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Aug 19, 2010

The Show Notes

Post Musikfest
My neighbor & her husband
Ask George 
     - Atheism? from Brian Hoffman
     - Secular calendar? from Rich
     - Evocative music? from Evil Eye
     - You, streets, night?  from Stephen Hanan
     - The groove? from Craig Phelps
     - Learning guitar? from Lexy Dickerson
     - Your voice? from Craig Smith
Happy Birthday Baby LIVE Audio
Show close



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Infinite Monkey
almost fourteen years ago

Just a random thought, why just have a simple scale of before/after some random event? Why not have it broken up into when the largest superpower was in power? So, an event that happened before Egypt took over would be PE.

Some ideas are:

Egypt (EG)
Rome (RO)
Catholic Church (CC)
Spain (SP)
England (EN)
United States (US)

almost fourteen years ago

You people are aware that we have epoch, right?

The computer era starts arbitrarily at January 1st 1970 so that's that. Now we only need to munge years and days into a more metric splitting of the calendar and all is well.

Terry Whelan
almost fourteen years ago

One of the biggest defects in our year numbering system is the lack of a year 0. My vote would be to choose some date associated with the discovery of the number zero, a little wikipedia reading did not reveal a good value for this though.

Chris Moran
almost fourteen years ago

Music: I put "Bring on the Night" into Pandora and got "The Streets Have No Name" out. Cool...

Calendar: It should start on the day of birth of our Lord and... couldn't finish... It should start on the next Spring Equinox, year 2 starts 365.2425 days later. Spread the 5 3/4 extra hours throughout the year... Heck with decimals and going backwards. Kill the months and regulate by season. Split the day into 10 units with 100 subunits... Ahh, metrics.

almost fourteen years ago

Alright, I'm gonna have to third the Holocene epoch as the beginning of the new calendar.

almost fourteen years ago


Somehow I've managed to go through life without ever really "recognizing" Lou Reed. I'd probably recognize songs if you mentioned or played them, but I can't call up a song from memory.

Last time you talked about Lou Reed, I asked a serious music-buff friend his opinion and borrowed a CD. He didn't share your opinion...he wasn't a big fan, but was weakly favorable. The CD put me pretty much in your camp already, but holy COW that was bad.

almost fourteen years ago

October 4, 1957 is 0 AS (Anno Sputnik)

Den W.
almost fourteen years ago

My suggestion for a secular calendar would be the adoption of the Code of Hammurabi, ca 1870 BCE. While Hammurabi does mention the gods, the Code is the actual beginnings of the western legal tradition, as opposed to imaginary one the fundamentalists keep insisting on.

almost fourteen years ago

I think I could listen to Geo explaining metrical thingamajibbers all day long.

(And I second the Holocene calendar.)

almost fourteen years ago

Why does the calendar have to start with a particular date? Why can't it begin at it's own origin? What would be more secular than that!

Freedom geek
almost fourteen years ago

Perhaps the timescale could be based around the industrial revolution given its massive effect. Before Industrial Revolution (BIR) and After Industrial Revolution (AIR).

That or it could be based around the creation of the calander.

almost fourteen years ago

I would either start the calendar in 1649 with the discovery of the elements (starting with phosphorous) or simply move the whole thing back ten minutes and start using Before Brian and After Brian.

almost fourteen years ago

I would either start the calendar in 1649 with the discovery of elements (starting with phosphorous) or simply move the whole thing back ten minutes and start using Before Brian and After Brian.

Dan T
almost fourteen years ago

On the discussion about Jaws, the opening was also lifted from a classical source: the 4th movement of Dvorak's 9th symphony:

almost fourteen years ago

I like Greg's idea of starting with the first realization of the scientific method, with Ibn al-Haytham in 1021, but I'm going to suggest that what we now call 1969 be the start. No, it has nothing to do with Geo's favorite position.

Specifically, I suggest July 21, 1969. In addition to it marking the first of our species to land on another world, it was also a unifying event across the planet. Even though it was a Westerner who landed on the moon, it was heralded at the time as being a huge human accomplishment shared by everyone. And it not only shows that we "know" the scientific method but that we can do things with it.

almost fourteen years ago

I would use the Holocene calendar which as the name suggests starts the calendar at the beginning of the Holocene Epoch 12,000 years ago. It has the advantage of all of human history being contained in one era instead of being confusingly at times split at some arbitrary date.

almost fourteen years ago

I would use a more obscure, but I think more important date. In 1021, Ibn al-Haytham published the first book that laid out what we now call the scientific method. Yes, he was using it for observation, and he was not the first person to think about empirical data, but if he were Western we'd all know his name and learn about him in school.

Once we decided that knowledge has to be the result of systematic observation and testing of hypothesis, we allowed for modernity and all of the progress we've made since then. It's uplifting, it's definite, and it can't be accused of Eurocentrism. I suppose it's a little skepto-centric, but I'm Jewish and believe in a deity and still think that's maybe the biggest thing we ever did as a species.

almost fourteen years ago

Ha, Paul Simon is one of my iconic music people/bands/musicians.

I like the idea of going with a Greek event/person. Before Socrates (469 BCE) definitely rings true when abbreviated. If not for the movie, I think the Battle of Thermopylae (480 BCE) would be a good kick off point, but violence is never a good way to start a calender. The rise and fall of Alexander the Great (born 356 BCE) might be a good year, because it marks the end of a truly powerful Greek empire, but once again, too depressing. Eratosthenes' (born 276 BCE) estimation of the size of the Earth might be a good date, too, but I can't seem to find any definite year when he did this. So, Socrates wins!

Also, I want my 30 seconds back.

almost fourteen years ago

I was going to go with the death of Copernicus when he saw the first copy of De revolutionibus. While Galileo, the man, is perhaps more iconic, "revolutions" is a more iconic concept and we can pick a specific date that's even more or less the start of spring. I'd probably even more go with Kepler and finally get rid of the magic of circles, but I'll stick with Copernicus.

almost fourteen years ago

Start the calender when geo hits merseyside, alright high five!

almost fourteen years ago

I'm sure you've seen this already, but here's Bobby McFerrin with a cute and entertain little example of the apparent universality of the pentatonic scale at the 2009 World Science Festival.

Its not the most scientific of demonstrations but its definitely fun. There's a bunch of stuff on the WSF site about the neurological basis for music if you're interested.

Sean P.
almost fourteen years ago

Why did you tell us to listen to this Lou Reed track.
I feel sick now. Like... in my soul.

almost fourteen years ago

I wish you'd do that beat-count demonstration on some of your songs.

almost fourteen years ago

Let's start the calendar from Galileo's publication.

almost fourteen years ago

Oh, wow. I didn't realize there were that many people up and dancing. Fantastic.

Ooh! You could wear the white jacket black bowtie combo at QED!

almost fourteen years ago

Oh, wow. I didn't realize there were that many people up and dancing. Fantastic.