More than a decade ago, British parents refused to give measles shots to at least a million children because of a vaccine scare that raised the specter of autism. Now, health officials are scrambling to catch up and stop a growing epidemic of the contagious disease.
This year, the U.K. has had more than 1,200 cases of measles, after a record number of nearly 2,000 cases last year. The country once recorded only several dozen cases every year. It now ranks second in Europe, behind only Romania.
Thanks, Andrew Wakefield! You’ve been barred from practicing medicine in the U.K., but the damage has been done anyway.
I bought a new computer somewhere around nine months ago. In the entire time I’ve had it, I’ve never logged into my iTunes account, as I never really buy anything from the iTunes Store. However, for some reason or another, I did log in a few days ago.
About eight or nine years ago, on my very first computer that I owned, I bought a few piece of music from the iTunes Store at random. They’re still sitting there on that computer, but it’s old and a little broken so I’ve moved on to other computers. I still boot it up on occasion to run some utility things, but it hasn’t been my main machine for a long time, and so I haven’t seen any of those purchased songs in a while.
That is, until I logged into my iTunes account for the first time on a computer that supports iCloud, and all those songs magically synced into my library in an enormous nostalgia wave.
One of those songs is “You Make Me Smile” by Dave Koz, which I hadn’t listened to since college. I remember the first time I heard it: November 28, 2002. The reason I know the day, or rather that I can look up the day, is because that was the day that my family left the state of Hawai’i. We moved from Hawai’i to Nevada, so that was the day that we flew from Honolulu to Seattle, Washington for a few days to visit my sister before eventually heading to Nevada. “You Make Me Smile” was one of the songs in the jazz program available as one of the inflight audio choices.
This song was revelatory to me. I mentioned a while back when I posted the excellent main theme from the film Black Belt Jones that that song laid the groundwork for my current appreciation of funk music. “You Make Me Smile” had the same effect on me, but for smooth jazz and, later, harder forms of jazz. I don’t know what it was about those cheesy saxophone lines, but they made me listen to the song again when the program repeated in an hour, and they made me write the name of the song down so I wouldn’t forget it before I had a chance to find it for myself.
My opinion of the song has obviously cooled a bit since then, as I mentioned that I haven’t listened to it in ages, but even after many years it’s still capable of teleporting me back to the eleventh grade. Happy Tuesday.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein “had this great idea that we could enlist Bill Clinton to convince Led Zeppelin to reunite to perform at the 12-12-12 concert.
“So, Harvey and I got on a plane to fly down to Washington to meet with President Clinton who was going to be seeing the members of Led Zeppelin, who were being honoured at the Kennedy Center.
“And, you know, the president was terrific. He goes, ‘I really want to do this. This would be a fantastic thing. I love Led Zeppelin.’ And Bill Clinton himself asked Led Zeppelin to reunite. And they wouldn’t do it.”
Well, we tried as hard as we could. But if not even throwing Bill Clinton at the problem helped, what else could we possibly do?
A spectacular colorful mosaic dating to the Byzantine period (4th–6th centuries CE) was exposed in recent weeks in the fields of Kibbutz Bet Qama, in the B’nei Shimon regional council. The mosaic was discovered within the framework of an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is carrying out prior to the construction of an interchange between Ma’ahaz and Devira Junction, undertaken and funded by the Cross-Israel Highway Company.
The photo here is by Yael Yolovitch for the European Pressphoto Agency and I snagged it from NBC News’s PhotoBlog.
Update on the high definition remastering of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that’s apparently underway, on the TrekCore blog:
As part of an upcoming feature profiling the original CG artists who worked on Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Enterprise, I set about researching and contacting a number of the team who were responsible for CG work back in the day for effects houses such as Foundation Imaging and Eden FX. A startling breakthrough came during an interview with former Senior CG Supervisor Robert Bonchune who worked on all three post-TNG spinoffs and won a host of Emmys for his CG work on several famous episodes. During the interview - which will be published later this month - Bonchune revealed that he still has in his possession all of the original CG scene files which he worked on during his time working on Star Trek.
This is one of the things I love about the digital age: how easy it is to archive stuff like this. Of course, it’s balanced out by how easy it is to lose stuff like this.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have strapped a moth into a robotic exoskeleton, with the moth successfully controlling the robot to reach a specific location inside a wind tunnel.
In all, fourteen male silkmoths were tested, and they all showed a scary aptitude for steering a robot. In the tests, the moths had to guide the robot towards a source of female sex pheromone. The researchers even introduced a turning bias — where one of the robot’s motors is stronger than the other, causing it to veer to one side — and yet the moths still reached the target.
In 1967, Steve Reich wrote a piece called “Piano Phase,” a piano duet. Compositionally it’s pretty simple: through the entire piece, both pianists just play three very short, one-handed melodies, each repeated many times. The trick of the piece is that the parts are very slightly desynchronized; one person plays a little bit faster than the other, so they gradually weave in and out of each other, coming in and out of phase.
As a mediocre pianist, I can barely imagine trying to play this with another person without getting fouled up. You’d have to fight the urge to get back in alignment with the other player through the entire fifteen to twenty minutes it takes to play this, all while the other player is going through the same ordeal.
In 2004, Baldwin-Wallace College Conservatory student Rob Kovacs played both parts at the same time. I’m awestruck that a human being is capable of this.