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Sepsis campaigner takes son's ashes to Buckingham Palace

Health News BBC - 4 hours 19 min ago
Melissa Mead takes the ashes of her son William in a teddy bear to Buckingham Palace to collect an MBE.

Encephalitis: 'I told my boyfriend I thought I was a monkey'

Health News BBC - 8 hours 48 min ago
Lucy Evans had encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that caused her frightening delusions.

NASA BOMBSHELL: We are 'well on our way' to discovering ALIEN life declares agency chief

Google Science Feeds - 13 hours 42 min ago
The former Congressman said finding “life on another world” was a priority for the agency. He was speaking at an event held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the agency's centre for robot interplanetary missions.

Japan's Hayabusa 2 probe to fire pellet at asteroid to obtain samples

Google Science Feeds - 13 hours 54 min ago
A Japanese spacecraft is to attempt an audacious smash-and-grab manoeuvre on a speeding asteroid in an attempt to collect samples and return them to Earth.

Moon's surface acts as 'chemical factory' to produce water: Nasa

Google Science Feeds - 13 hours 56 min ago
WASHINGTON: The lunar surface could act as a 'chemical factory' that produces the ingredients for water, making it easier for future human colonies on the Moon to sustain themselves, Nasa scientists have found.

NIST "astrocomb" to help Texas telescope find more exoplanets

Google Science Feeds - 14 hours 9 min ago
IMAGE: The different components of the setup are shown, including the NIST frequency comb or "astrocomb", designed to ensure the precision of starlight analysis at the Hobby-Eberly Telescope in Texas.

Exclusive: SpaceX, Boeing design risks threaten new delays for US space program

Google Science Feeds - 14 hours 15 min ago
SEATTLE (Reuters) - NASA has warned SpaceX and Boeing Co of design and safety concerns for their competing astronaut launch systems, according to industry sources and a new government report, threatening the U.S.

Qld Museum's new exhibition is out of this world

Google Science Feeds - 14 hours 34 min ago
The Queensland Museum will christen it's newly refurbished exhibition space next month with a blockbuster show celebrating space exploration.

Earth's atmosphere stretches out to the Moon - and beyond

Google Science Feeds - 15 hours 24 min ago
The outermost part of our planet's atmosphere extends well beyond the lunar orbit - almost twice the distance to the Moon. A recent discovery based on observations by the ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, SOHO, shows that the gaseous layer ...

SpaceX Will Launch Its 1st Crew Dragon for NASA Soon! How to Watch It All Live.

Google Science Feeds - 15 hours 43 min ago
Next week, SpaceX is poised to make history with the first-ever test flight of a private spaceship built to carry astronauts into orbit.

Death of NASA's Mars rover Opportunity goes viral

Google Science Feeds - 15 hours 48 min ago
By OLIVIA LEHMAN. Staff Writer. The last image transmitted by NASA's Mars rover Opportunity looks to be a grainy, streaked photo of the night sky.

Researchers unlock the secret behind reproduction of fish called 'Mary'

Google Science Feeds - 16 hours 52 min ago
A female stickleback fish, nick-named 'Mary', has produced offspring from eggs that appear to have been fertilized while they were still inside her, according to scientists at the University of Nottingham.

After Oppy, an opportunity for NASA to work with SpaceX [Opinion]

Google Science Feeds - 18 hours 21 min ago
Last week, NASA officially said goodbye to the Opportunity rover after 15 years on Mars. Contact was lost last June after the strongest dust storm ever observed on the Red Planet engulfed the rover, blocking sunlight from reaching her solar panels ...

The toxic legacy of the Vietnam War

Health News BBC - 19 hours 26 min ago
How millions suffered from exposure to toxic chemicals sprayed by US forces during the Vietnam war

Anthem Review - No I In Team

Game Spot Reviews - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 23:51

Launching upward off a jungle floor and bursting through a thick canopy of trees, bobbing and weaving your way under a waterfall as you take in the lush landscape below you, is one of the highlights of Anthem. Flight, in these moments, is freeing, serene and exhilarating all at once. But you will eventually have to come back down to earth. When you don't have a means to cool down in the air, you have to interrupt your flight to cool off on the ground--or else your suit will overheat and send you careening downward much more violently. This is what Anthem is like as a whole: a game where promising moments are bookended by frustration, where good ideas are undone before they can be fully realized.

It can take a while to warm up to Anthem in the first place. In its intro mission, you are a rookie Freelancer--a hero type who battles threats to humanity in mechanized combat suits called javelins. But that brief mission ends in failure, and after a two-year time skip, you're now an experienced Freelancer. As a result, everyone talks to you as if you know everything about the world, even though much of the game's space-fantasy jargon is explained only in codex entries. "Shapers," "Arcanists," to "silence" this or that "relic"--all the dialogue is structured as if you already know what all these things are, so there's not even an element of mystery to it. It's just hard to follow.

The story and overall worldbuilding do a great disservice to the characters, which have elements of what you might think of as BioWare's pedigree. The main cast is well-acted and genuine, with complicated emotions and motivations that might have been interesting had they been given time to grow. Two characters are mad at you for the events of the tutorial, even though it's never quite clear why; that bad blood spills over into your relationship with your current partner-in-Freelancing, Owen, and there's enough believable awkwardness there to make you almost feel bad for him. But because the narrative is so poorly set up, the drama feels unearned, the "emotional" reveals robbed of their impact, and any connection you might have had to the characters just out of reach.

Exacerbating all of this is Anthem's loot game core, which is simple on paper. After every mission, you return to your base of operations, Fort Tarsis, to talk to people, get new missions, and tinker with your javelins using the loot you picked up from the previous mission. Missions themselves almost universally involve some quick narrative setup followed by flying, completing routine tasks, and plenty of combat (with more brief plot-related stuff thrown in via radio chatter).

But this general structure doesn't work well in practice. You're told up front that playing Anthem with others is the best way to play and that you'll get better rewards in a group, but this means asking your friends to be quiet every few minutes so you can hear a bit of dialogue or to wait patiently while you tweak your loadout. Playing solo is better if you want to take your time and talk to different characters, but doing so can make missions more difficult or tedious. Matchmaking with random people is the best option, since you'll have people with you for grindy parts but will leave you alone for the story--but even then, it's easy to lose track of what's going on, especially if someone in your team is ahead of you and triggering dialogue early.

And no matter what, you'll have to return to Fort Tarsis after each expedition, which makes for choppy pacing in both the story and the gameplay. There's no way to change your loadout on the go and no way to just continue on to another mission right away, and there are currently a number of loading screens in between leaving and returning to Fort Tarsis. It's hard to really get into any kind of flow.

When I finally took the time to talk to NPCs in between missions, I found endearing characters and brief but interesting bits of story spread between them. There's one girl who just loves animals no matter how dangerous, and she'll happily tell you all about them; there's the oldest man in Fort Tarsis, who admits to doing some shady things to earn that title; there's an old woman whose daughter has been missing for years and might just need some kindness. Though it took some patience to do it, I was glad I stopped to listen to them.

Throughout all of this, combat is the main thing keeping Anthem afloat. There are four types of javelins--Ranger, Storm, Interceptor, and Colossus--that are essentially a soldier, mage, assassin, and tank, respectively. Each plays differently, with a different pool of abilities, and you aren't locked into the one you start with; you unlock them as you level up. That, combined with a handful of new weapons and abilities after each mission, means that you're almost always experimenting with new loadouts and playstyles.

I initially picked the Ranger, thinking it would be a good all-around class while I was learning the basics. But the guns alone aren't enough to make Anthem combat's exciting; I found a lot of the weapons, especially shotguns, to feel ineffectual. The Ranger's abilities are pretty straightforward, too--you get grenades and missiles and the like--which left me largely unimpressed with combat in the beginning. But then I unlocked the speedy Interceptor, whose gymnastic jumps and swift melee strikes are incredibly satisfying, and I started to get excited about trying new things in each successive mission.

The Storm javelin became my favorite, though, because it both has interesting elemental abilities and can hover for minutes, not seconds, at a time before overheating. Its assortment of powers lends itself well to getting combos, which result in a satisfying explosion of sorts and a more chaotic battlefield. But more importantly, it's the only javelin that doesn't require frequent stops on the ground, and as a result it provides the most dynamic combat--you can go from shooting basic enemies in a hallway to floating above the battlefield, raining down lightning to wipe out five at once while scoping out the area for your team.

Generally, all of the javelins can easily jet out of sticky situations in a pinch or briefly hover in the air to gain the upper hand, and combining movement with your abilities is consistently a good time. But when fighting titans and certain other bosses, there's a catch; a lot of them use fire attacks that overheat your suit and ground you instantly, robbing the fight of much of what makes combat interesting. You can still use your abilities, but they don't do much in these fights, and they fall flat compared to the often bombastic impact they have on regular enemies. This extends to the final fight, which is especially underwhelming.

The endgame thus far is to complete high numbers of the various mission types, which amounts to repeating many individual missions. The draw is better gear, but without compelling high-level fights, you don't have anything to build toward with all that grinding. A post-credits cutscene has the most intriguing plot point in the game and serves as a preview of what might come later on--but right now it's just a promise, rather than a true incentive to keep going.

It's worth noting that the early access period saw a number of technical hiccups. Dropped audio, server issues, long loading times, missions not registering as complete--I didn't have a single session without some sort of problem. A day-one patch aims to iron much of this out, but overall, the poor structure and pacing are a more frustrating problem.

Anthem has good ideas, but it struggles significantly with the execution. It's a co-op game that works best with no one talking; it buries genuinely interesting character moments and puts its most incomprehensible story bits at the forefront; its combat is exciting until you get to the boss fights and find your wings have been clipped. Even the simple, exhilarating act of flying is frequently interrupted by the limitations of your javelin, and you never quite shake that feeling of disappointment--of knowing, throughout the good parts of Anthem, that you'll inevitably come crashing back down.

Wallace Broecker, who helped popularize term 'global warming,' dies at 87

Google Science Feeds - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 23:41
WASHINGTON - Wallace Broecker, a geochemist who issued early warnings on global warming - a term he helped popularize in the 1970s - and later developed a sweeping, widely accepted model for how the oceans circulate heat and affect the Earth's ...

Scientists just mapped the great white shark's genome, revealing clues that may help us heal wounds and fight cancer

Google Science Feeds - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:33
Scientists have successfully sequenced the entire genome of the great white shark. Sharks have swum in the planet's oceans for the last 400 million years.

We're Just 140 Years Away from the Climate That Caused a Planet-Wide Extinction

Google Science Feeds - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:16
Humans have pushed atmospheric carbon dioxide to heights unseen in our short (geologically speaking) existence. But give us another few generations, and our geologic impact on the planet will be clear.

Opportunity shattered: NASA Opportunity rover goes silent

Google Science Feeds - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 21:03
The Mars Opportunity rover has lasted for some 15 years, providing us with some amazing images and date from the red planet! It arrived on the surface of Mars back on Jan. 25, 2004, with a near perfect roll into a small crater known as “Eagle ...

Study examines how developmental changes modified the reptiles' snouts

Google Science Feeds - Wed, 02/20/2019 - 20:27
The story that's often told about crocodiles is that they're among the most perfectly adapted creatures on the planet - living fossils that have remained virtually unchanged for millions of years.


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