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July 26, 2020

Vocal Ranges of the World's Greatest Singers

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"Compare the vocal ranges of today's top artists with the greatest of all time."

"This chart shows the highest and lowest notes each artist hit in the recording studio."

"Hover over the bars to see the songs on which they reaches those notes."

Sort by Vocal Range, Highest Notes, or Lowest Notes.

July 26, 2020 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)


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"Generate abstract paintings

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in one click."

July 26, 2020 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Summertime on Saturn


From NASA:

Saturn is truly the lord of the rings in this latest snapshot from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, taken on July 4, 2020, when the opulent giant world was 839 million miles from Earth.

This new Saturn image was taken during summer in the planet's northern hemisphere.

Hubble found a number of small atmospheric storms.

These are transient features that appear to come and go with each yearly Hubble observation.

The banding in the northern hemisphere remains pronounced as seen in Hubble's 2019 observations, with several bands slightly changing color from year to year.

The ringed planet's atmosphere is mostly hydrogen and helium with traces of ammonia, methane, water vapor, and hydrocarbons that give it a yellowish-brown color.

Hubble photographed a slight reddish haze over the northern hemisphere in this color composite.

This may be due to heating from increased sunlight, which could either change the atmospheric circulation or perhaps remove ices from aerosols in the atmosphere.

Another theory is that the increased sunlight in the summer months is changing the amounts of photochemical haze produced.

"It's amazing that even over a few years, we're seeing seasonal changes on Saturn," said lead investigator Amy Simon of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Conversely, the just-now-visible south pole has a blue hue, reflecting changes in Saturn's winter hemisphere.

Hubble's sharp view resolves the finely etched concentric ring structure.

The rings are mostly made of pieces of ice, with sizes ranging from tiny grains to giant boulders.

Just how and when the rings formed remains one of our solar system's biggest mysteries.

Conventional wisdom is that they are as old as the planet, over 4 billion years.

But because the rings are so bright — like freshly fallen snow — a competing theory is that they may have formed during the age of the dinosaurs.

Many astronomers agree that there is no satisfactory theory that explains how rings could have formed within just the past few hundred million years.

"However, NASA's Cassini spacecraft measurements of tiny grains raining into Saturn's atmosphere suggest the rings can only last for 300 million more years, which is one of the arguments for a young age of the ring system," said team member Michael Wong of the University of California, Berkeley.

Two of Saturn's icy moons are clearly visible in this exposure: Mimas at right, and Enceladus at bottom.

July 26, 2020 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


From the Economist:

Ylvis and the inspiration of banality

A Norwegian comedy duo make music out of the very ordinary

The song begins in typical power-ballad fashion, with plaintive piano chords and rumbling strings.

Soon, though, the lyrics go awry.

The lead singer reflects on his good fortune — a successful career on television, a passionate marriage, a "thousand-dollar haircut" — but laments that he is tormented day and night by a single question.

Such soft-rock numbers usually dwell on a former lover or missed opportunity; what preoccupies this man is a prehistoric monument in south-west England.

"What's the deal with Stonehenge?" he cries, his white shirt billowing in the wind. Is it "a giant granite birthday cake, or a prison far too easy to escape?"

There are few more enjoyable ways to while away an evening in lockdown than discovering the work of Ylvis, a Norwegian comedy duo.

Made up of brothers Vegard and Bard Ylvisaker, the band produces delightfully absurd pastiches of various kinds of music.

Many of the songs were written in English for their variety TV show, "Tonight With Ylvis," and are best consumed on YouTube with the zany accompanying videos.

This is music designed to be appreciated at home, where the lyrics can be easily digested and the videos paused or repeated when laughter ensues.

Much of Ylvis's comic appeal lies in the way they treat everyday, even banal, themes with deadpan gravity.

They wrote a song about animal noises, asking "What does the fox say?" (top) and parodying European electronic pop, because they "wanted to make a very good production about something very stupid," Vegard explains.

It is an irresistible earworm, topping the charts in Norway and reaching number six on the Billboard chart in America.

The video has been watched nearly 1bn times online.

"Jan Egeland," a rock track with thundering electric guitars and falsetto vocals, pays tribute to a Norwegian diplomat involved in the Oslo accords.

The country-inflected "Massachusetts" is a tongue-in-cheek ode to America's 15th-most-populous state (it angered some Bay Staters by suggesting that they were homophobic).

"Russian Government Process," in the style of a traditional folk song, pokes fun at that country’s opaque bureaucracy — as the music increases in tempo, the list of instructions becomes harder to understand.

Bard says the pair have "an appetite for all sorts of genres."

They have also written lampoons of sultry R'n'B ("The Cabin"), misogynistic hip-hop ("Work It") and dubstep ("Someone Like Me").

Besides their sheer range, what sets Ylvis apart from other comedy groups is the catchiness of the melodies and the brothers' versatile and prodigious talents.

You will try — and fail — to hit their high notes in the shower.

In these dull, repetitive days, their work is a heartening reminder that even anodyne things can be a source of inspiration.  


Visit Ylvis's YouTube channel, chock full of videos.

Fair warning: there goes the day.

July 26, 2020 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Moon Chalk

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From the website:

Push, pull, rotate, and roll on any chalk-friendly surface to create murals and sidewalk doodles.

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Render shooting stars, lunar landscapes, and starry nights from dots, lines, and curves.

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Moon Chalk is made from 100% chalk, it easily washes off any surface, is non-toxic, and will defy gravity if used on the surface of the moon.

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From $12.

July 26, 2020 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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