Thursday, March 18, 2021

[IN THE NEWS] The Embryonic Genome Generator has been invented (not really)

Israeli scientists were able to grow more than 1,000 live mouse embryos outside of a living womb.  Though the process was begun in a living mouse, the embryos were moved to the mechanical womb after fertilization.

Unfortunately, the current systems nutrient solution can only sustain the embryos for eleven days (half way through a normal mouse pregnancy) before they die.  In order for the research to move closer to be able to carry an embryo to full term will be to create an artificial umbilical cord that would be able to provide the embryo with a blood supply.

The intent of building the artificial womb is for the researchers to be able to study genetic mutations and how environmental factors can affect a fetus while inside a womb.

Previous artificial wombs (EVE and Biobag) have been developed to assist late term lamb fetuses survive to term, but not embryos.  The EVE and Biobag experiments have been used to support fetuses for up to five days, but the researchers claim that their tech could support a lamb fetus for up to 28 days.

SOURCES: - This mouse embryo grew in an artificial uterus (2021) - Artificial Wombs Are Getting Better and Better (2019) - Artificial Womb

Monday, December 30, 2019

Farewell 2019

Time to ring out another year, and start the countdown to the end of another decade (unless you are one of those oddities that start a decade on an aught). Sadly, I haven't been spending as much time with the Palladium or TMNT/AtB this year. This is primarily because I have been distracted with learning and running a game with the Savage Worlds system. The game I've been running is in a home-brew Fantasy/Western game (1800s tech in a Fantasy Realm with Magic, and Fantasy Races/Monsters). However, one of the things I've been wanting to do with Savage Worlds is to build a Savage TMNTaOS, and/or a Savage Earth (AtB) setting. The most daunting part of that project is going to be building the Animal templates. The fact that Savage Worlds uses points to buy Attributes and Skills, as well as Hindrances and Edges will make it much easier when building a replacement for the Bio-E method of tailoring your mutant animal build. Among the things I am grateful for this year is that a new game store has come to town with room for role playing. I'm hoping that I might be able to get some people there interested in testing whatever I come up with for a Savage Worlds take on TMNTaOS/AtB. When I start coming up with something that's postable, you'll find it here. Here's wishing you a Happy 2020!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Gods of the Apocalypse (Heroes Unlimited in After the Bomb)

(Game Setting Idea, Work in Progress)

In the beginning there was life, until humanity tore the heavens and earth asunder.
On the first day, fire rained from the sky as humanities folly was cast from the heavens.
On the second day, the waters turned to acid and burned all it touched.
On the third day, the earth opened and swallowed the cities that held up the sky.
On the fourth day, nuclear fire and thunder rolled across the globe.
On the fifth day, silence fell across the lands.
On the sixth day, the Gods of the Apocalypse were born.

The idea of this setting is a darker and grittier blend of After the Bomb and Heroes Unlimited. In the aftermath of numerous apocalyptic events, which have taken place over the span of decades, humans and 'beasts' with super-powers have risen to command those who survived. These 'gods' are opposed by heroic survivors who have salvaged the remnants of humanities folly, the only things that can stand against these Gods of the Apocalypse.

Who are the Gods of the Apocalypse?
A few people, creatures, and tech(?) were touched by something that was unleashed in the calamitous events of the last days, giving them remarkable preternatural abilities.  All of these new gods fight among themselves to claim dominion over humanity, either to subjugate or to protect.  Most fight alone, while a few have allied to form new pantheons.

Who stands against the gods?
In the ruins of the old world can be found the folly of humanity; great weapons and technology that can be as powerful as the new gods that seek to claim rule of humanity.

Who are the Players?
The players may choose to play as gods of the apocalypse, or as humans who stand against the gods; to subjugate the survivors or to protect them.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Video game with an AtB style

Got an email last week about an upcoming video game that has a serious AtB feel to it, Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden by Funcom

Friday, October 19, 2018

[IN THE NEWS] Return of the Auroch

Article: The wild, extinct supercow returning to Europe

The earliest cows were mighty beasts that stood almost as tall as elephants, with lean, powerful frames and fearsome horns that would make a hunter think twice.

In a recent discussion with some friends, the topic went to lab grown meat and how it would impact the animals we domesticated in order to have ready and easy access to them as a food source.  The main animal we discussed was the domesticated cow.  Would they be allowed to go extinct, kept in small numbers as a source for "authentic" beef, or returned to the wild?

The first option, allowing them to go extinct, would be a big mistake.  Another article I came across recently talks about the devastating impact we have had on mammal biodiversity and how it could take millions of years to recover (Mammals Are Going Extinct so Fast That Biodiversity Will Need Millions of Years to Recover).  So, most likely, scientists/conservationists will step in to ensure that domesticated cattle wouldn't just die out; but possibly try to "return them to the wild" in small herds.

Conservationists now believe the loss of the [auroch, a keystone herbivore,] was tragic for biodiversity in Europe, arguing that the aurochs' huge appetite for grazing provided a natural "gardening service" that maintained landscapes and created the conditions for other species to thrive.

This in turn led me to finding the article above regarding the recreation of the Auroch, an distant early ancestor to the modern domesticated cow.  The part I find brilliant, is that instead of genetically modifying existing cattle, they are reverse breeding them.

Rather than attempt the type of gene editing or high-tech de-extinction approaches being employed for species from woolly mammoths to passenger pigeons, Goderie chose a method known as back-breeding to create a substitute bovine he named "Tauros."

The bast part is that these new Tauros are able to defend themselves again natural predators like wolves, and aren't acting like domesticated cattle anymore, increasing their survivability.  And with survivability comes the restoration of biodiversity, and hope.