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The Long-tail Rising

from Showbiz 411

What Year Is It? Oldies Take Up 8 of the Top 20 on iTunes Including 1994 “Zombie” and 1970 “Spirit in the Sky”

by Roger Friedman

What year is it again? While Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is number 1, and Justin Bieber is in the top 10, the iTunes chart continues to be rife with Oldies. Oldies!

It’s comfort food for the pandemic, I guess.

On the iTunes Top 20, 8 of the entries are oldies but goodies. They include Norman Greenbaum’s unintentionally spiritual “Spirit in the Sky” from 1970 and the Cranberries’ “Zombie” from 1994. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” a song with with 9 lives, is number 4. The late 70s hit already had a massive run on the charts last year after going viral from a fan video. “Dreams” won’t go away.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Posted on April 11, 2021 by Editor

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Critic Declares Warhol Not Lame

from The New York Times

Warhol a Lame Copier? The Judges Who Said So Are Sadly Mistaken.

An appeals court ruled that Andy Warhol violated a photographer’s copyright by appropriating her image for a silk-screen he did in 1984. Our critic disagrees.

By Blake Gopnik

Andy Warhol’s ”Prince,” which became the subject of a court case over copyright issues.
Andy Warhol’s ”Prince,” which became the subject of a court case over copyright issues. Credit…The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

A few years back, a bevy of art critics declared that Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 sculpture called “Fountain” — a store-bought urinal he had presented, unchanged, as art — was the most influential work of the 20th century. Andy Warhol’s 1964 Brillo Boxes — copies of scouring-pad cartons presented as art — could easily have come a close second. The philosopher Arthur Danto built an illustrious career, and a whole school of thought, around the importance of those boxes to understanding the very nature of artworks.

Last month, three federal appellate judges in Manhattan decided they knew more about art than any old critic or philosopher: Whether they quite meant to or not, their ruling had the effect of declaring that the landmark inventions of Duchamp and Warhol — the “appropriation” they practiced, to use the term of art — were not worthy of the legal protection that other creativity is given under copyright law.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on April 10, 2021 by Editor

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Giant Crab Radio

from VICE

Mysterious Radio Blasts From Space Just Got a Whole Lot Weirder, Somehow

Scientists discovered that so-called “giant radio pulses” coincide with X-rays, suggesting they are hundreds of times more energetic than previously thought.

By Becky Ferreira

In the year 1054, skywatchers in China and Japan witnessed light from an exploding star reach Earth, creating a dazzling bright spot in the sky. More than a millennium later, scientists have now revealed amazing new details about the powerful and unexplained radio signals that eerily emanate from the remains of this ancient supernova.

For years, scientists have been baffled by extremely loud radio signals, known as giant radio pulses (GRPs), that can be traced to a special type of dead star known as a pulsar. Pulsars are compact, rapidly rotating remnants of supernovae that get their name from the clockwork pulses of radiation they emit from their poles, which have made them useful natural timepieces for astronomers who use their regular bursts to measure other celestial phenomena. 

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on April 9, 2021 by Editor

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Almost da Vinci

from France 24

World’s priciest painting not a full da Vinci, claims doc

The painting was last auctioned at Christie's in New York in 2017
The painting was last auctioned at Christie’s in New York in 2017 TIMOTHY A. CLARY AFP

A French documentary has cast fresh doubts over the world’s most expensive painting, the “Salvator Mundi” credited to Leonardo da Vinci, revealing a resulting diplomatic tussle between France and its Saudi owner.

The painting of Jesus Christ, nicknamed the “male Mona Lisa”, was sold at a 2017 Christies auction in New York for a record $450 million.

Its secret buyer was later revealed to be Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, though this is still denied in Riyadh.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on April 8, 2021 by Editor

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Vampire Valley

from Newsweek

Can Blood from Young People Slow Aging? Silicon Valley Has Bet Billions It Will

BY ADAM PIORE

FE_Young Blood_03
Beta-amyloid plaques and tau in the brain.COURTESY OF NIH/NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING

The Spanish firm Grifols helped set off a kerfuffle last year when it, along with other firms, offered nearly double the going price for blood donations for a COVID-19 treatment trial. Brigham Young University in Idaho had to threaten some enterprising students with suspension to keep them from intentionally trying to contract COVID-19. The trial failed, however, and now the Barcelona-based firm is hoping to extract something far more valuable from the plasma of young volunteers: a set of microscopic molecules that could reverse the process of aging itself.

Earlier this year, Grifols closed on a $146 million-deal to buy Alkahest, a company founded by Stanford University neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who, along with Saul Villeda, revealed in scientific papers published in 2011 and 2014 that the blood from young mice had seemingly miraculous restorative effects on the brains of elderly mice. The discovery adds to a hot area of inquiry called geroscience that “seeks to understand molecular and cellular mechanisms that make aging a major risk factor and driver of common chronic conditions and diseases of older adulthood,” according to the National Institutes of Health. In the last six years, Alkahest has identified more than 8,000 proteins in the blood that show potential promise as therapies. Its efforts and those of Grifols have resulted in at least six phase 2 trials completed or underway to treat a wide range of age-related diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Alkahest and a growing number of other geroscience health startups signal a change in thinking about some of the most intractable diseases facing humankind. Rather than focusing solely on the etiology of individual diseases like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis—or, for that matter, COVID-19—geroscientists are trying to understand how these diseases relate to the single largest risk factor of all: human aging. Their goal is to hack the process of aging itself and, in the process, delay or stave off the onset of many of the diseases most associated with growing old.

[ click to continue reading at Newsweek ]

Posted on April 7, 2021 by Editor

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Baby Satting

from SF Gate

Satellite technology puts into orbit swarms of spacecraft no bigger than a loaf of bread

Christian Davenport, The Washington Post

The Superdove mini-satellite manufactured by Planet.
The Superdove mini-satellite manufactured by Planet. Photo by Planet Labs

The avalanche was a stunning disaster, 247 million cubic feet of glacial ice and snow hurtling down the Tibetan mountain range at 185 mph. Nine people and scores of animals were killed in an event that startled scientists around the world.

As they researched why the avalanche occurred with such force, researchers studying climate change pored over images taken in the days and weeks before and saw that ominous cracks had begun to form in the ice and snow. Then, scanning photos of a nearby glacier, they noticed similar crevasses forming, touching off a scramble to warn local authorities that it was also about to come crashing down.

The images of the glaciers came from a constellation of satellites no bigger than a shoe box, in orbit 280 miles up. Operated by San Francisco-based company Planet, the satellites, called Doves, weigh just over 10 pounds each and fly in “flocks” that today include 175 satellites. If one fails, the company replaces it, and as better batteries, solar arrays and cameras become available, the company updates its satellites the way Apple unveils a new iPhone.

[ click to continue reading at SF Gate ]

Posted on April 6, 2021 by Editor

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A Fifth Force

from BBC

Muons: ‘Strong’ evidence found for a new force of nature

By Pallab Ghosh

g-2 experiment
IMAGE COPYRIGHTREIDAR HAHN / FERMILAB

From sticking a magnet on a fridge door to throwing a ball into a basketball hoop, the forces of physics are at play in every moment of our lives.

All of the forces we experience every day can be reduced to just four categories: gravity, electromagnetism, the strong force and the weak force.

Now, physicists say they have found possible signs of a fifth fundamental force of nature.

The findings come from research carried out at a laboratory near Chicago.

The four fundamental forces govern how all the objects and particles in the Universe interact with each other.

For example, gravity makes objects fall to the ground, and heavy objects behave as if they are glued to the floor.

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) said the result “provides strong evidence for the existence of an undiscovered sub-atomic particle or new force”.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on April 5, 2021 by Editor

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Wheelmaker

from WIRED

Who Invented the Wheel? And How Did They Do It?

The wagon—and the wagon wheel—could not have been put together in stages. Either it works, or it doesn’t. And it enabled humans to spread rapidly into huge parts of the world.

by CODY CASSIDY

Woman's shadow cast on old wooden wheel
ILLUSTRATION: CASEY CHIN

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of years before the invention of the wheel, some unlucky hominin stepped on a loose rock or unstable log and—just before they cracked their skull—discovered that a round object reduces friction with the ground. 

The inevitability of this moment of clarity explains the ancient ubiquity of rollers, which are simply logs put underneath heavy objects. The Egyptians and the Mesopotamians used them to build their pyramids and roll their heavy equipment, and the Polynesians to move the stone moai statues on Easter Island. But rollers aren’t terribly efficient, because they have to be replaced as they roll forward, and even if they’re pinned underneath, friction makes them horribly difficult to move. The solution—and the stroke of brilliance—was the axle. Yet despite the roller’s antiquity, it doesn’t appear that anyone, anywhere, discovered the wheel and axle until an ingenious potter approximately 6,000 years ago.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on April 4, 2021 by Editor

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The Death Hole

from Der Spiegel

A Visit to the World’s Deadliest Dive Site

It doesn’t have the nicest coral formations nor the most fish. But the Blue Hole in the Gulf of Aqaba is a magnet for divers, primarily because of its reputation. Dozens of adventurers have lost their lives here over the years and, when they do, Tarek Omar pulls them back to the surface.

by Von Maik Großekathöfer

Tarek Omar says that he doesn’t know exactly how many bodies he has recovered. “I stopped counting at some point,” he says. But he can still remember the names of the first two he pulled up from the depths of the Red Sea, bringing them back onto the Egyptian shore.

“They were Conor O’Regan and Martin Gara. Irish. They were considered cautious divers. Both died here on Nov. 19, 1997. They were only 22 and 23. Sad.”

Omar is sitting under an awning on the edge of the desert, drinking tea with milk and looking out over the waters of the Gulf of Aqaba, which wash against the east coast of the Sinai. The nearest settlement, the resort town of Dahab, is 10 kilometers (six miles) to the south.

“I found the bodies at a depth of 102 meters (335 feet),” says Omar. “They were holding each other in an embrace. This is how it must have happened: One of them had problems and kept sinking deeper down. The other wanted to help him. And then both of them lost consciousness. What can you do? Their memorial stone is up there.”

[ click to continue reading at Der Spiegel ]

Posted on April 3, 2021 by Editor

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The Cetaceans Are Coming! The Cetaceans Are Coming!

from SF Gate

Video shows 1,000-dolphin ‘stampede’ off California coast

by Andrew Chamings

‘Super-pod,’ ‘mega-pod’ or a ‘dolphin stampede,’ whatever you want to call it, the sight of 1,000 dolphins swimming alongside you is a rare and mesmerizing spectacle.

Tourists on a charter boat off Dana Point in Orange County were treated to that very sight for four hours last week, and the footage released of the marvel is breathtaking.

[ click to continue reading at SF Gate ]

Posted on April 2, 2021 by Editor

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The Invisible NFT

from VICE

People’s Expensive NFTs Keep Vanishing. This Is Why

“There was no history of my ever purchasing it, or ever owning it,” said one confused NFT buyer. “Now there’s nothing. My money’s gone.”

By Ben Munster

File:NFT Icon.png
Wikimedia Commons

Last month, Tom Kuennen, a property manager from Ontario, coughed up $500 worth of cryptocurrency for a JPEG of an Elon Musk-themed “Moon Ticket” from DarpaLabs, an anonymous digital art collective. He purchased it through the marketplace OpenSea, one of the largest vendors of so-called non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, in the hopes of reselling it for a profit. 

“It’s like a casino,” he said in an interview. “If it goes up 100 times you resell it, if it doesn’t, well, you don’t tell anyone.”

He never got the chance to find out. A week later, he opened up his digital “wallet,” where the artwork would supposedly be available, and was faced with an ominous banner reading, “This page has gone off grid. We’ve got a 404 error and explored deep and wide, but we can’t find the page you’re looking for.” 

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on April 1, 2021 by Editor

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Alien Talk

from The Wall Street Journal

Alien Languages May Not Be Entirely Alien to Us

Evolution should favor some universal traits in the emergence of any form of communication on any planet

By Arik Kershenbaum

The 2016 movie ‘Arrival’ portrayed scientists scrambling to decode an alien language. PHOTO: ALAMY

Human contact with alien civilizations may be more likely than we think. A recent NASA study estimated that there should be at least four habitable planets (and probably more) within about 32 light years of Earth—a cosmic stone’s throw away. Those planets could just now be receiving (albeit faintly) our television broadcasts of the 1989 inauguration of President George H.W. Bush. But would aliens understand those broadcasts? Would we understand aliens? Could we ever interpret their languages?

The 2016 movie “Arrival” portrayed scientists frantically scrambling to decode an alien language. Although the on-screen aliens communicated—and even thought—in a completely different way from humans, the hero played by Amy Adams of course eventually succeeded. But off-screen, alien language may be so, well, alien that we could never understand anything about it. How do we approach dealing with something so completely unknown that it may also be completely different from anything we might expect?

In fact, questions about the nature of possible alien languages are tractable. Language remains the lone thing that appears to separate humans from other animals on Earth. The comparison of human language with animal communication can help, should we ever frantically need to decode an alien signal. After all, aliens will have evolved their language on a planet that is, like Earth, also full of non-linguistic species. But what really is the difference between language and non-language?

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on March 31, 2021 by Editor

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Blog University

Posted on March 30, 2021 by Editor

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Death By Giant Vending Machine

from Inside Hook

Death of a Car Salesman: How Soon Will We All Be Buying Our Cars Online?

Carvana — one of the tech world’s biggest pandemic winners — is applying lessons from Tesla and Amazon in the used-car market

BY ALEX LAUER

Carvana car vending machines in space on another planet with vehicles floating in the air

You probably know Carvana for their car vending machines, but they’ve got much bigger plans. Gabe Serrano for InsideHook/Carvana/Getty

In the history books, the car story of the pandemic will be, without a doubt, Tesla. Elon Musk’s electric vehicle maker captured the attention of financial leaders, other automakers and the general public due to the company’s meteoric stock market rise (as well as the CEO’s dangerous, brainless Twitter rhetoric). When we tried to figure out how a relatively small automaker became the most valuable in the world, one expert summed it up like this: Tesla is not a traditional car manufacturer, it’s a tech company, and as such it has much greater potential.

Carvana certainly isn’t as sexy as Tesla, but it’s the other car story you need to know from the pandemic, one with potentially more immediate impacts on your life. And it has many of the same hallmarks: the company’s business model seems simple — an online used car retailer you probably know from their distinctive “vending machines” — but it’s their proprietary tech that’s important. They’ve gained prominence in a short time, becoming the second largest used car retailer in the U.S. in eight years, and the stock price has been on a tear this year, hitting a high in March 2021 that was almost triple the company’s high before the pandemic was declared.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on March 29, 2021 by Editor

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It May Never End

from The Wall Street Journal

A Year Into Remote Work, No One Knows When to Stop Working Anymore

Workers are exhausted from nonstop working from home; many managers want to get everyone off the treadmill and breathing again

By Chip Cutter

The daily alarm Katie Lipp sets isn’t meant to wake her up. It reminds her to go to bed.

The employment attorney in Fairfax, Va., said she has tried a range of techniques to set boundaries while working long days from home running her law practice during the pandemic. Few measures work as well as the 9:45 p.m. alarm she started setting last month, though she admits to snoozing it occasionally to fire out one last email.

“You never feel like what you’re doing is good enough, so you get stuck in a trap of overworking,” Ms. Lipp, the mother of a 5-year-old, said. “Sleep is the difference. If I get like eight to nine hours, I can take on the world. If I have six hours of sleep, it’s like the walking dead.”

A year into the Covid-19 era, many can relate. Employees say work-life boundaries blurred, then vanished, as waking life came to mean “always on” at work. Experts warn that working around the clock—while slipping in meals, helping with homework and grabbing a few moments with a partner—isn’t sustainable, and employers from banking giant Citigroup Inc. to the software company Pegasystems Inc., are trying ways to get staff to dial back.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on March 28, 2021 by Editor

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Warhol Loses

from AP

US court sides with photographer in fight over Warhol art

By LARRY NEUMEISTER

In this 1976 file photo, pop artist Andy Warhol smiles in New York. A federal appeals court sided with a photographer Friday, March 26, 2021, in her copyright dispute over how a foundation has marketed a series of Andy Warhol works of art based on her pictures of Prince. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — A U.S. appeals court sided with a photographer Friday in a copyright dispute over how a foundation has marketed a series of Andy Warhol works of art based on one of her pictures of Prince.

The New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the artwork created by Warhol before his 1987 death was not transformative and could not overcome copyright obligations to photographer Lynn Goldsmith. It returned the case to a lower court for further proceedings.

In a statement, Goldsmith said she was grateful to the outcome in the 4-year-old fight initiated by a lawsuit from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. She said the foundation wanted to “use my photograph without asking my permission or paying me anything for my work.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on March 27, 2021 by Editor

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Beverly Cleary Gone

from The Los Angeles Times

Beverly Cleary, beloved and prolific author of children’s books, dies at 104

By VALERIE J. NELSON

With witty yet economic prose and a gift for recalling the inner emotions of childhood, Beverly Cleary wove timeless tales that took young readers back to the Portland, Ore., of her youth.

Her stories served as a collective touchstone for the childhoods of many baby boomers, and succeeding generations, who saw themselves in the pages of her work.

Cleary died Thursday in Carmel, where she had lived since the 1960s. She was 104.

The grande dame of children’s literature, she wrote both humorously and realistically about the anxieties of childhood in such enduringly popular books as “Henry Huggins” and “Beezus and Ramona.”

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on March 26, 2021 by Editor

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The Good Ol’ Days of Movies and Mosquitoes

from Architecture Digest

The 25 Most Charming Drive-In Movie Theaters Left in America

Forget Netflix, of the roughly 350 remaining drive-in theaters in the U.S., these establishments are quintessential Americana

By Kristine Hansen

red car by fence with blue skies
Photo: Courtesy of Finger Lakes Drive-In

When it comes to midcentury design, boomerang tables and walnut credenzas get all the love. But what about drive-in movie theaters? Although many succumbed to the popularity of indoor cinemas, followed by the rise of Netflix, about 350 remain in operation today, a steep dive from the 4,000 or so that once served as after-dark entertainment during summer. One is even opening in Nashville in next month or so: the August Moon Drive-In, a re-creation of a 1960s drive-in—complete with burgers, shakes, and classic cars—as well as the largest non-IMAX theater in the country. From New York’s Hudson Valley to Southern California, here are 25 of the most charming from coast to coast, folding in ambiance and décor from a bygone era (complete with vintage cars). Bring a soft blanket, lawn chairs, and bug spray, plus some cash for popcorn, and you’ve got all the goods for the perfect summer evening.

[ click to continue reading at AD ]

Posted on March 25, 2021 by Editor

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Just In Time Disaster

from AP

Shipping losses mount from cargo vessel stuck in Suez Canal

By JON GAMBRELL and SAMY MAGDY

ISMAILIA, Egypt (AP) — Dredgers, tugboats and even a backhoe failed to free a giant cargo ship wedged in Egypt’s Suez Canal on Thursday. More than 150 vessels are now backed up, with hundreds more headed to the vital waterway, and losses to global shipping are mounting.

The skyscraper-sized Ever Given, carrying cargo between Asia and Europe, ran aground Tuesday in the narrow, man-made canal dividing continental Africa from the Sinai Peninsula. Even helped by high tides, authorities have been unable to push the Panama-flagged container vessel aside, and they are looking for new ideas to free it.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on March 24, 2021 by Editor

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Madnfts In The Housing Market

from CNN

World’s first digital NFT house sells for $500,000

by Lianne Kolirin

The NFT digital Mars House sold for more than $500,000.
The NFT digital Mars House sold for more than $500,000. Credit: Courtesy Krista Kim

Having spent so much time at home over the last year, many people are craving a change in their surroundings. But if a coat of paint or some creative renovations fail to do the trick, there is now a more extreme alternative: The digital house. Mars House, the world’s first digital NFT (non-fungible token) home, has recently sold for more than $500,000.

NFTs have made headlines recently, allowing digital art and other musings such as drawings or music to be sold online.An NFT is a unique digital token which effectively verifies authenticity and ownership. It is encrypted with the artist’s signature on the blockchain, a digital ledger used in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The new owner paid digital artist Krista Kim 288 Ether — a cryptocurrency that is equivalent to $514,557.79 — for the virtual property. In exchange, the buyer will receive 3D files to upload to his or her “Metaverse.”Metaverse is a virtual extension of our world, Kim told CNN Tuesday, where plots of virtual land are purchased and traded, and digital homes and business are built.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on March 23, 2021 by Editor

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1925

from The New York Times

Was 1925 Literary Modernism’s Most Important Year?

By Ben Libman

“An illiterate, underbred book it seems to me: the book of a self-taught working man, & we all know how distressing they are, how egotistic, insistent, raw, striking & ultimately nauseating.” So goes Virginia Woolf’s well-known complaint about “Ulysses,” scribbled into her diary before she had finished reading it. Her disparagement is catnip to those many critics who like to view “Mrs. Dalloway” — that other uber-famous, if more lapidary, modernist novel that spans the course of a single day — as Woolf’s rejoinder to Joyce. More than that, though, it tells us something important about our literary history. Nineteen twenty-two, the year of “Ulysses,” may well be ground zero for the explosion of modernism in literature. But the resultant shock wave is better captured by another year: 1925, that of “Mrs. Dalloway” and several other works, all now in the spotlight in 2021, as they emerge from under copyright.

If many an English-majored ear perks up at the sound of “1922,” it’s mostly because of the two somewhat ornery men who published their masterpieces that year: Joyce and T. S. Eliot. “Ulysses” and “The Waste Land” are taught everywhere and almost without exception as “signifying a definitive break in literary history,” to quote the critic Michael North from his book “Reading 1922.” Both the novel and the poem are notoriously challenging, obscurely allusive and highly uneasy about their modern time and the rubble of tradition astride which it stood. Both are also often distressing, egotistic, insistent, raw, striking and (depending on one’s mood) ultimately nauseating. And it is precisely these qualities that account for their hold on our literary imagination. They represent everything that literary modernism is meant to: rupture, difficulty and, of course, making it new.

Yet 1925 is arguably the more important date in modernism’s development, the year that it went mainstream, as embodied by four books whose influence continues to shape fiction today: Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” Ernest Hemingway’s debut story collection, “In Our Time,” John Dos Passos’ “Manhattan Transfer” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby.” Compared with the masterpieces of 1922, these books — all slated for reissue in new editions this year — entered our culture in relatively unspectacular fashion. But it’s precisely their unassuming guise that allowed them, by osmosis rather than disruption, to diffuse their modernist conceits throughout the literary field, ensuring their widespread adoption.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 22, 2021 by Editor

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Mouse Plague in Oz

from The Guardian

‘You can’t escape the smell’: mouse plague grows to biblical proportions across eastern Australia

Locals who have endured months of mice and rats getting into their houses, stores and cars are praying heavy rain will help wipe them out
Warning: graphic images may disturb some readers

by Matilda Boseley

Drought, fire, the Covid-19 pestilence and an all-consuming plague of mice. Rural New South Wales has faced just about every biblical challenge nature has to offer in the last few years, but now it is praying for another – an almighty flood to drown the mice in their burrows and cleanse the blighted land of the rodents. Or some very heavy rain, at least.

It seems everyone in the rural towns of north-west NSW and southern Queensland has their own mouse war story. In posts online, they detail waking up to mouse droppings on their pillows or watching the ground move at night as hundreds of thousands of rodents flee from torchlight beams.

Lisa Gore from Toowoomba told Guardian Australia her friend stripped the fabric of her armchair when it began to smell, only to find a nest of baby mice in the stuffing.

Dubbo resident Karen Fox walked out of the shower on Friday morning to see a mouse staring at her from the ceiling vent. There’s nothing she can do, she says, because the stores are sold out of traps.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on March 21, 2021 by Editor

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The COVID Seas

from The Daily Beast via Yahoo! News

Coronavirus Nightmare at Sea for the World’s Most Essential Workers

by Charissa Isidro

Jaisal Bhati
Jaisal Bhati

“We were out of sight and out of mind,” says Second Officer Jaisal Bhati. “Everybody forgot about us (and) everyone turned a blind eye.” Behind the scenes of the coronavirus pandemic, an invisible workforce of about one million seafarers has continued to toil on bulk carriers, oil tankers, fishing vessels, cruise ships, and more. These people have crisscrossed the world, many working seven-day weeks with no holidays or even sick days delivering medicines, grain, coal, fuel—and now vaccines. “They wanted our services but they did not want us.”

Even in normal circumstances, weathering the perilous seas with limited personnel is a tough, dangerous job. A regular cargo ship might be crewed by only 20 people, each with designated duties—a ship at sea, like a plane in the air, requires constant attention so one cannot simply “down tools” and leave it unattended without risking catastrophe. On top of their daily tasks, each seafarer has emergency responsibilities for fire, health, defense, come what may. There are no separate firemen, doctors, or policemen on board. It’s just the crew, where every worker is essential and any delay is unthinkable.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on March 20, 2021 by Editor

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Big Brother Pollock

from artnet

Jackson Pollock’s Older Brother Charles Was the Family’s First Artist. Now, an Exhibition Brings Their Work Together for the First Time

Their careers diverged, but the brothers remained devoted to each other.

by Katie White

Jackson and Charles Pollock in New York 1930 Courtesy of the Archives of Charles Pollock, Paris.
Jackson and Charles Pollock in New York 1930 Courtesy of the Archives of Charles Pollock, Paris.

Did Jackson Pollock become an artist because he was copycatting his older brother? Believe it or not, the pugnacious Abstract Expressionist was the baby brother in his family—the youngest of five sons born to Leroy and Stella Pollock. What’s more, he wasn’t his family’s first artist. That title belonged to Charles, the eldest of the Pollock brood and a decade Jackson’s senior. 

“Charles started this whole damn thing,” said Sanford McCoy, the Pollocks’ middle brother, once in an interview. “Charles was the fellow who had the intellectual curiosity all along.”

Now, “Charles and Jackson Pollock” an exhibition at the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Florida, (through March 28) marks the first time that works by the two brothers have been shown side by side. 

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on March 19, 2021 by Editor

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The Old Game Lady

from Bloomberg via MSN

Facing Post-Trump Slowdown, New York Times Eyes $100 Billion Games Market

by Gerry Smith

Four new games, appearing on selected days, will accompany the crossword and KenKen in our print edition. 

(Bloomberg) — The most searched-for terms on the New York Times website last year weren’t “Trump” or “Biden” or even “coronavirus.”

They were “crosswords” and “Spelling Bee,” the name of the Times’s online word game — part of the newspaper’s attempt to grab a bigger piece of the $100 billion market for mobile games.

The Times is under pressure lately to diversify away from news. With Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency over — and the riveting events of 2020 in the rearview mirror — the newspaper has warned that subscriber gains won’t continue at the rate they did last year. So the company is looking to games to help maintain its momentum. 

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on March 18, 2021 by Editor

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Post-COVID Pico

from The LA Times

A year of change on Pico Boulevard

Map shows the path of Pico Boulevard from Santa Monica to Downtown L.A.

Los Angeles imposed coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses on March 15, 2020. It was the beginning of a year of loss, upheaval and constant adaptation.

Public health rules kept evolving. Relief programs brought help for some but only red tape for others. Supply chains were a mess. There were shoppers who feared even entering stores and customers who crowded newly built patios.

Some businesses cut hours, services and staff, or closed altogether. Many have survived beyond their expectations.

A trip down Pico Boulevard shows how much has changed one year later.

[ click to view at LAT ]

Posted on March 17, 2021 by Editor

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Mo’ Space Trash

from UPI via AccuWeather

Massive piece of space junk tossed from ISS sets new record

By Daniel Uria, UPI

Photo courtesy NASA

March 15 (UPI) — A pallet of batteries was released from the International Space Station last week, becoming the heaviest single piece of junk ever jettisoned from the station.

Mission controllers in Houston commanded the Canadarm2 robotic arm to release an external pallet loaded with the 2.9 tons of nickel-hydrogen batteries into Earth’s orbit Thursday morning.

“It is safely moving away from the station and will orbit Earth between two to four years before burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere,” NASA said in a statement.

NASA representative Leah Cheshier confirmed to Gizmodo that the pallet is the largest object “mass wise” ever to be dispelled from the ISS.

[ click to continue reading at AccuWeather ]

Posted on March 16, 2021 by Editor

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The Antikythera Mechanism

from artnet

This Mysterious Ancient Greek Device May Be the First Computer. Now Scientists Have Just Taken a Big Step Towards Making It Work

The Antikythera Mechanism has been recreated in a computer simulation—yet enigmas still remain.

by Sarah Cascone

A fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece. Photo courtesy of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece.
A fragment of the Antikythera Mechanism at the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece. Photo courtesy of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens, Greece.

Scientists are one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the 2,000-year-old Antikythera Mechanism, considered the world’s first computer, thanks to a new computer-generated reconstruction of the ancient device.

Researchers from the University College London have unveiled their computational model in the journal Scientific Reports, and are currently in the midst of building a physical replica.

Discovered in 1901 off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera, the mechanism was actually an astrological clock that would have shown the movement of the five known planets and predicted astronomical events such as the phases of the moon and lunar and solar eclipses—but with the earth placed at the center of the universe.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on March 15, 2021 by Editor

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Marvelous Marvin Gone

from The Daily Mail

Undisputed middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler dies at age 66 after one of his biggest rivals Tommy Hearns said he was ‘in an ICU fighting the effects of the vaccine’

By MALCOLM BROWN

Boxing was in mourning on Saturday night after the shock death of one its all-time greats, Marvin Hagler, at just 66, after he reportedly suffered side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The American boxer – born in Newark, New Jersey – dominated the sport’s middleweight scene, which he was champion of between 1980 and 1987.  

He was also named as the Fighter of the Decade for the 1980s by Boxing Illustrated magazine and won the Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year award twice. 

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Mail ]

Posted on March 14, 2021 by Editor

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Back to Smallville

from The Wall Street Journal

Small-Town Natives Are Moving Back Home

For many young people, returning to struggling communities means exchanging prosperity for a more rooted life.

By Grace Olmstead

PHOTO: JENN ACKERMAN FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

My great-grandfather, who died in 2007, stayed in the same little Idaho farm town for all 96 years of his life. Even as his siblings left the farm and traveled the world, “Grandpa Dad,” as we called him, turned down opportunities for adventure and bigger paychecks. But he had something that many people who have left their hometowns behind, like me, would like to regain: roots.

Over the past few years, a growing number of Americans have been moving back to the small towns and rural communities they were once encouraged to leave. Thanks in part to the Covid-19 pandemic, 52% of adults age 18 to 29 lived with their parents in 2020, the largest share since the Great Depression, according to the Pew Research Center. Meanwhile, Census Bureau data indicate that large metro areas have seen declining growth and in some instances population losses since 2010.

Many people move home to help out with family businesses, support aging loved ones or share the joys of small-town life with their kids. I left Fruitland, Idaho, for college on the East Coast in 2009 and now live in northern Virginia. While writing a book about the farm community where I grew up, however, I discovered many people who have chosen to move back home as part of a larger mission. They are fighting rural poverty, restoring broken food economies and bringing health back to neglected soil. Their vision of success has less to do with financial prosperity or personal comfort than with the more demanding values of stewardship, investment and care. 

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on March 13, 2021 by Editor

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Always Worth Watching Again

Posted on March 12, 2021 by Editor

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NFT ART

from NBC News

Digital artwork sells for record $69 million at Christie’s first NFT auction

The first purely digital work sold by an established auction house brings blockchain into the world of fine art.

By Michela Moscufo

Image: Beeple
Digital art collage by Beeple, Christie’s Auction House / AFP – Getty Images

Christie’s auction house sold its first purely digital artwork Thursday for a record $69 million, the highest price paid for an NFT, or nonfungible token.

The work, “Everydays: The First 5000 Days,” is by Mike Winkelmann, who goes by the name Beeple. The work is a collage of 5,000 drawings, one created and posted every day for the past 13 and a half years.

Originally created with pen and paper and now mostly illustration software, the sketches run the gamut from an angular line drawing of his first baby to Hillary Clinton and well-known cartoon characters.

The winning bidder owns the work in the form of a unique string of code, called a nonfungible token. The piece has no physical presence and will be “delivered directly from Beeple to the buyer, accompanied by a unique NFT encrypted with the artist’s unforgeable signature and uniquely identified on the blockchain,” Christie’s said.

[ continue reading at NBC ]

Posted on March 11, 2021 by Editor

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Shapira’s Scroll

from DNYUZ

Is a Long-Dismissed Forgery Actually the Oldest Known Biblical Manuscript?

Is a Long-Dismissed Forgery Actually the Oldest Known Biblical Manuscript?

In 1883, a Jerusalem antiquities dealer named Moses Wilhelm Shapira announced the discovery of a remarkable artifact: 15 manuscript fragments, supposedly discovered in a cave near the Dead Sea. Blackened with a pitchlike substance, their paleo-Hebrew script nearly illegible, they contained what Shapira claimed was the “original” Book of Deuteronomy, perhaps even Moses’ own copy.

The discovery drew newspaper headlines around the world, and Shapira offered the treasure to the British Museum for a million pounds. While the museum’s expert evaluated it, two fragments were put on display, attracting throngs of visitors, including Prime Minister William Gladstone.

Then disaster struck.

Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, a swashbuckling French archaeologist and longtime nemesis of Shapira’s, had been granted a few minutes with several of the fragments, after promising to hold his judgment until the museum issued its report. But the next morning, he went to the press and denounced them as forgeries.

[ click to continue reading at DNYUZ ]

Posted on March 10, 2021 by Editor

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