BartCop Entertainment Archives - Tuesday, 3 January, 2017


3 January, 2017

(Updated Daily)

[1923 days in a row]


Recommended Reading

from Bruce

Paul Krugman: America Becomes a Stan (NY Times)
Rule of law is for the little people.

Geoff Riley: RIP Sir Tony Atkinson (
The start of 2017 has brought very sad news as we learn of the passing of Professor Tony Atkinson, one of Britain's best economists. Professor Atkinson's life-long academic focus has been on the causes and consequences of income and wealth inequality and then in shaping policy ideas and strategies to promote more inclusive economic growth. He truly has been a giant in helping analyse how society is performing.

The 15 Proposals from Tony Atkinson's 'Inequality - What can be done?'
Proposal 1: The direction of technological change should be an explicit concern of policy-makers, encouraging innovation in a form that increases the employability of workers and emphasises the human dimension of service provision.

David Wong: 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person (Cracked)
Name five impressive things about yourself. Write them down or just shout them out loud to the room. But here's the catch -- you're not allowed to list anything you are (i.e., I'm a nice guy, I'm honest), but instead can only list things that you do (i.e., I just won a national chess tournament, I make the best chili in Massachusetts). If you found that difficult, well, this is for you, and you are going to fucking hate hearing it. My only defense is that this is what I wish somebody had said to me around 1995 or so.

Mark Coker: 2017 Book Industry Predictions: Intrigue and Angst amid Boundless Opportunity (Smashwords)
Each year I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and attempt to divine how the boiling crosscurrents of technology, competitive intrigue, author aspirations, and reader tastes will shape the opportunities facing authors, publishers and retailers for the year ahead.

Mark Coker: Smashwords Year in Review 2016 and 2017 Preview (Smashwords)
Library ebooks a bright light - We've been working the last six years to open up libraries to Smashwords ebooks, and this work is beginning to pay dividends to our authors. We now reach most of the major library ebook platforms with OverDrive, Baker & Taylor Axis 360, Gardners UK, and Odilo.

I Can't Stop: Living With An Addiction To Child Porn (Cracked)
A pedophile is someone attracted to prepubescent children, while a child molester is someone who sexually abuses them. Although not every pedophile will molest a child, most of them look at child pornography, which obviously hurts the children forced to participate in it. Unfortunately, demand is high. To understand this problem better, we reached out to one of the consumers. We spoke to "Charlie," who's been arrested twice for possession of child pornography. He told us …

David Bruce's Amazon Author Page

David Bruce's Smashwords Page

David Bruce's Blog

David Bruce's Lulu Storefront

David Bruce's Apple iBookstore

David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on



Trivia Question of the Day

In Chinese, he is most often known as Kongzi (literally "Master Kong"). He is also known by the honorific Kong Fuzi (literally "Grand Master Kong"). By what name do we know this teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher?


Send your answer to Marty

Trivia Question from Yesterday

There is only one instance of a guest star appearing as himself on any Star Trek series. Who was that guest star?

       Stephen Hawking                                                      Source

On the Season 6 finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1993, Starfleet Lieutenant Commander Data (Brent Spiner) played poker with holograms of, as he put it, "three of history's greatest minds": Sir Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Stephen Hawking. The first two were portrayed by actors John Neville and Jim Norton (for obvious reasons). But famed physicist Hawking was played by the real deal-marking the only time a guest star appeared as himself on any Trek series. It all began during a publicity screening for the documentary adaptation of his most famous book, A Brief History of Time.        Source

Alan J was first and correct with:
   Stephen Hawking.

Randall replied:
   Stephen Hawking on Star Trek:

DanD wrote:
   I'm going over to the PCC campus with Bart to watch the Rose Parade

Harry M said:
   Stephen Hawking

Adam answered:
   Ooh, a deep cut - I'll say Joe Piscopo, but still billed as 'The Comic'.
  It could be The Rock, but he was def billed as an alien character.
  No, Wait! It's Stephen Hawking.

Jim from CA, retired to ID, responded:
   Stephen Hawking

Sandra in Maine said:
   stephen hawking

DJ Useo replied:
   I consider myself an actual Trekkie, but I think you stumped me. Congrats.
  I will take a guess that it was Agnar the Mulbarian.

zorch wrote:
   Stephen Hawking.

BttbBob   answered:
   Easy one... Dr. Stephen Hawking in a 'TNG' episode with Data on a holodeck playing poker with Einstein and Newton. A great scene... so good that it probably gives Dr. Sheldon Cooper the vapors every time he sees it.

  (I'll bet that if somebody did this in velvet, they could sell it in a heartbeat. Whadda ya think?)


  From the 'We Gots No Taco Trucks, But We Do Gots This' File...

  Bay City Taco Bell first in country to feature new design |

  I don't eat their stuff, mind you now, but ya gotta takes the acclaim however ya can get it, eh? Dagnab right...


  Last week I startled, through my glass deck doors, a Cooper's Hawk sitting atop my bird feeder pole. Saw nary a bird for two days afterwards... Nature's drama in my back yard, yeah... Who needs Animal Planet?


  January 3 Birthdays - Celebrities Born January 3 | Famous Birthdays

Deborah took the day off.

Joe S     took the day off.

mj took the day off.

MAM     took the day off.

Marian took the day off.

Dale of Diamond Springs, Norcali took the day off.

Sally has retired.




Middle Class Political Economist

Now a Blogger-Columnist at US News and World Reports "Economic Intelligence"



Reader Suggestion

Michelle in AZ

Passionate in her work, her friendships and family ties, Debbie Reynolds also loved Hollywood itself - LA Times

Obesity and sedentary behavior: Which is chicken, which is egg? - LA Times

Solar now cheapest new form of energy in nearly 60 countries

Donald Trump makes top Republican fear environmental future - BBC News

BBC - Travel - The US' one-million-acre secret

CES 2017: Tech preview of Las Vegas's biggest launches - BBC News

India cracks down on slaughter of sacred cows

'New Frontiers': Museum Exhibit to Explore the Life of George Takei - NBC News

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Trump-sized mistake (opinion) -

In Mexico City, A Technicolor Borough Serves Up Tasty Street Foods - On Water : The Salt : NPR

Seasteading: tech leaders' plans for floating city trouble French Polynesians | Technology | The Guardian

Mike Pence Is A Theocrat. His Christian Supremacist Followers Seek To Take Over America. Seriously

Mark Hamill's Carrie Fisher tribute: 'Making her laugh was a badge of honor' (Guest column) - AOL Entertainment

Thanks, Michelle!



Reader Comment


This pretty well captures my view of things.

Linda >^..^<
     We are all only temporarily able bodied.

Thanks, Thanks, Linda!



Bonus Links

Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp


GOP pundit slams Trump: Tells all male panel autopsying media they missed the forest for the trees -

America Can't Afford More Wars: Time For Washington To Promote Economics Of Peace | The Huffington Post

From Trump Land: 'Nobody Knows What's Going On' And 'If You Disagree With Me, You Are My Enemy' | The Huffington Post

Trump's Poor. And Putin knows it. -

The Emoluments Clause: Its text, meaning, and application to Donald J. Trump | Brookings Institution

'I've felt disgust before, but never … fear': Springsteen afraid Trump let 'racism genie' out of the bottle -

Capitalism Is Collapsing -- and the Weird Thing Is That Nothing Is Rising to Replace It | Alternet

How the US Went Fascist: Mass Media Make Excuses for Trump Voters -

The Media Outlets Poised To Become Trump's Personal Propaganda Machine -

With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Hobble Independent Ethics Office - The New York Times

House Republicans secretly vote to gut Office of Congressional Ethics -

House Republicans gut their own oversight - POLITICO



Reader Comment


So we're that much closer to a new POTUS (in my head that's "Pretender..."). Craptastic.

Today we drove over the mountain to Napa, to pick up a case of wine we bought on futures 4 years ago. A cold front from the Gulf of Alaska was blowing through, which means the weather alternates between rain squalls and sun. When that happens the skies are full of color, and, I hope, promise of good things. Who knows what's to come?



Thanks, Deborah!



from Marc Perkel

Patriot Act

Patriot Act NSA Spying Unconstitutional Section 215 National Security Letters Must End

My name is Marc Perkel and I have decided to announce that I will not comply with the so called "Patriot Act" laws requiring me to disclose information about my customers. If I receive a national security letter I will immediately photograph it, post it online everywhere I can, and then make a video of me burning it. I will then await my arrest. If you want to put me in jail then come get me mother fucker.

Come Get Me Mother Fucker | Putting and end to NSA government Spying





Selected Readings

from that Mad Cat, JD

JD took the day off.

Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music


In The Chaos Household

Last Night

Overcast but no rain.

Tonight, Tuesday:

CBS begins the night with a FRESH 'NCIS', followed by a FRESH 'Bull', then a FRESH 'NCIS: The 3rd One'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Stephen Colbert are Oprah Winfrey and Pretty Yende.
Scheduled on a FRESH James Corden, OBE, are Milo Ventimiglia, Janelle Monae, and James Arthur.

NBC starts the night with a FRESH 'The Wall', followed by a FRESH 'Chicago Fire', then a FRESH 'Chicago PD'.
On a RERUN Jimmy Fallon (from 10/26/16) are Justin Timberlake, Tracey Ullman, and Stanaj.
On a RERUN Seth Meyers (from 11/17/16) are Casey Affleck, Rebecca Romijn, Michael Che, and Atom Willard.
On a RERUN Carson 'The Scab' Daly (from 11/11/16) are Ryan Phillippe, John Hlavin, Guided by Voices, and Alex Edelman.

ABC opens the night with a FRESH 'The Middle', followed by a FRESH 'American Housewife', then a FRESH 'Fresh Off The Boat', followed by a FRESH 'The Real O'Neals', then a RERUN RERUN 'David Blaine: Beyond Magic'.
Scheduled on a FRESH Jimmy Kimmel are Taraji P. Henson, Jovan Adepo, and Mike Posner.

The CW offers a RERUN 'The Flash', followed by a FRESH 'No Tomorrow'.

Faux has a FRESH 'New Girl', followed by a FRESH 'The Mick', then a FRESH 'Bones'.

MY recycles an old 'Bones', followed by another old 'Bones'.

A&E has 'Intervention', another 'Intervention', followed by a FRESH 'Intervention', then a FRESH 'Leah Rimini: Scientology & The Aftermath'.

AMC offers the movie 'The Departed', followed by the movie 'Gladiator'.

BBC  -   
 [7:00AM]    STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION - SEASON 2 - EPISODE 21-Peak Performance
 [8:00AM]    STAR TREK: VOYAGER - SEASON 2 - EPISODE 22-Innocence
 [9:00AM]    DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 2 - EPISODE 1-New Earth
 [10:00AM]    DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 2 - EPISODE 2-Tooth and Claw
 [11:00AM]    DOCTOR WHO - SEASON 2 - EPISODE 3-School Reunion
 [12:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 1-Resurrection
 [1:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 2-Won't Get Fueled Again
 [2:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 3-And How Does That Make You Kill?
 [3:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 4-Raging Cannibal
 [4:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 5-Bombshell
 [5:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 6-Wrecking Crew
 [6:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 7-Cheating Death
 [7:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 8-Gone Baby Gone
 [8:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 9-Power Trip
 [9:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 1-Resurrection
 [10:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 2-Won't Get Fueled Again
 [11:00PM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 3-And How Does That Make You Kill?
 [12:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 4-Raging Cannibal
 [1:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 5-Bombshell
 [2:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 6-Wrecking Crew
 [3:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 7-Cheating Death
 [4:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 8-Gone Baby Gone
 [5:00AM]    CSI: MIAMI - SEASON 7 - EPISODE 9-Power Trip    (ALL TIMES EST)

Bravo has 'Real Housewives Of BH', followed by a FRESH 'BH Social', then a FRESH 'Real Housewives Of BH', followed by a FRESH 'Ladies Of London', then a FRESH 'Watch What Happens Live'.

Comedy Central has 'Futurama', another 'Futurama', and 3 hours of old 'Tosh.0'.
Scheduled on a FRESH The Daily Show is Michael Che.
Scheduled on a FRESH @Midnight are Laurie Kilmartin, Doug Benson, and Jonah Ray.

FX has the movie 'Riddick', followed by the movie 'Underworld: Awakening'.

History has 'The Curse Of Oak Island', followed by a FRESH 'The Curse Of Oak Island: Digging Deeper', then a FRESH 'The Curse Of Oak Island', followed by a FRESH 'Hunting Hitler'.

IFC  -   
 [6:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Streaking
 [6:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Battle of the Sexists
 [7:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Eric's Burger Job
 [7:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-The Keg
 [8:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-That Disco Episode
 [8:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Drive-In
 [9:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Thanksgiving
 [9:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Sunday Bloody Sunday
 [10:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Eric's Buddy
 [10:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-The Best Christmas Ever
 [11:00PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Streaking
 [11:30PM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Battle of the Sexists
 [12:00AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Eric's Burger Job
 [12:30AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-The Keg
 [1:00AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-That Disco Episode
 [1:30AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Drive-In
 [2:00AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Thanksgiving
 [2:30AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Sunday Bloody Sunday
 [3:00AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-Eric's Buddy
 [3:30AM]    THAT '70S SHOW-The Best Christmas Ever
 [4:00AM]    STAN AGAINST EVIL-I'm Gleaning My Coven

Sundance  -   
 [6:00AM]    All in the Family-The Best of All in the Family
 [6:35AM]    All in the Family-The Best of All in the Family
 [7:10AM]    All in the Family-Prisoner in the House
 [7:45AM]    All in the Family-The Jeffersons Move Up
 [8:20AM]    All in the Family-All's Fair
 [8:55AM]    All in the Family-Amelia's Divorce
 [9:30AM]    All in the Family-Everybody Does It
 [10:05AM]    All in the Family-Archie and the Quiz
 [10:40AM]    All in the Family-Edith's Friend
 [11:15AM]    All in the Family-No Smoking
 [11:50AM]    All in the Family-Mike Makes His Move
 [12:25PM]    All in the Family-The Very Moving Day
 [1:00PM]    All in the Family-Alone at Last
 [1:35PM]    Mississippi Burning
 [4:33PM]    A Time to Kill
 [8:00PM]    Basic Instinct
 [11:00PM]    Blow
 [2:00AM]    American Psycho
 [4:15AM]    Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid    (ALL TIMES EST)

SyFy has the movie 'Quantum Of Silence', followed by the movie 'Lost In Space'.

On a RERUN Conan (from 11/1/16) is Louis C.K.

 [6:30 AM]      Tortilla Flat (1942)
 [8:30 AM]      A Life Of Her Own (1950)
 [10:30 AM]      Close to My Heart (1951)
 [12:15 PM]      The Lost Weekend (1945)
 [2:00 PM]      The Major and the Minor (1942)
 [3:45 PM]      Irene (1940)
 [5:30 PM]      Dial M for Murder (1954)
 [7:30 PM]      Screen Directors Playhouse: Markheim (1956)
 [8:00 PM]      Cool Hand Luke (1967)
 [10:15 PM]      Brute Force (1947)
 [12:00 AM]      Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)
 [1:30 AM]      The Big House (1930)
 [3:15 AM]      The Last Mile (1932)
 [4:30 AM]      Each Dawn I Die (1939)     (ALL TIMES EST)

Wednesday   -  01/04/17

 [6:30 AM]      San Quentin (1937)
 [7:45 AM]      The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)
 [10:00 AM]      The Three Musketeers (1935)
 [11:45 AM]      The Toast of New York (1937)
 [1:45 PM]      Mother Carey's Chickens (1938)
 [3:15 PM]      The Son Of Monte Cristo (1941)
 [5:00 PM]      Powder Town (1942)
 [6:30 PM]      Captain Kidd (1945)
 [8:00 PM]      Heaven Can Wait (1978)
 [10:00 PM]      Reds (1981)
 [1:30 AM]      Citizen Kane (1941)
 [3:45 AM]      The Magnificent Ambersons (1942)
 [5:15 AM]      Othello (1952)     (ALL TIMES EST)

TNT has a FRESH 'Good Behavior' .

USA has a FRESH 'Shooter'.

Antenna TV - Johnny Carson (from Jan. 1, 1982) - Eddie Murphy, and McLean Stevenson.

Bounce TV

Comet TV

Cozi TV

Decades TV Network


Heroes and Icons

Find Justice - Justice Network

Get TV

Grit - Television With Backbone - Grit

Laff - You Know You Want To. - Laff


MOVIES! TV Network

RTV - The Retro Television Network

the works

This TV

Any opinions?   Marty

Or reviews?   Marty

Support the e-page!

(See below for addresses)


South African members of the Cape Minstrel bands attend the annual 'Tweede Nuwe Yaar' (second new year) carnival through the streets of Cape Town, South Africa on January 2, 2017. This yearly parade dates back to the mid nineteenth century when the slaves in Cape Town were granted by their colonial masters one day off in the year. To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos, making music, dancing and parading from the District Six area through to the city centre. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s.
Photo by Nic Bothma


The Sideshow - by Avedon Carol


Questions T-rump's Competency

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen discussed Donald Trump's impending presidency and questioned whether the mogul had the competency and experience to hold the title of commander in chief in his hour-long WTF conversation with Marc Maron.

"I've felt disgust before, but never the kind of fear that you feel now," Springsteen said of the coming Trump administration.

"It's as simple as the fear of, is someone simply competent enough to do this particular job? Forget about where they are ideologically. Do they simply have the pure competence to be put in the position of such responsibility?"

Springsteen admitted he understood why Trump won: Many Americans, like the characters who populate Springsteen's music, were "effected deeply by deindustrialization and globalization and the technological advances and you have been left behind, and someone comes along and says 'I'm gonna bring the jobs back,'" as well Trump's promises to combat against terrorism with Islamophobia and illegal immigration by building a wall.

"These are very powerful and simple ideas. They're lies, they can't occur. But if you've struggled for the past 30 or 40 years - and this has been the theme of much of my creative life for all those years - if someone comes along and offers you something else… it's a compelling choice," Springsteen said.

Bruce Springsteen


A young Indian Sikh participates in a religious procession to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh in Jammu, India, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017. The birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, will be marked on Jan.5.
Photo by Channi Anand


The Top 10

Undercovered Stories Of 2016

Flooding in the American South

The largest Native American intertribal gathering in more than a century

A nationwide prisoner revolt

A major rollback of voting rights in 14 states

Record-setting Arctic warmth causes giant loss of sea ice, snow

Undercovered Stories Of 2016


Newhead News


Big Insurance Payout


Disney, which owns Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise, took out a £41 million ($73 million NZD) contract protection insurance policy on Carrie Fisher, according to the website Insurance Insider .

Following the actress's death, the company is expected to received one of the largest personal accident payouts in history.

The policy, which was held with Lloyds of London, would have been created to protect Disney from any losses if Fisher was unable to complete her agreed Star Wars filming, including 2015's The Force Awakens, and two additional movies.

While the actress had finished filming for Episode VIII, released next December, her character General Leia Organa (she'll "always be royalty" to millions of fans) was expected to feature in Episode IX, which has not yet begun filming.



People pick strawberries at a farm during New Year holiday in Wutang Township of Xingning District in Nanning, south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on January 2, 2016.
Photo by Lu Boan


Former Atheist Gets Religion

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has eschewed his atheist beliefs and now asserts that "religion is very important."

Zuckerberg, whose Facebook profile once identified him as an atheist, revealed his change of heart on his social media network after he wished everyone on Dec. 25 a "Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah" from "Priscilla, Max, Beast and me," referring to his wife, daughter and dog. When a commenter asked him, "Aren't you an atheist?" he responded: "No. I was raised Jewish and then I went through a period where I questioned things, but now I believe religion is very important."

He didn't provide details about his faith. The title of his holiday greeting on Facebook was "celebrating Christmas."

He and wife Priscilla Chan met with Pope Francis at the Vatican last summer and discussed how to bring communication technology to the world's poor. Zuckerberg said at the time that he was impressed with the pope's compassion.

Zuckerberg has also cultivated an interest in Buddhism, which his wife practices.

Mark Zuckerberg


Digby's Hullabaloo


Push For Statehood

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico's new governor was sworn in Monday, promising an immediate push for statehood in a territory facing a deep economic crisis.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello, 37, proposed several measures aimed at alleviating the crisis shortly after he was sworn in at midnight. Among them is a proposal to hold a referendum that would ask voters whether they prefer statehood or independence. Many have argued that Puerto Rico's political status has contributed to its decade-long crisis that has prompted more than 200,000 people to flee to the U.S. mainland in recent years.

"The United States cannot pretend to be a model of democracy for the world while it discriminates against 3.5 million of its citizens in Puerto Rico, depriving them of their right to political, social and economic equality under the U.S. flag," Rossello said in his inaugural speech, delivered in Spanish. "There is no way to overcome Puerto Rico's crisis given its colonial condition."

The crowd rose to its feet and cheered as Rossello announced that he would fly to Washington, D.C., Monday to back a bill to admit Puerto Rico as the 51st state.

He also said he would soon hold elections to choose two senators and five representatives to Congress and send them to Washington to demand statehood, a strategy used by Tennessee to join the union in the 18th century. The U.S. government has final say on whether Puerto Rico can become a state.

Puerto Rico


Snow-covered rowing boats lie at a landing stage on the Decksteiner Weiher ponds in Cologne, western Germany, Monday, Jan. 2, 2017.
Photo by Henning Kaiser


Up 6%

Global Air Traffic

Worldwide passenger air traffic grew again last year, albeit at a slightly slower pace, led by the dynamic growth of low-cost air carriers, the International Civil Aviation Organization reported Monday.

A total of 3.7 billion passengers were transported by the world's airlines last year, a 6 percent increase from 2015. That was just under the previous year's 7.1 percent rise, the United Nations agency said.

Growth was most pronounced in the Middle East (11.2 percent), Asia (8 percent), Latin America (6.5 percent) and Africa (5.7 percent), while it was slower in Europe (4.3 percent) and North America (3.5 percent).

"Over half of the world's tourists who travel across international borders each year were transported by air," the Montreal-based agency noted in a statement.

Low-cost carriers accounted for 28 percent of all passenger air traffic. Passing a milestone, they transported more than 1 billion passengers for the first time.

Global Air Traffic


Fossil Fuel Formation

The Cambrian Explosion

Roughly 545 million years ago, Earth witnessed a massive burst in diversity of life in an event now known as the Cambrian explosion. It was during this period that - over a relatively short span of time - a dramatic explosion of life in the sea took place, giving rise to most of the body plans of present-day animals.

The question that has bugged biologists for decades is this - what ignited this evolutionary burst?

One possible explanation is that a steep rise in atmospheric oxygen - a phenomenon that opened the door to a much more efficient way of metabolizing food - may have triggered the change. But this only gets us to another question - given that photosynthesis, the process through which plants release oxygen to the atmosphere and store carbon as carbohydrates, has been around for at least 2.5 billion years, why did the concentration of atmospheric oxygen spike only during the Cambrian period?

The answer, according to a study published in the February issue of Earth and Planetary Science Letters, could be related to the formation of fossil fuels.

"Burying the sediments that became fossil fuels was the key to advanced animal life on Earth," study co-author Shanan Peters said in a statement.

The Cambrian Explosion


A woman walks her dog through a snow-covered park in Brussels, Belgium January 2, 2017.
Photo by Francois Lenoir


Fossil Found

South Texas

A fossil found in limestone along a remote South Texas riverbed could be that of a dolphin-like reptile that swam in oceans 90 million years ago, according to paleontologists.

The discovery was made two years ago by petroleum geologist James Harcourt, who works for the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state's oil and gas industry. It went largely unnoticed until a photo of the fossil appeared on the cover of the commission's 2016 annual report.

The find is unique because it appears to be a nearly complete fossil of an ichthyosaur, which grew to about 6 feet long and had the sleek body of a dolphin and long, toothy jaws of a dinosaur, the Houston Chronicle reports.

The fossil was found on private land near the border town of Del Rio as Harcourt and some colleagues were studying the Eagle Ford formation, which is one of the state's most productive shale oil basins. Harcourt spotted a row of bones imprinted on rock. When the surface dirt was cleared away, Harcourt and his colleagues realized the limestone held a large skull, long spine and ribs.

"Very rarely do we get really complete skeletons out of the Eagle Ford," said Josh Lively, a doctoral candidate specializing in marine reptile fossils at the University of Texas. "Whenever you have an associated skeleton like this, when you have multiple parts of the animal, it's a really an important find."

South Texas


Weekend Box Office

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

The "Star Wars" spinoff "Rogue One" led the box office for the third straight week, taking in an estimated $64.3 million over the four-day New Year's weekend, according to studio estimates Monday.

The success of Gareth Edwards' "Rogue One" has only further cemented a record year for the Walt Disney Co., which ran up $2.7 billion in domestic ticket sales in 2016 and accounted for more than 25 percent of the market.

The weekend pushed the industry to $11.4 billion in ticket sales in 2016, topping the $11.1 billion record set in 2015. The record revenue, propelled primarily by the Disney juggernaut, masks undeniable challenges in the business. Attendance was largely flat. Streaming and television continue to grow as competitors. Some glaring failures ("Suicide Squad") and flops ("Independence Day: Resurgence") showed considerable franchise fatigue with audiences. And several studios (Paramount, Sony) endured much leaner years.

But Hollywood's 2017 is starting out with brisk business. In its second week of release, the animated "Sing," from Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment, again came in second with $56.4 million.

The poorly reviewed science-fiction romance "Passengers," starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, came in third with $20.7 million over the four-day weekend. It's made $61.4 million thus far, a somewhat disappointing total for a film that cost north of $100 million to make. Another Disney title, "Moana," came in fourth with $14.3 million in its sixth weekend.

Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Monday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.

    1. "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," $64.3 million ($45.8 million international).
    2. "Sing," $56.4 million ($24.5 million international).
    3. "Passengers," $20.7 million ($21.7 million international).
    4. "Moana," $14.3 million ($21.3 million international).
    5. "Why Him?" $13 million ($10.1 million international).
    6. "Fences," $12.7 million.
    7. "La La Land," $12.3 million ($6 million international).
    8. "Assassin's Creed," $10.9 million ($22 million international).
    9. "Manchester by the Sea," $5.5 million.
   10. "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," $5.4 million ($8.8 million international).

"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"



Swans swim in Hyde Park in central London, Britain January 2, 2017.
Photo by Stefan Wermuth



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