Dr. Elijah Saunders, a prominent Baltimore cardiologist and an advocate for African American health has died, the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced April 8. He was 80.Dr. Elijah Saunders worked as a cardiologist for decades. (AFRO Archives)Saunders graduated from Morgan State University in 1956 and received his medical degree from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1960. A cardiologist for decades, Saunders was head of the section of hypertension, in the cardiology division of the University of Maryland’s department of Medicine.Saunders was also a founding member, past chairman of the board, and past president of the Association of Black Cardiologists, with hypertension among Blacks one of his primary research interests. Saunders was recognized for his contributions to minority cardiovascular health by the American Heart Association, which recognized him with the Louis B. Russell Award, the American Heart Associations highest honor for contributions to minority cardiovascular health.The American Heart Association has also recognized Saunders with its Award of Merit.“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my friend, personal physician, and mentor,” said U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings in a press release.“Throughout his career, Dr. Saunders was dedicated to achieving healthcare equality, with a special focus on the African American community. His passion was treating people with hypertension and teaching them about the dangers of this ‘silent killer’. . . . A true giant has moved off the stage of life,” said Cummings.Two Services are scheduled: There will be a viewing on Friday, April 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Transformation Church, located at 5150 Baltimore National Pike, Baltimore, Md. A pre-celebration will take place at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Sunday, April 12 a Family Greeting hour will be held at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, located at 6020 Marian Drive, Baltimore, Md. The funeral service will follow at 6:30 pm.On Sunday, April 12 a Family Greeting hour will be held at the New Psalmist Baptist Church, located at 6020 Marian Drive, Baltimore, Md. The funeral service will follow at 6:30 pm.
Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr.Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr., a Baltimore physician, died on August 18 at the age of 73. According to his son, Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., he passed surrounded by family at Medstar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore after a brief illness.“All of Baltimore mourns the loss of a member of our legendary civil rights family, the Mitchells. Dr. Keiffer Mitchell Sr., the son of the 101st Senator and the father of former City Councilman and former Delegate Keiffer Mitchell Jr., was a kind man and loving father. My prayers are with the entire Mitchell family,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said in a statement.Mitchell was born in Baltimore to Clarence M. Mitchell Jr., a longtime NAACP lobbyist and leading figure in the civil rights movement, and Juanita Jackson Mitchell, Esq., a NAACP activist and the first Black female admitted to practice law in the state of Maryland. She also was the daughter of famed Baltimore NAACP leader Dr. Lillie May Carroll Jackson. His uncle, the late Parren J. Mitchell, was the first Black member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland.As a youth, Dr. Mitchell attended Baltimore City public schools. In September 1954, he was the first Black student to integrate Gwynn Falls Junior High School. Residents of the neighborhood organized a protest that at times became violent. He went on to attend the prestigious Baltimore City College which he graduated from in 1959. He then went on to Lincoln University in Oxford, PA where he earned a degree in 1964. Next he would attend Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN where he would obtain his M.D in 1967. After medical school he served as an intern and resident at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in gastroenterology from 1967-1971. Upon completion of his internship and residency he concluded his Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital.Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr. grew up on the 1200 block of Druid Hill Ave. and practiced medicine on that very same block for 40 years. He repeatedly rejected opportunities to move his medical practice out of the neighborhood and put an emphasis of giving quality care to elderly patients. A lifelong Baltimorean, Dr. Mitchell lived in Guilford until his passing. He was an enthusiastic painter, avid photographer and devoted family man. He leaves behind a wife of 49 years, Nannette Kindle Mitchell, children, Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr., Kelly Mitchell and Kathleen Mitchell, grandchildren, Jade Newhouse, Kindle Mitchell, Marquis Newhouse, Keiffer J. Mitchell III, and a daughter in-law, Nicole Kramer Mitchell.The memorial service is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, September 23 at Sharp Street Memorial United Methodist Church located at Dolphin and Etting Streets.
The second trial for a police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray is set for next month — a year after the Black man’s neck was broken in a police van — and one of the officer’s colleagues will be forced to testify.This May 1, 2015, file photo provided by the Baltimore Police Department shows, top row from left, Caesar R. Goodson Jr., Garrett E. Miller and Edward M. Nero, and bottom row from left, William G. Porter, Brian W. Rice and Alicia D. White, the six police officers charged with felonies ranging from assault to murder in the death of Freddie Gray. Baltimore prosecutors on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, asked a judge to delay the trials of Rice, Miller and Nero, who are charged with assault, misconduct and reckless endangerment. Rice is also charged with manslaughter. (Baltimore Police Department via AP, File)The latest reshuffling of trial dates happened March 8 when Maryland’s highest court ruled that Officer William Porter must testify against his fellow officers while he awaits retrial. Porter’s trial ended in a hung jury in December and proceedings for the other officers have essentially been on hold while the courts determined whether he should be forced to take the stand.The trial for Lt. Brian Rice, the highest-ranking officer charged in the Gray case, will start April 13 — one year and one day after Gray was arrested outside the Gilmor Homes in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood when he ran from police.Gray was booked after Rice and officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller found a knife they deemed illegal in Gray’s pocket. The state’s attorney has said the knife was legal and Gray should have never been taken into custody. He died a week after his injury in the van.Rice is charged with manslaughter, misconduct in office, reckless endangerment and assault. All of the officers have pleaded not guilty.Porter, who checked on Gray after he was put in the van, testified at his trial that he didn’t do anything wrong during Gray’s arrest. He told a jury that it was the van driver’s responsibility to make sure Gray was secured in a seat belt.Porter’s attorneys argued he shouldn’t be forced to take the stand at the other trials because he could potentially open himself up to perjury. The Maryland Court of Appeals judges seemed skeptical during oral arguments last week, saying Porter shouldn’t have anything to worry about as long as he tells the truth.The judges did not explain their decision, saying they would issue an opinion later.Amy Dillard, a law professor at the University of Baltimore, said their ruling makes sense.“What the prosecution is asking for is that Porter be called and asked the same questions and testify as he did before under oath,” Dillard said. “If the prosecutor goes into areas he has not commented on or testified about, there are motions to be made during those trials.”The appeals court issued two rulings. The first ruling agreed with Baltimore Circuit Judge Barry Williams’ decision to force Porter to testify against Sgt. Alicia White and Officer Caesar Goodson, all of whom face manslaughter, assault, reckless endangerment and misconduct in office charges. Goodson, the van driver, faces the most serious charge, second-degree murder.A second order reversed Williams’ decision that Porter did not have to testify against officers Miller, Nero and Rice.Miller and Nero face misconduct in office, reckless endangerment and assault charges.
Director Goldie Patrick and playwright Caleen Jennings are hosting an event called “On My Mind/In My Heart: The Voices of Women in Public Housing at the Anacostia Arts Center” on April 1. The Anacostia Arts Center is located at 1231 Good Hope Road S.E. and the event will start at 8 p. m. The event highlights women such as Linda Brown, Robin Fields, India Fuller, and Rhonda Hamilton among many others who tell stories of life within D.C.’s public housing system. A short discussion, facilitated by Empower DC’s public housing Organizer Schyla RedBlackngreen, will follow the event. Admission is free but donations are encouraged. For more information, contact Parisa at 202-234-9119 ext: 100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen at WEAA Live Stream: http://amber.streamguys.com.4020/live.m3uNational politics focusing on the chaotic Trump White House, with guest host, Kaye Wise Whitehead, author, public intellectual and professor at Loyola University MarylandThese stories and much more on AFRO’s First Edition with Sean Yoes, Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m.
BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore gang member has admitted to killing a witness to prevent him from testifying against a fellow member of the Black Guerilla Family gang, which deals in heroin in the area.Wesley Jamal BrownA U.S. attorney’s office statement says 25-year-old Wesley Jamal Brown pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiring to participate in a racketeering enterprise.As part of the agreement, prosecutors say Brown admitted to fatally shooting 22-year-old Moses Malone in Baltimore in 2013. Malone was due to testify against Norman Handy, who Malone said had robbed and shot him. Handy later pleaded guilty to robbery.Prosecutors say they expect Brown to receive 30 to 35 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in February.Brown is the half-brother of former University of Maryland running back Wes Brown.
March 4 was a terrible Sunday for the members of venable Grace Memorial Baptist Church in East Baltimore, when a catastrophic 2-alarm fire erupted at the church located at 1100 N. Eden St. Congregants had been attending Sunday school at the time of the blaze. No one was injured.Historic Grace Memorial Baptist Church at 1100 N. Eden St., in East Baltimore, was destroyed by fire last Sunday. (Photo by Sean Yoes)Fire officials received calls about 10:30 a.m., about smoke coming from the roof of Grace Memorial, which was established in 1926 by Rev. Albert J. Greene and a few other members, who had been worshipping at each others homes. The church was first housed at the Star Theatre Auditorium on Monument St., before moving to the Eden St. location.There is no word yet on where the church will relocate temporarily.
By James Wright, Special to the AFRO. email@example.comThe office of the county executive of Prince George’s County and the Prince George’s County Local Development Council (PGCLDC) recently gave grants to non-profits who are working to make the lives of county residents better.On July 25, 11 non-profits were feted at the Second Annual Local Impact Grants Awards Ceremony that took place at the Southern Regional Technology and Recreational Complex in Fort Washington, Maryland. The local development council exists because of a state law mandating that where a gaming facility exists, such as Prince George’s County’s MGM National Harbor, there is an advisory group on how that facility can best impact the surrounding community.Rushern Baker III., county executive of Prince George’s County, highlighted 11 non-profits working in the area. (Courtesy Photo)Since its formation in 2015, the development council has awarded more than $562,000 in community grants and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III commended the work of the council and the non-profits.“The PGCLDC did a great job of selecting a diverse group of organizations that address a variety of challenges which range from mentoring and education of youth to organizations that provide resources with our senior community and those with disabilities,” he said. “I am appreciative that MGM National Harbor has continued to honor the commitments they made to the residents of Prince George’s County.”One of the 11 non-profits that received a portion of the $337,000 given to 11 non-profits is the Community Ministry of Prince George’s County, located in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The executive director of Community Ministry is Jimmie L. Slade and he told the AFRO his organization will use the funds on violence prevention workshops.“Community Ministry of Prince George’s County will use the $35,000 award to fund the development and conduct of a series of leadership and violence prevention educational workshops for youth 10-24 years of age from the Oxon Hill community and surrounding communities,” Slade said. “According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, In America, homicide is the leading cause of death for African Americans and second leading cause of death for Latinos/Hispanics in this age group.”Slade said he and Donice Jones, the president of the Oxon Hill Boys and Girls Club, will seek collaboration from the University of Maryland School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University and Bowie State University to provide research strategies, materials and support for the project.Another grant recipient is the Alice Ferguson Foundation based in Accokeek, Maryland. The foundation’s educational programs bring together students, educators, park rangers, community leaders as well as regional organizations and government agencies throughout the Washington area to promote the sustainability of the Potomac River watershed.“We will use the $30,000 to invest in students and in the educational programs we offer,” Lori Arguelles, president of the foundation, told the AFRO. “We have on-site programs, such as the one for fifth graders on our education campus that teaches them to explore nature, learn about agriculture and the local watershed. We want them, and the others we work with, to move toward the goal of a trash-free Potomac River.”
By MARK F. GRAY, Special to the AFROHoward Escapes Morgan with Tough Road WinThere’s always a battle of cultures when Howard faces Morgan State in one of the understated HBCU sports rivalries. When the blue collar historic success of the Bears’ athletic program intersects with the blue blood perception of Bison lore it makes for interesting battles no matter what the records are. Howard’s culture has changed under second year head coach Mike London and they play now with a championship swag that was the difference in a 35-26 win over Morgan.When the Bears had chances to deliver in game changing moments they couldn’t knock out blows. Normally, there are five to seven plays that are the difference in any game. The Bison made game changers that were the final margin of victory at Hughes Stadium.Howard University coach Mike London signals for the two point conversion after their final touchdown during their 36-25 win over Morgan State at Hughes Stadium and Earl C. Banks Field. (Photo by Mark Gray)Morgan opened a 10 point first quarter lead then fumbled deep in Howard territory setting them up at Bears three yard line. Bison quarterback Cailyn Newton scored on a one yard run but the point after was blocked and returned for an apparent safety. However, a holding call nullified it costing the Bears two points. In the third quarter, the Bears led 26-20 and were within two yards of leading by 13. Morgan’s Joshua Chase ripped through the Bison secondary after a 38-yard run but was stripped by two yards from the end zone and it went through for a touchback.From the start Bison took control with a vicious ground attack. Howard outscored Morgan 15-0 in the fourth quarter. Dedrick Parson rushed for a game high 148 yards with touchdown runs of 31 and 26 yards in the game’s final period. Newton only passed for 213 yards but deftly managed the game for the Bison who stay within a game of N.C. Central in the MEAC title chase.Next: Howard – S.C. State (Homecoming)Next: Morgan – at Florida A&MBowie State Regains Top Spot in CIAA NorthBowie State quarterback Amir Hall added another page to his legacy as the Bulldogs reassumed command of the CIAA North Division with a 27-13 victory at Virginia Union. Hall, nursing a myriad of injuries, donned his Superman cape and completed 33 of 49 passes for 370 yards and two touchdowns.Hall also moved into second place on the CIAA’s all-time touchdown passing list early in the fourth quarter. His 40-yard touchdown completion to Maurice Williams was the 90th of his college career moving him past the mark set by N.C. Central’s Earl “Air” Harvey during an illustrious era that concluded in 1988. The reigning national HBCU Player of the Year is now within seven TD passes from breaking the mark held Winston Salem State’s Kameron Smith quarter who had 96 between 2010-2012After Virginia Union converted the game’s opening drive – 57 yards in nine plays – and took the lead with a 39-yard Jefferson Souza field goal. Bowie State answered with a 57-yard strike from Hall to Brandon Abrams who scored the game’s first touchdown and gave them the lead for good.While Hall was making history, it was the Bulldogs defense that made big plays at critical times all afternoon. Virginia Union rushed for 249 yards which limited the number of chances Bowie State had offensively. However, once the Trojans were inside the red zone the Bulldogs defense held them to three field goals and kept them out of the end zone until late in the third quarter.The win returns Bowie State’s CIAA Championship Game fate to them. Wins in their final two games – at Lincoln then home for Elizabeth City State – and they return to Salem, Va. on Nov. 10 to play for their elusive conference championship.Next: at Lincoln
WALDORF, Maryland – Bringing a halt to human trafficking needs help from the public, which must learn to “see the unseen,” an anti-trafficking advocate recently told church members here.Civilian training is the first step, said Rebecca McDonald, founder and president of Women at Risk, International (WAR), a Michigan-based non-profit organization that works to provide protection to those at risk, for the event.“Until you take this personally, nothing is going to change,” McDonald told members of the First Baptist Church in Waldorf.The First Baptist Church here hosted a seminar on human trafficking. Pictured are trafficking survivor Jill short, Women at Risk, International President Rebecca Mcdonald, ,and seminar organizers Jen Warnack, Charlotte Vass and Megan Ray (Photo courtesy of First Baptist Church, Waldorf)The church partnered with WAR for a seven-hour Civilian First Responder program for 250 attending members, teaching them about what human trafficking is, the horrors of victims’ experience, how they can detect signs of the crime in their community and resources they can contact to get help.Human trafficking, often considered a forgotten crime, is modern day slavery. An umbrella term, human trafficking encompasses a number of crimes like sex trafficking, forced labor and debt bondage.The International Labour Organization estimates that 40.3 million people are trafficked globally, according to Polaris, an organization dedicated to eradicating modern slavery.In 2014, 396 survivors of human trafficking were identified and provided assistance in Maryland according to the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force. As most victims are not identified or reported to an agency, this number is only a fraction of the actual number of people being trafficked in the state.WAR provided pamphlets and documents that had further information about human trafficking and ways to see its signs. In a booklet specifically aimed at the general public, the organization lists 15 demographic characteristics that make an area more prone to human trafficking.Tourism, for example, invites people to come in and out of an area for short periods of time. These tourists, primarily men, are more likely to partake in human trafficking activities, like sex trafficking, and leave the area before there are any repercussions. Sex tourism “treats sex as just another visitor attraction,” according the WAR’s website.Because of Maryland’s close proximity to cities like Washington and Baltimore, the state is vulnerable to sex tourism.Six men, including two from Anne Arundel County, were arrested by county police in a prostitution sting operation at the Extended Stay America hotel in Linthicum, only a 10-minute drive from the Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, according to an article by the Annapolis Capital.Maryland has about 12 or 13 of these 15 demographic characteristics, according to McDonald.McDonald said the real problem of human trafficking is that it is “good business.” Traffickers can sell a human over and over again and still have deniability, according to McDonald.The church event also had separate break-out sessions for parents and educators, hospitality workers, teens and young adults and homeland security and local law enforcement to learn how to detect human trafficking in these specific groups.Speakers for these sessions included representatives of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s office, the Charles County Sheriff’s Office and an advocate for Human Security Investigations.Two human trafficking victims, Jill Short and Wendy Schoonmaker, spoke about their experiences during the lunch break. Short, a mother of 10 and grandmother of six, uses beauty pageants to talk about her personal story and won the position of 2019 Mrs. Downtown DC America, the official Washington preliminary pageants to Miss for America and Mrs. America.Schoonmaker said people are sometimes taught to mistrust themselves and ignore or shutdown their own feelings, which can be passed on to children, creating a major source of vulnerability.“If you don’t acknowledge someone else’s feelings, someone else will,” she said. “And often times it’s someone who will exploit them.”Schoonmaker said she was able to walk away from the first 16 years of her life by having people, either mentors or volunteers, who spoke about positive things in her life.Both survivors urged attendees to be vigilant about signs of trafficking.Church member Charlotte Vass organized the training session with help from other members. Having previously worked with domestic violence victims and then with WAR, Vass said the sinfulness of human trafficking “struck her” and made her want to make a difference.A group of women at the church have been praying about this problem for years and started planning the event about eight months ago, according to Vass.“It just became apparent that people are really uninformed about the human trafficking situation in general,” Vass said. “Most people seem to think it’s over there, they don’t realize it’s in your own backyard.” By SANCHALI SINGH, Capital News Service
John Schmid, Special to the AFROA Baltimore Police Department (BPD) officer was convicted of second degree assault and misconduct, the Baltimore’s State’s Attorney’s Office (SAO) announced Tuesday.The officer, Carlos Rivera-Martinez, with other officers, was ordered to clear the 400 block of Baltimore Street in the early a.m. of July 5. Rivera-Martinez claimed police ordered 16-year-old Melvin Townes to leave, and when Townes refused, the officer made an attempt to arrest Townes for disorderly conduct and failing to obey police.Townes maintains that he left as instructed.Baltimore Police Department (AP Photo, File)Rivera-Martinez, and other officers, pursued a running Townes to the courtyard of City Hall, by way of Gay Street, and made his arrest.CCTV footage captured Townes, putting his hands in the air, turning to face the officers and surrendering. After Townes’s surrender, Rivera-Martinez tackled Townes and beat him with his taser.“Police officers are trained to use violence as a last resort to de escalate incidents,” State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said in an April 30 statement. “This defendant abused his power and victimized this young person after he complied with the officers. I am pleased a jury has held him accountable for his actions, and he will have to face the consequences for his behavior.”Assistant State’s Attorneys Alex Rodriguez and Steven Trostle of the SAO’s Police Trust and Police Integrity Unit prosecuted the case.Mike Mancuso, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, condemned the verdict, judge and jury that convicted Rivera-Martinez, in an April 30 statement.“We are appalled by this action and see it as even more evidence that, despite our best efforts, we continue to work in an environment that is increasingly anti-police, enforced by a judicial system that feels compelled to strike out at our good work,” the statement reads. “As a result, Baltimore has become a murderous city that is recognized, nationally, not for our efforts to improve, but rather for our continued fall into the abyss of anarchy and lawlessness.”Rivera-Martinez has remained on the force for two years since the video recording of the assault, but is now facing a BPD trial board hearing. The officer faces up to 10 years in prison at sentencing for the assault.“Those who sit in judgment of us believe that murderers can be changed with hugs and prayers. They refuse to see that police work and the use of force can be ugly, but necessary, at times,” Mancuso continued in his statement. “This, however, does not mean that the involved officer has done anything wrong.”Townes was hospitalized at University of Maryland Medical Center after the assault, where he was treated for lacerations and abrasions to the face, and a broken leg.Rivera-Martinez’s sentencing trial is scheduled for August 9.
Stay on target How AMC’s ‘The Terror’ Uses American History to Delive…33 Killed in Suspected Arson Attack on Kyoto Animation Studio in Japan At the annual Ikebukuro Halloween Cosplay Fest in Tokyo, Japanese politicians showed they too, are hip to what the kids are up to these days.Unlike Steve Buscemi in a kid outfit (God bless you, 30 Rock. We shall never forget you.), the governor of Tokyo, Yuriko Koike, made a very impressive older version of Princess Sapphire from the classic manga and anime Princess Knight, proving she knew her stuff. The mayor of the Toshima ward, Yukio Takano, made a funnier appearance as Mario, complete with an elastic band mustache. Couldn’t commit to spirit gum to glue on the mustache, could you Takano? But whatever, this is all still pretty great and cute, and we are A++++ all for this.At the opening ceremony for Cosplay Fest, Mayor Koike had some pretty inspiring words to share for fellow geeks. “Don’t feel ashamed. Get into your role,” she said. Koike also mentioned that she chose to portray the cool battle-ready Princess Sapphire as an homage to Osamu Tezuka, who created the manga, as well as lived in the Toshima ward, serving as the beginnings of manga as we know it today. Koike said that she had read all of the Princess Knight manga since she was young. “Maybe you can tell a person’s generation by what they cosplay as,” she quipped.Mayor Koike and Takano were joined on stage by Dwango COO Daisuke Yokosawa (left) and Animate CEO Minoru Sakashita (right). Good god, Lemon. This is awesome.Mayor Koike has always been an advocate of the anime and manga industry as an important part of Japanese culture. She also mentioned that she one day would like to turn Tokyo into “anime land.” Yo, Japan. Just so you know, we are 100% on board with this too.We wish our politicians were this forward with their nerdy selves. Maybe one day we’ll get to see a future President of the United States as Princess Sapphire, too.
If you don’t already own an iPad, you have about three months to get one before the iCade is available to retro-gaming nerds everywhere. Let’s face it, the old-school arcade games are admittedly cool looking, but they’re heavy, and extremely expensive. Thanks to the good people at ThinkGeek, you can pretend you’re living the dream.ThinkGeek teamed up with ION and Atari to create the iCade. ION is helping in creating the arcade-style body that connects the iPad via Bluetooth. Atari will be offering a huge suite of its classic arcade games, like Asteroids. Gearlog got some hands-on time with a prototype at ces. We learned that the buttons were far from arcade quality, but what do you expect for a product that was originally an April Fool’s Day product from ThinkGeek? The iCade is estimated to be available April 15 at ThinkGeek for $99.99. You can sign up to be e-mailed when the product is ready to purchase. Game on!
AT&T has released that it holds exclusivity over carrying 3G signals from PlayStation Vitas when the portable game system releases here in the United States.Glenn Lurie from AT&T told consumer electronics blog The Verge that AT&T worked with Sony during the system’s development process on the 3G modules for the system. It also helped craft connectivity rules in the Vita SDK, presumably to suit AT&T’s network needs. Lurie explained that the SDK contributions expedite certification (it isn’t said with whom, whether that’s the FCC or Sony’s own app store) and avoid apps that harm the network. The telecoms heavyweight has also been testing 3G-equipped units since early fall 2011, as much as six months ahead of the console’s US release.The 3G lockdown will put a slight hamper on imports and exports of the handheld. While the system may be region-free as far as games are concerned, the carrier lock means that connectivity on the go will be hampered unless on the carrier the console was originally sold for, such as AT&T here or NTT DoCoMo in Japan. As a reminder, pricing is set at an iPad-like $14.99 per month for 250MB of bandwidth or $24.99 for 2GB. You’ll be paying that price for multiplayer gaming without a WiFi point, location-based services, and social networking on the go. The plan month-to-month, meaning that you can pay as you go instead of paying an automatic subscription fee.Still, $15 a month for what amounts to access to Twitter and a competitor to the 3DS’ StreetPass functionality isn’t the greatest value for money that portable gaming has ever seen. Then again, Vita owners who’ve seen prices for games or the proprietary memory cards aren’t the least surprised. via The Verge
From the performance comparisons and differences in game resolutions we’ve seen so far, the PS4 looks to be the better performing next-gen console. At least, for launch games that’s the case, and only time will tell if Microsoft can close the gap to Sony’s machine.But the PS4 has another advantage that would take a redesign of the Xbox One to match: the PS4 is considerably smaller than Microsoft’s machine. You can see that from the images included here, captured by German PC gaming website PCGames.de.The smaller size is an advantage to anyone who has limited space available in their entertainment center, or worse, the space is too small to allow for adequate cooling around the larger Xbox One. Of course, the advantage could become a disadvantage if the smaller casing and tigher-packed components means the PS4 runs hot or makes a lot of noise to stay cool. But I haven’t heard any reports about noise or heat issues regarding pre-release units or those that have been playing games since the midnight launch last night.From the images we have seen that compare the motherboards of the Xbox One and PS4, it looks like Sony spent more time perfecting the design of the innards and that’s where the space saving came from. It seems likely Microsoft can do that for the Xbox One, but we probably won’t get a smaller console from them for at least a year.
On Friday, Valve shipped out 300 beta Steam Machines to the lucky few gamers who had been selected to test them. It didn’t take long for one of those 300 to start posting images of what he received.As the gallery above shows, the Steam Machine turned up in a heavy duty wooden crate complete with carry handle. Inside, and encased in foam, was the Steam Machine, controller, required cables and a couple of documents. There’s also a Steam OS Recovery USB stick, which must act as a quick way to factory reset the machine if things go wrong.A Steam Machine is basically a mini x86 PC that runs Debian Linux, the Gnome 3 desktop environment, and Steam OS on top of that. While by no means ugly, you can tell from the casing this is just a generic housing for a Mini-itx PC. But Valve has actually been very clever with the casing.On the side of the case you will notice a series of holes. These may indeed be to aid ventilation, but you’ll also notice one hole is not like the others. In fact, there are 300 holes to represent the 300 beta Steam Machines. What Valve has done is to mark a different hole on each machine, that way when images do inevitably appear on the Internet they know exactly who is posting them from the position of the hole.As for what’s inside, according to the person posting the images the spec is as follows:3.2GHz quad-core Core i5-457016GB RAMZotac GeForce GTX 780 graphics card with 3GB RAMASRock Z87E motherboardSilverstone ST45SF 450W power supplyThis is not a slow machine by any means, and that CPU/GPU/RAM combination put any game available today on PC within its reach. According to the discussion of Reddit, it’s about 3x as powerful as a PS4 based on the GPU alone. Of course, not all of the beta machines may carry the same spec, and if that’s true this is clearly from the higher end of the units shipped out. VIEW PHOTO GALLERY SMBeta_01SMBeta_01SMBeta_02SMBeta_03SMBeta_04SMBeta_05SMBeta_06SMBeta_07SMBeta_08SMBeta_09
MovieBob Reviews: ‘Shadow’MovieBob Reviews: ‘The Curse of La Llorona’ Is The Last Jedi Good?It’s great!Whew!Yeah, I was worried too. But it’s great.Better than the last two?I think so. Better than Force Awakens and Rogue One, better than the Prequels. Probably better than Return of The Jedi – probably.What’s it about (no spoilers, please!)?It picks up immediately after the end of the last movie, with Rey following up on Jedi-related business with Luke Skywalker on that island planet, General Leia and Poe Dameron working help the last of The Resistance outrun the First Order in a fleet-vs-fleet space-chase and Finn teaming up with new character Rose to hunt down some technology that will aid in the escape.How much time do we get with Leia?Obviously, it was going to be a big deal seeing Carrie Fisher onscreen for one more movie no matter what, but she’s actually a HUGE part of the film this time and… look, I won’t spoil, but in a movie where almost every character old or new with a name you’re supposed to remember gets at least one BIG “moment” to themselves hers is an all-timer (you’ll know it when you see it.) Same goes for Luke – they’re both a significantly bigger part of the film this time around, even as the storyline is increasingly much more about the new generation of characters.So we’re still doing the meta “sequel about sequels” thing?Yes. It’s “about” Star Wars itself the same way The Force Awakens was… but in a more subtle, opaque way that’s eventually a kind of “anti-nostalgia” in terms of what it’s looking to say about the characters, their world and what things need to be going forward. To put it in as non-spoilery terms as I can: If Awakens was about The Resistance and The First Order repeating the cycle of The Rebellion and The Empire, this one is all about how they have to become their own things and what the proper way to get there is going to be – and that’s exciting.How is Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran), the new hero character?She’s delightful – a different sort of character (in several respects) that you don’t often see in a role this prominent in big movies. In terms of the “new generation inheriting the legacy” meta-narrative, she’s the contemporary-fan: Someone who’s the same generation as Finn, Poe and Rey and is already seeing them as Resistance icons but also able/willing to assert herself when she sees them as in the wrong – the actual-warfare version of a fan who wants to keep their faves “honest” via social-media callouts. She’s also a “worker’s voice” voice for class-consciousness, which becomes important toward the middle of Act 2.How are the returning new generation characters, overall?It’s difficult to discuss them without spoilers, as they all have fresh arcs to play out in this one that are directly tied to important parts of the storyline. Poe Dameron gets a much bigger role this time around, but in an unexpected way. Finn gets to show more dimensionality and be on the receiving end of having to evaluate the limits of his perspective while still being the “everyman” character. Rey… anything I could note in detail about where Rey’s story goes is going to be a spoiler, but suffice it to say her storyline is very much about driving home the “Who’re you calling predictable?” aspect of the broader uncharted-territory theme of the overarching narrative – and I’m kind of in love with how upset certain points that drive this home are going to make certain people who’ve spent two years smugly trying to “figure out” the new films ahead of the filmmakers.Does it do anything significantly different than other Star Wars movies?Constantly. We’re seeing all new planets and all new types of planets, different sorts of creatures and tonal/stylistic techniques that break the mold in terms of visuals, action styles and narrative devices that aren’t typically used as part of the Star Wars visual language. There’s a dialogue exchange, played for laughs, in the first few minutes that’s completely unlikely any back and forth we’ve heard before in the series, and in many ways it feels more like a proper WAR movie than even Rogue One did: With events that come into play in sudden random bursts and many of the characters frantically scrambling to stay on top of things like you do in actual chaotic situations that you just don’t see in big movies away.Is it possible to name some highlights without spoiling anything ?I’ll certainly try: We see at least three new Force Abilities we haven’t before (I mean entirely new, not Kylo-Ren-freezing-a-blaster-round stronger versions of classic powers style things). There’s a lightsaber battle that hits a perfect balance between the aggressive broadsword fencing from the originals and the wuxia-inspired swordplay from the Prequels. The Porgs are a fun addition to the menagerie and don’t wear out their welcome. The specific manner in which a certain beloved character’s appearance is realized got me physically choked-up (you’ll know it when you see it.) The the red/white “salt terrain” of the planet where Act 3 plays out makes an action scene look like something out of an arthouse flick. There’s a “holy shit!!!” moment of villain-obliteration so bad-ass most movies would end on it that this one uses to close-out Act 2 because it knows its finale is that strong.Are there problems?A few, and they aren’t necessarily minor. The main issue is that, as with The Empire Strikes Back, having the bulk of the storyline (apart from Rey/Luke doing the Luke/Yoda thing elsewhere) be an evade-and-pursue narrative means that there isn’t a comfortably-rigid three act structure to follow. What more or less counts as Act 2 is a little overlong and involves A LOT of sequences where characters make the same mistakes repeatedly, have things go wrong at random and generally manage chaos, so it can feel a little ungrounded at points – particularly an extended digression with Finn and Rose that doesn’t end up counting for much plotwise (but DOES serve to touch on some issues that franchise has kind of ignored since The Phantom Menace and sets up the film’s basically-perfect final shot.) Not significant wounds, but imperfections certainly.Any other reservations?After seeing what Rainn Johnson did here as director, it’s hard to be excited about going back to a thoroughly-average stylistic-mimic like JJ Abrams for the next one.What recent blockbuster NOT connected to the Star Wars franchise would it compare to?In terms of tone? Dunkirk. In terms of theme? Thor: Ragnarok.And you recommend it?Unreservedly. One of the best blockbusters of the year. 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Gamers have been nervous about the announcement of “Scorpio” and “Neo” from Microsoft and Sony (respectively) for months (we aren’t worried about the NX, because Nintendo has said absolutely nothing about it and it could be a microwave for all we know at this point). Microsoft assuaged some of those fears in the first few minutes of its E3 press event by doing something incredibly simple and obvious in hindsight: It bit Sony’s style.Yes, it’s understandable to be concerned about faster consoles that might lock content out of older, less powerful versions of the same consoles. So, the Xbox One S isn’t about that. It’s just smaller. That’s it. Job done. Nailed it. You know, just like Sony nailed it with the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation 3. “Hey, we have the same console we’ve been offering for a year or two, but now it’s way smaller and less expensive.” That’s how you do it.We don’t know if the Xbox One S — available now at Amazon — is more powerful than the Xbox One. Frankly, we don’t want to know. It’s a spec we can do without. It might have some more juice running through it considering the HDR support, but that’s a weirdly specific feature. It’s just a smaller Xbone with a $300 price tag coming out in August. HDR looks incredibly pretty if it’s content that’s mastered (or perhaps rendered, for games) in HDR, but it doesn’t need anywhere near the sort of power 4K resolution does, and it’ll only really benefit the subset of gamers who have high-end, HDR-capable televisions“But will it come with Kinect,” you might ask? I’m kidding. Nobody will ever ask that. Ever.It’s still morning for me on the West Coast as I write this (waiting for the PC Gaming Show, oddly timed to make going to Xbox and Ubisoft completely impossible, even though I can see the Orpheum Theater where Ubisoft will hold its press event from where I’m waiting), so we still have to see what Sony’s mysterious Neo will be.This evening will really set the tone for the coming year of potential iterative console purchases. Will Neo be a more powerful system than the launch PS4? Or will it just be smaller, maybe with some extra ports to be more PlayStation VR-friendly? I’m leaning towards the latter, but I’ll find out firsthand tonight.Even if Neo is more powerful, Sony will need some kind of killer app that proves its worth. That won’t be PSVR, since we’ve known it works with the regular PS4 ever since Sony started demoing it over a year ago. It won’t be slightly prettier games, because that’s a poor replacement for the traditional steady optimization of code developers always do with console hardware throughout a console’s life. It won’t be 4K, because no amount of subsidizing the hardware will let Sony make a console that can put out 4K graphics at a frame rate consistently above “slideshow.” Sony needs a killer app — one Microsoft didn’t show, and to be fair, Microsoft didn’t even show the console.Forget the game announcements, feature promises, and pretty much anything else at Microsoft’s event. It was mostly par for the course, and was mostly leaked before the event even started. Another Gears of War, another Dead Rising, another Forza, and a handful of actually promising titles — Sea of Thieves and Scalebound, that were previously shown. The Xbox One has been floundering against the PS4, and by the fall there will be a smaller, cheaper version that will seriously appeal to gamers because it’s so much smaller and cheaper. That’s the big takeaway from Microsoft right now.Maybe the Xbox One S is a bit more powerful than the Xbox One. Maybe it’ll lock out content from other systems down the line as developers take advantage of that power (though Microsoft promised that wouldn’t happen during the show). That won’t be an issue for a while now, and since Microsoft isn’t actually saying anything about it, it’ll remain a vague threat rather than an actual problem.Welcome to E3 2016! Let the avalanche of announcements continue.
Are you good at video games? You’re a geek, you’re obviously good at video games, but we mean really good. Scary good. Friends won’t play with you anymore good.Have you ever considered making it your job?It may seem like a middle school fantasy, but in our insanely cool modern world, “pro gamer” is actually a viable career choice. In this article, we’ll run down all the steps you’ll need to take to transform your vidya hobby into a self-sustaining enterprise.Keep in mind that this isn’t something that happens overnight. The pro gamers taking home wads of cash at huge events and racking up thousands of stream subscribers aren’t successful because they’re lucky. They have grit and determination to go with their serious skill. If you aren’t willing to totally commit to the eSports lifestyle, close this article and go read something else.Pick A GameLet’s start out with one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make in your gaming career: what are you going to play? While there are a few pros out there who hop from genre to genre with ease, most of them stick to one genre at the very least. Here’s a quick rundown of where the money’s at, eSports wise.MOBAsProbably the biggest payouts in the eSports world right now come from multiplayer online battle arenas, or MOBAs. Think DOTA 2 or League of Legends – team-based games in which you have to work together to accomplish objectives against another team. DOTA 2 alone has paid out some $65 million in prize money, so the cash is there.It’s super easy to get practice on these games, because just about everybody is playing them. But to succeed at a high level, you need to put a team together. Coordination and communication is just as important as reflexes in this genre, so if you don’t play well with others you might want to figure something else out.Fighting GamesOne of the oldest competitive genres, fighting games started out with tournaments in local arcades and have grown into a thriving community with top-level games shown on ESPN. Fighting games are often shorter in play time than other genres, enabling more players to enter at events. They’re also typically one-on-one, so you don’t need to build a team of fellow gamers.That said, fighting game prize payouts aren’t as high as some other genres, as they’re still considered a niche product. The fighting game community, however, is incredibly close-knit and lively.First Person ShootersLed by the insanely popular Counter-Strike series, FPS games have a healthy competitive scene. LAN parties in the 1990s saw people playing Doom and Quake, but professional play began in 1995 with the release of Doom II. The first QuakeCon the next year kicked off FPS gaming as a worldwide fad, and some of the genre’s luminaries made a pretty penny.Modern FPS eSports is organized around team-based games for the most part. Titles like Halo and Overwatch have decent-sized competitive communities. In general prize money’s not as high simply because viewership is lower, but if that’s your skillset you can still do pretty well.Real Time StrategyAnd by that we mean StarCraft. Blizzard’s RTS title has a reputation for being one of the most popular eSports in the world, especially in South Korea. This might be the hardest one to break into, especially if you’re older than like 12. Top flight players train obsessively on the game to bring their “actions per minute” up to professional level (300, if you’re curious).A lot of RTS play is knowing your opponent, so many pro StarCraft players obsessively watch tapes of their competitors’ matches to learn their strategies and more effectively counter them.OtherDon’t think that what’s above is a complete list. Plenty of other games have competitive scenes of varying sizes – physical arcade games like Dance Dance Revolution, card games like Hearthstone, and even Tetris can make you money if you play at a high enough level.Git GudBefore you even think about gaming as a career, you need to be damn sure you have the skills to make it happen. Beating your friends consistently is a good start, but the level of competition you’re about to face is something entirely different. No matter how confident you are in your gaming ability, you’ll need to get better. So how do you do that?The first way is through competition. You want to play against the absolute highest level possible as much as you can. That’ll show you exactly how far you need to go to game at a professional level. That can be difficult to do, but thankfully there are opportunities out there. Playing online is one way, but many pros form local groups dedicated to bringing each other up as well. Some pros even move into houses together to make sessions easier.Practice can also happen on your own, and many players split their sessions into two levels. One is actually playing the game itself, dealing with the conscious decisions that determine success. But there is also a mechanical element to video gaming that you need to teach your hands to do. Pro Starcraft players can spend hours doing training drills to improve their efficiency.If you ask top level players, the one skill that separates them from the masses is their ability to learn from their mistakes. Sure, you’ll see people getting salty after an especially brutal loss, but if you can rationally pinpoint exactly how you lost, you’ll reduce the chances of doing it again. Everybody loses, no matter how good they are – that’s what makes games fun. Being able to hold that L and use it to improve is vital.Here Comes The MoneyNow that you’ve been noticed, it’s time to cash in. Although pro gamers obviously do it for the love, love doesn’t pay the rent. Thankfully, there are several different ways to monetize your gaming skills.The first and most obvious is winning competitions and tournaments. The fighting game community is one of the originators of this hustle, but many other games have competitive events. How it works is simple: you pay an entry fee to get into an event and score a spot in the pools, and if you fight your way to the championship you take home a sizable chunk of that. Local tournament pots are usually just a couple hundred bucks, but by comparison the Street Fighter V winner at EVO, the biggest tournament of the year, won over $50,000 for two days of work.Tournaments are sort of a feast or famine thing, though, so you need cash to hold yourself over in between big wins. That’s where sponsors come in. A variety of companies offer stipends for pro gamers who represent them. Getting sponsored can be a tricky proposition, but a few things help: winning events, streaming regularly, and creating a high profile on social media. Sponsors want lots of exposure for their investment.Finally, streaming can be a solid revenue stream for many pro gamers. The fans will want to watch you polish your skills and interact with them, and subscriptions and raffles can be good ways to earn extra cash from streaming sessions.That said, you’re not likely to be an overnight phenomenon. Many pro gamers keep their day jobs for quite some time as they build a fan base and improve at their titles of choice. It’s important to be honest about the amount of money you’re bringing in and your future prospects.Be Ready To SacrificeAlthough gaming for a living sounds like a beautiful dream to ordinary Joes like you or I stuck in desk jobs, it’s not all Mountain Dew and roses. Just like with any professional sport, being a pro gamer involves significant life changes that can be tough to deal with. Because your livelihood is dependent on your ability to compete, you need to make sure that you’re always at the top of your abilities. That means hours of practice and eliminating things from your life that could distract from that.There’s a lot of burnout in pro gaming circles. Doing anything for eight hours a day, no matter how fun it is, can be draining. The constant focus on improvement and refinement isn’t for everybody. Successful eSports personalities thrive on that kind of pressure, but you might not.At the end of the day, you became a professional video game player to do what you love. If you no longer love it, something’s obviously wrong. Gaming is too precious to be ruined because of a career, so think long and hard about whether you want to make that transition.
Tesla, Inc. on Thursday surprised audiences with a new version of the Roadster, unveiled in a cloud of smoke from the back of its electric Semi truck.Billed as the “quickest car in the world,” the revamped Roadster can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds.“[It’s] the fastest production car ever made, period,” Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said during the LA event.As demonstrated in front of a rabid crowd, the vehicle accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 1.9 seconds, from zero to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds, and can travel a quarter mile in 8.8 seconds.“These are all world records,” Musk boasted.And that’s just the base model.“This is what we’re achieving in the prototype,” the entrepreneur said, teasing a top speed of more than 250 mph, as well as a highway range of 620 miles on a single charge of the 200 kWh battery pack.“Those numbers sound nutty, but they’re real,” he added.The four-seater sports car comes with three motors, “tons” of storage, and a removable glass roof.“The point of doing this is to just give a hard-core smackdown to gasoline cars,” Musk said, riling up the audience again. “Driving a gasoline sports car is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche” (whatever that means).Remove the glass roof for a summertime drive (via Tesla, Inc.)Tesla’s initial offering—the “foundation of the whole company”—the battery electric Roadster was produced from 2008 to 2012.Even then, the company was breaking records: The sports car was the first all-electric vehicle to use lithium-ion battery cells and travel more than 200 miles on a single charge.“People asked us for a long time, ‘When are you going to make a new Roadster?’” Musk said during the reveal. “We are making it now.”Available to pre-order now for cruising in 2020, the new Roadster starts at $200,000 (with $50,000 reservation fee).The electric truck accelerates from zero to 60 mph in five seconds (via Tesla, Inc.)The sleek sports car may have stolen the show, but Tesla’s event also introduced the long-awaited Semi truck—a BAMF lorry that can travel from zero to 60 mph in five seconds. That slows to 20 seconds when carrying 80,000 lbs, but still far outpaces any diesel truck on the market.Even hauling all that weight, Tesla’s Semi promises to deliver a 500-mile range on a single charge, and can reach speeds of 65 mph up a 5 percent grade climb (diesel motors can manage only 45 mph).“Because the vast majority of routes are under 250 miles, it means you can go to your destination and back … without recharging,” according to Musk.Racecar-like central seating, four independent motors (one on each rear wheel), an independent front suspension, and only one gear makes it feel like you’re driving a Tesla sedan—”only bigger.”The driver sits in the center, surrounded by high-tech displays (via Tesla, Inc.)“I can drive this thing, and I have no idea how to drive a semi,” he joked.The greatest truck takeaway—aside from fast charging, standard enhanced autopilot, jackknifing prevention, and nuclear explosion-proof glass—is that the Tesla Semi is built for more than truckers.It’s for everyone on the road who has ever been stuck behind a freighter on a two-lane road; for everyone who has ever feared for their life changing lanes next to an 18-wheeler.Production on the probably-very-expensive vehicle is scheduled to begin in 2019; order now to get your Semi in two years. Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey.