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The Deadliest Killer Ever

from The New York Times

The Mosquitoes Are Coming for Us 

They are our apex predator, the deadliest hunters of human beings on the planet.

By Timothy C. Winegard

Credit: Armando Veve

It has been one of the most aggravating sounds on earth for more than 100 million years — the humming buzz of a mosquito.

She gently lands on your ankle and inserts two serrated mandible cutting blades and saws into your skin, while two other retractors open a passage for the proboscis. With this straw she sucks your blood, while a sixth needle pumps in saliva that contains an anticoagulant that prevents that blood from clotting. This shortens her feeding time, lessening the likelihood that you splat her across your ankle.

The female mosquito needs your blood to grow her eggs. Please don’t feel singled out. She bites everyone. There is no truth to the myths that mosquitoes prefer women over men or blondes and redheads over those with darker hair. She does, however, play favorites. Type O blood seems to be the vintage of choice. Stinky feet emit a bacterium that woos famished females, as do perfumes. As a parting gift, she leaves behind an itchy bump (an allergic reaction to her saliva) and potentially something far worse: infection with one of several deadly diseases, including malaria, Zika, West Nile, dengue and yellow fever.

Mosquitoes are our apex predator, the deadliest hunter of human beings on the planet. A swarming army of 100 trillion or more mosquitoes patrols nearly every inch of the globe, killing about 700,000 people annually. Researchers suggest that mosquitoes may have killed nearly half of the 108 billion humans who have ever lived across our 200,000-year or more existence.

Flying solo, the mosquito does not directly harm anyone. It is the diseases she transmits that cause an endless barrage of death. Yet without her, these pathogens could not be vectored to humans. Without her, human history would be completely unrecognizable.

The mosquito and her diseases have accompanied traders, travelers, soldiers and settlers (and their captive African slaves) around the world and have been far more lethal than any manufactured weapons or inventions.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on July 28, 2019 by Editor

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Cruise Clownpocalypse

from The Mirror

Clown ‘starts violent brawl on cruise ship as passengers use plates for weapons’

Families feared for their lives as chaos erupted on the P&O Britannia cruise following a boozy patriotic party where large amounts of alcohol were consumed

ByLatifa Yedroudj

A passenger dressed in a clown outfit sparked a massive brawl on a P&O cruise which left several staff members injured, according to reports.

The huge fight broke out on board a P&O Britannia cruise with families running to hide as passengers reportedly used plates as weapons.

Emergency services were called to the ship’s 16th floor restaurant at 2am on Friday morning.

Paramedics tended to the injured staff who tried to control the massive fight that erupted between passengers.

The guests allegedly threw plates and furniture at each other and there was “blood everywhere”, a witness said.

The fight broke out following a “patriotic” black-tie event on board the cruise ship on Thursday evening with “large amounts of alcohol consumed”, reporter Richard Gaisford said on Twitter .

According to a witness at the scene, passengers were upset after one guest dressed up as a clown despite the ship’s no fancy dress code.

[ click to continue reading at The Mirror ]

Posted on July 27, 2019 by Editor

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Once Upon A Tarantino

from The New Yorker

Quentin Tarantino Tweaks History in “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood”

Forging a style from the scraps of a consuming culture, the director alters the history of the Manson Family murders.

By Anthony Lane

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio star in Quentin Tarantino’s film. Illustration by Adrian Tomine

Cars and songs. To be exact: the sight of a car bowling along, at speed, while a song cries out on the soundtrack. That, in the end, is what Quentin Tarantino loves more than anything; more than crappy old TV shows, more than boxes of cereal, more than violence so rabid that it practically foams, and more, if you can believe it, than the joys of logorrhea. His latest work, “Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood,” is a declaration of that love. There are many scenes in which the characters—folks like Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt)—motor around Los Angeles without a care. To call those scenes the best thing in the film is not a slight upon Tarantino. As he, of all people, is aware, they are the kinds of scene that play in our movie memories, years after the event, on a helpless and happy loop.

Rick Dalton is an actor, just about. It’s 1969, and he’s worried that, sooner or later, somebody will say that he used to be big in pictures. He’s not yet over the hill, but he’s well past the peak. Having starred in “Bounty Law,” on television, in the nineteen-fifties, he is reduced to playing heavies and scumbags; and their sole purpose, as an agent named Marvin Schwarzs (Al Pacino) explains to Rick, is to be bested by the hero. Getting bested is the worst. Viewers come to see you as expendable. Still, it’s a job, and Rick likes nothing more, even now, than sitting down with his buddy Cliff and a six-pack of cold ones, watching an episode of “The F.B.I.,” and waiting for the moment when the villain—Rick, of course—gets to deliver his scumbag line, with a sneer on his scumbag face.

[ click to continue reading at TNY ]

Posted on July 26, 2019 by Editor

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The Funniest Revisited

Posted on July 25, 2019 by Editor

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Rutger Hauer Gone

from BBC

Rutger Hauer: Blade Runner actor dies aged 75

Rutger Hauer
Image captionHauer played a synthetic human in Blade Runner

Actor Rutger Hauer, who starred in 1982’s Blade Runner, has died at the age of 75. The star died in the Netherlands on Friday after a short illness, his agent confirmed. 

Hauer played the murderous replicant Roy Batty in Blade Runner, which was directed by Ridley Scott and also starred Harrison Ford.

Hauer’s character gives a famous speech during a face-off with Ford at the end of Blade Runner, dialogue which he helped write himself. 

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe,” he is seen telling Ford. “Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”

Hauer is quoted as telling an interviewer his character – who had only a four-year lifespan – wanted to “make his mark on existence”.

“The replicant in the final scene, by dying,” he said, “shows Deckard [Ford’s character] what a real man is made of.”

[ click to continue reading at BBC ]

Posted on July 24, 2019 by Editor

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The Greatest Revisited

Posted on July 23, 2019 by Editor

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Avoiding The Knob

from The New York Times

The Lonely Pursuit of Air Hockey Greatness

Yes, air hockey is a professional sport. Join a master and his student on a quest for the championship — and a regulation table that isn’t broken.

By Allie Conti

Ms. Cash, in training. (Note the grip on the mallet, avoiding the knob, the sure sign of a novice.)
Ms. Cash, in training. (Note the grip on the mallet, avoiding the knob, the sure sign of a novice.) CreditGabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

At a bar in Brooklyn this spring, when the hockey playoffs were still going on, a guy with a nose ring and glasses approached a visitor from Toronto who was watching the Maple Leafs game on a small TV in the corner of the bar. He challenged the Leafs fan to a game of air hockey and even offered to buy him a beer if he won.

He neglected to mention that he was currently ranked No. 10 in the world and was almost certainly the best air hockey player in New York.

His name was Justin Flores, and he had been coming to Ontario, a dive bar in Williamsburg, for weeks, waiting for anybody to approach the table. He’d recently found a student — a New Yorker named Liz Cash, who hoped to become the top-ranked female player in the world, and he had her training with the appropriate intensity. He himself was also getting ready for the World Championships that were set for the end of July in Colorado Springs. Both he and his mentee are attending and fully expect to achieve glory if not win much in the way of money.

But he was always on the lookout for more disciples, and he was always up for a game.

When the Canadian sidled over between periods, Mr. Flores was visibly pumped. If it was hard for him to attract opponents, it was no problem drawing a crowd once a game was underway. For one thing, Mr. Flores, who is 30, holds the mallet by its edge, not by the knob, the way most people do, which is the mark of a novice. He also knows how to put the puck into a so-called circle drift, gently cycling it back and forth before executing a killer shot.

Like a true hustler, Mr. Flores let the Canadian score a few points. The subsequent annihilation of his opponent drew stares. One bearded observer took the Juul out of his mouth and looked stunned. “I’ve never seen anyone play like that,” he said.

[ click to continue reading at NYT ]

Posted on July 22, 2019 by Editor

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Skip Trace Queen

from WIRED

THE WORLD’S BEST BOUNTY HUNTER IS 4’11”. HERE’S HOW SHE HUNTS

by Randall Sullivan

BRIAN FINKE

AT 4’11” AND just over 100 pounds, Michelle Gomez doesn’t look like the sort of person you’d hire to retrieve earthmoving equipment stolen by a Peruvian crime family. But in the summer of 2013, that’s exactly what she was doing.

Gomez, the proprietor of a one-woman operation in Lockhart, Texas, called Unlimited Recoveries, is one of the best skip tracers in the world. A combination bill collector, bounty hunter, and private investigator, a skip tracer finds people and things that have disappeared on purpose. Gomez specializes in “hard-to-locate recoveries”—she prefers cases others can’t solve. To track down the fleet of Caterpillar wheel loaders taken by the Peruvians, Gomez reached out to the estranged wife of the family’s patriarch, telling the woman that she was pregnant with her husband’s child. The ruse worked: Eventually the wife told Gomez that the heavy equipment was on its way to a construction site in South America.

For Gomez, 43, skip tracing is as much about stalking and capturing elusive prey as it is about getting paid. Today much of that hunting is done digitally, and Gomez has made an art of combing through cyberspace and finding the status updates, financial records, and location blips that virtually everyone leaves behind in the modern age. Gomez’s digital background stretches back to childhood, when her parents, both IBM engineers, insisted that the 10-year-old Michelle build a computer from scratch. “I even had to do my own soldering,” she remembers. The experience laid a foundation for the skills that have made her so good at finding people. “Profiling a subject is a lot like constructing a motherboard,” Gomez says. “You have to see connections that are invisible to other people by filling the spaces between with information.”

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on July 21, 2019 by Editor

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Humans Are Awesome

Posted on July 20, 2019 by Editor

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Uranium Super Snake Yeah!

from The Independent

Radioactive uranium, whiskey and rattlesnake found in stolen car pulled over by police

Stephen Jennings, 40, told officers he was trying to create a ‘super snake’

by Emma Snaith

Stephen Jennings, 40, was  found with a rattlesnake, uranium, a gun and an open bottle of whiskey in a stolen car
Stephen Jennings, 40, was found with a rattlesnake, uranium, a gun and an open bottle of whiskey in a stolen car ( Logan County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office/AP )

A pair of alleged car thieves were found with radioactive uranium, whiskey and a rattlesnake in their vehicle when they were pulled over in a routine traffic stop, police said.

They were initially stopped after police noticed their vehicle’s licence plate had expired, but officers soon noticed the timber rattlesnake in a box on the backseat.

Mr Jennings, 40, then told police he had a gun in the vehicle and police discovered that the car was stolen.

“So now he’s got a rattlesnake, a stolen vehicle, firearm, and somebody under arrest,” Guthrie Police Sergeant Anthony Gibbs told local broadcaster KFOR-TV.

After a further search of the car, police found an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey and a container of “yellowish powder” that was labelled “Uranium”.

Mr Jennings told officers  he was trying to create a “super snake” after the uranium was discovered, ABC reported.

[ click to continue reading at The Independent ]

Posted on July 19, 2019 by Editor

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To The Moon

from TIME

Dueling Superpowers, Rival Billionaires. Inside the New Race to the Moon

By Jeffrey Kluger

It’s easier to love Apollo 11 if you were around to see it happen. For those who didn’t camp along the Cape Kennedy causeway to watch the Saturn 5 liftoff on July 16, 1969, or huddle around a rabbit-ear TV to watch Neil Armstrong climb down the ladder and walk on the surface of the moon four days later, it’ll always have a whiff of cable-channel documentary. And yet it doesn’t for Elon Musk.

Musk was born in 1971, in Pretoria, South Africa, two years after the Apollo 11 landing and half a world away from the country that achieved the great lunar feat. But somehow, he absorbed the primal power of the thing he was not there to see happen. “Apollo 11 was one of the most inspiring things in all of human history,” he said in a July 12 interview at the Hawthorne, Calif., headquarters of SpaceX, the rocket company he founded in 2002 that has since become its own icon of space exploration. “I’m not sure SpaceX would exist if not for Apollo 11.”

Today, SpaceX is one of a handful of powerful players—starry-eyed billionaires and the world’s two richest countries—competing in a race to set up shop on the moon. In the 1960s, it was a two-party sprint between the U.S. and the Soviet Union to be the first to get boots on the lunar surface, but this time around the U.S. finds itself in a bigger, multifront competition with private companies like SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and international powers, most critically China.

[ click to continue reading at TIME ]

Posted on July 18, 2019 by Editor

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Thanks

from The Fix

Silencing that Voice 

By Boozemusings Co…

In the last few months of my long and illustrious drinking career, there was a voice that began to whisper melodically to me. I heard it’s song nightly near the end of the second bottle of wine. The voice was darkly magical, very seductive and beautiful, and I was luckily still present enough to find it terrifying.

That voice said,

” you are mine” “we are a team” “we are beautiful together” “we are powerful together” “everything is us” “nothing else matters” “nothing else matter” “nothing else matters” ….

I did not stop drinking four years ago because I was troubled by hangovers or weight gain. I was the classic high functioning alcoholic, still at the stage where no one knew but my kids and husband. I was fit, healthy and outwardly together. I was an admirably successful closet drunk.

The reason that I stopped drinking was that voice.

That seductive whisper of

“nothing else matters” “nothing else matters” “nothing else matters”.

That voice was addiction. That voice was death. I knew that if that voice had a chance to grow it would win and I would not only lose everything, I wouldn’t care that I had.

I read a lot of addiction and recovery biographies in my first sober months. Reading stories of women like me who had loved drinking but fought to stop and were surprised to find empowerment in sobriety, really helped me stay on track and look forward with hope. But of all the brave recovery biographies that I read the one that spoke to me the most was not written by a woman like me. It wasn’t the story of a high functioning middle-aged mom who drank to black-out most nights and hopped back on the hamster wheel each morning. The story that mirrored my love affair with the effect of the drug and the seductive voice in my head was written by James Frey. His biography, A Million Little Pieces, begins with him at 23, half-dead from his raging addictions to everything lethal, wheeled into rehab by his desperate parents. That was the story that was my “ah-ha!” moment from beginning to end.

[ click to continue reading at The Fix ]

Posted on July 17, 2019 by Editor

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Easy Later

from The Hollywood Reporter

“Tell Me We Haven’t Blown It”: Peter Fonda Reflects on ‘Easy Rider’ and Its Unanswered Question

by Susan King

Photofest / Peter Fonda as Wyatt (aka Captain America) in 1969’s ‘Easy Rider’

Fifty years later, the filmmaker and those involved and close to the groundbreaking biker movie (and soundtrack) look back at the wild ride: “I knew how it was going to end when I started writing it.”

If 1939 was cinema’s golden year, 1969 was its watershed. Though Hollywood was still producing big-budget films (Hello, Dolly!) and features starring such veterans as John Wayne (True Grit), the counterculture was quickly taking root. That year heralded the arrival of such new filmmakers as Paul Mazursky (Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice) and three X-rated dramas — John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy, Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool and Frank Perry’s Last Summer — which all became critical and commercial successes. Midnight Cowboy even claimed the best picture Oscar at the 42nd Academy Awards over relatively lighter fare like Dolly! and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

But in a year packed with classics, the film that made the biggest impact was a deceptively simple biker flick, Easy Rider. Ahead of the film’s 50th anniversary on July 14, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with those involved and close to the making of the project, including producer-writer-star Peter Fonda, veteran filmmaker Henry Jaglom, actress Toni Basil and singer-songwriter Roger McGuinn as well as Roger Corman, who was originally set to executive produce but was replaced ahead of the shoot. When the film rode full-tilt-boogie into theaters, the entire landscape changed and dozens of movies looked to emulate the spirit of the drama.

The movie, which was made for around $375,000 and grossed $60 million worldwide, stars Fonda and director Dennis Hopper as two biker buddies — Wyatt, aka Captain America (Fonda) and Billy (Hopper) — who travel through the Southwest and South with the money they made from their last cocaine deal. Audiences are still trying to figure out what Wyatt means when he is sitting with Billy at a campfire near the film’s end and tells him, “We blew it.” Fonda didn’t explain then and he won’t explain now. “I never intended to answer that question,” he tells THR by email, adding, “I intended it to be enigmatic and applicable to all kinds of things. When asked today if it’s still relevant, go look out the window and tell me we haven’t blown it.”

[ click to continue reading at THR ]

Posted on July 16, 2019 by Editor

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Fancy Fancy

from The Guardian

‘I don’t see jeans in my future’: the people who wear complete historical dress – every day

From the man who wears 17th-century clothes to the woman whose outfits are straight out of the 1950s, six people explain their deep devotion to period dress

by Ammar Kalia

It is a bold and often ostentatious choice, but historical dressing can be more than just a novelty means of self-expression. As with any clothes, they are a way of presenting ourselves to the world. And for some, that means wearing top hats, breeches, doublets, or Bakelite jewellery. Below, six period dressers explain their choices:

Zack MacLeod Pinsent, 25
Regency period

These are everyday clothes of the early 19th century. I never leave the house without a hat and I tend to walk around with a cane, too. A lot of what I wear at the moment is Regency style.

I’ve been dressing alternatively since I was 14 because modern fashion has never appealed to me. I wanted to look back to a time when things were of a higher quality and wear clothes that would make me stand out. I began wearing late-Victorian and Edwardian stuff bought in vintage shops in Brighton and it made me genuinely happy. I got into the Regency look because I was invited to a Regency ball in London and had nothing to wear. I tried to make something myself, but realised it was terrible since I couldn’t find the right fabrics, so I decided to research the history and develop my own skills.

[ click to continue reading at The Guardian ]

Posted on July 15, 2019 by Editor

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Mysterious Mars Methane

from The Atlantic

A Startling Spike on Mars

Methane gas is a potential indicator of life on the red planet, but it’s proving difficult to track.

by MARINA KOREN

If humans ever discover life on Mars, this is how it might start: with a breaking-news alert heralding a startling development well beyond Earth.

On a recent Saturday afternoon, The New York Times sent a bulletin: “Mars is belching a large amount of methane gas. It’s a sign of possible life on the red planet.”

NASA quickly published a press release acknowledging the detection, which, the Times had reported, marked the largest amount of methane ever registered by the Curiosity rover, a NASA mission that touched down on the red planet in 2012. But after that, the agency went quiet. The news had come from an email between scientists on the Curiosity team that had been leaked to the Times. It wasn’t supposed to be known, at least not yet. And there’s no room for nuance in a breaking-news alert.

Like the Times, NASA provided an important caveat: Many things can produce methane on Mars. Alien life is on that list, but other sources are far more likely.

After decades of exploration, spacecraft haven’t found any evidence of life on the surface of Mars. But some scientists say it may lurk beneath the surface, in the form of tiny organisms. And that’s why methane is so noteworthy. On Earth, microbes pump the natural gas into the planet’s atmosphere. Perhaps a similar arrangement exists on Mars.

Methane doesn’t last forever in the Martian atmosphere, however. Exposure to the sun’s radiation, combined with reactions with other gases, breaks down the gas molecules within a few centuries. This chemistry is what makes the spike that Curiosity found so intriguing. If methane is present in the Martian atmosphere right now, it must have been released fairly recently. Detectable quantities might be a sign that something is alive on Mars, capable of replenishing the supply.

Or not. Natural interactions between rock and water can also produce the gas. The methane might have been forged deep beneath the Martian surface—where reservoirs of ancient water chafe against sediment—escaping into the atmosphere through a narrow crack in the ground. The whiff Curiosity caught might have been billions of years old.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on July 14, 2019 by Editor

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Rube Lemonberg

Posted on July 13, 2019 by Editor

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Norco ’80

from Inside Hook

Inside One of the Most Spectacular and Dangerous Bank Heists in U.S. History

An excerpt from Peter Houlahan’s thrilling new book, “Norco ’80”

BY PETER HOULAHAN

Inside One of the Most Spectacular and Dangerous Bank Heists in U.S. History

Inside the Mira Loma House, George Smith and Chris Harven had been smoking weed and working their way through a six pack of Budweiser to keep their nerves down and their courage up. Laid out on the carpet of a back bedroom, an arsenal of weapons and survival supplies were grouped by purpose and ready to be loaded into a half dozen military duffel bags. The two yellow McDonald walkie-talkie radios to be used between Billy in the getaway van, George inside the bank sat off to the side.

Chris, Russ, and George would each enter the bank armed with semi-automatic assault rifles, Chris with his HK93, Russ with the Colt Shorty AR-15, and George with the Heckler .308. Manny would have the riot gun.

The serial numbers on all the guns had been covered up with electrical tape to avoid being readable on bank surveillance tapes. Each of the men would carry at least one side arm, George with a Browning .45 semi-automatic pistol shouldered holstered and another at his hip. Both George and Chris had hundreds of additional rounds of ammunition in fully loaded magazines strapped across their chests. In the front seat of the getaway van, driver Billy Delgado would also have a Colt AR-15 to go along with the .45 Colt automatic handgun tucked into a holster strapped around his right ankle.

For the rifles, George and Chris had made dozens of “jungle clips” allowing them to eject an empty magazine, flip it over, and load a full one in its place in a matter of seconds. Piggybacking three forty-round magazines together up-down-up as George and Chris had done gave the weapon a devastating 120-round capacity, which they were capable of emptying on a target in a little over a minute. Chris Harven alone had seventeen forty-round magazines: 680 extra rounds in total. In addition to this, boxes of extra ammunition, over 3,000 rounds of varying calibers, had already been packed into duffel bags.

Zipped up in two of the bags destined for the trunk of each cold getaway car was survival gear that included map books, compass, water purification tablets, field glasses, mess kits, gas masks, emergency blankets, extra clothing, and insulin vials and three syringes for Russell Harven. Half a dozen hunting knives, a nine-inch Bowie knife, and two machetes were split among survival kits. A Remington hunting rifle with scope and hundreds of rounds of H&H .357 cartridges would go into each trunk. The H&H .357 cartridge was designed primarily for taking down large and dangerous game. In other words, an “elephant gun.”

[ click to continue reading at Inside Hook ]

Posted on July 12, 2019 by Editor

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Bell By The Ocean

from SF Eater

World’s Only Beachside Taco Bell Now Serves Booze

The Pacifica Taco Bell reopens after a remodel on July 13, this time with beer, wine, and frozen drinks

by Ellen Fort

Inside Taco Bell in Pacifica Courtesy of Edelman

The Pacifica Taco Bell is legendary for its beachfront views and retro architecture. Now, after a remodel that began in November, the chain restaurant is back, and it’s got some exciting new features. 

The big news is that it’s now a Taco Bell Cantina, one of the chain’s restaurants that has been upgraded with alcoholic beverages. That means beer on draft and in bottles (local, imported, and domestic), boozy Twisted Freezes (margaritas and other cocktails), and wine will be available for consumption overlooking the beach.

According to Curbed SF, the building was originally built in the late 60’s as an A&W hamburger franchise, though it’s been a Taco Bell since the ‘80s. Now it features a mural by SF street artist Norah Bruhn, a glass-enclosed, indoor/outdoor fireplace, and a walk-up window so sandy diners can order from the outside. Like the chain’s other Cantinas, the interior has wood floors, tiled ceilings, exposed wooden ceiling beams, and trendy pendant lighting.

[ click to continue reading at SF Eater ]

Posted on July 11, 2019 by Editor

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No Comment

from CBS Chicago

Mom Charged After Driving With Kids Inside Inflatable Pool On Roof

Credit: Dixon Police Department

CHICAGO (CBS)– A Dixon mom was arrested after she was found driving while her kids sat inside an inflatable pool on top of her car.

According to the Dixon Police Department, officers were alerted and later observed an Audi Q5 driving west on Illinois Route 2 shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, with a “blue inflatable pool on the roof with two juveniles inside of the pool.”

Officers made contact with the driver, who said she had her daughters ride inside of the empty pool to “hold it down on their drive home.”

[ click to continue reading at CBS Chicago ]

Posted on July 10, 2019 by Editor

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Make-up Quake

Posted on July 9, 2019 by Editor

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Queen & Slim – Protest Art

from BLACKGIRLNERDS

Lena Waithe on Meeting James Frey and Using The Story of ‘Queen & Slim’ as Protest Art

By Jamie Broadnax

Photograph: David Levene

Lena Waithe is on fire with a never-ending series of projects under her belt, and this holiday season, her next film Queen & Slim will take you on a wild ride through some unexpected adventures.

One evening at a party, author James Frey approached Lena Waithe about a story involving a Black couple. A Black man and a Black woman on a first date. It’s not going well, but not going horribly either. They’re on their way home. They get pulled over. A cop gets aggressive. They kill him in self-defense, and they go. Frey knew that this was a story worth telling, but not through his lens.

Enter Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe (Netflix’s Master of None) and filmmaker Melina Matsoukas — the mastermind behind Beyonce’s “Formation” music video — and now we’re telling a story through the lens of brilliant Black visionaries that can add nuance with ease.

The unflinching new drama Queen & Slim released by Universal Pictures, stars Get Out’s Daniel Kaluuya as Slim and Nightflyers‘ Jodie Turner-Smith as Queen. After Queen and Slim are pulled over in their vehicle, the situation escalates and Slim is forced to kill the police officer in self-defense. In a complicated situation predicated on a history of state-sanctioned violence and criminal injustice against African-Americans, the two fear for their lives and is forced to go on the run.

Their story is complicated further when the incident is captured on video and goes viral. Queen and Slim become a symbol of trauma, terror, grief, and pain for people across the country. BGN was invited to the set a week before Mardi Gras in New Orleans to chat with the cast and crew of the impending feature film.

On Meeting James Frey and the Idea Behind the Script

One evening at a party, Lena Waithe meets novelist James Frey. He is notably known or notoriously known for his book “A Million Little Pieces” that became an Oprah book club selection. However shortly after reports emerged that his autobiography was more fiction than fact, the author was under fire. Oprah wasn’t all too pleased, and eventually, the beef between the two was squashed.  James Frey clearly has a creative mind, and negative scrutiny hasn’t stopped him from writing.

According to Waithe: 

“James Frey pitched me the opening at a party and [he] was like, “I can’t write this movie. I need a person to write it who understands it.” So all he gave me was an opening and that opening I was like, ‘Got it. I know what the movie is. Let me go figure this out.’ He had a different title that wasn’t right. Titles are really important.  [I thought] what are some things that I can do to make every Black man, every Black woman, no matter what your walk of life is or where you are coming from, can look at them and see a piece of yourself in them?”

The two exchanged emails, and Waithe asked Frey if he had an outline and if he had a title.

[ click to continue reading at BLACKGIRLNERDS ]

Posted on July 8, 2019 by Editor

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Badasses Morgan and Rapinoe Bring The Cup Home Again!!

Posted on July 7, 2019 by Editor

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Roth, Frey, Easton-Ellis

from Facebook

Posted on July 6, 2019 by Editor

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They’re Real

from The Wall Street Journal

The Asteroid Peril Isn’t Science Fiction

Even if we managed to spot a small but dangerous asteroid heading for Earth, we currently have no means to stop it

Gordon L. Dillow

In May, a group of international scientists assembled near Washington, D.C., to tackle an alarming problem: what to do about an asteroid hurtling toward Earth.

Astronomers at a mountaintop observatory in Hawaii had spotted an 800-foot-wide asteroid, dubbed 2019 PDC, when it was 35 million miles away. By asteroid standards, it was relatively small—not even close to the six-mile-wide piece of space rock believed to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Still, this asteroid was traveling at 31,000 miles an hour…

[ click to continue reading at WSJ ]

Posted on July 5, 2019 by Editor

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Explosive Times

from Oregon Live

It’s not your imagination: Americans are shooting off more fireworks than ever

By The Conversation

AP Photo/Nick Ut

In the eyes of many Americans, the Fourth of July is a day for parades, barbecues and, of course, fireworks.

The tradition got its start at the beginning of our nation’s history after the Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia to write and sign the Declaration of Independence. A day after the Continental Congress adopted the declaration on July 4, 1776, John Adams – soon the second U.S. president – penned a letter to his wife Abigail, declaring that Independence Day o”ught to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more.”

One year later, Philadelphia celebrated the anniversary with fireworks – or “illuminations,” to Adams – plus a parade commemorating Independence Day.

So with that in mind, here are four fascinating sets of facts about fireworks.

[ click to continue reading at Oregon Live ]

Posted on July 4, 2019 by Editor

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Tortillapocalypse

from Food and Wine

Taco Bell Confirms ‘Tortillapocalypse’ Is Real, Recommends Gorditas Instead

Many locations around the country are running out of tortillas used for burritos and quesadillas.

By Mike Pomranz

Image from FranchiseTimes.com

Taco Bell has mastered the art of stretching their menu by creating new items out of existing components. A “Double Decker Taco” is just a hard taco wrapped in a soft taco. A “Quesarito” is just a burrito with a quesadilla shell. And so on and so forth. But there a potential pitfall to that strategy: If one major ingredient runs out, a large chunk of the menu can collapse like a house of cards. And sadly, Taco Bell is apparently facing a major shortage of a real doozy: their ten-inch tortillas. Welcome to the “Tortillapocalypse.”

Though Taco Bell has been playing down the shortage in its official statements, the problem — to some extent at least — is nearly nationwide. The company told People, “While some Taco Bell restaurants are experiencing supplier shortages, we are working diligently to replenish the supply of our tortillas (used for products like quesadillas and burritos) in those restaurants and encourage fans to try any of our other delicious menu items like the Power Menu Bowl or Cheesy Gordita Crunch in the meantime.”

[ click to continue reading at Food and Wine ]

Posted on July 3, 2019 by Editor

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Doublethink Anew

from The Atlantic

Doublethink Is Stronger Than Orwell Imagined

What 1984 means today

GEORGE PACKER

OLIVER MUNDAY

No novel of the past century has had more influence than George Orwell’s 1984. The title, the adjectival form of the author’s last name, the vocabulary of the all-powerful Party that rules the superstate Oceania with the ideology of Ingsoc—doublethinkmemory holeunpersonthoughtcrimeNewspeakThought PoliceRoom 101Big Brother—they’ve all entered the English language as instantly recognizable signs of a nightmare future. It’s almost impossible to talk about propaganda, surveillance, authoritarian politics, or perversions of truth without dropping a reference to 1984. Throughout the Cold War, the novel found avid underground readers behind the Iron Curtain who wondered, How did he know?

It was also assigned reading for several generations of American high-school students. I first encountered 1984 in 10th-grade English class. Orwell’s novel was paired with Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, whose hedonistic and pharmaceutical dystopia seemed more relevant to a California teenager in the 1970s than did the bleak sadism of Oceania. I was too young and historically ignorant to understand where 1984 came from and exactly what it was warning against. Neither the book nor its author stuck with me. In my 20s, I discovered Orwell’s essays and nonfiction books and reread them so many times that my copies started to disintegrate, but I didn’t go back to 1984. Since high school, I’d lived through another decade of the 20th century, including the calendar year of the title, and I assumed I already “knew” the book. It was too familiar to revisit.

Read: Teaching ‘1984’ in 2016

So when I recently read the novel again, I wasn’t prepared for its power. You have to clear away what you think you know, all the terminology and iconography and cultural spin-offs, to grasp the original genius and lasting greatness of 1984. It is both a profound political essay and a shocking, heartbreaking work of art. And in the Trump erait’s a best seller.

[ click to continue reading at The Atlantic ]

Posted on July 2, 2019 by Editor

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New Mineral Goldmine

from WIRED

NEW ANALYSIS TECHNIQUES UNEARTH A TROVE OF UNUSUAL MINERALS

by SOPHIA CHEN 

Nataliyamalikite was discovered in Kamchatka’s Avacha Volcano, which emits sulfurous vapor that’s high in thallium. YURI SMITYUK/GETTY IMAGES

THE LANDSCAPE OF Kamchatka Peninsula steams with sulfurous vapor, its 29 active volcanoes forming a hazy backdrop for the region’s herds of reindeer and rivers of salmon. One of the most geologically active places in the world, Kamchatka juts out from the eastern coast of Russia to resemble a larger version of Florida. A process almost like alchemy occurs here: Like a set of roiling cauldrons, Kamchatka’s volcanoes mix unusual combinations of atomic elements to forge minerals that are unlike anything anywhere else in the world.

And in the past few years, researchers have discovered several new minerals on Kamchatka. “They pop up by accident,” says Joël Brugger, a geologist at Monash University in Australia, who helped discover a new mineral on the peninsula called nataliyamalikite in 2017. “You just have to keep your eyes open.” Researchers don’t set out to make these discoveries, usually. Instead, they stumble upon new minerals during their studies of broader geologic processes that might, for example, cause rare metals to collect in unusually large concentrations in a specific volcano.

These finds are part of a current boom in mineral discoveries across the planet. On average, geologists and mineral collectors have reported more than 100 new minerals per year since 2009, according to a database affiliated with the International Mineralogical Association. “Given the level of exploration over the last hundred years, you might think that we were running out of minerals to describe,” says Brugger, who has participated in the discovery of 23 new minerals himself. “But the number of discoveries is increasing.” To qualify as new minerals, these materials must be never-before-seen natural combinations of one or more elements in solid form, arranged in a repeating structure. Mined diamond and quartz are both minerals, whereas opal, which does not have a repeating crystal structure, and synthetic gemstones, which aren’t natural, are not. Of the 5,477 known minerals, more than 1,000 were discovered in just the past 10 years.

[ click to continue reading at WIRED ]

Posted on July 1, 2019 by Editor

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Taco Bell Hotel Books Out in Two Minutes

from USA Today

Taco Bell’s pop-up hotel reservations sell out in 2 minutes

Sherry Barkas, Palm Springs Desert Sun

A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first  ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12.
A rendering of Taco Bell-themed king room decor and amenities planned for The Bell. Reservations for the first ever Taco Bell pop-up hotel open June 27, 2019. The Bell will take over V Palm Springs, 333 E. Palm Canyon Drive, Aug. 8-12. (Photo: Courtesy of Taco Bell)

Apparently, people were excited about the prospect of sleeping in a taco-themed room. 

So excited that reservations for the Taco Bell pop-up hotel in Palm Springs, California, sold out in just 2 minutes after opening at 10 a.m. Pacific time Thursday, reports The Desert Sun, which is part of the USA TODAY Network. 

“Taco Bell fans are truly one of a kind, and today was one of the best expressions of that fandom yet,” Taco Bell Global Chief Brand Officer Marisa Thalberg said in an email. “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel and Resort officially sold out in just 2 minutes. We would like to extend a big ‘thank you’ for those who have come along on this journey with us and even though The Bell is sold out, we’ll have more to share on exclusive merchandise, food and more in the coming weeks so those unable to score a room can still experience the fun from home.”

Guests will stay in rooms decorated wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with Taco Bell artwork, wake up to a special Taco Bell breakfast delivered to their door and float in the pool on a giant Taco Bell sauce packet raft.

It’s where “taco dreams really do come true,” Jennifer Arnoldt, Taco Bell’s senior director of retail engagement and experience, said in announcing that V Palm Springs would be the site for the “historic event, Aug. 8-12.”

[ click to continue reading at USAT ]

Posted on June 30, 2019 by Editor

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New Jersey New King of Online Betting

from Bloomberg via Yahoo! Finance

Move Over, Nevada: New Jersey Is Now the Sports-Betting King

by Eben Novy-Williams

(Bloomberg) — New Jersey legalized sports betting a year ago, and last month the state’s operators passed a major milestone.

For the first time, sports bettors wagered more in New Jersey than in Nevada, which for decades was the lone, dominant state in the sports-betting landscape.

Gamblers wagered $318.9 million in May at New Jersey casinos and racetracks, and via mobile apps, according to the state’s Division of Gaming Enforcement. On Thursday, the Nevada Gaming Control Board said the state’s total for the month was $317.5 million.

The milestone continues a trend expected in the industry for a few months now. Not only does New Jersey have a lot more people than Nevada, but it benefits from customers coming from New York and Pennsylvania to wager remotely. The mobile options in New Jersey also feature better technology, which helps drive betting.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! ]

Posted on June 29, 2019 by Editor

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The Vindicator Gone

from The Plain-Dealer

The Vindicator, Youngstown’s daily newspaper, will close after 150 years

BJordyn Grzelewski

American steelworker Charlie Grapentine reads about the Korean War in the Youngstown Vindicator in October 1950. The newspaper told employees Friday afternoon that it will close. (Doreen Spooner/Keystone Features/Getty Images)

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — The Vindicator, which recently marked its 150th publication anniversary and is Youngstown’s only daily newspaper, told employees Friday afternoon that it will close.

Bertram de Souza, The Vindicator’s editorial page editor and a columnist, recalled that when he joined the staff 40 years ago this month, the paper staffed multiple bureaus across the Valley and reached some 100,000 readers per day. “Unfortunately, the reality of our industry hit home – literally. It’s painful, for somebody like me, who has dedicated my life.”

[ click to continue reading at The Plain-Dealer ]

Posted on June 28, 2019 by Editor

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Eta Carinae

from CNN

A mysterious fast radio burst was traced to a galaxy 3.6 billion light-years away

By Ashley Strickland

For the first time, a single burst of cosmic radio waves has been traced to its point of origin: in this case, a galaxy about 3.6 billion light-years from Earth. 

These radio bursts are only millisecond-long radio flashes, and such rapid bursts themselves aren’t rare in space. But finding out where they came from is incredibly difficult.

People love to believe that they’re from an advanced extraterrestrial civilization, and this hypothesis hasn’t been ruled out entirely by researchers at Breakthrough Listen, a scientific research program dedicated to finding evidence of intelligent life in the universe.

Astronomers were able to pin down the source of a repeating fast radio burst in 2017. But single radio bursts are harder to pinpoint because they don’t reoccur.

The single radio burst, dubbed FRB 180924, was discovered by the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder radio telescope, or ASKAP, in Western Australia.

[ click to continue reading at CNN ]

Posted on June 27, 2019 by Editor

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Symmetry

from Quanta Magazine

The Simple Idea Behind Einstein’s Greatest Discoveries

by K.C. Cole

Rachel Suggs for Quanta Magazine

The flashier fruits of Albert Einstein’s century-old insights are by now deeply embedded in the popular imagination: Black holes, time warps and wormholes show up regularly as plot points in movies, books, TV shows. At the same time, they fuel cutting-edge research, helping physicists pose questions about the nature of space, time, even information itself.

Perhaps ironically, though, what is arguably the most revolutionary part of Einstein’s legacy rarely gets attention. It has none of the splash of gravitational waves, the pull of black holes or even the charm of quarks. But lurking just behind the curtain of all these exotic phenomena is a deceptively simple idea that pulls the levers, shows how the pieces fit together, and lights the path ahead.

The idea is this: Some changes don’t change anything. The most fundamental aspects of nature stay the same even as they seemingly shape-shift in unexpected ways. Einstein’s 1905 papers on relativity led to the unmistakable conclusion, for example, that the relationship between energy and mass is invariant, even though energy and mass themselves can take vastly different forms. Solar energy arrives on Earth and becomes mass in the form of green leaves, creating food we can eat and use as fuel for thought. (“What is this mind of ours: what are these atoms with consciousness?” asked the late Richard Feynman. “Last week’s potatoes!”) That’s the meaning of E = mc2. The “c” stands for the speed of light, a very large number, so it doesn’t take much matter to produce an enormous amount of energy; in fact, the sun turns millions of tons of mass into energy each second.

This endless morphing of matter into energy (and vice versa) powers the cosmos, matter, life. Yet through it all, the energy-matter content of the universe never changes. It’s strange but true: Matter and energy themselves are less fundamental than the underlying relationships between them.

We tend to think of things, not relationships, as the heart of reality. But most often, the opposite is true. “It’s not the stuff,” said the Brown University physicist Stephon Alexander.

The same is true, Einstein showed, for “stuff” like space and time, seemingly stable, unchangeable aspects of nature; in truth, it’s the relationship between space and time that always stays the same, even as space contracts and time dilates. Like energy and matter, space and time are mutable manifestations of deeper, unshakable foundations: the things that never vary no matter what.

[ click to continue reading at Quanta ]

Posted on June 26, 2019 by Editor

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