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Posted on May 23, 2019 by Editor

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Melina’s Closet

from COVETEUR

WE ONCE RAIDED MELINA MATSOUKAS’ CLOSET 

And it was just as cool as we imagined. Los Angeles. In Partnership with BET.

by Laurel Pantin

Think of pretty much any music video you’ve loved in the past few years, and odds are director Melina Matsoukas is behind it. We’re talking Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Rihanna’s “We Found Love” (for which she was the first female director ever to win a Grammy), Snoop Dogg’s “Sensual Seduction” (yaaas), and Lady GaGa’s “Just Dance.” Matsoukas is the realest of deals, and also the coolest person you could ever hope to spend an afternoon with.

But if you thought directing ground-breaking music videos would be enough for most people, you’d find that “most people” doesn’t apply to Matsoukas. She just wrapped the forthcoming film Queen & Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey, and has garnered much well-deserved praise for her work on Insecure. 

[ click to continue reading at COVETEUR ]

Posted on May 21, 2019 by Editor

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8,000-year-old Lox

from Nautilus

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

BY SEVINDJ NURKIYAZOVA

The word lox was one of the clues that eventually led linguists to discover who the Proto-Indo-Europeans were, and where they lived. Photograph by Helen Cook / Flickr

One of my favorite words is lox,” says Gregory Guy, a professor of linguistics at New York University. There is hardly a more quintessential New York food than a lox bagel—a century-old popular appetizing store, Russ & Daughters, calls it “The Classic.” But Guy, who has lived in the city for the past 17 years, is passionate about lox for a different reason. “The pronunciation in the Proto-Indo-European was probably ‘lox,’ and that’s exactly how it is pronounced in modern English,” he says. “Then, it meant salmon, and now it specifically means ‘smoked salmon.’ It’s really cool that that word hasn’t changed its pronunciation at all in 8,000 years and still refers to a particular fish.”

How scholars have traced the word’s pronunciation over thousands of years is also really cool. The story goes back to Thomas Young, also known as “The Last Person Who Knew Everything.” The 18th-century British polymath came up with the wave theory of light, first described astigmatism, and played a key role in deciphering the Rosetta Stone. Like some people before him, Young noticed eerie similarities between Indic and European languages. He went further, analyzing 400 languages spread across continents and millennia and proved that the overlap between some of them was too extensive to be an accident. A single coincidence meant nothing, but each additional one increased the chance of an underlying connection. In 1813, Young declared that all those languages belong to one family. He named it “Indo-European.”

Today, roughly half the world’s population speaks an Indo-European language. That family includes 440 languages spoken across the globe, including English. The word yoga, for example, which comes from Sanskrit, the language of ancient India, is a distant relative of the English word yoke. The nature of this relationship puzzled historical linguists for two centuries.

In modern English, well over half of all words are borrowed from other languages. To trace how language changes over time, linguists developed an ingenious toolkit. “Some parts of vocabulary are more stable and don’t change as much. The linguistic term [for these words] is ‘a core vocabulary.’ These are numbers, colors, family relations like ‘mother,’ ‘father,’ ‘sister,’ ‘brother,’ and basic verbs like ‘walk’ and ‘see,’ says Guy. “If you look at words of that sort in different languages, it becomes fairly clear which ones are related and which ones are not. For example, take the English word for number two, which is dva in Russian and deux in French, or the word night, which is nacht in German and noch in Russian.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on May 20, 2019 by Editor

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Cast Inflatable Haters

from The New York Times

Stop Hating Jeff Koons 

Why “Rabbit,” the perfect art for the roaring mid-80s, continues to speak to us.

By Roberta Smith

Jeff Koons poses with “Rabbit” at the Tate Modern in 2009.CreditCreditDaniel Deme/EPA, via Shutterstock

Jeff Koons is back on top, if on top means holding the highest auction price for a living artist, as hyped by the auction house responsible. Mr. Koons’s 1986 “Rabbit,” a precise stainless steel copy of a plastic inflatable toy — mirror-smooth yet with seams and puckers — sold Wednesday night at Christie’s Post-War and Contemporary Art sale for $91.1 million, the highlight of New York’s buoyant spring auctions.

It broke the record set last fall when Christie’s auctioned David Hockney’s “Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures)” — a 1972painting the size of a small mural — for $90.3 million. But let’s get real. The hammer price for both works was actually $80 million. The “Rabbit” inched ahead by a whisker — about $762,500 — because of a twist of fate: Christie’s increased the fees buyers pay on Feb. 1. The difference was simply a matter of auction house profit-seeking. It recalls the soaring home-run statistics from baseball’s “steroid era” before testing for performance enhancing drugs became routine. The price should have an asterisk or footnote — something that says, hey, the final bids on these two art works were exactly the same. It was a tie.

Mr. Koons, who is 64, set his first living-artist auction record in 2013, when his “Balloon Dog (Orange)” sold for $58.4 million, also at Christie’s. Then came a precipitous drop: The artist’s big painted aluminum “Play-Doh” went for $22.8 million in 2014. Unlike “Play-Doh,” the “Rabbit,” made in 1986, has been with us over three decades, alternately loved and hated. Some of its most fervent admirers see it as the perfect work of art for its moment, the roaring mid-1980s. I don’t disagree. I also think it continues to speak to us.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on May 18, 2019 by Editor

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I.M. Pei Gone (at 102!)

from Curbed

I.M. Pei, modernist architect, dies at 102

The pioneering Chinese-American architect won a Pritzker Prize in 1983

By Patrick Sisson

Sygma via Getty Images

I.M. Pei, the Pritzker Prize-winning Chinese-American architect famous for his soaring, lyrical renditions of contemporary architecture, has passed away at age 102. [Update] Marc Diamond, director of communications at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, has confirmed the news. 

Under his direction, Pei’s firm was responsible for a wide range of buildings in the United States and abroad, most famously the glass-topped extension of Paris’s Louvre Museum. The architect was celebrated not only for his great skill as a designer, but for his ability to collaborate with clients and bridge their needs in ways that did not compromise his own striking vision. 

The jury for the Pritzker Prize, which was awarded to Pei in 1983, cited his incredible scope as one of the many reasons for awarding him the profession’s top honor. 

“I.M. Pei has refused to limit himself to a narrow range of architectural problems,” the announcement reads. “His work over the past forty years includes not only palaces of industry, government and culture, but also some of the best moderate and low-income housing. Through his skill he has elevated the use of materials to an art.”

[ click to continue reading at Curbed ]

Posted on May 16, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hotel

from CNBC

Taco Bell is opening a hotel and resort

by Amelia Lucas

H/O: Taco Bell hotel door 190514
Hotel door at The Bell, A Taco Bell Hotel & ResortCourtesy Taco Bell

Taco Bell’s latest limited-time offer isn’t Nacho Fries — it’s a hotel.

The Mexican fast-food chain is taking over a Palm Springs, California, hotel and resort in its latest move to recognize the brand’s super fans.

Reservations will open in June, and guests can start checking in Aug. 9. The Yum Brands unit didn’t specify how long it would operate the hotel.

The Bell will feature a gift shop with exclusive Taco Bell-themed apparel and an on-site salon with Taco Bell-inspired nail art and hair styling services.

[ click to continue reading at CNBC ]

Posted on May 15, 2019 by Editor

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Pulp Basquiat

from artnet

Basquiat, the Comic Book: See the Rise of Art Star Jean-Michel Basquiat in a New Graphic Novel

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired films, a Broadway musical, and now a graphic novel.

by Eileen Kinsella

Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.
Image courtesy of Paolo Parisi.

Who needs Captain America when you have Basquiat?

A new graphic novel published by UK-based Laurence King traces the rise of Jean-Michel Basquiat from street-art upstart to international fame. It is the latest graphic novel by illustrator Paolo Parisi, who has previously written and illustrated volumes on the lives of music legends Billie Holiday and John Coltrane.

In a chapter excerpted here, entitled “New Art/New Money,” Parisi takes a close look at the artist’s prolific output and often-contentious relationship with famous art dealers including Annina Nosei, Mary Boone, and Larry Gagosian. All are seen vying to work with the artist as the buzz around him begins to build and the supercharged market machine of the 1980s kicks into high gear.

Basquiat’s dramatic life story has inspired everything from biopics to a Broadway musical. As in other Basquiat-inspired projects, the details in the graphic novel may be exaggerated or twisted—it’s hard to imagine notoriously competitive Larry Gagosian telling Mary Boone encouragingly, “Basquiat has to be the new star, and you with him,” while Basquiat comes off as a bit more naive and far less conflicted then we now know him to be. But if you are looking for an art yarn in graphic novel form, take a look at the excerpt below and decide for yourself.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on May 14, 2019 by Editor

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Silver King Gone

from Fox 5

Wrestler dies during match, but it was so staged, at first no one knew anything was wrong

LONDON (AP) – A well-known Mexican wrestler who co-starred in the film comedy “Nacho Libre” died in London after he collapsed during a match that a witness described as so elaborately staged it wasn’t immediately clear something seriously was wrong.

Cesar Cuauhtemoc Gonzalez Barron, who wrestled with the ring name Silver King, was one of the featured wrestlers of “The Greatest Show of Lucha Libre” on Saturday night. The north London performance venue, the Roundhouse, tweeted just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday that the 51-year-old “sadly lost his life” during the event.

Lucha Libre World, which promoted the Roundhouse event, said in a statement the lucha libre star “suffered what we believe was a cardiac arrest while performing in the show and sadly passed away.”

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 ]

Posted on May 12, 2019 by Editor

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Melina Matsoukas Rising

from Yahoo! UK

These female directors are changing the landscape of film as we know it

Melina Matsoukas

A music video director who has been behind the camera of some of your favourite Queen Bey, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kylie Minogue vids, we’re all counting down until Matsoukas’ directorial feature film debut, Queen and Slim, written by Lena Waithe and James Frey and starring Jodie Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya, scheduled for release in November 2019.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! UK ]

Posted on May 11, 2019 by Editor

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Dali Deepfake

from The Verge

Deepfake Salvador Dalí takes selfies with museum visitors

By

Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí once said in an interview, “I believe in general in death, but in the death of Dali, absolutely not.” Now, the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida, has worked to fulfill the painter’s prophecy by bringing him back to life — with a deepfake.

The exhibition, called Dalí Lives, was made in collaboration with the ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (GS&P), which made a life-size re-creation of Dalí using the machine learning-powered video editing technique. Using archival footage from interviews, GS&P pulled over 6,000 frames and used 1,000 hours of machine learning to train the AI algorithm on Dalí’s face. His facial expressions were then imposed over an actor with Dalí’s body proportions, and quotes from his interviews and letters were synced with a voice actor who could mimic his unique accent, a mix of French, Spanish, and English.

[ click to continue reading at The Verge ]

Posted on May 10, 2019 by Editor

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Ponto Troll Crew Slams Tam

Posted on May 9, 2019 by Editor

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Naked Bookseller Gone

from the Parker Pioneer

Quartzsite’s ‘Naked Bookseller’ Paul Winer dies

By John Gutekunst and Brandon Bowers

Long-time Quartzsite resident Paul Winer died the evening of May 7 at his home. He was 75 years old.

Winer was best known as the owner of Reader’s Oasis Books in Quartzsite, where he gained notoriety as the “naked bookseller.” He was also a professional entertainer and musician. He was even an artist, drawing a comic strip on local events entitled “As the Crow Flies.”

Long-time Quartzsite resident Paul Winer died the evening of May 7 at his home. He was 75 years old.

Winer was best known as the owner of Reader’s Oasis Books in Quartzsite, where he gained notoriety as the “naked bookseller.” He was also a professional entertainer and musician. He was even an artist, drawing a comic strip on local events entitled “As the Crow Flies.”

[ click to continue reading at the Pioneer ]

Posted on May 8, 2019 by Editor

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Mona Lisa Fracture

from The Telegraph

Leonardo da Vinci never finished the Mona Lisa because he injured his arm while fainting, experts say

by  Henry Bodkin

The chalk drawing of da Vinci by Giovan Ambrogio Finio has offered new clues
The chalk drawing of da Vinci by Giovan Ambrogio Finio has offered new clues CREDIT: POLO MUSEALE DEL VENETO

Leonardo da Vinci left the Mona Lisa unfinished because he gravely injured his arm while fainting, a new study argues.

The cause of the renaissance artist’s disability has been debated by art historians for centuries, and in recent years partial paralysis as a result of a stroke has emerged as the dominant theory.

Proponents have pointed to da Vinic’s vegetarianism as a clue, arguing that the high-dairy diet he is assumed to have eaten would have made a stroke more likely.

However, two senior Italian doctors now claim to have solved the mystery, having studied a drawing of da Vinci by an obscure Lombard artist.

The blood-red chalk picture by Giovan Ambrogio Finio depicts an elderly da Vinci with his lower right arm at right-angles to his body, swaddled in folds of his clothes as if in a sling.

His thumb, first and second figures are extended, with his fourth and fifth fingers are contracted.

Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, Dr Davide Lazzeri, a plastic surgeon, and Dr Carlo Rossi, a neurologist, argue that if da Vinci had indeed suffered a stroke, it is far more likely his entire fist would have been clenched.

[ click to continue reading at The Telegraph ]

Posted on May 5, 2019 by Editor

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The Birth Of Prime

from Vox

The making of Amazon Prime, the internet’s most successful and devastating membership program

An oral history of the subscription service that changed online shopping forever.

By Jason Del Rey

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos pushing a shopping cart full of books back in 1998.
Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos in Seattle, Washington in September 1998. Rex Rystedt/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images

It’s easy to forget now, but Amazon wasn’t always the king of online shopping. In the fall of 2004, Jeff Bezos’s company was still mostly selling just books and DVDs. 

That same year, Amazon was under siege from multiple sides. Some of its biggest competitors were brick-and-mortar chains like Best Buy, which was still in expansion mode at the time, with sales growing 17 percent annually. Toys ‘R’ Us sued Amazon in a high-profile battle, alleging it had violated an agreement the two companies had for the toy store chain to be an exclusive seller on Amazon.com. 

And during the holiday season, Amazon’s website suffered repeated outages, drawing the wrath of customers and the press alike.

Amazon was worth $18 billion at the time. Its online rival eBay, on the other hand, was an internet darling worth nearly $33 billion. If you were an outsider to both companies and you had to pick one as the future Everything Store, it might have been hard to imagine Amazon as the victor.

But 15 years later, Amazon is worth more than $900 billion, compared to just $33 billion for its old foe eBay, which spun off its (more valuable) payment division, PayPal. And the Amazon Prime membership program is perhaps the biggest reason why.

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on May 4, 2019 by Editor

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Chewbacca Gone

from CNN

Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca in ‘Star Wars,’ dies at 74

By Kendall Trammell and Jamiel Lynch

Peter Mayhew, the original Chewbacca, has died, according to his agent.

Mayhew, 74, died on April 30 with his family by his side in his North Texas home. He is survived by his wife, Angie, and three children.

The Hollywood icon played Chewbacca in the original “Star Wars” trilogy, episode 3 of the prequels and the New Trilogy, according to a statement from his family.Mayhew, who once used a wheelchair because of a bum knee, stood tall to portray Chewbacca once more in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” He also consulted on “The Last Jedi” to help teach his successor.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on May 3, 2019 by Editor

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The Three Walken Pigs

Posted on May 2, 2019 by Editor

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Moon Race

from The New Yorker

The Race to Develop the Moon

For science, profit, and pride, China, the U.S., and private companies are hunting for resources on the lunar surface.

By Rivka Galchen

Illustration by Allan Sanders

In January, the China National Space Administration landed a spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the side we can’t see from Earth. Chang’e-4 was named for a goddess in Chinese mythology, who lives on the moon for reasons connected to her husband’s problematic immortality drink. The story has many versions. In one, Chang’e has been banished to the moon for elixir theft and turned into an ugly toad. In another, she has saved humanity from a tyrannical emperor by stealing the drink. In many versions, she is a luminous beauty and has as a companion a pure-white rabbit.

Chang’e-4 is the first vehicle to alight on the far side of the moon. From that side, the moon blocks radio communication with Earth, which makes landing difficult, and the surface there is craggy and rough, with a mountain taller than anything on Earth. Older geologies are exposed, from which billions of years of history can be deduced. Chang’e-4 landed in a nearly four-mile-deep hole that was formed when an ancient meteor crashed into the moon—one of the largest known impact craters in our solar system.

You may have watched the near-operatic progress of Chang’e-4’s graceful landing. Or the uncannily cute robotic amblings of the lander’s companion, the Yutu-2 rover, named for the moon goddess’s white rabbit. You may have read that, aboard the lander, seeds germinated (cotton, rapeseed, and potato; the Chinese are also trying to grow a flowering plant known as mouse-ear cress), and that the rover survived the fourteen-day lunar night, when temperatures drop to negative two hundred and seventy degrees Fahrenheit. Chang’e-4 is a step in China’s long-term plan to build a base on the moon, a goal toward which the country has rapidly been advancing since it first orbited the moon, in 2007.

If you missed the Chinese mission, maybe it’s because you were focussed on the remarkably inexpensive spacecraft from SpaceIL, an Israeli nonprofit organization, which crash-landed into the moon on April 11th, soon after taking a selfie while hovering above the lunar surface. The crash was not the original plan, and SpaceIL has already announced its intention of going to the moon again. But maybe you weren’t paying attention to SpaceIL, either, because you were anticipating India’s Chandrayaan-2 moon lander, expected to take off later this year. Or you were waiting for Japan’s first lunar-lander-and-rover mission, scheduled to take place next year. Perhaps you’ve been distracted by the announcement, in January, on the night of the super blood wolf moon, that the European Space Agency plans to mine lunar ice by 2025. Or by Vice-President Mike Pence’s statement, in March, that the United States intends “to return American astronauts to the moon within the next five years.”

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on May 1, 2019 by Editor

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Soderbergh Interviews Coppola

from Deadline

‘Apocalypse Now’ Director Francis Ford Coppola On Marlon Brando, ‘Damn Yankees’ And Managing Chaos – Tribeca

By Dade Hayes

Francis Ford Coppola
Brent N Clarke/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

In a conversation at the Tribeca Film Festival with Steven Soderbergh, who said he saw Apocalypse Now 17 times as a teenager in Baton Rouge, LA, Francis Ford Coppola reminisced about working with Marlon Brando and managing though chaos.

“The fuse had been blown on the circuit,” Coppola said of the 1979 film, whose 40th anniversary “Final Cut” is being celebrated at Tribeca. (A theatrical, on-demand and Blu-ray release is set for August, with newly enhanced sound and 20 minutes shaved from the “Redux” edition of several years ago.)

“In filmmaking as in life, bad things are going to happen,” Coppola told Soderbergh during the conversation at the Beacon Theatre, alluding to the biblical series of events that hit the production, including a typhoon and Martin Sheen’s heart attack. “The good news is that there is no hell. But the quasi-good news is, this is heaven.”

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 29, 2019 by Editor

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XTC Meets The Residents

from Dangerous Minds

THAT TIME WHEN XTC’S ANDY PARTRIDGE SANG FOR THE RESIDENTS

by Oliver Hall

During my childhood and adolescence, XTC was an enigma. When I first heard their minor hit “Dear God,” the band had already long since retired from the stage, and then for years after 1992’s Nonsuch, they seemed to have walked out on the record business, too. They could write a song so anodyne it has now crept into our nation’s drugstores, yet they could also render an apparently note-perfect cover of Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band’s “Ella Guru.” None of the musicians I knew who had the chops to attempt such a feat even liked Beefheart.

So while I played my tape of Waxworks over and over again in my teenage bedroom, these were among my thoughts: Who was this Andy Partridge guy, anyway? How did he play those weird chords? Why was he so reclusive? Was it all because he was, like, mental?

It wasn’t until I found a copy of the authorized biography Chalkhills and Children that I learned the facts of the XTC story. In the intervening 20 years, I have, of course, forgotten most of these (except that Andy Partridge is not “mental”) and lost the book, but at that time I sort of expected XTC to tour again someday, and I would have given a fucking eye for one evening’s entertainment from the swinging swains of Swindon. Part of the mystique came from listening to bootlegs and watching Urgh! A Music War, and part was this: a stone Residents junkie, I knew that Andy Partridge sang lead vocals on the Commercial Album‘s antepenultimate track, “Margaret Freeman.”

[ click to read full article at DM ]

Posted on April 27, 2019 by Editor

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Lena Scores

from Deadline

Lena Waithe Comedy ‘Twenties’ Gets Series Order At BET

By Denise Petski

Photo by Shayan Asgharnia

On the heels of the second season pickup of Lena Waithe’s critically-acclaimed Boomerang reboot, BET has ordered Twenties, a single-camera comedy series from the Emmy-winning creator/writer/actor.

Created and written by Waithe when she was in her early 20s, the eight-episode half-hour series follows the adventures of a queer black girl, Hattie, and her two straight best friends, Marie and Nia, who spend most of their days talking ‘ish’ and chasing their dreams. Twenties is a scripted show about friendship, finding love, and messing everything up along the way.

Waithe executive produces with Susan Fales-Hill, who will co-showrun with Waithe. Rishi Rajani and Andrew Coles also executive produce.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 26, 2019 by Editor

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Notre Dame Hives Survive

from France 24

Bee-wildering! Hives of Notre-Dame in miraculous survival

Some 200,000 bees inhabiting hives in Notre-Dame cathedral survived the inferno that engulfed the heritage landmark in a miraculous escape, their beekeeper said Thursday.

“The bees are alive. Until this morning, I had had no news,” said beekeeper Nicolas Geant who looks after the hives which are kept on top of a sacristry that adjoins the cathedral.

“At first I thought that the three hives had burned but I had no information” after Monday’s fire, Geant told AFP.

“Then I saw from satellite images that this was not the case and then the cathedral spokesman told me that they were going in and out of the hives.”

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on April 25, 2019 by Editor

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Robot Authors

from The Guardian

The rise of robot authors: is the writing on the wall for human novelists?

Artificial intelligence can now write fiction and journalism. But does it measure up to George Orwell – and can it report on Brexit?

by Steven Poole

An industrial robot writes out the Bible. Photograph: Amy Cicconi/Alamy

Will androids write novels about electric sheep? The dream, or nightmare, of totally machine-generated prose seemed to have come one step closer with the recent announcement of an artificial intelligence that could produce, all by itself, plausible news stories or fiction. It was the brainchild of OpenAI – a nonprofit lab backed by Elon Musk and other tech entrepreneurs – which slyly alarmed the literati by announcing that the AI (called GPT2) was too dangerous for them to release into the wild, because it could be employed to create “deepfakes for text”. “Due to our concerns about malicious applications of the technology,” they said, “we are not releasing the trained model.” Are machine-learning entities going to be the new weapons of information terrorism, or will they just put humble midlist novelists out of business?

Let’s first take a step back. AI has been the next big thing for so long that it’s easy to assume “artificial intelligence” now exists. It doesn’t, if by “intelligence” we mean what we sometimes encounter in our fellow humans. GPT2 is just using methods of statistical analysis, trained on huge amounts of human-written text – 40GB of web pages, in this case, that received recommendations from Reddit readers – to predict what ought to come next. This probabilistic approach is how Google Translate works, and also the method behind Gmail’s automatic replies (“OK.” “See you then.” “That’s fine!”) It can be eerily good, but it is not as intelligent as, say, a bee.

Right now, novelists don’t seem to have much to fear. Fed the opening line of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four – “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” – the machine continued the narrative as follows: “I was in my car on my way to a new job in Seattle. I put the gas in, put the key in, and then I let it run. I just imagined what the day would be like. A hundred years from now. In 2045, I was a teacher in some school in a poor part of rural China. I started with Chinese history and history of science.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on April 21, 2019 by Editor

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Another Pilfered Picasso

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Stolen Picasso unearthed by ‘Indiana Jones of art’

Courtesy of ARTCOPS.COM

The Hague (AFP) – A Dutch art detective dubbed the “Indiana Jones of the Art World” has struck again, finding a Picasso painting worth 25 million euros stolen from a Saudi sheikh’s yacht on the French Riviera in 1999.

Arthur Brand said he had handed back the 1938 masterpiece entitled “Portrait of Dora Maar”, also known as “Buste de Femme (Dora Maar)” to an insurance company earlier this month.

The discovery of the rare portrait of Maar, one of Pablo Picasso’s most influential mistresses, is the culmination of a four-year investigation into the burglary on the luxury yacht Coral Island, as she lay anchored in Antibes.

Two decades after its theft and with no clues to its whereabouts, the French police were stumped — and the portrait, which once hung in the Spanish master’s home until his death in 1973, was feared lost forever.

But after a four-year trail which led through the Dutch criminal underworld, two intermediaries turned up on Brand’s Amsterdam doorstep 10 days ago with the missing picture.

“They had the Picasso, now valued at 25 million euros wrapped in a sheet and black rubbish bags with them,” Brand told AFP.

It was yet another success for Brand, who hit the headlines last year for returning a stolen 1,600-year-old mosaic to Cyprus.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on April 19, 2019 by Editor

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ABBC / CBBS / NBBC

from Vox

How long before big media companies become big sports-gambling companies?

Sooner than you think. But AT&T, which owns HBO, TNT, and CNN, says they won’t be taking your bets.

By Peter Kafka

As sports betting becomes legal in more states, big companies are becoming interested in getting a piece of the action. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sports betting in the US used to be illegal, for the most part. Now it’s up to individual states to decide if they want it. Besides Nevada, which has always had legal sports betting, a handful of states have authorized it, with only New Jersey jumping in completely. But with estimates of US sports gambling hovering around $150 billion annually, it won’t be long before many states decide they want a piece of that action. 

So here’s the question for media companies that are hoping to profit in some way from the billions of dollars gamblers are going to bet on sports: How do we get a slice?

I’ve been talking to people who make money in sports betting and media, and this looks like the way it’s going to play out:

[ click to continue reading at Vox ]

Posted on April 18, 2019 by Editor

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Delphi Discovered

from National Geographic

Once sacred, the Oracle at Delphi was lost for a millennium. See how it was found.

Relying on clues from the past, a team of 19th-century archaeologists uncovered Delphi, the site where ancient Greeks asked questions, and Apollo answered them.

BY MARÍA TERESA MAGADÁN

Greek myth holds that the thunder god Zeus once dispatched two eagles flying in opposite directions across the sky. Where their paths crossed would be the center of the world. Legend says that the birds met over Delphi, seated on the slopes of Parnassós. Zeus marked the spot with a stone called the omphalos (navel), to signify the location’s centrality.

According to another myth, this impressive spot in central Greece (about 100 miles northwest of Athens) was originally sacred to Gaea, mother goddess of the earth, who placed her son Python, a serpent, as a guard for Delphi and its oracle. Apollo, god of light and music, slew the serpent and took over the site for himself. Priestesses who served Apollo there were called the “Pythia,” named in honor of Gaea’s vanquished son. Throughout the classical world spread the belief that these priestesses channeled prophecies from Apollo himself. (Read about the science behind the Delphic Oracle’s prophetic powers.)

The cult of Apollo seems to have been functioning in Delphi as early as the eighth century B.C. About two centuries later, leaders from all over Greece were consulting the oracle on major issues of the day: waging war, founding colonies, and religious rituals. Since it was a place used by different—and often rival—Greek states, Delphi soon became not only a sacred space but also a place where a city-state could exhibit its status to the wider Greek world.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on April 17, 2019 by Editor

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Mark Millar’s ‘Space Bandits’

from Deadline

Netflix And Image Comics: Mark Millar’s ‘Space Bandits’ Brings Howard Chaykin Aboard

By Geoff Boucher

Image Comics

EXCLUSIVE: Netflix and Mark Millar announce their latest in-house creation, Space Bandits, a female-led sci-fi story, described by Millar as “a female Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid set in space with a massive and exciting cast of characters.” Image Comics, publisher of The Walking Dead, Happy! and Saga, will handle the tie-in comic book iteration of the Netflix property and artist Matteo Scalera will illustrate the space-faring adventures on the page.

Thena Khole and Cody Blue are outlaw queens who lead notorious heist gangs that hop from starship to starship taking whatever they want whenever they want it. But when both Khole and Blue are betrayed by mutineers in their own crews, the two bandits are united in their thirst for revenge.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 16, 2019 by Editor

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A tragedy so terrible, it’s best just to laugh.

Posted on April 15, 2019 by Editor

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Flash You Were Here

Posted on April 13, 2019 by Editor

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Welcome Back, Carter

from The Hollywood Reporter

Graydon Carter: Life After Vanity Fair and Embracing the Future (Guest Column)

Graydon Carter

E. Charbonneau/WireImage
Graydon Carter (right) with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes at the 2007 Vanity Fair Oscar party at Morton’s.

Sure, the perks, pleasures and expense accounts of a vanishing print business have been replaced by digital churns and dubious Facebook ads, but the legendary magazine editor — who turned down an offer to run Time — retains his zest for journalism with a new newsletter and an occasional trip to the neighborhood newsstand.

New York was always a magazine city for me. And in some ways it still is. I grew up in Canada, and magazines — Life, Esquire, Time — more than anything else, told me the story of this city, its industry, its might and the people who made it the center of just about everything I was interested in. When I finally made it to New York in the ’70s, the magazine influence was still potent. Time Inc. had its own building. So did Condé Nast and Hearst. Even Newsweek and Forbes did.

There was a huge billboard in the main room of Grand Central, and from time to time one of the newsweeklies booked it. When I would take the train to visit friends up in Westchester County, the platforms were lined with smaller billboards for Time and Newsweek and magazines I’d never heard of, such as Grit (an agricultural supplement that was included in the weekend section of small-town newspapers). My guess was that those billboards were intended to catch the eye of advertising-agency account executives for such brands as Chesterfield cigarettes and J&B scotch as they headed home to bedroom towns like Salem and Bedford.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on April 11, 2019 by Editor

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Miles Millar & Alfred Gough in conversation w/ James Frey

Posted on April 9, 2019 by Editor

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Spooky Golightly

from The New York Post

Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn was a WWII resistance spy

By Reed Tucker

She was one of Hollywood’s most celebrated actresses. But Audrey Hepburn had a role that few knew about: spy.

And unlike the characters that she portrayed on screen, playing this part could literally mean life or death.

The maddeningly private actress, who died in 1993, had dropped hints about her work with the Dutch Resistance during World War II, and now a new book puts the whole story together, providing an in-depth look at her life during the conflict.

Robert Matzen, author of “Dutch Girl: Audrey Hepburn and World War II” (GoodKnight Books), combed secret files, talked to Hepburn’s family and tracked down diaries to uncover new information.

The biggest surprise to many will be Hepburn’s work with the Dutch Resistance against Nazi occupation. She certainly seemed an unlikely hero.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on April 7, 2019 by Editor

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Megalopolis

from Deadline

Francis Ford Coppola Ready To Make ‘Megalopolis’ And Is Eyeing Cast

By Mike Fleming Jr

EXCLUSIVE: On the eve of his 80th birthday, Francis Ford Coppola is ready to embark on one of his dream projects. He plans to direct Megalopolis, a sprawling film as ambitious as Apocalypse Now, that he has been plotting for many years. Coppola revealed this to me today. He has his script, and he has begun speaking informally to potential stars. I’ve heard Jude Law’s name among those who might potentially be in the movie. I have much to report about Coppola’s dream project, and I got to view some of the second unit footage he shot after announcing the project in Cannes, before the terror attacks of 9/11 — the film is set in New York and is an architect’s attempt to create a utopia in the city, combated by the mayor — ground progress on the film to a halt.

“So yes, I plan this year to begin my longstanding ambition to make a major work utilizing all I have learned during my long career, beginning at age 16 doing theater, and that will be an epic on a grand scale, which I’ve titled Megalopolis,” Coppola told me today. “It is unusual; it will be a production on a grand scale with a large cast. It makes use of all of my years of trying films in different styles and types culminating in what I think is my own voice and aspiration. It is not within the mainstream of what is produced now, but I am intending and wishing and in fact encouraged, to begin production this year.”

This comes after Coppola has locked Apocalypse Now: Final Cut, a version of the film that most pleases the storied director, and which will premiere at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.

“By having a record of all old cuts on Betamax, I was able to see what steps had been made toward the final version released,” he said. “Interesting, even though I’ve had ‘final cut’ since Godfather‘s success, I always tried to be reasonable about ideas or suggestions made by the ‘finance’ partners, distributors or studios. However, their unanimous comment of ‘too long’ often led to trimming things out, whereas in retrospect the solution can often be to put more in. Also changes often beget other changes and you don’t quite realize then the road you are following.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on April 5, 2019 by Editor

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XFL Ain’t No AFL – No Worries.

from Inside Hook

To Avoid AAF’s Fate, XFL Must Have a Better TV Deal

Vince McMahon has promised fans will be able to find XFL games “consistently.”

BY EVAN BLEIER

The Alliance of American Football, which suspended all football operations yesterday with two games remaining, began its season with games airing on CBS.

The debut was strong and many had hoped the relatively strong TV ratings meant the league would last, but inconsistency in where the AAF could be found on the dial  – be it CBS Sports Network, TNT or NFL Network – following its first few weeks at least partially led to its downfall.

That’s something the XFL – which is set to kick off in 2020 – is hoping to avoid.

In a statement following the AAF’s closure, XFL founder Vince McMahon said the XFL is “well-funded” and that “the success or failure of other leagues will have no impact on our ability to deliver high-quality, fast-paced, professional football.”

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on April 4, 2019 by Editor

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