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What's in the Universe?

The Earth and the other planets, the stars, the galaxies, the space around them and the energy that comes from them are all part of what we call the universe. I like to believe that there are parallel universes, and we are just one slice of a huge "loaf of bread." Interstellar, starring Matthew McConaughey, is one of my favorite sci-fi movies to date, because it explores the possibility of higher dimensions and makes our solar system very small in comparison to what's out there.

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it! Check out Roger Ebert's review.

Most astronomers believe that between 8 and 16 billion years ago, all matter and energy, even space itself, were concentrated in a single point. There was a tremendous explosion -- The Big Bang -- and within a few minutes the basic materials of the universe, such as hydrogen and helium, came to be. These gases collected together into large bodies called galaxies. Today, the universe still seems to be expanding, as evidenced by studying the radiation from The Big Bang.

Huge families, or superclusters, of galaxies are racing away from all the other clusters at incredible speeds. If the Big Bang has given them enough energy, the galaxy superclusters may keep on racing away from each other until the last star has died. But if their gravity is strong enough to slow them down, everything in the universe will eventually cascade in on itself in an event we call the Big Crunch. Then, perhaps another cycle will begin.

A Small Part of a Large Scheme

We live on the Earth, just one planet in the solar system. Our solar system is part of the Milky Way, just one galaxy in a cluster of galaxies. These clusters gather into superclusters of galaxies, all of which are expanding outward.

Light Years

Scientists measure the vast distances in the universe in light years -- the distance light travels in a year. If you do the calculations, you'll find that light travels about 186,000 miles per second, which is equalent to an object travelling around the Earth seven times per second! The Andromeda Galaxy, the closest galaxy we have discovered so far, sits 9 quintillion miles away from us. It is difficult or impossible to imagine this huge distance, so we say that it is 2 million light years away.

The Big Bang took place long ago, but most of its work was accomplished in a ery short time. Hydrogen was created quickly, and the galaxies began to form soon after. As stars within these galaxies exploded, the heavier elements, such as carbon (the basis of all organic life as we know it), were formed. The ceiling of stars we can see on a clear night is just a tiny part of the universe, which is immense in both time and space. The expansion of the universe will be reversed if gravity is storng enough to pull everything together again.

Back to the Past

In 1965, scientists Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson were testing a radio antenna when they detected strange energy emissions. They searched for the source of these emissions and had a very weak level of radiation. The existence of radiation confirmed the theory of some astronomers that the Big Bang had left a cool afterglow in space. In 1978, Penzias and Wilson won the Nobel Prize in Physics for discovering this important fact about the beginning of the universe.

Understanding Assault Mode in Smite

smite assault mode

Understanding Assault Mode in Smite

Assault mode in Smite is one of the most popular, and least understood of the gaming modes. It is most related to the normal Combat mode, but it can be used with Co-op mode and even in Custom mode. This means that you can use the 4 player versus 4 player option as well. What leaves people unprepared when they enter into the Assault mode is some key differences the creators of Smite have put into place. Understand these and you have a chance of winning.

What makes Assault Mode Different

The first thing that is different about Assault mode is that you don’t get to pick your gods. They are randomly assigned. This can throw you for a loop because it can still be used with the matchmaker system. With the matchmaker the stats of the players are taken into account for co-op assignment but then random gods that are compatible are generated for use.

You then are placed into one lane only for combat. Unlike the other modes of play you can’t opt to return to the base and there is no “buying things” from the store to help you out. The only way you can stop the combat to go purchase something is to die – and that means you are out. You also have to conquer both of the Phoenix and Titan towers of your opponents.

Assault mode can be very effective with team play. Whether you are using the 3 on 3 version or trying out the beta 4 player on 4 player mode you can make it work. You will need to have a lot of communication skills built up between team members as this is a do or die style of combat. If your team members don’t get “the plan” going in, then they could cost you plenty.

How to get the Most out of the Assault Mode

To get the most out of Assault mode you have to be willing to lose, that is really the only way to master the play. It also means that you will get more experience playing different gods as you won’t be confined by your preference, but assigned the gods to play. Taking advantage of the Assault mode in all the gaming mode levels is also an excellent way to gain in skill. The goal is to develop diversity in your gaming style so no matter whom you are assigned; you can handle them in the lane.

You can play through Assault mode in all of the mode levels of Smite. You can also use it in the Practice mode against a computer generated character which is the best way to get a grip on your own skills. You can also enter into a Duel mode or Friendly Play mode with a companion to start exploring more of the team aspects without losing any of your overall points in your account.

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Essential Wii U Accessories

wii u accessories bundle unboxing

If you feel like you are still missing out with your Wii U, you need to get the basic accessories to get the most out of your game play. There are a variety of controllers available, from traditional game pad styles to tablet controllers. Many of these accessories can be used with these controllers to unlock additional potential gameplay.

What Do You Need?

Bearing in mind that as more of the games on the deck hit their release dates that the playing options within the system will be expanding it is safe to say that you will need all of them. There are good enough deals on full accessory bundles to make it a better idea to purchase them all at once, even if you don’t currently have a game that will use the all of the specific accessories. If you are looking to keep your experience more mobile, you want to make sure that you are using the tablet and pad controllers – but remember that the accessories will work with these as well.
The console contains some features that will make expansion of the accessories line up possible in the future. The most powerful of which is the NFC technology that is built in. As more objects begin to be released with NFC chips, the world that your Wii U can interact with will continue to expand. While faulted in its first year for not having a broad range of games that took advantage of its capabilities, there are now many games that use the additional accessories to make your gaming experience on the console to be perfect. Here are the accessories you can get.

Zapper

The Zapper is word on the wrist and allows for proper aiming and interaction of the player within any game that allows for shooting or aiming for projectile triggering. It is lightweight, has a sweat resistant band and holds up well to long hours of play.

Stylus

The Wii U stylus is specifically designed for use with the touchscreen enabled the controllers. This is particularly useful for such games as Kirby and others that allow for drawing or writing as a form of interaction. One thing you don’t want to do is use a generic stylus with your controllers. The stylus is designed to withstand heavier use than the normal touchpad or smartphone stylus and is less likely to scratch your screen.

Balance Board

The balance board is an accessory that many people will recognize from the fitness games that were released with the original Wii; with Wii U the balance board achieves its true purpose in becoming an in-game controller. For games like Project Robot, it can be an essential device to control your robot in battle.

Pro Controller

The Wii U Pro Controller is modelled after the traditional Nintendo game controllers but is wireless and includes mobility sensors to help to control avatar movement within the game.

Wii U Dock

The Wii U Dock is essential to docking and charging your system wireless controllers.

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Destiny Beta First Impressions

destiny beta gameplay

Last week, Destiny Beta launched and everyone who owns an Xbox One/360 or PlayStation 3/4 could play for free, given that they had an Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus subscription. We have seen the lands of Russia back in the old days, explored the historic weapons and armor inside the Tower, and challanged other players (Guardians) within the Crucible. Everything seems pretty awesome initially, but minor issues get in the way as the game progresses.

For example, exploration sometimes leads you into an area with an unknown purpose. In many cases you could get lost and wonder why you are here. Another is that enemies "level up" and take a more considerable amount of ammo to kill. Also worthy of nothing is the multiplayer mode's slow pacing due to lack of mobility.

Storyline

When we're talking about Halo, a noticeable trait is its engaging storyline that makes sense. However, Destiny is more like Minecraft in the way that it doesn't really have linear progression. The world is insanely huge and there are just so many missions and battles that you could do. Because of the wide range of choices, I felt that the storyline doesn't really go together and feels disconnected. However, having a story isn't actually necessary to have a good time. Because Destiny created such huge interesting worlds with some backstory, that's good enough for me.

Enemy Difficulty

Players immediately notice that when reaching higher levels like level 6, the enemies will cause you to run out of ammo quick. In some cases, they will take hundreds of shots before they will die. A great example is during the Devil's Lair Strike Mission, which is meant for players over level 5. You start of by going through room after room full of enemies, some even above level 8. Finally, you will reach a Devil Walker spider tank in a large field. Its got a rocket launcher and machine guns that will shoot any guardian attacking it. Moreover, it has got crazy armor buffs and takes over 10 minutes to kill using everything a 3 man team has, including heavy, special, and regular weapons plus special abilities. It will be interesting to see how Bungie will better balance enemey difficulty to scale with Guardian levels.

Multiplayer

Since multiplayer is focused on cooperative modes, the game is lacking in competitive development. Most of the time, you will just do Strike missions, but if you are in the mood, you could play against other Guardians. The feel of competitive multiplayer feels just like Halo, mainly because of the way the map is laid out and its available vehicles. On the downside, Guardians can't really jump and boost effectively and causes a loss in movement speed. The gravity in the game has more of an effect on your character so getting to high places takes more time than you would probably like. This makes it so that finding players to kill is more rare and slows down the entire game. But perhaps this has something to do with the 12 player cap Bungie imposed in multiplayer. I think they aren't ready to scale up to 24 or 32 players yet because they need to figure out what they want to do, and that's what beta is for.



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by Dr. Radut