The Stars of the 2020 Races

If you’re geared up for the 2020 racing calendar, you’ll no doubt be keen to know who you need to look out for in time for Cheltenham and the other upcoming races. 2020 is set to be a fantastic year for racing, with a wide variety of brilliant contenders to look out for. But if you’re keen to place your bets on three of the top picks this year, we’ve selected our favorite stars of the year ahead. These three choices are some of our top picks for popular race horses that look set to perform well over the coming year. 

Fakir D’oudairies

Fakir D’oudairies won the hearts of many back in 2018 during the Cheltenham January meeting when he was victorious in the Triumph Hurdle Trial. He won by an impressive 13 lengths from Fine Brunello and while he wasn’t able to achieve the same level of success in the Super novices, there is still a chance for him to turn it around this year. He stayed up the famous Cheltenham Hill and has the ability to go really far if given the opportunity as he gains experience with age. He achieved second place among Grade 1 companies at both Aintree and Punchestown and he secured his first win of the first season in Navan, holding off his competitors by three lengths. 
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WORLDS BEYOND EARTH, A NEW HAYDEN PLANETARIUM SPACE SHOW, OPENS JANUARY 21 AT THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Featuring immersive visualizations of distant worlds, groundbreaking space missions, and breathtaking scenes depicting the evolution of our solar system, the American Museum of Natural History’s new Hayden Planetarium Space Show, Worlds Beyond Earth will open January 21, 2020, using a new planetarium projection system that is the most advanced in the world, and is part of the Museum’s 150th anniversary celebration. Worlds Beyond Earth, narrated by Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o, takes viewers on an exhilarating journey that reveals the surprisingly dynamic nature of the worlds that orbit our Sun and the unique conditions that make life on our planet possible.

 

In the past 50 years, humankind’s ability to travel through and study our solar system has increased exponentially with the advent of robotic spacecraft, and we have learned much about our neighboring planets—how they were formed and what they are like today,” said Ellen V. Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “As with our previous, enormously popular Space Shows, Worlds Beyond Earth is a feat of science visualization, built on real data and research, and now dazzlingly showcased through the Hayden Planetarium’s new cutting-edge projection system. We can think of no better way to celebrate the thrilling state of space science today as well as the Museum’s 150th anniversary of bringing the world and the universe to our visitors.”

 

While humans have to yet to walk on another world beyond the Moon, Worlds Beyond Earth celebrates the extraordinary Age of Exploration carried out by our closest proxies, robotic explorers, over the past 50 years. Created by an award-winning team that includes Museum scientists, educators, and science visualization experts, Worlds Beyond Earth is an immersive theater experience based on authentic data from NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), and Japan Aerospace Exploration (JAXA) missions, telescopes, supercomputer simulations, and research conducted at institutions around the globe. Viewers will be taken on an adventure across the solar system, from our Moon and planetary neighbors Mars and Venus to beyond the asteroid belt, where worlds of ice and gas like Saturn and Jupiter host moons revealing active weather, erupting volcanoes, and buried oceans.

 

“Our ability to render these distant worlds is nothing short of astonishing, thanks to past and current space missions and the data they provide,” said Carter Emmart, the Museum’s director of astrovisualization and the director of Worlds Beyond Earth. “We’re not making anything up here. The height, color, and shapes we see come from actual measurements. In the Space Show, you see these beautiful objects as they actually are, to the best of our abilities.”

 

This is the first Hayden Planetarium Space Show that will “land” audience members on other worlds in our solar neighborhood, reconstructing actual events at specific locations, including a landing on the gray, cratered surface of the Moon, which viewers will reach by following an Apollo launch out of Cape Canaveral and the subsequent landing of the Lunar Module “Falcon,” carrying the first Lunar Roving Vehicle; and the liquid methane lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan, an almost Earthlike but extremely cold world 1.4 billion kilometers away, illuminated by ESA’s Huygens probe, launched from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Visualizations based on 13 years of data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will show viewers Saturn’s impressive, swirling rings as never before: bubbling with moonlets—house-sized baby moons—that form through a process that scientists think may parallel planet formation in the solar system. In addition, audiences will encounter one of Jupiter’s many moons, Io, which is the most volcanically active object in the solar system despite being covered by ice; Europa, another Jupiter moon with more liquid water beneath its icy crust than all of the oceans on Earth; Comet 67P, a frozen object traveling between the inner and outer solar system that the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft chased for 10 years; and the dry and dusty landscape of Mars, based on high-resolution global maps from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Global Surveyor, and ESA’s Mars Express.

 

“I don’t think many people realize just how much we, as the human race, have seen of our solar system,” said Worlds Beyond Earth curator Denton Ebel, a curator in the Museum’s Department of Earth of Planetary Sciences and chair of the Division of Physical Sciences. “But we are out there, via these incredibly complex and successful spacecraft, and what we’re learning about our unique place in it is surprising and also a bit sobering.”
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3 Famous Lightsaber Duels

The Star Wars saga has often been referred to as a “space western,” however it is the lightsaber duel, rather than the shootouts, that has best captured the imagination of fans. There have been many lightsaber battles over the course of the nine movie saga and everyone has their favorite. Perhaps one of these three famous lightsaber duels is yours.

Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker

One of the great mysteries of the original trilogy was why Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan became enemies and how Anakin got the injuries that resulted in him having to wear the iconic Vader suit to stay alive. Obi-Wan and Anakin’s epic duel on the volcanic planet of Mustafar finally answered those questions. The pair fought over a lake of boiling lava until Obi-Wan infamously gained the high ground. When Anakin attempted to leap past Obi-Wan, Obi-Wan cut off one of Anakin’s arms and both his legs, leaving him lying helplessly near the boiling lava. The heat from the lava eventually caught Anakin’s clothing on fire, badly burning him. After lamenting Anakin joining the Sith instead of destroying them, Obi-Wan left Anakin to his fate. Anakin survived long enough for Sidious to rescue him and have him put in the Vader suit.
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Rise of Tribes

As a board game, Rise of Tribes is one of the most enjoyable games with fair conflict resolution systems. The game gives you the capability to handle conflict resolution and explore the world of civilization through the gathering of resources in the most strategic manner. While it’s fast and straightforward, the game allows you to plan for the outcome by making the right moves.

How to Play

The Rise of Tribes game is a modular board game design aimed at growing, moving, gathering, and leading various tribe members in prehistoric times. The game board comprises of hexes whereby each hex consists of a particular population limit. When playing the Rise of Tribes, you need to select a specific number of people to manage to trigger or avoid conflict.

A player resolves each of the four actions, namely GROW, MOVE, GATHER and LEAD, by rolling a dice. In each turn, an active player achieves victory by building villages or completing goal cards. This is how a player achieves civilization for his/her tribal faction in the final steps of the game board’s turns.

Setup

An active player should shuffle, arrange, and determine the number of game tiles he/she needs to create a playing area. After defining the spatial tile arrangement, each player should then shuffle the Event tiles deck and place them face down into an area above the game board. Each action should be placed with a configuration of three dices, namely sun, moon, and blank.
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“Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz” at Paper Mill Playhouse

papermill playhouse

We just saw the new play,”Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz”, at Paper Mill Playhouse. Continuing until October 27, this world premiere focuses on the early life of Francis Gumm, who became Judy Garland. Best known for her breakout performance as Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, her life and family are brought to life in a musical.

Honestly, I thought it was a bit….well, lets say “light hearted” in it’s presentation. Her mother, well documented as a nightmare stage parent, was portrayed as a little rough but doting. Her father, whom she adored, was also a bit much. His homosexuality was really hammered on, with long, dramatic songs, and quite a few scenes that a fellow theater-goer described as “over the top and self indulgent”- to which I agree. Over indulgent and almost mocking, so light hearted (and even joking) was made of her theater experiences with her mother and different people in the business, such as directors, owner, and other cast members. She had such a rough go in reality, and to present it in this way really seemed to belittle her life and to mock her life and experiences. It seemed very unfair to her, in my opinion. Abuse should not be downplayed as bumbling or nonsensical, her body shaming and resulting dysmorphia and eating disorders barely touched upon and again, very light, drug abuse (which killed her) pushed upon her and encouraged by those that should have been there for her, never mentioned.

NJ theater

The songs were odd and disjointed, nothing really played all the way through or presented in any sort of logical way, with the exception of “All Ma’s Children”, which was both fun and lively, as well as made sense in it’s placement (and was the entire song in one go). In my opinion, it was the best part of the show. Some songs, such as “You Made Me Love You” were done over and over, in bits and pieces, some of which were weird- such as between Judy and her father. Love songs between parent and child, not great.  The music was all over the place and jumbled, we really would have loved some consistency. As well, some more upbeat numbers to fill the 3 hour show.
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Tech Your Kids Will Really Fall For

 

Now that school is (finally!) back in session, you might be looking for fun ways to keep the kids stimulated and learning but still having fun while at home. We like board games and hiking as much as anybody, but sometimes a little hands-on building and creating goes a long way towards getting your child(ren) interested in something new, or perhaps just learning a little more about their favorite activities and what makes them “go”.

smart toys

If your kids like computers, video games, robots, or construction, Botzees might be the tech for you. This smart toy brings together virtual and hands on play in a way that is both fun and educational. Kids will enjoy playing, and won’t feel like they are having more “ugh, learning” heaped on them.  Botzees, the newest toy from Pai Technology, is a new robotics kit that is meant for kids ages 4 and up. This is a great way to sit with your kids and learn together- I have to admit this is an area my son is far and away better then I typically. It’s fun to learn together, and he loves when he can show me things. With this kit, you and your kid(s) can build, program, and code. There are six pre-designed robots, or you can go all out and create your own.

Once you build your Botzee, it can “be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.” (as per Pai Technology) It is available for $100 at https://www.pai.technology/botzees and Amazon.
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APPLE STORES INTRODUCE NEW AUGMENTED REALITY CODING ROBOT FOR KIDS

Looking for a smart toy that brings virtual and hands on play together in a fun and educational way – one that sets it apart from the rest?

Introducing Botzees, the latest and greatest from Pai Technology, innovators that excel in pairing children’s growth through all stages with technology, science, and art to strengthen imagination, problem-solving, critical thinking, and healthy lifestyles.

Botzees is a new robotics kit for kids ages 4 and up that combines creativity, construction, and coding, all in one. Kids can build, program and code six different pre-designed robots or choose to create their own with the specially designed blocks that come with the kit.

Once built, Botzees can be taught to move, drum, dance, make sounds and light up using the free Botzees app. The kit’s 130 gender neutral, uniquely shaped, easy-to-grip blocks with rounded edges will inspire kids’ imagination with tactile, tangible hands-on learning. Additionally, the 30 interactive Augmented Reality puzzles will teach even more coding concepts with visual cues.
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Paper Mill’s “Half Time” Announces Cast Recording and Pre Order

FEATURING PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE’S STAR-STUDDED LINEUP OF BROADWAY LEGENDS INCLUDING NEW TONY AWARD WINNER ANDRÉ DE SHIELDS, TONY AWARD WINNERS LILLIAS WHITE & DONNA MCKECHNIE PLUS A FINAL PERFORMANCE FROM THE LATE GEORGIA ENGEL.

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts- Managing Director), recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, along with Sony Masterworks Broadway announces the July 19th release of HALF TIME (ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING), with music by Matthew Sklar, lyrics by Nell Benjamin and additional music by Marvin Hamlisch and Ester Dean.  Available for preorder now, the album features music from the Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin-written musical, which made its 2018 debut at Paper Mill Playhouse and tells the uplifting true story of ten New Jersey seniors with extraordinary dreams.

The Half-Time (Original Cast Recording) features some of the last songs written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away during the show’s early gestation.  The album also features a who’s who of Broadway talent, including five-time Emmy Award-nominated actress Georgia Engel (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Everybody Loves Raymond), Tony and Emmy Award winner Lillias White (The Life, Sesame Street), Tony and Drama Desk Award winner Donna McKechnie (A Chorus Line) and Emmy Award winner André De Sheilds (The Wiz), who most recently won a Tony for his role in Hadestown.  The Original Cast Recording is dedicated to the memory of Georgia Engel.

Based on the motion picture Gotta Dance, directed, written and produced by Dori Bernstein, Half Time tells the incredible true story of ten determined dreamers who audition to dance at half time for a major basketball team., inspired by the true story of the Brooklyn Nets NETSational dance team. They have three things in common: they love to dance, they have something to prove, and they are all over 60. Only after making the cut do they learn they won’t be dancing tap, salsa or swing—instead, they will bring down the house with a style that is entirely new to them: hip-hop. Take the uplifting journey with these dreamers—and the young coaches who inspire them along the way—as they battle self-doubt, stereotypes and even each other for a chance to bust a move at center court in front of 20,000 screaming fans. Together they remind us that in life, when the odds are stacked against you and the challenges seem too great to overcome, it’s not the end of the game—it’s Half Time.

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