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Friday, April 30, 2021

FIASCO FRIDAY / IT APPEARS RUDY GIULIANI IS EXTREMELY SCREWED

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy where does it end. Or, is it just beginning? 

S
o says Vanity Fair magazine’s Bess Levin in her article on the Trump lawyer and crony, who just had his home and office searched by the feds as part of a criminal investigation. 

CLICK HERE for the article.  

Remember to obtain a search warrant, investigators must persuade a judge that a crime was committed and that the search would turn up evidence of the crime. And, we’re not talking about the feds wanting to know what brand of hair dye NOT to use. 

Stay tuned. 


REMEMBER THIS HEAD SCRATCHER.  



Thursday, April 29, 2021

THE FOODIST / DOMINO’S DRIVERLESS DELIVERY. BUT DO YOU STILL HAVE TO TIP?


L
eading pizza making giant Domino's and Nuro, an early leader in self-driving delivery robots, together launched a robot delivery practice run in Houston. 

Last week, select customers who placed a prepaid order on dominos.com on certain days and times from Domino's in Woodland Heights, located at 3209 Houston Ave., could choose to have their pizza delivered by Nuro's R2 robot. 

Nuro's R2 is the first completely autonomous, occupantless on-road delivery vehicle with a regulatory approval by the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

Domino’s and Nuro are launching autonomous pizza delivery in Houston, beginning last week. This collaboration between Domino's and Nuro will introduce an entirely new delivery experience to pizza lovers. 

Here's how it works: select customers who place a prepaid website order from the participating Domino's store can opt to have their order delivered by R2. 

Customers who are selected will receive text alerts, which will update them on R2's location and provide them with a unique PIN to retrieve their order. 

Customers may also track the vehicle via GPS on their order confirmation page. Once R2 arrives, customers will be prompted to enter their PIN on the bot's touchscreen. R2's doors will then gently open upward, revealing the customer's hot Domino's order. 


"We're excited to continue innovating the delivery experience for Domino's customers by testing autonomous delivery with Nuro in Houston," said Dennis Maloney, Domino's senior vice president and chief innovation officer. "There is still so much for our brand to learn about the autonomous delivery space. This program will allow us to better understand how customers respond to the deliveries, how they interact with the robot and how it affects store operations. The growing demand for great-tasting pizza creates the need for more deliveries, and we look forward to seeing how autonomous delivery can work along with Domino's existing delivery experts to better support the customers' needs." 

"Nuro's mission is to better everyday life through robotics. Now, for the first time, we're launching real world, autonomous deliveries with R2 and Domino's," said Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president. "We're excited to introduce our autonomous delivery bots to a select set of Domino's customers in Houston. We can't wait to see what they think." 

And, the jury is still out on tipping a driverless delivery. 

To view Domino's full menu or place an order, visit dominos.com. 

About Domino's 

Founded in 1960, Domino's Pizza is the largest pizza company in the world based on retail sales. It ranks among the world's top public restaurant brands with a global enterprise of more than 17,600 stores in over 90 markets. 

Domino's had global retail sales of more than $16.1 billion in 2020, with nearly $8.3 billion in the U.S. and more than $7.8 billion internationally. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Domino's had global retail sales of more than $5.5 billion, with over $2.7 billion in the U.S. and more than $2.8 billion internationally. 

Its system is comprised of independent franchise owners who accounted for 98% of Domino's stores as of the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. Emphasis on technology innovation helped Domino's achieve more than half of all global retail sales in 2020 from digital channels. 

In the U.S., Domino's generated more than 70% of sales in 2020 via digital channels and has developed several innovative ordering platforms, including those for Google Home, Facebook Messenger, Apple Watch, Amazon Echo, Twitter and more. 

In 2019, Domino's announced a partnership with Nuro to further its exploration and testing of autonomous pizza delivery. In mid-2020, Domino's launched a new way to order contactless carryout nationwide – via Domino's Carside Delivery™, which customers can choose when placing a prepaid online order. Order – dominos.com Company Info – biz.dominos.com Media Assets – media.dominos.com 


About Nuro 

Nuro exists to better everyday life through robotics. The company's custom autonomous vehicles are designed to bring the things you need, from produce to prescriptions, right to your home. 

Nuro's autonomous delivery can give you valuable time back and more freedom to do what you love. This convenient, eco-friendly, safe alternative to driving can make streets safer and cities more livable. Nuro has brought autonomous delivery to local communities in Texas, Arizona, and California—for less driving and more thriving. Company Info – nuro.ai Media Assets – nuro.ai/media-kit 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

DESIGN OF OUR TIMES / FREE DOWNLOADABLE WORKS FROM THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART


In a creative look celebrating the METs 150th anniversary of its founding in 2020 was done in composite by Roderick Aichinger. The “visitors” are viewing Emanuel Leutze’s iconic 1851 oil painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware.” 

A
few weeks ago this blog published a feature on the Louvre museum in Paris creating download capabilities for its entire collection. Viewers around the world may now see what is stored in this famed museum in Paris for free. 

That PillartoPost.org posting became the most clicked feature in the 11 year history of this daily online blog that you are now reading. 

In the spirit of art history exploration, we remind readers of the recently closed 150th Anniversary exhibition at the MET. But first please know five decades of Metropolitan Museum of Art publications on art history are available to read, download, and/or search for free CLICK HERE

What a boon to have two of the world’s preeminent fine art museums putting their collections online and for free!  

MAKING OF THE MET, THE BOOK 

Published to celebrate The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s 150th anniversary, Making The Met, 1870–2020 by Andrea Bayer with Laura D. Corey examines the institution’s evolution from an idea—that art can inspire anyone who has access to it—to one of the most beloved global collections in the world. 

Focusing on key transformational moments, this richly illustrated book provides insight into the visionary figures and events that led The Met in new directions. Among the many topics explored are the impact of momentous acquisitions, the central importance of education and accessibility, the collaboration that resulted from international excavations, the Museum’s role in preserving cultural heritage, and its interaction with contemporary art and artists. 

Complementing this fascinating history are more than two hundred works that changed the very way we look at art, as well as rarely seen archival and behind-the-scenes images. 

In the final chapter, Met Director Max Hollein offers a meditation on evolving approaches to collecting art from around the world, strategies for reaching new and diverse audiences, and the role of museums today. [Available through MET and Amazon]. 

ALSO NOTABLE 

Earlier this month, Google, as part of its cultural coverage, produced a feature showcasing the exhibition. CLICK HERE. 

The following text in italics is from Google’s editorial: The Metropolitan Museum of Art was founded on April 13, 1870 and celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2020. In a flush of optimism following the American Civil War, a group of civic leaders, businessmen, and artists banded together to establish an art museum for New York City. 

They began with a grand idea but without art, a building, or professional staff. Today, The Met holds more than 1.5 million objects spread over 2 million square feet and cared for by 1,600 staff members. 7 million visitors from around the world visit the Museum each year and over 30 million explore its offerings online. Making The Met traces the institution’s history through ten transformative episodes when the Museum’s course changed, evolving in tandem with world events and broader shifts in taste and society. 

The Met’s first trustees had to build a collection from scratch. Early acquisitions ranged from Cypriot antiquities to American paintings, Pre Columbian sculpture, and musical instruments and armor from around the world, reflecting aspirations to become a global collection. The 150th anniversary exhibition was made possible by the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation. Lead corporate sponsorship is provided by Bank of America. 

The content for Google's online feature is drawn from The Met’s 150th anniversary exhibition, Making The Met, 1870-2020, which was on view from August 29, 2020–January 3, 2021. 

From YouTube, a tour of the 150TH anniversary exhibition. CLICK HERE 

THE AMAZIN' METS

The following text and image captions of the museum's first locations are by PillartoPost.org: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City had two temporary homes. The first and site of the grand opening on Feb. 20 1872 was located in the Dodworth Building at 681 Fifth Avenue. The second home was in the Harriet Douglas Mansion from 1873 to 1879 on West 14th Street. On March 30, 1880, the MET opened to the public at its current site on Fifth Avenue and 82nd Street. 

A 1905 postcard shows the Metropolitan Museum of Art at its current location on 5th Avenue. 



Painting of the Douglas Mansion, the MET's second home.

Interior view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1881 when the MET was in the Douglas Mansion its second home. Painting by Frank Waller. 

Opening reception in the Dodworth Mansion picture gallery at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 681 Fifth Avenue, February 20, 1872. Wood-engraving published in Frank Leslie's Illustrated, March 9, 1872.













Tuesday, April 27, 2021

SPACE CADETS / WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THIS PIX?


As seen from NASA’s International Space Station 261 miles in orbit. CLICK HERE. 

*** 


St. Vincent eruption aftermath via NASA satellites. CLICK HERE. 



Monday, April 26, 2021

MEDIA MONDAY / WHY WE STILL CARE ABOUT HEMINGWAY


GUEST OPINION / By Gene Seymour, CNN
 

Gene Seymour is a critic who has written about music, movies and culture for The New York Times, Newsday, Entertainment Weekly and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @GeneSeymour. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

The widespread yet varying attention drawn by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick's "Hemingway" documentary series -- which ran its course on PBS early this month -- proves, if nothing else, that its subject still lingers in the world's collective consciousness almost a century after his first books were first published. 

While Ernest Hemingway may no longer dominate the literary scene as he had by the middle of the 20th century, the mystique of his public and private lives resonates into the 21st. The most mysterious question is: Why do we still care about him? 

For the rest of Gene Seymour’s opinion piece as it ran on CNN Click Here 

Not by Seymour:

Here is a recording by Hemingway of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. CLICK HERE.

He did not attend the ceremonies,

Sunday, April 25, 2021

SUNDAY REVIEW / PORTRAITS BY A PRESIDENT


CLICK HERE
for a NPR.org review by Rachel Martin of former U.S. President George W. Bush’s new book of portraits called Out of Many, One. It features the stories of 43 immigrants—athletes and public servants, business leaders and educators.  

More on other the Bush artwork Portraits of Courage, A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s warriors via Washington Post CLICK HERE. 



Saturday, April 24, 2021

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS & STUFF / INSTANT IN POUR OVER’S CLOTHING


I love the Daily Beast’s “Cheat Sheets,” a collection of newsie stuff that’s informative and definitely fun to read. CLICK HERE

That’s where we discovered Kuju Coffee.  

Available on Amazon, Kuju is instant coffee in pour over’s clothing.. Each pack is a tiny tea bag-sized packet of coffee, pre-ground, pre-measured, ready to go. 

It even has hooks on both sides, so it can hug your mug with the bag gently sitting inside of it without dropping. All you do is rip off the perforation on top and anchor the bag to the mug with the attached paper hooks. From there, you boil some water, and pour directly into the exposed coffee grounds. Coffee will slowly brew through the tea (coffee) bag and directly into your mug. 

Pour over has never been easier, insist the wide-awake editors at the Daily Beast’s “Scouted” section. 


*** 

WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ--Where in the world is this coffee establishment? Answer next Saturday in PillartoPost.org Coffee Beans & Beings post. 

                                            *** 


LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWER—Caffe Adesso opens at 5 am weekdays and 6 am on weekends and bills itself as a gourmet coffee drive thru. Since the late 1990s, it has been located just off of Interstate 8 next to a gas station at 1140 Tavern Road in Alpine CA. Perfect on and off site for commuters driving from East County into San Diego. This mom and pop operation is run by the Musgrove Family, who were recently in the headlines after son Joe Musgrove, a homegrown pitcher with the San Diego Padres hurled a no-hitter. Locals rave about the quality of the brews. And, they happily endure the longer lines—for now.


Friday, April 23, 2021

FISCAL FRIDAY / DOW TOPS HISTORIC 34,000. NOW WHAT?


Rising Demand, Inflation and Earnings: Will the Gains Be Sustained? 

Editor’s Note: As Edward Jones is the financial advisor of this daily online publication, permission has been granted to pillartopost.org to republish certain data to our readership. 

GUEST BLOG / By Angelo Kourkafas, CFA, Investment Strategist, Edward Jones Company--Good economic news propelled stocks to new highs last week, with equities, bonds and commodities all rallying. The Dow surpassed 34,000 for the first time, as signs of 

1) rising demand (consumer spending), 

 2) rising inflation and 

 3) rising earnings all point to an accelerating recovery. 

Improving trends in consumer spending and corporate earnings will be key factors in extending the durability of the new economic expansion and bull market, while inflation pressures can be problematic if they persist. We'd offer the following takeaways on whether the gains in these three areas can be sustained and what that implies for the markets. 

1) Rising demand: Consumers splurge as new stimulus checks arrive, restrictions ease 

--Retail sales soared 9.8% last month compared with February, handily exceeding estimates and marking the second-fastest monthly acceleration in the last 30 years. The boost was largely driven by consumers spending a portion of their $1,400 stimulus checks that were part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act passed in March. Sales increased across all categories, with spending on big-ticket items remaining strong, as motor-vehicles sales rose 15%1. 

--The notable pickup in spending in clothing stores (+18%) as well as restaurants and bars (+13%) suggests that the easing of restrictions and progress in vaccinations are leading consumers to start resuming their typical spending habits1. The gradual return to normalcy bodes well for spending on services, like travel and entertainment, which are not represented in the retail-sales data released last week. We believe there is substantial pent-up demand waiting to be unleashed, which will likely trigger a rebalance in consumer spending as the year progresses away from goods and towards services. 

--Will the gains be sustained? It is reasonable to expect a pullback in spending as the one-time benefit from the government transfers fades. However, the three rounds of stimulus checks since last year have left consumers flush with savings. The U.S. personal saving rate stands nearly twice its pre-pandemic level. Assuming consumers reduce their savings as uncertainty subsides and the economy reopens, consumption will likely continue to rise, but at a more moderate pace. Also, the expected pickup in hiring and slowdown in job cuts will support incomes, potentially offsetting the need for further government assistance. And unlike the post-financial-crisis recovery, consumer balance sheets are healthy, with household net worth at record levels, courtesy of a rising stock market and home prices. 

2) Rising inflation: Prices jump on easy comparisons, strong demand and supply disruptions 

--With the inflation debate heating up this year, all eyes were on consumer prices last week. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.6% in March from February and increased 2.6% from year-ago levels, the most since 2018. Energy was a major factor behind the jump, as gasoline prices rose almost 23% year-over-year. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy and better reflects the underlying trends, increased a more modest 1.6%, but also surprised slightly to the upside1. 

--The pickup in inflation is attributable in part to easy comparisons from last year when lockdowns during the height of the pandemic led to broad price declines. However, higher prices also reflect the improvement in demand from consumers that showed up in the strong retail sales discussed above. Global supply disruptions to production contributed to higher inflation for goods, while prices for hard-hit services, such as hotels and airfare, also rose last month, getting a boost from the economic reopening. 

--Even with inflation data coming in hotter than economists expected, long-term bond yields declined, and market-based inflation expectations were largely unchanged for the week. In our view, this indicates that markets have been anticipating inflation pressures for a while now. The muted reaction also speaks to the Fed's communication efforts, conveying the view that policymakers will look through any temporary price increases. 

--Will the gains be sustained? 

The trend in the next couple of months will likely be that of higher prices, as inflation in April, May and June of last year collapsed. Prices paid in the production process have risen, and companies will likely pass along the price increases to consumers with a small lag. Yet it remains unclear whether these pressures will persist beyond this year when the economy returns to its normal state. In our view, inflation will not run too hot for too long. The factors that contributed to low inflation during the previous expansion could again exert more downward pressure on prices than expected. 

--In the near term, inflation readings could be a source of volatility, but even if inflation continues to surprise to the upside this year, that won't deter the Fed from maintaining its patient approach on policy. Under its new inflation-averaging strategy where policymakers seek to achieve inflation that averages 2% over time, the threshold for tightening is higher. For example, to make up the inflation shortfall over the last three years, the Fed's preferred measure of inflation would need to average 2.3% over the next three years. 


Inflation pressures won't likely trigger Fed action unless they persist beyond 2021
 

The graph above shows inflation trends as measured by the personal consumption expenditures price index. Inflation is expected to accelerate this year as demand recovers. Prices also jumped in 2011 but the inflation pressures quickly subsided as growth slowed. 

3) Rising earnings: A positive start to a likely record-breaking earnings season 

--Earnings kicked off last week with several mega- and regional banks reporting first-quarter results. Corporate profits for all 13 banks comfortably exceeded estimates, driven by lower credit costs, robust trading, and investment banking revenue, partly offset by weak loan demand. The anticipation of a strong profit rebound has helped the financial sector return 19% this year, outperforming the S&P 5001. But the rally has also set a high bar for companies to clear. Even though actual earnings topped estimates by 36% on average for the 13 banks that reported, the average one-day performance following the earnings releases was a marginal -0.2% decline2

--S&P 500 earnings are expected to grow almost 25% in the first quarter, the strongest growth rate since 20181. Fiscal stimulus, along with the reopening of the economy as vaccine momentum accelerates, is poised to drive healthy revenue growth compared with last year's levels. Profitability is also expected to recover, with investors looking for results to shed some light on the impact of input cost pressures and supply constraints. 

--Will the gains be sustained? 

Forward earnings are now exceeding the 2019 peak level by 3%1. We think that above-average economic growth over the next two years could translate into robust revenue and earnings growth for corporate America. Following the last three recessions, earnings continued to grow by an average of 83% once they reclaimed their prior peak (120% after the 1990-1991 consumer debt unwind, 70% after the tech bubble, and 60% after the Great Financial Crisis)3. Potential corporate tax hikes could clip some of the growth in 2022 but will likely be modest and won’t derail the upward trajectory, in our view. 

Angelo Kourkafas

 Market implications

 Edward Jones Company believes economic and   corporate  fundamentals will continue to improve beyond   the coming quarter and year, but the rate of change will   slow. The upcoming transition from recovery to   expansion implies that we remain in the favorable part of   the business and market cycles. However, equity returns   are likely to moderate, and pullbacks are likely to   become more frequent, consistent with midcycle   conditions. A short-lived inflation scare will not be   enough to shift the Fed's view, but price pressures that   persist is a medium-term risk worth monitoring. 




 Sources: 1. Bloomberg 2. FactSet, based on earnings from JP Morgan Chase (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Wells Fargo (WFC), US Bank (USB), Truist Financial CorpTFC, Goldman Sachs (GS),Citi Bank (C), FRC, Morgan Stanley (MS), PNC, State Street Corp STT, Citizens Financial Group (CFG), Bank of New York Mellon (BK) 3. FactSet, Edward Jones calculations 

Thursday, April 22, 2021

FOODIST RETRO/ REMEMBERING BARCELONA DINING

Chef Carme Ruscadella
Source: British Airways “The Club” inflight magazine kindly shares its content with travel bloggers.  The following article appeared in the August, 2017 edition.

INTERVIEW with Carme Ruscadella, who is the gastronomic advisor for Mandarin Oriental Barcelona and owns Restaurant Sant Pau in Spain and Tokyo.   

GUEST BLOG / By Concha Caina, writer, The Club, inflight magazine of British Airways--Ever since she opened her first restaurant just outside of Barcelona in 1988, Carme Ruscalleda has been a leading figure on the Catalan culinary scene – not least because she was the world’s first female chef to receive seven Michelin stars for her restaurants in Spain and Tokyo. Here, she shares her favorite foodie spots in the city


A reliable place for pre-dinner drinks
Dry Martini in Eixample (above) is one of the coolest cocktail bars in town. It is a beautiful space (think leather banquettes and antiques) with impeccable service and, of course, excellent Martinis. I don’t understand how the staff manage to keep their white jackets totally wrinkle-free.


Foodie souvenir to take home
Pick up a bottle of Hong Kong/Maresme sauce, a sweet-and-sour sauce that we make at Moments – you can buy it only at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. Just a splash is guaranteed to enhance your pasta, a fish dish or an omelette..


Where to impress on a date
Your date won’t fail to be impressed at Moments, a two-Michelin-starred fine-dining restaurant at Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (above). A modern Catalan menu is inspired by the seventh art – cinema – so you can expect the 13-course tasting menu to take its lead from great films such as Octopussy (octopus cannelloni filled with potatoes and paprika) and The Silence of the Lambs (suckling lamb and lamb brain, borscht and dried fish flakes).

Best ‘grab-and-go’ snack
Head to Semon in Sarria-Sant Gervasi, a delicatessen that has been in Barcelona for what seems like forever. As well as delicious salads to go, you can pick up cured meats, ready-made dishes such as croquetas and albondigas (meatballs), and an incredible selection of cheese and wine.



Breakfast spot
When the city wakes up, the best place to witness the beginning of a new day is Pinotxo Bar (above) at Mercado de la Boqueria – the earlier the better as the bar opens at 6am. Charismatic manager Juanito Bayern will serve you either coffee with a freshly made pastry or, if you prefer using knives and forks, whatever is available that day.


Best lunch spot
Via Veneto (above), just off Avinguda Diagonal, has been a discreet meeting point – perfect for business meetings – since the 1960s. It broke the mould at that time, when it was the headquarters of the so-called ‘Gauche Divine’ [a movement of left-wing intellectuals and artists that spread through Barcelona in the 1960s and early 1970s]. The setting is beautiful and the food is divine.


Hip hangouts where children are welcome
It may not be hip and cool in the modern sense, but 7 Portes (above) has been in Barcelona for the past 180 years and is perfect for families because it is very spacious and, of course, the food is very good – they serve big sharing plates of casseroles and paella. My husband’s dad used to take his family there and we carried on the tradition with our own children when they were younger.


Local independent that deserves to stay in business
A mix between an old-fashion delicatessen and New York bistro, La Cuina d’en Garriga (above) is a charming gourmet shop bursting with character. Whether you buy Santoña anchovies and amazing bread to take home or order the dish of the day, you won’t be disappointed – everything is exquisite.


Dining experience worth leaving town for
Head to El Poblenou – which was once a village outside the city, but is now considered a Barcelona neighborhood – and seek out Els Pescadors. The no-frills fish restaurant has truly kept the soul of Barcelona’s seafaring tradition – the menu changes depending on the catch of the day. Be sure to order the rice in fish broth with monkfish.




Wednesday, April 21, 2021

LIGHT SHOW / LIGHTHOUSE SERIES CONTINUES: HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA

Rising 93 feet above Calibogue Sound, the Harbour Town Lighthouse and museum is in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It is now a major tourist attraction charging $4.50 to climb the 114 steps to the top. 

Located between Savannah, Georgia and Charleston SC, the Hilton Head area is part of the low country region of South Carolina. Building of Harbour Town Lighthouse was started in 1969 by Charles Fraser and completed and lit in 1970. It is an octagonal column with a red observation deck or gallery below the lantern. The column is stucco on metal lath over plywood with alternating red and white bands.

Previous Light House posted March 30, 2021. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

SPACE CADETS / HELICOPTER FLIGHT ON MARS, SIMPLY REMARKABLE


NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter snapped this hovering photograph ten feet above the Martian surface on April 19, 2021, during the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
See helicopter landing site image at end of this blog post. 

Yesterday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT). 

“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.” 

The solar-powered helicopter first became airborne Monday, April 19, 2021 at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) – 12:33 Local Mean Solar Time (Mars time) – a time the Ingenuity team determined would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Altimeter data indicate Ingenuity climbed to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. Additional details on the test are expected in upcoming downlinks. 

Ingenuity’s initial flight demonstration was autonomous – piloted by onboard guidance, navigation, and control systems running algorithms developed by the team at JPL. Because data must be sent to and returned from the Red Planet over hundreds of millions of miles using orbiting satellites and NASA’s Deep Space Network, Ingenuity cannot be flown with a joystick, and its flight was not observable from Earth in real time. 

NASA Associate Administrator for Science Thomas Zurbuchen announced the name for the Martian airfield on which the flight took place. 

 “Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world,” Zurbuchen said. “While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked. As an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration.” 

Ingenuity’s chief pilot, Håvard Grip, announced that the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) – the United Nations’ civil aviation agency – presented NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration with official ICAO designator IGY, call-sign INGENUITY. 

These details will be included officially in the next edition of ICAO’s publication Designators for Aircraft Operating Agencies, Aeronautical Authorities and Services. The location of the flight has also been given the ceremonial location designation JZRO for Jezero Crater. 

As one of NASA’s technology demonstration projects, the 19.3-inch-tall (49-centimeter-tall) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter contains no science instruments inside its tissue-box-size fuselage. Instead, the 4-pound (1.8-kg) rotorcraft is intended to demonstrate whether future exploration of the Red Planet could include an aerial perspective. 

This first flight was full of unknowns. The Red Planet has a significantly lower gravity – one-third that of Earth’s – and an extremely thin atmosphere with only 1% the pressure at the surface compared to our planet. This means there are relatively few air molecules with which Ingenuity’s two 4-foot-wide (1.2-meter-wide) rotor blades can interact to achieve flight. The helicopter contains unique components, as well as off-the-shelf-commercial parts – many from the smartphone industry – that were tested in deep space for the first time with this mission. 

“The Mars Helicopter project has gone from ‘blue sky’ feasibility study to workable engineering concept to achieving the first flight on another world in a little over six years,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL. “That this project has achieved such a historic first is testimony to the innovation and doggedness of our team here at JPL, as well as at NASA’s Langley and Ames Research Centers, and our industry partners. It’s a shining example of the kind of technology push that thrives at JPL and fits well with NASA’s exploration goals.” 

Parked about 211 feet (64.3 meters) away at Van Zyl Overlook during Ingenuity’s historic first flight, the Perseverance rover not only acted as a communications relay between the helicopter and Earth, but also chronicled the flight operations with its cameras. The pictures from the rover’s Mastcam-Z and Navcam imagers will provide additional data on the helicopter’s flight. 

“We have been thinking for so long about having our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is,” said MiMi Aung, project manager of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at JPL. “We will take a moment to celebrate our success and then take a cue from Orville and Wilbur regarding what to do next. History shows they got back to work – to learn as much as they could about their new aircraft – and so will we.” 

Perseverance touched down with Ingenuity attached to its belly on Feb. 18. Deployed to the surface of Jezero Crater on April 3, Ingenuity is currently on the 16th sol, or Martian day, of its 30-sol (31-Earth day) flight test window. Over the next three sols, the helicopter team will receive and analyze all data and imagery from the test and formulate a plan for the second experimental test flight, scheduled for no earlier than April 22. If the helicopter survives the second flight test, the Ingenuity team will consider how best to expand the flight profile. 

More About Ingenuity 

JPL, which built Ingenuity, also manages the technology demonstration project for NASA. It is supported by NASA’s Science, Aeronautics, and Space Technology mission directorates. The agency’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, provided significant flight performance analysis and technical assistance during Ingenuity’s development. 

Dave Lavery is the program executive for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, MiMi Aung is the project manager, and Bob Balaram is chief engineer. 

For 2 more information files about Ingenuity: Click here and Click here.   

More About Perseverance 

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust). 

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis. 


JPL built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover. JPL is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California.

This image from NASA’s Perseverance rover shows the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter right after it successfully completed a high-speed spin-up test. It was captured by the Mastcam-Z instrument on Perseverance on April 16, 2021, (the 55th sol, or Martian day, of the rover’s mission). The image has been slightly processed (stretched and cropped).


Monday, April 19, 2021

MEDIA MONDAY / KIM GODWIN NAMED PRESIDENT OF ABC NEWS

Kim Godwin takes over as President of ABC News in May

D
ifferent coverages same topic: 

BLACK ENTERPRISE: Click here.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Click here.  

WASHINGTON POST: Click here

POYNTER REPORT: Click here

Kim Godwin on the job.


FORBES: Click here. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

PUZZLEMANIA / JIGSAW VIEW OF NEW YORK


Previous postings on jig saw puzzles have proven popular with readers of this blog (bless all of you) so here we go again. 

The most recent puzzle PillartoPost.org staff has completed is pictured above and has no title. It is a 1,000 piece puzzle using one of New York artist Vincent Giarrano’s colorful New York neighborhood paintings. For smiles we posted a photo of the café at the end of this blog. 

For $17 we purchased the puzzle online from Strand Magazine, a quarterly magazine, now based in Birmingham, Michigan. Since 1998, the Strand has published fiction by many well-known writers including John Mortimer, Ray Bradbury, Alexander McCall Smith, Ruth Rendell, Colin Dexter, Edward Hoch, James Grippando, and Tennessee Williams. The magazine also features stories from emerging crime and mystery writers in addition to stories by established writers. It is popular with Sherlock Holmes aficionados in America and the UK. And, it retails quality jigsaw puzzles, which tend to be more difficult to complete. Also, its selection of creative puzzles is among the best. 

The aforementioned Vincent Giaranno puzzle was made by Galison, a Manhattan based puzzle maker. 

Giarrano bio: Realist painter and former comic-book artist, he is well known for his urban portraits of contemporary neighborhoods, tasteful focus on women, architectural studies and intimate interiors of New York City. The city streets, cafes, apartments, and artists’ studios serve as settings for his oil paintings of women of the city, fashionable models, designers, shoppers, artists and musicians. He has featured SoHo’s iron and stone architectural facades, the colorful street graffiti, eclectic signage of Chinatown, the elevated trains of Brooklyn, and the historic elegance of Midtown Manhattan. 

If you appreciate the early to mid 20th century art of Edwin Hopper, you will appreciate Giarrano’s work at affordable prices (compared with Hopper). He is represented by Susan Powell Gallery, Madison, Conn. Susanpowellfineart.com 

What can’t afford an original Hopper? For far less $$ order this Giarrano from Strand Magazine At www.Strandmag.com. 

Puzzle tips: We assigned our best puzzle solver to attack this colorful 1000 piece jigsaw. It took him/her about 10 days to complete at a one hour per day average. 

Once you find the edges, start by separating the pieces in small bowls or bins (muffin tins et al) by color. Start with the café sign. Then separate all the green pieces, the reds, blues; the gray building façade pieces and the side walk and cobble stone pieces. Smaller bowls for the fire escape and the woman shopper. Start working on the street lamp first; then the far right one third of the puzzle. Save the bricks and doors for last. It is a straightforward puzzle no gimmicks to make you pull your hair out. 

Most Recent puzzle: Having visited Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris, there was little doubt we had to buy and complete “The Book Store,” a 1000 piece puzzle by Gibbs Smith. This puzzle was cut many years ago, but thanks to renewed interest in jigsaws during the pandemic, GS reissued the puzzle in the summer of 2020. We purchased it online from Strand Magazine for $17. It arrived within a week. PillartoPost.org staff completed it in four days working one hour per day. 

Next puzzle: Given our penchant for urban street scene puzzles we will attempt a 1,000 piece puzzle by Austrian puzzle maker Piatnik. The title is “Café Terrace at Night,” by Vincent Van Gogh, 1888. You will recognize the starry night stars. The large use of cobblestones—all the same color—will be impossible. We purchased this puzzle new and wrapped from a flea market in Palm Desert, CA for $19. 




Patisserie Financier, 62 Stone Street, Financial District, Manhattan 



Saturday, April 17, 2021

COFFEE BEANS & BEINGS / REALLY! HOW HEALTHY IS COFFEE / EPISODE 13


GUEST BLOG / By Kris Gunnars, Healthline.com
--Coffee is one of the world’s most popular beverages. Thanks to its high levels of antioxidants and beneficial nutrients, it also seems to be quite healthy. 

Studies show that coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of several serious diseases. 

Thanks to our friends at Healthline.com for supplying the text these past 13 Saturdays highlighting the top 13 health benefits of coffee. 

Here’s Number 13 and the final post in PillartoPost.org daily online blog’s healthy coffee series. Now, we return you to our regularly scheduled coffee coverage (next week): 

13. 

The Biggest Source of Antioxidants in the Western Diet

Editor’s note: Antioxidants are “cleaners” and oxidize free radicals in the body to form harmless substances that can then be flushed out of the bloodstream and body, naturally. In this case, antioxidants can be derived from a drink – and that drink, of course is coffee. 

For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet. That’s because coffee is quite high in antioxidants. 

Studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. 

In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet. 

SUMMARY 

Coffee is rich in powerful antioxidants, and many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and veggies combined. 

*** 


WEEKLY COFFEE QUIZ
--Where in the world is this coffee establishment? Answer next Saturday in PillartoPost.org Coffee Beans & Beings post. 

*** 


LAST WEEK’S COFFEE QUIZ ANSWER
—Vero Espresso House opened its doors on Mother’s Day back in 2009, becoming one of the first speciality beverage spots in Eugene, Oregon. 

Owner and operator Sunny Seo envisioned a place where people could get together and enjoy quality speciality and espresso drinks in an environment that was favorable to a diverse group of coffee enthusiasts. While maintaining the house’s original Eugene charm, located at 205 East 14th Street (corner with Pearl St.), they added a wrap around patio and a study bar along the hallway wall, allowing for more creative space for their guests. 

As well as a private meeting space upstairs that can be reserved for an hourly rate. Free wifi, too. So please, grab a table or find a comfy corner and let your friends at Vero Espresso House fuel your day! Hours: 7 am to 6 pm daily.