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BRIGHT SHINY MORNING (New French Edition)

from Facebook

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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

a satellite in space: A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.
© SpaceX A view of Starlink’s satellites just before being deployed on May 24.

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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