LONDON (AP) — Hozier is giving his latest single to charity.
“Cherry Wine” — which features in a live version on his self-titled debut record — is described by the 25-year-old Irish singer as “a love song written from the perspective of someone who is in an abusive relationship.” So Hozier and his record labels have decided to donate all of the single’s proceeds to several domestic abuse charities, including Women’s Aid in the U.K.
Hozier also recruited fellow highflying Irish export — the Oscar-nominated Saoirse Ronan — to star in the video for the song, which will premiere on Valentine’s Day. In an interview with The Associated Press, Hozier talked about giving back:
AP: How did the charity connection come about?
H: We found it very hard to find a global program, which was a shame … but wherever the song will be downloaded, wherever it is in the world … it will go to an organization that deals with providing information and also outreach programs and also shelters for people who are suffering from domestic abuse. Here in the U.K., it will go to an organization providing financial aid to shelters.
AP: You weren’t in the video, but did you just go to set and watch?
H: I was on set and just hung out a little bit and said “Hi” to everybody and thanks more than anything, but it is nice and they are such lovely people. Saoirse is just such a wonderful person . we were all excited about it and proud of it I think.
AP: Saoirse is a fan, she’s been to a few of your gigs?
H: She is! One of the earlier shows. We’re always kind of bouncing around the world a bit, so it is great to get to hang out with her when I can. She came to one of the first shows in London.
AP: It must feel really good that you can help … is that something that is important to you?
H: I think when you have the potential to do something there, if you can. I am in a position that it can be done and it is not difficult for me to make a small effort. So it is important for me that the money for that is going to charities.
Cats are the 21 Century’s undisputed kings–and queens– of the internet. There’s Grumpy Cat, of course, who has starred in her fair share of memes. Then there are those hilarious cat versus cucumber video mashups. And well, all the kittens. So why shouldn’t our feline friends be featured in their own real life cat cafés that animal lovers line up for?
“Cat cafés started in Asia in the 90s due to small apartment sizes and landlords that didn’t allow pets in residences. [They] allowed people to interact with cats in a home-like setting without the long term responsibilities,” says Meow Parlor, the groundbreaking first cat cafe in New York City. They charge $5 per half hour for adults and children 11 and over, and have limited designated hours for younger children, which costs $14 for one child under 11 plus one chaperone per hour. While cat cafés essentially take a rent-a-cat approach, many also offer adoption of the cats its patrons connect with.
What’s not to love about kicking back, relaxing, and petting and playing with new furry friends? After all, studies have shown animal interactions have a positive impact on the happiness of humans.
But here’s the catch. You can enjoy your coffee, baked goods and Wi-Fi with the kitties, but due to health codes, snacks need to be prepared and purchased in a separate space or even venue altogether. Then they may be brought into a cat café by patrons’ choice. Whether you’re team canine or team feline, tell us, is it worth it?
We’d like to hear from you! Send your ideas for the next big thing to email@example.com.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It was just a tiny, almost imperceptible “chirp,” but it simultaneously opened humanity’s ears to the music of the cosmos and proved Einstein right again.
In what is being hailed as one of the biggest eureka moments in the history of physics, scientists announced Thursday that they have finally detected gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space and time that Einstein predicted a century ago.
The news exhilarated astronomers and physicists. Because the evidence of gravitational waves is captured in audio form, the finding means astronomers will now be able to hear the soundtrack of the universe and listen as violent collisions reshape the cosmos.
It will be like going from silent movies to talkies, they said.
“Until this moment, we had our eyes on the sky and we couldn’t hear the music,” said Columbia University astrophysicist Szabolcs Marka, a member of the discovery team. “The skies will never be the same.”
An all-star international team of astrophysicists used an exquisitely sensitive, $1.1 billion set of twin instruments known as the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, to detect a gravitational wave generated by the collision of two black holes 1.3 billion light-years from Earth.
“Einstein would be beaming,” said National Science Foundation director France Cordova.
The proof consisted of what scientists called a single chirp — in truth, it sounded more like a thud — that was picked up on Sept. 14. Astronomers played the recording at an overflowing news conference Thursday.
“That’s the chirp we’ve been looking for,” said Louisiana State University physicist Gabriela Gonzalez, scientific spokeswoman for the LIGO team. Scientists said they hope to have a greatest hits compilation of the universe in a decade or so.
Some physicists said the finding is as big a deal as the 2012 discovery of the subatomic Higgs boson, known as the “God particle.” Some said this is bigger.
“It’s really comparable only to Galileo taking up the telescope and looking at the planets,” said Penn State physics theorist Abhay Ashtekar, who wasn’t part of the discovery team.
Physicist Stephen Hawking congratulated the LIGO team, telling the BBC: “Gravitational waves provide a completely new way of looking at the universe. The ability to detect them has the potential to revolutionize astronomy.”
Gravitational waves, postulated by Albert Einstein in 1916 as part of his theory of general relativity, are extraordinarily faint ripples in space-time, the continuum that combines both time and three-dimensional space. When massive objects like black holes or neutron stars collide, they generate gravitational waves that stretch space-time or cause it to bunch up like a fishing net.
Scientists found indirect proof of gravitational waves in the 1970s by studying the motion of two colliding stars, and the work was honored as part of the 1993 Nobel Prize in physics. But now scientists can say they have direct proof.
“It’s one thing to know sound waves exist, but it’s another to actually hear Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony,” said Marc Kamionkowski, a physicist at Johns Hopkins University who wasn’t part of the discovery team. “In this case, we’re actually getting to hear black holes merging.”
In this case, the crashing of the two black holes stretched and squished Earth so that it was “jiggling like Jell-O,” but in a tiny, almost imperceptible way, said David Reitze, LIGO’s executive director.
The dual LIGO detectors went off just before 5 a.m. in Louisiana and emails started flying. “I went, ‘Holy moly,'” Reitze said.
But the finding had to be verified, using such means as conventional telescopes, before the scientists could say with confidence it was a gravitational wave. They concluded there was less than a 1-in-3.5-million chance they were wrong, he said.
LIGO technically wasn’t even operating in full science mode; it was still in the testing phase when the signal came through, Reitze said.
“We were surprised, BOOM, right out of the box, we get one,” Reitze said.
Reitze said that given how quickly they found their first wave, scientists expect to hear more of them, maybe even a few per month.
Detecting gravitational waves is so difficult that Einstein figured scientists would never be able to hear them. The greatest scientific mind of the 20th century underestimated the technological know-how of his successors.
In 1979, the National Science Foundation decided to give money to the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to come up with a way to detect the waves.
Twenty years later, they started building two LIGO detectors in Hanford, Washington, and Livingston, Louisiana, and they were turned on in 2001. But after years with no luck, scientists realized they had to build a much more sensitive system, which was turned on last September.
Sensitivity is crucial because the stretching and squeezing of space-time by gravitational waves is incredibly tiny. Essentially, LIGO detects waves that pull and compress the entire Milky Way galaxy “by the width of your thumb,” said team member Chad Hanna of Pennsylvania State University.
Each LIGO detector has two giant perpendicular arms more than 2 miles long. A laser beam is split and travels both arms, bouncing off mirrors to return to the arms’ intersection.
Normally, the two beams are aligned so that they balance each other out and there’s nothing to hear. But if there’s a gravitational wave, it creates an incredibly tiny mismatch, which is what LIGO detects.
A giant team of scientists had to keep the discovery secret until it was time to be announced. The study detailing the research in the journal Physical Review Letters had 1,004 authors.
Kip Thorne, the Cal Tech physicist who co-founded LIGO and has been working on gravitational waves for more than half a century, said he kept the secret even from his wife until just a few days ago. When he heard about the wave, he said, “it was just sort of a sigh of happiness.”
National Science Foundation’s video Einstein’s Messengers: http://www.nsf.gov/news/mmg/mmg—disp.jsp?med—id=58443
Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein
NEW YORK (AP) — Myspace still exists?
It does, and the company that owns the once-ubiquitous social network is being bought by Time Inc. to help the magazine publisher target ads.
Time Inc. did not say Thursday what it paid. The publisher of People, Sports Illustrated and Time magazines was spun off from entertainment company Time Warner in 2014. It is facing a decline in print ad dollars and posted an $881 million loss last year.
Myspace’s parent company is Viant, which says it provides marketers with access to over 1.2 billion registered users. That’s the number of people who have signed in to Myspace since it was created in 2003.
Myspace peaked in 2008 with some 76 million U.S. visitors before losing ground to Facebook. News Corp. sold it in 2011 to Justin Timberlake and digital ad company Specific Media, which was founded by brothers Tim, Chris and Russell Vanderhook, for $35 million, a fraction of News Corp.’s $580 million purchase.
Today, Myspace is an entertainment-focused site that plays music videos and songs. Chris Vanderhook, now Viant’s COO, says the site gets about 20 million to 50 million unique views a month. Travis DeLingua, a spokesman for Viant, declined to give a more precise estimate, saying in an email, “That’s accurate but we don’t have a more precise number than that.”
As a comparison, Facebook has more than a billion monthly active users.
Chris Vanderhook says Viant has used Myspace’s data files to attract marketers who want demographic information like age, gender and geographic location on online users, and that targeting ability is what attracted Time Inc.
And Timberlake? Tim Vanderhook, Viant’s CEO, said the pop star has “been an equity owner the whole time,” but declined to say if he still is after the deal with Time Inc.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota man has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to provide material support to the Islamic State group.
Twenty-year-old Abdirizak (AHB’-dee-ree-zak) Mohamed Warsame (war-SAHM’-ee) entered his plea at a hearing Thursday in U.S. District Court.
Warsame admitted he tried to help other young men from Minnesota’s Somali community with their plans to travel to Syria to fight for the Islamic State group.
Warsame says he learned about the Islamic State group by watching videos on YouTube and listening to lectures. He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced at a later date.
Nine other members of that group were charged previously; one is believed to be in Syria and three have already pleaded guilty.
Five others are scheduled to go to trial in May.
CAIRO (AP) — The Associated Press has named Zeina Karam as its news director for Lebanon and Syria, a new position that consolidates leadership in video, text and photo coverage.
The appointment was announced Thursday by Ian Phillips, AP’s Middle East News Director.
Karam, 43, who has covered conflict and transformation in the Middle East for two decades, was named Beirut bureau chief in 2014, overseeing text coverage of Lebanon and Syria.
Adding oversight of AP all formats to her portfolio is part of a wider move to enhance AP’s breaking news coverage and enterprise projects, as well as responsiveness to customer needs, by streamlining management and creating dynamic, multi-format teams of video journalists, writers and photographers.
“Introducing a unified news leadership structure allows all formats to produce news together in one team for an audience that increasingly views news on mobile and social platforms,” said John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president for international news.
Phillips said Karam has “excellent leadership skills and a deep understanding of the region.”
“She will inspire a talented group of journalists to pursue compelling stories that illustrate the tragedy and significance of the Syrian war and its impact on neighboring countries.”
Karam played a leading role in the writing of a 2015 AP series of stories, “Inside the Caliphate,” which explored life under the Islamic State group. Also last year, she co-authored alongside The Associated Press a book called “Life and Death in ISIS: How the Islamic State Builds Its Caliphate.”
Karam joined AP in Beirut in 1996. She has reported from more than a dozen countries in the region, including Egypt, Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. She also covered U.N. General Assembly sessions in New York and the first two rounds of Syrian peace talks in Geneva in 2014.
From Lebanon, she reported on the country’s economic and political recovery and its repeated conflicts with Israel, including the month-long Israel-Hezbollah war in 2006.
Karam wrote extensively on the political and security upheaval following the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
She has spent significant time in Syria prior to the civil war, writing in-depth, distinctive reports and breaking news, including coverage of the death of Syrian President Hafez Assad, Bashar Assad’s ascendency to power and Syria’s transformation under Bashar Assad.
A native of Beirut, Karam holds a degree in political science and public administration from the American University of Beirut.