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Aussie Deals: 69 Buck Dead Space, $147 off Watch Dogs Legion, a Reduced Switch Bundle and More!

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Aussie Deals: 69 Buck Dead Space, $147 off Watch Dogs Legion, a Reduced Switch Bundle and More!

Lovin’ this early RRP necrosis.

Adam Mathew

The Best Gaming Deals In Australia

Updated:

Jan 30, 2023 1:00 am

Posted:

Jan 30, 2023 12:59 am

For many of you, it’s the darkest of times—back to school o’clock. That said, let’s stack you up with an armful of cheap video games instead of textbooks. Why? Because the only education you truly need is the tutorial section of your favourite AAA title. Do enough of them, and it’ll look great on a resume, too.

The first one in your mitts ought to be Dead Space. I’m later to the punch than my learned local colleague (who scored it a 9), but a weekend’s worth of play has impressed the hell out of me. Put it in your tractor beam sights immediately. Set your faces to stunned.

Table of Contents

Animal Crossing New Horizons

Animal Crossing New Horizons

Eventually you will have access to the tools to make your island whatever you want it to be, and that’s where Animal Crossing: New Horizons really breaks from its predecessors — and where it shines. This customisable island is a huge advancement.

Recent Deals Expiring Soon

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Watch Dogs: Legion Ultimate

Watch Dogs: Legion Ultimate

Legion takes Ubi’s open-world hacker series in a new direction by letting you swap between the peds of a near-future London almost at will. iIs sandbox-style approach is a good idea that sets the moment-to-moment gameplay even further apart from GTA.

Recent Deals Expiring Soon

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Diablo IV

Diablo IV

Diablo 4 feels like a massively plussed-up version of Diablo 2, which is the best-case scenario for it, in my book. Not that it ignores Diablo 3 – there are clear notes taken from the best of that game too – but tonally and artistically, D2 for sure.

Recent Deals Expiring Soon

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Dead Space

Dead Space

This new Dead Space enhances the original in almost every way, using a Plasma Cutter to drop its ugliest appendages while preserving the essence of what made its distinctly dismemberment-heavy shooting so special, and grafting on welcome new details.

Recent Deals Expiring Soon

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Adam Mathew is our Aussie deals wrangler. He plays at ludicrous difficulties on YouTube.

If you buy something through this post, IGN may get a share of the sale. For more,

learn more.

Cocaine Bear - Official Trailer

Cocaine Bear – Official Trailer

On a rampage for blow and blood. Meet Cocaine Bear. Check out the oddly comical yet extremely terrifying trailer for Cocaine Bear, an upcoming movie starring Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Ray Liotta, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Kahyun Kim, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince, and Scott Seiss.Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild thriller finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500- pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a coke-fueled rampage for more blow … and blood. Directed by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect 2) from a screenplay by Jimmy Warden (The Babysitter: Killer Queen), Cocaine Bear is produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. The Machines) and Aditya Sood (The Martian) for Lord Miller, by Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman (Pitch Perfect franchise) for Brownstone Productions, and by Brian Duffield (Spontaneous). Robin Fisichella (Ma) will executive produce.Cocaine Bear will open in theaters on February 24, 2023.

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New Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer Showcases Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong

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New Super Mario Bros. Movie Trailer Showcases Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong

Finally, we get that Rogen laugh.

Matthew Adler

Posted:

Jan 29, 2023 10:03 pm

The latest trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie gives us plenty of goodies, including Mario donning his cat suit from Super Mario 3D World, as well as the debut Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong voice.

Premiering during the NFC Championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eages, the new trailer spot gives us an extended look at what may be the first time Mario and Donkey Kong clash in the upcoming film. You can check out the full scene in the official tweet below.

🐱#SuperMarioMovie pic.twitter.com/GcgIPZyLV3

— The Super Mario Bros. Movie (@supermariomovie) January 29, 2023

Although we’ve seen a portion of this scene in a previous trailer this is the first time we’ve actually gotten to hear Seth Rogen’s voice as Donkey Kong and, well, it’s definitely Seth Rogen, complete with his iconic laugh and all. I can’t say I’m surprised, but I’m still holding out for a Rogen-ified DK Rap.

We also got a glimpse of Mario punching a question block to obtain his cat suit power-up before subsequently landing in a superhero pose, flashing his claws, and exclaiming, “meeeeow” only to get ridiculed by Donkey Kong.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is set to release in theaters on April 7, 2023.

For more on the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie, check out why Donkey Kong looks different in the film according to Shigeru Miyamoto as well as all the upcoming video game movies and TV shows in development we’re excited to see.

Matthew Adler is a Commerce, Features, Guides, News, Previews, and Reviews writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewAdler and watch him stream on Twitch.

In This Article

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

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Annie Wersching, The Last of Us Game and 24 Actress, Dies at 45

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Annie Wersching, The Last of Us Game and 24 Actress, Dies at 45

Her successful career spans more than 20 years.

Matthew Adler

Updated:

Jan 29, 2023 10:42 pm

Posted:

Jan 29, 2023 9:15 pm

Acclaimed actress Annie Wersching has passed away at the age of 45 after a prolonged battle with cancer.

As reported by Deadline, Wersching was diagnosed with cancer in 2020, yet continued her acting career, appearing in both Star Trek: Picard and The Rookie.

Wersching is best known for her roles as Renee Walker in the show 24, as well as Leslie Dean in Marvel’s Runaways. She is also well-known for her outstanding performance as Tess Servopoulos in the 2013 PlayStation game The Last of Us.

Neil Druckmann, co-creator of The Last of Us, posted on Twitter saying, “Just found out my dear friend, Annie Wersching, passed away. We just lost a beautiful artist and human being. My heart is shattered. Thoughts are with her loved ones.” He also posted a link to a GoFundMe that has been set up for her family.

Just found out my dear friend, Annie Wersching, passed away. We just lost a beautiful artist and human being. My heart is shattered. Thoughts are with her loved ones.

There’s a go fund me set up for her family: https://t.co/dhvk6uOvZV

— Neil Druckmann (@Neil_Druckmann) January 29, 2023

Wersching is survived by her husband, actor Stephen Full, and her three children: Freddie, Ozzie, and Archie. Her husband also issued the following statement regarding her untimely passing, “There is a cavernous hole in the soul of this family today. But she left us the tools to fill it. She found wonder in the simplest moment. She didn’t require music to dance. She taught us not to wait for adventure to find you. ‘Go find it. It’s everywhere.’”

Matthew Adler is a Commerce, Features, Guides, News, Previews, and Reviews writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewAdler and watch him stream on Twitch.

In This Article

The Last of Us

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WWE Star Zelina Vega Joins Street Fighter 6 as a Commentator

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WWE Star Zelina Vega Joins Street Fighter 6 as a Commentator

Vega joins a growing cast of commentators.

Matthew Adler

Updated:

Jan 29, 2023 8:56 pm

Posted:

Jan 29, 2023 7:49 pm

WWE’s annual Royal Rumble event had plenty of exciting moments as wrestling’s biggest superstars fought for a title match spot at this year’s WrestleMania 39. One notable moment was Zelina Vega’s entrance during the women’s event where it was revealed that she will be lending her voice as a guest commentator in the upcoming Street Fighter 6.

Vega’s energetic entrance at the event saw her dressed as Juri Han from Street Fighter. You can watch the entire moment in the WWE tweet below.

.@ZelinaVegaWWE lends her voice and personality to the Real Time Commentary Feature as a Color Commentator. Listen to her hype up the crowd when @StreetFighter 6 launches on June 2, 2023! pic.twitter.com/m5kqBalmW5

— WWE (@WWE) January 29, 2023

Vega is no stranger to cosplay, having dressed up as a number of pop culture icons such as Mortal Kombat’s Kitana and Mileena, Nurse Joy from the Pokemon anime series, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Overwatch’s D.Va, Starlight from The Boys, and many more.

During her Royal Rumble entrance, it was also revealed that she will be a guest commentator in the upcoming Street Fighter 6. This is in addition to a number of FGC commentators like Tasty Steve and James Chen who will spice up the matches with what Capcom is calling its “Real Time Commentary Feature.”

IGN is also excited to announce that Zelina Vega will be at this year’s IGN Fan Fest talking about her participation in Street Fighter 6. IGN Fan Fest will run from Februrary 17-18, beginning at 10:00 AM PT.

Street Fighter 6 is set to release June 2, 2023. For more, check out our closed beta impressions as well as what comes in each edition of the game.

Matthew Adler is a Commerce, Features, Guides, News, Previews, and Reviews writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @MatthewAdler and watch him stream on Twitch.

In This Article

Street Fighter 6

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Daily Deals: Elden Ring: The Official Art Book Preorders On Sale

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Daily Deals: Elden Ring: The Official Art Book Preorders On Sale

Today, you can save on preorders for both volumes of the upcoming Elden Ring: The Official Art Book. Today’s other daily deals include a powerful AMD Radeon RX 6800 GPU (RTX 3080 equivalent), the top-of-the-line AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX GPU (RTX 4080 equivalent), the diminutive Cooler Master NR200P mini ITX case, an Alienware m15 R7 RTX 3070 equipped gaming laptop, and more.

Save on the Official Elden Ring Art Book Preorders

Elden Ring: Official Art Book Volume I

FromSoftware

Elden Ring: Official Art Book Volume I

Elden Ring: Official Art Book Volume II

FromSoftware

Elden Ring: Official Art Book Volume II

The two volume Elden Ring: Official Art Book is coming on July 25, 2023, and you can save on preorders for both volumes today. Volume one contains art from Elden Ring’s open world, dungeons, characters, and armors, while the second volume has art of the enemies, weapons, and items. Elden Ring won our award for the best video game art of 2022, so it’s definitely worth considering these art books if you’re a big fan of Elden Ring.

PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6800 Video Card (Almost RTX 3080 Equivalent) for $479.99

Includes Dead Island 2 & The Callisto Protocol

PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6800 Video Card

PowerColor Fighter AMD Radeon RX 6800 Video Card

Here’s your chance to get performance comparable to a GeForce RTX 3080 for a much better price. The Radeon RX 6800 is only about 3% slower than an RTX 3080. The RTX 3080 has an MSRP of $699.99 but it’s hard to find that card at is retail price; you’ll usually have to pony up an additional markup. The Radeon RX 6800 launched with an MSRP of $579 and now it’s $100 cheaper. It might not have the ray tracing performance or the DLSS feature of NVIDIA cards, but with this price discrepancy, who cares?

PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Video Card (Equivalent to RTX 4080) for $1079.99

PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Video Card

PowerColor Red Devil AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX Video Card

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX is AMD’s flagship card, and it’s mean enough to challenge the crazy powerful GeForce RTX 40 series cards. In fact, it actually performs a bit betterthan the RTX 4080 video card outside of ray tracing. It’s also $120 cheaper right now than the RTX 4080 retail price (although in most cases vendors are still charging more than MSRP). If ray tracing is something that’s important for you, then you shoud always stick with NVIDIA cards. If you don’t care about ray tracing, then the RX 7900 XTX offers a way better price to performance ratio.

Hades Megaera Nendoroid

IGN Store

Hades Megaera Nendoroid

From the critically-acclaimed rogue-like dungeon crawler “Hades” comes a Nendoroid of Megaera, First of the Furies!

Cooler Master NR200P Mini ITX Computer Case for $78

Cooler Master NR200P Mini ATX Computer Case

$20 mail-in rebate

Cooler Master NR200P Mini ATX Computer Case

Even at retail price, the Cooler Master NR200p is already considered a heck of a deal compared to other mini ITX cases out there. The NR200P is easily the most newbie-friendly mini ITX computer case on the market. Although it’s a bit larger than the smallest mini ITX cases, it’s definitely much smaller than any mATX case you’ll find. It’s less than 12″ tall and about 7.5 inches wide. Don’t let the diminutive size fool you. I’m currently using this tiny case to house an Intel Core i7-12700K processor and RTX 3080 video card. There’s space for up to seven 120mm fans, both perforated steel and tempered glass windowed side panels are included, and there’s even a PCI riser for mounting your GPU vertically.

Alienware m15 R7 Intel Core i9-12900H RTX 3070 Ti Gaming Laptop for $1587.59

Alienware m15 R7 15

Use codes: AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS

Alienware m15 R7 15″ Intel Core i9-12900H RTX 3070 Ti Gaming Laptop with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD

Use promo code “AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS”

For a limited time, Dell is offering the 2022 Alienware m15 R7 15″ Intel Core i9-12900H Alder Lake gaming laptop with RTX 3070 Ti video card for only $1587.59 after $450 in instant savings and stackable coupon codes “AWSMITE09” and “ARMMPPS“. This is easily the most powerful Alienware gaming laptop you’ll currently find for under $1600.

LG 75″ Class 83 Series QNED Mini-LED 4K UHD Smart TV

LG 75

LG

LG 75″ Class 83 Series QNED Mini-LED 4K UHD Smart TV

You can save $1,100 today on this 75″ television from LG. It comes with the a7 Gen 4 AI Processor 4K, a QNED mini-LED display, and other features to give you a great looking picture. Dolby Atmos also provides breathtaking audio no matter what you’re watching. Plus, you get a free 30 day FuboTV trial, and 3 months of Apple TV+ when you buy this television.

Samsung EVO Select 512GB Micro SDXC Card (Nintendo Switch Compatible) for $46.99

Samsung EVO Select 512GB U3 A2 V30 Micro SDXC Card (Nintendo Switch Compatible)

Samsung EVO Select 512GB U3 A2 V30 Micro SDXC Card (Nintendo Switch Compatible)

Amazon has the Samsung EVO Select 512GB Micro SDXC card for only $46.99. This card is 100% compatible for the Nintendo Switch console. The Switch only comes with 32GB of built-in storage, which is a paltry amount considering The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes up 14GB of storage all by itself. This card increases your storage by a whopping 16 times!

Pokemon TCG Sword & Shield Ultra-Premium Collection Charizard for $103.66

Pokemon TCG Sword & Shield Ultra-Premium Charizard Collection

Pokemon TCG Sword & Shield Ultra-Premium Charizard Collection

The set includes three etched foil promo cards: Charizard V, Charizard VMAX, and Charizard VSTAR, sixteen Pokemon TCG booster packs from the Sword & Shield series, a playmat, 65 card sleeves, metal coin, six metal damage-counter dice, 2 metal condition markers, an acrylic VSTAR marker, a player’s guide to the entire Sword & Shield series, and a code card for Pokemon TCG Live.

75″ Hisense U7H 4K QLED ULED Google TV for $948

Hisense U7H 75

Hisense U7H 75″ 4K QLED ULED Google TV

The U7H is Hisense’s lowest priced TV model with a native 120Hz refresh rate. That’s right, this TV supports 4K @ 120Hz for PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles. That, along with VRR and ALLM makes this an excellent gaming TV. The U7H boasts a quantum dot panel with full-array LED backlighting (120 local dimming zones) and wide color gamut. It also pumps out an impressive 1000nits of peak brightness so you can easily use this TV in rooms where light control might normally be an issue.

Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 RTX 3080 Ti Gaming PC for Only $1587.59

Alienware Aurora R14 Liquid Cooled AMD Ryzen 7 5800X RTX 3080 Ti PC with 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD

Use codes: AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS

Alienware Aurora R14 Liquid Cooled AMD Ryzen 7 5800X RTX 3080 Ti PC with 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD

Use promo code “AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS”

Dell is offering the Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R14 gaming PC equipped with a powerful GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU for under $1600. That’s right, you can get it for $1587.59 after $580 in instant savings and stackable coupon codes “AWSMITE09” and “ARMMPPS“. There are newer (and far pricier) 4000 series of GeForce cards out, nevertheless this is still a very powerful and very relevant gaming rig.

This Alienware gaming PC is equipped with a liquid cooled AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8-core CPU, GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU, 8GB of DDR4-3200MHz RAM, and a 512GB SSD. The RTX 3080 Ti is one of the most powerful cards in the RTX 30 series linup, features DLSS and ray tracing, and is an excellent GPU for 4K gaming. It’s about 10% more powerful than the RTX 3080 at 4K. It’s on par with the RTX 3090 in gaming prowess (the RTX 3090 has more VRAM which is better for graphics workstation builds but not for gaming). This PC will be able to push just about any game at 60fps+ speeds, even at 4K resolution. The AMD Ryzen 7 5800X CPU is an excellent all-around processor and won’t bottleneck your gaming.

The Best Deals of the Week

These deals are definitely worth your attention.

Alienware m15 R5 15

Use codes: AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS

Alienware m15 R5 15″ Intel Core i9-12900H RTX 3070 Ti Gaming Laptop with 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD

Use promo code “AWSMITE09 and ARMMPPS”

Switch Controller Charging Dock Station with Game Card Storage

Switch Controller Charging Dock Station with Game Card Storage

Kiwi Design Comfort Quest 2 VR Head Strap with 6400mAh Battery

Kiwi Design Comfort Quest 2 VR Head Strap with 6400mAh Battery

The Lord Of The Rings: One Volume Kindle Edition

The Lord Of The Rings: One Volume Kindle Edition

Enter to win an amazing The Callisto Protocol prize pack including a HB Custom PC, a pair of Ceeze Custom Nikes and more!

IGN Rewards

Enter to win an amazing The Callisto Protocol prize pack including a HB Custom PC, a pair of Ceeze Custom Nikes and more!

Garmin fenix 6X Sapphire Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Garmin fenix 6X Sapphire Premium Multisport GPS Watch

Hisense HS214 2.1ch Roku Ready Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer

Hisense HS214 2.1ch Roku Ready Sound Bar with Built-in Subwoofer

Hisense U6H 65

Hisense U6H 65″ QLED ULED Google TV

Alienware AW3423DWF 34

Alienware AW3423DWF 34″ 3440×1400 Curved 0.1ms 165Hz QD-OLED Gaming Monitor

Nintendo Switch Console

Bonus $35 Dell eGift Card

Nintendo Switch Console

TCL Alto 8+ 2.1ch Sound Bar Amazon Fire TV Edition

TCL Alto 8+ 2.1ch Sound Bar Amazon Fire TV Edition

Xbox Series S Holiday Console

Xbox Series S Holiday Console

Hisense U8H 55

4K @ 120Hz over HDMI 2.1

Hisense U8H 55″ 4K Mini-LED ULED Google TV

LG UltraGear 34GP63A-B 34

LG UltraGear 34GP63A-B 34″ 3440×1440 Curved 1ms 160Hz VA Gaming Monitor

Phlips 246E9QDSB 24

Phlips 246E9QDSB 24″ 1080p IPS Monitor

Samsung 980 PRO 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 7000MBps)

Samsung 980 PRO 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 7000MBps)

Crucial P5 Plus 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 6600MBps)

Crucial P5 Plus 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 6600MBps)

ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router

ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6E Gaming Router (GT-AXE11000) Tri-Band 10 Gigabit Wireless Router

WD Black SN850X 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 7300MBps) with Heatsink

WD Black SN850X 2TB PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 SSD (up to 7300MBps) with Heatsink

65

Designed for PS5

65″ Sony Bravia XR X90K 4K Full Array LED Google TV

Samsung TU690T 85

Samsung TU690T 85″ 4K Smart TV

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS800 Ultra Short Throw 3-Chip 3LCD Smart Streaming Laser Projector

Epson EpiqVision Ultra LS800 Ultra Short Throw 3-Chip 3LCD Smart Streaming Laser Projector

TCL Alto 8+ Dolby Atmos 3.1.2 Channel Sound bar with Wireless Subwoofer

TCL Alto 8+ Dolby Atmos 3.1.2 Channel Sound bar with Wireless Subwoofer

Klipsch R-100SW 300W Subwoofer

Klipsch R-100SW 300W Subwoofer

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game

Horizon Zero Dawn: The Board Game

Lenovo L28U-35 28

Use code: EXTRA5

Lenovo L28U-35 28″ 4K (3840×2160) IPS Monitor

SanDisk 1TB USB Type-C Portable SSD

SanDisk 1TB USB Type-C Portable SSD

LEGO Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon 75192 7,541-Piece Building Kit

LEGO Star Wars UCS Millennium Falcon 75192 7,541-Piece Building Kit

Wingspan Board Game

Crucial MX500 4TB 3.5

Crucial MX500 4TB 3.5″ Internal SATA Solid State Drive (SSD)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Switch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Amazon Omni 65

Amazon Omni 65″ 4K QLED Fire TV

PLAYMOBIL Back to the Future DeLorean

PLAYMOBIL Back to the Future DeLorean

TurboTax Tax Software on Sale (All Editions)

Bonus $10 Amazon Gift Card

TurboTax Tax Software on Sale (All Editions)

Logitech G PRO Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard - Official League of Legends Edition

Logitech G PRO Tenkeyless Mechanical Gaming Keyboard – Official League of Legends Edition

Logitech G PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse League of Legends Edition

Logitech G PRO Wireless Gaming Mouse League of Legends Edition

Arozzi Arena Gaming Desk

50

165-Can Built-In Beverage Cooler

Insignia

165-Can Built-In Beverage Cooler

Tactics Ogre: Reborn

Square Enix

Tactics Ogre: Reborn

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Puerto Rico’s southern region fights for cleaner air, water

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Puerto Rico’s southern region fights for cleaner air, water
Puerto Rico's southern region fights for cleaner air, water
A resident of Salinas, considered one of the most contaminated towns in Puerto Rico, waits for a meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials to start, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023 in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Emboldened by the attention that the federal government has now placed in Salinas, communities are demanding a massive clean-up and penalties for those contaminating a region where residents have long complained about health conditions. (AP Photo/Danica Coto).

Shuttered windows are a permanent fixture in Salinas, an industrial town on Puerto Rico’s southeast coast that is considered one of the U.S. territory’s most contaminated regions.

For years, toxic ash and noxious chemicals from coal-fired and have enveloped this community, and residents have complained about ranging from cancer to Alzheimer’s.

Then last year, a bombshell: Officials with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency traveled to Salinas to announce that the town also has one of the highest concentrations of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing gas, in a U.S. jurisdiction.

“We’re fighting a lot of battles,” said José Santiago, a 74-year-old retiree.

Emboldened by the attention that the has put on Salinas, Santiago and others are demanding a huge clean-up and penalties for those contaminating the region.

“I will keep fighting until I die,” said Elsa Modesto, a 77-year-old retiree who has not missed a single EPA meeting since last year’s announcement. “I want to know what’s in the environment.”

Puerto Rico ranks 22nd out of 56 U.S. states and territories based on total managed waste released per square mile, at 4.2 million pounds. Six of the top 10 municipalities in that category are in Puerto Rico’s southern region, with Salinas ranked sixth, according to data obtained from the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory.

Salinas also has one of the highest incidence rates of cancer in Puerto Rico, with 140 cases reported in 2019, the newest figures available from the island’s Central Registry of Cancer. Salinas has a higher rate than the neighboring town of Guayama, where cases of cancer and other diseases have increased since the coal-fired power plant began operating there in 2002, said Dr. Gerson Jiménez, director of the Menonite Hospital who has testified in public hearings and called for the closure of the plant.

“Medical doctors who work in the southeast area of Puerto Rico have noticed that since the AES Corporation began operating in Guayama, there has been a significant increase in diseases of the respiratory tract, urinary tract, as well as a significant increase in diagnoses of various types of cancer,” he testified at one hearing.

The level of contamination has prompted the EPA for the first time to test air and groundwater in Puerto Rico’s southeast region, with Administrator Michael Regan saying that low-income communities and communities of color have suffered unjustly for decades.

Salinas is a town of nearly 26,000 people—of which 28% identify as Black—with a median household income of $18,000 a year. More than half of its population is poor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The town is nestled between the coal-burning power plant, two of the island’s largest thermoelectric plants and other industries, including a company that produces thermoset composites, a material used in major appliances like refrigerators. That company, IDI Caribe Inc., is the facility that releases the most emissions in Salinas, according to the EPA.

Overall, styrene and ethylene oxide, a carcinogenic gas, are the top two chemicals released into the air and water in Salinas, officials say. Salinas and Guayama also have sulfur dioxide levels that exceed new standards.

Meanwhile, a study by Puerto Rico’s Chemistry Association published in late 2021 found the presence of heavy metals linked to coal in potable water in Salinas. The amounts found did not exceed regulatory limits.

Scientists doing that study were forced to collect samples from individual homes because the government’s water and sewer company at the time blocked access to aquifers that residents in the southeast rely on, environmental activist Víctor Alvarado said. Since then, legislators have approved a law that requires the company to provide access for testing.

Salinas also is home to Steri-Tech, the company that uses ethylene oxide to sterilize medical equipment. It is a colorless, flammable gas that has a slightly sweet odor and is used to clean about 20 billion sterile medical devices a year. The EPA says to the gas does not appear to pose risks, but long-term or lifetime exposure can cause lymphoma, breast cancer and other illnesses.

Steri-Tech reported two explosions—one in October and the other earlier this month—that frightened residents and raised concerns about whether any toxic chemicals were released.

“My house shook!” said Lillian Melero, a 60-year-old retiree who recalled that the explosion broke a neighbor’s windows.

Meleroe said she wants answers from federal officials about the contamination in her town. “They write down a lot of things, but I haven’t seen any changes,” she said.

Hoping to lessen his exposure, Santiago, the retiree who lives a few blocks from Steri-Tech, not only closes his windows but also has planted avocado trees, small palm trees and a bougainvillea with bright orange and fuchsia flowers seeking to prevent ethylene oxide and other contaminants from seeping into his home.

Those measures have a limited effect, however, and residents continue frustrated that their complaints about contamination have been ignored for years.

Tired of fighting pollution at a local level and getting no response, community leader Wanda Ríos sought help from higher up.

“I stop this at a federal level,” she said. “I don’t waste my time here in Puerto Rico.”

She said that several people in La Margarita, a neighborhood of some 100 people sitting next to Steri-Tech, have died of cancer, including a married couple and others who formed part of the association of residents she founded in recent years. Ríos added that Steri-Tech has organized recent health workshops for residents.

On Wednesday evening, some two dozen residents of Salinas gathered to hear the results from air samples that the EPA took last year, announcing that it found extremely high concentrations of in some areas. One area had 121 micrograms per cubic meter of air—more than 400 times higher than the U.S. national average of .30 micrograms.

Richard Ruvo, an EPA air and radiation director, said Steri-Tech’s equipment filters 99% of its emissions, but that it’s not enough: “We know more has to be done to reduce those emissions.”

Officials said the company is working on installing equipment that will filter 99.9% of emissions, but it’s not clear when that will occur. Ruvo added that other measures to reduce emissions are part of confidential discussions with the company.

Andrés Vivoni, a representative with Steri-Tech, did not return a message seeing comment.

As the conversations behind closed doors continue, the EPA has pledged stricter regulations of toxic air emissions nationwide by the end of the year. That has been hailed by many in Puerto Rico, which has one of the highest asthma rates in a U.S. jurisdiction and whose power generation system is 97% based on fossil fuels.

Karilyn Bonilla, who is from the La Margarita community and has been mayor of Salinas for a decade, said she understands the concerns over pollution. Although she has been the target of protests organized by frustrated residents, she said she is pushing for corrective measures.

“It’s been a struggle of many years,” she said.

© 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Puerto Rico’s southern region fights for cleaner air, water (2023, January 29)
retrieved 30 January 2023
from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-puerto-rico-southern-region-cleaner.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Rapid development is main threat to big carnivores: Study

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Rapid development is main threat to big carnivores: Study
Grey wolf populations have already rebounded in Europe, growing 1,800 percent since the 1960s
Grey wolf populations have already rebounded in Europe, growing 1,800 percent since the 1960s.

Declines in populations of big carnivores like lions, tigers and wolves may be driven more by rapid human economic development than habitat loss or climate change, according to a new study Tuesday.

The researchers hope the findings could help to improve policies for protecting carnivore populations, which have been driven to the brink of extinction in many parts of the world.

The study found that faster was linked to a quicker decline in carnivore populations.

“In the midst of rapid development, people appear to become less tolerant of carnivores, conflicts explode, and we suspect that incidences of poaching and persecution rocket,” lead author Thomas Johnson said in a press release.

Some carnivores are poached for their meat or for the wildlife trade, while others like lions may be killed if they pose a threat to someone’s livelihood—such as their cattle—or their life, Johnson told AFP.

“These human elements are actually having a far greater impact than the habitat loss elements,” Johnson said.

Traditionally, has been considered the primary threat to carnivore populations, but the researchers said that was “dwarfed” by human development.

The study, published in Nature Communications, concluded that as human communities become wealthier and socioeconomic growth slows, carnivore populations can recover.

The authors said this was partly due to better habitat protection, but mainly because people start to care more about the animals and have less of a desire—and need—to kill them.

“What you want is this growth to slow before [the carnivore ] completely vanishes, so there’s at least an opportunity to recover,” Johnson said.

Wolf rebound

Grey wolf populations have already rebounded in Europe, growing 1,800 percent since the 1960s thanks to an improved quality of life and slower economic development on the continent, according to the researchers from the University of Reading.

That recovery is not only happening in protected parks but also in wild areas.

Brown bears and lynxes are also starting to recover in Europe, Johnson said, while tiger populations in India have similarly started to rebound.

But several parts of Africa did not support the overarching findings—the continent has not seen rapid development but its carnivore populations have declined—and Johnson said this may be because much of the occurred decades ago under colonial regimes.

The findings present an inherent tension between prioritising versus protecting carnivores, and Johnson suggested that wealthier nations—responsible for much of large carnivore decline—could support less through targeted .

This could include paying communities in enough to earn a living, while promoting conservation.

“If you lock people into poverty, people will never live alongside biodiversity,” Johnson said, adding that he hopes policy will move beyond treating carnivore loss as a narrow issue.

“My real hope is we start thinking about this as a socioeconomic problem, as well as an environmental problem.”

The work looked at 50 species of carnivores in over 80 countries over the last 50 years.

Carnivore populations have seen dramatic declines globally in the last century, with lions and tigers absent from more than 90 percent of their historic range.

In the United Kingdom, many local carnivore species such as lynx, wolf and bear have already been hunted into extinction.

More information:
Thomas Johnson, Socioeconomic factors predict population changes of large carnivores better than climate change or habitat loss, Nature Communications (2023). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-35665-9. www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-35665-9

© 2023 AFP

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Rapid development is main threat to big carnivores: Study (2023, January 29)
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How three dust specks reveal an asteroid’s secrets

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How three dust specks reveal an asteroid’s secrets
Samples from Itokawa arrived back on Earth in 2010 after being collected by the Hayabusa probe
Samples from Itokawa arrived back on Earth in 2010 after being collected by the Hayabusa probe.

The specks are tiny. No, really tiny. Smaller than the diameter of a hair. But they hold billions of years of history that reveal some of the secrets of asteroids.

The three from an asteroid called Itokawa show some of these are vastly older than was thought, and are much tougher.

And that could mean we need bolder ways to prevent catastrophic collisions with Earth, according to research published Tuesday.

The three samples were collected in 2005 from the peanut-shaped Itokawa, some 300 million kilometers (186 million miles) from Earth.

It took the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa five years to return them to Earth, along with hundreds of other particles from Itokawa, and scientists have been analyzing them for clues ever since.

Fred Jourdan, professor at Curtin University’s School of Earth and Planetary Sciences, wanted to see what the specks could reveal about the age of rubble-pile asteroids like Itokawa.

These form when solid asteroids collide and the resulting fragments assemble into new structures.

Solid asteroids are thought to have a lifespan of several hundred million years, and are gradually ground down by constant collisions.

But rubble-pile asteroids have a very different structure, composed of rocks, dust, pebbles and a void, and held together by the gravitational pull of their various components.

“It’s like a giant space cushion, and cushions are good at absorbing shock,” Jourdan said.

To find out just how good, the team analyzed crystal structures in the samples, looking for deformations caused by the impact that created Itokawa.

And they dated the samples by measuring the decay of potassium into argon.

The methods suggest Itokawa was formed by an asteroid collision at least 4.2 billion years ago, ten times older than solid asteroids of similar size are predicted to be.

“We were really surprised,” said Jourdan.

“I mean that’s really, really old, and I’m sure some of my colleagues are not even going to believe it.”

Rubble-pile asteroids are so resilient to the constant battering they face that they are likely to be much more abundant than previously assumed, the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concludes.

That might mean we need new ways to tackle such asteroids on a with Earth, Jourdan said.

NASA’s recent DART test showed asteroids like Itokawa can be nudged off course, but that would likely require a lead time of several years.

An asteroid just weeks from colliding with Earth would require a different approach, and Jourdan argues a nuclear blast might be needed.

“It’s not ‘Armageddon’-style,” blowing it up, he hastens to add, referring to the 1998 sci-fi movie.

“The shockwave should push the out of the way.”

It is a far-reaching conclusion to draw from such tiny specks of dust, but each particle is analyzed at the .

“We can get big stories like that out of (something) very, very small, because those machines, what they’re doing, is the measuring and counting of atoms,” Jourdan said.

“Every grain has its own story to tell.”

More information:
Jourdan, Fred, Rubble pile asteroids are forever, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2023). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2214353120.

© 2023 AFP

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How three dust specks reveal an asteroid’s secrets (2023, January 29)
retrieved 30 January 2023
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Authorities raise alert level around Lascar volcano in northern Chile

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Authorities raise alert level around Lascar volcano in northern Chile
Chilean authorities on January 28, 2023 announced a heightened alert amid growing signs of activity from the Lascar volcano, nea
Chilean authorities on January 28, 2023 announced a heightened alert amid growing signs of activity from the Lascar volcano, near the border with Bolivia.

Authorities in Chile on Saturday raised the alert level and limited access to the area around the Lascar volcano, after an increase in seismic activity raised fears of a possible eruption.

The volcano lies in an area near the Bolivian border that is sparsely inhabited but is one of northern Chile’s most geologically active regions.

Following “an increase in seismicity,” the National Geology and Mining Service has raised the alert level for Lascar from yellow to orange.

Amid heightened , the agency predicted “eruptive pulses with columns exceeding five kilometers in height,” with blocks of pumice being projected and ash spread over a wide area.

The orange alert will bring increased technical monitoring of the volcano and measures to protect surrounding towns including the popular tourist destination of San Pedro de Atacama, some 70 kilometers away.

In addition, a security perimeter around the crater will be extended from five to 10 kilometers, restricting access.

The Lascar volcano, which reaches up to 5,592 meters (18,350 feet), lies some 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north of capital Santiago. It last erupted in 1993.

The Villarrica in the south, one of Chile’s most active, is also currently under surveillance.

© 2023 AFP

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Authorities raise alert level around Lascar volcano in northern Chile (2023, January 29)
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UV lamps used for disinfection may impair indoor air quality

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UV lamps used for disinfection may impair indoor air quality
Graphical abstract. Credit: Environmental Science & Technology Letters (2023). DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00807

Using ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVGI) to disinfect indoor spaces is a demonstrably effective way of deactivating various pathogens (including the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus). It deactivates bacteria and viruses by exposing them to high-energy UV radiation through the use of UV lamps.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need to disinfect large quantities of both air and various surfaces, hospitals, among other operators, have recently increased the use of UVGI disinfection robots. However, the method may have previously unexplored indirect adverse effects on people. These effects relate to reduced indoor air quality caused by the UV radiation used.

“To our knowledge, we conducted the first experimental study of the effects of UVGI devices on indoor air quality,” says Doctoral Researcher Frans Graeffe from the University of Helsinki’s Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR).

“We focused on the effects of UVGI disinfection robots on indoor air quality to better understand the potential adverse effects.”

Switching on UV lamps for disinfection considerably increased concentration of gases and small particles

Solar ultraviolet radiation enables most of the occurring in the atmosphere, including the formation of oxidizers such as ozone (O3) and the hydroxyl radical (OH). Bringing UV radiation indoors in the form of UVGI disinfection robots makes it possible for outdoor reactions to take place indoors. Reactions caused by radiation can form a range of gases and that, when inhaled, are harmful to human health. High particle concentrations have been associated with several diseases (e.g., respiratory diseases).

“We brought a UVGI device used in hospitals to the aerosol physics laboratory at the University of Helsinki where, utilizing spectrometers and other modern measuring equipment, we were able to measure the concentration, size and chemical composition of the gases and small particles formed,” Graeffe says.

“Our measurements clearly show that every time the UV lamps were switched on, as the disinfection was initiated, the amount of both gases and small particles increased considerably.”

Although both particle and gas concentrations started to decrease, for example, through ventilation, immediately after the UV lamps were switched off, the concentrations returned to their original levels only until 30 to 40 minutes later.

“After disinfecting the room, it would be better to wait for a while before entering, or to enter wearing , such as a sufficiently effective respirator,” Graeffe says.

Because of the complexity of the formation of gases and small particles caused by UV lamps, the results cannot be applied directly to . The effect of various UVGI devices on air quality depends at least on the intensity, duration and wavelength of the UV radiation emitted by the device, as well as the size, ventilation and air quality of the space to be disinfected.

A similar UVGI solution is now also increasingly used in private and public spaces. Even though the radiation in such cases is less intense than that emitted by the device tested, the irradiation last longer.

Based on the findings, the effects on air quality must be further investigated before the use of such devices becomes widespread, in order to understand how different UVGI devices affect and how their benefits (control of viruses) compare with their adverse effects (degradation of air quality).

The research is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

More information:
Frans Graeffe et al, Unwanted Indoor Air Quality Effects from Using Ultraviolet C Lamps for Disinfection, Environmental Science & Technology Letters (2023). DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.2c00807

Citation:
UV lamps used for disinfection may impair indoor air quality (2023, January 27)
retrieved 30 January 2023
from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-uv-lamps-disinfection-impair-indoor.html

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