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Astrobotic is Going to Use a Vulcan Rocket For its Lunar Lander in 2021

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 21:25
In May of 2019, NASA's Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) selected Astrobotic to fulfill a contract to deliver 14 payloads to the Moon by 2021. The Pittsburg-based aerospace company plans to do this using their Peregrine Lander, a robotic lunar ...

Chandrayaan: Voyage to 'Polo'

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 21:19
[ M Panging Pao ]. After a successful launch on 22 July, 2019, Chandra-yaan-2 is presently orbiting the moon and is planned to land the Vikram lander near the south pole of the moon on 7 September. This would be India's second mission to the moon after the ...

Sri Lanka on an astronomical high

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 20:05
In Sri Lanka's political terrain, national security and the presidential race are the main talking points this season, both bringing a measure of anxiety for many. Almost lost in that buzz is the quiet achievement of a team of Sri Lankan scientists in outer space.

Single blood test may detect your risk of dying within decade

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 19:51
A single blood test may be able to detect your risk of dying within five to 10 years. That's according to new research published this week in the journal Nature Communications, for which scientists in the Netherlands examined blood sample data on 44,168 ...

Watch NASA scientists pretend the Australian Outback is Mars

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 19:07
Next year is going to be a pretty big deal for scientists studying Mars, with both NASA's Mars 2020 mission and the ExoMars rover mission kicking off in the summer. NASA, the European Space Agency, and Russia's Roscosmos are all doing their best to plan ...

50th anniversary: man on the moon

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 19:00
The footprint of Neil Armstrong on the moon's surface will forever symbolize man's vision to explore new planets and frontiers in space. Commander Neil Armstrong and lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Eagle or Apollo 11 on the ...

Storms on Jupiter throw up ammonia from deep inside its atmosphere

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 18:15
Jupiter is famous for its epic storms and beautiful cloud formations which give it is distinctive stripey appearance. However, these clouds make it difficult for astronomers to see what lies in the atmosphere beneath. Now, a team of astronomers has peered deep ...

First Decent Ultima Thule Image Reveals Textbook Contact Binary

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 17:52
"Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form - both those in our own solar system and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy". Jeff Moore of the New Horizons Geology and Geophysics Team, Team Lead, NASA Ames Research Center, ...

PHOTO GALLERY: Amazing Shots of United Launch Alliance Delta IV Rocket Launch From Cape Canaveral

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 17:30
ABOVE VIDEO: United Launch Alliance successfully launched the Delta IV rocket (GPS III) Magellan from Cape Canaveral Thursday morning. BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Delta IV rocket carrying the second Global ...

Master Gardener advice: When to divide perennials

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 17:09
A question we master gardeners get quite often is: “when do we divide our perennials and how do we do it?” There are some general guidelines but no hard and fast rules. And remember, if something has always worked for you in the past, there is no reason ...

Do we need a backup planet to survive?

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 17:01
Billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos are at the forefront of a new age space exploration programme and actually working towards building a base station on Moon and ultimately colonising Mars. Do we need a backup planet to survive?

Oninaki Review - Endless Cycles

Game Spot Reviews - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 17:00

The world of Oninaki has a complex and interesting relationship with death. For the people living in this realm, death is not just accepted, but sometimes even embraced, as they believe that they will be spirited onto their next life upon their passing. But sometimes people don't just go peacefully into reincarnation. They have unfinished business, lingering desires, or unbearable pain that prevents them from completing the cycle--and if they can't find relief, they may transform into terrifying monsters called Fallen. That's where the Watchers come in. They are a group of humans gifted with the ability to cross into the parallel realm of death, and they must both guide lost souls to their next destination and deal with those who have become Fallen.

As the Watcher Kagachi, you not only have to help find and guide lost souls, you must fight off the Fallen in both realms. In fact, you'll be doing significantly more fighting than soul-guiding, because there are a lot of Fallen wandering around nowadays. That, combined with issues like a dearth of new births, a weird cult, and a vicious murderer known as the Night Devil roaming about, has the populace worried about the foundations of death and reincarnation collapsing.

This concept is undeniably cool, and it's ripe for storytelling potential about dealing with the inevitability of death and finding peace and acceptance. The beautiful graphics and world design of Oninaki bolster the intrigue of this setting, too; serene fields, plant-filled marshes, elaborate ruins, and craggy mountains have a zen-like quality to them that feels both contemplative and somber, which contrasts starkly with the crowded, anxious mood of the bustling cities, palaces, and other man-made dungeons and structures. When you "cross the veil" to the realm of the dead to search for lost souls, familiar things immediately transform into an eerie miasma of dark shadows and bright neon lights, giving an otherworldly vibe that really makes you feel like you've reached a place far beyond the senses of normal humans. The combination of intriguing setting and visuals really does a lot for Oninaki, and it's one of its strongest elements.

But this beauty is just skin-deep, because once you get into combat, problems start to come to the surface. Kagachi doesn't fight by himself; he enlists the help of lost, memory-devoid souls called Daemons to possess and provide him with weaponry, skills, and combat expertise. There are a wealth of different Daemons you encounter throughout Oninaki, and each one has a unique weapon and combat style they can bestow to Kagachi when possessed. Kagachi can carry up to four Daemons at once and swap between them on the fly, giving you access to different weapons, movement, and fighting styles you can change when needed.

This sounds fantastic on paper, but there's one big problem: Every Daemon you recruit is extremely weak when you first get them. Daemons level up separately from Kagachi, and only gain combat skills--active and passive, offensive and defensive--through a skill tree that unlocks with weapon stones dropped when using that Daemon. When you first get a Daemon, no matter how far along in the game you are, they have next to no skills and no weapon stones, requiring you to grind with their limited skillset to get them to a point where they are maybe, possibly fun and effective to use.

Even then, some of the Daemons are poorly designed. The long-range fighter Dia, for example, tends to get overwhelmed by frequent enemy mobs thanks to her slow startup and recovery on attacks. Acquiring a new Daemon should be exciting, but the struggle to make new ones viable makes it something to dread. Eventually, you'll probably find yourself focusing on a few specific Daemons and ignoring others, which feeds into the larger issue of repetitive and frustrating combat.

There are a lot of enemies roaming both the realm of the living and the dead in Oninaki, and they tend to get reused quite often. Usually they come in large mobs to distract from the fact that it's yet another swarm of walking flowers or scorpions. Sometimes they get changed up a bit (This time the scorpions belch fire!), but their appearances and attack patterns remain similar. Exacerbating this issue is how spongey even the small enemies can get, especially if your current Daemon's not well-levelled yet. Using a powerful Daemon you've been putting a lot into, however, makes combat boring, as you're encouraged to use the same special attacks over and over in hopes that one of them might randomly gain a permanent special attribute. Boss fights can change things up a bit, and there are some genuinely cool and challenging encounters. However, most of the bosses also soak up damage like crazy. Strategy tends to devolve into using attacks with evasive bonuses and quick recovery until you get enough energy to "Manifest" your Daemon for a huge damage boost, then wailing on them with your biggest attacks until that runs out, repeating until dead and hoping you have enough healing incense to make up for mistakes.

Using a powerful Daemon you've been putting a lot into, however, makes combat boring, as you're encouraged to use the same special attacks over and over in hopes that one of them might randomly gain a permanent special attribute. Boss fights can change things up a bit, and there are some genuinely cool and challenging encounters. However, most of the bosses also soak up damage like crazy. Strategy tends to devolve into using attacks with evasive bonuses and quick recovery until you get enough energy to "Manifest" your Daemon for a huge damage boost, then wailing on them with your biggest attacks until that runs out, repeating until dead and hoping you have enough healing incense to make up for mistakes.

One might be willing to put up with gameplay flaws if the setting and story are good enough, and while Oninaki's world is fantastic, the game frequently falters in storytelling. Kagachi is a very bland and uninteresting protagonist, and his shy little-girl partner Linne isn't much better. The game has a wealth of NPC characters, but they don't have much to offer; their interactions with Kagachi are brief and uninteresting, and you don't get much on their backgrounds and personalities. As a result, when the game tries to deliver an emotional payout--it's a game about death, so there's a lot of dying in the story--it feels toothless, because you aren't connected to these characters and lack a reason to care about their pain and grief. The pacing of the overall story is poor, as well; it often feels like a lot of nothing happening, then a really big event, and then back to something that's distracting from the plot thread you're actually interested in. It's very frustrating to see the story finally living up to its potential and going in interesting places, only to be interrupted by a mandatory fetch quest that feels like pure padding.

Oninaki is a game that frequently sabotages itself. Its beautiful environments and mood are dampened by annoying hordes of samey enemies. Its amazing concept and world design are wasted on a story that's poorly paced and doesn't give you an adequate reason to care. Its varied and interesting combat styles get dragged down by the need to grind Daemons and uneven difficulty overall. There's certainly some beauty to be found in Oninaki's tragic world, but these flaws make this a circle of life that you can skip over.

A scientific breakthrough at a Florida Aquarium could save 'America's Great Barrier Reef'

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 16:51
(CNN) — The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Florida, says they've made scientific history as a group of coral has successfully reproduced two days in a row for the first time in a lab setting. The milestone could have broad implications for "America's Great Barrier ...

Photos: A scramble to decipher Greenland's fast-melting glaciers

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 16:34
Crosses stand in a cemetery as an iceberg floats in the distance during a foggy morning in Kulusuk. Willis, a NASA scientist, estimates that by the year 2100, Greenland alone could cause 3 or 4 feet (more than 1 meter) of sea level rise. Cancel ...

“Jupiter's 350-Year Mystery” –Will the James Webb Space Telescope Solve It?

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 16:30
As storms go, Jupiter's colossal Great Red Spot, 16,000 kilometers wide and raging for 350 years, is the solar system's all-time champion. According to NASA, it could swallow the Earth whole and still have room for Mars. Following its launch on March 30, ...

The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 16:08
One person shouldn't have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity's shot at mitigating rising temperatures. 10:35 AM ET. Franklin Foer. Staff writer for The Atlantic. Smoke billows during a fire in an area of the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, ...

Ancient Egyptian yeast is this bread's secret ingredient

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 16:01
Once they run out of food, yeast spores can go dormant and stay quietly viable for thousands of years until they are extracted. By JACEY FORTIN New York Times. August 24, 2019 — 10:00am. Text size. comment. share · tweet · email. Print. more. Share on: ...

Space Photos of the Week: Hubbub Over Hubble

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 15:02
We are entering low earth orbit this week and spending time with the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble was launched from the Discovery space shuttle in 1990, and has been operating and studying the cosmos ever since. It has helped determine the age of ...

Space Photos of the Week: Hubbub Over Hubble

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 15:02
This pair of galaxies colliding together is called UGC 2369. The brown bridge of dust and gas that lock together like fingers show their gravitational interaction. Galaxy interminglings like this fundamentally reshape each object, and like it or not, it's our turn next ...

Fake News Can Create False Memories

Google Science Feeds - Sat, 08/24/2019 - 14:52
Voters can form false memories after seeing fake news stories, especially if those stories align with their political beliefs, according to new research out of Ireland. The research was conducted in the week before the 2018 referendum on legalizing abortion in ...

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