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Quick Takes: Dr. Spock in a digital age

February 02, 2012

Are you an ultra-modern new parent who wants to raise kids the tried-and-tested midcentury way? "Dr. Spock's Baby and Child Care," the bestselling child-rearing bible, will be available as an ebook starting next week, Skyhorse Publishing has announced.

Dr. Spock's manual has sold more than 50 million copies and gone through nine editions since its initial publication in 1946; now parents can read it on Kindle, Nook or iPad.

Three other Dr. Spock books have already made the ebook leap: "Dr. Spock's The School Years," "Dr. Spock's The First Two Years" and "Dr. Spock's Pregnancy Guide."

—Carolyn Kellogg

Director disrupts House hearing

An Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker was arrested at a House hearing Wednesday after trying to film the proceedings without the required media credentials.

Joshua Fox of Milanville, Pa., was led out of the room in handcuffs and charged by Capitol police with unlawful entry.

Fox directed the anti-drilling documentary "Gasland," which was nominated last year for an Academy Award. Fox also is an activist who has spoken out against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which was the subject of the House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee hearing.

Fracking takes place when large volumes of water, sand and chemicals are injected into wells to break up underground rock formations, allowing natural gas to escape.

The oil and gas industry has criticized Fox and his film for what they say is a sensationalized attack on fracking.

—Associated Press

A closer look at 'Mona Lisa' copy

A "Mona Lisa" copy owned by Spain's Prado Museum was almost certainly painted by one of Leonardo da Vinci's apprentices alongside the master himself as he did the original, museum officials said Wednesday.

The stunning find of what the Prado now says is probably the earliest known copy of "La Gioconda" will give art lovers and experts an idea of what the Mona Lisa looked like back in the 16th century, said Gabriele Finaldi, the museum's deputy director of collections.

"It is as if we were in the same studio, standing at the next easel," he told reporters.

The copy has been part of the Prado collection for years and displayed occasionally but no one paid much attention to it because around the woman in the "Mona Lisa" was a stark black background, not the pretty landscape seen in the original. But recent tests have shown that beneath the black is a Tuscan landscape.

One other difference is the woman in the copy has eyebrows and the Mona Lisa in the real masterpiece does not.

—Associated Press

Taylor Swift

is passed over

Taylor Swift might be golden when it comes to selling her music and winning trophies, but the popular country singer has lost out on the role of the tragic Eponine in the all-star movie version of "Les Miserables."

Swift lost the role to British actress Samantha Barks. Others who were reportedly considered for the part included Lea Michele, Evan Rachel Wood and Scarlett Johansson.

Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the original stage and upcoming film version of "Les Miz," announced the news Tuesday evening at a theater in London where Barks was performing in "Oliver!"

Already announced in the cast: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Sacha Baron Cohen, Amanda Seyfried, Anne Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.

—Sherry Stern

Smithsonian opens film venue

The Smithsonian Institution opened a new movie theater to showcase film history at the National Museum of American History in Washington on Wednesday.

The 264-seat Warner Bros. Theater is envisioned as a space to present the history of Hollywood. Warner Bros. Entertainment donated $5 million in 2010 to renovate the museum's old Carmichael Auditorium into a modern theater with 3-D projection capability.

"Films are an integral part of our culture and our daily lives," said Marc Pachter, interim director of the museum.

—Associated Press

Finally

Renewed: Showtime has ordered new seasons of three series: "Californication," "Shameless" and "House of Lies."

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