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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 69)

Arizona governor, GOP lawmakers end sanctuary city ban push

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Republican lawmakers have pulled a contentious proposal to enshrine a ban on so-called “sanctuary cities” in the state constitution.

The decision announced late Thursday comes on the eve of a House hearing on the proposal the Republican governor asked lawmakers to send to voters. A Senate hearing last week erupted in shouting and resulted in the removal of activists who called the proposal racist.

Republican leaders of the House and Senate and the governor’s spokesman issued identical statements on the decision

“We can confirm that legislation related to a constitutional ban on sanctuary cities will not receive additional consideration this session — a decision made jointly by legislative leadership and the Governor,” the statement said,. “Sanctuary cities are illegal in Arizona. It will remain that way, and our members will remain vigilant to keep these bad policies out of Arizona.”

SEN. TILLIS: SANCTUARY BILL TRUMP MENTIONED DURING SOTU WILL BECOME LAW IF GOP WINS BACK HOUSE

Westlake Legal Group AP20052105778959 Arizona governor, GOP lawmakers end sanctuary city ban push fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fnc/politics fnc Bob Christie Associated Press article a1ea00c0-83ec-566d-930e-8a006a6f42e8

​​​​​​​Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey gestures during his State of the State address, Jan. 13, 2020. (Associated Press)

The proposal announced by Ducey during last month’s State of the State address brought back warnings from Democrats about the return to “one of the darkest years in Arizona history” — referencing the 2010 passage of the law known as SB1070, which was designed to crack down on illegal immigration.

The courts upheld the law’s ban on sanctuary policies and its key feature: a requirement that police officers, while enforcing other laws, question the immigration status of people suspected of being in the country illegally. Other provisions of the landmark law — such as a requirement that immigrants carry registration papers — were barred by the courts.

The governor had a testy exchange with reporters earlier Thursday who pressed him on what was a clear change in his yearslong practice of discouraging divisive immigration legislation. He said he had not changed his stance and shrugged off concerns that boycotts and loss of business that followed passage of SB1070 would occur again.

“The state is booming,” the governor said. “I think what would hurt the state’s reputation is sanctuary cities, which people have tried to put on the ballot. That’s what would hurt the state’s reputation. The state’s reputation is just fine. We’ve got people moving here every day.”

Ducey cites as his motivation now a ballot measure to create a sanctuary city in Tucson last November that was widely rejected by voters. City leaders in the Democratic stronghold cited SB1070’s ban and the potential loss of state and federal dollars in campaigning against the effort.

Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada said Thursday that Ducey has made a major political miscalculation and that’s why he was dodging questions on “a huge change” in policy. He predicted a fast retreat by the governor.

“I think he saw what happened in Tucson and he thought ‘Hey, this is low-hanging fruit and I can slam- dunk an issue that’s really big with the Trump crowd and with the extreme element of his political base, and it’s going to pass easily if it gets to the ballot,’ ” Quezada said before the decision to pull the proposal was announced. “He didn’t really think it through, because the reality is the people in general are kind of sick of this stuff, and I think he’s going to start backtracking very soon.”

On Thursday afternoon, the governor showed no hint that he would back down, or that he had changed his position on avoiding contentious immigration issues that had damaged the state’s economy and reputation a decade ago.

Ducey spent his first years in office working to repair the state’s reputation and business ties with Mexico.

“There is no change. This has been consistent,” he said. “I’ve been promoting Arizona, making sure I’ve differentiated us from California at every turn. Lower taxes, lighter regulation, public safety, border security. We’re anti-drugs, human trafficking, child sex trafficking. These are all policies I’ve been doing for five years.

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“I’ve been against sanctuary cities, and it’s not a sea change.”

Westlake Legal Group AP20052105778959 Arizona governor, GOP lawmakers end sanctuary city ban push fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fnc/politics fnc Bob Christie Associated Press article a1ea00c0-83ec-566d-930e-8a006a6f42e8   Westlake Legal Group AP20052105778959 Arizona governor, GOP lawmakers end sanctuary city ban push fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/us/immigration fox-news/topic/sanctuary-cities fnc/politics fnc Bob Christie Associated Press article a1ea00c0-83ec-566d-930e-8a006a6f42e8

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Mike Eruzione on the ‘Miracle on Ice’ 40 years later: ‘We showed the world what makes this country great’

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Eruzione Mike Eruzione on the 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years later: 'We showed the world what makes this country great' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-radio fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4cc0032b-cf5c-5c55-b99e-dd44547ade04

The American ice hockey team’s 4-3 victory over the Soviet Union at the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., 40 years ago Saturday will be known forever as the “Miracle on Ice.” But Mike Eruzione, the U.S. team captain, sees it differently.

“Miracle’s a catchy phrase and it sounds nice,” Eruzione told “Fox News Rundown” podcast host Dave Anthony Friday. “but it wasn’t a miracle. It wasn’t a fluke. We weren’t lucky. Craig Patrick, our assistant coach, after the Olympics, said it best. He said, ‘They deserved what they got.’ You know, we deserved to win that tournament and we did.”

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“The miracles happened in much more dramatic fashion than a hockey game,” Eruzione added. “So it was great and … a moment that my teammates and I are very proud to have been a part of.”

The upset victory over the Soviets, who had won four consecutive Olympic gold medals in ice hockey, was immortalized by broadcaster Al Michaels, who asked America as the clock wound down: “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!”

Eruzione, who scored the game-winning goal with exactly ten minutes to play in the third period, recalled shaking hands with the stunned Soviet players after the final buzzer.

“When I was skating through the line shaking hands, it was almost like disbelief on their faces. Like, ‘What just happened?’ I think they were stunned. You know, they’d never lost. They hadn’t lost in 40 consecutive games … They weren’t real happy.

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“To us, it was a hockey game,” Eruzione added. “But to a lot of people in this country, it was more about we showed the world what makes this country so great. You know, underdogs and hard-working kids [who] came from working-class families who went out and did something and shocked the world.”

To hear the full interview, subscribe and download The FOX News Rundown on your favorite podcast player.

The FOX NEWS RUNDOWN is a news-based daily morning podcast delivering a deep dive into the major and controversial stories of the day.

Westlake Legal Group Mike-Eruzione Mike Eruzione on the 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years later: 'We showed the world what makes this country great' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-radio fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4cc0032b-cf5c-5c55-b99e-dd44547ade04   Westlake Legal Group Mike-Eruzione Mike Eruzione on the 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years later: 'We showed the world what makes this country great' Victor Garcia fox-news/topic/fox-news-radio fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc article 4cc0032b-cf5c-5c55-b99e-dd44547ade04

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Trump angry after house briefed on 2020 Russian election meddling on his behalf

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Harrison Ford said ‘Call of the Wild’ character helped him learn to ‘recommit to redressing the failures of his past’

Harrison Ford is trading in his human co-star for one played by a man’s best friend.

The Hollywood mainstay ushers in the newest big-screen iteration of Jack London’s classic 1903 adventure novel that sees the film’s main protagonist played by a sensitive, yet ambitious pup named Buck, who’s thrust into unfamiliar surroundings after he’s taken from his posh California ranch abode and sold off into the world of Alaskan dog sledding.

Fox News spoke with Ford, 77, at the Los Angeles press day for “The Call of the Wild,” and asked the actor how much of his performance was a test of skill, considering much of his screen time is had alongside the CGI-created Buck.

HARRISON FORD SAYS ‘WE GOTTA START TALKING POLITICS’

“That’s not what I think about. I mean, I think about creating behavior for a character that helps tell the story,” Harrison explained.

He continued: “And I think about the opportunity that we had with the basics of this book to amplify the character of John Thornton, to bring the presence of the influence that Buck has had on the character that I play to an emotional expression that the audience can relate to.”

For his part, Harrison was partnered with former Cirque du Soleil performer Terry Notary, who played the live-action model of Buck, complete with dog-centric mannerisms, ill-timing and emotional behaviors. Notary, who has since become one of Hollywood’s premier motion specialists and movement choreographers, spent hours studying the movement of canines and learning the external sensibilities of dogs, which proved invaluable in producing the film.

“It was an odd idea and I didn’t know how the cast would react to it because you’ve got a grown man who is on all fours, in a funny gray suit with these prosthetic front legs playing a dog,” said film producer Erwin Stoff. “But it turned out to be a genius move because Terry gives us such a committed portrayal that it improved every actor’s performance.”

HARRISON FORD SAYS ‘NOBODY’ SHOULD REPLACE HIM AS INDIANA JONES: ‘WHEN I’M GONE, HE’S GONE’

Ford echoed Stoff’s sentiment that the interaction he shared with Notary as Buck proved vital in creating a dynamic that fostered a creative setting where Ford could see Notary not as himself, but as a genuine canine.

“I’m very, very good at not seeing him as a human. But I see him as a dog. I mean, because I’ve had dogs in my life,” Ford explained. “I remember the experience I’m playing. I’m treating him like I would treat a dog and he’s treating me as a dog might, emotionally. And so that contact, that’s very helpful. Very important.”

Westlake Legal Group Harrison-Ford-Buck-Call-of-the-Wild Harrison Ford said ‘Call of the Wild’ character helped him learn to ‘recommit to redressing the failures of his past’ Julius Young fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article a606738e-f16d-59ef-a629-9be823f485ae

Harrison Ford, left, appears in ‘The Call of the Wild’ with his digitally-created co-star pooch, Buck. (20th Century Fox)

In discussing the role of Thornton, a man who ventures to the Alaskan wilderness in order to “run away from complications in his life that he’s unable to face,” Ford said he appreciates the film’s ability to strike a familiar chord with the audience through its underlying message.

“[Thornton’s] relationship with Buck leads him to the place where he can recommit to redressing the failures of his past at the same time that Buck is finding his destiny,” Ford explained.

HARRISON FORD URGES VOTERS TO ‘STOP GIVING POWER TO PEOPLE WHO DON’T BELIEVE IN SCIENCE’

“I know I can remember personal moments in my life, but not so much in my career,” Ford admitted. “But look, this is about the opportunity to gain courage and a quietude that comes in the context of the isolation and the pure beauty of nature, which generates a kind of peace and out of that comes this relationship.”

Despite his more than 40 years in the film business, Ford said he marvels at every acting opportunity that comes his way.

Westlake Legal Group mark-hamill-star Harrison Ford said ‘Call of the Wild’ character helped him learn to ‘recommit to redressing the failures of his past’ Julius Young fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article a606738e-f16d-59ef-a629-9be823f485ae

Harrison Ford, left, Mark Hamill and George Lucas stand together at Hamill’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremony. (Reuters)

‘STAR WARS’: A LOOK BACK AT THE FRANCHISE BEFORE ‘THE RISE OF SKYWALKER’

When asked if there was anything left he wanted to do on the creative front, Ford simply said he loves what he does and offered an interesting anecdote about “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones” mastermind George Lucas, 75, that Ford carries with him to this day.

“George Lucas used to have – as a director, [he] would often say at the end of a take, ‘OK, do another one,’ and [I would] say, ‘Well, what would – do you want me to change something?’ And George would say, ‘Same thing, only better,'” Ford recalled.

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“Well, there’s always better,” he continued. “So I love the craft and I love the storytelling aspect of what I get to do. I work in collaboration with other people and that gives me great pleasure. If I could just get to do the same thing, only better – that would be enough for me.”

“The Call of the Wild” is currently playing in theaters.

Westlake Legal Group Harrison-Ford1 Harrison Ford said ‘Call of the Wild’ character helped him learn to ‘recommit to redressing the failures of his past’ Julius Young fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article a606738e-f16d-59ef-a629-9be823f485ae   Westlake Legal Group Harrison-Ford1 Harrison Ford said ‘Call of the Wild’ character helped him learn to ‘recommit to redressing the failures of his past’ Julius Young fox-news/shows/star-wars fox-news/entertainment/tv fox-news/entertainment/movies fox-news/entertainment/features/exclusive fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article a606738e-f16d-59ef-a629-9be823f485ae

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‘Miracle on Ice’ 40 years ago was so great, TWO movies were made about it

The “Miracle on Ice” was a medal-round hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid New York that is considered one of the greatest sports underdog stories in U.S. history.

The modern David-vs.-Goliath tale — which pitted the underdog American team of young amateur college-age players against the professional Soviet team that had won the gold medal in five of the previous six Winter Olympics — was so unexpected and thrilling that it inspired TWO movies.

The first was 1981’s “Miracle on Ice,” an ABC made-for-TV movie that starred Karl Malden as Herb Brooks, coach of the U.S. team.

The second came years later. “Miracle,” released in 2004 starred Kurt Russell as Brooks and was screened in theaters.

The real-life “Miracle on Ice” played out amid the Cold War with the Soviets — as well as the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981, when the mood in the U.S. was rather grim as 52 American diplomats and others were being held captive. So the Amercans’ hockey victory helped lift the spirits of the entire country.

The U.S. victory was coined the “Miracle on Ice” after ABC broadcaster Al Michaels famously asked, “Do you believe in miracles? Yes!” as the clock ran out on the Soviets. The U.S. team’s victory sent them to the gold-medal game against Finland, which the U.S. also won.

KELSEY GRAMMER TURNS 65: A LOOK BACK AT HIS BIGGEST MOMENTS

Westlake Legal Group 30a669ce81123e235f0f6a7067001821-1 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years ago was so great, TWO movies were made about it fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4e2b381-877f-538a-9d45-63d39683e891 David Aaro article

The United States ice hockey team rushes toward goalie Jim Craig after their 4-3 upset win over the Soviet Union in the semi-final round of the XIII Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y., Feb. 22, 1980. (Associated Press)

With this February marking the 40th anniversary of the game, here’s a look back at the two movies — and how they told the story.

“Miracle on Ice” (1981)

“Miracle on Ice” was a fact-based TV movie made for ABC in 1981 that uses actual game footage as well as Al Michaels’ and former NHL goalie Ken Dryden’s original commentary from the 1980 Winter Games.

It stars Karl Malden in the role of coach Herb Brooks, as well as Steve Guttenberg as Jim Craig, goaltender for the U.S. Olympic hockey team.

Malden was a famous actor who died in 2009. Before his role in “Miracle on Ice,” which he portrayed while in his late 60s, Malden starred in a number of famous pictures including “A Streetcar Named Desire,” “On the Waterfront,” and 1970’s “Patton.”

He was later known for the TV series “The Streets of San Francisco,” with a young Michael Douglas, as well as a long-running TV ad campaign for American Express.

Guttenberg is famous for his roles in 1982’s “Diner” as well as the “Police Academy” movie series.

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“Miracle” (2004)

“Miracle” stars Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in the 21-century adaptation.

It was released in theaters in February 2004, making over $64 million. It made more than $19 million during its opening weekend.

Patricia Clarkson who is known for “The Green Mile” and the “Maze Runner” movie series — plays his wife Patti Brooks.

Jim Craig is played by Eddie Cahill, while Mike Eruzione, who scored the winning goal versus the Soviets — is played while Patrick O’Brien Demsey.

Brooks — who later coached in the NHL for four teams — died in a car accident in August 2003 at age 66, just months before the movie’s release. His Olympic achievement was made more special by the fact that, as a player, he was cut from the 1960 U.S. Olympic team, the only previous American hockey squad to win the gold.

“This film is dedicated to the memory of Herb Brooks, who died shortly following principal photography. He never saw it. He lived it,” the end credits state.

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It won the award for best sports movie at the ESPY’s in 2004.

Westlake Legal Group 30a669ce81123e235f0f6a7067001821-1 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years ago was so great, TWO movies were made about it fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4e2b381-877f-538a-9d45-63d39683e891 David Aaro article   Westlake Legal Group 30a669ce81123e235f0f6a7067001821-1 'Miracle on Ice' 40 years ago was so great, TWO movies were made about it fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/proud-american fox-news/sports/olympics fox-news/sports fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc f4e2b381-877f-538a-9d45-63d39683e891 David Aaro article

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The Lessons To Be Learned From Forcing Plants To Play Music

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-492766951-e5c0f7ed7f46e02de627810eb08bc212de42475e-s1100-c15 The Lessons To Be Learned From Forcing Plants To Play Music

What could you possibly have to learn from a houseplant? DEA / G. Cigolini/De Agostini via Getty Images hide caption

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DEA / G. Cigolini/De Agostini via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  The Lessons To Be Learned From Forcing Plants To Play Music

What could you possibly have to learn from a houseplant?

DEA / G. Cigolini/De Agostini via Getty Images

The music sounds, at first, like it belongs in a power yoga studio: electronic and rhythmic, rising and falling like breaths. But then a higher pitch juts into the mix, and the strains of sound diverge, becoming faster-paced and a bit more like electronic dance music. The rise and swell fluctuates, not entirely predictable. The artists at work are, ostensibly, plants: a philodendron, two schefflera and a snake plant.

Plant music is coming to you, or rather, it’s there if you seek it out — and there are plenty of musicians these days waiting to be discovered. The indoor houseplant market is booming, especially among millennials. By one report, sales surged almost 50%, to $1.7 billion, between 2016 and 2019. Relatedly, there’s been a surge in “plantfluencers,” social media stars at the intersection of horticulture, wellness and Instagram, curating photos of minimalist jungles in well-lit living rooms.

Now, through bio-sonification devices like Music of the Plants and PlantWave, plant enthusiasts can open channels of communication with their plants, conducted in the trending language of ambient noise. The plants can speak “ambient chill,” it turns out. Er, right?

PlantWave grew out of a zero-waste record label called Data Garden, started by Joe Patitucci and Alex Tyson in 2011. Data Garden produced digital albums, partially distributed via download codes printed on artwork that was embedded with plantable flower seeds, as well as installations and interactive exhibitions that combined plants, music and technology. In 2012, an early iteration of PlantWave was born when the Philadelphia Museum of Art invited the label to do an installation at the museum. Data Garden worked with an engineer to develop a device that translated micro-conductivity on the surface of plants into a graph that could be used to control hardware and software synthesizers. The result was “Data Garden Quartet,” featuring four harmonizing plants that played continuous music. After that, Patitucci and Tyson wanted to create a commercially available version for musicians and plant lovers; the first iteration sold out, and a new and improved model, funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign, will be released in the near future.

[embedded content]

Hear a bit of beach-based plantaphonia above.

YouTube

The resulting plant music can be used in a variety of ways – musicians can mix it into their songs, yoga studios can put it on in the background of shavasana, art galleries can play it as installations. But Plantwave’s primary mission with plant music is to foster an awareness of plants as living organisms. “I think some people are very aware that plants are sentient beings that are, arguably, making decisions for themselves and responding to their environment — but for a lot of people that’s not something they think about every day,” says Jon Shapiro, product development manager of Data Garden. “It does allow people, and it has allowed me, to look at other life forms and appreciate their aliveness in a different way.”

But their aliveness isn’t necessarily human, so saying that plants “play instruments” is more a figure of speech. “Plants don’t sound like flutes,” Shapiro says. The consumer version of the invention includes sensors that issue small signals through the plant, measuring variations in electrical resistance between two points within it. “The variation in the connection is largely related to how much water is between those two points, which changes a lot as the plant is moving water around while it’s photosynthesizing,” Shapiro said. “Then we graphed that change as a wave, and then we translate that wave into pitch, so then essentially we’re getting a stream of all these pitch messages coming from the plant.” The pitches then enter the device’s software, which features different electronic instruments — the flute, harp, piano, guitar, bass and some synthesizers among them — that you can elect for the plants to “play,” then scaling them to be harmonious. A symphony (of sorts), generated by algorithms and leaves.

Like people, not all plants are naturals. Some are too small or delicate to measure, and a large tree might only bring about a few notes — so it’s ideal for the (millennial-preferred) healthy, glossy houseplant. And even so the sound will vary a lot, and not simply based on the species of plant. “Even within the same species, even within the same plant, depending on what two leaves you choose,” Patitucci says, “the fluctuation between two points in the plant will be different within every single plant.” “For me, one of the most exciting things about it is not about necessarily finding a specific signature sound from one plant, but to get familiar with what the patterns are with this plant.” The music often shifts with changes in light, time of day, oxygen levels, and even in response to movements in the room, something Patitucci notices when he leads yoga and meditation classes to plant music.

So, have we found a way to commune with our plants, transcending species and genus? In a word, no. The sounds are human-generated, even if they’re responding to internal changes in the plant. Though plants do make sounds — but not to communicate with us.

The sounds they make are responses to things in their environment or their internal workings–stuff moving around and processing inside of them. Frank Telewski, a plant biologist at Michigan State University, notes that plants make sounds related to plants make sounds related to external factors like wind, and also to “the cavitation in the hydraulic pathway resulting from tiny bubbles forming in the xylem. Neither of these sounds are made intentionally by the plant to communicate, but they can indicate something about the plant’s structure or physiological status.” He compared it to the noise your stomach makes when hungry — a message, but not communication in the way we think about it.

Patitucci said that at Data Garden, they try to stay away from anthropomorphizing the plants too much. “I think that a lot of times when people think of plant music, when they first hear of it, they think, will it sound like death metal in this case or classical music in this other case? Will it tell you if it’s mad at you or sad?” he said. “It’s really important to understand that these are beings that are living in another dimension.” This is a paradox of sorts about plant music: the imposition of a human scale and pitch allows us to be more aware that plants are living, but it might make us think they feel like us, even when they don’t.

Still, as with a rumbling stomach, human-generated plant music can tell you something. When Patitucci was traveling in Thailand, he asked his roommate to water his plants. From a distance, he tuned in to listen to them—and one of them was playing the same note over and over. A few days later he checked in again and the same thing was happening. “I texted my roommate, ‘how are the plants doing?’ And he said, ‘Oh they’re doing great, really healthy’ and I asked, ‘Could you send me a photo?’ And all the plants were really happy except that one plant, a peace lily, which needs a lot more water, and its leaves were drooping. So I could tell that, over a long period of time and from a distance, just by listening.”

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Avi Loeb: What’s causing mysterious radio bursts in space? Don’t rule out any options yet, including aliens

Westlake Legal Group NASATarantulaNebula Avi Loeb: What's causing mysterious radio bursts in space? Don’t rule out any options yet, including aliens fox-news/science/air-and-space fox-news/science fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Avi Loeb article 301af2a0-4120-5589-bcf0-f76a56b40f9e

It is very rare that astronomers discover a new population of sources in the sky. A notable example involves the most compact stars known, neutron stars. Even though these stars weigh up to twice the mass of the sun, they occupy a region with the length of Manhattan. Some of these stars generate a beam of radio waves that sweep across our sky periodically like a lighthouse.

In 1967, a 24-year old scientist, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, noticed radio pulses that repeated periodically in her data. Temporarily dubbed “Little Green Man 1,” the source she discovered is now known as a spinning neutron star. It is a member of a vast population of neutron stars, hundreds of millions in our own Milky Way galaxy alone. These are relics from the collapse of massive stellar progenitors which, after consuming the nuclear fuel in their bellies, give birth to neutron stars in a supernova explosion. The regularity of their radio bips made pulsars the best clocks available, up until the last few years when human-made atomic clocks overperformed them.

In the neutron star example, mother nature was far more imaginative than we were. Could history be repeating itself?

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SPOTTED 11 ‘POTENTIALLY HAZARDOUS’ ASTEROIDS THAT NASA MISSED

In 2007, the astronomer Duncan Lorimer asked his undergraduate student to look through archival data taken in 2001 by the Parkes radio dish in Australia and discovered a bright radio burst. Although the burst lasted a few thousandths of a second similar to the pulse of a pulsar, it did not repeat and it also appeared to have traversed a much larger column of material than the Milky Way can provide. This implied that its source must be located very far away, possibly at the edge of the observable universe. At that distance, the source would need to be billions of times brighter than pulsars, which are mostly detectable within the confines of our own galaxy. In fact, if such a bursting source was placed in the Milky Way, we could have detected it with a cell phone!

Subsequently, many similar bursts were discovered across the sky. They were all labeled as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) for lack of a clue regarding their mysterious origin. The universe produced one such burst per second. A small fraction of the known FRBs are repeating, allowing us to pinpoint their distant host galaxy. One source repeats periodically every 16 days.

What is the nature of FRB sources? Should we dub them “Little Green Man 2?”?We have no clue. They could be a mixed bag.

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Astronomers are conservative. Given the lack of evidence, the most popular interpretation is that FRBs are newly born neutron stars, only decades old, with an extraordinary magnetic field that generates their powerful radio emission.

But until we uncover a “smoking gun” that produced an FRB, other options should be left on the table. That includes the far-out possibility of an artificial production by an advanced technological civilization. In such a case, the radio beam is most likely not intended for communication because of a simple reason. It takes billions of years for a message to cross the vast scale of the universe.  Nobody would have the patience to wait that long for a response. If the message was meant to be received across a much shorter distance, then why waste so much energy on it? The amount required is comparable to the total power of sunlight intercepted by the Earth, converted into a tightly collimated beam of radio waves. This would necessitate a huge engineering project that can only be rationalized for propulsion purposes. Indeed, a powerful beam of light could be used to push a sail that carries a giant spacecraft to the speed of light. In that case, we are detecting the leakage of radiation beyond the boundary of the light-sail as the beam sweeps across our sky. But altogether, given the exceptional amount of power involved, FRBs are not likely to be signals from extraterrestrial civilizations, unless some of them originate nearby.

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The enigmatic nature of FRBs illustrates why science is so exciting. As scientists, we should be humble and not be guided by prejudice but by evidence. After all, if we expect the future interpretation of FRBs to resemble the past interpretation of pulsars we will never discover something new.

There are two avenues for a future breakthrough in our understanding of FRBs. One would stem from the detection of nearby sources that are extremely bright and whose environments can be studied in great detail. The second involves the detection of FRBs in other bands of light, such as visible, infrared or x-rays. Any qualitatively new information might offer us a revealing glimpse at the central engine of these beasts.

Westlake Legal Group NASATarantulaNebula Avi Loeb: What's causing mysterious radio bursts in space? Don’t rule out any options yet, including aliens fox-news/science/air-and-space fox-news/science fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Avi Loeb article 301af2a0-4120-5589-bcf0-f76a56b40f9e   Westlake Legal Group NASATarantulaNebula Avi Loeb: What's causing mysterious radio bursts in space? Don’t rule out any options yet, including aliens fox-news/science/air-and-space fox-news/science fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Avi Loeb article 301af2a0-4120-5589-bcf0-f76a56b40f9e

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Enjoy The Extra Day Off! More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try

Westlake Legal Group gettyimages-1185957282-2-1ad676bc6169d8db863284e6eb39af45a04a265e-s1100-c15 Enjoy The Extra Day Off! More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try

Shake Shack shortened managers’ workweeks to four days at some stores a year and a half ago. Recently, the burger chain expanded the trial to a third of its U.S. stores. Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group via Getty Images hide caption

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Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Westlake Legal Group  Enjoy The Extra Day Off! More Bosses Give 4-Day Workweek A Try

Shake Shack shortened managers’ workweeks to four days at some stores a year and a half ago. Recently, the burger chain expanded the trial to a third of its U.S. stores.

Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group via Getty Images

Companies around the world are embracing what might seem like a radical idea: a four-day workweek.

The concept is gaining ground in places as varied as New Zealand and Russia, and it’s making inroads among some American companies. Employers are seeing surprising benefits, including higher sales and profits.

The idea of a four-day workweek might sound crazy, especially in America, where the number of hours worked has been climbing and where cellphones and email remind us of our jobs 24/7.

But in some places, the four-day concept is taking off like a viral meme. Many employers aren’t just moving to 10-hour shifts, four days a week, as companies like Shake Shack are doing; they’re going to a 32-hour week — without cutting pay. In exchange, employers are asking their workers to get their jobs done in a compressed amount of time.

Last month, a Washington state senator introduced a bill to reduce the standard workweek to 32 hours. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is backing a parliamentary proposal to shift to a four-day week. Politicians in Britain and Finland are considering something similar.

In the U.S., Shake Shack started testing the idea a year and a half ago. The burger chain shortened managers’ workweeks to four days at some stores and found that recruitment spiked, especially among women.

Shake Shack’s president, Tara Comonte, says the staff loved the perk: “Being able to take their kids to school a day a week, or one day less of having to pay for day care, for example.”

So the company recently expanded its trial to a third of its 164 U.S. stores. Offering that benefit required Shake Shack to find time savings elsewhere, so it switched to computer software to track supplies of ground beef, for example.

“It was a way to increase flexibility,” Comonte says of the shorter week. “Corporate environments have had flexible work policies for a while now. That’s not so easy to do in the restaurant business.”

Hundreds — if not thousands — of other companies are also adopting or testing the four-day week. Last summer, Microsoft’s trial in Japan led to a 40% improvement in productivity, measured as sales per employee.

Much of this is thanks to Andrew Barnes, an archaeologist by training, who never intended to become a global evangelist. “This was not a journey I expected to be on,” he says.

Barnes is CEO of Perpetual Guardian, New Zealand’s largest estate planning company. He spent much of his career believing long hours were better for business. But he was also disturbed by the toll it took on employees and their families, particularly when it came to mental health.

So two years ago, he used Perpetual Guardian and its 240 workers as guinea pigs, partnering with academic researchers in Auckland to monitor and track the effects of working only four days a week.

“Core to this is that people are not productive for every hour, every minute of the day that they’re in the office,” Barnes says, which means there was lots of distraction and wasted time that could be cut.

Simply slashing the number and duration of meetings saved huge amounts of time. Also, he did away with open-floor office plans and saw workers spending far less time on social media. All this, he says, made it easier to focus more deeply on the work.

Remarkably, workers got more work done while working fewer hours. Sales and profits grew. Employees spent less time commuting, and they were happier.

Barnes says there were other, unexpected benefits: It narrowed workplace gender gaps. Women — who typically took more time off for caregiving — suddenly had greater flexibility built into their schedule. Men also had more time to help with their families, Barnes says.

The company didn’t police how workers spent their time. But if performance slipped, the firm could revert back to the full-week schedule. Barnes says that alone motivated workers.

The Perpetual Guardian study went viral, and things went haywire for Barnes.

Employers — including big multinationals — started calling, seeking advice. “Frankly, I couldn’t drink enough coffee to deal with the number of companies that approached us,” Barnes says.

Demand was so great that he set up a foundation to promote the four-day workweek. Ironically, in the process, he’s working a lot of overtime.

“You only get one chance to change the world. And, it’s my responsibility at least, on this one, to see if I can influence the world for the better,” he says.

To date, most of that interest has not come from American employers.

Peter Cappelli, a professor of management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, says that’s because the concept runs counter to American notions of work and capitalism. Unions are less powerful, and workers have less political sway than in other countries, he says.

So American companies answer to shareholders, who tend to prioritize profit over worker benefits.

“I just don’t see contemporary U.S. employers saying, ‘You know what, if we create more value here, we’re gonna give it to the employees.’ I just don’t see that happening,” Cappelli says.

Natalie Nagele, co-founder and CEO of Wildbit, has heard from other leaders who say it didn’t work for them. She says it fails when employees aren’t motivated and where managers don’t trust employees.

But Nagele says moving her Philadelphia software company to a four-day week three years ago has been a success.

“We had shipped more features than we had in recent years, we felt more productive, the quality of our work increased. So then we just kept going with it,” Nagele says. Personally, she says, it gives her time to rest her brain, which helps solve complex problems: “You can ask my team, there’s multiple times where somebody is like, ‘On Sunday morning, I woke up and … I figured it out.’ “

Mikeal Parlow started working a four-day week about a month ago. It was a perk of his new job as a budget analyst in Westminster, Colo.

He works 10 hours a day, Monday through Thursday. Or, as he puts it, until the job is done. Parlow says he much prefers the new way “because it is about getting your work done, more so than feeding the clock.”

That frees Fridays up for life’s many delightful chores — like visits to the DMV. “For instance, today we’re going to go and get our license plates,” Parlow says.

But that also leaves time on the weekends … for the weekend.

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Ilhan Omar slams Meghan McCain, accuses ‘View’ co-host of hypocrisy on Sanders backers’ online attacks

Westlake Legal Group AP19240050434551 Ilhan Omar slams Meghan McCain, accuses 'View' co-host of hypocrisy on Sanders backers' online attacks fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 12ab8944-fc1b-59d6-ba89-d27b38f77829

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., accused Meghan McCain of hypocrisy Thursday over “The View” co-host’s criticism of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., supporters’ misogynistic attacks on social media.

Omar claimed McCain and other conservatives regularly use anti-Muslim smears against her online.

“The same people who chastise the progressive movement regularly traffic in anti-Muslim smears and hate speech against me and those I represent,” Omar, who has endorsed Sanders, tweeted. “It’s almost as if they don’t genuinely care about online harassment.”

‘THE VIEW’ CO-HOSTS ARGUE WITH GAETZ OVER STANCE ON ROGER STONE PARDON: ‘OH, COME ON CONGRESSMAN!’

After Sanders was criticized at Wednesday’s Democratic debate of not effectively curbing social media harassment by some of his most virulent supporters, McCain weighed in on Twitter.

“Bernie – your army of Bernie bro’s are the worst in all of the internet and every woman on both sides knows it,” McCain wrote. “Mysoginistic, abusive and inspired by you. There’s no army of Pete bots or Biden bots abusing women!”

Omar then tweeted a screenshot of McCain’s tweet plus another in which the TV host retweeted an unsubstantiated claim that Omar had married her own brother.

“How is this not a bigger deal?” McCain wrote.

The congresswoman has strenuously denied the claim, which she calls “disgusting lies.”

This isn’t the first time the two have clashed.

Last year, McCain said Omar’s rhetoric — that some have called anti-Semitic — needed to be addressed following a deadly shooting at a synagogue in Southern California.

“I do think when we are having conversations about anti-Semitism we should be looking at the most extreme on both sides, and I would bring up Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and some of her comments that got so much attention,” McCain told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos.

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Omar, who has apologized for some tweets perceived as anti-Semitic, simply responded, “Oh, bless her heart!”

Westlake Legal Group AP19240050434551 Ilhan Omar slams Meghan McCain, accuses 'View' co-host of hypocrisy on Sanders backers' online attacks fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 12ab8944-fc1b-59d6-ba89-d27b38f77829   Westlake Legal Group AP19240050434551 Ilhan Omar slams Meghan McCain, accuses 'View' co-host of hypocrisy on Sanders backers' online attacks fox-news/person/meghan-mccain fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/the-view fox news fnc/politics fnc Brie Stimson article 12ab8944-fc1b-59d6-ba89-d27b38f77829

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A Billion-Dollar Scandal Turns the ‘King of Manuscripts’ Into the ‘Madoff of France’

PARIS — A letter from Frida Kahlo, signed and twice kissed with red lipstick, fetched just over $8,800. A page of scribbled calculations by Isaac Newton sold for about $21,000. A 1953 handwritten speech by John F. Kennedy took in $10,000.

“Adjugé!” said a gray-haired auctioneer, over and over, as he gaveled away nearly every one of the 200 lots for sale at Drouot, an auction house, in Paris in mid-November. The sale generated $4.2 million, which might sound like a triumph.

Actually, the sale was a fiasco, or, more precisely, one part of an ongoing fiasco. All of the items came from a now-defunct company, Aristophil, which starting in 2002 built one of the largest collections of rare books, autographs and manuscripts in history — some 136,000 pieces in all.

The buying spree turned the company’s founder and president, a stout 71-year-old named Gérard Lhéritier, into a celebrity. He opened the stately Museum of Letters and Manuscripts in a pricey neighborhood in Paris, and surrounded himself with French luminaries. They included former presidents, authors and journalists, who crowned him the “king of manuscripts.”

Today he’s widely known by a less flattering name, “the Bernie Madoff of France.”

Six years ago, the French authorities shut down Aristophil and arrested Mr. Lhéritier, charging him with fraud and accusing him of orchestrating what amounts to a highbrow Ponzi scheme. As he bought all those rare manuscripts and letters, he had them appraised, divided their putative value into shares and sold them as if they were stock in a corporation. Those shares were bought by 18,000 people, many of them elderly and of modest means, who collectively invested about $1 billion.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_164853789_db955bf6-4d33-4510-a9c6-21cd5be898d6-articleLarge A Billion-Dollar Scandal Turns the ‘King of Manuscripts’ Into the ‘Madoff of France’ Writing and Writers Ponzi and Pyramid Schemes Paris (France) Manuscripts Lotteries Libraries and Librarians France Europe Books and Literature Art

As France decides whether to prosecute Mr. Lhéritier, auction houses are selling his seized documents for pennies on the dollar.Credit…Ben Quinton for The New York Times

Owning a stake in a Marquis de Sade scroll or a letter from Gandhi proved irresistible, in large part because that stake was supposed to grow. The wording of Aristophil’s contracts left investors with the vivid impression that after five years, the company would buy back their shares for at least 40 percent more than their original price. Lawyers for Mr. Lhéritier say the contracts never made any such a promise.

Some investors who wanted to cash in found that Aristophil would not pay out. In 2014, their complaints, along with a growing number of skeptical articles in the French media, prompted a police investigation, which concluded that Aristophil was sustained only by a regular flow of new investors and thus was doomed.

The authorities seized the entire collection and hired a company to catalog and auction off all 136,000 pieces, a process that will take years and hundreds of sales, just like the one in November. The hope is to return as much money as possible to investors, which, based on the more than two dozen auctions already held, will amount to perhaps 10 cents on the dollar.

The problem has nothing to do with quality. Everything in the collection is authentic, and a large part of it is highly coveted. But the authorities say that with the help of pliant experts, Mr. Lhéritier grossly inflated the value of pieces before he sold shares in them. A set of Einstein documents he bought from Christie’s in 2002 for $560,000, for instance, was divided into hundreds of shares and sold at a valuation of $13 million.

“He tricked us,” said Jean-Marie Leconte, a retiree who invested about $260,000 in shares of letters by Baudelaire, Charles de Gaulle and others. “There are people who lost all of their retirement money and had to sell their homes.” There has also been at least one suicide.

Other victims are furious at the government for intervening. Aristophil was solvent, so why close it? And why expect anything but disastrous auction results, with more than 100,000 items set to flood the market?

The outrage is heartily echoed by Gérard Lhéritier himself. Currently free on $2.1 million in bail, he predicted in December during a three-hour interview at his home near Nice that he would be vindicated.

“The government will see it made a huge mistake,” he said, by turns indignant and impishly grinning. “I hope that in the coming years, my 18,000 investors file a lawsuit against the government, demanding compensation. I would be happy to help.”

If nothing else, L’Affaire Aristophil is arguably the Frenchiest of all financial scandals. The country has a singular reverence for books and writers, reflected in statues of great authors that dot Paris, and one of the largest national archives in the world. It’s hard to imagine another place on earth where a frenzy could be whipped up over the personal letters of Voltaire or autographed scores by Mozart.

Mr. Lhéritier seems an unlikely figure to spark this mania. He was raised in a small village in the east of France, the son of a plumber, and he wrote “self-taught” in the diplomas section of his Who’s Who entry. Other than some handsome volumes he published to hype his collection, there aren’t a lot of books in his home.

Which is a villa, valued at $6 million, with a swimming pool, a panoramic view of the coast and, rather incongruously, a number of chickens roaming the backyard. In an expansive living room crammed with photographs and art, a huge TV played a loop of burning logs, right next to a log-less, ornate hearth.

“It’s a good time to save money,” Mr. Lhéritier said with a shrug.

None of it belongs to him anymore. All of his assets have been confiscated by the authorities. A judge has allowed him to continue living here as his case is adjudicated.

But he seemed every bit the lord of the manor, wearing an electric-blue sport jacket over a Hitchcockian frame. With surprising serenity and flashes of wit, he argued that he was the victim of petty French officials, who he believes were embarrassed by and resented his success. The logic of his narrative could be hard to follow, and the facts maddeningly difficult to pin down. He lectured, backtracked, dissembled and fibbed. (In a postinterview email, he claimed to be 82 years old, for some reason.)

As Mr. Lhéritier thumbed endlessly through receipts, catalogs and lists, his show-and-tell lacked neither vigor nor conviction.

“One day, if you want to be a crook, ask me about it,” he said at one point, smiling. “Because it’s a lot of work.”

Seventeen years ago, Mr. Lhéritier crashed through the doors of the genteel market for manuscripts with all the subtlety of a famished wild boar. That Einstein collection was the first he divvied into virtual shares. Soon, representatives of Aristophil were rampaging through auctions around Europe and the United States, outbidding everyone for anything of quality.

The inventory suggests a hoarder with taste. There are letters from Fidel Castro, Lincoln and Dickens; first editions by Charles Darwin, Jack Kerouac and Balzac; and sketches by Salvador Dalí, Andy Warhol and Federico Fellini. There’s even a musical score composed in Alcatraz by Al Capone.

By one estimate, Aristophil wound up with 5 percent of the global market for rare books and manuscripts. Many dealers were shut out for years, and not just at auction. In 2009, Anne Lamort, a seller in Paris, was on the verge of a career-making deal to buy a newly surfaced collection of Stendhal letters from a library in a castle in the south of France. After months of negotiations with the owner, she called one day to complete the details.

Sorry, said the seller. Aristophil had just offered three times as much money.

“This is what arrived in our quiet, polite, fair-play market,” Ms. Lamort said, sitting in her shop on Rue Benjamin Franklin one recent afternoon. “And it was sort of my fault because I spoke to someone about this collection, and that person told Lhéritier.”

Most dealers surrendered to this newcomer with the indomitable checkbook. Many took monthly retainers of 10,000 euros (about $10,800 today) for leads, like the Stendhal tip. Others earned millions selling pieces to him, in exchange for providing the most essential spring in Aristophil’s moneymaking contraption: generous appraisals.

Among the emails seized by investigators was one from Mr. Lhéritier to Jean-Claude Vrain, a fedora-wearing fixture of Paris’s rare books market. In December 2012, Mr. Lhéritier asked Mr. Vrain to appraise a manuscript by a survivor of the Titanic, Helen Churchill Candee.

In his email, Mr. Lhéritier suggested that €1.1 million sounded about right, which was roughly five times what it had cost him. A few hours later, Mr. Vrain concurred.

“I declare that I have appraised the manuscript for an insurance value of 1,100,000,” he wrote. “Certified sincere and genuine.”

Expert opinion in hand, Mr. Lhéritier could get the document insured for the new, higher sum, which lent credibility to the price he charged investors for a piece of it.

The relationship was spectacularly lucrative for Mr. Vrain. Between 2009 and 2014, according to French media reports, he sold Aristophil more than €90 million worth of rare documents, including letters from Jean Cocteau and the manuscript of a Flaubert novella.

He was indicted along with Mr. Lhéritier for “gang fraud.” In an email, he declined to comment, beyond saying that his dealings with Aristophil were no different than with his other customers and were above reproach.

Mr. Lhéritier disputed that there was anything wrong with his arrangement with Mr. Vrain. He executed tens of thousands of similar transactions, and had similar email exchanges, with other dealers.

“Where’s the problem?” Mr. Lhéritier asked during the December interview. Markups are part of every business, he said, and who knows the real value of a document as rare as, say, a shopping list penned by Beethoven, circa 1817?

Mr. Lhéritier’s assumption when the company began was that the rare books market was undervalued because it was small and drowsy. He would jolt it awake with salesmanship, and by pitching it to a huge pool of middle-class investors.

“The will of Aristophil,” the company said in one of its brochures, “is to allow everyone to hold one day in their hands one of these fragments of history.”

Transforming the rare books market would take all of Mr. Lhéritier’s considerable gifts for razzle-dazzle. Money poured in and promptly went back out. It was spent on the museum, which welcomed more than 20,000 visitors a year. Then there was $40 million for a mansion in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, which was turned into an office with space for small exhibitions. It opened in 2013 with a gala where guards in Napoleonic-era garb played a drum roll as each guest arrived on the red carpet.

Mr. Lhéritier constantly gave out awards — trophies, checks, sales bonuses, anything to attract a crowd and lend Aristophil an aura of opulence and gravity. At conventions in Monaco, audiences sipped champagne and were serenaded by an orchestra as he handed plaques to employees, authors, journalists and experts, including Mr. Vrain, who was hailed for his “scientific” approach.

He created the Grand Prize of the Institute of Letters and Manuscripts and bestowed it, along with a check for €10,000, on people such as Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former president of France. (The money was donated to a nonprofit, Mr. Giscard told the media.)

He donated nearly $3 million to the National Library of France. Reporters were paid $1,100 to moderate panels about rare books. To sell shares in the documents, Aristophil relied on a long-established, nationwide network of about 800 professional financial advisers. Top performers won a trip on the Orient Express or a cruise on the Queen Elizabeth 2.

The largess helped spread word of the extraordinary sums Aristophil was paying for rare books. And that caused Europeans to rummage through their libraries and sell off their treasures. Typically, rare manuscripts trickle into the market as they are inherited or discovered. Now, there was a flood. One expert estimates that a century’s worth of items were coaxed out of private hands in 15 years.

Mr. Lhéritier benefited from a cycle: The publicity pried loose more documents, and the documents brought in more investors, which generated more publicity, which brought in more documents, and so on.

His profile might have peaked with his appearance in July 2013 on the cover of Winner magazine. It was the sort of publication that accepted a roughly $140,000 check from Mr. Lhéritier to plaster the image on news kiosks around Paris.

“I’ll show you the articles before Nov. 18, 2014, the day the police raided Aristophil,” Mr. Lhéritier said during the December interview. “Figaro, Le Monde, Nice Matin — they all loved me and my museum. Everything was fine.”

By then, in fact, there was trouble.

Several doyens of the rare books realm had become alarmed after looking into Mr. Lhéritier’s background. Following service in the army, then a stint in the diamond business that ended in bankruptcy, he had figured in a 1990s scandal in Monaco involving commemorative stamps, which Mr. Lhéritier resold as investments at a fantastic markup. About 1,200 people, mostly French, parted with more than $50 million before the stamps proved worthless.

Mr. Lhéritier was eventually given a suspended prison sentence. In a preview of his current defense, he blamed the French government for conspiring against him.

The Monaco story only confirmed the suspicions of Frédéric Castaing, who owns the oldest rare manuscripts shop in Paris, on Rue Jacob in the heart of city’s antiques neighborhood. From the day the two met, years ago at a restaurant on the Champs-Élysées, he considered Mr. Lhéritier something akin to an invasive species.

“He explained Aristophil and that the autographs market is old, closed and snooty,” Mr. Castaing said in his shop one evening, under a photograph of Proust. “It was the last segment of the art market where there was no speculation, and he was going to change that.”

Mr. Lhéritier brought along figures that he considered proof that manuscripts by Baudelaire appreciated at 15 percent a year, Victor Hugo at 12 percent and so on.

“I told him, ‘I can’t work with you,’” Mr. Castaing remembered. “And after that, I criticized him nonstop, as publicly as I could.”

To Mr. Castaing, the business model for Aristophil was preposterous. No Baudelaire letter is worth the same as any other, and none appreciate in the large, predictable steps that Mr. Lhéritier promised, he said.

Further, the market for rare books is about 2,500 people worldwide, by Mr. Castaing’s estimation. That’s because paintings and manuscripts are inherently different objects, with very different markets. A painting can be hung on a wall, where it can be viewed and appreciated by its owner, and signal discernment and wealth to everyone else. A letter from Mark Twain should be kept in a protective sheath somewhere dark. What’s more, artists can be rediscovered and their reputations can rise with exhibitions, enhancing the value of their work. Authors, especially long-deceased ones, rarely go in or out of vogue in ways that drastically affect the value of their letters and documents.

To Mr. Castaing, there was another flaw with Mr. Lhéritier’s plan. He could sell to investors, but who would later buy from them?

The ostensible answer was Aristophil. The contract signed by Mr. Leconte, the retiree who lost more than $250,000, and others included a seemingly straightforward line in the “Agreement to Sell” section. As he read it, the document stated that the company would buy back shares after five years, at a price that “may in no case be lower than the purchase price increased by 8.95 percent per year.”

Mr. Lhéritier said in the December interview that it was absurd to believe Aristophil would promise those kinds of returns. “If we did, we would have had 18 million clients, not 18,000,” he said. The contract stipulated that Aristophil might buy back shares at a premium, he said, but was not obliged to do so.

The facts here are not black and white, and there were dozens of variations of Aristophil contracts. A consumer group, Que Choisir, studied one and described it in 2011 as “frighteningly ambiguous.” Its report ended with an ominous prediction: “The last investors to enter the dance are likely to be losers.”

Few knew that by 2012, the final dance seemed imminent. Mr. Lhéritier said in the interview that articles like Que Choisir’s had reduced the number of new clients and that his cash flow was dangerously low.

He needed a miracle — and he got the secular version of just that. On Nov. 13, 2012, Mr. Lhéritier hit the lottery. Specifically, he hit the EuroMillions, which paid him €169 million, then worth about $215 million.

“When I looked at my computer, I checked the numbers 10 times,” Mr. Lhéritier recalled. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Neither could the police. They studied the ticket and concluded, to their astonishment, that the win was legitimate. Mr. Lhéritier had been playing the same numbers for years — the birth dates of children and grandchildren — and the ticket was bought at the tobacco shop where he had dropped thousands of euros on lottery tickets in the past.

He would eventually give millions to his family, keep millions for himself and pump about $40 million into Aristophil.

To Mr. Lhéritier, this is proof that Aristophil was no Ponzi scheme, because only a lunatic would sink money into a doomed venture. Not so, say critics. If Mr. Lhéritier hadn’t infused his company with cash, Aristophil would have collapsed and he would have instantly gone from eminence to pariah.

Regardless, winning the lottery wasn’t enough. Far more cash was needed to cover the hundreds of millions of dollars that aging investors had begun to demand.

“By 2014, these people wanted to sell their assets,” said Philippe Julien, an attorney with PDGB, a law firm leading one of several class-action suits on behalf of investors. “Aristophil was unable to say yes. The company didn’t say no, either. It just was unable to pay, or it would pay a little and say it would pay more in a few years.”

Mr. Lhéritier scrambled. Through an intermediary, he tried to sell his Einstein documents to a list of notables, including the Aga Khan, Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg, for $32 million. “They all require second opinions,” the intermediary wrote to Mr. Lhéritier. The potential buyers passed.

Prodded by angry investors, the French authorities shut down Aristophil on a Tuesday morning in November 2014. Mr. Lhéritier’s home was searched, too.

A criminal investigation is underway to determine whether Mr. Lhéritier’s indictment will continue into prosecution, and if there is a trial the proceedings could stretch on for years. In the meantime, he spends most days at home, in search of proof that well-placed civil servants targeted him for destruction.

At present, Mr. Lhéritier has more hunches than hard evidence. He says he angered influential players in the investment world, and regulators in their thrall, because Aristophil was a disrupter. He also says he embarrassed government officials by giving them color photocopies of letters by de Gaulle after they demanded the originals displayed in his museum.

The implication is that Aristophil, and its many investors, were ruined out of pique. This sounds entirely plausible to Mr. Lhéritier’s publicist, Christophe Reille, who said the French government’s behavior toward his client “falls somewhere between the Soviet Union and the Republic of North Korea.”

He also said class resentment, a perennial bugbear of France, had played a major role. “The government was offended that he is a modest man,” Mr. Reille said. “He didn’t have the right education, the right credentials.”

The Aristophil auctions continue apace, with eight more planned in the coming year. While many experts anticipate severely depressed prices, others see opportunity. They include the indicted Jean-Claude Vrain, who provided many on-demand estimates for Mr. Lhéritier and earned a fortune as the market soared to its pre-calamity heights.

Now, because nothing in his legal situation prevents it, he is discovering bargains in the wreckage. He has been spending liberally at Aristophil auctions, starting with the first in 2015, when he spent nearly $2 million. His haul included a copy of “Madame Bovary” dedicated by Flaubert to Victor Hugo. In an article published by L’Express the next day, he sounded pleased by the $400,000 price.

“I think it’s not very expensive,” he said.

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