Saturday, April 30, 2016

Monday, April 25, 2016

BJ The Chicago Kid - "The New Cupid"

R&B singer BJ the Chicago Kid has sung on other artists’ records for more than a decade, and now they’re all returning the favor. The sexy debut album he released last month, In My Mind, features an impressive array of guest contributors, including Chance the Rapper, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar. Kendrick’s verse comes on “The New Cupid,” the video for which you can watch above.

But why only feature Kendrick when you can also bring in Hannibal Buress?

Friday, April 22, 2016

"Johnny Appleseed" (1774-1845)

Johnny Appleseed is remembered in American popular culture by his traveling song or Swedenborgian hymn ("The Lord is good to me..."), which is today sung before meals in some American households. "Oooooh, the Lord is good to me, and so I thank the Lord, for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed. The Lord is good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen."
John Chapman (September 26, 1774 – March 18, 1845), often called Johnny Appleseed, was an American pioneer nurseryman who introduced apple trees to large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, as well as the northern counties of present-day West Virginia. He became an American legend while still alive, due to his kind, generous ways, his leadership in conservation, and the symbolic importance he attributed to apples. He was also a missionary for The New Church (Swedenborgian) and the inspiration for many museums and historical sites such as the Johnny Appleseed Museum in Urbana, Ohio and the Johnny Appleseed Heritage Center in between Lucas, Ohio and Mifflin, Ohio.

According to some accounts, an 18-year-old John persuaded his 11-year-old half-brother Nathaniel to go west with him in 1792. The duo apparently lived a nomadic life until their father brought his large family west in 1805 and met up with them in Ohio. The younger Nathaniel decided to stay and help their father farm the land. Shortly after the brothers parted ways, John began his apprenticeship as an orchardist under a Mr. Crawford, who had apple orchards, thus inspiring his life's journey of planting apple trees.

There are stories of Johnny Appleseed practicing his nurseryman craft in the Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania and of picking seeds from the pomace at Potomac cider mills in the late 1790s. Another story has Chapman living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Grant's Hill in 1794 at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.

The popular image is of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly, everywhere he went. In fact, he planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares, and returned every year or two to tend the nursery. His first nursery was planted on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, south of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County along the shore of French Creek, but many of these nurseries were located in the Mohican area of north-central Ohio. This area included the towns of Mansfield, Lisbon, Lucas, Perrysville, and Loudonville.

Chapman was quick to preach the Gospel as he traveled, and during his travels he converted many Native Americans, whom he admired. The Native Americans regarded him as someone who had been touched by the Great Spirit, and even hostile tribes left him strictly alone. "He always carried with him some work on the doctrines of Swedenborg with which he was perfectly familiar, and would readily converse and argue on his tenets, using much shrewdness and penetration."

Johnny Appleseed left an estate of over 1,200 acres (490 ha) of valuable nurseries to his sister. He also owned four plots in Allen County, Indiana, including a nursery in Milan Township, with 15,000 trees. He bought the southwest quarter (160 acres) of section 26, Mohican Township, Ashland County, Ohio, but he did not record the deed and lost the property. The financial panic of 1837 took a toll on his estate. Trees brought only two or three cents each, as opposed to the "fippenny bit" (about six and a quarter cents) that he usually got. Some of his land was sold for taxes following his death, and litigation used up much of the rest.

Fort Wayne, Indiana is the location of Johnny Appleseed's death. A memorial in Fort Wayne's Swinney Park purports to honor him but not to mark his grave. In Fort Wayne, since 1975, the Johnny Appleseed Festival is held the third full weekend in September in Johnny Appleseed Park and Archer Park.

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One notable account is from the first chapter of The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan. Pollan states that since Johnny Appleseed was against grafting, his apples were not of an edible variety and could be used only for cider: "Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus."

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Prince Rogers Nelson (1958-2016)

When asked what it feels like to be the best guitarist alive, Eric Clapton said, "I don't know. Ask Prince." His prowess on the guitar is legendary. Sheryl Crow, who collaborated with him on the Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic album in the late ’90’s, told Billboard that "I’ve heard him play piano like Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock, move over to bass and play like Larry Graham, then play guitar like Jimi Hendrix or Buddy Guy."
The singer, songwriter, arranger and instrumentalist broke through in the late 1970s with the hits "Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad?" and "I Wanna Be Your Lover," and soared over the following decade with such albums as "1999" and "Purple Rain." The title song from "1999" includes one of the most widely quoted refrains of popular culture: "Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

The Minneapolis native, born Prince Rogers Nelson, stood just 5 feet, 2 inches tall, and seemed to summon the most original and compelling sounds at will, whether playing guitar in a flamboyant style that openly drew upon Jimi Hendrix, switching his vocals from a nasally scream to an erotic falsetto or turning out album after album of stunningly original material. Among his other notable releases: "Sign O' the Times," ''Graffiti Bridge" and "The Black Album."

He was also fiercely protective of his independence, battling his record company over control of his material and even his name. Prince once wrote "slave" on his face in protest of not owning his work and famously battled and then departed his label, Warner Bros., before returning a few years ago.

"What's happening now is the position that I've always wanted to be in," Prince told the AP in 2014. "I was just trying to get here."

The same year, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll of Fame, which hailed him as a musical and social trailblazer.

"He rewrote the rulebook, forging a synthesis of black funk and white rock that served as a blueprint for cutting-edge music in the Eighties," reads the Hall's dedication. "Prince made dance music that rocked and rock music that had a bristling, funky backbone. From the beginning, Prince and his music were androgynous, sly, sexy and provocative."

Rarely lacking in confidence, Price effortlessly absorbed the music of others and made it sound like Prince, whether the James Brown guitar riff on "Kiss" or the Beatle-esque, psychedelic pop of "Raspberry Beret."

He also proved a source of hits for others, from Sinead O'Connor's "Nothing Compares 2 U" to Cyndi Lauper's "When You Were Mine." He also wrote "Manic Monday" for the Bangles.

Prince had been touring and recording right up until his death, releasing four albums in the last 18 months, including two on the Tidal streaming service last year. He performed in Atlanta last week as part of his "Piano and a Microphone" tour, a stripped down show that has featured a mix of his hits like "Purple Rain" or "Little Red Corvette" and some B-sides from his extensive library.

Prince debuted the intimate format at his Paisley Park studios in January, treating fans to a performance that was personal and was both playful and emotional at times.

The musician had seemed to be shedding his reclusive reputation. He hosted several late-night jam sessions where he serenaded Madonna, celebrated the Minnesota Lynx's WNBA championship and showcased his latest protege, singer Judith Hill.

Ever surprising, he announced on stage in New York City last month that he was writing his memoir. "The Beautiful Ones" was expected to be released in the fall of 2017 by publishing house Spiegel & Grau. The publishing house has not yet commented on status of book, but a press release about the memoir says: "Prince will take readers on an unconventional and poetic journey through his life and creative work." It says the book will include stories about Prince's music and "the family that shaped him and the people, places, and ideas that fired his creative imagination."

A small group of fans quickly gathered in the rain Thursday outside his music studio, Paisley Park, where Prince's gold records are on the walls and the purple motorcycle he rode in his 1984 breakout movie, "Purple Rain," is on display. The white building surrounded by a fence is about 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Steven Scott, 32, of Eden Prairie, said he was at Paisley Park last Saturday for Prince's dance party. He called Prince "a beautiful person" whose message was that people should love one another.

"He brought people together for the right reasons," Scott said.

More information:
» YouTube: "Prince Performs “Purple Rain” During Downpour | Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show"
» Paste: "His Name Was Prince"
» New York Times (1981): "The Pop Life; IS PRINCE LEADING MUSIC TO A TRUE BIRACISM?"
» Vox: "Prince, in 14 songs that show why he's a musical legend"
» The Guardian (2012): "The 20 best Prince songs you've never heard"
» Comedy Central: "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories - Prince"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Nigel Stanford - "Cymatics"

Nigel Stanford:
After finding out what frequencies resonated the plate the best, I selected four shapes that looked good, giving me four notes to use for the musical instrument that would accompany it. Because the sand took a few milliseconds to move into the next shape, I couldn't change notes very fast, and so wrote something that stayed on each note long enough for the shape to form. Originally I wanted to use the actual audio that generated the shapes, but it was very high pitched, and kind of un-musical - so I ended up just using the notes I wanted, and mixing a recorded element of the sound of the actual plate with a simple synthesizer sound.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Octane Rating Explained

With slight variations — depending on the crude oil and the refining and blending processes used in production —all gasoline grades contain the same amount of chemical energy. When combusted, premium (high-octane) gasoline and the less-expensive (and less-glamorous) regular, and all grades in between, provide the same amount of thermal energy, or heat, which an engine uses to generate the mechanical power that moves a vehicle.

There is, however, another aspect to this question, notes Ahmed Ghoniem, the Ronald C. Crane Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT: How much of that raw heat energy can the engine actually convert into mechanical energy? “One can argue that using high-octane fuels in the right engine ultimately leads to more mechanical power from the same amount of fuel,” he says.

In other words, higher-octane fuel confers an advantage in some cars, but not others. It allows performance-oriented engines (specifically, those with higher compression ratios) to burn gasoline at higher pressures and higher temperatures. These conditions at the moment of combustion create better thermodynamic efficiency, so a greater percentage of the gasoline’s heat energy gets converted into motive power.

Octane rating is a measure of grace under pressure: how evenly a gasoline will burn under difficult conditions, like hard acceleration. Ideally, the vaporized gasoline inside an engine’s cylinder burns by the propagation of a wave of flame, ignited by the cylinder’s spark plug. This allows a smooth transfer of power to the engine’s crankshaft and the car’s wheels. But at higher pressures or temperatures, small pockets of gasoline vapor can prematurely explode, or self-ignite, creating a distinctive “knocking” sound, as well as potentially destructive shock waves.

Gasoline with a higher octane rating does not self-ignite easily, and burns more evenly than lower-octane fuel under harsh conditions, resisting detonation and knocking. Modern engines, with electronic sensors and controls, are very good at preventing detonation of lower-octane gas (this is why drivers no longer hear much knocking). But high-octane fuel is still specified when designers want to achieve better acceleration and power output, and when they are willing to accept a slightly bulkier and heavier engine with higher operating costs.

Denver Post:
Octane is an index number that measures a gasoline's ability to resist engine knocking. American refineries produce gasoline with octane levels ranging from 85 to 94. The lower the octane level in gasoline, the less expensive it is for refiners to produce.

Colorado and several other Rocky Mountain states have minimum octane levels of 85 for regular gas, while most states with lower elevations have a minimum level of 87. Research several years ago from the American Petroleum Institute showed that lower air pressure at higher altitudes allows vehicles to perform as well with 85 octane as they would with 87 at lower altitudes.

But a 2001 study by the Colorado Legislative Council, the state legislature's research arm, concluded that the altitude difference may apply only to older cars. Most cars which use high octane are able to accept regular gas because they are equipped with knock sensors which will automatically adjust the engine cycle timing, thus reducing engine knock or detonation.

"Research findings indicate that newer vehicles manufactured in and after 1984 are equipped with sophisticated electronic control systems that minimize this altitude effect and may perform better using higher-octane gasolines," the report said.

So why does Colorado still have 85 octane in regular gas, even if most cars are better suited to 87?

The wheels turn slowly in the world of octane.

Colorado's 85 octane standard was set decades ago based on a recommendation by ASTM International, a body that establishes standards for everything from detergents to paving materials to gasoline octanes.

Petroleum industry officials and state regulators say that for years they've gotten periodic complaints or inquiries from the public about octane.

But it was only last week that ASTM International officials determined that the newer automotive technologies that apparently have rendered 85 octane less useful warranted a discussion about possible changes in Colorado.

Many car manufacturers recommend that motorists use at least 87 octane.

"They used to put in fine print that 85 octane was acceptable at higher altitudes, but mostly the manufacturers no longer agree with that," said Dick Piper, director of Colorado's Division of Oil and Public Safety.

Yet Colorado motorists continue to show an overwhelming preference for regular- grade gas, even at 85 octane.

In the first half of 2006, 80 percent of Colorado's 35 million gallons in gas sales was regular, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Midgrade at 87 octane accounted for 9.5 percent of sales; premium at 91 octane represented 10.5 percent of sales.

"Sales of midgrade and premium have declined over the past few years as consumers have traded down octane levels in reaction to escalating gasoline prices," said Jeff Lenard of the National Association of Convenience Stores.

Denver motorist Jason Sullivan said that although his 2004 Toyota Corolla specifies 87 octane, he'll follow many experts' recommendations to use the lowest octane available as long as the level doesn't cause engine knocking or poor performance.

"It's tough enough to fill this thing up even at regular (grade) prices," he said last week while pumping 85 octane. "Until my car starts complaining, I'm going to stick with the cheaper stuff."

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Spotlight: Kobe "Black Mamba" Bryant

"You know, I can't believe how fast 20 years went by. This is crazy... What can I say?" Bryant said with a huge smile. "Mamba out."
In the final game of his storied 20-season career, Bryant scored 60 points and hit the winning shot with 31.6 seconds left. He scored 15 of the Lakers' final 17 points. He outscored the opponent by himself (23-21) in the fourth quarter.

The mark had been reached just 31 times since 1963, per Just eight times in the last 11 seasons. And Kobe had five of those. The oldest player to reach 60 until now was Wilt Chamberlain, who had a 66-point game in 1969, at age 32. Kobe is 37.

And, to round out the storybook ending, Bryant led the Lakers to a 101-96 victory against the Utah Jazz in his 1,346th and final regular-season game, punctuating a season-long farewell tour with a performance that even he couldn't fathom.

"It's hard to believe that it happened this way," he said after notching the sixth game of 60-plus points in his career. "I'm still in shock about it."

Bryant's 20th season ultimately amounted to a living wake, but unlike some aging icons, he never retreated from the spotlight. Instead, he remained the Lakers' sole focus, especially as they clung to him for relevancy during their worst season in franchise history (17-65).

And he was never more the focus than Wednesday, starting with the fact that Bryant attempted a career-high 50 shots, his most since taking 47 in 2002. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Bryant became the first player since Rick Barry in February 1967 to attempt at least 50 shots in a game.

Bryant took 58.8 percent of his team's 85 shots, the highest percentage of his team's shots that he has ever taken in a game, even more than when he scored 81 points. In essence, Kobe's final game was so Kobe. He has always been a gunner, firing away as much as he pleases, even excessively.

In terms of his tomorrow, Bryant said he plans to work out, if only to avoid falling into bad habits. He'll work out of his corporate office, where he is ferociously hell-bent on building Kobe Inc. into an empire that one day overshadows his mythical basketball legacy.

He holds the NBA record for the most seasons (20) playing with one franchise for an entire career. Despite a feud between them, Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal led the Lakers to three consecutive championships from 2000 to 2002. After the Lakers lost the 2004 NBA Finals, O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat. Bryant became the cornerstone of the Lakers, and he led the NBA in scoring during the 2005–06 and 2006–07 seasons. In 2006, he scored a career-high 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, the second most points scored in a single game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in 1962. Bryant was awarded the regular season's Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) in 2008. After losing in the 2008 NBA Finals, he led the Lakers to two consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, earning the Finals MVP Award on both occasions.

Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12-time member of the All-Defensive team. His four All-Star MVP Awards are tied for the most in NBA history (winning in 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011; he shared the 2009 award with Shaquille O'Neal). He also won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1997. He led the NBA in scoring during two seasons, and ranks third on both the league's all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists. At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points. He is also the all-time leading scorer in Lakers franchise history. At the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics, he won gold medals as a member of the U.S. national team.

"Dear Basketball"

"Dear Kobe"

More information:
» Business Insider: Kobe Bryant's Insane Work Ethic
» "The greatest? Kobe's complex legacy"
» The Players Tribune: Kobe's Final Game Photo Gallery

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


GRiZ may be the first artist to ever release both a new album and a marijuana strain in the span of a month.

The green is no mere gimmick either. According to High Times, the Boulder, Colo. resident's "GRiZ Kush" strain won second place in the Cannabis Cup's "People's Choice Flowers" category in Denver on Sunday (April 19).

"Having your own strain of weed is every young stoner's dream," he says.

Created in partnership with Colo. dispensary chain Native Roots, the strain is a sativa dominant hybrid cross between parent plants Tangerine Haze and Pakistan Chitral Kush. GRiZ says Native Roots owner Rhett Jordan originally proposed the venture as a joint collaboration.

 "Rhett delivered three different types of new marijuana to my place in Boulder," he says. "And over the course of a week or so, I smoked each variation, made notes, and picked my favorite. What do you do after you smoke a joint? Smoke another one… and another... and another."

GRiZ treated the annual enthusiast event to his musical talents as well, performing a celebratory set at 4:20 pm at Native Roots's booth. While he was admittedly "shocked" to place in the competition, he's already thinking next steps.

"GRiZ Kush 2.0," he says. "That and getting some to Barack Obama."

More information:
» GRiZ Discography

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Google's Cardboard Plastic

Technology that’s as powerful as you are. But not any more powerful than that."

Friday, April 8, 2016

🌏 Joseph Campbell in Pop Culture

[–]goirish2200 18 points  
Read Campbell's A Hero with a Thousand Faces to dig it.
[–]mr_crazi 4 points  
Also Christopher Vogler's Writer's Journey is a good place to start.
[–]Riztonium 3 points  
[–]GhOsT_wRiTeR_XVI[S] 2 points  
Ask and you shall receive! Thanks for all the advice.
[–]Mad_JesterWhoretender 2 points  
[–]JoostyBot 2 points  
Joseph Campbell is absolutely wonderful and has definitely contributed a great deal of influence on my own worldview. I could not recommend watching these highly enough. Here are some links to the power of myth, they have hardcoded spanish subs aswell.

Dan Harmon. Channel 101.
Channel 101 is a showcase of five-minute zero budget television episodes, made by aspiring writers/comedians in Los Angeles. It was founded in 2003-ish by Harmon and his frequent comedy partner Rob Schrab as a place to make videos without having to worry about pleasing television executives. Born in pre-YouTube era, when five minutes was considered a short video, Channel 101 has been a underground comedy institution with such long-running favorites such as Yacht Rock, Laser Fart, The House of Cosbys.