Got plagues?

first_imgWhen filming a movie about biblical plagues raining down on a small Louisiana town, chances are pretty strong you’ll spend some off-hours discussing faith. Now imagine that your $45 million apocalypse tale is interrupted not once but twice by the real-life catastrophes of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The difficult production of Warner Bros.’ “The Reaping,” which opens in theaters on Thursday, was life imitating art on an undeniably epic scale. And it really got people talking. Starring Hilary Swank as a missionary-turned-professional skeptic, “Reaping” had an evacuation plan in place even before shooting started in the spring of 2005. Twice the crew fled and returned to its home base of St. Francisville, La. — a 1,712-person town that had been destroyed by floods some 120 years ago. As producer Herb Gains noted, “It was strange to be working on a film that had so much to do with God’s work and then be faced with God’s work in a very real way.” So what do those involved with “The Reaping” think of suggestions that Mother Nature or her non-secular equivalent was trying to send a message? And while we’re talking unexplained phenomena, what about the Myrtles Plantation, the much-documented haunted inn a few blocks down from the film’s home base in St. Francisville? New haunts “I tried to stay there and just freaked out,” says director Stephen Hopkins. “When I was young, I had a bunch of supernatural experiences happen to me. It sort of gives you a purpose in life because you realize there are things going on that you don’t understand.” “I was going to try to rent it out for Halloween,” adds a brave Swank. “But it had been booked out for years in advance.” Bigger questions about acts of God and mythic mysteries produce head- shakes and gentle smiles. “Not part of an organized religion, but spiritually inclined,” appears to be the party line among “Reaping” actors Idris Elba, David Morrissey and director Hopkins. That rotten weather? Tragic and awe-inspiring, but not a sign from above, they say. “I didn’t draw parallels to the film,” says Morrissey, who plays a schoolteacher and possible love interest who lures Swank’s character to the plagued burg of Haven. “As a working operation down there — which is what the film was — it was a terrible thing that happened, and we had to carry on and help as many people around us as we could.” What they believe Elba came to the film open-minded and left more skeptical than when he arrived. “What I found out in my research was the lengths people will go to to fool people into believing there’s a phenomenon,” says Elba, whose character Ben, is a Christian miracle-debunking researcher who actually hopes that he will find evidence of divine workings. “That was really eerie for me. You’re open to the idea that spirituality may take on a physical form. After doing this film and doing the research, it was like, ‘Wow. Come on!’ “ Swank, who was not raised in any organized religion, says she believes in a “higher power,” and pretty much leaves it at that. Her research consisted of boning up on the Scriptures and talking to the editors of magazines such as The Skeptical Inquirer. “The people who debunk these myths and miracles, that’s their job — and that’s what they do,” she says. “When you sit down and talk to them, it’s really interesting to hear that they feel like there’s a scientific reason for everything that happens in the world. Then there are other people who come in who say there is no scientific proof for this. It’s all God.” Katrina or no Katrina, Swank says she gets “The Reaping’s” debate. “The movie certainly makes you ask the question, and one of the things I think people question the most is their belief in a higher power,” says Swank. “The movie has religious undertones, yet there’s also skeptical and atheist undertones. I think we’re looking at things from a lot of different viewpoints.” In that respect, the interruptions helped. “The cast and crew and I went down to talk to the (Katrina) refugees,” adds director Hopkins. “One lady who had lost her child was saying, ‘How could God do this?’ It cast a real thing over the movie. A lot of people lost their faith in religion.” Faith turned upside-down Swank, who first read the script after winning her second best actress Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby,” plays Katherine Winter who — after losing her family in the Sudan — travels the world disproving miracles. Her faith (or lack thereof) is upended yet again when she arrives in Haven, La., to confront a host of plagues and a creepy 11-year-old girl (played by AnnaSophia Robb) who is suspected of having a hand in the odd events. You read that right. Biblical plagues: including flies, boils, cattle disease, rivers running red with blood, and locusts. Lots and lots of locusts. Although he considers it more a supernatural thriller than straight-ahead horror film, Hopkins also contends that maintaining a certain sense of “this could happen” psychologically within “The Reaping” was a key toward sustaining believability. “The challenge is to put this into a contemporary world,” the director says. “When I was looking around trying to find other films that tried to do this, I couldn’t really find any. Church officials have been largely enthusiastic about a tale delving into a woman’s loss of faith. As one preacher noted, no filmmaker could realistically make an adaptation of the Old Testament. “It would be triple-X-rated, with all the violence and fornication,” says Hopkins. “The Old Testament God is not such a good guy. He’s a jealous, tough guy.”— Evan Henerson, (818) [email protected]last_img read more

Dinosaurs Evolved from Birds

first_imgBirds evolved from dinosaurs, we are often told.  That’s backwards, reply some scientists at Oregon State University.  According to PhysOrg, the recently-published bi-plane model study of Microraptor gui (01/29/2010) demonstrates that theropod dinosaurs did not sprout wings and fly; instead, they became flightless after their bird ancestors came down from the trees.    Their response demonstrates how the same evidence can be spun different ways.  They are adamant about it: “The weight of the evidence is now suggesting that not only did birds not descend from dinosaurs,” John Ruben of OSU said, “but that some species now believed to be dinosaurs may have descended from birds.”  He’s glad to see a breakthrough from the conventional wisdom.  “This issue isn’t resolved at all.  There are just too many inconsistencies with the idea that birds had dinosaur ancestors, and this newest study adds to that.”    Ruben believes instead that theropods and birds had a common ancestor, and birds evolved into flightless varieties, including raptors like Velociraptor.  “This may be hugely upsetting to a lot of people, but it makes perfect sense,” he said.    Ruben portrayed OSU scientists as mavericks against the consensus along with others at Florida State, particularly Alan Feduccia, a long critic of the dinosaur-to-bird consensus. OSU research on avian biology and physiology has been raising questions on this issue since the 1990s, often in isolation.  More scientists and other studies are now challenging the same premise, Ruben said.  The old theories were popular, had public appeal and “many people saw what they wanted to see” instead of carefully interpreting the data, he said.O    “Pesky new fossils…sharply at odds with conventional wisdom never seem to cease popping up,” Ruben wrote in his PNAS commentary.  “Given the vagaries of the fossil record, current notions of near resolution of many of the most basic questions about long-extinct forms should probably be regarded with caution.”Ruben’s commentary critiquing the “accepted wisdom” of bird evolution was published on PNAS today.1  The commentary ends with a warning to his colleagues to be careful about interpreting fossils.  He referred to “very recent data suggest that many clearly cursorial theropods previously thought to have been feathered may not have been so, and that dromaeosaurs, the group that birds are assumed to have been derived from, may not even have been dinosaurs.”  Scientists should therefore be careful about considering controversies solved.  “What pops up next is anyone’s guess.”1.  John Ruben, “Paleobiology and the origins of avian flight,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PDF), February 9, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.0915099107.So scientists saw what they wanted to see.  Next question: why did they want to see it?  The invisible hand of Charlie controls the blinders on their eyes.    Conventional wisdom is often an oxymoron.  It afflicts those infected with sophoxymoronia (02/02/2008 commentary).  Wisdom often requires breaking from conventions, especially scientific ones, where wrong ideas reinforce one another.  Cheer for the Mavericks.  In this case, Ruben is not maverick enough.  He needs to burn his Darwin Party card and join the ID revolution.(Visited 44 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Oldendorff Agrees Eight Acquisitions in Two Months

first_imgzoom Germany-based shipowner and operator Oldendorff Carriers confirmed that it purchased a total of eight vessels since August 2016.Namely, the company said that it bought 3 Babycapes and 5 Post Panamax bulk carriers to supplement its owned fleet.The company’s latest purchase includes the 2011-built Post Panamax bulk carriers UBC Onsan and UBC Ohio. Bought from Oldendorff’s compatriot shipping firm Hartmann Reederei, the vessels, which were built by China’s Dayang Shipbuilding Co., feature 119,000 dwt.In September, the company splashed some USD 38 million for four Post Panamax dry bulk carriers when it agreed to buy the 2011- and 2012-built ships from German shipping company NSC Schifffahrtsgesellschaft. The 93,000 dwt Tonic Sea, Tana Sea, Tango Sea, and Tonda Sea were sold for USD 9.5 million each.During the same month, Oldendorff bought another second-hand Post Panamax bulker, namely Emma Schulte, for a price of USD 12.6 million.In August, the shipowner acquired the 95,000 dwt Post Panamax bulker Oriental Angel for USD 16.4 million, according to data provided by VesselsValue.“Over the last 12 months, we have purchased 17 second hand and resale bulk carriers for delivery between early 2016 and early 2017 at historically attractive prices,” Oldendorff said.The company added that its newbuilding program will see the delivery of the second Qingshan 63,500 dwt Ultramax vessel Imme Oldendorff later this month.“In total we will have taken delivery of 13 eco newbuilding vessels during this calendar year. The average age of our fleet is reducing and we are operating a more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly fleet,” according to Oldendorff.last_img read more

Rick Nash not leaving Columbus yet

After weeks of speculation and countless rumors making their way through the media, Columbus Blue Jackets captain Rick Nash is staying put. But comments from Columbus’ general manager Scott Howson still leave room for speculation about how long Nash will remain at Nationwide Arena. The National Hockey League trade deadline came and went at 3 p.m. Monday, and Nash was not moved despite Howson entertaining offers for Nash from multiple teams, according to reports. The lack of movement for Nash could become an awkward situation for the Blue Jackets after Nash’s agent, Joe Resnick, issued a statement to The Sporting News that pushed for a deal to be done by Monday’s deadline. “We’re hopeful a deal can get done prior to the trade deadline that is fair and equitable for the Blue Jackets,” Resnick said in his statement. “However, if a deal is not reached, then the list of acceptable teams will not change at a later date.” Resnick referenced reports that Nash’s list of teams that he would approve for a trade would change if the Blue Jackets moved him over the summer. A no-trade clause in Nash’s contract puts him in the driver’s seat for which team he would end up with if a trade were to be made in the future. And, in a twist contrary to initial reports, Howson said in a press conference following Monday’s deadline that it was Nash who approached him about a trade and not vice versa. Nash had been adamant with the media about never asking the Blue Jackets to be traded. The rift between Nash and the general manager likely won’t improve as they are now in a public disagreement about the origin of the trade rumors. After Monday’s trade deadline past, Howson said Nash first approached the organization about a trade. Though Nash was the focus of the trade deadline league-wide, the Blue Jackets did make a trio of moves in the week leading up to the deadline. The only move the Blue Jackets made Monday involved sending center Sammy Pahlsson to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for two-2012 fourth-round picks. Former center Antoine Vermette was traded to the Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday in exchange for goalie Curtis McElhinney, a 2012 second-round pick and a 2013 fifth-round pick. Since the 2009 season, McElhinney has been a member of four NHL squads and is rehabilitating an injury in the American Hockey League. Former Blue Jackets center Jeff Carter was shipped to Los Angeles on Thursday for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first round pick. The condition is that the Blue Jackets will be able to choose if they want the pick to be in this year’s entry draft or next year’s. There was an audible roar from the crowd when the trade was announced prior to the start of Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. Johnson, a former University of Michigan player, received an ovation from those in attendance when he arrived midway through the game. Howson made it clear that his most recent rebuilding of the Blue Jackets will be focused on drafting well as he stock-piled draft picks and only received two players in exchange for the three he dealt. The Blue Jackets will continue their season Tuesday when they host the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. read more

Mens basketball former Ohio State commit Dane Goodwin announces intention to play

OSU commits Kaleb Wesson and Dane Goodwin battle for a rebound in a game at Upper Arlington High School on Jan. 25. Wesson had 49 points and Goodwin had 35. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorAfter decommitting from the Ohio State men’s basketball team on June 21, four-star shooting guard Dane Goodwin from the 2018 class has verbally committed to Notre Dame, the recruit tweeted Wednesday.He had committed to Ohio State — led by former head coach Thad Matta — on Dec. 1, 2014. Ready to be apart of the family!— Dane Goodwin (@danegoodwin23) July 6, 2017Previously the Buckeyes’ only 2018 recruit, Goodwin is the fourth-best prospect in the state of Ohio, 74th-best overall and 16th-best at his position, according to 247Sports composite rankings. The Buckeyes have no commits in their 2018 class. The Upper Arlington native was the third prospect in his class to decommit from Ohio State, following decommitments from four-star small forward Darius Bazeley (now committed to Syracuse) on April 26 and four-star small forward Justin Ahrens on June 6. read more

Nicolo Barella looked up to ex Lazio man as a child

first_imgCagliari and Italy starlet Nicolo Barella says the midfielder that was his role model while growing up was ex-Lazio and Inter man Dejan Stankovic.Inter Milan tops the clubs Barella has been rumoured with for a move this month, while Stankovic on his own made over 300 appearances for the Nerazzurri between 2014 and 2013.When he was asked who he most looked up to as a schoolboy, the 21-year-old replied according to Football Italia:“Stankovic.Romelu Lukaku, Inter Milan, Cagliari, Serie AReport: Inter ultra’s claim chants to Lukaku were not racist George Patchias – September 4, 2019 Inter Milan ultras have defended opposition fans of Cagliari as not racist in their monkey chants aimed at Lukaku.This past weekend, after Romelu Lukkku…“I loved his determination as a child. I still remember his great goal from midfield.”Dejan Stankovic’s halfway line volley against Schalke, in the champions league…. 😮🙌🏻⚽️— Titanic Goals (@TitanicGoals) July 31, 2016last_img read more

Tropical Storm Philippe leaves Bahamas dumps loads of rain on US

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppNASSAU, Bahamas – October 30, 2017 A system being monitored from mid-week last week did become quite an event for The Bahamas over the weekend as Tropical Storm Philippe formed and brought to parts of Eleuthera, Grand Bahama, Abaco and Bimini winds up to 50mph, significant rainfall and possible flooding were also in the forecast.The storm slid out of the country past the Florida East Coast on its way to the open western Atlantic by late on Sunday and this morning there is no trace of the system on the National Hurricane Center’s chart of the Atlantic.What is on the radar today, a low level non tropical low pressure system about 1000 miles east of Bermuda.The All Clear was given by NEMA for The Bahamas since 3:30pm Sunday, October 29. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Related Items:#allclear, #tropicalstormPhilippelast_img read more