Saturday, January 19, 2019

The most wasted of all days...

Have you ever wondered why the tiny tardigrade (aka water bear) is almost indestructable? Science found a clue and it's a protein.

Science also found a 19 mile wide impact crater below the ice in Greenland.

Here's where science gets freaky. Quantum switching means both the chicken and the egg came first.

How do whales show stress? In their ear wax.

Hilarious, as always. True Facts: Carnivorous Dragonflies.

There are good business opportunities and bad business opportunities and IMO this article has both. The bad one is just a bland statement about people wanting "smart" homes. The good one is that LiftMaster, the garage door people, have found that people want to optimize their garage for storage. That's pretty obvious based on the number of garages I've seen that are packed full of junque while the cars are parked in the driveway. So what kind of products might we expect from LiftMaster?

Mark Rothko, No. 6 (Violet, Green and Red), 1951. Absolutely glorious. I see shades of Monet's water lilies.

The percentage of unvaccinated children in the U.S. has quadrupled since 2001. Irresponsible. Dangerous. Unintelligent.

Tom Cruise won't be playing Jack Reacher anymore as the series is moved from the silver screen to streaming. I thought Cruise did an admirable job in the movies but I agree that he's too small to play the 6' 5" Reacher.

Brand New Roman builds a font from company logos.

On my "listen before you buy" list:
Revenue from album sales dropped 25% in the first half of 2018 compared to the first have of 2017.  This article in Rolling Stone says that albums and physical albums (i.e. CDs) in particular on on the decline to death because we're reverting to a track-based, online, music economy.
Hilma af Klint, unknown
Fort Worth's West Magnolia Avenue, one of Pointwise's neighbors in the Near Southside, was named one of 2018's 5 great streets and 15 great places.

For those of you old enough to know who/what Max Headroom was/is, htere's a 4K video loop of Max's background.

In the article Quantifying Mark Rothko there are a lot of graphs like this one showing the number of paintings he made during each year of his career. While this is interesting, the payoff in this article was the image at the top of this page that I don't recall having seen before.
A lot of the Chicago Institute of Art's collection is online.

Ze Frank's latest True Facts video is about Carnivorous Dragonflies and is hilarious like all of them.

From the Student Academy Awards for animation, I suggest you watch Raccoon and The Light which is beautifully and minimally hand-drawn.

What can you do with a non-Newtonian fluid? You fill a speedbump with it that only hardens when people go over it at high speed.

Wassily Kandinsky, Circles in a Circle, 1923. This beautiful Kandinsky (how many Hidden Mickeys are included?) is from an article on generative art. Is art really about the artist's hands or their mind?
What might be the lineage from Impressionism to Modernism in painting?

Forget that. The world's oldest drawing is abstract. 73,000 years old. More here.

What do you say when your program doesn't work? #17 How is that possible?

Python is holding strong at #4 in the competition for programming language of 2018.

Proof that the Hybridizer can be just plain freaky.

Put a planetarium in your web browser with Stellarium.

See a binary asteroid.

The 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 lunar landing is coming up in 2019 and Buzz Aldrin has created a website Road to Apollo 11 50th Anniversary we can all follow. Yes, there's merchandise. But I'll point out that I purchased two Buzz-signed pieces at the AIAA Foundation's silent auction for much less than the stuff on that website is currently going for.

Just a cool Dutch F-16 paint job. source
Cool video footage of a pair of F-16s and a pair of F-35s doing a flyby.

Smell a scent.

Conserve a sound.

It's a little bit post-peak for this fall foliage map.

Control panel pr0n.

Artist Chuck Jones says one of these drawings is of the word "goloomb."  Can you guess which one? From an article on drawing sounds
The first animal on earth (558 million years ago) was a blob.

The Talmud is online.

Restoring a Jackson Pollock in front of a live audience.

At the heart of Tom Peters' The Excellence Dividend are the 14 number ones. For example, Commandment #1 - Excellence is the next five minutes. (In other words, it's not an aspiration.)

More business advice, this time from Verne Harnish. #7 Make customers want to pay for sales calls. Not that you should do this but the idea is to deliver so much value about your market that customers want to hear you speak. In other words, out-teach your competition.

From how to write the perfect sentence: "a sentence is a living line of words where logic and lyric meet."

Just a photo from the surface of an asteroid. And a great album cover.
Tom Peters has documented his 18 #1s from all his books and lectures and put them in one handy document. My favorite has always been "Excellence is the next five minutes" (i.e. it's not a general aspiration). Followed closely by "Read, Read, Read."

I'll leave you with something to a) watch and b) fiddle with. Generative Artistry hosts a live code tutorial on generating art in the style of Piet Mondrian. one without laughter. e.e. cummings

Monday, January 14, 2019

My Favorite Music of 2018

Another year, another 43 albums. These are the ones I enjoyed the most.

Definitely at the top of this list is Vortex by Sonar with David Torn. From the moment I heard the first previews of this album I was hooked. Torn's guitar slashes through Sonar's precisely elegant playing like lightning through a storm, providing flashes of brilliance that illuminate the ensemble's power. Available from RareNoise records.

As a bonus, later in the year came Live at Moods, a collection of live tracks featuring Sonar and Torn, a beautiful complement to their earlier studio album.

Rumor has it that Sonar and Torn will be releasing another album in 2019 on the RareNoise label.

Then there's the gorgeous soundtrack Like a Fire That Consumes All Before It from Eraldo Bernocchi. I don't know many artists who have a musical vocabulary as extensive as Bernocchi's, and here he's applied it beautifully to the film Cy Dear about artist Cy Twombly. The video below isn't "official" and I apologize for that but at least you can get a taste of this exquisite album.

Even though it's not new, it's new to me. 1999's Dead Bees on a Cake by David Sylvian is intoxicating in its lushness and evocative with its lyrics. I "discovered" Sylvian a year or so back through his work with Robert Fripp et al on the album Damage. The track Thalheim is what motivated me to buy the CD.

Also notable for me in 2018:
  • Solo a Geneva by Jamie Saft - beautifully played piano. It seems I'm slowly acquiring Saft's entire catalog and I probably should've given this album the same treatment as the three above.
  • We Like it Here by Snarky Puppy - A modern, energetic approach to big band jazz. (Big band isn't the right term but I already used the word ensemble above.) 
  • Anguish - For album cover of the year.

For anyone interested, the full list of the albums I purchased in 2018 is here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The reason we want to live forever...

The Red Bull Air Race is coming to Fort Worth in November and tickets are now on sale.

"Knowledge is the new money." Why you should read for 5 hours per week.

Listening to Possibilities Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 by Tobias Reber and trying to decide whether to buy.

I am fairly certain I should buy Sonar's entire discography.

I have already bought Change in the Air by the Cuong Vu 4Tet.

Proving that any tool can make art, Addie Wagenknecht used a Roomba to paint the floor. The color is a hint to one of the influences but when you learn that the artist reclined nude on the floor while the Roomba painted you'd draw the obvious cmoparison to Yves Klein.
Why 355/113 is an excellent approximation of pi.

Art exhibits that would've nice to see:
What does music look like? Synesthesiatic artist Melissa McCracken shows us.
Another True Facts video from Ze Frank: the Bobbit Worm.

Everyone close to Toledo should secure tickets now for a class, a lecture, and a performance by Harold Budd at the Toledo Museum of Art.

Edvard Munch, The Scream 1893. The lesson here is that sometimes what looks like abstraction is actually representation. Scientists believe Munch's depiction of the sky is a real meteorological phenomenon called nacreous clouds. 
"Volume is begotten of flatness, not of volumetric rotundities." So we read in 10 perspectives on drawing in abstract painting.

Is $4.5 million the most ever paid for a nickel? Don't know but that's how much a 1913 Liberty Head Nickel (only 5 are known to exist) recently sold for.

NASA's moon video set to Clair de Lune.

NASA's astronomy picture of the day reveals the observable universe.
Long article about nuclear weapon nerds.

Preview the finalists for the 2018 student Academy Awards.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯  (Copied and pasted from

Interrobang!? because we live in an impoverished present. ~Alan Watts (paraphrased)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves...

A long (pardon the pun) article about Brian Eno's musical and artistic accomplishments, from ambient to generative music to his work on chimes for the Clock of the Long Now.

Of the 40 things every Fort Worther must do, I've done 2 and a half.

10 reasons why you should visit Fort Worth.

Debussy played Debussy in 1913.

This may be a trick question. How do you know when to leave a baseball game? When it's over is apparently not the right answer. See the data that leads to the result that when the leading team is up by 5 runs it's safe to leave in the 3rd or 4th inning.

Some newer music to explore:

  • Between the Silence - a 3 CD album by Robert Fripp (guitar) and Leo Travis (sax, flute) of "Evocative Soundscapes and inventive improvs." Listen here, buy here.
  • Flood Expeditions - more "improvised excursions between piano and guitar" by Robert Rich and Markus Reuter. Listen and buy here.
  • Possibilities Vol. 1 by Tobias Reber - guitar and synth. Buy and listen here.
  • Don't forget 12k's summer sale - 40% off.
  • A 1-hour mix of Harold Budd and Robin Guthrie
I still have several of those large, fold-out maps from National Geographic. Now you can see 100 year's worth of fold-out maps on their website.

There's just something about this that appeals to me. Pablo Picasso, Still Life on a Square Table, 1922. source
I love Godzilla as much as the next guy but the trailer for King of the Monsters gives me a strong Pandora vibe which isn't necessarily a good thing.

Here's a PDF chock full of vintage NSA security posters.

David Sylvian and Holger Czukay's Plight and Premonition in 1988.

Gaudi on The Orb podcast (Soundcloud).

You can read about music as when Innerviews talked to the Security Project.

A self-proclaimed "extremely detailed" map of U.S. 2016 election results.
Funny people have higher IQs than their less funny peers.

How about 10 hours of ocean scenes?

Pull gasoline out of thin air.

How many diamonds did they find? One quadrillion (10**15) tons.

Speaking of numbers, learn their secrets at Number Gossip. 27 is the only number that is the sum of its digits times 3.

Here's one way to divide the USA into four equally populated regions. source
Great. Fort Worth is one hot spot where parents exempt their kids from immunizations.

They found a "lake" on Mars, but it's 12 miles across, 3 feet deep, and really salty.

Ray Bradbury's 12 tips for authors. #8 Write with joy, "writing is not a serious business."

I like Yes, but I find that I need to be in a special mood before listening to it. So maybe you're in the mood for Episode 36 of What Makes This Song Great with Roundabout.

Rather than reinforce boundaries between disciplines and the value-laden hierarchies that keep them in place, we need to accept that studies in "imagination" and "humanity" are no less vital to work and citizenship than those of "facts" and "machines." I was first introduced to C.P. Snow's book The Two Cultures in 1980 and here we are 38 years later reading The 'Two Cultures' Fallacy. Long article.

A webpage full of infographics and maps of the 1800s.
Seven basic design principles. #3 The UI is opinionated.

The editor at Cartoon Research is, like me, fascinated by the WWII Disney (mostly) animated film Victory Through Airpower. In this article he shows some of the film's promotional materials.

And while I'm wearing my Disney fanboi hat, here's one of my favorite bits of Disney film, the 15-minute  documentary 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree.

How we use our land. source
Physicists found (maybe) the odderon.

Do you want to know the 2018 roster of NFL officials?

I guess it makes sense that architects would be interesting in knowing how logs can be cut differently to create wood with different grains.

Benito's helps you understand Mexican menus.

...and know what another person sees.  ~Marcel Proust

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Small minds are concerned with the extraordinary...

J. Peter Schwalm's latest album, How We Fall, has been released. You can stream a few tracks from Rare Noise Records.

While you're at it, give a listen to a preview of the upcoming album Blue Dream from the Jamie Saft Quartet.

Mark Bradford, Pickett's Charge, installation view at the Hirshhorn. Might be time for a visit.
A really long review of spy fiction that I can't decipher.

If you ever stood in a hi-fi showroom "testing" speakers by playing Deacon Blues, this article and its videos are for you.

Surface Work is a current exhibition (London) featuring female abstract painters.

Highly recommend that everyone - especially young people (hint, hint) - read The Psychology of Money. I loved #7 "the seduction of pessimism in a world where optimism is the most reasonable stance."

I've started keeping track of Mickey Mouse in fine art.

Damien Hirst, 

Andy Warhol
Keith Haring
Vernon Fisher
Roy Lichtenstein
Pondering the nature of silence will be seen by some as similar to gazing at all-white or all-black paintings. Yet I contend silence is becoming a luxury item and even more rare. And despite "the ceaseless beep of phones" the dilemma of silence is not risk of sensory deprivation but simply the ability to find it.

"I would like to write about the bullshitization of academic life."

All Over the Map is a National Geographic blog about maps and map making.

VOA brings us the Chuck Jones interview in their What It Takes series.

How about a 1923 film explaining Einstein's theory of relativity.

As if three types of neutrinos wasn't enough, there may be a fourth - the sterile neutrino - which may upend the Standard Model of physics.

Refik Anadol, Melting Memories. Click thru and watch the video.
Chili's Boss Burger (burger, rib meat, brisket, sausage, bacon) might be next on my list.

I have no idea how the game MousePoint works but that doesn't mean I didn't spend hours playing.

...great minds with the ordinary. ~Blaise Pascal

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Real knowledge is to know...

Here's a video of a live performance by Sonar and David Torn. I'm loving their album Vortex.

You can stream 144 hours of Blue Note recordings including Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Decorate your house with wallpaper inspired by Brian Eno.

The Kimono Project aims to create 196 unique kimonos representing all the participating countries in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Morris Louis, Blue Veil, 1958. Image from, his online catalogue raisonne. 
Sam Francis' catalogue raisonne is now online too.

Constellations is a game where you change the shape of a line. A big part of the game is figuring out the rules.

White paintings are more than just a white canvas. Need art be an imitation of reality or can it exist on its own merits?

The city of Fort Worth recommends that families maintain an emergency kit with 72-hours worth of supplies. Yet one of those supplies is 7-days worth of medicine.

It's snowing on comet 67/P Chuyurmov-Gerasimenko according to the Rosetta spacecraft. Must see video.
Science discovered a new blue pigment - YInMn Blue.

I encourage my friends in NYC to see the exhibit on the Submarine Growler and the Cold War.

Never before published photos of the Mt. St. Helens eruption.

Science still doesn't know why time is the only one of the 4 basic dimensions in which we can't move backwards. Even the 2nd law of thermodynamics doesn't explain this.

Yes, I am OCD enough that this list of 37 house cleaning tips was interesting, especially the one about dryer sheets and baseboards.

Speaking of cleaning, here's a project that plans to clean up half of the great Pacific garbage patch in 5 years.

Can you tell the difference between Dante's Inferno and Disney World?

Funny t-shirt. Not certain I'd wear it to the airport though.

I leave you with this WebGL Lathe Workshop so you can whittle away the rest of the day.

...the extent of one's ignorance. ~Confucius

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Anticipate the difficult...

Neill Blomkamp's Oats Studio is open for crowd funding. If you haven't watched any of their videos on YouTube you are missing some good stuff.

The new Dreamworks Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle for Amazon prime video doesn't disgust me as much as many modern reworkings of classic TV cartoons. It's the voices that I find most distracting, not the animation.

Google Maps now supports Street View for Disneyland and Walt Disney World parks. Let's visit Pandora.

New music that I'm currently flirting with. Riot by Kali on Ronin Rhythms Records.

Also there's Adam Holzman's new album Ectoplasm.

I'm well past flirting with Vortex by Sonar w. David Torn. Read about this collaboration on Innerviews. A sample of the track Waves and Particles.

And there's Gaudi's Psychedelic Future Dub Vol 2.

A beautiful illustration of the alphabet's evolution that reminds me of the phonetic reading charts we used in grade school. 
Anything can fit in a rectangle. This and other thoughts on the 1970s when painting was dead.

How audacious is the goal of electricity from nuclear fusion in 15 years?

I used to challenge students to develop an exoskeleton I can use late in life instead of a wheelchair. Seems that's already been done by suitX and others.

Fort Worth gets two nods in Eater's list of the 38 best restaurants in Texas. Fred's Texas Cafe and the Swiss Pastry Shop. Fortunately, I've been to both. Fred's for burgers and Swiss Pastry Shop for their heavenly delectable Swiss-style black forest cake.

Robert Rauschenberg, Untitled, 1951
What makes a monochrome painting good? It's a trick question. The same thing that makes any painting good; it changes the way you see the world.

Lots to argue about - every joke in Airplane! ranked.

Best think since sliced... ketchup.

No more signing credit card receipts?

A documentary of legendary designer Dieter Rams is coming out this year with a soundtrack by Brian Eno.

The Detroit Tigers are named after Michigan's oldest military unit. This and 29 other origin stories for baseball team names.

A fascinating, interactive visualization of all the collaborations in Miles Davis' career. Scaled in Miles.
Why does Mario music sound fun? Clarity and accessibility.

Funny people have higher IQs.

See the moon in beautiful 4k.

The fastest growing craft breweries of 2017.

I'd like to think this would end the debates on healthy eating. But it won't.

Fort Worth's Magnolia Ave. is now officially a great place.

More art museums should take themselves less seriously.

A nice bit of public art in Fort Worth. The artist? An F-2 tornado that tore down the billboard those posts used to support.
Scientists measure the color of antimatter!!!
It's the same color as matter :-(

Never forget that Led Zeppelin's drummer, John Bonham, was one of the best ever.

The numbers here are staggering: after being dormant for 37 years, the Voyager 1 spacecraft just communicated with Earth over a distance of 13 billion miles.

Sloths don't fart, but they also poop only every three weeks.

Is it more surprising that fake urine is being banned by law or that it exists in the first place?

Who says TED talks are all fancy? Here's an animated presentation on the evolution of animal genitalia. Which reminds me of Kliban's series of cartoons on genitalia of the universe, but that's a topic for another day.

What's your favorite kind of music? Cassette you say? Here's an online simulator of cassette music, complete with all the flaws. managing the easy. ~Lao Tzu