NYCers let us weigh their bags — the results will make your back hurt

Spine specialist Dr. Charla Fischer recommends keeping your bags at 3 pounds or under to prevent back pain and injuries, but for many in NYC the suggestion is too good to be true. Armed with a scale, we caught up with six city dwellers and asked about everything that’s weighing them down. Lee Dauria, 25,…
Living | New York Post

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Experts weigh in on social media responsibility in wake of New Zealand attacks

Voices weigh in on the responsibility of social media companies after an anti-Muslim gunman killed 49 people in New Zealand — and livestreamed the massacre on Facebook. Profit over safety, decency The killer depended on the “passive incompetence” of social media platforms like Facebook who “have concentrated on maximizing revenue, not protecting safety or decency,”…
Technology News & Reviews | New York Post

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Worries About Trade, Global Economy Weigh On Wall Street – U.S. Commentary

Stocks moved notably lower over the course of the trading session on Thursday, adding to the modest losses posted in the previous session. With the drop, the major averages pulled back further off the two-month closing highs set on Tuesday.
RTT – Top Story

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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh in on Cate Blanchett in WHEN WE HAVE SUFFICIENTLY TORTURED EACH OTHER

The National Theatre’s When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, a new play by Martin Crimp is now on stage. It is directed by Katie Mitchell, with a cast including Cate Blanchett, who makes her National Theatre debut alongside Stephen Dillane returning to the National Theatre for the first time since The Coast of Utopia in 2002.
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Experts Weigh in on The Simpsons‘ Impressive Record of Predicting the Super Bowl

When it comes to predicting the champions of the Super Bowl, one cultural behemoth has had surprising clairvoyance: The Simpsons.

As Super Bowl LIII approaches, it’s worth revisiting just how the show managed to do it. The Simpsons may not have predicted the 2019 Super Bowl, in which the Los Angeles Rams face off against the New England Patriots in Atlanta, Ga. But in previous years, Lisa Simpson proved to be an eight-year-old who knew a winning team when she saw one. She was right three years in a row back in the ’90s. And if you throw in one very memorable 2017 halftime show starring a flying Lady Gaga, you could say the show has been right about the Super Bowl a total of four times.

The Simpsons’ Predictions of Real-Life Events

If you’ve seen America’s longest-running primetime television show during the last three decades, you may have observed that some of The Simpsons’ plots have eventually played out in real life. Though it’s best known for its satirical comic sensibility, loads of the show’s fantasy outcomes have actually happened with startling accuracy, to the delight of fans. Among them: FIFA’s 2015 corruption, America’s 2018 Winter Olympics curling victory, and more than 15 other events.

So how did the show’s writers dream up all these future scenarios without a time machine?

“Are we supposed to believe the script writers have special powers?” asks statistician Sir David Spiegelhalter, a professor at the Statistical Laboratory at the Center for Mathematical Sciences at the University of Cambridge. “These coincidences reflect their creative imagination and luck.”

Spiegelhalter says that with a show that has run for this long, the hunches that miss likely far outweigh the ones that hit.

“The crucial issue about assessing coincidences that hit the target is to know how many shots have been taken. It’s like watching YouTube videos of holes-in-one. They’re amazing, but we don’t have to watch the zillions of shots that didn’t go in,” he says. After all, the show is television’s longest-running scripted show ever.

But something else could have been at work, says John Ortved the author of The Simpsons: An Uncensored, Unauthorized History: expertise.

During The Simpsons’ Super Bowl predictions winning streak from 1992-1994, the writers room was full of well-informed sports fans, with “a lot of Harvard guys” in the mix, says Ortved. “They weren’t dumb. And they liked to gamble, following their boss, Sam Simon,” he tells TIME.

Ortved says these “educated guesses” are inevitable. “It would be weird if there wasn’t some crossover,” he says.

With that in mind, let’s take a look back at a timeline of all the accurate Simpsons Super Bowl predictions, ahead of Super Bowl LIII.

The Simpsons’ 1992 Super Bowl Prediction

The victorious three-year-run of The Simpsons’ Super Bowl predictions all started on Jan 23, 1992, with the “Lisa the Greek” episode.

In the episode, budding sports prophet Lisa and her dad Homer team up for some good old sports gambling. The bet: if the Washington Redskins become the Super Bowl champions in Super Bowl XXVI, then she’ll still love Homer. But if the game goes the other way, she won’t. No pressure.

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVI:

Three days later, it happens. Lucky for the world’s most famous toon family, the Redskins best the Bills, 37-24, and the father and daughter go hiking together.

Gin Ellis—NFLThe Simpsons predicted this Super Bowl again. In this picture, quarterback Mark Rypien #11 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome on January 26, 1992 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Gin Ellis/Getty Images)

The Simpsons’ 1993 Super Bowl Prediction

The Simpsons’ Super Bowl episode gets a refresher the following year with some redubbing. This time, Lisa says the Dallas Cowboys will beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVII.

Simpsons predict the Super Bowl in 1993
Sporting News Archive—Sporting News via Getty ImagesPasadena, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys MICHAEL IRVIN celebrates after a touchdown against Buffalo Bills on Jan. 31, 1993 in Super Bowl 27 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Sporting News via Getty Images)

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVII:

Lisa calls it again. The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Buffalo Bills with a score of 30-13. Well done, Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

The Simpsons’ 1994 Super Bowl Prediction

The show re-airs the same episode with all new voiceovers to make it current. This time, Lisa predicts that the Dallas Cowboys will triumph again to surpass the Buffalo Bills.

Simpsons Super Bowl Predictions
TIMOTHY CLARY—AFP/Getty ImagesThe Simpsons predict Super Bowl again in 1994. Here, the Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas (C) eludes Dallas Cowboys defenders during Super Bowl XXVIII. (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

The Winner of Super Bowl XXVIII:

Right on target, once again. By halftime, the Bills led 13-6, but they couldn’t hold onto their lead, and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Buffalo Bills again, 30-13. The Bills put up a good fight but went winless at four of their consecutive Super Bowl appearances.

The Simpsons’ Super Bowl Halftime Show Prediction

One prediction that was a little more visual than factual was an episode foretelling the 2017 Super Bowl halftime show. Years before Lady Gaga ever took flight attached to a harness in a glittering Versace ensemble and matching boots, The Simpsons imagined a very similar grand entrance at a smaller venue: a Springfield concert, in the 2012 episode “Lisa Goes Gaga.”

The 2017 Super Bowl Halftime Show Starring Lady Gaga:

Around five years later, it certainly looked a lot like that Simpsons episode when Gaga descended on Houston’s NRG Stadium for the 2017 Super Bowl Halftime show. Minus the pyrotechnic top the show imagined, the aesthetics were familiar: the harness, the silver outfit, the fact that she was airborne and the drones that hung in the air.

The Mother Monster The Simpsons imagined and The Mother Monster for real weren’t exactly identical, but that didn’t stop fans from noticing.

Ortved says the prediction is not so surprising, after all. “It doesn’t take Tiresias to guess that Gaga, one of the biggest music stars, might play a Super Bowl halftime show. And then look at the things that ended up being similar: she descended from the air, she sat at a piano, she had choreographed dance moves. All those things make complete sense,” Ortved says.

Simpsons Predict Lady Gaga Halftime Show
Singer Lady Gaga performs during the halftime show of Super Bowl LI at NGR Stadium in Houston, Texas, on February 5, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

If you’re planning to place a bet on the 2019 Super Bowl, it might be wise to call a Simpsons writer first.


Entertainment – TIME

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Supreme Court to Weigh In on Offensive Trademarks

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a new case that will determine if the government can deny trademark protection to words or phrases it deems vulgar. The decision will have far-reaching implications for what should be protected as free speech under the First Amendment.
The case in question, Lancu vs. Brunetti, involves Los Angeles-based clothing brand “FUCT.” Founder Erik Brunetti applied for trademark protection of the name in 2011, but was denied. Attorneys at the United States Patent and Trademark Office nixed his application on the basis that the phrase was “immoral” and “scandalous.”
The USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board affirmed the decision, finding that the apparel company displayed “strong, and often explicit, sexual imagery that objectifies women and offers degrading examples of extreme misogyny.”
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed the decision.
Now the country’s highest court will have to consider whether the Lanham Act, which governs trademarks in the U.S., is lawful and should be allowed to continue blocking trademark protection to brands it finds offensive.
FUCT could not immediately be reached for comment.

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Scientists weigh up stratospheric sunlight barrier to curb warming

Spraying sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to slow global warming could be “remarkably inexpensive”, costing about $ 2.25 billion a year over a 15-year period, according to a study by U.S. scientists.


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Spire.io – Over 50 Million Minutes of Calm Discovered!

DUMP TRUMP: Lesbian Writers Weigh in on Resistance and the Midterms

Dump Trump. It’s a simple idea—and one more pressing than ever in advance of the midterm elections. It’s also at the core of the 110th issue of the historic multicultural lesbian literary journal Sinister Wisdom.

The 110th issue of Sinister Wisdom builds on a tradition of lesbian political writing that is as important as ever in this moment of resistance.

In the days, weeks and months following the November 2016 election, two notable things happened for me as the editor and publisher of Sinister Wisdom.

First, support for the journal and its work grew exponentially; fear of the Trump presidency reminded many of us of the importance of lesbian institutions like Sinister Wisdom. More women subscribed to the journal and supported it financially, and now, while the journal is hardly flush financially, it has money to pay the printer bills and bills to the mail house as well as create a few extras to delight our readers and supporters. Sinister Wisdom still relies on my volunteer time and energy to keep it afloat, along with increasingly time and volunteer energy from young women as interns and volunteers. It is hardly an endowed institution, but through the renewed generosity of lesbians, we continue our work.

The second thing that happened is that the Sinister Wisdom team started talking about the importance of resistance and regime change in 2018. The idea of a Dump Trump issue emerged from those conversations, and members of the Sinister Wisdom board of directors, Cheryl Clarke and Red Washburn, with key volunteers Morgan Gwenwald and Stevie Jones, produced the 110th issue of Sinister Wisdom and titled with the same phrase.

Essays by Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Mab Segrest, Joan Nestle, Julia Penelope, Anita Cornwell and dozens of others shaped my thinking as a young reader and writer and my political sensibilities. Journals like Sinister Wisdom are where I found many of these important and influential essays. Lesbian political writing has always been important, and our Dump Trump issue continues that tradition by shining a light on the perspectives and analysis of lesbian writers and activists that are as important as ever in this moment of political resistance.

Sinister Wisdom was founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1976, marking a realization of the vision of Harriet Desmoines and Catherine Nicholson where lesbian is one embodiment of resistance and regime change. The regime remains malleable—patriarchy, misogyny, white supremacy, heterosexual supremacy, neoliberalism, capitalism—but boisterous resistance is our legacy, and the spirit that invites us to engage another day.

p1030388-150x150Julie R. Enszer, Ph.D., is a visiting assistant professor of women’s studies at the University of Maryland. She is writing a history of lesbian-feminist presses from 1969 until 2000 and is author of Sisterhood and Handmade Love. She is editor of Milk & Honey: A Celebration of Jewish Lesbian Poetry, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Lesbian Poetry. She has her MFA and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is the editor of Sinister Wisdom, a multicultural lesbian literary and art journal, and a regular book reviewer for the Lambda Book Report and Calyx. You can read more of her work at www.JulieREnszer.com.

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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS At Kennedy Center

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ semi-staged concert production of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s Little Shop of Horrors, helmed by director Mark Brokaw Rodgers Hammerstein’s Cinderella is now on stage.
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Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On Goodspeed’s THE DROWSY CHAPERONE

Goodspeed Musicals’ The Drowsy Chaperone is now on stage In this hilarious valentine to show tunes and show people, a forgotten Jazz Age musical comes to life in the living room of a diehard theatre fan. As he eagerly spins his favorite cast album, a fizzy vintage show suddenly appears, exploding with song, dance and pure entertainment. Our quirky narrator fills the plot holes, with laugh-out-loud results. Packed with show-stopping numbers and larger-than-life characters, here’s a Tony Award-winning spoof that will have everyone falling in love with zany musical comedy
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