Technique

Art, Technology

Storm King Art Center: Finding Your Angle

Sun, 20 Oct 2019

Some The Storm King Art Center is all about finding your angle. Not THE angle, because so much of the sculpture there has no ONE angle that gets the whole picture, just a perspective that makes sense to you. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Sexy Hillbilly: The Short, Troubled Life of Hank Williams

Sat, 19 Oct 2019

A Hank Williams was a naturally gifted entertainer. Even with only modest singing skills, he had songwriting chops, confidence and stage presence to spare. Winning over an audience was not a problem for ole Hank. Everything else was the problem. Through the late 1940s, and early 1950s, Williams charted dozens of top 10 songs on the country chart. He did this without sacrificing his country persona, crafting simple three-chord songs that celebrated "God, beer, a good woman and a blessed break from loneliness." The ideas culled from comic books or his own troublesome marriages. "He was hard to deify him during his lifetime, so proudly unrefined was he," Mark Ribowsky wrote. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Live Music Summer 2019: Face on a Pie Box

Sun, 08 Sep 2019

Live My summer kicked off with prog-rockers Yes playing a lonely Atlantic City casino and ended with current country music queen Miranda Lambert holding court before a rowdy throng at the Allentown Pennsylvania Fairgrounds. In between, Bruce Springsteen popped in on the Southside Johnny iconic 4th of July Asbury Park NJ show, Willie Nelson serenaded a soupy Merriweather Post Pavilion crowd, and I went back into the hometown woods some deep, deep country Lynyrd jams. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Computing and the Birth of the Information Theory

Fri, 23 Aug 2019

A With a 1948 research paper, Claude Shannon pretty much single handedly invented the idea of information. Before then, engineers would design logical circuits, or work to reduce noise in telephone transmission lines, on a case-by-case basis, not realizing their separate efforts would be unified under a single theory, around which an entire body of scientific body would be built. Shannon was the first to realize all information had the same fundamental characteristics, no matter the sender, receiver, or content, according to a recent biography. Fortuitously, his work was instrumental to the then-emerging science of building computational machines. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Travelogue: Walking in to Yorklyn for a Beer

Tue, 23 Jul 2019

A Here is a photo journal of my recent walk to a brewpub in the tiny town of Yorklyn, Delaware, from the family farm just a few hills over and across the state line in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, I had not hiked this route in decades. So I caught it all as an Instagram story. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Dawn of the Iron Age

Fri, 12 Jul 2019

The Back before we learned how to extract iron from ore, we relied on meteorites for iron deposits. One meteor that fell in Greenland was used Eskimos for more than a century. The mining of ores underground signified a new boldness in human exploration. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Light in August: Chapter by Chapter

Sat, 22 Jun 2019

A Lena was walking to Mississippi, pregnant, all the way from Alabama, with 35 cents to her name. Her mother died when she was young, then her father, so she went to live with her brother, senior by 20 years, and his wife, who was always pregnant, or recovering from pregnancy, it seemed. They lived in a logging town. Lena stayed in a lean-to out back. Within a few years, she got pregnant by some local Sawdust Casanova in the words of her brother. So she went to go find the father, Lucas, who, she thought, would immediately take her in when he saw her. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Pete Ham's Prophetic Guitar Pick

Sat, 15 Jun 2019

The Here is solid silver guitar pick, designed in 1971 by May Pang for the Pete Ham, lead singer of Badfinger. After the Beatles broke up, the hippie underground swirled with rumors that Badfinger were the Beatles in disguise. Four years after Pang forged this pick, Ham hung himself. Funny she oriented it like a gravestone. Or maybe she saw into his troubled soul. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Memorial Day: How John Brown Sparked the Civil War in Harpers Ferry

Thu, 30 May 2019

How Maps props to John Brown, who, in 1859, had the batshit crazy idea to end slavery in the U.S. by taking over a U.S. government armory in Harpers Ferry stocked with 100,000 weapons, a move he thought would kick off the revolution. Radical action as needed, he felt, to end slavery, especially in the south, where cotton was profitable only with slave labor. The crazy part was that Brown only recruited 21 men for the job. Even his pal, abolitionist Frederick Douglass considered the plan was cray and took a hard pass. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Don't Peak Too Soon

Sun, 26 May 2019

Lessons Ray Wylie Hubbard has got to be one of the great second acts in country music -- maybe for all popular music, an art form overwhelmingly favoring the energy of the young. He briefly made a name for himself with the outlaw country classic "Up Against The Wall, Redneck Mother" in 1978, though only in the last few decades or so has he started truly refining his distinctive -- and highly-addicting -- country blues swamp shuffle, with each successive album stronger, more defiantly individual than the previous. His slim yet bountiful 2015 autobiography shares two secrets for this late blooming success: Sobriety and the E chord without the third. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: Maceo Parker and the Southern Funk

Sun, 12 May 2019

A With his relentless touring schedule and full discography, saxophonist Maceo Parker picked up more than a little of the obsessive work-ethic from his one-time mentor James Brown, not to his taste for the hottest musicians. After a time as right-hand man for the Godfather of Soul, Parker joined Parliament Funkadelic just in time to land the Mothership. Decades later, he helped Prince through a 21-night stand in L.A. Today, he is the keeper of the OG funk, the South Carolina variety, similar but leaner than New Orleans. He also does a pretty mean Ray Charles cosplay. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Soundtrack of My Life: The Full-Tilt Boogie of J.J. Cale

Fri, 10 May 2019

An The recent release of a new album of outtakes from J.J. Cale (who passed in 2013) reminds me of the cruel promise of these posthumous releases. I buy these collections because I like the music of the artist -- here,a wizened drawl over a chill shuffle. I always subconsciously calculate an album of outtakes would possess even more of these addicting qualities. But it never works out that way. Almost always, the previously-deemed inferior tunes are mostly the sound of the artist trying to get to that essence. It is less pure, not more, weirdly enough. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Tech History: The Slow Adoption of Glass

Sat, 20 Apr 2019

The Glass did not start out as its own thing. For thousands of years before people used glass to make windows, containers or figurines, they used the substance only as a strong, translucent coating for pottery. It took a few more centuries until Egyptians learned to forge glass -- with its own unique properties -- into novel shapes. The products were slowly spread through Europe by Phoenician traders. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

Time: World Lines and the Block Universe

Mon, 08 Apr 2019

A If you consider spacetime a single unified thing comprised of both space and time (and they do go well very well, mathematically speaking), then you could see your entire life -- everywhere you go, everyone you meet -- in the form of a wiggly line stretching against a backdrop of the other three dimensions. In fact, every molecule in the universe, including those that make up your body for a part of their billion year journey would be captured in this block. From this particular dimension, called the Block Universe, time does not exist, other than as these trails encased across stretches of space, often known as world lines. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

About Last Night: Caribbean Vibes, Flatbush

Sun, 31 Mar 2019

Caribbean I had spied this take-out two blocks down, Caribbean Vibes, that just exuded warmth and promised real yard-style cooking. Why should check this place out, I suggested after she clocked out from her dancing gig. You may have to wait a minute if you want to get that real Caribbean Yard-Style cooking in Flatbush, unless you can learn how to hustle your order through. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

The Globalization of Time-Keeping

Sat, 30 Mar 2019

The Throughout the 19th century, moving village folk worldwide into one agreed-upon definition of time took some doing. And in adopting this universal standard, people bargained away their own timeframes for prestige and status, sometimes without even realizing it. Clocks and timepieces became status symbols in less-developed countries. And it was not only the backwoods folk who were persuaded, wrote Vanessa Ogle wrote in her book, The Global Transformation of Time, 1870 - 1950. Click to Read More...

		
		
		

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