Shelley Duvall At Peace

from The Mercury News

Shelley Duvall, star of ‘The Shining,’ ‘Nashville,’ dies at 75

She starred in several Robert Altman films, including “Thieves Like Us,” “Nashville, “Popeye,” “Three Women” and “McCabe & Ms. Miller”

By Jake Coyle | Associated Press

Shelley Duvall, the intrepid, Texas-born movie star whose wide-eyed, winsome presence was a mainstay in the films of Robert Altman and who co-starred in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” has died. She was 75.

Duvall died Thursday in her sleep at her home in Blanco, Texas, her longtime partner, Dan Gilroy, announced. The cause was complications of diabetes, said her friend, the publicist Gary Springer.

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life, partner, and friend left us last night,” Gilroy said in a statement. “Too much suffering lately, now she’s free. Fly away beautiful Shelley.”

Duvall was attending junior college in Texas when Altman’s crew members, preparing to film “Brewster McCloud,” encountered her as at a party in Houston in 1970. They introduced her to the director, who cast her “Brewster McCloud” and made her his protege.

Duvall would go on to appear in Altman films including “Thieves Like Us,” “Nashville, “Popeye,” “Three Women” and “McCabe & Ms. Miller.”

“He offers me damn good roles,” Duvall told The New York Times in 1977. “None of them have been alike. He has a great confidence in me, and a trust and respect for me, and he doesn’t put any restrictions on me or intimidate me, and I love him. I remember the first advice he ever gave me: ‘Don’t take yourself seriously.’”

[ click to continue reading at The Mercury News ]

Dead Alive Again

from The LA Times

How Dead & Company found new life at the Las Vegas Sphere

By Mikael Wood, Pop Music Critic 


Four hours or so before they’re due beneath the massive wraparound video screen at Sphere, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and John Mayer amble into a backstage production office like three guys showing up — again — for the work of blowing 17,000 minds.

“Nice to meet you,” Mayer says, grinning as he extends a hand. “John Mayer, Mayer Industries.”

As original members of the Grateful Dead, guitarist Weir, 76, and percussionist Hart, 80, are jam-band royalty; Mayer, 46, is the singer and guitarist known for pop hits like “Gravity” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland.” Together they represent the nucleus of Dead & Company, which on this recent afternoon has just passed the halfway mark of a 30-date summer residency at Sphere, the state-of-the-art dome-shaped venue behind the Venetian resort on the Las Vegas Strip.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Astronaut Robots Coming

from The Wall Street Journal

A New Age of Materials Is Dawning, for Everything From Smartphones to Missiles

Labor-intensive manufacturing has limited the use of lighter, stronger composites but that may change with emerging techniques

By Christopher Mims

There have been only a handful of ages of new materials in the history of humankind—ceramics, steel and plastics come to mind—and we are now on the cusp of the next one: composites. 

When we talk of composites, we’re speaking about such things as the carbon-fiber ones in wind turbines, race cars and the Boeing 787. Such materials have the advantage of being far lighter than the metal parts they typically replace, while being just as strong, and requiring fewer resources to make.

Materials scientists have had limited success making composites affordable and accessible for decades, or possibly millennia—technically, they were invented by the Mesopotamians. The labor-intensive nature of their manufacturing has made them expensive, which has limited their application to a handful of areas where their advantages outweigh their costs, such as the aerospace industry.

Now, thanks to new manufacturing techniques that can churn out composite parts quickly and cheaply, all of that is changing, and the results could be both profound and exciting.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Our Slowing Core

from CNN

Earth’s core has slowed so much it’s moving backward, scientists confirm. Here’s what it could mean

By Mindy Weisberger, CNN

New research confirms the rotation of Earth's inner core has been slowing down as part of a decades-long pattern. How this slowdown might affect our planet remains an open question.
New research confirms the rotation of Earth’s inner core has been slowing down as part of a decades-long pattern. How this slowdown might affect our planet remains an open question.  Edward Sotelo/Courtesy USC

Deep inside Earth is a solid metal ball that rotates independently of our spinning planet, like a top whirling around inside a bigger top, shrouded in mystery.

This inner core has intrigued researchers since its discovery by Danish seismologist Inge Lehmann in 1936, and how it moves — its rotation speed and direction — has been at the center of a decades-long debate. A growing body of evidence suggests the core’s spin has changed dramatically in recent years, but scientists have remained divided over what exactly is happening — and what it means.

Part of the trouble is that Earth’s deep interior is impossible to observe or sample directly. Seismologists have gleaned information about the inner core’s motion by examining how waves from large earthquakes that ping this area behave. Variations between waves of similar strengths that passed through the core at different times enabled scientists to measure changes in the inner core’s position and calculate its spin.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

First Draw

from NBC News

World’s oldest cave painting is at least 51,200 years old, scientists say

The cave painting in Indonesia is also the world’s oldest known evidence of storytelling in art, according to an international team of researchers who used a new dating technique.

By Mithil Aggarwal

It may not look like much - just a patchy sketch of three people surrounding a big red pig. But this humble cave painting found in Indonesia is the oldest known narrative artwork ever made by human hands, dating back more than 51,000 years, new research said on July 3, 2024. "This is the oldest evidence of storytelling," Maxime Aubert, an archaeologist at Australia's Griffith University, told AFP.
A 51,000-year-old artwork that was found in a cave on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island in 2017 in an image Australia’s Griffith University released Wednesday.Griffith University / AFP – Getty Images

A cave painting in Indonesia is the oldest such artwork in the world, dating back at least 51,200 years, according to an international team of researchers who say its narrative scene also makes it the world’s oldest known evidence of storytelling in art.

While it is unclear exactly what the painting depicts, it most likely shows three small human-bird hybrids surrounding a massive wild pig, “which they were probably hunting,” said Renaud Joannes-Boyau, a co-author of the study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

It’s that storytelling that has captivated scientists. 

“That is something new, something very important, something that happened much older than we thought,” said Joannes-Boyau, who is also a professor at Southern Cross University in Lismore, Australia.

[ click to continue reading at NBC News ]

L’Excalibur est parti!

from The New York Post

French ‘Excalibur’ sword vanishes after 1,300 years as the sword in the stone — literally

By Patrick Reilly

Roland holding the pass of Roncesvalles where he was slain (during Charlemagne's wars against the Sarcens in Spain).
Roland holding the pass of Roncesvalles, where he was slain (during Charlemagne’s wars against the Saracens in Spain).Mary Evans via ZUMA Press

An ancient sword known as the French version of King Arthur’s legendary “Excalibur” has mysteriously vanished from the town where, according to local lore, it had remained lodged in a rock for 1,300 years.

The Durandal sword appears to have been taken by a thief from its stone in the tiny medieval town of Rocamadour, where it was one of the town’s main attractions, The Telegraph reported.

For centuries it’s been believed the sword once belonged to Roland, a semi-legendary knight who bravely fought for Charlemagne in the eighth century.

Officials in Rocamadour have launched an investigation into the disappearance of the sword, which was yanked from its spot in a cliff wall some 100 feet off the ground.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

The Joy Of Shifting

from The Wall Street Journal

Baby, Can You Drive My Car? Not If It’s a Stick Shift

Manual transmissions are increasingly rare in America, foiling teenage carjackers and frustrating valet parking lots

By Spencer Jakab

Mary Sampietro got the scare of her life five years ago. It left her disappointed in America’s young people.

The mental health professional was in her stick-shift 2016 Jeep Patriot in a rough neighborhood in her native Houston when she rolled down the window to smoke a cigarette. Suddenly, a teenager stuck a gun in her face, ordering her out of the car. He got in but only made it to the next traffic light before stalling the engine and running away.

“I was like ‘How can you be a carjacker and not know how to drive a manual?’”

For Sampietro, who learned to row her own gears in a 1970s Datsun pickup truck with no power steering, the skill’s increasing rarity is a frequent source of annoyance. Her husband’s career requires her to attend events with mandatory valet parking. The job often attracts college students. One particularly bad experience convinced her that they often lie about being able to handle the odd stick shift like hers.

“This young man ground my gears in a way that made me want to throw up,” she says. “I turned around and parked way down the street and walked. I did not tip.”

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

New Manu!

from WXPN

Manu Chao will release ‘Viva Tu,’ first new album in 17 years

By Maeve Zeleniak

Latin alt and reggae musician Manu Chao is releasing his first studio album in 17 years. The French-Spanish singer-songwriter is following 2007’s La Radiolina with Viva Tu, out this fall. Following the release of “Viva Tu,” he dropped another single from the LP, “São Paulo Motoboy.”

Though Manu Chao’s sound is upbeat and beachy, he uses this single to bring awareness to couriers in cities like São Paulo and the dangers they face daily, from traffic to the weather. Chao himself was a courier in Paris for a time. In a translated statement, Chao said, “São Paulo is a living monster. And the couriers are the blood which comes and goes through its veins, allowing the city to function.”

Viva Tu drops September 20th and will include collaborations with Willie Nelson and French R&B singer Laeti. Watch the video for “São Paulo Motoboy” below.

[ click to continue reading at WXPN ]

Robert Towne Gone

from Deadline

Robert Towne Dies: Oscar-Winning ‘Chinatown’ Screenwriter Was 89

By Erik Pedersen

Robert Towne, who won an Oscar for his Chinatown original screenplay and was nominated for his The Last Detail, Shampoo and Greystoke scripts, died Monday at his home. He was 89.

Towne also earned BAFTA, Golden Globe and WGA awards for Chinatown, the L.A.-set 1974 thriller starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. It was one of three Writers Guild Awards he won during his career, along with Shampoo and the drama series Mad Men. He also was nominated for The Last Detail (1973) and Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1985). He was honored with teh guild’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement in 1997.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Centenarian Sun Ra

from The New Yorker

The Sun Ra Arkestra’s Maestro Hits One Hundred

Marshall Allen, the musical collective’s sax-playing leader, is celebrating with a deep-spacey video installation during the Venice Biennale.

By Robert Sullivan

Illustration by João Fazenda

The Sun Ra Arkestra, the musical collective founded in Chicago in the mid-fifties, moved out of the Lower East Side in 1968, and wound up in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, on a very green side street along the edge of a hill that feels a million miles from anywhere. An old row house became the Sun Ra Arkestral Institute, a place to practice at all hours, in order to be ready. “One day it will happen,” Sun Ra said at the time. “It could be happening now—that a voice from another dimension will speak to earth. You might as well practice and be prepared for it.” The Arkestra practiced and eventually toured the world, the row house filling with gig posters, its plaster walls soaking up decades of music from a band that, under Sun Ra’s leadership, had set out on a course of inter-dimensional travel, using chords and time signatures and equations rather than rocket fuel. Sun Ra died in 1993, and his saxophone players replaced him as director—first John Gilmore, and then Marshall Allen, who last month turned a hundred.

Allen bounded down the stairs to greet a visitor the other day, in between birthday celebrations near and far—near being Philadelphia, where a public performance of the Arkestra was followed by a party for family and friends at a club called Solar Myth, named for a Sun Ra-ism. Across the Atlantic Ocean, during the Venice Biennale, a celebration occurred in the form of a site-specific video installation in an abandoned sixteenth-century church and hospital; it is directed by Ari Benjamin Meyers, a Berlin-based composer, who met Allen in person in 2022, in Philadelphia, and was, like a lot of people, “blown away.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

AI Michaels Born

from Vanity Fair

“It Was Astonishing”: How NBC Convinced Al Michaels to Embrace His AI Voice for Olympics Coverage

The network will use an artificial clone of the legendary broadcaster’s voice to narrate its daily recaps of the summer event. “It was not only close,” he says of the technology, “it was almost 2% off perfect.”


Image may contain Al Michaels People Person Field Accessories Formal Wear Tie Adult Belt Clothing and Footwear

ew voices in American life are more recognizable than the one belonging to Al Michaels—play-by-play announcer for nearly a dozen Super Bowls and the source of perhaps the most famous line in sports history.

For generations of sports fans, Michaels has been a near-constant presence, providing the soundtrack of last-second field goals, ninth-inning walk-offs, and fourth-quarter buzzer-beaters. He was the voice of Monday Night Football for 20 years, then Sunday Night Football for 16. When the 1989 World Series was disrupted by an earthquake, Michaels’s voice was the one viewers heard just as the broadcast went static. And when a plucky United States hockey team pulled off an upset for the ages against the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics, Michaels channeled the prevailing sense of disbelief with a call as iconic as the game itself. (“Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”)

[ click to continue reading at VF ]


from Business Insider

Robots keep getting creepier

by Jaures Yip

Researchers created a 3D facial mold and a 2D robot covered with lab-grown living skin. The University of Tokyo
Researchers created a 3D facial mold and a 2D robot covered with lab-grown living skin. The University of Tokyo© The University of Tokyo

It’s not just nuts and bolts keeping robots together — now they can be made with living skin. Skin that can be made to smile.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo revealed on Tuesday a rather unsettling humanoid robot covered with lab-grown skin. The team said it was able to mimic human skin ligaments by bonding skin tissue to perforated 3D facial molds and 2D robots.

A press release said the team hoped the advancement would be “useful in the cosmetics industry and to help train plastic surgeons.”

While the development could prove helpful, some people online reacted to the robot’s fleshy skin and facial movements with jokes or said they found it disturbing. One person on X wrote, “You will live to see man-made made horrors beyond your comprehension.” Another said: “We don’t want this. Nobody wants this. Stop it.”

The researchers said that, unlike other materials, biological skin granted these robots self-healing capabilities without requiring triggers such as heat or pressure.

[ click to continue reading at Business Insider ]

Kinky Friedman Gone

from NBC News

Kinky Friedman, provocative musician, author and one-time politician, dies at 79

The satirical country and western iconoclast ran for governor of Texas in 2006 with campaign slogans like “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy.”

By Variety

Kinky Friedman during 2022 SXSW Conference and Festivals at Stateside Theater in Austin, Texas
Kinky Friedman in 2022. Michael Loccisano / Getty Images file

Kinky Friedman, the satirical and often provocative musician, author and one-time politician, has died at the age of 79.

“Kinky Friedman stepped on a rainbow at his beloved Echo Hill surrounded by family & friends,” read a post on his social media. “Kinkster endured tremendous pain & unthinkable loss in recent years but he never lost his fighting spirit and quick wit. Kinky will live on as his books are read and his songs are sung.”

Throughout his career, Richard Samet “Kinky” Friedman developed a cult following for his unique, quirky approach to country and Western music. The self-proclaimed “governor of the heart of Texas” released a robust number of albums starting with 1973’s “Sold American,” often considered his foundational record, and in addition to touring with Bob Dylan on his “Rolling Thunder Revue,” he became the “first full-blooded Jew” to appear at the Grand Ole Opry.

Outside of his music career, Friedman was a prolific writer, penning detective novels and serving as a columnist for Texas Monthly. He dabbled in politics, running for Governor of Texas in 2006 with campaign slogans like “My Governor is a Jewish Cowboy.” In the end, he received 12.6 percent of the votes among six candidates.

[ click to continue reading at NBC News ]

Next To Heaven (Summer 2025)

from Publishing Perspectives

Authors Equity’s First 100 Days

Madeline McIntosh introduces the concept behind Authors Equity at the 2024 Readmagine conference in Madrid. Image: Publishing Perspectives, Porter Anderson

Since Readmagine, Authors Equity has issued a list of the first 10 authors and books it has named for publication—a list released on the new company’s 100th day in business, which may be a record for a new publishing house.

You can read the list and some of the rationale around each selection here at Authors Equity’s Substack. We’ll run through the simplest listing of books, authors, and projected publication dates here:

  • This is Strategy by Seth Godin (October 22)
  • Don’t Believe Everything You Think: The Expanded Edition by Joseph Nguyen (October 29)
  • New book by Rachel Hollis (December)
  • Superagency: Empowering Humanity in the Age of AI by Reid Hoffman and Greg Beato (January 28)
  • We Hold These “Truths” by congressional staffer turned George Washington University legislative affairs professor Casey Burgat (February 4)
  • Kweli Journal’s 15th Anniversary Short Story Collection (spring 2025)
  • Next to Heaven by James Frey (summer 2025)
  • New series from Kyle Mills (summer 2025).
  • Pregnancy Personalized by Rachel Swanson (fall 2025)

[ click to read at Publishing Perspectives ]

Assange Down Under

from Associated Press

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returns to Australia a free man after US legal battle ends


CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange returned to his homeland Australia aboard a charter jet and raised a celebratory clenched fist as his supporters cheered on Wednesday, hours after pleading guilty to obtaining and publishing U.S. military secrets in a deal with Justice Department prosecutors that concludes a drawn-out legal saga.

Assange told Prime Minister Anthony Albanese in a phone call from the capital Canberra’s airport tarmac that Australian government intervention in the U.S. prosecution had saved his life, Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson said.

Assange embraced his wife Stella Assange and father John Shipton who were waiting on the tarmac, but avoided media at a news conference less than than two hours after he landed.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

There is no dark side of the moon…

from NPR

China has just returned the first-ever samples from the far side of the moon

by Geoff Brumfiel

The Chang'e 6 capsule landed in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia on Tuesday.
The Chang’e 6 capsule landed in the Chinese province of Inner Mongolia on Tuesday. / CCTV Screenshot by NPR

A Chinese probe has returned to Earth carrying the first samples ever taken from the far side of the moon. Chinese state television broadcast images Tuesday of the capsule holding the samples, as it floated down under parachute onto the grassy steppe of Inner Mongolia.

Scientists say the rocks inside the little space capsule could open a new window into how our nearest neighbor formed.

Chang’e 6, which landed on the far side in early June, wouldn’t be the first space mission to send home moon rocks that rewrote textbooks. Samples taken by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 upended what was then the prevailing theory about how the moon came to be.

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Do It Mayor Adams!

from Bloomberg

New York City Schools Should Be Next to Ban Mobile Phones

Los Angeles is moving in favor of students’ well-being. Mayor Eric Adams can ensure NYC does, too.

By Michael R. Bloomberg

This isn’t working.
This isn’t working.Source: monkeybusinessimages/iStockphoto

Last week the Los Angeles Unified School District took a big step in favor of common sense: It voted to ban mobile-phone use during school days. Other districts should follow its lead, starting with the largest one in the country: New York City.

Two decades ago, our administration banned mobile phones in all public schools, despite the storm of protests it generated. The ban was one of many policy changes that allowed us to transform the school system in ways that dramatically raised student achievement levels. Although it was undone by our successor, public support for mobile-phone bans has grown nationally — and across party lines.

Teachers know all too well how disruptive phones are to learning, with 72% of high school teachers nationwide calling phone use a “major problem.” No wonder: One study found that 97% of teens use their phones during school hours, receiving a median of 237 push notifications a day. Much of that screen time consists of playing video games, browsing social media and watching pornography — not exactly the three R’s.

[ click to continue reading at Bloomberg ]

Another Big Boom

from The Hill

‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ explosive event in space expected soon: What to know


A conceptual image of how to find Hercules and his mighty globular clusters in the sky created using a planetarium software. Look up after sunset during summer months to find Hercules! Scan between Vega and Arcturus, near the distinct pattern of Corona Borealis. Once you find its stars, use binoculars or a telescope to hunt down the globular clusters M13 and M92. If you enjoy your views of these globular clusters, you’re in luck – look for another great globular, M3, in the nearby constellation of Boötes. Credit: NASA

(NEXSTAR) — Stargazers and skywatchers have been treated to a stunning show of celestial events already in 2024: the total solar eclipse, the return of the ‘devil comet,’ and multiple nights colored by the northern lights have undoubtedly topped the list for some. 

But if that wasn’t enough for you, space experts say we’re due for another stellar sighting: a rare nova explosion that’ll bring a “new star” to the night sky. 

Earlier this year, NASA reported a star system, some 3,000 light years away, is expected to erupt. 

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that will create a lot of new astronomers out there, giving young people a cosmic event they can observe for themselves, ask their own questions, and collect their own data,” Dr. Rebekah Hounsell, an assistant research scientist specializing in nova events at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said in a statement. “It’ll fuel the next generation of scientists.”

Here’s what you need to know.

[ click to continue reading at The Hill ]

Beautiful Americans

from The Wall Street Journal

Europe Has a New Economic Engine: American Tourists

Free-spending visitors are fueling a powerful boom in southern Europe, flipping economic power in the EU. Some economists think it could end badly.

By Tom Fairless

A tourist poses for pictures in Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio, also known as Terreiro do Paço.

LISBON—The Americans are here, and this sun-bleached coastal city is booming. 

At bars, hotels and restaurants that line winding cobblestone streets, business is so good that Mayor Carlos Moedas recently slashed local income tax for residents. With economic growth of 8.2% last year and a 20% rise in tax revenue from prepandemic times, he’s also made public transportation free for young people and the elderly.

Centuries-old facades are being polished up after years of neglect. Planning is under way for a new airport, twice the size of the existing one, and for a three-hour high-speed rail link to Madrid in neighboring Spain. The Tribeca Film Festival will come to town this fall. 

Room rates in the city are rising, and tourism investment is flooding in. Gonçalo Dias, director and co-owner of the Ivens, a $1,000-a-night hotel in downtown Lisbon, said he plans to add a jazz club in the basement. More than half of his room reservations come from Americans. 

“Great times. The best times for the last 45 years,” he said. “It’s crazy.” 

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Donald Sutherland Gone

from the Los Angeles Times

Donald Sutherland, stately star of ‘MASH,’ ‘Ordinary People’ and ‘Hunger Games,’ dies at 88

By Nardine Saad

Donald Sutherland, the prolific Canadian actor who roared to fame in the irreverent antiwar classic “MASH” and captivated audiences with his dramatic performances in films such as “Ordinary People” and “Don’t Look Now,” has died.

A mainstay of Hollywood for more than six decades, Sutherland died Thursday in Miami after a long illness, his agency confirmed in a statement. He was 88.

Son Kiefer Sutherland also confirmed his father’s death “with a heavy heart” in a statement Thursday morning on social media. “I personally think one of the most important actors in the history of film. Never daunted by a role, good, bad or ugly. He loved what he did and did what he loved, and one can never ask for more than that. A life well lived.”

Donald Sutherland’s body of work showcased his transformative range, shifting comfortably from drama to comedy and bouncing between heavier and lighter roles with ease. Tall at 6-foot-4 with a shock of white hair and piercing blue eyes, he was difficult to miss whether he was playing a zany oddball, an icy tyrant or a sadistic villain. In all, he had nearly 200 film or television roles.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

A Toast to the Boogie: Art in the Name of Funkadelic

from WUSA 9

Founding father of funk George Clinton to launch new art exhibit in DC

The summer exhibition celebrates funk, and its impact on D.C.’s music scene.

Go-Go may be D.C.’s official music, but the District has gotta have that funk, too. Parliament-Funkadelic Founder George Clinton is in D.C. Tuesday to kickoff a new funk-centric art exhibit celebrating the genre. 

The new exhibit, “A Toast to the Boogie: Art in the Name of Funkadelic,” opens Tuesday at the I Street Gallery. It will feature works of art from 50 artists, including 16-year-old Sophia Sterling. The exhibition focuses on Clinton’s funk group Parliament-Funkadelic and the group’s influence on Washington D.C.

An opening reception is happening Tuesday night. Clinton will also be part of a panel discussion on Wednesday at the Rubel Museum.

In addition to artwork, there will also be never-before-seen memorabilia from the Clinton family on display.

“As a professional musician, this project is near and dear to my heart,” said DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities Executive Director Aaron Myers. “Seeing all these beautiful and vibrant paintings, the creative sculptures, the original photos of Parliament-Funkadelic from the Terrell family and the memorabilia from the Clinton family takes me back to the days of my childhood hearing the lyrics of the song ‘One Nation Under a Groove’ on the radio,” Myers added.

[ click to continue reading at WUSA 9 ]

Cup o’ Genes

from Xataka On

All the Data on Earth Can Fit in a Cup Full of DNA. This Is MIT’s Jurassic Park-Inspired Project

by Juan Carlos López

DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the molecule of life. While there are other essential molecules for life as we know it, DNA holds a special significance because it contains the instructions that cells use to produce proteins or RNA (ribonucleic acid) molecules. DNA is also responsible for genetic inheritance. However, this is far from everything DNA can be used for.

Since the early days of computing, scientists have been intrigued by the idea of using DNA to encode and store information, similar to how it functions naturally within living organisms. However, they’ve encountered challenges in manipulating DNA and preserving it over time without degradation, making it difficult to recover stored information in perfect condition.

Chemist James Banal, Jeremiah Johnson, and other scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology argue that DNA is the future of data storage. They also believe that DNA’s density is so high that it’d be possible to store all the information currently contained in all the computers and servers worldwide in a coffee cup if it were filled with DNA molecules. Because of the work of these scientists, we’re now closer than ever to achieving this goal.

[ click to continue reading at Xataka On ]


from The Atlantic


Inside the competition to lure affluent travelers with luxurious lounges

By Amanda Mull / Illustrations by Max Guther

illustration of many different travelers relaxing on large gray sofa in purple-carpeted lounge

On a bright, chilly Thursday in February, most of the people inside the Chase Sapphire Lounge at LaGuardia Airport appeared to be doing something largely absent from modern air travel: They were having fun. I arrived at Terminal B before 9:30 a.m., but the lounge had already been in full swing for hours. Most of the velvet-upholstered stools surrounding the circular, marble-topped bar were filled. Travelers who looked like they were heading to couples’ getaways or girls’ weekends clustered in twos or threes, waiting for their mimosas or Bloody Marys or the bar’s signature cocktail—a gin concoction turned a vibrant shade of violet by macerated blueberries, served in a champagne coupe.

Other loungers in the golden-lit, plant-lined, 21,800-square-foot space chatted over their breakfast, boozy or otherwise. At the elaborate main drink station that formed one wall of the lounge’s dining room, I chose the tap that promised cold brew, though spa water and a mysterious third spigot labeled only as “seasonal” beckoned. When I reached for what I thought was a straw, I pulled back a glistening tube of individually portioned honey, ready to be snapped into a hot cup of tea.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

The Fourth Protocol (almost)

from The Federalist

How Legendary Spy Novelist Frederick Forsyth Learned He’d Been ‘Bowdlerized’


“Good morning. A pleasure to meet you. Please forgive my attire. A difficult night.”

Somewhat disheveled and wearing only a bathrobe and slippers, Frederick Forsyth greeted me from what I assumed to be a favorite armchair in his living room. I felt slightly envious of a man who had reached an age and level of success where he doesn’t care what people think about him and doesn’t need to care.

Crisp, unwrinkled copies of The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph sat neatly on an ottoman in front of him awaiting his inspection. With an unexpected display of strength, his 60-something personal assistant lifted a substantial chair off the floor and moved it close to her employer, inviting me to sit down before she withdrew to get us coffee.

“So what is required of me?” Forsyth began with a formality that belied his ensemble. “An interview, is it?”

Now 85, his impeccable English manners were on display and, once primed, so was his agile mind.

Frederick Forsyth must be considered one of the inventors of the modern thriller novel. The author of such bestsellers as The Day of the JackalThe Odessa FileThe Dogs of War, and The Fourth Protocol, all major Hollywood productions, his career has spanned six decades, and with Eddie Redmayne set to play the Jackal in a television miniseries reboot of the 1971 novel-turned-film, his popularity shows no signs of slowing down, even if he does. To date, Forsyth has sold more than 70 million books in more than 30 languages.

[ click to continue reading at The Federalist ]

Up To Become Down, Left To Become Right?


The sun’s magnetic field is about to flip. Here’s what to expect.

By Daisy Dobrijevic

The sun is on the verge of a significant event: a magnetic field reversal. 

This phenomenon happens roughly every 11 years and marks an important stage in the solar cycle. The shift in polarity indicates the halfway point of solar maximum, the height of solar activity, and the beginning of the shift toward solar minimum. 

The last time the sun‘s magnetic field flipped was toward the end of 2013. But what causes this switch in polarity, and is it dangerous? Let’s take a deep look at the sun’s magnetic field reversal and investigate the effects it could have on Earth.

To understand the magnetic field’s reversal, first, it’s important to be familiar with the solar cycle. This approximately 11-year cycle of solar activity is driven by the sun’s magnetic field and is indicated by the frequency and intensity of sunspots visible on the surface. The height of solar activity during a given solar cycle is known as solar maximum, and current estimates predict it will occur between late 2024 and early 2026.

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Still Discovering…

from CNN

Greek archaeologists discover mysterious 4,000-year-old building on hill earmarked for new airport

By the Associated Press

The 4,000-year-old building was discovered on a hill in Crete, Greece, on a site earmarked for the development of a new airport. 
Greek Culture Ministry/AP

A big, round, 4,000-year-old stone building discovered on a Cretan hilltop is puzzling archaeologists and threatening to disrupt a major airport project on the Greek tourist island.

Greece’s Culture Ministry said Tuesday that the structure is a “unique and extremely interesting find” from Crete’s Minoan civilization, famous for its sumptuous palaces, flamboyant art and enigmatic writing system. Resembling a huge car wheel from above, the ruins of the labyrinthine, 1,800-square-meter (19,000-square-foot) building came to light during a recent dig by archaeologists.

The site was earmarked for a radar station to serve a new airport under construction near the town of Kastelli. Set to open in 2027, it’s projected to replace Greece’s second-biggest airport at Heraklion, and designed to handle up to 18 million travelers annually.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Wu-Tang Shkreli

from artnet

Martin Shkreli Sued for Allegedly Copying One-of-a-Kind Wu-Tang Clan Album

The lawsuit alleges Shkreli played the music on social media and bragged about it.

by Adam Schrader

Martin Shkreli outside the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 2017. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

The media-dubbed “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, who served four years of a seven-year sentence in prison for securities fraud, is now facing a lawsuit alleging he copied the secret Wu-Tang Clan album he was forced to sell after his conviction.

Wu-Tang Clan, the pioneering hip-hop group formed on Staten Island in 1992, sold its album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (2015) to Shkreli for $2 million in a 2015 auction by Paddle8. It was seized by the U.S. government, which sold it to PleasrDAO, a collective of digital art enthusiasts and cryptocurrency investors, for $4.75 million in 2021.

The album, released as a single physical copy enclosed in a handcrafted silver and nickel case, stands as a unique artistic statement that challenges the commodification and mass production of music in the digital age and draws parallels to fine art, a field where scarcity enhances value and significance. When the album was sold to PleasrDAO, the ownership deed came in the form of an NFT.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

The Big Whack

from The New York Times

A Big Whack That Made the Moon May Have Also Created Continents That Move

by Lucas Joel

A Big Whack That Made the Moon May Have Also Created Continents That Move

Some 4.5 billion years ago, many scientists say, Earth had a meetup with Theia, another planetary object the size of Mars. When the two worlds collided in a big whack, the thinking goes, debris shot into space, got locked into the orbit of the young, damaged Earth and led to the formation of our moon.

But the collision with Theia may have done more than that, according to a study published last month in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The impact may have given rise to something else: plate tectonics, the engine that drives the motion of Earth’s giant continental and oceanic plates and causes earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and the eventual remaking of our planet’s surface about every 200 million years.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]