Taylor Swift Admits ‘Mine’ Is About One of Her Old Flames

 

After taking inspiration from her old crushes like a guy named Drew in “Teardrops on My Guitar” and Joe Jonas in “Forever & Always”, Taylor Swift continues to bare her past love story in her song. This time around, she admitted that her new single “Mine” also talks about one of the guys she used to like.

“I was reflecting back on a boy I liked at a certain time,” the 20-year-old  singer told Rolling Stone. Without naming the guy, she continued her statement, “The song is about what it would be like if I actually let my guard down.”

“Mine” is the lead single from her  new album “Speak Now” which is slated for October 25 U.S. release. The song was leaked days before the release date, making it pushed forward for early release. Despite the premature arrival, it performed and sold well and she thanked fans for that.

“[My manager] said, ‘I don’t want you to panic.’ And I said, ‘The song leaked, didn’t it?’ ” she recalled “I turned on my phone and there were texts saying, ‘Congratulations.’ A leak is so out of my comfort zone, but it ended up good in the end. It made me so emotional that I started crying.”

The music video is co-directed by Swift and Roman White and will be premiered on August 27. Starring Toby Hemingway, it will see her getting proposed by “The Covenant” actor and walking down the aisle with him.
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Are Some Chimp ‘Cultural’ Behaviors Actually in the Genes?

Thirty-five years ago, researchers studying chimpanzees in the wild noticed that neighboring communities had distinct grooming behaviors that could not be explained by differences in their environments. They contended that these behavioral idiosyncrasies were learned, or “cultural,” and other scientists soon began noting group-specific tool uses and courting behaviors that also didn’t appear to be environmental. But in a new study, researchers say some of these behaviors may be genetic after all.

Before that 1975 revelation, few researchers had observed different communities of wild chimpanzees, and no one had even recognized that these behavioral differences existed. Investigators have been arguing about whether chimps truly have culture ever since. Proponents of culture published a landmark Nature paper in 1999 documenting 39 behaviors that were frequently observed in some communities and never seen in others. In the article’s wake, a flood of reports began to appear about culture in other species, and the debates roiled on, with endless discussions about the meaning of the word itself.

The new study, published online tomorrow in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, examines partial sequences of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from wild chimpanzees in nine different groups. This DNA is handy because it’s inherited only from mothers, and only chimp females typically move to new communities. Team members examined the links between the groups and 38 of the 39 supposed cultural variants documented in the earlier report. The study does not link behaviors to specific genes or even conclude that there is a genetic explanation. Rather, it assesses whether genetic differences can be excluded as an explanation for each behavior; it finds that they cannot more than half the time.

This distinction may seem subtle, but the idea of animal culture turns on the requirement of first excluding ecological forces as an explanation for behaviors. The study now adds yet another hurdle to clear before making bold claims about culture. “I have no horse in this race,” says lead author Kevin Langergraber, a molecular ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. “I saw some studies that claimed they were settling this question, and I had gathered data that spoke to quite a different explanation.”

The findings, as might be expected in this controversial field, are receiving a mixed reaction. The first author of the 1999 Nature study, evolutionary psychologist Andrew Whiten of the University of St. Andrews in the United Kingdom—who did not contribute to the new study—says Langergraber and colleagues have done “a very careful and rigorous job.” But Whiten contends that they have given too much weight to the “the relationships between behavioral and genetic differences they found.” Specifically, he contends that the sequencing of small regions of mtDNA as well as the relatively few documented behavioral differences are “very crude overall measures” of the true genetic and behavioral differences. He further singles out several experiments that he and others have conducted with unrelated captive chimpanzees that clearly demonstrate sophisticated social learning skills, especially for tool use. “Given all we know about chimpanzee social and individual learning, it seems unlikely that there are any chimpanzees that, because of their genetic constitution, cannot observationally learn all the kinds of tool use seen in Africa.”

Ethologist Frans de Waal of Emory University in Atlanta has a more generous take on the new work. In 1999 de Waal wrote an accompanying editorial in Nature that said Whiten and colleagues had provided a “record so impressive that it will be hard to keep these apes out of the cultural domain.” The new work, de Waal contends, “is not dismissive of the culture concept, but adds a complication to the picture.”

De Waal notes that individuals of a species often have similar behaviors that are not controlled by genes. “No one would assume a gene for ant fishing in the chimpanzee in the same way that no one would assume that some humans have a knife-and-fork gene and others a chopstick gene,” says de Waal. Still, he says the new findings likely will make the nature vs. nurture discussion more interesting. “If we simply accept that chimpanzees have cultural habits that spread by means of social learning and then add this genetic picture to it, we get in fact a view closer to what we know about humans, and a broader debate that we have hardly had before,” says de Waal.

Langergraber, who studies the evolution of cooperation and social relationships in wild chimpanzees, notes that there’s compelling evidence in finches, crows, and gorillas that some behaviors—like learning to use tools or eat nettles that will sting unless they are handled just so—have genetic underpinnings. And the same is true of humans, he notes. “Some things you’d never think are genetically determined are highly inheritable. Genes, for example, appear to play a role in whether a person is an extrovert who wears loud clothing or an introvert who dresses for comfort.

But he stresses that in wild chimpanzees, especially since females often migrate to different communities, it will be particularly difficult to sort the genetic from the cultural. “They’re not moving only their genes, but it could be behavior as well,” says Langergraber. “So you could get a positive correlation between genetic and behavioral similarity even if it were 100% cultural.” Langergraber says he’d make a more conservative point, “You can’t rule out that it’s genetic.”

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Strange Rocks May Preserve Some of Earth’s First Animals

Some very old rocks and a nifty imaging technique have yielded what could be the oldest known animal fossils—spongelike organisms that lived on ocean reefs on what is now South Australia. Princeton University geologist Adam Maloof wasn’t looking for fossils. He was wandering the mountains of South Australia with graduate student Catherine Rose, looking at rocks from just before a major glaciation, about 635 million years ago, which may have covered much of the planet in ice. While poking around, they kept seeing rocks with the same shapes—anvils, rings, wishbones, and others—tucked among the fossils of stromatolite reefs, which are formed by bacteria. “They looked like fossils, but we weren’t expecting fossils, so we ignored them,” says Maloof. “Eventually, they became too common and repetitive to ignore.” Maloof and Rose thought they might have found specimens of Namacalathus, a hard-bodied organism with a long stalk that lived about 550 million years ago, but they needed a better look. Back in the lab, the researchers ground down the first couple of centimeters of the strange-shaped rocks 50 microns at a time, taking a picture of each newly revealed surface. The team then used computers to put together a three-dimensional image of the animal. “We learned pretty quickly that they looked nothing like Namacalathus,” he says. Instead of a stalk, the researchers found elliptical, asymmetric blobs. They were able to model two complete fossils and fragments of several others. Back in time. This animation shows 3D images of fossils, possibly spongelike animals, emerging from a piece of rock as it is ground down. Credit: Situ StudioEach fossil was about a centimeter across and shot through with 1-millimeter-diameter tunnels. After eliminating several possibilities, the duo concluded that the organism most closely resembled sponges, which have internal canal systems. That would make these fossils fart older than the oldesanimal fossil currently known, a 555-million-year-old snail-like creature known as Kimberella.

There are reasons to think that sponges were around this early. Scientists have used evidence on the rate of evolution—known as molecular clocks—to date the origin of sponges back to 600 million or 700 million years ago. Others have also found lipids that are thought to be made by sponges in rocks of about that age. Maloof says the finding is exciting because it means that animals may have been around before a planetwide glaciation and probably survived it. The team reports its findings online today in Nature Geoscience.

Still, experts are skeptical about whether the fossils represent ancient animals. “They’re just, at present, really tantalizing fossils for which a really cool argument has been made,” says geologist Whitey Hagadorn of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science in Colorado. “I wish we had some DNA in these suckers to figure it out for sure.” The good news, he says, is that lots of other scientists will see this article and start poking around for animal fossils in similar-aged rock. “I can’t wait to see if someone finds a better-preserved deposit from somewhere else.”

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‘The African Queen’ – Bogart, Hepburn and the Little Boat That Could

The only movie matchup of screen legends Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen is a classic adventure movie and a grown-up love story, with a little bit of travelogue and a dollop of wartime propaganda.

Hepburn is a prim spinster with a spine of steel, and Bogart  is the unkempt captain of a little supply boat, the African Queen, when World War I reaches the remote villages of colonial Africa. Watching this unlikely pair survive a treacherous river trip, attempt a daring wartime attack and fall into a charming, late-life love affair makes for a splendid movie.

The Plot

Rose Sayer (Hepburn) and her clergyman brother are missionaries along the Ulanga-Bora River in German East Africa in 1914, when war is declared. German soldiers kidnap the village men, burn their thatched huts and drive out the women and children. Her brother dies in shock and despair, his mind gone. Bogart’s Charlie Allnut rescues Rose from the ruins in the African Queen, intending to sit out the war somewhere safe from the fray.

But the determined Rose hatches a plan to take the shabby little boat down the wild river, past a German fortress, and onto Lake Victoria. Once there, she wants to torpedo a German warship patrolling the lake, using mining supplies aboard the African Queen. The astonished Charlie resists, arguing “there’s death a hundred times over” on the river.

But Rose insists…and bit by bit, Charlie bends. They battle fierce rapids, make ingenious repairs to the old boat, flee insect swarms, and even brave huge leeches as they pull the boat through swamps.

Do they make it? I wouldn’t dream of spoiling it for you.


The Cast of ‘The African Queen’

Hepburn was 44 when she made The African Queen and the film marked her graduation to roles for mature, older women. Her mild, almost absent-minded delivery as she proposes her daring plan is nicely underplayed. And there’s a wonderful moment after their first night as lovers when the very proper Rose shyly asks “Mr. Allnut” what his first name might be.At 52, Bogart delivered what might be his most relaxed, natural and powerful performance. No slick detective here. He’s a grubby, earthy man whose stomach rumbles uncontrollably at tea with the missionaries, and his face when Rose pours his beloved gin bottles into the river is a sight to behold. He’s coarse and funny, yet manly and utterly steadfast. (The performance garnered his only Best Actor award after many snubs from Oscar for earlier roles.)

Robert Morley gives a heart-wrenching performance as Rose’s broken brother. And of course, the African Queen herself is a member of the cast, a scrappy little 30-foot boat with a ragged canopy and a sputtering motor Charlie always meant to fix. By the end of the movie you’re cheering as much for the battered little boat as for Charlie and Rose.

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Casablanca – Bogart and Bergman in a Timeless Romance

Casablanca. Sometimes it all just comes together – the story, the cast, the dialog, the direction – and you get a movie that stands the test of time.

Casablanca is a great romance, a stirring wartime adventure, a suspenseful action movie, and in 

the end, a terrific buddy movie. It’s listed again and again on the top ten lists of critics and fans alike. Its snappy lines are repeated by movie buffs the world over. What more could you want?

The plot

World War II has engulfed Europe, reaching all the way to Rick Blaine’s Café Americain in French-held Morocco. The Nazis have overrun France and are heading into its unoccupied possessions in Africa – and all kinds of people are trying to escape by way of Casablanca.

The plot revolves around “letters of transit” that will provide safe passage by air to Lisbon, and then to America, a rare and precious commodity indeed. And even though Blaine (Humphrey Bogart in his first romantic lead) is an embittered expatriate who would prefer to sit out the war in his café, the tightening conflict eventually forces Rick – and everybody else – to take sides.

The Cast of ‘Casablanca’

Bogart is wonderful as the mysterious café owner with a past, set up in the nightclub business with his longtime friend and piano player, Sam (Dooley Wilson). As we meet his employees, we see Rick’s not quite the cynic he pretends to be. All are clearly refugees under his protection. The emotional Russian bartender, the polished French croupier, the grandfatherly German waiter and Sam at the keyboard make Rick’s café the only place to be.

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Hoisin-Glazed Chicken with Plums and Green Onions


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup(s) rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) Asian sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon(s) Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) ground red pepper (cayenne)
  • 1 (4-pound) chicken, cut up into 8 pieces, skin removed if you like
  • 4 plums
  • 2 bunch(es) green onions
  • 1 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon(s) coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup(s) hoisin sauce
  • 1 tablespoon(s) low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon(s) sesame seeds

Directions

  1. In large bowl, stir vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, five-spice powder, and ground red pepper. Add chicken to spice mixture, and toss until evenly coated. Let chicken marinate 15 minutes at room temperature, turning occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare outdoor grill for covered, direct grilling on medium. Cut each plum in half; discard pits. Brush green onions with olive oil, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. In small bowl, mix hoisin sauce and soy sauce.
  3. Remove chicken from marinade and place on hot grill grate. Discard marinade. Cover grill and cook chicken 20 to 25 minutes or until juices run clear when thickest part of chicken is pierced with knife, turning pieces over once. Reserve 1/4 cup hoisin mixture for serving; brush chicken with remaining mixture for last minute of cooking. Transfer chicken to platter. Cover; keep warm.
  4. Place plums and green onions on hot grill grate. Cook onions 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly charred and tender, turning over once; cook plums 6 to 8 minutes or until lightly charred and softened, turning over once. Transfer onions and plums to platter with chicken.
  5. To serve, sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds. Pass a bowl with reserved hoisin mixture.

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Low-Fat? Low-Carb? Is One Better Than the Other?

If you’ve been dancing the low-carb tango, there’s good news: according to the results of a two-year study, low-carb diets  are effective at helping dieters shed pounds and maintain healthy weight for the long term. If you’ve been doing the low-fat thing, there’s also good news: low-fat diets are effective at helping dieters shed pounds and maintain healthy weight for the long term.
But – and you knew this was coming – low-carb aficionados appear to have a bit of an advantage. It seems that low-carb diets are also better for maintaining levels of good cholesterol, also known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) which, according to the American Heart Association, seems to play an important role in removing bad cholesterol from the body and helps clear plaque from the arteries.

Why the difference? Scientists aren’t really sure.. The results come from a two-year study, sponsored by the National Institutes for Health, attempting to figure out which type of diet was best for long-term weight maintenance. Key factors for the 307 study participants, however, included regular exercise, as well as keeping track of what they were eating.

“After 2 years, patients can have similar amounts of successful weight loss with either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet combined with a behavioral program to help patients change their lifestyle,” according to the Annals of Internal Medicine, which published the study earlier this week. “A low-carbohydrate diet may modestly improve some, but not all, risk factors for heart disease. It is unknown whether these improvements will influence the future development of heart disease.”

It’s an interesting result. Dieticians, of course, have long argued that a healthy diet draws from a wide range of food sources, including carbohydrates, fats, and other groups, all in moderation of course. But for the low-carb enthusiasts, like writer Jamie Saal Van Eaton, the study comes as a vindication of sorts.

Van Eaton has been writing – not a little irreverently – about her low-carb lifestyle for several years now at The Lighter Side of Low-Carb “An entire philosophy can truly be tasted in a plate of food prepared with love. And sometimes it whispers with even greater success when it’s served with a side of bacon. Or a piece of cauliflower.”). It’s a great jumping off point to other low-carb sites and full of recipes and brow-raising observations: “…there are all sorts of perverted and lovely ways to incorporate a snack plate into your meal.”

Of course, you can always find plenty of  low-carb and low-fat  recipes here at Delish, too, but I think I need to finish off that last piece of piece of cherry pie before I make any real commitment, just yet.

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Human origins & migrations in Africa

You’ve probably heard the claim that Africa is ‘the birthplace of humanity’. But before there were humans, or even apes, or even ape ancestors, there was…rock. Africa is the oldest and most enduring landmass in the world. When you stand on African soil, 97% of what’s under your feet has been in place for more than 300 million years. During that time, Africa has seen pretty much everything – from proto-bacteria to dinosaurs and finally, around five to 10 million years ago, a special kind of ape called Australopithecines, that branched off (or rather let go of the branch), and walked on two legs down a separate evolutionary track.

This radical move led to the development of various hairy, dim-witted hominids (early men) – Homo habilis around 2.4 million years ago, Homo erectus some 1.8 million years ago and finally Homo sapiens (modern humans) around 200,000 years ago. Around 50,000 years later, somewhere in Tanzania or Ethiopia, a woman was born who has become known as ‘mitochondrial Eve’. We don’t know what she looked like, or how she lived her life, but we do know that every single human being alive today (yup, that’s EVERYONE) is descended from her. So at a deep genetic level, we’re all still Africans.

The break from Africa into the wider world occurred around 100,000 years ago, when a group numbering perhaps as few as 50 people migrated out of North Africa, along the shores of the Mediterranean and into the Middle East. From this inauspicious start came a population that would one day cover almost every landmass on the globe.

Around the time that people were first venturing outside the continent, hunting and gathering was still the lifestyle of choice; humans lived in communities that rarely exceeded a couple of hundred individuals, and social bonds were formed to enable these small bands of people to share food resources and hunt co-operatively. With the evolution of language, these bonds blossomed into the beginnings of society and culture as we know it today.

The first moves away from the nomadic hunter–gatherer way of life came between 14,000 BC and 9500 BC, a time when rainfall was high and the Sahara and North Africa became verdant. It was in these green and pleasant lands that the first farmers were born, and mankind learned to cultivate crops rather than following prey animals from place to place.

By 2500 BC the rains began to fail and the sandy barrier between North and West Africa became the Sahara we know today. People began to move southwest into the rainforests of Central Africa. By this time a group of people speaking the same kind of languages had come to dominate the landscape in Africa south of the Sahara. Known as the Bantu, their populations grew as they discovered iron-smelting technology and developed new agricultural techniques. By 100 BC, Bantu peoples had reached East Africa; by AD 300 they were living in southern Africa, and the age of the African empires had begun.

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Comic-Con 2010 — Interviews with the Thor Cast

SAN DIEGO, CA – Saturday night was a big evening at Comic-Con for superheroes, superfans, and supergeeks alike. But few had it better than a certain Norse god who has graced the pages of Marvel Comics for nearly fifty years, and finally got to debut the trailer for his first feature film.

Due in theaters next May, Thor  stars relative unknown Chris Hemsworth as the muscle-bound warrior cast out of Asgard and into a new gig as one of Earth’s most powerful defenders. Complicating matters is his mischievous brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston), his Earthbound love interest Jane (Natalie Portman), and a seriously-ticked-off father in Odin (Anthony Hopkins), all in the service of a big-budget directorial effort by Kenneth Branagh.

Still soaring from the rapturous applause of Hall H, the cast of Thor sat down with us to hammer out some revealing details about the flick. Read on for their thoughts on battling brothers, learning humility, and helping those beloved Avengers to assemble.

Q:This is the biggest movie you’ve ever made. What have you been able to do on this superhero epic that you couldn’t do before?
Kenneth Branagh: Spend some money (laughs). Not carte blanche, but what’s exciting is that when everyone is determined that we have to deliver .

Q:This is the biggest movie you’ve ever made. What have you been able to do on this superhero epic that you couldn’t do before?
Kenneth Branagh: Spend some money (laughs). Not carte blanche, but what’s exciting is that when everyone is determined that we have to deliver .

Q: By now, everyone knows that these Marvel films are building up to The Avengers assembling. How does your film fit into the master plan, while retaining its own identity?
Branagh: Well, there is the integration of story elements. So, in the footage shown here tonight you saw some of how Thor interacts with S.H.I.E.L.D., parts of the Iron Man thing. I think you’ll see in different parts that we have the chance to expand, and because of the nature of the places we go you’ll see it add up to something that belongs but also has a very distinct flavor. People have asked me since way back: “How the hell does Thor fit into the Avengers thing?” Well, I think it can fit there, but there’s also a very exotic thing that will be going on in our film.

Q: Chris, this is your first starring performance. Give us your breakdown of the Thor character.
Chris Hemsworth: At the beginning of this film he’s a brash, cocky warrior who is about to inherit the keys to the kingdom. But his father realizes he’s not ready, and it becomes the journey of him learning some humility throughout the film. His heart’s in the right place – he does things for his family and to protect the kingdom – but he has a very aggressive way of doing it, which probably isn’t the right way.

Q: Natalie, tell us about your character.
Natalie Portman: My character is working on this theory of connecting dimensions through these Einstein theories about uniting time and space. Thor comes from another dimension, so he is this missing piece to her scientific inquiry. Everyone thinks she’s a kook, but here’s her opportunity to prove herself.

Q: Chris, your younger brother Liam also auditioned for the role of Thor. Was that weird, competing against him?
Hemsworth: I’d auditioned, and it didn’t go any further. Then, next I heard, he was being flown over from Australia to test with Ken! I was as excited as I was secretly angry (laughs) – nah, we’re very close. When he was auditioning I supported him, and with me the same thing. We gave each other feedback, and helped wherever we could.

Q: And Clark, you return as fan favorite Agent Coulson, working with Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury to bring The Avengers together. Has the plan for your character always been so ambitious?
Clark Gregg: No, it started out as nothing, just a couple scenes in Iron Man. Then it just became a better role – every time Marvel calls I’m like “Really? I get to do this guy again?” and every time I do, they pull back more layers and he’s got more interesting stuff to do…Now I’m the Super-Glue of the series. Thor is an origin story – a hammer is found in New Mexico, surrounded by a giant crater – it’s Agent Coulson’s job to show up and investigate that, and this is very much the reason why S.H.I.E.L.D. is in existence.

Q: Tom, tell us about Thor’s anarchic evil brother, Loki.
Tom Hiddleston: Well, tonight’s footage was amazing; this was my first time seeing it, I hadn’t seen a single frame…The relationship between Thor and Loki is as complex as any relationship between any two brothers. There is a huge trigger halfway through the film, a reveal about Loki and his true lineage, explaining that he’s not as close to Thor as he may have once thought. And that news triggers the jealousy that had been hidden inside him, and it becomes a cancerous rage that makes him want to destroy his brother and usurp his power. So yeah, it’s complicated!

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Chinese Chicken Salad

Chinese chicken salad is a great recipe when you need to put something together at the last minute. Leftovers taste great served in a wrap for lunch the next day. Serves 4 to 6.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken meat breasts, boneless, skinless
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce, or as needed
  • Dressing:
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian sesame seed oil
  • Other:
  • 1 head lettuce
  • 1 – 2 red peppers as desired
  • 1 10-fluid ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
  • 1 8-ounce can sliced water chestnuts (or fresh water chestnuts, peeled and sliced)
  • 3/4 cup chow mein noodles

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry. Lightly rub the 1 teaspoon of soy sauce over the breasts (use more soy sauce if needed). Place the breasts on a roasting and cook for 45 minutes, turning over halfway through cooking. Remove the chicken and cool.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the dressing and vegetables. In a small bowl, combine the rice vinegar, orange juice, light soy sauce, sugar and sesame seed oil. Refrigerate until needed.
Wash the lettuce, remove the core and shred the leaves. Remove the seeds from the red pepper and cut into thin strips.
Remove the cooked chicken and cool. Shred the chicken meat with your hands.
Pour the dressing into the bottom of a large salad bowl.
Add the lettuce and chicken, tossing with the dressing. Add the red peppers, water chestnuts and mandarin orange slices. Garnish with the chow mein noodles.
Sprinkle the sliced almonds or toasted sesame seeds on top if using.

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