Archive for October, 2005

Don’t shoot the bird.

This old story from NPR‘s All Things Considered combines the ivory-billed woodpecker, mentioned previously, with Sufjan Stevens. I missed the piece when it aired. I saw him in concert a month ago, and it was great. I did not know what I was in for when I went. I am glad I went. I wish I could go again right now. Illinois finally came from the library after requesting it quite a while ago. It is excellent. I am listening over and over. I have not been so taken with something in a while. I must buy it.


Michael M. on October 31st 2005 in General, Music, Recorded

Richard Smalley

Richard E. Smalley, 62, Dies; Chemistry Nobel Winner in The New York Times reminded me of my college days. Rice also has information. I was a senior there when the prize was awarded. I never took a chemistry class there, and although Smalley had an professorship in physics, he did not teach classes in the department. Nevertheless, the times were exciting.

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Michael M. on October 31st 2005 in General

Murine music

And Now, Please Welcome Modest Mouse” in The New York Times is part of the media storm swirling just around the corner from my lab. Timothy Holy, an assistant professor, is getting good press coverage for his new article Ultrasonic Songs of Male Mice in PLoS Biology. Good Morning America should feature him tomorrow. I watched the television crew for a little while. The Public Library of Science, as mentioned previously, is dedicated to open access scientific publishing. Tim is a good person that way and many others. We also share an undergraduate background although he was a few years before my time. Rebecca, a friend in the lab, posted about it, too. I like Tim and Jason (Zhongsheng), and it is good to see them getting attention.

Update: Just after 11 PM, I heard the findings covered on the BBC World Service broadcast locally on KWMU.

Update 2: I heard another mention of the story about 8:28 AM on November 1. This one came on NPR‘s Morning Edition.

Update 3: The story from New Scientist is the best I have seen yet. It includes sound clips of songs shifted down in pitch into human hearing range.

Update 4: Good Morning America has a video clip.

Update 5: I found the press release.

Update 6: There is a post on /.

Update 7: The Colbert Report used it in a joke tonight November 2.

Update 8: NPR‘s Weekend Edition Sunday had an interview with Tim today November 6. It was an especially good report on the work.

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Michael M. on October 31st 2005 in General

Darwin re-edited

Long-Ago Rivals Are Dual Impresarios of Darwin’s Oeuvre” in The New York Times places the rivalry between E. O. Wilson and James Watson. I worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where Watson is. I heard and saw him often although I never met him. Early in my time there, I attended a lecture that led to quite an uproar when he delivered it at Berkeley. He stirs up things.

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Michael M. on October 26th 2005 in General

Aguas de Outubro

I found a video of the [adult swim] Sealab 2021 clip that sparked my interest in Brazil.

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Michael M. on October 26th 2005 in General, Music, Recorded

Rosa Parks

I heard the Rosa Parks story on NPR‘s Morning Edition when I was getting ready today. “Rosa Parks, 92, Founding Symbol of Civil Rights Movement, Dies” in The New York Times provided rather weak coverage. “Shy and soft-spoken, Mrs. Parks often appeared uncomfortable with the near-beatification bestowed upon her by blacks, who revered her as a symbol of their quest for dignity and equality.” The journalist, E. R. Shipp, is a black woman herself, but such a mass generalization about what blacks did bothers me. What the characters say about Parks in Barbershop leads me to believe that opinions are not so monolithic in the black community. How did something so wrong get published? “On Sunday, Dec. 4, the announcement was made from many black pulpits, and a front-page article in The Montgomery Advertiser, a black newspaper, further spread the word.” The Montgomery Advertiser has been Montgomery’s main newspaper for a long time. It was not a black newspaper although it might have had special sections or editions. (The article has been corrected on this point.) I do not know. I do know that this article does not befit such an important hero of history.

The Advertiser‘s “Parks’ quiet courage helped change the world” covers the incident and outlines the rest of her life much better. The article mentions the legal suit against OutKast over “Rosa Parks.” I really like the song, including the country breakdown, and I gave it a few listens. I can understand why Parks objected. “Nation mourns mother of civil rights movement” and other articles there are worth reading, too.

Juan Williams spoke as part of the Morning Edition coverage today. He spoke here at 2003 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day festivities. He addressed the how planned the events were. While Parks does not seem to have been a plant, bright lawyers and leaders had been waiting for a good case to attack the unjust bus system. She had more reserved personality than Fannie Lou Hamer who said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired,” but when Parks said that she was tired, she was not just talking about her feet.

I read A Stride Toward Freedom in high school. Truthfully, I think I skimmed it my junior year of high school and then read it more thoroughly the summer before my senior year of high school. My mother was a child in Montgomery when the boycott happened. By reading the book, I found out that a relative had been the judge on the bus boycott case. I knew him when I was a child without knowing about the case or really knowing about Montgomery’s history until around the time of his death. It was not something that came up in the family.

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Michael M. on October 25th 2005 in General

Total influenza awareness

Recipe for Destruction” in The New York Times comes from two cyber celebrities, Bill Joy and Ray Kurzweil. The piece is criticism of the open publication of the deadly 1918 influenza strain’s genome. A few days after my grandmother died a few years ago, her next door neighbor of about 50 years came over and told us stories, including one about the 1918 pandemic. I think I was taking a microbiology class at the time. She called it the “Spanish flu.” She knew a young man who had died from it. The time since the tragedy is now long on a human scale, but it is still close in place and personal relation. I am an advocate for open publication, especially in science. I also understand the fear and possible tragedy. The issues are difficult to weigh. The real problem is the ever present ability of people of ill will to do great harm. I marvel that we are as civilized as we are.

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Michael M. on October 24th 2005 in General

Found interview

A post at the 52nd City blog is an interview with Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine. As planned, I saw the tour at Mad Art Gallery last week. It was a fun evening. Rothbart read a good story from his new book. His brother played music. Finds were presented. I had wished for even more new material, but that complaint is my only one. Catch a stop on the tour, if you can.

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Michael M. on October 24th 2005 in General

Loop a dupe

Roddy Schrock might be the first person I got to know through the Internet. It was long before he became an international electronic composer. I never met him in person although we have known several of the same real life people. I found his blog a few months ago. In the discussion of a post about John Adams‘ new opera Doctor Atomic, he mentioned Steve Reich. I enjoyed a performance of another Adams composition, Harmonielehre, just a few weeks ago. I checked out Reich’s Triple Quartet from the library. It is terrific.

The sound was familiar. “Synchronicity I” by the Police borrows heavily from Reich. “Tokyo/Vermont Counterpoint” is particularly similar. I learned who Steve Reich is all of about a week ago. I have known of the Police since become aware of popular music in elementary school. I remember going to a teacher’s house in fifth grade and seeing sheet music for “Russians” on the piano. I already knew who they were by then. I was also scared of Russians at the time. A guitar book a college summer roommate had described Andy Summers of the Police as a minimalist guitarist. Now I see the connection.

While looking for connections between Reich and the Police, I came across a page of testimonials for music software called Sibelius. Both use it. I just heard “Gambit” by Esa-Pekka Salonen, who also uses it, Friday.

Another Reich connection came with Camper Van Beethoven. I am a Camper fan. I searched my iTunes library with “Steve Reich.” “Come Out” from New Roman Times was there. The MySpace Camper page explains.

The Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra will perform Reich’s Triple Quartet this spring. I want to go.


Michael M. on October 18th 2005 in General, Live, Music, Recorded

iTunes knows.

Do you ever get the feeling that iTunes is trying to tell you something? It wanted me to listen to Miles Davis‘ “Corcovado,” and I kept resisting. Then I stopped.

Maybe half an hour later it made me listen to the Getz/Gilberto version.

The problem is how often it wants me to listen to random bits from audio books.

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Michael M. on October 18th 2005 in General, Music, Recorded

Pearlington, Mississippi

Operation Eden by photographer Clayton Cubitt is a wonderous blog about Pearlington, Mississippi. It has terrific portraits of Hurricane Katrina survivors. I found it now while searching for more information about the town while listening to Back from the Dead on This American Life. Katrina destroyed the town. I never even heard of Pearlington, and I know a fair share of tiny Mississippi towns. It is at the mouth of the Mighty Pearl, the river by which my father was born. They got some tough folks down there. Look. Listen.

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Michael M. on October 9th 2005 in General

Cardinal wins equal losses.

This post at STL Streets led me to “Playoffs could mean $9.5 million in area lost wages” in the St. Louis Business Journal. The team is great. St. Lunatics are such fans of the Cardinals that all else crawls here in October. Go Cards!

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Michael M. on October 7th 2005 in General

Ditty Bops

The Ditty Bops will be in STL at the Pageant October 25 opening for Nickel Creek. I have a song of theirs, “Ohh La La,” from a SXSW 2005 Showcase. I have a professed fondness for songs involving “ooo” and “la.” I tried to find out more about them by listening to their visit to World Cafe, but I missed it somehow. I just listened to the archived version today. Nickel Creek was on the World Cafe, too. I have not heard their visit.

In the Ditty Bops’ interview, I learned that Mitchell Froom produced their album. He was married to Suzanne Vega. Their child is Ruby. Soul Coughing recorded the album Ruby Vroom.

I grabbed a torrent of SXSW music thanks to this post much earlier in the year on Boing Boing.

I have not bought tickets yet, but I should.

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Michael M. on October 7th 2005 in General, Live, Music, Recorded

City Museum props

In St. Louis, Old Warehouses, New Promise” and “Luxury Living in a Hyperactive Building,” two recent articles in The New York Times, rightly praise the City Museum. I have not been since seeing the Grass Pack this summer at the Cabin Inn there. It has been too long since a real exploratory visit to the urban wonderland.

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Michael M. on October 6th 2005 in General

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.