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Friday, February 5, 2010

The Weekly Roundup: 2.5.2010

Blue Whales Are Singing Lower and Sexier
The LA Times reported this week that Mark McDonald, a whale acoustics researcher (best job title ever?), has discovered that blue whales sing at a lower pitch than they did several decades ago. Nature never ceases to impress and captivate me. For once a change in the natural order may actually be good news. While researchers and oceanographers still do not know what exactly has caused the key change, a leading theory is that whales can return to singing in "a lower, sexier frequency" now that a healthy growth in population density means that whales can communicate at shorter distances. Bonus, McDonald talks about whale acoustics the way I talk about band acoustics. I love people with passions for sounds.
"The tone is so deep that if played in a small room, it's hard to hear: The long-period sound waves extend beyond the walls. But play a recording very loudly, in a large auditorium, and 'you feel it in your chest as much as you hear it,' McDonald said. 'It's awesome.'"
Blue whales are singing in a lower key by Jill Leovy

State of Grace
A friend of mine recently brought the web comic Cat and Girl back to my attention. I hadn't tried reading this series since I was a freshman in college when I was younger, more naive, and had considerably less appreciation for subtlety. It took six more years of living life, but I can finally appreciate the genius of Cat and Girl now. Here's a particular gem.

You Drive What?
It seems that there is an inexhaustible supply of websites that catalog funny pictures. At least for me, the double irony of this site is that I would happily drive at least several of the vehicles they are making fun of. However, I am a little odd. With photos of cars and trucks that range from truly artistic kinetic sculptures to the horribly unfortunate abominations, You Drive What? serves up some inspiring and hilarious interwebs. It is an excellent time-suck.

When You Walk In The Room
Despite the copious amount of time I spend finding new music to listen to, I still can't keep up with it all. Sadly, sometimes even pure awesomeness can slip through the cracks. Until this morning's commute to work Fyfe Dangerfield was vaguely on the edges of my radar. But after only the first 30 seconds of When You Walk In The Room had transmitted its glory over my radio, I was an ardent worshiper of Fyfe. Love, obsession, admiration, lust: these words cannot do my overwhelming emotions justice. This song may be one of the best songs I have ever heard. At least in this moment, Fyfe Dangerfield is my musical god, and I WANT HIM ENDLESSLY. His debut album, Fly Yellow Moon, released last month, and I missed it to my infinite sorrow. If you'd like to share in my aural ecstasy, you can get a free download of When You Walk In The Room when you sign up for the Fyfe Dangerfield mailing list.
Download When You Talk In The Room by Fyfe Dangerfield

One Million Giraffes
Ola Helland, a web designer from Norway, is trying to collect one million images of giraffes that have been drawn or made in the DIY, lo-fi style: no purchases or computers. He's posting all the submissions and tracking his progress on his website, One Million Giraffes. The deadline for this epic project is set for 2011, and at the current rate it is more than attainable. I really like this project on so many levels. It's a communal and grassroots. It's ambitious, but attainable thanks to the internet. It's folk art. It's giraffes. I haven't had time to make a contribution just yet, but I can't wait! I wonder if I could make a giraffe out of pie?
One million giraffes: the art project that is taking over the web by Matthew Moore

Yeti Season 2010
I took a bunch of my friends to West Virginia this past weekend. We got snowed in, and they got creative. This short film, Yeti Season 2010: An epic tale of adventure, discovery, and innocence lost, was the end result.

Languages Are Dying
Languages are an inherent and vital part of culture. There are words that quantify certain meanings in some languages that are too unique to be reasonably translated into any other language. Unfortunately, about half of the world's languages are in danger of dying out, many before they've even been fully documented. If you're not already aware of this serious issue, check out this article from the BBC.
The tragedy of dying languages by Paul Obembe


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