Scientists have spotted yet another bizarre, gigantic, and unexplained circle-shaped radio structure in outer space, a discovery that contributes to “exciting times in astronomy,” reports a new study.
The bubble is the latest example of an Odd Radio Circle (ORC), an aptly named type of spectral ring that debuted in a 2020 paper led by Western Sydney University astrophysicist Ray Norris. Norris and his colleagues detected four of these enormous circles eerily glowing in faint radio wavelengths far beyond our galaxy.
Now, scientists led by Bärbel Koribalski, a research scientist at CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility, have discovered a fifth ORC that appears to span about one million light years.
This structure, named ORC J0102–2450, also looks like it has an elliptical galaxy at its center, a feature it shares with two of the ORCs found by Norris’ team. Koribalski and her co-authors, including Norris, said the presence of the galaxies is “unlikely a coincidence” and may help explain the origin of these ghostly rings, according to their forthcoming study in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Letters, which is available on the preprint server arXiv.
ORCs have flown under the radar for decades because they are extremely dim, but new and advanced radio telescopes, such as the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP), are sensitive enough to spot the huge bubbles.
New David Hockney Billboards to Brighten 4 Cities in May
Two suns will appear in four cities during the month of May — the real sun in the sky, of course, but also the chrysanthemum-like depiction of it in a video by the British artist David Hockney. The 2½-minute animation will be broadcast on digital billboards in Times Square in New York and prominent locations in London, Tokyo and Seoul.
Hockney’s dawning of a new day in a color-saturated landscape springs from his experience in early mornings looking out the kitchen window of his house in Normandy, France, where he has lived since 2019, carefully observing and creating art from his surroundings.
A newborn who needed help, a $1,000 yearling whose small breeder had to sell, a cheap recruit for a hardscrabble talent scout, a juvenile purchase inspired by friendship – Medina Spirit’s story is ready-made for cinema.
And that’s even before his improbable rise for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Outlasting his higher-profile stablemates Life Is Good and Concert Tour on the trail, Medina Spirit is Baffert’s last remaining hope for a record-breaking seventh Kentucky Derby (G1) win in 2021.
Medina Spirit was bred in Florida by Gail Rice, whose tiny broodmare band varies from one to four at a given time, including partnerships. His dam, Mongolian Changa, was a $9,000 yearling purchase by Gail’s former husband, trainer Wayne Rice.
It had been narrowed down to four actors for the two lead roles. We were broken into pairs. I was teamed with an impossibly handsome young actor named Rob Lowe who was auditioning to play my rich roommate and the son of the woman with whom my character would have an affair. The film was called Class.
I was back in the dizzy and disorienting world of “what-the-hell-is-going-on-and-how-did-I-get-here,” which suited my character perfectly. Rob and I were sent off to spend an hour together in an effort to create chemistry while the other pair of actors were put through their paces. We wandered through the nearby Water Tower Place, where I was soon to shoot a memorable (at least to me) love scene in a glass elevator.
Rob had recently costarred in his first film, Francis Ford Coppola’s soon to be released movie adaptation of The Outsiders. He held forth from a place of Hollywood experience as we drifted over the polished marble of the mall, killing time. He spoke of Tom and Matt and pasta dinners with Francis. I was unsure just who he was talking about, but nodded my head anyway. I wondered how much of Rob’s banter was simply whistling in the dark and how much was a belief in his destiny, while another part of me simply envied his apparent ease and confidence. I said little. While a charming bravado may have been Rob’s preferred method of making himself ready, mine was to go quiet and become hyper-observant—both of those around me and of myself. I don’t believe either one of us thought to actually rehearse the scenes together.
After a triumphant premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award, music documentary Summer of Soul is headed to Hulu on July 2 in conjunction with Disney’s new BIPOC Creator Initiative. The film is the feature filmmaking debut of none other than Roots legend Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, cataloging a powerful but sadly forgotten chapter in American musical history—the Harlem Cultural Festival of 1969. As the synopsis reads:
In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten-until now. SUMMER OF SOUL shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.
Facebook car groups can be a hot mess. Half of them seem like they’re full of dunderheads asking the same easily Googleable basic questions, and the other half is full of know-it-alls who lambast anyone who doesn’t align completely with their tastes. It’s easy for a group to become toxic or boring, then fade away into nothing. Malaise Motors is, refreshingly, neither.
What is Malaise, you ask? To make a long story short, the U.S. had a horrible air pollution problem in the 1960s and ’70s – smoggy air was a common sight in many American cities. The Clean Air Act of 1972, created to clear up hazy skies, introduced limits on how much pollution engines could emit. The side effect, though, is that these emissions restrictions also severely limited output from engines.
Suddenly, a 350 horsepower V8 was now making 160 HP because the era’s automotive technology couldn’t really reconcile making power without making pollution. The group considers the mandate of OBDII, the universal computerized diagnostic system virtually every car made since ’96 has, as the end of Malaise. The group calls OBDII the “beginning the modern era of engine management and emissions control.”
Something strange is happening to the exhausted, type-A millennial workers of America. After a year spent hunched over their MacBooks, enduring back-to-back Zooms in between sourdough loaves and Peloton rides, they are flipping the carefully arranged chessboards of their lives and deciding to risk it all.
Some are abandoning cushy and stable jobs to start a new business, turn a side hustle into a full-time gig or finally work on that screenplay. Others are scoffing at their bosses’ return-to-office mandates and threatening to quit unless they’re allowed to work wherever and whenever they want.
In 1993, investigative journalist David Holthouse was working on a cannabis farm in California’s Emerald Triangle, a region consisting of Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties that’s famous for its marijuana production, when a frightened man told him he had discovered three bodies torn limb from limb. This wasn’t a ripoff, the man insisted; the weed was trampled over but intact. The perpetrator of this horrific crime, he claimed? Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot, the mythical ape-like creature said to roam the forests of North America.
Hulu’s new three-part docuseries Sasquatch follows Holthouse as he sets out to investigate what really happened that night, and what begins as an intriguing look at American folklore and the surprisingly large groups of people who believe they’ve had Sasquatch encounters of their own quickly evolves into something far more sinister. (Spoiler alert: Bigfoot didn’t do it.) A cannabis farm might conjure up images of genteel hippies and back-to-the-landers, but Holthouse and director Joshua Rofé quickly find themselves caught in a world full of AR-15-wielding dope growers, racism against Mexican migrant workers, and yes, several unsolved murders. It’s a sobering reminder that we don’t need to invent cryptids to get our scary-story fix; there are plenty of human monsters walking among us.
When Prince died five years ago this week, he left behind one of the richest, deepest, smartest, funniest, most beautiful and most complicated collections of work that pop music has ever known.
And it hasn’t stopped growing since he passed.
Prince believed in sprawl, as he demonstrated with double and triple albums and with an internet storehouse of music he invited his fans to wander. Since his death, the artist’s estate has issued multiple LPs and box sets of material pulled from the famous vault at his Paisley Park complex in suburban Minneapolis.
Yet Prince was also devoted to the concise pleasures — and to the market-exciting potential — of a hit single. In his career as a solo act and as the frontman of the Revolution and the New Power Generation, he placed 47 songs on Billboard’s Hot 100, all of them before digital streaming opened up pop’s flagship chart to viral flukes.
It started, as so many of life’s journeys do, at IKEA. We went one day a few years ago to get bookshelves. We left with some Hemnes and a leafy impulse buy: a giant Dracaena fragrans. A couple of months later, delighted that we had managed to keep it alive, we brought in a spritely little ponytail palm. And then an ivy. A visiting friend brought us a gorgeous snake plant. I bought a Monstera online because it was cheap and I was curious. It arrived in perfect condition, in a big box with several warning labels: perishable: live plants.
Where is the line between “Oh, they have some plants” and “Whoa, they are plant people”? I’m not quite sure, but I am sure that we long ago crossed it. I would read the periodic news articles about Millennials and their houseplants and feel the soft shame of being seen. But I cherished our little garden. Potted plants have a quiet poetry to them, a whirl of wildness and constraint; they make the planet personal. I loved caring for ours. I loved noticing, over time, the way they stretched and flattened and curled and changed. I still do.
Jim Steinman, the composer and lyricist whose roster of hit records included the huge Bonnie Tyler hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” was remembered by the singer as the “true genius” behind “some of the most iconic rock songs of all time.”
“I am absolutely devastated to learn of the passing of my long term friend and musical mentor Jim Steinman,” tweeted Tyler, whose other hits composed by Steinman included “Holding Out For A Hero.”
“Jim wrote and produced some of the most iconic rock songs of all time and I was massively privileged to have been given some of them by him. I made two albums with Jim, despite my record company initially thinking he wouldn’t want to work with me. Thankfully they were wrong…”
Deadline confirmed Steinman’s death with the Connecticut state medical examiner earlier today. The composer, lyricist and producer whose roster of hit records began with Meat Loaf’s smash 1977 debut album Bat Out of Hell, was 73. A cause of death has not been disclosed.
We like to say nothing is certain in life but death and taxes, but the truth is even our planet and the universe are constantly imposing changes on us.
That includes this new suggestion from scientists: We should consider shortening the minute to just 59 seconds, at least for one “negative leap second” that will better line us up with Earth’s real rotation.
This is on the heels of a year marked by many shorter-than-average days, following several years in which Earth has rotated faster than maybe ever before. What’s going on?
First, you might wonder why tiny portions of individual seconds make any real difference. The truth is they don’t for most people, or even most applications. But for some, like scientists and specially tuned scientific instruments, the differences must be accounted for. Something simple like a clock that just sets itself and “sheds” the extra or missing partial second each midnight could detract from research or regulation of important functions.
When the first black-hole collision was detected in 2015, it was a watershed moment in the history of astronomy. Using gravitational waves, astronomers were observing the universe in an entirely new way. But this first event didn’t revolutionize our understanding of black holes—nor could it. This collision would be the first of many, astronomers knew, and only with that bounty would answers come.
“The first discovery was the thrill of our lives,” says Vicky Kalogera, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University and part of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) collaboration that made the 2015 detection. “But you cannot do astrophysics with one source.”
Now, Kalogera and other physicists say they’re entering a new era of black-hole astronomy, driven by a rapid increase in the number of black holes they can observe.
The latest catalog of these so-called black-hole binary mergers—the result of two black holes spiraling inward toward each other and colliding—has quadrupled the black-hole merger data available to study. There are now almost 50 mergers for astrophysicists to scrutinize, with dozens more expected in the next few months and hundreds more in the coming years.
The Physics of Reddit’s Spinning Solar System Icon
If the dots on the loading screen were planets, is their motion realistic? And can we actually model it?
by RHETT ALLAIN
PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES
WHILE WAITING FOR Reddit to load on my phone, I wondered if I could do some physics with the loading icon. Maybe you’ve seen it. It looks like a mini solar system with four planets (two inner planets and two outer planets). Let’s model it!
We should start with some data. I can do a screen capture of the loading screen and then use my favorite video analysis program (Tracker Video Analysis) to get position and time data. Of course, the screen shows distance in units of pixels and that’s not very useful. I don’t know the actual size of this “planetary system” (or whatever it is), so I will just set the scale size to 1 outer orbital diameter unit. This is the distance across the whole orbit of one of the outer “planets.”
In order to see if this figure moves in some type of realistic way, I need to look at the motion of the planets. One of the simplest things would be to look at the angular position as a function of time. What is the angular position? If you were to draw a line from the middle of the center sun to one of the orbiting planets (in a flat plane), the angle between this line and the x-axis would be its angular position. This is the same as if you were using polar coordinates instead of Cartesian coordinates. By using the angular position instead of x and y coordinates, I can still map out the motion, but I don’t have to worry about the orbital size. Then I can see if different orbital distances have different orbital speeds.
How a Burst of Light in the Sky Illuminated Something Primal
by Brooke Jarvis
At around 9 o’clock on the night of March 25, the sky above my house in Seattle lit up with an astonishing display. I know this not because I happened to see it — I was inside, as I am too often, working at my computer — but because my Twitter feed was suddenly full of different versions of the same, uncanny video. The earliest clips captured what looked like a single streak of light, fracturing outward into a shimmering cascade. What came next looked like the world’s largest and longest-lasting firework, or a huge shower of comets hitting all at once, or a waterfall of light falling sideways.
It was golden, spectacular, alarming, otherworldly, indecipherable, unknown. While the cameras rolled, I could hear the voices of the people pointing them upward. Again and again, in tones ranging from rapturous to fearful (and using a variety of expletives, depending on the personality of the videographer), they looked to the sky and asked, “What is that?”
One method of torture used in Florentine jails during the glorious days of the Renaissance was the strappado: a prisoner was hoisted into the air by a rope attached to his wrists, which had been tied behind his back, and then suddenly dropped toward the floor as many times as it took to get him to confess. Since the procedure usually dislocated the shoulders, tore the muscles, and rendered one or both arms useless, it is remarkable that Niccolò Machiavelli, after reportedly undergoing six such “drops,” asked for pen and paper and began to write. Machiavelli had nothing to confess. Although his name had been found on an incriminating list, he had played no part in a failed conspiracy to murder the city’s newly restored Medici rulers. (Some said that it was Giuliano de’ Medici who had been targeted, others that it was his brother Cardinal Giovanni.) He had been imprisoned for almost two weeks when, in February, 1513, in a desperate bid for pardon, he wrote a pair of sonnets addressed to the “Magnificent Giuliano,” mixing pathos with audacity and apparently inextinguishable wit. “I have on my legs, Giuliano, a pair of shackles,” he began, and went on to report that the lice on the walls of his cell were as big as butterflies, and that the noise of keys and padlocks boomed around him like Jove’s thunderbolts. Perhaps worried that the poems would not impress, he announced that the muse he had summoned had hit him in the face rather than render her services to a man who was chained up like a lunatic. To the heir of a family that prided itself on its artistic patronage, he submitted the outraged complaint “This is the way poets are treated!”
There is perhaps no one more fascinating in history than Leonardo da Vinci—or more elusive. Leonardo left us no real diary of his personal experiences. Sure, there are thousands of pages from his legendary notebooks, but between those covers were no accounts of his upbringing, or the life he led in his later years. Instead, we see a mind at work in the moment, unconcerned with the ways in which history would remember him. In the more than 7,000 remaining pages of his notebooks, there are casual doodles next to precise anatomical drawings, models for new weapons alongside a sketch of how a fetus is positioned within a womb, portraits or geometric patterns coupled with proposals for city redesigns. And it’s because of this restless search for knowledge that Leonardo has become known as the quintessential genius, a man who likely made the most significant link between science and the humanities.
Society’s fascination with Leonardo seems to have grown with each passing generation. Every year there seems to be a new revelation about his life as biographers have pursued the clues Leonardo left us: He was a vegetarian, ambidextrous, bisexual, unfazed by deadlines, etcetera. Which is why so many rushed to read the most recent biography about Leonardo, courtesy of master biographer Walter Isaacson, who has previously written about other luminaries: Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, Steve Jobs (who handpicked Isaacson to write his biography).
Entertainment studio 3BlackDot has signed a one-year partnership with gaming talent management company BavaMedia.
The exclusive deal will see the Los Angeles-based company provide BavaMedia’s talent — comprised of live-streamers and YouTube personalities — with content-related services such as brand partnerships and original programming deals, as well as e-commerce opportunities designed to expand their potential for revenue in the marketplace.
BavaMedia’s talent roster includes YouTuber GhostNinja, who has over 4 million subscribers on the video-sharing platform; and PackAPuncher, who is nearing 3 million; as well as Bucks, FreshPanda, Ahrora and Nerpah, whose YouTube subscriber counts are also climbing.
What year is it again? While Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” is number 1, and Justin Bieber is in the top 10, the iTunes chart continues to be rife with Oldies. Oldies!
It’s comfort food for the pandemic, I guess.
On the iTunes Top 20, 8 of the entries are oldies but goodies. They include Norman Greenbaum’s unintentionally spiritual “Spirit in the Sky” from 1970 and the Cranberries’ “Zombie” from 1994. Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” a song with with 9 lives, is number 4. The late 70s hit already had a massive run on the charts last year after going viral from a fan video. “Dreams” won’t go away.
A few years back, a bevy of art critics declared that Marcel Duchamp’s 1917 sculpture called “Fountain” — a store-bought urinal he had presented, unchanged, as art — was the most influential work of the 20th century. Andy Warhol’s 1964 Brillo Boxes — copies of scouring-pad cartons presented as art — could easily have come a close second. The philosopher Arthur Danto built an illustrious career, and a whole school of thought, around the importance of those boxes to understanding the very nature of artworks.
Last month, three federal appellate judges in Manhattan decided they knew more about art than any old critic or philosopher: Whether they quite meant to or not, their ruling had the effect of declaring that the landmark inventions of Duchamp and Warhol — the “appropriation” they practiced, to use the term of art — were not worthy of the legal protection that other creativity is given under copyright law.