World in Briefs (11.08.13)
I am by no means a master of impersonations; there are only a few of mine that are somewhat passable. That’s why I am thankful everyday for the existence of Sylvester Stallone. There’s no way that the man with the iconic voice and extensive list of film can do even more, right? Wrong. The 67-year-old celebrity recently opened an art exhibit featuring his very own work. Selecting around 30 pieces from the past four decades, the appropriately titled “Sylvester Stallone. Art. 1975-2013” exhibit has opened at The Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. Stallone is serious about his artwork. “I think I’m a much better painter than an actor,” he says. “It’s much more personal and I’m allowed to just do what I want to do. Quite often in acting you have to play a certain part, you cannot speak as much as you want to speak. I suppose the heroes don’t talk much, you have to be very stoic.” Admittedly, this may seem like a strange story, but his artwork is quite impressive. I look forward to seeing if Stallone will reveal even more of his artistic endeavors in the future. I’m also waiting for the release of Rocky VIII where he enters an art contest against the grandson of Apollo Creed.
The Earth is a pretty cool place, but you know what would make it cooler—if it was covered in lava. Well, not literally cooler, but figuratively. Scientists have discovered a “lava world” orbiting a star 400 light-years away. The cleverly named Kepler 78b planet orbits extremely close to its host star, about 100 times closer than the Earth is to the Sun. Experts believe that the planet may be tidally locked to its star, meaning that one side is always facing in. “I think it’s safe to say that the surface on the ‘dayside’ is molten,” says Josh Winn, associate professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They are currently uncertain whether the “nightside” shares this molten property. However, things aren’t looking too hopeful for Kepler 78b. “Kepler 78b is going to end up in the star very soon, astronomically speaking,” says Dimitar Sasselov, from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The planet will draw closer to the host star and eventually be torn apart within the next three billion years. It’d be a shame for such a unique planet to disappear completely. As a solution, I will be creating a Kickstarter to save Kepler 78b. The goal is an infinity sign, because planets are expensive.
When it comes to pharaohs, King Tutankhamun is probably the most recognizable. Dying at the young age of around 19 over 3,000 years ago, the cause of his death has remained a mystery—until now. Researchers have recently been able to examine the body of King Tut. They have determined that he was likely killed when he accidentally fell from his ride during a chariot race. Performing a “virtual autopsy,” his injuries are similar to someone being crushed by a chariot. His heart was apparently missing—unlike most pharaohs—due to it being damaged beyond repair from the accident. Additionally, they found that his body was burned due to a failed mummification process. The oils used for the embalming procedure caused the body to spontaneously combust. While this is all quite fascinating, the history of mummies in film advises against messing with the bodies and tombs of the pharaohs. Is it harder to cope with not knowing how one little pharaoh died or an ancient curse that brings forth a plague of snakes upon the earth? Try walking to class or flying a plane when everything is covered in snakes. It’s a struggle.