Wednesday morning:

Larger image plus three others from this morning in the Photoblog. Thanks for the comments regarding my Flickr photos. Even after the Flickr account is gone and after we re-design a bit, you will be able to view photos in my photoblog. I will probably also set up a MobileMe Gallery for you, to which I can very easily upload images from my iPhone. Like this gallery I just created for 2006, to see what it would be like.

Roshi Joan Halifax gave a talk at the TED Women Conference, which will hopefully available soon. In the meantime you could read what she had to say here:

Upaya Newsletter for 12/20/2010
TED Women Conference: Roshi Joan Halifax Talk

And more TED:

Jaron Lanier at TEDxSF (YouTube) – check out what Jaron says about musical improvisation!

Jaron says they are great friends and they profoundly disagree with each other:

Kevin Kelly at TEDxSF (YouTube)

Mr. Kelly seems to project his own emotions onto technology, which can be interesting, but to me it has a magic/mythical bend to it that doesn’t seem useful to me. I mean, the robot wants electricity the way a plant wants light… huh? You may disagree with me, but Lanier seems a lot more down to earth than Kelly, even if at first glance one might think the opposite. What do you think of these two presentations?

Brain is not fully mature until 30s and 40s – link provided without comment…
Thanks SM.

Chinese Ghost Town looks just like American ghost town. (photos)

Momus wrote his last entry into Click Opera a while ago, but then started a new Tumbler blog and posted this the other day:

Mrs Tsk *
Things have come full circle: in the name of respect we’ve made the other invisible — exactly as invisible, in fact, as our lack of respect made it back in the bad old days. Our careful anti-racism has made us just as racist as we ever were. And our anti-socialism has made us prefer to focus on respect and representation rather than social justice.

Photos from Monday night’s lunar eclipse

Current reading:
A real book, How to Raise an Ox – about Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo, and two e-books, Darwin’s Bastards, a collection of Canadian short stories (including William Gibson’s first short story in decades) and Schild’s Ladder, which is mostly over my head but fascinating anyway.

Here is another investigation into the health risks of the TSA’s so-called porn-scanners.

CONTACT MIC XMAS – you could play Guess This Noise, but it is harder to guess in this case, because these sounds were recorded with a contact microphone, which does not work with the transfer of air, but direct transfer of vibration.

Found an excellent meditation timer app for the iphone: Zen Timer – Meditation Timer. It is easy to program multiple periods, e.g. zazen followed by kinhin and a second period of zazen. Since the program can be 23 hours and 59 minutes long, it should be easy to program a whole day of a practice period. The timer, once started, plays the sounds even if the phone is turned to silent. A number of different bell sounds and one woodblock are available. I use a bell at the beginning and end, but prefer the woodblock to time the kinhin interval. For each period the volume can be set independently from the volume setting of the phone. Zen Timer costs $1.99 in the iTunes app store.

Another FaceBook and Twitter suicide:

DarkDaze gets to the party disappointingly late – Deleted

Got rid of my facebook and twitter- apparently shit I say is too much. I have a hard enough time trying to get my point across in the real world that I am giving up doing it online. I’ll keep the blog open just cos I like tumblr though. Laterzzz

La Luna Negra & YouTube Covers

Tonight we can experience a very rare lunar eclipse (Luna Negra):
RARE LUNAR ECLIPSE: The lunar eclipse of Dec. 21st falls on the same date as the northern winter solstice. Is this rare? It is indeed, according to Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory, who inspected a list of eclipses going back 2000 years. “Since Year 1, I can only find one previous instance of an eclipse matching the same calendar date as the solstice, and that is Dec. 21, 1638,” says Chester. “Fortunately we won’t have to wait 372 years for the next one…that will be on Dec. 21, 2094.”

WHEN TO LOOK: The total eclipse lasts more than an hour from 02:41 am to 03:53 am EST on Tuesday morning, Dec. 21st. Any time within that interval is a good time to look. For other time zones, consult Shadow & Substance’s animated eclipse.

And here is an email exchange from this weekend:

On 2010-12-19, at 10:13 , A.S. wrote:


A friend of mine in Lebanon and I are recording a video of Santa Fe – he’ll video himself playing the rhythm part, I’ll record myself playing the solo part and we’ll splice them together. Obviously we’d like to share this; would we have your permission to post it to YouTube?

Since you ask.

You are performing a cover, meaning a composition belonging to another person.

If you were to perform the song in public, at a theater or club, that club would pay a small fee that goes to the composer via BMI.

If you were to record the song, the composer would receive money via album sales and would also receive money every time the song is played on the radio or on TV, also via BMI.

If you upload the song to YouTube, only Google wins. It’s a most awful and unfortunate arrangement. Google does not pay the composers. It’s more free content for them and they get to make money via advertising. In my opinion Google should have to pay something to the composers as Google are the ones who gain from the uploaded content, not the people who record the videos. Yes, I also think that there should be a music file search engine that determines whose files are being shared on sites like Rapidshare and the sharing sites should have to pay something…

Essentially one takes from the composer and gives to Google when recording and uploading a cover version to YouTube. Again, I don’t blame the people who make the videos. The Internet has always been about sharing and about “free”. I blame large corporations like Google and the politicians, who are clearly not smart enough to understand performing rights, copyright and the internet.

But, since I do not have the administration rights for the publishing of that song I literally cannot give you permission anyway. I signed those away when I agreed to a deal with Higher Octave in 1989 – for NF, Borrasca and Poets & Angels.

So, let’s say you did not ask me. I will not notify the publisher, but I will also not help if they should decide to go after people. I am Switzerland.

Holiday Music

First O Little Town of Bethlehem/City of Tijuana, the only song I ever used the 2004 version of Guitar-Rig on. I hated Guitar Rig, although newer versions may be capable, and switched to a Line 6 Pod, and the Guitar Rig foot controller has languished unsused in a cupboard in the studio ever since.

You can download the 256kbps file here.

Now Westcost, also from Winter Rose:

You can download the 256kbps file here.

I had not listened to this song in years, but pulled out the CD the other day when I thought of TG and wondered whether he had received our snail mail letter. I played Westcoast and wrote him an email. From TG’s November note to me – I mentioned his email in the Journal last month:

Anyway I’m still standing, not to sure for how much longer.
I have also chosen Westcoast amongst others, to be played if things don’t work out.
It reminds me of all the visits to LA sitting in the bar of the Sofitel Hotel chilling out.
It’s like I’m there again when I hear it.

I listened the song and really enjoyed it. TG is right, it channels California very well. I love the groove! The percussion stems from a 2004 live recording of Cave in my Heart, with Robby on Cajon, to which Jon and I added new guitar and bass and keyboard parts. Jon also added bells, because when Snake (Roger Klein), the A&R man who signed me to Epic Records in 1991, asked me to record another Christmas album in the early Nineties, he would say that we didn’t need to record a lot of traditional pieces – just add some bells and everyone will think it’s Christmas music!. That’s why the song is called Westcoast (for Snake).

Winter Cometh

Fall weather until yesterday, too warm and too dry. Then the snow came.

A Jaron Lanier quote I came across:

Information can hypnotize you. It can make you think you’re wise, when you aren’t.
– Jaron Lanier

A couple of brief, but good interview segments with Lanier here.

What happens when a disgruntled employee gains access to the xmas lights.

The Daily Patdown
Your daily dose of security theater
(Via Daring Fireball)


Yahoo to Close
The whole Delicious team was fired yesterday, according to a friend who works at Yahoo.

I remember when I had an account… Now I save URLs or archive web pages with Evernote and Yojimbo. Will Flickr be next? Not that it matters to me, because my Pro-account ends on the 28th and I will delete it in the new year. And all the while Yahoo’s CEO made $47,000,000 this year.

I may have linked to this Guardian interview with Jaron Lanier before, but no matter, it’s worth repeating. (YouTube)

Kowloon Walled City documentary (YouTube)

And from the illegal noodle factory in the above video we move to the legal silicone machine – aren’t they similar!!! – in this video by designer Scott Wilson (who, by the way, came to several of our shows in Portland).

And another video. Cute stop-motion Moleskine add (YouTube)

This is great news:

Appeals Court Holds That Email Privacy Protected by Fourth Amendment
(Via Daring Fireball)

Kids and adults cut themselves in India
Teach your children well…

Icebear on the street (photo)
(Via Ektopia)

Let it dough!
Christoph Niemann for the New York Times.

Constant Flicker

Everything flickers. The twentieth century became a century of flicker. Electricity flickers. It’s called Alternating Current and has a frequency of sixty cycles per second in the U.S. and fifty cycles in Europe. That means that electric light actually pulses sixty times per second. This is not easily noticed with an old fashioned incandescent bulb, because the filament stays hot and bright enough during the brief moments it is not on. But with LED or fluorescent bulbs I sometimes notice a flickering.

Movies, moving pictures, are actually 24 still frames per second. The silent movies from a century ago were recorded with varying rates from 16 to 23 frames per second and we can easily notice the flicker – although some of that was apparently due to conversion at grossly incorrect frame rates in the 1950s for broadcast television. One could say that two types of flickr are being comined in a DVD. There is the flicker from the framerate of the movie, which combines with the digital sampling snapshots of that analog film.

Digital sound is a series of snapshots. Unlike the constant sound from an analog source, like a turntable or a tape player, digital sound consists of 16 bits sampled many thousands of times per second. Douglas Rushkoff’s quotes a German study in his book “Program or be Programmed” that found that people suffering from depression reacted differently to analog sound and digital sound. Digital sound didn’t have the positive effect that analog sound had. (to John Craig, who asked what I think of “Program or be Programmed”: I like the book. It is not brilliant like Jaron Lanier’s “You Are Not a Gadget”, and for me there is nothing new in Rushkoff’s new book, but it is a concise and fairly complete and easily readable collection of thought regardng the nature of the internet. I bought half a dozen of the hardcovers to give away as xmas gifts.)

When I convinced my friend Terry to stop using paraben in his excellent lotions and potions, I told him that I didn’t think paraben in one product was a problem, but that the cumulative effect of paraben in thousands of products would be (lotions, makeup, even dish detergents and thousands of other products). Well, I think the different types of flicker, none of them much older than a hundred years, might be a similar cumulative problem. Flickering light bulbs and flickering movies, TV and computer screens, and the flicker of digital sound, each may only contribute a little bit, but we are surrounded 24/7 by flicker… via our eyes and our ears. What does that amount of flicker do to a highly evolved nervous system? Might it contribute to the anxiety many people feel? Might it, while not affecting our health, disturb our wellbeing?

Then again, this could just be another crazy notion of mine. I am not a scientist.

I don’t see myself not using digital recording or not watching movies or light bulbs, but I can see myself creating flicker-free times, perhaps eating dinner by candlelight or perhaps occasionally listening to my old turntable (for which I found a new needle at this excellent resource).