The Frye stumbles into big bucks
“Big, big bucks for local artists from unexpected source.” That was the almost giddy note in the email blast from the Frye Museum announcing its receipt of a $1.1 million grant from Seattle’s Raynier Institute & Foundation. Actually, the grant was awarded to the Frye Museum/Artist Trust Consortium, newly-constituted at the suggestion of the Raynier Foundation. But no matter; the money will ultimately end up in the hands of deserving local artists. And it’s a lot of dough: An annual $50,000 to the Washington artist whose work “demonstrates exceptional originality," and two $15,000 "venture" awards for the same. All disciplines welcome! The grant also pays for four exhibitions (at the Frye) showcasing the work of Washington artists. Thank the late Jim Widener Ray, skier, gallery owner, artist and philanthropist, who died suddenly, at age 52, in 2005 and left his $80 million estate to the Raynier Institute & Foundation. Except for the original gift from Charles and Emma Frye, notes Frye director Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, the Raynier grant "represents the largest award ever made to the Museum." — M.B.
GMO fight dwarfed by more out-of-state $$
On Tuesday, we wrote about Monsanto's whopping $4.5 million donation to Washington's No on 522 anti-GMO labeling campaign. Little did we know that that same day Dupont Pioneer — not-so-incidentally, the largest U.S. producer of hybrid seeds for agriculture — was doling out another $3.2 million for the cause (it wasn't publicly reported until yesterday). For those not keeping score, that puts the No on 522 fundraising total at more than $11 million to pro-labelers' $3.5 million.
Whether or not you'd like to know when you're eating GMOs, it's worth noting that the anti-labeling campaign has only five donors, all from out of state and financially tied to the defeat of the bill — Monsanto, Dupont, Dow, Bayer and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The Yes campaign on the other hand has a long list of populist supporters bolstered by a few larger donations from natural food groups. Put that in your genetically modified corncob pipe and smoke it. —B.A.
True Troll devotees may recall us critiquing the Senate's planned transportation listening tour this fall because it a) didn't stop in Seattle or Bellingham and b) it didn't include any stops in communities served by the state ferry system. Today, the tour redeemed itself on both counts when the state Senate Republican Caucus announced that Curtis King, R-Yakima, was adding three stops to the tour: Seattle, Bellingham and the Tri-Cities. To King's credit, the Republican Caucus release also notes that "King’s original list of suggested locations included Seattle and Tri-Cities, but WSDOT opted instead to hold the forums in Bellevue and Yakima." Details on all meetings are here. — B.A.
Meet Microsoft's Siri
Microsoft is planning to roll out a Siri-like virtual assistant called ‘Cortona’ sometime in 2014, ZDNet reports. Reporter Mary Jo Foley, who seems to have broken the story, cobbled together a description of the new technology from news articles, company memos and leaked screenshots of the Windows Phone operating system. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer alluded to something that sounded a lot like Cortona in a memo earlier this year, when he described a new family of devices powered by a “deeply personalized… advanced almost magical, intelligence in our cloud… responding seamlessly to what people ask for, and even anticipating what they need before they ask for it.” That’s a far cry from asking Siri for the location of the nearest Chipotle.
Cortona, named for a character in the Xbox game ‘Halo,’ will rely on machine-learning and the Satori database, which powers Bing, to dish-out answers and information. Hopefully the user experience will be more magical and seamless than Bing Maps. — B. L.
Brain cancer? Just add scorpion venom
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