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Friday, Spetember 23


Time Change - Get Rid Of The "Leap Second"? "An international argument has developed between British astronomers and scientists working for American telecommunications firms who have called for the abolition of the "leap second" - the additional time unit used to keep modern atomic time-measuring systems in line with the earth's movement round the sun. Removing that extra second would make some communication systems run more smoothly, but very slowly the clock would start to fall out of sync with the sun, eventually leading to 12 noon falling in the middle of the night." The Scotsman 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 7:19 pm

How The Internet Is Changing Scientific Research The internet is changing the way scientific research is being shared and published. "The internet?and pressure from funding agencies, who are questioning why commercial publishers are making money from government-funded research by restricting access to it?is making free access to scientific results a reality. This week, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) issued a report describing the far-reaching consequences of this. The report... makes heavy reading for publishers who have, so far, made handsome profits. But it goes further than that. It signals a change in what has, until now, been a key element of scientific endeavour." The Economist 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 6:08 pm

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Visual Arts

US Considers Chinese Art Import Ban The US is considering a request by the Chinese government o restrict imports of Chinese art. "The Chinese asked for the embargo in an effort reclaim stolen good and to stem looting and illicit export of archaeological material by reducing the market demand overseas. The request was made under the 1970 Unesco Convention regarding cultural property." The Art Newspaper 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 7:00 am

Wrapping A River In Colorado Christo and Jeanne-Claude are working on their next project. "After more than 40 years of supersized artworks, one last mega-art project remains on the couple's drawing board. They propose draping nearly seven miles of reflective translucent fabric at periodic intervals above a winding, 40-mile stretch of the Arkansas River in south central Colorado. Christian Science Monitor 09/23/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 10:11 pm

What Kinds Of Buildings Win The Stirling Prize? "Certain sorts of building have always been doomed: specifically, private houses (too self-indulgent) and (other than one exceptional case) commercial buildings. Architects are still shot through with a certain moralism and remain uncomfortable with buildings celebrating capitalism. The ideal winner is still a public building. But moralism goes only so far. Architects are also seduced by glamour. Worthy buildings never win the Stirling. If you want worthy, follow the Prime Minister's Better Buildings Award." New Statesman 09/19/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 9:53 pm

Arrest In "Scream" Theft Police in Norway have arrested a woman and charged her with being an accomplice in the theft of Edvard Munch's The Scream last year. "She was charged with handling stolen goods after allegedly being found to have banknotes from a bank robbery in which a policeman was shot dead. A police lawyer said the woman was suspected of being an accomplice to the Munch theft but gave no more details." BBC 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 5:57 pm

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Is Los Angeles Deadly For Singers? "The more singers you talk to, the more the impression emerges of Los Angeles as a prime booby trap for anyone who contemplates a serious vocal career..." LAWeekly 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 11:18 pm

Are iPods Destroying Hearing? Audiologists have long expressed concern about hearing loss stemming from the use of headphones, but according to some, the new generation of digital music players pose a particular threat, allowing consumers to listen for long periods at high volume, and eliminating so much of the distortion and background noise common to, say, cassette players, that many listeners won't even realize how much sound they're pumping into their head. "Even with the sound piped directly into the ear canal, noise from the outside often competes with the music, and listeners turn it up louder. People listening to music while riding [commuter] trains, for example, frequently increase the volume levels to drown out the sound of the commute." San Francisco Chronicle 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 6:54 am

Crunch & Twang, Together At Last That the gulf between rock and country music has narrowed in recent years is old news, and to a large extent, the sub-genre known as "arena rock" (hard-driving bands capable of filling arenas that seat tens of thousands - think Bon Jovi) has been replaced by ultra-popular country acts like Kenny Chesney and Toby Keith. But as country rises and rock continues to morph horribly into candy-coated pop, marketers are seeing serious potential in a crossover approach to selling old-fashioned arena rock. "There's no reason, after all, why a pop song can't crunch and twang at the same time." The New York Times 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 5:44 am

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Arts Issues

Scottish Parliament Rejects Culture Commission Recommendations The Scottish Parliament has killed a report's recommendations to dramatically increase funding for the arts. "The report won initial support in the arts community for its call for a massive increase in spending of up to 100 million, to cover a 'deficit' in Scottish arts and take it to a 1 per cent share of the Scottish Executive's budget. Scotland's culture minister said a new arts bureaucracy was a non-starter. She did not rule out a "radical overhaul" in the arts, but spoke out against "unnecessary bureaucracies, which are a drain on resources". She continued: "I'm not convinced that the solution preferred by the commission is the right one." The Scotsman 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 7:52 am

Scalia: Government Has Right To Deny Arts Funding US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says the government has the right to deny funding for art of which it disapproves. "The First Amendment has not repealed the basic rule of life, that he who pays the piper calls the tune. When you place the government in charge of funding art, just as when you place the government in charge of providing education, somebody has to pick the content of what art is going to be funded, what subjects are going to be taught. The only way to eliminate any government choice on what art is worthwhile, what art isn't worthwhile, is to get the government totally out of the business of funding." The New York Times 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 6:37 am

In Minneapolis: A New Ten-Year Plan For Arts "Mayor R.T. Rybak says under the guidance of the new plan, the city will develop cultural leaders, double funding for public art, and promote Minneapolis arts and culture both locally and nationally. He says a key aspect of the plan is to support those small and mid-sized arts organizations that don't have a large staff or wealthy boards. But this is the same mayor who drastically cut back his Office of Cultural Affairs four years ago in an effort to dig the city out of some major debt." Minnesota Public Radio 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 11:31 pm

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Disney Does Stage Tarzan "Last week, in front of hundreds of group-sales executives, Disney unveiled plans for a $10 million (at least) stage version of its animated movie "Tarzan" that will open at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in May. Usually at these events, the sales people are treated to a few musical numbers, and, if you sneak into the theater, you can get a pretty good idea of whether the show's going to be a stinker or a hit. But "Tarzan" isn't even in rehearsal yet, so Tom Schumacher, the popular head of Disney's theater division, hosted what amounted to an informal chat show that might have been called Tom and Friends." New York Post 09/21/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 11:29 pm

The Clairvoyant Kushner Tony Kushner has a knack for being ready with a play that fits the time. "Six years ago, he began writing a play about a remote Central Asian nation; by the time Homebody/Kabul opened in December 2001, the United States was fighting a war there. Now, amid the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, his 2003 musical Caroline, or Change seems even more eerily prescient. 'There ain?t no under ground in Louisiana,' run its newly harrowing opening lines. 'There is only under water'.? New York Magazine 09/19/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 9:45 pm

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What Sells? Celebs... Circulation for celebrity magazines is soaring. "Over the past year, Us Weekly and its competitors have soared in popularity even as the circulations of newspapers, business weeklies and practically every other print publication have been falling. The September cover of Conde Nast Publications Inc.'s Vanity Fair, featuring an exclusive interview with a tearful Aniston, was its highest selling issue ever. With Americans confronting grim news every day about war and natural disasters, "celebrities have become a sort of national distraction. They are hired entertainers, and the public demands to be entertained almost constantly. Washington Post 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 8:54 am

Google Legal Woes Slow Books Project Google has wandered into a mess of copyright traps with its attempts to make books searchable. "The legal action comes as yet another setback to Google's goal of serving as a clearinghouse of a wide range of global information, legal scholars say. In addition to its publishing woes, Google has also drawn the ire of TV networks for its Google Video, which records and stores TV programs." BusinessWeek 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 7:58 am

Oprah Books Back To The Present After two years of reading classics, Oprah's Book Club is going contemporary again. Oprah has chosen James Frey's "A Million Little Pieces" It "was No. 1 on Amazon.com as of Thursday night. "I wanted to open the door and broaden the field. That allows me the opportunity to do what I like to do most, which is sit and talk to authors about their work. It's kind of hard to do that when they're dead." The New York Times 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 7:41 pm

Harry Passes 11 Million Mark The sixth installment of the Harry Potter franchise has sold more than 11 million copies. "Published nine weeks ago, the American edition of the book sold 6.9 million copies in its first 24 hours." BBC 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 4:01 pm

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Movie Directors Move To TV Movie directors used to shun TV as a lesser art form. But many are now taking on projects for the small screen. "In what has become an annual rite of migration over the last few years, feature filmmakers flock to a once-scorned realm to direct (and often executive produce) TV series. This fall, the transfusion of feature film talent continues unabated with a new crop of drama pilots shaped by movie directors." Los Angeles Times 09/23/05
Posted: 09/23/2005 7:09 am

An End To Publc Access TV? Is community asccess TV in America endangered? "Congress is looking at legislation which, while opening cable to competition and greater options, may erode the main revenue stream for CCTV and many of its sibling stations across the country." Christian Science Monitor 09/23/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 10:01 pm

Hollywood Goes For The Church Audience Hollywood studios are marketing their movies to big religious groups, giving them sneak presevies. "The Walt Disney Co. is marketing "The Greatest Game Ever Played" to faith-based groups even though the film, about Francis Ouimet's improbable win in the 1913 U.S. Open, isn't overtly religious. 'Its themes are about family, about not giving up on your dreams, courage. They are very secular virtues, but they also could potentially be Christian virtues'." Yahoo! (AP) 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 7:34 pm

TV On Your Cell Phone? A test of broadcasting live TV to mobile phones is being conducted in the UK. "Sixteen channels will be available to the triallists, including BBC One and Two, ITV 1 and 2, and Channel 4. TV is touted as the next phase of mobile entertainment." BBC 09/22/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 5:54 pm

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A Look At Billy Forsythe's New Company William Forsythe's new company looks a lot like his old Ballett Frankfurt. "At first, watching Forsythe's 18 dancers, it is not particularly evident what has changed. They are still based, like the old company, in the studios of Frankfurt's Opernhaus, and as they wait to begin work, swigging water and easing soreness out of their muscles, they look like any bunch of dancers, anywhere in the world. Slowly, however, it becomes evident that this new ensemble possesses a very singular dynamic." The Guardian (UK) 09/23/05
Posted: 09/22/2005 10:27 pm

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