July 17, 2014
The genius behind P. D. Q Bach, and the compoaser of the score to Silent Running, is 79 today. Happy birthday, Peter Schickele!
This is a mostly encore post, of course.
Peter Schickele, born July 17, 1935
May he live to be a happy, robust, still-composing, still performing 139, at least.
Some people know him as a great disk jockey. Some people know him as the singer of cabaret tunes. Some people know and love him as a composer of music for symphony orchestra, or to accompany Where the Wild Things Are.
Then there are those happy masses who know him for his historical work, recovering the works of Johann Sebastian Bach’s final and most wayward child, P. D. Q. Bach.
Tip of the old bathtub-hardened conductor’s baton to Eric Koenig.
This is mostly an encore post. It was scheduled to run on time, not sure why it didn’t — problems of being on the road, you know.
July 16, 2014
John Quiggin, co-author of the one of the best and biggest take downs of the DDT hoaxers, caught wind of that nasty piece at the misnomered “Greener Ideals,” and has taken on Mischa Popoff in a post at Crooked Timber.
Masthead at Crooked Timber
John’s audience likes to leave comments; the discussion is robust in places (and off the rails in others, though that’s not Quiggin’s fault).
July 16, 2014
Another good reason to follow the National Archives on Twitter, Tumblr and other media: Great updates.
Like this one on the explosive arrival of the Atomic Age:
Trinity atomic device “Jumbo” being positioned at White Sands, New Mexico – National Archives
Atomic Age Begins
On July 16, 1945 the United States tested a nuclear device, code named “Trinity”, for the first time in White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.
Left: [“Jumbo” atomic device being positioned for “Trinity” test at Alamogordo, New Mexico.], 1945
Right: [“Trinity” explosion], 07/16/1945
Rare color photograph of the first nuclear test at Trinity site, July 16, 1945. Blurriness is in the original photograph (done when color photography was still fairly new). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is based on an earlier post, and is mostly an encore post.
July 15, 2014
Happy 80/20 Day!
Italian economist, engineer and political activist Vilfredo Pareto was born on July 15, 1848, in Paris, where his father had fled due to political difficulties.
Pareto should be more famous, for his explanation of the 80/20 rule, and for his contribution to making better things, the Pareto chart. Many economic texts ignore his work almost completely. Quality management texts ignore his life, too — generally mentioning the principles they borrow, but offering no explanation.
Vilfredo Pareto, Wikipedia image
His contributions, as accounted at Wikipedia:
A few economic rules are based on his work:
And now you, dear reader, having just skimmed the surface of the pool of information on Vilfredo Pareto, know more about the man than 99.99% of the rest of the people on the planet. Welcome to the tip-top 0.01%.
July 13, 2014
It’s called “negative SEO,” the ad agent for a California law firm tells me.
When someone gets a decent presence in blog mentions and other placements of ads on-line, competitors take a legitimate phrase, or a few phrases, from those ads, and they start spamming sites with them. Google then notices a blip in traffic, and tells the original advertiser to stop it or Google will ban them from search engines. Of course, the advertiser doesn’t know who is doing the spamming . . .
The law firm and fancy car dealer seem to have gotten it under control, and I had hoped that would be the end of it.
But the Kia dealer near St. Louis is showing up again — and for some odd reason, an air conditioner service group in Tucson, Arizona. In the past day I’ve got about thousand spam messages on the blog, more than 600 offering air conditioner service.
One might wish these spam hits would boost the traffic numbers on the blog — but they don’t count. Blog spam filters are smart enough not to count these as hits, but not wily enough to figure out how to stop them. 604 messages like this. Rats.
My apologies, Dear Reader. If you posted a comment and it didn’t show up, send me an e-mail, or post another comment without links, and I’ll try to rescue it.
July 13, 2014
Fights over genetically-modified organism (GMO) foods take some odd turns. Some anti-GMO people point to the dangers of DDT in the past as a warning to be super cautious; and some pro-GMO people claim DDT wasn’t all that bad.
Before we hold up the history and science and law of DDT as an example, can we at least get the facts right? That generally is a failing of the pro-DDT people.
Logo for “greener ideal.” An astroturf group?
Like Mischa Popoff at Greener Ideal.
In its first major action in 1972, the United States Environmental Protection Agency made history by banning dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT). It led to a worldwide ban, all based on the public outcry elicited by marine biologist Rachel Carson’s 1962 book Silent Spring.
This marks the beginning of the organic movement in America, and remains a badge of honor for organic activists, in spite of the fact that this ban resulted in the deaths of over 41 million people – roughly the same number of people Chairman Mao murdered in his Great Leap Forward – as public-health authorities lost their only effective means of controlling mosquitos that act as a vector for tropical diseases like malaria and dengue fever.
[There's more, dealing with making the case for GMO foods; feel free to click over and read his opinion.]
July 11, 2014
Of course you know how to fold a flag. Right?
A group of Nashville Boy Scouts demonstrate for some Cub Scouts and a local news program, the proper methods.
Did they get it right?
Joshua Maxwell is a reporter with Nashville’s NBC affiliate, WSMV Channel 4; Scouts come from Troop 1914.
Published on Jul 2, 2014
My first on Air segment with WSMV Channel4. The Boy Scouts are teaching me and some Cub Scouts how to fold the American Flag.