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Prince Paul is one of the finest hip-hop producers (check that – finest producers of any genre) on the planet. From his work on De La Soul’s early albums to his later work like the magnificent hip-hop concept opera A Prince Among Thieves his catalogue of work is worth some serious investigating. Regardless of one’s personal preferences in music, the connoisseur should find his production work to be a fine blend that lingers on the tongue and leaves scintillating aftertastes.
Before we move on, let me drop some science; I owe my little brother ‘the nod’ for getting me hooked on Prince Paul way back in the day. Big props are due. Word.
In what must be the first of its genre, Prince Paul has this time produced a children’s album about a hip-hop crew of five dinosaurs. The line-up for Baby Loves Hip Hop features a top selection of artists who play the members of The Dino 5: Chali 2na (Jurassic 5), Ladybug Mecca (Digable Planets), Wordsworth, Scratch (The Roots) and of course Prince Paul plays the crew’s leader, DJ Stegosaurus.
The Dino 5 Theme
I’m off now to go buy a few copies to share with all the little tiny pod-people (read: babies) that seem to be sprouting up all among my circle of friends.
SOMA FM is a commercial-free independent web radio station that’s been on the air since February 2000. SOMA runs entirely on donations from listeners, with the mantra that everyone deserves good music, even those who can’t afford it. Thanks to the evil clones at the RIAA, SOMA’s operating costs have steadily skyrocketed and it is now falling $5000/month shy of meeting its budgetary needs. I do my bit to pitch in every now and then, but obviously I’m a bit stretched trying to fight an interstellar war *and* raise a kid. So, if you’re a past fan, now’s the time to help out and get reacquainted; if you’ve never heard of SOMA before, go give one of their many stations a listen and if you like what you hear, consider joining the rank and file on the front lines of the struggle against the fucktards of big music.
Viper Pilot’s favourite channels:
- Space Station SOMA – When this channel is kicking, it’s kicking. Really groovy spacey sounds to nod your head to. Sometimes the track selection gets a bit too ambient and the groove vanishes, I admit, but I’ve been absorbing a lot of this channel lately.
- Drone Zone – All ambient, all the time. If you like swooshy noises and an absence of percussion, this is the place for you. The surgeon general ought to warn you away from listening if you’re operating heavy machinery.
- Secret Agent – My first love at SOMA. A wildly eclectic mix of songs held together in that they all sound like they fit a 60s spy flick (even if *not* from that era). I have found some absolute gems while tuned to Secret Agent.
- Cliqhop – IDM. Man, when IDM’s good, it’s like Aphex Twin is having an LSD party in my head. When it’s bad, it’s like Wagonchrist is vomiting in my inner ear canal.
- Nu Musik – I’ve only just found this hidden station. 80s synthpop and new wave. Follow this link to listen: http://somafm.com/wma128/numusik.asx
Happy listening, space warriors!
It certainly seems like the real world is catching up with the imaginations of Mssrs. Gibson, Stephenson, Rucker, Egan, Sterling, et al. (and, thankfully, it also seems we’re moving away from Billy Idol’s Cyberpunk).
Need to infiltrate a megacorporate HQ in order to extract some data for a rival corp? Scientists at the University of Berkeley are working on the perfect accoutrement for a bit of industrial espionage: a motherfucking invisibility cloak. Okay, so it’s not really invisibility – they’re bending light or reflecting it in the wrong direction or something totally far out like that. I can’t wait for chameleoflage jackets in the next K-Mart winter collection.
A Robot Run by Rat Neurons
Meanwhile, across the pond, they’re building robots with biological brains at the University of Reading. This is probably the trippiest tech I’ve seen yet. It’s weirds me out just a little bit to watch the root scoot around knowing that there’s no electronic computer in it, and yet it is still FUCKING OARSOME.
Too many hours in front of the monitor impacting upon the quality of your eyesight? Null persp, chummer! You’ll be buying new eyes from Radio Shack next decade and installing them at home! Mm, okay, calm down, Viper Pilot. Right, well, you’re not far from getting that cybernetic upgrade to your eyes for that extra level of magnification you’ll need for your next assassination attempt.
Anyone else got a hankering for some Shadowrun right about now?
Some tracks that I’ve always identified as being Cyberpunky in one way or another:
“Listen up, monkeys! There’s been a last-minute change in comm frequencies for today’s sortie…”
You’ll notice a few new links over in the sidebar under a new section titled ‘Subscribe’. I’ve set up a new feed for this blog using Feedburner. If you’re currently reading this blog via the WordPress RSS feed, I’d like to take this opportunity to beg of you to change your feed URL to http://feeds.feedburner.com/ViperPilot (or just use the links).
Rubber Johnny: science fiction or supernatural horror?
So in the days following my last briefing, I encountered on two occasions a statement that seems conveniently pertinent to our previous discussion on languages.
The editorial in the July/August issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact is about how languages are tools with various functionalities, just like the different tools in your toolbox. Of particular amusement in the article was the following quote from George Bernard Shaw:
George Bernard Shaw pointed out that we could spell ‘fish’ as ‘ghoti’: the gh from ‘laugh’, the o from ‘women’ and the ti from ‘nation’.
On the other hand English, as messed up as it is, still beats Japanese and its 2000-odd regularly-used Kanji for ease of learning. Talk about needing a big toolbox.
Be seated, cadets.
Today’s lesson will be a short primer on constructed languages. Important for some, curiosities for others, those of you who end up drawing crypto-archaeological duties will encounter some of them while investigating the ruined colonies of the Sword March, and those of you who go on to information warfare will no doubt investigate these further in your specialization year at the academy.
A constructed language is exactly what it appears to be – a language that’s been constructed. Okay, smartass, you might ask, what exactly is meant by that? Your usual run-of-the-mill language, the kind that tradesmen demolish by day and violent youth reinvent by night, has evolved and grown like a living organism over thousands of years. A constructed language, on the other hand, has been planned to adhere to certain rules and has word structre that hasn’t been tainted by constant assimilation of terms from bordering tribes. A constructed language has no words that ‘break the rules’; in fact, they generally can’t have words that break the rules. An intersting note: technically, a programming language is a constructed language – it has a strict guideline for its words and its grammar must be adhered to vehemently for it to work.
Ironically, it’s very likely that the most well-known constructed language has the least number of fluent speakers (12, according to the last census). Anyone had a conversation in Klingon lately? Anyone? No, didn’t think so. But have you heard of it? If you’re reading this briefing, odds are you sure fucking have.
Good old wrinkly-headed Klingons have their very own constructed language. The vocabulary may be small and it might be limited to things you’ll find on a spaceship, but it has rules, sentence structure just like any other language. You can learn Klingon online thanks to the Klingon Language Institute (Warning! Their website contains DANGEROUSLY high levels of Web 1.0 late-90s design. Proceed at your own risk, citizens – I can guarantee you the fleet has no interest in issuing corrective lenses to a whole squadron.)
And now, the fleet’s most famous Klingon-language death metal band: Stovokor
Anyone who’s done a milk run to the Red Dwarf will no doubt have seen Esperanto plastered about all the walls. It speaks volumes to the age of the old mining ship that she bears a language so old. Esperanto dates back to our ancestral home, that shiny blue-green marble called Earth. Envisioned as a tool for easing diplomatic and business transactions in an era where our ancestors finally had the means to travel and communicate across the globe, it is perhaps one of the most functional of the constructed languages.
A curious thing about constructed languages and the human brain… the human brain needs to be rewired to ingest secondary languages, but it only needs to have those neural pathways opened up once. In other words, if you want to learn a third or fourth language, your stupid mushy brain only needs to learn the new language instead of training itself to not think in your primary tongue like it had to do when you learned your second language. If your second language is easy to learn – such as a constructed language, which has rules that make sense – you can get that hard bit out of the way with far less contortion of your grey matter. The mighty Wikipedia has an article about this phenomenon.
There is, if I recall correctly, a copy of an ancient learn-yourself-some-Esperanto website (a website is a primitive 2D representation of hyperdata, cadets) in the searchable archives. Try the following reference code: http://en.lernu.net/
In the Second World War (the one on Earth, that is) the forces of the United States Marine Corps recruited members of the Navajo tribe to serve as radio operators. The Navajo would relay tactical information via radio in codes based on their native tongue. This was done for a multitude of reasons, mainly being that deciphering a language is much harder than simply trying to break a code, and the Japanese had sweet fuck-all chance of learning Navajo.
Much in the same vein, LOLCODE is being advocated by some of the geeks over in fleet security on the USS Pythagoras. Based on the verbal-only language of lolcats, there’s high hope that the sheer nonsensicalness of LOLCODE will render it unbreakable to any robotic eavesdroppers. LOLCODE may even be so bizarre that it will melt the brains of any cybernetic interlopers.
It’s still in the early stages of development, but operating code can be written using the existing, limited number of operands. Some sample LOLCODE:
HAI CAN HAS STDIO? I HAS A VAR IM IN YR LOOP UP VAR!!1 VISIBLE VAR IZ VAR BIGGER THAN 10? KTHXBYE IM OUTTA YR LOOP KTHXBYE
It is of interest to note that the syntax of LOLCODE is only correct if written in ALL CAPS.
And as we began with the speak of geek, so returneth we to the speak of geek.
J. R. R. Tolkien was mad for the crazy silly detail he invested in not only constructing the language of the Elves of Middle Earth, but also creating a linguistic evolution for them. Dude dropped mad science in creating Quendian, Avarin, Eladrin, Sindarin, etc., etc. No, I didn’t actually know any of those names before finding them in (you guessed it) Wikipedia’s article about the Elvish languages of Middle Earth.