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MisBits Hits

from DualShockers

MisBits Rolls Onto Steam Early Access

MisBits, the multiplayer game that has players finding and swapping bodies for your head, arrives on Steam Early Access.

MisBits comes to Steam Early Access this week. The colorful, frantic, and fun multiplayer game from 3BlackDot is a quick-paced adventure where you mismatch toy heads with different, changeable bodies which results in an ever-changing play style. MisBits is currently only available on Steam Early Access and retails for $14.99, with the full game launching on PC this summer.

Roll, switch, and control your toy head through the game’s maps to find or steal different bodies. Each mismatch provides unique abilities that directly changes the way you play. MisBit’s maps contain various items to acquire such as weapons and hazards like traps to avoid. The game includes a variety of modes. In the future, new bodies, heads, skins and modes will be added. One of the new modes will be ToyBox, which is a Dreams-light creation experience that allows players to build new mini-games or alter maps and modes with their own rules.

MisBits multi-player mini-games range from 2 to 6 players depending on the map or mode. The exploration areas and the building tools can be played solo. The game was featured at PAX East and was a finalist for DreamHack Anaheim’s Indie Rumble.

Here’s a rundown of all the game modes included with MisBits from the official press release…

[ click to continue reading at DualShockers ]

Posted on March 20, 2020 by Editor

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COVID and Corrupted Blood

from WIRED

Real-World Lessons From a World of Warcraft Virtual Outbreak

Nearly 15 years ago, player responses to the “Corrupted Blood incident” helped researchers better account for unpredictable human behavior.

WHEN IT COMES to a global pandemic, human beings are the ultimate wild card. That makes it challenging to build accurate mathematical models to predict how the progress of the disease will play out. We’ve certainly seen plenty of all-too-human responses to coronavirus over the last two weeks, with some people panicking and  hoarding food, toilet paper, and hand sanitizer. Others cling to denial, and still others are defying calls for “social distancing” by continuing to go to restaurants, bars, concerts, and so forth. Our epidemiological models are a bit better able to account for that unpredictability thanks in part to a virtual outbreak in World of Warcraftnearly fifteen years ago, known as the “Corrupted Blood incident.

The Corrupted Blood outbreak was not intentional. In 2005, Blizzard Entertainment added a new dungeon called Zul’Burub into World of Warcraft for highly advanced players, controlled by an “end boss” named Hakkar. Hakkar was a blood god known as the Soulflayer, who had, among his arsenal of weapons, a “debuff” spell called “Corrupted Blood.” Infected players would suffer damage at regular repeating intervals, draining away their “hit points” until their avatars exploded in a cloud of blood. The only cure was to kill Hakkar.

Blizzard thought this would ensure the infection wouldn’t spread beyond that space. They were wrong. Rather than standing their ground, many infected players panicked, teleporting out of the dungeon before dying or killing Hakkar, and taking the disease with them. And lower ranking players, with fewer hit points, would “die” very quickly upon exposure.

The biggest factor in the rapid spread of the disease was a glitch in the programming, such that non-playable animal companions also became infected. They didn’t show symptoms, but they were carriers and ended up spreading the disease even faster. As Corrupted Blood infections spread uncontrollably, game spaces became littered with virtual “corpses,” and players began to panic. Efforts at quarantine proved unsuccessful in stopping the outbreak. In the end, at least three servers were affected, and Blizzard had to reboot the entire game to correct the problem.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on March 19, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM Hits Oz

from ABC Australia

Queen and Slim recasts a ripped-from-the-headlines scenario of police violence as a get-away road movie

By Keva York

A black and white image from the movie Queen and Slim with Daniel Kaluuya & Jodie Turner-Smith posing on a car
PHOTO: Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe (Master of None) got the idea for Queen and Slim from a conversation she had with author James Frey at a party. (Supplied: Universal)

The debut feature from Melina Matsoukas, who cut her teeth directing notably fierce music videos for the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna, is not shy about aspiring to be counted amongst the canon of blistering, politically-charged road movies.

“Well, if it isn’t the black Bonnie and Clyde,” a pimp outfitted in yellow Gucci greets Queen & Slim’s eponymous couple — played by Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and British model-turned-actor Jodie Turner-Smith (Jett) — when they turn up on the doorstep of his ramshackle New Orleans whorehouse, looking to be sheltered, if only briefly, from the law on their trail.

While it’s true that Matsoukas offers up a string of characteristically colourful, sultry, and pointed set pieces — a style best exemplified by her video for Beyonce’s black feminist banger Formation — the film is hampered by a paucity of both internal logic and depth, which reduces the impact of a would-be empowering message about African-American pride in the face of police brutality.

[ click to continue reading at ABC Australia ]

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Editor

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Max von Sydow Gone

from The New York Times

Max von Sydow, Star of ‘Seventh Seal’ and ‘Exorcist,’ Dies at 90

Widely hailed as one of the finest actors of his generation, Mr. von Sydow formed a close relationship with the director Ingmar Bergman and became an elder pop culture star.

By Robert Berkvist

Max von Sydow, the tall, blond Swedish actor who cut a striking figure in American movies but was most identified with the signature work of a fellow Swede, the director Ingmar Bergman, died on Sunday. He was 90.

His wife, Catherine von Sydow, confirmed the death in an emailed statement. No cause was given. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet said he died in Provence, France.

Widely hailed as one of the finest actors of his generation, Mr. von Sydow became an elder pop culture star in his later years, appearing in a “Star Wars” movie in 2015 as well as in the sixth season of the HBO fantasy-adventure series “Game of Thrones.”He even lent his deep, rich voice to “The Simpsons.”

By then he had become a familiarly austere presence in popular movies like William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report,” Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” and, more recently, Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”

But to film lovers the world over he was most enduringly associated with Bergman.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on March 17, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM Doing The Right Thing

from The Sydney Morning Herald

‘The problem still exists’: Queen and Slim a modern-day call to arms

By Richard Jinman

Screenwriter Lena Waithe (left) and director Melina Matsoukas on the set of Queen and Slim.
Screenwriter Lena Waithe (left) and director Melina Matsoukas on the set of Queen and Slim.

It is 30 years since Spike Lee’s incendiary third movie Do The Right Thing shone a harsh light on the killing of black Americans by police. Radio Raheem, who is choked to death in the film’s climatic scene, was a fictional character, but his violent death at the hands of baton-wielding cops felt very real in a country where African Americans are 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than white people.

Little has changed in the three decades since Lee released his call to arms, says Lena Waithe, the writer and producer of Queen and Slim, a provocative new film about two black Americans who go on the run after killing a white police officer in self-defence. She regards Do The Right Thing as a landmark movie and says the issues it highlighted in 1989 are far from resolved. “We can’t deny that we are still dealing with these things,” says the 35-year-old, who is best known as one of the stars of the Netflix comedy-drama Master of None. “The fact that law enforcement is not necessarily on our side and we feel like we are being hunted is both scary and sad. Black people are still making movies about this problem because the problem still exists.”

Melina Matsoukas, the director of Queen and Slim, nods in agreement. “It’s modern-day lynching,” she says quietly. “As a black person, seeing your family, your community being murdered on a daily basis has an emotional impact. It’s like PTSD. It could be your mother, your sister, your father, your aunt, your husband or your wife. Seeing these people that you don’t know, but have a kinship with, [being killed] on the nightly news, creates an emotional stress.”

The frequency with which black people are killed by police and the apparent impunity the US judicial system grants officers who kill in the line of duty, led to the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. But the bloodshed continues. In 2015 a record number of young black men – 1134 in total – were killed by law enforcement officers.

[ click to continue reading at SMH ]

Posted on March 16, 2020 by Editor

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Deluging Le Louvre

from artnet

This Artist’s Vivid, Consciousness-Raising Video of a Flooded Louvre Is a Hit at the Armory Show. Here’s How He Did It

The chilling video speaks to the impending dangers of climate change.

by Sarah Cascone

The video shows a disaster: water rushing into a gallery, washing across the floor and rapidly rising in a room of Old Master canvases. The Louvre, one of the hallowed halls of Western civilization, is flooding. But despite the increasing number of extreme weather events caused by climate change, the video is only a work of art, depicting an event that hasn’t happened at the Paris musuem—but someday could.

“About two years ago, the Louvre actually got flooded by the Seine,” Alfred Kornfeld of Berlin’s Galerie Kornfeld, told Artnet News. “It was the result of very, very heavy rain.”

At the time, the museum closed its lower level as a precautionary measure, relocating some 35,000 works to higher ground. Nothing was damaged, but Georgian artist Tezi Gabunia couldn’t help imagining the worst. Her work, Breaking News: The Flooding of the Louvre, is a warning, both of the dangers of climate change, a force already unleashed on the world, and of the evils of fake news and the dissemination of misinformation.

[ click to continue reading at artnet ]

Posted on March 15, 2020 by Editor

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Porno gratis, sì!

from PC Magazine

Pornhub Is Giving Italians Free Premium Access During Coronavirus Quarantine

As Italy closes down non-essential businesses, Pornhub will allow Italian users to access premium content without having to put in their credit card information.

By Adam Smith

If you’re stuck at home during a global pandemic, what do you do? Pick up a book? Catch up on the plethora of streaming TV shows? Dial in to your umpteenth video conference call of the day?

Pornhub is hoping Italians have a little something different in mind. With Italy on lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Pornhub is offering its premium service for free to those in Italy during the month of March, The Next Web reports. No credit cards, just click and view. 

[ click to continue reading at PC Mag ]

Posted on March 14, 2020 by Editor

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Pandemic Cinema

from The Los Angeles Times

Want to understand how a pandemic upends everyday life? The movies can tell you

By NOEL MURRAY

Pacific Liner
Chester Morris, left, and Victor McLaglen in the 1939 movie “Pacific Liner.”(Turner Classic Movies)

Back in 1939, RKO released the movie “Pacific Liner,” about the chaos that ensues when a cholera-infected man stows away on a cruise ship bound for San Francisco. As the disease spreads among the working men in the boiler room, the paying passengers party on as usual on the decks above, kept intentionally unaware of the bacterial time bomb ticking down below.

Sound familiar?

In times like these — with the world reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic — we’ve all found ourselves flinching every time our phone buzzes or our smart watch dings. Each news alert drags us deeper into the unprecedented, be it the cancellation of major sporting events or the dizzying drops in the stock market.

But as anyone who watches a lot of old movies can tell you, the looming specter of a devastating plague isn’t as novel as some may think. If anything, Hollywood has been preparing us for this moment for decades.

[ click to continue reading at LAT ]

Posted on March 13, 2020 by Editor

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The Big Goldstein

from The Hollywood Reporter

The Peculiar Life of the Man in the ‘Big Lebowski’ House: An NBA Superfan’s Wild L.A. Mansion

by Gary Baum

Copyright 2004 NBAE/Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
Says Goldstein, pictured here with Snoop Dogg, “People come up to me from different worlds — basketball, architecture, fashion — that don’t know I’m part of the other two.”

James Goldstein, the city’s most unapologetic 80-year-old bon  vivant (and Lakers fixture), throws parties with models and Leonardo DiCaprio as he rushes to finish his architectural legacy: “The villains always live in the modern houses.”

A thousand people raged until 4 a.m. at 80-year-old James Goldstein’s Halloween party last year. Two days later, the singular host — who straddles the spheres of entertainment, style, sports, art and architecture like no one else in Los Angeles — bumped into Leonardo DiCaprio at LACMA’s Art + Film Gala. 

“I said, ‘I wanted to invite you, but I didn’t have your number,’ ” Goldstein recalls. “He says, ‘I was there, wearing a mask.’ It turns out Jamie Foxx was there too, in some unrecognizable costume.” Conspicuously not in attendance was Goldstein’s Beverly Crest neighbor Sandra Bullock, whom he had invited. Based on the history of their relationship, Goldstein theorizes she may have been responsible for calling the cops with a noise complaint, though, “I can’t say with any proof.”

Frizzy-haired and springy-stepped, in head-to-toe designer leather — or, when at home, brightly contrasting tennis gear — Goldstein is the poster octogenarian of a certain kind of man, one whom some find admirable and others repellent. A real-estate investor, he puts his net worth “in the ballpark” of $100 million. More consequential is what that fortune allows: the freedom to cultivate what once would’ve been referred to as insouciance, and is now, among the young and fashionable crowd he surrounds himself with, an IDGAF philosophy. Case in point, he spends most nights courtside at the Staples Center in his trademark peacocking attire, often with a date young enough to be his granddaughter.

It’s a weekday and, as he has since the ’70s in what may just be the city’s longest-running act of property-tinkering, he tends to his world-famous dwelling, the Sheats-Goldstein Residence, designed by heralded midcentury architect John Lautner and considered a modernist masterpiece (though most famous for its appearance in 1998’s The Big Lebowski). There are, as ever, contractors to hound and blueprints to review, especially as he seeks to finally complete an adjacent Lautner-esque entertaining complex he began about 15 years ago. To do so, Goldstein knocked down an actual Lautner that stood on the lot. Preservationists blanched. Goldstein says the architect, who died in 1994, gave him his blessing.

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on March 12, 2020 by Editor

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“It had nothing to do with a stack of records. If it were IHOP, everyone would think that it looks like a stack of pancakes.”

from Billboard

Capitol Records Architect Louis Naidorf Sets the Record Straight on Myth of Tower’s Iconic Design

by Pamela Chelin

Capitol Records building in Hollywood, Calif.
Capitol Records building in Hollywood, Calif.
Bettmann/Getty Images

“It had nothing to do with a stack of records. If it were IHOP, everyone would think that it looks like a stack of pancakes.”

The 63-year-old Capitol Records Building may look like a stack of records with a rooftop spire resembling a phonograph needle, but according to its designer, 91-year-old architect Louis Naidorf, that’s just a coincidence.

“I designed the bloody thing,” laughs Naidorf, speaking over the phone from his home in Santa Rosa, California. “Unequivocally, it had nothing to do with a stack of records. If it were IHOP, everyone would think that it looks like a stack of pancakes or plates. If it were Firestone, everyone would think that it looks like a stack of inner tubes. There are lots of things that look like that.”

[ click to continue reading at Billboard ]

Posted on March 11, 2020 by Editor

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Aerosolized Music

from WIRED

Streaming Music Doesn’t Flow, It Evaporates

Listening to streamed tunes through a smart speaker squeezes the ecstasy out of the experience. There are ways to get it back.

by VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN

ILLUSTRATION: ALVARO DOMINGUEZ

ALEXA HAS NO knack for pianissimo. Here’s how to tell. Set her to living-room volume and ask her to play Berlioz’s rapturous epic of sex and opioids:  Symphonie Fantastique. The opening passages should be erotic and feather-light, but on the Echo the massive orchestra comes through as smothered whooshes, the exhalations of a pint-sized table fan caked in dust.

Is this thing on? The first movement is meant to conjure the fantasies of an artist in thrall to a woman of infinite allure; in the sway of the opening strings, she grazes his mind in her gentle, precoital theme, which becomes insistent, demanding, and then maddening. (“So many musical ideas are seething within me,” Berlioz wrote at the time. “Must my destiny be engulfed by this overwhelming passion?”) This is how Berlioz introduced the piece in Paris in 1830: “A young artist of morbidly sensitive temperament and fiery imagination poisons himself with opium in a fit of lovesick despair.”

That’s amore. But by the time the fantasia is performed, recorded, engineered, and mastered, and then internetted via Amazon‘s all-knowing cloud through the Echo’s admittedly paltry tweeter-woofer combo, the piece has lost the volatility that makes it a masterpiece of sexual obsession. Forget about pianissimo’s complexity; only at Alexa’s top volume can the notes even be heard. Then, when the protagonist’s fever intensifies to forte and fortissimo, the music coming from Alexa again turns to nonsense—although this time it’s deafening.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on March 10, 2020 by Editor

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Here Comes “Clownpocalypse”

from DEADLINE

Eli Roth & 3BlackDot Developing Horror Franchise ‘Clownpocalypse’

By Anthony D’Alessandro

Rex/Shutterstock

EXCLUSIVE: 3BlackDot and Eli Roth are working on the 360-degree horror project Clownpocalypse which will encompass a feature film, video game, live event, short-form series, and merchandise. 3BlackDot will finance.Roth and James Frey have been plotting the project for some time and Philip Gelatt (Netflix’s Love Death + Robots) will write the screenplay, with storyline under wraps. A search for a director is under way with production to begin later this year. Producers on the film are Roth, and from 3BlackDot, James Frey (Queen & Slim) and 3BlackDot President Reginald Cash, Mitchell Smith (Beats) and Zennen Clifton (WTF Baron Davis).Said Roth, “I’ve had an amazing time collaborating with James Frey and the incredible team at 3BlackDot. From concept to art to the game play, every step of the way, no idea has been too crazy, and they’ve executed it at the highest level. For years I’ve had people tell me ‘You can’t do that in a game, it’s too insane’ and I finally found partners who said, ‘Let’s take this a step further.’ It feels like we’re making a game, movie and live experience with no parental supervision or studio to tell us to tone it down, and that’s the only way to create something spectacular and memorable. This will be a big, fun, scary event for gamers, movie fans, and people who love live events. The Clownpocalypse is coming. Get ready.”

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on March 9, 2020 by Editor

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Andy Wizard

from The Spectator

The wizard that was Warhol

Blake Gopnik’s monumental biography is a welcome forerunner to Tate Modern’s major Warhol retrospective, opening next month

by Duncan Fallowell

In 1983 I was sent to New York to interview Johnny Rotten and I took the opportunity to call on Andy Warhol. The Factory was in the phonebook; and the receptionist, Brigid Berlin, said that Andy was in Milan but would be back the following afternoon. ‘You better give him half an hour. Why don’t you come over at 2.30 p.m.?’ So I did.

I’d never been part of that New York scene, but wanted to meet someone who had helped me develop my own freedoms almost 20 years earlier. According to Blake Gopnik’s book, I should have found a studio that was triple-locked, with an anxious artist hiding inside. But it wasn’t remotely like that. I just rang up, turned up and started talking to Warhol, and grasped immediately the key to his greatness — an alert but gentle largeness of soul which freed up everything around him: all was work, all was art, yet all was artlessness. He was the only person I met in New York who was completely natural and not pushing an angle.

Warhol was the first truly American artist, the first who didn’t need validation from Europe, the first of consumerism, the media and technology. He revolutionised subject matter, technique, colour, photography. He also invented slow cinema, happenings, installations; pulled rock music into the avant garde via the Velvet Underground and created modern lifestyle journalism with Interview magazine. He made being straight and sober a bore from which it never recovered. He recorded everything and kept everything. He died before the digital age, but he’d already sussed its behaviour. We all live in Andy’s world now.There are many conflicting views of Warhol’s character: he was cold, kind, witty, dumb, knowing and naive

Gopnik’s long biography is much needed — and it’s not long enough. The text is quite a roller-coaster, as the author attempts to resolve what he sees as the artist’s contradictions, something which Warhol himself never bothered about. At his revolutionary height in the 1960s, when he ruptured art and society through the astonishing liberties taken by his paintings, films and superstars at the Silver Factory, Warhol went home at night to be looked after by his mother. Gopnik sees this as an example of Warhol’s irony, but that is wrong. It’s not his irony, it’s ours.

[ click to continue reading at Spectator ]

Posted on March 1, 2020 by Editor

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Happy Leap Day!

Posted on February 29, 2020 by Editor

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Freeman Dyson Gone

from NPR

Physicist And Iconoclastic Thinker Freeman Dyson Dies At 96

by GEOFF BRUMFIEL

Acclaimed physicist Freeman Dyson, who pondered the origins of life, interstellar travel and many other topics, died Friday at the age of 96.

His daughter Mia Dyson told NPR that her father died after a short illness. 

Freeman Dyson was known for groundbreaking work in physics and mathematics but his curiosity ranged far beyond those fields. 

“He never got a Ph.D.,” says Robbert Dijkgraaf, director for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., where Dyson worked. “He felt he was an eternal graduate student, and so he had a license to be interested in everything.”

Dyson was born in Crowthorne, England, in 1923. He studied physics and mathematics at Trinity College in Cambridge, where he worked with physicists including Paul Dirac and Arthur Eddington. During World War II, he was a civilian scientist with the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command. 

After the war, he came to the U.S. to study physics. Together with physicist Richard Feynman, he was able to reconcile two competing theories of quantum electrodynamics, the study of how sub-atomic particles and light interact. “He was able to show that all these different points of view were one and the same thing,” Dijkgraaf says. “He was a great unifier of physics.”

[ click to continue reading at NPR ]

Posted on February 28, 2020 by Editor

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Bikers Against Child Abuse International

from B.A.C.A.

[ click to support Bikers Against Child Abuse ]

Posted on February 27, 2020 by Editor

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What Do You Say To A Naked Lady

from Inside Hook

Revisiting the X-Rated ’70s Prank Film That Scandalized America

“What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?” was more “Punk’d” than porn, but it still got people talking

BY CHARLES BRAMESCO

The bulk of Allen Funt’s career revolved around his curiosity for reaction. He had a lifelong fixation on creating scenarios and documenting how his subjects responded to their unusual circumstances, but approached what would otherwise be clinical work with a mischievous zeal. He was no methodical researcher and came upon his insights casually, if at all. His earliest gigs, as the mind behind the wackiest stunts on NBC Radio’s Truth or Consequences and a punch-up man for Eleanor Roosevelt on her radio commentaries, hinged on his ability to play the public like a piano. He’d cut out the middleman with his own show in 1947, The Candid Microphone, in which a young Funt pulled a fast one on unsuspecting dupes and a 27-pound mic unit hidden in a park or office captured their flummoxing. 

Funt believed he had happened upon a schematic with tremendous potential, and shopped a televised equivalent to ABC in 1948 with the title’s The dropped, Facebook-style. One year later, he crossed town to NBC and tweaked it once more to Candid Camera, which stuck for the next six decades of broadcasts. The show let the tactfully concealed cameras roll as oblivious marks landed in assorted put-ons, from desk drawers mechanically popping open to more elaborate tomfoolery involving Funt’s squadron of actor plants. (Millennial and Gen Z readers: this was the Punk’d of its time, and the one where they pranked then-former President Harry Truman was that era’s Justin Timberlake crying episode.)

As creator and host, Funt masterminded hundreds and hundreds of ruses, leaning on his yen for amateur psychology and sociology more and more as the years went by. Some segments dispensed with the wool-pulling entirely and chronicled revealing interviews between Funt and ordinary folks. He found the peculiarities of homo sapiens endlessly fascinating. 

The other thing to know about Allen Funt is that, like many red-blooded Americans, he enjoyed looking at people with their clothes off. It was the marriage of these two great passions — quirks of pathology and full-frontal nudity — that yielded the illuminating historical footnote What Do You Say to a Naked Lady? 50 years ago this month.

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Editor

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Harriet Tubman – Emancipationist Ornithologist

from Audubon

Harriet Tubman, an Unsung Naturalist, Used Owl Calls as a Signal on the Underground Railroad 

The famed conductor traveled at night, employing deep knowledge of the region’s environment and wildlife to communicate, navigate, and survive.

by Allison Keyes

Harriet Tubman, 1870s. Photo: Harvey Lindsley/Library of Congress

Many people are aware of Harriet Tubman’s work on the Underground Railroad and as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. Fewer know of her prowess as a naturalist. 

At the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park in Church Creek, Maryland, Ranger Angela Crenshaw calls Tubman “the ultimate outdoors woman.” She even used bird calls to help guide her charges, eventually helping some 70 people, including her parents and four brothers, escape slavery. 

“We know that she used the call of an owl to alert refugees and her freedom seekers that it was OK, or not OK, to come out of hiding and continue their journey,” Crenshaw says. “It would have been the Barred Owl, or as it is sometimes called, a ‘hoot-owl.’ ‘They make a sound that some people think sounds like ‘who cooks for you? Who cooks for you?’ ”

That nugget comes to Crenshaw from the park’s historian, Kate Clifford Larson, author of the Tubman biography Bound for the Promised Land. “If you used the sound of an owl, it would blend in with the normal sounds you would hear at night. It wouldn’t create any suspicion,” Crenshaw says.

[ click to continue reading at Audubon ]

Posted on February 25, 2020 by Editor

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Be A Lady They Said

Be a Lady They Said from Paul McLean on Vimeo.

Posted on February 24, 2020 by Editor

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Canine Amor

from Phys.org

What makes dogs so special? Science says love

by Issam Ahmed 

True love: a woman and her Valentine's Day date pose behind a heart-shaped pastry during a February 14 Paris flash mob
True love: a woman and her Valentine’s Day date pose behind a heart-shaped pastry during a February 14 Paris flash mob

The idea that animals can experience love was once anathema to the psychologists who studied them, seen as a case of putting sentimentality before scientific rigor.

But a new book argues that, when it comes to dogs, the word is necessary to understanding what has made the relationship between humans and our best friends one of the most significant interspecies partnerships in history. 

Clive Wynne, founder the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, makes the case in “Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You.”

The animal psychologist, 59, began studying dogs in the early 2000s, and, like his peers, believed that to ascribe complex emotions to them was to commit the sin of anthropomorphism—until he was swayed by a body evidence that was growing too big to ignore.

[ click to continue reading at Phys.org ]

Posted on February 23, 2020 by Editor

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Adrian Belew

from The Music Aficionado

Adrian Belew, part 1: 1976-1980

The man who was stolen from Frank Zappa by David Bowie – I give you Adrian Belew.

Stewart Copeland suggested this line in lieu of a resume for the gifted guitar player in a shared interview in 2017. Most musicians would kill to have the two legends in the opening line of their resume, but for Adrian Belew this was only the beginning of a meteoric rise from anonymity to a highly acclaimed musician, performer and sonic sculpture artist. This is a detailed two-part review, looking at the first decade of his unique career, from being discovered in a bar gig all the way to his first solo album and guest appearances on a multitude of musical projects.

At the age of 27 Adrian Belew was playing regional gigs around Nashville with Sweetheart, a cover band that adopted a look of old-time gangsters. Belew remembers: “To be in sweetheart you had to cut your hair 40’s style and wear authentic 1940’s vintage clothing. All the time! Even in the daytime if you were going grocery shopping.” The band members excelled at playing the more interesting repertoire of classic rock radio. However Belew started to get disillusioned with his dream of becoming a musician with a record deal, playing his own material. Doing cover songs in small clubs and bars can only get you that far in the music business.

But all of this changed thanks to Terry Pugh. Terry who, you ask? Fair question, for Terry the chauffeur is responsible for turning Adrian Belew’s career around. Without Terry, Adrian Belew could have been an obscure, unknown and forgotten cover band guitarist, a faith shared with thousands of bar band musicians, playing endless gigs without a hope of being discovered. Terry was a fan of Sweetheart and on the night of October 18th, 1976 he found himself driving a limo around Nashville with none other than Frank Zappa in the back seat. Zappa, on tour with his band, was looking for some live music to watch after his show at the Memorial Gymnasium in Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Frank asks Terry to recommend a favorite music act in town, and Terry tells him about a band called Sweetheart with a very good guitarist playing tonight at Fanny’s Bar. They walk in, Zappa likes what he hears and 40 minutes later, while the band is playing a cover of Gimme Shelter, he walks to the stage, shakes hands with the guitar player and tells him: “I’m going to get your name and number from the chauffeur, and when my tour is over I’ll call you for an audition.” So enters Adrian Belew the Zappa universe.

[ click to continue reading at The Music Aficionado ]

Posted on February 21, 2020 by Editor

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Wicca Rising

from The Atlantic

Why Witchcraft Is on the Rise

Americans’ interest in spell-casting tends to wax as instability rises and trust in establishment ideas plummets.

by BIANCA BOSKER

Juliet diaz said she was having trouble not listening to my thoughts. “Sorry, I kind of read into your head a little bit,” she told me when, for the third time that August afternoon, she answered one of my (admittedly not unpredictable) questions about her witchcraft seconds before I’d had a chance to ask it. She was drinking a homemade “grounding” tea in her apartment in a converted Victorian home in Jersey City, New Jersey, under a dream catcher and within sight of what appeared to be a human skull. We were surrounded by nearly 400 houseplants, the earthy smell of incense, and, according to Diaz, several of my ancestral spirit guides, who had followed me in. “You actually have a nun,” Diaz informed me. “I don’t know where she comes from, and I’m not going to ask her.”

Diaz describes herself as a seer capable of reading auras and connecting with “the other side”; a plant whisperer who can communicate with her succulents; and one in a long line of healers in her family, which traces its roots to Cuba and the indigenous Taíno people, who settled in parts of the Caribbean. She is also a professional witch: Diaz sells anointing oils and “intention infused” body products in her online store, instructs more than 8,900 witches enrolled in her online school, and leads witchy workshops that promise to leave attendees “feeling magical af!” In 2018, Diaz, the author of the best-selling book Witchery: Embrace the Witch Within, earned more than half a million dollars from her magic work and was named Best Witch—yes, there are rankings—by Spirit Guides Magazine.

Now 38 years old, Diaz remembers that when she was growing up, her family’s spellwork felt taboo. But over the past few years, witchcraft, long viewed with suspicion and even hostility, has transmuted into a mainstream phenomenon. The coven is the new squad: There are sea witches, city witches, cottage witches, kitchen witches, and influencer witches, who share recipes for moon water or dreamy photos of altars bathed in candlelight. There are witches living in Winnipeg and Indiana, San Francisco and Dubai; hosting moon rituals in Manhattan’s public parks and selling $11.99 hangover cures that “adjust the vibration of alcohol so that it doesn’t add extra density and energetic ‘weight’ to your aura.” A 2014 Pew Research Center report suggested that the United States’ adult population of pagans and Wiccans was about 730,000—on par with the number of Unitarians. But Wicca represents just one among many approaches to witchery, and not all witches consider themselves pagan or Wiccan. These days, Diaz told me, “everyone calls themselves witches.”

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on February 19, 2020 by Editor

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Bubbles Bubbles Bubbles

from WIRED

The Secret to Blowing Massive Soap Bubbles

This physicist-approved recipe uses a dash of polymers to create world-record-scale bubbles.

by JENNIFER OUELLETTE, ARS TECHNICA

massive bubbles
PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

EVERYBODY LOVES BUBBLES, regardless of age—the bigger the better. But to blow really big, world-record-scale bubbles requires a very precise bubble mixture. Physicists have determined that a key ingredient is mixing in polymers of varying strand lengths, according to  a new paper in Physical Review Fluids. That produces a soap film able to stretch sufficiently thin to make a giant bubble without breaking.

Bubbles may seem frivolous, but there is some complex underlying physics, and hence their study has long been serious science. In the 1800s, Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau outlined four basic laws of surface tension that determine the structure of soapy films. Surface tension is why bubbles are round; that shape has the least surface area for a given volume, so it requires the least energy to maintain. Over time, that shape will start to look more like a soccer ball than a perfect sphere, as gravity pulls the liquid downward (called “coarsening”).

Bubbles and foams remain an active area of research. For instance, in 2016, French physicists worked out a theoretical model for the exact mechanism for how soap bubbles form when jets of air hit a soapy film. They found that bubbles formed only above a certain speed of air, which in turn depends on the width of the jet of air. If the jet is wide, there will be a lower threshold for forming bubbles, and those bubbles will be larger than ones produced by narrower jets, which have higher speed thresholds. That’s what’s happening, physics-wise, when we blow bubbles through a ring at then end of a little plastic wand: the jet forms at our lips and is wider than the soapy film suspended within the ring.

In 2018, we reported on how mathematicians at New York University’s Applied Math Lab had fine-tuned the method for blowing the perfect bubble even further based on similar experiments with soapy, thin films. They concluded that it’s best to use a circular wand with a 1.5-inch perimeter and to gently blow at a consistent 6.9 cm/s. Blow at higher speeds and the bubble will burst. Use a smaller or larger wand, and the same thing will happen.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on February 9, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM’s Daniel Kaluuya on car sex

from Marie Claire

QUEEN & SLIM INTERVIEW: Daniel Kaluuya on car sex, difficult scenes and his chemistry with Jodie Turner-Smith

by SOPHIE GODDARD

Daniel Kaluuya
Getty Images

Queen & Slim star Daniel Kaluuya tells Sophie Goddard why filming one of 2020’s most impactful films left him dazed and confused…

Daniel Kaluuya should be used to starring in huge blockbusters by now (he’s already got WidowsBlack Panther and Get Out under his belt) but his latest project, Queen & Slim has left him somewhat unsteady. The film – directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe – sees the Oscar-nominated star appear alongside Jodie Turner-Smith in a love story that’s earned comparisons to Bonnie & Clyde (more on that shortly). “It’s very surreal,” he says, when asked how the unanimous praise feels. “It starts off being your secret, but then everyone else is watching it.” Here, he talks us through the filming process, and why he’s still unsure what he makes of it all.

[ click to continue reading at Marie Claire ]

Posted on February 8, 2020 by Editor

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QUEEN & SLIM – Love on the run

from The Guardian

Queen & Slim review – love on the run across the US racial divide

by Mark Kermode, Observer film critic

Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore in Queen and Slim.
Bokeem Woodbine and Indya Moore in Queen & Slim. Photograph: Universal Pictures/AP

This arresting debut feature from Melina Matsoukas – Grammy-award winning director of Beyoncé’s Formation video, whose television CV includes Master of None and Insecure – puts new twists on familiar outlaw riffs that can be traced back through Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde to À bout de souffle and beyond. Boasting outstandingly empathic performances from dynamite screen presence Daniel Kaluuya (Oscar-nominated for Get Out) and rising star Jodie Turner-Smith, in a career-making first feature lead, it’s an intoxicatingly lawless lovers-on-the-run romance played out against the politically charged backdrop of racially divided modern America.

Shot in a dreamy natural light by Tat Radcliffe, who did such remarkable work on French-Algerian director Yann Demange’s Belfast-set ’71, and sensuously scored by Devonté Hynes (aka Blood Orange), Queen & Slimimmerses its audience in an unfolding road-movie fable. While Lena Waithe’s script (on which author/producer James Frey shares a story credit) may veer occasionally into narrative contrivance, there’s an emotional honesty to the central love story that rings true despite the odd note of implausibility – a sense of powerful, magical potential that burns out any first-feature flaws.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on February 6, 2020 by Editor

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Lil Baby Drops “Catch The Sun” for QUEEN & SLIM

Posted on February 5, 2020 by Editor

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Jumbo @ Sundance

from The Daily Beast

The Wild Sundance Movie About a Woman in Love With a Theme-Park Ride

The lyrical French Sundance indie “Jumbo” focuses on a little-known condition called objectophilia in which people develop romantic feelings for inanimate objects.

by Natalia Winkelman

Jumbo may be among the first narrative films to focus on objectophilia—or romantic attraction to inanimate objects—but there have been enough TLC segments on the condition to at least half-absorb one’s attention through a very long flight. Perhaps the most famous of these cases is Erika Eiffel, an Olympic archer who married the Eiffel Tower in 2004. In the media, Eiffel’s case was rarely taken seriously, surveyed instead with raised eyebrows and punny punchlines.

Eiffel’s story was also the inspiration behind Jumbo, which approaches its object romance—between a theme park worker named Jeanne and a ride named Jumbo—with far greater curiosity and generosity than they’re so often granted. The film is writer-director Zoé Wittock’s debut feature, and it’s an impressively realized study, nailing a tricky tone without judging or fetishizing its subject. It’s also a gorgeous film visually, full of dimly lit sequences punctuated with swirls of vibrant color. Throughout, the story spins on an axis of vigorous subjectivity; from its vivid opening shot, in which Jeanne (Portrait of a Lady on Fire’sdazzling Noémie Merlant) stands in a field gazing at the ride, we’re acutely aware that what we’re about to experience belongs to her and her alone.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Editor

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After 23 years, Porsche re-joins the Super Bowl – “The Heist”

Posted on January 28, 2020 by Editor

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Clownpocalypse

from New York Magazine

Eli Roth Excitedly Ushers in the Clownpocalypse Franchise

By Halle Kiefer

Photo: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Universal Studios Hollywood

Horror director and producer Eli Rothhas had it up to here with your zombie-apocalypse movies, and your evil-clown flicks are mere child’s play. Therefore, he’s taking it upon himself to usher in the next stage of horror evolution with (what else?) Clownpocalypse. According to Deadline, the House With a Clock in Its Walls director is collaborating with 3BlackDot on a multi-platform “360-degree horror project,” which will include a movie, video game, and short-form series in addition to a live event. There will also, of course, be merchandise.

[ click to continue at New York Magazine ]

Posted on January 27, 2020 by Editor

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Kobe Gone. )Only the good die young…(

Posted on January 26, 2020 by Editor

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Ski-Doo!

Posted on January 25, 2020 by Editor

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“The most 80s thing that ever happened…”

from Yahoo!

Blinded by science: Remembering the surreal ‘Synthesizer Showdown’ of the 1985 Grammys

by Lyndsey Parker

Herbie Hancock, Thomas Dolby, Stevie Wonder, and Howard Jones perform at the 1985 Grammy Awards. (Photo: YouTube)
Herbie Hancock, Thomas Dolby, Stevie Wonder, and Howard Jones perform at the 1985 Grammy Awards. (Photo: YouTube)

Thirty-five years ago, something totally awesome went down at the 27th Annual Grammy Awards that changed television — at least in the science-blinded eyes of members of the original MTV generation.

That fateful evening, onstage at Los Angeles’s Shrine Auditorium, elder-statesmen keyboard icons Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock joined new-school new-wavers Thomas Dolby and Howard Jones (the former in a powdered Beethoven wig, the latter resplendent in billowing primary-yellow satin while brandishing a keytar). Together, they delivered a futureshocking performance that has come to be known as the Great Synthesizer Showdown of ‘85. 

It was probably the most ’80s thing that ever happened. Ever. And yet, the grainy Betamax footage of that night still seems cooler than anything that has taken place at the Grammys in the three and a half decades that have followed.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on January 24, 2020 by Editor

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Cortez Live

Posted on January 23, 2020 by Editor

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