It’s About Time: Famed Magazine Engages In A Metaverse Project

It’s About Time: Famed Magazine Engages In A Metaverse Project

TIME Magazine is a partnering with The Sandbox to develop TIME Square, TIME’s destination in the metaverse. TIME Square will be built on TIME’s digital land in The Sandbox as a destination for networking, art and commerce in New York City. (Time)



By Michelle D. Madsen

Time Magazine has formed a partnership with The Sandbox, an Ethereum-based metaverse, to create a digital setting that is modeled after New York City.


Kieran Warwick, co-founder of Illuvium, which is partly billed as an NTF creature collector game, told The Defiant that the company’s intention to collaborate with The Sandbox as part of its “double down on their metaverse endeavor” was “great news for everybody in the field.”

“The sooner we are able to achieve mass adoption, the more well-known brands we will be able to transition to web 3,” Warwick said.

TIMEPieces is an NFT community initiative with Genesis, Inspiration, Long Neckie Women of the Year, Slices of TIME and Beatclub collections. (Time)

On June 21, as part of the celebration for NFT.NYC, the Time-Sandbox collaboration was officially put into motion. Time’s New Frontiers Territory (NFT) program, TIMEPieces, will make its premiere on a digital plot of land in The Sandbox. As it’s in a digital New York, TIME Square was the obvious choice for the name of the new development.

TIMEPieces will be a hub for online socializing, artistic expression and commercial activity. Time has launched an open call for architectural designs to be submitted for consideration

The Sandbox is the third-largest metaverse endeavor, with an estimated market worth of $1.1 billion. Republic Realm, the company that developed The Sandbox, paid Atari $4.3 million in November for virtual real estate, purportedly the most expensive transaction involving the purchase of digital land.

Alessandro Gottardo’s artwork for the TimePieces – Artists for Peace initiative. (Time)

TIMEPieces NFT holders will be given virtual access to discussions, events and screenings of TIME Studios’ works, Time President Keith Grossman said, pointing out that this will allow TIMEPieces NFT holders to partake in unique experiences.

“Our goal is to create a destination that will be the heart of the metaverse…,” Grossman said.  “We are thrilled to now tap into that community as we seek to find the architect to design TIME Square in the metaverse, as we create an immersive experience with The Sandbox that provides a natural bridge between the virtual community of TIMEPieces, the historical coverage and global relationships of TIME, the unique IP coming from TIME Studios, TIME for Kids and our real-life IRL events.”

Sebastien Borget, co-founder of Pixowl, the producer of The Sandbox, said that by partnering with TIME, The Sandbox is adding TIMEPieces “as the beating heart and soul of this virtual Manhattan, where a design call for virtual architects will be held in TIME Square, a place in our creative metaverse for brands and creators.”

Produced in association with MetaNews.

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Fashion Statement: WowWee Unveils Metaverse Avatars

Fashion Statement: WowWee Unveils Metaverse Avatars

With My Avastars, kids can turn their digital avatar into a real-life fashion star. (WowWee)



By Michelle D. Madsen

WowWee is working with Gamefam, a major Roblox publisher, to produce My Avastars, a line of dolls that blends the physical and digital worlds.


While half of Roblox users are girls, the toy market focuses on action figures and blasters. Sydney Wiseman, vice president, brand development and creative strategy at WowWee, believes expanding to other categories and customers is a passion.

My Avastars lets youngsters turn their digital avatar into a real-life fashion star with a range of outfits and accessories for infinite personalization, creativity and self-expression, the toy company says

Each doll comes dressed in their signature fashion-forward outfit along with a mystery bonus outfit. KawaiiPie^^ and her accessories are shown here. (WowWee)

Each of the initial three Avastars — KawaiiPie^^, A VibeThng and Dreamer 3.0 — will premiere in a box that includes a trademark outfit, a bonus outfit and reusable sticker sheets for more than 100 outfits.

My Avastars’ style is distinctive, says WowWee vice president of marketing and operations Andrew Yanofsky.

“Fashion dolls are traditionally ‘perfect.’ My Avastars’ blocky shape, flat surfaces and peel-and-repeat sticker play inspire youngsters’ creativity by letting them replace and rearrange their dolls like they do their avatars,” Yanofsky said.

Each My Avastars doll has a code for the new Roblox game My Avastars: RP. Roleplaying

Starting next month, youngsters may bring their dolls online, unlocking new clothes, hairstyles and face traits. My Avastars is the first fashion doll franchise centered on a community, the company says.

In addition, WowWee and Gamefam are launching a Discord channel to allow fans and the brand to converse in real time. Moreover, fans will have an important role in the development of My Avastars, both in terms of gameplay and tangible toys.

My Avastars will launch with three dolls: KawaiiPie^^, A_VibeThng and Dreamer_3.0. (WowWee)

“As the Roblox universe grows, we’re building the next generation of hit brands,” said Joe Ferencz, creator and CEO of Gamefam. “My Avastars is the first toy and Roblox game designed simultaneously, giving players a real-world and metaverse experience.”

A limited number of dolls are being shipped this summer before officially hitting shelves at major retailers including Walmart, Amazon, Target and Macy’s in October.

Gamefam’s mission dovetails with, in part, with WowWee. Its media partners include Fox and Mattel. The company co-develops games; it also delivers ad campaigns for major brands. Its games include Sonic Speed Racer and Military Tycoon.

If you are not familiar with the metaverse, here is a handy definition: It’s a “digital reality that combines aspects of social media, online gaming, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and cryptocurrencies to allow users to interact virtually,” Investopedia.com said. “Augmented reality overlays visual elements, sound, and other sensory input onto real-world settings to enhance the user experience. In contrast, virtual reality is entirely virtual and enhances fictional realities.”

Produced in association with MetaNews.

Edited by Fern Siegel and Matthew B. Hall

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High Five: Trench Fever That Affected Tolkien And C.S. Lewis Could Be Prevented Say Scientists

High Five: Trench Fever That Affected Tolkien And C.S. Lewis Could Be Prevented Say Scientists

Bartonella bacteria (green) have invaded red blood cells (red). (Biozentrum, Universitat Basel/Zenger)



By Thomas Hochwarter

The discovery of a special antibody could help prevent dangerous bacterial infections such as trench fever, whose sufferers included celebrated authors like J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.


Trench fever, or five-day fever, is transmitted by body lice.

An estimated 20 to 30 percent of Britain’s World War One troops reported ill had trench fever, including not only Lord of the Ring author Tolkien and Narnia writer Lewis, but also A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, and pain in the legs.

Today, trench fever persists among injection drug users and homeless people. Outbreaks of trench fever have been documented in the United States, France, and Burundi.

Now a team of experts in molecular and biomedical research at Basel University have detected neutralizing antibodies that bring bacterial infections to a halt or even prevent them.

A research group headed by professors Christoph Dehio and Daniel Pinschewer has investigated the response of the immune system to a Bartonella infection in a mouse model.

Bartonella are bacteria that are transmitted from bloodsucking insects to mammals, including humans. After entering the red blood cells, they cause various symptoms, including trench fever and Carrion’s disease.

Carrion’s disease can cause fever, jaundice, enlarged lymph nodes, cutaneous rashes and ulcerating lesions.

The Basel University experts discovered antibodies that stop the infection process solely by binding to the bacteria.

Lena Siewert from the institution’s biomedicine department is the lead author of the study.

Siewert said: “Such neutralizing antibodies have previously been described mostly in the context of viral infections.

“Until now, we didn’t know that neutralizing antibodies can also control the bacterial infection process.”

The Biozentrum which is the largest department at the University of Basel’s Faculty of Science. (Universitat Basel, Mark Niedermann/Zenger)

The experts managed to artificially produce these antibodies and show how they attack the bacterium.

Siewert explained: “The antibody binds to a specific protein, a so-called autotransporter. These are found on the bacterial cell surface and are vital for the bacteria.”

The antibodies prevent the pathogens from attaching to and invading the intestinal cells. This mechanism stops the infection.

The bloodsucking insects no longer ingest any pathogens with their blood meal. They cannot transmit them to a new host either.

Siewert underlined that the antibodies proved to act efficiently when injected before but also during an infection with Bartonella.

She said: “In both cases, the antibodies were able to fully exert their effect. Prophylactic administration completely prevented an infection, while therapeutic administration eliminated present bacteria.”

Asked by Zenger News about the study’s focus on trench fever and Carrion’s disease, Siewert explained: “Bartonella bacteria are aiming at specific hosts.

“Trench fever and Carrion’s disease are among the most prevalent kinds of infectious diseases of humans that Bartonella bacteria are responsible for.

“The so-called cat-scratch disease is another sickness that must not be ignored.

“However, we are especially concerned about Carrion’s disease. It is a crucial factor in the Andes of Peru where it has caused deaths.”

Siewert emphasized that her research group considered the Peru variant of Carrion’s disease as a “neglected disease” due to the comparably low attention of international media.

She told Zenger News: “What’s also worrying about Carrion’s disease in South America is that the habitat of the transmitting lice has increased recently.

“Climate change is the reason for this development.”

Professor Christoph Dehio whose team at the Biozentrum at the University of Basel has investigated the response of the immune system to a Bartonella infection in a mouse model. (Universitat Basel, Christian Flierl/Zenger)

Siewert made clear that the development of a vaccine based on the study’s result must be ruled out for the moment as mutations of the binding site render antibodies ineffective.

Professor Dehio said his team would now focus on trying to find out how the bacteria manage to be so variable.

Concerning the chances for the creation of a vaccine in the foreseeable future, Dehio said: “If we find an antibody against the non-variable part of the autotransporter, an effective vaccination would be quite conceivable.”

The University of Basel is one of the leading scientific institutions in Switzerland. Founded in 1460, it is the country’s oldest university.

Its Biozentrum – where the study was carried out – specializes in basic molecular and biomedical research of cell growth and development, infection biology and neurobiology.

Basel University currently registers more than 13,000 students and 380 professors. Around one in three students come from abroad.

The institution reached 103rd position in this year’s Times Higher Education World University Ranking.

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Wishful Shrinking: Majority Of Americans Who Have Dieted Report No Lasting Change

Wishful Shrinking: Majority Of Americans Who Have Dieted Report No Lasting Change

A book to accompany the new weight-loss drug alli is displayed May 22, 2007 in New York. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)



By Simona Kitanovska

Almost three in five U.S. adults have attempted a traditional weight-loss diet in their lifetime (58 percent), according to new research.


A survey of 2,000 adults revealed that those who have dieted in the past have tried an average of five different approaches. Yet 79 percent of those respondents say they’re likely to revert to previous eating behaviors after completing or giving up on a diet.

The survey also found that many seek diets to help them feel good physically (50 percent), lose weight (48 percent), boost their energy and immune systems (47 percent) or feel good mentally (47 percent).

The survey, commissioned by Medifast, the global company behind the OPTAVIA health and wellness community, found that half of all U.S. adults find it hard to prioritize their health, citing lack of time (41 percent) and lack of positive influences (41 percent) as the most common challenges.

Lack of support and difficulty breaking unhealthy habits were also cited as barriers to prioritizing health.

Yet, survey-takers may have a way to go, with two in three (66 percent) still believing that changing eating behaviors alone is enough to help improve long-term health.

Many survey respondents admitted they haven’t considered other factors that contribute to a healthier lifestyle, like sleep (56 percent), mental health (57 percent) and hydration (57 percent).

U.S. adults face a continuous cycle of failed diets. (72 Point U.S./Zenger)

The majority of respondents who have dieted said it was not a lasting change, which perhaps is why 41 percent would opt to start on a smaller scale and focus on creating healthy habits.

While 30 percent think adopting healthier habits would come easier for them, more respondents believe it would be a challenge they’d have to work toward (32 percent).

In fact, 67 percent of respondents agree they would be more successful in reaching their health goals if they had more support. More specifically, two-thirds (66 percent) agree having support from others on the same journey is valuable when making lifestyle changes.

A visitor eats a pork meat and mustard sandwich at the 2018 International Green Week (Internationale Gruene Woche) agricultural trade fair on January 19, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

“These findings confirm what has been our guiding light: Consumers are seeking a solution that meets the demands of our modern lives,” says chairman and CEO of Medifast Dan Chard. “A holistic approach with a built-in support system can help those who have failed on traditional diets alone. Building long-term healthy habits is easier when surrounded by a community of people who get it – because they’ve been on a similar journey.”

In addition to highlighting a cycle of failed diets among the respondents, the majority (61 percent) agree that the COVID-19 pandemic has permanently changed how they prioritize their health.

Seventy percent of U.S adults now consider their health to be one of the top priorities in their life, more commonly chosen over other responsibilities like taking care of family (56 percent) and career (57 percent).

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Reel ‘Em In: Flyfish Restaurant Releases NFT With Benefits

Reel ‘Em In: Flyfish Restaurant Releases NFT With Benefits

Flyfish Club members will have unlimited access to sumptuous meals in a private dining room. (Flyfish Club)



By Billy Houghton

The newly launched NFTs by the Flyfish Club are a colorful and inviting old-school collection from a celebrated artist. This collection is believed to be the first private dining club for non-fungible token holders.


Club members will be able to gain access to an exclusive dining room in New York City of more than 10,000 square feet. The standard membership NFT gives the holders access to reservations for one table with up to eight non-token guests.

Blueprint of the physical restaurant Flyfish Club plans for New York City.  No location has been announced yet. (Flyfish Club)

A token owner is given access to eat at Flyfish, a yet-to-be-built brick-and-mortar restaurant in New York, whenever they want with a reservation. The club expects to open to its members in the first half of next year, according to its website.

“FFC will be a seafood-focused restaurant with a robust raw bar, drawing from international influences, created by award-winning chefs and hospitality experts. For limited members, a private sushi omakase room will be tucked away within the club, which will showcase fresh fish flown in daily from Japan,” the club says.

“Omakase” means entrusting the chef to design the perfect menu, it says, pointing out that every four months there will be a “private Japanese party, exclusively for and complimentary to Flyfish Omakase members, at ITO in Tribeca. 50 FFO members will be selected for each gathering.”

Also, every four months, there will be wine tastings offered, the first ones over Zoom. The next is scheduled for August 22.

The token owners are required to call the restaurant ahead of time, up to 14 days in advance, if they’d like to reserve a table. There will also be a waiting list, so registration is subject to hold, but the NFT owners do get preference.

Flyfish Club members will be able to gain access to an exclusive dining room in New York City of more than 10,000 square feet. (Flyfish Club)

“At a high level, the Flyfish Club and its NFT membership is essentially a new, crypto-ized spin on an old idea: a member’s only dining club,” says Opensea’s description of the concept. “To start, VCR initially made a total of 1,501 membership tokens for the Flyfish Club available to the public and reserved 1,534 for the company. Membership remains valid as long as a person owns the token.  As with most NFTs, the owner can resell the token (and many are already trying to do just that) on marketplaces like Opensea.”

Josh Capon is a founder and chief culinary officer of the Flyfish Club. Capon is mainly known for his appearances on the Food Network, “Rachael Ray,” “CBS Early Show, ”TODAY” and his own show, “Frankenfood,” on SPIKE TV over the past decade.

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Baby Vipes: Venomous Viper Bites Terrified Child

Baby Vipes: Venomous Viper Bites Terrified Child

The hand of a one-year-old baby who was bitten by a snake turned black and got swollen in Kemerovo, Russia. (Ministry of Health of Kuzbass/Zenger)



By James King

This picture shows the shocking way a one-year-old boy’s hand started to swell and turn black after he was bitten by a viper.


The child had been bitten on the finger while he was on vacation with his mother, somewhere in Russian Siberia.

The pictures – taken on the way to the Kuzbass Emergency Hospital in the Russian Kemerovo region – show huge swelling and discoloration to the young boy’s hand.

His mother, who has not been named, first noticed the bite when her son began to cry and she saw his hand was already turning black.

By the time the boy, who has not been named either, had arrived at the hospital, the swelling had started to spread to the rest of his arm and chest.

Doctors confirmed he had been bitten on a finger by a viper.

Konstantin Sivoronov – head of the department of acute poisoning – confirmed: “Upon admission, the place where the baby had been bitten was clearly visible, there was a pronounced toxic-allergic edema with areas of hemorrhage.”

Doctors, who were not named, provided the child with first aid, prescribed antihistamines, hormonal and blood-thinning drugs and said his survival was touch and go.

But 10 days after the young boy was bitten by the snake, the little lad was well enough to be discharged from the hospital and go home.

Viper bites are not unusual in the region and doctors are trained to deal with them, telling Zenger News that on average they get around 50 cases a year as summer starts to arrive and the snakes become more active.

The hand of a one-year-old baby who was bitten by a snake turned black and got swollen in Kemerovo, Russia. (Ministry of Health of Kuzbass/Zenger)

The doctors said that this was so far the seventh case that they had treated this year.

The statement by local authorities obtained by Zenger News added that the woman had been on vacation in the region in Western Siberia when her child was bitten.

They said: “Viper venom causes bleeding disorders, which can lead to thrombosis and other life-threatening complications, including respiratory arrest.

“When bitten, it is important not to panic and call an ambulance, because the result of treatment directly depends on how quickly it arrives.”

Kuzbass Emergency Hospital where a one-year-old child was bitten by a snake in Kemerovo, Russia. (Ministry of Health of Kuzbass/Zenger)

Vipers are venomous snakes that are found in most places around the world and are noted for their hinged fans that allow a deep penetration for the injection of the venom.

It is unclear which type of viper it was that bit the young boy. The Siberian pit viper (Gloydius halys) is one of the species in the region.

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