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Taco Bell Hotel Books Out in Two Minutes

from USA Today

Taco Bell’s pop-up hotel reservations sell out in 2 minutes

Sherry Barkas, Palm Springs Desert Sun

A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first  ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12.
A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12. (Photo: Courtesy of Taco Bell)

Apparently, people were excited about the prospect of sleeping in a taco-themed room. 

So excited that reservations for the Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California, sold out in just 2 minutes after opening at 10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, reports The Desert Sun, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. 

“Taco Bell fans are truly one of a kind, and today was one of the best expressions of that fandom yet,” Taco Bell Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in an email. “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort officially sold out in just 2 minutes. We would like to extend a big ‘thank you’ for those who have come along on this journey with us and even though The Bell is sold out, we’ll have more to share on exclusive merchandise, food and more in the coming weeks so those unable to score a room can still experience the fun from home.”

Guests will stay in rooms decorated wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with Taco Bell artwork, wake up to a special Taco Bell breakfast delivered to their door and float in the pool on a giant Taco Bell sauce packet raft.

It’s where “taco dreams really do come true,” Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s senior director of retail engagement and experience, said in announcing that V Palm Springs would be the site for the “historic event, Aug. 8-12.”

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on June 30, 2019 by Editor

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New Jersey New King of Online Betting

from Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance

Move Over, Nevada: New Jersey Is Now the Sports-Betting King

by Eben Novy-Williams

(Bloomberg) — New Jersey legalized sports betting a year ago, and last month the state’s operators passed a major milestone.

For the first time, sports bettors wagered more in New Jersey than in Nevada, which for decades was the lone, dominant state in the sports-betting landscape.

Gamblers wagered $318.9 million in May at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, and via mobile apps, according to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said the state’s total for the month was $317.5 million.

The milestone continues a trend expected in the industry for a few months now. Not only does New Jersey have a lot more people than Nevada, but it benefits from customers coming from New York and Pennsylvania to wager remotely. The mobile options in New Jersey also feature better technology, which helps drive betting.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on June 29, 2019 by Editor

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The Vindicator Gone

from The Plain-Dealer

The Vindicator, Youngstown’s daily newspaper, will close after 150 years

BJordyn Grzelewski

American steelworker Charlie Grapentine reads about the Korean War in the Youngstown Vindicator in October 1950. The newspaper told employees Friday afternoon that it will close. (Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Vindicator, which recently marked its 150th publication anniversary and is Youngstown’s only daily newspaper, told employees Friday afternoon that it will close.

Bertram de Souza, The Vindicator’s editorial page editor and a columnist, recalled that when he joined the staff 40 years ago this month, the paper staffed multiple bureaus across the Valley and reached some 100,000 readers per day. “Unfortunately, the reality of our industry hit home – literally. It’s painful, for somebody like me, who has dedicated my life.”

[ click to continue reading at The Plain-Dealer ]

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Editor

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Eta Carinae

from CNN

A mysterious fast radio burst was traced to a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away

By Ashley Strickland

For the first time, a single burst of cosmic radio waves has been traced to its point of origin: in this case, a galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years from Earth. 

These radio bursts are only millisecond-long radio flashes, and such rapid bursts themselves aren’t rare in space. But finding out where they came from is incredibly difficult.

People love to believe that they’re from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, and this hypothesis hasn’t been ruled out entirely by researchers at Breakthrough Listen, a scientific research program dedicated to finding evidence of intelligent life in the universe.

Astronomers were able to pin down the source of a repeating fast radio burst in 2017. But single radio bursts are harder to pinpoint because they don’t reoccur.

The single radio burst, dubbed FRB 180924, was discovered by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, or ASKAP, in Western Australia.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Editor

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Symmetry

from Quanta Magazine

The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries

by K.C. Cole

Rachel Suggs for Quanta Magazine

The flashier fruits of Albert Einstein’s century-old insights are by now deeply embedded in the popular imagination: Black holes, time warps and wormholes show up regularly as plot points in movies, books, TV shows. At the same time, they fuel cutting-edge research, helping physicists pose questions about the nature of space, time, even information itself.

Perhaps ironically, though, what is arguably the most revolutionary part of Einstein’s legacy rarely gets attention. It has none of the splash of gravitational waves, the pull of black holes or even the charm of quarks. But lurking just behind the curtain of all these exotic phenomena is a deceptively simple idea that pulls the levers, shows how the pieces fit together, and lights the path ahead.

The idea is this: Some changes don’t change anything. The most fundamental aspects of nature stay the same even as they seemingly shape-shift in unexpected ways. Einstein’s 1905 papers on relativity led to the unmistakable conclusion, for example, that the relationship between energy and mass is invariant, even though energy and mass themselves can take vastly different forms. Solar energy arrives on Earth and becomes mass in the form of green leaves, creating food we can eat and use as fuel for thought. (“What is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness?” asked the late Richard Feynman. “Last week’s potatoes!”) That’s the meaning of E = mc2. The “c” stands for the speed of light, a very large number, so it doesn’t take much matter to produce an enormous amount of energy; in fact, the sun turns millions of tons of mass into energy each second.

This endless morphing of matter into energy (and vice versa) powers the cosmos, matter, life. Yet through it all, the energy-matter content of the universe never changes. It’s strange but true: Matter and energy themselves are less fundamental than the underlying relationships between them.

We tend to think of things, not relationships, as the heart of reality. But most often, the opposite is true. “It’s not the stuff,” said the Brown University physicist Stephon Alexander.

The same is true, Einstein showed, for “stuff” like space and time, seemingly stable, unchangeable aspects of nature; in truth, it’s the relationship between space and time that always stays the same, even as space contracts and time dilates. Like energy and matter, space and time are mutable manifestations of deeper, unshakable foundations: the things that never vary no matter what.

[ click to continue reading at Quanta ]

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Editor

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No Mo’ Mise En Sex

from The Washington Post via SF Gate

Sex is disappearing from the big screen, and it’s making movies less pleasurable

by Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

At the Cannes film festival last month, the scandal arrived with metronomic predictability: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood” might have been the week’s hottest ticket and Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho might have taken the cherished Palme d’Or. But it was Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” that set tongues wagging, literally and figuratively.

The nearly four-hour film caused a ruckus, not just because of its derriere-numbing running time (most of it spent observing nubile teenage girls twerking to a pounding soundtrack of club music), but because of a 15-minute scene of cunnilingus, filmed so realistically that questions immediately arose as to whether it was unsimulated.

At the Cannes film festival last month, the scandal arrived with metronomic predictability: Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in … Hollywood” might have been the week’s hottest ticket and Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho might have taken the cherished Palme d’Or. But it was Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo” that set tongues wagging, literally and figuratively.

The nearly four-hour film caused a ruckus, not just because of its derriere-numbing running time (most of it spent observing nubile teenage girls twerking to a pounding soundtrack of club music), but because of a 15-minute scene of cunnilingus, filmed so realistically that questions immediately arose as to whether it was unsimulated.

[ click to continue reading at SFGate ]

Posted on June 25, 2019 by Editor

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Black Bonnie and Clyde

from MTV

QUEEN & SLIM INTRODUCES THE ‘BLACK BONNIE & CLYDE’

THE HARROWING AFTERMATH OF A TRAFFIC STOP GONE WRONG

by BRITTANY VINCENT

Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and newcomer Jodie Turner-Smith have joined forces for a harrowing new drama that looks like a terrifying story that could be a little too close to reality.

Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe (The Chi) and James Frey (A Million Little Pieces), follows a black couple (the titular “Queen” and “Slim”) who set out on their first date together when they’re forced to pull over for a minor traffic issue.

The Queen & Slim clip first appeared during the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, and it looks like a heavy story to take in, but well worth the potential discomfort it might cause some viewers due to the subject matter. Here’s to hoping the star couple finds something of a happy ending in the end, or at least as happy as it can be due to the happenings that kick the movie off.

Queen & Slim is set to debut in theaters on November 27, 2019.

[ click to continue reading at MTV ]

See also…
The Hollywood Reporter
Chicago Tribune
SlashFilm
Entertainment Weekly
Deadline
Vanity Fair

Posted on June 24, 2019 by Editor

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Malcolm X, MLK, Queen & Slim

from BET

Jodie Turner-Smith On Being The Malcolm X To Daniel Kaluuya’s MLK In ‘Queen & Slim’

The romantic drama from Lena Waithe explores a Black couple on a first date who find themselves on the run from the law.

Written by Jerry L. Barrow

Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith on the set of 'Queen & Slim'

Jodie Turner-Smith runs her fingers through her reddish brown, low-cropped fro and smiles through the Louisiana heat. Shooting for her first feature film, Queen & Slim, has taken her from the freezing polar vortex of Ohio to the outskirts of New Orleans. A tiger-striped dress clings to her lithe frame revealing a bandage tied around her thigh. The late February sun has just hit its peak in the sky, but it looks like she’s already had a really long day. She’s pleasant and engaged, but the trauma of her character, Queen, is still visible in her eyes.

TV watchers may know Jodie as the genetically enhanced first officer, Melantha Jhirl, from Syfy’s space odyssey, Nightflyers. When word first got out about a “Black Bonnie & Clyde” film being produced by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas(the gifted eye behind Beyonce’s “Formation” and Nike’s “Equality” campaign) she made it a point to get an audition.

In the script written by Lena Waithe and based on an original idea by bestselling author James Frey, Queen is a defense attorney who goes on a date with Daniel Kaluuya’s(Get Out, Black Panther)working-class character, Slim, and things go from bad to worse as the couple find themselves on a very unforeseen road trip.

[ click to continue reading at BET ]

Posted on June 23, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim BtS

from The Root

First Look: Behind the Scenes and on the Run With Queen & Slim

by Tonja Renée Stidhum

Staff Entertainment Writer Tonja Renée Stidhum on the set of Queen & Slim
Photo: The Root

Y’all. Meet Queen & Slim. And instantly fall in lust, love and lure.

Penned by Lena Waithe (from an original idea by A Million Little Pieces author James Frey, who approached her about it at an industry party) and helmed by Melina Matsoukas, at first glance, Queen & Slim looks to bolt its way into the likes of classics such as Bonnie & Clyde and Thelma & Louise. Except we won’t have to compare it to those films anymore, we’ll have our own—and it’ll be black as fuck.

Two days after the 2019 Academy Awards, I hopped on a plane to New Orleans to visit the set of Queen & Slim with a bunch of other black-ass journalists on a mission to get the scoop from Waithe, Matsoukas, Kaluuya, Turner-Smith, and costume designer Shiona Turini. From that slick-ass Pontiac 400 (which Kaluuya drove around; there wasn’t a process trailer!) to the gritty cloth of their wardrobe, we immediately felt a part of the world Matsoukas and her crew had created. I was so geeked, I almost forgot about that oppressive ass humidity.

[ click to read full article at The Root ]

Posted on June 22, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim & Police Violence

from COMPLEX

Lena Waithe’s ‘Queen & Slim’ Takes Aim at Police Violence

BY KHAL

Jodie Turner-Smith, Melina Matsoukas, Donna Langley, Lena Waithe, and Daniel Kaluuya
Image via Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez

When you’re Living While Black in America, life can come at you fast. There are countless stories of black folk minding their own business and being harassed, assaulted, or gunned down by the police. Rarely do you hear of those roles being reversed—or, at the very least, a situation where an interaction between a black person and a police officer ends with the officer being gunned down. That’s the premise of Queen & Slim, the Daniel Kaluuya-starring project that’s been whispered about for the last six months (and received major buzz during CinemaCon back in April). This film marks the first feature-length project for multi-hyphenate Lena Waithe and Melina Matsoukas (who serve as writer and director, respectively).

The week before Mardi Gras, Universal Pictures sent a select group of African American journalists and outlets to New Orleans to visit the set of what’s been described as a “black Bonnie & Clyde.” The film (which hits theaters on November 27, 2019) is essentially a road movie, taking viewers on a cross-country trek with a black couple featuring the eponymous Queen & Slim—portrayed by fresh-faced Jodie Turner-Smith and Kaluuya respectively—who are on the run from police after their terrible first date turns into a traffic stop that  ends with a cop being killed—but Waithe has described it in the past as “protest art.”

“I can’t always make it to the marches or the rallies,” Waithe explained during a break in shooting, primarily due to how often she’s working on shows like The Chi or other projects she’s involved in. “When I sit down at my computer, that’s me. That’s my rallying cry. That’s me trying to figure out who we are.” Waithe also understands why some might compare the film to Bonnie & Clyde or Thelma & Louise, but she had a different classic in mind. “It’s such a huge compliment. Bonnie & Clyde changed the conversation. Thelma & Louise is iconic. But the thing that they aren’t realizing is another reference for me would be Set It Off. In terms of black people being at a very difficult place with their back being against the wall and nothing that they [can] do [but] to keep going.”

[ click to continue reading at COMPLEX ]

Posted on June 21, 2019 by Editor

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Ten Greatest Films – Not Bad

from FAR OUT

The 10 greatest films of all time according to 358 acclaimed filmmakers

by Far Out Staff

Martin Scorsese’s hand-drawn storyboards for 'Taxi Driver'

For decades now Orson Welles iconic film Citizen Kane has remained top of the pile, the general consensus being that the mystery drama examining the life and legacy of Charles Foster Kane is arguably the greatest film ever made. However, in the most recent edition of the director’s poll Welles’ effort had dipped down to third spot with the surprise revelation that Yasujiro Ozu film Tokyo Story has emerged victorious on this occasion. 

Ozu’s 1953 film, telling the story of an ageing couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children, is said to be loosely based on the 1937 American film, Make Way for Tomorrow, directed by Leo McCarey. 

The film takes place in 1953 post-war Japan, a few years after the new Civil Code at a time when Japan’s bustling re-growth and embraced Western ideals with some older Japanese traditions began to fall by the wayside. Ozu himself called Tokyo Story “the film that tends most strongly to melodrama.”

Here’s the full list which has been decided by 358 directors: 

1. Tokyo Story – Yasujiro Ozu, 1953.
2. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
– 2. Citizen Kane – Orson Welles, 1941.
4. 8 ½ – Federico Fellini, 1963.
5. Taxi Driver – Martin Scorsese, 1976.
6. Apocalypse Now – Francis Ford Coppola, 1979.
7. The Godfather – Francis Ford, Coppola, 1972.
– 7. Vertigo – Alfred Hitchcock, 1958.
9. Mirror – Andrei Tarkovsky, 1974.
10. Bicycle Thieves – Vittorio De Sica, 1949.

[ click to continue reading at FAR OUT ]

Posted on June 20, 2019 by Editor

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Alien Human Anthropologist Aliens

from GAIA

Professor: UFOs, Aliens Are Human Anthropologists From Future

By: Gaia Staff 

In a recent experiment, scientists reversed the arrow of time for a split second, simulating the possibility of time travel using quantum particles called qubits. The experiment was a far cry from achieving time travel anytime in the near future, but if it provides even a modicum of possibility it would support Dr. Michael P. Masters’ theory that UFOs and aliens might just be future anthropologists traveling back in time to study their ancestors — us.

Masters completed his Ph.D. in Anthropology at the Ohio State University and is currently a professor of biological anthropology at Montana Tech. His resume also cites coursework in astrobiology, astronomy, and physics – needless to say, he has some pretty relevant credentials.

In his book Identified Flying Objects: A Multidisciplinary Scientific Approach to the UFO Phenomenon, Masters explores the evolution of humans in relation to our hominin ancestors, and our likely progression as a species moving forward. Based on the trajectory of our physical, intellectual, and technological development, he says he believes the common trope of the hairless, large-headed, technologically advanced alien is likely where evolution is leading us.

Humans have evolved to become (relatively) hairless creatures compared to our ancestors and many anthropologists believe we’ll eventually lose it entirely as it doesn’t really serve much of a function anymore, save aesthetics. Add to that the fact that our skull size has doubled and tripled to support a larger brain compared to the smaller cranium of ancestors like Homo erectus and Australopithecus, respectively.

“The phenomenon may be our own distant descendants coming back through time to study us in their own evolutionary past,” Masters told a local television station in his home state of Montana. “The extra-tempestrials are ubiquitously reported as being bipedal, upright-walking, five fingers on each hand and foot, bi-lateral symmetry, that they have two eyes, a mouth, a nose, and they can communicate with us in our own languages.”

[ click to continue reading at GAIA ]

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Editor

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Dogs Are Manipulating Us

from France 24

Masters of manipulation: the evolution of ‘puppy dog eyes’

Ever wondered how dogs learned to use their “puppy eyes” to bend us to their will?

It turns out our pet pooches have evolved human-like eyebrow muscles, which let them make the sad faces that melt our hearts, according to a new study published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

It involved dissecting the cadavers of domestic dogs and comparing them to those of wild wolves, our best friends’ ancestors, whom they branched off from around 33,000 years ago (don’t worry, no animals were killed for the research).

A separate part of the study saw scientists videotaping two-minute interactions between dogs and a human stranger, then repeating the experiment with wolves, to closely track how much they used a specific muscle around the eye that produced an inner eyebrow raise.

The researchers found two muscles around the eye were routinely present and well formed in the domestic dogs, but not the wolves, and only dogs produced high-intensity eyebrow movements as they gazed at the human.

“It makes the eye look larger, which is similar to human infants,” Professor Anne Burrows of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, who was one of the co-authors, told AFP. “It triggers a nurturing response in people.”

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on June 18, 2019 by Editor

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Gloria Vanderbilt Gone

from AP

Gloria Vanderbilt, heiress, jeans queen, dies at 95

By ULA ILNYTZKY

NEW YORK (AP) — Gloria Vanderbilt, the intrepid heiress, artist and romantic who began her extraordinary life as the “poor little rich girl” of the Great Depression, survived family tragedy and multiple marriages and reigned during the 1970s and ’80s as a designer jeans pioneer, died Monday at the age of 95.

Vanderbilt was the great-great-granddaughter of financier Cornelius Vanderbilt and the mother of CNN newsman Anderson Cooper, who announced her death via a first-person obituary that aired on the network Monday morning.

“Gloria Vanderbilt was an extraordinary woman, who loved life, and lived it on her own terms,” Cooper said in a statement. “She was a painter, a writer, and designer but also a remarkable mother, wife, and friend. She was 95 years old, but ask anyone close to her, and they’d tell you, she was the youngest person they knew, the coolest, and most modern.”

Her life was chronicled in sensational headlines from her childhood through four marriages and three divorces. She married for the first time at 17, causing her aunt to disinherit her. Her husbands included Leopold Stokowski, the celebrated conductor, and Sidney Lumet, the award-winning movie and television director. In 1988, she witnessed the suicide of one of her four sons.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on June 17, 2019 by Editor

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Pissing On Montauk

from The New York Times

The Legend of the Ridiculously Long Montauk Bathroom Line

It was a quirky rite of passage, until the queues at Surf Lodge spilled onto the street and its septic system leaked into a pond.

By Alyson Krueger

The new bathrooms await the summer people.
The new bathrooms await the summer people.
Credit Johnny Milano for The New York Times

Last summer, on a typical weekend at Surf Lodge in Montauk, Jaden Smith performed Saturday night while the surfer Evan Valiere cheered him on and Tiffany Trump and Naomi Biden posed for photos — with each other. The next day, the rapper Lupe Fiasco would draw almost 400 people at a packed, outdoor performance; some guests showed up on kayaks to watch from nearby Fort Pond. It was so crowded that the guest list ceased to make a difference. 

“Last year it was politician year, all the kids,” said Alan Rish, a spokesman for Surf Lodge. “Malia Obama comes every year over the Fourth of July for her birthday.”

The Surf Lodge, a casual-chic hotel and lounge known for free concerts and its outdoor deck, attracts celebrities like Rosario Dawson and Jon Bon Jovi, as well as local fishermen and weekenders.

But in recent years, Surf Lodge has also been known for something else: Its ridiculously long bathroom lines. The queues for the four tiny women’s stalls were the stuff of local legend, curving into the lobby and at times out the main entrance, creating fire hazards. V.I.P.s with security details would have to notify a staff member in order to be escorted to a “secret bathroom” (which a lot of people seemed to know about) in the manager’s office.

“So much of my daily job involved people needing to pee,” said Jonny Lennon, a bouncer who has been with Surf Lodge since it opened 11 years ago.

There were also environmental concerns. The few overused bathrooms relied on an old septic system that hadn’t been renovated since the 1940s. “Nitrogen from waste was leaking into the pond,” said Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, deputy supervisor of East Hampton, referring to Fort Pond, the 181-acre body of water behind the lodge where the concertgoers on kayaks sometimes congregate.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on June 16, 2019 by Editor

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BRIGHT SHINY MORNING (New French Edition)

from Facebook

[ click to join me on Facebook ]

Posted on June 10, 2019 by Editor

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F†cking Bees

from KQED

What Started the Biggest Fire in California History? Yellowjackets, and a Man With a Hammer

By Dan Brekke

Teenage resident of Clearlake Oaks fought to save his home as the Ranch Fire advanced through the area on Aug. 4, 2018, a week after it started on a ranch near the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley.   (Noah Berger/AFP-Getty Images)

What did it take to start the biggest wildland fire in California history? A rancher attempting a simple chore, a nest of angry yellowjackets and some very bad luck.

Cal Fire reported Thursday that its investigation of the Ranch Fire, which started last July 27 near Clear Lake and eventually burned a sprawling expanse of forest and grassland 13 times the size of San Francisco, was touched off by an unidentified man trying to hammer a metal stake into the ground.

The agency’s report says investigators determined that the hammering threw off sparks or hot fragments that ignited a small patch of dry grass that was 2 to 3 feet tall. The blaze surged uphill despite the panicked efforts of the man who told arriving investigators he had started it.

The man called firefighters to his property just off Highway 20, northeast of Clear Lake and south of the Mendocino County community of Potter Valley, and told them the fire began with what sounded like a straightforward ranch job.

The previous winter, a 50- to 60-foot length of fabric that was suspended over several water tanks as a sunshade blew down in a storm. The rancher’s daughter had complained last July that water in the tanks was too hot for livestock to drink, the man told investigators. So late on the morning of July 27, he drove up the hill from his home with tools and supplies to reinstall the sunshade.

The rancher told Cal Fire that when he picked up the fabric, he disturbed a yellowjackets’ nest underground and was confronted with a swarm of the stinging insects. Since he’s allergic to bees, he said, he backed off for about an hour to let the yellowjackets calm down.

When he returned, he brought a claw hammer and a metal stake that he intended to use to plug the small hole leading to the yellowjackets’ nest.

[ click to continue reading at KQED ]

Posted on June 9, 2019 by Editor

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Rural Radio Gone (Almost)

from The Guardian

America’s rural radio stations are vanishing – and taking the country’s soul with them

At a time when local newspapers are disappearing, the loss of a radio station leaves a community with another cultural and informational gap

by Debbie Weingarten in Willcox, Arizona

 In the kill zone of the radio tower with the dungeon in the background in Willcox. Photograph: Cassidy Araiza/The Guardian

When I arrive at the radio station, Mark Lucke is standing in the doorway, looking out at the spitting, winter rain. He’s slim and stoic, with sad, almost haunted, eyes. The first thing he asks is if I’d like to see “the dungeon”. Who wouldn’t?

Lucke pulls on a Steeler’s jacket and a baseball cap over brown hair that falls halfway down his back, and leads me across the five-acre yard. Out here, 90 miles east of Tucson, the desert is a long sweep of brush the color of beach sand. Lucke seems to slip through the rainy day like a ghost.

The radio station, whose call letters are KHIL, has long been the daily soundtrack for this frontier town (population 3,500) that prides itself on its cowboy culture and quiet pace of life. But six decades after the founding of the station, the property is in foreclosure, with utility disconnect notices coming nearly every month.

Small-town radio is fizzling nationwide, as stations struggle to attract advertisement dollars. And as station owners are forced to sell, media conglomerates snap up rural frequencies for rock-bottom prices, for the sole purpose of relocating them to urban areas. In a more affluent market, they can be flipped for a higher price. With limited frequencies available, larger broadcasters purchase as many as possible – especially those higher on the dial – in a race not dissimilar to a real estate grab.

The “dungeon” turns out to be benign – just the original radio station building. Lucke explains that country music star Tanya Tucker “used to hang out here with the jocks”. This was before she recorded Delta Dawn at the age of 13 and left Willcox to produce a slew of hits, which landed her in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her familiar drawl can still be heard at the top of every hour on KHIL, saying, “Hello, Willcox. This is Tanya Tucker, and you’re listening to the station I always listened to when I was a kid.”

Except for a washing machine and stacking radio conductors, the dungeon is empty. From here, in a feat of electrical wiring, several radio stations (four of which are run by Lucke) are connected to the 5,000-watt radio tower behind the dungeon, and pushed out into the sky.

KHIL was founded in 1958 by Rex Allen, who gained notoriety as the last of the singing cowboys. On the silver screen, The Arizona Cowboy could be seen strumming a guitar from the back of his horse, until the genre came to a close in 1954. He would go on to narrate a plethora of Disney movies, including Charlotte’s Web, and for years was the voice behind Ford truck and Purina Dog Chow commercials.

Allen – who died in 1999 – is now immortalized by a statue in the historic downtown. Born 31 December 1920 to Horace and Faye Allen in Willcox, Rex Elvie Allen was cross-eyed at birth, reads the plaque below the statue.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on June 8, 2019 by Editor

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New Missing Link Found

from The Sun

‘Missing link’ in human evolution found after 30,000-year-old remains are dug up – rewriting history of first American settlers

By Charlotte Edwards

 Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America
Native American ancestors crossed over a now submerged land bridge called the Bering Strait from Siberia to North America

NEWLY discovered ancient teeth dating back 31,000 years are evidence of a new ethnic group in human history – and could change everything we know about the first American settlers.

Living in extreme arctic conditions in Siberia during the last Ice Age, the previously-undiscovered group is being hailed by scientists as a “missing link in evolution”.

The ancient people have been named as ‘Ancient North Siberians’ and the new study suggests that they would have survived in harsh conditions by hunting woolly mammoths, woolly rhinoceroses and bison.

They were discovered thanks to DNA analysis of two ancient milk teeth, found buried deep at the Yana Rhinoceros Horn archaeological site in Russia.

Professor Eske Willerslev, who led the study, said: “The Yana site 31,000 years ago was an Arctic steppe – more rich in plant diversity than today and dominated by varies forbs and grasses, there were very few trees if any. The animal life was very different than today.

“It was more like what we know from the African savanna with mammoth, woolly rhino, horses, bison, wolves and lions. The Ancient North Siberians were hunting these particularly rhino and mammoth.”

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on June 7, 2019 by Editor

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Madonna

from The New York Times

Madonna at Sixty

The original queen of pop on aging, inspiration and why she refuses to cede control.

By Vanessa Grigoriadis

Madonna and her six children. Creditvia Instagram

The night before the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas in May, Madonna was sitting in the arena attached to the MGM Grand hotel, staring at a double of herself. The double, who was standing on the stage many yards away, was younger and looked Asian but wore a similar lace minidress and a wig in Madonna’s current hairstyle, a ’30s movie star’s crimped blond waves. “It’s always the second person with the wig — she wants to see it,” a stage designer said, adding that when she makes a decision, she is definitive. “Madonna wants 10 options, but when she says it’s the one, it’s the one.”

Madonna was observing Madonna to make sure Madonna was doing everything perfectly. Up on the stage set of a funky urban street with lampposts and a tiled bar, the double hit her marks and held a fist up to her mouth like a faux microphone for a rendition of “Medellín,” the on-trend, Latin-inflected song that Madonna would be singing. Madonna looked at a TV and assessed the augmented-reality part of the show, in which four additional virtual Madonnas, one playing an accordion and another dressed like a bride, would materialize in the televised awards performance out of thin air. Nearby, guys bowed heads and said cryptic things like “Where’s the digital key?” and “I need the alpha channel” to one another, tensely.

All the fake Madonnas ran through the song a few times before Madonna skipped enthusiastically to the stage. The sex bomb at 60 was slightly less than bionic and wore a Swarovski-crystal-encrusted patch over her left eye (“It’s fashion, darling,” an onlooker explained when I asked why she chose to wear it). Afterward, Madonna mused about something being off, and the next time she messed up the part where she stood on a table and gyrated her legs in and out in a move called “the butterfly” while popping her head in each direction. But by the third run-through she seemed ecstatic. “It’s so nice to see her smile,” Megan Lawson, a choreographer, said from under a black bolero hat, “and have it be a genuine smile.”

The AR part of Madonna’s performance was a feat, devised by some of the people who worked on this year’s Super Bowl, and the next night at the awards show she danced boldly despite the eye patch, which had to be difficult, peripheral-vision-speaking. But she wasn’t incorporating fireworks, a marching band and flying backup dancers, as Taylor Swift did; she didn’t hand out special bracelets to every person in the audience, then activate them to beam a thousand points of light, as the Jonas Brothers did; she wasn’t in a leotard and rolling around on the floor simulating a lesbian make-out session, as Halsey did, though the reason Halsey did that has a lot to do with Madonna doing it first. When the people in the audience lost their minds that night, they lost them almost exclusively for the K-pop band BTS, whose smooth hip-hop moves have birthed a million memes. For Madonna, they rose to their feet and took their phones out to commemorate “the time they saw Madonna” but seemed to scream loudest for the gyrating butterfly part, which was a little skanky, and that pleased them.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on June 6, 2019 by Editor

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Can you turn up the heat, darling?

from Metro

The sun has ‘reached solar minimum’ and its surface is ominously calm

by Jasper Hamill

This recent Nasa image shows the face of the sun looking blanker than usual

This solar slowdown often causes temporary cooling in Earth’s atmosphere.

Climate change deniers often hail this cooling as evidence that the heating of our world is about to go into reverse.

Sadly, this is very unlikely to be true because the sun follows an 11-year cycle, meaning it will simply spring back to life in the coming years.

However, once activity ramps up, the sun will be rocked by an increased number of gigantic ‘monster’ explosions, Nasa warned last week.

Eruptions from the face of our star are called ‘prominences’ and cause vast amounts of superhot gas to shoot into space, often forming beautiful loops on the solar surface.

During the solar minimum, the number of flares and sunspots is dramatically reduced.

When the sun leaps back from its minimum after roughly 11 years, we’re likely to see more and more ferocious explosions on the sun.

[ click to continue reading at Metro ]

Posted on June 5, 2019 by Editor

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It’s Coming

from Axios

1 big thing: Media companies wade into betting

By Sara Fischer

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The legalization of sports betting has opened up new business opportunities, and ethical challenges, for some of America’s biggest media companies.

Why it matters: Striking the right balance between leaning into betting — and not alienating casual fans or compromising journalistic principles — will force the establishment of new media boundaries.

Driving the news: Fox announced the most aggressive push into domestic sports betting this month with the introduction of “Fox Bet,” an online betting app.

  • Fox Corp. is buying 5% of Canadian gaming and online gambling company Stars Group Inc. for $236 million. In doing so, it will be starting its own sports wagering platform, a major step for a U.S. sports broadcaster.
  • And in December, mobile sports app theScore announced that it planned to launch its own mobile sports book, beginning in New Jersey.

Between the lines: Other TV networks with sports broadcast rights are taking a more cautious approach.

[ continue reading at Axios ]

Posted on June 4, 2019 by Editor

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$15k for Play

from The Hollywood Reporter

How Top Gamers Earn Up to $15,000 an Hour

by Patrick Shanley

SOURCE: Twitch

A new lawsuit reveals the high stakes in gaming as brands like Coca-Cola and Bud Light push the hourly income of popular streamers as high as five figures: “It’s become something nobody predicted.”

A decade ago, Benjamin Lupo’s hobby of playing video games was just that. Today, a gamer like Lupo could earn as much as $15,000 an hour broadcasting his gaming to the nearly 3  million people who follow him on live-streaming platform Twitch. 

Lupo, who goes by the online avatar DrLupo, says it took him “two full years of streaming 40-plus hours a week” while working a regular job before he felt comfortable gaming “full time.” Now considered one of the world’s most popular gamers, he’s part of a burgeoning cottage industry of streamers who are profiting from the booming business of video games. 

Over the past five years, the gaming industry has more than doubled, rocketing to $43.8  billion in revenue in 2018, according to the NPD Group. Skilled gamers — buoyed by the rise of streaming platforms like Google’s YouTube and Amazon’s Twitch — have turned into stars who can not only attract millions of fans but also earn millions of dollars. Top Twitch streamer Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, for example, has said he made $10  million in 2018 playing online game Fortnite.

“There’s been incredible [revenue] growth across the board,” says Mike Aragon, who oversees Twitch’s partnerships with streamers as senior vp content. “The entire ecosystem has become more mainstream.”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on June 3, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Coming.

from Stars And Stripes

The Navy tracks UFO sightings. Scientists explain what’s really going on.

By TOM AVRIL

NOGA AMI-RAV/STARS AND STRIPES ILLUSTRATION

(Tribune News Service) — The Navy caused a bit of a sensation this spring when it implemented a formal process for pilots to report unexplained aerial phenomena – what most people call UFOs – after being accused in the past of not taking such reports seriously.

Alas for those who might be tempted to make the leap, such sightings are not evidence of life on other planets.

No one doubts that the pilots are seeing something, but psychologists and specialists in aviation medicine say there are plenty of reasonable explanations for such sightings other than extraterrestrial beings. Earthly sources of light reflected by clouds or haze, for example, or optical illusions wrought by fatigue after staring through a cockpit window for hours on end.

Another possibility is that the pilots were seeing some sort of experimental drone or other advanced technology about which they had not been briefed. Or, the objects were simply satellites, such as those launched in May by the Elon Musk-founded company SpaceX, which prompted a flurry of UFO reports from puzzled observers, the news agency AFP reported.

[ click to contine reading at Stars And Stripes ]

Posted on June 2, 2019 by Editor

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We Don’t Need Another Satellite

from NYT via MSN

After SpaceX Starlink Launch, a Fear of Satellites That Outnumber All Visible Stars

by Shannon Hall

Last month, SpaceX successfully launched 60 500-pound satellites into space. Soon amateur skywatchers started sharing images of those satellites in night skies, igniting an uproar among astronomers who fear that the planned orbiting cluster will wreak havoc on scientific research and trash our view of the cosmos.

The main issue is that those 60 satellites are merely a drop in the bucket. SpaceX anticipates launching thousands of satellites — creating a mega-constellation of false stars collectively called Starlink that will connect the entire planet to the internet, and introduce a new line of business for the private spaceflight company.

While astronomers agree that global internet service is a worthy goal, the satellites are bright — too bright.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on June 1, 2019 by Editor

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