Monday, June 25, 2007

Last Post

Well, I've officially abandoned this blog. I am still actively posting at my main blog and I hope you will visit me there (or at this blog or this one). This blog has been a lot of fun and I want to thank everyone who has visited and commented. I plan on moving many of the posts to my other blogs.

Update 1/29/07: I'm thinking I might revive this blog soon. Please check back in a few months.

Friday, May 11, 2007

An Unusual Search Term

I spend way too much time analyzing my visitor stats. I especially enjoy seeing what search terms people use to find my blogs. Since bigger sites have already monopolised the more popular search terms, I tend to do better with bizarre word combinations. One surprise has been the term "viol videos". I made a post with that name several months ago at a different blog and have received hundreds of hits from that search term and similar phrases. Apparently, there is a high demand and poor supply of viol videos.

I recently received a hit based on this search term: 1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3. Here is someone who knew exactly what he was looking for. I'm glad that he was able to find it! Can you figure out what he wanted? If you're having trouble, you can just click here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Numbers on a Date

Warning! The following video contains mathematical humor.

Cast of Characters

See also The First Thousand Digits of Pi

Other Mathematical Vdeos
Fermat's last Theorem
The Story of One
The Mendelbrot Set

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blog Review-Of Sound Mind

What is music? One definition is that it is the organisation of sound. This hardly seems adequate. Not all organised sound seems musical and some noise may seem musical without being very organised. This confusion is aggravated by the fact that many experimental musical forms purposely blur the distinction between music and noise.

I don't mind not having complete answers to these kinds of questions. As an experimental composer, I find it to be far more enjoyable to challenge definitions and categories than to settle on traditional views.

Of Sound Mind is a great blog for learning about sound and the ill defined border between music and noise. This blog chronicles the adventures of an imaginative sonic explorer. He shares his thoughts and audio clips. These audio clips are unique. They are generally not finished compositions. Sometimes, they explore isolated elements of music or unusual recording techniques. Listening to them provides a rare glimpse into a musical mind at work.

This approach may seem somewhat strange in our modern world of readily available, polished, professionally produced music. It is easy to forget about the ingredients of music. It is even easier to forget about the fascination of sounds that may not be musical in any traditional sense.

There was a time when things were different. Attentive listening to sounds was often a matter of life and death. You may not see the approach of an enemy or predator, but if you were alert, you might hear it. When darkness fell, hearing became even more important for evaluating your surroundings. I am sure that there was much greater respect and admiration for the power and mystery of sound.

Today, sound is frequently a nuisance, something to be blocked out. When we use it for entertainment, it is often trivial and played in the background. I can only speculate on the consequences of this sensory imbalance, on the peculiar shift of attention from the auditory to the visual world that has taken place in modern times.

If you want to learn more about sound, if you want to experience a broader range of sonic possibilities, I recommend that you pay a visit to Of Sound Mind.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

A Leaky Bucket

Suppose you have a water filled bucket with three holes. The first hole can empty the bucket in five minutes. The other hole can empty it in ten minutes. The last hole can empty it in 15 minutes. How long will it take for all three holes to empty the bucket? Please leave a comment if you have an answer or a guess.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Can You Read This?

The following was obtained from the excellent blog, Amazingly Bizarre. It is used here by permission.

Lets see how smart u are :)
Olny srmat poelpe can raed tihs.

cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

if you can raed tihs psas it on !!

Monday, January 22, 2007

A Tough Brainteaser and a Tougher One

Suppose you have ten trees. How can you plant these trees so that they form five rows of four trees each. Leave a comment if you figure out the answer.

If the first problem is tough, the second one is much tougher. How can you you do the same task (plant five rows of four trees) with only eight trees. It sounds impossible, and it is unless you use an imaginative approach. (Hints: Don't bother planting more than four trees in a row. The second problem is possible, but may not be practical.)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


The probability of being dealt a royal flush.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Herbal Cigarettes

I could tell you what little I know about this sketch and the show it came from, but that would spoil the fun. (See the comments on a Language Sketch for a lively discussion.)

Herbal Cigarettes

Aside from being a funny sketch. it contains some delicious ironies that will only be apparent if you are up to date on American television. I welcome your comments.

Monday, January 8, 2007

Language Sketch

This may not be a tough question for some of you, but can you identitify the actors? If so leave a comment.

Language Sketch

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Wrong Blog

I hate to tell you this, but you came to the wrong blog. It's not your fault. You didn't know. If you must, you can stay and look around a bit, but I feel compelled to advise you on the error of your ways.

You see, this blog is just a junkdrawer of thoughts. You can come back any time. It will still be here. The real excitement is taking place at one of my other blogs. It is only one week old today, yet it has already won a prestigious award and has been recognised by other bloggers. Yesterday, it received over a thousand unique visitors. It has also brought much deserved recognition to others.

If you enjoy reading blogs, it provides an unique way to browse the bloggosphere. If you write a blog, you will discover a stunningly simple (and completely free) way to promote your online presence.

I'm not bragging. I cannot, in good conscience, brag about this. The success, so far, has simply been the result of the positive response of the blogging community to a simple idea.

I hope you will visit today and see what the excitement is all about.

The preceding was a pseudo-advertisement. Had I been two people, instead of one. It would have been a paid advertisement with an appropriate disclaimer.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Blog Review-Startling Moniker

What kind of music do you like? This is a common enough question, and usually pretty easy to answer. Most people have pretty definite opinions about what they like and don't like. Now, I would like you to consider a different question. Why do you like the music that you do?

It may not be hard to answer this in a very general way. Perhaps, you will respond by saying that it has a good beat or a nice melody. The funny thing is that if you ask your parents or grandparents these same questions they may come up with very different kinds of music, but claim similar reasons for enjoying it.

Music is kind of like food. We often avoid foods that we haven't acquired a taste for, while other foods become comfort foods that we turn to during times of stress or when we want to feel a certain way.

I see nothing wrong with enjoying foods or music that make us feel comfortable, but it can be very limiting and dull if we don't also challenge ourselves from time to time.

One of my favorite places for challenging my musical taste buds is the blog Startling Moniker. Here you will find intelligent reviews about strange, exotic and very experimental musical recordings. You can usually follow the links if you want to hear some samples of what is being discussed.

The author of this blog is the host of a radio show devoted to experimental music. He really knows his field and provides insightful commentary.

If you already have an interest in experimental music, I probably don't need to say anything else. You may want to head over there now and ignore the rest of this review. If, however, you are a little scared or suspicious of experimental music, you may need some gentle coaxing.

I won't pretend that I enjoy all experimental music. There's a lot that I don't like, but I'm highly in favor of the concept of experimenting with music. Much of the popular music that we hear today is pretty formulaic. It plays upon cultural expectations and is designed to produce a generally pleasant sensation in a large audience.

Experimental music, however, asks questions. What if we alter or eliminate certain commonly accepted elements of music? The results can be sublime, interesting, or unspeakably dreadful. Either way, the process is informative. You learn about music, but more importantly, you learn about yourself. It can be liberating to brake free from the cultural conditioning that surrounds us. It can be enlightening to discover music that is compatible with your own unique personality, rather than the lowest common denominator of your peer group.

Since I fancy myself a composer of experimental music, I place great value on my continuing musical education. I have music that makes me comfortable, but I intentionally spend time listening to music that I am unfamiliar with or even dislike. Sometimes my opinions change. Sometimes they are reinforced. Music is, for me, an amazing journey of self discovery.

I hope you will consider a similar journey through the realm of musical possibilities. I can recommend Startling Moniker as a good place to start.

Some of my favorite posts from Startling Moniker
Voice is the Original Instrument: Early Works
The Billion Dollar Synthesizer
Seconds Anyone
Unit 23