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Ministry of Psychology

from Psychology Today

The Universal Fundamentals of Al Jourgensen

A musician finds connection in creativity.

by Michael Friedman Ph.D.

In 1969, the late Jim Morrison of the Doors had a prophecy—the birth of electronic music. He imagined that “some brilliant kid will come along … a lone artist with lots of tapes … a keyboard with the complexity and richness of a whole orchestra.” What was critical about Morrison’s prophecy was his excitement about this new possibility. He did not seem afraid of electronics, but rather open to what humans could do with machines to amplify the creative and emotional experience of music.

One of those brilliant kids who came along was Al Jourgensen of the industrial band Ministry. Industrial music is an aggressive fusion of electronic music and rock that employs harsh and provocative sounds created by any number of machines—from synthesizers to tools found in factories. Anything goes—nothing is off-limits. And Jourgensen has embraced Morrison’s enthusiasm for the possibility that machines can bring to creativity over the past four decades, propelling Ministry to be considered one of the greatest industrial bands of all time.

But in talking with Jourgensen for the Hardcore Humanism Podcast, the art is only an extension of his deeper philosophy on human nature—what he describes as the “universal fundamental.” The universal fundamental is that all beings throughout the universe are connected to one another. And the way we stay connected and communicate is by perpetually engaging in a creative and dynamic process by which we take in the information the world gives us, interpret it in our own unique way, and send it back out into the world. Jourgensen’s embrace of the range of sounds that make up industrial music in general and Ministry’s music, in particular, is his way of staying connected to the “universal fundamental.”

At the core of Jourgensen’s approach to the world and his art is open-mindedness. Like Morrison, Jorgensen did not fear but rather reveled in the new opportunities provided by industrial music. Intricate to this perspective is that all sounds are fair game for music—not just the ones made by traditional instruments. If we want to be truly aware of and connected to human experience and the world around us, we need to listen to and utilize all available sounds in art.

“Basically, since the 19th century, we’ve been living in an industrial age. All of a sudden, there’s been all these new noises that had never been heard before on this planet. You know, cotton gin, steam presses, printing presses, all these large machineries that make these audible sounds that have never been heard,” Jourgensen told me. “We’re familiar with these sounds. It took a long time to get used to these, and nobody thought of them as music … but now you can go on online anywhere and get plugins or apps of pretty much every sound that’s ever been made.”

[ click to continue reading at PT ]

Posted on June 22, 2021 by Editor

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Der Stonehenge

from The Daily Beast

The Cruel and Twisted Discoveries at Germany’s Stonehenge

by Candida Moss


Getty

When you think of Stonehenge what do you think of? England? Druids? Partygoers celebrating the solstice? A unique piece of ancient heritage? Chances are that you don’t think of Germany. As it turns out, however, Saxony-Anhalt has its own Early Bronze Age wooden henge—Ringheiligtum Pömmelter—and recent excavations have added more detail to its dark, distinctive history.

The reason that you might not have heard of Ringheiligtum Pömmelter is that it was only discovered in 1991. The monument, which is located near the village of Pömmelte, in the district of Salzlandkreis, was discovered when aerial photography of the region revealed the outline of the structure. Like Wiltshire’s Stonehenge, it is concentric and is made up of seven rings of raised banks, ditches, and palisades in which wooden posts were positioned. If you visit the 380-feet-wide circle today you can see the attractive reconstructed monument. The painted wooden posts erected at the site give tourists a sense of what it was like in its heyday.

[ click to continue reading at TDB ]

Posted on June 21, 2021 by Editor

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Death Of The Circus

from WaPo via MSN

Opinions | The disappearance of the circus from American life leaves us lonelier

by Les Standiford

Johnathan Lee Iverson et al. on a stage: Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson says farewell to the crowd alongside Paulo Dos Santos, center, and Tatiana Tchalabaev, right, at the end of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Uniondale, N.Y., in 2017. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson says farewell to the crowd alongside Paulo Dos Santos, center, and Tatiana Tchalabaev, right, at the end of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Uniondale, N.Y., in 2017. (Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

The cry “the circus is coming to town” once signaled a fourth major holiday, equivalent with Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July. Shops, public offices and schools closed, and an entire populace assembled to witness the parade of bands, clowns, exotic animals and bejeweled performers marching from the rail yards to the circus grounds, paced by aromatic elephants and shrieking calliope music all the way. But the circus did more than entertain. It reassured Americans that anything was possible.

The circus has roots extending back to Greek and Roman times when emperors stalked wild beasts in coliseums to the delight of crowds. It was revived in Turkey in the Middle Ages when acrobats walked ropes that stretched from one ship’s mast to that of another. During the 18th century, British equestrians found gainful employment after life in the calvary corps by performing impossible feats of horsemanship inside a carefully measured ring (42 feet in diameter to this day, maximizing the centripetal force that plants a performer upon the mount).

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on June 20, 2021 by Editor

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SpaceXcedrin

from The Observer

SpaceX’s Starship Worksite in Texas Is a Constant Headache for Regulators

By Sissi Cao

Space enthusiasts look at a prototype of SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft at the company’s Texas launch facility on September 28, 2019 in Boca Chica near Brownsville, Texas. Loren Elliott/Getty Images

SpaceX’s busy rocket testing activities in the remote beach town of Boca Chica in South Texas are increasingly becoming a headache for local residents and governments.

Last week, the Elon Musk-led rocket company received a notice from a county district attorney warning the company that it could be violating several state laws by closing public roads for extended periods of time and hiring unlicensed security guards to ward local residents off the closed area.

In the letter, first reported by Texas local television station KRGV, Cameron County district attorney Luis Saenz alleged that members of his staff, while attempting to access a public road near SpaceX’s test facilities to carry out an investigation on June 9, were “approached, stopped and detained” by a company security guard who they later found was not licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety per state law.

[ click to continue reading at The Observer ]

Posted on June 17, 2021 by Editor

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Go Blue!

from Quanta Magazine

How Animals Color Themselves With Nanoscale Structures

Animals sculpt the optical properties of their tissues at the nanoscale to give themselves “structural colors.” New work is piecing together how they do it.

by Viviane Callier

A pair of photographs showing a blue morpho butterfly and a close-up detail of its blue wing.
The stunning blue iridescence of the blue morpho butterfly results from the way that structures in its wing scales diffract and reflect blue light while absorbing other parts of the spectrum.

Peacocks, panther chameleons, scarlet macaws, clown fish, toucans, blue-ringed octopuses and so many more: The animal kingdom has countless denizens with extraordinarily colorful beauty. But in many cases, scientists know much more about how the animals use their colors than how they make them. New work continues to reveal those secrets, which often depend on the fantastically precise self-assembly of minuscule features in and on the feathers, scales, hair and skin — a fact that makes the answers intensely interesting to soft matter physicists and engineers in the photonics industry.

Many of the colors seen in nature, particularly in the plant kingdom, are produced by pigments, which reflect a portion of the light spectrum while absorbing the rest. Green pigments like chlorophyll reflect the green part of the spectrum but absorb the longer red and yellow wavelengths as well as the shorter blue ones. Which specific wavelengths get reflected or absorbed depends on the pigment’s molecular makeup and the exact distances between the atoms in its molecular structures.

[ click to continue reading at Quanta ]

Posted on June 16, 2021 by Editor

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Run Like Hell

from The New York Post

Roger Waters turns down ‘huge money’ for Facebook ad: ‘No f–kin’ way’

By Rob Bailey-Millado

Pink Floyd's Roger Waters says he turned an "a huge, huge amount of money" from that "little p--k" Mark Zuckerberg.
Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters says he turned down “a huge, huge amount of money” from that “little p–k” Mark Zuckerberg.

Roger Waters has revealed that Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg offered him big bucks to use Pink Floyd’s classic 1979 anthem “Another Brick in the Wall, Part 2” in an Instagram ad.

However, the co-founding member of the iconic rock band turned the “little p–k” down flat — with a cantankerously foulmouthed touch.

“It arrived this morning, with an offer for a huge, huge amount of money,” the 77-year-old bassist and composer said at a recent pro-Julian Assange event, Rolling Stone reported. “And the answer is, ‘F–k you. No f–in’ way.’”

He continued: “I only mention that because this is an insidious movement of them to take over absolutely everything. I will not be a party to this bulls–t, Zuckerberg.”

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on June 15, 2021 by Editor

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Yea! Coffee

from NYT via DNYUZ

The Health Benefits of Coffee

The Health Benefits of Coffee

Americans sure love their coffee. Even last spring when the pandemic shut down New York, nearly every neighborhood shop that sold takeout coffee managed to stay open, and I was amazed at how many people ventured forth to start their stay-at-home days with a favorite store-made brew.

One elderly friend who prepandemic had traveled from Brooklyn to Manhattan by subway to buy her preferred blend of ground coffee arranged to have it delivered. “Well worth the added cost,” she told me. I use machine-brewed coffee from pods, and last summer when it seemed reasonably safe for me to shop I stocked up on a year’s supply of the blends I like. (Happily, the pods are now recyclable.)

All of us should be happy to know that whatever it took to secure that favorite cup of Joe may actually have helped to keep us healthy. The latest assessments of the health effects of coffee and caffeine, its main active ingredient, are reassuring indeed. Their consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of all kinds of ailments, including Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, gallstones, depression, suicide, cirrhosis, liver cancer, melanoma and prostate cancer.

In fact, in numerous studies conducted throughout the world, consuming four or five eight-ounce cups of coffee (or about 400 milligrams of caffeine) a day has been associated with reduced death rates. In a study of more than 200,000 participants followed for up to 30 years, those who drank three to five cups of coffee a day, with or without caffeine, were 15 percent less likely to die early from all causes than were people who shunned coffee. Perhaps most dramatic was a 50 percent reduction in the risk of suicide among both men and women who were moderate coffee drinkers, perhaps by boosting production of brain chemicals that have antidepressant effects.

[ click to continue reading at DNYUZ ]

Posted on June 14, 2021 by Editor

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Ned Beatty Gone

from DEADLINE

Ned Beatty Dies: Oscar-Nominated Star Of ‘Network’ & ‘Deliverance’ With More Than 160 Screen Credits Was 83

By Matt Grobar

Ned Beatty, a prolific, Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor who did memorable turns in such films as NetworkDeliverance and Christopher Reeve’s first two Superman pics and was a three-season regular on Homicide: Life on the Street, died Sunday in his sleep. He was 83.

Beatty’s manager, Deborah Miller, confirmed the news to Deadline, saying the actor died of natural causes, surrounded by his family and loved ones. No other details about his death were provided.

“Ned was an iconic, legendary talent, as well as a dear friend,” said Miller, “and he will be missed by us all.”

Born on July 6, 1937 in Louisville, Kentucky, Beatty kicked off his career as an actor around the age of 19, when he appeared on stage in the play Wilderness Road. He spent his first 10 years in the profession working in theaters across Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana.

[ click to continue reading at DEADLINE ]

Posted on June 13, 2021 by Editor

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Bitcoin vs. The Volcano

from The Independent via Yahoo! News

El Salvador to use energy from volcanoes for bitcoin mining

by Vishwam Sankaran

El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, accompanied by US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson (out of frame), speaks during a joint press conference at Rosales Hospital in San Salvador  (AFP via Getty Images)
El Salvador’s president Nayib Bukele, accompanied by US Ambassador to El Salvador Ronald Johnson (out of frame), speaks during a joint press conference at Rosales Hospital in San Salvador (AFP via Getty Images)

Hours after becoming the first nation to authorise bitcoin as a legal tender, El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to plan to use geothermal energy from the country’s volcanoes for mining for the cryptocurrency.

“I’ve just instructed the president of @LaGeoSV (our state-owned geothermal electric company), to put up a plan to offer facilities for bitcoin mining with very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy from our volcanos,” Bukele posted on Twitter.

The Bitcoin law was approved by a “supermajority” gaining 62 out of 84 possible votes within the Central American country’s congress.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on June 12, 2021 by Editor

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Chainsmokers 3BLACKDOT Emo

from Variety

Chainsmokers Get Behind Scripted Film Set in Emo Music Scene, ‘Every Nite Is Emo Nite’ (EXCLUSIVE)

By Chris Willman

Emo Night feature film

The EDM-pop duo the Chainsmokers is among the backers of a scripted feature film, “Every Nite Is Emo Nite,” that is in development with the goal of placing fictional characters amid the real-life setting of the Emo Nite events that have gained in popularity after beginning on L.A.’s club circuit.

Participating in the development of a screenplay by Brandon Zuck are the Chainsmokers’ production company, Kick the Habit Productions; 3BLACKDOT, which recently announced a three-picture deal for horror films with Eli Roth and rapper Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson; Five All in the Fifth; and Emo Nite’s co-founders.

Although emo is not the Chainsmokers’ signature genre, the members of the duo, Drew Taggart and Alex Pall, said in a joint statement to Variety that “emo music has greatly influenced our lives, taste and the music we make. The community around the music is one of a kind, and we’re excited to showcase Brandon’s amazing story for the world to see.” 

Taggart and Pall’s producer partners in Kick the Habit are Dan Marcus and Adam Alpert. The producers for 3BD are James Frey, Reginald Cash and Mitchell Smith. The Five All in the Fifth producers on the project are Douglas Banker and Alex Garinger.

[ click to read entire article at Variety ]

Posted on June 11, 2021 by Editor

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Hell, I’m not a punk.

from Inside Hook

Richard Hell on New York City and Revisiting “Destiny Street” (Twice)

The legendary musician reflects on his final album

BY CHRIS COTONOU

Richard Hell reflects on "Destiny Street."
Richard Hell reflects on “Destiny Street.” Roberta Bayley

Richard Hell doesn’t like being called a punk. It’s surprising, considering he’s remembered as a punk innovator. He’s a man who defined New York’s 1970s CBGB era, influenced the Sex Pistols and was a member of some of the greatest punk bands of all time: Television, The Heartbreakers and The Voidoids — before walking away from it all. But he’s sure: “I’m not a punk.”

Speaking to InsideHook from his home, Hell is an introspective person. He has already lived three or four different lives outside of music, having arrived in New York as a poet, then a publisher, an author, an actor and a film critic. He has even directed a short film. But it’s the records where he solidified his status as an icon: that skinny, bare-chested frame on the cover of Blank Generation, the hazy, mischievous glare — tired after weeks, maybe months, of shenanigans. And his singing, which was more playful and debonair than his growling punk contemporaries, set him apart. 

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on June 10, 2021 by Editor

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Koons Dada Beeple

from NEWSWEEK

Don’t Dismiss Digital Art

by MAX RASKIN, ADJUNCT PROFESSOR OF LAW, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

A woman looks at a NFT
A woman looks at a NFT by Ryoji Ikeda titled “A Single Number That Has 10,000,086 Digits” during a media preview on June 4, 2021, at Sotheby’s for the Natively Digital: A Curated NFT Sale Online Auction to take place June 10, 2021. TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Art is now digital, and a debate is raging: Are non-fungible tokens (NFTs) worth the exorbitant prices they are selling for? The simple answer is yes. If someone voluntarily pays a huge amount for something, he values it more than the money he hands over. Others may disagree with his choice, but that’s what makes a free society.

How else could you explain an “invisible” sculpture that recently sold for over $18,000? Price is guided by scarcity and subjective valuation—not by the cost of raw materials and labor or objective truth. Sculpturist Jeff Koons broke a record several years ago selling a rabbit statue made of stainless steel for $91 million. If you broke down his creation into scrap, it’d be worth a few feet of train track. Yet this was heralded as a wise investment in the art world.

With money machines around the world humming, it is not surprising that pieces of digital art have been selling at record prices. More money is chasing fewer goods, which causes prices to rise. A virtual collage from the artist known as Beeple recently sold at Christie’s for $69 million.

[ click to continue reading at NEWSWEEK ]

Posted on June 9, 2021 by Editor

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The Future of The Car is The Skateboard

from The Wall Street Journal

The Future of Classic Porsches and Jaguars? Electrification

Owners of vintage sports cars and hot rods are giving them a second life by installing recycled Tesla powertrains. Dan Neil gets the lowdown on EV conversions.

By Dan Neil

ZOOM SCHOOL San Diego-based Zelectric’s Tesla-powered 1968 Porsche 912. Its 500-hp drive unit is installed between the rear wheels. The upper part of the former engine bay has been transformed into trunk space. Steering and brakes are unassisted. PHOTO: ZELECTRIC

“She called me on Monday to tell me how much she loved it,” Mr. Davis said, “and in the next breath how she could not wait for me to get it out of her garage. It reeked of gasoline and was dripping oil on the floor. It’s hard to start. It’s got two chokes, an old four-speed transmission. So what happens? Her passion, her dream of the car fades away.”

“When she gets it back,” Mr. Davis said, “she can just press the pedal and go.”

Gasoline-to-EV conversions are not new. I met a JPL scientist in Pasadena, Calif., who had done the same to his MG British sports car in 1965, using lead-acid batteries. Facebook and the website EValbum.com document decades of such projects, from mild to wild, mowers to dragsters, by over-functioning DIY Quixotes.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on June 8, 2021 by Editor

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Serial Seducers

from The New York Post

Woman reveals dark hobby of seducing infamous serial killers by mail

By Dana Kennedy

Barbara Dickstein (center) and late husband befriended killers through letters.
Barbara Dickstein (center) and late husband befriended killers through letters. NY Post composite; Stephen Yang

A couple in Yonkers had a dark hobby for decades: seducing serial killers by mail.

For more than 20 years, at least 100 of the country’s most ­vicious serial and celebrity murderers — including John Wayne Gacy, Jeffrey Dahmer, Richard Ramirez, “Son of Sam” ­David Berkowitz, Charles Manson, ­Arthur Shawcross, Edmund Kemper, Karla Faye Tucker, Robert John Bardo and Gerard Schaefer, among others — ­eagerly corresponded with Barbara and Richie Dickstein.

To “hook” the criminals, Barbara and Richie wrote letters pretending to be whatever turned on the killers — like when she sent photos of a local stripper and pretended it was her to tantalize Ramirez.

“If you look at most of these serial killers’ childhoods, they never had any love. I think they thought that with us, ‘Here’s someone willing to show me love and I’ll try it with them,’ ” Barbara told The Post.

[ click to continue reading at NYP ]

Posted on June 7, 2021 by Editor

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As Dinosaurs Roam The Earth

from Study Finds

No joke: Nearly half of Americans think dinosaurs STILL roam the Earth!

by Chris Melore

NEW YORK — When did “Jurassic Park” go from a blockbuster movie to a conspiracy theory? A shocking new study finds nearly half of Americans say they’re convinced dinosaurs still exist in some remote corner of the world.

Researchers polling 2,000 adults discovered that four in 10 think the famous prehistoric inhabitants existed between 2,000 and 10,000 years ago – rather than between 66 to 230 million years ago. One in five even believe the dinosaur population only went extinct 100 years ago.

Fifty-four percent also believe all dinosaurs only lived in Africa and North America – unaware that scientists have unearthed their bones all over the world. Despite there being more than 1,000 different species of dinosaur, the typical adult can name just four – with the Tyrannosaurus rex being the most recognizable of all.

[ click to continue reading at Study Finds ]

Posted on June 6, 2021 by Editor

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Sticky Sticky

from Sports Illustrated

‘This Should Be the Biggest Scandal in Sports’

The inside story of how rampant pitch-doctoring in MLB is pumping pitchers up and deflating offenses.

by STEPHANIE APSTEIN AND ALEX PREWITT

To understand the fiasco of baseball’s 2021 season, which people around the game describe as sullied by rampant cheating to a degree not seen since the steroid era, all you have to do is pick up a ball.

Then try to put it back down.

One ball made its way into an NL dugout last week, where players took turns touching a palm to the sticky material coating it and lifting the baseball, adhered to their hand, into the air. Another one, corralled in a different NL dugout, had clear-enough fingerprints indented in the goo that opponents could mimic the pitcher’s grip. A third one, also in the NL, was so sticky that when an opponent tried to pull the glue off, three inches of seams came off with it.

[ click to continue reading at SI ]

Posted on June 5, 2021 by Editor

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Willie

from The Wall Street Journal

Why Willie Nelson Is America’s Favorite Outlaw

At 88, Willie Nelson is still singing, writing, championing the causes he believes in—and staying true to his renegade Texas roots

By Alan Light

PHOTO: MARK SELIGER

Being stuck at home has been brutal for many of us, but it’s different for Willie Nelson. He’s spent most of his life on a tour bus, logging over 100 shows a year for decades; his signature song is “On the Road Again.” The guy wasn’t trained to be an indoor cat.

His response to quarantine has been a schedule and productivity that would be daunting for someone half his age. In the past year, Nelson has released two albums—First Rose of Spring and, more recently, That’s Life, songs from Frank Sinatra’s catalog; written his 10th book, Willie Nelson’s Letters to America; organized and performed at multiple livestream benefits (including the 35th annual concert for Farm Aid, an organization he helped found); delivered a keynote address at the (virtual) South by Southwest festival; recorded a version of “I’ll Be Seeing You” as a PSA for Covid vaccination; launched a new cannabis convention; and turned up on additional duets and recordings. It’s not the same as being on the bus, but it’s not a bad showing for a guy who turned 88 in April.

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on June 4, 2021 by Editor

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Even Cooler Than NFT

from HypeBeast

Italian Artist Salvatore Garau Has Just Sold an Invisible Sculpture for $18,000 USD

Made from “air and spirit.”

By Ambrose Leung

Italian artist Salvatore Garau has just sold an invisible sculpture for $18,000 USD. The Io Sono (I am) sculpture, as the artist explains, exists but just not in material form, and is actually more like a “vacuum.”

The 67-year-old went on to elaborate that, “the vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that ‘nothing’ has a weight. Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.” Much like how we “shape a god we’ve never seen.”

The “sculpture” is intended to be displayed in a 5×5-foot square and must be displayed in a private space free from obstructions where lighting and climate control are not required. Reiterating that even if you can’t see it, it does exist, Garau included a certificate of authentication to the purchaser.

[ click to continue reading at HYPEBEAST ]

Posted on June 3, 2021 by Editor

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Desert Drone Chase

from The Drive

New Details Emerge On The “Highly Modified Drone” That Outran Police Helicopters Over Tucson

The drone was first detected near an energy storage facility across from Davis-Monthan AFB before evading two pursuing law enforcement helicopters.

BY BRETT TINGLEY

Last month, The War Zone reported on a bizarre drone encounter that occurred in the skies above Tucson, Arizona. According to reports, on the evening of February 9, 2021 around 10:30 PM local time, a helicopter belonging to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP, encountered what has been described by KOLD’s Dan Marries, who interviewed an FBI agent assigned to the case, as a “highly modified drone” in controlled airspace. Another helicopter operated by the Tucson Police Department’s Air Support Unit was called in to help track and potentially identify the drone alongside the one from CBP, but the drone was able to evade them both and remain unidentified. Shortly after the incident was disclosed, the FBI released a statement asking for help from the public regarding any information related to the encounter. 

In the days since we first reported on the Tucson drone encounter, individuals have reached out with new information that adds further context to this still-developing story. A source with direct knowledge of the incident’s details told The War Zone they believed the drone was highly unlikely to be battery-powered based on the altitude, distance, and speed at which it flew. The source also stated it seems as though the drone was equipped with an infrared camera based how it was able to dynamically maneuver, including in relation to the helicopters chasing it, despite the low level of ambient light at the time of the incident. They also added that it is “only logical that it was looking towards DM’s [Davis Monthan AFB] flight line” based on its location. 

[ click to continue reading at The Drive ]

Posted on June 2, 2021 by Editor

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Super-prodigy

from Fox 5 NY

Piano prodigy practices for Carnegie Hall performance

By Stacey Delikat

GREENWICH, Conn. – Her fingers may be small, her tiny feet far from the pedals, but Brigitte Xie has some massive talent.

Xie is just 3 years old but in six months she has progressed more on the piano than some people do over the course of years.

“She is really exceptional,” said Felicia Feng Zhang, her teacher. “She listens so well. When I demonstrate, she really watches what I did and imitates well.”

Last summer as the pandemic wore on, Xie’s parents, Nicole Sun and Tao Xie of Ridgefield, Connecticut, were looking for something to keep their toddler busy. They connected with Zhang, an award-winning piano teacher. After a few online lessons, Xie’s parents brought her to Zhang’s Greenwich studio for in-person lessons.

[ click to continue reading at Fox 5 NY ]

Posted on June 1, 2021 by Editor

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Steve Forte Shows His Hand

from The LA Times via MSN

The world’s greatest cardsharp reveals all

by Kevin Pang

Fremont Street, once the world capital of swank, used to be Steve Forte’s turf.

But on a spring day, he was just another face in a crowd, snaking through two relics of downtown Las Vegas, Binion’s and the Four Queens casino. No one bothered the man many consider the greatest card handler who ever lived.

Within the world of casino experts and magicians, Forte handles a deck of playing cards the way Roger Federer wields a tennis racket. Not just among the best, but the best, full stop. In his hands, cards appear to shuffle but remain in perfect order. Cards apparently dealt from the top of the deck are taken invisibly from the bottom.

After years of being a reclusive figure, the 65-year-old Forte has published “Gambling Sleight of Hand,” his life’s work of underground card moves in a two-volume book of nearly 1,100 pages. Among sleight-of-hand aficionados, the book was a once-in-a-lifetime sensation: Even at $300, the first printing of 1,000 sold out in one week.

On this day, Forte agreed to visit places he doesn’t have much use for now. But soon enough, he showed his skill, making jaw-dropping observations about the games unfolding around him.

[ click to continue reading at MSN ]

Posted on May 31, 2021 by Editor

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Thermometer Fun

from TIME

Melting Butter, Poisonous Mushrooms and the Strange History of the Invention of the Thermometer

BY PHIL JAEKL

Placement of a thermometer on an outside wall. Figure 1 from 'Traittez de barometres, thermometres, et notiometres, ou hygrometres' by Joachim d'Alence, Published in 1688.
Placement of a thermometer on an outside wall. Figure 1 from ‘Traittez de barometres, thermometres, et notiometres, ou hygrometres’ by Joachim d’Alence, Published in 1688. Photo12/Universal Images Group/Getty Imahes

In the early 17th century, during the the Scientific Revolution, when the frontiers of discovery were marked by new ways to quantify natural phenomena, Galileo Galilei was forging new, innovative and empirically based methods in astronomy, physics and engineering. He also got humanity started toward a lesser known but crucial advance: the ability to measure heat.

During this era, a flurry of measuring devices and units of measurement were invented, eventually forging the standard units we have in place today. Galileo is credited with the invention of the thermoscope, a device for gauging heat. But it’s not the same as a thermometer. It couldn’t measure—meter—temperature because it had no scale.

Around 1612, with a name so nice he used it twice, Venetian scholar Santorio Santorio made crucial conceptual advances to the thermoscope. He’s been credited with adding a scale—an advancement about as fundamental as the invention of the device itself. The early thermoscopes basically consisted of a vertically oriented glass tube with a bulb at the top and a base suspended in a pool of liquid such as water, which ran up a length of the column. As the temperature of the air in the bulb increased, its expansion changed the height of the liquid in the column. Santorio’s writings indicate that he set the maximum by heating the thermoscope’s bulb with a candle flame, and he set the minimum by contacting it with melting snow.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on May 30, 2021 by Editor

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Mo Spin

from WIRED

One Man’s Amazing Journey to the Center of the Bowling Ball

Mo Pinel spent a career reshaping the ball’s inner core to harness the power of physics. He revolutionized the sport—and spared no critics along the way.

by BRENDAN I. KOERNER

diptych with half of a bowling ball with its core visible on the left side and a closeup of a bowling Tshirt that says MO.
PHOTOGRAPH: ELIZABETH RENSTROM

THE SWEET CLANG of scattering pins echoed through Western Bowl, a cavernous 68-lane bowling alley on the edge of Cincinnati. It was day one of the 1993 Super Hoinke, a Thanksgiving weekend tournament that drew hundreds of the nation’s top amateurs—teachers, accountants, and truck drivers who excelled at the art of scoring strikes. They came to the Super Hoinke (“HOING-key”) to vie for a $100,000 grand prize and bowling-world fame.

Between games, many bowlers drifted to the alley’s pro shop to soak in the wisdom of Maurice “Mo” Pinel, a star ball designer for the sporting-goods giant AMF. Pinel had come to Cincinnati to promote his latest creation, the Sumo. The bowling ball had launched the year before, backed by a TV commercial featuring a ginormous Japanese wrestler bellyflopping down a lane, with the tagline “Flat out, more power than you’ve ever seen in a bowling center.” The ball had quickly become a sensation, hailed for the way it naturally darted sideways across the lane—a quality known as flare. To congratulate Pinel on the sale of the 100,000th Sumo, AMF had given him a chunky medallion embossed with writing in kanji, a bauble that dangled from his neck as he held court at the Super Hoinke.

The paunchy, shaggy-haired Pinel spent hours regaling the pro-shop crowd with his opinions on the Sumo and all things ball-related. His blunt commentary, delivered in the thick Brooklynese of his youth, ranged from the correct technique for drilling finger holes to his rival designers’ failure to appreciate Newton’s second law. The audience lapped up his acerbic takes on how to improve the sport’s most essential piece of equipment.

Fifteen-year-old Ronald Hickland Jr. was among the enthralled. A gifted math and science student who was falling in love with bowling, Hickland was captivated by Pinel’s zest for breaking down the technical minutiae of why balls roll the way they do. He was equally impressed by the flashiness of Pinel’s jewelry: In addition to the gaudy kanji necklace, Pinel sported a top-of-the-line Movado wristwatch—a luxury he was able to afford thanks to the $3-per-ball royalty he was getting from AMF.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on May 29, 2021 by Editor

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Mead Running Low

from CNN

First-ever Colorado River water shortage is now almost certain, new projections show

By Pedram Javaheri and Drew Kann

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US and a critical water supply for millions across the Southwest, has declined about 140 feet since 2000 and now sits at just 37% of full capacity.

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US and a critical water supply for millions across the Southwest, has declined about 140 feet since 2000 and now sits at just 37% of full capacity.

Thousands of people will celebrate Memorial Day this weekend on the water of Lake Mead, just 24 miles east of Las Vegas on the border of Arizona and Nevada.What they may not realize is that the oasis they’re enjoying in the desert is entering uncharted territory, with significant ramifications for millions across the Southwest in the years to come.

On Tuesday, the water level in Lake Mead — the largest US reservoir, and fed by the Colorado River — fell below the elevation of 1,075 feet. It has hit that mark only a handful of times since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, but it always recovered shortly after. It may not this time, at least not any time soon.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on May 28, 2021 by Editor

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Tasmanian Devils Return

from DNYUZ

In Australia, Births of Tasmanian Devils Are a Milestone After 3,000 Years

MELBOURNE, Australia — Pink, hairless, deaf and blind, the roughly month-old joeys were but the size of a shelled peanut.

Yet they were a momentous discovery for the conservationists who had set off across a dense eucalyptus forest in the dawn mist in hopes of finding them. About 3,000 years after Tasmanian devils were wiped out on the Australian mainland, seven babies were born earlier this month on the continent in their natural terrain.

“It was very moving,” said Tim Faulkner, the president of Aussie Ark, the conservation group that has been leading attempts to re-establish populations of the devils, long after they were eliminated on the mainland, most likely by wild Australian dogs, known as dingoes.

[ click to continue reading at dnyuz ]

Posted on May 27, 2021 by Editor

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No More Love

from The Spectator

The sexual counterrevolution is coming

America’s young elite is turning against free love

by Mary Harrington

sexual

Charlotte is a 23-year-old Harvard graduate. Beautiful and willowy, she grew up in — her words — ‘a super-liberal environment’. You might expect to find her Instagram full of sexy, pouting pictures. But Charlotte has deleted all the bikini photos from her online life. And six months ago, she embraced ‘modest dress’: nothing that exposes her collarbones or shoulders and nothing that reveals her legs above the knee.

Narayan is seven years older than Charlotte. He is what matchmaking 18th-century matrons might have described as ‘very eligible’: a clean-living, highly educated and charismatic single guy with a well-paid job in tech. He’s the embodiment of Jane Austen’s famous observation that ‘a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’. And contra all the modern laments about single men preferring to play the field, Narayan actually wants to get married.

Narayan and his close male friends are all around the same age. They’re all elite guys working in tech and finance — and all either dating to marry, or already married. In what amounts to an informal 21st-century marriage brokerage, they and the wives of already-married members of their friend group collude to track down potential partners. But they’re picky — and Narayan is blunt about the criteria. It’s not just about being educated, ambitious or pretty. ‘Guys who say they don’t care about their wife’s sexual history are straight-up lying,’ he tells me. All the men in his group, he says, would strongly prefer their future wives to be virgins on marriage. Some categorically rule out women who aren’t: ‘No hymen, no diamond’.

[ click to continue reading at The Spectator ]

Posted on May 25, 2021 by Editor

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Musk v. Bezos

from WaPo via San Francisco Chronicle

The rivalry between Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos already was intense. Now it’s extending to the moon.

by Christian Davenport

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
Washington Post photo by Jonathan Newton

WASHINGTON – In a flyer distributed on Capitol Hill last week, Elon Musk’s SpaceX warned that legislation now being considered would reward “Jeff Bezos with a $10 billion sole-source hand-out” that would tie up NASA’s moon plans and hand “space leadership to China.”

Bezos’ Blue Origin space company countered quickly and forcefully: “Lie.” “Lie.” “Lie,” it said of each of the allegations in SpaceX’s paper. And added: “What is Elon Musk afraid of … a little competition?” (Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

The dueling documents are the latest point of tension in a long-simmering rivalry between the world’s two wealthiest men and billionaire “space barons” who have sparred on and off for years in their quest to privatize human space exploration. Musk and Bezos have fought over a launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center, battled over a patent over landing rockets and have argued over which of them actually pulled off that feat first.

Musk’s SpaceX and Bezos’ Amazon also are competing to put thousands of satellites in Earth orbit that could beam Internet signals to ground stations on Earth.

[ click to continue reading at chron.com ]

Posted on May 24, 2021 by Editor

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FutureSports

from WIRED

Gaming Influencers Are the Future of Esports

Top players have left pro leagues to pursue streaming full-time as the industry veers more toward content creators.

esport athlete head in hands in frustration
There’s a reason esports pros are called athletes: It’s a tough job, mentally and physically. Now, some top gamers are walking away.PHOTOGRAPH: RIOT GAMES/GETTY IMAGES

LUCAS “MENDO” HÅKANSSON was playing video games for work, but he was not having a good time. He’d sacrificed a lot to be a pro gamer, dropping out of high school to practice Overwatch for up to 18 hours a day. When the Houston Outlaws tapped him to play Overwatch professionally in 2017, he was thrilled. It seemed like his efforts had finally earned him his dream job. Then, reality struck.

There’s a reason why esports pros are called athletes. Håkansson’s schedule with the Outlaws was rigid. He woke up, warmed up, and then spent the rest of the day practicing Overwatch in a tiny, windowless room. “It was honestly a miserable experience being there,” he said. His contract limited when he could stream on Twitch; he says he had to keep the focus on the league, not himself. And always, there was the looming fear that if Activision Blizzard, Overwatch’s publisher, tweaked the game too much, he’d have to relearn his top characters—or be out of a job.

After a season in the Overwatch League, Håkansson quit esports to become a full-time content creator instead. He was quickly signed by another esports organization, Team Liquid—not just to compete, but to grow his celebrity as a gaming influencer. These days he plays another shooter, Riot Games’ Valorant, on Twitch, where he has 621,000 followers. Håkansson says he is happier and more stable now, and although the Overwatch League has increased its focus on player well-being, he predicts that more athletes will follow his path. (The league did not respond to our request for comment.) “I think that most people who can, will, if they haven’t already. And a lot of people already have.”

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on May 23, 2021 by Editor

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The Sun Always Wins

from Penn-Live

Solar storms are back, threatening life on Earth as we know it

By The Associated Press

Solar storm
While invisible and harmless to anyone on the Earth’s surface, the geomagnetic waves unleashed by solar storms can cripple power grids, jam radio communications, bathe airline crews in dangerous levels of radiation and knock critical satellites off kilter.

A few days ago, millions of tons of super-heated gas shot off from the surface of the sun and hurtled 90 million miles toward Earth.

The eruption, called a coronal mass ejection, wasn’t particularly powerful on the space-weather scale, but when it hit the Earth’s magnetic field it triggered the strongest geomagnetic storm seen for years. There wasn’t much disruption this time — few people probably even knew it happened — but it served as a reminder the sun has woken from a yearslong slumber.

[ click to continue reading at Penn-Live ]

Posted on May 22, 2021 by Editor

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Happy Little Ugly People

from The Daily Beast via Yahoo! News

Sex, Deceit, and Scandal: The Ugly War Over Bob Ross’ Ghost

Bob Ross Estate
Bob Ross Estate

by Alston Ramsay

Bob Ross is everywhere these days: bobbleheads, Chia Pets, waffle makers, underwear emblazoned with his shining face, even energy drinks “packed with the joy and positivity of Bob Ross!” Whatever merchandising opportunity is out there, kitsch or otherwise, it’s a safe bet his brand-management company is on it—despite his having shuffled off the mortal coil more than 25 years ago.

He’s also a smash hit on social media, where he feels more like a Gen-Z influencer than a once semi-obscure PBS celebrity who rose to fame in the 1980s on the back of his bouffant hairdo, hypnotic singsong baritone, and a timeless message about the beauty of the world around us. His official YouTube page has logged close to half a billion views. He’s been satirized by the comic-book anti-hero Deadpool, the world-infamous street artist Banksy, and even Jim Carrey as Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live.

If that weren’t enough, he’s hawking Mountain Dew in a new CGI commercial that’s right on the edge of the uncanny valley, and Netflix has a feature-length documentary about him due this summer by the prolific actor-producer Melissa McCarthy.

Yes, Bob Ross is a beacon of light in an ever-darkening world—an endless stream of soothing bon mots perfectly at home in the meme-and-merchandise internet era.

He was also recently in federal court. Or, to be more precise, his eponymous company Bob Ross, Inc., was. Now run by the daughter of Bob’s original business partners—Annette and Walt Kowalski—Bob Ross, Inc., was defending itself against claims that it had made millions of dollars by illegally licensing Bob’s image over the last decade, expanding far beyond the company’s original core business of selling Bob Ross-themed paints and paint supplies.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on May 21, 2021 by Editor

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Grodin Gone

Posted on May 20, 2021 by Editor

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RW GTA

from AP

Street racing surges across US amid coronavirus pandemic

By ANDREW SELSKY

Jaye Sanford, a 52-year-old mother of two, was driving home in suburban Atlanta on Nov. 21 when a man in a Dodge Challenger muscle car who was allegedly street racing crashed into her head-on, killing her.

She is one of the many victims of a surge in street racing that has taken root across America during the coronavirus pandemic, prompting police crackdowns and bills aimed at harsher punishments.

Experts say TV shows and movies glorifying street racing had already fueled interest in recent years. Then shutdowns associated with the pandemic cleared normally clogged highways as commuters worked from home.

[ click to continue reading at AP ]

Posted on May 19, 2021 by Editor

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Picasso 103

from France 24

Picasso painting sells for $103 mn in New York: auction house

The painting 'Femme assise près d'une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)' is the fifth one by Pablo Picasso to sell for more than $100 million
The painting ‘Femme assise près d’une fenêtre (Marie-Thérèse)’ is the fifth one by Pablo Picasso to sell for more than $100 million DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS AFP/File

Pablo Picasso’s “Woman sitting by a window (Marie-Therese)” sold Thursday for $103.4 million at Christie’s in New York, the auction house said.

The painting, completed in 1932, was sold for $90 million, which rose to $103.4 million when fees and commissions were added, after 19 minutes of bidding, Christie’s said.

The sale confirms the vitality of the art market despite the Covid-19 pandemic — but also the special status of Picasso, who was born in 1881 and died in 1973.

[ click to continue reading at France 24 ]

Posted on May 18, 2021 by Editor

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