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Lee “Scratch” Perry Gone

from The Guardian

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, visionary master of reggae, dies aged 85

by Ben Beaumont-Thomas

Producer and performer who worked with Bob Marley and pioneered both dub and roots reggae styles dies in hospital in Jamaica

Obituary: one of Jamaica’s finest and most unpredictable musicians

Lee “Scratch” Perry, whose pioneering work with roots reggae and dub opened up profound new depths in Jamaican music, has died aged 85.

Jamaican media reported the news that he died in hospital in Lucea, northern Jamaica. No cause of death has yet been given. Andrew Holness, the country’s prime minister, sent “deep condolences” to Perry’s family.

The loping tempos of Perry’s work established the roots reggae sound that Bob Marley made world famous, while his dub production, with its haunting use of space and echo, would have a profound influence on post-punk, hip-hop, dance music and other genres. Along with his gnomic pronouncements and mystical air, he became one of Jamaica’s most unusual and esteemed artists. Keith Richards once described him as “the Salvador Dalí of music. He’s a mystery. The world is his instrument. You just have to listen.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on August 29, 2021 by Editor

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Ouch. Scary.

Posted on August 26, 2021 by Editor

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Posted on August 25, 2021 by Editor

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The Seven Sisters

from LiveScience

100,000-year-old story could explain why the Pleiades are called ‘Seven Sisters’

By Adam Mann

A picture of Messier 45, known as the pleiades star cluster or the Seven Sisters.
The Pleiades star cluster is also called the Seven Sisters. It may have gotten that name from the oldest story ever told. (Image credit: LazyPixel/Brunner Sébastien via Getty Images)

People both modern and ancient have long known of the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters, a small collection of stars in the constellation Taurus. 

But this famous assembly could point the way to the world’s oldest story, one told by our ancestors in Africa nearly 100,000 years ago, a speculative new study has proposed. To make this case, the paper’s authors draw on similarities between Greek and Indigenous Australian myths about the constellation.  But one expert told Live Science that similarities in these myths could be pure chance, not a sign they emerged from a common origin.

Related: 12 trippy images hidden in the zodiac

The Pleiades are part of what astronomers call an open star cluster, a group of stars all born around the same time. Telescopes have identified more than 800 stars in the region, though most humans can spot only about six on a clear, dark night. 

[ click to continue reading at LiveScience ]

Posted on August 24, 2021 by Editor

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C.S. Tao

from Law & Liberty

Uncovering the Tao of C.S. Lewis

by Samuel Gregg

C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis (AF archive/Alamy Stock Photo).

In the midst of World War II, Oxford University Press published a short book by a middle-aged don who used the way in which English was taught in secondary school to launch a defense of the idea that there is objective moral truth, that it contains deep content, and that we can know it. The author was a Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, where he taught literature. But C.S. Lewis had also acquired a formidable reputation as a Christian apologist, himself having embraced atheism at age 15 before returning first to theism in 1929 and then his Anglican faith of the orthodox variety in 1931.

Lewis’s short book The Abolition of Man (1943) was not, however, about religion in general or Christianity in particular. It was an affirmation of the claim that there is a self-evident moral ecology grounded in human anthropology which has been recognized in the world’s most prominent cultures, including non-Western societies. We deny, Lewis maintained, this moral reality at our peril. For to do so would not only amount to erasing our very identity as humans (ergo, the book’s title), but also because repudiation of this universal moral code leaves us helpless in the face of will-to-power types.

The Abolition of Man quickly became a best-seller and continues to be read today by people from all types of cultural and religious backgrounds. It has been praised by individuals across the philosophical spectrum ranging from Joseph Ratzinger to John Gray, Michael Polanyi, and Francis Fukuyama. Many today, including a good number of agnostics and atheists, find the present abysmal state of Western culture ample confirmation of the prophetic character of Lewis’s thesis.

[ click to continue reading at Law & Liberty ]

Posted on August 23, 2021 by Editor

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The Birth of Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down

from InsideHook

What Was It About Siskel and Ebert?

The podcast “Gene and Roger” delves into the sometimes-contentious relationship that catapulted two Chicago film critics to legendary status


In the PG-rated 1993 film Cop and a Half, Burt Reynolds portrays a curmudgeonly police officer who’s seen it all … almost. Despite his protest, Reynolds’s no-nonsense detective is tasked with babysitting an eight-year-old boy while on the job. He has to show him the ropes so that the kid, who’d witnessed a mafia hit, will finger the offender. The boy’s biggest dream in life is to become a cop, and he seizes the opportunity when it presents itself by blackmailing the police force into a ride-along. Hijinks ensue, and the kid’s meddlesome ways torture Reynolds’s character. He wants to catch the bad guys; the boy just wants to have fun. 

It’s David vs. Goliath, directed by “The Fonz” himself: Henry Winkler. In spite of earning more than $26 million in profit for its producers and spawning a 2017 spinoff starring Lou Diamond Phillips, Cop and a Half  holds a pitiful score of 14 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer

Critics hated it. With one shocking exception.

Roger Ebert, already a legendary film critic who’d won a Pulitzer Prize, said upon its release that Cop and a Half  was “amusing” and that it “moves.” He also praised the performances of Reynolds and Norman D. Golden II, as the titular “Half.” 

“Somewhat to my surprise, I liked it,” he said, concluding his onscreen TV review. 

Ebert then turned away from his lens and faced his broadcast partner, Gene Siskel, a highly respected film critic in his own right, to hear his remarks. 

“Wowee,” the fellow Midwesterner Siskel began, gobsmacked by Ebert’s upbeat take. Through syncopated crosstalk, Siskel panned the performances, insisting there was no chemistry between Reynolds and Golden II, who he said seemed to be “looking for his lines.” 

“Gee, I thought it was dumb,” Siskel added about the movie as a whole. “Not colorful whatsoever.”

Barbed disagreements like this one — though it was hardly contained to a single exchange — helped keep Siskel and Ebert on the air, together, for the better part of a quarter century. Beginning in 1975, Gene Siskel, a Chicago Tribune reviewer, teamed up with Roger Ebert, critic at the Chicago Sun-Times, for a series of television programs that pitted the local newspaper rivals against each other, thereby providing audiences with distinctive, nuanced but uniformly astute observations on feature films. It was Goliath vs. Goliath, and the legacy of these programs, as well as the personalities of the cohosts, is the subject of a compelling new audio documentary series, Gene and Roger

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on August 22, 2021 by Editor

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Silly Filly


Racehorse bucks jockey, escapes Ellis Park, takes a run in traffic


Racehorse Bold and Bossy bucked jockey Miguel Mena before the first race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Saturday. Video shared on social media showed her running along a major highway.
Racehorse Bold and Bossy bucked jockey Miguel Mena before the first race at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., Saturday. Video shared on social media showed her running along a major highway. CULLEN STANLEY FACEBOOK

A racehorse bucked its rider and escaped Ellis Park Saturday afternoon, taking a run down a major highway before being captured, media outlets reported.

Video posted on Twitter showed the #4 horse racing alongside traffic on the shoulder of the road. Another video, shared on Facebook by Cullen Stanley, showed the horse running toward vehicles that appeared to be stopped on a four-lane highway.

“Horse running at me full speed on I-69 today,” he wrote. “No idea how it started or ended. Odd times we live in.”

[ click to continue reading at ]

Posted on August 21, 2021 by Editor

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More From Tucson

from The Drive

Radio Transmissions From Police Helicopter’s Chase Of Bizarre Craft Over Tucson Add To Mystery

“Its abilities were pretty incredible” — FAA audio points to confusion during and after police helicopter’s encounter with strange aircraft.


In February 9, 2021, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) helicopter encountered what was described as a “highly modified drone” hovering in controlled airspace above Tucson, Arizona. A Tucson Police Department (TPD) helicopter was called in to aid the CBP aircraft in its pursuit of the small aircraft, but the drone, or whatever it was, was able to outrun both of them as it flew through military airspace, deftly maneuvered around both helicopters with bizarre agility, and ultimately disappeared into cloud cover above the altitude the helicopters could safely fly. A police report previously obtained by The War Zone showed that the TPD crew described the drone as “very sophisticated/specialized” and “able to perform like no other UAS” they had previously encountered. Now we have the actual audio from the CBP helicopter’s interactions with air traffic controllers in Tucson during the incident, as well as audio from an after-action call between the TPD crew and the air traffic control tower. 

From the conversations heard on the recordings, which The War Zone obtained from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it’s clear that all parties involved with the incident were baffled by the drone’s performance, noting that it appeared “super sophisticated” and possibly satellite-controlled. If you haven’t yet caught up on the Tucson mystery drone saga, be sure to read our most recent reporting.

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on August 20, 2021 by Editor

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Chuck Close Gone

from The New York Times

Chuck Close, Artist of Outsized Reality, Dies at 81

He found success with his large-scale Photorealist portraits, becoming one of the leading artists of his generation. 

By Ken Johnson and Robin Pogrebin

Chuck Close’s “Big Self-Portrait,” painted in 1968, was the first of his colossal Photorealist portraits and remains one of his best known. Credit…Chuck Close, via Pace Gallery

Chuck Close, who rose to prominence in the 1970s and ’80s with colossal Photorealist portraits of himself, family members and fellow artists, died on Thursday in a hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. He was 81.

At the end of the 1960s, a period when formalist abstraction and Pop Art dominated the contemporary scene, Mr. Close began using an airbrush and diluted black paint to create highly detailed nine-foot-tall grisaille paintings based on mug-shot-like photographs of himself and his friends.

His first, and still one of his best known, is a self-portrait in which he stares impassively back at the camera through plastic black-rimmed glasses. He has messy, stringy hair, his face is unshaved, and a cigarette with smoke rising from it juts from the corner of his mouth — a rebel with a new artistic cause.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on August 19, 2021 by Editor

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Over-drawn In The West

from The Atlantic


The lesson that California never learns

By Mark Arax

Diptych of an almond tree being irrigated and Mark Angell holding a plastic bottle filled with muddy water.
An almond grove in distress near Madera, California, and a sample of water from an overdrawn well (Jim McAuley for The Atlantic)

The well fixer and I were standing at the edge of an almond orchard in the exhausted middle of California. It was late July, and so many wells on the farms of Madera County were coming up dry that he was running out of parts to fix them. In this latest round of western drought, desperate voices were calling him at six in the morning and again at midnight. They were puzzled why their pumps were coughing up sand, the water’s flow to their orchards now a trickle.

It occurred to him that these same farmers had endured at least five droughts since the mid-1970s and that drought, like the sun, was an eternal condition of California. But he also understood that their ability to shrug off nature—no one forgot the last drought faster than the farmer, Steinbeck wrote—was part of their genius. Their collective amnesia had allowed them to forge the most industrialized farm belt in the world. Whenever a new drought set down, they believed it was a force that could be conquered. build more dams, their signs along Highway 99 read, even though the dams on the San Joaquin River already numbered half a dozen. The well fixer understood their hidebound ways. He understood their stubbornness, and maybe even their delusion. Here at continent’s edge, nothing westward but the sea, we were all deluded.

Besides, he couldn’t turn them away. His company, Madera Pumps, was his livelihood; the city of Madera was his home. He farmed his own acres of almonds near the center of town. The voices on the line weren’t simply customers. Many were lifelong friends who were true family farmers. So he was patching up their irrigation systems the best he could to get them through a last drink before the nut harvest began in mid-August. At the same time, he knew that something fundamental had changed. If he was going to keep on planting wells, pursuing a culture of extraction that had defined California since the Gold Rush, he could no longer remain silent about its peril.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on August 18, 2021 by Editor

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The Death Of Poe

from The Daily Beast

Edgar Allan Poe’s Final Macabre Mystery: His Own Death

On Oct. 7, 1849, Edgar Allan Poe died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 40. Alcoholism was listed as the cause of death, but what really killed him remains a mystery.

by Allison McNearney

Imagine a 19th century mystery that begins with a man slipping in and out of consciousness in a Baltimore hospital bed in clothes that are not his own. While he has periods of semi-lucidity, he is more often wracked by delirium, incoherently babbling and shouting out the name “Reynolds” to the puzzlement of all around him. After a short period of recovery, he suddenly takes a turn for the worse, says “Lord, help my poor soul!” and dies.

This is the 19th century, so the cause of death is listed as alcoholism, because how else can you explain such strange symptoms. But in reality, no one knows. Nor do they know how the man came to be found unconscious in a city he wasn’t supposed to be in wearing someone else’s clothes after having disappeared for five days.

It would be the perfect case for Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Morse or, dare we say, C. Auguste Dupin, the first detective to appear in fiction. This last investigator would be fitting as the scene is ripped from the real life and real death of his creator, Edgar Allan Poe.

On Oct. 7, 1849, Poe died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 40. His life may have been short, but it was filled with drama and turbulence—literary brilliance, scandal, tragedy, and heartbreak, some of which was due to life circumstances, some to circumstances of his own making.

Poe set the standard for what horror could achieve in fiction and invented the mystery genre. Then, in death, he embraced that Oscar Wilde quote that life imitates art with a demise that was worthy of his most eerie of gothic horrors. Nearly 170 years after he took his last breath, people are still speculating about what actually happened to Edgar Allan Poe.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on August 17, 2021 by Editor

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Invincible Stonehenge

from artnet

Scientists Have Conducted Tests That Reveal Stonehenge Is Made From a Nearly Indestructible Ancient Material

A rare core sample, removed years ago, contains a form of quartz that doesn’t erode or crumble.

by Sarah Cascone

The full moon sets behind Stonehenge on April 27, 2021 in Amesbury, England. Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images.
The full moon sets behind Stonehenge on April 27, 2021 in Amesbury, England. Photo by Finnbarr Webster/Getty Images.

A long lost piece of England’s Stonehenge monument is helping experts understand the mysterious prehistoric structure. Analysis of a core sample taken from one of the site’s massive slabs suggests that the stone’s geochemical composition may have made it uniquely well-equipped to stand the test of time.

Made from 99.7 percent quartz crystals, the stones are practically indestructible, according to a new study published in the journal Plos One.

“Now we’ve got a good idea why this stuff’s still standing there,” study co-author David Nash, a professor of physical geography at the University of Brighton, told Business Insider. “The stone is incredibly durable—it’s really resistant to erosion and weathering.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on August 16, 2021 by Editor

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The Adolescents of NFT

from The New York Times

Teens Cash In on the NFT Art Boom

Forget mowing lawns and bagging groceries. Some Gen Z kids are finding other ways to make money this summer.

By Steven Kurutz

NFT art, “his name is victor,” by FEWOCiOUS (whose legal name is indeed Victor Langlois).
NFT art, “his name is victor,” by FEWOCiOUS (whose legal name is indeed Victor Langlois).Credit…FEWOCiOUS, via Christie’s

Last fall, Randi Hipper decided to, as she put it recently, “go in-depth with the crypto space.” After hearing about NFTs on Twitter and other social media platforms, Ms. Hipper, then a 17-year-old senior at Xaverian High School in Brooklyn, began releasing her own digital artworks — cartoonish and self-referential pieces showing her cruising in a car with a Bitcoin license plate or riding the Coney Island Wonder Wheel.

Ms. Hipper comes up with the concepts and collaborates with digital artists, including a teenage boy in India who goes by Ajay Toons, offering the works for sale through the NFT marketplace Atomic Hub. An NFT, or a nonfungible token, is a digital file created using blockchain computer code. It is bought using cryptocurrency such as Ether or Wax, and exists as a unique file unable to be duplicated, often just to be admired digitally.

“Right now, I’m trying to do one drop a week,” said Ms. Hipper, who now goes by Miss Teen Crypto and has since turned 18. “I try not to overload my feed, my collectors.”

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on August 15, 2021 by Editor

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Finding Home

from The Atlantic

Faraway Planets Don’t Seem So Distant Anymore

Astronomers are stepping up their attempts to unravel the mysteries of exoplanets.

By Marina Koren

An illustration of planets orbiting beneath a question mark
NASA; Paul Spella / The Atlantic

One of astronomy’s most exciting discoveries began, as did many things in the 1990s, with a fax.

Didier Queloz, then an astronomer at the University of Geneva, spent the summer of ’94 sorting through data from a new piece of telescope technology that measured the subtle movements of stars. Such movements, scientists had theorized, could potentially suggest the presence of planets outside our solar system, orbiting their own suns. The gravity of a faraway planet could tug at its star, making the star wobble ever so slightly. No one had ever discovered a so-called exoplanet in this way before, so when Queloz finally did find a wobbling star, he thought it might be an instrument error. But the mysterious quiver didn’t go away. So Queloz sent a fax to his adviser, Michel Mayor, who was in Hawaii on sabbatical: “I think I found a planet.”

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on August 14, 2021 by Editor

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Stuck In The Middle

from Deadline

Quentin Tarantino’s Tribute To Late EMI Music Exec Pat Lucas; She Took Chance On Him & OK’d Use Of ‘Reservoir Dogs’ Tune That Launched His Career

By Mike Fleming Jr

Pat Lucas, the former EMI Music executive who was a longtime friend to filmmakers she licensed songs to for their films, has died after a long battle with cancer. She passed away last Monday.

While I wait to get more details from her distraught family, Quentin Tarantino asked to memorialize Lucas and express his forever gratitude to her taking a chance on an unproven filmmaker and granting rights to the Stealers Wheel song “Stuck in the Middle with You for use in his directorial debut Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino suggests you cannot hear that song even now and not think of Michael Madsen dancing around a kidnapped police officer trussed to a chair, as Madsen dances around him in menacing fashion, cutting off his ear and planning to set him aflame. It was a shocking, career-launching moment for the filmmaker, who still sounds a bit surprised that fortune smiled on him when Daly said yes. After all, this was way before Pulp Fiction, when all Daly had to judge by was his script and the knowledge that Gerry Rafferty’s hit song might be indelibly linked to a brutal torture scene.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on August 13, 2021 by Editor

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Agre’s Prophecy

from Washington Post via MSN

He predicted the dark side of the Internet 30 years ago. Why did no one listen?

by Reed Albergotti

In 1994 — before most Americans had an email address or Internet access or even a personal computer — Philip Agre foresaw that computers would one day facilitate the mass collection of data on everything in society.

That process would change and simplify human behavior, wrote the then-UCLA humanities professor. And because that data would be collected not by a single, powerful “big brother” government but by lots of entities for lots of different purposes, he predicted that people would willingly part with massive amounts of information about their most personal fears and desires.

“Genuinely worrisome developments can seem ‘not so bad’ simply for lacking the overt horrors of Orwell’s dystopia,” wrote Agre, who has a doctorate in computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an academic paper.

Nearly 30 years later, Agre’s paper seems eerily prescient, a startling vision of a future that has come to pass in the form of a data industrial complex that knows no borders and few laws. Data collected by disparate ad networks and mobile apps for myriad purposes is being used to sway elections or, in at least one case, to out a gay priest. But Agre didn’t stop there. He foresaw the authoritarian misuse of facial recognition technology, he predicted our inability to resist well-crafted disinformation and he foretold that artificial intelligence would be put to dark uses if not subjected to moral and philosophical inquiry.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on August 12, 2021 by Editor

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Evan Sherman Rocks

from Tablet

How Jazz Healed a City

A young musician fought back against COVID lockdowns by taking music into the streets of Manhattan and saved us all


Last year, a few weeks before COVID-19 descended over the land, I bought tickets to the late show at New York’s temple of jazz, the Village Vanguard. I’d heard that the drummer, Evan Sherman, was a musician to watch. Though only 26, he’d already toured with such jazz greats as Roy Hargrove, Wynton Marsalis, Cyrus Chestnut, and Jimmy Heath. As a mere 19-year-old, he’d played a weeklong gig with the legendary bassist Ron Carter, a member of Miles Davis’ Second Great Quintet.

That Saturday night at the Vanguard, Sherman was once again playing with Carter, along with Emmet Cohen, a celebrated young pianist. Carter’s sophisticated harmony and solo quips pushed his bandmates in unexpected directions. Cohen, a charismatic virtuoso, responded by reaching deep into his own musical vocabulary. And Sherman, with the swagger of a young Gene Krupa, hair falling over his eyes, steered the trio with a strong cymbal beat, detailing the story with military licks, Afro-Latin grooves, and bass-drum bombs.

[ click to continue reading at Tablet ]

Posted on August 11, 2021 by Editor

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The Etherian Channeler

from artnet

The Late Artist and Psychic Paulina Peavy Communed With a UFO to Create Her Work. A New Show Revives Her Otherworldly Legacy

“The Etherian Channeler” at Beyond Baroque in Venice Beach reintroduces the West Coast to this singular artist.

by Katie White

Paulina Peavy, Ghazi Khan (circa 1950s). Courtesy of Beyond Baroque and the Paulina Peavy Estate.
Paulina Peavy, Ghazi Khan (circa 1950s). Courtesy of Beyond Baroque and the Paulina Peavy estate.

Many artists throughout history have claimed some sort of otherworldly inspiration (the muses, for instance). But the visionary American artist Paulina Peavy (1901–1999) may be one of the only to attribute her talents to communications with a U.F.O.—specifically one named Lacamo. 

During Peavy’s lifetime, she enjoyed many early successes, including showing with Los Angeles’s Stendahl Gallery, studying with Hans Hoffman, and exhibiting work at the opening of the San Francisco Museum of Art—all before falling into art world obscurity.

The new exhibition “Paulina Peavy: An Etherian Channeler,” on view at the Beyond Baroque art center in Venice Beach, is hoping to reintroduce Peavy as a powerful and one-of-a-kind creative force in the nascent southern California art scene of a century ago. 

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on August 10, 2021 by Editor

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Lithium Landscapes

from BBC

How your phone battery creates striking alien landscapes

By Richard Fisher and Javier Hirschfeld

A wider view of Chile's brine pools. It can take more than a year to maximise the lithium concentration by this evaporation method (Credit: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)
A wider view of Chile’s brine pools. It can take more than a year to maximise the lithium concentration by this evaporation method (Credit: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters)

Beneath the screen that you are reading this on, there could be the distilled essence of a salt plain.

Millions of years ago, volcanoes deposited minerals over vast tracts of South America. Later, water leached through the rock to form massive lakes. Cycles of evaporation and deposition followed, leaving vast plains of salt behind – infused with one of the world’s most sought-after minerals: lithium.

With the rapid rise in battery usage in electronic devices and electric cars, the demand for lithium and other constituent materials is accelerating. As BBC Future has previously reported, it is enabling mining companies to look in new places, such as the deep ocean or in previously exploited mines, and has prompted scientists to seek alternative battery technology. But our focus today is how lithium is changing the fortunes – and specifically, the landscapes – of those countries that have it in abundance.

In Bolivia and Chile, the high tonnage of lithium embedded in the salt plains has given rise to massive facilities. From the air, the evaporation pools associated with the mineral’s extraction dot the landscape like colours in a painter’s palette. In this edition of our photography series Anthropo-Scene, we explore these places, whose striking features have inspired various artistswriters and architects.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on August 9, 2021 by Editor

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Hidden Eden Exposed

from The New Yorker

The Lost Canyon Under Lake Powell

Drought is shrinking one of the country’s largest reservoirs, revealing a hidden Eden.

By Elizabeth Kolbert

La Gorce Arch
In 2019, La Gorce Arch could be visited by boat. It’s now a half-mile hike from Lake Powell.

The morning after I arrived in Bullfrog, I went back to the marina to meet up with Eric Balken, the executive director of the Glen Canyon Institute. The institute, whose goal is to return the canyon to its natural state, was founded in 1996. A decade later, while Balken was still a student at the University of Utah, he signed on as an intern at the group’s office, in Salt Lake City. He’s worked there ever since. Now thirty-four, he has probably seen more of Glen Canyon than anyone else under the age of ninety. The first time I spoke to him, over the phone, he offered to show me some “incredible” sights. “It’ll be hot,” he added.

Again the dock was crowded with families heading out onto Powell in houseboats. For our trip, Balken had rented a pontoon boat. His wife, Sandrine Yang, had decided to come along. So had my husband and two photographers. Once we’d loaded the boat with all our camping gear and supplies, there was only a narrow alley of floor space left.

Balken slipped on a pair of mirrored sunglasses and steered the boat out of the marina, into an arm of the lake known as Bullfrog Bay. From the mouth of the bay, we headed south, into what used to be the main channel of the Colorado. Red cliffs four, five, six hundred feet tall lined the lake on both sides.

As we sped on, the cliffs grew taller and redder. The Colorado used to carry vast amounts of sediment—hence its name, meaning “red-colored.” The river, it was said, was “too thick to drink, too thin to plow.” Now, though, when the Colorado hits the reservoir’s northern edge—a border that keeps creeping south—most of the sediment drops out, leaving the water clear. Lake Powell is an almost tropical shade of turquoise. It sparkled under the cerulean sky. Somewhere deep beneath us, the river was still flowing. But at the surface the water was slack. Yang declared the scene “stupid beautiful.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on August 8, 2021 by Editor

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Viewing The Earth’s Innards

from National Geographic

Rare chunks of Earth’s mantle found exposed in Maryland

The set of rocks strewn throughout Baltimore likely represent a slice of prehistoric seafloor from a now-vanished ocean.


Katie Armstrong, NG Staff. Sources: “Suprasubduction zone ophiolite fragments in the central Appalachian orogen”, Geospere, 2021. C.R. Scotese, Paleogeographic land extent

Standing among patches of muddy snow on the outskirts of Baltimore, Maryland, I bent down to pick up a piece of the planet that should have been hidden miles below my feet.

On that chilly February day, I was out with a pair of geologists to see an exposed section of Earth’s mantle. While this layer of rock is usually found between the planet’s crust and core, a segment peeks out of the scrubby Maryland forest, offering scientists a rare chance to study Earth’s innards up close.

Even more intriguing, the rock’s unusual chemical makeup suggests that this piece of mantle, along with chunks of lower crust scattered around Baltimore, was once part of the seafloor of a now-vanished ocean.

Over the roughly 490 million years since their formation, these hunks of Earth were smashed by shifting tectonic plates and broiled by searing hot fluids rushing through cracks, altering both their composition and sheen. Mantle rock is generally full of sparkly green crystals of the mineral olivine, but the rock in my hand was surprisingly unremarkable to look at: mottled yellow-brown stone occasionally flecked with black.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on August 7, 2021 by Editor

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Spelling Infidelity Explained

from Nautilus

What Misspellings Reveal About Cultural Evolution


Illustration by VectorMine / Shutterstock

Something about me must remind people of a blind 17th-century poet. My last name, Miton, is French, yet people outside of France invariably misspell it as “Milton”—as in the famed English author, John Milton, of the epic poem Paradise Lost.

It is not uncommon for people to misspell an unfamiliar name—yet 99 times out of 100 people misspell mine as “Milton.” That is the name that shows up on everything from my university gym card to emails from colleagues.

It might seem trivial, yet this misspelling actually illustrates a key feature of how cultural practices emerge and stabilize.

When studying culture, one of the key questions scientists ask is about continuity: Why do people do the same things, in roughly similar ways, over long periods of time? Consider how traditional food recipes, say tamales, have maintained a stable core definition over generations—corn-based dough cooked in corn husks.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on August 6, 2021 by Editor

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Musical Vocabularies

from InsideHook

The Musicians With the Biggest (And Smallest) Vocabularies

A new study determined which artists use the most unique words in their songs


We all know that when it comes to song lyrics, some artists are more verbose than others. Some like to keep it simple, while others use a slew of SAT words to paint a vivid picture and get their point across. Some artists even go as far as making up their own words (“MMMBop,” anyone?). But which artists have really gone above and beyond when it comes to their catalog’s lexicon?

As Digg points out, word search tool Wordtips sought to answer that question by combing through the lyrics of Spotify’s “most listened-to singers” as well as the artists named on Rolling Stone‘s “100 Greatest Singers of All Time” list to determine which ones used the most unique words per 1,000 words. (They excluded songs on which the singers did not have writing credits.)

They pored through 17,667 songs performed by 156 artists and found that Patti Smith has the best vocabulary of them all, with 217 unique words per 1,000 words in her lyrics. (That shouldn’t be too surprising to anyone familiar with Smith’s work.) Joni Mitchell and Björk came in second and third place, with 199 and 197 unique words per 1,000 words respectively, while Jim Morrison and Billie Eilish round out the top five.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on August 5, 2021 by Editor

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River Dave Burned Out

from AP

Fire destroys cabin of New Hampshire man forced out of woods


Jodie Gedeon via AP

CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) — For almost three decades, 81-year-old David Lidstone has lived in the woods of New Hampshire along the Merrimack River in a small cabin adorned with solar panels. He has grown his own food, cut his own firewood, and tended to his pets and chickens.

But his off-the-grid existence has been challenged in court by a property owner who says he’s been squatting for all those years. And to make Lidstone’s matters worse, his cabin was burned to the ground Wednesday afternoon in a blaze that is being investigated by local authorities.

Lidstone, or “River Dave” as he’s known by boaters and kayakers, was jailed July 15 on a civil contempt sanction. He was told he’d be released if he agreed to leave the cabin, but he has stayed put.

“You came with your guns, you arrested me, brought me in here, you’ve got all my possessions. You keep ’em,” Lidstone told a judge in a court appearance Wednesday morning. “I’ll sit here with your uniform on until I rot, sir.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on August 4, 2021 by Editor

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Playing To The Gallery Gone

from UnHerd

How artists lost their courage

Keeping silent is the price of a successful career


In 2013, Grayson Perry became the first crossdresser to give the BBC’s annual Reith Lectures. I loved them. Wearing his usual colourful attire, Perry explained why he titled his series “Playing to the gallery”, rather than “Sucking up to an academic elite”.

Art, he warned, is in its final throes, largely thanks to its obsession with cliches. He went on to describe a group of children who were asked what they thought artists did. One child responded: “They notice things.”

Much has changed in the art world, as well as the world at large, since those lectures were recorded. Perry’s crossdressing is no longer seen as unusual. It would not raise a single eyebrow amidst all the gender identities, “preferred pronouns” and codes of conduct that have rapidly taken hold of Britain’s institutions.

[ click to continue reading at UnHerd ]

Posted on August 3, 2021 by Editor

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Masturbation Going Viral

from The U.S. Sun

Can masturbating REALLY boost your immune system and fight Covid?

by Vanessa Chalmers

WITH a deadly virus circulating the past year and a half, many people have been wondering how they can boost their immunity.

Masturbating is sometimes touted as a way to give the immune system a kickstart.

When Covid first started causing chaos in the Western world in March 2020, Google searches for “can masurbation boost immunity” went wild as people searched for ways to protect themselves.

Unfortunately, touching oneself will not be the difference between catching Covid and not, as there are many factors that influence a person’s risk of getting the disease.

But Dr Jennifer Landa, a specialist in hormone therapy, suggests that indulging in some self-love might be able to strengthen your body’s natural defence forces.

“Masturbation can produce the right environment for a strengthened immune system,” she said, according to Men’s Health.

[ click to continue reading at The U.S. Sun ]

Posted on August 1, 2021 by Editor

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