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Updated June 24


State Fair Oreo's - June 24

Oreo's latest product launch is straight out of a page from Hostess' book. Oreo is bringing State Fair cookies - crunchy, coated cookie sandwiches, to the frozen aisle this summer, and they bear more than a passing resemblance to the Deep Fried Twinkies that hit freezer shelves in 2016. Oreo's careful not to call these new cookies "deep-fried." The dessert looks battered and fried, just like the classic state fair dessert, and it comes in two variations: a traditional Oreo cookie with a chocolate coating and the same classic cookie with a vanilla coating. According to Instagram user @junkfoodmom, the frozen cookies will be sold at Walmart.



Vinnie Paul of Pantera, Dead at 54 - June 23

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54. Pantera's official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul's cause of death. His real name was Vincent Paul Abbott. He and his brother, Dimebag Darrell, formed Pantera in 1981. Dimebag, whose real name was Darrell Lance Abbott, was shot to death while on stage with the band Damageplan in 2004. The two brothers founded Damageplan in 2003 after Pantera broke up. Paul was most recently in the band Hellyeah, a heavy metal supergroup which included Mudvayne vocalist Chad Gray and Nothingface guitarist Tom Maxwell.


Vinnie Paul

What is the Keystone Virus?

Mother Nature Network - June 23

If you weren't worried about Zika and Lyme disease, here's another mosquito-borne illness to consider, just in time for summer hikes and backyard barbecues. A teenage boy in Florida has become the first person known to be infected with what is known as the Keystone virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. The teen went to an urgent care clinic in August 2016 with symptoms including rash and fever. Doctors were concerned he might have an infection caused by the Zika virus but tests came back negative, according to a report on his case published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. Unexpectedly, researchers from the University of Florida (UF) found the Keystone virus when they studied viral cultures from the patient.

The virus was first discovered in the Tampa Bay area in 1964 and was named after the location where it was found. Researchers say it had previously been discovered in animals in coastal area from Texas to the Chesapeake Bay region. Researchers had suspected that the virus could infect people, but this is the first time they found proof. "Although the virus has never previously been found in humans, the infection may actually be fairly common in North Florida," Dr. J. Glenn Morris, director of the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute and co-author of the report, said in a statement. "It's one of these instances where if you don't know to look for something, you don't find it." The teenager had relatively mild symptoms, but research suggests the Keystone virus can infect brain cells and may pose a risk for brain infections, similar to encephalitis. Researchers say the discovery of the Keystone virus in humans shows the importance of more research into the prevalence of mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S.



Just How Low Do USDA Beef Grades Go? - June 23

Prime, choice, and select are the USDA beef grades you've probably seen at your local supermarket. Beef that meets those standards is well marbled and tender, and prime steaks fetch a premium. But did you know there are grades below those? You won't see beef labeled standard, commercial, cutter, canner, or utility, but that beef is a large part of the meat landscape, too.

The first thing to know about USDA grading is that it's voluntary. It's not related to the safety of your meat, any grade of meat sold in grocery stores undergoes mandatory inspection, paid for by government funds, but instead reflects its quality. Meat processors who want that elusive prime, choice, or select label must pay privately to have a USDA inspector come certify their beef. Those certified graders evaluate traits related to "tenderness, juiciness, and flavor of meat;" generally, the more fat marbling present, the higher the beef grade (prime being tops).

Young cattle produce the tastiest meat. (Hello, veal.) A USDA spokesman reports that typically, cows under 30 months of age can obtain the highest designations: prime, choice, select, and standard. When they start talking about cutter, canner, and utility grades of beef, they're generally talking about animals older than 42 months, according to Dr. Jonathan Campbell, an extension meat specialist and assistant professor of animal science at Penn State University. He says that cows' age affects meat tenderness, color, and marbling; and that, because of that meat's appearance and its correlation with perceived juiciness, is not top-shelf.

"Those cattle that are older don't fit into those categories that you'd consider part of a premier dining experience, like a high-end steak at a restaurant. However they still have a lot of value," Campbell says. "So if you've ever seen your buffet-style restaurants that offer a prime rib special or a steak special that's $4.99, those would potentially be your lower-quality items. They have still value but it's not a fine-dining experience." Generally, though, those lower grades of beef don't make it onto our plates as steaks. Peter Wood, a spokesman with the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service, says they're mostly used as "grinding material to produce ground beef or processed/cooked meat products." That's bologna, beef sausage, jerky, hot dogs, etc.



This is Not Fine. This is Not Normal

TIME - June 23

The U.S. Navy is preparing plans to construct sprawling detention centers for tens of thousands of immigrants on remote bases in California, Alabama and Arizona, escalating the military's task in implementing President Donald Trump's "zero tolerance" policy for people caught crossing the Southern border, according to a copy of a draft memo obtained by TIME. The internal document, drafted for the Navy Secretary's approval, signals how the military is anticipating its role in Trump's immigration crackdown. The planning document indicates a potential growing military responsibility in an administration caught flat-footed in having to house waves of migrants awaiting civilian criminal proceedings. The Navy memo outlines plans to build "temporary and austere" tent cities to house 25,000 migrants at abandoned airfields just outside the Florida panhandle near Mobile, Alabama, at Navy Outlying Field Wolf in Orange Beach, Alabama, and nearby Navy Outlying Field Silverhill.

The memo also proposes a camp for as many as 47,000 people at former Naval Weapons Station Concord, near San Francisco; and another facility that could house as many as 47,000 people at Camp Pendleton, the Marines' largest training facility located along the Southern California coast. The planning memo proposes further study of housing an undetermined number of migrants at the Marine Corps Air Station near Yuma, Arizona. The planning document estimates that the Navy would spend about $233 million to construct and operate a facility for 25,000 people for a six-month time period. The proposal suggests these tent cities be built to last between six months and one year. Capt. Greg Hicks, Navy's chief spokesman, declined to provide details on the matter. "It would be inappropriate to discuss internal deliberative planning documents," he told TIME.



The Depeche Mode 12" Singles Collection Coming - June 23

Sony has announced the release of a "Speak & Spell" and a "A Broken Frame" 12" singles collection boxsets on Friday, Aug. 31. Orders are now being accepted via Amazon Germany, Amazon UK and Amazon USA. Each box set in the series will contain the singles from each Depeche Mode album on audiophile-quality 12" vinyl, with audio remastered from the original tapes (and cut at the Abbey Road Studios). The artwork for the exterior of each of the new box sets draws on street art iconography inspired by the original releases, while the vinyl sleeves themselves feature the original vinyl single artwork. The Depeche Mode 12" Singles Series will continue over the coming years, with plans to release boxes containing the singles from each of the band's albums in similar deluxe audiophile-grade collector's editions.

The "Speak & Spell" set will hold a facsimile reproduction of the rare flexi disc "Sometimes I Wish I Was Dead" b/w "King of the Flies" (the Fad Gadget track as on the original release); Dreaming Of Me 12": "Dreaming of Me" b/w "Ice Machine"; New Life 12": "New Life (Remix)" b/w "Shout! (Rio Mix)"; Just Can't Get Enough 12": "Just Can't Get Enough (Schizo Mix)" b/w "Any Second Now (Altered)"; original single poster reproduction; download card. You can order this set now via Amazon Germany, Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

The "A Broken Frame" set contains See You 12": "See You (Extended Version)" b/w "Now This Is Fun (Extended Version)"; The Meaning of Love 12": "The Meaning of Love (Fairly Odd Mix)" b/w "Oberkorn(It's a Small Town) (Development Mix)"; Leave In Silence 12": "Leave In Silence (Longer)" b/w "Further Excerpts From: My Secret Garden" and "Leave In Silence (Quieter)"; original single poster reproduction; download card. You can order the item now via Amazon Germany, Amazon UK and Amazon USA.


depeche mode

Why Costco Avocados Will Soon Be Better

Food Beast - June 22

Avocados are notorious for going from ripe to mushy in the blink of an eye. It leads to several tragic moments where we toss the fruit away because it is no longer usable. That might be a problem less often now, because Costco avocados now come with some special protection that doubles the amount of time they stay ripe and fresh. The new "Apeel avocados" are being distributed by two different companies to Costco and Harps Foods Stores in the midwestern US. They come with a special protective coating that "naturally reinforces" the outer skin, according to Apeel Sciences. Basically, Apeel uses natural compounds from the skins and peels of fruits and vegetables to create an additional layer of protection. This can be sprayed onto foods to protect against degrading reactions like oxidation and water loss, both of which are major causes of food spoilage. Apeel's extra layer can keep avocados in their ripe phase for double the original time. Fully ripe avocados are good for about 3 to 5 days in the fridge, so you'll be getting an extra few days of shelf life with Apeel avocados.

Apeel hopes that their product will prove big in the fight against food waste and cut down on the 400 pounds of food the average American tosses every year. They're looking to make their avocados as widespread as possible fast, and while there's no specific timeline yet, a representative confirmed to Foodbeast that they're working to get them in nationwide Costcos, "hopefully very soon."



Now It's Called 'The Conners' (Update) - June 22

It's official: ABC has given a 10-episode series order to The Conners (working title), a spinoff of Roseanne, for fall 2018. The spinoff will take over the Tuesday 8 PM slot on the ABC schedule that was vacated when Roseanne was suddenly canceled following a controversial tweet by star and executive producer Roseanne Barr. (Roseanne's order had been for 13 episodes.) Barr will have no financial or creative involvement in the new series after reaching a settlement with series producer Tom Werner. The Conners will feature the rest of the Roseanne revival cast,John Goodman ("Dan"), Laurie Metcalf ("Jackie"), Sara Gilbert ("Darlene"), Lecy Goranson ("Becky") and Michael Fishman ("D.J."), who will reprise their Conner characters.

It is unclear how exactly Barr's character will be written off but ABC describes it as "a sudden turn of events." "The Conners' stories demonstrate that families can always find common ground through conversation, laughter and love. The spinoff will continue to portray contemporary issues that are as relevant today as they were 30 years ago," ABC said in a statement.


The Conners

Get Hammered on Ice Cream

Oddity Central - June 21

Alcoholic ice-cream treats have been around for a while, but actually getting drunk, or even a bit tipsy on them is a challenge, because, well, they aren't very alcoholic. Enter, Buzz Pop Cocktails, a range of gourmet Italian sorbets that pack that punch you've been looking for. Buzz Pop Cocktails are made from fresh fruits and premium liquors, but what really sets them apart from other boozy frozen treats is the alcohol content. While most so-called alcoholic ice-creams have an alcohol content comparable to beer, around 4.5% ABV, Buzz Pop Cocktails are three times stronger, at 15% ABV, which means one is probably enough to get your head buzzing. They come in packs of eight, so you can get yourself hammered on ice-cream, although it will cost you.

Licking your way to a hangover is apparently a lot more expensive than just chugging booze. An eight-pack of Buzz Pop Cocktails will set you back $99.99, and if you want them delivered to your door, you'll have to cough up an extra $34.95 for shipping. The good news is that you'll probably forget about all the money you burned after just a few licks.



Asteroid is Now Visible to the Naked Eye

Mother Nature Network - June 21

Look up in nighttime sky anytime between now and July 16, and you just might spy our solar system's brightest asteroid. Vesta, a 326-mile-wide object residing in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, is about to make its closest approach to Earth in nearly two decades. But don't worry, unlike other close calls with asteroids in recent history, Vesta is in a stable orbit around the sun that will only bring it within 106 million miles of Earth. Nonetheless, this convergence will make it visible to the naked eye, with a magnitude brightness approaching a maximum of 5.3 this week.

Unlike other asteroids, Vesta's internal geology mimics those of terrestrial planets, with a metallic iron-nickel core covered by a surface crust of basaltic rock. In fact, it's this "frozen lava" that gives Vesta its beautiful reflectivity, casting back 43 percent of all light that hits it. (For comparison, our moon only reflects about 12 percent of all light.) A 2011 visit by the NASA space probe Dawn confirmed Vesta as our solar system's lone remaining protoplanet, an embryonic remnant of the material that created future worlds like Earth. "We now know that Vesta is the only intact, layered planetary building block surviving from the very earliest days of the solar system," Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator for the Dawn spacecraft, said during a 2012 press conference.



12-Year-Old Really, Really Hates Salad - June 21

A 12-year-old Canadian boy called 911 not once but twice because a parent made him eat a salad he didn't like, according to police. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Cpl. Dal Hutchinson said officers first got a call around 10 p.m. Tuesday from the boy. Before they could even get to his home, he called 911 again to ask when police would arrive and once again expressed dislike of the salad. Cops had a talk with the boy when they got to his home about what qualifies as appropriate for a 911 call -- and they're using the situation as an opportunity to remind all parents to have similar discussions with their kids. "While many can relate to the dislike of a salad at times, this raises a more important issue that warrants discussion at all ages," Hutchinson said. "The improper use of 911 is an issue with all age groups and it ties up valuable resources, preventing emergency first responders from dealing with real emergencies." 



ABC News Can See Into the Future - June 21

ABC News issued an apology on Wednesday after erroneously posting a graphic during a special report stating that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had pleaded "guilty to 5 charges of manslaughter." "We regret and apologize for the false lower third graphic that aired during our special report. We are investigating how incorrect information was in our system and how and why it was allowed to air," ABC News said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. "We apologize to our viewers and to Mr. Manafort. There simply is no excuse for this sort of mistake." The graphic, known as a chyron that serves as a headline for a story on the screen, was shown during a special report covering President Trump's decision to sign an executive order aimed at ending his administration's controversial practice of separating children from their parents who have crossed the U.S. southern border illegally. The error was first flagged by media reporter Alex Griswold of the Washington Free Beacon. "ABC News' banner briefly reported this afternoon that Paul Manafort pleaded guilty to killing five people. (He has not)," Griswold wrote.


ABC News

The Return of Capt. Picard? - June 21

The Star Trek TV universe is getting ready to expand. Star Trek: Discovery's newly appointed showrunner Alex Kurtzman has made a five-year deal with CBS Television Studios that includes "expanding the Star Trek franchise for television." CBS Television Studios declined to confirm any specific projects, but we hear there are three different Trek concepts currently in development. THR adds that one project might have Patrick Stewart reprising his Star Trek: The Next Generation role as Capt. Picard, though that deal is far from done. "CBS has also allowed us the great pleasure of reintroducing the world of Star Trek audiences new and old, and we are very excited to keep working alongside them to expand that world," Kurtzman said in a statement. 

Star Trek: Discovery is currently in production on season two for CBS All Access, with Kurtzman tapped to direct the premiere. The show is expected to pick up where season 1 left off, with the USS Discovery crew answering a distress call from the legendary USS Enterprise helmed by Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), who commanded the ship before James T. Kirk.

Kurtzman recently took over the captain's chair on Star Trek: Discovery after Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg were reportedly fired following budgetary concerns and reports of staff mistreatment. The move, in turn, followed the ouster of original showrunner Bryan Fuller who originally pitched the company on "platforming a universe of Trek shows." Kurtzman's producing credits include the J.J. Abrams-led Star Trek films and numerous genre titles such as Fringe, Now You See Me and Sleepy Hollow.



AMC Takes On MoviePass at Their Own Game

Variety - June 21

AMC Theatres, the world's largest exhibitor, has unveiled its answer to MoviePass after disparaging the popular subscription service as a house of cards for nearly a year. On Tuesday, the theater chain will begin offering guests the chance to see up to three movies per week for the monthly fee of $19.95. The offering is being run through its loyalty program AMC Stubs, and has been dubbed AMC Stubs A-List. In a clear dig towards MoviePass, a thorn in the exhibition business' side because of its discounted ticketing, AMC calls its pricing "sustainable."

MoviePass is the cheaper option, giving customers the chance to see a movie a day for a monthly fee of $9.99. It can also be used at nearly any theater that accepts MasterCard. However, AMC's program offers some features that MoviePass has not matched. Namely, customers can see movies in premium formats such as IMAX, Dolby Cinema, and RealD. MoviePass can only be used for 2D films. The battle to discount comes after years of rising ticket prices. Those heftier fees have been able to off-set declines in domestic attendance. Since 2002, ticket prices have increased by 54%, while ticket sales have fallen 22%.

It also unfolds as MoviePass faces questions about its long-term viability. MoviePass has been able to attract 3 million customers since slashing its prices last summer. Yet there are concerns about its liquidity. In October, Helios and Matheson's stock was trading at $38.86 a share. The value has declined rapidly since a Securities and Exchange Commission filing revealed the company had $15.5 million in available cash at the end of April, plus $27.9 million on deposit with merchants. Its monthly expenses totaled $21.7 million. An independent auditor raised "substantial doubt" in financial documents made public by MoviePass about the company's ability to continue operating as "a going concern."



A Story Geared to Anyone Living in the Pacific Northwest - June 21

Skiers, snowboarders and other winter sports fans take note: The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) last week issued an El Niño watch, a first clue the upcoming winter in the Pacific Northwest may be on the warmer, drier side. El Niño is characterized by warmer-than-usual waters in the tropical Pacific Ocean, but it impacts weather patterns around the world. A strong El Niño event in 2015-16 led to record-breaking global temperatures in 2016. In the Pacific Northwest, El Niño usually means warm, dry winters. El Niño is one half of a naturally-occurring climate pattern known as the Southern Oscillation. Normally, strong winds blow to the west along the equator, piling up warm water near Southeast Asia in a giant, tepid bathtub known as the Pacific Warm Pool. When these winds weaken, as in an El Niño episode, the warm water leaks towards South America.

Rainfall follows the warm pool, and these storms release energy into the atmosphere. The energy travels away from the equator and into the mid-latitudes, spreading El Niño's influence across the globe. During El Niño, the changing atmospheric patterns bring rainfall to southern California but leave Washington state high and dry. It's not a certainty, but a strong event would likely mean a warm winter and a decreased snowpack. "If you look at the last 60 years of El Niños, they tend to be drier than average in the Pacific Northwest, but that doesn't mean every case will be," says Michelle L'Heureux, a physical scientist at the CPC. "It tilts the odds. It makes things more favorable, but it doesn't guarantee them."

El Niño conditions are defined by higher-than-normal temperatures in the Pacific lasting for at least five consecutive months. Computational models predict sea surface temperatures and help CPC scientists build a forecast. No single model is completely accurate, but when lots of the models agree, as in the latest report, scientists are more confident that their prediction is right. An El Niño watch means predictions show El Niño-like conditions developing in the next six months. In last week's bulletin, the CPC estimates a 50 percent chance of El Niño developing in the fall. This probability rises to 65 percent by winter.


El Nino

Trump's Media Attacks Taking a Toll on Broadcasters - June 20

A survey of WGA East members who work at ABC and CBS news operations has found that nearly half of those responding said that President Donald Trump's constant attacks on the media have taken a toll on them. Trump, the most virulently anti-press president in modern American history, has called the "fake news" the "enemy of the American people" and "our country's biggest enemy." "The current political climate is taking a toll on our broadcast members," WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson wrote in a recent letter to the union's members and council. "Although members who took the survey were almost evenly split on the question of whether President Trump's attacks on journalism had an impact on them, 46% said 'yes' and 54% said 'no', many wrote comments that suggest the environment has become more difficult." 

One respondent to the survey wrote, "I've encountered more people that seem to act aggressively towards journalists or 'the media' in general." Another commented: "Extremely upsetting personally to be attacked in your profession. And I think at times we're treating things a little too gingerly, trying to equalize sides when in fact at times the balance is off."  Said another, "It feels like more people are quick to scrutinize how we tell the news than before, even though our decisions are unbiased and fair." Those surveyed included news writers, writer-producers, graphic artists, assignment editors, desk assistants and others employed at the two networks' news operations and at local television and radio affiliates.



Rapper XXXTentacion, Shot Dead at 20 Years of Age

Billboard - June 19

XXXTentacion, born Jahseh Dwayne Onfroy, died at the age of 20 on Monday (June 18) after being fatally shot during an armed robbery in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Billboard has confirmed. According to reports, he was found without a pulse in his vehicle and was quickly transported to a nearby trauma center. X has been a controversial figure in music while building one of the most loyal fanbases despite a well-documented legal history. The 20-year-old began making music back in 2013 and played an integral role in the burgeoning SoundCloud generation of rap. He is also partly responsible for the distorted sonic that has emerged out of the South Florida region in hip-hop.

In August 2017, the Florida-bred rapper's debut album, 17, came in at No. 2 on the Billboard 200, moving 86,000 units in the first week. The genre-blending artist was voted in by the fans for the 10th spot on the XXL Freshman List of 2017. Onfroy was facing charges that included domestic violence stemming from a 2016 relationship. After being found of violating his bond in December, he was released on house arrest. A judge moved him off house arrest in March so he could tour in order to make a living. He was still awaiting trial and facing 15 felony charges he was accused of later in 2018.

XXXTentacion unleashed his sophomore album, ?, in March. The set earned 131,000 units in the first week. ? gave X his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, powered by a pair of singles, including his highest-charting work to date, "Sad!," which peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. During his career, X had 16 records land on the Hot 100. 



Gee, Ya Think!

NBC News - June 18

President Donald Trump's policy of taking immigrant children from their parents at the southern border may have been designed to push Democrats to the negotiating table in Congress, but it could end up costing Republican lawmakers. "Democrats can fix their forced family breakup at the Border by working with Republicans on new legislation, for a change!" Trump wrote on Twitter Saturday. "This is why we need more Republicans elected in November." But the policy, which has separated some 2,000 children from their parents in just six weeks, could have the opposite effect as anxious Republican lawmakers fear voters may see their party as heartless on immigration and punish them for it in November. And Democrats are driving home that message in emails to supporters and by organizing trips to detention centers. The issue will "absolutely" be a factor in the midterm elections this fall, said a GOP operative working to elect Republicans to Congress, adding that "the images are devastating" for the GOP.



The Next 'Superfood' .. Lentils - June 18

When you think of the word 'superfood,' I bet lentils are one thing that do not come to mind right away. Some interesting new science from the University of Guelph, however, could skyrocket this humble little legume to the status of dietary darling. Lentils are astoundingly effective at lowering blood glucose levels, researchers have discovered. When carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes are swapped out for lentils, it can lower blood glucose by up to 35 percent.

In the study, which is the first of its kind, 24 adult participants were given four dishes to eat -- one with plain rice, half white rice and half large green lentils, half white rice and small green lentils, and half white rice with small red lentils. Researchers measured blood glucose levels prior to eating and two hours after. The process was repeated with two more dishes -- white potatoes alone and half white potatoes with lentils.

Study author Allison Duncan, professor at the Department of Human Health and Nutrition, said, "We mixed the lentils in with the potatoes and rice because people don't typically eat pulses on their own, but rather consume them in combination with other starches as part of a larger meal, so we wanted the results to reflect that." The rice-and-lentil combinations saw in a 20 percent drop in blood glucose levels, while replacing potatoes with lentils led to a 35 percent decrease. This is a valuable discovery because it could help many people who struggle with chronic diseases that are associated with mismanaged glucose levels, not to mention improving the overall health of the general population.



Just Incredible

Box Office Mojo - June 17

Pixar shattered its own record for the biggest opening of all-time for an animated film with the long-awaited debut of its super hero family sequel Incredibles 2. The Disney release crushed all competition with a gargantuan $180M haul over three days, according to estimates, shattering the old record for toons of $135.1M held by Finding Dory from this same weekend two years ago. It actually surged a remarkable 33% past that old record mark. Incredibles 2 also posted the eighth biggest overall opening weekend ever beating out Captain America: Civil War and Beauty and the Beast, but falling behind The Avengers, Black Panther, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. All were from the Disney empire too. The new PG-rated toon averaged a colossal $40,816 from 4,410 locations.

A combination of factors came together to power this mighty debut. Unlike many recent Hollywood sequels, this is one that millions of fans have actually been asking for. The product was strong, the marketplace was in need of a major tentpole to rally behind, high-profile toons have been absent this year, and appeal was extremely broad to all demos. Reviews from critics were exceptionally positive and audiences agreed as the CinemaScore grade was a glowing A+.

All signs point to a sensational road ahead for Incredibles 2. More and more schools are going on summer vacation with each passing day which is why studios release family films like these in mid-June in the first place. Long-term success is there for quality films. Given how past Pixar films have played after opening in mid-June and taking advantage of the upcoming Independence Day holiday week, I2 has a reasonable chance of becoming the fourth $600M+ domestic smash for Disney in the past seven months which would be unprecedented. The studio continues to dominate the motion picture box office with its Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm divisions which almost always deliver what audiences want. The heist pic Ocean's 8 fell to second place with an estimated $19.6M dropping 53% in its second weekend. Warner Bros. has taken in $79.2M in ten days and looks set to finish with about $125M.

Studio stablemate Tag opened in third place with an estimated $14.6M from 3,382 theaters for a decent $4,317 average. The R-rated comedy offered starpower from Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress, Jon Hamm, and Jeremy Renner but only generated a moderate amount of interest. Reviews were lackluster and audiences polled by CinemaScore gave a B+. Tag skewed older as 76% of the crowd was over 25, but cross-gender appeal was good as the split was 51/49 female. Sony's stylish drama Superfly debuted in seventh place with $6.3M over the weekend and $8.4M across its five day debut period which started on Wednesday. The R-rated reimagining averaged a soft $2,838 from 2,220 locations over the Friday-to-Sunday span and the CinemaScore was a B+.


Incredibles 2"

The Hanger Games

Mother Nature Network - June 17

Some days, just trying to survive until lunchtime can feel like you've landed a reluctant role in "The Hanger Games." Only the combination of hunger and anger is no game. Just ask your friends, family or anyone who has the bad luck to be in your space during those must-eat-now moments. You're irritable. Patience is razor-thin. And if the pizza guy is a minute late, someone's going to get hurt. While often seen as a light-hearted, meme-minting notion, being hangry is all too real. Earlier this year, the Oxford English Dictionary made it official. But more importantly, the link between hunger and anger has been documented since the 1940s. That's when 36 men volunteered to forgo food entirely for the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, a sobering study on the tragic physical and mental impact of starvation. Scientists recorded a downward spiral into savagery, as depression and hysteria surged among subjects. One man even mutilated his own arm in an effort to escape the experiment.

Today that kind of dark descent may seem far-removed from your cubicle, where you can probably get direct-to-desk burrito delivery. Cases of people gnawing off their own arms at the office are, mercifully, rare. But there are occasions, those prickly moments between feedings, when we can get at least a faint sense of the food rage experienced by the "Minnesota 36." And decades later, scientists may finally understand why.

Our moods change not just because our blood sugar levels drop when hungry, as long standing theory holds. It may also be due to a complex blend of biology, personality and environment, according to new research from the American Psychological Association. "We all know that hunger can sometimes affect our emotions and perceptions of the world around us, but it's only recently that the expression hangry, meaning bad-tempered or irritable because of hunger, was accepted by the Oxford Dictionary," lead author Jennifer MacCormack of the University of North Carolina notes in a press release. "The purpose of our research is to better understand the psychological mechanisms of hunger-induced emotional states, in this case, how someone becomes hangry." It's not like we take a violent turn every time we get nippish. Instead, the research suggests, our chances of getting hangry depend on context and self-awareness.

"We've all felt hungry, recognized the unpleasantness as hunger, had a sandwich and felt better," explains study co-author Kristen Lindquist in the release. "We find that feeling hangry happens when you feel unpleasantness due to hunger but interpret those feelings as strong emotions about other people or the situation you're in." "A well-known commercial once said, 'You're not you when you're hungry,' but our data hint that by simply taking a step back from the present situation and recognizing how you're feeling, you can still be you even when hungry," MacCormack explains. Our physical condition, she adds, hungry or full, sick or healthy, exerts a powerful influence over our state of mind. Being aware of the body's influence can help us moderate our mood. But the most important takeaway from this research may be to take care of ourselves, even if that means running out for some Chinese takeaway. For the sake of everyone around you.



What's Next? - President Kim Kardashian West - June 17

Fresh off her political triumph in getting a prison sentence commutation for Alice Johnson, Kim Kardashian West isn't ruling herself out of an eventual run for office. Appearing on CNN's The Van Jones Show, Kardashian West said a political career isn't likely right now. But, she added, "I guess never say never. But that's not going to be like, Kim's running. That's not where I am." The Kardashian clan hasn't clearly declared its party affiliations. Kim appeared at the last Democratic national convention as a guest, and has taken selfies with Hillary Clinton and President Obama. Still, she said she was "on the fence" about who to vote for in the 2016 election in an interview with Wonderland Magazine.

Her husband, Kanye West, has declared his admiration for President Trump, but has previously condemned Republican President George Bush as "not caring for black people." West has also mulled aloud running for president. Kim Kardashian West visited the oval office earlier this month to talk about prison reform with President Trump, a meeting that resulted in a pardon for nonviolent drug offender Alice Johnson. That triumph has changed her life, Kardashian West said to CNN. "I honestly saw that if I could use my platform just to do something for one person, that it opens the conversation for so much more and for other people to want to do the same thing. If more people would just put their personal feelings aside and talk about really important issues that have to be discussed, then so much more can get done," she said. Kardashian West added that she won't follow any specific party line.


Kim Kardashian

John Travolta's 'Gotti' - 0% on Rotten Tomatoes - June 17

For the handful of critics who went out of their way to watch Gotti, the John Travolta pic should sleep with the fishes. As of Saturday morning, the Vertical Entertainment-MoviePass Ventures release is registering a 0% Rotten Tomatoes Score. That's lower than the 6% earned by the Ben Affleck-Jennifer Lopez 2003 film Gigli, one of the millennium's most notoriously panned films. Many of the reviews by top critics are so fierce, they're hysterical. The New York Post's Johnny Oleksinski declares "Gotti flick is the worst mob movie of all-time… I'd rather wake up next to a severed horse head than ever watch Gotti again. The worst movie of the year so far, the long-awaited biopic about the Gambino crime boss' rise from made man to top dog took four directors, 44 producers and eight years to make. It shows. The finished product belongs in a cement bucket at the bottom of the river."

A big put-off for reviewers is how the film tries to paint Gotti as a NYC local hero, with Rolling Stone's Peter Travers screaming, "Insane testimonials from Gotti supporters at the end are as close as this shitshow will ever get to good reviews". Showbiz 411's review and New York premiere coverage describes a situation where many guests "fled the theater before the movie was over," with the website declaring the Kevin Connolly-directed pic as "the $9.99 All You Can Eat Buffet Version of Goodfellas." The 0% Rotten Tomatoes score comes with some asterisks. First, as Deadline has learned, Gotti was largely shielded from critics, so right there you know that the producers knew what they had and wanted to protect this film in hopes that moviegoers might show up, an impossible task in this social media era.



One of the Biggest Worries About Global Warming

Popular Science - June 17

Tom Patterson became ill in 2015 while vacationing in Egypt. He was felled by Acinetobacter baumannii, an often deadly bacterium resistant to every antibiotic his doctors tried. Patterson, a University of California San Diego psychiatry professor, should have died, but didn't. (Experimental infusions of bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages ultimately saved his life.) But his near-death experience from a superbug he picked up in a warm country, an organism that also has afflicted many hospitalized wounded troops in Iraq and Kuwait, raises provocative questions about drug-resistant bacteria and their relationship to our increasingly hotter planet.

"Travelers returning from tropical and other warm areas where multi-drug resistant pathogens have become more widespread will increasingly challenge the antibiotics on our shelves," said Robert T. Schooley, an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Diego, who treated Patterson. "Turning up the temperature of the incubator in which we live will clearly speed the evolutionary clock of bacterial and other pathogens with which we must co-exist."

Experts already know that climate change has become a significant threat to global public health, particularly as rising temperatures have produced greater populations of disease-transmitting insects, such as mosquitoes. But warmth also encourages bacteria to grow, providing them a chance to mutate and elude drugs that once easily killed them. While antibiotic resistance is believed largely due to the indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics, experts now think that other environmental stresses, climate change among them, also may be at work.

The world is confronting a growing and frightening danger from multi-drug-resistant infections, with many now difficult or impossible to treat. The World Health Organization has described this scenario as "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." There are more than two million cases and 23,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



OMD's "Pretending to See the Future" - June 17

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD) have announced the publication of the book "Pretending To See The Future", in celebration of the band's 40th anniversary. To be published in November 2018 "Pretending To See The Future" is an oral history, told in the first person, of OMD, mixing hundreds of fan anecdotes with memories from the band, their collaborators, other musicians and celebrity admirers garnered from 40 years of recording and performing. The book contains commentary from OMD founders Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphreys, plus band members Martin Cooper, Malcolm Holmes and Stuart Kershaw, and is packed full of memorabilia and hundreds of photos. With many images in full colour and previously unseen pictures from the band's own archive. Or as the press text says: "This is the OMD story as it's never been told before."

The book is now available to pre-order from PledgeMusic. All early pre-orders from Pledge will also receive an exclusive flexi-disc featuring a very rare and previously unheard demo of "Messages" from the summer of 1978 before Andy and Paul actually formed Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark. Recorded in the garage studio of school friend Paul Collister who would become OMD's manager, and featuring the electronic drums built by Paul Humphreys, this is the sound of two 18 year old kids experimenting in early electronic music. The song would become the band's first hit single two years later. The flexi-disc will be made to order for the initial purchases of the book and will not be available elsewhere.



Don't Fear The Reaper Dentist

Mother Nature Network - June 16

About 10 percent of us have such severe fear of the dentist that we don't go. As a result, our fears become self-fulfilling, when we do finally get our butts in that reclining chair, the dentist has a lot more work to do. Even if you're not phobic though, you might have a general fear or dislike of getting work done on your teeth. Despite your best efforts at seeming relaxed, you're not fooling anyone. It turns out that dentists can smell your fear. It may be subliminal, but they know. A recent study suggests that fear sends out a perceptible biochemical signature that can affect others. For the study, 24 volunteers each submitted two unwashed T-shirts: one had been worn during a stressful exam, the other during a relaxed lecture. The shirts were doused with a chemical to cover up any overt smells, so whatever odor was perceived wasn't anything obvious.

When the shirts were put on mannequins and student dentists went to work, they made more mistakes (like damaging teeth near the one they were working on) when working on the dummies wearing the stressed shirts. Experienced dentists aren't the same as dental students, of course, and having dealt with thousands of patients over time likely inures a dentist against making mistakes. But for anyone who is already afraid of going to the dentist, it's concerning.

So, what is the best way to feel less fear, so you don't have to worry if your subconscious smells are giving you away? "We have found that most patients' fears are coming from the unknown (lack of knowledge)," says Dr. Kerry White Brown, an orthodontist and the author of "A Lifetime of Sensational Smiles: Transforming Lives through Orthodontics." As mentioned, about one in 10 people are truly fearful of the dentist. "Typically these are older patients who had bad experience when they were a child," says Dr. Steven Freeman, a dentist in St. Augustine, Florida. He points that that "dentistry has come a long way over the decades," so even if you have had a bad experience in the past, that doesn't mean that all future visits will be that bad.

Working to reduce your fear of the dentist is worth it, not only for the health of your smile. Your fear can actually make it more likely you'll experience pain. "The strongest predictor of pain during dental procedures was dental anxiety. Anxious patients were four times more likely to experience pain than non-anxious patients after controlling for other factors," Martin Tickle, professor of dental public health at Manchester University told the Guardian.



Matt Murphy of Blues Brothers Band, Dead at 88 - June 16

Matt "Guitar" Murphy, best known as one of the stalwarts of the Blues Brothers Band and a renowned sideman with Howlin' Wolf, Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, James Cotton and many others, has died. He was 88 and his death was confirmed by his nephew, Floyd Murphy Jr., on Facebook. Murphy gained his biggest audience as a member of the band in the Blues Brothers movies, appearing as the beleagured husband of cafe owner Aretha Franklin, insisting that he was "the man" when Franklin objected to him re-joining the band. Murphy appeared in the 1980 film and its follow-up, Blues Brothers 2000 (1998), both directed by John Landis. He also played in the Blues Brothers Band with John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd when the group played its eventual top 20 pop hit "Soul Man" on Saturday Night Live in 1978. He would perform with the band until the early 2000s, when he was slowed by a stroke.



D.J. Fontana, Drummer for Elvis, Dead at 87 - June 16

D.J. Fontana, the drummer who helped launch rock 'n' roll as Elvis Presley's sideman, has died at 87, his wife said Thursday. Karen Fontana told The Associated Press that her husband died in his sleep in Nashville Wednesday night (June 13). She said he had been suffering complications from breaking his hip in 2016. "He was loved by everybody all over the world. He treated everybody like everybody was his friend," she said. Fontana rose from strip joints in his native Shreveport, Louisiana to the heights of musical history as Presley's first and longtime drummer. They met on the Louisiana Hayride, a popular and influential radio and TV country music program based in Shreveport. Fontana, the staff drummer, asked to join his group for a session broadcast in October 1954. A regional act at the time, the 19-year-old Presley had been recording and touring since the summer with guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, the musicians Sun Records founder Sam Phillips brought in after Elvis turned up at the Memphis, Tennessee-based label's studio.

"The Blue Moon Boys," as they called themselves, had been playing a blend of blues, pop and country that was unique at the time; but it was missing something crucial. "Elvis and Scotty and Bill were making good music, but it wasn't rock n' roll until D.J. put the backbeat into it," the Band's Levon Helm told The Associated Press in 2004. Elvis returned often to the Hayride, and in 1955 Fontana became a permanent member of the group, working with Presley through much of the 1960s. He played on many of the soundtracks, and was occasionally seen on camera, for Presley's movies in the '50s and '60s.



Looks Like It is the End of Springer

Hollywood Reporter - June 16

Your chances of being subjected to an on-air paternity test just dwindled. The Jerry Springer Show, the tabloid talker that all but defined "guilty pleasure" at its peak in late 1990s, is currently in limbo, with no new episodes planned for the foreseeable future. The staff was informed in April about the murky fate, when the syndicated show didn't get a pickup from the station group. The CW swooped in with a deal to air the series, but the order is currently just for repeats. Sources say the network has the option to air new episodes, should they be made, but, as of now, staff members are looking for new jobs. This comes after making nearly 4,000 episodes bearing such titles as "I'm Sleeping With My Brother," "Gay Cousins in Love" and "Pregnant Gals and a Mime."

It's a blow for low-culture enthusiasts and one that speaks plenty to the evolving TV landscape, particularly on daytime. All of Springer's contemporaries, Ricki Lake, Jenny Jones, Bill Cunningham, Sally Jessy Raphael, are long gone, save Maury Povich, who was just renewed alongside Springer descendant Steve Wilkos. The competitive playing field now belongs to panel shows and boldface names like Steve Harvey, Dr. Phil and Ellen DeGeneres. Each year sees several hopefuls try to launch something new, but any new success is an exception to the rule.

And the more Springer leaned into the absurd, the more popular he became. Chants of "Jer-ry, Jer-ry!" would begin whenever he took the stage. Springer played himself in more than a dozen film and TV projects, shilled a nudity-filled spinoff (Too Hot for TV) on VHS and starred in a feature film parody (Ringmaster). The show's popularity seemed to reach its apex in 1998 when Springer briefly topped Oprah Winfrey's ratings with a daily audience of nearly 10 million viewers. But even following its heyday, Springer remained a commodity, scoring a $30 million, five-year contract in 2000 and enjoying distribution of his series in nearly every U.S. market.



A Smart Cat Litter Tray - June 16

Sharp Corp. has developed a smart toilet for cats that analyzes their urine, detects health problems, and sends reports to owners' smartphones using artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The toilet, priced at 24,800 yen ($225), plus tax, will be sold on Sharp's website from July 30. Users of the product are also required to pay a monthly usage fee of 300 yen, plus tax, for the service. AI and IoT technologies, which connect electronic devices and household appliances to service providers via the Internet, enabled Sharp to create the smart "pet tech" device for cats that are prone to kidney and urinary tract diseases. "Pets are now considered members of the family," said Yoshisuke Hasegawa, a senior official at Sharp, which has set a sales target of 10 billion yen for its pet tech products in fiscal 2020.

The smart cat toilet works by using sensors to collect relevant information, including an animal's weight and urine analysis, and then sends the data to an AI program via the Internet. Next, the AI analyzes the information based on data collected in a joint study between Tottori University and Sharp. When abnormalities are detected in a cat's health, the AI program sends a report containing that information, along with the cat's daily health data, to the owner's smartphone. Taking advantage of technologies it owns, Sharp plans to focus on developing healthcare products for pets. The company has already developed technologies to measure the balance of autonomic nerves that signal whether dogs feel relaxed or nervous by measuring their heart and respiratory rates with a sensor that can be attached to a dog's front leg. Sharp will initially target the product at companies and researchers in hopes of it helping the company hit its fiscal 2020 sales target in this market segment.



Trump Throwing Another Tantrum - June 15

"Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns," President Donald Trump tweeted after news networks showed footage of his former campaign manager heading to jail after a judge revoked his bail on witness tampering allegations. "Didn't know Manafort was the head of the Mob," Trump snarked. "What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair." For accuracy sake: Manafort was not, as Trump tweeted, "sentenced."

Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, was in court today to ask a federal judge to spare him a stint in the slammer. Instead, the judge revoked Manafort's bail and ordered him to jail. Two weeks earlier, special counsel Robert Mueller lobbed new accusations of witness tampering against Manafort. Today, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson followed up, revoking the bail that had enabled Manafort to enjoy house arrest after pleading not guilty on charges of foreign lobbying violations. When Manafort was arraigned and pleaded not guilty back in October, bail was set at $10 million and his passports were confiscated.