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IT40 Places & Things in the Media for 01/11/2019

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IT40

#1 Cowboys vs Rams. Saturday Night. #FinishThisFight

Dallas Cowboys

A rematch with its electricity etched all throughout history. From Dallas to LA, the battle at the Coliseum goes way back and its roots run deep. Saturday night. #FinishThisFight

 

 

Cowboys underdogs on NFL odds at Rams on Saturday night

The Dallas Cowboys visit the Los Angeles Rams hoping to advance to the NFC Championship Game, with the sportsbooks making Dak Prescott and company clear underdogs.

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys are 8-1 straight up and 6-2-1 against the spread over their last nine games. The Cowboys will try to keep their hot streak going with a big upset win over the Los Angeles Rams this Saturday night.

Dallas is a 7-point underdog on the NFL odds in Los Angeles at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. In three instances as a 7.5-point underdog this season the Cowboys went a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS.

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams

When: Saturday, January 12, 8:15 p.m. ET

Where: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles, California

Betting Line / Total: Los Angeles -7 / 49.5 Points

Cowboys at Rams OddsShark Matchup Report

Dallas Cowboys

A late Seattle touchdown and two-point conversion made the game look closer on the scoreboard at 24-22 and cost Dallas backers a cover in the closing moments of the game last week. But this was overall a dominant effort for the Cowboys defense and for its big stars on offense.

Dak Prescott threw for one touchdown and rushed for another, Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 137 yards on 26 carries and Amari Cooper caught seven passes for 106 yards. This team is clicking on both sides of the ball and will not be an easy out for the Rams this weekend.

The Cowboys are 4-1 SU and ATS in their last five road games against the Rams per the OddsShark NFL Database.

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles looked largely out-of-sync in a pair of back-to-back December losses to the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles that knocked the Rams out of the running for the top spot in the NFC.

The Rams used a pair of tune-up games against the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers to end the season on a 2-0 SU and ATS high note and to get the offense back on track in the process. Despite their dominant 13-3 SU campaign this season the Rams went just 7-7-2 ATS.

Saturday night’s total is set at 49.5 points at online sports betting sites. The OVER is 5-2 in Los Angeles’ last seven games at home.

On paper, the Rams may be the most talented team in the NFL. Los Angeles has the potential to win the Super Bowl if it plays its best football of the season in the playoffs. But if the Rams come out flat and don’t put together a full four-quarter effort, they could face a rude awakening against a team as hot as the Cowboys this Saturday.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

NFL playoffs picks: Who experts are taking in Rams vs. Cowboys

Being favored by seven points, the Rams are the clear favorite. They’re at home, have had a week to rest and Todd Gurley is ready to roll. That doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to win, but they obviously have a great shot.

The experts clearly believe Los Angeles will move on to the NFC title game with the majority picking the Rams in this one. According to NFL Pick Watch, 79 percent of experts took L.A. to win straight-up on Saturday night.

Here are five experts picking the Rams.

  • Mike Clay, ESPN
  • Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY
  • Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY
  • Michael David Smith, PFT
  • Matt Bowen, ESPN

And here are five experts picking the Cowboys to pull off the upset.

  • Nate Davis, USA TODAY
  • Elliot Harrison, NFL.com
  • Mike Florio, PFT
  • Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports
  • Geoff Schwartz, SB Nation

When picking against the spread, it’s a far different split. Only 38 percent of the experts are taking the Rams to cover the seven-point spread. That’s a good bet because the Rams only covered the spread seven times this season and only one of those was in a game where they were favored by fewer than 7.5 points.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, covered the spread nine times this season and only three times when they were underdogs, they failed to cover.

#2 SpaceX • Iridium satellite constellation • Iridium Communications • Falcon 9

CHP - Santa Barbara

Watch the Falcon 9 rocket launch from SpaceX. This is SpaceX's eighth and final launch to build out a constellation of 75 modern communications satellites for Iridium. For this mission, SpaceX will...

 

 

SpaceX successfully launched its first mission of the year — and its last for customer Iridium

6 comments

Liftoff is scheduled for 10:31AM ET

Update Jan. 11th, 2019 11:50 EST: All 10 Iridium satellites have been successfully deployed to low-Earth orbit.

Update Jan. 11th, 2019 11AM EST: The takeoff was successful but the launch is still ongoing. SpaceX also landed its Falcon 9 rocket on one of its drone ships following liftoff, bringing its total number of successful booster landings to 33.

Original: SpaceX is set to launch its first Falcon 9 rocket of the year this morning out of California — a flight that will also mark the first orbital mission of 2019 for the US. The company will be sending up 10 satellites for long-time customer Iridium. After takeoff, SpaceX will attempt its first rocket landing of the year by touching down on an autonomous drone ship in the Pacific.

Today’s flight, called Iridium-8, will send up the final batch of satellites for the Iridium NEXT constellation. SpaceX has held a contract with Iridium to launch all 75 in-orbit satellites for the constellation, which will provide telecommunications coverage from low Earth orbit. The constellation is a replacement and upgrade of Iridium’s original satellite fleet, which launched between 1997 and 2002. SpaceX has been periodically launching these new probes in batches of 10 from California, except for one flight that sent up five satellites. Today’s launch will make the orbiting NEXT constellation complete.

About 10 minutes after liftoff, SpaceX will aim for its Falcon 9 to touch down on a drone ship in the ocean. It’s been a little over a month since the company has recovered a rocket. SpaceX’s last flight in December was tasked with launching a GPS satellite for the US Air Force, and because of the parameters of the mission, the company opted not to land its Falcon 9 after launch. Before that flight, SpaceX actually botched a landing when a Falcon 9 headed for a concrete landing pad on the Florida coast wound up in the ocean instead.

Fortunately for SpaceX, today’s rocket has done all this before. This Falcon 9 previously launched the Telstar 18 VANTAGE satellite in September from Florida and then landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic. Perhaps it can pull off that same routine again, except from the West Coast. If this rocket does stick the landing today, it’ll mark the 33rd successful landing of a Falcon 9 rocket core.

Liftoff for today’s launch is scheduled for 10:31AM ET from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and SpaceX has an instantaneous window, so the company must launch at that time or push to another day. A backup launch window is available Saturday at 10:25AM ET. SpaceX’s coverage of the launch is set to begin 15 minutes before takeoff. Check back then to kick off the first US launch of 2019.

SpaceX launches Falcon 9 with final set of 10 Iridium network satellitesBy William Harwood

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a final set of 10 Iridium NEXT communications satellites blasted off from California early Friday to complete a $3 billion 75-satellite upgrade that will add long-awaited broadband and aircraft tracking services to Iridium's globe-spanning satellite telephone network.

Assuming Friday's launch and satellite deployments go well, SpaceX will turn its attention to readying another Falcon 9 for launch early next month from the Kennedy Space Center on a critical test flight of the company's commercially-built Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship.

If the unpiloted test flight to the International Space Station goes smoothly, SpaceX and NASA hope to launch the first two-man crew to the lab complex later this summer, the first piloted launch aboard an American-made rocket since the space shuttle was retired in 2011.

For Iridium, the launching Friday marked a major milestone in its own right, the eighth and final flight in a complex satellite-by-satellite replacement of the company's aging first-generation relay stations with more powerful spacecraft offering more faster communications and new services.

"The ending (of the launch campaign) doesn't seem as big of a deal as the beginning," said Matt Desch, Iridium's CEO. "Well, for Iridium it's a huge deal. ... There was a lot of excitement when our first launch finally occurred two years ago on Jan. 14, 2017, which was amazing and very important. But our final launch ... is by far the most important milestone of all."

He said the completion of the $3 billion network refresh will open the door to new services and revenue streams, "but to me, this launch symbolizes something even more important."

"It means finally realizing the dream the founders of this system had more than 30 years ago," he said. "It means our network will finally achieve the financial independence and the security that make the satellite network operator mature and successful and creates a lot of opportunities for us that we've never had before.

#3 Joshua tree

SFGATE

Joshua Tree National Park has stayed open despite the government shutdown, but it has taken a beating. With fewer rangers able to patrol the park, visitors have been reported cutting down Joshua...

 

‘A travesty to this nation’: People are destroying Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park


People visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California's Mojave Desert on Thursday. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

January 11 at 7:09 AM

In most depictions, Joshua trees tower above the earth. Feathery-looking limbs topped with spiky green leaves twist skyward, completing the gangly succulent’s striking appearance.

But now, viral pictures of these protected trees show a vastly different scene unfolding at Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California.

The trees in the photos have been felled and are lying on the dusty ground — and Park Service officials saypeople, not Mother Nature, are to blame.

Shared widely on social media Thursday, the photos have sparked outrage over the plight of national parks that remain open amid a partial government shutdown, leaving them understaffed and vulnerable to the antics of unruly visitors. Parks nationwide have struggled to deal with a variety of issues ranging from rampant littering and overflowing public restrooms to the vandalism of habitats.

“I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or Republican, what’s going on at Joshua Tree National Park is a travesty to this nation,” one person tweeted.

View image on Twitter
During the course of the shutdown, which is in its third week, conditions at Joshua Tree have only worsened, prompting Park Service officials to schedule a temporary closure on Thursday morning to “allow park staff to address sanitation, safety, and resource protection issues in the park that have arisen during the lapse in appropriations.”

The park spans more than 1,200 square miles, straddling the Mojave Desert and Colorado Desert, but there are only eight law-enforcement rangers patrolling the vast landscape during the shutdown, National Parks Traveler, a nonprofit dedicated to news about national parks, reported.

“While the vast majority of those who visit Joshua Tree National Park do so in a responsible manner, there have been incidents of new roads being created by motorists and the destruction of Joshua trees in recent days that have precipitated the closure,” the Park Service release said.

Joshua Tree National Park Superintendent David Smith told National Parks Traveler that visitors have been illegally off-roading, cutting down trees and spray painting rocks, among other infractions.

"Joshua trees were actually cut down to make new roads,” Smith said.


Graffiti on a rock in Joshua Tree National Park. (Courtesy of Rand Abbott)

Joshua Tree resident Rand Abbott, who has frequented the park since the 1980s, said seeing the damaged trees was “devastating.”

Aside from being one of the park’s most recognizable features, Joshua trees are at risk of being affected by climate change. Researchers from the University of California at Santa Cruz found that Joshua Tree National Park is on track to lose most of its Joshua tree habitat to rising temperatures by 2100, according to a September study published in Ecosphere, an open-access journal affiliated with the Ecological Society of America.

From California to Washington, shutdown takes toll on parks and museums

People are streaming into national parks to find trash cans overflowing and restrooms locked. Volunteers are stepping in to stop conditions from deteriorating. 

Since the shutdown began, Abbott, a paraplegic veteran, told The Washington Post that he has gone to the protected area almost every day to clean bathrooms, pick up trash and “kindly persuade people to not destroy the park.”

He added: “If I climbed in somebody’s backyard and I went up to one of their trees and I jumped on it and broke it, they’d call the police on me. But they feel like they have the right to come to Joshua Tree and spray paint rocks and break trees and cut down trees, and steal historical stuff.”

On social media, many were horrified by the state of Joshua Tree, which the Los Angeles Times described as “a worst-case example of parkland abuse.”

“Its like if someone took a pickax and started breaking up the geysers at Yellowstone,” one person tweeted.

Some quickly placed blame on the politics behind the government shutdown.

“They cut down Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park,” tweeted Bill Prady, executive producer of CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory.” “Donald Trump is literally destroying America.”

Others, however, disagreed.

“Don’t go blaming this on the #shutdown,” tweeted biologist Daniel Schneider. “There are just people with black hearts among us.”

View image on Twitter
Even before the shutdown, Abbott said vandalism and rule-breaking were common in the sprawling park. But he noted that he has “never seen it this bad.”

“Christmastime and New Year’s is one of the busiest times for the park,” he said. “You take that, and then you take away anybody that’s in a national park uniform, and there’s no regulations whatsoever. I was astonished at what people were doing.”

On Thursday, a massive juniper tree near one of the park’s campsites caught his attention. People had climbed up into its branches and broken them off for firewood, Abbott said.

But Abbott said there could be a “silver lining” to the shutdown: It has drawn people’s attention to the abuse that has been going on at national parks nationwide for years.

His own efforts to preserve Joshua Tree have also received recognition and may be starting to spark change. Abbott said visitors have approached him saying how they took extra care to tidy their campsites before leaving the park. Some have even volunteered to take a day out of their trips to help pick up trash.

“If they truly realize that there is no Plan B for our national parks, then maybe they will start taking care of Plan A,” he said. “It has to be done.”

Joshua Tree National Park Will Stay Open After All

Joshua Tree National Park will not shut its gates after all as it works to recover from the effects of the ongoing government shutdown, the park announced Wednesday.

"By immediately utilizing revenue generated by recreation fees, National Park Service officials have been able to avert a temporary closure of Joshua Tree National Park that had been previously scheduled for January 10," the park said in a statement.

The park had originally said it would close temporarily in order to repair damage done to the unique desert ecosystem by unsupervised visitors who had created new roads and destroyed the protected Joshua trees. Instead, the park remained open and even restored access to campgrounds that had been closed early in the month when toilets reached capacity.

"National Park Service officials have determined that by using Federal Land and Recreation Enhancement funds to immediately bring back park maintenance crews to address sanitation issues, the park will be able to maintain some visitor services, including reopening the campgrounds. The park will also bring on additional staff to ensure the protection of park resources and mitigate some of the damage that has occurred during the lapse of appropriations," Joshua Tree said.

Some park advocates are concerned that tapping into visitor fees, which the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act earmarks for special projects like habitat restoration or new programs to enhance the visitor experience, would worsen the budget shortfall faced by many national parks. Using that money to run the parks during the shutdown could potentially impact summer hiring programs or long term projects and deep maintenance work already planned out, National Parks Traveler explained.

"Some of these projects have involved years of organization and planning, so the administration's political pressure for superintendents to use those funds is throwing all of that work in the trash," National Parks Conservation Association Director of Budget and Appropriations John Garder said.

#4 Samsung The Wall Meet Samsung’s massive new Wall TV

USA TODAY

Samsung's newest, 146-inch TV is so big that it is literally called "The Wall." http://rvwd.co/2mbb0eS

 

Samsung Reveals 219-Inch TV Called ‘The Wall’

Anyone who brags about having a 65 inch TV needs to sit down and be humble after Samsung’s announcement of “The Wall.”

The TV is 219 inches! That’s more than 18 feet. It was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

“The Wall” uses micro-LED technology for a brighter picture than current TV’s. If it’s not big enough, you can add screens to snap onto the side to expand it.

Don’t worry. If you don’t have the wall space, Samsung is releasing a 75-inch version of “The Wall.”

 

All hail 'The Wall:' Samsung's new 219-inch TV

By Jeff Tavss - Executive Producer

Posted: 10:31 AM, January 11, 2019Updated: 10:31 AM, January 11, 2019

LAS VEGAS - If you can't get to the movie theater, maybe you can bring the movie theater to you. At least the screen, that is.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung introduced its massive "The Wall" television set, or screen, or whatever.

Using new technology that uses less energy that televisions that are currently in use, "The Wall" is actually made up of modules that allows owners to configure the set however they choose.

Of course, with a 219-inch television set, your next decision is probably going to be which realtor you will call to find a house that has walls that can fit an 18-foot screen.

#5 Velvet Buzzsaw Trailer 1 – Jake Gyllenhaal Movie

MOVIECLIPS

These paintings have souls and are ready to kill. Jake Gyllenhaal stars in the 1st trailer for horror-thriller 'Velvet Buzzsaw'.

 

Netflix movie ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’ looks like the overwrought, bloody, absurd guilty pleasure of the year

You won't be able to look away from Jake Gyllenhaal's new Netflix movie about painting that – yes! – come to life and murder people

Much like you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you probably shouldn’t judge a film by its trailer. But Velvet Buzzsaw, the upcoming Jake Gyllenhaal-starring Netflix movie, is so completely absurd, it’s hard not to immediately leap to conclusions about the whole thing.

The movie’s premise is this: Zawe Ashton’s Josephina discovers a series of haunting paintings by a recently deceased and unknown artist, and takes them to the ridiculously named art dealer Morf Vanderwalt (Gyllenhaal) to sell on. The pair begin raking in the cash (“Demand has people ready to kill,” claims Toni Collette’s gallery owner Gretchen) but things take a terrifying and bizarre turn when the paintings begin to not only come to life but attack people.

image: https://static.apester.com/js/assets/loader_100x100.gif

Cue some fantastically absurd scenes in which one man seems to spontaneously be engulfed by flames while he’s driving his truck. When he tries to clean himself up at a sink beneath one of the paintings, the chimps within the frame reach out and try to strangle him. In another clip, the colours flood out of a piece of art hung in a gallery, along the floor, and all over Josephina’s entire body. Her reaction is to scream her lungs out but, to be quite honest, it seems like she’s getting off lightly compared to the other guy. Better to look like a bit of multi-coloured marble than suffer asphyxiation at the hands of acrylic monkeys.

The trailer is filled with this kind of overwrought acting, not least when it comes to Gyllenhaal’s scenes. When he tries to explain what’s going on with the seemingly possessed paintings, his eyes look like they’re about to pop out of his skull and he yells: “Something truly goddamn strange is going on!” You don’t say, Jake. There’s also a truly great bit when a robot that appeared at an art fair at the start of the trailer suddenly reappears as Gyllenhaal tries to lock the artwork away. It blocks the art dealer’s path with a crutch and creepily croaks, “I can save you”.

Velvet Buzzsaw isn’t just some absurd, twisted horror movie, though. It seems as though writer and director Dan Gilroy (NightcrawlerRoman J. Israel, Esq.) wants it to make some big points about both the art world and society. The paintings seem only to attack the wealthy or corrupt because they hold “a disgust for the world of money.” There’s also an unbelievable scene where Gretchen is murdered in the gallery overnight and discovered by visitors the next day who think she’s part of an exhibit. “We’re trending on Instagram,” Josephina quavers. “It’s a major hit.” But even with the world’s addiction to ‘like’-grabbing content and viral fame, the idea that not one person – including the gallery’s staff – would think to check the pools of blood and lifeless body weren’t real seems more than a little extreme.

Netflix: Immerse yourself in the insane trailer for Velvet Buzzsaw

I saw, the ambitious new Netflix horror film from Nightcrawler writer/director Dan Gilroy, just released its first trailer, and you’re going to want to immerse yourself in this strangeness immediately.

Like NightcrawlerVelvet Buzzsaw features Jake Gyllenhaal in the eccentric lead role. This time playing an art critic who finds himself in the midst of a nightmarish supernatural mystery when a dead artist’s paintings begin coming to life and slaughtering people who allow their greed to get in the way of art.

There’s an undeniable bizarre quality to the film, from the foreign feel of the art world, to the absurdity of paintings — one of which is a group of monkeys — coming to life. Despite a premise that could be downright silly in the hands of a less capable filmmaker, Velvet Buzzsaw still manages to evoke a significant amount of fear with its trailer.

In addition to Gyllenhaal, Gilroy’s film boasts an equally impressive and jaw-dropping cast of supporting players. Zawe Ashton (Not Safe for Work), Rene Russo (Nightcrawler), John Malkovich (Who can now be seen in Bird Box, another Netflix horror film), Daveed Diggs (Blindspotting), Natalia Dyer (Stranger Things), and fresh off of her astonishing performance in Hereditary, Toni Collette, each make an appearance in the film.

In the last pairing between Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal, the actor delivered what has perhaps been the greatest performance of his consistently acclaimed career, playing a sociopathic photojournalist who manipulates crimes scenes to his benefit before recording them and shopping them around to news outlets.

Disappearing entirely into his twisted Nightcrawler character is a high point that should have earned him an Academy Awards nomination (it’s been four years, but we’re still mad about it), and judging by his commitment to character in the new trailer for Velvet Buzzsaw, Gilroy will be gifting us with another brilliant performance from the actor.

it40 kamala-harris

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