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So. The chimps will be brachiating off to a new territory, the address of which kemibe provides below. We have considered this move for a while, but our decision crystallized lately due to the confluence of a number of events. My absence may or may not have been noted in recent months here on the Refuge - a blog on which I once posted with more frequency. Part of that is due to work-related writing, part of it attributable to dabbling in creative writing (I use that term loosely), but largely, it's because posting on Science Blogs is no longer fun. As the bona fide scientist of the chimp…
What do you expect when you pick up an autobiography of a rock musician? Sex? Drugs? Rock-n-roll exploits with a chainsaw and a gallon of baby oil at the Ramada? Scandalous stories of band-mates and sundry hangers-on? You get virtually none of that in Bill Bruford The Autobiography. It's much better. Insightful, entertaining, and well-written, Bruford gives the reader a unique view into his 40 year career as a drummer to see just how he got to where he is and precisely how this business works (or doesn't, as the case may be). You don't have to be a follower of his music or even a drummer to…
Master of the drum kit and poly-rhythmist Bill Bruford celebrates 60 years today. Well known among all manner of percussionists and drummers, Bruford's work spans 40 years from his early days with Yes, his tenure with several incarnations of King Crimson, and his own band, Earthworks, along with work in bands such as National Health, Gong, Genesis, UK, and others. While perhaps best known as "the godfather of progressive rock drumming", Bruford's efforts in the late 1980s to now turned increasingly to small jazz ensembles. Bruford announced that he has retired from public performance in…
Under 200. That's the usual target for total cholesterol as reported in popular media. But are all 200s the same? I just received my profile from a recent blood test. Here's what it said. Total cholesterol: 204 LDL (bad cholesterol): 131.6 HDL (good cholesterol): 57 Triglycerides: 77 The total is computed as LDL+HDL+Tri/5. These are fairly typical numbers for me as compared to the last half dozen years, although my HDL usually is a few points higher and my LDL and tri usually are a few points lower. This 204 would normally place me at borderline high. However, my doctor is not very…
A friend in another galaxy far away, when presented with photos of another friend's wide-eyed infant, remarked that the cute (and she truly is) baby made her icy heart melt. In today's New York Times, Natalie Angier discusses primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy's forthcoming book Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding. Hrdy posits that our capability of cooperating with others, our ability to empathize, and our attempts to see another's perspective likely arose from the selective pressures of being part of a cooperatively breeding social group. Also noted is the…
My Illinois homeboy, Philip Jose Farmer, died on Wednesday Feb 25. Please find linkage here: the obit in the New York Times and the announcement at his website. From the NYT: Philip José Farmer, a prolific and popular science fiction writer who shocked readers in the 1950s by depicting sex with aliens and challenged conventional pieties of the genre with caustic fables set on bizarre worlds of his own devising, died Wednesday. He was 91 and lived in Peoria, Ill. As a pre-adolescent sprout, I'd sneak out copies of my older brother's PJF paperbacks and devour them. The Riverworld series…
Meseret Defar of Ethiopia ran 14:24.37 in Stockholm to break the women's 5000 meter indoor mark, lowering it by over 3 seconds. It is worth noting that this formidable run was performed on a track well short of the 200 meter indoor "standard" found in many colleges and universities, and thus displays tighter corners. Details here.
Sad news for the drummers and jazz lovers on SciBlogs. Jazz drumming legend Louie Bellson passed away unexpectedly on Valentine's Day. Some details here. Update: Here's a short bio video with some nice bits of Louie playing and some rather unique kit layouts.
Nabbed via digg, check out this clip of NdGT's wonderfully acerbic commentary on the Day of Doooooooom! That is to say, December 21, 2012.
The other day, perennial political tool Rush Limbaugh was on CNBC defending his now infamous "I want Obama to fail" comment. His argument went something like this (paraphrasing): Yes, I want him to fail. His policies are liberal policies and I want liberal policies to fail. I want conservative policies to succeed. I find this to be a stunning argument because what it really says is "I am an unrepentant partisan ideologue. I am a political clown." It's a shinning example of us-versus-them, as-long-as-my-side-wins-at-any-cost hackery. I guess it's nice to know that his position isn't personal…
From a recent ad spotted in Running Times magazine, we discover a way to get oxygen into the bloodstream of athletes without using the lungs. Yes, it's SportsOxy Shot from Scientific Solutions LLC. They're selling "super oxygenated" water that's supposed to drastically improve athletic performance. A "serving" is 10 milliliters and it contains 15 volumes percent O2. Hmmm, a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals something interesting. Let's say we have a decent (though not elite) runner with a VO2max of 60 ml O2 per kg per minute. Further, let's say that they're running at an easy…
And now for something almost completely different on The Refuge: How well can you count? No, not like in grade school. I wrote and recorded a tune the other day. It's called Timmy Umbwebwe Lights A Candle (yes, I have a thing for odd titles). The initial beat was composed on the drum kit. Not that I planned it this way, but it turns out that the main theme is comprised of three measures of 9/8 followed by a measure of 13/8. This counting is somewhat "plastic" though, and if you prefer you can think of it as alternating measures of 5/8 and 4/8 with an extra measure of 4/8 thrown in at the end…
Correspondent SDC, reporting in from the Land o' Hoosiers, offers an awe-inspiring account of a recent visit to the famous Creation Museum, located "just seven miles west of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport." A teaser follows. The rest of the article (including photos), copiously dusted with SDC's dry sardonic humor, may be found here: Elitist Liberals Visit The Creation Museum. I am not particularly unusual in wanting to be there when history is unfolding. Last month I was excited about playing a tiny, tiny role in Obama's victory over John McCain. A few weeks ago, I…
I am so pleased to see that Adam Kay's masterwork has made it to the big time: YouTube. Happy holidays, bonobos! (Pharma-phunnies, some medically graphic, contained therein.)
Here's a wonderful rendition of 2 Kings 2:23 Who says the Bible can't be a source of hilarity? (hat tip to vdrums.com)
Well, at least Stevie Van Zandt and Britain's Youth Music seem to think so. A recent article in The Times refers to research by Youth Music indicating that the games have prompted upwards of 2.5 million children to take up musical instruments. I'm skeptical. No doubt the games are a lot of fun for people who can't play a musical instrument and they're probably preferable to your average shoot-em-up. Further, it's a decent wager that they do pique interest to the point where the kiddies bug mom and dad to buy them a guitar or a drum kit. But these games, while they mimic real instruments, are…
Much has been written on the Refuge regarding what might be termed fine motor co-ordination experiments. That, and something to do with playing the drums in a manner that most drummers don't, you know, like backwards. Some might ask "What is the point of practicing a double paradiddle on a bunch of left-side mounted toms for a right handed drummer?" I guess one could be philosophical and say "Because it's there" but ultimately, doing something musical is what matters, at least to this little bonobo. Exercising your brain to perform unusual patterns at will simply gives the musician a larger…
Today would've been Magritte's 110th birthday. The Google homepage has an homage to the Belgian surrealist painter, a combination of the works The Son of Man and Golconda. I've been attracted to his work for many years and have a reproduction of The Son of Man in my office and a lovely little Golconda magnet on the 'fridge.
There is some confusion as to precisely how a setback thermostat saves energy. In fact, because of misunderstandings I have heard a number of people proclaim that a setback doesn't save energy. There are two common arguments: 1. Although you save energy as the house is initially cooling during the setback period, the furnace has to work overtime to make up this loss once the setback period is over. This "overtime" counteracts the initial savings for no net savings. 2. If the house is set for, say, 68F, when it cools a degree to 67F the furnace will turn on. It takes just as much energy to…
Electronic Design has released their 2008 salary survey for electrical and electronic engineers. Average salary for design and development engineers is now $94k (base salary). Engineering management is up to $116k. The highest paying regions are Pacific and Mountain at $114k and $103k, respectively. The lowest regions are East North Central and West North Central at $87.4k and $90.3k (I guess North Central USA is not the place to be). Other interesting tidbits include a very telling disparity between men ($97.5k) and women ($78.6k). Starting salaries are around $50k. Those with one to four…