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January 20, 2019

Journey to the Edge of the Universe

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National Geographic presents the first accurate non-stop voyage from Earth to the edge of the Universe using a single unbroken shot, through the use of computer-generated imagery technology.

Building on images taken from the Hubble telescope, "Journey to the Edge of the Universe" explores the science and history behind the distant celestial bodies in the solar system, then embarks on an epic voyage across the cosmos.

January 20, 2019 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

SleepScore App

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From the Washington Post: "There's a free app called SleepScore that tracks sleep stages using sonar. Place a phone running it by your bed, and it listens for waves bouncing off your body to identify when you're in light, deep, or REM sleep. One big downside: you have to leave your phone close to your bed."

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But in life there are no free lunches — the Post story continues: "SleepScore, owned by medical device maker ResMed, charges $6/month to see your trends and get recommendations."

January 20, 2019 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

"What I'm about to tell you is gonna change your life forever."

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"Are you really sure you want to know it?"

It took me two weeks and about ten repeat looks at this cartoon before I got it.

Attention Nick Bostrom: call your office, your simulation is ready.

[via RealityCarnival]

January 20, 2019 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Debussy plays "Clair de Lune" (1913)

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Claude-Achille Debussy — Clair de Lune (Mondglanz, Mondschein, Moonlight), Suite Bergamasque, Debussy, piano. The Suite bergamasque was first composed in 1890-1905.

"Claude Debussy Plays His Finest Works" — Claude Debussy, Piano Roll, 1913.

NOTE: This is NOT an ACOUSTIC RECORDING. This is a recording obtained by PIANO ROLL, see further details below.

Acoustic recordings were made by Debussy with Mary Garden and you can hear them here: https://youtu.be/W3NX_TrxfVk?t=1h17m25s (tempo 01:17:25)

From 1903 to 1913, Claude Debussy recorded several of his own pieces on piano rolls. Debussy was delighted with the reproduction quality, saying in a letter to Edwin Welte: "It is impossible to attain a greater perfection of reproduction than that of the Welte apparatus. I am happy to assure you in these lines of my astonishment and admiration of what I heard. I am, Dear Sir, Yours Faithfully, Claude Debussy."

More than one century old, these recordings allow us to listen to the great composer playing his own works. Debussy made his last recordings when he was 52 years old and suffering from cancer, in 1913. He died less than five years later, on March 25, 1918.

Rolls for the reproducing piano were generally made from the recorded performances of famous musicians. Typically, a pianist would sit at a specially designed recording piano, and the pitch and duration of any notes played would be either marked or perforated on a blank roll, together with the duration of the sustaining and soft pedal.

Reproducing pianos can also recreate the dynamics of a pianist's performance by means of specially encoded control perforations placed towards the edges of a music roll, but this coding was never recorded automatically.

Different companies had different ways of notating dynamics, some technically advanced (though not necessarily more effective), some secret, and some dependent entirely on a recording producer's handwritten notes, but in all cases these dynamic hieroglyphics had to be skillfully converted into the specialized perforated codes needed by the different types of instrument.

The playing of many pianists and composers is preserved on reproducing piano roll. Gustav Mahler, Camille Saint-Saëns, Edvard Grieg, Teresa Carreño, Claude Debussy, Manuel de Falla, Scott Joplin, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Sergei Prokofiev, Alexander Scriabin, Jelly Roll Morton, and George Gershwin are amongst the composers and pianists who have had their performances recorded in this way.

Claude Debussy's famous Clair de lune is the third piece of the Suite bergamasque for piano, a work whose title was chosen as much for its composer's love of the word-sounds as for its Renaissance implications (though the work can rightly be described as something of a tribute to the French harpsichordists of olden days).

The D flat major of Clair de lune is perfectly chosen, the gleaming melody in parallel thirds (con sordina, Debussy requests) expertly balanced by the beautifully dissonant tempo rubato that follows it. During the un poco mosso middle section of Clair de lune, the music swells far past the pianissimo of the opening, and in its climax one might say that the young composer has crafted more of sunlight than of moonlight; the incessant arpeggios may well be overdone, but one can cherish them all the same.

Little wisps of these arpeggios find their way over into the reprise of the opening music, and the rolling tones of the middle section are given a few measures to plead their case once more before the final chromatic cadence, a moment of absolute tranquility, is made.

Clair de Lune is a French poem written by Paul Verlaine in the year 1869. It is the inspiration for the third and most famous movement of Debussy's 1890 Suite bergamasque of the same name.

"Clair de lune" (Moonlight) is from Verlaine's early collection Fêtes galantes (Gallant Parties, 1869).

 

Clair de lune

 

Votre âme est un paysage choisi

Que vont charmant masques et bergamasques

Jouant du luth et dansant et quasi

Tristes sous leurs déguisements fantasques.

 

Tout en chantant sur le mode mineur

L'amour vainqueur et la vie opportune,

Ils n'ont pas l'air de croire à leur bonheur

Et leur chanson se mêle au clair de lune,

 

Au calme clair de lune triste et beau,

Qui fait rêver les oiseaux dans les arbres

Et sangloter d'extase les jets d'eau,

Les grands jets d'eau sveltes parmi les marbres.

 

—Paul Verlaine

 

 

Moonlight

 

Your soul is a select landscape fair

Where charming masqueraders and bergamaskers go

Playing the lute and dancing and almost

Sad beneath their fantastic disguises.

 

All sing in a minor key

Of victorious love and the opportune life,

They do not seem to believe in their happiness

And their song mingles with the moonlight,

 

With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful,

Which gives the birds to dream in the trees

And makes the fountain sprays sob in ecstasy,

The tall, slender fountain sprays among the marble statues.

 

—Paul Verlaine

January 20, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Throwback Sunday: 7-in-1 Rainbow Pencil

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Remember these?

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So wonderful

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back in the day.

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Now you can too!

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Black or Natural: $2.

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N.B. If you can sharpen mine as perfectly as the one up top, I will hire you. The benefits here are minimal — but the pay is even worse.

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Apply within.

January 20, 2019 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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