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What Is Pokémon Go and Why You Should Care
Nintendo has recently-released the Pokémon Go smartphone game has taken the U.S. by storm, ushering in a new age in gaming and augmented reality.
To put it simply, Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality game for your smartphone, the first true hit of this genre. It was developed by Niantic, a company under Google's umbrella. Since it was released in the US a week ago, the game has become a cultural and social phenomenon, quickly going viral, rivaling such online stalwarts as Twitter in popularity.
What do you do in this game? You point your smartphone at the world around you and try to catch magical creatures called Pokémon (short for "pocket monster") that seem to appear on the screen. It's an amazing extension of the game space from the screen to the whole of your everyday experience.
The game uses GPS to pinpoint your location and inserts the little monsters into real spaces that you look at through the phone's camera. The game populates the creatures all over your city, with different kinds of Pokémon materializing depending on where you are and the time of the day. This way you have to go to more places to find all the monsters.
The game is actually smart enough to populate your world with the monsters that are location-dependent. For instance, being on a beach would prompt a water-based Pokémon to pop up.
Once you catch them (which requires you to battle them), you can train the Pokémon and make them fight each other. In the game's parlance, this makes you a "trainer". You can also fight other such trainers to give your little monster expanded abilities and to up your ability to find even rarer Pokémon.
Another aspect of the game are PokéStops, which are specific locations in the "real" world that you can see on a map inside the game. Once you go to these places, you can buy (for real money) the game's weapons called Poké Balls and Pokémon-hatching eggs. You can also buy and set up lures that can attract Pokémon to these locations (a technique used by some businesses like cafes to attract hordes of obsessed Pokémon hunters).
To get all the monsters, you need to travel a lot, both day and night.
How popular has the game been? People are looking for Pokémon all over their cities, parks, offices, and even while in Ubers. The game was even used by some enterprising robbers to lure victims.
The Pokémon franchise is owned by Nintendo and already had a viral phase in the late 1990s, when it became wildly popular on the company's handheld consoles, spawning a tv show, movies and trading cards. The tremendous popularity of this new incarnation of the game brought Nintendo's market value up by $9 billion.
The game's amazing spread has caused much attention and scrutiny, including criticism of how it gathers user data, allowing for possible breaches of security. The developers announced that they are working on a patch to fix any such issues.
The game is available for both iOS and Android.
Happy hunting (and watch out for that light pole as you walk glued to your screen)!
An Oxford scientist claims a Nobel-Prize-winning conclusion is wrong.
- Paper by Oxford University physicist Subir Sarkar and his colleagues challenges how conclusions about cosmic acceleration and dark energy were reached.
- Physicists who proved cosmic acceleration shared a Nobel Prize.
- Sarkar used statistical analysis to question key data, but his methodology also has detractors.
2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics, Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="28ce83ddb06a68f48f7723de30df35de"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7RDs9qJ-kw0?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>2011 Nobel Laureates in Physics, Perlmutter, Schmidt and Riess, describe how an assumed error turned into the surprise discovery that the universe is expandi...
Lisa Randall: Dark Energy Will Take Over<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="oDcTSObk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="01b8205e912851fbc31a81335b0b463b"> <div id="botr_oDcTSObk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/oDcTSObk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/oDcTSObk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/oDcTSObk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div> <p><em>Physicist Lisa Randall on why dark energy doesn't dilute as the universe expands.</em></p>
Monopolies wield an immense amount of economic and political power and influence. So what can we do to make the economy more equitable?
- According to Vanderbilt law professor and author Ganesh Sitaraman, America has a monopoly problem—a problem that is almost universally acknowledged as such, yet little is done about it.
- Sitaraman explains how monopolies of today share DNA with trusts of the 19th century, and how the increased concentration and consolidation of these corporations translates to increased power both economically and politically.
- "We need to think about reinvigorating our anti-trust laws and the principles of anti-monopoly that gave spirit to those laws and to lots of other regulations," he argues. Restoring faith in government and the economy starts with dismantling the things that make people question its allegiances and priorities.
A new study seeks to understand why the average body temperature is no longer 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Average human body temperatures have declined, show several studies.
- A new paper looked at an indigenous population in the Amazon over 16 years.
- They found the new body temperature of the observed people to be 97.7°F, not the standard 98.6°F.