The University of Maine Women’s Basketball team visited ACS Athens on Thursday, May 16th and spent two hours with our students on the court, according to ACS Athens’ announcement.As part of their International Tour, one of the team’s goals was to interact with the local community; they provided a basketball clinic to Elementary students in grades 3 & 4 (those enrolled in the after school Recreational Program) and to the JV Girls Basketball team.The clinic consisted of basic drills on fundamentals; the athletes of the University of Maine interacted with our students and had the opportunity to teach basic skills to the youngsters and to talk to them about the importance of education and sports.“Many thanks to the University of Maine Women’s Basketball team for making a stop at our school,” ACS says.Source: ACS Athens(Photo” ACS Athens)TweetPinShare0 Shares
Klopp loving competition within Liverpool squadby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveLiverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is loving the competition within his squad.The German says his players are fighting tooth and nail in training in order to impress him.Speaking before Tuesday’s Champions League clash with Napoli, Klopp said he had plenty of players available for selection.He said: “And the competition in this team is really big, yes. If that line-up is not performing, they are really there. As an example, Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] is brought in in that position where he has been training for a couple of weeks now. He is so creative. He is a real option.”If you have one good game and another good game, the dynamic changes. Dejan Lovren is not in the squad and I have no explanation for that other than two centre-halves on the bench is probably not necessary. Naby Keita is coming, everyone knows that. “When Ox [Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] played really well at Southampton, for the all others it was ‘ooh’, but you should see training. They all want to make sure, ‘I am ready, you can use me’. “This is a really big club with competition between friends. It is not I have to kill him to play, it is really for the team. That is what the boys did so far and as long as we have that we will go for everything. Then we have to see what we get because we have really good opponents and that is the problem.” About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
Like any good trilogy, we’ll get a high-stakes finale when the Tide and Tigers face off in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day. For us fans, we can only hope it’s more Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and less Godfather Part III. So what differences should we be on the lookout for this time around?Clemson changed its game plan — and got betterAs my colleague Dan Levitt and I wrote about early in the season, Clemson had to revamp the way it played this season after losing quarterback Deshaun Watson to the NFL. Watson’s replacement, Kelly Bryant, wasn’t as polished a passer as his predecessor — he averaged about 95 fewer yards per game through the air than Watson did in his final college season1All of the numbers referenced in this story use pre-bowl statistics. — but he was more proficient with his legs, racking up more rushing yards than Watson and scoring nearly twice as many touchdowns on the ground. 201612-1+10.8+2.4+13.7+7.3+1.4+7.5+0.4 Bryant wasn’t a Watson clone — but he was almost as goodKey statistics for Clemson starting quarterbacks in 2016 and 2017 EPA = Expected points added, a measure of offensive productivity that accounts for the value of yards gained, field position and down/distance.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group OffenseDefense 201711-1+5.4+10.1+15.7+7.7+4.7+11.2+0.6 All numbers are before bowl games. Total EPA on offense and defense may not equal sum of rushing plus passing because of penalties.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group 2017Kelly Bryant43.580.7+4.5+1.4-0.9+0.3+5.3 201712-1+4.8+5.4+10.9+7.6+4.8+12.4-0.9 2016Deshaun Watson51.082.3+6.3+0.5-0.5+0.6+6.9 201613-0+4.4+6.4+10.1+11.8+6.6+18.3+0.7 YearRecordPassRushTotalPassRushTotalSpecial Tms Over the last two seasons, the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide have faced each other twice for the College Football Playoff championship. To say the rivalry has been as close as it gets would be an understatement: The teams split the national championships at one apiece and were nearly even on total points as well. (Alabama has a slim 76-75 lead in aggregate scoring.) In terms of total contributions, Bryant wasn’t quite able to match Watson’s output of a year ago. But in combination with the Tigers’ other skill-position talent (specifically running backs Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster), he led a Clemson offense that compiled over 30 more rushing yards per game in 2017 than it had the year before. In turn, that improved run game helped the Tigers’ offense absorb Watson’s departure with a loss of fewer than 3 expected points added (EPA) per game. OffenseDefense That dominant 2016 Alabama squad was built around a fearsome defense that ranked among the best in college football history, allowing a paltry 248 total yards per game during the regular season and holding opposing passers to a Total Quarterback Rating of 11.4 — both marks ranked No. 1 in the FBS. This season, those numbers are up to 258 and 20.9, respectively, which still count among the best in the country, but also helped contribute to a defense that was more than a touchdown worse per game by EPA than it had been in 2016.Fortunately for Alabama, its offense nearly improved enough to offset that defensive decline. According to EPA, QB Jalen Hurts and the Tide passing game was worth a full point per game more this year than last, with Hurts rising from 41st nationally in QBR to sixth, and receiver Calvin Ridley cracking the top 40 in receiving yards per game. Moreover, the Crimson Tide rushing attack churned ahead for more than 20 extra yards per game this season, with a greater depth of contributions (eight separate Alabama rushers gained at least 100 yards) that amounted to nearly 4 extra points per game by EPA. Overall, the Alabama offense was second only to Oklahoma’s in efficiency, a year after it ranked only 24th in the country.In other words, both Alabama and Clemson have altered their strengths since the last time we saw them face off in the College Football Playoff. Whether things will play out more like they did in 2016 (an Alabama win) or 2017 (a Clemson victory) is still up in the air — but with greater balance from both teams, the ingredients might be in place for Part 3 of the trilogy to somehow surpass the all-time classics we saw in Parts 1 and 2. More importantly, Clemson’s defense made major strides in 2017, led up front by a unit composed exclusively of first- or second-team All-ACC linemen. Tiger defenders recorded 3.4 sacks per game (third-most in the Football Bowl Subdivision), held opponents to 3.1 yards per rush (ninth-lowest in FBS), yielded the sixth-fewest total yards per game in the country and improved their overall performance by 4.9 points per game according to EPA.Clemson wasn’t an awful defensive team the last time it faced Alabama, but this regular season the Tigers might have had the best defense in the nation. That defensive development helped Clemson post a superior point differential (adjusted for schedule strength) than the Watson-led national championship squad did a year ago. In other words: This is probably the best of the three Clemson teams that have appeared in the College Football Playoff.Alabama isn’t the best ever anymore, but they are better on offenseUp until they faced Clemson in the championship game, the 2016 Crimson Tide were riding high. In fact, according to our Elo ratings, they’d put together the greatest peak performance of any college football team since the AP poll began2In 1936. when they defeated Florida in last year’s SEC championship (and then increased their Elo record when they beat Washington in the playoff semifinal). But we all know how that ended for them — with Nick Saban shaking his head in disbelief as Watson produced a comeback for the ages and delivered the Tigers their first national title in 35 years.Alabama regrouped in the way Alabama usually regroups, which is to say they shot right back up to No. 1 for most of 2017 as well. But, statistically, they were not quite as dominant as a season ago: Going into the playoff, Elo considers the 2017 Tide to be 29.9 points per game better than an average FBS team, which is not only a far cry from their mark this time last year (40.2) but also ranks just fourth in the country this year, behind Clemson (32.6), Georgia (31.3) and Oklahoma (30.0). According to Sports Reference’s power ratings, this is Alabama’s worst season since 2010, a year they were relegated to the unacceptably non-prestigious Capital One Bowl. Although most programs would kill for a “down season” like the one Alabama is having, it’s still worth noting that this rendition of the Crimson Tide has been less dominant than usual.But like their counterparts at Clemson, the Tide have also tweaked their playing style in a way that makes their continued greatness especially impressive. All numbers are before bowl games. Total EPA on offense and defense may not equal sum of rushing plus passing because of penalties.Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group YearRecordPassRushTotalPassRushTotalSpecial Tms YearPlayerPlays/GmQBRPassingRushingSacksPenaltyTotal How Clemson shifted its strengthsExpected points added per game by category for Clemson, 2016 and 2017 EPA/Game How ’Bama changed its focus from defense to offenseExpected points added per game by category for Alabama, 2016 and 2017
Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14 at St. John Arena. OSU lost 3-0. Credit: Giustino Bovenzi | Lantern photographerInjuries and illness have taken a toll on the Ohio State women’s volleyball team as the season has worn on, as it has lost five of its last eight matches.This week has been no different for coach Geoff Carlston’s team, as an illness has made its way around the roster. Nonetheless, the No. 16 Buckeyes (21-7, 10-6) will try to get back on track when they travel west to battle with Iowa (12-17, 2-14) on Wednesday at 8 p.m.“We’ve been trying to back off a lot,” Carlston said. “It’s hard to sharpen the blade when you can’t do it. As a staff, we’re trying to find a balance between trying to keep us healthy, but it hasn’t seemed to work.”Freshman setter Taylor Hughes has been in and out of the lineup since suffering an elbow injury on Oct. 21, while senior outside hitter Katie Mitchell has missed the last two games with an illness.To rediscover its form on the court after an ugly loss to Michigan on Saturday, Carlston said OSU just needs to get back to believing in itself.“I think we just have to remind ourselves that we’re a pretty good team and we’ve had a really good journey so far,” Carlston said.Much of the Buckeyes’ early-season success was fueled by the team playing with a chip on its shoulder. Senior outside hitter Elizabeth Campbell said “getting back to that underdog mentality” is crucial to get back to the winning ways. “We just need to get back to our fundamentals, stay focused,” junior outside hitter Kylie Randall said. “We still have a lot of games left … we still definitely have a chance to improve.”In the first meeting of the season between OSU and Iowa, the Buckeyes came out victorious in four sets, marking their 13th straight victory against the Hawkeyes.After posting a 10-3 record in nonconference play and garnering national attention in the form of votes in the coaches poll, the going started to get tough for Iowa in conference play, winning just two games against Big Ten foes.However, OSU has seen that records don’t mean much, evidenced by its Nov. 6 loss against a Maryland team that entered the game with a 2-11 conference record.“Especially if we’re kicking and scratching with our health, it’s a tough match,” Carlston said of the upcoming tilt against the Hawkeyes. “They run a very fast offense (and) they’ve given a lot of teams problems.”Iowa picked up its only two conference wins recently against Rutgers on Oct. 31 and Indiana on Nov. 4. Then, on Nov. 7, the Hawkeyes took then-No. 16 Purdue to five sets before falling.Campbell said she believes OSU will have its work cut out for it in defending the quick-paced attack of Iowa.“They have a pretty distributed, fast offense, so just being ready defensively in our blocking game to be up fast and challenge their tempos,” she said.The Hawkeyes currently rank third in the conference in service aces per set with 1.20. To combat that strength and bring home the win, Campbell said the Buckeyes are prepared to be “challenging the passing lanes” all match long. What’s next?A big rematch is set to be on tap for OSU on Saturday, when it is set to travel to Madison looking to complete another season sweep against Wisconsin. Back on Sept. 27, the Buckeyes defeated the Badgers in Columbus in five sets. The first serve is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Active Ohio State student-athletes have never been allowed to appear in corporate advertisements. That will change for the Buckeyes and all Division I student-athletes if the NCAA Division I Athletic Council passes proposed legislation, which would allow game clips of current players to appear in advertisements. The council is expected to vote today at the NCAA convention in San Antonio. The relationship between the corporation and the university would have to be clearly stated. For example, Nike Inc., which outfits OSU’s athletic teams, could use highlights from this football season in its ads as long as it included something like “a proud corporate sponsor of Ohio State athletics,” said Michael Rogers, NCAA Amateurism Cabinet chairman. The cabinet is in charge of drafting the proposed legislation to alter current standards of amateurism, but it is not the only council involved. “This is a highly collaborative process,” Rogers said. “You try to get all of the stakeholders involved.” In doing so, he said, the cabinet reviewed proposed legislation from previous years along with feedback from university presidents and input from student-athlete advisory committees. “I know the issue but I’m just going to have to think about that,” OSU President E. Gordon Gee said in an interview with The Lantern. “I’m not a corporate guy. I’m an old- school guy. I don’t believe in playoffs or anything. Anything that is a slippery slope toward professionalization I have to be very careful about.” Despite the reduced restriction on the use of student-athletes’ images, many limitations will remain. “Direct endorsement is clearly prohibited, (and) then there are some other limits and … consents that have to be obtained,” Rogers said. “The last thing we are trying to do is exploit student-athletes.” Others argue that the new legislation will do just that. Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany firmly opposes the legislation and told The Chronicle of Higher Education it was “the essence of exploitation.” Rogers said he understands his committee’s decision will be controversial. With “something like this you are never going to come up with a piece of legislation that everyone thinks is perfect,” he said. “What you try to do is strike the right balance.” If the athletic council feels that balance has been struck and passes the legislation, it will move on to the Division I Board of Directors for final approval. The committee can also choose to defeat the rule change or send it back to NCAA members for further review. If that is the case, Rogers said he expects his committee to be responsive. “I’ll be interested to see what they say and respond accordingly,” he said. “If we need to retool it or tamper it in some fashion, we can certainly do that.” The OSU compliance office did not respond to multiple requests for comment on its stance on the legislation.
‘Game of Thrones’ Targaryen Prequel Series Is Reportedly Coming to HBO‘Game of Thrones’ Star Kit Harington Joins Marvel’s &#… Stay on target Game of Thrones is in its last season, however, the show is climbing the ranks when it comes to global demand: On the day of the series’ Season 8 premiere, the global demand exceeded the global premiere demand of every other TV show, for any season across all platforms and markets under measurement.Parrot Analytics, a firm that focuses on global audience demand measurement, collaborated with Guinness World Records to chart Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere’s demand and officially declared it as the most in-demand TV premiere, Deadline reported.Who will take the Iron Throne? Millions couldn’t wait to find out as @GameOfThrones comes to the final season https://t.co/ytVqQso5mY— GuinnessWorldRecords (@GWR) May 3, 2019The firm’s methodology claims to leverage real-time, platform-agnostic, and global TV demand measurements. Parrot Analytics and Guinness World Records analyzed global demand for all series openers from April 2015 to April 14, 2019, the date of the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere, to calculate the ranking.“Game of Thrones amassed a per capita global audience demand of 25.46 on 14th of April 2019, its Season 8 premiere day. Compared to its per capita global demand of 24.74 on the day of its Season 7 premiere, the latest and final season has premiered 2.9 percent higher globally,” Samuel Stadler, VP of marketing at Parrot Analytics, told Deadline in a press statement. “Premiere day demand has been particularly strong in the United States, United Kingdom, and France.”Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 1, which highlighted Winterfell preparing for a battle with the Night King’s Army, generated millions of viewers, said a Guinness World Records press release. HBO confirmed that 17.4 million people streamed the episode on their subscription TV services, and their HBO GO and HBO NOW streaming apps, within 24 hours of the Season 8 premiere.“It comes as no surprise. Game of Thrones has its fans tightly clenched in its dragon-like grip, and excitement for this final series has seen phenomenal engagement across every platform,” Craig Glenday, editor-in-chief at Guinness World Records, said in the press release. “It has broken records since it first aired – for its viewership figures, Emmy wins, and even its status as the most pirated TV show! It looks like it’s going to continue breaking records right up to the final, undoubtedly devastating episode.”More on Geek.com:First Look: ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Photos‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8, Episode 4 Preview: One Last War to WinEmilia Clarke: Next ‘Game of Thrones’ Fight Will Be Bigger Than Winterfell
Italy’s Mount Etna launched streams of lava into the night sky in the early hours Friday.The volcano, located on the east coast of Sicily, began erupting at 3 a.m. local time following an increase in seismic activity over the last week.The eruptions sent rivers of smoking red lava streaming down its southeastern slope. The smoke did not affect nearby Catania airport and flight continued as normal, according to reports.Boris Behncke, from Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), posted a series of photos on Twitter of lava taken from nearby towns. He said the eruption on Thursday night is considered a “subterminal eruption,” meaning it is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at an elevation of around 2900-3000 meters (9,514-9,842 feet).Scenes of #Etna‘s new, sub-terminal eruption, during the night of 30-31 May 2019, seen from Santa Venerina, Fiumefreddo and (last photo) Tremestieri Etneo. “Sub-terminal” means the eruption is occurring close to the summit craters, generally at around 2900-3000 m elevation pic.twitter.com/6uBXJTShkV— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 31, 2019According to the INGV, the nascent eruption began on the night of May 29. Starting off by producing a thick column of ash rising from the New Southeast Crater, it gave way on May 30 to a far more lava-heavy display in the area, featuring two fissures blenching out lava.The northern lava flow extended toward the northern wall of the Valle del Bove and subsequently turned eastward, reaching a maximum distance of about 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) on the morning of May 31, at an estimated altitude of about 6,075 feet (2,050 meters).New eruption near the summit of #Etna: two eruptive fissures have opened early on 30 May 2019 on the northeastern and south-southeastern sides of the New Southeast Crater, producing modest Strombolian activity and little lava flows. View from Tremestieri Etneo pic.twitter.com/Htl90nUYbL— Boris Behncke (@etnaboris) May 30, 2019Mount Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe at two-and-a-half times the next largest, Mount Vesuvius.Fissures in the 10,912 feet-tall peak can flare into action several times a year, although the last major eruption was in 1992.More on Geek.com:Watch: Mexico’s Popocatépetl Volcano Explodes in One of Largest Eruptions in YearsWatch Bali Volcano Spew Ash 18,000 Feet Into the Air in Incredible Timelapse Video35 Incredible Images of Earth’s Mountains and Volcanoes From Space Man Critically Injured After Falling Down Volcano on HoneymoonAstronauts Capture Incredible Photo of Volcanic Eruption From Space Stay on target
Stay on target The Hubble Space Telescope’s Messier catalog shows some of the most breathtaking objects that can be observed from our planet’s Northern Hemisphere, including a bright elliptical galaxy that might be a newborn star hub.Known as NGC 4621 (Messier 59), this galaxy is featured in the deep-sky objects catalog put together by French comet-hunter Charles Messier in the 18th century, however, Johann Gottfried Koehler, a German astronomer, is credited for finding the galaxy right before Messier listed it in 1779, said a NASA press release.According to modern observations, Messier 59 is classified as an elliptical galaxy, one of the three main types of galaxies including irregulars and spirals. Out of the trio, ellipticals tend to be the oldest and filled with ancient, red stars that show little signs of new star formation. Unlike other elliptical galaxies, Messier 59 might be on a whole new level: Astronomers say the galaxy shows signs of star formation, since there are some newborn stars that are present in a disk near the heart of Messier 59.Do you follow trends — or do you break them?This galaxy — Messier 59 — is an elliptical galaxy. Ellipticals tend to be full of old, red stars. Messier 59, however, breaks this trend, w/ some newborn stars residing near the core in this @NASAHubble image: https://t.co/mTvKMZpb5g pic.twitter.com/Tlpfu0ijt0— NASA (@NASA) June 2, 2019Messier 59 is positioned roughly 50 million light-years away from Earth and it’s located in the 2,000-strong Virgo cluster of galaxies in the constellation of Virgo. At the center of Messier 59, there’s a supermassive black hole, which is around 270 million times as big as the sun. According to NASA, the best time of year to spot it is in May, even though there isn’t much of a detail difference between observing it with smaller or larger telescopes.More on Geek.com:NASA Fits 265,000 Galaxies Into Single ‘Hubble Legacy Field’ ImageHubble Spots Stunning Spiral Galaxy 30 Million Light-Years AwayNew Hubble Measurements Confirm Universe Is Expanding at a Faster Rate Watch: Here’s What It’s Like to Fly Through the Orion NebulaHubble Spots Stunning Spiral Galaxy 30 Million Light-Years Away
“As a reminder, feeding the animals at Bays Mountain Park is strictly prohibited for exactly this reason. Human food is often intolerable and, in this case, even harmful to our animals,” Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium wrote on Facebook. “Please follow all posted park rules, including the signs that say not to feed the animals.” Stay on target Otto, an orphaned otter, has died after guests threw human food into his enclosure at a Tennessee park.On Thursday, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport, Tennessee, announced that it was transporting Otto to an animal hospital after he accidentally ate food that was thrown into his enclosure, USA Today reported. According to Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium’s Facebook post, Otto’s body couldn’t digest the food the guests gave him and unfortunately, he fell ill and passed away from the incident. Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferWatch: Deep-Sea Octopus ‘Billows Like a Circus Tent’ In 2017, Otto first joined the park as a 9-month-old baby after he stayed at a rehabilitation facility in North Carolina. The North Carolina-based center looked after Otto and his sister after their parents died in a flood.“Otto was beloved by park staff and guests alike,” Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium said in the post. “A cheerful creature, he could often be found swimming or playing with toys in his pool, even when it was snowing outside.”More on Geek.com:Charlie, the Oldest Living Southern Sea Otter, Dies at Age 22Massive, 11-Foot Alligator ‘Breaks Into Home’ at 3 A.M. in FloridaRare, Venomous Snake Hitches a Ride on Couple’s Kayak Paddle
Are you actually excited for E3 this year? Normally, that would be an easy “Yes!” After all, E3 is that special time of the year when everyone in the whole video game industry gathers to show off its future toys. That includes the public now, too. But even with the extra attendees, something about the energy of this year’s upcoming show just feels… lower. Fewer folks are going. Bigger games are being shown off outside of the event. And really we’re just stuck in a bit of a limbo since no one is quite ready to talk about the next-generation Xbox, PlayStation 5, or even the upgraded Nintendo Switch that are all clearly in the works.Still, we expect to see plenty of awesome video game announcements at E3 2019. And here are some predictions, along with some rumors and leaks, about what those announcements will be.NintendoNintendo will still deny the existence of a Switch mini but seeing portable-friendly games like Pokemon, Fire Emblem, Luigi’s Mansion, Animal Crossing, and an actual remake of a Game Boy Zelda game all back to back will pretty much give it away.Super Mario Maker 2 is already shaping up great (aside from a weird lack of online co-op with friends) but the last-minute reveal of a new theme will put it over the top for the June Launch. And that theme will be Super Mario… Odyssey!Animal Crossing just barely makes its 2019 release window by launching in December. But the wait will be worth it when we see not just how big these new towns are but their intimacy as well. Politics are back, baby!Another surprising Microsoft game will wind up on Switch whether it’s Ori, Rare Replay, or the Halo Master Chief Collection.Now that 64GB cards are about to be a thing, even more surprising ports will wind up on Switch including, finally, Grand Theft Auto V.Retro Studios gets its old projects off its plate, Metroid Prime Trilogy HD and Star Fox Grand Prix, before fully committing to Metroid Prime 4.Pikmin 3 is our last Wii U port for a good long time. Retail listing leaks have already pointed to the existence of a new Contra, Witcher 3 on Switch, some kind of roller derby battle game from Ubisoft, Watch Dogs Legion set in London where you control strangers, a Darksiders reboot, and a post-Activision Destiny 2 expansion set on the moon.Square Enix’s Marvel’s Avengers project looks so much like Destiny/Anthem but for superheroes that it just raises hype for Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3.At Bethesda, Fallout 76 gets a massive overhaul on the level of Final Fantasy 14: A Realm Reborn, but Starfield and Elder Scrolls 6 hibernate until they can be fully introduced for next-gen. Doom Eternal makes this easier to swallow.Ubisoft’s next Nintendo collaboration is a Mario+Rabbids sequel with more Mario RPG elements alongside the tactics gameplay. Fire Emblem but for Mario.EA finally makes a Star Wars game that doesn’t break any laws.Cyberpunk 2077 steals the show yet again.Half-Life 3 is a Playdate exclusive. Watch: Marvel and Square Enix’s ‘Avengers’ Gameplay Still Creeps Us OutPlay These E3 2019 Video Games Right Now Third-Party SonyWhile many games shown off at E3 will wind up on PlayStation 4 (and probably the PlayStation 5) Sony itself has already said it won’t be attending the show this year. We already made our guesses as to why that’s happening. So Death Stranding, Ghost of Tsushima, and Last of Us 2 all being no-shows isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact. Hopefully Knack 3 somehow slips under the cracks though.For more on what to expect at E3 2019 check out this feature on our sister site PCMag.com Stay on target MicrosoftA Microsoft character will appear in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and we really hope it’s Master Chief.A new Battletoads is still a bad idea.Halo Infinite will be a barely disguised launch title for the next Xbox.Xbox cloud gaming will be better received in the wake of Google Stadia.No one will talk about the recent Sony/Microsoft partnership.In gratitude for Microsoft getting behind the original Titanfall, Xbox will get some kind of exclusive content in Apex Legends season two.There’s a new Forza.Final Fantasy VII remake appears on this stage just to mess with Sony.
Stay on target Spotify’s experimental listening app Stations is now available in the US.Introduced in Australia earlier this year, the Pandora knock-off is free to download for iOS and Android.“With the world’s music at your fingertips, finding the right thing to play can feel like a challenge,” according to an app-store description. “Stations gets you to music instantly—no searching or typing needed.”Like the long-running Internet radio service it apes, Spotify Stations relies on user feedback—in the form of a thumbs up or thumbs down—to create personalized playlists.Easily tune your stations by adding or removing artists.Since moving to the UK and losing access to my curated Pandora channels, I’ve learned to lean on Spotify’s pre-generated playlists and artist radio stations for effortless listening.But there is only so far “similar to Elton John” can take you.Spotify’s stand-alone radio app is now available in the US (via Spotify Stations)Open Stations for instantaneous tunes—occasionally disrupted by advertisements for free users; premium subscribers can enjoy an ad-free experience, while skipping an unlimited number of tracks, Billboard revealed.The platform, which requires a Spotify account, also incorporates popular features like Discover Weekly, Release Radar, and Favorites.“At Spotify, we routinely conduct a number of experiments to create better listening experiences for our users,” a company spokesperson told Geek in an email.“Some of those tests end up paving the way for our broader user experience and others serve only as an important [lesson],” the statement continued. “Spotify Stations is one of those tests.”Another experiment, reported this week by The Verge, involves the creation of podcast playlists (another Pandora dupe): Citing a source close to the company, the tech blog tipped curated episode suggestions around specific genres.Five playlists themed around comedy, true crime, “geek culture,” “walking (motivational),” and mindfulness are rolling out to a handful of users in North America, South America, the UK, and Spotify HQ Sweden.“It’s unclear how the curators are choosing the episodes,” The Verge said, wondering if they’re working from network deals or picking personal recommendations.“This test aims to make it easier for users to discover new podcasts while giving creators another mechanism to connect with new fans,” according to Spotify. “We have no further information to share at this time.”More on Geek.com:This Device Lets You Play Your Spotify Music Without a PhoneSpotify Is Testing a New Feature That Will Let You Block Music ArtistsBuild Spotify Playlists With Friends in MessengerEditor’s note: This article was updated at 7:05 a.m. ET with comment from Spotify. Spotify’s Rise to Power Dramatized in TV Mini-SeriesDisney Soundtracks Now Live in Special Spotify Hub
NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendHubble Captures Saturn’s ‘Phonograph Record’ Ring System Stay on target Astronomers have captured an image of two “alien” exoplanets circling PDS 70, a young star that is located about 370 light-years from Earth, according to a new study.PDS 70 is the only second multi-planet system to be photographed following a four-planet system that was orbiting the star HR 8799, Space.com reported. Unlike HR 8799, PDS 70’s planets are not fully developed yet and still growing by carving out a wide gap within a planet-forming disk that surrounds the sun-like star, said a NASA press release. The study, which was recently published in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that forming planets can be responsible for some of the disk gaps astronomers have spotted in PDS 70 and other young star systems.“With facilities like ALMA, Hubble [Space Telescope], or large ground-based optical telescopes with adaptive optics, we see disks with rings and gaps all over,” Julien Girard of the Space Telescope Science Institute said in the press release. “The open question has been, are there planets there? In this case, the answer is yes.”According to the study, PDS 70 is roughly 6 million years old and it’s slightly smaller than our sun. The young star is surrounded by a disk of dust and gas with a big gap extending from approximately 1.9 to 3.8 billion miles.Exoplanets PDS 70 b and c. (Photo Credit: ESO / S. Haffert-Leiden Observatory)PDS 70 b, the innermost planet that was first spotted in 2018, is placed within the disk gap about two billion miles from its star and it could weigh from 4 to 17 times as much as Jupiter. PDS 70 c, a newly discovered planet, is near the outer edge of the disk gap roughly 3.3 billion miles from the star and it’s not as massive as PDS 70 b. The inner planet (PDS 70 b) circles the star twice in the time it takes the outer planet (PDS 70 c) to orbit around one time.PDS 70 c was detected from the ground with the European Southern Observatory’s (ESA’s) Very Large Telescope (VLT)’s MUSE spectrograph. Astronomers on the team were very surprised to find the second planet while using a new observing mode developed to study galaxies and star clusters.Our team is excited to present the first evidence for a circumplanetary disc (CPD)! CPDs are discs of gas and dust believed to surround giant planets (e.g. Jupiter) when they are born, and be the birthplace of their moons. Our results suggest newborn planet PDS 70 b has a CPD! pic.twitter.com/8ph2RdQrhx— Valentin Christiaens (@Valentin__C) June 4, 2019“This new observing mode was developed to study galaxies and star clusters at higher spatial resolution,” said Sebastiaan Haffert of Leiden Observatory. “But this new mode also makes it suitable for exoplanet imaging, which was not the original science driver for the MUSE instrument.”NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope might be able to study this “planet nursery” and other planet systems with a similar observation technique in the future. This would allow scientists to measure the density of gas and the temperature within the disk, which would improve their understanding of the formation of gas giant planets.More on Geek.com:NASA’s Planet Hunter Finds First Earth-Sized ExoplanetAstronomers Observe ‘Super-Jupiter’ Exoplanet for First TimeKepler’s First Exoplanet Candidate Confirmed, 10 Years Later
Launchpad Blaze Postpones JAXA’s Cargo Ship Launch to ISSISS Astronauts Study What Happens to Concrete Mixed in Space Stay on target A lack of gravity could cause objects to act funky in space, and a recent video from Canadian Space Agency (CSA) cosmonaut David Saint-Jacques demonstrates how bubbles and water can behave differently when they are away from Earth.Shaking a plastic bag filled with water will generate a couple of tiny air bubbles, which head to the top of the bag, but if you do the same task in space, these bubbles act weird. Saint-Jacques’ footage captured different-sized air bubbles moving and gurgling around a bag with a gel-like substance, which is actually some H20, Space.com reported. With the air bubbles, scientists can better understand how items could change in zero gravity environments.“Odd behaviour of air bubbles in water in the absence of the effects of gravity.” – @Astro_DavidS#DareToExploreVideo: CSA/NASA pic.twitter.com/p3g1myuIua— CanadianSpaceAgency (@csa_asc) June 1, 2019Water has this bizarre “disguise” in space due to a lack of gravity. On our planet, air doesn’t weigh as much as water and this causes it to rise upward and break apart through water droplets. At the Space Station though, these air bubbles like to “hang out” in water because there isn’t a force holding the water below them.Saint-Jacques is scheduled to return to Earth on June 24, until then, he will take part in a couple of other experiments, including setting up the Bio-Analyzer, a Canadian technology that can quickly test blood, saliva, urine, and other body fluids, and finalizing the Bio-Monitor, a Canadian smart shirt system that can easily measure astronauts’ vital signs at the Space Station.More on Geek.com:Growing ‘Alien’ Exoplanets Circle Distant Star in New Astronomy Image‘Double Asteroid’ Speeding By Earth at 43,000 MPH Captured in PhotoStunning Images of a Sunset on Earth Captured From Space
Stay on target Dark Phoenix, the latest X-Men film about mutant Jean Grey, is debuting in theaters on June 7. However, days before Dark Phoenix’s premiere, some critics are not happy with the movie’s plot and it has received the worst Rotten Tomatoes score out of all the X-Men franchise films so far.On Tuesday, Rotten Tomatoes’ website showed a disappointing 21 percent “Tomatometer” rating for Dark Phoenix. Even though audience score ratings are not available yet, critics sounded off on the movie, stating that “we’ve all seen this before,” and “there’s way too much darkness, and not enough quicksilver wit.” Despite having a strong talented cast, including Sophie Turner, James McAvoy, and Jessica Chastain, Dark Phoenix’s storyline did not delight some critics.So far, 66 critics’ reviews have been reported on Dark Phoenix, and most of them tear the film apart. Compared to other X-Men movies, such as X-Men: Apocalypse (47 percent “Tomatometer” score) and X-Men: The Last Stand (58 percent “Tomatometer” score), Dark Phoenix has the worst ranking by far in the franchise, ComicBook.com noted.The movie, which tells the story of Jean Grey, a mutant who is hit by an unexplainable cosmic force that gives her uncontrollable powers, could be the end of the X-Men family. While Grey struggles to handle these changes, her X-Men squad has to work together to protect her and themselves from further harm.Some critics might not be raving about Dark Phoenix, however, fans have not ranked the movie yet. It will be interesting to see what they think about Jean Grey’s tale and how she could alter the fate of her fellow X-Men superheroes.<span data-mce-type=”bookmark” style=”display: inline-block; width: 0px; overflow: hidden; line-height: 0;” class=”mce_SELRES_start”></span>More on Geek.com:Final ‘Dark Phoenix’ Trailer Kills Fox’s X-Men Universe11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great MoviesThe Most Marvelous X-Men Toys Watch These Movies Before ‘Dark Phoenix’11 ‘X-Men’ Storylines That Would Make Great Movies
Stay on target Spotify’s Rise to Power Dramatized in TV Mini-SeriesDisney Soundtracks Now Live in Special Spotify Hub The Obamas are throwing their hats into the podcast ring. The former first couple have signed a deal with Spotify to produce a series of podcasts exclusively for the streaming platform.The Spotify pact is similar to the Obamas’ multi-year production deal with Netflix to produce TV shows and films.Under the multi-year deal between Spotify and Higher Ground Productions, the Obamas’ production company, Barack and Michelle Obama are set to develop, produce, and lend their voices to select podcasts on a wide range of topics.“Lend their voices” means the former president and first lady will sometimes be heard on the new podcasts — but their primary role will be in the development and production phases.The agreement is with Higher Ground Audio, a new division of the Higher Ground production company, that will be working on the Obamas’ podcast projects..@Spotify and @BarackObama & @MichelleObama’s Higher Ground announce partnership to produce podcasts. https://t.co/gdge9i5L6z pic.twitter.com/yTf3O1JNzH— Spotify News (@SpotifyNews) June 6, 2019The podcasts produced by the Obamas will be exclusive to Spotify and will be distributed worldwide to the platform’s paid and ad-supported user base. The deal is seen as part of a broader push by Spotify to make a bigger splash in the podcasting space.“We’ve always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation,” President Obama said in a statement provided by Spotify. “It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We’re excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together.”Neither Spotify or Higher Ground Productions disclosed details on specific podcast projects the Obamas may be planning. According to Spotify, the programming will encompass “a diverse slate of original podcasts.”“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world,” said Michelle Obama. “Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds — and their hearts.”During his time in the White House, President Obama has been known to create music playlists for the White House Spotify, including a playlist of his favorite songs for the summer.Spotify, a digital music service with millions of songs, has grown its paid subscriber rolls by 32 percent in the first quarter of 2019 — reaching 100 million Premium customers.The company has acquired several podcasting companies this year, including producer Gimlet Media and services provider Anchor FM Inc. In March, Spotify also acquired Parcast, a scripted-entertainment podcast studio.Watch: Spotify Premium Now Has 100 Million Global UsersMore on Geek.com:Obamas’ Production Company Reveals Upcoming Netflix ContentExperimental Spotify Stations App Launches in USSpotify Is Testing a New Feature That Will Let You Block Music Artists
Stay on target Rare Harvest Moon Will Light Up Night Sky on Friday the 13thIndia Finds Lost Vikram Lander on Moon’s Surface It might be “raining” on the Moon: Scientists found that water is being released from the Moon during meteor showers, infusing the lunar atmosphere with a temporary water vapor.Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Maryland reported that meteoroid strikes were ejecting water from the Moon, thanks to data collected by NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), a robotic mission that circled the Moon to collect information on the composition of the lunar atmosphere, said a NASA press release.Previously, models hypothesized that meteoroid strikes could eject water from the Moon in vapor form, however scientists hadn’t observed this occurrence until LADEE’s mission. Detected by LADEE, the newly-identified meteoroid streams took place on Jan. 9, April 2, April 5, and April 9 in 2014. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience, explored how these meteoroid strikes could help determine the origin of water on the Moon and how much of it exists on the lunar surface.“The Moon doesn’t have significant amounts of H2O or OH [hydroxyl – a more reactive relative of water] in its atmosphere most of the time,” Richard Elphic, the LADEE project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said in the press release. “But when the Moon passed through one of these meteoroid streams, enough vapor was ejected for us to detect it. And then, when the event was over, the H2O or OH went away.”LADEE, which orbited the Moon from October 2013 to April 2014, sensed the vapor with its Neutral Mass Spectrometer. The mission gathered data on the composition and structure of the Moon’s atmosphere, or more specifically, the “exosphere,” a thin envelope of gases that circle the Moon.An infographic on the lunar water cycle based on LADEE’s new observations. (Photo Credit: NASA Goddard / Mehdi Benna / Jay Friedlander)Here’s how meteoroid showers could release water on the Moon: Meteoroids have to penetrate at least three inches below the lunar surface to eject water and under this dry top layer is a thin transition layer, followed by a hydrated layer, where water molecules might cling to tiny bits of soil and rock. Since the lunar surface has fluffy materials, meteoroids can easily pierce the lunar surface to release some vapor and with each meteoroid impact, a small shock of waves releases water from the surrounding space. So when meteoroids hit the lunar surface, the freed water will enter the exosphere, move through it, and then roughly two-thirds of vapor heads to space, while roughly one-third lands back on the Moon’s surface.It’s raining … on the Moon?! Scientists have discovered that water is being released on the lunar surface during meteor showers. Get more details: https://t.co/wgtXyXnjMA pic.twitter.com/iK28nAlGiR— NASA (@NASA) June 7, 2019Using the measurements of water in the exosphere, the researchers determined that the hydrated layer has a water concentration of roughly 200 to 500 parts per million and this concentration is less wet than the driest terrestrial soil. The researchers believe that some of the water has to generate from the Moon, since the mass of the water being ejected is greater than the water mass within the meteoroids striking the Moon. With these findings, scientists can better understand the history of lunar water and how it might impact future missions to the Moon.More on Geek.com:Watch: NASA Picks First Companies to Send Experiments to the MoonNASA Spots Beresheet Impact Site on MoonNASA Orbiter Snaps ‘Jawbreaker’ Candy Martian Full Moon Picture
Watch: Marvel and Square Enix’s ‘Avengers’ Gameplay Still Creeps Us OutPlay These E3 2019 Video Games Right Now Breaking from years of tradition now, Microsoft didn’t announce Forza 8 at its E3 press conference this year. Typically, the company alternates between announcing mainline Forza serious sim racing games and the more open-world arcade experiences of Forza Horizon. Seeing as last year gave us Forza Horizon 4, we figured this year would be Forza 8’s turn. At this point they’re probably just saving it as a launch title for the next-gen Xbox Project Scarlett releasing next holiday alongside Halo Infinite.However, we did sort of get a new Forza announcement for this year. Previously Microsoft has wheeled out actual sports cars on stage to celebrate their presence in the game. But this time the car was a bit more… blocky. Yes, Microsoft brought out a racecar made of Legos to celebrate the Lego Speed Champions DLC for Forza Horizon 4.Take a look!How awesome is that? As cool as the consistently enjoyable normal Lego games are (including the upcoming Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga) they’re never exactly visual stunners. So seeing the gorgeous Forza engine render racers and tracks made of out blocks so tangible you want to reach out and touch them just rules. The $20 expansion features new challenges, bricks to find, and Lego renditions of McLaren, Ferrari, and Mini Cooper cars to add to your collection.And really, this just makes us wish that racing games were wackier in general. Forza Horizon 3 also got some toy-based DLC with its Hot Wheels expansion. But as fun as that was at the time, I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that it was more for nostalgic adults than actual kids? For as open and accessible as Forza Horizon is compared to regular Forza, the spin-off still has a foot firmly in that hardcore sim racing world, to its detriment. It’s just a little bit too fiddly and realistic to be as ridiculous and relaxing as I want from an open world racing game. I want a more unrestrained arcade experience, Burnout Paradise basically.If you include stuff like Mario Kart and Team Sonic Racing and Crash Team Racing, there are plenty of racing games that don’t adhere to the rules of our world and its roads. But seeing Lego cars in Forza makes me wish these kinds of experiences weren’t limited to modest kart racing games. There’s no reason why our AAA racing games shouldn’t be absurd, too. Everything can be awesome.The Lego Speed Champions DLC for Forza Horizon 4 launches June 13. For more on E3 2019 watch these trailers. Stay on target
Researchers have identified a massive eruption in the atmosphere of HR 9024, an active star, for the first time.This eruption, which was characterized by a strong flash of X-rays followed by the emission of hot gas with charged particles, marks the first time a coronal mass ejection (CME) has been observed in a star other than the sun, said a Chandra X-ray Observatory press release. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Nature Astronomy, used data obtained by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to show that CMEs are generated in magnetically active stars and why they’re important to stellar physics.“The technique we used is based on monitoring the velocity of plasmas during a stellar flare. This is because, in analogy with the solar environment, it is expected that, during a flare, the plasma confined in the coronal loop where the flare takes place moves first upward, and then downwards reaching the lower layers of the stellar atmosphere,” said Costanza Argiroffi, who led the study. “Moreover, there is also expected to be an additional motion, always directed upwards, due to the CME associated with the flare.”Researchers studied a flare that took place on HR 9024, which is located roughly 450 light-years away from our planet. Chandra’s High-Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (HETGS), an instrument that can measure coronal plasmas’ motions at quick speeds, was used to observe the flare. According to these observations, during the flare, a super hot material that’s between 18 to 45 million degrees Fahrenheit, first goes up and then goes down with speeds between 225,000 to 900,000 miles per hour.For the 1st time, we’ve detected a coronal mass ejection from a star other than our own! This event, located 450 light years from Earth, was marked by an intense flash of X-rays followed by the emission of a big bubble of plasma. More on these phenomena: https://t.co/L1kULwOdVq pic.twitter.com/ft6S012aAa— NASA (@NASA) June 9, 2019Chandra’s data also enabled the studied CME’s mass to be obtained, which was roughly 10,000 times greater than the largest CMEs sent to interplanetary space by the sun. However, the CME’s speed was much lower than expected and might suggest that the magnetic field found in active stars could be less efficient in speeding up CMEs than the solar magnetic field.“This result, never achieved before, confirms that our understanding of the main phenomena that occur in flares is solid,” Argiroffi added. “We were not so confident that our predictions could match in such a way with observations, because our understanding of flares is based almost completely on observations of the solar environment, where the most extreme flares are even a hundred thousand times less intense in the X-radiation emitted.”More on Geek.com:NASA’s Chandra Spots Pairs of Stars ‘Banished’ From Galaxies Chandra X-Ray Telescope Uncovers Universe’s Missing MatterNASA Observes Mysterious Galactic ‘Jellyfish’ in Deep Space NASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This WeekendScientists Discover Possible Interstellar Visitor Stay on target