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Dam Simple

from WIRED

This Dam Simple Trick Is a Big Green Energy Win

Only a small fraction of dams actually produce electricity. Transforming them into hydropower plants might stop new ones from being built.

by MATT REYNOLDS

belo monte dam
PHOTOGRAPH: MAURO PIMENTEL/GETTY IMAGES

IN NOVEMBER 2019 engineers switched on the 18th and final turbine at Brazil’s Belo Monte Dam: the final step in an odyssey of planning and construction that had started almost 50 years earlier. The vast hydroelectric complex—the fourth-largest in the world—completely upended the northern stretch of the Xingu River, one of the Amazon’s major tributaries. The waters held back by the main dam created a reservoir that flooded 260 square miles of lowlands and forests, and displaced more than 20,000 people.

Major hydroelectric dams can have catastrophic consequences—flooding homes and habitats and changing the flow, temperature, and chemistry of rivers for decades. Although few are quite as big as Belo Monte, there are a glut of new hydroelectric dams in the works all over the globe. In 2014 researchers estimated that there are at least 3,700 major hydroelectric dams in planning or under construction globally. Most of these new projects are located in low- and middle-income countries eager to fuel their growing economies with a crucial source of low-carbon power: In 2020, hydroelectric dams generated as much electricity as nuclear and wind power combined. But the race to tap the world’s rivers for renewable energy presents something of an environmental conundrum: Do the benefits outweigh the environmental chaos that dams can wreak?

Some researchers think there’s a smart way out of this dilemma. Rather than building more dams, why don’t we figure out a way to get more out of the ones that already exist? The majority of them aren’t generating electricity at all—they’re used for irrigation, water supply, flood control, or for fishing and boating. If we can figure out a way to put turbines into those dams so they also produce hydropower—a process known as retrofitting—we could unlock a huge renewable energy potential that isn’t being tapped.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on November 25, 2021 by Editor

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Napolean’s Hat

from The New York Post

NYC media mogul buys rare Napoleon hat for $1.4 million

By Jon Levine

Bryan Goldberg
Bryan Goldberg was insistent to The Post that he scored a bargain with the hat. BDG

This ‘Napoleon’ is looking dynamite in his new $1.4 million hat.

Gotham media mogul Bryan Goldberg added a heady new asset to his empire — Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte’s rare two-cornered hat — which he plans to wear around town.

“I don’t know if I am going to have a coronation party but I will definitely have friends over when I put on the hat, but no one else is allowed to wear it. Only I am allowed to wear the hat,” Goldberg told The Post.

“I will wear the hat in select red carpet situations and I intend to wear the hat at my wedding. I’ll know I have found the right wife when she lets me wear this hat at our wedding day,” he said.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on November 22, 2021 by Editor

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Kubrick Ranked

from Paste Magazine

Every Stanley Kubrick Film, Ranked

By Paste Movies Staff

Every Stanley Kubrick Film, Ranked

Director Stanley Kubrick, a man who made just over a dozen feature films during his four-decade career, remains one of those rare titans who has entered the lexicon, infused with meaning by his artistry.

Eclectic in genre yet almost always pure in vision, Kubrick’s films remain the gold standards in sci-fi, horror, war, noir and erotic thrills. From wunderkind to old master, his “challenging, multilayered and immaculately designed films,” as our own Jim Vorel put it when defining “Kubrickian” cinema, inspired countless waves of obsessives looking to pick apart his art in order to better make their own.

A black-humored anti-establishment streak running through his work—though it came dictated by an iron-fisted creator—Kubrick’s filmography catches you off-guard no matter how many times you’ve watched it through. When you expect cold detachment, unexpected compassion bubbles up; when you expect damnation, you get a bitter laugh. But when you expect some of the most commanding, technically-minded construction in modern film, you get exactly what you wanted.

Here are all of Stanley Kubrick’s films, ranked:

[ click to continue reading at Paste ]

Posted on November 21, 2021 by Editor

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Longest Lunar Eclipse in 580yrs Tonight

from NPR

How you can see the nearly total lunar eclipse Friday morning

by JOE HERNANDEZ

The super blood noon rises over a residential area in New Delhi during a total lunar eclipse in May. Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

West Coast night owls and East Coast early risers will have the best view of the upcoming lunar eclipse this Friday.

Overnight, the moon will pass into the shadow of Earth cast by the sun, illuminating the gray orb with a red hue. It will be the second and final eclipse of the year.

NASA predicts the eclipse will last over 3 hours and 28 minutes. That would make it the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years, according to the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University.

Here’s how to see the eclipse and what you might glimpse:

How to see the eclipse

The lunar eclipse will be visible in North America, as well as parts of South America, Polynesia, eastern Australia and northeastern Asia, according to NASA.

For U.S. viewers the peak of the eclipse — when the moon is the most covered by Earth’s shadow — will be at 4:03 a.m. ET.

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on November 18, 2021 by Editor

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Walken Graffitis Banksy

from artnet

Yes, Christopher Walken Personally Destroyed a Genuine Street Artwork by Banksy in the Course of Filming a BBC TV Show

The production company behind the show confirmed that the work is an original Banksy, and that Walken “destroy[ed] it.”

Walken's character, Frank. Photo courtesy of the BBC.
Walken’s character, Frank. Photo courtesy of the BBC.

​​Although Banksy has his fair share of haters, it’s beginning to feel as if no one likes seeing the artist’s work destroyed as much as Banksy himself.

This time, instead of an artfully concealed shredder, Banksy’s weapon of choice was acting legend and beloved weirdo Christopher Walken. Walken took a paint roller to one of the anonymous street artist’s signature stenciled rats in the final episode of the BBC limited series “The Outlaws,” which aired in the U.K. Wednesday night.

The comedic crime-thriller follows a motley crew of lawbreakers sentenced to do community service in Banksy’s hometown of Bristol, where things get newly complicated after they stumble onto an illicit sack of cash wanted by even more unsavory characters. As Walken and his cohorts continue paying their debt to society in the finale by painting over graffitied walls, his character, Frank, a small-time career criminal, encounters the rat image accompanied by two cans of spray paint and Banksy’s signature.

“Diane, look at this rat I found,” he says to his probation officer. Without lifting her eyes from her novel, she instructs Walken’s character to bag and bin any vermin under 10 kilos.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 14, 2021 by Editor

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Something Useful Emerges From TikTok

from The New York Times

Missing Girl Is Rescued After Using Hand Signal From TikTok

The girl flashed the hand signal from a car on a Kentucky interstate, the authorities said. It was created as a way for people to indicate that they are at risk of abuse and need help.

By Daniel Victor and Eduardo Medina

Credit… Canadian Women’s Foundation

A girl reported missing from Asheville, N.C., and in distress in the passenger seat of a car traveling through Kentucky appeared to be waving through the window to passing cars on Thursday.

But one person in a nearby car recognized the signal from TikTok, and knew it was no ordinary wave.

The girl, 16, was using a new distress signal, tucking her thumb into her palm before closing her fingers over it, according to the Laurel County Sheriff’s Office. The signal, created by the Canadian Women’s Foundation for people to indicate that they are at risk of abuse and need help, has spread largely through TikTok in the past year.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on November 12, 2021 by Editor

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Dean Stockwell Gone

from Deadline

Dean Stockwell Dies: ‘Quantum Leap’ Star, Oscar & Emmy Nominee Was 85

By Nellie Andreeva

Former Quantum Leap star Dean Stockwell, an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor whose stage, film and TV career spanned more than 70 years and 200 credits, has died. He was 85. The actor died peacefully in the early morning of November 7 at home of natural causes, a rep for the family confirmed to Deadline.

Stockwell was born on March 5, 1936, in North Hollywood. By the time he was 7, he was on Broadway, launching a career as a child actor. He appeared in Anchors Aweigh with Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly; Kim with Errol Flynn; Gentleman’s Agreement, which landed him a Golden Globe Awardand, most notably, in the controversial 1948 movie The Boy with the Green Hair.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on November 11, 2021 by Editor

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Burning Big Book

from Vanity Fair

“TOO LATE TO STAND UP AGAINST AMAZON”: BOOK-INDUSTRY INSIDERS BACK THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION’S BID TO STOP A PUBLISHING MEGA-MERGER

The Department of Justice’s attempt to halt Penguin Random House’s acquisition of Simon & Schuster finds support within an industry already burned by bad trends. “Obviously every agent is thrilled that the wheels might be grinding to a halt on this,” one insider says.

BY JOE POMPEO

Image may contain Joe Biden Clothing Apparel Human Person Finger and Hand
ILLUSTRATION BY QUINTON MCMILLAN. IMAGE FROM GETTY. 

The news this week that the Biden administration is headed to court to stop Penguin Random House from acquiring Simon & Schuster added a new ripple of drama to the already feverish climate of media M&A. Biden’s Department of Justice, which is taking a more aggressive approach to corporate consolidation, says that the proposed $2.18 billion merger would give Penguin Random House, the world’s largest publisher, “unprecedented control” over the book-publishing industry, and that it would result in “lower advances for authors and ultimately fewer books and less variety for consumers.” PRH and S&S argue that the merger would not reduce “the number of books acquired” or the “amounts paid for those acquisitions,” and that the two publishing houses, both members of the so-called “Big Five,” would still be permitted to bid against each other in auctions “up to an advance level well in excess of $1 million.” PRH has its boxing gloves on: The company has retained Daniel Petrocelli, the same man who litigated AT&T and Time Warner’s successful battle with the Trump administration in 2018. (Pass the popcorn.)

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on November 9, 2021 by Editor

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Fine Boom

from The Wall Street Journal

Art Is Among the Hottest Markets on Earth

Christie’s, Sotheby’s and Phillips get ready to sell off at least $1.6 billion worth of art, including works that could sell for 15 times their asking prices

By Kelly Crow | Photographs by Bess Adler

Alberto Giacometti’s ‘Le Nez’ at Sotheby’s in New York.

Collectors know exactly what they want from art: more. A lot more.

Starting Tuesday, the world’s chief auction houses—Sotheby’s, Christie’s and boutique house Phillips—will seek to sell at least $1.6 billion worth of art during a two-week series of sales, setting an expectation they haven’t met in the past three years.

The houses estimate at least 15 pieces will sell for over $20 million, including examples by Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko and Vincent van Gogh. Recent discoveries such as Reggie Burrows Hodges are also poised to fly to records. How to tell? Last month in London, Mr. Hodges’s auction debut, “For the Greater Good,” sold for $606,685—nearly 15 times its estimate.

“People don’t care if they have to pay $1 million for a piece that’s priced to sell for $60,000,” said Alex Rotter, chairman of Christie’s 20/21 art departments. “They’re making up their own rules.”

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on November 8, 2021 by Editor

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747

from Architectural Digest

How the Boeing 747 Changed the Way Airplanes Are Designed

On the anniversary of its first test flight in February 1969, AD looks back on how the “Queen of the Skies” became the most famous plane in the world

By Stefanie Waldek

If you ask Sir Norman Foster what his favorite building is, you’ll find that it’s not a building at all, but an airplane. And it’s not just any airplane, but the Boeing 747, the pinnacle of commercial aviation. “The fact that we call this an aeroplane rather than a building—or engineering rather than architecture—is really a historical hangover, because for me, much of what we have here is genuinely architectural both in its design and its thinking,” he once said in an episode of the BBC show Building Sights.

Known as the Queen of the Skies, the 747 revolutionized air travel when it made its commercial debut in 1970, allowing travelers to globe-trot farther than ever before, faster than ever before, and perhaps with more flair than ever before. And more than 50 years later, its design legacy lives on in contemporary aircraft—and in the hearts of aviation lovers around the world.

Between 1903 and 1939, aviation escalated from the Wright Brothers’ spruce plane to the very first jet, an astonishing engineering achievement. From there, commercial travel took off, entering the Golden Age of Flight, when passengers donned their finest suits and dresses to board a plane, then wined and dined on white tablecloths at cruising altitude. The era culminated in the largest, most impressive plane of them all: the 225-foot-long, 60-foot-tall 747, the world’s first jumbo jet.

“The main thing that really captured everybody’s attention and their imagination at the time that the airplane came out is its incredible size,” says Boeing’s senior corporate historian Michael J. Lombardi. “When you put it next to the 707, which was the biggest jetliner of its time in the 1960s, the 747 is twice the size.”

[ click to continue reading at AD ]

Posted on November 7, 2021 by Editor

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AEW

from The Washington Post via Greenwich Time

AEW is WWE’s first real fight in decades. It may change the face of pro wrestling in the U.S.

Timothy Bella, The Washington Post


Pac (center) throws Andrade El Idolo from the ladder in the Casino Ladder Match at the AEW Dynamite show in Philadelphia.

Pac (center) throws Andrade El Idolo from the ladder in the Casino Ladder Match at the AEW Dynamite show in Philadelphia. Photo for The Washington Post by Rachel Wisniewski

QUEENS, N.Y. — On a Wednesday night in New York City, wrestler Bryan Danielson has a slight grin as he kicks Kenny Omega in the head, drawing a collective “Yes!” from the more than 20,000 fans in attendance. The primal yells inside Arthur Ashe Stadium only get louder with every kick: “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

Soon enough, Omega rebounds and proceeds to knife-edge chop Danielson in the chest so many times that his upper body now resembles a lump of raw, unseasoned ground beef. Both men eventually take to the top rope and throw their bodies at each other, much to the delight of a crowd that knows the fight has only just begun.

If this seems like an ordinarily violent fight in the world of professional wrestling – part athletics, part entertainment – it is also part of a broader battle playing out between World Wrestling Entertainment, the company that brought America legends like “The Rock” and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, and an upstart challenger, All Elite Wrestling.

[ click to continue reading at Greenwich Time ]

Posted on November 5, 2021 by Editor

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THE THE Redux

from PASTE

The The’s Matt Johnson on The Comeback Special and Finding a Way Forward

By Tom Lanham

Sorry for the slight delay, apologizes British composer/conceptualist Matt Johnson. But by all accounts, the ephemeral 2018 reunion tour of his classic The The project was truly something to behold for all fans fortunate enough to attend. The short run of dates marked the first time in 16 years that the vocalist/guitarist had performed live with old cohorts James Eller (Bass), D.C. Collard (keyboards) and Earl Harvin (drums), augmented by new co-guitarist Barrie Cadogan, and it reframed in a more modern context dark, moody classics like “Infected,” “The Beat(en) Generation,” and the signature “This is the Day” and “I’ve Been Waiting For Tomorrow (For All My Life).” Yet it’s only now, three years later, that his recording/publishing company Cineola is releasing a Royal Albert Hall-filmed document of the affair—humorously dubbed, a la a leather-clad Elvis Presley in his own ’68 return, The Comeback Special—in separate video, album and 136-page art book forms. “It should have come out sooner, but the pandemic slowed everything down,” sighs Johnson, who just turned 60.

[ click to continue reading at PASTE ]

Posted on November 2, 2021 by Editor

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30 Days of Dead

from Grateful Dead

30-days-of-dead-2021
Art by BluesforSallah.

[ click to download free MP3s at dead.net ]

Posted on November 1, 2021 by Editor

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Smart Forest Management

from AP

For tribes, ‘good fire’ a key to restoring nature and people

By JOHN FLESHER

Brody Richardson, a member of the Yurok tribe, carries a torch as he takes part in a cultural training burn on the Yurok reservation in Weitchpec, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. In recent years, federal and state officials have formed partnerships with Northern California tribes to allow limited burning, despite some opposition from a jittery public. Native leaders say their fires are carefully planned and well executed. They hope to burn larger areas in their historical territory. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Brody Richardson, a member of the Yurok tribe, carries a torch as he takes part in a cultural training burn on the Yurok reservation in Weitchpec, Calif., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

WEITCHPEC, Calif. (AP) — Elizabeth Azzuz stood in prayer on a Northern California mountainside, arms outstretched, grasping a handmade torch of dried wormwood branches, the fuel her Native American ancestors used for generations to burn underbrush in thick forest.

“Guide our hands as we bring fire back to the land,” she intoned before crouching and igniting dead leaves and needles carpeting the ground.

Others joined her. And soon dancing flames and pungent smoke rose from the slope high above the distant Klamath River.

Over several days in early October, about 80 acres (32.4 hectares) on the Yurok reservation would be set aflame. The burning was monitored by crews wearing protective helmets and clothing — firefighting gear and water trucks ready. They were part of a program that teaches Yurok and other tribes the ancient skills of treating land with fire.

Such an act could have meant jail a century ago. But state and federal agencies that long banned “cultural burns” in the U.S. West are coming to terms with them — and even collaborating — as the wildfire crisis worsens.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on October 30, 2021 by Editor

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Long before Christopher…

from NBC News

In tree rings and radioactive carbon, signs of the Vikings in North America

Wood at a settlement in Canada’s Newfoundland that was cut with metal tools helped researchers pinpoint when the Norse first reached the continent — well before Columbus.

By Tom Metcalfe

Image: reconstructed Norse longhouse
A reconstructed Norse longhouse built beside the archaeological site at L’Anse aux Meadows in Canada’s Newfoundland. The new study pinpoints a year when the Norse were there as A.D. 1021. Russ Heinl aerial photography / Shutterstock

Vikings from Greenland — the first Europeans to arrive in the Americas — lived in a village in Canada’s Newfoundland exactly 1,000 years ago, according to research published Wednesday.

Scientists have known for many years that Vikings — a name given to the Norse by the English they raided — built a village at L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium. But a study published in Nature is the first to pinpoint the date of the Norse occupation.

The explorers — up to 100 people, both women and men — felled trees to build the village and to repair their ships, and the new study fixes a date they were there by showing they cut down at least three trees in the year 1021 — at least 470 years before Christopher Columbus reached the Bahamas in 1492.

[ click to continue reading at NBC News ]

Posted on October 28, 2021 by Editor

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VHS Wins Again

from The New York Times

Who Is Still Buying VHS Tapes?

Despite the rise of streaming, there is still a vast library of moving images that are categorically unavailable anywhere else. Also a big nostalgia factor.

By Hannah Selinger

Getty Images

The last VCR, according to Dave Rodriguez, 33, a digital repository librarian at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla., was produced in 2016, by the Funai Electric in Osaka, Japan. But the VHS tape itself may be immortal. Today, a robust marketplace exists, both virtually and in real life, for this ephemera.

On Instagram, sellers tout videos for sale, like the 2003 Jerry Bruckheimer film “Kangaroo Jack,” a comedy involving a beauty salon owner — played by Jerry O’Connell — and a kangaroo. Asking price? $190. (Mr. O’Connell commented on the post from his personal account, writing, “Hold steady. Price seems fair. It is a Classic.”)

If $190 feels outrageous for a film about a kangaroo accidentally coming into money, consider the price of a limited-edition copy of the 1989 Disney film “The Little Mermaid,” which is listed on Etsy for $45,000. The cover art for this hard-to-find copy is said to contain a male anatomical part drawn into a sea castle.

There is, it turns out, much demand for these old VHS tapes, price tags notwithstanding, and despite post-2006 advancements in technology. Driving the passionate collection of this form of media is the belief that VHS offers something that other types of media cannot.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on October 27, 2021 by Editor

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Mort Sahl Gone

from Deadline

Mort Sahl Dies: Groundbreaking Contrarian Comedian Was 94

By Erik PedersenTom Tapp

Mort Sahl, the acerbic comic whose pioneering style paved the way for such boundary-breaking comedians as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, died Tuesday at his home in Mill Valley, CA. He was 94.

A friend confirmed his death to The New York Times.

Showbiz & Media Figures We’ve Lost In 2021 – Photo Gallery

Known for his topical social commentary, he boldly skewered politicians and others in a harsh but clean stand-up act. He hosted the first Grammy Awards in 1959, co-hosted the 1959 Academy Awards and a year later became the first comedian featured to be featured on the cover of Time magazine. He also guest-hosted The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson multiple times during the 1960s.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on October 26, 2021 by Editor

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WPKN

from The New Yorker

On Air with the Greatest Radio Station in the World

WPKN-FM—on which you can hear a Stevie Wonder song performed by an all-women jazz septet or twenty minutes of Tuvan throat singing—moves to a new location in downtown Bridgeport, Connecticut.

By David Owen

Image

WPKN-FM is a free-form radio station in Bridgeport, Connecticut; it is, to be honest, the greatest radio station in the world. Its broadcast signal, at 89.5, can be picked up in parts of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York State, including almost all of Long Island, and it can be streamed by anyone who has an Internet connection.

The station’s programming is the work of roughly a hundred volunteer hosts, who typically spend hours researching and assembling their shows. “Some are on weekly, some are on once a month, some are on the first and third weeks of the month, some are on the second and fourth weeks, and some are on the fifth week,” Valerie Richardson, WPKN’s (volunteer) program director, said not long ago. Depending on when you tune in, you might hear a Stevie Wonder song performed by an all-women jazz septet, or a dozen different covers of the same Bob Marley song, or twenty minutes of Tuvan throat singing, or a totally addictive cut by the group that the founder of Morphine founded before he founded Morphine. (As Richardson spoke, another host, in the adjacent studio, played “Turtles All the Way Down,” by Sturgill Simpson.) Because the shifts are staggered and the playlists are not generated by a corporate algorithm, you can be reasonably certain that, if you hear a song you don’t like, you’ll never have to hear it again. The station also has talk shows that no one would mistake for “Fox & Friends.”

WPKN began, in 1963, as an extracurricular activity for students at the University of Bridgeport. It has survived disco, a roof fire that briefly threatened to turn its immense LP library into a lake of molten vinyl, and the takeover of the university, between 1992 and 2002, by the Professors World Peace Academy, an affiliate of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church. The station became independent in 1989, although the university continued to give it free studio space, on the second floor of the student center. That relationship ended a couple of weeks ago, largely because the university grounds had been acquired by two other institutions.

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on October 25, 2021 by Editor

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Superdiver

from GQ

The Secrets of The World’s Greatest Freediver

With only a single breath, Alexey Molchanov, history’s most daring freediver, is reaching improbable depths—and discovering a new kind of enlightenment as he conquers one of the world’s wildest sports.

BY DANIEL RILEY / PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAAN VERHOEVEN

Image may contain Water Human Person Clothing and Apparel
Freediving seemed to a young Molchanov like a door to another world—a life of “travels and adventures. With dolphins and sea lions and whales and sharks.”

1. Rhapsody in Blue

For all the complex techniques required to succeed, the objective is remarkably simple: Go as deep as you can go on one breath and return to the surface without passing out or dying.

This is the point of freediving. At least the competitive point. And here in the Bahamas, 42 divers from around the world have gathered, like filings to a magnet, at a geological marvel called a blue hole, in this case a 660-foot elevator shaft of ocean water, to see how many stories they can plunge themselves down.

The competition, Vertical Blue, is the Wimbledon of freediving, summoning the planet’s best to battle in perhaps the most amenable freediving waters in the world. As the event’s founder, William Trubridge, who’s spent a lifetime scouring the earth’s surface for conducive spots to go deep, put it to me: “You could not design a better place for freediving if you sat down with pen and paper.”

But this is more than the pinnacle competition of a sport. Yes, the divers here devote their lives to the pursuit of record depths, but they also dedicate themselves to a novel way of interacting with this world and its oceans—and of being alive, of breathing. They come from Italy and Japan and New Zealand and Peru. They live and train in Sardinia and Okinawa and Cyprus and Tulum. They compete in the glorious depths off of Egypt and Turkey and Honduras and Greece. They prepare together, rent group houses on the road, often fall into bed with one another, and occasionally marry. They are specialized professionals but don’t really make any money; their sport hasn’t yet hit the big time. But no matter: To spend time in their midst is to begin to comprehend that they are after something greater, something sublime.

[ click to continue reading at GQ ]

Posted on October 24, 2021 by Editor

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Thick As A Trick

from Louder Sound

Jethro Tull: the story behind Thick As A Brick

In 1971, Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson set out with tongue-in-cheek to make “the mother of all concept albums”. With Thick As A Brick, he ended up fulfilling his ambition – and then some

By Malcolm Dome

Monty Python. It might seem a little odd to mention the influential British comedy troupe as we begin a journey through the story of the groundbreaking album Thick As A Brick. But Jethro Tull mainman Ian Anderson believes there’s a common thread.

“Monty Python lampooned the British way of life,” says Anderson. “Yet did it in such a way that made us all laugh while celebrating it. To me, that’s what we as a band did on Thick As A Brick. We were spoofing the idea of the concept album, but in a fun way that didn’t totally mock it.”

It’s often been said that the seeds for 1972’s Thick As A Brick (the band’s fifth album) were sown when its predecessor, ’71’s Aqualung, was wrongly perceived as a fully-blown conceptual piece. Myth has it that Anderson was angry about this misconception.

“Not angry, no,” explains the man nearly four decades on. “I was actually mildly irritated and wryly amused. However much I insisted that Aqualung wasn’t a concept album, the media still persisted in treating it as such. They seemed to believe the whole record was a major religious story. The truth was that three or four songs were linked by questioning the nature of religion. But the rest were stand-alone tracks. So, after this whole scenario, I thought, ‘OK, we’ll not only now do a real concept album, but we’re going to make it the mother of all concept albums!’.”

[ click to continue reading at Lounder Sound ]

Posted on October 23, 2021 by Editor

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Barefoot In The Past

from The Wall Street Journal

Ancient Footprints Yield Surprising New Clues About the First Americans

Unearthed in New Mexico along what was once a lakefront, the tracks show generations living in the area thousands of years before many scientists believed

By Robert Lee Hotz

An illustration of the region that is now White Sands National Park in New Mexico, between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago. PHOTO: KAREN CARR

At the height of the last Ice Age, generations of children and teenagers ambled barefoot along a muddy lakefront in what is now New Mexico, crossing paths with mammoths, giant ground sloths and an extinct canine species known as dire wolves.

Now, some 23,000 years later, the young people’s fossilized footprints are yielding new insights into when humans first populated the Americas. Unearthed in White Sands National Park by a research team that began its work in 2016, the tracks are about 10,000 years older and about 1,600 miles farther south than any other human footprints known in America, scientists reported Thursday in the journal Science.

“It is, in my view, the first unequivocal evidence of human presence in the Americas” during the last Ice Age, Daniel Odess, chief of science and research at the U.S. National Park Service and a senior author of the report, said of the discovery. “The footprints are inarguably human.”

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on October 22, 2021 by Editor

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The Human Library

from France 24

At the ‘Human Library’, everyone is an open book

The Human Library Organization

Copenhagen (AFP)

At the “Human Library”, you can “loan” a person to tell you their life story, an original concept born in Denmark that is designed to challenge prejudice and which has spread around the world.

Iben — a quiet 46-year-old sexual abuse victim with mental health issues who doesn’t give out her last name — is one of eight “books” curious people can loan on this autumn day in Copenhagen.

For 30 minutes, you can ask anything you want, either one-on-one or in a small group.

“The Human Library is a safe space where we can explore diversity, learn about ways in which we’re different from each other, and engage with people we normally would never meet… and challenge your unconscious bias,” explains Ronni Abergel, the project’s garrulous initiator.

He created the living library in 2000 during the Roskilde music festival and went on to build a non-profit organisation.

The concept has since found its way into more than 70 countries.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on October 21, 2021 by Editor

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Suckers Not Junk

from Phys.org

Why some fish are ‘junk’ and others are protected. Study points to bias against native species

by Margo Rosenbaum

fish
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Andrew Rypel grew up fishing on Wisconsin’s pristine lakes and rivers. With just a worm on his hook, he caught suckers, gar, sunfish and other native fish he never saw in his game fishing magazines.

From a young age, Rypel loved all the fish species and it surprised him that others paid little attention to the native fish in his area. He noticed there were stricter fishing restrictions on game fish, like walleye and trout, than the native species. With no bag limits on many of his favorite native species, people could harvest as many as they pleased.

“I learned that there were all these different types of species,” Rypel said. “Most of the fishing community focused on these select game fish species.”

Anglers even told young Rypel to throw the less desirable native fish up on the bank after they were caught, as they were supposedly a “problem for the ecosystem” and took resources away from highly valued game species.

[ click to continue reading at Phys.org ]

Posted on October 20, 2021 by Editor

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Pleistocene Couture

from Smithsonian

Evidence of Fur and Leather Clothing, Among World’s Oldest, Found in Moroccan Cave

Humans likely sported clothes made of jackal, fox and wildcat skins some 120,000 years ago

by Brian Handwerk

Stone Tools Used For Making Clothes
A bone tool from Contrebandiers Cave likely used for making clothes out of the skin of predators. Jacopo Niccolò Cerasoni

Fur is a controversial fashion statement these days. But stepping out in a wildcat cape or jackal wrap was de rigueur for Pleistocene humans, according to the recent discovery of a 120,000-year-old leather and fur production site that contains some of the oldest archaeological evidence for human clothing.

Homo sapiens at the site first made and wore clothes around the onset of an Ice Age which may suggest that, even in relatively mild Morocco, clothes were adopted as a way to keep warm. But the invention of animal-based apparel also corresponds with the appearance of personal adornments, like shell beads, which hints that prehistoric clothing, like today’s styles, could have been about style as well as functionality.

[ click to continue reading at Smithsonian ]

Posted on October 19, 2021 by Editor

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The Troubled Teen Machine

from The New Yorker

The Shadow Penal System for Struggling Kids

By Rachel Aviv

In the spring of her freshman year of high school, in 2011, Emma Burris was woken at three in the morning. Someone had turned on the lights in her room. She was facing the wall and saw a man’s shadow. She reached for her cell phone, which she kept under her pillow at night, but it wasn’t there. The man, Shane Thompson, who is six and a half feet tall, wore a shirt with “Juvenile Transport Agent” printed on the back. He and a colleague instructed Emma to put on her clothes and follow them to their car. “She was very verbal, resisting,” Thompson told me. Her parents, who had adopted her when she was seven, stood by the doorway, watching silently.

Thompson drove Emma away from her house, in Royal Palm Beach, Florida, and merged onto the highway. Emma, who was fifteen, tried to remember every exit sign she passed, so that she could find her way home, but she was crying too hard to remember the names. In his notes, Thompson wrote, “Emma voiced that she was confused as to why her mom was sending her away.” She was on the track, volleyball, and soccer teams, and she didn’t want to miss any games.

Part Scottish and part Puerto Rican, Emma was slight, with long, wavy blond hair. Her parents, whose lives revolved around their church, admonished her for being aggressive toward them and for expressing her sexuality too freely. She watched lesbian pornography and had lost her virginity to an older boy. She often read romance novels late at night, when she was supposed to be asleep. To avoid attracting her parents’ attention, she used the light from the street to work on a novel that told a story similar to her own life: a young girl spends her early years in foster care, where she is abused, until a Christian family saves her. To keep the ending upbeat, she found herself straying from the facts of her life. Emma worried that her parents, who had three biological children, considered her a burden. “There was always a sense of exile,” Emma said. Her mother sometimes told her, “If I have to love you from a distance, I will.”

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on October 18, 2021 by Editor

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The Dreamverse

from Nautilus

Weird Dreams Train Our Brains to Be Better Learners

BY JIM DAVIES

Photo Illustration by MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

For many of us over the last year and more, our waking experience has, you might say, lost a bit of its variety. We spend more time with the same people, in our homes, and go to fewer places. Our stimuli these days, in other words, aren’t very stimulating. Too much day-to-day routine, too much familiarity, too much predictability. At the same time, our dreams have gotten more bizarre. More transformations, more unrealistic narratives. As a cognitive scientist who studies dreaming and the imagination, this intrigued me. Why might this be? Could the strangeness serve some purpose?

Maybe our brains are serving up weird dreams to, in a way, fight the tide of monotony. To break up bland regimented experiences with novelty. This has an adaptive logic: Animals that model patterns in their environment in too stringent a manner sacrifice the ability to generalize, to make sense of new experiences, to learn. AI researchers call this “overfitting,” fitting too well to a given dataset. A face-recognition algorithm, for example, trained too long on a dataset of pictures might start identifying individuals based on trees and other objects in the background. This is overfitting the data. One way to look at it is that, rather than learning the general rules that it should be learning—the various contours of the face regardless of expression or background information—it simply memorizes its experiences in the training set. Could it be that our minds are working harder, churning out stranger dreams, to stave off overfitting that might otherwise result from the learning we do about the world every day?

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on October 17, 2021 by Editor

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Metaverse Emerging

from The Wall Street Journal

THE AMAZING THINGS YOU’LL DO IN THE ‘METAVERSE’ AND WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO GET THERE

Tech visionaries foresee a vast, immersive world that mirrors and extends the real one, allowing people to do and be what previously could only be imagined

by SARAH E. NEEDLEMAN

Since the dawn of civilization, humans have had only one world in which to live: the real one. But tech visionaries say we’ll soon have an alternative: a virtual world where our digital avatars and those of people in our communities and around the globe come together to work, shop, attend classes, pursue hobbies, enjoy social gatherings and more.

Immersive videogames and virtual concerts have given us a taste of this world. But visionaries say the metaverse, as this world has been dubbed, will be far more engaging and robust, not only mirroring the real world in all its three-dimensional complexity but also extending it to allow us to be and do what previously could only be imagined. Walk on the moon in your pajamas? Watch a baseball game from the pitcher’s mound? Frolic in a field of unicorns—or be a unicorn yourself? In the metaverse, tech visionaries say, just about anything will be possible.

“The metaverse is going to be the biggest revolution in computing platforms the world has seen—bigger than the mobile revolution, bigger than the web revolution,” says Marc Whitten, whose title is “senior vice president and general manager of create” at San Francisco-based Unity Software Inc.

Unity is building tools and services to enable people to create metaverse content. Other big tech companies are developing​ hardware and software products for the metaverse​, or their own virtual worlds within it, including Nvidia Corp. , Roblox Corp. , Epic Games Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Facebook Inc..

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on October 16, 2021 by Editor

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Cultural Karens Killing Comedy

from the New York Post

‘Airplane!’ creator slams joy-killing threat: ‘Twitter 9 percent’

By David Zucker

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the release of “Airplane!,” the comedy I wrote and directed with my brother Jerry and our friend Jim Abrahams. Just before the world shut down, Paramount held a screening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, followed by a Q&A in which an audience member asked a question we never used to receive: “Could you make ‘Airplane!’ today?” 

My response: “Of course, we could. Just without the jokes.” 

Although people tell me that they love “Airplane!” and it seems to be included on just about every Top Five movie-comedy list, there was talk at Paramount of withholding the rerelease over feared backlash for scenes that today would be deemed “insensitive.” 

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on October 15, 2021 by Editor

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Prince William Jealous He Didn’t Get To Go To Space

from Entertainment Tonight

William Shatner Reacts to Prince William’s Disapproval of Space Race

By Paige Gawley‍

William Shatner is responding to Prince William‘s criticism of space travel. ET’s Nischelle Turner spoke with the 90-year-old actor on Thursday, one day after he traveled to space, and Shatner was quick to defend his journey, and space travel as a whole.

“He’s a lovely Englishman. He’s going to be king of England one day,” Shatner told ET of the Duke of Cambridge. “He’s a lovely, gentle, educated man, but he’s got the wrong idea.”

Shatner, best known for playing Captain Kirk on Star Trek, went to space with Blue Origin, the company founded by Jeff Bezos, as one of four passengers on board the New Shepard NS-18 ship.

Though the duke didn’t mention Bezos by name, he told BBC, “We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live.” 

[ click to continue reading at ET ]

Posted on October 14, 2021 by Editor

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Chasing Caravaggio

from The Wall Street Journal

How the Chase for the Latest ‘Lost’ Caravaggio Has Captivated Europe’s Art World

If authenticated, a painting by the Baroque master—initially listed at auction this past spring for around $1,800 and potentially worth millions—could become one of the most valuable old master artworks in the world.

By Willem Marx

from Wikipedia

Late this March, Maria Cristina Terzaghi, an associate professor at Italian university Roma Tre, was writing about the acclaimed Baroque painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, when art dealer Fabrizio Moretti sent her a photograph of a painting via WhatsApp. It featured Pontius Pilate presenting a thorn-crowned Jesus, a recognizable tableau known as Ecce Homo. The exact image was new to Terzaghi, but its composition and light contrast felt familiar, mirroring other works by an artist she had studied for more than 17 years.

“Immediately, it was so clear. I said, ‘OK, I have to see it [in person],’ ” she recalls of her first glance. The starting bid for the artwork, which was slated to go on sale on April 8 at the Madrid auction house Ansorena, was just 1,500 euros, equivalent to about $1,800.Terzaghi asked the dealer and auctioneers for higher-resolution images, which further fueled her supposition that the work was an authentic Caravaggio. Based on interviews with almost a dozen of the world’s leading Caravaggio experts, it is a theory that the vast majority of them now support—and one which the dealer overseeing the work’s authentication aims to confirm in a report that he expects to release in early 2022. 

In the high-stakes world of old masters hunting, a “sleeper” refers to a lost masterpiece that’s stayed out of the public eye, sometimes for centuries, often due to an earlier misattribution. As in this case, its true identity is often unknown to an owner, but its existence has been surmised by academics. If authenticated, the painting—titled The Crowning of Thorns by the auction house and Ecce Homo by most scholars—may prompt scholars to rethink already disputed Caravaggio works elsewhere and a significant portion of his career. 

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on October 8, 2021 by Editor

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Don Brando

from Vanity Fair

“Marlon Was as Dead as Could Be”: How Brando Beat the Odds and Became the Godfather

He was the only actor Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola could imagine as Mafia patriarch Don Corleone in The Godfather. There were just two problems: The studio didn’t want Brando, and Brando didn’t want the role. An excerpt from a new book reveals how flattery, a fake seizure, and a stealth screen test changed the course of cinematic history.

BY MARK SEAL

Brando being transformed into Don Corleone.nbsp
Brando being transformed into Don Corleone. FROM MOVIESTORE/SHUTTERSTOCK.

​It was January 1971. Paramount had snagged the rights to Mario Puzo’s raging best seller, The Godfather, cheap. Now, the studio had to make the picture, which many bankable directors had turned down. A promising young filmmaker named Francis Ford Coppola had begrudgingly taken on the project. But the studio resisted most of his casting decisions, especially the seemingly washed-up actor he was determined to cast as the lead. The battle over The Godfather had begun …

From the start, Francis Ford Coppola knew exactly who he wanted for all the major roles. He wrote out his wish list on lined yellow paper, with asterisks next to his top choices: Al Pacino as Michael, James Caan as Sonny, and Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen. Thus began the major battle of The Godfather, one that would far eclipse the heated skirmishes over where the movie would be shot and its increasingly escalating budget. On one side was Coppola, a young director determined to cast the actors he saw so vividly in his imagination. On the other side was Robert Evans, a studio chief determined to avoid the miscasting that had plagued Mob films like The Brotherhood. “Bob Evans was very handsome, tall, and impressive,” Coppola remembered. “I wanted him to accept and have confidence in me but wasn’t at all convinced that he did.”

And if Evans continued to harbor doubts about the young, untested director, they were confirmed by Coppola’s choice to play Don Corleone.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on October 7, 2021 by Editor

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It’s Coming

Posted on September 24, 2021 by Editor

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Rodrigo Corral

from Slate

Sometimes You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover

Graphic designer Rodrigo Corral explains how he comes up with iconic book-jacket art.

BY RUMAAN ALAM

A bearded, smiling man.
Rodrigo Corral Anna Kassoway

On this week’s episode of Working, Rumaan Alam spoke with graphic designer and creative director Rodrigo Corral. They discussed his work designing book-cover art, where he looks for inspiration for designs, and how he corresponds with authors when creating a cover for their work. This partial transcript has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Rumaan Alam: I’ve wanted for a long time to talk to someone for this show who designs book jackets. Just to establish for our listeners some of your work, because I think that a lot of people are going to know your work, I’m going to mention the cover of James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, which shows a hand covered in sprinkles against a pale blue backdrop; or I’ll mention John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which has a black cloud sitting on top of a white cloud with this lettering that looks like chalk on a blackboard; or I’ll mention Junot Díaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which has a spray-painted silhouette that looks like graffiti, but it also looks like a Rorschach test.

If you go to the bookstore right now in this country, you’re going to see paperback editions of Rachel Cusk’s OutlineTransit, and Kudos which each have these arresting photographs on the cover: a seashell perched in the sand, a praying mantis trapped in a plastic cup, a view from an airplane window.

I’m only mentioning a few of your designs, but I think this gives a sense of what it is that you’ve done that really caught my attention, which is book design. What does the brief look like when you’re designing a book jacket, and how is that different than when the task is to design a hotel logo or an illustration for a magazine article?

[ click to continue reading interview at Slate ]

Posted on September 23, 2021 by Editor

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