Astronomers have discovered more than 5,000 planets in other star systems, most of them found by the Kepler space telescope. This graphic provides an overview of the types of worlds discovered so far.
That sound represents the first confirmed exoplanets — planets that orbit stars other than the Sun. At the end of 1992, only two such planets were known — orbiting the dead heart of an exploded star.
The first planets orbiting a star similar to the Sun were announced in 1995. By last spring, the number had passed 5,000, with thousands more possible planets awaiting confirmation. NASA put together an audio track as a timeline of all the discoveries. Each note represents a confirmed planet, with the pitch representing the planet’s distance from its star.
This is One Thing, a column with tips on how to live.
I approved the headline, so I get why you’re mad. But bear with me a second.
I love books. I love the smell of them, the weight of them in my hand, the appearance of their spines all lined up on a shelf. I love walking down the aisles of a library, perusing pages at my local indie, and of course—above all else—I love reading them. I love reading them so much that I studied literature in college and then, still unsated, I went on to become a professional writer.
On Thursday, short of a surprising announcement, the Writers Guild of America’s strike will reach its 100th day. That’s over three months that screenwriters have spent picketing the major studios for fair pay, improved working conditions, regulations on use of artificial intelligence (AI), and more.
The writer’s strike, combined with the SAG-AFTRA actors strike, has brought the vast majority of TV and film projects to a halt. “Who cares?” I hear some of you curmudgeonly readers saying. “I don’t need TV and movies. I’ve got books.” Actually, there’s more at stake in this strike than when fall TV shows will return. Below is a guide to the strike for book lovers, including why it might impact publishing and authors, and information on how to support the striking writers.
The Basics of the WGA Strike
After weeks of unfruitful negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) on the Minimum Basic Agreement for writers, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) declared a strike on May 2, 2023. WGA members and non-members are instructed to cease any and all writing projects with member studios of the AMPTP, including powerhouse producers like Sony, Universal, Paramount, Disney, and Warner Bros., as well as any other studios that participate in the Minimum Basic Agreement.
As the strike approaches the 100-day mark, no clear progress has been made on finding agreeable terms. Representatives of the WGA negotiating committee met with AMPTP president Carol Lombardini on Friday, August 4, in a confidential sidebar to discuss resuming negotiations. Before the meeting even occurred, however, the WGA sent a message to its members about the AMPTP’s “calculated misinformation” about the meeting.
It suggests a question that cannot be escaped: Will the American electorate show itself capable of overlooking a conspiracy to undermine democratic rule and return the chief conspirator to power?
The third and latest indictment against Trump sets out four charges and makes the case against him in the plainest terms. “Despite having lost, the defendant was determined to remain in power,” the introduction to the forty-five-page document reads—and where have you seen a more succinct summary of criminal intent?
Editor’s note: Featured image is mine, free to re-use.
In 1945, barely two years into Raymond Chandler’s career as a screenwriter, the man whose hard-boiled fiction did much to make film noir into an art form had already wearied of the town and its treatment of writers.“Hollywood is a showman’s paradise. But showmen make nothing; they exploit what someone else has made,” he wrote in an acerbic essay published in the Atlantic.
In barbed zinger after zinger, the man who gave us private investigator Philip Marlowe described Hollywood as a cauldron of “egos,” “credit stealing” and “self-promotion” where scribes were ruthlessly neglected, marginalized and stripped of respect; toiling at the mercy of producers, some of whom, he wrote, had “the artistic integrity of slot machines and the manners of a floorwalker with delusions of grandeur.”
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…
Mark Zuckerberg’s grand vision for an online existence has been laughed off as a corporate folly. Meanwhile, those still existing happily on a virtual world launched 20 years ago may be wondering what all the fuss is about …
On 14 November 2006, 5,000 IBM employees assembled in a digital recreation of the 15th-century Chinese imperial palace known as the Forbidden City. They had come to hear IBM’s CEO, Sam Palmisano, deliver a speech. Palmisano’s physical body was in Beijing at the time, but he addressed most of his audience inside Second Life, the online social world that had launched three years earlier.
Palmisano’s trim avatar wore tortoiseshell-frame glasses and a tailored pinstripe suit. He faced a crowd of digital, animated dolls dressed in the business attire of the day: black heels, pencil-line shirts, Windsor-knotted ties. Looming out of the throng at the back stood a 10ft IBM employee, his digital face plastered in Gene Simmons-style white makeup, with shoulder-length, Sonic-blue hair.
It was a historic moment, a journalist for Bloomberg reported at the time: Palmisano was “the first big-league CEO” to stage a company-wide meeting in Second Life – “the most popular of a handful of new-fangled 3D online virtual worlds”. IBM, just like any other denizen of Second Life, paid ground rent to own a “region” of the game, one region representing 6.5 hectares of digital turf, currently rented at $166 (£134) a month. Renters could build whatever they wanted on their turf.
Editor’s Note: Read more, see link below for original item…