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Fripp & Toyah Do Black Dog

Posted on January 3, 2021 by Editor

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Mary Ann Gone

from Deadline

Dawn Wells Dies Of Covid-19: Mary Ann On ‘Gilligan’s Island’ Was 82

By Erik Pedersen

Dawn Wells, best known for playing the girl-next-door castaway Mary Ann on the iconic CBS comedy series Gilligan’s Island, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of complications due to Covid-19. She was 82.

Wells, who was Miss Nevada in the 1959 Miss America pageant, beat out 350 actresses for the role of Mary Ann Summers. She also appeared in more 150 series and several movies during her career as well as on Broadway.

Wells’ naive country character on Gilligan’s Island was juxtaposed with that of Tina Louise’s Ginger, a sultry movie star. The rather-stereotyped dueling characters fueled a debate that continues among fans today: Mary Ann or Ginger.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on December 31, 2020 by Editor

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Pierre Cardin Gone

from BBC

Pierre Cardin: French fashion giant dies aged 98

GETTY IMAGES

Legendary designer Pierre Cardin, whose futuristic and stylish designs helped revolutionise fashion in the 1950s and 60s, has died at the age of 98.

The French fashion giant, whose career spanned more than 70 years, helped usher in the post-war “golden age” of couture with his modern style. 

He broke ground by bringing designer styles to the masses with some of the first ready-to-wear collections.

A business pioneer, he also licensed his name for a wide range of products.

Cardin was born in Italy in 1922 but moved to France as a child. He began his fashion career in Paris working for firms including Christian Dior, for whom he helped create the New Look collection in 1947.

He set up his own fashion company in 1950 and made his name with visionary designs like the iconic bubble dress in 1954 and his Space Age collection in 1964.

At the end of the 1950s, he launched his first ready-to-wear collection for the Printemps department store. While pop stars and actors like the Beatles and Lauren Bacall were seen wearing Cardin, his cutting-edge designs were also within reach of ordinary customers.

[ click to read full obit at BBC ]

Posted on December 29, 2020 by Editor

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Besottedness

from The Atlantic

What Drives Writers to Drink?

Seeking in the eloquent benders of Dylan Thomas and Herman Mankiewicz an answer to an ancient riddle

by JAMES PARKER

A portrait of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953) sitting in an unidentified bar in the early 1950s. (Weegee / International Center of Photography / Getty)

The drunk guy. What are you going to do with the drunk guy? He’s holding forth, he’s sucking up air, he’s rhetorically inflated, he’s ruining everything, and no possible appeal to decency or art can stop him. A bucket of cold water might answer. Or a Vulcan nerve pinch. Otherwise, you’re just going to have to take it, you and everyone else, sinking deeper into a kind of frozen grave of disaffection, an icy bed of umbrage, as he goes on and on, drunk on himself, drunk on being drunk, drunk.

And it’s even worse if the drunk guy is a writer. Because not only are writers very tricky—viciously down on themselves, impossibly in love with this or that, squirting little shafts of bile or ambrosia from secret writer glands—they also have language. Their drunk-guy monologues will not, unfortunately, be without interest. They might even be—as lights flutter out in the brain—somewhat creative.

David Fincher’s Mank, now streaming on Netflix, and Steven Bernstein’s Last Call, which I saw recently in a fantastically deserted AMC theater, both feature protracted drunk-writer monologues, because both movies have a drunk writer for a leading man. In Mank, it’s Herman “Mank” Mankiewicz, the screenwriter who gave us Citizen Kane; in Last Call, it’s Dylan Thomas, the Welsh poet who gave us … Dylan Thomas. Mank was brilliant; Thomas was a genius. Drunk guys that they frequently were, neither man, to put it mildly, was without insight. What can they teach or impart to us about writing and booze?

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on December 24, 2020 by Editor

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Speed Buggy Back

from MSN

An Oil Scion Is Giving a ’60s-Era Dune Buggy a New Lease on Life

by Hannah Elliott

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — The centerpiece of Phillip Sarofim’s Los Angeles home is his garage. The immaculate space holds two of the most collectible cars in the world: his Ruf CTR Yellowbird and Lancia Stratos Zero, a wedge-on-four-wheels in burnt caramelized orange.

It’s fair to say the venture capitalist, oil scion, and former Avril Lavigne paramour has access to pretty much whatever his heart desires. But his recent acquisition of Meyers Manx LLC runs slightly counter to the image of that blue-chip garage.

Sure, the fiberglass-tubed Manx dune buggies gained global attention when Steve McQueen drove one in 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair. An edition from that year sold for $55,200 at an RM Sotheby’s auction in 2019. But at 1,200 pounds, just 90 horsepower on its four-cylinder engine, and not even the courtesy of a radio, the open-top rambler with knobby wheels is better suited to cruising deserted beaches than the Monaco promenades where you’d find that Lancia.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on December 23, 2020 by Editor

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VG Rising

from MarketWatch

Videogames are a bigger industry than movies and North American sports combined, thanks to the pandemic

COVID-19 lockdowns expected to help global gaming sales rise 20% to nearly $180 billion in 2020, and experts don’t see growth taking a hit in 2021 after release of next-gen Playstation, Xbox

By Wallace Witkowski

Videogames have grown to resemble competition-based, interactive movies, and the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the industry to make more money than movies and North American sports combined. 

Global videogame revenue is expected to surge 20% to $179.7 billion in 2020, according to IDC data, making the videogame industry a bigger moneymaker than the global movie and North American sports industries combined. The global film industry reached $100 billion in revenue for the first time in 2019, according to the Motion Picture Association, while PwC estimated North American sports would bring in more than $75 billion in 2020.

[ click to continue reading at MarketWatch ]

Posted on December 22, 2020 by Editor

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Christmas Star Rising

from CNN

Watch for the ‘Christmas Star’ as Jupiter and Saturn come closer than they have in centuries

By Ashley Strickland

The two largest planets in our solar system are coming closer together than they have been since the Middle Ages, and it’s happening just in time for Christmas — hence the nickname of the “Christmas Star.” While it’s not an actual star, the two planets will certainly make a bright splash in the night sky.

On the night of December 21, the winter solstice, Jupiter and Saturn will appear so closely aligned in our sky that they will look like a double planet. This close approach is called a conjunction. The fact that this event is happening during the winter solstice is pure coincidence, according to NASA.

“Alignments between these two planets are rather rare, occurring once every 20 years or so, but this conjunction is exceptionally rare because of how close the planets will appear to one another,” said astronomer Patrick Hartigan, a professor of physics and astronomy at Rice University in Houston, in a statement

“You’d have to go all the way back to just before dawn on March 4, 1226, to see a closer alignment between these objects visible in the night sky.”

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on December 21, 2020 by Editor

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Cave Man Need Pubes On Face

from WIRED

Facial Hair Is Biologically Useless. So Why Do Humans Have It?

Pubes protect you; head hair keeps you warm. But beards and mustaches seem to exist for mainly ornamental reasons.

by JOSH CLARKCHUCK BRYANT

man smiling

THIS STORY IS adapted from Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Thingsby Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant.

There are really only two types of facial hair: beards and mustaches. Every style of facial hair you’ve ever seen is one of these two, or a combination of both.

Think about it like part of a Linnaean taxonomy of human traits that we just made up but totally makes sense, where facial hair is a family, beards and mustaches are each a genus, and their many varieties are individual species that could interbreed, as it were, to create hybrid subspecies like the duck-billed platypus of the facial hair family, the soul patch.

This might seem self-evident when you take a second to think about it, but then why would you be thinking about this at all unless you work in the relatively booming beard care industry or you’re a pogonophile—a lover of beards and the bearded. The Economist wrote about that very philia in a 2015 article about the growing trend of beardedness while reporting from the National Beard and Mustache Championship that was taking place in Brooklyn that year … obviously. (A year earlier, in February 2014, the New York Post ran a story about men in Brooklyn paying as much as $8,500 for facial hair transplants in order to grow better beards.)

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 20, 2020 by Editor

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B.E-E. Cancelled

from The Independent UK

Bret Easton Ellis: ‘Being cancelled has endeared me to part of the population’

After his recent collection of essays stirred controversy, the author has written the script for a slasher horror movie. He tells Ed Cumming why today’s social media storms are nothing compared with what he faced for writing American Psycho

(AFP via Getty Images)

Until last year, Bret Easton Ellis had been drifting from the public eye. Thirty-four years had passed since the instant celebrity that followed Less Than Zero, a stylish, nihilistic vision of Los Angeles published in 1985 when its author was just 21. The furore over American Psycho, his third and most famous novel, had long since faded into literary history, even after a resurgence around the 2000 film that starred Christian Bale as its corporate psychopath antihero, Patrick Bateman.

Ellis was prone to the odd misjudged tweet, in particular during 2012, a bumper year in which he variously claimed the American actor Matt Bomer was “too gay” to play the lead in 50 Shades of Grey, said the director Kathryn Bigelow was overrated because “she’s a very hot woman” and, most memorably, invited his followers to “bring coke now” to a party he was at. But by last year he had gone quieter on social media, too. Sober after a lifetime of well-documented excess, Ellis seemed to be charting a quieter course, writing screenplays and making podcasts.

Then he published White, a collection of musings about, among other things, safe spaces, Twitter, liberal hysteria over Trump, #MeToo, the radical beauty of Richard Gere in American Gigolo, Black Lives Matter, the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and snowflake millennials – “Generation Wuss”, whom he declared unable to handle criticism. The essays – and interviews promoting them – provoked a barrage of criticism. The Guardian called it a “nonsensical, vapid book, written by a man so furiously obsessed with his right to speak that he forgets to say anything”. In the London Review of Books, James Wolcott noted Ellis’s gift for “upsetting the maximum number of people with the minimum amount of effort”. Ellis was back in the news, portrayed more as a middle-aged crank than a bad boy.

Now, nearly two years since White’s release, Ellis claims to have been baffled by the reaction. “I was shocked,” he says. “It was an argument about aesthetics, and unfortunately the meaning got twisted. I never saw it as a proclamation or politics. I saw it more about cultural history. The reaction was politicised. It was terrible, because I really don’t feel that way at all. My boyfriend’s a millennial.” He often refers to his millennial boyfriend, Todd, a musician, in a way that reminds me of how Captain America uses his shield to block attacks but also as something to throw at his enemies. “Still, we were prepared,” he adds. “We knew it was going to freak the media out, and it did. It was nothing compared to American Psycho, when there were protests and people throwing blood on bookstores and telling me my career was over.”

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on December 19, 2020 by Editor

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Banksy’s Bristol Sneeze

from artnet

It’s a New Banksy! A Mural of a Woman Sneezing Has Appeared on the Side of a House in Bristol

The work is the anonymous street artist’s latest health-related message.

by Brian Boucher

A new mural by Banksy has appeared on the side of a house in the southern UK city of Bristol. The piece shows a woman in a headscarf sneezing, with her dentures flying several feet out of her mouth and a graphic spray of saliva following them. She is doubled over by the force of the sneeze and has lost her grip on her purse and cane.

Two days after Brits began to receive the first doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, the piece seems to issue a gross reminder that, one step toward herd immunity notwithstanding, citizens ought to continue to wear their masks to avoid spreading the deadly virus via droplets, or in this case gobs, of saliva.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Selfish Meme

from WIRED

The WIRED Guide to Memes

Everything you ever wanted to know about Nyan Cat, Doge, and the art of the Rickroll.

by ANGELA WATERCUTTEREMMA GREY ELLIS

What Is A Meme The Definitive WIRED Guide

MEMES AND THE internet—they’re made for each other. Not because they’re digital visual communication (though of course, they are that), but because they are the product of a hive mind. They are the shorthand of a hyper-connected group thinking in unison. And, friends, the web hive mind is a weird (often funny, sometimes dangerous) place. 

The term “meme” comes from evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. For Dawkins, cultural ideas were no different than genes—concepts that had to spread themselves from brain to brain as quickly as they could, replicating and mutating as they went. He called those artifacts memes, bits of cultural DNA that encoded society’s shared experiences while also constantly evolving.

But Dawkins coined the term in 1976, in his book The Selfish Gene, long before the modern internet, before memes morphed into what they are now. Back then, Dawkins was talking about passing along culture—song melodies, art styles, whatever. Today, denizens of the internet think of memes as jokes passed across social media in the form of image macros (those pictures of babies or cats or whatever with bold black-and-white words on them), hashtags (the thing you amended to what you just wrote on Twitter), GIFs (usually of a celebrity, reality star, or drag queen reacting to what you just wrote on Twitter), or videos (that Rick Astley video people used to send you).

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 16, 2020 by Editor

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Spliffs In The Temple Tonight

from artnet

Did Ancient Hebrews Get High During Temple? A New Archaeological Discovery Suggests They Did

Archaeologists confirm what your Jewish friends already suspected: ancient religious services were way more fun.

by Sarah Cascone

Frankincense, myrrh, and… cannabis? Archaeologists have discovered traces of weed on an ancient Israelite altar, suggesting that getting high was a religious ritual for the Hebrew people.

The discovery was made using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry testing on an Iron Age Judahite shrine at Tel Arad, in Israel’s Negev desert. The cannabis altar was in the inner sanctum of the temple, known as the cella, or holy of holies.

“We know from all around the Ancient Near East and around the world that many cultures used hallucinogenic materials and ingredients in order to get into some kind of religious ecstasy,” Eran Arie, curator of Iron Age and Persian Periods archaeology in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem told CNN. “We never thought about Judah taking part in these cultic practices. The fact that we found cannabis in an official cult place of Judah says something new.”

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Editor

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Charley Pride Gone

from AP

Charley Pride, a country music Black superstar, dies at 86

By MARK KENNEDY

NEW YORK (AP) — Charley Pride, one of country music’s first Black superstar whose rich baritone on such hits as “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” helped sell millions of records and made him the first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, has died. He was 86.

Pride died Saturday in Dallas of complications from Covid-19, according to Jeremy Westby of the public relations firm 2911 Media.

“I’m so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It’s even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you,” Dolly Parton tweeted.

Pride released dozens of albums and sold more than 25 million records during a career that began in the mid-1960s. Hits besides “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” in 1971 included “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” “Burgers and Fries,” “Mountain of Love,” and “Someone Loves You Honey.”

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on December 12, 2020 by Editor

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Pre-Drip Pollock

from The New York Times

Jackson Pollock, Before the Drip

“Mural,” his largest painting, is back in New York for the first time in 20 years, at the Guggenheim.

By Jason Farago

Jackson Pollock’s 20-foot-wide “Mural”(1943), originally commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim and now owned by the University of Iowa. He structured the composition with seven more or less vertical arcs of brown-to-black, which encourages you to read it horizontally, like a narrative panorama.
Jackson Pollock’s 20-foot-wide “Mural”(1943), originally commissioned by Peggy Guggenheim and now owned by the University of Iowa. He structured the composition with seven more or less vertical arcs of brown-to-black, which encourages you to read it horizontally, like a narrative panorama. Credit The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

For Jacques-Louis David it was “The Oath of the Horatii,” for Kazimir Malevich it was “Black Square,” for Virginia Woolf it was “Jacob’s Room,” for Amy Winehouse it was “Rehab.” These are the breakthrough works — the hinges between the early career and the mature one. Everything before them looks like a warm-up, everything after like a natural outcome, though at the moment of their creation, who could tell?

For Jackson Pollock the hinge was soldered in 1943, when Peggy Guggenheim commissioned him to execute his first monumentally scaled painting: a 20-by-8-foot mural for the narrow vestibule of her Upper East Side townhouse. He’d already won some acclaim for early, Surrealist-inflected paintings, heavily influenced by his teacher Thomas Hart Benton and by the Mexican muralists he revered. But in “Mural,” Pollock opened up into canvas-covering gestural abstraction, with raw, sweeping lines applied with the action of the full body. The ponderous symbolism and overcalculated squiggles of Pollock’s first years got channeled to something rhythmic, automatic, almost dancing, and almost drippy.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 11, 2020 by Editor

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No Stream – CD

from The New York Times

No, I Am Not Getting Rid of My Thousands of CDs

Our chief classical music critic writes in praise of going to a shelf, pulling out a recording and sitting down to listen.

By Anthony Tommasini

Credit… By Javier Jaén

In the late 1970s, when I was living in Boston, the record store of choice for classical music fans was the Harvard Coop. It had an extensive catalog and informed salespeople eager to offer invariably strong opinions on which albums to buy. I’d often bump into friends and fellow musicians, all of us flipping through bins of LPs. After making a purchase I’d have to squeeze yet more shelf space out of my cramped apartment, but I was pleased at my growing home library.

Then, in 1982, CDs arrived. Slowly everyone started converting from 12-inch vinyl LPs to four-and-a-half-inch plastic CDs in jewel-box cases that required a completely different storage setup. And what were you supposed to do with your old LPs?

Now the cycle has repeated itself, with CD sales dwindling to a fraction of their heights a couple of decades ago. Download and streaming services have taken hold, and physical discs have become obsolete. After all, with everything available online, why clutter up your living space?

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on December 9, 2020 by Editor

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Dylan Catalog Sold

from AP

The Dylan catalog, a 60-year rock ‘n’ roll odyssey, is sold 

By DAVID BAUDER

NEW YORK (AP) — Bob Dylan has sold publishing rights to his catalog of more than 600 songs, one of the greatest treasures in popular music, to the Universal Music Publishing Group for an undisclosed sum.

The catalog includes such modern standards as “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door,” and “Like a Rolling Stone,” a body of work that may only be matched for its breadth and influence by the Beatles, whose songs were re-acquired by Paul McCartney in 2017.

The songwriting legend earned an estimated $300 million from the sale, according to The New York Times, which first reported it.

Dylan, 79, topped the Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time in 2015 and the song “Like A Rolling Stone” was named by the magazine as the best ever written. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016, the only songwriter to receive the award.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on December 8, 2020 by Editor

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Ikea Catalog Gone

from Business Insider via MSN

Ikea is getting rid of its iconic catalog, one of the most popular books in the world, ending a 70-year print run

insider@insider.com (Grace Dean)

After almost 70 years, Swedish furniture giant Ikea is scrapping its iconic catalog.

The company will no longer produce print and digital versions of the book, it announced Monday.

It’s been touted as the most widely-distributed publication in the world, and more copies of the catalog are printed each year than the Bible or Quran.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on December 7, 2020 by Editor

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A History Of Wood

from VICE

The Untold Story of Wood, the Well-Endowed Man From Those Coronavirus Texts

Through interviews with his loved ones, we dug deeper into the fascinating life of Wardy Joubert III, the real man behind the memes.

By Alex Zaragoza

WARDY LOVED THIS PHOTO OF HIMSELF, ALEGRIA TOLD ME. IMAGE COURTESY OF HEATHER ALEGRIA.

Last week, I went down a rabbit hole in pursuit of a story: the proliferation of prank texts that appear to provide breaking news links on the COVID-19 pandemic, only to open up to a photo of a beefy, naked Black man with a massive penis. I set out to find the well-endowed man to talk to him about his cult status during this time of crisis, only to find out he was a guy named Wood who had died several years ago.

Emails, DMs, and endless memes poured in from people who had read the story and wanted to know more about the now-fabled Wood. A few even asked about donating to Wood’s family. Like many of them, I felt unsatisfied with the story; it just didn’t feel like a closed case.

All I really knew about this man was that he had done a jerk-off video at some point in his life, and that he had died. It seemed unfair to tie a bow on a person’s legacy based on just two things from his years on earth. I’d hate to think that one day, when I’m gone, the only thing people might know about me is that I once fell on a cactus while drunk off Bud Light. So I set off to find out even more about who he was as a person beyond his large penis and meme infamy, and I did. This is the untold story of Wood, or, rather, Wardy Joubert III.

[ click to continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on December 6, 2020 by Editor

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Christmas Star Coming

from Fox News 5 NY

Jupiter and Saturn to align in the sky this month as ‘Christmas Star’

By Chris Ciaccia and Fox 13 News staff

The two largest planets in the solar system, Jupiter and Saturn, have fascinated astronomers for hundreds of years. But the two gas giants will do something next month not seen since the Middle Ages — they will look like a double planet.

The rare occurrence will happen after sunset on Dec. 21, 2020, the start of the winter solstice.

Back in 1614, German astronomer Johannes Kepler suggested that a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn may be what was referred to as the “Star of Bethlehem” in the Nativity story, while others have suggested that the “three wise men” could have been a triple conjunction of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. But it’s unknown if the “Christmas Star” was a real astronomical event, like a planetary conjunction or a comet.

[ click to read full article at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on December 5, 2020 by Editor

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Why Kids Can Kick Your Ass At Videogames

from WIRED

Kids Are Master Manipulators. So Use Game Theory Against Them

Kids are master manipulators. They play up their charms, pit adults against one another, and engage in loud, public wailing. So it’s your job to keep up with them.

by CHELSEA LEU

hackyourkids6.jpg
RAMI NIEMI

KIDS ARE MASTER manipulators. They play up their charms, pit adults against one another, and engage in loud, public wailing. So it’s your job to keep up with them, Carnegie Mellon’s Kevin Zollman says. His new book,  The Game Theorist’s Guide to Parenting—written with journalist Paul Raeburn—explains how.

Force Cooperation

For siblings who refuse to work together, Zollman recommends a version of the prisoner’s dilemma. Assign them a task they can do jointly, like picking up the toys, then give them each the same reward or punishment based on their performance as a team: If one kid slacks off, the next time around the other one is likely to refuse to cooperate, and both will lose out. Over time, this setup compels teamwork.

Make Them Pay

Who gets the bigger room? Who gets to name the cat? It’s the old King Solomon problem: Some things you just can’t cut in half. So have kids bid with chores or their allowance. If one of them wants to name the cat Macaroni & Cheese, he’ll have to pay for it.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on December 4, 2020 by Editor

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Ancient Bungee Art

from artnet

More Photos Have Emerged from the Massive Rock Art Discovery in the Amazon, and They’re Amazing—See Them Here

Who knew that ancient Amazonians bungee jumped? Well, now you do!

by Brian Boucher

A member of the Colombian-English research team that made the discovery. Photo José Iriarte.
A member of the Colombian-English research team that made the discovery. Photo: José Iriarte.

Archaeologists recently discovered eight miles of painted rock face in the Colombian Amazon, sited along the Guayabero River. The Colombian and English researchers studying the works suspect that there could be upward of 100,000 individual paintings on 17 walls, dating from the time when humans first arrived in South America and then traveled through Central America.

The thousands of paintings, made by people who lived there 12,500 years ago, have captivated viewers the world over. Now, Artnet News has obtained more photographs of the giant sloths, armadillos the size of a car, and countless other animals, as well as humans dancing, engaging in ceremonies, and even bungee jumping.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on December 3, 2020 by Editor

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Botanical Fractals

from Smithsonian Magazine

Decoding the Mathematical Secrets of Plants’ Stunning Leaf Patterns

A Japanese shrub’s unique foliage arrangement leads botanists to rethink plant growth models

By Maddie Burakoff

Aloe Spirals
The spiral pattern of an Aloe polyphylla plant at the University of California Botanical Garden. (Stan Shebs via Wikicommons under CC BY-SA 3.0)

To the untrained eye, plants may appear to grow rather impulsively, popping out leaves at random to create one big green jumble. Take a closer look, though, and you’ll find that a few curiously regular patterns pop up all over the natural world, from the balanced symmetry of bamboo shoots to the mesmerizing spirals of succulents.

In fact, these patterns are consistent enough that cold, hard math can predict organic growth fairly well. One assumption that has been central to the study of phyllotaxis, or leaf patterns, is that leaves protect their personal space. Based on the idea that already existing leaves have an inhibitory influence on new ones, giving off a signal to prevent others from growing nearby, scientists have created models that can successfully recreate many of nature’s common designs. The ever-fascinating Fibonacci sequence, for example, shows up in everything from sunflower seed arrangements to nautilus shells to pine cones. The current consensus is that the movements of the growth hormone auxin and the proteins that transport it throughout a plant are responsible for such patterns.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian ]

Posted on December 2, 2020 by Editor

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Arecibo Gone

from CBS News

Iconic Arecibo Observatory radio telescope collapses after cable broke

A huge radio telescope in Puerto Rico that has long played a key role in astronomical discoveries collapsed on Tuesday, officials said. The Arecibo Observatory, made famous as the backdrop for a pivotal scene in the James Bond film “GoldenEye” and other Hollywood hits, had been shuttered since August after an auxiliary cable snapped and caused a 100-foot gash on the reflector dish.

Then a main cable broke in early November, leading the National Science Foundation to declare just weeks later that it planned to close the radio telescope because the damage was too great.

Many scientists and Puerto Ricans mourned the news, with some tearing up during interviews. Deborah Martorell, a meteorologist in Puerto Rico, tweeted early Tuesday: “Friends, it is with deep regret to inform you that the Arecibo Observatory platform has just collapsed.”

[ click to continue reading at CBS News ]

Posted on December 1, 2020 by Editor

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Darth Vader Gone

from The Verge

Darth Vader actor David Prowse has died at 85

The 6-foot-6 former bodybuilder played the Star Wars villain in the original trilogy

By Kim Lyons

David Prowse as the Green Cross Code Man in 1981 Photo by PA Images via Getty Images

David Prowse, the actor who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars films, has died, the Associated Press reported. He was 85. 

George Lucas asked Prowse to audition for Star Wars after seeing the 6-foot-6 actor in the 1971 Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange. Prowse had his choice of playing Chewbacca or Vader, and opted for the latter because, as he told the BBC, “you always remember the bad guy.” Plus, he added, he didn’t fancy wearing Chewbacca’s fur suit.

Prowse played Luke Skywalker’s erstwhile father in Star WarsThe Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi, but famously, his voice didn’t make it into the films. He said all Vader’s lines, but the voice of James Earl Jones was later dubbed in.

[ click to continue reading at The Verge ]

Posted on November 29, 2020 by Editor

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Monolith Returned

from artnet

A Mysterious Steel Monolith Was Discovered in the Utah Desert. Is It a Work of Art—or the Work of Aliens?

Theories about who or what is behind the object have started circulating online.

Cue Also sprach Zarathustra

A mysterious steel monolith has been discovered deep in the red rock canyons of southern Utah. And no one seems to know who—or what—is behind it.

Officers from the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) eyed the object from a helicopter last week while counting bighorn sheep in the area. The spotters were quick to posit two theories about the polished steel block: it’s either a work of art, or the work of aliens. 

“I’m assuming it’s some new-wave artist or something or, you know, somebody that was a big ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ fan,” Bret Hutchings, the helicopter pilot, told the Utah news outlet KSL 5 News

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 27, 2020 by Editor

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Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on November 26, 2020 by Editor

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Maradona Gone

from GOAL

Maradona: The making of a footballing legend

by Daniel Edwards

The Argentine hero celebrated his 60th birthday shortly before his untimely death on Wednesday, and Goal looks back on what made him such an icon 

A legend, a man whose every word and action is headline news.

Diego Maradona passed away on Wednesday at the age of 60, though the Argentina and Napoli idol seemed to pack in enough action into his six decades to fill 10 regular lives. 

From the mop-haired prodigy that first took the Primera Division by storm, through his adventures in SpainItaly and on the international stage, Maradona has rarely been away from the public eye.

[ click to continue reading at GOAL.com ]

Posted on November 25, 2020 by Editor

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Mushies Going Mainstream

from The Observer

The Hunt For The Other Magic Ingredients In Magic Mushrooms

By Chris Roberts

Harvesting Mazatec psilocybin mushrooms from their growing tubs May 19, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

In the late 1980s, Jochum Gartz, a chemist at the Institute for Biotechnology in Leipzig, Germany, noticed something intriguing about magic mushrooms.

There are more than 200 species of fungus that produce psilocybin, which was then and now thought to be the “active ingredient” in psychedelic mushrooms. Those different mushrooms, found all over the world and grown in different conditions, were not at all the same. And what they did to the humans who ate them, Gartz observed, was definitely not the same.

Gartz noted 24 cases of “accidental” hallucinogenic mushroom ingestion. In every case, the users all reported intense euphoria—all positive vibes, with no anxiety, dystopia, or unease. No bad trip.

All 24 of the “good trippers” had eaten a species of mushroom called Inocybe aeruginascens. That species has relatively high levels of a compound called aeruginascin, one of several chemical compounds identified in psilocybin-producing mushrooms.

[ click to continue reading at Observer ]

Posted on November 24, 2020 by Editor

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The Genius of M B-W

from Real Clear Politics

Margaret Bourke-White’s True-to-Life Gift

By Carl M. Cannon

Eighty-four years ago today, a shiny and sophisticated pictorial publication hit the newsstands. The brainchild of Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, two prep school friends who ran the college newspaper at Yale, this glossy magazine would change the way Americans looked at their world. It was called, fittingly, Life.

Although Briton Hadden may be an unfamiliar name to you, he was a singular and pivotal figure in 20th century journalism. He and Luce had burst onto the scene in 1923 with Time, the nation’s first modern weekly newsmagazine. Its very conception was Brit Hadden’s, as was its distinctive voice, dubbed “Timestyle.” It was also Hadden who raised the money to launch it. All this was known in the 1920s, including by Time’s readers. In his authoritative account of those early years, scholar Isaiah Wilner produced an unpublished letter-to-the-editor from a reader who said, flatly, “Briton Hadden was the presiding genius.”

[ click to continue reading at RCP ]

Posted on November 23, 2020 by Editor

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Herzog’s Fireball

from Inside Hook

What Does Werner Herzog Think About Trader Joe’s, Texas and Meteors?

BY NADJA SAYEJ

In 1954, a woman was hit by a grapefruit-sized meteorite while napping on the couch. Known today as the Sylacauga meteorite, this asteroid flew in through the ozone layer, through the Alabama sky and hit Ann Elizabeth Fowler Hodges in her farmhouse. She was bruised on her torso but survived to become the subject of much publicity.

This story and more is featured in Werner Herzog’s latest documentary, Fireball: Visitors From Darker Worlds, a far-reaching portrait of the fascinating world of meteorites premiering Friday on Apple TV+ Considering that this cosmic dust falls on the planet every day, the film, co-directed by Herzog and scientist Clive Oppenheimer, helps us better understand the phenomenon of meteorites, from their history to how we track them today to their cultural significance.

The duo traveled to over 10 countries, from Saudi Arabia to India and Australia, visiting places where fireballs and massive meteors have fallen — like the Chicxulub crater, the largest asteroid ever known to hit the earth in Chicxulub Puerto, Mexico. They interviewed countless experts on meteors, from geochemist Nita Sahai to Cambridge University’s Simon Schaffer and even the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at NASA, which protects the earth from incoming asteroids with giant telescopes at the SJ Pan-STARRS Observatory in Haleakalā, Hawaii.

It isn’t all science, however, as it taps into the poetic beauty of meteors and their symbolic meaning, as with a tribe on Murray Island off the coast of Papua New Guinea, where locals have a traditional fireball dance.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on November 22, 2020 by Editor

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B.E.E. Serial

from MovieMaker

Bret Easton Ellis Serializes New High School Serial Killer Story — on His Podcast

by Tim Molloy

Bret Easton Ellis serializes new serial killer novel The Shards on his podcast

For the last six episodes of his podcast, American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis has held readers rapt with an early 1980s story of Los Angeles high school kids who become entangled with a handsome new student named Robert Mallory — and a serial killer known as The Trawler.

Adding to the intrigue: Ellis says everything in the story really happened to him and his friends.

Ellis, a frequent critique of Hollywood and literary censorship, explained early on that he was releasing the podcast to his paid subscribers in part because he isn’t sure anyone would publish it, given its sometimes horrific contents. He has also wondered if his most successful works – including American Psycho and Less Than Zero — would find publishers today, given the sensitivities of 2020.

The new story, which Ellis has alternately described as a novel and a memoir, is full of details that might migraine the minds of modern-day publishers: a killer who trawls home before his murders (like the Manson family once did), learning their blueprints and stealing pets; underage sex; and ghastly violations involving dead fish. The working title is The Shards.

Ellis is, as he explains on the podcast, completing a new installment every two weeks in time to read it at the start of each B.E.E. Podcast. He has no editor, no notes from a nervous publisher, no corporate board worried about potential fallout. He has changed names and other details, he says, but sometimes friends from Buckley, his Sherman Oaks private school, will contact him after an episode to make minor corrections.

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Posted on November 19, 2020 by Editor

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The Oracle Returned

from The New Yorker

Wikipedia, “Jeopardy!,” and the Fate of the Fact

In the Internet age, it can seem as if there’s no reason to remember anything. But information doesn’t always amount to knowledge.

By Louis Menand

Is it still cool to memorize a lot of stuff? Is there even a reason to memorize anything? Having a lot of information in your head was maybe never cool in the sexy-cool sense, more in the geeky-cool or class-brainiac sense. But people respected the ability to rattle off the names of all the state capitals, or to recite the periodic table. It was like the ability to dunk, or to play the piano by ear—something the average person can’t do. It was a harmless show of superiority, and it gave people a kind of species pride.

There is still no artificial substitute for the ability to dunk. It remains a valued and nontransferrable aptitude. But today who needs to know the capital of South Dakota or the atomic number of hafnium (Pierre and 72)? Siri, or whatever chatbot you use, can get you that information in nanoseconds. Remember when, back in the B.D.E. (Before the Digital Era), you’d be sitting around with friends over a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet, and the conversation would turn on the question of when Hegel published “The Phenomenology of Spirit”? Unless you had an encyclopedia for grownups around the house, you’d either have to trek to your local library, whose only copy of the “Phenomenology” was likely to be checked out, or use a primitive version of the “lifeline”—i.e., telephone a Hegel expert. Now you ask your smartphone, which is probably already in your hand. (I just did: 1807. Took less than a second.)

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on November 16, 2020 by Editor

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The Largest Astronomy Book In The World

from National Geographic

Why the Nasca lines are among Peru’s greatest mysteries

The lines drawn in geometric patterns and distinct animal shapes across the Peruvian desert have inspired many theories over the years. Here’s what we know—and what remains to be seen.

BY JASON GOLOMB

AS A PLANE soars over the high desert of southern Peru, the dull pale sameness of the rocks and sand organize and change form. Distinct white lines gradually evolve from tan and rust-red. Strips of white crisscross a desert so dry that it rains less than an inch every year. The landscape changes as lines take shape to form simple geometric designs: trapezoids, straight lines, rectangles, triangles, and swirls. Some of the swirls and zigzags start to form more distinct shapes: a hummingbird, a spider, a monkey.

These are the renowned Nasca lines—subject of mystery for over 80 years. How were they formed? What purpose could they have served? Were aliens involved?

The lines are found in a region of Peru just over 200 miles southeast of Lima, near the modern town of Nasca. In total, there are over 800 straight lines, 300 geometric figures and 70 animal and plant designs, also called biomorphs. Some of the straight lines run up to 30 miles, while the biomorphs range from 50 to 1200 feet in length (as large as the Empire State Building).

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on November 15, 2020 by Editor

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