Monday, September 13, 2010

Too Much Caution in Science

From Wolfgang Köhler, one of the founders of gestalt psychology, speaking
in 1959:

I doubt whether it is advisable to regard caution and a critical spirit
as the virtues of a scientist, as though little else counted. They are
necessary in research, just as the brakes in our cars must be kept in order and
their windshields clean. But it is not because of the brakes or of the
windshields that we drive. Similarly, caution and a critical spirit are like
tools. They ought to be kept ready during a scientific enterprise; however, the
main business of a science is gaining more and more new knowledge. I wonder why
great men in physics do not call caution and a critical spirit the most
important characteristics of their behavior. They seem to regard the testing of
brakes and the cleaning of windshields as mere precautions, but to look forward
to the next trip as the business for which they have cars. Why is it only in
psychology that we hear the slightly discouraging story of mere caution over
and over again? Why are just psychologists so inclined to greet the
announcement of a new fact (or a new working hypothesis) almost with scorn?
This is caution that has gone sour and has almost become negativism -- which,
of course, is no less an emotional attitude than is enthusiasm. The enthusiasm
of the early Gestalt psychologists was a virtue, because it led to new

He goes on to say,
"Too many young psychologists, it seems to me, either work only against
something done by others or merely vary slightly what others have done
before; in other words, preoccupation with method may tend to limit the
range of our research."

Thanks to my man Daniel Saunders for pointing this passage out to me. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How walkable is your city?

An interesting web site that calculates a 'walk score' for any address or neighborhood:

Here are the possible scores:

Walk Score Description
90–100 Walker's Paradise — Daily errands do not require a car.
70–89 Very Walkable — Most errands can be accomplished on foot.
50–69 Somewhat Walkable — Some amenities within walking distance
25–49 Car-Dependent — A few amenities within walking distance.
0–24 Car-Dependent — Almost all errands require a car.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Dance off! Lady Gaga vs. Kate Bush

Two great songs, one great dance off!

Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights"

vs. Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"

WINNER: Lady Gaga

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Beat Boxing

Beatboxing is making drum sounds with your mouth. It was never a huge part of hip hop, but was sort of big in the '80s (The Fat Boys, Doug E. Fresh, Biz Markie).

Here is Doug E. Fresh in 1986:
go to 0:59

It went out of style for a long time, but then some new people came along who took it even further.
Rahzel was a part of the act "The Roots." He innovated by incorporating the sounds of turntablism into the beatboxing.


Kenny Mohammad is known for the "wind technique," which involved simultaneous audible breathing while making beats with the mouth.

Kenny Mohammad:

Two nights ago my man Jesse Stewart told me about Beardyman, and I'm very impressed.
He's incorporating technology and singing


Someone I don't hear associated with beatboxing much is Bobby McFerrin (of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" fame). Unlike the others, who focus on beats, McFerrin tries to make whole songs, including instruments, voice, and percussion, using beatboxing, singing, and percussion on his own body.

Bobby McFerrin:

I don't think it's widely known that Michael Jackson could beatbox competently too:

Michael Jackson:

Here's a guy who beatboxes while playing the flute:

If you're interested in beatboxing, there are how-to videos on youtube.