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A Cameron Perspective

from The Hollywood Reporter

Inside James Cameron’s Billion-Dollar Bet on ‘Avatar’

The director on spending a decade of his life — not to mention hundreds of Disney’s millions — to make ‘Avatar: The Way of Water,’ the long-awaited second film in his ambitious and risky franchise: “There’s skepticism in the marketplace. Can anybody even remember the characters’ names? We’ll see what happens after this film.”

BY REBECCA KEEGAN

I want to tell an epic story over a number of films. Let’s paint on a bigger canvas. Let’s plan it that way. Let’s do The Lord of the Rings. Of course, they had the books. I had to write the book first, which isn’t a book, it’s a script,” says James Cameron, photographed Nov. 5 at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand.
“I want to tell an epic story over a number of films. Let’s paint on a bigger canvas. Let’s plan it that way. Let’s do The Lord of the Rings. Of course, they had the books. I had to write the book first, which isn’t a book, it’s a script,” says James Cameron, photographed Nov. 5 at Park Road Post in Wellington, New Zealand. PHOTOGRAPHED BY NIKI BOON

A few years ago, after James Cameron finished the first Avatar film, his kids called a family meeting to deliver some notes on his parenting. Some of the kids, who today range in age from 15 to 32, had attended the MUSE school in Calabasas that Cameron’s wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, founded in 2006. At MUSE, students are encouraged to provide feedback to their teachers, and now the Cameron brood was emboldened to apply that same technique at home.

Cameron is known in the film business for getting what he wants when he wants it, from release dates to budgets to the right to mount elaborate oceanic expeditions on a studio’s dime. The director admits he has sometimes brought his hard-driving style home, and there are moments when his fathering has resembled the Robert Duvall character in The Great Santini, the relentless Marine colonel patriarch. “I’m on a rules-based universe, and the kids weren’t into it,” Cameron says. “They said, ‘You’re never around half the time. And, then, when you come home, you try to make up for it by telling us all what to do. And Mom’s really the one that’s been making all the rules the whole time while you’ve been off shooting. So you don’t get to come home and do that.’” (The Camerons have three children together and one each from a previous marriage — his to Linda Hamilton, hers to Sam Robards.)

Cameron says he took the kids’ note, that he tries to listen more and control less. “I thought, ‘Well, that’s valid,’” he says. “I realized I was wearing the mantle of responsibility of a parent and overcompensating for the time I wasn’t there.”

Perhaps more than any new camera system or giant media merger, the humbling experience of parenting teenagers has had the greatest impact on how Cameron made his latest movie, both in the choice of subject matter and in the way he managed his cast and crew.

In Avatar: The Way of Water, which Disney will release Dec. 16, Cameron takes the stakes to the home— albeit an alien home, where Mom and Dad are blue and 9 feet tall. “I thought, ‘I’m going to work out a lot of my stuff, artistically, that I’ve gone through as a parent of five kids,’” Cameron says. “The overarching idea is, the family is the fortress. It’s our greatest weakness and our greatest strength. I thought, ‘I can write the hell out of this. I know what it is to be the asshole dad.’”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on December 4, 2022 by Editor

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Man Of The Year Gone

from The Wall Street Journal

When Time’s ‘Man of the Year’ Meant Something

Subjects of the magazine’s annual story were once viewed as secular saints—or, on occasion, devils.

By Lance Morrow

Time magazine’s Man of the Year selection once was a bigger deal. So, for that matter, were the Academy Awards and the presidency. It was a different time.

During my 40-year career at Time, I wrote seven Man of the Year cover stories. It was called Man of the Year in those days but Time by no means excluded women from consideration. In 1976 I did the Women of the Year story about outstanding women in various fields. A man wouldn’t get that assignment today. It would have to be written by a woman.

In earlier generations, Wallis Simpson, who caused King Edward VII to leave the throne, became Woman of the Year in 1936. A year later, Chiang Kai-shek and his wife, Soong May-ling, were Man and Woman of the Year. The title officially changed to Person of the Year in 1999—an ideological smudging that I find a little prissy. I suppose it can’t be helped.

In the old culture, appearing on Time’s cover was a secular version of being beatified by the Catholic Church. To be Man of the Year was equivalent to being canonized a saint—or perhaps winning a Nobel Prize. Maybe better. Time stipulated, however, that the Man of the Year might be a devil. It was the person who had most affected the course of the year’s events “for good or ill.” Thus, Hitler was named in 1938 and Stalin in both 1939 and 1942. The Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was Man of the Year in 1979.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on December 3, 2022 by Editor

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Sacred Flow

from AP

For many Hawaiians, lava flows are a time to honor, reflect

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

Illona Ilae, a Native Hawaiian from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, leaves an offering in front an alter below the Mauna Loa volcano as it erupts Thursday, Dec. 1, 2022, near Hilo, Hawaii. Glowing lava from the world's largest volcano is a sight to behold, but for many Native Hawaiians, Mauna Loa's eruption is a time to pray, make offerings and honor both the natural and spiritual worlds. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

HONOLULU (AP) — When Willette Kalaokahaku Akima-Akau looks out at the the lava flowing from Mauna Loa volcano and makes an offering of gin, tobacco and coins, she will be taking part in a tradition passed down from her grandfather and other Native Hawaiians as a way to honor both the natural and spiritual worlds.

Akima-Akau said she plans to take her grandchildren with her and together they will make their offerings and chant to Pele, the Hawaiian deity of volcanoes and fire, who her grandfather used to pay reverence to as a kupuna, a word that can mean ancestor.

“This is the time for our kupuna, for our people, and for our children to come and witness what is happening as history is being made every day,” she said, adding that today’s experiences will be added to the next generation’s stories, songs, dances and chants.

For many Native Hawaiians, an eruption of a volcano like Mauna Loa has a deep yet very personal cultural significance. For many it can be an opportunity to feel a connection with creation itself through the way lava gives birth to new land, as well as a time to reflect on their own place in the world and the people who came before them.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on December 2, 2022 by Editor

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Sight & Sound 2022

from indiewire

‘Jeanne Dielman’ Tops Sight & Sound’s 2022 Poll of the Best Films of All Time

Other films to land in the top 10 include “In the Mood for Love,” “Beau Travail,” “Mulholland Drive,” “Vertigo,” and “Citizen Kane.”

By Wilson Chapman and Christian Blauvelt

"Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles"
“Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” / FilmStruck

Another decade, another Sight & Sound poll. On Thursday, the British magazine unveiled the 2022 edition of its long-running critics’ poll on the greatest films of all time, with “Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” taking the top spot — the first film from a female director to achieve the honor since the poll began in 1952.

Directed by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman and released in 1975, “Jeanne Dielman” is a three-hour, 20-minute film following the title character (Delphine Seyrig), a single mother and prostitute, as she carries out a monotonous daily routine that slowly breaks apart and collapses. Since its premiere, the film has been highly acclaimed as a landmark of feminist cinema. Previously, it ranked 36 on Sight & Sound’s 2012 edition of the poll, where it was one of only two films in the top 100 from a female filmmaker; the other, “Beau Travail” by Claire Denis, is now ranked at number seven.

Read below for the rest of Sight & Sound’s top 100 list.

The Critics’ Top 100 Greatest Films of All Time

1. “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
2. “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. “Tokyo Story” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1953)
5. “In the Mood for Love, Wong Kar-wai, 2001)
6. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. “Beau travail” (Claire Denis, 1998)
8. “Mulholland Dr.” (David Lynch, 2001)
9. “Man with a Movie Camera” (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
10. “Singin’ in the Rain” (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1951)
11. “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
12. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
13. “La Règle du Jeu” (Jean Renoir, 1939)
14. “Cléo from 5 to 7” (Agnès Varda, 1962)
15. “The Searchers” (John Ford, 1956)
16. “Meshes of the Afternoon” (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
17. “Close-Up” (Abbas Kiarostami, 1989)
18. “Persona” (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
19. “Apocalypse Now” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
20. “Seven Samurai” (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
21. (TIE) “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1927)
21. (TIE) “Late Spring” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)
23. “Playtime” (Jacques Tati, 1967)
24. “Do the Right Thing” (Spike Lee, 1989)
25. (TIE) “Au Hasard Balthazar” (Robert Bresson, 1966)
25. (TIE) The Night of the Hunter” (Charles Laughton, 1955)
27. “Shoah” (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
28. “Daisies” (Věra Chytilová, 1966)
29. “Taxi Driver” (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
30. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Céline Sciamma, 2019)
31. (TIE) “Mirror” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
31. (TIE) “8½” (Federico Fellini, 1963)
31. (TIE) “Psycho” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
34. “L’Atalante” (Jean Vigo, 1934)
35. “Pather Panchali” (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
36. (TIE) “City Lights” (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
36. (TIE) “M” (Fritz Lang, 1931)
38. (TIE) “À bout de souffle” (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
38. (TIE) “Some Like It Hot” (Billy Wilder, 1959)
38. (TIE) “Rear Window” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
41. (TIE) “Bicycle Thieves” (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
41. (TIE) “Rashomon” (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
43. (TIE) “Stalker” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
43. (TIE) “Killer of Sheep” (Charles Burnett, 1977)
45. (TIE) “North by Northwest” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
45. (TIE) “The Battle of Algiers” (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
45. (TIE) “Barry Lyndon” (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
48. (TIE) “Wanda” (Barbara Loden, 1970)
48. (TIE) “Ordet” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
50. (TIE) “The 400 Blows” (François Truffaut, 1959)
50. (TIE) “The Piano” (Jane Campion, 1992)
52. (TIE) “News from Home” (Chantal Akerman, 1976)
52. (TIE) “Fear Eats the Soul” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
54. (TIE) “The Apartment” (Billy Wilder, 1960)
54. (TIE) “Battleship Potemkin” (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
54. (TIE) “Sherlock Jr.” (Buster Keaton, 1924)
54. (TIE) “Le Mépris” (Jean-Luc Godard 1963)
54. (TIE) “Blade Runner” (Ridley Scott 1982)
59. “Sans soleil” (Chris Marker 1982)
60. (TIE) “Daughters of the Dust” (Julie Dash 1991)
60. (TIE) “La dolce vita” (Federico Fellini 1960)
60. (TIE) “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins 2016)
63. (TIE) “Casablanca” (Michael Curtiz 1942)
63. (TIE) “GoodFellas” (Martin Scorsese 1990)
63. (TIE) “The Third Man” (Carol Reed 1949)
66. “Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty 1973)
67. (TIE) “The Gleaners and I” (Agnès Varda 2000)
67. (TIE) “Metropolis” (Fritz Lang 1927)
67. (TIE) “Andrei Rublev” (Andrei Tarkovsky 1966)
67. (TIE) “The Red Shoes” (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1948)
67. (TIE) “La Jetée” (Chris Marker 1962)
72. (TIE) “My Neighbour Totoro” (Miyazaki Hayao 1988)
72. (TIE) “Journey to Italy” (Roberto Rossellini 1954)
72. (TIE) “L’avventura” (Michelangelo Antonioni 1960)
75. (TIE) “Imitation of Life” (Douglas Sirk 1959)
75. (TIE) “Sansho the Bailiff” (Mizoguchi Kenji 1954)
75. (TIE) “Spirited Away” (Miyazaki Hayao 2001)
78. (TIE) “A Brighter Summer Day” (Edward Yang 1991)
78. (TIE) “Sátántangó” (Béla Tarr 1994)
78. (TIE) “Céline and Julie Go Boating” (Jacques Rivette 1974)
78. (TIE) “Modern Times “(Charlie Chaplin 1936)
78. (TIE) “Sunset Blvd.” (Billy Wilder 1950)
78. (TIE) “A Matter of Life and Death” (Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger 1946)
84. (TIE) “Blue Velvet” (David Lynch 1986)
84. (TIE) “Pierrot le fou” (Jean-Luc Godard 1965)
84. (TIE) “Histoire(s) du cinéma” (Jean-Luc Godard 1988-1998)
84. (TIE) “The Spirit of the Beehive” (Victor Erice, 1973)
88. (TIE) “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
88. (TIE) “Chungking Express” (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
90. (TIE) “Madame de…” (Max Ophüls, 1953)
90. (TIE) “The Leopard” (Luchino Visconti, 1962)
90. (TIE) “Ugetsu” (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953)
90. (TIE) “Parasite” (Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
90. (TIE) “Yi Yi” (Edward Yang, 1999)
95. (TIE) “A Man Escaped” (Robert Bresson, 1956)
95. (TIE) “The General” (Buster Keaton, 1926)
95. (TIE) “Once upon a Time in the West” (Sergio Leone, 1968)
95. (TIE) “Get Out” (Jordan Peele, 2017)
95. (TIE) “Black Girl” (Ousmane Sembène, 1965)
95. (TIE) “Tropical Malady” (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)

[ click to continue reading at indiewire ]

Posted on December 1, 2022 by Editor

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The Hand of Woman

from artnet

A Woman’s Name Uncovered in the Margins of a 1,200-Year-Old Medieval Manuscript Provides a Fresh Clue About Its Real Significance

The discovery is a rare example of the involvement of women in medieval book culture.

by Richard Whiddington

Bodleian Library, MS. Selden Supra 30. Photo: courtesy University of Leicester.
Bodleian Library, MS. Selden Supra 30. Photo: courtesy University of Leicester.

While studying a rare medieval manuscript in Oxford’s Weston Library, PhD student Jessica Hodgkinson noticed something unusual: a series of small, barely visible indentations at the bottom of page 18. Together, the marks spelled out the name Eadburg, the abbess of a female religious community in Kent during the 8th-century.

The inscriptions, which state-of-the-art 3D recording technology discovered a further 14 times in one form or another throughout the volume, is rare evidence of women in medieval England owning, using, or creating manuscripts. So began Hodgkinson’s detective work into a highly educated woman who lived 1,200 years ago.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 30, 2022 by Editor

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The Siegfried & Roy Saga

from The Atlantic

The Original Tiger Kings

At the peak of their fame, they were arguably the most famous magicians since Houdini.

By Chris Jones and Michael J. Mooney

A Photograph of Sigfried and Roy feeding a white tiger.

Siegfried & Roy photographed at their residence in Las Vegas, Nevada, 1991 (Mark Seliger / AUGUST)

The last survivors of a lost empire live behind the Mirage, in Las Vegas, out back by the pool. On a good day, Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden will draw more than 1,000 visitors, the $25 adult admission fee justified mostly by the palm shade and tranquility it offers relative to the mania outside its walls. There are also long summer stretches when it’s 100 degrees and things get a little grim. During a recent visit, only a few families strolled through, surveying the five sleeping animals on display: three tigers, a lion, and a leopard. The Secret Garden ostensibly operates as an educational facility. “Look, a lion,” one young father said to his son, while pointing at a tiger.

Yet residual magic remains. The best time to visit is late afternoon, just before closing, when the heat has started to subside and the sleeping cats stir. If you’re lucky—in this city built on the premise that you, against all odds, will be lucky—a tiger will roar when you’re standing nearby. A tiger’s roar is more than audible. You feel it in your chest, in your teeth, in the prickles of your skin. And if you turn to look at its source, you might catch a tiger’s gaze, its haunting eyes staring into yours, tracking your every move, knowing what you’re about to do before you do it.

At the peak of their particular and possibly extinct brand of celebrity, Siegfried & Roy were arguably the most famous magicians since Houdini. They were without question the most famous German magicians performing with a large collection of apex predators. Depending on when you enter and exit their story, it’s either triumphant or tragic, surprising or inevitable. It can serve as a testament to the power of lies, including the ones we tell ourselves, or a cautionary tale about fiction’s limits, especially when fact takes the form of a fed-up tiger. Now it’s about to reach its sad, instructive conclusion, the way so many modern fables end: with a corporate takeover.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on November 29, 2022 by Editor

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Mondrian Piet

from OBSERVER

A Piet Mondrian Painting Has Been Hanging Upside Down for More Than 75 Years

The work, first exhibited at New York’s MoMA, might have been accidentally mislabeled or turned over in a crate.

By Alexandra Tremayne-Pengelly

Two men look at the Mondrian painting, made up of red, yellow and blue lines of tape
The artwork in question, wrong side up. HENNING KAISER/DDP/AFP via Getty Images

An abstract art piece from Dutch painter Piet Mondrian has mistakenly been hanging upside down for the past 77 years.

Mondrian’s 1941 New York City 1, consisting of multi-colored taped lines, has been held at Germany’s Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen’s art collection since 1980. It was first exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1945.

However, a press conference for the Kunstsammlung’s new Mondrian exhibition included the surprising revelation that New York City 1 was displayed incorrectly by both institutions, as reported by German publication Monopol.

A photograph taken of Mondrian’s studio shortly after his death in 1944 pictured the artwork oriented opposite of how it has ben exhibited, said curator Susanne Meyer-Buser, who researched the museums’s upcoming Mondrian show. The placement of tape on the unsigned painting also indicates the piece was hung incorrectly.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on November 28, 2022 by Editor

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Cuprate Crystals

from WIRED

The High-Temperature Superconductivity Mystery Is Finally Solved

An atomic-scale experiment all but settles the origin of the strong form of superconductivity seen in cuprate crystals, confirming a 35-year-old theory.

by CHARLIE WOOD

Atombyatom scans of a naturally wavy BSCCO crystal point to the origin of superconductivity in cuprates with bright pink...
Atom-by-atom scans of a naturally wavy BSCCO crystal point to the origin of superconductivity in cuprates. In zones where electrons require more energy to hop between neighboring atoms (bright pink bands spaced 2.6 nanometers apart, left), the electrons form fewer superconducting Cooper pairs (dark bands, right). PHOTOGRAPH: WANGPING REN AND SHANE O’MAHONY

FOR DECADES, A family of crystals has stumped physicists with its baffling ability to superconduct—that is, carry an electric current without any resistance—at far warmer temperatures than other materials.

Now, an experiment years in the making has directly visualized superconductivity on the atomic scale in one of these crystals, finally revealing the cause of the phenomenon to nearly everyone’s satisfaction. Electrons appear to nudge each other into a frictionless flow in a manner first suggested by a venerable theory nearly as old as the mystery itself.

“This evidence is really beautiful and direct,” said Subir Sachdev, a physicist at Harvard University who builds theories of the crystals, known as cuprates, and was not involved in the experiment.

“I’ve worked on this problem for 25 years, and I hope I have solved it,” said J. C. Séamus Davis, who led the new experiment at the University of Oxford. “I’m absolutely thrilled.”

The new measurement matches a prediction based on the theory, which attributes cuprate superconductivity to a quantum phenomenon called superexchange. “I’m amazed by the quantitative agreement,” said André-Marie Tremblay, a physicist at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada and the leader of the group that made the prediction last year.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on November 27, 2022 by Editor

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Curderburger

from PASTE

Culver’s Curderburger Offers An Absurdist Glance Into An Untapped Meat Substitute: Cheese

By Charlie Wacholz

Culver's Curderburger Offers An Absurdist Glance Into An Untapped Meat Substitute: Cheese

Culver’s (in)famous Butterburger might be the best fast food burger out there. After all, its roots lie smack-dab in the middle of Wisconsin’s Burger Belt, a strip of burger goodness that runs between its two biggest cities, Milwaukee and Madison. The stretch of I-94 that runs between Wisconsin’s political and cultural capitals has given birth to some truly spectacular burgers. Local hits like Kopp’s, the Village Bar and Bubba’s all sit just off the well-worn interstate, but Culver’s is undoubtedly the Belt’s crowning achievement.

Bringing a buttery ‘Sconnie postcard to every town it graces, a trip to Culver’s is like a trip to the Burger Belt. Solid burgers aside, its menu offers a few tasty treats that can be tricky to come by outside of the Dairy State, including cheese curds and frozen custard. None of this is necessarily anything new. After all, Culver’s has been around for a while now, and curds and custards have been beloved treats in my neck of the woods for decades.

[ click to continue reading at PASTE ]

Posted on November 26, 2022 by Editor

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Map Of The Stars

from artnet

The World’s Oldest Map of the Stars, Lost for Thousands of Years, Has Been Found in the Pages of a Medieval Parchment

The ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus catalogued the coordinates of the stars. Now, his efforts have finally been uncovered.

by Sarah Cascone

This cross-fade montage shows a detail of the palimpsest under ordinary lighting; under multispectral analysis; and with a reconstruction of the hidden text from long-lost star catalogue of the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus. Photo by Early Manuscripts Electronic Library/Lazarus Project, University of Rochester; multispectral processing by Keith T. Knox; tracings by Emanuel Zingg, courtesy of the Museum of the Bible Collection, ©Museum of the Bible, 2021.
This cross-fade montage shows a detail of the palimpsest under ordinary lighting; under multispectral analysis; and with a reconstruction of the hidden text from long-lost star catalogue of the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus. Photo by Early Manuscripts Electronic Library/Lazarus Project, University of Rochester; multispectral processing by Keith T. Knox; tracings by Emanuel Zingg; courtesy of the Museum of the Bible Collection, ©Museum of the Bible, 2021.

Scholars have discovered part of the ancient Greek astronomer Hipparchus’s long-lost star catalogue of the—believed to be the first map of the stars—in a manuscript from a Greek Orthodox monastery in Egypt.

The historic document, which comprises 146 folios, comes from St. Catherine’s in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, and the majority is now in the collection of the Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C.

A new study published this week in the Journal for the History of Astronomy reveals that it is palimpsest manuscript, in which the original ink had been scraped off to reuse the parchment for a new project—and that traces of the original writings can still be deciphered, revealing what appears to be a reference to Hipparchus’s ambitious project to map the stars, including star coordinates.

Astronomy historian James Evans told the journal Nature that it was a “rare” and “remarkable” find.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 25, 2022 by Editor

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Fungi’n In Jamaica

from Reuters

Psychedelic mushrooms expand Jamaica tourism beyond sunshine and reggae

By Kate Chappell and Brian Ellsworth

Psilocybin or "magic mushrooms" are seen in an undated photo provided by the DEA
Psilocybin or “magic mushrooms” are seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in Washington, U.S. May 7, 2019. DEA/Handout via REUTERS

TREASURE BEACH, Jamaica, Nov 24 (Reuters) – A new group of Jamaican resorts is promoting tourism that offers mystical experiences and stress relief through “magic mushrooms,” as the Caribbean nation seeks to develop a niche industry in natural psychedelics.

While mushrooms containing the psychoactive compound psilocybin remain illegal in most parts of Europe and the United States, Jamaica’s government has never outlawed the hallucinogenic fungus and is now cultivating investors in efforts to build up its psychedelics industry, which according to one estimate could be worth $8 billion globally by 2028.

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Posted on November 24, 2022 by Editor

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Addams Family Pinball

from WIRED

The Wild History of the Beloved Addams Family Pinball Machine

It was the most popular game ever when Bally released it in 1991, and collectors clamor for the machines even now.

by MARAH EAKIN

Eric Jones 7 from Denver joins dad Gary at the Addams Family machine at The Rocky Mtn. Pinball Showdown and Gameroom Exp...
Eric Jones, 7, from Denver joins dad Gary at the “Addams Family” machine during The Rocky Mountain Pinball Showdown and Gameroom Expo in Denver on April 30th, 2011. PHOTOGRAPH: KATHRYN SCOTT OSLER/THE DENVER POST/GETTY IMAGES

FOR MORE THAN 80 years, the Addams Family has enjoyed a delightfully macabre existence. First introduced via a single-panel cartoon in The New Yorker in 1938, Chas Addams’ creepy clan has spawned multiple entertainment properties, including a surprisingly short-lived 1960s TV series, two beloved live-action movies from the ’90s, two recent animated kids films, an upcoming Netflix series based on the life of young Wednesday Addams, myriad books and collectibles, and even a Broadway musical starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth as Gomez and Morticia Addams.

To game lovers, though, the best of all that ephemera is The Addams Family pinball machine. Released in March 1992 by Bally Games and inspired by the 1991 live-action movie of the same name, The Addams Family is, to this day, the most popular and widely sold pinball machine of all time, moving more than 20,000 units. That’s a marvel not just because other “hit” games at the time were selling between 8,000 and 14,000 units, but because back then most pinball games were being sold to coin-op distributors or arcades rather than private collectors.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on November 23, 2022 by Editor

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Matrixality

from Study Finds

Is our universe one big virtual reality? How to test if we’re really living in a computer simulation

By Melvin M. VopsonUniversity of Portsmouth

James Webb Space Telescope image
This image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago. It is the first of a series of photos snapped by NASA’s James Webb Telescope. (Credit: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI)

Physicists have long struggled to explain why the universe started out with conditions suitable for life to evolve. Why do the physical laws and constants take the very specific values that allow stars, planets and ultimately life to develop? The expansive force of the universe, dark energy, for example, is much weaker than theory suggests it should be – allowing matter to clump together rather than being ripped apart.

A common answer is that we live in an infinite multiverse of universes, so we shouldn’t be surprised that at least one universe has turned out as ours. But another is that our universe is a computer simulation, with someone (perhaps an advanced alien species) fine-tuning the conditions.

The latter option is supported by a branch of science called information physics, which suggests that space-time and matter are not fundamental phenomena. Instead, the physical reality is fundamentally made up of bits of information, from which our experience of space-time emerges. By comparison, temperature “emerges” from the collective movement of atoms. No single atom fundamentally has temperature.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on November 22, 2022 by Editor

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Good, Doggie.

from CNN

What petting a dog can do for your brain

By Sandee LaMotte, CNN

On one side of the room sits the cutest life-size stuffed animal you’ve ever seen. On the other side rests a real dog — same size, shape and even the same name as the stuffed version.

You get to sit next to both of these fluffy friends and pet their fur. Guess which one will make your brain light up?

If you guessed the real dog, you’re right. Stuffed animals, as cute and cuddly as they may be, just don’t supercharge our frontal cortex, the part of the brain overseeing how we think and feel, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE.

“We chose to investigate the frontal cortex because this brain area is involved in several executive functions, such as attention, working memory, and problem-solving. But it is also involved in social and emotional processes,” said study lead author Rahel Marti, a doctoral student in the division of clinical psychology and animal-assisted interventions at the University of Basel in Switzerland, in an email.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on November 21, 2022 by Editor

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Fenn’s Auction

from artnet

Forrest Fenn’s Famed Treasure Chest, a $2 Million Hoard Discovered After a 12-Year Hunt, Is Heading to Auction

The trove includes gold pieces, coins, jewelry, and other artifacts.

by Vittoria Benzine

A set of items from Forrest Fenn's treasure. Photo by Lynda M. González/Heritage Auctions.
A set of items from Forrest Fenn’s treasure. Photo by Lynda M. González/Heritage Auctions.

Ever wondered what was really in that 42-pound treasure chest that late antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn once buried in Wyoming’s Rocky Mountains? Wonder no more: 12 years after he sent the public on a treasure hunt, and two since it concluded, the once-hidden hoard is going on sale with Heritage Auctions.

Bids opened on Friday on 476 individual lots featuring gold pieces, coins, jewelry, and other artifacts—once collectively valued at $2 million. The auction ends December 12.

Born in 1930 in Temple, Texas, Fenn started collecting arrowheads at age nine and flew in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. Though possessing no previous experience, he transitioned into antiquity dealing from his Santa Fe base from 1972, counting Gerald R. Ford, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and Cher as clients.

In 2010, Fenn buried a treasure-filled bronze chest at an undisclosed location in Wyoming and launched a nationwide hunt for the case by leaving clues about its burial spot in his memoir. According to Heritage Auctions, Fenn “saw the treasure hunt as a fitting farewell to a life well lived” as much as an incentive for the public to get out and adventure into nature.

An estimated 350,000 people sought the treasure. Some even perished. It was found in 2020, and the successful hunter, a medical student named Jack Stuef, reluctantly identified himself that December.

“I thought that whoever found the chest would be absolutely hated,” Stuef said. “I put an end to something that meant so much to so many people.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 20, 2022 by Editor

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Toad Lickers Not Welcome

from IndiaTimes

Story by Basit Aijaz

Indiatimes

The US National Park Service is warning people to stop licking toads in the wild, due to their gland-secreted psychedelic substance that can create a hallucinogenic experience.  

In a Facebook post, the National Park Service (NPS) urged people to refrain from licking the Sonoran desert toad, also known as the Colorado river toad.

The agency said the creature is far from harmless, as it contains a potent toxin that can make people sick if they touch it or get the poison in their mouth. 

“These toads have prominent parotoid glands that secrete a potent toxin. It can make you sick if you handle the frog or get the poison in your mouth,” the National Park Service advised. 

[ click to to continue reading at IndiaTimes ]

Posted on November 19, 2022 by Editor

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Minks On The Run

from WBNS 10TV

Some 10,000 mink loose, missing after vandalism at northwest Ohio farm

The Van Wert Sheriff’s Office said the suspects destroyed fencing and approximately 25,000-40,000 mink were released.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Vandalism freed thousands of mink at a rural northwest Ohio farm, leaving an estimated 10,000 of the small carnivorous mammals unaccounted for Tuesday evening, the local sheriff said.

So many minks were killed crossing a nearby road that a plow was brought in to help clear the carcasses away, said Van Wert County Sheriff Thomas Riggenbach.

The property owner initially estimated 25,000 to 40,000 mink were released from their cages at Lion Farms, Riggenbach said. But he said employees at the farm were able to corral many of the ones that remained on the property, which is less than 15 miles from the Indiana state line.

[ click to continue reading at WBNS ]

Posted on November 18, 2022 by Editor

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Tonga’s strange volcanic eruption was even more massive than we knew

from National Geographic

Tonga’s strange volcanic eruption was even more massive than we knew

BY MAYA WEI-HAAS

Photo from space of the eruption over the ocean.
This photograph, taken by an astronaut on board the International Space Station, shows clouds of ash lingering in the atmosphere a day after the intense explosion of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai PHOTOGRAPH BY NASA

Crimson hues flushed across the early morning skies over the Kingdom of Tonga as Grace Frontin-Rollet spotted a pair of small rocky islands from the bow of the RV Tangaroa. Though the scene was picturesque, a tinge of sulfur in the air reminded the marine geologist what she and a team of scientists had traveled for six days over rough waters to see. In the expansive gap between the two bits of land, hidden on the ocean floor, lay the crater of a massive volcano that erupted just months before in one of the largest and strangest blasts ever seen.

“I don’t think the scale of what had happened hit us until we reached the site,” says Frontin-Rollet, who is from New Zealand’s National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).

In December 2021, the volcano—called Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai after the two islands that sit on its rim—awoke in a series of tantrums that turned into outright turmoil on January 15, 2022. The peak unleashed a blast so loud it was heard in Alaska, some 6,000 miles away. But much of what happened that day has remained a mystery, until now. Scientists, including the team aboard the RV Tangaroa, are finally putting together the pieces, and the picture that has emerged is mind-boggling.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on November 17, 2022 by Editor

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F Carmack

from The Drive

A Look at Video Game Legend John Carmack’s Sacrilegious Turbo Ferraris

The legendary programmer behind Doom and Quake also had a habit of building turbocharged Ferraris in the 1990s, and the results were incredible.

BY ROB STUMPF

message-editor%2F1648156939011-carmackferrarif50testarossaturbocharged-1998nopitexasmotorplex-dallas-ennistx7-26screenshot1copy.jpg
Carmack in his twin-turbo Ferrari F50 at the Texas Motorplex drag strip in 1998., YouTube | Eric H.

When most people pick up the controller to play their favorite first-person shooter, they’re not thinking of the history surrounding how the gaming industry got to where it is today. Maybe they should, though, because today’s favorites wouldn’t exist without milestones like Doom and Quake in the early- to mid-’90s. What’s more, some of the wildest Ferraris ever wouldn’t exist either if it weren’t for those games’ lead programmer: John Carmack.

Those old enough to remember picking up a copy of Wolfenstein 3D for the first time probably remember the name Id Software (stylized as “id Software”). The indie game studio built the framework for the first FPS games, creating hit after hit, and at the reins was Carmack, making him arguably the father of the entire genre. And during the height of the company’s success, there were two things he seemed to like more than anything else: cars and code.

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on November 16, 2022 by Editor

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Learning to Fly

Posted on November 15, 2022 by Editor

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Art For Synapses

from artnet

In an Astounding New Book, a Neuroscientist Reveals the Profound Real-World Benefits Art Has on Our Brains

Neuroscientist Pierre Lemarquis explains how we need “medicine that’s a little artistic.”

by Devorah Lauter

Pierre Lemarquis, author of the French book Art That Heals. Photo: Sylvain Thiollier
Pierre Lemarquis, author of the French book Art That Heals. Photo: Sylvain Thiollier

What can art do to help us? In the midst of a global health crisis, this question becomes even more urgent. While museums remain shuttered in many nations, there is science-backed evidence that seeing or making art can play a crucial role in healing our bodies and minds.

French neuroscientist, musician, and author Pierre Lemarquis has recently published a book on this fascinating subject. L’art Qui Guérit (translated: Art That Heals) takes the readers on an art tour through the centuries, spanning the Paleolithic period until the end of the 20th century, interpreting works through the lens of their healing powers—both for the viewer and the maker. The author weaves together art history, philosophy, and psychology while citing astounding current findings from his field of neuroscience about the healing power of art.

Research on the subject has been accumulating for some years. A 2019 World Health Organization report, based on evidence from over 3000 studies, “identified a major role for the arts” prevention of illnesses. And in 2018, doctors in Montreal, Canada, made headlines when they started prescribing patients who suffer from certain diseases with museum visits to visit the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.

“A current is making its way in this direction,” says Lemarquis on a video call with Artnet News. He divides his time between actively “bringing back” the arts to the medical profession, working as a clinical neurologist, and teaching brain function at the University of Toulon in southern France.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 14, 2022 by Editor

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Metakids

from The Daily Star

‘Metaverse’ children to replace real kids by 2050 and ‘help with overpopulation’

An AI expert has predicted that ‘virtual children’ will become the norm in the next 50 years – you’ll be able to raise them in the metaverse without having to change a single nappie

By Ciaran Daly

Opening of £22.4 million national robotarium. The centre - a partnership between Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh - is said to be the largest and most advanced robotics and artificial intelligence facility in the UK, and will use robotics and AI applied research and business collaboration to solve global challenges.
iCub which may have use in Healthcare and social care
One AI writer thinks metaverse kids could be the way to go in future (Image: Daily Record)

Virtual kids born in the metaverse could become more common in the next 50 years, according to an AI expert.

Author Catriona Campbell believes parents will want to care for digital children in virtual reality, using a headset to feel like they’re really there with a CGI kid.

These virtual kids would be just like the real thing but could be switched off at the touch of a button, and Campbell argues they’ll help the world deal with ‘overpopulation’.

In a book released this year, Campbell says a ‘Tamagotchi generation’ will be born and be available to parents for a ‘small monthly fee’.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on November 13, 2022 by Editor

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That’s No Asteroid, It’s A Spaceship

from The Daily Beast

Is Earth Being Pummeled by Derelict Alien Spacecraft?

THE GREAT BOMBARDMENT – One scientist thinks the exotic chemistry found in meteorites are actually the remnants of ancient alien technology.

by David Axe

Photo Illustration by Thomas Levinson/The Daily Beast/Getty

Between 1957 and 1968, scientists decided to try their hand at creating new minerals that could act as very effective conductors of electricity. They “invented” a pair: heideite and brezinaite.

After a few years, the same minerals unexpectedly started showing up in fragments of meteorites that had landed on Earth. As it turns out, these weren’t materials that had to be invented—though how they were able to form outside the lab remained a mystery to scientists.

Now, six decades later, a Venezuelan researcher is trying to connect the dots between the minerals those scientists made in labs and the same minerals that came crashing to Earth from space.

Maybe, just maybe, those superconducting minerals that came from space are also artificial, B.P. Embaid, a physicist at Central University of Venezuela, hypothesized in a study—not yet peer-reviewed—that appeared online on Sept. 13.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on November 12, 2022 by Editor

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Bad Kids

from The U.S. Sun

Voice assistants Siri and Alexa are making kids rude and antisocial, scientists fear

by Sam Blanchard

    Siri and Alexa are making kids rude and antisocial, scientists fearCredit: ALAMY

    Youngsters are not taught to say please and thank you, nor how to read body language.

    Cambridge University’s Dr Anmol Arora warned: “Interacting with the devices at a crucial stage in social and emotional development might have long-term consequences on empathy, compassion and critical thinking.”

    Writing in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, he added: “With digital devices there is no expectation that polite terms, such as please or thank you should be used.

    “There is no need to consider the tone of voice and whether the command being issued may be interpreted as rude or obnoxious.”

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

    Posted on November 11, 2022 by Editor

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    Old Rome Reappearing

    from The Charlotte Observer

    Roman ruins reappear from river in drought-stricken Europe almost 2,000 years later

    BY ASPEN PFLUGHOEFT

    Europe’s drought and heatwave revealed an ancient Roman military camp complex, Aquis Querquennis, as water levels in the Lima River in Galicia, Spain, dropped. GALIDRONE Screengrab from Farodevigo’s Twitter

    Dropping water levels revealed a massive complex of Roman ruins in Spain as Europe continues to struggle under a record-breaking drought.

    Ancient Romans began construction on a military camp in what is now northwestern Spain, along the Lima River in Galicia, in about 75 AD, Spanish researchers wrote in a 2018 study. They abandoned the camp about a century later.

    The remaining ruins became submerged after the construction of a dam in 1949 created the As Conchas reservoir, The Guardian reported.

    But this summer, all droughts led to Rome. The ancient camp reappeared on the river bank — its entire ruined complex on display, drone footage posted on Aug. 26 by Faro de Vigo showed. Aerial photographs show a sprawling collection of neatly organized stone structures primarily made of gray-brown cobblestones. What’s left of a wall runs around the smaller structures, water lapping at its edge. A once-grand entrance stands partially collapsed, almost welcoming the river that lies just beyond its doorway.

    [ click to continue reading at The Charlotte Observer ]

    Posted on November 10, 2022 by Editor

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    The Welcome Hangover

    from VICE

    How Alcohol Lost Its Cool

    A third of pub visits are now alcohol-free, but drinking has been losing its cred in pop culture for a while now.

    by Daisy Jones

    COLLAGE: OWAIN ANDERSON, ALL IMAGES VIA ALAMY

    Wake up in the mornin’ feelin’ like P Diddy / Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city / Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack / ‘Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t comin’ back…

    If you’re over the age of 25, you probably remember the very catchy and silly opening lines from the Ke$ha song “Tik Tok,” released in 2009. The song was everywhere – on radios, soundtracking uni halls pre-drinks, blasting onto sticky dancefloors while people with side fringes and denim shorts over tights snogged each other before the DJ cut to “Tipsy” by J-Kwon. 

    This was also the era of Skins – a TV show that announced itself with an advert of teens looking fucked off their faces, vomiting one after the other. It was a time when you couldn’t open the pages of the NME without encountering an ex-Libertine swigging from an old pirate-looking bottle of rum or someone from an electroclash band in glittery jeggings glugging straight champers. And when Rihanna rounded the decade off by releasing “Cheers (I’ll Drink to That)” in 2010, most of us thought everyone would spend the years ahead doing just that. Just as they always had done. Cheers to the freakin’ weekend. I’ll drink to that. 

    But over ten years have passed and look around you: booze has all but dried up. According to a 2022 survey from Drinkaware, 26 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK are now “fully teetotal”. In August, a report from KAM and Lucky Saint found that almost a third of all pub visits are now alcohol-free. This isn’t a new or sudden shift either: The non-alcoholic beverages market has grown by over 506 percent since 2015, and Google searches for “sober curious” peaked in 2021 following the pandemic. Stories about Gen Z and even millennials becoming sick of drinking have barely left the news cycle.

    [ click to continue reading at VICE ]

    Posted on November 9, 2022 by Editor

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    The Retrologist

    from InsideHook

    Meet the Man Behind the Instagram Feed That Captures the Coolest Images of Roadside America

    Neil Patrick Harris chats with The Retrologist creator Rolando Pujol about life on the road and his favorite kitschy corners of the country

    BY NEIL PATRICK HARRIS

    Posts from The Retrologist Instagram account

    Some of The Retrologists finds / The Retrologist via IG

    I absolutely adore almost anything vintage. Anything timeworn. Classic. I’d type this newsletter on a brass 19th-century typewriter, if I could. (Actually…who’s to say I don’t? Full disclosure: I don’t.) I don’t just love old things because they’re old, though — I love old things that emblemize a bygone era. That no time capsule would be complete without. That’s why The Retrologist is one of my favorite things on the internet right now: journalist / photographer / chronicler Rolando Pujol shares the same appreciation for antiquity that I do. Every post is a tribute to the iconic roadside architecture and signage that dot the U.S., beautifully photographed and written with deeply insightful, loving details. Rolando documents a disappearing Americana, and I’m so glad he does. I exchanged emails with him so we could talk about the magic he captures. And creates. 

    [ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

    Posted on November 8, 2022 by Editor

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    Definitely An Act of God

    from The New York Post

    ‘Heard a big bang’: California man believes meteor may have destroyed his home

    by Isabel Keane

    Fire truck at the scene
    Firefighters in California continue to investigate what hit Procita’s home, starting the fire. Twitter/@CALFIRENEU

    Now that’s a real kick in the asteroid.

    A Northern California home burst into flames and burned to the ground after a meteor — which witnesses saw flash across the sky — apparently fell from space and slammed into the structure, according to reports.

    Dustin Procita, a rancher in Nevada County, wasn’t sure what had hit his home Friday until after firefighters extinguished the blaze.

    “I heard a big bang. I started to smell smoke and I went on to my porch and it was completely engulfed in flames,” Procita told KCRA.

    “They said it was a meteor. I watched meteor showers and stuff as a kid, but I definitely didn’t look forward to them landing in my yard, or through my roof,” he added.

    Procita had just returned inside after feeding some crows and was sitting on the couch listening to music when the mysterious object hit his home.

    [ click to continue reading at NYP ]

    Posted on November 7, 2022 by Editor

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    Super-richocalypse

    from The Guardian

    The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

    by Douglas Rushkoff

    A circular, sci-fi-looking bunker tunnel
    Time to bunker down… if you’ve got the cash. Photograph: Terravivos/Observer Design

    Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create, but like everything they do, it has unintended consequences

    As a humanist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives, I am often mistaken for a futurist. The people most interested in hiring me for my opinions about technology are usually less concerned with building tools that help people live better lives in the present than they are in identifying the Next Big Thing through which to dominate them in the future. I don’t usually respond to their inquiries. Why help these guys ruin what’s left of the internet, much less civilisation?

    Still, sometimes a combination of morbid curiosity and cold hard cash is enough to get me on a stage in front of the tech elite, where I try to talk some sense into them about how their businesses are affecting our lives out here in the real world. That’s how I found myself accepting an invitation to address a group mysteriously described as “ultra-wealthy stakeholders”, out in the middle of the desert.

    [ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

    Posted on November 6, 2022 by Editor

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    Fake AI

    from Common Sense

    There Is No Such Thing as A.I. Art

    DALL-E compiles, sifts, and analyzes. But it doesn’t dare. It doesn’t take risks. Only humans, our vulnerable species, can. Walter Kirn writes.

    by Walter Kirn

    (“Picasso style dramatic acrylic painting of a confused young man crafting the perfect tinder bio on his phone” made on DALL-E via Reddit)

    I’ve always had problems envisioning the underworld. Sulfurous flames belching up from gloomy caverns don’t trigger existential terror in me. This may be because I grew up in Minnesota, where, for over half the year, fire is inviting, cozy, not forbidding.

    But even detailed scenes of suffering in hell have always fallen short, for me, of their awful equivalents on Earth: Real war and real famine horrify me more than paintings of the damned devouring their own arms. Literary evocations of hell, which focus on its prisoners’ inner states—I’m thinking here of Virgil’s Aeneid and Dante’s Inferno—affect me more deeply, but once again the miseries they speak of are also available in life. The only distinctively hellish thing about these torments is that they are said to persist for all eternity. Eternity, which, perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn, I also have trouble imagining.

    All of this changed for me the other day when I came across a brief animated video. It struck me, at last, with authentic spiritual dread.

    The video was a creation of DALL-E, a new artificial intelligence app from the wizards at OpenAI, which is said to represent a breakthrough in the production of machine-made art. You type in a verbal description of an image—“a tarantula wearing a green scarf,” say—and out of the digital void arrives a picture which reflects your specifications. If you’d like, you can tinker with the image the way you might customize a frozen pizza: You can tell the A.I. to render the tarantula in the style of a cubist drawing or a vintage photograph or a Soviet propaganda poster. (How all this works at a computing level I’ll explain in a moment, or I’ll try.) But when I saw the 30-second video, all I knew was foreboding.

    [ click to continue reading at Common Sense ]

    Posted on November 5, 2022 by Editor

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    Understanding Heaven

    from The Wall Street Journal

    The Power of a Cosmic Perspective

    The way we think about human fate and responsibility has always been bound up with our understanding of the heavens

    By Neil deGrasse Tyson

    A 19th-century illustration of the Leonid meteor shower seen by Abraham Lincoln in 1833. ALAMY

    Every few years, the moon passes exactly between Earth and the sun, precisely covering its luminous surface, darkening the sky and briefly laying bare the sun’s gorgeous outer atmosphere called the corona. No other planet-moon combination in the solar system can match it. The fact that Earthlings today can witness solar eclipses is a pure coincidence: The sun is 400 times wider than the moon and it happens to be 400 times farther away from Earth, rendering the sun and moon about the same size in the sky. This wasn’t always the case, nor will it be so in the distant future. The moon’s orbit is spiraling away from Earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches per year. So let’s enjoy this match made in heaven while we can.

    Eclipses top a long list of sky phenomena that irresistibly attract and entangle us. The idea that the sun, moon, planets and stars affect us personally is called astrology, and it goes way back. Some call it the second-oldest profession. How could ancient human beings think differently as they watched the sky revolve around them daily? For example, certain constellations rise before dawn every autumn, just when your crops are ready for harvest—clear evidence that the entire dome of the sky, day and night, lovingly looks after your needs and wants.

    [ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

    Posted on November 4, 2022 by Editor

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    Super-mini Machines

    from WIRED

    The Sci-Fi Dream of a ‘Molecular Computer’ Is Getting More Real

    Chemists have long conceptualized tiny machines that could fabricate drugs, plastics, and other polymers that are hard to build with bigger tools.

    by MAX G. LEVY

    Turing Machine
    PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

    DAVID LEIGH DREAMS of building a small machine. Really small. Something minuscule. Or more like … molecule. “Chemists like me have been working on trying to turn molecules into machines for about 25 years now,” says Leigh, an organic chemist from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom. “And of course, it’s all baby steps. You’re building on all those that went before you.”

    In 1936, English mathematician Alan Turing imagined an autonomous machine capable of carrying out any precisely coded algorithm. The hypothetical machine would read a strip of tape dotted with symbols that, when interpreted sequentially, would instruct the machine to act. It might transcribe, translate, or compute—turning code into a message, or a math problem into an answer. The Turing machine was a prophetic vision of modern computers. While your laptop doesn’t rely on tape to run programs, the philosophy behind it is the same. “That laid the foundation for modern computing,” says Leigh.

    Leigh now believes that tiny molecular versions of the Turing machine could assemble what we struggle to build in the organic realm, like new drugs and plastics with traits so enhanced and precise that they’re out of reach for current tools. And he’s confident that he can do it. “It’s absolutely clear that it’s possible,” he says, “because there already is this working example called biology.” Nature has given every life-form its version of the Turing machine: ribosomes, cellular structures that slide down sequences of mRNA to churn out proteins one amino acid at a time. No life on earth can function without them.

    [ click to continue reading in WIRED ]

    Posted on November 3, 2022 by Editor

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    lonsdaleite

    from CNN

    Meet the mystery diamond from outer space

    By Madeline Holcombe

    (From left) Dougal McCulloch, a professor at RMIT University, with Salek and Tomkins at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility in Australia. McCulloch was another coauthor of the study.
    (From left) Dougal McCulloch, a professor at RMIT University, with Salek and Tomkins at the RMIT Microscopy and Microanalysis Facility in Australia. McCulloch was another coauthor of the study.

    Scientists have debated its existence. Tiny traces provided clues. Now, researchers have confirmed the existence of a celestial diamond after finding it on Earth’s surface.

    The stone, called lonsdaleite, has a hardness and strength that exceeds that of a regular diamond. The rare mineral arrived here by way of a meteorite, new research has suggested.

    What’s more, the natural chemical process through which scientists believe lonsdaleite formed could inspire a way to manufacture super-durable industrial components, according to the authors of the study published September 12 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    [ click to continue reading at CNN ]

    Posted on November 2, 2022 by Editor

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