Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Monday, March 27, 2017
"According to the developer, several people had orchestrated a gossip campaign that culminated in informing Drupal's authorities about his unconventional sexual and romantic proclivities, which are based on the 'Chronicles of Gor' sci-fi series."
Sunday, March 26, 2017
"I had three weeks of very intense martial arts and weight training preparation. But then unfortunately once the show started . . . my schedule didn’t allow me to continue the training as much as I really hoped."
"Number9Dream is the international literary sensation from a writer with astonishing range and imaginative energy—an intoxicating ride through Tokyo’s dark underworlds and the even more mysterious landscapes of our collective dreams." $1.99 today at Amazon.
Posted by John at 10:28 AM
Friday, March 24, 2017
Q: How difficult was it change the NBA's view of the game so that they would give you the license?
A: Very hard! Their understanding of arcades was solely based on Times Square in NY, which was very seedy and dangerous at the time. We made videos of normal arcades to win them over.
Q: Can you describe some of the "never seen before" NFL Blitz footage? Is it lost forever or is there a chance we see it in the upcoming "Insert Coin" doc?
A: We removed >20 animations from the game to eek into NFL approval status, but I still have a hard drive with the incorporating all of them. Haven't spoken to Josh much re the Insert Coin doc, but maybe I'll dig that up and send to him.
The moves were indeed violent. Grabbing the face mask and flinging around, kicking the player while he's down, stomping, and wrestling moves. Suplex, etc.
Q: Can you please speak on the rumored NBA Jam made for specific NBA players with Michael Jordan included?
A: I have it!
NBA Jam was made and tested in Chicago. Jordan was in all those early games, and weeks before we were to ship nationwide he pulled out of all NBA licensed products due to his Nike deal.
"Ecologist Evon Hekkala travels to Madagascar to help protect a village from a man-eating crocodile"
Good podcast about the making of the NatGeo special "Man-Eaters of Madagascar."
"a 'wildness creator'—a hypothetical artificial intelligence that would autonomously protect wild spaces"
In Australia, autonomous killer robots are set to invade the Great Barrier Reef. Their target is the crown-of-thorns starfish—a malevolent pincushion with a voracious appetite for corals. To protect ailing reefs, divers often cull the starfish by injecting them with bile or vinegar. But a team of Australian scientists has developed intelligent underwater robots called COTSBots that can do the same thing. The yellow bots have learned to identify the starfish among the coral, and can execute them by lethal injection.
Skull crawler design I did for King: Skull Island. It was great to see this design on the big screen. The idea was to have eel like soft and translucent body, reinforced by protruding skeleton and skull. Kudos to @adamabaines , @danbaker47 , @samarowan who also worked on this guy with me. #kingkong #kongskullisland #skullisland #skullcrawler #movie #conceptart #artoftheday #artA post shared by Industrial Light&Magic. London (@jamajurabaev) on
"Reminder: this was within the space of a single year."
Posted by John at 8:00 AM
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Posted by John at 9:32 PM
"For the contestants of the Channel 4 programme Eden, coming back from isolation means not just coming to terms with 2017 but also the news that their year of toil in the wilderness barely made it on to television."
Posted by John at 4:06 PM
said Theranos director Daniel Warmenhoven. “Elizabeth elected to contribute her own equity to protect any dilution of shares held by other parties.”
He said Ms. Holmes showed “a level of selflessness and grace reflecting her commitment to the company’s success.”
Theranos reached a separate agreement to buy back the shares purchased in early 2015 by Rupert Murdoch for about $125 million, people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Murdoch is executive chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox Inc. News Corp is the parent of The Wall Street Journal.
Under the terms of that deal, Theranos agreed to pay Mr. Murdoch a nominal amount equal to a tiny fraction of the original purchase price, the people said. One person familiar with the matter said the amount was just $1.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
"Last week I had the opportunity to briefly converse with a Disneyland insider familiar with the park’s current long-range plans"
After the Fantasyland makeover, it will be Disney California Adventure’s turn with the formal start of an entire Marvel-themed land, which will consume a large chunk of Hollywood Land and the area around and behind Bugs Land. The Marvel Land will connect with Cars Land and don’t be surprised if Bugs Land is a casualty.
After that, Tomorrowland will finally get its rehab. That puts groundbreaking at least seven years from now
So while, to the naked eye, Tomorrowland and Mickey’s ToonTown are in most desperate need of a refresh and should be next, my correspondent says that’s part of the reason why they won’t get it. Imagineering is determined to correct Tomorrowland once and for all, adding dramatic upgrades that have staying power, and no one can come to a consensus on just what those would be.
"Blackwater's founder plans to build new bases in China, a move to support the One Belt and One Road initiative"
Frontier Services Group (FSG), a company that helps businesses operating in frontier markets overcome complex security, logistics and operational challenges, is planning to built two operation bases in Northwest China's XinjiangUyghur Autonomous Region and Southwest China's Yunnan Province, Erik Prince, executive chairman of the firm, told the Global Times in mid-March.
Prince, 47, is better known as the founder of the private military company Blackwater, now known as Academi
At the heart of the case is a three-page paper that made headlines after it was published in Science* on 3 June 2016. It showed that, given a choice between a natural diet and tiny plastic fragments, perch larvae will consume the plastic "like teens eat fast food," as a BBC story put it. This unhealthy appetite reduced their growth and made them more vulnerable to predators. It was a dire warning, suggesting the plastic trash washing into rivers, lakes, and oceans was creating ecological havoc.
The outcome may have an impact well beyond four lives and careers. Sweden is still recovering from the scandal around celebrity surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, who was fired last year for ethical breaches that his university, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, had initially dismissed. The case shook confidence in Swedish science and raised concerns about Swedish universities' ability to investigate their own researchers. If UU, too, bungled its investigation, as the whistleblowers in this case claim, it could bolster support for a plan released last month that would take misconduct investigations out of university hands and transfer them to a new government agency.
The case has raised a host of other issues as well. Dominique Roche of the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland, one of five scientists supporting Sundin and Jutfelt, is critical of Science, which didn't issue a so-called editorial expression of concern about the paper until December 2016. Roche says the journal itself should have investigated the paper, which has racked up 36 citations. Others argue the case shows that the fields of ecology and evolution have been too slow to adopt the kind of transparent practices that build trust and help prevent misconduct.
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
A post shared by Modern Farmer (@modfarm) on
"The president can wax endlessly about walls and offshoring jobs, but the technological revolution could make Trump the biggest political loser in history"
One of the big promises of driverless cars has been that the technology will help erase the preponderance of automobile accidents. There are currently some 33,000 people in the United States who died each year in car crashes, and 94 percent of accidents, indeed, are caused by human error. Yet even this hopeful, life-saving efficiency will negatively affect doctors, ambulance drivers, people who work in body shops, glass-repair shops, and other related industries. Then there are auto auctioneers, the telemarketers who answer the phone at call centers when you need to call A.A.A., or get a new lease quote. Loan underwriters, credit managers, actuaries, rental-car agents, people who work in driving schools.
The list goes on and on. Traffic courts will completely vanish. (You can’t speed if you’re not driving.) And think about all the easy money that would be siphoned away from the car industry and government. Americans rack up $6.2 billion in speeding tickets a year. Gone. Billions of dollars in parking tickets. Gone. A truck with no one behind the wheel doesn’t need to stop to get a burger in the middle of the night or use the restroom. All of this makes the people who work at rest stops and motorway hotels useless.
"To avoid the draconian locks that John Deere puts on the tractors they buy, farmers throughout America's heartland have started hacking their equipment with firmware that's cracked in Eastern Europe"
Tractor hacking is growing increasingly popular because John Deere and other manufacturers have made it impossible to perform "unauthorized" repair on farm equipment
a fear I heard expressed over and over again in talking with farmers, is that John Deere could remotely shut down a tractor and there wouldn't be anything a farmer could do about it
"Smokers who purchased cigarettes exclusively at CVS stores were 38 percent less likely to buy tobacco after the national chain stopped selling cigarettes"
"In addition, cigarette sales dropped 1 percent - or by 95 million packs - in 13 states in the eight months after CVS left the tobacco market in September 2014"
Monday, March 20, 2017
Pages are $150-$170.
"'Your father or grandfather's bunker was not very comfortable,' says Robert Vicino, a real estate entrepreneur and CEO of Vivos, a company he founded that builds and manages high-end shelters around the world."
At the BBTS.
"The scandal is threatening to undermine years of extensive publicity focused on the quality and safety of their products, which starred celebrities including British chef Jamie Oliver and two-time Oscar-winner Robert de Niro."
"The unusual train track passes directly through the 19-storey residential building in the 'emerging mega-city' of Chongqing"
On Thursday morning, the piles of bricks that currently sit ominously every 10 meters or so on the west side of the road from Taikoo Li up to Gongti Beilu will be used to erect a wall in front of the shops that remain.
Creating a brick wall that cuts off normal access to these businesses is one way of doing this; it relieves the city of the burden of attempting to evict the commercial tenants, yet makes it next to impossible for customers to find their way into the shops.
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Another game that dwells in darkness so deep it lacks color altogether is Kitfox Games’ latest venture The Shrouded Isle, which takes a somewhat more fantastical approach to the idea. Here you play in a Lovecraftian world as the High Priestess of a seaside village cut off from the rest of civilization.
You are but five years away from the return of the tentacular Chernobog, the object of your devotion, and you must keep the increasingly restive familial houses of your village in line. Oh, and you have to pick a human sacrifice once every season to feed your Old God the human blood he thirsts for.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Friday, March 17, 2017
The erosion of authorship among starchitect-women has made headlines in recent times. Prominent awards have been presented to the male half of equal architectural partnerships, such as the controversial decision to award Robert Venturi the Pritzker Prize in 1991 but not practice co-founder Scott Brown, an injustice that sparked a major (failed) petition to have Scott Brown retrospectively given the Pritzker in 2013. Similarly, Wang Shu received the Pritzker Prize in 2012 without practice co-founder Lu Wenyu, and in 2013 the Gottfried Semper Architekturpreis was initially awarded to Matthias Sauerbruch of Sauerbruch Hutton alone, without acknowledging equal founding partner Louisa Hutton – a decision later reversed when Sauerbruch objected. In 2014, Patty Hopkins, co-founder of Hopkins Architects, was controversially photoshopped out of an image with her husband Michael Hopkins during the promotion of a BBC documentary, The Brits who Built the Modern World.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
"With just 17,100 Twitter followers and 117,000 Facebook likes, Heavy’s social media presence is tiny for an outlet of its size. And while it often embeds video in its posts, it seems to produce little video of its own these days. It is, in other words, something of a throwback in an era when other new media companies view social virality, reader loyalty, and original video content as the paths to profitability. Meanwhile, at a time when rivals such as BuzzFeed, Vice, and Refinery29 are trying to develop fresh business models centered around custom advertising products, many of Heavy’s ads are your run-of-the-mill, programmatic display ads, placed on the page automatically by third-party ad brokers."
"Outrage after impeached president of South Korea vacates official residence but leaves her puppies behind"
"It was hard to imagine that ousted President Park Geun-hye could get any more unpopular in South Korea"
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
"The first few hours of Andromeda are a gruesome trudge through the most trite bilge of the previous three games, smeared out in a setting that’s horribly familiar, burdened with some outstandingly awful writing, buried beneath a UI that appears to have been designed to infuriate in every possible way"
"I cannot emphasise enough how poor it’s been."
People have begun to speculate that maybe Life is a part of an extended superhero cinematic universe and Columbia is dropping hints for those who are paying close attention. Columbia Pictures is owned by Sony Pictures, which produced Spider-Man 3 and recently partnered with Marvel Studios to work on a new Spider-Man movie.
It’s more likely, however, that Columbia needed to use an image of people looking shocked and scared, and decided to reuse some footage it already owned instead of shooting more.
Posted by John at 3:13 PM
"is spending the money on a minor cosmetic makeover of deputies’ uniforms: changing the color of their belt buckles and other metal pieces of gear from silver to gold. That way, the metallic bits — all made of brass — will match the gold-hued tie clips, lapel pins and six-pointed star badges that deputies already wear"
"In a remote West African village, a revolutionary genetic experiment is on its way — if residents agree to it"
ANA, Burkina Faso — This small village of mud-brick homes in West Africa might seem the least likely place for an experiment at the frontier of biology.
Yet scientists here are engaged in what could be the most promising, and perhaps one of the most frightening, biological experiments of our time. They are preparing for the possible release of swarms of mosquitoes that, until now, have been locked away in a research lab behind double metal doors and guarded 24/7.
The goal: to nearly eradicate the population of one species of mosquito, and with it, the heavy burden of malaria across Africa.
These scientists are planning to release mosquitoes equipped with “gene drives,” a technology that overrides nature’s genetic rules to give every baby mosquito a certain trait that normally only half would acquire. Once such an insect gets out into the wild, it will move indiscriminately and spread its modified trait without respect for political borders.
But as more money has surged into Kentucky athletics, records show, Calipari isn’t the only coach cashing in, as the athletes remain amateurs. From 2006 to 2016, pay for Kentucky’s track and field coach climbed from $108,000 to $429,000; men’s tennis coach pay jumped from $122,000 to $230,000; and gymnastics coach pay rose from $112,000 to $252,000. Every coach made more than the school’s average full professor’s salary. In a phenomenon playing out across the country, salaries are soaring for coaches of lower-profile college sports largely subsidized by lucrative football and men’s basketball, whose annual national tournament opens Tuesday.Relatedly: "Kingsbury explains shirt ranking system as players "earn" back Texas Tech logo"
At the University of Kansas, men’s golf coach pay jumped from $84,000 to $201,000 over the past decade. At the University of Virginia, pay for the women’s volleyball coach rose from $94,000 to $221,000. And at West Virginia University, men’s soccer coach pay jumped from $66,000 to $188,000.
“Along with the no Double T’s, we also have a ranking system with the shirts,” Kingsbury said. “We’re going to start with brown, and then you work your way to gray, and then white, and then black, and red. But you have to earn it.
"But that isn’t good enough for Mr. Taberski. So he rifles through Mr. Simmons’s social network, interviewing people who crossed his path and publicizing their speculation about his mental state. He urges listeners to call in with 'any theory you think we missed.'"
BTW, the How I Built This podcast is very good.
"Six advertising industry trade groups yesterday thanked Republican lawmakers for introducing legislation that would overturn rules that protect the privacy of Internet users. If the rules are overturned, advertisers would not be prevented from buying consumers' Web browsing history from Internet service providers."
Relatedly: "Google’s mobile messaging app Allo can reveal your Google search history to people you message, which could have big privacy implications. The behavior appears to be a glitch."
Posted by John at 9:17 AM
Monday, March 13, 2017
By recruiting thousands of social media influencers, an LA fashion label has boomed to more than 600 staff in just three years.
A key part of Fashion Nova’s saturation of Instagram feeds across the country lies in its network of about 3,000 social media influencers — a constellation of fashion and lifestyle bloggers with tens of thousands of followers each, and sometimes hundreds of thousands.
Fashion Nova’s social media team monitors what’s being worn online, sending trending styles to a design team that can produce sample products in less than 24 hours. Then those LA factories get involved, and depending on the quantities involved, the company can start selling the design within a week or two.
“This could save (maintainers) a lot of time,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Jaburek, of the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at JB Lewis-McChord. “When we go on top of the airplane, we can only walk on certain parts and then we have to hook and unhook our (safety harness) every few feet.”
Inspections that would normally take 45 minutes to an hour could be done just in a few minutes with a quadcopter if it’s successful. Maintainers also would not need a lift to inspect a C-17’s tail, Jaburek said.
$1.99 today, "Named One of the Best Books of the Year by the Washington Post • NPR • The Guardian • Kirkus Reviews"
Posted by John at 8:12 AM
"Oh what a nose dive. And he couldn't care less."
"Adjusted for inflation, American spending to reconstruct Afghanistan now exceeds the total expended to rebuild all of Western Europe under the Marshall Plan"
"Though the United States has spent $8.5 billion to battle narcotics in Afghanistan, opium production there has reached an all-time high."
" Often there’s one option that’s clearly the best tactically or the most interesting for your character, and it costs money"
A look at interactive fiction on mobile:
in general, spending real world money substitutes in for the reasons why we might not take the best or most outspoken strategy in real life: we’re afraid we might get killed in the process of trying to save Prince Tevan. We feel too inhibited to tell our cheating ex how we really feel. We’re not sure yet whether we trust Chris enough to take the relationship to the next level. IF can do this with in-game resources as well, of course, but being asked for actual currency adds a stinger.
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Before accepting rides on his Uber app each day, Seattle driver Fasil Teka must first choose whether to listen to company-run podcasts on voting rights, collective bargaining and city council hearings.
Saturday, March 11, 2017
The first is a rare glimpse of Atlantis Encounter, an attraction once proposed for the area in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland currently occupied by the Autopia. This attraction is famous for the brief few days in 2001 or so when Imagineers put up signs around the Disneyland sub lagoon hinting that a new attraction based on Atlantis was on its way.
Another treat is this look at the model of the Lucas Spaceport, an early attempt at a Star Wars themed area for Tomorrowland. This would have converted the Carousel of Progress complex into an enormous spacecraft.
It all culminated in what the companies call “Red Tuesday,” in the fall of 2015. It was September 14, the Tuesday after the first Sunday of NFL season, the biggest and most highly promoted day in DFS history. Both companies wanted to capitalize on the momentum and push new NFL users into also playing the final month of the baseball season.
“So, we were planning on launching a contest,” a FanDuel employee says. “DraftKings came out first, and they [sized it at] $1.5 million. It became the prisoner’s dilemma. Where you go, well, we could just size conservatively. And they’ll fill, and they’ll get their $1.5 million. Or, you could size ours at $1.5 million, and no one will make any money. We’ll both lose. And we chose the latter. And boy, does that data point stick out on the chart.”
The contests didn’t come close to filling. I remember it well—I told everyone I knew playing DFS to get entries in, and upped my own as well. Then I watched from Tropicana Field as the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Rays and I actually made a little money. Both DraftKings and FanDuel, however, lost hundreds of thousands on those contests alone.
One key bridge could be out of service for a year. Instead of the rich and famous dropping by for spa treatments at the Post Ranch and Ventana Inn, helicopters are dropping supplies to about 450 remaining residents of this glorious ZIP code. The community has turned to self-governing; there’s no law enforcement, elected officials, public services or tourists.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Tim Tebow played high-level baseball in high school. He also—as noted by a smart commenter earlier this morning—recorded 123 plate appearances in the Arizona Fall League less than a year ago. He knows where the hell you go to take your practice swings when you’re on deck. Of course he does. He has known it for decades. That is not something that someone who has been playing baseball since he was a child will just forget. It is not something that anyone who has ever watched a single baseball game on TV would not know. It is not something that someone who batted a couple spots behind fellow lefty Lucas Duda would not know.
"Buzz is missing because there's something serious going on with the world's bees. Bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate, and that includes honeybees like Buzz."
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Jason Everman has the unique distinction of being the guy who was kicked out of Nirvana and Soundgarden, two rock bands that would sell roughly 100 million records combined. At 26, he wasn’t just Pete Best, the guy the Beatles left behind. He was Pete Best twice.
Then again, he wasn’t remotely. What Everman did afterward put him far outside the category of rock’n’roll footnote. He became an elite member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, one of those bearded guys riding around on horseback in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban.
To preserve its regular troops, the regime was forced to make a Faustian bargain, allowing armed loyalists to form their own militias. In many cases, the leaders of smuggling rings or criminal gangs became local kingpins, who were then able to expand their business empires unimpeded in exchange for loyalty to Assad. The two largest militias, the Desert Hawks, headquartered in the northern port city of Latakia, and the Tiger Forces from Hama, each have between 3,000 and 6,000 armed fighters. Additionally, there are hundreds of smaller pro-regime militias.
Assad is nevertheless dependent on them. When his troops, supported by Russian units, took eastern Aleppo in December 2016, the Syrian soldiers featured prominantly in front of the television cameras. But the actual fighting was conducted by Iraqi, Afghan and Lebanese mercenaries under Iranian senior leadership -- and by the pro-regime militias, who also secured the conquered territory once the fighting had ceased. And they plundered it.
Mohamed Jaber and his brother initially became rich from smuggling. In the 1990s, they began by spiriting oil into the country from Iraq before investing their millions in the steel industry. When the Syrian civil war began in 2011 and international sanctions isolated the Assad regime, they were asked to use their smuggling contacts to bring in badly needed oil and gasoline.
To protect their convoys as they drove through the desert, the Jabers recruited hundreds of former soldiers -- and criminals. In August 2013, Assad signed a decree allowing private businesspeople to maintain their own security forces, thus paving the way for kleptocrats in his favor to become warlords.
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
"Norwegian officials have given the green light to fully finance what is set to become the world’s first full-scale ship tunnel, bypassing one of the most dangerous areas for vessels along the Norwegian coast."
Posted by John at 5:08 PM
After living more than 40 years along a road plagued by potholes, Jo Anne Amoura was excited to see city crews shred her block of Leavenworth Street into gravel.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is great. We’re going to get a new street,’” Ms. Amoura recalled. “And then we waited and waited and waited.”
Fresh pavement never arrived. Only after the asphalt had been ripped out almost three years ago did Ms. Amoura and her neighbors learn that their street had been “reclaimed,” Omaha City Hall’s euphemism for unpaving a road.
Just north of the sprawling Wat Dhammakaya complex is an unfinished hospital called Boonraksa. Soldiers tried to search it weeks ago, but were pushed back by a crowd of monks and the faithful.
Now it’s being fortified, with moats dug and obstacles set up. A large group of worshipers has been gathering in the area, with some pitching tents, which the authorities interpret as indicating intent to stay.
Monday, March 6, 2017
The time the Inhumans' dog Lockjaw was revealed to be a person with a particularly unfortunate mutation
Later retconned to just be a dog.
"SI has learned that ESPN will have significant cost-cutting over the next four months on its talent side"
Multiple sources said ESPN has been tasked with paring tens of millions of staff salary from its payroll, including staffers many viewers and readers will recognize. Those with contracts coming up would be particularly vulnerable, sources said. The company is also expected to buyout some existing contracts, which is something rare for ESPN historically beyond a few NFL talents. The cuts are expected to be completed by June.
ESPN continues to shed subscribers at an enhanced rate, down to 88.4 million households in Dec. 2016. That number was 100.002 million in Feb. 2011.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
Since coming to power last summer
In a pastoral letter published in February, church leaders denounced Duterte’s campaign as a “reign of terror” against the poor.
Emboldened by their bishops’ stance, priests, nuns and missionaries are also taking a stand, offering sanctuary to fearful witnesses, paying for funerals and organizing rallies. Religious leaders who once supported the president are turning their backs on him, potentially hurting his political appeal.
All extractive logic meant to trick you into another in-app payment. It’s the perfect example of what happens when product managers have to squeeze ever-more-growth out of ever-less-fertile lands to hit their targets year after year.
It’s straight out of the split-pea soup parable. What if we removed just three peas? Nobody can tell. The factory can save a few million. The executives who pushed that idea can get their yearly bonus. No harm, no foul? But nothing ever stops at the quarterly win.
The U.S. Marine Corps is investigating allegations an unspecified number of military personnel and veterans allegedly distributed nude photos of female colleagues and other women as part of a perverse social media network that promotes sexual violence.
The arcade is dead. You already knew that, but that industry’s coffin is about to get another nail. The cathode-ray-tube technology that powered the monitors for nearly every classic arcade game in the twentieth century is defunct. Sony, Samsung, and others have left it behind for skinnier and more lucrative LCDs and plasmas, and the CRTs that are left are about to sell out.
Posted by John at 12:55 PM
Saturday, March 4, 2017
“The impact of the introduction of coffee into Europe during the seventeenth century was particularly noticeable since the most common beverages of the time, even at breakfast, were weak ‘small beer’ and wine. Both were far safer than water, which was liable to be contaminated … Coffee … provided a new and safe alternative to alcoholic drinks. Those who drank coffee instead of alcohol began the day alert and stimulated, rather than relaxed and mildly inebriated, and the quality and quantity of their work improved … Western Europe began to emerge from an alcoholic haze that had lasted for centuries.”
Friday, March 3, 2017
Only the brave walk the streets of Caracas after sunset, when the dizzying frenzy of the daytime city gives way to an eerie stillness as residents seek refuge indoors: the wealthy hide inside their gated communities and the poor lock the doors to their makeshift zinc-roofed homes. A handful of speeding cars tear through half-empty roads and solitary figures walk briskly down dark pavements.
East Caracas, by contrast, primarily houses the city’s middle and upper classes in high-rise buildings and lavish homes. The roads are dotted with lofty trees and expensive cars. It’s a reality that belongs only to a very small minority.
These areas have essentially gone into lockdown. In the wealthy Country Club neighbourhood, sturdy walls, barbed wire and electric fences now block off homes and gardens that were once visible from the street.
An illustration for the new book.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
For more than 8,000 years, people lived in the Amazon and farmed it to make it more productive. They favored certain trees over others, effectively creating crops that we now call the cocoa bean and the brazil nut, and they eventually domesticated them. And while many of the communities who managed these plants died in the Amerindian genocide 500 years ago, the effects of their work can still be observed in today’s Amazon rainforest.
Why does this matter? Though conservationists still speak of the Amazon as a “pristine” region, Levis says that its environmental allies should talk about it differently. We can look to it, she says, as an example of how human influence can enrich the Amazon.
Wednesday, March 1, 2017
In April 2014, Nadine Gravett tranquilized two female elephants and fitted them with actiwatches. These small devices—the scientific version of Fitbits—record movement, and researchers can use them to measure how well volunteers are sleeping. They’re usually worn around the wrist, but that’s not an option when your subjects’ limbs are literally elephantine. So Gravett had to implant them in the females’ most mobile appendages—their trunks.
Elephants can sleep standing up, so it’s difficult to eyeball whether they’re awake or asleep, especially if you’re tracking them through the bush at night. Brain activity sensors would give better answers, but an elephant’s anatomy makes it exceedingly risky to surgically implant such devices. So Manger and Gravett settled for the actiwatches instead. They also fitted satellite collars onto the animals to track their whereabouts later.
Of course, Gravett and Manger only studied two elephants, and both were adult matriarchs
The latest incident is not the first time the lake has caught fire; it happened in May 2015. A few days later, it was in the news again for being covered in snow-like froth, which began to swirl up in the summer wind, engulfing passers-by. The froth was the result of chemical waste dumped in the lake, and was toxic enough to crack windshields, wear the paint off car hoods and exacerbate the severe respiratory issues that have plagued citizens in recent years.
There are several invasive species like water hyacinths growing in the lake, thick enough to walk on. People dump solid waste on top of it. Because of the thickness, it creates an anaerobic environment in the water below, where methane is formed. It creates an ideal environment for catching fire.”
The home, originally built in 1875, once belonged to William Shorey, the only African-American whaling captain in Pacific coast history. Back when the Bay Area was America’s whaling capital, this feat made Captain Shorey a local icon.
Newspaper reporters would row out to his ship to grab scoops about his death-defying voyages. Under headlines that inevitably blared his nickname “Black Ahab,” articles described him as hero who battled typhoons and saved his crew from horrific disasters. The media swooned over his brilliant, beautiful wife, Julia Ann, the daughter of one of San Francisco’s wealthiest Black families. Later in life, he was celebrated as a pillar of Oakland’s early African-American community for his philanthropic work, such as hosting a dinner party with Booker T. Washington to raise funds for the Tuskegee Institute.