BDSM Going Viral

from The Daily Beast

A Dominatrix on Why BDSM Business Is Booming During Trump and COVID

Mistress Iris writes about the reasons why people are turning to dominant/submissive roleplay during these chaotic times. 

by Mistress Iris

Oscar Wilde famously said, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” It’s a wonderfully worded quote but a bit mistaken about sex, power, and the rest. In Wilde’s Victorian England, power was obvious and everywhere; sex was repressed. The world we live in today is far more suffused in sex, but a bit less comfortable with the omnipresence of power (which is why addressing privilege and oppression is commonly met with such reactionary vitriol and/or tear gas).

“But why are you talking about politics, professional dominatrix?” you might ask. Some people want to cordon off the sexual world, and pretend that it doesn’t interact with the broader world we all live in, but in my work as a pro-domme I’ve often gotten to see the intricate ways that peoples’ sexual fantasies reflect and respond to the stressors and freedoms they experience in their outside life. When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, I saw a surge in female, racial, and religious minorities who contacted me; people who, because of external events, were required to be unyielding and resolute in their day-to-day struggles, seeking heavy play that helped them break down within the context of a safe and trusting environment. I’ve seen a similar response during COVID-19, and wanted to deconstruct it a bit.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Bart/Easton-Ellis: COVID Could Bring Back Film

from MovieMaker

Peter Bart Predicts 1960s-Style ‘Reinvention’ of Movies


By Tim Molloy

Peter Bart The Godfather

Peter Bart, who helped oversee films including Rosemary’s Baby and The Godfather, says he believes cinema is ready for a “reinvention” like the one of the late 1960s that spawned the brilliant films of the following decade.

Bart, who helped his friend Robert Evans lead Paramount in a bold new direction after audiences dwindled in the mid-1960s, says on the latest Bret Easton Ellis Podcast that the movie business is in a similarly dark place now to the one it was in then.

“Due to the pandemic and other factors, the movie business has simply lost its audience… because of the virus, but also the movies were beginning to lose interest. And I think now, as then, there will be a reinvention situation,” said Bart, 88.

“The difference, of course, and this is an importance difference, is the mid-60s were characterized by certain amazing developments,” Bart said. “Society was beginning to change, and the movies had to come along and somehow change in a way that showed understanding of that societal change.”

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Sign O’ the New Times

from SPIN

Prince Collaborators Reflect on 1987 Opus ‘Sign O’ the Times’

“[Ideas] just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe,” says Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink 

by Ron Hart

Prince
CREDIT: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

By the mid-80s, Prince was a global superstar thanks to the worldwide success of 1984’s Purple Rain

So when he started work on his follow-up — eventually released on March 31, 1987 as the double-LP Sign O’ the Times — it came amidst a creative tsunami that saw two more classic albums with his longtime band the Revolution (1985’s Around The World in A Day and the following year’s Parade), the 1986 film Under The Cherry Moon and three ultimately shelved titles (Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball).

For those who worked closest to him during this period, including Revolution keyboard wizard Matt Fink (aka Dr. Fink), longtime engineer Susan Rogers and bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., it was astounding to see such a voluminous output from Prince during this time.

“His creative mind is just so wild,” Fink tells SPIN. “Like he was always thinking of stuff. He was always thinking and conjuring up ideas. It just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe. He was a muse of the universe.”

“I had a lot of personal time with him,” Seacer explains. “And when I was with him by himself, it was really like sitting with one of your regular buddies. And it was so interesting being around somebody whose fountain was just overflowing with creativity, and then you go back into the real world and everybody’s fountains are cut off. So what he was good at was trying to encourage you to open that fountain and say, ‘Hey, you got a lot in there; why don’t you just let it out so you can put more in?’ I didn’t realize I could actually do all of that. And when you do that, you can really find out who you are, and then that faucet don’t stop flowing.” 

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Dreams On-demand

from The Daily Star

Real-life Inception as scientists figure out how to plant ideas in dreams

Researchers at MIT have been testing a fascinating new technique called targeted dream incubation, which allows them to insert certain topics into someone else’s dreams

By Sophie Bateman

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKp7jHqwGKA

It may sound like the plot of Inception, but scientists have figured out how to plant ideas into other people’s dreams.

Researchers at MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces have been testing a new technique called targeted dream incubation (TDI), which allows them to insert certain topics into someone’s dreams.

Past studies have shown that when sleepers enter a rare dream state known as lucid dreaming, they gain awareness that they’re dreaming and can thus have some control over what happens in their mind.

TDI achieves a similar result by targeting people during hypnagogia, a semi-lucid dream state that occurs as someone is falling asleep.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Harry Evans Gone

from Showbiz 411

Harold Evans Dies at 92, Pioneering Editor Who Stood up to Rupert Murdoch, Ran US News, Random House, NY Daily News

by Roger Friedman

Harry Evans has been on my mind for a month. Isn’t it weird when that happens? I felt like something was wrong. This was the first year I hadn’t seen Harry since I met him in 1985. Several times I looked up his number intending to call him and didn’t. And now it’s too late. Harry has left us at age 92, dead from congestive heart failure.

I call him Harry but he’s Harold Evans, former editor of the Times of London who stood up to Rupert Murdoch, was fired and wrote a great book about the experience called “Good Times, Bad Times.” His second wife, almost 30 years his junior, was Tina Brown, the young hot shot editor of Tatler magazine in London. They moved to New York in 1982. Tina took over the just-revived and failing Vanity Fair. Harry took several jobs with Mort Zuckerman, owner of US News, then the Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly Press books, a venerable publishing company. They became the hottest media couple in the world.

AMP is where I met Harry. He hired me to be publicity director. In a short time he’d shaken up the place, contracted for a number of non fiction books by name writers. The biggest project was “Je Suis Le Cahier,” the first ever publication of Picasso’s notebooks which would accompany a huge exhibition at the Pace Gallery. The day I met Harry he was 58 years old and was like a little spitfire. Wiry and tiny, he was constantly in motion. He was unlike everyone I’d encountered in the book business, which was staid and lazy.

“What should we do with Picasso?” he asked me. I said, well, Picasso’s daughter, Paloma, is famous for making perfume and jewelry. Maybe she could help us and do some publicity? You’re right! he cried. He ran into his office, pulling me, and called Tina at Vanity Fair to get Paloma’s phone number. Within seconds we had this woman on the phone, made a lunch date at the very snazzy Four Seasons. My head was spinning. What just happened? Everything was about to change, fast.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Covid Era Begats Drone Era

from Forbes

From Sci-Fi To Everyday Business: Welcome To The Age Of The Robot

Ambulance Drone flying in the sky
GETTY

While drones and robots may have once evoked a sense of fantasy and science fiction, these devices may be starting to prove their potential as major contributors to business and everyday life. And today, the widespread effort to limit human contact due to the Covid-19 pandemic could perhaps accelerate those trends, as robots are deployed for a variety of public safety uses—from assisting doctors and delivering supplies to sterilizing public spaces.

Delivery drones and small robotic delivery trucks could play an increasingly important role as the e-commerce industry grows. In fact, industry analyst Technavio forecasts a growth in the autonomous delivery robot market of almost $17 billion between 2020 and 2024. And with steady online sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, robot and drone deliveries could offer a safer alternative to human couriers while also potentially reducing costs.

In the early days of the pandemic, for example, robots were drafted in China to conduct contactless grocery drops. Plans are also underway to combine walking robots and self-driving cars in order to conduct the final step of delivering packages from cars to customers’ doorsteps.

[ click to continue reading at Forbes ]

Our New Mini-moon

from The Daily Star

Mystery object entering Earth’s orbit ‘to become planet’s mini-moon until May’

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth, and could stay in orbit of the planet from October until May next year – although some think it could just be space junk

By Joshua Smith

Earth could be about to get a new moon – but experts have been left baffled at what the mystery object actually is.

An object known as 2020 SO is heading towards Earth and from October it will be a “mini-moon”, which could stay in orbit of the planet until May next year.

Another object, named 3753 Cruithne, has already been dubbed Earth’s “second moon” – meaning 2020 SO would be our third.

Cruithne is in a normal elliptic orbit around the Sun. 

Its period of revolution around the Sun, approximately 364 days at present, is almost equal to that of Earth.

[ click to continue reading at The Daily Star ]

Loving Music & Loathing Bullshit

from Tablet

The Great Stanley Crouch

An American immigrant jazz buff expresses his gratitude to a supremely gifted critic who loved the music and loathed bullshit

BY TONY BADRAN

If I had to name the one writer who was most pivotal for me and for my full assimilation in America, it would undoubtedly be Stanley Crouch, the famed jazz and cultural critic who died last Wednesday in New York at age 74. At this moment in American life, where anything and everything that identifies us and binds us as Americans is under direct assault, Crouch is perhaps more essential than ever, and his passing all the more devastating.

Perhaps even more than Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison, Crouch tied it all together for me. He had a terrific ear for the music I love, and his uncompromising pugnacious style spoke to me directly. For someone who came to America from a sectarian Third World society, his commentary on the Balkanization of America was penetrating and, as we’re seeing today, scarily pertinent.

Crouch had no patience for the self-pitying race politics of grievance and authenticity. He saw it as a hustle and had nothing but contempt for its toxic sales pitch. He arrived at this conviction the hard way, as he explains in the prologue to his fabulous Considering Genius:

The tribal appeal is always great and there is nothing more tempting to the most gullible members of a minority group than suddenly hearing that, merely by being born, one is not innately inferior to the majority but part of an unacknowledged elite. I was not so sophisticated that I could avoid the pull of those ideas and found myself reading all kinds of books about Africa, and African customs and religion. … I would have been pulled all the way into the maw of subthought, from which it might have taken longer to emerge if Jayne Cortez hadn’t introduced me to Ralph Ellison’s Shadow and Act. … Unlike those younger black people who were busy jettisoning their heritage as Americans and Western people—both of which brought the built-in option of criticism—Ellison took the place of his ethnic group and himself as firm parts of American life and a fresh development in Western culture.

This affirmation of Americanness in the face of all tribal impulses, “ethnic narcissism,” and Balkanization, reflects the influence of Ellison and Murray, and their realization, in Crouch’s words, that “America is a land of synthesis.” In The Omni-Americans, Murray builds on Constance Rourke’s description of the composite nature of the American character—“part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian, and part Negro.” Blackness, in other words, is a foundational element of the American national character, meaning that all Americans are culturally part Black, whether they like it or not, and that appeals to racial or cultural purity—by anyone, regardless of skin color or claimed ancestry—are sheer nonsense.

Like America, its vernacular aesthetic expression, jazz, is also a composite, an experiment in hybridity. And like America, the Black element in jazz is foundational—not something that needs special pleading or diversity coaches to promote inclusion. Crouch was uncompromising on this point. He fought vigorously against any attempt to remove from its definition the core elements of jazz, which were the contribution of Black artists—blues and swing.

[ click to continue reading at Tablet ]

Vote The Assholes Out

from The LA Times

The story behind that Patagonia tag, and how the Trump era changed outdoor recreation

By SAMMY ROTH

The words "Vote the assholes out" stitched on the underside of a white tag on a pair of shorts
A provocative tag on a limited-edition pair of Patagonia’s Stand Up shorts. (Patagonia)

Browse Patagonia’s online shop, and you’ll find T-shirts condemning Big Oil, encouraging people to vote with planet Earth in mind and declaring that when it comes to wilderness, Americans must “defend it or lose it.”

But the company is getting far more attention for a cheeky, hidden message that appears only on the tag of a limited-edition pair of shorts, in tiny print.

The message: “VOTE THE ASSHOLES OUT.”

The label, which went viral on Twitter, was only the latest Trump-era call to action from Patagonia. The company has responded to the federal government’s environmental rollbacks with increasingly vocal campaigns to protect the country’s public lands — and yes, it says the four-word message applies to the president, along with other politicians who refuse to act on climate change.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Tesla Slumber Mode

from Futurism

TESLA DRIVER PULLED OVER GOING 93 MPH WHILE COMPLETELY ASLEEP

by JON CHRISTIAN

RCMP ALBERTA/TWITTER

Canadian cops say they pulled over a Tesla that was traveling at 93 miles per hour — while the driver was completely asleep, with the seat pulled down like a bed.

“The officer was able to obtain radar readings on the vehicle, confirming that it had automatically accelerated up to exactly 150 km/h [93 mph],” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement to Global News.

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Non-smoker Held At Gunpoint

from The New York Post

Oregon woman holds suspected arsonist at gunpoint as wildfires rage

By Natalie O’Neill

An Oregon woman forced a suspected arsonist to the ground at gunpoint after she found him on her property with matches, dramatic video footage shows.

“What are you doing on my property? Did you light anything on fire?” Kat Cast shouts as she clutches a firearm, according to footage she posted on Facebook.

When the unidentified man responds that he was “just passing through,” she demands to know why he’s holding matches.

“I smoke,” he replies — to which Cast asks to see his cigarettes. The man then admits that he has none, and she holds him there until police arrive and haul him away in handcuffs.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Ripe giant sperm found in female ostracod

from The Evening Standard

100-million-year-old giant sperm found fossilised in amber could be oldest ever

by HARRIET BREWIS

The sperm was found in a mussel-like creature which got trapped in resin some 100 million years ago ( PA )

An international team of palaeontologists unearthed the “spectacular find”, which was preserved inside a female crustacean.

They believe the mussel-like creature mated shortly before becoming trapped in the resin.

Their findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provide “an extremely rare opportunity” to learn more about the evolution of the reproductive process, they said.

Until now the oldest known fossilised sperm was found inside a 50-million-year-old worm cocoon from Antarctica.

The crustacean, a new species of ostracod called Myanmarcypris hui, is thought to have lived in coastal and inland waters of what is now Myanmar.

It would have been surrounded by trees that released huge amounts of resin.

While a majority of male animal species, including humans, produce large quantities of very small sperm to increase chances of fertilisation, there are exceptions.

Some creatures, such as fruit flies and modern-day ostracods, produce a small number of oversized sperm, with tails several times longer than the animal itself.

In these cases, the researchers say, chances of fertilising an ovum can increase with the size of the sperm cell.

[ click to continue reading at Evening Standard ]

Eaten By Mycelium

from VICE

This ‘Living’ Coffin Uses Mushrooms to Compost Dead Bodies

The ‘Living Cocoon’ has already been used in one burial, at the Hague

By Becky Ferreira

HENDRIKX WITH THE ‘LIVING COCOON’ COFFINS.
IMAGE: BOB HENDRIKX — LOOP BIOTECH

For tens of thousands of years, humans have developed funeral rites and burial practices that reflected the attitudes of their particular time and place. These traditions of honoring the dead continue to evolve into the 21st century, as people seek “green burials” that are more environmentally friendly than standard coffins. 

One of the newest examples comes from Loop, a Dutch biotech company that recently unveiled a biodegradable coffin made of fungus, microbes and plant roots. Called the “Living Cocoon,” the coffin is designed to hasten bodily decomposition while also enriching soil around the plot.

“Normally, what we do as humans is we take something out of nature, we kill it, and we use it,” said Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, in a call. “So I thought: what if we humans start moving from working with dead materials toward a world in which we work with living materials?”

“We would not only become less of a parasite, but we could also start exploring super-cool material properties, like living lights, walls that are self-healing, and that kind of stuff,” he added.

Hendrikx was inspired to develop the Living Cocoon while presenting a living home concept at last year’s Dutch Design Week. While houses are obviously for the living, Hendrikx got to thinking about adapting the concept into a coffin powered by mushroom mycelium, which is the filamentary vegetative part of the fungus.

“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” Hendrikx said. “It is continuously looking for dead organic matter to transform into key nutrients.” 

[ continue reading at VICE ]

The Oldest Foot

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia

Issam AHMED, AFP

This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows the first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake

Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today.

The people may have hunted the large mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.

This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.

Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

The Cosmic Brain

from Futurism

Physicist: The Entire Universe Might Be a Neural Network

“The idea is definitely crazy, but if it is crazy enough to be true? That remains to be seen.”

by VICTOR TANGERMANN

It’s not every day that we come across a paper that attempts to redefine reality.

But in a provocative preprint uploaded to arXiv this summer, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth named Vitaly Vanchurin attempts to reframe reality in a particularly eye-opening way — suggesting that we’re living inside a massive neural network that governs everything around us. In other words, he wrote in the paper, it’s a “possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network.”

For years, physicists have attempted to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. The first posits that time is universal and absolute, while the latter argues that time is relative, linked to the fabric of space-time.

In his paper, Vanchurin argues that artificial neural networks can “exhibit approximate behaviors” of both universal theories. Since quantum mechanics “is a remarkably successful paradigm for modeling physical phenomena on a wide range of scales,” he writes, “it is widely believed that on the most fundamental level the entire universe is governed by the rules of quantum mechanics and even gravity should somehow emerge from it.”

[ click to continue reading at Futurism ]

Robinhood Insanity

from Vanity Fair

“It’s a Whole Other Level of Insanity”: How Pandemic Day Traders Are Turning Wall Street Upside Down

Sudden spikes in the value of bankrupt Hertz and joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin are upending the market as hobbyist traders on Reddit and Robinhood go rogue. “It doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock is,” says one. “If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

BY JESSICA CAMILLE AGUIRRE

Image may contain Tie Accessories Accessory Human Person Clothing Suit Coat Overcoat Apparel and Attorney
BY KENA BETANCUR/GETTY IMAGES.

A few years ago an eight-year-old Shiba Inu dog named Kabosu became an internet meme, her furry face juxtaposed with snippets of text in the parlance of stoner philosophy (“wow. much cake.”). The meme was known as “doge,” and it blew “lolcat” out of the water. Shortly thereafter, in 2013, a cryptocurrency called Dogecoin was launched, mostly as a joke. The coin ballooned then flatlined, hewing since then with the swings of the volatile bitcoin market—until July, when its stock value skyrocketed 104%. 

What was going on? The cryptocurrency wasn’t new, and it had never been taken very seriously, even by its own investors. How could a seemingly random stock suddenly more than double in value? “It was a TikTok trend,” said David Hanlin, an e-commerce adviser and day trader who got in on the Dogecoin bump. “In terms of the actual value of Dogecoin from anything other than a meme standpoint, it’s pretty low. But it doesn’t really matter what the underlying value of the stock or the cryptocurrency is. If there’s enough momentum behind it, you can still make money.”

Such is the approach of many day traders, or retail traders—people, often hobbyists, who trade stocks on popular platforms like Robinhood. Since the start of the pandemic, new users have flooded these platforms, propelled in some cases by a conviction that crisis breeds opportunity, and in others by newfound free time. Robinhood alone reported more than 3 million new funded accounts by May, half of which were started by first-time traders. And daily average revenue trades on Robinhood more than doubled in the second quarter compared to the preceding quarter. 

Many on Wall Street are baffled by the surge and have become more circumspect about how they read trends. “I’ve spent the last year, basically since March, trying to understand what’s happening, and honestly, I couldn’t tell you exactly. I’m very good at what I do, but there are times I’m just like, I have no fucking clue what’s happening,” said one equity trader for a Manhattan firm. “We were calling it banana land, the guys I work with, because it’s just, like, crazy. And then we started calling it ayahuasca land because it’s not even bananas anymore, it’s a whole other level of insanity.”

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Toots Hibbert Gone

from DEADLINE

Toots Hibbert Dies: Reggae Artist Credited With Naming The Genre Was 77

By Bruce Haring

His death comes days after his group released its first full-length LP and new album in ten years, titled Got to Be Tough. The recording features contributions from Ringo Starr and Ziggy Marley.

Hibbert met Henry ‘Raleigh’ Gordon and Nathaniel ‘Jerry’ in 1962 shortly after he moved to Kingston. They formed the band Toots and the Maytals. Their 1969 recording, Pressure Drop, was instrumental in breaking the band worldwide after it was used in the seminal 1972 reggae film The Harder They Come. 

Before that, Toots and the Maytals released a 1968 song, Do the Reggay, which is credited with giving the musical genre its name.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Forrest Fenn Gone

from artnet

Forrest Fenn, the Eccentric New Mexico Art Dealer Who Buried Treasure for Explorers in the Rocky Mountains, Has Died at 90

Fenn’s $2 million treasure was reportedly found in June.

by Sarah Cascone

Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.
Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.

Just months after revealing that an intrepid explorer had finally solved the 10-year-old treasure hunt he plotted, New Mexico art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn has died. He was 90 years old.

Fenn filled his 12th-century bronze treasure chest with golden nuggets, gemstones, and pre-Columbian antiquities from his personal collection. Together, the box and its contents were said to be worth $2 million.

To announce the hunt, Fenn included a cryptic 24-line poem with clues to its location in The Thrill of the Chase, his self-published 2010 memoir. He claimed the goal was to get people off their couches in search of adventure.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Lust In The Heart and a Fatty On The Roof

from The New York Post

Jimmy Carter admits son smoked pot with Willie Nelson on White House roof

By Kate Sheehy

Jimmy Carter and Willie Nelson in 1985 The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

Former President Jimmy Carter admits in a new documentary that one of his sons smoked pot with Willie Nelson on the roof of the White House.

Carter, 95, was asked about the legendary country crooner’s previous accounts of puffing on a “big fat Austin torpedo’’ atop 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the doc “Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President,’’ which came out in theaters this week, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

“[Nelson] says that his companion that shared the pot with him was one of the servants at the White House,’’ Carter said.

“That is not exactly true. It actually was one of my sons.’’

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]