Friday, October 31, 2008

From Fourier Transform to the Beatles’ Riddle

It’s been a hard day’s night
And I’ve been working like a dog

The opening chord to A Hard Day’s Night is also famous because for 40 years, no one quite knew exactly what chord Harrison was playing. Musicians, scholars and amateur guitar players alike had all come up with their own theories, but it took a Dalhousie mathematician to figure out the exact formula.
“I started playing guitar because I heard a Beatles record—that was it for my piano lessons,” says Jason Brown of Dalhousie’s Department of Mathematics and Statistics with a good laugh. “I had tried to play the first chord of the song many takes over the years. It sounds outlandish that someone could create a mystery around a chord from a time where artists used such simple recording techniques. It’s quite remarkable.”(read more...)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tied to Carnal Passions

A groundbreaking study by two University of Rochester psychologists to be published online Oct. 28 by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology adds color literally and figuratively to the age-old question of what attracts men to women.The research provides the first empirical support for society's enduring love affair with red. From the red ochre used in ancient rituals to today's red-light districts and red hearts on Valentine's Day, the rosy hue has been tied to carnal passions and romantic love across cultures and millennia. But this study, said Elliot, is the only work to scientifically document the effects of color on behavior in the context of relationships.
Although this aphrodisiacal effect of red may be a product of societal conditioning alone, the authors argue that men's response to red more likely stems from deeper biological roots. Research has shown that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.
"Our research demonstrates a parallel in the way that human and nonhuman male primates respond to red," concluded the authors. "In doing so, our findings confirm what many women have long suspected and claimed – that men act like animals in the sexual realm. As much as men might like to think that they respond to women in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner, it appears that at least to some degree, their preferences and predilections are, in a word, primitive."(read more...)
Photo by Terry Richardson

The Piano Man from Perth

Tim Minchin is an Australian Musician/comedian located currently in the UK!
Tim has become a very successful comedian over the past 4 years. His image is a strange weirdass rock star wearing a tail suit with no shoes and standing by a grand piano... everything seems strange.... BUT then he sings!! shit! he sings about umm... himself being So Fucking Rock... and Him being... a Rock'n' Roll Nerd... and he sings about the environment. He also sings about the issue in Palestine... and Of course!! one of his most popular tracks is one where he sings about his inflatable Sex doll... that song is of course titled, INFLATABLE YOU!
Tim's comedy is rather strange and some people need to be in the right mood to listen to his rather fabulous and inteligent work,(read more...)

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Dystopia with an Eastern European flavour

Rocaterrania is a feature length documentary exploring the secret world of scientific illustrator and visionary artist Renaldo Kuhler.
In the last four decades, seventy-six-year-old Renaldo Kuhler has created hundreds of plates for the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, illustrating diverse flora and fauna for obscure scientific journals and reference books. Before the making of this documentary, no one knew that Kuhler is also a prolific visionary artist.
Since his teens, Kuhler has been pouring all his private anguish and artistic energy in a project that has remained secret up until now. That project is Rocaterrania, an imaginary country somewhere between the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and the St Lawrence River on the border between the US and Canada.
“Each person is a nation unto himself, and what he does with that nation is up to him,” Kuhler explains at the end of the aforementioned trailer, that offers a brief and intriguing glimpse into the grim fairytale he constructed in the far reaches of his imagination.
It’s no wonder Kuhler was reluctant to publicise the existence of his troubled ‘inner country’. But it is a shame - the illustrations of the people and places in Rocaterrania look fantastic. And in any case, now there’s the upcoming feature-length film, also called Rocaterrania, by documentary-maker Brett Ingram.
This map shows the location of Rocaterrania on the St Lawrence River, and its borders with the US and Canada. Multicultural Rocaterrania possesses a corridor to the river, in which is located the town of Katerin Shtot (sounds Yiddish, or at least looks like it because of the phonetic spelling). A large, uninhabited area to the west is called Westerwald (German). A town on the east bank of Lago Eldorado (Spanish) is the town of Novo Tyumen (Russian), on its west bank is Biala (which sounds more Polish), and further west are places called Serbia, East New Serbia and Black New Serbia.
Rocaterrania as a New World dystopia with an Eastern European flavour: this is somewhat reminiscent both of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (Michael Chabon’s allohistorical detective novel set in an Alaskan homeland for the Jews) and of The Jew of New York (a graphic novel by Ben Katchor about a real-life, failed attempt to found a Jewish utopia in… upstate New York).(read more...)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peg Leg Sam and His medicine show

Peg Leg Sam was a performer to be treasured, a member of what may have been the last authentic traveling medicine show, a harmonica virtuoso, and an extraordinary entertainer. Born Arthur Jackson, he acquired his nickname after a hoboing accident in 1930. His medicine show career began in 1938, and his repertoire -- finally recorded only in the early '70s -- reflected the rustic nature of the traveling show. "Peg" delivered comedy routines, bawdy toasts, and monologs; performed tricks with his harps (often playing two at once); and served up some juicy Piedmont blues (sometimes with a guitar accompanist, but most often by himself). Peg Leg Sam gave his last medicine-show performance in 1972 in North Carolina and was still in fine fettle when he started making the rounds of folk and blues festivals in his last years. ~ Jim O'Neal, All Music Guide

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ten Years After the Fire השריפה בעין הוד

It is autumn in Ein Hod. It is a New England kind of autumn, crisp and rustic and crackling with color.
It would be majestically beautiful, if it were New England, and autumn. But the browns and rusts and yellows and reds of the foliage are not a canvas of summer's gentle denouement; these are the wounds of summer savagery.
This most enchanting of Israeli villages will never recover in our lifetime, following the fire that seared through it three months ago. If you have been to Ein Hod, you may not be able to bear going back; if you have never been here, it's too late.
In some areas, Ein Hod has been stripped naked.

(read more...)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Palestine Negroid Cannibals (anal?)

Negroid people of 5000 B. C ATE BODIES OF ENEMIES
Seven or eight thousand years ago in what geologist call modern times a race of negroid cannibals lived In Palestine, burned the bones of their dead after burial, and devoured the bodies of their enemies.
Skulls and thighbones of this race were unearthed within the last four years, first at Shukbah near Jerusalem and later in caves at Mount Carmel, and because they puzzled the excavators who found them they received the new name “Natufians.”
Today the first authoritative account of them was given by Sir Arthur Keith to the congress of Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences and showed them to be one of the greatest riddles of archaeology.
They were clearly a Negroid people, said Sir Arthur, with wide faces flat- noses and long large heads.
They were short of stature 5 feet 3 or 4 inches tall-and their thighs and legs were remarkably strong. While their arms and shoulders were weak.
Alone Among prehistoric peoples they had a custom of extracting the two upper central incisor teeth of their women. Jagged holes in the fronts of their skulls indicate that they ate human brains.
They may have been ancestors or the Arabs or Semites of biblical times, in Sir Arthur's opinion. They had some facial characteristics like those of the Neolithic or late Stone Age men of Malta and the remoter Aurignacian men of Southern Europe. But whatever the similarities sir Arthur declared, they lived between 5000 and 6000 B. C. and cannot be identified with any race on earth today.
In addition to all these riddles, Sir Arthur propounded another linking them unaccountably to ancient Ur of the Chaldees and the prehistoric man of South Africa.
From piles of charred and fragmented bones found in Palestine-mostly women's bones- Sir Arthur concluded they did not cremate their dead, but burned them long after burial.(read more...)

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Most Dangerous Animal in the World?

Peter Singer is perhaps the most thoroughgoing philosophical utilitarian since Jeremy Bentham. As such, he believes animals have rights because the relevant moral consideration is not whether a being can reason or talk but whether it can suffer. Jettisoning the traditional distinction between humans and nonhumans, Singer distinguishes instead between persons and non-persons. Persons are beings that feel, reason, have self-awareness, and look forward to a future. Thus, fetuses and some very impaired human beings are not persons in his view and have a lesser moral status than, say, adult gorillas and chimpanzees. (read more...and more...)