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By TheophileEscargot (Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 04:49:08 AM EST) Reading, Watching, MLP (all tags)
Listening: "Understanding the Fundamentals of Music". Watching: "Gran Torino". Web.


What I'm Listening To
Latest Teaching Company course was Understanding the Fundamentals of Music by Robert Greenberg.

I've done at least forty of these courses now, and this was definitely the one I've struggled most with. Found it very difficult to get to grips with the theory behind harmony and composition. I think there are several factors at work: I'm not very musical, and listening on the way to work left me without the diagrams, but it also seemed pretty hard. Greenberg advises that you listen to the course more than once: I did re-listen to a bit, but don't think I'm sufficiently motivated to go through the whole thing again.

I did get some benefit from it. It was interesting the way he demonstrated harmonies, dissonances, and tonics on the piano. They're not just making this stuff up: there really are all these degrees of pleasure and pain available just by combining notes. Greenberg is enthusiastic and there are lots of interesting little facts scattered throughout it, like piccolo player having to practice with earplugs.

However, I remain pretty baffled about the subtleties of pivot modulation, amen cadences, half-diminished sevenths and the like.

What I'm Watching
Saw the Clint Eastwood movie Gran Torino on DVD. A retired curmudgeon is first hostile, then helpful when an Asian family movies in next door.

Not bad: good to see the defiant Eastwood snarling to the last, especially when ordering the kids off his lawn.

Found it a bit of a jarring disconnect between different parts of the movie though. It starts off as a comedy, then gets serious, and has some fairly implausible action: makes it hard to suspend disbelief. Worth a look though.

Reel Geezers review.

Random
"Where we're going, we don't need..." is a pretty familiar meme by now. But I only just found out it's from Event Horizon, even though I saw that movie.

Web
Random. Ask MeFi on cooking a steak by orbital re-entry. Pronouncing words. Ultrasound tactile holograms (MeFi) Multiplayer notepad via B3ta. What the Daily Mail says cures or causes cancer.

Video. Sand-drawing storytelling. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. Bus jump. Mitchell and Webb: football. The Porpoise Driven Life. Mattress dominoes viral ad.

Pics. Old London pics, Shaftesbury Avenue. Camouflaged animals. Spaghetti-haired sausages (MeFi). Adding stickers saying "fuck" to signs.

News. Twitter/Facebook DOS attacks aimed at blogger over Georgia/Russia anniversary. (/.) ID cards cloned and altered in 12 minutes. Youth abandon social networking sites: I think this fad is just about peaking.

Articles. Is warfare inevitable? Is Oliver James the new Awful Poo Lady?

Economics. Estimating GDP by lights from space. Chinese stats unreliable. Carbon policies won't affect driving much:

There's a serious popular misconception about the changes we'll make to confront global warming. Many people think that we'll cut back dramatically on oil fueled transportation, when in reality that's one of the polluting activities whose cost is least affected by a carbon price.

Let's consider what would happen if the price per ton of CO2 emissions shot to $100 tomorrow. This is much higher than we're likely to see in the near future, of course, but it's useful to understand what might happen a couple decades down the road. It translates into an increase in the price of electricity from coal of about 10.5 cents, enough to increase the whole cost of coal power to over 15 cents. At this point, many alternative sources of electricity become extremely competitive with coal, and indeed probably cheaper: solar thermal, nuclear, wind, combined-cycle gas, etc. The corresponding rise in the price of gasoline, on the other hand, is slightly less than a dollar. This is hardly insignificant, but it's smaller than the swings we've seen over the past few years, and not nearly enough to threaten the basic viability of car transportation.

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And The Seventh Brings Return | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
ID Cards by priestess (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 05:50:54 AM EST
Government says it's all crap and that they weren't hacked at all.

Course, they would stay that.

Course, I don't support ID cards whether they're easily hacked, or whether you need an insider at the Department of ID to do it.

If you do listen to the Music thing again, probably better to do so after a reasonable gap, let it sink in a bit first. Think on it some while listening to something else before you do so. Maybe even some music ;)

Loved the football thing when I saw it on Telly. Been pedantically picking people up on calling Football Teams and historical armies "We" or "Us" for years. It doesn't make you popular though.

Pre...............
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Chat to the virtual me...

Linked to wrong story there by priestess (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 05:57:49 AM EST
Meant to link to The Home Office is using root certificate with a RSA 4096-bit strength key.
A root certificate is either an unsigned public key certificate or a self-signed certificate that identifies the root certificate authority (CA).

According to Wikipedia, as of 2008, the largest (known) number factored by a general-purpose factoring algorithm was 663 bits long. Some experts believe that 1024-bit keys may become breakable in the near term, but few see any way that 4096-bit keys could be broken in the foreseeable future.


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Chat to the virtual me...
[ Parent ]
Oh, and Social Networking Sites by priestess (4.00 / 3) #2 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 05:54:52 AM EST
Will continue to grow. Teens might start using something else, but the demographics using 'em will expand.

Also, teens not using it may be a boon for those of us who still do.

Also, one tiny drop in a survey is probably just a statistical blip anyway.

Pre............
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Chat to the virtual me...

Erm.. by TypographicalError (4.00 / 2) #4 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 07:22:18 AM EST
"Where we're going, we don't need..." is a pretty familiar meme by now. But I only just found out it's from Event Horizon, even though I saw that movie.

It's from the end of Back to the Future, isn't it? "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads," and then the DeLorean takes off.


Could be by TheophileEscargot (2.00 / 0) #5 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 07:53:41 AM EST
It's even longer since I've seen that movie.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?
[ Parent ]
Economic Numbers from China by jimgon (4.00 / 1) #6 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 09:01:15 AM EST
Well, the numbers from America aren't true either, but we just don't pay attention to that anymore.  The Chinese numbers are completely out of whack.  The only difference is that there's a general built-in lack of disbelief when it comes to the US numbers.  We've been trained to accept the sleight of hand.  The Chinese are a rival, so we're instantly on guard to shenanigans.  I'm a bit more concerned right now that the unemployment numbers in the US have politicians and business people heralding the end of the recession, when the likelihood is that the improvement in the numbers are from people leaving the workforce.




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
Hmm by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #8 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:00:30 AM EST
I don't think US, EU or UK stats are as unreliable as that. They might fudge some definitions, cherry-pick some numbers, and spin the results; but in an open society it's a lot harder to just make stuff up without being called out on it.

On the other hand, if confidence and perception are what matters, a state-controlled media might be an advantage. Convince your consumers that the recession is over with fake statistics, and they'll start spending again, thus ending the recession.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
Yeah but the British and American statisticians by Scrymarch (4.00 / 1) #9 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 07:27:20 AM EST
Don't get state sponsored motivational poetry.

The Political Science Department of the University of Woolloomooloo

[ Parent ]
State Owned Media by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #10 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 06:23:07 PM EST
You don't need state owned media when the government and business share the same sheets 




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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
I loved Gran Torino by nebbish (4.00 / 1) #7 Sat Aug 08, 2009 at 07:19:16 PM EST
It's charm and warm-heartedness far outweigh the cheesiness and continuity problems. Sometimes films are just great despite themselves.

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It's political correctness gone mad!

Pentatonic scale by Beechwood 45789 (4.00 / 1) #11 Sun Aug 09, 2009 at 10:17:44 PM EST
I find music theory fascinating, but be careful - too much and you'll find yourself understanding Steve Reich and Bang On a Can and all those other modern composers that everybody loves to hate.

There's a brilliant demonstration of the innate structure of the pentatonic scale by, of all people, Bobby "Don't Worry, Be Happy" McFerrin. Exploiting the structure inherent in the scale, he uses an entire lecture audience as his instrument after "rehearsing" a single note for maybe 5 or 6 seconds.

The clip fades to black and comes back in, so just skip the intro:

http://vimeo.com/5732745


I understand Steve Reich. by Tonatiuh (4.00 / 2) #12 Tue Aug 11, 2009 at 06:08:31 AM EST
And I think he is a genius.

I like his music too ("Different Trains" is a must hear for any educated person).

People that hate Reich are simply not listening.


[ Parent ]
And The Seventh Brings Return | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback