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Rezvani’s Overbuilt 2020 Tank Comes With 1,000HP & EMP Protection

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A few years back, Rezvani took the world by storm with their stealthy, ultra-badass Tank SUV, which promised things like 500 horsepower, an on-demand 4×4 system, and bombproof body armor. And while it was a marvel of modern engineering, the brand was convinced they could do better. So they rebuilt it from the ground up for the 2020 model year.

The 2020 Rezvani Tank shares zero parts with its predecessors — meaning it’s related in spirit and name alone. And while the teaser images leave much to the imagination, there are some hard specs the brand is promising. That includes options like a 6.2L supercharged V8 engine sourced from the Dodge Demon with over 1,000 horsepower, a body-on-steel frame design, upgraded suspension designed in conjunction with FOX Racing, and massive all-terrain tires. They’re also going to be releasing a Military Edition that comes with onboard EMP (electromagnetic pulse) protection to keep critical electrical systems safe. Deliveries are expected in winter of 2019, but you can guarantee your spot in line right now with a refundable $2,500 deposit.

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Zion National Park Celebrates 100 Years With A Stunning Documentary

The iconic Zion National Park draws over 4.3 million adventurers a year, and every individual passing through has an impact on the landscape. Watching the Zion Forever Trailer, you’ll get a glimpse at the movement to turn all visitors of Zion into “Keepers” of the sacred land.

Zion’s official non-profit partner, Zion Nation Park Forever Project, the film celebrates the 100th anniversary of the incredible escape. Directed by Lyman Hafen, the movie aims to influence viewers to become representatives of the land and help preserve it, making a positive impact every time they visit. This movie also goes behind the scenes to present the individuals who make up Zion, including park rangers, the Paiute people, rock climbers, local ranchers, the wildlife, and the many visitors from across the globe. The film helps support a three-fold mission of protecting Zion National Park resources, improving facilities, and providing education for visitors. Zion Forever’s first cut will debut at park’s centennial celebration in November.

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Old Forester Introduces Its Highest Proof Birthday Bourbon To Date

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Old Forester is one of the oldest Bourbon proprietors around, and with more than a century of prestigious experience, the company’s flagship whiskeys have become a staple among enthusiasts. These days, the brand has become even more well known due to its annual limited-edition releases — with 2019’s celebratory example bringing a mix of unique notes, an exceptionally high proof, and refined vision to the company’s trademark spirit.

In 2002, the Old Forester decided to release its very first celebratory bourbon marking its founder’s birth. The aptly named Birthday Bourbon has been an anticipated annual release ever since — garnering a reputation as a sought-after collector’s item and selling at prices ranging from $500 to $1,500. This year, the company is releasing its very first 105 proof whiskey — the highest proof to-date for the annual spirit — in a limited, 120-barrel run. This 11-year-old vice — complete with rich oak spice, blackcurrant, caramel cake, and white floral notes — is sure to be a fan favorite that will likely fly off the shelves at $100 a bottle.

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Cambridge Audio Unveils A Hi-Fi Alternative To Apple’s AirPods

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In an interesting turn of events, the audiophile-focused brand, Cambridge Audio, has revealed that they’ll be releasing their own true wireless headphones. Aside from the fact that these in-ear monitors are the company’s first foray into the true wireless earbud market, what’s even more enticing is their price point — dropping them rather strategically into the realm of Apple’s dominative AirPods.

The Melomania 1 might be Cambridge Audio’s first endeavor into the realm of true wireless in-ear audio peripherals, but don’t let that steer you away. Known far-and-wide for their exceptionally high-end gear, like hi-fi turntables, amplifiers, and speakers, the British company has more than a leg to stand on when it comes to audible expertise. That’s fully realized in the Melomania 1 — a great-looking pair of buds that sport a 5.8-millimeter Graphene driver (for impeccably-realized bass and treble), a lightweight 4.6-gram silhouette, and up to 9 hours of playback on a single charge. If you’re the type that’s easily worried by battery life, don’t fret; the company’s unique carry case boasts an additional 36-hours (or 4 full charges) of play time for your in-ear companions, meaning you’ll never have to go without your favorite music, podcasts, or audiobooks for long. The Melomania 1 are available for purchase on Cambridge Audio’s website for $130.

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A MARTIN-BAKER MK 5 EJECTION SEAT (MK GU5) – BUY IT SO YOU CAN MAKE A QUICK EXIT FROM THE OFFICE

Martin-Baker Mk 5 Ejection Seat

The Martin-Baker Mk 5 ejection seat was developed alongside the Mk 4 in the 1950s as a tougher variant created to meet the specifications laid out by the US Navy.

The MK 5 was installed in a wide variety of fighter, combat, and training aircraft including the F-4 Phantom, the F-86D Sabre, the Vought F-8 Crusader, the A-6 Intruder, the Dassault Mirage III and many others.

The maximum ejection altitude is 50,000 ft and the maximum speed is 600 knots indicated airspeed, or approximately 690 mph.

Ejection is accomplished thanks to a main gun that fires two explosive charges in sequence, as the seat slides up through the jettisoned canopy an emergency oxygen supply is activated and all leads/cables connecting the pilot to the aircraft are disconnected.

Once free of the aircraft the drogue gun fires, deploying two parachutes to stabilise the Mk 5 seat’s descent path. The occupant separates from the seat and deploys their parachute for a traditional parachute descent, this makes the landing far easier to manage.

The Mk 5 seat you see here was made in 1962, it’s still accompanied by its original radio, life vest, and parachute, it carries a German ID plate. Artcurial estimate that it’ll sell for between €2,500 and €4,000 when it crosses the auction block.

Martin-Baker Mk 5 Ejection Seat Back

Martin-Baker Mk 5 Ejection Seat ID Plate

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ORPHAN BARREL FORAGER'S KEEP SCOTCH WHISKY

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The 14th release in the Orphan Barrel family is their first that was not distilled in North America. Forager's Keep is a 26-year-old single malt scotch whisky that began its journey at a short-lived Speyside distillery called Pittyvaich which was closed less than two decades after it opened due to industry restructuring. After the distillery was shuttered in 1993, this whisky continued to age for an additional eight years and was finally bottled by Orphan Barrel at 96 proof. The first single malt from Orphan Barrel is another rare offering that's a worthy addition to any well-curated whisky collection. $400

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You Can Now Stay The Night In NASA’s 3D-Printed Mars Habitat

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As the winning project for NASA’s “Centennial Challenge” earlier this year, AI SpaceFactory’s TERA habitat was originally designed for life on the surface of a celestial body — bringing interesting, 3D-printed ergonomics and sustainable orientation to the limelight. Thanks to a recent announcement from the company, it seems that you won’t have to wait for mankind to colonize the surface of Mars to see what living in the TERA might be like.

The unique eco-habitat is, in fact, making its way to the surface of the earth — giving interested parties the opportunity to rent it out for the night. Tucked away in the undisturbed forests of upstate New York, the TERA still boasts its same obscure design, compostable materials, and cylindrical orientation of the original, but in a much more familiar location. Instead of the red, sand-strewn surfaces of Mars, the dwelling fits perfectly among the dense forests and flowing rivers of North America’s east coast — a space that’s both scientifically founded and sustainably built. If you’re interested in becoming one of the first to partake in the out-of-this-world experience, head to TERA’s IndieGoGo page for more information.

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GM and Michelin will bring airless tires to passenger cars by 2024

They'll test the tires on Bolt EVs later in 2019.
 
 
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dims?quality=85&image_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fo.aolcdn.com%2Fimages%2Fdims%3Fcrop%3D1600%252C1067%252C0%252C0%26quality%3D85%26format%3Djpg%26resize%3D1600%252C1067%26image_uri%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fs.yimg.com%252Fos%252Fcreatr-uploaded-images%252F2019-06%252F16e10b90-870e-11e9-b6ca-0deb973a1ef9%26client%3Da1acac3e1b3290917d92%26signature%3D5b12ea45e7e0224a33b5b4d117e260fb156952c2&client=amp-blogside-v2&signature=3c7aed9c41d79055761e64f13d6ff8f2d85318fa Steve Fecht for General Motors

Airless tires for everyday cars might soon be far more practical. GM and Michelin have unveiled a prototype of Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), a Michelin-made tire intended for passenger cars. It looks like Tweel and other air-free concepts of years past, but its mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass lets it operate at highway speeds -- earlier options tend to work only when you're slowly putting around. It's not as visually appealing as conventional tires, but Michelin claims it's just as comfortable.

More importantly, there's a tangible roadmap. GM will start testing the Uptis in Michigan later in 2019 on a fleet of Chevy Bolts, and expects the finished version to reach production cars as soon as 2024. The automaker hasn't named specific car models that will use the new tires.

Michelin Uptis airless tires on a Chevy Bolt EV

The Uptis should have immediate financial and safety benefits. While it won't be completely invulnerable, blowouts, flat tires and irregular wear would be things of the past. However, GM and Michelin see this as particularly important for a future where electric and self-driving cars are commonplace. Airless tech reduces the need for environmentally harmful tire production, and eliminates the need for a spare tire that adds weight and shrinks fuel economy. They'd also help autonomous vehicles drive around the clock without fear that a stray nail will ruin a trip. Don't be shocked if this becomes the norm, if just because the expectations for cars themselves will have changed.

 

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8 hours ago, tsuh said:

GM and Michelin will bring airless tires to passenger cars by 2024

They'll test the tires on Bolt EVs later in 2019.
 
 
12003Shares
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
dims?quality=85&image_uri=https%3A%2F%2Fo.aolcdn.com%2Fimages%2Fdims%3Fcrop%3D1600%252C1067%252C0%252C0%26quality%3D85%26format%3Djpg%26resize%3D1600%252C1067%26image_uri%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fs.yimg.com%252Fos%252Fcreatr-uploaded-images%252F2019-06%252F16e10b90-870e-11e9-b6ca-0deb973a1ef9%26client%3Da1acac3e1b3290917d92%26signature%3D5b12ea45e7e0224a33b5b4d117e260fb156952c2&client=amp-blogside-v2&signature=3c7aed9c41d79055761e64f13d6ff8f2d85318fa Steve Fecht for General Motors

Airless tires for everyday cars might soon be far more practical. GM and Michelin have unveiled a prototype of Uptis (Unique Puncture-proof Tire System), a Michelin-made tire intended for passenger cars. It looks like Tweel and other air-free concepts of years past, but its mix of composite rubber and resin embedded fiberglass lets it operate at highway speeds -- earlier options tend to work only when you're slowly putting around. It's not as visually appealing as conventional tires, but Michelin claims it's just as comfortable.

More importantly, there's a tangible roadmap. GM will start testing the Uptis in Michigan later in 2019 on a fleet of Chevy Bolts, and expects the finished version to reach production cars as soon as 2024. The automaker hasn't named specific car models that will use the new tires.

Michelin Uptis airless tires on a Chevy Bolt EV

The Uptis should have immediate financial and safety benefits. While it won't be completely invulnerable, blowouts, flat tires and irregular wear would be things of the past. However, GM and Michelin see this as particularly important for a future where electric and self-driving cars are commonplace. Airless tech reduces the need for environmentally harmful tire production, and eliminates the need for a spare tire that adds weight and shrinks fuel economy. They'd also help autonomous vehicles drive around the clock without fear that a stray nail will ruin a trip. Don't be shocked if this becomes the norm, if just because the expectations for cars themselves will have changed.

 

Thanks for posting!! :)

Great idea but ugly tires....

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Jim Beam’s Baker’s Bourbon Is Now An Exclusive Single Barrel Offering

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It’s no secret that Baker’s Bourbon, the least popular offering in Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, hasn’t fostered much of a following in recent years. But if you haven’t taken the time to partake in the once-admonished spirit, that might change with the announcement of the company’s first exclusive single barrel offering.

This fall, Baker’s Bourbon will join the likes of its esteemed partner, Knob Creek, in the realm of single barrel offerings, bringing a seven-year statement and an able-bodied 107 proof whiskey to interested connoisseurs. Although the spirit retains a moderately high proof, it’s spent most of its life fulfilling a niche role in many aficionado’s liquor cabinets, bringing an oddly-placed age and proof to the table — both literally and figuratively. For around $55, you’ll be able to pick up a bottle of Baker’s single barrel offering at the end of this year.

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Assouline Just Released a Thousand Dollar Cigar Book

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Assouline’s Ultimate Collection of coffee table books is the bar against which all others are judged. Each book in the bestselling series is an oversized, luxury, hand-bound tome devoted to impossible collections of Rolex watches, Andy Warhol’s art and now, cigars. Written by author Aaron Sigmond (founding editor of Smoke magazine and The Cigar Report and former creative director of General Cigar Co.) The Impossible Collection of Cigars “envisions the ultimate humidor brimming with the most remarkable cigars of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from the most prestigious makers.” Ultimate humidor and prestigious makers are the operative parts of that description because this is nothing but big guns. Nicaragua’s Padrón. Dominican Republic’s Arturo Fuente. Davidoff of Geneva. Honduras’ Rocky Patel. Bahamas’ Graycliff. All things Cuba. The book itself is a cigar bucket list that truly shines a light on the differences and attributes of the smokes we all covet not just as finished products but through the entire process from farm to finishing. $995.00

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Vandenbrink Design Ferrari 612 Shooting Brake Custom

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The Ferrari 612 Scaglietti was a 2+2 grand tourer coupe manufactured by the iconic brand for a short stretch from 2004 – 2010. For all intents and purposes it was a good looking automobile, but it never really made waves like the Ferrari FF that would ultimately replace it. The Vandenbrink Design 612 Shooting Brake Custom takes the thoroughbred platform of the Ferrari 612 with its 5.7L Ferrari V12 producing 533 horsepowers and 434 lb-ft of torque and turns it into full shooting brake it should have been from the beginning with an added cargo area and a modified roofline with two rear seat skylights and a rear spoiler. This shooting brake custom is the version of the Ferrari 612 that probably should have existed from the beginning, and despite the fact it was a concept that was originally unveiled more than a decade ago, it’s an actual car you can buy now. $380250

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Just Watching This Air Force Tanker's Landing Approach Can Make You Nauseous

A U.S. Air Force KC-46 Pegasus tanker made an unorthodox and—to the uninitiated, anyway—dangerous-looking landing. The brand new tanker, coming for a landing at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, looked more than a little out of control before pulling off a near-perfect touchdown.

The KC-46 “approaches runway 21 from the left, hooks a low and tight turn off the base leg, and makes a last-second play for the threshold to make a nice touchdown pretty close to the centerline,” according to The Aviationist, which first spotted the vid.

The KC-46’s landing marks the debut of the new tanker design at the Paris Air Show. The KC-46 is a modified Boeing 767-200ER commercial airliner with a 787 cockpit, but instead of passenger seats the jet is outfitted to carry cargo and up to 212,299 pounds of jet fuel. Alternately, the KC-46 can carry up to 58 passengers and 29,483kg of cargo. The U.S. Air Force plans to purchase 179 of the tankers.

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The KC-46 Pegasus tanker on the ground at the Paris Air Show, 2019. 

The KC-46 is at the air show not only to show off the Air Force’s latest tanker but also to drum up foreign sales. That may be a tough sell, as the KC-46 is nearly three years behind schedule, has repeatedly experienced issues with garbage found left inside the aircraft during the manufacturing process, and the remote camera system for mid-air refuelling has been dogged by problems.

The Air Force has twice suspended deliveries of the aircraft over manufacturing issues and a new General Accounting Office report states that some Air Force commanders have been reluctant to let KC-46s refuel their aircraft, concerned that the refuelling boom could strike and damage their aircraft.

The Paris Air Show is held at Le Bourget Airport June 17 to June 23.

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In Case You Were Worried, A Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse Sequel Is Definitely In The Works

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After the Oscar-winning success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there was little doubt a sequel would be coming. And not just a sequel—spinoffs and more, too. Speaking with Gizmodo about Spider-Man: Far From Home on Wednesday, producer Amy Pascal gave us a small but encouraging update.

“We are definitely hard at work on the sequel,” Pascal said via phone from London. “You can expect another movie.”

Way back in November, news broke that Joaquim Dos Santos, who worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender and Voltron: Legendary Defender, would be directing a Spider-Verse sequel with David Callaham (The Expendables, Wonder Woman 1984) writing. We believe that’s still the case but, even if it’s not, things are progressing as we speak.

A few months later, we also got the news that the film’s producers, Phil Lord and Chris Miller, had signed on to make a bunch of new TV shows, including Spider-Verse shows, and Pascal said that’s progressing as well too.

“We are doing some television and all these things have to make sense together,” Pascal said. “I think we have some fantastic shows that we’re doing and we’re just putting them together now.”

So while we’re all just kind of getting through the summer months, know that somewhere out there, probably on the Sony lot in Culver City, California, people are working on new Spider-Verse content. And we cannot wait.

We’ll have more on Spider-Man: Far From Home and the web-slinger in general soon. The new film opens on July 1.

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Avengers: Endgame Is Returning To Theatres With New Footage - But We Probably Won't Get To See It

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Kevin Feige really wants that Avatar record.

This week Avengers: Endgame came within just $73 million of toppling Avatar’s domestic box office record, after a $5 million weekend brought it to an eye-watering $US2,742,491,359 ($3,987,596,148) global gross.

While it came close to Avatar’s record-holding $US2,787,965,087 ($4,053,715,176), it seemed like Endgame just wouldn’t be able to top it, as more and more releases began to force it out of screens.

That is, until Marvel apparently decided to just re-release the damn thing.

An extended version of the damn thing, to be exact. Speaking to Comicbook.com at a press junket for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige confirmed that Endgame will be getting a renewed push at the box office - and while it’s gonna be really soon, Australia is unlikely to see it.

To entice audiences back for another three-hour stint in a movie theatre seat, the re-release will include an unknown amount of new footage not seen in the original theatrical cut:

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We are doing that. I don’t know if it’s been announced. And I don’t know how much... Yeah, we’re doing it next weekend.

Screenrant has a few more details from their own interview with Feige:

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Not an extended cut, but there will be a version going into theatres with a bit of a marketing push with a few new things at the end of the movie. If you stay and watch the movie, after the credits, there’ll be a deleted scene, a little tribute, and a few surprises. Which will be next weekend.

Whenever it arrives, if it arrives on our shores, it’ll probably be more than enough to push Endgame over into the annals of box office history, toppling a decade-old record in the process.

Maybe it’s long enough now to warrant that intermission?

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A ROCKING CHAIR MADE FROM RECLAIMED BOURBON BARRELS – THE RECURVED ROCKER

Bourbon Barrel Rocking Chair

The Recurved Rocker is a traditional rocking chair made from reclaimed bourbon barrels. 100% of the wood used in the construction of each chair is sourced from used barrels, and you can still see the curvature and charring on the wood.

The chairs are the work of Balazs Moldovan, a native of Miskolc, Hungary who migrated to the United States when he was a child. Balazs always loved working with his hands, and in the United States he found his way into the construction industry.

The Great Recession of 2008/2009 saw Balazs get laid off with countless others across the country, he decided to get back to his first love – woodworking. Within a short time he was building barrel chairs for the Stone Brewing Company, and the rest is history.

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Each Recurved Rocker is made by hand, a used bourbon barrel is carefully disassembled into its constituent planks which are then cleaned and prepared. Balazs makes a point of keeping the original patina on the wood to showcase its previous life in the distillery.

The upholstery is full-grain Italian leather, it’ll develop its own character over the years and no two chairs will ever be quite the same. When ordering you can choose from a variety of leather finishes including Sangria, Stout, Merlot, Espresso, Scotch, Riesling, and fittingly, Bourbon.

With an MSRP of $1,395 USD the Recurved Rocker isn’t cheap, but it’s designed to be a piece of heirloom quality furniture that wouldn’t look a whisker out of place in living rooms from Manhattan to Mayfair.

Bourbon Barrel Rocking Chair Details

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Paul Thomas Anderson and Thom Yorke Team Up for Netflix Short Film ‘ANIMA’

While we may still be waiting on Paul Thomas Anderson’s next feature film for a while, it appears we’ll have brand new PTA content to consume by the end of the month. Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke took to Twitter today to announce that a new album called ANIMA is coming out at the end of June, which was then followed by an announcement from Netflix that the album will be accompanied by a “short musical film” directed by PTA, scored by and starring Yorke, releasing on Netflix on June 27th.

The short teaser video for ANIMA doesn’t reveal too much, other than the definition of a “one-reeler”—which is what they’re calling ANIMA. A one-reeler is an old-fashioned term for a short film, one that usually runs 10-12 minutes in length and can be animated or comedic in nature. Oh, and this short film is getting a select run in IMAX screens, which means… something?

PTA is no stranger to music videos, having directed a number of videos for HAIM and Radiohead recently. But I’m incredibly curious to see what warrants an IMAX experience with ANIMA. Anderson is a supremely talented visual filmmaker, having taken the DP reins himself on his brilliant Phantom Thread, but here’s something interesting: the photo credits on the official images from ANIMA provided by Netflix cite Darius Khondji, the brilliant cinematographer behind films like Se7en, The Lost City of Z, and Funny Games. This likely means he served as DP on ANIMA. So yeah, a short musical directed by PTA, shot by Darius Khondji? I would most definitely see that in IMAX.

Luckily all will be revealed shortly. As for PTA’s next feature, word has it that there is a script that exists, one that Leonardo DiCaprio turned down to enter talks for Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley. But talks for that film broke down, which means Leo’s available again. Whether he ends up working with PTA or not (here’s hoping he does), it sounds like the director is in the early planning stages of his next movie. Which is a very good thing.

For now, check out the ANIMA teaser above and poster below. The film will be playing in select IMAX theaters worldwide on June 26th ahead of its Netflix debut the following day.

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‘Point Blank’ Trailer: Netflix Has Anthony Mackie and Frank Grillo Taking on Dirty Cops

Netflix has released the Point Blank trailer. Not to be confused with the excellent 1967 Lee Marvin movie, this Point Blank has Anthony Mackie playing an ER nurse whose pregnant wife is kidnapped by dirty cops. In order to save her, he has to free a career criminal (Frank Grillo) from the hospital and team up with him to take down the bad guys.

This isn’t Netflix’s first attempt at an action movie with name actors, and really, it’s more grist for the content mill. They’re hoping that rather than going out and seeing something like Stuber, you’ll stay home and see this mismatched buddy action film. And maybe you will. There’s nothing wrong with Mackie or Grillo as actors, but that being said, this looks pretty generic. And hey, sometimes a generic action movie is what you’re in the mood for, and I doubt Point Blank will make any serious demands on its audience. But watching this trailer, there’s no urgency to see this movie the day or weekend it comes out. It feels more like something that’s destined to sit in your list until you’re feeling bored on a weekend afternoon and looking to kill some time. And as far as Netflix is concerned, that’s totally fine as long as you’re watching something on their service.

The film hits Netflix on July 12th.

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Spider-Man: Far From Home's Post-Credit Scenes Are Vital to the MCU's Future

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The two Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scenes are vital in setting up the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In just the three short years since Spider-Man joined the MCU, Tom Holland's version of Peter Parker has quickly become a linchpin to their future. The excellent setup for him proved to be successful as many fans were heartbroken when he turned to dust at the end of Avengers: Infinity War and then cheered when he returned in Avengers: Endgame.

Of course, the ending of Avengers: Endgame also delivered a crushing loss for the friendly neighborhood hero, as his mentor Iron Man died saving everyone. He will still be feeling the effects of this death in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and even though he wants to take some time off from being a hero, he won't be able to. Nick Fury is going to recruit him to work with Mysterio and fight The Elementals, who hail from a different reality. This new responsibility for Peter comes as the entire MCU is asking who will step up and fill the void left by Iron Man.

Spider-Man has been one of the most popular choices to do just that, and many believe that he'll play a significant role in the future of the MCU. Without giving anything away, Spider-Man: Far From Home proves to not only be a great continuation of the MCU and Spider-Man's story, but it will also tease fans with what else is to come. Screen Rant can confirm that there are two post-credits scenes attached to Spider-Man: Far From Home and that they are can't-miss moments that set up where the MCU is going next.

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Marvel Studios movies tend to tease some major developments in their post-credits scenes. The very first one they ever did with Iron Man was used to set up the Avengers Initiative and everything else that would come after it. This same scene was the first appearance by Nick Fury, and other post-credits scenes have been used to introduce Thanos, The Collector, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver. Post-credits scenes have also helped tease Captain Marvel's arrival, the eventual debut of Adam Warlock, and set up new paths for villains.

After some fans may have felt a bit disappointed not having a post-credits scene (at first) after Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios and Sony bringing them back assures that viewers won't wait around for nothing. Since only a handful of people have seen Spider-Man: Far From Home at this point, it is good news that it is coming out so soon so that everyone can see these scenes for themselves. Hopefully, what the scenes contain will not leak until then, so everyone can enjoy what they contain.

 

 

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Distilling Order From Chaos: Making Santa Teresa Rum in Venezuela

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The historic Santa Teresa distillery continues to produce its rum and prosper despite the economic and social upheaval in Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Collapse is the Worst Outside of War in Decades, Economists Say.”

That not-so-cheery headline appeared in the New York Times last month. It was accompanied by a post-apocalyptic photograph that showed men pushing shopping carts past piles of debris looking for anything salvageable. Black smoke billowed upward in the distance.

The Times story—as well as many others of late—have painted a picture of what seems to be unprecedented chaos in Venezuela—ten million percent inflation, empty grocery store shelves (the Times: “butchers have stopped selling meat cuts in favor of offal, fat shavings and cow hooves”), rampant kidnappings, and fearless gangs terrorizing neighborhoods. Earlier this year it was uncertain who was president.

Yet, none of this mayhem is entirely unprecedented. Venezuela has been periodically subject to spasms of upheaval, notably in the long years of rebellion, when a succession of revolutionaries sought to overthrow Spanish rule.

And through all the travails, including recent ones, businesses have kept producing and exporting. That includes Hacienda Santa Teresa, which was founded in 1796 and has been producing rum since 1830. “There’s a resilience by going back seeing what other generations had to go through,” says Alberto Vollmer, Santa Teresa’s CEO and fifth-generation owner. “But being used to it doesn’t mean that it’s easy.”

So how does a company with 600 employees and a well-regarded premium rum sustain itself amid the chaos?

Very carefully, and, in Santa Teresa’s case, by looking outward rather than hunkering down and focusing inward.

Venezuela’s economic well-being has been tied to oil for more than a century. That’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s difficult to do business when oil prices are booming, and it’s difficult when they’re going bust.

When oil is soaring, Venezuela’s currency tends to rise on international currency markets, which makes it harder for local manufacturers to export their goods. What’s more, it also makes it harder to sell domestically. “With the oil boom, you have a country that gets resource rich and starts importing all sorts of stuff,” says Vollmer. “And local products suffer.”

A booming economy from high oil prices also means that the government can invest lavishly in social programs. When oil prices cycle downward the funding evaporates, programs are slashed, and unrest rises.

Among the shoals that Vollmer has had to navigate is hyperinflation. Under Hugo Chavez, and his successor, Nicolas Maduro, the government has printed money to cover shortfalls from falling oil prices. The result? Ten million percent inflation last year and the destabilization of currency on the international markets. “You had to raise prices one or two times a week,” Vollmer says.

Vollmer says that in some ways Santa Teresa has been lucky—he’s avoided dealing with a lot of imports by having most of what he needs to produce rum available locally. The sugar used is wholly grown in Venezuela, much of it on their own 980-acre plantation. About 90 percent of the bottles they use are produced domestically, as are most of the corks and labels. “One of the things that we did was to put together a logistics center, just to make sure we wouldn’t run out of products,” Vollmer says. “It was almost like a shock absorber.”

More vexing than importing was exporting. Santa Teresa had sought insulate itself from the vagaries of the domestic economy starting in 1996, when it first rolled out its 1796 Santa Teresa Solera Rum, made with a blend of rums between four and 35 years old. This rich super-premium sipping rum was expressly designed for the export market. Rum fans soon sought it out.

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Yet, exporting proved problematic owing to the government’s restrictions on currency exchange. Vollmer’s international customers paid in dollars, which was a boon in some ways, and not in others. “For a while it was illegal to have dollars [in Venezuela],” he says. “And if you had them you had to sell them at the official exchange rate.” This was at a rate far below the black-market rate, and for a couple of years Santa Teresa exported rum at a loss.

The problem eased in 2016, when the government let the foreign exchange rate fluctuate. “For the first time in many years the official exchange rate is similar to the real exchange rate,” Vollmer says.

To curb the impact of hyperinflation, the government established price controls on basic goods under the Chavez administration, which led to shortages, empty store shelves, and a thriving black market. “You freeze the price of toilet paper and it disappears,” Vollmer says. All this meant trouble for Vollmer’s employees, who struggled to maintain an acceptable standard of living. “It’s a big reason that people left the country,” he says. He estimates that about 80 percent of those who left were driven away “because buying capacity had diminished radically.”

Vollmer says that prior to Chavez, his community was relatively placid, “everyone got along and knew each other and had something in common.” With Chavez stoking the strident side of populism, Venezuelan society grew polarized. “Suddenly, it became a very complicated country,” he says. His company strove to be neutral, but Vollmer discovered that was nearly impossible. “Both sides of the polarization spectrum want you on their side, and if you’re neutral you’re on neither.”

In 2000, 450 families swarmed Hacienda Santa Teresa, and demanded the land for housing. Vollmer saw that he had two options, both bad: concede to their demands and encouraging more occupations; or fight back, and do so without the support of the police or the army. So, Vollmer took a third route: negotiation, mostly dealing with a former associate of Chavez in the army who was among the leaders.

It worked. “We turned that invasion into a housing project,” Vollmer says. “When you start working with your adversary, you realize you have things common, and mutual respect kicks in. This land invasion turned into something that was almost a case study—we turned misfortune into fortune.” He also hired the ringleader to work for the company.

Vollmer took much the same approach three years later, when gang members robbed a distillery security guard. When caught, three of the robbers were offered a deal: go to jail or make amends by working at the distillery. They chose to work, and soon asked if the other gang members might be allowed to participate.

“Then we realized we were in the middle of a gang war, and so we recruited [their adversaries] and worked with them separately,” Vollmer says. “One day we put them both in a room and said this was enough, and convinced them to make peace.”

That success got noticed. Six other gangs approached Vollmer and wanted to get involved. This led to creating Project Alcatraz, in which gang members are educated and put to work. They also played rugby—Vollmer loved the sport, and thought it a good way to encourage teamwork, camaraderie and humility. Teams were formed; rugby has now spread from five teams to more than 700 across Venezuela. Crime and homicide rates in areas involved with Project Alcatraz have dropped sharply, Vollmer says.

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Vollmer’s experience brings to mind that well-worn if specious statement that the Chinese character for crisis and opportunity are one in the same. “At the end our goal is how can we have well-being in our community, how can we as a company be a tool for well-being though employment and community development. We don’t want enemies in the future,” Vollmer says. “We want allies.”

In the early 19th century, the Spanish general Jose Tomas Boves raided the homestead of one of Vollmer’s ancestors, taking with them an eight-year-old girl. Someone eventually bought her freedom; she was the only one in her family to survive to upheaval. She later married a German immigrant named Gustav Julius Vollmer, and the two worked hard to revive her family’s estate, becoming prominent sugar and rum producers in the process.  

Her ordeal, Vollmer says, puts his own trials in perspective. “You can’t be the guy who ducks out,” Vollmer says.

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Exploration Of 'Lost City' In Honduras Uncovers Trove Of Rare Life Forms

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Trond Larsen was night-searching for rare frogs and insects in the Lost City recently discovered within Honduras’ Mosquitia Rainforest when his headlamp illuminated something surprising: a curious black puma. Larsen, a researcher who led this February 2017 expedition into the so-called Lost City of the Monkey God, walked away from the encounter unscathed, but that puma was but a bite of the magnificence Larsen and his team would find.

This remote region is teeming with life—some of which was believed extinct. Conservation International’s Rapid Assessment Program, of which Larsen is director, led a team of scientists into the lowland rainforest where the Lost City is located from February 14 to 25.

Also called La Ciudad Blanca or the White City, the Lost City may date back to A.D. 1400, and was built by a mysterious civilisation archaeologists still don’t have a name for. It had been a mythical wonder for years until an expedition confirmed its existence in 2015.

Larsen told Gizmodo that the area is, “so special archaeologically and culturally” that his team began to wonder what other secrets it might be hiding. “Are there comparable biological treasures in the area?” Larsen said. “That could, of course, provide further reasoning for increased protection and management across the broader landscape.”

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Turns out, there are! Larsen and other scientists travelled to the Ciudad de Jaguar, or City of the Jaguar, one of the ancient settlements within the Lost City. They conducted surveys within 3km of their base camp where they spotted three species that were previously thought extinct, including the pale-faced bat, a brown-furred little guy that features an upright snout. The team may have even discovered a new species of molly, a poeciliid fish that gives birth to live offspring.

The researchers also observed 22 species that had never before been seen in Honduras. The endangered Great Green Macaw, whose striking green feathers may help it blend it among the trees, was one of them.

A group of white-lipped peccaries, which look like black hogs, was roaming the area despite their population being reduced to just 13 per cent of its historic range today. The presence of such animals also provides ample prey for predators like jaguars and pumas.

This region of the world is dealing with a load of threats, from poaching to illegal cattle ranching. It seems the Ciudad de Jaguar’s biodiversity has remained unscathed so far, likely protected by its rugged and steep terrain. (To get into the site, the team had to fly in and out by helicopter; the weather always factored into their travel plans as the fog could blind the chopper, too.) However, those threats are slowly encroaching, said Larsen. That’s why it’s important this region receive the proper protections.

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Look at all those white-lipped peccaries! 

The city sits within the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, the country’s largest protected area, so land use is supposed to be managed. The sad reality, however, is that people aren’t deterred by arbitrary borders that dictate which trees they can or cannot cut. Getting even more protections for the site might first require even more research, though.

Luckily for the Lost City, the Kaha Kamasa Foundation was founded last year with the hopes of continuing research, protection, and management of the area.

International conservation groups and the Honduran government are leading this effort because, well, it’s not every day biologists find a new region so rich in wildlife. Especially these days.

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Spooky New Stranger Things Trailer Spells Disaster For Your Faves

Stranger Things Season 3 is right around the corner, and to get you good and hyped for its upcoming release, Netflix has dropped a brand new, super spooky final trailer. From teasing Billy’s grisly fate to charting the Upside Down uprising, there’s a lot to unpack here.

It appears that things aren’t alright in Hawkins, to put it mildly. The denizens of the Upside Down have arrived topside, Billy is evil-er than before, and once again, it’s up to four wily kids and their telekinetic friend to stop all the horrors of the universe.

And that’s after Eleven’s powers seemingly put an end to the Upside Down forever at the end of season 2.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Eleven whispers. “I closed the gate.”

Well, hey, at least you tried!

All will be revealed on July 4 (yep even here in Australia), when Stranger Things Season 3 premieres on Netflix. Until then, we await the fate of Hawkins with bated breath.

 

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BMW Adds The 553HP 4-Door Gran Coupe To Its 8 Series Lineup

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It was only a year ago that BMW announced they were reviving their 8 Series with a powerful, sport-focused two-door. Now, they’re expanding that lineup with an even bigger, more beautiful four-door called the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe.

Although the styling is clearly shared between the two vehicles, this four-door version is a good deal larger than its two-door little brother — measuring up with a body that’s over 9-inches longer, 1.2-inches wider, 2.4-inches taller, and with a wheelbase that’s lengthened by 8-inches. That works out to create a larger interior that’s a good deal more comfortable, but still features all the same styling, amenities, and built-in tech (like driver assistance systems). And while there is a quartet of trim options, our favorite is certainly the range-topping M850i xDrive — which comes with a powerful V8 powerplant good for 553-horsepower and 553 lb-ft of torque. There’s no word yet on a release, but we expect to see the BMW 8 Series Gran Coupe hit dealerships toward the end of the year.

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Avengers: Endgame's Final Battle Gets A Glorious 16-Bit Recreation

The battle for the future of this and all other Earths hangs in the balance...even if the details are a little hard to make out. One YouTuber has recreated Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man’s epic battle with Thanos from Avengers: Endgame—finishing with the team coming together for the final showdown.

YouTube channel Mr. Sunday Movies released the latest episode from its series “16 Bit Scenes,” showcasing the final battle of Avengers: Endgame. With animation by John Stratman and music by Kenny Mac (who also shared a behind-the-scenes look at the track he created), the video is a fun recreation of our heroes’ battle with Thanos, as well as the giant and frankly overwhelming call to banners that happened all because they were able to undo the Snap.

Avengers: Endgame is heading back to theatres soon with a new version that includes a deleted scene and some other “fun surprises.” The film is narrowing the gap with Avatar as the most-successful movie in global box office history, and this re-release could be the thing that sends it over the edge.

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Incredible Photo From The Space Station Shows Raikoke Volcano Erupting

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Astronauts aboard the International Space Station caught the spectacular eruption of the Raikoke volcano off of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula over the weekend.

It’s a pretty amazing view. Here’s the entire image:

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Photo: ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center

The image shows the classic shape of a volcanic plume rising, and then ash spreading at the top. It’s surrounded by a ring of white clouds, likely either water vapour condensing out of the air or steam from magma entering the water, Simon Carn, a volcanologist at Michigan Tech, said in a NASA Earth Observatory post. Aircraft and satellite data show that the ash could have reached altitudes of 8 to 10 miles.

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Volcanic plumes that are tall enough to reach the stratosphere are of special interest to volcanologists, since they impact climate and aviation the most, according to the NASA release.

Raikoke is an uninhabited volcanic island with a 551.08m peak and is part of the Kuril Islands, an archipelago that spans from Japan to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. It sits on the Pacific Ring of Fire, where the Pacific tectonic plate meets other tectonic plates and where most of the worlds’ earthquakes and volcanic eruptions take place.

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Raikoke prior to the most recent eruption. 

Raikoke previously erupted in 1924 and in 1778. The Kuril Islands have other active volcanoes, as well. In 2009, the ISS flew over the Sarychev volcano in the islands and snapped a photo.

That image generated lots of scientific debate about the eruption’s specific features, according to another NASA Earth Observatory post.

The volcano’s ash plume is currently drifting north over the Bering Sea as of yesterday, according to the European Space Agency.

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