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Posted on February 29, 2020 by Editor

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Freeman Dyson Gone

from NPR

Physicist And Iconoclastic Thinker Freeman Dyson Dies At 96

by GEOFF BRUMFIEL

Acclaimed physicist Freeman Dyson, who pondered the origins of life, interstellar travel and many other topics, died Friday at the age of 96.

His daughter Mia Dyson told NPR that her father died after a short illness. 

Freeman Dyson was known for groundbreaking work in physics and mathematics but his curiosity ranged far beyond those fields. 

“He never got a Ph.D.,” says Robbert Dijkgraaf, director for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., where Dyson worked. “He felt he was an eternal graduate student, and so he had a license to be interested in everything.”

Dyson was born in Crowthorne, England, in 1923. He studied physics and mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge, where he worked with physicists including Paul Dirac and Arthur Eddington. During World War II, he was a civilian scientist with the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. 

After the war, he came to the U.S. to study physics. Together with physicist Richard Feynman, he was able to reconcile two competing theories of quantum electrodynamics, the study of how sub-atomic particles and light interact. “He was able to show that all these different points of view were one and the same thing,” Dijkgraaf says. “He was a great unifier of physics.”

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on February 28, 2020 by Editor

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Bikers Against Child Abuse International

from B.A.C.A.

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Posted on February 27, 2020 by Editor

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What Do You Say To A Naked Lady

from Inside Hook

Revisiting the X-Rated ’70s Prank Film That Scandalized America

“What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?” was more “Punk’d” than porn, but it still got people talking

BY CHARLES BRAMESCO

The bulk of Allen Funt’s career revolved around his curiosity for reaction. He had a lifelong fixation on creating scenarios and documenting how his subjects responded to their unusual circumstances, but approached what would otherwise be clinical work with a mischievous zeal. He was no methodical researcher and came upon his insights casually, if at all. His earliest gigs, as the mind behind the wackiest stunts on NBC Radio’s Truth or Consequences and a punch-up man for Eleanor Roosevelt on her radio commentaries, hinged on his ability to play the public like a piano. He’d cut out the middleman with his own show in 1947, The Candid Microphone, in which a young Funt pulled a fast one on unsuspecting dupes and a 27-pound mic unit hidden in a park or office captured their flummoxing. 

Funt believed he had happened upon a schematic with tremendous potential, and shopped a televised equivalent to ABC in 1948 with the title’s The dropped, Facebook-style. One year later, he crossed town to NBC and tweaked it once more to Candid Camera, which stuck for the next six decades of broadcasts. The show let the tactfully concealed cameras roll as oblivious marks landed in assorted put-ons, from desk drawers mechanically popping open to more elaborate tomfoolery involving Funt’s squadron of actor plants. (Millennial and Gen Z readers: this was the Punk’d of its time, and the one where they pranked then-former President Harry Truman was that era’s Justin Timberlake crying episode.)

As creator and host, Funt masterminded hundreds and hundreds of ruses, leaning on his yen for amateur psychology and sociology more and more as the years went by. Some segments dispensed with the wool-pulling entirely and chronicled revealing interviews between Funt and ordinary folks. He found the peculiarities of homo sapiens endlessly fascinating. 

The other thing to know about Allen Funt is that, like many red-blooded Americans, he enjoyed looking at people with their clothes off. It was the marriage of these two great passions — quirks of pathology and full-frontal nudity — that yielded the illuminating historical footnote What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? 50 years ago this month.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Editor

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Harriet Tubman – Emancipationist Ornithologist

from Audubon

Harriet Tubman, an Unsung Naturalist, Used Owl Calls as a Signal on the Underground Railroad 

The famed conductor traveled at night, employing deep knowledge of the region’s environment and wildlife to communicate, navigate, and survive.

by Allison Keyes

Harriet Tubman, 1870s. Photo: Harvey Lindsley/Library of Congress

Many people are aware of Harriet Tubman’s work on the Underground Railroad and as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fewer know of her prowess as a naturalist. 

At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Church Creek, Maryland, Ranger Angela Crenshaw calls Tubman “the ultimate outdoors woman.” She even used bird calls to help guide her charges, eventually helping some 70 people, including her parents and four brothers, escape slavery. 

“We know that she used the call of an owl to alert refugees and her freedom seekers that it was OK, or not OK, to come out of hiding and continue their journey,” Crenshaw says. “It would have been the Barred Owl, or as it is sometimes called, a ‘hoot-owl.’ ‘They make a sound that some people think sounds like ‘who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?’ ”

That nugget comes to Crenshaw from the park’s historian, Kate Clifford Larson, author of the Tubman biography Bound for the Promised Land. “If you used the sound of an owl, it would blend in with the normal sounds you would hear at night. It wouldn’t create any suspicion,” Crenshaw says.

[ click to continue reading at Audubon ]

Posted on February 25, 2020 by Editor

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Be A Lady They Said

Be a Lady They Said from Paul McLean on Vimeo.

Posted on February 24, 2020 by Editor

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Canine Amor

from Phys.org

What makes dogs so special? Science says love

by Issam Ahmed 

True love: a woman and her Valentine's Day date pose behind a heart-shaped pastry during a February 14 Paris flash mob
True love: a woman and her Valentine’s Day date pose behind a heart-shaped pastry during a February 14 Paris flash mob

The idea that animals can experience love was once anathema to the psychologists who studied them, seen as a case of putting sentimentality before scientific rigor.

But a new book argues that, when it comes to dogs, the word is necessary to understanding what has made the relationship between humans and our best friends one of the most significant interspecies partnerships in history. 

Clive Wynne, founder the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, makes the case in “Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You.”

The animal psychologist, 59, began studying dogs in the early 2000s, and, like his peers, believed that to ascribe complex emotions to them was to commit the sin of anthropomorphism—until he was swayed by a body evidence that was growing too big to ignore.

[ click to continue reading at Phys.org ]

Posted on February 23, 2020 by Editor

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Bad Dog!

Posted on February 22, 2020 by Editor

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Adrian Belew

from The Music Aficionado

Adrian Belew, part 1: 1976-1980

The man who was stolen from Frank Zappa by David Bowie – I give you Adrian Belew.

Stewart Copeland suggested this line in lieu of a resume for the gifted guitar player in a shared interview in 2017. Most musicians would kill to have the two legends in the opening line of their resume, but for Adrian Belew this was only the beginning of a meteoric rise from anonymity to a highly acclaimed musician, performer and sonic sculpture artist. This is a detailed two-part review, looking at the first decade of his unique career, from being discovered in a bar gig all the way to his first solo album and guest appearances on a multitude of musical projects.

At the age of 27 Adrian Belew was playing regional gigs around Nashville with Sweetheart, a cover band that adopted a look of old-time gangsters. Belew remembers: “To be in sweetheart you had to cut your hair 40’s style and wear authentic 1940’s vintage clothing. All the time! Even in the daytime if you were going grocery shopping.” The band members excelled at playing the more interesting repertoire of classic rock radio. However Belew started to get disillusioned with his dream of becoming a musician with a record deal, playing his own material. Doing cover songs in small clubs and bars can only get you that far in the music business.

But all of this changed thanks to Terry Pugh. Terry who, you ask? Fair question, for Terry the chauffeur is responsible for turning Adrian Belew’s career around. Without Terry, Adrian Belew could have been an obscure, unknown and forgotten cover band guitarist, a faith shared with thousands of bar band musicians, playing endless gigs without a hope of being discovered. Terry was a fan of Sweetheart and on the night of October 18th, 1976 he found himself driving a limo around Nashville with none other than Frank Zappa in the back seat. Zappa, on tour with his band, was looking for some live music to watch after his show at the Memorial Gymnasium in Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Frank asks Terry to recommend a favorite music act in town, and Terry tells him about a band called Sweetheart with a very good guitarist playing tonight at Fanny’s Bar. They walk in, Zappa likes what he hears and 40 minutes later, while the band is playing a cover of Gimme Shelter, he walks to the stage, shakes hands with the guitar player and tells him: “I’m going to get your name and number from the chauffeur, and when my tour is over I’ll call you for an audition.” So enters Adrian Belew the Zappa universe.

[ click to continue reading at The Music Aficionado ]

Posted on February 21, 2020 by Editor

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Ryan Newman Crash Yikes!

Posted on February 20, 2020 by Editor

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Wicca Rising

from The Atlantic

Why Witchcraft Is on the Rise

Americans’ interest in spell-casting tends to wax as instability rises and trust in establishment ideas plummets.

by BIANCA BOSKER

Juliet diaz said she was having trouble not listening to my thoughts. “Sorry, I kind of read into your head a little bit,” she told me when, for the third time that August afternoon, she answered one of my (admittedly not unpredictable) questions about her witchcraft seconds before I’d had a chance to ask it. She was drinking a homemade “grounding” tea in her apartment in a converted Victorian home in Jersey City, New Jersey, under a dream catcher and within sight of what appeared to be a human skull. We were surrounded by nearly 400 houseplants, the earthy smell of incense, and, according to Diaz, several of my ancestral spirit guides, who had followed me in. “You actually have a nun,” Diaz informed me. “I don’t know where she comes from, and I’m not going to ask her.”

Diaz describes herself as a seer capable of reading auras and connecting with “the other side”; a plant whisperer who can communicate with her succulents; and one in a long line of healers in her family, which traces its roots to Cuba and the indigenous Taíno people, who settled in parts of the Caribbean. She is also a professional witch: Diaz sells anointing oils and “intention infused” body products in her online store, instructs more than 8,900 witches enrolled in her online school, and leads witchy workshops that promise to leave attendees “feeling magical af!” In 2018, Diaz, the author of the best-selling book Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within, earned more than half a million dollars from her magic work and was named Best Witch—yes, there are rankings—by Spirit Guides Magazine.

Now 38 years old, Diaz remembers that when she was growing up, her family’s spellwork felt taboo. But over the past few years, witchcraft, long viewed with suspicion and even hostility, has transmuted into a mainstream phenomenon. The coven is the new squad: There are sea witches, city witches, cottage witches, kitchen witches, and influencer witches, who share recipes for moon water or dreamy photos of altars bathed in candlelight. There are witches living in Winnipeg and Indiana, San Francisco and Dubai; hosting moon rituals in Manhattan’s public parks and selling $11.99 hangover cures that “adjust the vibration of alcohol so that it doesn’t add extra density and energetic ‘weight’ to your aura.” A 2014 Pew Research Center report suggested that the United States’ adult population of pagans and Wiccans was about 730,000—on par with the number of Unitarians. But Wicca represents just one among many approaches to witchery, and not all witches consider themselves pagan or Wiccan. These days, Diaz told me, “everyone calls themselves witches.”

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on February 19, 2020 by Editor

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