‘Grand Warlock’ of Mexico Issues Forecast for 2021

A colorful self-proclaimed clairvoyant in Mexico known as the country’s ‘Grand Warlock’ has issued his forecast for 2021. Much like his fellow prognosticators around the world, the start of January is the proverbial busy season for Antonio Vazquez, who holds an annual gathering in which he shares what he envisions for the coming year. By virtue of his striking appearance and bold predictions, the purported psychic’s yearly announcement of what is to come over the next twelve months is a popular event in Mexico, where it garners considerable media attention.

And so, as is tradition, Vazquez reportedly took to the stage last week to share a bevy of predictions for the new year. According to the Grand Warlock, the coronavirus “starts to be mastered between May and June, but it doesn’t end this year.” To that end, he ominously warned of a “second pandemic” in the form of widespread financial difficulties facing people around the world due to the slow economic recovery. For those seeking more specific predictions to test Vazquez at this time next year, he also predicted that the Summer Olympics set for Tokyo will once again be postponed and that this will be announced at a press conference in February.

As for here in America, the Grand Warlock forecast a difficult time for President Trump shortly after leaving office. “Trump is not going to remain silent, he will continue strong until February,” Vazquez said, “but he will have many problems” following that time period, possibly involving marital discord, illness, or legal issues. With regards to natural disasters, the prognosticator foresees an increase in hurricanes, floods, and small earthquakes, but no particularly catastrophic event.

Before one gets too depressed over the Olympics being postponed for another year, a look back at the Grand Warlock’s predictions for 2020 indicates that there may be no need to worry about such an event unfolding. That’s because, last January, Vazquez predicted that Donald Trump would be reelected, a “tremendous war” would erupt between the United States and Iran, and that Mexico would have “great success” at the Summer Olympics, which ultimately were not held. Additionally, the Grand Warlock had nary a word to say about a global pandemic when he issued his forecast for 2020, suggesting that perhaps his soothsaying may be more show than substance.

Central Park Tower Nearing Completion

Central Park Tower, also known as the Nordstrom Tower, is a residential supertall skyscraper along Billionaires’ Row on 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Designed by Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture, the building rises 1,550 feet (472 m) and is the second-tallest skyscraper in the United States and the Western Hemisphere, the 13th tallest building in the world, the tallest residential building in the world, and the tallest building outside Asia by roof height.

The building will have 100 stories above ground and 3 below ground. Very expensive place to live. Some penthouse condos go for 68 million dollars.

 

Central Park Tower tallest building on the right.

 

 

 

The Vertical Forest of Milan

 

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Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) is a pair of residential towers in the Porta Nuova district of Milan, Italy, between Via Gaetano de Castillia and Via Federico Confalonieri near Milano Porta Garibaldi railway station. They have a height of 110 metres (360 ft) and 76 metres (249 ft) and will host more than 900 trees (approximately 550 and 350 trees in the first and second towers respectively) on 8,900 square metres (96,000 sq ft) of terraces. Within the complex is also an 11-story office building; its facade does not host plants.

The towers were designed by Boeri Studio (Stefano Boeri, Gianandrea Barreca and Giovanni La Varra). It also involved input from horticulturalists and botanists.

The building was inaugurated in October 2014.

 

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The project was designed as part of the rehabilitation of the historic district of Milan between Via De Castillia and Confalonieri. It consists of two residential towers of which the largest is 26 floors and 110 meters high (called Torre E) and the smaller tower is 18 floors and 76 meters high (called Torre D). It contains 400 condominium units priced from 3,000 – 12,000 Euro per square metre.

It is called Bosco Verticale because each tower houses trees between three and six meters which help mitigate smog and produce oxygen. It is also used to moderate temperatures in the building in the winter and summer. The plants also attenuate noise. The design was tested in a wind tunnel to ensure the trees would not topple from gusts of wind. Botanists and horticulturalists were consulted by the engineering team to ensure that the structure could bear the load imposed by the plants. The steel-reinforced concrete balconies are designed to be 28 cm thick, with 1.30 metre parapets.

 

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The construction of the towers began in late 2009 and early 2010, involving 6,000 onsite construction workers. Between mid-2010 and early 2011 construction progressed very slowly and the towers rose by only five floors while the core rose to the seventh floor. Construction progressed throughout 2011, and by the beginning of 2012 the structures were completed, and construction of the facades and installation of the plants began on 13 June 2012. The building was inaugurated in October 2014.

On April 11, 2012, one of the buildings was used as a temporary art gallery and opened to the public for an art exhibition hosted during Milan Fashion Week.

The two buildings have 730 trees (480 large, 250 small), 5,000 shrubs, and 11,000 perennials and ground cover on its facades. The original design had specified 1,280 tall plants and 920 short plants encompassing 50 species. Overall, the vegetation is the equivalent of that found in a one hectare woodlot. The innovative use of heat-pump technology is helping to slash heating and cooling costs.

 

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On November 19, 2014, Bosco Verticale won the International Highrise Award, prestigious international competition bestowed every two years, honouring excellence in recently constructed buildings that stand a minimum of 100 meters (328 feet) tall. The five finalists were selected from 26 nominees in 17 countries.

On the 12th of November 2015, the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) Awards Jury selected Bosco Verticale, Milan, as the overall “2015 Best Tall Building Worldwide” at the 14th Annual CTBUH International Best Tall Building Awards Symposium, Ceremony & Dinner, celebrated at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago.

 

Gardeners rappel down ropes

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Bob Hope Had The Moves

Bob Hope was an entertainer from the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 1980’s. Most people think of Bob Hope hosting celebrity roasts, golfing and telling lame jokes. But old Bob could really dance.

The Seven Little Foys is a Technicolor in VistaVision 1955 comedy film directed by Melville Shavelson starring Bob Hope as Eddie Foy. One highlight of the film is an energetic tabletop dance showdown sequence with Bob Hope as Eddie Foy and James Cagney as George M. Cohan (reprising his role from Yankee Doodle Dandy). The story of Eddie Foy Sr. and the Seven Little Foys inspired a TV version in 1964 and a stage musical version, which premiered in 2007.

Iguana escapes fire by jumping on Corby fireman’s helmet

An iguana escaped from a house fire by jumping on to a firefighter’s helmet.

The athletic reptile’s survival instinct kicked in when fire broke out at its owner’s home in Whitworth Avenue, Corby, on Wednesday night.

As crews battled the flames, the iguana leapt to the safety of a firefighter’s head, Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service said.

A spokeswoman said the crew member did not realise it was there, and the pet was carried away unscathed.

It was “a very unique incident – one that we have never dealt with before”, she said.

“The fireman… didn’t realise the iguana had climbed on top of him at first as he initially thought it was a colleague touching his helmet.

“What a surprise he then had to find this iguana chilling on his head, eager to escape the burning building.”

Iguana fact file

  • Iguanas are native to Central and South America and are tropical, arboreal lizards
  • They can grow up to six feet (1.8m) in length and are herbivorous, feeding on jungle leaves, fruits and flowers in the wild
  • Young iguanas need daily feeding whilst large adult iguanas may only feed two to three times a week on a diet consisting of, among other things, dark green leafy vegetables, carrots, tomatoes, melon and bananas
  • A mature iguana can weigh as much as 15lbs (6.8kg) and the reptiles can be difficult to handle as they have razor-sharp teeth, claws and a lashing tail

If it wasn’t for Lucille Ball, there wouldn’t be any Trekkies

The ultimate decision to put the original Star Trek series on the air back in 1966 fell into the hands of Lucille Ball. She was a studio executive (Desilu) who wielded power over decisions like which shows will move forward and which shouldn’t. She took the Star Trek plunge, the rest is mega science fiction franchise history.

Lucille Désirée Ball (August 6, 1911 – April 26, 1989) was an American actress, comedienne, model, film studio executive, and TV producer. She was the star of the sitcoms I Love LucyThe Lucy–Desi Comedy HourThe Lucy ShowHere’s Lucy, and Life with Lucy.

How Star Trek was launched:

In April 1964, Gene Roddenberry presented the Star Trek draft to Desilu Productions, a leading independent television production company. He met with Herb Solow, Desilu’s Director of Production. Solow saw promise in the idea and signed a three-year program-development contract with Roddenberry.

The idea was extensively revised and fleshed out during this time – ‘The Cage’ pilot filmed in late 1964 differs in many respects from the March 1964 treatment. Solow, for example, added the Star Date concept.

Desilu Productions had a first-look deal with CBS. Oscar Katz, Desilu’s Vice President of Production, went with Roddenberry to pitch the series to the network. They refused to purchase the show, as they already had a similar show in development, the 1965 Irwin Allen series Lost in Space.

In May 1964, Solow, who previously worked at NBC, met with Grant Tinker, then head of the network’s West Coast programming department. Tinker commissioned the first pilot – which became ‘The Cage’. NBC turned down the resulting pilot, stating that it was ‘too cerebral.’ However, the NBC executives were still impressed with the concept, and they understood that its perceived faults had been partly because of the script that they had selected themselves.

NBC made the unusual decision to pay for a second pilot, using the script called “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. Only the character of Spock, played by Leonard Nimoy, was retained from the first pilot, and only two cast members, Majel Barrett and Nimoy, were carried forward into the series. This second pilot proved to be satisfactory to NBC, and the network selected Star Trek to be in its upcoming television schedule for the fall of 1966.

The second pilot introduced most of the other main characters: Captain Kirk (William Shatner), chief engineer Lt. Commander Scott (James Doohan) and Lt. Sulu (George Takei), who served as a physicist on the ship in the second pilot but subsequently became a helmsman throughout the rest of the series. Paul Fix played Dr. Mark Piper in the second pilot; ship’s doctor Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley) joined the cast when filming began for the first season, and he remained for the rest of the series, achieving billing as the third star of the series. Also joining the ship’s permanent crew during the first season were the communications officer, Lt. Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), the first African-American woman to hold such an important role in an American television series; the captain’s yeoman, Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney), who departed midway through the first season; and Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett), head nurse and assistant to McCoy. Walter Koenig joined the cast as Ensign Pavel Chekov in the series’ second season.

In February 1966, Star Trek was nearly killed by Desilu Productions, before airing the first episode. Desilu had gone from making just one half-hour show (The Lucy Show), to deficit financing a portion of two expensive hour-long shows, Mission: Impossible and Star Trek. Solow was able to convince LUCILLE BALL that both shows should continue.

 

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Imagine the world without Trekkies.

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Gorillas pose for selfie with DR Congo anti-poaching unit

Two gorillas have been photographed posing for a relaxed selfie with the rangers who rescued them as babies.

The image was taken at a gorilla orphanage in Virunga National Park, DR Congo, where the animals were raised after poachers killed their parents.

The park’s deputy director told BBC Newsday that they had learned to imitate their carers, who have looked after them since they were found.

The gorillas, he added, think of the rangers as their parents.

Innocent Mburanumwe, deputy director of Virunga, told the BBC the gorillas’ mothers were both killed in July 2007.

The gorillas were just two and four months old at the time.

Shortly afterwards, they were found and taken to Senkwekwe Sanctuary in Virunga, where they have lived ever since.

Because they’ve grown up with the rangers who rescued them, Mr Mburanumwe added, “they are imitating the humans” – and standing on two legs is their way of “learning to be human beings”.

But it “doesn’t happen normally”, he said.

“I was very surprised to see it… so it’s very funny. It’s very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up.”

Five rangers were killed in Virunga National Park last year in an ambush by suspected rebels, and more than 130 park rangers have been killed in Virunga since 1996.

Eastern DR Congo is mired in conflict between the government and various armed groups.

Some of these armed groups are based in the park, where they often poach animals.

BBC

Why the Ark of the Covenant is one of history’s enduring mysteries

Archaeologists are skeptical that this ancient artifact can be found.

FOR CENTURIES, PEOPLE have tried in vain to locate and recover the Bible’s most sacred objects. Among the most sought-after of these religious antiquities is the famed Ark of the Covenant.

This legendary artifact is the ornate, gilded case said to have been built some 3,000 years ago by the Israelites to house the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. Biblical accounts describe the Ark as large, about the size of a 19th-century seaman’s chest, made of gold-plated wood, and topped with two large, golden angels. It was carried using poles inserted through rings on its sides.

The Ark has been linked to several of the Old Testament’s miracles. It is said to have cleared impediments and poisonous animals from the path of the Israelites during the Exodus. When the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, the Bible says that the river stopped flowing the moment the Ark-bearers set foot in it.

And many believe that when the Israelites besieged Jericho, they carried the Ark around the city for a week, blowing trumpets until, on the seventh day, the walls fell down, allowing easy conquest. (This is what archaeology is telling us about the real Jesus.)

But in 597 and 586 B.C., the Babylonian Empire conquered the Israelites, and the Ark, at the time supposedly stored in the Temple in Jerusalem, vanished from history. Whether it was destroyed, captured, or hidden–nobody knows.

One of the most famous claims about the Ark’s whereabouts is that before the Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, it had found its way to Ethiopia, where it still resides in the town of Aksum, in the St. Mary of Zion cathedral. Church authorities, however, say only one man, the guardian of the Ark, is allowed to see it, and they have never permitted it to be studied for authenticity.

Another claim is that the Ark was hidden in a warren of passages beneath the First Temple in Jerusalem before the Babylonians destroyed it in 586 B.C. But that theory can’t be tested either, because the site is home to the Dome of the Rock shrine, sacred in Islam. Digging beneath it simply isn’t an option.

Other more dubious claims exist, too. But perhaps the most famous quest for the Ark was on the big screen. In the 1981 movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, adventure hero Indiana Jones must find the Ark before the Nazis, who intend to use its power for world domination.

Searches for such biblical relics are compelling, says archaeologist and National Geographic Society fellow Fred Hiebert, but ultimately doomed to failure. Even if there is an ancient, Ark-like object in Ethiopia, he asks, how do you determine it’s the one from the Bible?

“We are talking about things [at] the crossroads between myth and reality,” he said. “I think it’s great to have stories like [that of] the Ark of the Covenant. But I do not believe, as a field archaeologist, that we can use the scientific method to prove or disprove [them].”

nationalgeographic.com