Laverne Cox, Jordana Brewster and Other Ladies Are Gorgeous and Nude for Allure

Allures annual “Nudes” feature is here and this year’s models include “Orange Is the New Black” star Laverne Cox and the “Fast & Furious” franchise’s Jordana Brewster.

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“I said no initially, thought about it, and said no again,” Cox told Allure. “But I’m a black transgender woman. I felt this could be really powerful for the communities that I represent. Black women are not often told that we’re beautiful unless we align with certain standards.

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Trans women certainly are not told we’re beautiful. Seeing a black transgender woman embracing and loving everything about her body might be inspiring for some folks.

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There’s a beauty in the things we think are imperfect. It sounds very cliché, but its true.”

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Katheryn Winnick, who appears in the History Channel’s “Vikings,” said baring it all in front of the camera made her feel “more free and empowered,” while actress Nicole Beharie wanted to do the photo shoot after turning 30 to “celebrate and accept my body in an artistic way.”

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Check out the photos below and head over to Allure.com for more.

Oasis Reunion – Noel and Liam Gallagher have buried hatchet and are planning comeback

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds performing at the Royal Albert Hall 2015

It’s music to the ears of millions of bereft Oasis fans left in a trackless desert after the band’s 2009 split.

Feuding brothers Noel Gallagher and Liam – spotted out with his girlfriend and pals this week, as you can see in the gallery above – are said to have taken the first steps towards a reunion next year.

Weeks after it emerged the pair had patched up their differences, we can reveal the band are in talks for a comeback.

Liam Gallagher

Details were leaked by a well-placed source speaking after 47-year-old Noel’s recent gig in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

They said: “It’s early days in terms of the details, but Noel and Liam are back on good terms and ready to give things another go. Nothing is signed but it’s what you might call a gentlemen’s agreement between them.

“Ultimately they’re family and whatever has gone on before can be sorted out – they’re very close beneath all the bluster.”

Liam Gallagher

Liam is particularly keen to perform a money-spinning series of concerts as he is eager to rebuild his career.

He has suffered a string of damaging revelations about his personal life and his band Beady Eye has folded.

The 42-year-old fathered a child, Gemma, with US music journalist Liza Ghorbani in March 2013. He has recently reached an agreement over payments after a lengthy court battle.

Liam Gallagher

The affair led to his divorce from Nicole Appleton, 40, last year. He is now in a relationship with his former assistant Debbie Gwyther, 32, and was seen out this week having a meal and a few drinks at a pub near his North London home.

The source said: “Noel’s solo career has been a huge success with number one records and sold-out arena tours but Liam hasn’t been able to match that with Beady Eye.

“He is ready to try and put their differences behind them in order to get back on stage together with the band now that Beady Eye have split up.

Liam Gallagher

“Obviously it would be massively lucrative for them both too, and the demand for tickets would be enormous.”

Rumours of a reunion have been circling for months amid claims they would be tempted by an offer of headlining this summer’s Glastonbury Festival.

And Liam posted a photograph of himself online clutching an Access All Areas pass to one of Noel’s solo gigs, revealing the pair were hanging out again – with the caption:

“Keeping it in the family.”

But it is thought the pair wanted more time to plan a comeback on their own terms rather than committing to anything this year – while still insisting publicly a reunion remains a long way off.

Liam Gallagher

Noel, who married Sara MacDonald, 43, in 2011, recently admitted their only ­motivation would be “for the money”.

He said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine: “If I was ever going to do it, it would only be for the money. This isn’t me putting it out there, by the way.

“Would I do it for charity? No way. We’re not that kind of people.

Liam Gallagher

“For Glastonbury? I don’t think Michael Eavis has got enough money. But would we get back together one day? As long as everybody is still alive and still has their hair, it’s always a possibility. But only for the money.”

Today representatives for both Noel and Liam declined to comment about plans for a reunion – although sources say Noel has yet to be completely convinced.

What one fan spent to see all 82 games of his favorite NBA team

Jason Smith of the New York Knicks in a game against the Atlanta Hawks on April 13, 2015.

Dennis Doyle went to every home and away game the 17-65 New York Knicks played this season. Here’s what he spent — and what he thought of the experience.

Have you ever loved a team so much that you wanted to go to every single game they played in a season?

Dennis Doyle did. And after leaving his job as a lawyer last year, he decided to go for it. He went to every game — home and away — that the New York Knicks played this season. Yes, the team that set a record for fewest wins in franchise history.

The last game of the season was on April 15. They lost to the Detroit Pistons 112-90 to finish with a record of 17-65. We spoke the next day, and Doyle said the best part of the season was the travel and the adventure of it. Experiencing what it’s like to travel like an NBA player for a year — nonstop to different cities. But he said it was exhausting.

“This is no way to live your regular life,” he says. “I have empathy for what the announcers and the press and the players go through.”

And he said the product on the court was the hardest part. “Every game was two-and-a-half hours of terrible basketball.”

The Knicks have been a disappointing team for many years. They have only won one playoff series since the year 2000. But last year legendary coach Phil Jackson — he won 11 championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers — was given $60 million to make the team better as the team’s president.

Many of the moves he made in his first season did not work out well. A lot of fans and sportswriters seem to be waiting to see which free agents and college players Jackson adds to the team in the NBA draft before they rate his performance.

But as someone who saw the team that Jackson put together play in person more than any other fan, Doyle has some assessments now.

Dennis Doyle during some downtime while in Phoenix to watch the Knicks play the Suns.

 

Of Jackson’s preseason trade of center Tyson Chandler, who was only one year removed from being the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA, he says, “it was a borderline disaster.” And of the coach Jackson handpicked, Derek Fisher? “A disaster. Honestly, Fisher was so poor that there’s ample grounds to fire him.”

An astute observer of the game, Doyle also questions whether the offense the team runs is suitable in today’s NBA. The team runs the “triangle offense,” which Jackson used when he won his championships. But currently no other NBA team uses it.

“It results in midrange jumpers, the least valuable shot on the floor,” he says.

Doyle also points out that “the knock on Jackson” among some is that he won the titles not because of the triangle, but because he had some of the best players to ever play the game on those teams — Michael Jordan in Chicago and Kobe Bryant in his prime in Los Angeles.

“The triangle offense is an extension of Jackson’s ego. For a guy with 11 championships, he’s incredibly insecure. He fires back at people on twitter,” Doyle says.

But like any die-hard fan, Doyle also has some hope. He says that even if they run the triangle next season, with a better roster they could be fine. Especially if they add players who excel on defense.

Here’s a look at Doyle’s season by the numbers — and some of his favorites around the NBA.

His budget

Original budget: $20,000

Money spent: Around $26,500

Flights: He budgeted $8,000 for flights and spent $8,359. A few times he had to pay rebooking fees because he accidentally booked a couple of flights for the wrong date “I think that’s bound to happen when you book about 60 flights in the span of two days,” he says

Accommodations: He budgeted for $4,000 and spent $4,415. He did Airbnb for the most part to cut down costs and stayed with family and friends (for free) whenever possible to cut down costs. There were about 10 cities where he was able to do that.

Game tickets: He budgeted $7,500 and spent $7,729. He spent roughly $3,500 for a Knicks season ticket, and tried not to spend more than $75 a game for away games, “which got me seats anywhere from 10 rows back (Detroit) to the last row in the arena (Brooklyn),” he says. He describes his season ticket seat at Knicks games as “middle-of-the-road — in the first few rows of the upper tier.”

Rental cars and taxis: He says he didn’t initially budget for rental cars, but estimates he spent about $3,500 on them, which is a major reason he went over his $20,000 budget. He also budgeted $500 for taxis and other transportation (subway passes, etc.) but spent closer to $1,500.

Tourism: He didn’t budget for any tourism, and probably spent close to $1,000 going to different tourist attractions in 28 cities (The Knicks played one game in London, which made for a big expense in this category).

Food: He says he stayed away from fancy restaurants for the most part — “this wasn’t a culinary adventure, after all” — and he tried to sample some cheap local dives wherever he went. He says for lunch he tried not to spend more than $30 on a meal.

“For dinner on the road, I almost always ate at the arena, which worked out to be about $15 to $20,” he says.

Flights $8,359
Game tickets $7,729
Accommodations $4,415
Rental cars $3,500
Taxis & public transportation $1,500
Tourism $1,000
TOTAL $26,503
Food not included because it’s an expense that falls into the category of expenses that he’d incur even if he hadn’t gone on the trips.
His favorites around the NBA

Arena:

The Staples Center in Los Angeles. “It has a really great atmosphere, even though the Lakers were terrible too. The atmosphere is similar to the garden. And they have a great P.A. announcer.”

Cities:

San Francisco, Portland, and Chicago. “I also liked seeing places I otherwise probably wouldn’t have gone to, like Oklahoma City.”

Fans:

Golden State Warriors fans. And Toronto Raptors fans. “And not just in Toronto, but in New York too. They travel and are very vocal. They’ve really embraced basketball the last few years.”

Player to watch:

Steph Curry. “I love him. He’s a basketball savant. His feel for the game. His basketball I.Q. His savvy. He totally understands how to play the game. A lot of guys are great athletes, but I like the guys who are cerebral too. And he’s one of the sweetest shooters I’ve ever seen. Just a joy to watch. Plays the game with such great joy. It’s infectious. He’s a good guy too. Good head on his shoulders.”

Player available in the NBA draft:

Karl-Anthony Towns, a 19-year-old from New Jersey who just finished his freshman season at the University of Kentucky. He is 6’11” tall.

“He has superstar written all over him. I love his motor. His intensity. And the fact that he is a defender.”

“The opiate of the masses is the T-shirt gun.” – Dennis Doyle

Considering the Knicks were awful all season, Doyle says the crowd rarely booed, and was usually sedate.

“The reality is, at these games there are a lot of casual fans. The die-hards have been priced out. And there are a ton of tourists — a lot of Europeans. They’re in New York and it’s an event they can go to,” he says.

He then laughed and said, “The opiate of the masses is the T-shirt gun. The best is when they bring out these mega-cannons that shoot T-shirts. People go crazy for those.”

~~~~~~~~~

Looking back on the experience, Doyle says it was an adventure, but also a quest to reinvent myself. He was a lawyer. He didn’t love it. And he wanted to become a writer.

He’s currently writing a proposal for a book about his experiences this season. He has an agent that will help him shop it around. In fact, three agents contacted him during the season about writing a book.

“That came out of doing this,” he says.

The book will be a memoir and explore what it means to be a fan.

“This was a good year to try to answer that question,” he says.

11 images that capture the incredible vastness of space

1) The sun is incomprehensibly huge

sun

We all know the sun is big. But this image, part of a great series on the size of astronomical objects by John Brady, underscores that it’s vast on a scale that’s simply impossible for our puny human minds to understand. We think of the Earth as a big place: flying around the equator on a 747 at top speed would take about 42 hours. Flying around the sun at the same speed, by contrast, would take about six months.

2) Even the moon is really far away

solar system

Compared with the overall vastness of space, the moon is very close to us: it’s just 238,900 or so miles away. But compared with our daily experience, absolutely everything in space is absurdly far apart. In the gap between us and the moon, you could neatly slide in all seven of the other planets — with a bit of room to spare. That includes Saturn and Jupiter, which are about nine and 11 times as wide as Earth, respectively.

3) From Mars, Earth would look like a tiny blip in the sky

earth from mars

If you traveled just a little ways away from Earth — say, to Mars, the second-closest planet to us — our home planet would become a tiny blip in the sky. This photo, by NASA’s Curiosity rover, was actually taken when the two planets were relatively close together: about 99 million miles away (at other times in the planets’ orbits, they can be five times farther apart).

4) What North America would look like on Jupiter

jupiter

Jupiter is famous for being big. But this image, another one of John Brady’s great astronomical size comparisons, will overwhelm you with just how big. Jupiter’s Great Red Spot — a cyclone that was first spotted in 1655 — is shrinking, but it’s still many times wider than North America. Jupiter and the other gas giants are so big because their colder temperatures allowed them to hold on to lighter gases such as hydrogen and helium, which floated away from the hotter, rockier planets closer to the sun.

5) If you replaced the moon with Saturn

saturn

Another way to understand how big the gas giants are is to picture what they’d look like to us if they replaced the moon. Illustrator Ron Miller did this with a photo of a full moon over Death Valley, replacing it with each planet in turn. In this location, Saturn would blot out a large swath of the sky, and solar eclipses would last hours. (Of course, the gravitational consequences of having Saturn that close to us would also be devastating.)

6) Even a single comet is pretty darn big

comet 67

This is the comet 67P/C-G — which the Philae probe landed on in November 2014 — superimposed on Los Angeles. In terms of space, the comet is absolutely tiny: just 3.5 miles wide. But once again, this image shows how most things in space are way bigger than you realize.

7) All of US history has occurred within a single Pluto orbit

new horizons orbit

It’s not just the size of objects in space that boggles the mind — it’s the vastness of the timescales on which events in space occur. Pluto takes 248 Earth years to orbit the sun. To put it another way, the entirety of US history has occurred during a single Plutonian orbit. When Pluto was last in its current location, we hadn’t invented aviation, let alone spaceflight. This map was released by NASA’s New Horizons team in anticipation of the probe becoming the first spacecraft to visit Pluto in July.

8) Pluto isn’t even at the edge of the solar system

oort cloud

Many of us imagine cold, little Pluto to be at the outer edge of the solar system. But that’s far from the truth. Pluto’s orbit fits inside the tiny blue box at the center of this map. Beyond it is the Kuiper belt, then the Oort Cloud — which is believed to extend a thousand times farther out than Neptune, about halfway to the next closest star to us.

9) Other stars are utterly gigantic

stars

Once you leave the solar system, you once encounter objects — other stars — that dwarf our sun in the exact same way the sun dwarfs Earth. And even bigger stars (like Antares and Betelgeuse, in pane 5) dwarf those stars in the same way. Over and over, as we’ve looked out at the universe, we’ve found it exists on a scale that basically makes no sense to the human brain.

10) Every star you can see is in the yellow circle

milky way

Sure, stars are huge. But the Milky Way is, once again, mind-bogglingly bigger. This rendering, which shows the galaxy in its entirety, is a way of seeing that. The yellow circle likely encompasses every individual star you’ve ever seen in the sky without the aid of a telescope. It’s based on the fact that under ideal conditions, people in the Southern Hemisphere can see the especially bright star system Eta Carinae — but in most places, the yellow circle would actually be much smaller.

11) Our galaxy is one of 100,000

laniakea

For all its vastness, the Milky Way is just one of billions of galaxies in the universe. Recently, scientists mapped the 100,000 or so galaxies near the Milky Way and found that it’s part of a broader supercluster called Laniakea. This supercluster is made up of several forks, with the Milky Way lying on one distant fringe of it. What’s more, it borders another supercluster (called Perseus-Pisces) that’s moving in the opposite direction, and both seem to fall in a broader web, made up of dense supercluster networks alternating with relatively empty voids.

Europe Will Be Very Angry When It Learns Greece Is About To Buy Russian Anti-Aircraft Missiles

Just days after Russia lifted sanctions on providing anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, Reuters reports that The Greeks are in talks with Russia to purchase missiles for the S-300 defense system.

Greece, a NATO member, has been in possession of the advanced Russian-made systems since the late 1990s and in a defiant show of independence towards Troika, is now negotiating with Russia for the purchase of additional missiles and for their maintenance.

As Reuters reports,

Greece is negotiating with Russia for the purchase of missiles for its S-300 anti-missile systems and for their maintenance, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos as saying on Wednesday.

The report followed a visit by Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras last week to Moscow, where he won pledges of Russian moral support and long-term cooperation but no fresh funds to help avert bankruptcy for his heavily indebted nation.

NATO member Greece has been in possession of the Russian-made S-300 air defense systems since the late 1990s.

“We are limiting ourselves to replacement of missiles (for the systems),” RIA quoted Kammenos, who is in Moscow for a security conference, as saying.

“There are negotiations between Russia and Greece on the maintenance of the systems … as well as for the purchase of new missiles for the S-300 systems,” he said.

The Greek defense ministry in Athens later issued a statement quoting Kammenos as saying:

“The existing defense cooperation programs will continue. There will be maintenance for the existing programs.”

Two questions spring to mind:

1. Where is Greece – which is scratching around for every penny to repay The IMF – going to find the cash to pay for these missiles?

We suspect the answer will be a loan from Russia (perhaps for more than the cost) as a roundabout way to provide Tsipras with funds upfront… and

2. Will The ECB accept new missiles as collateral?

We suspect no…

Germany’s finance minister is worried about China’s debt and shadow banking

Global debt increase 2007

Should we concerned about growing debt levels around the world?

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s finance minister, certainly seems to thinks so, stating overnight that “debt levels in the global economy continue to give cause for concern.”

As the chart from consultancy firm McKinsey shows, from 2007 to mid-2014, debt levels around the world ballooned by US$57 trillion to $US199 trillion, a figure that represents some 286% of current global output. In 2000 that percentage was at 246%.

Singling out China in particular, Schaeuble noted that “debt has nearly quadrupled since 2007″, adding that it’s “growth appears to be built on debt, driven by a real estate boom and shadow banks.”

China debt growth

Certainly, according to McKinsey’s research, total outstanding debt in China increased from $US7.4 trillion in 2007 to $US28.2 trillion in 2014. That figure, expressed as a percentage of GDP, equates to 282% of total output, higher than the likes of other G20 nations such as the US, Canada, Germany, South Korea and Australia.

With China slowing and expectations for further monetary and fiscal easing growing by the day, the concerns raised by Schaeuble may well amplify from here.

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