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The Troubled Teen Machine

from The New Yorker

The Shadow Penal System for Struggling Kids

By Rachel Aviv

In the spring of her freshman year of high school, in 2011, Emma Burris was woken at three in the morning. Someone had turned on the lights in her room. She was facing the wall and saw a man’s shadow. She reached for her cell phone, which she kept under her pillow at night, but it wasn’t there. The man, Shane Thompson, who is six and a half feet tall, wore a shirt with “Juvenile Transport Agent” printed on the back. He and a colleague instructed Emma to put on her clothes and follow them to their car. “She was very verbal, resisting,” Thompson told me. Her parents, who had adopted her when she was seven, stood by the doorway, watching silently.

Thompson drove Emma away from her house, in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, and merged onto the highway. Emma, who was fifteen, tried to remember every exit sign she passed, so that she could find her way home, but she was crying too hard to remember the names. In his notes, Thompson wrote, “Emma voiced that she was confused as to why her mom was sending her away.” She was on the track, volleyball, and soccer teams, and she didn’t want to miss any games.

Part Scottish and part Puerto Rican, Emma was slight, with long, wavy blond hair. Her parents, whose lives revolved around their church, admonished her for being aggressive toward them and for expressing her sexuality too freely. She watched lesbian pornography and had lost her virginity to an older boy. She often read romance novels late at night, when she was supposed to be asleep. To avoid attracting her parents’ attention, she used the light from the street to work on a novel that told a story similar to her own life: a young girl spends her early years in foster care, where she is abused, until a Christian family saves her. To keep the ending upbeat, she found herself straying from the facts of her life. Emma worried that her parents, who had three biological children, considered her a burden. “There was always a sense of exile,” Emma said. Her mother sometimes told her, “If I have to love you from a distance, I will.”

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Editor

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The Dreamverse

from Nautilus

Weird Dreams Train Our Brains to Be Better Learners

BY JIM DAVIES

Photo Illustration by MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

For many of us over the last year and more, our waking experience has, you might say, lost a bit of its variety. We spend more time with the same people, in our homes, and go to fewer places. Our stimuli these days, in other words, aren’t very stimulating. Too much day-to-day routine, too much familiarity, too much predictability. At the same time, our dreams have gotten more bizarre. More transformations, more unrealistic narratives. As a cognitive scientist who studies dreaming and the imagination, this intrigued me. Why might this be? Could the strangeness serve some purpose?

Maybe our brains are serving up weird dreams to, in a way, fight the tide of monotony. To break up bland regimented experiences with novelty. This has an adaptive logic: Animals that model patterns in their environment in too stringent a manner sacrifice the ability to generalize, to make sense of new experiences, to learn. AI researchers call this “overfitting,” fitting too well to a given dataset. A face-recognition algorithm, for example, trained too long on a dataset of pictures might start identifying individuals based on trees and other objects in the background. This is overfitting the data. One way to look at it is that, rather than learning the general rules that it should be learning—the various contours of the face regardless of expression or background information—it simply memorizes its experiences in the training set. Could it be that our minds are working harder, churning out stranger dreams, to stave off overfitting that might otherwise result from the learning we do about the world every day?

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on October 17, 2021 by Editor

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Metaverse Emerging

from The Wall Street Journal

THE AMAZING THINGS YOU’LL DO IN THE ‘METAVERSE’ AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET THERE

Tech visionaries foresee a vast, immersive world that mirrors and extends the real one, allowing people to do and be what previously could only be imagined

by SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have had only one world in which to live: the real one. But tech visionaries say we’ll soon have an alternative: a virtual world where our digital avatars and those of people in our communities and around the globe come together to work, shop, attend classes, pursue hobbies, enjoy social gatherings and more.

Immersive videogames and virtual concerts have given us a taste of this world. But visionaries say the metaverse, as this world has been dubbed, will be far more engaging and robust, not only mirroring the real world in all its three-dimensional complexity but also extending it to allow us to be and do what previously could only be imagined. Walk on the moon in your pajamas? Watch a baseball game from the pitcher’s mound? Frolic in a field of unicorns—or be a unicorn yourself? In the metaverse, tech visionaries say, just about anything will be possible.

“The metaverse is going to be the biggest revolution in computing platforms the world has seen—bigger than the mobile revolution, bigger than the web revolution,” says Marc Whitten, whose title is “senior vice president and general manager of create” at San Francisco-based Unity Software Inc.

Unity is building tools and services to enable people to create metaverse content. Other big tech companies are developing​ hardware and software products for the metaverse​, or their own virtual worlds within it, including Nvidia Corp. , Roblox Corp. , Epic Games Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc..

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on October 16, 2021 by Editor

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Cultural Karens Killing Comedy

from the New York Post

‘Airplane!’ creator slams joy-killing threat: ‘Twitter 9 percent’

By David Zucker

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the release of “Airplane!,” the comedy I wrote and directed with my brother Jerry and our friend Jim Abrahams. Just before the world shut down, Paramount held a screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a Q&A in which an audience member asked a question we never used to receive: “Could you make ‘Airplane!’ today?” 

My response: “Of course, we could. Just without the jokes.” 

Although people tell me that they love “Airplane!” and it seems to be included on just about every Top Five movie-comedy list, there was talk at Paramount of withholding the rerelease over feared backlash for scenes that today would be deemed “insensitive.” 

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on October 15, 2021 by Editor

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Prince William Jealous He Didn’t Get To Go To Space

from Entertainment Tonight

William Shatner Reacts to Prince William’s Disapproval of Space Race

By Paige Gawley‍

William Shatner is responding to Prince William‘s criticism of space travel. ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with the 90-year-old actor on Thursday, one day after he traveled to space, and Shatner was quick to defend his journey, and space travel as a whole.

“He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day,” Shatner told ET of the Duke of Cambridge. “He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.”

Shatner, best known for playing Captain Kirk on Star Trek, went to space with Blue Origin, the company founded by Jeff Bezos, as one of four passengers on board the New Shepard NS-18 ship.

Though the duke didn’t mention Bezos by name, he told BBC, “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.” 

[ click to continue reading at ET ]

Posted on October 14, 2021 by Editor

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Chasing Caravaggio

from The Wall Street Journal

How the Chase for the Latest ‘Lost’ Caravaggio Has Captivated Europe’s Art World

If authenticated, a painting by the Baroque master—initially listed at auction this past spring for around $1,800 and potentially worth millions—could become one of the most valuable old master artworks in the world.

By Willem Marx

from Wikipedia

Late this March, Maria Cristina Terzaghi, an associate professor at Italian university Roma Tre, was writing about the acclaimed Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, when art dealer Fabrizio Moretti sent her a photograph of a painting via WhatsApp. It featured Pontius Pilate presenting a thorn-crowned Jesus, a recognizable tableau known as Ecce Homo. The exact image was new to Terzaghi, but its composition and light contrast felt familiar, mirroring other works by an artist she had studied for more than 17 years.

“Immediately, it was so clear. I said, ‘OK, I have to see it [in person],’ ” she recalls of her first glance. The starting bid for the artwork, which was slated to go on sale on April 8 at the Madrid auction house Ansorena, was just 1,500 euros, equivalent to about $1,800.Terzaghi asked the dealer and auctioneers for higher-resolution images, which further fueled her supposition that the work was an authentic Caravaggio. Based on interviews with almost a dozen of the world’s leading Caravaggio experts, it is a theory that the vast majority of them now support—and one which the dealer overseeing the work’s authentication aims to confirm in a report that he expects to release in early 2022. 

In the high-stakes world of old masters hunting, a “sleeper” refers to a lost masterpiece that’s stayed out of the public eye, sometimes for centuries, often due to an earlier misattribution. As in this case, its true identity is often unknown to an owner, but its existence has been surmised by academics. If authenticated, the painting—titled The Crowning of Thorns by the auction house and Ecce Homo by most scholars—may prompt scholars to rethink already disputed Caravaggio works elsewhere and a significant portion of his career. 

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on October 8, 2021 by Editor

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Don Brando

from Vanity Fair

“Marlon Was as Dead as Could Be”: How Brando Beat the Odds and Became the Godfather

He was the only actor Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola could imagine as Mafia patriarch Don Corleone in The Godfather. There were just two problems: The studio didn’t want Brando, and Brando didn’t want the role. An excerpt from a new book reveals how flattery, a fake seizure, and a stealth screen test changed the course of cinematic history.

BY MARK SEAL

Brando being transformed into Don Corleone.nbsp
Brando being transformed into Don Corleone. FROM MOVIESTORE/SHUTTERSTOCK.

​It was January 1971. Paramount had snagged the rights to Mario Puzo’s raging best seller, The Godfather, cheap. Now, the studio had to make the picture, which many bankable directors had turned down. A promising young filmmaker named Francis Ford Coppola had begrudgingly taken on the project. But the studio resisted most of his casting decisions, especially the seemingly washed-up actor he was determined to cast as the lead. The battle over The Godfather had begun …

From the start, Francis Ford Coppola knew exactly who he wanted for all the major roles. He wrote out his wish list on lined yellow paper, with asterisks next to his top choices: Al Pacino as Michael, James Caan as Sonny, and Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen. Thus began the major battle of The Godfather, one that would far eclipse the heated skirmishes over where the movie would be shot and its increasingly escalating budget. On one side was Coppola, a young director determined to cast the actors he saw so vividly in his imagination. On the other side was Robert Evans, a studio chief determined to avoid the miscasting that had plagued Mob films like The Brotherhood. “Bob Evans was very handsome, tall, and impressive,” Coppola remembered. “I wanted him to accept and have confidence in me but wasn’t at all convinced that he did.”

And if Evans continued to harbor doubts about the young, untested director, they were confirmed by Coppola’s choice to play Don Corleone.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Editor

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Cosmic Fireball, cool

from Study Finds

Fire and brimstone: Sodom and Gomorrah perhaps destroyed by ‘cosmic fireball,’ evidence shows

Sodom and Gomorrah meteor
Artist’s impression of cloudburst from meteor at Sodom and Gomorrah site.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The biblical “sin cities” of Sodom and Gomorrah could have been destroyed by a meteor “cloudburst” that incinerated all 8,000 inhabitants, a fascinating new study suggests. The giant space rock exploded over the town 3,650 years ago, creating a fireball. Scientists say the same event might also have given rise to the tale of Jericho’s walls “tumbling down,” as that city was just 20 miles away.

In the Bible, God was said to have been enraged by the wickedness of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, raining “fire and brimstone” upon them. Now there seems to be hard evidence that a “heavenly event” really did happen around that time. The cosmic calamity laid waste to the Jordan River Valley’s northern shore, razing a huge 100-acre city to the ground. It also exterminated other cities and multiple small villages. There would have been no survivors.

The epicenter of Jordan is located at what is today known as Tall el-Hammam. An ancient palace was flattened, along with the perimeter walls and other structures. Detonation occurred about 2.5 miles above the ground.  Even at that distance, the blast created a 740 mph shock wave. It would have leveled most of the buildings. None of the 8,000 residents would have survived the initial blast or the rock melting temperatures that followed. 

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on October 6, 2021 by Editor

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DART to Didymoon

from The Daily Mail

‘Planetary defense!’ NASA will launch November mission to deflect ‘devastating’ asteroid from hitting Earth by NUDGING it with a spacecraft, agency says

By CHRIS CIACCIA

NASA said on Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid in deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch
NASA said on Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid in deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch

NASA said on Monday that its mission to deflect an asteroid in deep space using a spacecraft is targeting a late November launch.

Known as the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the U.S. space agency will send the DART spacecraft to a pair of asteroids – the Didymos binary – at 1:20 a.m. EST on November 24 aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

DART will smash in one of the two asteroids, known as Didymoon, at roughly 13,500mph on October 2, 2022.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Mail ]

Posted on October 5, 2021 by Editor

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Lesbian Space Commune, cool

from Vice

Grimes Wants to Rebound from Elon Musk With ‘Lesbian Space Commune’

Elon Musk and Grimes announced they were “semi-separated” last week—and Grimes has plans for her next move.

By Samantha Cole

GETTY IMAGES

Everyone deserves a little rebound moment after getting out of a long term relationship. Grimes, the electronic artist who spent three years dating SpaceX founder Elon Musk, announced that her post-breakup plan involves settling on one of Jupiter’s moons to establish a “lesbian space commune.” 

Grimes, whose real name is Claire Boucher, sat in the other room while Musk broke the news about their “semi-” separation last week to Hollywood gossip newspaper Page Six.  

“I’ll be colonizing Europa separately from Elon for the lesbian space commune,” she wrote in an email today to Page Six. In July, NASA awarded Musk’s rocket ship company SpaceX a $178 million launch services contract for its mission to Europa. 

[ click to continue reading at Vice ]

Posted on September 28, 2021 by Editor

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It’s Coming

Posted on September 24, 2021 by Editor

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Rodrigo Corral

from Slate

Sometimes You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

Graphic designer Rodrigo Corral explains how he comes up with iconic book-jacket art.

BY RUMAAN ALAM

A bearded, smiling man.
Rodrigo Corral Anna Kassoway

On this week’s episode of Working, Rumaan Alam spoke with graphic designer and creative director Rodrigo Corral. They discussed his work designing book-cover art, where he looks for inspiration for designs, and how he corresponds with authors when creating a cover for their work. This partial transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Rumaan Alam: I’ve wanted for a long time to talk to someone for this show who designs book jackets. Just to establish for our listeners some of your work, because I think that a lot of people are going to know your work, I’m going to mention the cover of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, which shows a hand covered in sprinkles against a pale blue backdrop; or I’ll mention John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which has a black cloud sitting on top of a white cloud with this lettering that looks like chalk on a blackboard; or I’ll mention Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which has a spray-painted silhouette that looks like graffiti, but it also looks like a Rorschach test.

If you go to the bookstore right now in this country, you’re going to see paperback editions of Rachel Cusk’s OutlineTransit, and Kudos which each have these arresting photographs on the cover: a seashell perched in the sand, a praying mantis trapped in a plastic cup, a view from an airplane window.

I’m only mentioning a few of your designs, but I think this gives a sense of what it is that you’ve done that really caught my attention, which is book design. What does the brief look like when you’re designing a book jacket, and how is that different than when the task is to design a hotel logo or an illustration for a magazine article?

[ click to continue reading interview at Slate ]

Posted on September 23, 2021 by Editor

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‘Out of Cluck’

from The Daily Beast

New Zealand Cops Arrest Men Entering Locked-Down City With ‘Large Amounts’ of Illicit KFC

by Jamie Ross

New Zealand Police/The Guardian

Two men have been arrested in New Zealand for allegedly attempting to bring a “large amount” of illicit KFC into Auckland, where a lockdown has forced all fast-food outlets to shut their doors. According to The Guardian, the men were attempting to speed away with a trunk full of chicken and coleslaw when they were pulled over by police. Cops said they found at least three buckets of chicken, 10 tubs of coleslaw, and a big stash of fries on the side. Police also found $100,000 in cash and a number of empty ounce bags. Cops posted a photo of the delicious evidence, and a spokesperson said: “The vehicle was searched and police located the cash, alongside empty ounce bags and a large amount of takeaways.” The Guardian reports that the men are expected in court for breaching COVID rules and could face prison for up to six months or a fine of up to $4,000.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on September 22, 2021 by Editor

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F–k this mart

from Fox 5 NY

Walmart worker resigns over store loudspeakers: ‘F–k this job’

By FOX 5 NY Staff

NEW YORK – A Walmart worker quit in a profanity-laced tirade over the Louisiana store’s loudspeakers.

Beth McGrath’s posted the video of her resignation on Facebook.

“Attention Walmart shoppers and associates, my name is Beth from electronics,” Beth McGrath said over the store’s PA system.  “I’ve been working at Walmart for almost five years and I can say that everyone here is overworked and underpaid.”

In a Facebook video she posted of the stunt, McGrath said, “The attendance policy is bulls–t. We’re treated from management and customers poorly every day.  Whenever we have a problem with it, we’re told that we’re replaceable.”

“I’m tired of the constant gaslighting,” McGrath went on to say. “This company treats their elderly associates like s–t. To Jarred, our store manager, you’re a pervert. Greta and Kathy, shame on y’all for treating our associates the way you do. I hope you don’t speak to your families the way you speak to us.”

She ended the 1:11 video with “F–k management and f–k this job. I quit.”

She posted the video on Facebook with the comment, “On to better things.”

Thousands of people have responded to her post.  McGrath posted a follow-up video thanking everyone who had commented, liked, and shared the post.

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on September 21, 2021 by Editor

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President Pacquiao

from France 24

Pacquiao: king of the ring rumbles for Philippine presidency

Fans see Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, as living proof that success is possible for anyone who works hard
Fans see Pacquiao, an eight-division world champion, as living proof that success is possible for anyone who works hard Patrick T. FALLON AFP/File

Manila (AFP)

Manny Pacquiao is idolised by many in the Philippines both for his punching power and rise from poverty to the peak of world boxing. But his support of a deadly war on drugs and homophobic views have drawn plenty of detractors.

Known in the Asian archipelago as “The National Fist”, Pacquiao has parlayed sporting success into the political ring, and now has his sights set on a high-stakes rumble for the presidency.

Pacquiao declared Sunday he will run for the top job in the 2022 elections, vowing to tackle poverty and corruption as he seeks to win over voters with his rags-to-riches story.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on September 20, 2021 by Editor

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Cruising Nashville

from The New York Times

In the Heart of Nashville, Rolling Parties Rage at Every Stoplight

As Nashville’s popularity has grown, so has the “transportainment” business — a motley assortment including old buses, farm tractors and a truck with a hot tub. Many think it has gotten out of hand.

By Rick Rojas / Photographs by William DeShazer

In the Heart of Nashville, Rolling Parties Rage at Every Stoplight
The Big Green Tractor Tours trailer rolled through downtown Nashville in August.Credit…William DeShazer for The New York Times.

NASHVILLE — The John Deere tractor pulled onto Broadway and rumbled into the madness.

On a Friday night in the heart of Nashville, as crowds and music spilled from packed clubs, it lumbered along at 5 miles per hour, tugging a canopied trailer with flashing lights and a group of friends from Denver sipping drinks and dancing to Shania Twain.

It wasn’t especially conspicuous. The Big Green Tractor, as it’s called, passed an open-air school bus crammed with partiers, and then another, and another. It also crept beside a vehicle with women leaning over a railing in tank tops printed with the slogan “Let’s Get Nashty!”

The tractor hadn’t even made it a mile.

“It’s the Wild West out here,” Ronee Heatherly said from her perch behind the bar of the Big Green Tractor, where she served variously as safety monitor, bartender, D.J., photographer, tour guide and taunter of ride-share drivers blocking the tractor’s path. (She blasted the Ludacris song “Move” as she stared them down.)

As Nashville has cemented its reputation as a destination for getaways and bachelorette trips, party vehicles have proliferated, promising a rollicking good time and quite a stage to see and be seen while exploring the city. But there’s a growing sense — among residents, local officials, even some in the so-called transportainment industry — that it has all gotten out of hand.

“We made the monster, and now we can’t control the monster,” said Steve Haruch, a journalist and the editor of the book “Greetings From New Nashville.” “It’s the plot of every monster movie.”

[ click to continue reading at The New York Times ]

Posted on September 19, 2021 by Editor

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Lavaland

from France 24

Iceland’s volcanic eruption the longest in half a century

The first lava began spewing out of a fissure close to Mount Fagradalsfjall on the evening of March 19 on the Reykjanes peninsula to the south west of Reykjavik
The first lava began spewing out of a fissure close to Mount Fagradalsfjall on the evening of March 19 on the Reykjanes peninsula to the south west of Reykjavik Jeremie RICHARD AFP

Fagradalsfjall (Islande) (AFP)

It will be six months on Sunday that the volcanic eruption currently mesmerising spectators near Reykjavik first began, making it the longest Iceland has witnessed in more than 50 years.

The first lava began spewing out of a fissure close to Mount Fagradalsfjall on the evening of March 19 on the Reykjanes peninsula to the southwest of Reykjavik.

And the ensuing spectacle — ranging from just a slow trickle of lava at times to more dramatic geyser-like spurts of rocks and stones at others — has become a major tourist attraction, drawing 300,000 visitors so far, according to the Iceland Tourist Board.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on September 18, 2021 by Editor

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Death Eating

from The Guardian

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

by Brian Handwerk

‘In creating fields of identical wheat, we abandoned thousands of highly adapted and resilient varieties’
‘In creating fields of identical wheat, we abandoned thousands of highly adapted and resilient varieties.’ Photograph: uchar/Getty Images

It’s not just animals that are at risk of dying out, the world’s crops are in rapid decline. Here’s why it matters what is on your plate.

In eastern Turkey, in a golden field overshadowed by grey mountains, I reached out and touched an endangered species. Its ancestors had evolved over millions of years and migrated here long ago. It had been indispensable to life in the villages across this plateau, but its time was running out. “Just a few fields left,” the farmer said. “Extinction will come easily.” This endangered species wasn’t a rare bird or an elusive wild animal, it was food, a type of wheat: a less familiar character in the extinction story now playing out around the world, but one we all need to know.

To most of us, one field of wheat might look much like any other, but this crop was extraordinary. Kavilca (pronounced Kav-all-jah) had turned eastern Anatolian landscapes the colour of honey for 400 generations (about 10,000 years). It was one of the world’s earliest cultivated foods, and is now one of the rarest.

How can a food be close to extinction and yet at the same time appear to be everywhere? The answer is that one type of wheat is different from another, and many varieties are at risk, including ones with important characteristics we need to combat crop diseases or climate change. Kavilca’s rarity is emblematic of the mass extinction taking place in our food.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on September 17, 2021 by Editor

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Deep Porn

from unherd

Deepfakes have disturbing implications for porn

A new app digitally superimposes women into videos — this is only the start

Credit: Getty

Artifical Intelligence has been heralded as ‘the future’ for as long as I can remember. The excitement is understandable: scientists may one-day be able to create an AI that is so efficient it can substitute the manual work of humans, replacing doctors, engineers and even journalists. But professional occupations are not the only area AI can be a powerful force.

Just a few weeks ago I speculated that if apps like Replika, which is supposed to simulate both friendships and romantic relationships, became too effective in their job they may replace certain aspects of human interpersonal relationships. AI could provide the same sort of parasocial digital relationship that one may gain through purchasing an OnlyFans membership, while cutting out the human on the other side of the screen altogether.

[ click to continue reading at UnHerd ]

Posted on September 16, 2021 by Editor

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The Lobster Lady

from AP

At 101, she’s still hauling lobsters with no plans to stop

By PATRICK WHITTLE and ROBERT F. BUKATY

Virginia Oliver, age 101, works as a sternman, measuring and banding lobsters on her son Max Oliver's boat, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, off Rockland, Maine. The state's oldest lobster harvester has been doing it since before the onset of the Great Depression. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)

ROCKLAND, Maine (AP) — When Virginia Oliver started trapping lobster off Maine’s rocky coast, World War II was more than a decade in the future, the electronic traffic signal was a recent invention and few women were harvesting lobsters.

Nearly a century later, at age 101, she’s still doing it. The oldest lobster fisher in the state and possibly the oldest one in the world, Oliver still faithfully tends to her traps off Rockland, Maine, with her 78-year-old son Max.

Oliver started trapping lobsters at age 8, and these days she catches them using a boat that once belonged to her late husband and bears her own name, the “Virginia.” She said she has no intention to stop, but she is concerned about the health of Maine’s lobster population, which she said is subject to heavy fishing pressure these days.

“I’ve done it all my life, so I might as well keep doing it,” Oliver said.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on September 15, 2021 by Editor

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Alex Pettyfer on “I Am Number Four” Sequel

from Screen Rant

Alex Pettyfer Gives Honest Answer About Why I Am Number Four 2 Didn’t Happen

Exclusive: Actor Alex Pettyfer honestly answers why he thinks a sequel to 2011’s I Am Number Four directed by DJ Caruso has never happened.

BY PAUL SHIREY

I Am Number Four featured

Actor Alex Pettyfer gave an honest answer to why he thinks a sequel to 2011’s I Am Number Four has never happened. Pettyfer first made a name for himself by starring in an adaptation of the Alex Rider young adult spy series, Stormbreaker. A few years later, he starred in I Am Number Four before moving on to Magic Mike, which served as a launching pad kind of role for the actor. Pettyfer played John Smith in I Am Number Four, which was directed by DJ Caruso and co-starring Dianna Agron, Teresa Palmer, and Timothy Olyphant.

While speaking to Screen Rant, Pettyfer said he enjoyed making the movie and was hopeful for a sequel. Still, during the time of release, the slate of Dreamworks films at the box office failed to perform, which essentially wiped the slate clean moving forward with new properties. Here’s what Pettyfer had to say about why no sequel was made and likely won’t be:

“I know. I wish we could have made a sequel to I Am Number Four. I really loved making that movie. You had Steven Spielberg as the producer, you had Michael Bay as a producer, DJ Caruso, but I think they tried something on that movie, and I’m being very honest, where the book, which was written by Pittacus Lore, which was James Frey basically, they tried some really interesting, creative publicity where the film and the book are released at the same time. I think that at the time, Dreamworks had War Horse, they had Hugh Jackman did that robot movie, and there was one other film. And I think just as a collective slate, maybe the movies didn’t perform as well as they should have. And so the slate was kind of wiped clean for Dreamworks to start again with a new slate relationship with funding. I really loved I Am Number Four, and I loved working with DJ, and I loved that concept and that kind of alienation of an outsider, people not accepting you for who you are. I know that movie or that franchise would have gone into a much mature … and the evolution of that would, I definitely know that because DJ was showing me, but we can dream, should we say.”

[ click to read full article at Screen Rant ]

Posted on September 14, 2021 by Editor

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Bowie The Pioneer

from InsideHook

The Forgettable David Bowie Song That Changed the Music Industry Forever

25 years ago, Bowie debuted “Telling Lies,” the first major downloadable single on the web

BY KIRK MILLER

David Bowie, live on stage in 1996, close to the time he released the first major label downloadable single
David Bowie in 1996, the year he released a downloadable single online / Mick Hutson, SEAN GLADWELL

“I am the future / I’m tomorrow / I am the end.” — David Bowie, “Telling Lies”

If the music industry was going to undergo a tumultuous shift, it might as well have had David Bowie providing the soundtrack. On September 11th, 1996,  Bowie’s “Telling Lies” became the first ever downloadable single by a major artist, arriving on Bowie’s website in three different formats, released over three weeks (a traditional single was later released in November).

As a song, “Telling Lies” is … well, it’s pretty generic drum ‘n’ bass with some brooding Bowie lyrics (“swear to me in times of war and stress”) and no real hook. It’s dark and maybe reflects the singer’s time spent touring as a co-headliner with Nine Inch Nails earlier that year. As AllMusic noted at the time about Earthling, the album from which “Lies” served as the first single, “The record frequently sounds as if the beats were simply grafted on top of pre-existing songs. Never are the songs broken open by a new form; they are fairly conventional Bowie songs with fancy production.”

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on September 13, 2021 by Editor

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The Evil Sun

from KTVZ

Growing risk of once-in-a-century solar superstorm that could knock out internet, study says

By Alexandra Mae Jones

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TORONTO (CTV Network) — Imagine if one day the internet was down not just in your neighbourhood, but across the globe, knocked out by a threat from space: an enormous solar superstorm.

It sounds like science fiction, but a new study says it could become our reality earlier than we think if we don’t prepare properly for the next time the sun spits a wave of magnetized plasma at us.

“Astrophysicists estimate the likelihood of a solar storm of sufficient strength to cause catastrophic disruption occurring within the next decade to be 1.6 — 12 per cent,” the study states.

“Paying attention to this threat and planning defenses against it, […] is critical for the long-term resilience of the internet.”

[ click to continue reading at KTVZ ]

Posted on September 12, 2021 by Editor

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20-years Later

Posted on September 11, 2021 by Editor

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Watch Your Head

from The US Sun

Scorned wife raids ex-husband’s cryogenics lab stealing frozen brains of people who hoped to be brought back to life

by Will Stewart

Valeria Udalova, 59, and staff from her company grabbed the remains of people who paid thousands of pounds hoping they could be resurrected.

Some of the corpses were from Britain and the US and were stored in Valeria’s ex-husband Danila Medvedev, 41, lab in the Moscow region of Russia.

The lab is Russia’s leading cryo-storage facility, say reports.

They drained liquid nitrogen from giant dewar flasks containing frozen bodies and grabbed these and some detached human brains, then loaded them on trucks. 

Police were called and intercepted the macabre cargo of human remains preserved by “Frankenstein” technology offering humans the chance to “come back to life” in future.

But Medvedev told RTVi: “The police did not catch Valeria. 

“She left, taking someone’s brain from the cryo-storage. 

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on September 10, 2021 by Editor

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It’s Lonely Out In Space

from The Telegraph

The lonely journey of a UFO conspiracy theorist in an age of distrust

by Jose A. Del Real, The Washington Post

The night sky from Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado in July.
The night sky from Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado in July. Photo for The Washington Post by David Williams

DENVER – All day long, Douglas Wilson had tended to cracked sidewalks and overgrown lawns, but now his shift was over, and he felt exalted as he looked up at the boundless Colorado sky.

To pay the bills, Doug was a groundskeeper for a local school district in Denver. But his real calling – his vocation – was the search for truth.

Specifically: the search for truth about aliens, whose existence and technology he believed the U.S. government discovered decades ago and has kept hidden from the public.

“I can’t tell you we’re ever going to find the answers in our lifetime,” Doug, 63, said one recent summer afternoon, his grandfatherly eyes peering through gold-rimmed aviator glasses. “It is so very similar to the religious experience. It really is.”

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on September 3, 2021 by Editor

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Lee “Scratch” Perry Gone

from The Guardian

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, visionary master of reggae, dies aged 85

by Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Producer and performer who worked with Bob Marley and pioneered both dub and roots reggae styles dies in hospital in Jamaica

Obituary: one of Jamaica’s finest and most unpredictable musicians

Lee “Scratch” Perry, whose pioneering work with roots reggae and dub opened up profound new depths in Jamaican music, has died aged 85.

Jamaican media reported the news that he died in hospital in Lucea, northern Jamaica. No cause of death has yet been given. Andrew Holness, the country’s prime minister, sent “deep condolences” to Perry’s family.

The loping tempos of Perry’s work established the roots reggae sound that Bob Marley made world famous, while his dub production, with its haunting use of space and echo, would have a profound influence on post-punk, hip-hop, dance music and other genres. Along with his gnomic pronouncements and mystical air, he became one of Jamaica’s most unusual and esteemed artists. Keith Richards once described him as “the Salvador Dalí of music. He’s a mystery. The world is his instrument. You just have to listen.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on August 29, 2021 by Editor

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Ouch. Scary.

Posted on August 26, 2021 by Editor

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Eephus!

Posted on August 25, 2021 by Editor

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The Seven Sisters

from LiveScience

100,000-year-old story could explain why the Pleiades are called ‘Seven Sisters’

By Adam Mann

A picture of Messier 45, known as the pleiades star cluster or the Seven Sisters.
The Pleiades star cluster is also called the Seven Sisters. It may have gotten that name from the oldest story ever told. (Image credit: LazyPixel/Brunner Sébastien via Getty Images)

People both modern and ancient have long known of the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, a small collection of stars in the constellation Taurus. 

But this famous assembly could point the way to the world’s oldest story, one told by our ancestors in Africa nearly 100,000 years ago, a speculative new study has proposed. To make this case, the paper’s authors draw on similarities between Greek and Indigenous Australian myths about the constellation.  But one expert told Live Science that similarities in these myths could be pure chance, not a sign they emerged from a common origin.

Related: 12 trippy images hidden in the zodiac

The Pleiades are part of what astronomers call an open star cluster, a group of stars all born around the same time. Telescopes have identified more than 800 stars in the region, though most humans can spot only about six on a clear, dark night. 

[ click to continue reading at LiveScience ]

Posted on August 24, 2021 by Editor

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C.S. Tao

from Law & Liberty

Uncovering the Tao of C.S. Lewis

by Samuel Gregg

C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis (AF archive/Alamy Stock Photo).

In the midst of World War II, Oxford University Press published a short book by a middle-aged don who used the way in which English was taught in secondary school to launch a defense of the idea that there is objective moral truth, that it contains deep content, and that we can know it. The author was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he taught literature. But C.S. Lewis had also acquired a formidable reputation as a Christian apologist, himself having embraced atheism at age 15 before returning first to theism in 1929 and then his Anglican faith of the orthodox variety in 1931.

Lewis’s short book The Abolition of Man (1943) was not, however, about religion in general or Christianity in particular. It was an affirmation of the claim that there is a self-evident moral ecology grounded in human anthropology which has been recognized in the world’s most prominent cultures, including non-Western societies. We deny, Lewis maintained, this moral reality at our peril. For to do so would not only amount to erasing our very identity as humans (ergo, the book’s title), but also because repudiation of this universal moral code leaves us helpless in the face of will-to-power types.

The Abolition of Man quickly became a best-seller and continues to be read today by people from all types of cultural and religious backgrounds. It has been praised by individuals across the philosophical spectrum ranging from Joseph Ratzinger to John Gray, Michael Polanyi, and Francis Fukuyama. Many today, including a good number of agnostics and atheists, find the present abysmal state of Western culture ample confirmation of the prophetic character of Lewis’s thesis.

[ click to continue reading at Law & Liberty ]

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Editor

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The Birth of Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

from InsideHook

What Was It About Siskel and Ebert?

The podcast “Gene and Roger” delves into the sometimes-contentious relationship that catapulted two Chicago film critics to legendary status

BY MICHAEL STAHL

In the PG-rated 1993 film Cop and a Half, Burt Reynolds portrays a curmudgeonly police officer who’s seen it all … almost. Despite his protest, Reynolds’s no-nonsense detective is tasked with babysitting an eight-year-old boy while on the job. He has to show him the ropes so that the kid, who’d witnessed a mafia hit, will finger the offender. The boy’s biggest dream in life is to become a cop, and he seizes the opportunity when it presents itself by blackmailing the police force into a ride-along. Hijinks ensue, and the kid’s meddlesome ways torture Reynolds’s character. He wants to catch the bad guys; the boy just wants to have fun. 

It’s David vs. Goliath, directed by “The Fonz” himself: Henry Winkler. In spite of earning more than $26 million in profit for its producers and spawning a 2017 spinoff starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Cop and a Half  holds a pitiful score of 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer

Critics hated it. With one shocking exception.

Roger Ebert, already a legendary film critic who’d won a Pulitzer Prize, said upon its release that Cop and a Half  was “amusing” and that it “moves.” He also praised the performances of Reynolds and Norman D. Golden II, as the titular “Half.” 

“Somewhat to my surprise, I liked it,” he said, concluding his onscreen TV review. 

Ebert then turned away from his lens and faced his broadcast partner, Gene Siskel, a highly respected film critic in his own right, to hear his remarks. 

“Wowee,” the fellow Midwesterner Siskel began, gobsmacked by Ebert’s upbeat take. Through syncopated crosstalk, Siskel panned the performances, insisting there was no chemistry between Reynolds and Golden II, who he said seemed to be “looking for his lines.” 

“Gee, I thought it was dumb,” Siskel added about the movie as a whole. “Not colorful whatsoever.”

Barbed disagreements like this one — though it was hardly contained to a single exchange — helped keep Siskel and Ebert on the air, together, for the better part of a quarter century. Beginning in 1975, Gene Siskel, a Chicago Tribune reviewer, teamed up with Roger Ebert, critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, for a series of television programs that pitted the local newspaper rivals against each other, thereby providing audiences with distinctive, nuanced but uniformly astute observations on feature films. It was Goliath vs. Goliath, and the legacy of these programs, as well as the personalities of the cohosts, is the subject of a compelling new audio documentary series, Gene and Roger

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on August 22, 2021 by Editor

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Silly Filly

from Kentucky.com

Racehorse bucks jockey, escapes Ellis Park, takes a run in traffic

BY KARLA WARD

Racehorse Bold and Bossy bucked jockey Miguel Mena before the first race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Saturday. Video shared on social media showed her running along a major highway.
Racehorse Bold and Bossy bucked jockey Miguel Mena before the first race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Saturday. Video shared on social media showed her running along a major highway. CULLEN STANLEY FACEBOOK

A racehorse bucked its rider and escaped Ellis Park Saturday afternoon, taking a run down a major highway before being captured, media outlets reported.

Video posted on Twitter showed the #4 horse racing alongside traffic on the shoulder of the road. Another video, shared on Facebook by Cullen Stanley, showed the horse running toward vehicles that appeared to be stopped on a four-lane highway.

“Horse running at me full speed on I-69 today,” he wrote. “No idea how it started or ended. Odd times we live in.”

[ click to continue reading at Kentucky.com ]

Posted on August 21, 2021 by Editor

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