Monday, July 27, 2015.
Boston Globe: "Boston’s Olympic bid is dead. In a joint statement, United States Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun and Steve Pagliuca, chairman of bidding group Boston 2024, characterized the decision to pull the plug as a mutual one."
New York Times: "Peg Lynch, who wrote and starred in 'Ethel and Albert,' one of television’s earliest situation comedies, died on Friday at her home in Becket, Mass. She was 98.... Ms. Lynch, who wrote nearly 11,000 scripts for radio and television without the benefit of a writer’s room committee (or even a co-writer), was a pioneering woman in broadcast entertainment. As a creator of original characters and a performer of her own written work — every bit of it live! — she might be said to have created the mold that decades later produced the likes of Tina Fey and Amy Schumer."
Sunday, July 26, 2015.
Washington Post: "Bobbi Kristina Houston Brown, the only child of singers Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown died at a Georgia hospice facility on Sunday. She was 22.
Washington Post: "A [female sex worker] in Charleston, W.Va., may have saved her own life and the lives of many other women, as well, when she shot and killed an alleged attacker in her home last week." Police suspect that Neal Falls, whom the woman shot, may have been a serial killer.
Public Service Announcement
Washington Post: "A novel data-mining project reveals evidence that a common group of heartburn medications taken by more than 100 million people every year is associated with a greater risk of heart attacks, Stanford University researchers reported Wednesday."
AP: "Federal health advisers on Tuesday[, June 9,] recommended approval for a highly anticipated cholesterol drug from Sanofi and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, but with the caveat that more data is needed about its long-term ability to reduce heart attacks. The expert panel recommended by a 13-3 vote that the Food and Drug Administration approve the injectable drug, called Praluent."
Washington Post (June 4): "The first-ever 'female Viagra' came one step closer to coming to market, as a key advisory committee to the Food and Drug Administration voted Thursday afternoon to recommend that the FDA approve the drug with conditions. The committee voted 18-6 to recommend that the FDA approve flibanserin, a drug designed to boost the low sexual desire of otherwise healthy women."
6:20 am ET: President Obama & Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn hold a press conference
10:00 am ET: White House Champions of Change -- disability advocates
11:00 am ET: Vice President Biden speaks on the economy, in Rochester, NY (audio only)
2:45 pm ET: Vice President Biden speaks at an infratructure event in New York City (audio only)
Go to WhiteHouse.gov/live.
Stupid Pet Tricks, Reptile Edition:
Lloyd Grove of the Daily Beast: NBC News Chairman Andy Lack is replacing MSNBC's Ed Schultz with -- Chuck Todd. [CW: Excellent decision! Let's change "MSNBC" to "VPN" -- "Village People's Network."] "The only programs that appeared safe from disruption were Morning Joe..., hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski; Hardball ... with Chris Matthews; and The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. Those programs have performed respectably...." ...
We live in a time when much of the corporate media regards politics as a baseball game or a soap opera. Ed Schultz has treated the American people with respect by focusing on the most important issues impacting their lives.... I am very disappointed that Comcast [the parent company of NBC & MSNBC] chose to remove Ed Schultz from its lineup. We need more people who talk about the real issues facing our country, not fewer.... At a time when a handful of large, multi-national corporations own our major media outlets, I hope they will allow voices to be heard from those who dissent from the corporate agenda. -- Sen. Bernie Sanders
Washington Post: "The latest update from NASA's Kepler space telescope — designed to spot distant exoplanets — adds more than 500 new possible planets to the fray. That's in addition to the 4,175 planets already found by Kepler. And of those 500 new potential planets, scientists say, a dozen could be remarkably Earth-like. That means they're less than twice as large as Earth, are potentially rocky and are at the right distance from their host stars to harbor liquid water." ...
... Guardian: "Scientists on the hunt for extraterrestrial life have discovered 'the closest twin to Earth' outside the solar system, Nasa announced on Thursday."
Worst Person Ratings in the World. Andrew Kirell of Mediaite: Rumors are a'flyin' that MSNBC is headed for another line-up shake-up, which could include the Return of Dr. Olbermann, who is departing ESPN -- again. Because their third place in cable ratings wasn't as bad as their third place is now (sometimes 4th, behind Al Jazeera). And because the New Olbermann is now a suits-licking pussycat, unlike the Old Olbermann from way last week.
Some Would Be Heroes. Washington Post: Coast Guardsman Darren Harrity swims a mile in choppy, fuel-slicked sea to save four men in a leaky lifeboat.
New York Times: "What Pet Should I Get?" -- an aide to Dr. Suess's widow found the manuscript in a box. Dr. Suess -- Theodore Geisel -- died in 1991.
... Via BuzzFeed, for the fun of it.
Washington Post: "On Monday, famed physicist Stephen Hawking and Russian tycoon Yuri Milner held a news conference in London to announce their new project: injecting $100 million and a whole lot of brain power into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, an endeavor they're calling Breakthrough Listen." ...
... CW: What a waste. You know all they'll find is angels hovering around a pantheon of some sort & maybe, if they're lucky, their long-dead pooches floating around Pet Heaven, which is real & wonderful.
New York Times: "In a pair of legal filings on Friday, two nuns who object to [singer Katy] Perry’s proposed purchase of their order’s convent on eight acres [in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles] disclosed an email describing any sale to the saucy pop singer as a breach of their sacred vows.... The court papers include claims by several of five surviving nuns in the Sisters of the Most Holy and Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary that the archdiocese is betraying them and bullying them into supporting a sale other than their preferred transaction with [another buyer]."
NASA: "In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named 'Tombaugh Regio' (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930."
Hill: "President Obama is making a final 'Daily Show' appearance before host Jon Stewart leaves the political comedy program after 17 years. Obama will sit down for his final chat with Stewart on Tuesday, the White House confirmed Friday."
For an actual feel-good moment, Lindsey Bever of the Washington Post tells the story of 16-year-old small-plane crash survivor Autumn Veatch. Veatch, who was injured in the crash that killed her grandparents, walked untold mild through rough terrain until she came to a public road & parking area.
Washington Post: "Nearly two months after a molestation scandal prompted TLC to pull reruns of the popular reality program '19 Kids and Counting' from the air and online, the network announced that it has officially canceled the program."
Washington Post: "Filmmaker George Lucas, singer-songwriter Carole King and dancer-actress Rita Moreno are among an unprecedented six honorees to be saluted at the 2015 Kennedy Center Honors. Seventies rockers the Eagles, actress Cicely Tyson and conductor Seiji Ozawa will also be honored at the Dec. 6 event, Kennedy Center officials said Wednesday. A major fundraiser for the arts center, the gala celebration will be televised on CBS on Dec. 29."
Adam Gopnik of the New Yorker reviews Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman. ...
... Laura Marsh of the New Republic: "Scolars have been pointing out Atticus Finch's racism for years."
New York Times (July 15): "It was the last day of business at F. A. O. Schwarz on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan."
New York Times: "A day after its successful flyby, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first close-up photographs of Pluto, revealing a young surface dotted with ice mountains. The piano-size spacecraft traveled nine years and three billion miles to study the dwarf planet and its five moons." Includes one close-up photo from 25 miles out. More on NASA's site.
New York (July 14): "We're halfway through July, but until this morning, there was still snow on the ground in Boston. The last of the city's historic snowfall, a disgusting frozen mass of dirt, snow, and trash, was officially pronounced melted this morning"."
Here are time-lapse photos of the long melt:
Sean Hollister of Gizmodo: "The Mozilla Firefox web browser now blocks Flash by default. And when I say “blocks,” I don’t mean it asks you nicely if you’d really like to use Flash. I don’t mean it automatically pauses Flash videos like Google Chrome. I mean Mozilla has decided that Flash is going down.... Why such a hard-on for Flash? Why now? Well, it could be that the world just rediscovered just how prone Flash is to nasty, nasty vulnerabilities. When the Hacking Team — an Italian security company that sold intrusive spy tools — got hacked, one of those tools got out into the wild. A nasty hole in Flash that Adobe has yet to patch.... It’s probably worth noting that [Monday July 13], Mozilla’s Facebook’s chief security officer publicly asked Adobe to kill off Flash once and for all.... Update: Adobe has already released a newer version of Flash, 184.108.40.206, which Firefox doesn’t block by default. You’ll want to manually download it."
Contributor Nisky Guy takes us back in time to February 2006, when Lewis Black complained, "I can't wait that long":
Washington Post: "On its approach to Pluto, the spacecraft [New Horizons] obtained the most arresting image yet of the dwarf planet. Pluto is not a bland and featureless ball of ice, but rather a complex, variegated, mottled world with broad snowfields, structures that look like cliffs or fault lines, and a strikingly bright heart-shaped area that could be the eroded remnant of a giant impact crater."
New York Times: "About 7:50 a.m. Tuesday, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest pass by Pluto, coming within 7,800 miles of the surface. The crowd ... at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, which is operating the mission..., included the children of Clyde Tombaugh, the astronomer who discovered Pluto in 1930...." ...
... AP: "On Tuesday, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft will sweep past Pluto and present the previously unexplored world in all its icy glory. It promises to be the biggest planetary unveiling in a quarter-century. The curtain hasn't been pulled back like this since NASA's Voyager 2 shed light on Neptune in 1989."
New York Times: "Japan’s New Satellite Captures an Image of Earth Every 10 Minutes. See some of the images it took on its first full day in operation. CW: Spectacular!
Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times reviews Harper Lee's novel Go Set a Watchman: Though 'Watchman' is being published for the first time now, it was essentially an early version of 'Mockingbird.' According to news accounts, 'Watchman' was submitted to publishers in the summer of 1957; after her editor asked for a rewrite focusing on Scout’s girlhood two decades earlier, Ms. Lee spent some two years reworking the story, which became 'Mockingbird.'... One of the emotional through-lines in both 'Mockingbird' and 'Watchman' is a plea for empathy — as Atticus puts it in 'Mockingbird' to Scout: 'You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.' The difference is 'Mockingbird' suggested that we should have compassion for outsiders like Boo and Tom Robinson, while 'Watchman' asks us to have understanding for a bigot named Atticus.”
Here's the first chapter of Harper Lee's book Go Set a Watchman. Actor Reese Witherspoon reads the chapter:
Read This Review. Carlos Lozada of the Washington Post: "'The Speechwriter' by Barton Swaim, on his time working for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, will become a classic on political communication."
Hollywood Reporter: "Keith Olbermann is exiting ESPN once again. The television personality, who rejoined the sports network in August 2013, won't be renewing his deal to anchor his ESPN2 program. The news follows a THR report on July 1, noting that ESPN management floated an ultimately unworkable caveat: that Olbermann cease engaging in commentary." CW: Maybe he can get a job subbing for Brian Williams at MSNBC.
boston.com: 15-year-old Joseph Rosenfeld found a math error in a Charles & Ray Eames exhibit at Boston's Museum of Science. "There were minus signs where there should be plus signs.... On Tuesday, the Museum of Science released a statement commending Rosenfeld for his keen eye, while explaining that 'the way the Museum presents the Golden Ratio in its exhibit is in fact the less common — but no less accurate — way to present it.'” The museum has fixed the mistake on the exhibit, which has been on display since 1981.