Friday 29 February 2008

Copyright this


Copyright this: "Jon Healey correctly points out that the debate over intellectual-property theft is complex because we are often dealing with 'non-real properties.' These properties cost nearly nothing to produce, and an infinite number of people can use the same property at the same time. And yet, we still want to treat them as if they were 'real' property."
Its a farce. Popsongs and cartoon characters are viciously guarded, life-saving recipies serendipidously left public, other items, by accident of their media, leave their inventors outside in the rain: "some of the most valuable and significant intellectual property and creative works can't be copyrighted. For example, Mickey Mouse is copyrighted, but E=mc2 could not have been. Which was truly the more significant creative work?"

Why records DO all sound the same

Why records DO all sound the same: Simon Leadly's wonderful essay on the business of the factory-music business -- "No, it's not you - records do all sound the same these days. Desperate to get their music on the radio at all costs, record labels are employing a new and powerful software to artificially sweeten it, polish it, make it 'louder' -- and squeeze out the last drops of its individuality."
Citing the above video, Simon offers some insider observations on the clever craft of the top-of-the-chart hits, on why they sound the way they do, and how and why its come to this mad spiral craving for the culturally toxic and experientially taste-less hyper-insulinemia of sound we call 'radio':

"... the tedium is mind-boggling as they play the same lame riff over and over and over again. At one point, singer Adam Levine says: ???I???m sick of trying to engineer songs to be hits.??? But that???s exactly he proceeds to do.

"The final version of Makes Me Wonder came in three versions...

It was a spectacular hit."

Sunday 24 February 2008

Status: Student Tax

"compulsory weekly donations to a charity of the teacher's choice" is not charity, it is a tax. When did schoolboards get the power to tax students? Bad enough they tax the kids on what was once simply fun-stunts days, but to require $2/week and take it, even if it is lunch money?

Saturday 23 February 2008

The Myth of the Million Dollar Challenge


The Myth of the Million Dollar Challenge: "For ten years, the modern skeptical movement has wielded a cudgel against claims of the paranormal: the James Randi Million Dollar Challenge. In many debates over the possibility of psi abilities, the Challenge provides a final word for one side... 'has so-and-so applied for the Challenge?' The financial reward offered by the James Randi Educational Foundation is seen by many skeptics as providing an irresistible motivation for anybody with paranormal ability - after all, if someone could genuinely exhibit such powers, surely they would step forward to take the million?"
The Great Randi DEBUNKED!

A hilarious read, thoroughly and elegantly demolishing the great Urban Myth of the so-called 'final word' on the non-existence of paranormal phenomena. In retrospect, we probably didn't need a mystic medium to tell us it was as slyly bogus as making a casino 'vanish'.

Reading here on the REAL rules of the game, perhaps the psi-phy community could counter Randi's 'challenge' with their own million-dollar prize for anyone who can prove that Randi ever had any intention of ever parting with that money under any circumstances!

Saturday 16 February 2008

"Which instruments can you play?"


The Music Thing 'Which instruments can you play?' survey of 2008: I've been playing piano a bit recently, and thinking about how bad I am at it. Using the wondrous new Google Forms system, I thought I'd find out how you feel... Which instruments can you play well enough to enjoy playing them?
I used to say, "I will play ANYTHING ... but I won't guarantee anyone will want to listen!" but I later was given an even better operative definition by Will Henry who said you could play "if your kids no longer leave the room when you practice" and better still, Sun Ra's rule of the making of a sound that you deem suitable to present to the Creator of the Universe as your best argument for why the curse on this Planet Earth should be lifted -- but I can still see some good value to the Music Thing definition as being a check-mark for "all of the above"

Friday 15 February 2008

Carla Bley: On Leading A Band

Talkin' Jazz interview from 1997.

Some shy and nervous words of inspiration from Carla Bley, on the terrors of public performance, on making handicaps for herself just to get through a show, about leading a big-band in a man's small-combo world, about making mistakes and nervous fumbles and about why she still MUST do, because otherwise it just won't get done ...

Sunday 10 February 2008

My Photos: Unleashed


Godzilla Unleashed
: You are 200 feet tall, you spit atomic plasma and you throw buildings at your friends. What more could you want from a video game?

My local critics say, "But Dad, it's just like your Godzilla Save the Earth

!" to which I say oh pshaw it is nothing like STE; the cities are way different. So is the music. And they did away with that pointless alien bitch.

Thursday 7 February 2008

Wednesday 6 February 2008

Status: The Concept


Gary is going to take another run at The Concept (LCCTO) tho the prose of it reminds him greatly of finnegans wake, or maybe Synergetics Vol II.

Tuesday 5 February 2008

Michael Brecker: On Practicing

Michael Brecker interviewed by Bret Primack in 1996

Brecker has some excellent tips and advice, although myself, I hesitate to use the word 'practice' in this context, because it is not right, and words have power over our perceptions; 'practice' is what you do on the stage, as a doctor practices medicine, practice is the application of what you know on others.

On the other hand, what we do in the solitude of our own sound-play is perhaps a self-practice (Physician heal thyself!) but more correctly it is 'exercise', clearly in the classical gymnasium sense of toning and extending the mind and body so as to be fit for the practice. So I'm delighted to hear Michael Brecker describe his exercise regime as part learning, part keeping fit, and part just plain play.

Monday 4 February 2008

Mutant Killer Seaweed of Doom


Mutant Killer Seaweed of Doom: researchers developed Caulerpa taxifolia (Vahl) C. Agandh, a new-and-improved, genetically distinct strain which was particularly hardy and fast-growing. This variety was ideal for their purposes and it was shared with other museums and aquariums. For a time, all was well and good in the world of marine botany. In 1984, however, a square meter patch of this new variety of Caulerpa was found in the Mediterranean ...

Biolante!! This is it, meddlesome scientists wanting to beautify their Marineland while they cut costs for maintenance, they spend hours and hours in that linear-goal focus until they create a mutant rampage that now threatens the planet.

Of course we KNOW the solution: We just zap it to atoms with atomic breath from a giant lizard, and hope no shards of it escape up into space where they can combine with living space-crystals ...

Saturday 2 February 2008

Maize: food from the Gods?


Maize: food from the Gods?: "In a 1982 exhibition, the Mexican National Museum of Culture claimed that maize was ???not domesticated, but created???. Indeed, maize is accepted as Man???s first, and perhaps his greatest, feat of genetic engineering. So much so, that it is even said to be a gift from the gods."
"someone, millennia before Christ, was a far better genetic engineer than any currently working in the hundreds of scientific laboratories on the planet" ... and other interesting bits about one of our favourite foods, and how it has been farmed these past 4000 years.

Friday 1 February 2008

Purves Lab: See For Yourself

Purves Lab / See For Yourself: Explore how the research in the Purves Lab seeks to explain why we see and hear what we do. Several new demos have been added to the See For Yourself section of the website.
Things are not what they seem. nor are they otherwise -- I'm delighted to report that the Dale Purvis group at Duke U have scored in the Top 100 Scientific Discoveries of 2007 for their work on the deep links between music and vocal speech. Mind you, I told Dale his work was "the most significant advance in our theory of music since Pythagoras (or even Ptolemy)" which IMHO makes their research way more than just the top of 2007