You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

Best 1970s science documentary ever. This should be required viewing for anyone who needs to know their place in the universe – which happens to be everyone. It’s under ten minutes long, so start watching, cadets!

And a Powers of Ten / Monty Python mash:

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The last missive from Fighter Command was a bit on the heavy side, so I’ve asked the press monkeys to steer us clear of anything heavy today. I do have a heck of a segue to guide us along our new directive. I featured an MC Hawking song in the last post, and I’m quite certain that if you enjoyed everyone’s favourite wheelchair-bound nerdcore / quantum physics superstar, you’ll like the digitized gems I’ve dug out of the archives today.

Mr Hopkinson’s Computer

I heard Mr. Hopkinson’s Computer in the covers & mashes segment of the Not Your Usual Bollocks podcast. The Mr. Hopkinson’s Computer cover of ‘Fool’s Gold’ blew my pants clean off like I’d been hit by a mad scientist wielding some kind of pulp science de-pantsifying raygun. I ran out the next day, still pantsless, to place an order for a Mr. Hopkinson’s Computer record, which now has pride-of-place in my vinyl collection.

http://www.computersings.com/

Benny Benassi presents The Biz

Italian prog-house wizard Benny Benassi was on every DJ’s setlist in the early ’00s, it seemed. His 2002 album Hypnotica introduced The Biz, who although were not computers, they certainly sounded like it. And Benassi’s inability to come up with anything that sounds different than what he was doing in 2002 should lead us all to conclude that he’s actually a piece of dodgy Italian software written specifically to churn out only one song.

Benny Benassi vs Beastie Boys – Intergalactic Satisfaction | download

HAL 9000

In Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, batshit mental computer HAL 9000 winds down its digital existence with a chilling rendition of ‘Daisy Belle’ (click on image to listen).

HAL 9000

Daft Punk

Okay, fine, so they’re actually just a couple of French guys. If you’ll direct your optics to the following text from the liner notes to Musique Vol 1: 1993 – 2005, however, you will soon agree that you’ve been schooled by yours truly.

First they had to make the machines sing. Bend them around as much as possible. Not let mechanical purrs set in, but always, as if they opened up the hood to divert the connector industry, try to play with the unexpected improbabilities of an implacable mechanical creation. This way, by the time the Asimov robot theory gets under way, the robots will be very human-like.

They had to forget about faces in order to create the artwork, erase the human on the plastic coated paper, the supposed star duet, refute the easiness of celebrity…

…This way, on Asimov’s day, we’ll see the human underneath the robot without judging the hood.

DJ Payroll – Daft Prayer (Daft Punk vs Bon Jovi) | download

MC Hawking

He’s so good I’ve come back for more. If Wikipedia can be believed (and while I’m no quantum wizard myself I’m fairly certain that at the subatomic level there are elements of Wikipedia which are true as long as they’re not being observed (or some similarly retarded application of the stupid way the laws of physics behave at that scale)), Stephen Hawking himself is a fan. What higher praise do you need?

MC Hawking – Entropy | download

A moment for something serious: evolution, bitches.

You might think whole evolution debate doesn’t concern you, as it’s just a war of words between some lab rats and a pack of rabid baptists – but the truth is far more sinister than you could possibly believe. With our current understanding of evolution, our puny species has concocted a whole bucketload of medicines to combat various diseases. With our current understanding of creationism / intelligent design, the church has had a lovely bakesale. So, consider carefully now what you want every future biologist being taught in school.

Since most of my readership is outside the USA (and those that are within the USA weren’t retarded last time I met them), odds are I’m preaching to the choir. But it’s still an important message to reiterate every once in a while – hands up, those of you who knew that a lower percentage of Americans considers evolution to be true than do the populations of most Middle Eastern countries!

What’s brought this short tirade on is a recent push from the National Academy of Sciences to help educate the public about what evolution exactly is. The NAS has released a book which explains all the crunchy bits, and you can view an 8-page PDF summary which I highly recommend for anyone who needs a refresher (you can read the full 72 page book online as well, but even I’ll be damned if I devote that kind of time to the subject).

Anyhoo, this all gives me an excuse to drop some MC Hawking. Stay tuned to the next post for a killer segue.

MC Hawking – Fuck the Creationists | download

PS Divshare seems to have fixed up the direct links, so the embedded media player is a go (for now). Read Some Important Contributions Invertebrates Have Made to Science Fiction and finally be able to revel in the joy of my Mothra audio-gag!

The results are in, and it’s clear now that we should restrict political franchise to citizens over the age of 25.

Only three of Viper Pilot’s choices made it to the top 100:

#7: Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (live)
#14: Muscles – Ice Cream
#35: Justice – D.A.N.C.E

My choices that didn’t make the cut (as chosen by the almost certainly unwashed masses):

Battles – Atlas
Digitalism
– Digitalism In Cairo*
Dizzee Rascal – Flex (Dave Spoon Remix)
Eagles Of Death Metal – Cherry Cola
LCD Soundsystem – North American Scum
Modest Mouse – Fire It Up*
Riot In Belgium – La Musique

*Digitalism and Modest Mouse had other songs make it into the top 10.

Every year on Australia Day (today!), radio network Triple J does its Hottest 100 countdown.  The Hottest 100 is the largest music poll in the world, with over half a million votes entered in each of the last few years’ polls.  For those subscribing to this sub-etha netcast from outside of the Australia local cluster, Triple J is a national government owned youth radio network, focusing on music for the 15-35 age group.  More specifically they claim ‘new music’ as their tagline,  so you won’t find any Matchbox 20 clones (I’m looking at you, Nickelback) or retarded pop divas (kindly fuck off, Fergie).

It ws quite the challenge only picking ten tracks from what I’ve found to be a very good year for music (as long as you’re flying off the radar).  I could have voted for the entirety of LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, but there were a lot of other deserving artists.  Viper Pilot’s choices this year are as follows, in no particular order other than alphabetically by artist:

Battles – Atlas
Daft Punk – Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger (live)
Digitalism – Digitalism In Cairo
Dizzee Rascal – Flex (Dave Spoon Remix)
Eagles Of Death Metal – Cherry Cola
Justice – D.A.N.C.E
LCD Soundsystem – North American Scum
Modest Mouse – Fire It Up
Muscles – Ice Cream
Riot In Belgium – La Musique

I could have chosen a lot more, but they only allow ten picks, so there you are.

Tune in later today to see where my choices fared in the poll (and see how potentially stupid the youth of Australia are).

Short post today – busy fighting evil monotonous record empire.

Fourth nova-bomber squadron leader Murray mentioned to me, upon first hearing this band “I’m getting the same vibe I got the first time I heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. Like this is the start of something.'” And Murray has been working sound for music gigs (and fighting his own covert war against shitty music) for a long time.

Battles – Atlas

Hunt around for concert footage on Youtube if you’re interested in the technical details of just what the hell is going on. You’ll get a much better idea of the kind of (and amount of) crazy gear Battles use to create their unique kind of noise seeing them work guitars and keyboards at the same time (one hand on each, guitar picking being modulated by the keybaord) or pumping a wah-wah pedal attached to the vocal microphone.

Ever heard of Bigelow Aerospace? Nope, me either. Until reading the most recent issue of Wired, that is. So it’s one of the big players in the commercial space race, it turns out. The guy who owns the company is certified loony (and retardedly rich, having made a ton of bucks in the hotel industry), spending his fortune on not only Bigelow Airspace, but on funding research into researching alien abductions and UFO sightings.

But here’s the catch… owner Robert Bigelow is the only guy to steer his company to getting a payload into orbit. And his competition include the likes of Richard Branson and Microsoft’s Paul Allen. Oh yeah, he was born in Vegas, so of course it makes perfect sense that he’s putting a game of bingo into into orbit.

No music today. I’m still cranky about Divshare.

Atomique and I couldn’t help ourselves – we were offered kittens and took two. And, being geeks, we’ve named the noisy one Laika (Russian for ‘barker’) after the first animal in outer space, and the quiet one Malla after Chewbacca’s wife. We may have crossed the line from geek to dork, there.

This gives me the perfect opportunity to drop a video that is actually both science fiction and music at the same time, rather than usual trick of tenuously connecting a sci-fi factoid to a song or two.

The Cat – Tongue Tied

British space-sitcom Red Dwarf usually openned with something other than a musical number. Like, you know, something in space. Not the start of this particular episode, thanks to a dream sequence courtesy of The Cat.

In 1993 those lovable Brits, stalwart fans of novelty music, propelled a rerecorded single of Tongue Tied to #17 in the UK pop charts.

(Okay, so maybe it hasn’t aged well, but I sure did love this the first time I saw it. I give it points for nostalgia value.)

Scope, the e-newsletter for the Australian Science Communicators Group (thanks, Atomique!) recently ran an excellent article that debunked a lot of the negative poppycock that the soap-dodgers throw at us to make us turn away from a much cleaner source of energy than coal and oil.

I’m all for saving the whales, having an ozone layer, and clearcut logging pisses me off. I pay for green power, I do my best to recycle and do all the little things like use rechargeable batteries and am replacing my lights with those new whiz-bang fluorescent badboys whenever one of the old evil ones dies (and let me tell you, my rag-tag fleet of audio refugees needs to conserve in any way it can – it’s not easy to just pull over for a supply stop when you’ve got a BMG or EMI-class capital ship following you).

That all being said: smarten up, hippies. I’ll echo the author’s sentiment here – I’m not saying nuclear power is the best thing ever, but stop advancing outright lies about it in order to fulfill your crazy agendas.

I’ll pull some choice quotes from the article here, forwarded by things vegans might say.

“It’s a stop-gap solution!” shouts a skinny old guy selling hemp wristbands at a folk festival.

Some claim there’s only 60 years of uranium left, but this depends on a lot of assumptions about geology and how easy it is to extract. There could be a lot more of it, and its a gross distortion.But, this limited supply is just one isotope of uranium. The other uranium isotope could be converted into plutonium using breeder reactors, or “fourth generation nuclear reactors”. Using breeder reactors would mean we have about 60,000 years of fuel left.

“The waste will contaminate the earth forever!” shouts a group huddled around a drum circle, an aroma of feet and moss emanating from their general direction.

It’s claimed that nuclear waste is radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years, but calculations are that the waste will have greatly decreased radioactivity after 1,000 years, and will be the same as the original uranium in 10,000 years – hardly the picture the propaganda paints, where it seems they like to add zeros for nothing other than dramatic effect.

These calculations have been criticised as “speculative”, but it is everything but. Individual atoms decay at known rates – it is what is behind carbon dating – and we can know how radioactive the waste will be in 10,000 years with as much accuracy as we can radioactively date something 10,000 years old.

Surrounded by cats, a hairy woman who practices rune-casting and makes her own mead shouts: “You’re polluting the air just by building this reactor!”

There’s the claim that nuclear plants generate lots of CO2 during construction. Well, in fact I’d suspect no more than anything else which takes a while to construct. It doesn’t assemble itself. Things have to be moved to the right location, welded, drilled, bolted, sealed, cabled, tested and so on. Just like a regular skyscraper – there’s a certain amount of material involved, but it does not just construct itself – this takes time and effort – but does not generate a particularly large amount of CO2 along the way. Merely taking a long time to construct does not mean something must therefore generate lots of CO2 in the construction process.

It’s also worth noting that wind farms for generating the same power, they need about ten times the metal (and CO2) load as nuclear power plants to generate the same electricity.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

You can read the full article here.

Coldcut – Atomic Moog 2000(Post Nuclear Afterlife Lounge Mix) | download

Electric Six – Nuclear War (On the Dance Floor) | download

Viper Pilot Audio

Looking for music by Viper Pilot? This blog is the current home of Viper Pilot's Munition Works, where he stores all of his mashes and mixes.

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