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The Largest Astronomy Book In The World

from National Geographic

Why the Nasca lines are among Peru’s greatest mysteries

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


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

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

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

[ click to continue reading at Nat Geo ]

Posted on November 15, 2020 by Editor

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Tower Records Reborn

from Deadline

Iconic Tower Records Returns As Website Selling Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs

By Bruce Haring


One of the most iconic retailers in entertainment has returned in a new incarnation. Tower Records, which closed its stores 14 years ago and declared bankruptcy, today announced it has come back as an online service.

The new Tower Records has online events, the return of its Tower Pulse! magazine, a merchandise section, and, of course, music, music, music, including vinyl and cassette selections in various genres.

Founded in Sacramento in 1960 as a section in a drug store, the chain grew to an international success behind the savvy of the late Russ Solomon, who was memorialized in a 2015 film, All Things Must Pass, which studied the chain’s rise and eventual demise, save for a giant store in Tokyo that retained the name and remains open.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on November 14, 2020 by Editor

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from The Wall Street Journal

Was Michelangelo a Renaissance Banksy? 

Scholars consider whether the master was behind a wall carving; ‘Who would ever say it is by my hand?’

By Kelly Crow

Tour guides in Florence, Italy, have long claimed that the small outline of a curly-haired man carved into the stone wall of the city’s town hall, known as the Palazzo Vecchio, was covertly chiseled by Michelangelo. 

Some versions of the legend say the Renaissance master caricatured the face of a heckler. Other versions say he documented the face of a stranger headed for execution.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on November 13, 2020 by Editor

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Fiddy Roth Frey

from Deadline

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Partners With Eli Roth, 3BlackDot For Three-Pic Deal

By Greg Evans

Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Eli Roth / Mega

Producer and recording artist Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson is partnering with Eli Roth and entertainment studio 3BlackDot for a three-picture feature film deal. The deal expands Power player Jackson’s G-Unit Film & Television in the horror film space.

Jackson’s G-Unit will team with the Arts District Entertainment, Roth’s banner with Roger Birnbaum and Michael Besman. The deal, according to G-Unit and 3-BlackDot, involves an “8-figure investment in 50 Cent and G-Unit Film & Television from 3BlackDot.” The latter will act as financier and studio across all the films.

The three entities will collaborate on each film, while utilizing 3Blackdot’s in-house resources in gaming, publishing, and merchandise to build out entertainment properties. A statement announcing the deal says the film IP will be leveraged using Jackson, Roth and 3Blackdot “to platform into a 360-degree experience across video games, publishing and merchandise.”

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on November 12, 2020 by Editor

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That’s great – thanks.

from The Atlantic

The Next Decade Could Be Even Worse

A historian believes he has discovered iron laws that predict the rise and fall of societies. He has bad news.

Story by Graeme Wood

Peter Turchin, one of the world’s experts on pine beetles and possibly also on human beings, met me reluctantly this summer on the campus of the University of Connecticut at Storrs, where he teaches. Like many people during the pandemic, he preferred to limit his human contact. He also doubted whether human contact would have much value anyway, when his mathematical models could already tell me everything I needed to know.

But he had to leave his office sometime. (“One way you know I am Russian is that I cannot think sitting down,” he told me. “I have to go for a walk.”) Neither of us had seen much of anyone since the pandemic had closed the country several months before. The campus was quiet. “A week ago, it was even more like a neutron bomb hit,” Turchin said. Animals were timidly reclaiming the campus, he said: squirrels, woodchucks, deer, even an occasional red-tailed hawk. During our walk, groundskeepers and a few kids on skateboards were the only other representatives of the human population in sight.

The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—­­to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”) He has been warning for a decade that a few key social and political trends portend an “age of discord,” civil unrest and carnage worse than most Americans have experienced. In 2010, he predicted that the unrest would get serious around 2020, and that it wouldn’t let up until those social and political trends reversed. Havoc at the level of the late 1960s and early ’70s is the best-case scenario; all-out civil war is the worst.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on November 9, 2020 by Editor

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Alex Trebek Gone

from ABC News

Legendary ‘Jeopardy!’ host Alex Trebek dead at 80

By Justin Doom and Troy McMullen

Alex Trebek hosts “High Rollers” in an undated promotional image. Getty Images

Alex Trebek, the quick-witted and debonair television host who won over generations of fans at the helm of the popular quiz show “Jeopardy!,” has died after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 80.

“This is an enormous loss for the JEOPARDY! staff, crew and all of Alex’s millions of fans. He was a legend of the industry that we were all lucky to watch night after night for 37 years,” Mike Richards, the show’s executive producer, said in a statement. “Working beside him for the past year and a half as he heroically continued to host JEOPARDY! was an incredible honor. His belief in the importance of the show and his willingness to push himself to perform at the highest level was the most inspiring demonstration of courage I have ever seen. His constant desire to learn, his kindness, and his professionalism will be with all of us forever.”

Telegenic and handsome, the beloved Trebek first became familiar to American audiences as host of more than a dozen daytime game shows stretching back to 1966, including “High Rollers,” “Double Dare” and “The $128,000 Question.”

But it was “Jeopardy!” — a unique quiz show that challenged contestants on topics from history to literature to pop culture — that made Trebek a pop culture icon. Over his three decades with the show, he has hosted nearly 8,200 episodes — a Guinness World Record.

[ click to read full obit at ABC News ]

Posted on November 8, 2020 by Editor

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Fulton Ryder Redux

from artnet

Wet Paint: Richard Prince to Reopen His Secret Gallery, the Shocking Story Behind the Odeon’s Missing French Fries, & More Juicy Art-World Gossip

Which hot new artist did Anderson Cooper visit in the studio? Which Hamptons gallery is opening a space in Chelsea? Read on for answers.

by Nate Freeman

Richard Prince selling copies of his edition of <em>The Catcher in the Rye</em> on September 29, 2011, as author James Frey takes a picture of the books. Photo by Bill Powers.
Richard Prince selling copies of his edition of The Catcher in the Rye on September 29, 2011, as author James Frey takes a picture of the books. Photo by Bill Powers.


In 2014, Richard Prince closed Fulton Ryder, the mysterious bookstore-slash-gallery that he clandestinely ran out of a space at a never-repeated address—though, reader, if you can keep a secret, it was on East 78 Street between Park and Madison. Fulton Ryder (which is a name that Richard Prince has used as a pseudonym) had a pretty solid two-year run, selling the now-infamous edition of J.D. Salinger‘s The Catcher in the Rye that read, on the cover, “a novel by Richard Prince.” It also hosted the debut solo show of current market star Genieve Figgis, whom Prince discovered on Instagram, and published books by artists such as Dan ColenMarilyn MinterJohn Dogg, and Howard Johnson (the latter two names are, again, pseudonyms of Richard Prince).

And so it was a bit of a surprise to see Prince, the great American artist, getting back into the book publishing business this year. In May, during the peak of lockdown, Prince sat down on a bench near Central Park—the same bench, in fact, where he first sold copies of his cover-sleeve remix of the Salinger classic—and offered his edition of Truth Vs. Lies, a book penned by the UnabomberTed Kaczynski. Turns out Prince purchased the one and only proof of the math-professor-turned-domestic-terrorist’s manuscript in 2014.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on November 7, 2020 by Editor

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Jessica Esquivel Rocks

from Nautilus

What a Real Superhero Looks Like

Particle physicist Jessica Esquivel on diversity, perseverance, and the search for a new understanding of our universe.

By Mary Ellen Hannibal

Jessica Esquivel with some of the equipment at the Muon g-2 project. 

The physics of superheroes is more than a fun exercise in the world of Jessica Esquivel. A particle physicist in the Muon Department of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Esquivel works at what she calls “the bleeding edge” of the known universe. In the world of physics, Esquivel is frequently the “only.” The only woman, the only Mexican, the only black person, and the only lesbian. 

Recently she brought her experience to Wakandacon, the comic book conference based on the African-centric world of Black Panther. Making her own costume, Esquivel cosplayed as Shuri, the technological genius who designs weaponry for her brother, Black Panther. Esquivel also organized a panel of black scientists and was on hand to answer questions at Fermilab’s booth at the conference. To many women of color interested in the hard sciences, Esquivel herself is a superhero.

You knew you wanted to be an astrophysicist from a young age. How did you get the idea? 

My aunt babysat for me when I was really young and we watched a lot of sci-fi shows on television. One featured an astronaut in space fighting aliens while an astrophysicist back at NASA directed him to press this or that button, go right, go left—it was very dramatic. I thought the astrophysicist was the actual hero in the story, so I walked around saying I was going to be one. I grew up in Texas, and when I was about 12 my family took me to NASA in Houston. They sprang for the VIP tour, but I was bored! There was no astronaut floating in space on the screen, and everyone was typing on their keyboards and drinking coffee.

On that same trip we saw astronauts and a space shuttle in a big pool, simulating the absence of gravity in space. The scientists working on this were engineers, so I changed my ambition and said, “okay, I’ll be an engineer and work on that.”

[ click to continue reading at Nautilus ]

Posted on November 6, 2020 by Editor

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Old School Audiophiles Return

from Executive Traveller

This weekend, why not build a stereo from scratch?

The old-fashioned appeal of audio kits never goes away – especially during a pandemic.

By Bloomberg Pursuits

Brad Breedlove never considered himself an audiophile. The project manager for an Indianapolis-area industrial piping company has been collecting vinyl for about five years, and the records in frequent rotation on his midrange Audio-Technica turntable include the well-worn now-classics that belonged to his parents when he was growing up.

It’s a good stereo system – but not obsessively so – that includes SVS Ultra Bookshelf speakers and an SVS SB 4000 subwoofer powered by a Schiit Vidar amp.

In September, however, Breedlove took a step into the deeper waters of the sonically serious and ordered a US$369 Reduction 1.1 phono preamplifier from Bottlehead, an audio kit maker in Washington state.

When it arrived, the box contained slabs of unfinished alder wood, carefully packed circuit boards, vacuum tubes, and bags full of capacitors and resistors.

Before he could turn on his preamp, he would have to put it together.

In the golden age of hi-fi in the 1950s and ’60s, building your own stereo equipment was almost as common as buying it.

Entire magazines dedicated to the craft were full of black-and-white halftone depictions of Brylcreemed dads hunched over disemboweled sound systems from companies such as Heathkit and Dynaco, soldering irons in hand.

These days, it’s often the warm glow of vacuum tubes on Instagram – and a surfeit of time – that draws in people.

[ click to continue reading at Executive Traveller ]

Posted on November 5, 2020 by Editor

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Sarcophagi Conspiracy

from The Observer

Is a Conspiracy Theory Behind the Mass Vandalism of Art in Berlin?

By Helen Holmes

Damage to a sarcophagus of the prophet Ahmose in Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island. Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

When people vandalize art in museums, they usually do it either for deeply personal or backwards reasons, or it was an accident. Neither of these options seem to sufficiently explain a bizarre instance of vandalism in Berlin that took place earlier this month, but which was only just now revealed to the press. According to the German media, over 70 artworks in the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Neues Museum on Berlin’s museum island were smeared with a mysterious oily substance on October 3. Among the items damaged are Egyptian sarcophagi, 19th-century paintings and stone statues scattered throughout the three museums.

At the present moment, there are reportedly no concrete leads on who might have committed the crime, and no definitive evidence left behind pointing authorities to a particular motive. “This is a variety of objects that do not have any immediate connection in terms of context,” Carsten Pfohl, the head of Berlin Police’s Art Crime Unit, told NPR news. “We have no self-incriminating letter or anything like that, so we have to assume for now that the motive is completely unclear.” However, upon breaking the news, members of the German media were quick to connect the oily vandalism to certain conspiracy theorists who might have influenced the crime in some way.

[ click to continue reading at Observer ]

Posted on November 2, 2020 by Editor

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United States of A-holes

from The Daily Beast

The new documentary “Assholes: A Theory” examines the assholing of America, a nation ruled by the biggest asshole of them all: Donald J. Trump.

by Nick Schager

As U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) famously opined on Justified, “You run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. You run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.” Yet in a 2020 America on the precipice of a monumental presidential election, it seems that assholes are not only everywhere you turn—in newspapers, on cable TV, at political rallies and protests, and all over social media—but that they, and their behavior, has been normalized. It’s this “rising tide of assholery” that’s the focus of director John Walker’s Assholes: A Theory, which adapts philosophy professor Aaron James’ 2012 non-fiction book into a documentary aimed at both precisely defining the term “asshole,” and investigating how those who fit that bill have increasingly come to dominate key spheres of modern public life.

Donald Trump isn’t seen or mentioned once by name in Assholes: A Theory. Nonetheless, his specter looms large over Walker’s film (in theaters Oct. 30, and on VOD Nov. 6), whether during conversations about corrupt Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi—the forerunner of the media-manipulating populist-criminal-strongman trend that’s recently swept through Western nations—or passages discussing Facebook, Twitter and Google’s prioritization of profit over their responsibility to safeguard democracy from hate speech and disinformation. Without once bringing him up, Walker makes clear that Trump is the embodiment of this problem, given that his election to the highest office—and subsequent flouting of rules and standards of common decency—has made it appear acceptable, and in fact rewarding, to act in the worst possible manner as a means of achieving one’s selfish ends. He is, the film silently contends, the apex of American assholery.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on October 31, 2020 by Editor

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Alfa’s @ Sotheby’s

from artnet

Sotheby’s Two Evening Sales Bag a Muted $283.9 Million, Fueled by the Scene-Stealing Inclusion of Three Futuristic Alfa Romeos

by Nate Freeman

Alfa Romeo, Berlina Aerodinamica Tecnica B.A.T. Photo by Ron Kimball © 2020 RM Sothebys

Before the sales even began, a shocking announcement turned the entire evening into an extended anti-climax. At the last minute, the Baltimore Museum of Art pulled works it had consigned by Clyfford Still and Brice Marden after donors threatened to withhold millions of dollars in horror and more than a dozen institutional bigwigs signed letters decrying the sell-off.

It was a shocking about-face from BMA director Christopher Bedford, a singular figure in the ranks of American museums who is steadfastly committed to the idea that deaccessioning old works from a homogeneous collection is the most efficient way to fill its holdings with new work by young artists of color. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun this week, Bedford accused anyone against his brash approach of making an “investment in a system of operating institutions that is very deeply centered in white power and white privilege.”

Weeks after Christie’s made a splash by selling a T. Rex for $31.8 million in its postwar and contemporary art sale, Sotheby’s embraced the stunt of slotting non-art objects into its auction. The big lot of this portion of the night was not an artwork (or a dinosaur), but a trio of automobiles: three futuristic unique Alfa Romeos, which sold as a group for a hammer price of $13.25 million, short of the $14 million low estimate. With fees, the price was $15.5 million, and it was purchased for a client by Barney Ruprecht, the RM Sotheby’s senior specialist. (His father, Bill Ruprecht, was CEO of the auction house until 2014.)

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on October 28, 2020 by Editor

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The Amazing Randi Gone

from Deadline

James Randi Dies: ‘The Amazing Randi’ Performer And Paranormal Skeptic Was 92

By Bruce Haring

James Randi, a magician whose many TV appearances led him to a second career as a respected paranormal investigator, has died at 92. The James Randi Foundation confirmed his death in a tweet on Tuesday, saying he died of “age-related causes.”

Born Randall James Zwinge in 1928, he entered show business as a teenager, touring with a carnival and working nightclubs in his native Toronto, Canada. Initially billed as The Great Randall: Telepath, he parlayed that name into a mind-reading act and a knack for predicting the future.

Unlike many magicians and performers, Randi was not averse to letting fans know that he was a trickster, relying on subterfuge and sleight of hand to pull off his tricks. As his career grew, adding escape artist to his bag of stunts, he grew increasingly worried about the people who refused to embrace the fact that it was all an act.

[ click to continue reading at Deadline ]

Posted on October 25, 2020 by Editor

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Cannonball Renaissance

from GQ

The Incredible Story of the Great Cannonball Boom

When the country shut down and the highways thinned out, a stealthy group of amateur car obsessives glimpsed an opportunity to revive the fabled cannonball run—the highly daring, absurdly illegal cross-country endurance race. And in the record-breaking frenzy that followed, they became legends of the unlikeliest pastime of the pandemic age.


The Ford Mustang that Fred Ashmore rented, modified, and then drove to Cannonball glory.

Fred Ashmore was just outside Needles, California, in the parched low desert where the jagged southern point of Nevada meets the Arizona-California border, when he felt it wash over him. A kind of confusion melting into panic. He was exhausted, which he knew was making everything worse. It was about 1 a.m., and he’d been at the wheel for almost 24 hours now, rocketing west at speeds well over 100 miles per hour. For lucky stretches, when the road opened up and Ashmore punched the throttle, he could get his silver Ford Mustang GT up to 159 mph—the car’s top speed, he’d discovered. Now, ahead of him in the inky-black night, he could see the flash of brake lights, a river of travelers funneling into a slow-moving line.

Before long, Ashmore was inching along the desert highway, feeling crucial minutes tick by and craning to see what was ahead. That’s when he noticed trunks popping open and a new fear took hold. Officials from the California Department of Food and Agriculture were searching vehicles entering the state. He watched a car in front of him stop and then get looked over from top to bottom. If they do that to my car, Ashmore thought, I’m probably not getting it back.

On the outside, his Mustang looked pretty much like any other car on the road. Inside was another story. Splayed across Ashmore’s dashboard was an array of devices, including a CB radio, a mounted tablet operating Waze and Google Maps, and an iPhone running a timer. Stuck to the inside of the windshield was a radar detector; on the front grille and back bumper were the sensors for a laser jammer. Even more conspicuously, strapped beside and behind Ashmore, where the front and rear passenger seats should have been, huge fuel tanks sloshed with gasoline. A series of hoses connected them—along with another enormous tank, this one in the trunk—to the car’s main fuel tank. An officer inspecting Ashmore’s rig could have been forgiven for concluding that he was driving a giant gasoline bomb.

[ click to continue reading at GQ ]

Posted on October 21, 2020 by Editor

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When Eddie Loved Dave

from The LA Times

An unlikely Pasadena love story: The high-school bromance of Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth


Eddie Van Halen shredding with his band in 1975.
Eddie Van Halen shredding with his band in 1975.(Kevin Estrada Archives)

Early in the summer of 1973, singer David Lee Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen performed together for the first time. Playing in front of an audience of buzzed students from John Muir, Blair and Pasadena high schools in an east Pasadena backyard, this embryonic version of Van Halen, then called Mammoth, blasted out songs by Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad and Cream, rattling windows and shattering eardrums while party attendees chugged keg beer.

Last week, Eddie Van Halen died from cancer, at age 65, and tributes to his transformational musical contributions poured in from around the world. But long before anyone outside of the San Gabriel Valley had heard of the band, this pairing of two aspiring musicians who had little in common save their long hair drew together a generation of hard-rock-loving SoCal teens.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on October 15, 2020 by Editor

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from AP

Torlonia Collection of ancient marbles displayed in Rome

ROME (AP) — One of the most important private collections of ancient Greek and Roman marble sculptures is going on display in Rome as part of the Eternal City’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

The 90 works from the Torlonia Collection were opening Monday in the newly refurbished Villa Caffarelli, one of the Capitoline Museum’s exhibition spaces overlooking the ancient Roman Forum. Organizers said there were plans to offer to lend the works to other museums, but said the coronavirus pandemic had put those plans on hold for now.

The 620-piece Torlonia Collection is considered one of the greatest private collections of classical art, featuring marble busts, reliefs, sarcophagi and statues. It was begun by one of Rome’s 19th century patricians, Prince Alessandro Torlonia, and was created in part from archaeological excavations of the Torlonia family’s various estates in Rome.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on October 13, 2020 by Editor

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21st Century Saint

from France 24

Teen one step from becoming first millennial saint

The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, who 15-year-old Carlo Acutis idolised
The Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, who 15-year-old Carlo Acutis idolised  Tiziana FABI AFP

A British-born Italian teenager who dedicated his short life to spreading the faith online and helping the poor will be beatified by the Catholic Church Saturday.

That leaves him just one miracle away from becoming the world’s first millennial saint.

Internet and computer-mad youngster Carlo Acutis, who died of leukaemia in 2006 aged 15, was placed on the path to sainthood after the Vatican ruled he had miraculously saved another boy’s life.

The Vatican claims he interceded from heaven in 2013 to cure a Brazilian boy suffering from a rare pancreatic disease.

He will be beatified in Assisi, the home of his idol Saint Francis, who dedicated his life to the poor. Some 3,000 people are expected to follow the ceremony on giant screens set up in five squares in the central Italian city.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on October 12, 2020 by Editor

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How To Bait A Whale

from The New York Post

Sex, drugs and rare pooches: How casino hosts lure in big gamblers

By Michael Kaplan

Getty Images

You’d think it would be simple to drop millions of dollars at a casino.

But extracting that kind of dough tends to require a delicate dance between casino, player and host: the person charged with luring gamblers to bet big and lose big. It can involve private jets, exotic hotel suites, bottles of Cristal, Cuban cigars and pretty much anything the gambler wants. It’s a perfect environment for squeezing out the massive losses that keep casino chandeliers burning.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on October 10, 2020 by Editor

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from BBC

Stolen Mao Zedong scroll ‘worth millions’ found cut in half


A stolen calligraphy scroll said to be worth millions has been found in Hong Kong, after it was cut in half.

Thieves had stolen the scroll by Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong from an art collector’s home in a burglary last month.

They then sold it at a fraction of its value. It was apparently cut up as the 2.8m-long (9ft) scroll was deemed too long to display, said Hong Kong police.

The original owner says the artwork’s value has been “definitely affected”.

The scroll contains stanzas of poetry handwritten by the founder of the People’s Republic of China. Its owner has claimed it is estimated to be worth around $300m (£230m), though it is not known how the valuation was obtained.

The scroll was stolen in a massive heist on 10 September, when three men broke into the home of Fu Chunxiao, a well-known collector of stamps and revolutionary art. 

They also made off with antique stamps, copper coins and other pieces of calligraphy by Mao. The total haul was worth HK$5bn ($645m; £500m) according to Mr Fu, who was reportedly in mainland China when the burglary took place.

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on October 9, 2020 by Editor

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Eddie Van Halen Gone

Posted on October 6, 2020 by Editor

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BDSM Going Viral

from The Daily Beast

A Dominatrix on Why BDSM Business Is Booming During Trump and COVID

Mistress Iris writes about the reasons why people are turning to dominant/submissive roleplay during these chaotic times. 

by Mistress Iris

Oscar Wilde famously said, “Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.” It’s a wonderfully worded quote but a bit mistaken about sex, power, and the rest. In Wilde’s Victorian England, power was obvious and everywhere; sex was repressed. The world we live in today is far more suffused in sex, but a bit less comfortable with the omnipresence of power (which is why addressing privilege and oppression is commonly met with such reactionary vitriol and/or tear gas).

“But why are you talking about politics, professional dominatrix?” you might ask. Some people want to cordon off the sexual world, and pretend that it doesn’t interact with the broader world we all live in, but in my work as a pro-domme I’ve often gotten to see the intricate ways that peoples’ sexual fantasies reflect and respond to the stressors and freedoms they experience in their outside life. When Donald Trump won the 2016 election, I saw a surge in female, racial, and religious minorities who contacted me; people who, because of external events, were required to be unyielding and resolute in their day-to-day struggles, seeking heavy play that helped them break down within the context of a safe and trusting environment. I’ve seen a similar response during COVID-19, and wanted to deconstruct it a bit.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on September 30, 2020 by Editor

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Bart/Easton-Ellis: COVID Could Bring Back Film

from MovieMaker

Peter Bart Predicts 1960s-Style ‘Reinvention’ of Movies

By Tim Molloy

Peter Bart The Godfather

Peter Bart, who helped oversee films including Rosemary’s Baby and The Godfather, says he believes cinema is ready for a “reinvention” like the one of the late 1960s that spawned the brilliant films of the following decade.

Bart, who helped his friend Robert Evans lead Paramount in a bold new direction after audiences dwindled in the mid-1960s, says on the latest Bret Easton Ellis Podcast that the movie business is in a similarly dark place now to the one it was in then.

“Due to the pandemic and other factors, the movie business has simply lost its audience… because of the virus, but also the movies were beginning to lose interest. And I think now, as then, there will be a reinvention situation,” said Bart, 88.

“The difference, of course, and this is an importance difference, is the mid-60s were characterized by certain amazing developments,” Bart said. “Society was beginning to change, and the movies had to come along and somehow change in a way that showed understanding of that societal change.”

[ click to continue reading at MovieMaker ]

Posted on September 28, 2020 by Editor

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Sign O’ the New Times

from SPIN

Prince Collaborators Reflect on 1987 Opus ‘Sign O’ the Times’

“[Ideas] just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe,” says Revolution keyboardist Matt Fink 

by Ron Hart

CREDIT: Fryderyk Gabowicz/picture alliance via Getty Images

By the mid-80s, Prince was a global superstar thanks to the worldwide success of 1984’s Purple Rain

So when he started work on his follow-up — eventually released on March 31, 1987 as the double-LP Sign O’ the Times — it came amidst a creative tsunami that saw two more classic albums with his longtime band the Revolution (1985’s Around The World in A Day and the following year’s Parade), the 1986 film Under The Cherry Moon and three ultimately shelved titles (Dream Factory, Camille and Crystal Ball).

For those who worked closest to him during this period, including Revolution keyboard wizard Matt Fink (aka Dr. Fink), longtime engineer Susan Rogers and bassist Levi Seacer, Jr., it was astounding to see such a voluminous output from Prince during this time.

“His creative mind is just so wild,” Fink tells SPIN. “Like he was always thinking of stuff. He was always thinking and conjuring up ideas. It just flowed out of him like he was a conduit to the universe. He was a muse of the universe.”

“I had a lot of personal time with him,” Seacer explains. “And when I was with him by himself, it was really like sitting with one of your regular buddies. And it was so interesting being around somebody whose fountain was just overflowing with creativity, and then you go back into the real world and everybody’s fountains are cut off. So what he was good at was trying to encourage you to open that fountain and say, ‘Hey, you got a lot in there; why don’t you just let it out so you can put more in?’ I didn’t realize I could actually do all of that. And when you do that, you can really find out who you are, and then that faucet don’t stop flowing.” 

[ click to continue reading at SPIN ]

Posted on September 27, 2020 by Editor

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Harry Evans Gone

from Showbiz 411

Harold Evans Dies at 92, Pioneering Editor Who Stood up to Rupert Murdoch, Ran US News, Random House, NY Daily News

by Roger Friedman

Harry Evans has been on my mind for a month. Isn’t it weird when that happens? I felt like something was wrong. This was the first year I hadn’t seen Harry since I met him in 1985. Several times I looked up his number intending to call him and didn’t. And now it’s too late. Harry has left us at age 92, dead from congestive heart failure.

I call him Harry but he’s Harold Evans, former editor of the Times of London who stood up to Rupert Murdoch, was fired and wrote a great book about the experience called “Good Times, Bad Times.” His second wife, almost 30 years his junior, was Tina Brown, the young hot shot editor of Tatler magazine in London. They moved to New York in 1982. Tina took over the just-revived and failing Vanity Fair. Harry took several jobs with Mort Zuckerman, owner of US News, then the Daily News, and Atlantic Monthly Press books, a venerable publishing company. They became the hottest media couple in the world.

AMP is where I met Harry. He hired me to be publicity director. In a short time he’d shaken up the place, contracted for a number of non fiction books by name writers. The biggest project was “Je Suis Le Cahier,” the first ever publication of Picasso’s notebooks which would accompany a huge exhibition at the Pace Gallery. The day I met Harry he was 58 years old and was like a little spitfire. Wiry and tiny, he was constantly in motion. He was unlike everyone I’d encountered in the book business, which was staid and lazy.

“What should we do with Picasso?” he asked me. I said, well, Picasso’s daughter, Paloma, is famous for making perfume and jewelry. Maybe she could help us and do some publicity? You’re right! he cried. He ran into his office, pulling me, and called Tina at Vanity Fair to get Paloma’s phone number. Within seconds we had this woman on the phone, made a lunch date at the very snazzy Four Seasons. My head was spinning. What just happened? Everything was about to change, fast.

[ click to continue reading at Showbiz 411 ]

Posted on September 25, 2020 by Editor

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Loving Music & Loathing Bullshit

from Tablet

The Great Stanley Crouch

An American immigrant jazz buff expresses his gratitude to a supremely gifted critic who loved the music and loathed bullshit


If I had to name the one writer who was most pivotal for me and for my full assimilation in America, it would undoubtedly be Stanley Crouch, the famed jazz and cultural critic who died last Wednesday in New York at age 74. At this moment in American life, where anything and everything that identifies us and binds us as Americans is under direct assault, Crouch is perhaps more essential than ever, and his passing all the more devastating.

Perhaps even more than Albert Murray and Ralph Ellison, Crouch tied it all together for me. He had a terrific ear for the music I love, and his uncompromising pugnacious style spoke to me directly. For someone who came to America from a sectarian Third World society, his commentary on the Balkanization of America was penetrating and, as we’re seeing today, scarily pertinent.

Crouch had no patience for the self-pitying race politics of grievance and authenticity. He saw it as a hustle and had nothing but contempt for its toxic sales pitch. He arrived at this conviction the hard way, as he explains in the prologue to his fabulous Considering Genius:

The tribal appeal is always great and there is nothing more tempting to the most gullible members of a minority group than suddenly hearing that, merely by being born, one is not innately inferior to the majority but part of an unacknowledged elite. I was not so sophisticated that I could avoid the pull of those ideas and found myself reading all kinds of books about Africa, and African customs and religion. … I would have been pulled all the way into the maw of subthought, from which it might have taken longer to emerge if Jayne Cortez hadn’t introduced me to Ralph Ellison’s Shadow and Act. … Unlike those younger black people who were busy jettisoning their heritage as Americans and Western people—both of which brought the built-in option of criticism—Ellison took the place of his ethnic group and himself as firm parts of American life and a fresh development in Western culture.

This affirmation of Americanness in the face of all tribal impulses, “ethnic narcissism,” and Balkanization, reflects the influence of Ellison and Murray, and their realization, in Crouch’s words, that “America is a land of synthesis.” In The Omni-Americans, Murray builds on Constance Rourke’s description of the composite nature of the American character—“part Yankee, part backwoodsman and Indian, and part Negro.” Blackness, in other words, is a foundational element of the American national character, meaning that all Americans are culturally part Black, whether they like it or not, and that appeals to racial or cultural purity—by anyone, regardless of skin color or claimed ancestry—are sheer nonsense.

Like America, its vernacular aesthetic expression, jazz, is also a composite, an experiment in hybridity. And like America, the Black element in jazz is foundational—not something that needs special pleading or diversity coaches to promote inclusion. Crouch was uncompromising on this point. He fought vigorously against any attempt to remove from its definition the core elements of jazz, which were the contribution of Black artists—blues and swing.

[ click to continue reading at Tablet ]

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Editor

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Vote The Assholes Out

from The LA Times

The story behind that Patagonia tag, and how the Trump era changed outdoor recreation


The words "Vote the assholes out" stitched on the underside of a white tag on a pair of shorts
A provocative tag on a limited-edition pair of Patagonia’s Stand Up shorts. (Patagonia)

Browse Patagonia’s online shop, and you’ll find T-shirts condemning Big Oil, encouraging people to vote with planet Earth in mind and declaring that when it comes to wilderness, Americans must “defend it or lose it.”

But the company is getting far more attention for a cheeky, hidden message that appears only on the tag of a limited-edition pair of shorts, in tiny print.


The label, which went viral on Twitter, was only the latest Trump-era call to action from Patagonia. The company has responded to the federal government’s environmental rollbacks with increasingly vocal campaigns to protect the country’s public lands — and yes, it says the four-word message applies to the president, along with other politicians who refuse to act on climate change.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on September 21, 2020 by Editor

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Ripe giant sperm found in female ostracod

from The Evening Standard

100-million-year-old giant sperm found fossilised in amber could be oldest ever


The sperm was found in a mussel-like creature which got trapped in resin some 100 million years ago ( PA )

An international team of palaeontologists unearthed the “spectacular find”, which was preserved inside a female crustacean.

They believe the mussel-like creature mated shortly before becoming trapped in the resin.

Their findings, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provide “an extremely rare opportunity” to learn more about the evolution of the reproductive process, they said.

Until now the oldest known fossilised sperm was found inside a 50-million-year-old worm cocoon from Antarctica.

The crustacean, a new species of ostracod called Myanmarcypris hui, is thought to have lived in coastal and inland waters of what is now Myanmar.

It would have been surrounded by trees that released huge amounts of resin.

While a majority of male animal species, including humans, produce large quantities of very small sperm to increase chances of fertilisation, there are exceptions.

Some creatures, such as fruit flies and modern-day ostracods, produce a small number of oversized sperm, with tails several times longer than the animal itself.

In these cases, the researchers say, chances of fertilising an ovum can increase with the size of the sperm cell.

[ click to continue reading at Evening Standard ]

Posted on September 18, 2020 by Editor

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Eaten By Mycelium

from VICE

This ‘Living’ Coffin Uses Mushrooms to Compost Dead Bodies

The ‘Living Cocoon’ has already been used in one burial, at the Hague

By Becky Ferreira


For tens of thousands of years, humans have developed funeral rites and burial practices that reflected the attitudes of their particular time and place. These traditions of honoring the dead continue to evolve into the 21st century, as people seek “green burials” that are more environmentally friendly than standard coffins. 

One of the newest examples comes from Loop, a Dutch biotech company that recently unveiled a biodegradable coffin made of fungus, microbes and plant roots. Called the “Living Cocoon,” the coffin is designed to hasten bodily decomposition while also enriching soil around the plot.

“Normally, what we do as humans is we take something out of nature, we kill it, and we use it,” said Bob Hendrikx, founder of Loop, in a call. “So I thought: what if we humans start moving from working with dead materials toward a world in which we work with living materials?”

“We would not only become less of a parasite, but we could also start exploring super-cool material properties, like living lights, walls that are self-healing, and that kind of stuff,” he added.

Hendrikx was inspired to develop the Living Cocoon while presenting a living home concept at last year’s Dutch Design Week. While houses are obviously for the living, Hendrikx got to thinking about adapting the concept into a coffin powered by mushroom mycelium, which is the filamentary vegetative part of the fungus.

“Mycelium is nature’s biggest recycler,” Hendrikx said. “It is continuously looking for dead organic matter to transform into key nutrients.” 

[ continue reading at VICE ]

Posted on September 17, 2020 by Editor

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The Oldest Foot

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Human footprints dating back 120,000 years found in Saudi Arabia


This undated handout photo obtained September 16, 2020 shows the first human footprint discovered at the Alathar ancient lake

Around 120,000 years ago in what is now northern Saudi Arabia, a small band of homo sapiens stopped to drink and forage at a shallow lake that was also frequented by camels, buffalo, and elephants bigger than any species seen today.

The people may have hunted the large mammals but they did not stay long, using the watering hole as a waypoint on a longer journey.

This detailed scene was reconstructed by researchers in a new study published in Science Advances on Wednesday, following the discovery of ancient human and animal footprints in the Nefud Desert that shed new light on the routes our ancient ancestors took as they spread out of Africa.

Today, the Arabian Peninsula is characterized by vast, arid deserts that would have been inhospitable to early people and the animals they hunted down.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on September 16, 2020 by Editor

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Toots Hibbert Gone


Toots Hibbert Dies: Reggae Artist Credited With Naming The Genre Was 77

By Bruce Haring

His death comes days after his group released its first full-length LP and new album in ten years, titled Got to Be Tough. The recording features contributions from Ringo Starr and Ziggy Marley.

Hibbert met Henry ‘Raleigh’ Gordon and Nathaniel ‘Jerry’ in 1962 shortly after he moved to Kingston. They formed the band Toots and the Maytals. Their 1969 recording, Pressure Drop, was instrumental in breaking the band worldwide after it was used in the seminal 1972 reggae film The Harder They Come. 

Before that, Toots and the Maytals released a 1968 song, Do the Reggay, which is credited with giving the musical genre its name.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on September 13, 2020 by Editor

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Forrest Fenn Gone

from artnet

Forrest Fenn, the Eccentric New Mexico Art Dealer Who Buried Treasure for Explorers in the Rocky Mountains, Has Died at 90

Fenn’s $2 million treasure was reportedly found in June.

by Sarah Cascone

Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.
Forrest Fenn. Courtesy of Forrest Fenn.

Just months after revealing that an intrepid explorer had finally solved the 10-year-old treasure hunt he plotted, New Mexico art and antiquities dealer Forrest Fenn has died. He was 90 years old.

Fenn filled his 12th-century bronze treasure chest with golden nuggets, gemstones, and pre-Columbian antiquities from his personal collection. Together, the box and its contents were said to be worth $2 million.

To announce the hunt, Fenn included a cryptic 24-line poem with clues to its location in The Thrill of the Chase, his self-published 2010 memoir. He claimed the goal was to get people off their couches in search of adventure.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on September 12, 2020 by Editor

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As Slow As Possible


John Cage’s 639-Year-Long Organ Concert Attracts a Crowd in Germany

By Helen Holmes

Artists of many different mediums have always loved to play with the concepts of time and duration, and legendary composer and conceptualist John Cage is no different. On September 5, 2001, one of the composer’s final projects was launched to the world: the slowest concert ever composed. Organ2/ASLSP (As Slow as Possible) is a musical piece by Cage that was originally conceived in 1987 and which is expected to take 639 years to be completed, meaning that if things proceed on schedule, the performance will come to an end in 2640. Over the weekend, on Saturday, spectators gathered in Halberstadt, Germany’s St. Burchardi Church to bear witness to the first sonic change in Cage’s composition to take place in seven years.

Specifically, since 2013, an organ in the aforementioned church has been playing the same note in Cage’s composition. In order for the organ’s notes to change, two new pipes, playing the notes g sharp and e, were added to the apparatus on Saturday in front of an audience of hundreds and captured for remote viewers in a livestream hosted by the John Cage ASLSP project which lasted a grand total of four hours.

[ click to continue reading at OBSERVER ]

Posted on September 10, 2020 by Editor

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Six Months In

from Slate

The Terrifying, Liberating Lesson of the Coronavirus Lockdown

Six months later in America, we’re learning how to live again—and to accept the unimaginable.


Photo illustration by Slate. Photos by Getty Images Plus.

This is part of Six Months In, a Slate series reflecting on half a year of coronavirus lockdown in America.

A little more than six months ago, I sent a Slack message to Slate’s top editors that said “I think things are about to get really bad, virus-wise. We probably need to start thinking about that.” It was roughly a week before America’s shutdowns began and around the time when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo was still telling people “there is more fear, more anxiety, than the facts would justify.” At that point, alongside reporting on some of the basic science of the “novel coronavirus,” Slate had told the stories of a Chinese restaurant devastated by xenophobic fear and a woman who had canceled a $24,000 anniversary cruise, and published dispatches from Italy, which at the time seemed like the darkest possible reflection of what might lie ahead. But still, it felt like no one was quite convinced a pandemic was arriving here.

One week later, much of America started to shut down, in some form or another. Slate started to order its employees to work remotely March 11. President Donald Trump gave a speech from the Oval Office that night about the virus, but it felt like it was the suspension of the NBA season and Tom Hanks’ announcement that he’d tested positive that jolted the public consciousness. As the death toll rose, the warnings from abroad got louder alongside our own public health officials’, and it seemed to finally hit many of us that we had to stay inside, isolated, alone, for real, with the occasional sanity-preserving walk. In a span of a few weeks, we went from trying to tell stories of how the virus had disrupted some people’s lives to realizing that the virus was disrupting everyone’s lives, and would be for some time.

[ click to continue reading at Slate ]

Posted on September 5, 2020 by Editor

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