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I hated Animal Well until I beat the game

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I hated Animal Well until I beat the game

About midway through Animal Well, I felt I had been lied to. I read all the glowing reviews of the game and heard the breathless praise heaped upon it on social media. But my expectations did not match my reality… until I beat the game. Now, I’m well on my way to 100 percent completion for a game I was seriously considering abandoning.

Spoilers for Animal Well are below.

Though I loved Animal Well’s novel take on traditional movement abilities — the tools it provides possess multiple clever uses — platforming itself often felt demoralizing. Initially, Animal Well’s platforming felt like it had difficulty spikes that were both too great and too frequent. I could often see where I had to go and how to get there (and I often looked up video guides to confirm I was doing it right with the right tools) but actually executing was more laborious than fun and engaging.

Though I loved Animal Well’s novel take on traditional movement abilities, platforming itself often felt demoralizing

I’ve always felt that the difficulty of a task in a platformer should be commensurate with its importance: the hardest moments should be reserved for secrets and optional goals, while everything involved in completing the game should be more attainable. That way, I am still in control of my experience and, critically, still having an experience. If reaching a secret is harder than I’d like, then I can opt out to continue on to beat the game one completion percentage point lower. But if simply getting from point A to point B is too dang hard, opting out means opting out of the game entirely. Animal Well’s platforming convinced me I’d run into an obstacle so frustratingly difficult that I’d quit and never come back.

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On a lark, I decided to see what would happen if I pressed a big red skull button in a room full of crows, and yup, they pecked me to death.
Image: Big Mode / Shared Memory

Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Somehow, I persisted long enough to collect all four animal flames to complete the game’s first “ending,” figuring I’d stop there. But then, right before the final encounter, I found a room littered with skulls containing an upgrade to the bubble wand item. Remember this, it’ll be important in a moment.

The bubble wand creates little bubble platforms you can jump on, but you can only blow one at a time. The upgraded bubble wand allows you to blow multiple bubbles that, with the right technique, let you bypass a lot of the game’s obstacles.

Remember the skulls? I figured out that all the skulls in that room, piled high enough for me to reach the wand, represented the number of times I died. With that realization came the shock that even though I wasn’t initially vibing with the game, it was always vibing with me. The bubble wand upgrade is unreachable unless you’ve accumulated enough skulls to build a platform up to it. The only way I got what finally made this game click for me was because of all the frustration it put me through in the first place.

When I figured that out, I started laughing maniacally, tears in my eyes, thinking, “Oh, you cheeky bastards!” I immediately went right back to the start of the game to go egg hunting, something I already decided I wasn’t going to do. But I was locked in now. I understood. I’m stuck in the (animal) well now, and I’m never coming out.

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Former head of NSA joins OpenAI board

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Former head of NSA joins OpenAI board

OpenAI has appointed Paul M. Nakasone, a retired general of the US Army and a former head of the National Security Agency (NSA), to its board of directors, the company announced on Thursday.

Nakasone, who was nominated to lead the NSA by former President Donald Trump, directed the agency from 2018 until February of this year. Before Nakasone left the NSA, he wrote an op-ed supporting the renewal of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the surveillance program that was ultimately reauthorized by Congress in April.

OpenAI says Nakasone will join its Safety and Security Committee, which was announced in May and is led by CEO Sam Altman, “as a first priority.” Nakasone will “also contribute to OpenAI’s efforts to better understand how AI can be used to strengthen cybersecurity by quickly detecting and responding to cybersecurity threats.”

Recent departures tied to safety at OpenAI include co-founder and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who played a key role in Sam Altman’s November firing and eventual un-firing, and Jan Leike, who said on X that “safety culture and processes have taken a backseat to shiny products.”

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to have huge positive impacts on people’s lives, but it can only meet this potential if these innovations are securely built and deployed,“ board chair Bret Taylor said in a statement. “General Nakasone’s unparalleled experience in areas like cybersecurity will help guide OpenAI in achieving its mission of ensuring artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.” 

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Chilling fake of birthing 30,000 babies in eerie artificial wombs

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Chilling fake of birthing 30,000 babies in eerie artificial wombs

The intriguing yet fictional video, “EctoLife: The World’s First Artificial Womb Facility,” has recently regained traction on social media, likely due to creator Hashem Al-Ghaili releasing another fake video – on head transplants called “BrainBridge” – sparking discussions and raising questions about the EctoLife video’s authenticity. 

However, both videos are conceptual presentations and do not depict an existing facility or technology.

An image from the controversial concept video (EctoLife)

A thought-provoking concept, not a reality

The EctoLife video, created by Hashem Al-Ghaili, a science communicator and filmmaker, presents a futuristic concept of an artificial womb facility that claims to offer a safe and pain-free alternative to natural pregnancy and childbirth.

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The video showcases rows of fetuses in clear, football-shaped pods inside a high-tech building, accompanied by a narrator describing the facility’s capabilities.

However, it’s crucial to understand that the EctoLife video is a concept video and not a representation of an existing reality. Al-Ghaili himself has clarified that the technology depicted in the video does not yet exist, and the video is marked as a “concept” near its end.

artificial womb 2

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

KURT’S BEST FATHER’S DAY GIFT GUIDE 2024 

Partial ectogenesis: A more realistic approach

While the concept of complete ectogenesis (gestating a fetus entirely outside the womb) remains a distant possibility, researchers are making progress in the field of partial ectogenesis. In 2017, researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia successfully gestated premature lambs in artificial womb-like “biobags” for several weeks. However, experts emphasize that these efforts are focused on potential life support options for premature human babies, not an alternative to full gestation.

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ARTIFICIAL womb 3

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

Sparking discussions and ethical considerations

While the EctoLife video may not depict a current reality, it has succeeded in igniting discussions about the potential implications and ethical considerations surrounding artificial womb technology. As scientific advancements continue, it is crucial to engage in thoughtful dialogue and address the complex ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise.

As Hashem Al-Ghaili stated, the main goal of creating the video was “to ignite the discussion about an emerging technology and to highlight scientific progress in the field of ectogenesis.” By presenting a thought-provoking concept, the video has sparked conversations that could shape the future development and regulation of artificial womb technology.

artificial womb 4

Controversial concept video (EctoLife)

BOSTON DYNAMICS’ CREEPY ROBOTIC CANINE DANCES IN SPARKLY BLUE COSTUME 

Kurt’s key takeaways

While the resurfacing of the EctoLife video has reignited discussions and raised eyebrows, it’s important to separate fact from fiction. The video, though intriguing, is a conceptual presentation and not a depiction of an existing reality. However, its creator, Hashem Al-Ghaili, seems to have a knack for sparking conversations with his thought-provoking, albeit fictional, videos.

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The recent release of Al-Ghaili’s “BrainBridge” video on head transplants has likely contributed to the renewed interest in the EctoLife concept. While these videos may not represent current scientific capabilities, they serve as a reminder of the rapid pace of technological advancements and the ethical considerations that must accompany them.

As we continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible, it’s crucial to engage in thoughtful dialogue and address the complex ethical, legal, and social issues that may arise. The EctoLife video, though fictional, has succeeded in igniting discussions about the potential implications of artificial womb technology, and these conversations could shape the future development and regulation of such technologies.

Ultimately, while we may not have artificial womb facilities like EctoLife just yet, the video serves as a thought-provoking glimpse into what the future might hold and a reminder to approach such advancements with careful consideration and ethical responsibility.

What are your thoughts on the implications of artificial womb technology? If a facility like the conceptual “EctoLife” were to become a reality in the future, what potential concerns would you have? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact.

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The Beats Studio Pro are down to $180, nearly matching their all-time low

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The Beats Studio Pro are down to $180, nearly matching their all-time low

If you’re not an audiophile and can’t otherwise afford to splurge on a substantial pair of headphones like the AirPods Max or the new Sonos Ace headphones, a pair of Beats can do the job just fine. The brand’s headphones consistently sound pretty good and have kept up well with the times under Apple’s stewardship. You can consider the Beats Studio Pro the pinnacle of the line right now, and the flagship over-ear pair are nearly matching their all-time low price at around $179.95 ($170 off) at Amazon and Best Buy. That’s only $10 more than the all-time low price we saw during Black Friday.

For example, these headphones are more adaptable than most across the mobile ecosystem duopoly currently ruled by iOS and Android. On iOS, they support key features like one-touch pairing, Siri, spatial audio with dynamic head tracking, Find My, and iCloud sync. On Android, you also get Fast Pair, Find My Device support, and automatic pairing and seamless audio switching between Android devices and Chromebooks. Plus, you get better active noise cancellation and transparency mode compared to the Beats Studio 3 they replaced, not to mention lossless USB-C audio (although you give up the aforementioned audio features when using it).

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