Note: After writing this I remembered a show with Neil deGrasse Tyson a few years ago in which it be became apparent that he didn’t know about false vacuum vs true vacuum. And he writes books about science?
I noticed this book in Barnes & Noble recently. Written by a cosmologist. That alone is a red flag. I didn’t even open it.
This is just another gimmick to make money. Everything in this book can be found and understood in less than an hour by watching just three videos on YouTube. You’ve heard of YouTube? The book got my attention again when the author appeared on PBS. She was on the verge of giggling most of the time. Excited about how much money was being sucked in, probably. I would expect most PBS listeners to be somewhat intelligent but once again I overestimated people. Not a single question from the audience showed any knowledge of science. So here are the links …
Playing for Change series. some of the best recordings ever made. Here’s a couple.
Taylor Momson. The Pretty Reckless. I keep coming back to this band. Miss Momson is known for her clothes, eye makeup, and sun glasses. And her acting (The Gossip Girl, Grinch), singing, and song writing. And she was a model …
The Pretty Reckless is one of the best RnR bands ever. It doesn’t hurt that Taylor Momson is the lead singer. New album sometime in 2020/21. The following is a full acoustic concert. It’s easy to find their full RnR stuff on YouTube.
Candy Dulfer – Lily Was Here: Written by Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) for the movie “De Kassiere” and for Candy Dulfer (she’s Swiss and the daughter of a famous saxophone player). She’s the world’s best sax player. This may be the best jazz song ever written. Music doesn’t get any better. Sexy VEVO version is HERE. Many other sax players have attempted this song and failed miserably.
Jorja Chalmers: Saxophone player. She’s from Australia. She was about to become a music teacher when someone got Bryan Ferry to listen to her and he hired her to tour the world.
Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues: It’s impossible to say how good this is. The best version he ever did. The 2nd half is the best rock guitar performance ever recorded.
Santana – Soul Sacrifice Woodstock 1969: What humans on LSD are capable of doing. Santana said he’d never again play on LSD. Too bad. This is Santana at it’s best. The drummer is flying high. This requires good headphones.
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Love Struck Baby / Pride and Joy / Testify – 9/21/1985: Airplanes are no friend of music. He died too young. Guitar just flowed from him. How did he do it? The guy playing the Yamaha keyboard isn’t too shabby. “I am 72 and have seen and listened to a lot of music but I have never seen or heard anyone in rock, blues, jazz or classical music play with this kind of fluency”
Bob Dylan San Francisco Press Conference 1965: Just the idea of a Dylan press conference is ludicrous. “Mr. Dylan is a poet”? The reporters have no idea who Dylan is. Dylan is sitting there making everyone look like idiots. Just like he made a fool of Baez. Dylan’s answers come from the same source as his songs, they’re real and honest but the people listening aren’t understanding what he’s saying.
MILES DAVIS – Time After Time: Jazz is boring because most jazz musicians just play the notes. They’re very good playing those notes but that’s all it is. Miles Davis did more, especially after he matured and gave up all the old jazz. See Candy Dulfer if you want to hear what a real musician can do with a saxophone.
MILES DAVIS – Tomaas: Too bad he never played with Candy Dulfer. But I doubt he could have kept up with her.
Just about every popular book and magazine article about physics contains at least one lie or extremely incorrect fact. The physicists usually know the lies, the magazine writers are usually just ignorant of the facts. Here’s one very good example of a physicist, now dead who can not sue me, who told a whopper. Nothing Hawking ever did has ever been proven correct so it’s hard to understand why he has so many admirers. Something about saying something nasty about a man in a wheelchair, probably. By the way, his ex-wife wrote a great book about him that wasn’t very flattering.
I’m not a big fan of jazz. Except I like Candy Dulfer.
A saxophone is a difficult instrument. Nuances are hard to come by, especially in jazz.
Candy Dulfer is Swiss. Her father was a famous saxophone player. At an early age she had the best teacher and the best saxophone. She’s 50 years old and probably the world’s best saxophone player. You can find her on YouTube.
Random numbers are extremely hard to generate. But let’s backup.
I started out working as a college student writing statistical computer programs for a medical researcher using an IBM 1130 (a lot like a personal computer but very expensive). $7 an hour in 1966. Yes, random numbers get used in many unexpected areas. Then working for a (nameless) mofia construction company building a weapons factory for the army. Vinnie, my boss, had a blonde daughter who theoretically worked for me but … well you know. No random numbers. But they had this incredible IBM 1130, the biggest 1130 you could buy and a cost-plus contract (we were stealing your tax dollars). One year of business was enough. I went back to statistical programming, mostly Landsat data. On the side, I got to work with lots of Ph.D. students doing their research. The world was beyond interesting … IBM 360/67 (Purdue), IBM 360/95 (NASA), CDC 6600 (Indiana University), CDC 6500 (Purdue). (There were others: Univac 1108, IBM 1620, IBM 1401, IBM 5100, etc.) The most interesting computers on the planet, especially the 360/95 (Even an IBM 360/195 down the street at Columbia). Fortran, COBOL, PL/1 (even CDC PL/1 which never went out of 0.95 beta status), IBM 360 Assembler, CDC Assembler (COMPASS), Univac 1108 Assembler, IBM 5100 Algol, etc. I still have printouts from both the 360/95 and 360/195 computers. I have disk packs from the CDC 6600 and IBM 1130, circuit boards from the CDC 6600 (real transistors), and some core planes including an RCA Spectra. At NASA, I worked for Robert Jastrow (Google him), but mostly I talked to Russians Jews thru an interpreter. We all spoken Fortran. Life was complicated. Random Numbers came to an end when I retired and went to work for Indiana State University as a Systems Programmer. My brain was tired. Manhattan was tiresome.
Btw, the NASA lab is still there. The largest remote sensing lab in the world. It’s above Tom’s, from Seinfeld. Back in my days, it was top secret and heavily guarded. Once inside the nameless door on 112th street, give the password and the guard behind the desk in the small room might let you in the elevator. Just say the password, nothing else. No small talk allowed. They were worried about violent student protests even though we were trying to save the planet. I passed the security check! This was my second gov job!
Google map of Tom’s and NASA Goddard lab in Manhattan.
So, random numbers. I find three kinds of numbers interesting: prime, fractal, and random. Prime number and fractal research is huge. Random not so much. You can now use your smartphone to retrieve a completely random 1 or 0 from a quantum event. But in programming, things are still a little complicated.
After I retired to Indiana State University, l needed a hobby. Back to random numbers. I started generating random number based plots (Calcomp 3-pen plotter). The area with the plotter was next door to the photography area and art area with lots of students painting. The painting instructor noticed one of my plots and asked if he could have one. I was flattered, no one had ever shown an interest. A week later students were painting things that looked a lot like my random number patterns.
And then years passed. The plotter had been retired. Personal computers came along and one day while I was contemplating whether to plan suicide or find something interesting I found my old IBM random number booklet from 1968. Years ago that booklet, along with Walker and Lev, had changed my life. So began my personal computer screensaver I labeled scrsave1968. I had, fortunately, learned the computer language C for some reason. Microsoft Visual Studio to the rescue.
The interest faded and I retired. Tigers took up lots of my time. Then I dug out scrsave1968 and began making changes and feeding the images into a fractal program. I rewrote it as Visual Basic making it easier to change. And the result: Link to scrsave1968 images.
I spent my entire career working with computers and programming languages. Few people have used as many programming languages. I don’t miss it. It’s extremely stressful. There is that screen saver program written in C++ I still play with when I’m feeling creative. But now … I got out the CSS books and used CSS to customize my smugmug photography site. I’ll tire of the whole thing in a day or two. But stephendmccloud.photography now looks closer to what I want it to look like.
I’m about to do what I should have done several years ago: break all my ties to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center. The only people I trusted there are now gone and most of the people at EFRC just make things difficult.
EFRC does not have a functioning board of directors. EFRC does not have a five-year plan or any other plan. EFRC is developing a web site that violates every basic principle of web design. EFRC has a director who has no respect for any other human. And most importantly, EFRC has no money in the bank. The director spends money as fast as it comes in.
I see no hope that things will change. When the director dies or goes to a nursing home, EFRC will still be without a functioning board and the plan will still be: “Lets’s See What Happens Tomorrow”.
Indiana University Press did publish three books of my photographs. That made it somewhat worth the trouble. But 30-degree weather, mud, ignorance, and obnoxious Tigers are not something I will miss.