Half-Life at 20: why it is the most important shooter ever made

Posted on 21.11.2018, 07h45

It taught a whole generation of big-budget game developers how to tell stories’ … the Half-Life box art. Illustration: Valve

From its opening scenes, Valve’s pioneering sci-fi horror game reinvented storytelling and universe building – what made it such a terrifying success?

Most action video games begin with an explosion. Half-Life begins with a commute. A monorail carriage slowly transports everyman scientist Gordon Freeman to his new job at a remote science facility, Black Mesa. In the background, a computerised female voice issues safety information, while through the windows we see tableaux of life at the institution: weird robotic machines, bespectacled scientists, a security guard desperately banging on a sealed door. It was the first hint that this new game from fledgling Seattle-based developer Valve was going to be something interesting and unusual.

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UK and Ireland's hot weather reveals hidden ancient settlements

Posted on 17/07/2018

@ Copyright : RCAHMW

A spell of exceptionally dry and hot weather has revealed several archaeological and historical sites across England, Wales and Ireland.

In the past few weeks, temperatures have risen to above 30 degrees (the average is usually 19 degrees) and the vegetation on the surface has dried out as a result. Grasslands are withering and as a result, aerial images are showing outlines of ancient civilisations emerging from once-green fields.

A remarkable number of crop marks have appeared, sometimes showing the presence of buried remains that were unnoticed for decades or, in the case of the new discoveries, for centuries.

One such discovery is a circular enclosure, located 1 km from an Irish megalithic passage tomb, Newgrange. It was discovered by historian Anthony Murphy of Mythical Ireland, who was flying his drone over the Boyne Valley, County Meath, when he spotted a circular shape in the field.

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Blue light at night can disrupt your body clock, but it's not all bad

Posted on 21.11.2018, 20h09

Too much blue light in the evening, such as light from smartphones or tablets, can affect your circadian rhythm. (Unsplash; Ludovic Toinel)

For the past decade, scientists have been exploring whether artificial light — particularly wavelengths of blue light — poses a risk to human health.

You may have heard that too much screen time in the evening is a bad for you, and it's true the blue light emitted by devices like phones and tablets can disturb your sleep. But blue light is not all bad — and here's why.

Blind mice sense blue light

In 2002, scientists identified a new type of photoreceptor cell in the eye, when the visually blind mice they were studying were still able to respond to certain wavelengths of light.

The cells, called Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cells (ipRGCs) respond to light for regulating our circadian clock — not for forming images like the rods and cones in our eyes do.

By detecting how much light is in our environment, the cells can communicate to our brain and body that it's day-time, or that it's time to sleep, thereby setting our circadian clock, according to neuroscientist Stuart Peirson from the University of Oxford.

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