September 28, 2020

Luchita Hurtado — Part 2

Yesterday's Part 1 went to press before my Crack Research Team©® happened on this extraordinary video featuring Hurtado's visit last year to London's Serpentine Sackler Gallery retrospective of her work.

Included are scenes of the artist at work creating a new painting.

After watching the video in 4K, I am reconsidering my decision to stay with my 2007 Pioneer Elite Kuro 1080p plasma TV until if finally gives up the ghost.

The detail, color, and depth of the video are remarkable.

September 28, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

James Dean at 9


He was born on February 8, 1931 at the Seven Gables apartment on the corner of 4th Street and McClure Street in Marion, Indiana.

This picture was taken in 1940/early 1941.

September 28, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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From the Verge:

Telepath is a new app for discussing your interests.

The app, available only in private beta, requires an invitation.

It was created by Richard Henry and Marc Bodnick, who previously worked together at the question-and-answer community Quora.

It resembles a hybrid of Twitter and Reddit.

As on Twitter, the app opens to a central scrolling feed of updates from people and topics that you follow.

And as on Reddit, every post must be created within a group, which Telepath calls a "network."

Its first rule: 

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Henry and Bodnick rebuilt Telepath four times before getting it to this stage, and decided to launch more widely only after implementing a key privacy feature that sparked lots more sharing: conversations delete by default after 30 days, but save to your private archive.

The company raised a seed round from First Round Capital, among others, and plans to expand its user base to about 4,000 people over the next few weeks.

September 28, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Hands-Free Phone Holder

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From the website:

When you need to free up your hands, this handy accessory is the perfect tool for any filming situation, live broadcast, etc.

The universal phone mount lets you record the scene from your point of view.

Holds phones up to 2.5" wide in horizontal position.

In addition, you can adjust viewing angle up to 180 degrees.

Easily wraps around your neck.

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$6 (phone, scissors, glasses, sweater, and dog included with orders from southern suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia: please specify phone make, L- or R-handed scissors, glasses Rx, sweater size/material, and dog breed).

September 28, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 27, 2020

NASA Real-Time World Wildfires Map

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Our planet is on fire.

[just in from Crack San Francisco Correspondent©® Richard Kashdan]

September 27, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Together Forever' — Luchita Hurtado, Part 1

YouTube caption:

Organized in close collaboration with Luchita Hurtado earlier this year, the artist's son and fellow artist Matt Mullican guides us through the intimate exhibition, "Together Forever."

On view at Hauser & Wirth New York City 22nd Street through October 31, the show presents over thirty works from the 1960s through the present day in which Hurtado explored the self and the surrounding world as her primary subject.

"If it's not a soul, what do we want to call it? This is what my mom's depicting in all these self-portraits. It's not her body. It's, in a sense, the self behind the eyes. It's who we are in our bodies, whoever that is, whatever that is, wherever that is, these are the questions."

Artist Matt Mullican sat down to discuss his mother's enduring legacy, and to further contextualize some of the works on view.

Many of these highly personal artworks — recent paintings of birth along with early works on paper that have remained largely private up to this point  — are on view to the public for the first time.

New York Times review of the show here.

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The Venezuelan-born artist, pictured above in her studio with some of her work in 2018, died in Santa Monica, California last month at 99.

September 27, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Who is this?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

September 27, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Blacklight: Real-time website privacy inspector

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From the website:

Who is peeking over your shoulder while you work, watch videos, learn, explore, and shop on the internet?

Enter the address of any website, and Blacklight will scan it and reveal the specific user-tracking technologies on the site — and who's getting your data.

You may be surprised at what you learn.

Free, the way we like it.

[via the Washington Post]

September 27, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Flower Folding Ruler


From the company that brought you the Prehistoric Life Folding Ruler comes this variation.

From websites:

• Classic wooden folding ruler with 80 photographs of flowers arranged by season


• Folds down to 9.5"-long pencil case/pocket size

• Latin and common names on the back side


• Oak wood makes it sturdy and long lasting

• Unfolds to 39"



September 27, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 26, 2020

Hear birds communicate without using their beaks

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[Fork-tailed flycatcher]

From Inverse:

Like humans using body language to send non-verbal signals, some bird species communicate without opening their beaks.

The fork-tailed flycatcher is among the birds that rustles its feathers or flaps its wings to send messages during life's biggest moments, whether it is fighting and mating.

Beyond being a quirky communication tool for the birds, this technique is also useful for researchers who want to learn more about these species.

In fact, detecting subtle differences in the sound from a rustling fork-tailed flycatcher has revealed two subspecies of the bird have different "accents."

The findings were published last month in the journal Integrative and Comparative Biology.

The fork-tailed flycatcher lives in the American tropics.

As its name suggests, the bird's tail-feathers split into two long, elegant wisps.

The side and shape of those wisps, it turns out, affects the sound the birds' feathers make.

Researchers recorded these sounds and charted the differences and similarities between different birds.

By listening to the fluttering sounds, called sonations, researchers discovered that the two subspecies of fork-tailed flycatcher, Tyrannus savana, sound a little different.

The subspecies were previously discovered, distinguished by their different migration patterns.

The subspecies are:

Tyrannus savana savana, a migratory subspecies, which sounds like this:

Inverse · T.s.savana

Tyrannus savana monachus, which lives year-round in the northern part of South America and sounds like this

The migratory subspecies of fork-tailed flycatcher breeds in the southern part of South America, but flies north in the winter, when the two subspecies live together.

But in the migratory subspecies, males' wing feathers are shaped differently than their residential counterparts: the tips of the feathers are skinnier.

Because of that, when these two subspecies flutter their feathers, the noise they make is ever so slightly different, too.

Valentina Gómez-Bahamón, a researcher at the Field Museum in Chicago, led the study.

Gómez-Bahamón explains that the new findings help to confirm the differences between the two subspecies of fork-tailed flycatcher.

"We already knew from past genetic analysis that the two groups are becoming different species, so we wanted to know if there were any differences in the sounds that the males produce with their wings," Gómez-Bahamón said in a statement.

"We not only confirmed the way that these birds make sounds with their feathers, but also that the sounds are different for the two subspecies."

When animals use structures other than their vocal apparatus to communicate, the resulting sound is known as a sonation.

 The fork-tailed flycatcher's sonations are typically used while the animals are fighting or calling to a mate. The sound comes from the birds' outer primary feathers, the large feathers that help them fly.

With the new finding, researchers identify a different dialect of these ruffle-based communications.

Researchers have looked at bird song dialects before.

For instance, a previous study showed how a specific sparrow song variation spread across North America, shared between individuals that spent their winters together.

In the new research, it seems birds may also hew to certain dialectical characteristics without even opening their beaks.

"I like seeing how different ecological strategies, like migration, can indirectly affect communication signals," Gómez-Bahamón noted. "I think that's super cool."

Me too.

Want more?

Your wish is my demand.


Sonations in Migratory and Non-migratory Fork-tailed Flycatchers (Tyrannus savana)

Sonations are sounds that animals produce with structures other than the vocal apparatus for communication. In birds, many sonations are usually produced with modified flight feathers through diverse kinematic mechanisms. For instance, aeroelastic fluttering of feathers produces tonal sound when airflow exceeds a threshold velocity and induces flight feathers to oscillate at a constant frequency. The Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana) is a Neotropical bird with both migratory and year-round resident subspecies that differ in the shape of the outer primary feathers of their wings. By integrating behavioral observations, audio recordings and high-speed videos, we find that male Fork-tailed flycatchers produce sonations with their outer primary feathers P8-10, and possibly P7. These sounds are produced during different behavioral contexts including: the pre-dawn display, intraspecific territorial disputes, when attacking potential nest predators, and when escaping. By placing feathers in a wind tunnel, we elicited flutter at frequencies that matched the acoustic signature of sounds recorded in the wild, indicating that the kinematic mechanism responsible for sound production is aeroelastic flutter. Video of wild birds indicated that sonations were produced during the downstroke. Finally, the feathers of migratory (T.s.savana) and year-round resident (T.s.monachus) Fork-tailed flycatchers flutter in feather locations that differ in shape between the subspecies, and these shape differences between the subspecies result in sounds produced at different frequencies.

the abstract  of the published paper.

September 26, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

'Early Hour' — Wislawa Szymborska


I'm still asleep,
but meanwhile facts are taking place.
The window grows white,
the darknesses turn gray,
the room works its way from hazy space,
pale, shaky stripes seek its support.
By turns, unhurried,
since this is a ceremony,
the planes of walls and ceiling dawn,
shapes separate,
one from the other,
left to right.
The distances between objects irradiate,
the first glints twitter
on the tumbler, the doorknob.
Whatever had been displaced yesterday,
had fallen to the floor,
been contained in picture frames,
is no longer simply happening, but is.
Only the details
have not yet entered the field of vision.
But look out, look out, look out,
all indicators point to returning colors
and even the smallest thing regains its own hue
along with a hint of shadow.
This rarely astounds me, but it should.
I usually wake up in the role of belated witness,
with the miracle already achieved,
the day defined
and dawning masterfully recast as morning.




September 26, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Io's Shadow on Jupiter

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From CNET:

We're all familiar with Jupiter's Great Red Spot storm, but sometimes the planet gets to wear a different kind of spot.

NASA's Juno mission captured a spectacular view of the gas giant's moon Io casting a round shadow onto Jupiter's swirling storms.

"As with solar eclipses on the Earth, within the dark circle racing across Jupiter's cloud tops one would witness a full solar eclipse as Io passes in front of the Sun," NASA said in a statement last week

Juno has been in orbit around Jupiter since 2016.

It snapped the moon shadow in late 2019 during a close flyby.

Citizen scientist Kevin Gill, who's also a software engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, processed the image to bring out the planet's dramatic colors. 

The shadow is about 2,200 miles wide.

For reference, Earth's diameter is 7,918 miles.

Io, home to active volcanoes, is just one of Jupiter's 79 confirmed moons and also one of the largest.

When conditions are right, humans on Earth can even spot it with a decent set of binoculars.

September 26, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Newspaper Navigator — 'Search 1.56 million historic newspaper photos'

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Free, the way we like it.

Fair warning....

Back story here.

September 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Amazon Ring Drone Security Camera

From websites:

The Always Home Cam is an ambitious new home security device.

It is an autonomous drone that can fly around inside your home to give you a view of any room you want when you're not home.

Once it's done flying, the Always Home Cam returns to its dock to charge its battery.

Jamie Siminoff, Ring's founder and "chief inventor," says the idea behind the Always Home Cam is to provide multiple viewpoints throughout the home without requiring the use of multiple cameras. 

The Always Home Cam is fully autonomous, but owners can tell it what path it can take and where it can go.

When you first get the device, you build a map of your home for it to follow, which allows you to ask it for specific viewpoints such as the kitchen or bedroom.

The drone can be commanded to fly on demand or programmed to fly when a disturbance is detected by a linked Ring Alarm system.

The charging dock blocks the camera's view, and the camera only records when it is in flight.

Ring says the drone makes an audible noise when flying so it is obvious when footage is being recorded.

Ring says the camera, which records 1080p video, can be used for simple things like checking if a stove was left on or a window left open, or if a door is locked when you’re away from the home.

It features obstacle avoidance technology to allow it to avoid objects in its path and its shrouded propellers prevent damage to property or hurting a pet or person that might collide with the drone.

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The drone is expected to cost $249.99 when it starts shipping next year.

[via my Crack Pittsburgh Correspondent©®]


Note added 9:31 a.m. ET today (Saturday, September 26, 2020): my Crack Research Team©® just happened on a New York Times story headlined "Amazon Unveils Drone That Films Inside Your Home. What Could Go Wrong?"

September 26, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 25, 2020

Nike needs to hire Geppetto


If you're gonna charge $250 for a pair of top of the line running shoes, the least you can do is use decent glue on the soles.

Above, exemplars of two different pairs of Nikes I purchased in the last couple years, each of which has had the contact surfaces of the soles detach from the foam underneath.

I just noticed the green shoe's rubber piece was coming off yesterday; the shoe closer to Gray Cat has just 1 (one) of the original 4 (four) black rubber tiles still in situ (the other shoe of this pair lost all [ALL] of its black tiles a long time ago: as I recall, I noticed the first one to be coming loose within a month of buying them).

Sure, I can repair them with ShoeGoo (below)


but that gets old when you have to keep doing it over and over.

Shape up, Nike!

September 25, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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