And The World Spins Madly On

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When I first heard the Weepies back in 2006 (thanks Cheryl!), it was by way of the song featured in the video below: And The World Spins Madly On. I thought: “Hmmm… a duo that, in some oblique way, sounds a lot like Simon and Garfunkel”. It was partly the two-part harmonies, partly the songwriting, partly the lightness of the production, bathed in a semi-transparent haze of reverb – one reason why this song seems to almost float away as you listen to it. I’ve since learned to appreciate the duo for their own quirky but relentlessly accessible style, which is most evident on their current release, Sirens.

Ryan Woodward’s animated video, uploaded in 2010 but which I just stumbled upon, nicely captures the song’s tragi-romantic sentiment.

“How I Got My Song” – Leonard Cohen

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So… it seems that I haven’t posted anything all month. Chalk it up to the summer doldrums.

In any case, I’m determined not to neglect July entirely. So, for your amusement, here’s a curious little acceptance speech Leonard Cohen gave at the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards event in Spain. He won the prize for Literature, but his speech is mostly about how he came to be a songwriter. As you might well expect from Cohen, what he has to say is a little bit beautiful, a little bit tragic, and just a tad absurd (particularly in its opulent setting).

Enjoy!

Monk Seal on Sans Souci Beach

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Monk Seal on Sans Souci 2

Monk seals have made a comeback in Hawaii of late, but rarely (if ever) have any decided to take a nap at this crowded beach just a few hundred yards from Waikiki beach. Fortunately, the humans were well-behaved, and let it rest.

This Is Not A Wooden Horse

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This Is Not A Wooden Horse

That’s because, although it was originally constructed in wood, it was cast in bronze. I know, I couldn’t believe either, until I touched it (and thereby broke a museum rule). It is entitled Mali’u and Ahona (2013), by Deborah Butterfield.

Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes”

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I haven’t had much time for music lately, but for a few months I’ve been dabbling with Wayne Shorter’s “Infant Eyes” in my spare moments. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far, along with a collection of fractal images I’ve generated using FRAX, the iPhone app. If you enjoy it, please go to iTunes and buy Wayne Shorter’s own one-of-a-kind rendition.

Infant Eyes from Larry Herzberg on Vimeo.

Particle Fever: Supersymmetry versus Multiversal Chaos

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You may dimly recall media reports that the so-called “God Particle”, otherwise known as the Higgs boson, had been observed by CERN’s “large hadron collider”. Probably the clearest, most succinct explanation I’ve seen or heard of its importance to particle physics can be found in the the documentary “Particle Fever”. If you are the curious sort (and you must be to be here reading this), I highly recommend it. Here’s the trailer, which you can watch by clicking on “Watch Trailer” below. You can find the whole film on NetFlix (if you have a subscription), on iTunes, or rent it on Vimeo by clicking on the bouncing icon.

On Governor Walker’s Plan To Slash The UW System’s Budget

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I’ve been pretty quiet over the last couple of years when it comes to commenting on Wisconsin politics. There seems to be very little left to say about the state Republican Party’s war on the public sector, and especially on public education at all levels. But what little there is left to say was well said by a couple of guests on Joy Cardin’s WPR show a few days ago, especially by the self-identifying conservative UW History Professor, John Sharpless. Here’s the first 30 minutes of that conversation-

Oh… and could someone please remind the Governor that Wisconsin Underpays Its Professors?

Feel Like Feeling Small?

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Here’s a great excursion into a 4.3 GB image of the Andromeda Galaxy, our nearest galactic neighbor, taken 1/5/15 and brought to you by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Watch it on as high a resolution as possible; at 720p watching it fullscreen becomes reasonable. I recommend pausing the video playback every once in a while; when you get a stable, in-focus frame, you can better appreciate the density of the star field your watching.


If you’re having trouble watching it here, try clicking on the YouTube button and watching it there. (YouTube embeds have been hit and miss for some time now. I’ve found FireFox to be slightly more reliable than Safari or – surprisingly – Chrome in that department).

By the way, Andromeda is heading our way at about 110 kilometers per second. It is expected to merge with our own Milky Way in about four billion years…