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The Big Magnet

from New Scientist

The paradox powering Earth’s magnetic field

Our planet’s protective force field appears to be billions of years older than the mechanism that got it going. So what really made Earth magnetic?

By Marcus Woo

magnet leadEarth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, NASA Johnson Space Center

IT IS Earth’s silent defender. Without it, a constant onslaught of charged particles would bombard our planet’s atmosphere, changing its chemistry and disrupting our electronic infrastructure. Assuming any of that stuff was even there to disrupt. In Earth’s infancy, our guardian may have prevented the sun’s action from stripping away the protective bubble of gas surrounding our planet entirely, and so allowed life – and eventually intelligent life – to flourish.

This silent defender is Earth’s magnetic field, a force field whose source lies in the churning molten iron that forms the planet’s core. Electrons flowing through this fluid generate an electric current, which in turn creates a magnetic field. The core is a giant, self-sustaining electromagnet: a dynamo.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on January 17, 2017 by Editor

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Superfly Snuka Gone

Posted on January 16, 2017 by Editor

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Low

from The Observer

How David Bowie Perfected the Concept Album on ‘Low’

David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to Earth.David Bowie in The Man Who Fell to EarthYouTube

It’s been said the beginning of Kosmische Musik—the hypnotic, minimalist style of music crudely dubbed “Krautrock” by the British press in the late ’60s—lies in the wake of World War II. The trance-like atmosphere and sterilized rhythms were the result of a sound designed to mirror the shell shock that fell over Germany after the demise of the Third Reich as well as the Schlager pop music deemed appropriate for public consumption by the government.

“There were not too many ways for a German rock musician to perform music, to make music, even to think of the theoretical development of music because there was no heritage in the country,” explains the late Edgar Froese of the groundbreaking electronic outfit Tangerine Dream in the BBC documentary Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany.

“And the Germans were in a very bad situation. You couldn’t forget that. I mean, they were so stupid and guilty for it, to start two wars. As horrific as it was it had one, forgive me to say that, one positive point. There was nothing else to lose. They lost everything. And so, when we thought about doing music in a different form, there was only the free form, the abstract form.”

Oddly enough, when David Bowie began exploring this new music coming out of Germany from groups like Tangerine Dream and Cluster and Kraftwerk, he was coming under fire for some of the things he was saying while under his Thin White Duke persona in 1976.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on January 15, 2017 by Editor

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Dark Matter Dying

from WIRED

The Man Who’s Trying to Kill Dark Matter

by NATALIE WOLCHOVER

The Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde argues that dark matter does not exist.ILVY NJIOKIKTJIEN/QUANTA MAGAZINE

FOR 80 YEARS, scientists have puzzled over the way galaxies and other cosmic structures appear to gravitate toward something they cannot see. This hypothetical “dark matter” seems to outweigh all visible matter by a startling ratio of five to one, suggesting that we barely know our own universe. Thousands of physicists are doggedly searching for these invisible particles.

But the dark matter hypothesis assumes scientists know how matter in the sky ought to move in the first place. At the end of 2016, a series of developments has revived a long-disfavored argument that dark matter doesn’t exist after all. In this view, no missing matter is needed to explain the errant motions of the heavenly bodies; rather, on cosmic scales, gravity itself works in a different way than either Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein predicted.

The latest attempt to explain away dark matter is a much-discussed proposal by Erik Verlinde, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam who is known for bold and prescient, if sometimes imperfect, ideas. In a dense 51-page paper posted online on Nov. 7, Verlinde casts gravity as a byproduct of quantum interactions and suggests that the extra gravity attributed to dark matter is an effect of “dark energy”—the background energy woven into the space-time fabric of the universe.

Instead of hordes of invisible particles, “dark matter is an interplay between ordinary matter and dark energy,” Verlinde said.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on January 14, 2017 by Editor

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William Peter Blatty Gone

from The Sun

William Peter Blatty dead aged 89 as tributes pour in for The Exorcist author

BY JOHN SHAMMAS
Linda Blair in 1973 playing the possessed child

THE legendary horror writer who penned The Exorcist has passed away at the age of 89.

William Peter Blatty’s death was confirmed on social media by the film’s director William Friedkin this afternoon.

The writer won the Oscar in 1973 for his screenplay, based on his own book that was published in 1971 which told the story of a child possessed by a demon.

And thanks to the film’s success, the possessed child’s image has become iconic among horror fans.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on January 13, 2017 by Editor

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Finally, a Purpose for Instagram

from Vanity Fair

Helen Mirren Is on Her Way to Kardashian-Level Instagram Mastery

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Oh, what a difference three years makes for Helen Mirren, queen of moviegoer hearts and, now, Instagram feeds. In 2014, the Oscar-winning actress took an aggressively anti-social media stance, telling press, “I’m not a social-media person. . . . I find it distasteful.” Speaking of a 24-hour experiment with Facebook, Mirren said, “I just found it so intrusive and I didn’t want strangers wanting to become my friends. I just didn’t want that. There was something really scary about it and I didn’t like it at all.” So imagine our surprise in discovering on Thursday that Mirren has not only embraced her new Instagram account, but begun posting the kind of photos typically seen in the feeds of Kardashian family members—bathtub pics!

On Thursday, while in Paris for a L’Oréal photo shoot, the actress took to the social platform to share a very behind-the-scenes shot of her Parisian hotel accommodations. Mirren posted a photo of her feet, while soaking in a bathtub, and captioned it: “ahh end of the day in the bath. You cannot overestimate how fortunate I feel”

[ click to continue reading at Vanity Fair ]

Posted on January 12, 2017 by Editor

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Nostrageddon

from The New York Post

500-year-old ‘Italian Nostradamus’ prediction says the world is about to end

By Natalie Keegan

500-year-old ‘Italian Nostradamus’ prediction says the world is about to end
Shutterstock

Could the end of the world be looming?

According to a prophecy from the “Italian Nostradamus,” Armageddon is just around the corner.

It all comes down to the snow that has been hitting Italian resort town Salento for the last two days.

Philosopher Matteo Tafuri, who lived between 1492 and 1582, warned that two consecutive days of snow in the town would lead to the apocalypse.

The region is known for its mild climate but has been left blanketed by icy falls of late.

Tafuri predicted: “Salento of palm trees and mild south wind, snowy Salento but never after the touch.

“Two days of snow, two flashes in the sky, I know the world ends, but I do not yearn.”

This week snow has blanketed some parts of southern Italy – leading some superstitious observers to believe Tafuri’s predictions will soon come true.

[ click to continue reading at NYPost.com ]

Posted on January 11, 2017 by Editor

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Chile Seeking Alpha Centauri

from Reuters via Yahoo! News

Giant telescope in Chile to seek habitable planets in Alpha Centauri

An artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to EarthThis artist’s impression shows the planet orbiting the star Alpha Centauri B, a member of the triple star system that is the closest to Earth in this image released on October 17, 2012. REUTERS/ESO/L. Calcada/N. Risinger

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile will be modified in order to allow it to search more effectively for potentially habitable planets in Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to Earth.

The ESO said it has signed a deal with Breakthrough Starshot, a venture that aims to deploy thousands of tiny spacecraft to travel to the system and send back pictures.

Starshot, which is backed by internet billionaire Yuri Milner and physicist Stephen Hawking, will provide funding to allow equipment on the Very Large Telescope that studies in the mid-infrared to be adapted to better detect faint planets, the ESO said in a statement on Monday.

The adaption will have the effect of reducing bright stellar light that drowns out relatively dim planets, improving the chances of finding them, it said.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on January 10, 2017 by Editor

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Almost Here.

from The Mirror

Mystery footage shows ‘huge ball of fire’ shooting over the Earth

BY ANDREW HIRST, RACHEL BISHOP

Abbey Shaw, 22, shared footage of the mysterious UFO saying she thought it was a ‘fireball’ or possibly something even weirder (Photo: MEN Syndication)

A strange ‘ ball of fire ‘ shooting across the sky had people baffled yesterday morning.

Abbey Shaw, 22, shared footage of the mysterious UFO saying she thought it was a ‘fireball’ or possibly something even weirder.

Abbey, who works at the University of Huddersfield’s IT department, told the Huddersfield Examiner : “I don’t have a clue what it is.

“It looks like some sort of fireball. I do not think for one minute that it is a plane.

“Everyone at work agrees with me too.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on January 9, 2017 by Editor

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Bowiedamus

Posted on January 8, 2017 by Editor

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Why Video Games

from Nautilus

How Video Games Satisfy Basic Human Needs

BY SIMON PARKIN

“Mass Effect: Andromeda” | Image from IGN / Bioware / YouTube

Grand Theft Auto, that most lavish and notorious of all modern videogames, offers countless ways for players to behave. Much of this conduct, if acted out in our reality, would be considered somewhere between impolite and morally reprehensible. Want to pull a driver from her car, take the wheel, and motor along a sidewalk? Go for it. Eager to steal a bicycle from a 10-year-old boy? Get pedaling. Want to stave off boredom by standing on a clifftop to take pot shots at the screaming gulls? You’re doing the local tourism board a favor. For a tabloid journalist in search of a hysteric headline, the game offers a trove of misdemeanors certain to outrage any non-player.

Except, of course, aside from its pre-set storyline, Grand Theft Auto doesn’t prescribe any of these things. It merely offers us a playpen, one that, like our own cities, is filled with opportunities, and arbitrated by rules and consequences. And unless you’re deliberately playing against type, or are simply clumsy, you can’t help but bring yourself into interactive fiction. In Grand Theft Auto, your interests and predilections will eventually be reflected in your activity, be it hunting wild animals, racing jet-skis, hiring prostitutes, buying property, planning heists, or taking a bracing hike first thing in the morning. If you are feeling hateful in the real world, the game provides a space in which to act hatefully. As the philosophers say: wherever you go, there you will be.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on January 7, 2017 by Editor

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HAUNTED Casting

from Variety via Yahoo! TV

TV News Roundup

by Dani Levy

CASTING

Three new cast members will join Syfy‘s “The Haunted” as series regulars. Steve Kazee and David Alpay will play two of the four siblings in the Bradley family reunited after their parent’s death, slowly fixing their relationships with each other and navigating between the all too real ghosts from their pasts. DeVaughn Nixon will play a detective, investigating the mysterious circumstances around the deaths. Full Fathom Five’s James Frey and Todd Cohen will executive produce. Pilot writer Noga Landau, of “Tau” and “The Magicians,” will also co-executive produce.

[ click to read full article at Yahoo! TV ]

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Editor

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Bend It

Posted on January 5, 2017 by Editor

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Anti-fame

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Why some artists no longer want to be famous

by Aurélie MAYEMBO

An art piece protected by a plexiglass pane by British artist Banksy, seen on a beach in Calais, northern FranceAn art piece protected by a plexiglass pane by British artist Banksy, seen on a beach in Calais, northern France (AFP Photo/Philippe Huguen)

Paris (AFP) – “I love being famous,” the black US comedian Chris Rock once quipped. “It’s almost like being white.”

But a growing number of artists would rather have success without the encumbrance of fame.

From the street artist Banksy to the Italian literary phenomenon Elena Ferrante, a new brand of creator is actively rejecting the limelight and doing everything they can to avoid it.

Even first-time novelists, whose publishers are often desperate for them to go out and promote their work, are thumbing their noses at celebrity.

One young French novelist, who writes under the pseudonym of Joseph Andras, rejected the country’s top prize for a first book last year because it threatened his anonymity.

Like Ferrante, whose Naples quartet has become a huge international bestseller, Andras refuses to be photographed and only does interviews via email.

“A baker makes bread, a plumber unblocks pipes and writers write,” he declared in his only interview, granted to the Communist newspaper L’Humanite. “Everything is in the book, I don’t really see what more I have to add.”

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on January 4, 2017 by Editor

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They Found It.

from The Sun

Satellite spots MASSIVE object hidden under the frozen wastes of Antarctica

Scientists baffled by bizarre observations of gigantic ‘anomaly’ buried beneath polar icecap

BY JASPER HAMILL

SCIENTISTS believe a massive object which could change our understanding of history is hidden beneath the Antarctic ice.

The huge and mysterious “anomaly” is thought to be lurking beneath the frozen wastes of an area called Wilkes Land.

It stretches for a distance of 151 miles across and has a maximum depth of about 848 metres.

Some researchers believe it is the remains of a truly massive asteroid which was more than twice the size of the Chicxulub space rock which wiped out the dinosaurs.

If this explanation is true, it could mean this killer asteroid caused the Permian–Triassic extinction event which killed 96 percent of Earth’s sea creatures and up to 70 percent of the vertebrate organisms living on land.

However, the wilder minds of the internet have come up with their own theories, with some conspiracy theorists claiming it could be a massive UFO base or a portal to a mysterious underworld called the Hollow Earth.

This “Wilkes Land gravity anomaly” was first uncovered in 2006, when NASA satellites spotted gravitational changes which indicated the presence of a huge object sitting in the middle of a 300 mile wide impact crater.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on January 3, 2017 by Editor

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Give Me The Sea

from The New Zealand Herald

Why swimming in the sea is good for you

by Sergio Diez Alvarez

Ocean swimming and the associated salty environment have been shown to ease the symptoms of hay fever.Ocean swimming and the associated salty environment have been shown to ease the symptoms of hay fever.

If you live near the sea, make frequent trips to the beach, or are planning an island holiday this summer, chances are you’re getting more out of it than just enjoyment. It has long been thought sea frolicking has many health benefits.

Historically, doctors would recommend their patients go to the seaside to improve various ills. They would actually issue prescriptions detailing exactly how long, how often and under what conditions their patients were to be in the water.

Using seawater for medical purposes even has a name: thalassotherapy.

In 1769, a popular British doctor Richard Russell published a dissertation arguing for using seawater in “diseases of the glands”, in which he included scurvy, jaundice, leprosy and glandular consumption, which was the name for glandular fever at the time.

He advocated drinking seawater as well as swimming in it.

[ click to continue reading at NHZ ]

Posted on January 2, 2017 by Editor

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Cannibal Neanderthals

from Phys.org

The caves that prove Neanderthals were cannibals

NeanderthalReconstruction of Neanderthal man. Credit: public domain

Deep in the caves of Goyet in Belgium researchers have found the grisly evidence that the Neanderthals did not just feast on horses or reindeer, but also on each other.

Human bones from a newborn, a child and four adults or teenagers who lived around 40,000 years ago show clear signs of cutting and of fractures to extract the marrow within, they say.

“It is irrefutable, cannibalism was practised here,” says Belgian archaeologist Christian Casseyas as he looks inside a cave halfway up a valley in this site in the Ardennes forest.

The bones in Goyet date from when Neanderthals were nearing the end of their time on earth before being replaced by Homo sapiens, with whom they also interbred.

Once regarded as primitive cavemen driven to extinction by smarter modern humans, studies have found that Neanderthals were actually sophisticated beings who took care of the bodies of the deceased and held burial rituals.

But there is a growing body of proof that they also ate their dead.

[ click to continue reading at Phys.org ]

Posted on January 1, 2017 by Editor

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Happy New Year!

Posted on December 31, 2016 by Editor

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Bubbles Breaks Free

from The Dallas Morning News

Old horse joins pack of mini donkeys to escape slaughter, president of Frisco nonprofit says

by Liz Farmer

An old gray horse headed for slaughter in Mexico recently orchestrated his escape by slipping into a pack of mini donkeys being rescued by a Frisco-based nonprofit, the group’s president said.

Staff members of Becky’s Hope Horse Rescue were down at a “kill lot” to rescue several donkeys, which is part of their mission to save abused, neglected or abandoned livestock. Bubbles, the horse, walked right up to their trailer as they tried to load the donkeys, according to a Facebook post from the nonprofit published Dec. 16.

“He was intent that this was his ride out of there,” the post said. “We stood there staring as this old guy with crumbled ears from frostbite waited patiently for the group of mini donkeys to catch up so he could jump on the “freedom trailer” out of there.”

[ click to continue reading at TDMN ]

Posted on December 30, 2016 by Editor

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How-to Neon

Posted on December 29, 2016 by Editor

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Mickey Back In The Ring in Moscow

from TASS

Hollywood star Mickey Rourke may hold boxing bout in Russia next year

Mickey Rourke © Valery Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, December 27. /TASS/. World’s famous Hollywood star Mickey Rourke might again return to boxing February or March next year as he ponders of holding a bout in Russia’s Urals, his agent told TASS on Tuesday.

We are currently in work on organizing a bout for Mickey in the Urals,” Vadim Kornilov said in an interview with TASS. “This may happen in February or March next year.”

“Mickey is now practicing every day, he is looking forward for the bout and keeps asking when he would be fighting in Russia,” Kornilov added.

The 64-year-old actor, screenwriter and retired boxer, whose professional boxing career boasts a record of eight bouts (six victories with four knock-out wins and two draws), is currently training for his return to the ring at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, the United States.

[ click to continue reading at TASS ]

Posted on December 28, 2016 by Editor

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Space Miners

from NBC News

The Next Frontier: Space Miners Are the Universe’s Future Tycoons

byDYLAN LOVE

The next gold rush will be intergalactic.

In 2009, a collection of astronauts, academics, and aerospace industrialists convened to review NASA’s present and future plans for manned space flight. Informally dubbed the “Augustine Commission,” the more-stuffily named Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee determined that our ultimate goal ought to be nothing less than “to chart a path for human expansion into the solar system.”

Considering that Earth’s resources are finite and that the well of human desire knows no bottom, a continued future for our species will likely require robust manned spaceflight to leave the planet. But it remains incredibly expensive and logistically complex to see humans break the planet’s escape velocity, let alone with any regularity. The ostensibly modern spacecraft of today carry all their fuel with them from the start — a lot of that fuel is required simply to transport other fuel. It’s comically inconvenient.

Contemporary spaceflight is impractical by virtue of being unsustainable; it’s a pursuit for governmental agencies and rich visionaries. Now an industry with its roots in prehistory is changing that tune, summoning up a modern set of incentives for people to get more intimate with outer space. “Space mining” presents itself as a killer technology for interstellar travel and exploration — the miners are due to inherit the stars as we set their sights beyond our planet to harvest geological resources from the universe itself.

Related: Are Humans the Real Ancient Aliens?

[ click to continue reading at NBC News ]

Posted on December 27, 2016 by Editor

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Baba Booey Gone

from USA Today

Joey Boots from ‘Howard Stern Show’ dies at 49

by 

(Photo: Jamie McCarthy)

Joey Boots, who helped introduce America to the expression “Baba Booey” on The Howard Stern Show, has died at 49.

The radio personality, whose real surname is Bassolino, was found unresponsive in his Bronx apartment Friday, report TMZ and  CNN.

The NYPD later confirmed his death to the Hollywood Reporter.

Bassolino, who was part of the rogue’s gallery known as the Wack Pack, grabbed attention by shouting “Baba Booey” on Stern’s show and during live TV reports. He even managed to successfully defend his right to do so in a New York court.

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on December 26, 2016 by Editor

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“Most” Influential Album Covers

from American Express

The 57 Most Influential Album Covers

[ click to view all 57 covers at AmEx ]

Posted on December 25, 2016 by Editor

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Rural Hollywood

from KCET

L.A.’s Lost Valley: When Hollywood Was ‘the Pride of the Cahuenga Valley’

by Nathan Masters

Panoramic view of Hollywood showing Orchard Street and Orange Drive, ca.1905Panoramic view of Hollywood showing Orchard Street and Orange Drive, circa 1905. Courtesy of the USC Libraries – California Historical Society Collection. [source]

The Santa Monica Mountains loom large in L.A.’s cultural topography, dividing the city into “the Valley” to their north and a sprawling coastal plain to their south.

Residents of the coastal plain in Hollywood or Beverly Hills would never mistake their homes as valley communities.

A century ago, however, they were.

From the early 1880s through the 1910s, the broad drainage basin of the Ballona Creek between the Santa Monica Mountains and Baldwin Hills was commonly known as the Cahuenga Valley.

Likely invented by area boosters, the Cahuenga Valley name first entered the regional lexicon when farmers discovered a frost-free belt along the base of the Santa Monica Mountains. Soon, Cahuenga Valley became renowned as a horticultural wonderland where bananas ripened, lemons glowed, and delicate vegetables were harvested early in winter for frostbitten markets in Denver and Boston.

Later, after the real estate boom of the 1880s deposited townsites like HollywoodColegrove, and Sherman in the area, “Cahuenga Valley” became shorthand for a suburban subregion, an equal of the San Fernando, San Gabriel, and Pomona valleys. As with these other valleys, agricultural riches inspired the boosters’ suburban dreams.

[ click to continue reading at KCET ]

Posted on December 24, 2016 by Editor

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Bowie’s Basquiats

from artnet

What David Bowie’s Basquiat Painting Teaches Us About the Art Market

The painting has come to auction twice before, with illuminating results.

Brian Boucher

Jean-Michel Basquiat, Air Power (1984), from the collection of David Bowie. Courtesy Sotheby's London.Jean-Michel Basquiat, Air Power (1984), from the collection of David Bowie. Courtesy Sotheby’s London.

The holdings of pop superstar, art collector, and artist David Bowie are headed to auction November 10 at Sotheby’s London, and the prize lot is a canvas by Jean-Michel Basquiat, titled Air Power (1984). It is estimated to sell for as much as £3.5 million ($4.3 million).

Showing a grimacing, full-length figure at the left and a masklike face at the center above a hatchet, among other imagery, the painting stands five and a half feet high; it has been exhibited in public just three times.

The painting has come to auction twice before, according to the artnet Price Database, and the ups and downs in its price might offer a lesson about holding on to prized works. Even as today’s art market has softened, this painting’s story may make you want to take the long view.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 23, 2016 by Editor

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Hollywood Babylgun

from The Hollywood Reporter

LOCKED & LOADED: The Gun Industry’s Lucrative Relationship With Hollywood

By Gary Baum & Scott Johnson

The NRA and the entertainment industry interact publicly as mortal enemies. But as the number of weapons shown in movies and TV steadily increases — and stars like Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie make fortunes wielding guns onscreen — a co-dependence that keeps both churning is revealed: “making the liberal bias a lot of money”

BURNISHED BY THE LOW LIGHT OF GLASS-WALLED DISPLAYS, THEY seem like ancient artifacts, but the objects here are beloved contemporary icons. One case houses the massive Smith & Wesson Model 29 wielded by Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” Callahan in the 1973 film Magnum Force. In another rests the Beretta 92F used by Bruce Willis in Die Hard. All the great shoot-’em-up classics — The Bourne IdentityPulp FictionThe Wild Bunch — are here. This exhibit, celebrating cinema, isn’t in Hollywood; it’s thousands of miles away, in a museum at the headquarters of the National Rifle Association in Fairfax, Va.

The NRA is proud of its “Hollywood Guns” exhibit. It’s the most popular of more than a dozen rooms and multiple showcases, which include the gun that Theodore Roosevelt took on a 1913 expedition to the Amazon. The shiny allure of the Hollywood gun room comes last in the museum tour — “like a reward,” says an NRA official.

The exhibit highlights the sometimes uneasy but fruitful partnership between the gun industry and Hollywood, where firearms are an integral part of life and storytelling. Meanwhile, gun manufacturers say that there’s no better way to brand, market and sell a weapon than to get it placed in a big Hollywood production. And most of the time, it’s free — product placement at its finest.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on December 22, 2016 by Editor

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Paris In East St. Louis

from Ars Technica

Finding North America’s lost medieval city

Cahokia was bigger than Paris—then it was completely abandoned. I went there to find out why.

A thousand years ago, huge pyramids and earthen mounds stood where East St. Louis sprawls today in Southern Illinois. This majestic urban architecture towered over the swampy Mississippi River floodplains, blotting out the region’s tiny villages. Beginning in the late 900s, word about the city spread throughout the southeast. Thousands of people visited for feasts and rituals, lured by the promise of a new kind of civilization. Many decided to stay.

At the city’s apex in 1050, the population exploded to as many as 30 thousand people. It was the largest pre-Columbian city in what became the United States, bigger than London or Paris at the time. Its colorful wooden homes and monuments rose along the eastern side of the Mississippi, eventually spreading across the river to St. Louis. One particularly magnificent structure, known today as Monk’s Mound, marked the center of downtown. It towered 30 meters over an enormous central plaza and had three dramatic ascending levels, each covered in ceremonial buildings. Standing on the highest level, a person speaking loudly could be heard all the way across the Grand Plaza below. Flanking Monk’s Mound to the west was a circle of tall wooden poles, dubbed Woodhenge, that marked the solstices.

Despite its greatness, the city’s name has been lost to time. Its culture is known simply as Mississippian. When Europeans explored Illinois in the 17th century, the city had been abandoned for hundreds of years. At that time, the region was inhabited by the Cahokia, a tribe from the Illinois Confederation. Europeans decided to name the ancient city after them, despite the fact that the Cahokia themselves claimed no connection to it.

Centuries later, Cahokia’s meteoric rise and fall remain a mystery. It was booming in 1050, and by 1400 its population had disappeared, leaving behind a landscape completely geoengineered by human hands. Looking for clues about its history, archaeologists dig through the thick, wet, stubborn clay that Cahokians once used to construct their mounds. Buried beneath just a few feet of earth are millennia-old building foundations, trash pits, the cryptic remains of public rituals, and in some places, even, graves.

[ click to continue reading at Ars Technica ]

Posted on December 21, 2016 by Editor

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Neanderthal Gigolos

from New Scientist

Oldest early human footprints suggest males had several ‘wives’

By Colin Barras

Footprints clearly imprinted in ancient rockRaffaello Pellizzon

Three has become five. Laetoli in northern Tanzania is the site of iconic ancient footprints, capturing the moment – 3.66 million years ago – when three members of Lucy’s species (Australopithecus afarensis) strode out across the landscape.

Now something quite unexpected has come to light: the footprints of two other individuals.

“Our discovery left us without words,” says Marco Cherin at the University of Perugia, Italy.

The find looks set to transform our understanding of the Laetoli site and the social dynamics of australopiths, as well as their style of walking.

The original Laetoli footprints were discovered in 1976. Nothing quite like them had ever been found before. They remain by far the oldest hominin footprints we know, fortuitously preserved because a group of australopiths walked across damp volcanic ash during the brief window of time before it turned from soft powder into hard rock.

“Geologists say this hardening process must have occurred in just a few hours,” says Cherin.

[ click to continue reading at New Scientist ]

Posted on December 20, 2016 by Editor

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Lyndsy Fonseca to “THE HAUNTED”

from Deadline

‘The Haunted’: Lyndsy Fonseca To Star In Syfy Pilot, Elizabeth Cappuccino Also Set

by 

lyndsy-fonseca-3Courtesy of Syfy

Former Nikita star Lyndsy Fonseca and up-and-comer Elizabeth Cappuccino (Jessica Jones) have been cast as two of the leads of Syfy’s supernatural horror drama pilot The Haunted.

Written by Noga Landau (Tau, The Magicians)The Haunted centers on four siblings – Juno (Fonseca), Virgil, Eliis and Hester (Cappuccino) — who reunite following their parents’ deaths. As they try to overcome their fractured personal relationships they find that they must also face the literal ghosts from their past in order to survive.

James Frey and Todd Cohen of Full Fathom Five executive produce and Landau co-executive produces for Universal Cable Productions.

[ click to read full article at Deadline.com ]

Posted on December 19, 2016 by Editor

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Alogrithm X

from BBC

Algorithms Are Making Us Small-minded

Your life is mapped out for you but, not in the way that you think. How predictive algorithms narrow your perspective – and ultimately your choices.

By Sydney Finkelstein

(Credit: Getty Images)Online retailers like Amazon offer us products based on our previous browsing habits – but that can add to the echo chamber (Credit: Getty Images)

We live in a world of curation. The internet — aided by algorithms that predict what we search, buy, listen to, read, watch and even who we want to date and marry — expertly helps to us find what we want.

Well, as long as it’s similar to whatever we’ve liked in the past.

And there’s the rub. The ubiquity of incredibly powerful algorithms designed to reinforce our interests also ensures that we see little of what’s new, different and unfamiliar. The very things that are at the heart of learning, understanding and innovation. Rather than taking us out of our comfort zone, the digital revolution is enabling each of us to live happily in our own worlds, and in the process closing down opportunities for originality, spontaneity and learning.

The best part of all: we love it this way.

How do I know?

Because we flock to Amazon to buy what their algorithms say we should buy. Because we read news that reinforces what we already believe. And because we even rely on dating sites that specifically seek to match us with similar people.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on December 18, 2016 by Editor

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Henry Heimlich Gone

from The LA Times

Henry Heimlich, doctor who invented lifesaving anti-choking procedure, dies at 96

by Steve Chawkins

When he was a 21-year-old camp counselor, Henry Heimlich saved a life and had his first brush with fame.

On the way back to New York City from Massachusetts at summer’s end, his quick thinking in a train wreck helped save a critically wounded crew member. It also landed the handsome medical student on the front page of the New York Times. A month later, the Greater New York Safety Council gave him a gold watch.

Never one to shy away from the limelight, Heimlich would go on to a level of fame — and controversy — that astonished even him.

Heimlich, a thoracic surgeon who developed the lifesaving Heimlich maneuver after experimenting on anesthetized beagles, died Saturday in Cincinnati, his family said. He was 96.

[ click to continue reading at LA Times ]

Posted on December 17, 2016 by Editor

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Rock Beyoncé, Amadeus

from Atlas Obscura

Mozart Has Sold More CDs in 2016 Than Beyoncé

By Eric Grundhauser

Jealous?Jealous? JOHANN NEPOMUK DELLA CROCE/PUBLIC DOMAIN

The artist who sold the most CDs in 2016 hasn’t toured in over 200 years, but is still more famous than Drake. According to a report on Billboard, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart made a massive comeback this year with a career-spanning box set that left other CD sales look weak in comparison.

Released in October, Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition is a 200-disc collection of Mozart’s entire musical catalogue. From his symphonies to his concertos, down to little scraps and fragments of his work, the set is one of the most comprehensive collections of Mozart’s music ever released. And at just over $300, it’s not even that expensive (considering the amount of music it contains).

The box set itself is a fascinating collection, and now it has the modern honor of moving more CDs than Beyonce, Kanye West, Adele, or David Bowie. While the set has sold just over 6,200 units, thanks to the hundreds of CDs it contains, it means that Mozart has sold 1.25 million discs. Pretty damn impressive for a long-dead composer.

[ click to continue reading at Atlas Obscura ]

Posted on December 16, 2016 by Editor

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