io9 has come up with a surprisingly good list of 100 science-fiction-themed songs. The comments are actually pretty great, with a lot more songs. There's rap, heavy metal, folk, polka, you name it. Still missing: more coverage of songs in languages other than English. [more inside]
Photobooth Innards: the inner workings of a vintage black and white photobooth in real time. Via photobooth.net, the most comprehensive photobooth resource on the internet (previously)
Walter Kitundu is an artist and MacArthur Fellow (previously). In this video, he gives a lecture at the San Francisco Exploratorium about his bespoke instruments and lighting experiments. At around 16 minutes in, he plays his digital revision of a kora.
Pyro Board. Or flammable sound waves and music. Danish Fysikshow demonstrates a 2-D Rubens' tube (wiki, demo).
The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
The Delian Mode (Kara Blake, 2009) - A 25-minute documentary about composer and pioneering electronic musician Delia Derbyshire, perhaps most familiar to Mefites for writing the theme song for "Doctor Who".
Astroblast and Overstepping Artifacts are music videos by the project Musicians with Guns, which take the viewer through detailed tours of some beauty. Relax and enjoy.
With the momentous series finale of Breaking Bad just hours away, fans of the show are hungry for something, anything to wile away the time before the epic conclusion tonight. So why not kick back and chew the fat with your fellow MeFites with the help of a little tool I like to call "The Periodic Table of Breaking Bad." [more inside]
The sound of silence - Research by Dr. Chia-Jung Tsay published in PNAS suggests that top musicians are judged as much for the visual aspects of their performances, as much as for the aural ones, regardless of the experience level of the listener or judge
"University of Minnesota undergrad Daniel Crawford did something very clever: He took surface air temperature data and converted them into musical notes, one for each year from 1880 to 2012, and played them on his cello." Direct Vimeo link.
On March 26th, 1827 Ludwig Van Beethoven died in Vienna. The day after, a twelve year old boy took a lock of his hair as a souvenir. 167 years later the hair was sold at an auction in London. Its new owners were two Americans, Ira Brilliant and Che Guevera. Between those dates the lock of hair undertook an extraordinary historical odyssey. From hand to hand, from country to country, and from century to century. This is the story of that journey. [more inside]
Real-time MRI study of human beatboxing, with lots of videos. See what snares, kick drum effects, cymbals and more look and sound like as they happen inside the head. Here's a BBC radio segment on the project.
When looking for inspiration, most songwriters to go well-used emotional wells – triumph or loss, love or heartbreak. But Peter Larsen, a biologist at Argonne National Laboratory, looked to the microbes of the English Channel. He used seven years’ worth of genetic and environmental data, converting geochemical and microbial abundance measurements into notes, beats, and chords.
Two elements: tempo and volume. Researchers at the Sundance Research Facility have finally discovered how to turn sound into matter.
Billy Joel has now officially endorsed - The Longest Time (Coral Triangle Edition), by the Barber Lab Quartet [more inside]
In The Geographic Flow of Music (arxiv), researchers Conrad Lee and Pádraig Cunningham propose a method to use data from the last.fm API to track the world's listening habits by location and time, showing where shifts in musical tastes have originated and subsequently migrated. Results show music trends originating in smaller cities and flowing outward in unexpected ways, contradicting some assumptions in social science about larger cities being more efficient engines of (cultural) invention.
Day at Night was an interview series on the public television station of the City University of New York that aired from 1973-4. CUNY TV is in the process of digitizing and uploading the 130 episodes that were produced, with 46 done so far. The episodes are just under half an hour in length. Among the people interviewed by host James Day are author Ray Bradbury, actress Myrna Loy, medical researcher Jonas Salk, singer Cab Calloway, writer Christopher Isherwood, nuclear scientist Edward Teller, comedian Victor Borge, tennis player Billie Jean King, linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, composer Aaron Copland, actor Vincent Price and boxer Muhammad Ali.
Monsters of Grok. Fake band t-shirts for history's greatest minds.
Claire L. Evans is half of the music group YACHT. She also writes two thoughtful blogs: the science blog Universe, and the science fiction blog Space Canon. The latest post on Space Canon is her sci-fi infused hour long dance mix Fly On, UFO. (direct mp3 link, 111mb) It promises "to travel to disco dystopias and far-flung cosmic boogies." Groovy.
Five years ago this week, the BBC started broadcasting one of the most extraordinary documentaries ever to grace television: Planet Earth. The culmination of five years of field work, it employed the most cutting-edge of techniques in order to capture life in all its forms, from sweeping spaceborne vistas to shockingly intimate close-ups -- including many sights rarely glimpsed by human eyes. Visually spectacular, it showcased footage shot in 204 locations in 62 countries, thoroughly documenting every biome from the snowy peaks of the Himalayas to the lifegiving waters of the Okavango Delta, a rich narrative tapestry backed by a stirring orchestral score from the BBC Concert Orchestra. Unfortunately, the series underwent some editorial changes for rebroadcast overseas. But now fans outside the UK can rejoice -- all eleven chapters of this epic story are available on YouTube in their original form: uncut, in glorious 1080p HD, and with the original narration by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Click inside for the full listing (and kiss the rest of your week goodbye). [more inside]
Nathalie Miebach translates scientific data related to meteorology and ecology into woven sculptures and musical scores. She discusses her work in an interview with the Peabody Essex Museum. (via Mira y Calla)
Vanessa Mae Nicholson is one of Britain’s most successful young musicians. A classical violinist and former child prodigy who self-describes her crossover style as "violin techno-acoustic fusion," her fans praise her modern creativity and frenetic, lightning-fast riffs. But is her talent learned or genetic? Documentary from BBC1 in 2008: Vanessa Mae - The Making of Me: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. [more inside]
What do Singing in the Rain, Live Is Life, Don't Worry, Be Happy, I Will Survive and Ça fait rire les oiseaux have in common? In a study, French-speaking Internet users identified these five pop songs out of 100, as the most pernicious earworms. Here are their top 25 picks from BRAMS, including audio clips. [more inside]
Drawdio: A Pencil that Lets You Draw Music
Carl Sagan, Richard Feynman, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye, sing to us (auto-tuned in a way that I actually don't hate), in We Are All Connected*. *Possibly NSFW owing to sidebar video links. Something similar was mentioned here previously.
...the lyrics to that last song were basically taken from an encyclopedia written in the 50s, and since the 50s, some remarkable things have happened...In 1959, a number of songs about science were released on an album called Space Songs. One of these was later covered by the band They Might Be Giants: Why Does The Sun Shine? (The Sun Is A Mass of Incandescent Gas). Only one problem: it isn't--the song was based on an incorrect text from 1951. So they wrote an answer song to themselves: Why Does The Sun Really Shine? (The Sun Is a Miasma of Incandescent Plasma). Bonus link: see for yourself! (previously)
Western musical intervals are derived from speech tendencies, according to Duke scientists. Specifically, "most of the 12 chromatic scale intervals correspond to peaks of relative power in the normalized spectrum of human vocalizations." A somewhat more layperson-friendly summary of the study is here. [more inside]
Dorkbot is a "monthly meeting of artists (sound/image/movement/whatever), designers, engineers, students, scientists, and other interested parties who are involved in the creative use of electricity." Started in NYC in 2000 by Douglas Repetto, Director of Research at the Columbia University Computer Music Center as well as one of Wired's 10 Sexiest Geeks, there are now dozens all over the world. Past presenters have been featured here on the blue. For instance Jeff Han presented his multi-touch interface at dorkbot-nyc in April of 2006. Miru Kim presented her naked city spleen at dorkbot-nyc in October of 2006. Bummed that there's not one in your own city? Start your own! [more inside]
"Associative Musical Visual Intelligence (or "amvi" for short) is a type of intelligence that's difficult enough to define, let alone test. Many creative people can associate across sensory domains: they "hear" hints of shapes and can "taste" the essense of colors. At its most extreme this phenomenon is called synesthesia. However, I believe that creative people subconsciously employ elements of synesthesia every day when attempting to think of things in new ways. This is a logic test that attempts to measure one's ability to correlate musical phrases with abstract shapes and symbols." [more inside]
The University of South Carolina recently completed an ambitious survey of all medieval texts in the state for an exhibit at the university library. All the works were scanned and archived electronically. However, not only can you view the texts online, you can hear the university's chorus sing (MP3) the musical manuscripts. [more inside]
The Amen Break and the Golden Ratio by mathematics educator and author, Michael S. Schneider. Schneider, having already researched and written about the golden ratio extensively, noticed it right away when hearing the the amen break for the first time (amen break previously on the blue). While some composers have been known to intentionally incorporate fibonacci numbers and the golden ratio into their works, perhaps this is just another one of the many instances of the ratio showing up in nature.
Geek Pop '08. Online science music festival at the Null Hypothesis science blog, with mp3 downloads. Featuring the immense Dark Matter by Johnny Berliner. [more inside]
Fears that malevolent aliens will tune into this week's broadcast of The Beatles' song "Across the Universe" have been voiced by scientists.
Bay Area Yuri's Night 2007 Bay Area Yuri's Night 2007 Yuri's Night Bay Area will be held at Moffett Field in the NASA Ames Research Center's massive SOFIA hangar, home to the world's largest aerial observatory. Our host for the evening is pioneering space traveler Anousheh Anasari, the first privately funded female to reach orbit. She is joined by Dr. Chris McKay, world renowned expert in astrobiology and terraformation with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames Research Center, as they welcome you to a dazzling array of interactive art installations and science demos, interwoven with musical and acrobatic performances by some of the world's finest entertainers. Complete write up. Partially via MeFi's own lannanh.
R. Luke Dubois' Billboard is a study in time-lapse phonography. Dubois digitally analyzed every #1 Billboard single from 1958 to 2005 and found a "spectral average" sound for each song. Every second of the piece represents one week in music history. The results are more interesting than you might think: compare the Beatles-dominated 1964 with the more processed, percussive sounds of 1997. Dubois has also created a time-lapse study of Oscar-winning movies. See also: "Chart Sweep" (scroll down to bottom of page). (via)
If you've ever thought that music can be an extremely intuitive and effective way to communicate things, then Stanford Professor Jonathan Berger (samples of his music) is doing some research that might interest you. (via)
Daniel Levitin is a musical neurologist. His new book, This is Your Brain on Music, has an intriguing premise, and a very entertaining website.
Piero Scaruffi is a normal person. Like so many others, he ponders knowledge, language, and art from time to time. When he travels, he takes pictures. Just like everyone else. Sure, he has his thoughts about politics and world affairs, who doesn't? And when he's done with all of this he just wants to rock. Exactly like you. See?
Music history rendered on a London Tube Map They say: "Could we chart the branches and connections of 100 years of music using the London Underground map? Dorian Lynskey explains how a box of coloured crayons and lot of swearing helped." I say: Look also at the comments in the accompanying thread, which features trolling, snarkiness and repetition, beginning with "Why did you do this? What is the point? Wouldn't you have been better off doing something else? Sometimes you media people really worry me." The Guardian are introducing commenter registration on their new blog.
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