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NASA Astronaut Projected to Set Record for Longest, Single, Female Spaceflight

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 17:32
NASA and its International Space Station partners have set a new schedule and new crew assignments that will include the first flight of NASA astronaut Jessica Meir, an extended stay for NASA astronaut Andrew Morgan, and a record-setting flight for NASA ...

Ocean currents bring good news for reef fish

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 17:28
Researchers have discovered some good news for fish populations living on coral reefs hit by climate change. Renato Morais is a Ph.D. candidate from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies (Coral CoE) at James Cook University (JCU). He led ...

Astronomers Finally Spot Universe's First Molecule in Distant Nebula

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 17:04
A flying observatory has pinpointed the first type of molecule that formed in the universe after the Big Bang. Helium hydride — a combination of helium and hydrogen — was detected roughly 3,000 light-years from Earth by NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for ...

Battered SpaceX Falcon Heavy booster knocked over at sea returns to Port Canaveral

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 17:03
The battered center core booster of last week's SpaceX Falcon Heavy launch limped back to Port Canaveral today. Despite a successful landing after the launch, the center booster was not able to stay upright on the drone ship's return to the port. Heavy seas ...

Oregon researchers map sound, response and reward anticipation in mouse brain

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:52
EUGENE, Ore. - April 18, 2019 - University of Oregon neuroscientists report that two areas of the mouse brain combine representations of what is heard and anticipated, guiding behavior that leads mice to the best reward. Researchers have known that ...

LOFAR Radio Telescope Measures Unknown Structures and Discharge Processes of Lightning

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:49
The exact time lightning develops is still unclear. A team on international researchers, based on high-resolution data of the LOFAR radio telescope, has now found needle-shaped structures that might shed light on the discharge processes. Foundations that ...

New technology can measure coral reef health from small water samples

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:43
To monitor coral reefs, experts usually conduct underwater visual surveys using SCUBA, which can be both time-consuming and logistically challenging. But now, two biology experts at the University of Hawaii have developed a technique for measuring the ...

Killer whales feast on the livers of great white sharks — just one orca sighting can keep the sharks away for a year

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:42
Great white sharks are often thought of as the most fearsome predators in the ocean. But even these sharks are afraid of something. A new study shows that when great whites have encountered killer whales near their hunting grounds, they've fled and stayed ...

Boffins Find material for ACs and refrigerators

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:31
Washington D.C. [USA], Apr 18 (ANI): In a recent study, researchers have found an eco-friendly material that could replace the traditional coolants used in most refrigerators and air conditioners. The research was published in the journal Nature ...

Skeleton DNA reveals surprising backgrounds of Crusader soldiers

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:17
The famed Easter Island statues, called moai, were originally full-body figures that have been partially covered over the passage of time. They represent important Rapa Nui ancestors and were carved after a population was established on the island 900 ...

NASA Prepares to Build Spacecraft Bound for a Metal Asteroid

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:04
The dead, metallic heart of an ancient, obliterated Mars circles the sun—and in 2022, NASA will launch a mission to the asteroid belt to explore it. The Psyche spacecraft, which will visit an asteroid of the same name, recently passed its preliminary design ...

A history of the Crusades, as told by crusaders' DNA

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 16:00
This image shows the bones of the Crusaders found in a burial pit in Sidon, Lebanon. Credit: Claude Doumet-Serhal. History can tell us a lot about the Crusades, the series of religious wars fought between 1095 and 1291, in which Christian invaders tried to ...

Gene-editing technique opens door for HIV vaccine

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:54
The human body cannot naturally defend itself against HIV—not usually, at least. But in very rare cases, infected individuals generate broadly neutralizing antibodies, or bNAbs, that fight the virus. Now, Rockefeller scientists have devised a way to grant this ...

Sea-battered Falcon Heavy booster arrives at Port Canaveral

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:43
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. - The SpaceX Falcon Heavy center core booster that toppled over after landing on the ocean droneship Of Course I Still Love You arrived at Port Canaveral Thursday morning. Falcon Heavy launched April 11 from Kennedy Space ...

Worldwide study reveals air pollution link to unborn baby growth

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:40
Exposure to air pollution is linked to babies' growth during pregnancy, according to a landmark new study. Scientists at the University of Aberdeen have reviewed over a decade's worth of research evidence from around the world to establish the extent to ...

Fireball lights up Virginia night sky

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:34
Not all meteor sightings are create equal. The bright streak was reported across 12 states along the East Coast. On April 16, many people along the East Coast of the USA reported seeing what they believed to be a meteor speeding across the sky and ...

A new neutron star merger is caught on X-ray camera

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:32
In October 2017, astronomers announced the first detection of gravitational waves from the merger of two neutron stars earlier that year. The event also rung in the era of multi-messenger astronomy, as more than 70 telescopes observed the event's afterglow ...

Where does all the ocean garbage go?

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:01
Great areas of our rubbish are known to form in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. But no such “garbage patch” has been found in the Southern Indian Ocean. Our research – published recently in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans – looked at ...

Katana Zero Review - Slow-Motion Samurai

Game Spot Reviews - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 15:00

The neon-soaked hallways and dirty streets of Katana Zero do a great job of sucking you into its broken world. Gangsters operate unhindered as society is still reeling from a devastating war, one whose loss has littered the streets with homeless war veterans and bars with resentful and drunken citizens looking for a fight. You are that fight--a ruthless sword-wielding assassin with the ability to slow down time--and Katana Zero gives you delicately designed scenarios to slice and dice your way through. Its abrupt ending is an unwelcome surprise, but the riveting action is complemented by an intelligently presented narrative with a variety of captivating themes that is difficult to pull away from.

Katana Zero puts you in the shoes of a nameless assassin haunted by the fractured misdeeds from the past war. This war forms the backbone of Katana Zero's central mystery, which does take time to unravel. What starts out as straightforward assassination missions ordered by a shadowy organization slowly unfurls to encapsulate themes of post-traumatic stress, war crimes, and government killings. This plays out across multiple acts, comprised of small side-scrolling stages containing violent and thoughtful combat throughout.

Genetic experimentation and drug use are central to both Katana Zero's story and gameplay. Thanks to a steady supply of a blue serum, you're able to augment your simple sword slashes with the ability to slow down time. This lets you pull off some incredibly stylish maneuvers and experiment with a malleable dynamic to the otherwise straight-forward combat. Slow-motion rolls can be combined with precise movement to quickly close distances, and your sword is not just for close-quarter slashing--it can be used to perfectly time a bullet deflection back to its sender. When combined with stage-specific items that can be used as long-range projectiles and security systems that can be transformed from a deterrent into an environmental weapon, Katana Zero doesn't struggle to keep its combat exciting.

It helps that each stage is thoughtfully compact given how dangerously fragile you are. A single hit will send you back to the beginning of a stage, with fast respawns making the transition almost instant. This not only avoids the sting of detrimental progress loss, but also gets you back into the engrossing action quickly. There are a few stages that feel excessively long and end up being frustrating, but they're thankfully few and far between.

The variety of enemies keeps each encounter from feeling repetitive, gently introducing more dangerous foes that will force you to change up your comforting strategies. Enemies with shields will push you away before swiftly firing at you on the ground, while knife-wielding gangsters can stagger you and delay your attacks for a brief (but deadly) moment. The ways levels combine these different enemies turns each of them into clever combat puzzles, where your twitchy instincts need to be supplemented by thoughtful planning and careful consideration of who to target first.

Katana Zero doesn't shy away from telling its story through scenes of unsettling torture and vivid violence, yet it successfully contrasts this with delicately quiet character moments and some heartfelt relationships that help ground a protagonist that would otherwise be impossible to empathize with. It works incredibly well thanks to a creative approach to character conversations, which are often just as important as your violent exploits outside of them. Instead of just being given choices for responses, conversations allow you to interrupt characters to alter both the tone and direction of the scene. Characters react intelligently to your manners during an exchange, expressing disgust at your audacity to cut them off or surprise at your unexpected courtesy.

Depending on how you respond, certain small narrative changes can take place too. In one instance I found myself pretending to love anime to convince a hotel receptionist to let me pass, which later helped me avoid the police as she corroborated my alibi. The same conversation played out differently the second time, as my short temper with the same receptionist led her to turn on me when getting questioned about my blood-soaked clothing. Small diversions like this don't have an impact on the trajectory of the main story, and there are a handful of scenarios where you'll be forced into a specific response in order to progress. But Katana Zero mostly handles your branching conversational decisions with grace, eloquently incorporating them into small but inconsequential changes to its excellently written dialogue.

Each character moment lands thanks to the sublime pixel artwork. There's an immense amount of detail packed into each sprite, bringing the colorful yet distressing world around you to life with its sheer variety. Character sprites are the most impressive, featuring delicate animation that lends a lot of emotion to each conversation and story beat. These extend to the thoughtful effects applied to simple dialogue bubbles, which use a combination of flashing colors, moving parts, and aggressive screen shake to allow important interactions to hit hard. Katana Zero doesn't just use its retro-inspired style to pull on nostalgic strings. It elevates the style entirely with a sense of depth and detail that is difficult not to appreciate.

Katana Zero doesn't shy away from telling its story through scenes of unsettling torture and vivid violence, yet it successfully contrasts this with delicately quiet character moments and some heartfelt relationships.

The real pity is that despite its slick presentation and enthralling dialogue, Katana Zero's story just doesn't wrap up in a satisfying way. It starts introducing its central themes about halfway through and only increases in momentum from there, seemingly building to an enticing climax. But it swerves unexpectedly at the end to reveal that this entry is only the first chapter in a larger tale. After four or so hours you're left with a number of unhandled narrative threads and an unsatisfying conclusion, which dampens the exciting momentum that was building up. It's a deflating and abrupt end to the proceedings, with no promise of more to come in the future.

The uncertain future of the story that Katana Zero so brilliantly sets up is concerning, but that shouldn't deter you from diving into this compelling introductory chapter. Its combat provides an exciting challenge that tests both strategy and reflex, while also giving you clever abilities to make it as stylish as possible. The narrative contextualization of both your abilities and role within Katana Zero's world is expertly written, with a clever dialogue system letting you inject personality into character interactions. Katana Zero is bloody and brutal, but it's also a heartfelt tale that you shouldn't overlook lightly.

MXene-based Ink Allows Storage of Energy

Google Science Feeds - Thu, 04/18/2019 - 14:30
Researchers from Ireland universities developed a MXene-based ink for an inkjet printer that has the potential to print energy storage components. The team from Drexel University and Trinity College published their recent findings in Nature Communications.

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