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BRIGHT SHINY MORNING (New French Edition)

from Facebook

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Posted on June 10, 2019 by Editor

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F†cking Bees

from KQED

What Started the Biggest Fire in California History? Yellowjackets, and a Man With a Hammer

By Dan Brekke

Teenage resident of Clearlake Oaks fought to save his home as the Ranch Fire advanced through the area on Aug. 4, 2018, a week after it started on a ranch near the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley.   (Noah Berger/AFP-Getty Images)

What did it take to start the biggest wildland fire in California history? A rancher attempting a simple chore, a nest of angry yellowjackets and some very bad luck.

Cal Fire reported Thursday that its investigation of the Ranch Fire, which started last July 27 near Clear Lake and eventually burned a sprawling expanse of forest and grassland 13 times the size of San Francisco, was touched off by an unidentified man trying to hammer a metal stake into the ground.

The agency’s report says investigators determined that the hammering threw off sparks or hot fragments that ignited a small patch of dry grass that was 2 to 3 feet tall. The blaze surged uphill despite the panicked efforts of the man who told arriving investigators he had started it.

The man called firefighters to his property just off Highway 20, northeast of Clear Lake and south of the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley, and told them the fire began with what sounded like a straightforward ranch job.

The previous winter, a 50- to 60-foot length of fabric that was suspended over several water tanks as a sunshade blew down in a storm. The rancher’s daughter had complained last July that water in the tanks was too hot for livestock to drink, the man told investigators. So late on the morning of July 27, he drove up the hill from his home with tools and supplies to reinstall the sunshade.

The rancher told Cal Fire that when he picked up the fabric, he disturbed a yellowjackets’ nest underground and was confronted with a swarm of the stinging insects. Since he’s allergic to bees, he said, he backed off for about an hour to let the yellowjackets calm down.

When he returned, he brought a claw hammer and a metal stake that he intended to use to plug the small hole leading to the yellowjackets’ nest.

[ click to continue reading at KQED ]

Posted on June 9, 2019 by Editor

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Rural Radio Gone (Almost)

from The Guardian

America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them

At a time when local newspapers are disappearing, the loss of a radio station leaves a community with another cultural and informational gap

by Debbie Weingarten in Willcox, Arizona

 In the kill zone of the radio tower with the dungeon in the background in Willcox. Photograph: Cassidy Araiza/The Guardian

When I arrive at the radio station, Mark Lucke is standing in the doorway, looking out at the spitting, winter rain. He’s slim and stoic, with sad, almost haunted, eyes. The first thing he asks is if I’d like to see “the dungeon”. Who wouldn’t?

Lucke pulls on a Steeler’s jacket and a baseball cap over brown hair that falls halfway down his back, and leads me across the five-acre yard. Out here, 90 miles east of Tucson, the desert is a long sweep of brush the color of beach sand. Lucke seems to slip through the rainy day like a ghost.

The radio station, whose call letters are KHIL, has long been the daily soundtrack for this frontier town (population 3,500) that prides itself on its cowboy culture and quiet pace of life. But six decades after the founding of the station, the property is in foreclosure, with utility disconnect notices coming nearly every month.

Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible – especially those higher on the dial – in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab.

The “dungeon” turns out to be benign – just the original radio station building. Lucke explains that country music star Tanya Tucker “used to hang out here with the jocks”. This was before she recorded Delta Dawn at the age of 13 and left Willcox to produce a slew of hits, which landed her in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her familiar drawl can still be heard at the top of every hour on KHIL, saying, “Hello, Willcox. This is Tanya Tucker, and you’re listening to the station I always listened to when I was a kid.”

Except for a washing machine and stacking radio conductors, the dungeon is empty. From here, in a feat of electrical wiring, several radio stations (four of which are run by Lucke) are connected to the 5,000-watt radio tower behind the dungeon, and pushed out into the sky.

KHIL was founded in 1958 by Rex Allen, who gained notoriety as the last of the singing cowboys. On the silver screen, The Arizona Cowboy could be seen strumming a guitar from the back of his horse, until the genre came to a close in 1954. He would go on to narrate a plethora of Disney movies, including Charlotte’s Web, and for years was the voice behind Ford truck and Purina Dog Chow commercials.

Allen – who died in 1999 – is now immortalized by a statue in the historic downtown. Born 31 December 1920 to Horace and Faye Allen in Willcox, Rex Elvie Allen was cross-eyed at birth, reads the plaque below the statue.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on June 8, 2019 by Editor

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New Missing Link Found

from The Sun

‘Missing link’ in human evolution found after 30,000-year-old remains are dug up – rewriting history of first American settlers

By Charlotte Edwards

 Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America
Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America

NEWLY discovered ancient teeth dating back 31,000 years are evidence of a new ethnic group in human history – and could change everything we know about the first American settlers.

Living in extreme arctic conditions in Siberia during the last Ice Age, the previously-undiscovered group is being hailed by scientists as a “missing link in evolution”.

The ancient people have been named as ‘Ancient North Siberians’ and the new study suggests that they would have survived in harsh conditions by hunting woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and bison.

They were discovered thanks to DNA analysis of two ancient milk teeth, found buried deep at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn archaeological site in Russia.

Professor Eske Willerslev, who led the study, said: “The Yana site 31,000 years ago was an Arctic steppe – more rich in plant diversity than today and dominated by varies forbs and grasses, there were very few trees if any. The animal life was very different than today.

“It was more like what we know from the African savanna with mammoth, woolly rhino, horses, bison, wolves and lions. The Ancient North Siberians were hunting these particularly rhino and mammoth.”

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Editor

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Madonna

from The New York Times

Madonna at Sixty

The original queen of pop on aging, inspiration and why she refuses to cede control.

By Vanessa Grigoriadis

Madonna and her six children. Creditvia Instagram

The night before the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May, Madonna was sitting in the arena attached to the MGM Grand hotel, staring at a double of herself. The double, who was standing on the stage many yards away, was younger and looked Asian but wore a similar lace minidress and a wig in Madonna’s current hairstyle, a ’30s movie star’s crimped blond waves. “It’s always the second person with the wig — she wants to see it,” a stage designer said, adding that when she makes a decision, she is definitive. “Madonna wants 10 options, but when she says it’s the one, it’s the one.”

Madonna was observing Madonna to make sure Madonna was doing everything perfectly. Up on the stage set of a funky urban street with lampposts and a tiled bar, the double hit her marks and held a fist up to her mouth like a faux microphone for a rendition of “Medellín,” the on-trend, Latin-inflected song that Madonna would be singing. Madonna looked at a TV and assessed the augmented-reality part of the show, in which four additional virtual Madonnas, one playing an accordion and another dressed like a bride, would materialize in the televised awards performance out of thin air. Nearby, guys bowed heads and said cryptic things like “Where’s the digital key?” and “I need the alpha channel” to one another, tensely.

All the fake Madonnas ran through the song a few times before Madonna skipped enthusiastically to the stage. The sex bomb at 60 was slightly less than bionic and wore a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted patch over her left eye (“It’s fashion, darling,” an onlooker explained when I asked why she chose to wear it). Afterward, Madonna mused about something being off, and the next time she messed up the part where she stood on a table and gyrated her legs in and out in a move called “the butterfly” while popping her head in each direction. But by the third run-through she seemed ecstatic. “It’s so nice to see her smile,” Megan Lawson, a choreographer, said from under a black bolero hat, “and have it be a genuine smile.”

The AR part of Madonna’s performance was a feat, devised by some of the people who worked on this year’s Super Bowl, and the next night at the awards show she danced boldly despite the eye patch, which had to be difficult, peripheral-vision-speaking. But she wasn’t incorporating fireworks, a marching band and flying backup dancers, as Taylor Swift did; she didn’t hand out special bracelets to every person in the audience, then activate them to beam a thousand points of light, as the Jonas Brothers did; she wasn’t in a leotard and rolling around on the floor simulating a lesbian make-out session, as Halsey did, though the reason Halsey did that has a lot to do with Madonna doing it first. When the people in the audience lost their minds that night, they lost them almost exclusively for the K-pop band BTS, whose smooth hip-hop moves have birthed a million memes. For Madonna, they rose to their feet and took their phones out to commemorate “the time they saw Madonna” but seemed to scream loudest for the gyrating butterfly part, which was a little skanky, and that pleased them.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on June 6, 2019 by Editor

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Can you turn up the heat, darling?

from Metro

The sun has ‘reached solar minimum’ and its surface is ominously calm

by Jasper Hamill

This recent Nasa image shows the face of the sun looking blanker than usual

This solar slowdown often causes temporary cooling in Earth’s atmosphere.

Climate change deniers often hail this cooling as evidence that the heating of our world is about to go into reverse.

Sadly, this is very unlikely to be true because the sun follows an 11-year cycle, meaning it will simply spring back to life in the coming years.

However, once activity ramps up, the sun will be rocked by an increased number of gigantic ‘monster’ explosions, Nasa warned last week.

Eruptions from the face of our star are called ‘prominences’ and cause vast amounts of superhot gas to shoot into space, often forming beautiful loops on the solar surface.

During the solar minimum, the number of flares and sunspots is dramatically reduced.

When the sun leaps back from its minimum after roughly 11 years, we’re likely to see more and more ferocious explosions on the sun.

[ click to continue reading at Metro ]

Posted on June 5, 2019 by Editor

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It’s Coming

from Axios

1 big thing: Media companies wade into betting

By Sara Fischer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The legalization of sports betting has opened up new business opportunities, and ethical challenges, for some of America’s biggest media companies.

Why it matters: Striking the right balance between leaning into betting — and not alienating casual fans or compromising journalistic principles — will force the establishment of new media boundaries.

Driving the news: Fox announced the most aggressive push into domestic sports betting this month with the introduction of “Fox Bet,” an online betting app.

  • Fox Corp. is buying 5% of Canadian gaming and online gambling company Stars Group Inc. for $236 million. In doing so, it will be starting its own sports wagering platform, a major step for a U.S. sports broadcaster.
  • And in December, mobile sports app theScore announced that it planned to launch its own mobile sports book, beginning in New Jersey.

Between the lines: Other TV networks with sports broadcast rights are taking a more cautious approach.

[ continue reading at Axios ]

Posted on June 4, 2019 by Editor

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$15k for Play

from The Hollywood Reporter

How Top Gamers Earn Up to $15,000 an Hour

by Patrick Shanley

SOURCE: Twitch

A new lawsuit reveals the high stakes in gaming as brands like Coca-Cola and Bud Light push the hourly income of popular streamers as high as five figures: “It’s become something nobody predicted.”

A decade ago, Benjamin Lupo’s hobby of playing video games was just that. Today, a gamer like Lupo could earn as much as $15,000 an hour broadcasting his gaming to the nearly 3  million people who follow him on live-streaming platform Twitch. 

Lupo, who goes by the online avatar DrLupo, says it took him “two full years of streaming 40-plus hours a week” while working a regular job before he felt comfortable gaming “full time.” Now considered one of the world’s most popular gamers, he’s part of a burgeoning cottage industry of streamers who are profiting from the booming business of video games. 

Over the past five years, the gaming industry has more than doubled, rocketing to $43.8  billion in revenue in 2018, according to the NPD Group. Skilled gamers — buoyed by the rise of streaming platforms like Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch — have turned into stars who can not only attract millions of fans but also earn millions of dollars. Top Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, for example, has said he made $10  million in 2018 playing online game Fortnite.

“There’s been incredible [revenue] growth across the board,” says Mike Aragon, who oversees Twitch’s partnerships with streamers as senior vp content. “The entire ecosystem has become more mainstream.”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on June 3, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Coming.

from Stars And Stripes

The Navy tracks UFO sightings. Scientists explain what’s really going on.

By TOM AVRIL

NOGA AMI-RAV/STARS AND STRIPES ILLUSTRATION

(Tribune News Service) — The Navy caused a bit of a sensation this spring when it implemented a formal process for pilots to report unexplained aerial phenomena – what most people call UFOs – after being accused in the past of not taking such reports seriously.

Alas for those who might be tempted to make the leap, such sightings are not evidence of life on other planets.

No one doubts that the pilots are seeing something, but psychologists and specialists in aviation medicine say there are plenty of reasonable explanations for such sightings other than extraterrestrial beings. Earthly sources of light reflected by clouds or haze, for example, or optical illusions wrought by fatigue after staring through a cockpit window for hours on end.

Another possibility is that the pilots were seeing some sort of experimental drone or other advanced technology about which they had not been briefed. Or, the objects were simply satellites, such as those launched in May by the Elon Musk-founded company SpaceX, which prompted a flurry of UFO reports from puzzled observers, the news agency AFP reported.

[ click to contine reading at Stars And Stripes ]

Posted on June 2, 2019 by Editor

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We Don’t Need Another Satellite

from NYT via MSN

After SpaceX Starlink Launch, a Fear of Satellites That Outnumber All Visible Stars

by Shannon Hall

a satellite in space: A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.
© SpaceX A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.

Last month, SpaceX successfully launched 60 500-pound satellites into space. Soon amateur skywatchers started sharing images of those satellites in night skies, igniting an uproar among astronomers who fear that the planned orbiting cluster will wreak havoc on scientific research and trash our view of the cosmos.

The main issue is that those 60 satellites are merely a drop in the bucket. SpaceX anticipates launching thousands of satellites — creating a mega-constellation of false stars collectively called Starlink that will connect the entire planet to the internet, and introduce a new line of business for the private spaceflight company.

While astronomers agree that global internet service is a worthy goal, the satellites are bright — too bright.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on June 1, 2019 by Editor

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Decadent U.

from Esquire

The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College

Fall, 1982. A new freshman class arrives at arty, louche, and expensive Bennington College. Among the druggies, rebels, heirs, and posers: future Gen X literary stars Donna Tartt, Bret Easton Ellis, and Jonathan Lethem. What happened over the next four years would spark scandal, myth, and some of the authors’ greatest novels. Return to a campus and an era like no other.

BY LILI ANOLIK

image
Kate Aichele/Bennington College; Mark Norris (Tartt and Lethem);
Ian Gittler (Ellis).

What Café du Dôme was to the Lost Generation, the dining hall at Bennington College was to Generation X—i.e., the Lost Generation Revisited. The Moveable Feast had moved ahead six decades and across the Atlantic, and while, of course, southwestern Vermont wasn’t Paris, somehow, in the early-to-mid eighties, it was, was just as sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu. And speaking of sly, louche, low-down, and darkly perdu, check out the habitués. Seated around the table, ready to gorge on the conversation if not the food (cocaine, the Pernod of its era, is a notorious appetite suppressant), berets swapped for sunglasses, were the neo F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Djuna Barnes: Bret Easton Ellis, future writer of American Psycho and charter member of the literary Brat Pack; Jonathan Lethem, future writer of The Fortress of Solitude and MacArthur genius; and Donna Tartt, future writer of The Secret History and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Goldfinch. All three were in the class of 1986. All three were a long way from home—Los Angeles, Brooklyn, and Grenada, Mississippi, respectively. All three were, at various times, infatuated and disappointed with one another, their friendships stimulated and fueled by rivalry. And all three would mythologize Bennington—the baroque wickedness, the malignant glamour, the corruption so profound as to be exactly what is meant by the word decadence—in their fiction that, as it turns out, wasn’t quite, and thereby become myths themselves.

Every prodigy needs his or her very own Gertrude Stein or Sherwood Anderson—i.e., a mentor and model. Bennington had those in profusion, teachers who were also artists: journalist Joe McGinniss; novelists and short-story writers Nicholas Delbanco and Arturo Vivante; and poet, mystic, and self-chronicler Claude Fredericks. And then there were the supporting figures (and fellow students), so fascinating they threatened to eclipse the main: writers Jill Eisenstadt, David Lipsky, Lawrence David, Reginald Shepherd; Brixton Smith Start, lead guitarist of post-punk British band the Fall; and Quintana Roo Dunne, only child of Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.

So grab a tray, pull up a chair, and try not to look like you’re eavesdropping.

[ click to continue reading at Esquire ]

Posted on May 31, 2019 by Editor

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Nostrawarhol

from AP

California show explores Warhol’s social, tech foreshadowing

By KATIE OYAN

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Before Instagram and Facebook, before selfies and filters that perfect selfies, there was Andy Warhol, using his art to imbue friends, family, celebrities — even himself — with a certain mystique.

A retrospective of Warhol’s work on display in San Francisco captures the artist’s ability to use paintings, drawings, photographs and other mediums to create buzz-worthy personas the way people do now using social media.

The idea of personal branding, “of how we can be who we want to be,” was something Warhol was trading on more than a half-century ago, said Donna De Salvo, deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, where the exhibit originated . “He had a real understanding of something about American culture, which is now more global.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on May 30, 2019 by Editor

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Alie Rivier Gutman to VP at Andrew Stearn Productions

from Deadline

Andrew Stearn Launches Production Company With Overall Deal At ABC Studios

By Nellie Andreeva

Alie Rivier Gutman

Former Working Title Television U.S. and John Wells Productions president Andrew Stearn is launching his own production company, Andrew Stearn Productions. It will be based at ABC Studios, a division of Disney Television Studios, with an overall deal.

At ABC Studios, Stearn will be joined by Alie Rivier Gutman, whom he has hired as VP for Andrew Stearn Prods. She most recently served as Director of Development and Production for James Frey’s Full Fathom Five, where she worked in TV and film on projects including the series Relationship Status (Verizon Go90),American Gothic (CBS), The Kicks(Amazon) and the feature film Eat, Brains, Love. 

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on May 29, 2019 by Editor

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Scully, I’m on my way.

from Sputnik News

Paging Agent Mulder: UFO Hunter Spies New Underground Base Near Area 51 

The conspiracy buff also directed his attention toward the two fields located near the suspected underground facility, speculating that these crops might be part of some genetic research programme.

While the US Air Force facility known as Area 51 has already become the staple of conspiracy theories regarding extraterrestrial spacecraft and alien lifeforms, famous UFO hunter Scott C. Waring now claims that a new underground installation is being constructed in the vicinity.

According to Waring, who had apparently stumbled upon this discovery while studying satellite maps, the new facility is located 55 miles to the north-east of Area 51’s perimeter.

[ click to continue reading at Sputnik News ]

Posted on May 28, 2019 by Editor

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Mona Deepfake

from The Telegraph

‘Deepfake’ AI can turn the Mona Lisa into a convincing real person

by  Olivia Rudgard

AI can now turn the Mona Lisa into a real life person with just one picture.

A paper published by a Samsung artificial intelligence lab in Russia shows the ability to convincingly turn artworks and celebrity photographs into moving images. 

The technology raises the prospect of convincing “deep fakes”, videos showing politicians and even people who have died saying things they never said, created just with still images of their faces. 

The paintings were animated using the facial expressions of a real person, while celebrity photographs of figures such as David Beckham were turned into video using footage of them speaking on a different occasion. 

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on May 27, 2019 by Editor

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Nasty Curves

from FiveThirtyEight

MLB Curves And Sliders Have Gotten Alarmingly Nasty

By Travis Sawchik

Cleveland Indians v. Houston Astros
Trevor Bauer has turned to pitch design to create more movement on his breaking pitches. LOREN ELLIOTT / MLB PHOTOS VIA GETTY IMAGES

Major League Baseball seems to be on an unstoppable pathway to more and more strikeouts. After a record share of plate appearances ended in a strikeout last season (22.3 percent), this season is winding up to set another record: If the to-date strikeout rate of 23 percent holds or increases over the season, it would mark the 12th straight year of a record set for strikeout rate.

Fastball velocity is often cited as the source of the strikeout surge, along with hitters willing to trade contact for power. The constantly increasing fastball velocities of recent years are such a concern that MLB is partnering with the independent Atlantic League next year to move the mound back by 2 feet — to 62 feet, 6 inches from home plate. Still, there may be another culprit behind all of the K’s: Breaking balls have never moved more. According to a FiveThirtyEight analysis of PITCHf/x and Statcast data at Baseball Prospectus, sliders and curveballs this season are darting away from bats at their greatest levels in the pitch-tracking era (since 2008).

[ click to continue reading at FiveThirtyEight.com ]

Posted on May 26, 2019 by Editor

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That’s no asteroid, it’s an asteroid with a moon

from CBS News

A massive asteroid with its own moon trailing behind will pass by Earth this weekend

BY BRIAN PASCUS

1999 kw4 nasa
NASA rendering of KW4 1999 asteroid with moon following 

An asteroid nearly a mile wide with a moon of its own is expected to pass by Earth this weekend, traveling at 48,000 mph. The space rock, known as asteroid 1999 KW4, was discovered 20 years ago and is so large that it is orbited by a moon.

On Saturday evening, 1999 KW4 will make its closest approach to Earth. It will be visible until May 27. Because it carries a large moon along with it, the asteroid is technically designated as a binary system. 

A binary system is defined as two celestial objects close enough to orbit each other, according to NASA.

[ click to continue reading at CBS ]

Posted on May 25, 2019 by Editor

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The Jersey Man

from Inside Hook

How the Dean of Sports Uniforms Stitched Together His Online Dynasty

Paul Lukas looks back on 20 years of Uni Watch, the preeminent website for all things jerseys and uniforms

BY EVAN BLEIER

Uni Watch is obsessed with the laundry of sports.

Uni Watch is obsessed with the laundry of sports.

Paul Lukas lives for the laundry of sports.

Lukas is the man behind Uni Watch, a website where fans of sports uniforms congregate to dissect the minutiae of logos and stitches instead of play calls and pitches in an obsessive and informed manner. The 55-year-old, whose first sports fashion/design column appeared in the sports section of the now-defunct Village Voice20 years ago this month (May 26), concurs with Seinfeld’s assessment.

“It’s true because the players come and go,” Lukas tells InsideHook. “They get traded, they retire, they leave via free agency or whatever and we keep rooting for whoever is wearing that uniform, whoever that person is. Your team could be really good one year and really bad another year, but you stay loyal to that team and to that uniform. That’s a really uncommon thing and a really powerful form of brand loyalty, frankly.”

While he may not have realized it when he was worrying about the stirrups of his Little League uniform or doodling team logos in the margins of his notebook instead of paying attention in class as a kid, Lukas already sensed the connection between livery and loyalty.

“I’ve always been interested in uniforms. I guess because it’s really what we end up rooting for,”  Lukas says. “I don’t think I could have articulated it that way when I was a kid or when I was geeking out over my first Little League uniform or anything like that, but I think the seeds of it were there.”

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook.com ]

Posted on May 24, 2019 by Editor

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JG @ DU

Posted on May 23, 2019 by Editor

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The Forever Wrong

from The Atlantic

The Peculiar Blindness of Experts

Credentialed authorities are comically bad at predicting the future. But reliable forecasting is possible.

by DAVID EPSTEIN

NA KIM

The bet was on, and it was over the fate of humanity. On one side was the Stanford biologist Paul R. Ehrlich. In his 1968 best seller, The Population Bomb, Ehrlich insisted that it was too late to prevent a doomsday apocalypse resulting from overpopulation. Resource shortages would cause hundreds of millions of starvation deaths within a decade. It was cold, hard math: The human population was growing exponentially; the food supply was not. Ehrlich was an accomplished butterfly specialist. He knew that nature did not regulate animal populations delicately. Populations exploded, blowing past the available resources, and then crashed.

In his book, Ehrlich played out hypothetical scenarios that represented “the kinds of disasters that will occur.” In the worst-case scenario, famine rages across the planet. Russia, China, and the United States are dragged into nuclear war, and the resulting environmental degradation soon extinguishes the human race. In the “cheerful” scenario, population controls begin. Famine spreads, and countries teeter, but the major death wave ends in the mid-1980s. Only half a billion or so people die of starvation. “I challenge you to create one more optimistic,” Ehrlich wrote, adding that he would not count scenarios involving benevolent aliens bearing care packages.

The economist Julian Simon took up Ehrlich’s challenge. Technology—water-control techniques, hybridized seeds, management strategies—had revolutionized agriculture, and global crop yields were increasing. To Simon, more people meant more good ideas about how to achieve a sustainable future. So he proposed a wager. Ehrlich could choose five metals that he expected to become more expensive as resources were depleted and chaos ensued over the next decade. Both men agreed that commodity prices were a fine proxy for the effects of population growth, and they set the stakes at $1,000 worth of Ehrlich’s five metals. If, 10 years hence, prices had gone down, Ehrlich would have to pay the difference in value to Simon. If prices went up, Simon would be on the hook for the difference. The bet was made official in 1980.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Editor

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Melina’s Closet

from COVETEUR

WE ONCE RAIDED MELINA MATSOUKAS’ CLOSET 

And it was just as cool as we imagined. Los Angeles. In Partnership with BET.

by Laurel Pantin

Think of pretty much any music video you’ve loved in the past few years, and odds are director Melina Matsoukas is behind it. We’re talking Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love” (for which she was the first female director ever to win a Grammy), Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” (yaaas), and Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance.” Matsoukas is the realest of deals, and also the coolest person you could ever hope to spend an afternoon with.

But if you thought directing ground-breaking music videos would be enough for most people, you’d find that “most people” doesn’t apply to Matsoukas. She just wrapped the forthcoming film Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey, and has garnered much well-deserved praise for her work on Insecure. 

[ click to continue reading at COVETEUR ]

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Editor

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8,000-year-old Lox

from Nautilus

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

BY SEVINDJ NURKIYAZOVA

The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived. Photograph by Helen Cook / Flickr

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. There is hardly a more quintessential New York food than a lox bagel—a century-old popular appetizing store, Russ & Daughters, calls it “The Classic.” But Guy, who has lived in the city for the past 17 years, is passionate about lox for a different reason. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

How scholars have traced the word’s pronunciation over thousands of years is also really cool. The story goes back to Thomas Young, also known as “The Last Person Who Knew Everything.” The 18th-century British polymath came up with the wave theory of light, first described astigmatism, and played a key role in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Like some people before him, Young noticed eerie similarities between Indic and European languages. He went further, analyzing 400 languages spread across continents and millennia and proved that the overlap between some of them was too extensive to be an accident. A single coincidence meant nothing, but each additional one increased the chance of an underlying connection. In 1813, Young declared that all those languages belong to one family. He named it “Indo-European.”

Today, roughly half the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language. That family includes 440 languages spoken across the globe, including English. The word yoga, for example, which comes from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, is a distant relative of the English word yoke. The nature of this relationship puzzled historical linguists for two centuries.

In modern English, well over half of all words are borrowed from other languages. To trace how language changes over time, linguists developed an ingenious toolkit. “Some parts of vocabulary are more stable and don’t change as much. The linguistic term [for these words] is ‘a core vocabulary.’ These are numbers, colors, family relations like ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘sister,’ ‘brother,’ and basic verbs like ‘walk’ and ‘see,’ says Guy. “If you look at words of that sort in different languages, it becomes fairly clear which ones are related and which ones are not. For example, take the English word for number two, which is dva in Russian and deux in French, or the word night, which is nacht in German and noch in Russian.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Editor

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Ride Like The Wind, Bodexpress!

Posted on May 19, 2019 by Editor

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Cast Inflatable Haters

from The New York Times

Stop Hating Jeff Koons 

Why “Rabbit,” the perfect art for the roaring mid-80s, continues to speak to us.

By Roberta Smith

Jeff Koons poses with “Rabbit” at the Tate Modern in 2009.CreditCreditDaniel Deme/EPA, via Shutterstock

Jeff Koons is back on top, if on top means holding the highest auction price for a living artist, as hyped by the auction house responsible. Mr. Koons’s 1986 “Rabbit,” a precise stainless steel copy of a plastic inflatable toy — mirror-smooth yet with seams and puckers — sold Wednesday night at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale for $91.1 million, the highlight of New York’s buoyant spring auctions.

It broke the record set last fall when Christie’s auctioned David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)” — a 1972painting the size of a small mural — for $90.3 million. But let’s get real. The hammer price for both works was actually $80 million. The “Rabbit” inched ahead by a whisker — about $762,500 — because of a twist of fate: Christie’s increased the fees buyers pay on Feb. 1. The difference was simply a matter of auction house profit-seeking. It recalls the soaring home-run statistics from baseball’s “steroid era” before testing for performance enhancing drugs became routine. The price should have an asterisk or footnote — something that says, hey, the final bids on these two art works were exactly the same. It was a tie.

Mr. Koons, who is 64, set his first living-artist auction record in 2013, when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million, also at Christie’s. Then came a precipitous drop: The artist’s big painted aluminum “Play-Doh” went for $22.8 million in 2014. Unlike “Play-Doh,” the “Rabbit,” made in 1986, has been with us over three decades, alternately loved and hated. Some of its most fervent admirers see it as the perfect work of art for its moment, the roaring mid-1980s. I don’t disagree. I also think it continues to speak to us.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on May 18, 2019 by Editor

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Porcelain Ramen

Posted on May 17, 2019 by Editor

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I.M. Pei Gone (at 102!)

from Curbed

I.M. Pei, modernist architect, dies at 102

The pioneering Chinese-American architect won a Pritzker Prize in 1983

By Patrick Sisson

Sygma via Getty Images

I.M. Pei, the Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect famous for his soaring, lyrical renditions of contemporary architecture, has passed away at age 102. [Update] Marc Diamond, director of communications at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has confirmed the news. 

Under his direction, Pei’s firm was responsible for a wide range of buildings in the United States and abroad, most famously the glass-topped extension of Paris’s Louvre Museum. The architect was celebrated not only for his great skill as a designer, but for his ability to collaborate with clients and bridge their needs in ways that did not compromise his own striking vision. 

The jury for the Pritzker Prize, which was awarded to Pei in 1983, cited his incredible scope as one of the many reasons for awarding him the profession’s top honor. 

“I.M. Pei has refused to limit himself to a narrow range of architectural problems,” the announcement reads. “His work over the past forty years includes not only palaces of industry, government and culture, but also some of the best moderate and low-income housing. Through his skill he has elevated the use of materials to an art.”

[ click to continue reading at Curbed ]

Posted on May 16, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hotel

from CNBC

Taco Bell is opening a hotel and resort

by Amelia Lucas

H/O: Taco Bell hotel door 190514
Hotel door at The Bell, A Taco Bell Hotel & ResortCourtesy Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s latest limited-time offer isn’t Nacho Fries — it’s a hotel.

The Mexican fast-food chain is taking over a Palm Springs, California, hotel and resort in its latest move to recognize the brand’s super fans.

Reservations will open in June, and guests can start checking in Aug. 9. The Yum Brands unit didn’t specify how long it would operate the hotel.

The Bell will feature a gift shop with exclusive Taco Bell-themed apparel and an on-site salon with Taco Bell-inspired nail art and hair styling services.

[ click to continue reading at CNBC ]

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Editor

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Pulp Basquiat

from artnet

Basquiat, the Comic Book: See the Rise of Art Star Jean-Michel Basquiat in a New Graphic Novel

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired films, a Broadway musical, and now a graphic novel.

by Eileen Kinsella

Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.
Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.

Who needs Captain America when you have Basquiat?

A new graphic novel published by UK-based Laurence King traces the rise of Jean-Michel Basquiat from street-art upstart to international fame. It is the latest graphic novel by illustrator Paolo Parisi, who has previously written and illustrated volumes on the lives of music legends Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.

In a chapter excerpted here, entitled “New Art/New Money,” Parisi takes a close look at the artist’s prolific output and often-contentious relationship with famous art dealers including Annina Nosei, Mary Boone, and Larry Gagosian. All are seen vying to work with the artist as the buzz around him begins to build and the supercharged market machine of the 1980s kicks into high gear.

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired everything from biopics to a Broadway musical. As in other Basquiat-inspired projects, the details in the graphic novel may be exaggerated or twisted—it’s hard to imagine notoriously competitive Larry Gagosian telling Mary Boone encouragingly, “Basquiat has to be the new star, and you with him,” while Basquiat comes off as a bit more naive and far less conflicted then we now know him to be. But if you are looking for an art yarn in graphic novel form, take a look at the excerpt below and decide for yourself.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on May 14, 2019 by Editor

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Trash Even In The Trench

from Reuters

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

by Daniel Fastenberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 meters) to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth. His dive went 52 feet (16 meters) lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before. On one occasion he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent “sea pigs” similar to a sea cucumber.

He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it.

“It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo said in an interview.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Editor

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Silver King Gone

from Fox 5

Wrestler dies during match, but it was so staged, at first no one knew anything was wrong

LONDON (AP) – A well-known Mexican wrestler who co-starred in the film comedy “Nacho Libre” died in London after he collapsed during a match that a witness described as so elaborately staged it wasn’t immediately clear something seriously was wrong.

Cesar Cuauhtemoc Gonzalez Barron, who wrestled with the ring name Silver King, was one of the featured wrestlers of “The Greatest Show of Lucha Libre” on Saturday night. The north London performance venue, the Roundhouse, tweeted just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday that the 51-year-old “sadly lost his life” during the event.

Lucha Libre World, which promoted the Roundhouse event, said in a statement the lucha libre star “suffered what we believe was a cardiac arrest while performing in the show and sadly passed away.”

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 ]

Posted on May 12, 2019 by Editor

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Melina Matsoukas Rising

from Yahoo! UK

These female directors are changing the landscape of film as we know it

Melina Matsoukas

A music video director who has been behind the camera of some of your favourite Queen Bey, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue vids, we’re all counting down until Matsoukas’ directorial feature film debut, Queen and Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey and starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, scheduled for release in November 2019.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! UK ]

Posted on May 11, 2019 by Editor

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Dali Deepfake

from The Verge

Deepfake Salvador Dalí takes selfies with museum visitors

By

Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí once said in an interview, “I believe in general in death, but in the death of Dali, absolutely not.” Now, the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, has worked to fulfill the painter’s prophecy by bringing him back to life — with a deepfake.

The exhibition, called Dalí Lives, was made in collaboration with the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), which made a life-size re-creation of Dalí using the machine learning-powered video editing technique. Using archival footage from interviews, GS&P pulled over 6,000 frames and used 1,000 hours of machine learning to train the AI algorithm on Dalí’s face. His facial expressions were then imposed over an actor with Dalí’s body proportions, and quotes from his interviews and letters were synced with a voice actor who could mimic his unique accent, a mix of French, Spanish, and English.

[ click to continue reading at The Verge ]

Posted on May 10, 2019 by Editor

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Ponto Troll Crew Slams Tam

Posted on May 9, 2019 by Editor

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