Racist Donald Trump in bunker, parody song


This 1 June 2020 satiric music video from Britain is called Lurleen Trumpkin – Bunker With Me Tonight.

It is a parody of the song Bunk with me tonight, from The Simpsons.

It is about Donald Trump hiding in the White House bunker, being afraid of demonstrators against the police murder of George Floyd.

It says about itself:

Donald Trump‘s hidden Lurleen Lumpkin tribute act.

LYRICS:

In this White House
I’m turning all the lights out
Feels like Hitler’s final days
I’m looking for a hideout for the night

So I might ask you to bunker with me tonight
Bunker with me tonight, oh
Bunker with me tonight
I’m asking: will you bunker with me tonight?

How to paint a blue whale, video


This 28 May 2020 video from the Natural History Museum in London, England says about itself:

Join us for this live stream event and learn step-by-step how to paint Hope the blue whale. Discover interesting facts about biodiversity and sustainability as you paint and sip along at home.

Hope’s 25-metre skeleton, suspended in Hintze Hall in a majestic swooping posture, is an astonishing reminder of the fragility of life and the responsibility we have towards our planet. Taking inspiration from this impressive specimen, you will learn fascinating facts while practising your painting techniques on the night.

All you need to follow along at home is some paper/canvas and something to colour, draw or paint with.

The event is hosted in collaboration with Art Sippers: fun paint and sip experiences in London

New deep-sea worm species’ Elvis Presley name


The four species of deep-sea creatures collectively known as 'Elvis worm' (one of each species shown) may be small — just millimeters to centimeters long. But they make quite the impression with their iridescent, sequinlike scales. Photo: A.S. Hatch et al/ZooKeys 2020

By Maria Temming, May 25, 2020 at 6:00 am:

New species of scaly deep-sea worms named after Elvis have been found

The animals’ iridescent scales are reminiscent of sequins on the iconic jumpsuits of ‘The King’

A new look at the critters known as “Elvis worms” has the scale worm family all shook up.

These deep-sea dwellers flaunt glittery, iridescent scales reminiscent of the sequins on Elvis’ iconic jumpsuits (SN: 1/23/20). “For a while, we thought there was just one kind of Elvis worm,” says Greg Rouse, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, Calif. But analysis of the creatures’ genetic makeup shows that Elvis worms comprise four species of scale worm, Rouse and colleagues report May 12 in ZooKeys.

Rouse’s team compared the genetic material of different Elvis worms with each other, and with DNA from other scale worm species. This analysis places Elvis worms in the Peinaleopolynoe genus of scale worms, which includes two other known species — one found off the coast of Spain, the other off California.

This 21 May 2020 video says about itself:

Deep-sea ‘Elvis worms’ show off their sequin like scales | Science News

A new genetic analysis of the deep-sea creatures nicknamed “Elvis worms” reveals that these iridescent creatures include four separate species. The Elvis worms seen in this video belong to the species Peinaleopolynoe orphanae, which mostly sport glittery blue scales, but also come in other colors, like black and red. These worms may look dainty, but they fight dirty, chomping at each other’s scales when they get into skirmishes.

The Maria Temming article continues:

The four newly identified Elvis worm species are scattered across the Pacific, from P. elvisi and P. goffrediae in Monterey Canyon off California to P. orphanae in the Gulf of California by Mexico and P. mineoi near Costa Rica.

These deep-sea Elvis impersonators share some common traits, such as nine pairs of scales. But each species has its own distinct flare. P. elvisi’s gold and pink iridescent color scheme earned it the honor of keeping the worms’ namesake in its official title. P. orphanae, on the other hand, mostly sports rainbow-sparkled scales of a bluish hue.

The researchers don’t know why Elvis worms have evolved such eye-catching scales, since the animals live in the dark, deep sea. It could just be a side effect of developing thicker scales over time, which happen to refract more light, Rouse says. Thicker scales could come in handy in a fight, since Elvis worms are apparently biters, a behavior discovered while watching a worm skirmish. “Suddenly, they started doing this amazing jitterbugging — wiggling, and then fighting and biting each other” on their scales, Rouse says. “No one’s ever seen any behavior like this in scale worms.”

British Conservative Dominic Cummings, COVID-19 parody song


This 23 May 2020 satiric music video from Britain is about British Conservative Dominic Cummings and COVID-19.

It says about itself:

CUMMA MIA! – Dominic Cummings sings ABBA

Dominic Cummings sings the hits of ABBA.

This song is a parody of ABBA’s Mamma Mia.

How Italian renaissance domes were built


This 2014 video says about itself:

How an Amateur Built the World’s Biggest Dome

In 1418, Filippo Brunelleschi was tasked with building the largest dome ever seen at the time. He had no formal architecture training. Yet experts still don’t fully understand the brilliant methods he used in contructing the dome, which tops the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence, Italy.

From Princeton University, Engineering School in the USA:

Double helix of masonry: Researchers discover the secret of Italian renaissance domes

May 18, 2020

Summary: Researchers found that the masonry of Italian renaissance domes, such as the duomo in Florence, use a double-helix structure that is self-supporting during and after construction. Their study is the first to quantitatively prove the forces at work in such masonry domes, which may lead to advances in modern drone construction techniques.

In a collaborative study in this month’s issue of Engineering Structures, researchers at Princeton University and the University of Bergamo revealed the engineering techniques behind self-supporting masonry domes inherent to the Italian renaissance. Researchers analyzed how cupolas like the famous duomo, part of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, were built as self-supporting, without the use of shoring or forms typically required.

Sigrid Adriaenssens, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Princeton, collaborated on the analysis with graduate student Vittorio Paris and Attilio Pizzigoni, professor engineering and applied sciences, both of the University of Bergamo. Their study is the first ever to quantitatively prove the physics at work in Italian renaissance domes and to explain the forces which allow such structures to have been built without formwork typically required, even for modern construction. Previously, there were only hypotheses in the field about how forces flowed through such edifices, and it was unknown how they were built without the use of temporary structures to hold them up during construction.

For Adriaenssens, the project advances two significant questions. “How can mankind construct such a large and beautiful structure without any formwork — mechanically, what’s the innovation?” she asked. Secondly, “What can we learn?” Is there some “forgotten technology that we can use today?”

The detailed computer analysis accounts for the forces at work down to the individual brick, explaining how equilibrium is leveraged. The technique called discrete element modelling (DEM) analyzed the structure at several layers and stages of construction. A limit state analysis determined the overall equilibrium state, or stability, of the completed structure. Not only do these tests verify the mechanics of the structures, but they also make it possible to recreate the techniques for modern construction.

Applying their findings to modern construction, the researchers anticipate that this study could have practical applications for developing construction techniques deploying aerial drones and robots. Using these unmanned machines for construction would increase worker safety, as well as enhance construction speed and reduce building costs.

Another advantage of unearthing new building techniques from ancient sources is that it can yield environmental benefits. “The construction industry is one of the most wasteful ones, so that means if we don’t change anything, there will be a lot more construction waste,” said Adriaenssens, who is interested in using drone techniques for building very large span roofs that are self-supporting and require no shoring or formwork.

“Overall, this project speaks to an ancient narrative that tells of stones finding their equilibrium in the wonder of reason,” said Pizzigoni, “from Brunelleschi’s dome to the mechanical arms of modern-day robotics where technology is performative of spaces and its social use.”

Edvard Munch´s The Scream painting threatened


This 2017 video says about itself

Edvard Munch – The Scream (1893)

‘The Scream’ is one of the most iconic paintings in the world, but what is it about?

By watching this video you’ll learn the major facts about ‘The Scream’ by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944). The painting will be visually analyzed (composition, ordonnance, color, technique, style, etc.) and the common interpretations are explained.

From the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility:

Key to preserving The Scream

May 15, 2020

Moisture is the main environmental factor that triggers the degradation of the masterpiece The Scream (1910?) by Edvard Munch, according to the finding of an international team of scientists led by the CNR (Italy), using a combination of in situ non-invasive spectroscopic methods and synchrotron X-ray techniques. After exploiting the capability of the European mobile platform MOLAB in situ and non-invasively at the Munch Museum in Oslo, the researchers came to the ESRF, the European Synchrotron (Grenoble, France), the world’s brightest X-ray source, to carry out non-destructive experiments on micro-flakes originating from one of the most well-known versions of The Scream. The findings could help better preserve this masterpiece, which is seldom exhibited due to its degradation. The study is published in Science Advances.

The Scream is among the most famous paintings of the modern era. The now familiar image is interpreted as the ultimate representation of anxiety and mental anguish. There are a number of versions of The Scream, namely two paintings, two pastels, several lithographic prints and a few drawings and sketches. The two most well-known versions are the paintings that Edvard Munch created in 1893 and 1910. Each version of The Scream is unique. Munch clearly experimented to find the exact colours to represent his personal experience, mixing diverse binding media (tempera, oil and pastel) with brilliant and bold synthetic pigments to make ‘screaming colours’. Unfortunately, the extensive use of these new coloured materials poses a challenge for the long-term preservation of Munch’s artworks.

The version of the Scream (1910?) that belongs to the Munch Museum (Oslo, Norway) clearly exhibits signs of degradation in different areas where cadmium-sulfide-based pigments have been used: cadmium yellow brushstrokes have turned to an off-white colour in the sunset cloudy sky and in the neck area of the central figure. In the lake, a thickly applied opaque cadmium yellow paint is flaking. Throughout its existence, several elements have played a role in the deterioration of the masterpiece: the yellow pigments used, the environmental conditions and a theft in 2004, when the painting disappeared for two years.

Since the recovery of the painting after the theft, the masterpiece has rarely been shown to the public. Instead, it is preserved in a protected storage area in the Munch Museum, in Norway, under controlled conditions of lighting, temperature (about 18°C) and relative humidity (about 50%).

An international collaboration, led by the CNR (Italy), with the University of Perugia (Italy), the University of Antwerp (Belgium), the Bard Graduate Center in New York City (USA), the European Synchrotron (ESRF, France), the German Electron Synchrotron (DESY, Hamburg) and the Munch Museum, has studied in detail the nature of the various cadmium-sulfide pigments used by Munch, and how these have degraded over the years.

The findings provide relevant hints about the deterioration mechanism of cadmium-sulfide-based paints, with significant implication for the preventive conservation of The Scream.

“The synchrotron micro-analyses allowed us to pinpoint the main reason that made the painting decline, which is moisture. We also found that the impact of light in the paint is minor. I am very pleased that our study could contribute to preserve this famous masterpiece,” explains Letizia Monico, one of the corresponding authors of the study.

Hitting the right formula for preservation

Monico and her colleagues studied selected cadmium-sulfide-based areas of The Scream (1910?), as well as a corresponding micro-sample, using a series of non-invasive in-situ spectroscopic analyses with portable equipment of the European MOLAB platform in combination with the techniques of micro X-ray diffraction, X-ray micro fluorescence and micro X-ray absorption near edge structure spectroscopy mainly at the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, in France, the world’s most powerful synchrotron. The study of the painting was integrated with investigations of artificially aged mock-ups. The latter were prepared using a historical cadmium yellow pigment powder and a cadmium yellow oil paint tube that belonged to Munch. Both mock-ups had a similar composition to the lake in the painting. “Our goal was to compare the data from all these different pigments, in order to extrapolate the causes that can lead to deterioration,” says Monico.

The study shows that the original cadmium sulfide turns into cadmium sulfate in the presence of chloride-compounds in high-moisture conditions (relative humidity, or RH ?95%). This happens even if there is no light.

“The right formula to preserve and display the main version of The Scream on a permanent basis should include the mitigation of the degradation of the cadmium yellow pigment by minimising the exposure of the painting to excessively high moisture levels (trying to reach 45% RH or lower), while keeping the lighting at standard values foreseen for lightfast painting materials. The results of this study provide new knowledge, which may lead to practical adjustments to the Museum’s conservation strategy,” explains Irina C. A. Sandu, conservation scientist at the Munch Museum.

“Today the Munch Museum stores and exhibits Edvard Munch’s artworks at a relative humidity of about 50% and at a temperature of around 20 °C. These environmental conditions will also apply to the new Munch Museum to be opened in Spring 2020. That said, the Museum will now look into how this study may affect the current regime. Part of such a review will be to consider how other materials in the collection will respond to possible adjustments,” adds Eva Storevik Tveit, paintings conservator at the Munch Museum.

Cadmium-sulfide-based yellows are not only present in Munch’s artwork but also in the work of other artists contemporary to him, such as Henri Matisse, Vincent van Gogh and James Ensor.

“The integration of non-invasive in-situ investigations at the macro-scale level with synchrotron micro-analyses proved its worth in helping us to understand complex alteration processes. It can be profitably exploited for interrogating masterpieces that could suffer from the same weakness,” reports Costanza Miliani, coordinator of the mobile platform MOLAB (operating in Europe under the IPERION CH project) and second corresponding author of this study.

Monico and colleagues, especially Koen Janssens (University of Antwerp), have a long-standing collaboration with the ESRF, the European Synchrotron, and in particular with the scientist Marine Cotte, to investigate these pigments and the best way to preserve the original masterpieces.

“At the ESRF, ID21 is one of the very few beamlines in the world where we can perform imaging X-ray absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy analysis of the entire sample, at low energy and with sub-micrometer spatial resolution,” explains Janssens.

“EBS, the new Extremely Brilliant Source, the first-of-a-kind high-energy synchrotron, which is under commissioning at the moment at the ESRF, will further improve the capabilities of our instruments for the benefit of world heritage science. We will be able to perform microanalyses with increased sensitivity, and a greater level of detail. Considering the complexity of these artistic materials, such instrumental developments will highly benefit the analysis of our cultural heritage,” adds Cotte, ESRF scientist and CNRS researcher director.

“This kind of work shows that art and science are intrinsically linked and that science can help preserve pieces of art so that the world can continue admiring them for years to come,” concludes Miliani, coordinator of MOLAB.

Singer Bryan Adams echoes Trump’s anti-Chinese racism


This 12 May 2020 satiric music video from Britain is called Summer of COVID-19 (Bryan Adams parody).

It is a parody of Bryan Adams’ song Summer of ’69.

The lyrics are:

I got my first real backlash
Tweeting out a racist whine
Typed until my fingers bled
It was the summer of COVID-19

Those bastards ate a load of bats
Now I can’t play the Albert Hall
Pretty shit, man I hate China
At least my tweet is going viral

I might be real old now
But this summer’s gonna last forever
And if I had the choice
(Redacted for extreme racism)
This is the worst day of my life

Oh yeah
I hate the summer of COVID-19
And China