This here is Michael Levy’s arrangement of Hurrian song h.6 and played on a reproduction of an ancient lyre.
The Hurrian songs were found on tablets in the ruins of a Hurrian city in what’s now Syria. They date to 1400 BC, and as such are some of the oldest notated music we’ve ever found. The trick is that we’re not entirely sure how to interpret the notation, so several scholars have produced substantially different transcriptions of h.6 into modern notation. Levy based his arrangement on one by Clint Goss, which used Richard Dumbrill’s interpretation as its base.
The description on Levy’s video goes into much more detail about this, so check it out.
AP reports on chain restaurants opening up in Alaska:
When Olive Garden opened, people stood in line in the bitter winter to get a table. Buffalo Wild Wings is in the city. Next year, Anchorage will get its first Texas Roadhouse, a Hard Rock Cafe and Krispy Kreme doughnut shops.
"We are foodies in Anchorage, and we are significant consumers," said Bill Popp, president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp, adding that one reason for the influx is the relative health of the local economy and people having money to spend.
I really like how the author put Popp’s quote declaring Anchorage as a city of foodies right next to the opening of a Krispy Kreme.
Architecture critic Rowan Moore writing in The Guardian:
Sometimes, when flying over a landscape, you see a seam of unexpected fecundity – lush trees, richer green – that indicates the presence of water or a change to a more fertile soil. Something similar is happening across London. If property values could be made visible (and often they are, by increases in new construction), you would already see a long strip of intensification, in a city that already is hardly a desert, running from east to west. Over the next few years, it will become more and more apparent.
This is the effect of the underground Nile called Crossrail and it will show what happens when £14.8bn of public money is streamed underground in order to irrigate a city and its development opportunities above. Its current signs include diversions, closed roads, trucks of dirt scaring cyclists, references in estate agents’ particulars, fluorescent-suited workers, hoardings that give no clue to the chasms behind them, informative graphics and the saturated light that shines in computer-generated images of future buildings. Also such things as a once-ramshackle city farm in Stepney, east London, now spruce and confident, various redecorated community centres and support for a literary festival in Islington. This is due to a programme which obliges Crossrail’s contractors to make donations to the communities in which they are working.
This is incredibly cool. I can’t imagine something like this happening where I live.
This collage includes about 1,600 images submitted by members of the public as part of the NASA Cassini mission’s “Wave at Saturn” campaign. On July 19, 2013, Cassini maneuvered into a special location to take a picture of the Saturn system backlit by the sun. Blocking out the sun’s rays also enabled Cassini to take a picture of Earth, which would normally require looking almost directly at the sun and risking damage to the cameras’ sensitive detectors. The “Wave at Saturn” event was the first to tell earthlings in advance that their picture was being taken from interplanetary distances.
T. Edward Nickens writing in the latest issue of Audubon magazine:
The reintroduction of the wild turkey to North America is frequently touted as the greatest wildlife conservation success story of the last century. Heavily hunted since the earliest days of European occupation, pushed out of huge swaths of its range by logging and land clearing, wild turkey populations reached a nadir in the early 1930s, with a continental population of about 30,000 birds. Today, after a massive trap-and-transfer effort that has spanned a quarter-century, about 7 million wild turkeys strut, gobble, and yelp from every state where they are native, and then some. “This was a monumental, continent-wide effort,” says Tom Hughes, assistant vice president of conservation programs for the National Wild Turkey Federation. “There aren’t many stories as inspiring in the history of wildlife conservation.”
Like the legend of that plump-breasted turkey at the Pilgrims’ feast, there’s a twist to this tale as well. Wild turkey numbers are stable and even increasing across parts of the bird’s range, but biologists in many southeastern states, considered a turkey stronghold, are concerned that populations in the region have tumbled during the past 10 years. In some places numbers may have shrunk by more than half. Even where outright population numbers haven’t dipped, biologists note a steep drop in the quantity of chicks, called poults, that accompany hens in the summer.
Check the piece to learn more about wild turkey conservation than you ever thought you’d know in your life.
A volcanic eruption has raised a new island, according to earthquake experts and the Japanese coast guard.
Advisories from the coast guard and the Japan Meteorological Agency said the islet is about 660 feet in diameter. It is just off the coast of Nishinoshima, a small, uninhabited island in the Ogasawara chain, which is also known as the Bonin Islands.
The approximately 30 islands are 620 miles south of Tokyo, and along with the rest of Japan are part of the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire.”
Photographer Shaul Schwarz has a documentary called Narco Cultura coming out in a few cities on Friday. It’s about narcocorridos, Mexican songs that glorify drug cartels, and has two main subjects: Riccardo Soto, a crime scene investigator, and Edgar Quintero, a narcocorrido songwriter.
NBC News’s Sophia Rosenbaum interviewed Schwarz:
Q: How did you get your subjects to trust you?
I did pay the dues with the CSI unit and Richie. They really appreciated that we spent the time. There were hits on people in the unit. We were in situations together. It’s kind of like a brother-soldier bond. If you stick with people through it, it’s more than words could do. And at the end of the day, when Richie drives home and he’s scared for his life and I’m in his car, I’m taking equal risks.
With Edgar’s side of life, it was a different process. The initial ‘let me have the camera on you for an artist’ is obvious. He wants to promote his music. But we’re very different than the one-hour interview with a Latino media outlet that just wants to have fun with him. It took him a while, but the trust grew so much.
The interview has some photos, the film’s trailer, and an exclusive clip. The film looks intriguing, so check ‘em out.
Yesterday was the 150th anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Hillel Italie wrote a piece for the Associated Press on how we’re not actually sure of the exact words Lincoln said:
Memories of Gettysburg only sharpened in hindsight. Accounts differ on everything from the day’s weather to how long the crowd applauded, if at all. Original transcriptions differ, and scholars still debate the speech’s exact length, usually ranging from 268 to 272 words.
Here are some excerpts of Sławomir Zubrzycki performing songs on a viola organista on October 18, 2013. The viola organista is a theoretical instrument invented by Leonardo da Vinci that he described in his writings but appears to have never built. The viola organista is a bowed keyboard instrument, as described by the AFP:
Sixty-one gleaming steel strings run across it, similar to the inside of a baby grand.
Each is connected to the keyboard, complete with smaller black keys for sharp and flat notes. But unlike a piano, it has no hammered dulcimers. Instead, there are four spinning wheels wrapped in horse-tail hair, like violin bows.
To turn them, Zubrzycki pumps a pedal below the keyboard connected to a crankshaft. As he tinkles the keys, they press the strings down onto the wheels, emitting rich, sonorous tones reminiscent of a cello, an organ and even an accordion.
That AFP article claims that this is the first time one of these has ever been built and performed in public, but that appears to be quite false: Wikipedia cites several precedents. Zubrzycki’s video only claims that this was the world premiere performance of his instrument.
Lots of photography here lately. Today’s shot is actually from a video game; it’s part of Iain Andrew’s project Steam Postcards. The last update was from March so it may be defunct, but I only found out about it now.
We’re making video games really, really pretty these days.