Richard Serra Sculpture Vandalized in Qatar, and Other News

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East West/West East (2014) by Richard Serra in Qatar

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Vandals are quickly apprehended after defacing a Richard Serra sculpture in Qatar.

One of Richard Serra’s largest public works has been defaced. Qatar Museums recently reported that East West/West East (2014), a sculpture that consists of four monolithic steel plates spread over a remote area of the country’s Brouq nature reserve, has suffered damage including graffiti and scratches on the metal surfaces. The vandals were quickly apprehended and restoration experts will soon carry out a cleaning process on the sculpture, which was commissioned by the Qatari royal family. This isn’t the first time that Serra’s sculptures have faced vandalism—a 2018 CNN report noted that vandals frequently target that artwork in particular, writing messages as innocuous as “I was here” to voicing dissatisfaction toward the country’s regional sanctions. Elsewhere, Serra’s giant steel works in London, Amsterdam, and Basel are also frequently defaced by graffiti. 

Amazon plans to expand its cargo network by purchasing a fleet of 767-300 aircrafts.

In another sign of Amazon’s quest for world domination, the online retail behemoth is buying 11 767-300 aircraft from Delta and WestJet for its quickly expanding air cargo fleet. The retrofitted passenger planes will be ready to fly routes in 2022. The move comes as Amazon, which already has tens of thousands of cargo vans in its ranks, aims to become a fully self-dependent delivery operation in the coming years, eliminating any reliance on third parties such as UPS and FedEx. By the end of 2022, the company says it will have more than 85 planes in service. A report last year estimated that the fleet would expand to 200 in the coming years, matching that of UPS. “Our goal is to continue delivering for customers across the U.S. in the way that they expect from Amazon, and purchasing our own aircraft is a natural next step toward that goal,” says Sarah Rhoads, the vice president who runs Amazon’s air fleet.

Bentley's 2021 Bentayga Hybrid

Bentley debuts the 2021 Bentayga Hybrid, which can go 536 miles on one tank of gas.

After a record sales year—despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic—Bentley is upping the ante on its popular Bentayga Hybrid SUV, unveiling a bold new design for 2021. Taking cues from the British automaker’s Continental GT, the new Bentayga will sport a sleeker silhouette, a full-scale makeover of its interiors, and a battery pack equipped to run 31 miles solely on electricity and travel 536 miles on a single tank of gas. Experts expect a similar price to its predecessors, around $160,000, and a spring delivery.  

OpenAI is training its language generator GPT-3 to better understand everyday ideas.

The AI research laboratory OpenAI’s new language generator GPT-3 might be the most powerful language model ever. It can be trained to use language in numerous ways by throwing it text and swapping text for pixels; the same method can be used to train AI to construct half-finished images. Putting these ideas together, OpenAI built two new models called DALL·E and CLIP, which combine images and language in a way that makes AI better at understanding words. To test DALL·E’s potential to work with novel concepts, researchers provided captions that described objects it would not have seen before, including “an avocado armchair” and “an illustration of a baby daikon radish in a tutu walking a dog.” In both instances, the AI-generated images combined these concepts in realistic ways. 

After rising Tesla shares, Elon Musk has officially become the world’s richest person.

Elon Musk has reached a title that only three others have held in the past two decades: the world’s richest person. Surpassing Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and a troupe of billionaires, Musk reached his illustrious status after Tesla’s share price ballooned nearly 830 percent since March, along with a considerable compensation package that was initiated after achieving indisputable market capitalization and profitability milestones. Musk is now worth more than $188 billion as Tesla shares continue their seemingly unrelenting ascent, trading up more than 5 percent to $795.75.

The CIA's new brand identity

Today’s attractive distractions:

The CIA revamps its brand identity, but the designer remains top secret.

Painter Jean Smith finds pandemic success by selling $100 portraits.

Here’s how Pez evolved from an anti-smoking tool to a collector’s item.

This Danish children’s TV show’s bizarre premise is sparking controversy.

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