moving right through everything it delivers, the world grows and moves with you as you step forward, with colourful backgrounds and paths opening up with each movement. Its a brilliant world to take in, across both the light and dark sides, and at no point in time do the visuals fail to wow. The same can be said for the audio too yes its rather ambient in nature, but what you will find thrust towards your ears is nothing but utterly delightful, building the immersion throughout.

Combining the puzzling nature with the stunning visuals and cracking audio means that The Sojourn is right up there with some of the best puzzlers around, but it is a huge shame that youll rarely really care or wonder why you are making your way through this world. Even though the story is muted and sporadic, after the first couple of hours of wanting to know more, the puzzling action takes hold and rarely lets go, forgoing any real need for any further depth to the experience. The story really is pushed to one side, and even though much of it allows you to make of it what you will, its very much a secondary thought.

Further to that and The Sojourn lets itself down slightly in regards the extra objectives of each stage. I would have loved to have more of a reason to really want to discover and collect the objective scrolls that pop up as each stage reaches a conclusion, but the overwhelming sheer relief that is felt as some stages are completed means that rarely have I wanted to really keep testing the mind with a puzzle that could well have already been two days in the solving. Yep, thats right, taking a break from a particularly taxing stage and going back fresh with a clear mind is sometimes the only way to go with The Sojourn.

By their very nature puzzle games are meant to be mysterious and that is no more true than with The Sojourn. It looks beautiful, it plays out super smoothly and the audio kick hammers home the immersion that ensures you will keep getting dragged in. If youre a puzzle fan then getting involved in this first person experience is a bit of a no-brainer just be aware that its likely that brain will be turned into a bit of a mush as you reach the latter stages.

By their very nature puzzle games are meant to be mysterious. But in The Sojourn, that mystery extends out beyond just the mind-testing levels that are found within, with the development team at Shifting Tides providing a number of thought-provoking opportunities as progression is made. However, can the mix of mysterious story and immersive puzzle action work together? Well, at the end of the day the basic narrative is pushed to one side by the test that unfolds - but thats more to do with the complexities and brain-bashing nature of each stage of The Sojourn than anything else. For

The Sojourn Review

The Sojourn Review

2019-09-25

Neil Watton (neil363)

TXH Score

4/5

Read more from the original source:
The Sojourn Review - TheXboxHub

October library events include snakes, ‘Stranger Things’ and spook-tacular crafts – The Turlock Journal

October events at the Turlock Library will start with apumpkin seed themed STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Mathematics)Works session at 4 p.m. Tuesday. Following a reading ofHow Many Seeds ina Pumpkinby Margaret McNamara, participants will discuss estimation andcounting and conclude with a mosaic art project using dyed pumpkin seeds.STEAM Works is designed for children in Kindergarten and older; children4 and under must be supervised by a parent.

The Turlock Library Book Club will meet at 10:30 a.m. Oct.2. This month's selection isThe Mermaid Chairby Sue Monk Kidd. Insidethe abbey of a Benedictine monastery on tiny Egret Island, just off the coastof South Carolina, resides a beautiful and mysterious chair ornately carvedwith mermaids and dedicated to a saint who, legend claims, was a mermaid beforeher conversion. Jessie Sullivan's conventional life has been "molded tothe smallest space possible." So when she is called home to cope with hermother's startling and enigmatic act of violence, Jessie finds herself relievedto be apart from her husband, Hugh. Jessie loves Hugh, but on EgretIsland--amid the gorgeous marshlands and tidal creeks--she becomes drawn toBrother Thomas, a monk who is mere months from taking his final vows. Whattranspires will unlock the roots of her mother's tormented past, but most ofall, as Jessie grapples with the tension of desire and the struggle to deny it,she will find a freedom that feels overwhelmingly right.

All are invited to attend the monthly board meeting ofthe Friends of the Turlock Public Library at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2.

October 5 is International Observe the Moon Night. Getpreparedby participating in the librarys moon and astronomy triviachallenge. The challenge will run all day Oct. 5 and participants can turn in theiranswers to the service desk and receive a treat.

Teens can join fellow bibliophiles for a book discussion at 3p.m. Oct. 5.

Python Ron McGee will bring his favorite lizards and snakesto the library for a creepy-crawly good time at 4 p.m. Oct. 8. Thiseducational, hands-on show-and-tell is open to all ages.

Adults can make unique wearable art at a spook-tacular t-shirtcraft session held at 1 p.m. Oct. 9 and 6 p.m. Oct. 14. Participants should bringtheir own black or dark-colored shirt. A number of pre-made designs will beavailable.This event is for ages 18 and above only.

Teens are invited to participate in the Turlock TeenAdvisory Board at 4 p.m. Oct. 9. During the hour-long meeting, participantsbrainstorm and discuss ideas for library activities and services for teens inTurlock. Community service hours are earned by attending meetings and helpingwith projects.

The Mystery Lovers Book Club will meet at 10:30 a.m.Oct. 11. This month's selection isThe Hound of the BaskervillesbySir Arthur Conan Doyle. When Sir Charles Baskerville is found mysteriously deadin the grounds of Baskerville Hall, people immediately associate his death withthe story of the monstrous creature that haunts the moor. The world-famousSherlock Holmes is drawn to the scene, knowing that there must be a morerational explanation.

Children can never worry about losing their place in a bookagain by creating their very own monster origami bookmark at 4 p.m. Oct. 15. Allages welcome; children 4 and under must have direct adult supervision.

Journey to Hawkins, Indiana and the Upside Down with thelibrarys celebration of the world of Stranger Things at 4 p.m. Oct. 16. Thelibrary will have buttons, crafts and a special treat while supplies last.Designed especially for teens and tweens ages 10 to 18.

Children will have the opportunity to build LEGOdisplaysfor the library using the librarys LEGOand LEGODUPLOblocksat 4 p.m. Oct. 22. LEGOplay helps children develop fine motor skills.Children under 4 are welcome, but must have direct parental supervision.

Come to the library at 4 p.m. Oct. 29 for an hour of classicboard game play. Playing board games helps teach socialization, sharing, takingturns and hand-eye coordination.

The library will host a special Halloween-themed PreschoolStory Time at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Oct. 31. Kids are encouraged to dress in anon-scary costume and participate in the Friends of the Turlock Library'sTrick-or-Treat Parade. A special craft will follow our Story Time.

The Turlock Library is located at 550 Minaret Ave. For moreinformation on Turlock Library programs, call 209-664-8100.

Denair

The Denair Library will begin its October events with a LEGODay. Children will have the opportunity to play with LEGOand LEGODUPLOblocksfrom noon to 3 p.m. every Wednesday in October, beginning on Oct. 2. LEGOplayhelps children develop fine motor skills. Children under 4 are welcome, butmust have direct parental supervision.

Python Ron McGee will bring his favorite lizards and snakesto the library for a creepy-crawly good time at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 3. Thiseducational, hands-on show-and-tell is open to all ages.

The Denair Library will host its Chess Club from 3 p.m. to 5p.m. Oct. 9 and 23. Participants should bring their own chess boards and piecesfor a nice, friendly game of chess. Chess puzzles will also be available tosolve. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, all are welcome.These will be unranked, fun games of chess. Come by and meet fellow players,and maybe even make a new friend.

Halloween is around the corner. Get a head start by winningtreats and toy prizes in a Halloween themed scavenger hunt in the library at 4p.m. Oct. 10.

Children can make a spooky spider out of a paper plate,googly eyes and pipe cleaners for legs at 4 p.m. Oct. 17. All craftsupplies provided.

Visitors to the library at 4 p.m. Oct. 24 can make ajack-o'-lantern with black paper and orange chalk using a clever stencil.All supplies provided.

On Halloween there may be a few "ghosts" goingtrick-or-treating. Children can make a miniature ghost out of a lollipop, acoffee filter and draw on a face of their choice at 4 p.m. Oct. 31.

The Denair Library is located at 4801 Kersey Rd. For moreinformation on Denair Library programs, call 209-634-1283.

Keyes

The Keyes Library will host four craft events in the monthOctober.

Kids will be able to create a bookmark out of cardstock or make one using origami from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 10.

Visitors to the library from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 17 can makespiders using pom poms and pipe cleaners.

Adults can create and paint butterflies using jumbo shell pastafrom 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 18.

Kids will be able to color a sugar skull to celebrate Da delos Muertos from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 31.

Python Ron McGee will bring his favorite lizards andsnakes to the Keyes Library at 2 p.m. Oct. 23 for a creepy-crawly good time. Thiseducational, hands-on show-and-tell is open to all ages.

The KeyesLibraryis located at 4420 Maud Ave. inKeyes. For more information about programs at the KeyesLibrary, call209-664-8000.

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October library events include snakes, 'Stranger Things' and spook-tacular crafts - The Turlock Journal

Tidy – The New York Times

SATURDAY PUZZLE Todays distinctive grid could also be a diagramless, a variety of puzzle that Alex Eaton-Salners has also constructed for us. Its asymmetrical, and its gorgeous spiral design is integrated into the clues and entries, all very exotic for a Saturday.

Mr. Eaton-Salners often includes naturalist elements and whimsy in his puzzles (maybe you remember Bird Play from August), which may have been why I thought of the golden spiral when I first saw it and not my sweet tooth.

As imposing as this grid seemed on first glance, we had some fairly wide windows of opportunity to get started today. There were a few real gimmes like PINTA and LISPS, and some long entries clued by cultural references that werent terribly obscure SEA SHANTIES was one of those, Id say. That said, there were some excellent puns and redirects.

Also, because of the unusual geometry today, there was quite a lot of short fill, which was pretty helpful, but there were some different clues to make things interesting. I was compelled to look up ARI Shaffir and then the SHO, which became the eerie background music for this post.

12A: This was such a specific clue, and the E.B. White solution suits it perfectly if you know the story of CHARLOTTES WEB, Charlotte the spider saves her friend Wilburs bacon by weaving adulatory little expressions into the web above his pen. There was another book title that seemed suitable for a long time, Harriet the Spy. It fit, letters-wise: Funny coincidence when that happens at such a lengthy spot.

15A: Sri Lanka is a tiny jewel that has been a stop on trade routes for SPICES for centuries.

38A: This was a really sweet pun among a throng of them. The Three STOOGES were originally in shorts, short episodic films that preceded the feature presentation at the movies. SYNOD, right below, was a good one too, if you usually think of bishops as game pieces. Theres a big SYNOD coming up about the Amazon.

39A: A little misdirection normally wed go straight to rice paddies, but TARO grows in submerged fields as well, especially in Hawaii.

48A: For some reason, the homophonic first names of Wallis SIMPSON and WALLACE STEVENS struck me today. I dont think that helped the solve here, and in retrospect I dont really remember much about this poet except one poem we looked at in school, The Emperor of Ice Cream. The name comes to mind, still.

54A: Two really good puns anchored this puzzle. Union busters? made me feel clever for thinking of home wreckers, which almost fit DIVORCE PAPERS is also accurate and a more elegant joke. And right underneath, if youre in SYNOD mode, your mind might be flexible enough to read diet as a formal assembly for LEGISLATORS.

10D: A debut today something I dont think Ive ever tried to spell thats found on a vertical spit: SHAWARMA, from the Turkish for to rotate, sort of like the puzzle today.

16D: Todays revealer refers to a lovely little cake that originated in Central Europe, or maybe England. Why is it called a SWISS ROLL? Well, its also called a buche de Noel, a jelly roll, a roly poly, a roulade Im neutral: Theyre all delicious, as is this puzzle!

In the aggregate, I spent more time creating this puzzle than any other I have ever made by a significant margin. Since I first started working on it in January of 2017, I estimate I spent well over 100 hours (and probably more than 200 hours) working and reworking this idea.

As originally submitted, the puzzle had SWISS ROLL at 1-Across and DESSERT CASES in the last row. It also had a much more aggressive grid pattern, with only 3 blocks in the lower right corner and only 9 3-letter words along the width of the outermost spiral (as opposed to 12 such words in the final version). The major breakthroughs that finally enabled the fill to pass muster with Will were (1) scaling back the lower-right corner (turning that corner with 6 blocks is much easier than with only 3); (2) replacing DESSERT CASES with the shorter PATISSERIE (or PATISSERIES in some incarnations); and (3) moving the thematic content to places that were easier to work with than the top and bottom. I also spent a lot of time minutely adjusting the shape of the spiral in different ways. Even moving a single block by one space often greatly changed the fill possibilities. And due to the extremely high level of interlock, replacing even a few objectionable words typically required reworking the entire puzzle.

The caliber of fill cleanliness that the NYT requires for a Friday or Saturday puzzle is extremely high, and it was quite difficult to pull off this grid shape and mini-theme to that exacting standard. During the revision process, I would sometimes put the puzzle away in frustration for months at a time before crawling back to it again. Im not sure why, but I really wanted to get this one over the finish line.

Subscribers can take a peek at the answer key.

Trying to get back to the puzzle page? Right here.

What did you think?

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Tidy - The New York Times

Try your hand at the third annual Lederhosen Games! – WXOW.com

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) The third annual Lederhosen Games is taking place at the Oktoberfest grounds Friday and Saturday.

Its hosted by the UW-La Crosse recreation management class. People could try their hand at different German-themed games, Whether its holding up a beer stein or solving a puzzle, theres a little something for everyone.

I love seeing everybody come and have such a good time, said Kari Draheim, a recreation management student at UW-La Crosse. The competition is getting real behind us with the stein hold, so its really fun to watch.

There are six games available for people to try out. They are all free to play as long as competitors sign a waiver.

We throw a little spin on some of them, but there are ones that weve seen at other Oktoberfests, and then, our class always comes up with new ones each year, said Draheim.

New this year are the stein races. Partake in the games from 2:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Prizes include gift cards and beer signs.

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Try your hand at the third annual Lederhosen Games! - WXOW.com


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