Dr. Dre is making a Marvin Gaye movie

The following people have all unsuccessfully tried to bring Marvin Gaye's story to the big screen: F. Gary Gray, Cameron Crowe, James Gandolfini, Scott Rudin, Jesse L. Martin, and Lenny Kravitz. None of them had the blessing of Gaye's estate. Now though, Dr. Dre is giving it a shot. Apparently the film is in early development and Gaye's estate has authorized use of his music. From Variety:

The most recent project to get the sign off from the Gaye estate was with Jamie Foxx who landed the rights for a limited series in 2016 but that project has seen no movement in the years since...

In a curious twist of fate, Dre is represented by King, Holmes, Paterno & Soriano, the same legal firm which defended Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams against the Gaye estate in the closely-monitored “Blurred Lines” trial in 2015. The verdict found in favor of the Gaye family, which contended that “Blurred Lines” infringed on Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up” and ordered Thicke and Williams to pay millions in statutory damages.

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Enjoy the psychedelic sounds of West Coast Fog Radio

West Coast Fog Radio is the absolutely wonderful podcast of garage psych, avant-rock, desert drone, loner folk, ambient cut-ups, spoken word, and other far-out sounds hosted by Erik Bluhm, former editor of the greatly-missed "Great God Pan," a killer 1990s 'zine about outré California culture and news. Turn on, tune in, burn out.

Your host Erik Bluhm takes you on an audio tour of the West you might be unaware of, visiting obscure moments in musical history along the way. You might hear folk rock and proto-raga rock 45s from the mid ‘60s, rural psychedelic private LP meanderings, self-released audio poetry and sound collage, obscure history lessons and readings, New Age/ambient/ethno-honky visionaries, DIY art/synth, punk, and post punk sides, and/or experimental nothingness in tape form.

West Coast Fog Radio (Thanks, Jess Rotter!)

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Watch: "Horse destroys the universe"

Cyriak Harris is writing a novel titled "Horse Destroys the Universe." Cyriak has been creating strange animated GIFs and videos for more than a decade so he made a promo animation for his book-in-progress. Guess what? It's incredibly weird and amazing. From the novel description:

Life was simple for Buttercup the horse. Chewing grass in a field, gazing dreamily at passing clouds or standing at a hedge to watch the world go by. Perhaps a light nap followed by a gentle canter and more grazing, and then off to the stable for a programme of psychological tests designed to expand the boundaries of horse consciousness.

For Betty and Tim, life was also simple. Or at least as simple as life could be when you are scientists conducting neurological experiments on a horse. That is until the day they discovered their horse was conducting an experiment of its own.

Life became rather more complicated after that for Tim, Betty and Buttercup, and the ensuing struggle for control over one horse's destiny results in an intellectual arms race that takes all three of them to the edge of reality and beyond. It is a struggle that threatens to shake the foundations of civilisation and unravel the fabric of time and space. Can anyone stop this horse from destroying the universe?

Pledge on Unbound to support the completion of "Horse Destroys the Universe"

(Thanks, Paul Di Filippo!) Read the rest

Secrets of a mind-blowing bubble artist

The Yang family make some of the most incredible soap bubbles in the world as part of their Gazillion Bubble Show in NYC. In this Wired video, Melody Yang shares some of her secrets.

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Nazi UFO toy model pulled from shelves

Toy model manufacturer Revell agreed to discontinue its model of the Haunebu II Flying Saucer, described as "the first object in the world capable of flying in space." According to the product description, the Nazi aircraft never made it past its 1943 test stage due to World War II. Thing is, none of that is true. From The Local:

The fact that Revell's product’s description fails to mention the aircraft never existed is risky in that people who buy it might actually believe the Nazis possessed superior technologies, (said historian Jens Whener of the Military History Museum in Dresden, Germany).

"Enthusiasts can use this as a strategy to cast doubt on what we know today about National Socialism," the historian said.

The company said it agrees with the MHM, adding that “it is in fact a legendary, extraordinary aircraft which cannot be proven in terms of its existence.”

"Unfortunately, our product description does not adequately express this and we apologize for it," Revell said in a statement.

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"Tubular Bells" live in 1973

Mike Oldfield performs Tubular Bells live on the BBC in 1973. The first release on Richard Branson's new Virgin Records, Tubular Bells became a huge success after film director William Friedkin cast off the Lalo Schifrin score for his new film The Exorcist and went with "Tubular Bells (Part One)" instead. At the time, Oldfield said he didn't want to see the film because it was too scary.

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Apple's HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

Pioneering engineer Bill Atkinson was the lead designer/developer of the Apple Lisa graphical user interface, creator of MacPaint and QuickDraw, and part of the original team that developed the Apple Macintosh. In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment. From Mondo 2000:

It seemed to me the universe is in a process of coming alive. Consciousness is blossoming and propagating to colonize the universe, and life on Earth is one of many bright spots in the cosmic birth of consciousness....

The street lamps reminded me of bodies of knowledge, gems of discovery and understanding, but separated from each other by distance and different languages. Poets, artists, musicians, physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians, and economists all have separate pools of knowledge, but are hindered from sharing and finding the deeper connections...

Knowledge, it seemed to me, consists of the “How” connections between pieces of information, the cause and effect relationships. How does this action bring about that result. Science is a systematic attempt to discover the “How” connections. Wisdom, it seemed to me, was a step further removed, the bigger perspective of the “Why” connections between pieces of knowledge. Why, for reasons ethical and aesthetic, should we choose one future over another?

I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop.

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Child hit with $132,000 bill for accidentally knocking over sculpture

A 5-year-old boy knocked over a sculpture at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. A few days later, Overland Park's insurance company hit the boy's parents with a $132,000 bill. From ABC News:

City officials say the piece was not “permanently attached” but it was secured to the pedestal with clips and that it was “a not an interactive piece.”

“We’ve had other pieces there [and] we’ve not had problems,” said city spokesman Sean Reilly. “We’ve not had this situation… we’ve not had kids climb on our pieces.”

But (the child's mom Sarah) Goodman argued the sculpture should have been better secured. She also disputes the city’s claim that her child wasn’t being supervised. Goodman said she and her husband were out of frame of the surveillance camera, saying their goodbyes during a wedding reception that they were leaving, when the incident occurred.

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Chris Cornell's daughter Toni released their stunning duet of Prince's "Nothing Compare 2 U"

Toni Cornell, daughter of the late Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, released this duet yesterday of she and her dad singing one of his favorite Prince tunes. From Chris Cornell's YouTube account:

Daddy,

I love you and miss you so much. You were the best father anyone could ask for. Our relationship was so special, and you were always there for me. You gave me courage when I didn’t have any. You believed in me when I didn’t. I miss your love everyday. Recording this song with you was a special and amazing experience I wish I could repeat 100 times over and I know you would too. Happy Father’s Day daddy, nothing compares to you.

- Toni

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Octopuses, starfish, and prawns rain down on Chinese city

A mass of sea creatures rained down on the Chinese city of Qingda during a storm last week. From Mysterious Universe:

The phenomenon of “fish rain” or “animal rain” is a rare, but very real, weather phenomenon which has been documented for centuries. Reports of thousands of falling fish, frogs, and other animals that have no business in the sky have occurred since the Roman empire...

While waterspouts are widely believed to be responsible for the phenomenon, the process of waterspouts sucking animals out of the sea has never been directly observed. This explanation certainly makes sense for Qingdao, China. It’s a coastal city, and this fish rain was accompanied by a large and powerful storm system.

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Watch people from different countries count paper money in myriad ways

I've seen people in the US count money in nearly all these ways but perhaps certain methods are dominant in different countries. In any case, the Belarusian finger flip is new to me and rather impressive. Try doing that with your stinkin' bitcoins!

"70 People Reveal How To Count Money in Their Country" (Condé Nast Traveler) Read the rest

More mammals are becoming nocturnal so they can avoid humans

As Earth's human population expands, it's harder for other mammals to avoid people during the daytime. As a result, some mammals are becoming increasingly nocturnal. Nobody knows how that shift will affect individual species and even entire ecosystems. In a new paper in the journal Science, University of California, Berkeley wildlife ecologist Kaitlyn Gaynor and her colleagues examined data on how 62 species across the world spend their days and night. From Scientific American:

For example, leopards in the Central African nation of Gabon are 46 percent nocturnal in areas without bushmeat hunting, but 93 percent nocturnal where the practice is common. In Poland wild boars go from 48 percent nocturnal in natural forests to 90 percent nocturnal in urban areas. Even activities people consider relatively innocuous, such as hiking and wildlife viewing, strongly affected animals’ daily rhythms. Brown bears in Alaska live 33 percent of the day nocturnally when humans stay away, but that number goes up to 76 percent for bears exposed to wildlife-viewing tourism. “We think that we're leaving no trace often when we’re outdoors, but we can be having lasting consequences on animal behavior,” Gaynor says...

Perhaps even more alarming is the cascade of effects that could occur in the wider ecosystem as animals switch from day to night. “Patterns of competition and predator–prey interactions might change with the nocturnal behavioral changes,” Gaynor says. If one species—say a top predator—starts hunting at night and goes after different types of prey, it will likely have innumerable trickle-down consequences for everything along the food chain.

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The shortest commercial flight in the world is less than one minute long

Singapore Airlines just launched the longest nonstop commercial flight route in history -- 20 hours between New York City and Singapore. On the other side of the coin though is the shortest international commercial flight in the world: Anguilla Air Services' 12-mile route in the Caribbean between Saint Martin's Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and Anguilla's Clayton J. Lloyd International Airport. Flight time is 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the shortest domestic commercial flight is from Westray to Papa Westray, Scotland. From CNN:

A narrow stretch of water separates the Orkney islands of Westray and Papa Westray, off the north coast of Scotland. Scottish airline Loganair has been running an air bridge between these two tiny Scottish islands for around 50 years, making it the shortest nonstop regular flight anywhere in the world.

The flight, operated by a Britten-Norman Islander eight-seater aircraft, takes just over a minute, but on occasions has been as short as 53 seconds, depending on tail wind.

"This route is used mainly by the people of the Orkney Islands going about their daily routines," says Andy Thornton, Loganair's director of flight operations. "It is used by teachers, the local police officer, the banker and children going to school. However it is also a keen route for tourists and aviation enthusiasts."

"A 10-minute flight? World's shortest airline routes" (CNN) Read the rest

A painful device to punish hat thieves

In 1911, inventor Frank P. Snow invented this "hat guard" to inflict a painful punishment on any creep with the gall to steal a chapeau belonging to another gentleman. From Weird Universe:

A thief could take the hat, but if he tried to put it on, a "guarding prong" would jab into his skull. The prong locked in place and could only be moved if you knew the code to the combination lock.

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Hilarious "bad lip reading" of the NBA

I didn't bother to watch any of the NBA championship series but I was glued to the screen for this Bad Lip Reading of the 2017-2018 pro basketball season. Read the rest

Watch Weezer perform "Africa" live with Toto's Steve Porcaro on synth

On the heels of the successful fan campaign for Weezer to cover Toto's "Africa," and the subsequent online release of the song, they performed it last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Special guest all-too-brief synth solo by Toto's Steve Porcaro! Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you!

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These 3D-printed shapeshifting bots can crawl, jump, and catch things under magnetic control

MIT researchers designed and 3D-printed an array of soft, mechanical critters that are controlled by waving a magnet over them. The shapeshifters that fold up, crawl, grab things, and snap together into intricate formations may someday lead to new kinds of biomedical devices. For example, one of the devices "can even be directed to wrap itself around a small pill and carry it across a table." From MIT News:

“We think in biomedicine this technique will find promising applications,” says (MIT mechanical engineer Xuanhe Zhao.) “For example, we could put a structure around a blood vessel to control the pumping of blood, or use a magnet to guide a device through the GI tract to take images, extract tissue samples, clear a blockage, or deliver certain drugs to a specific location. You can design, simulate, and then just print to achieve various functions.”

In addition to a rippling ring, a self-squeezing tube, and a spider-like grabber, the team printed other complex structures, such as a set of “auxetic” structures that rapidly shrink or expand along two directions. Zhao and his colleagues also printed a ring embedded with electrical circuits and red and green LED lights. Depending on the orientation of an external magnetic field, the ring deforms to light up either red or green, in a programmed manner.

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