GamesRead : New Japanese beer claims to actually make you prettier

Who needs beer goggles? The clever brewing scientists at Suntory have figured out how to brew a beer that actually makes people prettier! No, not the other people in the bar, but you, the drinker!

Their magical new brew is called Precious, and the big secret is that the cans don’t just contain beer, they’re boosted with two whole grams of collagen, which will give you a nice, healthy glow that’s not in any way related to the effects of the alcohol you’re consuming.

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Wait, collagen? Isn’t that the stuff they inject into women’s lips when they want to look more like Angelina Jolie? It is, but your body also produces it naturally. Pounding a Suntory Precious puts the finished product in your system, but you can also just eat a balanced diet and let nature do its thing.

There’s no real science backing up Suntory’s claims that gulping down the collagen in Precious will make you prettier — or even that it will improve your skin in any way. Then again, putting collagen in the beer probably didn’t have anything to do with the science-inclined folks at Suntory. It sounds more like something their marketing department cooked up in order to capitalize on the collagen craze in Japan.

Even if the claimed dermatological benefits turn out to be completely bogus, there are still plenty of health benefits to drinking beer (in moderation, of course). It can increase good cholesterol, help keep your kidneys in tip-top shape, reduce your risk of heart attacks and blood clots, and keeps work-related stress and anxiety in check.

Oh, and there’s also evidence that beer — any old beer, not just Precious — can help improve a woman’s skin. That billboard model could’ve gotten her radiant glow from Sapporo or Kirin for all we know.

GamesRead : First donut in space takes one giant leap for pastry kind

It has been a while since we’ve had a first something in space. We’ve had the first satellite, first man, first woman, and now? The first donut, courtesy of Swedish brothers Alexander and Benjamin Jönsson. Using a weather balloon, they sent the pastry around 20 miles up (more than 32 kilometers) and filmed the whole thing. Now you can finally say you’ve seen a donut in space.

The launch took place last week in Norway, but yes, the brothers are Swedes. It turns out the permit to send up a weather balloon is around 11,000 kronor ($1,245) in Sweden, but it’s free in Norway. Look, no one is saying this wasn’t a seminal moment in human space flight, but paying over $1,000 just to get a video of a donut in space is a little excessive.

The donut was affixed to a plastic plank where it could easily be filmed with the onboard camera. It doesn’t really change over the course of the flight, but we wouldn’t have known that without the video, right? The donut floated gently up to the 19.8 mile (32 kilometer) mark, then the balloon burst and sent it into free fall. On the way down, the camera spotted a plane passing by at around 2:15 into the video, which is neat.

At the end, the donut traveled around 85 miles (137 kilometers) over the course of five hours. It landed across the border in Lake Vättern, where volunteers from the Swedish Sea Rescue Society helped the brothers recover their experiment. The donut survived the initial impact, but was waterlogged by the time it was rescued, which is tragic, because a space donut probably tastes better. The pair want to send up more balloons to shoot videos, but no promises about future pastry payloads.

GamesRead : Halo Online gameplay video reveals fast-paced Halo 3-like experience

Microsoft and 343 Industries are busy developing a Russia-only free-to-play Halo experience called Halo Online. However, the game has already leaked and work is underway by modders to remove the Russia-only restriction. Now a video has appeared on YouTube showing off the gameplay and potential this game has.

As you can see in the video below, it’s still very early days, but the game is described as playing like Halo 3 with sprint. That makes sense as it’s built on the Halo 3 engine, but it looks to have been improved with an injection of speed that turns out to be a lot of fun.

A discussion on Reddit has suggested the game is more fun with a keyboard and mouse, which is something a lot of PC gamers will agree with when it comes to first-person shooters in general. The shotgun is highlighted as the most fun to use weapon at the moment, but melee attacks are over powered. The game is also very easy due mainly to the use of large red markers hovering above every player.

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The lag you see in the video is due to the fact it is being played over a peer-to-peer connection and system link. This is expected to improve quickly as more time is spent working on the build of the game that leaked. But even with the lag, the game is enjoyable meaning Microsoft has a hit in the making, at least in Russia.

I can see why Microsoft is reluctant to roll out Halo Online into larger markets. It is offering gamers a solid Halo multiplayer experience for free on PC using arguably better control through the use of mouse and keyboard input. The concern internally at Microsoft will be whether such a game would negatively impact sales of Halo games on Xbox One. It’s a valid concern, especially as Halo Online has been created to run on relatively low end hardware meaning it will run on the majority of PCs and laptops in use in 2015.

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The build leak may end up forcing Microsoft’s hand and help them take the decision to make Halo Online available elsewhere. Even if it does impact Xbox sales, it should just push Microsoft to create a new console Halo game that gamers will be eager to play even if they are enjoying Halo Online on their PCs.

GamesRead : Rand Paul is selling Hillary Clinton email server hard drives

Remember that whole Hillary Clinton email server controversy that was all over the news last month? Her people may have taken it down, but now you can buy your very own Clinton email server hard drive. Act now, because they’re going fast!

Just head on over to Senator Rand Paul’s web store and you can take home one of these treasured collectibles for the low, low price of just $99.95. Apparently there are 80 available as of right now, so you can still throw your money away on one if you move quickly.

hillary-heavy-useWhile there are no doubt plenty of Tea Party members out there that could be convinced these are the genuine article, they’re not actually hard drives from the Clinton email server. It’s just the folks at Rand Paul for President up to their usual political shenanigans. Assuming the photo’s an accurate representation of what they’re selling, you’ll get an decade-old IDE drive with a hilarious heavy use warning sticker slapped on it.

You’d think they could have at least picked up a box of old, disused hot-swap drives in caddies so there was at least a hint of authenticity to the Hillary’s Hard drive. Then again, subtlety isn’t Paul’s strong suit. This is a guy that once filibustered about drones for 13 straight hours (you can even buy ultra-cool Don’t Drone Me, Bro t-shirts from his store).

Paul’s got a history of pulling stunts like this. Back in February, his people set up a fake Pinterest account so they could take shots at Senator Clinton. It was supposed to be a kind of hip, modern take on political mudslinging, but it unsurprisingly came off as more of a ham-handed attempt by an old, rich white guy to look like he could hang with the cool young kids.

GamesRead : Florida teen arrested for changing teacher’s desktop background

Florida is teaching kids a hard lesson about computer security. Authorities in Pasco County recently locked up a 14-year-old for hacking… after he logged on to a school computer using a password his teacher typed in front of the whole class.

It gets better. The password? It was this teacher’s last name. The student logged in, changed the wallpaper to a risquee image of two men kissing, and waited for his mark to spring the trap. Unfortunately, it was a sub who saw the pic and reported it to school administrators.

Now, it’s not hard to see that there was a transgression here. Just because someone types his or her password in while you’re watching — and didn’t bother to spend a moment considering best security practices — doesn’t mean you’ve been given permission to use that password.

Here’s a question, though: why is any network administrator allowing passwords this simple to be used in 2015? Last names? Holy crappy credentials, Batman, you might as well be using “password”, “god”, or “baseball”. For a first-time login, fine, log them in with something obvious… but force an immediate change, and have a real password policy set up on your server. Make people throw in a number or two. Maybe even a symbol!

Not that it’s fair to place all the blame for the password fail on the IT staff. Even if this school’s network admin wasn’t in the mood to set up policies, I can’t imagine the teachers aren’t allowed to change their passwords on their own. Assuming they are, it’s insane that they wouldn’t update them. It’s not 1950 any more. Pranking the teacher doesn’t mean everyone puts in a set of false teeth like the kids in A Christmas Story did.

To all you tech-savvy kids out there, take heed: law enforcement agencies have a very broad interpretation of what constitutes hacking, and some of them won’t think twice about hauling you off to a holding cell for what amounts to a harmless prank. They’ll even bust you if you’re too young to get in to a PG-13 movie.

[Image courtesy of US Department of Education on Flickr]

GamesRead : MTV unleashes first Scream The TV Series trailer

MTV might have been all about film last night during the Movie Awards, but the network did take a few moments out of the big screen celebration to debut their upcoming small screen presentation of Scream the TV Series. Bella Thorne, who appears in the beginning of the first episode a la Drew Barrymore, presented the clip which she also appears in.

From the looks of the trailer it seems like the series is hitting a lot of the same basic points as the original and not just the kickoff starlet cameo death. You’ve got the kid who knows everything about horror tropes, a potentially murderous boyfriend, and even a potential attack in a garage.

Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter announced that Third Watch actor Jason Wiles has joined the cast to play the recently retooled part of town sheriff Clark Hudson. He replaced Joel Gretsch much like Arrow alum Bex Taylor-Klaus came in to take over for Amy Forsyth. Willa Fitzgerald, Carlson Young, and John Karna also star in the show.

Scream, written by Kevin Williamson and directed by Wes Craven, debuted in 1996. The film introduced Ghostface, a slasher with many different people under the mask. Sequels followed in 1997, 2000 and 2011. In the TV series, a nasty case of cyber-bullying results in an even nastier case of murder that sets the town understandably on edge. Enter the mysterious tag line: “Everyone has secrets, everyone tells lies and everyone is fair game.”

Though it was originally going to appear in October, Scream the TV Series is now set to debut on June 30.

GamesRead : Artificial bee brain used for vision system of a drone

The Green Brain Project is located in Sheffield, England, and it has one key focus: to simulate a functioning honeybee brain in software. Using a mix of neuroscience modeling, decision theory, parallel computing, and robotics, they are working towards that goal. So far, they’ve got the vision and olfactory (sensory) systems working in basic form, and they’ve already been hooked up to a drone.

Recreating an entire brain, however simple, is a massive undertaking and will take many years to achieve. But as different parts of the brain come online they can be put to good use with surprisingly positive results. In the case of this drone, the artificial bee brain’s vision was used to allow the drone to see. With the software running on the drone, and cameras used as eyes, it was able to fly down a corridor successfully.

Of course, even this vision system is in the early stages of development. It can currently detect motion but not colors or shapes–those will come in time.

As the bee brain development continues, more will be learned about the best ways to create an artificial brain while unlocking new functionality. The ultimate goal at The Green Brain Project is a fully functioning bee brain that can’t be told apart from the real thing. After that, there’s nothing to stop it being uploaded to a tiny drone that actually carries out the same daily duties of a real honeybee. Of course, for that to happen robot development has got to progress a few more generations, too.

When we say that robots will one day take over the world we usually link it to some sort of apocalypse. However, with bee numbers on the decline and their function in nature being so vital, millions of drone bees may actually be a vital part of a future with humans still in it.

GamesRead : Destiny: House of Wolves first trailer revealed, releases May 19

Since conquering both the on-disc and first expansion’s content, Destiny players have been eagerly awaiting new challenges to accept and fresh obstacles to surmount — and subsequently new ways to cheese their way through it all with the least amount of effort possible. Thanks both to data-mined leaks and the slow-drip of news from official Bungie sources, players have been salivating over what details have been disclosed thus far — potential names of missions, leaked gear aesthetics and stats, and a vague idea of what the narrative could hold. Now, Bungie has officially revealed both the release date of House of Wolves, and the expansion’s first official trailer.

Destiny’s second expansion will release May 19 — nearly one month away — and will focus on the Fallen, the first enemies you encounter in the game.

House of Wolves will take us to the Reef, where the Awoken — humans that spread out into the stars and were somehow physically changed to look somewhat like space drow — reside. As part of the on-disc narrative, the Queen of the Reef does the player a favor, and says that one day soon she’ll want it repaid. To that end, players have felt that the Queen’s contingent of Fallen — the specifics of their servitude so far undisclosed — will somehow rebel, and she’ll call in that favor to help put an end to the uprising.

Despite the revealed release date and above trailer, details of the upcoming expansion remain sparse. Data mining efforts have uncovered full sets of vendor and raid gear — which have in turn suggested a two-level raise of the level cap — but without an official Bungie confirmation, that info isn’t set in stone.

When The Dark Below released, Bungie elongated playtime not just with new content, but by adding more arbitrary restrictions to the already heavily resource- and time-gated endgame — most infamously by requiring players to re-level their exotic gear, which takes a tedious amount of time and effort. Bungie has stated multiple times that this approach to re-leveling exotic gear was a mistake, but has yet to reveal what its plans for the gear are this time around. While re-leveling gear may not seem like a big deal to outsiders, in Destiny, gear level dictates player level, which in turn dictates what content can be accessed. Last time around, players actually dropped in level when Bungie forced them to re-level their exotics, not only erasing their previous hard work, but making them worse off from where they started. Bungie is still dealing with the fallout from that decision to this day, so it’s likely safe to assume that the developer will have a better plan this time around.

House of Wolves is just over a month away, so we can expect more news leading up to that May 19 date on which we’ll probably come down with something and have to take a sick day.

GamesRead : Terminator: Genisys unlocks new photo, trailer

For a film whose basic theme is “don’t trust technology,” Terminator: Genisys sure is utilizing social media to get the word out. First, the franchise’s official Twitter account revealed this new photo of star Arnold Schwarzenegger while also requesting retweets that would unlock the new trailer.

The campaign was a success because earlier today the new trailer debuted:

Thor: The Dark World, Mad Men, and Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor helmed the film which finds an aged T-800 played by Schwarzenegger protecting a young Sarah Connor played by Emilia Clarke from Byuyng-hun Lee’s T-1000. Jai Courtney portrays Kyle Reese, J.K. Simmons is Detective O’Brien, Jason Clarke is John Connor, and Matt Smith is reportedly a holographic embodiment of Skynet.

“It’s a character that has been programmed to protect them, to protect Sarah Connor,” Schwarzenegger told IGN. “I’m basically the same Terminator: I will destroy anything that’s in front of me in order to save her.” As you can see in the new trailer, the T-800 will be pretty busy trying to keep any number of mechanical threats from taking out Sarah Connor.

Given that Schwarzenegger is 67 and looks a lot different than he did in James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi action classic The Terminator, many might wonder how a time traveling robot can look like he’s been around the block so many times.

In another interview with IGN, Schwarzenegger explained why his android has aged. Basically, there’s a metal skeleton, “but above that is human flesh. And the Terminator’s flesh ages, just like any other human being’s flesh. Maybe not as fast, but it definitely ages.” This is the same basic explanation that James Cameron gave last fall.

Finally, the actor told The Arnold Fans that he will definitely “be back” for the next two films. “Yes, of course, next year,” he said in regards to shooting the sixth film in the franchise which is scheduled to open on May 19, 2017 followed by the seventh one on June 29, 2018.

Terminator: Genisys opens on July 1.

GamesRead : Curiosity data suggests liquid water on Mars

Water on Mars? That’s a given seeing as ice is water, and there’s plenty of that. You can see it with a good telescope locked up in the white polar caps of the Red Planet. Liquid water, on the other hand, has been elusive on Mars. New data from NASA’s Curiosity rover could finally explain when and how liquid water exists on Mars. Hint — it’s all about the salt.

Curiosity has discovered deposits of calcium perchlorate in the soil in Gale Crater, where the rover landed nearly three years ago. Calcium perchlorate is a salt, which means it has the ability to depress the freezing point of water, just like the salt we dump on roads here on Earth to melt snow. Most of the atmosphere on Mars is carbon dioxide, but there’s some water vapor in there too. That’s where the liquid water could be coming from.

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When the sun goes down, some of the water vapor in the atmosphere condenses on the surface as frost. The presence of calcium perchlorate indicates this frost could become mixed and form a brine, which has a lower freezing point of the water, resulting in liquid water on or near the surface. Because Mars’ surface is porous, the brine could soak in, then bubble up elsewhere. This could help explain a number of formations and apparent geological processes that have been observed in the past.

Mars probably used to have much more water before its magnetic field dissipated and the atmosphere was stripped away by the solar winds. Researchers actually think Gale Crater was once a giant lake. It’s still unclear if life still exists on Mars, but it would have to be quite unusual to survive there. There are a number of single-celled organisms known as extremophiles that can live in very cold, hot, or salty conditions. Perhaps something like that exists on Mars.