The current whereabouts of “Salvator Mundi”, a famous painting attributed to Leonardo da Vinci which depicts Jesus Christ in Renaissance dress, and which became the most expensive painting ever sold after fetching a price of $450.3 million in 2017, is now apparently nowhere to be found after it ended up in the Louvre Abu Dhabi, The New York Times reports.
According to the newspaper, while the Abu Dhabi culture department previously announced that it had “somehow acquired” the painting after it was purchased at a Christie’s action by “a close ally” of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the artwork’s unveiling, which was scheduled to take place in September 2018, was “cancelled without explanation”.
Furthermore, an official familiar with the “discussions” between Abu Dhabi and the Louvre in Paris told NYT on condition of anonymity that the French museum has been unable to locate the painting.
“It is tragic”, Dianne Modestini, a professor at New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and a conservator who has worked on “Salvator Mundi”, commented on this development. “To deprive the art lovers and many others who were moved by this picture — a masterpiece of such rarity — is deeply unfair”.
The NYT also pointed out that it remains unclear exactly how the UAE museum acquired the painting from the Saudis who bought it, claiming that “some have speculated that Crown Prince Mohammed might simply have decided to keep it”, as the Saudi embassy in Washington declined to comment on this issue.
The Abu Dhabi culture department is also “refusing to answer questions”, the newspaper adds.
Volodymyr Zelensky, who plays a schoolteacher accidentally elected president in popular TV show, now leads veteran politicians Poroshenko and Tymoshenko. The elections will be held Sunday. Some quotes from an old Bloomberg article:
Zelensky was also accused of being the puppet of oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, who owns 1+1 from de facto exile in Israel. There, Kolomoisky is waiting out attempts by the current Ukrainian government to hold him responsible for plundering Privatbank Commercial Bank PJSC — a bank nationalized in 2016 at a cost of more than $5 billion. (Kolomoisky’s lawyers, for their part, have denied the claims, saying they are politically motivated.)
Whether or not Kolomoisky is really behind Zelensky — both have denied it — the comedian knows how to give the people what they want.
He has advertised for team members, setting out one condition only: Candidates must have no political experience. He makes a point of never wearing a jacket. On his Facebook page, he has posted endearing videos of himself talking about his campaign and Ukraine’s future; in a calculated show of ineptitude, the videos are filmed with a vertically-oriented smartphone, so Facebook shows them with blurry margins.
Zelensky explains he won’t write a manifesto like old-time politicians do — because they all sound the same and the promises are never kept. Instead, he has asked Ukrainians to tell him what five problems they believe to be the biggest for the country; then, he proposes to crowdsource the solutions, too.
Direct democracy is a recurring theme with Zelensky. In a December interview, he described his solution to the war in eastern Ukraine: He’d let voters have the final word on a compromise with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Earlier this year, Russia announced plans to briefly disconnect its internet from the rest of the world by or on April 1.
The internet disconnection experiment was agreed on in January during a session of the Information Security Working Group, which includes a co-founder of Kaspersky Lab and representatives of major telecommunications companies such as Beeline and MTS. The working group is advising the Russian Duma on implementing a sovereign internet bill currently under consideration. The bill aims to create a centralized traffic control system in Russia, build a national domain database, and require Russian network operators to install government-approved tools for counteracting potential cyber threats. As Robert Morgus and Justin Sherman described recently in Future Tense, with this bill, Russia is taking steps to alter the very architecture of its internet, “which, once enacted, would be difficult to reverse.”
The XPrize Foundation announced Thursday it’s offering the hefty prize for a successful lunar landing.
SpaceIL, the Israeli nonprofit behind Beresheet, made the final cut in the $20 million Google Lunar XPrize competition, which ended last year without a winner. The new award was inspired by SpaceIL’s perseverance.
If Beresheet successfully lands, the spacecraft is expected to carry out two or three days of experiments collecting data about the moon’s magnetic fields before shutting down.
The distance between Earth and the moon is approximately 384,000 kilometers (240,000 miles). Beresheet’s elliptical route, which saves on fuel needs by harnessing the gravitational pull of the Earth, will cover about 6.5 million kilometers (4 million miles).
XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.
If search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo) start to notice that users are continually bouncing off your website, they will mark your site as the one that doesn’t provide any value to the visitors.
How are they going to do so? By ranking your website lower. We are pretty sure you don’t want to face that kind of punishment.
So, to make sure you have a website that runs like the Speedy Gonzales, two developers, Themes Kingdom knights, Sinisa and Djordje have volunteered to give you some tips and tricks on how you can speed up a WordPress site.
A pro-Israel Dutch party sent bottles of Israeli wine to the winners of last week’s local elections, joining others who fought back against a call to boycott the product on political grounds.
The SGP tweet contained the hashtag #tipvanmieke, a reference to Mieke Zagt, who on Monday posted a picture of Barkan-Efrat-brand Israeli wine being sold at the Hema supermarket chain. She urged Hema not to sell the product,which she mistakenly suggested originated at a Jewish settlement.
In reaction, hundreds of Dutch supporters of Israel bought up the entire Barkan-Efrat stock at Hema, which has 525 stores in the Netherlands alone. Many posted pictures of freshly bought Efrat wine with the hashtag.
The Christian for Israel organization set up a Facebook page to counter future boycott attempts.
The cave named Malham, stretching over 10 kilometers (6.25 miles), runs through Mount Sodom, Israel’s largest mountain, and spills out to the southwest corner of the adjacent Dead Sea.
Yoav Negev, founder of the Israel Cave Explorers Club, joined forces with Boaz Landford, a researcher at the university’s research center, to organize a delegation of eight European spelunkers and another 20 locals.
They spent some 10 days mapping the cave in 2018.
A second 10-day expedition in 2019 with 80 local and international spelunkers completed the measuring and mapping of the cave with lasers, determining its length at over 10 kilometers.
The new EU copyright law closes the book on free speech online. That’s a feature, not a bug.
Article 13, the internet’s founding fathers warn, means the “transformation of the Internet from an open platform for sharing and innovation, into a tool for the automated surveillance and control of its users.”
Comme l’expliquait Marx, « les idées de la classe dominante sont aussi, à toutes les époques, les idées dominantes ; autrement dit, la classe qui est la puissance matérielle dominante de la société est aussi la puissance dominante spirituelle. »
Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft selfie camera is continuing to click away as the satellite performs its largest elliptical orbit around Earth ahead of a planned Moon landing on April 11.
On Sunday, engineers with SpaceIL and Israel Aerospace Industries released a number of photos from Beresheet’s camera, including a selfie with the Earth from 265,000 kilometers (165,000 miles) above the planet’s surface and a video of the sunrise in space.
It is currently on the last loop around the Earth, which will take until April 4. Touchdown is planned for April 11 at the Sea of Serenity.
Also on Sunday, engineers released footage of Beresheet’s landing gear deploying. The spacecraft has four landing legs that will touch down on the lunar surface.
The distance between Earth and the moon is approximately 384,000 kilometers (240,000 miles). Beresheet’s elliptical route, which saves on fuel needs by harnessing the gravitational pull of the Earth, will cover about 6.5 million kilometers (4 million miles). The spacecraft is traveling at a speed of about 10 km/sec (36,000 km/h) on its way to the Moon, or 13 times faster than the maximum speed of an F15 fighter jet.
Header image: Beresheet taking a “selfie” with the Earth at a distance of 265,000 kilometers above the planet’s surface in a photo released on March 24, 2019. (courtesy Beresheet)
McDonald’s Corporation will acquire Israel’s Dynamic Yield Ltd., a startup whose software enables the personalization of content to specific users, according to a statement posted on the US fast food giant’s website.
McDonald’s will use “this decision technology to provide an even more personalized customer experience” by enabling the maker of burgers and french fries to create drive-thru menus that change based on the time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items, the statement said. The technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items based on the customer’s current selections.