Archive for 2005-08

Phone Tags

02005-08-31 @ 08:08

Reinventing Radio: On Phonetags…
This post concerns an experimental internal-BBC-only project designed to allow users to bookmark, tag and rate songs they hear on the radio using their mobile phone. It was developed by Matt Webb and myself (with Gavin Bell, Graham Beale and Jason Cowlam) earlier this year.
(Via Biz Stone, Genius)

Great idea – that is if there is something worth hearing on the radio to phone-tag… in order to play interesting material radio would have to release itself from the grip that research and marketing has on it.


02005-08-30 @ 11:08

Two pictures of Robert Fripp

Click on above title-link. Those photos were taken by somebody in 1979, incidentally a day after I arrived in New York City… I saw Fripp a month later in Cambridge, where he did an instore appearance at the Harvard Coop. Scroll down a little and check out the footstool under his right foot…

Santa Fe Southern

02005-08-30 @ 08:08

When the big Santa Fe Southern Diesel locomotive pulled into the Santa Fe station yesterday evening, I noticed a big sign on the side: This engine is powered by Bio Diesel. I noticed that it didn’t seem to stink as much as other big Diesel locs. Did I ever mention I spend a little while loading/unloading postal mail railway cars at the Cologne station when I was 18?

Upaya Schedule

02005-08-30 @ 07:08

May 26-28, 2006: The Essence of Big Mind
(Genpo Roshi, with a performance by Ottmar Liebert)

Moovie: they built it

02005-08-29 @ 15:08

Check out the gallery of photos of a Peugeot concept car called Moovie.


02005-08-29 @ 08:08

Coffee A Health Drink?
Yocto Yotta wrote to mention an article from The Independent which would seem to indicate that coffee has numerous health benefits, and could be construed to be a ‘health drink’. From the article

A study has found that coffee contributes more antioxidants – which have been linked with fighting heart disease and cancer – to the diet than cranberries, apples or tomatoes…[antioxidants in coffee] have been linked to a number of health benefits, including protection against heart disease and cancer. Studies have associated coffee drinking with a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type two diabetes, and Parkinson’s disease.

(Via Slashdot)

Maybe Woody Allen is right and someday we’ll discover that cigarettes are healthy…


02005-08-28 @ 15:08

This stage is my life (and yours). Only there are no rehearsals, and there is no dialog I can learn by heart. I may have various acting coaches that can inform my decisions, my dialog, my actions and my movement on this stage. But they are peripheral to my position on the stage. These teachers stand on the sidelines, while I am in the spotlight. And, unlike a movie which could theoretically last forever, my performance has a deadline called death.

The impermanence is the key, because it makes every moment and every decision I make on that stage (life) count. It makes the whole experience more precious. Just as a blossom that opens for a few hours only, seems so much more precious to us than a flower that blooms for months at a time.

The teacher can only point at the moon – if we stare at his/her finger instead of finding the moon not much can be done… except to try again, and again.

I had a great weekend. On Friday I met Genpo Roshi and a couple of friends for lunch at Maria’s. From there we went to Temple Beth Shalom, where he gave a quick demonstration of the Big Mind process, which he is offering to facilitate in Israel in order to improve the dialog between Israel and Palestine. Watching Roshi facilitate the Big Mind process is especially fun when one can observe people who are skeptical or resist the idea, because in the end everyone gets it… From the temple I took Roshi to my acupuncturist and then about five of us ended up at my house with me trying to throw a quick dinner together before Roshi went to Upaya for the first part of the workshop.

On Saturday I attended the Big Mind workshop at Upaya, which I enjoyed very much.
At lunch-time I rushed home to practice guitar before returning to Upaya for the afternoon workshop. In the evening I took Roshi and a couple of friends to Andiamo, another local restaurant I like.

After that we drove back to Upaya and I played guitar in the Zendo, which was a rare treat for me. No microphones, no speakers, no stage – just a guitar, myself and around 60 people sitting on the floor, listening. I played 6 or 7 songs, including Silence: No More Longing of course. I also played a Solea Por Bulerias (from Winter Rose), Snakecharmer, a new Buleria, and Santa Fe among others. Then I asked whether anybody had questions and we talked for about half an hour before I ended with Bombay. The encore was a medley consisting of Querencia, Spring Rain and a little improvisation.

Of course there is no way to do something like this on a large stage, but I started thinking about the dialog with the audience. Two things came to mind: I have never enjoyed talking during my shows, claiming that it was difficult to switch between music-mind and talking-mind… that much is true, but I suspect it shows my own inability to switch perspectives and that is something that I should be able to learn to do. If I can switch between little self and Big Mind I can switch between music and talking. The other thing that came to mind was that one could facilitate a dialog with our audience as follows: have a whole lot of little index cards at our merch table and encourage people to write down any questions they might have for me – this would be encouraged by the folks at the merch table and I could mention it before the intermission as well… during the second half of the show I could select two or three of the indexcards/questions and could answer them between songs…

After my concert the roshis (Genpo Roshi and Joan Halifax Roshi) and three friends ended up in my kitchen again for drinks and talking. I sat on the kitchen counter top, because I don’t have enough chairs (note to self!!) and had a wonderful time listening to my guests. Joan Halifax Roshi is a truly captivating person. I encouraged her to start a blog, because she travels so much and in November will be a panelist at the Investigating the Mind 2005 conference with the Dalai Lama – you can ask him a question for that conference HERE. She could blog straight from her Blackberry, which would be fascinating…

Reducing Birthrate

02005-08-27 @ 08:08

Boiled Tadpoles

Wired News
Scientists have known for years that an increase of even 1 degree Celsius in testicular or scrotal temperature can decrease the production of healthy sperm by as much as 40 percent. In the Stony Brook study, researchers found that test subjects who sat for an hour with running laptops on their laps had a median increase in scrotal temperature of 2.6 to 2.8 degrees Celsius.
from Laptops a Hot Fertility Issue
(Via dj rekluse)

A Little Color

02005-08-26 @ 19:08


Quick + Expressive

02005-08-26 @ 10:08

Last night I called Jon and told him I wanted to do something quick and expressive. He and I take many months to record our albums and it involves a lot of planning, layering, mixing and so on. Yesterday it hit me that I would really like to record an album in one take for a change. I proposed that I would come to his studio, armed only with my electric guitar and my new Pod and maybe some effect boxes… Jon would play synthesizers or bass or whatever and that we would sit down and create a new album right there… maybe we would complete the t-one 2005 he started – or maybe it would become something altogether different. It certainly wouldn’t be nouveau flamenco or jazz…

Received the new Pod the other day and am loving to work with it. Line6 now has a nice software editor that connects to the Pod via USB and lets me edit the sounds on my laptop. That was my biggest gripe about working with the older Pod I have been using on stage. I hate staring at those little screens and once I found some decent sounds I never changed them and never explored the full potential of the machine.

That was also the reason I bought the Guitar Rig as I was excited about editing the sounds in my laptop, but Alan thought it sounded whimpy when I tried to use it on stage and asked me to switch back to the Pod and I thought that latency was a problem with the Guitar Rig as well.

The PODxt Pro seems to be the best of both worlds for me: it has a killer sound and using the Line6 software I can edit the sounds on my PowerBook.


02005-08-26 @ 08:08

Velo’v: Lyon’s Rentabike
During the past 3 months the French city of Lyon has been experimenting with a bicycle rental program. And I guess you could say it’s been a rideaway success. The 1,500 silver and red bikes have 15,000 urbanites signed up, ready to use them. On average, each bike is released from it’s computerised stand 6.5 times a day. With a prepaid card you can extract a bike from one of these ‘smart’ racks knowing that it’s ready to roll – the rack will only yield a bike if its brakes, tyre pressure, gears and lights have already been digitally checked and approved, and you’ve swiped your prepaid card for access. The cost of the card? A paltry 5 Euro per year ($6 USD), and if your ride is less than half an hour it’s free! If all the bicycles are taken from the set of racks, nearest your set-off point, you can ask it where the nearest available bikes are located. Commonsense and technology finally merge – I’m delightfully astounded. And in the next two years they expect to have rolled out a total of 4,000 bicycles. Amazing. Read Jon Henley’s Guardian article here, where he says even the Dutch are impressed, or allez directement à Velo’v
(Via Treehugger)

Ranking Artists

02005-08-25 @ 10:08

Let’s rank the artiste plasticien contemporain!
I’m fascinated by the artist ranking system on the ArtFacts website. Art, like pop music, is pretty hard to quantify; you like what you like. Nevertheless, like any human activity in the real world, art does leave behind it a data trail, a ‘spime slime’ (as Bruce Sterling might say). And the trail is quantifiable, rankable, chartable.

The ArtFacts data trail is concerned with attention, fame and exhibitions. Artfacts have devised an algorithm which ranks the 21,158 visual artists in their database according to where they’re showing their work and how often they show. The ranking does not reflect financial value of the artist’s work.

‘Attention (fame) in the cultural world is an economy that works with the same mechanisms as capitalism,’explains the ArtFacts site, citing Georg Franck’s concept of ‘the economy of attention’. ‘The artist ranking… orders artists by the professional attention invested in them. It provides the wider audience with a feeling for where a particular artist stands in the eyes of the professionals.’ The result? A series of nifty little graphs showing whether any given artist’s reputation is soaring or crashing over time, plus a Top 100 ‘chart rundown’ of the hottest artists, living and dead.
(Via Click opera)

And Picasso is back at number one – see title link.


02005-08-25 @ 10:08

From David Burn’s blog:

The band was in the midst of a tour, the one that was eventually filmed as Stop Making Sense. As we crisscrossed the continent (due to technical miscalculations this tour never really went to Europe) I could see that audiences were reacting more and more vociferously and positively to this relatively new song. How exciting! But as I began to hear rumors about the promo money being spent to help the song on radio all sorts of thoughts ran through my head.

I wondered if every pop song that had moved me on the radio, from when I was in my teens, had been paid for. Oh jeez! Therefore, other than a few free-form stations around at that time I was being treated like a Pavlovian dog – what I had believed were my subjective passions and discoveries were actually the result of a concerted program to pound certain tunes into my innocent brain. I had been totally manipulated! What I thought were decisions and loves that were mine and mine alone had been planted in my head by sleazy characters I could barely imagine. Free will? Hah! My entire past was called into question. Who am I? Am I not partly what I like? And if those things I like were not completely of my own choosing, then what am I?

Fascinating! To continue reading click on title link and scroll down to the July 30 entry.


02005-08-25 @ 10:08

Mobile Phones Vs. Smoking
From Japan Today:
The number of junior high and high school students who own cell phones is increasing, and there is a high chance that phone bills are weighing on the money they spend on cigarettes.
– Kenji Hayashi, head of the research team of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and an assistant director at the National Institute of Public Health, on the drop in the number of teenage smokers.
(Via Jean Snow)

Next-Gen DVD

02005-08-25 @ 08:08

As much as Sony and Toshiba have been trying to avoid it, it’s becoming more and more likely that another format war similar to the VHS vs. Betamax days will be facing consumers over the next couple years. According to the Yomiuri newspaper, the two camps have abandoned talks.

With multiple next-gen DVD formats looming, why not avoid those altogether and use harddrives instead? I personally don’t even trust DVDs for backup and still use AIT tape-backup in my studio.


02005-08-25 @ 07:08

Ounce for ounce, it costs more than gasoline, even at today’s high gasoline prices; depending on the brand, it costs 250 to 10,000 times more than tap water. Globally, bottled water is now a $46 billion industry. Why has it become so popular? It cannot be the taste, since most people cannot tell the difference in a blind tasting. Much bottled water is, in any case, derived from municipal water supplies, though it is sometimes filtered, or has additional minerals added to it.

Interesting article in the New York Times. And if you like water treated by osmosis you should know that I am told that for every gallon of treated water 4 gallons of water are wasted…


02005-08-24 @ 12:08

Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child.

The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, “Nothing, I just helped him cry”

I don’t know whether this is a true story, but that really doesn’t matter. Found this web site of Leo Buscaglia.

Black & White Comment

02005-08-23 @ 15:08

Gerald Weber commented…
I don’t advocate the approach of those that ascribe to the gothic mode of evil like Shelley did. Good, evil, whatever, it’s all hollow sounding after a while as reality is not bound by words or other symbols which we invent. Jiddu Krishnamurti lectures illustrate this concept very well. By the same token, I don’t feel that maybe sums up the situation either because this is all based on thought rather than feeling. There’s no duende in the story. So if you see your horse galloping off in the distance do you remain emotionless and detached and don’t have a feeling about it? Maybe?

Good point. I think when your horse races off into the distance you get mad and stomp your feet and scream… and then you go on about your business instead of carrying that loss for the next 20 years and cursing your bad luck. Emotions are human. They are part of our human condition. They are beautiful. On the other hand, holding those emotions for a long time is not good. In other words, you can express your feelings as completely as El Pele or or Jose Merce express their emotions when they sing/perform – but then you return the microphone to the stand, leave the stage and shake it off.

PS: the emotion isn’t what hurts you in the long run – but getting attached to it will. As a child we feel emotions directly, but without stored experience. We get mad and then move on. As we gather more data/experience, our brain starts comparing that data with the fresh emotion… instead of getting mad at an event we get mad and simultaneously the brain whispers “this always happens to me – it’s the same as what happened last week and the driver who cut me off then looked German as well: Germans are evil!” You see?

LL News

02005-08-23 @ 15:08

New in the ListeningLounge:
Several guitar loops from the song UnderWorld, found on the album La Semana.
I also added a new album called Leda Parts. There you will find rhythm guitar parts I am recording for her this month. She asked whether I would add my guitar to several additional songs for the album she has been working on for a long while. She hopes to release it later this year.

Black and White

02005-08-23 @ 08:08

I like the symmetry of a post entitled Black and White following a post entitled Apples and Oranges

Let’s return to our problem of good and evil and make use of the common white hat/black hat analogy which originated in the old movie Westerns. In these movies, the good guy wore a white hat [first aspect], whereas his mirror opposite, the bad guy, wore a black one [second aspect]. We have one of the simplest, most clear-cut mirror oppositions…

But what is the True Opposite (third aspect) of both of these fellows? It’s the man who, metaphorically, wears no hat at all.

The person who wears no hat is the person who’s not taking sides – the person who does not see himself or herself in opposition to others.

The black hat/white hat view of good and evil can make an entertaining movie because the moral lines it draws are so simple and obvious that the story remains easy to follow right through to its poignant finish. In real life, however, the lines are infinitely complex, and the story has no ending. The black hat/white hat theory of good and evil doesn’t reflect our actual experience of life’s moral difficulties.
(Via Dashh: A Day In The Integral Life)

Read more HERE

Wearing a white hat must be so exhausting. As exhausting as wearing a black hat, maybe. Wearing any hat is tiresome. Better to say may be like the old Chinese farmer.

There is a Taoist story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said sympathetically. “May be,” the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. “How wonderful,” the neighbors exclaimed. “May be,” replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. “May be,” answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. “May be,” said the farmer.

I found the story HERE and have quoted it before.


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