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Posted on September 11, 2022 by Editor

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A Modern Spiritual

Posted on August 18, 2022 by Editor

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Nothing Is Everything

from Nautilus

How the Physics of Nothing Underlies Everything

The key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a more complete understanding of the vacuum.

by CHARLIE WOOD

Millennia ago, Aristotle asserted that nature abhors a vacuum, reasoning that objects would fly through truly empty space at impossible speeds. In 1277, the French bishop Etienne Tempier shot back, declaring that God could do anything, even create a vacuum.

Then a mere scientist pulled it off. Otto von Guericke invented a pump to suck the air from within a hollow copper sphere, establishing perhaps the first high-quality vacuum on Earth. In a theatrical demonstration in 1654, he showed that not even two teams of horses straining to rip apart the watermelon-size ball could overcome the suction of nothing.

Since then, the vacuum has become a bedrock concept in physics, the foundation of any theory of something. Von Guericke’s vacuum was an absence of air. The electromagnetic vacuum is the absence of a medium that can slow down light. And a gravitational vacuum lacks any matter or energy capable of bending space. In each case the specific variety of nothing depends on what sort of something physicists intend to describe. “Sometimes, it’s the way we define a theory,” said Patrick Draper, a theoretical physicist at the University of Illinois.

As modern physicists have grappled with more sophisticated candidates for the ultimate theory of nature, they have encountered a growing multitude of types of nothing. Each has its own behavior, as if it’s a different phase of a substance. Increasingly, it seems that the key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a careful accounting of these proliferating varieties of absence.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on August 17, 2022 by Editor

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The Bird That Can’t Be Killed

from reason

The Failed Campaign To Kill To Kill a Mockingbird

Recent moves to censor the book have come from Virginia, Mississippi, and California.

by JASON RUSSELL

Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird banned book
(Photo: Harper Lee; Donald Uhrbrock/Getty; Illustration: To Kill a Mockingbird (cover detail); J.B. Lippincott & Co.)

People have been trying to ban Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird since the 1960s. And since the 1960s, they have largely failed. In one early instance, the school board of Virginia’s Hanover County unanimously voted in 1966 to remove the book after board member W.C. Bosher found his son, a high school junior, reading it. The board gave little reason for the decision other than Bosher calling the book “immoral” and “improper for our children.”

Letters to a local newspaper supporting removal focused on the book’s discussion of rape, wherein white Atticus Finch defends black Tom Robinson in court from a false accusation by a white woman. Lee herself compared the criticism to “doublethink” in George Orwell’s novel 1984 (which the board also removed), yet she wrote that the “problem is one of illiteracy, not Marxism” and sent a check to be put toward a first-grade education for the school board.

Today, campaigns against the book frequently focus on its use of the word nigger. Characters (mostly white ones) use the word 48 times, because that’s how many people talked in 1930s Alabama. The word gets pushback in the book on at least two occasions. When young Scout Finch asks what “nigger-lover” means, her father Atticus says: “Ignorant, trashy people use it when they think somebody’s favoring Negroes over and above themselves. It’s slipped into usage with some people like ourselves, when they want a common, ugly term to label somebody.”

[ click to continue reading at reason ]

Posted on August 16, 2022 by Editor

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ICE Sad

from The Atlantic

The End of Manual Transmission

Stick shifts are dying. When they go, something bigger than driving will be lost.

By Ian Bogost

Gear-shift markings engraved in marble
Katie Martin

I drive a stick shift. It’s a pain, sometimes. Clutching and shifting in bumper-to-bumper traffic wears you out. My wife can’t drive my car, which limits our transit options. And when I’m at the wheel, I can’t hold a cold, delicious slushie in one hand, at least not safely. But despite the inconvenience, I love a manual transmission. I love the feeling that I am operating my car, not just driving it. That’s why I’ve driven stick shifts for the past 20 years.

That streak may soon be over. When it comes time to replace my current car, I probably won’t be able to get another like it. In 2000, more than 15 percent of new and used cars sold by the auto retailer CarMax came with stick shifts; by 2020, that figure had dropped to 2.4 percent. Among the hundreds of new car models for sale in the United States this year, only about 30 can be purchased with a manual transmission. Electric cars, which now account for more than 5 percent of car sales, don’t even have gearboxes. There are rumors that Mercedes-Benz plans to retire manuals entirely by the end of next year, all around the world, in a decision driven partly by electrification; Volkswagen is said to be dropping its own by 2030, and other brands are sure to follow. Stick shifts have long been a niche market in the U.S. Soon they’ll be extinct.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Editor

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Meta Sad

from CNBC

Mark Cuban: Buying real estate in the metaverse is ‘the dumbest’ idea ever

by Cheyenne DeVon

Christopher Willard | Disney General Entertainment Content | Getty Images

Buying digital land in the metaverse may not be the best use of your money, according to billionaire investor Mark Cuban.

Although Cuban is a well-documented cryptocurrency enthusiast, he called purchasing virtual real estate in the metaverse “the dumbest s— ever” in a recent interview on the Altcoin Daily YouTube channel.

Despite being an investor in Yuga Labs, which owns popular NFT collections such as Bored Ape Yacht Club that has sold digital land plots, Cuban said buying virtual real estate is “dumb.”

“It was great money for them, but that wasn’t based off utility,” he said.

In the physical world, real estate is valuable because land is a scarce resource. However, that scarcity doesn’t necessarily apply to the metaverse.

In these virtual worlds, “there’s unlimited volumes that you can create,” Cuban said during the interview.

[ click to continue reading at CNBC ]

Posted on August 14, 2022 by Editor

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NFT Sad

from WIRED

No One Cares About My Framed NFT Art

Some NFTs are frame-worthy, just like any other photo. What you’re actually framing is still a mystery.

Gold decorative art frame with TV signal bars inside
PHOTOGRAPH: FAMIDU/GETTY IMAGES

STEPHEN CURRY WIGGLES his shoulders on my kitchen counter. No one cares, not even the most devout Curry fans. Occasionally a friend asks what it is, this never-ending loop of Curry successfully launching a bomb from just past half-court in a Golden State game against Dallas in February 2021. Then, the shoulder wiggle. Some movement in the hips.

It’s a framed NFT, I say. An NFT video, actually. There’s another frame next to it, a pulsing blue jellyfish that resembles a novelty item purchased at Spencer Gifts circa 1994. It throbs on a loop, like a GIF. That one is not an NFT. In between these two acrylic frames sits a third that cycles through digital images from my iPhone camera roll—just regular pictures.

What do we get when we buy NFT art, unique bits of code that are certified through the exchange of nonfungible token currencies? Do we own the art itself, or the certificate for that art, or both? I have a Steph Curry highlight on my kitchen counter, and I have no idea. I’ve posed the question and can’t guarantee a satisfying answer; this is not unlike the promises of NFT art. This hasn’t stopped hardware makers from capitalizing on the NFT trend, which, at the moment, is in a slump. You might even call these frames token gadgets—sleek, sturdy bits of atoms selling for hundreds or even thousands of dollars, existing just to give you a way to show off your new art.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on August 13, 2022 by Editor

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Andy’s Benz’s

from InsideHook

New Exhibit Revisits Andy Warhol’s Mercedes-Benz Collaboration

“Andy Warhol: Cars” is on display now at the Petersen Automotive Museum

BY TOBIAS CARROLL

Andy Warhol: Cars
Art and autos converge in a new museum show. / Petersen Automotive Museum

Over the course of his long career in art, Andy Warhol drew inspiration from a number of now-iconic images, from the face of Marilyn Monroe to a humble box of soap. But Warhol also had a penchant for cars — largely as a muse, but also a connoisseur, despite never having learned to drive. What happens, then, when you juxtapose Warhol’s paintings of cars with some of the vehicles that inspired those works?

Andy Warhol: Cars  — Works From The Mercedes-Benz Art Collection, a new exhibit at Los Angeles’s Petersen Automotive Museum, puts that side of Warhol into the spotlight. It’s slated to run through January 23 of next year.

“Although our exhibits are always centered on automobiles, we’re always looking for intersections and overlaps with other aspects of human culture (art, cinema, architecture, fashion, etc.),” Bryan Stevens, the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Director of Exhibitions told InsideHook.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on August 12, 2022 by Editor

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When Dead Whales Are Good Whales

from Nautilus

Humans Are Overzealous Whale Morticians

We hastily dispose of dead whales, ignoring the ecological significance of their carcasses

BY BEN GOLDFARB

When, at the dawn of the 19th century, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traversed western North America, they encountered a wondrous bestiary: the “fleet and delicately formed” coyote, the “bear of enormous size” which we call the grizzly. Yet few creatures impressed them more than the “Buzzard or Vulture” their party captured near the mouth of the Columbia River. The bird was massive, more than nine feet from wingtip to wingtip, and garish, with an “iris of a pale scarlet,” a “pale orrange [sic] Yellow” head, and feathers of “Glossy Shineing black.” Just as striking was the bird’s diet. “(W)e have Seen it feeding on the remains of the whale and other fish which have been thrown up by the waves on the Sea Coast,” Clark reported. Marine creatures, he added, “constitute their principal food.”

That Lewis and Clark first encountered a California condor by the sea was no coincidence. Once, condors soared across much of the continent, merrily scavenging dead ground sloths, mammoths, and glyptodonts. When human hunters wiped out these giant herbivores during the Pleistocene, condors nearly went extinct themselves. But they never quite vanished. Instead, they survived along the Pacific Coast, feasting on the last megafauna carcasses still available: marine mammals, particularly the blue, humpback, and gray whales who migrate along North America’s western rim.1 That we know Gymnogyps californianus as the California condor—as opposed to, say, the Kansas condor—is the nomenclatural legacy of dead cetaceans.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on August 11, 2022 by Editor

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The Ultimate Sportsman

Posted on August 10, 2022 by Editor

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Olivia Newton John Gone

from TMZ

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHNDEAD AT 73

Olivia Newton-John, who soared to international stardom as both a singer and movie star has died.

Olivia hit it big in 1971 with songs like “If Not for You,” and in 1973 “Let Me Be There.” She followed that up with a monster hit, “Have You Never Been Mellow.”

Her huge break came in 1978, when she starred opposite John Travolta in “Grease.” Her role as Sandy was iconic, as were several songs from the movie, “You’re the One that I Want,” “Summer Nights,” and “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”

[ click to continue reading at TMZ ]

Posted on August 9, 2022 by Editor

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Deeez Nuttz

Posted on August 8, 2022 by Editor

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Jaydon Hibbert Nails The Triple

from World Athletics

Hibbert springs triple jump stunner to win world U20 title in Cali

by Jess Whittington

One jump was all it took. Breaking the championship record in the first round of the final, Jamaica’s Jaydon Hibbert claimed the triple jump crown in superb style on the penultimate day of the World Athletics U20 Championships Cali 22 on Friday (5).

The 17-year-old secured silver at the last edition of the World U20 Championships in Nairobi last year and was favourite to go one better in Cali. But the manner in which he did that left him stunned. After landing in the sand, he leapt straight back up and glanced at the pit, grabbing his head in shock as he saw how far he had travelled. Collapsing to the track, still with his head in his hands, he waited for the measurement. When it showed – a 17.27m championship record – he was overcome with emotion.

Understandably so. The mark – a PB by 61cm – puts him second on the world U18 all-time list and makes him the equal eighth best U20 athlete in the history of the event. Only one other Jamaican – Olympic and world long jump silver medallist James Beckford – has ever gone farther with his 17.92m national record set in 1995.

[ click to continue reading at World Athletics ]

Posted on August 7, 2022 by Editor

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Cosmic Chorizo

from CNN

Top scientist admits ‘space telescope image’ was actually a slice of chorizo

By Toyin Owoseje

A French scientist has apologized after tweeting a photo of a slice of chorizo, claiming it was an image of a distant star taken by the James Webb Space Telescope.

Étienne Klein, a celebrated physicist and director at France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission, shared the image of the spicy Spanish sausage on Twitter last week, praising the “level of detail” it provided.

“Picture of Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years away from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… A new world is unveiled everyday,” he told his more than 91,000 followers on Sunday.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on August 6, 2022 by Editor

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Choco Taco Resurrected!

from The New York Post

Choco Taco lives! Klondike looks to bring back treat ‘in the coming years’

By Caitlin McFall

Klondike’s Choco Taco
Klondike, which has engaged with its customer base on social media, encouraged Choco Taco fans to try other frozen treats they offer. Klondike Bar

Klondike officials on Wednesday said they would look to bring back the apparently beloved Choco Taco “in the coming years” after facing uproar over its removal.

“We know this is disappointing — we’ve heard our fans, and we’re hoping to bring this favorite treat back to ice cream trucks in the coming years,” the ice cream dessert maker said in a tweet

The message was a direct response to one heartbroken customer who said she had been looking all over in her “area and surrounding cities” for the last of the Choco Tacos but had come up short.

“Absolutely heartbreaking,” she wrote.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on August 5, 2022 by Editor

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Shapiropalooza

from InsideHook

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been for Rock Concert Promoter Peter Shapiro

Shapiro just published a new book about a life in music bookended by the Grateful Dead

BY EVAN BLEIER 

Peter Shapiro raging it with fellow fans.“Sometimes you have to leave it all on the field,” Shapiro (right) says. / C. Taylor Crothers

A day after the Fourth of July in 2015 at Soldier Field in Chicago, the core four members of the Grateful Dead who carried on following the death of Jerry Garcia in 1995 — Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann and Mickey Hart — ended their time together as a working band during the final show of that summer’s Fare Thee Well tour.

Peter Shapiro, who had the trajectory of his life change after seeing the Dead as a film student at Northwestern in March of 1993 at the Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, Illinois (about 25 miles away from the band’s final show in Chicago), had organized Fare Thee Well and was in attendance as the final encore of the night, “Attics of My Life,” closed out the tour and ended an era.

Shapiro chronicles his journey from the Rosemont Horizon in ’93 to Soldier Field in ’15 in his new book The Music Never Stops: What Putting on 10,000 Shows Has Taught Me About Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Magic, which was just released today. Co-authored with the assistance of longtime friend and Relix editor-in-chief Dean Budnick, The Music Never Stops chronicles how Shapiro, who owns the nationwide Brooklyn Bowl franchise as well as the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, and was the owner of the legendary jam band proving grounds Wetlands in NYC’s Tribeca, went from Grateful Dead follower to Grateful Dead organizer by sharing his story through the lens of 50 concerts, including acts ranging from U2 and Phish to The Roots and Jason Isbell, from the last three decades.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on August 4, 2022 by Editor

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Rickrolled Whiners

from UPROXX

Everybody Gets Rickrolled, Even The Director Of Rick Astley’s Infamous Video: ‘It’s The Worst Thing’

by DERRICK ROSSIGNOL

rick-astley-never-gonna-give-you-up-video-full.jpg
YOUTUBE

Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” has perhaps the most famous music video ever, or at least the most famed of the internet era thanks to the famous bait-and-switch “Rickroll” prank. The gag, which involves sharing links that unexpectedly lead to the video, has led to the 1987 visual being one of the most-viewed music videos in YouTube history. Simon West, the video’s director, says that even he’s been Rickrolled and he’s not a fan.

In an interview with Metro, West — whose directorial credits also include movies like Con AirLara Croft: Tomb RaiderBlack Hawk Down, and The Expendables 2 — noted it’s happened to him “three or four times.” He said, “People are sensitive to it [but] people who know me really well know that I’m not gonna go ballistic. But when it happens, it’s the worst thing! You think they’re gonna send you a cool video about surfing or something and up it comes.”

On a related note, the US Open Of Surfing kicked off this weekend at Huntington Beach Pier, so here’s a video from that.

[ click to continue reading at UPROXX ]

Posted on August 3, 2022 by Editor

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Vin Scully Gone

Posted on August 2, 2022 by Editor

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Fasten Your Earthbelts

from The U.S. Sun

HONEY I SHRUNK THE DAY Earth records ‘shortest day EVER’ after scientists reveal planet ‘spinning faster’

by Sean Keach

EARTH has recorded its shortest day since records began – but did you even notice?

A faster spin meant that Earth’s usual 24-hour rotation was 1.59 milliseconds shorter.

The fast-paced spin occurred on June 29, creating a headache for time-watchers.

That’s because Earth’s rotation is usually slowing down.

In fact we’ve had to add 27 “leap seconds” in the last 50 years to keep global clocks in check.

Clocks paused most recently in 2016 to account for this strange astronomical effect.

Now Earth’s spin appears to be speeding up and scientists aren’t exactly sure why.

Usually days get longer – albeit only very slightly.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on August 1, 2022 by Editor

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Freya Dick

Posted on July 28, 2022 by Editor

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Choco Taco Gone

from CNN

The Choco Taco is gone for good

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner

Pour one out for Choco Taco.

The beloved Klondike product, packaged ice cream in a taco-shaped cone, has been discontinued.

“Over the past 2 years, we have experienced an unprecedented spike in demand across our portfolio and have had to make very tough decisions to ensure availability of our full portfolio nationwide,” a Klondike Brand representative told CNN Business in an email, adding “we know this may be very disappointing.”

You could possibly still find Choco Tacos around as sellers run through their inventory, the representative said.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on July 27, 2022 by Editor

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Revisiting Canseco’s Dome Run

Posted on July 26, 2022 by Editor

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Check The Robot

from CNN

Chess-playing robot breaks boy’s finger at Moscow tournament

By Masha Angelova and Mitchell McCluskey

A chess-playing robot broke a boy’s finger during a match in Russia last week, the president of the Moscow Chess Federation told state news agency TASS media.

Sergey Lazarev said the incident occurred at the Moscow Chess Open after the boy rushed the robot.

“A robot broke a child’s finger — this is, of course, bad,” Lazarev said.

“The robot was rented by us, it has been exhibited in many places by specialists for a long time. Apparently, the operators overlooked some flaws. The child made a move, and after that it is necessary to give time for the robot to respond, but the boy hurried, the robot grabbed him. We have nothing to do with the robot.”

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on July 25, 2022 by Editor

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Go to copyright jail, go directly to copyright jail.

from artnet

A Version of Monopoly Featuring a Graffiti Artist’s Mural Has Sparked a Fierce Legal Drama Over Copyright

The artist says including a photo of his mural in the game constitutes copyright infringement.

by Eileen Kinsella

Image via discovercentralma.com
OG Slick’s mural in Worcester, Massachusetts.

In the battle between an artist and a corporation behind niche editions of the board game Monopoly, nobody is playing around.

The Rhode Island-based game-maker Top Trumps USA Inc. (TTUI) is seeking a proactive judgement from a U.S. District Court in Massachusetts validating its use of a mural by Richard Wyrgatsch II, better known to his fans as OG Slick, in its Worcester, Massachusetts city edition of Monopoly.

Wyrgatsch painted the mural as part of the 2018 POW! WOW! festival in Worcester as a riff on the classic 1960s “Smiley Face” icon that was itself created by another Worcester native, Harry Ball.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on July 22, 2022 by Editor

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Electric Bus

from The New Yorker

The VW Bus Took the Sixties on the Road. Now It’s Getting a Twenty-first-Century Makeover

Once, it sparked dreams of community and counterculture. What’s gained—and lost—when flower power is electrified?

By Jill Lepore

The new version of the VW bus, the Buzz, is about plugging in, not dropping out. Illustration by Klaus Kremmerz

In 1976, at the tail end of the Ford Administration, hippies no longer hip, Sue Vargo and Molly Mead decided that they wanted to drive to the Florida Keys in a Volkswagen bus. They were best friends, in their twenties, living in a women-only commune in Massachusetts: muddy boots, acoustic guitars, mercurial vegetarians. They bought a beat-up VW bus, circa 1967, red and white, with a split windshield, a stick shift that sprouted up from the floor like a sturdy sapling, a big, flat, bus-driver steering wheel half the size of a hula hoop, and windshield wipers that waved back and forth—cheerful and eager, like a puppy—without wiping anything away. The bus had no suspension. “You just bounced along,” Vargo said, bobbing her head. “Boing, boing, boing.”

This year, Volkswagen is bringing back the bus—souped up, tricked out, and no longer bouncy—as the ID. Buzz. “ID.” stands for “intelligent design,” and “Buzz” means that it’s electric. It might be the most anticipated vehicle in automotive history. Volkswagen has been teasing a return of the classic, iconic, drive-it-to-the-Grateful-Dead bus for more than two decades. (I’m one of the people who’ve been counting the days.) The company keeps announcing that it’s coming, and then it never comes. Finally, it really is coming, and not only is it electric but it can also be a little bit psychedelic, two-toned, in the colors of a box of Popsicles: tangerine, lime, grape, lemon. It’s on sale in Europe this fall and will be available in the United States in 2024. (One reason for the wait is that Volkswagen is making a bigger one for the U.S. market, with three rows of seats instead of two.) Volkswagen expects the Buzz, which has a range of something like two hundred and sixty miles, to be the flagship of a fast-growing electric fleet. The C.E.O. of Volkswagen of America said that the demand for the Buzz in the U.S. is unlike anything he’s seen before. “The Buzz has the ability to rewrite the rules,” Top Gear reported in April, naming it Electric Car of the Year.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on July 21, 2022 by Editor

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Abbott On The Mound, Costello At The Plate

Posted on July 20, 2022 by Editor

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LST

from VICE

The Long, Strange Relationship Between Psychedelics and Telepathy

It’s impossible to tell the story of psychedelics without telepathy. How will these experiences fit into psychedelics’ mainstream, medical future?

By Shayla Love

GEORGEPETERS FOR GETTY IMAGES. 

In February of 1971, approximately 2,000 attendees at six Grateful Dead concerts at the Capitol Theater in Port Chester, New York saw this message projected onto a large screen at 11:30 PM: “YOU ARE ABOUT TO PARTICIPATE IN AN ESP EXPERIMENT.” 

It was a test to see if people could use extra-sensory perception, or ESP, to telepathically transmit randomly chosen images to two “psychic sensitive” people, Malcolm Bessent and Felicia Parise, who were sleeping 45 miles away. Bessent was at the Maimonides Dream Laboratory in Brooklyn, while Parise slept in her apartment. 

Art prints, selected at random, were projected at the Dead show, like The Castle of the Pyrenees and Philosophy in the Boudoir by René Magritte, or a visual representation of spinal chakras. Bessent and Parise described their dreams to two evaluators, an art therapy student and a divinity student, who then judged them based on their similarities to the images shown at the concert. 

The Grateful Dead were chosen because the members of the band agreed to facilitate such an experiment, but also because those who conducted the study had determined that the audience would be especially primed for telepathic abilities, in part because of the state of mind they assumed the audience would be in. 

In a paper summarizing the project, the authors wrote, “It was apparent to observers at the concert that the majority of the people in the audience were in states of consciousness that had been dramatically altered…these altered states of consciousness were brought about by the music, by the ingestion of psychedelic drugs before the concerts started, and by contact with other members of the audience.”

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on July 19, 2022 by Editor

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Brain On Idle

from WIRED

The Brain Has a ‘Low-Power Mode’ That Blunts Our Senses

Neuroscientists uncovered an energy-saving mode in vision-system neurons that works at the cost of being able to see fine-grained details.

by ALLISON WHITTEN

battery on brain
When food has been in short supply for a long time and body weight falls below a critical threshold, the brain reduces its energy consumption by changing how it processes information.ILLUSTRATION: MATT CURTIS/QUANTA MAGAZINE

WHEN OUR PHONES and computers run out of power, their glowing screens go dark and they die a sort of digital death. But switch them to low-power mode to conserve energy and they cut expendable operations to keep basic processes humming along until their batteries can be recharged.

Our energy-intensive brain needs to keep its lights on too. Brain cells depend primarily on steady deliveries of the sugar glucose, which they convert to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to fuel their information processing. When we’re a little hungry, our brain usually doesn’t change its energy consumption much. But given that humans and other animals have historically faced the threat of long periods of starvation, sometimes seasonally, scientists have wondered whether brains might have their own kind of low-power mode for emergencies.

Now, in a paper published in Neuron in January, neuroscientists in Nathalie Rochefort’s lab at the University of Edinburgh have revealed an energy-saving strategy in the visual systems of mice. They found that when mice were deprived of sufficient food for weeks at a time—long enough for them to lose 15 to 20 percent of their typical healthy weight—neurons in the visual cortex reduced the amount of ATP used at their synapses by a sizable 29 percent.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on July 18, 2022 by Editor

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In Praise of GWAR

from The Daily Beast via MSN

The Heavy Metal Band Showering Fans With Blood and Semen

by Nick Schager

There has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone like GWAR, the metal outfit hailing from Richmond, Virginia, who dress up as space barbarians, act out all manner of onstage obscenity, and spew their audiences with fake blood, semen, and other sticky bodily fluids. For the past four decades, GWAR has carved out a wholly unique niche in the music industry, serving as a nexus point for those who love horror movies, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, superheroes, Dungeons & Dragons, punk, and headbanging. They’re the mutant manifestation of every geeky thing in modern American popular culture, and their legacy of gonzo anti-establishment satire, pornographic performance-art pyrotechnics, gory tongue-in-cheek violence, and absurdist mania are all lovingly celebrated by This is GWAR, a non-fiction introduction to a band that long-time member Danielle Stampe (aka Slymenstra Hymen) refers to as “a joke with no punchline.”

As laid out by director Scott Barber’s (The Orange Years: The Nickelodeon Story) fun-loving documentary (July 21 on Shudder, following a limited theatrical release beginning July 16), GWAR was the byproduct of a meeting of two idiosyncratic—and, for a time, kindred—minds. In 1980s Richmond, Hunter Jackson was an aspiring and unconventional artist at Virginia Commonwealth University and his efforts to create an out-there cinematic spectacular at The Dairy—a former milk factory that had transformed into a de facto home for artistic collectives, including Hunter’s own Slave Pit—led to an encounter with David Brockie, the lead singer of on-the-rise punk band Death Piggy. By this time, Brockie was already a local celebrity thanks to his theatrics, such as providing audiences with pinatas filled with quarters, candy and cat shit, and he immediately took to Hunter and, in particular, the bizarre movie costumes he and his Slave Pit comrades were creating. One night, Brockie asked to borrow those get-ups to pose as his own opening band, dubbed “Gwarggh,” and a perverse phenomenon was born.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on July 17, 2022 by Editor

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The Anthropause

from The New York Times

Did Nature Heal During the Pandemic ‘Anthropause’?

Covid precautions created a global slowdown in human activity — and an opportunity to learn more about the complex ways we affect other species.

By Emily Anthes

A lone duck savoring its hegemony over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020.
A lone duck savoring its hegemony over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, during coronavirus pandemic lockdowns in the spring of 2020. Credit…Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

In a typical spring, breeding seabirds — and human seabird-watchers — flock to Stora Karlsö, an island off the coast of Sweden.

But in 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic canceled the tourist season, reducing human presence on the island by more than 90 percent. With people out of the picture, white-tailed eagles moved in, becoming much more abundant than usual, researchers found.

That might seem like a tidy parable about how nature recovers when people disappear from the landscape — if not for the fact that ecosystems are complex. The newly numerous eagles repeatedly soared past the cliffs where a protected population of common murres laid its eggs, flushing the smaller birds from their ledges.

In the commotion, some eggs tumbled from the cliffs; others were snatched by predators while the murres were away. The murres’ breeding performance dropped 26 percent, Jonas Hentati-Sundberg, a marine ecologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, found. “They were flying out in panic, and they lost their eggs,” he said.

The pandemic was, and remains, a global human tragedy. But for ecologists, it has also been an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about how people affect the natural world by documenting what happened when we abruptly stepped back from it.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on July 16, 2022 by Editor

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Heartbeat Burst

from CNN

Mysterious fast radio burst in space has a ‘heartbeat’ pattern

By Ashley Strickland

A mysterious radio burst with a pattern similar to a heartbeat has been detected in space.

Astronomers estimate that the signal came from a galaxy roughly a billion light-years away, but the exact location and cause of the burst is unknown. A study detailing the findings published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Fast radio bursts, or FRBs, are intense, millisecond-long bursts of radio waves with unknown origins. The first FRB was discovered in 2007, and since then, hundreds of these quick, cosmic flashes have been detected coming from various, distant points across the universe.

Many FRBs release super bright radio waves lasting only a few milliseconds at most before disappearing completely, and about 10% of them have been known to repeat and have patterns.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on July 14, 2022 by Editor

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Canvas Find

from AP

Van Gogh self-portrait found hidden behind another painting

(Neil Hanna via AP)

LONDON (AP) — A previously unknown self-portrait of Vincent Van Gogh has been discovered behind another of the artist’s paintings, the National Galleries of Scotland said Thursday.

The self-portrait was found on the back of Van Gogh’s “Head of a Peasant Woman” when experts at the Edinburgh gallery took an X-ray of the canvas ahead of an upcoming exhibition. The work is believed to have been hidden for over a century, covered by layers of glue and cardboard when it was framed in the early 20th century.

Van Gogh was known for turning canvases around and painting on the other side to save money.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on July 13, 2022 by Editor

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Starpocalypse

from The Independent

The solar system could collapse because of a passing star, scientists predict

by Adam Smith

Scientists have warned that if a passing star moves Neptune’s orbit by just 0.1 per cent, the resulting chaos could cause the other planets in our solar system to collide.

The research, presented in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, suggests that a “stellar flyby” – a relatively common occurance in the universe – could be enough to sent the other planets crashing into each other.

It is possible that if Mercury and Jupiter’s perihelion – the point at which the planets reach closest to the Sun – fall in sync, two possibilities could occur. Mercury could be pulled out of its orbit and either shoot out of the Solar System or head on a collision course with Venus, the Sun, or the Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on July 12, 2022 by Editor

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