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How the trick of the woman cut in two, one of the most famous acts of magic in history, emerged 100 years ago | The State

As befits any act of magic, its origins are somewhat mysterious.

But, although there are versions that maintain that the trick comes from ancient Egypt, and others that it was first performed before Pope Pius VII at the beginning of the 19th century, there is a general consensus that they have little foundation.

What is documented is that 100 years ago the British magician P.T. Selbit was the first who introduced an assistant in a wooden drawer as part of his act, closed the drawer and proceeded to saw it in two, before a shocked audience.

It happened at the Finsbury Park Empire theater in London, January 17, 1921.

The woman split in the middle trick would become a boom in the 1920s and become one of the most iconic magic tricks of all time.

A century later, it is still part of the repertoire of many illusionists, although the act today often differs considerably from the one with which Selbit fascinated his audience.

Sawn woman

The act that Selbit called “Sawing a woman”, consisted of introducing an assistant into a wooden box a little bigger than a coffin.

The woman entered bound hands and feet. Selbit closed the box, keeping the woman out of sight.

Then he would take a saw and start sawing the drawer in the middle.

P.T. Selbit performing his famous trick. Jasper Maskelyne / David McKay Company

The trick ended when he opened the drawer again, revealing that the assistant was still intact.

In the many imitations that followed, the act would become even bolder, with special drawers revealing the head, hands, and feet of the attendant who was supposedly mutilated.

Eventually the drawer was not used directly, and the assistants were “sawed” in plain sight.

But to P.T. Selbit -whose real name was Percy thomas tibbles and he used a version of his surname turned upside down as his stage name – not only is he credited with being the first to carry out the act of the sawn woman in public.

It is also considered that with his trick he scored a new era of illusionism that, in addition, had important cultural repercussions.

The role of women

According to American magic expert Jim Steinmeyer, who has written extensively on the history of the profession, the enormous success of Selbit’s new trick had not only to do with his wit, but also with his timing.

Steinmeyer argues that the public, who had been psychologically beaten after the First World War (1914-18), was tired of traditional magic tricks and they longed for something new, to surprise them.

In his book Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible (“Hiding the Elephant: How Magicians Invented the Impossible”), Steinmeyer emphasizes that Selbit’s show also set a new trend: the attractive and vulnerable wizard’s assistant.

British magician Jasper Maskelye prepares to saw his assistant, Maisie Wright, in London in 1948
In the Sawn Woman trick the alleged victim is usually the young and attractive assistant to the magician. Getty Images

Until then, it was common for both men and women to assist magicians in their acts.

But the voluminous dresses of the Victorian era made it difficult for a woman to participate in an illusion that required her to enter a confined space, such as a drawer.

The revealing new fashion of the ’20s changed that, making it common to include attractive women showing off their legs at shows.

Steinmeyer says that after the success of Selbit’s trick “the image of the woman in danger became a specific fashion in entertainment“.


Some argue that there was another reason related to women that explains why this new trick became so popular.

One of the hottest topics in the UK of 1921 was the women’s suffrage.

After decades of struggle, the women’s movement suffragettes, led by Emmeline Pankhurst, had successfully passed a law in 1918 allowing women over 30 to vote under certain circumstances.

While for suffragettes it was not enough – they continued to demand the equal vote without conditions until it was obtained in 1928 – an important part of society opposed women being able to vote.

Christabel Pankhurst (center) during a demonstration to obtain the feminine vote
Selbit invited the famous British suffragette Christabel Pankhurst (center) -daughter of Emmeline Pankhurst- to be the woman supposedly cut in two during his act. Getty Images

According to Noel Britten, president of The Magic Circle, one of the oldest magic clubs, the controversy over women’s suffrage played a part in the popularity of Selbit’s trick.

“For every person who thought it was great for women to get the vote, were there other people who thought it was great to put a woman in a box and cut her in half?” He told The Guardian newspaper.

The truth is that the Selbit fueled the controversy.

Academic Naomi Paxton, head of The Magic Circle’s office of equality and diversity, tells how the magician invited Christabel Pankhurst, daughter of Emmeline and another famous suffragist, to be his assistant during the act of the sawn woman.

It happened after Pankhurst published an ad in a newspaper seeking “paid and apolitical work.”

Pankhurst, unsurprisingly, declined the offer.

Elusive fame

Despite the enormous popularity of Selbit’s novel show, the British magician failed to capitalize on his fame.

Mainly, because others took his idea and even improved it.

P. T. Selbit performing his show in London in 1924
P. T. Selbit (left) created a whole host of new tricks, but failed to win over the American public. Getty Images

One of these emulators was the American magician Horace Goldin, who, months after Selbit presented his act in London, created his own version for the public in his country.

Goldin was the first to show the head, hands and feet of the assistant during the illusion.

But he also had another genius: patented his act, preventing others from imitating him.

Thus, when Selbit began a tour of the United States to present his show that had been so successful in the United Kingdom, he found that he could not even use the original name of the gimmick.

Goldin had patented the title “Sawing a Woman” and several others like it. In the end, the British magician had to settle for calling his famous trick “The Divided Woman,” which had far less impact.

Although he tried to sue Goldin, the court determined that the American’s trick was different enough to be considered a different one.

This surely explains why few of us have heard of P.T. Selbit, even though his magic act is still popular a century later.

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Entertainment USA TV

‘That’s So Raven’ Cast Then & Now: See Raven-Symoné & More After 18 Years

‘That’s So Raven’ is one of Disney Channel’s classic sitcoms. The series premiered in 2003 and still has a place very near and dear to our hearts. See how the cast has changed after 18 years.

That’s So Raven was part of the Disney Channel renaissance when it premiered on Jan. 17, 2003. The series followed a teenage girl named Raven Baxter who receives psychic visions into the future. The show ran for 4 seasons and chronicled the shenanigans and teachable moments Raven experienced due to her visions.

Raven-Symoné was already a star when she began playing Raven Baxter, having starred in The Cosby Show when she was just a kid. That’s So Raven may have ended in 2007, but Raven returned to the world of Raven Baxter in the spinoff Raven’s Home. In honor of the show’s 18th anniversary, take a look at the cast then and now.


Raven-Symone played Raven Baxter. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

Raven-Symoné, 35, starred as the one and only Raven Baxter in the Disney Channel series. During her time on the show, Raven notably starred in The Cheetah Girls movies. She landed her first leading role in a feature film in the 2008 movie College Road Trip. Raven made her Broadway debut in 2012 as Deloris van Cartier in Sister Act.

Raven became one of the co-hosts of The View in 2015. She exited the daytime talk show in 2016. Raven returned to Disney Channel in the That’s So Raven spinoff, Raven’s Home, which premiered in 2017.

She has also made appearances in TV shows like Empire, K.C. Undercover, and black-ish. She was revealed as the Black Widow in season 2 of The Masked Singer. Raven married Miranda Maday in June 2020.

Anneliese van der Pol

Anneliese van der Pol
Anneliese van der Pol played Chelsea Daniels. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

Anneliese van der Pol’s breakout role was playing Chelsea Daniels in That’s So Raven. The same year that That’s So Raven ended in 2007, Anneliese made her Broadway debut as Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She was the Broadway production’s final Belle. Over the years, Anneliese has appeared in numerous theater productions.

The 36-year-old actress notably starred in the Twilight spoof film, Vampires Suck, in 2010. Anneliese joined Raven in reprising her role as Chelsea in the That’s So Raven spinoff, Raven’s Home, which premiered in 2017.

Orlando Brown

Orlando Brown
Orlando Brown played Eddie Thomas. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

Orlando Brown, 33, starred as Eddie Thomas, Raven’s best friend. He was a series regular in all 4 seasons of the show. Orlando went on to appear in movies like Straight Outta Compton and TV shows such as The End and Hell’s Kitchen. His last film project was in 2016. Orlando released 2 singles in 2020, Coming to America and Hi, I’m Famous.

Orlando has faced a number of legal issues over the years. He was notably arrested in 2016 and charged with drug possession, misdemeanor domestic battery, and obstruction of justice. He was arrested 3 times in 2018 and booked on charges for felony drug possession plus misdemeanor charges of drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, obstructing a public officer, burglary, and more.

That same year, he revealed a massive neck and chest tattoo of Raven. He also appeared on Dr. Phil and claimed to be the son of Michael Jackson. During the appearance, he wore snake eye contacts and alleged he’d been sober for 4 years.

Kyle Massey

Kyle Massey
Kyle Massey played Cory Baxter. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

Kyle Massey, 29, starred as Cory Baxter, Raven’s little brother, in That’s So Raven. After That’s So Raven ended, Kyle reprised the role of Cory in the Disney Channel spinoff, Cory in the House. The series followed Cory’s life in the White House after his dad became the Executive Chef there. Cory in the House ran for 2 seasons.

Kyle was one of the celebrity contestants of Dancing With the Stars season 11 in 2010. He was paired with Lacey Schwimmer and was the runner-up to Jennifer Grey. Since then, he’s made appearances in TV shows like Gotham, Being Mary Jane, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Rondell Sheridan

Rondell Sheridan
Rondell Sheridan played Victor Baxter. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

Rondell Sheridan, 62, played Raven’s dad, Victor Baxter. Like Kyle, he reprised the role of Victor in Cory in the House after That’s So Raven came to an end. He guest-starred as Victor in an episode of Raven’s Home in 2018. Rondell has directed numerous shorts throughout the years, as well as an episode of Hannah Montana in 2008.

T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh

T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh
T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh played Tanya Baxter. (The Everett Collection/MEGA)

T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh, 58, starred as Tanya Baxter, Raven’s mom, in That’s So Raven. She departed the series in the fourth and final season to care for her ailing grandmother, according to her official website. In the years since That’s So Raven, T’Keyah has accomplished so much. She enrolled in a graduate program and studied psychology part-time.

She starred in the Hulu series There’s… Johnny in 2017. She guest-starred in an episode of Kidding alongside Jim Carrey, who was her In Living Color co-star back in the day.

Headline USA

Laura Zapata asks for prayer for the health of her grandmother, Mrs. Eva Mange, 102 years old | The State

Laura Zapata.

Miguel Larrauri / Reform Agency

Laura Zapata He had announced that he would be kept in isolation to celebrate his grandmother’s 103rd birthday on January 18, Mrs. Eva Mange, giving him a big hug after months apart due to the coronavirus pandemic.

These plans could unfortunately be frustrated, since a few hours ago he reported through his social networks that his grandmother is going through a difficult health moment.

“Unfortunately he has suffered a decline in his health and I am currently attending to this matter to determine the reason for the decline in his health,” the actress explained.

To avoid speculation about any condition that Dona Eva, the sister of Thalia He reiterated that, despite his deterioration, he is in good condition, but took the opportunity to ask his followers to join in prayers so that he can recover soon.

“I appreciate your interest, I have not been able to answer you for this, I cannot do interviews at this time, but I will keep you informed. Fortunately, she is fine, I ask you for a prayer for her and for me ”, requested Zapata.

It is important to note that Laura was so excited about the possibility of being reunited with her grandmother that she even bought a special outfit to be close to her without any problem.

Keep reading: Leticia Calderón is hospitalized in an emergency due to complications from Covid-19

The terrible disease Allison Lozz faces and the time she has left to lose her sight completely


Tech News

Walmart’s E-Commerce Chief Marc Lore to Step Down After Nearly Five Years

Marc Lore, Walmart’s e-commerce chief, is leaving the world’s largest retailer, nearly five years after he joined to super charge its online business amid stiffer competition from online leader Amazon.

Under Lore’s stewardship, Walmart led the redesign of the company’s website and app, expanded its online assortment from 10 million items to more than 80 million and transformed its delivery network to add two-day and same-day delivery.

Lore, who served as CEO of Walmart’s e-commerce division, joined the company in September 2016 when Walmart bought, an e-commerce company he founded, for more than $3 billion. Jet’s pricing technology was built on an algorithm that determined which sellers were the most efficient in value and shipping and adjusted prices based on what items were in the checkout cart as well as how far the desired products are from the shoppers’ home. Walmart has phased out the Jet business and incorporated some of the technology into the overall business.

“Since the Jet acquisition, we’ve seen our e-commerce growth accelerate, including rapid growth in our online grocery business,” said Doug McMillon, Walmart president and CEO, in a memo to employees. “Marc’s leadership helped ensure we were positioned to respond to the demand driven by the pandemic this year.”

He added, “Marc committed to a minimum of five years with us, which I know felt like a long time for an entrepreneur like him and that time has flown by.”

Lore also brought to the role a rich e-commerce resume as the founder of Quidsi, the parent of, which was bought by Amazon for $500 million in 2010.

Lore notified Walmart on Thursday of his intent to leave on January 31, according to a regulatory filing. He will continue to serve in a consulting role as a strategic adviser to the company through September. After Lore leaves, the U.S. business, including all aspects of US retail e-commerce, will continue to report to John Furner, CEO of Walmart’s US operations.

Does WhatsApp’s new privacy policy spell the end for your privacy? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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Headline USA

Elderly man has been weaving blankets for the homeless for 15 years | The State

A 75-year-old American man named Brent Rushton, whom his acquaintances call “Dad”, For the past 15 years, she has dedicated herself to knitting blankets and quilts for people who live on the streets.

Rushton recently found that this is the way to redeem himself for some sins committed in the past.

“I spent 75 years feeling like a bad person, so suddenly, I decided that it was better that a new chapter in my life began”the man pointed out.

The old man assures that since he opted for this activity, has knitted about 300 blankets and he makes them in a workshop that initially started it to work with wood.

Rushton invest 6 hours a day in this work, which keeps him busy, since he says he would go crazy if he had nothing to do, “he said.


Headline USA

How many years your life shortens excessive alcohol consumption | The State

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States.


The people that drink too much alcohol and with more frequency increase risks to health, disability and they can shorten your life by years.

The health effects of alcohol interfere with several factors, including the amount of alcohol consumed, the age and gender of the user. In the age group 20 to 39 years, the World Health Organization notes that approximately the 13.5% of all deaths are attributable to alcohol.

Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. The first is tobacco and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity, notes the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

How many years of life can alcohol consumption shorten?

A study published in The Lancet magazine indicates that adults (regardless of sex) who drink seven to 14 drinks per week may shorten their lives by six months, adults who drink from 14 to 15 drinks per week may shorten their lives from one to two years and heavy drinkers with 25 drinks per week can shorten your life expectancy from four to five years.

The study was based on data from nearly 600,000 (599,912) alcohol drinkers. Higher alcohol consumption was associated with a higher rate of stroke, fatal aneurysms, heart failure, and death.

While most of the negative effects of alcohol use happen when you drink excessively, moderate consumption can also bring serious health problems. Over time, heavy drinking can increase the risk of liver cancer, but the National Cancer Institute warns that since minimal consumption increases the risk of cancer head and neck, breast cancer, esophageal cancer and colorectal cancer.

This is in part because it creates toxins in the body, damages body tissues, and creates oxidation.

How does binge drinking affect your body?

It can weaken your immune system, and thus the ability to deal with infectious diseases is reduced.

Alcohol intoxication, which can be fatal.

Affects the liver and can lead to a variety of problems such as steatosis or fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and life-threatening liver failure requiring a liver transplant.

Increased risk of high blood pressure, heart failure and dementia.

Higher risk of certain cancers.

Increased risk of injuries, especially for driving while intoxicated and falls; the homicides and the suicides they are also often related to alcohol.

Errors of judgment. You can have risky sexual behaviors or use other drugs.

Increased risk of depression, anxiety and addiction.

Fetal alcohol syndromeAlcohol can damage a baby’s developing brain and cause other abnormalities.

How much is drinking in moderation and how much is excess?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), excesive drinking includes the binge drinking, drinking too much and any alcohol consumption by women pregnant or people under 21 years of age.

Moderate consumption: one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.

Consumption of “high risk”

Binge drinking

Women: four or more drinks on a single occasion

Men: five or more drinks on a single occasion.

Drinking too much alcohol

Women: eight or more drinks per week.

Men: 15 or more drinks per week.

It may interest you:


Entertainment USA TV

Ralph Macchio Then & Now: See The ‘Cobra Kai’ Star’s Transformation Over The Years

In honor of Season 3 of ‘Cobra Kai’ hitting Netflix, we’re looking back at the transformation of the original ‘The Karate Kid’ star through the past 30+ years: Ralph Macchio.

It was almost 40 years ago when viewers first watched Ralph Macchio, playing the role of Mr. Miyagi’s karate apprentice Daniel LaRusso, bust out the “Crane” kick to beat Johnny Lawrence in the 1984 film The Karate Kid. Ralph reunited with his on-screen rival decades later for a new series called Cobra Kai in 2018, which just dropped the third season on Jan. 8. The reunion proved successful: Cobra Kai is now a “Top 10” watch on Netflix! To celebrate, we’re looking back at the now 59-year-old actor through the years, from ’80s movie star to Netflix karate master.

While The Karate Kid made Ralph a household name, he actually made his film debut in the teen comedy Up the Academy in 1980. This led to a brief recurring role as Jeremy Andretti in the ABC series Eight is Enough. However, Ralph’s big break came in the role of Johnny Cade in the 1983 film, The Outsiders, based on S.E. Hinton‘s classic novel of the same name. Ralph’s status as a young ’80s movie star was cemented: he starred in The Karate Kid the very next year.

Ralph Macchio as his most famous character, Danny LaRusso, in the 1984 film The Karate Kid. (Photo Credit: Everett Collection)

The Karate Kid was so successful, it earned two sequels throughout the ’80s. It was a good decade for Ralph: he starred in yet another movie, Crossroads, in 1986, and even made his Broadway debut in the production of Cuba and His Teddy Bear that very same year alongside Robert de Niro.

Ralph left behind his Karate Kid era in the ’90s, and made his most notable film appearance as Bill Gambini in the 1992 flick My Cousin Vinny. He also returned to the theatrical stage for a U.S. tour of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as J. Pierrepont Finch between 1996-1997.

Ralph Macchio
Ralph Macchio in the 1992 film, My Cousin Vinny. Ralph was 30 years old when the film came out in theaters. (Photo Credit: Everett Collection)

Moving on to the new millennium, Ralph held TV roles here and there such as a recurring role as Archie Rodriguez on Ugly Betty and Officer Haddix on The Deuce. Pre-Cobra Kai, Ralph also satisfied fans nostalgic for The Karate Kid by playing himself in cameos on Entourage and How I Met Your Mother. Now, Ralph is fully immersed in the world of karate once again as a main character on Cobra Kai (this time, he has his own dojo).

Ralph Macchio
Ralph Macchio as Danny LaRusso, now all grown up, in Cobra Kai. (Photo Credit: Everett Collection)

One constant in Ralph’s long acting career has been his loving wife, Phyllis Fierro, 60! Ralph was only 15 years old when they met during a cousin’s birthday party in his grandmother’s basement in the ’70s, and they tied the knot in 1987. They share two children: their daughter Julia, 29, and a 25-year-old son named after Ralph’s iconic character: Daniel! Now, scroll through HollywoodLife‘s gallery above to see Ralph through the years in photos.

Entertainment USA

Kate Winslet, 43, Reveals She ‘Went Nude Again’ For A Movie & ‘Loved It’ 23 Years After ‘Titanic’

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan are star-crossed lovers in new film ‘Ammonite’ — and Kate confessed going nude ‘felt quite good’ for their steamier scenes!

Kate Winslet, 43, is proud of her body! The Oscar winner has gone nude in several past films, most memorably in 1997’s Titanic — but confessed she’s doing it again with co-star Saoirse Ronan, 26, in Ammonite. “It was very clear to me that they were quite capable of passionate moments — and Saoirse and I both wanted to embody that,” Kate said in an interview with Daily Mail. In the film, which is set in 1840s England, Kate’s Mary Anning falls deeply in love with Saoirse’s Charlotte.

“And for me, at the age I am now, that felt quite good, actually! I remember saying, ‘Here I am, doing nudity at 43 (the age I was then). How is this possible?!’” Kate went on, noting that she previously “hung her hat up” when it came to doing anymore on-screen nudity. At 43, however, the U.K. native embraced her body as-is. “I was surprised at how I felt. I felt quite good about it, really. I’ve got all my marks, and scars, and I’m older. It’s a different body than the one I had 20 years ago.” Despite their 19 year age difference, Kate — who is mom to kids Mia, 20, Joe, 17, and Bear, 7 — had no qualms about stripping down with Saorise.

Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan play lovers in the movie ‘Ammonite.’ (Everett Collection)

The Francis Lee directed period piece is set in the United Kingdom’s rugged Southern coastline, where paleontologist Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) looks for common fossils to sell to tourists. A wealthy visitor then hires Mary to care for his wife Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan), when, after getting off on the wrong foot, the two women unexpectedly fall in love.  “There was something wonderful about having that shared, equal language with another woman,” Kate reflected, noting she doesn’t want to label the on-screen relationship.

Of note, Mary Anning was real paleontologist who lived from 1799 – 1847 and there are no verified reports about her sexuality. “Why can’t they just be called passionate scenes, rather than ‘lesbian or gay’? We wouldn’t say the ‘heterosexual romance’ Titanic!’ the LGBT activist said. “[Mary] was a woman of extraordinary integrity, and utterly authentic to herself,” Kate also added, noting that if the movie featured a male and female engaging in a “tidal wave” of sex the film wouldn’t get as much attention.

Technology US

2020 was a preview of hotter years to come

2020 ranks among the hottest years on record, several science agencies said today. NASA said that 2020 shares the top spot with 2016, following a similar determination by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service last week. The World Meteorological Association (WMO), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and UK Met Office all released figures putting 2020 within the top three warmest years recorded.

They all agree that 2020 continued a trend of climbing temperatures, which is changing what’s considered “normal” on our planet. The warmest six years in recorded history have all taken place since 2015. We just climbed out of the hottest decade on record, and it already looks like the decade ahead will get hotter.

“We can basically expect more of the same,” says Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “We’re not going back to temperatures in the 1980s.”

Each agency uses its own methods to come to independent conclusions, which is why there are slight differences. But the differences between the three hottest years — 2020, 2019, and 2016 — are “indistinguishably small,” according to the WMO, which incorporates findings from regional agencies to make its call.

NASA tends to land at slightly higher global average temperatures than other agencies. That’s because it uses readings from nearby weather stations to estimate temperatures across regions with limited data collection — like the Arctic. That’s significant because the Arctic has warmed at a rate more than three times faster than the rest of the globe since 1970, according to NASA. So including more of the region into its global analysis gives NASA a more comprehensive perspective. It corrects for a “cold bias” that can affect other data sets that are missing figures from the Arctic.

What was even more alarming about 2020 compared to previous years was that it was exceptionally hot despite a La Niña event, which typically has a cooling effect on the planet. Had a La Niña not developed toward the end of last year, 2020 might have won the title for hottest year on record hands down.

The world as a whole in 2020 was about 1.2 degrees Celsius hotter than it was from 1850–1900, the preindustrial period that’s considered a baseline. The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to keep warming well below 2 degrees Celsius in order to prevent the most severe effects of climate change.

Climate-related disasters, however, are already here. “A small increase in the global temperature can lead to big changes in extreme weather events. We’ve already seen some of those,” says Ahira Sánchez-Lugo, a physical scientist at NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. The US experienced the most active Atlantic hurricane season and the most active western wildfire season last year.

The world isn’t transforming evenly. Some places are hit harder and faster by climate change because of their unique vulnerabilities. The Arctic, which also experienced unprecedented blazes last year, got up to 6 degrees Celsius hotter in 2020 compared to the average temperature from 1981 to 2000, according to Copernicus. It’s heating up faster in part because warmer weather means less ice and snow to reflect sunlight. Darker surfaces, revealed by melting ice, absorb more heat. And because the world’s seas are heating up faster than land, warmer water is also speeding up change at the sea ice-covered poles.

Similar phenomena take place in other regions with vast shorelines and snowy winters. Take the US Northeast, which is warming at a faster rate than the rest of America and is projected to keep doing so. “It’s important to realize that two degrees Celsius [of warming] globally, means three degrees Celsius warming locally in the Northeast,” says Ambarish Karmalkar, a research assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

We are heading “quite strongly” toward the temperature thresholds set by the Paris accord, says Schmidt. “All of these things are making an impact now on sea level, on all sorts of things that real people are having to deal with right now,” he says. “It’s only going to get worse.”

Technology US

After years of following pro sports, League of Legends esports leagues are ‘finally free to be ourselves’

For years, competitive gaming has done its best to mimic professional sports, whether it’s players wearing Nike jerseys, big-name celebrity investors, or ambitious plans for home-and-away games. But Chris Greeley, commissioner of the League of Legends Championship Series — the game’s top professional league in North America — believes that esports has moved beyond mimicking existing sports.

“We had this idea in the beginning that, because esports is a sport, and we wanted to be taken seriously, we should look like a sport,” he tells The Verge. “The LCS looked like the NBA on TNT. It was great for validation and for investors and sponsors to look and say ‘Hey, this looks just like a sport, therefore this is an easy translation.’ But we’ve outlived that.”

So starting in 2021, the league is making some big changes, both in terms of how it looks and how it’s structured. “We feel like we’re finally free to be ourselves,” Greeley says.

The most obvious change is visual. The league has a new logo — it’s a crystal made of the letters LCS — and a refreshed graphic design for broadcasts. Whereas the previous logo was a shield that wouldn’t have looked out of place in college football, the new one clearly represents a video game. It follows similar redesigns for the other top League competitions around the world, including Europe, China, and Korea.

(Greeley says the logo has received a mixed reaction from fans so far — which was expected. “People hate change. We’ve seen it from pretty much every esports rebrand,” he says, adding “You don’t want [a logo that] looks like it came off of a can of soup. It has to be resonant.”)

The idea behind the refresh, he says, is to give the LCS its own distinct voice in an increasingly crowded field. “It’s not just about a new color or a new logo, but it really is about how we’re going to follow with our broadcast and our content,” he says. “You’re not going to tune in this week and see a finished product. We’ll be iterating over the next year or two, but I think this is a really great start.”

To go along with this, the LCS is also introducing some major format changes, with a bigger focus on tournaments, including one to kick off the year that starts on January 15th. Previously, the competition closely resembled something like the NFL, with a slate of regular season matches culminating in the playoffs; the best teams then moved on to international competitions. The goal is to find a balance between the thrill of knockout tournaments and the familiarity of regular season play. “Tournaments are exciting,” Greeley explains. “The problem is, if everything is a tournament, if everything is meant to feel exciting, then nothing feels exciting.”

Despite problems caused by the pandemic, the LCS — along with many other esports leagues — experienced tremendous growth in terms of viewership last year. But the league struggled on a competitive level. At the annual League of Legends World Championship, North American teams were far behind the competition and didn’t pose much of a threat to the big clubs from Europe, China, and Korea. Much of the blame was put on the region’s developmental scene. Instead of encouraging up-and-coming local players, many LCS teams relied on aging or imported stars.

The league is hoping to change that with a revamped amateur system, with the goal of opening things up, so that the developmental squads for each LCS team — known as academy teams — are able to play in different tournaments against other amateur and college teams. This will culminate in an end-of-year tournament called LCS Proving Grounds.

According to Greeley, these changes were in the works prior to Worlds — but the feedback was still welcome. “The criticism around the need for NA to make changes to develop players, that actually was satisfying to hear, because I knew this was coming,” he says of the amateur changes. “We hadn’t announced it, it was nearly final at that point, but we were just figuring out how we were going to roll it out. When you’re developing a solution, and then everyone stands up and says ‘We need a solution,’ and it’s done and ready to show, that’s actually a pretty good feeling.”

2021 will also see the league continue to operate remotely. Typically, LCS matches take place in a Los Angeles studio with fans in attendance. That obviously hasn’t been possible during the pandemic, but Greeley says that this could slowly change throughout the year. The first step is to get the broadcast team in the building, and the hope is that by the time playoffs come around, players can be present as well. Viewers, meanwhile, will likely have to stick to watching on Twitch and YouTube.

“We’re not rushing getting fans back into the arena,” Greeley says.