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As I prepare to welcome a future space-funk warrior princess into my thermonuclear family (T-minus one day to scheduled arrival) I’m going to try and squeeze a few posts in while I can. I doubt much will happen here, though, so this means that these communiqués from the tip of our arm of the galaxy (my current posting, where I am unable to reveal what I’m doing – suffice to say it involves zero-g zombies and the Spandau Ballet reunion tour) may be far and few for the next few weeks. With tiny humans at the fore of my thoughts, I thought I might share some bits and bobs of baby related tech, tunes and domestic-grade laser weaponry.
Actually, I’m going to steal content from Atomique to talk tech. When not busy educating me about the merits of Madchester she has a side gig blogging at a baby clothing shop, where she does her best to sneak science in between the articles about mothering techniques and store sales.
Baby-related science news and nifty gadgets that Atomique is bringing to the moms of Oz:
- A study about the risks new moms take every time they get behind the wheel of a car
- Self-heating baby bottles
- Breadmaking regulations which will reduce birth defects
- The height of early 20th century baby gadgetry: a cage for hanging bub out the apartment window
Music. Baby music. Man, babies have terrible taste in music. It’s repetitive, the melodies are basic and the lyrics are insipid. Wait, am I describing every ‘dance club hit’ from the early 90s or nursery rhymes? I’m confused. Whose space suit is this?
I was tempted to spangle this post with songs with baby in the title, but that felt like I was rubbing clichés all over myself and doing sexy dances for Russian sailors. Not that I know what that feels like – unless you mean Russian space-sailors, in which case a brother’s gotta work his way home somehow, right?
I can’t really find anything interesting about baby music. Well, kind of. Here’s a nursery rhyme in an ancient dialect of French:
Un petit d’un petit
S’étonne aux Halles
Un petit d’un petit
Ah! degrés te fallent
Indolent qui ne sort cesse
Indolent qui ne se mène
Qu’importe un petit d’un petit
Tout Gai de Reguennes.
Wait, I lied! It’s not actually French! If you read it with an outrageously bad French accent, however, it reads like Humpty Dumpty. It’s from a collection of fake archaic French songs which all sound like English nursery rhymes when read like Pepé le Peu, called Mots D’Heures: Gousses, Rames (Mother Goose’s Rhymes).
Closely related to babies are toddlers. Toddlers have way better taste in music. That’s not saying much, but I’ll listen to The Wiggles or Yo Gabba Gabba over, say, Aqua or Nickelback.
A perennial favourite of toddlers which had some bangin’ tunes was Sesame Street; even more bangin’ is a whole album of Muppet Mashups.
Finally, we come to Babies With Laser Eyes. Not every one of you may know this, but quite a lot of technology goes into the modern laser-eye equipped baby:
They’re not as uncommon as you’d expect these days. Frankly, I’m a bit concerned that some of the ‘bargain’ babies with laser eyes we now see coming out of south-east Asia don’t have the same level of safety measures in place as the traditional Swiss and Austrian models. Mark my words, it won’t be long before someone’s house burns down.
Okay, kids – I’m out of here. I’ll get all proud and post reconnaissance images of bub the second in the next few days, and then things may get very quiet. Keep fighting the good fight in my absence.
Sometimes, I really dig some dirty nasty stinking rotten squelchy bleepy bangin’ electro.
Thankfully, DJ Dunno’s podcast is there for me when I need to get filthy.
I obviously watch too much children’s television these days. I find things like this entertaining:
Numbers are fucking awesome.
They’re everywhere around us, and form the foundation for every thing we interact with in our everyday lives. Without numbers, you and I are pretty much boned. Numbers are essential; lose them, and you and I are back in the cave finger painting with charcoal – which isn’t terribly awesome if you’re used to Fatboy Slim CDs, suspension bridges and digital wristwatches.
Kraftwerk – Numbers
Numbers and Communication
In episode four of his science history series Connections, James Burke tells us: “Without long-distance communication, the modern world would not function as it does.” Telecommunications allow us to organise ourselves and exchange data over vast distances. Without numbers, there are no communications satellites, let alone any way to send useful information to us from those satellites that now doesn’t exist. Try plotting your location without numbers. I dare you. Go on, smartass.
Connections – Episode 4: Faith in Numbers (part 1)
Numbers are essential to data routing. Every mobile phone call, bank transaction and porn Youtube video that makes its way to you knows how to get to you and not some random in Nigeria does so because of complex combinations of strings of numbers identifying which peice of information is going where.
Numbers and Music
In 1967, Isaac Asimov wrote about musical notes:
It all begins with Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher who, about 525 BC, discovered that two or more strings, plucked together, made a combination of sounds that was pleasing to the ear, if the lengths of those strings were in the ratios of small whole numbers.
Also, Asimov could really pimp commas. He continues, frequencies in place of lengths of string:
For instance, if one frequency is just twice another, the notes blend perfectly in our ears.
If we take three notes together, then the harmony is particularly good if the frequencies are in the ratio of 4 to 5 to 6. This combination of notes is called the “major triad”.
Well, then, we now have four notes we can rely on to sound good in almost any combination, whether struck consecutively or simultaneously, and these we can label 4, 5, 6 and 8. As you see, 4, 5, 6 make up a major triad and 8 is twice 4.
Boards of Canada – Music is Math
It takes another page of Science, Numbers and I (the collection of Asimov essays from whence I steal this particular arrangement of comma-heavy words) just to get to a full octave of 4, 4½, 5, 5⅓, 6, 6⅔, 7½, 8. The whole piece is some dozen pages long and by the end one’s brain has been battered fairly thoroughly under a sweet sweet avalanche of numbers.
Numbers and Food
Ancient agriculture would have been impossible if we had no capability to keep track of… er, keep track of things. If you want to know how successful the planting has been, you need tax men to tally up how many pots of grain you’ve got and keep a record of it. You then need a caste of astrologer-priests to keep track of how many days after the solstice you planted that year, so you can figure out the best time to sow your crops.
Pointer Sisters – Pinball Number Count (DJ Food Re-Edit)
Yes, this does mean that if you want food, you have to have taxes. Shut up and deal with it.
Anyhow, you need a number system for this to work; tick marks on the end of bones only get you so far. You want to live in a city with other people, someone somewhere needs to be planning some complex group activities and tallying some rather large figures – and then documenting those facts and passing them on to some kind of central authority who works with even larger numbers.
I’d go on about numbers, but another section would take us to four headings, and four isn’t a prime number. So, understandably, I’m a little uneasy about venturing further. Suffice to say that looking at numbers is an exercise that could go on for a while – yet if you can reach infinity through math tricks, then can anything really take up that much time?
Tending to one’s miniature versions of themselves eats up a lot of time. I have, however, managed to scrape together a little something for my peeps.
Viper Pilot – Hits From the Billabong
I shall leave it as an exercise for you to dismantle and uncover the ingredients used in this heady, smokey, beat-filled little gem.
Er. I appear to kind of be busy.
Not so busy that I can’t throw a bad-ass space battleship at you, though.