Skywatchers In North America Hope For Clear Skies To See Transit Of Mercury : NPR
Skywatchers In North America Hope For Clear Skies To See Transit Of Mercury Facebook
The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, lower left, as it transits across the face of the sun on May 9, 2016. Another transit of Mercury — the last one for 30 years — will take place Monday. Bill Ingalls/AP Bill Ingalls/AP The planet Mercury is seen in silhouette, lower left, as it transits across the face of the sun on May 9, 2016. Another transit of Mercury — the last one for 30 years — will take place Monday. Bill Ingalls/AP
Mercury is tiny. But it’s a big deal for thousands of amateur astronomers in the Western hemisphere who will be watching the planet on Monday as it makes a transit across the disc of the sun.
It may not be as spectacular as the solar eclipse two years ago , or even the 2012 transit of Venus. But beauty is in the eyepiece of the beholder.
In fact, on a list of prime celestial events this year, Sky & Telescope ‘s observing editor, Diana Hannikainen, says “it’s definitely very high up there.” Testing solar filter in preparation for transit of Mercury on Monday! pic.twitter.com/lpIW44MUq5 — Paul Blackman (@pblackman7) November 8, 2019
If you have a telescope, it must be equipped with an appropriate sun filter to keep from damaging your eyes. Looking through it, this is what, weather permitting, you might see:
Beginning at about 7:35 a.m. ET, Mercury, looking “like a little freckle,” according to Hannikainen, will begin a slow trek across the sun — a tiny black dot silhouetted against the sun’s immense brightness. About three hours later, it will appear midway across the sun and by shortly after 1 p.m. ET, Mercury will exit the stage as a black drop — an optical illusion that will make it momentarily appear as a teardrop. Get A Glimpse: Total Solar Eclipse Will Pass Over South Pacific, South America
Martin Russell Wise, 37, is a pretty serious amateur astronomer. He even moved to Trenton, Fla., west of Gainsville, because of the area’s dark skies.
“But I find myself more and more often during the day just observing and monitoring our local star — the sun,” he says. “I’ve kind of specialized in that the past three years or so now.”
Wise plans to use a standard astro-imaging technique, taking high-speed video and then stacking the best images in the computer to get crisp, clear shots of the transit.
You won’t necessarily need your own telescope to view the transit. Dozens of local astronomy clubs will be hosting events and if you’re lucky enough to have a public observatory nearby, there’s a good chance it will have telescopes set up for viewing. (check here )
Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., is one such place. The observatory — made famous by Percival Lowell and his fanciful observations of the Red Planet and what he believed were canals built by Martians — has a new observing plaza with six telescopes, several of which will be equipped with solar filters for the public to view the transit.
“In Flagstaff, the transit starts at 5:35,” says Kevin Schindler, a spokesman for the observatory.
“But the sun doesn’t rise until 6:57. And so, you know, the first hour and 25 minutes or so will miss,” he says. “So what we’re going to do is start at 7:00 o’clock.”
If you can’t get to the observatory, Lowell is one of many observatories that will be livestreaming the transit. At least one of these, the space-based Solar Dynamics Observatory , won’t have to worry about the possibility of clouds.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen observing sites will be set up by the Citizen Transit of Mercury (ToM) Project , made up mostly of students. They hope to recreate a method Sir Edmund Halley (of comet fame) used to determine the Earth-Sun distance . The method uses data gathered by observations of transits of Venus in the 18th century to determine (with the help of some trigonometry) the distance between the Earth and Sun. The same thing can be worked out from a transit of Mercury.
If you have a chance to access a sun-filtered telescope, Monday could be an opportunity to see one of the innermost planets directly, rather than simply as reflected light, says Hannikainen, who worked as a professional astronomer before coming to Sky & Telescope.
“You can actually see its dimension. You can see that it is spherical. And that is something that is is quite a rare phenomena,” she says.
It’s a thought echoed by Wise, the amateur astronomer.
“[We] accept that there are most probably planets and we can all suspend our belief and just accept that without much argument,” he says, adding that what’s magical is “being able to walk outside and physically watch a planet just float by over a course of hours between you and a star.”
Transits of Mercury occur 13 or 14 times a century, the next one visible from the U.S. will be in 2049.
Andrew Sullivan: This Is No Ordinary Impeachment
Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images This is not just an impeachment. It’s the endgame for Trump’s relentless assault on the institutions, norms, and practices of America’s liberal democracy for the past three years. It’s also a deeper reckoning. It’s about whether the legitimacy of our entire system can last much longer without this man being removed from office.
I’m talking about what political scientists call “regime cleavage” — a decline in democratic life so severe the country’s very institutions could lose legitimacy as a result of it. It is described by one political scientist as follows: “a division within the population marked by conflict about the foundations of the governing system itself — in the American case, our constitutional democracy. In societies facing a regime cleavage, a growing number of citizens and officials believe that norms, institutions, and laws may be ignored, subverted, or replaced.” A full-on regime cleavage is, indeed, an extinction-level event for our liberal democratic system. And it is one precipitated by the man who is supposed to be the guardian of that system, the president.
Let us count the ways in which Trump has attacked and undermined the core legitimacy of our democracy. He is the only candidate in American history who refused to say that he would abide by the results of the vote. Even after winning the 2016 election, he still claimed that “millions” of voters — undocumented aliens — perpetrated massive electoral fraud in the last election, and voted for his opponent. He has repeatedly and publicly toyed with the idea that he could violate the 22nd Amendment, and get elected for three terms, or more.
He consistently described a perfectly defensible inquiry into Russia’s role in the 2016 election as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax,” demonizing Robert Mueller, even as Mueller, in the end, couldn’t find evidence to support the idea of a conspiracy with Russia (perhaps in part because Trump ordered no cooperation, and refused to testify under oath). Trump then withheld release of the full report, while his pliant attorney general distorted its content and wrongly proclaimed that Trump had been entirely exonerated.
In the current scandal over Ukraine, Trump is insisting that he did “nothing wrong” in demanding that Ukraine announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden, or forfeit desperately needed military aid. If that is the president’s position — that he can constitutionally ask any other country to intervene on his behalf in a U.S. election — it represents a view of executive power that is the equivalent of a mob boss’s. It is best summed up in Trump’s own words: Article 2 of the Constitution permits him to do “anything I want.”
We have become so used to these attacks on our constitutional order that we fail to be shocked by Trump’s insistence that a constitutional impeachment inquiry is a “coup.” By any measure, this is an extraordinary statement, and itself an impeachable offense as a form of “contempt for Congress.” We barely blink anymore when a president refuses to cooperate in any way, demands his underlings refuse to testify and break the law by flouting subpoenas, threatens to out the first whistle-blower’s identity (in violation of the law), or assaults and tries to intimidate witnesses, like Colonel Alexander Vindman .
He seems to think in the Ukraine context that “ l’état c’est moi ” is the core American truth, rather than a French monarch’s claims to absolute power. He believes in the kind of executive power the Founders designed the U.S. Constitution to prevent. It therefore did not occur to Trump that blackmailing a foreign country to investigate his political opponents is a classic abuse of power, because he is incapable of viewing his own interests and the interests of the United States as in any way distinct. But it is a core premise of our liberal democracy that the powers of the presidency are merely on loan, and that using them to advance a personal interest is a definition of an abuse of power.
There are valid criticisms and defenses of Trump’s policy choices, but his policies are irrelevant for an impeachment. I actually support a humane crackdown on undocumented immigration, a tougher trade stance toward China, and an attempt, at least, to end America’s endless wars. But what matters, and what makes this such a vital moment in American history, is that it has nothing to do with policy. This is simply about Trump’s abuse of power.
He lies and misleads the American public constantly, in an outright attempt to so confuse Americans that they forget or reject the concept of truth altogether. Lies are part of politics, but we have never before seen such a fire hose of often contradictory or inflammatory bald-faced lies from the Oval Office. He has obstructed justice countless times, by witness tampering , forbidding his subordinates from complying with legal subpoenas, and by “using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct” both the Mueller and now the Ukraine investigations. (I Quote: from Article 1 of Nixon’s impeachment .) Trump has also “failed without lawful cause or excuse to produce papers and things as directed by duly authorized subpoenas issued by the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives … and willfully disobeyed such subpoenas.” (I Quote: from Article III of Nixon’s impeachment .) He has declared legal processes illegitimate if they interfere with or constrain his whims and impulses.
This is not just another kind of presidency; it is a rolling and potentially irreversible assault on the legitimacy of the American regime. If the CIA finds something that could reflect poorly on him, then the CIA is part of the “deep state coup.” Ditto the FBI and the State Department. These are not old-fashioned battles with a bureaucracy over policy; that’s fine. They are assaults on the legitimacy of the bureaucracy, and the laws they are required to uphold. These are definitional impeachable offenses, and they are part and parcel of Trump’s abuse of power from the day he was elected.
And most important of all, Trump has turned the GOP — one of our two major parties with a long and distinguished history — into an accomplice in his crimes. Senator Lindsey Graham, perhaps the most contemptible figure of the last couple of years, even says he will not read witness transcripts or follow the proceedings in the House or consider the evidence in a legal impeachment inquiry, because he regards the whole impeachment process as “BS” and a “sham.” This is a senator calling the constitutional right of the House of Representatives to impeach a president illegitimate .
And the GOP as a whole has consistently backed Trump rather than the Constitution. Sixty-two percent of Republican supporters have said that there is nothing Trump could do, no crime or war crime, no high crime or misdemeanor, that would lead them to vote against him in 2020. There is only one way to describe this, and that is a cult , completely resistant to reason or debate. The tribalism is so deep that Trump seems incapable of dropping below 40 percent in the national polls, and is competitive in many swing states. The cult is so strong that Trump feels invulnerable. If Trump survives impeachment, and loses the 2020 election, he may declare it another coup, rigged, and illegitimate. He may refuse to concede. And it is possible the GOP will follow his lead. That this is even thinkable reveals the full extent of our constitutional rot.
Trump has fast-forwarded “regime cleavage.” He is appealing to the people to render him immune from constitutional constraints imposed by the representatives of the people. He has opened up not a divide between right and left so much as a divide over whether the American system of government is legitimate or illegitimate. And that is why I don’t want to defeat Trump in an election, because that would suggest that his assault on the truth, on the Constitution, and on the rule of law is just a set of policy decisions that we can, in time, reject. It creates a precedent for future presidents to assault the legitimacy of the American government, constrained only by their ability to win the next election. In fact, the only proper constitutional response to this abuse of executive power is impeachment. I know I’ve said this before. But on the eve of public hearings, it is vital to remember it.
None of this presidential behavior is tolerable. If the Senate exonerates Trump, it will not just enable the most lawless president in our history to even greater abuses. It will deepen the regime cleavage even further. It will cast into doubt the fairness of the upcoming election. It will foment the conspiracy theory that our current laws and institutions are manifestations of a “deep state” engineering a “coup.” It will prove that a president can indeed abuse his power for his personal advantage without consequence; and it will set a precedent that fundamentally changes the American system from a liberal democracy to a form of elected monarchy, above the other two branches of government.
I wish there were another way forward. But there isn’t. And this, though a moment of great danger, also contains the glimmers of renewal. Removing this petty, shabby tyrant from office goes a long way to restoring and resetting the Constitution as a limit on power and a guarantee against its wanton future abuse. It must be done. With speed, with vigor, and with determination.
Brexit Blindness Nick Kristof is altogether a better human being than I am. But his recent column on Brexit is a perfect distillation of the strangely incurious mind-set of too many in the elite press. For Kristof, Brexit means simply that “Britain has gone nuts,” and it is “baffling” that somehow Boris Johnson’s Tories are leading in the polls. (The score right now is Tories at 38 percent , Labour at 26, Liberal Democrats at 17, Brexit party at 10.) Only the Liberal Democrats are unequivocally against Brexit and would nullify the referendum result. Labour says it respects the 2016 result, will renegotiate Johnson’s deal, and then back a second referendum; the Tories will implement the current deal and be out of the E.U. before the end of January; the Brexit party wants a “no deal” Brexit. So 74 percent of the populace supports at least respecting the result of the 2016 referendum. So, according to Kristof, three-quarters of the British electorate have “gone nuts.” They beg to differ.
He goes further, suggesting that Johnson would one day be seen perhaps “as the 21st-century version of Guy Fawkes,” the Catholic terrorist who, in 1605, attempted to blow up the House of Lords with dynamite. This seems, shall we say, a stretch, since Johnson is the lawful prime minister, seeking to implement the results of a legitimate referendum campaign, and not attempting mass murder. Kristof believes that the 2016 Leave campaign was so “foolhardy and mendacious” that it should be nullified. He even cites Johnson’s hope of winning a majority as a “sordid calculation,” in which case every politician who aimed at a majority in Parliament — which is every single party leader in British history — was and is motivated by “sordid” calculations.
It is instead baffling as a distant friend of Kristof’s to see that he has “gone nuts” over Brexit. He cites the various projections of lower economic growth, which are plausible. And yet, far worse scenarios of economic calamity were broadcast prior to the referendum by the Remain campaign — it was known as “Project Fear” — and they still lost. It is as if (and I hope Nick is sitting down) the British were prepared to sacrifice some wealth in order to ensure that the British Parliament will have the sole say in how Britain is governed. He cites the possibility of breakup, ridiculing the idea that the English, whose nationhood is just as deep as the Scots and the Welsh and Irish, might actually end up as a “little” nation of 53 million, as opposed to a “great” nation with almost 67 million people. (Here’s a map of the British Isles , according to population density.)
But what precisely would be wrong if the U.K.’s separate nations —English, Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish — become separate countries at some point? It’s not as if we’re in an imperial stage of British history; we’re very much postimperial. We are also far away from the Cold War, which justified European unity. These national fissures have been building up for decades . Nobody questions that a future English state would be prosperous and very friendly to the U.S. The U.K. is the highest-spending member of NATO outside the U.S . And I don’t see why the English state that was last ruled, independently of Scotland, by Elizabeth I, was so terrible in comparison. I mean we got Shakespeare, religious moderation, and decades of stability. Is bigger inherently better?
The key thing that Kristof doesn’t seem to want to understand is why a narrow majority of Brits voted for Brexit in the first place, in a massive turnout . They wanted their lives to be governed by their own democratically elected Parliament rather than by an increasingly zealous band of unelected E.U. bosses. They wanted their courts and legal system accountable to the Crown rather than to a European super-court. They’d rather be one self-governing nation than one of 28 separate member states in some Euro-blended supernation. They want their borders to be secure and immigration to be controlled by their own Parliament, rather than be mandated open to all citizens of the E.U., whether they like it or not. Disagree with this all you want, but to write about Brexit with no mention of the core reasons a majority of Brits voted for it seems, well, negligent.
Kristof is so anti-Brexit he now hopes for a Corbyn-led Labour coalition government, in alliance with the Scottish nationalists or the Liberal Democrats, to find a way out. This crusade requires Kristof to back a Labour Party leader who would reverse Britain’s alliance with the U.S., back terrorist leaders across the globe, and revert to the crudest borrow-and-spend policies since the 1970s. He is hoping for a new prime minister whom 87 percent of British Jews , according to one March poll, regard as plainly anti-Semitic. Moderate Labour parliamentarians regard him as unfit for office. As for keeping the U.K., it is Corbyn, and not Johnson, who backs an independence referendum for Scotland in his first year in power.
Dismissing Brexit, alas, has now become a tribal signal in the elite American discourse, and not a considered argument about costs and benefits for the U.K. and the U.S. It’s time to end what is in fact a prejudice and begin an actual debate.
When a Dog Is Ready to Die Owning and loving a dog is one of life’s greatest joys. It’s also, inevitably, one of life’s deepest woes when it comes to losing one. I’ve been here before, with my beloved beagle, Dusty , and now, again, with Eddy. She was a rescue dog that my husband fell in love with 14 years ago. She has an elegant, refined face, and a basset-hound temperament — sweet, friendly, clumsy. Almost everyone thought she was a beagle at first, including us, but she isn’t. We did a DNA test and she came out of it as a blend of basset, bloodhound, and a New England breed, Chinook. She has a long body and stubby little legs that give her a somewhat comic affect: all refined beauty in the face, followed by a slinky-style torso that seemed to mock that very beauty. She trots rather than walks. At least she did.
She was and is food-obsessed, always tugging on the leash, sniffing out and then immediately eating all sorts of horribles before you could catch her: dead minnows on the beach, human poop, empty Popeyes chicken containers, pizza slices, sea shells, and once an entire quarter of an ounce baggy of weed. I got home that night and didn’t notice anything at first. Then she jumped suddenly in her crate and ran out, and around, occasionally shuddering, or lying down. When I approached her, she jumped out of her skin. Sounds from the television had her cowering. That was a long, late night at the animal hospital, but she was fine in the end. Like father, like daughter, I guess.
Her stomach was made of iron: She managed to consume and digest anything at all, very rarely puking. And she always had a goofish quality to her, banging into walls and closets, hurtling herself inelegantly down the stairs, but with a smile so broad it melted me every time. She had a little jump for joy before her walk, and she even managed a little one last week. And she was kind to her sisters, first Dusty, who treated her with the contempt she held for most living creatures, and now my little three-legged beagle, Bowie, who snuggles with her elder sister every night when she’s boarding. The name Eddy was Aaron’s choice: after Edina Monsoon from Absolutely Fabulous . Yeah, I know, gay! Originally called Cinderella (awful name), she was surrendered to animal control by her first owner, who declared her uncontrollably aggressive. We saw no evidence of this at all.
We assumed she had been abused; and our intuition felt right over time. She was friendly to all humans, although some men could set her off. Maybe they reminded her of her first owner? But who knows with rescue dogs. My little scamp, Bowie, was, we’re told, a working hunting dog who went off-trail as a puppy and got hit by a truck. Her back leg was so mangled they had to amputate it. What kind of trauma must that have been for her? I don’t know, but like so many rescue dogs, including Eddy, she seemed all the more grateful for our love and care when we took her in.
And now Eddy has lost almost all her sight and hearing; her back legs can give way unexpectedly; yesterday morning, I saw her emerge from my writing room only to fall headlong down the stairs, with her diaper clogged with pee and diarrhea. She’s still obsessed with food, perhaps more so than ever, because smell is her only vital sense left, with her functional body almost gone apart from that nose. I can only walk her so far now; she tends to stop suddenly, nose to the ground, caught by a whiff of something, but unable to see it. With Bowie pulling energetically on one leash ahead of me and with Eddy stopped, blind, behind me, walking them has become like an act from Cirque du Soleil. I have to pirouette, arms outstretched, oftentimes with both leashes wrapped around my legs and body, like a scarecrow in a BDSM scene. Hounds do not walk in a straight line. Nor are they easy to toilet train; they are smart and know what they’re not supposed to do, but do it anyway, which is why I like them so much. A beagle is always her own person, always willing at some point to tell you to piss off.
With Dusty, we waited until she stopped wanting to eat and then made a final visit to the vet. With Eddy, I’m stricken. She still loves her food, but I wonder what her quality of life now is. At least 15 years old, she’s always tired. Diapered and exhausted, she has fewer and fewer good days. She looks at me with her brown eyes, seeing deep into me, and I don’t know what to do in return. I just kiss her and tell her it’s all going to be all right. And maybe it will be.
I’m taking her to the vet this afternoon to get an objective assessment of her quality of life. Her death is inevitable, of course, but it’s an agony to be the one who brings it to her. As I write this, my eyes are suddenly bleary with tears, my throat caught in a spasm of grief. This doesn’t get easier, as so many dog owners know. I’m waiting for her to tell me when it’s time, to give me some kind of permission. Dusty did that. Maybe Eddy will too.
See you next Friday.
interesting times impeachment donald trump politics brexit boris johnson jeremy corbyn dogs More Andrew Sullivan: This Is No Ordinary Impeachment
Firm involved in $80m water deal now funding Huang Xiangmo-linked development | Australia news
Hong Kong private equity firm Pacific Alliance Group, which invested in controversial water sale, is now funding troubled redevelopment. A Hong Kong private equity group that manages billions of dollars, Pacific Alliance Group, is financing the troubled One Circular Quay luxury apartment building spearheaded by exiled businessman Huang Xiangmo .
A mortgage over the prime slice of Sydney land is held by a British Virgin Islands company called Global Enterprise Opportunity VIII, which the Guardian has established is a vehicle through which one of Pacific Alliance Group’s investment funds has funnelled money into the development.
Pacific Alliance Group, or PAG, denies that Global Enterprise Opportunity VIII is in any way affiliated with Huang or his family.
PAG is perhaps best known for its investment in Eastern Australia Agriculture and a controversial water deal that netted investors $80m . Not only was the deal done without tender, but it soon emerged that the energy minister, Angus Taylor, had been a director of EAA and its Cayman’s based parent, Eastern Australian Irrigation, before entering parliament.
Founded by Taylor’s friend from Oxford Chris Gradel, who is chief investment officer, PAG and the other investors were able to realise a $52m gain on the water rights sold in the EAA deal. Another investor, EF Realisation fund, which held 9.6% of the Cayman’s based fund, told the London stock exchange it was the highest price ever paid for water by the Australian government.
Taylor faced questions in parliament over what became known as “watergate”, but he has repeatedly said he resigned his directorships before entering parliament in 2013, and that he did not benefit from the water deal.
Huang Xiangmo: mystery of the $11m property payout, the middleman and his 81-year-old mother Read more Sydney’s most expensive dirt
The uncertain fate of One Circular Quay, which remains nothing more than a hole in some of Sydney’s most expensive dirt, is among a series of controversies surrounding Huang.
Huang’s Australian residency was cancelled on character grounds in December and he is now believed to be living in Hong Kong, from where he has mounted a blistering attack on the Australian Taxation Office after it obtained a $140m freezing order against him .
On Twitter, the exiled billionaire has also called for an investigation into an $11m fee he paid to Sydney lawyer Sevag Chalabian, who used to represent the Obeid family.
The money, paid in connection with the purchase by Huang’s Yuhu group of a retail and commercial property development, has been described by seller Seph Glew as an “introduction fee”.
One Circular Quay, which when completed is to contain more than 300 luxury apartments and a hotel complex in two towers located on the corner of George Street and Alfred streets, has changed hands several times, and is now apparently in the hands of a fourth developer, elusive Chinese-born businessman Zhang Bo, a Huang associate who bought the company that owns the site from Yuhu in late 2018 .
Huang is reported to have retained the development rights, although a property industry source said the financial scaffolding behind the development has recently been restructured.
Even the City of Sydney Council, which approved the redevelopment in conjunction with the state government is unsure about who owns it. The council continues to deal with the same team of architects and planners who were employed by the Dalian Wanda group, which secured the approval.
Zhang’s sudden emergence as a key building developer in Australia has come after Huang’s residency was revoked and his assets frozen.
Evergrande enters the deal Zhang has previously been linked to the world’s most valuable real estate company Evergrande, which raises the question about whether it is now in control of the prime site.
But there are few answers about what is happening at One Circular Quay, fronting the shores of Sydney Harbour between the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge and with views across the water to Kirribilli and Admiralty Houses.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest An aerial view of the Circular Quay with the former Goldfields House on the bottom right. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP
The development has endured a troubled recent history. The site, which was once home to Gold Fields House , was owned by US investment firm Blackstone, which sold it to Dalian Wanda Group in 2015 for $415m.
Late in that year, the project was approved by the City of Sydney, with a 57-storey 184-apartment residential tower and a 179-room hotel on the 4,040sqm site. Final approval was granted in 2017.
But Dalian Wanda Group, its expansion driven by highly-leveraged acquisitions, was placed on a watchlist by Chinese regulators in 2017, part of a Chinese government drive against private-sector debt hurting the country’s financial system.
How Huang Xiangmo swooped When Dalian Wanda, headed by China’s richest man Wang Jianlin came under pressure from the Chinese government, the Yuhu Group – then run by Huang Xiangmo – was part of a consortium that swooped, picking up the Sydney project, and the Gold Coast Jewel development at Surfers Paradise, for $1.13bn.
The other actor in that purchase was Zhang Bo. His new company Dachang Australia, took a half share for $565m. Huang’s Yuhu took the other half.
Huang Xiangmo, who has been prevented from re-entering the country. Photograph: Yuhu
But company records show Yuhu Group sold the site in 2018 and now appears to have exited the company behind the development, AWH Investment Group.
AWH is now controlled by two companies Cuilam and Dachang, both controlled by Zhang.
Huang’s family members are no longer directors, with his son, Jimmy, resigning as a director of AWH in May 2019. Huang and other family members resigned during 2018.
Chinese billionaire Huang Xiangmo ordered to declare worldwide assets by Australian court Read more
The transaction was several months old before the tax office hit Huang with a freezing order on all of his assets in Australia and around the world, pursuing him for $140m in an allegedly unpaid tax bill, penalties, and interest.
Zhang is not only linked to Huang through the One Circular Quay deal, but has a history with Evergrande, one of the largest property developers in the world.
Cuilam Investments, Zhang’s company, acquired Evergrande’s dairy products business for about $60m in 2016. Cuilam continues to maintain ties with Evergrande after the sale. It has extensive investments in New Zealand.
Evergrande’s chairman, Xu Jianyin, is best known in Australia after he was given 90 days in 2015 to sell a $39m Point Piper mansion by then treasurer Joe Hockey, after the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) found it had been purchased illegally. The property was purchased by the mysterious Lola Wang-Li, an Australian citizen, who lives in a Pyrmont apartment.
The Australian Financial Review, in investigating Zhang, found he spent $37m over the past two years buying six houses in Sydney’s Beauty Point , on the lower north shore of Sydney harbour.
Zhang has declined interview requests from the media. It’s not known if he is currently in Australia.
Huang has not responded to detailed questions from The Guardian about the status of One Circular Quay and his role in it.
Topics Huang Xiangmo Business Sydney news
Buying Indigenous art comes with a choice: support the artists, or support those who exploit them | Sally Scales and Skye Omeara | Opinion
Buying cheap Indigenous art is not a victimless crime; it is either deeply naive or deeply irresponsible. M any are saying that this is a conversation that needs to be had. The talk of a second boom in Indigenous art and what it might mean for artists and communities has been a subject of discussion for months. The market is back! We feel it.
The energy and enthusiasm in Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) studios is palpable. Not only are works selling like never before, but an extraordinary period of artistic innovation and committed practice is being supported by industry events such as the Tarnanthi Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts festival and the Wynne prize at the Art Gallery of NSW.
Artists such as Mike Williams hold their own within the national context of visual arts superstars and are exhibiting alongside the best of the best in prestigious mainstream events such as the National at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Overseas celebrities such as Steve Martin, Christian Louboutin and Beyoncé are joining the celebration and are enthusiastically embracing the beauty and power of Indigenous art.
Frail and elderly Aboriginal artists allegedly forced to paint to pay off debts Read more
The Indigenous art market has always been fraught with scandal. Alongside showcasing the beauty of the Western Desert painting movement, Australia has celebrated stories of the pioneers, cowboys and thugs. Stories of Clifford Possum painting at gunpoint are shared with a “Sopranos of the desert” kind of romanticism.
Over the past 50 years, a culture developed that included the proud and noisy celebration of cheap works. Some smugly boasted about the bargain basement price of their desert masters painting and what they might sell it for later. These stories are shared in a similar fashion to individuals getting lucky by finding a $10 Picasso in a thrift shop. Of course, as the market matured, it was discovered that this is not a victimless crime. The boasting rights of whitefellas who got rich at the expense of Indigenous artists quite suddenly vanished with the uncomfortable reality of Indigenous disadvantage and non-Indigenous Australia’s complete inability to support solutions to “close the gap”.
It’s 2019, and the art centre studios in APY communities are humming with productivity. The market is now more grown up, so let’s have the grown-up conversation. It’s a conversation that perhaps was always coming – the one about ethics.
You will hear people say it’s important to support an open marketplace. It’s not
So let’s start with the basics.
You will often hear lines such as: “The Indigenous art industry is a complex industry that it has always been tough to navigate.”
But it’s not complex. It’s simple – if you want to buy an Aboriginal artwork, there are two models in the central desert:
Indigenous owned and governed art centres;
the private dealers model.
The Indigenous owned and governed art centres have supported the incredible internationally celebrated APY art movement for more than 70 years across seven APY communities. They are not-for-profit organisations that operate with financial transparency and are considered the beating heart of the communities on the APY lands, as they are places where culture is celebrated and instructed every day. They are the only economic driver for communities and the only place of non-government income and meaningful employment. Most importantly, they are the vehicle Aboriginal elders use to impact the disadvantage they face in their communities. In an environment of dire social challenge which includes high rates of substance abuse, significant health issues, family violence and high rates of incarceration and suicide, all resulting from intergenerational trauma, Elders work with a committed and ambitious vision to create a better future for their children and future generations. Elders are acutely aware they are running out of time. This is a high-stakes issue, and for Anangu this is personal.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Phyllis Briant, Sharon Ken and Anistine Ken Photograph: Tjala Arts in Amata Community
In contrast, private dealers are enterprises owned and operated by non-Indigenous people based in Alice Springs. They generate a profit for the non-Indigenous business owner. There are no requirements for transparency, or requirements of fairness in remuneration. Commitment to Indigenous employment outside the role of being an artist is almost unheard of. The commercial interests of the individual business operators are prioritised at the expense of the Indigenous artist.
You will hear people say it’s important to support an open marketplace.
Be clear: these are competing models, and it is impossible for both to thrive. By supporting the private dealers model, you are supporting the removal of the only source of non-government income and the only meaningful employment from APY communities.
This is a deeply naïve or deeply irresponsible position to hold, given what’s at stake.
Other things to consider about the private dealers model when it comes to central desert artists work:
This work is not acquired by museums and institutions in Australia, because the provenance is not trusted.
This work will not have a life outside the primary sale point, as any reputable auction house will not sell the work on the secondary market.
Artworks mark time. Artists such as Sidney Nolan, Margaret Preston, John Olsen and Ben Quilty have made work that embodies the spirit and the stories of the time they were made in Australia. Similarly, the works of APY desert masters Jimmy Baker, Wingu Tingima, Hector Burton and Tiger Palpatja embody the spirit of their time on the APY lands, pre-contact. This is the visual language of the ancestors; it is Tjukurpa. The term “Dreaming” is too frivolous and too small to capture the meaning or magnitude of Tjukurpa. It is better described by Anangu of all ages as culture, land, lore and story, but also Anangu identity, reason for being and explanation of the world.
Women without passports: the artists tackling desert, rivers and red tape to get to Paris Read more
Today in the studios of APY art centres, the talent flows from artists of all ages, and the diversity of aesthetics and commitment to new stories and new mediums in storytelling is more exciting than ever before. Works with a political punch from leaders like Mike Williams and Robert Fielding dare Australia to reflect and think about how much it respects Indigenous art. Does our respect exist beyond the surface? Mike Williams states in his work: “Don’t touch what is not yours.” He asserted this position with a meaning that extends beyond that of culture and country; it was a warning to all those interested in taking an opportunity away from Anangu. Like all Anangu Elders, Mike Williams felt that any model established to take opportunity away from his community needed to be dealt with. The best way to deal with the private dealers, the carpetbaggers, the cowboys and thugs is to not support them. Without the sales they will go away and leave Anangu to hone the vision of the Elders to make the current opportunities count.
There has never been a time more important than now to stay in the conversation. Ask questions, keep talking. The first question you should ask is: “Was this work made for an Aboriginal owned and governed art centre?” If the answer is no, ask to be shown the works that are! Stand behind Aboriginal artists and support them to harness the opportunities they have worked so hard for.
• Sally Scales is a Pitjantjatjara woman from Pipalyatjara in the far west of the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands in remote South Australia. She is the youngest person ever elected as chairperson of the APY executive board council, and the second women to hold the position
• Skye O’Meara is general manager of the APY Arts Collective. The APY Arts Collective is the Anangu voice; Indigenous voice for the APY Art Centres and is indigenous owned and governed
Topics Indigenous art Opinion Indigenous Australians comment
Best Xbox One X games: what to play on the world’s most powerful console
Since the Xbox One X 's release two years ago, the powerful console has changed the limits of gaming – improving graphics to a true 4K resolution. It offers the best you can get on a console, at least until next-generation Xbox Project Scarlett launches.
We now know of over 250 Xbox One X enhanced games for the new-ish console, including new titles such as Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Forza Horizon 4 . While we'd love to tell you all of these games are going to ooze visual fidelity when you pop them onto your TV, not all of them are going to look like they're fresh out of the developer's oven.
You see, even though the Xbox One X is capable of 4K / HDR at 60 frames per second along with Dolby Atmos sound, not all games are guaranteed to have all of these improvements. Some will support all of them, while some will support HDR and nothing more.
With this in mind, we've created a list of the best Xbox One X games that push the console to its limits. Here you'll find the games with patch details that confirm they'll push at least two of the console's capabilities, whether that's 4K, HDR or Dolby Atmos.
We've also included details on some upcoming titles with confirmed Xbox One X enhancements in the works in an effort to keep you informed of what's on the horizon for the 4K-ready console.
It's worth noting that you'll be able to pick up most of the games on this list for cheap during Black Friday and Cyber Monday – so keep an eye out.
Want to see more on the Xbox One X? View our video below!
The best Xbox One X deals and bundles in the US and UK The best Xbox One X deals and bundles in Australia Xbox One X vs Xbox One S vs Xbox One: should you make the upgrade? What are its enhancements? Native 4K and 60fps
As the first non-Resident Evil title built using Capcom's RE Engine, the Xbox One X version of Devil May Cry 5 astonishes with its incredibly gorgeous presentation.
Though every version of Hideaki Itsuno's hack-and-slash masterpiece targets 60fps, the Xbox One X version is able to deliver that framerate consistently, making it the ideal way to experience Devil May Cry 5 in a living room setting.
Along with its buttery-smooth framerate, Devil May Cry 5 is also presented at a native 4K resolution on One X, which is a huge improvement over the standard Xbox One's 900p resolution.
As you would expect, detail is extraordinary here, with the game's vibrant HDR-enhanced art design showcasing the power of Microsoft's premiere console to magnificent effect. Characters exhibit incredible definition, as do the game's many outrageous environments and grotesque demon creations.
One of the most visually spectacular games currently available, Devil May Cry 5 is highly recommended for those looking to take advantage of the Xbox One X's immense graphical prowess.
Check out our Devil May Cry 5 review
What are its enhancements? Native 4K (3840×2160 at 30fps)
While it doesn't boast the PC version's cutting-edge ray tracing effects, it's hard to fault what developer 4A Games has accomplished with the Xbox One X version of Metro Exodus.
Locked at 30fps, the 4A Engine never seems to falter during intense shootouts, with a smooth consistency that keeps the action moving at all times. Of course, there are those who might've hoped for a 1080p/60fps option to be included in the final release, but rest assured, Metro Exodus looks and feels great at 30fps.
As has become common with all big game releases these days, Metro Exodus offers HDR settings regardless of which Xbox One console it is installed on – from the original base model, to the 4K-ready Xbox One X.
Of course, you'll find that the game's high-dynamic range looks best on Microsoft's premiere console, with its additional resolution allowing you to see more subtle color gradations and an added level of detail within shaded areas.
Although the world of Metro Exodus brutal and unforgiving, there are moments of extreme beauty to be found within the game. During the open-world desert section, we continually found ourselves blown away by the glowing sunlight peering through the clouds or reflecting from the sandy terrain.
Easily the best way to play the game on a home console, the Xbox One X-enhanced version of Metro Exodus' 4K resolution truly accentuates the immense level of detail in both its claustrophobic interiors and vast, wide-open areas.
More than just an arbitrary number of vertical and horizontal lines, the Xbox One X's Ultra HD resolution does a fantastic job of fully immersing the player within the greatest world that 4A Games has created to date.
Check out our Metro Exodus review
What are its enhancements? Native 4K and HDR (3840×2160 at 30fps or 1920×1080 at 60fps)
The only word that can be used to describe Forza Horizon 4 is stunning. The latest addition to the open-world racing title is a testament to the power of Xbox One X enhancements. Racing through Great Britain at 4K is a truly breathtaking experience, further boosted by the game's dynamic seasons.
If the the native 4K mode isn't graphically impressive enough, the new 60fps mode will blow you away with its smooth transitions and its picture perfect take of every pothole, lavender field and pebble dash wall in Britain.
Make sure to check out our full Forza Horizon 4 review
What are its enhancements? 4K Ultra HD and HDR
Assassin's Creed games are known for being visual masterpieces and Odyssey is no different. Xbox One X enhancements truly bring Odyssey's Grecian world to life, with higher resolution textures, denser crowds, improved depth of field and an overall richer environment.
Check out our Assassin's Creed Odyssey review diary for more
What are its enhancements? Native 4K / 30fps or 1080p / 60fps
If you've previously had a chance to play Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One X, then you probably have a pretty good idea of what to expect from its follow-up, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, in terms of enhancements.
Like its predecessor, Shadow of the Tomb Raider can be played using settings that favor either resolution or performance — the former allows the game to regularly display at a native 4K resolution, while the latter drops the game down to 1080p, but offers much smoother gameplay targeting 60fps.
Needless to say, Shadow of the Tomb Raider benefits greatly from the additional detail afforded by its 4K resolution uptick. Environments (particularly foliage, water and mud) are utterly jaw-dropping in 4K, making this entry the best-looking in the series to date.
That said, it's not an entirely flawless presentation, with occasional screen tearing issues and framerate drops cropping up during some of the game's more graphically intense sections. Still, it's highly likely that developer Eidos Montreal is working on a patch to iron out these problems — we'll check back on the game in the near future to see if they've been addressed.
While Shadow of the Tomb Raider's performance mode shows a noticeable drop in visual fidelity when compared to its resolution mode, the game still looks exceptional. There's a smoother framerate that gives players an additional level of responsiveness, making its controls feel more tactile in the process.
It's clear that a lot of effort has been put into Shadow of the Tomb Raider's enhancements, and barring some occasional performance hitches that will likely be addressed in an update, the game really shines on Xbox One X.
Check out our full Shadow of the Tomb Raider review
What are its enhancements? Native 4K / 30FPS or 1800p / 60FPS
Though it's almost ten years old, Red Faction Guerrilla arrives on Xbox One X with some impressive visual enhancements that serve to make the game's destructive architecture and enormous explosions all the more satisfying. In the game's display options, you'll find two video options: High Quality and High Performance. The former sees the game target a 4K resolution at 30FPS, while the latter drops the resolution slightly to 1800p, delivering a smoother 60FPS experience.
To the naked eye, the High Quality resolution benefits aren't immediately apparent, given that the Xbox One X will automatically upscale to 4K anyway. However, the buttery-smooth framerate of High Performance mode is immediately apparent, looking especially great while driving around Red Faction Guerrilla's vast Martian landscapes.
As part of its 'Re-Mars-tered' package, the game also receives improved textures and lighting — both of which work hard to enhance the game's visual appeal. Of course, there's no denying that Red Faction Guerrilla looks like a remaster of a last gen title, with very little color variation in environments and shadows that are just a little too dark (the inclusion of an HDR mode might've given the game's endless browns, reds and oranges a little more life and variety).
Still, this is as good as Red Faction: Guerrilla is ever likely to look on a console, and if you're a fan of the game from its original release, we heartily recommend that you pick up this stellar remaster and get your ass to Mars again as soon as possible.
What are its enhancements? 4K and 60fps
What is it? It took a 'Hell' of a long time, but Doom has now been updated for Xbox One X. While the game always looked incredible, it now looks sharper than ever, thanks to a native 4K update. Like before, the game still runs at 60fps, meaning the Xbox One X version of the game offers the best of both worlds. Admittedly, we'd have liked it if a HDR mode had been added, given how long this update was in gestation, but we can't argue with the 4K update we've received. Seriously, Doom looks incredible in Ultra High Definition, and its buttery smooth framerate is just the icing on the cake.
What are its enhancements? Native 4K and HDR
A contender for prettiest open-world shooter to date, Far Cry 5 receives a number of impressive enhancements when played on the Xbox One X. Unlike many enhanced games that employ dynamic scaling techniques to keep their resolutions as close to 4K as possible, Far Cry 5 boasts a full and unwavering 3840 x 2160 resolution that never dips. It also manages to retain the temporal anti-aliasing that made Ubisoft's own Assassin's Creed Origins look so spectacular on Microsoft's high-end console.
HDR settings are also available on Far Cry 5, though you won't be able to tweak them as thoroughly as you could with Origins' 'paper-white' and 'maximum luminance' sliders. Still, the game looks and runs gloriously on Xbox One X at 30fps. On top of this, users playing on the console will also receive improved terrain detail and shading. We can only hope that every Ubisoft title going forward looks as good as this on Xbox One X.
Check out our full Far Cry 5 review
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
Though its art-style is simplistic, there's an incredible beauty to be found in the presentation of Rare's newest IP, Sea of Thieves. This massively multiplayer online pirate adventure is available on both Xbox One and PC, and while the latter offers unlocked frame rates and ultra-wide monitor support, the console version ultilizes HDR to really bring the game to life — sunsets have never been more breathtaking in a video game. Thankfully, Sea of Thieves supports crossplay between Windows 10 and Xbox so you can play with everyone.
Along with its stunning HDR-enhanced visuals, Sea of Thieves' cartoonish art style is bolstered by a native 4K resolution on Xbox One X. As you'd imagine, the water is especially beautiful in Sea of Thieves — we'd even go as far as to call it the most realistic water in any video game to date.
That said, Sea of Thieves is most impressive when you're standing on the deck of your ship, looking out as the sun sets over an island brimming with the promise of treasure. Weather can change on you in an instant, with a dynamic cloud simulation and storm system that really ups the intensity as you sail the game's vast ocean.
If you want a game that shows off just how much the Xbox One X can enhance a visual experience, we suggest you set sail for the Sea of Thieves.
Read all about it in our Sea of Thieves hub
What are its enhancements? 4K and performance enhancements
Bethesda's epic post-apocalyptic role-playing game has received an Xbox One X update which brings it more in line with the PS4 Pro version of the game. We now have a native 4K resolution, though the game still exhibits horizontal scaling during more graphically intense moments.
That said, at its lowest, it still delivers an impressive 3264×2160 resolution, which is much higher than the PS4 Pro's 1440p target.
Elsewhere, improvements have been made to Fallout 4's framerate on Xbox One, hitting its target of 30fps more consistently than it did at launch, though you'll still find dropped frames on occasion – a problem the PS4 Pro version does not have.
Still, even with the odd framerate hiccup, Fallout 4 looks glorious on Xbox One X, making it the best way to experience the game on consoles.
Check out our full Fallout 4 review
What are its enhancements? 60fps, 3K, enhanced graphics
What is it? Following behind Forza Horizon 3, Project Cars 2 is another racing game taking advantage of the Xbox One X's power. Developed by Slightly Mad Games and first released in September 2017, this is a racing sim that prides itself on striking visuals and accurate simulation.
Players will have a choice of three modes on Xbox One X: Enhanced Visuals, which will put the game in 1440p resolution while having shadow, track and vehicle details as high as possible; Enhanced Resolution will bump the game's resolution up to 3K; and Enhanced Framerate that sets the game's resolution to 1080p while ensuring the game maintains a smooth 60 frames per second.
What are its enhancements? 4K or 60 fps and HDR.
What is it? The Witcher 3 is one of the older enhanced titles on this list but it still stands as one of the best. Believed by many to be the RPG to end all RPGs, this fantasy adventure will take you through incredible vistas and through thrilling adventures.
Using the Xbox One X's power, CD Projekt Red has created two enhanced modes: One offers 4K resolution and runs at a solid 30fps, while the other uses dynamic resolution and promises a smooth 60 frame per second. Both modes will allow you to enjoy HDR – a technology that will truly shine in the game's dynamic world.
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
What is it? As one of the biggest games this year, it's natural that Destiny 2 appears on this list. With its original game, Bungie managed to create a huge triple-A success as well as a cult hit.
Now, however, it's opening up to the masses and anyone that felt like they couldn't jump on the Destiny band wagon the first time shouldn't miss the opportunity to do so now – this huge online multiplayer shooter will reel you in with its universe, single-player story, satisfying gameplay and addictive online modes.
If you're just getting started, it's also worth taking a peek at our handy tips and tricks guide which will allow you to hit the ground running.
Check out our full Destiny 2 review
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
What is it? Right from its opening chapter, which takes place during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, Call of Duty: WWII astonishes with its graphical presentation.
We’ve all come to expect the Call of Duty series to provide 60 frames per second gameplay, regardless of platform, but when that framerate is used in conjunction with the Xbox One X’s 4K resolution boost and HDR functionality, the game takes on an extraordinary level of detail and visual clarity.
Like many other Xbox One X-enhanced games, Call of Duty: WWII has HDR sliders that allow you to tweak the game’s brightness and white balance to your liking – a much-appreciated addition that we hope carries over to all enhanced games going forward. Quite frankly, we want all games on the console to look this good.
Check out our full Call of Duty WWII review
What are its enhancements? 4K, HDR, and 60fps
What is it? Forza Motorsport 7 was Microsoft’s poster-child for the power of the Xbox One X and thus far it’s the game that’s received the most attention in terms of performance assessments.
As a first-party title, the game's development team has been able to take full advantage of the Xbox One X’s power. The game’s patch promises 4K resolution at 60 frames per second with HDR support.
Thanks to HDR, the sunlight hitting the track and our vehicle looked brighter than ever. The 4K resolution also allows developer Turn 10 Studios to recreate the cars and their interiors to an astonishing degree of detail. This is especially evident in cars with Alcantara upholstery (pictured) – the fuzziness of the suede-like synthetic material looks just like the real thing!
The combination of 4K, HDR and locked 60 frames per second brings with it some incredibly detailed and realistic visuals with crisp and responsive gameplay. Buckle up for a truly show-stopping Xbox One X demo disc in Forza Motorsport 7.
Read our full Forza Motorsport 7 review
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
What is it? As you’d probably expect, Assassin’s Creed Origins uses the power of the Xbox One X to make some serious visual impact. The game renders at 4K (although those without 4K screens will still benefit from an oversampled 1080p resolution) and supports HDR, too.
The high resolution support means that the game’s environments and characters are seriously detailed with highly realistic textures and the console’s CPU power means the quality is maintained from longer distances.
However, It’s HDR that makes the game really shine, creating greater contrast between bright sunlight and flames and shadows. This adds real depth to the game world, capturing the blinding brightness of the Egyptian sun and making the shade of tombs feel mercifully cool. As with most Xbox One X-enhanced games that we’ve tested, Assassin’s Creed Origins has an HDR slider that allows you to manually adjust the game’s paper white balance level, as well as the television’s brightness nits.
Having played several hours of the game on Xbox One X, we found the game to be visually impressive with wonderful textures and a remarkably consistent frame rate given everything that was happening on screen at once.
Read all about it in our Assasins Creed Origins hub
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
What is it? Continuing the trend of giving users the option of how to use the X’s extra graphical horsepower, Shadow of War features two different graphical settings: You can either have the game favor resolution or favor quality.
Choose to favor resolution, and the game will attempt to get as close to 4K as possible (falling back on dynamic scaling when this isn’t possible).
Opt to favor quality and the improvements will be wider-ranging, but won’t bring the same benefits to resolution. Textures will see enhanced detail, draw distances will be improved, there’ll be more vegetation and shadows and lighting will be improved.
Both modes will feature HDR, and will unfortunately only run at 30fps rather than the 60fps of some of the other titles on this list.
Check out our full Middle-earth: Shadow of War review
What are its enhancements? 4K and HDR
What is it? You've probably heard of the JRPG phenomenon that is Final Fantasy and XV is its latest addition. The games are already stunning but we're looking forward to seeing what has been done with the Xbox One X's power here – the open world of Eos is sure to be a treat in 4K.
What are its enhancements? 4K, HDR, 60 FPS
What is it? Bungie might have left the Halo series to focus on Destiny, but the blockbuster Xbox series is still alive and well thanks to developer 343 Industries. The most recent entry, Halo 5: Guardians, was released back in 2015, but it will be receiving the Xbox One X treatment via a patch that’s available now.
When patched for Xbox One X, the game will continue to run at 60fps as it did originally, but with the added bonus of a 4K resolution boost.
Unfortunately, due to the age of the original release, the game won’t be receiving an HDR upgrade alongside its 4K one. Still, a native 2160p resolution and rock-solid 60 frames per second is nothing to be sneezed at.
What are its enhancements? 4K, HDR and 60 FPS
What is it? Minecraft is a game that needs no introduction, and its 'Super Duper Graphics Pack' is set to make its polygonal world the sharpest its ever looked. We got to have a look at the Xbox One X-enhanced version of the game and it was quite fun to see a more beautiful version of what is essentially a very simple looking game.
While the game keeps its famous blocky appearance (we obviously wouldn't want that to change), it does receive vastly improved lighting thanks to the inclusion of HDR support. For instance, your creations can now be viewed with the added bonus of a glorious sunset.
Colors also receive a boost, looking less flat in the process, and vegetation also looks more detailed than before. Still, you can rest assured that the Xbox One X version of the game doesn't mess with the winning formula too much – it simply makes it better.
What are its enhancements? 1440p (upscaled to 4K) and HDR
What is it? We hope you’ve got plenty of space on your hard drive, because the patches required to play the Xbox One X-enhanced version of Quantum Break, combined with the game install itself, will take up a staggering 178GB of your console’s storage. Welcome to gaming in the future!
So what do the huge patches give you exactly? Well, since the game is incredibly demanding from a hardware perspective, even on high-end PCs, Quantum Break technically runs at true resolution of 1440p but is displayed as 2160p in its video settings.
According to Digital Foundry , the game makes use of a ‘temporal reconstruction’ technique that gives the illusion of 4K by cloning frames and using the information to make the resolution look much higher than it is. The original Xbox One version did the same thing, taking its native 720p resolution and applying the same technique to provide the illusion of 1080p.
Aside from this, the game has received a texture boost, making its visuals look much crisper in the process. Funnily enough, the film grain effect seen in the standard Xbox One version of the game has been dropped entirely for the One X, giving Quantum Break much more depth and clarity in its presentation.
It’s a shame that 60 frames per second is unavailable, but given the game’s cinematic styling based on film and television, it seems like developer Remedy would probably prefer it that way regardless. Either way, Quantum Break looks downright beautiful on Xbox One X.
Read our full Quantum Break review
What are its enhancements? HDR
What is it? Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019) is something of a reset for the bestselling FPS franchise – removing the frills of zombies, jetpacks, double-jumps and futuristic gadgetry for a grounded take on what military engagement actually looks like in the 21st century.
The name is no coincidence, either; 2007's Modern Warfare was a landmark entry in the Call of Duty series, and Activision is looking to recreate what made the game of the same name so successful.
Modern Warfare is all about the gritty realities of war this time out, with the ‘modern’ of the ‘Modern Warfare’ title referring to the gear, weapons and gadgetry being used today in the Middle East and Russia, rather than the far-flung fantasies of science fiction.
While Modern Warfare has some glaring issues with regards to its campaign, it's still the best installation the series has seen yet – with tight shooting and more multiplayer modes than you can shake a stick at. And with Xbox One X enhancement, it truly looks spectacular.
Read our full Call of Duty: Modern Warfare review
What are its enhancements? HDR
What is it? For the uninitiated, the Borderlands franchise is built upon the pursuit of gear. Players earn loot at an almost obscene rate, constantly unlocking new weapons and abilities with which to battle through stylized environments – which look even better with Xbox One X enhancements.
While Borderlands 3 doesn't offer that much in terms of new few, those who have played they previous installments are unlikely to be disappointed
Check out our Borderlands 3 review .
What are its enhancements? 4K, HDR, Dolby Atmos and 60fps
What is it? The fourth entry in the Gears of War series already looked great on the original Xbox One, however, it looks damn-near astonishing when enhanced for the Xbox One X. Once patched, new advanced video options appear in the game’s settings which give the player control over every major area of its presentation.
You can choose whether you want to place preference on detail (offering native 4K resolutions and textures at 30 frames per second) or performance (locked 60 frames per second and increased graphical detail). While the jump in detail is noticeable when playing the game at 4K, the performance mode looks nearly as good in terms of textures, with the added bonus of running at a buttery-smooth frame rate.
And, while the Xbox One S already provided Gears of War 4 with HDR settings, they’ve received a boost here to work in conjunction with the game’s 4K rendering, allowing for its wider color gamut to be displayed in much greater detail. You’ll find a much-appreciated HDR brightness slider in the settings, and if you want to get a real picture of the difference between standard and high dynamic range, you can split the screen and see them both side-by-side while playing the game.
Although it's a slightly older release, The Coalition has done a great job to turn Gears 4 into a poster child for what the Xbox One X is capable of.
Read our full Gears of War 4 review
What are its enhancements? 4K Ultra HD and HDR
What is it? We've been waiting a while to see a new Gears title, and Gears 5 certainly didn't disappoint.
Players step into the shoes of Kait Diaz for the first time who, following the events of Gears of War 4, is trying to come to terms with the death of her mother, unravel the twisted roots of her family tree and deal with her own personal baggage. Meanwhile, humanity is being threatened once more – this time by the Swarm, the successor to the Locust horde.
Gears 5 looks particularly stunning on Xbox's powerful platform – making the most of what Xbox One X enhancements have to offer.
Check out our full Gears 5 review
What are its enhancements? 4K Ultra HD and HDR
What is it? FIFA is, for many console owners, a highly anticipated annual event. The latest and arguably greatest installment in the football sim series has arrived in the form of FIFA 20, and it's straight into our list of the best Xbox One games.
With this year's iteration of the stalwart series, EA appears to have made some bold strides in the right direction, especially when it comes to giving players what they’ve been asking for in terms of game modes and statistical tinkering.
Add to that a fantastic new way to play in Volta, a light-hearted set of modes for couch co-op and some clever, nuanced gameplay tweaks that coax out a more fair and rewarding game of soccer, this is definitely not an in between year or an easy skip if you’re a franchise fan. In fact, it might be the best FIFA game in a good few years, achieved mainly by responding to fan feedback with healthy design decisions.
Read our full review of FIFA 20 and make sure you're the best on the pitch using our tips and tricks guide
What are its enhancements? Xbox One X enhanced
What is it? Disappointed by Fallout 76 ? Don't worry, Obsidian Entertainment's The Outer Worlds is here to scratch your Fallout itch.
Set on the frontier of space, The Outer Worlds sees you awakening from hibernation amidst a conspiracy to destroy Halycon – a colony residing at the edge of the galaxy driven by big-brand corporations. What follows is a wacky, satire-rich RPG that injects loads of fun into the classic Fallout formula we've grown to love.
Don't take our world for it, check out how The Outer Worlds escaped the shadow of Fallout, according to its creators .
What are its enhancements? 4K Ultra HD and HDR
What is it? Rockstar's Red Dead Redemption 2 took 2018 by storm, giving us the gun-toting, western open-world we were hoping for. You play as Arthur Morgan, a gunslinger in the notorious Van Der Linde gang as he navigates the trials and tribulations of the changing west.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is certainly game which will keep you busy. Between story missions, mini-games, activities and side quests, you will find yourself sinking plenty of hours into this title without even noticing it.
The Xbox One X truly makes RDR2's open world even more beautiful. So much so, you may just want to explore and let it sink in.
What are its enhancements? HDR
What is it? FromSoftware's latest offering is not to be scoffed at. If you thought the Dark Souls series was hard, then Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice is extreme mode.
Sekiro is more punishing than any title we've seen from FromSoftware before, but actually achieving those rare moments of success is extremely rewarding. Set against a background that balances brutality and beauty, Sekiro is one of this year's must-have titles – if you have the patience for it.
Check out our full Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice review