Of the many available documentaries about the pianist Glenn Gould
, "Genius within - The inner life of Glenn Gould
" is one of the more thoughtful ones. [more inside]
A Hearing for Vavilov
is an essay by Stephen Jay Gould
excerpted from his 1983 book Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes
, in which he describes the disastrous consequences of allowing ideology rather than evidence to dictate policy. The story concerns Russian geneticist Nikolai Vavilov (previously)
and his nemesis, the pseudoscientist Trofim Lysenko
whose work served as the foundation for Lysenkoism
, a body of research and policy which set back biology in Russia by decades and caused agricultural disaster in the Soviet Union in the mid-20th century.
The Lap of Luxury
was a Big Brother
-style reality tv show filmed for Spike TV in 2003. The format is familiar: 9 contestants living in a house together, all trying to win immunity, prevent themselves from being voted out and vying to win a $100,000 prize while facing down a smarmy host. Except... only one of them, a guy named Matt Kennedy Gould, was really a contestant. The rest were actors, playing stereotypical reality show roles. The series was scripted, heavily improvised and entirely created around Matt -- his very own Truman Show
. Welcome to Joe Schmo
. [more inside]
What came next was 8 minutes of comic brilliance.
On Kevin Pollack's Chat Show guests are invited to do a bad impression of Larry King reveling something embarrassing about himself. Many are very funny, but Gould's amazing comic riff should go down in comedy history. Keep an eye on Kevin as he nearly faints from hilarity.
writes at harpers.org
on most weekends posts about music and literature. Typically he'll post poems or philosophy (and often translate same from one of the many languages he's, apparently, fluent in) and link to youtube clips of music to complement the passages he writes about, along with images of classical paintings. Pretty neat. This weekend the clips are Glenn Gould playing Beethoven's Sonata No. 17, op. 31, no. 2 (1802)(the “Tempest”)
tied to a passage by Hegel. And Beethoven's Choral Fantasy
and its lyrics which were written by someone named Kuffner. Check it out.
Stephen Jay Gould tells the story of the 18th Century German professor Beringer
who published a book, Lithographiae Wirceburgensis
in 1726 which purported to show remarkable fossils, including spiders in their web
, copulating frogs
and Yahweh written in Hebrew
(high resolution images of the original plates: 1
) This turned out to be a fake but the conventional story of the humiliated Professor Beringer and his Lying Stones of Wurzburg is not as simple as the one usually retold in textbooks. And as Gould mentions fossil fakes
are not a thing of the past
The Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive
, an online library dedicated to the Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002). Includes an excellent selection of videos
. And The Official Stephen Jay Gould Archive
[still under development], which includes two of his books and his Harvard course online
. [more inside]
Monsieur, you vill not speak disrespectfully of a member of ze family! It is a boon travelling companion, without which I do not function, I cannot operate. It has been with me for 21 years, zis thing, this chair!
Glenn Gould performed for 21 years seated in a folding card chair modified by his father to be height adjustable. That one chair
accompanied him around the world in support of each of his recordings and performances, and now resides on a pedestal at the National Library of Canada. Luckily, exact replicas of the skeletal, cushion-less chair are available for only €990
. [more inside]
is not known for her fugues. But you- do you think you got the clever to write a fugue?
Get Bach, JoJo!
The Golden Record
: Hear what the aliens will hear.
30 years ago today, a collection of images
and sound recordings
engraved on a record
was launched toward the stars.
covers an amazing collection of music, and has been called the Mix Tape of the Gods
has developed a process (using high-resolution
MIDI) which "re-performed" Glenn Gould's
famous 1955 piano recordings
of Bach's Goldberg Variations
in hybrid multichannel SA-CD
"[E]ven though you couldn't predict exactly what animals would look like if you started evolution over on earth, or it happened on another planet -- with a given gravity and density of their tissues, the same basic patterns of their design would evolve again."
A new study models all
forms of locomotion -- swimming, walking, flying by muscle or flying by 747 -- in one physics theory, and stultifies Stephen Jay Gould's conjectures about the "contingency" of evolution. [mi]