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Aliens could ‘conquer and colonise’ our planet, warns Stephen Hawking – whilst assuring us he’s not one of them.

from The Mirror Online

Advanced aliens could ‘conquer and colonise’ our planet, warns Stephen Hawking


Stephen HawkingStephen Hawking believes that aliens visiting Earth might not turn out well for us

Stephen Hawking has tackled the mysteries of the universe his entire life.

Now the world-renowned scientist has some new things to say about a potential alien invasion .

“If aliens visit us, the outcome could be much like when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans,” Professor Hawking told El País .

“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach,” he said.

The physicist, who has suffered from motor neurone disease since his twenties, explained that the existence of aliens is beyond doubt.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on October 9, 2015 by Editor

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Three-fer for Frey

from The Hollywood Reporter

Author James Frey Sells Three TV Projects (Exclusive)

As CEO of Full Fathom Five, Frey reupped his UCP deal and sold projects to E!, Syfy and NBC. 

by Lacey Rose
James FreyAP Images

James Frey is nothing if not prolific.

His Full Fathom Five, the 5-year-old outfit behind best-sellers I Am Number Four and Endgame: The Calling as well as Frey’s just-published Endgame sequel, Sky Key, has sold three TV projects through its newly extended Universal Cable Productions deal.

There’s KissnTell, originally an e-book from the transmedia company’s digital imprint, which began releasing a book a week last fall. The Marc Halsey-penned comedy, now set up at E!, follows two young women who start an anonymous gossip blog. Before long, they find themselves living double lives — average single girls by day, life-of-the-party scenesters at night

At Syfy, FFF sold Haunted from Noga Landau, about the four adult children of self-proclaimed paranormal experts who are reunited following their parents’ sudden and mysterious deaths. Together under one roof for the first time in years, they must overcome their issues with each other in order to solve the mystery of what happened to their parents and ultimately survive the literal ghosts from their past. Dan Halsted and Nate Miller of Manage-ment are on board as producers.

Finally, NBC bought FFF’s Michael Golamco-written supernatural kung fu drama Middle Kingdom, which is set in San Francisco, the “Middle Kingdom” between Asia and America, East and West, heaven and hell.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on October 8, 2015 by Editor

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Post-apocalyptic ‘beaver’ cool.

from REUTERS via Yahoo! News

Post-apocalyptic ‘beaver’ thrived after dinosaurs died

By Will Dunham

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The world had been wrecked. An asteroid impact in Mexico compounded by colossal volcanism in India 66 million years ago had killed about three-quarters of Earth’s species including the dinosaurs.

But relatively soon afterward, a plucky critter that looked like a beaver was thriving, exemplifying the resilience of the mammals that would arise from the margins of the animal kingdom to become Earth’s dominant land creatures.

Scientists on Monday announced the discovery in northwestern New Mexico’s badlands of the fossil remains of Kimbetopsalis simmonsae, a plant-eating, rodent-like mammal boasting buck-toothed incisors like a beaver that lived just a few hundred thousand years after the mass extinction, a blink of the eye in geological time.

Kimbetopsalis, estimated at 3 feet long (1 meter), would have been covered in fur and possessed large molar teeth with rows of cusps used to grind down plants.

Asked what someone’s impression of Kimbetopsalis might be, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science curator of paleontology Thomas Williamson said, “They would probably think something like, ‘Hey, look at that little beaver!”

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on October 7, 2015 by Editor

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ENDGAME: SKY KEY (Second novel in Endgame Series – Available Today!)


The second book follows the group of teens on their worldwide search for three ancient keys that will save not only their bloodlines but the world.Courtesy of Harper Collins



Posted on October 6, 2015 by Editor

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Bustle’s Alien 8


8 Awesome Books About Aliens To Celebrate The Discovery Of Water On Mars


Our world may have just turned into a science fiction novel because Monday morning NASA announced that it found water on Mars. This major scientific announcement was teased Thursday when NASA sent out a press release stating “Mars Mystery Solved” using information from the NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This isn’t the first time scientists have found water on Mars — ice has been found at the poles — but it is the first time liquid water has been discovered. It marks a turning point in the study of the planet and whether it could be hospitable to life.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in the NASA announcement. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water — albeit briny — is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Rather than through the eyes of space explorers or humans on Earth, I Am Number Four is told by an alien. Teenage John Smith and eight other Loric aliens have sought refuge on Earth, hiding from their enemies of the Mogadorian aliens. But one by one, the Loric aliens are being picked off. And now John, the fourth person on the list, seems to be up next. He’s awaiting his emerging magical powers, which he’ll need to use to fight against his enemies to save himself, his alien friends, and the entire human race on Earth.

[ click to read full list at ]

Posted on October 5, 2015 by Editor

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La Boom

from The New York Times

On Sunday Nights, New York’s Busboys Become Cowboys

Mexican immigrants flock to La Boom, in Queens, once a week to dance to songs of the outlaw life.


Kirsten Luce for The New York Times>

On a Sunday evening, just after dark, hundreds of cowboys are lined up outside a nightclub called La Boom in Woodside, Queens. They are not usually dressed like this; they are Mexican immigrants, waiters, cooks, dishwashers, deli workers, gardeners, handymen. But on this night they wear hats and pointy boots. Their shirts are tucked in, to show belt buckles in the shapes of cow skulls and roses. The women wear short dresses, leather vests and high-heeled boots.

Sundays nights are Mexican Nights at La Boom. “So many of them work in restaurants,” said Pedro Zamora, the club’s owner and a Latin music promoter. “They rest on Mondays.” The bands go on around midnight, so fans can come after their shifts end.

On this summer Sunday, two popular bands are playing. For weeks, posters have hung in Mexican shops around the region, and by midnight about 2,000 people have climbed the stairs to the cavernous space.

When the lights swivel over the room, it looks like a barn dance. And when the 16-piece group Banda Los Recoditos appears onstage, it looks like an old-fashioned beer hall band, with trumpets, trombones and a tuba. But as they begin to play, the lead singers slap the air like rappers. And the lyrics are hardly pastoral: “Pour some cocaine and a shot of Buchanan’s on me” — name-checking the whiskey that is the unofficial drink of this scene.

In the V.I.P. section, men in silk blazers and cowboy hats nuzzle women in tube dresses. They pull on hookahs and pour shots of, yes, Buchanan’s.

[ click to continue reading at the New York Times ]

Posted on October 4, 2015 by Editor

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Deflecting Didymoon

from The Sun

Plan to save the world from Armageddon

Space mission will deflect asteroid in practice to avoid doomsday destruction

click to enlarge

SCIENTISTS are planning a space mission to nudge an asteroid out of its orbit in a practice run for saving the world.

IN a project reminiscent of 1998 movie Armageddon, the joint European-US Asteroid Deflection and Assessment mission will crash a probe into the space rock to test a possible doomsday-stopping scenario.

Nasa and the European Space Agency plan to plough a device into the 525ft Didymoon to test the principle that a much larger asteroid threatening the Earth could be deflected.

Two spacecraft, one to smack into the rock and the other to monitor the effects of the impact, will launch in October 2020.

They are due to get to Didymoon and its 2,460ft-wide partner Didymos in May 2022.

Dr Patrick Michel, lead investigator for the European Space Agency, said: “To protect Earth from potentially hazardous impacts, we need to understand asteroids much better.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on October 3, 2015 by Editor

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Changing The Subject

from The New York Times

‘Changing the Subject,’ by Sven Birkerts



Sven Birkerts is an anxious man. By turns he is frightened, terrified, alarmed, filled with dread. On one occasion he shudders in his core; mostly he is just plain worried. What concerns him, a concern he is eager to transmit to us, is the rapid spread of computer, Internet and telephone technologies and more specifically what those technologies are doing to our minds. Forever glued to screens of one kind or another, clicking compulsively on the links others provide for us, we are losing the ability to concentrate, growing more itchy and agitated by the day, allowing our consciousness to be fragmented and dispersed. Our very selfhood is under threat as we are invited to think of achievement as a collective, rather than individual goal, a contribution to Wikipedia rather than a distinctive personal statement. At every step the Internet or GPS navigator puts us at a remove from the world and from our fellow human beings, deprives us of the agency we enjoyed when we had to go out and find things for ourselves rather than have them suggested to us. “Rewired,” as neuroscientists have now demonstrated, to adapt to the fitful back and forth of the web, our brains are no longer fit for the sustained attention that literature requires. Fewer young people are choosing to study the humanities. Fewer great works of art are being produced. There is a real risk of individuality being submerged in system. To make matters worse, a vast majority of people seem entirely happy with this state of affairs, to the point that anyone questioning the value of the new technologies is immediately deemed a Luddite if not a dinosaur.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on October 2, 2015 by Editor

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The Master Strikes!

Posted on October 1, 2015 by Editor

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Exceedingly Ballsy 200-MPH Wingsuit Racing

from WIRED

The Excruciating, 200-MPH World of Wingsuit Racing



JOE RIDLER HAS jumped out of an airplane nearly 700 times in his life, but when he makes the leap later today, the goal will be about more than reaching the ground safely. It will be to fly through the air faster, farther, and for longer than anyone else in the sky.

Ridler’s competing in the National Championships of Wingsuit Flying in Chicago, also known as wingsuit racing.

Ridler’s loved the idea of flying since he was a kid in northwest Minnesota, looking for a way to get away. Barred from a commercial or military flight career by eye problems, he was intrigued by BASE jumping, but abandoned the idea as too dangerous. So now he jumps out of planes and races through the sky at 200 mph.

Ridler’s first wingsuit flight was two years ago. It would have been sooner, but the US Parachute Association requires you complete 200 skydives before allowing you to exit a plane dressed like an amped up flying squirrel. “The one thing I was the most nervous about,” he says, was “strapping myself into a straight jacket and throwing myself out of a plane.”

The championships, hosted by the US Parachute Association, test competitors on three disciplines, each measured in a window between 3,000 and 2,000 meters of altitude: average speed, distance covered, and time spent aloft. Each flyer gets three jumps in each category, and is tracked via a GPS module on their helmet. They’re rated on a curve—whoever goes fastest, farthest, or stays in the window the longest gets a 100, everyone else a percentage of that—and scores are averaged to find an overall winner.

[ click to read full article at WIRED ]

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Editor

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Ai’s And Anish’s Digits

from Instagram

Two artists. Three fingers. News: Weiwei and I join hands to walk. We will walk out of London. We will each carry a single blanket. A symbol of the need that faces 60 million refugees in our world today. We welcome those who wish to walk with us. Bring your blanket. We will repeat this action in cities worldwide over the coming months. At 10am on Thursday 17th September we will walk from The Royal Academy of Arts we will walk east out of London. Route details will be announced. #AnishKapoor 

[ click to view on Instagram ]

Posted on September 29, 2015 by Editor

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Mr. Amazon Robot

from The Hollywood Reporter

Amazon Prime Acquires USA’s ‘Mr. Robot’

by Kate Stanhope

The hacker drama will be available for Amazon Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan. Virginia Sherwood/USA Network

USA’s hacker drama Mr. Robot is headed to Amazon.

The company has acquired Universal Cable Production’s first-year critical darling, it was announced Friday.

Under the pact, Amazon Prime will become the exclusive subscription streaming home for Mr. Robot beginning this spring. All 10 episodes of the series will be available for Amazon Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan.

From creator Sam EsmailMr. Robot stars Rami Malek as an antisocial hacker hoping to overthrow society and Christian Slater as the leader of the hacker group hoping to help him to do just that.

Mr. Robot is one the most compelling new dramas on television,” said Amazon vp digital video content acquisition Brad Beale in a statement. “Rami Malek delivers a mesmerizing performance and leads a great cast with an intriguing story full of dark twists. Prime members are going to love binging on this awesome show.”

This marks the latest deal between UCP and Amazon Prime, which is also home to Syfy’s Defiance and Warehouse 13 as well as USA’s own Suits.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on September 28, 2015 by Editor

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Extra Super Double Armageddon Blood Moon Tonight

from AP

‘Blood Moon’ seen as sign of end times by some Mormons


SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A rare confluence of a lunar eclipse and a supermoon set to happen this weekend has prompted such widespread fear of an impending apocalypse that the Mormon Church was compelled to issue a statement cautioning the faithful to not get caught up in speculation about a major calamity.

Sunday night’s “blood moon” and recent natural disasters and political unrest around the world have led to a rise in sales at emergency preparedness retailers. Apocalyptic statements by a Mormon author have only heightened fears among a small number of Mormon followers about the looming end of time. The eclipse will give the moon a red tint and make it look larger than usual. It won’t happen again for 18 years.

It’s unclear how many Latter-day Saints buy the theory, but Mormon leaders were worried enough that they took the rare step this week of issuing a public statement cautioning the faithful not to get carried away with visions of the apocalypse.

Leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints told its 15 million worldwide members that they should be “spiritually and physically prepared for life’s ups and downs,” but urged them not to take speculation from individual church members as doctrine and “avoid being caught up in extreme efforts to anticipate catastrophic events.”

The Mormons preparing to hunker down Sunday night aren’t alone. Some from other religions also fear a doomsday scenario. A Christian pastor in Texas has written a book predicting a world-shaking event.

Storing away enough food and water in case of disaster, job loss or something worse is part of the fundamental teachings of the religion. Many homes in Utah are equipped with special shelving for cans of beans, rice and wheat. The belief that regular history will someday end, bringing a second coming of Jesus, is embedded in the minds of Mormons and the church’s official name.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on September 27, 2015 by Editor

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The Raw-crafting of A Book

from Mental Floss

Watch the Intensive Process of Book Printing

by Rebecca OConnell

Though many have embraced e-readers, it’s hard to beat the look and feel of a real print book. In fact, there are some who prefer to make books the old-fashioned way: By printing with letterpress and stitching everything together by hand. San Francisco-based Arion Press does just that—and in his show Raw Craft, Anthony Bourdain followed its artisans through the process, revealing just how much work goes into making a book almost entirely by hand. From proofreading the copy aloud to hand-sewing the binding, each tome assembled at Arion gets an enormous amount of attention and care. The result is a volume that’s also a work of art.

[ click to continue reading at Mental Floss ]

Posted on September 26, 2015 by Editor

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Paralyzed except for your eyes…

from The Independent

Sleep paralysis: the waking nightmare where you can’t move or speak

by Brian Sharpless and Karl Doghramji

When most people hear the word ‘nightmare’ they think of a scary dream that may involve a person’s teeth falling out, public humiliation, or being hunted by a scary monster.  In these sorts of nightmares it is easy to know when the dream ends, as we are jarred awake and find ourselves surprisingly safe and secure in the comfortable confines of our bedroom.  The original nightmare, however, was a different beast entirely.

This older conception was much more frightening and, in certain cultures, even believed to be life-threatening.  Nightmares in this more archaic sense consisted of being:

(1) paralyzed except for your eyes

(2) oppressed (or feeling a weight on your chest)

(3) mute (i.e. unable to call out for help)

These three experiences all took place while you were clearly awake and, not surprisingly, also led to strong feelings of terror.  Making matters worse (or at least scarier), nightmares usually had visual and tactile elements just as vivid as anything experienced in daily life.

Different times and cultures made sense of the nightmare in their own ways, and wove these experiences into many rich folklore traditions.

Some people believed that the nightmare was an actual nocturnal assault (by demons, ghosts, vampires, witches or extraterrestrials). This resulted in attempts to prevent further attacks, like placing crosses in the bedroom, or even go on the offensive, i.e. sleeping with knives or other weapons.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Editor

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Learn To Love Your Germ-Cloud

from The Mirror Online

‘Germ clouds’ containing millions of bugs surround EVERY human – and they show where you have been


Cloudy day: The millions of bugs surround us at all times

Every human on earth has a cloud of germs surrounding them at all times – and it is almost as distinct to that person as a fingerprint.

The “microbial cloud” contains millions of bugs that are put out from various pores and points in our bodies.

According to experts, the cloud hangs around a person’s body at all times and each individual cloud has a signature that could be read by carrying out genetic analysis of the bacteria.

Scientists were able to identify individuals from a group of volunteers just by sampling germs from the air around them.

The noxious nimbus consists of combinations of microbes emitted from our bodies that vary from person to person.

Scientists who tested 11 volunteers identified thousands of different types of bacteria in 312 samples of air and dust taken from a chamber in which each participant was asked to sit alone.

Most of the chamber occupants could be identified within four hours by matching them to their bugs.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on September 24, 2015 by Editor

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Coolest Vehicle Hack Ever (And thank you VW, for making our cars not suck!)

from The Washington Post

The tech behind how Volkswagen tricked emissions tests

By Andrea Peterson and Brian Fung

(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Volkswagen isn’t hiding from its emissions cheating scandal, which the company now says affects some 11 million diesel cars worldwide.

“Let’s be clear about this: Our company was dishonest with the EPA and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you,” Volkswagen U.S. chief Michael Horn said Monday night. “In my German words, we have totally screwed up.”

Thanks for finally coming clean, VW. But how exactly did the technology behind Volkswagen’s so-called defeat device actually work?

Regulators allege that Volkswagen installed software into its cars that allowed the autos to circumvent EPA tests. But that still doesn’t explain how VW vehicles were able to determine when they were being subjected to an emissions test in the first place.

To understand more about how Volkswagen cheated, we have to know a bit about the EPA’s testing process. When carmakers test their vehicles against EPA standards, they place a car on rollers and then perform a series of specific maneuvers prescribed by federal regulations. Among the most common tests for passenger cars is the Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule (UDDS), which simulates 7.5 miles of urban driving. Here’s what that looks like, expressed as a speed profile.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on September 23, 2015 by Editor

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Mercury Retrograding Again – Lie Low

from the New York Post

Why smart people actually believe Mercury retrograde ruins lives

By Tim Donnelly and Robert Rorke

If you spilled a whiskey all over your computer or signed a lease for a bedbug-filled apartment, relax! It’s probably not your fault; it’s probably Mercury retrograde.

The astrological phenomenon, which started Thursday and goes until Oct. 9, is the hottest scapegoat in town, the juice cleanse of the cosmos, if you will.

According to astrological hucksters (and the flocks who follow them), the three periods each year when Mercury appears to be moving backward are total pandemonium, a time when the stars are liable to wreak havoc on technical devices, morning commutes and official documents.

Too bad it’s total nonsense. Mercury retrograde isn’t responsible for the G train being late or your iPhone freezing up, any more than that black cat that crossed your path gave you bad luck.

And yet, belief in “Mercury retrograde” is getting stronger and stronger. My social media feeds are filled with comments from otherwise logical, educated people who take the phenomenon seriously.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Editor

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Motion City Soundtrack


Motion City Soundtrack – ‘Panic Stations’ (album stream)

By Sarah Murphy

Motion City Soundtrack'Panic Stations' (album stream)

The Minneapolis-based emo kids in Motion City Soundtrack are all grown up and ready to return with Panic Stations next week. But before the nautically-themed set of songs washes ashore, Exclaim! is giving you an early listen to the album in its entirety.

In addition references to water and the ocean, the new record grapples with “an overarching idea of letting go and not being immobilized by your own thoughts.” Inspiration was also taken from works like James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on September 21, 2015 by Editor

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McDonald’s Discriminates With McRib

from E!

Another McDonald’s Bummer: The McRib Is Coming Back, But There’s a Tragic Downside


David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Maybe McDonald’s should change its name to the Chicago Cubs, because it keeps breaking hearts left and right.

We celebrated the fact that McDonald’s was finally going forward with all-day breakfast, only to be brought back down to earth when we realized that it would be a limited menu. And then we realized that the McRib is coming back, but unfortunately, there’s yet another catch that the fast food chain has for us.

This roller coaster of emotions must be stopped! We want to get off this ride!

VIDEO: This is how McDonald’s actually makes its iconic McRib sandwich

CNBC is reporting that locations were just given the option of selling the iconic McRib sandwich, and it seems that this year a staggering amount of restaurants opted out.

In fact, the McRib is now so elusive that you probably had no idea it was back on the menu already, and that’s because so few locations are actually selling it. In fact, according to CNBC, only 8,000 of the 14,350 McDonald’s in the U.S. will sell the McRib. That’s 75 percent less than last year!

[ click to continue reading at E! ]

Posted on September 20, 2015 by Editor

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The Saddest Day In Television History – Sábado Gigante Gone

from The Washington Post

For more than 50 years, Univision’s ‘Sábado Gigante’ was truly a giant

By Carlos Harrison

An electric excitement surges through the crowd gathered in the Univision studios in this city just west of Miami. As Mario “Don Francisco” Kreutzberger steps out of the wings, the fans in the bleachers who’ve traveled here from Guatemala and Chile, California and Kansas City and beyond erupt in cheers and wild applause.

These lucky folks are experiencing history: They’re the last members of the general public to be the studio audience of “Sábado Gigante” (“Giant Saturday”), the hugely popular — and longest-running — variety show that has dominated Spanish-language television for more than half a century.

And like audiences before them for the past 53 years, they’re eating up the corny antics of Kreutzberger, the show’s creator and only host for its entire run. They laugh as he mugs in a variety of goofy hats during the signature talent competition, “El Chacal de la Trompeta” (“The Trumpet Jackal”) and howl at the sexual-innuendo-laden comedy sketches. When the first comedian’s mike gives off a static buzz, Kreutzberger hands him his own. “Since the show’s ending,” he deadpans to laughter, “they only give us half as many working microphones.”

Yes, sadly, the glitzy, zany hodgepodge that is “Sábado Gigante” — part game show, part talent show, part comedy show, part musical entertainment and, often enough, serious interview show with newsmakers and world leaders — ends Saturday, leaving mourning viewers in its wake.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on September 19, 2015 by Editor

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Maybe Banksy did it…?

from artnet

Warhol’s Famous Jews Stolen from L.A. Movie Studio and Replaced with Fakes

Andy Warhol, Sigmund Freud, from from "Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century," 1980. Photo via TMZ.
Andy Warhol, Sigmund Freud, from from “Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century,” 1980. Photo via TMZ.

Nine of Andy Warhol‘s prints of Jewish icons like Sigmund Freud and Gertrude Stein valued at $350,000 have gone missing from the walls of a movie editing studio in Los Angeles. An industrious thief reportedly created fake versions of the works and installed them in place of the originals, according to TMZ.

The switcheroo came to light when a member of the family business took the works to a framer because he noticed that they were sagging. The framer tipped his customer off that they were fake, leading to a police investigation.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on September 18, 2015 by Editor

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E.T. Phone Earth


Giant Radio Telescope Could Detect E.T.’s Call

by Nola Taylor Redd

Credit: SKA Organisation

A huge telescope array will allow scientists to conduct the most sensitive and exhaustive search for signs of alien civilizations to date when it comes online, the project’s backers say.

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA), currently planned to begin construction in 2018, could enable the search for intelligent alien life to piggy-back on other scientific observations, scouring the galaxy with unprecedented precision.

“A unique aspect for the search of life in the universe is the question of whether advanced lifeevolves intelligence,” Andrew Siemion said at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Chicago in June. [13 Ways to Hunt Intelligent Alien Life]

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Editor

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422 Trees For Every Person On The Planet

from CNN

The Earth has 3 trillion trees, study finds

(CNN) – The good news: A new study finds that there are 3.04 trillion trees on Earth, 7½ times more than previous estimates.

That’s more than 3,000,000,000,000. A whopping 12 zeros. Roughly 422 trees — a tiny forest! — for every person on the planet.

The bad news? Researchers estimate that the total number of trees has plummeted by roughly 46% since the dawn of human civilization. And we’re mostly to blame.

An international team of researchers employed satellite imagery, forest inventories and supercomputer technologies to map tree populations worldwide at the square-kilometer level. The resulting study, led by scholars at Yale University, was published this week in the journal Nature (PDF).

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on September 16, 2015 by Editor

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The Vineyard

from The Hollywood Reporter

Beverly Hills’ $1 Billion “Vineyard”: The Bizarre Saga Behind L.A.’s Last Real Estate Trophy

By Scott Johnson

The 157 acres atop the city has traded hands from the Shah of Iran’s sister to Merv Griffin to the mogul behind Herbalife. Then came unknown Chip Dickens, who managed to procure the property for no money at all. Now, The Vineyard is on the market, and the strange, stressful story behind the $1 billion property can be told.

Standing atop a verdant summit near Benedict Canyon, Brad Pitt smoked a cigarette and gazed toward the ocean. A gentle afternoon sun played over the chaparral and sage below. It was 2002, and Pitt had come to Beverly Hills to take stock of a coveted piece of real estate. From the San Gabriel Mountains to Malibu, Los Angeles stretched out in a quiet, glittery panorama. It was the highest peak for miles, a true king’s plot. He turned to Gary Morris, a developer and friend. “So?” mused Pitt. “You think I should buy this?”

Morris told Pitt that if he “made another movie or two,” he could probably afford it. An L.A. native with salt-and-pepper hair and a wiry frame born of years of ultra-marathons, Morris knew better than to be more than a sounding board. He had watched as one figure after another became entranced with the property known as The Vineyard Beverly Hills before moving on. A few years after Pitt’s visit, Tom Cruise placed about 3 percent of the $25 million sale price for one lot in escrow. But on the last day before the transaction went “hard,” locking the actor’s money in, Cruise’s business manager canceled the order, according to multiple people familiar with the transaction. There had been other offers, and yet two decades after Morris first got involved, a single house never had been built.

Perched on a summit ridgeline with huge views looking down on the homes of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, The Vineyard is one of the last undeveloped plots in Beverly Hills, and arguably the most impressive. Visitors can peer down on estates belonging to Warren Beatty, Seth MacFarlane and the rooftop mansions of Beverly Park. For decades, the 157-acre property has bewitched some of Hollywood’s most illustrious residents, from Merv Griffin to the Shah of Iran’s sister. With little money, no real estate license and a lot of gumption, the de facto owner for the past 11 years has been Charles “Chip” Dickens. “I’m the most improbable character in this whole thing,” Dickens, 54, tells The Hollywood Reporter. His main partner is an amiable convicted felon named Victorino Noval; together, the two now are marketing The Vineyard for $1 billion.

The saga behind one of the most pedigreed and controversial pieces of property in L.A. could be torn from the pages of a Coen brothers script. After 15 years of intense legal drama over ownership, family squabbling and an inheritance, The Vineyard might be changing hands again. And what once was no more than a dusty mountaintop has been transformed into an exquisite plateau with a helicopter pad and ample room for any architect’s wildest fantasies. “It’s the most spectacular property anywhere in Los Angeles,” says Robert Mann, an attorney who is familiar with The Vineyard. Now, with real estate prices soaring in Los Angeles and foreign buyers pouring in, The Vineyard is poised to be the most talked-about trophy property in years. “This is one of the most exceptional properties I’ve ever seen in my 30-year career,” says Jeff Hyland, whose agency, Hilton & Hyland, has exclusive rights to The Vineyard. “This is as good as it gets.”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on September 15, 2015 by Editor

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THE FATE OF TEN – #1. Thank you, Readers. Thank you.

from The New York Times

[ click to view full list at NYT ]

Posted on September 14, 2015 by Editor

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Woo-hoo! Full Fathom Five Author SJ Hooks Hits #3 on Barnes & Noble Top Nook Books List

Pick up ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS now for yourself – only $2

Posted on September 13, 2015 by Editor

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Beasts of No Nation, ‘A stunning cross between “Peter Pan” and “Apocalypse Now”’

from The Economist

Netflix’s first theatrical release deserves to be watched at the cinema

by N.B. | VENICE

CARY FUKUNAGA’s “Beasts of No Nation” is the most controversial film in competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival, but not because of its subject matter. The controversial part is that it is being distributed by Netflix, making this the first time that the internet-streaming service has put its name to a theatrically released film. But it’s the phrase “theatrically released” which is the problem.

In March, Netflix announced that it would be offering “Beasts of No Nation” online to its subscribers on the very day (October 16th) that the film was going into cinemas. Exhibitors—that is, cinema owners—were not pleased. Four American chains announced that they wouldn’t be showing “Beasts of No Nation” at all, their argument being that, if cinemas are to survive, they must be allowed exclusive access to new films for several weeks before they are available elsewhere. If Netflix wouldn’t go along with this practice, they said, then its film deserved to be boycotted. The fact that the Venice Festival went on to select “Beasts of No Nation” as one of its competition entries must have felt like a kick in the teeth. People everywhere are opting to watch movies on laptops rather than in cinemas. If the world’s oldest film festival won’t discourage them, then who will?

A more pertinent question is whether festivals have an obligation to support exhibitors at all. Venice’s Biennale is officially designated a “Mostra Internazionale D’Arte Cinematografica”, which suggests that its remit is to celebrate films rather than the buildings where they are shown. If a film ends up being viewed on a screen that’s 15 inches wide rather than 50 feet wide, then so be it. “Exhibitors have got to wake up and smell the coffee,” as one publicist said to me in Venice. “Things are changing and they’re not about to change back.”

The story gets more complicated when you see the film itself. To put it mildly, “Beasts of No Nation” is quite something. Adapted from Uzodinma Iweala’s novel, it is an immersive fable about a boy in an unnamed African country whose family is executed in front of him during a civil war. Fleeing into the jungle, he is adopted by a charismatic commandant (Idris Elba), and brainwashed into becoming a guerrilla fighter. There are times when he enjoys the summer-camp cameraderie he shares with his fellow child-soldiers. But he also has to machete innocent strangers, submit to sexual abuse and drug use, and watch while his new friends are gunned down. The horrors of war have rarely been catalogued more horrifically.

[ click to continue reading at The Economist ]

Posted on September 12, 2015 by Editor

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What do they know that we don’t?

from The Irish Examiner

China wants to land spaceship on the dark side of the moon

China’s space programme says it plans to attempt the first landing of a lunar probe on the far side of the Moon.

Zou Yongliao, from the moon exploration department at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told state broadcaster CCTV that the Chang’e 4 mission is planned for some time before 2020.

The dark side of the Moon was captured in a rare photograph by Nasa in August. It is never visible from the Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Irish Examiner ]

Posted on September 11, 2015 by Editor

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The Greatest Living Artist

from artnet news

‘Daily Mail’ Claims They Have Revealed Banksy—He’s a Parking Attendant. Really?

Is this parking attendant at Dismaland, right, actually the artist Banksy, thought to be shown in the picture at left?<br>Photos via Daily Mail.Is this parking attendant at Dismaland, right, actually the artist Banksy, thought to be shown in the picture at left?
Photos via Daily Mail.

The notorious street artist known as Banksy may be hiding in plain sight at his “bemusement park,” called Dismaland.

Eagle-eyed observers have discerned a similarity between the man featured in the photo above that purportedly shows the British maverick and a man working as a parking attendant at the ironic theme park in the English resort town of Weston-Super-Mare, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

In 2008, the Daily Mail released an image of Robin Gunningham, from Bristol, who Banksy fans suspect is the mystery artist. A single photograph supposedly showing him in sunglasses with tousled hair was taken in Jamaica in 2004.

Gunningham is 38. The parking attendant looks to our eye like a man about 10 years older than that, but there is a striking similarity to the men’s noses.

The two men are even wearing similar sunglasses.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on September 10, 2015 by Editor

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Beats for Billions

from The New York Times

An Unprecedented Success for Electronic Dance Music and Its D.J.s

Laurent Cilluffo

Late last month, Forbes published its list of the world’s top-earning D.J.s. Calvin Harris, 31, who less than a decade ago was stocking groceries in a Scottish supermarket, came in first place, earning $66 million over a 12-month period beginning in June last year through club fees, endorsement deals and music royalties. That’s more than what Jay Z ($56 million) or Kim Kardashian ($52.5 million) grossed in the same period, and it’s one of many recent indications that EDM, or electronic dance music — once the commercially marginal soundtrack to underground parties — has reached an impressive new level of mainstream success.

Kevin Watson, an analyst in London for the International Music Summit (an electronic music industry trade event held yearly on the Spanish island of Ibiza) now estimates the global value of EDM to be $6.9 billion — about a 50 percent jump since 2013. “Here in the U.K., we’ve had peaks of interest before but we have seen nothing like the global cultural exposure and move into the mainstream as we have in the last two years,” he said. “It’s been absolutely phenomenal.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on September 9, 2015 by Editor

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Candida Royalle Gone

from The New York Daily News

Former porn star turned director Candida Royalle dies aged 64

By Elizabeth Vanmetre

Former porn star Candida Royalle, regarded as a pioneer for her work in front of and behind the camera, has died after battling ovarian cancer. She was 64.

The actress — whose real name is Candice Vadala — performed in more than two dozen adult films, but was best known for her work as a director, a first in the male-dominated industry.

Royalle studied dance and music at New York’s High School of Art and Design, Parsons School of Design as well as the City University of New York.

[ click to continue reading at NYDN ]

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Editor

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They’re Coming.


A Meteor Exploded Over Bangkok on Monday Morning

by Attila Nagy

Citizens of the Thai capital Bangkok witnessed a huge fireball descending on the horizon this morning, and thanks to the dashcams in their cars, we can admire the celestial visitor from several different angles.

The meteor entered Earth’s atmosphere around 8.45am local time, and burnt up in a huge fireball after striking down from the sky. The meteor was big and bright, but definitely smaller than the infamous Chelyabinsk meteor which exploded over Russia in 2013, damaging 7,200 buildings in six cities in the southern Ural region. There are no reports of any damage from Bangkok so far.

[ click to continue reading at Gizmodo ]

Posted on September 7, 2015 by Editor

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