During his tenure as Donald Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort offered private briefings on the status of the US Presidential election to Kremlin-connected Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, the Washington Post reports.
Via the Washington Post:
Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin, according to people familiar with the discussions.
Paul Manafort made the offer in an email to an overseas intermediary, asking that a message be sent to Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past, these people said.
“If he needs private briefings we can accommodate,” Manafort wrote in the July 7, 2016, email, portions of which were read to The Washington Post along with other Manafort correspondence from that time.
The emails are among tens of thousands of documents that have been turned over to congressional investigators and Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s team as they probe whether Trump associates coordinated with Russia as part of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election.
Date: September 21, 2017
The sad longing in the plaintive strains of "Awaaz De, Kahaan Hai." The dreamy romance of the sweetly sung "Chandni Ratein." The playful affection in the lilting melody of "Ve Mundiyan Sialkotiyan." These are just a few of the thousands of songs sung by the legendary Noor Jehan, known as Malika-E-Taranum (Queen of Melody) in the world of Punjabi, Urdu, and Hindustani music.
Born Allah Rakhi Wasai to a family of local musicians in Kasur, Punjab, Jehan began her singing career when she was just five years old. Success at rural taka theater performances encouraged the family to move to Calcutta and the bigger stage of maidan theater. Theatrical recognition soon led Jehan to the silver screen.
After Partition, Noor Jehan moved to newly independent Pakistan, but her voice continued to endear her to millions across the entire subcontinent. Her renditions of patriotic songs gave courage to many Pakistanis, and her visit to India in 1982 was met with overwhelming love and enthusiasm.
Madam, as she was popularly addressed, was best known for her voice. But she was also an accomplished actress, and became Pakistan’s first female director when she codirected Chan Wey in 1951. For her contributions to the arts, the Government of Pakistan awarded her the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence) and the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence).
Today’s Doodle captures Jehan's unique singing stance — her chin tilted up, her hand flung out, and a flower in her hair. Happy Birthday, Madam!
A couple of days ago I mentioned the the MoYu YJ Lingpo 2 x 2 x 2 Speed Cube. I still haven't solved it, but I wanted to make a quick video to show how smooth it is. The little cubes rotate around a plastic sphere, and are connected by springs. It's practically impossible to jam it, unlike every other Rubik's Cube I've used. I thought it would be a snap to solve, having only 8 cubes (compared to the
27 26 cubes of a regular Rubik's cube) but it turns out I'm even dumber than I thought. I'm not giving up!
Nostradamus “predicted hurricanes and North Korea missile crisis,” claims this week’s Globe magazine, which promises to reveal the 16th-century French seer’s predictions for “what’s next!”
It’s about as plausible and fact-based as anything else in this week’s dubious tabloids. “The false trumpet concealing madness will cause Byzantium to change its laws,” wrote the ancient prognosticator. “The false trumpet is an obvious reference to America’s president,” Nostradamus analyst Louis Lefrevre tells Globe. Wait a second – the Trump-loving Globe is calling the President a “false trumpet”? Sure, he makes a lot of noise and blows a lot of hot air, but then who is the true trumpet? Hillary? Bernie?
The ancient writings continue: “The trumpet shakes with great discord. An agreement broken . . .”
Lefrevre explains: “The broken agreement is Kim’s refusal to stop nuclear testing despite his former promises.” Well, that seems obvious once you explain it.
So, what comes next?
“The next war,” says Lefrevre, pointing to this Nostradamus verse: “Pestilences extinguished, the world becomes smaller, for a long time the lands will be inhabited peacefully.” What could be clearer than that? And should I be surprised that a Google search for what the Globe terms “University of Paris expert Louis Lefrevre” turns up zero matches?
How about the Globe story that Jennifer Aniston and husband Justin Theroux are having a “trial separation”? Except she’s actually filming in Georgia, and he’s at home in New York. That’s not a marital split, it’s a working couple. How about the Globe finding “proof” that the coroner had Natalie Wood’s “autopsy faked!” Its proof? You’ll have to turn to Nostradamus for that, because the Globe comes up with none, except for a writer’s unsubstantiated “sensational claim” that coroner Thomas Noguchi “fabricated" findings to cover up her murder. What was fabricated? That’s never explained.
How about fears that actor Bruce Willis is suffering dementia, because he starred on Broadway wearing an earpiece to feed him his lines. Except that performance was two years ago, and wearing an earpiece to receive lines in a show with a script being constantly reworked is hardly a sign of Alzheimer’s. Just ask Al Pacino, James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and the many other actors who have worn earpieces for line prompts on Broadway.
The tabloids’ Guess-Your-Weight expert, who so accurately pin-points each star’s fluctuating heft to the nearest pound, now has a name: Dr. Stuart Fischer, creator of the Park Avenue Diet. Dr. Fischer tells the Globe that Caitlyn Jenner weighs “at least” 220 pounds, and blames the hormones that the former Bruce Jenner takes to be “girly” for her added avoirdupois.
Dr. Fischer is there again, in this week’s National Enquirer, telling us that Angelina Jolie “looks like she weighs no more than 76 pounds,” and that she was recently “nearly 100 pounds after being as low as 79 pounds.” These are remarkably accurate assessments of stars’ precise weights, for a doctor who admits never having treated either Jenner or Jolie.
Angelina, it seems, “is literally dying of a broken heart” following her split from Brad Pitt, claims the Enquirer. As Dr Gabriel Mirkin, who also hasn’t treated Jolie, explains, with repeated weight loss “you lose so much heart muscle that you can go into heart failure.”
Nutritionist Lisa De Fazio also gets in on the act, informing the Enquirer that actress Tori Spelling “now weighs 150 pounds,” which qualifies her as a “plus-size pauper” because she was spotted shopping at Target – oh, the shame of it! – and browsing a yard sale. Oh, and “the chunky blonde stuffed herself during a recent family vacation at a pricey $10,000-a-night Mexico resort.” So that’s the sort of pauper we’re dealing with – one who can only afford $10,000 for a hotel room? How sad to be so impoverished.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Selena Gomez wore it best (and who doesn’t look good in a pink unicorn sweater?), that Grey’s Anatomy star Jessica Capshaw is incredibly humble (“What I like most about myself is that I’m kind”), that actress Natacha Karam (Who she, Ed?) carries Chanel Coco Noir perfume, “poo bags for my dog,” boxing gloves, and “like, 600 elastics” hair scrunchies in her drawstring gym bag, and that the stars are just like us: they play slot machines, eat ice cream, and shop for Halloween. Riveting stuff.
Us devotes its cover to Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie and actor-husband Josh Duhamel as their “marriage explodes," blaming “baby battles, cheating and the pressures of fame.” Supposedly he wanted more children and she wanted to focus on her singing career, but the “cheating” line seems rather gratuitous, since it refers to unsubstantiated allegations by an Atlanta stripper claiming a one-night fling with Duhamel in 2010.
People magazine gives its cover to Prince William, promising to unveil his “life as a dad and future king.” The British Royal Family are always big sellers for the celebrity mags, but sadly it’s an uninspired romp through old interviews, explaining that he’s a great father because he takes the kids to school when wife Kate can’t, and that he listens to people he meets. “There’s a lot of support for each other, and a lot of love,” says a mental health activist who met them briefly at an event last year. Well, that’s as good as a source inside Kensington Palace, isn’t it?
Leave it to the National Examiner to predict that “by 2050 sex with robots will be more common than lovemaking for humans only,” and that the RealDoll company already “markets a line with customized genitalia and interchangeable faces.” Because robot sex should be like eating at Burger King: you can have it your way. Intriguingly, most “sexbots” are female, and the Examiner reports that “for whatever reason, women seem less interested in being intimate with androids!” Perhaps because most men in the sack perform like mechanized robots anyway?
Onwards and downwards . . .
A gentleman in Ottawa, Canada -- eager to get sent to jail in order to sell weed he had packed inside of eight Kinder Surprise plastic egg "yolks" and stored in his rectum -- threw a rock at a police car in front of the courthouse. Wish granted. But once inside, his body got the best of him. From the Ottawa Citizen:
It’s not known if the guard noticed (Damian) O’Reilly was in some discomfort but whatever the reason, the guard had suspicions that O’Reilly might be smuggling drugs. The young inmate was escorted to dry cell No. 9. A dry cell has no plumbing and guards will either attempt to seize the contraband or wait for it to be expelled.
In this case, it was O’Reilly himself who, once alone in the dry cell, removed eight Kinder Surprise eggs from his rectum. A guard had to then collect the eggs and photograph them before securing them inside the Ottawa police drug safe at the jail.
In all, the eight eggs contained 59 grams of marijuana, a gram of MDMA, tobacco, rolling papers and matches.
For the last 18 years, French chef Sébastien Bras' restaurant, Le Suquet, has received 3 Michelin stars. Now the chef wants to part ways with Michelin. He's tired of the pressure that the rating puts on him and is begging Michelin to release him from the stars.
While Michelin has called his food "spellbinding," the anxiety of having anonymous judges come into his restaurant at any given time is too much for the 46-year-old chef.
According to The Guardian:
He said his job had given him a lot of satisfaction but there was also huge pressure that was inevitably linked to the three Michelin stars first given to the restaurant in 1999. He asked to be allowed to continue his work with a free spirit and in serenity away from the world of rankings, without tension. He said he wanted to be dropped from the guide from next year.
Bras, who took over the family restaurant from his parents 10 years ago, later explained to AFP: “You’re inspected two or three times a year, you never know when. Every meal that goes out could be inspected. That means that, every day, one of the 500 meals that leaves the kitchen could be judged.
“Maybe I will be less famous but I accept that,” he said, adding that he would continue to cook excellent local produce “without wondering whether my creations will appeal to Michelin’s inspectors”.
Michelin says Bra's reason and method of asking to have his stars stripped is a first. Although they respect his plead, his stars won't automatically be stripped – they are in the process of considering his request.
Here is Bras on Facebook asking Michelin to keep him out of the guide, in French:
It's not just Warren Buffett and his Republican lieutenant Charlie Munger who favor single payer and view the US health insurance industry as a drag on national competitiveness and a needless expense on the bottom line: it's also companies like Walmart, Boeing, and GE, who have stopped paying insurers, buying services for their employees directly from hospitals and health-care providers. (more…)
From the New York Post:
Artist Richard Prince has done album covers for Sonic Youth and A Tribe Called Quest; ranks as a darling of influential collectors such as Marc Jacobs, Peter Brant and Charles Saatchi; and until recently was repped by Larry Gagosian’s namesake gallery. He even collaborated with Louis Vuitton on a line of watercolor-print handbags.
But depending on whom you ask, Prince, 68, is either one of the world’s greatest artists or a stone-cold thief.
Making bank through provocation, the New Yorker has worked to create that division — and has the legal issues to prove it. So much so that his pal, “Spring Breakers” filmmaker Harmony Korine, has said, “For Richard, the lawsuits are also the artwork.”
It’s a good thing, since Prince currently finds himself up to his neck in them.
As put by Christopher Davis, one of the lawyers litigating against him, Prince is “a notorious appropriation artist who has made tens of millions of dollars over the course of his career by reproducing, modifying and preparing derivative works of others, typically without permission . . . ”
The current spate of lawsuits — four of them — are all related to 2014’s “New Portraits” show, originally mounted at Gagosian. Works in the exhibition depicted pictures of regular folk and stars — including Kate Moss and Pamela Anderson — plucked via screenshot from Instagram accounts, printed by Prince on canvases and tweaked with written comments from Prince.
For decades, Prince has mostly been able to sidestep other artists who felt wronged by his usage — free-expression laws afford a wide berth for adapting the visual work of others — but that trend may be reversing. In July, United States District Judge Sidney H. Stein shut down a request for dismissal of a suit from professional photographer Donald Graham, whose work was appropriated by Prince in “New Portraits.”
Graham said that he pursued legal recourse for himself and hopes to set a standard that will aid others. “Copyright is a foundation for photographers to make a living,” he told The Post.
Prince’s lawyer, Joshua Schiller, insisted: “We’re saying that it’s fair use.”
. . . .
Lacking traditional art training — the artist once admitted to Artforum, “I had limited technical skills . . . Actually I had no skills” — Prince’s career began after he moved from his childhood hometown of Boston to Manhattan in 1973 and got a job in the library at Time Inc. There, he snipped and archived magazine pages, foreshadowing his later work.
He started getting modest art-world attention in the late 1970s and early ’80s for pieces such as spot-on reproductions of cigarette ads. In 1983, Prince re-photographed a 1975 shot of a naked 10-year-old Brooke Shields and called it “Spiritual America” (the title was copped from an Alfred Stieglitz photo). It was first shown in the front window of a Lower East Side store rented by Prince for this single purpose.
Garry Gross, the shot’s original photographer, won a $2,000 settlement from Prince and an agreement that he would be credited every time the appropriated version was shown at the Whitney — a promise Prince reneged on in ’92. (After Gross pointed it out, Whitney employees credited him.)
In 2014, Prince’s copy of Gross’ photo sold at auction for $3,973,000.
Link to the rest at the New York Post
PG notes that if you enter fair use vs. derivative works or fair use vs. transformative use into your Google search box, you’ll find a great deal of commentary about the the line between the legal and the illegal under copyright law.
However, you will not find a bright line.
During his brief Google-dive into the topic, PG did find a piece written by someone at the University of Minnesota Libraries that PG thought described the issues clearly (and briefly) in terms a non-lawyer might appreciate.
PG also notes that the the University helpfully makes all content in the Copyright Information section of its website available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.
Here’s an excerpt:
Fair use is an important part of copyright law that provides some flexibility for users and new creators. At its core, fair use ensures that there are some kinds of uses that do not require permission or payment. But there are no easy rules for fair use – if you want to take advantage of its flexibility, you have to understand its complexities!
Although there are other exceptions to the far-reaching rights of copyright holders, most of those exceptions only apply in very limited circumstances. Fair use is much more flexible, but also much harder to understand and apply. To understand fair use, you need to be familiar with the four statutory factors, and the idea of “transformativeness”. To think through whether a particular use is a fair use, you have to look at these details and other associated issues as a whole. Even then, fair use is unpredictable enough that the best anyone can do is make a well-informed, reasonable guess.
Link to the rest at University of Minnesota Libraries – Copyright Information
The University also provides an interactive tool to assist in “Thinking Through Fair Use.” The Office for Information Technology Policy of the American Library Association also has an online interactive Fair Use Evaluator.
PG cautions that the use of these tools is not a substitute for consulting a competent attorney for close cases. He’ll also caution that fair use is not the only potential legal question. The proper/improper use of a trademark owned by someone else may come into play and the Right of Publicity may be another issue that comes into play.
PG will also note that executives of large entertainment conglomerates, many of which are located in the Los Angeles area, can be aggressive about enforcing their rights under a variety of theories. Think very, very hard before you include a picture of Mickey Mouse in your book or you will learn far more about copyright and trademark law than you know at present. (Here’s a link if you want a preview)
A dungeon master scrapped the pen and paper and created a touchscreen tabletop version of Dungeons and Dragons.
Tumblr user Caethial recently posted photos of the full build that he and two other players put together in 2016. A 40-inch Samsung smart TV paired with a Dell Precision 5720 27-inch 4K workstation runs about $2,800.
Don’t worry, an outdated wood table and basement location can still make you feel like a social outcast.
See all of Caethial's step-by-step photos here.
Bunker Hill is old town, lost town, shabby town, crook town. Once, very long ago, it was the choice residential district of the city, and there are still standing a few of the jigsaw Gothic mansions with wide porches and walls covered with round-end shingles and full corner bay windows with spindle turrets. They are all rooming houses now, their parquetry floors are scratched and worn through the once glossy finish and the wide sweeping staircases are dark with time and with cheap varnish laid on over generations of dirt. In the tall rooms haggard landladies bicker with shifty tenants. On the wide cool front porches, reaching their cracked shoes into the sun, and staring at nothing, sit the old men with faces like lost battles.
In and around the old houses there are flyblown restaurants and Italian fruit stands and cheap apartment houses and little candy stores where you can buy even nastier things than their candy. And there are ratty hotels where nobody except people named Smith and Jones sign the register and where the night clerk is half watchdog and half pander.
Out of the apartment houses come women who should be young but have faces like stale beer; men with pulled-down hats and quick eyes that look the street over behind the cupped hand that shields the match flame; worn intellectuals with cigarette coughs and no money in the bank; fly cops with granite faces and unwavering eyes; cokies and coke peddlers; people who look like nothing in particular and know it, and once in a while even men that actually go to work. But they come out early, when the wide cracked sidewalks are empty and still have dew on them.
Orkney is home to a host of Neolithic stone houses, stone circles and elaborate burial monuments, but a new study into the area has allowed experts to add a new purpose to the prehistoric communities’ use of some of these sites – partying.
New research led by Professor Alex Bayliss at Historic England has challenged the previously understood narrative for prehistoric life on the islands and painted a clearer picture of how communities farmed, gathered together at festivals and buried their dead.
The islands are home to renowned sites such as the Skara Brae settlement, Maeshowe passage grave, the Ring of Brodgar – which originally had 60 stones and is 104 metres in diameter - and Stones of Stenness circles, which were granted UNESCO World Heritage status in 1999.
Read the rest of this article...
Researchers have discovered four new sets of cave paintings in Cantabria, northern Spain, the oldest of which was made nearly 30,000 years ago – making it one of the earliest known examples of prehistoric art in the world.
The team from the Museum of Prehistory of Cantabria, led by Spanish prehistorian Roberto Ontañón, used cutting-edge imaging techniques to identify the drawings.
Twenty years ago, a speleologist – a scientist who studies caves – had informed archaeologists of the possible existence of ancient paintings in various rock cavities in Cantabria. However, the techniques available at the time were not sufficient to confirm the existence of the art.
The paintings, like much prehistoric artwork, had degraded so much over time that they were difficult to identify with the naked eye. To overcome this, Ontañón and his team used a 3D laser scanning method, which reproduced the artwork on a computer.
Read the rest of this article...
Archaeologist Adam Daubney, from Lincolnshire County Council, said it is one of only three known examples in the country.
Mr Redmayne, who found the crucifix on Sunday, said he did not initially realise the significance of his discovery. He said he knew it was a crucifix, and was possibly old due to its crude design.
However, he said it was only when he researched the item online he realised it was something special. Despite the artefact having little monetary value, he said, it offers a unique insight into the lives of ordinary people at the time.
A recent study published in the scientific journal The Auk: Ornithological Advances claims a competitive social environment may cause certain species of ducks to grow even bigger penises.
Researchers studied two species of ducks placed in environments where there were fewer females and more males, along with ducks housed in male-female pair bonds, according to Phys.org.
Lesser Scaup ducks that were housed with several males were said to have grown longer penises. Ruddy Ducks, who are already well-endowed to begin with — placed in the same predicament — would grow their penises faster than pair-bonded ones, but also might “offset” their sexual development to not interfere with other males.
What the study really reveals is that there’s a sizeable job market for measuring duck wangs.
"This is an excellent experimental study of penis morphology, looking at the effects of social environment on penis size in two duck species that have different mating systems," according to Queen's University's Bob Montgomerie, an expert on reproductive strategies who was not involved in the study.
"The question now is whether the observed increase in penis size in Lesser Scaup under the threat of sperm competition actually gives males a competitive advantage. Like all good studies, this one will undoubtedly stimulate more research, as it provides both methodologies and a clear focus on interesting questions."
Image: Dick Daniels
Featuring the artwork of Juan Ortiz, these TOS coffee mugs are just wonderful.
I'm pretty sure I'll have them all shortly.