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Classical Music Mashup III



Grant Woolard gave us the Classical Music Mashup and the Classical Music Mashup II, as well as other awesome music projects. Now we have a third iteration on the theme, where he seamlessly overlays and meshes different classical tunes. This video contains snippets of 70 pieces from familiar composers like Beethoven and Chopin, branching out to Prokofiev, Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and more, including outliers like Scott Joplin and Rick Astley. -Thanks, Grant!   


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Babies Influence Their Learning Environment to Acquire Language Easier

We know that babies and toddlers acquire language as they interact with the people around them and as their parents talk to them but that doesn't mean that they only receive information from their environment. That is, they can actually influence their learning environment through babbling.

New research from Cornell’s Behavioral Analysis of Beginning Years (B.A.B.Y.) Laboratory reveals that baby babbling elicits profound changes in adult speech. Adults unconsciously modify their speech to include fewer unique words, shorter sentences and more one-word replies. This simplified speech happens only in response to the baby’s babbling, and not when the adult is simply talking to the baby.
“Infants are actually shaping their own learning environments in ways that make learning easier to do,” said lead author Steven Elmlinger, a doctoral candidate in the field of psychology. “We know that parents’ speech influences how infants learn – that makes sense – and that infants’ own motivations also change how they learn. But what hasn’t been studied is the link between how infants can change the parents, or just change the learning environment as a whole. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Baby talk isn't just cute but it also affects how we speak to babies which, in turn, could help them learn the language a lot easier. The researchers conducted the study with mothers and infants then measured the vocabulary used by the parents and the words or vocalizations made by the infants to come up with these findings.

(Image credit: The Honest Company/Unsplash)


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Astronomers Found Cloaked Black Hole Using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Black holes usually form by pulling in surrounding material into its core until it has gained enough mass such that the gas around it dissipates and the black hole is revealed in its full glory. Astronomers say they have found one of the farthest black holes to date which is still in its early stages of growth.

"It's extraordinarily challenging to find quasars in this cloaked phase because so much of their radiation is absorbed and cannot be detected by current instruments," said Fabio Vito of the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in Santiago, Chile, who led the study. "Thanks to Chandra and the ability of X-rays to pierce through the obscuring cloud, we think we've finally succeeded."
The new finding came from observations of a quasar called PSO167-13, which was first discovered by Pan-STARRS, an optical-light telescope in Hawaii. Optical observations from these and other surveys have detected about 180 quasars already shining brightly when the universe was less than a billion years old, or about 8 percent of its present age.

(Image credit: X-ray: NASA/CXO/Ponticifca Catholic Univ. of Chile/F. Vito; Radio: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); Optical: Pan-STARRS)


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Belgian Sits For Five Days In A Bid For The Longest Toilet Break Record

Jimmy De Frenne, a 48-year old Belgian man sat on the toilet for 116 hours in a bid to break the record for the longest toilet break. He initially set himself for a challenge of 165 hours on a toilet set up in the middle of a bar - but gave up on a Friday morning. Reuters has more of the details on his attempt: 

De Frenne was allowed five minutes off every hour, which he could accumulate over several hours to allow him to sleep. Ironically, he needed toilet breaks as his bar toilet was not plumbed in.
Sitting that long was not as easy as it might have seemed.
“I was very tired and my legs hurt but I believe in my success and try to make this record official,” de Frenne said.

Reuters added that Guiness World Records has been made aware of his attempt. Here’s to the hope that his 116-hour toilet break becomes the longest toilet break in record! 

image credit: via Reuters


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Here’s How To Differentiate Gunfire From Fireworks

It’s all in the cadence, Scott Beinster (a public-safety specialist for ShotSpotter) tells the New York Times how people can determine the origin of  a loud “bang!” :

“When somebody pulls a trigger, they tend to pull it in a fairly steady rhythm until the end, when their finger gets tired,” Beisner says. A series of evenly spaced bang-bang-bang sounds is much more likely to be a gun than the more sporadic ba-bang, ba-ba-ba-ba-bang of firecrackers. 

Sometimes it is difficult to know whether what someone hears is from a gunshot, and usually the answer comes from the sound’s intensity. Beinster details that multiple shots from a gun will be equally loud, unlike a continuous stream of fireworks (the sounds from them can be unequal in intensity). So the next time you hear bang, bang, bang consecutively - try to ask yourself : is it the equal bang, bang, bang, of a gun or the ba-bang, ba-ba-bang of fireworks? 

image credit: via wikimedia commons


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This Bus Conductor Was Punished For Letting A Pigeon Ride For Free

The scenario goes like this: a drunken passenger talks to a pigeon, and instead of reprimanding the drunken passenger for their antics, an inspector writes a memo against the bus conductor. The funny thing about this scenario? The memo was issued for letting the pigeon ride free on the bus. Another funny thing about this scenario? It’s real. 

Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation’s rule on this was (as quoted by Times of India) that conductors should collect one-fourth of the full fare when a passenger is carrying more than 30 pigeons. The rule doesn’t state on a passenger with one pigeon.

Putting the odd rule for bus fare aside, here’s hope that the conductor wouldn’t get punished for not charging the drunk passenger for his feathered companion. 

(via weirdasianews.com)

image credit: via Times of India


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Where Did The Traffic Go?

2 days left to vote

See if you can figure out where the motorcycles and cars go in this optical illusion of a video clip.

Maybe all those vehicles are going to Hogwarts at Bridge 9-3/4 ... or maybe it's not a bridge at all.


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Stunning Apple and Snake Skeleton Glass Sculpture by Kiva Ford

2 days left to vote

This one is simply stunning: glassblower Kiva Ford created this intricate sculpture of a glass skeleton of a snake encircling a globe containing a glass apple.

Gorgeous!


3

The Physicist Who Always Thought How God Could Have Created the Universe

December 1972. It was the first physics conference of by then 17-year-old Lee Smolin. His teacher at Hampshire College suggested that he drop in to the conference, listen attentively to the talks, and take the opportunity to meet people.

“Don’t be shy,” he said. “If you need an icebreaker, just ask them what they are working on.”
Having practised my line on the subway, I strode into the grand hotel. The first person I met was a young Texan named Lane P. Hughston, who took me to lunch and taught me twistor theory—a radically original description of the geometry of space and time as it would be experienced by a ray of light. I’d been reading Albert Einstein’s original papers on general relativity, but I’d never seen a theory so elegant. In the following days, I met and listened to lectures by many of the leading physicists of the time—including Roger Penrose, the inventor of twistor theory, himself.
At the time, several researchers were working on black holes, which I had recently started to learn about. A black hole is created after a massive star runs out of nuclear fuel and collapses. Inside, gravity is so strong that nothing—not even light—can escape.

At the last afternoon of the symposium, Smolin noticed a man who didn’t look like a typical physicist. He had what Smolin called an “Old Testament” beard and he wore black jeans and a turtleneck.

I tried my line on him, and his reply was so unusual that I remember it exactly. “My approach to research is to ask myself how I would create the universe, were I God. I’ve come to the conclusion that God could never understand calculus or, indeed, the real numbers. But I am pretty sure that God can count.” He showed me a game with an electron and a chessboard. The probability of the electron jumping between any two squares was related to the total number of ways of travelling between them. Through this game, he hoped to reduce quantum physics, concerned with the movement of particles, to a simple matter of counting. I had no idea what to think of this, so I quickly said goodbye, and in my haste, I neglected to ask his name.
Seven years later, as a new PhD visiting Stanford University, I was formally introduced to David Finkelstein, the first person to describe the inner structure of a black hole. In 1958, he had used simple mathematics to describe how something such as light travels near the hole’s surface, showing that the boundary can be crossed only one way—by photons falling in. Because of this, a black hole would appear perfectly black. Today, we call this edge of darkness the event horizon.

Check out this intriguing story over at The Walrus.

(Image Credit: qimono/ Pixabay)


4

Fiction Meets Physics in This Novelist’s Book

Helen Clapp is a professor of theoretical physics at MIT. She recounts the biggest news of 21st century physics: the detection of gravitational waves by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), an international collaboration by scientists. This gravitational waves were the result of the collision of two black holes which happened more than a billion years ago. It is to be noted that Einstein in 1915 hypothesized that gravitational waves existed, and his hypothesis would only prove correct a century later. But what are these waves, exactly?

Clapp said. “People describe these waves as ‘ripples in spacetime,’ with analogies about bowling balls on trampolines and people rolling around on mattresses, and these are probably as good as we’re going to get. The problem with all of the analogies, though, is that they’re three-dimensional; it’s almost impossible for human beings to add a fourth dimension, and visualize how objects with enormous gravity—black holes or dead stars—might bend not only space, but time.”
“Because gravity could stretch matter,” Clapp said, “We knew that a collision between enormously dense objects—black holes or neutron stars—was the most likely way we would be able to hear it. One scientist came up with a good Hollywood analogy—that the universe had finally ‘produced a talkie.’ Actually, the universe has always produced talkies; it was only that we didn’t have the ears to hear them.” The “interferometers became the ears.”

This is a really precise explanation of what gravitational waves, as expected of an MIT professor. The surprise here, however, is that Helen Clapp is not a real person; she is a fictional character in Nell Freudenberger’s recent novel, entitled Lost and Wanted.

How did Freudenberger write such a really accurate character? She has immersed herself into the world of physics. Talk about dedication and passion!

Freudenberger was determined to bring her protagonist to life as a working physicist. She read books by physicists Lisa Randall and Janna Levin, Steven Weinberg and Kip Thorne, among others. She interviewed Imre Bartos, an assistant professor physics at the University of Florida (formerly at Columbia University), and a member of LIGO, and David Kaiser, a professor of physics and the history of science at MIT, whose 2011 book, How the Hippies Saved Physics, figures in Lost and Wanted. Despite her research, Freudenberger admitted during a recent interview in her Brooklyn home, she remained nervous as a novice gambler about putting pen to paper about physics, worrying she would never fool anyone.
When Bartos and Kaiser read Lost and Wanted, they told me, they couldn’t have been more impressed. “The scientific descriptions are not just informative and accurate, but Nell also manages to make them sound matter-of-fact, as it would be when two scientists are talking,” Bartos said. “While a part of the science discussed is LIGO’s discovery of gravitational waves—arguably the scientific finding of the century—Nell flawlessly grasps the thinking of the scientists involved who look through the historical event and can’t wait to use the machine for yet unanswered questions.” Kaiser said the physics in Lost and Wanted never struck him as window-dressing. “I was really impressed by Nell’s ability to craft a fully realized central character who happened to be a theoretical physicist—rather than inserting a physicist character as a kind of cartoon stand-in, like the characters in a sitcom like The Big Bang Theory,” Kaiser said. “I also really loved the ways that Nell wove in ideas about gravity, quantum theory, and the cosmos that physicists really grapple with today, as legitimate features of Helen’s full and complicated experiences.”

Check out the story over at the Nautilus.

(Image Credit: Engin_Akyurt/ Pixabay)


3

Is Giving Up Things The Way To Go Green?

The New Republic Magazine states in June this year, “You will have to make sacrifices to save the planet. The US newspaper Metro, meanwhile, asks us: “What would you give up to end climate change?” Kate Laffan from Aeon states that this kind of headline worries her. Why?

These headlines... present us with stark choices: between self and society, wellbeing and morality. It worries me to see pro-environmental action being equated with personal sacrifice in this way. It also makes me wonder whether we could change the content of a third recent headline, this time from Sky News – ‘Majority of Brits unwilling to cut back to fight climate change’ – by reframing how we talk about pro-environmental behaviour.
A growing body of research suggests that, rather than posing a threat to individual wellbeing, adopting a more sustainable lifestyle represents a pathway to a more satisfied life. Numerous studies have found that people who purchase green products, who recycle or who volunteer for green causes claim to be more satisfied with their lives than their less environmentally friendly counterparts. In the most systematic exploration of this relationship to date, the social psychologist Michael Schmitt at Simon Fraser University in Canada and colleagues found that, of the 39 pro-environmental behaviours examined, 37 were positively linked to life satisfaction (the exceptions being the use of public transport or carpooling, and running the washer/dryer only when full).

In other words, going green is about what you gain, not what you give up.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Clker-Free-Vector-Images/ Pixabay)


4

This Automated Cat Toilet Will Relieve You From Kitty Litter Duty Forever

Sifting through you pet cat’s litter box can be quite a task, so wouldn't it be nice if they can have toilets of their own? However, it would kinda be awkward if  you and your cat share the same toilet - so maybe the wish can be altered to a kitty litter box that sifts on its own? If so, then this automated “cat toilet” may pique your interest! 

Cat Robo is a high-tech cat toilet that automatically does the litter sorting for you! The device will rotate once your cat leaves, putting all the contents of the litter (and your cat’s finished business) into an opening that can catch the hardened dirty kitter litter and then placed into the bottom of the unit. The clean litter will return back to its place, where it awaits your cat’s next call of nature. 

This device is available for 58,000 yen (US$532) from Nissen - an investment for you and your cat’s convenience! 

image credit: via SoraNews24


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When Making Tik Tok Videos Goes Too Far

Last week in Purulia district of West Bengal state in eastern India, Noor Ansari and his friends were shooting a clip for the popular mini-video app Tik Tok. They were so focused recording the video that they did not hear a train approaching, and they were hit. Ansari died due to the accident, while his friends were critically injured. Reports have said that the locals have warned the teenagers to stay clear of the tracks, but they did not listen. Ansari and his friends were not the first ones to fall in the Tik Tok craze.

Ansari wasn’t the first. TikTok’s popularity, especially in small-town India, has driven its users to take crazy risks and endanger their lives. A 22-year-old man broke his spine on June 15 while trying to do a backflip for the camera. Kumar, a resident of a village near Bengaluru, died a few days later.
[...]
On April 14, a young man in New Delhi allegedly shot his friend in the face accidentally while posing with a pistol for a video. Salman Zakir, the 19-year-old victim, died of the injury he sustained.
In the southern Indian city of Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, three students were making a video of them riding a single bike on Feb. 23. A bus rammed into them, leading to the subsequent death of one of them.
The total number of such deaths may be difficult to estimate. India also has the highest number of selfie-deaths in the world. So far, 159 people have lost their lives between 2011 and 2017.
TikTok allows its users to lip-sync to popular songs and scenes from movies, and the possibilities for creatively presenting such content are endless. No wonder the video-sharing platform, owned by China-based ByteDance, has 120 million active users in India. It was also among the top apps in India in terms of the number of downloads. India has nearly 500 million smartphone users and is an important market for TikTok.
TikTok “celebrities” are spread across India, often with millions of followers. This, in fact, made both TikTok and the Indian judiciary sit up and take note.

More details regarding this horrifying news over at Quartz.

(Image Credit: ByteDance/ Wikimedia Commons)


3

Crazy Heart Pain And Deep Art, Going Hand In Hand

In revisiting this film, I cam to recognize that, wow, it's been nearly a decade since I first saw it theaters. God I feel old. I mean, not as old as Jeff Bridges, but man do the years go by. But getting serious now, what I find most fascinating about Crazy Heart is that it doesn't seem like a film that is talked about much these days, or at all, which is an interesting parallel with the whole idea of the film. It's not necessarily a new story.

We've all seen the old tale of the struggling artist whose glory days are far past them to the point that they're not only struggling to get by, but they're struggling just to move forward with the very creativity that helped life flow through them. In the case of country music star, Bad Blake, he's an alcoholic, and he drinks heavily. No surprise, and to a great extent of not only blocking out the pain old wounds have left him with, but also to the extent of dealing with the agony that comes with the act of creation itself.

I don't think of Crazy Heart as simply a drama about a man who battling his demons through substance abuse. On a deeper level, I see the story as an examination of the very pain that is carried by any artist in their routinely struggle to craft a new work. This doesn't just apply to the talents of a musician, when we can look at a painter, a writer, a filmmaker, and a sculptor to the extent of how much time, suffering, and contemplation are needed to craft a deep and meaningful work in relation to their art.

I didn't the film in this light the first time I saw it. However, after a long awaited second viewing, having seen it from a deeper and more introspective perspective, I look at Crazy Heart as the perfect example of a film that knows how much pain is needed, especially when transmitted through the self-destructive behavior of an alcoholic musician as a means of communicating a deeper human level. I hope you all enjoy this episode, subscribe to this channel, and I'll see ya next time.

Sincerely,

Andres


3

CAPOTE A GLIMPSE IN THE VULNERABILITY OF A LANDMARK

This review has been coming for a long time, and in the process, I've come to understand that despite the film Capote centering on Truman Capote, who was a writer of many great fictional works, with his most famous, or in the case of this film, infamous work, "In Cold Blood," which is a nonfictional account, centering around the horrific Klutter family murders which occurred in November of 1959, where four members of a small town family were brutally murdered.

In the wake of this horrific tragedy, the town was not only shaken up, but utterly traumatized beyond any reasonable conception of comprehending what had taken place, given how isolated and average the setting was that, the idea of something so gruesome and at first sight, so nihilistic occurring just seemed beyond the realm of rational comprehension.

From a simple glance at a New York Times article, Truman Capote decided to venture into the small town as a means of further exploring the utter bizarreness that defined what any other setting would've deemed just another one of the many tragedies that flooded the world.

Upon first glance of the film's poster, Capote seems what would appear to be a typical Hollywood biographical drama when in reality, I see it as existential exploration into the psychology of a man the public only knew as a landmark rather then scared, lonely, and repressively vulnerable man the film works hard to crack open through an exercise of utter self-destruction. I hope you all enjoy this review I've prepared.

Sincerely,

Andres

"In Cold Blood Book": https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Blood-Tru...

"To Kill A Mocking Bird": https://www.amazon.com/Kill-Mockingbi...


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