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Elysium Realism

from SPACE

The Elysium effect: The coming backlash to the billionaire ‘NewSpace’ revolution

By Rick Tumlinson

In the 2013 science fiction film “Elysium” starring Matt Damon, Earth’s wealthiest 0.01% move to the ultimate gated community, a luxurious orbiting space colony, leaving a poverty-stricken humanity to fend for themselves on a ravaged planet.

Interestingly, it is indeed some of today’s 0.1% who are leading the way into space to build communities beyond Earth. However, quite the opposite of the movie, their goals are of the highest order, from democratizing access to space by lowering costs, to creating new products and ideas, to helping save the planet and opening space to future generations.

As in any good social movement, there is a need for bad guys, and these guys are easy icons of evil to many. And there may be no easier target they could present than a shiny private rocketship or space station — even if it is for a good cause.

Though they have many flaws, including the accumulation of lots of money, these space pioneers are actually trying to do something good for humanity and the planet. And while they may not be the cuddliest of people, just look at their other projects and goals: Musk builds electric cars and solar power systems, Bezos wants to move polluting heavy industry off planet – even as Amazon pushes towards zero emissions, and Branson is a long time champion of social and environmental causes

Yet these visionaries, who author Christian Davenport called “The Space Barons” are often portrayed as rich boys with fancy toys.

Things will get worse when the next wave of terribly branded “space tourists” begin to fly. Bezos’ Blue Origin and Branson’s Virgin Galactic will charge over $200,000 for excursions to the edge of space, while newcomer Axiom Space Systems and SpaceX will offer flights to and beyond the International Space Station for a few tens of millions, and even loop the Moon for a just few hundred million more.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on October 24, 2020 by Editor

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Cannonball Renaissance

from GQ

The Incredible Story of the Great Cannonball Boom

When the country shut down and the highways thinned out, a stealthy group of amateur car obsessives glimpsed an opportunity to revive the fabled cannonball run—the highly daring, absurdly illegal cross-country endurance race. And in the record-breaking frenzy that followed, they became legends of the unlikeliest pastime of the pandemic age.

BY ALEX W. PALMER
PHOTOGRAPHY BY PELLE CASS

The Ford Mustang that Fred Ashmore rented, modified, and then drove to Cannonball glory.

Fred Ashmore was just outside Needles, California, in the parched low desert where the jagged southern point of Nevada meets the Arizona-California border, when he felt it wash over him. A kind of confusion melting into panic. He was exhausted, which he knew was making everything worse. It was about 1 a.m., and he’d been at the wheel for almost 24 hours now, rocketing west at speeds well over 100 miles per hour. For lucky stretches, when the road opened up and Ashmore punched the throttle, he could get his silver Ford Mustang GT up to 159 mph—the car’s top speed, he’d discovered. Now, ahead of him in the inky-black night, he could see the flash of brake lights, a river of travelers funneling into a slow-moving line.

Before long, Ashmore was inching along the desert highway, feeling crucial minutes tick by and craning to see what was ahead. That’s when he noticed trunks popping open and a new fear took hold. Officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture were searching vehicles entering the state. He watched a car in front of him stop and then get looked over from top to bottom. If they do that to my car, Ashmore thought, I’m probably not getting it back.

On the outside, his Mustang looked pretty much like any other car on the road. Inside was another story. Splayed across Ashmore’s dashboard was an array of devices, including a CB radio, a mounted tablet operating Waze and Google Maps, and an iPhone running a timer. Stuck to the inside of the windshield was a radar detector; on the front grille and back bumper were the sensors for a laser jammer. Even more conspicuously, strapped beside and behind Ashmore, where the front and rear passenger seats should have been, huge fuel tanks sloshed with gasoline. A series of hoses connected them—along with another enormous tank, this one in the trunk—to the car’s main fuel tank. An officer inspecting Ashmore’s rig could have been forgiven for concluding that he was driving a giant gasoline bomb.

[ click to continue reading at GQ ]

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Editor

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Cow Hugging

from Fox 5 New York

Cow-hugging is the new animal therapy trend we all need

By Catherine Park

Therapy animals are not a new concept, but in a world where mental health is being tested by an ongoing pandemic, people are searching for comfort it what might seem like unusual places.

A practice that originated in the rural town of Reuver in the Netherlands, “koe knuffelen,” which means “cow hugging” in Dutch, is gaining global popularity, according to a BBC report.

It’s not just the act of hugging a cow that helps relieve stress and lower anxiety, but making contact with any furry critter could help improve one’s mental health.

Cows are the optimal cuddling buddy, and it’s not just because they’re adorable.

A 2007 study in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science states that cows “show cues of deep relaxation, stretching out and allowing their ears to fall back when massaged in particular areas of their neck and upper back.”

“Cow cuddling is believed to promote positivity and reduce stress by boosting oxytocin in humans, the hormone released in social bonding. The calming effects of curling up with a pet or emotional support animal, it seems, are accentuated when cuddling with larger mammals,” according to the BBC.

The need for companionship during a socially-distanced time is steadily increasing.

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on October 14, 2020 by Editor

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Marbles

from AP

Torlonia Collection of ancient marbles displayed in Rome

ROME (AP) — One of the most important private collections of ancient Greek and Roman marble sculptures is going on display in Rome as part of the Eternal City’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

The 90 works from the Torlonia Collection were opening Monday in the newly refurbished Villa Caffarelli, one of the Capitoline Museum’s exhibition spaces overlooking the ancient Roman Forum. Organizers said there were plans to offer to lend the works to other museums, but said the coronavirus pandemic had put those plans on hold for now.

The 620-piece Torlonia Collection is considered one of the greatest private collections of classical art, featuring marble busts, reliefs, sarcophagi and statues. It was begun by one of Rome’s 19th century patricians, Prince Alessandro Torlonia, and was created in part from archaeological excavations of the Torlonia family’s various estates in Rome.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on October 13, 2020 by Editor

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21st Century Saint

from France 24

Teen one step from becoming first millennial saint

The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, who 15-year-old Carlo Acutis idolised
The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, who 15-year-old Carlo Acutis idolised  Tiziana FABI AFP

A British-born Italian teenager who dedicated his short life to spreading the faith online and helping the poor will be beatified by the Catholic Church Saturday.

That leaves him just one miracle away from becoming the world’s first millennial saint.

Internet and computer-mad youngster Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, was placed on the path to sainthood after the Vatican ruled he had miraculously saved another boy’s life.

The Vatican claims he interceded from heaven in 2013 to cure a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease.

He will be beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol Saint Francis, who dedicated his life to the poor. Some 3,000 people are expected to follow the ceremony on giant screens set up in five squares in the central Italian city.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Editor

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Robot Beetle Cool

from Republic World

Robot Beetle Faces A Real Beetle In This Jaw Dropping Fight Between Nature And Machine

Written By Gladwin Menezes

In a video that surfaced recently, a robot beetle can be seen going up against a real beetle. The fight between the two has caused netizens to react in awe and amusement. The insect wrestled the machine while being filmed and the results were spectacularly astonishing.

The video begins with the mechanical beetle fidgeting and poking the real beetle. Unaware of what is happening, the real beetle tries its level best to reason out with the situation he is in. The shiny black beetle is the live beetle whereas the dark black beetle is the mechanical one. Upon first glance, one can easily notice that the mechanical or robotic beetle is much larger and seems way too stronger in terms of size and might. The real beetle, on the other hand, seems of a regular size and not as intimidating as the robot beetle.

[ click to continue reading at Republic World ]

Posted on October 11, 2020 by Editor

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How To Bait A Whale

from The New York Post

Sex, drugs and rare pooches: How casino hosts lure in big gamblers

By Michael Kaplan

Getty Images

You’d think it would be simple to drop millions of dollars at a casino.

But extracting that kind of dough tends to require a delicate dance between casino, player and host: the person charged with luring gamblers to bet big and lose big. It can involve private jets, exotic hotel suites, bottles of Cristal, Cuban cigars and pretty much anything the gambler wants. It’s a perfect environment for squeezing out the massive losses that keep casino chandeliers burning.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on October 10, 2020 by Editor

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糟糕!

from BBC

Stolen Mao Zedong scroll ‘worth millions’ found cut in half

GETTY IMAGES

A stolen calligraphy scroll said to be worth millions has been found in Hong Kong, after it was cut in half.

Thieves had stolen the scroll by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong from an art collector’s home in a burglary last month.

They then sold it at a fraction of its value. It was apparently cut up as the 2.8m-long (9ft) scroll was deemed too long to display, said Hong Kong police.

The original owner says the artwork’s value has been “definitely affected”.

The scroll contains stanzas of poetry handwritten by the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Its owner has claimed it is estimated to be worth around $300m (£230m), though it is not known how the valuation was obtained.

The scroll was stolen in a massive heist on 10 September, when three men broke into the home of Fu Chunxiao, a well-known collector of stamps and revolutionary art. 

They also made off with antique stamps, copper coins and other pieces of calligraphy by Mao. The total haul was worth HK$5bn ($645m; £500m) according to Mr Fu, who was reportedly in mainland China when the burglary took place.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on October 9, 2020 by Editor

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Dreams w/Latte

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO4mhpdExew

Posted on October 8, 2020 by Editor

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Island of Nowhere

from Hakai Magazine

The Island That Humans Can’t Conquer

A faraway island in Alaska has had its share of visitors, but none can remain for long on its shores.

Text by  Sarah Gilman / Photos by  Nathaniel Wilder

St. Matthew Island is said to be the most remote place in Alaska. Marooned in the Bering Sea halfway to Siberia, it is well over 300 kilometers and a 24-hour ship ride from the nearest human settlements. It looks fittingly forbidding, the way it emerges from its drape of fog like the dark spread of a wing. Curved, treeless mountains crowd its sliver of land, plunging in sudden cliffs where they meet the surf. To St. Matthew’s north lies the smaller, more precipitous island of Hall. A castle of stone called Pinnacle stands guard off St. Matthew’s southern flank. To set foot on this scatter of land surrounded by endless ocean is to feel yourself swallowed by the nowhere at the center of a drowned compass rose.

My head swims a little as I peer into a shallow pit on St. Matthew’s northwestern tip. It’s late July in 2019, and the air buzzes with the chitters of the island’s endemic singing voles. Wildflowers and cotton grass constellate the tundra that has grown over the depression at my feet, but around 400 years ago, it was a house, dug partway into the earth to keep out the elements. It’s the oldest human sign on the island, the only prehistoric house ever found here. A lichen-crusted whale jawbone points downhill toward the sea, the rose’s due-north needle.

Compared with more sheltered bays and beaches on the island’s eastern side, it would have been a relatively harsh place to settle. Storms regularly slam this coast with the full force of the open ocean. As many as 300 polar bears used to summer here, before Russians and Americans hunted them out in the late 1800s. Evidence suggests that the pit house’s occupants likely didn’t use it for more than a season, according to Dennis Griffin, an archaeologist who’s worked on the archipelago since 2002. Excavations of the site have turned up enough to suggest that people of the Thule culture—precursors to the Inuit and Yup’ik who now inhabit Alaska’s northwestern coasts—built it. But Griffin has found no sign of a hearth, and only a thin layer of artifacts.

[ click to continue reading at Hakai ]

Posted on October 7, 2020 by Editor

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Eddie Van Halen Gone

Posted on October 6, 2020 by Editor

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They’re Getting Closer

from CBS Pittsburgh

‘It’s Been A Long Time Since We’ve Seen Something Like This’; Meteor That Lit Up Pittsburgh Skies Was Seen In 15 States

The meteor that flew over the Pittsburgh area on Wednesday morning has now been reported as having been seen over 700 times.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When the skies above Pittsburgh lit up early Wednesday morning, social media was abuzz trying to figure out what it was or what had just happened.

At 6:24 a.m., the skies lit up with what appeared to be a fireball flying through the atmosphere.

KDKA spoke with Jay Reynolds, a Research Astronomer at Cleveland State University, who is now in his sixteenth year there, says that it was a meteor.

[ click to continue reading at KDKA ]

Posted on October 1, 2020 by Editor

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BDSM Going Viral

from The Daily Beast

A Dominatrix on Why BDSM Business Is Booming During Trump and COVID

Mistress Iris writes about the reasons why people are turning to dominant/submissive roleplay during these chaotic times. 

by Mistress Iris

Oscar Wilde famously said, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” It’s a wonderfully worded quote but a bit mistaken about sex, power, and the rest. In Wilde’s Victorian England, power was obvious and everywhere; sex was repressed. The world we live in today is far more suffused in sex, but a bit less comfortable with the omnipresence of power (which is why addressing privilege and oppression is commonly met with such reactionary vitriol and/or tear gas).

“But why are you talking about politics, professional dominatrix?” you might ask. Some people want to cordon off the sexual world, and pretend that it doesn’t interact with the broader world we all live in, but in my work as a pro-domme I’ve often gotten to see the intricate ways that peoples’ sexual fantasies reflect and respond to the stressors and freedoms they experience in their outside life. When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, I saw a surge in female, racial, and religious minorities who contacted me; people who, because of external events, were required to be unyielding and resolute in their day-to-day struggles, seeking heavy play that helped them break down within the context of a safe and trusting environment. I’ve seen a similar response during COVID-19, and wanted to deconstruct it a bit.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Editor

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Because I’m Stressed

Posted on September 29, 2020 by Editor

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Bart/Easton-Ellis: COVID Could Bring Back Film

from MovieMaker

Peter Bart Predicts 1960s-Style ‘Reinvention’ of Movies


By Tim Molloy

Peter Bart The Godfather

Peter Bart, who helped oversee films including Rosemary’s Baby and The Godfather, says he believes cinema is ready for a “reinvention” like the one of the late 1960s that spawned the brilliant films of the following decade.

Bart, who helped his friend Robert Evans lead Paramount in a bold new direction after audiences dwindled in the mid-1960s, says on the latest Bret Easton Ellis Podcast that the movie business is in a similarly dark place now to the one it was in then.

“Due to the pandemic and other factors, the movie business has simply lost its audience… because of the virus, but also the movies were beginning to lose interest. And I think now, as then, there will be a reinvention situation,” said Bart, 88.

“The difference, of course, and this is an importance difference, is the mid-60s were characterized by certain amazing developments,” Bart said. “Society was beginning to change, and the movies had to come along and somehow change in a way that showed understanding of that societal change.”

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Posted on September 28, 2020 by Editor

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Sign O’ the New Times

from SPIN

Prince Collaborators Reflect on 1987 Opus ‘Sign O’ the Times’

“[Ideas] just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe,” says Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink 

by Ron Hart

Prince
CREDIT: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

By the mid-80s, Prince was a global superstar thanks to the worldwide success of 1984’s Purple Rain

So when he started work on his follow-up — eventually released on March 31, 1987 as the double-LP Sign O’ the Times — it came amidst a creative tsunami that saw two more classic albums with his longtime band the Revolution (1985’s Around The World in A Day and the following year’s Parade), the 1986 film Under The Cherry Moon and three ultimately shelved titles (Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball).

For those who worked closest to him during this period, including Revolution keyboard wizard Matt Fink (aka Dr. Fink), longtime engineer Susan Rogers and bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., it was astounding to see such a voluminous output from Prince during this time.

“His creative mind is just so wild,” Fink tells SPIN. “Like he was always thinking of stuff. He was always thinking and conjuring up ideas. It just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe. He was a muse of the universe.”

“I had a lot of personal time with him,” Seacer explains. “And when I was with him by himself, it was really like sitting with one of your regular buddies. And it was so interesting being around somebody whose fountain was just overflowing with creativity, and then you go back into the real world and everybody’s fountains are cut off. So what he was good at was trying to encourage you to open that fountain and say, ‘Hey, you got a lot in there; why don’t you just let it out so you can put more in?’ I didn’t realize I could actually do all of that. And when you do that, you can really find out who you are, and then that faucet don’t stop flowing.” 

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on September 27, 2020 by Editor

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Dreams On-demand

from The Daily Star

Real-life Inception as scientists figure out how to plant ideas in dreams

Researchers at MIT have been testing a fascinating new technique called targeted dream incubation, which allows them to insert certain topics into someone else’s dreams

By Sophie Bateman

It may sound like the plot of Inception, but scientists have figured out how to plant ideas into other people’s dreams.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces have been testing a new technique called targeted dream incubation (TDI), which allows them to insert certain topics into someone’s dreams.

Past studies have shown that when sleepers enter a rare dream state known as lucid dreaming, they gain awareness that they’re dreaming and can thus have some control over what happens in their mind.

TDI achieves a similar result by targeting people during hypnagogia, a semi-lucid dream state that occurs as someone is falling asleep.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on September 26, 2020 by Editor

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Harry Evans Gone

from Showbiz 411

Harold Evans Dies at 92, Pioneering Editor Who Stood up to Rupert Murdoch, Ran US News, Random House, NY Daily News

by Roger Friedman

Harry Evans has been on my mind for a month. Isn’t it weird when that happens? I felt like something was wrong. This was the first year I hadn’t seen Harry since I met him in 1985. Several times I looked up his number intending to call him and didn’t. And now it’s too late. Harry has left us at age 92, dead from congestive heart failure.

I call him Harry but he’s Harold Evans, former editor of the Times of London who stood up to Rupert Murdoch, was fired and wrote a great book about the experience called “Good Times, Bad Times.” His second wife, almost 30 years his junior, was Tina Brown, the young hot shot editor of Tatler magazine in London. They moved to New York in 1982. Tina took over the just-revived and failing Vanity Fair. Harry took several jobs with Mort Zuckerman, owner of US News, then the Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly Press books, a venerable publishing company. They became the hottest media couple in the world.

AMP is where I met Harry. He hired me to be publicity director. In a short time he’d shaken up the place, contracted for a number of non fiction books by name writers. The biggest project was “Je Suis Le Cahier,” the first ever publication of Picasso’s notebooks which would accompany a huge exhibition at the Pace Gallery. The day I met Harry he was 58 years old and was like a little spitfire. Wiry and tiny, he was constantly in motion. He was unlike everyone I’d encountered in the book business, which was staid and lazy.

“What should we do with Picasso?” he asked me. I said, well, Picasso’s daughter, Paloma, is famous for making perfume and jewelry. Maybe she could help us and do some publicity? You’re right! he cried. He ran into his office, pulling me, and called Tina at Vanity Fair to get Paloma’s phone number. Within seconds we had this woman on the phone, made a lunch date at the very snazzy Four Seasons. My head was spinning. What just happened? Everything was about to change, fast.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Editor

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Covid Era Begats Drone Era

from Forbes

From Sci-Fi To Everyday Business: Welcome To The Age Of The Robot

Ambulance Drone flying in the sky
GETTY

While drones and robots may have once evoked a sense of fantasy and science fiction, these devices may be starting to prove their potential as major contributors to business and everyday life. And today, the widespread effort to limit human contact due to the Covid-19 pandemic could perhaps accelerate those trends, as robots are deployed for a variety of public safety uses—from assisting doctors and delivering supplies to sterilizing public spaces.

Delivery drones and small robotic delivery trucks could play an increasingly important role as the e-commerce industry grows. In fact, industry analyst Technavio forecasts a growth in the autonomous delivery robot market of almost $17 billion between 2020 and 2024. And with steady online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, robot and drone deliveries could offer a safer alternative to human couriers while also potentially reducing costs.

In the early days of the pandemic, for example, robots were drafted in China to conduct contactless grocery drops. Plans are also underway to combine walking robots and self-driving cars in order to conduct the final step of delivering packages from cars to customers’ doorsteps.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Posted on September 24, 2020 by Editor

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Our New Mini-moon

from The Daily Star

Mystery object entering Earth’s orbit ‘to become planet’s mini-moon until May’

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth, and could stay in orbit of the planet from October until May next year – although some think it could just be space junk

By Joshua Smith

Earth could be about to get a new moon – but experts have been left baffled at what the mystery object actually is.

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth and from October it will be a “mini-moon”, which could stay in orbit of the planet until May next year.

Another object, named 3753 Cruithne, has already been dubbed Earth’s “second moon” – meaning 2020 SO would be our third.

Cruithne is in a normal elliptic orbit around the Sun. 

Its period of revolution around the Sun, approximately 364 days at present, is almost equal to that of Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on September 23, 2020 by Editor

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Loving Music & Loathing Bullshit

from Tablet

The Great Stanley Crouch

An American immigrant jazz buff expresses his gratitude to a supremely gifted critic who loved the music and loathed bullshit

BY TONY BADRAN

If I had to name the one writer who was most pivotal for me and for my full assimilation in America, it would undoubtedly be Stanley Crouch, the famed jazz and cultural critic who died last Wednesday in New York at age 74. At this moment in American life, where anything and everything that identifies us and binds us as Americans is under direct assault, Crouch is perhaps more essential than ever, and his passing all the more devastating.

Perhaps even more than Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison, Crouch tied it all together for me. He had a terrific ear for the music I love, and his uncompromising pugnacious style spoke to me directly. For someone who came to America from a sectarian Third World society, his commentary on the Balkanization of America was penetrating and, as we’re seeing today, scarily pertinent.

Crouch had no patience for the self-pitying race politics of grievance and authenticity. He saw it as a hustle and had nothing but contempt for its toxic sales pitch. He arrived at this conviction the hard way, as he explains in the prologue to his fabulous Considering Genius:

The tribal appeal is always great and there is nothing more tempting to the most gullible members of a minority group than suddenly hearing that, merely by being born, one is not innately inferior to the majority but part of an unacknowledged elite. I was not so sophisticated that I could avoid the pull of those ideas and found myself reading all kinds of books about Africa, and African customs and religion. … I would have been pulled all the way into the maw of subthought, from which it might have taken longer to emerge if Jayne Cortez hadn’t introduced me to Ralph Ellison’s Shadow and Act. … Unlike those younger black people who were busy jettisoning their heritage as Americans and Western people—both of which brought the built-in option of criticism—Ellison took the place of his ethnic group and himself as firm parts of American life and a fresh development in Western culture.

This affirmation of Americanness in the face of all tribal impulses, “ethnic narcissism,” and Balkanization, reflects the influence of Ellison and Murray, and their realization, in Crouch’s words, that “America is a land of synthesis.” In The Omni-Americans, Murray builds on Constance Rourke’s description of the composite nature of the American character—“part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian, and part Negro.” Blackness, in other words, is a foundational element of the American national character, meaning that all Americans are culturally part Black, whether they like it or not, and that appeals to racial or cultural purity—by anyone, regardless of skin color or claimed ancestry—are sheer nonsense.

Like America, its vernacular aesthetic expression, jazz, is also a composite, an experiment in hybridity. And like America, the Black element in jazz is foundational—not something that needs special pleading or diversity coaches to promote inclusion. Crouch was uncompromising on this point. He fought vigorously against any attempt to remove from its definition the core elements of jazz, which were the contribution of Black artists—blues and swing.

[ click to continue reading at Tablet ]

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Editor

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Vote The Assholes Out

from The LA Times

The story behind that Patagonia tag, and how the Trump era changed outdoor recreation

By SAMMY ROTH

The words "Vote the assholes out" stitched on the underside of a white tag on a pair of shorts
A provocative tag on a limited-edition pair of Patagonia’s Stand Up shorts. (Patagonia)

Browse Patagonia’s online shop, and you’ll find T-shirts condemning Big Oil, encouraging people to vote with planet Earth in mind and declaring that when it comes to wilderness, Americans must “defend it or lose it.”

But the company is getting far more attention for a cheeky, hidden message that appears only on the tag of a limited-edition pair of shorts, in tiny print.

The message: “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT.”

The label, which went viral on Twitter, was only the latest Trump-era call to action from Patagonia. The company has responded to the federal government’s environmental rollbacks with increasingly vocal campaigns to protect the country’s public lands — and yes, it says the four-word message applies to the president, along with other politicians who refuse to act on climate change.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on September 21, 2020 by Editor

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Tesla Slumber Mode

from Futurism

TESLA DRIVER PULLED OVER GOING 93 MPH WHILE COMPLETELY ASLEEP

by JON CHRISTIAN

RCMP ALBERTA/TWITTER

Canadian cops say they pulled over a Tesla that was traveling at 93 miles per hour — while the driver was completely asleep, with the seat pulled down like a bed.

“The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h [93 mph],” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement to Global News.

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on September 20, 2020 by Editor

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Non-smoker Held At Gunpoint

from The New York Post

Oregon woman holds suspected arsonist at gunpoint as wildfires rage

By Natalie O’Neill

An Oregon woman forced a suspected arsonist to the ground at gunpoint after she found him on her property with matches, dramatic video footage shows.

“What are you doing on my property? Did you light anything on fire?” Kat Cast shouts as she clutches a firearm, according to footage she posted on Facebook.

When the unidentified man responds that he was “just passing through,” she demands to know why he’s holding matches.

“I smoke,” he replies — to which Cast asks to see his cigarettes. The man then admits that he has none, and she holds him there until police arrive and haul him away in handcuffs.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on September 19, 2020 by Editor

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Ripe giant sperm found in female ostracod

from The Evening Standard

100-million-year-old giant sperm found fossilised in amber could be oldest ever

by HARRIET BREWIS

The sperm was found in a mussel-like creature which got trapped in resin some 100 million years ago ( PA )

An international team of palaeontologists unearthed the “spectacular find”, which was preserved inside a female crustacean.

They believe the mussel-like creature mated shortly before becoming trapped in the resin.

Their findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provide “an extremely rare opportunity” to learn more about the evolution of the reproductive process, they said.

Until now the oldest known fossilised sperm was found inside a 50-million-year-old worm cocoon from Antarctica.

The crustacean, a new species of ostracod called Myanmarcypris hui, is thought to have lived in coastal and inland waters of what is now Myanmar.

It would have been surrounded by trees that released huge amounts of resin.

While a majority of male animal species, including humans, produce large quantities of very small sperm to increase chances of fertilisation, there are exceptions.

Some creatures, such as fruit flies and modern-day ostracods, produce a small number of oversized sperm, with tails several times longer than the animal itself.

In these cases, the researchers say, chances of fertilising an ovum can increase with the size of the sperm cell.

[ click to continue reading at Evening Standard ]

Posted on September 18, 2020 by Editor

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Eaten By Mycelium

from VICE

This ‘Living’ Coffin Uses Mushrooms to Compost Dead Bodies

The ‘Living Cocoon’ has already been used in one burial, at the Hague

By Becky Ferreira

HENDRIKX WITH THE ‘LIVING COCOON’ COFFINS.
IMAGE: BOB HENDRIKX — LOOP BIOTECH

For tens of thousands of years, humans have developed funeral rites and burial practices that reflected the attitudes of their particular time and place. These traditions of honoring the dead continue to evolve into the 21st century, as people seek “green burials” that are more environmentally friendly than standard coffins. 

One of the newest examples comes from Loop, a Dutch biotech company that recently unveiled a biodegradable coffin made of fungus, microbes and plant roots. Called the “Living Cocoon,” the coffin is designed to hasten bodily decomposition while also enriching soil around the plot.

“Normally, what we do as humans is we take something out of nature, we kill it, and we use it,” said Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, in a call. “So I thought: what if we humans start moving from working with dead materials toward a world in which we work with living materials?”

“We would not only become less of a parasite, but we could also start exploring super-cool material properties, like living lights, walls that are self-healing, and that kind of stuff,” he added.

Hendrikx was inspired to develop the Living Cocoon while presenting a living home concept at last year’s Dutch Design Week. While houses are obviously for the living, Hendrikx got to thinking about adapting the concept into a coffin powered by mushroom mycelium, which is the filamentary vegetative part of the fungus.

“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” Hendrikx said. “It is continuously looking for dead organic matter to transform into key nutrients.” 

[ continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on September 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Oldest Foot

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia

Issam AHMED, AFP

This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows the first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake

Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today.

The people may have hunted the large mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.

This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.

Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on September 16, 2020 by Editor

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The Cosmic Brain

from Futurism

Physicist: The Entire Universe Might Be a Neural Network

“The idea is definitely crazy, but if it is crazy enough to be true? That remains to be seen.”

by VICTOR TANGERMANN

It’s not every day that we come across a paper that attempts to redefine reality.

But in a provocative preprint uploaded to arXiv this summer, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth named Vitaly Vanchurin attempts to reframe reality in a particularly eye-opening way — suggesting that we’re living inside a massive neural network that governs everything around us. In other words, he wrote in the paper, it’s a “possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network.”

For years, physicists have attempted to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. The first posits that time is universal and absolute, while the latter argues that time is relative, linked to the fabric of space-time.

In his paper, Vanchurin argues that artificial neural networks can “exhibit approximate behaviors” of both universal theories. Since quantum mechanics “is a remarkably successful paradigm for modeling physical phenomena on a wide range of scales,” he writes, “it is widely believed that on the most fundamental level the entire universe is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics and even gravity should somehow emerge from it.”

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on September 15, 2020 by Editor

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Robinhood Insanity

from Vanity Fair

“It’s a Whole Other Level of Insanity”: How Pandemic Day Traders Are Turning Wall Street Upside Down

Sudden spikes in the value of bankrupt Hertz and joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin are upending the market as hobbyist traders on Reddit and Robinhood go rogue. “It doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock is,” says one. “If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

BY JESSICA CAMILLE AGUIRRE

Image may contain Tie Accessories Accessory Human Person Clothing Suit Coat Overcoat Apparel and Attorney
BY KENA BETANCUR/GETTY IMAGES.

A few years ago an eight-year-old Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu became an internet meme, her furry face juxtaposed with snippets of text in the parlance of stoner philosophy (“wow. much cake.”). The meme was known as “doge,” and it blew “lolcat” out of the water. Shortly thereafter, in 2013, a cryptocurrency called Dogecoin was launched, mostly as a joke. The coin ballooned then flatlined, hewing since then with the swings of the volatile bitcoin market—until July, when its stock value skyrocketed 104%. 

What was going on? The cryptocurrency wasn’t new, and it had never been taken very seriously, even by its own investors. How could a seemingly random stock suddenly more than double in value? “It was a TikTok trend,” said David Hanlin, an e-commerce adviser and day trader who got in on the Dogecoin bump. “In terms of the actual value of Dogecoin from anything other than a meme standpoint, it’s pretty low. But it doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock or the cryptocurrency is. If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

Such is the approach of many day traders, or retail traders—people, often hobbyists, who trade stocks on popular platforms like Robinhood. Since the start of the pandemic, new users have flooded these platforms, propelled in some cases by a conviction that crisis breeds opportunity, and in others by newfound free time. Robinhood alone reported more than 3 million new funded accounts by May, half of which were started by first-time traders. And daily average revenue trades on Robinhood more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the preceding quarter. 

Many on Wall Street are baffled by the surge and have become more circumspect about how they read trends. “I’ve spent the last year, basically since March, trying to understand what’s happening, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly. I’m very good at what I do, but there are times I’m just like, I have no fucking clue what’s happening,” said one equity trader for a Manhattan firm. “We were calling it banana land, the guys I work with, because it’s just, like, crazy. And then we started calling it ayahuasca land because it’s not even bananas anymore, it’s a whole other level of insanity.”

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on September 14, 2020 by Editor

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Toots Hibbert Gone

from DEADLINE

Toots Hibbert Dies: Reggae Artist Credited With Naming The Genre Was 77

By Bruce Haring

His death comes days after his group released its first full-length LP and new album in ten years, titled Got to Be Tough. The recording features contributions from Ringo Starr and Ziggy Marley.

Hibbert met Henry ‘Raleigh’ Gordon and Nathaniel ‘Jerry’ in 1962 shortly after he moved to Kingston. They formed the band Toots and the Maytals. Their 1969 recording, Pressure Drop, was instrumental in breaking the band worldwide after it was used in the seminal 1972 reggae film The Harder They Come. 

Before that, Toots and the Maytals released a 1968 song, Do the Reggay, which is credited with giving the musical genre its name.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on September 13, 2020 by Editor

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Forrest Fenn Gone

from artnet

Forrest Fenn, the Eccentric New Mexico Art Dealer Who Buried Treasure for Explorers in the Rocky Mountains, Has Died at 90

Fenn’s $2 million treasure was reportedly found in June.

by Sarah Cascone

Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.
Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.

Just months after revealing that an intrepid explorer had finally solved the 10-year-old treasure hunt he plotted, New Mexico art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn has died. He was 90 years old.

Fenn filled his 12th-century bronze treasure chest with golden nuggets, gemstones, and pre-Columbian antiquities from his personal collection. Together, the box and its contents were said to be worth $2 million.

To announce the hunt, Fenn included a cryptic 24-line poem with clues to its location in The Thrill of the Chase, his self-published 2010 memoir. He claimed the goal was to get people off their couches in search of adventure.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on September 12, 2020 by Editor

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Lust In The Heart and a Fatty On The Roof

from The New York Post

Jimmy Carter admits son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof

By Kate Sheehy

Jimmy Carter and Willie Nelson in 1985 The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter admits in a new documentary that one of his sons smoked pot with Willie Nelson on the roof of the White House.

Carter, 95, was asked about the legendary country crooner’s previous accounts of puffing on a “big fat Austin torpedo’’ atop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the doc “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,’’ which came out in theaters this week, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

“[Nelson] says that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants at the White House,’’ Carter said.

“That is not exactly true. It actually was one of my sons.’’

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on September 11, 2020 by Editor

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As Slow As Possible

from OBSERVER

John Cage’s 639-Year-Long Organ Concert Attracts a Crowd in Germany

By Helen Holmes

Artists of many different mediums have always loved to play with the concepts of time and duration, and legendary composer and conceptualist John Cage is no different. On September 5, 2001, one of the composer’s final projects was launched to the world: the slowest concert ever composed. Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) is a musical piece by Cage that was originally conceived in 1987 and which is expected to take 639 years to be completed, meaning that if things proceed on schedule, the performance will come to an end in 2640. Over the weekend, on Saturday, spectators gathered in Halberstadt, Germany’s St. Burchardi Church to bear witness to the first sonic change in Cage’s composition to take place in seven years.

Specifically, since 2013, an organ in the aforementioned church has been playing the same note in Cage’s composition. In order for the organ’s notes to change, two new pipes, playing the notes g sharp and e, were added to the apparatus on Saturday in front of an audience of hundreds and captured for remote viewers in a livestream hosted by the John Cage ASLSP project which lasted a grand total of four hours.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Editor

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