Pac Man Fever: The Franchise That Spawned an Industry

Masaya Nakamura, the founder of the Japanese video game company Namco, has died age 91. He was widely known as the “Father of Pac-Man”, and his role in bringing the iconic arcade posterboy – created by designer Toru Iwatani in 1980 – to Japan and to the US. The videogame industry has since skyrocketed and grown in every direction, From Role Playing games, First Person Shooters, to Narrative-Focussed storytelling games and indie roguelikes.

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The Science of Superheroes

So, the world is presently a bin fire and if there was ever a time for the Avengers to come blasting into Washington DC and raise hell outside the White House, it would be now. Steven Grant Rogers, also known as Captain America, has been pasted across all sorts of social media timelines in all his Hitler-punching glory. There couldn’t be a better time for superheroes to finally show up. But we all know that superheroes are just a manifestation of our own hopes and ideals. There’s never going to be a time when somebody becomes faster than a bullet or is able to lift a tank over their head, in real life. But in fact, the superheroes we know and love from comics and movies may not be as wildly unrealistic as you might imagine. So, what is the true potential of superhero science?

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De-extinction: Should We Revive Extinct Species?

Thinking of resurrecting an extinct species? Dodos, passenger pigeons and woolly mammoths could be walking the earth again due to recent advances in breeding, genetics, and cloning technologies. But raising the dead also raises difficult ethical questions, with many scientists and conservationists jumping in on both sides of the debate. How can we implement de-extinction safely and responsibly? Should we be doing it at all?

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It’s a TRAPPIST-1!

If you’re anything like me – presently an exhausted, anxious 4th year dreading both graduation and the seemingly inevitable rise of global fascism – there will have probably been times where you’ve looked up at the night sky, filmed over with clouds and smog, and wondered if benevolent aliens would consider beaming you up and taking you to a whole new solar system. Well, thanks to the latest big NASA discovery, that’s become a slightly stronger possibility. Not necessarily the alien part, alas, but the whole new solar system filled with habitable planets part.

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Sharia Councils Inquiries

Two controversial government inquiries are being made in the services provided by Sharia councils in the UK, and have been met with criticism by some Muslim women. There are around 30 Sharia councils in Britain, which are tribunals where religious scholars use Islamic laws to resolve domestic problems or social dilemmas. A large part of marriages within the Islamic community are religious-only, without having legal validity, thus the only necessary divorce is the religious one. Additionally, in cases of civil-and-religious marriages, one’s community might not accept the end of marriage without also obtaining a religious divorce.

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Can You ‘Kill’ a Robot?

Deciding whether or not something is alive seems like a fairly simple question: if your schooling has been anything like mine, you’ll be familiar with the ‘7 life processes’. This model for distinguishing what’s alive suggests that a living thing can move, reproduce, is sensitive, can grow, respires, takes in nutrition, and expels waste. The definition seems fairly definitive, yet many animals cannot reproduce alone ­ are they only ‘alive’ in the presence of a mate? And what about hybrids such as mules, which can’t reproduce at all ­ don’t we consider them to be living? Finally, in the contemporary world can machines be alive? It’s already common parlance to woefully declare the ‘death’ of one’s phone or laptop, so is there a point at which machines or software can be considered living things? I took a dive into this tangle of biological-philosophical mess.

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The Science Behind Introversion and Extraversion

For as long as psychologists have been measuring personality traits, the line between introversion and extroversion has been continually drawn and redrawn, with thinkpiece upon thinkpiece picking apart what it means to be an introvert, extrovert, or somewhere in between.

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