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No Switch Hitters

from PC Magazine

Nintendo Reminds Us Not to Hit People, Smash TVs When Playing Switch Sports

Joy-Con wrist straps are an essential accessory for this game, as is lots of free space.

By Matthew Humphries

Wii Sports caused many an injury to bodies and televisions back in 2006, and Nintendo is warning parents in an attempt to avoid a similar situation with Switch Sports.

Nintendo Switch Sports went on sale today and offers a range of motion-controlled sports to play. This inevitably sees you swinging a Joy-Con around vigorously, which can be a serious hazard to anyone standing or sitting nearby. Bruises, black eyes, and smashed TVs are all signs you’re really enjoying the challenge, but Nintendo would like to avoid them if possible.

[ click to continue reading at PC Mag ]

Posted on April 29, 2022 by Editor

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Poisonous Green Books

from National Geographic

These green books are poisonous—and one may be on a shelf near you

A toxic green pigment was once used to color everything from fake flowers to book covers. Now a museum conservator is working to track down the noxious volumes.


still life of green books stacked
After bookcloth became a popular and affordable alternative to leather for bookmaking, publishers began releasing volumes in a range of colors, including emerald green. PHOTOGRAPH BY REBECCA HALE, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC

Libraries and rare book collections often carry volumes that feature poisons on their pages, from famous murder mysteries to seminal works on toxicology and forensics. The poisons described in these books are merely words on a page, but some books scattered throughout the world are literally poisonous.

These toxic books, produced in the 19th century, are bound in vivid cloth colored with a notorious pigment known as emerald green that’s laced with arsenic. Many of them are going unnoticed on shelves and in collections. So MelissaTedone, the lab head for library materials conservation at the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library in Delaware, has launched an effort dubbed the Poison Book Project to locate and catalogue these noxious volumes.

To date, the team has uncovered 88 19th-century books containing emerald green. Seventy of them are covered with vivid green bookcloth, and the rest have the pigment incorporated onto paper labels or decorative features. Tedone even found an emerald green book on sale at a local bookstore, which she purchased.

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on April 28, 2022 by Editor

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A Million Little Corals

from WIRED

A Million Little Pieces: The Race to Rebuild the World’s Coral Reefs

Nearly half of these ocean ecosystems have been wiped out since 1950. One man is on a mission to reverse that—by speed-growing coral in hyperefficient nurseries.


The Race to Rebuild the World's Coral Reefs | WIRED

LISA CARNE WAS swimming through a bed of seagrass in northern Belize when she saw a hunk of elkhorn coral lying loose on the sandy bottom. She paused to look at it. With its rich amber color and antler-like branches, the fragment seemed alive despite having broken off from its mother colony. A professional diver, Carne was struck with an idea: What if she picked this up and moved it to a patch of dead reef? What if she did it over and over again? Could she help the reef recover more quickly?

Carne kept thinking about the fragment as she finished up her dive. The reefs close to her home, near Laughing Bird Caye National Park, in southern Belize, had recently been decimated by a hurricane. When she returned home, she sat down at her computer and started searching online for anything she could find on reef restoration.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on April 18, 2022 by Editor

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Move Over Mundi

from Vanity Fair

Will This Warhol Become the Most Expensive Artwork Ever Sold?

When one of the pop artist’s famed portraits of Marilyn Monroe goes to auction next month, some observers think it could fetch up to half a billion dollars. What is it about this particular work that gives it such potential to break the market?


Image may contain Advertisement Collage Poster Marilyn Monroe Steven A. Cohen Kenneth C. Griffin Human and Person

One morning in Rockefeller Center this month, Jeff Koons waltzed through the Christie’s front atrium, where his Balloon Dog (Orange) was installed in 2013 prior to hitting the block. Koons currently holds the distinction of world’s most expensive living artist, but on this brisk day, he was a mere viewer, there to see a work that soon seems destined to go for many multiples of the $58.4 million that shiny steel canine fetched at auction. Staffers of the auction house, owned by French billionaire François Pinault, whisked Koons into the small, chapel-like room where he could get a full glimpse at Andy Warhol’s Shot Sage Blue Marilyn, one of five portraits of Marilyn Monroe made by Warhol in 1964, at what was widely considered to be the peak of his creative output. Hitting the block in less than a month on May 9, it has an estimate of $200 million, the highest ever placed on an artwork prior to auction.

“Two hundred is a huge benchmark. It’s the highest reported estimate ever, it’s the highest estimate ever put on an artwork,” said Alex Rotter, the Christie’s chairman who’s overseeing the sale. “Could we have set more? You could always say more.”

Many are indeed saying more, making the $200 million mark seem not like the estimate—but the jumping-off point. Several dealers, advisers, auction specialists, and Warhol experts who I spoke to recently believe that, if the right tech billionaires, Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds, Asian foundations, or pandemic-enriched shipping magnates go head-to-head during the bidding, the work could hammer as high as $500 million, making it the most expensive artwork of all time—a marker currently held by Salvator Mundi, a rendering of Jesus Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci that went for $450 million in 2017.

[ click to continue reading at VF ]

Posted on April 14, 2022 by Editor

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Mamet Uncensored

from The Wall Street Journal

David Mamet Is a Defiant Scribe in the Age of Conformity

The playwright won’t play along with woke signaling, talismanic masking or deference to petty tyrants.

By Barton Swaim


Back in the 1980s and ’90s, innumerable films, TV documentaries and history textbooks instructed us that the 1950s were years of conformity and conventionalism: “The Donna Reed Show,” McCarthyism, “The Organization Man,” TV dinners. In fact, the ’50s were a time of extraordinary artistic creativity, boundless technological innovation, original thinking in politics, intellectual diversity in journalism and higher education, new energy in religion, and enormous progress in race relations. What the ’80s and ’90s mistook for conformity was a naturally evolved cultural solidarity—something nearly everybody, on the left and the right, longs for now.

An informed observer of present-day America might reasonably conclude that our own decade—at least among the educated and advantaged classes—is far more imbued with the spirit of conformism than the ’50s were. Corporate managers and military leaders parrot nostrums about diversity, inclusion and sustainability that few of them believe. Museums and orchestras studiously avoid programming that might offend ideologues. Reporters and producers in the mainstream press seize on stories—or ignore them—solely because that’s what everybody else in the press is doing. Large majorities in wealthy cities dutifully comply with public-health restrictions they know to be largely ineffective, mainly because refusing to do so would invite the ire of friends and neighbors complying with those restrictions for the same reason.

Maybe America’s deciders and describers (to use Nicholas Eberstadt’s phrase) aren’t the independent-minded lot they think themselves to be.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on April 9, 2022 by Editor

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Bet on Ice Cream in the first.

from People Magazine

Michelle Pfeiffer Bought Her Iconic Scarface Sunglasses for Just $3

By Bianca Brutus

Who says timeless style has to cost a mint? Not Michelle Pfeiffer!

The Scarface star told Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on Friday morning that her says her iconic cat eye sunglasses from the film cost only a few dollars. 

The actress, 63, posted a still from the film on Instagram in January, revealing that the sunglasses were originally a drugstore purchase. 

When asked by Seacrest about the “epic” post, Pfeiffer gave more information on the shades while appearing on Live with Kelly & Ryan to promote her upcoming Showtime series The First Lady.

The sunglasses were purchased for “probably for $3,” she explained. But unfortunately, when it comes to function (as opposed to fashion), you get what you pay for: “I kept them, but they kind of fell apart over time,” she said. “They were cheap.”

[ click to continue reading at People ]

Posted on April 8, 2022 by Editor

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Trapping Fish With Giant Penises

from Nautilus

The Genius of Fishing with Tidal Weirs

Native and non-native scientists have come together to counter overfishing with an ancient practice.


GONE FISHING: A fishing weir in the Micronesian state of Yap. The “arrow” of stone walls traps fish at high tides. When the tide ebbs, fishermen go to work. Photo courtesy of William Jeffery.

Seen from the air, the Micronesian state of Yap is a jewel-green archipelago of dense forests patched with taro fields, fringed by mazes of mangroves, and trimmed by coral reefs. And, fanning out from the wrack lines into the turquoise shallows like a frill of beaded tassels is a geometric design of rock structures that are shaped like arrows, beech mushrooms, or penises. The Yapese call these structures aech, and they are tidal fish weirs, one of the world’s most common Indigenous mariculture tools.

“Our aech is called Aechwol because of its luck,” says Thomas Ganang, whose family has owned for generations an aech near the village of Gachpar, off the eastern shore of Gagil-Tamil Island; in Yapese, “wol” means “luck.” “Whatever fish I catch inside the aech is a sign of luck. So it’s an ‘aech with good luck.’” Ganang, who is 66, fondly recalls how, when he was still a boy, his father, Laman, took him to the faluw—a traditional men’s house in Yap—to teach him everything about fishing, including how to use aech.

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on April 7, 2022 by Editor

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The New Unreal

from TIME

Inside Epic’s Unreal Engine 5—and What It Means for the Future of Gaming, Movies, and the Metaverse


For years, the 3D software development tool Unreal Engine has powered some of the biggest video games on the market—from Fortnite to Valorant—as well as television shows like The Mandalorian and even Porsche engineering. On Tuesday, Epic Games showed off the public release of Unreal Engine 5, the engine’s first major update in 8 years.

The company promises that the new updates to Unreal Engine 5 will make it the bedrock for the next generation of Web 3 developments—from metaverse experiences to movies, and of course, video games.

Unreal Engine is the second-most widely used video game engine, trailing only Unity, and is known for its depth of features and visual quality. Unreal Engine 5 augments those strengths, giving its users hyper-intricate 3D detail, facial realism, and large-scale world building. Its release opens the door for Disney to create a live Mandalorian video game that looks nearly as real as the show does, for example, says Kim Libreri, the CTO at Epic Games.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on April 5, 2022 by Editor

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Cancelling Picasso

from France24

Is Picasso being cancelled?

Fifty years after his death, the debate around Pablo Picasso’s treatment of women is only getting more heated – AFP/File

Pablo Picasso’s track-record with women certainly would not make him a feminist pin-up today.

There were two wives, at least six mistresses and countless lovers — with a tendency to abandon women when they became ill, a voracious appetite for prostitutes, and some eye-popping age differences (his second wife was 27 when he married her at 79).

Some of the quotes attributed to him would probably cause Twitter’s servers to combust if he said them now (“For me there are only two kinds of women: goddesses and doormats”).

None of this is new — it has been recycled through books and articles from (sometimes traumatised) family members since soon after his death in 1973.

But in a post-MeToo world, it poses a challenge for those who manage his legacy.

[ click to continue reading at France24 ]

Posted on April 4, 2022 by Editor

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from AdWeek

How NFTs Are Helping Produce an Animated Series on Wrestling

The Gimmicks is being developed by Sixth Wall and Toon Stars, featuring former WWE stars

By Stephen Lepitak

How NFTs Are Helping Produce an Animated Series on Wrestling
The Gimmicks could be seen as a test case for the sector, writes Stephen Lepitak. Sixth Wall/Toonstars

Remember when Saturday morning cartoons were funded mostly to promote plastic action figures and sugary snacks on television? Well, with adult animated content and potentially future online content, that commercial strategy of how shows are promoted and produced could be set for a revolution that won’t be televised.

The boom of the non-fungible token (NFT) over the last year might have caused a great deal of cynicism as to how viable the purchase of digital IP at eye watering prices might be. But it’s already proving a vehicle for funding online entertainment—with animated series beginning to appear, tapping into the trend.

One such series titled The Gimmicks could be seen as a test case for the sector. Created by the web 3.0 animation studio Toonstar, which will produce 20 short episodes with Sixth Wall, featuring a group of former WWE wrestlers, the series will rely on those buying NFTs connected to the show to access exclusive content. This will test the viability of such a commercial strategy through community building.

[ click to continue reading at AdWeek ]

Posted on April 2, 2022 by Editor

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from The New York Times

Warhol-mania: Why the Famed Pop Artist Is Everywhere Again

Andy Warhol is currently the subject of a Netflix documentary series, an exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and multiple theatrical works.

By Laura Zornosa

“The Andy Warhol Diaries,” now on Netflix, is based on the artist’s own recorded thoughts about his life and career.
“The Andy Warhol Diaries,” now on Netflix, is based on the artist’s own recorded thoughts about his life and career.Credit…Andy Warhol Foundation, via Netflix

Andy Warhol left behind a lot of self portraits.

There was the black-and-white shot from a photo booth strip, from 1963, in which he wore dark black shades and a cool expression. In 1981, he took a Polaroid of himself in drag, with a platinum blond bob and bold red lips. Five years later, he screen-printed his face, with bright red acrylic paint, onto a black background. These and other images of the Pop Art master rank among his best-known works.

But one of his most telling self portraits wasn’t a portrait at all, in a conventional sense. Between 1976 and 1987, the artist regularly dictated his thoughts, fears, feelings and opinions — about art, himself and his world — over the phone to his friend and collaborator Pat Hackett. In 1989, two years after his death, Hackett published “The Andy Warhol Diaries,” a transcribed, edited and condensed version of their phone calls.

And now, more than three decades later, “The Andy Warhol Diaries” has come to Netflix as a bittersweet documentary series directed by Andrew Rossi. In a video interview, the director pointed out that Warhol had intended for the book to be published after he died.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 27, 2022 by Editor

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Andbox = NYXL

from Variety

Esports Company Andbox Rebrands as NYXL, Pledges 7-Figure Investment Into NYC Gaming Community

By Jennifer Maas


New York City-based esports giant Andbox has rebranded as NYXL and will be making a hefty investment into the city’s gaming community over the next year, including building its new Manhattan headquarters, practice facility and live-event space in pursuit of developing New York into a gaming epicenter.

“Dedicated to creating experiences and developing content that connects the worlds of esports, gaming culture, and lifestyle for the discerning modern gamer, NYXL solidifies its commitment to New York in more than just name — making an investment in the high-seven figures into NYC’s gaming community over the next 12 months, including building its headquarters, XLHQ, in Manhattan. The organization will also launch YXL, their Young Creator Project, an annual initiative that discovers, supports and promotes the next generation of New York digital content creators, pledging $500,000 to the program,” the company said.

“NYXL is the first organization focused on bringing major esports events to New York, giving an immense audience here what they’re clearly thirsting for,” NYXL CEO James Frey said.

[ read complete article at Variety ]

Posted on March 24, 2022 by Editor

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from the Wall Street Journal

Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe Portrait Goes on the Block for $200 Million

Christie’s to sell ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn’ for record asking price at auction in May

By Kelly Crow

Andy Warhol’s 1964 ‘Shot Sage Blue Marilyn.’ CHRISTIE’S IMAGES LTD.

An iconic Andy Warhol silk-screen portrait of Hollywood starlet Marilyn Monroe is headed to Christie’s in New York later this spring for $200 million—a record asking price for any artwork at auction.

The 3-foot square silk-screen from 1964 depicts a promotional photo from the actress’s film “Niagara.” The artist transformed the actress into a pop-art icon by giving her a bubblegum-pink face, ruby lips and blue eye shadow set against a sage-blue background. The work is part of a signature series of “Shot Marilyn” portraits made famous after a gun-toting visitor allegedly fired a shot into a stack of canvases in the artist’s studio in 1964. 

The seller of this “Shot Sage Blue Marilyn” version is an eponymous foundation created by the well-known Zurich dealer Doris Ammann, who died at age 76 last year, and her late brother, Thomas, a dealer who helped sell and catalog the official inventory of Warhol’s works before Mr. Ammann died in 1993.

If successful, this example will smash the artist’s current auction record of $105.4 million set nine years ago when Sotheby’s sold 1963’s “Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster).” Potential bidders will need to spend far more to surpass private sales of Warhol’s work, though. In 2017, hedge-fund billionaire Ken Griffin paid the estate of publishing magnate Si Newhouse at least $200 million for the orange version from the same “Shot Marilyn” series, according to a person familiar with the deal.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on March 22, 2022 by Editor

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Ellis on Cimino

from UnHerd

How Hollywood destroyed Michael Cimino

Talent alone couldn’t keep the lights on


Of all the downfalls in Hollywood history, Michael Cimino’s haunts me the most, destroyed by his artistic ambitions in a corporate town whose rules he didn’t want to play by. Orson Welles and Peter Bogdanovich may come close, but they never ruined an entire movement or destroyed a film studio. In a single stroke of hubris and artistic obsession, Cimino burnt down the New Hollywood that created him with just one movie: Heaven’s Gate (1980).

Filmmakers had made massive bombs before Heaven’s Gate and they have made massive bombs since. Three or four were released last year, including Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley, which is by far the best film Del Toro has created. Both of these films are nominated for Best Picture Oscars this year and have probably lost far more money for their studios than Heaven’s Gate. How is it that Cimino became so famous and was able to create two towering works of art in the space of three years? And then become a pariah?

[ click to continue reading at UnHerd ]

Posted on March 19, 2022 by Editor

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Deep Peering

from BBC

James Webb: ‘Fully focused’ telescope beats expectations

by Jonathan Amos

IMAGE SOURCE,NASA/ESA/CSA/STSCI – The test star has the ungainly name 2MASS J17554042+6551277. A red filter optimises the visual contrast

The American space agency has achieved a major milestone in its preparation of the new James Webb Space Telescope.

Engineers say they have now managed to fully focus the $10bn observatory on a test star. The pin-sharp performance is even better than hoped, they add.

To get to this stage, all of Webb’s mirrors had to be aligned to tiny fractions of the width of a human hair.

But the agency cautions that a lot of work still lies ahead before the telescope can be declared operational.

Lee Feinberg, the Nasa engineer who has led the development of Webb’s optical elements, described the release of the first properly focused image as phenomenal.

“You not only see the star and the spikes from the diffraction of the star, but you see other stars in the field that are tightly focused, just like we expect, and all sorts of other interesting structure in the background,” he told reporters.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on March 17, 2022 by Editor

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Baby Nissan’s

from InsideHook

Nissan’s Pike Factory Cars Were Retro Before Retro Was Cool

Today, the four pint-sized cars, including the once-popular Pao and Figaro, are ideal gateways into classic car ownership


A woman standing next to the Nissan Pao, one of the Japanese brand's Pike Factory cars, at an auto show
The Nissan Pao.

In the late ‘90s, the American auto market began its long flirtation with retro-classic design led by models like the Chrysler PT Cruiser, Volkswagen New Beetle and Plymouth Prowler. But by that time, this particular vibe had already run its course on the other side of the Pacific. In fact, Japan’s own infatuation with the marriage of modern motoring and old-school styling had originated nearly a dozen years before Detroit discovered the benefits of mining nostalgia.

In 1985, Nissan took its customers by surprise with the Be-1, a pint-sized car that wrapped one of the brand’s existing commuter platforms in a shape seemingly lifted from a time machine. In the process, it kicked off a minor design revolution that not only changed how Japanese buyers approached the cheap and cheerful section of the showroom, but also reverberated through the years to impact modern-day enthusiasts.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on March 15, 2022 by Editor

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Pacino On Michael

from The New York Times

Al Pacino on ‘The Godfather’: ‘It’s Taken Me a Lifetime to Accept It and Move On’

Fifty years later, the actor looks back on his breakthrough role: how he was cast, why he skipped the Oscars and what it all means to him now.

By Dave Itzkoff

It’s hard to imagine “The Godfather” without Al Pacino. His understated performance as Michael Corleone, who became a respectable war hero despite his corrupt family, goes almost unnoticed for the first hour of the film — until at last he asserts himself, gradually taking control of the Corleone criminal operation and the film along with it.

But there would be no Al Pacino without “The Godfather,” either. The actor was a rising star of New York theater with just one movie role, in the 1971 drug drama “The Panic in Needle Park,” when Francis Ford Coppola fought for him, against the wishes of Paramount Pictures, to play the ruminative prince of his Mafia epic. A half-century’s worth of pivotal cinematic roles followed, including two more turns as Michael Corleone in “The Godfather Part II” and “Part III.”

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 10, 2022 by Editor

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from Study Finds

Listening to music really does chill people out, reduces anxiety

TORONTO, Ontario — Listening to music really does chill people out, a new study reveals. A team from Ryerson University says treatments integrating music and auditory beat stimulation are particularly effective in reducing anxiety in some patients.

Auditory beat stimulation (ABS) involves combinations of tones, played in one or both ears, designed to trigger changes to brain activity. Studies show cases of anxiety have been steadily increasing, particularly among teenagers and young adults, over recent decades.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on March 9, 2022 by Editor

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Picasso No NFT

from Architectural Digest

Picasso’s Family Is at Odds With His Work Turning Into NFTs

More than 1,000 pieces of digital art are on the line

By Jessica Cherner

man paints plate
Spanish artist Pablo Picasso is more famous for his paintings, including his massive 1937 Guernica, but the NFTs created by his great-grandson are inspired by one of Picasso’s ceramics. Photo: Archivio Cameraphoto Epoche/Getty Images

Last week, the artist—who died in 1973—was making headlines around the world with some unexpected news: His granddaughter Marina and her son Florian, a DJ and music producer, will mint more than 1,000 NFTs for sale based on Pablo’s work—specifically a large ceramic bowl he sculpted in 1958 that, until now, no one outside the family had known about or even seen. It’s big news for major art collectors and the crypto community, who constantly have their eyes on the big auction houses, eagerly awaiting a piece from one of the 20th-century greats to become available—even if it’s not something they can hang in a frame.

Originally, the main sale was to take place on a dedicated website hosted by the decentralized marketplace Origin Protocol. Matt Liu, Origin Protocol cofounder, explains, “For this particular drop, Marina and Florian Picasso’s team approached us, as they felt that [the] NFT platform Origin Story would offer them all the technology and branding capabilities needed to bring the entire sale to life in a big way.” The nuance of this particular platform? “Origin Story is a pretty incredible, first-of-its-kind platform that lowers the barrier of entry for all creators by offering a streamlined way to mint their own NFTs and sell them on the platform’s customizable storefronts,” Liu adds. There will be a sale of 1,000 NFTs on Man and the Beat, powered by Origin Story, and an auction of 10 exclusive NFTs on Nifty Gateway

[ click to continue reading at AD ]

Posted on March 7, 2022 by Editor

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from The New York Times

One Year After Beeple, the NFT Has Changed Artists. Has It Changed Art?

Hardly at all.

By Blake Gopnik

Kevin and Jennifer McCoy with “Quantum Leap,” a recent digital image offered for sale as an NFT, projected in their home studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When Kevin created one of the first NFTs, it was to help guarantee digital artists an income. 
Kevin and Jennifer McCoy with “Quantum Leap,” a recent digital image offered for sale as an NFT, projected in their home studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. When Kevin created one of the first NFTs, it was to help guarantee digital artists an income. Credit…Victor Llorente for The New York Times

Around 1425, the Florentine artist Masaccio painted the first major works in one-point perspective. That revolutionized what artists could do ever after.

In Paris in 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre demonstrated his new photographic invention. It changed the nature of visual representation and museum walls haven’t been the same since.

On March 11, 2021, all of one year ago, Mike Winkelmann, whose nom d’artiste is Beeple, sold a collage of computer illustrations for $69 million simply because that collage came attached to a digital certificate called an NFT. That colossal price launched a mad scramble among creators of all kinds — illustrators, musicians, photographers, even a few veteran avant-gardists — to join the NFT gold rush.

In the 12 months since, something like $44 billion has been spent on about six million NFTs, usually issued to certify digital creations but sometimes for physical objects like paintings and sculptures.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 3, 2022 by Editor

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Hot Basquiat

from The Wall Street Journal

Basquiat Is Hotter Than Warhol—and Now a Billionaire Wants to Sell a 1982 Work for $70 Million

Collector Yusaku Maezawa is auctioning off his wall-size Basquiat, featuring a devilish figure, at Phillips this spring

By Kelly Crow

Untitled 1982 work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, estimated at around $70 million, to be offered at Phillips in May. PHOTO: PHILLIPS

A billionaire who recently rocketed to the International Space Station said he is sending one of his prized Jean-Michel Basquiat paintings to auction this spring for an estimated $70 million. The move hints at the shifting whims of the world’s wealthy but also underscores the continuing strength of the art market overall. 

Yusaku Maezawa wasn’t well-known in art circles when he paid Christie’s a record-breaking $57.3 million for his untitled 1982 Basquiat six years ago. The collector reveled in the win by posting an image on his Instagram account, shrugging off the typical discretion exercised by some top buyers.

Now, the fashion mogul behind e-commerce site Zozotown said he is ready to resell his breakout Basquiat, enlisting boutique auctioneer Phillips to offer up the painting in May in New York. The 16-foot-wide work is splashed with red and salmon hues and features a horned devil-like figure that curators have suggested could be the former New York graffiti artist’s conflicted self-portrait. 

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on February 28, 2022 by Editor

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All Hands On Deck

from PC Magazine

Steam Deck Hands On: Valve Successfully Frees PC Gaming From the Desktop

Available today, the Steam Deck trades raw power for the impressive ability to make your PC gaming library portable.

By Jordan Minor

(Photo: Romary Santana)

As someone who flew across the country to pick up a Steam Machine, only for Valve’s first attempt at merging gaming PCs and console concepts to go up in smoke, it’s telling that I’m still excited for the Steam Deck (starting at $399). After months of speculation and anticipation, we finally got our hands on Valve’s high-powered handheld gaming PC, a device that ships today to the first customers that preordered it. We’ll need more time for a full review, but here are our thorough first impressions of the Steam Deck, a handheld that delivers new joys to PC gamers who are willing to compromise on old standards.

The Steam Deck is big, but not that big. The 7-inch, 720p screen is roughly on par with what the Nintendo Switch offers, complete with a prominent bezel. The thicker main body (1.9 inches vs. 0.5 inches) is where you’ll find the volume buttons and microSD card slot and USB-C charging port. I wouldn’t want to drop the unit, but it feels sturdy enough that I wouldn’t immediately freak out if I did. 

[ click to continue reading at PC Mag ]

Posted on February 26, 2022 by Editor

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from InsideHook

A Look Inside the Curing Room at Chicago’s Lardon, Quite Possibly America’s Finest Salumeria

Chef Chris Thompson breaks down the process behind his immaculate cured meats


a string of cured meats in the curing room at lardon in chicago
Vegetarians, you may want to look away

It’s 33 degrees today in Chicago — a good temperature for butchering, according to Lardon chef Chris Thompson, but not for curing, a task best carried out at about twice that. But the temperature won’t stop Thompson from his regular Thursday morning routine: putting up coppa, finocchiona and more for the pork-focused menu at his Logan Square restaurant, which decidedly and unapologetically breaks with plant-forward dining trends.

Thompson proudly leads the way through the curing room, a tight squeeze rendered even tighter thanks to the plethora of bresaola, prosciutto, salami and more hanging within — meats Thompson proudly refers to as his “babies.”

“We probably have over 3,000 pounds of meat in here, right now,” he says with a grin, most of which comes from whole hogs raised locally and humanely by Trent Sparrow of Catalpa Grove in Dwight, Illinois.

[ click to continue reading at InsideHook ]

Posted on February 24, 2022 by Editor

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Three Pietas

from France 24

Michelangelo’s three ‘pietas’ united in historic first

The exhibition is the first time Michelangelo’s famed “Pieta” will be displayed with two other sculptures by the Renaissance giant of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of Christ Vincenzo PINTO AFP

Florence (Italy) (AFP) – It is admired the world over as an exquisite depiction of maternal grief. But Michelangelo’s “Pieta” has overshadowed two other moving sculptures on the same subject by the Renaissance giant.

That is why Florence’s Opera del Duomo museum in Italy is putting on display together for the first time all three versions of the Virgin Mary mourning over the body of her son Jesus Christ.

The Tuscan museum’s original “Bandini” goes on show Thursday alongside casts of the “Pieta” and “Rondanini”, which are on loan from the Vatican Museums.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on February 23, 2022 by Editor

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The Mouth Of The South

from The Optionist

Q&A: Ted Turner Biographer Porter Bibb

The Mouth of the South: Turner at the official CNN launch event in Atlanta on June 1, 1980. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

All the drama around CNN and Jeff Zucker got me thinking about Ted Turner. I called up Porter Bibb, who wrote the best-selling 1993 biography of CNN founder Ted Turner, Ted Turner: It Ain’t As Easy as It Looks. Bibb told me about how he came to be Turner’s biographer, and, most interestingly, Turner’s unsparing, unfavorable thoughts about CNN under recently-ousted Jeff Zucker, and John Malone’s relationship to Turner.

Turner’s life — his father’s suicide, winning the America’s Cup, turning a rinky-dink Atlanta station at the end of the dial into a media powerhouse, his marriage to Jane Fonda — is the raw material for a great TV series. In the age of streaming, Bibb thinks Turner’s full life is better suited for a multi-part limited series, though he compares the possibilities not unfairly to Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator. (Interested? Ping me and I’ll put you in touch with Bibb, who controls the rights).

The book was optioned years ago to a couple of Turner executives, but rights eventually reverted to Bibb. A few others have kicked the tires, including Oliver Stone. But as Bibb explains, he’s feeling a new eagerness to see something come to screen both because of the timeliness of the story and Turner’s declining health. 

Bibb was Rolling Stone’s first publisher where he recruited high school buddy Hunter Thompson to write for Jann Wenner’s publication; now he’s an investment banker (currently at Mediatech Capital Partners) specializing in media deals for 40 years.

[ click to continue reading at The Optionist ]

Posted on February 18, 2022 by Editor

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Nandi Bushnell

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Editor

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Trigger Art

from sp!ked

Great art is supposed to be ‘triggering’

The rise of trigger warnings is a threat to artistic freedom.

by Ella Whelan

Great art is supposed to be ‘triggering’

What ‘triggers’ us in art is subjective. At the opening night of JM Synge’s Playboy of the Western World in Dublin in 1907, audience members were triggered into rioting, including throwing projectiles at the stage, because of its shocking content – including a portrayal of patricide and scenes involving ladies’ knickers. Sinn Féin leader Arthur Griffith described the play as ‘a vile and inhuman story told in the foulest language we have ever listened to from a public platform’. WB Yeats, who had not expected such a reaction, berated the audience for having ‘disgraced yourselves again’. Synge, however, was quietly triumphant, writing to his fiancé the morning after: ‘It is better any day to have the row we had last night, than to have your play fizzling out in half-hearted applause. Now we’ll be talked about.’

Almost 115 years later, the idea that art can and should surprise us in shocking or even hurtful ways feels like a thing of the past. The art world today is often so terrified of unruly audiences, who these days take to hurling tweets instead of rotten fruit, that trigger warnings are now ubiquitous. They have become a means of controlling and anticipating what kind of reaction a piece might elicit.

[ click to continue reading at sp!ked ]

Posted on February 10, 2022 by Editor

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The Bard

from Inside Hook

Selema Masekela Is on a Mission to Return Surf Culture to the People

The bard of the action sports world chats about African surf culture, his career highlights, and his secret love for Miranda Lambert


Selema MasekelaSelema MasekelaIan – Drachman/Mami Wata

For anyone familiar with the world of action sports, Selema Masekela needs no introduction. The legendary sports commentator was ESPN’s host of both the X Games and Winter X Games for 13 years, has covered both the Olympics and World Cup for NBC Sports, and served as both host and executive producer of VICELAND’s docu-series Vice World of Sports. His voice and visage are inextricably linked with some of the most — if you’ll pardon the expression — “holy shit” sporting moments of the last quarter century.

The son of famed South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela (and an accomplished musician in his own right), Selema has also spent a significant portion of his life on the African continent and has of late been hard at work on Afrocentric surf apparel brand Mami Wata. The term “Mami Wata” translates to “Mother Water” (or “Mother Ocean”) and serves as a powerful moniker to invoke the brand’s celebration of African surf culture as well as their mission to create jobs, grow economies and support youth surf therapy organizations on the African continent. In addition to their range of eye-catching tees, hoodies and boardshorts (all designed and produced in South Africa), Mami Wata also supports said organizations via the book AFROSURF, described as “a visual mindbomb packed with over 200 photos, 50 essays, surfer profiles, thought pieces, poems, playlists, photos, illustrations, ephemera, recipes, and a mini comic, all wrapped in design that captures the diversity and character of Africa.” It’s a dope read and we highly recommend picking up a copy.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on February 9, 2022 by Editor

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The Rock ‘n Roll GOAT

Posted on February 6, 2022 by Editor

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from BBC

Is the Pilbara the oldest place on Earth?

by Dan Avila

(Credit: Dan Avila)
(Credit: Dan Avila)

Dating to around 3.6 billion years ago, the Pilbara region of Western Australia is home to the fossilised evidence of the Earth’s oldest lifeforms.I

In recent years, science has confirmed what Aboriginal Australians, the world’s oldest continuous living culture, always knew: the Pilbara region of Western Australia is among the oldest places on Earth.

The Pilbara began to form more than 3.6 billion years ago and its vast landscape of deep pindan reds and endless panoramas, which stretches from the west coast to the Northern Territory border, is an ancient, forbidding place. For those travelling to the region for the first time, the initial sense of space and solitude can be daunting: it’s roughly double the size of Great Britain, but with a population of just 61,000, it is one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on January 27, 2022 by Editor

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First Sleep, Second Sleep

from BBC

The forgotten medieval habit of ‘two sleeps’

By Zaria Gorvett

A memorial tombstone of a sleeping knight (Credit: Alamy)
(Image credit: Alamy)

It was around 23:00 on 13 April 1699, in a small village in the north of England. Nine-year-old Jane Rowth blinked her eyes open and squinted out into the moody evening shadows. She and her mother had just awoken from a short sleep.

Mrs Rowth got up and went over to the fireside of their modest home, where she began smoking a pipe. Just then, two men appeared by the window. They called out and instructed her to get ready to go with them.

As Jane later explained to a courtroom, her mother had evidently been expecting the visitors. She went with them freely – but first whispered to her daughter to “lye still, and shee would come againe in the morning”. Perhaps Mrs Rowth had some nocturnal task to complete. Or maybe she was in trouble, and knew that leaving the house was a risk. 

Either way, Jane’s mother didn’t get to keep her promise – she never returned home. That night, Mrs Rowth was brutally murdered, and her body was discovered in the following days. The crime was never solved.

Nearly 300 years later, in the early 1990s, the historian Roger Ekirch walked through the arched entranceway to the Public Record Office in London – an imposing gothic building that housed the UK’s National Archives from 1838 until 2003. There, among the endless rows of ancient vellum papers and manuscripts, he found Jane’s testimony. And something about it struck him as odd. 

Originally, Ekirch had been researching a book about the history of night-time, and at the time he had been looking through records that spanned the era between the early Middle Ages and the Industrial Revolution. He was dreading writing the chapter on sleep, thinking that it was not only a universal necessity – but a biological constant. He was sceptical that he’d find anything new.  

So far, he had found court depositions particularly illuminating. “They’re a wonderful source for social historians,” says Ekirch, a professor at Virginia Tech, US. “They comment upon activity that’s oftentimes unrelated to the crime itself.”

But as he read through Jane’s criminal deposition, two words seemed to carry an echo of a particularly tantalising detail of life in the 17th Century, which he had never encountered before – “first sleep”.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on January 23, 2022 by Editor

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The Beautiful Model

from The Conversation

The Standard Model of particle physics: The absolutely amazing theory of almost everything

The Standard Model of elementary particles provides an ingredients list for everything around us. Fermi National Accelerator LaboratoryCC BY

The Standard Model. What a dull name for the most accurate scientific theory known to human beings.

More than a quarter of the Nobel Prizes in physics of the last century are direct inputs to or direct results of the Standard Model. Yet its name suggests that if you can afford a few extra dollars a month you should buy the upgrade. As a theoretical physicist, I’d prefer The Absolutely Amazing Theory of Almost Everything. That’s what the Standard Model really is.

Many recall the excitement among scientists and media over the 2012 discovery of the Higgs boson. But that much-ballyhooed event didn’t come out of the blue – it capped a five-decade undefeated streak for the Standard Model. Every fundamental force but gravity is included in it. Every attempt to overturn it to demonstrate in the laboratory that it must be substantially reworked – and there have been many over the past 50 years – has failed.

In short, the Standard Model answers this question: What is everything made of, and how does it hold together?

[ click to continue reading at The Conversation ]

Posted on January 22, 2022 by Editor

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from The New York Times

How A.I. Conquered Poker

Good poker players have always known that they need to maintain a balance between bluffing and playing it straight. Now they can do so perfectly.

By Keith Romer

Illustration by Patricia Doria

Last November in the cavernous Amazon Room of Las Vegas’s Rio casino, two dozen men dressed mostly in sweatshirts and baseball caps sat around three well-worn poker tables playing Texas Hold ’em. Occasionally a few passers-by stopped to watch the action, but otherwise the players pushed their chips back and forth in dingy obscurity. Except for the taut, electric stillness with which they held themselves during a hand, there was no outward sign that these were the greatest poker players in the world, nor that they were, as the poker saying goes, “playing for houses,” or at least hefty down payments. This was the first day of a three-day tournament whose official name was the World Series of Poker Super High Roller, though the participants simply called it “the 250K,” after the $250,000 each had put up to enter it.

At one table, a professional player named Seth Davies covertly peeled up the edges of his cards to consider the hand he had just been dealt: the six and seven of diamonds. Over several hours of play, Davies had managed to grow his starting stack of 1.5 million in tournament chips to well over two million, some of which he now slid forward as a raise. A 33-year-old former college baseball player with a trimmed light brown beard, Davies sat upright, intensely following the action as it moved around the table. Two men called his bet before Dan Smith, a fellow pro with a round face, mustache and whimsically worn cowboy hat, put in a hefty reraise. Only Davies called.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on January 21, 2022 by Editor

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