17 November 2017

Concierto de Aranjuez (Joaquin Rodrigo)


"Joaquín Rodrigo Vidre, 1st Marquis of the Gardens of Aranjuez... commonly known as Joaquín Rodrigo, was a Spanish composer and a virtuoso pianist.

Rodrigo was born in Sagunto, Valencia, and completely lost his sight at the age of three after contracting diphtheria. He began to study solfège, piano and violin at the age of eight; harmony and composition from the age of 16. Although distinguished by having raised the Spanish guitar to dignity as a universal concert instrument and best known for his guitar music, he never mastered the instrument himself.  He wrote his compositions in Braille, which was transcribed for publication.

His most famous work, Concierto de Aranjuez, was composed in 1939 in Paris for the guitarist Regino Sainz de la Maza. In later life he and his wife declared that it was written as a response to the miscarriage of their first child. It is a concerto for guitar and orchestra. The central adagio movement is one of the most recognizable in 20th-century classical music, featuring the interplay of guitar with cor anglais. This movement was later adapted by the jazz arranger Gil Evans for Miles Davis' 1960 album "Sketches of Spain".
I first encountered this music in the 1960s on the Miles Davis album.  I'm pleased now to blog the entire concierto.

Posted for my cousin Karl in Barcelona.

"Hora staccato" (Grigoras Dinicu)



I've heard this piece many times, probably as background music, but can't cite any specific examples.

(and I'm always amazed that violinists don't poke each other in the eye...)

15 November 2017

Ummm....no. But good try.

 Via

"Midnight Train to Georgia" - Gladys Knight and the Pips


It started out as "The Midnight Plane to Houston," inspired by a chance comment by Farrah Fawcett, who was flying home to visit her parents. The song was first recorded by Cissy Houston, who changed the plane to a train and the destination to Georgia. It then went to Gladys Knight and the Pips, who took it to #1 on the charts in 1973. 

The video above is from a performance at Chicago's Regal Theater (I don't know the year). Personally I prefer this 1973 version, but it can't be embedded. Love those Pips. Lyrics here.

Addendum: A big hat tip to Piper, who knew of a version with the Pips singing their parts without Gladys Knight. This from a 1977 Richard Pryor television show. "Midnight Train to Georgia" is in the second half of the video.


(Originally posted in 2009)

Divertimento #139


This is how the 1% fly.

Why the names on movie posters don't match the pictures above them (video).

More treasures recovered from the antikythera shipwreck (bronze sculptures).  "The bronze recycling industry was huge in classical times and later in the medieval period, leading to the destruction of countless statues and other artefacts that would be priceless today. For this reason, many of the finest specimens of bronze statues that survive were once lost at sea."

Why Blade Runner is called "Blade Runner." (related to an old book about a health-care dystopia)

Here is the IMDb compilation of "movie mistakes" for Blade Runner.

"Twenty-four year old Catt Gallinger’s fun excursion into body art ended in horror when an eye tattoo left her partially blinded and oozing purple tears. The tattoo was meant to have tinted her sclera, the white part of her eye, but instead went terribly wrong, causing pain and possible permanent impairment." (photos at the link)

Laundry symbols explained.

Photo of a crocodile inside its amniotic sac.

Santa Claus's tomb discovered.


Brief video of the disposal of the carcass of an immense leatherback sea turtle.  (Football fans should scroll down to see the trick play for a touchdown in the Akron-Ohio game, for a reminder that defenses almost never assign anyone to cover the quarterback.)

"...the CEOs of the biggest US companies, whose average pension benefit is $253,088/month..."

A nomination for the most confusing person to sing "Happy Birthday" to.

Handy tip for the cold and flu season.

"The deadly tsunami that struck north-east Japan in 2011 has carried almost 300 species of sea life thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean to the west coast of the United States.  In what experts are calling the longest maritime migration ever recorded, an estimated one million creatures – including crustaceans, sea slugs and sea worms – made the 4,800-mile (7,725km) journey on a flotilla of tsunami debris."

A gift for the person who has everthing: a headless robotic cat.

An intersting NDR documentary film about the German tree-farming industry (auf Deutsch).

Showerthought: "If the media stopped saying "hacking" and instead said "figured out their password", people would probably take password security a lot more seriously."

The Swedes call it "deathcleaning."  (They actually call it "döstädning.") It's what I'm doing right now in my real life.  More on the topic in this longer article.

A proposed redesign for the Green Bay Packers logo.


"Republican Georgia state Sen. Michael Williams is holding a giveaway for a bump stock — the same type of device law enforcement officials say the Vegas shooter used to kill over 50 people during a concert in early October." (citing the claim that bump stocks save lives by introducing inaccuracy in the weapon)

Tantalizing tidbits from the Blue Planet II series.

A headline for our times: "Exclusive: Neo-Nazi and National Front organiser quits movement, opens up about Jewish heritage, comes out as gay." (true, apparently)

Do NOT try to vacuum up spilled printer ink.

"British Airways has apologised to a Canadian family after they were bitten by bed bugs on a transatlantic flight between Vancouver and London.  Heather Szilagyi, her seven-year-old daughter, Molly, and her fiance, Eric Neilson, were left covered with painful insect bites while travelling from Canada to Slovakia this month... Szilagyi said she had first noticed the bed bugs on the seat in front of her, then spotted another crawling out from behind a TV monitor. “I wanted to grab it but they’re quick and it crawled back inside, behind the screen,” she told the Canadian broadcaster CTV."

"Nearly every country on Earth is named after one of these four things."

Lake Baikal now getting trashed (with pollution, poaching).

The story of Terry Fox and the Marathon of Hope.

"A University of Minnesota graduate student who accused a colleague of sexual harassment was awarded just one dollar in March, but her lawyers will get... $305,000 in fees..."

Icelanders are attempting to reestablish their country's aboriginal forests.  "When Iceland was first settled at the end of the ninth century, much of the land on or near the coast was covered in birch woodlands... By most accounts, the island was largely deforested within three centuries."


Travelers should beware of cons involving "voluntourism." "Voluntourism is a form of tourism in which travellers participate in voluntary work, typically for a charity: think building houses in Haiti; working in an orphanage in Thailand; or teaching English in India."

Solar power is transforming Mongolia: "Far more ubiquitous than mobile phones are solar LEDs. Every ger has its panels and batteries. The panel (usually one) is simple, tied to a pole, which can be rotated by hand every now and then to follow the sun. It will power a single LED light bulb, perhaps charge a phone and a shortwave radio. Less commonly it will power a TV with a satellite dish. Having a cheap, steady light all night makes a huge difference: It extends evenings, makes cooking more convenient, and reduces toxic smoke in the home. I did not see a ger without solar."

Clever replacement for a lazy susan cabinet.

If you are posting photographs of anything that is rare or protected - something that others might want to poach - ""Turn off anything that transmits location before you visit it," he said. "Make sure the GPS-embedding is off on your camera. And be careful."

Unity Valkyrie Freeman-Mitford (amazing name) was conceived in the town of Swastika and became BFF with Churchill and Hitler.

Here's something you can create to embarrass your child for the rest of their life.

Art made of only Q-tips.

"On October 27th, 2007, Trinity found themselves down 2 points with 2 seconds left on their own 40 yard line. And then they put together an miraculous set of laterals to score the winning touchdown against Millsaps." (15 laterals)

A wristband developed for blind and visually-impaired people can enhance echolocation abilities.

Raptors can perch safely on power polesm, but not if they are carrying a long snake.

"Stan" has become a verb.

Tongue in cheek: "the worst fire escape ever."

An extensive discussion of the theories about the unusual death of Edgar Allan Poe.  Also here.


Today's embedded images are selections from a large gallery of color photos of the 1939 World's Fair assembled at The Atlantic.  Credit: Peter Campbell / Corbis via Getty.

This is a terrible name for a product


Posted for the amusement of my cousin Kathy in SLC.

Via

In the cheese shop...

Customer: Cheshire?

Wenslydale: No.

Customer: Dorset Bluveny?

Wenslydale: No.

Customer: Brie, Roquefort, Pol le Veq, Port Salut, Savoy Aire, Saint Paulin, Carrier de lest, Bres Bleu, Bruson?

Wenslydale: No.

Customer: Camenbert, perhaps?

Wenslydale: Ah! We have Camenbert, yessir.

Customer: (surprised) You do! Excellent.

Wenslydale: Yessir. It's..ah,.....it's a bit runny...

Customer: Oh, I like it runny.

Wenslydale: Well,.. It's very runny, actually, sir.

Customer: No matter. Fetch hither the fromage de la Belle France! Mmmwah!

Wenslydale: I...think it's a bit runnier than you'll like it, sir.

Customer: I don't care how fucking runny it is. Hand it over with all speed.

Wenslydale: Oooooooooohhh........!

Customer: What now?

Wenslydale: The cat's eaten it.

Recognizable to all Monty Python fans as an exchange from the Cheese Shop Sketch (first aired November 1972). You can access the text of Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches HERE and HERE. Never know when you might need to get an exact quote from the Spanish Inquisition, or the Argument Clinic, or Anne Elk's Theory of Brontosauruses...

Reposted from 2008 (! this blog is getting old) to add the complete video, which wasn't available to link to back in the old days:

iPhone in a 1937 painting - and in an 1860 painting


Image cropped for size from the original at Vice's Motherboard, where the painting is discussed.

Reposted to add this image (cropped for emphasis) from “The Expected One,” an 1860 work by Austrian painter Ferdinand Georg Waldmüller:


Discussed (and explained) at Vice's Motherboard.

Source image for the 1860 painting.

12 November 2017

Fatwood

Fatwood, also known as "fat lighter,"... "pine knot," "lighter knot," "heart pine"... is derived from the heartwood of pine trees. This resin-impregnated heartwood becomes hard and rot-resistant. The stump (and tap root) left in the ground after a tree has fallen or has been cut is an excellent source of fatwood. Other locations, such as the joints where limbs intersect the trunk, can also be harvested...

Because of the flammability of terpene, fatwood is prized for use as kindling in starting fires. It lights quickly even when wet, is very wind resistant, and burns hot enough to light larger pieces of wood. A small piece of fatwood can be used many times to create tinder by shaving small curls and using them to light other larger tinder. The pitch-soaked wood produces an oily, sooty smoke, and it is recommended that one should not cook on a fire until all the fatwood has completely burned out.

Heartwood (or duramen) is wood that as a result of a naturally occurring chemical transformation has become more resistant to decay. Heartwood formation is a genetically programmed process that occurs spontaneously... Heartwood is often visually distinct from the living sapwood, and can be distinguished in a cross-section where the boundary will tend to follow the growth rings...

Sapwood (or alburnum) is the younger, outermost wood; in the growing tree it is living wood, and its principal functions are to conduct water from the roots to the leaves and to store up and give back according to the season the reserves prepared in the leaves. However, by the time they become competent to conduct water, all xylem tracheids and vessels have lost their cytoplasm and the cells are therefore functionally dead. All wood in a tree is first formed as sapwood. The more leaves a tree bears and the more vigorous its growth, the larger the volume of sapwood required.
One of the pleasant memories of my childhood in Minnesota is of searching through the woods with my mother looking for pine knots to put in the fireplace.  We used them to add a pleasant odor to the cabin, not for kindling per se.

Lots more things you wouldn't know at the heartwood link.

Photo (cropped for size) via the Mildly Interesting subreddit.

Trailer for "The Post"


"Steven Spielberg directs Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post, a thrilling drama about the unlikely partnership between The Washington Post’s Katharine Graham (Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Hanks), as they race to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents. The two must overcome their differences as they risk their careers – and their very freedom – to help bring long-buried truths to light."
One wonders what impact the current Paradise Papers revelation will have compared to the Pentagon Papers.

Equifax sells your salary history

As reported by NBC News:
The Equifax credit reporting agency, with the aid of thousands of human resource departments around the country, has assembled what may be the most powerful and thorough private database of Americans’ personal information ever created, containing 190 million employment and salary records covering more than one-third of U.S. adults.

Some of the information in the little-known database, created through an Equifax-owned company called The Work Number, is sold to debt collectors, financial service companies and other entities...

But salary information is also for sale by Equifax through The Work Number. Its database is so detailed that it contains week-by-week paystub information dating back years for many individuals, as well as other kinds of human resources-related information, such as health care provider, whether someone has dental insurance and if they’ve ever filed an unemployment claim...

How does Equifax obtain this sensitive and secret information? With the willing aid of thousands of U.S. businesses, including many of the Fortune 500. Government agencies -- representing 85 percent of the federal civilian population, including workers at the Department of Defense, according to Equifax -- and schools also work with The Work Number..
That was from an article published in 2013.  I naively assumed that the situation might have changed by now.   Nope.  CNN writes "Why Equifax will continue to profit by selling your personal information":
"But it's not in the interest of lenders to stop sharing information with the credit rating agencies, Horn said. It could hurt the accuracy of the credit reports they buy back."

Impressive "dead spot" on a tennis court



The original video of the televised 2011 tennis match is here.  The science was discussed on All Things Considered.

Carfentanil - "A dose as small as a grain of sand can kill you"

From a report in The Guardian:
Developed in the 1970s as a tranquilizer for large animals such as elephants and bears, the synthetic opioid has also been studied as a potential chemical weapon by countries including the US, China and Israel. It is thought to have been deployed with disastrous effects when Russian special forces attempted to rescue hundreds of hostages from a Moscow theatre in 2002.

But it only burst into public view last year after officials across North America began to warn that it was being cut with heroin and other illicit drugs, leaving a rash of overdoses and deaths in its wake.
“An amount as small as a grain of sand can kill you,” Dr Karen Grimsrud, Alberta’s chief medical officer, told reporters after traces of carfentanil were found in the bodies of two men who had overdosed. “Carfentanil is about 100 times more toxic than fentanyl and about 10,000 times more toxic than morphine.”..

The remarks came after Canadian police – protected by hazmat suits and oxygen containers – seized one kilogram of carfentanil hidden inside cartridges labelled as printer ink and which had been shipped to Vancouver from China.

Given the purity of the substance seized, police estimated that the package could contain as many as 50m lethal doses – enough to wipe out the entire population of the country.
Scary.  And I bet it's not hard to synthesize.  Could be aerosolized via drones in a city or at a stadium.

Adaptive glasses for colorblind people



There are several compilation videos of people receiving Enchroma glasses and seeing color for the first time (here, here, and in their sidebars).

If you know someone who is colorblind who doesn't have these glasses - what are you waiting for?

MIT Technology Review explains how the glasses work.  I didn't even know they existed.  You learn something every day. 

Addendum from reader Drabkikker: Being colorblind typically does not mean you see everything in black and white, but rather that certain colors appear the same to you. What these glasses do is reduce the overlap between those colors, allowing you to distinguish them better.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...