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The Late Movies: 10 Weird Duets

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Natalie Cole and her dead father. Bing Crosby and David Bowie. Eminem and Elton John. These notably weird duets shocked and (usually) entertained us, but there are plenty more odd musical couplings out there. Here are 10 of our favorites.

1. Nelly and Tim McGraw

When hip-hop star Nelly and country singer Tim McGraw teamed up in 2004 for "Over and Over," off Nelly's album Suit, the song soared to the top of Billboard's Top 40 chart within just four weeks of its release after debuting at the number 7 spot. This marked the largest position jump to number 1, tying Nelly with Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for quickest rise to the top spot. Two singers apparently were friendly before the collaboration, but when Nelly's people called McGraw to ask for his vocals on Nelly's country song, McGraw responded, "There ain't nothing country about it!"

2. David Bowie and Marianne Faithfull

As her career and her personal life declined, singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull pulled back from the public spotlight. However, in 1973, she paired with David Bowie to cover Sonny Bono's "I Got You Babe." Bowie and Faithfull briefly dated in the early 1970s, but their relationship ended well before this performance on NBC. The results are ... interesting.

3. Bruce Willis and the Pointer Sisters

Before finding stardom in action movies, in 1987, Bruce Willis recorded a moderately successful album called The Return of Bruno. The lead single "Respect Yourself," a cover of the Staple Sisters' original, featured vocals from June Pointer of the Pointer Sisters, who all appeared in the video. The song peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

4. Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

Australian singer, songwriter and all-around badass Nick Cave collaborated with pop star Kylie Minogue on 1995's "Where the Wild Roses Grow," a musical dialogue between a murderer and his victim. Cave reportedly wrote the song with Minogue in mind and it went on to become the most successful single for Cave's band The Bad Seeds, reaching number 3 in Norway, the top 5 in Australia and the top 20 in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany and New Zealand.

5. Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra

Recorded over a weekend in April 1999, Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's two-disc album S&M features performances of Metallica songs with additional symphonic accompaniment, composed by Michael Kamen, who also conducted the concert.

6. Ben Folds and William Shatner

The former frontman of Ben Folds Five and the former captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise hooked up for Fear of Pop, an experimental recording project. Their first (and only) album, Volume 1, was released in 1998. The album is considered Ben Folds' first solo project, but the band included other musicians, notably Caleb Southern and John Mark Painter. Shatner provided vocals on "In Love."

7. Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Phil Collins

Phil Collins' 1985 song "Take Me Home" got a hip-hop upgrade in 2002, when he teamed up with Bone Thugs-N-Harmony on their album Thug World Order. The song features verses by the rap group, with the chorus sung by Collins. The song was panned in the U.S., but received so much praise in the U.K. that Bone Thugs named Collins an honorary member and dubbed him "Chrome Bone."

8. Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney

Although it's well-known that this pair had already collaborated on "The Girl Is Mine," from Michael Jackson's Thriller album, they also worked together on "Say Say Say" for Paul McCartney's Pipes of Peace. "Say Say Say" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios between May and September 1981

9. P. Diddy and Jimmy Page

In 1998, Godzilla got a movie makeover thanks to director Roland Emmerich. The flick's song, "Come With Me," was performed by rapper P. Diddy and Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, who samples Zeppelin's classic "Kashmir."

10. Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Cabelle

Spanish opera singer Montserrat Cabelle partnered with Freddie Mercury of Queen to record "Barcelona" in 1988. The pair became friends when Mercury appeared on a Spanish talk show and mentioned wanting to meet the famous songstress. "Barcelona" was later named the 1992 Olympic anthem, though the song was not performed at the ceremonies because Cabelle refused to sing it with anyone else after Mercury's death from AIDS earlier that year.

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15 Must-Watch Facts About The Ring
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DreamWorks

An urban legend about a videotape that kills its viewers seven days after they see it turns out to be true. To her increasing horror, reporter Rachel Keller (then-newcomer Naomi Watts) discovers this after her niece is one of four teenage victims, and is in a race against the clock to uncover the mystery behind the girl in the video before her and her son’s time is up.

Released 15 years ago, on October 18, 2002, The Ring began a trend of both remaking Japanese horror films in a big way, and giving you nightmares about creepy creatures crawling out of your television. Here are some facts about the film that you can feel free to pass along to anybody, guilt-free.

1. DREAMWORKS BOUGHT THE AMERICAN RIGHTS TO RINGU FOR $1 MILLION.

There were conflicting stories over how executive producer Roy Lee came to see the 1998 Japanese horror film Ringu, Hideo Nakata's adaptation of the 1991 novel Ring by Kôji Suzuki. Lee said two different friends gave him a copy of Ringu in January 2001, which he loved and immediately gave to DreamWorks executive Mark Sourian, who agreed to purchase the rights. But Lee’s close friend Mike Macari worked at Fine Line Features, which had an American remake of Ringu in development before January 2001. Macari said he showed Lee Ringu much earlier. Macari and Lee were both listed as executive producers for The Ring.

2. THE DIRECTOR FIRST SAW RINGU ON A POOR QUALITY VHS TAPE, WHICH ADDED TO ITS CREEPINESS.

Gore Verbinski had previously directed MouseHunt. He said the first time he "watched the original Ringu was on a VHS tape that was probably seven generations down. It was really poor quality, but actually that added to the mystique, especially when I realized that this was a movie about a videotape." Naomi Watts struggled to find a VHS copy of Ringu while shooting in the south of Wales. When she finally got a hold of one she watched it on a very small TV alone in her hotel room. "I remember being pretty freaked out," Watts said. "I just saw it the once, and that was enough to get me excited about doing it."

3. THE RING AND RINGU ARE ABOUT 50 PERCENT DIFFERENT.

Naomi Watts in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

Verbinski estimated that, for the American version, they "changed up to 50 percent of it. The basic premise is intact, the story is intact, the ghost story, the story of Samara, the child." Storylines involving the characters having ESP, a volcano, “dream logic,” and references to “brine and goblins” were taken out.

4. IT RAINED ALMOST EVERY DAY WHEN THEY FILMED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON.

The weather added to the “atmosphere of dread,” according to the film's production notes. Verbinski said the setting allowed them to create an “overcast mood” of dampness and isolation.

5. THE PRODUCTION DESIGNER WAS INFLUENCED BY ANDREW WYETH.

Artist Andrew Wyeth tended to use muted, somber earth tones in his work. "In Wyeth's work, the trees are always dormant, and the colors are muted earth tones," explained production designer Tom Duffield. "It's greys, it's browns, it's somber colors; it's ripped fabrics in the windows. His work has a haunting flavor that I felt would add to the mystique of this movie, so I latched on to it."

6. THERE WERE RINGS EVERYWHERE.

The carpeting and wallpaper patterns, the circular kitchen knobs, the doctor’s sweater design, Rachel’s apartment number, and more were purposely designed with the film's title in mind.

7. WATTS AND MARTIN HENDERSON HAD A FRIENDLY INTERNATIONAL RIVALRY.

Martin Henderson and Naomi Watts star in 'The Ring' (1992)
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

The New Zealand-born Henderson played Noah, Rachel’s ex-husband. Since Watts is from Australia, Henderson said that, "Between takes, we'd joke around with each other's accents and play into the whole New Zealand-Australia rivalry."

8. THE TWO WEREN’T SURE IF THE MOVIE WAS GOING TO BE SCARY ENOUGH.

After shooting some of the scenes, and not having the benefit of seeing what they'd look like once any special effects were added, Henderson and Watts worried that the final result would not be scary enough. "There were moments when Naomi and I would look at each other and say, 'This is embarrassing, people are going to laugh,'" Henderson told the BBC." You just hope that somebody makes it scary or you're going to look like an idiot!"

9. CHRIS COOPER WAS CUT FROM THE MOVIE.

Cooper played a child murderer in two scenes which were initially meant to bookend the film. He unconvincingly claimed to Rachel that he found God in the beginning, and in the end she gave him the cursed tape. Audiences at test screenings were distracted that an actor they recognized disappears for most of the film, so he was cut out entirely.

10. THEY TRIED TO GET RID OF ALL OF THE SHADOWS.

Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli used the lack of sunlight in Washington to remove the characters’ shadows. The two wanted to keep the characters feeling as if “they’re floating a little bit, in space.”

11. THE TREE WAS NICKNAMED "LUCILLE."

The red Japanese maple tree in the cursed video was named after the famous redheaded actress Lucille Ball. The tree was fake, built out of steel tubing and plaster. The Washington wind blew it over three different times. The night they put up the tree in Los Angeles, the wind blew at 60 miles per hour and knocked Lucille over yet again. "It was very strange," said Duffield.

12. MOESKO ISLAND IS A FUNCTIONING LIGHTHOUSE.

Moesko Island Lighthouse is Yaquina Head Lighthouse, at the mouth of the Yaquina River, a mile west of Agate Beach, Oregon. The website Rachel checks, MoeskoIslandLighthouse.com, used to actually exist as a one-page website, which gave general information on the fictional place. You can read it here.

13. A WEBSITE WAS CREATED BY DREAMWORKS TO PROMOTE THE MOVIE AND ADD TO ITS MYTHOLOGY.

Before and during the theatrical release, if you logged into AnOpenLetter.com, you could read a message in white lettering against a black background warning about what happens if you watch the cursed video (you can read it here). By November 24, 2002, it was a standard official website made for the movie, set up by DreamWorks.

14. VERBINSKI DIDN’T HAVE FUN DIRECTING THE MOVIE.

“It’s no fun making a horror film," admitted Verbinski. "You get into some darker areas of the brain and after a while everything becomes a bit depressing.”

15. DAVEIGH CHASE SCARED HERSELF.

Daveigh Chase in 'The Ring'
© 2002 - DreamWorks LLC - All Rights Reserved

When Daveigh Chase, who played Samara, saw The Ring in theaters, she had to cover her eyes out of fear—of herself. Some people she met after the movie came out were also afraid of her.

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European Space Agency Releases First High-Res Land Cover Map of Africa
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Land Cover CCI, ESA

This isn’t just any image of Africa. It represents the first of its kind: a high-resolution map of the different types of land cover that are found on the continent, released by The European Space Agency, as Travel + Leisure reports.

Land cover maps depict the different physical materials that cover the Earth, whether that material is vegetation, wetlands, concrete, or sand. They can be used to track the growth of cities, assess flooding, keep tabs on environmental issues like deforestation or desertification, and more.

The newly released land cover map of Africa shows the continent at an extremely detailed resolution. Each pixel represents just 65.6 feet (20 meters) on the ground. It’s designed to help researchers model the extent of climate change across Africa, study biodiversity and natural resources, and see how land use is changing, among other applications.

Developed as part of the Climate Change Initiative (CCI) Land Cover project, the space agency gathered a full year’s worth of data from its Sentinel-2A satellite to create the map. In total, the image is made from 90 terabytes of data—180,000 images—taken between December 2015 and December 2016.

The map is so large and detailed that the space agency created its own online viewer for it. You can dive further into the image here.

And keep watch: A better map might be close at hand. In March, the ESA launched the Sentinal-2B satellite, which it says will make a global map at a 32.8 feet-per-pixel (10 meters) resolution possible.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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