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Posted on May 23, 2019 by Editor

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The Forever Wrong

from The Atlantic

The Peculiar Blindness of Experts

Credentialed authorities are comically bad at predicting the future. But reliable forecasting is possible.

by DAVID EPSTEIN

NA KIM

The bet was on, and it was over the fate of humanity. On one side was the Stanford biologist Paul R. Ehrlich. In his 1968 best seller, The Population Bomb, Ehrlich insisted that it was too late to prevent a doomsday apocalypse resulting from overpopulation. Resource shortages would cause hundreds of millions of starvation deaths within a decade. It was cold, hard math: The human population was growing exponentially; the food supply was not. Ehrlich was an accomplished butterfly specialist. He knew that nature did not regulate animal populations delicately. Populations exploded, blowing past the available resources, and then crashed.

In his book, Ehrlich played out hypothetical scenarios that represented “the kinds of disasters that will occur.” In the worst-case scenario, famine rages across the planet. Russia, China, and the United States are dragged into nuclear war, and the resulting environmental degradation soon extinguishes the human race. In the “cheerful” scenario, population controls begin. Famine spreads, and countries teeter, but the major death wave ends in the mid-1980s. Only half a billion or so people die of starvation. “I challenge you to create one more optimistic,” Ehrlich wrote, adding that he would not count scenarios involving benevolent aliens bearing care packages.

The economist Julian Simon took up Ehrlich’s challenge. Technology—water-control techniques, hybridized seeds, management strategies—had revolutionized agriculture, and global crop yields were increasing. To Simon, more people meant more good ideas about how to achieve a sustainable future. So he proposed a wager. Ehrlich could choose five metals that he expected to become more expensive as resources were depleted and chaos ensued over the next decade. Both men agreed that commodity prices were a fine proxy for the effects of population growth, and they set the stakes at $1,000 worth of Ehrlich’s five metals. If, 10 years hence, prices had gone down, Ehrlich would have to pay the difference in value to Simon. If prices went up, Simon would be on the hook for the difference. The bet was made official in 1980.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on May 22, 2019 by Editor

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Melina’s Closet

from COVETEUR

WE ONCE RAIDED MELINA MATSOUKAS’ CLOSET 

And it was just as cool as we imagined. Los Angeles. In Partnership with BET.

by Laurel Pantin

Think of pretty much any music video you’ve loved in the past few years, and odds are director Melina Matsoukas is behind it. We’re talking Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love” (for which she was the first female director ever to win a Grammy), Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” (yaaas), and Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance.” Matsoukas is the realest of deals, and also the coolest person you could ever hope to spend an afternoon with.

But if you thought directing ground-breaking music videos would be enough for most people, you’d find that “most people” doesn’t apply to Matsoukas. She just wrapped the forthcoming film Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey, and has garnered much well-deserved praise for her work on Insecure. 

[ click to continue reading at COVETEUR ]

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Editor

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8,000-year-old Lox

from Nautilus

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

BY SEVINDJ NURKIYAZOVA

The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived. Photograph by Helen Cook / Flickr

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. There is hardly a more quintessential New York food than a lox bagel—a century-old popular appetizing store, Russ & Daughters, calls it “The Classic.” But Guy, who has lived in the city for the past 17 years, is passionate about lox for a different reason. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

How scholars have traced the word’s pronunciation over thousands of years is also really cool. The story goes back to Thomas Young, also known as “The Last Person Who Knew Everything.” The 18th-century British polymath came up with the wave theory of light, first described astigmatism, and played a key role in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Like some people before him, Young noticed eerie similarities between Indic and European languages. He went further, analyzing 400 languages spread across continents and millennia and proved that the overlap between some of them was too extensive to be an accident. A single coincidence meant nothing, but each additional one increased the chance of an underlying connection. In 1813, Young declared that all those languages belong to one family. He named it “Indo-European.”

Today, roughly half the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language. That family includes 440 languages spoken across the globe, including English. The word yoga, for example, which comes from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, is a distant relative of the English word yoke. The nature of this relationship puzzled historical linguists for two centuries.

In modern English, well over half of all words are borrowed from other languages. To trace how language changes over time, linguists developed an ingenious toolkit. “Some parts of vocabulary are more stable and don’t change as much. The linguistic term [for these words] is ‘a core vocabulary.’ These are numbers, colors, family relations like ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘sister,’ ‘brother,’ and basic verbs like ‘walk’ and ‘see,’ says Guy. “If you look at words of that sort in different languages, it becomes fairly clear which ones are related and which ones are not. For example, take the English word for number two, which is dva in Russian and deux in French, or the word night, which is nacht in German and noch in Russian.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Editor

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Ride Like The Wind, Bodexpress!

Posted on May 19, 2019 by Editor

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Cast Inflatable Haters

from The New York Times

Stop Hating Jeff Koons 

Why “Rabbit,” the perfect art for the roaring mid-80s, continues to speak to us.

By Roberta Smith

Jeff Koons poses with “Rabbit” at the Tate Modern in 2009.CreditCreditDaniel Deme/EPA, via Shutterstock

Jeff Koons is back on top, if on top means holding the highest auction price for a living artist, as hyped by the auction house responsible. Mr. Koons’s 1986 “Rabbit,” a precise stainless steel copy of a plastic inflatable toy — mirror-smooth yet with seams and puckers — sold Wednesday night at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale for $91.1 million, the highlight of New York’s buoyant spring auctions.

It broke the record set last fall when Christie’s auctioned David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)” — a 1972painting the size of a small mural — for $90.3 million. But let’s get real. The hammer price for both works was actually $80 million. The “Rabbit” inched ahead by a whisker — about $762,500 — because of a twist of fate: Christie’s increased the fees buyers pay on Feb. 1. The difference was simply a matter of auction house profit-seeking. It recalls the soaring home-run statistics from baseball’s “steroid era” before testing for performance enhancing drugs became routine. The price should have an asterisk or footnote — something that says, hey, the final bids on these two art works were exactly the same. It was a tie.

Mr. Koons, who is 64, set his first living-artist auction record in 2013, when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million, also at Christie’s. Then came a precipitous drop: The artist’s big painted aluminum “Play-Doh” went for $22.8 million in 2014. Unlike “Play-Doh,” the “Rabbit,” made in 1986, has been with us over three decades, alternately loved and hated. Some of its most fervent admirers see it as the perfect work of art for its moment, the roaring mid-1980s. I don’t disagree. I also think it continues to speak to us.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on May 18, 2019 by Editor

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Porcelain Ramen

Posted on May 17, 2019 by Editor

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I.M. Pei Gone (at 102!)

from Curbed

I.M. Pei, modernist architect, dies at 102

The pioneering Chinese-American architect won a Pritzker Prize in 1983

By Patrick Sisson

Sygma via Getty Images

I.M. Pei, the Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect famous for his soaring, lyrical renditions of contemporary architecture, has passed away at age 102. [Update] Marc Diamond, director of communications at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has confirmed the news. 

Under his direction, Pei’s firm was responsible for a wide range of buildings in the United States and abroad, most famously the glass-topped extension of Paris’s Louvre Museum. The architect was celebrated not only for his great skill as a designer, but for his ability to collaborate with clients and bridge their needs in ways that did not compromise his own striking vision. 

The jury for the Pritzker Prize, which was awarded to Pei in 1983, cited his incredible scope as one of the many reasons for awarding him the profession’s top honor. 

“I.M. Pei has refused to limit himself to a narrow range of architectural problems,” the announcement reads. “His work over the past forty years includes not only palaces of industry, government and culture, but also some of the best moderate and low-income housing. Through his skill he has elevated the use of materials to an art.”

[ click to continue reading at Curbed ]

Posted on May 16, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hotel

from CNBC

Taco Bell is opening a hotel and resort

by Amelia Lucas

H/O: Taco Bell hotel door 190514
Hotel door at The Bell, A Taco Bell Hotel & ResortCourtesy Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s latest limited-time offer isn’t Nacho Fries — it’s a hotel.

The Mexican fast-food chain is taking over a Palm Springs, California, hotel and resort in its latest move to recognize the brand’s super fans.

Reservations will open in June, and guests can start checking in Aug. 9. The Yum Brands unit didn’t specify how long it would operate the hotel.

The Bell will feature a gift shop with exclusive Taco Bell-themed apparel and an on-site salon with Taco Bell-inspired nail art and hair styling services.

[ click to continue reading at CNBC ]

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Editor

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Pulp Basquiat

from artnet

Basquiat, the Comic Book: See the Rise of Art Star Jean-Michel Basquiat in a New Graphic Novel

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired films, a Broadway musical, and now a graphic novel.

by Eileen Kinsella

Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.
Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.

Who needs Captain America when you have Basquiat?

A new graphic novel published by UK-based Laurence King traces the rise of Jean-Michel Basquiat from street-art upstart to international fame. It is the latest graphic novel by illustrator Paolo Parisi, who has previously written and illustrated volumes on the lives of music legends Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.

In a chapter excerpted here, entitled “New Art/New Money,” Parisi takes a close look at the artist’s prolific output and often-contentious relationship with famous art dealers including Annina Nosei, Mary Boone, and Larry Gagosian. All are seen vying to work with the artist as the buzz around him begins to build and the supercharged market machine of the 1980s kicks into high gear.

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired everything from biopics to a Broadway musical. As in other Basquiat-inspired projects, the details in the graphic novel may be exaggerated or twisted—it’s hard to imagine notoriously competitive Larry Gagosian telling Mary Boone encouragingly, “Basquiat has to be the new star, and you with him,” while Basquiat comes off as a bit more naive and far less conflicted then we now know him to be. But if you are looking for an art yarn in graphic novel form, take a look at the excerpt below and decide for yourself.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on May 14, 2019 by Editor

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Trash Even In The Trench

from Reuters

Trash found littering ocean floor in deepest-ever sub dive

by Daniel Fastenberg

NEW YORK (Reuters) – On the deepest dive ever made by a human inside a submarine, a Texas investor and explorer found something he could have found in the gutter of nearly any street in the world: trash.

Victor Vescovo, a retired naval officer, said he made the unsettling discovery as he descended nearly 6.8 miles (35,853 feet/10,928 meters) to a point in the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench that is the deepest place on Earth. His dive went 52 feet (16 meters) lower than the previous deepest descent in the trench in 1960.

Vescovo found undiscovered species as he visited places no human had gone before. On one occasion he spent four hours on the floor of the trench, viewing sea life ranging from shrimp-like anthropods with long legs and antennae to translucent “sea pigs” similar to a sea cucumber.

He also saw angular metal or plastic objects, one with writing on it.

“It was very disappointing to see obvious human contamination of the deepest point in the ocean,” Vescovo said in an interview.

Plastic waste has reached epidemic proportions in the world’s oceans with an estimated 100 million tonnes dumped there to date, according to the United Nations. Scientists have found large amounts of micro plastic in the guts of deep-dwelling ocean mammals like whales.

[ click to continue reading at Reuters ]

Posted on May 13, 2019 by Editor

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Silver King Gone

from Fox 5

Wrestler dies during match, but it was so staged, at first no one knew anything was wrong

LONDON (AP) – A well-known Mexican wrestler who co-starred in the film comedy “Nacho Libre” died in London after he collapsed during a match that a witness described as so elaborately staged it wasn’t immediately clear something seriously was wrong.

Cesar Cuauhtemoc Gonzalez Barron, who wrestled with the ring name Silver King, was one of the featured wrestlers of “The Greatest Show of Lucha Libre” on Saturday night. The north London performance venue, the Roundhouse, tweeted just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday that the 51-year-old “sadly lost his life” during the event.

Lucha Libre World, which promoted the Roundhouse event, said in a statement the lucha libre star “suffered what we believe was a cardiac arrest while performing in the show and sadly passed away.”

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 ]

Posted on May 12, 2019 by Editor

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Melina Matsoukas Rising

from Yahoo! UK

These female directors are changing the landscape of film as we know it

Melina Matsoukas

A music video director who has been behind the camera of some of your favourite Queen Bey, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue vids, we’re all counting down until Matsoukas’ directorial feature film debut, Queen and Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey and starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, scheduled for release in November 2019.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! UK ]

Posted on May 11, 2019 by Editor

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Dali Deepfake

from The Verge

Deepfake Salvador Dalí takes selfies with museum visitors

By

Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí once said in an interview, “I believe in general in death, but in the death of Dali, absolutely not.” Now, the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, has worked to fulfill the painter’s prophecy by bringing him back to life — with a deepfake.

The exhibition, called Dalí Lives, was made in collaboration with the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), which made a life-size re-creation of Dalí using the machine learning-powered video editing technique. Using archival footage from interviews, GS&P pulled over 6,000 frames and used 1,000 hours of machine learning to train the AI algorithm on Dalí’s face. His facial expressions were then imposed over an actor with Dalí’s body proportions, and quotes from his interviews and letters were synced with a voice actor who could mimic his unique accent, a mix of French, Spanish, and English.

[ click to continue reading at The Verge ]

Posted on May 10, 2019 by Editor

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Ponto Troll Crew Slams Tam

Posted on May 9, 2019 by Editor

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Naked Bookseller Gone

from the Parker Pioneer

Quartzsite’s ‘Naked Bookseller’ Paul Winer dies

By John Gutekunst and Brandon Bowers

Long-time Quartzsite resident Paul Winer died the evening of May 7 at his home. He was 75 years old.

Winer was best known as the owner of Reader’s Oasis Books in Quartzsite, where he gained notoriety as the “naked bookseller.” He was also a professional entertainer and musician. He was even an artist, drawing a comic strip on local events entitled “As the Crow Flies.”

Long-time Quartzsite resident Paul Winer died the evening of May 7 at his home. He was 75 years old.

Winer was best known as the owner of Reader’s Oasis Books in Quartzsite, where he gained notoriety as the “naked bookseller.” He was also a professional entertainer and musician. He was even an artist, drawing a comic strip on local events entitled “As the Crow Flies.”

[ click to continue reading at the Pioneer ]

Posted on May 8, 2019 by Editor

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Bad Alexa!

from ctpost

Alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time

by Geoffrey A. Fowler

Would you let a stranger eavesdrop in your home and keep the recordings? For most people, the answer is, “Are you crazy?”

Yet that’s essentially what Amazon has been doing to millions of us with its assistant Alexa in microphone-equipped Echo speakers. And it’s hardly alone: Bugging our homes is Silicon Valley’s next frontier.

Many smart-speaker owners don’t realize it, but Amazon keeps a copy of everything Alexa records after it hears its name. Apple’s Siri, and until recently Google’s Assistant, by default also keep recordings to help train their artificial intelligences.

[ click to continue reading at ctpost.com ]

Posted on May 7, 2019 by Editor

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Maximum Security Robbery

Posted on May 6, 2019 by Editor

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Mona Lisa Fracture

from The Telegraph

Leonardo da Vinci never finished the Mona Lisa because he injured his arm while fainting, experts say

by  Henry Bodkin

The chalk drawing of da Vinci by Giovan Ambrogio Finio has offered new clues
The chalk drawing of da Vinci by Giovan Ambrogio Finio has offered new clues CREDIT: POLO MUSEALE DEL VENETO

Leonardo da Vinci left the Mona Lisa unfinished because he gravely injured his arm while fainting, a new study argues.

The cause of the renaissance artist’s disability has been debated by art historians for centuries, and in recent years partial paralysis as a result of a stroke has emerged as the dominant theory.

Proponents have pointed to da Vinic’s vegetarianism as a clue, arguing that the high-dairy diet he is assumed to have eaten would have made a stroke more likely.

However, two senior Italian doctors now claim to have solved the mystery, having studied a drawing of da Vinci by an obscure Lombard artist.

The blood-red chalk picture by Giovan Ambrogio Finio depicts an elderly da Vinci with his lower right arm at right-angles to his body, swaddled in folds of his clothes as if in a sling.

His thumb, first and second figures are extended, with his fourth and fifth fingers are contracted.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Davide Lazzeri, a plastic surgeon, and Dr Carlo Rossi, a neurologist, argue that if da Vinci had indeed suffered a stroke, it is far more likely his entire fist would have been clenched.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on May 5, 2019 by Editor

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The Birth Of Prime

from Vox

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program

An oral history of the subscription service that changed online shopping forever.

By Jason Del Rey

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos pushing a shopping cart full of books back in 1998.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos in Seattle, Washington in September 1998. Rex Rystedt/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

It’s easy to forget now, but Amazon wasn’t always the king of online shopping. In the fall of 2004, Jeff Bezos’s company was still mostly selling just books and DVDs. 

That same year, Amazon was under siege from multiple sides. Some of its biggest competitors were brick-and-mortar chains like Best Buy, which was still in expansion mode at the time, with sales growing 17 percent annually. Toys ‘R’ Us sued Amazon in a high-profile battle, alleging it had violated an agreement the two companies had for the toy store chain to be an exclusive seller on Amazon.com. 

And during the holiday season, Amazon’s website suffered repeated outages, drawing the wrath of customers and the press alike.

Amazon was worth $18 billion at the time. Its online rival eBay, on the other hand, was an internet darling worth nearly $33 billion. If you were an outsider to both companies and you had to pick one as the future Everything Store, it might have been hard to imagine Amazon as the victor.

But 15 years later, Amazon is worth more than $900 billion, compared to just $33 billion for its old foe eBay, which spun off its (more valuable) payment division, PayPal. And the Amazon Prime membership program is perhaps the biggest reason why.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on May 4, 2019 by Editor

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Chewbacca Gone

from CNN

Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ dies at 74

By Kendall Trammell and Jamiel Lynch

Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, has died, according to his agent.

Mayhew, 74, died on April 30 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.

The Hollywood icon played Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the New Trilogy, according to a statement from his family.Mayhew, who once used a wheelchair because of a bum knee, stood tall to portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He also consulted on “The Last Jedi” to help teach his successor.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on May 3, 2019 by Editor

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The Three Walken Pigs

Posted on May 2, 2019 by Editor

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Moon Race

from The New Yorker

The Race to Develop the Moon

For science, profit, and pride, China, the U.S., and private companies are hunting for resources on the lunar surface.

By Rivka Galchen

Illustration by Allan Sanders

In January, the China National Space Administration landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the side we can’t see from Earth. Chang’e-4 was named for a goddess in Chinese mythology, who lives on the moon for reasons connected to her husband’s problematic immortality drink. The story has many versions. In one, Chang’e has been banished to the moon for elixir theft and turned into an ugly toad. In another, she has saved humanity from a tyrannical emperor by stealing the drink. In many versions, she is a luminous beauty and has as a companion a pure-white rabbit.

Chang’e-4 is the first vehicle to alight on the far side of the moon. From that side, the moon blocks radio communication with Earth, which makes landing difficult, and the surface there is craggy and rough, with a mountain taller than anything on Earth. Older geologies are exposed, from which billions of years of history can be deduced. Chang’e-4 landed in a nearly four-mile-deep hole that was formed when an ancient meteor crashed into the moon—one of the largest known impact craters in our solar system.

You may have watched the near-operatic progress of Chang’e-4’s graceful landing. Or the uncannily cute robotic amblings of the lander’s companion, the Yutu-2 rover, named for the moon goddess’s white rabbit. You may have read that, aboard the lander, seeds germinated (cotton, rapeseed, and potato; the Chinese are also trying to grow a flowering plant known as mouse-ear cress), and that the rover survived the fourteen-day lunar night, when temperatures drop to negative two hundred and seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Chang’e-4 is a step in China’s long-term plan to build a base on the moon, a goal toward which the country has rapidly been advancing since it first orbited the moon, in 2007.

If you missed the Chinese mission, maybe it’s because you were focussed on the remarkably inexpensive spacecraft from SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization, which crash-landed into the moon on April 11th, soon after taking a selfie while hovering above the lunar surface. The crash was not the original plan, and SpaceIL has already announced its intention of going to the moon again. But maybe you weren’t paying attention to SpaceIL, either, because you were anticipating India’s Chandrayaan-2 moon lander, expected to take off later this year. Or you were waiting for Japan’s first lunar-lander-and-rover mission, scheduled to take place next year. Perhaps you’ve been distracted by the announcement, in January, on the night of the super blood wolf moon, that the European Space Agency plans to mine lunar ice by 2025. Or by Vice-President Mike Pence’s statement, in March, that the United States intends “to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on May 1, 2019 by Editor

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Black Hole Needs To Hit Big O Tires

from Sky News

Misaligned black hole just 8,000 light years from Earth is behaving weirdly

By Alexander J Martin, technology reporter

Artist's impression of V404 Cygni seen close up. The binary star system consists of a normal star in orbit with a black hole. Material from the star falls towards the black hole and spirals inwards in an accretion disk, with powerful jets being launched from the inner regions close to the black hole. Credit: ICRAR
Image:An artist’s impression of V404 Cygni seen close up. Pic: ICRAR

Scientists have discovered a “misaligned” black hole just 8,000 light years from Earth – and it’s behaving in a way that has never been seen before.

Researchers from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) published their findings about the V404 Cygni black hole in the journal Nature.

They have never seen a black hole behaving in such a strange way before – with its spewing radio jets rotating with high-speed clouds of plasma that are erupting out of it in different directions.

The study’s lead author, Associate Professor James Miller-Jones, said: “This is one of the most extraordinary black hole systems I’ve ever come across.

“Like many black holes, it’s feeding on a nearby star, pulling gas away from the star and forming a disk of material that encircles the black hole and spirals towards it under gravity.

“What’s different in V404 Cygni is that we think the disk of material and the black hole are misaligned.”

This misalignment means that the inner part of the black hole’s disk is wobbling like a spinning top, causing the jets to be fired out in different directions as it changes orientation.

[ click to continue reading at Sky News ]

Posted on April 30, 2019 by Editor

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Soderbergh Interviews Coppola

from Deadline

‘Apocalypse Now’ Director Francis Ford Coppola On Marlon Brando, ‘Damn Yankees’ And Managing Chaos – Tribeca

By Dade Hayes

Francis Ford Coppola
Brent N Clarke/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

In a conversation at the Tribeca Film Festival with Steven Soderbergh, who said he saw Apocalypse Now 17 times as a teenager in Baton Rouge, LA, Francis Ford Coppola reminisced about working with Marlon Brando and managing though chaos.

“The fuse had been blown on the circuit,” Coppola said of the 1979 film, whose 40th anniversary “Final Cut” is being celebrated at Tribeca. (A theatrical, on-demand and Blu-ray release is set for August, with newly enhanced sound and 20 minutes shaved from the “Redux” edition of several years ago.)

“In filmmaking as in life, bad things are going to happen,” Coppola told Soderbergh during the conversation at the Beacon Theatre, alluding to the biblical series of events that hit the production, including a typhoon and Martin Sheen’s heart attack. “The good news is that there is no hell. But the quasi-good news is, this is heaven.”

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 29, 2019 by Editor

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The Man Who Ran Out Of Air At The Bottom Of The Ocean

from BBC

Can You Survive If You Run Out Of Air?

Science tells us the human body can only survive for a few minutes without oxygen. But some people are defying this accepted truth.

By Richard Gray

An ROV image of Chris Lemons on the sea bottom (Credit: Floating Harbour)
The crew on the ship watched helplessly from the surface as a remotely operated vehicle sent back live images of Lemons’s fading movements 100m below (Credit: Floating Harbour)

There was a sickening crack when the thick cable connecting Chris Lemons to the ship above him snapped. This vital umbilical cord to the world above carried power, communications, heat and air to his diving suit 100m (328ft) below the surface of the sea.

While his colleagues remember the terrible noise of this lifeline breaking, Lemons himself heard nothing. One moment he was jammed against the metal underwater structure they had been working on and then he was tumbling backwards towards the ocean floor. His link to the ship above was gone, along with any hope of finding his way back to it.

Most crucially, his air supply had also vanished, leaving him with just six or seven minutes of emergency air supply. Over the next 30 minutes at the bottom of the North Sea, Lemons would experience something that few people have lived to talk about: he ran out of air.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on April 28, 2019 by Editor

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XTC Meets The Residents

from Dangerous Minds

THAT TIME WHEN XTC’S ANDY PARTRIDGE SANG FOR THE RESIDENTS

by Oliver Hall

During my childhood and adolescence, XTC was an enigma. When I first heard their minor hit “Dear God,” the band had already long since retired from the stage, and then for years after 1992’s Nonsuch, they seemed to have walked out on the record business, too. They could write a song so anodyne it has now crept into our nation’s drugstores, yet they could also render an apparently note-perfect cover of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band’s “Ella Guru.” None of the musicians I knew who had the chops to attempt such a feat even liked Beefheart.

So while I played my tape of Waxworks over and over again in my teenage bedroom, these were among my thoughts: Who was this Andy Partridge guy, anyway? How did he play those weird chords? Why was he so reclusive? Was it all because he was, like, mental?

It wasn’t until I found a copy of the authorized biography Chalkhills and Children that I learned the facts of the XTC story. In the intervening 20 years, I have, of course, forgotten most of these (except that Andy Partridge is not “mental”) and lost the book, but at that time I sort of expected XTC to tour again someday, and I would have given a fucking eye for one evening’s entertainment from the swinging swains of Swindon. Part of the mystique came from listening to bootlegs and watching Urgh! A Music War, and part was this: a stone Residents junkie, I knew that Andy Partridge sang lead vocals on the Commercial Album‘s antepenultimate track, “Margaret Freeman.”

[ click to read full article at DM ]

Posted on April 27, 2019 by Editor

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Lena Scores

from Deadline

Lena Waithe Comedy ‘Twenties’ Gets Series Order At BET

By Denise Petski

Photo by Shayan Asgharnia

On the heels of the second season pickup of Lena Waithe’s critically-acclaimed Boomerang reboot, BET has ordered Twenties, a single-camera comedy series from the Emmy-winning creator/writer/actor.

Created and written by Waithe when she was in her early 20s, the eight-episode half-hour series follows the adventures of a queer black girl, Hattie, and her two straight best friends, Marie and Nia, who spend most of their days talking ‘ish’ and chasing their dreams. Twenties is a scripted show about friendship, finding love, and messing everything up along the way.

Waithe executive produces with Susan Fales-Hill, who will co-showrun with Waithe. Rishi Rajani and Andrew Coles also executive produce.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 26, 2019 by Editor

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Notre Dame Hives Survive

from France 24

Bee-wildering! Hives of Notre-Dame in miraculous survival

Some 200,000 bees inhabiting hives in Notre-Dame cathedral survived the inferno that engulfed the heritage landmark in a miraculous escape, their beekeeper said Thursday.

“The bees are alive. Until this morning, I had had no news,” said beekeeper Nicolas Geant who looks after the hives which are kept on top of a sacristry that adjoins the cathedral.

“At first I thought that the three hives had burned but I had no information” after Monday’s fire, Geant told AFP.

“Then I saw from satellite images that this was not the case and then the cathedral spokesman told me that they were going in and out of the hives.”

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on April 25, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Coming

from SPACE

The First Known Interstellar Meteor May Have Hit Earth in 2014

The 3-foot-wide rock rock visited us three years before ‘Oumuamua.

By Christopher Choi

Artist's concept of 'Oumuamua, an interstellar object that was discovered zooming through our solar system in 2017. A new study determined that a small meteor that hit Earth in 2014 came from interstellar space as well.

Artist’s concept of ‘Oumuamua, an interstellar object that was discovered zooming through our solar system in 2017. A new study determined that a small meteor that hit Earth in 2014 came from interstellar space as well.(Image: © K. Meech et al./ESO)

The first meteor to hit Earth from interstellar space — and the second known interstellar visitor overall — may have just been discovered, a new study finds.

Interstellar meteors may be common, and could potentially help life travel from star to star, researchers added.

The first known visitor from interstellar space, a cigar-shaped object named ‘Oumuamua, was detected in 2017. Scientists deduced the origins of the 1,300-foot-long (400 meters) object from its speed and trajectory, which suggests it may have come from another star, or perhaps two.

[ click to continue reading at SPACE.com ]

Posted on April 24, 2019 by Editor

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Most Prefer Coke

from Futurism

Pepsi Plans to Project a Giant Ad in the Night Sky Using Cubesats

Pepsi says it’ll use an artificial constellation, hung in the night sky next to the stars, to promote an energy drink.

by Jon Christian

Orbital Billboard

A Russian company called StartRocket says it’s going to launch a cluster of cubesats into space that will act as an “orbital billboard,” projecting enormous advertisements into the night sky like artificial constellations. And its first client, it says, will be PepsiCo — which will use the system to promote a “campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers” on behalf of an energy drink called Adrenaline Rush.

Yeah, the project sounds like an elaborate prank. But Russian PepsiCo spokesperson Olga Mangova confirmed to Futurism that the collaboration is real.

“We believe in StartRocket potential,” she wrote in an email. “Orbital billboards are the revolution on the market of communications. That’s why on behalf of Adrenaline Rush — PepsiCo Russia energy non-alcoholic drink, which is brand innovator, and supports everything new, and non-standard — we agreed on this partnership.”

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Posted on April 23, 2019 by Editor

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The Geeks Should Just Stick To Microwave Burritos, Please

from Vanity Fair

HOW SILICON VALLEY TURNED YOUR BURRITO INTO A CAPITALIST NIGHTMARE

The food-delivery industry wasn’t broken, but venture capital set out to disrupt it anyway. The result is overpriced services that frustrate restaurants, are hated by drivers, and drive customers crazy.

BY NICK BILTON

© 20th Century Fox/Everett Collection.

We all rag on Silicon Valley for saying it’s going to make the world a better place. But let’s be realistic: the roughly 50-square-mile area surrounding the San Francisco Peninsula has, indeed, made our lives better in innumerable ways. Look, there’s a machine in our pockets that allows us to take a thousand photos a day, access the world’s information, and do things we never could have dreamed of in the past, like deposit a check without having to go to the bank or drive out of state without getting lost. Thanks to Silicon Valley, you can book flights while you’re sitting on the toilet, get laid while you’re sitting on the toilet, order toilet paper while you’re sitting on the toilet. It’s all pretty magical.

There is, however, one area in which Silicon Valley has made our lives worse: food delivery.

Now, before I go on a vehement rant about how infuriatingly bad food-delivery services are—how sneaky, and self-enriching they are, how they cheat customers, screw over restaurants, and make the world a worse place—I must disclose that I am not just an angry customer here. My first job in high school, after working at McDonald’s for 17 minutes—long story—was delivering food. I worked for Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Florida, zipping pizzas and baked ziti all through Turtle Run and Coral Springs. Later, I was the head delivery driver (yes, head!) for the local wing shop. Here was the thing that was different back then: you picked up the phone, you called and asked for your food, we’d tell you exactly what it cost, exactly how long it would take to get to you, and we’d put it in packaging to ensure it was still blazing hot and fresh when we rang your doorbell.

[ click to continue reading at Vanity Fair ]

Posted on April 22, 2019 by Editor

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Robot Authors

from The Guardian

The rise of robot authors: is the writing on the wall for human novelists?

Artificial intelligence can now write fiction and journalism. But does it measure up to George Orwell – and can it report on Brexit?

by Steven Poole

An industrial robot writes out the Bible. Photograph: Amy Cicconi/Alamy

Will androids write novels about electric sheep? The dream, or nightmare, of totally machine-generated prose seemed to have come one step closer with the recent announcement of an artificial intelligence that could produce, all by itself, plausible news stories or fiction. It was the brainchild of OpenAI – a nonprofit lab backed by Elon Musk and other tech entrepreneurs – which slyly alarmed the literati by announcing that the AI (called GPT2) was too dangerous for them to release into the wild, because it could be employed to create “deepfakes for text”. “Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology,” they said, “we are not releasing the trained model.” Are machine-learning entities going to be the new weapons of information terrorism, or will they just put humble midlist novelists out of business?

Let’s first take a step back. AI has been the next big thing for so long that it’s easy to assume “artificial intelligence” now exists. It doesn’t, if by “intelligence” we mean what we sometimes encounter in our fellow humans. GPT2 is just using methods of statistical analysis, trained on huge amounts of human-written text – 40GB of web pages, in this case, that received recommendations from Reddit readers – to predict what ought to come next. This probabilistic approach is how Google Translate works, and also the method behind Gmail’s automatic replies (“OK.” “See you then.” “That’s fine!”) It can be eerily good, but it is not as intelligent as, say, a bee.

Right now, novelists don’t seem to have much to fear. Fed the opening line of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four – “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – the machine continued the narrative as follows: “I was in my car on my way to a new job in Seattle. I put the gas in, put the key in, and then I let it run. I just imagined what the day would be like. A hundred years from now. In 2045, I was a teacher in some school in a poor part of rural China. I started with Chinese history and history of science.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on April 21, 2019 by Editor

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