Three of Steve Martin's best moments on YouTube

Steve Martin will be honoured by the American Film Institute with a lifetime achievement award.
Steve Martin will be honoured by the American Film Institute with a lifetime achievement award.

Funnyman Steve Martin is set be honoured with yet another accolade in his long and distinguished career.

The accomplished 69-year-old actor, comedian and musician will be presented with the 2014 lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute in June 2015.

Martin's gong sees him join the likes of Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda in being honoured by the AFI, whose goal is to preserve motion picture history through film programmes, festivals and awards.

Chairman of the AFI's board of ​trus​tees Howard Stringer said: "Steve Martin is an American original.

"He is a multi-layered creative force bound by neither convention nor caution. His work is defined by him alone, for he is the author – and a national treasure whose work has stuck with us like an arrow in the head." - Howard Stringer, chairman of the AFI's board of ​trus​tees 

Aside from his AFI award, Martin has an Emmy and five Grammy awards to his name.

In 2013, he received an honorary Oscar for his achievements. He has also hosted the show three times.

Here are three of Martin's most-watched videos on the Internet, thanks to the wonders of YouTube. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Reuters, YouTube

Minority groups enjoy higher profile on US television

Cast member and executive producer Anthony Anderson (R) and co-stars Laurence Fishburne (L) and Tracee Ellis Ross attend a panel for the ABC television series "Black-ish" during the Television Critics Association Cable Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills,
Cast member and executive producer Anthony Anderson (R) and co-stars Laurence Fishburne (L) and Tracee Ellis Ross attend a panel for the ABC television series "Black-ish" during the Television Critics Association Cable Summer Press Tour in Beverly Hills, California on July 15.

Minority groups, notably African-Americans, are front-and-centre​ on US television like never before this season, a sign of an industry in change.

Critics are welcoming what the Emmys website televisionacademy.com is calling “one of the most diverse on-screen slates in over a decade.”

Thirty years after the groundbreaking “The Cosby Show,” ABC has launched “Black-ish,” a family sitcom that takes a humorous look at African-American identity. (You can watch the trailer below.)

 

 

Black-ish stars Anthony Anderson as Andre “Dre” Johnson, a fast-rising advertising in a mainly white firm who frets about his family losing its black identity.

“How to Get Away with Murder,” also on ABC, is a thriller starring Viola Davis, an Oscar nominee for her role in “The Help,” as a brilliant black attorney.

Robust ratings 

The first episodes of both prime-time series enjoyed strong ratings, with nearly 11 million viewers for “Black-ish” and 14 million for “How to Get Away with Murder.”

The latter is produced by Shonda Rhimes, whose other projects notably include “Scandal,” now in its fourth season on ABC, starring Kerry Washington as a woman of power in the US capital.
 

“There is a definite effort to show African-Americans in a much broader range of settings that it used to be the case.”  - Tim Brooks, a historian of US television
 

African-Americans gained a solid foothold on television in the 1970s with shows like “The Jeffersons” that sometimes touched on social issues.

But their profile fell somewhat, before making a comeback in recent years, Tim Brooks, a historian of US television, told AFP.

 Hispanic cast

One much-anticipated series, “Jane the Virgin,” on The CW, brings together a majority Hispanic cast for the story of a religious young teacher who is accidentally inseminated during a visit to the doctor.

Set in Miami, the show – based on a Venezuelan telenovela, “Juana la Virgen” – is one of the latest in a string of US shows inspired by foreign productions.

And a rare actor of Asian origin, John Cho, stars in “Selfie,” a comedy series, on ABC. He starred as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films, a rare franchise with minority lead actors.   

Actor John Cho speaks onstage at the 'Selfie'' panel during the Disney/ABC Television Group portion of the 2014 Summer Television Critics Association at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on July 15, 2014 in Beverly Hills, California.

During a press conference in July, Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, called depiction of diversity part of the Disney-owned network’s “mission statement.”

“We think that’s our job, and in a way that’s not so much diversity as authenticity if you’re reflecting America.”  - Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group

Cable plays a factor

Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of African-American studies at Duke University in North Carolina, credited the rise of cable television for greater racial and ethnic diversity on the small screen.

“The biggest thing for network television – particularly the four major networks (CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox) – has been the impact of cable TV, which has done such a better job of presenting both diverse programming and programming that features diverse casts,” he said.

With around 30 cable networks, and more places in Hollywood to get a show produced, “there’s a lot more opportunity, a lot more platforms – and the creative community is taking advantage of that,” added Brooks.

“TV is a commercial business, for better or worse,” he noted. “It reacts to how we are going to sell stuff” through advertising targeted at minority groups." - AFP
 

Video: Bianchi seriously injured in Japanese GP crash

Screenshot of video showing Jules Bianchi's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Screenshot of video showing Jules Bianchi's crash at the Japanese Grand Prix.
Jules Bianchi at the Singapore Grand Prix.
Jules Bianchi at the Singapore Grand Prix.

French driver Jules Bianchi was taken to hospital after being seriously injured in a crash that brought a halt to a wet Japanese Formula One Grand Prix on Sunday.

"The driver is not conscious and has been sent to the hospital by the ambulance because the helicopter cannot go in these conditions," said a spokesman for the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA).

No further details were available and there was no immediate comment from Bianchi's Marussia team.

Red flag

The accident occurred at the same point on the Suzuka Circuit, the Dunlop Curve, where Adrian Sutil had aquaplaned off a lap earlier and involved a rescue tractor that was recovering the stricken Sauber.

Sutil, who was not hurt in his accident, said Bianchi's accident was very similar to his.

"It was more or less the same crash, just the outcome was a bit different," he told Sky television.

"The car (tractor) came out to rescue my car and then it all happened."

The crash brought out the safety and medical cars and led to the race being red flagged and not re-started with the result declared after 44 of the 53 scheduled laps.

No celebrations

There were no podium celebrations and the champagne was left unsprayed, with the top three drivers merely clinking the bottles and taking a swig.

"It's obviously a real anti-climax to hear that one of our fellow colleagues is seriously injured so that's really the main worry," Mercedes' race winner Lewis Hamilton told the BBC.

"You could see some commotion and the car was really badly damaged on the right. We just hope he's OK."

The Briton's second placed teammate Nico Rosberg said: "I'm not thinking about the race, I'm thinking about my colleague.

"I've been given some information and it seems very, very serious. I'm hoping for the best."  - Reuters

Related report: 
Formula One: Hamilton wins chaotic Japanese Grand Prix

 

Formula One: Hamilton wins chaotic Japanese Grand Prix

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Oct 5.
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka on Oct 5.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton won a wet Japanese Grand Prix from Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg on Sunday in a chaotic finish after the race was red-flagged.

The Briton ducked superbly inside his fierce rival on the 29th lap to win at Suzuka for the first time.

The race was halted after an accident involving Marussia’s Jules Bianchi. 

Hamilton increased his advantage over German Rosberg to 10 points with four rounds left this season.

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel finished third for Red Bull.

Typhoon rains

Typhoon rains had been forecast for Sunday’s race and it began behind the safety car but the drivers were called back to the pits minutes later.

The safety car came out again after 44 laps and the race was suspended two laps later as with the rain getting heavier and the light rapidly deteriorating.

There was no traditional spraying of champagne on the podium with news already having filtered through of Bianchi’s crash. The Frenchman was taken to hospital by ambulance.

The early halt was little surprise after German Adrian Sutil smashed his Sauber into a wall, Bianchi then involved in a collision with a recovery vehicle, prompting the safety car and medical car to appear and the race to be stopped seven laps early.

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, produced one of the overtaking moves of the season when he daringly passed Rosberg on the outside of turn one and stormed away to claim his eighth victory of 2014 and the 30th victory of his career.

Vettel, the four-time defending title holder, who announced on Saturday he will leave Red Bull at the end of the season, made the podium for the second race in a row – but only his fourth of the year – ahead of Australian team-mate Daniel Ricciardo. - AFP 

Related report: Bianchi seriously injured in Japanese GP crash
 

Tags: hamilton and F1

WATCH: Cyclist takes on Scotland's majestic Cuillin Ridge in breathtaking video

Scottish trials cyclist Danny Macaskill takes on the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye.
Scottish trials cyclist Danny Macaskill takes on the Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye.

If Disney ever made a short film on extreme cycling, it would probably look something like this.

Stunt cyclist Danny MacAskill has produced a stunning video of his death-defying exploits in his native Scotland that will leave you breathless.

Shot on the mind-blowingly beautiful Cuillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye, the 28-year-old shows why he's got the word skill in his name as he traverses the rugged and gorgeous landscape on his bike.

From popping wheelies across perilous gaps between high rocks to cycling across Cuillin's narrow rocky paths with endless drops on both sides, MacAskill's feat - especially reaching the summit of Sgurr Dearg - is as awe-inspiring as the grand backdrop it was shot on.


How's that for a vacation shot?

You can watch the video in the gallery above.

The Guardian reported that seven-minute plus film of MacAskill's 12km ride was put together after 10 days of shooting.

Source: YouTube via The Guardian

Mum and daughter killed in horrific crash on North-South Highway

Two women were killed and more than 10 people injured in a five-vehicle pile-up at the 255.9 km mark of the North-South Ex­­pressway, causing a 10km traffic crawl.
Two women were killed and more than 10 people injured in a five-vehicle pile-up at the 255.9 km mark of the North-South Ex­­pressway, causing a 10km traffic crawl.

A family trip home to celebrate Hari Raya Haji ended in tragedy when a mother and her daughter were killed in an accident on the north-bound 256 km mark of the North-South Highway near Ipoh on Saturday (Oct 4) morning.

Norhayati Wook, 50, and Siti Yuslianis Roslan, 20, an undergrad at Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), died at the scene from severe head injuries while three other siblings suffered minor injuries, Malaysian media reported.

Firemen and passersby at the scene of the accident. The Star.

Muhammad Yusriman, 23, who was driving a Proton Saga BLM, survived the crash and was admitted to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital (HRPB) in Ipoh.

He could not stop muttering sadly "I'm sorry mom" when reporters interviewed him as he felt guilty over the incident, reported Astro Awani news.

He claimed that a trailer which had been hit by another trailer from behind crashed into the rear of the car he was driving.

Yusriman, a bank employee, told The New Straits Times that through his rear-view mirror, he saw a trailer overtaking another trailer as the road descended after passing through the Menora tunnel.

“I saw a trailer on the left lane swerving to its left to avoid the trailer which was overtaking it on the right lane. (The trailer that swerved to the left ended up a slope and overturned.)

"After that, the (right lane) trailer sped towards my car and rammed into the back of the car.

“It (the trailer) pushed the car forward about 100m before halting. As the car was being ‘bulldozed’, all five of us screamed in fear.” - Muhammad Yusriman, 23, who was driving a Proton Saga BLM

Workers removing the badly-damaged car. Photo: NST 

He said members of the public helped them out of the car, reported The Sun.

"Our family were on the way from Bukit Sentosa, Rawang to Lenggong as my mother and father are from there," he said.

He and his brother Muhammad Yusrizal, 25, suffered minor injuries while their younger sister Siti Yusliana, 12, suffered cuts on her heels. 

Kuala Kangsar OCPD ACP Ghuzlan Salleh said the driver of the trailer who is in his 40s is being detained for further investigation.

Source: NST, SUN, The Star

 

 

 

Is Pluto a planet again?

An artist's rendering of Pluto.
An artist's rendering of Pluto.

Aug 24, 2006 went down in history as the day the solar system shrank to eight planets after Pluto lost its planetary status and became a dwarf planet.

Just a little over eight years and countless rewritten science textbooks later, it looks like the downgraded planet named after the Greek god of the underworld could be making a comeback.

The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics conducted a debate about what made a planet, well, a planet.

After three leading experts presented their various viewpoints, the audience voted and came to one conclusion - that Pluto IS a planet.

While it is by no means a scientifically binding vote, the debate leaves the door open for Pluto to be reinstated among the planetary big boys.

I'll spare most of you the details, but if you're keen, you can read a summary of what happened in Harvard's press release over here.

Or if you have an hour plus to spare to listen to the entire argument and watch the audience vote, you can watch the embedded YouTube video right here.

How did Pluto get downgraded in the first place?

For those of you not so well-versed in astronomy, here's how Pluto lost its planetary status.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union, the global body that names celestial bodies, came up with a formal definition which stated that a celestial body is considered a planet if:

1) it orbits the sun,
2) is round or is nearly round, and
3) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit i.e. it has to be the object with the greatest gravitational influence in its orbit.

While Pluto checked the boxes for criteria 1 and 2, it was deemed too small to fulfill No. 3 and was thus reclassified as a dwarf planet.

Sources: CNN, The Independent, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Watch: US professors to teach classes from under the sea

Roane State Community College Adjunct Professor Jessica Fain, 25, (L) and Associate Professor Bruce Cantrell, 63, (R) discuss the beginning of their planned 73-day "Classroom Under the Sea" project at the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, on Oct
Roane State Community College Adjunct Professor Jessica Fain, 25, (L) and Associate Professor Bruce Cantrell, 63, (R) discuss the beginning of their planned 73-day "Classroom Under the Sea" project at the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Florida, on Oct, 2014.

 Two US professors will spend 73 days in an underwater laboratory near the Florida Keys, where they’ll teach courses via Internet and try to break the record of the longest-ever undersea stay.

Bruce Cantrell and Jessica Fain, of Roane State Community College in the southeastern US state of Tennessee, took the plunge on Friday.

They aim to stay 25 feet (eight metres) under the surface in a Key Largo lagoon at the Jules’ Undersea Lodge through Dec 15, according to a site dedicated to the project.

While there, Cantrell, 63, and Fain, 25, will teach courses for their students on ocean exploration and conservation, through videos posted on a dedicated YouTube page.

They will also post interviews with researchers and experts who will visit them underwater, including former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man who walked on the moon.

The experiment “will offer the most unique educational experience in the college’s history and raise awareness of issues affecting the oceans,” said Roane State Community College.

The pair will also try to enter the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest-ever underwater stay. The current record holder is Richard Presley, who spent 69 days under water, from May to July 1992, also in the Key Largo area.- AFP 

Mount Sinabung erupts again

This file picture taken in Sukameriah village on Sept 13, 2014 shows villagers salvaging their stuff. The village sits within a 3km radius of the Mount Sinabung.

Mount Sinabung volcano in North Sumatra of Indonesia erupted on Sunday, sending columns of ash up to 3,000 metres to the sky, an official said.

But the eruption did not trigger evacuation.

The volcano had erupted for four times since earlier Sunday, Sutopo Purno Nugroho, spokesman of the national disaster management agency, told Xinhua via phone.

Hot ash and gravel were spewed to the sky, all sliding to the south, said Sutopo.

 

Metro TV reported that Mount Sinabung erupted four times today (Oct 5)

Mount Sinabung last erupted in June and September 2014 after erupting on and off from September 2013 to February 2014, which left 15 people dead and more than 30,000 other displaced.

Mount Sinabung is among more than 120 active volcanoes in Indonesia, which is prone to seismic upheaval due to its location on the “Pacific Ring of Fire.”

The Indonesian transport ministry has warned flights to stay away from the path near the volcano. - Xinhua

 

Chelsea Invincibles? No way, Jose, says Mourinho

Can Chelsea go the whole season unbeaten like Arsenal's Invincibles? Jose Mourinho probably likes the idea, but he doesn't think it can happen.
Can Chelsea go the whole season unbeaten like Arsenal's Invincibles? Jose Mourinho probably likes the idea, but he doesn't think it can happen.

Going on their imperious current form, it's hard to imagine anyone beating Chelsea to the English Premier League title this season.

Heck, it's hard to imagine the Blues being beaten by anyone either, like Arsenal's championship-winning Invincibles from 2003/04 as they emulated Preston North End's mighty feat in the 1880s.

However, ahead of his duel with Arsene Wenger - the mastermind behind that fabled Gunners side - in Sunday's big London derby at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho says he cannot envisage his unbeaten side staying that way for the rest of the season - or any side, for that matter.

 The Portuguese manager said: "It's something that happened once in a lifetime. I don't see, in modern football with the competitiveness of this Premier League, one team being champion without a defeat.

"That will stay in the history as the second and the last time.

"(That is) my opinion, but we don't know."

Source: Sky Sports

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