For most of human history . . . [i]t was unthinkable to ignore the stars. They were critical signposts, as prominent and useful as local hills, paths or wells. The gathering-up of stars into constellations imbued with mythological meaning allowed people to remember the sky; knowledge that might save their lives one night and guide them home. Lore of the sky bound communities together. On otherwise trackless seas and deserts, the familiar stars would also serve as a valued friend. That friendship is now broken.
What is it about "Happy" by Pharrell Williams that makes you want to move? Why can't we sit still when we hear Ray Charles perform "I've Got a Woman"? Michael Jackson had it, and so did Stevie Wonder. "It," in this case, is syncopation, the gaps in the rhythm that your brain wants to fill in, as reported in the article Syncopation, Body-Movement and Pleasure in Groove Music (full article online).
The Music Scene is a television series aired by ABC as part of its Fall 1969 lineup. The show featured performances from the top musicians of the week as compiled by “Billboard Magazine” and had a number of hosts, including David Steinberg and Lily Tomlin. Many huge names of the era, including The Beatles, James Brown, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Three Dog Night, Tom Jones on the initial program and Janis Joplin, Bobby Sherman, The Miracles, Sly & the Family Stone, Isaac Hayes, Stevie Wonder, Bo Diddley and Mama Cass Elliot, (who co-hosted as well as performed) among many others, appearing on subsequent shows. [more inside]
You're perhaps familiar with the Stevie Wonder classic, For Once in My Life. It's a great little tune, catchy, pleasing, just makes you feel good. What you may never have really thought about, though, is how much James Jamerson's bass line has to do with the tune's infectious brilliance. So, check out James Jamerson’s Bass Line Visualized. I mean, just... damn! Right?
There is now a live stream of bears gathering to eat salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park. [more inside]
The Great Wall of China (長城) took 2000 years to build, and stretches for 5500 miles. Yet pictures of that wonder of the world in popular media are typically restricted to the tourist-visited sections closest to Beijing. (There are several sections of the wall near that city.) Kuriositas has gathered some images that present the Wall from other areas.
Did you know that two guys once flew a Cessna for 64 days, without landing? They apparently refuelled from a moving pickup truck with a hose. Did you also know of the monks from Mt. Hiei, Japan who run 900 marathons in 6 years? To qualify, they do 30 km. a day for 100 consecutive days. I did not know these things when I woke up on Friday, but Now I Know. [more inside]
Wonder Woman has had many costumes over the years, but starting today her outfit will be a little more ... practical.
The Alabama Museum of Wonder. Butch Anthony has a word – a word which he concocted himself. A word which he designed to precisely describe his unique personal style of art and artistic discovery. That word is “intertwangleism.” [more inside]
Greg Knauss (once a contributor to Suck.com): "What would the bright-eyed, long-haired, involuntarily celibate version of myself from two decades ago think?" Answer: "Calm down? Calm down? You’re fat! And bald! I’m going to be fat and bald!"
Last chance to see: Video of Mexico's Naica Cave of Crystals (Previously, and previously.) [more inside]
Karl Junker House is just one of the locations on Atlas Obscura from Curious Expeditions. [more inside]
The Temples of Damanhur. Behold the Eighth Wonder of the World (according to the Italian government). [Via Boing Boing.] [more inside]
The universe [flash]. I know, it's on a corporate site, and you have to sit through some pretentious Japanglish while it loads, but being able to use your mousewheel to scroll from femtometers up to the 100 billion lightyear scale is dazzling. I love cosmic zooms. Remember to pray that there's intelligent life in space, because there's bugger-all down here on Earth, except for folks like Metafilter's own kokogiak, who shows us everything in the solar system bigger than 200 miles in diameter.
When I first saw it, my jaw hit the floor. After years of thinking I would suffer alone with the memory, I found others who knew. Along the way, I discovered other gems... even though my personal tastes were more epic. When she asked why I loved them so much, I replied, "Because they are so ambitious. They try so hard".
Stevie Wonder performs his classic hit "Superstition" on Sesame Street in 1973, and turns it into an extended funk workout. He sticks around to perform his own killer theme for the show. [via YouTube]
"Heavy Metal Wonder Woman" [nsfw] With Wonder Woman being rumored to be in pre-production with Joss Wheadon at the helm, the character of Wonder Woman and Lynda Carter seem to be seeing a steady interest if not resurgence from feminist film installation artists and fans of the William Marston idealistic comic character.