Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Now that Tony Snow has taken White House job, let us look at other Davidsonians in the White House:

Woodrow Wilson started at Davidson but couldn't handle the pressure and transferred to Princeton.

Dean Rusk almost started World War III during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Vince Foster was driven to shoot himself because of the Wall Street Journal's editorial page's willingness to tarnish him without any evidence whatsoever.

Caroline Hubbell, while at Davidson, allegedly had her academic records subpoenaed because of the investigation and subsequent indictment of her father, Webb Hubbell.

Will Tony Snow continue the tradition? Stay tuned.

Note to Critics: I'm not implying that all Davidson grads involved in the federal government have had issues. Take Dr. Wayne B. Jonas or William R. Ferris for example. It's just the ones in the executive branch that seem jinxed.

Postscript: Sarah North, daughter of Oliver North, transferred to Davidson in 1996 and probably transferred some time thereafter. Uneventful but there it is for the record.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Wired News: The Wikipedia FAQK
Yes, but what is there to argue about?

Well, Wikipedia exists in a state of quantum significance flux. It's simultaneously a shining, flawless collection of incontrovertible information, and a debased pile of meaningless words thrown together by uneducated lemurs with political agendas. It simply cannot exist in any state between these two extremes. You can test this yourself by expressing a reasonable opinion about the site in any public space. Whatever words you type, they will be interpreted by readers as supporting one of these two opposing views.

Mozart's 29th, a Plump Recording
It probably has to do with the acoustics of the Concertgebouw too, but Gerard Korsten gets a really plump, fruity tone from the Radio Kamer Filharmonie in this performance of Mozart's 29th, recorded live on April 16th (link:mp3;128 kbps;will expire). Mackerras's well-rounded Mozart recordings come to mind. Ravel's piano concert in G with Angela Hewitt as soloist and a Bach encore follow the Mozart. This podcast is a keeper.

UPDATE (4/29): A child in the audience screams during the middle of the Mozart, so it's not the absolute ideal, but it's still a bloody good recording to have.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

On Context
Familiar Quotation
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!

Quotation in Context
How small of all that human hearts endure,
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure!
Still to ourselves in every place consigned,
Our own felicity we make or find.
With secret course, which no loud storms annoy,
Glides the smooth current of domestic joy.

--Samuel Johnson (1709–1784), Lines contributed to Goldsmith’s 'The Traveller'

Friday, April 14, 2006

In the desert
I saw a creature, naked, bestial
Who, squatting upon the ground,
Held his heart in his hands,
And ate of it.
I said, "Is it good, friend?"
"It is bitter---bitter," he answered;
"But I like it
Because it is bitter,
And because it is my heart."
--S. Crane

I first read this poem in 2000 and didn't understand it. Now I understand it and I wish I didn't.

A Not So New Feature
Google Maps added a navigator window in the lower right corner. Check it out:

Google Local

Geographynetwork.com has been doing that since 2000 but this one is impressive since AJAX reduces the response time.

All You Need is Love and an MP3 player
There's probably a substantial group of kids that has now heard the cover versions before the originals but it's good news that the Beatles catalog is going to mp3s.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Number of Google hits for "ad this to": 12,400

By the time I turn 40 I expect people will even misspell one-letter words like "I" and "a". *sigh*

The Earth is Doomed

Number of Google hit for "who's afraid of"/"who's afraid of the": 2,930,000/514,000
Number of Google hit for "whose afraid of..."/"whose afraid of...": 27,200/9520

Are there any English PhD candidate webpages that contain "whose afraid of the"? Yes.

Has Amazon mangled the title of a CD that was correct to begin with? Yes.

Daniel Barenboim on BBC4
The pianist, conductor, and dyed-in-the-wool music geek Daniel Barenboim is the Reith lecturer for 2005. Transcripts and mp3s are on BBC4. I listened to the first lecture a couple of days ago and was impressed that he had something significantly new to say about music. His theory that life is like music is richer than the theory that life is like, say, a box of chocolates, but his theory is in the end a forced metaphor too.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

On Wednesday
At two minutes and three seconds after 1:00 in the morning, the time and date will be 01:02:03 04/05/06.Unless you're in the majority of the world's population and follow the European standard in which case you'll have to wait till the 4th of May.

11:10:09 08/07/06 is also approaching in August (or July).