XCOM 2: War of the Chosen

Steam sales are so frequent that I rarely buy games that aren’t at least 50% off. Usually I just ignore the hype that surrounds new games, and just wait for the inevitable price decrease. More often than not the game a year later is not only half price, but also better than at release due to patches. Having said that, there are a few exceptions where I want to have a game on release day, at full price. The most recent example of that being XCOM 2: War of the Chosen for €39.99.

Now there are two main things to say about War of the Chosen. The first is that it is a very good expansion of the original XCOM 2 game, providing a lot of fresh fun with new maps, new aliens to fight, and new game mechanics. The second is that it is after all only an expansion, and to many people will not be worth 40 bucks. The expansion really improves the basic game with a wide range of options, but at two thirds of the price of a triple A game the thing appears rather expensive. Waiting for example for the Steam Christmas sale and hoping War of the Chosen will be cheaper then would be a completely rational decision.

One thing I liked about War of the Chosen was the advanced options menu, which now gives a wider range of choices than the original basic options menu. You can for example decide that you don’t like to be rushed through the game, and double the timer of the avatar project and/or of individual missions. Of course that does make the game easier, but not everybody appreciates the sort of difficulty which arises only from being forced to rush through content.

From the new monsters I probably like the zombies the most. They appear in large groups, but have a special feature where you get an additional action if you kill one. That allows for very satisfying chain kills, but carries the risk of you missing your shot and being overrun by a horde of zombies. I am less a fan of the new “chosen” aliens, which can be even more annoying than the previously patched in “rulers”.

The new factions which give you access to new soldier classes with a different system of talent tree are interesting. You probably appreciate them more if you always only used the 4 original classes. However I already used mods to have a wider choice of classes, and so that was less a drawback of the original game for me.

I started a new campaign because of War of the Chosen. However I can’t say I’m very much hooked. I have a range of other projects in my life currently, and playing XCOM 2 isn’t always on top of the list of my priorities. That is especially true on weekdays after work, as I find that the game requires some concentration. If I’m too tired I prefer more casual games, or even passive entertainment via Netflix. So I probably overpaid for the expansion, even if I don’t really regret it.

‘All Eyes on U.S.’ as Honduran Election Panel Declares Incumbent President Hernández Election Winner

The commission made the announcement while opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was traveling to the United States to present evidence of election fraud.

In Honduras, the government-controlled electoral commission on Sunday declared U.S.-backed incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández as the official winner of the contested November 26 presidential election. The commission made the announcement while opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was on a plane traveling to the United States to present evidence of election fraud. The opposition party has called for nationwide protests on Monday, while the Organization of American States has called for a new election. We speak with award-winning independent journalist Allan Nairn, and Rodolfo Pastor, the spokesperson for the Alliance Against the Dictatorship. We also speak with Dana Frank, professor of history at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show with the escalating political crisis in Honduras. On Sunday night, the government-controlled electoral commission declared the U.S.-backed incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernández as the official winner of the contested November 26 presidential election. The commission made the announcement while opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was on a plane traveling to the United States to present evidence of election fraud to the OASand State Department. The opposition party is now calling for nationwide protests, and the Organization of American States has called for a new election. This is Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, head of the electoral observer mission of the OAS.

JORGE ”TUTO” QUIROGA: [translated] The electoral observer mission considered that it has observed a process of low electoral quality, and therefore cannot settle the doubts over what has been announced today. The mission regrets, once again, the incidents of violence that have occurred in the elections, in different phases of the electoral process, and calls once again for all actors to stay calm and act responsibly.

AMY GOODMAN: Protests erupted after the November 26 election, when the government-controlled electoral commission stopped tallying votes once the count showed opposition candidate Nasralla ahead. After a few days, the electoral commission then claimed Hernández was ahead. Human rights groups say as many as 22 people have been killed and more than 1,200 detained in the nationwide protests since.

Well, for more, we’re joined in Tegucigalpa by award-winning independent journalist Allan Nairn, as well as by Rodolfo Pastor, the spokesperson for the Alliance Against the Dictatorship, the opposition party represented by Salvador Nasralla. And in Washington, D.C., Dana Frank is with us, professor of history at University of California, Santa Cruz.

Let’s begin with Rodolfo Pastor in Tegucigalpa. Rodolfo Pastor, you’re spokesperson for the opposition party that is led by Salvador Nasralla, who was in a plane, headed to Washington, when the government-controlled electoral commission announced that the incumbent President Hernández has won. What is your response? And what’s happening in the streets right now?

RODOLFO PASTOR: Well, what’s happened since last night—it’s early morning here in Honduras—is, obviously, the announcement by the tribunal, a very unilateral announcement. Only the president of the tribunal was on camera, which is very, very atypical, since it’s a collegiate body and there is three magistrates for the tribunal, and yet it was the president of the tribunal, who is more directly linked to Juan Orlando Hernández, who was to make an announcement, which was also atypical since it was not an official announcement. It was basically him communicating the final results of the count, and yet it was not the tribunal coming out and saying Juan Orlando Hernández had been elected president of Honduras.

What happened since then is, of course, the alliance has rejected this declaration. We do not consider the tribunal, by now, to be a legitimate institution here in Honduras. It has been that way for a while. We have questioned the credibility of the tribunal, the capacity of the tribunal to provide credible results, since before the elections. And, of course, by now, more than three weeks since the elections, we are very concerned that the tribunal has played a very, very important role in manipulating the results. And this is something that the OAS has also come out and spoken about in its report. The alliance has rejected the results and has called for the population to stay on the streets, to keep mobilizing, since this is our way of putting pressure on the regime so that they can actually rectify.

Since the announcement by the tribunal and then the statements made by the OAScalling for a new election, what we’ve heard here in Honduras is, basically, Juan Orlando Hernández moving forward, saying, “Well, I am now the winner.” All the front pages this morning on all the major newspapers call him the new president of Honduras for the next four years. They barely mention the fact that the OAS came out with a very, very strong statement questioning the tribunal, questioning the process and calling for new elections.

AMY GOODMAN: Allan Nairn, you’ve been covering the events in Tegucigalpa through this election. Can you talk about Nasralla , where he was when this announcement was made? You saw him getting on the plane in Tegucigalpa?

ALLAN NAIRN: Yeah, I spoke to him as he was boarding. And he didn’t—he clearly didn’t expect this. He was on the way to Washington to plead his case. One thing that shocked many people here was that President Hernández made this announcement not only while Nasralla was on the plane, but one day after Hernández’s own sister was killed in a helicopter crash. But he seized the moment to spring his proclamation of victory.

The declaration by the secretary-general of the OAS, Luis Almagro, was remarkable, because the OAS is historically a policy tool of the United States, and he is clearly bucking the will of the United States, which has been backing Hernández throughout this process. Hernández is close to General Kelly in the White House. I think this took some courage on the secretary-general’s part, because during the recent weeks I’ve been talking to some former Latin American heads of state who have been—who have made it clear that the OAS has been hesitant about going against the U.S. on this.

But now the secretary-general has issued a very strong statement, making it clear that the computers—the computer system of the electoral commission was penetrated. It was an invitation to fraud. And the OAS report didn’t even address what seems to be the dominant emerging evidence, which is that much of the fraud was done by simple ballot box stuffing on the local level by the ruling party. And as I previously mentioned on an earlier show, on the 30th of November one of the technicians inside the electoral system sent out a private message, in which he stated, ”El fraude ya se hizo,” “The fraud has now been done.”

This OAS stance by the secretary-general put some pressure on the Honduran government, which has bitterly attacked him now, saying he’s inciting violence. But, more importantly, it may make it difficult for the White House, which will have a hard time explaining, in any rational way, why it would now back Hernández as the OAS is calling for new elections.

AMY GOODMAN: And can you talk about the role of Heidi Fulton, the chargé d’affaires, who, as in many countries around the world, President Trump has not appointed ambassadors, and so she plays that role? The significance of Nasralla being on a plane to the U.S., what he was planning to do at the State Department and the OAS? And her role in Honduras right now, as she is deeply involved with speaking with both sides?

ALLAN NAIRN: Well, just a few days earlier, she had appeared alongside the head of the electoral tribunal, a de facto endorsement to the partial, not clean recount they were doing. And she was widely denounced for that. It’s clear that behind the scenes she’s been working on behalf of Hernández.

And the U.S. has not denounced the killings by the security forces. Last night, I went out on the streets as people were taking to the streets, burning tires. And the dominant force I ran into were the military police, which is the most repressive and notorious element of the armed forces. They’re the ones most closely and personally linked to President Hernández. They were carrying live ammunition. They told me they had orders to open fire on demonstrators if they gave them any trouble. And although the Pentagon has been claiming in recent years that the U.S. has not been training the military police, a number of those I ran into said they had gotten their training from Fort Benning.

It’s partially necessary for them to use this extremely repressive force now, because two weeks ago the police rebelled and said they would no longer carry out repression. And other elements of the army I’ve been talking to have been saying—you know, rank-and-file troops have been saying that they are reluctant also. I’ve never actually seen, in any other country, a security force that was less ideologically strong and less committed to their own leadership. When you ask them who their families voted for back in the countryside where they come from, very few of them say Hernández. Most of them say their families voted for Nasralla, at least among those I’ve talked to. And they seem—many of them seem to identify more as poor working people, where they come from, as opposed to being members of the institution. And I think the Hernández government and also [inaudible] have to see this. And if the popular resistance is large and persistent enough, this government may have some difficulty holding on, even with U.S. backing.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Dana Frank, a professor at University California, Santa Cruz, you’ve been closely following everything here. You say this election is being stolen.

DANA FRANK: Oh, well, I think we have to say there’s certainly evidence of fraud and a great concern about who controlled those tally sheets, who controlled the computers. I certainly would support what the OAS is saying, which is, we don’t have evidence of a clear election here that could be certified. And there’s a long history of electoral fraud in Honduras going into this. Let’s remember that. And Juan Orlando himself has a long history of subverting the rule of law, overthrowing the Supreme Court. Let’s remember, his election itself is illegal. It’s a criminal act in violation of the constitution, which says you should be—it’s an immediate criminal act to even advocate re-election. So, going into that, let’s remember that.

So, I think that we have to listen to what the opposition is saying, listen to what the OAS is saying, and say we need—they need a new election. There’s way too much water under the bridge in terms of that electoral commission. And it’s the foxes are guarding the chicken coop here and the chicken—the votes from the chickens. And so, I think we really have to listen to what the opposition was saying. And remember that the Honduran people have very few ways of expressing themselves at this point. People say, “Well, why are they going into the streets?” It’s not like they can petition Congress. Juan Orlando Hernández controls all the reins of power—the Supreme Court, the attorney general, the military, most of the police. We don’t really know, as Mr. Nairn was saying, what the position of the military and the police are going to be. This one unit, 400 of the COBRAS, did rebel.

So, you know, I think, just supporting what he was saying, we have to pay attention to what the United States is going to do here. They have such a long history of giving a green light to Juan Orlando’s criminal re-election, of being silent about the repression since the elections, and, outrageously, certifying, two days after the election, as it was already clear that there were major problems with the election—certifying the human rights conditions on aid to Honduras had been met. I mean, that was astonishing. And also on December 10th, which is International Human Rights Day, Heidi Fulton, the acting ambassador, chose to use that to praise the Juan Orlando Hernández’s government for its advances on human rights. So, they’re sending clear signals about who they care about and support, and who they don’t care about and support, and this lack of respect for basic human rights in Honduras. So, all eyes are on the United States right now. Will it respect the OAS? And, you know, there were some suggestions that it was—that the OAS was going to certify this election. And when it hasn’t, I think, what is the United States going to do? The EU has actually come out, last night, supporting the electoral commission, very embarrassingly, and pretty much repeating exactly what the Honduran government said. And the EU has a long history, like the United States, of supporting Juan Orlando’s government.

You know, the other place to look here is the U.S. Congress, which there have been very, very strong voices about the appearance of major fraud. There have been very strong voices condemning the repression, and especially Congresswoman Schakowsky, Congressmember Keith Ellison. There are already 68 members of Congress that have said cut police and military aid. Going into the elections, you know, Senator Leahy, Senator Reed, Senator Merkley and many others in the Senate have expressed concern about potential fraud. They’ve expressed concern about the state security forces. So, we also really want to pay attention to this congressional voice pushing back against the State Department. Remember that Congress controls the purse strings, and U.S. money is funding these state security forces. U.S. money is, you know, of the State Department—it’s the U.S. State Department that has been continuingly celebrating Juan Orlando’s dictatorship as if he was, as John Kelly put it, a great guy and a good friend. I mean, Kelly said that as recently as May, and that’s Trump’s chief of staff.

AMY GOODMAN: Rodolfo Pastor, in Tegucigalpa, you are the opposition spokesperson, the Alliance Against the Dictatorship. Can you explain what Nasralla is doing in Washington and what you’re calling for to happen now in the streets? And explain how broad your coalition is.

RODOLFO PASTOR: Well, the coalition is very broad. What evidently happened here is we realized—different political parties and social movements, we realized that we were dealing with a dictatorship, that this was no longer a normal political process where we were just competing for political power through elections. This man who has come to power during the last eight years, as a result of the 2009 coup, when he became president of Congress first and started packing the courts and different state institutions, has garnered, has concentrated so much power under his executive office that we are no longer dealing with a normal president here in Honduras. And so, we started coming together, throughout the last four years, when he, as president, has been increasingly abusive, authoritarian and repressive.

And we realized that the only way to confront this guy on an election, that he pretty much controls, was by coming together and building this broad coalition, which brings very odd partners to the party. It’s—well, of course, I am a member of LIBRE, and this is a party that was born from the resistance to the coup back in 2009, and it’s a left-of-center party, basically. And the coalition also brings together PINU, which is a small social democrat party, that has been in Congress for a long time but has not played a major role in Honduran politics, and, of course, PAC, led by Mr. Nasralla, which was also a party that is born from the coup, but as a right-of-center party based on an anti-corruption narrative. It’s a party that, by the way, months before the coalition officially came together as the alliance, was dismantled by the tribunal, led by Mr. Matamoros and under Juan Orlando’s direct instruction.

So, we come together, and we start getting social movements from around Honduras coming to us and also saying, “Hey, listen, we want to be part of this, and we need to organize against this, because we know. We know we are going into an electoral process that we have stated, both nationally and internationally, did not meet any basic conditions for it to be free or fair.” And we went into this game knowing that they control the field, that we were clearly against—going against the odds here. But we also knew that the rejection of the Honduran population, as a whole, against—of Juan Orlando, against Juan Orlando, is huge, is huge. And there was absolutely no way that if these elections were in any way clean or transparent, that Juan Orlando was going to be the winner. And that’s currently the position.

And it’s also—it might seem contradictory, but we are not exactly celebrating the fact that the OAS has come out and asked for a new process to be organized, because we won these past elections. We clearly did so, even against a massive fraud and the control that Juan Orlando has of the institutions that organize the elections. The Honduran people came out massively and voted against Juan Orlando and for the alliance. And this is something that we want to make very clear. We need to respect this. We need to respect the fact that the popular will was very clearly expressed, and that since the elections, and since it became so evident that there had been fraud going on before, during and after the elections, there has been significant repression by state police and army forces. And as a result, we have victims of this repression. We have 22 people who have been killed, many others who have been injured.

And as both Dana and the journalist pointed out, you know, this is a critical moment for us, and we are not willing to just accept that Juan Orlando should, by some miracle, agree that we are to hold new elections—in which, of course, he would lose, if they were organized by an objective, impartial tribunal. So, we are very concerned with, number one, the reaction that Juan Orlando might have against what happened last night—of course, he seems to be plowing forward and, you know, basically ignoring what the OAS has said—and, number two, yes, what will the U.S. say about this. Now, Mr. Nasralla is visiting Washington in order to meet with Secretary-General Almagro. He is also to meet with officials at the State Department and—

AMY GOODMAN: Secretary-general of the OAS.

RODOLFO PASTOR: That’s right. That’s right. And what we are—this happened before the announcement was made. We did expect the announcement to be made. We expected it to be made today, Monday, and not Sunday night. And yet it did not come as a surprise to us. And we have been getting ready for this announcement to be made by the tribunal. And we do consider that the OAS report does give—it gives us a certain boost. And I speak on behalf of the Honduran population that has been out in the streets for three weeks now, because we understand that there is a voice of hope out there and that the international community is still paying attention to us.

We were obviously very upset with the position that the European Union representative here came out and stated last night, like Professor Frank stated. And yet, this is not—we must make it clear, this is not the official position of the electoral observation mission that they have here. And I understand that, right now, as we speak, we have Marisa Matias, the president of the commission, speaking from Brussels about this. And I think that they will come out strongly stating that the electoral process was plagued by fraud.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue to cover this again tomorrow on Democracy Now! as events unfold, with the opposition leader, who many believe won the election, the Electoral College—the electoral commission shutting down the vote for a period, when it was announced Salvador Nasralla was 5 percentage points ahead. He is in Washington now. Rodolfo Pastor, spokesperson for the opposition party, Alliance Against the Dictatorship; Allan Nairn, in the streets of Tegucigalpa, independent journalist; and Dana Frank, professor at University of California, Santa Cruz, thanks so much for being with us.

When we come back, did Republican lawmakers include a last-minute provision in the tax plan to personally enrich Tennessee Senator Corker in order to secure his support for the tax bill? Stay with us.

 

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‘Whoa, Whoa’: Fox Panel Goes off the Rails After Guest Suggests FBI Plotted to Assassinate Trump

The right-wing media has lost its mind.

Fox News contributor on Tuesday said that it was possible that the FBI had plotted to assassinate President Donald Trump — although he quickly backed off when “Outnumbered” host Harris Faulkner expressed alarm at his baseless speculation.

Appearing on “Outnumbered,” guest Kevin Jackson said that Congressional Republicans need to get to the bottom of what FBI agent Peter Strzok meant when he said that there needed to be an “insurance policy” in the event that Trump got elected.

Even though the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Strzok’s “insurance policy” quote referred to his sincere belief in the need to investigate Trump because he was possibly compromised by Russian intelligence services, Jackson immediately went off the deep end and suggested much darker motives.

“What was his intent, right?” Jackson asked. “Because that’s exactly what FBI Director, former FBI Director [James] Comey said when he was letting Hillary Clinton off the hook. And his intent, regardless of whether it was an assassination attempt or whatever, it was definitely something…”

At this point, a surprised Faulkner interjected and said, “Whoa, whoa!” Jackson then responded by toning his rhetoric down a notch.

“Well, I’m just saying, we don’t know what it was,” Jackson said. “When you say, ‘we’ve got to make sure that this guy doesn’t get in at all cost,’ what does that mean? So I’m saying there’s a spectrum of what does it mean, but one thing that we know for sure, is that he was plotting in an election against a candidate, and there’s FBI fingerprints all over this.”

Later in the segment, Jackson admitted that everything he has heard about FBI plots to kill Trump has come from social media accounts that were “nothing credible.”

Watch the video, via Media Matters, below.

 

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Rage of Demons: Session 3

In the previous session our heroes traveled towards the kuo-toa village of Sloobludop, pursued by the drow. They had learned from their kuo-toa companion Shuushar that there were two factions in Sloobludop: The followers of the goddess Blibdoolpoolp (aka “the Sea Mother”) with her archpriest Plooploopeen (aka “Ploop”) were vying for control with the upstart followers of the god Leemooggoogoon (aka “the Deep Father”) and his archpriestess Bloppblippodd (aka “Blopp”), daughter of Ploop.

Before they reached the village they were accosted by a patrol of kuo-toa, who offered them safe passage to Sloobludop if they would put all their weapons in a sack to prevent a surprise attack. They agreed, but before they could reach Sloobludop another patrol of kuo-toa attacked and killed the first patrol. That second patrol was led by Ploop, who explained that the first patrol was from the other faction, who would have sacrificed the group to the Deep Father. Ploop led them to the village and told them which quarters to stay in to not attract the attention of the other faction. But Surina the sorceress was curious about the other faction, magically disguised herself as kuo-toa, took Nyx the druid in the form of a small animal on her shoulder, and went exploring. She found that in fact the altar of the Deep Father looked rather grim: Two octopi were tied together on top of a manta ray, to give the impression of a two-headed monster. Traces of blood sacrifices were visible. In contrast the altar of the Sea Mother had offerings of knickknacks like sea shells, and looked more welcoming.

Based on that information the group agreed to a proposal of Ploop: They were to hide their weapon and armor under robes and be led by a group of Ploop’s followers to the upcoming festival in honor of the Deep Father. Ploop would pretend to give them to Blopp as a peace offering, as sacrifice for her god. But then Ploop, his followers, and the group would attack Blopp and her followers.

They executed the plan as intended. When striking down Blopp, the archpriestess called out “Leemooggoogoon”, and fell bleeding on the god’s altar. Suddenly the dark surface of the lake behind the altar began to bubble, and a huge monstrosity with tentacles and two baboon heads rose from the water. “Leemooggoogon” turned out to be the demon prince Demogorgon! With a single attack Demogorgon killed Prince Derendil, one of the NPC companions of the group. They also lost another NPC companion, Jimjar, by getting separated from him in the ensuing chaos. While Demogorgon killed Ploop, the group escaped and found a boat. With their remaining NPC companions Buppido, Shuushar, Sarith, and Stool, they got away from Sloobludop. Now they knew that something more dangerous than drow was afoot in the Underdark!

With the help of Arkoy’s curse that gave them a sense of direction, and Shuushar’s knowledge of the lake, they decided to travel towards Gracklstugh, the duergar city where Buppido claimed to know a way towards the surface world. But that was 20 days of travel away. On the evening of the first day they stopped at an island where they found a tunnel leading underground in which fungi grew. Unfortunately those turned out to be Timmask, a poisonous mushroom, whose spores put a confusion on Nyx, so she wandered deeper down in the tunnel. Following Nyx to stop her, the group was caught in a tremor causing a cave-in and were trapped. However a new passage had opened in one of the tunnel walls, leading to a strange temple. At first the group encountered gray ooze twice, who fell from the ceiling and damaged Mog’burz’ weapon with acid.

Then they saw a strange sight before them: A skeleton (not animated) was seemingly floating in the air, along with a dark metal mace and some coins. Trying to take the mace with a mage hand spell led to the hand encountering an invisible wall, and a telepathic message of “Hey! Stop tickling me!”. Thus the group encountered Glabbagool, a gelatinous cube who had become sentient. Glabbagool was friendly and spat out the mace and coins on request, and told them about the rest of the temple. He warned them about traps full of black puddings in corridors leading to a closed door, of which he didn’t know what was behind it. The group went there with Glabbagool escorting them (and dispatching quickly some more gray oozes). They discovered a new cave which Glabbagool said hadn’t been there before, from which water flowed into the temple.

They went to the closed door, which turned out to be easy to open for creatures possessing hands to use the door knob. Behind was an octagonal room with 7 niches, of which 4 contained strange, formless sculptures, and a big fountain in the middle containing dark water. Touching the statues unfroze them, and they turned out to be another 4 gray oozes. After killing those they discovered some treasure under the water of the fountain. Having explored the whole temple, there was no apparent way out. And from the new cave water kept rushing in, the whole complex being below the surface level of the darklake. They explored the cave and saw that the water was coming from fissures in the ceiling. With the help of a Magic Missile (and creative rule interpretation by me as DM) they made the ceiling collapse, at which point they could swim to the surface of the lake and back to their boat.

There a nasty surprise awaited them. Buppido was found unconscious with a big bump on the back of his head, while Shuushar was dead, with his entrails arranged in a bizarre fashion around him, like by some sort of ritual. Woken up, Buppido couldn’t provide an explanation of what had happened, and the group found no traces of the killer. So the next day they said goodbye to Glabbagool (who wouldn’t fit on the boat) and rowed off.

Two days later they were passing by another island, when they heard a soft feminine voice inside their heads pleading for help. Somebody on the island needed rescue! On the island they found a big green door, which turned out to be of heavy marble, covered in corroded bronze, and with an axis in the middle. Pushing with much force on the side opened the door (we were joking that Mog’burz, who failed several door opening rolls in this dungeon, kept pushing in the middle of the door). Behind the door was a Nethril tomb from millennia ago (basically Ancient Egyptian in design), the Lost Tomb of Khaem.

In the tomb the group came upon a room with a stone sarcophagus. That turned out to be a false tomb with a trap cursing them to have disadvantage on all attack rolls and saving throws. As they were all affected by the curse, this turned the dungeon into a far more deadly place. And there was another strange feature to the tomb: Any spell cast resulted in a wild magic surge, giving a random result form the wild magic table of the chaos sorcerer. That turned out to be an insidious feature when in the next room the group was attacked by four specters, who were resistant to non-magical damage. It turned downright deadly in the final (hidden) room, where the group encountered Brysis of Khaem, an evil sorceress who was now a wraith. Mog’burz the eldritch knight countered an attack of Brysis with a shield spell, but that triggered everybody’s favorite wild magic surge result: a fireball.

They barely survived this encounter, but then found the source of the voice: an intelligent sword called Dawnbringer. They also found a bunch of other nice treasures, like a necklace of fireballs, and over 2,000 gold pieces worth of valuables. Danger has its rewards in Dungeons & Dragons. At that point we ended the session, the group having reached level 5.

Gardmore Abbey 5E rerun – Session 1

I ran the 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey back in 2013/2014 and consider it to be the best official 4E adventure. So now I am running it again in a 5E version with different players. I’m not going to write a blow-by-blow journal on this one, but I do want to write down an outline of what happened and my thoughts on it.

In the first session the players started in Winterhaven, where they learned that the card of the Deck of Many Things they had found was one of a set. Lord Padraig of Winterhaven has at least one other card, and is interested in the full deck in order to defend his town. So he told the group about Gardmore Abbey, where most of the cards apparently are scattered, and asks them at the same time to scout the layout and number of orcs there. The players manage to get more information about the abbey from the library of the mage Arris, from Lord Padraig’s counselor Valthrun, and from a bard singing ballads about the place in the inn. Lord Padraig also provided the group with a squire and horses for faster travel between Winterhaven and the abbey.

At the abbey I gave the players a picture of a front view of Gardmore Abbey. And after the scouted the outside of the abbey a bit more, I gave them my player map of Gardmore Abbey. Now the principle of the adventure and the map is that the players can approach the abbey from any side they want: Frontal assault on the main gate, climbing the wall to the north of the gate, going through a hole in the wall to the south of the gate, or try to get up the hill from the un-walled back side. From all the groups I’ve read on the internet having played the adventure none ever choose the frontal assault on the main gate. In reality the main gate isn’t all that heavily guarded, but a frontal assault on a large army of orcs just doesn’t appear to be a good idea.

So this group went through the hole in the south wall. From there they could go to the watchtower, or straight up the hill through a fey forest, or north along the wall back towards the orc main keep. They first tried the watchtower as a probably vantage point, where they saw some weird scenes from back in time through the windows. They decided not to pursue that further, still didn’t want to move towards the orcs, and thus went up the hill through the fey forest, in order to get a view from the top.

So they came across a magical fountain where a group of high elves was camped. The elves were mistrustful, but not hostile. Their leader Berrian Velfarren told the adventurers that he was here in search of traces of his father, who disappeared centuries ago. He also believed that there were documents somewhere giving the elves some claim on the fey forest. And his sister Analastra had gone missing. After receiving some visions from the magical spring, the group followed the path further up the hill. They came across the groundskeeper’s cottage, where they fought the owlbears now inhabiting it and found the documents the elves were looking for. Then the came to the garden behind the main keep, where another group of rival adventurers were fighting spiders. Trying to help them resulted in the rival adventurers disengaging and leaving the heroes with the spiders. But they did found a sword they had heard about in a ballad about a lost paladin.

Further up the path the group came across some nymphs playing a game of telling each other secrets, and learned some of the secrets of the abbey, including the fact that the missing father had last been seen in the watchtower. Then they came to a bell tower, where Analastra was fighting two displacer beasts and a nest of stirges. The highlight of that fight was the druid keeping Analastra alive with healing words, while using a Call Lightning spell to damage the displacer beasts and eliminating the nest of stirges. Having rescued the sister, the group returned to the elves to rest there.

As they had already finished two of the three quests of the elves, and Berrian had promised them his card of the Deck of Many Things for finishing all three, the group headed to the watchtower next. The elves had said that they couldn’t find an entrance to it. But after some experimentation it turned out that the group’s card opened the door. But stepping inside the group was trapped in some extra-dimensional space connected to the Far Realm, a plane of chaos. In the first room they fought a black pudding (who destroyed the druid’s armor) and two mimics, who had been disguised as cards forming a bridge. After that fight we stopped because it was getting late. But having finished encounters 13, 12, 9, 10, 11, and 14 of the adventure was good progress, 6 encounters out of 33.

On the combat side the encounters were tough, which was mostly because of two players missing from the group of five. Next session we should be up to 4 players, which will be easier. But I didn’t have to cheat or remove monsters, the adventure was still doable with just 3 players of level 5. They earned about 40% of the xp needed towards level 6, so I think that by the end of the adventure they will be at least level 7, if not 8. However I don’t really have a good follow-up adventure for level 8 characters in store, as all of the official 5E adventures start at low level. Except for the Rise of Tiamat, but that one is the second part of a story that starts with Hoard of the Dragon Queen.

About Trees, different Traversals and BST

A tree is a data structure made up of nodes or vertices and edges without having any cycle. The tree with no nodes is called the null or empty tree. A tree that is not empty consists of a root node and potentially many levels of additional nodes that form a hierarchy.

Tree

Tree Terminology

Lets see some tree terminologies:-
Root: The top node in a tree.
Child: A node directly connected to another node when moving away from the Root.
Parent: The converse notion of a child.
Siblings: A group of nodes with the same parent.
Descendant: A node reachable by repeated proceeding from parent to child.
Ancestor: A node reachable by repeated proceeding from child to parent.
Leaf: A node with no children.
Internal node: A node with at least one child.
Degree: The number of sub trees of a node.
Edge: The connection between one node and another.
Path: A sequence of nodes and edges connecting a node with a descendant.
Level: The level of a node is defined by 1 + (the number of connections between the node and the root).
Height of node: The height of a node is the number of edges on the longest path between that node and a leaf.
Height of tree: The height of a tree is the height of its root node.
Depth: The depth of a node is the number of edges from the tree’s root node to the node.
Forest: A forest is a set of n ≥ 0 disjoint trees.

Tree Node

Tree Node has a data part and references to its left and right child nodes.

struct node {
int data;
struct node *leftChild;
struct node *rightChild;
};
In a tree, all nodes share common construct.

Tree Traversals

Traversal is a process to visit all the nodes of a tree and may print their values too. Because, all nodes are connected via edges (links) we always start from the root (head) node. That is, we cannot randomly access a node in a tree. Unlike linear data structures (Array, Linked List, Queues, Stacks, etc) which have only one logical way to traverse them, trees can be traversed in different ways. Following are the generally used ways for traversing trees.

  • In-order Traversal
  • Pre-order Traversal
  • Post-order Traversal

In-Order Traversal

In this traversal method we first visit the left sub-tree, then the root and later the right sub-tree. If a binary tree is traversed in-order, the output will produce sorted key values in an ascending order.
For e.g.
Output of the In-Order traversal for above tree is
4 -> 2 -> 5 -> 1 -> 3
Algorithm Inorder(tree)
1. Recursively traverse the left subtree, i.e., call Inorder(left-subtree)
2. Visit the root
3. Recursively traverse the right subtree, i.e., call Inorder(right-subtree)

Pre-Order Traversal

In this traversal method we first visit the root node, then the left sub tree and finally the right sub-tree.
For e.g.
Output of the In-Order traversal for above tree is 
1-> 2 -> 4 -> 5 -> 3
Algorithm Preorder(tree)
1. Visit the root.
2. Recursively traverse the left subtree, i.e., call Preorder(left-subtree)
3. Recursively traverse the right subtree, i.e., call Preorder(right-subtree)

Post-Order Traversal

In this traversal method we first visit the left sub tree, then the right sub-tree and finally the root node.
For e.g.
Output of the In-Order traversal for above tree is 
4-> 5 -> 2 -> 3 -> 1
Algorithm Postorder(tree)
1. Recursively traverse the left subtree, i.e., call Postorder(left-subtree)
2. Recursively traverse the right subtree, i.e., call Postorder(right-subtree)
3. Visit the root

Binary Search Tree(BST)

In binary tree, every node can have maximum two children but there is no order of nodes based on their values. Binary search tree is a type of binary tree in which all the nodes in left subtree of any node contains smaller values and all the nodes in right sub-tree of that contains larger values as shown in following figure

Operations on a Binary Search Tree

Following Oprations performed on BST
1. Search
2. Insertion
3. Deletion

Search Operation

Whenever an element is to be searched, start searching from the root node. Then if the data is less than the key value, search for the element in the left subtree. Otherwise, search for the element in the right subtree. Follow the same algorithm for each node.
Algorithm
node* search(int data){
struct node *current = root;
printf("Visiting elements: ");
while(current->data != data){
if(current != NULL) {
printf("%d ",current->data);
//go to left tree
if(current->data > data){
current = current->leftChild;
}//else go to right tree
else {
current = current->rightChild;
}
//not found
if(current == NULL){
return NULL;
}
}
}
return current;
}

Insert Operation

Whenever an element is to be inserted, first locate its proper location. Start searching from the root node, then if the data is less than the key value, search for the empty location in the left subtree and insert the data. Otherwise, search for the empty location in the right subtree and insert the data.
Algorithm
Node * Insert(Node * root, int data)
{
if(root == nullptr)
{
Node * NN = new Node();
root = NN;
root->data = data;
root->left = root ->right = NULL;
}
else
{
if(data < root->data)
{
root->left = Insert(root->left, data);
}
else
{
root->right = Insert(root->right, data);
}
}
return root;
}

Deletion Operation in BST

In a binary search tree, the deletion operation is performed with O(log n) time complexity. Deleting a node from Binary search tree has following three cases:-
Case 1: Deleting a Leaf node (A node with no children)
Step 1: Find the node to be deleted using search operation
Step 2: Delete the node using free function (If it is a leaf) and terminate the function.
Case 2: Deleting a node with one child
Step 1: Find the node to be deleted using search operation
Step 2: If it has only one child, then create a link between its parent and child nodes.
Step 3: Delete the node using free function and terminate the function.
Case 3: Deleting a node with two children
Step 1: Find the node to be deleted using search operation
Step 2: If it has two children, then find the largest node in its left subtree (OR) the smallest node in its right subtree.
Step 3: Swap both deleting node and node which found in above step.
Step 4: Then, check whether deleting node came to case 1 or case 2 else goto steps 2
Step 5: If it comes to case 1, then delete using case 1 logic.
Step 6: If it comes to case 2, then delete using case 2 logic.
Step 7: Repeat the same process until node is deleted from the tree.

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Here’s What It’s Going to Take for Democrats to Take Back the House in 2018

Bannon is on the defensive. There’s red dread and blue hope. But election data nerds say Dems must do even more next year.

What a difference one special election makes! Following Tuesday’s historic victory by Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama’s Senate race, Democrats and Republicans—to say nothing of pundits and election data-crunchers—have been revisiting old assumptions about 2018 and 2020.

Most visibly, the radical reactionary Republicans who backed Roy Moore—led by white nationalist and Breitbart News chief Steve Bannon—are on the defensive. Bannon, who never stopped himself from throwing mud before, complained about the Democrat’s “new model” of smearing his Breitbart-branded patriots. Of course, mainstream media, had a villainous role.

“I think the new model is they’re going to come at people with personal attacks and just overwhelm them with media—and you got to remember this wasn’t supported, this was triggered by the establishment,” Bannon said on Wednesday night on his national radio show, referring to The Washington Post reporting of Moore’s habit of preying on teenage girls. “They’re the ones that triggered all this stuff on Moore.”

His guest on Breitbart News Tonight, Pat Caddell, went even further into the us-versus-them, real patriots-versus-establishment shills divide that is likely to resurface in 2018’s GOP congressional primaries. (Caddell is a pollster who, four decades ago, helped elect Democrat Jimmy Carter; but in recent years has backed Donald Trump and white-America centered populism.)

“Understand this,” he intoned. “We’re watching how they are developing to handle the revolt, if you will, or the rebellion; you put it down. And that is to work in concert with the mainstream media. Even Republicans are doing this, as well as the Democratic establishment, to squeeze this out, and they will use it to attack candidates who are unworthy… But as people come forth to take back their country, we’re going to have to find way to protect, to give cover to these people… [from others] trying to take them out.”

The Bannon mob usually isn’t this defensive. But after Alabama, they have plenty to worry about, even if not what they’re fixating on. Alabama saw an unprecedented numbers of whites vote for a Democrat—especially those under 44 and suburban women, instead of reflexively for a Republican.  

That is a break-the-mold political development. It was one of many metrics from the Alabama election that create a new landscape of blue hope and red dread. Another is Alabama counties with majorities of registered Democrats showed up in much larger percentages to vote than GOP majority counties.

This raises a question that some of the country’s best respected election data crunchers and forecasters have been debating since Tuesday: How big of a popular vote majority do Democrats need in 2018 to win back the House?

At Sabato’s Crystal Ball, named after Larry Sabato, who decades ago took the helm at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, a rather dense post by Alan Abramowitz concluded, “a popular vote margin of between three and four points would be large enough for this purpose.”

The reason that Democrats cannot win elections simply with 50 percent plus one is because many House districts have been gerrymandered, which means their boundaries were drawn based on segregating each parties most reliable voters. The GOP did this in a dozen states in 2011 that resulted in Congress and state legislatures being under their control for most of this decade. So Abramowitz is saying that 53-to-54 percent of registered Democrats must vote in November 2018 for their party to win 24 seats to take the House.

Other election data nerds quickly pounced on that figure as too slim in Twitter posts.

“I thought it was more?” replied David Leonhardt, a New York Times columnist. 

“This is way too low. More like 7-8%,” tweeted David Wasserman, the U.S. House editor for The Cook Political Report.

“Totally agree. I don’t have numbers in front of me but I’ve looked at this specific w before. It’s basically 7.25% by which Dems need to win national vote for Congress in order to overcome gerrymandering. Chew on that…” tweeted Jeremy Kalin, a former Minnesota legislator.

Then came FiveThirtyEight.com’s Harry Enten, who tweeted, “Lots of discussion in nerd Twitter on just how much Dems need to win House vote by in order to win majority of seats. Here’s what I wrote in Feb 2017.”

That analysis is worth reposting, because it says Dems need an 8-point popular vote edge to breach the GOP’s gerrymander advantage.

“The median congressional district was 5.5 percentage points more Republican-leaning in the presidential race than the nation as a whole in 2016, meaning Democrats are essentially spotting the GOP 5.5 points in the battle for control of the House,” Enten wrote. “And even that may be underestimating Republicans ability to win a majority of seats without a majority of the vote. Since 2012 (or when most states instituted the current House district lines), Republicans have won, on average, 51 percent of the two-party House vote and 55 percent of House seats. If that difference holds for 2018, Democrats would need to win the House popular vote by about 8 percentage points to win half the House seats.”

Why do these figures matter? Because as some of these same election data crunchers pour over the exit polls and other results from Alabama and every other big election in 2017, it appears that the Democratic wave is right on the brink of closely winning (like in Alabama) or losing (as Jon Ossoff did by a few points in Georgia’s sixth congressional district last spring.)

“In six 2017 special elections, Dems have been outperforming their @CookPolitical PVI-suggested share of the vote by an average of 9%,” tweeted Wasserman on Friday.

So, if Democrats have been turning out by 9 percent more than expected, how come they haven’t swept every race this year—you might ask? The answer is the gerrymandering advantage, which these analysts have been debating, is at the starting line of the process. But there are other intentional barriers that await Democrats at the finish line, where Republicans passed laws and regulations to undermine turnout. The biggest is stricter voter ID requirements to get a polling place ballot, which congressional analysts have said peels off 2-to-3 percent of likely turnout. (Academics say it’s more). There’s other tactics too, such as limiting early voting opportunities, complicating registration, illegally purging infrequent voters, etc.

Alabama’s senate election was the perfect capstone to a year where Democratic candidates and voters increasingly were getting their mojo back. Bannon and his right-wing rabble should be worried, because, as Dems are getting organized and are more optimistic, the Republicans are rife with intra-party strife, deeply unpopular policies and an unstable president.

However, Democrats, progressives and independents need to know the scale of the barriers that await in 2018. Because as much as the opposition party turned around and regained momentum in 2017, more will be needed next year to retake Congress and put a big red stop sign before the GOP.    

 

 

Related Stories

  • Alabama Stunner: Democrat Doug Jones Defeats Right-Wing Extremist Roy Moore in Photo Finish U.S. Senate Race
  • Alabama Supreme Court Blocks Digital Ballot Preservation in Eleventh Hour
  • Alabama Supreme Court Blocks Digital Ballot Preservation Requirement to Verify the Vote in Tuesday’s Senate Election

Must kNow Web Dev toolS – 2OI7

Must kNow Web Development toolS – 2OI7

WEB  DEVELOPMENT:

Web development broadly refers to the tasks associated with developing websites for hosting via intranet or internet. The web development process includes web design, web content development, client-side/server-side scripting and network security configuration, among other tasks.
Web development services helps your company to increase product knowledge, maintain communication between you and potential clients, sell your products or services, generate leads for the business, and increase the popularity of your company and much more.
web design has a direct impact on conversion. Changing simply the design elements of a web page for a marketing campaign can produce big lifts in conversion. In competitive advertising channels, small lifts in conversion can give you the edge over your competition. 
Let’s see some must know web development tools :

1.Sizzy

Sizzy is a development tool to test your responsive website in multiple viewport sizes on a single screen. It’s a super handy app as compared to the Chrome’s built-in mobile emulator. Sizzy also comes as a Chrome Extension.

2. CSS Grid Cheat Sheet:

Learning CSS Grid can be quite intimidating when it comes to a number of new properties, a new measuring unit, and also almost a complete new paradigm to build the web layout. This tool, as the name implies, is to help you get your feet off the ground with CSS Grid.

3. KAP

Kap is a neat little screen recorder for MacOS. It is an open-source app, built with web technology. One thing that I love in this app is that it offers converting the video right out-of-the box. Kap is a great alternative to record your apps or website’s live demo.

4. Material UI

Material Design (codenamed Quantum Paper) is a design language developed in 2014 by Google. Expanding upon the “card” motifs that debuted in Google Now, Material Design makes more liberal use of grid-based layouts, responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows.

5. Checker Service:

A great list of web apps to check a lot of stuff such as DNS, Load, Speed, SEO, Security, and SSL. Many of these tools are free, however, there are a few premium services listed therein that offer advanced features for users.

6. Yeoman:

Modern web development is by all accounts blending around various small, open source tasks and tools. Any semblance of Bootstrap, Compass and PhantomJS. Every bundle contributing a solitary perspective to another occupation – could test, CSS frameworks or code compilation.
Yeoman is Google’s endeavor to pull together the best of these applications under a solitary, customisable banner. Platform new web applications, staying up with the latest, auto-arranging your code, optimising your pictures. Yeoman has your back.

7. Launchaco:

Finding a great name for your startup is hard, and obtaining an available username handler on social media is even harder. Launchaco is a handy tool that allows you to find domain names, usernames for different social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc., and helps you generate a nice logotype of your business.

8. Mavo:

Mavo is a new open source project from Lea Verou. It is a library that turns bare HTML markup and a few custom attributes into a functioning web application. Mavo easier to follow as compared to the other libraries like Backbone, Vue.js or React as it allows less tech-savvy users to build web application quickly and easily.

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Elemental Evil: Sessions 5 and 6

It appears I forgot to chronicle the previous session of my D&D home campaign. The last report was from early July, after which we had a summer break, and then resumed mid-August, and then continued yesterday. Both of these sessions were action-centric, with the group clearing out first the abandoned village of Thundertree and then the goblin stronghold of Cragmaw Castle from monsters. A “door-monster-treasure” type of gameplay can be a lot of fun, but the details aren’t always all that interesting in a journal of events. So I will summarize and concentrate on the highlights in this post.

Thundertree is an abandoned village a day’s travel from Neverwinter. The eruption of Mount Hotenow, which caused quite a catastrophe for Neverwinter half a century ago, destroyed the village of Thundertree. Erdan, the druid of the group who is prone to visions and nightmares, dreamed that the eruption of Hotenow was caused by a group of chanting fire cultists, but probably didn’t go as planned, as the cultists were killed in the event. What remained in Thundertree was mostly abandoned houses, with a population of ash zombies and twig blights. The group had gone to Thundertree to meet the druid Reidoth, who was supposed to know the location of Cragmaw Castle. Their “pet goblin” Droop also claimed to be able to find the way from Thundertree to Cragmaw Castle. They met Reidoth, who was able to provide a safe haven in the village, as well as the directions needed.

After clearing out most of the village from monsters, the group came across another group which likewise was engaged in fighting twig blights. That group was wearing blue armor and white robes, beset with feathers. They explained that they were from a club of aerial enthusiasts, and were in Thundertree to try to tame a griffon nesting here, or get eggs from his nest to raise as aerial mounts. The heroes agreed to accompany them to the griffon’s lair in the highest tower of Thundertree. But once there the air cultists tried to becalm the griffon by offering the adventurers up as sacrifice, so the group ended up killing both the cultists and the griffon. They were able to make the link between a symbol the cultists carried and the same symbol they had seen on a letter to Glasstaff in Phandalin.

On the way to Cragmaw Castle the group tried to question Droop for information about the castle. That was somewhat complicated by the fact that Droop could only count to 3, and used “3” as an answer to any question about numbers in which the answer exceeded 2. Not trusting the goblin’s offer to negotiate safe entry into the castle, they knocked him out and attached him to a tree, guarded by the paladin (the player was absent that session). Instead they built a camouflage out of branches and approached the less guarded south side of the castle at night. From there they could see into the banquet hall, but the goblins there didn’t look out the arrow slits. So they managed after a few attempts to unlock the side door. But they didn’t like the idea of advancing with the goblins in the hall behind them, so they decided to attack there.

From there they moved clockwise room by room. That enabled them to eliminate most guards in small groups. However it did move them more towards the entrance of the castle, instead towards the throne room. The toughest fight was against a group of hobgoblins. Popée the sorceress used a web spell on them, but between succeeded saving throws initially and later the web wasn’t all that effective. Then they tried to burn the web, but in 5E that deals only 2d4 damage, and the player rolled double 1s, so the spell wasn’t really a big success. The hobgoblins however had an ability with which they dealt an extra 2d6 damage if next to an ally. And two of them rolled critical hits, which doubles the number of dice on all damage, knocking the druid out of his bear form. After another fight in the central chapel of the castle the group had enough and decided to go back into the woods to take a long rest.

Returning to the castle they found that the bugbear King Grol had obviously noticed that the group had raided his castle and killed most of the goblinoids in there. So King Grol has gathered all the remaining defenders in the chapel, including a priest from the air cult. That ended up being a tough fight, with Theren being knocked down to zero health, but then rescued. The air cultist priest was a real menace, with a dust devil spell that prevented the archers and casters from sniping from the back. But Popée used a scroll of lightning bolt on King Grol and his pet wolf, killing the wolf and seriously damaging the bugbear. Soon after all the bugbears were dead. The priest tried to transform into gaseous form and flee, but didn’t make it out of the arrow slit in one round and concentrated fire killed him before his next round. At this point it had gotten rather late, and we ended the session.

Creative Gadget for Kids

From computers to interactive digital toys, kids are getting acquainted with technology from an increasingly young age. These toys are becoming sophisticated gadgets that are dynamically changing the definition of fun. Why settle for a smartphone or tablet when there are hundreds of cool and educational gadgets you can get for that special kid in your life?
Take for instance the 8 creative gadgets featured in this post

Jabber

Jabber is a toy that was created to be kicked, smashed, hit, and tossed. It’s smart on the inside, but soft on the outside and can “talk”. Perfect for birthday parties and a great ice breaker for new groups.

Hackaball

Code while you play, play while you code — Hackaball is the gadget that embodies both. Program the ball to react with changing light colors, sound and or vibrations. Set programming rules for it to respond to, and invent your own group games. Hackaball also encourages children to be more physically active.

Musio

Musio is a fun way for children to learn English without having to go through boring classroom lessons. Musio is powered with an AI that learns your child’s speech patterns, recognizes their faces, communicates with them, teaches them English, checks their grammar and pronunciation, and is even sensitive to emotions.

View-Master Virtual Reality Starter Pack

If you liked your View-Master when you were growing up, then perhaps your next generation will like this new version, upgraded with Virtual Reality. Slide your Android or iOS smartphone in and immerse yourself in 360 degrees of virtual reality data provided by Google Cardboard places.

Moff Band – Wearable Smart Toy

The Moff band helps fuel a child’s imagination by providing sound effects while they play, simulating movement. For instance, a kid can pick up a broom and start playing it like a guitar and the Moff smartwatch can play guitar sounds plus a cheering crowd in the background. It can be controlled with an iOS or Android smartphone.

Zero Gravity Wall Climbing Car

This Wall Driving Car sucks. That’s how it defies gravity and drives all over your walls, zooming past like a race car, only horizontally. Its traction technology lets it suck air under itself, providing a form of suction that keeps it clinging onto the wall. The car is remote-controlled, and can drive on windows and ceiling as well. It runs on AA batteries.

Moki Kids Safe Volume Headphones

If you’re looking for headphones for children, these might be what you’re looking for. Vibrantly colored, these headphones can be used by children as young as 3. It has a restricted sensitivity of 89 dB, to prevent damage to the hearing of young children. It works with smartphones, MP3 players, LeapFrog series, gaming consoles and even airline entertainment units.

Kinetic Stretchable Polymer Play Sand

Kids love playing with sandcastles at the beach but this Polymer play sand lets you make sand castles right at home. It is soft and stretchy, and oozes and melts like a slow-moving liquid. Best of all, it doesn’t stick to you (or get everywhere) like wet sand does. The material is non-toxic and this is suitable for ages 5 and above.

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