CHEERS! How Booze Is Becoming the New Popcorn at Movie Theaters 

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More theater chains are installing bars to pad profits as states relax liquor laws.

Pamela McClintock reports: The drinking song “99 Bottles of Beer” has nothing on Dan Aykroyd‘s Crystal Head Vodka — at least at AMC Theatres. By Aykroyd’s count, the cinema chain has sold 110,000 special Ghostbusters cocktails since last summer using the vodka, movie_drinks-h_2017_0part of a campaign by AMC to boost earnings by hundreds of millions of dollars with increased alcohol sales. “It’s been amazing,” says Aykroyd. “Overall, they’ve bought 7,200 bottles from us.”

[Read the full story here, at Hollywood Reporter]

Forget popcorn and Milk Duds. Booze is the next step in cinemas’ fight against flagging attendance. For decades, local and state laws prevented movie chains from offering alcoholic beverages in regular auditoriums. Only dine-in theaters could offer booze by securing a restaurant liquor license, while some high-end cinemas — including the Landmark and ArcLight in L.A. — offered beer and wine in designated 21-and-over auditoriums. During the past two years, 32 states have relaxed their laws, allowing theaters to serve alcohol in any auditorium.

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“It is the fastest-growing amenity in our industry,” says George Patterson, senior vp food and beverage at AMC. Read the rest of this entry »


Will You Ever Be Able to Upload Your Brain? 

In recent times it has become appealing to believe that your dead brain might be preserved sufficiently by freezing so that some future civilization could bring your mind back to life. 

Kenneth D. Miller writes: Some hominid along the evolutionary path to humans was probably the first animal with the cognitive ability to understand that it would someday die. To be human is to cope with this knowledge. Many have been consoled by the religious promise of life beyond this world, but some have been seduced by the hope that they can escape death in this world. Such hopes, from Ponce de León’s quest to find a fountain of youth to the present vogue for cryogenic preservation, inevitably prove false.

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“Assuming that no future scientists will reverse death, the hope is that they could analyze your brain’s structure and use this to recreate a functioning mind, whether in engineered living tissue or in a computer with a robotic body.”

In recent times it has become appealing to believe that your dead brain might be preserved sufficiently by freezing so that some future civilization could bring your mind back to life. Assuming that no future scientists will reverse death, the hope is that they could analyze your brain’s structure and use this to recreate a functioning mind, whether in engineered living tissue or in a computer with a robotic body. By functioning, I mean thinking, feeling, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, remembering, acting. Your mind would wake up, much as it wakes up after a night’s sleep, with your own memories, feelings and patterns of thought, and continue on into the world.

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[Read the full story here, at the New York Times]

I am a theoretical neuroscientist. I study models of brain circuits, precisely the sort of models that would be needed to try to reconstruct or emulate a functioning brain from a detailed knowledge of its structure. I don’t in principle see any reason that what I’ve described could not someday, in the very far future, be achieved (though it’s an active field of philosophical debate). But to accomplish this, these future scientists would need to know details of staggering complexity about the brain’s structure, details quite likely far beyond what any method today could preserve in a dead brain.

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“By functioning, I mean thinking, feeling, talking, seeing, hearing, learning, remembering, acting. Your mind would wake up, much as it wakes up after a night’s sleep, with your own memories, feelings and patterns of thought, and continue on into the world.”

How much would we need to know to reconstruct a functioning brain? Let’s begin by defining some terms. Neurons are the cells in the brain that electrically carry information: Their electrical activity somehow amounts to your seeing, hearing, thinking, acting and all the rest. Each neuron sends a highly branched wire, or axon, out to connect or electrically “talk” to other neurons. The specialized connecting points between neurons are called synapses. Memories are commonly thought to be largely stored in the patterns of synaptic connections between neurons, which in turn shape the electrical activities of the neurons.

Much of the current hope of reconstructing a functioning brain rests on connectomics: the ambition to construct a complete wiring diagram, or “connectome,” of all the synaptic connections between neurons in the mammalian brain. Unfortunately connectomics, while an important part of basic research, falls far short of the goal of reconstructing a mind, in two ways. First, we are far from constructing a connectome. The current best achievement was determining the connections in a tiny piece of brain tissue containing 1,700 synapses; the human brain has more than a hundred billion times that number of synapses. While progress is swift, no one has any realistic estimate of how long it will take to arrive at brain-size connectomes. (My wild guess: centuries.)

Second, even if this goal were achieved, it would be only a first step toward the goal of describing the brain sufficiently to capture a mind, which would mean understanding the brain’s detailed electrical activity. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] Vintage Pictures of Everyday Life in Japan from 1949-1951

Schoolgirls on a street, Japan, ca. 1949-51Ginza, Tokyo, ca. 1949-51Japan, ca. 1949-51......

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Source: vintage everyday


[VIDEO] Kenyan Politician Nearly Lights Himself on Fire in Attempt to Combat Kenya’s Underground Alcohol Industry

What’s more dangerous: drinking illegal, highly alcoholic beverages possibly laced with methanol, or setting those drinks on fire in front of a crowd?

William Kabogo, governor of Kenya’s Kiambu County, figured that one out the hard way this week when he tried to make a point about just how badly he wants to eliminate Kenya’s underground alcohol industry by lighting a big pile of alcohol-filled bottles on fire….(read more)

ForeignPolicy.com


Toronto Health Officials: Mayor Rob Ford Hospitalized With Suspected Tumor

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Health officials say Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been admitted to a hospital and is believed to have a tumor.

“Ford appeared to be in good spirts during a debate on Tuesday night.”

“Humber Regional Hospital said in a statement Wednesday that Ford had been complaining of abdominal pains and that an examination has resulted in a working diagnosis of a tumor.

“The mayor became an international celebrity last year after he acknowledged using crack in a “drunken stupor” following months of denials.”

The statement said Ford had been suffering from stomach pains for at least three months and that they worsened in the last 24 hours. Read the rest of this entry »