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Mr. Rogers’ Rides

from The Drive

Parked in Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: What Fred Rogers Taught Us About Cars

Though rarely center stage, automobiles played a quiet but crucial role on the iconic children’s TV show.

BY JOE LIGO

Despite growing up in a wealthy family and being taken to school by the family driver in a Cadillac, Fred McFeely Rogers—known as Mister Rogers to most of us —never appeared to have developed a taste for exotic or expensive things. As the nationally-known host of the PBS children’s program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and perhaps one of the most universally adored public figures in the country, Fred’s personal life was strikingly modest. He seemed the least likely person you’d expect to be interested in cars.

And yet: take a wider view, and his program showed children that the automobile is a fixture in modern American life over the second half of the 20th century, introducing them to everything from seat belts to automated car washes to early EV efforts. Fred Rogers himself wasn’t much of a gearhead, but he knew just as much as anyone how much emotion can be wrapped up in a car, quietly maintaining a 1928 Ford Model A Sport Coupe over the decades that had been given to him by his parents. 

In reality, a survey of the 900+ episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood indicates that Fred understood there are lots of kids (and adults) who love anything with wheels. So with help from the invaluable NeighborhoodArchive.com and a few phone calls with Rogers’ former producer Margy Whitmer and former co-star/company PR rep David Newell, let’s dive into the automotive world of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on June 29, 2022 by Editor

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Queen Bubbles

from The New Yorker

The Gospel According to Mavis Staples

A legendary singer on faith, loss, and a family legacy.

By David Remnick

Mavis Staples sings with a group of people in her youth.
Staples once considered stepping away from singing to become a nurse. Her father said, “Don’t you know you’re already a nurse?”Photograph by Steve Schapiro / Corbis / Getty

Mavis Staples has been a gospel singer longer than Elizabeth II has worn the crown. During concerts, sometimes, she might take a seat and rest while someone in her band bangs out a solo for a chorus or two. No one minds. Her stage presence is so unfailingly joyful—her nickname is Bubbles—that you never take your eyes off her. Staples sings from her depths, with low moans and ragged, seductive growls that cut through even the most pious lyric. She is sanctified, not sanctimonious. In her voice, “Help Me Jesus” is as suggestive as “Let’s Do It Again.” When she was a girl, singing with her family ensemble, the Staple Singers, churchgoers across the South Side of Chicago would wonder how a contralto so smoky and profound could issue from somebody so young.

She is eighty-two. While singers a fraction of her age go to great lengths to preserve their voices, drinking magical potions and warming up with the obsessive care of a gymnast, she doesn’t hold back. Time, polyps, and a casual disdain for preservation have conspired to narrow her range and sand down her old shimmer, but she is not about to hum lightly through a rehearsal. A little ginger tea and onward she goes. Singing is what connects her to the world.

Sly, sociable, and funny, Staples reminds you of your mother’s most reliable and cheerful friend, the one who comes around with good gossip and a strawberry pie. Her cheeks are round and smooth; her hair is done in a copper bob; her resting expression is one of delight. “She is a ray of sunshine,” Bonnie Raitt, her frequent touring companion, said. “She’s never cranky. She has an abiding belief in God and His plan and believes the world is moving toward a higher and more loving world.” Staples has spent the past few decades lending her voice to a startling range of collaborators: Prince, Arcade Fire, Nona Hendryx, Ry Cooder, David Byrne. Anyone who has something to say, she’ll help them say it, in an inimitable gospel voice. One collaborator, Jeff Tweedy, of Wilco, said, “All day long, Mavis is having a good time. She’s excited about making music and just being alive. I hope I have that energy when I’m her age, but the truth is I don’t even have it now.”

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on June 28, 2022 by Editor

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No way! I didn’t know there was a ‘porn trilogy for Nintendos’.

from Vanity Fair

Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist.

The porn trilogy for Nintendos. Atari games from the 1980s. Pristine nostalgia, potentially worth millions, gone in a night. 

BY JUSTIN HECKERT

Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist.
ILLUSTRATION BY QUICKHONEY.

He tries his best to forget about the safe. But when he has a few free minutes and is cleaning the pins of old Nintendo cartridges with rubbing alcohol and Q-tips, a little piece of him dies every time he thinks about how he could’ve been so naive. When he ran the place, he would man the counter from a swivel chair next to the cash register, a can of Diet Coke by the keyboard of his desktop computer, his palms at the edge of a Super Mario World mouse pad. He’d lined his shelves with Pokémon and PAC-MAN figurines, Sonic the Hedgehog plushies, T-shirts and stickers with the store’s logo, dog-eared stacks of GamePro and Nintendo Power, and a feng shui of other games. Drawers nested all sorts of controllers smothered in black cords. Until he was forced to sully the store by putting jail bars on the windows and installing security cameras out front, Trade-N-Games had been lighthearted in spirit and charming in its accentuations. He’d wanted customers to experience what it had been like to be part of the video game generation that had discovered Nintendo and Sega. He had wished to replicate for people that feeling that usually disappears as they settle into adulthood. There’s a “great buys” bargain bin and a giant glass collector’s case.

A placard above the employee gate by the desk reads NINTENDO REPAIR AVAILABLE HERE. The AS SEEN ON YOUTUBE sign he’d taken down. He’d had a kind of philanthropic hubris as an owner and collector, someone who never gave a second thought to keeping his legendary game collection a secret. He’d gladly let YouTubers film in the back; he would even open the safe back there and show them, item by item, his Louvre. Other collectors had rare games, sure, but in the back room of his store, and especially in the safe, he was proud to own 10,000 of what he described as “cherry” copies—his preferred term for virgin condition. The cardboard on his Super Nintendo games was still crispy, as collectors like to say. His Sega Genesis and Master System games were as pristine in their clamshells as if they had been hanging from the racks at KB Toys.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on June 27, 2022 by Editor

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Five Planets In A Row

from The Jerusalem Post

Five planets align perfectly, visible until end of June

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be visible every morning until the end of June in an alignment not seen since 1864.

By ARIELLA MARSDEN

 The solar system. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The solar system. (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn have lined up in a rare alignment that won’t occur again until 2040, according to AccuWeather.

While it is common to view a couple of planets together at any given time, the alignment of five planets simultaneously is a rare phenomenon which last occurred in 1864 and won’t occur again for almost 20 years.

The alignment is best viewed in the early morning around an hour before sunrise and will remain as is until the end of June.

[ click to continue reading at JPost ]

Posted on June 23, 2022 by Editor

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Marram Montauk

from InsideHook

We Found America’s Chillest Hotel at the End of the World

Marram Montauk merchants in vibes, waves and s’mores. You will leave relaxed and recharged, whether you like it or not.

BY TANNER GARRITY

We Found America’s Chillest Hotel at the End of the World
Read McKendree

I left my balcony door open both nights at Marram Montauk last week, with only a screen and a shade separating my room from the roar of the surf. If there’s a better white noise machine than the East End on a misty weeknight I’d love to hear it. Sleep arrived gently, like just about everything else at the monastic, four-star retreat, which recently reopened its doors for the 2022 season after some light renovations.

Before there was Marram there was Atlantic Terrace, a yellow, family-run motel with a shuffleboard court. It was built in the 1960s — a time when the year-round population of the town was less than a grand, the town was only serviced by New England local news stations, all shops were closed on Sundays and interested buyers could purchase a home in town for $12,000…at Macy’s in Herald Square.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on June 22, 2022 by Editor

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Longest Home Run Ever

Posted on June 10, 2022 by Editor

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NYFU FWD

from One Sports

Exclusive: Behind New York Fury’s quest to build a new era in Valorant

Always moving forward.

BY WANZI KOH

Valorant New York Fury 2022
Credit: New York Fury

The New York Fury is ready to create a new era for its organization, unveiling a brand new Valorant roster ahead of VCT NA Stage 2 Challengers. Built around former Version1 in-game leader Chad “Oderus” Miller, the team plucked talent from Evil GeniusesFaZe Clan, Rise, and Soniqs.

The North American team, formerly known as Andbox, is part of the NYXL organization, which fields championship-winning teams in the Overwatch and Call of Duty League.

That winning legacy is one it’s looking to carry over into Valorant. In an exclusive interview with ONE Esports, NY Fury General Manager Matt “Warden” Dickens talks about how the new roster came together and their goals moving forward.

[ click to continue reading at One Sports ]

Posted on June 5, 2022 by Editor

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Streaming Crickets

from SFGate

Spotify podcasters are making $18,000 a month with nothing but white noise

by Ashley Carman, Bloomberg News

Calming sounds of white noise podcasts are bringing in one podcaster $18,000 per month. (Rachel Austin/The University Of Western Australia via AP)
Calming sounds of white noise podcasts are bringing in one podcaster $18,000 per month. (Rachel Austin/The University Of Western Australia via AP)

People on the prowl for a new podcast to consume often go for a stimulating option like a political debate or a true crime mystery to quicken the pulse. But when the din of the world becomes too much, listeners often need the opposite vibe: something soothing and sedating, maybe with the sound of static or falling rain. Perhaps a touch of crickets.

Enter — quietly, on tippy-toes — the white noise podcasters.

While the top of the podcast charts on Spotify and Apple are still dominated by garrulous, jawboning hosts, these days you can also reliably find a smattering of white noise shows appearing in the mix. Relatively new to the podcast scene, the tranquil programs haves names like “Calming White Noise,” “Best Noise Labs,” “Relaxing White Noise” and “Deep Sleep Sounds.”

Who is behind the popular offerings is a bit of a mystery.

[ click to continue reading at SFGate ]

Posted on June 2, 2022 by Editor

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Lido Gone

from AP

Show’s over for famed cabaret show at France’s Lido

By JADE LE DELEY

PARIS (AP) — It’s the end of an era for the famed Lido cabaret on Paris’ Champs-Elysees.

Amid financial troubles and changing times, the venue’s new corporate owner is ditching most of the Lido’s staff and its high-kicking, high-glamour dance shows — which date back decades and inspired copycats from Las Vegas to Beirut — in favor of more modest musical revues.

Dressed all in black, dancers staged a protest Saturday on the broad sidewalk in front of the Lido — and then performed a dance routine to a cheering crowd, kicking their long legs high to a traditional cabaret song.

They handed out leaflets to passers-by on the Champs-Elysees Avenue, who lamented the Lido’s fate and warmly applauded the performance. Dancers from the Moulin Rouge came to support Lido staff, and notably its historic Bluebell Girls dance troupe.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on May 28, 2022 by Editor

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Mort Janklow Gone

from The Washington Post

Mort Janklow, literary agent who brokered gargantuan advances, dies at 91

His clients included Ronald Reagan, Al Gore, David McCullough, Barbara Walters and Danielle Steel

By Associated Press

Actor Michael Douglas and Mort Janklow in 2015 in New York City. (Larry Busacca/Getty Images for AARP)

Mort Janklow, a former corporate lawyer who raised high the power of the literary agent as he brokered gargantuan advances for publishing political and entertainment leaders, including Ronald Reagan, Al Gore, David McCullough and Barbara Walters, died May 25 at his home in Water Mill, N.Y. He was 91.

His death, from a heart ailment, was announced by publicist Paul Bogaards, speaking on behalf of Mr. Janklow’s family and his literary agency, Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

Mr. Janklow was among the first of the so-called superagents, and became one by accident, stepping in to help with a book by a legal client and old friend, the speechwriter and columnist William Safire. Mr. Janklow was subsequently credited, and faulted, for the proliferation of blockbuster books and million-dollar deals in the 1970s and beyond, for jolting a gentleman’s trade with a lawyerly savvy about marketing, subsidiary rights and the fine print of a publishing contract.

[ click to continue reading at WaPo ]

Posted on May 27, 2022 by Editor

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Book Blobs

from Inside Hook

Why Do All Books Suddenly Look the Same?

The ubiquitous “blob” cover is a combination of content, design and, yes, clickability

BY TRISH ROONEY

covers of the vanishing half, detransition baby, untamed

Why are all books so abstract? / Getty, Riverhead Books, One World, Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book

You probably already know what the hottest new fiction book of the day looks like — without even seeing it. Picture electric blues, earthy greens, maybe pops of pinks and splashes of red blended together. While a plain white font announces the title, perhaps the swirling cursive of the author’s name is mixed into the pattern itself. 

This is the modernist book cover of 2022 — or “the blobs.” There are a few very prominent titles that share this aesthetic: The Vanishing Half, a story about the lives of two Black sisters by Brit Bennett, with a cover design by Lauren Peters-Collaer; and Detransition, Baby, a novel about queer parenthood by Torrey Peters, with a cover design by Rachel Ake Kuech. But there are many titles. Many more “blobs.” It’s become a joke online; where people notice that even packages of beef jerky are starting to look like New York Times Bestsellers.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on May 24, 2022 by Editor

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AC GOOD BAD

from Vox

The air conditioning paradox

How do we cool people without heating up the planet?

By Umair Irfan


A woman fans her child with a sheet of paper as a fan sits idle amid a power outage during a heat wave in Jacobabad, Pakistan, on May 11. Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The world is now 1.1 degrees Celsius — 2 degrees Fahrenheit — warmer on average than it was at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. But baked into that seemingly small change in the average is a big increase in dangerous extreme temperatures. That’s made cooling, particularly air conditioning, vital for the survival of billions of people.

The devastation of extreme temperatures is playing out right now in several places around the world. A gargantuan heat wave over India and Pakistan, where 1.5 billion people live, is now in its third week. Just 12 percent of India’s population has air conditioning, but even those people are suffering. The heat has triggered power outages, created water shortages, and killed dozens, although the true toll may not be known for weeks.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on May 18, 2022 by Editor

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Dead Planes

from ABC 15

The Boneyard: World’s largest airplane graveyard is in Tucson, Arizona

By: Kari Steele

What happens to our nation’s militarized aircraft when it’s time to toss it? Welcome to the largest aircraft graveyard in the world, The Boneyard!

See all of the cool planes and space aircraft in the video above!

The Boneyard is formally known as the 309th AMARG (Aerospace Maintenance And Regeneration Group). An AMARG is a boneyard facility for all excess military and government aircraft. Planes, jets, helicopters, and space shuttles belonging to the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and NASA are processed here. Another role of AMARG is to convert fighter jets into aerial target drones.

[ click to continue reading at ABC 15 ]

Posted on May 13, 2022 by Editor

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Go Go Gonzo!

from The Washington Post via MSN

The gonzo journalist who forever changed political campaign coverage

by Jason Vest

It was presidential campaign reporting unlike anything seen before. The reporter made it clear: He had no desire to join the permanent Washington press corps, or ever cover politics full time, and indeed he never did. He was contemptuous of Democratic centrists and unabashed about a sitting Republican president’s depravity, and said so in prose that sounded like a punch-drunk H.L. Mencken spoiling for a bar fight. (“A treacherous, gutless old wardheeler who should be put in a goddamn bottle and sent out with the Japanese current,” he said of Dem presidential aspirant Hubert Humphrey. And the incumbent in the White House? “A drooling red-eyed beast with the legs of a man and the head of giant hyena … the dark, venal and incurably violent side of the American character that almost every country in the world has learned to fear and despise.”)

This is the unmistakable prose of the late Hunter S. Thompson, who had high hopes that a one-off gig covering national politics 50 years ago — really a sop from his editor at a music magazine — might help him go from journalist to novelist. He already had two nonfiction bestsellers under his belt, one of which he’d reported out over years as an embed, covering an outfit at least as amoral as any in Washington: the Hell’s Angels.

But if the Washington political establishment, including the press, thought the assignment was going to merit only a couple of magazine pieces, they had another thing coming. Thompson influenced a new generation of political correspondents, says Peter Richardson, author of the newly published “Savage Journey: Hunter S. Thompson and the Weird Road to Gonzo,” a consideration of Thompson’s literary influences and influence.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on May 10, 2022 by Editor

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Bad Pony!

from Yahoo! News

Why did Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike bite lead pony, outrider? An expert weighs in

by Aaron Mudd

Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike went viral Saturday, and not just for his 80-1, long shot victory that upset field favorites like Epicenter (4-1), Taiba (5-1) and Zandon (6-1).

In the moments after he crossed the finish line, as spectators in the stands erupted into a roar, video and images showed outriders on the track struggling to get Rich Strike under control as he repeatedly bit the lead pony and its rider Greg Blasi.

Rich Strike seen champing at lead pony after surprising Kentucky Derby Win

At one point, video taken from the perspective of a spectator up in the stands appeared to show Blasi punching Rich Strike, while another image taken by photographer Heather C. Jackson showed the Derby winner tearing into Blasi’s right leg with his teeth.

Observers on social media were quick to defend and criticize Blasi, including animal welfare group PETA, which issued a statement condemning the Churchill Downs outrider.

Eric Reed, Rich Strike’s trainer, defended Blasi in a Today Show appearance Monday, stating “that man saved my horse from injury.”

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on May 9, 2022 by Editor

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Voyager Station

from CNN

Inside the space hotel scheduled to open in 2025

by Francesca Street, CNN

Space hotel designs: Orbital Assembly Corporation is planning to build Voyager Station and Pioneer Station, two space hubs in the sky. Click through the gallery to see Oribital Assembly’s renderings depicting what what life among the stars might look like.

Waking up in a chic hotel room with a view of the solar system could be the future of travel, at least if space company Orbital Assembly has anything to say about it.

The US-based company has revealed new information and concepts for its space hotel idea, designs for which have been orbiting since 2019.

Originally premiered by Californian company the Gateway Foundation — and then called the Von Braun Station — this futuristic concept consists of several modules connected by elevator shafts that make up a rotating wheel orbiting the Earth.

The project is now being overseen by Orbital Assembly Corporation, a space construction company that cut links with Gateway.

Orbital Assembly is now aiming to launch not one but two space stations with tourist accommodation: Voyager Station, the renamed original design, is now scheduled to accommodate 400 people and to open in 2027, while new concept Pioneer Station, housing 28 people, could be operational in just three years.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on May 3, 2022 by Editor

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Metasimple

from InsideHook

This Is the Simplest Way to Explain the Metaverse

We can do it in three words — while some experts provide larger context and clear up some major misperceptions.

BY KIRK MILLER

A person wearing a VR headset, an imagined present/future of the "metaverse"
The “metaverse” will not be confined to bulky headsets, say the experts / Iryna Veklich

Ask someone today what the metaverse is and you’re bound to get a confused look. Or a wrong answer.

That was the conclusion reached earlier this year by the market research firm Ipsus, which conducted a series of surveys to determine what we did and did not know about the so-called “metaverse.”

Their results? While nearly two in five (38%) of Americans said they are very or somewhat familiar with the metaverse, there were “significant differences” by age and by the presence of children in the household: It was as high as 53% for those with children, and also 53% of respondents aged 18 to 34. From there, it went down to 45% of those aged 35 to 54 and just 20% for those ages 55 or older who were familiar with the term. 

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on May 2, 2022 by Editor

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Octopolis

from Real Clear Science

The Hidden World of Octopus Cities and Culture

By Kristin Andrews

Roy L. Caldwell via AP

A recently proposed aquaculture octopus farm in the Canary Islands would raise 3,000 tonnes of octopus a year, which means almost 275,000 individual octopuses will be killed annually.

My research examines animal minds and ethics, and to me, the phrase “octopus culture” brings to mind Octopolis and Octlantis, two communities of wild octopuses in Jarvis Bay, Australia.

In Octopolis, numerous octopuses share — and fight over — a few square metres of seabed. In these watery towns, octopuses form dominance hierarchies, and they’ve started developing new behaviours: male octopuses fight over territory and, perhaps, females by throwing debris at one another and boxing.

[ click to continue reading at RCS ]

Posted on April 30, 2022 by Editor

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No Switch Hitters

from PC Magazine

Nintendo Reminds Us Not to Hit People, Smash TVs When Playing Switch Sports

Joy-Con wrist straps are an essential accessory for this game, as is lots of free space.

By Matthew Humphries

Wii Sports caused many an injury to bodies and televisions back in 2006, and Nintendo is warning parents in an attempt to avoid a similar situation with Switch Sports.

Nintendo Switch Sports went on sale today and offers a range of motion-controlled sports to play. This inevitably sees you swinging a Joy-Con around vigorously, which can be a serious hazard to anyone standing or sitting nearby. Bruises, black eyes, and smashed TVs are all signs you’re really enjoying the challenge, but Nintendo would like to avoid them if possible.

[ click to continue reading at PC Mag ]

Posted on April 29, 2022 by Editor

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Poisonous Green Books

from National Geographic

These green books are poisonous—and one may be on a shelf near you

A toxic green pigment was once used to color everything from fake flowers to book covers. Now a museum conservator is working to track down the noxious volumes.

BY JUSTIN BROWER

still life of green books stacked
After bookcloth became a popular and affordable alternative to leather for bookmaking, publishers began releasing volumes in a range of colors, including emerald green. PHOTOGRAPH BY REBECCA HALE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Libraries and rare book collections often carry volumes that feature poisons on their pages, from famous murder mysteries to seminal works on toxicology and forensics. The poisons described in these books are merely words on a page, but some books scattered throughout the world are literally poisonous.

These toxic books, produced in the 19th century, are bound in vivid cloth colored with a notorious pigment known as emerald green that’s laced with arsenic. Many of them are going unnoticed on shelves and in collections. So MelissaTedone, the lab head for library materials conservation at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware, has launched an effort dubbed the Poison Book Project to locate and catalogue these noxious volumes.

To date, the team has uncovered 88 19th-century books containing emerald green. Seventy of them are covered with vivid green bookcloth, and the rest have the pigment incorporated onto paper labels or decorative features. Tedone even found an emerald green book on sale at a local bookstore, which she purchased.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on April 28, 2022 by Editor

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Nice Company – Thank you, Readers.

from Publishers Weekly

25 Years of Bestselling Authors and Books

By Kristen McLean

[ click to read full list at Publishers Weekly ]

Posted on April 24, 2022 by Editor

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Chik-Fil-Jam

from The Wall Street Journal

Chick-fil-A’s Crazy Long Drive-Through Lines Have Santa Barbara Residents Squawking

Backed-up traffic for chicken sandwiches plucks a nerve; ‘It’s almost like we’re in L.A. now’

By Christine Mai-Duc

Cars lined up on the street to enter the Chick-fil-A drive-through in Santa Barbara in November.
PHOTO: LARRY BICKFORD

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Business has boomed for Chick-fil-A franchisee Travis Collins during the pandemic, thanks to surging appetite for chicken sandwiches from his drive-through window.

Now he’s throwing the works at controlling the lines of cars spilling onto surrounding streets. The city council in this affluent coastal city has proposed declaring his drive-through a public nuisance.

Neighbors and city officials say customers hungry enough to brave the crowded lot for Chick-n-Strips or the signature sandwich of chicken with pickles on a buttered bun have caused so many traffic jams, bus delays and hazards on the city’s main drag that something must be done.

“It’s against the law, they know it’s against the law, but their chicken burgers are more important to them,” said nearby resident Rick Closson. The retired pharmacist once spent a week outside the Chick-fil-A counting the line of cars at 15-minute intervals and informing drivers who were blocking sidewalk space that they were breaking the law. Drivers mostly blew him off, he said, and kept their eyes trained on the line.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on April 23, 2022 by Editor

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We’re Everywhere

from Zero Hedge

“Humans” May Be All Over The Universe, Scientists Say

BY TYLER DURDEN

Authored by Katie Hutton via TheMindUnleashed.com,

Let’s pretend for a moment that in the future humanity are able to travel to other planets and discover… even more humans.

A University of Cambridge astro-biologist believes that scenario is more possible than you’d imagine, based on his research.

The BBC’s Science Focus magazine recently published an interview with Simon Conway Morris, an evolutionary palaeobiologist at the university’s Department of Earth Sciences, in which he stated that researchers can “say with reasonable confidence” that human-like evolution has occurred in other parts of the universe.

The idea of convergent evolution, which, according to Science Focus, asserts that “random effects gradually average out such that evolution converges, tending to generate similar creatures in any given environment,” lies at the heart of Morris’ thinking. Flying, for instance, was used by the magazine as an illustration of how flying “had evolved independently on Earth at least four times — in birds, bats, insects, and pterosaurs.”

In summary, convergent evolution theory asserts that evolution is a natural law that operates similarly on all planets. In other words, the blue and green alien humanoids from “Star Trek” may be real.

[ click to continue reading at Zero Hedge ]

Posted on April 22, 2022 by Editor

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Justice for Galarraga

from Inside Hook

A College Law Class Is Trying to Get MLB to Recognize Armando Galarraga’s 2010 Perfect Game for Detroit Tigers

Monmouth University law students are making the case for MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to add Galarraga’s gem to the perfect game list

BY EVAN BLEIER

Out of more than 200,000 Major League Baseball games that have been played over approximately 150 years of pro baseball, only 23 have been officially recognized as being perfect. Armando Galarraga threw what should be the 24th for the Tigers against the Cleveland Indians on June 2, 2010, in Detroit, but umpire Jim Joyce inexplicably called Jason Donald safe at first base on what would have been the last out of the game.

It didn’t change what had happened, but Joyce owned up to his mistake immediately upon seeing a replay and famously said he “kicked the shit out of that call” and that he was sick over taking a perfect game away from “that kid over there.” 

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on April 19, 2022 by Editor

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A Million Little Corals

from WIRED

A Million Little Pieces: The Race to Rebuild the World’s Coral Reefs

Nearly half of these ocean ecosystems have been wiped out since 1950. One man is on a mission to reverse that—by speed-growing coral in hyperefficient nurseries.

by ROWAN MOORE GERETY

The Race to Rebuild the World's Coral Reefs | WIRED

LISA CARNE WAS swimming through a bed of seagrass in northern Belize when she saw a hunk of elkhorn coral lying loose on the sandy bottom. She paused to look at it. With its rich amber color and antler-like branches, the fragment seemed alive despite having broken off from its mother colony. A professional diver, Carne was struck with an idea: What if she picked this up and moved it to a patch of dead reef? What if she did it over and over again? Could she help the reef recover more quickly?

Carne kept thinking about the fragment as she finished up her dive. The reefs close to her home, near Laughing Bird Caye National Park, in southern Belize, had recently been decimated by a hurricane. When she returned home, she sat down at her computer and started searching online for anything she could find on reef restoration.

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Posted on April 18, 2022 by Editor

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Boom Montana

from Washington Post via MSN

The nuclear missile next door

by Eli Saslow

The Air Force bought an acre of the Butcher ranch during the Cold War when it was deploying hundreds of missiles in the Great Plains as part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union.
© Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post The Air Force bought an acre of the Butcher ranch during the Cold War when it was deploying hundreds of missiles in the Great Plains as part of the U.S. nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union.

WINIFRED, Montana — Ed Butcher, 78, tied up his horse, kicked mud off his cowboy boots and walked into his house for dinner. He’d been working on the ranch for most of the day, miles away from cellphone range. “What did I miss?” he asked his wife, Pam, as he turned their TV to cable news. “What part of the world is falling apart today?”

“Russia’s aggression has gone from scary to terrifying,” the TV commentator said, as Pam took their dinner out of the oven.

“We’re talking about a war that involves a very unstable nuclear power,” the commentator said, as they bent their heads over the venison casserole to say a prayer.

“This could escalate,” the commentator said. “It could explode beyond our wildest imaginations.”

Ed turned the TV off and looked out the window at miles of open prairie, where the wind rattled against their barn and blew dust clouds across Butcher Road. Ed’s family had been on this land since his grandparents homesteaded here in 1913, but rarely had life on the ranch felt so precarious. Their land was parched by record-breaking drought, neglected by a pandemic work shortage, scarred by recent wildfires, and now also connected in its own unique way to a war across the world. “I wonder sometimes what else could go wrong,” Ed said, as he looked over a hill toward the west end of their ranch, where an active U.S. government nuclear missile was buried just beneath the cow pasture.

“Do you think they’ll ever shoot it up into the sky?” Pam asked.

“I used to say, ‘No way,’ ” Ed said. “Now it’s more like, ‘Please God, don’t let us be here to see it.’ ”

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Posted on April 17, 2022 by Editor

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Move Over Mundi

from Vanity Fair

Will This Warhol Become the Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold?

When one of the pop artist’s famed portraits of Marilyn Monroe goes to auction next month, some observers think it could fetch up to half a billion dollars. What is it about this particular work that gives it such potential to break the market?

BY NATE FREEMAN

Image may contain Advertisement Collage Poster Marilyn Monroe Steven A. Cohen Kenneth C. Griffin Human and Person

One morning in Rockefeller Center this month, Jeff Koons waltzed through the Christie’s front atrium, where his Balloon Dog (Orange) was installed in 2013 prior to hitting the block. Koons currently holds the distinction of world’s most expensive living artist, but on this brisk day, he was a mere viewer, there to see a work that soon seems destined to go for many multiples of the $58.4 million that shiny steel canine fetched at auction. Staffers of the auction house, owned by French billionaire François Pinault, whisked Koons into the small, chapel-like room where he could get a full glimpse at Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, one of five portraits of Marilyn Monroe made by Warhol in 1964, at what was widely considered to be the peak of his creative output. Hitting the block in less than a month on May 9, it has an estimate of $200 million, the highest ever placed on an artwork prior to auction.

“Two hundred is a huge benchmark. It’s the highest reported estimate ever, it’s the highest estimate ever put on an artwork,” said Alex Rotter, the Christie’s chairman who’s overseeing the sale. “Could we have set more? You could always say more.”

Many are indeed saying more, making the $200 million mark seem not like the estimate—but the jumping-off point. Several dealers, advisers, auction specialists, and Warhol experts who I spoke to recently believe that, if the right tech billionaires, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, Asian foundations, or pandemic-enriched shipping magnates go head-to-head during the bidding, the work could hammer as high as $500 million, making it the most expensive artwork of all time—a marker currently held by Salvator Mundi, a rendering of Jesus Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that went for $450 million in 2017.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on April 14, 2022 by Editor

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The Lonely Hole

from Astronomy

Astronomers detect first potential ‘rogue’ black hole

We’ve seen plenty of black holes tearing material off a companion, but not sitting alone in space. Now, we might have spotted one.

By Ashley Balzer

artist's impression of a black hole
A lone black hole gives off no light – but its gravity does distort the path of light traveling around it. Ute Kraus (background Milky Way panorama: Axel Mellinger), Institute of Physics, Universität Hildesheim

Each second, a brand new baby black hole is born somewhere in the cosmos as a massive star collapses under its own weight.

But black holes themselves are invisible. Historically, astronomers have only been able to detect these stellar-mass black holes when they are acting on a companion.

Now, a team of scientists has made the first-ever confirmed detection of a stellar-mass black hole that’s completely alone. The discovery opens up the possibility of finding even more — an exciting prospect, considering there should be around 100 million such “rogue” black holes drifting through our galaxy unseen.

[ click to continue reading at Astronomy ]

Posted on April 12, 2022 by Editor

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Scaryverse

from Yahoo! Finance

Metaverse without regulation would be a ‘very scary prospect,’ experts warn

by Alexis Keenan

Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled
Visitors are pictured in front of an immersive art installation titled “Machine Hallucinations – Space: Metaverse” by media artist Refik Anadol, which will be converted into NFT and auctioned online at Sotheby’s, at the Digital Art Fair, in Hong Kong, China September 30, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Meta Platforms (FB), formerly known as Facebook, lost an attempt last week to quash a proposal from shareholders who want to know whether its planned virtual world will cause real-world harm.

The question comes as critics of the metaverse voice concerns that the burgeoning virtual world sorely needs regulation to protect its users. The absence of rules to police the metaverse could hurt consumers in the same ways they’ve been hurt in other online platforms, critics warn. The metaverse could also create brand-new injuries without proper oversight, according to critics.

If the metaverse becomes ubiquitous, regulation could become even more crucial.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! Finance ]

Posted on April 11, 2022 by Editor

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Mamet Uncensored

from The Wall Street Journal

David Mamet Is a Defiant Scribe in the Age of Conformity

The playwright won’t play along with woke signaling, talismanic masking or deference to petty tyrants.

By Barton Swaim

ILLUSTRATION: KEN FALLIN

Back in the 1980s and ’90s, innumerable films, TV documentaries and history textbooks instructed us that the 1950s were years of conformity and conventionalism: “The Donna Reed Show,” McCarthyism, “The Organization Man,” TV dinners. In fact, the ’50s were a time of extraordinary artistic creativity, boundless technological innovation, original thinking in politics, intellectual diversity in journalism and higher education, new energy in religion, and enormous progress in race relations. What the ’80s and ’90s mistook for conformity was a naturally evolved cultural solidarity—something nearly everybody, on the left and the right, longs for now.

An informed observer of present-day America might reasonably conclude that our own decade—at least among the educated and advantaged classes—is far more imbued with the spirit of conformism than the ’50s were. Corporate managers and military leaders parrot nostrums about diversity, inclusion and sustainability that few of them believe. Museums and orchestras studiously avoid programming that might offend ideologues. Reporters and producers in the mainstream press seize on stories—or ignore them—solely because that’s what everybody else in the press is doing. Large majorities in wealthy cities dutifully comply with public-health restrictions they know to be largely ineffective, mainly because refusing to do so would invite the ire of friends and neighbors complying with those restrictions for the same reason.

Maybe America’s deciders and describers (to use Nicholas Eberstadt’s phrase) aren’t the independent-minded lot they think themselves to be.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on April 9, 2022 by Editor

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Bet on Ice Cream in the first.

from People Magazine

Michelle Pfeiffer Bought Her Iconic Scarface Sunglasses for Just $3

By Bianca Brutus

Who says timeless style has to cost a mint? Not Michelle Pfeiffer!

The Scarface star told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Friday morning that her says her iconic cat eye sunglasses from the film cost only a few dollars. 

The actress, 63, posted a still from the film on Instagram in January, revealing that the sunglasses were originally a drugstore purchase. 

When asked by Seacrest about the “epic” post, Pfeiffer gave more information on the shades while appearing on Live with Kelly & Ryan to promote her upcoming Showtime series The First Lady.

The sunglasses were purchased for “probably for $3,” she explained. But unfortunately, when it comes to function (as opposed to fashion), you get what you pay for: “I kept them, but they kind of fell apart over time,” she said. “They were cheap.”

[ click to continue reading at People ]

Posted on April 8, 2022 by Editor

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Trapping Fish With Giant Penises

from Nautilus

The Genius of Fishing with Tidal Weirs

Native and non-native scientists have come together to counter overfishing with an ancient practice.

BY KATA KARÁTH

GONE FISHING: A fishing weir in the Micronesian state of Yap. The “arrow” of stone walls traps fish at high tides. When the tide ebbs, fishermen go to work. Photo courtesy of William Jeffery.

Seen from the air, the Micronesian state of Yap is a jewel-green archipelago of dense forests patched with taro fields, fringed by mazes of mangroves, and trimmed by coral reefs. And, fanning out from the wrack lines into the turquoise shallows like a frill of beaded tassels is a geometric design of rock structures that are shaped like arrows, beech mushrooms, or penises. The Yapese call these structures aech, and they are tidal fish weirs, one of the world’s most common Indigenous mariculture tools.

“Our aech is called Aechwol because of its luck,” says Thomas Ganang, whose family has owned for generations an aech near the village of Gachpar, off the eastern shore of Gagil-Tamil Island; in Yapese, “wol” means “luck.” “Whatever fish I catch inside the aech is a sign of luck. So it’s an ‘aech with good luck.’” Ganang, who is 66, fondly recalls how, when he was still a boy, his father, Laman, took him to the faluw—a traditional men’s house in Yap—to teach him everything about fishing, including how to use aech.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on April 7, 2022 by Editor

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Burritoverse

from The U.S. Sun

Inside Chipotle in the metaverse where users can roll virtual burritos they can never eat

by Charlotte Edwards

Your first metaverse ‘job’ could be making burritos Credit: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc./Roblox

CHIPOTLE is entering the metaverse and encouraging Roblox players to roll virtual burritos they can’t eat.

Although a virtual burrito is pretty useless, some lucky users will be able to exchange their virtual labor for real life food.

The Mexican food chain has announced a Chipotle Burrito Builder experience that will let metaverse users roll their own burritos.

It’s also revealed a behind the scenes look at the pixelated ‘food’ and a ‘90s themed restaurant that pays homepage to the first ever Chipotle.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on April 6, 2022 by Editor

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