“It’s the ‘Hey, you! Listen to me’ key,” says Jack Dennerlein of the Harvard School of Public Health. According to Dennerlein, an expert on how humans interact with computers, the escape key helped drive the computer revolution of the 1970s and ’80s. “It says to the computer: ‘Stop what you’re doing. I need to take control.’ ” In other words, it reminds the machine that it has a human master. If the astronauts in “2001: A Space Odyssey” had an ESC key, Dennerlein points out, they could have stopped the rogue computer Hal in an instant.
The key was born in 1960, when an I.B.M. programmer named Bob Bemer was trying to solve a Tower of Babel problem: computers from different manufacturers communicated in a variety of codes. Bemer invented the ESC key as way for programmers to switch from one kind of code to another. Later on, when computer codes were standardized (an effort in which Bemer played a leading role), ESC became a kind of “interrupt” button on the PC — a way to poke the computer and say, “Cut it out.”
Why “escape”? Bemer could have used another word — say, “interrupt” — but he opted for “ESC,” a tiny monument to his own angst. Bemer was a worrier. In the 1970s, he began warning about the Y2K bug, explaining to Richard Nixon’s advisers the computer disaster that could occur in the year 2000. Today, with our relatively stable computers, few of us need the panic button. But Bob Frankston, a pioneering programmer, says he still uses the ESC key. “There’s something nice about having a get-me-the-hell-out-of-here key.”
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The Greatest Fake-Art Scam in History?
One of his forgeries hung in a show at the Met. Steve Martin bought another of his fake paintings. Still others have sold at auction for multi-million-dollar prices. So how did a self-described German hippie pull off one of the biggest, most lucrative cons in art-world history? And how did he get nailed?
Wolfgang Beltracchi in court in Cologne last fall. Inset: Red Picture with Horses, a painting supposedly by German Expressionist Heinrich Campendonk, forged by Beltracchi; it sold at auction for $3.6 million in 2006.
Nobody in Freiburg could remember a party quite like it. The date was September 22, 2007, and Wolfgang and Helene Beltracchi, affluent newcomers to this lively university town near Germany’s Black Forest, had invited friends and neighbors to celebrate a milestone. Workers had just put the finishing touches on their $7 million villa, after 19 months of extensive renovations. Lanterns lit up the cobblestone walkway to the hillside house, a five-level minimalist structure with a glass and Siberian larch-wood façade, steel beams, pastel-colored tile floors, and contemporary paintings and sculptures filling every room. The staff of Freiburg’s luxurious Colombi Hotel—where the Beltracchis had lodged in a $700-a-night penthouse suite when they were in town during the remodeling—had prepared the ample food and drink, including magnums of fine champagne. The Beltracchis had even flown in a celebrated four-member flamenco band from Granada to dance and sing for their 100 guests.
Behind Enemy Lines With a Suburban Counterterrorist
“Look,” Shannen Rossmiller says, pointing at her computer screen. She’s in an online chat room, and the name Terrorist11 has just popped up. “He’s one of the more popular guys.”
To get here, she signed onto alfirdaws.org. Then she clicked into the Paradise Jihadist Supporters Forum. The site is in Arabic, so she turns on the basic Google text translator that renders the discussion into clumsy phrases.
“Take a charge with caution,” warns one jihadist posting, “this thread is monitored.” Meanwhile, Terrorist11 is praising the 2004 Madrid train bombings and posting videos of the dead for other jihadist wannabes to enjoy. Old news, terrorism-wise. Rossmiller flips her blond hair. She looks bored. “They are just flaming, ranting and raving,” she says. “Do you want to see some blood and guts? Let’s go find it.”
What Can Be Found Under the Cover of the Night | English Russia
Imagine the night, the concrete fence and the groomed exclusion zone. Further is the perimeter line, signaling is on. Such places always keep something interesting. And only the night time can let you in being unnoticed. Some hangar standing lonely in the dark catches your eye and you decide to enter…
A World of Art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Watch Free Documentary Online
What makes a masterpiece? In this visually stunning high definition production, A World of Art, the magnificence of America’s premier art museum lights up the screen.
One of the architectural glories of New York, the Met stretches 1000 feet along Fifth Avenue. Inside is a dazzling three dimensional encyclopedia of world art, radiating 5,000 years of artistic history.Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art was built on the shoulders of capitalism: J.P. Morgan, Havemeyer, Lehman, Rockefeller, and Annenberg are just a few of the names behind the Met’s collections.Met is the largest art museum in the United States with among the most significant art collections. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided among nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan’s Museum Mile, is by area one of the world’s largest art galleries.–Represented in the permanent collection are works of art from classical antiquity and Ancient Egypt, paintings and sculptures from nearly all the European masters, and an extensive collection of American and modern art. The Met also maintains extensive holdings of African, Asian, Oceanic, Byzantine, and Islamic art.–The museum is also home to encyclopedic collections of musical instruments, costumes and accessories, and antique weapons and armor from around the world. Several notable interiors, ranging from 1st-century Rome through modern American design, are permanently installed in the Met’s galleries.