Asgardia Is a Space Nation You Can Join Without Leaving Home

first_imgBeing a citizen of an Earth-based nation has its advantages, but wouldn’t you like to be a citizen of space? Now you can with the announcement of Asgardia, a nation based entirely in space. Asgardia will launch a satellite next year, which will serve as its sole territory, and you can be a citizen. You won’t actually move away from your current terrestrial home—it’s sort of a symbolic thing. Asgardia, a name derived from the home of the old Norse gods, is a project headed by Russia nanoscientist Dr. Igor Ashurbeyli. He’s not a complete unknown; Ashurbeyli is the founder of the Aerospace International Research Center and chairman of UNESCO’s Science of Space committee. So, he’s a guy who cares deeply about science and human activity in space. The immediate goal of Asgardia is to get 100,000 citizens, at which time it will apply for recognition by the United Nations. Asgardia will be holding a contest for its citizens to help choose its flag, anthem, and insignia as well. The winners of the contest will be able to have a personal message included on the Asgardia satellite when it’s launched. The ultimate goal of Asgardia is to increase access to space and promote efforts to protect Earth from asteroids and space debris impact. A lofty objective to be sure, but it’s going to have a hard time being taken seriously.Who will save us from asteroids? Maybe the Asgardians.In order to be recognized by the UN, nations need to meet several requirements. Having territory and citizens are up there, but there also needs to be support from member states that also recognize the nation in question. When Asgardia’s only “territory” is an uninhabited satellite, it’s unlikely it will get that kind of support. If it ever did get recognition, Asgardia would be able to operate in space as it pleases, rather than be bound by the rules of the Outer Space Treaty, which requires oversight by the nation in which a space project is based. Asgardia is over halfway to the 100,000 citizen count, but that’s only the first hurdle.last_img read more

Read More →

Everyones Parents Get Back Together on Once Upon a Time

first_img Once Upon a Time Builds Fun Lore Around a Seattle LandmarkOnce Upon a Time’s Final Battle Was the Happiest Ending Now that the Black Fairy is in Storybrooke, and Henry is uncontrollably scribbling hieroglyphs, Once Upon a Time is setting up for the final battle. Step one: Get everyone back in the same place. That includes breaking the sleeping curse on Snow and Charming, the one remaining vestige of the Evil Queen arc, which the show seemingly can’t wait to get away from. At this point, it’s for the best. The Evil Queen is gone, along with any narrative tension the sleeping curse had. In recent episodes, it was becoming more of a minor annoyance than a meaningful obstacle.As the episode begins, no one is in good shape. Emma is having those hand tremors again that prevent her from using magic, and everyone is understandably concerned over the doom glyphs Henry’s been writing. Why can’t he just draw that pointy S on his notebooks like a normal kid? Desperate to rid him and his wife of the Sleeping Curse, Charming asks Regina to try out whatever she’s got. If that sounds like a bad idea, that’s because it is. Though Regina’s antidote appears to work at first, things immediately get worse. It seems the Evil Queen has built in a fail-safe. Not only is the curse unbroken, now they will both fall asleep permanently at midnight.Snow makes a message for Charming explaining everything. In the background, he notices a pink petal he recognizes. To see why we flash back to Storybrooke before season one: The Time of the Dark Curse. It’s really cool to see Storybrooke before Emma’s arrival. As promised all the way back in the first season, it’s the land of no happy endings. Everyone is miserable and made more so by Snow/Mary Margaret’s constant cheer. On her way to deliver flowers to the sleeping John Doe (Charming), she finds a strange pink flower growing out of the sidewalk. When she sets it down next to him, he wakes up and remembers everything. He touches her hand and the petal dust brings Snow White back too.Rebecca Mader, Lana Parilla, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)Snow gives Charming directions to Rumplestiltskin’s shop, and he asks how they can get Emma back. It takes some convincing, but Rumplestiltskin reveals it’s possible with that pink flower. It’s a pixie flower, and the dust from it can reunite people who love each other. Meanwhile, Snow White does everything she can to keep Regina off his trail. Regina starts to suspect that Snow White has woken up, and threatens to kill Dr. Hopper. Mary Margaret would never stand up to the mayor, even to save someone else. Snow White, Regina says, is a hero. Fortunately, the rest of Storybrooke shows up, allowing Snow to escape back to Charming.They are about to use the fairy dust to get their daughter back, but Rumplestiltskin appears. He reminds them that if they reunite with their daughter now, at age 10, she will never become the savior. The curse will never be broken. Snow White decides that as a hero, she can’t leave the rest of the town to live under the curse. They get one last look at their daughter and put themselves back under the curse. It’s an effective, emotional gut-punch of a scene.Back in the present, Snow White and Emma find a whole field of pixie flowers. Since they only grow in the presence of great evil, they figure Emma’s ultimate adversary must be nearby. The Black Fairy reveals herself and warns tells Emma that the final battle is coming. She then instructs Gideon to destroy the entire field of pixie flowers. She and Gideon disappear, taunting Snow White about her impending eternal sleep. Fortunately, Gideon appears to have missed one flower. There’s just enough pixie dust to break the curse.Jaime Murray and Giles Matthey. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)But hey, what about Hook? After being stranded in Neverland with Lost Boys descending on him, he’s surprised to see them all knocked out by a dart. It’s Tiger Lily! Noticeably absent from the previous Neverland stories, Tiger Lily is here to save Hook from the Lost Boys. Sort of. She knocks him out with another dart and ties him up. When he comes to, she says she needs something from him. She needs him to bring a piece of a powerful wand to the savior for her final battle. Well, that works out nicely. Hook explains his situation, and Tiger Lily tells him there might be a way to get him back to Storybrooke: Peter Pan’s magic.Tiger Lily creates a distraction at the Lost Boys’ camp while Hook raids Pan’s magic. As the Lost Boys descend on them both, he cuts off his shadow and instructs it to take the wand to Emma. The shadow flies away, and Hook and Tiger Lily are captured. The shadow makes it to Emma just as she and Regina are about to break Snow and Charming’s sleeping curse. She realizes Hook’s in danger, and Snow White tells Emma to use the dust to rescue him. Snow is confident that Emma will find some other way to break the curse. With the pixie dust and the power of true love (d’awww), Emma opens a door to Neverland, rescues Hook, and allows Tiger Lily to escape in the commotion.Now that Hook’s back in Storybrooke it happens for real. He gets down on one knee and proposes to Emma. She says yes, of course. Now we know what the upcoming musical episode is going to be about. Hook wants to tell her parents but finds that they have already fallen into their permanent sleeping curse. Fortunately, Regina comes up with a solution. She gathers the entire town together. She asks the entire town to share the curse, diluting its power. The entire town does, and the curse is soon weakened and broken. Everyone’s parents (and step-parents) are back together.Jennifer Morrison and Colin O’Donoghue. (Photo: Screenshot via ABC)Speaking of parents, as the episode ends, the Black Fairy visits her son, Rumplestiltskin. He’s figured out that Gideon isn’t acting of his own free will. The Black Fairy has his heart. How did he know? Because Gideon left one pixie flower alive. He was able to disobey her, just a little bit. That could prove crucial in the upcoming battle.While I wish the Black Fairy had been built up better earlier this season, she is proving to be a decent villain. The show is starting to justify why she’ll be the greatest evil Emma’s ever faced. Right now, they’re just telling us though. In the coming weeks, I’m hoping we see some of what her power can do. Otherwise, this was a high point for Once Upon a Time. It was fun going back to Dark Curse-era Storybrooke, which we haven’t seen since season one. The episode earned all its big emotional moments and got everyone back together in a way that didn’t feel too easy or convenient. Even with the deus ex machina flowers appearing out of nowhere. Most importantly, now that the problems of the last few episodes have been solved, we really have no idea what’s coming next. Stay on targetlast_img read more

Read More →

H1Z1 Battle Royale is a Fine if Average Battle Royale Game

first_img Thanks to games like PUBG and Fortnite, the battle royale genre is enjoying a surge in popularity. It seems you can’t turn your head without seeing another game deliver its own take on the genre. One such title is the appropriately titled H1Z1: Battle Royale. Available as an open beta earlier this summer, it has enjoyed a great deal of success on PlayStation 4. The full game launched for free last week, giving everyone a chance to try it out. While H1Z1: Battle Royale isn’t structurally dissimilar to other games in the genre, it is a good entry point for those curious to see what the buzz is about.If you’re familiar with battle royale games then you’ll know what to expect in H1Z1: Battle Royale. Up to 100 players drop into a massive map via parachute. Once they land, players must search for weapons, armor, and healing items found within structures or out in the open. Over time, the map shrinks thanks to the spread of a deadly gas. Anyone inside the gas takes damage and eventually dies. This funnels players into a smaller play area and forces them into a confrontation. The last person surviving wins the match. Again, this is standard battle royale fare.Though its formula is fairly by-the-numbers, H1Z1: Battle Royale introduces some of its own unique mechanics. The chief one being airdrops. Every so often, an airplane will drop a crate in a random part of the map. These boxes often contain better gear than you’d find in the world. Green airdrops contain average equipment, while purple and especially gold have the best. Airdrops are great for getting better equipment, but it should come as no surprise that other players will head towards them as well. One must prepare for a battle if they want the precious loot. In some instances, it’s best to forgo an airdrop just to stay alive longer.As far as options go, things are decidedly bare. You can choose between Solo, Duo, or Fives. In Solo mode, it’s every man for himself. Duo and Fives center around team play. Most players seem to prefer Solo since it is more like a traditional battle royale game. If you’re the social type, the co-op modes let you have fun with your friends. But no matter which mode you pick, you’ll get the same basic experience of scouring the map for loot and trying to stay alive while doing so.Customization options are rather thin as well. There are a number of different preset characters that you can outfit with various accessories and equipment. You do not have access to every item at the start. You can unlock them by leveling up or purchasing them with real-world money. Most of the equipment is cosmetic and doesn’t affect the game directly. This is good since it doesn’t give players a direct advantage. With that said, I found most of the accessories and such superfluous. Since the equipment doesn’t help you in the actual game, I didn’t see the need to outfit my character in anything beyond the starting gear.Because I’m not great at competitive shooters, I employed a decidedly conservative playstyle. After landing, I grab as much loot as possible before finding a vehicle and driving to a remote area. I stay there until the map shrinks and I have to move closer to the next safe zone. This continues until I have no choice but to exit my vehicle and find a safe spot to hide. By this time, most of the players have killed each other off. If I’m lucky, I manage to make it into the top ten. My goal isn’t to get first place, it’s to survive as long as possible. Those better at shooting are advised to take risks and face off against others to nab the top spot. But if you’re a punk like me, it’s okay to mostly sit it out and let others murder each other.More than its competitors, H1Z1: Battle Royale emphasizes speed more. Even with my cautious playstyle, it feels like the game is constantly pushing me towards confrontation. Airdrops are frequent, and the map seems to shrink twice a minute. This gives matches a greater sense of urgency which seasoned players will no doubt appreciate. Given all of these factors, matches don’t feel like they drag on forever. I consider that a positive.Control-wise, H1Z1 is fast and responsive. You’re able to run, crouch, jump, and fire weapons with relative ease. What I like most is how each gun has its own distinct feel. Using an M9 is not the same as using an AK-47. This is true in most games, but the fact H1Z1 has different levels of bullet drop means you need to learn how to fire each weapon. Yes, you can definitely stick with a primary weapon if you choose, but you may not always have it at your disposal. This is about survival, so it’s best to know how to handle every tool in your arsenal. Overall, if you’re used to shooters, you’ll feel at home with H1Z1’s mechanics.Graphically, H1Z1: Battle Royale isn’t a looker. It is definitely more like PUBG than Fortnite in the visual department. It’s not that the game looks horrible. The graphics are effective at conveying the world and all of the structures within. The problem is that the overall presentation is decidedly bland and generic. I understand the game initially suffered from a number of bugs, so perhaps the devs are spending most of their time ensuring a smooth playing experience rather than making the title visually appealing. For some, the graphics won’t matter since they’re in it purely for the gameplay. That’s all well and good, but I wish the game had some graphical flair for me to appreciate.H1Z1: Battle Royale isn’t overly different from similar games, but it is effective at what it does. The fact it is performing so well on PS4 proves the title is doing something right. There is just enough variety to keep players coming back for more. Its sense of urgency is also something that’ll help it thrive. If you’re looking for a good entry point for these types of games, this is a title you should consider trying out.Stay up to date on all the best PlayStation games and news here.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. Stay on target H1Z1: Battle Royale Leaves Open Beta and Officially Launches on PS4 last_img read more

Read More →