Legends of Tomorrow Makes an Alternate Universe Matter

first_img Legends of Tomorrow continues to be the perfect palate cleanser after a not-so-great episode of The Flash. It remembers how to have fun, even when its story turns a little dark. Now, it’s even doing the alternate universe thing better. Remember how Flashpoint lasted a single episode before Barry returned things to mostly-normal? Well, now Legends has Doomworld, and it looks like we’re stuck here for a while.The Legion of Doom activated the Spear of Destiny at the end of the last episode, and this week’s throws us right into the middle of the reality they created. Sara and Amaya are chasing down a costumed superhero in Star City. Who is it? Surprise! Felicity from Arrow has put on a suit. As cool as it is to see Felicity get into the action, it doesn’t last long. Sara and Amaya catch her and take her to see the mayor. As you might have guessed, Oliver isn’t the mayor in this reality. It’s Damian Darhk. Sara and Amaya now work for him. Following his orders, they kill this version of Felicity. (Don’t worry, she’s still alive in Arrow‘s universe.)Despite the Legion having won, not everyone in the group is entirely happy with the outcome. Darhk and Malcolm Merlyn have noticed that Eobard Thawne got his ideal world, and hasn’t given them everything they want. Worse yet, he’s holding onto the spear and destroyed the book that taught him how to use it. The Legends are all still alive at Rory’s insistence, but they all work for the Legion now. Sara and Amaya are henchmen for Darhk. Martin is a scientist working on some kind of project for Thawne. Jax is his harsh, overbearing supervisor. Ray cleans toilets.Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer/Atom (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW)It’s not long before Rory grows tired of all this. He and Snart can rob banks with no risk. The cops just stand by and let them go. With no chase and Snart owning all the banks, the life of crime is boring. He also doesn’t like being summoned to meet with Thawne. During the meeting, we see Nate run into the Thawne’s office claiming to have seen scars in reality. He figures out that this reality isn’t right, but doesn’t realize Thawne is the one responsible. Thawne orders Snart and Rory to kill him, but Rory refuses. He decide’s he’s had enough of this reality and brings Nate to Ray’s apartment to figure things out. Luckily, Ray has stolen a gun from Thawne’s lab that can restore people’s memories. Yes, it’s a huge plot convenience, but we had to get the Legends back somehow. It also leads to a great running gag where, upon regaining their memories, each Legend immediately punches Rory in the face.Eventually, they’re able to restore everyone’s memories (but not their powers) except for Martin, whose been locked away in his lab until Thawne’s project is finished. The Legends figure out that Thawne is having Martin build a device that can destroy the Spear of Destiny. That would make the Doomworld reality permanent. They infiltrate the lab and Jax try to restore Martin’s memory. Unfortunately, Martin thinks Jax is trying to kill him and destroys the gun. He also triggers a silent alarm and Thawne comes running. Martin’s device is finished, and Thawne is about to destroy the spear. Fortunately, Rory has told the rest of the Legion of Doom about Thawne’s plan.Wentworth Miller as Leonard Snart/Captain Cold (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW)The Legion shows up, and a massive fight ensues over the spear. The fights in this episode have all been fantastic, but this tops them all. The camera follows the spear as it gets tossed among the Legends, each fighting a member of the Legion. There’s a great comedic moment where Nate and Darhk work together to knock Thawne away from the spear and almost high five. Then, they remember they’re enemies and Darhk punches Nate. The spear ends up in Rory’s hands, and Snart assumes he’ll turn it over to the Legion again. Realizing he’ll never be anything more than a dog to Snart, he redeems himself and gives it to Amaya.This is where the episode takes a serious and fairly shocking turn. Amaya begins to use the spear to undo reality, but Snart freezes her with his cold gun. He then walks over to her and tips her frozen body over. Amaya shatters into pieces, killing her instantly. Doomworld just became much more dangerous. As everyone stares in shock, Thawne wakes up, grabs the spear and destroys it. Doomworld is permanent. Sara brings up the possibility of the Legends and Legion working together to defeat Thawne, which would make for a great season finale. Thawne says seeing them try and fail would be more satisfying than killing them all now and lets them go. It’s another instance of a solution being too easy this week, but we have to get to the season finale somehow.Maisie Richardson- Sellers as Amaya Jiwe/Vixen (Photo: Dean Buscher/The CW)The team regroups in Nate’s mom’s basement, and Sara comes up with an idea. They travel back in time and stop Thawne from getting the spear. They’ll risk time folding in on itself, but at this point, there’s no choice. They just need a time machine. Fortunately, Rip Hunter is still in the Waverider. He’s been drinking heavily and making beautiful cakes, but Gideon has been rerouting enough power to allow Rip to make a distress call. Rip snaps out of his depression and starts acting like a captain again.Things worked out a little too easy for the Legends this week. As fun an episode as it was, it was a little unbelievable that Ray just happened to steal a device that would give them their memories back. Likewise, Thawne just letting everyone go didn’t seem to happen for any reason other than we need to have an episode next week. Despite those two problems, Legends of Tomorrow still turned in a good episode. Not the best it’s ever had, but good nonetheless. It was nice to see them raise the stakes with Amaya’s apparent death and the destruction of the spear. They’ve managed to make an alternate universe matter in a way no other DC show has. On top of that, they’ve set us up for an exciting season finale next week. Although, with how good this half of the season’s been, I almost wish it didn’t have to end so soon. Stay on target DC TV Comes to NYCC, Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker Grin & More DC NewsOur Favorite TV Superheroes Ranked last_img read more

Frog Slime Slaughters Flu

first_img Scientists have discovered what me be one of the next great tools for fighting the yearly flu — frog slime. A new paper published in the journal Immunity suggests that a species of South Indian frogs packs some powerful antimicrobial compounds.Researchers from Emory University School of Medicine studying Hydrophylax bahuvistara synthesized a compound called “urumin” found in the frogs’ skin. In tests, the chemical effectively destroyed the viruses, specifically H1 strains the culprits behind many flu pandemics.Right now, the chemical doesn’t last long in the body. It breaks down quickly once administered, meaning that it could offer only very short term protection at best. Scientists are currently working on slight variants that may be more biologically stable. Plus, the team believes that if we could make these types of compounds stable, we could also be able to adapt the formula to combat a variety of others viruses like Zika. Not to mention the value of having a drug that could stop an influenza outbreak before it ever takes roots.Scientists believe that the frog produces urumin to combat viruses and bacteria native in their own environment since they aren’t susceptible to the flu-like pigs, birds, and humans. A frog’s skin is also its most important organ. It not only protects the amphibian, but it’s also part of their respiratory system. And their skin has to be covered in a special layer of mucous, so the little critters don’t dry out when they’re out of water. Because of that, the skin is critical to protection, and many frogs have adapted powerful antimicrobial chemicals as well as an array of other molecules to help protect themselves.But killing the flu on its own isn’t special. After all, bleach and other cleaning chemicals can make quick work of the virus — provided it’s not already inside you. Because bleach is… well… toxic, we need other ways to fight the virus when it’s starting to infect someone. And that’s where the frogs come in. Urumin doesn’t just destroy viruses, it’s also totally safe, at least in mice. Later tests will examine safety in humans and look for ways to make it stable in our blood.Perhaps the best bit of news is that while frogs have lots of these anti-microbe weapons, most animals have some of their own. Because these substances are often easy to synthesize and even easier to find in any given animal, scientists are hopeful that we could discover entire lines of new mega-drugs that could stomp out many of our worst diseases. But, as always, we’ll need lots more research between now and then. Stay on target World’s Last Loa Water Frogs Found Malnourished, Rescued in ChileThese Giant Goliath Frogs Are Excellent Parents last_img read more

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex Robots

first_img Review: ‘Daemon X Machina’ Has Big Robots, Small Fun on Nintendo SwitchThis Robot Is Equal Parts Lawnmower and Snow Blower Stay on target *But were afraid to ask.In a society that throws parties where participants learn about and buy sex toys, it’s no surprise that companies are exploiting modern technology for sexual gratification.Before humans can start copulating with cyborgs, however, there are a few things we should know, as outlined in a new report by the Foundation for Responsible Robotics (FRR).1. There is no shortage of interest in mechanized sexRealDoll sex toy by Abyss Creations (via Realbotix)A number of polls conducted over the last four years reveal a potential market for sex robots—particularly (yet unsurprisingly) among heterosexual men.“We should not neglect the importance of the females who answered positively about half as often,” FRR said in its study. “We have no explanation for these difference, and more research is required.”Perhaps it is a result of the general lack of male-featured androids currently available.Sex robots are a man’s world, as demonstrated by Abyss Creations, maker of the life-size RealDoll sex toy (above). In April, the firm introduced its Harmony AI platform, which lets users create the 3D woman of their dreams by adjusting body shape and size, skin color, and other physical details.A male version of the app is in the works.2. Must love dogs (and display other human-like characteristics of emotion and conversation)Gemma Chan is domestic nanny robot Anita/Mia in “Humans” (via Channel 4)“The goal is to produce robots that we can form a relationship with,” according to RFF.Manufacturers are clamoring to create an experience as close to a human sexual encounter as possible—complete with power limbs and soothing voice box.“Humans can easily be deceived into attributing mental states and behavior to robots because of our natural tendency to project human characteristics onto appropriately configured inanimate objects,” the Foundation said.Such anthropomorphism—as demonstrated by Ryan Gosling in Lars and the Real Girl—makes it easier for us to simply create the perception of a genuine human sex partner.“However, despite many years of research, no one has yet managed to develop a robot that crosses the uncanny valley and fools us into thinking that it is human,” FRR added.3. Will Westworld‘s fantasies become a reality?Bordello Madame Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) must service the darkest desires of Westworld guests (via HBO)In a 2012 journal article, Ian Yeoman and Michelle Mars predicted that Amsterdam’s red light district will embrace robot sex workers by 2050.And if Asia and Europe’s affinity for sex doll brothels is any indication, they’re probably right.“If static sex dolls can be hired out successfully, then sexbots with moving components seem certain to be even more successful,” artificial intelligence researcher David Levy wrote in 2007. “If vibrators can be such a huge commercial success, then malebots with vibrating penises would also seem likely to have great commercial potential.”There is no indication, though, that robots will end prostitution or sex trafficking.4. Sex bots perpetuate gender perceptions—and not in a good wayAlicia Vikander is Ava in “Ex Machina”(Universal Studios)Experts believe that, much like pornography, the use of sex robots “sexualizes rape, violence, harassment and prostitution” and “eroticizes dominance and submission.”Not to mention the negative body image the sculpted silicon machines create.The big question, as posed by FRR, is “what additional impact on societal perception” will this create “within an already burgeoning adult industry that thrives on such objectification and commodification?”5. How to lose friends and alienate peoplePriscilla “Pris” Stratton (Daryl Hannah) is the “basic pleasure model” in “Blade Runner” (Warner Bros.)Just as your muscles will atrophy without use, so could your social life once you start bonking a robot on the regular.A majority of scholars cited by FRR believe that sex robots could lead to “some form of social isolation”—holding users back from creating strong friendships and even stunting their ability to feel intimacy and empathy.On the other hand, “there could be social acceptance, and people may take their sex robots out on social occasions,” the Foundation suggested.Most awkward double date ever.6. Sexual robot healing makes me feel so finevia sorayama.netWhile most sex robots will be sold for recreational purposes, there are legitimate medical uses for the technology—including assistance with erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, and social anxiety about a first sexual encounter.7. Can child sex robots curb crime?Steven Spielberg’s “A.I.” features robots Gigolo Joe (Jude Law) and David (Haley Joel Osment) (Warner Bros.)Perhaps most controversially, sex robots have been proposed for use in preventing crimes like violent assault, rape, and pedophilia.But, before you get on your high horse about child-like bots performing sexual favors, consider Shin Takagi and Trottla, the company making sex dolls for perverts.“We should accept that there is no way to change someone’s fetishes,” Takagi told The Atlantic last year. “I am helping people express their desires, legally and ethically.”The question of sex robots for therapeutic use remains unanswered—and hotly debated.“On one side there are those who believe that expressing disordered or criminal sexual desires with a sex robot would satiate them to the point where they would not have the desire to harm fellow humans,” FRR said, playing devil’s advocate. “On the other side, many others believe that this would be an indulgence that could encourage and reinforce illicit sexual practices.”Check out the Foundation for Responsible Robotics’ full report online for more details and interviews with the CEOs of True Companion and RealBotix sex robot makers.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.last_img read more