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9 of the best Star Wars gifts not named Baby Yoda
Baby Yoda merch is on the way, but these Star Wars gifts are available right now.
- Since the launch of Disney Plus, the internet has gone crazy for Baby Yoda.
- Merchandise for the cute character was intentionally delayed, but there are other options.
- The items in this gift guide are for anyone who loves Star Wars or wants to learn more.
Since the launch of Disney Plus and the premiere of The Mandalorian, Star Wars fans have been obsessed with one thing and one thing only: the asset, or as he is known to the internet, Baby Yoda. Not a lot is known about the character or his species, but the overwhelming cuteness has won the hearts of fans old and new, and they can't wait to get their hands on the merchandise.
Having successfully kept the character and by extension the puppet a secret leading up to the show, director Jon Favreau told The Hollywood Reporter that he knew the risks of keeping Baby Yoda out of all pre-release marketing. "By holding back on that one product, we knew that we may have had the disadvantage of not having toys available day and date," he said, "but what we got in exchange was an excitement surrounding the character, because everybody felt like they discovered him together."
Pre-orders have begun to crop up for Baby Yoda plush dolls, T-shirts, and other licensed products, but Star Wars as a property is much bigger than one cute asset. The gifts on this list include toys of other adorable characters as well as resources for learning more information about a galaxy far, far away.
Whether you're completely new to Star Wars or you've seen the films dozens of times, there's no better way to learn than to watch what director George Lucas and his collaborators created back in 1977. This box set features the first six episodic films, beginning with the original trilogy (A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) and including the prequels (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). There are also over 40 hours of special features, including commentaries and documentaries that take fans behind the scenes of one of the most influential stories ever told. Sure you could stream the films on Disney Plus, but there are some things that everyone should own physical copies of.
We still don't know how (or if) Yoda and Baby Yoda are connected beyond them being the same species, but that hasn't stopped everyone from referring to the new character by his predecessor's name. This official LEGO set lets you build the centuries-old Jedi Master using over 1700 pieces. A Yoda minifigure is included, as is an informational card that lists his age and his apprentices.
Introduced in 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII The Last Jedi, porgs are bird-like creatures native to the planet Ahch-To. Before The Mandalorian, porgs were widely considered to be the cutest animals in Star Wars, with fuzzy plushes like this one flying off the shelves. Some Baby Yoda merch is on pre-order until March 2020, but porgs are still adorable and their merch is available to purchase right now.
Developed by Respawn Entertainment and published by Electronic Arts, Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is the newest video game set in the Star Wars universe. Chronologically, the game takes place after Episode III: Revenge of the Sith but before A New Hope. It focuses on a young Jedi in training who, along with the rest of his kind, is being hunted by the Galactic Empire. IGN rated the game a 9 out of 10 and praised Respawn's attention to detail, brilliant animation, and well-crafted story.
"Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy" by Amy Ratcliffe profiles over 75 women from all facets of Star Wars, including the films, comics, video games, and novels. It's the perfect gift for anyone who wants to learn more about dozens of dynamic heroes (and villains) who have contributed to universe and continue to make it feel real.
George Lucas is the architect that built Star Wars into what it is today and forever changed cinema. This biography by Brian Jay Jones tells Lucas' story from the mid-1940s up to 2016, one year after The Force Awakens released in theaters and one year before The Last Jedi. Extending beyond Star Wars, the book paints an almost complete portrait of who George Lucas is and how the work has shaped his life.
Ranging from easy to extremely difficult, this version of Hasbro's Trivial Pursuit includes questions about all of the saga films to-date. Designed for 2-4 players, the game is all about testing your fandom while also teaching you more than you ever thought you would know about Star Wars. Grab a few friends or family members and see which of you is really one with the Force.
A pioneer in science and science fiction studies, author Mark Brake tackles questions in "The Science of Star Wars" that most fans never knew they had. What would it cost to build a Death Star, why are Wookiees hairier than humans, and could we actually live on a gas giant planet like Bespin? Grab a copy of the book for these and more interesting explorations.
Most of us will never own a fully functional Astromech droid like BB-8, but this app-enabled version from Sphero is the next best thing. Steer the adorable ball using the interface on your smartphone, or turn on the autonomous mode and watch it come to life in your living room.
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How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.
- A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
- It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
- While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Tribalism and discrimination<p>One question the "Genetic Pressure" series explores: What would tribalism and discrimination look like in a world with designer babies? As designer babies grow up, they could be noticeably different from other people, potentially being smarter, more attractive and healthier. This could breed resentment between the groups—as it does in the series.</p><p>"[Designer babies] slowly find that 'everyone else,' and even their own parents, becomes less and less tolerable," author Eugene Clark told Big Think. "Meanwhile, everyone else slowly feels threatened by the designer babies."</p><p>For example, one character in the series who was born a designer baby faces discrimination and harassment from "normal people"—they call her "soulless" and say she was "made in a factory," a "consumer product." </p><p>Would such divisions emerge in the real world? The answer may depend on who's able to afford designer baby services. If it's only the ultra-wealthy, then it's easy to imagine how being a designer baby could be seen by society as a kind of hyper-privilege, which designer babies would have to reckon with. </p><p>Even if people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can someday afford designer babies, people born designer babies may struggle with tough existential questions: Can they ever take full credit for things they achieve, or were they born with an unfair advantage? To what extent should they spend their lives helping the less fortunate? </p>
Sexuality dilemmas<p>Sexuality presents another set of thorny questions. If a designer baby industry someday allows people to optimize humans for attractiveness, designer babies could grow up to find themselves surrounded by ultra-attractive people. That may not sound like a big problem.</p><p>But consider that, if designer babies someday become the standard way to have children, there'd necessarily be a years-long gap in which only some people are having designer babies. Meanwhile, the rest of society would be having children the old-fashioned way. So, in terms of attractiveness, society could see increasingly apparent disparities in physical appearances between the two groups. "Normal people" could begin to seem increasingly ugly.</p><p>But ultra-attractive people who were born designer babies could face problems, too. One could be the loss of body image. </p><p>When designer babies grow up in the "Genetic Pressure" series, men look like all the other men, and women look like all the other women. This homogeneity of physical appearance occurs because parents of designer babies start following trends, all choosing similar traits for their children: tall, athletic build, olive skin, etc. </p><p>Sure, facial traits remain relatively unique, but everyone's more or less equally attractive. And this causes strange changes to sexual preferences.</p><p>"In a society of sexual equals, they start looking for other differentiators," he said, noting that violet-colored eyes become a rare trait that genetically engineered humans find especially attractive in the series.</p><p>But what about sexual relationships between genetically engineered humans and "normal" people? In the "Genetic Pressure" series, many "normal" people want to have kids with (or at least have sex with) genetically engineered humans. But a minority of engineered humans oppose breeding with "normal" people, and this leads to an ideology that considers engineered humans to be racially supreme. </p>
Regulating designer babies<p>On a policy level, there are many open questions about how governments might legislate a world with designer babies. But it's not totally new territory, considering the West's dark history of eugenics experiments.</p><p>In the 20th century, the U.S. conducted multiple eugenics programs, including immigration restrictions based on genetic inferiority and forced sterilizations. In 1927, for example, the Supreme Court ruled that forcibly sterilizing the mentally handicapped didn't violate the Constitution. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes wrote, "… three generations of imbeciles are enough." </p><p>After the Holocaust, eugenics programs became increasingly taboo and regulated in the U.S. (though some states continued forced sterilizations <a href="https://www.uvm.edu/~lkaelber/eugenics/" target="_blank">into the 1970s</a>). In recent years, some policymakers and scientists have expressed concerns about how gene-editing technologies could reanimate the eugenics nightmares of the 20th century. </p><p>Currently, the U.S. doesn't explicitly ban human germline genetic editing on the federal level, but a combination of laws effectively render it <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">illegal to implant a genetically modified embryo</a>. Part of the reason is that scientists still aren't sure of the unintended consequences of new gene-editing technologies. </p><p>But there are also concerns that these technologies could usher in a new era of eugenics. After all, the function of a designer baby industry, like the one in the "Genetic Pressure" series, wouldn't necessarily be limited to eliminating genetic diseases; it could also work to increase the occurrence of "desirable" traits. </p><p>If the industry did that, it'd effectively signal that the <em>opposites of those traits are undesirable. </em>As the International Bioethics Committee <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jlb/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jlb/lsaa006/5841599#204481018" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">wrote</a>, this would "jeopardize the inherent and therefore equal dignity of all human beings and renew eugenics, disguised as the fulfillment of the wish for a better, improved life."</p><p><em>"Genetic Pressure Volume I: Baby Steps"</em><em> by Eugene Clark is <a href="http://bigth.ink/38VhJn3" target="_blank">available now.</a></em></p>
The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.
- A new species of isopod with a resemblance to a certain Sith lord was just discovered.
- It is the first known giant isopod from the Indian Ocean.
- The finding extends the list of giant isopods even further.
The ocean depths are home to many creatures that some consider to be unnatural.<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzU2NzY4My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNTUwMzg0NX0.BTK3zVeXxoduyvXfsvp4QH40_9POsrgca_W5CQpjVtw/img.png?width=980" id="b6fb0" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2739ec50d9f9a3bd0058f937b6d447ac" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="1512" data-height="2224" />
What benefit does this find have for science? And is it as evil as it looks?<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="7XqcvwWp" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="8506fcd195866131efb93525ae42dec4"> <div id="botr_7XqcvwWp_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/7XqcvwWp-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/7XqcvwWp-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p>The discovery of a new species is always a cause for celebration in zoology. That this is the discovery of an animal that inhabits the deeps of the sea, one of the least explored areas humans can get to, is the icing on the cake.</p><p>Helen Wong of the National University of Singapore, who co-authored the species' description, explained the importance of the discovery:</p><p>"The identification of this new species is an indication of just how little we know about the oceans. There is certainly more for us to explore in terms of biodiversity in the deep sea of our region." </p><p>The animal's visual similarity to Darth Vader is a result of its compound eyes and the curious shape of its <a href="https://lkcnhm.nus.edu.sg/research/sjades2018/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer dofollow" style="">head</a>. However, given the location of its discovery, the bottom of the remote seas, it may be associated with all manner of horrifically evil Elder Things and <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cthulhu" target="_blank" rel="dofollow">Great Old Ones</a>. <em></em></p>
Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.
- Who am I? It's a question that humans have grappled with since the dawn of time, and most of us are no closer to an answer.
- Trying to pin down what makes you you depends on which school of thought you prescribe to. Some argue that the self is an illusion, while others believe that finding one's "true self" is about sincerity and authenticity.
- In this video, author Gish Jen, Harvard professor Michael Puett, psychotherapist Mark Epstein, and neuroscientist Sam Harris discuss three layers of the self, looking through the lens of culture, philosophy, and neuroscience.
The newly discovered galaxies are 62x bigger than the Milky Way.
- Two recently discovered radio galaxies are among the largest objects in the cosmos.
- The discovery implies that radio galaxies are more common than previously thought.
- The discovery was made while creating a radio map of the sky with a small part of a new radio array.