Archive for March, 2013

“Don’t wanna try, don’t wanna die, don’t know what to do instead”

Jubilee, “Rebel Hiss”

Will There Always Be A Tube Map?

Matt Brown, writing at the excellent Londonist blog, dares to ask the question:

Rather than continuing to update the increasingly cluttered Tube map, might we one day ditch it entirely? Could a souped-up journey planner ever have a persuasive number of advantages over a static map, enough to render the old way of doing things obsolete? Could our generation’s Tube map be the last?

His analysis is definitely worth a read.

Living in the Future: Deextinction Edition

Did you know that mankind has successfully (albeit briefly) restored an extinct species? Were you aware that we’re on the cusp of restoring many more?

Stewart Brand is helping spearhead an effort that will (relatively soon, from the sound of it) restore some of the species that we’ve destroyed over the years.

Welcome to the de-extincted future, fellow H. Saps!


That Dr. Brian May plays one hell of a guitar.



Stolen from Sean Nelson’s tumblr, Take Down Your Art

Dat bassoon!

Jaap van Zweden, conducting the Dutch Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.

I’ve heard the solo at the start of “The Rite of Spring” hundreds of times. In my IB Music Theory class in high school, Stravinsky was the artist we focused on for the analytical section of the course and “The Rite of Spring” was, of course, one the pieces we focused on the most. Still, after countless hours listening to the Rite of Spring, I’m still blown away by its and intricate melodies and countermelodies and its brilliant textures. Truly revolutionary for its day, and still work of technical and compositional genius.

But I keep coming back to that opening solo. It’s rendered particularly well in this recording, with a smooth, lilting, carefree feel. But the most amazing part about it, a fact that is hard to notice and easy to forget, is that that line is played by a bassoon. Which unless you’re very sure of your ear, no one in their right mind would ever guess. It’s written ludicrously high, well outside a bassoon’s normal range. And between the range and the swooping legatos, the bassoon ends up losing the throaty timbre that most people recognize. The result is a sound that doesn’t quite match the ear’s mental picture of any instrument, giving the solo yet another odd layer to its spritely majesty.

“Shake your tail, shake it like a rattler!”

Things Are Better Than You Think: The World is Getting Better Fed

From Indur Goklany’s The Improving State of the World, pg. 21 in the paperback edition, citations and figures omitted:

Concerns for the world’s ability to feed its burgeoning population have been around at least since Malthus’s Essay on Population 200 years ago. Several 20th century Neo-Malthusians confidently predicted apocalyptic famines in the latter part of that century in developing countries. But today, although the world’s population has never been larger, the average person has never been better fed.

Since 1950, the global population has increased by more than 150 percent and [Per Capita Incomes], as measured by global economic product per capita, by more than 190 percent. Both those factors increase the demand for food. Yet the real price of food commodities has declined 75 percent. Greater agricultural productivity and international trade have made this possible. As a result, …, average daily food supplies per capita … increased 24 percent globally from 1961 to 2002. The increase for developing countries, at 38 percent, was even larger.

“I am a maiden for you…(nevermore)”

MØ, “Maiden”

I love the tight, pentatonic synth riffs and the stuttery drum machine. And the video is brilliant. Such a simple idea, so well executed.

A “History” of Taxation

Could stand to have a little more of the history, but all around a great video.

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Magic Blue Smoke

House Rules:

1.) Carry out your own dead.
2.) No opium smoking in the elevators.
3.) In Competitions, during gunfire or while bombs are falling, players may take cover without penalty for ceasing play.
4.) A player whose stroke is affected by the simultaneous explosion of a bomb may play another ball from the same place.
4a.) Penalty one stroke.
5.) Pilsner should be in Roman type, and begin with a capital.
6.) Keep Calm and Kill It with Fire.
7.) Spammers will be fed to the Crabipede.