Category: New Posts

STUDY: Views Of Greenery Reduce Cravings For Food, Alcohol…


PLYMOUTH, England — So much of modern life happens indoors. From offices to apartments or homes, most people in today’s day and age find themselves cooped up inside for most of the day. Spending more time outdoors has long been linked to a more positive mindset, but now a study has concluded that just seeing greenery on a day-to-day basis can put us in a better mindset and reduce harmful cravings for substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food.

According to the study out of the University of Plymouth, being able to see greenery and nature from your home will lead to less frequent, and intense cravings. The research builds off of previous work that has established a link between exercising outdoors and reduced cravings, but the study’s authors assert that exercise isn’t necessary to reap the benefits of nature.

The study is the first of its kind, and its authors say their findings stress the need for cities and communities the world over to invest in and protect public green spaces.

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“It has been known for some time that being outdoors in nature is linked to a person’s wellbeing. But for there to be a similar association with cravings from simply being able to see green spaces adds a new dimension to previous research. This is the first study to explore this idea, and it could have a range of implications for both public health and environmental protection programmes in the future,” explains lead researcher Leanne Martin in a release.

Participants in the study filled out an online survey that asked questions about their daily exposure to nature, usual cravings, and how often they experience negative emotions. Regarding nature, the survey measured participants’ exposure to greenery in their own neighborhoods, the amount of foliage visible from their homes, access to a garden, and how often they frequent public parks.

The results indicated that daily access to a garden or other green spaces lowered the frequency and occurrence of harmful cravings. Additionally, the ability to view nature from one’s home caused similar results. Researchers also took exercise into account in the surveys, but they found that participants reported less cravings after seeing nature regardless of whether they exercised or not.

The study’s authors want to conduct additional studies regarding nature’s impact on cravings in the future, and are hopeful that green spaces can be used to help individuals struggling with harmful addictions.

The study is published in the scientific journal Health & Place. 


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Michelle O Wows A-List Crowd In Hollywood…


EXCLUSIVE: Michelle Obama isn’t running for any office, but the former first lady can draw a well-heeled crowd that would be the envy of any politician, as was the case last night at the home of CAA’s Bryan Lourd.

Just 48 hours after appearing onstage with Gayle King at the Essence Festival in New Orleans, the bestselling Becoming author was in Los Angeles on Monday. With some meetings in relation to her and former President Barack Obama’s Higher Ground Productions earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama also dropped by the CAA kingpin and spouse Bruce Bozzi’s well-outfitted Westwood pad to talk about the Obama Foundation and its nonprofit work.

“She was amazing,” one attendee told Deadline. “So candid and refreshing.” This was no formal speech get-together, but the ex-fFirst lady did participate in a moderated conversation before the other guests, I’m told.

Distinctly not a fundraiser, the intimate informational gathering of about 50 people at Lourd’s pad included Universal Filmed Entertainment Group boss Donna Langley, the newly divorced Mackenzie Bezos, longtime Obama pal Bradley Cooper and the CAA co-chair’s daughter Billie Lourd.

Also in attendance were mega-producer Shonda Rhimes, director Spike Jonze, Edye Broad, Watchmen main man Damon Lindelof, Warner Bros film exec Niija Kuykendall and Kerry Washington. Filling out the CAA card, agency president Richard Lovett and managing partner Kevin Huvane were at the event along with producer Phil Rosenthal and venture capitalist Aviv Nevo.

Of course, a lot of those names are the same ones we see when big-ticket Democrats come out for a session at the Hollywood ATM. On the calendar already, Kamala Harris has another Tinseltown fundraiser set for July 21, just more than a week before the next set of debates among the Dems seeking to take on Donald Trump next year.



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Prince Archie revealed…


The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said they ‘feel fortunate’ to have enjoyed their son’s christening with his godparents and have shared two pictures from the big day – but still haven’t revealed who the chosen family and friends are.

Proud parents Harry and Meghan finally gave a glimpse into two-month-old Archie’s big day today, releasing pictures on social media hours after the top secret ceremony took place in Windsor as they wanted to ‘share the joy’ of the special occasion.

The royal couple shared two snaps from the event with their near 9 million followers, posting that they felt ‘so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public’ and thanking supporters for their kindness.

It comes after a backlash over their insistence that the ceremony would remain private and the identities of Archie’s godparents would not be revealed.

A few hours after the ceremony in Windsor, Meghan, 37, and Prince Harry, 34, released an official image in which they posed alongside the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Doria Ragland, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.

In a touching tribute to Harry’s mother, Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale were prominent in the official picture.

In the second image, which was black and white, Meghan was seen gazing into Harry’s eyes as the proud father looked down at Archie, while placing a hand on his wife’s arm.

This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows the Duke and Duchess with their son, Archie and (left to right) the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Ms Doria Ragland, Princess Diana's sisters Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle

This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows the Duke and Duchess with their son, Archie and (left to right) the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Ms Doria Ragland, Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle 

Finally baby Archie's face is revealed! The stunning snap shows off the adorable royal, with the little boy being held by mother Meghan Markle. It is just the third photograph of Archie Harrison and reveals a hint of ginger in the two-month-old's hair

Finally baby Archie’s face is revealed! The stunning snap shows off the adorable royal, with the little boy being held by mother Meghan Markle. It is just the third photograph of Archie Harrison and reveals a hint of ginger in the two-month-old’s hair

Just 25 guests were present at the baptism today, which saw Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor christened in a private chapel at Windsor Castle, but the couple only released photographs celebrating with their immediate family. Archie is seventh in line to the throne and not an HRH. 

As well as including Diana’s sisters in the snap, the proud parents also paid tribute to Archie’s grandmother by sitting on the same green chair with gold detailing that Diana and the Queen sat on for Harry’s official christening photographs.  

The royal couple have faced growing backlash surrounding the event, as they insisted it be kept private, despite recently billing the public £2.4million to renovate Frogmore cottage. 

Sharing the snaps with their near 9 million followers on the Sussex Royal Instagram, the happy couple wrote that they’d loved celebrating the day with the godparents of Archie – despite refusing to name them. 

Alongside the two pictures from the event, which only featured close family members, they wrote: ‘This morning, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was christened in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle at an intimate service officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.

‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public who have been incredibly supportive since the birth of their son. They thank you for your kindness in welcoming their first born and celebrating this special moment.

‘Their Royal Highnesses feel fortunate to have enjoyed this day with family and the godparents of Archie. 

The post shared on the Sussexroyal account went on: ‘Their son, Archie, was baptised wearing the handmade replica of the royal christening gown which has been worn by royal infants for the last 11 years. 

‘The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter.

‘It was subsequently worn for generations of Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when The Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue.’ 

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson also said: ‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are overjoyed to share the happiness of this day, and would like to thank everyone around the world for their ongoing support. They feel so fortunate to have enjoyed this special moment with family and Archie’s godparents.’  

Godparents of royal babies are traditionally announced beforehand – often on the morning of the christening – and conventionally elderly or foreign relatives were selected.

A second shot in black-and-white shows Meghan dressed in white gazing into Harry's eyes as she cradles baby Archie and her proud husband looks at their baby son. Windsor castle's Rose Garden can be seen in the background

A second shot in black-and-white shows Meghan dressed in white gazing into Harry’s eyes as she cradles baby Archie and her proud husband looks at their baby son. Windsor castle’s Rose Garden can be seen in the background 

The appearance of Lady Fellowes and Lady McCorquodale in the family photo may fuel speculation Harry chose someone from his late mother’s family for the spiritual role.

But Harry and Meghan appear likely have followed in the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s footsteps and opt for mostly friends over family. 

Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale stood proudly alongside Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and Prince Charles. 

Senior royals including Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton were also among the 25 guests at the intimate ceremony today.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge later shared the official picture from the christening on their kensingtonroyal Instagram account.

In the caption to the picture, which has since received 758,000 likes, it was explained that the snap was taken in the Green Drawing Room by Chris Allerton after Archie’s christening today.

The Duchess of Sussex wore a stunning white Dior gown, while The Duchess of Cambridge opted for a pink Stella McCartney dress and matching hairband for the christening. 

In another touching nod to Princess Diana, Kate was also thought to be wearing the same Collingwood Pearl Earrings, that her mother-in-law wore to Prince Harry’s Christening in 1984.

In one picture shared on social media today, Meghan and Harry can be seen cuddling baby Archie in the grounds of Windsor Castle, with the rose garden in the background. 

Is that a hint of ginger hair? Royal fans are divided over whether Archie looks like his dad or takes after mum Meghan 

Royal fans have reacted with joy after seeing the official photographs from Archie’s christening, but are divided over whether he looks more like his mother or his father.

Many believe they can detect a hint of ginger hair on Archie’s head, but others are convinced the two-month-old looks more like Meghan.  

One member of the public said it ‘looks like Archie is a ginger’ reacting to the snap while another said he looks just like Prince Harry.

More fans commented on his hair, with one saying he is ‘little ginger Archie’, while another said on Instagram ‘he has red hair, I can see it!’

Many Royal fans said that it 'looks like Archie is a ginger' after his proud parents released photos of his christening today

Many Royal fans said that it ‘looks like Archie is a ginger’ after his proud parents released photos of his christening today

Royal fans online have been debating whether baby Archie looks like father Prince Harry

Some are convinced he looks more like Meghan Markle in the picture

Royal fans online have been debating whether baby Archie looks more like father Prince Harry (left) or mother Meghan Markle (right) 

A third said he looked ‘mischievous’ and ‘just like his daddy’ in the family photo. Others, however, were quick to point out the resemblance to his mother.

‘He looks just like his momma’ said one while another tuned in saying the young prince looked like a ‘handsome’ boy.

Another fan said on Instagram: ‘He’s such a cutie!!! Looks a lot like Meghan too!!’ 

Taking to Instagram, fans cooed over the two-month-old saying he looked ‘very beautiful’ and ‘too cute’.

The photos mark the first time the public has got a clear view of Archie’s face.

In the highly stylized black and white picture, the Duchess can be seen gazing at her husband while he looks down at their son.  

The couple have been criticised for posting such images, with some suggesting fans could be left ‘jaded’ if they continue to release such pictures. 

Fashion photographer Chris Allerton, who shot the wedding photographs of Harry and Meghan, said he was ‘honoured to take the official photographs at the christening’ and to ‘once again, be part of such a special and joyous occasion’. 

Harry’s former nanny Tiggy Legge Bourke was among the guests at the private event today, and was seen driving away from Windsor Castle. 

The service took place in a tiny chapel inside Windsor Castle, with many of the guests arriving discreetly by a back entrance to the grounds. 

The royal couple have refused to reveal who their son’s godparents are despite billing the public £2.4million for renovations to Frogmore cottage. 

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared the pictures on their official Instagram page, saying they felt 'so fortunate' to have enjoyed this day with their family

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle shared the pictures on their official Instagram page, saying they felt ‘so fortunate’ to have enjoyed this day with their family 

Prince Harry and Meghan paid tribute to Archie's grandmother Diana today by sitting on the same green and gold seat that was used for Harry's christening pictures. Pictured is Princess Diana with baby Harry on a single seat from the same set

Prince Harry and Meghan paid tribute to Archie’s grandmother Diana today by sitting on the same green and gold seat that was used for Harry’s christening pictures. Pictured is Princess Diana with baby Harry on a single seat from the same set

A handful of royals fans gathered in Windsor for the event and, though excited, some suggested they have been left ‘disappointed’ that the public will not get to see any of the private ceremony or find out who has been chosen as godparents. 

Anne Daley, 63, a keen supporter of the royals for most of her life, travelled from Wales and arrived outside Windsor with her dog Camilla – who she had dressed in christening attire – at 5am on Saturday.

Baby Archie wore a gown based on an 1841 version for Queen Victoria’s first child 

At his christening today baby Archie wore a Honiton lace and white satin gown modelled on the version first used for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.

Made in 1841, the gown was worn by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry before it was taken out of use after Lady Louise Windsor’s baptism in 2004.

Prince George pictured wearing the same gown in October 2013

Prince George pictured wearing the same gown in October 2013 

A replica was then made by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, that Prince Archie will use today.

It has previously been worn by his cousins Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. 

And it was first used in 2008 for the christening of James, Viscount of Severn. 

Ms Daley, who also had a cake with her she had baked to mark the occasion, told PA: ‘We love everything about the royals. We’ve seen hands and feet, little fingers. But we’re very hurt. I pay a lot of tax for their civil duties.

‘One minute they want to be royals, the next they don’t.

‘That baby is Princess Diana’s grandson. We should be able to see the christening.

‘They want to have their cake and eat it. A lot of people don’t like to see them hang around the fake celebrities. Forget Hollywood. They are royal.

‘Harry wants it both ways. They’ve been ill-advised. The general public can’t work this out.’

Jon Loughrey, 64, who said he became a royal fan following the death of Diana in 1997, also expressed his disappointment.

He said: ‘I accept that it’s a private ceremony in a private chapel, but the late Princess Diana would have wanted Prince Harry to be more with the people.

‘We think highly of them and don’t want them to be isolated.

‘They’re all loved and have a lovely family. We’re very proud. But we miss Harry the golden boy. I pray for them every day.’ 

Mystery surrounded the private event, with the royal couple refusing to allow media into the event, and using a royal loophole to avoid telling public who had been chosen as godparents.  

Several experts suggested it was a disappointing move, and would upset those who loved the couple the most.  

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, suggested Prince Harry, 34, and Meghan Markle, 37, had ‘really upset the people who loved them the most’ with the move, telling the Daily Express they had ‘misinterpreted the whole situation’. 

Seward went on to reveal: ‘The secrecy and evasiveness of the whole situation has been so mismanaged. It’s a real shame.’ 

Archie, who was born in May, wore the handmade replica of the royal christening robe, made by the Queen’s dressmaker Angela Kelly, during the ceremony.

Prince Harry's former nanny Tiggy Legge Bourke was among the 25 guests at the private event in Windsor today, sparking speculation she could be one of Archie's godparents

Prince Harry’s former nanny Tiggy Legge Bourke was among the 25 guests at the private event in Windsor today, sparking speculation she could be one of Archie’s godparents

‘What’s wrong with William’s face?’ Royal fans celebrating Archie’s christening today claim the Duke of Cambridge looked ‘sour’ and ‘not amused’ in the official photographs 

Royal fans were treated to two adorable snaps of Archie Mountbatten-Windsor at his christening today – but some were left questioning his uncle’s facial expressions.

After admiring the two-month-old in his mother arms at the centre of the official photograph today, dozens couldn’t help but notice Prince William’s ‘sour’ face.

Several people took to Twitter to claim that the Duke of Cambridge, 37, did ‘not look amused’ and was ‘trying not to smirk’ in the official photograph taken in Windsor.

While others said Kate, 37, who was sat on the far right of the picture with her husband, appeared to be ‘pained’ and the pair ‘didn’t look thrilled to be there.’ 

Several people said the Duke of Cambridge, pictured behind his wife, not look amused' and was 'trying not to smirk' in the official photograph

Several people said the Duke of Cambridge, pictured behind his wife, not look amused’ and was ‘trying not to smirk’ in the official photograph

Body language expert Judi James told MailOnline William looked like he was going into ‘nightclub bouncer mode’ and Kate’s posture made her appear ‘ready to flee’. 

Baby Archie was christened in a private ceremony in Windsor today and two pictures of the day were shared with his parent’s near 9 million followers on Instagram.   

One person said ‘Prince William’s face though’ while another also called attention to the Duke’s expression by saying ‘Oh man, the look on Prince William’s face.’

Someone else said: ‘I find it funny that Prince William is trying so hard not to smirk’ and another royal fan commented: ‘Why does William have a face like a slapped a**e wouldn’t Hurt him to smile.’

Someone else mentioned the Duchess of Cambridge’s expression as well, saying she had a ‘forced smile’ in the photograph. They said: ‘William doesn’t look happy at all!! And Kate has a forced smile on her face.’

Another person added: ‘Kate doesn’t have a real smile on her face. She looks pained. William looks like he smelled something terrible. They don’t look thrilled to be there.’

Royal fans said William did not look 'happy' to be at the christening in Windsor earlier today

Royal fans said William did not look ‘happy’ to be at the christening in Windsor earlier today

While another person said: ‘Did you see how the body language was in the pic? Huge pace in between the two couples and William looks so sour in the face!’ 

Body language expert Judi James told MailOnline the Cambridges’ poses were in stark difference to Archie’s grandparents at the other end of the picture. 

She said Kate’s ‘ready to flee’ pose could show awkwardness, or a desire to ‘lower her status to not upstage’ Harry and Meghan.

While Ms James compared Prince William’s pose to a ‘nightclub bouncer’ due to his ‘fig-leaf hand gesture, head tilt and rather evaluating facial expression.’

Ms James said: ‘With a very relaxed and jolly-looking Camilla down one end of this pose, Kate sits at the other looking oddly self-diminished and prim, with her arms pulled into her torso and a part-smile on her face. 

‘Given all the rift rumours the rather “ready to flee” tension in her pose could be seen as awkwardness but it could also show a desire to lower her own status signals and not upstage the happy couple.

‘William’s pose behind her looks harder to fathom out as it seems to show the prince in nightclub bouncer mode. 

‘The fig-leaf hand gesture, head tilt and rather evaluating facial expression and knowing smile all bear the hallmarks of a man who won’t let you into the venue until you produce some ID. 

‘Harry’s chosen shot of his brother at his wedding did seem to make William look oddly furtive behind him so perhaps there’s a theme emerging here. 

‘The contrast with the proudly-beaming Charles and Doria is acute but again, it could reflect a moment of quiet, contemplative sibling pleasure for William, although it might be interesting to see if he was grinning happily in any of the shots Harry rejected.’

The Lily Font, commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for the baptism of their first child Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1841, was used, as was water from the River Jordan.

The couple once again turned to fashion photographer Chris Allerton, who took their wedding photographs, to capture the moment.

Mr Allerton was set to take the official christening photos in Windsor Castle’s green drawing room and the pictures will be released later, Buckingham Palace said.

The date for Archie’s christening had to be pushed back by two days, after his parents discovered that both the Queen and Prince Charles had prior engagements on the first date.

While the Queen has bowed out graciously in order to spend a long planned weekend with Prince Philip in Sandringham, after a family conference it was decided that the date should be moved to accommodate Prince Charles.

He was away in Wales on the previously planned date to celebrate 50 years of him being Prince of the country. 

Prince William and Kate Middleton were seen discreetly arriving at the rear entrance of Windsor Castle ahead of the occasion

Prince William and Kate Middleton were seen discreetly arriving at the rear entrance of Windsor Castle ahead of the occasion 

Although her majesty has not been able to attend all of her great-grandchildren’s christenings, having missed Prince Louis’s baptism last year, it is understood that she would have like to be present for Prince Harry’s big celebration with his first child.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex reportedly shunned celebrities as godparents, instead turning to a close group of friends who played a key role at their wedding. 

It has emerged in recent days that the couple are using a royal loophole to ensure baby Archie’s godparents remain a secret. 

Under Church of England rules, the details of all baptisms, including the baby’s godparents, are a matter of public record and can be obtained easily for a small fee.

Royal sources have said that Meghan and Harry picked ‘close and old friends’ for the roles amid a backlash over the royal couple’s refusal to identify them because they are ‘private citizens’. 

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a red headband by London milliner Juliette Botterill and pink Stella McCartney dress to her nephew's christenig today

The Duchess of Cambridge wore a red headband by London milliner Juliette Botterill and pink Stella McCartney dress to her nephew’s christenig today

The Duchess of Cambridge stuns in pink Stella McCartney dress and red headband as her nephew Archie is FINALLY revealed 

The Duchess of Cambridge looked stunning in pink as she posed alongside other royals after baby Archie’s christening today. 

Kate, 37, wore a gorgeous pink Stella McCartney dress for the private event, which took place in a tiny chapel at Windsor Castle today. 

The royal beamed for the camera as she elegantly posed on a chair in front of her husband Prince William. 

Senior royals including Prince Charles, Camilla, Prince William and Kate Middleton were among the 25 guests at the intimate ceremony today. 

Kate will no doubt be feeling emotional today as she remembers the christenings of her own children, Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 4, and Prince Louis, 1. 

The mother-of-three looked elegant in her pink knee-length dress today, which she is thought to have had since 2009 and last worn to the Queen’s Christmas lunch in 2018.

Kate’s outfit for the event was also reminiscent of the powder blue ensemble by Elie Saab she wore to Ascot last month, which also had a bow on the front.

The Duchess of Cambridge also wore a pussy bow blouse during an engagement in south London in March. This time the garment was purple and from Gucci.

To complete her look for Archie’s christening today Kate added a red headband by London milliner Juliette Botterill.

She tied the entire look together by also wearing red shoes and a pair of pearl drop earrings which stood out against her stunning brunette hair.

The christening comes as Meghan and Harry face continued and growing backlash surrounding the event, as they insisted it be kept private. 

The service took place in a tiny chapel inside Windsor Castle, with many of the guests arriving discreetly by a back entrance to the grounds. 

Harry’s touching tribute to his mother as Princess Diana’s sisters stand alongside royal family in Archie’s christening photos 

Meghan and Harry have made a touching tribute to Princess Diana by including her sisters in the official royal christening photographs.

Prince Harry’s aunts Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale stand proudly at forefront of picture, alongside Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland and Prince Charles.  

Princess Diana’s older sister Lady Jane Fellowes was one of the first to meet baby Archie, ahead of Prince Charles and Prince William, giving yet another indication of Harry’s dedication to his mother’s side of the family.

The royal couple have finally released photographs after the top secret christening today, although have still not revealed who the godparents of baby Archie are. 

Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale were at forefront of picture in a touching tribute to Princess Harry's late mother

 Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale were at forefront of picture in a touching tribute to Princess Harry’s late mother 

Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale can be seen beaming as they stand directly behind Harry and Meghan in the family photograph. 

According to The Telegraph, Lady Jane, 62, was one of the first to drop in to meet Baby Sussex, ahead of senior royals including Prince Charles, Camilla and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

Prince Harry has made clear that Diana has been on his mind since the birth of his son, and poignantly included her family in Archie’s official birth announcement.

Prince Harry has remained particularly close to Princess Diana’s family since her death, and invited Lady Jane to give a reading at the royal wedding last May.

Princess Diana's sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodal were among the first to meet baby Archie

Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodal were among the first to meet baby Archie 

And he made sure that Diana’s sisters had met Meghan ahead of their engagement, with the Duchess of Sussex confirming how special they are to Harry in their engagement interview in November 2017.

At the time, she mentioned how important she found meeting Harry’s aunt, as well as Princess Diana’s close friend Julia Fellowes.

Meghan said: ‘I think in being able to meet his aunts, I’m able to, in some way, know a part of her through them and of course through him. And it’s – it’s incredibly special.’

And Prince Harry and Meghan have kept Princess Diana’s family closely involved with the birth of their child.

The royal photographer who captured Archie’s christening 

Photographer and former soldier Chris Allerton will capture shots of Archie’s christening today, having previous taken private photographs for Meghan and Harry.

Allerton is said to have formed a close bond with the couple, having taken private pictures during Archie’s photocall as well as the royal wedding.  

He is said to have developed his first roll of film at just eight years old and according to his website ‘has been hooked on photography since’.

Allerton left the British Army in 2001 and went on to Lichfield Studios in Notting Hill. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their new baby at Windsor Castle

Harry and Meghan opted for this snap of them standing with their backs to the camera as their first Christmas card

One of the shots taken at Archie’s photocall (left) looked extremely similar to the one the couple used on their official Christmas card (right)

It was here that he learnt the skills needed to master professional photography.  He now travels all over the world and has clients such as Harpers Bazaar, Tatler and broadsheet newspapers. 

After taking photos at the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May last year, Allerton posted his thanks to the couple.

He said: ‘It was a great honour to be asked to photograph The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding day in May. I am delighted that Their Highnesses chose this photograph for their Christmas card.’  

The couple used their SussexRoyal account to post the photographs taken by Chris Allerton

The couple used their SussexRoyal account to post the photographs taken by Chris Allerton

Allerton had previous studies at the University of Reading, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Prior to that he attended the prestigious Stowe School in Buckinghamshire.

In 1992 he started his Army career and served there until 2001. During his time in the Army he worked for the Household Cavalry.

He was commissioned into The Life Guards, Household Cavalry, before serving in Bosnia in 1994 and Singapore and Argentina in 1995.

In the second snap the couple look adoringly at their new arrival, named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

In the second snap the couple look adoringly at their new arrival, named Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor

His last posting was in 1998 at the Adjutant New College at The Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst. He resigned commission in 2000.  

In 2001 he started work as a photographic director for Photographic Records. He worked there for over two years.

He then decided to start his own company Allerton Photography, which has offices in both London and Wiltshire.  

Duke and Duchess of Sussex risk leaving fans ‘jaded’ over artfully posed pictures, claims expert 

A royal expert has warned the Duke and Duchess of Sussex they risk leaving fans ‘jaded’ if they only release artfully posed shots.

Meghan, 37, and Harry, 34, have plumped for black and white pictures on a number of important occasions, including Archie’s christening photographs, official engagement shoot and their first Christmas card.  

Today the new parents chose a black and white family photo to celebrate Archie’s christening, sharing a photograph posing alongside baby Archie in Windsor Castle gardens. 

However, Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said she felt that people were becoming a ‘bit jaded’ by ‘stylised’ pictures of the newest royal. 

‘I think what people want and what people are used to seeing are lovely family images of the baby in the royal Honiton lace christening gown.

‘They won’t want an arty Instagram shot of Archie’s foot three days later if it’s left up to the couple themselves to take pictures and release them,’ she said, referring to a Mother’s Day shot issued by the couple of their son on social media.

The Duchess of Sussex is putting her own stamp on royal photos by releasing them in black and white, an expert explained. Harry and Meghan released this beautiful black and white family photo to celebrate their son's christening

The Duchess of Sussex is putting her own stamp on royal photos by releasing them in black and white, an expert explained. Harry and Meghan released this beautiful black and white family photo to celebrate their son’s christening

Speaking to Femail, photographer Glenn Gratton said Meghan is ‘image conscious’ and would have carefully thought through which photos to release of her son to make the best impression. 

He added black and white is ‘in vogue’ and is a way for the royal mother to distance her photos from the high contrast, filtered photos that flood social media feeds. 

He said: ‘Meghan’s very image conscious, she wants to make an impression. She would have put a lot of thought into the photos yesterday. 

‘It’s the first the picture of the baby and that’s going to be Googled for years and she wants to make sure it’s right. She would have thought it all through, long and hard.’

The Duchess of Sussex is putting her own stamp on royal photos by releasing them in black and white, an expert explained. Harry and Meghan released this beautiful black and white family photo to announce their son's name on Instagram

The Duchess of Sussex is putting her own stamp on royal photos by releasing them in black and white, an expert explained. Harry and Meghan released this beautiful black and white family photo to announce their son’s name on Instagram 

Mr Gratton suggested the Duchess of Sussex is perhaps more image conscious than other royals because she draws more attention than other members of the family. 

‘She’s very cautious about what she puts out there,’ he added. ‘And she has done well.’ 

Mr Gratton, who shoots black and white photos on a Leica Monochrom camera, explained that while black and white photos are far from new, they are ‘very much in vogue’ and are becoming increasingly popular. 

The Duchess of Sussex showed she is personally a fan of black and white snaps when she shared a monochrome photo of husband Prince Harry rehearsing for an Invictus Games speech during the royal tour last autumn, pictured. It was later shared on Instagram

The Duchess of Sussex showed she is personally a fan of black and white snaps when she shared a monochrome photo of husband Prince Harry rehearsing for an Invictus Games speech during the royal tour last autumn, pictured. It was later shared on Instagram 

He continued: ‘It is very complimentary on skin tones – take someone who is red-headed, or pale skinned – it is flattering for them. It just looks beautiful. It’s very forgiving.’ 

The photographer added Meghan could also be wishing to distance herself from the ‘high contrast, Instagram filtered images’ that dominate social media.   

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a statement when they released two of the three official engagement photos in black and white. 

The snaps, taken by Alexi Lubomirski, captured the couple looking loved-up in the grounds near their now-home Frogmore Cottage, in Windsor. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a statement when they released two of the three official engagement photos in black and white, including the one above

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex made a statement when they released two of the three official engagement photos in black and white, including the one above

Harry and Meghan also opted to have some black and white photos on their wedding day, later choosing one of them standing with their backs to the camera as their first Christmas card. 

Social media has proved an excellent platform for the couple to showcase their personal take on photography. 

The first post on their Sussex Royal account was a gallery culminating in a previously unseen black and white snap on their royal tour of Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Fiji. 

They have since shared monochrome snaps to highlight their work and charitable causes.

The Duchess of Sussex showed she is personally a fan of black and white snaps when she shared a monochrome photo of husband Prince Harry rehearsing for an Invictus Games speech during the royal tour last autumn. 



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Why It Should Scare Living Bejeezus Out of YOU…


New software allows you to change, edit and remove words coming out of a person’s mouth on video by simply typing in the text.

New software allows you to change, edit and remove words coming out of a person’s mouth on video by simply typing in the text. YouTube/ Ohad Fried

I know what you’re thinking: I hope someday there will be a really scary and easy way to create fake videos and misinformation—in which it appears that people are saying words that they never originally said.

Rest assured, this Philip K. Dick dystopian nightmare… is now a reality.

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Scientists from Stanford University, the Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University and Adobe Research have developed a software that will allow you to edit and change what people are saying in videos—and pull it off to create a realistic-looking fake.

Yikes.

Glad this will never fall into the wrong hands and cause a major international incident.

Just when life wasn’t satisfying enough to have people catfish via Tinder or Twitter, now there’s a software that uses machine learning and 3D models of a target’s face to generate new footage which allows you to change, edit and remove words coming out of a person’s mouth on video—by simply typing in the text. And these changes appear to have a seamless audio-visual flow without jump cuts.

I could break down exactly how the software’s technology works, but there’s actual a video that does all of that for me.

Like I mentioned, there’s already an unlimited pool of ideas that could harness this technology for evil purposes. Let’s keep this far, far away from any super-villains. Right?

Remember how mad people got the other week when someone re-edited a video of Nancy Pelosi to make her appear drunk? Now, just imagine if someone used this software to make it appear as if Nancy Pelosi is swearing like a drunken sailor—or spewing racist rhetoric—and then that video is leaked out into the world.

Or imagine after the Charlottesville Unite the Right white supremacist rally, if someone took footage of Trump and manipulated it to make it appear like he was saying there were “very fine people on both sides…” Oh wait, he actually did say that… never mind. 

It seems like deepfake software is the equivalent of Christmas coming early for a Russian troll farm—now that the 2020 election season is underway. We already have revenge porn in the world; just imagine what words a jilted lover could put into his or her ex’s mouth before sending a deepfake video off to the ex’s family members. Ugh.

Since Adobe Research is involved in the development process, I’m sure it will only be a few years before we see this deepfake tool pop up in the latest update to Adobe’s video editing software Premiere Pro. How could this possibly go wrong?

The software research site is packed with huge disclaimers and paragraphs on ethical considerations:

We also believe that it is essential to obtain permission from the performers for any alteration before sharing a resulting video with a broad audience.

And…

We acknowledge that bad actors might use such technologies to falsify personal statements and slander prominent individuals. We are concerned about such deception and misuse.

More and more, deepfakes seem to be popping up everywhere. Two artists, Bill Posters and Daniel Howe, collaborated with the advertising company Canny to create a video of Mark Zuckerberg sitting at a desk giving a sinister speech about Facebook’s power.

Deepfake Zuck was created using CannyAI’s video dialogue replacement (VDR) technology and matched with a September 2017 video of Zuckerberg giving an address about Russian election interference on Facebook. The video was posted to put Facebook’s content moderation policies to the test.

Joe Rogan was also given the deepfake treatment by the AI company Dessa, which recently released audio that distinctly sounds like the podcaster talking about chimp hockey.  

Good thing this is only going to be used for the purposes of good, right? No ‘bad actors’ have ever used a software for not good purposes.

Best Case Scenario: Great tool for fixing glitches in post-production when producing a documentary and for making funny Snapchats.

Worst Case Scenario: World War III

Why AI Deepfakes Should Scare the Living Bejeezus Out of You



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CEO Describes Tech Giants as Humble, Trustworthy…



CEO Describes Tech Giants as Humble, Trustworthy...

(Third column, 16th story, link)


Related stories:
India orders anti-trust probe of GOOGLE…
San Fran Weighs ‘IPO Tax’ to Spread Wealth…

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NEW VIDEO SHOWS ILLEGALS FLOODING INTO ARIZONA…




NEW VIDEO SHOWS ILLEGALS FLOODING INTO ARIZONA...

(Second column, 10th story, link)


Related stories:
Border Patrol releasing thousands who were exposed to diseases…
Criminal prosecution of entries dramatically slows…
Pentagon approves troops for babysitting duty…
Leader of border militia ordered jailed pending trial…

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Can virtual reality boost positive feelings in depressed patients?


Michelle Craske is asking patients to dive into coral reefs, ride on bullet trains rushing past pine trees, and cheer on soccer teams from the stands — at least virtually — in a bid to tackle a symptom long sidelined in depression treatment.

The University of California, Los Angeles, psychiatry researcher and her colleagues are testing whether virtual reality can curb anhedonia, a symptom of depression and other serious mental health conditions that’s marked by a lack of interest or ability to feel pleasure. They’re putting patients into pleasant scenarios — like a stroll through a sun-soaked forest while piano music plays — and coaching them to pay close attention to the positive parts.The idea is to help patients learn to plan positive activities, take part in them, and soak up the good feelings in the process.

It’s an unconventional strategy — not just for its use of virtual reality, but also for how it approaches a patient’s symptoms. Treatments for depression and other serious mental health conditions primarily target negative symptoms, like hopelessness, sadness, and anxiety — but they often don’t help with the lack of positive feelings that some patients experience.

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“Most treatments, up until now, have done an OK job at reducing negative [symptoms of depression], but a very poor job at helping patients become more positive,” said Craske.

There aren’t data yet to determine whether virtual reality treatment can make a meaningful difference in anhedonia. But the technology is increasingly popular in mental health care. Other studies have suggested virtual reality can be useful in easing certain phobias, helping people with psychotic disorders experience less paranoia and anxiety in public settings, and reducing social anxiety.

“It goes to the heart of the very best of psychological therapy — going into environments that cause difficulties and learning different ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving,” said Dr. Daniel Freeman, a University of Oxford psychologist who is studying whether it’s possible to use virtual reality to automate therapy for certain conditions, such as a fear of heights. Researchers elsewhere are using virtual reality for everything from treating PTSD in people who’ve experienced sexual trauma to equipping service members with coping skills they’ll need in combat zones.


“Mental health and the environment are inseparable,” said Freeman. “The brilliant thing about virtual reality is that you can provide simulations in the environment and have people repeatedly go into them,” he added.

Anhedonia has proven to be a particularly stubborn symptom to treat. Even when a patient’s other symptoms improve with treatment, anhedonia often doesn’t.

“It’s only one part of many symptoms, but it’s a symptom that’s especially impairing,” said Dr. Erika Forbes, a University of Pittsburgh psychologist who studies anhedonia. Research suggests people who have anhedonia are more likely to have longer, more difficult to treat cases of depression.

Scientists don’t know the exact biology behind the symptom, but believe that it’s tied to problems with the brain’s reward circuitry. There aren’t treatments that specifically target the symptom, but a handful of research groups are working on possible interventions.

The foundation of Craske’s approach is an intervention developed by Craske and her colleagues known as positive affect therapy. The gist: put a person into a situation that might be pleasurable, talk to them about it in painstaking detail, repeat. That might look like going to a museum, taking in the art, and then talking with a therapist about everything from the vivid shades of red in a painting to the feeling of their shoulders relaxing while standing in front of it.

In a paper accepted earlier this year by the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Craske’s team found the treatment was more effective than cognitive behavioral therapy at boosting people’s positive feelings. Participants who went through the positive affect treatment also reported lower levels of depression, anxiety, and other negative symptoms than their peers in the standard treatment group.

But for some patients with severe anhedonia, depression, or other limitations, getting out into settings like museums or social gatherings isn’t a realistic first step. That’s where the virtual reality comes in.

“You bring the world to them,” Forbes said.

Craske is running two virtual reality studies on anhedonia. The first was a small pilot study of six patients with severe cases. The patients ventured into new environments using virtual reality, going through weeks of therapy designed to drill into positive emotions. The researchers also used functional MRI scans of the brain to see if the practice produced any changes in the brain, though they haven’t analyzed those scans yet.

Now, the researchers are running a larger study with dozens of patients with anxiety and depression who have anhedonia. In a bid to make virtual reality treatment easier and more accessible, patients are equipped with VR gear that they can use with their smartphones at home. Over 13 virtual reality sessions, patients are immersed in a series of scenarios, such as gliding through the canals in Venice. They’re encouraged to observe their thoughts, feelings, and physical reactions, then jot those down in an online diary after each session. They’ll also hear a guided mindfulness recording after each session that’s intended to reinforce the idea that certain activities can be rewarding.

After each session, participants rate their mood on a scale. Their results will be compared to a control group of peers who aren’t receiving the virtual reality treatment, but will be offered the option to do it once the trial wraps up.

“It sounds like a creative and promising way to address [anhedonia],” Forbes said.

If the studies support the virtual reality treatment, there are still kinks to be worked out in the system, including giving the virtual reality scenarios an upgrade. Craske and her colleagues are planning to work with a virtual reality company to design an interactive program that adapts to a patient’s responses. If, for example, a patient smiles at a VR character who waves and says hello, that character might walk over and strike up a friendly conversation.

“That’s where I want to go with this — make it much more interactive,” she said.

Moving virtual reality into mental health care will take a collaborative effort. Freeman said that having a well-designed program and good hardware are critical for using VR in health care — and key to making sure it doesn’t cause any unpleasant side effects that some people experience with VR, like nausea.

As the technology is refined and studied, experts say it could become a useful tool in treating psychiatric conditions and other health issues. But researchers still need to pinpoint which conditions and patient groups might benefit from virtual reality, and which won’t.

“Mental health is complex. There is no one solution,” said Freeman. “There won’t be one tech solution either.”



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James Murdoch Denies Plans for Liberal News Site…


A representative for James Murdoch denied a report that he is planning to invest $1 billion in news outlets, including one that could lean left.

On Tuesday, The Financial Times reported that Rupert Murdoch’s more liberal-leaning son was looking to set himself apart from his father’s conservative media empire by investing in a “portfolio of media companies that could include a liberal-leaning news outlet.”

But a Murdoch representative told TheWrap that Murdoch “is not currently looking at any investments in news properties.”

The spokesperson also said that the FT did not speak with Murdoch or “anyone with insights into Mr. Murdoch’s current plans.” A rep for the FT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rupert Murdoch and sons, James and Lachlan, each hauled in around $50 million in fiscal 2018, representing huge pay bumps from the prior year.

The Wall Street Journal reported that James, who served as chief executive of 21st Century Fox, will personally take in another $2.2 billion from the $71.3 billion sale of the company’s major entertainment assets to Walt Disney Co.

James, 46, has been known as one of the more liberal of Rupert Murdoch’s six children. Last month, he donated $2,800 to Democrat Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, further distancing himself from his father’s empire.



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SCHULTZ: Election spoiler is far-left…


Schultz: “I think I can beat the system”

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering an independent bid for president, said a far-left Democrat could alienate much of the country and help to re-elect President Trump. He pushed back against the common Democratic complaint that he would act as a spoiler if he entered the race.

“I really believe the spoiler in all of this is going to be a far-left Democratic candidate, if that’s who gets the nomination, who is walking the shoes of a socialist,” Schultz said in an interview on Friday. He said “lifelong Republicans who do not want to pull the lever for Donald Trump are not gonna pull the lever for someone” who promotes socialist policies.

Schultz called out Elizabeth Warren in particular, who on Friday introduced a proposal to break up big social media companies due to concerns about privacy and the proliferation of hate speech online.

“What we’re seeing right now is Democratic candidates [who] in order to stay relevant and to stay in the news basically issue a press release or a tweet that they all know is not possible. It’s fantasy,” Schultz said. “We need to discuss with the leaders of those companies, their responsibility to the American people, responsibility about privacy issues and have a conversation based on civility.”

Schultz also addressed former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision not to run in the Democratic primary. Bloomberg, who was formerly an independent, has expressed concern that an independent candidate could help re-elect Mr. Trump.

Schultz said he thinks it’s “interesting” that Bloomberg decided not to proceed — “someone who has been a great business person, a great mayor, who could not crack the code of how his position could be perceived positively in a Democratic party that is moving so far to the left.” He also said he would “welcome” former Vice President Joe Biden, who is considered more of a centrist, into the race.

Schultz is appearing at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, this weekend.



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Hits out at poor understanding of music…


As one of cinema’s greatest composers, he has written the music for hundreds of films, including classics such as A Fistful of Dollars and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, recreating the wild west of Sergio Leone’s imagination with a soundscape of haunting whistles and cracking whips.

But, after a lifetime’s career in both Hollywood and European cinema, Ennio Morricone is now settling scores of a different kind. In a book based on extensive interviews with the famously private man, he attacks film-makers who, he says, fail to understand the power of music to heighten emotions – and some fellow composers for enabling them to regard a soundtrack as merely “something that plays in the background”.

“There are times … when you get to the recording stage without having the slightest clue as to the director’s expectations,” he says in the book, Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words. Now 90, he recalls the US filmmaker and Halloween director John Carpenter commissioning him to write the score for The Thing: “He hardly said a word.” Don Siegel wanted Morricone’s music for the 1970 western Two Mules for Sister Sara, starring Shirley MacLaine and Clint Eastwood, but “we didn’t communicate much,” he says.

The composer remembers that his fellow Italian Franco Zeffirelli asked for music “devoid of themes, a music of moods and atmospheres”, but “when the music was ready … said, ‘You didn’t write any themes.’”

Roland Joffé, the British-French director behind The Killing Fields, also comes in for sharp criticism from Morricone, who wrote the score for The Mission, which starred Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. “What makes it most difficult to compose a score are those directors who need to know and control every detail of their work, and therefore don’t let composers do their job,” he says. “In my career, I have met many of that kind … Joffé, one of the most peculiar under this profile. Relationships must be based on trust.”

Ennio Morricone collecting the Oscar for best original score in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.



Ennio Morricone collecting the Oscar for best original score in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. Photograph: Kurt Krieger/Getty Images

The composer, who has adapted his musical style to almost every conceivable movie genre and since 1960 has scored more than 450 films, is kinder to Leone, who, he says, “intentionally left space for the music to be listened to” and adapted his camera movements to its sounds. But he is critical of composers who, he argues, have been complicit in dumbing down their art. “Film composers have themselves underestimated their own contribution and, in so doing, they have made directors and producers accustomed to very fast working times – not the least by resorting to myriads of clichés,” he says.

John Williams, the acclaimed writer of the Star Wars scores, is “an exceptionally gifted composer whom I greatly respect”, but even he is criticised for making “a commercial choice” about the space epic franchise. It was, he says, “understandable, but still commercial. I could not have scored Star Wars in that way”.

He adds: “What seems hazardous to me is to associate a march, no matter how well written, to outer space. Oftentimes, solutions of this sort stem not so much from the lack of creativity or skills, but from mere commercial concerns – as consequences of the rules imposed by the film industry … Speaking both as a composer and a filmgoer, I believe that a rather simplistic standardisation of stylistic choices has made film music less interesting over the years, in terms of both conceptual depth and compositional methods.”

Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words, edited by the composer Alessandro De Rosa, is published by Oxford University Press next month.



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