Bill Gates to guest star on The Big Bang Theory next month

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will appear as himself on The Big Bang Theory next month. The episode, which CNN reports will air in late March, will see Penny (Kaley Cuoco) hosting Gates at work, with her friends trying to do everything to meet him. The show is full of tech-obsessed characters, who will no doubt be excited to see superhero Bill Gates appear.

It’s not clear if Gates’ appearance will be brief, or a star role throughout the episode, but the show is bound to reference Gates’ work at Microsoft or his life after the company as a billionaire philanthropist. Gates isn’t the first famous figure from tech or science to appear on the show. Buzz Aldrin, Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, and Steve Wozniak have all appeared as guest stars…

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‘Life is Strange Episode 1: Chrysalis’ Review – Square Enix Kicks This Series off With a Bang

When Life is Strange [$ 2.99] was originally announced back in 2014, it immediately shot to the top of my list of anticipated releases for 2015. Since then, I’ve played it multiple times across various platforms but had been constantly puzzled at the lack of an iOS version given the genre. I thought Square Enix and Dontnod Entertainment would’ve seen the value in putting their new adventure release on a platform where Telltale Games has seen success. Fast forward to today and we finally have Life is Strange on iOS and the port is mostly great.

Set in the fictional Arcadia Bay, you play as Max Caulfield in this adventure. Max is a high school student at Blackwell Academy and the story begins with her having a nightmare. This nightmare sets the pace for what is about to happen over the next few episodes but she has no idea yet. After waking up, you get your first glimpse at school life and are introduced to how interactions work here. I love the pencil and marker animated look the UI has here. In fact the tone of the full experience reminds me of a good indie film with some aspects borrowed from TV shows like The O.C. and Scrubs. Some of the dialogue is cringeworthy and I love it. After the opening section Max discovers her gift in a particular incident. You can rewind time and this plays a big part of the story.

Rewinding time isn’t just a way to redo decisions but a way to alter the story for the better or in some cases worse. There are some basic point and click adventure game puzzles here and some of them even require you to see a situation play out badly before using the time rewind to set things straight. I love how it affects dialogue letting you get a glimpse at all possible outcomes. Another great thing you will notice about Life is Strange is that decisions will actually make a big difference in the story as episodes go by. These aren’t just added for show.

Photography plays a big part of the experience as well. Max can use her camera at certain locations to take optional photographs. These act as collectibles here. Some of them are pretty obvious initially but there are some super obscure ones. I don’t want to spoil the locations or the photographs but I had to use a guide back when this originally released to get 2 of the optional photos. I encourage everyone to explore as much as possible because the locations here are very well done. Even the hallway has so many nice touches when it comes to small things like graffiti and flyers stuck on the walls.

I mentioned indie films before and this feel extends to the visuals as well. Dontnod’s visual direction here is stunning. There are obviously a few low resolution textures given this is a console port even on the iPad Pro I played on but the combination of the great lighting and the lovely art results in something memorable and great looking. On comparing it to the PS4 version I played before, characters have some low resolution assets but the overall feel is the same. It has been great replaying this on the iPad and iPhone. The only real complaint I have for visuals is the lack of proper lip sync. This was fixed to some extent through updates but it still isn’t great.

Music and voice acting are definitely the highlight of the experience here. The use of licensed music for the opening credits as you walk through the hallway is fantastic. This game reminded me how much I enjoy the use of licensed music in games when done well. While the tracks from Syd Matters and Jose Gonzalez are great, the icing on the cake is Jonathan Morali’s score. On its own, it could easily be the score for a film like Juno.

While the lip sync has some issues, the voice acting itself is great. Hannah Telle and Ashly Burch did fantastic with their roles here and it was hilarious listening to some of the cringey dialogue for the first time in over a year as I replayed this again.

Outside of the small visual issues, the iOS port has a few problems. For one, controller support is basically non existent. Pairing my Steel Series Nimbus and switching the controls in game to a Joystick control resulted in the controller only working for movement using the left analogue stick. Nothing else worked. Thankfully the touch controls are great but take some time to get used to. Moving in and out of rooms or moving to a new area resulted in some slowdown on my iPad Air 2 but the iPad Pro 9.7 could handle everything almost perfectly. Life is Strange supports seamless iCloud sync which I took full advantage of while playing on the iPhone 7. Another thing to note is Life is Strange runs full screen on both iPhone and iPad. There are black bars for cutscenes on iPad though since those were originally widescreen on the target hardware it launched on. The in game journal also has black bars on iPad since they couldn’t be bothered to redo the art for it for the iPad 4:3 screen.

Since this is the first episode, Dontnod did a great job with making me hate the episodic format upon release. The first episode literally had me craving for more and the wait for episode 2 was unbearable. You won’t need to worry about that because Episodes 2 and 3 are available right now via in app purchase with the remaining episodes launching early next year. I hope the visual issues and some performance issues are ironed out because this could end up being the best way to experience Life is Strange. The lack of proper controller support is baffling because this exists on multiple consoles. Out of all the point and click adventure experiences available today, Life is Strange is my favourite by a long shot. I hope this does well for Square Enix so they can port Life is Strange: Before the Storm as well.


SwitchArcade: ‘Doom’ First Impressions – Bethesda Hits the eShop With a Bang (and Hordes of Demons)

Originally launched back in May of 2016 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, and had a really strange development cycle before then where it didn’t really seem like Bethesda could decide if the 2016 Doom release was going to be a sequel titled Doom 4 or a reboot. In the end, it turned out to be neither, but rather a reimagining of what Doom games should be- A welcome change from previous installments in the series where they played more like survival horror games than the Doom we knew from our childhood. Gameplay is fast, and there’s endless hordes of demons to shoot through as you make your way through a Mars research facility, then, of course, descend into Hell where things really start to get crazy.

Doom was received quite well, and currently is sitting at 85 on Metacritic, with some minor variance between platforms. (Oddly enough, for whatever reason, the Xbox One version scored the highest overall.) I really liked how quickly the game played, as it seems like so many modern FPS games have you moving slowly, being strategic, and conserving both health and ammunition. In Doom, you just go wild, pushing through waves of enemies, executing them to regain health, and blasting your way through an experience that feels how Doom should.

We got an early code for the Nintendo Switch version, and, well, it’s no surprise that it’s the same game. What is surprising is to be playing a gritty and bloody game on a Nintendo platform, particularly with every other game I own for the Switch being totally kid friendly on every level. Hopping between Super Mario Odyssey and Mario Kart 8 to Doom feels odd, but mostly because these types of games have largely just been absent from modern Nintendo platforms. They’ve doubled down on being a family friendly platform, leaving games like Doom to thrive on the PC, PS4, and Xbox One.

While the Doom multiplayer modes were kind of a dud on the PC and other consoles, playing a fast-paced online FPS multiplayer game on the Switch feels like you’re doing something the console wasn’t made to do. (As, again, my online interactions with the Switch had been limited to things like throwing banana peels, not bloody head shots.) Getting matches together on the pre-release version involved a lot of waiting and scheming with other people who have early copies, but I’m super stoked for the potential this game has once it’s available for everyone.

Really, the only knock against Doom I can come up with is that it seems like the visuals really got turned down to get it running on the Switch. The frame rate of the game is rock solid, but if you played Doom on the PC (like I did), “downgrading” to the graphics the Switch is capable of pumping out takes a bit of an adjustment. It’s not super surprising, and a totally unfair comparison to make between the Switch and my PC, but it’s just something to be aware of. The above comparison video is great at showing where the Switch version lands between the available platforms.

Doom for the Nintendo Switch launches tomorrow for $ 59.99. If you’ve never played it, I highly recommend considering picking it up, particularly if you’re into first person shooters. More than anything else, how good Doom runs (even with the graphics turned down) has me ultra excited for the Switch port of Skyrim coming later this month.


Call of Duty WWII Kicks Off Holiday Season With a Bang

Activision’s Call of Duty WWII has made its long-awaited debut with a splash, kicking off what is expected to be a robust holiday season for the gaming industry. The most anticipated multiplatform title of the season, based on the Nielsen Game Rank, Call of Duty WWII latest installment reaches back to the iconic gaming franchise’s origins. It offers fans an immersive and educational experience, creating a true-to-life simulation of America’s 1st Infantry Division storming the beaches of Normandy.

Apple posts trailer for ‘Bang! The Bert Berns Story,’ coming to Apple Music Oct. 24

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Apple on Thursday released a trailer for "Bang! The Bert Berns Story," a documentary streamingly exclusively on Apple Music starting Oct. 24.
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Researchers Have a Theory on How the Lights Went On After the Big Bang

Fade to Black

Not long after our universe was formed by the Big Bang, the lights went out. We know that this darkened state didn’t last, but we don’t know what caused the change. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Iowa have a compelling theory on what happened.

The dark period was caused by the huge amount of thick gas that was thrown around by the Big Bang, which trapped all light. It’s thought that it might have taken up to a billion years for the fog to lift, resulting in an environment closer to the universe as we know it today.

The researchers believe that black holes situated at the center of galaxies cut through the gas clouds by ejecting matter violently. This theory is based on observations of a galaxy known as Tol 1247-232, which is some 600 million light years away from Earth, and one of just three nearby galaxies where ultraviolet light has been seen to escape.

“The observations show the presence of very bright X-ray sources that are likely accreting black holes,” Philip Kaaret — corresponding author on the paper and professor in the University of Iowa’s Department of Physics and Astronomy — told Phys. “It’s possible the black hole is creating winds that help the ionizing radiation from the stars escape. Thus, black holes may have helped make the universe transparent.”

The team observed that the brightness of the source of the X-rays fluctuated. From this, they could determine that it wasn’t a star, which led them to believe that it was a small object, and more than likely a black hole.

The Hole Story

Black holes are known for their intense gravitational pull, which sucks in matter and doesn’t let go. Flinging material away from them might seem rather out of character, but Kaaret has an explanation: the matter that was pushed away and pierced the clouds of gas was propelled by the black hole’s rotational energy.

This is the Largest Galaxy in the Known Universe
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“As matter falls into a black hole, it starts to spin and the rapid rotation pushes some fraction of the matter out,” Kaaret explained to Phys. “They’re producing these strong winds that could be opening an escape route for ultraviolet light. That could be what happened with the early galaxies.”

More research is needed to confirm whether or not this theory is correct. Kaaret plans to continue looking at Tol 1247-232, and will also look into other galaxies where ultraviolet light is escaping to see if a pattern can be identified.

The post Researchers Have a Theory on How the Lights Went On After the Big Bang appeared first on Futurism.


Researchers Say There’s No Alternative Theory to the Big Bang — Yet

No True Alternatives

Currently, the prevailing theory about the origin of the universe is still the Big Bang. There have been, however, attempts to prove that the universe might have come about in a much simpler manner; most notably the “no-boundary proposal” by James Hartle and Stephen Hawking, as well as Alexander Vilenkin’s “tunneling proposal.” New research from the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute/AEI) in Potsdam and the Perimeter Institute in Canada suggests that there’s no possible way to circumvent the Big Bang — not yet, anyway.

Based on data from Planck’s satellite mission, we know that the universe was made up of a hot, dense soup of particles some 13.8 billion years ago. From there, it began to expand — and it still is today. This theory of the origin of our universe is known as the hot Big Bang theory. While we have an idea of what the universe might have been when it began, cosmologists still fail at describing what the very first stages of this so-called Big Bang were like. According to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the energy density and the curvature of spacetime in such a bang would become infinite — a difficult feat to maintain.

As such, the “no-boundary” and “tunneling” proposals were presented as alternatives. They suggest that the universe in its original state was finite, and arose from nothing through quantum tunneling. This is called the smooth universe theory of origin. The AEI team led by Jean-Luc Lehners, however, calculated the implications of these two proposals and realized that these were not true alternatives to the Big Bang.

Image credit: J.-L. Lehners (Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics)Image credit: J.-L. Lehners/Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics

Still Mysterious

Lehners and his colleagues applied Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as a mathematical model to check the “no-boundary” and “tunneling” proposals. They realized that these models showed that both smooth and irregular, more crumpled universes could have theoretically tunneled out of nothing. Furthermore, the more irregular and crumpled the universes are, the more likely such tunneling becomes. A smooth beginning may have actually prevented the growth of the universe as we know it to be.

“Hence the “no-boundary proposal” does not imply a large universe like the one we live in, but rather tiny curved universes that would collapse immediately”, Lehners said in a press release. As such, despite the irregularities attached to it, the Big Bang theory isn’t something that can easily be dismissed.

Still, Lehners’ team hasn’t given up on trying to make sense of it. For now, they will try to figure out just what mechanism allowed for these large quantum fluctuations, and what kept them in check under rather extreme conditions. But extreme or not, it was those very conditions that allowed the universe to unfold into what it is today. It seems that the more we try to figure out the origins of the universe itself, the more baffling and puzzling it becomes — even pushing the limits of what’s currently scientifically possible. For now, though, it seems that the Big Bang theory is here to stay.

The post Researchers Say There’s No Alternative Theory to the Big Bang — Yet appeared first on Futurism.


[Deal Alert] Let’s start off the week with a bang, here are 19 temporarily free and 23 on-sale apps

Have no fear fellow readers, Jordan will be back this Friday. Until then I will be your app sale guru. Seeing that I am new to this type of post, I hope to deliver as good of a list as my associate. I have retained any and all formatting used in previous listings. Obviously, you can see the ¯_(ツ)_/¯ section is here as well. Keep in mind that this section is subjective, so my tastes may differ from Jordan’s. With that said, let’s get into some app sales!

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[Deal Alert] Let’s start off the week with a bang, here are 19 temporarily free and 23 on-sale apps was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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