So by my idiosyncratic, school-year based way of reckoning, Summer is here, and so I can write up the three-star-plus music I added to my collection over the 3 months of Spring.
I kind of bunched these by genre, figuring that's the best chance of making this list useful to folks looking for stuff they like, but a really coherent categorization system is elusive. "Retro" is just "old", but not 90s old, which is a certain time when I was aware of music but not always going out and buying CDs. "Pop" tends to be a bit more polished and/or electronic than "Alt", but, well, you know.
4- and 5-star songs are marked in red.
One five star song:
All The Rowboats
regina spektor. Oh man, what a song. Spektor is one of the best artists out there. So much intensity... (plus I like what I think is just a hint of vocal percussion with the hits at the end.)
Star Lake March
Star Lake Music Camp. A brass band march I remember fondly; I ripped an MP3 from the youtube link, but then sped it up from 120bpm to 140bpm. (I think they were slowing it down for the timbrels, the synchronized tamourine playing that is an odd Salvation Army tradition.)
I'm The King
Royce Da 5'9. I was playing GTA3 on iPhone, and this was one of the songs from the car radios there.
Rising To The Top
8-Off Agallah Featuring Sean Price & Bazaar. Royale-- again from GTA3.
Optimus Rhyme. More nerdcore from PAX East, but just as recorded filler.
DC GO GO.
Baratunde Thurston's "How to Be Black" mentions "Go-Go" as a type of music only popular around Washington DC and Maryland... it's looping percussion is great, but I had to rip this MP3 from Youtube.
Shake Your Rump
The Beastie Boys. The sadly early death of MCA made me revisit some of their older works.
The Beastie Boys. Sometimes, very much older.
Know The Ledge
Eric B. and Rakim. Nice fast hiphop (Heard it on a promo for the first "Saints Row")
King Sun. Daniel Nester tweeted about vaguely remember seeing this on MTV, while high, at his college girlfriends. Nice bassline.
Back In Time
Pitbull. Enjoyed the Bass Drop. Not sure why it's not Will Smith though...
The Next Episode
Dr. Dre / Snoop Dogg. I like how it's acapella admonition to "smoke weed every day" was immediately followed by the Salvation Army Star Lake March on my playlist.
Bryan Bowers. Maybe I heard this folksy-song on public radio way back when?
Dog Police. I think Auntie Pixelante tweeted about the infectious chorus of this song. Maybe a kind of parody of rock operas?
Jonathan Coulton & GLaDOS. I still love "We do what we must because we can."
Bert, oh Bert!
Lena Meyer-Landrut. I think I posted about this German Sesame Street version of her Eurovision hit Satellite...
I'm Your Mailman
Bill "The Fox" Foster- from his album of badly sung but bawdy "Songs Banned in Boston".
Dracula's Lament -- The Late Late Show had Jason Segal and Dracula giving the full version of the song from "Forgetting Sarah Marshall". I like it's melancholy goofiness, punctuated by the second voice in the back.
CoinJar-Gettin Booty With It
Jason Ricciardi. Super catchy mashup of Will Smith "Gettin' Jiggy With It" and Parov Stelar's Booty Swing. Recommended!
You're The Top
Louis Armstrong. Still wishing I could find a recording of the naughty version of this, but it's such a great and clever song.
Thanks For The Memories
Bob Hope & Shirley Ross. I wish my mp3 had the same tearful ending as this video from the movie.
Akon. A really fun Bollywood video. A big people were doing synchronized dancing to it at an asian culture festival in DC. (I think the version I downloaded lacks the female vocals, damn.)
Call Me Maybe
Carly Rae Jepsen. Enormously popular, and deservedly so... so catchy.
Feel Good Inc
Gorillaz. These guys were doing that onstage hologram thing WAY before Tupac!
Nicki Minaj. Good song. And quite the sexy video. I adore the use of the Haka dancers...
Trash80. I admit I'm not super fond of most chiptunage, but this is great.
Kraftwerk. Ok, probably more of an inspirational piece to chiptunage than part of the genre itself, but still. A use of primitive digital voices closer to when they were the state of the art...
The GOP Sees Dead People--Voting Voter fraud happens retail (if that) and Conservatives are purging voter registrations wholesale. This is not justice.
"People who are brutally honest get more satisfaction out of the brutality than out of the honesty." --Richard J. Needham
The North Texas Skeptics is an organization devoted to the promotion of science and rational thinking in the study and understanding of the world around us. So we occasionally need to talk about science and the public's perceptions of science. John Sigler has forwarded this to me from the Internet because he considers it a remarkable indication of the state of science education in this country, and I have to agree. If all of this is strictly true (I'm a skeptic to the end), then things are much worse than we thought. As John said in his note: "[It's] kinda long and depressing, but the point is made quickly ..."
We don't have the original author's permission to reprint this entirely. In fact I have not been able to discover the name of the original author. How's that for a friend-of-friend story. So I will just relate what was said and quote where necessary. If you want to follow up, here is some information from the mail header:
"About 6-7 years ago, I was in a philosophy class at the University of Wisconsin, Madison (good science/engineering school) and the teaching assistant was explaining Descartes. He was trying to show how things don't always happen the way we think they will and explained that, while a pen always falls when you drop it on Earth, it would just float away if you let go of it on the Moon.
"My jaw dropped a little. I blurted 'What?!' Looking around the room, I saw that only my friend Mark and one other student looked confused by the TA's statement. The other 17 people just looked at me like 'What's your problem?'
"`But a pen would fall if you dropped it on the Moon, just more slowly.' I protested. `No it wouldn't,' the TA explained calmly, `because you're too far away from the Earth's gravity.'
"Think. Think. Aha! `You saw the APOLLO astronauts walking round on the Moon, didn't you?' I countered, `Why didn't they float away?' `Because they were wearing heavy boots,' he responded, as if this made perfect sense (remember, this is a Philosophy TA who's had plenty of logic classes).
By now the two heroes of our story were really charged up. Remarking on the stupidity of philosophy majors they went back to their dorm and conducted an unscientific, nearly random phone survey. They selected 30 respondents and asked this question:
1. "If you're standing on the Moon holding a pen, and you let go, will it
a) float away, b) float where it is, or c) fall to the ground?
Encouragingly, they report that 47 percent answered correctly (answers at the end of this article). Next they asked the remaining 53 percent (16 people):
2. "You've seen films of the APOLLO astronauts walking around on the Moon, why didn't they fall off?
"About 20 percent of the people changed their answer to the first question when they heard this one!" The others? You guessed it! "Heavy boots."
Undaunted, our heroes plugged on. One of them (Wally) was teaching a physical science class, and he gave his class the heavy boots quiz, asking what would happen to the pen and the astronauts. Here are the results:
8 people thought the pen would float away
5 thought it would float where it is
5 said it would drop to the ground
"Of those in the first two catagories [sic], several said that the gravitational pull of the moon kept the astronauts from floating away. And some said they were wearing heavy suits. And one said they were wearing lead-weighted boots."
The Internet note listed several of the actual responses to the class quiz, but I'm only going to give you a couple of the more interesting ones:
1. Float where it is
2. They don't fall off the moon because they were anchored to their hip with a rope. The rope was tied to the atronaught (sic) on one end and the ship on the other.
1. Fall to the ground
2. The reason that the astronauts fall to the ground is because the moon has a certain amount of atmosphere. This atmosphere is not half as powerful as the earth's but is (sic) still produces a minute gravitational effect.
The saga goes on: "So a bunch of us TAs got together and gave our physics classes quizzes asking this question. Out of 168 people taking the quiz, 48 missed the question." Again, here are two interesting responses:
From a class in Physics 324 — Modern Physics for Engineers:
The gravity of the moon can be said to be negligible, and also the moon's a vacuum, there is no external force on the pen. Therefore it will float where it is.
From a class in Physics 221 — First Semester Calculus-based Introductory Physics:
External forces that are present on the moon will attract the pen. There isn't gravity on the moon as there is on earth so the pen won't drop.
The original mailer included pages of responses from the students, all indicating a lack of understanding of some fairly basic science concepts. It's no good saying, "Wait! These were undergraduates. What do you expect?" This is the kind of material that should be picked up in grades four through six. By all students. My guess is that this was presented, and maybe the students did learn it then. However, we live in a society that so relies on received knowledge from entertainment and from authority figures that at a young age we quit thinking for ourselves. What should be simple problems of logic such as these are not attacked rigorously unless circumstances absolutely require it. The usual approach is to pick the most convenient answer and go with that.
I have recently gotten involved in the Science-by-Mail program, which incorporates mentors from science and industry into science projects at local schools. So far, I am finding it an interesting experience, and I believe both the students and the mentors can benefit. I know that one of the benefits I will gain from this is a better understanding of science teaching in the public schools today, and I encourage others to check out the program. Information will generally be available at our meetings.
All right, for you philosophy majors who found this issue of The Skeptic on the bus, here are the answers to the quiz:
1. The correct answer is (c) — The pen would fall to the ground (the surface of the Moon, that is).
2. I don't know. If they didn't fall off, how did the astronauts get back to the Earth?
-LAN3 seemed to be sad that it was harder and harder to find copies of this, and it's worth retelling...
"Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving." --Albert Einsteinhttp://yourbrainonecon.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/am-i-a-horrible-and-repulsive-person/ Interesting musing on political leanings and cosmopolitanism. I think most folk's political leanings are instinctive, and not as well thought out as this guy's... but also that the gut feelings of lefties tend to come for a more compassionate and empathetic place.
http://runningastartup.tumblr.com livin' the vida startup. Good use of reaction GIFs.
Man. Tank! Tank! Tank! -- I have been looking for a tank game for a long while.
Despite my usual commitment to rationality, I have some magical thinking about sports, as if my watching a live game can change Boston sports outcomes.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rC8VJ9aeB_g - my sadness that "Django Unchained" is not about Django Reinhardt is tempered by that AMAZING remix of "The Payback"
"The people you are sure are wrong are just as sure that you are wrong. The only difference is they're wrong." --http://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod
"You down wit OCD?" Yes, you know me. "You down wit OCD?" Yes, you know me. "You down wit OCD?" Yes, you know me. "Who's down wit OCD?" Every homie, without exception. After a weekend jaunt to Pittsburgh Amber noted a surprising lack of river- and harbor-side dining options...
In "Driving With Plato", Robert Rowland Smith begins the chapter "Having Your First Kiss" with a bit of Shakespeare:
ROMEO [To JULIET.]
If I profane with my unworthiest hand
This holy shrine, the gentle sin is this:
My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand
To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss.
Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much,
Which mannerly devotion shows in this;
For saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch,
And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss.
Have not saints lips, and holy palmers too?
Ay, pilgrim, lips that they must use in prayer.
O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do;
They pray -- grant thou, lest faith turn to despair.
Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake.
Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take.
...A kiss is a matter of delight, of play, of a delicious hide-and-seek, as light as a feather and as solemn as the prayers to which Shakespeare's lovers allude. It hovers like a net to catch all their fluttering feelings: hope, expectation, anxiety, curiosity, relief, abandon. It waits for them teasingly at the end of the sonnet, to bless the miracle of love at first sight. Listening to Romeo and Juliet, one wants to say that above all kissing proves there are more mysterious and wonderful things in the world than are dreamed of by science.
But what's interesting is that this romantic wondrous-ness finds itself enhanced rather than diminished by the formal elements, the scientific structure, of the verse, and that the young lovers themselves seem more than a little aware of it. That repeated s, for example, makes the lines sound like the kissing they describe, especially because the s often combines with a p, not only in the words lips itself, but also palmers, prayers and pilgrims. Each time Romeo or Juliet speaks, he or she repeats at least one key word that the other has just enunciated, as if their fates were becoming laced together through each letter of that word. The final two lines create not only a couplet but a couple: they demonstrate the union and symmetry between the love-birds.
"Driving with Plato" is a pretty good book! I need to check out his earlier work "Breakfast with Socrates" (which is about what philosophy has to say about every day events, vs "Driving"'s emphasis on major life milestones, like a first kiss...
"You become yourself with another self: you make a pair, and in doing so you see the future in each other's eyes." --Robert Rowland Smith on "Falling in Love""Indeed recognizing that with death the relationship must end gives marriage much of its human pathos. The vows say 'I'll love you for as long as I possibly can. I can't love you after I'm dead, because I'll be dead.' Marriage begins from death, as it were, and work backward to fill the intervening period with love." --Robert Rowland Smith on "Tying the Knot"You know, I like Dubstep-ish Bass Drops as much as the next guy, but it's odd it's the only way to tell current from 10-15 yr old things.
I posted some examples from this earlier (one of the stills is now the lock screen for my iPad, though I don't see it much with the smart cover) but man... the motion of these extremely-windblown faces is CRAZY -- I didn't know skin could move like that!
Most of my arts and crafts tend to be virtual, but encouraged by
zefrank's episode on finishing stamps and the followup project, I made my own physical rubber stamp! A process not unlike printmaking. (I've since cut down the rear fist so it looks like Alien Bill is bowling...)
Not sure if the novel "36 Arguments for the Existence of God" is heavy handed Ayn Rand for Atheists or if I'm just jealous of the characters
"Happiness isn't something you experience; it's something you remember." --Oscar Levant"America used to be run by checks and balances. Today, it's run entirely by checks." --http://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod"Why do Staples and Office Depot smell the same? Is it paper, glue, or despair?" --http://twitter.com/Lileks
What's so odd today is that this sense of the unique experience of love coincides with the common knowledge that love can indeed befall you more than once in a lifetime. In this sense Anna Karenina heralds the modern age, and "first love" is precisely that: first but not last. As people live longer, become more affluent, and are aware of increased choice, there's a much more developed sense of love being a pleasure to be refreshed periodically, like buying a new house. And yet first love is special, an exercise of the soul that both recalls the munificence and warmth of being a child and introduces the sense of oneself as a grown-up, as someone who might make a journey through life with someone you didn't start life with. You become yourself with another self: you make a pair, and in doing so you see the future in each other's eyes.
Yesterday when I was hiking a bit in the Boston Harbor islands, none of the guide or rangers knew why it has an area called "Hypocrite Channel".
http://www.buzzfeed.com/expresident/pictures-that-will-restore-your-faith-in-humanity - I admit I got a little misty at some of these "restore your faith in humanity" photos...
My "actionfigurefighter" was the featured screenshot on this Penny Arcade report about Pirate Kart gems.
"Indeed recognizing that with death the relationship must end gives marriage much of its human pathos. The vows say 'I'll love you for as long as I possibly can. I can't love you after I'm dead, because I'll be dead.' Marriage begins from death, as it were, and work backward to fill the intervening period with love." --Robert Rowland Smith on "Tying the Knot"
Personally I think the weirdest thing right now is how health insurance is the default employment perk -- it's bundled with its costs oddly masked. No matter where you are on single payer healthcare thinking, don't you think the status quo is a bit weird?