First Pig-Monkey Chimeras Were Just Created in China

A team of researchers generated the pig-primate creatures by injecting monkey stem cells into fertilized pig embryos and then implanting them into surrogate sows, according to a piece by New Scientist. Two of the resulting piglets developed into interspecies animals known as chimeras, meaning that they contained DNA from two distinct individuals — in this case, a pig and a monkey.

“This is the first report of full-term pig-monkey chimeras,” co-author Tang Hai, a researcher at the State Key Laboratory of Stem Cell and Reproductive Biology in Beijing, told New Scientist. Eventually, Hai and his colleagues aim to grow human organs in animals for use in transplant procedures. For now, the team plans to stick with monkey cells, as developing human-animal chimeras presents a slew of “ethical issues,” the authors noted in a report published Nov. 28 in the journal Protein & Cell.

To create pig-primate chimeras, Hai and his co-authors first grew cells from cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) in lab dishes. The team then altered the cells’ DNA by inserting instructions to build a fluorescent protein, which caused the cells to glow a bright green. These luminescent cells gave rise to equally radiant embryonic stem cells, which the researchers then injected into prepared pig embryos. These glowing spots allowed the researchers to track the monkey cells as the embryos grew into piglets.

In total, 4,000 embryos received an injection of monkey cells and were implanted in surrogate sows. The pigs bore 10 piglets as a result of the procedure, but only two of the offspring grew both pig and monkey cells. By scanning for spots of fluorescent green, the team found monkey cells scattered throughout multiple organs, including the heart, liver, spleen, lungs and skin.

In each organ, between one in 1,000 and one in 10,000 cells turned out to be a monkey cells — in other words, the interspecies chimeras were more than 99% pig.

Although low, the ratio of monkey to pig cells still outnumbered the maximum amount of human cells ever grown in a human-animal chimera. In 2017, scientists created human-pig chimeras that grew only one human cell for every 100,000 pig cells. The interspecies embryos were only allowed to develop for a month for ethical reasons, including the concern that humans cells might grow in the chimera’s brain and grant the animal human-like consciousness, according to New Scientist.

Despite these ethical qualms, the same team of researchers went on to create human-monkey chimeras earlier this year, according to a July report from the Spanish newspaper El País. The results of the controversial experiment have not yet been reported, but the scientists said that no human-primate embryos were allowed to develop for more than a few weeks, the paper reported.

Hai and his co-authors may have avoided the ethical issues involved with human-animal chimeras, but one expert wasn’t impressed with their interspecies piglets. Stem-cell biologist Paul Knoepfler of the University of California, Davis, told New Scientist that the low ratio of monkey to pig cells seems “fairly discouraging.” Additionally, the two chimeras and all eight other piglets died shortly after being born, he noted.

The exact reason for the piglets’ death remains “unclear,” Hai told New Scientist, but he said that he suspects the deaths are linked to the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure rather than the injection of monkey DNA. Other scientists have also found that IVF doesn’t consistently work in pigs, according to a 2019 report in the journal Theriogenology.

In the immediate future, Hai and his colleagues aim to increase the proportion of monkey cells to pig cells in future chimeras, and eventually, grow entire monkey organs in their pigs, Hai told New Scientist. In their paper, the authors noted that their work in pigs could help “pave the way” toward the “ultimate goal of human organ reconstruction in a large animal.”

……….and so it begins!

Pig-Monkey Chimeras

Gainax President Arrested After Taking Nude Photos Of Teenage Girl

The president of Gainax, best known for the Evangelion series, has been arrested. Tomohiro Maki, aged 50, was taken into police custody after taking illicit photos of a teen.

Besides taking topless photos of the girl several times, Maki is also accused of allegedly touching her with the Mainichi reporting he massaged her leg. Maki reportedly claimed was training her to enter the entertainment industry.

Yomiuri reports that these events are suspected to have occurred earlier this year in February at a Tokyo apartment. At that time, Maki was involved in developing voice talent. According to Sankei News, Maki’s own apartment was dubbed “Production Women’s Dormitory” (Purodakushon Jyoshiryou or プロダクション女子寮). Kyodo News adds that the voice actors were allegedly contractually obligated to live at Maki’s apartment.

The exec has denied all the allegations, except for taking the photos. “I was asked so I took the photos,” Maki is quoted as saying. “The truth is different.”

Gainax promoted Maki to president this past October.

~ via Kotaku

Everything about Google Stadia, Price, Release Date and Launch Games

According to Google, the future of video games is in the cloud. Google Stadia is an entirely cloud-based gaming platform that will let you play AAA games on just about any device that can connect to the internet, from your smartphone to your smart TV.

Google Stadia

Here’s everything we know about Stadia so far, including its price, release date, game lineup and more.

Google Stadia release date: when is it coming out?

Stadia is slated to launch in November 2019 in the U.S., UK, Europe and Canada.

Google Stadia price: how much will it cost?

The core Stadia experience will be available as part of Stadia Pro, which is a $9.99 per month subscription service that gets you a growing library of games at the service’s highest streaming quality (4K/60 fps/HDR). A Stadia Pro subscription also provides exclusive discounts to game purchases. It’s not totally clear which games will require a separate purchase and which will be part of Stadia Pro, but Google has confirmed that Destiny 2 is part of the membership.

If you’re looking to go all out, you can pick up the $129 Stadia Founder’s Edition, which includes a special Night Blue Stadia Controller ($69 separately), a Google Chromecast Ultra ($69 separately), 3 months of Stadia Pro, a 3-month buddy pass for giving Pro access to a friend, and a copy of Destiny 2 complete with all of its expansions. The Founder’s Edition is available for pre-order now on Google’s website.

Don’t want to subscribe to anything? You can wait for Stadia Base to arrive in 2020, which will allow you to simply buy the games you want to play a la carte.

Google Stadia games: the lineup so far

A slew of notable games are coming to Stadia at launch and beyond, from big AAA titles like The Division 2 and Doom Eternal to smaller indies such as Gylt and Get Packed. During its Stadia Connect livestream, Google teased that its working with top publishers such as EA, Rockstar, 2K, Ubisoft and Bungie.

Here are a handful of key Stadia games teased by Google so far:

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey
Baldur’s Gate III
Destiny 2
The Division 2
Dragonball Xenoverse 2
Final Fantasy XV
Get Packed
Ghost Recon Breakpoint
Metro Exodus
Mortal Kombat 11
Power Rangers: Battle for the Grid
Samurai Shodown
Just Dance 2019
Tomb Raider Triilogy
Wolfenstein: Youngblood

Google Stadia platforms: where can I play?

google stadia

Google Stadia streams games from the cloud, so you can theoretically play big-budget titles on a smartphone, budget laptop, smart TV or any other device that connect to the internet. The service saves your progress across platforms, so you can, say, start your Assassin’s Creed session on your phone and pick it back up on your PC later.

At launch, you’ll be able to use Stadia on any PC with a Chrome browser. The service will be exclusive to Pixel 3 and Pixel 3a smartphones at launch, with more phones to gain support in the future.

Google Stadia specs and required internet speeds

Google Stadia’s data centers are powered by a custom AMD GPU, which sports 10.7 teraflops of GPU power — that’s a whole lot more than the Xbox One X (6.0) and PS4 Pro (4.2). All of these specs allow the service to support gameplay at up to 4K at 60 frames per second, complete with bells and whistles like HDR and surround sound.

Google Stadia

Here are the recommended internet speeds you’ll need in order to enjoy different levels of gameplay quality on Stadia, according to Google.

35 MBps: 4K, 60 frames per second, HDR 5.1 surround sound
20 MBps: 1080p, 60 fps, HDR, 5.1 surround sound
10 Mbps: 720p, 60 fps, stereo sound

Stadia Controller and supported gamepads

While Stadia will work with your existing devices and a variety of supported controllers, Google is also launching its own peripheral: the $69 Stadia Controller. Sporting a familiar Xbox-style layout, the controller connects to the cloud via Wi-Fi to ensure responsive gameplay no matter which device you’re playing on. The gamepad sports both a capture button for sharing gameplay, as well as a Google Assistant button that lets you ask for gameplay tips without having to close your game and look up a walk-through.

The controller will be available in three colors: Wasabi, Clearly White and Just Black, with an additional Night Blue variant available exclusively to Founder’s Edition buyers.

If you don’t want to splurge for the Stadia Controller, the service will work with most popular USB gamepads, such as the Xbox One controller and Logitech F310. You’ll also be able to use a mouse and keyboard.

Google Stadia features: Crowd Play and State Share

Google Stadia isn’t just meant to provide an easy way for anyone to play big-budget games — it’s also meant to connect gamers and creators. With the Crowd Play feature, you’ll be able to click a button right on a YouTube stream and immediately start playing with that broadcaster. Think you can beat your favorite broadcaster at NBA 2K? This is your chance to jump right in and do it — so long as the streamer allows it, of course.

And because the platform saves every aspect of your game state to the cloud, you can, say, challenge your audience (or just a friend) to pick up from a specific spot in your play session and try to outperform you using the State Share feature.

via ~ Toms Guide

How much money does the Avengers cast make from Marvel movies?

marvel avengers cast

Marvel’s superhero movies are some of the biggest films ever. The latest one, Avengers: Endgame, has already made more than $1.3 billion after less than a week in theatres. Now, a report reveals how much money Disney/Marvel pays the cast’s biggest stars.

Starting with the biggest payday, Iron Man actor Robert Downey Jr. earned $75 million from 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War alone, according to The Hollywood Reporter. This was the result of a unique deal he made with Marvel boss Kevin Feige that gives the actor “backend” on the Avengers movies. A backend deal means an actor gets a percentage of box office grosses.

Infinity War was a massive commercial success, making $2.048 billion at the box office. Downey Jr.’s reported $75 million from that movie is likely tied to that huge performance.

THR’s report also claims that Downey Jr. was paid $5 million PER DAY for three days to film his parts on 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. The story doesn’t have any details on Downey Jr.’s salary for Avengers: Endgame. But if he struck a similar backend deal, Downey Jr. could stand to make another big bucket of money from the film. It’s already broken box office records in the US and worldwide and is poised for continued success.

As for the other big-name Marvel actors, THR’s story says Scarlett Johansson will be paid a figure in the $20 million range for the 2020 standalone Black Widow movie that she’ll star in and produce. Chris Hemsworth, who plays Thor, signed a five-year deal in the $15 million to $20 million range, while Captain America actor Chris Evans also had a five-movie deal in the same salary range, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Actors can also earn extra money from bonuses tied to commercial performance–though they’re getting more challenging to earn, it seems. THR says Marvel originally paid actor bonuses when a movie cleared $500 million in worldwide grosses, before moving to $700 million. Today, Marvel reportedly doesn’t generally pay actor bonuses until a film, especially an Avengers movie, reaches $1.5 billion. Infinity War reached that and Endgame should, too.

Plans for the future of the MCU are unclear; we know Spider-Man: Far From Home is coming in July and will mark the end of Phase 3. Beyond that, there are a variety of projects known to be in the works, such as the aforementioned Black Widow movie, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, and The Eternals, but specific dates are unclear.

~ via Gamespot

Bandai Namco announces Bless Unleashed, its first console MMO

Bless Unleashed

Bandai Namco today announced Bless Unleashed, a free-to-play MMO for Xbox One that will be the publisher’s first for a console.

Launching in 2019, Bless Unleashed was billed as “an untamed world with a rich backstory created with hardcore MMO gamers in mind,” according to a statement by Bandai Namco. The game is being developed by Round 8 Studio of Neowiz, the South Korea-based makers of Bless Online. That MMO launched in early access on Steam back in May.

Bandai Namco’s statement said Bless Unleashed will be developed with Unreal Engine 4. The game will feature five character classes for players to develop, combat will involve combo-driven mechanisms, and cooperative and competitive (PvP) multiplayer will be featured. Player characters will interact with deities and mythical beasts on their adventures.

“Every aspect, from the story to the combat, to the skill progression has been carefully crafted to portray a new console MMORPG experience,” In Joon Hwang, Bandai Namco America’s senior director for online publishing, said in the statement.

~ via Polygon

Best Selling Games in Japan (13-Aug-18 to 19-Aug-18)

The Top 20 best-selling video games at Japanese retail for the week of August 13 to August 19.

minecraft nintendo switch

1. Minecraft (Switch): 25,948 copies sold

2. Splatoon 2 (Switch): 24,188

3. Taiko no Tatsujin Nintendo Switch Version (Switch): 21,109

4. Mario Kart 8 DX (Switch): 20,346

5. WarioWare Gold (3DS): 20,142

6. Mario Tennis Aces (Switch): 18,520

7. Pro Yakyuu Famista Evolution (Switch): 13,259

8. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Switch): 12,111

9. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch): 9,682

10. Kirby Star Allies (Switch): 8,707

11. Pokémon Ultra Sun/Ultra Moon (3DS): 8,447

12. Octopath Traveler (Switch): 8,002

13. Super Mario Odyssey (Switch): 7,066

14. Yakuza 3 (PS4): 6,753

15. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (3DS): 5,766

16. Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy DX (Switch): 5,101

17. Okami (Switch): 4,758

18. Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit (Switch): 4,703

19. Jikkyou Powerful Pro Yakyuu 2018 (PS4): 3,449

20. Fire Pro Wrestling World (PS4): 3,326