Thief Steals Andy Warhol Paintings And Replaces Them With Fakes 

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Police are looking for the thief who stole most of a collection of Andy Warhol prints and switched them out with phonies.

The thefts were discovered recently when a member of the owner’s family took the silkscreens to be reframed, according to the entertainment website TMZ.

The stolen prints were part of a series Warhol called “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century.”  The subjects were the Marx Brothers, George Gershwin, Golda Meir, Albert Einstein, Franz Kafka, Louis Brandeis, Gertrude Stein, Sarah Bernhardt, Martin Buber and Sigmund Freud.

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Only 200 silkscreens of the series were made.

The Los Angeles Police Department’s website lists at least seven of the famous prints as stolen. Read the rest of this entry »


Was the Mona Lisa a Chinese Slave?

DV142066 Leonardo da Vinci Painting

The identity of the sitter for the portrait hanging in Paris’ Louvre museum has long been a matter of debate. If Paratico’s theory is correct, it means the 15th-century polymath was half-Chinese.

The woman depicted in the Mona Lisa might be both a Chinese slave, and Leonardo da Vinci’s mother, according to a new theory from Angelo Paratico, a Hong Kong-based historian and novelist.

“One wealthy client of Leonardo’s father had a slave called Caterina. After 1452, Leonardo’s date of birth, she disappeared from the documents. She was no longer working there. During the Renaissance, countries like Italy and Spain were full of oriental slaves.”

The identity of the sitter for the portrait hanging in Paris’ Louvre museum has long been a matter of debate. If Paratico’s theory is correct, it means the 15th-century polymath was half-Chinese.

 “Mona Lisa is probably a portrait of his mother, as Sigmund Freud said in 1910. On the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese.”

However, the historian’s claims are tenuous.

Read the rest of this entry »


Obama’s Last Shot – Climate Change – And Why It’s Doomed To Fail

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For Brietbart.com reports: Today the Obama administration publishes its latest National Climate Assessment on the state of global warming. The bad news – inevitably – is that the news is very bad: more heat, more extreme weather, more drought, everything worse than ever before.

Fortunately, there’s some good news too: you don’t need to believe a word because, just like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change‘s reports, this document is much more a political one than a scientific one.

Its purpose is described well in the headline of this Rolling Stone article: Obama’s Last Shot:

“Taking action on climate is one of the most important goals in the president’s second term,” John Podesta, counselor to the president and his point man on climate policy, told me a few weeks ago. “He feels a profound and urgent obligation to get as much done as he can before he leaves office.”

Of course he does but in order to achieve these intrusive, radical, economically-damaging changes – America still being, more or less, a democracy – Obama first needs to make a persuasive case that they are actually necessary. Otherwise, there might be quite a lot of resistance, say, from the coal-producing states (over his ongoing war on fossil fuels); from taxpayers (over all the money being diverted into renewable energy scams like Solyndra); from country dwellers (sick of having their views ruined, their sleep disturbed and their avian wildlife sliced and diced by wind turbines); from the unions (concerned at all the US jobs will be lost if and when the Keystone XL pipeline is nixed); from energy users (over prices raised artificially high by the drive for heavily subsidised renewables); from farmers (subject to increasingly intrusive environmental regulations on how they may and may not use their land); and so on. Read the rest of this entry »


What “Monster Porn” Says about Science and Sexuality

John Horgan  writes:  “What does woman want?Freud once whined. Turns out quite a few women want fantasy sex with T. rex, Sasquatch or a boar-headed god. That, at any rate, is the implication of “monster porn,” which serves up X-rated versions of such demure classics as Leda and the SwanKing Kong or Beauty and the Beast.

Evolutionary psychology and other gene-oriented modern paradigms cannot explain why many women enjoy reading "monster porn."

Evolutionary psychology and other gene-oriented modern paradigms cannot explain why many women enjoy reading “monster porn.”

Also known as “cryptozoological erotica” or “erotic horror,” monster porn has flourished in the Internet era, which offers abundant platforms for self-publication. According to a report in Business Insider, some authors—most apparently female–are making serious moola peddling tales of humans—most apparently female—coupling with “creatures of every possible variety, from minotaurs to mermen, cthulhus to leprechauns, extraterrestrials to cyclops.”

Prudes have attacked monster porn for promoting sexual violence and bestiality. In response, Amazon and other purveyors have at least temporarily blocked access to some e-books, like a popular series featuring Bigfoot. Defenders of monster porn accuse Amazon of inconsistency, noting that the company still offers works of the Marquis de Sade, who extolled the joys of sexual torture and murder.

Trying to explain monster porn’s appeal, freelance writer Bonny Burton, host of the “Vaginal Fantasy Book Club,” writes: “Regular male characters in romance books tend to be over-the-top perfect glistening warriors and knights, but I want an imperfect monster who needs love to show that he can be just as sweet as his human competition… Why deprive the imagination of a great romance just because the protagonist happens to live for 600 years or has the occasional bout with fleas?”

Read the rest of this entry »


Dazed and Confucius: Nine common myths about China

Myth: The Chinese all speak the same language - most Chinese use local dialects, and even different languages from Mandarin, for everyday communication (AFP/Getty Images)

Myth: The Chinese all speak the same language – most Chinese use local dialects, and even different languages from Mandarin (AFP/Getty Images)

Ben Chu writes:  Chinese Whispers was once a party game. A message would be relayed in hushed tones through a long line of people and emerge at the other end amusingly garbled. Most of us have found alternative amusements nowadays, but the name survives as a figure of speech; an idiom used to signify how facts or a story tend to get twisted over time and distance.

Why ‘Chinese’ though? There seem to be no concrete answers. One theory has it that messages relayed between the lonely watchtowers of the Great Wall suffered this kind of distortion. Another is that China was once a byword for misunderstanding and confusion in the West, something to do with the supposed ‘inscrutability’ of the Chinese. It doesn’t seem to be a very old usage, with the first references only appearing in the middle of the 20th century. But whatever the provenance of Chinese Whispers, there’s something rather appropriate about the name.

Myth: China has an unstoppable economy - in order to continue growing, China needs to enact fundamental economic reforms and it is far from certain that the reformers will prevail (Getty Images)

Myth: China has an unstoppable economy – in order to continue growing, China needs to enact fundamental economic reforms and it is far from certain that the reformers will prevail (Getty Images)

China has always loomed large in the Western imagination because it provides a handy screen on to which we can project our dreams and nightmares. First the dreams. The Jesuit missionaries of the 16th century projected China as a country in which men like them achieved, promoted as councillors to emperors, ignoring (or perhaps ignorant of) the fact that the ostensibly meritocratic, imperial exam system was riven with corruption and nepotism. That tradition of wishful projection continues today.

Many executives of Western multinationals talk of China as a new capitalist Jerusalem, a land of eternally high GDP growth, the biggest untapped consumer market on the planet, the place where the state sees its proper function as to help the private sector to make money. Of course, occasionally they will come up against an awkward fact that challenges this dream – reports of baby milk formula adulterated with a harmful chemical by a Chinese manufacturer, for instance, or a corruption scandal – but these are seen as tests of faith to be overcome. They cannot be permitted to interfere with the glorious vision.

Then there are the China nightmares. The French philosopher Montesquieu, in the 18th century, reviled China as a country where there reigned “a spirit of servitude”. In a similar vein, the Victorians projected China as a place where intellectual progress had come to a pathetic stop. What they were both doing was imagining China as the very antithesis of everything they wanted their own nations to be: free, vigorous and expansive. Read the rest of this entry »