Friday, June 13, 2008

New Radiohead: Super Collider

Ambling about the music blogs, and then crossing over to w.a.s.t.e central, one uncovers the song Radiohead debuted in Dublin last week, "Super Collider".

Via Deaf Indie Elephants and their "exclusive" (meaning them and everyone else checking the radiohead site?) post about the portishead cover. I like the latest version on w.a.s.t.e central, also on youtube:



Sunday, April 6, 2008

Robert Graves it, poor guy.

"Sick Love"

O Love, be fed with apples while you may,
And feel the sun and go in royal array,
A smiling innocent on the heavenly causeway,

Though in what listening horror for the cry
That soars in outer blackness dismally,
The dumb blind beast, the paranoiac fury:

Be warm, enjoy the season, lift your head,
Exquisite in the pulse of tainted blood,
The shivering glory not to be despised.

Take your delight in momentariness,
Walk between dark and dark--a shining space
With the grave's narrowness, though not its peace.


A nice find: Robert Graves: The Lasting Poetic Achievement (comments on "Sick Love")

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Baby Satyrs are mean drunks

I once helped co-author an article on "Baby Satyrs". It was a delightfully irreverent account of the fey equine toddlers and their drinking habits. It was quickly flagged as completely spurious bullshit (which it was).

But I then spent the next day or two doing extensive research and fact checking and wrote an actual article with sources and pictures on Baby Satyrs and their role in art and myth since ancient times. it was a damn fine article, and it proudly remained standing in its own until some yutz with an overactive sense of taxonomy merged it into the "Satyr" article. So I can at least claim to be the origin of that entire section, which seems to have turned out well (the Satyr article was in sorry shape when mine got mashed in).

interestingly, in an example of how the internet is becoming our infinite memory, I was able to find the history page of the original article, which ultimately produced the original content of the first drunken stab (reproduced below). But it just struck me as very cool--using the history pages, I could trace how a drunken spat of nonsense turned into a semi-authoritative encyclopedia entry edited and added to by multiple wikipedians. Not sure if this boosts or diminishes my view of Wikipedia's credibility, but it sure is neat to realize that it really works that way.

Now, for some chinese rotgut-inspired mythological ranting:

Revision as of 17:16, 20 January 2005

Birth and Description

Baby satyrs (presatyricus horiniciae) are a subspecies of satyrs (satyricus horniciae) produced via transubstantiation during the bacchanal celebrations following severe head trauma to revelers. Generally, copious amounts of alcohol ingestion by parent are a necessary precursor to baby satyr production. Upon birth, the baby satyr will generally be at least as drunk as the individual who spawned them, perhaps due to their low body weight and high rate of metabolism. Most baby satyrs are merry drunks, and are generally expected by social convention to share from their bottomless wine jugs, which they carry upon emerging from the individual's aural canal. However, it is rumoured that some baby satyrs spawned in the orgiastic celebrations of the Yanomano tribes of South America can be very mean drunks, and while they share wine with the victorious tribesman of a recent conflict, they may repeatedly headbutt inquisitive anthropologists in the groin.

Basic Principles of Baby Satyr Mutualism

The vast majority of baby satyrs, aka horned babies, gladly share their lifeblood, or jug wine, with fellow revelers of all species. It is rumored that there exists a hoof-fondling procedure which will result in the complete remittance of a baby satyr's jug of wine. However, this procedure is not well understood and might possibly be an old wives' tale. The basic procedure for procuring swigs of wine from baby satyrs involves fondling their budding horn nubs. The baby satyr will reflexively lift the jug in front of him or her and slip into a trance-like state, at which time the dipsomaniac must swiftly lift both hands off the horn buds and grab the jug. The dipso must pour the wine quickly into his or her mouth before the satyr grins and grabs the jug back. If the reveler refuses to acquiesce to the satyrs' wishes at this time, she might receive a swift headbutt to the groin. Baby satyrs are merry but selfish with their booze!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Medieval Japanese Infectosaurs

This explains so much about the "Trauma Center" video games! On Pink Tentacle, via Forbidden Music

Singing for you, babe.

Ostensibly about bird song, it brings in topics such as social cues, context-driven gene expression, mating behavior, and attention. Science is yummy.

However, this hypothesis predicts that directed–undirected song differences, despite their subtlety, should matter to female zebra finches, which is a question that has not been investigated. We tested female preferences for this natural variation in song in a behavioral approach assay, and we found that both mated and socially naive females could discriminate between directed and undirected song—and strongly preferred directed song. These preferences, which appeared to reflect attention especially to aspects of song variability controlled by the AFP, were enhanced by experience, as they were strongest for mated females responding to their mate's directed songs. We then measured neural activity using expression of the immediate early gene product ZENK, and found that social context and song familiarity differentially modulated the number of ZENK-expressing cells in telencephalic auditory areas. Specifically, the number of ZENK-expressing cells in the caudomedial mesopallium (CMM) was most affected by whether a song was directed or undirected, whereas the caudomedial nidopallium (NCM) was most affected by whether a song was familiar or unfamiliar. Together these data demonstrate that females detect and prefer the features of directed song and suggest that high-level auditory areas including the CMM are involved in this social perception.

Woolley SC, Doupe AJ (2008) Social Context–Induced Song Variation Affects Female Behavior and Gene Expression. PLoS Biol 6(3): e62 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0060062