Killing Titan by Greg Bear

The novel “Killing Titan” by Greg Bear was published for the first time in 2015. It’s the second book in the War Dogs trilogy and follows “War Dogs”.

After a mission to Mars during the war against the aliens known as Antags (Antagonists), Michael Venn is in isolation in a sort of quarantine because he’s told of the fear that he and other Skyrines – Sky + marines – were contaminated. After being questioned about what they found on Mars, he fears that there’s nothing good for him in his future.

When he’s expecting the worst, Michael Venn is freed by a woman who explains to him that there are humans who don’t accept what was told them by the aliens known as the Gurus. To hope to discover the truth about the war in the solar system, Venn will have to go back to Mars but this time it’s just a step in a longer journey.

New clues that the origin of plumage goes back to at least 250 million years ago

An article published in the journal “Trends in Ecology & Evolution” reports new clues about the origin of plumage that confirm that it evolved starting from about 250 million years ago among some life forms that survived the devastating mass extinction that occurred at the end of Permian period. A team of researchers coordinated by the British University of Bristol combined information regarding fossils with others obtained through molecular biology analysis to obtain a conclusion that confirms a hypothesis made after the discovery of feathered pterosaurs.

The short story “The Flower of Shazui” by Chen Qiufan was published for the first time in 2012.

Shazui used to be a fishing village until the profound changes in China pushed urbanization with the consequence that many new buildings are under construction all the time there and in other nearby villages. The use of ultra-modern technologies is spreading as well in the area around Shenzhen Bay and a man who is hiding can hide within the growing population of migrants who come to Shazui.

In “The Flower of Shazui”, Chen Qiufan takes us to the China of which he speaks very often in his works, the one of great transformations. In the specific case in a region between Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong, where China’s economic reforms and openings led to the transformation of fishing villages into cities where new buildings are built all the time, with a number of problems and profound changes.

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE initiative announced its winners

The Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE project announced its winners during a ceremony held at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, part of the Oceanographic Institute. The initiative was announced in December 2015 by Peter Diamandis, president and CEO of XPRIZE, in order to support the development of ocean exploration technologies. A million dollar bonus prize was awarded by the US NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

Chanur's Legacy by C.J. Cherryh (Italian edition)

The novel “Chanur’s Legacy” by C.J. Cherryh was published for the first time in 1992. It’s the fifth novel of the Chanur series and follows “Chanur’s Homecoming”.

Hilfy Chanur is the captain of the merchant ship “Chanur’s Legacy” and, together with her crew, she arrived at Meetpoint station to trade. The stationmaster is a stsho who offers Hilfy a considerable sum to transport an oji, some kind of cultural artifact, to the shsho ambassador at Urtur station. The offer seems too good to be true but it’s also too good to be rejected so Hilfy accepts despite the suspicion that there’s a catch.

During her journey, Hilfy has to take a stsho guardian for the object she’s transporting aboard her ship but she ends up rescuing Hallan Meras, a young hani, a male, who ended up in the station jail following a brawl he barely has any memory of and left there by his captain. These are just the first complications of a journey that will be full of traps.