Monday, July 25, 2016.
New York Times: Verizon, seeking to bolster its meager digital content for consumers, announced on Monday that it was acquiring Yahoo’s core internet business for $4.83 billion in cash." -- CW
Sunday, July 24, 2016.
New York Times: "Olympic officials said on Sunday that all Russian athletes were tainted by the country’s state-run doping system and would not be allowed to compete in the Summer Games unless they convinced individual sports federations of their innocence. With just 12 days before the Games begin, the International Olympic Committee said in a statement that 'all Russian athletes seeking entry to the Olympic Games Rio 2016 are considered to be affected by a system subverting and manipulating the antidoping system.'” -- CW
Public Service Announcement
New York Times (June 3): "Scientists raised the possibility that the Zika virus can be transmitted by oral sex — perhaps even by kissing — on Friday in a letter to The New England Journal of Medicine describing one such case in France." -- CW
New York Times (May 22): "An outbreak of a life-threatening illness that has been linked to foods packaged by a processing plant in Washington State has prompted a large-scale voluntary recall of frozen fruits and vegetables marketed under 42 brand names. The scale of the recall reflects the severity of the outbreak of the illness, listeria, and of concerns about how the contaminated food might have “trickled down” into other products, said Brittany Behm, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
New York Times: "A surprisingly specific genetic portrait of the ancestor of all living things has been generated by scientists who say that the likeness sheds considerable light on the mystery of how life first emerged on Earth. This venerable ancestor was a single-cell, bacterium-like organism. But it has a grand name, or at least an acronym. It is known as Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, and is estimated to have lived some four billion years ago, when Earth was a mere 560 million years old."
Ian Crouch of the New Yorker: "For a few days, at least, [Stephen] Colbert abandoned the political equanimity that he’d adopted when he started his 'Late Night' job." BTW, here's Laura Benanti's segment:
Washington Post: "Benny" (for Ben Franklin), the mystery philanthropist of Salem, Oregon, has given away more than $55,000 in $100 bills, which s/he hides in odd places like "pockets of clothing, in diapers, in baby wipes and in candy." -- CW
Jumping Jupiter! New York Times: "Ducking through intense belts of violent radiation as it skimmed over the clouds of Jupiter at 130,000 miles per hour, NASA’s Juno spacecraft finally clinched its spot on Monday in the orbit of the solar system’s largest planet. It took five years for Juno to travel this far on its $1.1 billion mission, and the moment was one that NASA scientists and space enthusiasts had eagerly — and anxiously — anticipated. At 11:53 p.m., Eastern time, a signal from the spacecraft announced the end of a 35-minute engine burn that left it in the grip of its desired orbit around Jupiter." -- CW ...
... Rachel Feltman of the Washington Post has more on the importance of the mission. CW: This, BTW, is another fine example of your government actually at work.
New York Times: "Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” signed off the air for good on Saturday evening [July 2], after 42 seasons, as millions of listeners, many in their cars on a holiday weekend, tuned in via public radio. With the exception of a telephone call from President Obama, the show, which was recorded Friday at the Hollywood Bowl in front of 18,000 people, ambled along the way it always has. There were pretty country-folk songs; an ad for Powdermilk Biscuits; a clippety-clop 'Lives of the Cowboys' skit; a heartfelt version of 'Every Time We Say Goodbye.'”
Washington Post: Gay Talese disowns his forthcoming book, 'The Voyeur’s Motel,' after he learns some of the incidents in the supposed true story are certainly fictional. The narrative “chronicles the bizarre story of Gerald Foos, who allegedly spied on guests at his Colorado motel from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s.... 'I should not have believed a word he said,' the 84-year-old author said after The Washington Post informed him of property records that showed Foos did not own the motel from 1980 to 1988.... The book, which will be published July 12, was excerpted in the New Yorker magazine in April. The story attracted widespread media attention and led producer-director Steven Spielberg to buy the movie rights to the book. Spielberg has lined up Sam Mendes...." ...
... Update. CW: For a day, I thought maybe Talese had developed a smidgen of ethics in his old age. Guess not. Here's the story now, from the WashPo: "Upon reflection, author Gay Talese says he’s disavowing his earlier disavowal of his own work."
Dan Shaw of New York writes a lovely remembrance of New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham.
Guardian: "Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat ... in groundbreaking discoveries that promise to upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history. The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh."
Guardian: "Archaeologists have found a monumental structure buried under the sands of Petra, according to a new study that drew on satellite imagery to scan the ancient city. Satellite surveys of the city revealed a massive platform, 184ft by 161ft, with an interior platform that was paved with flagstones, lined with columns on one side and with a gigantic staircase descending to the east...'This monumental platform has no parallels at Petra or in its hinterlands at present,' the researchers wrote, noting that the structure, strangely, is near the city center but 'hidden' and hard to reach." --safari
Deborah Treisman of the New Yorker interviews Arnold Rampersad, a biographer of Langston Hughes about a previously unpublished short story by Hughes, titled "Seven People Dancing." The story is here. CW: I read the story. Although Treisman & Rampersad don't say so, I think it's an unfinished story. Hughes sets up a crisis, but the story stops on the cusp of the crisis and, of course, before the denouement. Like most serious fiction writers, Hughes starts a story with a conflict in mind but not with a resolution. I don't think he knew, when he put the page away, how things would turn out.
King Tut Meets ET. Guardian: "A dagger entombed with King Tutankhamun was made with iron from a meteorite, a new analysis on the metal composition shows.... Italian and Egyptian researchers analysed the metal with an x-ray fluorescence spectrometer to determine its chemical composition, and found its high nickel content, along with its levels of cobalt, 'strongly suggests an extraterrestrial origin'.... Although people have worked with copper, bronze and gold since 4,000BC, ironwork came much later, and was rare in ancient Egypt."
Washington Post: "After an epic duel of word masters, an 11-year-old Texan and a 13-year-old New Yorker tied Thursday night [May 26] in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, the third year in a row two victors shared the championship trophy."
... Washington Post: The White House goes Scandinavian for a state dinner for the leaders of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland.
New York Times: "Morley Safer, the longest-serving correspondent on '60 Minutes' who was known as much for his hard-hitting reporting as the quirky stories he covered, will formally retire this week after a career in broadcast news that lasted more than 50 years, CBS said on Wednesday. Mr. Safer, 84, served on '60 Minutes' for all but two of its 48 seasons. He started scaling back his appearances on the show after he turned 80; his last segment, a profile of the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, aired in March.... An hourlong program on Sunday, “Morley Safer: A Reporter’s Life,” will, among other highlights, recall an investigation by Mr. Safer that resulted in the freedom of Lenell Geter, a black man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life in prison in Texas. In an appearance on the special, Mr. Geter credited Mr. Safer with saving his life."
U.K. Telegraph: "A Canadian schoolboy appears to have discovered a lost Mayan city hidden deep in the jungles of Mexico using a new method of matching stars to the location of temples on earth....In hundreds of years of scholarship, no other scientist had ever found such a correlation.... Studying 22 different constellations, [William Gadoury] found that they matched the location of 117 Mayan cities scattered throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. When he applied his theory to a 23rd constellation, he found that two of the stars already had cities linked to them but that the third star was unmatched. William took to Google Maps and projected that there must be another city hidden deep in the thick jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The Canadian Space Agency agreed to train its satellite telescopes on the spot and returned with striking pictures: what appears to be an ancient Mayan pyramid and dozens of smaller structures around it."
Politico: "Fox News chief White House correspondent Ed Henry will not be appearing on the channel for the time being, following a report in In Touch Weekly that he cheated on his wife with a Las Vegas hostess. 'We recently became aware of Ed’s personal issues and he’s taking some time off to work things out,' a Fox News spokesperson told Politico in a statement."
New York Times: “'Hamilton,' the groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the nation’s founding fathers, has been nominated for 16 Tony Awards, the most in Broadway history." ...
... Here's the full list of Tony Award nominees.
MIT News: "For the first time, an international team of astronomers from MIT, the University of Liège in Belgium, and elsewhere have detected three planets orbiting an ultracool dwarf star, just 40 light years from Earth. The sizes and temperatures of these worlds are comparable to those of Earth and Venus, and are the best targets found so far for the search for life outside the solar system. The results are published [Monday, May 2] in the journal Nature.... The scientists discovered the planets using TRAPPIST (TRAnsiting Planets and PlanetesImals Small Telescope), a 60-centimeter telescope operated by the University of Liège, based in Chile."