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The Final Days of The Beatles

The date was August 20, 1969. The Beatles were recording what was to be their final album, Abbey Road. The date is important (and historic), although the boys probably had no idea of its significance.

August 20, 1969, was the last time the four Beatles were together in the recording studio.

They were recording the final over-dubs of John's song "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," a stark, raw love song written by John. The band's final session was spent working on a fervent love song to Yoko Ono.

The Last Photo Session

Two days later, on August 22, on the grounds of John's estate, the foursome gathered at for the last Beatles photo session—the final "official" gathering together of the Fab Four.

Photos of that historic day reveal four bedraggled, weary-looking musicians. John is seen wearing a dark cowboy-like hat, sporting a bushy, thick beard. He looks pencil-thin, probably the result of his recent heroin use (among other drugs).

George and Ringo are bearded, too. George especially looks as if he'd rather be anywhere else.

As usual, Paul puts up the best social face, clean shaven, upbeat, and in some shots he's smiling. He even brought his pet sheepdog, Martha, to this last photo session.

Yoko was there, stuck at John's side, and the session included several shots of her clinging to her almost unrecognizable husband.

George's wife, Patti, may have realized the significance of the moment; she went around with a hand-held camera, filming snippets of the event for posterity.

The Last Meeting

In the middle of September, the four Beatles gathered together for a business meeting at Apple Studios. It happened sometime between September 15 and 19, 1969—this was the final time all four Beatles were together in the same room.

John and George spent much of the meeting bickering over George's contributions to future Beatles albums. George was fed up with taking a back seat to the all-powerful Lennon-McCartney team.The band's "one-for-all" spirit that had always held them together had evaporated. They were coming apart at the seams.

On September 20th, the end officially came.

John, Paul, and Ringo (George had left town to visit his sick mother) along with Yoko and various associates, aides and managers gathered in the meeting room. Paul started discussing possible plans for the Beatles future. He suggested the band go back and play small clubs under a pseudonym. Perhaps they'd use a name like "Ricky and the Red Streaks."

But John exploded. "I want a divorce. Like the one i got from Cynthia" [his first wife]. According to Paul, everyone went pale. After a few heated words, John and Yoko walked out.

John, Yoko, and their manager Allen Klein drove off to eat at a local restaurant called The Pepper Mill. Yoko was to remember John's words to her in the car: "it's just you and me now."

Yoko, in a revealing interview, later remembered thinking to herself: "My god, those three have entertained him for the last ten years. Now it's just me!"

John Lennon was never to return to The Beatles.

(Although Paul recalled his shock at John's decision, Ringo said he was "relieved" by John's final words. Ringo probably knew the end was imminent and was glad John had made it clear and unmistakable.)

The Last Session

Finally, on January 3, 1970, Paul, George and Ringo got together for one last recording session at the Abbey Road Studio Two. They were working on George's song "I Me Mine." John was in Denmark with Yoko at the time.

George laconically announced, "You will have heard that Dave Dee is no longer with us, but Micky and Tich and I would just like to carry on the good work that's always been done in Number Two."

(Dave Dee, Beaky, Micky and Tich were a popular singing group at the time).

And so it was—the final "Beatles" recording session at Abbey Road studios was conducted without John, who had started the group, and whose original "Quarrymen" were the genesis of The Beatles.

George's Lennon-less "I, Me, Mine" was included on The Beatles Let It Be album.

Paul, George and Ringo reunited 24 years later to record "Free as a Bird" for the much-anticipated Beatles Anthology. Of course, after his tragic death in 1980, John was missing again.


Eddie Deezen has appeared in over 30 motion pictures, including Grease, WarGames, 1941, and The Polar Express. He's also been featured in several TV shows, including Magnum PI, The Facts of Life, and The Gong Show. And he's done thousands of voice-overs for radio and cartoons, such as Dexter's Laboratory and Family Guy. Eddie is a self-confessed Beatles nut and has read over 600 books on The Fab Four. He'll be contributing a handful of Beatles stories to mentalfloss.com. Make him feel welcome!

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10 Things We Know About The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2
Hulu
Hulu

Though Hulu has been producing original content for more than five years now, 2017 turned out to be a banner year for the streaming network with the debut of The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26, 2017. The dystopian drama, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 book, imagines a future in which a theocratic regime known as Gilead has taken over the United States and enslaved fertile women so that the group’s most powerful couples can procreate.

If it all sounds rather bleak, that’s because it is—but it’s also one of the most impressive new series to arrive in years (as evidenced by the slew of awards it has won, including eight Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards). Fortunately, fans left wanting more don’t have that much longer to wait, as season two will premiere on Hulu in April. In the meantime, here’s everything we know about The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season.

1. IT WILL PREMIERE WITH TWO EPISODES.

When The Handmaid’s Tale returns on April 25, 2018, Hulu will release the first two of its 13 new episodes on premiere night, then drop another new episode every Wednesday.

2. MARGARET ATWOOD WILL CONTINUE TO HELP SHAPE THE NARRATIVE.

Fans of Atwood’s novel who didn’t like that season one went beyond the original source material are in for some more disappointment in season two, as the narrative will again go beyond the scope of what Atwood covered. But creator/showrunner Bruce Miller doesn’t necessarily agree with the criticism they received in season one.

“People talk about how we're beyond the book, but we're not really," Miller told Newsweek. "The book starts, then jumps 200 years with an academic discussion at the end of it, about what's happened in those intervening 200 years. We're not going beyond the novel. We're just covering territory [Atwood] covered quickly, a bit more slowly.”

Even more importantly, Miller's got Atwood on his side. The author serves as a consulting producer on the show, and the title isn’t an honorary one. For Miller, Atwood’s input is essential to shaping the show, particularly as it veers off into new territories. And they were already thinking about season two while shooting season one. “Margaret and I had started to talk about the shape of season two halfway through the first [season],” he told Entertainment Weekly.

In fact, Miller said that when he first began working on the show, he sketched out a full 10 seasons worth of storylines. “That’s what you have to do when you’re taking on a project like this,” he said.

3. MOTHERHOOD WILL BE A CENTRAL THEME.

As with season one, motherhood is a key theme in the series. And June/Offred’s pregnancy will be one of the main plotlines. “So much of [Season 2] is about motherhood,” Elisabeth Moss said during the Television Critics Association press tour. “Bruce and I always talked about the impending birth of this child that’s growing inside her as a bit of a ticking time bomb, and the complications of that are really wonderful to explore. It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but she’s having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into. And then, you know, if she does have the baby, the baby gets taken away from her and she can’t be its mother. So, obviously, it’s very complicated and makes for good drama. But, it’s a very big part of this season, and it gets bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

4. THE RESISTANCE IS COMING.

Just because June is pregnant, don’t expect her to sit on the sidelines as the resistance to Gilead continues. “There is more than one way to resist," Moss said. “There is resistance within [June], and that is a big part of this season.”

5. WE’LL GET TO SEE THE COLONIES.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

Miller, understandably, isn’t eager to share too many details about the new season. “I’m not being cagey!” he swore to Entertainment Weekly. “I just want the viewers to experience it for themselves!” What he did confirm is that the new season will bring us to the colonies—reportedly in episode two—and show what life is like for those who have been sent there.

It will also delve further into what life is like for the refugees who managed to escape Gilead, like Luke and Moira.

6. MARISA TOMEI WILL APPEAR IN AN EPISODE.

Though she won’t be a regular cast member, Miller recently announced that Oscar winner Marisa Tomei will make a guest appearance in the new season’s second episode. Yes, the one that will show us the Colonies. In fact, that’s where we’ll meet her; Tomei is playing the wife of a Commander.

7. WE’LL LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ORIGINS OF GILEAD.

As a group shrouded in secrecy, we still don’t know much about how and where Gilead began. That will change a bit in season two. When discussing some of the questions viewers will have answered, executive producer Warren Littlefield promised that, "How did Gilead come about? How did this happen?” would be two of them. “We get to follow the historical creation of this world,” he said.

8. THERE WILL BE AT LEAST ONE HANDMAID FUNERAL.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

While Miller wouldn’t talk about who the handmaids are mourning in a teaser shot from season two that shows a handmaid’s funeral, he was excited to talk about creating the look for the scene. “Everything from the design of their costumes to the way they look is so chilling,” Miller told Entertainment Weekly. “These scenes that are so beautiful, while set in such a terrible place, provide the kind of contrast that makes me happy.”

9. ELISABETH MOSS SAYS THE TONE WILL BE DARKER.

Like season one, Miller says that The Handmaid’s Tale's second season will again balance its darker, dystopian themes with glimpses of hopefulness. “I think the first season had very difficult things, and very hopeful things, and I think this season is exactly the same way,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “There come some surprising moments of real hope and victory, and strength, that come from surprising places.”

Moss, however, has a different opinion. “It's a dark season,” she told reporters at TCA. “I would say arguably it's darker than Season 1—if that's possible.”

10. IT WILL ALSO BE BLOODIER.

A scene from 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Hulu

When pressed about how the teaser images for the new season seemed to feature a lot of blood, Miller conceded: “Oh gosh, yeah. There may be a little more blood this season.”

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NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
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Researchers in Singapore Deploy Robot Swans to Test Water Quality
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

There's something peculiar about the new swans floating around reservoirs in Singapore. They drift across the water like normal birds, but upon closer inspection, onlookers will find they're not birds at all: They're cleverly disguised robots designed to test the quality of the city's water.

As Dezeen reports, the high-tech waterfowl, dubbed NUSwan (New Smart Water Assessment Network), are the work of researchers at the National University of Singapore [PDF]. The team invented the devices as a way to tackle the challenges of maintaining an urban water source. "Water bodies are exposed to varying sources of pollutants from urban run-offs and industries," they write in a statement. "Several methods and protocols in monitoring pollutants are already in place. However, the boundaries of extensive assessment for the water bodies are limited by labor intensive and resource exhaustive methods."

By building water assessment technology into a plastic swan, they're able to analyze the quality of the reservoirs cheaply and discreetly. Sensors on the robots' undersides measure factors like dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll levels. The swans wirelessly transmit whatever data they collect to the command center on land, and based on what they send, human pilots can remotely tweak the robots' performance in real time. The hope is that the simple, adaptable technology will allow researchers to take smarter samples and better understand the impact of the reservoir's micro-ecosystem on water quality.

Man placing robotic swan in water.
NUS Environmental Research Institute, Subnero

This isn't the first time humans have used robots disguised as animals as tools for studying nature. Check out this clip from the BBC series Spy in the Wild for an idea of just how realistic these robots can get.

[h/t Dezeen]

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