Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Henrietta Lacks,’ Bill Nye and More Shows and Films to Watch This Week on TV and Streaming




It's a week loaded with highly anticipated new shows and films. Bill Nye returns to the small screen for more science adventures, Oprah Winfrey stars in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Elisabeth Moss takes on the central role in The Handmaid's Tale and Sophia Amoruso's story is fodder for the new series Girlboss

Here are some suggestions:

Bill Nye Saves the World: Season 1 (Netflix, April 21)

The “Science Guy” is back with a brand new series on Netflix, where he promises to take on subjects as diverse as global warming, GMOs, technology, sex and alternative medicine. Nye, who hosted the popular 1990s show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” and currently serves as CEO of The Planetary Society, is here to “[dispel] myths,” “[refute] anti-scientific claims” and “[neutralize] falsehoods.” He’ll do so with the help of a crew of correspondents and several special guests, including Rachel Bloom, Tim Gunn and Donald Faison.

Girlboss: Season 1 (Netflix, April 21)

Sophia Amoruso's online fashion retail company Nasty Gal filed for bankruptcy this past November and was sold a few months later. Netflix’s new series—which was in development long before Nasty Gal took its final plunge and Amoruso stepped away from the venture—is loosely based on her path toward success. Amoruso serves as an executive producer, as does Charlize Theron, who optioned Amoruso’s best selling book #GIRLBOSS. The show, writes Amanda Hess in The New York Times, “is riffing off a real-life, flawed, female boss.”

Bosch: Season 3 (Amazon, April 21)

Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) is a “tenacious, jazz-loving homicide detective” at the Los Angeles Police Department, according to Amazon, which has just released the third season of this procedural. The series is based on Michael Connelly's novels; this season looks specifically to The Black Echo and A Darkness More Than Night.

Hot Girls Wanted: Turned On (Netflix, April 21)

This six-part documentary series, produced by Rashida Jones, Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus as a follow up to the 2015 documentary Hot Girls Wanted, looks closely at many of the ways in which technology, dating and sex interact, whether it’s social media, dating app culture, pornography or virtual relationships. “We’re always after the bigger story,” Bauer told The Miami Herald (where she worked for many years as a journalist). “We know there’s a bigger picture here—anthropological, psychological, sociological.”

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO, April 22)

Don’t miss the movie adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s bestselling book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which has been on The New York Times’ list for 188 weeks. Rose Byrne portrays Skloot alongside Oprah Winfrey, who plays Henrietta’s daughter Deborah Lacks. Both are after the real story behind Henrietta’s cells, which were taken from her without her knowledge or consent and were used to help develop the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping and more.

Origins: The Journey of Humankind: Series Premiere (Nat Geo) (Hulu, April 25)

National Geographic’s part scripted, part documentary exploration of the making of modern world takes on subjects like medicine, fire, language and transportation. Jason Silva acts as host, taking viewers back to major discoveries to figure out when and “how man became modern.” The series incorporates expert commentary and is set to music by John Boswell, also known as Melodysheep

The Handmaid’s Tale: Series Premiere (Hulu, April 26)

Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel follows Offred, who became a handmaid when the United States was violently replaced by the Republic of Gilead. In other words, she is assigned the home of an important Commander and his wife and tasked with trying to conceive a child for them. If she doesn’t succeed, she could be sent to the Colonies to clean up nuclear waste. The Handmaid’s Tale imagines the erosion of democracy and the sexism that came with it.


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From Spotify to Shazam: How Big-Data Remade the Music Industry One Algorithm at a Time




This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Fifteen years ago, Steve Jobs introduced the iPod. Since then, most music fans have understood this has radically changed how they listen to music.

Less understood are the ways that raw information — accumulated via downloads, apps and online searches — is influencing not only what songs are marketed and sold, but which songs become hits.

Decisions about how to market and sell music, to some extent, still hinge upon subjective assumptions about what sounds good to an executive, or which artists might be easier to market. Increasingly, however, businesses are turning to big data and the analytics that can help turn this information into actions.

Big data is a term that reflects the amount of information people generate — and it’s a lot. Some estimate that today, humans generate more information in one minute than in every moment from the earliest historical record through 2000.

Unsurprisingly, harnessing this data has shaped the music industry in radical new ways.

When it was all about the charts

In the 20th century, decisions about how to market and sell music were based upon assumptions about who would buy it or how they would hear it.

At times, purely subjective assumptions would guide major decisions. Some producers, like Phil Spector and Don Kirshner, earned reputations for their “golden ears” — their ability to intuit what people would want to listen to before they heard it. (If you aren’t aware of the SNL parody of this phenomenon, take a second to see “More Cowbell.”) Eventually, record companies incorporated more market-based objective information through focus groups, along with sheet music and record sales.

But the gold standard of information in the music industry became the “charts,” which track the comparative success of one recording against others.

Music charts have typically combined two pieces of information: what people are listening to (radio, jukeboxes and, today, streaming) and what records they’re buying.

Charts like the Billboard Hot 100 measure the exposure of a recording. If a song is in the first position on a list of pop songs, the presumption is that it’s the most popular — the most-played song on the radio, or the most-purchased in record stores. In the 1920s through the 1950s, when record charts began to appear in Billboard, they were compiled from sales information provided by select shops where records were sold. The number of times a recording played on the radio began to be incorporated into the charts in the 1950s.

While charts attempt to be objective, they don’t always capture musical tastes and listening habits. For example, in the 1950s, artists started appearing on multiple charts presumed to be distinct. When Chuck Berry made a recording of “Maybellene” that simultaneously appeared in the country and western, rhythm and blues, and pop charts, it upended certain assumptions that undergirded the music industry — specifically, that the marketplace was as segregated as the United States. Simply put, the industry assumed that pop and country were Caucasian, while R&B was African-American. Recordings like “Maybellene” and other “crossover” hits signaled that subjective tastes weren’t being accurately measured.

In the 1990s, chart information incorporated better data, with charts automatically being tracked via scans at record stores. Once sales data began to be accumulated across all stores using Nielsen Soundscan, some larger assumptions about what people were listening to were challenged. The best-selling recordings in the early 1990s were often country and hip-hop records, even though America’s radio stations during the 1980s had tended to privilege classic rock.

Record charts are constantly evolving. Billboard magazine has the longest-running series of charts evaluating different genres and styles of music, and so it makes a good standard for comparison. Yet new technology has made this system a bit problematic. For example, data generated from Pandora weren’t added to the chart until January of this year.

The end of genre?

Today, companies are trying to make decisions relying on as few assumptions as possible. Whereas in the past, the industry relied primarily on sales and how often a songs were played on the radio, they can now see what specific songs people are listening to, where they are hearing it and how they are consuming it.

On a daily basis, people generate 2.5 exabytes of data, which is the equivalent to 250,000 times all of the books in the Library of Congress. Obviously, not all of this data is useful to the music industry. But analytical software can utilize some of it to help the music industry understand the market.

The Musical Genome, the algorithm behind Pandora, sifts through 450 pieces of information about the sound of a recording. For example, a song might feature the drums as being one of the loudest components of the sound, compared to other features of the recording. That measurement is a piece of data that can be incorporated into the larger model. Pandora uses these data to help listeners find music that is similar in sound to what they have enjoyed in the past.

This approach upends the 20th-century assumptions of genre. For example, a genre such as classic rock can become monolithic and exclusionary. Subjective decisions about what is and isn’t “rock” have historically been sexist and racist.

With Pandora, the sound of a recording becomes much more influential. Genre is only one of 450 pieces of information that’s being used to classify a song, so if it sounds like 75 percent of rock songs, then it likely counts as rock.

Meanwhile, Shazam began as an idea that turned sound into data. The smartphone app takes an acoustic fingerprint of song’s sound to reveal the artist, song title and album title of the recording. When a user holds his phone toward a speaker playing a recording, he quickly learns what he is hearing.

The listening habits of Shazam’s 120 million active users can be viewed in real time, by geographic location. The music industry now can learn how many people, when they heard a particular song, wanted to know the name of the singer and artist. It gives real-time data that can shape decisions about how — and to whom — songs are marketed, using the preferences of the listeners. Derek Thompson, a journalist who has examined data’s affects on the music industry, has suggested that Shazam has shifted the power of deciding hits from the industry to the wisdom of a crowd.

The idea of converting a recording’s sound into data has also led to a different way of interpreting this information.

If we know the “sound” of past hits — the interaction between melody, rhythm, harmony, timbre and lyrics — is it possible to predict what the next big hit will be? Companies like Music Intelligence Solutions, Inc., with its software Uplaya, will compare a new recording to older recordings to predict success. The University of Antwerp in Belgium conducted a study on dance songs to create a model that had a 70 percent likelihood of predicting a hit.

Of course, YouTube might tend to cluster songs by genre in its search algorithm, but it’s increasingly clear that the paradigms that have defined genres are less applicable now than ever before.

What happens next?

Even as new information becomes available, old models still help us organize that information. Billboard Magazine now has a Social 50 chart which tracks the artists most actively mentioned on the world’s leading social media sites.

In a way, social media can be thought of as analogous to the small musical scenes of the 20th century, like New York City’s CBGB or Seattle’s Sub Pop scene. In Facebook groups or on Twitter lists, some dedicated and like-minded fans are talking about the music they enjoy — and record companies want to listen. They’re able to follow how the “next big thing” is being voraciously discussed within a growing and devoted circle of fans.

Streaming music services are increasingly focused upon how social media is intertwined with the listening experience. The Social 50 chart is derived from information gathered by the company Next Big Sound, which is now owned by Pandora. In 2015, Spotify acquired the music analytics firm The Echo Nest, while Apple Music acquired Semetric .

Songwriters and distributors now know — more than ever — how people listen to music and which sounds they seem to prefer.

But did people like OMI’s 2015 hit “Cheerleader” because of its sound and its buzz on social media — as Next Big Sound predicted? Or did it spread on these networks only because it possessed many of the traits of a successful record?

Does taste even matter? You’d like to think you listen to what you enjoy, not what the industry predicts you’ll like based on data. But is your taste your own? Or will the feedback loop — where what you’ve enjoyed in the past shapes what you hear today — change what you’ll like in the future?

Brian Moon is an Assistant Professor of Music at University of Arizona.

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America's Disgraced Politicians: Where Are They Now?




Robert Bentley proudly and publicly declared himself a man of God, and as governor of the Bible-thumping state of Alabama, he had to be. “Anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother,” Bentley said in 2011, shortly after he was inaugurated.

After he was elected in 2010, Bentley appointed Rebekah Caldwell Mason, a church acquaintance who had worked on his campaign as his communications director. He then made Mason’s husband, Jon, his administration’s Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. When Bentley was running for re-election in 2013, Rebekah ran his campaign’s communications, and the two began spending a lot of time together. Bentley’s wife of 50 years became suspicious, so she left a recorder in her purse, which captured Bentley professing his love for Mason, with whom he had been having an affair.

The recording found its way onto the internet in 2016, but it wasn’t until earlier this week that his maelstrom of lies, abuse of power and misuse of public funds to cover up the affair forced Bentley to resign. On Monday, he pled guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance charges in order to avoid felony charges, and then stepped down as governor. Get on your knees, Mr. Bentley. Time to repent.

Related: Alabama's Bentley resigns after pleading guilty to criminal charges

Bentley’s rise and fall is hardly unique in American politics, where abuse of power, misuse of government funds and, of course, sex scandals are as common as flag pins on lapels. What the public may not know, however, is what disgraced politicians do after they’ve been pushed from office. Here, we’ve taken a look at what 19 of the most scandal-laden pols who are still alive and kicking in 2017 have gone on to do with themselves following their crash-landings. And judging by the list, there’s still hope for you, Robert Bentley.

ROD BLAGOJEVICH

Rise: Democratic governor of Illinois from 2003 to 2009. Before that, he was a state representative and then a member of Congress representing Illinois’s 5th District, a predominantly white section of Chicago.

Fall: Blagojevich was arrested in 2008 for corruption relating to the orchestration of several “pay to play” deals, most notably for an appointment to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama when he was elected president. Despite recordings on which he was heard expressing his fervent desire to get something in return for making certain appointments, Blagojevich claimed he was innocent. In 2009, he was impeached by a vote of 114-1, but continued to maintain his innocence, frequently on national television shows. Several publicity stunts followed, including an appearance on Celebrity Apprentice. In December 2011, he was sentenced to 14 years in prison.

Now: He’s still behind bars.

CHRIS CHRISTIE

Rise: A brash Republican who was appointed to serve as the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey by President George W. Bush, Christie was later elected governor of that state in 2009. Quickly branded a rising star, he was one of the hottest candidates considering a run for president in 2012, but ultimately opted to keep his hat on, and out of the ring. He easily won re-election in 2013, after earning national praise and attention for his response to Hurricane Sandy.

Fall: The “Bridgegate” corruption scandal blew away Christie’s credibility and approval rating in the state. Emails from 2014 revealed that his staff had ordered lane closures on the George Washington Bridge, causing days of gridlock in Fort Lee, New Jersey. The move was to allegedly punish the mayor of the town, a Democrat who had declined to endorse Christie for re-election. Two Christie aides were convicted for that mess and most likely will serve prison terms. Christie has repeatedly denied he knew about the lane-closure scheme, although a former aide has testified that the governor was aware of it. Prosecutors announced in January that the governor would not be charged.

Christie attempted to earn the Republican nomination for president in 2016, but his candidacy flamed out early, no doubt hurt by the ongoing Bridgegate fiasco. He, in turn, became the first major GOP figure to endorse Trump, but after the billionaire won the White House, Christie didn't get a payback spot in Trump's administration.

Now: He’s the least popular governor in the country.

BILL CLINTON

Rise: After serving as the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992, Clinton was elected president of the United States in 1992. He served two economically prosperous terms, and left office with the highest approval rating for a departing president since World War II.

Fall: In 1998, reports surfaced that in 1995 and 1996, Clinton had an inappropriate relationship with one of his interns, Monica Lewinsky. Clinton initially denied the allegations, but later admitted that he “misled people” and “gave a false impression.” In December 1998, Congress voted to impeach Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice, but was unable to get enough votes to remove him from office.

Now: He’s the founder and on the board of the Clinton Foundation, and campaigned for his wife during her unsuccessful presidential runs in 2008 and 2016. On Sunday, he paid a visit to George H.W. Bush. The pair of former presidents discussed socks.

Important lesson in optics here from Larry Craig: Make sure to always wear an American flag lapel pin in your mugshot. Reuters

LARRY CRAIG

Rise: By 2007, Craig had served in Congress for more than a quarter century. A staunchly conservative Republican, he drew praise from right-wing groups for his hard-line stance against gay rights, including outlawing gay marriage and not protecting gay people under hate-crime laws.

Fall: A 2007 report in Washington, D.C.’s Roll Call revealed that Craig had pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge after allegedly attempting to solicit sex from an undercover police officer in a Minneapolis airport men’s room. The report alleged that Craig lingered by a stall, entered it and then touched his foot against the officer’s foot in the adjoining stall before waving his hand beneath the divider. The officer apparently recognized this as a signal commonly used to solicit sex and arrested the senator.

A scandal ensued and Craig said that he regretted his guilty plea, insisting he was not gay. He held his seat for more than a year before retiring in 2009.  

Now: He’s a gas and oil lobbyist.

TOM DeLAY

Rise: DeLay spent more than a decade working in pesticides and extermination, a field in which he excelled, but found his true calling when he fought government regulation of his business and decided to run for a seat in the Texas House of Representatives. From there, he moved on to represent the state in Congress, and eventually served as majority whip and majority leader.

Fall: In 2005, money laundering and conspiracy charges were brought against DeLay for allegedly soliciting donations from corporate entities (including Enron) to try and redistrict Texas to favor the Republican Party. He was forced to resign from Congress after his indictment, which he claimed would be a “temporary” resignation. He spent the better part of the next decade fighting the charges, appealing his conviction, avoiding jail time and doing a brief stint on Dancing with the Stars. He got all his convictions overturned in 2013.  

Now: He's still out there, encouraging Republicans to buck the system.

JOHN EDWARDS

Rise: A lawyer with excess charm, a nice haircut and no political experience, Edwards, a Democrat, won a Senate seat in North Carolina in 1998. Seen as a rising star, he was tapped as the running mate for Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry in 2004. He then tried for the Democratic nomination for president in 2008.

Fall: The National Enquirer revealed that Edwards had in 2008 engaged in an affair with campaign staffer Rielle Hunter. She had given birth to a child Edwards long denied he had fathered. He only fessed up after a paternity test revealed the truth.

Edwards later went through a long legal struggle over alleged campaign finance misdeeds. He beat that rap, but his political career never recovered.

Now: He’s a lawyer again.

JOYCELYN ELDERS

Rise: President Bill Clinton named Elders the first African-American surgeon general of the United States in September 1993 and she served until December 1994. Before that, she was the director of Arkansas Department of Health, also under Clinton.

Fall: While speaking at the United Nations in 1994, Elders implied that masturbation should be promoted as a way to curb young people’s appetite for sexual encounters that could lead to AIDS. Elders was asked by Clinton to resign in December.

Now: She is a professor emerita of pediatrics and a distinguished professor of health and policy management at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. 

MICHAEL FLYNN

Rise: Flynn entered the Army in the ’80s and had a decorated, three-decade career as he rose to the rank of lieutenant general. In 2012, President Barack Obama appointed him to serve as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. He was canned in 2014, amid reports of an abrasive leadership style and extremist views that many couldn’t get on board with. Flynn, who has been slammed for anti-Muslim comments and conspiracy theories, jumped on the Trump Train early and was rewarded by the president with an appointment to serve as national security adviser.

Fall: After less than a month as national security adviser, Flynn was forced to resign in February following the revelation that he had misrepresented a preinauguration conversation he’d had with a Russia’s ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence. Flynn apparently discussed sanctions against Russia with the ambassador, but told Pence that he had not. Those sanctions had been put into place by President Barack Obama after the intelligence community reported that Russia had meddled with the 2016 presidential election.

Now: He’s aggressively seeking immunity to tell all he knows regarding possible ties between the Russians and the Trump campaign. So far, he's had no takers.

Michael Flynn only lasted 23 days as Donald Trump's national security adviser. Reuters

MARK FOLEY

Rise: He was the Republican congressman representing Florida’s 16th District from 1995 to 2006. Before that, he served in the state’s House of Representatives and as a state senator. He became known in Congress for his strong opposition to child pornography, and served as the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children.

Fall: After reports surfaced that Foley had a history of sending sexually explicit messages to and requesting picture from teenage boys who had served as congressional pages, he was asked to resign by Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. He did. More inappropriate conduct was later revealed, which led Foley to admit that he had a drinking problem, that he had been molested as a child by a Catholic priest and that he was gay. He resigned his congressional seat.

Now: He went into the real-estate business in Palm Beach, Florida. He recently helped build a baseball stadium there.

BARNEY FRANK

Rise: Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, won a seat in the House of Representatives in 1980 after starting his political career in the late ’60s as an aide to Boston Mayor Kevin White. Known for his quick and often acerbic wit, he won close elections in ’82 and ’84 to hold his seat. In 1987, he came out and became the first-ever openly gay member of Congress.

Fall: In 1989, it was revealed Frank had paid a prostitute for sex, then later hired the man, Steve Gobie, as an assistant and allowed him to live in his house. Gobie was accused of continuing to run a sex business out of the congressman’s home and in 1990 the House formally reprimanded Frank. That didn’t derail his career; he served 16 consecutive terms in the House.

Now: He’s retired from politics.

DENNIS HASTERT

Rise: Hastert began his professional life as wrestling coach at a small-town high school, building the program into a powerhouse. His stature in town led local politicians to encourage him to run for the state legislature. After serving at the state level for three terms, Hastert was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986. The Republican lawmaker rose through the party ranks, serving first as House chief deputy whip and then speaker of the House from 1999 to 2007—the longest tenure for any GOP politician in that leadership role.

Fall: In 2007, Hastert announced that he intended to retire from Congress shortly after being criticized for not properly protecting congressional pages, who were subjected to sexual advances from former Republican Florida Representative Mark Foley. In 2015, an indictment surfaced that alleged Hastert paid $3.5 million in hush money to maintain the silence of an unknown individual regarding Hastert’s own misconduct. He was charged with making cash withdrawals in such a way as to avoid detection by authorities (the IRS is alerted about withdrawals exceeding $10,000).

It later was revealed that the alleged misconduct was sexual abuse, and multiple men came forward alleging that Hastert had abused them during his tenure as a wrestling coach. While a judge called him “a serial child molester”—Hastert himself only admitted that he “mistreated” boys—the statute of limitations on the alleged abuse had passed, so he was not charged for those offenses. The former speaker was, however, sentenced last year to 15 months in federal prison for the bank fraud charges.

Now: He’s a speaker in the big house (he's in prison).

ERIC MASSA

Rise: After a long career in the U.S. Navy, Massa was a Democratic congressman representing New York’s 29th District from January 2009 to March 2010.

Fall: In 2010, Massa announced he would not seek re-election because of health concerns, although sexual harassment allegations—mostly regarding male members of his staff—had also been levied against him. Soon thereafter, the House Ethics Committee announced they were investigating Massa. He resigned the next day. It was later revealed that campaign finance money was used to pay his wife’s salary and his legal fees. While returning to his home in Corning, New York, he reportedly tried to kill himself by running his car off the road.

Now: He has since faded from the public eye.

JIM McGREEVEY

Rise: Democratic governor of New Jersey from 2002 to 2004. Before that, he was the mayor of Woodbridge Township, New Jersey from 1992 to 2002, and a member of the New Jersey state Senate from 1994 to 1998.

Fall: After being elected governor, McGreevey hired Golan Cipel as his homeland security adviser, which many felt was an odd choice because of Cipel’s lack of experience. Many speculated about the relationship between McGreevey and Cipel, who eventually stepped down from his position. When Cipel’s lawyer threatened to sue McGreevey for sexual harassment, the governor held a press conference announcing that he was gay...and that he was resigning.

Now: He runs several prison re-entry programs around New Jersey.

OLIVER NORTH

Rise: A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, North began his military career in the Marine Corps. He served in Vietnam, earning a Silver Star, Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts. In 1981, North was appointed to serve on the National Security Council by President Ronald Reagan, and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1983.

Fall: North was a central figure in the 1986 Iran–Contra scandal that dealt a severe blow to Reagan’s legacy. It was revealed Reagan had sold arms to Iran in violation of an embargo. Iranian terrorists, in turn, released three hostages—who were later replaced with three more—being held in Lebanon.

It was revealed that North had diverted millions of dollars from those arms sales to the Contras, rebels who were fighting Nicaragua’s communist Sandinistas. He did so with the expressed permission of the national security adviser and the presumed permission of the president. North was fired from his national security position. Called before Congress to testify in hearings about the scandal, North was steadfast and unapologetic. He had been granted limited immunity, but was later convicted in 1989 of crimes related to the scandal, including abetting the obstruction of a congressional inquiry. The convictions were later dismissed.

Now: He’s a talking head for Fox News.

DAVID PATERSON

Rise: Paterson started out in the Queens District Attorney’s office, but leaped into politics when he campaigned for David Dinkins in his run for Manhattan borough president. That same year, he ran for and won a seat in the New York state Senate, which he kept for nearly two decades and capped off by becoming New York state Senate minority leader. Three years later, he was chosen as Governor Eliot Spitzer’s right-hand man, and was named lieutenant governor of New York. After Spitzer was forced to resign (see below), he became the governor of New York—a role he served in for just two years.

Fall: Only one day after being sworn into office, Paterson revealed that both he and his wife had been involved in extramarital affairs. Though it perhaps diminished the public’s trust in his governorship, it wasn’t a career-killer. That came a little while later. He had a busy 2010. First, he manipulated a public bid for a contract at the Aqueduct racetrack in Queens (and, famously, had Jay Z and Floyd Flake bail on him after it was being investigated by the state inspector general), then he was dinged by the New York State Commission on Public Integrity after accepting five World Series tickets, and finally he was pushed to drop his run for re-election by President Obama. That was the end of Paterson's political career.

Now: He’s a Wall Street broker.

AARON SCHOCK

Rise: Schock became the youngest member of the Illinois House of Representatives when he won a seat at age 23, and went on to become the youngest member of Congress when he won a seat in the House representing his home state.

Fall: Though he was no stranger to scandal—his 2012 re-election bid faced heavy scrutiny—Schock had successfully served six years in Congress before it was discovered that he had been spending government funds to redecorate his office to look like the set of Downton Abbey. A month after the revelations came to light, he resigned.

Now: He was indicted in 2016, and is still fighting the criminal charges. 

Crucial for any political trying to weather a sex scandal is to project a profound sense of shame during the press conference. No one has done it better than Eliot Spitzer. Reuters

ELIOT SPITZER

Rise: Served as the Democratic governor of New York from January 2007 to March 2008. Before that, he was the state’s attorney general from 1999 to 2006.

Fall: Federal authorities grew leery of Spitzer after his bank reported unorthodox money transfers from his account. A wiretap was put in place, and through that it was learned that Spitzer had a long-running penchant for high-priced prostitutes. He resigned barely a year after taking office.

Now: He's a real-estate developer.

DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ
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Watch the First Trailer for 'Olaf's Frozen Adventure,' the 'Frozen' Short You Won't Be Able to Miss This Holiday Season




Four years after Frozen fever first swept the world, Disney’s billion dollar franchise is returning to movie theaters this holiday season—to the delight of children everywhere and chagrin of parents dragged along for multiple return visits.

Disney released Tuesday the first footage from its new short animation, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The holiday-themed short film will play in front of Disney’s new original Pixar animation, Coco, which begins global releases on November 22.

The Frozen short will be a chunky 21 minutes and—again, sorry, parents—will feature four brand new songs performed by Idina Menzel (Elsa), Kristen Stewart (Anna) and Josh Gad (Olaf) that will invade Spotify playlists curated by young and old fans alike.

Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will follow Gad’s lovable snowman trying to procure holiday traditions from the citizens of Arendelle to take back to the castle where Elsa, Anna, Olaf and Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) are preparing for their first Christmas together. There is also a cameo from everyone’s favorite “big summer blowout” entrepreneur, Oaken, the goliath shopkeeper.

The short film comes from the brand new creative team of directors, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton, and songwriters Elyssa Samsel and Kate Anderson.

Original Frozen directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez are presumably hard at work on the fully-fledged sequel to Frozen, which is due in theaters in November 2019, as well as a Broadway musical which launches in 2018.

That team was also behind the seven-minute Frozen short, Frozen Fever, which was released in front of Cinderella in March 2015.

Coco’s November premiere returns Frozen to the holiday release period it dominated four years ago. Frozen took more than $1 billion worldwide and ranks as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, thanks in part to families going back for second, third and even fourth showings to sing along to “Let It Go.”

The lure of a new Frozen short will almost certainly boost Coco ’s box office numbers; last year’s Disney Thanksgiving release, Moana, topped $600 million globally, but Coco should clear that with help from Anna and Elsa.

Between the Coco-Olaf combo and a little film called Star Wars: The Last Jedi to be released in December, Disney is going to make a lot of bank this holiday season.

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In Pictures: ‘Faceless Fish’ Scientists Return With Huge Haul of Weird Sea Creatures From Marine Abyss




A voyage into one of the deepest parts of the ocean has come to an end, and scientists have returned with a huge haul of weird and wonderful sea creatures—including the famous “faceless fish” that made headlines around the world at the end of May.

The scientists collected several thousand specimens, around a third of which are thought to be completely new to science. Some of the weirdest animals returned include a blob fish, zombie worms, flesh-eating crustaceans and a shark with bizarre saw-like teeth.

The mission, Sampling the Abyss, was led by Australia’s Museums Victoria and CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation). It explored Australia’s eastern abyss, 4km (2.5 miles) beneath the surface of the ocean. This is one of the most remote, least explored environments on the planet and discoveries made there will help scientists understand the biodiversity—and help them to protect it.

Tim O’Hara, chief scientist on the mission, said in a statement: “Australia’s deep-sea environment is larger in size than the mainland, and until now, almost nothing was known about life on the abyssal plain. We’re really excited about the discoveries that we’ve made and are thrilled that we can now share them with the Australian and international public.”

Images released by Museums Victoria, Australia, show the huge diversity of species living in some of the deepest parts of the ocean. They include a little deep sea coffinfish with blue eyes and red feet, the faceless fish and a cookiecutter shark that has neatly serrated teeth and strange eyes that glow in the dark.

Scientists also found a “herd of sea pigs”, little pink creatures that use their tube-like feet to move across the mud, hoovering up microorganisms as they go, and peanut worms, which look a lot like penises.

During the mission, scientists also found evidence of pollution at these great depths—raising concerns about the effects of manmade behavior  on these far-flung ecosystems. “We have found [worrying] levels of rubbish on the seafloor,” O’Hara said. “We’re 100km (62 miles) off Australia’s coast, and we have found PVC pipes, cans of paint, bottles, beer cans, woodchips and other debris from the days when steamships piled our waters. The seafloor has 200 years of rubbish on it.”

Scientists will use the data collected to make maps of life on the seafloor, enabling authorities to protect these environments. “We are custodians for this piece of the Earth and it is really important that we have baseline data so that we can protect it from the impacts of climate change, rubbish and other human activity,” O’Hara added.

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How to Help Back Pain? Yoga May Be the Answer, According to Study




Chronic back pain is one of the most common health issues faced by Americans. Around 80 percent of adults can expect to experience it at some point in their life. For those struggling to roll themselves out of bed in the morning or to bend over to tie their shoes, the problem seems incurable, despite all the available pills and exercise ideas. It's called "chronic" back pain for a reason: It just never seems to go away. According to a new study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there may be a better way to at least stem back pain, and it involves a rolled-up foam mat, not a lumbar roll.

Related: How to heal trauma through yoga

Enlisting the help of yoga instructors, doctors and physical therapists, researchers at the Boston Medical Center developed a yoga  course specifically designed to alleviate lower back pain. The course is not strenuous, focusing on gentle poses and relaxation techniques. The team's goal was to determine if yoga could be just as effective as physical therapy in helping deal with lower back pain.

To conduct the study, the researchers gathered 320 low-income adults from different racial backgrounds, all of which suffered from chronic lower back pain. Their average age was 46, and around 70 percent of them took medication for their back pain. Participants were then divided into three groups—one that went to the yoga class for three months, one that went to physical therapy for three months and one that received education (such as a back pain self-help book and a newsletter) for three months.

After three months, the participants in the yoga classes group attended more yoga sessions or practiced at home for the next nine months, while the physical therapy group did the same with physical therapy. The effects of pain medication were monitored throughout the course of the study.

The researchers found that the yoga course was just as good for the participants' backs as physical therapy. "The yoga and physical therapy groups showed almost the same amount of improvement in pain and activity limitation over time," the study read. "The improvements in pain and activity limitation in the yoga and physical therapy groups were also found at one year and were similar to each other."

The study also found that though around 70 percent of participants were taking pain medication when the study began, the number decreased to around 50 percent at the end of the first three months, for both the yoga and the physical therapy groups. Those in the education group did not see a decrease in the need for medication.

So, yes, yoga is good for your back, but before you go and handspring your way into an inverted scorpion pose, remember that the study's results were based on a course made up entirely of gentle, low-degree-of-difficulty poses, like triangle pose and child's pose. Breathe easy, friends, and let that lower back pain melt away.

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