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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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HEATHERS

from The New Yorker

“Heathers” Blew Up the High-School Comedy

The 1989 cult classic ushered in a darker, weirder, more experimental era for teen movies.

Text by Naomi Fry

“Touchstones” is an ongoing interactive series in which New Yorker writers guide us through the works that shaped them as critics and as people.

In the course of the eighties, nothing formed my understanding of what it meant to be a teen-ager, and particularly an American teen-ager, more than the movies of John Hughes. I was an Israeli kid who occasionally, thanks to my dad’s job, spent time in the United States, and Hughes’s œuvre—especially “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink,” and “Sixteen Candles”—served, for me, as both an anthropological document and a how-to guide. For American teen-agers, I learned, daily life was a battleground: their parents pushed them around or ignored them; their teachers were bored and boring; they were confused about sex, and even more so about love; race was rarely a problem (the American teen-ager was almost always white), but class, and especially money, was; and class and money translated into the chief issue seemingly dogging every American teen-ager’s life—high-school cliques, and one’s ability to break free of their constraints in order to discover who one really was.

No matter how difficult these issues were to deal with, however, teens were able to overcome them by the end of Hughes’s movies. No problem was unmanageable, no adversity insurmountable. The movies’ redemptive arc guaranteed that the burnout and the prom queen could set their conflicts aside—as could the rich guy and the poor girl, and the jock and the weirdo—and the result was a new, more perfect union, which was more often than not sealed with a kiss.

The Hughesian Ending

“Make a wish,” Jake tells Samantha in the last scene of “Sixteen Candles.” “It already came true,” she replies.

The constancy of this teen-movie template was likely why “Heathers”—directed by Michael Lehmann, written by Daniel Waters, and the feature-film début for both—came as such a shock. Though the movie was released in the States in 1989—where it was, for the most part, a critical hit, though a box-office flop—it had not come out in Israel, and I saw it only in 1990, which I spent in Seattle. That year, I had fashioned myself as a sophisticated outsider, and had begun going to see movies alone, as sophisticated outsiders tend to do. (Making friends was a little bit of a struggle.) And so I settled down alone in a cinematheque-style theatre to watch what I believed would be another Hughes-style comedy. “Heathers,” I imagined, would focus on two attractive young people, played by Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, who would, against the odds, fall in love, come to resist the cliquishness of their school—embodied by a trio of popular mean girls, all named Heather—and bring on an improved, quasi-utopian social order.

But about twenty-five minutes into the movie I experienced a strong cognitive dissonance: I watched as J.D. (Slater) and Veronica (Ryder) gave Heather Chandler, the cruellest, most powerful member of the Heathers, a poisonous concoction. Had they just killed her? A teen movie couldn’t include murders, could it?

[ click to continue reading at The New Yorker ]

Posted on April 1, 2019 by Editor

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55,000 Hours Of Boxing Archives

from The New York Times

For Sale: This Massive, Obsessive and (Probably) Obsolete VHS Boxing Archive

Forty years of boxing matches — as many as 55,000 individual fights — have been painstakingly preserved in a video archive. In the age of YouTube and cloud storage, is it worth anything?

By Alex Vadukul

Rock’ Em Sock’ Em Robots.CreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times

There’s a small apartment on 137th Street in Hamilton Heights that contains one of the most peculiar videotape collections in New York. The dusty VHS archive fills a vast library that contains the analog history of a sport: 8,000 cassettes with recordings of over 55,000 boxing matches that span 40 years.

It was the life’s work of Bela Szilagyi, a classical pianist and passionate fight enthusiast, who started the collection in 1979 when he taped a featherweight title match on a Quasar videocassette recorder. Mr. Szilagyi died in 2012 at 78 years old and his wife, a soft-spoken piano teacher, became the collection’s archivist.

On a recent Sunday night, Elizabeth Szilagyi, 76, commenced her ritual in the living room. She poured herself a glass of red wine, put on her reading glasses, and sat in front of her TV with a notepad in hand to record a welterweight fight at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. She ate a salad while taking notes about the match for the information card that gets filed in the archive. The bell rang and the boxers marched toward each other.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 23, 2019 by Editor

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Eternal Sunshine at 15

from Vanity Fair

Mind Games and Broken Hearts: Jim Carrey and Michel Gondry on Making Eternal Sunshine

Fifteen years later, the star and director get candid about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’s grueling production, why they almost got into a fistfight on set, and the Tracy Morgan-starring scenes that didn’t make the final cut.

by YOHANA DESTA

Winslet and Carrey in *Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.*From Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless MindMichel Gondry’s instant classic of a sci-fi romance, written by Charlie Kaufman, which debuted 15 years ago—originally had a much darker ending. The Oscar-winning film follows ex-couple Joel and Clementine (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) as they undergo procedures to erase one another from their respective memories, with much of the story taking place in Joel’s subconscious. By the end of the film, they’re drawn together again anyway, willfully ignoring the fact that their relationship may very well crash and burn once more.

That’s not how Kaufman wrote it, though. “We don’t end up together in Charlie’s version. I walk away,” Carrey said in a recent phone interview. Gondry—who was sitting next to Carrey—added that the screenwriter also considered flipping the narrative, revealing at the end that the story has been taking place in Clementine’s head the whole time. But both ideas were ultimately scrapped—and Gondry’s relatively happy ending won out instead. (Kaufman’s rep didn’t respond when we asked to comment on this story.)

With its homespun sci-fi aesthetic, aided by Gondry’s nifty, lo-fi special effects and lived-in romanticism, Eternal Sunshine was a quietly mind-blowing film, the kind that spawned plenty of thin imitators. But it took a lot of tweaking for the film to arrive where it did—which also meant that several scenes featuring notable bit players were left on the cutting-room floor. A post-S.N.L., pre-30 Rock Tracy Morgan, for example, played Joel’s neighbor in a few flashbacks that did not make the finished film. “He’s a comedic genius,” said Gondry—“Genius!” Carrey emphasized. But “the reality is he was Tracy Morgan”—which made his presence a bit of a distraction. (Morgan’s rep says the comedian doesn’t remember if he acted in the film.)

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on March 19, 2019 by Editor

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Yoga With Hunnam and Hurst

from Pop Culture

‘Sons of Anarchy’ Co-Stars Charlie Hunnam and Ryan Hurst to Lead Yoga Class

By DANIEL S. LEVINE

Sons of Anarchy co-stars Charlie Hunnam and Ryan Hurst agreed to host a yoga class for fans, but only for one day this May.

The event, appropriately titled “Yogis of Anarchy,” will be part of Motor City Comic Con at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan. The convention runs from May 17-19, with the yoga class held on the final day from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. It is only open to convention attendees and only limited spaces are available.

Hunnam and Hurst built an off-screen bond while they worked together on FX’s Sons of Anarchy from 2008 to 2012. They reunited on Sam Taylor-Johnson’s A Million Little Pieces, which was shown at the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

In a new Hollywood Reporter interview, Hunnam said they frequently practice yoga together and are still close friends.

[ click to continue reading at Pop Culture ]

Posted on March 17, 2019 by Editor

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Old Order New Monday

Posted on March 15, 2019 by Editor

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2020 Best Picture Oscar Prediction – James Frey & Lena Waithe’s QUEEN AND SLIM

from Gold Derby

2020 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

by Paul Sheehan

Oscars-new-logo-and-statue

Predicting the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture is never easy. We were sure the top prize at the 2019 Oscars would go to “Roma” but it was “Green Book” that won. In coming up with our 2020 Oscar predictions, we considered a slew of factors, starting with the preferential ballot used to determine the winner. Add in the pedigree of the filmmakers, the critical reception to the films, the box office tally and the track record of the studios. We take all of these into consideration again as we look ahead to the 2020 Academy Awards. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2020 Oscars predictions for Best Picture.)

Contenders began to emerge at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Others will be seen for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival in May. However, most of the top tier of Best Picture hopefuls won’t screen until September at four film festivals: Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York. And a few will be held back till the last weeks of eligibility, getting limited releases in December.

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction.

“Knives Out” (Lionsgate – November 27)
Writer/Director: Rian Johnson
Cast: Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Lakeith Stanfield, Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer.
Plot: A modern murder mystery in a classic whodunit style.

“Queen & Slim” (Universal – November 27)
Director: Melina Matsoukas
Writers:  James Frey, Lena Waithe
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Bokeem Woodbine, Jodie Turner-Smith
Plot: A couple’s first date takes an unexpected turn when a police officer pulls them over.

“The Souvenir” (A24 – May 17)
Writer/Director: Joanna Hogg
Cast: Tilda Swinton, Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tom Burke, Richard Ayoade
Plot: A film student in the early 1980s becomes romantically involved with a complicated and untrustworthy man.

[ click to read complete list of contenders at Gold Derby ]

Posted on March 11, 2019 by Editor

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King Kong Bundy Gone

from Fox News

WWE legend King Kong Bundy dies at 61

By Ryan Gaydos

Former WWE legend King Kong Bundy has died, the wrestling company announced Tuesday. He was 61.

The New Jersey native, whose real name is Christopher Pallies, was known for his enormous stature inside the ring. He was 6-foot-4 and weighed 458 pounds. People called him the “walking condominium.”

One of his biggest moments in WWE was wrestling Hulk Hogan for the title at Wrestlemania 2. He would leave WWE in the 1980s only to return once more as part of The Million Dollar Corporation faction in 1994 before he left the company a year later.

[ click to continue reading at Fox News ]

Posted on March 7, 2019 by Editor

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Keith Flint Gone

from The Sun

Keith Flint ‘suicide’ – The Prodigy legend famed for Firestarter and wild haircut dead after ‘taking his own life’ aged 49

The iconic singer, from Essex, was found dead at his home after police and paramedics were called at around 8am this morning

By Richard Wheatstone

THE Prodigy’s Keith Flint has been found dead in a suspected suicide at his home, aged 49.

The iconic Essex singer was discovered at around 8am this morning after police and paramedics were called to the property.

Officers remain outside the £1.5m rural home this afternoon but his death is not being treated as suspicious.

The Prodigy’s co-founder Liam Howlett said Keith Flint had ‘taken his own life’.

Famed for his devil-horns haircut and intense stage performances – the iconic 90s musician was performing just last month in New Zealand on a world tour set to run until May.

The Essex boy, who once dated Gail Porter, was the face of the rave band and took centre stage on their best-known hit Firestarter, the single which launched him as an icon.

[ click to continue reading at The Sun ]

Posted on March 6, 2019 by Editor

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Lena Waithe and The New Black Renaissance

from TIME Magazine

Hollywood’s New Black Renaissance Is Thriving. But the Industry Still Has Work to Do

By LENA WAITHE

Lena WaithePHOTO: ROGER ERICKSON / Courtesy of Chicago Magazine

What makes me optimistic today are the people trying to rip up what it means to be black and successful in Hollywood and rebuild it afresh. People like Terence Nance, the writer and director behind HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. People like Dime Davis, who is directing four episodes of BET’s Boomerang, the TV version of a beloved movie that I’m producing. And people like Drew Michael, the stand-up comedian whose recent HBO special was almost like a therapy session; there was no audience hiding Drew and he was so vulnerable. That’s what art should be: aware of where the lines are, but coloring outside them.

Audiences are loving this new renaissance. They’re entertained, but they’re also educated. But my hope is that it no longer needs to be a renaissance, a moment or a movement. I want it to be the norm. It sometimes seems like people believe: “They have Black Panther, so they’re cool. Moonlight won best picture, so they’re good. They’ve got shows like Atlanta and Insecure, so they’re done.” But that’s not enough. White folks have everything, and we still have a lot of catching up to do. It’s too soon to be patting ourselves on the back like the problem is solved.

After all, the decision makers still don’t look like us. We’ve had a black person run the country, but never a big movie studio. Even though I’m making cool work, I still have to ask white people, “Is it OK? Do you like this enough? Do you understand this?” Until the big studio execs look like the rest of the world, that’s not going to change.

That said, people of color are a commodity right now. Every senior white executive is like: “Where’s my black TV show?” “Where’s my black Blockbuster?” And that’s awesome. But what we need is someone to be looking at it with a certain kind of intention. Don’t say, “Where’s my Insecure?” Ask, “Who’s the next Issa Rae?” Don’t say, “Where’s my Black Panther?” Ask, “Who’s the next Ryan Coogler?”

We need to find artists who are rebels—and usually the artists who are rebels aren’t the kind to raise their hands or promote themselves. We can’t count on the industry to find them. There are very few execs out there looking for the next stars and doing the roll-up-your-sleeves work of reading a bunch of scripts and talking to a lot of people to find who’s next. Until you’re hot, no one is seeking you out.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on March 4, 2019 by Editor

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Frieze LA Destroyed

from The Art Newspaper

Frieze LA diary: Leibovitz’s photo finish, Destroyer smashes it and a mushroom-powered rocket (doesn’t) take off

Plus, Suzanne Jackson’s modest gallery revival

MAXWELL WILLIAMS

Destroyer playing at the opening for Friedrich Kunath’s monograph, Sincerely Yours at Blum & Poe Photo: Max Williams

Destroyer smashes it at Blum & Poe

There’s a certain candor in Friedrich Kunath’s paintings, which often have text crossing lush, romantic landscapes like an aerial banner with no airplane, that pairs well with music. For the launch of his monograph, I Don’t Worry Anymore, which includes contributions from a substantial cast of characters—the poet Ariana Reines, the novelist James Frey, and the former tennis player-turned-art collector John McEnroe—Kunath invited the Canadian troubadour Daniel Bejar, aka Destroyer, to perform in front of one of those dreamy landscapes. The upstairs gallery at Blum & Poe was packed (whether there were more people there to support Kunath or to see Destroyer, we may never know) and Destroyer’s songs felt exactly right: romantic without being mawkish, funny without being inane. The musician and the painter were a pairing no DJ could have mixed better. “This is big for me,” said Kunath, who was a huge fan of the musician. Bejar played a mix of old and new songs while propped on a stool on top of a bear rug with a camel sculpture in front of him. “I want to thank Friedrich for letting me out tonight,” he joked. “It’s nice to get out of Canada once in a while.”

[ click to continue reading at The Art Newspaper ]

Posted on March 2, 2019 by Editor

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No Pads

Posted on March 1, 2019 by Editor

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America Afraid Of Penises

from Vice

French Director Gaspar Noé on America’s Fear of the Penis

“The fear of the penis in the United States still shocks me,” he said. “In many ways, the Western world is turning Victorian.”

By Noel Ransome

Near the end of my chat with Gaspar Noé, I ask him why he’s so comfortable with pushing narrative boundaries in film. He replied he doesn’t believe he’s pushing anything compared to what came before. So I remind him of cinema’s growing sensitivity to controversial representations of sexuality in 2019. The French director—whose latest film Climax (which is co-produced by VICE Studios), is a journey with a dance troupe lured into hallucinogenic states to the point of injury and death—decides to answer in the most Noé way possible.

“The fear of the penis in the United States still shocks me,” he lets out during a phone exchange. “In many ways, the Western world is turning Victorian.”

If you’ve ever seen a film by Gaspar Noé, it would be downright disappointing not to hear the word “penis” leave his mouth. The director is famed with his ability to unsettle viewers with equal parts beauty, sexuality and terror. You’ll see it in works such as Irreversible , Love, Enter the Void, and now in Climax set for a March 1 limited release—zero penises guaranteed.

It takes a special kind of mind to come up with films that explore the dark depths of the human psyche. And thankfully, I got a chance to listen to the ideas that a mind like that will throw at you when questioned. Whether it was drugs, directing or “the penis,” Noé was a man comfortable speaking about it all.

[ click to continue reading at Vice ]

Posted on February 28, 2019 by Editor

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Bring Back The Shit Stick!

from National Post

U.S. plush toilet paper use wiping out Canada’s forests, flushing away the future: report

The report gave failing grades to the leading toilet paper, tissue and paper towel brands for using only virgin fibre pulp, mostly from Canada’s old boreal forests

by Adrian Humphreys

The voracious use of toilet paper in the United States — with the average American using almost three rolls each week and major manufacturers spurning alternative fibres — is destroying Canada’s forests and causing widespread environmental damage, two international environmental groups say.

A report on tissue paper use gave failing grades to the leading toilet paper, tissue and paper towel brands for using only virgin fibre pulp, mostly from Canada’s old boreal forests.

“Forests are too vital to flush away,” says the report, called The Issue With Tissue, released Wednesday by Natural Resources Defense Council and Stand.earth, international nonprofit environmental organizations that cooperated on the study.

[ click to continue reading at National Post ]

Posted on February 26, 2019 by Editor

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Warhol Still More Famous Than Brady

Posted on February 24, 2019 by Editor

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Cassettes Still Rock (and hiss)

from The Guardian

It’s cool to spool again as the cassette returns on a wave of nostalgia

Sales are soaring and current stars are releasing tracks on the format… but is anyone actually listening to them?

by Nosheen Iqbal

Pause. Stop. Rewind! The cassette, long consigned to the bargain bin of musical history, is staging a humble comeback. Sales have soared in the last year – up 125% in 2018 on the year before – amounting to more than 50,000 cassette albums bought in the UK, the highest volume in 15 years.

It’s quite a fall from the format’s peak in 1989 when 83 million cassettes were bought by British music fans, but when everyone from pop superstar Ariana Grande to punk duo Sleaford Mods are taking to tape, a mini revival seems afoot. But why?

“It’s the tangibility of having this collectible format and a way to play music that isn’t just a stream or download,” says techno DJ Phin, who has just released her first EP on cassette as label boss of Theory of Yesterday.

“I find them much more attractive than CDs. Tapes have a lifespan, and unlike digital music, there is decay and death. It’s like a living thing and that appeals to me.” Phin left the bulk of her own 100-strong cassette collection in Turkey, carefully stored at her parents’ home, but bought “20 or 25 really special ones” when she moved to London. “I’m from that generation,” she says. “It’s a nostalgia thing – I like the hiss.”

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on February 23, 2019 by Editor

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Social Media Boys

Posted on February 22, 2019 by Editor

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Dragon Aurora

from The Metro

Nasa releases picture of mysterious ‘dragon’ aurora rearing its head in the sky

by Jasper Hamill

A view0 of the mysterious dragon aurora snapped in Iceland on February 18 (Photo: Jingyi Zhang & Wang Zheng)

NASA has released incredible pictures of an unusual ‘dragon’ aurora roaring silently in the sky over Iceland.

The stunning natural wonder was caused by particles emited from the sun which smash into the atmosphere to cause a dramatic light display.

Nasa wrote: ‘Have you ever seen a dragon in the sky? Although real flying dragons don’t exist, a huge dragon-shaped aurora developed in the sky over Iceland earlier this month.

‘The aurora was caused by a hole in the Sun’s corona that expelled charged particles into a solar wind that followed a changing interplanetary magnetic field to Earth’s magnetosphere.

‘As some of those particles then struck Earth’s atmosphere, they excited atoms which subsequently emitted light: aurora.

‘This iconic display was so enthralling that the photographer’s mother ran out to see it and was captured in the foreground.

[ click to continue reading at Metro ]

Posted on February 21, 2019 by Editor

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Wi-Fi For The Brain

from Science Alert

Neuroscientists Say They’ve Found an Entirely New Form of Neural Communication

by PETER DOCKRILL

Scientists think they’ve identified a previously unknown form of neural communication that self-propagates across brain tissue, and can leap wirelessly from neurons in one section of brain tissue to another – even if they’ve been surgically severed.

The discovery offers some radical new insights about the way neurons might be talking to one another, via a mysterious process unrelated to conventionally understood mechanisms, such as synaptic transmission, axonal transport, and gap junction connections.

“We don’t know yet the ‘So what?’ part of this discovery entirely,” says neural and biomedical engineer Dominique Durand from Case Western Reserve University.

“But we do know that this seems to be an entirely new form of communication in the brain, so we are very excited about this.”

[ click to continue reading at Science Alert ]

Posted on February 20, 2019 by Editor

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Lagerfeld Gone

from Vogue

Legendary Designer Karl Lagerfeld Has Died

Karl Lagerfeld.Karl Lagerfeld / Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2018

Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most prolific and widely popular designers of the 20th and 21st centuries, has died in Paris. He was 85.

Lagerfeld was creative director of Chanel, the French house founded by Gabrielle Chanel, for an era-defining, age-defying 36 years. Upon assuming the reins in 1983, Lagerfeld swiftly revived Chanel, reinterpreting the house founder’s iconic tweed skirtsuits, little black dresses, and quilted handbags. He did it via the lens of hip-hop one season and California surfer chicks the next—he was a pop culture savant—without ever forgetting what the revolutionary Coco stood for: independence, freedom, and modernity.

In more recent years, as the company’s fortunes grew and grew, Lagerfeld became known for the lavish Grand Palais sets he conceived for the six Chanel collections he designed a year. There was a rocket ship, a reproduction of the Eiffel Tower, and a supermarché stocked strictly with Chanel-brand products. Florence Welch sang on the half-shell at the Spring 2012 show. Most memorable of all was the improbable giant iceberg from Scandinavia that Chanel shipped across the continent for the Fall 2010 show. Lagerfeld also pioneered the concept of the traveling pre-season show. The Karl caravan has landed variously in Versailles; West Lothian, Scotland; Dallas; Seoul; and, spectacularly, Havana, Cuba.

[ click to continue reading at Vogue ]

Posted on February 19, 2019 by Editor

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LORDS OF CHAOS, Mayhem Dissed

from The Telegraph

Call for Lords of Chaos film about suicide and satanism to be banned

by  Charles Hymas

One of the most controversial films ever made has been approved for release in the UK despite featuring self-harm, suicide and burning of churches by members of a satanic black metal band.

Official film classifiers in the UK and US are understood to have been so concerned about the release of Lords of Chaos that it was reviewed at the highest levels.

Church groups have, however, called for it to be banned following controversy over the role of online self-harm images in the death of Molly Russell, 14, who took her own life after viewing such images on Instagram.

The film, based on the real-life Norwegian black metal band Mayhem,contains explicit violence, including two murders and the burning…

Posted on February 18, 2019 by Editor

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Motility Re-dated

from Phys.org

Discovery of the oldest evidence of motility on Earth

 

Discovery of the oldest evidence of mobility on EarthPreviously, the oldest traces of this kind found dated to approximately 600 million years ago: the Ediacaran period, also characterized by a peak in dioxygen and a proliferation in biodiversity. Scale bar: 1 cm. Credit: A. El Albani / IC2MP / CNRS – Université de Poitiers

An international multi-disciplinary team coordinated by Abderrazak El Albani at the Institut de chimie des milieux et matériaux de Poitiers (CNRS/Université de Poitiers) has uncovered the oldest fossilised traces of motility. Whereas previous remnants were dated to 570 million years ago, this new evidence is 2.1 billion years old. The fossils were discovered in a deposit in Gabon, where the oldest multicellular organisms were found. The results appear in the 11 February 2019 edition of PNAS.

A few years ago, geologist Abderrazak El Albani and his team at the Institut de chimie des milieux et matériaux de Poitiers (CNRS/Université de Poitiers) discovered the oldest existing fossils of multicellular organisms in a deposit in Gabon. Located in the Franceville Basin, the deposit allowed scientists to re-date the appearance of multicellular life on Earth to 2.1 billion years—approximately 1.5 billion years earlier than previously thought (600 million). At the time, the researchers showed that this rich biodiversity co-occurred with a peak in dioxygenation of the atmosphere, and developed in a calm and shallow marine environment.

In this same geological deposit, the team has now uncovered the existence of fossilised traces of motility. This shows that certain multicellular organisms in this primitive marine ecosystem were sophisticated enough to move through its mud, rich in organic matter.

[ click to continue reading at physical.org ]

Posted on February 17, 2019 by Editor

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