After Parents are Infected with COVID-19, Teen Invents Wristband to Help Prevent it

After Parents are Infected with COVID-19, Teen Invents Wristband to Help Prevent it
(Youtube/VybPro VybPro)

In case you’ve been sleeping, we’re currently in the middle of a pandemic. Until there’s a vaccine, the best we can really do is stay home, sanitize everything we can get our hands-on, and stop touching our faces. Unfortunately for many, these three seemingly small things are actually pretty dang hard because we spent most of our lives learning to live in a non-pandemic world. Old habits die hard – we are tempted to go out with friends, forget a mask when going for a walk, and we cannot seem to stop touching our faces. Fortunately for us, 15-year-old Max Melia is here to help us break at least one of these problematic habits.

The Bristol teen had a personal connection to the cause very early on when both of his parents contracted COVID-19. His idea, however, wasn’t new. Melia began developing these wristbands years ago, to help reduce flu transmission. These ingenious wristbands remind wearers not to touch their faces by vibrating whenever the user’s hand gets too close. The sad truth is, touching your face is almost always completely subconscious. In a normal world, this isn’t a huge deal – but we now know that touching our faces is extremely dangerous if we’ve come into contact with anything contaminated with COVID.

Once Melia’s parents contracted COVID, he poured everything he had into the creation of the VybPro. He developed a prototype, launched a Kickstarter campaign, and created a website with more information.

Melia told the Good News Network, “The main priority of this project is not to make money, but to get it onto the wrists of those it can help keep safe. Any profits made from early sales via the crowdfunding site will be reinvested into providing free devices to organizations that help people such as NHS staff and nursing homes.”

Not only has this techy teen created something that could potentially save countless lives, but he is also doing it so that nobody else has to go through what his family went through. Personal gain is the last thing on Melia’s list, although tons of people stand to gain a whole lot by using it. Here’s hoping Melia reaches his Kickstarter goal, and we see the VybPro available for purchase around the world very soon.

NBA Players Will Be Wearing COVID-Detecting Smart Rings

COVID-19 Detecting Ring
(Oura)

The NBA was the first major pro sports league to announce a return to action, slating the resumption of their season for a late July start. And yeah, it’s gonna be a little weird. For starters, every team is playing and living at Disney World. There are currently debates about how (and when) players’ families will be allowed into “the bubble” the league will have for players and staff on site. And the COVID precautions are going to be to the max.

For starters, outside of the regular testing, and the creation of this “bubble” system where players are living in the same hotel and discouraged from leaving, there will be no fans at any games. OK, so we get that. But it appears the NBA is taking things a step further, as players will have the option to wear a ring that can detect COVID-19 symptoms up to three days before a traditional test (with nearly 90 percent accuracy).

The Oura Ring is capable of detecting some of the traditional symptoms, as it has sensors that measure things like temperature, heart rate, sleeping patterns, and respiratory rate. Players will be able to see their results in an app, so they have the most up-to-date representation of their health.

Honestly, the ring sounds like something out of a James Bond movie. And yeah, if such technology is this consistent and accurate, maybe they should go to healthcare professionals or first responders, but where’s the fun in that? Also, until hospital workers are flush with the PPE that will keep them safe in their jobs, they probably wouldn’t be too thrilled to have fancy wearable tech.

And the ring, designed to monitor sleeping patterns, wasn’t built for COVID purposes, it just happens to work pretty well for this particular virus. It’s not even FDA approved yet to detect the virus, so it’s not worth getting too bent out of shape with the “leave em for healthcare workers!” take.

It will be interesting to see how many NBA players actually end up wearing the ring and how effective they end up being. So far, a handful of players in the NBA already rock the technology, even pre-COVID, so I imagine most players will be opting in for one more level of precaution as they resume their season.

Fitbit Unveils Emergency Ventilator to Support Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

Fitbit Emergency Ventilator
(Fitbit)

When COVID-19 began to spread, hospitals realized they did not have nearly enough personal protective equipment or ventilators to handle a large outbreak. Physicians in the U.S. were reading heartbreaking stories from Italy about emergency room doctors forced to decide which patients would get to live because they didn’t have enough ventilators.

So communities began to shut down in an effort to “flatten the curve”, buying time for hospitals to build up their supply of PPE. Companies that used to make sporting goods started making face shields for healthcare workers. Toy companies started churning out masks. And now we can add Fitbit to the list of companies giving back during the pandemic, as they unveiled a new ventilator that hospitals can use in a pinch.

The Fitbit Flow is billed as an easy-to-use, low-cost emergency ventilator that the company said was designed with clinical input from healthcare experts. It’s not as effective as a conventional ventilator, but they are far cheaper and will get the job done until the necessary equipment becomes available for a patient.

The company said they are planning to use their existing infrastructure to start manufacturing a whole lot of these ventilators. It’s a terrific development for healthcare workers, as the Fitbit Flow can really help during a surge situation. And with plenty of talk of a second wave of COVID-19, these ventilators may be sorely needed by the time they are available.

And it’s not a permanent change for the company dedicated to counting your steps, but it’s what they can do to help the country during its time of need.

“COVID-19 has challenged all of us to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity, and use everything at our disposal to more rapidly develop products that support patients and the healthcare systems caring for them,” said Fitbit CEO James Park.

“We saw an opportunity to rally our expertise in advanced sensor development, manufacturing, and our global supply chain to address the critical and ongoing need for emergency ventilators and help make a difference in the fight against this global virus.”

The new ventilator has been approved by the FDA for emergency use.

SpaceX Is Launching a Shuttle at 3:22 ET! Here’s How to Watch

SpaceX Launch
(YouTube/The Museum of Flight)

Update 5/30: Wednesday’s SpaceX launch was delayed due to stormy weather, so it was moved to today, at 3:22pm ET. Saturday afternoon is the next best window for the shuttle to launch on the proper trajectory to arrive at the International Space Station. Unfortunately, the forecast for today’s launch is also less than ideal, with a 50/50 chance for rain and clouds instead of the clear skies needed for a successful launch.

If it is delayed again today, the astronauts will aim for a Sunday launch at 3pm. When it finally does blast off, you can watch via one of the live streams below!

***

When I was a kid in the 80s, space shuttle launches were must-see TV. They were big deals, for everyone, not just kids, and everyone stopped what they were doing to see us blast people into outer space.

They kind of lost their luster after the Challenger explosion, and NASA slowly began ramping them down in general. Nowadays they just don’t happen, and when they do, there’s nowhere near as much excitement. NASA last flew a shuttle in 2011. But over the past few years, people have started to grow more interested as private companies start making forays into space travel, the most prominent of which is Elon Musk’s SpaceX company.

SpaceX is back it. Today, at 4:33 ET, the Demo-2, manned by NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, is set to launch on a voyage to the international space station. This is the first time SpaceX is using NASA astronauts, the first time NASA astronauts have flown to space commercially, and the first time Americans will enter space from America since the end of the space shuttle program nearly a decade ago.

But the window is tight. If there’s any delay in the launch, even by a minute, they’ll miss their window to get on the right trajectory toward the ISS and will have to try again on Saturday or Sunday.

Hopefully, everything will go smoothly, and we can start getting excited about space travel again!

“We have this moment in time where we can unite people again,” Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s administrator, said during a press briefing before launch. “The whole world is going to be watching this.”

There are a variety of ways to watch the launch, as listed by Entrepreneur magazine:

NASA TV

SpaceX

National Geographic and ABC Live

The Museum of Flight


And here’s a few recaps to whet your appetite:

American Museum of Natural History

Discovery and Science Channel

HEARTWARMING: Isolated Dad Befriends Robotic Lawnmower

Dad Befriends Robotic Lawnmower
(Getty/Sebastian Gollnow)

In a bid for any semblance of camaraderie outside of his family, local dad Barry McLeod has chosen to put aside his beef with the robot lawnmower and finally befriended it.

“It’s an unlikely friendship, for sure,” stated McLeod, who’d previously harbored strong animosity for the smart mower, fearing he’d eventually be rendered useless in the great robot uprising. “It can’t talk back, but the mobility gives it some appearance of sentience. Also, it isn’t my wife or kids, so that’s really cool during quarantine life. Our friendship has become so strong that we’ll be pals long after COVID-19 is in our rearview mirrors.”

McLeod, seen above sharing a cold one with his new companion, was initially hesitant of the technology, worried his passion for mowing would one day be supplanted with sheer convenience.

“I won it in a work raffle,” he continued. “I loathed it so much I didn’t even open the box. But it turned out to be a really chill piece of lawn equipment, thanks in no small part to its incapacity for speech. Doesn’t scream about Paw Patrol or ask weird hypotheticals or anything. Very cool.”

McLeod’s wife could not be reached for comment, as she was inside discussing the arts with a Roomba.

Despite being completely plausible to parents, THIS JUST IN is satire and intended for entertainment purposes only. For more stories like this one click here.

Dude Spends Quarantine Building Laser-Shooting Iron Man Suit

Iron Man Suit 3
(TikTok/techmaster_2020)

So what have you been doing during your quarantine? Did you catch up on some new shows? Did you take up knitting? That’s cool. This guy built a laser-blasting Iron Man Suit.

TikTok user techmaster_2020 has decided he wasn’t going to spend all his downtime doing useless time-sucking activities. No, he was going to literally become Iron Man (though he’s not the first, or second). Using nothing but spare parts from his garage, this friggin guy has spent countless hours constructing the Mark-1 Iron Man suit using nothing but his brain, his hands, and fire (and, like, a whole bunch of tools). But instead of being motivated by the need to bust out of a terrorist prison, he’s doing it for the TikTok followers (excuse us while we install that app after locating the instruction manual).

Check out Duderface McGee trying so hard to be cool and 100% succeeding:

@techmaster_2020

#fyp #foryou #ironman #viral #diy #trending #tiktok #tiktokcreator #art #2020 #science #tech #music #fy

♬ Back In Black – AC/DC

Here he is Iron Man-ing his leg:

@techmaster_2020

#ironman #diy #tonystark #creative #artist #music #idea #dream #2020 #future #tech #tiktok #goals #real

♬ All Over the World – Electric Light Orchestra

Here he is getting the hand laser blaster thing in working order:

@techmaster_2020

#science #ironman #diy #sidehustle #homemade #creative #dream #2020 #talent #real #goals #happy #happyathome #tech #artist #home

♬ Can’t Hold Us – feat. Ray Dalton – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Did we mention that it actually works?

@techmaster_2020

#ironman #tonystark #diy #science #tech #2020 #real #artist #homemade #creative #music

♬ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Remastered – Eurythmics

As does the arm blaster thingy:

@techmaster_2020

#science #ironman #tonystark #future #2020 #tech #creative

♬ The Ecstasy of Gold Ringtone (Original Score) – Version 2 – Ennio Morricone

Here’s ol’ Brohan McGeister getting all Tony Stark on us. His many phones would lead us to believe that he is also as rich as Tony:

@techmaster_2020

#science #ironman #livinglikelarry #diy #artist #music #tech #2020 #goals #creative #happyathome

♬ Should I Stay or Should I Go – Remastered – The Clash

Here he is laying out all his parts so we can get a sneak peek:

@techmaster_2020

#votetiktok #fyp #ironman #tiktok #diy #tiktokcreator #artist #2020 #idea #science #tonystark #real

♬ The Avengers Theme – Movie Sounds Unlimited

Oh yeah. He has flamethrowers. Like…will he actually be able to fly in this thing?

@techmaster_2020

#fyp #tiktok #ironman #original #diy #artist #2020 #science #creator #top #freefire #viral #tiktokviral

♬ Hells Bells – AC/DC

Uh oh. Twist. Dude has to start over cause he can’t get in the suit.

@techmaster_2020

#ironman #tiktok #diy

♬ original sound – techmaster_2020

We have no doubt he’ll complete this thing. We don’t know who he is or what he does for, ya know, money…but we do know that he’ll most likely get to Mark 30 by the time Christmas rolls around. Way to show us all up, guy. Also, side note, he has a time machine:

@techmaster_2020

#tiktokdoctorwho #ironman #time #viral #tiktokcreator #tonystark #timemachine #custom #votetiktok

♬ Doctor Who (Opening Theme) – Keff McCulloch

NFL Exploring Virtual Fans and Crowd Sound Effects for Broadcasts

Virtual NFL Fans
(EA Sports)

Sports is trying to find a way back. The UFC held a card in an empty arena, and CEO Dana White is looking into buying a private island to host future fights. The NBA is looking at finishing the season with everyone at DisneyWorld, and MLB is proposing a shortened, 82-game season. The NFL is also making contingency plans for the upcoming season, as is their TV partners.

FOX, in particular, has an interesting plan for how to handle the weirdness of two world-class football teams playing in a completely empty stadium. According to Joe Buck, they are planning to pipe in crowd noise and use virtual fans for the crowd shots.

There are many advantages to this. For the average TV viewer, the final product wouldn’t be that different. Other than red-zone plays, where you might have a running back celebrating by jumping into the arms of shirtless drunks in the first row, you could probably trick yourself into thinking there’s a crowd. It would make the viewing experience a lot easier to adapt to.

Another advantage would be for teams like the Cincinnati Bengals, who are used to playing in front of a mostly-empty Paul Brown Stadium. This little gimmick would finally make it seem like they are playing in front of a raucous, sold-out crowd.

On the other hand…it’s going to be weird.

Joe Buck mentioned this as a certainty during an interview on SiriusXM:

“In fact, I know they will do it. It’s pretty much a done deal. I think whoever is gonna be at that control of that will have to be really good at their job and be realistic with how the crowd would react depending on what just happened on the field so it’s really important.”

So, yeah, it’s gonna be weird. Still, weird NFL games are better than no NFL games, even if the viewing experience is a cross between something real and something that more resembles a game of Madden.

Epic Games Shows off Demo of PlayStation 5’s Next-Level Graphics

PlayStation 5s Next Level Graphics
(Vimeo/Unreal Engine)

When I was a kid playing Beamrider and Hero on my Coleco, or Legend of Zelda and Bionic Commando on my Nintendo, I often dreamed of a video game that was totally immersive (like Double Dragon times 1000!) and had photorealistic graphics.

I never got it. But as things progressed, and I stopped playing games, the technology kept improving by leaps and bounds, giving my kids an opportunity to explore the mind-blowingly immersive world of Hyrule with almost nothing reining them in. And it’s allowed me to play a version of Madden that, if you didn’t know any better, you might think were an actual football game being broadcast on television.

Video games leveled up multiple times, including the advent of virtual reality that looks a lot better than the worlds Pierce Brosnan was messing with in The Lawnmower Man, and it looks like things are about to level up again.

This winter promises the release of the PlayStation 5 console, the next generation of one of the most popular video game systems of the past 30 years, and based on the early glimpse we just got, my childhood dreams may just be realized. Epic Games just released a demo its next-generation game engine, Unreal Engine 5, that uses two new core technologies (Nanite virtualized micropolygon geometry that “frees artists to create as much geometric detail as the eye can see” and Lumen, “a fully dynamic global illumination solution”). It looks insane.

From the Unreal Engine blog:

“We’ve just released a first look at Unreal Engine 5. One of our goals in this next generation is to achieve photorealism on par with movie CG and real life, and put it within practical reach of development teams of all sizes through highly productive tools and content libraries.”

It looks like they’ve achieved their goal!

Epic Founder and CEO Tim Sweeney spoke to IGN about this leap forward. “I think, first of all, Sony has a massive, massive increase in graphics performance compared to previous generations. But you know, I guess we get that every generation?” he kidded. “But Sony’s made another breakthrough that in many ways is more fundamental, which is a multi-order magnitude increase in storage bandwidth and reduction in storage latency.”

How this compares to the XBox’s next console, which is also set to release this coming winter, is yet to be seen, but if it looks anywhere near as good as this, my kids are going to be thrilled.

Take a broader look at a full video released by Unreal Engine:

Al Pacino Is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

Al Pacino is Ace Ventura
(YouTube/Futuring Machine)

The typical trajectory is as follows: comedian becomes famous for being funny, parlays that fame into TV and or movie stardom gets tired of being known merely for being funny, attempts to crossover into drama. Sometimes it works and you get Robin Williams, sometimes it doesn’t work and you get Will Ferrell.

It’s a little less popular to do the reverse, i.e., to start as a dramatic actor and then veer into comedy. It can happen, but even when it does, the person still remains largely known as a serious performer who occasionally moonlights in comedies. Just look at Robert DeNiro, who hit comedy gold with Analyze This and Meet the Parents (not to mention the stone-cold classic Midnight Run), but still mostly known for dramas. When a comedian has success going serious, he rarely looks back, as if he considers comedy to be beneath him.

One dramatic heavyweight who has rarely gone the comedy route is the flipside to DeNiro’s coin in Heat: Al Pacino.

He seems made for comedy, and since he doesn’t seem all that interested (maybe it’s Sandler’s fault) someone went ahead and did the work for him. Thanks to DeepFake technology, it’s now possible to shift Al Pacino’s entire career by imagining – and actually visualizing – how he might have handled a broadly comedic role like Ace Ventura.

Just remember, before you watch this uncanny recreation of Jim Carrey’s classic character: some things you can’t unsee.

Best Halo Game: We Ranked Halo From Worst to First

Best Halo Games Ranked
(343 Industries / Bungie /Ensemble Studios)

I don’t mean to alarm you but the Halo franchise has been around for nearly TWO DECADES and, despite Master Chief’s line about ‘finishing the fight’ a few games back, our green armored hero doesn’t appear to be calming his trigger finger anytime soon. Halo Infinite is still set to release later this year so we thought it would be fun to revisit the action-packed series that has defined so many of our gaming experiences.

Also, to make things more interesting (and not at all controversial), we’ve ranked every major Halo title from worst to best. Yes, every entry has added a little more to the already massive Halo universe, but they aren’t all perfectly cut gems in the pantheon of gaming – some are definitely a little rougher around the edges. Did your favorite come out on top or did it take too many unsuccessful risks to truly stand out above the rest?

Halo Games in Order

11) Halo Spartan Strike

(343 Industries)

The second of two top-down twin-stick Halo shooters available on mobile platforms, Spartan Strike tosses players into the boots of an unnamed Spartan shooting it out during the attack on New Mombassa at the end of Halo 4. It ramps up the action to make up for its smaller scale by equipping players with oodles of weapons and gear right out of the gate, resulting in a one-Spartan-army the likes of which could give the Master Chief a run for his money.

It feels a lot like what Halo might have been if it was released as an arcade game back in the ’80s. The bite-sized missions are ideal for mobile platforms but it’s disappointing that it can’t be played on Xbox platforms or with friends in a co-op mode like its predecessor. Plus, with so many previously visited locales from past games, it’ll probably leave you wondering why you aren’t playing one of those titles instead.

10) Halo Spartan Assault

(343 Industries)

Another twin-stick shooter, Spartan Assault follows the battles of Spartans Edward Davis and Sarah Palmer as it attempts to bridge the gap between Halo 3 and Halo 4. Its beautifully animated cutscenes, well-produced sounds effects, and superior voice acting are definitely impressive and the option to play on the Xbox 360 or Xbox One is convenient, but the twin-stick controls remain a bit frustrating and take time to get used to. Players with a mouse and keyboard on hand can avoid a lot of headaches.

Additionally, the arcade-based scoring system, while a good idea in theory, seems to detract from the character-focused narrative that the game clearly tried to push. It’s hard to feel an emotional pull from the characters when kill streak indicators are constantly splashing across the screen. Overall, Assault is a nice fix if you’re feeling the itch to dive back into the Halo universe while on-the-go, but don’t expect to feel fully satisfied.

9) Halo Wars

(Ensemble Studios)

A Halo game without the Master Chief is odd, but when it’s not even a first-person shooter, you can’t help but wonder what Microsoft was thinking (or drinking). Halo Wars wasn’t necessarily a bad game, though. The console-based real-time strategy game features a solid story, gorgeous cutscenes, and a score by Stephen Rippy that rivals Martin O’Donnell’s incredible work from previous games. It was even developed by Ensemble Studios—the same developer behind the classic Age of Empires games—but none of this could save it from feeling a bit clunky and out-of-place when compared to the polished shooters Bungie was known for.

On the bright side, the process of building massive bases, armies, and vehicles is definitely streamlined compared to other RTS titles, making your fight against the Covenant brisk and constant rather than being bogged down by menus and other minutiae commonplace in the genre. The birds-eye view of combat simply can’t compare to adrenaline-pumping action you get while staring down the barrels of various UNSC-issued weaponry, though. Even though Halo Wars rightfully earned an ardent group of fans who appreciated its deviation from the norm, most franchise vets and seasoned RTS players couldn’t be bothered with it.

8) Halo Wars 2

(343 Industries / Creative Assembly)

Another real-time strategy Halo game? Sure. We were all craving more mediocrity. Halo Wars 2—developed by Creative Assembly after Ensemble Studios disbanded—provided additional polish and a handful of new features but, for the most part, was more of the same. At least the single-player experience offered some bold new steps narratively as players face off against a fearsome new foe, but it’s a short campaign that ends rather abruptly and on a frustrating cliffhanger.

Multiplayer offers much of the same experiences, too, but on mostly smaller maps this go-around for some reason. Thankfully, the game’s exciting new Blitz mode is a fun feature that further streamlines resource-gathering and base-building by giving players a set of cards enabling them to deploy troops and special abilities anywhere on the map. The system makes games more fast-paced and intense, distancing itself even further from the classic RTS experience but offering something new that casual and new RTS players might appreciate.

7) Halo 4

(343 Industries)

After Bungie departed Xbox Game Studios, 343 Industries was left with the daunting task of following in their massive, Master Chief-sized footsteps, so it’s no surprise that their first foray into the Halo universe wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Halo 4 isn’t necessarily a bad game; it’s a perfectly adequate shooter that’s plenty of fun to play and looks damn good despite the Xbox 360’s aging hardware. It simply didn’t live up to the Halo standards that folks knew, loved, and expected.

It features a more “human” side to John-117, delving deeper into his background and relationships than ever before but the gameplay and overall story weren’t as innovative or interesting to match. It lacked the scope and depth of titles in the previous Halo trilogy and its multiplayer seemingly took more notes from Call of Duty than any Halo installment. Overall, it’s a solid game that delivers a quality gaming experience but remains pretty lackluster when compared to the rest of the franchise.

6) Halo 5

(343 Industries)

We all had high hopes for the Xbox One’s first proper Halo game (it currently holds the record for the biggest Halo launch, after all) but it ended up feeling like the most confused entry in the series. The campaign was designed with an entire squad of online friends in mind and, as a result, is a pretty brutal grind when stuck playing with a bunch of AI Spartans. One round against the damnable Warden Eternal (a recurring mini-boss who only takes damage when you can maneuver around him and shoot him in the back) will make you understand.

To make matters worse, 343 decided to put the kibosh on one of the biggest draws to the Halo experience: couch co-op. So, even if you want to play with someone else, they’ll need their own copy of the game, Xbox One console, TV, and Xbox Live subscription to join you in the fight.

Now, despite what some pissy fanboys might say, the latest Halo entry isn’t all bad. Multiplayer introduced plenty of fun, redeeming qualities to the franchise like streamlined player movement and the sprawling action of the Warzone game mode, but it still felt a bit dated compared to other FPS titles at the time. Not to mention, you’d have to look far and wide to find a player who likes a loot box system. Here’s to hoping for a return to the series’ roots in Halo Infinite.

5) Halo 3: ODST

(Bungie)

Despite not even letting players jump into the Mjolnir armor of a Spartan, the jazzy Halo 3: ODST solidified itself as a hit with its unique noir themes, engaging storyline, and colorful cast of characters. It was the brave departure from the norm that made this massive “expansion” stand out amongst a catalog of full-length titles. Rather than playing a superpowered Spartan, ODST throws you into the boots of a UNSC shock trooper – no dual-wielding, no armor upgrades, no problem. It stripped away many of the science fiction elements of other Halo games in favor of a pretty straightforward military campaign chock-full of easter eggs for those willing to search for them.

But fear not – there’s still plenty of alien-slaughtering goodness here. In fact, ODST was our first introduction to Firefight: the single or cooperative horde mode that had players fighting wave after wave of Covenant attackers. And while ODST simply adopted Halo 3’s superb multiplayer mode, it included all of the main game’s DLC maps, making it the ideal expansion for an already incredible game.

Oh, and extra points for Nathan Fillion.

4) Halo: Combat Evolved (the best one to start with if you’re a newcomer)

(Bungie)

The FPS that defined a generation, Halo CE was a rare gem that placed as much importance on universe-building as it did game mechanics, which instantly made Microsoft’s new video game console a household name. Players were thrust headfirst into a high-octane emergency escape to a mysterious ring-world that neither you nor the characters in the game knew anything about. We were introduced to the fearsome Covenant, the zombie-like Flood, and a pistol that could probably sink an aircraft carrier, all of which made the game truly unforgettable.

Of course, it was the game’s multiplayer that gave Halo CE its longevity. It introduced countless console gamers to LAN parties for the first time, offering up matches with a then-astounding 16 players, all of whom were likely screaming obscenities across a Doritos- and Mountain Dew-filled house. Add to that the introduction of near-perfect multiplayer maps like Battle Creek, Hang Em’ High, and Blood Gulch and you’ve got yourself an instant classic that lived up to its name by evolving first-person combat as we knew it.

3) Halo: Reach

(Bungie)

Reach was Bungie’s last hurrah in the Halo realm and, boy, oh boy, did they want to leave an impression. Despite being nearly 10 years old, the game still holds up thanks to its impressive art direction and fluid gameplay. The perfectly-paced campaign stands out for being a prologue that ends in heroic tragedy rather than the standard Mjolnir-armored fist pump of victory and features a squad made up predominantly of Spartan-III’s rather than beefy Spartan-II’s like the Master Chief.

It’s a game that took major risks, many of which paid off. Spartan suit customization is taken to a whole new level and armor abilities add depth and positively affect the flow of multiplayer combat (though, armor lock users can still go straight to hell). The updated Forge mode offered players countless hours of custom map-building and the dedicated Griffball playlist is more fun than it has any right to be. Sure, players can knit-pick certain aspects like the hollow, short-lived characters and the introduction of reticle bloom but, all in all, Reach is the proper send-off from Bungie we deserved.

2) Halo 2

(Bungie)

The sequel to Halo CE that seemingly every gamer on the planet was clamoring for, Halo 2 was not only a worthy follow-up to a genre-defining FPS but truly defined the landscape of online gaming.  It was visually stunning at the time and introduced key gameplay features like dual-wielding weapons and vehicle hijacking that would become mainstays in the franchise, but the game’s linear campaign also forced us into the role of the Arbiter—a deviation that, while bold in concept, many players weren’t too excited about.

Multiplayer was Halo 2’s crowning achievement, though. Players could finally utilize the mighty power of the internet to slaughter their buddies online, and we did… for hours… sometimes avoiding less important responsibilities like school and daily hygiene to do so. How were we supposed to focus on geometry homework when we knew our friends were online, gutting each other with energy swords on Lockout?

1) Halo 3 (coincidentally, also the  best-selling Halo game)

(Bungie)

The conclusion of the original trilogy, Halo 3 took us back to Earth to “finish the fight” once and for all against the Covenant and the Flood. It not only offered classic Halo combat and gunplay polished to near perfection but also introduced 4-person co-op, which was perfect for taking on its tough-as-nails Legendary difficulty. If it didn’t include the infuriating, flood-infested “Cortana” level (which is a special kind of masochism on higher difficulties), the campaign would be damn-near perfect.

Halo 3’s multiplayer, however, needs no such caveats. This shining jewel of FPS carnage easily competes against Mario Kart and Goldeneye 007 for the best multiplayer experience of all time. Bungie’s top-notch map creators deserve all the credit for constructing some of the most engaging and memorable multiplayer experiences gamers have ever had. On top of this, developers went above and beyond to balance dual-wielding and power weapons and added diverse new items like the bubble shield and power drain, adding depth to an already premium competitive mode. Unsurprisingly, it remains the best-selling Halo title with a staggering 14.5 million copies sold, so if you want to experience Halo as it was meant to be played, look no further.

You might consider breaking up your Halo battles with some work out video games – it’s a legit way to keep your physical fitness in check in the comfort of your own home. The good news is that playing video games with your kids can be good for their health.

Son Builds Tractor Lift for 89-Year-Old Farmer Dad

Son Builds Tractor Lift
(Facebook/ABC News)

Running a farm is usually a family business, and it’s one that can span generations. And it’s one that usually involves some level of work even long past the age most white-collar workers have retired to the golf course. And one son in Kentucky was determined to help his dad stay in his way-of-life for as long as he wanted, even when his physical limitations started to get in his way.

Bill Sr., an 89-year-old farmer in Kentucky, was starting to have trouble getting into the tractor he spent a considerable part of his life on. He saw the life he loved starting to slip away.

“I’m not much on standing, walking, climbing steps, but I can get out there and cut hay, drill soybeans,” he told a local news outlet. “That’s the way farm people are, they just keep going.”

His son, Bill Jr., wanted to help his dad stay involved with the family farms. So he went to work on devising a solution. He successfully developed a tractor lift to get him up in his seat.

“He loves farming and he’s still very active, we want to keep him that way,” Bill Jr. said. The homemade creation is just what Bill Sr. needed to stay in the fields. It’s a touching gesture between a son, his dad, and the family farm that’s spanned generations.

“I’m 89 now and just looking to farming as long as I can,” Bill Sr. said.

Guy Creates AI Version of Self to Ditch His Zoom Meetings

AI to Ditch Zoom Meetings
(YouTube/redpepper)

Not all heroes wear capes. Some use artificial intelligence.

These days, video calls are all the rage. Connecting video has become a necessary evil for many of us who are suddenly faced with working, or attending class, remotely. We used to see each other all the time, at meetings, in the hallways, around the corner of our cube farm, but now we’re all stuck inside with limited human interaction, and video calls are the closest we get.

Of course, weeks into quarantine, not only does constantly having video conference calls get old, so does showering and/or wearing anything besides your PJs. Sometimes you’re maybe not looking your best, or you’ve long caught on that this conference call could have just as easily been an email. But you’ve got to show up because your boss is gonna be there too. There’s no way around it.

Or is there?

Matt Reed figured out a way to get out of his countless Zoom calls, using some developer skills, a little ingenuity, and a program called Zoombot. A writer for Red Pepper, Matt explained exactly what he did, and how he did it.

“So, in order to reclaim some of my precious time I built a Digital Twin of myself that uses the latest in advanced AI Speech Recognition and Text-to-Speech to handle my Zoom meetings for me.”

His Zoombot stand-in comes complete with almost-human head tilts and blinking, along with a collection of catchphrases you might hear on a work call, like “Let’s circle back on this,” or “Is it too early for red wine? HA HA HA.”

All in all, it makes for a pretty amusing, and slightly disconcerting, experience!

Watch this hilarious video of his not-quite-successful attempt to escape his Zoom calls:

Pierce Brosnan Is Hosting a GoldenEye Watch Party Online This Sunday

Goldeneye Watch Party
(MGM/UA)

In many ways, the global pandemic has isolated us from one another. What with social distancing, and quarantines, and shelter-at-home, and pretty much every type of gathering off-limits, we’re stuck inside with few people for company.

In some ways, though, we’re more connected than ever. Thanks to technology, we can use social media, and video apps, to keep in touch with each other. Some people have even rediscovered actual phone calls! One of the “perks” of this situation is that we’re all in the same boat, even celebrities, which is leading to creative methods of communication, and community.

One such method is a social media watchalong, wherein someone like John Mulaney organizes a group watch of his Netflix Sack Lunch Bunch special with the cast and answers questions from fans online. And this weekend, James Bond himself is hosting something similar.

Pierce Brosnan, James Bond himself (at least before Daniel Craig took the mantle) has put together a communal rewatch of GoldenEye, which hit theaters 25 years ago. Fans can tune into Esquire UK’s Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channels on Sunday, April 19th at 7 pm (BST – that’s British Summer Time) which is at 2 pm EDT (Eastern Daylight Time).

Fans can start the movie at the exact same time as Pierce and watch along with him. You can even submit questions about the movie, or about his other Bond movies, as you watch, and maybe he’ll even answer them! But odds are there will be a ton of people participating, as James Bond is one of the most popular pop culture characters of all time, and Goldeneye is a fan favorite.

The watch party comes at the perfect time. The 25th Bond movie, No Time to Die, was supposed to be hitting theaters this month but has instead been pushed back, leaving fans with a gaping Bond-sized hole in their lives.

Enjoying a classic flick, along with James Bond himself, and maybe a martini or two (shaken, not stirred), should be a decent substitute.