Even as shows like ‘Mare of Easttown’ create buzz, the idea of the broader TV hit is going away – The Washington Post

Astute observers of television say the idea of a unifying show on even a modest scale is gone. In its wake are a hundred Twitter niches — and a dangerous lack of common culture.

By Steven Zeitchik, June 22, 2021 at 5:00 a.m. PDT

(Emma Kumer/Washington Post illustration)

On one level, “Mare of Easttown” was a smashing success.

The Pennsylvania-set crime series starring Kate Winslet inspired numerous memes, truckloads of media coverage and even a “Saturday Night Live” parody after it debuted on HBO in April.

More importantly, thanks to its head-fake mysteries and town with more secrets than beer bottles, the show quadrupled its audience between its premiere and its finale. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that its audience began modestly enough that even with all that growth, the finale was watched by only 4 million people over Memorial Day weekend. For all its buzzy enthusiasm and hardcore fan interest, the “Mare” finale was not seen that weekend by nearly 99 percent of Americans.

The television hit — the most abiding of entertainment traditions — appears to be dying. That isn’t to say shows don’t have fans; they do, and some of them are more passionate than ever. But according to its long-standing definition — a universally recognized show that gathers a large, verifiable audience and becomes unavoidable in all the places people talk about television and endures well beyond its run — the TV hit is vanishing.

From article…

Source: Even as shows like ‘Mare of Easttown’ create buzz, the idea of the broader TV hit is going away – The Washington Post

“I Hope the Mindset Has Changed”: John Podesta Is Thrilled That Congress Finally Cares About UFOs | Vanity Fair

By Abigail Tracy, June 22, 2021

From The Washington Post/Getty Images. 

“I saw more eagles than UFOs,” John Podesta joked.

The former chief of staff to Bill Clinton and veteran of the Obama White House had just returned from a trip to Alaska and, speaking with me from California last Friday, shared his thoughts on the highly anticipated government report on unidentified flying objects, set to be released later this week.

Over the past few decades, Podesta has emerged as one of the most prominent public figures goading the Pentagon to disclose information on UFOs—or, in official channel parlance, “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP). In his view the report’s expected release marks a sea change in not only public sentiment, but political posturing around the issue.

“There’s always been tremendous public interest in this, but it was kind of pushed to the fringe. People were viewed as a little bit goofy if they wanted to raise the topic,” he explained. “Now I think that’s changed.”

Source: “I Hope the Mindset Has Changed”: John Podesta Is Thrilled That Congress Finally Cares About UFOs | Vanity Fair

Human Evolution Offers Clues For Modern Brain Health : Shots – Health News : NPR

June 18, 20215:00 AM ET, by Bret Stetka

Reconstructions from the Daynès Studio in Paris depict a male Neanderthal (right) face to face with a human, Homo sapiens.
Science Source

It’s something that many of us reckon with: the sense that we’re not quite as sharp as we once were.

I recently turned 42. Having lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s, and with my mom suffering from a similar neurodegenerative disease, I’m very aware of what pathologies might lurk beneath my cranium.

In the absence of a cure for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, the most important interventions for upholding brain function are preventive — those that help maintain our most marvelous, mysterious organ.

Based on the science, I take fish oil and broil salmon. I exercise. I try to challenge my cortex to the unfamiliar. As I wrote my recent book, A History of the Human Brain, which recounts the evolutionary tale of how our brain got here, I began to realize that so many of the same influences that shaped our brain evolution in the first place reflect the very measures we use to preserve our cognitive function today.

Source: Human Evolution Offers Clues For Modern Brain Health : Shots – Health News : NPR

No. 1 challenge facing San Diego city libraries: inequity, consultants say – The San Diego Union-Tribune

New library master plan will likely recommend prioritizing larger branches in south San Diego to boost community use

By David Garrick, June 4, 2021 5 AM PT

(James Gregg /U-T)

SAN DIEGO — Library branches in the southern and southeastern parts of San Diego are typically smaller and lack space for events and meetings, compared to branches in the north and west parts of the city, creating long-term challenges for the city’s library system.

Because of the disparities, branches in the north and west have higher circulation and a greater numbers of visits, while branches in the less affluent south lead the 36-branch system in the use of public computers.

Source: No. 1 challenge facing San Diego city libraries: inequity, consultants say – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

A new study finds very young dogs with little human contact can understand pointing gestures—and that the ability has a strong genetic basis

By Alex Fox smithsonianmag.com
June 3, 2021

A young puppy responds to a human pointing to a treat during an experiment conducted by scientists at the University of Arizona. (Canine Companions for Independence)

Dog owners might not be too impressed when they’re able to point out a fallen piece of chicken or a thrown stick to their pooch, but dogs’ ability to follow that seemingly simple gesture places them in rare air in the animal kingdom.

Some research suggests that even chimpanzees, our closest evolutionary relatives, don’t understand pointing as well as dogs.

For decades, researchers have debated whether dogs obtain their ability to understand pointing by spending time with humans and learning it or if our furry companions are born with a capacity to comprehend this deceptively complex feat of communication.

Source: Puppies Are Born Ready to Communicate With Humans | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

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