Mommy, will the whale fall on top of us?

from The New York Times

Museumgoers Wonder: Why Doesn’t the Whale Fall?


From right, Roman Pacheco and his cousins visiting from Ecuador, Nancy and Marco Pacheco, look up at the massive blue whale suspended from the ceiling of the Hall of Ocean Life at the American Museum of Natural History. Credit Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

It is one of the biggest attractions — literally — at one of New York City’s most famous destinations: the 94-foot-long blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History. Untold numbers gaze in awe every day at the 21,000-pound creature poised majestically in midair above the Hall of Ocean Life.

They point and take photos. But how many visitors have pondered a basic question: What keeps the hulking whale “afloat”?

“I hadn’t even considered it,” said Ian Mark, 40, visiting recently from Scotland with his daughter, Sarah, 7.

“I didn’t think about it,” said Chris Witkowski, 30, from Jacksonville, Fla. “It is so massive, so that’s a good question.”

Gianina Arana, 27, visiting from Colombia, said the room’s immersive atmosphere played a role. The false skylights are backlit with blue bulbs and have projectors and mirrors behind them to give the impression, when you look up past the whale, that you are looking out of the ocean at the sky. “You feel like you’re part of the ocean, and so of course the whale is there,” she said. “That’s the magic of it.”

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No Mo’ Hackify

from SPIN

Spotify Shoots Down Band’s Silent Album Fundraising Hack

Vulfpeck would’ve used ‘Sleepify’ royalties to fund a free tour
WRITTEN BY John Surico

Vulfpeck wanted to go on tour this fall, but didn’t want to charge their fans admission. So the funk group released Sleepify, a Spotify exclusive comprising 10 tracks filled with absolutely no sound (alternately, as band leader Jack Stratton describes it above: “the most silent album ever recorded”). The March LP was an ingenious back door into the streaming service’s royalty system, designed to gather all of those precious half-cents into a pot large enough to send the Ann Arbor, Michigan crew on the road. But that won’t be happening now. According to Hypebot, Spotify has removed Sleepify from its registry.

The quartet was supposedly on track to raise $20,000 via the quiet release. Very early on,Rolling Stone reported that 120,000 streams had already been recorded — presumably many fans heeded Stratton’s advice of putting the album on repeat while they slept at night. Back then, Spotify seemed fine with it, and even hit back with a playful dash of criticism. “This is a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulfpeck’s earlier albums. Sleepify seems derivative of John Cage’s work,” a spokesperson had told Digiday, referencing the revered experimental composer behind the music-less song “4’33.”

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Space Rock Onslaught

from The Guardian

Asteroids cause dozens of nuclear-scale blasts in Earth’s atmosphere

Many explosions stronger than Hiroshima bomb but most occur too high above ground to cause serious damage

Link to video: Planet Earth comes under fire from asteroids

Asteroids caused 26 nuclear-scale explosions in the Earth’s atmosphere between 2000 and 2013, a new report reveals.

Some were more powerful – in one case, dozens of times stronger – than the atom bomb blast that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 with an energy yield equivalent to 16 kilotons of TNT.

Most occurred too high in the atmosphere to cause any serious damage on the ground. But the evidence was a sobering reminder of how vulnerable the Earth was to the threat from space, scientists said.

The impacts were recorded by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation, which operates a global network of sensors set up to detect nuclear weapon detonations. None of the asteroids were picked up or tracked in advance by any space- or Earth-based observatory.

The former astronaut Ed Lu, speaking about the data at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, said: “While most large asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent have been detected, less than 10,000 of the more than a million dangerous asteroids with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found by all existing space or terrestrially operated observatories.”

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from USA Today

Taller! Faster! Scarier! Best new extreme attractions

If you’re afraid of heights, you may want to stay indoors this summer. This is the year attractions are pushing and elbowing for the titles of world’s tallest, fastest, steepest, wettest … you name it. Check out our 10 “most extreme” new attractions for 2014, and start planning a trip to get your adrenaline flowing.

Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, N.J.

New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure already has the world’s tallest roller coaster — Kingda Ka topping 456 feet. So their engineers decided to strap another ride to the coaster’s superstructure. Billed as the world’s tallest drop tower that’s part of a coaster, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom takes riders to heights of 415 feet before dropping them back down at 90 mph. Scheduled to open this spring.

Falcon’s Fury, Busch Gardens, Tampa.

Opening this spring, the tallest, free-standing drop tower in North America is Falcon’s Fury — 335 feet tall and dropping riders at 60 mph. At the pinnacle of the tower, seats pivot 90° to point guests toward the ground face-down, just like the attack dive of its namesake bird of prey. USA TODAY Travel will have an exclusive look — including a video from the ride — April 25, so come back to this space!

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Forging Rothko

from The New York Times

Indictment Details How to Forge a Masterpiece


One of the Seagram murals by Mark Rothko. Federal prosecutors say Pei-Shen Qian copied him.CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

The painting caught Pei-Shen Qian’s eye, but it was the price that affected him deeply.

Mr. Qian, browsing in a booth at a Manhattan art show a decade ago, had stumbled across his own work: a forgery of a modern masterpiece that he had recently completed. He had sold it for just a few hundred dollars, to a man prosecutors now say was Mr. Qian’s co-conspirator in a long-running, $33 million art swindle, whose success stemmed in large measure from Mr. Qian’s skill.

The painter’s surprise encounter with his own handiwork, offered for sale at a price “far in excess” of what he had earned, prompted Mr. Qian to raise the price he charged for his forgeries, from several hundred to several thousand dollars, according to a federal fraud and money laundering indictment unsealed on Monday. But Mr. Qian, who produced the counterfeit masterworks in the garage of his home in Woodhaven, Queens, still received only a tiny fraction of the money his three co-conspirators netted in the scheme.

The case, which first came to light last year, upended the art world, where many dealers, collectors and experts were duped by Mr. Qian’s deft forgeries of Abstract Expressionist masters — painters like Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Robert Motherwell — and by the actions of two largely unknown art dealers.

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Live H8te

from Paste Magazine

Quentin Tarantino Stages Reading of Hateful Eight, Which is Apparently Not Dead

Quentin Tarantino Stages Reading of <i>Hateful Eight</i>, Which is Apparently Not Dead

Remember that Quentin Tarantino script that was leaked, and then spread everywhere by Gawker, resulting in lawsuits and counter-suits and a general ethical and legal melee and Tarantino pulling the plug on the whole thing out of spite and/or rage?

Well, the plug is no longer totally pulled The director staged a reading last night at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles that featured Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, James Parks, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Madsen, Denis Menochet, James Remar, Walton Goggins and Bruce Dern. The performance of the five-act western epic took 3.5 hours, and Tarantino told the crowd that re-writes are coming as the project moves forward…possibly all the way to the big screen.

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‘Hurricane’ Carter Gone

from The LA Times

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76; boxer wrongly imprisoned 19 years

Carter gained the support of Nelson Mandela and Bob Dylan, and his story was told in the 1999 Denzel Washington film ‘The Hurricane.’

By Steve Chawkins

Rubin 'Hurricane' CarterFormer boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter holds up the writ of habeas corpus that freed him from prison, during a news conference held in Sacramento, Calif., in 2004. Carter, who spent almost 20 years in jail after twice being convicted of a triple murder he denied committing, has died at his home in Toronto at 76. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press / January 29, 2004)

When Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was at his best as a boxer, it would have been impossible to foresee Nelson Mandela or Bob Dylan doing him any favors.

With his fearsome, drop-dead glare, precisely cut goatee and glistening, shaved head, Carter was violent and swaggering, a white racist’s caricature of a dangerous black man.

Talking to sportswriter Milton Gross for a 1964 story in the Saturday Evening Post, Carter made a widely publicized joking remark about killing cops in Harlem. At a weigh-in before a December 1963 fight against Emile Griffith, he chided his opponent by declaring: “You talk like a champ but you fight like a woman who deep down wants to be raped!”

PHOTOS: Notable deaths of 2014

The fight was stopped two minutes and 13 seconds into the first round, with Griffith collapsing in pain as Carter pummeled him, yelling: “You gotta pay the Hurricane!'”

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William With A Gun On His Front Porch

via MediaBistro’s UnBeige

Watch: William S. Burroughs Has a Gun

By Stephanie Murg

William S. Burroughs (1914-1997) was not inclined to share the frame. He made exceptions for things he adored, including cigarettes, cats, guns, and pretty much anything that connoted or denoted danger. Artist Kate Simon photographed the Beat writer over two decades, from 1975 to 1995, and an exhibition of her portraits is on view through May 9 at the London shop of Nick Knight‘s Showstudio.

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Rolling Stone’s Initial Pan of ZEPPELIN I

from Rolling Stone

Led Zeppelin I

By  / March 15, 1969

File:Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin (1969) front cover.png

The popular formula in England in this, the aftermath era of such successful British bluesmen as Cream and John Mayall, seems to be: add, to an excellent guitarist who, since leaving the Yardbirds and/or Mayall, has become a minor musical deity, a competent rhythm section and pretty soul-belter who can do a good spade imitation. The latest of the British blues groups so conceived offers little that its twin, the Jeff Beck Group, didn’t say as well or better three months ago, and the excesses of the Beck group’s Truth album (most notably its self-indulgence and restrictedness), are fully in evidence on Led Zeppelin’s debut album.

Jimmy Page, around whom the Zeppelin revolves, is, admittedly, an extraordinarily proficient blues guitarist and explorer of his instrument’s electronic capabilities. Unfortunately, he is also a very limited producer and a writer of weak, unimaginative songs, and the Zeppelin album suffers from his having both produced it and written most of it (alone or in combination with his accomplices in the group).

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Kentucky Fried Corsage

from Breitbart



LOUISVILLE, Ky., April 14 (UPI) — As part of a partnership between KFC and Nanz and Kraft Florists, prom-goers who want to bring their date something special now have the chance to surprise them with a chicken corsage.According to Nanz and Kraft, the corsage will “will make your date’s eyes light up and her mouth water.”Only 100 chicken corsages are available and the store has already sold 15 of them, according to the New York Daily News. “Just like the last piece of chicken in the bucket, when they’re gone, they’re gone.”

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What Rock ‘n Roll Used To Be

from SPIN

Watch KISS Turn ‘The Tonight Show’ Into the 1976 ‘Destroyer’ Tour

WRITTEN BY John Surico

“This is a profound moment for all of us,” Paul Stanley told the crowd at the Barclays Center on Thursday night. After almost 40 years playing together, his band, KISS, had been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, alongside Nirvana, Hall & Oates, Linda Ronstadt, Cat Stevens, and the E Street Band. But, while Dave Grohl, Joan Jett, and others took the stage as performers, KISS did not. The pop-metal legends did, however, smear on their makeup and strap on their instruments for one high-profile gig this week: On Friday, KISS reunited to appear on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

After a blaring introduction from Fallon himself, KISS conquered the NBC studio as if it was 1976 all over again. Tongues wagging and guitars shredding, the pyrotechnic-loving foursome played Destroyer cut “King of the Night Time World” for the telecast, and played “Black Diamond,” “Deuce,” and a mashup of “Hotter Than Hell” and “Firehouse” as web-only exclusives. Watch “King of the Night Time World” above and find the other clips below.

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Heartbleed Galactica

from The Washington Post

How ‘Battlestar Galactica’ explains Heartbleed


(SyFy) (SyFy)

Here’s the latest on Heartbleed: The critical Internet vulnerability doesn’t just affect Web services, but also extends to routers and networking hardware. Yes, that means that a hacker who gains access to a vulnerable router might be able to grab information from said router and use it against you — that is, unless your equipment is too old to be affected by the bug.

For anyone who’s watched Battlestar Galactica, this might sound familiar. In the opening hours of the Second Cylon War, the Galactica was among the humans’ few surviving warships after a crippling surprise attack by invading robots. Many of the fleet’s other battlestars were caught in a Pearl Harbor-like situation: disabled in spacedock, then mercilessly destroyed.

The ships were crippled by a devastating electronic attack that took advantage of a flaw in the Command Navigation Program, the operating system on which the fleet relied. The fleet’s networked computers allowed the hack to spread, shutting down systems everywhere. With their vessels offline, the Colonial fleet proved helpless against the onslaught. Their over-dependence on technology led to their defeat. But Galactica, being a much older battlestar, escaped. The CNP was never installed on its computers, nor were its computers ever networked. Galactica’s second-generation fighter craft were similarly behind the times — but in a head-to-head fight with the Cylons, this proved to be an advantage. Electronic warfare techniques didn’t work against them.

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Cliffs Notes AutoGen

from The Washington Post

Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say


Claire Handscombe has a commitment problem online. Like a lot of Web surfers, she clicks on links posted on social networks, reads a few sentences, looks for exciting words, and then grows restless, scampering off to the next page she probably won’t commit to.

“I give it a few seconds — not even minutes — and then I’m moving again,” says Handscombe, a 35-year-old graduate student in creative writing at American University.

“It’s like your eyes are passing over the words but you’re not taking in what they say,” she confessed. “When I realize what’s happening, I have to go back and read again and again.”

To cognitive neuroscientists, Handscombe’s experience is the subject of great fascination and growing alarm. Humans, they warn, seem to be developing digital brains with new circuits for skimming through the torrent of information online. This alternative way of reading is competing with traditional deep reading circuitry developed over several millennia.

“I worry that the superficial way we read during the day is affecting us when we have to read with more in-depth processing,” said Maryanne Wolf, a Tufts University cognitive neuroscientist and the author of “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”

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DOROTHY MUST DIE – Exclusive Trailer

from USA Today

Exclusive trailer: Preview the book ‘Dorothy Must Die’

Whitney Matheson, USA TODAY

Beneath that sweet exterior, Dorothy Gale is a cold, hard witch.

That’s the idea behind a new young-adult book, anyway — and I think it’s one that might prompt teens (and their parents) to take another plunge into the land of Oz.

In her dark new novel, Dorothy Must Die, Danielle Paige re-imagines the fantasy landscape we grew up with. Her world paints the Scarecrow as a character who “conducts inhumane experiments on winged monkeys,” the Tin Man as a trained killer, the Cowardly Lion as a “monster out for blood” and Dorothy as a power-hungry woman who must be stopped.

Today I’m debuting the trailer for the book, which goes on sale next week. Intrigued? A whopping 12 free chapters have been posted on Epic Reads. For $1.99 you also can grab No Place Like Oz, Paige’s prequel e-book.

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