March 27, 2013 |
On Jan. 30, 1937, Michael Redgrave was performing the role of Laertes in Shakespeare's "Hamlet" at the Old Vic in London. After the performance, Laurence Olivier stepped onto the stage to announce, "Ladies and gentleman, tonight a great actress was born: Laertes has a daughter. " Olivier's words were prophetic. Redgrave's first daughter, Vanessa, did indeed become a great actress and an even bigger star than her father. But in British author Tim Adler's biography, "The House of Redgrave," which arrives in the United States on Monday, he recounts that Michael Redgrave didn't rush to the side of his actress-wife, Rachel Kempson, and baby Vanessa on the night of her birth.
March 7, 2013 |
Back in the days of the Hollywood star system, actors were routinely told by studios what roles they should take, who they should date and even what names they should have. Stars like Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland sued for more freedom, but it would be decades before they would fully get their wish. Many of these actors were essentially owned by the studios, and dollar-hungry companies like MGM and Warner Bros. weren't going to let something as small as a person's will get in the way of their moneymaking.
September 9, 2012 |
In the 1970s, clothing shoppers were advised in a popular advertising jingle from the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union to "look for the union label. " In that same spirit, anyone shopping for an energy-efficient home today would be well-advised to look for the sky-blue Energy Star label. No disrespect toward LEED, Energy Performance and GreenPoint, all of which are fine rating systems in their own right, but Energy Star seems to have become most popular among home builders looking to differentiate themselves from the competition.
August 29, 2012 |
Astronomers have for the first time found a simple sugar, one of the building blocks of life, around a young star. The sugar, called glycoaldehyde, is in the dust disk surrounding the star and would most likely be incorporated into planets as they form. The finding suggests that at least some of the building blocks of life may have been present when the Earth itself condensed from the dust surrounding our sun, researchers said. A team headed by astrophysicist Jes K. Jorgensen reported Wednesday in the Astrophysical Journal Letters that it observed the sugar during the preliminary scientific validation studies of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
August 1, 2012 |
The apparently peaceful spiral galaxy pictured above in the constellation Eridanus -- the River -- has hosted two violent supernovae in the last 30 years, belying its tranquillity, astronomers said. Called NGC 1187, the galaxy lies about 60 million light-years from Earth and was discovered by English astronomer William Herschel in 1784. It was notable mostly for lying face-on to the Earth, which provides an excellent view of its spiral arms. The bluish features of the arms indicate the presence of young stars born out of interstellar gas, while the yellow bulge at the center is mostly made up of old stars, gas and dust.
June 27, 2012 |
For the first time, astronomers have been able to directly observe reflected light from a planet circling a distant star, allowing them to ascertain unprecedented details about the "hot Jupiter. " In the past, researchers have been able to obtain some information about the atmosphere of such planets when the planets pass between their star and the Earth, briefly dimming the star's output. But the newly analyzed planet, called Tau Bootis b, does not transit its star, making such observations impossible.