: How a paranoid fringe group made musical tuning an international issue.
The petition had its origins in one of the strangest conflicts to have overtaken classical music in the past thirty years, and many of these luminaries were completely unaware of what they’d gotten themselves into. The sponsor of both the petition and the conference that featured Tebaldi was an organization called the Schiller Institute, dedicated to, among other things, lowering standard musical pitch. ...
But behind this respectable front lurks a strange mélange of conspiracy, demagoguery, and cultish behavior. At its founding in 1984, its chairman Helga Zepp-LaRouche laid out the Institute’s role in surprisingly apocalyptic terms
Originally published at The Believer
posted by the man of twists and turns
on Jun 9, 2013 -
Economies of Scale
is a free, web-based multiplayer business/commerce simulation game under development by Scott Rubyton (aka Ratan Joyce). Players use starting capital to build production/wholesale/retail businesses from the ground up in a basic economic model, competing for market share while collaborating through business-to-business trading of goods and materials. It's more fun than getting an MBA! Also much less expensive. [more inside]
posted by cortex
on Apr 3, 2012 -
Supernova Sonata by Alex Parker
From April, 2003 until August, 2006, the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
watched four parts of the sky as often as possible. Armed with the largest digital camera in the known universe, CFHT monitored these four fields for a special type of supernova
(called Type Ia) which are created by the thermonuclear detonation of one or more white-dwarf star
s. Each supernova is assigned a note to be played:
The volume of the note is determined by the distance to the supernova, with more distant supernova being quieter and fainter.
The pitch of the note was determined by the supernova’s “stretch,” a property of how the supernova brightens and fades. Higher stretch values played higher notes. The pitches were drawn from a Phrygian dominant scale
The instrument the note was played on was determined by the properties of the galaxy which hosted each supernova. Supernovae hosted by massive galaxies are played with a stand-up bass, while supernovae hosted by less massive galaxies are played with a grand piano.
posted by ThenCameNow
on May 26, 2011 -
One of the hardest things for people to understand about the universe is just how big it is
. There are three approaches typically used in describing its size. The first, the song, was pioneered by Monty Python
(NSFWish, wireframe of naked woman) and then done just as masterfully by the Animaniacs.
The second, the zoom method has been featured twice before
here on the blue. The third method is the comparison
method (skip to 1:30, unless you like looking at a image of the solar system with terrible distorted orbits), yielding some truly beautiful
videos (this one found via the fantastic Bad Astronomy
blog). These videos go, at most, as far as looking at the local cluster or the Virgo Supercluster. There are two videos that attempt to show the size of the entire universe, one unsuccessfully
(although with great music) and one successfully
. (Warning, all links except the first one, are to YT videos). [more inside]
posted by Hactar
on Jul 1, 2009 -
The Bohlen-Pierce scale
is a musical scale which has thirteen notes spread evenly across one and a half octaves, so that the highest note is three times the frequency of the lowest. Compare with the western twelve-tone scale, which has twelve notes spread evenly across one octave, where the highest note is twice the frequency of the lowest. Both are tempered scales
, and both have close approximations to 'just intonations', meaning you could play the scales by plucking a string clamped at certain ratios like 1/2, 1/4, 5/3, etc.
One of the independant co-inventors of the scale, John Pierce
, was also a famous electrical engineer best known for inventing the communications satellite. You can listen to Pachelbel's Canon
(midi link) rewritten in this scale.
posted by PercussivePaul
on Nov 11, 2006 -
an interesting series of scale/perspective images showing what all the water on Earth (1.4087 billion cubic kilometres of it), including sea water, ice, lakes, rivers, ground water, clouds, etc. would look like in comparison to the total spherical area of the Earth, and then again showing All the air in the atmosphere (5140 trillion tonnes of it) gathered into a ball at sea-level density. Both illustrations shown on the same scale as the Earth. via
posted by jonson
on Nov 13, 2005 -