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Andbox CEO



James Frey

Prominent New York City esports organization Andbox has hired filmmaker, businessman and controversial writer James Frey as its first CEO. In doing so, the organization hopes to continue its evolution from a competitive gaming team into a wide-ranging entertainment brand.

Andbox is the largest esports organization based in New York, fielding teams in Overwatch, Valorant and Call of Duty in addition to a roster of dedicated content creators. The org was founded by Sterling.VC, a venture fund under the umbrella of former New York Mets parent company Sterling Equities. Since its foundation in 2017, Andbox has mostly focused on its efforts as a competitor in some of the major franchised esports leagues — but over the past year, the company has increasingly borrowed from the entertainment industry playbook to produce its own video and podcast content.

Since joining Andbox in October 2021, Frey has largely worked from the shadows while familiarizing himself with both the company and the esports ecosystem in which it operates. “There’s been a gargantuan learning curve for me,” he said. “I’m not going to come in here and pretend that I’m a know-it-all about esports because I’m not.” With three months of esports-industry experience under his belt, Frey is ready for his debut as the esports organization’s front-facing CEO.

[ click to continue reading at DIGIDAY ]

Posted on January 11, 2022 by Editor

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Always fun…

Posted on January 10, 2022 by Editor

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Except for the whole eating-people part…

from The Seattle Times

In 1973, ‘Soylent Green’ envisioned the world in 2022. It got a lot right.

By George Bass / The Washington Post

The year is 2022. Our overpopulated planet is experiencing catastrophic climate change, megacorporations have excessive power over the government, and clean living is a luxury only the 1 percent can afford.

It may read like a scan of the front-page headlines, but these predictions were laid out half a century ago in the dystopian film “Soylent Green.”

Hundreds of films have attempted to visualize the future; most didn’t do a great job. “Freejack” (1992) imagined widespread time-traveling assassins by 2009, while box office bomb “The Postman” (1997) predicted 2013 would be post-apocalyptic.

But about 50 years ago, Hollywood’s prognosticators seemed to hit on the truth.

In 1972, the “Planet of the Apes” franchise released its fourth film, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.” It’s set in the year 1991 and imagines Earth in the grip of a lethal pandemic. Draw your own AIDS/SARS/Zika/covid comparisons.

But “Soylent Green,” released in 1973 and based on a novel by Harry Harrison, was even more eerily prescient. It’s set in the then-far-off future of 2022. It stars Charlton Heston – known for playing Moses in “The Ten Commandments” (1956) and for being the five-time president of the National Rifle Association – as Thorn, a New York police detective. And the planet he inhabits looks a lot like ours.

[ click to continue reading at The Seattle Times ]

Posted on January 9, 2022 by Editor

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Plastic Surgeryverse

from The New York Post

Metaverse clothing, travel, plastic surgery: Experts predict life in 2030

By John Mac Ghlionn and Brad Hamilton

In the metaverse you’ll be able to swim with the sharks, tour the Parthenon in Athens, or go skydiving — all from your VR glasses. And “you” can be anyone you want, even LeBron James or a jaguar.
In the metaverse you’ll be able to swim with the sharks, tour the Parthenon in Athens, or go skydiving — all from your VR glasses. And “you” can be anyone you want, even LeBron James or a jaguar. NY Post photo composite

Imagine scaling Everest, swimming with hammerheads or skydiving over the Grand Canyon — without ever leaving your living room. All will supposedly be possible in the metaverse, a new level of virtual reality being developed by the world’s top tech gurus.

“I want to walk through the grounds of Trinity College, Dublin, to turn the pages of the Book of Kells, and I’ll be able to do that in VR,” said British futurist Andrew Curry, referring to the 800-year-old gospel scrolls housed at Ireland’s top university.

In its fully realized form, the metaverse promises to offer true-to-life sights, sounds and even smells, where a tour of ancient Greece or a visit to a Seoul café can happen from your home, Curry said. Decked out with full-spectrum VR headsets, smart clothing and tactile-responsive haptic gloves, the at-home traveler can touch the Parthenon in Athens or taste the rich foam of a Korean dalgona coffee.

[ click to continue reading at The New York Post ]

Posted on January 8, 2022 by Editor

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Gravity Slaves

from Study Finds

Gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon impact behavior of all organisms — even humans

by Chris Melore

cat moon
(Credit: Pixabay from Pexels)

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Maybe there really is something to the stories that strange things happen during a full moon. A new study finds that all biological organisms, from plants, to animals, to human beings, all have a connection to the gravitational forces coming the Sun and Moon.

Researchers from Brazil and the United Kingdom say their work reinforces the historical link between gravitational tides and how they affect the behavior of all life on Earth.

“All matter on Earth, both live and inert, experiences the effects of the gravitational forces of the Sun and Moon expressed in the form of tides. The periodic oscillations exhibit two daily cycles and are modulated monthly and annually by the motions of these two celestial bodies. All organisms on the planet have evolved in this context. What we sought to show in the article is that gravitational tides are a perceptible and potent force that has always shaped the rhythmic activities of these organisms,” study author Cristiano de Mello Gallep says in a media release.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on January 7, 2022 by Editor

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from The New Yorker

Money in the Metaverse

In a virtual world full of virtual goods, finance could get weird.

By Anna Wiener

Animation of a quarter
Illustration by Nicholas Konrad / The New Yorker

Years ago, while on vacation in the Northwest, my husband and I rented a room in the home of a middle-aged couple, one of whom had recently retired. The house was old, beautiful, and cozily laden with objects that signalled domestic inertia. It sat on a lush, wild sprawl of farmland that immediately inspired fantasies of leaving San Francisco and our tech jobs, foraging for mushrooms, administering to septic systems, and turning over soil.

One morning over breakfast, conversation shifted to our host’s retirement. He was glad to have more time at home with his wife and their dog. He was baking a lot. He was spending hours playing FarmVille.

“FarmVille?” I asked, half awake, spreading honey over a slice of toast. Through the picture window, we could see mist rising from the evergreens. The dog nosed around in the vegetable beds. FarmVille, our host confirmed pleasantly—it was a game, a farming simulator, played by tens of millions of people on Facebook—before asking if we might be interested in some eggs. We were. The eggs were fresh. The sun was emerging. Our host seemed very happy with his lot.

It is hard to know what anyone else really wants, and I think of this man often. I thought of him most recently while watching Mark Zuckerberg deliver an hour-long presentation on Facebook’s rebrand—it is now called Meta—and its newfound focus on building the “metaverse”: a vast and integrated virtual world. Watching Zuckerberg stroll through a blandly monied virtual set, appointed, as if from a drop-down menu, with books and trinkets and unused-looking sports equipment, I wondered if there were people who wanted this, or would find this vision exciting. Then I reminded myself: FarmVille. I think it is useful, in attempts to forecast the future, to be humble about the enormous mystery of other people’s desires.

In recent months, the metaverse has been described as a kind of online place, combining virtual reality, augmented reality, the Internet, entertainment experiences, gaming, and remote work. The key idea is that, no matter what you’re doing in the metaverse, or where you are, your identities and assets will be multi-platform and transportable: you’ll be the same “you” at work and at leisure. As the concept of the metaverse has snaked into the discourse, predictions about it have seemed mainly to reflect the desires of the corporations that are setting the terms of the conversation. (The term “metaverse” itself, which has its origins in dystopian science fiction, has been aggressively promoted by companies with worlds to sell.) Reading about the metaverse, I’ve often had the uneasy feeling that I am taking something far too seriously—giving credence to the wrong things, internalizing the wrong logic—simply because a small number of world-historically wealthy people have told me to.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on January 6, 2022 by Editor

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BlackBerry Gone

from Bloomberg

Your BlackBerry Dies Today: End of an Era for Iconic Handset

By Vlad Savov

Day Two Of Mobile World Congress 2015
A BlackBerry Classic smartphone.Photographer: Pau Barrena/Bloomberg

BlackBerry devices running the original operating system and services will no longer be supported after Jan. 4, marking the end of an era for the storied device that catapulted work into the mobile era.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry Ltd., the company formerly known as Research In Motion whose signature handset in the 1990s came to embody working on the move, said handsets running its in-house software “will no longer be expected to reliably function” after Tuesday, according to its end-of-life page.

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Posted on January 5, 2022 by Editor

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Sutton Hoo

from artnet

Archaeologists Say They Have Found the Anglo-Saxon Workshop Where the Treasures of Sutton Hoo Were Forged

Student volunteers assisted in the historic find.

by Sarah Cascone

Volunteers from Suffolk Young Carers excavating the cellar of an Anglo-Saxon hut at Rendlesham. Photo ⒸSuffolk County Council.
Volunteers from Suffolk Young Carers excavating the cellar of an Anglo-Saxon hut at Rendlesham. Photo ⒸSuffolk County Council.

Archaeologists in Rendlesham, Suffolk, have uncovered a seventh-century workshop that may have been home to the craftspeople who made the treasures of nearby Sutton Hoo, widely considered the greatest archaeological find in U.K. history.

Rendlesham is just three miles away from the early medieval cemeteries at Sutton Hoo, and those buried there “probably lived at Rendlesham,” a Suffolk County Council spokesman told the Daily Mail. “There is also evidence of craft working at Rendlesham, so it is possible they may have produced some of the objects discovered in the Sutton Hoo burial grounds.”

Sutton Hoo’s legendary discovery in 1939 was the subject of the 2020 Netflix film The Dig, starring Carey Mulligan as landowner Edith Pretty, who hired archaeologist Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to excavate the mysterious earthen mounds on her property.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on January 4, 2022 by Editor

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from The New York Times

Everybody Into the Metaverse! Virtual Reality Beckons Big Tech.

Tech’s biggest companies are joining game makers and start-ups in pursuit of an immersive digital world that some have been working on for years.

By Cade Metz

Kasia Bojanowska

The metaverse, one of the most buzzy terms of the tech industry, could be many things. It could be a virtual world where imagination is the only limit. Or it could be a less fantastical place for holding business meetings without leaving home.

For the tech titans getting behind this big idea, the metaverse could be something more tangible: the next great way to make piles of money.

After 15 years of riding a boom in mobile computing that has turned tech’s biggest companies into giants worth trillions of dollars, the power brokers of the industry believe that controlling the doors into the metaverse and virtual reality could be the centerpiece of a new business, like smartphones and apps or personal computers and web browsers in the 1990s.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on January 3, 2022 by Editor

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Space Ramen

from The Debrief



Yakisoba Noodles for Astronauts
Instant flavored noodles, and rice meals for astronauts. Image Credit: Sora / Nissin

Besides being a staple of “College Life” globally, instant noodles in their many varieties are easily one of the most popular and convenient  ‘on-the-run’ meals that get turned to when the hunger kicks in. And now they’re on the menu for those in orbit on the International Space Station. Nissin is producing UFO brand Yakisoba noodles for astronauts, with ‘space ramen’ as a tasty instant meal alternative to be eaten alongside the best view of our planet from space.

Japan ranks as the fifth nation of the highest consumers of instant noodles, and even has August 25 pegged as an annual “Instant Ramen Day.” It’s on that day that it’s encouraged to remember August 25, 1958, as the day that Nissin Foods released the now famous Chicken Ramen, the world’s first instant noodle product that would go on to be a favorite in kitchens, restaurants, cafes, college canteens, and even camping sites, everywhere.

The ‘instant noodles’ meal exploded in popularity and very quickly came with an ever-increasing amount of flavor options. It was cheap to buy, simple to prepare, and was good with practically any flavor variation you could think of. At the time, Japan was growing economically, experiencing a boom in productivity and profitability known as the “high increase economic miracle.” Basically, the cities were swelling with workers coming in from rural areas and in everything from consumer electronics to vehicle sales and exports, Japan was in an explosive phase of economic growth where fast food such as instant noodles would power workers on long shifts with minimum downtime due to eating breaks.

[ click to continue reading at The Debrief ]

Posted on January 2, 2022 by Editor

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Happy 2022!


Posted on January 1, 2022 by Editor

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Dark Meta

from The New York Times

The Metaverse’s Dark Side: Here Come Harassment and Assaults

As Meta and other companies bet big on an immersive digital world, questions about its harms are rising.

By Sheera Frenkel and Kellen Browning

Credit… Hannah Lock

SAN FRANCISCO — Chanelle Siggens recently strapped on an Oculus Quest virtual reality headset to play her favorite shooter game, Population One. Once she turned on the game, she maneuvered her avatar into a virtual lobby in the immersive digital world and waited for the action to begin.

But as she waited, another player’s avatar approached hers. The stranger then simulated groping and ejaculating onto her avatar, Ms. Siggens said. Shocked, she asked the player, whose avatar appeared male, to stop.

“He shrugged as if to say: ‘I don’t know what to tell you. It’s the metaverse — I’ll do what I want,’” said Ms. Siggens, a 29-year-old Toronto resident. “Then he walked away.”

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 31, 2021 by Editor

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Tell The World!

from The U.S. Sun

How Harry Reid, ex-Nevada senator born near Area 51, spent final months demanding Biden reveal US government UFO secrets

by Chris Bradford

Reid was warned that engaging on the UFO issue could 'ruin' his career
Reid was warned that engaging on the UFO issue could ‘ruin’ his career Credit: Getty

FORMER Senate majority leader Harry Reid was at the center of efforts to transform the UFO debate into a serious political issue.

For decades, discussions about unidentified aerial phenomena were often restricted to the fringes of American politics.

Reid attended a series of meetings in the mid-1990s alongside real estate magnate Robert Bigelow, parapsychologist Hal Puthoff, and “avowed” ufologist Harrison Schmitt, Politico reports.

Bigelow wanted to talk about aliens and the politician was introduced to the real estate tycoon through renowned Nevada reporter and journalist George Knapp.

In a New York Times piece, Reid recalled that his staffers said: “Stay the hell away from this.”

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on December 30, 2021 by Editor

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Madden Gone

from ESPN

NFL Hall of Fame coach, broadcasting icon John Madden dies at 85

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach-turned-broadcaster whose exuberant calls combined with simple explanations provided a weekly soundtrack to NFL games for three decades, died Tuesday morning, the NFL said. He was 85.

The league said he died unexpectedly and did not detail a cause.

Madden gained fame in a decadelong stint as the coach of the renegade Oakland Raiders, making it to seven AFC title games and winning the Super Bowl following the 1976 season. He compiled a 103-32-7 regular-season record, and his .759 winning percentage is the best among NFL coaches with more than 100 games.

“Few individuals meant as much to the growth and popularity of professional football as Coach Madden, whose impact on the game both on and off the field was immeasurable,” the Raiders said in a statement, hours before team owner Mark Davis lit the Al Davis Torch in honor of Madden, the first person to ever light the torch on Oct. 16, 2011.

[ click to continue reading at ESPN ]

Posted on December 29, 2021 by Editor

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E.O. Wilson Gone

from The New York Times

E.O. Wilson, a Pioneer of Evolutionary Biology, Dies at 92

A Harvard professor for 46 years, he was an expert on insects and explored how natural selection and other forces could influence animal behavior. He then applied his research to humans.

By Carl Zimmer

Edward O. Wilson, a biologist and author who conducted pioneering work on biodiversity, insects and human nature — and won two Pulitzer Prizes along the way — died on Sunday in Burlington, Mass. He was 92.

His death was announced on Monday by the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

When Dr. Wilson began his career in evolutionary biology in the 1950s, the study of animals and plants seemed to many scientists like a quaint, obsolete hobby. Molecular biologists were getting their first glimpses of DNA, proteins and other invisible foundations of life. Dr. Wilson made it his life’s work to put evolution on an equal footing.

“How could our seemingly old-fashioned subjects achieve new intellectual rigor and originality compared to molecular biology?” he recalled in 2009. He answered his own question by pioneering new fields of research.

As an expert on insects, Dr. Wilson studied the evolution of behavior, exploring how natural selection and other forces could produce something as extraordinarily complex as an ant colony. He then championed this kind of research as a way of making sense of all behavior — including our own.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 28, 2021 by Editor

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Space: 2022

from Axios

Moon, Mars and asteroid missions top 2022 space goals

by Miriam KramerAlison Snyder

Illustration of an astronaut helmet forming the zero in 2022.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Space science next year will be rocketed forward with missions to the Moon, asteroids, Mars and the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope coming online.

Why it matters: The data sent back to Earth from these upcoming missions will help scientists learn more than ever before about objects in the solar system and far beyond it.

What’s happening: Space agencies like NASA, the European Space Agency and Japan’s space agency, JAXA, are all aiming to send probes to various targets around the solar system this year. They include:

Mars: The European Space Agency and Russia are planning to launch their joint ExoMars lander and rover to the surface of the Red Planet in September.

[ click to continue reading at Axios ]

Posted on December 27, 2021 by Editor

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Tutu Gone

from CNN

Desmond Tutu, anti-apartheid leader and voice of justice, dead at 90

By Todd Leopold, Larry Madowo and Jessie Yeung

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Anglican cleric whose good humor, inspiring message and conscientious work for civil and human rights made him a revered leader during the struggle to end apartheid in his native South Africa, has died. He was 90.

In a statement confirming his death on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his condolences to Tutu’s family and friends, calling him “a patriot without equal.”

“A man of extraordinary intellect, integrity and invincibility against the forces of apartheid, he was also tender and vulnerable in his compassion for those who had suffered oppression, injustice and violence under apartheid, and oppressed and downtrodden people around the world,” Ramaphosa said.

For six decades, Tutu — known affectionately as “the Arch” — was one of the primary voices in exhorting the South African government to end apartheid, the country’s official policy of racial segregation. After apartheid ended in the early ’90s and the long-imprisoned Nelson Mandela became president of the country, Tutu was named chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Nelson Mandela foundation called Tutu’s loss “immeasurable.”

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on December 26, 2021 by Editor

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Merry Christmas

File:Christmas wreath.png

Posted on December 25, 2021 by Editor

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Merry Krampus

from InsideHook

How Krampus, the German Christmas Demon, Took Over America

He whips naughty children with branches and eats them, and he’s winning our hearts


What says “Christmas” more than a visit from a horned goat-demon? Westend61

Here in America, we traditionally think of Christmas as being a sweet, cozy holiday full of niceties: brightly wrapped presents, twinkling lights, a genteel old man in a red suit who appears to give you presents, visions of sugar plums, that sort of thing. Sure, there’s the threat of a lump of coal in a stocking, used to keep naughty children in check, but that’s still pretty tame compared to the horned, anthropomorphic goat demon with an affinity for schnapps who shows up to whip misbehaving children with a bundle of birch branches, toss them into a large sack and — depending on which variation of the legend you subscribe to — either eat them or drag them to hell.

We’re talking, of course, about Krampus, the Christmas villain from German and Austrian folklore who serves as a malevolent foil to Saint Nicholas. As the story goes, every Dec. 5 on a night dubbed Krampusnacht (or “Krampus Night”), St. Nicholas and Krampus go from home to home; St. Nick distributes oranges, dried fruit and chocolate to the good children, while Krampus unleashes his wrath upon the bad ones. Though his exact origins are unclear and believed to date back to pre-Christian Alpine traditions, anthropologists generally believe he’s been terrorizing European children since the 17th Century.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on December 24, 2021 by Editor

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from Study Finds

Astronomers spot up to 170 giant rogue planets floating through space

Rogue planets
(Bordeaux University / ESO)

BORDEAUX, France — Nearly 200 giant planets have been spotted moving aimlessly through space, according to a remarkable discovery by astronomers. Researchers from the European Southern Observatory say these “rogue planets” float in space and don’t orbit a star — like the Earth and the rest of the planets in our solar system do.

The planets are in a star-forming region relatively close to our Sun in the southern constellations of Upper Scorpius and Ophiuchus. Although there may be billions of these rogues out there in the Milky Way, the 170 scientists found in this section of the galaxy represents the largest group of rogue planets discovered to date.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on December 23, 2021 by Editor

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Joan Didion Gone

from Vanity Fair

Joan Didion, Literary Titan, Dies at 87


Joan Didion, a resounding voice in American literature who insightfully captured the ’60s and California through observant and beautiful language, died on Thursday at home in Manhattan. She was 87 years old.

The famed writer’s cause of death was Parkinson’s disease, according to an email sent by her publisher, Paul Bogaards, an executive at Knopf, to The New York Times. Her friend, the writer Hilton Als, also confirmed the news on Instagram. He posted a black square with the simple caption: “Joan Didion. 12.5.34–12.23.21.”

Didion became renowned for her linguistic froideur, keen insights, and provocative yet elegant prose, writing fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays over the course of her lengthy career. But she saved her most personal subjects for last. Her acclaimed 2005 book, The Year of Magical Thinking, in which she grappled with the unexpected death of her husband, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. She also attempted to come to terms with the death of her child in 2011’s Blue Nights. 

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on December 22, 2021 by Editor

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Rods From God

from The U.S. Sun

STAR WARS The terrifying future space weapons – ‘rods from God’ meteorites, molten metal cannons and weaponised asteroids

The Sun Online takes a glimpse at the array of weapons and space tech under development which are set to make outer-space the ultimate battleground

by Patrick Knox

WEAPONISED asteroids, “rods from god” raining down on Earth and cannon firing molten metal and — it sounds like something from a sci-fi movie.

But these bizarre weapons may soon become a reality as space becomes the final frontier for superpower warfare.

The reality of a space war moved closer today as Putin revealed a new alliance with China to create space weapons that could unleash havoc in the West if its satellites were targeted.

Speaking at his annual news conference, the Russian strongman leader said the partnership was “strategic” amid growing tensions with NATO.

As previously revealed by Sun Online, Russian and Chinese space weapons could send the West into the Dark Ages should it destroy satellites.

It is feared an orbital onslaught could shut down hospitals, crash the economy, knock out communications, and cause mass blackouts.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on December 21, 2021 by Editor

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Bridge Stealers

from Greenwich Time

A 58-foot bridge disappeared from a field in Ohio. A man hired a crane service to steal it, police say.

by Jaclyn Peiser

The metal frame of this 58-foot bridge was found to be missing on Nov. 11, about a week after the deck boards had been stolen,

For almost two decades, a 58-foot-long, 10-foot-wide and 6-foot-high pedestrian bridge sat idly in an overgrown field in Akron, Ohio. It had been removed from a nearby park for a restoration project, police said.

But early last month, a passerby noticed something was amiss with the structure. The brush around the bridge had been cleared and the deck boards were missing, police said.

A week later, the entire structure was gone.

[ click to continue reading at GT ]

Posted on December 20, 2021 by Editor

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Battle In New Canaan

from Patch

Gates Battle of the Bands is Back!

Raising money for Meals on Wheels, New Canaan

by Ms. Tootsie

Live music venue Gates Restaurant will be hosting their third ‘Battle of the Bands’ in January 2022. Hosted by radio presenter Jon Kamal, sponsored by Karl Chevrolet, and produced by Rock Paper Scissors Custom Events, this fierce competition brings in talented bands from all over Fairfield County and beyond.

The expert panel of judges include International best-selling author James Frey and Jon Kamal. The four heats are FREE to the public. To attend the final costs $20 per person, with 50% of every sale being donated to Meals on Wheels, New Canaan. Previous winners include Mind The Gap (2019) and All Night Thing (2020). Space is limited so book your tickets early.

Gates Restaurant, 10 Forest Street, New Canaan, CT 06840 /

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on December 19, 2021 by Editor

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from The Wall Street Journal

Jack Dorsey and the Unlikely Revolutionaries Who Want to Reboot the Internet

Members of the tech elite are banding together to bring the Web back to its idealist origins. They call their vision ‘Web3.’

By Christopher Mims

Former Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey is now into cryptocurrency. PHOTO: COLE BURSTON/BLOOMBERG NEWS

The internet hasn’t turned out the way it was supposed to.

In its earliest incarnation, before some Wall Street Journal readers were born and the rest had fewer automatically renewing digital subscriptions, it was supposed to be distributed, user-controlled and, in a word, democratic.

Then came Big Tech and the attendant centralization, windfall profits, culture wars, misinformation campaigns, Congressional hearings, EU rulings, antitrust battles and techno-nationalism that have characterized the past decade.

What if there was another way?

What if, to take but one example, users of social networks collectively owned them, or at least could vote on how they were run and what kind of speech they allowed? And what if similar questions could be asked of just about any tech company whose primary product is software and services—whether financial, cloud computing, or even entertainment-related?

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on December 18, 2021 by Editor

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The Meh Courses

from The New Yorker

What’s So Great About Great-Books Courses?

The humanities are in danger, but humanists can’t agree on how—or why—they should be saved.

By Louis Menand

Roosevelt Montás was born in a rural village in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States when he was eleven years old. He attended public schools in Queens, where he took classes in English as a second language, then entered Columbia College through a government program for low-income students. After getting his B.A., he was admitted to Columbia’s Ph.D. program in English and Comparative Literature when a dean got the department to reconsider his application, which had been rejected. He received a Ph.D. in 2004 and has been teaching at Columbia ever since, now as a senior lecturer, a renewable but untenured appointment. He is forty-eight.

Arnold Weinstein is eighty-one. Although he was an indifferent student in high school, he was admitted to Princeton, spent his junior year in Paris, an experience that fired an interest in literature, and received a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1968. He was hired by Brown, was tenured in 1973, and is today the Richard and Edna Salomon Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature. These two men started on very different life paths and ended up writing the same book.

They are even being published by the same university press, Princeton. Montás’s is called “Rescuing Socrates: How the Great Books Changed My Life and Why They Matter for a New Generation”; Weinstein’s is “The Lives of Literature: Reading, Teaching, Knowing.” The genre, a common one for academics writing non-scholarly books, is a combination of memoir (some family history, career anecdotes), criticism (readings of selected texts to illustrate convictions of the author’s), and polemic against trends the author disapproves of. The polemic can sometimes take the form of “It’s all gone to hell.” Montás’s and Weinstein’s books fall into the “It’s all gone to hell” category.

Both men teach what are called—unfortunately but inescapably—“great books” courses. Since Weinstein works at a college that has no requirements outside the major, his courses are departmental offerings, but the syllabi seem to be composed largely of books by well-known Western writers, from Sophocles to Toni Morrison. At Columbia, undergraduates must complete two years of non-departmental great-books courses: Masterpieces of Western Literature and Philosophy, for first-year students, and Introduction to Contemporary Civilization in the West, for sophomores. These courses, among others, known as “the Core,” originated around the time of the First World War and have been required since 1947. Montás not only teaches in the Core; he served for ten years as the director of the Center for the Core Curriculum.

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on December 17, 2021 by Editor

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The Apocalypse Has Arrived

from The U.S. Sun

Are Flamin’ Hot Cheetos being discontinued?

by Nina Clevinger

While the Frito-Lay company has not commented on the reported shortage of Flamin’ Hot Chips, social media users have adamantly said supplies of the snack are becoming harder to find.

In September of 2021, someone posted to the Sacramento Reddit thread asking if anyone knows where they can find a specific flavor of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, adding that they are seemingly “vanished.”

One user commented on the post, writing: “There’s a chip shortage because of supply and labor issue.”

On November 29, 2021, a Twitter account by the name of SAY CHEESE! posted about the rumored shortage, writing: “Theres a Hot Cheetos Shortage in the U.S right now. This shortage is mainly because of increased demand and tightening supply.

“Some stores are putting limitations on how many you can buy,” the account continued.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on December 16, 2021 by Editor

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Anne Rice Gone

from Deadline

Anne Rice Dies: ‘Interview With The Vampire’ Author Was 80

By Tom Grater

Anne Rice Dead obituary
Anne Rice / AP

Anne Rice, the American writer whose Interview with the Vampire sold more than 150 million copies, has died. She was 80.

“The immensity of our family’s grief cannot be overstated,” he wrote. “As my mother, her support for me was unconditional — she taught me to embrace my dreams, reject conformity and challenge the dark voices of fear and self-doubt.”

Born on October 4, 1941, in New Orleans, Rice initially struggled to find popularity, with her debut novel Interview with the Vampire receiving mixed reviews upon its release in 1976. The book, penned while she was grieving the loss of her daughter to leukemia, since has been reappraised as a key text in the modern vampire genre and spawned 11 sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on December 13, 2021 by Editor

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Jiggle Jiggle Tinkle

from Vice

Workers Are Using ‘Mouse Movers’ So They Can Use the Bathroom in Peace

“The tables have turned in favor of the Worker,” said one mouse jiggler company. “They are in power today.”

By Samantha Cole

Leah didn’t expect her TikTok video about a work-from-home hack to go viral. She started using a mouse mover—a small device placed under her computer mouse, to keep the cursor active—after her job as a business lead in advertising transitioned to remote work at the start of the pandemic. Her company-issued computer set her status to “away” whenever she stopped moving her cursor or got up from her desk for more than a few seconds, and with three kids at home who needed help doing remote classes during school lockdowns, that little “away” signal was driving her nuts.

“Working remotely, your colleagues can’t physically ‘see’ when you get up to go to the bathroom or grab lunch. Or even take 30 minutes to reset on the couch,” Leah told me. “The last thing I wanted during those moments was to be paranoid that people thought I wasn’t working—especially since I felt like I was working more than ever.”

[ click to continue reading at Vice ]

Posted on December 12, 2021 by Editor

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The New Present

from The Wall Street Journal

Is the Metaverse Really the Next Big Thing?

Its advocates say more immersive interfaces will increase our sense of presence. I think they have their definitions wrong.

By Steven Johnson

Meta Platforms CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks to an avatar of himself during a live-streamed presentation about the company’s rebranding from Facebook. PHOTO: VIA REUTERS

Mark Zuckerberg would like you to be a little more present.

That’s the message that the Facebook founder hammers home in one of the most elaborate concept videos ever produced by a tech company: an 80-minute video rolling out his company’s vision of “the metaverse,” which Mr. Zuckerberg believes is the next paradigm shift in computing. The video—and Facebook’s decision to re-christen itself with the new corporate name Meta Platforms Inc. —marked a fitting endpoint for a year in which the somewhat murky concept of the metaverse became one of the most hyped buzzwords in technology.

Mr. Zuckerberg’s primary complaint about the existing interfaces we use today is that they aren’t immersive enough. When we interact with our friends or colleagues virtually, we’re experiencing a heavily mediated version of them—email threads, text messages, grainy Zoom videos with choppy audio. And all of that interaction is compressed through a two-dimensional screen, often the size of a pack of playing cards.

“Screens…can’t deliver that deep feeling of presence,” he says at one point in the video. “Presence is the defining quality of the metaverse.”

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on December 11, 2021 by Editor

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Robbie Shakespeare Gone

from Jamaica Observer

Robbie Shakespeare has died

POPULAR bass guitarist Robbie Shakespeare of ‘Riddim Twins’ Sly and Robbie is dead. He passed away earlier Wednesday.

According to sources, Shakespeare was ailing for sometime.

“Robbie’s loss will be severely felt by the industry at home and abroad. My condolences to those he leaves behind,” said Olivia “Babsy” Grange, Minister of Entertainment and Culture, in a release sent to the Jamaica Observer.

Throughout the 1980s, Sly and Robbie worked with some of the biggest and brightest names in pop. Among them, Grace Jones, Joe Cocker, Gwen Guthrie and rapper KRS 1.

Their patented sound ensured mainstream interest in Jamaican music following the death of Bob Marley in 1981. Indeed, they were the driving force behind Black Uhuru, a Waterhouse group marketed by Island Records, the company that helped break Marley’s music internationally.

[ click to continue reading at Jamaica Observer ]

Posted on December 10, 2021 by Editor

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I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t know how to unlock your front door.

from Bloomberg

How Amazon Outage Left Smart Homes Not So Smart After All

by Isabella Steger

Compx National D8890,Barrel Key, Antique Style

The outage at Inc.’s cloud-computing arm left thousands of people in the U.S. without working fridges, roombas and doorbells, highlighting just how reliant people have become on the company as the Internet of Things proliferates across homes.

The disruption, which began at about 10 a.m. Eastern time Tuesday, upended package deliveries, took down major streaming services, and prevented people from getting into Walt Disney Co.’s parks.

Affected Amazon services included the voice assistant Alexa and Ring smart-doorbell unit. Irate device users tweeted their frustrations to Ring’s official account, with many complaining that they spent time rebooting or reinstalling their apps and devices before finding out on Twitter that there was a general Amazon Web Services outage. Multiple Ring users even said they weren’t able to get into their homes without access to the phone app, which was down.

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Posted on December 9, 2021 by Editor

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from Real Clear Markets

The Metaverse Will Change the Way We Live, Think and Work

By Roger James Hamilton

At GeniusU we talk a lot about the metaverse and how it will usher in – like the first iteration of the internet – a new era and change the way the way we learn, interact, collaborate, and run our businesses.   

This is the year 1995 (the year the internet was launched) all over again, but much much bigger. The metaverse is only in the first stage, but it is here.  Now, its participants are wearing goggles and glasses to enter a new 3D world, but the day will come in the not-too-distant future when there will not be virtual headsets or augmented reality glasses, but chips implanted in humans that allow them to connect in real-time by simply thinking the name or business or organization or friend with whom they want to interact. 

Let’s start with Fortnite as an example. Fortnite is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) in which 100 players fight it out until the last man standing in a fast-paced, action packed 3D environment which was developed by Epic Games. It was recently valued at $17 billion. In 2020, 15,000,000 gamers experienced Fortnite’s Galactus event. According to, Epic has nearly 400 million registered users. The demand for 3D virtual reality games is off the charts and growing. Roblox, a gaming/educational platform, has 160 million users.

Keep in mind, the very first MMORPG, Everquest, launched in 1999, and barely a year later, Everquest creators Ken and Roberta Rucker sold their company, Sierra Online, to Cendant for $1 billion (with a B). That’s $1.6 billion in 2021 dollars, and that was just the first glimmer of the metaverse.

While the internet was built on code, today’s metaverse is built on engines that build 3D universes. Discover Unity, a game engine that can create 3D, VR, and AR experiences for any industry, including “Auto, AEC, Film, and More.” Fifty-three percent of the 1,000 top-grossing mobile games globally are powered by Unity, according to their website.

[ click to continue reading at RCM ]

Posted on December 8, 2021 by Editor

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