It may not feel like it at the moment (what, with the snowstorms, wind chill and all-around wintry weather) but spring is on the horizon. And as you spend more days than not within the walls of your home, odds are you’ve been investing in your skincare like never before — especially when you’re dealing with the harsh reality known as dry, winter skin. But with a new season around the corner, complete with the spirit of spring cleaning, that’s all about to change.
Whether you’re the type of person to go all-in with spring cleaning each year or not, there’s no doubt that cleaning out a cluttered beauty drawer or closet is always worth the time — especially when it leaves you with newfound space for a new arsenal of products.
Just as you would transition your wardrobe from winter to spring, adjustment your skincare routine for the changing seasons is a natural shift. And for anyone who spent the coldest days of the year layering up on thick, protective creams — the shift to lighter products (like face oils or dewy moisturizers) will be a welcome one.
Not sure what to add to your updated beauty process? ET Style pulled together the best skincare products to start the new season off right. From a clarifying face oil to lock in the moisture and best-selling products from brands like Tatcha, Drunk Elephant and Kate Somerville — not to mention the ever-popular microcurrent device from NuFACE — scroll down to shop the best skincare products to add to your daily beauty routine below.
NuFACE Advanced Facial Toning KitAmazon NuFACE Advanced Facial Toning KitTo all the beauty lovers out there — the NuFACE Trinity will be one of the best purchases you make, whether it’s for yourself or for a loved one. $325 AT AMAZONBuy NowLa Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50La Roche-PosayLa Roche-Posay Anthelios Mineral Tinted Sunscreen SPF 50Look, there will never be a time when you don’t need sunscreen. So why not take this opportunity to stock up on a tried-and-true option from La Roche-Posay? $34 AT LA ROCHE-POSAYBuy NowTatcha Kissu Lip MaskTatchaTatcha Kissu Lip MaskJust in case you’ve faced dry, chapped lips, Tatcha’s best-selling lip mask is here to make your pout unexplicably soft. With ingredients like Japanese peach extract and cammelia oil along with hydrating squalane, this leave-on treatment will make dry lips a thing of the past. $28 AT TATCHABuy NowVersed Gentle Cycle Milky CleanserTargetVersed Gentle Cycle Milky CleanserWith oat milk and probiotics, Versed’s latest launch — which is both vegan and non-toxic — is a gentle, non-foaming cleanser perfect for anyone with dry skin. $22 AT TARGETBuy NowKate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing CreamKate SomervilleKate Somerville Goat Milk Moisturizing CreamIf you’re looking for a lightweight moisturizer to wear every day (before your put on SPF, of course), look to Kate Somerville’s milky product. Whether you have dry, sensitive skin or you simply want a velvety smooth finish, this is the product to keep in your everyday routine. $70 AT KATE SOMERVILLEBuy NowKimkoo 3-in-1 Jade Roller, Jade Gua Sha Massage Tool and Silicone Mask Brush SetAmazonKimkoo 3-in-1 Jade Roller, Jade Gua Sha Massage Tool and Silicone Mask Brush SetTikTok teens are all about quality beauty tools, and the Kimkoo 3-in-1 set includes a facial jade roller, a jade Gua Sha massage tool and silicone mask brush set. This set eliminates muscle tension, the jade roller can smooth fine lines and make skin glow. The set reduces dark circles, edema and improve skin health. $10 AT AMAZONBuy NowSunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face OilSephoraSunday Riley U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face OilThose with sensitive, acne-prone skin will love Sunday Riley’s lightweight face oil. Simply massage the product into your skin after cleansing and you’re good to go. $80 AT SEPHORABuy NowEpicuren Micro-Derm Ultra-Refining ScrubDermstoreEpicuren Micro-Derm Ultra-Refining ScrubBuff away your dead skin cells with Epicuren’s exfoliating scrub once a week for a fresh and smooth feel to your face. $65 AT DERMSTOREBuy NowDieux Forever Eye MaskDieuxDieux Forever Eye MaskAny time you want to use these, pop these into the fridge for a few minutes to cool them down. Then, combined with your favorite serum, gel, or cream, stick them to your face for a depuffing session as everything soaks into your skin. Trust us, you’ll be getting so much out of these with every use. $25 AT DIEUXBuy NowGolde Clean Greens Face MaskGoldeGolde Clean Greens Face MaskThis powder-to-gel face mask only includes four superfood ingredients. Once you use this, you’ll see a nice, healthy glow on your skin. $34 AT SEPHORABuy NowDrunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial OilAmazonDrunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Facial OilKeep your skin feeling light this season and lock in the moisture with Drunk Elephant’s Virgin Marula Face Oil. $40 AT AMAZONBuy NowSkinCeuticals Silymarin CFSkinceuticalsSkinCeuticals Silymarin CFSkinCeuticals — the brand behind one of the most popular, beauty lover-adored serums on the market — has a new Vitamin C serum with salicylic acid, and it’s good. This product will help with early breakouts and prevent future ones from happening. What could be better than that? Plus, a little goes a long way, making this easily worth the investment. $166 AT SKINCEUTICALSBuy NowKorres Donkey Milk Skin-Balancing 4-in-1 CleanserHSNKorres Donkey Milk Skin-Balancing 4-in-1 CleanserKorres’ one-step cleanser works away any makeup that’s typically tough to get off. And, because it’s a soap-free cleanser, it’ll leave you with fresh skin without stripping away your natural oils. In other words, there won’t be any drying out here. $26 AT HSNBuy Now
Larry Flynt, a ninth-grade dropout who built a $400 million empire of raunchy publications, strip clubs and “adult” shops around his sexually explicit magazine Hustler, and spent decades battling obscenity and libel charges as a self-promoting champion of freedom of the press, died on Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 78.
The cause was heart failure, said his brother, Jimmy Flynt.
To a nation in the throes of a sexual revolution in the 1970s, Mr. Flynt — defiant, outrageous, relentless — was at the nexus of a cultural and legal war in America: an unpopular hero to civil libertarians, the Devil incarnate to an unlikely alliance of feminists and morality preachers, a conundrum to judges and juries, and a purveyor of guilty secrets to legions of men slinking off from porn shops or the mailbox with brown paper parcels.
Hustler’s June 1978 cover caught the enigmas of a magazine that was at once salacious, satirical, perverse, decadent, gleefully immoral and hypocritical. It portrayed a woman upside down and half gone into a meat grinder, with a plate of hamburger below. A “seal of approval” noted: “Prime. Last All Meat Issue. Grade ‘A’ Pink.” A caption quoted Mr. Flynt, “We will no longer hang women up like pieces of meat.”
But, of course, Hustler was not serious. Starting with its first issue, in July 1974, and continuing nonstop for four decades, it displayed glossy, full-color photos of female genitalia, pictured naked women in demeaning poses and often depicted group sex and sex-toy fetishes.
Hustler articles offered “Larry Flynt on Sex in the White House,” “Coverbabe: New Slut in Town” and “Dirty Bedfellows: Explicit Photos & Sordid Tales From a Real Washington Intern.” But it was not all sex; there were also articles like “The Politics of Torture,” “Grenada Invasion: The True Story Behind Reagan’s ‘Facts’ ” and “Shocking New Facts in J.F.K. Assassination Coverup.”
Mr. Flynt’s most significant legal victory came in a long fight against the Rev. Jerry Falwell, the television evangelist and founder of the Moral Majority, who sued for $45 million for libel and emotional distress in 1983 after Hustler published a parody in which he reminisced about a sexual encounter with his mother in an outhouse.
A jury rejected the libel charge, saying the parody was obviously not factual, but awarded Mr. Falwell $200,000 for emotional distress. In 1988, the Supreme Court unanimously threw out the damages, calling the parody constitutionally protected political satire.
Mr. Flynt hailed the decision as the most important First Amendment victory since the obscenity ban on James Joyce’s “Ulysses” was overturned in the 1930s.
For all Mr. Flynt’s notoriety, his image as a defender of free speech was buoyed in 1996 with the Milos Forman film “The People vs. Larry Flynt,” which portrayed him as a kind of American folk hero, a smut peddler wrapped in the stars and stripes. Woody Harrelson was nominated for an Oscar for his performance as Mr. Flynt. The film won raves from many critics and most, though not all, civil libertarians.
But the feminist Gloria Steinem wrote a scathing denunciation on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times. “A pornographer is not a hero,” she said. “Hustler is depicted as tacky at worst, and maybe even honest for showing full nudity. What’s left out are the magazine’s images of women being beaten, tortured and raped, women subject to degradations from bestiality to sexual slavery.”
The images featured in Hustler were certainly graphic and often violent: Women were depicted crawling at the end of a dog leash, nailed to a cross, bagged like a deer and bound to a luggage rack. One cover showed a woman’s head in a gift box.
Hustler claimed a monthly circulation of three million in the mid-1970s, though Forbes said it peaked at two million in 1976. With explicit sex on cable television, on DVD and on the internet, its circulation fell sharply in the ’80s and ’90s. In 1997, The Times said that Hustler’s press runs were under a million, but that half the newsstand copies were being returned unsold. In 2015, Mr. Flynt cited a circulation of 500,000.
The magazine’s revenues for years financed numerous Flynt enterprises: scores of magazines, some mainstream but mostly pornographic, including Taboo, Barely Legal and Asian Fever, whose number and nature varied over time; Hustler strip clubs in a dozen cities; and perhaps an equal number of Hustler chain stores that sold pornographic videos, as well as clothing, magazines and sex toys.
Mr. Flynt also owned a casino in Gardena, Calif.; operated websites that sold pornography; and licensed the Hustler name to magazines and other sex-oriented businesses in Canada, Britain, South Africa and Australia. His major profit centers included Hollywood studios that produced pornographic films, videos and cartoons, many with violent and misogynistic themes.
A 1983 study financed by the Justice Department and conducted by Judith Reisman, the conservative author and academic, found that thousands of cartoons in Hustler, as well as its competitors Playboy and Penthouse, depicted rape, botched abortions and children in sexual poses. “Chester the Molester,” a long-running Hustler cartoon feature about a pedophile, was denounced by many critics, but Mr. Flynt defended it as bawdy social satire.
The value of the Flynt empire was murky. It was privately held and not obliged to disclose finances. Mr. Flynt gave estimates of up to $700 million, but financial experts said his fortune varied widely over time with economic conditions, and the 2015 consensus put his net worth at about $400 million.
Mr. Flynt, who once walked into a federal court wearing a diaper made from an American flag, thrust himself into the spotlight with drumbeat regularly — ridiculing conservative religious leaders, chronicling the sexual peccadilloes of politicians, arousing anger and amusement with parodies of patriotism, and assaulting the dignity of cultural icons.
In 1975, a year after it began publishing, Hustler drew international attention with the publication of nude photographs of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, taken by a paparazzo as she sunbathed on an Aegean beach. Mr. Flynt bought the pictures for $18,000 and quickly sold a million copies of the issue that featured them.
Mr. Flynt was prosecuted in 1976 for the first time on obscenity and organized-crime charges for selling obscene material in Cincinnati. Charles Keating, later convicted in a notorious savings and loan scandal, had founded Citizens for Decent Literature and led public outrage over the case. Mr. Flynt lost on both counts and was sentenced to seven to 25 years. But he served only six days, and the conviction was overturned on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct and judicial bias. The case spotlighted Cincinnati as a bastion of conservatism and Mr. Flynt as a dubious champion of free speech.
After being approached in 1977 by the evangelist Ruth Carter Stapleton, President Jimmy Carter’s sister, Mr. Flynt announced that he had become a born-again Christian, saying he had had a vision of God while airborne in his jet with Ms. Stapleton. He banned smoking at Hustler, gave the staff a raise, began a carrot juice diet and vowed to “hustle for God.” But he soon resumed his ventures and vices, calling himself an atheist.
In 1978, while on trial in Lawrenceville, Ga., on an obscenity charge, he was shot near the courthouse by a sniper who fled. Mr. Flynt’s legs were permanently paralyzed, and he spent the rest of his life using a gold-plated wheelchair. The assailant, Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who objected to Hustler’s portrayal of interracial couples, was captured in 1980. He was never tried for shooting Mr. Flynt, but confessed to a series of murders and was executed in Missouri in 2013.
In later years, many obscenity cases were brought against Mr. Flynt. He lost a few on jurisdictional or privacy grounds. But most foundered on the Supreme Court’s restrictive 1973 test defining obscenity as prurient, patently offensive material devoid of scientific, literary, artistic, political or social value, and taken as a whole in violation of subjective “community standards” — which meant it might play in Times Square, but not in Cincinnati circa 1976.
Mr. Flynt’s interpretation was simpler. “If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me,” he said, “then it will protect all of you. Because I’m the worst.”
Larry Claxton Flynt Jr. was born in Lakeville, Ky., on Nov. 1, 1942, the oldest of three children of Larry Claxton Flynt, a sharecropper, and Edith (Arnett) Flynt. After his sister, Judy, died of leukemia in 1951, the family shattered. His parents divorced. Larry lived with his mother; his brother, Jimmy, lived with a grandmother.
At 15, Larry quit school in Salyersville, Ky., and with a phony birth certificate joined the Army. After his discharge, he bootlegged liquor, and in 1960 he joined the Navy and became a radar operator.
Discharged in 1964, he bought a bar in Dayton, Ohio, from his mother for $1,800 and used the profits to buy two more bars, then opened his first Hustler Club, with nude hostess-dancers.
In the late 1960s he opened Hustler strip clubs in Akron, Cleveland, Columbus, Toledo and Cincinnati. To promote his businesses, he created a newsletter featuring nude women. In 1974, it became Hustler magazine.
Playboy, Penthouse and other competitors crowded the newsstands, and Hustler struggled in its first year, partly because distributors and wholesalers balked at handling it. But the pictures of Mrs. Onassis made Hustler infamous overnight, and made Mr. Flynt a millionaire.
ImageCredit…Monica Almeida/The New York Times
He was married five times. His first three marriages all ended in divorce. In 1976 he married Althea Leasure, who had helped start his businesses. She contracted AIDS and in 1987 drowned in a bathtub. In 1998 he married Elizabeth Berrios. He had five children. One, Lisa Flynt, died in a car accident in 2014.
In addition to his wife and brother, he is survived by his other children — T.J. Flynt, Theresa Flynt, Tonya Flynt-Vega and Larry Flynt Jr. — and many grandchildren.
Mr. Flynt published a memoir, “An Unseemly Man: My Life as a Pornographer, Pundit, and Social Outcast” (written with Kenneth Ross), in 1996. He was the subject of a documentary directed by Joan Brooker-Marks, “Larry Flynt: The Right to Be Left Alone,” in 2007. With David Eisenbach, he wrote, “One Nation Under Sex” (2011), about former presidents. After Mr. Falwell’s death in 2007, Mr. Flynt said that despite their differences they had become friends. “I always appreciated his sincerity,” he told The Los Angeles Times, “even though I knew what he was selling and he knew what I was selling.”
Alex Traub and Isabella Paoletto contributed reporting.
Kenan Thompson has an idea of when he thinks he’ll step away from Saturday Night Live. The beloved comic has been with the show for 18 seasons, and with a new sitcom premiering, it seems like Thompson is looking toward his future.
“I have a certain number [of seasons] I would love to get to,” Thompson recently told Variety, in a cover profile story. “I think 20 is a good, round, even number that I’m close to. I feel like that is in reach.”
The actor — who has been a sketch comedian since the start of his career as a child performer — has the record for longest-serving cast member. However, while he’d love to reach 20, Thompson admitted that the real decision will be made by how hectic his life gets with the new show.
“It would [still] be respected if I don’t get there. Like, 18 is fine, 19 is fine. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is, will I have time for my family?” he shared. “There’s only 24 hours in a day.”
Thompson’s new series, Kenan, is set to debut soon, and if the series finds success, it could be the solid platform that gives Thompson a good footing to leave the long-running sketch comedy series.
According to Thompson, it was SNL creator and producer Lorne Michaels who gave him some of the best advice for when he eventually departs.
“It was starting to get close to me being at SNL for like, a long time, in everybody’s opinion. Not just fans noticing but myself being like, ‘Is there an end date to it? And if there is, I should prepare a bridge for that day,’” Thompson recalled. “Because that was the thing that Lorne always told me from early on: ‘Don’t leave the show until you got a firm hold on that next branch.'”
Michaels is also serving as the executive producer on Thompson’s new sitcom, and has been supportive of Thompson’s career decisions over nearly two decades of working together.
“Lorne’s my buddy now, which is crazy for me to say,” Thompson shared. “I thoroughly respect what Lorne has done, and the fact that he would take the time to dedicate his attention to hopefully getting laughter or an enjoyable moment by being around me is just crazy.”
For the profile, Variety also spoke with Michaels, and the TV legend had nothing but praise for the comic.
“There’s nothing he can’t do. He’s one of the greatest of all time,” Michaels shared. “Kenan may be a genius.”
“He had all the skills we needed, right away, but also he found a way to shine almost immediately. And then he was essential,” Michaels said of Thompson’s evolving role on SNL over the last 18 seasons. He became the person everybody would like to have in their sketch. And the audience feels always that, with him, they’re in good hands.”
Kenan premieres Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Larry Flynt, the controversial founder of Hustler magazine, has died. He was 78.
The adult media mogul died Wednesday morning from heart failure, according to multiple reports.
Flynt became a divisive figure in America when he debuted his now-famous adult magazine, Hustler, in 1974. The magazine was immediately controversial for its unprecedented level of nudity, and Flynt became an inadvertent champion and advocate of free speech as he fought for the right to publish his magazine.
In 1978, amid his many First Amendment court battles, as his publishing and pornography empire grew, Flynt was shot by a white supremacist serial killer, who went uncaught for many years.
The shooting left Flynt with permanent spinal damage and he was confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.
Flynt’s legal battles, his controversial rise to fame and his eventual shooting were chronicled in the Oscar-nominated 1996 biographical drama The People vs. Larry Flynt, in which the publisher was portrayed by Woody Harrelson.
Larry Flynt Publications has since grown, and includes Hustler, as well as several other publications, multiple pornographic TV channels and websites. Flynt also opened the Hustler Casino in Gardena, California, in 2000.
Flynt is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Berrios, as well as four daughters and a son.
For the first time, a drug has been shown so effective against obesity that patients may dodge many of its worst consequences, including diabetes, researchers reported on Wednesday.
The drug, semaglutide, made by Novo Nordisk, already is marketed as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago tested semaglutide at a much higher dose as an anti-obesity medication.
Nearly 2,000 participants, at 129 centers in 16 countries, injected themselves weekly with semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks. Those who got the drug lost close to 15 percent of their body weight, on average, compared with 2.4 percent among those receiving the placebo.
More than a third of the participants receiving the drug lost more than 20 percent of their weight. Symptoms of diabetes and pre-diabetes improved in many patients.
Those results far exceed the amount of weight loss observed in clinical trials of other obesity medications, experts said. The drug is a “game-changer,” said Dr. Robert F. Kushner, an obesity researcher at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who led the study. “This is the start of a new era of effective treatments for obesity.”
Dr. Clifford Rosen of Maine Medical Center Research Institute, who was not involved in the trial, said, “I think it has a huge potential for weight loss.” Gastrointestinal symptoms among the participants were “really marginal — nothing like with weight loss drugs in the past,” added Dr. Rosen, an editor at the New England Journal of Medicine and a co-author of an editorial accompanying the study.
For decades, scientists have searched for ways to help growing numbers of people struggling with obesity. Five currently available anti-obesity drugs have side effects that limit their use. The most effective, phentermine, brings about a 7.5 percent weight loss, on average, and can be taken only for a short time. After it is stopped, even that amount of weight is regained.
The most effective treatment so far is bariatric surgery, which helps people lose 25 percent to 30 percent of body weight, on average, noted Dr. Louis Aronne, an obesity researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York who advises Novo Nordisk and studies semaglutide.
But surgery is an invasive solution that permanently alters the digestive system. Only 1 percent of those who qualify go through with the procedure. Instead, most obese people try diet after diet with disappointing results.
The semaglutide study confirms what scientists already know, Dr. Kushner said: Willpower is not enough. In the new trial, participants who received the placebo and diet and exercise counseling were unable to see any significant difference in their weight.
Generally, insurers have refused to pay for the weight-loss drugs on the market. Semaglutide is likely to be expensive. The lower dose used to treat diabetes carries an average retail price of nearly $1,000 a month. (Insurers usually pay for diabetes drugs, Dr. Kushner noted.)
Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of Novo Nordisk’s advisory board, said the effectiveness of semaglutide was “phenomenal” and that the trial results may lead insurers to cover it.
Semaglutide is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone that acts on appetite centers in the brain and in the gut, producing feelings of satiety. A high-dose regimen of the drug has not been studied long enough to know if it has serious long-term consequences.
And it is expected that patients would have to take it for a lifetime to prevent the weight loss from coming back.
Qiana Mosely, who lives in Chicago, spent years trying to lose weight with diets and drugs, but to no avail. Then Ms. Mosely joined the semaglutide trial and lost 40 pounds, about 15 percent of her weight.
Ms. Mosely didn’t know until recently whether she was getting the drug or the placebo. Even though she was trying to eat well and exercise, her weight “was dropping too fast,” she said. “It had to be the meds.”
She experienced no side effects, she said. But when the trial ended and she no longer received the drug, the weight started coming back. “I was so sad,” she said. She is eager to resume taking the drug once it’s available.
After spending years courting Bruce Springsteen to appear in his first commercial, Jeep took down the ad on Wednesday after news broke that the rock legend had been charged with drunken driving in November.
The two-minute spot, which featured Mr. Springsteen in the rural middle of the country, urging unity from a white Jeep, was made last month and aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday. Time for the broadcast, the biggest television event of the year, cost most advertisers $5.5 million for 30 seconds.
The charges against Mr. Springsteen, which included reckless driving and driving while intoxicated in New Jersey on Nov. 14, became public on Wednesday. His first virtual court appearance will likely occur toward the end of February.
Jeep removed the Super Bowl ad, which was made by a creative team chosen by Mr. Springsteen, from its Twitter feed and YouTube page. The commercial was the second-most-watched game-day spot on YouTube on Sunday night, behind Amazon’s ad and ahead of commercials by Cadillac and Uber Eats, according to the platform.
In a statement, Jeep said, “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established.”
“Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever,” the company said. “As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”
Causal reasoning is ubiquitous — from physics to medicine, economics and social sciences, as well as in everyday life. Whenever we press the button, the bell rings, and we think that the pressing of the button causes the bell to ring. Normally, causal influence is assumed to only go one way — from cause to effect — and never back from the effect to the cause: the ringing of the bell does not cause the pressing of the button that triggered it. Now researchers from the University of Oxford and the Université libre de Bruxelles have developed a theory of causality in quantum theory, according to which cause-effect relations can sometimes form cycles. This theory offers a novel understanding of exotic processes in which events do not have a definite causal order. The study has been published in Nature Communications.
One of the ways in which quantum theory defies classical intuitions is by challenging our ideas of causality. Quantum entanglement can be used to produce correlations between distant experiments that are known to evade satisfactory causal explanations within the framework of classical causal models. Furthermore, a unification of quantum theory and gravity is expected to allow situations in which the causal structure of spacetime is subject to quantum indefiniteness, suggesting that events need not be causally ordered at all. Recently, a team of researchers from Oxford and Brussels has developed a theory of causality in quantum theory, in which causal concepts are defined in intrinsically quantum terms rather than pertaining to an emergent classical level of measurement outcomes. This has offered, in particular, a causal understanding of the correlations produced by entangled states. Now, they have generalized the theory to allow causal influence to go in cycles, providing a causal understanding of processes with events in indefinite causal order.
“The key idea behind our proposal is that causal relations in quantum theory correspond to influence through so-called unitary transformations — these are the types of transformations that describe the evolutions of isolated quantum systems. This is closely analogous to an approach to classical causal models that assumes underlying determinism and situates causal relations in functional dependences between variables,” says Jonathan Barrett from the University of Oxford.
The main idea of the new study is to apply the same principle to processes in which the order of operations can be dynamic or even indefinite, seeing as a large class of these processes can be understood as arising from unitary transformations, too, just not ones that unfold in an ordinary sequence.
“Previously, processes with indefinite causal order were typically regarded as simply incompatible with any causal account. Our work shows that a major class of them — those that can be understood as arising from unitary processes and which are believed to be the ones that could have a physical realization in nature — could in fact be seen as having a definite causal structure, albeit one involving cycles,” says Robin Lorenz, a corresponding author of the study.
“The idea of cyclic causal structures may seem counterintuitive, but the quantum process framework within which it is formulated guarantees that it is free of logical paradoxes, such as the possibility of going back in time and killing your younger self,” explains Ognyan Oreshkov from the Université libre de Bruxelles. “Exotic as they appear, some of these scenarios are actually known to have experimental realizations in which the variables of interest are delocalized in time.”
Does this mean that spacetime does not have the acyclic causal structure it is normally assumed to have? Not exactly, since in the mentioned experiments the events that are causally related in a cyclic fashion are not local in spacetime. However, the researchers believe that the causal structure of spacetime itself could become cyclic in this quantum way at the intersection of quantum theory and general relativity, where analogous processes to those realizable in the lab are expected, but with the events being local in their respective spacetime reference frames.
Reference: “Cyclic quantum causal models” by Jonathan Barrett, Robin Lorenz and Ognyan Oreshkov, 9 February 2021, Nature Communications.
Kevin Federline doesn’t know if there’s still a need for Britney Spears’ conservatorship, his lawyer tells ET.
Kevin and Britney were married from 2004 to 2007 and within that time had two sons, Jayden and Sean. In 2008, Britney was put under a conservatorship that was controlled by her father, Jamie Spears.
Since then, Kevin and his ex-wife have been co-parenting their children, who are now teenagers, under this conservatorship. Mark Vincent Kaplan, Kevin’s attorney, shares with ET how this has affected Sean, 15, and Jayden, 14, and what he claims Kevin thinks of what’s been put in place.
“[Kevin] of course feels that it’s always an extra layer of security to maintain structure and stability in anyone’s home that there’s a third party there whose job it is to see that everything is organized and orderly,” Kaplan, a Los Angeles powerhouse divorce lawyer, says of the conservatorship.
As for how they are able to co-parent, Kaplan notes that “as the boys get older, how they feel about where they want to be and when they want to be there is given a little more weight.”
“Obviously they don’t get to make that decision,” he adds. “Both Britney and Kevin have a common goal in wanting to make sure that both custodial homes are as safe, structured, and orderly as can be so that the kids feel safe, stimulated and protected regardless of which parent’s custody they’re in. That’s a good parallel goal to be maintained and as long as it is being maintained, there’s no need for anyone to be concerned about having to change that.”
While Jayden and Sean do spend time with their mother, Kevin’s lawyer notes that their father “enjoys greater custody than the order would provide for but it’s a timeshare that he and Britney have agreed to.”
Kevin has been pretty quiet about the drama surrounding Britney and her father, but in 2019, he and his lawyer got a temporary restraining order for Sean and Jayden against Jamie after an alleged incident on Aug. 24. A source told ET at the time that the order was put in place after Jamie allegedly “engaged in conduct that was physical abuse” toward Sean.
Well over a year later, Kaplan says “the restraining order as far as we know has been respected and complied with on both sides since it was issued.”
Currently, Britney is making headlines in light of The New York Times‘ new unauthorized documentary, Framing Britney Spears, which premiered on FX and Hulu last week. Kaplan says he does not know if her children have seen or even know about the documentary.
And when it comes to Britney’s boyfriend, Sam Asghari, calling her father a “d**k” on Instagram, Kaplan says Kevin, who has been married to Victoria Prince since 2013, doesn’t keep up with the drama.
“Kevin wants to stay out of any internal commotion that might be going on between Jamie and anybody on that side of the case,” Kaplan explains. “Unless and until it starts interfering with that being an adequate custodial home, I don’t think Kevin wants to insinuate or be involved in that in any way.”
Kevin’s attorney further states his client’s lack of involvement in Britney’s ongoing conservatorship case, noting, “[He] has no involvement with regard to Britney and her attorneys asking to remove Jamie as conservator. He has stayed out of the conservatorship issues.”
Due to health issues, Jamie requested in September 2019 that Britney’s care manager, Jodi Montgomery, replace him as temporary conservator. Britney then requested in court documents last year to have Jamie “suspended immediately.” Jamie currently remains co-conservator of his daughter’s estate, along with the Bessemer Trust Company. The conservatorship was recently extended until September 2021.
“[Kevin] thinks Jodi Montgomery has done an admirable job and he has no other position to state with regard to the conservatorship,” Kaplan tells ET. “Kevin’s main concern is that his boys are always safe and their best interests are maintained.”
UCLA materials scientists and colleagues have discovered that perovskites, a class of promising materials that could be used for low-cost, high-performance solar cells and LEDs, have a previously unutilized molecular component that can further tune the electronic property of perovskites.
Named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski, perovskite materials have a crystal-lattice structure of inorganic molecules like that of ceramics, along with organic molecules that are interlaced throughout. Up to now, these organic molecules appeared to only serve a structural function and could not directly contribute to perovskites’ electronic performance.
Led by UCLA, a new study shows that when the organic molecules are designed properly, they not only can maintain the crystal lattice structure, but also contribute to the materials’ electronic properties. This discovery opens up new possibilities to improve the design of materials that will lead to better solar cells and LEDs. The study detailing the research was recently published in Science.
“This is like finding an old dog that can play new tricks,” said Yang Yang, the Carol and Lawrence E. Tannas Jr. Professor of Engineering at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, who is the principal investigator on the research. “In materials science, we look all the way down to the atomic structure of a material for efficient performance. Our postdocs and graduate students didn’t take anything for granted and dug deeper to find a new pathway.”
In order to make a better-performing perovskite material, the researchers incorporated a specially designed organic molecule, a pyrene-containing organic ammonium. On its exterior, the positively charged ammonium molecule connected to molecules of pyrene — a quadruple ring of carbon atoms. This molecular design offered additional electronic tunability of perovskites.
“The unique property of perovskites is that they have the advantage of high-performance inorganic semiconductors, as well as easy and low-cost processability of polymers,” said study co-lead author Rui Wang, a UCLA postdoctoral scholar in materials science and engineering. “This newly enhanced perovskite material now offers opportunities for improved design concepts with better efficiency.”
To demonstrate perovskites’ added effectiveness, the team built a photovoltaic (PV) cell prototype with the materials, and then tested it under continuous light for 2,000 hours. The new cell continued to convert light to energy at 85% of its original efficiency. This contrasts with a PV cell made of the same materials, but without the added altered organic molecule, which retained only 60% of its original efficiency.
Reference: “Reconfiguring the band-edge states of photovoltaic perovskites by conjugated organic cations” by Jingjing Xue, Rui Wang, Xihan Chen, Canglang Yao, Xiaoyun Jin, Kai-Li Wang, Wenchao Huang, Tianyi Huang, Yepin Zhao, Yaxin Zhai, Dong Meng, Shaun Tan, Ruzhang Liu, Zhao-Kui Wang, Chenhui Zhu, Kai Zhu, Matthew C. Beard, Yanfa Yan and Yang Yang, 5 February 2021, Science.
The other co-lead authors on the study are Jingjing Xue, a materials science postdoctoral scholar at UCLA; and Xihan Chen of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Colorado. The other corresponding authors include Matthew Beard, a senior research fellow at NREL and the director of its Center for Hybrid Organic Inorganic Semiconductors for Energy; and Yanfa Yan, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Toledo.
Other authors are from UCLA; NREL; the University of Toledo; Yangzhou University, China; Soochow University, China; Monash University, Australia; and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.
That was a close one, Tom Brady!
The 43-year-old quarterback and his fellow Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrated their Super Bowl LV victory on Wednesday with a boat parade on the Hillsborough River in downtown Tampa, Florida. Brady was joined by his children as the celebration took place around the harbor area, instead of the usual street parade. The QB was in great spirits during the event and at one point threw the Lombardi Trophy over the water to his teammate Rob Gronkowski’s watercraft.
The moment was captured by various news outlets, as well as posted on Brady’s Instagram Story. Luckily his teammate caught the coveted trophy.
“You can hear Vivi yelling ‘Dad nooooo’ Another clutch catch by @cambamgram,” the MVP wrote of his daughter on his video.
On Sunday, the Bucs beat the Kansas City Chiefs 31-9, with Brady securing his seventh Super Bowl win. He also posted a video montage on his Instagram, which included the toss and him with teammates Ryan Griffin and Blaine Gabbert.
Brady has received a lot of love from fans, celebs and his wife, Gisele Bündchen. The model took to Instagram on Monday to share a heartfelt message commemorating the big win. She posted a slideshow of snapshots from Super Bowl LV, including a cover pic of a big family embrace on the Raymond James Stadium field.
“Congratulations my love! Over the years I have seen you overcome so much adversity, physically and emotionally. I can for sure say you are the most dedicated, focused and mentally tough person I have ever meet,” she wrote in part. “It has been a challenging year and watching you in a new environment, putting in the extra time to get to know and support your teammates, working with your new coaches with respect and grace, waking up extra early every day to deal with the bumps and bruises of playing football, never complaining, you just kept focusing on your goal to go out there and be the best leader you can be. I am so proud of the man you are and I am so happy to see the smile on your face every time you get to go out there and throw that ball.”
For more on Super Bowl LV, watch below.