An oil painting that was discovered in a farm shed covered in bird droppings is a rare piece of art expected to sell for up to $3 million

Anthony van Dyck’s study of Saint Jerome, which will soon be up for auction at Sotheby’s.

An oil painting found in an upstate New York shed covered in bird droppings was discovered to be a rare piece of art.
The work was identified as a live study by famed painter Anthony van Dyck dating back to the 17th century.
The painting is expected to sell for between $2 million to $3 million, Sotheby’s said.

An oil painting covered in bird droppings found in an upstate New York shed is a rare piece of art expected to fetch up to $3 million in a Sotheby’s sale next week. 

The painting, which depicts a bearded, older man sitting nude on a stool, has been identified as a live study by the famed 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck, the auction house said. 

The sketch, which is believed to date back to between 1615 and 1618, was a study for Van Dyck’s painting, “Saint Jerome with an Angel.” 

The part-time art collector Albert B. Roberts, who recognized the importance of the painting, found it in a farm shed in Kinderhook, New York, in the late 20th century. 

Roberts, who bought the piece for $600, previously described his collection as “an orphanage for lost art that had suffered from neglect.”  

He displayed the painting in what he described as “its pristine condition, happens to include bird droppings on the back,” The Times of London reported, citing The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, New York.  

The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Netherlands, later showed the painting alongside, “Saint Jerome with an Angel.” 

Susan Barnes, an art historian, identified the sketch as a Van Dyck and noted that the painting is “surprisingly well preserved,” according to Sotheby’s. 

Barnes said that the painting, which is nearly three feet tall, is one of only …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

The ‘JR-15,’ an AR-15 rifle for kids, is being marketed again weeks after a 6-year-old shot a teacher

Wee 1 Tactical’s JR-15 is about 20% smaller than a standard AR-15 rifle.

An Illinois gunmaker is again advertising its AR-15 rifle for kids, called the “JR-15.”
The gun sparked widespread condemnation when Wee 1 Tactical first unveiled it last year.
A company spokesperson told Vice’s Motherboard it will take orders for the rifle later in 2023. 

A gun manufacturer has launched a new marketing campaign for an AR-15 designed for children weeks after a six-year-old shot a teacher at a Virginia elementary school. 

The JR-15 is a .22 long rifle roughly 20% smaller than a standard AR-15 that weighs less than 2-and-½ pounds. It is geared toward “smaller enthusiasts,” according to Wee 1 Tactical, the manufacturer that makes the guns. 

A new pamphlet includes a photograph of a young child aiming the gun while an adult helps position it. 

The promotional material references “American family values” and says that the gun is the first in a line of “shooting platforms designed to safely help adults introduce young enthusiasts to the shooting sports.” 

The Illinois gun manufacturer sparked widespread condemnation when it unveiled the firearm in February last year.  

The new marketing material takes a somewhat softer approach than the earlier campaign, which promised that the gun “looks, feels, and operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun” and featured cartoons of skulls and crossbones with pacifiers in their mouths. 

“Wee 1 Tactical has adopted this supposedly kinder, gentler marketing approach because it knows from experience that most Americans are shocked and disgusted by the idea of manufacturing semiautomatic assault rifles designed for grade schoolers,” Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center, said in a statement. 

“The company’s persistence in selling assault rifles for children makes clear the need for continued vigilance by parents and communities as well as …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Daily horoscope for January 21, 2023

Moon Alert: Avoid shopping or important decisions from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST today (7:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. PST). After that, the Moon moves from Capricorn to Aquarius. The New Moon is at 3:53 p.m. EST (12:53 p.m. PST).

Happy Birthday for Saturday, Jan. 21, 2023:

You are charismatic. You are enthusiastic, upbeat and friendly with others. You are also a benevolent and caring person who commits yourself to a cause. This year is slower-paced. It’s your chance to rejuvenate yourself, as well as be helpful to others. Expect to focus on relationships.


(March 21-April 19)
This is a wonderful day to socialize with friends, groups and organizations. It’s also an excellent day to think of future goals, and also to think about what your friends mean to you. What kind of friend are you? Tonight: Socialize!


(April 20-May 20)
The New Moon occurs at the top of your chart today. This is the only time all year when this can happen. Therefore, this is the best day for you to think about your life direction in general. Are you headed where you want to go? Tonight: Impress people.


(May 21-June 20)
This is the perfect day to think about future travel plans and how you can expand your world. What do you want to learn through travel, education or talking to people from different backgrounds? What adventures do want to experience? Tonight: Explore!


(June 21-July 22)
Today’s New Moon is a wonderful opportunity to think about how you can improve your relationship to your debt, as well as the relationship you have to shared property and anything that you own jointly with others. Today is the day to see solutions. Tonight: Be generous.


(July 23-Aug. 22)
Today the only New Moon opposite your sign all year is taking place, which is a wonderful opportunity …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is back – here’s how to take part

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on January 27-29

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on January 27-29 (Pictures: Getty)

Calling all budding birdwatchers and avid twitchers – the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch returns from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29.

The charity invites everyone across the UK to take part in its annual bird survey by spending an hour outside – whether in the garden, a park, from a balcony, anywhere – counting how many birds they see, and sending them results.

Worried you don’t know your sparrows from your swallows? Don’t worry, the RSPB provides a free guide to common UK birds to help with identification – you can download it here in English and Welsh.

The Big Garden Birdwatch, billed by the RSPB as the world’s biggest wildlife survey, is now in its 44th year.

Over four decades it has provided a snapshot of the country’s big population, including rapid declines for species including the song thrush – sightings are down 81% from the first survey in 1979.

Greenfinch sightings have dropped 63% since 1993 following an outbreak of trichomonosis, a disease that causes problems swallowing food.

It’s not all bad news however – in 2022 blue jay sightings were up 73% compared to the previous year, moving them nine places up to 23.

House sparrows retained their crown as the most commonly-spotted species, with more than 1.7million recorded sightings. Blue tits and starlings claimed second and third.

In total more than 11million birds were counted last year by almost 700,000 people. To take part this year, sign up here.

Click here for the RSPB’s full bird A-Z.

How to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch

1. Count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park …read more

Source:: Metro News

Desperate and starving, the people risking their lives to work on a deadly mountain of rubbish

A person rummages through the rubbish dump in Dandora, which receives more than 2,000 metric tonnes of waste from the capital city’s 4.5 million residents every day

It’s filthy, backbreaking and dangerous work. But for many Kenyans, scavenging through a mountain of deadly rubbish is the only way they can survive.

Every day, an estimated 2,000 people – mainly women and children – rummage through the Dandora rubbish dump on the outskirts of Nairobi, desperately hunting through dirty plastic, broken glass and medical waste for recyclables to sell – or even food to eat. A kilo of plastics will earn them just 11p. 

Many work with bare hands, risking their health as they do so. Waste pickers are vulnerable to cancers, respiratory issues, skin problems, fungal infections and miscarriages and infertility, among a host of other conditions.

Sites like this proliferate across the developing world. Globally, in countries such as India, Ghana and Vietnam, waste pickers, who are predominantly female, suffer from debilitating diseases as a result.

Griffins Ochieng, executive director for the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development, a Nairobi-based nonprofit focusing on the problem of plastic waste, says: ‘This is a global problem. Any dumpsite – anywhere there is plastic pollution – women will be impacted.’

Dandora is Nairobi’s main dumping ground. Every day, it receives more than 2,000 metric tonnes of waste from the capital city’s 4.5 million residents. Among it are rotting leftovers from nearby slaughterhouses (Picture: Gerald Anderson/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Described as a ‘perilous recycling economy’, the landfill puts food on the tables of around 3,000 families. But it also contaminates the air, land and water supply for miles around (Picture: Gerald Anderson/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Acrid smoke rises up into the air, risking the health of both the waste pickers and the nearby community. Many of the women at the site end up with cancer after inhaling and ingesting heavy …read more

Source:: Metro News

This Redditor took out $76,000 in loans to trade meme stocks thanks to hype on Wall Street Bets. It became an “addiction” and he even lost $6,000 of his girlfriend’s money.

Aaron traded at the height of the meme stocks craze, but soon fell into a financial black hole.

A Reddit user took out $76,672 in loans to trade meme stocks and lost nearly all of it.
Aaron says he felt addicted to trading after using the subreddit, styled as r/wallstreetbets.
He’s now left with monthly repayments that eat up more than half his income.

A member of the Reddit group that fueled the Gamestop stock chaos took out $75,000 in loans and says he was addicted to trading meme stocks — even losing $6,000 lent to him by his girlfriend.

Aaron, a software engineer from Munich, took out tens of thousands of dollars in loans to trade stocks. He said was driven by chatter on the Wall Street Bets subreddit, styled as r/wallstreetbets and also known as WSB, which pushed him into investing sums he couldn’t afford for fear of missing out on big returns.

Aaron, 29, is using a pseudonym as he doesn’t want his family to find out about his losses.

“It was like an addiction because you have this community and they always post,” he told Insider. 

“And then you see ‘Oh, there’s a next big thing,’ and then you are like, ‘I have to get money and I have to invest it or else I will miss out on this big chance.'”

Despite making $4,000 at the start, Aaron quickly saw his finances fall into a black hole.

He took out five loans for a total of 71,000 euros ($76,672) between December 2020 and September 2021 to help him invest in meme stocks — stocks with low value that gain hype through social media, driving up their value — like Bed Bath & Beyond. His biggest one-off loan was for 20,000 euros, or about $21,488.

Insider verified this information with documents shared …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

I tried to guess if Apple audiobooks were narrated by AI or real people. It was harder than you’d think.

Apple has launched dozens of new audiobooks narrated by AI-generated voices.

Apple has launched new audiobooks narrated by AI-generated voices.
Some critics argue they’re not what customers want.
I listened to a mix of human narrators and AI voices in a blind test to guess which ones were real.

Apple has launched a new line of audiobooks narrated by AI-generated voices that now read dozens of its titles.

The tech giant says the digital voices are “natural sounding” and “based on a human narrator,” but some critics argue they’re not what customers want and are no replacement for the passionate performances human readers can give.

I decided to challenge myself to spot the difference in a blind test.

My editor recorded one-minute snippets of five audiobooks on her phone and sent them to me without more information, so I wouldn’t know which were read by humans and which by AI voices.

They were all from the free preview extracts on Apple’s Books app.

I tried to guess which were which and wrote my reviews before finding out.

We added the recordings to the article so you can also pass judgment. You can find out which were AI and which were human at the bottom of this article.

Extract one: ‘Shelter From the Storm’ by Kristen Ethridge

Bea Nolan · Audiobook 1

I wasn’t immediately sure about this one.

The voice sounded vaguely familiar to some more neutral voice actors I had listened to before. The tone also shifted a few times, and I was sure she said the word “Becca” differently the second time.

However, on further listening, I concluded the voice was a bit too perfect. The words sounded robotic and the sentences ended quite abruptly. The intonation of each sentence was also a bit repetitive. 

I concluded it …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

The filmmakers behind a secretive new Brett Kavanaugh documentary said they got new tips about him as soon as the film was announced: ‘I do hope this triggers action’

Brett Kavanaugh

A new documentary about misconduct allegations against Justice Brett Kavanaugh premiered on Friday.
The film was a last-minute addition to Sundance and was kept under wraps until Thursday.
The filmmakers said they started getting new tips about Kavanaugh right after the film was announced.

After a surprise announcement that a documentary focusing on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, more tips started to roll in, according to the filmmakers.

Programmers of the indie film fest, held annually in Park City, Utah, revealed Thursday that the film “Justice” from director Doug Liman would screen on Friday evening. The film centers on accusations initially made against Kavanaugh in 2018, when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.

The film revealed additional details about accusations made against Kavanaugh. It covers incidents alleged by accusers including Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before Congress in 2018, and Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale.

The film also includes new details of allegations about a separate incident at Yale that involved a different woman who is not named and declined to be part of the film. Those allegations were provided to the FBI by another Yale alumnus, Max Stier, during its investigation of Kavanaugh — there were more than 4,500 tips provided to the FBI, according to the film, with the most credible tips being passed on to the White House.

The filmmakers acquired a recording of Stier sharing his recollection of the incident, which provides one of the documentary’s most gripping segments. “That material like that was just shielded and sent to the White House and never pursued, for me that was the most shocking” discovery of the film, Liman said during a Q&A after the …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

True side effects of coming off anti-depressants to be investigated

Photo Taken In Oradea, Romania

More than eight million people in the UK are prescribed antidepressants for depression or anxiety (Picture: Getty Images/EyeEm)

Coming off anti-depressants can be a terrifying prospect for many struggling with their mental health.

Some fear side-effects such as severe mood swings, or worry about coping without the pills at all.

Antidepressants come in many forms, including commonly prescribed SSRIs like as citalopram, sertraline and fluoxetine.

According to the latest available statistics, more than eight million people in the UK are prescribed antidepressants to help cope with depression or anxiety.

The drugs work by altering people’s mood and changing their patterns of thinking.

Psychologists at Bath University are now working to improve help for people withdrawing from antidepressants – and are recruiting volunteers for a ground-breaking new study.

Lead researcher and PhD student, Raqeeb Mahmood said the area was ‘understudied’ in the field.

He told ‘Antidepressant withdrawal is a hugely important and yet understudied area of healthcare and patients regularly report that their withdrawal is not properly managed or understood by their doctors.

Coming off antidepressants can be a daunting process (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

‘We only have a limited understanding of what happens once patients stop taking their antidepressants.

‘As far as we know, no studies have followed patients as they withdraw from SSRI antidepressants to see how their moods, withdrawal symptoms and thinking patterns change on a day-by-day basis.

‘Therefore our study has the potential to inform the management of depression and antidepressant withdrawal in the NHS and the findings will be relevant to both antidepressant users and clinicians.’

As well as depression, antidepressants can be used to treat bulimia, panic disorders, generalised anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and serious phobias.

Raqeeb hopes to shed light to help the millions prescribed antidepressants …read more

Source:: Metro News

College professors are considering creative ways to stop students from using AI to cheat

Professors have reported examples of students cheating on their assignments by using AI.

Some professors say students are using new tech to pass off AI-generated content as their own.
Academics are concerned that colleges are not set up to combat the new style of cheating.
Professors say they considering switching back to written assessments and oral exams. 

College professors are feeling the heat when it comes to AI. 

Some professors say students are using OpenAI’s buzzy chatbot, ChatGPT, to pass off AI-generated content as their own.

Antony Aumann, a philosophy professor at Northern Michigan University, and Darren Hick, a philosophy professor at Furman University, both say they’ve caught students submitting essays written by ChatGPT.

The issue has led to professors considering creative ways to stamp out the use of AI in colleges.

Blue books and oral exams 

“I’m perplexed about how to handle AI going forward,” Aumann told Insider.

He said one way he was considering tackling the problem was shifting to lockdown browsers, a type of software that aims to prevent students from cheating when taking exams online or remotely.

Other academics are considering more drastic action. 

“I’m planning on going medieval on the students and going all the way back to oral exams,” Christopher Bartel, a philosophy professor at Appalachian State University, said. “They can AI generate text all day long in their notes if they want, but if they have to be able to speak it, that’s a different thing.”

Bartel said there were inclusivity concerns around this, however. “Students who have deep social anxieties about speaking in public is something we’ll have to figure out.”

“Another way to deal with AI is for faculty to avoid giving students assignments that are very well covered,” he said. “If the students have to be able to engage with a unique idea that hasn’t been covered very deeply in …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Swanson: With Grizzlies’ Ja Morant, there’s always something to see

LOS ANGELES — There’s the subset of stratospheric celebrities who get the one-name treatment. And basketball has its wing of stars – M.J., K.D., A.D. – identifiable by their initials.

But then there are those transcendent single-syllable intergalactic talents, guys who can light a fuse and get the blood flowing and just keep surprising you.

Like Ja.

Ja, man. Ja rules.

But nah, Ja. Not Friday night. The Lakers avoided more late-game heartbreak, subduing Ja and his surging Memphis Grizzlies, 122-121, after outsourcing them 41-32 in the fourth quarter to end their 11-game winning streak in the process.

Friday’s result aside, Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant, the Grizzlies’ delightfully acrobatic star guard is, as they say nowadays, “Him” – with the neatly scripted tattoo atop his right hand to spell it out for you, probably because #LeaguePassAlert wouldn’t fit.

The NBA’s resident flying trapeze artist, an elevating, levitating, contorting magician, he makes for appointment viewing, because you really never know what you’ll see. In a nationally televised game Friday, the stunning play was the fracas in which his father was involved at the end of the first half at Arena.

It started with the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks exchanging words with Shannon Sharpe, the former NFL tight end turned sports talk show host. (Apparently, it was a high-minded debate about Brooks’ ability to guard LeBron James, to which Brooks’ said his response was: “I told him he missed the shot, that’s all.”)

Memphis center Steven Adams, the big Kiwi, stood up for his mate, as did Tee Morant, Ja’s ever-present, extra-enthusiastic father. He and Sharpe had to be kept separated on the sideline before Ja and his teammates headed for the visitor’s locker room and Sharpe and Tee on their separate ways.

Both spectators were back in their seats on opposite sides of the court to start the second …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

Marines fooled a DARPA robot by hiding in a cardboard box while giggling and pretending to be trees

United States Marines and representatives from Boston Dynamics look at Spot, a four-legged robot designed for indoor and outdoor operation, during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge at the Fairplex June 5, 2015 in Pomona, California. Organized by DARPA, the Pentagon’s science research group, 24 teams from around the world are competing for $3.5 million in prize money that will be awarded to the humanoid robots that best respond to natural and man-made disasters.

Former Pentagon policy analyst Paul Scharre discusses global power and AI in his upcoming book.
He writes that Marines trained the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s robots.
The robots, trained to identify humans, were fooled by Marines doing somersaults and hiding in boxes.

The state-of-the-art robots used by the Pentagon had an easily manipulated weakness, according to an upcoming book by a former policy analyst: Though they’re trained to identify human targets, the bots are easily fooled with the most lackluster of disguises.

In his upcoming book, “Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence,” former Pentagon policy analyst and Army veteran Paul Scharre writes that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) team trained its robots with a team of Marines for six days to improve its artificial intelligence systems. 

Scharre did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment. “Four Battlegrounds: Power in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” will be released on February 28.

Shashank Josi, defense editor at The Economist, posted several excerpts from Scharre’s book on Twitter. In the passages, Scharre details how, at the end of their training course, the Marines devised a game to test the DARPA robot’s intelligence.

Eight Marines placed the robot in the center of a traffic circle and found creative ways to approach it, aiming to get close enough to touch the …read more

Source:: Businessinsider

Jewish fan met with anti-Semitic abuse from fellow Arsenal supporters after North London Derby

Katie Price, 26, was left 'very shaken' following the incident (Picture: Google/Katie Price)

Katie Price, 26, was left ‘very shaken’ following the incident (Picture: Google/Katie Price)

An Arsenal fan has called for a ‘culture change’ in football after she was subjected to antisemitic abuse from supporters of her own club.

Katie Price, 26, had enjoyed two matches on Sunday – Arsenal Women v Chelsea Women in the morning and Arsenal v Tottenham in the evening.

She and her friends visited the Cally pub in Islington for the second fixture, where they had an interaction with a group of older men.

Katie, who is Jewish, claims the fellow Arsenal supporters hurled antisemitic abuse at her after she asked them to stop chanting ‘yiddo’.

Yiddo, and yid, are antisemitic terms for a Jew, and are often used to refer to Spurs fans.

Katie says she was called a ‘dirty f** yid’ and ‘Tottenham supporting yiddo’ by the men.

She claims the group then reached for her Arsenal strip to try rip it off, before making threats of violence.

After raising the issue with bar staff, it was Katie and her friends who were told to leave the premises.

Katie and her friend on Sunday (Picture: Katie Price)

She told ‘It was the first time I’d ever experienced such violent abuse. What was shocking was the amount of people taking part, as well as the people who did nothing.

‘They also tried to rip my shirt off, which fits into the wider narrative against Jews that we aren’t who we say we are.

‘I was left really shaken. Football is a big part of my life, my family is from Eastern Europe and football was a way for them to integrate.

‘You get told at games to report abuse or situations like this, to “kick it out”‘.

‘But that’s a broken window …read more

Source:: Metro News

Bowflex VeloCore Bike review: Peloton rival that leans to emulate real road cycling 

Bowflex VeloCore Bike

Can the Bowflex outperform the Peloton? (Picture: Lee Bell)

Not so long ago I sold my beloved Peloton to the good people of eBay.

I was a big fan of the bike, but like most who’ve recently flogged their lockdown-acquired home gym equipment for some lucky sod to procure for a fraction of the price, I just didn’t use it enough.

The return of in-person fitness classes was to blame for the novelty wearing off, and there was also the issue of space. Far too many toes had been stubbed on that clunky bike as it dominated the little space I had in my guest room, and it had become a glorified clothes rail by the time I decided to get rid.

It’s for this reason that I didn’t exactly jump at the chance to review the new VeloCore Bike by Bowflex – a company known for its SelectTech Adjustable Dumbbells, which were about as rare as rocking horse manure during the majority of 2020.

Alas, I was sold on the fact that this bike is like no other on the market because it leans from side to side to emulate real road cycling and works your core as you pedal away. My arm was well and truly twisted. But I had questions. How exactly does it work? Would it really feel like riding a real race bike? Is it totally safe? I needed to find out.

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The first challenge: setup

The regret of my decision slapped me around the chops when the bike rocked up on my drive in a 5x4ft box – flat pack style. Unlike Peloton, who includes an assembly and set-up as part of its delivery …read more

Source:: Metro News

George Santos appears to have claimed he acted in ‘Hannah Montana’ and with Uma Thurman in a movie she wasn’t actually in

GOP Rep. George Santos; Miley Cyrus as Hannah Montana

A Wikipedia user called Anthony Devolder made elaborate claims about his acting experience.
The name is a known alias of GOP Rep. George Santos, who has made false claims about his past.
The Wiki bio also said the user performed in drag, something Santos has denied ever doing.

A Wikipedia user going by the name Anthony Devolder — a known alias for embattled GOP Rep. George Santos — made a host of fantastical claims about his acting record, saying he appeared in two successful Disney Channel shows and in a movie alongside Oscar-nominated actress Uma Thurman.

The Wikipedia page featuring the user’s bio, which was first reported Friday by Politico, has since been taken down but was still accessible in internet archives. The bio, which appears to have last been edited on April 29, 2011, is riddled with typos and misspellings. It also includes details that align with Santos, including saying the user was born on July 22, 1988, to a Brazilian family with a European background.

It continues to say that “Anthony Devolder first startted his ‘stage’ life at age 17 as an gay night club DRAG QUEEN and with that won sevral GAY ‘BEAUTY PAGENTS’!”

Santos, who is openly gay, this week denied ever performing in drag after several people told media outlets, including Insider, that they used to know him as a drag performer in Brazil.

The Wiki bio said Devolder “took his step into the begining of his carrer in witch he started in a few T.V shows and DISNEY Channel shows,” including “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” and “Hannah Montana.” It also said “he taped his very first movie in 2009,” …read more

Source:: Businessinsider