Upcoming eSports Competitions For 2013 (DigitalTrends.com)

I’m not sure this is “all” the upcoming trends, given the author didn’t include the ArenaNet Guild Wars 2 $10K Invitational, the finals of which will play out at PAX Prime, but it is a rather astounding list if you weren’t closely tracking the eSports industry.

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Gamers compete at the recent MLG championships

It’s not easy keeping up with the competitive world of eSports. There are several tournaments held throughout the year, and many of them are unique to one game. More are introduced as the demand requires, and others are simply parts of bigger events.

To help remedy that Digital Trends has compiled this list of all the major eSports events remaining this year and into the beginning of next, from League of Legends to World of Tanks to Call of Duty: Black Ops II and more. It’s by no means comprehensive, but it’s close. If there’s anything important missing make sure to say so in the comments, and it will be added.

MLG PCs

League of Legends

Hot6 League of Legends Champions Summer 2013 Grand Finals

  • South Korea Aug 28 – 31
  • League of Legends

Riot Games League of Legends Championship Series Season 3 World Championship

  • TBA
  • League of Legends

Garena Premier League 2013 Playoffs

  • TBA
  • League of Legends

StarCraft II

Dreamhack Open Valencia ’13

  • Valencia, Spain July 18 – 21
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Major League Gaming Summer Invite

  • New York July 20 – 28
  • StarCraft II

MLG watching

Red Bull Training Grounds Orlando

  • Orlando, FL July 26 – 28
  • StarCraft II

ASUS Republic of Gamers Assembly Summer 2013

  • Helsinki, Finland Aug. 1 – 3
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

North American Star League StarCraft II World Championship Series America Season 2 League Finals

  • Santa Monica, CA Aug. 10 – 11
  • StarCraft II

Dreamhack Open Bucharest ’13

  • Bucharest, Romania Sept. 14 – 15
  • Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Dreamhack Open Winter ’13

  • Jönköping, Sweden Nov. 28 – 30
  • StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

MLG Announcers

League of Legends and Starcraft

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 New York Comic-Con

  • New York Oct. 10 – 13
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 Singapore

  • Singapore November
  • League of Legends, StaCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 Sao Paulo

  • Sao Paulo, Brazil Feb. 2014
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Electronic Sports League Intel Extreme Masters Season 8 World Finals

  • Katowice, Poland March 14 – 16 2014
  • League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

World of Tanks

Wargaming.net League North America Season 1 Finals

MLG crowd

  • Las Vegas August 17 – 18
  • World of Tanks

Wargaming.net 2013 TanksAsia Season 1 Finals

  • Sept. 7
  • World of Tanks

DOTA 2

Valve’s The International 3 Finals

  • Seattle Aug. 7 – 11
  • DOTA 2

Multiple Games

 UMG Atlanta / Arena Gaming League 9

  • Atlanta, GA Aug. 9 – 11
  • Halo 4, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2

MLG Audience

European Gaming League EGL 10

  • Sheffield, England Aug. 10 – 11
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, FIFA 13, Halo 4

Electronic Sports World Cup

  • Paris Oct. 30 – Nov. 3
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, DOTA 2, Shootmania, Trackmania 2 Stadium, FIFA 14

Major League Gaming 2013 Championship

  • Columbus, Ohio Nov. 22 – 24
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, StarCraft II, League of Legends

World Cyber Games 2013 Grand Final

  • Kunshan, China Nov. 28 – Dec. 1
  • Cross Fire, FIFA 14, League of Legends, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Super Street Fighter IV Arcade Edition, Warcraft 3: The Frozen Throne, World of Tanks
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Upsalite Accident Creates “Impossible Material” With Myriad Uses (Gizmag.com)

It’s amazing how incredible accidents in science can be. Upsalite could dramatically shift how we perceive everything from cat litter to antibiotic delivery methods.

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Scientists make “Impossible Material” … by accident

A sample of Upsalite

 

In an effort to create a more viable material for drug delivery, a team of researchers has accidentally created an entirely new material thought for more than 100 years to be impossible to make. Upsalite is a new form of non-toxic magnesium carbonate with an extremely porous surface area which allows it to absorb more moisture at low humidities than any other known material. “The total area of the pore walls of one gram of material would cover 800 square meters (8611 sq ft) if you would ‘roll them out'”, Maria Strømme, Professor of Nanotechnology at the Uppsala University, Sweden tells Gizmag. That’s roughly equal to the sail area of a megayacht. Aside from using substantially less energy to create dryer environments for producing electronics, batteries and pharmaceuticals, Upsalite could also be used to clean up oil spills, toxic waste and residues.

Scientists have long puzzled over this particular form of magnesium carbonate since it doesn’t normally occur in nature and has defied synthesis in laboratories. Until now, its properties have remained a mystery. Strømme confesses that they didn’t actually set out to create it. “We were really into making a porous calcium carbonate for drug delivery purposes and wanted to try to make a similarly porous magnesium carbonate since we knew that magnesium carbonate was non-toxic and already approved for drug delivery,” she tells us. “We tried to use the same process as with the calcium carbonate, totally unaware of the fact that researchers had tried to make disordered magnesium carbonates for many decades using this route without succeeding.”

Upsalite has a surface area of 800 square meters (8611 sq ft), the highest measured surface area for an alkali earth metal

 

The breakthrough came when they tweaked the process a little and accidentally left the material in the reaction chamber over a weekend. On their return they found a new gel in place. “We realized that the material we had made was one that had been claimed impossible to make,” Strømme adds. A year spent refining the process gave them Upsalite.

While creating a theoretical material sounds like cause for celebration, Strømme says the major scientific breakthrough is to be found in its amazing properties. No other known carbonate has a surface area as large as 800 sq m per gram. Though scientists have created many new high surface area materials with nanotechnology, such as carbon nanotubes and zeolites, what makes Upsalite special is the minuteness of its nanopores.

Each nanopore is less than 10 nanometers in diameter which results in one gram of the material having a whopping 26 trillion nanopores. “If a material has many small pores,” explains Strømme, “it gives the material a very large surface area per gram, which gives the material many reaction sites, i.e. sites that can react with the environment, with specific chemicals, or in the case of Upsalite, with moisture.”

Upsalite’s moisture absorption properties are striking. It was found to absorb 20 times more moisture than fumed silica, a material used for cat box fillers and as an anti-caking agent for moisture control during the transport of moisture sensitive goods. This means that you’d need 20 times less material to do the moisture control job.

Its unique pore structure also opens up new applications in drug delivery. The pores can host drugs that need protection from the environment before being delivered to the human body. It’s also useful in thermal insulation, drying residues from oil and gas industries, and as a dessicant for humidity control. Potential applications are still being discovered as the material undergoes development for industrial use.

The team at Uppsala University is commercializing Upsalite through their spin-off company Disruptive Materials. An article describing the material and its properties can be found at PLOS ONE.

Mario’s Secret Trick – The Cost Of A Princess (GameInformer.com)

The original story of Super Mario Brothers. I didn’t realize they had such a dark original plot. I do, however, love the instruction for kids to ask their parents about the “Domino Effect”. Priceless!

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Mario’s Secret Trick – The Cost Of A Princess

Mario is lovable and squeaky clean, but the original mythology for Nintendo’s mascot contains a murderous secret that is rather surprising. This is the original story of Super Mario Bros.

Back in 1985, the Mario that we know and love today was virtually non-existent. There was no Yoshi. There were no cat, bee, or raccoon suits. Mario didn’t play golf or drive around in go-karts. And Luigi was a generic green color swap of Mario. All we knew about Mario was that he was on a mushroom-fueled quest to save a princess through a pipe-filled fantasy world. If you really wanted to know more about Mario’s lore, you had to go digging, and if you did you might have discovered that Mario was willing to take drastic measures to accomplish his quest.

Nintendo’s 8-bit system wasn’t capable of rendering high-end visuals, so players could extrapolate on Nintendo’s graphics and come up with their own version on what Mario’s world really looked like. For all we knew, Mario’s adventure was a dark epic more in line with fables like Beowulf orSaint George and the Dragon. Interestingly, Nintendo’s own manual for the game seemed to support this darker tone.

The opening pages of Super Mario Bros. tells Nintendo’s original setup for the game.

Notice how the Koopa’s used their black magic to turn the people of the mushroom kingdom into stones, blocks, and plants? That’s pretty dark (and strange) in itself. However, whats even crazier is that Mario spends the entire game smashing blocks in an effort to rescue the princess. The sacrifice of the many apparently outweighs the good of one woman. (The comment about Mario only maybe being the hero of this story is also interesting.)

Still, the story doesn’t end here. Here’s the most disturbing fact. At the end of the Super Mario Bros. instruction manual there was a section that featured some tips and tricks about the game.

Check out this particular tip.

During Super Mario Bros., Mario was freely murdering helpless Toads, and Nintendo was encouraging gamers to do so! It’s probably not surprising that Nintendo hadn’t revisited this origin story.

DIY Bioluminescent Zen Fountain (Gizmodo.com)

Bioluminescence has always intrigued me. Having this in my home? That’s amazing.

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Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

Bioluminescence is awesome. Essentially the production of light by a living organism, e.g. fireflies, certain types of jellyfish, etc—but it doesn’t just occur in animals. There’s even some plant life that has the potential to give off that lovely, ethereal glow. And as Mark Rober shows us in the video above, you can even harness that power to become your very own natural, eerie, and totally beautiful light source.

Because fortunately for us, bioluminescent sea algae is perfect for our purposes and just happens to be for sale as a water mixture on our good ol’ friend, the internet.

Making a Stunning, Glow-in-the-Dark Fountain Is Surprisingly Simple

The only problem is that, to get that nice blue sheen, the water has to be constantly in motion. Which is where Rober got the genius idea to make use of a flowing zen fountain. The algae in the water will, unfortunately, eventually run out of energy and thus light, but until that happens, you’ve got yourself a fantastically clever and stunning lamp to light up the night.

Dad Builds Working Boeing 737 Cockpit In Son’s Bedroom (BitRebel.com)

I can see parents screaming, “But there’s not enough room between the copilot’s chair and the bed to escape!” Maybe this comes with a parachute and a flight attendant demonstrating emergency exits? The original article also has a video showing the “plane” in motion. I wonder how much time and money this required.

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We’ve written tons of articles about fathers who go above and beyond for their children. This article is about a father who built a functional Boeing 737 cockpit in his son’s bedroom. It’s right smack between the bed and the closet. The only thing is, I don’t think he built it for his son. I think he built it for himself. This kid is either begging his father to get out of his room, or he thinks his Dad is the best father in the world. I wonder which one.

Laurent Aigon has been in love with airplanes his whole life. He grew up close to an airport, and his fascination with airplanes has stayed with him for over 40 years. Finally he decided it was time to make an airplane of his own, sort of. After spending thousands of dollars and ordering parts from all over the world, he finally got what he always wanted. It’s a Boeing 737 cockpit. The only problem is, the place he and his friend built it is a bit strange. It’s in his son’s bedroom.

Different strokes for different folks – and I’m sure his family loves him enough to be happy for him, regardless of where he built his dream. According to Daily News Dig, “He taught himself not only how to operate all the cockpit controls, but also the flying procedures, so he’s literally able to maneuver the virtual plane like a real pilot.” You can see it all in action in the video below. I have to say, this is one of the most impressive airplane builds I’ve ever seen. When you look at it, it seems exactly like a real Boeing 737 cockpit! I wonder what his son thinks of it all.

boeing-737-cockpit-bedroom-build

boeing-737-cockpit-bedroom-build

boeing-737-cockpit-bedroom-build

boeing-737-cockpit-bedroom-build

Borrego Stardance – Amazing Timelapse Videos

This is a pretty incredible timelapse of the stars from a small town of Borrego Springs, CA. Thanks to their regulated “outdoor lighting” policies, they have virtually zero lighting pollution and the stars are crystal clear.

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After the surprise success of DEATH VALLEY DREAMLAPSE 1 (vimeo.com/57757618) and 2 (vimeo.com/65008584), our next adventure takes us to the desert town of Borrego Springs, California — a remarkable hidden gem surrounded by the 600,000 acre Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Just three hours south of Los Angeles, this unspoiled landscape shines not only for its natural wonders, but for the absolutely amazing, enormous metal sculptures left behind by local business leader Dennis Avery. Dragons, Dinosaurs, Giant Scorpions, Wooly Mammoths, and much more! All created by incredible steel sculptor ricardoabreceda.com/. ALSO, since Borrego Springs (pop 3500) takes significant steps to protect their pristine night sky, they are 1 of only 4 communities in the WORLD to be certified as an official “Dark Sky Community” by the International Dark Sky Association. See bit.ly/T3icoB.

This crazy combination of amazing steel sculptures and protected sky led to some pretty cool results, as the giant creatures awoke for a midnight “Stardance.” Definitely the best Milky Way shots we’ve ever captured, as well as some exciting star trails, and more experiments with “Starscaping” (shifting from stars to trails in mid-shot). This was also our first shoot with the Canon 6D, and we were very happy with the pushed ISO results. Star Trails shot at 25 sec exposures. No special effects used, just the natural rotation of the earth’s axis. Photography Merging using STARSTAX. Shot with Canon 6D and 5Dmkii, with a 24mm/1.4 lens and 28mm/1.8.

While visiting, we also learned that the philanthropist who commissioned and erected the statues (Dennis Avery) passed away almost a year ago, but allotted the land surrounding the statues (Galleta Meadows) to be free for people to camp on and enjoy. His mantra was supposedly “Blessings are meant to be shared”. We thank him for the vision and the opportunity. Hopefully our little video will help share those blessings even more. To learn more about the man and the location, check out galletameadows.com/.

Activision Pays $8.2 Billion to Say Good-Bye to Vivendi (ArsTechnica.com)

It must be frustrating for Activision Blizzard to see their profits gobbled up by parent corp Vivendi. This should return billions to Activision Blizzard annually and give them substantially more capitol to invest into upcoming projects (Titan, anyone?). Now, if only Bioware would do this to EA.

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Move is more likely about capturing profits than regaining independence.

Independence in the game industry isn’t just for tiny developers looking to break free of their corporate taskmasters. Even mega-publisher Activision Blizzard wants to assert its independence, so much so that late last night it announced an $8.17 billion buyback of most of the shares in the company owned by French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi.

Activision Blizzard is buying about 429 million shares in itself from Vivendi for $5.83 billion, and an investor group led by CEO Bobby Kotick and Co-Chairman Brian Kelly is buying 172 million more shares for $2.34 billion. Kotick and Kelly are responsible for $100 million of that purchase, showing their continued personal investment in the future of the company. Vivendi will still retain a 12 percent share of Activision going forward, down from its current 61 percent stake.

Activision merged with Vivendi back in late 2007 in an $18.8 billion deal that all but eliminated the previously vibrant Vivendi Games as a distinct entity. The merger also reportedly caused some collateral damage for the once-proud Sierra Games sub-brand.

Why move to get out from under Vivendi’s shadow now? It’s possible that Activision was feeling stifled by its parent’s corporate machinations and wants to strike out in a bold new direction without being beholden to the bottom-line of a mega-corporation. But that seems a bit unlikely since Activision is still an investor-driven mega-corporation in its own right.

More likely, Kotick and other investors were tired of seeing Activision’s consistently strong earnings being gobbled up by a parent company that bought them out just before a big surge. When Vivendi first merged with Activision, the recently released Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare was just a surprisingly successful holiday release and not yet a global phenomenon franchise that would bring Activision largely unexpected billions. Vivendi also swooped in just in time to reap a lot of the profits Activision was able to squeeze from its newly acquired Guitar Hero franchise before the bottom fell out from the rhythm gaming market.

Activision Blizzard expects to bring in $4.31 billion in revenue this fiscal year, which actually makes today’s $8.2 billion buyback seem like a deal. Obviously, Kotick and company expect those revenue numbers to continue to climb even higher in coming years, and they want to recapture a significant stake in the company before it becomes even more expensive to do so.

Original ArsTechnica Article

First Planet Discovered Orbiting a Brown Dwarf (TechnologyReview.com)

This is really interesting. Using a different detection technique, astronomers aren’t required to search for planets and stars based on brightness alone. I’d expect to see dozens of new brown dwarf planets to be found in the near future due to this discovery.

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Astronomers have long supposed that planets can form around brown dwarfs just as they do around ordinary stars. Now they’ve found the first example.

Astrophysical calculations show that any star that is smaller than about 1/10th of the mass of the sun cannot sustain hydrogen fusion reactions at its core. These failed stars never light up. Instead they wander the galaxy as warm, dark balls of hydrogen known as brown dwarfs.

Brown dwarfs probably form through the same process that lead to ordinary stars but merely on a smaller scale. If that’s correct, planets should also form in the protoplanetary disks of gas and dust around brown dwarfs. Indeed, astronomers have seen a number of protoplanetary disks of this type.

Until now, however, they’ve never seen a planet orbiting a brown dwarf. That’s not really surprising.

The standard methods for detecting planets look for the way a star wobbles as a planet orbits or at how its magnitude changes as a planet passes in front. But given that brown dwarfs are dim and difficult to see, these methods have yet to produce fruit.

All that changes today with the announcement by an international team of astronomers that they’ve discovered a planet orbiting a brown dwarf the first time. These guys have made their discovery using an entirely different method of detection called gravitational lensing. This occurs when one body passes in front of another and its gravity focuses light from the more distant object towards Earth. That works regardless of the brightnesses involved.

The brown dwarf in question is almost 6000 light years from Earth in the Fish Hook constellation. Astronomers first noticed an unusual change in its brightness in April 2012. Further investigation showed that this was indeed a lensing event.

These guys conclude that the brown dwarf is being orbited by a planet about twice the mass of Jupiter at a distance of just under one astronomical unit. The brown dwarf itself is about 10 times larger than its companion.

That’s the first time astronomers have found an object orbiting a brown dwarf that can be truly described as a planet. The technical definition of a planet is that it must have formed in the parent object’s protoplanetary disk.

Astronomers have seen other planet-sized objects orbiting brown dwarfs but only at distances of several tens of astronomical units. That’s too far to have been part of the protoplanetary disk. “Thus,…,they are not bona fide planets,” say the team.

So that’s a modest first for this team. It raises the question of what kind of conditions exist on such a planet and, of course, whether these could support life.

This planet almost certainly does not fall into that category but where there is one planet, there are almost certainly others. Astronomers can now have some fun speculating on the Goldilocks zones around brown dwarfs where conditions are just right for life and how to spot the interesting planets inside them.

Ref: arxiv.org/abs/1307.6335 : Microlensing Discovery Of A Tight, Low Mass-Ratio Planetary-Mass Object Around An Old, Field Brown Dwarf

Neverwinter: Special Rare Drops Weekend (July 26-29)

This weekend only, Neverwinter is offering chances to win Gift of Tymora boxes as additional loot from killing mobs. One of six different reward types is possible from each box including Astral Diamonds and rare armor and weapons! It’s a bit weird that the Neverwinter folks JUST posted this earlier today given the event STARTS today, but…it is free stuff. Good luck!

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neverwinter,mmo,mmorpg,games,gaming,game,dnd,dungeons and dragons,d&d

Tymora, the Goddess of Good Fortune, has seen the bold bravery of adventurers in Neverwinter and has decided to reward the risks they took with a chance at good fortune! Starting this Friday, 7/26, adventurers may be rewarded with Gift of Tymora boxes in addition to any loot they pick up!

BeginsFriday, July 26, 2013 at 10 A.M. PDT (When is that in your time zone?)

EndsMonday, July 29, 2013 at 10 A.M. PDT (When is that in your time zone?)

What’s inside these Gift of Tymora boxes, you wonder? Rewards may be one of the following:

  • Fools’ Crown of Neverwinter
  • Rare Weapon piece
  • Rare Armor piece
  • 10,000 Rough Astral Diamonds
  • Profession resources (UncommonRare, or Epic)
  • Useful potions for your character level

We’re excited to bring you this fun, exciting, and rewarding event for all the Neverwinter fans out there! Please note that these boxes will not drop inside Gauntlgrym because Tymora felt it a bit much to clutter the battlefield with her sparkling gifts. Are you ready to slay creatures of the Forgotten Realms for a chance at some rare drops? Let us know on the official Neverwinter forums.

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