A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘popular music

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Kambiz Kamrani at Anthropology.net notes new findings suggesting that the creation of cave art by early humans is product of the same skills that let early humans use language.
  • Davide Marchetti at Architectuul looks at some overlooked and neglected buildings in and around Rome.
  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait explains how Sirius was able to hide the brilliant Gaia 1 star cluster behind it.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at new procedures for streamlining the verification of new exoplanet detections.
  • Crooked Timber notes the remarkably successful and once-controversial eroticization of plant reproduction in the poems of Erasmus Darwin.
  • Dangerous Minds notes how an errant Confederate flag on a single nearly derailed the career of Otis Redding.
  • Detecting biosignatures from exoplanets, Bruce Dorminey notes, may require “fleets” of sensitive space-based telescopes.
  • Far Outliers looks at persecution of non-Shi’ite Muslims in Safavid Iran.
  • JSTOR Daily looks at the history of the enslavement of Native Americans in early colonial America, something often overlooked by later generations.
  • This video shared by Language Log, featuring two Amazon Echos repeating texts to each other and showing how these iterations change over time, is oddly fascinating.
  • At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Erik Loomis is quite clear about the good sense of Will Wilkinson’s point that controversy over “illegal” immigration is actually deeply connected to an exclusivist racism that imagines Hispanics to not be Americans.
  • Lingua Franca, at the Chronicle of Higher Education, looks at the uses of the word “redemption”, particularly in the context of the Olympics.
  • The LRB Blog suggests Russiagate is becoming a matter of hysteria. I’m unconvinced, frankly.
  • The Map Room Blog shares a map showing global sea level rise over the past decades.
  • Marginal Revolution makes a case for Americans to learn foreign languages on principle. As a Canadian who recently visited a decidedly Hispanic New York, I would add that Spanish, at least, is one language quite potentially useful to Americans in their own country.
  • Drew Rowsome writes about the striking photographs of Olivier Valsecchi.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that, in the 2030s, gravitational wave observatories will be so sensitive that they will be able to detect black holes about to collide years in advance.
  • Towleroad lists festival highlights for New Orleans all over the year.
  • Window on Eurasia notes how recent changes to the Russian education system harming minority languages have inspired some Muslim populations to link their language to their religion.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell makes the case that Jeremy Corbyn, through his strength in the British House of Commons, is really the only potential Remainder who is in a position of power.
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[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • James Bow makes the case for inexpensive regional bus transit in southern Ontario, beyond and between the major cities.
  • D-Brief explains why Pluto’s Gate, a poisonous cave of classical Anatolia believed to be a portal to the netherworld, is the way it is.
  • The Dragon’s Tales takes a look at the plethora of initiatives for self-driving cars and the consequences of these for the world.
  • Far Outliers takes a look at how Persia, despite enormous devastation, managed to eventual thrive under the Mongols, even assimilating them.
  • JSTOR Daily notes the connections between North American nuclear tests and the rise of modern environmentalism.
  • Language Hat looks at Linda Watson, a woman on the Isle of Man who has became the hub of a global network of researchers devoted to deciphering unreadable handwriting.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money makes the argument that the Russian hacks were only as effective as they were because of terrible journalism in the United States.
  • The NYR Daily takes a look at an often-overlooked collaboration in the 1960s between New York poet Frank O’Hara and Italian artist Mario Schifano.
  • Towleroad takes a look at out gay pop music star Troye Sivan.
  • Window on Eurasia makes the believable contention that Putin believes in his propaganda, or at least acts as if he does, in Ukraine for instance.

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • Caitlin Kelly at the Broadside Blog offers some advice as to how to cope with rejection.
  • Centauri Dreams shares Robert Zubrin’s take on the Drake Equation, and on ways it is lacking and could be improved.
  • Crooked Timber looks at a book examining (among other things) the interactions of libertarian economists with racism and racist polities.
  • D-Brief notes a study suggesting that, actually, people would react positively and with a minimum of panic to the discovery of extraterrestrial life.
  • Dangerous Minds takes a look at Chandra Oppenheim, an artist who at the age of 12 in 1980 released an amazing post-punk album.
  • Gizmodo responds to the news that the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are roughly the same mass.
  • JSTOR Daily reports on the effects of the dingo fence in Australia on native wildlife there.
  • Language Hat notes a new statistical analysis of literature that has found one of the sources of Shakespeare’s language.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes how Trump’s many affairs make him eminently blackmailable.
  • The LRB Blog reports on why academic workers in the United Kingdom are getting ready to strike on behalf of their pension rights, starting next week.
  • Marginal Revolution notes the sharp ongoing decline in the population of Bulgaria, and wonders what can be done. What need be done, in fact, if Bulgarians as individuals are happy?
  • Anastasia Edel writes about the Russian-American community, and what it is like being Russian-American in the era of Trump, over at the NYR Daily.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel notes that there seems to be no periodicity in extinction events, that there is no evidence of a cycle.

[URBAN NOTE] Four city links: global distribution, smaller cities, AI in cities, shopping mall music

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  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper suggesting that whereas cities in developed countries tend to be spread evenly across resource-rich agricultural areas, cities in developing countries tend to cluster near coasts where transport is easier.
  • At In Medias Res, Russell Arben Fox responds to Krugman in considering what role there is for smaller cities and towns in the 21st century.
  • Tracey Lauriault at Policy Options argues that, in projects like Google’s involvement in Toronto’s Quayside, the underlying values of the AI systems used should always be thoughtfully considered. What do they represent?
  • Dangerous Minds shares the oddly haunting YouTube videos of a man who plays classic 1980s pop songs in deserted shopping malls.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • Bad Astronomer Phil Plait takes a look at how contemporary lunar probes are prospecting for ice deposits on the dry Moon.
  • Centauri Dreams notes new models for the evolution of the orbit of the early Moon, and how this could well have influence the environment of the young Earth.
  • Crooked Timber takes issue with the idea that sponsoring women’s entrepreneurship, rooted in the belief that women are limited by their income, is enough to deal with deeper gender inequity.
  • D-Brief notes that a brain implant–specifically, one making use of deep brain stimulation–actually can significantly improve memory in implantees.
  • Gizmodo notes that extrasolar objects like ‘Oumuamua may well have played a significant role in interstellar panspermia, introducing life from one system to another.
  • At In A State of Migration, Lyman Stone does the work and finds out that the Amish are not, in fact, destined to eventually repopulate the US, that despite high fertility rates Amish fertility rates have consistently fell over time, influenced by external issues like the economy.
  • JSTOR Daily has a thought-provoking essay taking a look at the feedback loops between envy and social media. Does social media encourage too narrow a realm of human achievements to be valued?
  • Language Hat notes a new book, Giorgio Van Straten’s In Search of Lost Books, noting all those texts which once existed but have since gone missing.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money, noting the strongly negative reaction to Katie Roiphe’s essay in Harper’s against feminism, takes care to note that “disagreement” is not at all the same thing as “silencing”.
  • The NYR Daily looks at the many ways in which Sweden has been taken as a symbol for progressivism, and the reasons why some on the right look so obsessively for signs that it is failing.
  • At the Planetary Society Blog, Casey Dreier writes about the ways in which the Falcon Heavy, if it proves to be as inexpensive as promised, could revolutionize the exploration of (for instance) outer system ocean worlds like Europa and Enceladus.
  • Drew Rowsome quite likes Rumours, a performance of the famous Fleetwood Mac album of that name, at Toronto’s Coal Mine Theatre.

[MUSIC] Kate Bush, “Moments of Pleasure” (@katebushmusic)

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If I have one regret about my visit to New York City last month, it was that I was not able to witness the truth of a lyric from Kate Bush’s 1993 song “Moments of Pleasure”, “The buildings of New York/Look just like mountains through the snow”. It just happened to be too warm for snow, that’s all.

“Moments of Pleasure” is one of the songs off of her The Red Shoes, Bush’s last album for twelve years. It’s quieter than some of the other songs on that album, certainly quieter than her higher-profile hits of the 1980s like “Running Up That Hill.” It’s a song about Kate, the person, remembering the time she spends with the people she loves including the people who have passed. I love the first four lines.

I think about us lying
Lying on a beach somewhere
I think about us diving
Diving off a rock, into another moment

The line about New York City comes at the end of a longer verse, of an imagined encounter with someone dear who is doing poorly in a New York winter. He’s beloved, he’s doing badly and nearing death, it’s cold out, but still, this is a precious moment spent with someone cherished.

On a balcony in New York
It’s just started to snow
He meets us at the lift
Like Douglas Fairbanks
Waving his walking stick
But he isn’t well at all
The buildings of New York
Look just like mountains through the snow

Just being alive
It can really hurt
And these moments given
Are a gift from time
Just let us try
To give these moments back
To those we love
To those who will survive

“Moments of Pleasure” ends on this sadly nostalgic note, Bush remembering the people she lost starting first with her mother. (Hannah Bush had not died when the song was written, but she was ill and was approaching death.)

And I can hear my mother saying
“Every old sock meets an old shoe”
Isn’t that a great saying?
“Every old sock meets an old shoe”
Here come the Hills of Time

Hey there Maureen,

Hey there Bubba,
Dancing down the aisle of a plane,

‘S Murph, playing his guitar refrain,

Hey there Teddy,
Spinning in the chair at Abbey Road,

Hey there Michael,
Do you really love me?

Hey there Bill,
Could you turn the lights up?</blockquote.

I love the intent behind this song. The idea of the critical importance of preserving something of the things of the people we've loved and lost has been in my head ever since I encountered the photographic works of Nan Goldin. This song tries to carry out that vision in musical form, and does so superbly. Kudos, Kate.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 8, 2018 at 11:59 pm

[URBAN NOTE] Five Toronto links: Skandaraj Navaratnam, Yonge Street, K-Pop, King Street, Kazenelson

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  • This Fatima Syed interview with Navaseelan Navaratnam, brother of suspected McArthur victim Skandaraj Navaratnam missing since 2010, is terribly sad. The Toronto Star has it.
  • While it may be too late for Eliot’s Bookshop, I do hope that Toronto City Council can arrange some kind of functional tax arrangement for the businesses which survive on Yonge. The Toronto Star reports.
  • blogTO notes how a stray tweet from Toronto Hits 93 started an Internet flamewar between fans of two different K-Pop boy bands.
  • Ben Spurr notes how some transit advocates have decided to help out King Street by eating at area restaurants, over</u at the Toronto Star.
  • Global News reports on how the Ontario Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Vadim Kazenelson on charges of criminal negligence stemming from an incident where four workers he was supervising died in a scaffolding collapse.