Monthly Archives: October 2013

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Breaking Spanish

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I’m one of those who got hooked on Breaking Bad. The series finale was perfect and that’s all I’ll say about it, in case you haven’t seen it yet. Now I may have to learn Spanish, because I read that Sony Pictures Television is remaking the series for the Latin American market, and calling it Metastasis.

Estoy muy emocionado!

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/breaking-bad-remake-metastasis-meet-640039?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+thr%2Fnews+(The+Hollywood+Reporter+-+Top+Stories)

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I’m strangely attracted to this

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Rare earth magnets are permanent magnets made by including some cobalt or yttrium or samarium in the metal. Turns out they are from two to three times stronger than the magnets I played with as a kid. Now, BoingBoing.net reports that these rare earth magnets are being used to build a highly unusual pen, the Polar, billed as the “ultimate fidget pen” because of all the time-wasting fun you can have with it. The pen is being developed through KickStarter and, dammit, I want one. You can see a video of it here:

http://boingboing.net/2013/10/02/ultimate-fidget-pen-made-from.html

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Calling all sci-fi freaks

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I am a sci-fi freak, no doubt. That’s why I was outright awed by this post on BoingBoing.net showin g post of some 200 spaceships from movies and TV, all of them shown in correct scale to one another and ranging from the relatively tiny Starship Enterprise, to the even smaller Jupiter probe from 2001, to the mind-bogglingly huge alien ship from Independence Day. You gotta see this poster at http://dirkloechel.deviantart.com/art/Size-Comparison-Science-Fiction-spaceships-398790051

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In the Moog

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Watched A Clockwork Orange on the movie channel last night. Who would think a movie done in the ‘60s could still be relevant today. Ultraviolence, man. Seems like that’s what our times are about. What really got me was the music, so I checked it out and I gotta say I think that may have been the start of where we’re at today with all our digital effects. But they did it all with analog… with theremins and Moog synthesizers.

Theremins are just a pair of antennas connected to an oscillator. When you pass your hand in front of one, the volume goes up and down… in front of the other and the pitch rises and falls. It’s cool… and spooky. Laurie Anderson sometimes performs wearing clothing with theremin-like instruments built in.

A Moog synthesizer uses analog tec

h to modify waveforms and produce sounds that sound like – sort of – different instruments, from pianos and guitars to drums and trumpets. You play on a keyboard and it produces cools music. The way that it’s different a from the instruments it is emulating is what makes Moogs so cool.  I use a MiniMoog as part of my gear.

MiniMoog

MiniMoog

Etherwave Theremin

Etherwave Theremin

 

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The DJ TREND NATION interview

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This interview with me just came out in DJ Trend Nation magazine. This is an excerpt, you can pick up the mag and read the rest, or go to their website djtrendnation

Creative Commons licence – Affenkopp1

Creative Commons licence – Affenkopp1

DJ Max Badger has been doing his ab-native thing, keeping his peeps beats in his work and releasing new mix-tapes every few months. He’s aboriginal, he’s groovy, and we just had to interview him.

Where do you get your inspiration?

From everything around me, from the beats of my people, the resistance and the revolution. 

When you aren’t DJ-ing, you are you doing at the university. How easy is it to split your focus between the two?

I’m a hyper guy. Lots of coffees, four hours sleep a night with naps in the daytime. Plus I’m lucky I can take breaks from my day job every couple of hours to think about or work on my music

Who are some of your favorite rappers?

Old school first like DeadMau5 and I still think Fatboy Slim is great. I really really like Lady AnnaShay. But I like my work a lot, too. That’s not ego, it’s just, who else out there is doing my kind of DJ-ing?

What do you say when some young guy or girl comes up and asks for advice?

I say find your own groove and work at it. But also, don’t be afraid to experiment, especially with musical forms and effects you aren’t comfortable with.

You were recently critical of rap. Why?

I sometimes think rap has lost its moral centre. Back in the day… way back… we had rap artists like NWA, Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, Tone Loc and a bunch of others, who had a message, and they are what inspired me to become a DJ, even though most of them were at their peaks before I was born. But now… There’s too much emphasis on violence and exploiting women and no moral message. WTF! But that’ll change. Things always do. 

Look ahead one year. What’s happened to DJ Max Badger?

More beats and try some trance.

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Lot of shakin’ going on

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There was medium-sized earthquake the other day, somewhere northwest of Vancouver Island. It didn’t do any damage, although people in Haida Gwai could feel it. Of course, the news media had to get a little hysterical about it, talking up “the big one” that could hit us any day now.

Creative Commons licence – CIR online

Creative Commons licence – CIR online

Well, I guess that’s true. It could hit us tomorrow… could hit us a hundred years from now. Seems there is a major fault that runs from northern Vancouver Island down to northern California. If it lets go all at once, we’d get a Richter Scale 9+ earthquake. Not many buildings in our cities are built to take that much shaking, so there’d be lots of damage and quite a few deaths… but not so many that you should be panicking. You’re more at risk from the chaos that follows, when things like our water, power and communications

So you should do like Max does and get yourself an emergency kit that fits in a small backpack. Here’s what’s in mine:

  •  A couple of space blankets
  • Fire starter kit
  • Water purification pills and a steri-straw
  • A good knife/multitool
  •  15 metres of parachute cord
  •  An all-in one cooking kit with small gas cooker
  • Enough high-energy dried foods to last five days.
  • Hand-cranked flashlight and radio
  • Solar recharger for my cellphone

And if you live right on the coast, the sense to move to high ground in case there’s a tsunami.

But here’s a question. If the threat of an earthquake is so severe, why are they letting people drill and do seismic testing in the fault area. Do we need oil that badly?

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Bitumen. Bitumen. Bitumen!

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That last blog about Betelgeuse, one of my first and best stars, took me to Beetlejuice, the movie ‘cos the writer used the word for the star Betalgeuse he adapted to the Beetlejuice.  Say Betaljuice 3 times and “it” shows up – that bio-exorcist ghost that is always trying to make a deadly deal.

Betelgeuse , took me to Betaljuice that took me to Beetlejuice that took me Bitumen. Stay with me on this. Bitumen. Bitumen. Bitumen! If you say it 3 times , the Bitumen bio-hazard ghost  shows up.   The Bitumen Ghost is always looking to make a deal with the living from the land of the dead.  And that deal will haunt us perhaps forever.

Bitumen is that stuff they take out of the oil sands, at great profit to oilmen and politicians (who win elections scaring people that without bitumen the world will end). So the land is dying but the profits aren’t.

Creative Commons licence – photo (cc) Dru Oja Jay, Dominion

Creative Commons licence – photo (cc) Dru Oja Jay, Dominion

It takes about 2 tonnes of oil sand to produce a single barrel of oil. Two tonnes  for one measly barrel of oil. And it takes a 400 ton heavy hauler with huge hydraulic power shovels to excavate that oil. Probably thousands of trucks (but I will admit I haven’t counter, but there has got to be hundreds of these trucks) – so we could get a barrel of oil. And it takes 2.4 barrels of freshwater to extract and upgrade one barrel of bitumen. According to the Pembina Institute, “daily freshwater use in 2022 is projected to be 4,861,389 barrels (772,900 cubic metres). This is equivalent to filling 4.8 million bathtubs or 309 Olympic swimming pools with freshwater every day.”

See, it’s evil like Beetlejuice. The ecosystem they’re screwing up took thousands of years to create since  the last Ice Age. And it’s gonna take thousands of years for that land to heal. And for what? For the equivalent of about a five year supply of crude oil (at about 90 million barrels a day).  Five years! All that destruction for 5 years of crude oil. They can’t even say: hey,  we have to make this oil from bitumen because we will never need to make oil ever again. No, just 5 years  worth of crude oil. Germany gets 20.7 percent of its electricity from renewable energy and Canada is doing what?  Because of all the tax breaks, the oilmen make about twice as much profit per barrel as they do from regular crude oil – not much of an incentive to get off the bitumen.

Bitumen was used by our people – we sometimes used for waterproofing birch-bark canoes, and glue to help bind arrow points to their shafts. Sometimes it was pitch from trees, but there are tar pools (been to the La Brea Tar Pits in LA? That’s bitumen) .

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Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse. Betelgeuse!

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Looking up at stars makes me feel like I’m part of the universe – something vast and important. Energy x infinity. (not to make fun of all those who make them feel insignificant when they  gaze at the sky – but really, that makes you feel small? How? Connect to the stars, man)

Trillions of stars. There is this one that made me crazy when I was a kid. I’d lie on my own private grassy knoll and look up and there was this red star. But was it a planet – like Mars? See crazy-making. So I found this book at school. It was a dusty and old – but there it was on page 22: Betelgeuse. Betalgeuse they said was in the armpit of Orion. Armpit? Armpit? No WAY! This red mystery star is ancient dude’s  armpit? And it’s one of largest stars in our galaxy – about 160 million times the volume of our sun –600 million light years away – and it is an armpit star?

By Anirban Nandi (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Anirban Nandi (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Oh yeah, its size and brightness makes it easy to find and remember.  Look for Orion the constellation.  And on a clear night, if it’s dark enough and you have good eyes, you can also see that it has a reddish colour, which is why I used to think it was a planet. If you watch it over time, you’ll see that it varies a lot in brightness.

I thought there has to be something better than being a star in an armpit – so I found out more.  Some our cousins in Brazil call it Zililkawai, and say it represents a hero whose leg was cut off. The Lakota people have a similar story, seeing the constellation as an important chief whose arm was cut off.  Some say Betelgeuse’s reddish colour symbolizes  blood. In Australia, the Wardaman people call the star Yajungin. The name means “owl eyes flickering”.

And there is more: In Tahiti, they call it Anâ-varu, one of the pillars propping up the sky. I like the Hawaiian name Kaulua-koko, the “brilliant red star” and the Lacandon people, part of the Mayan Nations, call it “red butterfly”. And there are more stories from around the world, like the in Sanskrit it is Bahu, part of the constellation of a running antelope.

Red Butterfly or Armpit Star? You decide.