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Dad Rap

from The Wall Street Journal

Hip-Hop’s Generation Gap: ‘Emo’ vs. ‘Dad’ Rap

As the music genre has become a commercial juggernaut, some worry about a cultural divide between younger and older artists

By Neil Shah

Rap has become the most-consumed music in America, according to industry data, but with its growth comes a new concern: a widening generation gap.

Just as rock ‘n‘ roll splintered in the 1970s when punk arrived, a beef between some young hip-hop artists and “dad rappers” is dividing fans. Some music insiders worry that the schism will hurt the unity of the hip-hop community when its music is at its cultural and commercial peak by splitting fans into opposing camps.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on January 17, 2018 by Editor

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Dolores O’Riordan Gone

from The New Yorker

The Ferocious, Sublime Dolores O’Riordan, of the Cranberries

By Amanda Petrusich

The Irish singer Dolores O’Riordan, who fronted the alt-rock band the Cranberries since 1989, died on Monday, at the age of forty-six. O’Riordan was managing several health issues at the time of her death—she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015 and had been suffering from back pain, which resulted in the cancellation of a Cranberries reunion tour last year. Her body was found in a hotel on Park Lane, in central London; her death was described as sudden and unexplained.

O’Riordan was born in Ballybricken, in County Limerick, in 1971. She was the youngest of seven children and just eighteen when she joined the Cranberries. Her folks were strict: as a teen-ager, she wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or buy her own clothes. In an interview with the Irish Times, she recalled how the guitarist Noel Hogan brought her a pair of Doc Martens to wear for the band’s first photo shoot. “They were too big for me, but I put them on anyway,” she said. “Suddenly I looked like an indie girl.”

Like many people, the first time I heard her sing was on “Linger,” an early single that ended up in fairly heavy rotation on MTV in 1993. The black-and-white video, directed by Melodie McDaniel, was based loosely on Jean-Luc Godard’s “Alphaville,” a film that considers the potency of desire. It’s a hazy, sentimental song about realizing that you’re on the bummer end of a lopsided relationship. “You know I’m such a fool for you,” O’Riordan sings. She’s asking, in a way, for mercy—a final show of kindness: “You’ve got me wrapped around your finger / Do you have to let it linger?” I wasn’t old enough to understand the particular humiliation of being duped and strung along by someone you loved and trusted, but I nonetheless recognized the deep agony and confusion in her voice when she asked, “Why were you holding her hand?”

Still, it wasn’t until “Zombie,” the first single from the band’s second album, “No Need to Argue,” that the sublime recklessness of O’Riordan’s voice became fully evident. By then, the Cranberries were the most successful Irish rock band since U2. Most of the other rock singers I admired at the time (Kim Gordon, of Sonic Youth; Kim and Kelley Deal, of the Breeders; Kathleen Hanna, of Bikini Kill) sounded plainly and hopelessly cool—disaffected, vaguely antagonistic, and aloof. O’Riordan sounded like a maniac. “Zombie” was written as a memorial for two children—the twelve-year-old Jonathan Ball and the three-year-old Tim Parry—who were killed in an I.R.A. street bombing, in Warrington, England, in 1993 (the explosives were hidden in garbage cans). She goes feral on the chorus: “Zombie-ie-ie-ie-oh-oh-oh-oh!” It’s all terrifically guttural—ugly, wild, and paralyzing. For an American kid, her round Irish accent made the word seem even stranger, as if she were conjuring something otherworldly, only to vanquish it.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on January 16, 2018 by Editor

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Record Sierra Wind

from The San Francisco Chronicle

199-MPH Sierra wind gust sets California record

A gust that blasted the summit of a peak at Alpine Meadows in February was the fastest non-tornado wind recorded in the United States in 2017.

The 199-mph gust was also the fastest ever recorded in California, according to the National Climate Data Center’s Extremes Committee, which sanctioned the mark last week.

For comparison, 140-mph winds have been known to pick up and hurl baseball-sized rocks.

“Even in winds of 120 mph you can’t stand under your own force,” says Tom Padham, a meteorologist with the Mount Washington Observatory. “You’re knocked over pretty quickly. You wouldn’t be able to stand back up.”

New Hampshire’s Mount Washington holds the record for fastest wind speed on U.S. soil — 231 mph.

The powerful 199-mph gust whipped Ward Peak in Alpine Meadows ski resort at about 11 p.m. Feb. 20 during a fierce storm driven by an atmospheric river that pummeled the northern Sierra Nevada mountain range.

[ click to continue reading at SFGate.com ]

Posted on January 15, 2018 by Editor

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Love Love Deuce

from TIME

Why Is Tennis Scored So Weirdly?

By MERRILL FABRY

Do you have a question about history? Send us your question at history@time .com and you might find your answer in a future edition of Now You Know.

All sports have their own vocabularies, the shorthand lingo to communicate intricacies of rules and how play proceeds. But usually the scoring can at least be counted on to be fairly straightforward. Not so much for tennis.

For the unfamiliar, tennis starts with both players at zero, called love: “Love-all.” One person scores: 15 to love. The server’s score is said first, the receiver’s second. The other now scores, and they’re tied at “15-all.” The next point is 30, then 40, and the following point wins that game. If they tie at 40 it’s called a deuce. From that tie the next person to get a point has the advantage, but generally has to win by two points — that is, to score twice in a row — to win the game. And it doesn’t stop there. Six of these games make a set, and the set must be won by two games or it goes to a tiebreaker. After the set is over, it repeats. To win the whole match requires either winning best of five sets or best of three sets, depending on the competition.

With the Australian Open set to begin on Monday, observers may once again ponder an inevitable question: Why count this way?

[ click to continue reading at TIME Magazine ]

Posted on January 14, 2018 by Editor

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Pharaoh’s Meteorite

from RT

Giza Pyramid mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh’s ‘meteorite throne’

Giza Pyramid mystery chamber may hold Pharaoh’s 'meteorite throne'© Mohamed Abd El Ghany / Reuters

A huge void discovered inside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt late last year may hold an iron throne carved from meteorites, according to new analysis of ancient religious texts.

Giulio Magli, Director of the Department of Mathematics and Professor of Archaeoastronomy at the Politecnico di Milano, studied the Pyramid Texts, religious writings carved into pyramid walls around 2400 BC. Based on his studies, Magli proposes that it’s possible the throne of Pharaoh Khufu – or ‘Cheops’ – lies inside the chamber.

Of course it would not be melted iron but meteoritic iron, that is, fallen from the sky in the form of iron meteorites and again cited in the Texts,” Magli says in his paper.

Explaining the structure of the pyramid, Magli states that before arriving at the funerary chamber there is a gallery. “The newly discovered room is over this gallery, but does not have a practical function of ‘relieving weight’ from it, because the roof of the gallery itself was already built with a corbelled technique for this very reason,” he explains in a statement.

So what was this room used for? Magli offers a possible interpretation that falls in line with existing knowledge on Egyptian funerary religion as documented in the Pyramid texts: “In these texts it is said that the pharaoh,before reaching the stars of the north, will have to pass the ‘gates of the sky’ and sit on his ‘throne of iron.’”

[ click to continue reading at RT ]

Posted on January 13, 2018 by Editor

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Hardcore Wrestling

from The Sun

BLOODY VIOLENT: Inside the bloody world of hardcore wrestling where fighters brawl with shards of glass, barbed wire bats and fan-made weapons in ultra-violent ‘death matches’

These shocking pictures show hardcore wrestlers fighting until they are dripping with blood and hurling themselves into fiery pits full of glass.

By Emma Parry, Digital US Correspondent

IT’S been dubbed the bloodiest sport in the world – where men and women beat each other to a pulp with glass lighting tubes, fan-made barbed-wire bats and other deadly weapons.

This is hardcore death-match wrestling and, according to fans, it’s 100 per cent more brutal than anything you’ve seen on WWE.

With a large and loyal following, these fighters travel across America – and the world – taking part in ultra-violent wrestling events – such as barefoot thumbtack matches – before patching themselves up with superglue and hitting the road.

Others hurl themselves off rooftops or scaffolding into pits of fire, glass, barbed wire – or all three – in front of wild, cheering crowds.

These graphic pictures were taken by photographer Marc McAndrew who spent two years following the wrestlers and documenting their lives….

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on January 12, 2018 by Editor

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Stick History

from Nautilus

The Stick Is an Unsung Hero of Human Evolution

Stone’s silent sister in the archaeological record.

BY ALEXANDER LANGLANDS

In April 1997, at the snooker world championship held at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, Ronnie O’Sullivan stepped up to the table to play a frame in what was expected to be a routine victory in his first-round match against Mick Price. What happened in the next 5 minutes and 20 seconds sent shock waves through the world of snooker and ripples of respect through the wider world of professional sport. To the uninitiated, there is a sequence of 36 balls that must be potted in order to achieve the highest score possible in a frame: 147—what aficionados call a “maximum break.” Up until 1997, this had been achieved in official competition snooker on a handful of occasions, in a sport that had effectively turned professional in the late 1960s. It was only a matter of time before the gifted O’Sullivan scored his first competition 147, but it was the manner in which he did it that created such a stir. As he glided around the table he played with a pace and confidence that belied his 21 years. A man at one with the stick in his hands and in a trancelike engagement with his art, he was demonstrably thinking four or five shots ahead and, in playing with such fluidity of movement, O’Sullivan had found a new zone within which the game could be played.

It may seem crude, but to put the achievement into context, it can be compared on pure financial terms with other sports. For a frame that lasted a mere 320 seconds, O’Sullivan was awarded bonus prize money of £165,000. Few can brag that they’ve ever earned £515.63 per second for the work they do—especially at such a tender age. At its most basic, he makes his money with a length of polished wood and a lump of chalk. For many people, earnings aside, O’Sullivan’s feat ranks among the very best sporting achievements in the world. But for me, it’s a celebration of mankind’s perfection at stick usage: a poetically beautiful combination of craft, genius, nerve, and swagger.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on January 11, 2018 by Editor

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SpaceX Mystery Messages

from The Daily Express

Top SECRET US satellite launched by SpaceX aims to send ‘unknown group’ MYSTERY messages

SPACEX are to launch a top-secret satellite codenamed project Zuma this Friday, the US Air Force confirmed.

By TARYN TARRANT-CORNISH

SpaceX cut the feed to the second stage of the launch to keep the Zuma mission top secret during launch.

The mysterious project will see the private space agency launch the satellite allowing an unnamed government organisation to send messages or take photos.

One of the few scraps of information currently available has revealed Zuma will enter into a low orbit around Earth.

What the orbiter’s mission is and who will be operating it is unknown with US authorities so far refusing the release any more information.

[ click to continue reading Express ]

Posted on January 8, 2018 by Editor

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Scratch Chocolate

Posted on January 6, 2018 by Editor

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The Deadliest Car In History

from Inside Hook

THE DEADLIEST RACE CAR IN HISTORY HAD LOOKS THAT COULD KILL, TOO

Let’s hope this one handles better than the original

BY EVAN BLEIER

The Deadliest Race Car in History Had Looks That Could Kill, Too

At the 1955 edition of Le Mans, a ‘53 Austin-Healey 100 was at the center of a horrific crash that left 85 people dead and dozens more maimed and injured. The Austin-Healey that RM Sotheby’s is putting up for auction next month in Arizona is not that car, which holds the ignonimous title of being the world’s deadliest.

But it is modeled after it.

Manufactured in February of 1956 and one of only 640 factory-built Healey 100 Ms ever made, the roadster is built to the specifications of the 100s that were first raced successfully — and safely — at Le Mans in 1953.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on January 5, 2018 by Editor

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Freddie’s Bash

from INTERVIEW

Freddie Mercury’s Saturday Night in Sodom

a night of debauchery

In the colossal Imperial Ballroom inside the Fairmont New Orleans, Freddie Mercury—expert partier who lived by the mantra “excess all areas”—overwhelmed 400 guests at the launch of Queen’s fourth album, Jazz. This party had it all: “voluptuous strippers who smoked cigarettes with their vaginas, a dozen black-faced minstrels, dwarfs, snake charmers, and several bosomy blondes who stunned party revelers by peeling off their flimsy costumes to reveal that they were, in fact, well-endowed men,” it was described in Pamela Des Barres’s Rock Bottom: Dark Moments in Music Babylon.

It was Halloween 1978. The ballroom was outfitted with 50 dead trees rented especially for the occasion, which made it look like “a skeletal forest. It had a kind of witchcraft theme,” said EMI’s Bob Hart. Bourbon Street’s biggest freaks and eccentrics were hired to entertain, leaving other bars and clubs forced to close for the night.

 [ click to read at INTERVIEW ]

Posted on January 4, 2018 by Editor

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Earth Slows Down, Earth Quakes

from The Mirror

Powerful earthquakes to ravage Earth in 2018 as planet’s rotation temporarily slows

Experts believe there is a correlation between the slowing of the Earth’s rotation and more powerful earthquakes

By Jeff Parsons

The world is entering a period of higher seismic activity this year that will bring more earthquakes with it, scientists have predicted.

While that’s undoubtedly bad news for those living within affected areas, the ability to accurately predict when and where earthquakes will occur is growing all the time.

This prediction comes from the fact that the Earth is currently experiencing a periodic slowdown of its rotation.

Historically, these slowdowns have coincided with peak times for earthquakes and seismic activity.

“So far we have only had about six severe earthquakes [in 2017]. We could easily have 20-a-year starting in 2018,” said Dr Roger Bilham from the University of Colorado.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on January 3, 2018 by Editor

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Cleveland Browns Implicated In Fan’s Death

from CBS Pittsburgh

Ohio Man’s Obituary Blames Browns For His Demise

HURON, OH (AP) – An Ohio man’s tongue-in-cheek obituary blames the winless Cleveland Browns for contributing to his demise.

The obituary published in the Sandusky Register says Paul Stark died Wednesday at a hospice facility after a brief illness “exacerbated by the hopeless condition of the Cleveland Browns.”

The football team was 1-15 last season and 0-15 this year ahead of Sunday’s finale in Pittsburgh.

[ click to continue reading at CBS Pittsburgh ]

Posted on January 2, 2018 by Editor

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1968 Predictions on 2018

from The New Yorker

The 1968 Book That Tried to Predict the World of 2018

By Paul Collins

For every amusingly wrong prediction in “Toward the Year 2018,” a speculative book from 1968, there’s one unnervingly close to the mark. / Illustration by Robert Beatty

If you wanted to hear the future in late May, 1968, you might have gone to Abbey Road to hear the Beatles record a new song of John Lennon’s—something called “Revolution.” Or you could have gone to the decidedly less fab midtown Hilton in Manhattan, where a thousand “leaders and future leaders,” ranging from the economist John Kenneth Galbraith to the peace activist Arthur Waskow, were invited to a conference by the Foreign Policy Association. For its fiftieth anniversary, the F.P.A. scheduled a three-day gathering of experts, asking them to gaze fifty years ahead. An accompanying book shared the conference’s far-off title: “Toward the Year 2018.”

The timing was not auspicious. In America, cities were still cleaning up from riots after Martin Luther King, Jr.,’s assassination, in April, and protests were brewing for that summer’s Democratic National Convention. But perhaps the future was the only place left to escape from the present: more than eight hundred attendees arrived at the Hilton. “They met in the grand ballroom,” the reporter Edwin Yoder wrote at the time, “which is not so much futuristic as like a dimly remembered version of the 1920s small-town grand movie house.”

Invitees were carefully split by the F.P.A. between over-thirty-fives and under-thirty-fives—but, less carefully, they didn’t pick any principal speakers from the under-thirty-fives. As their elders mused on a future of plastics and plasma jets, without mention of Vietnam and violence in the streets, there was muttering among the younger attendees. Representatives from Students for a Democratic Society demanded time at the mike and circulated a letter questioning whether the conference was for “discussion or brain washing.” Waskow, today the rabbi of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, was an S.D.S. alumnus attending the conference out of a sincere interest in the future—but he was skeptical of futurism. By 1968, he’d already been working for more than a decade on a never-finished epistolary sci-fi novel, “Notes from 1999.” “But,” Waskow explains, “I was interested in changing the world—not trying to predict the future, but to create the future.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on January 1, 2018 by Editor

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Ice Bowl 50

from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Ice Bowl, 50 years later: An oral history of the Packers-Cowboys 1967 NFL Championship Game

ON DEC. 31, 1967, THE PACKERS EDGED THE COWBOYS, 21-17, IN A GAME FOR THE AGES. HERE’S THE STORY OF THE ICE BOWL AS TOLD BY THOSE WHO PLAYED IN IT AND WITNESSED IT.

by Gary D’Amato

It would have been a great game if it had been played on a sweltering September afternoon or on a crisp autumn day in November or even indoors, if there were domed football stadiums in 1967.

That year, the NFL Championship Game pitted Vince Lombardi’s proud but aging Green Bay Packers, seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title, against Tom Landry’s Dallas Cowboys, an ascending team out for revenge after losing narrowly to the Packers in the ’66 championship game.

Eight Packers and four Cowboys who took the field that day would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both coaches would be enshrined, too. The Packers had guile and experience and a field general named Bart Starr. The Cowboys had youth and superior team speed and their “Doomsday Defense.”

Yes, it would have been a great game on any day, in any kind of weather.

It would be played, though, on New Year’s Eve day in Green Bay, in the kind of weather that tested the limits of what a man could endure.

The official low temperature at Austin Straubel Airport that day was 17 below zero. With Arctic winds whipping out of the northwest, the wind chill dipped to 50 below at Lambeau Field, its turf frozen solid and topped by a layer of ice, so that players slipped and slid and fell on what felt like jagged concrete.

The game would be decided in the closing seconds, at the conclusion of a drive that bordered on the mystical, with Starr plunging into the end zone to put a symbolic exclamation mark on the Lombardi era.

Fifty years ago Sunday, on Dec. 31, 1967, the Packers edged the Cowboys, 21-17, in a game for the ages.

The Ice Bowl.

It was and remains the coldest game in NFL history. It is among the most memorable games in league annals because of the wretched conditions, what was at stake and the dramatic way it ended.

[ click to continue reading at MJS ]

Posted on December 31, 2017 by Editor

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Mass Grave Re-writes History

from Smithsonian Magazine

This Mass Grave Discovery Could Alter Roman History

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that a mass grave discovered in the north of England is a gladiator cemetery. But the most compelling clue is an identical site in Turkey, almost 2,000 miles away.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian ]

Posted on December 30, 2017 by Editor

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The Engineer’s Grill

Posted on December 29, 2017 by Editor

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Columbus’ Shark

from The Daily Star

Ancient LIVING shark born in 1500s is world’s OLDEST vertebrate and could be 512 years old

A SHARK believed to be the oldest living vertebrate has been discovered in the North Atlantic Ocean.

By Anthony Blair

Ancient sharkINSTAGRAM/@JUNIEL85 / BIZARRE: An ancient living shark has been discovered that’s believed to be up to 512 years old

Danish scientists found the ancient creature — which is believed to be 512 years old and is 18ft long.

The shark is the world’s oldest vertebrate – an animal with a backbone – and may have been born in 1505, when King Henry VIII was just 14 years old.

According to the journal Science, Greenland sharks grow at just one cm a year.

So when they discovered a female shark measuring a whopping 18 feet, they knew this creature had to be incredibly old.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Posted on December 28, 2017 by Editor

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Miraicraft

from WIRED

HOW A DORM ROOM MINECRAFT SCAM BROUGHT DOWN THE INTERNET

by 

THE MOST DRAMATIC cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet—powered by unsecured internet-of-things devices like security cameras and wireless routers—that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall. What drove them wasn’t anarchist politics or shadowy ties to a nation-state. It was Minecraft.

It was a hard story to miss last year: In France last September, the telecom provider OVH was hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack a hundred times larger than most of its kind. Then, on a Friday afternoon in October 2016, the internet slowed or stopped for nearly the entire eastern United States, as the tech company Dyn, a key part of the internet’s backbone, came under a crippling assault.

As the 2016 US presidential election drew near, fears began to mount that the so-called Mirai botnet might be the work of a nation-state practicing for an attack that would cripple the country as voters went to the polls. The truth, as made clear in that Alaskan courtroom Friday—and unsealed by the Justice Department on Wednesday—was even stranger: The brains behind Mirai were a 21-year-old Rutgers college student from suburban New Jersey and his two college-age friends from outside Pittsburgh and New Orleans. All three—Paras Jha, Josiah White, and Dalton Norman, respectively—admitted their role in creating and launching Mirai into the world.

Originally, prosecutors say, the defendants hadn’t intended to bring down the internet—they had been trying to gain an advantage in the computer game Minecraft.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 27, 2017 by Editor

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Adopt Horses Now, Please

from The New York Times

The Hard Truth About the West’s Wild Horse Problem

By CHRIS STEWART

Lesley Barnes

We have a wild horse problem — and it’s having a devastating impact on these majestic animals that so many of us love.

I grew up on a farm in Idaho. No one has to show me how to put a saddle on a horse. I respect these powerful animals and consider them emblems of the West. But though we may envision bands of mustangs sprinting through lush fields of tall grasses, we have to realize that the truth is much bleaker.

The federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is broken, leaving thousands of animals to starve. The Bureau of Land Management says that the nearly 27 million acres it manages for wild horses and burros can sustain only about 27,000 animals. This year, the bureau estimates that there were more than 72,000 wild horses on the land, almost 50,000 too many and all fighting to survive.

Making matters worse, wild horses are very fertile; their population increases 20 percent a year, meaning the number of wild horses will double in the next four years. Overgrazing by these horses has also hurt local deer and elk populations. The range could take a generation to recover.

This isn’t just a horse management disaster, it’s a financial disaster too. In addition to the 72,000 horses it oversees on the range, the B.L.M. keeps about 45,000 horses that it has removed from the wild in corrals, off-range pastures and in sanctuaries. Over their lifetime, these horses will cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion overall, according to the B.L.M. That’s $1 billion we could otherwise spend on defense, education, job training or any other worthy cause.

But the alternative for these horses is starving in the wild. For example, in 2015, the B.L.M. employees were dispatched to a desert in Nevada outside of Las Vegas to round up about 200 wild horses that were reported to be starving to death. Federal land managers had determined that the 100,000-acre expanse where these horses were grazing produced only enough grasses and water to sustain 70 horses.

Bureau employees discovered nearly 500 horses. They had pounded their range to powder; the desert grasses that remained had been eaten to the nubs. Nearly 30 were in such poor condition they had to be euthanized, and many others were on the brink of death.

How can anyone consider this acceptable?

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 26, 2017 by Editor

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Merry Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2017 by Editor

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Blood Sport for Bones

from The LA Times

Archaeology as blood sport: How the discovery of an ancient mastodon ignited debate over humans’ arrival in North America

By THOMAS CURWEN

“Oh my God,” Richard Cerutti said to himself. He bent down to pick up a sharp, splintered bone fragment. Its thickness and weight told him that it belonged to an animal, a very big animal. His mind started to race.

He was standing at the foot of a slope being groomed by Caltrans for a road-widening project through the Sweetwater Valley near National City.

Earthmoving equipment had already uncovered other fossils from elsewhere on the site, mostly rodents, birds and lizards. But this bone was from no ordinary animal. The operator wanted to keep digging, but Cerutti raised a fist to stop him. He felt a tightening knot of anger.

The contractors had worked over the weekend without contacting him, and he could see the damage they had done. He sprinted up the slope to a construction trailer and picked up a telephone.

“Tom,” he said. “I think I have a mammoth out here on State Route 54. Can you send some help?”

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on December 24, 2017 by Editor

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Mystery Blob Threatens New England

from Science Alert

A Mysterious Blob of Hot Rock Is Building Up Under America’s Northeast

Something is rising from the depths.

by PETER DOCKRILL

578 vermont blob 1Hot rock in the mantle rising toward the surface (Vadim Levin/Rutgers University-New Brunswick

A vast mass of hot rock is welling up underneath Vermont and extending into other subterranean regions below New England, new research shows.

Scientists used a network of thousands of seismic measurement devices in the largest geological study of its kind, detecting the enormous blob upwelling under Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts – and possibly elsewhere.

“The upwelling we detected is like a hot air balloon, and we infer that something is rising up through the deeper part of our planet under New England,” says geophysicist Vadim Levin from Rutgers University – New Brunswick.

Since New England doesn’t have any active volcanoes, the huge build-up is thought to be a geologically recent phenomenon, although in this case that means it could have slowly but steadily been growing for tens of millions of years.

[ click to continue reading at Science Alert ]

Posted on December 23, 2017 by Editor

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Sharon Springs

from Logo

Sharon Springs, NY: The Gayest Little Town You’ve Never Heard Of

“One of the greatest things, the thing that has saved Sharon Springs is the LGBT community.”

I grew up in the rural, rolling farmland of Upstate New York. Occasionally—often on the way to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown or nearby Glimmerglass Lake—we would pass through Sharon Springs, a town memorable solely for the distinctly pungent smell that emanated from its natural sulphur springs.It was because of these springs and their healing properties that Sharon Springs had grown into a popular summer spa destination in the 19th century, attracting thousands of visitors annually including members of the Vanderbilt family and Oscar Wilde, who lectured at one of its hotels in 1882. By the 1970s, though, Sharon Springs had fallen firmly into decline and seemed destined to become a footnote in Upstate New York’s history.Twenty years later, however, the village would embark on a renaissance thanks to Doug Plummer and Garth Roberts, a couple who were passing through from New York City, located approximately 200 miles away.

“My husband and I saw an old farmhouse outside the the village and thought, this is the coolest thing we’ve ever seen,” recalls Plummer, the mayor of Sharon Springs. And so they bought the house, as well as several other properties, including the then-rundown historic American Hotel that they rehabilitated and run today. Beyond that, the two men have been pivotal in attracting others to join in with their enthusiasm for the village of 550 people.

“One of the greatest things, the thing that has saved Sharon Springs is the LGBT community, we are the ones who came in here and started to improve things,” continues Plummer, as we sat together in the cozy lobby of his hotel. As if on cue, Lance and Anthony, another gay couple from NYC, appear. “These guys came in one Friday about six months ago, and on Sunday saw a realtor and, like, three days later they put an offer on a house.”

[ click to continue reading at Logo ]

Posted on December 22, 2017 by Editor

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Mimi O’Donnell on Philip Seymour Hoffman

from Vogue

Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction

philip-seymour-hoffmanThe exceptional leading man Philip Seymour Hoffman, whose death in 2014 dealt a heartbreaking blow to American cultural life. Photographed by Anton Corbijn, 2012

The first time I met Phil, there was instant chemistry between us. It was the spring of 1999, and he was interviewing me to be the costume designer for a play he was directing—his first—for the Labyrinth Theater Company, In Arabia We’d All Be Kings. Even though I’d spent the five years since moving to New York designing costumes for Off-Broadway plays and had just been hired by Saturday Night Live, I was nervous, because I was in awe of his talent. I’d seen him in Boogie Nightsand Happiness, and he blew me out of the water with his willingness to make himself so vulnerable and to play fucked-up characters with such honesty and heart.

I remember walking into the interview and anxiously handing Phil my résumé. He studied it for a few moments, then looked up at me and, with complete sincerity and admiration, said, “You have more credits than I do.” I felt myself relax. He wanted to put me at ease and let me know that we would be working together as equals. After the meeting, I called my sister on one of those hilariously giant cell phones of the time, and after I had raved about Phil, she announced, “You’re going to marry him.”

Working with Phil felt seamless—our instincts were so similar, and we always seemed to be in sync. Though there was clearly a personal attraction, both of us were involved with other people, so we fell in love artistically first. Over the next two years, we continued to work together—I designed the costumes for everything he directed—and, along the way, I was invited to become a company member of Labyrinth, of which Phil was the artistic director. As an ensemble, we produced Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, which put us on the map. Then, seven years to the day since I’d moved to the city, 9/11 happened. It was disorienting to be finding our place as the world seemed to be collapsing around us.

[ click to continue reading at Vogue ]

Posted on December 21, 2017 by Editor

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Earth Hum

from CBS News

Earth’s mysterious hum recorded underwater for 1st time

By MINDY WEISBERGER

 This photo from NASA’s Suomi NPP satellite shows the Eastern Hemisphere of Earth in “Blue Marble” view. NASA/NOAA

Far from the blaring cacophony of cities, towns and suburbs, there are far quieter soundtracks to be found — the murmurs of wind rustling grasses, rushing waves tumbling onto beaches, the creaking of tree branches and trunks.

But underneath all that is yet another soundscape, a permanent, low-frequency drone produced by Earth itself, from the vibrations of ongoing, subtle seismic movements that are not earthquakes and are too small to be detected without special equipment.

Earth is “humming.” You can’t hear it, but it’s ongoing. And now scientists have measured that persistent hum from the ocean floor, for the first time. [What’s That Noise? 11 Strange and Mysterious Sounds on Earth & Beyond]

Most of the movements in the ground under our feet aren’t dramatic enough for people to feel them. Earthquakes, of course, are the big exception, but Earth undergoes far more earthquakes globally than you might suspect — an estimated 500,000 per year, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Of those, 100,000 are strong enough to be felt, and about 100 of those are powerful enough to cause damage.

But even in the quiet periods between earthquakes, there’s a whole lot of shaking going on.

Since the 1990s, researchers have known that Earth is constantly vibrating with microseismic activity, known as “free oscillation,” scientists reported in a new study describing new recordings of the phenomenon. Free oscillation creates a hum that can be detected anywhere on land by seismometers — equipment used to detect and record vibrations.

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Posted on December 20, 2017 by Editor

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U2 Not Dead

from RealClearLife

Rock’n’Roll Won’t Die, No Matter What U2 Says

The music industry as we knew is gone, but rock will survive.

By Tim Sommer

Very recently, I saw some respectable men in their late fifties prancing around on TV. They were sitting shiva for rock’n’roll.

I generally give U2 the benefit of the doubt –they’ve worked hard, they energetically support decent causes, and their musical heart is rooted in the post-punk of my youth—but here they were on Saturday Night Live, shouting into bullhorns and cranking out mediocre versions of early ‘90s KROQ grunge riffs and generally sounding like they were doing a hazy imitation of Stone Temple Pilots. Also, in 1998 The International Court at The Hague determined that the Mekons would be the very last band ever allowed to use the word “rock’n’roll” in the chorus of a song.

U2 were posturing themselves as saviors of their genre because this is what rich old white rockers do. In reality, they are actually saying, “It’s already dead and we are the only survivors, so we better bring in some EDM producers, because, you know, that’s what the kids like now, and my GOD, we wanna be relevant!” They also spit out a bunch of fuzzy and meaningless slogans – “Put your hands in the air/Hold up the sky/Could be too late, but we still gotta try” – boy, that is sure going to get a lot of people to turn out in next year’s midterm elections! And I have little doubt that “Will you be our sanctuary Refu-Jesus?” will lead to a productive dialogue between England and the European England about how to handle the looming Ireland/Northern Ireland border crisis.

First of all, rock is most certainly not dead. Truly. I think that’s an ugly myth created by people who are unable to distinguish music from the music industry. Music is fireworks, pearly supernovas in migraine fugue rainbow colors that turn a deep blue 10 p.m. sky the shade of summertime 4:44 a.m. purple; music pulls oohs and aaaahs unconsciously out of the most cynical, it massages old memories and provides mnemonics for new ones, it screams when it whispers and it whispers when it screams. And rock’n’roll is something intensely social and deeply personal, it is the sound of America’s disenfranchised made electric, and it is the reason you got on that train that took you away from your low, leafy suburb and into the spires of the city; and in that city (and your city could just be a college town, a city is any place of escape and social refuge!), you found friends because of rock’n’roll: rock’n’roll made you welcome in the Kingdom of Outsiders. Deep down, a part of you never left that place.

The music industry as we knew it died. Dead. Gone. But the music did not die. This is the profound mistake so many people make; they have comingled the artform and the economics that were a part of that art form. But the music industry is an ugly old Fireworks shack on a two-lane blacktop on the sun-burnt wrong side of a South Carolina beach town, waiting to be blown over by some September storm, washed out to the marshes. Even if the shack is destroyed, there’s still a Fourth of July.

[ click to continue reading at RealClearLife ]

Posted on December 19, 2017 by Editor

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Snip-snip

from McClatchy

Here’s how to shut down the internet: Snip undersea fiber-optic cables

BY TIM JOHNSON

A crewman pulls on undersea cable that will be laid in the Caribbean in this 2001 photo from the Port of Miami. The crewman stands in a cable well holding 120 miles of cable.A crewman pulls on undersea cable that will be laid in the Caribbean in this 2001 photo from the Port of Miami. The crewman stands in a cable well holding 120 miles of cable. Charles Trainor Jr. Miami Herald

Hundreds of thousands of miles of fiber-optic cable lay on the ocean floors, a crucial part of the global internet’s backbone, and only rarely do ship anchors, undersea landslides or saboteurs disrupt them.

Still, a few voices now call for stronger global mechanisms and even military action to protect the cables against future malicious activity by states, saboteurs or extremists.

“The infrastructure that underpins the internet – these undersea cables – are clearly vulnerable,” said Rishi Sunak, a British member of Parliament and champion of more vigorous action to protect submarine networks. “They underpin pretty much everything that we do.”

Undersea cables conduct nearly 97 percent of all global communications, and every day an estimated $10 trillion in financial transfers and vast amounts of data pass through the seabed routes. Satellites, once crucial but now limited in speed and bandwidth, handle only a tiny percentage of global communications.

[ click to continue reading at McClatchy ]

Posted on December 18, 2017 by Editor

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Massive Penis-shaped Space Rock Befuddles

from The Atlantic

Astronomers to Check Mysterious Interstellar Object for Signs of Technology

Russian billionaire Yuri Milner says if the space rock ‘Oumuamua is giving off radio signals, his team will be able to detect them—and they may get the results within days.

by MARINA KOREN

An artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid 'OumuamuaAn artist’s impression of the interstellar asteroid ‘OumuamuaESO / M. Kornmesser

The email about “a most peculiar object” in the solar system arrived in Yuri Milner’s inbox last week.

Milner, the Russian billionaire behind Breakthrough Listen, a $100 million search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, had already heard about the peculiar object. ‘Oumuamua barreled into view in October, the first interstellar object seen in our solar system.

Astronomers around the world chased after the mysterious space rock with their telescopes, collecting as much data as they could as it sped away. Their observations revealed a truly unusual object with puzzling properties. Scientists have long predicted an interstellar visitor would someday coast into our corner of the universe, but not something like this.

“The more I study this object, the more unusual it appears, making me wonder whether it might be an artificially made probe which was sent by an alien civilization,” Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department and one of Milner’s advisers on Breakthrough Listen, wrote in the email to Milner.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on December 17, 2017 by Editor

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ED Reality

Posted on December 16, 2017 by Editor

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Half of us are in, at least.

from Reuters via Yahoo! News

Are Earthlings alone? Half of humans believe in alien life

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Nearly half of humans believe in alien life and want to make contact, a survey in 24 countries has found, in what researchers said helps to explain the lasting popularity of the “Star Wars” franchise 40 years after the first movie was screened.

On the eve of the release of “The Last Jedi”, researchers published findings that 47 percent of more than 26,000 respondents believe “in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe”.

An even greater 61 percent said “yes” when asked if they believe in “some form of life on other planets”. Roughly a quarter said they do not.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on December 15, 2017 by Editor

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Awesome.

Posted on December 14, 2017 by Editor

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Damien Freed

from The New Yorker

The False Narrative of Damien Hirst’s Rise and Fall

By Felix Salmon

Photograph by Francesco Guidicini / The Sunday Times / News Syndication / Redux

The artist Damien Hirst is fundamentally a maker of luxury goods, and that is why he confounds the expectations of art-world cynics and romantics alike.

The rise and fall of Damien Hirst is an oft-told tale of hubris and nemesis. An art-world superstar in the nineteen-nineties and early two-thousands, Hirst made white-hot works—the most infamous of which involved animals immersed in formaldehyde—whose prices only ever went up. He got rich, his galleries got rich, his collectors got rich, everybody was happy. But, then, in 2008, he got a bit too cocky when he auctioned off two hundred million dollars’ worth of art, fresh from his studio, at Sotheby’s, bypassing dealers entirely. That auction marked the end of Hirst as an art-market darling: his auction volumes and prices dropped, and bitter collectors who had spent millions on his art were left with work worth much less than what they had paid for it.

These days, though, those collectors don’t seem to be so bitter after all. Hirst says that sales from his latest show, in Venice, reached a jaw-dropping three hundred and thirty million dollars as of early November. Even accounting for inflation, that’s substantially more than the two hundred million dollars he racked up at the Sotheby’s auction in 2008. Maybe that day didn’t mark the top of the Hirst market after all.

So why do many knowledgeable observers—from Sarah Thornton in The Economist, in 2012, to Robin Pogrebin in the Times, this past February—think that Hirst became a persona non grata in the art world, stripped of his relevance and power?

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on December 13, 2017 by Editor

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