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The latest news from Entertainment

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    Terry Crews

    • Terry Crews on Friday shared an apology letter from Adam Venit, the former Hollywood agent Crews accused of sexual misconduct last year.
    • Crews said on Twitter that he received the letter from Venit in March, but waited to publicly accept Venit's apology until he resigned from WME. 
    • Venit announced earlier this month that he would resign from the agency. 

    Terry Crews on Friday shared an apology letter from Adam Venit, the former WME agent who Crews accused last year of groping him at a party in 2016. 

    Crews said on Twitter that he received the letter from Venit in March, but waited to publicly accept Venit's apology until he resigned from WME. Venit announced earlier this month that he would resign from the agency. 

    Venit did not admit to Crews' allegation of groping in the letter, but he did accept some "responsibility."

    Venit wrote: "I know that you didn’t ask for any of this. Again, I take responsibility for us being here now, together in this situation. I am sorry for all of it."

    "I want to use this moment to be a positive influence with you and not just another Hollywood story that becomes the narrative of who we both are. We both are so much more and have so much more to offer," Venit wrote. "I even hope that someday we can come together and go forward with compassion and understanding and be an amazing force for positivity and change in our culture."

    Crews filed a lawsuit against Venit last year after accusing him of sexual misconduct in November. The suit was settled earlier this month, which coincided with Venit announcing that he would resign from WME. 

    Read Venit's letter below:

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How actors fake fight in movies


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    Fortnite on switch

    • Nintendo's about to launch its first ever paid online service, Nintendo Switch Online, for $20/year. 
    • The new service is required to play various Switch games online, including "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and "Splatoon 2."
    • "Fortnite" is apparently excluded — a major exception to a huge shift in playing Nintendo games online.

    Nintendo's upcoming online service forces Switch owners to pay $20/year to play games online. 

    Enjoy playing "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" online for free? How about "Splatoon 2?" Enjoy it while you can: When Nintendo Switch Online launches on September 18, those games will no longer work online without a paid account.

    There is, however, one major exception: "Fortnite."

    That's right — the free-to-play smash-hit "Battle Royale" game won't require the paid online service on the Nintendo Switch. Nintendo announced as much quietly, in an FAQ that CNET discovered on Friday— it specifically calls out "Fortnite" as an exception to Nintendo's new paid online service requirement. 

    No other games are included as exceptions, which leaves open some interesting questions: For starters, what other types of games will be able to circumvent the paid service? Nintendo isn't saying — we asked, but haven't heard back as of publishing.

    nintendo switch

    So far, it looks like the vast majority of games with online components will require the Nintendo Switch Online paid service. 

    As previously mentioned, Nintendo's own "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and "Splatoon 2" will both require the paid service. Additionally, third-party games like the upcoming "Diablo 3" will apparently require the service. "Fortnite" appears to be an exception because you don't have to pay to play it — it could be a tough sell to charge Nintendo Switch owners a fee to play a free-to-play game. Assuredly, it doesn't hurt that "Fortnite" continues to be the biggest game in the world right now.

    The red-hot blockbuster "Fortnite" finally arrived on Nintendo's Switch back in June, nearly a full year after the game launched on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. 

    It was a peanut butter and chocolate-esque pairing: The explosively popular "Fortnite" with the explosively popular Nintendo Switch console. The game is even playable across platforms — Switch players can join up with friends on Xbox One, PC, Mac, and even smartphones (only the PlayStation 4 is excluded). 

    Even without paying for Nintendo Switch Online, all Switch owners can access a handful of online services through their consoles. You can buy digital games on Nintendo's eShop storefront, maintain a list of online friends, share in-game images and video to social media, and a handful of other stuff. Apparently we can add "play 'Fortnite' online" to that list as well.

    SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch online service costs $20 a year, granting access to classic games and long-awaited new features when it lights up on September 18

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: An environmental group is testing giant floating pipes to clean up oceans


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    Gwyneth Paltrow

    • Actress and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow spoke with Net-a-Porter about her diet and exercise routine.

    • She said she exercised for two hours a day and usually skips breakfast and eats a low-carb lunch.

    • I decided to tackle her habits for a week.



    I tried to live like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week, and it didn't quite work out the way I'd planned.

    Paltrow famously leads an intense life. In terms of exercise, she used to do an hour of cardio and an hour of weights six days of the week. Her lifestyle brand Goop also hawks all sorts of hardcore detoxes and cleanses.

    But all that doesn't really reflect Paltrow's current reality. She recently told Net-a-Porter that she doesn't have the time or energy to tackle that grueling schedule anymore: "I'm getting old, my back hurts! It's depressing. Some days, the gym gives me this rush of energy and I feel amazing, but then my body's like 'f--- you.'"

    She also doesn't stick to any Goop cleanses for a long amount of time. She told Net-a-Porter she passes on breakfast and eats a low-carb lunch "so my energy levels don't peak and valley through the day." Then, for dinner, she typically decides to "loosen the reins."

    I decided to follow her diet as best I could, as well as take up her previous exercise routine. Here are the rules I was determined to follow for a week:

    • Skip breakfast.

    • Have a low-carb lunch.

    • Put in an hour of cardio exercise.

    • Go for an hour of weights-based exercise.

    • Eat a dinner along the lines of her typical evening meal: "A glass of wine, maybe a baguette dripping in cheese, some fries."

    I didn't prepare at all for this. I just jumped into it, sparking concerns among the people I know. "You're going to die," several coworkers told me when I described my plan. Family members predicted I would "seriously injure" myself and expressed concerns about my shambling running style.

    All of this just bolstered my determination to rise to the occasion.

    The experiment itself left me somewhat surprised. On the one hand, some of Paltrow's dietary habits were easier to tackle than I thought. On the other, I ended up pulling my shoulder.

    Here's a look at what happened when I tried to live like Gwyneth Paltrow for a week:

    WATCH: More of my experiment here

    Before this Gwyneth Paltrow challenge, bagels were my go-to morning meal. I'd often grab one — poppy seed with cream cheese or butter — before heading into the office.



    But, like some other celebrities, Paltrow skips breakfast altogether. So I had to kick the habit. Instead of stopping by the bagel shop, I'd just hop on the train and head to work.



    Truth be told, this wasn't particularly challenging for me. Back in college, I rarely ate breakfast. It may or may not be the most important meal of the day, but I've never had a problem skipping it.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Shadow of the Tomb Raider (1)

    • "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" is one the prettiest games ever made, offering enhanced graphics on the Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, and PC.
    • "Shadow" is the final game in a trilogy that began with the 2013 reboot of "Tomb Raider."
    • This is "Tomb Raider" at its peak — in the new game, Lara Croft explores the jungles of Peru in a massive open world that's filled with hidden crypts, wildlife and treasure.
    • Developer Eidos Montreal hired cultural advisors to help ensure that its depiction of the indigenous people and locales in "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" was both accurate and respectful.

    As the final game in a trilogy, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" ought to feel like the culmination of the series. 

    Instead, the latest Lara Croft game feels like more of the same. But that's not a bad thing.

    "Shadow," which was relased on September 14 for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, is the last in a series that began with a reboot in 2013. The game is meant to be the payoff for fans who have followed the series. It closes out some overarching plotlines from the two previous games. It also focuses on a young Lara Croft that is reminiscent of the original version of the character that debuted with the first "Tomb Raider" game in 1996.

    Here's a look at "Shadow of the Tomb Raider:"

    SEE ALSO: 'Shadow of the Tomb Raider' looks gorgeous on the Xbox One X and I just can't stop taking pictures

    SEE ALSO: The new 'Tomb Raider' game is out Tuesday — check out how far its star, Lara Croft, has come since her 1996 debut

    In "Shadow of the Tomb Raider," Lara Croft is back in her natural habitat, taking artifacts that don't belong to her.

    The base concept of the "Tomb Raider" series has always been easily understood; Lara Croft is an archaeologist/treasure hunter/acrobat/trained killer searching for ancient artifacts in exotic locales. Inevitably her adventures lead her into conflict with an evil company or cabal trying to use those artifacts to take over the world, and she has to stop them.

    "Shadow" is no different. Lara starts the game in pursuit of Trinity, the same organization she fought against in 2015's "Rise of the Tomb Raider." When she steals the artifact that Trinity is looking for, she unwittingly triggers a series of cataclysmic events that threaten to end the world — unless she beats Trinity to another artifact located in Peru.

    Soon she finds herself stranded in the jungle, where she encounters a hidden city, a vengeful cult, and all the trappings of a B-action movie.



    Things tend to escalate quickly when Lara Croft is involved.

    Surprisingly, the story is easily the least interesting part of "Shadow," even for someone who has played the previous games in the series. The game does touch on some dark themes, but generally chooses to play it safe.

    Lara's careless role in the cataclysms and her presence as an outsider intruding in a foreign culture and hidden city play a part in the story. But they aren't really confronted by the characters themselves, and the game doesn't dwell on many nuances. Instead, "Shadow" draws a clear line between the good characters and the bad ones.

    That decision leads to some strange situations. It's a bit odd, for example, to see Lara playing dress up while in Peru and getting along with just about everyone there, even though she's an outside invader.



    Is Lara dressed appropriately — or just engaged in cultural appropriation?

    Still, "Shadow" is one of the most visually impressive games made to date. It offers enhanced graphics options for 4K resolution and HDR mode on the PlayStation Pro, Xbox One X, and PC.

    Players can choose high-resolution mode if they want the best visual experience. Alternatively, they can select high-frame-rate mode for smoother gameplay. 

    Regardless of the choice, the dynamic environments of "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" are simply awe-inspiring, and the visual experience alone kept me excited for each new trip into the wild.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    roma

    With the Toronto International Film Festival wrapping up this weekend, the field for the Academy Awards is beginning to become clearer. 

    From “A Star Is Born” to “Roma” to “First Man,” many of the major contenders have begun to be shown to audiences. And it seems it’s going to be a fun (and crowded) award season. 

    Here we take a small glimpse at the race for four of the major Oscar categories:

    SEE ALSO: The 9 best Netflix original series to binge-watch

    Best Director

    There are a lot of worthy filmmakers who can be in this category, and TIFF didn't help narrow the field. Felix Van Groeningen should certainly be in the conversation for his achingly real look at addiction with "Beautiful Boy." You can bet money Damien Chazelle will be back on Oscar night for his work on "First Man." The movie is a thrilling look at the Space Race but also an intimate exploration of one man's loss. Bradley Cooper has surprised many with how great he delivered on "A Star Is Born." But no one is surprised by how great "Roma" is, as master of storytelling Alfonso Cuarón has used his childhood to make a movie that might not just be the one he's remembered for, but could earn Netflix its first-ever major Oscar win. 



    Best Actor

    Bradley Cooper will likely get both best director and best actor Oscar nods. His performance as a washed-up rocker is a career best. Hugh Jackman is also another lock, as his performance as senator Gary Hart in "The Front Runner" is the kind of performance Oscar voters historically love. For the actors in "Beautiful Boy" it will come down to which Amazon believes has the best chance of winning. Both Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet could be considered the leads of this movie, but only one will get the campaign. The other will more than likely receive a supporting actor nod. And Ryan Gosling's portrayal of Neil Armstrong in "First Man" will once again get him to Oscar night.



    Best Actress

    In her first dramatic role in "Can You Ever Forgive Me?," Melissa McCarthy is getting rave reviews for playing author Lee Israel and that will likely pay off with an Oscar nomination. Viola Davis, who won an Oscar for 2016's "Fences," certainly gives the performance in "Widows" to get her back to Oscar night. Lady Gaga rocks it both singing and acting in "A Star Is Born," and it's almost a lock she'll be recognized for it with a nomination. "Roma" actress Yalitza Aparicio, in her first acting role, delivers a powerful performance that deserves a spot with the major stars on Hollywood's big night.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Shadow of the Tomb Raider (30)The newly released "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" is unquestionably one of the best-looking games ever made and the game’s graphics are further enhanced with the strength of the Xbox One X.

    Featuring a wide array of exotic locales, breathtaking landscapes, and unimaginable architecture, "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" is an ideal game to test the limits of Microsoft’s premium console. Players using the Xbox One X can choose between two modes for the game: high resolution or high frame rate. For those using 4K televisions, the high resolution mode will offer the greatest level of fidelity for the game's graphics, while the high frame rate mode will keep the game running around 60 frames per second to provide the smoothest possible animations while playing. Additional options include HDR support, to increase the range of the game's dynamic lighting, and anisotropic filtering, which adds more texture to the environments.

    Even while playing through the game with the high frame rate mode activated, I found myself constantly stopping to take dozens of pictures to just grasp the full view of the huge environments. The game’s photographer mode adds extra options for adjusting the camera angle, brightness, and field of view, and even has a few filters for players to tack on.

    With so much jungle to explore in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider,” there’s no shortage of amazing images to capture.

    "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" is considered the final chapter in a trilogy that began with "Tomb Raider" (2013).



    In "Shadow," Lara Croft fears her hunt for an artifact may have triggered Armageddon.



    Lara must reckon with the consequences of her actions and face her own inner beast.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    LeBron James - NBA 2K19

    The NBA regular season doesn't start until Oct. 16th. But with the launch of "NBA 2K19," fans will get a chance to roll out their favorite teams with this season's rosters for the first time in video game form. Part of the fun is seeing how well teams and players stack up against each other in the world's most meticulously-crafted basketball simulation.

    A new season means new ratings for more than 350 NBA players, and developer 2K Gaming has slowly been revealing individual player ratings for months in the lead-up to the worldwide release of 2K19 on Sept. 11.

    Basketball fans and players alike have always had a strong response to the 2K ratings, which take player tendencies, consistency and overall efficiency into account to come up with a final number. Players are given an overall rating on a 0-100 scale based on 30 different attributes. During the season the ratings are regularly adjusted to match the real-life performance of the players, to keep it as close to real life as possible. 

    While the players at the top of the overall rankings are household names, things start to get a bit more unpredictable as the list goes on. Without further ado, here are the 10 best players in the NBA, according to "NBA 2K19."

    10) Karl Anthony-Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves - 91 Overall

    Now entering his fourth season in the NBA, the former #1 draft pick has emerged as one of the league's premier big men. While his points per game fell with the Timberwolves' addition of Jimmy Butler last season, Anthony-Towns showed development by improving his three-point shooting percentage and turning the ball over less.



    9) Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder - 93 Overall

    Russell Westbrook followed up his MVP 2016-17 season by averaging a triple-double for the second consecutive year with 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game. The last player to average a triple-double for the entire season was Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson in 1962.



    8) Kyrie Irving, Boston Celtics - 93 Overall

    Despite missing most of the 2017-18 season due to injury, Irving remains one of the most explosive offensive players in the NBA, and will return to a Celtics team that reached the East Conference Finals without his help. While the star has struggled to stay healthy over the course of the last three years, he has shown that he has what it takes to push a team into championship territory.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Burning Man 2018

    There are three of us, cramped inside a dusty Toyota that's packed to the gills along with a triad of busted bicycles hanging precariously off the back.

    We are flanked on every side by travelers who, like us, have driven several hours to form what has turned out to be a particularly sluggish caravan into Black Rock City, Nevada.

    Miles from the city's entrance, I realize I am in no way adequately prepared. It was only two weeks earlier when I decided to buy a ticket to Burning Man at the persuasion of my best friend, Jes. 

    "You don't have to bring anything, dude," she told me over the phone. "Just get your ticket. I'll bring all the stuff."

    At the time, the plan made sense. I would fly from New York to San Francisco to meet Jes and her girlfriend, Ryan. They would retrieve me from the airport and we would embark on the six-hour drive to Burning Man together.

    Because nothing is available for purchase at the event itself, Jes has packed enough camping gear, food, and water for all three of us. Or so she has promised. My own personal contribution to our collective efforts is a slim backpack filled with sparkly bathing suits, a zip-lock bag of costume jewelry, and a jumbo-sized box of disposable dust masks.

    Burning man 2018

    Like most people who have never been to Burning Man before, I had, of course, heard of it. I also had a general approximation of what would occur there, based largely off of the accounts of people I knew who had gone and returned as newfound vegans exuding auras of a certain new age holiness.

    Some weird sex stuff would go down, I imagined. People would take their clothes off. There would be loud music and large artworks and psychedelics and partying late into the night. Like Woodstock, but with less shade.

    Ask people who have been to Burning Man what it's like, and their answer is inevitably the same. "Oh my god," they say. "It's absolutely wild. You really have to see it for yourself."

    This rapturous response had still in no way convinced me. Privately, I was skeptical. What Kool-Aid were they drinking down there in the middle of the desert?

    We've been stalled outside the gates for five hours when it comes to my attention that we have not brought enough water.

    Burning Man 2018"Fifteen gallons, plus the beer," Jes tells me from the front seat. "I think it's enough for three people."

    It is not enough. Per official Burning Man recommendations, you're supposed to bring in at least one and a half gallons per person, per day. The Nevada desert reaches temperatures of 100 degrees Farenheit or more, making death by dehydration highly probable. For Jes, Ryan, and myself, we are exactly 21 gallons short of the recommended minimum. 

    Already, Jes has rationed my water intake.

    "You should be fine on half a gallon day," she assures me. "Just don't guzzle it down all at once like you're a camel."

    It is Jes's third year at Burning Man and her voice has assumed an air of seasoned authority. 

    I think back longingly to the last convenience store we passed some hours ago along the congested, two-lane road that led us into this godforsaken desert. But to turn back now is out of the question.

    A dust storm has swept the desert into an opaque, suffocating cloud, making it impossible to see even a few feet beyond the car. The instant we crack a window, the interior of Jes's RAV4 becomes coated in a layer of dust the size of a small sand dune. 

    We are sandwiched in a restless convoy of revelers. Several people have set up lawn chairs on the roofs of their RVs, and the pickup truck behind us is blasting a relentless EDM beat. Outside, the air smells of mothballs and marijuana. 

    Jes and Ryan are wearing goggles. I am wearing a hot pink scuba mask that's designed to fit the face of a small child. ("For ages 3 plus!" a label on the plastic package reads brightly.) The scuba mask was a last-minute purchase made at a CVS in Reno at Jes's insistence that I should have some sort of protective eyewear beyond sunglasses. It is too small for my face, and covers my nose, making it difficult to breathe. I am intensely uncomfortable. 

    A masked woman taps on the car's passenger window. 

    "Welcome to Burning Man," she says, warmly. "Would you like to play Mad Libs to pass the time?"

    burning man 2018

    By the time we enter the city, it is nearly midnight. 

    We are greeted at the floodlit gate by a stocky, bearded man who kindly invites us to disembark from our vehicle and roll around in the dirt. "You're a virgin burner," he tells me. "It's time to embrace the playa."

    It is not my wish to embrace the playa. My hope is to stay clean for as long as possible, and this plan does not include rolling around in a pile of dirt even before I pitch my tent. 

    "I'll pass, but thank you very much," I say. He shoots me a disappointed look.

    "It's your first time at Burning Man," he insists. "It's just a little dirt." Already, Jess and Ryan are performing joyful somersaults in the sand at my feet.

    Not wanting to appear a square who isn’t open to the possibility of some good old-fashioned fun, I concede, and lamely drop to the ground. I loll around in the dirt for what seems to be the acceptable minimum amount of time to constitute a full playa embrace. I stand, completely covered in dust, and start to sneeze repeatedly. 

    "Isn't it the greatest?" The man asks, smiling gently as he wraps his arms around me in a warm embrace."Welcome home."

    Burning Man 2018

    Over the course of my week in Black Rock City, I am welcomed home hundreds of times by strangers whose eyes are filled, almost uniformly, with the clear light of loving-kindness and acceptance. It is like being at a family reunion after coming out of a coma, except that every member of your family is an extremely attractive yoga instructor.

    One of the people who welcomes me home is the stubble-faced attendant at the Media Mecca tent, where I’m directed to receive a media pass. He asks if it's my first time at Burning Man, and I tell him that it is. “When you write about Burning Man, make sure you don’t refer to it as a festival,” he directs me. “This is not a festival. It is an event.”

    This semantic differentiation is stressed to me multiple times by veteran attendees over the course of the week. The difference in these two terms, it is largely felt, lies in the participatory onus placed on Burning Man’s attendees. This is absolutely not Coachella. To even consider Burning Man remotely related to that other desert cabal is a sentiment of deepest insult. We are not passive observers glibly traipsing through a fairground. As attendees, we are part of the spectacle itself, members of a temporary community that has sprouted up along a sinister stretch of earth regularly unfit for human habitation. 

    ****

    Perhaps the most impressive part of Burning Man is the playa, the open stretch of desert surrounded by a jagged mountain range that serves as the backdrop to roving art cars, impromptu dance parties, and art installations many stories high. 

    Burning Man 2018

    The first time we encounter the playa is the night of our arrival to the city, after we unpack the car by the light of headlamps. We are on bicycles, wrapped in advance with LEDs — the only way to avoid collision along the dark, haphazard route into the city, where traffic laws are largely open to interpretation.

    Teetering forth, we pass darkened campsites, a snail-shaped car lit by kaleidoscopic bulbs, a hundred or so other pedestrians and bicyclists, who, like us, have draped themselves in flashing neon.

    And then, the playa comes into view.

    It is much bigger than I'd expected, a limitless, psychedelic wilderness of pulsing neon and throbbing music. Wheeling across this great expanse are enormous metal piranhas belching flame, slow-moving magic carpets, and cathedrals whose roofs have been overtaken by crowds of fist-pumping dancers. 

    Burning man 2018"This is f---ing wild," says Ryan, and she's right.

    We stop in at a bar for shots of whiskey and are then instructed to walk along a thin, rickety plank fifteen feet above the ground. We roller skate at a makeshift roller rink along the esplanade. We dance with an enormous panda. We see a punk rock band perform.

    Time is confused by the fact that, not one, but two moons shine above the playa. One is art. The other is real. The former is a convincing, illuminated orb that waxes from crescent to full again and again. According to this new lunar body, we spend an entire month on the playa by the time we head back to our tents.

    Burning man 2018

    There is no exchange of cash at Burning Man.

    Everything and anything is free. Rickety roadside garment racks filled with used clothing are marked with signs that read, "Take what you need!" People are giving away artwork they've made, plastic kazoos, necklaces, bags of candy, stickers, miso-soup, massages, shots of B12, hair washing, cold brew coffee, three course meals completed by wine pairings. Everything is gratis. 

    Burning man 2018Our own camp is hosting a small bar, where we're inviting passersby to stop in for a swig of whiskey or a sickly sweet peach punch made with dubious ingredients. A man in a tatterdemalion business suit stops by for a drink. 

    "I'm the Burning Man banker," he says. "Put your hand inside my pocket for a gift."

    A red-headed woman reaches into his breast-coat pocket. She digs around for a moment and then, pulls out a one hundred dollar bill.

    "It's real, sweetheart," he says. "Don't spend it all at once."

    He grins broadly to reveal two rows of yellowed teeth, tucks his hands into his pockets, and then ambles away.

    Despite the lack of physical cash, lavish displays of wealth are still on full display. It's difficult, after all, not to notice the comparative wealth of people who are able to take a week off of work and spend what has been tallied as an average cost of $1,500 a piece to achieve an advanced state of wokeness in the middle of the desert.

    burning man 2018While some of the artworks are cobbled together with the help of grants and financial aid, other installations on the playa are rumored to be dreamed up by one-percenters who, like the Medicis before them, fund gargantuan aesthetic projects.

    Some of the art cars are a level of ostentation bordering on comedy: One monied person's gaudy fantasy attempting to outdo another's. Mammoth vehicles spew balls of flame and beam out spotlights viewable from miles away, all the while blasting a continuous, inescapable soundtrack of pounding EDM.

    At a corner of the camp close to the playa, identical RVs are lined neatly in pristine rows, alongside private Port-A-Potties. They are located a half mile walk from our own ramshackle quarters filled with weathered tents and tattered shade structures  a reminder that nearly all American cities, even temporary ones, are still subject to economic divide.

    Burning Man 2018

    The people who visit Burning Man have come from every conceivable corner of the earth. They are from Austin and Denver and Brooklyn and Tampa. They hail from China, Singapore, New Zealand, Japan, South Africa, France, Germany, and Indonesia. But even despite this geographical diversity, the crowd is still overwhelming white. 

    While the majority of burners appear to be lithe fitness models in sparkly bootie shorts, a small portion of attendees are kids in superhero capes, grandmothers in motorized wheelchairs, and elderly, white-haired men, some of whom comprise a roaming group of naked Santas.

    Anything and everything you could possibly imagine exists here. At the Healing Foot Wash down the road, you can wash your neighbor's feet and hear all about the love of your prospective savior, Jesus Christ. Just blocks from the Healing Foot Wash, another camp's sign announces "Free Abortions!" with the words "No minors allowed!" scrawled in marker underneath. A ten minute walk from here is Kindergarten Kamp, an outdoor playground where toddlers bounce gleefully on a giant trampoline. 

    ****

    Hedonism abounds. 

    Everywhere you look, debauchery unfolds. Naked women wielding leather paddles implore bystanders to pull their pants down for a spanking. Couples bedecked in feathers and dust masks line up expectantly outside of the air-conditioned Orgy Dome. At the nightly Bareoke, a woman strips down as she sings along to the Spice Girls. 

    Burning Man 2018

    Nudity is ubiquitous, and informally enforced in bizarre and ridiculous ways. Several ramshackle bars require women to bare their breasts if they wish to drink there. "I had to show my penis to get a snow cone yesterday," a man in our camp confides. 

    Of just a small sampling of the activities available are fellatio contests, something advertised as "p---y massages," genital prints made in the "traditional Japanese method," BDSM play inside of a dungeon, the Slut Olympics, an activity described as a "Bubbles and Boobs VIP Party" ("Bring your boobs!"), and a workshop where you can learn to write erotic poetry in binary code (010101).

    Burning Man 2018

    People, who, in their everyday lives work as scientists or elementary school teachers or web developers, are passing out thimbles of absinthe, ladles of vodka-laced punch, and pours of whiskey. Sobriety is strongly discouraged. As early as 8 a.m., tutu-clad men and women armed with bullhorns hail bikers into their requisite bars for a mimosa or a shot of tequila. "Why be sober!?" A woman shouts. At one camp's communal dinner, LSD-blotted Altoids, magic mushrooms, and MDMA are rationed out alongside a meal of chili made from a broth of beer. 

    By Wednesday, we are subsisting largely off of a diet of warm Modelos, sardines, and pickles. We are looking haggard. We are feeling more than a little unhealthy. 

    "I think I'm immune to drugs," a fellow campmate confides. "I've taken so much LSD that it no longer has any effect on me. I took three hits today and all I want to do is go to bed."

    Burning Man 2018

    Despite the hedonism, the total and complete lack of a single trash can, the fact that 70,000 people are wandering around a largely unmonitored desert expanse at deeply questionable degrees of sobriety, the playa itself is remarkably, exceptionally clean.

    In my seven days here, I could count the amount of trash I have seen on one hand, and can also recount exactly what those items are: a blue ballpoint pen, a piece of toilet paper, a glow stick, and a headband. That's it. This detritus is called MOOP, or Matter Out of Place, and is intensely, near-manically monitored by veteran attendees.

    When I attempt to run a brush through my ratty, dust-ridden hair in the middle of the afternoon, a girl from our camp immediately stops me. 

    "Can you go inside your tent and do that?" She asks. "Hair is technically MOOP."

    Burning man 2018

    I am surprised to learn that, along with a noticeable police presence, there are many rules.

    We are reminded in a booklet of regulations issued along with our ticket that drugs including marijuana are technically illegal. The same DUI laws that govern the state of Nevada are applied to anyone driving an art car at 5 MPH around the playa. Vehicles, even ones in the shape of rubber duckies or UFOs, should be registered and insured. Pee on the playa, and you could be slapped with a fee of hundreds of dollars. 

    If you plan to drink alcohol, you'll need to bring along your ID. A few, more lenient bars accept laminated copies of identification, but most demand the real deal.

    Even the Orgy Dome, which I have envisioned as a den of sweaty carnality so iniquitous it would make the devil blush, has its own set of rules.

    "The Orgy Dome is so boring," a campmate complains. "First, you have to hear this long lecture about consent. Then you have to wait in line forever. And then, once you get in, it's mostly just couples laying around. It's the most organized sex you'll ever have in your life."

    "It's true," a friend volunteers. "The only good reason to go to the Orgy Dome is if you want to take a nap."

    burning man 2018

    On Thursday, after the sun has set, I hitch a ride with Jes and Ryan from a man driving an enormous banana to the outer regions of the desert, called the Deep Playa. There, we have heard, is a drone show that is about to take place. We arrive at a planar opening filled with art cars decked out in blinking neon. We drink absinthe from a mobile bar and take turns pushing each other on the enormous basket swing that's attached to its roof. 

    And then, suddenly, hundreds of drones lit up in purple and blue appear above our heads. They pulse and blossom overhead, moving in undulating formations to piano music. 

    It is beautiful and moving, the sort of artwork that is impossible to imagine happening anywhere but here, above an alien flatland of desolate earth and against this particular backdrop of pitch-black desert sky.

    Burning Man 2018

    Burning Man is filled with moments like these, instances of profundity and depth that you might not have at first expected from a tutu-ridden desert bacchanal.

    Visit the Temple, for instance, and it's impossible not to be moved. 

    The Temple is located in the center of the playa; an intricate, wooden spiral, big enough to hold hundreds of people. It's the sort of structure that takes months to build. Like The Man, the stick figure epithet for which the event is named, it too will be burned to the ground at the end of the week. 

    The moment you enter The Temple, the atmosphere shifts. The air grows suddenly heavy. It is quiet. Inside, visitors have left mementos of all that they have lost. Stapled to the spiraled beams are photographs of dead loved ones, notes of regret penned to ex-lovers, locks of hair. Several wedding dresses hang overhead. 

    A little boy seated on his father's shoulders asks, "Is this where we're leaving mommy?"

    People write notes on beams with sharpies. The items left inside are glimpses into the personal tragedies of strangers. Most are crying. A woman lies prostrate on the ground. A group of people chant someone's name. 

    burning man temple

    By Thursday, we are exhausted. 

    My personal filthiness has a reached a degree I've never previously experienced. In the course of five days, I have applied two boxes of wet wipes to my body. I have cleaned my feet in great secrecy with bottled water so as not to enrage my fellow campmates by the lavish and non-essential use of our beverage supply. I have attempted to brush my hair, and accordingly ripped from my scalp three separate knots of intricate and dusty tangles. I have experienced multiple bloody noses. I have been tempted to dispose of wet wipes into the Port-A-Potty, even though I have been reminded, with nagging persistence, that this holy receptacle is fit for human waste and one-ply toilet paper alone. 

    I feel as though I haven't slept in days, even despite the fact that our camp is located in what is considered one of the quieter sites at Burning Man. The throbbing EDM music from the perpetual parade of art cars streaming past at all hours of the night has rendered the 20 pairs of earplugs I've packed entirely ineffectual.  

    Burning Man 2018

    A man from our camp has deserted us for a luxurious hotel room in Tahoe. Burning Man, he tells us upon departure, is simply too much. "I think I get it," he says. "A bunch of people partying in the desert. How much more of this can people take?"

    At the beginning of the week, I might have agreed with him. But now, while still at Burning Man, I am experiencing an onset of Burning Man FOMO. I miss out on the sumo wrestling competition. I never make it to the group wedding that takes place at sunset. I keep waking up too late to go skydiving. There's too much going on. 

    But by the end of the week, the loving-kindness which had at first seemed so refreshing and limitless is beginning to wane. The heat is getting to us. People are irritable. I am irritable. Jes and I have a minor disagreement, and I storm away, furious. Arguments are sprouting up all around us. A married couple in our camp gets into a shouting match. One of them threatens divorce.

    burning man 2018The morning after The Man is burned, we gather to eat a pig that's being cooked over the remains of its blackened ashes. Just feet away from where a woman in a black bodice poses for a photo, her hands filled with the heart and lungs of a dead goat (really), a thin woman slaps a man in the face and screams, "What were you doing all night at your pervert party? Where were you? How can you leave your child like that?"

    People holding bullhorns line the dusty streets and shout, "Go home! Get the f--k out of here! Leave Burning Man and never come back! What are you still doing here?"

    burning man 2018

    On Sunday, we re-pack the Toyota, hitching our bicycles to the rear and strapping bags of trash to the roof. The moment is bittersweet. It would be difficult to leave Burning Man with a perspective on life that, if not entirely renewed, is at the very least refurbished. "I'm gonna change my life, man," I overhear a man telling his friend. "I'm gonna quit my job. I'm gonna lose 20 pounds." This is the sort of inspirational zeitgeist that's in the air.

    On our final evening there, as we watch The Man burn amid towering flames, a friend turns to me.

    Burning Man 2018"Maybe it's about death. Or renewal? Or art. But also life? Definitely society. And self-image," he ponders, filled with psychedelic wisdom.

    We can still feel the heat from where we stand, far from the flames, the biggest fire I've seen in my life. We are quiet, then, just taking it in.

     ****

    Two weeks later at an investor dinner in New York, I’m chatting with an entrepreneur who mentions that he and his wife were at Burning Man this year.

    "We’ve gone for four years," he tells me. "Missing it would be like not going home at Christmas."

    I ask what he thought about the experience. Did he feel that Burning Man would still be culturally relevant in upcoming years?

    "Well yeah, of course," he said. "If there’s anything that can outlive the hype, it’s Burning Man."

    SEE ALSO: PHOTOS: What it's like to visit Burning Man, one of the wildest, most surreal events in the world

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Nintendo Switch (online)

    • The Nintendo Switch Online service is scheduled to launch on September 18. It costs $20 per year, and you'll need it to play most games online. 
    • But you'll also get some great benefits: At launch, Nintendo Switch Online will give access to a library of 20 classic NES games, upgraded with online play. 
    • You'll also get cloud saves, so you can backup and restore your saved games. 
    • It's an important step toward bolstering the Nintendo Switch's online features, which lag behind the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

    For years, Nintendo fans have fantasized about a paid online service that would grant access to Nintendo's rich, decades-long library of classic games. For years, Nintendo has demurred. 

    In 2018, that fantasy is finally becoming a reality, through the Nintendo Switch Online service.

    Nintendo's new service costs $20 per year ($4/month, $8/three months), and is scheduled to launch on September 18. With that subscription price, you'll get access to a library of classic games, the ability to play various Nintendo Switch games online, cloud saves for some games, and voice chat through the Nintendo Switch online smartphone app.

    When the service arrives later this month, it'll only be available on the Nintendo Switch — Nintendo's newest game console, which operates as both a portable handheld and a home console.

    Nintendo Switch

    So, what's in the classic game library? "20 games, with more added on a regular basis," Nintendo said in a press release earlier this year. 

    Nintendo also announced the first 10 of those 20 games: "Super Mario Bros. 3," "Dr. Mario," "Balloon Fight," "Donkey Kong," "Ice Climber," "The Legend of Zelda," "Mario Bros.," "Soccer," "Super Mario Bros." and "Tennis." 

    Even better: Every classic NES game on the Switch will have new online functionality. In some games, you can play co-op online with friends or go head to head, and in all games you can watch a friend play remotely. Friends can even "share" the controller online by handing off control of a game over the internet.the legend of zelda

    The classic games library only includes Nintendo Entertainment System games, at least for now — it's specifically referred to as a collection. Nintendo even gave the classic game library its own name: "NES – Nintendo Switch Online, a compilation of classic NES games."

    Perhaps a "SNES — Nintendo Switch Online" library will be added later? Or something similar for Nintendo 64, GameCube, or other Nintendo console games? Perhaps, perhaps not — Nintendo isn't saying. The Japanese game company told Kotaku last year, "Super NES games continue to be under consideration, but we have nothing further to announce at this time."

    But the classic game library isn't Nintendo Switch Online's primary component — the service is intended as a paid subscription for access to online gameplay. Indeed, you'll need the service to play games online. 

    In other words, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to play online multiplayer games on the console — including existing games like "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" and "Splatoon 2," which have to date let people play online for free. After September 18th, you'll need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription to keep using the online features.

    Fixing a flaw

    The Switch console itself lacks system-wide functionality for online interaction — stuff that's standard on other consoles, like joining an online party, and voice chat, barely exist on the Switch. 

    In fact, online services are the crucial flaw of the Nintendo Switch.

    Nintendo Switch

    The console lacks basic functionality that Microsoft and Sony had in their respective consoles over a decade ago. Beyond missing stuff like voice chat and parties, the Switch also doesn't have access to services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon. The Nintendo Switch app for iPhone and Android enables voice chat for select games, like "Splatoon 2," but it's not a feature that's built into the system. 

    It looks like Nintendo intends to remedy that situation with Nintendo Switch Online, at least in part.

    More than just offering multiplayer and a classic game library, Nintendo Switch Online promises cloud saves — the ability to upload your save data to Nintendo's servers, then easily re-download it. As Nintendo puts it, "This is great for people who want to retrieve their data if they lose, break or purchase an additional Nintendo Switch system."

    One thing Nintendo didn't mention is the much requested Virtual Console service, which was a digital storefront for classic games on previous Nintendo consoles. 

    Super Mario 64 box cover

    Though the Nintendo Switch launched with a digital storefront (the "eShop"), there's no way to buy classic games through Nintendo's long-running Virtual Console service. That's an especially big shame on the Switch — a console more-than-capable of running classic games, and one you can bring with you anywhere.

    Nintendo hasn't offered details on the whereabouts of the Virtual Console service. A Nintendo representative gave us the following statement via email earlier this year:

    "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner as has been done on other Nintendo systems. There are a variety of ways in which classic games from Nintendo and other publishers are made available on Nintendo Switch, such as through Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online, Nintendo eShop or as packaged collections."

    That doesn't mean it's never going to happen, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath in anticipation either.

    SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch is the hottest game system right now — here are its 18 best games

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Red Dead Redemption 2

    Can you smell it in the air? This year's "Madden" has already arrived, its annual mid-August launch signaling the coming wave of blockbuster video games about to arrive on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. 

    Huge new entries from already massively popular franchises are the standouts this year, and "Red Dead Redemption 2" (seen above) is the heaviest heavy of them all. The long-awaited sequel to Rockstar Games' brilliant original "Red Dead Redemption" is a kind of "Grand Theft Auto" meets "The Magnificent Seven" — a fitting game from the folks behind the "Grand Theft Auto" series. 

    But this fall isn't all cowboys and train robberies.

    super smash bros ultimate

    Below, we've put together the 16 biggest games slated to arrive in the biggest game release season of the year:

    SEE ALSO: Nearly 5 years after launch, we compared the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One — and it's a harder decision than ever

    1. "Madden NFL 19"

    New year, new "Madden" game. 2018 is no different, and the latest entry in the football simulation series is available to buy now.

    A handful of changes are being made this time around, like every year, but let's be honest: You're not buying "Madden" because of changes. Is anyone? "Madden NFL 19" is simply the latest iteration of a formula that's been working for over 25 years, which is exactly what it's supposed to be.

    Release Date: August 10

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC



    2. "Marvel's Spider-Man"

    The new "Spider-Man" game — a PlayStation 4 exclusive game — features a massive New York City that you can swing around, with plenty of enemies to pummel along the way. It's focused on re-creating the Spider-Man experience as closely as possible.

    This is the classic Peter Parker/Spider-Man you already know and love.

    "Our Spider-Man features a 23-year-old Peter Parker who has become a masterful Spider-Man," the game's creative director, Bryan Intihar, said of the game. "While he may be more experienced, Peter and Spider-Man's worlds continue to collide as he tries to juggle them."

    Release Date: September 7

    Platforms: PlayStation 4



    3. "NBA 2K19"

    For the 2oth anniversary of the NBA 2K series, newly minted Los Angeles Laker LeBron James is gracing the cover.

    As per usual, "NBA 2K19" is a gorgeous basketball simulation — the basketball equivalent of "Madden" for football. It sets the standard for sim basketball games. Also like "Madden," it doesn't change too much from year to year. The focus is on updating the game to be a strong reflection of the current NBA, and it consistently delivers on that. Expect "NBA 2K19" to continue that tradition.

    Release Date: September 11

    Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Spider-man (PS4)

    Forget "Sex & the City" — HBO's version of Manhattan never let Carrie swing majestically from the skyscraper rooftops, like some sort of magical bird.

    In the brand-new "Spider-Man" game for the PlayStation 4, you've got free reign to fly across vast swaths of Manhattan's iconic skyline. From Battery Park to North Harlem, the West Side Highway to the FDR Drive, Spidey's able to soar through the air and take in the sights.

    Spider-Man (PS4)

    What's most impressive isn't just the scale, but how closely that virtual version of Manhattan matches up with the real thing.

    See for yourself:

    SEE ALSO: These are my favorite photos I've taken while swinging around New York City as Spider-Man

    One World Trade Center in "Spider-Man":



    It's the tallest building in Spider-Man's Manhattan, just like in real life:



    And here is One World Trade in real life. A slightly different design, but not too different.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Terror

    Not everyone can be a winner, or even a nominee.  

    The Emmys are on Monday night, and nominations came out in July, with some surprises and many disappointments. 

    In 2018, there were 728 shows on the ballot and 2,372 performances, so, of course, some shows and performances had to miss out on nominations, even if they deserved them.

    Unfortunately some of the absolute best shows and performances eligible didn't get any recognition, like AMC's "The Terror" and "Halt and Catch Fire." And some didn't get the nominations they deserved, like NBC's "The Good Place" and HBO's "Insecure."

    The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by "SNL's" Colin Jost and Michael Che, will air live Monday, September 17 on NBC at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

    Here are all the 2018 Emmy snubs:

    SEE ALSO: The 2018 Emmy nominees have been announced, with 'Game of Thrones' and Netflix leading the pack

    DRAMA SERIES



    "Halt and Catch Fire"



    "Killing Eve"



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Aaron Rodgers

    • Amazon lately has been bulking up the sports-related knowledge of its Alexa intelligent assistant.
    • Alexa can now give the odds on upcoming games and answer questions about players' career statistics.
    • In coming months, it will also be able to notify users when a game is about to start and offer updates on users fantasy football players.


    In the past, if you wanted to know what was going on in the sports world, you might have tuned in ESPN or headed to your favorite sports website.

    Now you might want to just ask Alexa, Amazon's intelligent assistant, best known as the voice of the Amazon Echo line of speakers. 

    Just in time for the NFL season, Amazon has been stuffing Alexa full of sports knowledge. You can now ask it to give you the odds on the upcoming game between the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, to tell you how many passing yards Joe Montana threw for in his career, and to give you the name of the Pittsburgh Steelers backup running back. In the near future, Alexa will be able to give fantasy football fans updates on their players, and alert users when their teams are about to take the field.

    Sports-related questions have become some of the most popular ones to ask Alexa in recent years, Jason Semine, principal product manager for sports information on Amazon's Alexa team, said in an email.

    "Sports moments are very important to our customers," Semine said. He continued: "So, this year we wanted to double-down in this area and see where else Alexa might be useful as it relates to sports."

    In recent weeks, Amazon has added a slew of new sports-related features to Alexa. Among them:

    • Answers to an assortment of trivia-related questions relating to sports history, records and statistics.
    • Updates on the latest injuries and transactions involving individual players or teams.
    • Predictions on who will win upcoming games, including the latest betting line.
    • Recaps of completed games.
    • Radio-like reports offering fans the latest information on their favorite teams.

    Within the next several months, Alexa users will also be able to ask for updates on their fantasy players and have it notify them when particular games start.

    Alexa could know even more about sports soon

    Alexa relies on some 50 different sources, including Stats.com and Sportradar, to provide answers to sports-related inquiries, Semine said. But Amazon has done a lot of work in the sports area in-house, including helping Alexa better respond to questions that are phrased using regular language rather than with specific command words.

    The Alexa team has also been working to ensure that the intelligent assistant is able to respond to questions about sports events as they happen and to understand the context of particular inquiries, he said. If an Alexa users asks for the score of the Stanford game, the team has been trying to fine-tune the system so that it knows whether the user is referring to football, men's basketball, or women's basketball when you ask about a game.

    "The Alexa service is getting smarter every day," Semine said. He continued: "Our long-term goal is for Alexa to understand and be able to answer all questions, in all forms, from anywhere in the world."

    Alexa isn't the only intelligent assistant that knows about sports. Apple's Siri has long been able to answer sports-related questions, including ones about team standings and player-related statistics. Earlier this year, the company added to it the ability to respond to questions about professional tennis and golf.

    Meanwhile, Google Assistant can answer a selection of sports queries, including about teams' latest scores and standings. Apps, or skills, that connect with Assistant can allow the service to respond to an even broader range of inquiries, including ones related to your fantasy football players or the latest horse-racing results.

    SEE ALSO: A gold mine is buried 'under the weeds' at Amazon — here's why it could take the company beyond the $1 trillion mark

    SEE ALSO: Apple is overhauling Siri — and the voice assistant may finally catch up with Amazon's Alexa

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Rihanna KateHudson Ibiza Spain Atzaro (36 of 36)

    • While Ibiza is known as a party capital of the world, many wealthy and famous head to the lesser-known pastoral north of the island to relax.
    • One of the most luxurious and secluded resorts on the island is Atzaró Hotel and Spa, an agrotourism resort where Rihanna, Shakira, and other celebs have stayed.
    • I recently spent the day at Atzaró to see what it's like to live like a popstar. The food was good, the drinks were strong, and the grounds were stunning.

    The Spanish island of Ibiza is world-famous as a vacation and partying hotspot for the wealthy and the famous.

    Every summer sees the usual influx of actors, billionaires, and models and their entourages flooding in for wild parties at the island's bumping clubs and beautiful beaches.

    But what if you are looking for something a bit more secluded, classy, and chic? Ibiza has that, too.

    Enter the Atzaró Hotel and Spa, an agrotourism resort hidden in the northern countryside of the island. Considered one of the more prestigious hotels on the island, the resort opened in 2004 after being converted from a 300-year-old traditional farmhouse into the lavish 10-acre estate and gardens it is now.

    The hotel's hidden, serene location has made it a favorite of celebrities ranging from popstars Rihanna and Shakira to actress Kate Hudson, among others. 

    I recently visited Atzaró Hotel and Spa on a recent trip to Spain. Keep reading to see what it's like:

    SEE ALSO: I stayed at Robert De Niro's ridiculously swanky new hotel in Ibiza — and it makes you feel like a celebrity, if you can afford it

    DON'T MISS: I went on an epic road trip to find the best beach in 2018's hottest travel destination — and it did not disappoint

    Getting to Atzaró is a bit of a schlep. Located near Santa Eularia des Riu in the north of the island, it was a 30-minute ride from Sant Antoni de Portmany, one of the major towns on the island. It's about the same distance from Ibiza Town.



    The drive there was gorgeous. The ride revealed a lush, green countryside that I didn't even know existed on Ibiza. Located down a small country road, Atzaró is named after the mountain behind the property.



    The property was originally a finca, or Spanish farmhouse, built some 300 years ago, that served as the family home of owner and CEO Victor Guasch.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    pete lau oneplus

    • Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus plans to move beyond mobile devices for the first time ever with a new product: The OnePlus TV.
    • OnePlus founder Pete Lau says his vision is to make a TV with seamless connectivity to a user's smartphone. He also wants to add the functionality of a smart AI assistant, similar to Amazon's Alexa or the Google Assistant, but with more of a visual element.
    • The OnePlus TV is in the early stages of development, and could be launched next year. It will take post-release software updates to fully realize its vision, though, says the company.
    • Right now, OnePlus is best-known for its low-cost, high-powered smartphones — at $530, its current-model OnePlus 6 is half the cost of an Apple iPhone X, but almost as powerful. 

    For almost five years, the only products sold by OnePlus were its well-regarded line of affordable, high-end smartphones, and the accessories that go with them. 

    The Chinese smartphone company has built up a loyal customer base, who follow each new release with a fervor that can only be compared to Apple fans at the launch of a new iPhone. Few Android phones, if any, get city block-spanning lines of prospective buyers when a new model comes out. But OnePlus does, and did.

    On Sunday, the company is announcing that it'll be expanding its product lineup into TVs, bringing OnePlus beyond smartphones for the first time ever. 

    It's perhaps an unexpected move, but many OnePlus smartphone users have already asked the company why it doesn't make a TV, OnePlus founder Pete Lau told Business Insider in a phone interview, speaking via an interpreter.  And while many details on the TV are still unclear, Lau says that OnePlus is thinking big with the new product.

    "At present, we feel the current market of TVs is still feeling quite traditional in their functionality and experience. And they haven’t really well-integrated the internet into the experience, and making the experience match with what would be expected in today’s connected society," Lau said regarding the current state of smart TVs.

    As for a release date, Lau is cautiously hopeful that OnePlus will release its first TV in 2019, with software updates gradually making it smarter and more connected over the five years following the launch. In other words, Lau expects it to take some time for the product to live up to its full promise.

    "This will have to be a process that proceeds step by step. It wont be something that’s perfect and absolutely complete and revolutionary from the start. So we can’t get everyone’s hopes up too soon," Lau said.

    Rethinking the TV

    We also don't know what kind of specs to expect in the OnePlus TV, including whether or not it'll come with 4K resolution or HDR (high dynamic range for enhanced colors and contrast). But Lau says that OnePlus is building a premium, flagship TV, and promises it'll have specs to match. 

    For now, Lau wants to talk about the company's vision for a TV. In a world where artificial intelligence (AI)-powered assistants and smart speakers are increasingly common, Lau believes that connected TVs can feel a little stale in terms of their potential. 

    To begin with, the OnePlus TV is going to be smart, Lau says. But Lau's vision is to evolve the typical smart TVs, and he wants to make them smarter and better connected to smartphones, still the primary device in many people's lives.

     

    samsung smart TV

    With a OnePlus TV, Lau wants to bring the best of all worlds. He envisions the TV as having seamless connectivity between your smartphone and TV, as well as the type of AI smarts and assistive functionality offered by devices like Amazon's Echo and Google's Home.

    That means beaming photos and home videos to your TV without needing to worry about a clunky app or third-party service. It also means showing you useful information like your upcoming calendar events, suggestions for departure times for your daily commute, and the ability to arrange transportation to and from a destination. This is just a small example of what Lau thinks OnePlus could do with TVs, he says. 

    At this stage in the OnePlus TV's development, Lau didn't say which company's AI will be used to power the OnePlus TV, but he does say that OnePlus is in talks with major industry players to support current connected-home ecosystems.

    Essential to the OnePlus TV experience will also be a built-in camera, says Lau. To concerns that having a camera on a TV could be a home-privacy nightmare, Lau reassures prospective buyers: "We have this in mind, and we will have a solution."

    The competitive field

    Some examples of this kind of AI/TV integration exist already. Notably, Amazon sells Fire Edition TVs by Toshiba and Element, which come with Alexa built-in and display similar information. Google, too, has increasingly integrated its Chromecast streaming devices with its Google Assistant, allowing you to display the weather and other information on your connected TV. 

    Speaking of Amazon, it already makes a device that sounds somewhat similar to what OnePlus is cooking up. The Amazon Echo Show is an Alexa-powered device with a screen and a camera, displaying calendar appointments, the weather, and other information. But the TV is the centerpiece of your home, and Lau wants to bring intelligence there, rather than make a separate device. 

     

    echo show

    In true OnePlus fashion, however, Lau says that the company will solicit ideas from the community on what features and functionalities it wants from a TV — an approach that's served it well in the past. 

    What makes OnePlus different

    Perhaps what will help differentiate the OnePlus TV is the company's philosophy towards product design.

    To anyone who's not familiar with OnePlus devices, the company has made its name by building high-end devices  — with premium design, materials, build quality, specs, and software — for a price that won't decimate your bank account.

    For reference, the most recent $530 OnePlus 6 smartphone easily contends with devices that cost nearly twice as much, including Apple's flagship $999 iPhone X.

    "Our users have acknowledged the excellence in the OnePlus build quality across our smartphone devices, so we have that reputation and acknowledgement," Lau said

    oneplus 6 white 7

    To be clear, Lau and OnePlus have just begun the long process to making and selling a OnePlus TV, and the company is still in the very early stages of development — hence the lack of specific details, or a solid launch date.

    "We have just gotten started," Lau said.

    Even so, Lau wants to be clear that OnePlus is taking this seriously, and that the die has been cast: The OnePlus TV is the next big thing for the company. 

    "We want to be clear and make it well known that this decision has been made and we are going to make this product," Lau said. 

    SEE ALSO: The new smartphone from OnePlus will fix one of the most annoying 'features' of recent smartphones

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Game of Thrones season 7 episode 3

    Awards season is officially here, with the Emmy Awards happening on Monday night. 

    The nominees for this year's Emmys were announced in July, and "Game of Thrones" and Netflix led the pack. "Thrones" gained 22 nominations, while Netflix was the leading network with 112 in total, breaking HBO's 17-year streak.

    Both "Better Call Saul" and "House of Cards" were ineligible this year, but "Game of Thrones" returns in full force after missing out on last year's Emmys  for its seventh season.

    It looks like it could be a battle between HBO's blockbuster fantasy and Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale," which took home the Outstanding Drama Series prize last year. But don't count out "The Americans," which ended its six-season run this year to critical acclaim. "The Americans" has deserved Emmys in all the major categories since it began in 2013, so hopefully its last eligible year will be a success. 

    In the comedy race, "Veep" is out of the running this year, leaving it wide open for younger shows like "Atlanta" and "Glow" to prevail.

    The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by "SNL's" Colin Jost and Michael Che, will air live on Monday, September 17 on NBC at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

    The list of nominees in the major categories is below:

    SEE ALSO: Our Emmys 2018 predictions: who should win, who will win, and who got snubbed

    DRAMA SERIES

    "The Americans"

    "The Crown"

    "Game of Thrones"

    "The Handmaid's Tale"

    "Stranger Things"

    "This Is Us"

    "Westworld"



    COMEDY SERIES

    "Atlanta"

    "Barry"

    "Black-ish"

    "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

    "Glow"

    "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

    "Silicon Valley"

    "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"



    LIMITED SERIES

    "The Alienist"

    "The Assassination of Gianni Versace"

    "Genius: Picasso"

    "Godless"

    "Patrick Melrose"



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Joaquin Phoenix Getty

    • The director Todd Phillips released the first image of Joaquin Phoenix as The Joker on Instagram on Sunday.
    • Phoenix is not wearing any makeup in the photo.
    • Phillips captioned the image with one word: "Arthur."
    • The film's plot is under wraps, but the post suggests it will be a deep origin story.

    The director of the upcoming standalone movie about the Batman villain The Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix (not to be confused with the other upcoming standalone Joker movie with Jared Leto) released the first image of the titular character on Sunday.

    It's not what anyone expected — Phoenix is not wearing any of the clown makeup that makes the character so recognizable.

    The director Todd Phillips shared the image on his Instagram account with a simple caption: "Arthur."

    Arthur.

    A post shared by Todd Phillips (@toddphillips1) on Sep 16, 2018 at 12:12pm PDT on

    Though the film's plot is under wraps, the post suggests it will be an origin story that starts further back than we've ever seen The Joker on screen.

    This is Phillips' first comic-book movie. His previous credits include all three films in the "Hangover" franchise, as well as "War Dogs" and "Old School."

    His Joker movie is expected to come to theaters in October 2019. Along with Phoenix, it will star Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro, and Marc Maron.

    SEE ALSO: All the 2018 Emmy nominees, with 'Game of Thrones' and Netflix leading the pack

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    the americansThe Emmys air on Monday night, and there is some tough competition this year, making it hard to decide who should win in every category. 

    But it's easier to figure out who will win, based on precedent and buzz.

    "The Handmaid's Tale," which won best drama last year, is a favorite to win across all major categories from best drama to best supporting actress. But it could lose in multiple categories to "Game of Thrones," which wasn't in the running for last year's awards. But both of those shows should lose to "The Americans," which had an impeccable final season and has never won, though it's deserved all of the drama Emmys for years. 

    There's also tight competition among the limited series categories, with incredible shows including "The Assassination of Gianni Versace," "Godless," and "Patrick Melrose," which are all deserving of every award they're up for on Monday night. 

    We put together a list of our Emmy predictions, along with who we think should win. We also threw in who got snubbed. So if you're excited to see the best contenders among all the nominees this year, look no further.

    The Emmys, hosted by "SNL's" Colin Jost and Michael Che, air Monday, September 17 on NBC. 

    Here's our list of who will win the Emmys, and who should:

    SEE ALSO: The 2018 Emmy nominees have been announced, with 'Game of Thrones' and Netflix leading the pack

    DRAMA SERIES

    The nominees: 

    "The Americans"

    "The Crown"

    "Game of Thrones"

    "The Handmaid's Tale"

    "Stranger Things"

    "This Is Us"

    "Westworld"

    What will win: "Game of Thrones." Despite its accelerated and lackluster seventh season in 2017, "Game of Thrones" still delivered some excellent episodes and mind-blowing sequences, such as the battle at the end of "The Spoils of War." 2017 Emmy winner "The Handmaid's Tale" had a sophomore slump and just wasn't as popular, so a win for a show on the scale of "Game of Thrones" is probably inevitable.

    What should win: "The Americans." Its sixth and final season was perfect and eloquently marked the end of television's Golden Age. We're just glad it was nominated after years and years of snubs, though it absolutely deserves the win in this category. Unfortunately this is the second time the show is nominated in the best drama category, so it doesn't have much of a chance: it's more of a sympathy nomination that's been building for years. 

    What was snubbed: "Halt and Catch Fire." Sadly, the four-season AMC series, one of the best dramas to come out of the Golden Age (like "The Americans"), wasn't nominated for anything and flew under the radar for the majority of its run. 



    COMEDY SERIES

    The nominees: 

    "Atlanta"

    "Barry"

    "Black-ish"

    "Curb Your Enthusiasm"

    "Glow"

    "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

    "Silicon Valley"

    "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

    What will win: "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel." This would be a surprising win over defending champ "Atlanta," but it swept the Golden Globes and is lauded by critics. It was basically made for awards season, but not in a bad way. 

    What should win: "Atlanta." Season two broke boundaries, even for this show's standards, and it absolutely deserves Emmy number two. 

    What was snubbed: "The Good Place." Albeit in a very different way than FX's "Atlanta," NBC's "The Good Place" is groundbreaking comedy that has completely transformed what a network comedy can be. It should be a frontrunner, but didn't even get a nomination. 



    LIMITED SERIES

    The nominees: 

    "The Alienist"

    "The Assassination of Gianni Versace"

    "Genius: Picasso"

    "Godless"

    "Patrick Melrose"

    Who will win: "The Assassination of Gianni Versace." The Emmys love Ryan Murphy content, and if "the People vs OJ Simpson" is any indication, the second season of "American Crime Story" will sweep the awards this year. And it deserves the win for its unique take on the story of a serial killer that focuses on the victims, not just the monster. 

    Who should win: "Godless." By embracing every cliche about westerns, "Godless" was somehow something truly unique, bolstered by an incredible cast including Michelle Dockery, Jeff Daniels, and Meritt Weaver (all nominees). We also wouldn't be upset if "Patrick Melrose" wins. 

    Who was snubbed: "The Terror." It is an absolute shame that the best television show of 2018 wasn't nominated in any category. "The Terror" is revolutionary television in so many ways. It deserved better, and should have been an absolute shoe-in for a nomination and the win. Netflix's "American Vandal" deserved a nomination as well for its biting commentary on the true crime obsessed culture.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    nintendo switch

    • Starting Tuesday, September 18, Nintendo's Switch console will require users to pay for its online service in order to play games online.
    • The service, named "Nintendo Switch Online," costs $20 per year.
    • In addition to enabling online co-operative and competitive play, Nintendo Switch Online offers access to a growing library of classic Nintendo games.


    If you're one of the over 20 million Nintendo Switch owners, take note: Nintendo's about to lock online play behind a membership paywall.

    Starting on Tuesday, September 18, Nintendo is launching "Nintendo Switch Online" on the Nintendo Switch. The service costs $20/year, and primarily offers access to online gameplay — the kind of online gameplay you've already been enjoying for free on Nintendo's consoles for years.

    Since the Nintendo Switch launched in March 2017, playing games online has been free. Games like "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe," "Splatoon 2," and "ARMS" that all launched in the first six months of the Switch's life — games that are primarily played online — will all require the $20/year service to be played online.

    Nintendo's upcoming "Super Smash Bros. Ultimate," arguably the biggest game Nintendo is launching this year on the Switch, will also require Nintendo Switch Online in order to be played online.

    There's one notable exception in "Fortnite," which won't require a paid account to be played online, but few games are exempt: Hit third-party games like "Minecraft" and "Rocket League" will both require the service if you're playing online (even co-operative online play in "Minecraft").

    Nintendo Switch Online

    For $20/year, Nintendo's offering a handful of other benefits with Nintendo Switch Online. 

    As Mario demonstrates above, the service consists of five primary components:

    1. Online multiplayer, both co-operative and competitive.
    2. A classic game library, starting with 20 Nintendo Entertainment System games.
    3. Cloud save support for "compatible games."
    4. A smartphone app that provides voice chat support for online multiplayer.
    5. "Exclusive special offers," starting with the ability to purchase wireless NES-style gamepads for the Switch.

    The service is similar to those offered by Sony and Microsoft on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One — PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold, respectively.

    Those services also offer access to online gameplay, provide a growing library of free games, and enable cloud saves.

    Nintendo Switch (cloud saves)

    On paper, Nintendo Switch Online is nearly identical to Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus. In reality, Nintendo Switch Online is actually much better than both Sony and Microsoft's offerings in one key way: Price.

    At $20/year, Nintendo Switch Online is by far the least expensive online subscription service for a game console; PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold cost $60/year each.

    But there's a crucial difference between what Sony/Microsoft offer and what Nintendo is offering: Far larger libraries of free games. Both Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus offer free games each month, and we're not talking about games that came out 30 years ago or more. Games like "Destiny 2" and "Rocket League," among many other blockbusters, have shown up on both rival services. 

    In so many words, $60/year is a lot to pay for an online service, but both PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold pay for themselves in the first few months through free games.

    In the case of Nintendo Switch Online, the free games included are from the Nintendo Entertainment System — Nintendo's first major video game console, which played games like the original "Super Mario Bros" and the original "The Legend of Zelda."

    They're being updated with online multiplayer, and can be played on Nintendo's latest hardware, but these are otherwise the same classic games you've played many times before on previous Nintendo consoles.

    Nintendo Switch Online (NES games)

    Nintendo says that 20 classic games will become available for download when the service lights up on September 18.

    They are: "Soccer," "Tennis," "Donkey Kong," "Mario Bros.," "Super Mario Bros.," "Balloon Fight," "Ice Climber," "Dr. Mario," "The Legend of Zelda," "Super Mario Bros. 3," "Double Dragon," "River City Ransom," "Ghosts'n Goblins," "Tecmo Bowl," "Gradius," "Pro Wrestling," "Excitebike," "Yoshi," "Ice Hockey," and "Baseball."

    By the end of 2018, Nintendo is adding nine more games: "Solomon's Key," "NES Open Tournament Golf," and "Super Dodge Ball" in October; "Metroid," "Mighty Bombjack, and "TwinBee" in November; "Wario's Woods," "Ninja Gaiden" and "Adventures of Lolo" in December. 

    Thus far, the only "classics" Nintendo has announced as coming to the service are from the original NES console. 

    Nintendo Switch Online goes live on September 18, and will require a system update to version 6.0.0. Whether you download the update or not, games like "Mario Kart 8 Deluxe" will stop working online without a Nintendo Switch Online paid account as of this Tuesday.

    You can watch an overview trailer of Nintendo Switch Online below:

    SEE ALSO: The Nintendo Switch online service costs $20 a year, granting access to classic games and long-awaited new features when it lights up on September 18

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    soon-yi previn woody allen

    • A new profile of Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen's wife, published by Vulture has drawn criticism for its portrayal of Dylan Farrow's abuse allegation against Allen. 
    • Many social media users accused New York Magazine, Vulture's publisher, of publishing a biased article, due to the author's admitted decades-long friendship with Allen.
    • Ronan and Dylan Farrow also issued statements contradicting the article's portrayal of Dylan's allegation that Allen sexually abused her when she was seven.

     

    A new profile of Soon-Yi Previn, Woody Allen's wife, published by Vulture on Sunday, has drawn wide criticism from the media and from Allen's children, Ronan and Dylan Farrow, for its portrayal of the latter's abuse allegation against Allen. 

    In the feature, Previn addressed the backlash Allen has faced since the rise of the #MeToo movement, over Dylan Farrow's allegation that Allen sexually abused her when she was seven years old. 

    "But what's happened to Woody is so upsetting, so unjust," Previn said. "[Mia Farrow, Allen's ex-girlfriend] has taken advantage of the #MeToo movement and paraded Dylan as a victim. And a whole new generation is hearing about it when they shouldn’t."

    Previn discussed her adoption and upbringing with Mia Farrow and Andre Previn, her adoptive parents, and the beginning of her relationship with Allen when she was 21 years old, years after she had first known Allen as Farrow's boyfriend. Previn also accused Farrow in the article of physically abusing her for years, including slapping her across the face and "spanking" her with a hairbrush.

    Social media users were quick to note that the author of the piece, Daphne Merkin, wrote in the article that she has been a friend of Allen's "for over four decades," and many thus accused Merkin and New York Magazine (Vulture's publisher) of publishing a biased article. 

    Dylan Farrow, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen's adopted daughter, took to Twitter on Sunday with a statement on the article. She said that New York Magazine contacted her and described "multiple obvious falsehoods" about the story's account of her abuse allegation against Allen. 

    "The story still included bizarre fabrications about my mother while failing to mention that a prosecutor found probable cause of abuse by Woody Allen and that he was in therapy for his unhealthy fixation on my body," Farrow wrote. "No one is parading me around as a victim. I continue to be an adult woman making credible allegation unchanged for two decades, backed up by evidence."

    Ronan Farrow, who has published multiple bombshell articles for The New Yorker featuring sexual misconduct allegations made against the likes of Harvey Weinstein and former CBS CEO Les Moonves, also released a statement on the story. 

    "I owe everything I am to Mia Farrow. She is a devoted mom who went through hell for her family all while creating a loving home for us," Farrow wrote. "But that has never stopped Woody Allen and his allies from planting stories that attack and vilify my mother to deflect from my sister’s credible allegation of abuse."

    "As a brother and a son, I'm angry that New York Magazine would participate in this kind of a hit job, written by a longtime admirer and friend of Woody Allen's," he continued. "As a journalist, I’m shocked by the lack of care for the facts, the refusal to include eyewitness testimony that would contradict falsehoods in this piece, and the failure to include my sister’s complete responses. Survivors of abuse deserve better."

    SEE ALSO: Dylan Farrow gave emotional, disturbingly detailed allegations of sexual assault by Woody Allen in her first TV interview

    Join the conversation about this story »

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