Thursday, 25 June 2009

The Defense of Pepperland

This film is no fiction
Everyone decries the decay of our civilization. Pollution, crime, vandalism, distrust, lockdowns in the schools, deadbolts on the doors, the homeless everywhere, endless demonstrations, lawyers and regulators at every turn. What happened? How did we get so bonked? As Soft Machine sang, "Why are we sleeping?"

When I recruit players for our community band I tell them of Yellow Submarine. I remind them of that scene where the lads from Liverpool must tip-toe in the night, up past the guards and their dogs, their urgent mission up the hill to break into the sealed-up grand bandstand and the bandroom where the ancient brass-band gear of Sargeant Pepper's band is locked away.

"What happens next," I tell them, "is what WE do." Our job, as community musicians, is to sustain Pepperland.

To my disappointment and shagrin, I've heard players put down their community bands. They look down at honest citizens working their best to barge in and defend where these 'pro' players fear to tread: oh they are just amateurs they'll say, oh, it's that music, as if it is not hip, not with-it, not real music, not real like, say, commercial fodder like RnB or Heavy Metal.

They may be happy to know that Sun Ra agrees with them, that it isn't anything like their paid gig commercial music, because it is The Avantgarde:

"While in HS I never missed a band.. the music they played was a natural happiness of love, fresh and courageous. It was unmanufactured avantgarde and it still is because there was no place for it in The World. Part of the emptiness of teen life today is due to that fact."
So is it not hip to set yourself to the rescue of civilization? Is it not cool to communicate sparks of Apple-antidote free living spirit into the open air ... and ask nothing in return? yes, dear 'pro' player, transcend the cashback, wake up and smell the now: a message from your ancestors, Yellow Submarine teaches us that a part of that emptiness of your adult life, too, is due to that same Sun Ra fact! :)

 

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Purpose of Ihnfinity Inc

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The Purpose of Ihnfinity Inc.

"To perform works of a humanitarian nature among all people of earth. To help stamp out (destroy) ignorance destroying the major purpose, changing ignorance to constructive live creativity. To own and operate all kinds of reasearch laboratories, studios, electronics equipment, electrochemical communcational devices of our own design and creativity, and electromechanical equipment, electronic equipment relating to audio and video devices and audio and video devices themselves including sound recordings and tapes as well as video recordings, tapes, teleportation, astral projection devices, mind cleansing sound devices, magnetic computers, electrical and electronic devices related to all phases of enterplanetary space travel including magnetic energy producing ships with speeds greater than the speed of light (as presently known), including enterplanetary cosmonetic devices of an astro infinity nature. To own real estate including land, building, factories, water, including air space above same. To use these values for the greater advancement of all people of earth and creative live beings of this galaxy and other galaxies beyond the sun."

that's what I call a Mission Statement

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Pictorial Tour of The Sun Ra Jail

The whole building still functions as a combination museum, gallery, think-tank, research centre, rescue mission and rehearsal space, well below the radar of the city authorities. “They really should have a plaque up outside,” shrugs Arkestra dancer and percussionist Ted Thomas, visiting his bandmates for the day. “If it was anyone else this place would be supported by the city as part of its cultural heritage.

 

Beyond the Miasma of Now

A look at the Future past:
Everybody loves predictions

The future is not what it used to be.
It never was.

Bacteria: small, smart and thoughtful!

Controversially, bacteria could even have cognitive talents that rival our own. Predatory behaviour, cooperation, memory -- Jules Verne eat your heart out -- Natasha Mitchell takes you on a strange adventure into the secret world of microbial mentality.

Monday, 22 June 2009

93,752 Pieces of Hollywood History for Sale

Photo: Marissa Roth for the New York Times

Twentieth Century Props is going out of business next month and it's auctioning all of its 93,752 items, ranging from tea cups to a life-size submarine.

Due to the dry spell of film production, items up for sale include the rattan sofa from The Golden Girls, the futuristic shower Tom Cruise used in the Minority Report and the chandeliers from Titanic.

Also on the market is the robotic torso used by Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 3, which has been awaiting its next role in the deep shelves of the Hollywood warehouse.

Harvey Schwartz, the owner of 20th Century Props, stood amid it all in tears wondering how his business had become a victim of rapidly changing Hollywood.

"I ran out of money three months ago, and I don???t know what else to do. It???s terrifying. I???ve devoted my entire life to something that is over."

Ground Zero 1945: Drawings by Atomic Bomb Survivors

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Warning: Some images by 4-year-old witnesses contain graphic scenes of human suffering. Parental discretion is advised.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

The Power of an Ideal

Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes."

In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

Widely believed to have been imposed unilaterally on Japan by MacArthur’s occupying Allied GHQ, Article 9 was in fact drafted and proposed by Japanese lawmakers, representing a country that understood all too well the folly of aggressive empire-building and the bitter futility and tragedy of war.

Since 1947, and in sharp contrast to its past as a fascist Axis empire-builder, Japan has not committed a single atrocity against the people of another nation, has not re-militarized, has not produced nuclear weapons, nor entered the lucrative arms industry. In part because of Article 9, Japan was able to transform itself into the second largest economy in the world. Moreover, its subsequent ODA expenditures, amounting to 10 to 15 billion dollars (U.S.) each year over the past 18 years — along with the growth of several hundred NGOs active in development, the environment, human rights, and peace — would never have been possible if Japan had remained a militarized nation.

Imagine then the worldwide benefits of taking Article 9 to the global level.

 

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965)

It isn't that the acting is bad and contrived, it is way beyond that, it is actors (who are B-picture actors) acting as bad actors, spoofing themselves, their genre and the whole Hollywood-Disney comedy industry that was so big at the time. Remember "Herbie the Love Bug" with Dean Jones? It is that caliber of forced performance turned up a notch, mixed with three six-packs of 4th-wall gags, Three Stooges shticks like tiny offices with low-hanging bookshelves and multiple entrances. It's Looney Tunes with Frankie Avalon as Daffy Duck.

Plot-wise this is ... well, hey, you have bikini FemBots way ahead of Woody Allen's Casino Royale, you have Vincent Price with a Disney-style dunderhead for his Igor, you have a spy agency and the lamest Secret Agent Car you've ever seen, there's just no room for a plot!

those of you in the US can apparently watch this by direct download from Amazon at half the price of the new CD (and you save on shipping), and trust me, for all it's charm, unless it's fundamental to your beat-era film-arts thesis, you're going to want to spend as little on this one as possible.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Who's Myth are YOU?

"magnetism must originate in the Earth???s core"

???Everyone accepted this, but in reality there has never been any proof,??? said Gregory Ryskin, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois. ???It is just an idea we have accepted for a long time without questioning it enough.???

A pause now to wonder which is better, to hold to some myth founded on ancient superstition, or to hold to some scientific fact based on nothing at all? Like the tale of the topical demonization of the plastic shopping bag, the etymology of science myths can be a fascinating study in human communications.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

The St. James Sessions

"a rare window onto a fertile time and place in the history of American popular music. The 1920s saw the dawn of music on the radio, and improvements to recording technology that saw the introduction of mass-market recordings of popular music. And the Roaring ???20s was accompanied by a surprisingly worldly stew of folk music, blues, show tunes, jazz, Hawaiian, and vaudeville novelties that all played a part in the evolution of what we now know as popular music."Pathways to Unknown Worlds
download at Songs - Lynn Point

Red-wine benefits

The breadth of benefits is remarkable -- cancer prevention, protection of the heart and brain from damage, reducing age-related diseases such as inflammation, reversing diabetes and obesity, and many more," said Brown. "It has long been a question as to how such a simple compound could have these effects but now the puzzle is becoming clearer with the discovery of the pathways, especially the sirtuins, a family of enzymes that regulate the production of cellular components by the nucleus.

hence the saying, "To your HEALTH!"

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Your 'sixth sense'

For a long time we've been interested in how the brain figures out how to integrate cognitive information about the world with our emotions, how we feel about something," Brown said. "For many reasons, people think the ACC might be the brain structure responsible for converging these different signals. It seems to be an area that's involved in deciding what information gets prioritized in the decision-making process. It seems able to link motivational and affect information - things like goodness or badness - and to use this information to bring about changes in cognition, to alter how we think about things.

early indications of quantum look-ahead first in our sense of smell and most recently in the astounding efficiency of photosynthesis, could the ACC also be probing quantum realities to inform our past selves of the best options in an impending future?

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Really Terrible Orchestra

From the NY TImes, 26 August 2007: "The fascinating thing about the Really Terrible Orchestra, though, is that its appalling players are in fact eminent in other walks of life. They are politicians, bankers, judges, surgeons, senior academics. And the principal bassoonist who doesn't play C sharps happens to be the polymath law professor and best-selling writer Alexander McCall Smith, the author of (among many other things) the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency books, which are now being filmed for international release."

"the cream of Edinburgh's musically disadvantaged ..."

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Quantum Biology

Using femtosecond lasers to follow the movement of light energy through a photosynthetic bacterial cell, Engel et al. observed the energy traveling along every possible direction at the same time. Instead of following a single trajectory like the electrons on a silicon chip, the energy in photosynthesis explores all of its options and collapses the quantum process only after the fact, retroactively ???deciding??? upon the most efficient pathway.

What does this all mean? Not only does quantum phenomena occur in living systems, but the basic processes of life we take for granted rely on the transfer of information backward in time. Life is so magical because it cheats.

There is a youtube of George Russell in a chat with Ornette Coleman (http://bit.ly/tzje), where George remarks on how Ornette's band does not 'count it in' with their music, but almost magically the players just 'know' when, and how, to act. "How did it work?" asks George, and Ornette responds, "By insight." By in-sight, sight from within, down in the ancient quantum caverns of the microtubials where The Future is already kNOWn.

A Universe of Achievement

"It is wonderful for this to be part of my mission to better the planet and the people through beautiful music. When we are able to give the audience one or two hours to forget their worries, it sure helps. And the music can help transform everyone to a higher plane of being and bring different vibrations that affect others and myself. Bring well being, give something to someone else so that they can get something out it. There is always happiness in the spirit of playing and we look forward to sharing"
Lifetime Achievement acceptance speech by Marshall Allen [ALL ABOUT JAZZ—NEW YORK June 2009] via sunraarkive.blogspot.com

 

Adventures on the Sun

"It???s no surprise considering that reinterpretation has been a cornerstone of hip hop production since the beginning, when loops and breaks were getting chopped up. Today though the new generation of producers are taking things further thanks in no small part to the internet and modern technology allowing people to link together regardless of distance and make use of a wealth of recorded music.

"With this in mind, it was a surprise to see something pop up on twitter yesterday about a bunch of producers, including L.A???s Ras G, having released a mix of reinterpretations of Sun Ra. The surprise quickly turned to pleasure when I started listening to it. There isn???t a wealth of information about it, beyond a tracklist, some art (one of which is used in this post) and a link to a myspace page for Re:source who seem to be the mastermind behind this effort. Looking at the tracklist it features quite a few known names to us, such as the aforementioned Ras G, Powell from Paris, Elaquent from Canada and Ichiro from Tokyo."

Targeting the Brain with Sound

scientists have begun experimenting with low-frequency, low-intensity ultrasound that can penetrate the skull and activate or silence brain cells. Researchers hope that the technology could provide an alternative to more-invasive techniques, such as deep-brain stimulation (DBS) and vagus nerve stimulation, which are used to treat a growing number of neurological disorders.

"Once people have found out what they can do with DBS and vagus nerve stimulation, we think we can unplug those devices and control activity from outside the body,"

Spectral analysis on the characteristics of 'good' tone between the classical and the jazz aesthetics finds that while classical tone attenuates the upper harmonics, the jazz players produce a tone with partials still prominent and showing no signs of attentuation far beyond the 20kHz 'limit' of 'hearing' (by which they mean their numerology of the ear-machine); these upper partials lend support to the extended harmonies in Jazz, which is to say there is a harmonic resonance that reinforces the wave power. Deep Brain Stimulation therapy. Cosmic Tones for Mental Therapy.

The Vagus Nerve mentioned in the article is the primary controller of our immune/repair response system; the nerve runs from the brain down into the pancreas and valves those systems through an information flow, which is to say that medicines don't make you "get better", rather our treatments create conditions to 'talk' to our vagus nerve so's to convince it to act; as with physics (as above, so below) the exchange is one of information, not substance, so is it logically viable that other 'influencers' could also 'talk' to our natural healing systems? Music perhaps?

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Why do some governments work?

What makes democracy work? (National Civic Review; Spring 1993, v82) Robert Putnam writes: "What explains why some governments work and others do not?"
"We considered many possible answers: wealth, education, party politics, urbanization, social stability, and so on. None of these answers fits the facts; none was directly correlated with government performance. The right answer surprised us, though it likely would not have surprised Alexis de Tocqueville, that astute 19th-century French observer of democracy in America: What best predicted good government in the Italian regions was choral societies, soccer dubs and cooperatives. In other words, some regions were characterized by a dense network of civic associations and an active culture of civic engagement, whereas others were characterized by vertical patron-client relations of exploitation and dependence, not horizontal collaboration among equals."

"Vertical patron-client relations of exploitation and dependence" -- oddly I'm reminded of my wondering about the thoughts of those final-days kings of Easter Island as they gave the order to cut down the last of their life-giving trees in a bid to win a one-upmanship contest -- there is a lesson on Putnam's essay, it is a lesson in intention: before we can move towards a better government, we, our citizens, businesses and policy makers, must intend to get there. Yes, for the astute readers out there who loath fuzzy 'new agey' stuff, that is correct, this is The Secret, but put a better way: habits follow intentions, results follow habits. Putnam's Choral Societies are more than just a passing Grade 10 glee-club experience, it is a recipe for a cultural infrastructure that needs to begin as young as possible, and must offer supporting infrastructure all through all the years that follow.

It is the everyday normalcy of the habit of the choral cooperation and trust that becomes the fabric of community credit:
The Renaissance was a direct consequence of the economic boom, which was a direct consequence of credit, which was in turn a direct consequence of the trust expressed in tower societies and choral societies. Civic engagement paid handsome dividends ... I originally thought that these fortunate communities had more choral societies because they were wealthy. After all, I thought, poor peasants don't have time or energy to spend singing. But if we look closely at the historical record, it becomes dear that I had it exactly backwards. Communities don't have choral societies because they are wealthy; they are wealthy because they have choral societies -- or more precisely, the traditions of engagement, trust and reciprocity that choral societies symbolize ... None of this would appear in standard economics textbooks, of course, but our evidence suggests that wealth is the consequence, not the cause, of a healthy civics.

Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Port Clinton, Ohio) is a political scientist and professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester (wikipedia)

Why do some governments work?

What makes democracy work? (National Civic Review; Spring 1993, v82) Robert Putnam writes: "What explains why some governments work and others do not?"

"We considered many possible answers: wealth, education, party politics, urbanization, social stability, and so on. None of these answers fits the facts; none was directly correlated with government performance. The right answer surprised us, though it likely would not have surprised Alexis de Tocqueville, that astute 19th-century French observer of democracy in America: What best predicted good government in the Italian regions was choral societies, soccer clubs and co-operatives. In other words, some regions were characterized by a dense network of civic associations and an active culture of civic engagement, whereas others were characterized by vertical patron-client relations of exploitation and dependence, not horizontal collaboration among equals."


"Vertical patron-client relations of exploitation and dependence" -- oddly I'm reminded of my wondering about the thoughts of those final-days kings of Easter Island as they gave the order to cut down the last of their life-giving trees in a bid to win a one-upmanship contest -- there is a lesson on Putnam's essay, it is a lesson in intention: before we can move towards a better government, we, our citizens, businesses and policy makers, must intend to get there. Yes, for the astute readers out there who loath fuzzy 'new agey' stuff, that is correct, this is The Secret, but put a better way: habits follow intentions, results follow habits. Putnam's Choral Societies are more than just a passing Grade 10 glee-club experience, it is a recipe for a cultural infrastructure that needs to begin as young as possible, and must offer supporting infrastructure all through all the years that follow.

It is the everyday normalcy of the habit of the choral cooperation and trust that becomes the fabric of community credit:

The Renaissance was a direct consequence of the economic boom, which was a direct consequence of credit, which was in turn a direct consequence of the trust expressed in tower societies and choral societies. Civic engagement paid handsome dividends ... I originally thought that these fortunate communities had more choral societies because they were wealthy. After all, I thought, poor peasants don't have time or energy to spend singing. But if we look closely at the historical record, it becomes dear that I had it exactly backwards. Communities don't have choral societies because they are wealthy; they are wealthy because they have choral societies -- or more precisely, the traditions of engagement, trust and reciprocity that choral societies symbolize ... None of this would appear in standard economics textbooks, of course, but our evidence suggests that wealth is the consequence, not the cause, of a healthy civics.


Robert David Putnam (born 1941 in Port Clinton, Ohio) is a political scientist and professor of public policy at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is also visiting professor and director of the Manchester Graduate Summer Programme in Social Change, University of Manchester (wikipedia)