Impressive. The young man above outdueled Brian Matusz a few weeks back, and Matusz may be the best lefthander in college baseball, a likely first-round draft pick in June. Serious movement, easy heat.



There was a nice live recording of Gyorgy Ligeti's 'Atmospheres' on NPR the other night. It's just about impossible to sell live because of the extreme dynamic range.

One listener's cough will wreck a good three seconds of one of the complex clusters of sound played at quadruple-piano, and there were more than one such hacks in the performance. Still, it was kind of nice to hear live, rather than in the well-known Vienna Philharmonic recording employed in 2001: A Space Oddysey.

It got me thinking about the austere beauty of some of the timbres Ligeti produced in this and other pieces, many of them associated with 2001 and other films by Stanley Kubrick.

Interestingly enough, 'Atmospheres' and some of Ligeti's other music from that period seem to evoke an interest in timbral change akin to the experimental electronic music of the mid-1950's. Ligeti himself did work in this vein at the same Cologne studios that nurtured Karlheinz Stockhausen, of whom I've previously posted. One such piece, Artikulation, has found a fascinating video analog shown above, a sort of hybrid 'art/score' in which shapes represent timbral changes. Enjoy!

(The images are from Wikipedia, the sounds are from Romania by way of Germany)



Many of my readers are Christians, many are not. If you are not a believer, this is probably not for you. If you are a believer, please take the time to click on this link and thoughtfully consider whether or not you would like to add your voice to this plea, this prayer.



What if there was a relatively simple physical correlate to the sort of symmetrical images associated with 'Op Art', moire patterns and the recreational use of hallucinogens?

"It would, like, be like touching (heh heh) the entire universe of our perceptions (giggle). Is anyone else as hungry as I am?"

Anyway, here's some cool, thought-provoking research as hosted by fellow OM-er Blake Stacey.


Posted over at PZ's place:


Well. In a sense I've been quote-mined, in a sense I haven't.

On the one hand, my brief on Phil Plait's gloss on an evolutionary account of humankind is accurately quoted:

In brief, I think that Phil's comments were intemperate and, taken literally, pretty much impossible to defend. He's on pretty solid ground when he's talking about the existence of dark matter and dark energy, but his brief on evolutionary biology runs far afield.

Vox neglected to share my second paragraph, though, which provides some context:

I would say that evolutionary biology provides a conceptual framework to evaluate the degree to which ethical principles/cultural mores etc. are consonant with or (more controversially) derived from our biology. It's a valid research program within evolutionary biology, but to claim that the reigning model in which the program is nested 'explains' ethical concepts in and of itself is a rhetorical overreach, likely prompted by his own beliefs.

Notice I didn't rule out the possibility that the research program is likely to yield testable claims, or that such claims could provide more evidence for an evolutionary account of human thought, including ethical systems. I am, in fact, inclined to believe that both are likely to occur. One of the commenters on Phil's site notes (correctly) that I am being a little picky, and that's true. It's just that I see that exaggerated claims in the general culture tend to be appropriated as weapons in the evo/creo wars, and I'm always at pains to let my students know where our models are well-supported, and where they are largely speculative. I'm very sympathetic to evolutionary psychology in general, but I'm often appalled by the cavalier way speculations within this field are presented. That doesn't mean, however, that I'm opposed to the program or that the program isn't science. I'm not, and it is.

Further, on the general topic of credentials to which many of the proceeding posts allude, it is rather comical of Vox to present me as some authority on evolutionary biology. I'm just a well-read high school science teacher with a passion for teaching evolution well who has had some spirited and civil exchanges with Vox in the past. I think I held up my end of that pretty well, but you folk can judge for yourself.

Anyway, if you're reading this, Vox, I want to make clear that people like PZ really do know their stuff where evolutionary theory is concerned. I happen to draw conclusions different from theirs in certain areas, but I don't do so for scientific reasons. I think PZ would say something similar about his personal beliefs, and if not, he can correct me. If you're scoring rhetorical points (which seems to be your aim), you're doing so against something other than science.

PS: Vox, here's a thought: why not come over to our side, where your intellect and unorthodox way of posing problems would be truly productive, rather than merely a way of amusing yourself and others?